Dog Anxiety And Car Rides: How You Can Help

Dog Anxiety and Car Rides: How You Can Help

Dog Anxiety and Car Rides: How You Can Help

For some dogs, a car ride is a sign of something fun. They happily leap into the backseat or into a crate in the trunk, excited for a new adventure.

Other dogs feel differently.

Dogs can experience motion sickness in cars and may feel anxious and uncomfortable in a car. If you like to take your pet with you when you travel, this can create problems. Is there a way to deal with your dog’s motion sickness? How can you ease their distress while travelling? More importantly, how can you be sure your dog is safe and secure in a car?

Signs Your Dog is Anxious in a Car

If your dog is anxious in a car, don’t worry – they’ll let you know about it. Some commonly known car anxiety symptoms include whining and crying, restlessness, drooling, or even vomiting. Your dog may huddle down, tail tucked between their legs, displaying physical signs of discomfort. Frequent lip licking and lowered ears also indicate discomfort or nerves.

It’s good to try and establish why your dog is uncomfortable in the car. It could be because of a bad past experience. For example, a car accident with your dog in the car could make them nervous in the future. Car accidents are a reasonable cause of anxiety since humans often have the same reaction to traumatic incidents.

However, your dog could have also come to associate the car with bad places. If the only time you’ve put them in a car is to take them to the vet, your dog will understandably associate the car ride with the ultimate destination.

Straightforward motion sickness can also be at the root cause of your dog’s anxiety. If that’s the case, it would be best to avoid long car trips until you’ve dealt with it.

Safety First for Dogs

Just like a person, your dog needs to be properly secured in the car when it’s moving. Some pet owners have a special crate in the trunk of the car, which keeps their dog safe and secure. You can put plenty of comfortable blankets, toys, and treats in that area, to keep your dog entertained during a journey.

Other pet owners use specialised seatbelt harnesses. It attaches to your dog’s body like a regular harness but includes a loop or attachment that you can slip a seat belt through. These harnesses prevent your dog from roaming around the car as you drive and protects them – and us – in the event of an accident.

Nervous dogs may try and move around the car while it’s driving. They may bark, whine, or scratch, all of which can be dangerous. The driver may be distracted. If you’re getting your dog used to travelling in the car, it may be an idea to take a friend or relative along with you, to keep an eye on your dog while you drive.

Keeping your dog safe and secure in a car is the first step to calming their nerves.

How to Relieve Your Dog’s Anxiety

The absolute best way to get a dog comfortable with car rides is to start training them young. Puppies are more open to new experiences, and this is a key period in their development.

Of course, this isn’t always possible. But that doesn’t mean that an older dog can’t learn to love the car.

First, try and establish when your dog begins to show signs of nervousness. Do they begin to get uncomfortable as the car ride goes on, or are they reluctant to get in the car at all? If you’re not sure of the root cause of your dog’s anxiety, try consulting a vet. They might be able to help you decide whether it’s straightforward nerves or motion sickness.

The key is to get your dog to connect a car ride with food and fun. Start small, perhaps with only short car rides. If your dog is exceptionally nervous, start by getting them comfortable sitting in the car with the engine turned off.

You could play a game with your dog and their favourite toy and offer them treats. Once your dog is relaxed, move on to the next stage of the training – turning on the car. Once again, wait until your dog is completely relaxed before moving on.

If your dog seemed very distressed, you may need to finish the training for that day. But don’t give up, you can try again.

Once you’ve built your dog up to be comfortable with short car rides, use the car to take them somewhere fun, such a dog park or out for a treat. They’ll quickly learn to associate the car with fresh air and fun.

Of course, you’ll still have to take your dog to unpleasant locations, like the vet or the dog groomers. But if you also use the car to go to fun locations and bribe them with food, treats, and attention, you should be fine!

Dealing with Dogs Motion Sickness

 

Motion sickness can cause anxiety in dogs, as well as vomiting. If your dog knows they’ll feel sick and ill in the car, and possibly get told off for vomiting, they’ll be reluctant to get into a car.

Getting your dog used to driving in the car can help them to get over their motion sickness. In the meantime, there are some things you can do to ease their discomfort.

  • Wind down a window (make sure your dog can’t climb out!)
  • Keep the inside of the car cool.
  • Limit food and water before a road trip, as a full stomach may make your dog feel sick.
  • Exercise your dog before a trip, as this can ease any stress.
  • Use anti-anxiety or motion sickness medication for dogs. Consult your vet about what to use.

Should You Take Your Dog in a Car?

With a little patience and training, you can get your dog used to road trips. Being able to take your dog in the car opens up a huge range of next activities. You can go hiking with your beloved pet, take them on picnics, beach trips, holidays, and more!

Why Are Vitamins Important For Your Dog

Why Are Vitamins Important for Your Dog?

Why Are Vitamins Important for Your Dog?

Vitamin deficiencies in humans can lead to all kinds of problems. Skin, teeth, bones, and hair can all suffer, as well as causing more serious health problems later on.

Dogs are no exception.

It’s easy to give our dogs their allotted portion of commercial dog food and leave it there. We presume that the food we buy contains all the vitamins our beloved pet could need. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Could your dog be suffering from a nutritional deficiency? If so, how can you fill that deficiency? Is it possible to over-supplement your pet? Let’s find out.

Is Your Dog Suffering from a Nutritional Deficiency?

Just like humans, a dog’s diet will have a tremendous impact on their health. Dogs are scavengers by nature and will likely eat anything you put in front of them. Your pet may eagerly eat all their food, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for them. It’s up to you as the owner to keep an eye on your dog’s diet and make sure they’re getting the vitamins they need.

Remember, your dog can’t tell you if they’re suffering from joint pain or some other problem. So, here are a few signs that your dog could be suffering from a nutritional deficiency.

  • Sudden changes in body weight (gaining or losing)
  • Dull coat
  • Reluctance to eat, or other changes in appetite
  • Changes in poop
  • Thirst changes (thirstier or less thirsty)
  • Skin problems
  • Behaviour changes
  • A “sad” look

If you suspect your dog is suffering from a nutritional deficiency, it would be a good idea to get them checked out by a vet. The deficiency could come from something lacking in their diet, or you dog could have an absorption and digestive issue. A vet can pinpoint the exact issue and give you advice on how to deal with it.

