Addressing Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety

Like human beings, dogs have an inherent need for social interaction and companionship. As pack animals, they have an instinctive desire to form tight-knit groups; which explains why they are able to form close relationships with other highly social animals like horses, sheep, and of course human beings. When you decide to adopt a pet dog you’re essentially accepting them into your pack, and assuming the position of leadership.

As a pack leader you have the responsibility of providing clear, consistent guidance to your pet. If you aren’t able to fulfill this expectation, then your dog may become unsure of its position within your social group. This can lead to a number of behavioral problems including separation anxiety.

What is Separation Anxiety?

Your dog does not instinctively understand the concept of being alone. Whether you’re heading out for work or rushing to the store to pick up some milk, it doesn’t understand the nature of your departure, which would explain the overjoyed reception you receive when you finally return home. For most dogs, the period before and after their owner leaves home is a time of considerable stress. Unless you take clear steps to reassure your pooch, it may become anxious and agitated, and it may express this discomfort in a number of ways.

At the lower end of the scale, your dog might act out in the hopes of gaining your attention or controlling your reactions. This is known as learned separation anxiety, and it is purely a sign of negative reinforcement or boredom. In other words, your dog has learned that by chewing furniture, barking or generally misbehaving it can grab your undivided interest once more. You can usually resolve these issues by providing appropriate leadership and making sure that your dog gets the proper amount of exercise, entertainment and training while you’re at home.  

On the other hand, separation anxiety usually manifests in far more extreme responses. Dogs that experience separation anxiety are truly fearful about the prospect of being away from their owners, and as a result they can easily work themselves into a panic if they are left alone. Separation anxiety can stem from a variety of factors.

  • Your pet might have experience trauma during puppyhood which makes it insecure about being abandoned.
  • There may have been sudden changes in the family structure or home environment which causes the dog to lose its sense of routine and consistency.
  • Your dog may feel responsible for your safety and feel it can’t keep it’s eye on you when you leave. This results in the dog “demanding” your return so that it can one again keep it’s eye on you.

Symptoms of Separation Anxiety

Destroying Property: If your dog chews on furniture and damages other household items in your absence then this might be a sign of separation anxiety. In this case, your dog will only exhibit these behaviors when you’re not at home.

Constantly Attempting to Escape: In an attempt to reunite with you, your dog might try to scratch its way through doorframes or force its way through the windowsill. In extreme cases of separation anxiety, dogs have even been known to throw themselves through plate glass windows. Your dog could easily end up injuring itself if this behavior is left unchecked.

Urination or Defecation: If your dog only has accidents when you’re out of the house, then you may be seeing signs of separation anxiety. If this behavior has only started recently then check that your dog is not experiencing any medical issues that may be causing incontinence. Involuntary bowel movements can be a side effect of certain medications so you might need to run the situation by your vet in order to make ensure that your dog is being treated correctly.   

Barking and Howling: If you receive complaints about your dog’s persistent barking whenever you come home then your dog could have separation anxiety.

Excessive drooling and sweating in your absence: Your dog might also drink excessively to make up for the lost fluids.

Pacing and Panting: This behavior is usually displayed when your dog suspects that you’re getting ready to leave the house. Some dogs can also show signs of depression during the pre-departure period.

Extreme Excitability When you Return Home: While everyone loves a warm welcome from their four-legged friends this might be more than a show of affection. If your dog is barking, shrieking and jumping excessively when you return home then it’s a good sign that they were extremely stressed out in your absence. Your dog might also become extremely clingy from the moment you arrive to ensure you don’t leave again.

Separation Anxiety Training

In order to effectively treat separation anxiety, you need to assert your position as leader of the pack. Rather than indulging your dog’s whims you must begin to set clear boundaries inside the house. For example, you can no longer allow your dog to dictate when it’s petted or at what times of the day it’s let out.

While it’s tempting to indulge your pup in these instances, you’re actually setting a precedent which will affect the power dynamics between you and your pet moving forward. If your dog begins to see you in a subservient role then it will be far more difficult for you to instill good behavior later on.  Conversely, strong leadership provides dogs with a sense of balance and security which in turn gives them the confidence to stay calm when they’re left alone.

Bark Busters’ in-home dog trainers on Florida’s Treasure Coast use an intuitive behavior modification system to assess and resolve even the most difficult cases of dog separation anxiety. Here are a few key recommendations for any dog owner that wants to try separation anxiety training on their own.

Start While They’re Puppies

It’s far easier train a dog when it’s still integrating into your household. Of course, at this early stage young pups will whine when they’re left alone for even a moment. This is a natural survival instinct, as puppies in the wild would not survive very long without constant parental supervision. Your job at this point, is to get your puppy used to being on its own for short periods of time. The intention here, is to teach your puppy that alone time can be relaxing and enjoyable as well.

Puppy Crate Training

To accomplish this objective, you need to create a safe, comfortable environment where your puppy can feel completely secure. Crates naturally lend themselves to this type of separation anxiety training. Make sure that your crate is large enough to allow the dog to stand up, turn around and sit with ease. But make sure that it is not too big, because your puppy may use the extra room as a toilet.

Position your crate in quieter section of the house that’s free from foot traffic and loud noises.  This should allow your puppy to rest and relax without any disturbances. Make the crate a welcoming environment by putting in a comfortable bed, some toys, treats and a soft, familiar-smelling blanket. Cover the crate to make it feel enclosed and safe lika a “Den” with only the door uncovered. Leave the crate door open initially, and allow your pop to explore the space on its own. Once your puppy becomes used to spending time in the crate, you can start to shut to door for short periods of time. Be careful not to leave puppies inside crates for more than a couple of hours at a time, as younger dogs need more frequent toileting breaks.

Once the puppy crate training has advanced to this point, you can begin to mix in some elements of separation anxiety training. At random points throughout the day and night, put your puppy in the crate with its favorite toy. Initially, you should make sure to stay within the general vicinity of the crate so that your puppy is able to maintain a visual connection. When you’re sure that your puppy has become accustomed to maintaining physical distance, you can start to move out of sight completely. While you might need to monitor your puppy’s behavior regularly to being with, in time you should be able to complete your chores as normal without disturbing your puppy.

Leaving the House

By this stage, your puppy should have no trouble spending time alone in its crate without you. Now, you can start to leave your dog alone for short periods of time. Once you have prepared the crate, let your dog go inside as usual and shut the door. Then, begin to quietly make preparations to leave the house. Get dressed, apply makeup, get the car keys and head out to the car door.

Make sure not to acknowledge your puppy during this time. Your dog should realize that it does not need to be involved in everything you do. This will also help to reduce the contrast between periods when you’re at home, and when you’re getting ready to leave. Extend this philosophy to greetings and farewells. Instead of making a big show about leaving, acknowledge your dog with a pat on the head and some affectionate words.

To start with you should only leave the house for short periods of time. Once you come back, check up on your puppy if it’s still comfortable then you’re doing great. If your dog becomes anxious and agitated then you might need to go back and repeat a few steps. Remember, the key here is to gradually acclimate your dog to being alone. Pay specific attention to whether you dog becomes agitated after certain pre-departure cues. For example, if your dog starts to bark and whine as soon as you jingle the car keys then you need to desensitize it to this sound.

To get around this pre-departure anxiety you need to teach your dog that certain cues are not always associated with you leaving the house. Throughout the day you should make a point to pick up the keys without leaving the house. You can follow the same strategy for other potentially anxiety inducing triggers. For example you could get dressed and sit on the couch, instead of leaving the house. These techniques will only work if you commit to them for weeks on end, your dog may have learned to associate certain sounds with separation anxiety for years.  

Most of your dog’s anxious responses will take place within the first 40 minutes of being left alone, so your separation anxiety training should be focused on getting your puppy over this hump. Once you’re sure that your pet can comfortably deal with your absence over this period, you can safely extend your absences to more than a couple of hours with ease.

