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Category Archives: Dog Health

Porkie Pups

Check it out Washington, Minnesota, South Dakota, Utah, Colorado, and Nevada…  You are in the top five states with the Porkiest Pups!  Obesity rates have skyrocketed nationwide over the past five years.  The obesity epidemic isn’t just about packing on the pounds; it also spikes the risk of developing deadly diseases.  Banfield Pet Hospital conducted a report that analyzed two million dogs per year between 2001 and 2006.  These findings reveal that American pets are having their own obesity epidemic, with the number of overweight and obese canines seen by vets increasing by nearly 40 percent in the last five years.

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Many chronic conditions have continued to increase, in some instances at an alarming rate.  The overweight and obesity findings are some of the most concerning.  When pets are diagnosed as overweight, their waistline is not the only concern; the condition is associated with other serious diseases such as arthritis, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, and hypothyroidism.

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How can you tell if your dog is overweight?  The easiest way to tell is just by looking at them!  Can their ribs, spine, and hip bones barely be felt when touching their body? Does your dog not have a defined waistline?  Is belly fat noticeable?  If any of these pertain to your dog, they are overweight!

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So, what is fattening all those dogs up?  The main cause is people food.  To keep pets at a healthy weight, the treats they receive each day should be limited to less than 10 percent of their daily caloric requirements.  When treats are given, the amount of food fed each day should then be reduced by 10 percent…. Pet owners do not realize that even in small quantities, human food can represent a large percent of a pet’s daily caloric requirement.  The 114 calories in one ounce of cheese and the 147 calories in a single beef hot dog make up a whopping 33 and 43 percent, respectively, of a small dog’s daily caloric requirement.

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If you do have an overweight pooch, what should you do?  First off take out people food (table scraps).  Lower your dog’s daily calorie intake by changing the dog food to a diet formula, or just changing the amount they are already being fed.  Increasing fiber or water intake may sometimes be necessary to satiate your dog.  Increasing exercise will be a huge help to get the access weight off.  Take your dog for a short walk and build to longer walks, anything helps!

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Given the animal obesity epidemic, it’s no surprise that the prevalence of canine arthritis has soared 38 percent in the last five years. Rates of other diseases have increased as well. Even so, 76 percent of dog owners remain in denial and “believe their pet is just the right weight.”

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Looks like that 76 percent could use a good run in the park — as could we all.

 

Thank you to Dogster for providing some of the information above…

 
 

Summer Safety for Dogs

Summer can be a wonderful time for you and your dog to spend time outdoors exercising and having fun.  However, it is important to understand that hot temperatures can be very dangerous, too, and you must keep your dog cool.  The most common warm weather hazards include heat stroke, dehydration and sunburn – all of which can be prevented.  Watch your dog for signs of illness, and call your vet right away if any problems arise.  In order to keep your dog safe, here are some important things you need to know about summer time hazards and prevention.

Automobiles

Never leave your dog in the car unattended.  Despite the many warnings about this, each summer brings numerous accounts of dogs that become sick or even die of heat stroke because they were left in a car.  Even if it does not seem that hot outside, the temperature inside the car can rise to dangerous levels within minutes.  If you absolutely must bring your dog with you on errands, make sure you bring another person who can stay in the running, air-conditioned car with your dog.  Otherwise, do your dog a favor and leave her at home.

Outdoor Play

Steer clear of long walks and strenuous exercise on hot, sunny days. Avoid prolonged sun exposure.  Not only is there a risk of heat stroke – dogs can get sunburns, too.  Consider sunscreen for your dog.  If you are planning to spend time outdoors with your dog, find a shady spot and provide plenty of fresh, cool water.  Try to take leisurely walks during the cooler times of the day, like the morning or evening hours.  Remember to protect your dog’s feet from getting scorched by hot pavement.  Sunscreen for dogs can help protect your dog as well.

