Lotsa Dogs Lotsa Fun

Lotsa Dogs Lotsa Fun
The Big Dogs Wait at The Door

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Here Come the Holidays!

Hanukkah and Christmas
So it's the holidays. Christmas cookies, potato latkes, fruit cakes, punch bowls, chocolate Santas and Hanukkah gelt: whatever your tradition, it surely involves rich treats. So this is also the time of the year to remind ourselves that holiday treats are dangerous for dogs.

This is true almost without exception. Chocolate is downright toxic and can kill your dog, if she consumes a lot of it.  Other holiday specialties will make her ill in varying degrees.  Alcohol is a disaster.  It's not funny to watch your dog lap up spiked eggnog.  Really, it isn't. It could make her suffer, and could transform your holiday into a vigil at an animal hospital.

Similarly, dogs can’t digest oily latkes, or shortening-rich fruitcake. Mostly, what goes in comes out, the latter inevitably in the middle of the night, after you’ve stayed up partying and are exhausted. So make, and keep, a rule that the dog only gets treats that are meant for her. Festive holiday dog treats are available at pet stores everywhere. Take advantage, and make sure your family understands whose treats are whose!
Here are 5 tips to help avoid an emergency vet visit and enjoy your Hanukkah:
1.  Sufganiyot – Otherwise known as doughnuts, they are filled with artificial sugars, jelly, fat, and empty calories. They’re a delicious treat for us, but can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and decreased appetites for
dogs. Be very careful to not let your canine buddy get any of these doughnuts and make sure he can’t counter surf and lick up ingredients that are lying about.

2.  Latkes – They are savory and they taste amazing, but they have onion in them. Onions can cause anemia in dogs.  Also, the oil, sour cream, and other ingredients are bound to upset your dog’s stomach.

3.  Chocolate coins – This is a traditional candy that children receive, and they’re wrapped in shiny gold and silver foil. The foil, chocolate, and netting that they come in can be dangerous to your dog’s entire GI tract. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which dogs cannot digest, and in extreme cases they can be fatal. If your dog swallows the foil and net bag, induce vomiting immediately.  A teaspoonful of diluted hydrogen peroxide in an eye dropper will do the trick.

4.  Dreidels – They’re great toys for kids and but you don’t want your dog in the game.   She’ll want to join in the fun and try to pick the dreidel up in her mouth. If your dog swallows a dreidel, or any small object, induce vomiting and call the vet. Keep all game pieces out of your dog’s reach.
: The Menorah – This is an essential symbol for Hanukkah, but the candles that you light each night pose a danger if your dog likes to jump up, leap over things, or generally race around the house. The menorah could fall over or singe her nose or fur.  Keep the menorah up high and out of pup’s reach. Make sure it’s on a stand or other stable surface so if your dog comes galloping into the room, she doesn’t shake it loose and start a fire.

And here are some tips to make Christmas fun for your family and the dog:
First, be aware of holiday hazards, and supervise your dog when he's exposed to them. For example tinsel, Christmas lights, wires, glass ornaments, poinsettias, mistletoe, and other holiday decorations can be deadly if chewed.  Don't leave pup alone with any hazardous materials, not even for a minute!  You don’t want Christmas to be interrupted by an emergency visit to a veterinary hospital.

To help pup share in the fun, place dog-safe toys and ornaments on the bottom branches of your tree, and let him play with them.   You can find them at any pet store.  Attach them with string, not wire. And beware of chewing on evergreen branches or pine needles.

Of course, he’ll make every effort to convince you to share your Christmas pudding, don’t give in!  Dogs' digestive systems are quite different from ours.  Their intestines are much shorter, and they digest very quickly, a trait left over from the wild where it was necessary to get protein into the system quickly. They absolutely cannot process ingredients that we take for granted, such as nuts, holiday spices, and hydrogenated fat.  So, if you don't want to get up at 4 am on a cold winter’s night, limit your pup to treats that are intended for him.
So, what about dress up? By all means! Hats, suits, collars, boots, it's all good. Just remember that dogs in costumes should be supervised at all times.  Left alone, they may treat their adorable dreidel coat or reindeer antlers as toys, which means “chew baby, chew!” And dog accessories are definitely not safe for eating.