Additional Tips for Dog Separation Anxiety

Bark Busters has a few extra tips for dog owners that are struggling to establish these training techniques.

  • Try to exercise your dog more frequently. This will help to get them tired out and ready for rest.
  • Give your dog a few special treats when you’re about to leave. Make sure to remove these toys as soon as you return home. This will get your dog to associate your departure with pleasurable sensations.
  • There’s no point in punishing your dog for bad behavior when you come home. Dogs relate punishment to their current behavior so they will be unable to link your actions to their previous misdeeds.
  • Give your dog some much-needed rest between training sessions, and try to take at least one day off per week. About 15-20 minutes per day should be adequate.
  • Try not to put an already anxious dog in a crate, as this will only exasperate their anxiety.

 

Marc Deppe
Master Dog Behavioral Therapist & Trainer
Bark Busters Treasure Coast
Phone: 877-500-BARK(2275)Email: treasurecoast@barkbusters.com
Web: http://dogtrainingtreasurecoast.com/Blog: http://dogtrainingtreasurecoast.com/category/blog/

Third Wheel: Sleeping With Your Pet

Climbing into bed at night with your partner is the perfect time to chat about the day, catch up on tomorrow’s plans, or even have a late-night giggle fest over inside jokes before dozing off to dreamland. These late-night moments are special, and can often lead to a natural romantic interlude… unless your pet is on the bed. Your furry friend is the third wheel when it comes to nocturnal romps, and one of you may have to be the bad guy who kicks the kitty or pup out of bed and out the door. Interruptions can kill anyone’s mood. Dealing with co-sleeping pets takes effort on both you and your partner’s part to ensure that your pup doesn’t put a strain on the relationship.

Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd

The American Kennel Club reported that around 45% of dog owners welcome their pup into bed at night. The benefits of sharing the bed with a canine or feline companion are noted for reducing stress and creating a stronger emotional bond with your fur baby. A warm dog or cat snuggling up to you can help make cold nights cozy. But the benefits may not outweigh the risks when your pet interferes with quality time between you and your partner. A partner may feel neglected if the pet  takes precedence in the bedroom, as if the animal’s presence is more important. If the dog or cat has been in your life prior to your partner, it can sometimes be hard to balance the attention between a new romance and your four-legged best friend. Your pet cannot be neglected, but neither can crucial alone time with your paramour. Make it a priority to spend time with your dog or cat and with your partner. Find ways you, your partner, and your pet can spend time together during the day, so that you two can be alone together at night. Like any relationship stumbling block, communication is the key to negating potential and current conflicts.

The Bed Is Your Territory

Dogs have a natural tendency to be territorial. Making the bed part of their territory can be problematic, if not dangerous. Even the tamest dogs can become aggressive if they feel their territory is threatened. New partners brought to the bed can be seen as a threat to their vulnerable sleeping master. Behavioral trainers note that the dog should be trained to wait to come onto the bed until commanded, establishing the bed as the owner’s, not the dog’s. The dog should stay on the floor while you and your partner are in bed for at least 10 minutes before allowing them to join. This will make it easier to move the dog out of the room when it comes time for people-only snuggles. If the dog has not been invited to the bed for sleeping yet, they will be content to wait outside the door until you are ready for them to come in for the night. If your dog suffers from behavioral issues like stress or anxiety, consider calming supplements as a safe and effective way to calm your pet’s nerves.

Pets and Pest Control

Inviting your dog or cat into bed also has a potentially itchy side effect: fleas. These pests can carry from your pet to you, making your dreamy bed a nightmare. No one will feel in the mood for romance or even have a quiet conversation when being bitten or scratching irksome red bumps. House Method offers a list on how to kill fleas that pets have already brought into bedding, including washing everything from sheets to towels and in between. Washing all linens that may have been exposed to fleas will kill any remaining bugs or larvae. Keep your pet well groomed, and talk to your vet about flea and tick prevention medication like Frontline, K9 Advantix, or Advantage II. Nothing can affect your relationship like the misery of multiple bug bites. Take steps to prevent fleas in your bed and on your pet to avoid the problem altogether.

Caring Is Sharing (Your Pet)

Chances are your dog or cat has a few friends. There may be a “grandma” or neighbor who loves your pet and the chance to dote on them. Many cities have day-cares for active pets to make new pals and play with other animals. When your pet is a third wheel at night, there is a chance they aren’t getting enough exercise, attention or releasing enough energy. To keep your pet on their own bed for an evening that’s guilt-free, take your fur baby to daycare for a day. Or meet a fellow dog-mom or dog-dad at a local dog park, and let your babies get their energy out running leash-free. When your dog is wiped out from a day spent playing, set their favorite toy on their dog bed in a space close to their water bowl, and close the bedroom door. Even the clingiest dogs will be content to nap while you and your partner have alone time in the bedroom. For special date nights or long evenings away from the house, consider hiring a pet sitter to engage your pup or kitty while you are out, or arrange for a night stay at an animal daycare. This way, your pet isn’t sleeping the whole time you are out and waiting to play when you get home. When your furry friend has the attention they need and an outlet for their energy, they won’t demand attention when it’s time to settle down and sleep on their own. This will allow you and your partner the intimate time to make late-night moments happen.

 

Written by Lauren Hailey 06/11/2018

The 10 Best No Pull Dog Harnesses of 2018

The tug of war between a dog and his owner is quite a natural scene when they go out for walks, is it not?
Well, if you are a dog owner, you will know the pain that this can easily cause to your arms. Sometimes it can be a hassle trying to keep up with our very furry and sporty friends, and keeping up with their activity levels can be quite a difficult thing.
One way to control this would be by using a no pull dog harness till your dog is trained to not pull.

How Does a No-Pull Dog Harness work?

Well, it applies a pressure on your dog from the opposite sides, and this, in turn, helps to bring your dog’s attention back to you.

Types of Harnesses

There are three main types of harnesses that are available in the market based on your needs:

1. Back Attachment Harness:

In this type of harness, the leash is attached at the dog’s back, behind the shoulder (blades to be specific).
This Harness is best to use if you want to shift the pressure away from the neck for example, in a case where your dog is injured.
Otherwise, this may not be a very good option, especially because dogs find it more comfortable when pulled from the back.

2. Front Attachment Harness:

The leash is attached in the middle of your dog’s chest in the front, and it stops your dog’s pulling because he will feel a tug on the front every time he pulls.
You can use front attached dog harness to train your dog to stop pulling but, do not use this while you guys are out on a run because the force may be too much.

3. Head Collars/ Head Harness:

This is the type of collar which can be used under most circumstances and is highly recommended. Unfortunately, due to the way it is placed on your dog, it will take quite a while to get used to it.
This harness should fit around your dog’s head. And when pulling they will be turned towards you due to the position of the head collar.

Top Ten Best Dog Harnesses:

Now that you know what the types of harnesses are, let us have a look at the best no-pull dog harness that is available at your disposal.

1. Ruffwear- Front Range All-Day Adventure Harness

On the top of our list for the best no pull harness is this one from Ruffwear because it features two leash attachment points. One on the chest and the other on the back and you can choose which version to use, depending on your situation.
It features aluminum rings that are reinforced with webbing, making a safe connection. Along with, it has a padded chest and belly panels that make it quite comfortable.
Overall, it is very durable because of the material and as a bonus; it has a reflective trim and ID pocket- a very good choice any day.

2. Dog Leash Harness- ARIKON

This Dog Leash Harness is made from Sturdy denim Fabric on top with nylon inside. Hence making it both durable and comfortable for your dog to wear.
It has metal buckles that can be attached to the metal ring at the back and it comes with a leash.
It comes in three different sizes and even that can be easily adjusted for your dog- not to forget that it even looks pretty stylish with easy to clean features.
We recommend you choose other options if your dog is overactive and pulls excessively.
But, this is a fairly affordable choice that you can consider while buying a harness- especially for senior dogs or if your activity is going to be a little slow.

