At what age do dogs stop growing?

A new dog owner might get surprised when their pet fully grows up within a year, but some get worried when their dog does not become full-sized even after a year.

Well, this isn't unusual. Most small and medium dogs become fully grown in a year, but larger dogs may take at least two years before they become fully-grown.

This stage of life also marks the need for constant care, diet, training, and socialization for pets; hence, pet owners need to be well aware of their physical and mental stimulation to help them grow better.

But, many people still wonder when their pup has fully grown.

How to tell when your Pup is fully-grown

In most cases, dogs stop growing between 6 and 18 months of age, but some pups continue growing until 24 months.

But not all canines grow at the same rate, with smaller breed dogs growing up much faster than their larger counterparts. This is because dogs with more prominent bones and joints need a bit more time to grow and develop.

Giant dogs like Mastiffs, Great Pyrenees, Saint Bernard, and Newfoundland take the longest to reach full size.

Giant breeds like Great Dane reach their physical maturity within 18 months, but they keep adding muscle and reach their total weight only at age two or three.

Let’s take a look at how long it takes for each dog breed to grow fully.

Small Breeds

Small breeds grow up quickly. They finish growing at around half the age of their larger counterparts.

Small breeds such as Boston Terriers, Jack Russell Terriers, Chihuahuas, and Pugs reach their full-sized framework between six and eight months of age, and they'll keep filling weight until twelve months old.

The small breed dogs also enjoy a longer lifespan compared to larger dogs because they age comparatively slower.

Medium Breeds

Medium breed puppies might take just a bit longer to grow than small breed puppies. You can expect your medium breed dog to reach their physical maturity between twelve and fifteen months of age.

Although they get bigger by 15 months, they usually keep adding weight until they are closer to 18 months.

Airedale Terrier, American Pit Bull, Border Collie, and Standard Poodle are considered medium breeds.

Large Breeds

The large breed is a broad category of dogs divided into two categories; large breeds and giant breeds.

Dogs that reach an adult weight of >50 lb (23 kg) are considered large breeds. The average growth period for large breeds is 12 to 18 months, and they reach maturity between 18 to 24 months, much later than smaller-breed dogs.

Some of the typical large breeds include German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Weimaraners.

Giant Breeds

The giant breeds are larger dogs like Great Dance, Mastiffs, Great Pyrenees, and Saint Bernard that reach above 45 kg (99lb).

They take the longest to reach full size. Some giant breeds take at least 18 months to grow the basic framework and continue growing in weight until age two or three.

However, these dogs also age quickly than smaller breeds. Mastiffs live only up to 7 to 8 years, and Dogue de Bordeaux lives only until 5 to 8 years.

 

How to estimate your dog's full size?

One way to estimate their total size is to use an online puppy size calculator.

  • It becomes a bit harder to know how long it takes mixed breeds to become full-sized. You will have to do some guessing by comparing both breed’s weight and size. Not all mixed breeds grow at the same rate.
  • Their gender will determine their adult sizes and weight. Male dogs weigh more and are more significant than female dogs.
  • Puppies experience the most significant growth rate from birth to about six months of age and weigh 30% of their adult weight. You'd know how much your pup will grow at this time.
  • In most pet dogs, sexual maturity occurs between the ages of 6 to 12 months. Smaller breeds reach puberty quicker than large breeds.
  • Smaller breeds tend to have their first estrous cycle (reproductive stage) at an earlier age, while large and giant breeds may not come into heat until they have reached eighteen months to two years of age.

The Stages of Puppy Development

Generally, a pup's development is divided into five stages that start from birth and last until age two.

There are some similarities that all puppies face when growing. This vital info will help you recognize the growth in your pup regardless of breed size.

Neonatal (Newborn - 2 weeks)

Pups at this age sleep most of the day because they need sleep for mental and physical growth. They will wake up mostly to nurse. The birth weight will also double within a week.

Transitional (2 - 4 weeks)

The period between two to four weeks signifies a transitional phase where your pup will open its eyes for the first time, learn to walk, and grow its teeth.

Juvenile (4 - 12 weeks)

Pups aged four to twelve weeks are considered juveniles. Most small breeds will reach their physical maturity within this period. The juvenile period precedes puberty.

Adolescence (6 - 12 months)

Adolescence marks the zenith of their physical and mental growth. Female dogs may begin to go into heat. It also marks the slowing down of physical growth as most breeds are fully grown by this time.

Full maturity (1 - 2 years)

It's the time when your pup entirely becomes an adult dog. They will stop growing bigger but will keep adding weight over time. For giant breeds, this stage marks an important developmental age.

 

What causes a puppy to stop growing?

It may be worrying when your pup isn't growing regularly or is too small for their age.

There are certain instances when your dog may stop growing naturally, and there are several reasons for their stunted growth, ranging from genetics to intestinal worms.

Here's we'll discuss few common reasons for stunted growth in dogs.

Intestinal worm

Pups that are infected with hookworms or roundworms may experience stunted growth.  If a puppy has an extremely heavy worm infection, the worms can steal enough calories from its body; hence, slowing down its growth.

A poor hair coat, diarrhea, and a big potbelly are signs of worm infection.

Malnutrition

Malnutrition is one of the leading causes of stunted growth in dogs. Pups need to eat nutritious food to ensure the healthy growth of tissue cells.

Ensure adequate food and nutrition that supports bones, muscles, and tissue growth in pups. Also, ensure that you don't overfeed your dog or give supplements when they're still growing because too much nutrition can have adverse effects.

 

You can be assured that strenuous exercise or spaying and neutering does not affect their physical growth; however, you must not indulge them in strenuous exercise. It may damage the growth plates of the long bones and cause abnormal development.

There is a rare disease called pituitary dwarfism in German Shepherds. Some Labrador Retrievers have a genetic component, but these conditions are rare and not generally seen in companion animals.

 Check this infographic for more information. 

To learn more about healthy physical and mental growth in dogs, get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best doggy daycare in Urbandale.

Top 5 Companion Animals

Companion animals make great pets. They take the whole "human's best friend" notion to a whole new level. Unlike other pets, companion pets keep you occupied and help you cope with loneliness, stress, and disabilities.

Why do you need a companion animal?

It’s been medically proven that animals can help lower your blood pressure and beat stress and loneliness. Many people suffer from a lack of companionship, which often leads to the constant feeling of loneliness and depression.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that 16.2 million U.S. adults had at least one major depressive episode in a year. This represents 6.7 percent of the U.S. adult population.

In these instances, a companion pet can be beneficial to combat loneliness and depression. They're great listeners and never get sick of spending time with you.

In a recent Human-Animal Bond Research Institute survey, 74% of pet owners said having a pet improved their mental health.

Desiree Wiercyski, a life coach in Fort Wayne, says that "A pet can remind you that you're not alone. Pets offer unconditional love, which can be extraordinarily soothing when feeling isolated."

Although these pets aren't individually trained to perform specific tasks like the service pets, they still make the best companion animals.

So, what are the different types of animals that will become your new companion?

Top 5 Companion Animals

Here is the list of companion pets that might be the right fit for you.

Dog

Dogs are incredibly affectionate and caring animals. They have been with their human companions since they were first domesticated 10,000 years ago. The years of living together have conditioned them to spend significant time with humans.

Dogs' tendency to mercilessly lick their owners is a prime example of their affection. If you're wondering, they love socializing with humans, but if you're not convinced, here are some known facts about keeping a companion dog.

  • They’re scientifically proven to lower stress and blood pressure.
  • They help their owners to conquer anxiety.
  • They boost the sense of self-esteem.
  • They support social connections.
  • They become a close part of your family, often helping in raising small kids.