Events

It might be best to leave your dog at home when going to large outdoor festivals or parties.  A large crowd can be overwhelming and it increases the chances of injury, dehydration and exhaustion.  Plus, there’s bound to be a lot of unhealthy or even toxic food and trash on the ground that your dog might try to eat.  Also remember that fireworks and other loud noises can frighten dogs into running away or otherwise injuring themselves.  If you do bring your dog to events, keep her close by and watch out for potential hazards.

Swimming and Water Activities

Stay near your dog while playing or swimming in a lake, river or the ocean.  Contrary to common belief, not all dogs are skilled swimmers.  Also remember that even the most experienced swimmer can become a victim of an undertow, jellyfish or other hazard.  Also, prevent your dog from drinking the water.  Salt water can cause dehydration, vomiting and diarrhea.  Water in lakes, ponds and rivers may contain parasites and bacteria that can infect your dog.  Always provide plenty of fresh, clean water for drinking.

If you bring your dog on a boat or canoe, a life jacket is just as important for your dog as it is for you.  Falling or jumping overboard is always possible.  Any dog that spends time near water should have her very own pet life vest.

Parasites and Pests

Spending time outdoors means more exposure to various parasites and pests.  Always check your dog for ticks after spending time outside.  Keep your dog on flea prevention to avoid flea-related issues.  Because mosquitos carry heartworm disease, your dog must be on heartworm prevention if you live in an area where mosquitos are present.  Also remember that an encounter with a skunk can be quite a hassle.  More dangerous are snake bites, which commonly occur in spring and summer.  Stings and bites from insects such as bees, wasps, scorpions and spiders are also risks.

Keeping Your Dog Safe

Bottom line, keep an eye on your dog.  Don’t leave her unattended.  It’s important to always exercise common sense and proceed with caution to help keep your dog safe, regardless of the season.  Summertime comes with its own set of hazards, so make sure you are familiar with the risks.  Learn what warning signs mean trouble.  When in doubt, call your vet right away.  When all is said and done, it will be much easier for you and your dog to enjoy the summer.

 
 

Spoil Your Furry Friends!

If you are like me…and most pet owners, you’re a sucker for those 4 legged wet nosed creatures.  We scratch them behind their ears, let them sleep on the bed (not that we want them to), clean up muddy paws, and enjoy sloppy kisses.  Why not spoil them even more!  Here are a few simple things you can do that your dog will love you for even more …

Go for a walk. Getting outside and sniffing new places is always fun and exciting to a dog. Do you and your dog already go on regular walks? Try taking a new route to spice up your routine. If your dog socializes well with other dogs, maybe a trip to a dog park is in order.

Go for a drive. Most dogs enjoy taking a quick trip and seeing what is beyond the backyard. Be sure your car ride is safe with a doggy seatbelt, booster seat, or pet barrier.

Make time for playtime. Dogs love routines. Pick a time of day that works for your schedule and start the fun. Both you and your dog will have something to look forward to every day and it may help keep you both in good shape. Keep things interesting by rotating toys—that way they’ll be new and exciting the next time you bring them out.

Help keep your dog looking good. There is nothing like a sweet-smelling dog with a shiny coat. Don’t have time for a bath? Use a waterless shampoo in between baths and make time for a relaxing grooming session with a multi-purpose brush.

Treats, treats, and more treats. Every dog loves getting a special treat. Encourage and reward good behavior with a tasty snack or by using a treat dispensing toy.

Check out Wet Noses Organic Dog Treats new bakery line, Dogg Candy!  These tasty treats are a GREAT way to spoil those pooches.  Along with being very appealing to the eye (and nose), these specialty treats are also healthy!  They are made with wholesome organic ingredients and do not contain any corn, wheat, soy, salt, or sugar!

Celebrating a special someone’s birthday?  Our dog birthday cake packages are a perfect idea!

How about a tasty cupcake!  For your dog silly….

Nothing sounds better than a delicious brownie baked to perfection….

Even bite size brownies….

Squash is great for your dog’s digestive  system, that’s why your dogs will thank you when you give them a Butternut Squash Swirl!

These Black & White cookies are not only eye-catching, they are filled with flavor!