Why Should You Consider Vitamin Supplements?

If you’ve noticed some nutritional deficiency in your dog’s diet, the next step to consider is how you can deal with that deficiency.

For example, if your dog has recently been ill, they could have developed a vitamin deficiency. Common issues skin conditions, which have been known to respond well to extra zinc in the diet.

Some vitamins can also help older dogs with arthritis and joint pain. There are several types of vitamin your dog could be prescribed. While there are multi-vitamins available, your dog may not have a deficiency in all the areas the multi-vitamins aim at filling. Let’s discuss a few key vitamins.

Vitamin A for Dogs

Vitamin A is a key vitamin in growing puppies. Deficiencies can result in poor vision, weak muscles, bad coat and skin conditions, as well as other health issues later on.

Vitamin A supplements can nourish a dog’s coat and skin, as well as improving vision and aiding the reproductive process. If you intend to breed your dogs, plenty of vitamin A is a must.

Vitamin D for Dogs

This vitamin focuses on regulating calcium and phosphorous levels in the blood. It helps with calcium conservation within the body, which nourishes bones and aids muscle and nerve control. Like many nutrients, vitamin D needs to be taken in via your dog’s diet.

Vitamin C for Dogs

Unlike the previous vitamins, vitamin C can be manufactured in a dog’s body, meaning that it doesn’t need to be taken in via diet.

Just like a human vitamin C deficiency, lack of this vitamin in dogs can lead to scurvy, which is weak bones and swollen joints. It’s also a powerful antioxidant.

Vitamin B-complex for Dogs

A dog needs a cocktail of vitamin B nutrients for healthy function. However, all B vitamins have one thing in common – they promote healthy nerve growth and regeneration.

A vitamin B deficiency can lead to serious health complications in dogs. These complications can range from loose stools and a poor coat, all the way to potential heart failure.

The Dangers of Over-Supplementing your Dog

Perhaps you’re tempted to rush out to the nearest pet store and buy all the vitamin supplement for your dog that you can possibly carry.

While it’s true that deficiencies of these vitamins can lead to serious health conditions, over-supplementing can be just as dangerous.

Vitamin supplements are divided into two categories: water-soluble and fat-soluble. An overdose of water-soluble vitamins may not be such a serious mistake, since water-soluble vitamins aren’t stored in the body. The majority of these supplements will leave your dog’s body when they urinate.

Fat-soluble supplements, however, are a different story. These vitamins are stored in the liver and in other fatty tissues, and overdoses can cause a build-up of the vitamin in your dog’s system.

Depending on the vitamin, this can cause a variety of health problems. An overdose of vitamin D, for example, may cause your dog to lose their appetite, leading to muscle wastage, fatigue, and possible bone damage.

Overdoses can lead to stomach problems, behavioural changes, nerve damage, drowsiness, or even heart failure.

Since it’s difficult to tell what vitamin your dog could be lacking, it’s good to consult a vet before starting your pet on a course of supplements.

How to Add Vitamins to Your Dog’s Diet

One of the best ways to balance out your dog’s diet is to add food that’s rich in nutrients and vitamins. Fruits and vegetables contain plenty of vitamin C, and meat and fatty fish contains iron and other nutrients. High-quality dog food tends to have a better concentration of vitamins than some cheaper options.

If you’re not sure what dog food would be best, do some research and maybe consult a vet on which brand is best.

Giving your dog a vitamin supplement in pill form can be a little trickier. Some owners find that placing the pill in their dog’s food works just fine. Others need to disguise the pill in a treat, such as a small ball of peanut butter or a piece of ham.

Your Dog and Vitamins

Just like humans, dogs have specific nutritional needs. Feeding your pet too much bad food can be almost as harmful as not feeding them enough good food. If you have any questions or concerns, always speak to a vet first. Our pets deserve the best!

Helpful Or Harmful For Your Dog?

Helpful or Harmful: What Can You Feed Your Dog?

Helpful or Harmful: What Can You Feed Your Dog?

It’s a familiar situation for a dog owner. You’re sitting down to a delicious meal, and you’re hungry. But just as you’re about to take the first bite, you feel beady eyes boring into you. Sure enough, your dog is sitting there, staring pleadingly at you. Your poor, starving dog, who is trying to convince you that they have literally never eaten anything, ever, in their lives.

Those puppy dog eyes can be very effective. You might find yourself wondering – would one bite hurt?

Of course, we’ve all heard horror stories about a single grape killing someone’s beloved pet. Any sensible pet owner knows that not every type of human food is suitable for dogs. However, if you’re looking to give your dog a treat, or even supplement their regular diet, there are plenty of foods that are safe for dogs to eat. However, it’s important to know which foods are safe – and which foods aren’t.

Foods Your Dog Can Eat

Many fruits and vegetables, as well as most types of meat, are suitable for your dog. You might notice that commercial dog foods include turkey or chicken, as well as rice and vegetables. While you should supplement your dog’s diet in moderation, here are a few foods that are fine, even nourishing, to feed to your dog.

Fruit and Vegetables for Dogs

Fruits and vegetables are usually fine to feed your dog. There are a few notable exceptions, which we’ll discuss later. While individual dogs may vary, here are a few foods you can give to your dog:

·       Apples

·       Carrots

·       Coconut

·       Blueberries

·       Oranges

·       Celery

·       Watermelon

·       Blackberries

·       Peas

·       Mushrooms

·       Broccoli

·       Sweet potatoes

·       Mango

·       Bananas

·       Strawberries

·       Cooked potatoes

Always be sure to cut vegetables like carrots into bite-size pieces, preventing your dog from choking. While most fruits and vegetables contain protein and fiber that’s good for dogs, too much can lead to an upset stomach. If your dog suffers from vomiting, diarrhoea, or nausea after eating one of these treats, it’s possible that you’re feeding them too much.

Meat for Healthy Dogs

Meats are a popular treat for our dogs. Fortunately, most of them are perfectly safe for our precious pets to eat.

·       Salmon

·       Turkey

·       Pork

·       Shrimp

·       Chicken

·       Beef

However, it’s always best to serve your dog meat that’s been properly cooked. Raw salmon, for instance, can contain a parasite that may harm your dog. So, this means that you can’t share your sushi with your pet!