3. Puppia Dog Harness

This harness is made out of polyester and soft air-mesh material which makes it strong yet gentle. And it comes in various sizes aiming to be the right fit for any dog.
The adjustable chest belt can be adjusted around the chest and neck, and it features a quick release pocket along with comfortable and padded neck openings.
It is very easy to wash and use, and has some seriously good customer reviews.

4. Embark Active Dog Harness

This harness by Embark Pets features a front and back leash attachment; you can use the front leash attachment to train your dog. It’s made of durable material and it can easily take the stress of daily use. The Active Dog Harness comes in various sizes and has quadrupled reinforced attachment points, hence you know that your dog is absolutely secure.

5. EzyDog Chest Plate

This chest plate by EzyDog features an ergonomic EVA foam, which facilitates exceptional fitting and unmatched comfort to your dog.
Moreover, the reflective stitching helps with night-time visibility, safety and also durability.
The durability is further enforced with the welded stainless steel D-ring attachment. It comes in a unique cross fit design and can easily be latched on and off your dog, with vertical load displacement; thereby, allowing you to have a high amount of control over your dog.
This can be done with the help of the Quick-Clip buckles.

6. Halti Head Collar by Company of Animals

This head collar is designed to stop your dog from pulling while you are taking walks, by gently steering the head. The head collar is made from lightweight but strong nylon webbing — very comfortable for your dog to wear.
It features a Neoprene padded nose bad, which provides maximum comfort for dogs and a safety loop that attaches to the ring of your dog’s collar, allowing control even if the head collar comes off.
It comes in various sizes and is easy to use, with a comprehensive guide for you to follow.

7. Kurgo Tru-Fit No Pull Dog Harness

The Kurgo Tru-Fit No Pull Dog walking harness has five adjustment points and the Weinerlock plastic release buckles make it easy to put and remove.
In addition, it will fit in perfectly on any dog because of the adjustment features and has a broad padded chest plate for maximum comfort.
It features a halt ring on the chest plate that stops your dog’s movement if your dog tries to pull on the leash.
It comes with a 10-inch lead that can also be used as a seat belt  and machine washable.
Definitely a good choice for walking or dog training!

8. Walk Your Dog with Love, No-Pull-Front-Attachment Harness

You will simply love the Front attachment Harness by Walk Your Dog With Love for all its features. The front attachment allows you to steer your dog and it eventually stops it from pulling.
Since chest strap has to be placed right above your dog’s shoulder that allows better control and at the same is more ergonomic for your dog.
In addition, the design has been made simple such that it is both comfortable to wear and, is easy to adjust.
Moreover, the fit is so perfect that it does not loosen up even after your dog has walked for a bit, so it is quite safe to say, because of the chest strap, your dog will not be able to escape.
Another feature that we love is the fact that it uses a 3M Scotch lite reflective material which ensures nighttime safety for your dog due to its visibility.
Finally, it is lightweight and durable, easy to wash and maintain.

9. PetSafe Easy Walk Harness

It features a very simple attachment on the front of the chest which allows the owner to gently bring back the dog’s attention through reflex.
With four adjustment points and a perfectly adjustable fit, it is designed to perfectly fit your dog’s unique size and shape.
The strap is made of durable nylon material, and if it rips, you can always call Pet Safe and get it replaced.
It is easy to fit and very comfortable to wear, making it an excellent option for your dog.

10. ThunderLeash No Pull Solution Dog Leash

This “No-Pull Solution” dog leash from ThunderLeash can be used as a harness as well and is effective for most dogs.
The best thing– it does not have any complicated straps and can be easily clipped to a dog’s collar and wrapped around a torso.
Furthermore, it comes with an easy to grasp comfortable padded handle, making it all the more easy to use.
So, if your dog pulls, he will feel just a little pressure on the torso and stop his tugging.

Final words

There you go, we have reviewed the top ten no pull dog harnesses that are available at your disposal.
As we have stated earlier, there are three types of harnesses, which one you choose depends entirely on the activity levels of your dog and your personal preferences.
Do not make a purchase on a whim and be sure to look around a bit before buying a no-pull harness for your dog, in order to get the most suitable one for your dog. After all, for their unwavering love, our pets deserve the very best of our care.

About the Author:

This article has been contributed by Nasifa Sultan. She is a content writer at FeedFond. She loves writing about dogs and other animals. More informative articles on dogs by her can be found at Feedfond.

 

How To Keep Your Horses Healthy

Horses don’t take sick days, and they won’t curl up on the couch with a bowl of chicken noodle soup if they are feeling under the weather. It’s up to you to ensure that your horses stay healthy, but doing so is a big responsibility. If you aren’t careful, you may unknowingly expose your horses to diseases that can spread to the rest of your stable or other stables.

There are many budget-friendly ways horse owners can better prevent their horses from being exposed to carriers of disease in and around their stables. These include cutting tall grass around the property to deter rodents and other vermin from creating their nests so close to the stable. Owners also should practice care when taking their horses to shows — preventing them from using communal troughs and avoiding sharing equipment with other horses.

Protecting horses from disease is every horse owner’s responsibility, as your horses can’t do the job themselves. The following guide contains some vital tips for keeping your horses healthy, so follow them to better protect your horses for the long term.


Infographic created by Best Ever Pads.

About the Author:
Raised on a working cattle ranch in Hawaii, Ryan White has over 30-plus years of experience in the rodeo industry. White is dedicated to rodeo, as well as being an avid surfing enthusiast. White represented the first Hawaiian high school rodeo in 1988, and was a state champion team roper and six-time California Circuit finalist. His innovation and creativity have undoubtedly been the driving force behind the immense success Best Ever Pads has accomplished since its creation in 2002.

7 Common Health Issues in Older Dogs

Thanks to improved veterinary care and better food, our dogs are living longer than ever.

Dogs reach their golden years when they turn 7, generally speaking. Larger breeds, which tend to have shorter life spans, are considered seniors when they turn 6 years old.

As our pups age, they mellow out, but they also face a new set of challenges and health issues. Here are 7 of the most common health issues in older dogs.

1. Gum Disease

Like humans, dogs experience dental issues as they age. Many develop gingivitis, which usually precedes periodontitis, or gum disease.

When bacteria in the mouth turns into plaque on your pup’s teeth, it can cause her gums to become inflamed. Saliva then hardens the plaque to create tartar. That tartar can spread underneath the gum line and cause inflammation, or swelling.

Gingivitis can progress to periodontitis if left untreated. When this happens, the gums start pulling away from the teeth and creates pockets. Pockets can become infected and lead to bone loss. Gum disease can cause an infection to spread into the bloodstream and damage the organs.

Symptoms to Look For

  • Bleeding or red gums
  • Difficulty picking up food
  • Bad breath
  • Blood on chew toys or in water
  • Chewing on one side of the mouth
  • Nasal discharge or sneezing
  • Not wanting the head to be touched
  • Lumps or bumps in the mouth
  • Making noises when eating or yawning
  • Loose teeth

Complications of Gum Disease

  • Greater risk of heart, kidney and liver disease
  • Tooth pain
  • Jaw fracture

How can you help prevent gum disease in your dog? Brush her teeth twice a day.

2. Arthritis

Arthritis is extremely common in older dogs, just as it is in older humans. Cartilage acts as a buffer for your pup’s joints, preventing damage and pain.

Over time, that cartilage can break down and cause the joint to become inflamed. Arthritis occurs when one or more of the joints become inflamed. Dogs may experience stiffness and swelling. They may limp or have a change in their gait. Some dogs may be reluctant to move or have trouble walking or standing.