The Peanut Butter Bark is a great holiday gift item, or a yummy anytime snack. This bark is easy to snap into smaller pieces for smaller dogs and smells really great, even to our human noses. Give it a try today!

Pumpkin is another beneficial ingredient to dogs being great for sensitive stomachs! This soft and chewy treat has a rich taste of pumpkin that dogs can’t wait to devour!

All dogs deserve to be spoiled, so why not spoil them with a healthy treat!  There are so many different treats out there that are made outside of the country.  It is very important to know where the ingredients that your dogs are eating come from.  At Wet Noses, we stand behind all of our products and believe that dogs will live a much longer and healthier life with natural ingredients in their diet.  We use organic, human grade ingredients that are all sourced here locally in the USA.  Check out our website www.wet-noses.com to view all of our tasty snacks worth barking for!  Remember, a healthy dog is a happy dog.  Make your dog happy from the inside out!

 

Flea & Tick Season… Are you ready?

Let’s get to the facts…With a single female flea capable of laying thousands of eggs in her lifetime; a small flea problem can quickly become an infestation. Experts say the only truly effective way to keep fleas off a dog or cat is with a topical or oral medication. Flea shampoo, dips and sprays only provide immediate relief by killing adult fleas on the pet. They won’t prevent the dog or cat from picking up more fleas from around your home or eggs that hatch (unfortunately there is a considerable amount of fleas in your house than on your pet).  It is important to choose the right dosage and to avoid harmful interactions with other medications your pet may be taking.  Always consult your vet before you start giving your dog any new medications.

Fleas aren’t simply a pesky parasite — they can affect the health of their host dog or cat. When a large number of fleas are present, the blood loss to the animal can be life threatening. Often the flea saliva triggers allergies, and the itching and scratching that ensue can lead to a more serious skin infection. Additionally, pets can contract tapeworms from infected fleas. If you notice your pet scratching, check the skin for a dark brown bug about the size of a sesame seed. If you spot fleas, the first course of action should be to start treatment right away of both your dog and your house.

Now that I have you all ‘itching’, let’s get down to the real question that is on everyone’s mind.  Which type of flea treatment/prevention should I use?   With the numerous amounts of options that are available this can be a tough choice without any knowledge.   Pet owners are becoming more aware of harsh chemicals that are in products.  This being said, products that contain natural ingredients have been on the rise.  I am going to enlighten you on both the natural and ‘not-natural’, flea products that you can use this coming flea season.

The most common choice is a spot on, topical treatment (i.e. Frontline or Advantage).  Topical treatments stop adult fleas from biting and will kill them within hours or days.  Topical treatments are squeezed out of a tube and applied between the pet’s shoulders or along the back. The chemical is stored in the oil glands under the animal’s skin, and then distributed continuously to its skin and hair.  Make sure not to put the treatment on directly after the pet has had a bath.  You should wait about 48 hours, so that the skin can produce oil for the treatment to attach to.

Another common choice is an oral medication (i.e. Program or Capstar).  Oral medications are often preferred in hot, humid climates that require year-round flea control or in households with children or multiple pets that shouldn’t come in contact with a topical treatment until it dries.

A different approach that has a more ‘natural’ effect is spray treatments.  There are some out there that have chemicals (i.e.  Bio Spot or Zodiac), and some that are made up of natural ingredients (i.e. Cedar-All, Only Natural Defense Spray, or Natural Chemistry).  Spray treatments can help with getting rid of the fleas in dark and inconvenient places such as under the couch cushion, in corners of the carpet, and inside vacuum bags. This product also works well to repel flies and mosquitoes which is great for things like camping trips.  The natural sprays are made up of cedar oil, lavender oil, citronella seed oil, or eucalyptus.  A nice characteristic that the natural sprays have to the human nose is that they smell nice, but still keep the insects off!  The only throwback to the natural spray is that it does not have a long lasting effect.  Studies show that these sprays usually last up to 5 hours.  These require more frequent applications.  Really it comes down to the comfort of the pet owner and weather you are able to reapply and carry the spray with you.

