Monthly Archives: August 2013

SHELTER DOGS AND SEPARATION ANXIETY

Shelter dogs and separation anxiety often go hand-in-hand. Separation anxiety is a dog's response to the traumatic event of being separated from a previous owner or being kept in a shelter. Separation anxiety is easy to spot. The dog will probably follow its owner from room to room when they are home and then as soon as the owner leaves destructive behaviors will follow. The destructive behaviors could include:

  • Digging and scratching at doors or windows in attempt to reunite with the owner
  • Destructive chewing
  • Howling, barking and whining
  • House soiling

This behavior can be frustrating, but there are steps that can be taken to calm a dog of its separation anxiety.

Coming and Going

When you come home or when you leave don't make a big deal of it. Don't react to your dogs feverish excitement when you first walk in the door and don't react to your dogs solemn behavior when you leave. Ignore your dog for the first few minutes when you come home, then calmly pet your dog.

Something to Remember You by

Courtesy of petsafe.net

Courtesy of petsafe.net

Your dog is having these anxiety attacks because they're missing you. If you leave your dog with an old T-shirt or a pair of socks that you have just worn, it could have a tranquilizing effect on your dog. They smell you, they remember you and it seems that you're right there.

Ensuring Your Return

Your dog's anxiety can be calmed by coming up with a word or cue that would tell the dog you're coming back. You could always leave the radio on or say “be a good boy” as you leave. If you keep doing the same action every time you leave, then always return, the dog will know that those actions or words means you will be back.

If none of these seem to be working you could look into a doggie day care or leave your dog with a friend or family member while you're away. Just never punish your dog for anxiety behavior. Punishing won't help. Your dog's destruction and house soiling is not your dog seeking revenge on you for you leaving, it's just the dogs initial response to the anxiety.

 

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PREPARING FOR A DOGGY DISASTER

If you live in an area that is prone to tornadoes, earthquakes or floods you should always be prepared with a safety kit not only for yourself, but for your dog as well. Disasters are really dangerous and they will affect your furry friends just as much as you. You should fill your kit with supplies to last up to two weeks.

What to pack?

  • Water, which should be rotated every two months to ensure freshness.
  • Food, which should be rotated as well so it doesn’t go bad.
  • Medications that are needed.
  • Food bowls; the collapsible bowls are easiest to store.
  • Garbage bags for waste.
  • Carriers that fit your dog.
  • Extra leash.
  • Current picture in case your dog gets lost and you need to create a poster.
  • Blanket for warmth.

Remember to make sure your dog is always up to date on vaccines as well, for his safety and the safety of others. Also, bring copies of records to prove that your dog is up to date, along with veterinarian’s numbers. This is stuff that will be needed in order for entrance into animal shelters. You may need an animal shelter for your dog because a lot of emergency shelters don’t allow animals. It would be good to have a list of 24 hour emergency clinics for pets.

In case of injury remember a basic first aid kit for you dog. Never give a dog people medication, there are some things that work for people but could potentially be fatal for animals. Also, make sure your dog has a collar with your number on it so you can be contacted in case your dog gets lost. Collars may slip off, so another good idea is to get your dog micro chipped. Micro chipping is a computer chip that is placed under the dog’s skin with your contact information.

Your electricity might go out in a severe weather situation, so you could fill up your bathtubs and sinks at the first sign of danger to ensure fresh water for you and your doggy. You may also want to consider crating for your dog’s safety because they may become stressed out with the extreme weather and try to run off.

Always have a safe haven to go to, whether it’s a room in your house or somewhere outside of the house. Make sure in a tornado situation you have a room without windows, where you and your dog can snuggle up and wait out the storm. At the first sign of danger get your pet inside and start getting ready. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so always have a plan for you and your pooch.

If you haven’t seen the story on the Oklahoma woman who found her dog amidst the rubble of the tornado damage it’s definitely worth a view. The heartwarming video should also inspire you to prepare for the damage weather conditions can cause. Being prepared will help protect you and your dog from anything Mother Nature wants to throw at you.

