- 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.

- How To Know If Your Dog Is Lonely - Peak Pets

How to Know if Your Dog is Lonely

How to Know if Your Dog is Lonely

Whilst most of us would love to stay at home enjoying the company of our pup, the reality is that modern life does not always grant us this pleasure.

Whether you work a 9-5, are going for a night out with friends, or simply need to run some errands, having the confidence that your dog is safe and comfortable is essential.

Do Dogs Feel Lonely?

Any dog owner will appreciate the spectrum of emotions that our pets feel.

Dogs will show us when they are excited, happy, and even express mischievous feelings. Unfortunately, that means they can powerfully feel loneliness.

Expectedly, loneliness and boredom often fall hand in hand. If your dog is left on their own for large parts of the day, they will likely experience both of these emotions.

How Will Your Dog Show They are Lonely?

Your dog does not understand where or why you are going when you leave the house.

Although you should aim for your pet to get used to your regular comings and goings, it can often throw them off and leave them distressed when they see you heading out for the day.

Dogs cannot tell us how they feel, so often their emotions shine through in various other ways.

Destructive Behaviour

Destructive behaviour is often the upset and frustration of your pet presenting itself. As difficult as it is, you should try to refrain from punishing your pet for this behaviour, which will usually only make the situation worse.

Reduced Appetite

If your dog feels lonely or even depressed, they will likely be off their food. If you find that you are returning from work and breakfast is still sitting in the dog bowl, this might cause concern.- How To Know If Your Dog Is Lonely - Peak Pets

Accidents

Loneliness is a strong emotion, and it can have a variety of side effects. It can leave your dog feeling agitated and can result in them having accidents around the home. If accidents begin to happen seemingly out of the blue, it is common that your dog is experiencing loneliness or anxiety.

Lethargic and Sleeping More

Similar to humans, dogs that are lonely or anxious may sleep more. As a coping mechanism to deal with their emotions, they turn to their bed more often.

They will also be less enthusiastic about playing and walking, even when you have returned home from your day out.

How to Help Ease the Loneliness

Whilst tips such as ‘pop home during the day’, ‘work from home where you can’, or ‘take your dog to work’ are all great ideas, they are simply not possible for every person.

Here are some simple techniques you can implement immediately to make your dog feel less lonely whilst you are away.

Create a Safe Place

Whilst some dogs can be trusted with free reign of the whole home all day, others cannot cope with this. Creating a designated dog zone in the home not only helps prevent damage to your belongings but makes your dog feel more comfortable.

A safe zone in the home with your dog’s favourite things such as toys and blankets will help them enjoy their solo time rather than spending the day pining for your return.

Baby gates are an easy and inexpensive way to cordon off parts of the home where you are happy to leave your pet.

Calming Supplements

If your dog is showing anxious tendencies such as destructive behaviour, introducing calming supplements could be beneficial. Calming supplements should be taken daily, and within a few weeks of regular consumption you should see a drastic reduction in your pets anxiety. 

Don’t Rush Your Dog in the Morning

Spend some quality time with each other before you leave for work each day. Ensuring that your dog has had a decent walk before you leave them alone makes it more likely they will enjoy a snooze and relax whilst you are away.

Additionally, make sure they have eaten their breakfast and had plenty of time to do their business. Dogs get restless and destructive because they are uncomfortable. If they have messed in the home, they will undoubtedly become agitated, which can lead to further destruction.  

Keep the Blinds Slightly Open

Although you will unquestionably value the privacy of your home, allowing your dog to get a glance of the great outdoors will help ease their boredom and possible anxieties whilst you are away.

However, be aware that if your dog is a regular barker, this may cause a nuisance to your neighbours, as your dog is likely to be more vocal whilst you are out of the home.

Provide Distractions

As humans do, your dog will inevitably feel lonely if they have nothing, and no one to occupy their time alongside.

KONG toys are a great tool which should keep your dog occupied for long periods, with the bonus of a treat upon completion. If your dog finds the KONG toy easy, try freezing for added difficulty. Chews will also keep them distracted for a while but be sure to choose something with no choking hazards.

There are many pet puzzles on the market, which should keep your pet busy on the days you cannot be at home. Providing plenty of treats, toys, and distractions will help prevent your dog from being lonely.

TV and Radio

Leaving on the television or radio, on a low volume all day, will provide your dog with a distraction and help ease loneliness. It can also help drown out any noises that might be going on outside, making your dog feel less agitated and decreasing the chances of them barking.

Camera in the Home

Although an extreme measure, a camera in the home can give you a glimpse into your dog’s day. Particularly beneficial if your dog is destroying things in the house.

Cameras will give you a glimpse into your dog’s life when they are alone and can give you some indication of how to ease their anxieties and loneliness.

Take-Aways

If you believe your dog is lonely, do not be too hard on yourself.

