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.

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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?

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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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Socializing Your Dog or Puppy

Socializing you dog or puppy will help him to feel safe and to understand what is happening around him. By taking the time to introduce your dog to a variety of situations, you are opening him up to new experiences.

Socializing your dog or puppy is a very important part of raising a happy and well-adjusted dog.  It encourages confidence, it teaches manners, and it allows for enjoyable outings. 

Socializing your dog or puppy is the first step toward training.  A dog who is not socialized will have difficulty with trust as he has not been exposed to new ideas, smells, noises or friends, both human and four legged.  He will learn to feel safe. It will help him to understand what is happening around him. By taking the time to introduce your dog to a variety of situations, you are opening him up to new experiences and showing your dog that the world is a fun place to be.

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.

Introducing Your Puppy to Humans

Puppies are trusting and adventurous.  They are open to new ideas.  They feel that everyone loves them and will comfortably visit with anyone who is calm and inviting. 

Use every opportunity to introduce your puppy to new people, of all ages.  Taking them for daily walks has multiple benefits.  Obviously, the exercise is great and the ability to let her sniff, explore and learn about new situations provides great brain stimulation, but there will likely be people and other dogs along the way as well.  At a public park or hiking trail, your pup will have many chances to engage with humans and dogs of all ages and sizes. 

If the humans want to pet the new puppy and your puppy doesn’t seem fearful, let them.  Your dog will learn to be comfortable being approached and touched by many people.  This will create a level of comfort with people in general.  If you keep your pup away from people and anxiously pull her away, she will associate other humans with anxiety.  Once this happens, your pup may shy away from, or even become aggressive toward people because they think people are to be feared.

If the human that wants to visit with your puppy is a young child, be sure the child is calm. Be sure the parent is present and agrees to the interaction.  If possible, show the child how to let the puppy sniff his hand first and not to try to grab or move too quickly. Speak calmly and softly to both of them. Keep your puppy from jumping on the child or being too bouncy. This will benefit both the puppy and the child, as it teaches them both how to behave in each other’s company.

A dog, even a puppy, who jumps up on a young child, can create a permanent fear of dogs.  Alternatively, a child who pulls a puppy’s fur or slaps at her, can instill a fear of children in your pup.  Both of these can be avoided by taking the time to introduce both of them the best way to interact with each other.

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Introducing Puppies to Other Dogs

When introducing your puppy to new dogs, be sure to wait until she has had all of her vaccinations.  Once she can safely play with other dogs, you can take her on puppy play dates with other pet owners.  Make sure you know the temperament of the dogs you are introducing your pup to.  An overzealous or even mildly aggressive dog can have a negative impact if your puppy is afraid.  Start slowly with well socialized dogs or other puppies so that she feels safe and calm.

Another way to expose your puppy to a variety of dogs is to take a puppy training class.  While there are many dogs around that you may not know, you will be there along with a professional trainer to encourage proper interactions and maintain controlled environment.  Your puppy can be learning basic skills and manners while meeting new friends.

NOTE: LEASH FREE PARKS ARE NOT A SAFE AND CONTROLED ENVIRONMENT.  DOGS PLAYING IN A DOG PARK ARE RARELY CALM.  THEY ARE VERY EXCITED AND WILL OFTEN APPROACH YOUR PUPPY VERY QUICKLY.  THIS CAN BE TERRIFYING AND WILL BE DETRIMENTAL TO YOUR PUPPY’S DEVELOPMENT.  ALSO, NOT ALL DOGS ARE PROPERLY SOCIALIZED AND THE INTERACTIONS CAN BE AGGRESSIVE AND DANGEROUS.

Socializing Older or Fearful Dogs

Unfortunately, many dogs don’t have the benefit proper socialization as a puppy.  Rescues, for example, have often been neglected or abused before they are rescued and placed in a loving home.  Some have lived on the streets where humans were a threat and other dogs were competition.  Rescues are usually older and have passed the point of innocent puppy curiosity.  This makes socialization more difficult, but not impossible. 

