Heartworm in dogs is a deadly parasite that lives in the heart and arteries of infected animals. It is a serious disease that can be fatal without treatment. The good news is that prevention for your pet is simple and affordable.
Heartworms transfer to each animal by way of mosquitoes. When a mosquito carries infected blood from one animal to the next, heartworm larvae enter the muscle tissue and travel to the blood vessels. According to the ASPCA, “several hundred worms can live in one dog for five to seven years.” They can grow to reach twelve inches in length. They wreak havoc as they travel through arteries and vital organs, reaching their final destination of the lungs and heart.
Since mosquitoes play a key role in the contraction of this disease, animals that live in warm, humid climates (where mosquitoes are prevalent) are more susceptible. However, heartworm disease is widespread throughout the United States and any dog is vulnerable without the aid of preventive prescriptions.
Animals may not display symptoms of infection immediately; rather symptoms could take months or years to surface. Typical symptoms of heartworm in dogs are coughing, vomiting, difficulty breathing, loss of weight, and fatigue. If your pet displays any of these signs of heartworm disease, you should contact your veterinarian.
A veterinarian can diagnose heartworm disease through a series of tests such as: examination, ultrasounds, and blood tests. It is important to have your vet test your dog for heartworm annually or before beginning a new heartworm preventative prescription.
Prevention of Heartworm in Dogs
Preventing heartworm in dogs is fairly easy. Once your pet has been tested for heartworm, your vet may prescribe a preventative chewable pill which can be administered monthly. There are also topical products available which may be applied to the skin to prevent infection. It is recommended that you continue to administer preventative medication to your dog throughout the year to ensure his safety, considering the medication also prevents infection from other parasites.
If your pet is diagnosed with heartworms, there are highly successful treatments. However, the treatment process is much more difficult than prevention. Treatment usually involves hospitalization, as well as a series of injections into the infected dog’s muscles. Follow up care includes restrictive exercise for several weeks, as well as preventative medication to decrease the risk of future infection.
Advancements in heartworm prevention and treatment have come a long way in recent years. Therefore, detecting heartworm in dogs is a fairly simple routine. It involves testing your pet yearly and administering preventative medication monthly. This process may save your pet from contracting this deadly disease.
The temps are getting warmer again and it’s time for a friendly reminder about alternatives to leaving pets in the car alone. Did you know that in just a few minutes, your dog could be seriously injured or worse, if temps get too hot?
The temperature inside a vehicle can actually rise to higher than that of the outside. This is especially true during spring and summer months in Arizona. These temperatures, combined with the enclosed space inside the vehicle, can spell a disaster for your four legged friend. What may seem like a simple five minute trip to the store for you, could become a stuffy oven for your pet very quickly. This can result in exhaustion, sickness, and in more extreme cases death.
We want to be sure that you and Fido have a happy and healthy few months. Therefore, we’ve pulled together a few alternatives to leaving pets in the car.
5 Alternatives to Leaving Pets in the Car
1. Use the Drive Through
If there’s an option to use a drive through, take it. You and your dog can stay together in the cool conditioned air. You may even get to listen to your favorite song on the radio while you wait your turn in line.
2. Ask a Friend or a Pet Sitter Like Us
Ask a friend to tag along who can play with Fido while you take care of your errand. Of course, when a longer errand is planned ahead, a pet sitting service like TLC Pet Sitter is always here to help. We can stay and play with your dog for a predetermined amount of time in the comfort of your own home.
3. Can Your Pet Come Inside with You?
If the store allows it, and your pet is socially trained, bring them in with you.
4. Eating Outdoors Anyone?
There are several spots in and around the area that offer outdoor dining. Many of them also allow your four legged friend to join you. Ask for a bowl of water for your pup, and everyone enjoys a meal together.
5. Let Your Dog Skip the Trip
If you have to run an errand, and it’s possible and safe to leave your pet home, consider this option. It’s quite possible that Fido will use this time to catch up on his beauty rest.
