What To Do If Your Dog Suffers From Anxiety

Many people don’t know this but just like us, dogs have anxieties too. The most common form of canine anxiety is separation anxiety. It is important that you notice signs of stress early so that you can act on it quickly and efficiently. And, luckily for us as dogs communicate their emotional state through behaviour and body language you’ll be able to easily detect the signs once knowing exactly what you need to look out for.

What Are the Common Symptoms of Dog Anxiety?

  • Urinating and Defecating
  • Hiding
  • Destruction and Chewing
  • Escaping
  • Excessive Barking and Howling
  • Coprophagia
  • Pacing
  • Seeking Comfort
  • Aggression
  • Excessive Energy
  • Panic Attacks

What Causes Dog Anxiety?

Usually, an adult dog may show signs of anxiety due to all that extra attention and fuss they were once showered with as a pup decreasing. They are naturally trusting animals and love close companionship so when the 24/7 attention suddenly decreases to neglect, they become stressed which then leads to anxiety.

They may experience separation anxiety when the people whom the dog have become attached to leaves. They perceive the absence of their owner or guardian as a dangerous threat which causes them to wreck the household or even attempt to escape.

Fear is present in a lot of different animals. When responding to threats or even perceived ones this can instinctively flare up your dog. Fear is what signals the brain to get ready for trouble whether that being from a situation, thing, or person and in turn prompts a freeze or fight response and the fear they feel can cause them to feel stressed which in turn triggers anxiety.

More specific causes of anxiety of fear in dogs that you’ll no doubt encounter are;

  • Trauma/unfamiliar settings that may frighten your pet
  • Physical problems that cause pain or serious illness
  • Lack of exposure to healthy social influences
  • History of rehoming, abandonment, neglect, or even multiple owners
  • History of being trapped/crated
  • Changes that come with aging

Treating a Dog with Anxiety

Dog separation anxiety is most often unknowingly caused by dog owners, which is why you should never, ever punish an anxious or fearful dog. We make such a big fuss when we come and leave home, which in turn provokes their stress when we leave. By punishing a dog for being anxious you are only going to make them even more stressed and fearful which could potentially lead to even worse reactions.

If your dog’s anxiety is severe and you are looking for long-term ways to reduce anxiety in dogs, I would advise you to read up on professional advice from dog experts. If you want some short-term tips to soothe anxiety in dogs, here are 5:

  1. Exercise

Anxiety can create energy that isn’t easy to control. Just like humans, when told exercise helps to relieve stress, it can be the same for dogs too. By taking your dog for a run, walk or even some playtime on a park or in your garden you will find that it burns off some of that built up tension. It will not only tire them out, but can also calm them and they’ll really enjoy the time they have spent with you.

  1. Cuddling

Contact from others helps dogs and humans to relieve any stress, fear, and anxiety they feel. A dog’s anxiety begins to exceptionally increase when they feel cut off from their owner. So, ensuring you regularly cuddle and pet your dog rather than make them feel neglected will help to relieve them of their anxieties.

  1. Toys

A stressed dog especially if left home alone and dealing with separation anxiety can cause them to become destructive. The energy they have is not easy to channel, which is why a chew toy can be a great distraction and will hopefully stop them from causing destruction to your house and belongings.

  1. Keep a Calm Demeanour

It is always best to stay calm when your dog is feeling stressed, dogs can sense what is going on with their owners and if you begin to act tense when reacting to their anxiety they will feed of your anxiety, which then becomes a massive cycle. Have a calm demeanour and voice when dealing with your dog, if that means taking a break and having a few deep breaths first, then do it!

  1. Invest in an Thundershirt

Thundershirts are fairly new products that are useful for dogs with noise phobias, travel anxiety and separation anxiety. The effect of these pressure wraps has positive results in helping with relaxation and the reducing of anxiety as they are extremely comforting when the dog is alone.

 

What You Should Consider Before Getting Your First Dog

You shouldn’t fear the responsibilities that come with your first dog, but you do need to consider a few things before you get your new pet. Many people think it’s perfectly okay to go out and pick up a dog without any prior thought. That’s a mistake you should avoid, and here’s a few considerations that will help you to avoid it.

