Is Your Dog Anxious? Look for These Signs

Wouldn’t life be so much easier if your dog could just talk to you and tell you how they’re feeling? Yes, of course, it would! You’d never have to ask yourself, “is my dog anxious?” But the truth is, your dog is giving you clues as to whether they’re feeling anxious, happy, or bored.

There’s just one problem: they’re communicating in a foreign language.

Most humans can only identify the most obvious signs of a dog’s feeling state. This is especially troublesome when a dog is feeling anxious—they may silently scream at the top of their lungs with their actions, but if their owners aren’t “fluent” in body language, their attempts to communicate will fail.

Brush up on your “dog speak” to figure out whether your dog is anxious, in particular, with this dog body language dictionary.

Signs of dog anxiety, decoded

Flattened ears

  • Ears pinned back against the head. Can occur when a dog is anxious, scared or excited.

Tucked tail

  • Tail curled up under the tummy. Occurs when a dog lacks confidence or is scared. How tightly the tail is tucked might indicate just how anxious or frightened your dog is.

Hunched body

  • Think of this one as a dog trying to curl in on themselves to seem smaller, or even to disappear. It often occurs in combination with a tucked tail.

Shivering

  • Shivering can indicate fear or discomfort, such as when a dog is cold.

Lip or nose licking

  • Also referred to as “tongue flicking,” this action often occurs two or three times in quick succession. Generally, you’ll see lip licking when something in the environment has changed or a new trigger has emerged. If you see your dog lip lick as you’re preparing a meal, they’re probably just hopefully anticipating food.

Yawning

  • In many contexts, yawning is a stress release. If you’re on a walk, at the dog park, or in an unfamiliar place and you see your dog yawning, their anxiety is up. If you’re at home getting ready for a nap or waking up in the morning and you see your dog yawn, they may just be tired.

Sweaty paws

  • Dogs only have the ability to sweat through their paws. Sweaty paws (which you may notice from the paw prints left as your dog moves around) are a good indication that your dog is anxious or, alternatively, that they’re too hot and need to cool down.

Whale eye

  • Whale eye is the term for when the whites of your dog’s eye show, often when they’re attempting to look at or look away from something without wanting to move their entire head (i.e., look without looking). This is a good indication that your dog is experiencing fear or high anxiety—but don’t confuse whale eye with the appearance of your dog’s third eyelid, which is often light in color.

“Fear” grimace

  • A fear grimace is easy to confuse with a dog “smiling” out of happiness or excitement. When your dog is experiencing fear, they may pull back the muscles of their lips to expose clenched teeth as far back as the molars, looking like a forced smile. Because of the tension in the face during a fear grimace, you may also see creasing of the skin around the eyes, corners of the mouth and forehead.

Panting

  • Panting helps a dog to cool down and it often occurs during or after exercise or in extreme heat. It can also occur, however, when a dog is stressed. If you haven’t recently exercised and it’s not a hot day, a panting dog is likely to be an anxious one.

Drooling

  • Drooling, an extreme fear reaction can occur in combination with panting or on its own from a slightly opened mouth. A dog may also drool if they’re anticipating food coming their way. My dog drools so much when we eat breakfast that he forms big bubbles of spit!

Turning or walking away

  • A dog that turns away from an approaching human or dog is likely trying to communicate that they are no threat. This suggests that, for whatever reason, the approaching dog or human is making them anxious. Never force your dog to interact with someone or something. If they’re anxious, they may feel as though they have to “defend” themselves from the offending dog/human by biting.

Rolling onto the back

  • Rolling over doesn’t necessarily indicate “submission” as most people think, but your dog may be trying to communicate that they’re no threat. Rolling over can occur in times of stress but it is also a natural, healthy part of play behavior and can be a cue that they want a belly rub.

Why Do Dogs Like to Cuddle?

Those moments when our dogs choose to be right next to us, the times when our dogs initiate closeness. So why do dogs like to cuddle?

Dogs Like Cuddling Because It Provides Warmth

The biggest clues when it comes to figuring out why dogs love to cuddle with us is the definition itself: ‘to cuddle is to hold close for warmth or comfort or in affection.’

If you’ve ever seen a puppy pile you know how adorable it is. But besides being the cutest thing ever it makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint. Puppies snuggle with one another to keep warm. When you get cold you can snuggle up under a blanket or put on some extra layer, for our dogs it’s not that easy.

Cuddling with humans was an important part of canine domestication. Early dogs helped us hunt and alerted us to danger, but we also helped each other out by cuddling and keeping each other warm. In fact, the term “three dog night” refers to those really cold nights when humans had to cuddle up with 3 dogs to keep from freezing to death.