What to Do – Just in Case
What if you see someone else’s pet left in a car? This can be scary, for you and the pet. As pet owners, we can imagine what that pet might be feeling and panic may set in. Take a deep breath and do the following as quickly as you can.
See if the car was left running with the air conditioning on. If not,
Keep an eye on the animal and call the local animal control or police department and let them know that an animal is in distress
Try to find the pet parent. Make note of the license plate number, color and make of the car, and alert the closest store to make an announcement.
In many places, it is against the law to leave a pet in a hot car.
If the authorities have not yet arrived and the dog’s life appears to be in imminent danger it may be time to act. Find a witness (or several) who share your assessment of the situation. Then, take steps to remove the animal from the hot car. Do not leave the scene until authorities arrive.
Signs of Heatstroke in Pets
Whether it is your pet, or someone else’s, it’s good to familiarize yourself with the signs of heatstroke.
If you see heatstroke symptoms, get them out of the heat, preferably into an air-conditioned space, and then to a veterinarian immediately. If it is not your dog, or you cannot transport the dog yourself, call animal control and let them know it is an emergency. Symptoms to look for include restlessness, thick saliva, excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, lack of appetite, dark tongue, rapid heartbeat, fever, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, or lack of coordination.
We know that as pet owner’s you’ll be especially careful during these hotter months, will consider the risks, and choose not to leave them alone in a vehicle even if it’s only for a few minutes.
Although it is natural for a dog to bark, some overdo it. If your dog happens to have the issue, then the first thing to do is perhaps to establish the cause of excessive barking. Once you identify the reason, it will be easy for you to find ways to stop the dog from barking. You will have to train them gradually.
Why Would a Dog Bark?
Barking is a form of vocal communication, and dogs may use it to mean many things. It all depends on the situation. Below are some of the reasons:
Boredom or loneliness
Protecting their territory
Once you start training the dog, remember the following tips:
Do not shout at your dog to stop. The dog may think that you are also barking.
Have consistency so that you do not confuse the dog. Do not let your dog get away with undesirable barking sometimes.
Keep your training positive.
How to Train Your Dog to Stop the Behavior
Treating excessive barking will require some tactics, based on the reason why your dog is barking. Some of the solutions may be:
Ignore the Barking
How to stop your dog from barking may include ignoring it. After you identify that the barking aims at getting your attention, you can ignore it until they stop. It may take longer than you expect, but that is the best solution you can offer. Do not even look in their direction.
Once they stop barking, you can reward them with a treat. If you do that several times, they will start understanding that silence rewards them with a treat. You can now lengthen the time required to remain quiet before they get the reward.
Keep the Dog Tired
The technique requires you to give your dog sufficient exercise – both mental and physical. Doing it every day keeps the dog tired, and they are less likely to bark when they get bored or frustrated. The exercise will depend on the dog’s age and breed and may include long walks or an activity like chasing the ball.
Get Your Pup Used to Excitement
If you notice that your dog starts barking before going for a walk or mealtime, you can change the program. If the barking starts when you are getting the leash so that you can go for a walk, return the leash.
We hope this helps you understand how to stop your dog from barking so much.
Getting a puppy during COVID is a great idea; as long as you are prepared. While us humans are being relegated to staying home, we may need a little extra companionship. And a puppy checks all the boxes to make us feel a little better about being at home. However, if you’ve never raised a puppy before, there are a few things you’ll need to be prepared for your new family member and house mate.
Things You’ll Need when Getting a Puppy During COVID
Aside from time, love and patience, here are a few things you’ll need after getting a puppy during COVID.
Selecting a Collar
We recommend selecting a comfortable and adjustable nylon collar that remains on your pup at all times. This type of collar can be adjusted in size as your puppy grows. There are even a few different colors to choose from.
A Sturdy Leash
As you get started, we recommend a leather leash to ensure that you have control of your new puppy. They are really wiggly at this young age. Leather leashes are strong and durable, especially for a new puppy. As he/she gets older you may need to upgrade depending on how big and strong they get.