What You Should Consider Before Getting Your First Dog

Do You Know What You’re Getting Into? Did You Do Some Research?

Dogs aren’t all the same, not even a little bit. Different breeds come with different temperaments and methods of care. Some dogs are far more active than others. Some may grow to a size you’re uncomfortable with. It can help a lot if you do some research before you choose a new dog.

You’ll want a breed that can match how you live. If you’re not careful, you can end up with a dog that you struggle to understand and take care of. You’re not doing yourself or the dog any favours by choosing incorrectly.

Do You Have the Time and Money to Train It?

Doing that research should help you figure out a few things. It should let you know a little about what kind of money you may have to spend to take care of your new dog. Make no mistake, a new dog represents an expense. You will have to pay for vet visits, grooming, food, medication, and other expenses.

Research should also clue you in to what kind of time you will have to dedicate to taking care of the dog. This is especially important in the beginning when you need time to train and help your dog become more acclimated to its new surroundings. Dog training isn’t a process that happens automatically or immediately, so you will likely want to consider working with a dog trainer. This will come at a cost, but it will help you significantly. Research dog trainers in your area before bringing your pup home.

Are You Even Allowed to Have a Pet? Is Your Neighbourhood Dog-Friendly?

If you live in a flat, or lease your place in any way, you should find out if the property owner has any rules against you owning a dog. Equally, your home insurance may have stipulations concerning certain breeds of dog. Make sure you can own a dog with no issues before picking one.

Also, how will your neighbourhood treat your dog?

  • Are there other dogs in the neighbourhood?
  • Are there adequate areas for walking your dog?
  • Do you have neighbours that would mind you having a dog?
  • Is there a vet or animal hospital close by?

Your own household will factor into this as well. For example, is it just you? Who will primarily take responsibility for the dog?

If you’re not the only person who will interact with the dog at home, then you need to get everybody in the house on board. Take their thoughts on the choice into consideration. Your new dog should come into a welcoming home, not one that contains people that may not want it around.

Are You Ready to Become a Dog Owner?

Before you get your first dog, you have to give yourself a real evaluation. Are you ready? Are you the type of person that can truly take care of another living creature? Just like bringing a child into your home, you will have to consider how your new pet will fit into every single aspect of your life.

It’s not a decision you should take lightly. It will require time, sacrifice, and a lot of patience. Do you have a holiday coming up, or some obligation that will keep you away from home frequently? Then maybe it’s not the right time to become a dog owner.

It’s imperative that you think it all through before you commit to dog ownership. Remember your dog represents a living, breathing creature. It has wants and needs. It craves affection and love. That’s what you’re bringing home, and everything that comes with it.

What You Should Consider Before Getting Your First Dog

How To Choose The Best Food For Your Dog

Canines are the perfect domestic pets because they can adapt to living with humans very well. Many people prefer dogs over cats for many different reasons, but this decision should be considered carefully. Be sure to consider your needs, lifestyle and schedule, before inviting any puppy into your home. Start by doing some research on puppy care, feeding schedules, dog foods and housetraining. Once you have made up your mind that you are ready to make the transition, it will be time to start looking for that new puppy.

Getting a pup is just the beginning, now, you have to decide what to feed it and this choice can be very confusing. The right food is key to the good development of your new family member, so make it a wise choice. I know some of you were not overly keen on the raw diet I wrote about lately so let’s talk about shop bought feed for a change. In this article, you will discover several tips on how to choose the best dog food for your furry friend.
As a rule of thumb, in general, a dog’s food shouldn’t be changed too often as this will cause problems but as soon as your dogs’ circumstances change you should consider changing their diet too.

Dog’s Age

Dog food manufacturers often offer a variety of dog foods to us the consumer. The type of dog food will be determined by the pet’s age. For instance, puppies will require far more nutrition than a middle-aged or senior dog, because they are still growing. The manufacturer labels each of its dog foods, so we can easily find what we are looking for. Don’t be tempted to buy that bag of senior food for your 3-month-old pup just because it’s on special offer, the distinctions between foods were made for a reason.