I am sure that most of you have heard of flea collars.  These are proven to have very little effectiveness to preventing fleas.  Furthermore, the NRDC conducted a study on the toxicity of flea collars and found elevated neurological and cancer risks to humans. After dogs and cats wore flea collars treated with tetrachlorvinphos or propoxur for two weeks, a laboratory tested residue levels on the animals’ fur. The findings reveal half to three-quarters of the pets had “enough residue on their fur to pose significant neurological risks for toddlers who spend about two hours per day with their pet.” The study also found a cancer risk “50 to 500 times greater than what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers acceptable” in adults and an even higher risk for children.

Like I said before, there are more fleas imbedded into your carpet, on your furniture, and in bedding than on the dog (only about 10% make home on the dog itself).  A good way to fight the fleas in your home is by using carpet powders (i.e. Flea Go, Diatimaceous Earth, or Bio Spot).   Flea powders are considerably less expensive than the popular spot-on products. In addition, they are highly multifunctional and can be used on pets, carpet, bedding, furniture and even in your yard to prevent flea infestation.  Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring substance formed from the shells of diatoms, a type of algae. Diatoms’ silicon shells fall off when they die and fossilize in the earth. Taking this earth and grinding it into a powder consistency produces a chemical-free alternative for flea control.  This is starting to get very popular for its natural flea control effects.

Ultimately, I think it really depends on where you live, and the different levels of infestation that occur.  Sometimes it is necessary to use spot-on treatments just to prevent your dog from getting bit by something that is going to potentially be disease-carrying.  I correspondingly think it is also about the efficiency along with safety.  It’s the pet owner’s preference on how comfortable they are with using an all-natural product and how comfortable they are using the spot-on treatments.  The first sing of fleas are the most important to catch because of how fast they spread and produce.   I hope this information can help make your decision easier on where to start the flea treatment fun!  In the end, you want your furry friend to be comfortable and FLEA FREE!

 
 

Spring & Summer Plant Toxicity in Dogs…

With Easter coming up this weekend, your house is probably full of flowers, Easter baskets and chocolate! While these are fun and delicious for humans, they can be potentially dangerous for your pets.

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Spring is the season where flowers bloom and sunny skies bring beautiful sunshine. Dangers also become a factor as toxic plants are in full bloom, posing risks to our beloved pets. Learn about the different kinds of plants that can harm pets and pose health risks to pets.

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Springtime holidays are often associated with bulb plants and ingestion of the bulbs causes the most severe illness. Summer holidays are associated with plants. Here are some of the more common spring and summer holiday plants and information on their toxicity.

• Tulip (Tulip spp)- Ingestion can result in intense vomiting, depression, diarrhea, hypersalivation, drooling   and lack of appetite.

• Hyacinth (Hyacinthus oreintalis)- Ingestion can result in intense vomiting, diarrhea, depression and tremors.

• Daffodil (Narcissus spp)- Ingestion can result in severe gastrointestinal illness, convulsions, seizures, low blood pressure and tremors.

• Peace lily (Spathiphyllum spp)- Ingestion can result in ulcers in the mouth, vomiting and diarrhea.

• Easter cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesi)- Ingestion can  result in vomiting, diarrhea and depression. Cats can also develop staggering.

• Easter daisy (Townsendia sericea)- This plant is considered non toxic.

• Easter orchid (Cattleya mossiae)- This plant is considered non toxic.

• Easter lily cactus (Echinopsis multiplex)- This plant is considered non toxic.

• Resurrection lily (Kaempferia pulchra)- This plant is considered non toxic.

• Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia splendens prostrata)-   Ingestion results in vomiting and diarrhea.

These plants are considered very toxic and can result in severe illness or even death:

• Azalea (Rhododendron spp)- Ivomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, weakness, coma, hypotension, CNS   depression, cardiovascular collapse and death.

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• Crocus (Colchicum autumnale)- Excessive salivation, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, gastro-intestinal  disorders, lack of appetite, tremors, convulsions, seizures

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• Rhododendron (Rhododendron spp)- Vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, weakness, coma, hypotension, CNS   depression, cardiovascular collapse and death.

