7 Reasons Why You Should Stay Off Your Phone When Walking Your Dog

When you are out with your dog, you must pay attention to everything that he is doing. If you spend your time focusing on your phone, you may miss something that will harm your dog – or worse.

When you are out with your dog, you must pay attention to everything that he is doing. If you spend your time focusing on your phone, you may miss something that will harm your dog – or worse. These are 7 reasons why you should stay off your phone when walking your dog, even if he is on a leash:

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post if required. All safety and medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice, and treatment.

You May Not Notice Your Dog Pooping and Fail to Clean it Up

While this may not seem like a serious problem, it could land you in a legal mess. In many places, failing to clean up after your dog can result in fines. An extreme scenario would be where your dog leaves a present on the wrong neighbor’s lawn. You could end up with more than a fine. You could be faced with a formal complaint that, if the neighbor is angry enough, results in having to move or forfeit your pet. 

Your Dog May Lunge At or Chase and Harm Another Dog

If you are not tuned in, you may not see another dog in the vicinity. Even the most well trained and disciplined dog can react to another animal without warning. If your dog becomes aggressive, she can do some serious physical harm to another dog. The result of the fight can be two-fold. First, both animals can be seriously injured. While the physical pain these dogs are suffering is very sad, there could be some very large vet bills incurred. On top of that, if a dog is deemed aggressive or viscous, a judge can rule that she has to be put down.

Another Dog, Coyote or Other Animal Might Approach and Attack Your Dog

Border Collie on a leash with a man and dog approaching on a path in a park.
Photo by: M. Shea

Similar to the previous situation, if you are not focused on what is going on around you, your dog could become a victim to another aggressive dog. Not all dogs are on leashes and not all owners are paying attention to what their pets are doing.

In my area, as well as many others, there is a large coyote population. A smaller dog is very vulnerable to a larger canine. If you are alert, you can remove your dog from harm’s way. Your dog may be severely injured or killed by an attacking dog, coyote, or other wild animal common to your area, if you are on your phone.

Children May Run Toward Your Dog, Causing an Aggressive Reaction

If your head is buried in your phone, you may not notice a nearby child. Although many children are afraid of dogs or taught at an early age not to approach a dog without asking, I have been in many situations where a child or group of children is so excited to see my dog that they run toward him squealing with excitement. This can be very scary for any dog, but a dog who is already timid can become very reactive. If he should bite a child, it could cause serious injuries. In this unfortunate situation, the dog will still be legally blamed for harming the child and you could be ordered to put your dog down as he will be deemed a dangerous animal.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

Sniffing Something Dangerous Can Cause Illness

Border Collie sniffing a patch of large green leaves in the park.
Photo by: M. Shea

When your dog’s head is down and sniffing intently on something, you may want to take notice. While letting your dog sniff is important for their mental stimulation, some things can cause illness or pain. If your dog is sniffing another dog’s poop, she could contract a virus or illness that is left in the poop. The same can happen with urine.  

Other surprises are lurking in bushes, flower beds, and grass, including ticks, bees, wasps, and smaller animals like skunks or porcupines. If you are not looking at where your dog’s nose is pointed, it could end up with some painful and harmful results for your pup.

Something Could Get Stuck in Their Paw

It is very common to see someone walking along, surfing on their phone while their doggo is hobbling along on three legs. It is very common for dogs to have painful paw issues while walking. Sharp objects could become lodged in their foot, salt often gets stuck between their toes. Snow or ice buildup between their toes can be very uncomfortable, and a very hot sidewalk is a source of great pain. While you catch up on your social media or answe an email, the source of your dog’s pain goes unnoticed and unaddressed. If the offending item becomes embedded in your dog’s foot, the dog could be in pain for several days before it becomes apparent to you, at which time your dog will require a visit to the vet. 

Walkee Paws, As Seen on Shark Tank

Your Dog Could Eat Something Poisonous

Humans drop things that can make your dog seriously ill or kill them. Sadly, this can be accidental or intentional. There are also things found in nature that are poisonous. If you are distracted by your phone, you are less likely to notice when your dog scoops something up. As a dog walker and a dog owner, I have scooped more things out of dog mouths than you can imagine. The ones that could have been devastating were a big piece of chewed gum that could have contained Xylitol, acorns, a balloon, a chocolate bar, and alcohol-filled vomit. Dogs are very quick to scoop things off of the ground. If I hadn’t been paying attention, these dogs could have become very ill. I have seen many other dangerous things on the ground while walking my doggos, including pills and a bag of drugs. Fortunately, I managed to avoid them.

Vehicle Coming Out of Nowhere

A red car driving on a snow covered road taken from inside another car.
Photo By: M. Shea

When you are walking along a sidewalk, you feel safe from things like traffic. You’re not. Many situations can arise where your dog could be hit by a vehicle if your are not alert and prepared. Cars may be backing out of their driveway in a hurry. Others may not be able to see you in their blind spot.

There are many other scenarios where your pet could be stricken by some type of vehicle. You may be crossing a street where nobody was coming when you first looked but now a car appears out of nowhere. A landscaping or snow removal vehicle that comes around a blind corner could be a disaster. Vehicles that lose control on slippery roads can land up on the sidewalk. While these last few examples are freak accidents, they do happen. Staying alert and aware of your surroundings, gives you a better chance of keeping your dog out of danger.

After reading about these 7 reasons why you should stay off your phone when walking your dog, you should realize that…

Working or playing on your smartphone may seems like a great way to fill time while walking your dog. Truthfully, it is a dangerous distraction. I jokingly say that my phone is an extension of my arm. I run 2 businesses that require my constant attention. While I understand the urge to “just check one thing”, I also understand that doing so can have dire consequences for the dog I am with. I do my best to keep it tucked away until the end of each walk. Once the dog is home and safe, I take a moment to address all of the alerts and updates. I hope you can see why this is an important decision.

Walk safe!

7 Things You Need to Know About Ear Infections in Dogs

Dogs’ ears are one of the most sensitive parts of their bodies. They are also vulnerable to a variety of issues, most commonly, ear infections. All dogs’ ears have an internal shape that allows water, wax, dust, dirt, and any other object that will fit in there to collect and fester. This makes them vulnerable to ear infections.

Dogs’ ears are one of the most sensitive parts of their bodies. They are also vulnerable to a variety of issues, most commonly, ear infections. All dogs’ ears have an internal shape that allows water, wax, dust, dirt, and any other object that will fit in there to collect and fester. This makes them vulnerable to ear infections. Some dogs are more susceptible than others because of the type of ears they have. No matter the breed, size, or age of your dog, being familiar with the signs and symptoms of an ear infection is a good idea. An ear infection that goes unrecognized and therefore untreated, can lead to chronic ear infections and ultimately, permanent hearing issues. Here are 7 things you need to know about ear infections in dogs:

What are the Causes of Ear Infections in Dogs?

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post. All medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

There are several ways that a dog’s inner ears can become irritated which eventually leads to a painful infection. One of the most common causes is dampness that is not properly dried. When the water remains in the ear, the dampness causes bacteria to grow, and infection sets in.