There are many challenges to overcome. It will take much more time and patience.  You will have to devote a lot of time, and perhaps elicit the help of a professional trainer, but it will be worth it.  These dogs are often so grateful and eager to please. They are so loving because they have lived in fear and danger for so long.

Many of the methods used for puppies can be used for timid dogs, but the results may take a lot longer.  The use of positive reinforcement, encouragement and treats will go a long way. A professional trainer will be able to assess your dog’s needs and guide both of you through the best methods of socialization.  In the mean-time, exposure to a variety of places and people will help your fearful doggo to realize that he is safe in his new environment.  He will slowly learn to trust, which will go a long way to develop great social skills.

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Other Important Things to Consider When Socializing Your Dog or Puppy

When meeting other dogs on walks or in social settings, it’s important to remember to ask permission to approach another dog.  Even if the dog seems calm and well behaved, there may be an underlying issue that could be triggered with a seemingly innocent movement or sound.  The same rules apply for dog interactions. Your dog or puppy may just want to play with a new friend, but the other dog may be learning or dealing with fears or stresses that could result in a scary or dangerous encounter for both animals as well as the owners. 

Summary

Socialization is a very important part of raising a happy and well-adjusted dog.  It encourages confidence, it teaches manners, and it allows for enjoyable outings.  A well socialized dog is not fearful of the unfamiliar.  He doesn’t react negatively to new people.  When he sees another dog, he does not feel threatened or afraid.  These become a positive part of his day.  Each new person or dog friend is a step toward living his best life. Socializing your dog is the best way to ensure that he is able to have a peaceful and stress-free life.

Why Choose an Indoor Potty for Dogs?

Most dog owners would benefit from having an indoor dog potty on hand. It can save your floors and carpets, but more importantly, it can save your dog from physical and mental stress.

Many dog owners have chosen to use the indoor potty option while training their puppy, but once they are trained the pee pads go away and they move on to daily walks or being let out into the backyard to do their business.  Unfortunately, these options are not always easy for many pet owners.  There are many reasons why dog owners choose an indoor potty for dogs.

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When Indoor Potties are Essential:

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.

When Humans are Senior Citizens or Have a Physical Impairment

Many dog owners are not able to walk several times a day. Some may not even be able to walk once.  Hiring a dog walker is a great option, but can get expensive when the dog needs to go out several time daily.  Having an indoor potty allows the dog to relieve himself as needed and the owner to feel satisfied that their dog is not uncomfortable.

If Your Dog Is Sick

If your dog is ill or on medication, she may need more frequent trips outside.  When you are working and away from home for several hours a day, it is important that your dog has options.  Hiring a dog walker is a good way to break up the day, but if the illness or medication to fix the illness, causes frequent urination or diarrhea, it may be best to provide your dog with an alternate option that is comfortable.

Senior Dog

As dogs age, they may have difficulty holding it the way they did when they were younger.  Just like humans, bladder leakage and frequent need to void their bladder is a real and common issue.  Having an indoor potty option will help to relieve the stress associated with waiting for you to wake up, or return from work.

Long work days

Life happens.  Even if you have a dog walker coming once or twice a day, there may be some days when you are leaving your doggo for longer than you intend to.  Meetings, deadlines, traffic, public transportation delays, snow storms or whatever other interruption may happen throughout the course of your day, can cause you to be held up.  An indoor potty offers the option that both you and your dog will appreciate.

Condo/Apartment Life

Living on the 34th floor provides a beautiful view, but accessing the elevator and getting outside with a dog who hasn’t been out all night can be a cause for accidents to happen.  Puppies have little control and seniors are in similar situations.  Your dog still needs to be walked, but at least he will not be placed in a difficult situation waiting for several minutes trying to get out of the building.

Weather Restrictions

Weather can affect a dog’s ability to be outside. Some breeds have difficulty with extreme temperatures.  In extreme heat or humidity, it becomes difficult for dogs like pugs or bull dogs to breath. Alternatively, a chihuahua might struggle in extreme cold.  During these times, walking may not be an option and your dog may be better off staying inside to do his business.

