How Well Can You Speak Canine?

Dog Body Language

We all want to communicate as much as possible with our furry friends and understanding dog body language is one of the best ways to do this. Your pooch cannot tell you how they are feeling through words so it is vital that you have a good understanding of what their actions and mannerisms mean.

All too often dog owners interpret their pet’s body language incorrectly. They think that an action means their pooch is telling them one thing but in reality they are trying to communicate something else. So we have a comprehensive guide to your dog’s body language for you so that you can better understand what they are trying to tell you.

Start by really knowing your Dog

Before you can start to understand the body language of your furry friend you need to really know them. For example different breeds will adopt different postures and this will have an impact on what they are trying to communicate.

Here are a good couple of examples. A Shih Tzu has the tendency to hold up their tail and you can interpret this as their neutral position. If they deviate from this then the chances are they are trying to communicate something. With a German Shepherd their neutral position is holding their tail down.

You need to look carefully at your dog’s entire posture. It is important that you take any actions with their body parts into context with their posture. There can be subtleties here. If your pooch has floppy ears then it might be difficult for you to spot when they move their ears back just a little bit.

It is entirely possible that your furry friend will change their postures in time. They may begin to display a body posture that communicates fear, but when they discover that this posture is effective this can change to a more confident posture despite the fact that they are still experiencing fear.

Dog Body Language

We felt that the best way for you to learn about the body language of your furry friend was to provide lists of behaviors and actions that demonstrate particular emotions. So this is what you need to look out for when assessing what they are trying to communicate to you:

How to tell if your dog is experiencing Fear or Stress

If your furry friend is feeling stressed out or fearful, the following actions are the most common ways they can communicate this to you:

  • They will move their ears back
  • Their tail will be down or even tucked between their legs (please be aware that certain breeds have their tail down in a neutral posture e.g. greyhounds)
  • They will start to back away
  • They will look away
  • They will have their head down
  • They will start to cower or crouch down
  • They will wrinkle their eyebrows

In addition, they may also display the following characteristics:

  • Trembling (when not cold)
  • Panting (when not hot or thirsty)
  • Refuse to eat
  • Freeze in one position
  • Hide away
  • Pacing around or increasing another activity
  • Lick their muzzle
  • Lift a paw
  • Begin to salivate (when no food around)
  • Yawning (when not tired)
  • Bear their teeth
  • Go to the toilet inappropriately
  • Express their anal glands which normally produces a nasty fish like smell
  • Widen their eyes which enlarges their pupils

How to tell if your dog is feeling Confident

You obviously want your furry friend to feel confident rather than fearful or stressed. Here are the typical signs of confidence:

  • They have their ears forward
  • Their tail is up (remember than in some breeds this is the neutral position)
  • When they stand they are straight up
  • Their eye contact is direct
  • Their head is held high
  • Their mouth is open a little and they expose their tongue

These are all signs that your dog does not feel threatened by anything or anybody around them. You can usually approach a pooch displaying these characteristics without any concern.

How to tell if your dog is Alert/Curious

Dogs are curious creatures and they will usually want to check things out that they have not encountered before. So, if your furry friend has discovered something that interests them, they are likely to display some or all of the characteristics below. It’s their way of telling you that they are paying attention and making an assessment of a certain situation.

  • Ears are forward and may be twitching if they are trying to detect a specific sound
  • Mouth is closed
  • Wide eyes
  • Forehead and nose are smooth
  • Tail is horizontal but not bristled or stiff

How to tell if your dog is feeling Happy

If the body language of your pooch is relaxed then this is probably a sign that they are happy. This is what you need to look out for as signs of happiness:

  • Mouth partially open with a soft look
  • Relaxed ears that are not taut or pulled back
  • Posture is relaxed overall with head raised, a confident stance and tail relaxed
  • Wagging of the tail which includes wiggles from the whole body. Tail wagging with a relaxed body also suggests happiness
  • Showing you their belly by rolling over
  • Bowing down ready to play with their bottom in the air and chest pressed against the ground

Results will vary by breed but in general if your furry friend is exhibiting these signs then you can confidently assume that they are happy. At the end of the day it is all about your pooch appearing to be at ease and comfortable.

