When it comes to your dog, you’ll go to great lengths to care for your pet. Unless it is clear that your dog is in pain by way of a physical cut, noticeable limp, or lack of mobility, often times dogs must signal distress in other ways. When dogs are stressed, their personality can change, which you as the owner should be able to pick up on.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Is my dog acting unusual?
- Does my dog seem overly anxious or depressed?
If your answer is yes to either question, your dog may need your help to identify what’s causing the stress, so that you can quickly seek out the best way to bring them relief.
Animals communicate differently from us humans. They are not able to verbally express how they are feeling and what caused their pain. Babies can cry out to their mothers and children can tell us when their tummy aches. However, our pets cannot come right out and tell us what hurts and where.
Instead, a dog’s exaggerated body language or unusual behaviors can signal to its owner that it is hurt and in need of medical attention. Because many of the signs that your dog is in pain are subtle, it’s much easier to recognize them when you understand which behaviors are normal for your pet. When these signs of distress are recognized in your dog, you can take immediate steps to diffuse the situation and bring comfort to your pet.
Let’s examine five common signs to look for when your dog is in pain.
Animals communicate differently from us humans. They are not able to verbally express how they are feeling and what caused their pain.
1. Excessive Grooming
Have you ever noticed your dog repeatedly lick the same area over and over again? It may be somewhere on the dog’s side or paw? Chances are your dog has been bitten on that very spot. Your dog is excessively grooming in order to help soothe and bring comfort to that area. Think of your natural instinct when it comes to a bite mark on your body.
For example, if you were bitten by a mosquito, you would most likely be tempted to scratch the bite mark to bring relief from the pain. This is what your dog is doing. When your dog is bitten by an insect, for instance, the animal’s natural instinct is to clean the wound and bring relief by licking over it. If you notice your pet engaging in excessive grooming habits such as this, particularly when such a behavior is out of the ordinary for your pet, you can help your dog find immediate relief through cold therapy treatments. By applying ice water to the area that your dog is continuously licking, you are helping to reduce the pain by taking the sting away.
2. Personality Changes
One of the easiest signs to spot is when your dog’s personality changes. Instead of being the carefree, loving pet you’ve grown to love, when your dog is stressed, the animal’s personality can change from avoidance to aggression. More specifically, your dog may avoid contact because it doesn’t want to be picked up.
If your dog is hurt, moving the animal will only cause your pet more pain. On the other hand, your dog may act out and become noticeably aggressive toward other animals or people. Aggressive signs may be accompanied by a fearful body posture and facial expression. This personality change can happen if your pet doesn’t have anywhere to hide, increasing the chances that you may move them. Or if the injury is visible, your dog may also exhibit aggressive behavior.
It’s best to consult your veterinarian before the aggressive behaviors continue. These specialists can help assist your dog with its anxiety and anger by focusing on behavior management techniques.
3. Excessive Panting
It’s common for dogs to pant or breathe with short, quick breaths to cool off after being outside for long periods of time on a hot summer day or after they have been running around in a park playing fetch or chasing other dogs. However, heavy panting is different. When your dog appears out of breath excessively, this is a sign that your dog is dangerously overheated, coping with a serious health problem, or experiencing high levels of stress. In fact, maybe you have noticed your dog panting excessively in stressful situations such as in a veterinarian’s office. This is your dog’s way of alleviating stress.
Depending on their size, dogs take between ten to thirty breaths per minute. If you notice an unusual change in your dog’s breathing patterns, it’s best to seek medical attention. Heavy panting may indicate that your dog may be suffering from heatstroke or may have consumed a toxic substance. If it’s not obvious for why you are observing a sudden change in your dog’s breathing patterns, take your pet to a veterinarian immediately. It’s ALWAYS better to play it safe than sorry when it comes to noticeable changes in your dogs breathing.
Depending on their size, dogs take between ten to thirty breaths per minute. If you notice an unusual change in your dog’s breathing patterns, it’s best to seek medical attention. Heavy panting may indicate that your dog may be suffering from heatstroke or may have consumed a toxic substance.