Here how you can make the best out of your relationship with a dog.

  1. Go for a daily walk with your dog.
  2. Indulge in playtime with them.
  3. Indulge in physical activity together, such as exercising, hiking, running, and throwing Frisbee.
  4. Spend time snuggling and talking

Some of the most preferred companion dog breeds are Papillion, Chihuahua, French bulldog, Golden Retriever, Shih Tzu, Irish Wolfhound, American Staffordshire Terrier, and Pug.

Cat

Cat is one of the most beloved pets in the world. In fact, it is the most kept pet in the US.

According to a national pet owners survey, there was a total of approximately 95.6 million cats living in households in 2017.

  • Although most people describe felines as cold, disinterested, and aloof, they actually make a great companion pet. Dogs and cats show their affection differently, but cats have proven to have been loyal and affectionate animals in most cases.
  • You can find yourself a great companion in a cat or two. Most households own more than one cat, so you too can adopt more than one companion feline.
  • Here are some common ways for cats to show affection: snuggling, hugging, licking, kneading, purring, playing, protecting you, and rubbing against you.
  • If you’re looking for a pet that requires a little less attention and maintenance, a cat might be your best bet. They're slightly cheaper to upkeep than dogs.
  • Animal behaviorists suggest that you should spend at least 20 to 60 minutes daily with your cat. You can spend time playing with them, talking to them, or giving them a treat. Cats also love being brushed and groomed.

Rabbit

While dogs and cats take away the most attention and applause as pets, rabbits often make an unusual companion to people. If you're wondering, rabbits are very friendly and quickly adapt to human companionship. However, they'd need proper housing and upkeep.

  • Rabbits have always been outdoor pets, but many pet owners choose to keep them indoors and outdoor. In general, they need an appropriate kennel, exercise, socialization, and diet.
  • Rabbits are social animals, so ensure to keep them close. Also, make sure they have a place to relax.
  • Don't forget to bunny-proof your house. They will find a way to chew cables, computer wires, couch piping, rug, etc.
  • The staple rabbit diet is fiber. They're also high-maintenance pets.
  • Spend significantly with your pet. You can choose to walk with them for 30 minutes twice a day and play for 10 minutes, six times a day.

Birds

Birds are quite an unusual pet for most people because they lack experience in handling an aviary pet. If you care for them right, they'll become highly loving pets. Many bird species are specially bred to become human companions.

For years, birds have been used as therapy animals, as they can provide many mental health benefits, just like the animals that precede them on this list. Ensure to feed them nutritional meals. Birds love seeds, pelleted foods, vegetables, and small amounts of fruit.

  • Some of the most kept pet birds include Parakeet, Cockatiel, Cockatoo, Lovebird, Finch, Conure, Parrot, and Dove.
  • There are a lot of ways to spend time with pet birds. Some of them include
  • Fetch and retrieve is a game where you toss a small Koosh ball in its direction. If you're lucky, it'll catch and bring it back to you.
  • Birdie Basketball is another game where you design a birdie-sized basketball hoop and teach them to toss a cloth ball.

Hamsters

Hamsters aren't unusual companion pets; instead, many people own hamsters. Around 11 million people keep hamsters as pets in the world.

They don't require constant attention that makes them an ideal pet for busy people. However, make sure to provide them a proper residence, meals, and privacy.

They're incredibly cheap to keep and maintain. A single hamster can survive up to three years. Some common types of pet hamsters include dwarf hamsters, Syrian hamsters, golden hamsters, and teddy bear hamsters.

Here are few things to keep in mind.

  • Choose a habitat with many passages to hide and burrow, like Critter tail tubes connected and a 6-ounce chew-proof water bottle for bedding.
  • Keep them out of sight but not away from the sounds of your family. They enjoy privacy but also love staying close.
  • They can bit when you mishandle them, so be careful. They also need enough sleep.

Make sure you follow this routine each day.

  • Clean the toilet area daily
  • Spot change bedding as needed (when soiled/wet)
  • Wipeout their food dish weekly
  • Change water daily
  • Empty their entire habitat weekly or twice a week
  • Place all new bedding weekly
  • Feed them hamster pellets, small amounts of fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

 

Guinea pigs, horses, fancy rats, and sugar gliders are other popular companion pets to keep. Horses do need a separate kennel and a lot of space and maintenance, so it isn't a usual choice for a companion pet.

When considering exotic pets, it is also essential to examine local regulations and laws to ensure that it is legal to own a particular type of pet.

Having a pet can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience, but you must provide them with a safe and nurturing environment to ensure their safe keep.

Check this infographic out for more information 

 

Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best pet hospital in Urbandale, to learn more about adopting and raising a companion pet.

What should I do if my dog is in heat?

First of all, DO NOT WORRY! Being in heat isn't a canine disease but a natural sign that tells your dog is ready to mate.

There comes a time in the life of an intact female dog when they’re ready to breed. This period is called being in the heat or 'Estrus.' You can avoid this by spaying your dog, but we’ll come to that later.

Do you want to help your dog through its heat cycle? Let's learn more about Estrus before we jump into tips for helping your furry friend.

What is Estrus or Being in Heat?

Female dogs come into the heat twice per year. Although the interval can vary between breeds and dog to dog, small breed dogs may cycle three times per year, and large dogs may only cycle once every 12 months.

Like in human, heat in dogs signify 'menstruation.' That means, frequent blood discharge and urge to urinate with behavioral changes.

Her estrogen levels will dramatically increase and then decrease. At this time, the eggs are released from her ovaries.

The dogs first go into heat between the ages of 6 - 24 months. Each estrus period lasts about 18 days.

This is also the time when male dogs will be attracted to female dogs for mating. Keep a lookout for dogs around your house, and try keeping your female dogs indoor to prevent pregnancy.

Did you know male dogs are attracted towards a female dog for the full 18 days, but the female dog will only be receptive to males for about half that time?

How do you know if your dog is in heat?

Toy breeds or small dogs first come into heat for the first time as young as four months, while large dogs come into heat when they're as old as two years. On average, each dog first comes into heat between the age of 6 to 15 months.

There are telltale signs of estrus that you can identify without much difficulty.

Look out for physical and behavioral changes. The dogs often react differently when they come in heat.

  • Swollen vulva
  • Bloody or straw-colored discharge from the vulva
  • Receptive to male dogs
  • Excessive licking of the genital area
  • Agitated, nervous, or aggressive behavior
  • Urinating more frequently
  • Change in tail position

Vaginal discharge is the most common sign of estrus.

Keep in mind; there are four stages of the canine heat cycle.

Proestrus

Proestrus marks the start of the heat cycle. The telltale signs include the swollen vulva, blood-tinged discharge, excessive licking of the genitals, and aggression toward male dogs.

It lasts approximately 9-10 days. After that, the bleeding will become more watery or stop.

Estrus

The estrus phase is also known as the fertile phase. This is when she's ready to mate and is receptive to males. This phase is marked by a frequent urge to urinate and slowed vaginal discharge. Since they're ready to mate, they will approach male dogs with their tail held to the side.

Diestrus

The Diestrus phase occurs directly after the "in-heat" stage. It allows your dog to either return to the normal stage or develops into a pregnancy.

They will no longer be receptive to male dogs, and her vulva will return to standard size.

Anestrus

Anestrus is also called the 'inactive phase' as there are no signs of hormonal or sexual behavior in dogs.

What should you do when your dog is in heat?

If you haven't yet spayed your dog, the chances are that it's a tense situation for both of you.