How to tell if your dog is feeling Sad/Lonely

Your pooch is not going to cry when they are sad. But they can exhibit other signs of sadness or loneliness. Check for this body language to see if your furry friend is feeling sad or lonely:

  • They make a whimpering or whining sound
  • Generally moping around not enjoying things that they normally do
  • Energy levels down
  • No interest in treats or other food
  • Smaller eyes that may look squinty
  • Patterns of sleep are different from normal

Of course, this kind of behavior can be a sign that your pooch is unwell. Try to make your furry friend happier by going for a walk, playing with a toy that they love, giving them their favorite treat and letting them play with another dog that they like. If they are still sad then consult your vet.

How to tell if your dog is feeling Angry

Of course you don’t want your furry friend to be angry but sometimes this is going to happen just as it does with us. These are the tell-tale body language signs:

  • A threatening stance standing as big as possible
  • Body upright and stiff with fur standing on end
  • Ears flattened and eyes not blinking
  • Open mouth and drawn back lips with the baring of their teeth
  • In an attack position ready to lunge
  • Low growling that is threatening

If you see these signs in your pooch then don’t do anything to make the situation worse. Do not stare at them or try to provoke them in any way. Be careful with sudden movements and keep your distance. Your furry friend may just need a little time to cool off but, if this behavior continues, it may be because they are actually injured and they are simply displaying their natural self-protection mechanism.

We hope that this guide will help you to better understand your dog’s body language. Always remember that certain breeds will act slightly differently but, over time, you will get to know your dog better than anyone, what makes them tick and what ticks them off!

It’s amazing how our furry best friend can sense and willingly provide emotional support whenever we need it, so it’s only fair we do the same for them. That’s what makes the special unbreakable bond between you.

It’s amazing how our furry best friend can sense and provide emotional support whenever we need it, so it’s only fair we do the same for them

Wishing you and your canine companions the best of health!

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & the FidoActive Team

 

 

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Take the Strain out of Traveling with your Furry Friend!

Whether it be by train, plane or automobile, traveling with our furry friends can be a fun experience but it can also be stressful and dangerous!So here are some top travel tips to help make holidaying with your hound easier and safer for you both!

Expect the Unexpected

You may be one of the lucky people that have never had a car accident but please still read on, as most people will have a couple of scrapes at some point in their lives. No matter how good a driver you are, you can’t always foresee hazards on the road, whether that be flood water, an animal or person running out in front of you or other irresponsible drivers on the road.

Even stopping suddenly at 10 M.P.H. your beloved pet is at risk of injury-but this doesn’t have to be the case. There are a number of easy and inexpensive precautions to significantly reduce the risks and help keep both you and your furry traveling companion safe.

Top 10 Tips for Safe & Happy Canine Car Journeys  

#1 Don’t let your dog roam around the inside of the car. They can impede your driving and distract you – just like kids! If you have to stop or swerve suddenly, they can immediately become a high velocity projectile (just like a bullet from a gun!) and thrown into the dashboard, windshield, the back of a seat or the head of the person in front. At the very least your pet will suffer emotional distress, worsened by cuts, bruises and broken bones from blunt force trauma. 

#2 Never let them sit in your lap or on the edge of your set next to an open window. Not only does this impede your driving, if you stop short or have a head-on impact, they can be crushed between you and the steering wheel, injured by airbags or ejected from the car into moving traffic. 

#3 Don’t let your dog roam unsecured in the back of a truck. Secure a crate to the bed of the truck and keep your dog inside of it. The risks posed to those furry friends are 100 times greater than those loose inside of a vehicle. 

#4 Dogs should stay restrained in the backseat or cargo area of your vehicle.  A metal separator is not enough to keep your pet safe; that really only prevents them from jumping into the seat in front and hitting the dashboard in a sudden stop or accident. It won’t prevent injury if your vehicle rolls or is impacted and if the window is open in their space, they can still be ejected. 