Always make sure meats like turkey, chicken, and fish are properly boned. Small fish bones or the dreaded chicken bones can stick in a dog’s throat, or even cause digestion problems and damage. If you want to give your dog a meaty treat, pull off bite-sized pieces of meat, instead of giving your dog a whole carcass or even part of one.

Also, make sure the meat hasn’t been cooked with foods that aren’t safe for dogs. Garlic and onions aren’t suitable for dogs, but they’re a popular ingredient to cook alongside meat.

Other Dog-Friendly Snacks

There are other human foods that can provide nutrition and protein to dogs. As always, it’s best to serve these foods in moderation.

·       Peanut butter

·       Eggs

·       Popcorn

·       Bread

·       Cooked rice

·       Oatmeal

Scrambled eggs can make a delicious breakfast for a dog. However, if you supplement the eggs with a splash of milk, be sure not to add too much. Milk in moderation is fine for dogs, but it can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea, since dogs are prone to lactose intolerance.

Bread also contains a lot of sugar. Remember that your dog is much smaller than you are and can only tolerate sugar and salt in smaller amounts.

Peanut butter is another well-known, popular snack for dogs. If your dog doesn’t like taking their medication, try smothering the pill in peanut butter or another treat, like a piece of ham. The peanut butter hides the taste of the pill and encourages your dog to swallow it properly!

Foods Your Dog CAN’T Eat

Just about every dog owner will find themselves frantically Googling “Is [this] food safe for dogs?” after their pet has somehow got their paws on something they weren’t supposed to eat. While most foods are fine for dogs, at least in moderation, there are some foods you’ll definitely want to keep out of your pet’s diet.

·       Chocolate

This is something every dog owner knows – chocolate is very, very bad for dogs. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, stimulants which dogs can’t tolerate. If your dog eats too much chocolate, you should seek a vet’s advice immediately.

The darker the chocolate, the higher the concentration of poisonous stimulations. If you dog does eat some chocolate by mistake, a lot will depend on how much they ate and how dark the chocolate is. For example, a single dark chocolate could kill a small dog, but a larger dog could eat a handful of milk or white chocolate and suffer only mild stomach upset.

Nevertheless, if your dog does eat some chocolate by mistake, it’s best to get them checked out regardless.

·       Alcohol

Alcohol can lead to ethanol poisoning in dogs, which can result in death. While it’s unlikely that a pet owner would crack open a beer to share with their pet, it’s important to keep an eye on your drink. Dogs are sneaky, and they can drain your glass of wine or beer faster than you think. Never let your dog drink even a tiny bit of alcohol.

·       Raisins and Grapes

You may be tempted to give your dog a raisin as a treat. Resist the temptation. Grapes and especially raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. A larger dog may be able to eat a few grapes or raisins and be fine, but the compounds can quickly build up in their system.

There are a few other foods that your dog can’t eat, which may surprise you:

·       Avocado

·       Lemons and Limes

·       Onions

·       Garlic

·       Macadamia Nuts

Your Dog and Human Food

There’s nothing wrong with giving your dog a little treat from time to time, presuming you keep it in moderation and avoid the dangerous foods.

However, all dogs are individuals. A treat that’s fine for one dog could upset another dog’s stomach. If in doubt, leave it out!

- Why Do Dogs Get Stiff Joints? - Peak Pets

Why do Dogs get Stiff Joints?

Why do Dogs get Stiff Joints?

Going for walks was more than likely the highlight of your dog’s day for their formative years. Exploring the area, bounding around the house, and jumping on the furniture were probably all daily occurrences for your beloved pet.

However, it can be difficult, especially as dogs get older to spot the warning signs of joint stiffness. Dogs often struggle to communicate their issues with us and will even try to hide them. Just because your dog isn’t yelping or crying does not mean they are not in pain with their joints.

Although some joint stiffness is not curable, there are a plethora of things you can do to make your dog more comfortable and enable them to get the most out of every day.

The Signs that Your Dog Has Joint Pain

  • Lies down at every opportunity, particularly if they used to be happy to sit or stand
  • Hesitates or refuses to go up or down the stairs, or jump in the car
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sudden aggression, particular after being touched
  • Biting, Licking and Chewing their legs
  • Falls behind you on walks
  • Refusal to be dried or groomed
  • Limping, particularly after sleeping or resting
  • Weight gain – refusal to move will lead to them carrying excess weight

What Causes Stiff Joints?

There are a variety of factors which can lead to stiff joints in dogs.

Age

Joint stiffness is more common in older dogs, where the cartilage has worn away over the years. However, you should be aware that joint pain can still occur in younger dogs too.

Weight

If your dog is carrying too much weight, it puts a great deal of stress on their bones and joints. Overweight dogs are also more reluctant to exercise, so it can be a difficult journey to get them back into shape. When trying to help your dog lose their excess weight, strive for a regular, rather than excessive exercise routine.

Breed

There are many dogs, notably larger breeds, that are simply more susceptible to joint issues. Before purchasing or adopting a pup, you should always consider the specific needs of that breed.

Disease

Stiffness in the joints is often associated with diseases such as arthritis which is common among older dogs. Your vet will be able to diagnose this and recommend appropriate treatment and medication.

Viral and Bacterial Infections

These infections can attack the joints, muscles, or nerves to cause stiffness in our animals. They will often cause inflammation around the joints, which can affect the range of motion and cause the dog a great deal of pain.

Adaptations You Can Make

There are a range of small changes you get make around the home, to create an environment that is more suitable for a pet with joint issues.

Block Off the Stairs 

Unless your dog must go upstairs, restricting access may be worthwhile.

You can use a stair gate, generally used for toddlers, to limit access to the staircase. This will prevent your pet from attempting the journey and making their pain worse in the process.

Ramps for Outdoors 

If there is a big step either from your garden or up to your front door, placing a ramp can make the journey much easier for your pet. This does not have to be a permanent option, but can be a temporary, even make-shift, ramp to aid your dog into the home.

Avoid Slippery Surfaces

Wooden and tiled floors can be a nightmare for dogs with stiff joints.

They can quickly result in your pet losing their balancing and tripping, making the pain much worse. Simply putting down rugs and carpets can make the home far more comfortable for your pet to navigate.