While large and giant breeds are at greater risk of developing arthritis, small and medium-sized dogs can also develop it.

Symptoms to Look For

  • Sleeping more often
  • Weight gain
  • Less interest in playing
  • Less alert
  • Change in attitude
  • Overly cautious when climbing stairs
  • Limping

Complications of Arthritis

The good news is that arthritis is manageable and tolerable for most dogs. Some may develop chronic pain and less interest in activity. In large dogs, severe cases of arthritis can cause the dog to be unable to climb stairs or even walk.

When mobility is restricted by arthritis, some dogs may urinate or defecate in the house because it’s too painful to walk outside.

Arthritis can often be managed or even alleviated through diet changes, maintaining a healthy weight, medication and exercise.

3. Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome

Sometimes referred to as “senility,” cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) affects many older dogs and can cause them to feel: forgetful, anxious and confused. CDS is similar to Alzheimer’s disease in many ways.

Some dogs with CDS start having accidents in the house, sleep more or wander around aimlessly. Some senior pups spend long periods of time staring blankly into space.

Veterinarians are still unsure of what causes CDS. Just like with Alzheimer’s, dogs with CDS develop a build-up of nerve-damaging protein that creates plaque.

Symptoms to Look For

  • Forgetting familiar toys
  • Forgetting owners
  • Forgetting tricks
  • Urinating and defecating in the house
  • Pacing
  • Compulsive, repetitive behaviors, like walking in circles
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness and anxiety
  • Loss of appetite

Treating and Managing CDS

Dogs with CDS will require life-long therapy and support from their humans. Some dog owners find that dietary intervention and behavioral changes can help keep the condition under control.

Maintaining a healthy and stimulating environment is one way to improve CDS or better manage the condition. Exercise, play and training can make a world of difference.

Medication, behavioral therapy and diet changes will likely be a part of the dog’s management plan.

4. Vision Problems

Many older dogs develop vision problems or total blindness. While distressing for us humans, this condition doesn’t necessarily change your pup’s day-to-day living.

Blindness generally develops over time, and if you can catch it early on, you can start teaching your dog how to rely on his other senses (hearing, smell and touch) to navigate the world.

Deteriorating vision is a normal part of the aging process for dogs – just as it is for humans.

Symptoms to Look For

  • Cataracts (the eye will appear to have a white coating)
  • Bumping into things
  • Red or irritated eyes
  • Dilated pupils
  • Falling
  • Bluish haze on the pupil (sign of nuclear sclerosis)
  • Frequent eye infections

Treating and Managing Vision Loss

If your dog is exhibiting signs of vision loss, your vet may recommend medication or surgery, depending on the severity of the condition.

The treatment will largely depend on the cause of the vision loss. Dogs with diabetes, for example, may develop vision problems. In this case, the vet might recommend dietary changes and more exercise to restore vision.

But if the vision loss is just associated with aging, simply teaching your dog how to cope in a world with compromised eyesight may be the best thing you can do. Your vet can help you find the best treatment option for your dog.

5. Hearing Loss

Like with vision, older dogs may also lose their hearing. Some dogs become completely deaf, while others are simply hard of hearing.

Nerve degeneration is a common cause of hearing loss, and the process happens gradually.

Some dog owners mistake hearing loss for dementia, as the symptoms can be very similar.

Symptoms to Look For

  • No response to sounds, such as squeaking toys, clapping, loud noises, dogs barking, etc.
  • Startled when woken
  • Difficult to wake
  • Excessive barking

Treating and Managing Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a natural part of the aging process and usually cannot be stopped, but dog owners can help their pups adjust to a life without sound.

You may not be able to get a hearing aid for your dog, but you can change the way you communicate with your pup. Teaching your dog hand signals is one way to ensure that your pup still complies with commands – and knows when it’s dinnertime.

6. Kidney Disease

Many senior dogs develop kidney disease, but regular geriatric exams can help catch the disease early on.

The kidneys are responsible for removing waste and maintaining balance in your dog’s body. When the kidneys stop working properly, toxins start building up in the body which can lead to kidney failure.

Many things can cause the kidneys to stop working properly, including:

  • Kidney stones
  • Normal aging
  • Rupture of the bladder

Symptoms to Look For

  • Urinating more
  • Drinking more water
  • Accidents in the house
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Brown discoloration on the tongue
  • Ammonia smell on the breath

Treating and Managing Kidney Disease

While kidney disease is not reversible, it can be managed with the right treatment plan, which may include:

  • Fluid therapy
  • Diet changes
  • Medication
  • Vitamins and supplements

Some dogs can live years with chronic kidney disease and still enjoy a good quality of life. Others may not have such luck. Your vet can help you determine the best course of action to take for your dog.

7. Cancer

Cancer is the leading cause of death in older dogs. It’s often difficult to catch the disease early on, as blood tests rarely detect cancer in the early stages of the disease.

Checking for lumps and bumps on the body is important.

The most common forms of cancer in dogs include lymphoma, soft tissue cancer, bone cancer, breast cancer and oral melanoma.

Symptoms to Look For

  • Difficulty eating
  • Drooling
  • Excessive panting
  • Coughing
  • Changes in body weight
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Bleeding in the mouth, ears and nose
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Blood and mucus in the stool

Treating and Managing Cancer

Cancer in dogs can be treated using chemotherapy, radiation and surgery either alone or in a combination.

The treatment will depend on the type of cancer and the recommendation of your vet.

Most dogs suffer few serious side effects from chemotherapy, although some breeds (e.g. Old English Sheepdogs and Poodles) may experience thinning of hair.

Treating cancer can be a costly endeavor, which can leave pet owners with a difficult decision. But great strides have been made in cancer treatment for dogs, so the outlook is better now than in the past.

About The Author:

David Rowe is the lead writer at World Of Puppies. He has a keen interest in dog health, training and nutrition. He also owns a French Bulldog named Max.

35 Stores Where Your Dog Can Shop With You

Every dog parent has had to leave their pup behind at home or drop them off at doggie daycare in order to run errands at one time or another. After all, many stores don’t allow pets other than service animals inside. But what if you could take your pup shopping with you, even if he’s not a service dog?

In fact, you can do just that at numerous major chain stores, from Academy Sports + Outdoors to West Elm. Below, we’ve rounded up 35 of these stores that generally allow pets–whether they’re service animals or not.

But before we get to the list, we have to give a necessary caveat: Even if a company is generally pet-friendly, it’s usually up to the manager to decide whether or not to allow non-service animals in an individual store. As a result, policies can differ from one store to another or change when management changes. If you’d like to take Rover shopping, your best bet is to call ahead to the store and confirm their pet-friendly policy.

Without further ado, here are the 35 stores–separated by category–where you can bring your dog, plus tips for taking your canine companion shopping.

Clothing

  1. Abercrombie & Fitch
  2. Anthropologie
  3. Ann Taylor/Ann Taylor Loft
  4. Bebe
  5. Free People
  6. Gap
  7. Old Navy
  8. Ross
  9. Urban Outfitters

Everyone needs a trusty friend along while they’re trying on clothes, so why not bring your favorite canine companion to give her opinion? But your pup will probably smile in approval at whatever you try on, so don’t expect them to be too critical of the latest styles at these retailers.

Beauty and Cosmetics

  1. Bath & Body Works
  2. LUSH Cosmetics
  3. Sephora

Your dog may not wear makeup or crave a bath bomb after a long work week, but they can help you shop for them at these popular beauty stores. Just make sure they don’t try to sample any of the products, as dogs explore the world around them by smelling and licking objects and these stores are usually full of new and enticing smells that will excite your pup.