There are many good safety harnesses and crates available today which prevent this kind of injury to your pets. 

Safety Harnesses – These come in a range of price and quality but try to invest in one that is sturdy, padded for comfort and designed for automobile use. And remember to use it on even the shortest of journeys as, sadly, most accidents occur close to home. The harness should be on a short enough tether to anchor them in the event of an accident or sudden stop, but long enough to allow your dog room to stand up, turn around, move a bit from side to side and lay down when they want. 

Crates  Many dogs, especially nervous or new travelers are often more at ease in crates. Buy the sturdiest crate you can, preferably crash-tested and approved. Place it in the car with the long side against the seat back, to avoid extreme impact on one part- possibly the head- of the animal in case of a crash. Then secure it not only with the seatbelt but also with a couple of wide, heavy-duty luggage straps. You might have a mechanic install anchors for these.

In the case of small dogs, placing the crate behind the front seats on the floor is reasonably safe but somehow anchoring it there is even better. This may require having bolts put in the car specifically for this purpose, like you would in the back of a truck.

Finally, fit it with their favorite blanket and favorite toy, so it feels more like home.

#5 Opening car windows is great for ventilation and feeling the wind through their fur but make sure your pooch can’t jump out if they see something they’d like to chase. 

Avoid letting your dog stick their head or paws out of the car. Just like humans on a motorcycle, their    head and eyes exposed to high speeds and wind without protection are at risk to dangerous highway debris or obstacles. Remind yourself of a time when a stone was kicked up from the road and hit your windscreen, when a bush or tree branch scratched the side of your car, when you’ve had to pass a wide truck and only had a hair’s breadth between your wing mirrors, or when a motorcyclist has come speeding up between you and the other lane… then imagine your beloved pet’s face sticking out and being hit by one of those things… Seriously, I know it makes for a great photo but your beloved pet doesn’t know the dangers. They rely on you to keep them safe and it’s just not worth the risk! 

So, keep the air conditioning on, or just crack the windows, to let the air flow instead and let your dog get some fresh air on your regular pit stops – store up the fun for your vacation together!

#6 Keep their collar and tags on. It might seem more comfortable for your pup to have his collar off in the car, but if you crash and your dog panics, he may run away. Not everyone checks for microchips, so that little tag is still the best way to ensure their safe return. 

#7 For longer car rides, remember your pup needs food, water and breaks too. Feed your dog a small meal a few hours before your trip, then make regular stops for water/food every hour or two, or when Fido gets overly restless; this will give you both a chance to stretch your legs. When travelling in high temperatures, you’ll need to stop more often, about every 30 minutes to offer your pooch water. These breaks are especially important if it’s your pet’s first car trip, or they don’t like cars because a stressed and nervous dog runs a higher risk of dehydration than a calm pet.

#8 Not all dogs like the car; some associate it with trips to the vet or groomer and others are simply of a nervous disposition. Newly adopted pets may become car sick or nervous due to a previous unknown trauma. Exercise them prior to the journey, so they get rid of excess energy and are ready for a rest. 

Have a batch of specific treats your pooch really loves and use them ONLY for car journeys, so that it builds a positive association with the car. 

Weather permitting, rolling down the window a little closest to your dog will help distract them by smelling the air around them and also assists with limiting nausea. Better still, for their first journey, get another person to hold and comfort them, especially if they’re not in a secured crate. 

Nervous dogs often prefer being enclosed in a crate as it feels like a den and covering it with a dark blanket reduces the motion they can see through the windows and makes them feel more snug, safe & secure.

#9 If you can’t afford a safety harness or crate, you can always loop a strong, thick leash through the seatbelt to restrict your dog from moving around and while it may not be 100% effective, it lessens the risk significantly and something is better than nothing! 

#10 Put down a towel or sheet on your back seat, to protect it from muddy paws, hair and toenail snagging. Also, if your dog is prone to car sickness, you won’t be distracted or worried if they vomit and you can just pull over at your earliest opportunity.