This initial infection occurs in the outer ear (Otitis Externa) but according to pets.webmd.com, is, 

“usually a secondary development in up to 50% of chronic otitis externa cases.”

While water seems to be the leading source of ear infections, your dog may have many other irritants causing the infection to set in. Other causes to be aware of are:

Ear Mites – small parasites that are found on the surface of the skin in the dog’s ears. Ear mites are contagious to other pets through direct contact.

Yeast – mostly caused by dampness or humidity. Other causes are related to the consumption of grains, sugar and taking antibiotics.

Dust, dirt, and debris – when small particles become trapped in the dog’s ear, it can cause irritation that leads to infection.

Polyps – bumps that grow in the ear. They can be brought on by allergies, or excessive amounts of earwax that causes the ear to become irritated and inflamed. Polyps develop causing a blockage or partial blockage in the ear, making it easy for fluids to become trapped, leading to bacterial or yeast growth.

Ultimately. All dogs are susceptible to contracting ear infections given their surroundings, but they are especially problematic for dogs with floppy ears, including:

Golden Retriever face with ears hanging.
Dogs with floppy ears are prone to ear infections. Photo by: M. Shea

Basset Hounds

Beagles

Cocker Spaniels

Dachshunds

Saint Bernards

Poodles

Afghans

Golden Retrievers

This is because the ear covers the ear canal keeping the area moist, resulting in bacterial or yeast growth.  

Is Grooming Associated With Ear Infections?

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

There is definitely a connection between grooming your dog and ear infections. Because your dog is being bathed while at a groomer, the likelihood of water becoming trapped in the ear is a distinct possibility. A professional groomer who is properly trained to bathe a dog will watch for this and will address it.  

Cleaning your dog’s ears should be part of the grooming process. While the groomer is removing the excess fur in the ear canal, they will be careful to avoid any debris falling into the ear canal and will gently wipe any wax build-up from the area with a cloth.  

Both of these situations, if not done properly, could result in water or fur entering the canal and a build-up of wax that could block the debris and moisture in.

This is why you should be sure to use a well-trained groomer to care for your dog. It may seem like a simple task, but bathing and grooming your dog requires a skilled professional to avoid issues related to the grooming process.

Can Swimming Cause Ear Infections In Dogs?

Just as with bathing, swimming can cause water to enter the ear canal and become trapped. This is known as Swimmer’s Ear. When your dog is swimming he may put his head underwater. Even if your dog’s head appears to stay above the water line, waves splash up around your dog’s head and can enter the ear canal. If you are spending the day at the beach, water is not the only concern. Sand and debris can easily enter then ear canal and become stuck.

Dogs who are prone to ear infections will be more susceptible to Swimmer’s Ear, but it can occur in any dog after a day at the beach. Cleaning your dog’s ears with a Veterinary approved ear cleaner will help to clear out dirt, sand, or debris and will help to evaporate any remaining fluids left in the ear canal.

The following video demonstrates how to use ear cleaning solutions and supplies safely and effectively when caring for your dog’s ears:

Video from: Forever Home Initiative

What Are The Symptoms of Your Dog’s Ears Being Infected?

When a dog’s ears become irritated, they will begin showing signs of discomfort. Your dog may begin to shake her head repeatedly or scratch at the affected ear. Some dogs may rub their heads along the ground in an effort to ease the itching and burning.  

As the infection progresses, the dog may wince or pull away from you when you touch the ear area. If you look into the ear, you may see red skin inside the ear flap, dark-colored fluid coming from inside the ear canal and there may be a foul odor emanating from the ear.

Inside of a Golder Retriever's ear showing redness and irritation
Ears may become red and irritated.
Photo by: M. Shea

If you see any of these indicators, you should visit the vet immediately to have your dog checked out by a professional.

How Does the Vet Test Your Dog For a Potential Ear Infection?

The vet will inspect the dog’s outer ear, looking for visible signs of infection. Then she will use a tool called an otoscope to look into the ear canal to see if there are any obstructions and to ensure that the eardrum has not been damaged or perforated.  

A sample of the discharge from the ear may be collected to learn the cause of the infection.

What Kind of Medication Will Your Vet Prescribe?

Depending on the type of infection, the vet may prescribe medicated drops, topical cream, or a prescription ear cleanser to treat the infection. Something that has been lodged in the ear canal and is causing the infection, may have to be removed surgically.

What Happens if Your Dog’s Ear Infection Goes Untreated?

Aside from the severe pain your dog will experience, untreated ear infections will cause permanent damage to your dog’s hearing. In severe cases, the damage may result in deafness. Your dog could also experience a permanent loss of balance as ear functionality is directly related to equilibrium. 

Many DIY, home remedies, and natural methods suggested for use in treating ear infections, can cause more harm than good. Some cause skin irritations, others might exacerbate the problem by leaving dampness in the ear canal.

A veterinarian or a professional Naturopath, if you prefer, will provide your dog with the best treatment methods.

Summary

A dog’s ears are complex and sensitive. Caring for your dog’s ears is a vital part of your dog’s wellness routine. It is important to be aware of symptoms of ear pain and discomfort. Seek treatment immediately if your dog appears to be uncomfortable, especially after swimming or bathing. Using veterinary recommended ear cleaners can help to prevent buildup in the ear canal that can cause blockage or bacteria to grow.

Protecting and caring for your dog’s ears will prevent permanent damage that will affect their lifestyle. 

Related post:

What is Dog Dementia? How Do I Know if My Dog Has It?

What is Dementia?

The CDC defines dementia as, “The general term for the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interferes with doing everyday activities”

This means that doing day to day things becomes difficult.  You may forget how to tie your shoes or use the remote to change the TV channel. For dogs, this could mean forgetting where the food dish is, or how to play fetch. They may not understand commands that they have been responding to since puppyhood or may act strangely.

Many are surprised that dogs are susceptible to developing dementia or Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, but they do and it’s important to know how to identify it so that you can help your dog to feel safe and comfortable.

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post if required. All safety and medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice, and treatment.

As with humans, the cause of dementia in dogs is not clear.  Some think that it is caused by plaque build-up in the brain. Others feel it’s a result of a reduced amount of dopamine. Both cause communication between nerves in the brain to be blocked.

How common is it for Dogs to Develop Dementia?

Diagnosing dementia in dogs has become more common in recent years.  As we learn to properly care for our dogs, they are living longer and longer.  Signs of dementia are found in about half of dogs who are more than eleven years old, but symptoms may be discovered in dogs as young as nine.  Almost twenty percent more are diagnosed by the time they are fifteen.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Dog Dementia? 

You may not recognize the signs right away as they can be subtle and are often brushed off as other things.

Your dog may occasionally not react when you call his name.  He may not perform a trick or a command. You may notice that he has developed sleep issues or sometimes he may not want to eat. He may not want to play as often as he did before or may become a Velcro dog. Sometimes, in later stages you may find that he seems lost in his own house or yard, maybe unable to find his favorite bed. He may begin jumping up on furniture he was never allowed to be on or having accidents in the house.  You may find that he seems to be agitated or you may find him crying for what seems to be no reason at all.

