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Controlling dogs’ fear of fireworks

Controlling dogs’ fear of fireworks

Most dogs have a horrible time when there’s any type of celebration that includes fireworks. This type of disorder is called acousticophobia and it affects many dogs. It causes them to have panic attacks and to run away and hide. Do you know how to deal with this?

The first to do is to try to know when fireworks are going to be thrown and try to be at home. Your dog may be less scared if he is not alone. Take him out for a walk before the fireworks start, not during. If you’re out taking a walk and the fireworks start, he may try to run away and get lost. We don’t recommend taking dogs to see fireworks, but if you do it’s important for him to be tied the whole time.

During the fireworks don’t try to pet him to get him to calm down. If you do, you will send the wrong message and he will associate a stressful situation with something positive: fear + stress= I get attention. If you pet him he will eventually get even more nervous to get your attention, maybe thinking that it’s the only way he gets it. Don’t get mad at him either, or scream, it will just make it worse. The best thing to do is to ignore him or distract him playing a game.

Another thing that you can do is to minimize the noise by putting him in a room as far away from the noise. You can play music or turn the television on so he doesn’t hear the fireworks as much.

The most important thing is for you to be calm and ignore the noises, don’t get nervous, he can sense it. Dogs can hear noises four times better than we can, imagine that?

If your dog hides when there’s fireworks one thing you can do is to create a safe place where he can be during the fireworks.

If you have tried all the above and your dog is still having a hard time you may need something extra. Talk to your vet and explain the situation. You vet may recommend using natural products like bach flowers or DAP (dog appeasing pheromone); you should start using them a few days before the fireworks.

Thunder shirts are also an option, these are calming or anti-anxiety shirts that work by applying pressure to the dog’s torso. This way calming hormones like endorphins and oxytocin will be naturally released. You can buy them online or at your closest pet store. It’s not recommended to put the t-shirt on the day of, the dog may associate having it on with a stressful situation (fireworks), which is why you should put it on a few days prior.

 

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Do you know what playing means to your dog?

Do you know what playing means to your dog?

We may think that playing is not important for dogs, but it is. Like people dogs need to relax and have fun to be able to grow, learn and be balanced. Playing with our dogs creates a bond in an amazing way. There are studies that show that it’s beneficial for dogs to play and enjoy themselves. When they are three weeks old they develop the need to play and continue to have it throughout their life.

Dogs needs to have fun, something they are born with. Therefore, it’s natural for them to bark, smell and play between them. Not allowing a dog to play creates frustration, anxiety and changes in behavior in a negative way.

Through games puppies develop intellectually and emotionally. They learn to relate and respect others, as well as to discover their environment. Playing develops physical aspects, it helps develop capacities, strengthens his muscles, joints and helps channel energy. It’s important to play when he is a puppy, this way he will learn many skills and how to control his strength.

However, some games may encourage negative behaviors. We must be careful and control that our dog isn’t aggressive or disobedient while playing. If he becomes aggressive the game must stop immediately. Playing with him is part of the education process, this way he can learn in a fun way that’s effective and stimulating.

Playing with dogs is easy, they love it! Dogs are affectionate creatures that love to spend time with their owners. It’s our job to teach them to be respectful and follow commands. How to do it?

First, it’s important to choose a good place to play. Outside is the best place, it’s relaxing and you will enjoy the experience more. Try to find a place that is not too full of people that may distract him. It’s important not to send signals that may lead him to believe that he is in control of the situation. For example, it’s better to throw the ball you’re playing with instead of letting him take it from your hand. Also make him bring the ball back, this way he will know who oversees the game.

When it comes to toys, the options are unlimited. Each dog is different and has his own preferences. If your dog is very active, a good option can be to play games like canicross or disc dog that involve more strength. No matter the game what’s more important is to share the moment with him and enjoy as much as possible.

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Walking our dogs freely

Walking our dogs freely

 

It’s fundamental for our dogs to be able to run and walk freely every day, many times a day, no matter their size. Walks help them have new experiences, relate and socialize with other dogs. The experience is even better if we take them to beaches or parks. Dogs that live in cities may get stressed during their daily walks because of all the things they encounter: noises, smells, etc. It is recommended for dogs to have a space where they can feel free, run and play with other dogs. Walks should be under our supervision and only if our dog is trained, as well as respectful to other dogs and people.

It’s sad to have a dog that’s tied all the time, especially for the dog. For a dog to be balanced he must be able to run and play with others. Dog owners must remember that there are rules that they must follow. For example, you must always have a bag for when your dog goes to the bathroom. There are also rules about potentially dangerous animals. Our dog must obey commands like: ‘stop’, ‘sit’ or ‘come here.’  Having an educated dog is not difficult, it’s something that needs time and dedication, if you don’t have time it’s better not have a dog.

It would be ideal to be able to take our dog everywhere we go so he can explore and be with us, but this is not possible due to the lack of education in many dogs. It’s not strange that when your dog sees another dog he starts to bark and even try to attack him. This is part of educating him to be respectful, something that is completely under your control and responsibility.

Like everything dog education is a process that takes time. For now, we can enjoy the spaces that are available to take walks. Hopefully, there will be more places where dogs can run freely and share with other dogs. We must know that it mostly depends on us as owners, we must train our dogs to be nice and respectful.

 

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Non-conventional ways to treat your dog

Non-conventional ways to treat your dog

It’s becoming more common to treat sick dogs in non-conventional ways. We are becoming more educated about different treatments using natural products or therapies that are non-invasive. Many of these do not have any side effects.