Flying With Your Furry Friend? 

 Learn the airline’s pet policy. There are often fees associated with flying your pup and certain breeds are almost never allowed to fly or only allowed to fly seasonally. Some airlines have a strict ‘No canine passengers’ policy. 

 The ideal is to travel with your pet in the cabin but if your furry friend won’t fit under your seat, a crate is be the best option. But make sure you select a specially approved travel carrier to ensure your best friend’s safety and comfort. The carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand, sit and turn around comfortably.

 Prepare your dog for hours alone in a crate. Practice with your dog and the crate several weeks before the flight date, so that they associate their crate with positive experiences and seem happy to spend some time in their crate alone with you nearby.  Leave the crate out in your home with the door open and with their usual comfortable bedding and favorite toy in it. Feed your dog with the crate door open and work your way up to feeding with the door closed. Keep the same blanket & toy in the crate, to provide warmth and comfort for the duration of the flight. 

• If your pooch has to be checked into the belly of the plane, consider freezing a bowl of water. This way, it won’t spill when you’re transporting it, but will have melted by the time the dog gets thirsty. It’s also worth taping a small pouch, preferably made of cloth, of dried food outside the crate, so that airline personnel will be able to feed your pet in case he gets hungry on long-distance flights or a layover.

Camping 

• Camping is one of the most popular vacation activities for furry families but don’t let your pooch run loose unsupervised. With so many new smells to explore in the great outdoors, it can be exciting for a dog, but there are also dangers to be aware of, from wild animals, to steep drops, to poisonous plants. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so keep your dog on a leash during a camping trip. 

• Stay close at night. Though it may not be appealing to have a dirty pup that’s been playing in the woods all day asleep beside you, a dog tied up outside risks weather and wild animal hazards (for you both!), so keep them in the tent, cabin or RV with you. 

Hotels /Lodgings 

• Check the hotel/motel policy on pets before booking. If you are bringing your dog to a hotel, do some planning. Nothing is worse than trying to check into a hotel after an exhausting journey, only to discover that your extra-large pooch does not meet their size or breed restrictions. 

• Bring your dog’s crate or a dog bed from home if it’s practical, as it will be familiar to your dog and will help make them feel more comfortable in an unfamiliar environment. By having a crate, your dog has a piece of home, and a place to stay when you aren’t in the room. Make sure to train your dog before the trip, so it will be used to the crate. 

• If your dog is allowed to stay at a hotel, respect other guests, staff and the property. I know it’s hard to believe, but not everyone loves dogs!

• Keep your dog as quiet as possible and do not leave them unattended. Many dogs will bark or destroy property if left alone in a strange place. 

• Ask the management where you should walk your dog and ensure you pick up their poop. 

• Remember that one bad experience with a dog guest may result in the hotel management asking them to leave and potentially refuse to allow any dogs in the future. Be considerate of others and leave your room and the grounds as you found them. 

Health and Safety 

• Arrange a check-up with your veterinarian before going on an extended trip. Make sure all their vaccinations are up to date and bring the shot records with you. Health certifications are required for airline travel. 

• To keep your dog healthy as you travel and help get them settled in to unfamiliar surroundings, bring along a supply of their regular food and treats. Be sure to bring any medications they need and usual supplements to keep them in tip top condition. 

Identification 

In the event that your dog gets away from you on your trip, you can increase the chances of a safe and swift recovery by making sure they can be properly identified: 

• Be sure your dog has a sturdy leash and collar. The collar should have identification tags with the dog’s name, your name, and your telephone number, as well as proof of rabies shots. Remember to attach a temporary tag with details of your vacation address and contact number too.

• Consider a permanent form of identification, such as a microchip.

• Bring a recent picture of your dog along with you.

Additional Things to Pack 

• Paper towels, stain and odor remover and anything else you need to clean up after any accidents. 

• Plenty of poop bags. 

• A bowl, plenty of water, and some treats. 

• Seat covers (an old towel or blanket with plastic bags underneath works) if you want to protect your car from stains, hair and toenail scratches. 

