5 Good Habits to Teach Your Dog

According to a study, aggression has become the most common and severe behavioral issue among dogs.

It’s one of the primary reasons pet owners seek professional help from behaviorists, trainers, and veterinarians.

Instilling good habits in dogs will start from an early age. With proper training and grooming, you can curb aggressive behavior in dogs while promoting healthy habits. When a pet knows and follows the rules, it makes a living together more pleasant for everyone.

How to instill good behavior in dogs?

Before we jump into a list of good habits, let's talk about different ways to instill good dog behavior. To make the most of your training, you should continue practicing, praising, and rewarding.

Practice -As the training session continues, give your dog plenty of opportunities to practice a said behavior. Try it at different times of the day.

Praise -Whenever your dog completes a goal, you should praise it. Positive reinforcement can help animals to learn and instill good habits quickly.

Rewards -Dogs love getting rewards. In this case, you can choose a healthy treat as a reward whenever your dog completes a goal.

5 Good Habits to Teach Your Dog

Here is the list of five good habits that every dog should learn.

Hygiene

Good hygiene is a must for all kinds of pets. Untrained dogs will piss or poop anywhere they want. This can leave a foul smell and color on your floor, couches, and sofa. Hence, it would be best if you taught your dog to relieve in a proper place. Potty training should begin when it's still a pup.

As they grow bigger, you should take them outside the house and train them to relieve in a particular place. Use positive reinforcement (Praise and rewards) to motive their good habits.

Leash Manners

"Leash manner" is an essential pet behavior that every dog must learn and understand before their pet owners start taking them out for a walk, jog, or run.

When dogs get out of the house, they often spring towards unfamiliar places, people, and animals. They can land up in trouble if you fail to leash them properly. Never forcefully pull their leash when they aren't walking or walking too slow. Apply a gentle leash pressure. To leash train them, you can begin with rewards such as treats. Please walk up to a point, then reward them. Continue this couple of times every day.

"Come, Sit, Leave It"

Every dog should learn and know basic commands. The commands aren't just fancy words. They can save their life in many difficult situations. The most basic command is calling their name, sit, go, and leave it.

Your dog should respond to you when you call its name. Imagine taking your dog to a park with other people and animals. What if your dog gets overwhelmed and runoff? You'd call its name, and it has to come right to you. If it doesn't, then it can land in serious trouble.

"Leave It" is an essential command that tells your dog to leave, let go, or exit toxic or potentially dangerous objects and situations that can be life-threatening.

Barking/Jumping at Visitors

It's insulting and unpleasant when a visitor walks up to your house and your dog barks or jumps on them. Many people get overwhelmed when they hear a dog bark and runoff. This can become a really unpleasant situation for both you and your guests.

Train and redirect your dog to "sit-stay" or "stop" whenever they start barking at people. Although this process may take longer than usual, it’ll be worth it.

Chewing

Your dog chewing on the sofa, couch, curtains, socks, and shoes can become an unpleasant experience. To curb this habit, you'd need to provide them plenty of safe and chew-approved chew toys. Whenever they start chewing on stuff, you should redirect them to chew toys and reward them for attesting that this habit is not acceptable.

 

There are many other good behaviors that dogs should learn throughout their life. While most training starts when they're still a pup, some training can only be provided when they become adult.

Before meeting other animals, training them is equally essential because dogs can quickly become aggressive when they see other animals. If they're experiencing aggressive behavior or fear, then you'd need to consult professional trainers to curb such behaviors.

Check this infographics for more information.

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort is the best doggy daycare in Urbandale. Get in touch with your experienced dog trainers and veterinarians to learn more about dog behaviors.

Can I allow my dog to sleep on the same bed?

Many people allow their pets to share the same bed. The American Pet Products Association survey found that nearly half of the dogs sleep in their owner’s beds; 62% of small dogs, 41% of medium-sized dogs, and 32% of large dogs

Allowing your pet to sleep with you isn’t a new trend. Humans have long shared their beds with dogs

However, many pet owners are riddled with this question. They wonder if it's wrong to let their dogs share the same bed.

Let's find out more about why your dog loves to share the same bed, what it means, and how you can respond to it.

Why do dogs sleep with humans?

Like every other being, dogs seek protection, closeness, and warmth from each other. When in a pack, animals often sleep close to each other to retain body heat and feel secure. In homes, dogs always seek that sense of security and warmth from humans. Dogs always come to snuggle with you when you're sitting on a couch or sleeping on the bed. It is because they feel secure and safe in your presence.