Invest in a New Bed

If your pet has severe joint pain, they will likely be spending much more time resting and sleeping. Investing in an orthopaedic bed will lead them to a much more comfortable sleep and help prevent further issues.

Raise the Height of Their Food Bowl

Merely placing the food and water higher to prevent your dog from having to bend down whilst eating will make their life strides more comfortable. Joint pain can often cause dogs to become depressed, which results in them not eating enough. Making mealtimes more comfortable will work wonders in preventing this.

What are The Treatments for Stiff Joints in Dogs?

The treatment your dog requires will undoubtedly depend on what the underlying issue is. If your dog shows signs of evident distress or extreme pain, it is best to consult a vet as soon as possible. They should be able to provide immediate pain relief whilst the cause is diagnosed.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

One of the most straightforward measures to relieve dog’s joint pressures is to help them remain healthy. Regular exercise and a balanced diet mean that your dog’s weight should remain stable. Although it can be tempting to give excessive treats, you must remain strict when you see your pet struggling.

Glucosamine Supplements 

Your dog will naturally produce Glucosamine, which helps ensure healthy cartilage in the joints. However, as your dog ages, Glucosamine production slows, and therefore, joint issues can arise. This may result in a smaller range of motion or pain and fatigue in your pet.

Giving your dog a Glucosamine supplement can help restore this cushion around the joints, making it easier and more comfortable for your dog to go about the day, and enjoy the things they love the most.

Adapting Exercise

Although your dog can be reluctant to endure their usual daily walks whilst they are in pain, they must maintain some level of physical activity. Although this might not be up to miles they used to do, regular walks will help strengthen the dog’s joints, muscles, and bones.

If you are unsure about what exercise level would be right for your dog in their current situation, it is always advised that you speak to a professional.

- Skin Allergies In Dogs: Symptoms And Treatments - Peak Pets

Skin Allergies in Dogs: Symptoms and Treatments

Skin Allergies in Dogs: Symptoms and Treatments

Skin allergies in dogs are widespread.

Skin allergies present themselves in various ways, and their results can range from your dog being in slight discomfort, to excruciating pain.

However, as common as they are, they can still be extremely distressing for your pet and the whole family. Skin allergies will often cause your dog to scratch incessantly as well as chew and bite at particularly itchy or painful areas. The result of the chewing or scratching can leave your pet with very sore skin, which can often lead to infections.

What is a Skin Allergy?

Basically put, a skin allergy is your dog’s immune system reacting to something external.

Usually, a dog will develop an allergy before the age of three, whilst their bodies are still developing. However, it is not uncommon for dogs to develop allergies in their later years. 

Unfortunately for our pets, skin allergies can also be genetic, meaning they are passed down from your dog’s parents, and there is nothing you or any vet can do about it.

Symptoms of a Skin Allergy:

  • Itching and Scratching for prolonged periods
  • Redness and tough skin
  • Licking
  • Smelling skin
  • Inflammation and swelling of the face

How Allergens Make Contact

There are many ways an allergen can enter the dog’s immune system.

Ingesting Allergens

One of the most common ways an allergen will enter your dog’s body is through the mouth. Although we all try our hardest to watch everything that enters our dogs’ mouth, any pet owner is aware that this is not always possible.

Monitoring what your dog is eating is essential, especially if you believe they may be reacting to something. They may be munching on a plant (either in the house or the garden) or finding their way into a rubbish bag.

Inhaled Allergens

As the name suggests, these are the allergens that your dog breaths in. A common inhaled allergen among both dogs and humans is pollen. In humans, inhaled allergens often affect the breathing system. However, in dogs, they commonly present as skin allergies.

Inhaled allergens are often worse in the summer as the changing season brings different toxins for your pet to inhale.

Contact Allergies

Although the least common way for a dog to develop a skin allergy, contact allergies can be extremely irritating for your pet. Contact allergies occur when something makes direct contact with your dog’s skin. This commonly occurs when pesticides are used on grass.

Seek Professional Advice

It is incredibly tempting to diagnose your dog at home based on the symptoms they present. However, seeking a professional diagnosis from your vet is essential to enable you to give your pet the right care.

A vet will conduct a full physical examination, to determine a complete list of current symptoms, diagnosis, and a treatment plan. Be aware that the vet may likely determine that the allergy is due to a combination of factors.

It may even be the case that your dog is not suffering from an allergy at all.

Dry skin is common amongst dogs and similarly presents itself as a skin allergy would. Dry skin can cause significant discomfort for your dog and cause them to scratch almost continuously. If you part your dog’s hair, you will undoubtedly see flakes of dandruff in the hair and cracked, sore skin underneath. It would help if you still took the dog to the vets to confirm this.

Remedies for Relieving Allergies in Dogs

Regular Bathing

Regularly washing, and thoroughly drying your dog is imperative if they suffer from skin irritation. Use hypoallergenic shampoos to clean their fur, and towel dry for the most comforting wash. After bathing, the skin should be soothed, and you should see a remarkable reduction in scratching, in the short term at least.

Additionally, your vet may recommend a medicated shampoo for use at bath time. These medicated shampoos are explicitly developed to soothe skin and ease irritation.

Aloe Vera

If you have ever suffered from sunburn, you will appreciate the immediate relief that aloe vera can offer. Applying a generous amount to any particularly severely affected areas on the body will help soothe the pain and discomfort your pet is suffering from.

Although it will not cure their situation, it will help offer some instant relief. However, be sure to double-check that the aloe vera does not contain any alcohol.

Omega 3 Fatty Acid Supplements

Omega 3 fatty acids are proven to reduce inflammation, so if your pet is suffering from particularly inflamed skin, these supplements should help calm things down.

Antihistamines

Antihistamines are safe for dogs to use and are regularly prescribed by vets.

The dosage will depend entirely on the allergy your dog is suffering from, and its severity. It should be noted that there is varying success treating dog allergies with antihistamines.

Antibiotics

If the allergy is prolonged, your dog will likely have scratched and bitten the area, making it sore. This may mean the area is infected, in which case the vet will likely prescribe antibiotics. It is often recommended that these are hidden in food to ensure the dog swallows the pill.

Preventing Allergic Reactions

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent allergic reactions in your pets completely.

The best way to prevent your dog from developing allergies is by ensuring they live a healthy life. Regular exercise will keep them in the best shape and ensure they are happy and help reduce anxiety levels.