Caring and cleaning

Dogs will bleed when they're in heat, so be prepared to deal with a lot of blood.

  • Invest in a good doggy diaper, disposable or reusable ones with liners.
  • Designate a special blankie for her use during this time. Dogs love to spend more time sleeping when in the heat, so a comfy blanket will be a great help.
  • Keep disposable wipes on hand so you can rapidly swipe across the floor and furniture.
  • Offer a safe, chew-resistant toy that she can nudge up against. This, too, will provide a sense of security.
  • Ensure to provide enough water and nutritious food.

Don't let your dog out in the yard alone.

Male dogs will find any opportunity to mate with your dog when she's in heat. A dog can easily find a female emitting breeding pheromone, so it's better to keep her inside.

Don't let your dog off-leash

When you're walking your dog outside, such as in a park, don't let it off-leash. The chances are that she'll intend on finding a male dog and wander off.

Consult a Vet

Consult a veterinarian if you notice signs of illness. Dogs can experience health issues immediately after a heat cycle, including bacterial growth in the uterine lining, which can cause a life-threatening pyometra or uterine infection.

Spay your dog

Spaying your dog is a permanent solution to prevent your dog from being in heat. If you have no plans to breed your dog, spaying is the best solution.

Spaying is also a good idea from the dog's point of view because each year, an estimated 8 million animals are euthanized in shelters across the country. Spaying will ensure that lesser animals are landing up in shelter homes.

  • Spay or castration is a sterilization process that female dogs undergo where their uterus and ovaries are removed.
  • Surgical sterilization removes specific reproductive organs. Ovariohysterectomy or typical "spay" removes ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus from a female dog.
  • Hysterectomy is a surgical alternative that removes the uterus and part of the fallopian tube but keeps the ovaries intact to produce hormones.
  • Ovariectomy removes ovaries from the female dogs, but the uterus remains intact.

Early spaying of female dogs and cats can help protect them from serious health problems later in life, such as uterine infections and breast cancer.

What is the right time to spay?

Although veterinarians recommend spaying your dog as young as four months old to ensure she never experiences a heat cycle, much recent research indicates that allowing your dog to grow before spaying ensures that the hormones are kept intact for necessary skeletal development.

Discuss health concerns with your veterinarian in Urbandale before deciding what age is appropriate to spay your furry friend.

All in all, caring for your dog is more than necessary. You need to be attentive to her physical and mental needs, giving her lots of affection, and be aware that she might be irritable.

Check this infographics for more information.

 

Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best pet hospital in Urbandale, to learn more about spaying your dogs.

10 Smartest Dog Breeds

Wouldn't you agree that some dog breeds are more accessible to train than others? Although all dog breeds make a perfect companion, few canine breeds excel in learning new commands and are more consistent than others.

DVM Dennis Riordan of Riordan Pet Hospital claims that,

As with any other trait, intelligence will vary from dog to dog, depending on the family tree and other factors. Intelligence is measured in dogs based on how many repetitions of a command it takes for them to figure out what you want them to do and how often they follow learned commands the first or second time you say it.

Smart dog breeds, regardless of origin, have one thing in common: they can quickly comprehend situations and act accordingly. Having a smart pet will also save you from possible dangers.

Pet behavior specialist Sarah Hodgson says,

It's all relative. Some are social and emotionally dependent on people, so they are easier to train and far more receptive to our vision of what they should do.

Here is a list of dog breeds that will probably be easiest to train and condition your lifestyle.

Ten Smartest Dog Breeds

Here is the list of ten dog breeds that are known for their adept behavior and quick learning ability.

Border Collie

Many pet behaviorists and trainers put Border Collie on top of the list of smart dog breeds. So, what makes Border Collie the valedictorians of the canine world?

Originally called "a shepherd dog," Border Collie is a working and herding breed that hails from Anglo-Scottish border regions such as UK, Scotland, England, and Ireland.

They were developed to be excellent shepherd dogs, making them very trained, active, and adaptive canines. They really enjoy the company of other animals and children if introduced well from early on.

In addition to learning cues quickly, they are quick enough to learn and understand routines, handle daily tasks, and take up new activities.

Handling a flock of hundreds or thousands of sheep isn't an easy task, but the Border Collie manages to do it very well.

However, it would be best to be wary about providing enough physical and mental stimulation to Border Collies who can become hyperactive and destructive to satiate their physical and mental energy.

Poodle

We all know Poodles for their fluffy hairdo and occasional movie appearances. But, these elegant dogs are more than just vanity.

Did you know poodles are adept hunters, effective water dogs, and highly trainable?

Poodles were originally bred in Germany for bird hunting and water retrieving. Some were even used for cattle herding and transport medical supplies to the battlefield.

However, they're very remarkable for their loving nature, trainable quality, and consistency inside all of the toughness.

Keep in mind that poodles thrive on attention and can develop bad habits such as nuisance barking if ignored or left alone. The young pups can be aggressive to people outside their families or to other dogs.

German shepherd

We all are familiar with the German shepherds as Police dogs, but did you know they are very hardworking and gentle companions?

With proper training and socialization from an early age, they become the ideal household breed. Their intelligence and protective demeanor make them the perfect pet for families with children.

Their enormous stature, athleticism, and high energy make them the second most popular dog breed in the US. Hence, they are mainly used for military and police work, and sometimes as service dogs such as for the blind.

German Shepherds are prone to hip dysplasia when they age, so you should always keep this fact in mind when raising the dog.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever is famously known for its lush, soft coat and hyperactive lifestyle. The medium-large gun dog was initially bred to retrieve shot waterfowl and game birds, hence the name "retriever."

It is one of the most popular dog breeds around the world. Most pet owners take up Golden Retriever because they are competent working dogs, easily trainable, natural athletes, and great family pets. They are also very obedient, making them the perfect family dogs.

Retrievers are also chosen as service and therapy dogs and, in some cases, search and rescue dogs.

As with any purebred dog, Golden Retrievers have their share of health problems. They're prone to Cancer, Hip & Elbow Dysplasia, Cataracts, Epilepsy, Hypothyroidism, Heart Disease, and Skin Conditions.

Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher has long been used as a police dog because of its agility, speed, and highly trainable quality. Despite their lean stature, they're solid.

A German tax collector for protection on his rounds originally bred the Doberman pinscher. In WWII, they were trained to guard sleeping troops, lead soldiers through the jungle, and give warning barks if enemies were hiding nearby.

They're very trustworthy and protective of children in the family, as long as they've been socialized and trained appropriately. They're also some of the lowest-maintenance dog breeds.

Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdog, popularly known as Sheltie, is originally a sheepdog. Don't mistake their small stature for incapability. Shelties are keenly observant and thrive on having a job to do.

They bear a close resemblance to their larger cousin, the collie, and are equally intelligent dog breeds.

As herders, they were required to keep track of many wandering animals for long periods, often without supervision.

They're easy to train if you have a calm voice and a light hand on the leash. They also make great family dogs thanks to their gentle and pleasing personality.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever or Labs is originally a waterdog, long employed as a duck retriever and fisherman's mate. It's a medium-large gun dog most popular in the US.

A hardworking dog breed, they make the best hunting dog. They're excellent at learning new tricks and excel in agility exercises. Thanks to their hyperactive nature, they make a very agile outdoor dog.

Labs make a great dog breed for water rescue, therapy work, and assistance. However, it would help if you were wary of their seldom violent nature to cause bites and injuries to family members.

Papillon

Paillon, also known as Continental Toy Spaniel, is a small-breed dog that has long been a favorite among royals. They're known for their regal appearance and charming personalities.

