Tag: Dog

Pet Owner~ What Certain Dog Behaviors Mean

Interpreting Common Dog Behaviors & the Meaning Behind His Moods

Published byErin Ollila Contributor Photo‎

Your pup’s actions tell you a lot about his mood. And although you may not be fluent in the canine tongue–short of what it means when it salivates–you do need to learn how to interpret dog behavior. Have you ever witnessed your dog licking certain textures or circling the same spot in front of you? There are many reasons a specific dog state of mind or health concern may cause him to do these things. Once you pay attention to his behavior, you’ll be able to help him.

1. Bad Breath

Dogs aren’t known for having wonderfully minty breath, but if you notice a marked change with even a little halitosis, it might be time to take a trip to the veterinarian. There could be something wrong with your dog’s oral health.

A change in the smell of your dog’s breath may also be a cause for concern with respect to his gastrointestinal tract, liver, or kidneys. If your dog’s breath smells of urine, for instance, he could have a kidney problem. Sweet-smelling breath is a sign to vets that your dog may have diabetes (especially if he’s drinking more water and urinating more often). His overall dog mood may appear happy, but if his breath has changed, pay attention – let your veterinarian know.

2. Biting

Puppies may nip at you as they learn how to communicate with their pet parents. This usually happens while playing, as young dogs often communicate with their mouths when they interact. It may also happen during training, or for simply no reason you can identify. If your young one is nipping regularly, though, it’s important to stop it before it develops into a more problematic dog behavior down the line.

Dogs bite out of anxiety, fear, or aggression. Can you identify which is motivating your pet to do so? Is his mood influencing his actions? If you’re having trouble teaching your dog not to bite, consider working with a professional trainer, or better yet, a veterinary behaviorist. Your veterinarian should be able to recommend one for you.

3. Circling

Dogs who can’t stop walking in circles may have a health issue. Yes, sometimes it’s fun to chase your tail, but if your pup can’t shake the compulsion, there’s a problem beneath the surface. Ear infections may cause circling, but compulsive tail chasing may occur with bull terriers

Of course there may be other reasons your buddy is circling. Older dogs may suffer from idiopathic vestibular syndrome, and, not to alarm you, but all dogs are at risk for poisoning or a brain tumor. Only your vet can determine the cause of your dog’s circling, so get him in for a checkup.

4. Digging

Dogs dig in the ground for many reasons: to escape, to track animals, to make a cool spot to lie, or to hide something important to them. However, some dogs “dig” inside as well. Have you ever noticed your dog scratching at the blankets or couch in order to find the perfect place to lie down? This dog behavior happens most often at night and during nap times, and it is completely normal.

If your dog’s digging starts to bother you, or damage your furniture, consider working with a professional trainer to reduce this stubborn habit.

5. Eating poop

Dogs eat feces for many reasons; it can be a normal (while distasteful to us) dog behavior. Young dogs may watch their mother clean them (who ingests feces as a result), and mimic her. Fear may even cause your dog to eat feces if he’s afraid of the repercussions. Then again, your dog may just be curious. He may smell certain scents in the feces and wonder what it tastes like.

Eating poop can also be an instinctive solution to a nutritional deficiency. Make sure you feed your dog a well-balanced food like Hill’s® Ideal Balance®, so you can completely rule out malnutrition as a reason for his eating waste. Contact your veterinarian especially if your dog is losing weight as well.

6. Head Pressing

If you notice your dog pressing his head against the wall or another firm object, there’s a need for your immediate attention. Head pressing is a common sign of numerous serious problems, such as toxic poisoning or brain disease. Make an appointment with your dog’s vet right away.

7. Panting

Dogs expel most of their body heat from their mouths. When your dog pants, he’s probably too warm, so he is regulating his body temperature. However, it’s important to pay attention to panting, as he may do it when in pain as well. Help your pal regulate his temperature and make sure he’s well hydrated before any physical activity–especially as the weather warms up. If your dog was injured, get him to the vet immediately. Some other health problems may also show increased panting as a sign, so if you have a question, don’t hesitate to contact your vet.

8. Sitting on Your Feet or Between Your Legs

This is often mistaken for possessive behavior, but is most often a sign of anxiety or nervousness. “Dominance” is rarely the problem; your dog is probably trying to feel safer by staying close.

Yellow lab puppy sitting at owner's feet on a leash

Anxiety is often more than a dog trainer is qualified to help with so discuss the behavior with your veterinarian and see if your dog would benefit from a referral to a veterinary behavior specialist.