Harness – for Puppy and Adult Dog
Training your puppy to walk with a leash can be a little tricky. One way to ease your new pal into the experience is using a harness (instead of just collar and leash). You can find a bevy of harnesses sized just right for your puppy.
As your puppy gets older and more comfortable, upgrading to an adult dog harness will help with car rides and brisk walks.
Puppy and Dog Food
Getting a puppy during COVID from a shelter is a great plan. Many rescue groups start their puppies on Kirkland Puppy Formula dog food. There are also several other options you may want to consider. If getting out during COVID is an issue, Chewy.com delivers to your door. As always, talk to your veterinarian about food quality and what’s best at each stage of your dog’s life.
Dog Bowls for Food and Water
Choose a space in your home for your pup’s food and water bowls. Placing them on an easy to clean floor surface is best. These guys tend to get a little messy. We recommend either metal or ceramic bowls. Metal bowls are easier on maintenance but can be loud for a messy eater. There are usually more stylish options available in a ceramic style. However, ceramic can crack and break. We do not recommend plastic bowls.
Variety of Toys
When getting a puppy during COVID your options for social interaction may be limited. We recommend providing several toys for your pup to keep that need to chew satisfied. A Kong toy that can be filled with treats is great for that. Kong offers several different shapes and sizes.
Keep in mind that just like with a baby, you’ll want to purchase puppy safe toys. And, of course, remember that most pups like to play with balls. We recommend the Orbee-Tuff LED ball. Tennis balls get dirty and can be messy.
With the holidays rapidly approaching, you may be doing a lot of menu planning. Many of the holidays have traditions surrounding food, and none more so than Thanksgiving. You may be already aware that there are many foods unsafe for your pet. However, this list will show you that it is possible to prepare holiday food for pets that is delicious and safe for them.
What would a Thanksgiving meal be without turkey? Luckily, the meat from this bird is safe for your pets as long as it is thoroughly cook. It should also be given without the skin. Of course, never give your dog the bones from the turkey. Bones can splinter easily becoming sharp weapons in your dog’s delicate digestive tract. In order to qualify as a good Thanksgiving food for pets, the turkey meat should be unseasoned.
There are several traditional Thanksgiving vegetables that your pets can enjoy with you. Sweet potatoes are often a pup favorite. They are rich in many nutrients, such as Vitamins A and C, fiber, and potassium. Most dogs will gladly chow down on some raw or dried pieces of sweet potato. You do not want to give your dog the canned kind or any that have been baked with marshmallows. Most marshmallows contain Xylitol, which is toxic for dogs. Your pets also do not need the additional sugar that is often found in sweet potato casseroles.
Another great veggie to share with your pets is green beans. They are high in both fiber and Vitamins C and K. The trick here is to feed them to your dog while you are cooking up your green bean casserole. Your pet will much prefer the raw, crisp version over the finished product. If your secret green bean casserole recipe involves onions or mushrooms, it is even more important to not let your dog sample it, as these ingredients are toxic to them.
This fall classic is often one of the first foods to make an appearance at the holidays. That being said, feeding your animals leftover pumpkins from Halloween is not advised and could make your pet very ill. You can, however, feed them pure fresh pumpkin. This holiday food for pets can be either raw or cooked, but it should not contain any added sugar or spices.
The bread debate; should I or shouldn’t I? Dogs are not going to get much nutritional value out of bread (just like us). Feeding your pup small servings of white bread or dinner rolls from time to time won’t hurt them. It won’t help them either. Bread is a filler food and doesn’t contain any extra nutrients that they are not already getting from their daily dog food diet. There can be significant health risks, however, from bread dough or not fully cooked bread. The yeast in many breads, if uncooked, will continue to rise once it enters your pets tummy. Read more about bread and your dog here from the American Kennel Club.