They've long been conditioned to become family dogs; hence they're very adaptive to training, learning new tricks, and performing for people.

Despite its elegant stature, Papillon is known for its active, athletic, and companionable behavior. They're brilliant and agile at competitions; hence they often become the dog breed to take home most top prizes at agility trials.

Rottweiler

Rottweilers are people dogs and are affectionate towards their families. They also make excellent guard dogs.

They were initially used as herding dogs and cart-puller. They were one of the first breeds used as guide dogs.

It's easier to train Rottweillers because they learn commands quickly compared to other dog breeds. However, thorough training and socialization are an absolute must from an early age. With a good training session, you can train a young Rottweiler within 6-7 weeks.

Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle Dog or Cattle Dog is a famous herding dog originally developed in Australia. They were crossbred between blue merle shepherds from England and native Australian dingo.

They were trained to drive cattle over long distances across rough terrain; hence they make a great pet adapt to training. They're very active dogs; hence you should provide them enough physical and mental stimulation through work, sport, or exercise.

They are fiercely protective when used as a watchdog; hence, proper training and socializing are essential from an early age.

Some of the other popular smart breeds are pembroke Welsh Corgi, Miniature Schnauzer, English Springer Spaniel, Beglian Tervuren, Collie, Keeshond, and Schipperke.

Check this infographic out for more information. 

Please talk with your dog trainer to learn more about your pet's nature and abilities to train them well. Every dog is receptive to training; all they need is the proper conditioning. Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best doggy daycare in Urbandale.

Common Fears and Phobias in Dogs

We get fearful of many things in daily life, including someone shouting at us, fighting with someone, and road accidents, so it isn't unusual for dogs to fear similar frightful experiences.

AKC Chief DVM Jerry Klein points out,

Fear is a defense mechanism and isn’t something we can eliminate. Wolves and other wild canids rely on fear to keep them alive.

It only becomes a severe problem when fearful behavior poses dangers to the dog and other family members. Also known as Phobia, the fear culminates into an intense and persistent fear of something. 

Is phobia a problem?

Whether you know it already or not, your canine companion is phobic, and it’s a big problem.

These common phobias can have various causes, including a lack of early socialization, a negative experience, or a sudden frightful experience.  You can tell your dog is under stress by seeing the tell-tale signs, including cowering, trembling, drooling, barking, destructive and aggressive behavior, and, in some cases, aggression.

The additional cause of phobias in dogs includes genetics, but this is very rare. Most of the time, your dog grows phobia for something when they have a frightful experience.

Unlike us humans, dogs can't rationalize their phobia. Hence, it's our responsibility to reduce their stress when they're phobic and assure them that they're safe.

7 Common Fear and Phobias in Dogs

The frightening stimuli listed below are among the most common fears and phobias in dogs.

Thunderstorms

 

The loud thundering noise from the sky often trembles our own feet, so it isn't usual for dogs to fear thunder.

There are a few reasons thunderstorms instill terror in dogs. The most obvious of them is the loud noise. Dogs that are frightful of thunderstorms are also frightful of deafening noises.

There is even research that suggests noise phobias can be inherited.

The other more scientific reason behind the fear of thunder is the release of static electricity into the air. Dogs experience this static as a tingling throughout their hair coat and may even receive multiple shocks before the storm lifts.

This is why many dogs flee to the grounded areas in the home to escape the exposure to static electricity during thunderstorms.

Vetstreet's Dr. Marty Beckers suggests that rubbing your dog's coat with a dryer sheet can help to minimize static.

Fireworks

The fear of fireworks is much similar to thunderstorms. Fireworks instill a fear of loud noise in dogs which often turns into phobias. A sound phobia is common in dogs that are mostly inherited. 

According to Dr. Klein,

Herding breeds are susceptible to noise phobias, perhaps because they are so attuned to their environment.

Not only are fireworks extremely loud, but they also cause frightening odors and visual effects. The vivid display of lights and the smell of gunpowder often make dogs tremble in fear. This may make dogs run away, coil in, or become lost.

Dogs with a severe fireworks phobia may require anti-anxiety medication or sedatives. As an option, you can use preventive measures like Thundershirt, a snug-fitting garment that helps calm dogs by applying gentle, even pressure to the torso.

Car Rides

Fear of riding cars or any other vehicle is common in dogs who have experienced a frightful moment or lack gradual exposure to car rides. 

The traumatic experience often includes road accidents, being stuck inside the car, and a car ride to the veterinarian.

Dogs often become car sick when they aren't used to riding vehicles from an early age. It's similar to young children who get motion sickness from riding cars for the first time.

It's possible to overcome their fear response of car and motion sickness by working up to taking rides in small steps such as opening the door, getting in, spending some time, and then getting out or taking a brief ride around the house or neighborhood. After every successful step, you should reward them with treats or praise to install a positive appreciation.

The Visit to Vet

Most dogs are fearful about visiting veterinarians because they associate it with a past negative experience such as getting injected, surgical treatment, restrained, and strange smells.

Dogs have blood injection phobias, commonly referred to as a fear of needles, a similar experience faced by many people. They don't understand that veterinary visits are in their best interest; hence you should make them feel secure in a strange environment.

The irrational fear of the vet may be dealt with by bringing them to the vet for an occasional social visit that doesn't involve an examination. You can reward them with treats after every visit to instill a positive reaffirmation.

Being Alone

Fear of being alone or separation anxiety is a situational phobia. It often results in destructive behavior such as chewing on stuff, housebreaking accidents, incessant barking, and relieving themselves.

Dogs that aren't used to being left alone often face separation anxiety.

As a treatment, you can make necessary habit changes to alleviate their anxiety. Desensitization, the process of slowly getting the dog used to being left home alone, can also benefit dogs suffering from separation anxiety.

If the separation anxiety is severe, you can consult with the vet to provide medication to your dog.

Fear of strangers and other dogs

Fear of person is common in dogs that lack socialization from an early age. Most dogs fear meeting new people because they had a bad experience with them, such as being abused and abandoned.

Dogs that have not spent much time around other animals will exhibit fear of animal. This is commonly due to a lack of socialization.

For this reason, dog trainers and veterinary professionals recommend socializing your dog early and often. It would be best if you considered taking them to doggy daycare to introduce them to other animals. Interaction with other animals in the park often helps in socializing them at an early age.

Nervousness around strangers can be an inherited trait, but research shows that proper socialization can overcome this problem.

 

What should you do?

Here are few things you should keep in mind.

  • Keep an eye on your dog's body language so you can be more aware when they start exhibiting signs of fear. The standard body languages include pacing, panting, shaking, attempting to hide, salivating, etc.
  • If your dog starts growling at something, you should immediately remove them from that environment.
  • Talk to the behaviorist to develop a desensitization and counter-conditioning program for your dog.
  • Start socializing your dog with other humans and animals at an early age.

Check out this infographic for more information.

 

Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best doggy daycare in Urbandale, to start socializing your dog in the presence of expert animal behaviorists and trainers.

 

Your Spring Dog Care Checklist!

Who doesn't love the season of blossoming flowers, butterflies, chirping birds, and green leaves? Spring is probably the most awaited season, especially for your dogs.

Dogs love to wander outdoors in spring. Frolicking on the green grass, jumping into bushes, splashing pond water, and scouring the forest are a few of the many activities dogs love to do in spring.

While it's fun to let them run hither tither outdoors, it can prove to be fatal to their health. Spring is known to bring flea and ticks. The warmer weather also invites heartworm diseases along with other malice.