Messes on the floor are never pleasant to clean, but they are not the worst part of the accident.  Before a trained dog will let go of his bladder or bowels in the house, he has probably held it until he was in physical pain. Holding it for too long could also lead to a urinary tract infection that would cause him to have difficulty holding it for several days. Psychologically, the dog immediately feels guilty.  Now they have experienced both a physical and mental struggle. 

Having an indoor potty as an option for your dog offers freedom for everyone.  It should never take the place of regular play and exercise, but there are many circumstances where they are beneficial for everyone involved.

Indoor Potty Options for Various Sizes of Dogs

Small dogs have a number of indoor potty options to choose from.  Because of their size, they can use something as small as a kitty litter box or a dog potty tray.  If they are trained to use this method at a young age, they learn that this is normal.  For those who are unable to walk their dogs, this is a great alternative.  A very small dog can get plenty of exercise in a relatively small space, and special toys and sniffing games can be offered within the house to provide plenty of mental and physical stimulation. 

Indoor dog potties excellent for temporary situations like puppy training and recovery from illness or surgery.

Many choose to use disposable pee pads.  They are quick to clean up, easy to maintain and disposable. They are absorbent enough for small bladders and relatively inexpensive. Pee Pads are also excellent for temporary situations like puppy training and recovery from illness or surgery.

Washable pee pads are reusable and are good for training as well as permanent use for small through large dogs.

Indoor turf patches placed on a potty tray provide a more natural alternative to the pee pads.  The tray catches any overflow. The turf patches can be replaced as needed. They are offered in all sizes.

If you are looking for something more permanent, you may want to subscribe to Doggy Lawn.  It’s an actual patch of grass that is sent to you at intervals that suit your needs. Simply replace the patch and disposed of the soiled patch.  It is as natural as the grass in the park and comes in a variety of sizes, so even your extra-large dog will be comfortable using it.

Because the grass is real, this is a very eco-friendly option.

For people with more space in their home, there are large litter boxes that are suitable for both male and female large dogs. 

Summary

Most pet parents’circumstances fit into one of the categories listed above. This means that most dog owners would benefit from having an indoor dog potty on hand. It can save your floors and carpets, but more importantly, it can save your dog from physical and mental stress. You and your dog will appreciate it.

Why Caring for Your Dog’s Nails is Important

Failing to keep your dog’s nails at the proper length can cause discomfort, pain and even permanent damage to your dog’s feet, legs and back.

As a dog walker, I have seen a lot of paws with nails that desperately needed to be trimmed. I’ve seen dogs slip and slide on floors and I have seen dew claws hanging and bleeding. I decided to learn more about the importance of nail trimming and how caring for your dog’s nails is an important health issue.

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.

I discovered that it is just as important as having his regular check up, his heartworm medication and his flea and tick treatments.  Failing to keep your dog’s nails at the proper length can cause discomfort, pain and even permanent damage to your dog’s feet, legs and back.

How often should you trim your dog’s nails?

A general rule for trimming your dog’s nails is to do it every four weeks.  Having said that, different dogs have different needs.

Dogs who walk a lot, especially on concrete, will wear down his nails naturally.  It may be months before he needs a trim, whereas dog who spends most of his time in the house or only going out into the back yard will not have the same wear on his nails.  This dog may need his nails cared for more frequently.

How do you know when it’s time to trim your dog’s nails?

One of the best ways to know when it’s time for a doggy manicure is by inspecting the nails when your dog is standing.  The nail should not be touching the ground.  You should be able to see a space between the nail and the floor.

The best ways to know when it’s time for a doggy manicure is by inspecting the length of the nails. These nails are too long and require a trim.

Another clear indication that it’s time for a trim is when you can hear a clicking noise when your dog walks on the floor.  If you can hear them coming because of the tick tick tick on the floor, you should break out the nail clippers, or if you prefer, head off to your groomer.

If you have slippery floors, a dog will lose his grip when his nails are too long.  You will notice him slipping when running on the floor, trying to stop or going around corners.  If you notice your dog is having trouble keeping his balance when walking on any smooth surface, check his nails to be sure they haven’t grown too long.