Avoid Feeding Your Pets These Foods, Any Time of Year
This holiday food for pets should be approached with caution. There is a debate on mac and cheese in the pet community. Dogs and cats do not need a daily dose of dairy products. But some sure do love it! However, some pets, even cats, can become intolerant of dairy products. This is especially true in older pets. In these cases, even small amounts of mac and cheese could result in gas, vomiting, and diarrhea. You know your pet best, if their tummies can handle it, keep the treat to one small serving.
Mashed Potatoes with Garlic and Onion
Garlic and onion can make your dogs very ill. Even the powdered versions can wreak havoc on your pets body. Further, raw potatoes should be avoided as they contain an element toxic to animals; solanine. If your pet loves potatoes, be sure that they are fully baked or boiled (and cooled) before serving to your furry friend. Skip the salt and butter, too, for the best version for Fido.
As always, for items that may affect the health and safety of your pet, consult with your veterinarian.
For More Information
If you have questions about holiday foods for pets or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC Pet Sitter. We are also available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In our new world of pandemic induced staying at home, separation anxiety is new for some pets. Has your dog gotten used to you being home all day? Has your cat enjoyed all the extra time she gets to lay in your lap? If you are seeing some new behaviors in your pets as you prepare to leave your house or while you are away, read on.
What is Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety is a sign of distress in your pet. It is triggered when a dog is upset because of separation from their pet parents, or the people they are most attached to. Did you know that the anxiety is so extreme for some pets that they try hurt themselves trying to get out of the house? You may notice that your pet becomes agitated as you prepare to leave the house. They understand what is about to happen.
Some dogs will try to prevent their favorite people from leaving. Then, right after their pet parents leave the house the separation anxiety becomes so bad they act out. For instance, some animals will bark incessantly. Others will begin destroying objects around the home. Furthermore, some will urinate or defecate in the house. Pets are not equipped the way humans are to cope with missing someone they love.
Did You Know: Separation anxiety is often more prevalent in dogs who have spent time in a shelter? Being surrendered by their family and left behind at a shelter leaves a lasting impression for many animals.
Treating Mild Separation Anxiety in Pets
The goal in treating this reaction is teaching them to enjoy or at least tolerate being left alone.
First, speak with your veterinarian to rule out any other underlying issues. Then, take action to counter-condition the behavior.
This means focusing on developing an associate with being left alone with good things. For instance, their favorite food or treat. What does that mean? Try offering your pet a treat puzzle each time you leave the house. For example, try giving your dog a puzzle stuffed with something really tasty, like peanut butter, spray cheese, small training treats, frozen banana, or canned dog food. Some toys can even be froze. This makes getting the treat take even more of your dog’s time. Most importantly, remove these toys as soon as you return home so that your dog only has access to them when he’s by himself. They’ll begin to associate something fun with you getting ready to leave the house and their time alone.
Dogs with more severe cases of separation anxiety may require a different approach. Speak with your vet for ideas and treatment plans.
Going Back to Work
As the world, and businesses, begin to get back to normal, your pet’s schedule is being disrupted again. If you find yourself going back to the office one day or five days per week, this will trigger more separation anxiety episodes.
When you can, try to take your pet to work with you. Since this is not realistic for many, hiring a pet sitter will help with their anxiety. Believe it or not, most pets suffering from separation anxiety are calmed as long as someone, even if not you, are with them.
You may be thinking that pet sitting is just opening the door, petting the dog on the head and letting him out for a potty break, right? Maybe in the old days when pet owners went on vacation and asked a neighbor to look in every now and then. Today, however, our cherished members of the family are being rewarded with the care and love of professional pet sitters.
What to Expect
At TLC House & Pet Sitting Service our sitters visit dogs up to three times a day and cats once or twice a day. We provide love and attention along with providing fresh food, water and exercise. TLC includes these services and much more.
We provide experienced sitters that know what to do while looking after your pet’s individual needs. When required, we administer medicines, both orally or by injection (for insulin), according to your instructions with prescribed dosages. All the care you provide your pet is performed in your absence by our sitters/walkers on your pet’s regular schedule. It’s not exactly the same as when you’re home, but we get pretty close. At TLC, we know that your pet misses you, and we are mindful of that bond.