Featured picture courtesy of Petfinder.com

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POOCH PROOFING YOUR BACKYARD

Everyone likes spending sweet summer days sitting in their backyard with a cold drink. Some people have extravagant gardens to look at as well. It is a common myth that once you bring the dog in, there goes the backyard. It doesn't have to be that way though. Your backyard and your dog can live in harmony if you just take these proper precautions.

Fence

Some dogs are experts at getting out of the yard. A fence seems like no barrier at all for some Houdini’s. There are things that can be done to stop even the trickiest of dogs from escaping.

  • Make sure your fence is high enough to stop jumping.
  • Make sure the fence is deep enough to stop a dog from digging under.

Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? While some people have come to find out that there is no fence high or low enough, their pooch finds a way above, under or around it.

  1. Inspect the ground of the fence for openings or check the fence for any weaknesses. Make sure there are no holes in the fence. Any damages should be fixed.
  2. Another reason your dog could be escaping is if he or she is not sterilized. Male dogs can smell a female in heat with a five mile radius, according to dailypuppy.com. An intact dog will do whatever they can to get to a female dog, fence or not, so get your dog spayed or neutered!
  3. A dog that keeps escaping could just be bored. A cure for this would be to play a game with them outside or just bring them inside. You can also consider getting your dog a playmate to ease the boredom.

    Courtesy of dogingtonpost.com

    Courtesy of dogingtonpost.com

  4. If you have a chain link fence it can grow weaker over time and can just simply be pushed out. You can call a service expert to fix it or you can try using stakes and ties to hold it in place.
  5. If your dog is escaping under a wooden fence you can try using chicken wire between the bottom of the fence and the ground.
  6. Some dogs can open latches. Make sure you don’t have any faulty latches. You may need to use a padlock to keep your dog from opening the latch.
  7. Make sure you don’t have any tables, chairs, doghouses or anything else that a dog can use to jump on. If it is close enough to the fence they can use the extra height to get over it.
  8. Some dogs can actually climb over a chain link fence by putting their paws into the holes. If this is the case a wooden fence may need to be purchased.
  9. If all else seems to be failing you can try an invisible fence along with your real fence. It may be the only way to keep your pup safely in the yard.

Garden

Once you’ve got your dog to safely stay in the yard, they may be tearing up your garden. The best way to stop this from happening is to think like your dog would. Here are some tips from Sunset.com on how to keep your garden safe and your pup happy.

  • Smaller cedar chips are easier on pup’s paws, yet large enough to not cling to silky paws.
  • Plants near paths should be sensibly soft, but sturdy enough to take some rough canine play.
  • Paths are great ways for your dog to get exercise and patrol your property line. Dogs seem to enjoy a path that they can run along. If your dog has already chosen a path through the garden it may be too hard to make them choose a new path. You can turn worn in paths into a proper pathway.
  • Every dog needs a place to go to the bathroom, but that place does not have to be your lawn or garden. You can choose a corner of your yard as your dog’s bathroom area and train your pet to go there. It could take puppies up to three weeks to learn and adult dogs even longer. You can put pea gravel, bricks or cedar chips down there, anything that’s easy to clean up. For a male dog you could consider adding a marking post so he can mark his territory, this could be a simple piece of driftwood.
  • If you want your dog to stay out of an area you should plant densely. Also, plant on raised beds or mounds and use one gallon or larger plants. For new areas being planted you can put up temporary fencing, then when you remove it add a rock border or low fencing as a reminder to stay off.
  • Avoid thorny of spiny plants because they could cause eye injuries. Also, make sure you never plant any poisonous plants. You can go to ASPCA.org for a full list of toxic plants.
    •  If mushrooms appear in your yard dig them up and dispose of them immediately, some of them can be fatal to dogs.
    • Compost pile can also be fatal to dogs.
    • Weeds are dangerous if ingested.
    • Insecticides, herbicides and mulch containing cocoa beans are toxic.
    • Keep gardening tools, power cords, hoses and watering systems in a shed. Some dogs mistake these things for their chew toys.

Keep you and your pooch safe as you enjoy these dog days of summer. Make sure you take the right steps in your backyard so you and your dog can enjoy summer out on the deck this whole warm season.

Does anyone have any good suggestions on how you pooch proofed your backyard?

Featured image courtesy of dogs.thefuntimesguide.com

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