German Shepherd laying down with her head on her paws looking sad.
Photo by: M. Shea

These symptoms don’t just happen overnight. One unusual situation here and one weird event there. They don’t seem to be connected. Sadly, in many cases we justify all of these symptoms as the actions of a dog being silly, having eaten something that disagrees with him, being rebellious, or just being a cranky old guy.

As the disease progresses and the symptoms become more frequent, it becomes apparent that there is something more going on and the dog is taken to the vet for an examination.

How is Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Diagnosed?

Because there are no specific tests to diagnose dementia, it is basically done by process of elimination.  The vet will run a battery of tests to see if your dog’s urine, blood, or brain show any symptoms of another illness. A dog who is unable to see or hear could seem to be lost or disobedient, therefore a hearing and vision test will be done.  Accidents in the house could be brought on by a urinary tract infection or kidney issues.  Bowel function will be analyzed for the same reason.  

If all of the test results for physical problems are normal, your vet will ask questions pertaining to your dog’s history and current behavior.  The results of the physical and questionnaire will help the vet conclude that your dog has dementia.

Are There Any Medications to Cure or Manage Dog Dementia?

While there is no cure for dementia, there are medications available to manage some of the symptoms.  

Selegiline is a drug used in an attempt to help with cognitive function.  According to VCA animal hospital, “its effectiveness has not been proven.”

To assist with a dog who is agitated, crying, or showing any other symptoms of stress or anxiety, the vet might prescribe medication to help calm your dog.

Can Games or Activities Prevent Dementia in Dogs?

Golden Retriever staring off into the distance while standing in the park.
Photo by: M. Shea

Keeping your dog busy and active keeps his brain sharp.  Similar to exercising his body, making sure your dog’s brain is well exercised will help to maintain its function.  

Here is an article that will provide you with ideas for stimulating your dog’s brain in order to help prevent or slow down the progression of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction.

Exercising Your Dog’s Brain

How Can You Help Your Dog to Live Comfortably if He Has Dementia?

Some of the other things you can do to help your dog live more comfortably is to be sure to keep things in his life very familiar.  This includes sticking to a strict routine, so he knows what to expect.  What seems like a minor deviation from your daily routine can wreak havoc on a dog with cognitive issues. 

Your dog’s physical surroundings are a source of familiarity, and therefor provides comfort for a dog who can easily become disoriented.  It is important not to move or change furniture.  Changing houses or traveling with your pup could cause increased stress and emotional strain leading to more confusion and disorientation.  The more things stay the same, the more content and self sufficient your dog will be.

Most of all, be patient.  Living with a dog with dementia is frustrating for everyone, but mostly for your doggo. If you become stressed or impatient, he will sense it. He is the same loyal friend you have loved since puppyhood, and he needs you now more than ever.

Which Dog Breeds Can’t Swim?

When you and your dog plan to spend time near water, it is important to know which dog breeds can’t swim and how to prevent unwanted accidents.

When you and your dog plan to spend time near water, it is important to know which dog breeds can’t swim and how to prevent unwanted accidents.

As a teenager,  I remember swimming with my cousin one Sunday afternoon. My mom, my aunt, and her St. Bernard, Tiny, were sitting on the beach watching us in the water.   My cousin was splashing around when suddenly, Tiny came barreling into the water and headed straight toward us.  With all the activity she thought my cousin was drowning and came out to rescue her.

The water was fairly shallow and my cousin was able to stand up to show Tiny that she was ok.  As soon as she did, Tiny turned and swam back to shore.  It wasn’t long before she was struggling to swim. She was barely keeping her head above the water. Her size and the weight of her coat were pulling her down and we were worried about her drowning. We each walked alongside her and helped her to shore. 

Until that day, I thought all dogs could swim. It turns out there are many dogs that either can’t swim at all or shouldn’t be in deep water for any length of time due to their body shape, size, or amount of fur. The following is a list of some of the dogs that should avoid the water and some reasons why it might be unsafe for them.

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post if required. All safety and medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

Some Dog Breeds Who Struggle to Swim or Play in Water

Any dog who has a flat face, also known as brachycephalic, will have a high risk of drowning as water will easily enter their mouths and nose.  Most dogs with flat faces contend with a variety of breathing issues at the best of times.  These issues would be exacerbated  if water should be inhaled and they would struggle to stay afloat. These breeds include:

English bulldogs

French bulldogs

Boxers

Pugs

Pekingese

Body structure comes into play when trying to swim. Some dogs with short legs and long or round bodies will find it difficult to swim. Their short legs make it difficult to wade through the water, resulting in the dog becoming tired and unable to continue to stay afloat. The following dogs fall into this category:

Dark brown French Bulldog panting with his ears up.
Photo by: M. Shea

English Bulldogs

French Bulldogs

Corgis

Daschund

Basset Hound

Scottish Terriers

Bull Terrier 

You will notice that the English and French Bulldog fall into both of the categories listed above, making it clear that they should not be around water without strict supervision and safety gear in place.

Any large dog with a heavy coat will likely be in danger when the coat becomes saturated.  Similar to the situation I witnessed with Tiny, they will quickly find that the weight of the coat when full of water makes it difficult to stay afloat. Here are a couple of breeds who would find swimming to be a challenge:

Cane Corso

Chow Chow

Saint Bernard

Note: small dogs with heavy coats can have the same issues as the weight of their coat is heavy relative to their size.

Some dogs who have multiple issues, including body structure,  flat face, and are fragile when it comes to temperature.  Any cold water or cold air when they come out could result in illness. It’s best for these breeds to hang out on the beach with a bowl of fresh water,  under an umbrella:

Maltese

Shitzu

When swimming in cold water, a dog’s body temperature needs to adjust to the change in temperature.  For some breeds with shorter or thinner fur, or who are very thin, this does not happen as easily, leaving them unable to stay afloat. Some breeds who have difficulties with regulating body temperature are:

Greyhounds

Whippets

Dobermans

Boxers

Additional Circumstances that can Affect a Dog’s Ability to Swim.

Another thing to remember is grooming and the length of fur. Many dogs have fur that, when wet, will cover their eyes. This makes it difficult to see and maneuver their way to safety.

A dog’s age can affect their physical condition and change their ability to function on land as well as in the water.  You should never assume that because your dog was fine swimming in the lake at the cottage last year, that the same will apply this year.

Sunset along a treelined a lake.
Photo by: M Shea

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

Do Dogs Instinctively Swim?

No,  Not all dogs can be thrown into the water only to have their natural instincts kick in allowing them to swim back to safety.

If your dog is not familiar with water, there may be a learning curve.  While some are natural swimmers, others need to practice getting in and out, swimming, and generally feeling at ease when playing in or near the water.

This is not a complete list of dogs that have trouble swimming or playing in the water.

There are so many breeds and so many mixed breeds that it would be almost impossible to list every one who would be at risk in the water.

Even if your dog is not on the list, it is always advisable to check with your vet before taking your dog for a swim, boating, or to the beach or pool.  Your dog may also have specific medical issues that would make it better for them to stay dry. Dogs who are prone to skin issues or ear infections might also want to opt out of the pool party.