Cuddling Provides Affection

But cuddling isn’t just about warmth – it’s also a way to show affection. Cuddling, and showing affection in general, is one way in which our dogs strengthen their bond with us. Researchers have even found that bonding with their owners is more important to dogs than it is to other pets. (sorry cat lovers)

The long evolutionary relationship we’ve had with dogs has reinforced many of the traits we see today in our pet dogs. We have a very intimate bond with our dogs, and that feeling seems to be mutual. There’s a special bond between humans and dogs, and it’s demonstrated by the amount of affection we show one another.

The Science Behind Dogs Cuddling

Cuddling is also a great stress reliever. Petting and talking to a dog for just a few minutes has been shown to increase oxytocin levels in both dogs and humans. Oxytocin, often referred to as the love hormone, is associated with social bonding and trust. New research found that human-dog interactions can elicit the same positive hormonal response that mothers have with their infants.

Researchers suggest that the strong ability of dogs to bond with humans played a crucial role in their domestication. The theory is that in the wild the dogs that were able to bond with humans were the ones that received human care and protection. And yes, much of that bonding surely included cuddles.

Why Do Some Dogs Cuddle More Than Others?

So why do some dogs like to cuddle more than others? Well, genetics is certainly one part of it. Some dogs have been bred to be independent and less affectionate, while others are bred for the opposite.

Certain breeds such as the Maltese, Pomeranian and Yorkshire Terrier have been bred to be lap dogs. Lap dogs are small enough to be held in our lap and to have a temperament predisposed to do so.

But there’s more than just genetics at work. Some dogs are just more affectionate than others. Some dogs don’t cuddle much, if at all. My previous dog Carter had a funny way of showing affection. He was a total velcro dog (followed me around everywhere), yet he wasn’t fond of cuddling. At least not when touching was involved.

He’d get up on the couch with me, but he’d stay a few inches away. I called it his ‘personal space’ issue. Now when bad weather was on the way? He’d jump into my lap in a heartbeat. So he’d still come to me for comfort when he was afraid, but daily cuddles weren’t his thing.

Dogs have their own unique personalities, and not all of them are super cuddly or affectionate. Dogs are just like people in that way; some people love hugs, and others are a little more standoffish.

Why Your Dog Cuddles Less in the Summer

Some dogs don’t like to cuddle because of the heat. Laika loves to cuddle, but there’s a definite slow down on cuddle time in the summer. Our dogs have a higher body temperature than we do, and it’s harder for them to cool down. Cuddling produces a lot of heat, so when it’s really hot out your dog might not cuddle because they’re just trying to keep cool.

 

 

Safety Tips for Using Flea and Tick Product on Dogs

Proper Application of Dog Products

An important part of basic health care for dogs is providing preventive products to avoid infestations of fleas and ticks. Keeping your dog free of infestations not only prevents discomfort, it can also prevent some of the illnesses that can be acquired from these blood-sucking parasites. Choosing the proper products and using them in a proper fashion is very important. Here we will discuss ways to keep your dog, yourself, and others safe when using these products.

When deciding which flea and tick products to use on your dog, you need to carefully read the labels on all products. It’s very important you purchase the correct dosage for your dog, and that you use only approved products for your dog’s particular age, weight, health status, and species. Use special care if your dog is very young, very old, pregnant, nursing, sick or debilitated, or if it has had a previous sensitivity to any of these products.

Dogs should only be given flea and tick products designed for use on dogs. While they may not be harmful, products made for cats may not be as effective on dogs. If you also have a cat, do not use your dog products on your cat, as they can be harmful to a cat’s health. Always ask your veterinarian’s advice, even when you are planning to purchase your flea and tick products from a pet store or online supplier.

TIPS FOR APPLICATION

Once you’ve read all the directions for proper application, be sure that you use only the amount required for your dog. Do not use more flea and tick product than indicated and do not use more than one product at one time. One flea and tick product (spot-on or spray, etc.) should be all that is necessary to kill or repel fleas and/or ticks for the time period indicated on the package.

To prevent accidental contact with topical products during application, disposable gloves can be worn to protect your skin. Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water after application can also reduce exposure to the chemicals. Keep children from touching or playing with the dog after application to allow the product time to absorb or dry, and read the instructions for proper disposal of empty product containers after use.

In households with multiple animals, it may be necessary to keep the animals apart for a time while the product dries to prevent them from grooming each other and ingesting the chemicals.