We all tend to get restless and dogs are no different. If your dog seems to be always pacing or moving about from one spot to another, which is not typical behavior for your pet, this can be a sign of pain. Your dog may exhibit an inability to get comfortable and lay still or may be constantly readjusting their position by getting up and down and repeating the cycle again.
You may also begin to notice a change in your dog’s sleeping habits. You may observe your pet sleeping more than usual or showing difficulty in getting to or staying asleep. These are all causes for concern and should not be ignored. Restlessness or impatience can be your dog’s way of signaling to you that they are in pain, discomfort, or distress.
5. Eating Grass
Maybe you have noticed the unusual behavior of your dog eating grass. This is a common sign your dog is in pain and often takes place when they need to vomit. This is because when your dog has an upset stomach or is dealing with digestive issues, the dog eats grass to help them relieve the pain.
Eating grass helps your dog vomit and/or poop. There are also other reasons why your dog might be eating grass, including as a way to improve digestion, to treat intestinal worms, or to fulfill some unmet nutritional need in their diet. This can be overcome by switching to a dog food of a high-fiber variety to help alleviate the problem.
How To Help A Stressed Dog
It’s always best to consult with a veterinarian if your dog’s behavior changes suddenly, so that he or she can address any underlying medical issues. You can also take action to lower your dog’s stress level. Just like us humans, dogs also need to have a healthy diet and get regular exercise. Ensuring your dog is getting the proper nutrition is essential. Playing fetch, taking your dog on walks, or going on a run together is a great stress reliever for both your dog and you.
Finally, consider creating a safe space in your home for your dog to escape to during high-stress events like thunderstorms or Fourth of July firework parties. Be sure to check in on your dog often during these stressful moments. Your physical presence can bring great comfort during these stress-inducing times. The sooner you can identify what’s causing the stress, the sooner you can bring your dog relief from whatever type of pain or distress your pet is feeling.
Related: The Health Risks Of Dirty Dog Ears
Adopting a new furry friend into the family is one of the best feelings in the world. Every year 3.2 shelter animals are adopted, 1.6 million of them being dogs.
As much as we love giving them a new home and playing with them, it’s important to take care of them, too. Unlike us, dogs and cats don’t have the capabilities to take care of themselves and rely on us to make sure they are happy and healthy.
Part of this is making sure your dog’s ear stays clean and clear of infections, which are more common in certain dog breeds. We’ve outlined the health risks of dirty dog ears and why it’s important to get them cleaned at the groomers or at home. Continue reading to learn more.
The most common term for an ear infection is “otitis”. It doesn’t refer to one specific disease, but a side effect of several factors that can cause an ear infection.
There are several causes for ear infections such as an abundance of yeast or an invasion of mites or bacteria. Some dogs simply have hereditary issues or allergies.
Other dog breeds are prone to infections due to excess moisture buildup from their heavy, floppy ears – like cocker spaniels or beagles. Any breed that has an excess of hair in their ear canal is likely to get infections unless regularly groomed.
Other causes for ear infections could be:
- Anatomical issues such as narrow ear canal openings, growth, etc. or skin folds
- Self-inflicted trauma from rubbing and scratching
- Foreign objects (moisture, seeds, hair, wax)
If you notice your pup excessively shaking their head, scratching or rubbing their ears, constantly tilting their head, or a change in behavior they have an ear infection.
Other signs to look out for are: an unpleasant odor; red, inflamed ears; black or yellow discharge; hot and painful to the touch; wet sound when touched/massaged, or moistness inside the ear.
If you notice any of these symptoms, we recommend a trip to the vet for proper care and medication.
To avoid common ear infections, we recommend adding ear checks to your regular routine care. If you take your four-legged friend to a groomer, ask them to add this to their list as well.
When doing an ear check, see if your dog’s inner ear looks dirty. If they do, clean them with a cotton ball dampened with hydrogen peroxide or mineral oil.
Check to see if there is hair sprouting from their ear canal. Tweeze any excess ear canal hair to prevent tangles from forming and any potential hair mats. If you aren’t sure, talk with your vet to see if this is a necessary step for your dog.
Try not to overly-clean your pups ear to avoid irritation and never insert anything in the ear canal. The inner-ear skin is fragile, so if you aren’t sure how to clean it ask your vet for a cleaning demonstration.