We will walk dogs privately in your neighborhood after learning your dog’s commands and leash etiquette with your consultation. We dispose of all dog poop and cat litter boxes. If your pet requires overnight attention we will be there for that as well. We prepare detailed reports on your pet during your absence – and we can check in with nervous parents!
While we are visiting TLC sitter/walker do those little things to keep your house looking lived in – hauling trash cans to and from the curb, bringing in the mail, alternating lights, picking up newspapers and watering plants. But even with all that we never forget the pat on the head – just like the old days.
Learn More About Our Services
If you’d like to learn more about our services, please visit our website.
Canine social anxiety is a real problem for more dogs than you’d imagine. Therefore, if you have ever been asked to start your puppy on socialization, it is in part due to the debilitating effects of social anxiety. Dogs who were not socialized as puppies can have some degree of this anxiety. Anxiety is typically seen in a more devastating degree in dogs that have had no human contact. Dogs from puppy mills, or those with no human contact can have extreme social anxiety.
The Symptoms of Anxiety
Anxiety appears in dogs just like it does with humans. It can come from a fear of the unknown or even fear after a traumatic event. The source of anxiety is the same, no matter which circumstance he is under, and that source is terror. If your dog is experiencing social anxiety, then you will know based on his behavior.
Behaviors exhibited during a canine social anxiety attack could mean a total shut down of the dog’s emotions. This is similar to that of a human dissociating, or turning off their ability to function in reality. Basically, a dog having a total melt down with anxiety will hunker down to the ground, walk slowly, keep his tail tucked while refusing to acknowledge or obey you. This is because he is terrified. In these situation, your pup’s mind is shutting off to protect itself emotionally from becoming more traumatized.
Other anxiety symptoms can be excessive or constant whining, barking and even growling. Your dog, when faced with his trigger will do whatever he thinks he needs to do to protect himself. As such, he could lash out at you or simply shut down. This makes your job as his caretaker far more difficult.
Help Your Dog Cope with Canine Social Anxiety
Social anxiety in dogs is not something that can be trained out of him in a day, week or even a month. It is a fighting battle that can take many months or even years with consistent help and training. You can start your anxious dog down the path of healing his social anxiety with counter conditioning. This is the training tactic that helps change the way your dog feels about his trigger. If your dog was human, he would go to therapy. However, since he is your furry best friend he is relying on you to help him through this.
Don’t be afraid or wait to contact a professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist for help. Sometimes, dogs just need time and patience while other times they have real work in front of them that requires professional help. When it doubt about canine social anxiety, always ask a professional! Meanwhile, you can start by giving your dog a high value food treat whenever he sees his trigger. This may, however, only work for dogs who’s anxiety is not very severe. If your dog’s anxiety is so dire that he shuts down, you will need to start small and in a space he is comfortable and familiar with. Never punish a dog for anxiety, no matter how frustrated you get. Remember, he is terrified! If he shuts down, take the rest of the day off. Let him then settle in the most comfortable place he knows.
Train with Kindness, Not Punishment
While some may encourage you to punish a scared dog, in reality it only makes your dog’s behaviors worse. It can even lead to him lashing out and biting you or someone else. Instead, take it slow and stay within his threshold. If you don’t push him, he will gain more confidence. Then, he will let you know when it’s time to take the next step.
For canine social anxiety, you are your dog’s helper. He cannot call a dog trainer nor ask for your help. He does not know why he feels the way he does, and he is counting on you to help solve his problems. Do your anxious dog a favor and go slow. Always provide praise and positive reinforcement for good behavior. And never give your dog a reason to be anxious!
Adopting a dog from a shelter or a breed rescue is an excellent way to find a pet, plus you’re saving a life in the process. However, there are a few things that you should avoid when adopting that new dog for your family.