Dog’s Activity

As well as the age, the dog’s activity levels will play a crucial role in picking the right food. An almost housebound dog, which rarely gets taken for a walk (yes, dogs like this exist all over, just look at some of your neighbors which proudly walk them only on a weekend, or the thousands of miniatures used as “accessories” that get carried everywhere in a handbag or under an arm) these dogs will have totally different needs than say a working breed, which runs around for most of the day. Mixing it up may well result in the dog becoming overweight or malnutrition.

Branded Food

A sad reality of modern life and shrinking budgets is that many pet owners will end up choosing a brand because it is more affordable. This can be a huge mistake, as some generic brands will not offer the same nutritional value as some named brands. Now, this is not to say that all generic brands are out of the question, far from it but I do recommend reading the labels and seeing for yourself what’s going into your dogs’ food. There is a reason some kibbles cost 3 times more than a superstore brand, for example.

Brand / Food Research

As mentioned above, named brand dog foods are deemed to be much safer and more nutritional than generic brands. However, this is just an opinion and not an actual fact. Instead of taking the advice of others, you should do your own research. You will find an array of websites that offer genuine customer reviews on many different dog food brands. Yes, I know that customer’s reviews are just an opinion but if you find a food with a majority of negative reviews it might be a good idea to stay clear of it.

Canned / Dry Food

When comparing the cost of canned dog food to dry, you will see a major difference. Canned foods come with a higher price tag, making them out of reach for some consumer pockets. This is generally the reason why dry kibble foods are so much more popular, plus many of the brands will actually provide the same nutritional benefits. If you have difficulty making a decision, you may want to consider mixing the two together. Many owners will utilize the dry food as a mixer to create a tasty feast just like we did for years, add a few spoonful’s of canned food into kibbles just to make food a bit more attractive (from a human’s perspective that is as the dogs didn’t really care about aesthetics)

And if everything looks too confusing, you know there is always the raw diet option… just saying 🙂

5 Benefits of a Raw Diet

To fed your dog a raw diet it should consist of RAW meat, bones, organs, eggs, vegetables, and fruit… sounds simple enough but is it good for our pets?

Well, just like with everything else there are some who are pro and some who are against. The best answer I can give: read, research and make your own mind about the raw diet… I can only speak for myself and share my own experience about it.

For years we struggled with Bunk’s allergies, we have spent literally 1000s of pounds on the best dog foods we could find, only to find out that a few month later his skin rashes have returned. Gluten free, grain free, hypoallergenic, holistic… we tried them all with no real success stories. I’ve considered starting a raw diet some time ago but I was a bit sceptic so we kind of took a half measure – raw mixed with kibbles… well, this didn’t really change anything as Bunk was still suffering from his allergies, that is until now… because for the last 6 months both Bunk and Lilly have been on a pure raw diet and they are golden!

I am not trying to convince you to go raw, all I want is to share with you my own observations after this diet change. So what did we observe?

Healthy teeth

Bunk didn’t really have any problems with his teeth but Lilly did. Maybe due to her age or maybe due to an earlier diet but her teeth were full of plague and tart and we were planning a professional teeth cleaning session for her but it’s no longer needed. Her teeth got better! The plague and tart build-up are gone and her breath has finally stopped being so unpleasant.

Good weight

You will know if you are a regular reader of my blog that Lilly has always had a weight problem. For years her weight was like a roller-coaster – up and down and up again… we tried different diets, more exercise and it all worked… until it didn’t… Now, she is lean, her weight doesn’t go up and down and finally, we could put the dog obesity problem to rest.

More energy

Both Lilly and Bunk have much more energy. They are alert, playful and seem happier. I don’t know if this is purely due to the new diet, but I am convinced it had to have a lot to do with it.

Smaller poops

One would think that this one is beneficial to dog owners only as they have to clean up less but actually it has a great benefit for the dogs too – healthy anal glands. No more vet visits with Bunk to empty the glands.

