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!

International Chihuahua Appreciation Day

International Chihuahua Appreciation Day

International Chihuahua Appreciation Day

Tiny and feisty, we’re all familiar with the famous Chihuahua breed of dog. Depending on temperament and training, the chihuahuas you’ve encountered could be adorable, sociable lapdogs, or tiny little packages of rage. While chihuahuas are an immensely popular dog, there are also many myths surrounding this breed. Some people believe that chihuahuas are more inclined to bark, or to be bad-tempered.

Another common misconception around chihuahuas (and other small breeds of dog) is that they somehow require less care and attention than a larger dog, specifically less exercise.

Let’s address this myth, as well as more information and advice concerning these courageous, pint-sized little dogs. Should you consider adopting a chihuahua? More importantly, how can you properly care for a chihuahua?

What’s a Chihuahua?

Chihuahuas are the smallest dog breed on earth. They’re so small, in fact, that you can comfortably carry one in your purse. (This doesn’t mean that you should)

However, this lapdog conception can actually be somewhat harmful to chihuahuas. They can be treated like toys or accessories, and often don’t get the kind of exercise and mental stimulation that they need. These dogs live for around 14 to 16 years, considerably longer than some larger dogs.

Named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua, this breed of dog has been around since the 1800s. Officially recognized as a breed in North America from 1904, the chihuahua has been one of the most popular dogs in the States for decades.

Breed Standard and Appearance

The average chihuahua weighs three to six pounds. However, these dogs can quickly become overweight, particularly if they don’t get enough exercise and are overfed.

Chihuahuas are generally split into two categories: long haired and short haired. They have small, neat paws, and measure around 15-22cm in length. Both long and short haired chihuahuas need weekly grooming, likely in the from of a good brush!

Temperament and Personality

Chihuahuas are very intelligent dogs. They learn quickly, but because of this, a poorly trained chihuahua can be somewhat self-willed. While some chihuahuas are outgoing and feisty, they can also be shy and timid. Remember, this is a tiny dog in a large world!

Chihuahuas tend to bond strongly with one member of the household. They are loyal, affectionate, and playful. Chihuahuas aren’t known as an aggressive breed, but they do tend to forget how small they are. Because of this, your chihuahua may try squaring up to much larger dogs in a misguided attempted to protect their family.

Health Care and Social Needs

Chihuahuas are very social dogs and shouldn’t be left alone for hours at a time. A regular, healthy meal schedule is essential for a growing chihuahua. However, once they’ve reached their full growth (at around 12 months) it’s important to avoid overfeeding.

It can be tempting to sneak your dog extra treats and snacks, but chihuahuas can quickly become overweight, which can lead to further health problems. Always feed your dog good-quality dog food and pay attention to the portion size recommendations. An extra handful of food a day can quickly mount up for a dog as small as a chihuahua.

Caring for a Chihuahua

While smaller dogs may require less exercise than larger dogs, that doesn’t mean you can neglect your chihuahua’s walks.

The traditional, unflattering view of a chihuahua (or other small dogs) is that of a yappy, badly-behaved dog, bouncing around uncontrollably.

An experienced dog owner will recognize this behaviour as a sign that the dog is not burning off their excess energy and is simply bored and pent up.

Chihuahuas need around 30 minutes of exercise a day. On top of that, they need mental stimulation, social interaction, as well as love and attention, just like any other dog.

While leaving your dog alone for short periods of time is unavoidable, chihuahuas are social animals and don’t like being alone. Be sure to leave some toys for your dog to play with while you’re gone. If you’re going to be out for more than a few hours, it’s a good idea to ask a friend or neighbour to look in while you’re out.

Just like many other dogs, anxious, distressed, or bored chihuahuas can become destructive!

Adopt or Shop?

While there are plenty of dog breeders who care for their animals and genuinely love that particular breed, this is far from the norm. Unfortunately, there are far too many “career” dog breeders, who consider the animals as little more than commodities and useful tools.

Puppy farming is a growing epidemic, with hundreds of breeding females being kept in appalling conditions and bred repeatedly until their health gives out. The puppies are then sold, earning the breeders a small fortune.

Certain breeds are more prone to puppy farming, and chihuahuas are one of them. Buying puppies from puppy farmers fuels the industry, meaning that even more dogs will suffer. Aside from the cruelty towards the breeding dogs, this can result in higher animal deaths, inbred defects in the puppies, and serious health conditions.