A well rounded, healthy diet will also encourage the overall health of your pet. Adding probiotics into the diet will help promote gut health and optimise nutrient absorption.

Identifying the cause of the issue is the first step to making your dog’s life more comfortable. If the cause of the allergy is food, merely eliminating it from their diet may be enough. However, with an allergy such as grass or pollen, it may not be quite so straightforward.

- 7 Signs Your Dog Is Stressed (And How To Relieve It) - Peak Pets

7 Signs your Dog is Stressed (and How to Relieve it)

7 Signs your Dog is Stressed (and How to Relieve it)

When your dog becomes stressed, it can be extremely distressing for the whole family.

Stress in dogs presents itself in a variety of ways and is triggered by many different factors.

Some dogs are more susceptible to developing stress and anxiety from birth. For others, there may be things that happen in their life that spark their stress. Stress is often prevalent among adopted dogs moving from shelters to their forever home, due to the upheaval and possible mistreatment they have faced during their lifetime.  

Whilst you may understand how to deal with and adapt to stress in yourself, or your friends, it can be challenging to know how to cope with this in dogs.

Causes of Stress in Dogs

There are a variety of causes of stress in dogs. However, the most common is simply old age. As your dog gets older, they may likely become confused. Dogs struggle to express the emotion of confusion, which inevitably leads to stress and presents itself in various ways.

Fears and phobias are also another huge cause of stress in dogs. Phobias can present themselves at any time throughout your dog’s life, often triggered by a traumatic life event. Although challenging to overcome, there are many specialists you can work with to help ease phobias in dogs.

Separation can also cause stress and anxiety in our dogs. Separation anxiety generally occurs following significant life changes such as moving home.

Signs That Your Dog is Stressed

Often, your pet will not comprehend how to express themself. This is why there are a variety of symptoms you should be looking out for.

Barking and Growling

Barking is a perfectly normal communication tactic. Dogs have a variety of barks, some of which you will be very much used to. Some dogs bark to tell you they are hungry; others bark to say hello to the friendly postman.

However, if the barking becomes excessive, your dog is likely trying to tell you something.

Growling is often a clear sign that something is causing your pet severe stress. It should be taken seriously if it becomes a regular habit of your dog.

Excessive Yawning

Although yawning is usually attributed to tiredness, excessive yawning can be a clear sign of dogs’ stress. Stress yawning is much more frequent and prolonged; usually accompanied by pacing and other anxious behaviours.

Drooling and Lip Smacking

Drooling and lip-smacking are symptoms of stress in dogs, which are easy to miss. Both of these are often expected at both social occasions and mealtimes.

When presented with a bowl of food, a small amount of drool is nothing to worry about. However, if you find pools of saliva around your home, it is a clear sign of a stressed dog.

Shedding

If you have ever taken a nervous dog for a trip to the vets, you will be well aware that dogs shed their fur when anxious. This is why prolonged periods of stress can result in a great deal of hair loss for your pet.

Unusual Toilet Habits

Every dog has accidents from time to time, but it could be a sign of nerves or stress in your dog if the accidents are becoming more frequent.

The unsettling feeling caused by stress or anxiety can throw your pet off their regular routine, meaning they are more likely to have an accident in the home. You may also notice that accidents become more regular when you have visitors, a clear sign of a stressed dog.  

Stress may even present itself as an upset stomach or diarrhoea, as it frequently can in humans.

Aggression and Destructive Behaviour

Stressed dogs do not know how to communicate. Stress in dogs is often combined with anxiety and nerves, leading to your dog being in a great deal of pain and craving attention.

Often, stressed pets are much more likely to lash out, growl and snap at your family or at visitors. They are also more likely to destroy things around the home and damage furniture.

Cowering and Hiding

When dogs begin to feel uncomfortable in their own home, it is a clear sign that your dog is suffering from stress. Especially when you have guests in the house, your dog may be tempted to find a quiet hiding place. Sometimes under a table or rushing into other rooms. A dog that cowers or hides is often displaying nervous and stressed tendencies.

How to Resolve Stress in Dogs

If your dog is showing any, or a combination of the stress symptoms, you should always seek assistance from your vet.

Your vet will likely recommend a combination of factors to help relieve the stress your dog is currently under.

Regular Exercise

The number one anxiety builder in dogs is an irregular exercise routine, or even worse, complete lack of exercise. A dog that does daily activity will lead a longer and healthier life.

Calming Environment

Some dogs find silence extremely stressful. Merely playing the radio on a quiet volume throughout the day could result in you arriving home to a much calmer pet.

Calming Supplements

Calming supplements are great natural stress relievers.

Calming supplements are usually taken with the main meal of the day and can be mixed into the food for ease. These supplements should help ease anxious behaviours and can be particularly good for dogs transitioning from a shelter into their forever homes.

Consider Your Body Language

Dogs are incredibly intelligent creatures and are very receptive to our body language and emotions. Reacting angrily and negatively to their stress or anxiety will only exacerbate the issue.

Avoid Crowds

If your dog gets anxious or stressed around groups, try to avoid them wherever possible. When introducing your pet to new people, do it gradually, making the transition a measured one. Use the same tactic when introducing them to new dogs.

Remember, no two dogs are the same and stress doesn’t have to be a lifelong pain for your pet. A few simple lifestyle changes should make your dog much more content.

- My Dog Has Wind - How To Help Flatulence In Dogs - Peak Pets

My Dog has Wind – How to Help Flatulence in Dogs

My Dog has Wind – How to Help Flatulence in Dogs

Wind is a normal bodily function in both humans and dogs. A build-up of gas in the intestine causes flatulence, usually occurring whilst the body is trying to break down food.

Gas, although unpleasant, is usually not a cause for concern in our pets. However, if it becomes a persistent issue, there are many home remedies that should ease your dog’s discomfort.

A small number of medical conditions are associated with flatulence in dogs; which may indicate your dog is actually in pain. Although this is very unlikely, it is worth bearing in mind should the flatulence persist. If the wind is accompanied by prolonged sickness and diarrhoea, you should seek assistance from your vet immediately.

The Signs of Flatulence in Dogs

  • Excessive rumbling or sounds from the abdomen
  • Swollen stomach and bloating
  • Regular expulsion of gas from the anus

The Causes of Flatulence in Dogs

There are a variety of causes of flatulence in dogs.