• Make sure you have at least 3 days’ worth of food and any medication your pet needs, a warm blanket, towels, a pet first-aid kit and toys, in case you get stuck on the road due to adverse weather, major traffic incidents or if your vehicle breaks down.  

 

Wishing you and your canine companions happy travels!

Helen & The FidoActive Team
About the Author:

Helen Broadley is co-founder of FidoActive, a small business of life-long dog owners and dog lovers who have been motivated, by their own experiences, to create superior, all-natural products that promote good health in all canine companions. Helen has been surrounded by dogs since her childhood and been a dog parent all her adult life – from pedigrees to mutts – but she loves them all the same! 

She regularly volunteers at animal shelters, often having that as her main vacation activity. FidoActive also supports the amazing work of many community rescue shelters across the USA through product donations, to help get their furry residents in tip-top condition whilst waiting for their forever home.  

The FidoActive team believe wholeheartedly that the best way to reward their best friends’ unconditional love and loyalty is by helping them to have a healthy, happy and active life. 

Fidomeans faithful & loyal– a quality that your dog gives unconditionally 

Activeis what we want every dog to be! 

 

 

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Doggie Dental Hygiene – The Root of Many Evils

Your furry friend relies on you to provide the dental care that they need. The good news is that your dog will not suffer with a similar number of cavities like we do. The bad news is  that they do suffer with similar dental problems such as gingivitis and plaque.  

In fact, The American Veterinary Medical Association reported that 4 out of 5 dogs over the age of three have some form of gum disease. 

If these dental problems are not treated, then this can lead to far worse problems, such as kidney disease, liver and heart problems. So, it is essential that you take care of your dog’s teeth and this article will provide the tips and advice that you need to do just that. 

Clean your Dog’s Teeth Properly 

If you have never cleaned your furry friend’s teeth before then you are in for a treat! They will not be excited about it at all and you need to be a bit cunning to get the job done. It is best to go for teeth cleaning when your pooch is tired – say after a long walk. They will be a lot happier to sit and let you wield the toothbrush. 

Start the teeth cleaning process slowly and speak soothingly to your pet as you make each attempt. If you do not manage an effective clean the first time around don’t worry – keep practicing every day until you get it right. Honestly, they will get used to it eventually if you persevere and like any training, remember to use positive reinforcement. I know it sounds strange to give them a treat after cleaning their teeth, but it’s not like giving your kid a sweet after they’ve cleaned theirs. Alternatively, you can give them their favorite toy to play with.  

The earlier you start teeth cleaning the better. If your dog is older then they will take to it eventually. If you have a puppy then start straight away.  

CARE: NEVER use human toothpaste for the job as it will contain fluoride which is dangerous for dogs. Be sure to buy special dog tooth paste for the job – and if you get a particularly stubborn hound who doesn’t like fresh minty breath, you can even get flavored toothpaste, so they think they’re actually getting something tasty whilst you’re doing the dreaded deed! 

How eating and chewing benefits doggie dentures 

It is even more important to clean your dog’s teeth regularly if they eat wet food rather than dry food. The reason is that wet food can stick to their teeth and cause decay more easily. 

Your dog can clean their teeth through the act of chewing hard dental and hard rubber or nylon chew toys also massage their gums and exercise their oral structures. A nice bone to chew on will also help get rid of tartar build up and strengthen your dog’s teeth.  

Look out for these possible dental problems 

If you are brushing the teeth and you notice blood or your pooch cries out in pain then this is a sure sign they probably have a problem that needs professional attention. 

Try to check inside your dog’s mouth regularly – like once every week. There are a number of symptoms that can indicate dental hygiene problems and these include: 

  • Your canine has suddenly changed their eating habits 
  • They are drooling excessively 
  • You can see that they have a tooth missing 
  • Their gums look swollen, overly red or there are signs of bleeding 
  • You can see growths in their mouth 
  • They have really bad breath 
  • They have started to paw at their mouth 

If you spot any of these then it is time to take your pet for a check-up with the doggie dentist! You should visit the veterinarian at least once a year for an overall health check-up anyway and this will include an oral check, but please don’t delay until the annual appointment, if your pooch displays any of the above signs.  