• Tiger Lily (Lilium tigrinum)- Vomiting, inappetence, lethargy, kidney failure. Cats are only species known to be affected.

• Easter Lily (Lilium longiflorum)- Vomiting, inappetence,  lethargy, and kidney failure. Cats are only species known   to be affected.

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• American Bittersweet (Celastrus scandens)- Weakness, convulsions, gastroenteritis (vomiting, diarrhea.)

• Clematis (Clematis sp.)- Vomiting, diarrhea, oral ulcers, ataxia irritant or vesicant action.

• Day lily (Hemorocallis dumortirei)- Vomiting, lethargy, kidney failure. Cats are only species known to be affected.

• Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)- Cardiac arrhythmias, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, cardiac failure, death.

• Lily of the Valley (Convalaria majalis)- Ataxia, vomiting, cardiac arrhythmias, death.

• Narcissus (Narcissus spp) Severe gastrointestinal   disorders, convulsions, shivering, hypotension, dermatitis,   muscular tremors, and cardiac arrhythmias.

• Morning Glory (Ipomoea spp)- Seeds may cause hallucination, may cause diarrhea.

Also note that lawn pesticides can affect your dogs as much as your children. Be careful of where you place pesticides. Many natural pesticides are now available to people that are much less harmful.

Your animal may become poisoned in spite of your best efforts to prevent it. You should keep telephone numbers for your veterinarian, a local emergency veterinary service, and the ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-4 ANI-HELP) in a convenient location. If you suspect that your pet has ingested something poisonous, seek medical attention immediately.

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Now get out there and enjoy the sunshine with your furry friends!

 
 

Spring Is Among Us… Time to Clean!

The days are getting longer … this means spring is just around the corner!  Along with cleaning the house, do not forget to de-scruff that furry friend.  Get out those mops and put on your rubber gloves because spring is here and it’s time to clean house! Many pet owners are getting ready to tackle their to-do lists and spruce up their home. As you make plans to sweep and dust, consider including a few activities to make the next few weeks easier on you and your dog.

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There are several things to consider when you have pets and it’s time to do a routine spring cleaning. To begin with, pet grooming isn’t just about your dog or cat. Think of everything related to your furry friend’s lifestyle as something that needs a “grooming” of its own.  In addition to a bath, every pet can benefit from a thorough spring cleaning once a year. Consider asking for a conditioning treatment to moisturize the coat. Get those ears well cleaned. Have nails filed down. Brush, or have the pet brushed, until all the winter undercoat is gone. Sometimes a bath will release the undercoat, then you do a second serious brushing, and the next bath leaves the pet’s coat new penny clean. Get your pet’s teeth cleaned, and remember that a non-anesthetic tooth cleaning is the gold standard for healthy pet care.

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Let’s start out with the house… that carpet needs to be cleaned from the winter’s build-up of mud and dirt.  Cleaning the carpet and upholstery is as simple as purchasing a cleaner like Bissell Upholstery Shampoo and renting out a carpet shampooer from your grocery store. When everything has been shampooed, take your pooch out for a day of fun so that everything can dry out.  Spring is synonymous with “mud season” and it only takes one good romp through the puddles to undo hours of cleaning. Until the front yard looks less like a scene from Woodstock, you can focus your efforts on making sure mud doesn’t get tracked inside. An old towel kept near the front door is handy for wiping down muddy paws and fur. Some dog owners find it helpful to outfit their pups in rubber booties or rain slickers for easy cleanup.

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Next, be sure to wash your pets bedding.  Your dog probably spent most of the winter bundled up in their blankets and pillows which have just been gathering dirt, hair, and bacteria. If the pillows have removable covers, take them off and throw them in the washer with any blankets the pet uses to get a fresh start this spring. Skip the dryer sheets and scented detergents, though—they could irritate your pet and deter them from snuggling up in their trusty blanket again.