Bookstores

  1. Barnes & Noble
  2. Half Price Books

Should you read a romance or mystery novel or get the latest nonfiction bestseller? Your dog can’t read, but he can help you pick out your next book at these bookstores. In fact, he’ll probably convince you to pick up a heartwarming novel about dogs while you’re at it—just don’t try to bring him into the in-store cafe, as they don’t usually allow pets.

Craft Stores

  1. Hobby Lobby
  2. Michaels

You can never find the bead or the yarn aisle when you need to buy them for your next project, but your pup can help you sniff out these supplies at popular craft stores Hobby Lobby and Michaels. Make things meta and decide on a pet-themed craft project—perhaps a photo collage of your favorite puppy pictures?

Department Stores

  1. Bloomingdale’s
  2. Macy’s
  3. Nordstrom
  4. Saks Fifth Avenue

Upscale department stores aren’t the first thing that come to mind when you think of pet-friendly retailers, but several major anchor stores allow dogs. Just keep in mind that not every store in the mall is equally pet-friendly, so plan accordingly.

Hardware

  1. Home Depot
  2. Lowe’s
  3. Tractor Supply Co.

Home Depot and Lowe’s are some of the most well-known stores with a pet-friendly policy and some locations have allowed dogs to go shopping with their owners for literally years. Tractor Supply Co. takes their pet-friendly policy one step further and actually offers PetVet preventative clinics at certain locations, so your dog can get caught up on his vaccinations while you shop.

Home and Decor

  1. Pottery Barn
  2. Restoration Hardware
  3. West Elm

We all know that that second couch you’re looking to buy is really just a second dog bed, so why not take your pup along to help you pick it out? These three upscale home decor stores are all dog friendly—just don’t actually let your pup test out the furniture in store and be mindful of any breakable knickknacks located at dog-level.

Pet Shops

  1. Petco
  2. PetSmart

What would a pet store be without a pet-friendly policy? Two of the biggest chains in pet care, Petco and PetSmart, both allow dogs inside (as well as other more unusual pets, including sugar gliders and pot-bellied pigs). Out of all the categories listed here, your pup will probably have the most fun shopping at these stores, as he can help you pick out new dog toys and treats.

Specialty Shops

  1. Apple Store
  2. Foot Locker
  3. Hallmark
  4. Tiffany & Co.

While some stores in this category might be surprising, your pup can help you shop for anything from computers to shoes to cards to diamond jewelry. Since you’re there, perhaps you should pick up an extra-luxurious leather collar in Tiffany blue to show just how much you love your pup?

Sports and Outdoors

  1. Academy Sports + Outdoors
  2. Bass Pro Shops
  3. Gander Mountain

Sports and outdoor retailers are a natural fit for pet-friendly policies, as many dog parents like to take their pups hiking, camping or kayaking, just to name a few popular outdoor activities. Bass Pro Shops even hosts family-friendly Dog Days events in the spring, so check to see if your local store will be participating this year.

Tips for Shopping with Your Dog

Generally speaking, your dog must be properly secured in order to enter these stores, which means a harness or a leash or possibly a carrier for smaller dogs. Stores often require that all pets be up-to-date on their vaccinations as well (but then again, your dog should already be caught up anyway).

While some dogs are perfectly fine without any training, other pups can find shopping an anxiety-inducing experience. Everything looks, smells and feels different, and the aisles block dogs’ line of sight. To test out your dog’s feelings, take him on a walk in an area with heavy pedestrian traffic. This will let you see how your dog reacts without the added complication of store shelves.

When your dog is ready to proceed, a pet store is a great introduction to shopping indoors. It will look and smell familiar, giving your pup less to get acclimated to. Try to visit the store at off-peak hours when there won’t be as much foot traffic, which makes the experience more relaxing for both you and your puppy. You can then experiment with other types of stores once your dog gets comfortable.

Shopping with your dog can be a fun experience for both of you as long as you prepare properly. Make sure to call the store(s) ahead of time to confirm their pet policy, and don’t forget to reward your pup’s good behavior with a dog treat or even a fun purchase just for them.

Author Bio:

Jordan Smith is a full-time stay-at-home mother of 2 daughters and a new dog Luna! She loves blogging, crafting, and spending time with her family. She also enjoys strolling the streets of downtown Charleston, South Carolina and all the amazing food her hometown has to offer.

Life With A Deaf Dog: Tips To Train Your Four-Legged Friend

Dogs travel hundreds of miles during their lifetime responding to such commands as “come” and “fetch.” – Stephen Baker

Training your pet dog is a “one of a kind” experience; in fact, it is one of the most joyful experiences that you can have with your four-legged friend. Though training a dog can be done easily, it might be challenging to train dogs with sensory disabilities such as a deaf dog.

However, it is still possible to train dogs that are unable to hear commands. Being deaf does not mean they are not trainable, as dogs of all breeds are clever and equally adaptable to change. If you have a dog at home who is a part of your family but is deaf, read this article to learn a few tips that will guarantee to help you train your four-legged friend.

Learn How To Get Your Dog’s Attention

Getting attention from a deaf dog is the first thing you will have to learn before you can ask your dog to do anything. Grabbing their attention is a must, as only by grabbing your dog’s attention will you be able to instruct them. Here, you simply cannot call out their names and expect them to run to you, so how do you get their attention?

Here is what you need to do. Follow these tips to get the your beloved pup’s attention:

  • Stomp Your Foot – Stomp your foot on the floor to get a deaf dog to look at you. This is definitely a unique way to grab your dog’s attention. But we recommend you to try this unusual method because at times the vibrations coming through the floor are enough to turn your dog’s attention in your direction.
  • Use A Flashlight – Make use of a flashlight. Many other owners of deaf dogs do so to give away a signal to them. Try training your dog by turning the flashlight on and off and make them look at you. Keep doing this constantly till the time your dog turns to see where the light is coming from. Then the oldest trick in the book – the minute the dog finds the source of flash light, give him/her a treat. Giving treats is the simplest way to let them know they did what you wanted. This is probably one of the quickest methods to gain attention from your dog. Your dog will quickly learn that flashing the light is your way of calling them to attention. In a matter of a few days, the dog will learn that a flash of light means that he/she needs to look at his owner.
  • Vibrating Electronic Collar – Make use of a vibrating electronic collar. They are different then the regular electronic ones that gives minor harmless shocks to aid in training. Vibrating electronic collars are an excellent tool for reinforcing many verbal commands as these simply vibrate when you press a button on the remote.

Train your dog to look at you by making the collar vibrate on the click of a button. We advise that you continue this for some period to get your dog to familiarize with the concept. Continue doing so until your dog looks at you and the minute he/she turns their attention to you stop the vibration and give a treat. The major benefit of this is that it can be used in almost every situation.

Learn Hand Signals

It is known that deaf people speak using sign language. Similarly, dogs can be trained for basic obedience commands by the use of human hand signals. There are certain standard signals you can use to train your dogs. These signals are used by many dog trainers, so you can learn a trick or two from them. But also feel free to create your own hand signals. Of course, you will start once you have managed to grab your dog’s attention. And then you can give a hand signal rather than a spoken command.

Use Sign Language

People communicate with their dogs using basic commands. For instance, dog owners use words such as walk, car, treat, toy, good, and many others. So the question is how you would help your dog understand these commands? Well the answer is simple – the repeated connection between the words and the actions will help your dog to learn them.

Use the same concept when dealing with a deaf dog, but rather than using spoken words, you can use sign language. A few simple words in American Sign Language can prove to be of massive help for many owners of deaf dogs. They use these signs to indicate everyday tasks and you can also create your own signs for different words.

The Trick Is Treat

For many dogs, praising and caressing them for their behaviour is a reward for them but it doesn’t work with deaf dogs. To praise your deaf dog, you have to keep small treats in your hand and give it to your canine friend every time he/she does something rewarding. For example, if your dog obeys you when you give the ‘sit’ command, he/she deserves a treat. Once your deaf dog starts understanding your commands, you can reduce the amount of treats. But, make sure you’re cutting on his diet in the early days of training when you’re giving them more treats.