Us humans clean our teeth twice a day, so it should be no surprise that it’s recommended we clean our dog’s teeth once a day. But, in case you do skip it now and again, the daily addition of a dental hygiene chew to a regimen of tooth brushing every other day has been proven to reduce the risk of gingivitis and accumulation of dental deposits (plaque, calculus and stain). There are lots of suitable chews available on the market in various shapes and sizes – my dog loves getting his teeth into Dentastix or Greenies and they certainly seem to do the trick. 

Help your pooch by paying particular attention to their dental care – it will avoid painful problems for them and save you a lot of unnecessary expense. That’s a win win in my book! 

Wishing you and your canine companions the best of health! 

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team  

 

 

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Household Hazards for your Hound to Avoid!

I’m sure we all agree that prevention is better than cure but unfortunately accidents happen! The important thing is to understand what everyday household substances are harmful to your furry friend and what to do should they consume any of them.

What Items can be Toxic for your Dog?

There are a number of household items that can be toxic to your dog. Dogs are naturally curious and they do not know the difference between things that are good for them and things that are not.These days, many household cleaning products even smell sweet so are easily sniffed out and many packaged in ‘chewable’ containers, so easy for your pooch to pierce.

Some of the most common poisonous things for your furry friend are:

  • Cleaning products
  • Insecticides
  • Toxic plants
  • Antifreeze
  • Chocolate
  • Human drugs & Medication

You may find the inclusion of chocolate surprising. The thing is that some types of chocolate can be really harmful for your pooch even though we can eat them without any problem. Never assume that if something is safe for us it is safe for them.

The amount of harm any poison will do to your dog is dependent on how much your pooch ingested, and how long this poison was in your furry friend’s body before the administration of any treatment.

A poison may not cause an immediate reaction. Sometimes the symptoms can take a few days or even weeks to emerge. So please don’t be lulled into a false sense of security, thinking they are OK just because they don’t display any reaction r sickness right away.

DON’T DELAY – if you see them ingesting a potentially poisonous substance then you need to take IMMEDIATE ACTION!

Get in touch with your nearest animal emergency center or your veterinarian right away.

Human Drugs and Medication

Keep your dog away from drugs. If someone in your family is taking prescription drugs then don’t assume that your pooch can’t reach the contents because there is a child proof lid. Your furry friend will be very persistent if they want something and it will not be too much of a problem for them to chew off a child proof lid. Just keep them out of the way.

Don’t be thinking that there is less of a risk with over the counter (OTC) drugs. Did you know that aspirin can be harmful to your pooch? Be sure to keep all medicines in a safe place far away from your furry friend.

Plants

Dogs like being around plants and there is always a temptation for them to eat a plant and destroy it. Most types of grass will not be toxic for your furry friend but the same is not true for many plants – Here’s a list of the most common house and garden plants that are a danger for your dog:

  • Aconitum
  • Amaryllis bulbs
  • Asparagus fern
  • Azalea
  • Cyclamen
  • Daffodil bulbs
  • Day lilies
  • Delphiniums
  • Foxgloves
  • Hemlock
  • Hyacinth
  • Hydrangea
  • Ivy
  • Laburnum
  • Lily of the valley
  • Lupins
  • Morning glory
  • Nightshade
  • Oleander
  • Rhododendron
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Sweet pea
  • Tulip bulbs
  • Umbrella plant
  • Wisteria
  • Yew

To check how pet-safe your yard, why not click the link below for a full list of TOXIC and NON-TOXIC plants provided by the ASPCA:

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/dogs-plant-list

In addition to plants don’t forget about FERTILIZERS – some are pet-safe but here are some ingredients used in fertilizers that can be FATAL to your furry friend without treatment:

  • Blood meal
  • Disulfoton or other types of organophosphates (OP)
  • Iron
  • Pesticides/Insecticides

Cleaning and other Household Products

A lot of household products contain a cocktail of chemicals that are toxic for your dog. Cleaning products often contain petroleum distillates, detergent, alcohol, soap and acids which are potential hazards for your furry friend. Vomiting and nausea are common with these products, but worse are chemical burns which can damage vital organs.