Preventing Dirty Dog Ears
The best way to prevent your pooch from getting an ear infection is by routinely checking their ears and regularly cleaning them. There are specific ear cleaning solutions you can buy to help prevent these infections.
If you go this route, make sure they are an organic, all-natural product with antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Putting a few drops in each ear weekly will break down any wax buildup.
If your doggo loves to swim or if they bathe regularly, there are ear cleansers with gentle drying properties. The combined formula of essential oils, aloe, and alcohol sanitizes ear tissue, softens ear wax, and helps dry moisture in the ear.
Healthy Dog Ears
Keeping your pup from having dirty dog ears will keep both you and them happy and healthy. Routine ear checks and hair groomings from the groomer will help prevent most common infections.
Check out our website for our closest grooming location, and ask us about our mobile groomer option! Contact us for more information.
Worried your dog isn’t ready for the catwalk?
A dog’s coat is an indicator of overall health. If you’re concerned that it’s looking dull or lifeless, it’s time to find out why.
There are a few changes you can make to help promote a healthy dog coat. Let’s take a look at them below.
Most good health tips start with nutrition.
After all, food is how our body repairs and rebuilds itself. The same is true for dogs. If you notice your dog’s coat looks dull, try looking at their diet first.
Much of the dog food you can buy off the shelf is poorly balanced. It’s loaded with empty calories and additives. Look for alternatives that contain a balance of nutrients and come recommended by vets.
You won’t see improvement in your dog’s coat instantly. But give it a few weeks and you may get that sheen back. Better nutrition can fight skin conditions that contribute to a dull coat, too.
Dogs can get just as smelly and gross as we do. Over time, dirt and oil build-up in your dog’s coat will dull its sheen.
Bathe your dog at least monthly to strip away the dirt. Use this time to treat them with a shampoo that nourishes their skin and adds luster to their fur.
Try not to bathe your dog too regularly, though. If you wash them every few days, you’ll strip out the natural oils in their fur, which will leave it looking frizzy and lifeless.
Still not satisfied? Consider a professional grooming service. They’ll know what promotes a healthy coat.
Fatty acids are the building blocks mammals use for healthy skin, among other benefits. They’re also key to a healthy dog coat.
Fresh fish is one of nature’s best sources of fatty acids like Omega-3. You can incorporate fish like tuna into your dog’s food to give them a treat and promote a healthy coat.
Omega-6 is another essential fatty acid. Poultry and vegetable oil are both great sources of Omega-6. Some dog foods contain vegetable oil. But you can also treat your dog with the occasional chicken breast to give them a boost.
If you don’t want to go to the source, you can always buy supplements of Omega-6 and Omega-3 to add to your dog’s food. But generally, it’s better to get them from natural sources where possible.
Fresh Air and Exercise
Like humans, a dog’s biology thrives on exercise.
Dogs experience all the same problems we do with a sedentary lifestyle. Lack of exercise can lead to weight gain, and cause knock-on problems like skin conditions and a loss of sheen in their fur.
Make sure you’re taking your dog out for regular walks in the fresh air. Give them time to play and stretch their legs outside. This stimulates the body and ensures it’s operating at peak efficiency.
Small Steps for a Healthy Dog Coat
A healthy dog coat doesn’t have to be hard work.
By making these few lifestyle tweaks, your dog’s coat can shine like their personality.
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Summer is a great time of the year, but depending on where you live, it may get too hot for your pets to just hang out outside alone all day. Because of this, it can limit the amount of exercise your dog gets during this season. This is why it is important to incorporate fun and cold ways for your pup to get some exercise in. Here are some ways to keep your dog active in a safe way in the heat.
Taking Your Dog for a Swim Is a Great Way to Get Some Exercise In
One of the best ways to keep your dog fit and active in the heat is to take him or her for a nice, long swim. Most dogs absolutely love the water and swimming, so this is the best way to let them have fun in the heat. There are plenty of ponds and beaches that are dog-friendly, so do some research in your area to find the best spots. You can also bring along some floating toys for your dog to add in a little extra fun.