MONITOR FOR ADVERSE EFFECTS

For the several hours following application of a flea and tick preventive product, keep an eye on your dog for any reactions or sensitivity to the product. This is especially important when using a particular flea and tick product for the first time on your dog.

Keep the packaging for the product for at least a day after application so that you have information on the kind of ingredients used, as well as contact information for the company that manufactured the product.

Signs of sensitivity to pesticides include:

  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Stumbling or incoordination (ataxia)
  • Drooling excessively or foaming at the mouth
  • Trembling (seizures)
  • Lack of appetite
  • Severe depression

If you notice any unusual behavior shortly after applying a preventive product, call your veterinarian immediately. Bathe your dog completely in soapy water and rinse its coat with copious amounts of water.

REPORTING PROBLEMS

Due to increased incidents of reactions to spot-on products in dogs and cats, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about their use in 2009. The FDA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are working together to improve safety and reduce adverse effects in pets. In order to do this, the EPA is working to address certain aspects of safety, such as improving labeling and simplifying instructions on the packaging. They are monitoring any reports of adverse effects and keeping track of incidence reports.

If you believe your dog has had an adverse reaction to a flea or tick preventive product, call your veterinarian and report the problem right away. Your veterinarian has access to a national reporting center that will inform the EPA. You may also wish to inform the company that manufactured the product. All manufacturers are required to report any incidents to the EPA. Contact information should be clearly indicated on the packaging for the product

Working with your veterinarian and carefully reading labels will help you to reduce the incidence of reactions to flea and tick preventive products. Make sure you know your dog’s correct weight and the proper application technique. If you are careful, the possibility is much lower that your dog will experience any adverse effects.

10 Things to Consider Before Bringing a New Pet Home

Some of the greatest moments in life include the day we met our pets for the first time, and the day we adopted them and they came home with us. Here are 10 things to consider before bringing a new dog or cat home.

 

#1 Can You Commit?

Will you have the time to walk your dog three times a day? Will you remember to exercise your cat every evening? If the answer is no, and you have no one who can perform those essential tasks, you should stop right here and consider a fish or a parakeet as a low-demand animal companion.

 

#2 Will Your Pet Fit Your Lifestyle?

Choosing a pet based on how popular or cute it is, is probably one of the worst decisions people make. Too often these pets are unceremoniously dropped at an animal shelter when they show themselves to be too high energy, too needy, too intolerant … the list is endless.

Get to know the breed you are interested in and be open to changing your mind if it doesn’t fit your ability to provide for its temperament. Ask lots of questions from the people adopting the animal out, maybe even find a breed specific group to ask questions of some of the members. A great example is the recent Chihuahua craze. Sure, they’re adorable and can live in any size home, and they’re very low maintenance. The catch is that they are not usually very tolerant of children and are one of the breeds that are known for biting children without much provocation. A pet cat should also match your personality. Some cats, for instance, require a lot of attention and interaction while others are mostly independent. Do your research and choose wisely.

 

#3 Interview Veterinarians Before the Adoption

Before you have settled on the type of pet that will suit you, ask your friends for their veterinary recommendations. A veterinarian can be an excellent source of information to help you choose the best pet to suit your lifestyle and needs. Not all vets are the same, and you want a veterinarian that best matches your needs. This will be a lifelong relationship and as such, the choice is very important. Again, do your research. Read online reviews of the vets in your community (with a grain of salt), ask groomers in your area who they recommend, and make interview appointments with them.

Our tip: Don’t rely entirely on a vet’s friendliness toward humans (i.e., you). A good veterinarian often has better skills relating to animals than to people. It is also your prerogative to ask the vet if she/he can provide a few references.

 

#4 Make Your Home Pet-Friendly

Did you know that something as simple as chewing gum can be deadly for dogs, or that ibuprofen is toxic to cats? It is highly important to go through your home now, before you bring a new pet home, to search out hazards and get them out of the way or out of the house. This includes cabinets at pet level, counter tops, bottles of chemical on the floor, small toys, electric cords and curtain cords.

 

#5 Choose an Age and Breed Appropriate Food

Not all pet foods are alike. Some are better than others, and some make claims that are not always backed by facts. It would be easy to just grab the pet food bag or can with the nicest design on the cover, but that is not what is going to guarantee our pets’ long-term health. Choose the best food for your dog or cat and always look for a diet labeled complete and balanced. From the time they are young until the time they are seniors, your pet food choices should be guided by the pet’s specific needs, life stage, and lifestyle. You can do some cursory research to get a good idea of why it is important and what to look for, but for the best advice, consult your veterinarian.