Best Practices for Keeping Dogs Safe From Water Accidents

It is always the best practice when your dog is near water, be it on the beach, poolside, or in a boat, to have them wearing a floatation device. There are life jackets that are designed to fit your dog’s specific breed, keeping them safe around water.  Lifejackets for dogs are not one-size-fits-all. It is important to find the right fit for your dog’s shape and size.

Even dogs who are avid swimmers should not be left around water unattended. It is important to keep dogs safely in sight while around lakes, oceans, rivers, or streams. Pools should be safely fenced off from where your dog plays in the yard. When boating, every dog should be wearing a life jacket. Even the strongest swimmers can suffer some form of injury in a boating accident or a fall from the boat that will prevent them from swimming to safety, even when docked.

Should your dog fall into the water, be sure to pull them out quickly and dry them thoroughly to avoid other medical issues. If you are concerned that they may have swallowed salt water,  been injured in the fall, or from the water itself, you should have them checked immediately by a vet to be sure all is well.

Summary and Further Reading

Knowing which dog breeds can’t swim is important, but there are many things to consider when you take your dog to the beach.  This article will give you some ideas about how to enjoy a day at the beach with your dog.

https://www.wikihow.com/Choose-the-Right-Life-Jacket-for-Your-Dog#:~:text=You%20want%20the%20vest%20to,body%20at%20the%20neck%20opening.

Play safe.

Should You Sleep with Your Dog?

Sleeping with your dog can offer a sense of security. Knowing that your dog will alert you to any noises or dangers allows you to sleep deeper. Because you are not on high alert you are able to relax, providing better sleep quality. 

I remember my aunt crawling into bed every night followed by a German Shepherd named Silver, a Golden Lab named Custo, and a little mutt named Tidbit. I was always jealous of the way they loved her and wanted to be with her. She would work long days and arrive home late in the evening. From the moment she arrived until she left for work again the next morning, these pups were glued to her. There were many other family members home throughout the day, but their bond with her was special. 

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post if required. All safety and medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice, and treatment.

It never crossed my mind that having her dogs in her bed might be considered poor pet parenting or bad for her health. It wasn’t until I was an adult and had my own dog that I started hearing mixed ideas of the benefits and dangers of sleeping with your dog.

How a Dog Can Make You Feel Safe

The face of Princess, a German Shepherd, looking at the camera while laying on the floor.
A dog may prefer not to sleep in your bed. (Photo: M. Shea)

When I inherited my first dog, a German Shepherd named Princess, I was living alone with my two daughters. She was my father’s dog until he passed away. Thankfully, he had trained her very well and she was an excellent guard dog. I knew the basics of caring for a dog but had only owned cats until she came to stay. Although I had never felt vulnerable or been afraid in my home, as soon as Princess moved in, I felt an immediate sense of security. I felt safer when my teenage daughters were alone in the house while I was at work, and I slept a little deeper knowing that she would alert us and protect us from anything without hesitation. 

Princess never slept in my bed. She was welcome to, but she disliked the stairs and opted not to come upstairs to the bedroom. She had her own armchair that she would curl up in at bedtime and as soon as we came downstairs in the morning, she would wag her tail and jump up to greet us. I always felt guilty and occasionally I would sleep on the pullout couch to be close to her. Sometimes she would crawl in beside me, and other times she would return to her chair beside the pullout and sleep in her place. I took this as a sign that she was happy with her sleeping arrangements.

Different Dogs have Different Preferences

Years later, after she passed away, I adopted Zorro, a rescue dog who was only 9 months old. He had been living with his foster mom who had trained him well and he was very well-loved. She told me that he did not like being crated. She had tried but he would cry and shake in fear. I decided that I would never even try to use a crate with him. We got him a nice bed for the floor, and he was offered the option of crawling in with me. He has slept in my bed for almost five years and rarely leaves the bed at night. He has his side, I have mine, and the cat has adopted the bottom corner. I am beginning to understand how my aunt felt and it’s pretty good!

The face of Zorro, a black Labrador Retriever staring off into the distance while in bed.
Some dogs are more comfortable curling up in your bed. (Photo: M. Shea)

Still, I read and hear rumblings of why this may not be a good idea, so I decided to look into it in more detail. It turns out, there are pros and cons for both the human and the doggo. 

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

The Benefits for Humans

As I felt with Princess in the house, sleeping with your dog can offer a sense of security. Knowing that your dog will alert you to any noises or dangers allows you to sleep deeper. Because you are not on high alert you are able to relax, providing better sleep quality. 

The benefits of proper sleep include improved mental health, improved physical health, weight loss or maintenance, and improved memory. 

Why Sleeping With Your Dog Might Not Be Good For You

There are times when sleeping with your dog can be detrimental to your health as well. As long as you are getting a good night’s sleep, then all is well. However, if your dog is causing your sleep to be disturbed, you may be putting yourself in an unhealthy situation.

Some dogs move a lot throughout the night. They may be trying to get comfortable; they may be hot (or cold) and looking for a position that provides the right temperature. If they stretch out and start taking over the bed, you will not have enough space and it could cause you to lose sleep simply because you are unable to find a comfortable position. They may also be really light sleepers which is great for your protection but can make them a little restless. This constant movement may disturb your sleep.

How Does Your Dog Benefit from Sleeping with You?

Dogs are instinctively pack animals. They travel in packs and sleep curled up close to one another. It’s often said that the human becomes their dog’s Alpha Dog. This means that your dog considers you their pack leader. It is a natural response for your dog to want to sleep close to their leader, so being in your bed offers them the same type of comfort they would experience in the wild. This closeness also allows for your dog to bond with you, and you can further develop a level of trust between you and your pup.

In Some Cases, it’s Best if Your Dog Doesn’t Sleep in Your Bed

While you may think it’s a great idea, curling up with you for the night may not be in the best interests of your dog. Sometimes, there are medical reasons that cause your dog to be uncomfortable in your bed. A dog who has arthritis may be uncomfortable on a soft bed, but worse, the pain from arthritis may be excruciating if you roll over on a paw in the night. It also may be difficult to jump onto or down from the bed if your dog has sore joints. Offering a ramp or visiting the vet or dog chiropractor could help to ease these discomforts, but it may be best to place a nice bed on the floor, at least until they are feeling better. You can place their bed close to yours, so your dog feels as though they are still laying with you.

Pain is not the only reason you may want to avoid having your dog in your bed. Your dog may just not enjoy being there. Some dogs are too hot. Some are too big and some just prefer the cozy feeling of their crate when they sleep. Take the cue from your pet and let them decide what is best for them

How Do You Decide What is Best for You?

You know yourself and your dog best. Between the two of you (or more of you are anything like my aunt) you can decide what provides you all with your best sleep. There is no right or wrong. While I couldn’t get Princess to sleep with me, I understood and respected that it was best for her. I can’t get Zorro to leave my side and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Is a Chiropractor Good for Dogs?

When conventional methods such as weight reduction or pain medication have failed to resolve your dog’s symptoms, the veterinarian may recommend a dog chiropractor to help ease the discomfort.