Buy Your Dog a Kiddie Pool to Get the Swim In
If you do not have a pond or beach near you, it is a good idea to get a kiddie pool for your pup. Even if you have those things near you, it is more convenient to have your dog play in the backyard rather than having to pack up and go somewhere.
Playing Fetch with Your Dog Is a Great Way to Keep Him or Her in Shape
Playing fetch with your dog is a great bonding experience for both you and you pet, but it also helps to keep him or her active and in shape. Since it is hot outside, be sure to keep plenty of water out there and take note of when your dog seems to be getting too hot.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to keep your dog moving in the heat. Just be sure to take safety precautions for both your dogs and cats during the summer, so they stay as cool and hydrated as possible.
There are many food groups that are harmful to dogs. It’s good to know what these foods are and the reactions you might see in a dog if consumed. There are 3 foods in particular that are bad for the a dog health; alcohol, raw fish, and chocolate. These foods not only can harm the dog temporarily, but can lead to serious health problems or even death. Dogs digest foods a lot differently than humans do, so before you give a dog a little piece of that raw meat, think about these scenarios that can happen to that dog.
Each human can handle their liquor differently, but dogs can’t. Have you’ve seen those people putting alcoholic beverages in a dog’s water bowl- bad idea! This can be very harmful to the dog and can cause vomiting, lack of coordination, diarrhea, seizures, and even possibly death. Alcohol is toxic for dogs no matter how much you give them.
Raw fish is a big no no as well ! There are so many possibilities of that fish having certain parasites that are unfit for the dog to ingest. Most importantly, be more aware of salmon and trout fish specifically, it can contain bacteria which are fatal to the dog if not taken care of properly. Sometimes pet owners have no control over what a dog consumes. If you are concerned about a dog and have seen some warning signs don’t hesitate to call a veterinarian to have them take a look at the dog. It could be a life or death situation.
Lastly, chocolate- who isn’t a chocolate lover who has a stash in the most absurd places of the house that a dog might find? No?- Just me? Okay, well chocolate is a serious matter when it comes to a dog’s health. It can cause vomiting, heavily panting, and damage to the heart and nervous system. Making sure the disposed food isn’t getting into the mouth of a dog. Take precautions of where the garbage is and if it seems that the dog has been in the trash. Make sure to find a new home for the trash can for future reference. A dog is always a big part of a family and there health is a priority so why not help them have a long healthy life.
Every dog deserves a long, healthy life. While there are some health issues that pet owners have no control over, much of their well-being is in the hands of their humans. By just doing a few simple things, dog owners can help to provide their pets with a better chance to live longer, and enjoy themselves more while they do.
Get Regular Exercise
Exercise is as important to dogs as it is to people. When dogs are able to move, play and be active, they are less likely to be agitated or aggressive, and they can maintain a healthy weight easier. A 20 minute walk each day is a great start, and for many breeds will be enough to give them the exercise they need.
Healthy Diet Choices
Feed dogs a quality food that is high in protein and low in additives and preservatives. Use the guides on the food labels to determine what a proper serving size is for them. Leftovers should usually not be shared with pets, but there is some healthy human food that is an exception. Raw, unsalted peanut butter, cooked chicken that has not been seasoned and raw carrots are good tidbits that dogs love and can be given as treats and are nutritious too. Pumpkin, eggs and salmon are other items that provide a lot of nutrition.
Regular Pet Grooming
Grooming does much more than keep pets smelling fresh and looking good. Trimming nails, eliminating fleas and cleaning ears keeps them more comfortable. Preventing fur from becoming dirty or matted avoids skin irritation, and the close-up attention helps suspicious moles or lumps to be noticed sooner.
Important Training Tips
Training is one of the most valuable things a pet owner can do to keep their dog healthy. Bad behavior is the most common reason dogs are surrendered to shelters, and training is the only way to prevent that from happening. Training also helps prevent dogs from running into the road and stops them from eating or chewing on things they should not.
Good pet health should be a priority to every responsible pet owner. It really does not take a lot of time, money or effort to provide the basic care they need. Regular vet visits, along with the steps listed above will give them the best chance to have the best quality of life possible.