Keep Your Canine On Leash

It is often seen that many people love to take their dogs on off-leash walks. It’s a good thing to take your dog on off-leash walks in fenced areas. But, when it comes to deaf dogs, it’s probably not a good idea to take them for off-leash walks in unfenced areas. Even a well-trained dog can lose focus at off-leash walks, and your command will be useless to recall a deaf dog. So, for the safety of your deaf dog, keep him/her on leash.

Make Your Dog Feel Comfortable When Touched

In the first few days of training, it is possible that your canine friend will feel uncomfortable when touched. You will have to work slowly on it to keep him/her calm and relaxed when someone touches them from behind. At first, deaf dogs find it upsetting, especially when they are sleeping and are being touched. Sometimes, it can even make your dog feel anxious and make them to snarl or snap out of fear.

Start practicing by gently touching your dog’s shoulder or back and whenever you touch them, give some treats as well. It will make your dog feel that you care for them and don’t want to hurt him/her. Continue this process for several days and soon your dog will not be afraid when someone touches him. It is also important to keep their body hair groomed with dog clippers so that your dog feels loved and cared.

Put all these tips into practice and sooner your differently-abled dog will be a more active, receptive, and happier four-legged friend.

10 Ways to Control Dog Shedding

Cleaning up pet hair can be annoying, expensive and time-consuming, but there are steps you can take to minimize the amount your dog sheds. Shedding occurs so that animals can rid themselves of old, damaged or extra hair. Some breeds shed more than others as a general rule, but almost all dogs shed at least a little as a normal, healthy function. You can’t eliminate shedding completely, but you can reduce it by keeping your pet well-groomed and healthy.

1. Feed your dog a high quality, appropriate diet

Your dog’s health relies on a high quality diet that meets their nutritional needs. Digestible protein sources are the foundation of a good pet food, but there are many other factors to consider when choosing the right food for your pet such as age, breed, activity level and reproductive status. Pet food packages often come with a statement from the Association of American Feed Control Officials that will help you discern if that food will meet your dog’s needs. Be sure to consult your veterinarian to ensure that the food you have chosen is appropriate for your dog and is providing them with adequate nutrition. If you are noticing an excessive amount of shedding in your dog, start by evaluating their diet. A dog’s coat is often a reflection of the quality of food she eats, and nutritional imbalances can cause unwanted hair. Dogs with food allergies or sensitivities may be especially prone to diet-related shedding, and you may have to experiment with a few different pet foods to find which one works the best for them.

2. Keep your dog hydrated

Dehydration can cause dry skin and an increase of shedding, so make sure your dog has access to clean, fresh water at all times. Adult dogs need about one ounce of water per pound of body weight per day to stay hydrated, but growing puppies often need more. Be sure to keep one water bowl near your dog’s food bowl, but also consider placing additional water bowls around the house if hydration is a concern. Make sure your dog can easily and comfortably access their water bowl. Puppies may need smaller bowls, but some senior dogs may need an elevated bowl in order to drink without pain. Many dogs enjoy ice cubes especially in the summer. With the approval of your veterinarian, you can also try giving your pet moisture rich table foods such as cucumbers, bananas or sliced apples with the seeds removed. To increase hydration you can also add water to their food or choose a pet food with a higher moisture content. If you want to check a dog’s hydration, carefully feel their gums. If they are sticky or dry, they are likely dehydrated and need more water.

3. Add a fatty acid supplement

Omega-3 fatty acids can enhance the health of your dog’s coat and control shedding by decreasing dandruff and soothing irritated skin. You can choose a specially formulated omega-3 supplement at your local pet store or you can try adding olive oil or flaxseed oil to your dog’s food. Guidelines suggest starting with one teaspoon of oil per ten pounds of body weight, but check with your vet before adding any supplements to your dog’s diet. Salmon, tuna or other fish rich in these fatty acids can also be used to boost skin and coat health, but be sure to check with your vet first and take the necessary precautions. Fish skin is generally safe for dogs, but fish bones can be a choking hazard.

4. Control allergies and fleas

Allergies and fleas can also be a cause of increased shedding. Fleas cause itching, but even more so if your dog is allergic to the insect bites. In fact, many times the first sign of a flea infestation is hair loss along the dog’s spine, neck and thighs. You may also find red bumps, spots or scabs on their body. Steroids or other medications can be used to relieve itching once an infestation has occurred, but all dogs should take a year-round flea preventative. Care should be also taken that your dog’s environment is regularly cleaned to ensure that the fleas do not have a chance to breed. Even dogs who regularly take a flea preventative may occasionally be bitten.

5. Keep regular check ups with your dog’s vet

Your dog’s veterinarian is a wealth of information when it comes to the health and well-being of your dog. If your pet is experiencing an increase in shedding, don’t hesitate to check with their vet. Some health issues such as mites, trauma, allergies, ringworm, infection and hormonal imbalance can affect your dog’s skin and haircoat. Early identification of a problem can lead to easier and speedier treatment.

6. Check your dog’s collar

Your dog’s harness or collar may be the culprit when it comes to excess pet hair. An ill-fitting harness or collar can rub your dog’s skin causing irritation and itching. If you suspect that your dog may be uncomfortable, a friendly associate at your local pet store can recommend the right harness or collar for your dog’s size, body type and breed.

7. Brush and groom often

Frequent brushing removes excess fur and redistributes your dog’s skin oils throughout their coat. This ensures that less of your dog’s hair will end up on the furniture. When grooming your pet, take your time and be gentle. Working through snarls and tangles without care can cause your pet pain which will in turn cause them to avoid grooming. Taking care to ensure that brushing is a pleasant experience for both you and your pet will prevent it from being a chore. Instead it will become an enjoyable bonding experience for both you and your pet. The best way to gain your pet’s trust and cooperation is to make brushing a daily routine. Regular, daily grooming prevents large and painful knots from forming in your dog’s hair and promotes a beautiful, healthy coat. If possible, brush your dog outside to prevent loose hair from finding its way onto your furniture. No matter how frustrated you may become with your dog’s shedding, never be tempted to shave their coat. This leaves some dogs at risk for sunburn or even more serious problems such as skin cancer or heatstroke.

8. Customize your brushing tools

When it comes to grooming, make sure you have the right tools for the job. There are endless varieties of grooming brushes, but the three basic types are bristle brushes, wire-pin brushes and slicker brushes. Different hair types need different brushes and methods. Bristle brushes can be used on all coat types, but are customized for various breeds by varying the space between bristles as well as their length. For a longer hair coat, the bristles should be longer and more widely spaced. The stiffness of the bristles should correspond to the coarseness of your dog’s fur.

Dogs with medium, long, curly or woolly coats benefit from wire-pin brushes, which can be made with or without rubber on the tips. Slicker brushes are made with wire bristles and are valuable for working through matted or tangled hair. Many dogs need more than one type of brush to effectively remove all dead hair. If you need help choosing the best tools for the job, your dog’s groomer or vet should be able to recommend a brush or set of brushes that will work for your breed’s hair type.

9. Use a de-shedding tool

If your pet is a heavy shedder, consider buying a de-shedding tool. De-shedding tools work by reaching under your dog’s topcoat to remove loose hair from their undercoat without damaging live hair or injuring their skin. Some de-shedding tools claim that when used as directed they can reduce shedding by up to 90%. Most brands are appropriate for animals with long or short hair and are easy to use. De-shedding tools are particularly effective when used just before spring when dogs’ winter coats fall off and in the fall when dogs’ winter coats are just beginning to grow.