Referring dogs to be treated by a dog chiropractor is becoming more widely accepted by veterinarians across the globe, but is a chiropractor good for dogs? The realization that alternative medicine, in conjunction with conventional medicine, can offer significant benefits to the patient is becoming more commonplace. Dogs, like humans, respond well to chiropractic adjustments and treatments to help reduce pain as well as prevent the progression of many musculoskeletal conditions. 

Brown and white dog wearing an Elizabethan collar,
It’s becoming more common for vets to refer dogs to a dog chiropractor to help ease discomfort.
( Photo: Canva Pictures)

     

Symptoms Indicating That Your Dog May Need a Chiropractor

One of the earliest signs that your dog is experiencing discomfort is when they begin to have mobility issues. Daily walks may become very slow, or a limp may develop. Games like fetch or frisbee, that your dog once loved may not be of any interest to them, and the simple tasks of getting up from the floor could seem like a slow and difficult process.

Some indicators may be a bit more subtle. When laying down you may notice that your dog is licking or biting at their paws. Some struggle to sleep. They become restless and change positions frequently. This is because the pain they are experiencing in one position can be temporarily relieved when they shift the pressure from one side to the other. When they awaken, you may find that they stretch more than they did before as the joints are becoming stiff. 

Medical Reasons Why Your Dog Might Need to See a Chiropractor

When conventional methods such as weight reduction or pain medication have failed to resolve any of the above issues, your veterinarian may recommend a dog chiropractor to help ease the discomfort. Some of the most common medical conditions that result in a referral to the dog chiropractor are:  

  • Degenerative Disc Disease 
  • Hip Dysplasia 
  • Osteoarthritis 
  • Surgical Recovery 
  • Senior dogs with mobility issues
  • Incontinence 
  • Pregnancy and delivery
Black and brown Dachshund standing in the grass on a leash.
Long-bodied, short-legged breeds are prone to hip dysplasia due to the continuous pressure on their hips. (Photo: Canva Pictures)

Short-legged dog breeds including Dachshunds, Corgis, French and English Bulldogs as well as Basset Hounds often require chiropractic care for hip dysplasia and/or spinal issues. This is generally caused by their physical makeup causing pressure on the back and hip joint. Larger breeds, including Great Danes, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Mastiffs, and Saint Bernards also tend to suffer from hip dysplasia.  With the larger breeds, their weight adds pressure to the hip joint.  The physical impact of running and jumping can also cause pressure in the hips, resulting in dysplasia.

Black Great Dane staring off in the distance.
Great Danes are prone to hip dysplasia due to their size and active nature.   (Photo: M. Shea)

Are Veterinarians Qualified to be Dog Chiropractors?

Dog chiropractors are human chiropractors with additional written and practical education credentials that allow them to work on animals. Not all veterinarians are qualified to perform chiropractic treatments. If your vet feels that chiropractic care would be beneficial to your pet’s well-being, they will provide a referral to a qualified professional. If you are looking for a chiropractor on your own, be sure to check the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association or the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association for a list of reputable animal chiropractors in your area.

What Does the Dog Chiropractor Do at Each Visit?

Your first visit will involve a physical assessment. The chiropractor will look at the source of the dog’s discomfort and try to determine the severity of the condition. If your dog was referred by a vet, the assessment will include a review of the medical history provided by the referring vet. This will help to evaluate the dog’s current state. Depending on what they discover in the exam and what conditions are suspected, they may order x-rays or an MRI to confirm their suspicions. Many times, the dog will only need one alignment to reset the affected area, and it will be done during the initial visit. In some situations, it can take a series of adjustments or treatments to completely correct the source of the pain.

Mature English Bull Dog playing with yellow ball
Chiropractic care can improve mobility in older dogs.       (Photo: Canva Pictures)

Benefits of Taking Your Dog to a Dog Chiropractor:

When your dog receives chiropractic care, many common pain-related issues can be overcome. Mobility Issues are reduced or removed, and the dog will often be able to return to their normal activities. Chronic pain caused by hip dysplasia, disc disease, or osteoarthritis can be managed or eliminated, and it improves the quality of life as joints become weak for your aging pet.

There are practices to facilitate the recovery process after certain surgeries, resulting in reduced pain and a speedier return to “normal”. There are times when the sooner your dog is able to move around, the faster the body will respond and heal. Chiropractic care can even ease the effects of pregnancy. Adjustments and/or spinal manipulation can help with pain and discomfort caused by the increasing pressure and weight on the spine as the puppies grow. 

There are specific procedures that can reduce the likelihood of delivery issues. By helping to prevent stretching of the ligaments that surround the uterus, the uterus maintains its proper shape. Having these pain points addressed and monitored will make the delivery smoother. This will prevent excessive stress on the mother and the pups.

Golden Retriever Standing in yellow fall leaves.
Breeds that are predisposed or prone to hip dysplasia, spinal issues, or disc degeneration
might benefit from having pet insurance coverage. (Photo: M. Shea)

What is the Cost of Chiropractic Care for Dogs?

Dog chiropractors in the USA generally charge between $50.00 and $250.00 per visit. Often, the range in pricing is based on location. Chiropractors in larger cities likely charge more than a rural area.

The initial exam and assessment appointments are usually more expensive than the treatments. If your dog needs ongoing treatments, special package pricing is often offered to help reduce the payments.

There are additional costs associated with veterinary chiropractic service. These include X-rays, MRIs, and blood work. While most of these are associated with the diagnosis they may have to be redone. Once the initial series of treatments is complete, tests may have to be redone to assess the progress and the potential need for more adjustments.

Are Chiropractic Services Covered By Pet Insurance Providers?

Many pet insurance companies offer chiropractic coverage as additional coverage at an additional cost. As with every other circumstance, insurance companies will not cover a pre-existing condition. You have to select the add-on when purchasing your plan. If you have a dog whose breed is prone to any of the common conditions that can be managed by a chiropractor, it might be wise to opt for the upgraded insurance package.

Is a Chiropractor a Good Option for Dogs?

Taking your dog to a chiropractor may seem a bit unusual, but it is as effective for pets as it is for humans. The practice of healing animals using chiropractic techniques dates back to the early 1900s. Although the combined efforts of veterinary and chiropractic care may seem like a new concept, it has been around for a while. The American Veterinary Chiropractic Association was formed in 1989. Its purpose was to offer multiple options to treat your dog’s musculoskeletal and chronic pain issues.

Have you had an experience taking your dog to the chiropractor? Please tell us about it in the comment section.

Why It’s Difficult to Breed English Bulldogs

Although breeding English Bulldogs can be limiting and costly, there are many dedicated, qualified breeders who take the responsibility of safely carrying on the breed very seriously.  If you would like to find a good breeder, be sure to do your homework to ensure the heath and safety of all females and their puppies.

I recently spoke with an English Bulldog owner who mentioned that he had encountered a lot of difficulty when trying to find a breeder.  Initially, I thought that he meant that all the pups were spoken for, but he went on to explain that breeders were rare because the process was difficult.  Not wanting to take up too much of his time, I made a note to do some research as to why it’s difficult to breed English Bulldogs.  I was surprised to learn of all the challenges that were involved in the breeding process.