There are some other household products that are obviously dangerous such as insecticides, rat poison, weed killer, bait stations for insects and antifreeze. If your dog ingests any of these then they can suffer from severe symptoms that can be fatal if they are not treated immediately.

Human Food

We have already mentioned chocolate as a potential poison for your pooch. This is because most chocolate contains theobromine which is a real threat to your furry friend. Be careful with gum and other types of candy as they may contain xylitol which can damage your dog’s kidneys. It is common to find xylitol in grapes and raisons as well.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of items that can be poisonous for your furry friend. The best thing any responsible pet owner can do is to be educated on potential toxins both inside the home and out in the yard.

The Animal Poison Control also has an emergency number and useful information on their website

What should you do if you think your Dog has ingested Poison?

If you believe that your pet has ingested something harmful then take action immediately and call your veterinarian or local animal emergency center. Alternatively, you can call the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control or Pet Poison Hotline, who both operate 24/7, 365 days a year.

Whoever you call, you need to provide the following ‘information’

  • The name of the poison you suspect your dog has ingested
  • How much they ingested
  • When they ingested it
  • Explain the symptoms your dog is displaying (if any)

Be sure to remove your pooch from the area where the poisoning took place. Check their breathing and don’t be tempted to administer anything such as a home remedy. NEVER induce vomiting UNLESS an expert tells you to do so.

Our canine companions depend on us to keep them safe – so keep any unavoidable toxins in a pet-proof container and out of their reach.

It may take a little while for you to do a full check on how poison-proof your property is, but please at least ensure you have an emergency telephone number to hand at all times and maybe download the ASPCA’s free Mobile App for Animal Poison Control.

Wishing you and your canine companions the best of health – always!

 

 


Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team

 

 

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How to Stop Your Dog Eating Things on the Ground

Owning a dog is a wonderfully rewarding experience, but that goes hand in hand with training them to understand right from wrong. One of the earliest lessons they need to learn is what they can and cannot eat, especially when it comes to things they find on the ground.

If you don’t correct this behavior, it could result in the loss of a cherished or valuable personal object, physical damage to your furry best friend or both!

Does your dog manage to scout out and eat any type of food they find on the ground when out on your walks?

Why are they doing this and what can you do to break this habit?

First, it’s important to understand that this is perfectly normal behavior; dogs are naturally curious and sniffing out new smells and tastes is basically canine sight-seeing! Also, most dogs love their food, so it’s one of the toughest things to prevent them from eating their finds, whether that be food scraps or horse poo!

Training Tips

There are many basic training methods that can help to stop this. Positive reinforcement training is usually more successful than a reprimand, but you may have to include negative reinforcement to.

I’m not going to lie, trying to train your dog out of this habit takes time and effort. It can be harder still if you’re trying to retrain an older dog, as such training can be confusing because they’re suddenly being scolded for doing something that has been accepted as OK for possibly years!

#1. Positive Reinforcement

Positive Option A

First step is to find and stock up on the treats your dog goes crazy for!

When it’s time for their walk, start by showing your pooch you have a bag of their favorite treats, give them a sample when you put them on the leash and ensure they see where you have put them, so they know they are coming on the walk with you. Also carry a treat in your hand (they know it’s there!). As you give them one, replace it with another, so you are able to reward correct behavior immediately and your dog understands what they are being rewarded for.

When you’re on your walk, you’re going to have to encourage them vocally with a cheerful and upbeat “Hey, Barney look at this!” type voice calls, whenever they go to sniff and show them their favorite treat in your hand. When they come to you, immediately reward them with their favorite treat, PLUS lots of verbal praise in a happy and excited voice, so they associate the treat with verbal praise. Repeat.