Your furry friend is likely to attract diseases in spring than another season; hence you should be wary about administering preventive care on time to keep them safe.

Spring Season Dog Care Checklist

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best pet hospital in Des Moines, has prepared a thorough checklist for spring dog care. Please download the spring dog care checklist (PDF)or spring dog care checklist (Word)into your device (smartphone, PC, or laptop) to start using it.

Flea and Tick Infestation

 

Flea and tick infestation is rampant during the spring season. These parasites feed on your pet’s blood and cause health problems ranging from allergic reactions to tick-borne severe illnesses.

Fleas are more common during the warmer months that may last until the winter. Female fleas can lay 40 to 50 eggs a day, leading to an infestation within few days. The infected pets can spread illness to their human counterparts as well.

Be wary of these tell-tale signs of fleas and tick infestation:

  • Flea droppings, which look like dark specks, in the fur
  • Flea eggs, which look like white specks, in the fur
  • Excessive licking or scratching
  • Scabs or hot spots on the skin

Flea and tick shampoo, flea collar, medication, and skin treatment are preventive measures for flea and tick infestation.

Say No to Heartworm

Heartworm disease is a common heart disease in dogs. Known as DilofilariaImmitis, heartworm disease spreads from an infected mosquito's bite. It takes about seven months for larvae to mature into adult heartworm that looks like parasitic roundworm. Once it grows bigger, it lodges into the heart, lungs, and blood vessels and starts reproducing.

Adult heartworm can grow up to 12 inches in length and survives for 5-7 years. If not treated in time, heartworm can even cause death.

Check for tell-tale signs for soft and dry cough, inactivity, lethargy, sudden weight loss, bulging chest, difficulty breathing, etc. Administering heartworm preventive drugs will keep your dog safe around the year.

Safety First

Prepare a first-aid kit or purchase a kit, so you have it handy for the spring season. Dogs are more likely to get injuries and infections in the spring because they often spend more time outdoors.

If you regularly indulge in spring hiking, excursions, and a trip to nearby forests and ponds, you better carry the first-aid kit with you at all times. You'd never know if your dog will fall into the bushes or from the rock, injure its paws, get bites or scratches from wild animals, and other common pet-related emergencies.

Also, check with your vet to make sure your dog's rabies vaccination is up to date.

Primp your Dog

Consider getting a thorough spring cleaning to help your dog feel refreshed. It's an excellent idea to groom your dog's fur before it starts getting warmer. Do not entirely shave off your dog because they will need the undercoat to keep them safe from flea and mosquito bites.

Schedule an appointment with the groomer for a wash and trim. You can set up your groomer at home too.

  • Start with giving them a clean wash.
  • Thoroughly clean their ear, under ear, and nose.
  • Give nail trimming
  • Trim off top-four using a proper grooming tool.

Clean your Dog's Bed, Bowl, and toys

While you're in the cleaning mode, consider washing off their bed and mattress and cleaning their toys with disinfectants so they can keep using them year-round.

If you see visible wear and tear in dog beds, mattresses, bowls, and toys, it's time to replace them.  Check the dates on your dog's medications and treats.

Freshen up their wardrobe with a new collar, ID tags, and other accessories.

Take care of your Lawn and Driveway.

Spring is also the time to trim and fertilize your lawn. It’s essential to keep your pet safe from fertilizers, chemicals, and other toxins easily found in the lawn. De-grime your driveway of anti-freeze, lubricants, and salts, so your dog doesn’t accidentally ingest toxins.

Spring Fever

You’d notice a change in your dog’s behavior with the arrival of spring seasons. While most dogs love to wander outside, only a few would choose to stay inside. Dogs love everything about spring; flowers, grass, leaves, woods, squirrels, water, and so on.

It would be best if you allowed your dog to enjoy the spring fever but with proper precautions. It’s a bad idea to let them wander outside alone, burrow the unmarked holes, and scavenge into the woods. Wandering all by themselves in the forest can attract wild animals like raccoons, skunks, chimps, and foxes. It’s a good idea to supervise their outdoor activities.

Help Your Local Shelters

It’s never late to help your local animal shelter with food, cloth, volunteering, and money. To find out what your community shelters need, give them a call and in the meantime, set aside these often requested items: kennels, carriers, cozy pet beds, bedding and blankets, towels, and cleaning supplies such as bleach sponges, and laundry detergent.

 Check this infographic for more information. 

 

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort is a premier pet hospital and daycare in Des Moines. We offer pet care consultation, medical and surgical services, daycare, and boarding services. Get in touch with us to learn more about how to keep your pet safe in spring.

Importance of Animal Rights

Animals have served a specific purpose for human benefit since the dawn of humankind. Humans first started domesticating animals 10,000 years ago, specifically dogs, for hunting and safekeeping. Since then, animals and humans have formed an integral part in each other’s life. It’ll be hard to imagine pet animals like dogs and cats thriving without human intervention and vice versa.

While many people treat animals like other beings, most people treat them solely for their benefit, including entertainment and eating. This very inhumane treatment of animals highlights the need and importance of animal rights.

It wasn’t long before humans started capturing non-human animals and using them for different forms of entertainment such as for zoo, caged decoration, and circus) or transportation such as cart pulling, safari, and carrying loads. These inhumane treatments of animals by humans for centuries highlight the need for recognizing the interests of animals, including legal rights and protection.

Moreover, animal rights (like human rights) also highlight animal protection from inhumane activities such as climate change, deforestation, factory farming, and hunting.

Let’s talk more about the prevalent animal rights movement worldwide and the importance of animal rights.

What is Animal Rights Movement?

Animal rights, the animal rights movement, and animal liberation are all synonymous with each other. It advocates a social movement that seeks to end different forms of animal slavery and animal abuse. Although the movement highlights many different animals' rights, they mainly emphasize legal rights and legal distinction to animals.

The case of the "world's saddest polar bear" is one of the recent examples of animal rights abuse. A young polar bear named Pizza was found living in a deplorable condition at an aquarium inside a mall in Guangzhou, China. Millions of people signed petitions calling to release the polar bear to its natural habitat to the city government. The mall temporarily sent back the polar bear to its mother living inside an aquarium inside Tianjin.

The animal rights movement plan is plain and straightforward, with no more harm to animals.

Animal rights advocate that certain things are wrong as a matter of principle; some things are morally wrong to do to animals.

  1. Human beings must not do those things, no matter the cost to humanity of not doing them.
  2. Human beings must not do those things, even if they humanely do them.

For example, animals have a right not to be bred and killed for food, so humans should stop relying on animals for a food source.

Check out this infographic for more information. 

 

What do animal rights highlight?

  • No experiments on animals
  • No breeding and killing animals for food or clothes, or medicine
  • No use of animals for hard labor
  • No selective breeding for any reason other than the benefit of the animal
  • No hunting
  • No zoos or use of animals in entertainment

On a philosophical level, human beings and animals have rights because they are both 'subjects-of-a-life.’

  • They have similar levels of biological complexity
  • They are conscious and aware that they exist
  • They know what is happening to them
  • They prefer some things and dislike others
  • They make conscious choices
  • They live in such a way as to give themselves the best quality of life
  • They plan their lives to some extent
  • The quality and length of their life matters to them

People who defy equal rights to animals support their opinions with such examples;

  • Animals don’t think like humans, nor are they conscious.
  • They’re put on earth to serve humans, such as for food, transportation, and entertainment.
  • Animals don’t behave morally, and they lack free moral judgment.

 

While many people hold this to be accurate, few people defy this and work to serve animal rights. This leads to the animal rights movement and a fight against the inhumane treatment of animals.