It's common for dogs to sleep with you on the same bed during winter to keep them warm. Another reason for this behavior is that dogs often feel exposed to dangers when sleeping all by themself. Snuggling with you will remind them that you're there to protect them from any harm.

The Root of the behavior

When the dog's ancestors used to hunt together, they always ate together and slept lying close to each other. It helped to keep them warm and attentive to any incoming danger. They were powerful in a pack but not so much when all by themself. This behavior is still persistent in wolves, the distant relatives of domesticated dogs.

It's also great news for pet owners because your dog wanting to sleep next to you is a sign of affection, closeness, trust, and seeking company. Sleeping by your side can help them feel better. It helps to increase the level of hormones in their brain that keeps them happy and elated.

Psychology Today article reported that

For most people, having a dog in bed is psychologically comforting. The dog serves as a loving companion close at hand, and it keeps you from feeling lonely or insecure no matter how dark the night.

Many times, dogs will wander off from your bed to sleep all alone. This can be because they're overheated or can't settle. They can also find that your mattress is too soft for them.

Does it pose any problem?

Not really, if you’re not allergic to dogs. Experts believe that it's probably safe for most dogs to sleep in the same bed.

Here are few things you’d need to understand.

  • If you’re a light sleeper and your dog’s movements can wake you up. It can decrease your sleep quality. A dog that snores, slobbers, or overheats the bed is probably not an ideal sleep mate.
  • If your dog snores loudly or hogs the covers and pillows—you might want to reconsider.
  • If your significant other doesn’t want a dog in the bed, that’s something you’ll have to hash out together.
  • Children are more susceptible to germs than adults, mainly if the pet tends to lick.
  • In the United States, the risk of disease from sleeping with your pet is low, with most threats coming from fleas and ticks, ringworm, and skin infections due to mites.
  • Dogs often carry dander, mites, and other antigens with them. A furry dog can quickly bring foreign elements from outside the house. When sleeping alongside your dog, you can accidentally ingest these elements. It can cause severe allergies in most humans.

How to share a bed with your dog?

If you can't resist letting your dog sleep in the same bed, it’s essential that both of you agree with the sleeping arrangements.

  • Walk your dog before bed and get done with the loo.
  • Train them to wait for permission to get on the bed.
  • Be consistent with rules. If you don’t want your dog on your pillow or under the blankets, make no exceptions.
  • You can discourage their aggressive behavior by removing them from the bed.
  • Visit the veterinarian for regular checkups and vaccinations, including preventive flea and tick treatments.
  • Deworm as advised by your veterinarian.
  • Change your sheets and bedding regularly.

When shouldn't you let your dog in your bed?

There are times when you should allow your dog to share the same bed.

  • When you have a severe health issue such as fever, cold and cough, flu.
  • When your dog is a new addition to your family.
  • When they have had a checkup or vaccination
  • When they aren't potty trained
  • When they're aggressive, or bite and scratch.
  • When they are a big snorer.

It’s common for dogs to share the same bed with humans. You can encourage this habit if you and your partner don’t have any problem with it.

You can check for noticeable changes if your dog suddenly stopped sleeping in your bed. It doesn't usually mean something's wrong. Sometimes they need to cool off or find their personal space. However, pay attention to your dog's body language and behaviors. If you notice any signs of physical pain or discomfort, it might be a good idea to consult your trusted vet.

 

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort is your go-to Veterinarian in Urbandale. Get in touch with us to learn more about sleeping with pets, pet problems, and other preventive measures.

Do dogs react differently in front of you?

Dogs are social animals. They have been with humans for the last 10,000 years. They are conditioned to live with their human companions, eating almost the same diet and mimicking our lifestyle. This has greatly impacted their feeling and behavior towards both humans and animals.

Dogs often become lively and spring around when they are near their owners or their favorite human. Most of the time, dogs will run to their favorite person even if they aren't the owners. This is mainly because; dogs often choose a favorite person who matches their own energy level and personality. A more outgoing and boisterous dog will choose a more active person. It’s the positive association and attention that brings an animal closer to you in many other cases.

How are dogs conditioned to like us?

According to interesting research by Ludwig Huber, dogs can easily associate their human companion by hearing a familiar voice paired with a familiar face.

Dogs (like people) are good at using information about the eyes, nose, and mouth configuration. They also seem to be able to recognize differences between at least some human facial expressions for emotions. They mostly associate with their favorite human through series of interactions, attention, and memories.

Another reason dogs are always ecstatic when they see us is that they view us within a traditional pack structure. Researchers have noticed this for a few reasons, one of them being “face licking.” In nature, wolves and other wild dogs have always traditionally greeted each other with this behavior.

How do you make your dog to like you?