The least sinister reason may simply be that they are inhaling too much food as they are eating. This is likely to be because they are giddy and excited to get their food; and can be resolved by feeding your dog smaller portions more often throughout the day.

This can also be helped by investing in a specifically designed bowl to ensure your dog eats more slowly. If flatulence is caused by your dog inhaling air, the wind should be relatively odourless.

Alternatively, flatulence may be due to certain foods that are making their way into your dog’s diet. There are many foods that dogs will struggle to digest, including peas, beans, and milk, causing your dog to expel excess gas.

Many budget dog foods will use milk and other dairy products to thicken the gravy, and many dogs are lactose intolerant. So, switching to a more premium dog food may be a quick fix to your flatulence issues.

Keep a close eye on any snacks and treats your dog is being fed throughout the day, which may be causing excess gas. Additionally, if you have recently switched your dog’s food, and have noticed a considerable increase in wind, then you will have likely found a quick and easy fix to your issues.

There are also a few, uncommon, more sinister reasons for flatulence in dogs, including viral infections, parasites, and bowel disease.

Some Breeds will have More Wind

Flatulence is much more common among certain breeds of dog. Short-nosed dogs such as bulldogs and boxers suffer greatly from excess gas, as the nature of their face means they inadvertently inhale excess gas during dinnertime.

How to Know if the Wind is Causing Pain

If the gas is prolonged or excessive, it is likely your dog is suffering from at least a small level of discomfort. However, unlike humans, dogs do not have the power to communicate this verbally, so the discomfort or pain often shows itself in the dog’s behaviour.

Often dogs will become lethargic and sleep more, showing little interest in things they usually love. However, some dogs show increased irritability and aggression and can begin chewing furniture and other objects in a bid for attention.

Treatments for Flatulence

The most straightforward fix for your dog will be to ensure they have no access to any scraps or excessive treats. On the most part, dogs should not be consuming food made for humans, especially those that are heavily seasoned. Restricting them to their dinner bowl should help resolve your dog’s flatulence issues. Foods such as vegetables present no serious dangers for your dog, but can have stinky repercussions.

If this is not effective, you may want to consider changing up their diet. As mentioned, cheaper dog foods often bulk their meat out with wheat or milk, both of which dogs cannot usually digest. Do not assume that just because a food is labelled as hypoallergenic, it will cure your dog’s flatulence issues; it entirely depends on your pet’s circumstances.

Consider adding probiotics into your dog’s daily routine to help their digestive system function fully.  Probiotics will help support good gut health in your pet.

Increase your dog’s activity level. Dogs may suffer from digestion problems, which lead to excessive wind if they are not getting enough exercise. Stick to a regular walking routine with your pet to ensure everything is working as it should.

It may be the case that your dog was born with or has developed a food allergy which is causing the flatulence, and undoubtedly a great deal of discomfort. Your vet should be able to run routine tests for this simply, and if this is the case the issue should be quickly resolved by eliminating the food.

One Step at a Time

When making dietary changes or adding in supplements to your dog’s diet and routine, make sure you make one change at a time.

This way, you will be able to see the reason for any changes in your pet, helping to develop long lasting habits that prevent the flatulence reoccurring.

When to See a Vet About Wind

When your dog has flatulence, it can be difficult to know when to visit your vet.

You should have already tried everything mentioned above, such as changing their diet. You should also ensure they have not had any ‘treats’, have no access to any scraps from the dinner table, and have a regular exercise routine. If you have implemented these changes but the wind continues, it is time to see a vet.

A vet will diagnose any possible allergies or anything more sinister that may be lying beneath. They may also simply be able to assure you that what you are experiencing is entirely normal.

Your vet will more than likely ask you for a sample of the dog’s stool, as well as details of their current diet and exercise regime.

If flatulence is paired with vomiting or diarrhoea, it is always best to seek a vet’s advice.

 

- Hypoallergenic Dogs – Fact Or Fiction? - Peak Pets

Hypoallergenic Dogs – Fact or Fiction?

Hypoallergenic Dogs – Fact or Fiction?

Hypoallergenic; ‘relatively unlikely to cause an allergic reaction’.

Hypoallergenic dogs are hugely sought after across the UK and throughout the world. With so many of us being allergic to dogs, the prospect of a fun family pet that does not cause allergy flare-ups is extremely inviting.

There appears to be a myth that dogs who do not shed hair are hypoallergenic, and therefore will not cause your allergies to spike.

Whilst short-haired dogs may cause slightly more tame reactions; they will inevitably still affect those who are allergic. This is because it is not just shedding hair that causes reactions in people. Urine, saliva, and dead skin can all irritate humans, causing severe allergy flare-ups.

Choosing a dog that suits your tastes and your family needs is difficult at the best of times. Throw allergies into the mix, and the task can seem almost impossible.

But fear not, you can have a happy family life with a dog without the need to sacrifice your ability to breathe. Although no fully hypoallergenic dog exists, there are many steps you can take to allow you and the pup to live together happily.

Why People are Allergic to Dogs

Many humans are allergic to a protein that is found in dogs saliva and urine. As a dog naturally grooms themselves, they will lick their body, and so the protein will attach itself to the hair and skin.

As the hair sheds, the allergens can quickly spread throughout the home, increasing human reactions. Additionally, your dog will naturally shed dead skin, which will almost unnoticeably be dispersed around the house, causing your allergies to flare.

This explains why, although shorter-haired dogs are generally kinder on allergy sufferers, there is no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog.

The Best Dogs for Allergies

Whilst no single breed of dog is 100% hypoallergenic; there are undoubtedly breeds which are less likely to cause you a reaction. These include the Maltese, Miniature Schnauzer and Poodle.

Yet, every person, every allergy, and every pet are different, so be sure you spend some extensive time with the pup before committing to bringing them home. Otherwise, it can lead to an abundance of disappointment for yourself, your family, and the dog.

The size of the dog will certainly make a difference purely down to its surface area. A large dog will naturally shed more skin and hair, resulting in your allergy reaction being more significant.

Beware of Marketing Ploys

In the past 20 years, the world has seen a boom in ‘designer dogs’.