So have a fun, happy holiday season - and help your pup to have one too!

Holiday puppies: a big no-no!

By November, your local puppy store is in high gear. They’re out to convince you that puppies make the perfect holiday gift. What could be cuter than a new puppy on Christmas morning?  Or a cuddly new family member the first night you light the menorah?

Actually, it would be hard to make a worse choice! Reputable breeders are loath to sell in December, because they know that by February the puppy is likely to find himself abandoned in a dog shelter or, if he's lucky, returned to the breeder.
The holidays are a busy, stressful time and people are exhausted.  It's a time when we struggle to meet our regular commitments, along with preparing for the holidays.  It's certainly not a time to take on the work of a new puppy. 
A couple weeks into January, the kids will be back in school, mom and dad will be rushing off to work every morning. The weather will make you want to hibernate.   Just when everyone could use a break, that adorable puppy will be soiling the carpets, chewing on furniture, stealing food, throwing up in baskets of clean laundry, and  generally acting out of control.

If your family is ready for a dog, wait until February or March when things have calmed down, and warmer weather is on the way.  Cold weather makes house training difficult, if not impossible; and the spirit of the season prevents you from making a realistic decision about a new dog. In the spring your family will spend more time outside, and feel a greater inclination to train the new family member.

Check out these dog links!
The Doggie Den Homepage

Friday, November 16, 2012

Repost from Live in Nanny on Kids with Dogs

10 Ways to Teach Young Children to Be Nice to Pets

When kids learn to treat animals with gentleness and respect, they also learn about compassion and caring on a larger scale, which are traits that can later be applied to the relationships that they have with fellow humans. For parents of toddlers and young children, imparting these lessons can be a bit of a challenge; here are 10 ways to help your little one understand the importance of treating animals well.
  1. Set a Good Example – Children learn primarily through mimicry. They watch their parents and other authority figures, and then model their own behavior after their observances; one of the best ways to instill a love of animals is to have that same love yourself and to exhibit it often.
  2. Research Local Programs – Your local Humane Society chapter or other animal activism organization is likely to have a program or two specifically directed at helping small children understand the proper treatment of animals. A cursory glance at a local message board or search engine results could net dozens of options.
  3. Take Advantage of Story Time – Most kids love a bedtime story, and there are tons of books on the market written with this very subject in mind. A colorfully illustrated, well-written book about animals and the humans that love them can do wonders for explaining the concept of animal kindness to kids.
  4. Teach Proper Handling of Small Animals – Helping a child to properly hold and handle a small or newborn animal while emphasizing the importance of being gentle is a great way to teach a hands-on lesson about carefully handling animals and never being too rough.
  5. Visit a Petting Zoo – Spending an afternoon at the petting zoo can be a fun and informative experience for kids of all ages, but especially for little ones who wouldn’t ordinarily have the opportunity to interact with such an interesting array of animals or have access to professionals that are trained to help kids learn about them.
  6. Share Interesting Facts – Learning that baby goats are also called “kids” or that butterflies taste with their feet not only entertain children, but also help them to see that animals have their own unique, interesting qualities.
  7. Help at a Shelter – Taking a trip to your local animal shelter to help walk the dogs, feed the cats or do other fun and interactive chores not only makes a difference in your community, but also in your child. It might be best to stick to a privately run no-kill shelter or to be sure that no animals are scheduled to be euthanized during your visit, however, to avoid a traumatic experience.
  8. Study Local Wildlife – A trip to a local nature preserve or national park not only provides kids with a day of no-television fun, but can also help them understand the very important concept that wild animals are not pets, but should be treated with the same respect.
  9. Watch Kid-Friendly Television Programming – While you might want to skip the program chronicling the antelopes’ encounter with a hungry lion, there are plenty of kid-centric animal documentary shows that can provide strong talking points and valuable information.
  10. Get a Pet – After you’re certain that your child understands the basic treatment of animals, introducing a pet into your home is a great way to keep their education going. Even if you live in a small space or urban environment that isn’t conducive to traditional pets, a small hamster or a goldfish can still help give your child a sense of responsibility.
Most small children need to be reminded to be gentle more than anything else, as deliberate cruelty is quite rare in children so young. Kids that show signs of harmful behavior might be struggling with a larger issue. If this is the case the child’s pediatrician should be consulted.