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post if required. All safety and medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

Learning About the Dogs’ Medical History

When planning to breed any dogs, it is important to get a medical background check from both parents to be sure that there are no genetic issues that could be passed down to the pups.  It is also imperative that the female only be bred a certain number of time and with appropriate recovery time between litters.

Testing for health issues is the first financial investment for the breeder. For the health of the parents and the puppies, a breeder wants to rule out any potential illnesses, genetic disorders or physical abnormalities.  Common medical concerns found in English Bulldogs are:

  • Respiratory (Brachycephalic Syndrome)
  • Lung issues
  • Cardiovascular concerns
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Various eye health and vision issues

Brachycephalic Syndrome

Many English Bulldogs have breathing issues.  You cannot breed a male or female with existing or surgically repaired breathing issues.  The genetic makeup of many bulldogs includes physical crowding in the back of the throat that make it difficult to breath.  This is known as Brachycephalic syndrome Many will wheeze or snort especially in the warmer months or when exerting themselves, as it is very difficult for the air to pass through the nose and throat.  This will not only be a condition that will be passed onto her pups, but it will make the strain of the pregnancy difficult for the mom in the later stages.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

Physical Issues Obstruct the Mating Process

Tan and white English Bulldog standing in a field.
The English Bulldog’s round bodies and short legs can make it difficult for them to mate.

Another potential problem with breeding English Bulldogs is that they can’t always mate naturally.  Their round bodies and short legs can make it difficult for the male to mount the female. In this case, artificial insemination may be necessary.  This makes the process difficult and costly for the breeder.

Difficulties with the Birth of the Puppies

The final obstacle when breeding English Bulldogs, is when the mother goes into labor. Once again, the physical shape of the pups can cause issues. The size of the puppy’s head may be difficult to push through the birth canal.  An emergency Cesarean Section is often required. The danger involved with natural delivery makes it necessary for the mom to be monitored regularly by a vet or a dog chiropractor. Many breeders and veterinarians plan a C-section ahead of the expected birth date to avoid the trauma of natural birth becoming a C-section mid-delivery.  This reduces the risk for the mother and her puppies.

Consider the Financial Side of Breeding English Bulldogs

The average litter size for an English bulldog is 3 to 4 puppies.  This means that after all of the expenses of preparation, monitoring and delivery, the breeder only has 4 pups to sell.  High demand for these little ones makes the price per pup very expensive. Many other breeds will produce 8 – 10 pups with significantly fewer expenses during the pregnancy and early weeks of the pups’ lives.

An English bulldog can only be bred 3 times in its lifetime. This means that a breeder will generally have 12-16 dogs available to sell for each set of Bulldog parents that are qualified for breeding.

Being the nature of the breed, some pups may have breathing issues regardless of the health of the parents. Because of the awkward nature of the English Bulldog, there are situations where the pups are accidentally injured by the mother when she is nursing or sleeping with them.  This will make the pups less desirable to potential adopters and the selling price will have to be reduced.

The bottom line is that the revenue from breeding English Bulldogs can be very low.  There is a lot of work and money put into the entire process for little outcome. This makes breeding English Bulldogs as a profession less appealing, therefor there are fewer pups available for sale.

What to Remember when Looking for An English Bulldog Breeder

If you are searching for a English Bulldog pup, be sure to do your homework.  Ask for the DNA test results for both parents.  When working with any breeder, be sure that you can meet both parents and the pups together.  If possible, talk to the vet who is responsible for the care of the mother and babies throughout the process of the breeding.  This will help to ensure that you are dealing with a legitimate and responsible breeder. It will rule out the possibility of a puppy mill and ultimately, protect the health and well-being of many dogs.

Are English Bulldogs Good Pets?

English Bulldog are wonderful family pets and are relatively low maintenance.  They are not very active, so they are perfect for dwellings without a yard.  Short walks and lots of love are what they need the most. They tend to have difficultly breathing when hot. In warmer seasons, it may be best to limit their outdoor activities.

They are very loyal and love spending time with their people.  Having said that, they are also great protectors.  If they detect a stranger, they will warn you. If they sense danger they will immediately switch into protect mode. As with any dog, proper socialization and training are an important aspect to help your dog to understand the world around them.

Conclusion

Although breeding English Bulldogs can be limiting and costly, there are many dedicated, qualified breeders who take the responsibility of safely carrying on the breed very seriously.  If you would like to find a good breeder, be sure to do your homework to ensure the heath and safety of all females and their puppies.

For a guideline of questions that you should ask a breeder, you can refer to this document:

https://humanecanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Essential-questions-to-ask-a-breeder.pdf

Do you have any first-hand information regarding why it’s difficult to breed or English Bulldogs? Have you ever found it difficult to find a breeder? Please drop a comment in the section below.  I am always happy to learn more!

Further Reading:

https://lazypawvet.com/blog/2016/01/24/the-english-bulldog-as-a-pet/#:~:text=The%20Bulldog%20is%20a%20very%20loyal%2C%20loving%20and%20calm%20dog.&text=They%20get%20along%20well%20with,if%20they%20feel%20a%20threat.

Why Dogs Scoot

While scooting is a very common occurrence for dogs, it is a definite sign of irritation. The source of the discomfort may be something mild that will resolve itself, something a pet owner can assist with, or it may be something that requires urgent veterinary attention.

When a dog places his bum on the floor and drags himself across the room, it’s called scooting. This act usually means that your dog is uncomfortable and is trying to correct a problem in the anal area.  There are a number of reasons why dogs scoot.  Some may require your assistance and others may be an indication of a more serious medical problem that will warrant a trip to the vet.

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post if required. All safety and medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

If the scooting only happens once, your dog has probably resolved the issue on his own. Should your dog seem to be uncomfortable,  if the behavior continues or if it is accompanied by your dog licking the area, you should investigate the cause of the problem. If you don’t see anything obvious, you should ask a veterinary professional to investigate.

Scooting is generally a dog’s attempt to remove unwanted foreign objects on the fur or to relieve itching or pain.  If your dog is scooting, check for one of the following issues:

NOTE:  If you don’t see any of these on your own and your dog continues to scoot, make and appointment with your vet as soon as possible. The problem may be internal.

Dirt 

Your dog may have poop or other dirt stuck on his fur. Sometimes, if your dog’s poop is a little more runny than usual, traces may be left on the fur around the anus.  When it dries it becomes sticky and difficult to remove.  Your dog may not be able to clean it with normal grooming and will try dragging along the floor or carpet to remove the unwanted mess.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

To remove the dirty you can try washing the area and gently brushing the dirt from the fur. If it is too difficult to remove, a professional groomer will be able to bathe your dog and remove any foreign matter safely.

Matted Fur

When a dog’s fur becomes matted, it pulls and tears at the dogs skin. If your dog’s fur has grown and become matted he may be trying to relieve the discomfort by dragging himself across the floor.  Matting can also be caused by dirt or wet fur that is left to dry on it’s own.  Mild matting can be gently brushed out using a comb or dematting tool.