With changing trends, these dogs are crossbred to look a certain way to meet today’s societal standards. However, as well as looking the part, many breeders also promise an allergy-free life with your new pet.

As stated above, no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, so beware of these fraudsters. What they are promising is not only wrong but profoundly unethical and unfair on both you and the puppy!

Those with Allergies who Still Want a Dog

Whilst there is no guarantee that you will be allergy-free around a pet, there are plenty of steps you can take to make life more comfortable if you are sure that being a dog owner is for you.

Try Before You Buy

If you have any family members or friends with a breed you are hankering after, ask if you can dog sit for a few days, or at least spend a few days around their home. This will get you used to the dog and how your allergies react. If you only experience mild symptoms, you will likely be able to live simultaneously with your new pet and your allergies.

If you are adopting, the shelter will generally be more than happy for you to take the dog for the day to see how your relationship blossoms. This is an excellent opportunity to see how your allergies hold up.

Hard Floors

Carpets are notoriously difficult to clean. They can easily trap dog hairs which can be very difficult to remove. Wooden or tiled floors mean you can get a more in-depth and effortless clean, quickly removing skin and hair which could lead to an allergy flare-up.

Air Purifiers

These are a great addition to the home to help clean the air. They can help remove particles from the atmosphere leaving the home feeling and smelling great. However, please be aware these only clean the air and are not a substitute for regular cleaning and vacuuming.

Clean, Clean, and Clean Some More

Allergies aside, cleanliness is essential, but even more so in this circumstance.

It would be best to regularly clean your pets bed, blankets, and soft toys, which harbour bacteria such as saliva. Be sure you use chemical-free cleaners around the home, especially on the floors and surfaces that your pup is likely to lick.

It would help if you also shampooed your dog once per week, in order to remove any shedding hair and to keep them smelling great. Be sure to use gentle shampoo, particularly important for puppies.  

No Licking

As mentioned, allergies are often caused by dog saliva. Whilst it is a common, yet quite annoying habit of many dogs, you must train your dog not to do this.

No Bedroom Policy

If possible, implement a strict no bedroom policy for your dog. This allows you to create a haven where you can almost guarantee an allergy-free relax.

You may choose to take this one step further and not allow your pet on some furniture items such as the sofa, limiting the chances of your allergies flaring.

Final Thoughts on Hypoallergenic Dogs

Promoting overall wellness in your dog will help reduce the reaction of your allergies. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and the incorporation of multi-vitamins will help encourage healthy skin and hair in your pet.

The main takeaway should be that this is not a one size fits all solution. Your situation will ultimately depend on the level of your allergies, the individual dog, and your home. Just be sure to make a well-rounded and informed decision before taking the plunge.

Remember, allergies do not mean it is the end of your dog-owning dream.

- How To Treat A Dog For An Upset Stomach - Peak Pets

How to Treat a Dog for an Upset Stomach

How to Treat a Dog for an Upset Stomach

When your dog has an upset stomach, it can be challenging to know what to do for the best.

Upset stomach presents itself in various ways, ranging from fatigue and irritability through to vomiting and diarrhoea. An upset stomach can often be treated at home, but if the symptoms are prolonged and you are concerned about your pet’s safety, seek assistance from a vet as soon as possible.

The Symptoms of an Upset Stomach

It is crucial that you first establish that it is an upset stomach that your dog is suffering from. Whilst this might sound straightforward, there are many more symptoms associated with an upset stomach in dogs than you might initially assume.

The most common symptoms include diarrhoea, vomiting, and significant changes in appetite. However, your dog may also be licking the floor, eating grass and drooling, which are all also signs of an upset stomach.

First, Determine if You Should Treat at Home

There are also many severe symptoms and side effects associated with an upset stomach in dogs. If your dog is continuously vomiting, is dry retching, has ongoing diarrhoea, or bloody stool, you should immediately contact a vet.

Ensuring that your dog has a regular worming treatment will help prevent any added stomach issues. Additionally, if your dog is a regular scavenger, ensure they don’t have access to anything that could be toxic if it falls into their mouth.

Find the Culprit

Most people are aware of the common allergies dogs have. Chocolate, grapes, and onions are all well-known toxins to dogs. But there are plenty of other household items that you should also keep out of reach of your pets.

For example, many house plants can be hazardous. If you have plants in the home, it is worth investigating if you have any missing leaves, which would be a clear reason for the upset in your pup. 

You should also look in your rubbish bags to see if your pet has stolen something you were not aware of.  

Hydrate Your Pup

Once you have determined that your dog’s condition is treatable at home, the first step is to rehydrate them. If your dog has had diarrhoea and vomiting, it can only take a couple of hours for them to become severely dehydrated.

It is likely that they will not be inclined to go near their water or food due to the upset stomach, so you should feed them ice chips every 1-2 hours. The crunchy texture may make them more motivated to eat and is a great way to add hydration back into the body.

Ice chips also discourage your dog from gulping vast amounts of water too quickly, which can lead to further vomiting. Once your dog has kept down the ice chips for a few hours, you may consider reintroducing water.

Fast the Dog

Many pet owners feel terrible doing this but have to learn it is for the greater good. Restricting access to food for 12-24 hours gives time for your dog’s stomach to empty. If your dog is still vomiting and yet continues to eat, the sickness will likely continue.

12 – 24 hours should give the stomach plenty of time to empty, and for the dog to take on ample fluids to rehydrate. It would help if you then reintroduced small amounts of bland food to see how your dog reacts. If the sickness or diarrhoea starts again after the fast, you should contact your vet for urgent assistance.

Consider Changing Your Dogs Diet

If stomach upset is a regular occurrence, it might be time to change your pet’s diet.

This could be due to an allergy your dog has developed or an intolerance to the food. Place the dog on a bland diet for a while, before introducing different food and seeing how they react. A bland diet of plain rice and boiled chicken, with no seasoning, is a great place to start. It might be a case of trial and error for a few days, while you reintroduce pet food back into their regular diet.

As always, if vomiting or diarrhoea persists, contact your vet who will be able to assist with curating an ideal diet for your dog.

Introduce Probiotics

When reintroducing food to your dog’s diet after an episode of upset stomach, make sure you choose small bland meals, spread throughout the day.