9. Scooting

Have you ever watched your dog drag himself across the floor . . . with his bottom on the ground? It may seem funny (or kind of disgusting). But it is also called scooting, and it means there’s something irritating your dog’s anus. It’s possible that your pup’s anal sacs are full and need to be expressed.

If your dog’s anal sacs aren’t backed up, the problem could be irritation for some other reason. Allergies may only show up as an itchy rear. While it’s common to blame worms, it is an uncommon reason for the behavior. Check with your veterinarian to be sure your pal is on an appropriate parasite prevention program.

Finally, a dog who’s a grass-eater, or likes to lick around the house, could have strands of grass or hair trapped in his anus that he’s rubbing the ground to get out. This is the least-severe reason for scooting but the easiest for you to help him take care of.

10. Urinating

If your dog is house trained, it may come as a surprise if you see him urinating in your home. Dog behavior doesn’t usually change without reason. Formerly reliable dogs who suddenly begin urinating inside need your attention! This is a sign that something may be very wrong with your furry friend, and when he relieves himself frequently–even if he is in the correct location–it can be a sign of a urinary tract, bladder, or kidney infection. In an older dog, it may even be a sign of dementia.

11. Yawning

American Staffordshire terrier puppy, white with black eye patch, yawns sitting on wooden boards

Although you might think he needs some sleep, a dog yawn doesn’t usually mean he’s tired. He may be interested in napping, but he could also be showing a sign of fear or stress. If your dog appears to yawn at an increased rate around a new person, don’t rush the introduction. He’s either picking up vibes he doesn’t feel comfortable with, or is fearful for a less-obvious reason. No matter what the case, a forced introduction isn’t a good idea.

12. Anxiety Shows in Many Ways

Signs of anxiety include shaking, tail tucking, escapist behavior, defecating in the home, biting or injuring himself, barking, and many more, according to PetMD.

Because they’re technically pack animals, your dog may become fearful when left alone. If separation anxiety is a chronic issue for your dog, you’ll both need to learn how to create a relaxing environment when you leave the house. Consider taking your dog for a long walk or play a rigorous game of fetch in your backyard to tire him out before you go. Don’t make a big deal out of your departure, either. If you’re still having trouble with separation anxiety, consider involving a professional who can work on behavioral training.

If your dog is experiencing any of these behaviors, and it’s not normal for him, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with his vet to rule out any systemic medical issues. Your once social, extremely energetic dog won’t suddenly become lethargic and withdrawn. If he does, he’s asking for some help.

Thank you for reading 🙂

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Dog Dementia

5 Signs of Dog Dementia

by Katherine Tolford

While your beloved senior dog can’t really forget where he put his car keys, it turns out that he is capable of experiencing “senior moments.” If your dog forgets the route on your daily walk or if he’s not enjoying the things he once did, like chasing after his favorite toy or greeting you at the door, he could be suffering from canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD), or the doggy version of Alzheimer’s.

Canine cognitive dysfunction can occur for a number of reasons, like an accumulation of abnormal proteins in the brain. This creates a build-up of plaque, which eventually damages nerves and results in the loss of brain function, which can affect your dog’s memory, motor functions and learned behaviors.

Most dogs, regardless of breed, experience some form of CCD as they age. In a study conducted by the Behavior Clinic at the University of California at Davis, researchers found that 28 percent of dogs aged 11-12 years, and 68 percent of dogs aged 15-16 years, showed one or more signs of cognitive impairment.

Dr. Bonnie Beaver, a board-certified veterinary behaviorist, says a lot of dog owners aren’t aware that their dogs can suffer from CCD until they take them to the vet for what they think are physical or behavioral problems.

“The first thing you should do is to talk to your vet to make sure that it’s cognitive dysfunction and not something else. It comes on gradually and owners don’t always notice things,” says Dr. Beaver.

“What did your dog stop doing that he used to do? Is he not chasing his ball because he has arthritis? Or is it that he doesn’t care anymore? It’s important to differentiate between physical and mental causes.”

Some symptoms of CCD can overlap with other age related conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and kidney issues, as well as hearing and sight loss. Depending on your dog’s symptoms your vet may propose x-rays, blood tests, urinalysis, or other diagnostic tests.

Dr. Denise Petryk, a former emergency room vet who now works with Trupanion pet insurance, says the widely accepted DISHA acronym can help dog owners characterize the most distinct signs and changes associated with CCD.

The term DISHA refers to the symptoms Disorientation, [altered] Interactions with their family members or other pets, Sleep-wake cycle changes, House soiling, and Activity level changes. 