If the matting is severe a visit to a reputable groomer or the vet will be necessary.

Fur That Has Been Cut Too Short 

If your dog has recently been groomed or matting has had to be cut out,  The fur that is growing back can cause the area to be irritated and itchy.  Just as it does with humans, shaving too close can cause razor burn or cuts. If the grooming was too short, your dog may experience some discomfort. Scooting will act as a form of scratching.

Caution:  If your dog has any cuts or wounds, see a vet immediately as they can become infected.

Injury: 

Golden retreiver sniffing bushes where scrapes and cuts could happen.
Dogs can get scratches or scrapes while playing in bushes or trees, or just from sitting on the ground outside.

Apart from grooming, your pooch can become injured in other ways.  When they sit on the ground or play in the bushes while on a walk, it is possible to get splinters, cuts, or scrapes.  These can become inflamed and infected.  This may cause your dog to attempt to relieve the soreness by rubbing it against the cool or abrasive surface of the floor.

String/Hair/Ribbon Still Attached Inside

How often do you see your dog pooping and it looks like it is attached by a hair?  If the poop is still attached, your dog will try scooting along trying to pull the rest of it out. This can happen with hair, string, ribbon, wool or any other linear item your dog may have swallowed.  This is very uncomfortable for your pup.

If this happens, DO NOT try to pull the piece out.  The string – like item may be stuck somewhere inside your dog’s intestinal tract.  If you pull, you can cause serious internal damage to your dog.  Take your dog to the vet. A professional will do an exam and will be able to tell where the string is located.  Your vet will offer options as to how to safely remove the string.

Worms

Dogs are prone to getting a variety of worms.  These can cause anal itching.  Your dog will attempt to stop the itch by rubbing it on the floor.  

Although worms are fairly common, that doesn’t mean they are harmless. It is important that your dog’s worms are identified and treated by a vet as soon as possible to avoid further complications, illness or, in some cases, death.

Fleas, Ticks, Insect Bites or Bee Stings

If your dog has fleas, they may cause itchiness in any area, including the rear end. The itching can be extremely bothersome and your dog may be attempting to relieve the itch by rubbing it on the floor or carpet.

A bee sting, mosquito, or other insect bites can make for a painful or itchy situation for your dog. When your dog feels the effects of the insect’s sting or bite, she will attempt to ease the unwanted sensation by licking at the area or rubbing herself along the floor. If the bite is in the anal area, scooting is the best way to address the discomfort in that location.

Blocked Anal Glands

There are two sacs around the anus that contain fluid that is released when your dog has a bowel movement.  Occasionally, these sacs, known as Anal Glands, will become blocked and will not release the fluids, causing a pressure build up. This creates a lot of discomfort and your dog will try to release the pressure by scooting.  

Blocked Anal Glands should never be left untreated.  A vet will release the fluid and confirm that there has been no further damage.  A second visit, 4-6 weeks later, may be required to be sure that the anal glands are functioning properly.

For further information about blocked anal glands see:  Anal Gland Expression For Dogs

Summary

While scooting is a very common occurrence for dogs, it is a definite sign of irritation.  The source of the discomfort may be something mild that will resolve itself, something a pet owner can assist with, or it may be something that requires urgent veterinary attention. Because there are a number of reasons why dogs scoot, you should be sure to investigate the cause as soon as it happens so that you can help your doggo in safe and timely manner.

Gastrointestinal Blockage: Signs, Symptoms and Prevention

If the item that the dog consumes is unable to pass through the dog’s digestive tract, it can cause an obstruction. This can have severe consequences, including emergency surgery and death.

Puppies like to eat everything.  They explore and discover by smelling and “tasting” almost everything they come across.  This is not limited to edible items and can be dangerous.  Unfortunately, there are many adult dogs that continue this trait, even if it’s only on occasion.  If the item that the dog consumes is unable to pass through the dog’s digestive tract, it can cause an obstruction.  This can have severe consequences, including emergency surgery and death.  It’s important to monitor your dog while he plays and to remove all smaller items that can be easily swallowed. It’s always good to be aware of any signs and symptoms of gastrointestinal blockage, as well as how to prevent it from happening to your pet.

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post if required. All safety and medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

What items Cause Gastrointestinal Blockage?

There are many items that can get stuck in the stomach, intestines and colon. If the object is not able to be dissolved or broken down by the stomach acids, or is too large to get through the intestinal tract, it becomes lodged.  At this point the object cannot move up to be vomited out or down to be passed through and released through the colon.  Although any object your dog swallows can be a danger, some of the most common items found lodged in the intestinal tracts of many dogs are:

– hair ties

– socks

– underwear

– facecloths

– small stuffed toys

– corn cobs

– string, ribbon or rope

– rocks

– sticks

– broken or small chew toys

– rawhide

– bones

What Should you Do If You See Your Dog Swallow Something He Shouldn’t?

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

If you see your dog swallow something that is not dog food, you should get him to a vet immediately. Your vet may be able to help the dog to bring up the foreign object before it travels down to a location that will require surgical removal. 

NOTE:  Never induce vomiting without the advice and guidance of a veterinarian.  If you don’t perform the process properly, it could result in your dog asphyxiating should the item become lodged in the throat on the way out.

Signs and Symptoms of Gastrointestinal blockage:

Sometimes our little friends find things that we don’t see and scoop them up without our even knowing it. When this happens, if we are lucky, whatever they have swallowed will pass naturally. 

One of my family members has two Burnese Mountain dogs. One day, after she had let them out in the yard to do their business, she went out to clean up the mess and found an entire mini skirt mixed in with the “pile”.  It seemed funny at the time, but it could have been a very different, very NOT funny outcome if the skirt had become entangled in the intestines.

So how do we know if something is stuck?  There are a number of physical symptoms that could indicate blockage.

  • Vomiting food, bile or fluids
  • Lack of appetite
  • Stomach appears enlarged or bloated
  • Slow, listless, lethargic behavior
  • Diarrhea or constipation (depending on where the blockage is)
  • Dehydration
  • Stomach pain when touched
  • Whimpering or showing other signs of physical discomfort

If you see any of these signs or other unusual behaviour you should have your dog examined by a veterinarian to rule out potentially deadly blockage.

Why do dogs eat non-food items?

Many dogs, especially puppies, will eat anything within range. This is simply curiousity and exploration.  For older dogs, it is often because they are chewing on something they shouldn’t.  Bones, sticks, rawhide or chew toys that are either too small or not durable enough, among other things.  Generally, anything that can fit in your dog’s throat, has strings or has a tendency to splinter, should not be available to your dog.  It’s just too dangerous.

Some dogs actually crave or seek out certain inedible things to chew on.  This is a condition called Pica. While Pica can be a habitual tendency, it can sometimes be brought on by emotional issues, a change in diet or new stresses, including new pet, new baby or owners being stressed.  . 

Your dog may have never had this issue before, but can evolve at any time.

How Can you prevent your dog from eating non-food items?