It’s important that before you try an alternative product or treatment to get all the information you can get and for a veterinarian to recommend it. Like humans, dogs are unique making each case different, so what may work for one dog may not work for another.

Here is a list of non-traditional treatments. Let us know in the comment section if you know any!

Homeopathy

Homeopathy is a way to treat sicknesses with natural products that don’t have side effects. Classic homeopathy is a medical system based in the use of small quantities of the substances that in large quantities would cause the sickness that’s being treated. Quantities used depend on each patient and the amount of pain he is in, meaning that treatments are personalized. The homeopathic vet will do an in-depth analysis of the disease the dog has, and determine the dosage and duration of the treatment. Usually dog owners go to homeopathic vets to seek treatment from orthopedic problems, epilepsy, cardiac problems, allergies, parasites, etc.

Bach Flowers

This remedy includes 38 wild flowers. They won’t cure any disease but are useful when treating emotional problems like insecurities, apathy, dependence and more. The flowers are usually taken for four days, the drops may be dissolved in the dog’s water or directly in the dog’s food.

Aromatherapy

It consists on treating diseases with different essences. It’s recommended for dogs who have parasites, otitis or dermatological problems. The most used plants are cinnamon, lavender, rosemary, oregano and tea tree oil. The professional is the one who should always determine which plants should be used.

Phytotherapy

Phytotheraphy uses medicinal plants that don’t have any side-effects to prevent, cure or relieve pain. A disadvantage is that the plants may have a bad smell, which dogs don’t like. This therapy or the ones described above should only be used under professional supervision and prescription since they can interfere with other medicines.

Massages

Through massages we can improve our dog’s wellbeing. It’s a therapeutic method that can help him be in better shape physically and mentally. It’s beneficial and recommended for senior dogs, but can also be used on young dogs since it improves muscular tone, nerves and sleeping problems. To learn to do it correctly what’s best is to go to a professional.

Acupuncture

This type of therapy focuses on the acupunctural points on the dog’ body. A professional inserts thin needles into different points of the body depending on the dog’s needs trying to balance his energy. Acupuncture can treat many symptoms like chronic pain, skin conditions, behavioral or cardiac problems. It can help treat many conditions, since it’s a complete and effective treatment. Ask your vet about this technique and how it can help your dog.

acupuntura-perro-dindog

Physiotherapy

Sounds more familiar than the others?  Canine physiotherapy is usually used for rehabilitation therapies to help our dog recuperate faster. It’s used when dogs have gone through cases of trauma and muscular distension, osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, fractures and dislocations. Physiotherapy includes various techniques:

  • Ultrasound therapy

This technique is used when there are injuries related to sports, rehabilitation and therapies against pain. Ultrasounds are used to get rid of calcification in the bones and to promote the reabsorption of deposits of calcium salts.

  • Hydrotherapy

This technique makes the movement of the joints more natural and less painful. It’s becoming a more common and used by professionals.

  • Massage therapy

It consists on manipulating soft tissues in the body to help improve the circulation of liquids, and accelerate the cure of degenerative or chronic conditions like osteoarthritis. It produces a relaxing effect that can be beneficial for nervous or aggressive dogs.

  • Thermotherapy

It’s a rehabilitation therapy that consists on applying hot and cold. The cold is used to treat musculoskeletal injuries. Applying hot is used to increase blood flow, reduce pain and relax muscles, plus it increases elasticity in tissues.

  • Magnetotherapy

It’s like physiotherapy but uses electromagnetic energy for therapeutic purposes using low intensity magnetic fields. It has no side-effects and few contraindications. It’s used in dogs who have arthritis, rheumatism, skin lesions, ulcers and others.

  • Cryotherapy

It’s one of the best solutions when treating trauma in the first 24 to 72 hours. It improves vasoconstriction and relaxes muscles.

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When do dogs shed?

When do dogs shed?

Dog shedding is something that happens to every dog at least twice a year. It’s natural and can’t be avoided, but what’s the purpose of dog shedding?

Spring is almost here and it’s a time of changes. We can have more time outside with our dogs as the temperatures rises but it also means that shedding starts. Dog hair is all over the house and it can be very uncomfortable.

Dogs usually shed during spring and fall to adapt to the new temperature and light. They have a coat for the summer and a coat for the winter. It’s possible for some dogs to shed all year if they live inside a house with artificial temperature and light.

Shedding is a physiological process not common to all races, its intensity and duration depends of the type of hair in each animal. The dog’s coat, no matter the length; short, long or curly, can fit into two groups:

  • Simple shedding:

Yorkshire terrier, caniche and other dogs with similar characteristics belong to this group. This type of dog only has one layer of hair that falls off and it’s important to comb it regularly to avoid tangles.

  • Double coat shedding:

Dogs with this type of coat have a higher density of hair due to the secondary coat of hair located below the primary coat. Breeds with double coats include the German shepherd and mixed breed dogs that have similar characteristics.

To avoid having dog hair all over the house it is recommended to comb him often. Combing your dog will remove dead hair that is about to fall off, it is a simple solution that we often forget. There are many combs or brushes in the market to choose from; combs specialized for shedding, metallic brushes or rubber brushes. It is recommended to give the dog regular baths as well.

Shedding isn’t the only reason why hair falls off, there are other reasons that need to be considered. If we notice that a lot of hair is falling off when it isn’t shedding season it may mean that there is a health problem. Some causes include: allergies, stress, anxiety, nutritional deficiencies, lack of hygiene or parasites from scabies. Symptoms include: itching and licking compulsively, in this case it’s recommended to go to the vet.

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