What to Avoid When Adopting a Dog #1-5
#1 – Aggression With People
If the dog shows any type of aggression, no matter the age, do not adopt it. Although some may take issue with this advice, my stance is based on decades of experience. There are just too many sweetheart dogs out there that need good homes. Your desire to rescue a dog does not have to come with the burden of caring for a dog that you already know is aggressive.
#2 – The Fearful Dog
Quite often I find new dog owners that have adopted a dog that appeared to have fearfulness. Some of these adopted dogs were puppies. I’ve had clients tell me that when adopting their puppy, the observed the litter while seven of the pups ran up to them to play and one little scared puppy sat in the corner. You’d be amazed by how many people take home the afraid puppy, out of shear compassion. However, my advice again would be to pass on adopting a fearful dog. Although it’s possible to help a scared dog interact like normal dogs, it’s unlikely. So my suggestion is to pick one of those outgoing puppies, one that adds to the love and overall happiness of the home. Knowing what to avoid when adopting a dog can go a long way for long-term happiness.
#3 – Dog Aggression
If you already have a dog at home and want to add a new dog to your pack, then adopting a dog that is not dog-aggressive is a must. It’s always a good idea to introduce your new dog to your existing dog in a strange environment not at your home. So keep in mind that the first meeting should be at the local park or out for a walk. Make sure that the adoption agency is willing to take back the new dog if he shows any aggression with your existing dog at home.
#4 – An Unwell Dog
Needless to say, you do not want to accept a sick or unhealthy dog especially if you already have a dog at home. I do realize that there are those of you who are real rescuers and nurturers that will accept the challenges of caring for a sick dog in order to nurse it back to health. However, for the average pet owner, that may be more of a task than they want to take on. On your list of what to avoid when adopting a dog, this is a big one.
#5 – The Unsocialized Dog
When adopting your dog, keep in mind that the period of socialization is from birth to 20 weeks old. If you are adopting a puppy, you have to accomplish that before the five-month mark. If you are considering a puppy that has been at a shelter its entire life and has not been properly socialized that could be a mistake that you will have to live with for years, unless there is still time to do it before the 20 week mark. On the other hand, if you’re choosing an older dog, you’ll be able to tell if he’s been socialized properly by his attitude around people and other dogs.
Knowing what to avoid when adopting a dog is priceless. Adopting a dog can be a fantastic way to select a new best friend. Just take your time and find the right dog that suits your lifestyle and your expectations. When you follow this simple advice, you and your new best buddy will have a happy future together.
Are there rules of dog owner etiquette? You betcha.
We’ve all experienced the awkwardness of a poorly behaved dog. Whether it’s in public or in someone’s home, it’s hard to know what to do. Do we say something? Do we pretend it’s not happening? As a dog owner, it is a good idea to teach your pup to practice their doggy manners. Not sure what this means? We compiled a list for you. These will help you be well on your way to being a good dog parent who practices their dog owner etiquette.
Is Your Dog Jumping On People?
This rule is the one that is most often broken. Yep, you walk into a home and here comes the dog, jumping all over you. Practicing good dog owner etiquette means knowing how to stop this behavior. Some people say it’s okay because they are dog lovers but not everyone wants a dog jumping all over them. In some cases, these exuberant dogs actually knock people down. Depending on the person’s age, this could be dangerous.
So how do you keep it from happening? Put the dog on leash, so he cannot get to the person entering through the door. In fact, teaching your dog to do a sit /stay while on the leash really comes in handy. Eventually, once the proper door behavior has been learned, you may no longer need to use the leash.
Is Your Dog Barking Excessively?
If you have ever been within earshot of a non-stop barking dog, you know excessive barking can be a real annoyance. If you are unable to keep your dog from barking consider making some adjustments for those around you.
For instance, we should all try to be good neighbors and bring our dogs in the house. This is especially appreciated during the evening so that our dogs are not disturbing the peace. If you know a neighbor sleeps during the day, consider keeping your dog indoors throughout the day as well. If necessary, crate your dog, and the neighbors will love you.