No more allergies

This one is super important especially for us! I am super glad as I no longer have to look after open sores, washing them on an hourly basis, buying and applying antibiotics but most of all Bunk doesn’t suffer. Most shop-bought pet food contains additives, preservatives, grain or other ingredients which cause allergies… a raw diet doesn’t!

So what do we feed our dogs these days?

Well, they get a mixture of raw meat on the bone, fine grated vegetables and fruit with an addition of fish oil, coconut oil and homemade turmeric paste. Once a week they will have fish or organs and some raw eggs. In reality, it looks like this… I pop to my local shop and buy 20+kg of raw dog meat on the bone, some organs and a pile of fresh veggies and fruit (whatever is in season). Meat goes to the freezer and fresh produce goes to the pantry. Every three days I take a pile of carrots, beetroots, leeks, celery or broccoli (or whatever I could buy at the farmers market) and shred it in my food processor, then move it into a large plastic tub and pop into the fridge. In the morning I defrost some meat, so it’s ready come dinner time. The meaty bones get mixed with the shredded veggies, some chopped apples and bananas will be added into the bowl, then oils and turmeric and it’s done! Dinner time! Another highlight for us is the fact that the dogs take their time eating, no more wolfing it down in under a minute, now they can take 10-15 minutes to eat their food making it more of an event for them and they are still licking the floor and bowls half an hour later looking for every last scrap.

Have you ever considered feeding your pets a raw diet?

 

For more information please read: “Top 50 Most Frequently Asked BARF Questions Newcomers Ask”. Hopefully, this will answer all the questions you might have about a raw diet.

 

To fed your dog a raw diet it should consist of RAW meat, bones, organs, eggs, vegetables and fruit… sounds simple enough but is it good for our pets?

Cats Versus Dogs – Which Do You Prefer?

Many people think that you’re either a cat or a dog lover and there seems to be a somewhat unfounded sense of competition between our furry friends. However, there are still many of us who love both and wouldn’t want to decide which one they would prefer. While dogs may be more dependable and give us plenty of unconditional love, cats are more independent but still offer us sufficient cuddles and affection that makes them an important part of the family.

Money-saving experts Voucherbox recently discovered in a survey how much pets are costing us throughout their lifetime. They also revealed that an incredible 51% of households in the UK own a pet and 25% of those have dogs, which is only 1% more than cats at 24%. This confirms that cats and dogs are probably the most popular pets in the UK – there were 9.4 million dogs and 11 million cats in households throughout the country in 2016.

Why We Love Dogs

Dogs are man’s best friend. They are always loyal, loving and fun to be with. They’re always pleased to see us and often shadow us around the house wherever we go. Our dogs are forever loving and faithful friends that adore and respect us. Dogs are dependable and they rely on us to walk them daily, feed them, groom them and let them in and out of the garden to do their business. They need us to be an essential provider for their happiness and comfort, to care for them and look after them, much like a human.

Why We Love Cats

Cats are popular pets because they are perhaps easier than dogs being so independent. They can get exercise by going through the cat flap and wandering wherever they want; they can feed themselves whenever they’re hungry (so long as there’s food in their bowls) and they don’t usually need a human to let them in and out of the garden to do their business. Cats will cuddle up with us on the sofa and can be quite needy in terms of a human company, but they will also want time alone. Cats seem to do everything on their terms and have a funny stubbornness which makes them amusing at times.

Co-habiting Friends

The myth of cats and dogs not getting on in the household is not so much true. Although their characters and needs can be quite different, they can also be very good friends. You will often see cats and dogs cuddle up or playing together nicely and they can sometimes have a sibling type of love/hate relationship. However, it seems cats may not have as much patience as dogs and look like they find a happy pooch sniffing them irritating at times, they are perhaps a little warier and less tolerant, very much showing that any kind of human or pet contact is always on their terms.

Cats and dogs are part of the family, faithful additions to the household that like to curl up close to their human pack. While cats are more independent and can be quite self-sufficient, dogs can be reliant but forever by our side. There should be no competition between our furry friends because regardless, they provide us with unconditional love, happiness and affectionate cuddles at the end of the day.

Are you a cat or a dog person or, like us, you simply love both?

* This is a collaborative post.