 

#6 Be Prepared for an Adjustment Period

If it’s a puppy you’ll be adopting into your home, be prepared for crying. Yes, just as with human babies, baby dogs cry during the night in their first days in their new home. But unlike human babies, it is not a good idea to take your puppy to your bed to soothe him. The best thing you can do before bringing the puppy home is set up a quiet, enclosed space with a comfortable bed, or a kennel that can be closed, keeping your puppy secure from wandering. Choose the spot that will be your dog’s permanent spot. During the day, let your puppy have free, supervised privileges to roam around the house to smell everything. This will also be a good way to spot any hazards you might have missed on the first go ‘round.

Bedtime for cats is a bit easier. Arrange the kitten’s sleeping area in a secure area close to his litter box so that he doesn’t get lost looking for it, and then leave him to romp around in his area until he drops off to sleep.

Things get a little bit trickier when you are bringing a new pet into a home with pets. You will need to make sure that your resident pet does not feel threatened enough to strike out at the newcomer.

 

#7 Train Your Pet

If your happy home is going to remain a happy home, the housetraining will need to start immediately after bringing your pet home. If you are adopting a kitten, introduce him to his litterbox as soon as you get him inside. If it is a puppy, leash him up and take him outside to start getting to know his neighborhood. Most puppies will be intimidated by their new surrounding, and you don’t want to put a fright into your puppy. A very short walk on the first outing is all that is needed. Begin training on that first outing. When the puppy relieves himself outside, while he is doing it say, “Go now.” Repetition of this command will eventually make it so that you will be able to take your dog out in any kind of weather without worrying about how long your dog will take to relieve himself.

 

#8 Select Appropriate Pet Treats and Toys

The right treats are essential, especially for puppies. Treats are one of the best tools for behavior training when used sensibly. Experiment with a few different dog treats and stick with the one that has the highest value for your puppy. That will be the treat he will do anything for, including staying by your side even when a clowder of cats goes by. Stay practical when giving treats. It is tempting to be liberal when it comes to treating our “little babies,” and just like giving candy to a human child, too many snacks can lead to an unhealthy body; even healthy snacks can add up in excess weight. Do always keep a back of treats in your pocket for training opportunities. Be careful with rawhide; it can be torn into pieces and swallowed in large chunks, potentially leading to choking or intestinal blockages. Toys should be free of buttons, strings, and anything that can be bitten off and swallowed.  Stick with rubber balls made for dogs (the harder to tear apart), nylon-bones, non-toxic stuffed toys, and ask other dog “parents” for advice on toys that hold up under puppy pressure.

For cats, feather wands are always popular, and a lot of cats are responsive to laser light devices. And don’t forget the old standbys: the catnip stuffed mouse toy and the old boxes. Cats love treats too, so go with the same advices as above and treat sensibly.

 

#9 Consider Spaying and Neutering

Neutering, a term that can refer to spay or castration surgery, can typically be done as early as eight weeks of age. Generally, the neutering procedure is performed around four to six months, plenty of time before the animal has reached the age of reproduction. Some people choose not to based on the feeling that the animal will lose its sense of identity (male), that the animal will be missing out on the life milestone of giving birth (female), or that the animal will lose its ability to be protective. None of these reasons are based in fact.

The best thing you can do for your pet’s health is to have him or her neutered. Yes, neutering does decrease aggression in most instances, but it does not make a dog any less protective of his or her human family. And your female animal will not feel less-than for not giving birth. It would be worse for her to have her babies taken from her than to have never given birth at all. She will not know the difference. She will also be less prone to cancer of the mammaries and ovaries. Ask your veterinarian for their recommendation.

 

#10 Outfit Your Pet with Proper ID

Finally, ensure that your puppy or kitten is properly outfitted with ID so that if he should ever get loose — and it does happen to most everyone eventually — you will have him returned safely to you. Have your contact information on your pet’s collar, either on a tag or printed directly onto the collar (the latter can be custom ordered or made by you). Also, keep photos on hand. This is a good reason to track your pet’s growth, but you may need those images when it comes time to post them around town or to leave with the local shelter in case your pet is delivered to them. A GPS device that attaches to the collar is a clever way to track your pet, but it loses its efficacy when the collar gets lost.

Microchips are the best assurance for identification and need to be used in combination with a collar for the best chance of finding a lost pet. Make a point now of remembering to update your contact information with the company that keeps records for the microchip every time there is a change in your contact information. It can make the difference between your pet being returned to you or staying lost to you forever.