“It gives us the ability to check against a list of things to show that something else isn’t going on. If your dog has one of the symptoms or some combination then we’re more likely to call it cognitive dysfunction.”

Dr. Beaver says to keep in mind that there isn’t necessarily a progression to the symptoms your dog may be experiencing.

“The more signs and frequency we see, the greater significance of the problem. Each sign or symptom doesn’t really signify a particular phase,” she says.

Here’s the DISHA list of possible symptoms that may demonstrate cognitive dysfunction in dogs:

Disorientation

One of the most common things pet parents may notice is that their senior dog gets disoriented even when he’s in his normal or familiar environment.

“This often happens when the dog is out in the backyard and he goes to the wrong door or the wrong side of the door to get back in. The part of the brain that is involved with orientation has been affected.” Beaver says.

Your dog may also experience difficulty with spatial awareness. He may wander behind the couch and then realize he doesn’t know where he is or how to get out.

At bedtime you may find your dog in a different part of the house staring at the wall instead of curled up in his dog bed. Petryk says dogs have a good sense of timing, so this is a sign that something is wrong.

“The first thing you should do is to take your dog in for a check-up. It might not be a cognitive issue, so your vet may want to rule out some other possible medical causes which could involve a brain tumor or diabetes.”

Interactions

Canine cognitive dysfunction can affect your dog’s interactions with people and other animals. Your once sociable dog who used to be the most popular pooch on the block now acts cranky and irritable, or even growls at other animals or children. He may lash out and bite his once favorite playmates. Petryk cautions that this behavior could be the result of something serious.

“He may be acting this way because he’s in pain. He could have arthritis or some other ailment that hurts when he moves or is touched. Your vet may want to do x-rays to rule out a painful condition.”

Some dogs withdraw from their family and their favorite activities. They may fail to notice when the doorbell rings and seem disinterested in greeting visitors, or they may stop barking at the mailman. Your dog may not even respond when you get his leash out to go for a walk.

“I’ve had patients whose dogs don’t recognize that their favorite cookies are treats for them, “ says Petryk. “The owner’s first instinct is to buy other cookies. They don’t realize something else could be going on.”

Sleep-Wake Cycle Changes

A change in sleep patterns or a disruption in circadian rhythms is one of the more specific symptoms related to cognitive dysfunction. Dogs that used to sleep soundly may now pace all night. Many dogs reverse their normal schedules, so their daytime activities become their nighttime activities. This “up all night” routine can be frustrating and tiring to pet owners.

“If your dog is active at night and you want to get him to sleep, a nightlight or white noise may help him,” Beaver says.

If this doesn’t provide relief, consult your vet for medications that may ease your dog’s anxiety and reestablish normal sleep cycles.

House Soiling

Urinating or defecating in the house is one of the most common ways cognitive dysfunction is detected in dogs, especially if the dog was previously housetrained.

Petryk says that when this happens it’s important for owners to consider that their dog may have lost its ability to voluntarily control elimination or even let them know that he needs to go outside.

“After we run tests and rule out a bladder infection, kidney problems, or diabetes, then there’s usually been a cognitive change. If your dog is staring out at the sliding glass door and then poops in the house anyway and it’s not because of bowel trouble, then he’s lost the understanding that he should poop outside,” Petryk explains.

Activity Level

Dogs with cognitive dysfunction may show a decreased desire to explore and a decreased response to things, people, and sounds in their environments. They may not greet you or they may no longer respond on cue to fetch their favorite toy. They may also be less focused and show an altered response to stimuli. Some dogs have trouble eating or drinking or finding their food bowls.

“They may drop something when they’re eating and they can’t find it,” says Petryk. “If they don’t have sight or hearing issues, this can be a true indication that they are experiencing cognitive dysfunction.”

Although older dogs experience a normal decline in activity levels, they may also experience restless or repetitive locomotion.

“They may exhibit repetitive motion; things like head bobbing, leg shaking, or pacing in circles. This kind of action is more related to cognitive dysfunction or a degeneration of the brain. It’s less likely to be mistaken for anything else,” Petryk says.

Owners should also be aware if their typically quiet dog now barks excessively or if he barks at times when nothing is going on.

Diet, Medication, and Environment

Watching your dog lose his cognitive abilities can be a difficult and disturbing process, but there are things you can do to help ease his discomfort.

“You can’t stop the process but it’s possible to slow it down so they don’t go from one problem to three problems,” Beaver says.

Certain dog foods are formulated to help slow down cognitive dysfunction and include anti-oxidants and omega-3 fatty acids to promote and strengthen cell health.