Check out these dog links!
The Doggie Den Homepage

Monday, November 05, 2012

Tips for Enjoying Fall with Your Dog

There’s nothing like the first weeks of crisp, cool air after a sticky summer.  You have more energy and so does your dog, so go ahead and enjoy the gorgeous foliage and catch up on yard work together.  Fall is also a good time to do some basic indoor pet maintenance in preparation for colder weather.
Here are some tips for enjoying fall with your dog:

·                      ‘Tis the season for rodents to seek refuge in your house.  If you use poisons do so with extreme caution; make sure your dog has no access to where they are left.  If you suspect your dog has consumed a rodent control product, call the ASPCA 24-hour poison control hotline (888-426-4435) and/or take the dog to the vet immediately.

·                     Dogs love leaf raking time.  The piles you create make for great crash landings and gleeful scattering.  Though that means more work for you, watching pup revel in the action can be so inviting that you just have to join in.  But don’t let pup run through leaf piles that have been left standing.  They can harbor rodents, snakes, fleas, ticks, and worst of all, sharp objects.

·                     It’s a wonderful season for hiking, and nothing thrills your dog like exploring nature’s changing scents.  The cooler weather allows for long, leisurely hikes, but you still need to bring plenty of water.  Before you set out, spend 15 minutes practicing recall in your yard, using her favorite treat as a reward.  Then pack more treats for the hike.  In the fall, snakes are preparing for hibernation and can be particularly grumpy.  Know what kinds of snakes inhabit your area and keep away from trails where they’re likely to be found.  During the hike, call your dog a few times and reward her with a treat.  It’s good practice for potential snake encounters.

·                     Pay special attention to skin and coat care in the fall.  Continue using flea and tick preventives, at least through the first couple of hard frosts.  Like everyone else, those tiny pests are looking for a snug winter hideaway, and there’s no place like your dog’s coat.  Take pup for a fall grooming and ask that the groomer use a flea and tick shampoo to get rid of insects, eggs and larvae that the preventive medication may have missed.  Order extra de-shedding, because your dog is losing her summer coat; you need to make sure there’s room for incoming winter growth. Fall is also a time when allergies, hot spots, and dermatitis act up, so request a soothing skin and coat conditioner.  If the groomer finds rough spots, it’s time to take pup to the vet for a fall check-up.

·                     If you have a puppy, remember that he doesn’t have enough coat to withstand the cold, so limit outdoor time.  When you take him for his fall makeover, ask the groomer to leave lots of coat length – he’ll be shedding in preparation for his adult coat, so this is no time for a shave.

·                     Fall is a time when many people change the engine coolant in their car.  Ethylene glycol-based antifreezes can taste sweet but are highly toxic, so make sure your dog doesn’t drink out of puddles and don’t let him into the garage alone if there is stored antifreeze or spills.  For your own car, consider using a propylene glycol-based coolant; though not completely non-toxic such products are less dangerous than anything containing ethylene glycol.  If you suspect your dog has consumed any kind of antifreeze, call the ASPCA 24-hour poison control hotline (888-426-4435) and/or take him to the vet immediately.

·                     Back to school time means you stock up on fun items like magic markers, glue sticks, and colored pencils.  These supplies smell delicious to your dog, so make sure your kids know to keep them out of reach.  Also, with some of her favorite playmates now away for the day, your pup will likely feel lonely and bored.  Leave interactive toys like Kongs filled with treats to keep her busy while she’s alone.

·                     Better yet, take her to doggy daycare a couple of days a week so she has her own pals; she’ll come home tired and happy.