Significant achievements made by Animal Rights Movement

In 1992, Switzerland amended its constitution to recognize animals as beings and not things. A decade later, Germany guaranteed rights to animals in a 2002 amendment to its constitution, becoming the first European Union member to do so.

New Zealand granted fundamental rights to five great ape species in 1999. Their use is now forbidden in research, testing, or teaching. Some other countries have also banned or severely restricted the use of non-human great apes in research. On 17 May 2013, India declared that all cetaceans have the status of “nonhuman persons."

In the United States, the Animal Welfare Act initiated in 1966 protects animals in research, transportation, and sale. Generally, animals are protected from any torture, neglect, or killing.

PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) was founded in 1980. With 6.5 million supporters, PETA has helped prevent animal abuse, mistreatment, and sale in an astounding number.

6 Most Prevalent Animal Rights Issues

These are the most prevalent animal rights issues around the world.

Climate change                                           

A human-made disaster is destroying the environment and destroying the habitat and living conditions of wild animals. Its most extreme example can be the Arctic's melting snow and ice. With global warming rising every year, the polar bear’s natural habitat is gradually vanishing. The depleted snow has pushed the polar bear population further inside.

The unpredictable weather from climate change has impacted migratory birds by disrupting their breeding habitats.  Human activities such as fuel-driven cars and factories have primarily impacted the global rise in temperature.

Loss of habitat

Loss of habitat because of suburban sprawl has pushed animals even further inside the forest. It has also increased human and animal encounters causing accidents, deaths, and communal killing of wild animals. In Nepal and India, the wild animal encounter is more frequent because of their habitat loss. More people enter forest areas to collect fodder, which previously used to be the Bengal Tiger habitat. The incidents of the Bengal tiger attacking villagers are heard numerous times a year.  

Illegal fishing practices

Illegal fishing by foreign vessels without permission, bottom trawling, bycatch, ghost fishing, explosives, and overfishing is causing the depletion of sea animals. Illegal fishing affects fish and other sea animals like turtles, whales, and dolphins that often get trapped in human-made traps.

Factory farming

Factory farming of commercial animals like chicken and cow is often highlighted by animal rights activists. The slaughter of animals for their meat, and byproducts such as skin, milk, and eggs, is considered outright animal abuse. Thousands of farm animals are held inside captivity and raised in a deteriorating condition for their as food animals, injected with hormones for rapid growth, and fed cheap grain.

It not only highlights animal abuse but the environment caused by factory farming. The methane produced by cows is one of the significant contributors to global warming. The run-offs from the farm often pollute the nearby water sources.

Euthanasia

Euthanasia in animals is mainly associated with overbreeding of pets such as dogs and cats. Thousands of dogs and cats are abandoned in the US every year. These non-human animals end up in shelters and later euthanized because they never get adopted.

Spaying and neutering your pet is a good idea to control overbreeding. Closing pet farms is another great idea to control overbreeding and prevent animal suffering in form of euthanasia.

Animal experimentation

Voicing against animal experimentation in the labs has been going on for ages. Most animals experiment with new drugs, vaccines, diseases, or cosmetics before the product is released from human use.

Approximately 100,000-200,000 animals suffer and die every year in animal testing for cosmetics. Many large corporations, including pharmaceuticals and cosmetic products, enjoy animal testing because of the lack of strict laws.

 

Animal abuse for financial gain is often the most highlighted animal rights issue. In the United States alone, the pet industry topped $221.1 billion in 2015; the live animal trade accounted for $3.5 billion in 2016; in 2020, animal agriculture is forecasted to bring in $185.8 billion in cash receipts.

The corporations trying to protect their profits and avoid controversy often lobby for legislation or laws to conceal their activities from the public and media.

 

How to prevent animal abuse?

  1. Non-human animals with rights must be treated as ends in themselves; others should not treat them as means to achieve their ends.
  2. To bring in public concern, you should discourage using animals for entertainment, food, products, and transportation. Ensuring a non-abusive environment for all kinds so of animals will undoubtedly boost happiness in you.
  3. Specialism must fade away, along with outdated scientific and philosophical ideas that animals are nothing more than mindless automatons.
  4. Discouraging the use of cosmetics and drugs used for animal testing can help curb animal abuse in the long run. Many animal rights advocates have managed to introduce a law that prevents the use of lab animals.
  5. Countering climate change is an essential goal for ensuring the rights of animals in the long run. Choosing a sustainable lifestyle method; electric cars, low carbon emitting appliances, cycling to work, avoiding using firewood, and animal products made from skin can help curb animal abuse to a greater degree.

 

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort is the best doggy daycare in Urbandale. Get in touch with us to learn more about caring for animals, animal protection laws and animal welfare issues, and how you can chip in for animal rights societies.

Is Hair loss Common in Dogs?

It's routine for dogs to shed hair, sometimes a lot. Many dog breeds such as Belgian Sheepdog, Bouvier des Flandres, and Alaskan malamute shed more hair than other breeds, so don't be worried if your couch, carpet, and clothes have amassed a lot of dog hair in a short time.

While it's common for dogs to shed hair occasionally, it can be alarming if your furry pal is frequently scratching itself or when you notice bald patches on your dog's body. This does often mean that there's an underlying medical problem.

Stress, allergies, parasitic infection, and Cushing's disease are often the significant causes of hair loss in canine. Alopecia, which is also common in humans, is a disorder that causes random bald patches. There are many reasons for sudden hair loss in dogs, so it’s often difficult to pinpoint a single cause.

We understand pet owners' troubling experiences when their furry friends start losing hair. We recommend taking your dog to the vet for a proper diagnosis of sudden hair loss. You'd be cleared if your dog has a congenital hair loss issue or an acquired problem.

Top Reasons for Hair Loss in Dogs

A few of the most common reasons for canine hair loss are as follows;

Seasonal Shedding

Don't confuse seasonal shedding with allergies or medical problems. Sometimes dogs can start losing a lot of hair mass when the weather turns warm, or the individual hair follicles become old and damaged. Many dogs shed year-round, while others may shed in a particular season. Seasonal shedding is common during summer to help dogs' skin breathe easily.

Regular grooming ensures that your dog doesn't shed excessively because of hair follicle damage and hair mats. Moving your dog to a moderate climate can also reduce seasonal shedding.

Allergies

Dog allergy is one of the common causes of canine hair loss. Flea allergies, Atopy, and food allergies are common instigators of excessive hair loss. Although flea allergy and atopy don't necessarily cause shedding, excessive scratching, biting, and licking because of the allergy can cause sudden hair loss.

Hair loss from allergies is an acquired problem. Atopy allergy is acquired from environmental irritants like pollen, mold, and dust mites. Flea allergy is acquired from flea infestation when your dog plays in the backyard or with other infected animals. Many dogs are allergic to a particular food such as beef, dairy, wheat, corn, soy, etc. It's best to avoid feeding allergy-inducing food to your dog.

You can notice canine allergy when your dog is constantly scratching and biting its itches or when it shows signs of irritated, red areas on the skin.

The prescribed medications and dietary changes can quickly treat allergies in dogs.

Cushing's disease

Hyperadrenocorticism, better known as Cushing's disease, is a condition caused by the prolonged exposure of the body’s tissue to excessive hormone cortisol levels. The symptoms will include hair loss, darkening of the skin, and a pot-bellied abdomen's development.

It's more common in dogs six years or older. Dogs that have been overfed corticosteroid drugs can contract Cushing's disease.