Here are some of the proven methods to make your dog to like you.

Socialization

Many dogs bond to humans who cared for them the most during their socialization, which occurs between birth and six months. Young pups are very receptive, and they associate their early social experiences with a person who spent the most time with them.

Creating positive memories and positive interactions with your dog can help it bring you two closer. Over time, they'll strongly associate you with your face, smell, and sound that will make them remember you forever.

Continued socialization throughout the growing years and adulthood are also important to ensure a strong bond between you and your dog.

Attention and Affection

It's a known fact that continuous attention and positive affection help strengthen the bond between a dog and a human.

Most dogs tend to bond to the person who gives them the most attention. In many cases, dogs love other humans more than their owners because they have had the most positive and pleasant moment with them. Giving more attention to your dog means spending more time with them and doing activities that bring you two closer.

Positive affection experiences can start with filling their food bowl every day, taking them to a walk, playing catch or Frisbee with them in the park, giving them treats and toys, training with them, sleeping in the same room, cuddling, and traveling.

You can start spending more crucial time with your pet by indulging in activities that both of you enjoy doing.

Positive Association

A positive association is linked with creating happy memories with your dog. They often react poorly to people with bad associations, such as Veterinarians, during an unpleasant vet visit.

Dogs have their favorites depending on their positive association with them. Most dogs share an incredibly positive association with a human who feeds them regularly. Filling up their food bowl and providing treats and kibble can instantly make them love you.

Similarly, dogs would love to stay more with you when you play along with them and indulge with them regularly. Training a dog is also easy when you share a positive relationship with your dog.

Human Personality & Dog Breed

Different dog breeds react differently to human emotions and personality. They often choose a person who matches their own energy level and personality. Dogs like Labrador and Retriever love people who are equally active and energetic like them. They'll associate more with people who are willing to indulge with them in physical activities.

Some dog breeds like Basenji, Greyhound, Shiba Inu, and Cairn Terrier are more likely to bond with a single person.

If the dog you own has an entirely different personality than yours, you can start conditioning yourself to a personality they love, like if they enjoy going outside a lot, you should make sure to them outside regularly.

Play fetch, tug of war, or hide and seek with them. When training a dog, always be present and partake in the training process.

For more information please check out this infographics. 

 

The presence of a hormone named Oxytocin releases excitement in dogs when they meet their favorite human. This is exactly similar to what we feel when we see or meet someone we love.

Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best doggy daycare in Urbandale, to get more tips on socializing with your dog of different ages, breeds, and personalities.

10 Human Medications you should never give to your Dog

Unlike popular belief, you should take precautions while administering human drugs to dogs. Most drugs work wonders in both humans and animals, but that doesn't mean you should start giving your pills to your dog.

Did you know, nearly 50% of all calls received by Pet Poison Helpline involve human medications – both over-the-counter and prescription.

Why does medicine work differently on humans and animals?

Yes, most drugs meant for humans contain compounds that create altering effects when given to dogs

Pets like dogs and cats respond to human medication differently, mainly because of two reasons:

Body size

The safe dose of a medication is expressed as “mg/kg” – in other words, the active ingredient per kg of body weight. So, the maximum safe dose of a substance for a 70kg human will be about 20 times higher than it is for a 3.5kg cat.

Biological differences

Humans are generally better at dealing with poisons than any other mammal species. A useful rule of thumb used by medical and veterinary toxicologists is that “if it’s poisonous to humans, it’ll kill pets; but if it’s safe for humans… it may still kill animals.”

10 Human Medications Harmful to Pets

Here is a list of ten human medications that are severely harmful to pets. Ingesting these medicines can cause fatal health deterioration or even death.

NSAIDs

NSAIDs stand for Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Examples of NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and indomethacin. These drugs are readily available in many households. People use these to treat pain, inflammation, and fever in people.

Ingesting even one or two pills can cause serious harm to dogs, including stomach and intestinal ulcers. In cases of overdose, renal damage can occur. When ingested orally, most achieve peak concentrations in the blood within three hours.

The most commonly seen side effects of these medications are gastrointestinal irritation and damage to the GI tract.

Acetaminophen

Acetaminophen includes Paracetamol and Tylenol that are used for the relief of fever and aches and pains in humans. However, it may lead to liver failure and red blood cell damage in dogs and cats.

Acetaminophen poisoning in dogs can lead to liver injury or even liver failure. The tell-tale signs of Acetaminophen poising include lethargy, loss of appetite, belly pain, jaundice, and swelling of the face and paws.