·                     Check dog-related household equipment to make sure it’s ready for constant use.  Your dog will shed his winter coat all the way through until spring, since indoor temps that are comfortable for us are too warm for him.  It’s a good time for vacuum cleaner maintenance, since you’ll be using it a lot.  Also check the collars, harnesses and leads that you’ll be using for those refreshing fall walks.  Discard anything that’s partially chewed or worn to avoid your dog breaking loose.  Also, make sure you have a pin or slicker brush in tip-top condition, as pup needs frequent brushing while growing and shedding winter coat.

Enjoy this fall with the kids and the family dog, whether you’re cozied in on the couch or outdoors enjoying the foliage!

Check out these dog links!
The Doggie Den Homepage

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Make Your Own Dog Biscuits - Repost from SummerNanny

If you are like most dog owners your 4-legged friend is part of the family and as such you might want to make him some treats.  The treats at the grocery store are full of preservatives that are great if you want your dog treats to last for years, but why not make some yourself that will last a couple of weeks on the counter or a few months in the freezer.  With ingredients found in your pantry and about 10 minutes of your time you can have some healthy dog treats in the oven.
Step 1
Gather up the following ingredients:
  • 1 C. All-purpose flour
  • ¼ C. Whole oats (not quick cook)
  • ¼ C. of dried cranberries
  • ½ T. baking powder
  • ½ C. creamy peanut butter (organic if possible)
  • ½ C. milk
  • 1 T. Olive oil
  • 1 T. applesauce.
Step 2
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix the flour, oats, cranberries and baking powder together in a large bowl.  Add the peanut butter, milk, oil and applesauce to the dry ingredients and stir.
Step 3
Press the ingredients together and transfer them from the bowl to a lightly floured counter.  Knead the dough until it has come together into a nice ball.  If the dough seems too sticky add more flour a tablespoon at a time until the consistency is no longer sticky.  Set dough on a sheet of waxed paper and dust the dough and a rolling pin with flour and roll the dough out until it’s about ½ inch thick.  Using a bone shaped cookie cutter cut out the dog biscuits.  If you don’t have a bone shaped cookie cutter any other cutter will work.
Step 4
Transfer the cut-out shapes to an unlined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  The remaining dough can be rerolled and cut into additional biscuits.
Step 5
When the biscuits have cooled completely store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 6 months.  Allow biscuits to sit out for 10 to 20 minutes before serving from the freezer.
This recipe is adaptable, if your dog has an allergy to white flour substitute for the same amount of rice flour and bake as directed.
According to the FDA’s Center for Veterinarian Medicine dogs should not be given real bones to chew on, like those from a ham or roast.  Chewing on these bones could cause choking, broken teeth, tongue injuries and many more.  Dog biscuits are a safer option.
To dress up the dog biscuits for gift giving, dip one end of the dog biscuit into some melted carob (artificial chocolate) and allow the dipped biscuits to cool on a sheet of waxed paper until the carob has hardened completely.  Carob is safe for dogs, but you should never give dogs real chocolate because some dogs may have a severe allergic reaction.  Fill a cellophane bag with some dipped dog biscuits and tie it with some ribbon.  Add the bag of biscuits to a basket filled with a ball, a leash and some other fun dog gifts for a fun gift basket that would be perfect for any dog lover, or give just the bag of biscuits to all of your friends and neighbors who own dogs.
Make larger dog biscuits for bigger dogs and mini-sized biscuits for your petite dog friends.
With very little effort you can have homemade dog treats for your dog.  The benefits of making your own dog treats are that you can control the ingredients, save money, customize the recipe to match your dog’s preferences or dietary needs, and you can make as many as you need.  Try making some dog biscuits today and your pet will surely thank you

Check out these dog links!
The Doggie Den Homepage

Monday, October 01, 2012

Doggie Daycare Can Increase Your Dog's Social Skills

If you’ve adopted a dog that was in need of a forever home, CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve done a wonderful thing, and your new family member will bring you joy every day.