 

The 5 Different Types Of Dog Growls

Most people assume a growling dog is bad news, but that isn’t always the case. Dogs vocalize their thoughts and feelings in several different ways. They bark and whine, and the low rumbling we call growling can mean multiple things. There’s the basic aggressive growl most people know to watch out for, but a growling dog isn’t always an angry dog. Knowing the different situations where a dog might let out a growl will help you better communicate with your pup. Here are a few reasons for growling you might not have known about.

#1 – Play Growling

Dogs often growl in the middle of playtime to say, “This is fun! Let’s keep going!” It usually happens when they’re enthralled in a game of tug-of-war with their favorite human, and they also growl while playing with other dogs. For an outsider listening in, two dogs growling with each other can seem alarming. As long as the situation doesn’t escalate, however, there’s no reason to intervene. It’s hard to decipher the difference between human ears, but play growling is typically higher-pitched and shorter in length than aggressive growling. Dogs can tell the sounds apart and know when their playmate is having fun and when they’re not.

#2 – Pleasure-Seeking Growl

Similar to the play growl, a pleasure growl is completely harmless. Some dogs start growling every time their owners walk through the door because they know they’re about to get attention. They’re anticipating head scratches and belly rubs, and the growl is by no means threatening. The noise is usually low and loose, and it can even sound like the dog is trying to speak their owner’s language. They might bare their teeth and sound angry, but they’re actually happy and excited.

#3 – Frustration Growl

Like humans, dogs aren’t great at handling frustration—and some are worse than others. A frustration growl is almost a pleasure-seeking growl. It’s often misinterpreted as aggression, but that’s rarely the message the dog wants to convey. An example is when a dog is behind a fence and sees another dog or person on the other side. They desperately want to get closer to say hello to their new friend, but the fence is holding them back. Growling shows their irritation at the fence, and it doesn’t mean they’re being aggressive or threatening.

#4 – Warning Growl

Dogs that are uncomfortable with a situation will resort to a warning growl. It’s usually when the dog is afraid, possessive, or territorial. They emit the deep grumbling to tell whoever’s trying to approach them that it’s time to back off. They’re firmly requesting that the person or dog respect their personal space. A warning growl isn’t always easy to decipher. They’re typically extremely low pitched, and the dog doesn’t have to open their mouth to make the sound. It’s usually accompanied by a set jaw, dilated pupils, and stiff body language.

#5 – Aggressive Growling

Once a situation escalates out of control, aggressive growling is a clear sign the dog is past the point of warning. At this stage, the dog wants to establish their power. There are several possible triggers for an aggressive growl. It could be that the dog has a high prey drive and sees something they want to hunt, or they could relish the idea of putting a competing canine “in their place.” An aggressive growl is identified by being clearly audible with stretched-out rumblings. It also comes with lunging, raised hackles, and snapping.

Most of these types of growls are nothing for a dog owner to worry about. They sound scary, but if a loving family pet lets out a growl,  consider the situation and surroundings before jumping to conclusions. If a dog growls to show aggression, it’s important to separate them from whatever they’re growling at. Use extreme caution and know dogs think and act quickly. Talk to a trainer to better understand why your dog is showing signs of aggression and how you can help them overcome the behavior.

 

Introducing Your Cat to a New Dog

Despite the urban myth that cats and dogs hate each other, many cats and dogs live together happily and are great companions. If you’re considering bringing a dog into your home and you already have a cat, it’s important to try your best to make the introduction a success.

Before you choose a dog, think about the personality and temperament of your cat, and try to make a good match. There are certain breeds of dog for example, which are bred specifically to chase smaller animals, so they may not be a good choice as a new addition to your furry family!

Puppy or Adult Dog?

A puppy is likely to be more flexible and easier to ‘train’ to be around a cat, but they’re also going to be more lively and boisterous than an older dog especially in the first year, which is something to keep in mind.

An older rescue dog may have been part of a family with cats previously and tolerate them well. Older dogs are also generally going to be calmer and more relaxed.

If you’re introducing a new dog to a kitten, don’t forget that kittens are smaller and easily injured; so be careful with unsupervised contact between them. If your older cat is introduced to a new dog and gets scared, she’ll hiss and spit but she might also lash out with her claws – so make sure they’re trimmed.

How to Prepare for Your New Dog 

Make sure your home has plenty of ‘safe’ spots that a dog won’t be able to get to so that your cat has escape routes if it all gets too much for her. Think about hiding places, shelving high up on the walls, and tall cat trees that a dog can’t jump up at. If you have an upstairs and downstairs in your home consider putting a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs so your cat can escape upstairs in peace.