Antidepressants

Antidepressants are medications used to treat the major depressive disorder, anxiety, and chronic pain conditions in humans. Some commonly used antidepressant for dogs include Buspirone, Fluoxetine, and Clomipramine. However, excess ingestion of antidepressants can cause serotonin syndrome. It can lead to serious neurological problems such as sedation, incoordination, tremors, and seizures.

The serotonin syndrome sign usually comes on rapids in dogs, anywhere from 10 min to 4 hours. Veterinarians will generally pump out or induce vomiting to remove toxins.

ADD/ADHD Medication

ADD/ADHD medications are prescribed to treat Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Adderall, Concerta, Dexedrine, Eveko, Focalin XR are a few of the popular ADHD prescribed drugs.

It contains potent stimulants such as amphetamines and methylphenidate that doesn't do well to dogs. Even minimal ingestions of these medications can trigger a higher heart rate, high blood pressure, elevated body temperature, and life-threatening symptoms like tremors and seizures.

Benzodiazepines (Sleep Aids)

Benzodiazepines are prescribed to reduce anxiety and help people sleep. Common sedatives include Xanax, alprazolam, chlordiazepoxide, clonazepam, etc. It induces sedation to help reduce anxiety, panic attacks, depression, insomnia, seizures, etc.

When a dog ingests Benzodiazepines, it can cause severe sedation, in-coordination, aggression, agitation, nausea, and vomiting. In severe cases, it can trigger respiratory and cardiovascular depression.

Birth Control

A birth control pill is administered to prevent pregnancy in women. Most birth controls are combination pills containing a mix of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Because of its packaging, dogs often find it irresistible. Small dosages typically do not cause any harm to dogs. However, large ingestions can trigger bone marrow suppression.

ACE Inhibitors

ACE Inhibitors like Zetril, Benazepril, Captopril, and Altace are commonly used to treat high blood pressure. It's also used in dogs to treat chronic CHF. However, when ingested in a higher amount, it can cause low blood pressure, dizziness, and dogs' weakness. The tell-take signs of ACE inhibitors poising include weakness, stumbling, and dropping blood pressure level.

Beta-blockers

Beta-blockers are used to treat high blood pressure. It can cause your heart to beat more slowly and with less force, which lowers blood pressure. Atenolol is a common beta-blocker medication used to treat certain heart disease types and high blood pressure in dogs. However, you should be careful about overdosing your dog with beta-blocker as it can cause a severe drop in blood pressure and heart rate.

Thyroid hormones

Interestingly, the dose of thyroid hormone needed to treat dogs is much higher than a person’s dose. If a dog accidentally ingests thyroid hormones pill at home, it rarely results in problems. However, large acute overdoses can often trigger muscle tremors, nervousness, panting, a rapid heart rate, and aggression. Levothyroxine, Synthroid, and Armour desiccated thyroid are few examples of thyroid hormones.

Cholesterol Pills

Cholesterol-lowering pills like Lipitor, Zocor, and Crestor can cause mild ailments in dogs, such as vomiting and diarrhea. The poising can be treated by taking it to the vet to remove the toxins from the stomach.

 

How to Prevent Accidental Poising in Dogs?

A recent article in the Veterinary Times reported that almost 10% of pet owners admitted using human medicines to treat their pets.

It’s also easy for dogs to accidentally ingest human pills. The medicine bottles lying around the house, such as tables and open countertop, make it accessible for dogs’ reach. Here is how you can prevent accidental medication poising in dogs.

  • Never leave loose pills in a plastic bag. The bags are too easy to chew into.
  • Keep the pill and pill container in a cabinet out of reach of dogs.
  • Never store your own medications near your pet's medications.
  • Keep the contact detail of Pet Poison Helpline and your veterinarian with you at all times.

 

Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best pet hospital in Des Moines, to learn more about preventing pet poisoning.

7 Tips to Maintain Healthy Oral Hygiene in Dogs

The dental problem isn’t only persistent in senior pets. A young pup or an adult dog can suffer from poor dental hygiene too.

Did you know, by the age of three, 70% of cats and 80% of dogs develop some form of gum disease.

Periodontal disease is one of the most common problems in dogs that start from a young age. It becomes more prevalent in elderly dogs. Periodontal disease begins when bacteria in the mouth combine with food particles to form plaque. Within days, minerals in the saliva bond with the plaque to form tartar resulting in a deteriorating gum line. It produces toxins that lead to bone and tissue damage. Bad breath is usually the first sign of a dental problem in dogs.

The unchecked dental problem poses a lot of risk in dogs.

  • If your pet remains uncured from dental disease, they are at a higher risk of heart, kidney, and liver disease
  • Bacteria under the gum can travel to different internal organs.
  • Dental disease can result in bad breath, painful chewing and tooth loss.