You may also want to consider introducing probiotics into your dog’s feeding routine, which can help digestion, reduce bloating, and decrease gas. As a bonus, they also help with any bad breath your dog may be susceptible to.

Rest and Recover

Although exercise is great for your dog’s overall health, it is worth laying off the walks for a few days until their stomach settles.

Ensure they have regular access to the garden as they will likely need to use the bathroom more often than usual. But for now, avoid strenuous walks which will upset their already tired stomach further.

A few good night’s sleep and plenty of hydration should see your dog back to their usual happy self in no time.

Upset Stomach in Puppies

In puppies, an upset stomach is much more common, because puppies can be very greedy, often eating large portions at a blistering pace. This can be resolved by feeding your puppy smaller amounts throughout the day, preventing their bodies from having to digest significant quantities at once.

Additionally, puppies get very bored and often decide to eat unassuming items around the house. Small objects can be difficult for them to pass and can result in very upset stomachs. Try to keep any little items out of reach and if you suspect your pet has accessed something toxic in the bathroom or kitchen, call your vet immediately.

In puppies, most stomach upsets will be cured by rehydrating and limiting food for a short period. However, if the issues are prolonged, such as a bloated abdomen, vomiting, or even seizures, you should immediately contact a vet.

- Diarrhoea In Dogs: Causes And Treatments - Peak Pets

Diarrhoea in Dogs: Causes and Treatments

Diarrhoea in Dogs: Causes and Treatments

Diarrhoea is an uncomfortable, sometimes painful, and somewhat embarrassing thing most dogs go through.

Diarrhoea may leave your pet distressed and not quite feeling themselves, but they should not suffer for too long and will be back to their usual spritely selves within a few short days.

As with humans, your dog will likely experience diarrhoea multiple times throughout its life. It is rarely a cause for concern and will generally pass within a couple of days.

Diarrhoea is often the result of your dog eating something they should not have, which most dog owners have had the displeasure of experiencing. Whether they have found their way into the rubbish bags, eaten a household item, or devoured one of their favourite chew toys.

Symptoms of Diarrhoea in Dogs

Diarrhoea is caused by issues in the intestine.

The most common diarrhoea symptom is loose and more frequent stool, but it can also manifest itself as vomiting, weight loss, and dehydration. Diarrhoea is often more severe and unsettling for your pet when combined with these other symptoms.

Causes of Diarrhoea in Dogs

The most common cause of diarrhoea, luckily, is easily treatable.

Diarrhoea is often caused by a change in your dog’s diet. This might be due to a change in their food, or eating something scavenged from outside.

If the diarrhoea passes within 24 hours, it is likely it was down to something they scavenged and should not be a cause of concern.

Many medications’ common side effect is diarrhoea, so if your pet has recently started or changed medication and has persistent diarrhoea, consult your vet to discuss your options.

However, there are a few less common yet more severe diarrhoea causes. Including bacterial and viral infections, and dietary allergies that can often present themselves later in life.

Other underlying health conditions, such as liver disease may also cause diarrhoea in dogs.

The Seriousness of Diarrhoea in Dogs

Usually, as with humans, diarrhoea is not serious at all. However, diarrhoea is usually the first symptom of many dogs’ illnesses, so you must see your vet if it persists.

If the diarrhoea contains blood, your dog is vomiting, or suffering from a fever; you must seek assistance immediately, as it could be a sign of something far more sinister.
If the diarrhoea shows no sign of easing after twenty-four hours, then you should speak to your vet for advice.

If you seek help from a vet, they will likely examine your dog’s abdomen and ask you a few questions. They may also wish to carry out an X-Ray or ultrasound scan on the dog if they suspect the dog has consumed an object.

Your vet will need to know about the dog’s current diet and if there have been any changes. They may ask about the dog’s mood, recent exercise pattern, and questions about the stool itself.

Treatments for Diarrhoea

Providing that your dog is not vomiting, there is no reason to withhold food.

Ensure they get plenty of water and switch them to a bland diet for the following few days. Although you can buy specific pet foods for this, a diet of boiled chicken and plain rice will suffice. Try to split mealtimes into six small portions throughout the day rather than two more significant meals. Once the stool begins to harden again, you can slowly reintroduce dog food back into their diet.

Once your dog is back onto their regular eating routine, you may want to consider adding probiotics into their daily schedule. Probiotics can help rebalance the bacteria in your dog’s gut. Do not think these are only for when your dog is ill; they are great for using all year round to keep your dog’s digestive system looking great.

Dehydration is prevalent in dogs with diarrhoea, so ensure your dog can access plenty of fresh water.

Preventing Diarrhoea in Puppies

Diarrhoea is extremely common among puppies because they are continually scavenging and usually end up eating something they should not, from one time to another.

There are a few simple steps you can take to minimise the risk of your puppy getting diarrhoea:

  • Make sure they have their scheduled vaccinations at the appropriate points throughout their life
  • Ensure that before your puppy is vaccinated, they are not in contact with other dogs
  • Supervise your puppy wherever possible, reducing the risk of them eating something you are not aware of
  • Do not feed your puppy any scraps from the dinner table

Avoid the Antibiotics

If you have some antibiotics laying around the house from when your dog was previously sick, it can be tempting to use them to try and make your dog better quickly. However, these will likely do more harm than good.

Diarrhoea is the bodies way of flushing something out it does not agree with. If you try to prevent this from happening, it means the toxin will be stuck in the body which can be distressing and painful for your pet whilst making the underlying issue worse.

Colour Matters

The colour, as well as the consistency of the stool, is important.

Be sure to look out for red or black in your dog’s poo, which are typical signs of blood. Small flecks showing in the stool is entirely normal, yet red or black stripes, or a tar-like texture is generally a bad sign.

Blood in the stool is an indication that your dog is overstraining whilst trying to use the bathroom or even worse, an indication of internal bleeding.

If the stool is a grey colour, this typically is a sign of a pancreas issue. Whereas green poo usually means there are issues with the gall bladder.

Diarrhoea is Not Always a Huge Deal

The vast majority of diarrhoea in dogs is simply because they have eaten something they should not have. If the diarrhoea passes within a day, and your pet is otherwise fine in themselves, plenty of fluid and rest should be sufficient.

However, if the diarrhoea passes the 24-hour mark or becomes a regular occurrence, you are always best seeking your vet’s advice.