Adopted dogs come from all kinds of backgrounds, but there’s one common denominator. Most have been in environments where there was limited social interaction. At best, foster homes sometimes provide the opportunity to play with one permanent pet; or your new pet may have occasionally romped in a dog park. However , chances are your dog has been crated or caged a good percentage of the time, for example in a rescue organization’s kennel. At any rate, none of the usual situations allows a pup to meet new play pals and new people under the supervision of skilled dog professionals.

In fact, dogs often acquire bad habits when left to play unsupervised, like getting what they want through dominance or aggression. It’s a bit like a school yard: if there are no adults around, some kids turn into bullies. Similarly, dogs with limited social skills tend to jump up when meeting a new person in order to be at the person’s level and to try to monopolize his or her attention.
The role of a dog daycare attendant is to interrupt behaviors that aren’t acceptable, just like monitoring adults on a kids’ playground. With dogs, though, the line between excitement and aggression is quite thin. Rambunctious play easily explodes into a fight - it’s just the nature of the beast. In the wild, dogs use play to practice their hunting skills, and there’s some of that predatory instinct left in pet dogs.

Trained daycare attendants know when to step in between pups who are overly excited before any aggression shows up. The pups get affectionate praise for toning down the intensity of their play, and are separated (and possibly crated for a couple of minutes) if they insist on being rough with each other.

The best environment for your dog to play safely with other dogs and to meet new people is a doggie daycare. Good doggie daycares hire and train their staff with a view to creating just the right environment for maximum fun and minimum risk. There are rules for meeting a new person, like not jumping up on him or her. Dogs learn to say hello by wagging their tail and looking at the new person with a doggie “smile”. Pushing or scaring other dogs away in order to be first in line for attention leads to a “time out” rather than to affectionate attention; as does mounting another dog, excessive barking or trying to monopolize all of the available toys (this is called “resource guarding”).

Appropriate play leads to praise and cuddles and games of fetch with a daycare attendant.
So taking your pet to a good daycare a couple of times a week has the benefit of improving his social skills, which makes him lots of fun to have around. Because the dog has a life outside your home, he will also acquire self confidence. Pup will feel fine about being away from family for the day; and even better about being picked up at night! And the big plus for owners is that after a hard day at work, you come home to an exhausted pup who just wants to curl up next to you in the evening.

Of course, it’s important to check out a daycare before leaving your dog there. Get references from people who are or have been longtime customers. Ask around to see if dog owners have heard of the establishment. Your vet may also be a good source of information about local daycares. Look for one where the employees have lots of dog experience, and the canine guests get to play, without being crated for most of the day. 

Check out these dog links!
The Doggie Den Homepage

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Dr. Jon on Trimming Your Dog's Nails Without Trauma

A dog's nails are very important parts of their bodies. Dogs are what we call “digitigrade,” meaning that they walk on their toes. Canine nails are made of the same material as ours and also continuously grow like ours do. When left for too long, overgrown nails can cause pain and difficulty walking. That's why having short nails is so important; can you imagine walking on long, pointy nails? Yikes!

But most dogs don't sit placidly while you clip away the excess. Nail trimming is one of the most popular services in pet grooming salons because it's just so darn unpleasant for many dogs. You know the drill… you get ready to trim your dog's nails and somehow he senses that you are about to mess with his paws before you even get started. Now the real fun begins! Your corner him, grab his paw and try to cut his nails. But he's not having it. He begins to fight hard and pull his leg back, and the wrestling match begins.  Eventually you will win (if you're lucky), but he won't make it easy.  And with all that wiggling, fussing and moving, you worry about hurting him or accidentally cutting into the fleshy center of the nail. This can be very painful for your dog and cause the nail to bleed

You stop and think; what can you do? His nails are too long so you persist, praying you won't hurt him.  He "play bites" you, putting his teeth into your hand. Maybe he even begins to bark and growl. The more you try, the wilder he gets. Oh, the drama!

Frustrated, you are tempted to give up. You tell yourself that his nails can grow until they become "weapons of mass destruction" for all you care. But then reason wins out. You know that there is no getting around it - those nails MUST be trimmed.