One of the best ways to prevent your dog from ingesting dangerous items is to remove them from the dog’s reach.  This may not be as easy as it sounds, depending in your doggo’s chewing preferences.

Supervise your dog when he is playing with his toys to be sure he isn’t being too aggressive.  This will prevent breaking the toy and swallowing the broken pieces.

Hair ties, socks, string, bones, dangerous chew toys and rawhide can be removed easily. If you have young children, you should make sure that their toys are out of reach.  A Barbie shoe or toy blocks can cause serious harm to your dog.

Find ways to keep your dog entertained.  Providing him with toys that keep him busy will keep your dog distracted.  He will not be as interested in chewing on the dangerous items.

Provide durable toys to limit breakage that leads to swallowing pieces. Supervise your dog when he is playing with his toys to be sure he isn’t being too aggressive.  This will prevent breaking the toy and swallowing the broken pieces.

Make toy inspection part of your daily routine.  Ensure that all toys are in good shape and remove any that are damaged or broken.

But what if your dog chews on wires?                          

Wires are all over your house.  They can’t be taken away but they can be hidden and kept out of reach. Some ways to achieve this are:

  • Make sure all wires are tucked in behind furniture where possible.
  • If your wires are exposed, you should try purchasing a durable protective cover to wrap the wires in.  This will make them less inviting as well as more difficult to chew through.
  • Put away your electronic chargers after use.  Where possible, charge these devices on an out-of-reach table or counter.
  • Purchase a deterrent spray. Remember that this is a deterrent, not a fool proof plan.  See how it works for your pet before leaving the dogs unsupervised. CAUTION: BE SURE THAT THE SPRAY YOU CHOOSE IS SAFE FOR ALL OF THE PETS ON YOUR HOME, NOT JUST YOUR DOG!

Summary

When you have a dog in the house, you never know what might be chewed or swallowed.  The best way to avoid dangerous ingestion of non food items is prevention. 

Be aware of any unusual behavior.  Monitor for the signs listed above if you think your dog may have swallowed something.  Most importantly, if you suspect that your dog may have consumed anything other than dog-safe food, get him to a vet as soon as possible.

Eusoh Cool

How to Help a Dog Who is Grieving the loss of a Pet Friend

It’s always an emotional time for a family when you lose a family pet. This is no different for the other pets in the house. They can experience the same stages of grief that a human does.

It’s always an emotional time for a family when you lose a family pet. This is no different for the other pets in the house. They can experience the same stages of grief that a human does. There are many thoughts and ideas about how to help a dog who is grieving the loss of a pet friend. Some are simple and others will require time and patience. It’s important to remember that you are going rough this together.

What does pet grieving pet look like look like?

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

Searching or Pacing

Your dog may begin going from room to room or pacing around looking for something.  She will probably spend a lot of time circling and searching areas where her partner spent a lot of time.  Dog beds, toy boxes or that special spot on the couch where she would normally find her friend will be thoroughly and repeatedly inspected in hopes that the missing friend will return.

Crying/Whimpering

When she can’t find her partner, she may begin crying or whimpering.  Just as humans feel sadness and confusion when we lose a loved one, your dog may cry and whine.  She may come to you whimpering and “asking” for help to find her lost friend.  

Symptoms of Anxiety

An anxious dog will appear to act out. She may revert to behaviors you haven’t seen since she was a puppy, such as peeing in the house, or destroying furniture.  Your doggo may start barking when there appears to be no cause for it.  She may react badly when you leave the house.  Remember, she has not been alone when you leave for as long as your lost pet has been in her life.  When you leave the house – or even the room – she feels completely alone now.

Needy – “Velcro Dog”

In coming to you for help, she may appear very needy.  She has lost her partner and may be searching for someone to share her time with.  Her days used to be filled with a playmate.  Now she wants that interaction from you.  She may also just need to be comforted by someone safe and you are her closest friend. Sometimes, she recognizes your grief and wants to take care of you.  Her need to curl up on your lap or be glued to you wherever you go could be for both or your benefit.

Depression

Dogs can experience depression.  You may see changes in the way she interacts with you and other family members.  She may retreat to her bed and sleep longer than usual.  Some dogs may not want to play like they usually do.  All of these are signs of depression.

Lack of Appetite

Not eating may be another symptom of depression, or it may be a reaction all on its own.  Dog’s rarely go off of their food unless they are ill or experiencing emotional turmoil.  It’s probably just temporary, but if it goes on for mor than a couple of days, you should contact a veterinarian for advice.  If she stops drinking, you should contact a vet immediately to avoid dehydration.  There may be something more than the loss of her friend going on.

How to help your pet cope with the loss of another pet:

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post if required. All safety and medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

Consistent Schedule

Keep routine consistent.  There is already a big change to your doggo’s daily routine, so it is best not to change anything more. The familiar is comforting.  Meals should be served at the same times, walks taken at the same times.  The pet that passed away may have required more frequent outings, or a special mealtime that was followed by all.  Although your surviving dog may not require the same schedule to be kept, it is a good idea to maintain consistency.  Maintaining a routine provides stability in a situation that has lost some of its normalcy and will provide your dog with some form of peace.

Provide Extra Attention to the Grieving Dog

Pay extra attention to your doggo.  She needs to fill the void in her life.  She used to play, sleep or even just sit stare out the window with her buddy.  That is not an option anymore and she will be looking for a new partner.  Let her curl up on the couch beside you.  Talk to her.  Take her outside when you work in the yard. Let her know you are there for her and she still has someone who loves her.

It’s important to remember to comfort her, but avoid spoiling her. If you get too carried away, you may find yourself with a whole different emotional issue to be concerned about.

Offer the Scent of the Lost Friend

One idea to help your dog would be to gather toys, bedding, clothing – anything that has the scent of the missing friend – and put it in a special place in your home for your dog to visit.  A dog’s sense of smell is directly related to her memory. Your dog may be comforted by the scent of her missing playmate. Having a place dedicated to the memory of her friend may provide her with solace at times when she is struggling with her loss.

Socialize with Dog Friends

Socializing with other dogs can offer a distraction from the missing friend.  Play dates with other dogs will substitute the playtime she used to have with her partner

Socializing her with other dogs and people can offer a distraction from the missing friend.  Play dates with other dogs can be a substitute for the playtime she used to have with her partner while allowing her to make new friends.  She will appreciate a little doggy one-on-one time that has been missing from her daily life.

Don’t Run Out and Get a Replacement Dog

You may want to run out and get another dog for her.  While this may be a good idea for some, it may not be for others.  Just as it is for humans, you can’t simply replace a life long mate. Refrain from replacing the lost companion too quickly.  Watch your dog. See how she is doing on her own.  She how she responds to other dogs. It is best to wait until she is ready for a new friend and appears to have stopped searching and/or grieving for her lost companion.

Important to Note:

The ideas provided in this post are just some ways to help your dog cope with the loss of a four-legged friend. If symptoms of depression or over sleeping last for several days, or of your dog refuses to eat for more than a couple of days, see a veterinarian as soon as possible. There are medications that can be administered to help with your dog’s emotional condition and methods of care that a trained veterinarian may recommend. 

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