Beaver says combining an enhanced diet with efforts to enrich your dog’s environment provides the greatest chance for cognitive improvement.

“Introducing things like food puzzles encourages mental stimulation,” she explains. “Any type of food dispenser toy where they have to roll it around to get the food out helps keep them mentally active.”

Regular scheduled play sessions can also stimulate your dog’s brain and improve his learning and memory abilities.

“If your dog doesn’t have physical restrictions, grab his leash and take him to the dog park where he can socialize with other dogs,” says Petryk. “It’s possible to slow deterioration by keeping him physically and mentally active, just like it is for us.”

Psychoactive drugs and dietary supplements can also help slow your dog’s decline, but Beaver recommends visiting your vet for specific recommendations that can be tailored to your dog’s health and medical history.

“If, for instance, your dog also has a heart problem, the medications he takes for that is going to factor into any medications prescribed for cognitive decline,” says Beaver. “Vets and owners need to work together to establish a plan.”

Regular Check-ups

“As your dog gets older he should be having twice yearly check-ups. That way they can help differentiate between normal aging and what’s pathological or wrong,” says Petryk.

She suggests going into the vet with a list of questions and observations—things that you notice when you’re at home. If changes happen gradually, it’s easy to overlook them, says Petryk.

“People can be blind to the changes in their pets because they’ve happened slowly,” she says. “They may not notice things and it may be too late to fix them.”


Thank you for reading 🙂

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Photo Share

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Isn’t this the prettiest cat you have seen or what? I just had to photograph this beauty.

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My sweet cat, he is the oldest one I have. I love his snuggles.

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My precious granddaughter, seeing herself in the mirror for the first time.

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My grand daughter wearing a wig, lol

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The lovely face of my dog!

 

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It’s my life…/ personal share

 

focus photography of a ignited firewood
Photo by Lum3n.com on Pexels.com

It was always cold in here, not one bit of heat, except from my teacup poodle, who I kept beside me to help with warmth. I never knew why my room was always the coldest one in the house. Perhaps it was because my door to my bedroom was always to stay shut and we only had a fireplace with which to keep the house warm. Much of that house was cold…in a different sense. Why was my brother allowed to keep his door to his bedroom open and mine had to be closed? I bet it was because when it came to him, nothing was second best,, he always had the choice among choices, the supreme choice, as far as my mom was concerned. He was much younger than me but that did not really matter or put his needs in their proper order of ages. What he wanted, he always, somehow, no matter if needed or not, he got .

Back to the heat issue…

My room was next to the living room and across from my room was my brother’s room. So we both should have received warmth from the living room’s fireplace, just my opinion, of course. I often dreaded winter time because I knew I would freeze through the night and have to stay bundled up under a tremendous amount of cover. My poor little dog was always shivering and I bought him a sweater to put on during the winter months. He was a mere 5 pounds, dripping wet. He was my best friend and more than not, my protector. Anytime my mother would barge in my room, disgruntled or in a bad mood, she would start her tirade of demeaning words and my dog, would take a guarded defense stance across my lap as if to protect me. It was a good thing my dog was scary to my mother or he would have surely been hurt doing his guard of me. I appreciated him on that fact alone, he was an ankle biter to all but me. The lack of heat was not my only issue at my parent’s house growing up but one I am choosing to share.

What was it that made my room off-limits to the heat from our fireplace? Why did I have to stay cold while the other family members were warm and toasty. In fact my parents camped out on our couch bed I the winter time, because they wanted to stay warm. Their bedroom was in the back of the hall where there was also a bathroom, and my bedroom and my brother’s. So if my parents needed to stay warm, just imagine the cold I felt inside my bedroom. I was at my biggest weight 105 pounds. I was petite and small framed and needed a lot of warmth back in those days. Haha. I can’t say that now, in fact I run from heat, just kidding, but seriously close to the truth.

A lot of things come to mind when I think of my parent’s house, my childhood life. Not everything was bad there, but there was ways that would make a person question what  the reason behind their actions could have been. I was often not as “special” to my parents as my sister, or brother. I did not even have to hear those words, because they showed me. I am not sure what causes parents to treat their children with such difference and disdain. Being a mother I have a lot of things I would like to change about my children but they are who they are, and they all are special to me in one way, shape, or form. I really hope they know that.

Anyway,  I hope you treat your loved ones with the love they deserve and nothing less.

Each person is an individual, no two the same, if people were clones we would never be “special”.

Thanks for reading,

MwsR <3

Thank you for reading 🙂

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