Cushing disease's symptoms include:

  • Increased frequency of eating, drinking, and urinating
  • Potbellied or bloated like appearance
  • Less energy
  • Insomnia
  • Obesity

Your vet can better diagnose the disease by running different evaluations and recommend the best course of action for treatment.

Mange and other parasites

Mange is a skin disease common in dogs, birds, and reptiles. It's caused by microscopic parasitic mites that live on the surface of the skin and hair follicles. Mange infection is caused by mites, like scabies mites and red mange that can burrow into the skin. The mange can cause massive hair loss and itching.

In dogs, there are two significant forms of mange, each caused by different mites:

Sarcoptes scabies causes sarcoptic mange (also known as scabies). It's highly contagious and can easily pass from one dog to another. The symptoms include extreme itchiness, redness and rash, thick yellow crusts, and hair loss.

Demodectic Mange (also known as red mange or Demodex) is caused by a cigar-shaped mite called DemodexCanis. They're ever-present in the body but harmless. It may attack dogs with a weakened immune system.

Bacterial and Fungal Infections

Bacterial infection and fungal infection can cause severe skin itchiness, hair loss, redness, and odor. Observe hair loss patterns around ears, stomach, chest, and eyes to conclude bacterial or fungal infection in dogs.

Common types of pathogenic bacteria in dogs include:

  • Salmonella
  • Leptospirosis
  • Campylobacter
  • Helicobacter
  • Streptococcus
  • Clostridia
  • Bordetella
  • E Coli

Dogs infected with ringworm also shed hair. Unlike other infection, ringworm causes circular or irregular hair loss. When you notice itchy or scaly patches, it's time to take your dog to the veterinarian.

Alopecia is a hair loss syndrome that can be both temporary or permanent. It can be a result of skin infections such as ringworm in dogs.

After a complete examination, your veterinarian will advise the future course of treatment. Severe infections require antifungal shampoos, topical treatment, and drugs.

Underlying Medical Conditions

The underlying medical condition can cause massive hair fall in dogs. Pressure sores, trauma, abnormality in growth of the hair shaft, thyroid disorder, sex hormone imbalance, and skin cancer are a few of the common causes of hair loss in dogs.

The diagnosis to identify underlying medical conditions includes blood profile (blood testing), Biopsy (determine skin cancer or tumor), skin impression smears (bacterial identification), etc.

Your veterinarian will administer antibiotics, antifungals, steroids, immunosuppressive drugs or Anti-cytokine drugs, immunotherapy for the treatment depending on the medical condition.

Prevention of Hair Loss in Dogs

By adopting preventive measures, you can prevent hair loss and skin problems in dogs.

Reducing Shedding through Nutrition

Feed your dog a high-quality diet.

A healthy diet is a precursor to a healthy and thick coat in dogs. Be careful about using cheap can foods and home-prepared meals that usually lack nutrition. A high-quality diet contains all the essential nutrients, including Vitamin D, folic acid, and zinc, which helps keep the dog's immune system strong.

Add Olive Oil or Flaxseed oil to Dog's food.

One teaspoon (5 mL) per 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of body weight is an excellent place to start. These oils contain omega-3 fatty acids that help calm inflamed skin, decrease dandruff, and improve overall coat texture.

Give your dog occasional "human food."

Occasionally feed your dog human food such as fruits (apples and bananas), cucumbers, and cooked lean meat. However, be careful about feeding food items such as chocolate, avocado, grapes, milk products, and onion.

Reducing Shedding through Grooming

Regular grooming is as essential as a dog’s daily diet and exercise. Over time, the dog’s coat gets tangled to create mats which can be a painful experience. An unkempt coat causes frequent and constant itching and scratches. Constant licking can cause excessive shedding. Grooming will help remove excess and loose fur and redistribute your dog’s skin oils into its fur.

 

Use de-shedding tools before spring season when the dog’s coat begins to fall off. Consider bathing them with dog shampoo made for flea and tick control.

For more details and Information check this infographic. 

 

Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort the best doggy daycare in Urbandale to learn more about dog shedding and preventive measures.

How to Spot Autism in Dogs?

Autism or canine autism refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by difficulties with social skills and repetitive behaviors, including aggression and withdrawn behavior.

People often associate autism with humans, and many believe that this condition does not affect dogs, but this isn't true. When you use the same autism spectrum disorder typically applied to human behavior, it becomes apparent that dogs can be diagnosed with autism.

Yes, dogs can be autistic, according to many types of research. The signs and suffering from autism may differ from one dog to another. Canine autism can affect their social skill and behavior. They can show episodes of sudden aggression, withdrawn behavior, and a lack of activity.

Canine Autism       

Autism spectrum disorder in dogs is an idiopathic condition, which means that the cause is unknown.  However, we know that it’s congenital and that dogs exhibiting dysfunctional behaviors are born with the condition.

Although the scientific community often attests that canines can't suffer from autism, many dog behaviorists and animal experts have pointed out that dogs have been diagnosed with autism-like symptoms.

The veterinarians first observed autism-like symptoms in dogs back in the 1960s. Since then, they have carried out different research types to learn more about autism-like symptoms in dogs.

The American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB) presented a study on tail-chasing behavior in Bull Terriers and a possible link to autism in 2015. It observed specific traits of 132 Bull Terriers, 55 of which chased their tails, and 77 (the non-tail-chasing control group).  It found out that tail-chasing was more prevalent in males Terriers, and it was associated with occasional aggression and explosive behaviors, including trance-like behaviors.

Although not definitive, these results suggested that tail-chasing could represent a form of autism in dogs.

Diagnosis of Autism in Dogs

Diagnosing the autism spectrum disorder in dogs is rather difficult because there are only tell-tale signs of autism that aren't backed by scientific evidence. The signs of autism shouldn't be confused with other medical issues such as canine anxiety or injury-pains. To determine if your dog is suffering from either autism or other illness, you should consider taking it to the vet for a thorough diagnosis.

Vets can perform several behavioral tests to assess how a dog responds to certain situations. Still, these tests are not always concrete since other disorders such as canine anxiety can produce autism-like symptoms. They will rely on tell-tale signs or cues to determine canine autism.

Here are five tell-tale signs of autism.

Display of Repetitive Behavior

Repeating certain patterns and behaviors is one of the tell-tale signs of autism in both humans and dogs. If your canine starts showing unusual repetitive behavior, it's best to ask your vet for a quick diagnosis. It isn't unusual for dogs to chase after their tail, fidget with the door lock, or stand in front of the door every day, and you shouldn't confuse every repetitive behavior with the symptoms of autism. The onset of autistic behaviors is often accompanied by other signs such as withdrawal or sudden aggression.

Display of Social Nervousness and Awkwardness

Dogs are sociable creatures, and they love spending time with humans and other animals. This is one of the reasons why they enjoy visiting the park. Most dogs will seek comfort and safety from their owners.

It's a telltale sign of autism when your dog isn't sociable. Injuries, traumatic history, accidents, and other major events could make many dogs stop interacting or start showing social nervousness, and these shouldn't be confused with autism's symptoms. It's best to observe your dog for any such unusual awkwardness. If your dog is showing similar signs even after a few weeks, it's best to take it to the vet for a diagnosis.

Display of lack of enthusiasm

It's unusual for dogs to display a lack of enthusiasm when you invite them to go out for a walk, take a break in the park, or play any games. While most of the time, the lack of energy and physical lethargy could make them display a lack of enthusiasm, but if this behavior persists for a long time, you should know that there's something wrong with it.

This is often accompanied by a lack of physical expression, including tail wagging, not making direct eye-contact, entering a trance-like state, staring in one direction for a long time, etc.