Always check the front and back nails. Often the back nails will be much shorter than the front. This is because dogs walk by pushing off with their hind legs.  The back feet are subjected to much more wear and tear when the dog pushes forward from the back legs.

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How is it dangerous if you don’t trim your dog’s nails?

If you let your dog’s nails grow too long, the nail begins to touch the floor.  When this happens, the toe is pushed upward and your dog’s step is changed.  This puts pressure on every part of the foot and leg.  The tendons are stretched and the bones are forced into an unnatural position.  When your dog’s step is changed it can cause leg, hip and back pain.  If nails are regularly left too long, the foot, leg and spine can become permanently damaged.

Another way that nail growth can harm your dog is when they get so long that they begin to curl.  A nail left to grow can actually curl under the foot and grow back into the pad of the foot.  Aside from the obvious pain this would cause, the difficulty it would create for your dog to walk and the permanent bone and tendon damage that would develop, the nails can cause serious infections in the foot. Removal at this stage can cause mild to significant bleeding and, if infected, drainage.

You would be best to have your vet remove a nail that has grown into a pad as it may be necessary to stop the bleeding or sterilize the open wound.

Why it’s Imperative that you trim your dog’s dew claws

Dew claws don’t touch the ground, so they can’t cause any damage, right?  Wrong.  Dew claws are very vulnerable.  They are often left out of a nail trim and become curled as described above, but they can also get caught on things when your dog is walking or playing.  If the dew claw gets ripped off or broken, it will cause a lot of pain for your doggo.  There will probably be significant bleeding.  It can become infected, so a trip to the vet for a thorough inspection is strongly advised.

The best way to prevent damage to dew claws is to keep them trimmed short enough that they don’t get caught on anything.

Clipping your dog’s nails

Many dogs do not like having their nails trimmed.  It can become a struggle if you are unable to get them to relax.  If this is the case with your pup, you may want to have the trim done by a groomer or at your vet’s office.

If you decide to trim your dog’s nails on your own, be sure to use proper nail clippers for dogs and NOT HOUSEHOLD SCISSORS!!!

Clipping Light Colored Nails vs. Black nails

Dogs with light colored nails are less difficult to do on your own.  You can clearly see where the white part of the nail ends and the pink part of the quick begins.  If you cut the quick it will be painful for your dog and it will bleed. Always stay on the white area. If you are uncomfortable or your dog is moving too much, find a groomer or a vet to do the job.  They are very experienced and you can avoid an unpleasant situation for our dog.

If you do try it on your own, be sure to have Styptic Powder close by. Should you accidentally cut the edge of the quick, you can apply the powder to stop the bleeding. Your dog will, however, still experience the pain

Black nails are much more difficult.  You cannot see the quick and it is much more difficult to avoid it.  There are nail clippers on the market now that have an LED light that allows you to see the quick.  The vet or a professional groomer may be your better option with black nails, but if you choose to do it yourself you may want to try the LED Clippers.

There is one other tool that will help if you are concerned about cutting the nails too short, or the dog moving quickly and having an accident occur.  It’s called a dremel.  It is a rotating file that grinds the nail down until it’s the length that is best for your dog. It does not hurt the nail or the quick. Your dog may take a few trims to get used to the feeling, but it can really help to reduce the risk of cutting a quick. 

Note:

The more frequently you trim your dog’s nails, the shorter the quick will be.  If your dogs quicks are already long, you can shorten them with frequent trims.  The quick will begin to recede and you will be able to cut your dog’s nails shorter. This will make them easier to maintain and your dog will be comfortable walking.

Why You Should Never Pet A Dog Without Asking

Often people see a dog walking along with his owner and feel it’s alright to just walk up and pet him. Although the dog may be cute and seem really friendly, you may not know how the dog is feeling.

There are many reasons why you should never pet a dog without asking the owner. Often people see a dog walking along with his owner and feel it’s alright to just walk up and pet him.  Although the dog may be cute and seem really friendly, you may not know how the dog is feeling.  Dogs, like any other creature, have feelings and emotions that could impact their reaction to strangers.