Now you have a few options.  You can simply pay a groomer or your vet to trim your dog's nails every month, or you can keep struggling. What can you do to make this process less stressful for you both? (Because believe me, your dog doesn't enjoy this either.)

I have some good news. Approaching the problem with a different tool can make things much easier. In fact, the traditional nail clippers that people tend to use on their dogs could be a reason why so many pets hide when it's nail trimming time: the blades can pinch and twist the nail, adding more pain to an already uncomfortable process. A nail grinder may be just what you need to take the sting out of clipping. It does not cut the nail. Instead, it files the nail away a little at a time, eliminating the need for painful bladed clippers and making the experience a much more pleasant one. 

There are many different types of nail grinders on the market. My staff and I have tried them all to find out which one is best. When all was said and done, I really liked the Gentle Paws nail grinder, so I asked one of our veterinarians, Dr. Karin Szust, to take it home and try it on her 5 dogs. Dr. Szust came into the office this morning and told us that she agreed—she really loved this nail grinder. There are lots of great things to say about it (it's easy to handle, powerful, and the results are wonderful) but the most important in my opinion is that the dogs like it. Transitioning to a grinder from clippers can seem difficult at first because many dogs are wary of the noise. But Gentle Paws is quieter than most grinders, and can easily be worked into your dog's routine. Just gradually introduce it to your dog by first letting them investigate it, then leaving the grinder running while you gently pet and reassure them. Karin's dogs warmed up to it very quickly; once the dogs realized that this gadget wasn't going to hurt them, they relaxed and cooperated.

Karin loved Gentle Paws and so did her dogs. Now the dogs have smooth, healthy nails and everybody was happy!

We give Gentle Paws two thumbs up and you will, too!  With Gentle Paws there will be no more struggling and no more painful trimming accidents. It really makes the job quick and easy. And you get smooth, rounded nails in just a few minutes!

Give it a try. This product is in high demand so I suggest that you act now. If it saves you a trip to the groomer or the vet it will pay for itself many times over. To order, go to: www.petproductadvisor.com/gentlepaws

Until next time,
Dr. Jonhttp://www.petplace.com/

Check out these dog links!
The Doggie Den Homepage

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Abused Greyhound Turns Foster Mom to The Multitudes

In 2003, police in Warwickshire , England , opened a garden shed and found a whimpering, cowering dog. The dog had been locked in the shed and abandoned. It was dirty and malnourished, and had quite clearly been abused.

In an act of kindness, the police took the dog, which was a female greyhound, to the Nuneaton Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary, which is run by a man named Geoff Grewcock, and known as a haven for animals abandoned, orphaned, or otherwise in need.

Geoff and the other sanctuary staff went to work with two aims: to restore the dog to full health, and to win her trust. It took several weeks, but eventually both goals were achieved. They named her Jasmine, and they started to think about finding her an adoptive home.

Jasmine, however, had other ideas. No one quite remembers how it came about, but Jasmine started welcoming all animal arrivals at the sanctuary. It would not matter if it were a puppy, a fox cub, a rabbit or, any other lost or hurting animal. Jasmine would just peer into the box or cage and, when and where possible, deliver a welcoming lick.
Geoff relates one of the early incidents. "We had two puppies that had been abandoned by a nearby railway line. One was a Lakeland Terrier cross and another was a Jack Russell Doberman cross. They were tiny when they arrived at the center, and Jasmine approached them and grabbed one by the scruff of the neck in her mouth and put him on the settee. Then she fetched the other one and sat down with them, cuddling them."
"But she is like that with all of our animals, even the rabbits. She takes all the stress out of them, and it helps them to not only feel close to her, but to settle into their new surroundings. She has done the same with the fox and badger cubs, she licks the rabbits and guinea pigs, and even lets the birds perch on the bridge of her nose."
Jasmine, the timid, abused, deserted waif, became the animal sanctuary's resident surrogate mother, a role for which she might have been born. The list of orphaned and abandoned youngsters she has cared for comprises five fox cubs, four badger cubs, fifteen chicks, eight guinea pigs, two stray puppies and fifteen rabbits - and one roe deer fawn. Tiny Bramble, eleven weeks old, was found semi-conscious in a field. Upon arrival at the sanctuary, Jasmine cuddled up to her to keep her warm, and then went into the full foster-mum role. Jasmine the greyhound showers Bramble the roe deer with affection, and makes sure nothing is matted. "They are inseparable," says Geoff. "Bramble walks between her legs, and they keep kissing each other. They walk together round the sanctuary. It's a real treat to see them."