A broken tooth is a major concern among pets. Chewing on hard surfaces or materials can render their teeth weak. A broken tooth can expose the tooth's nerve, which can be a painful experience for your pet

7 Tips to Maintain Oral Health in Dogs

Here are renowned veterinarians' seven tips to prevent plague, gum irritation, and oral infections in dogs

Quality Food

Proper oral hygiene starts with the choice of food you provide to your dog. Quality food with essential vitamins and minerals, preferably made with whole foods, will nourish their body and keep oral hygiene in check

Avoid foods made with by-products, meals, and cereal grains, including starch, as they are more apt to stick to your dog’s teeth.

A dog meal should have 30% protein, 25% fats, and 30-70% carbohydrates. Chicken, beef, turkey, lamb, fish, fish oil (Omega-3 fatty acids), meat fat, Canola oil, sweet potatoes, peas, Barley (pearled), Oats, Brown rice, whole wheat, whole corn, etc., are the healthiest meal choices for any dog. If you're buying canned food, make sure it's made from organic food matter and has optimum supplements of micro-minerals and trace minerals.

Brush their Teeth Regularly

Like humans, dogs need to keep their teeth clean and prevent bad breath. Although dogs chew bones to remove tartar and residue from their teeth, this isn't nearly enough

You can use a traditional method of brushing teeth with toothpaste for your dog. You can use a human toothbrush with soft bristles, or you can choose double-headed with the brushes at a 45-degree angle to clean below the gum-line, like those offered by companies like Petosan

For toothpaste, try to get canine toothpaste that's safe to swallow. Your dog is less likely to spit after each cleaning. Human toothpaste contains fluoride that is extremely poisonous to dogs, so avoid regular toothpaste.

Vets suggest that you should start brushing their teeth when they are still a puppy. This can help keep a habit.

Use Chew Bones and Chew Toys

Chewing on a hard surface can help scrap and clean teeth naturally. Offer raw chew bones and chew toys after each meal and encourage them to chew on them for a bit.

When using bones, make sure they're uncooked and large, preferably from a cow. A small bone can easily break or splinter. Keep an eye when it's chewing on a bone to make sure it doesn’t swallow broken pieces.

Avoid commercial chew bones that are usually made from starches. It can have the opposite effect as chewing on a cow bone. When choosing chew toys, ensure to get chew toys made from hard rubber or nylon that aren't toxic

Choose Dry Food other Soft Food

Soft food is more likely to stick to the teeth and cause decay. When buying commercial food product for your pet, preferably choose dry food such as kibble. Most dogs eagerly accept dried beef ears or snouts, dried tendons, esophagus, and similar pieces. The dried meat also helps to keep their teeth clean.

Most dog foods prepared at home both solid-liquid. If you regularly provide your dog with soft food, make sure to clean or wipe their teeth daily. This will help prevent residue and plague build up around their teeth

Offer Vegetables and Fruits for Snacks

Vegetables and fruits are natural sources of micro-minerals and trace minerals. Like Protein, Carbs, and Fats, dogs need an optimum amount of minerals such as zinc, vitamin, calcium, and phosphorus daily.

Introduce a variety of vegetables and fruits in their daily snacks. Carrots or carrot slices, apple slices, or a chunk of squash or pumpkin are good snacks for dogs.

Feed appropriate amounts to your dog based on its size; never more than ten percent of its overall daily calorie intake.

Routine Dental Check Up

An annual or bi-annual dental checkup is essential to make sure your dog's oral hygiene is perfect.

Some of the tell-tale signs of bad dental care include; bad breath, change in chewing habit, pawing at the face or mouth, excessive drooling, misaligned or missing teeth, red and swollen gums, etc. These problems require immediate veterinary solutions.

To ensure proper teeth cleaning, the veterinarian will usually perform routine dental cleaning to use tools to remove the teeth' plaque and tartar. A special polishing paste that smoothens any scratches in the teeth' enamel keeps their teeth shiny and plague free.

Check this info graphics for more information. 

Make a Routine

Keep a routine of dental cleaning, veterinarian visits, and dental problems. This will help you determine what kind of assistance your dog will need in the future regarding dental problems.

It's always better to get pet insurance covering preventive care, veterinarian visits, and dental health problems.

It's always wise to prevent the dental problem from exfoliating. Dental extractions in a bad or decayed tooth can easily cost from $10 to $1000 for a molar root canal

Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best pet hospital in Urbandale, to learn more about preventive care for healthy oral health. We also provide dental checkups and surgical services through our certified veterinarians.