Lifestyle changes can be made to ease the burden on your pet, as you have seen. Loneliness is a normal emotion that many dogs and humans face at periods in their lifetime.

- 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.

- Arthritis In Dogs: Symptoms And Treatments - Peak Pets

Arthritis in Dogs: Symptoms and Treatments

Arthritis in Dogs: Symptoms and Treatments

As with humans, arthritis in dogs ranges from uncomfortable at best to debilitating at its worst.

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints, which is common among many breeds of dog. If your dog is suffering from arthritis, you will likely see a considerable change in their mood, eating habits, and ability to exercise.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis in dogs, but there are many things you can do to make your dog’s life more comfortable and enjoyable while easing the daily pain on their joints.

Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs

There are a variety of ways arthritis can present itself in our dogs. While they might even try to hide it from us in the initial stages, it is essential to diagnose as early as possible to ease any pain your pet may be enduring.

  • Stiffness – usually worse immediately after waking up
  • Slowing down and lagging on walks
  • Limping – usually worse after walks if arthritis is more prevalent in one leg
  • Irritability and aggression
  • Continual licking and biting at joints

Causes of Arthritis in Dogs

Arthritis is common among dogs and can occur for a variety of reasons.

Wear and Tear

The most common cause of arthritis in dogs is general wear and tear, which explains why arthritis is much more prevalent in older dogs.

Immune System

Many dogs are either born with or develop problems with their immune system. In some situations, these issues can present themselves as arthritis.

Being Overweight

As might be expected, when a dog carries too much weight, it can put a massive amount of stress on its joints. Over time, this can wear away the cartilage and result in arthritis.- Arthritis In Dogs: Symptoms And Treatments - Peak Pets

Genetics

Unfortunately, some dogs are more prone to developing arthritis than others. It is much more common among bigger breeds such as Labradors, Rottweilers, and German Shepherds.

Injuries

Puppies are particularly prone to injuries due to the fearless nature of how they bound around the home and garden. These injuries can often lead to arthritis in later life.

Treatment for Dogs with Arthritis

Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis in dogs. However, it is an illness that many dogs live a happy and fulfilling life with, and a few simple lifestyle changes can make a huge difference.

Weight Management

Controlling your dog’s weight is one of the most critical factors in managing their arthritis.

Any unnecessary weight your pet is carrying will be putting a great deal of stress on their joints. This will not only lead to more pain but accelerate the rate at which the disease develops.

Weight can be managed by providing a well-rounded, balanced diet and ensuring your pet gets regular exercise. Omega 3 fatty acids are integral to a balanced diet and great for dogs with arthritis due to their anti-inflammatory properties.

Hip and Joint Supplements

While supplements will not cure arthritis in your dog, they will help ease the joints’ inflammation. Joint supplements can be taken alongside other medications that may be prescribed by your vet.

Environmental Changes

Making the home more comfortable will boost your dog’s ability to cope with their arthritis. Simple changes include providing a joint-friendly dog bed and lifting their food bowl to make mealtimes much less stressful. You could also add rugs to slippery flooring to make it easier for your dog to navigate the home.

Medication

There is a range of medications available for dogs with arthritis. Although vets may want to see that lifestyle changes have first been attempted, there are options including NSAID’s (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs), which should help reduce the swelling and pain around the joints.

Surgery

Where the joint damage is severe, and the vet feels there are no other options, they may think surgery is the best choice.

There are various surgeries available, and while it may seem like an extreme option, it can drastically increase the quality of life for your pet in the long term.

Tips for Exercising Dogs with Arthritis

Always Warm-Up

As with arthritic humans, dogs are often stiff when they first wake or stand after resting. Ensure your dog gets some time to move at their own pace around the home and the garden so they can warm up their joints before popping on the lead.

Each dog will vary on the amount of exercise they can not only endure but enjoy. Although regular walks are crucial for weight management and your dog’s overall health, it is also a time for them to have fun. When walks stop being fun, you must reconsider.

It is wise to walk your arthritic dog on a lead rather than letting them run around with other dogs. Adrenaline can mask pain, and therefore the aftereffects of their antics might not be evident until you arrive home.

Pay Attention to the Weather

Extreme heat or cold can aggravate arthritis pain, as it does in humans. It will likely be best to avoid walks or ensure they are kept short and sweet in the height of summer or depths of winter.

Consider the Terrain

Uneven surfaces such as gravel will wreak havoc on your dog’s joint pain. Stick to tarmac sidewalks wherever possible, which will provide a stable and comfortable base for your dog.

Consider Swimming

Hydrotherapy and swimming are a great way to exercise dogs whose joints may not allow them long walks. It is a wonderful option for dogs that need to lose weight but can no longer bound around as they did in their formative years — providing the chance for them to burn calories without the added pressure to their joints.

Be Patient and Realistic

Due to the nature of arthritis, your dog will likely have good and bad days.