10. Bathe your dog regularly

Regular baths can help remove your dog’s loose and excess hair. However, it is best to research how often your dog should be bathed. If your dog baths too often, it may dry out their skin which can cause an increase in shedding. Be sure to find a gentle shampoo that won’t irritate your dog’s skin. Dogs with long hair may need a little help drying off after a bath. Use a cool blow dryer on the lowest setting to remove any remaining loose hair and prevent your dog from getting too cold.

It’s impossible to completely eliminate your dog’s shedding, but these tips will help you to minimize the amount of pet hair in your home and car. The normal amount of shedding can be kept under control by taking additional action in your home. Remove hair from your home regularly as hair becomes more difficult to remove as it embeds itself into upholstery fabric. Frequent vacuuming and use of furniture rollers will remove pet hair and dander. It may be worthwhile to use furniture throws to cover sofas, chairs or beds in your home to reduce mess. If your pet travels with you in the car, these can also be used to cover car seats. Furniture throws can keep your furniture looking and smelling clean while saving you the task of extensive vacuuming. With a little effort and knowledge, you can control your dog’s shedding and maintain a beautiful home.

Author Bio:

Emily Conklin is the author for Gladwire.com, a happy, uplifting news site and social community on Facebook. When she’s not writing she enjoys skiing, traveling and playing her bunny.

5 Tips for Greeting a Strange Dog

We meet new people every day in our day to day life and there is a certain way in which we meet and greet them. We present ourselves in such a way that we don’t post any threat or an intention of wrongdoing to them so that the other person feels comfortable with us and has no problem having us around. The same is the case with dogs. Dogs are the most loyal animals known to mankind and most of us like to spend time with them.

There may be some personal reasons due to which one is not able to have a dog at their home, but that doesn’t stop one from playing with someone else’s dog or a strange dog. But there is a way we need to conduct ourselves in front of dogs so they feel comfortable around us. Dogs like to be sure about the person who’ll be playing with them.

Five tips that can always help you in getting your way with dogs are mentioned below. These are easy to follow tips and don’t require much effort on your part.

1. Always ask the permission of the owner before going near them

One may encounter a dog with their owner while going somewhere and may have the heart to play with it. So, what should be the approach? First and foremost, you should greet the owner and ask them if it would be alright for you to play with their dog for some time.

Owners know their dog the best and wouldn’t stop anyone from playing with their dog if it was not for a reason. The dog may not be comfortable around strangers and may get aggressive and anxious about them, which may be a cause of concern for everyone.

If someone who is close to you is friends with someone and you come face to face with them, there is a chance that you will be friends with them as well, but on the other hand, if there is some ill blood between that person and your friend, you will be wanting that person to steer clear of your way as soon as possible.

Same is with dogs, behave nicely with their owners and take their permission and it will make your chances getting acquainted with the dog a lot more than what it was 5 minutes back.  And if they allow you to play with their dog, they can help you in getting familiar with the dog in a shorter period of time than what would have you taken by doing that on your own.

They know what makes their dog happy and piques their interests better than anyone. They can also help you with understanding the different body signals that the dog is giving, indicating to something.

2. Allow the dog to make the first move

It is often said that the best way to get familiar with dogs is by not doing anything. One doesn’t need to make any move at the start to get started with the dog. Everyone loves their own privacy and personal space and that is the case with dogs as well. They will be very much alert to your presence and will be carefully examining your each and every movement.

You must learn to present yourself before them in such a manner that doesn’t show you are anxious. Keep a cool demeanor around them and don’t make your body stiff. Let your body go loose. The dog will sniff you.

3. Behave correctly in front of dogs

It has already been mentioned that it always helps your case if you keep a composed body around the dog and appear cool and relax. It is said so because dogs have the ability to sense if someone is fearful. This makes them a bit more defensive and agitated as well.

But there is more to how you present yourself. Some of the most common things that people tend to neglect while approaching a dog, but which is of a lot of importance for dogs are: –

Do not make any sudden, uncalled for movements

Making a sudden movement in front of anyone will startle them, let alone a dog. You don’t want to give them any reason to be afraid of you and that’s why you should avoid doing anything that may raise a suspicion about you, making sudden and quick movements being one of them.

Do not take a head-on approach

It may be okay amongst the humans to approach each other from the front, but it certainly is not a good way to approach a dog. It will always help your case if you approach the dog from the back or sideways. This allows you to portray a person who is a lesser threat than a person who may be approaching from the front. It also helps you in seeing the body movements of the dog which can tell you about the dog.  

Avoid eye contact

We are told from the very beginning of our lives that we should always look into the eyes of the person we are talking or interacting with but guess what, the equation changes when it comes to interacting with the dog. A direct eye contact may convey a message that you are challenging them or questioning their dominance, which can lead to an unpleasant situation.

Offer them your fist when you feel they are starting to feel comfortable around you

This is again a contradiction from what we do amongst us. One should offer their fists to the dog when they feel that the dog doesn’t mind their presence. The dog prefers the offering of a fist despite it being a symbol of power in human tradition because it looks smaller when compared to the hand when it is opened.

Do not touch their head or the face; opt for the chest or the shoulders

How will you feel if a person whom you have just met minutes ago start touching your face and patting your head? Extremely angry. You would feel like getting away from that person as fast as you can. This is what dogs feel as well. Nobody likes to be touched on the face or be patted on the back for the record. If you want to show your love to the dog, you can opt for either rubbing their chest or the neck or gently press their shoulders.

4. Allow the dog to decide how close they want you to be near them

It is not advised to go too near the dog if the dog is avoiding coming that near to you. Since this is the very first meeting, the dog will be a little bit suspicious of you, however nice you are, that’s why you should not take that as a negative hint. Instead, respect whatever space the dog has provided you with and try to enjoy within that area only.

5. Learn their body signals and what they mean

Dogs cannot speak the language we speak, they cannot write as well. But the best way to know what the dog is trying to say is to notice their body movements. Each body movement is a signal in its own form and they maybe are trying to convey some message to you. That’s why it was mentioned earlier that it is important for you to take permission from the owner first because that way, they can tell you about the various habits of the dog as well and how they behave when they like or dislike something. Some of the common body signals that are portrayed by most dogs are: –

  • Relaxed

A dog is relaxed when their ears are upwards and their tail is down. A relaxed dog will have a gaping mouth with its tongue slightly exposed. Such a dog will usually have their heads in a higher position. One can approach these dogs as they don’t mind a presence or two around them as long as the stranger doesn’t present any imminent danger.

  • Aggressive

This is the form that you should be more careful of and must remember so that you can back out in time before any damage is inflicted by the dog on you. An aggressive dog usually will have its tail stiff and raised, the hackles on the body will be raised, wrinkled nose and their lips will be curled in such a manner that the teeth will be clearly visible along with the gum and they will be leaning forward so that they are ready to attack if you try to do anything that may seem out of place.

  • Fearful

A dog that is living in a fear should be left alone unless you are an expert because your presence as a stranger may cause them more damage than the good that you were expecting. They will have their tail tucked between the legs with no visible movement while their whole body will be lowered.

The hackles on the body will be raised and the ears will be in a backward position with their pupils dilated, nose wrinkles, lips curled and the teeth visible. It should always be kept in mind that a dog might be fearing something, but it is still capable of showing aggressive behavior and may attack you if you try to do something that doesn’t go down well with them. It is very aptly said that a tiger that is cornered should be feared the most.

  • Stressed

Like humans, dogs can be stressed as well and as mentioned above, should not be approached by unless you are an expert. A dog can be identified as being under stress if they have their tail down, body lowered, ears back, pupils dilated and are panting rapidly along with sweating from the pads. One should not approach dogs exhibiting these traits, but they can help them by calling an animal shelter home who can take good care of them.