Jasmine will continue to care for Bramble until she is old enough to be returned to woodland life. When that happens, Jasmine will not be lonely. She will be too busy showering love and affection on the next orphan or victim of abuse. Pictured from the left are: "Toby," a stray Lakeland dog; "Bramble," orphaned roe deer; "Buster," a stray Jack Russell; a dumped rabbit; "Sky," an injured barn owl; and "Jasmine," with a mother's heart doing best what a caring mother would do...and such is the order of God's Creation....

Check out these dog links!
The Doggie Den Homepage

Thursday, September 13, 2012

What To Do About Bad Behavior (Repost from Dr. Jon)

Is your dog driving you crazy with his bad behavior? Almost all dogs I know have at least one habit that drives their owner crazy - typically things like chewing up shoes, shredding books, and getting into the garbage. It's a frustrating situation that a lot of owners just don't know how to handle. Sometimes they even resort to ineffective or even damaging methods of punishment as a way to stop the behavior. Don't pull your hair out or punish the dog! Instead, you can figure out what's causing the destructive behavior and eliminate it.

This is easier than it sounds. Behaviors that are considered “bad” are most frequently caused by a small number of issues. Today I'd like to tell you about them, as well as some simple ways to deal with them.

Health issues

If your dog is urinating or defecating inside the house, don't scold him - he may be showing symptoms of a health problem. Excessive scratching and rubbing against furniture can be indicators that your dog has allergies. Persistent gnawing might be an indication of tooth pain or disease. Keep an eye on what your dog is doing, since he might be telling you that something is wrong!

The first thing you should do if your dog starts acting out - especially if he's never done it before - is take your dog in to see the vet. Your vet will be able to diagnose or rule out health problems.


Of course, your vet might find that there is nothing wrong physically with your dog. In that case, it's possible that your dog is simply bored! Does your dog have something to do when you're not at home? Do you give him plenty of play time and exercise? When a dog is bored, he might find ways of making his own fun. This can lead to destruction of your things, or even your dog getting into places that can be dangerous to him.

To prevent boredom, give your dog plenty of interactive toys to keep him busy when you aren't there to play with him. Try to take out your dog for runs or take him to a dog park once in a while to keep him active. Training sessions can also help reduce boredom, since they give your dog something to occupy his mind.

Stress and anxiety

Finally, your dog might be acting out because it's the way he expresses stress. Changes in your dog's environment or routine can make him anxious. If your dog starts urinating on ( “marking”) your furniture and home, he might be trying to mark your home as his territory. Think of marking as a billboard that says “This is mine.” A sudden increase in barking and whining can also indicate that your dog is feeling stressed.

To help your dog deal with stress, don't just treat the symptoms; you should aim to reduce or remove the stressor. Of course, this isn't always possible - like when you move to a new house or get a new pet.

In these cases, you can use Comfort Zone with D.A.P. Comfort Zone works by releasing dog pheromones (all-natural stress reducing compounds) into the air. Your dog smells these pheromones and they comfort him, making him feel secure in his environment - without needing to mark his territory or act out in other ways. Comfort Zone has been shown to reduce fear and stress-related destructive behavior by up to 65% according to studies. Your dog feels safe and secure, and you don't have to deal with his destructive behavior anymore - it's a solution that benefits everyone.

You see, if your dog starts displaying negative or “bad” behavior, don't punish him for it! Many times it's a symptom of one of the above causes. Consult with your vet, make sure your dog is getting enough activity and mental stimulation, and use Comfort Zone - and your dog will be back to his normal self in no time!

Until next time,

Dr. Jon

Check out these dog links!
The Doggie Den Homepage