How Do Walks Impact Dog Owner Etiquette?
Did you know that dogs that are taken for daily walks will be less likely to feel a need to release pent-up energy in unacceptable ways such as excessive barking of jumping? Even more, if they get used to a regular walk routine they’ll generally be calmer throughout the day.
Are You Allowing Your Dog To Run Free
Unless you live in a very remote area your dog should be within your control or yard at all times. This means on a leash or in your fenced yard. Allowing your dog to run loose in most areas is not only against the law, it is also very dangerous for your dog. Thousands of dogs a year are run over while roaming the streets. A dog owner that cares for his dog will never allow his dog to run loose. If your dog shows any type of aggression while running loose, you are vulnerable to a tremendous amount of liability, should your dog happen to bite a person or another dog.
Picking Up the Poop
One of the fundamental rules of dog owner etiquette is pick up after your pup.
This issue is a real problem for a large number of homeowners. You’ve seen it, someone walking their dog and allowing them to poop on someone else’s property without scooping it up. Surprisingly, this has become such a problem in some communities that all dogs in those communities are swabbed for DNA. Any waste material that has not been picked up is checked with the DNA on file, and the offending owner can be fined up to $500. So, bag the poop to keep your neighborhood clean (and keep neighbors happy with you).
Need Help with the Behavioral Issues?
Practicing good dog owner etiquette will provide a better sense of community for all dog owners and homeowners alike. However, if you have tried working on their barking or jumping and still need some help, fear not. There are several resources to help you with your pet and encouraging him to do his best. This article by the ASPCA helps you find the behavioral help you may need.
Do you groom your dog at home? Ever wonder how to keep your dog calm during grooming? Well, just like humans, they get nervous sometimes. And because dogs need to be properly groomed, whether at home or at a shop, these tips may be handy to know.
If you want to groom your pup yourself, being mindful of how you can make the process enjoyable for your furry friend will go a long way for them. While it’s true that your pet is naturally submissive to you as their owner, using this privilege to force your dog to be groomed can backfire.
To help your dog remain calm and enjoy their grooming we’ve put together a short list of tips for you. If you have some other suggestions, please be sure to add them in the comments for other pet owners.
Your Dog to Observe the Grooming Products
Dogs are instinctively observant. A sure way to frighten them is by surprising them with grooming products they never saw or heard before.
To keep your dog calm during grooming, introduce all of your grooming products to your dog before their grooming day. If you’re using clippers, turn them on so your dog can hear how they sound. Allow them to walk away when they want to.
If you’re using other products like shampoos or rinses, have them smell these items to increase their familiarity.
Interestingly, dogs are affected by music.
Playing soothing music will help your dog focus and stay calm throughout the
Classical music or jazz will lower your pet’s heart rate and keep them relaxed. You can even take it a step further by having lower lighting in the room to keep your canine friend at ease.
With Them First
A dog that is tired after playtime is less likely to fight you during grooming. Playing catch for about an hour or going for a long walk is a great way to tire out your dog and keep him or her relaxed. Similarly, it may tire you out, too.
Once they’ve calmed down, it becomes much easier to
groom them without the whining or growling.
Take Period Breaks
Dogs, especially puppies, can become confused or frightened during grooming. If your pet requires extended grooming, taking short breaks mitigates stress.
When you first groom your dog, it may take several hours. However, the process will become easier when they (and you) become used to the process.
When to Stop
Sometimes, your dog will have had enough of grooming. And that’s ok. This is a great time to call it a day and stop.
If your dog is continually whining and growling at you, their stress levels will become too high. Force-grooming your dog and/or shouting at them to be quiet won’t make them submissive to grooming.
If your dog has had enough, stop and allow them to
gather themselves and calm down.
Reward Them When Still and Calm
When your pet is still and calm, reward them for their behavior with a treat. This will teach them to remain calm during grooming and make the process more convenient for you both.
