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!

- 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.