While there’s nothing wrong with buying a chihuahua puppy from a reputable breeder, be sure to do your due diligence, and ensure that you really are buying a puppy from a happy home.

Alternatively, you could consider adopting. Since chihuahuas are one of the most popular dogs around, this unfortunately means that there are many of them up for adoption and rehoming. Giving a dog a second chance at a new life is one of the most rewarding things a person can do.

Chihuahuas: Are They Right for You?

Chihuahuas are beautiful, loyal, affectionate, and fun dogs. They make a wonderful addition to any family. This breed has a rich history and a personality of its own. Chihuahuas are dogs with a big personality stuffed into a tiny frame, but don’t worry – their bark is often worse than their bite. If you think this kind of dog would suit you down to the ground, you should definitely consider bringing a chihuahua into your home.

- Things To Do With Your Dog During The Lockdown - Peak Pets

Things to do with your dog during the lockdown

Things to do with your dog during the lockdown

Peak Pets

Lockdown has meant huge changes for people’s lives and their pets.  The upside is that you may be spending more time at home with your dog but the downside is that some of the usual activities you might have taken part in – dog agility, dog training, even just walking with friends – are all currently on the banned list.

Fortunately, with a little bit of creativity and imagination, you can keep your dog amused during lockdown outside of his daily walk and you don’t need a huge amount of space either or a big budget.

Here are some quick and easy things you can do with your dog during the lockdown.

  • Treat him to some screen time, there are lots of films on YouTube designed to act as doggy television, just remember to keep hold at first or protect your television or laptop as these clips can create a pretty spectacular response!
  • Treasure hunts and search games are a great and occupying activity for the house or the garden.  Hide treats or favourite toys around the house and use the ‘sniff and search’ techniques to encourage your dog to find them
  • Make sure your dog has plenty of chew toys.  Chewing is a natural activity for dogs and can keep your dog occupied for hours as well as keeping their teeth clean
  • The shell game will provide hours of endless fun.  Place three large plastic cups upside down on the floor and hide a treat under one of them.  Move the cups around each other whilst your dog watches and then see if he can select the correct cup with the treat underneath which is his reward
  • This could be the time to refine your dog’s training or start even start some basic command activities  – this takes time which you may have plenty of.  Use clicker trainer which is a type of reward-based training which uses a clicker to tell your dog that he has done the right thing
  • Change your dog’s usual feed bowl for a snuffle mat or a puzzle feed to make mealtimes a bit more interesting
  • Spend time grooming your dog – this is a great way to improve your bond as well as good for his skin and coat
  • Make an obstacle course in the house or garden, like mini dog agility but using everyday household objects.  Children will love creating this and it can be incorporated with elements of training such as sitting and waiting.  Make sure it is safe and there are no sharp corners or items which can be knocked over if you build one in the house and ensure that the floor is not slippery
  • I’m forever blowing bubbles – use the pet-friendly bubbles which are flavoured and will entertain your dog as he chases after them
  • If you are working from home then place their bed next to your desk or work station.  Your dog will love your company and a selection of toys can keep him amused

It is important to keep to a routine with your dog and this may be quite a different regime than the one you had pre-lockdown.  A change of routine to a new order during lockdown won’t upset your dog but a routine that changes every day will make him unsettled.

Don’t do too much with your dog either via over-exercise or over-stimulation particularly if your dog is elderly or has underlying health conditions.  It is important not to walk him too much if you head out once for daily exercise just because you have been cooped up inside and want to go for miles.  A second exercise session can take place in the house or garden and involve low key activity if your dog has already had a good walk earlier in the day.

Remember your dog should have some quiet time particularly if the household is busy all day with children who would usually be at school and adults who are normally at work.  Create a quiet area for your dog with a den where he knows he can remain undisturbed so he has his own allocated time out to rest and sleep in peace.

Lockdown can be great for your dog as he may get to spend more time with you than he did before.  Just remember, animals thrive on routine so try and keep his schedule the same every day.  Dogs require both mental and physical stimulation so it doesn’t have to be all exercised based.  The greatest boon for your dog is you and most dogs are thrilled to spend more time with their families during the lockdown.