Smearing peanut butter on a spoon is a trick many people use. Allowing their dog to lick it during grooming is a distraction for them. As a result, grooming is easier.
When we think about taking our dog to a dog park we begin to conjure ideas of our pet frolicking with other dogs. We tend to believe that this will be a great experience for them and that they’ll be a happier dog for having had the experience. This couldn’t be more untrue. Furthermore, we warn against taking your dog – and especially a puppy – to a dog park!
Hazards and Risks at a Dog Park Outweigh the Benefits
In March of 2018, in California, a small dog was attacked by two larger dogs at Lodi park and was fatally wounded. While this is an extreme example, it is not uncommon for injuries to occur to dogs at dog parks. Injuries can sometimes occur because of the co-mingling of large and small dogs. In other cases, dog fights erupt between same-sized dogs as they try to assert themselves. If your pet is not well trained for the type of interaction that occurs in a dog park, altercations will occur.
Like People, Not All Dogs Want to Be Social with Everyone They Meet
For some dogs, taking them to a dog park can make them extremely anxious. It is like being afraid of the water and being pushed into the pool for them.
Like people, some dogs prefer the comfort of familiar faces or only in small numbers. Just as we do not chat with everyone we meet, our dogs do not have to play with every dog they meet. The pressure to do so can make them uncomfortable or aggressive. Rather than place our pups in this position, find a more suitable alternative. For instance, schedule a few minutes with the neighbor’s dog every week. This may be all the socialization your dog needs- or wants. Older dogs, especially, tend to prefer to go without playful interaction with other dogs.
The goal is to ensure that your dog feels relaxed and can leave at any time they start to feel uncomfortable. Other options include pet socialization classes where the number of dogs is limited and it is monitored in a controlled environment by pet professionals.
Germs, Illness, and Parasites
If that doesn’t get your attention, we’re not sure what will. Did you know that viruses can live in the soil of the dog park for an extended period of time? This is true for any soil. This makes dog parks a veritable breeding ground for all types of viruses and parasites. Because shot records are not required at the door, your pup could be mingling with unvaccinated or unhealthy animals. This is especially dangerous to a new pup who has not yet completed his full schedule of vaccinations. This pup is therefore more susceptible to the germs. Safer spaces for your pets include training classes, doggy day care, or boarding kennels where shot records are required prior to entry.
The energy in a dog park can often be frantic and chaotic. It doesn’t take long for a dog to get reinforcement from the experience that this behavior is acceptable. This teaches them that their owner has little or no control over them. If you’ve visited a dog park, you’ve noticed at least one frustrated owner trying to get their dogs attention. It is usually to no avail. This behavior can often carry over at home. Undoing what the dog park has taught your dog can be frustrating for both you and your dog.
Elevated Protective Behaviors
Does your dog guard their toys? Do they maybe even guard you a little? Does your pet tend to want to keep the water bowl to themselves? Is your dog the bully of the playground? Dogs can be instinctual when it comes to guarding their resources. If another animal tries to take what they believe is theirs it can result in a combative response.
A young dog may feel long-term affects of an unpleasant experience at a dog park. If they are attacked, especially unprovoked, your dog may begin exhibiting aggressive behavior of their own. As a human, you may witness what you believe to be a small event happening to your dog that unexpectedly has lasting affects. These incidents are likened to childhood trauma in humans. Similar to someone playfully jumping out from behind a corner and yelling “Boo” to a small child who is too young to understand that won’t always happen again, but feels forever as if it will.
All types of dogs come to a dog park. The same is true for the owners. There are some great dog owners who watch after their pets. They keep an eye on them, break up incidents before they escalate, pick-up their messes, watch for inappropriate play or behavior, and are simply aware of their animals. On the other hand, some owners spend more time on their phones or talking to other people to be bothered with their pet. In these cases, their dog is left unchecked and can often create the problems mentioned above that you and your dog are trying to avoid.
To be safe, we recommend that you skip the dog park altogether and find better, safer alternatives for your pet.