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Don’t forget the dishes!  When was the last time you thoroughly cleaned your dog’s water and food bowl? Many people simply overlook cleaning the bowls because they figure dogs can handle it. In reality, dog bowls gather tons of bacteria and dirt that you wouldn’t want your dog ingesting. Throw both bowls in the dishwasher to ensure a deep cleaning and give your dog a fresh bowl to eat from.

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Hair everywhere you say?  This spring cleaning tip takes place right on your pet. When a dog begins to shed their winter coat, homeowners will find little dust bunnies and hair in every nook and cranny. Months later, you’re still finding hair in random places, not to mention the hair that always seems to find its way to your clothes. Take the time to brush your dog more often and on a regular basis outside where you can safely collect the mounds of hair before they are spread all over the house. Regular brushing helps to decrease your pooch’s tendency toward shedding, and it’s up to you to help. After all, Fido can’t help it!  Some grooming tools remove loose fur and dander in the undercoat, further reducing the amount of stray fur to clean up. Breeds with long coats sometimes require the use of a de-matting tool. The FURminator de-Shedding Tool is the best grooming tool we’ve ever found.  I use it on my Lab and the amount of hair it removes is astonishing! Most veterinarians and professional groomers swear by it. It can reduce shedding by as much as 90 percent!

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When cleaning and scrubbing your house, be cautious and read labels of your cleaners.  A lot of people forget that pets can be sensitive to toxic cleaning agents, just like humans. Pets don’t have the rationality to not lick surfaces that have been coated with chemicals, however. If you have a puppy running around the house, make sure all of your cleaning supplies are non-toxic to both humans and pets. It is always better to be safe than sorry in this situation. Even the safe cleaners should still be kept out of reach from your dog; anything but healthy dog food will likely cause vomiting and diarrhea.

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Without a doubt, spring is a great time to spruce up your house or start that home improvement project you’ve been putting off. Just a few extra minutes of preparation can also help reduce shedding and make your home smell fresh and clean. Keep your pet’s safety in mind while cleaning, and it won’t be long until you’re basking in the glow of a clean home and pet.

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Separation Anxiety in Dogs Can Be Cured…

Dogs are social animals, and they naturally bond with family members in their household. When separated from their family, certain dogs can become extremely stressed. These dogs act out as a result of the fear and anxiety triggered by their separation from you.  Many dog owners mistakenly assume these behaviors are a result of spite, disobedience or poor training. Your dog is not a bad dog. His bad behavior may be the result of separation anxiety.

Let’s start with what separation anxiety actually is.  Your dog becomes so stressed in your absence (sometimes even if you simply go into the next room where he can’t see you) that he cannot cope with being alone.  He then tries to do whatever methods he thinks will get you to come back and to work through his stress — barking, destruction by digging and/or chewing, peeing and pooping, or a combination of some or even all of these. Ultimately, he is having a panic attack.  It’s a common problem with adopted dogs, retrievers, and small dogs.  However, other dogs can also suffer — and they do suffer — from separation anxiety, too.

Please realize that he is not doing this in retaliation for your leaving. TREATING A SYMPTOM (barking, destruction, house soiling) DOESN’T WORK because it doesn’t get to the cause of the problem — it’s comparable to putting a bandage on a broken leg because that will stop the bleeding, but it sure doesn’t mend the broken leg! Punishing him doesn’t work because he literally can’t help himself.  It’s as if he was gasping for air and he’s trying to do everything he can to get more oxygen. You may have read or tried several “solutions” to alleviate separation anxiety or even worked with other trainers, yet your dog still is suffering. Cookie cutter approaches and quick fixes do not work! So the first thing we need to do is to see whether it truly IS separation anxiety — there could be other reasons for your dog’s behavior.

Here are some things to think about:

*There is a difference between SEPARATION anxiety – “I’m so stressed when you’re not here that I’m panicking” – and SEPARATING anxiety – “I’m in control here. You can’t leave because then I won’t have anyone to boss around.”

*There’s also a difference in degree – mild, moderate, or severe.

*Your dog could simply be bored – “No one’s here and there’s nothing to do, so I’ll just tear up the place because it’s fun.”