The Introduction Process

  • Before you introduce them, make sure that you’ve trained your dog to sit and stay. Keep the dog in a set location to start off with (as you would with a new cat), so the introductions are on your terms, and make sure it’s well away from the route your cat has to take to get to her food, litter tray etc. Make sure you’ve exercised your dog before every meeting to get rid of any excess energy.
  • Keep your dog on a leash for initial introductions, even if you’ve been successful in obedience training him – better safe than sorry! Keep introductions short, and be aware of both your cat and your dog’s reactions. It’s natural for your cat to run away scared at first, especially if she’s never encountered dogs before. Repeat as many times as you need until they both seem calm in each other’s presence.
  • Once you’re happy with their reactions to each other, do the same again but without the leash.
  • Move onto unsupervised contact only when you’re 100% comfortable but continue to keep a watchful eye to ensure the safety of both pets.
  • Watch out for warning signs from your dog. If he seems aggressive or you can’t control him it’s time to reassess the situation. You may need to make environmental modifications within your home so that your cat and dog have separate living areas, or seek help from your vet or an animal behaviorist until they learn to become friends or at least don’t hate each other.

Party Host Etiquette: How to Host a Party When You Have a Dog

Are you worried about fur flying during your upcoming dinner party? Here are 6 tips on handling typical problems dog owners face when hosting a party.

The phrase ‘party host etiquette’ takes on a whole new meaning when you have dogs. Often, you’ve planned, you’ve prepped and you’re oh-so-ready for your guests, but Fluffy and Fido have a slew of party antics up their sleeves. From fur flying onto your friend’s stylish suit to brain-beating barking, you never know what to expect when you’re hosting a party with pets in the house.

Here’s an overview of six common dog-related party problems and tips on how to avoid them:

  1. A Sea of Dog Fur
    Your guests aren’t likely to appreciate a layer of dog fur on their posh party pants. To avoid this party host etiquette fail, you should do a thorough vacuuming of all of your upholstered furniture before anyone arrives. Be sure to keep your pups off of the couches and chairs, and go over all fabric surfaces with a sticky lint roller just before party time. And don’t forget about your pillows, tablecloths and other fur-grabbing accessories. You should shake these items out or give them a quick wash before your guests arrive.
  2. Barking Battle
    Festive music? Check. Witty banter? Check. Annoyingly obtrusive background barking? Check. You don’t want barking to be the background soundtrack for your party, but what can you do? You could keep your pet in a separate room, but that could lead to a vicious cycle of your dog howling and you leaving the party to soothe your furry friend. Chances are she’ll chill out and stop barking as she gets used to all the new party people, so try to be patient if this is an issue with your dog.
  3. Lunging at Legs
    Picture this: The moment you open the door, your dog lunges and jumps all over your guests. Does this sound familiar? If so, you should put your pup’s leash on before anyone arrives. When guests do begin to show up, instruct your pet using commands that he’s already used to. If you simply say “sit” when you want him to stop during your walks, use that term. If “leave it” is your command of choice, work with that phrasing.
  4. Sniffing and Licking
    Dogs sniff and lick for many reasons. In the case of new people coming into your home, it’s likely just your pet’s way of saying hello or asking, “Who are you?” Pet-loving guests will get this and may not snub the sniff. On the other hand, some of your friends may not want a slimy stream of dog saliva garnishing their paté. You should try the lunging leash trick for this canine faux pas as well. When your pup gets close enough to sniff or lick, keep her in check on the leash and tell her to sit.
  5. Furniture Fiasco
    Your best dog friend is your constant companion. He cuddles with you in bed and nestles up next to you on the couch. While couch-sitting behavior may be completely acceptable when it’s just the two of you, your guests probably don’t want to have to move over so that your pet can claim his favorite spot. Unfortunately, on-the-spot training on the day of your party won’t cut it when it comes to keeping your dog off of the furniture. You can avoid the problem by putting your dog on a leash or using gates to keep him contained to a certain area of the party.
  6. Meal Madness
    Your dog’s begging for table scraps might not bother you during your daily meals, but this is certainly frowned upon at a dinner party. Are you worried that your canine companion might jump on the spread as your guests dine? Try making your pet’s feeding time slightly before the party starts. A full belly may prevent her from wanting to nose her way into another meal.

This May Be The Reason Your Dog Curls up to Sleep.

 

Nothing is cuter than when a dog curls up to sleep. But why do they do it? My dog Radar has a pre-sleep ritual. He’ll wait to be invited onto the bed, dig in the blankets to make a nest, and turn in circles until he’s found the perfect spot to curl up in. Radar almost always curls up to sleep, even when it means squishing himself into a seemingly too-small space.