Here are some things to consider when you see a dog out for a stroll:

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You Don’t Know the Dog’s History

Often people see a dog walking with his owner and feel it’s alright to just walk up and pet him.  Although the dog may be cute and seem really friendly, you do not know how the dog is feeling or how he will react.

Many rescue dogs come from very difficult or traumatic backgrounds.  Often, they were abused or left to live in horrible conditions.  Many never fully recover from their experiences.  Although they may be perfectly calm and happy with their new family, there are certain noises, smells, movements or even voice tones that trigger the fear they once felt. 

If you or your child move toward a dog without warning, the dog may react in a defensive manner that looks like aggression.  Usually, they are more afraid than you are, but they will growl, bare their teeth and in some cases, bite to protect themselves.

Just like humans, dogs can suffer from a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Although you may be a dog lover that would never consider harming a dog in any way, you may be wearing the same perfume or cologne that someone who once harmed them did.  Your voice may have a very similar tone  or your red jacket may be a reminder of an arm that once hit him. 

A dog owner will often know what can trigger his dog’s fears and will let you know what is best for his dog. 

The Dog May Not Be Feeling Well

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.

When dogs are feeling under the weather, they may not be up to having company.  An upset stomach, an ear infection feeling weak or ill in any way can cause a dog to react differently that she normally would.

They may just prefer to be left alone.  A walk is necessary for them to get some fresh air and do their business, but what they really want is to get back home, crawl into their doggy bed and curl up for a nap.

If someone comes toward them, all bouncy and excited to play with the dog, you may get a warning or other negative reaction from him.

Again, this puts everyone in an dangerous position.  A simple, “Is it alright to see your dog?”, could spare everyone, including the dog, a lot of grief.

The Dog May Be On Some Kind Of Medication

Just as with humans, medications can affect your mood, balance, judgement and fatigue and adrenaline levels.  Approaching a dog that is feeling out of sorts could result in a reaction that is very out of character for the dog.

The dog’s owner knows if her dog is taking medication.  She would also be aware of even the most subtle irregularities in her dog’s behavior and would be able to explain why it may be best to wait for another day to visit with him.

The Dog May Be In Training And Needs To Focus

When a dog is in training it is important for the owner to have his full attention.  Every lesson takes concentration and focus.  By randomly walking up and petting someone’s dog, you may be interrupting a training session and setting the dog’s learning back.

It may appear that the dog is just walking along, but it is possible that the owner is trying to maintain a connection while guiding the dog through a distraction or trigger.

By walking up and petting the dog, you will break that connection and the dog loses focus.

She May Be A Service Dog

Service dogs are used for a variety of reasons. Most people immediately think of a guide dog for people with reduced sight or blindness. The fact is that service dogs are used for many purposes. People with physical disabilities, PTSD, and even those who need emotional support commonly have service dogs to help them function on a day to day basis.

A service dog needs to be totally focused on the owner for service purposes.  When someone randomly approaches a service dog to pet her, it could compromise her ability to do her job properly.

The Dog May Be In Physical Pain

A dog who is experiencing some kind of pain may not want to be touched, Many dogs suffer with arthritis.  Others could be dealing with dental pain or recovering from surgery.  These are not visible signs of pain.

If you approach a dog who is in pain, he may be reactive. Although this would only be an attempt to warn you to stay away, it can be scary for both of you.

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The Owner May Have Difficulty Holding On To The Dog If He Gets Excited or Spooked

If you approach a dog who is easily excited, she may lunge or pull on her leash.  The owner will have to hold the dog back.  Should the owner be physically incapable of comfortably holding the dog, the situation could result in a number of scenarios.

  • Senior citizens, people with physical impairments or someone with a broken limb could be put in a position where they fall, causing injuries.
  • The dog could harm you by jumping up.  A heavy dog lunging at you can be a lot stronger than they appear. 
  • The owner cold lose control of the dog and it could run away.

If you don’t know a dog and you would like to approach him, ask the owner if it is a good idea to pet their dog.  If they say no, don’t feel offended.  Know that by leaving the dog to enjoy his walk, you have helped him and potentially avoided a dangerous situation.

Your safety is as much your responsibility as it is the dog owner’s.