*He could be calling you home – “I’m just going to bark and bark because I don’t want you to forget where you live, and you’ve always come back when I’ve barked before.” Alternatively – “I’ll just pee and poop because then you can follow your nose home because you know what I smell like.”

*Maybe he’s sick and you haven’t noticed – “I really don’t feel good and I need someone to comfort me.”

*Possibly he’s uncomfortable – “I’m freezing.  Help!”

*Maybe he’s afraid of something – “That garbage truck makes a lot of noise and scares me.”

*There may be other creatures outside – “Don’t you dare come into MY territory.”

Those are a few of the scenarios, and each case is unique and involves a specific program tailored to each dog. It involves substituting new wanted behaviors for old unwanted ones by working on your dog’s senses – sight, smell, sound, touch, and even taste. It involves behavior modification on his part — and yours!  You may have even asked your veterinarian to help with medication — but medication alone will not solve the problem. Medication may help because it changes your dog’s brain chemistry so learning can take place easier. Your dog needs help with behavior modification and training so his behavior will change.

What Helps Dogs with Separation Anxiety?

Grounding -Dogs with separation anxiety need your help, and the first thing to do is to start having your dog do things respond to commands for everything he gets — food, attention, treats, play and walks all happen after he listens and responds to a command such as sit. This will calm him and help reassure him that you are leading the team. For complete guidelines click here.

Space-Separation anxiety dogs are often “owner addicts.” They want to be leaning, touching, sitting on, gazing up at or sitting their owners every moment. This needs to change. Get a dog bed. It doesn’t have to be fancy — a folded blanket will do — and give him all his petting and attention there. Treats are given there. Meals are given there. Make this the best seat in the house. Do not call him off of the bed to come to you, and leave him be when he is on it. This may be hard for you at first but things have to change, right?

Teach-Get the interaction you crave through training. Take a class, pick up a dog sport and find new ways to spend time with your dog — ways that don’t involve you attending to his needy side. If you want him more confident, you need to build his confidence through daily, fun training sessions. Developing shared communication between the two of you is a gift only you can give your dog.

Confinement -Many dogs can learn to be contentedly crated, as long as you take the time to make the crate a pleasant spot. Crating an anxious dog can prevent mishaps and calm him. If he is clean in his crate, the crate can be as large as you want. Start slowly. Introduce crating with treats — feed him in the crate and then crate for short periods when you are home. If you only crate when you leave, that can create crate stress.

Exercise- Physical Long walks, solo fetch games up slight hills and swimming are all good ways to give your dog a work out. Playing wrestle-mania with a friend’s dog works some dogs up, leaving them more excited and active. How do you know when you’ve found the right routine? When your dog is calmer after the session than before.

Mental– Mental exercise is just as important than physical, if not more. Games that build his self-control, focus and patience are key to him getting better when alone.

Calm- Our advice? Leave and greet your dog the way you leave and greet your parents or spouse — calm and matter of fact is perfect. Avoid long, drawn out, emotional partings because those only make matters worse for your dog. A good rule? Act the way you want your dog to act, he’ll follow your lead.  At the other end of the spectrum, skip yelling. As frustrating as this problem is, if you yell at your dog when you come home you’ll increase his stress about your coming home, making the anxiety more intense. Prevention is key, not punishment.

Lastly, keep your routine the same seven days a week. If you give your dog 100 percent attention on Sunday, expect an increase in separation issues on Monday. Do him a favor and make his life predictable.  Most dogs with separation anxiety can be helped.  Your dog can change, but you have to change first. Even though it’s the dog’s problem, only you can teach him a new way.

Separation anxiety is a complex issue and can be difficult but is usually not impossible to overcome. It takes time and understanding, and most of all, patience on your part. You may become frustrated during the training process because you’re working with a new ‘normal’, both for you and your dog. Expect the frustration, and work through it. You are your dog’s best hope. If it is separation anxiety, he cannot overcome this by himself and he will not get better over time. He does not have control over his fear – it really is bigger than he is.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2012 in Dog Health