Some dogs sleep stretched out on their sides. Others contort themselves into uncomfortable-looking sleep positions. But many dogs curl up to sleep like my Radar. And it’s not just a preference: curling up to sleep has practical benefits for dogs.

Canine sleep habits
Like humans, dogs like to be comfortable when they sleep. Although some dog sleep positions look uncomfortable from the outside, for your pooch, they’re just perfect.

Common dog sleep positions include:

  • On their side
  • On their tummy
  • On their back with their paws up in the air
  • Snuggled up with their favorite human or animal friend
  • Curled up in a ball

All of the above sleep positions have their benefits. For instance, sleeping sprawled out on their side or tummy can help dogs cool off in warmer months. In general, dogs fall asleep in positions that offer physical comfort and psychological safety.

A dog curls up to sleep for warmth
The most obvious reason dogs curl up to sleep is for warmth. By curling tightly into a ball, and tucking their nose under their tail, they conserve body heat. Consider how you sleep when it’s cold: bundled up under warm blankets, possibly with your knees drawn up to your chest, or even snuggled around your sleeping dog.

Huddling up for warmth is an instinctual behavior in mammals. You and your dog have a lot in common!
Your dog’s tendency to curl up to sleep goes back to their origins. Before they were domesticated, dogs slept in dens and made nests to keep warm at night. Even though your dog has a warm, dry shelter, they still have hardwired behaviors from their ancestor’s pre-domestic days. This may also explain why dogs “make the bed” by digging into blankets or the couch. They’re preparing their nest for the night.

Dogs curl up for security
Another reason dogs curl up when they sleep is to feel safe. You may have heard that dogs show their stomachs when they’re comfortable. Conversely, they curl up to protect their tummy in vulnerable situations. Curling up to sleep protects dogs’ vulnerable organs from would-be predators. Curling up to sleep can also offer psychological comfort to dogs who feel unsafe. Consider how often you see photos of dogs in animal shelters, huddled or curled up in the corner of their kennel. In a noisy, intimidating environment, curling up to sleep can help dogs feel protected and safe.

Dogs curl up for comfort (even if it doesn’t look that way to you)
In truth, the main reason dogs choose one sleep position over the other is simple: it’s comfortable!

When your dog curls up to sleep, whether for warmth or protection, they’re mainly just trying to get comfortable. Even if they sleep in a crate, as long as they have space to stand up, stretch out, turn around, and lie down, they can get a great night’s sleep.

You can help make your dog more comfortable by providing space and soft surfaces for sleeping. Give them a soft blanket or pillow to use in their “nest.”

And for added cuteness, keep a teddy bear or other stuffed toy around. Curling up to sleep is always nicer with a friend to snuggle!

Doggy Boredom: How to Tell and What to Do.

 

Most of us have jobs that keep us away from the house for at least eight hours a day. Do you wonder if your dog gets bored or lonely while you’re gone? For some dogs, the answer is definitely yes. Bored dogs can be a problem for owners, too, as they’re more likely to get into trouble.

In other words, lack of mental stimulation and exercise during the day leaves our dogs looking for something to do, and often it’s not something we approve of.

So how can we prevent dog boredom? We’ve got the expert tips on how to help bored dogs—and keep the house in one piece.

Why Dogs Get Bored

Dogs are intelligent animals, and some breeds more than others. Border collies, German shepherds, golden retrievers, and poodles are among the most intelligent breeds, and these guys and gals need stimulation. In fact, most of these dogs were bred to complete a job. Nowadays, dogs are more likely to be companions than workhorses—and that’s messing with their mojo. Bored dogs might just be dogs that want a job! (Pro tip: agility classes are great for dogs like these.)

Stimulation not only prevents boredom, but also cultivates your dog’s personality and wards off stress. Psychologist Dr. Stanley Coren has authored many books on dog psychology and says the most important stimuli for dogs include:

  • Exposure to interesting places and things
  • New, exciting experiences
  • Frequent opportunities to learn things and solve problems
  • Investigating and interacting with objects and the environment around them

If your dog is sitting around the house all day without any of the above, he’s likely to get bored.

Is My Dog Bored?

If you’re seeing a big mess every time you come home, chances are your dog needs more stimulation. After all, bored dogs are looking for something to do—even if it’s not what you’d like them to do. Signs you’ve got a bored puppy include:

  • Antsy or restless behavior
  • Destructive behavior, like chewing shoes or carpets
  • Pawing for attention
  • Jumping
  • Barking
  • Digging in the trash
  • Digging up the backyard

If you’ve seen one or more of these signs, it’s likely you have a bored dog on your hands.