  • Playful

A dog in a playful mood is a sight to behold because they’ll be radiating energy. One can recognize a dog to be in a playful mood by noticing that their tail and ears are up, pupils dilated, and they have exposed their tongue by opening their mouth in excitement. They will have a body position in such a way that will help them to rocket forward. This nature is usually accompanied by excited barking and maybe some attacks as well as in invitation to play.  

So, these are some of the ways that one can usually look up to if they are planning to interact with a dog they have never met before. These things should be kept in mind otherwise as well so that you can help others as well who might not be understanding if their presence is welcomed by a dog or not. A true dog lover will understand that a dog, like maybe humans, may be going through some tough time and may not like any stranger’s presence at that time. One should understand that dogs also have a personal space and that should be respected, even if that means that we have to kill our own desires for a while.

Author Bio: Willie May is a housewife, good mother, pet lover and a blogger. Auxier  is her dog and Mimo is the name of her cat. She loves them very much. She has an aim to help other pet owners by sharing her experiences with her pets and that’s why she opened Best Pets (her personal blog)  in Feb, 2017.

How to Have an Amazing Vacation with Your Dog

The only time in a year when you get to relax and enjoy is the holiday season. We all need to disconnect from the materialistic worries and spend quality time with our loved ones, cherishing their presence. Well, how can pet parents have fun without their fur-babies by their side, right!

We dog parents can never relax without having our pooches with us. Leaving them behind means continually having to worry about their health, if they are getting enough to eat or if they miss us, of course, we miss them too. Well, then why not take them along? After all, they also deserve a vacation.  Here are fantastic tips that can help you plan a vacation with your pooch:

Travelling by air

A few years ago the travel rules regarding traveling with pets were quite strict but now as more parents want to take trips with their dogs, the complexities have eased quite a bit. Statistics gathered from a recent survey done by TripAdvisor show that 53% of the respondents traveled with their pets and wanted to stay at hotels that accommodated them. Due to this increasing demand, most airlines and hotels have begun to facilitate pets. There were times when your pooch could only travel in the cargo, but now they can sit in the cabin with you. However, there are rules that pet-parents strictly need to follow.

Getting the tickets

While booking a ticket study the rules each airline has regarding dogs. Most airlines allow dogs that could fit under a seat and are not more than 20 pounds, some charge a fee while others let you travel for free. Furthermore, for each type of dog, there are specific USDA approved carriers that you need to use. There are specifications such as the material of the carrier (should be plastic), the size (your pup should be able to stand up, lie down and turn around and other conditions regarding ventilation, empty food dishes, etc. Study all the regulations and make sure you comply with them.

While booking a ticket for yourself make sure the airline has a seat available for your pooch, book both the tickets at the same time. If you have another pet, make sure the air service allows multiple pets.

Choose a time of the day when the temperatures aren’t extreme if your pet is going to travel in the cargo hold and make sure he can cope up with the stress of being alone with baggage.

Try to find a direct flight, so there are no stopovers and try to fly on weekdays when there is less rush at the airport.

Choosing an establishment

Selecting a pet-friendly hotel is a must. You can research accommodations that welcome dogs, call them up and ask about the fees, also try asking for a room close to the elevator.

Confirm if the pooch will be allowed on the furniture; also ask if there is a separate area to walk your dog.

Make sure they use the right cleaning procedures after a pet family has checked out to avoid contracting any diseases.

Search for vets and emergency hospitals in the area just in case you have to pay a visit.

Preparing for the vacation

If you are traveling internationally, you need to have all your pet’s updated documents and a health certificate signed by your vet confirming that your dog is free of diseases. Each country has different regulations for bringing a pet and for taking them back home, some even require you to microchip your dog. Each state needs a specific set of vaccinations too such as rabies and other declarations. Complete all the paperwork beforehand as some processes might take a long time.

Go shopping and buy all the essentials you might need for your pet. Here is a list of the things you should buy:

  • Flea control products
  • Name tag with emergency contact number
  • Pet wipes or grooming products
  • A First aid box that contains a gauze bandage, thermometer, Neosporin, tweezers, styptic powder, cotton balls, antibiotic soap and any particular medicine your dog might need
  • Food and treats that your dog loves to eat. You can also make his food yourself and pack it along with your stuff.
  • Food and water dishes
  • Leash and poop bags
  • Crate that your pooch would find comfortable
  • His favorite toys

Before the flight

Double-check the reservations by calling your airline and the hotel; withhold your pup’s food about 4 hours before the flight to prevent vomiting in case your dog gets nauseous. Don’t follow the same practice if you have a small breed or a young puppy. Give your pooch water until the time of flight; make sure you leave the empty dishes in his crate so the flight attendants can give him food and water.

Make sure you have all the documentation ready, buy a USDA approved carrier that is comfortable for your pet has proper ventilation and can be easily handled by the airline staff. Also, ensure that it doesn’t leak, put a tag on the carrier with your pet’s name, your name, contact details and even mark “Live Animal” on it

Accustom your pooch to his carrier; it will make it easier for him to travel in it.  After his daily walks, make him spend some time in the crate, it will help reduce the stress at the time of the actual trip.

Before leaving take your pet for a grooming session so he can feel better and fresh.

Reaching the airport

It is better to reach the airport early, not more than 4 hours before the flight time though. To check in you’ll have to go to the passenger terminal if your pet is traveling in the cabin. Otherwise, you would have to check in at the air freight terminal. Afterward, go to the checkpoint, take your pooch out of the crate and put him on a leash before going for the security check.

Don’t give your dog tranquilizers for relieving anxiety and calming him down. At high altitudes, your pooch might face respiratory issues due to these medicines. Only give your pooch anxiety medication if it has been prescribed by the vet, follow the exact dosage as recommended.

If there are any stopovers you can take your dog to the airport pet relief area, most airports do have such dedicated spaces; you can also take him for a poop if he needs to.

Reaching the destination:

Once you have landed, let your pooch relax and familiarize with the new city. Afterward, you can take him for a long walk so he can get a chance to see the city.

Search dog-friendly restaurants and tourist attractions so you’ll get to spend more time with your pooch. Not all countries have such facilities so do your research before planning a vacation.

Going on a road trip with your dog

Of course, going on a road trip might seem easier due to the involvement of fewer rules and regulations. However, it still needs quite a lot of preparation.

Things to do before hitting the road

You need to gather all the needful items, such as health documentation, contact information for your vet, first-aid box, poop bags, leash, and lots of food, treats & water.  You’ll also need a crate, flea control products, your pooch’s toys and his blanket.

It is better to get your dog microchipped before heading out for a trip in case you lose him in another city. Save his microchip registration number too.

Just as we need seat belts to protect us from accidents, our dogs need to be protected too. There are many harnesses available that can secure your dog with the seat belt and prevent your fur-baby from flying out of the windshield in the instance of you applying the brakes. You can also load your pooch in a crate and secure it to the car seat.

Thanks to technology all sorts of information can easily be accessed within seconds when you are on a road trip, you might need to go to a vet in case your pet gets sick. Of course, you can’t imagine finding a vet in an entirely new city; therefore download any app that can help you find vets in the nearby area. You can also use Google Maps to track veterinarians, dog parks, and dog-friendly places when traveling with your pup.

Preparing your dog for the road

There is no point of taking your pooch with you on a trip if he doesn’t enjoy it. You need to ensure your dog doesn’t get motion sickness or anxiety due to car travel. Take him for a few short trips, so he gets comfortable with the car.

When you hit the road

Make sure your dog has released his energy by exercising and other activities before getting seated in the car.

Once you hit the road, make sure you take frequent potty breaks so your pooch can take a poop. Give your dog treats for being a good travel companion and make sure you and your fur-baby have a wonderful time.

About the Author:

Jenny Perkins is an Animal Behavior Specialist and a passionate writer. She loves to write about the nutrition, health, and care of dogs. She aims at providing tips to dog owners that can help them become better pet parents. She writes for the blog Here Pup.