Don’t use any negative commands, such as “Leave it” for this training option – keep it totally positive! This option has several benefits; it can become a game, so you and your furry friend can have more fun on your walks, it serves to distract them from unwanted behavior, plus they receive lots of praise from you which they simply love and thrive on.

When you start, it will take a lot of time and treats, but once they have grasped the idea, it’s not necessary to reward them with a treat every time,BUT it is VITAL you keep up the verbal praise and replace the treat with a quick belly rub or ear tickle.Be sure not to stop treats altogether, as they may simply revert to the unwanted behavior and maintaining this command can prove useful in many other situations, when you want your dog to come to you.

Positive Option B

Another approach starts by teaching your dog a “touch command”, so that they touch your hand with their nose.

Once they have mastered this command, you can use this training when they see something on the ground.  Eventually, when they see something on the ground, it becomes the cue for them to come to you and touch your hand and you reward them with their favorite treat. They will learn that this behavior is much more rewarding than eating something on the ground and probably much tastier!

#2. Negative Reinforcement

This technique includes negative reinforcement BUT only in so far as your verbal command is in a sterner/stricter voice – you should NEVER resort to physical reprimands – this is your best faithful friend we’re talking about here! Punishing your pooch might suppress the symptoms but only through fear and that’s no way to build a solid, fun and trusting relationship between you and your canine companion.

Keep your pooch on the leash while you place a tempting item a short distance away from them – something they like to eat but NOT their favorite treat. They will initially strain and pull to get to the item, but keep repeating the “leave” command, while you wait for them to calm down and stop attempting to get at the item, and then reward them with their favorite treat, you will teach them that they will be rewarded for obeying that order. Like most training, it can take a while for it to click with your furry friend – it’s just a case of lots of repetition and lots of rewards!

#3. If All Else Fails

These training exercises take time and practice. If you have a serious problem with your pooch or you haven’t got either the confidence or the time, seek the help of a qualified positive trainer or behavior consultant. The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and the Pet Professional Guild both have searchable directories to find someone qualified to help your dog in your area.

What about non-nutritional objects?

Does your pooch eat things such as stones,pieces of metal, pencils or hairbrushes?

This type of abnormal eating behavior makes no sense at all, because the things they eat are not remotely like food.

Very young puppies are naturally curious and they can often start chewing things to ease teething pains, but it’s not natural for them to swallow such items and could be very dangerous, if this behavior is not managed correctly.

I know it’s easier said than done but try and make sure the dog’s area at home is cleared of anything small enough to consume, or keep them in a clear confined (but still comfortable!) space when they are left alone.

However, it might not simply be a case of a mischievous mutt!

The bottom line is that this problem can happen for a variety of reasons, so the first vital step is to find out what the real underlying reason is.

Eating objects which are not food is sometimes due to a condition called Pica, which can be caused through anxiety or can even be signs of a mental disorder. In some cases, it can even be due to a nutritional or mineral deficiency, due to a digestive system issue, so it is worth checking out with your veterinarian first.

If these reasons are ruled out then it could literally just be down to boredom or loneliness, so make sure that your dog is socializing enough and getting plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. 

Don’t get complacent!

With the best will in the world, even when you have an amazing well-trained dog, things might still get into their mouths by accident. Cover all bases and make sure your furry best friend’s immune and digestive systems are in tip-top condition, with a daily dose of Probiotics with Probiotic, to help them fight off any tummy bugs or allergies and make your dog more resilient to viruses and infections.

FidoActive’s all-natural Advanced Probiotics for Dogs fits the brief perfectly and theunique formula even includes 74 minerals and a natural de-wormer. With no odor or flavor, you can add it to their wet or dry food without resistance or gagging, so ideal for any dogs with IBS and even the pickiest pooches get the goodness they need!

Without a doubt, breaking bad habits take patience and perseverance – doesn’t sound that different to us humans! BUT please stick with it, as this could stop them from eating a cherished personal item of yours or something poisonous or dangerous, so you could quite literally save your furry best friend’s life!

Wishing you and your canine companions the best of health – always!

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team

 

 

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