Bored Dogs: How to Help

1. Give your dog plenty of exercise. Bored dogs often have a lot of pent-up energy. Give them enough physical activity, though, and the same dogs will be pooped and more likely to spend the rest of the day napping.

2. Send him to doggy daycare. The socialization and mental stimulation will keep your dog engaged and busy.

3. Make mealtime fun. Turning mealtime into a game will help keep your dog entertained. Try a slow feeder dish, stuff some peanut butter or wet food into a classic Kong, or let your dog knock around a treat dispensing ball filled with part of his dinner or small low calorie treats.

4. New toys, Mom! The same old toys get boring after a while.

And they prefer the soft, squeaky kind. Bored dogs will look for inappropriate toys, so giving them a variety of approved playthings will help keep them out of the trash.

You can mix up your dog’s toy stash to keep him interested—don’t leave toys scattered about, but hide and rotate toys over time so when they come back into the rotation, they’re brand new again. You can also hide toys around the house or yard.

5. Let him watch some TV. DOGTV that is. If you’re a DIRECTV subscriber, you can add on this channel tailored to stimulate your dog. It’s also available on Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV. You can also leave Animal Planet or NatGeo Wild on to keep your dog engaged while you’re away.

6. Give him a playmate. Bored dogs are often solo dogs. Although it’s a lot of work, in the beginning, being a multi-dog household gives your dogs built-in socialization and stimulation. Make sure your dogs get along, though—don’t pair an alpha dog with an alpha dog and expect peace and harmony. Get help from a certified dog behaviorist or trainer before bringing home a second furry family member.

 

The Bottom Line

Yes, dogs get bored. Sit around the house all day with absolutely nothing to do and you’d get bored, too! Try some cool new toys or puzzles to keep your dog engaged and, of course, exercise always helps. Mixing up your dog’s routine will keep him stimulated and happy—and the house intact!

What Foods Are Safe For Dogs at Thanksgiving?

 

Is your dog joining you at the Thanksgiving table this year? Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and if your dog is like most dogs, they will definitely be joining in on the food fun!

Sure you technically should not give your dog people food. But, it’s Thanksgiving.  Our dogs are part of the family. A poll from PetMD says that 56 percent of people do give their pets some food on Thanksgiving.

It is perfectly fine to give your dog small pieces of turkey as a treat or mix it with their regular food.

The question is: Which Thanksgiving snacks are safe for dogs and which are not? 

Thanksgiving classics like turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce or mashed potatoes to our furry friends under the table. But what may be delicious to us, may not be safe for our pups.

Here’s a look at some Thanksgiving foods that are OK for dogs to eat, and which you should avoid:

 

Safe:

1. Turkey

It’s not Thanksgiving without turkey. And dogs can eat lean protein, so giving your pup a little Thanksgiving turkey is absolutely fine. Just make sure that you’ve taken out any bones that your dog could choke on and take off the skin. The gravy, though, could be too much for your dog.

2. Sweet Potatoes

A little bit of sweet potato is a great snack for your dog. You might want to skip it, though, if you add marshmallows to your sweet potatoes. And definitely, check to make sure there’s no Xylitol in your marshmallows if you do add them.

3. Macaroni and Cheese

Who doesn’t love mac n cheese? You could give your dog some macaroni and cheese as a Thanksgiving snack as long as you know that your dog can handle the dairy well. If not, a piece of a roll could be good.

4. Vegetables

Vegetables are always a great, healthy treat for your dog. And there are plenty of options on Thanksgiving. Hand over some carrots or some green beans for your pup to crunch away on.

5. Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes would be fine to give to your dog. But as Care.com points out, it depends on how you make them. If you add onions, garlic, chives, or leeks, for example, you should definitely skip the potatoes.

6. Cranberry Sauce

Similarly, a little cranberry sauce should be OK for your pup, but it depends on how it’s prepared. If you’re adding macadamia nuts or raisins, then you definitely should not give it to your dog. Some canned cranberry sauce, too, could have too much sugar for your dog to handle.

Unsafe:

1. Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin isn’t bad for dogs. In fact, vets recommend you give your dog a little pumpkin when they’re having digestive issues. But pumpkin pie can have spices like nutmeg, which is very bad for dogs. And you might not want to give your dog too much pumpkin if they’re not having stomach problems.

2. Stuffing

While some stuffing could be OK for dogs, Vet Street points out that a lot of bad ingredients could potentially be added to the stuffing. If you don’t know what’s in the stuffing, or you know it has garlic, onions, leeks, scallions, grapes, raisins, or unhealthy spices, it’s best to avoid the stuffing.