What they could not do yesterday, they might be able to do today. The pain and discomfort will move in ebbs and flows, so be patient and accept your dog’s ability each day. Remember, they cannot communicate with us easily, so try to remain empathetic at all times.

- 10 Tips For Keeping Your Dog Safe On Bonfire Night - Peak Pets

10 Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe on Bonfire Night

10 Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe on Bonfire Night

Bonfire night is a dreaded night for many pet owners.

The sensory overload for your dogs can cause a multitude of problems. It can often lead to days of anxiety, messed up eating habits and refusal to engage with walks and exercise.

Although bonfire night is hardly going to be your dog’s favourite night of the year, there are numerous small changes you can make to ensure the night is as comfortable as possible for your companion.

There are many clear signs that your dog is distressed, which can be particularly prominent on bonfire night. These signs include:

  • Shaking and trembling
  • Refusing to eat
  • Pacing and panting
  • Cowering and hiding, attempting to reach places in the home they usually would not
  • Soiling or having accidents in the house

Play the Long Game

It is no quick fix, but giving your pet exposure to loud sounds can help on overwhelming nights such as bonfire night.- 10 Tips For Keeping Your Dog Safe On Bonfire Night - Peak Pets

Playing the sounds of fireworks or thunderstorms, initially on a low volume, will help your pet get used to loud sounds that they otherwise would not have heard. You need to be extremely careful to gradually build up the sounds to prevent overwhelming your pet.

This is a long term solution, which can greatly help your pets tolerance to loud sounds.

Consider Your Own Energy

Dogs feed off our energy and emotions. If they feel that you are anxious about the night, they probably will be too. Try to remain calm and follow their lead as much as possible. If you can keep the night to as similar as possible to any other night, it will help relax any pets you have in the home.

Allow your dog to cuddle you if they should wish and enjoy some time relaxing together.

Keep Them Inside

Although it might sound obvious, many dog owners simply leave the back door open or even use a dog flap. This gives their dog independence to use the garden as they please and reduces the chances of accidents happening in the home. Some owners even choose to have kennels outside, where the dog will happily spend most of their time.

However, on bonfire night it is important that you keep a close eye on your pet and keep them indoors as much as possible. Even if the noise does not seem too loud near your home, a single loud bang can spook your pets and leave you with days of anxiety to deal with.

Use Other Sounds to Distract

Using other sounds, such as the television or radio can be great if the fireworks are not too loud. The familiar noises of the home will help them feel relaxed and hopefully help block out some of the explosions.

There are many playlists across all popular streaming platforms catering specifically for soothing nervous dogs.

Another distraction tactic is to use their favourite toy and involve them in a game inside the house. This will help with tiring them out as well as providing a distraction.

Shift Everything Earlier

On bonfire night, it is important that you both feed and walk your dog earlier than you usually would. This is because once the fireworks start, it is likely your dog will begin to feel anxious and will be reluctant to go outside. They may then not get the opportunity to relieve themselves after dinner.

Anxiety can also often put dogs off their food, which may result in them missing their evening meal altogether.

Additionally, a long walk before the fireworks begin will hopefully tire them out and result in a more peaceful sleep that night.

Calming Supplements

Calming supplements may be a worthwhile investment if your dog displays particularly anxious tendencies, especially around bonfire night. They can be added at mealtimes in the lead up to bonfire night to reduce the stress that your dog endures.

Create a Safe Haven

It is important to create a safe den in the home where your dog feels protected.

Create this den a while before bonfire night and encourage the dog inside as regularly as you can, rewarding them for doing so, yet making them feel as relaxed as possible.- 10 Tips For Keeping Your Dog Safe On Bonfire Night - Peak Pets

If possible, make the den somewhere in the centre of the home, away from doors and windows. This will limit the amount of noise the dog can hear. Using a large crate is ideal and cover with blankets to allow an extra level of noise protection.

Having a safe place to take refuge will work wonders for calming their nerves.

Invest in an Anxiety Coat

There is evidence to show that dogs find gentle pressure soothing, and it can help with anxiety, especially on hectic nights such as bonfire night. You can purchase shirts, coats and even head wraps that apply a small amount of constant pressure to your dog.

Give Them Space

It may be that your pet hides themselves away from the rest of the household out of fear of the strange noises. It is important not to try to force the dog out from the safe space they have created. This will only increase anxiety and massively decrease the chances of the dog settling down.

Black out the windows

It is not only the loud sounds that spook our dogs but the intense flashes of light also. Drawing the curtains and using blackout blinds in the room your dog will be in, is a great simple way to shield them from the light.

Seek Professional Help

Dog phobias are very real.

If you suspect your dog has moved past anxiety and has a clear phobia of the loud noises then it may be time to seek professional help. Your vet should be able to put you in touch with an animal behaviourist in your local area.

Anxiety in dogs can present a huge array of problems, not only on bonfire night.