Display of OCD

Repetitive motions are also a characteristic of autistic behavior. They can include various actions such as circling a room over and over again or chronic tail-chasing or obsessive teeth grinding.  Other repetitive behaviors include lining up toys or other objects, placing food bowl in a certain direction, or obsessive chewing.

You'd know the signs of OCD by observing their unusual repetitive behavior. Like humans, dogs can fall victim to OCD because of canine autism.

Display of Emotionless

Dogs may show inappropriate reactions to unfamiliar stimuli such as yelping or barking at the slightest touch of your hand and barking to sudden sounds. Autistic dogs can become hypersensitive to any stimuli.

They often avoid new environments, situations, and social interactions because they may find it difficult to cope with new experiences.

 

To better diagnose the symptoms of autism, it's best to talk with your veterinarian, who will advise you to observe certain behaviors.

Newly adopted and rescued dogs may become antisocial or show signs of communication issues, lethargy, and reduced physical activity. To learn more about your new pet's behavior, you should talk with the previous owner or the rescue home for more information.

How to Treat Autism in dogs?

After a licensed veterinarian has ruled out other possibilities for your furry friends’ unusual social awkwardness and withdrawn behaviors, you should start seeking possible treatments.

There is no single treatment for autism; hence you should start prescribed medications and advised lifestyle changes.

Medication

Your veterinarian will prescribe medication like Fluoxetine (Prozac) to treat OCD and autism problems in humans.

Offer a Safe, Secured, and Stress-Free Place

Your dog may become anxious or nervous in crowds or around other animals. Dogs inhibiting the signs of autism may seek a safe and secure place to spend most of their time. As the certain sound and environment may trigger OCD and bark in autistic dogs, it’s best to provide them a completely stress-free place. Avoiding situations that can stress your dog and cause anxiety is important too.

Offer Regular Exercise and Well-Balanced Diet

Make sure your dog gets enough exercise every day along with a well-balanced diet. Regular exercises and healthy meals can help to reduce anxiety and stress in dogs while keeping them engaged.

Your veterinarian may also suggest you work with professional trainers or therapists who specialize in positive reinforcement. They can help provide therapies and training to curb autistic behaviors in dogs.

 

Dr. ValliParthasarathy DVM explains that,

Dogs who have anxiety disorders may exhibit symptoms that their owners interpret as autism and diagnose themselves. But in reality, anxiety, in general, can affect a dog’s ability to learn, problem-solve, retain and recall information.

She advises that it’s better to begin working with a positive reinforcement reward-based trainer to help treat your dog’s autistic conditions. It would be best if you also were gentle with your dog at all times.

Check this infographic out for more information in detail.

 

Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best doggy pet hospital in Des Moines, to learn more about diagnosing and treating canine autism.

How to ensure a great pet boarding experience?

 

If you’re leaving your dog in a pet boarding facility for the first time, you must be wary of many things that can either elevate or demote your dog’s boarding experience. While pet boarding can save you from the hassle of hiring a pet sitter or asking your neighbor to look after your furry friend, it can also help your pet to socialize with other animals. Hence, it’s your duty to find the finest temporary care for your dog in the town when you’re not around.

Before considering pet boarding, here are some of the things that you must do to ensure that your dog enjoys a great boarding experience. It starts with assessing the dog boarding facility to preparing your dog.

10 Things to Do When Boarding your Dog

 

Tour the Boarding Facility

The first thing you need to assess is the boarding facility. Some pet boarding facilities are great, while others are awful in taking care of pets, offering recreational activities, indulging pets with training, and kennel hygiene.

Start with searching for dog kennels online (Facebook, Yelp, and Google My Business). Once you find the match, such as location and time-open, consider looking into their reviews. The online reviews can tell a lot about the pet boarding facility. Here are some of the pet boarding horror stories.

Next, you can schedule a physical visit to the boarding facility. Making sure that the pet boarding facility offers an impeccable service guarantees a positive boarding experience for your dog.

Consider a Boarding Trial

Checking out the pet boarding facility online isn't enough unless you visit the place yourself. It's also a time to take your dog for a boarding trial. Like parents take their children to a pre-school, you can take your dog to check if it makes a nuisance when you're not around them.

The trial stay of at least 24 hours eases your dog into a new environment and a new daily routine. You may find that your dog will adjust much better when it comes time for a longer stay. You can also determine if your dog eats pet boarding meals and socialize with other animals.

Cater your dog's special needs

Not all dogs are the same. Your dog is probably much younger or older than other dogs in the pet boarding facility. This will greatly determine how your dog will react to other dogs around it.

If your dog has a sensitive stomach, medication, or allergies, you should consider telling the staff about its conditions. The staff can handle your dog much better when they know about your dog's special needs. However, don’t go overboard by loading the staff with unnecessary information about your pet’s daily habits.

Provide Dog's Medical Records

If your dog is on medication, you should definitely tell the staff about it and bring along the medicines with you before leaving your dog. Ensure the medication is well labeled, even if it's as simple as a joint supplement or as grave as heart problems and diabetes.

Before considering boarding your pet with other animals, it’s considerate of you to de-flea and worms your dog. You should also update your dog’s vaccinations at least two weeks before boarding. Both of these precautions are typically required before boarding.

Eating and Sleeping at Set Times

Most pet parents train their pets to eat and sleep at a set time before sending them off to the boarding facility. The boarding kennel will feed all animals at set times, and if your dog is used to free-feeding, this could cause it to go hungry. Help it adjust to set eating times.

Likewise, make your dog sleep away from you, such as in a crate, kennel house, or sleeping mattress long before boarding it. This will ensure that your dog can sleep in the boarding facility without your presence around.

Bring your Pet's Food

Most boarding facilities provide the same food to pets. But because an abrupt change in diet can contribute to your dog's dietary problems, you can bring your own dog food. This will help to avoid gastrointestinal problems, including diarrhea. If your pet is on a prescription diet, do consider carrying prescription food everywhere you go.

An easy way to feed your dog food to your dog is by labeling it well, bringing it with you, and telling the boarding staff uses it when feeding your dog. You can also provide the instruction on mixing it with wet food or dry food before offering it to the dog.

Discuss Treats

Most pet boarding staffs use dog treats to make dogs familiarize themselves with the facility. Treats can be a helpful tool to use when your dog doesn't exactly want to do what it's supposed to do. To ensure that the staffs only use prescribed treat, make sure to bring them along with you before you leave your dog.

Dogs can easily gain weight, get food allergies, and become sensitive to many treats. Hence, you can bring your own stock with you.

Bring Your Dog's Toy or Blanket

If your dog love to play and cuddle with its favorite toy, it's best to bring it along to the pet boarding facility in the form of a pacifier. The boarding staff can use it to keep your dog in one place.

You can also bring its blanket along so the boarding staff won't have much difficulty making it sleep. Your dog can latch to the blanket when it’s time to sleep.

Teach basic commands to Your Dog

It's useful to teach your dog basic commands before you start boarding it. Dogs that are familiar with basic commands such as "Sit," "Stop," and "Come" will respond well to the boarding staff.

Consider crate and loo training your dog before you can leave it unsupervised. Untrained dogs can often become a nuisance to pet boarding staff. The sooner your dog learns to tolerate hours before getting a loo break, the better it can adjust to a boarding facility.

Make the Departure Quick

The longer you wait to say goodbye to your dog, the more difficult it will become for your dog to say goodbye. There is no sense in making the goodbye more stressful than it needs to be. It will only make it worse and even anxious.

Depart quickly, so it won't have much time to miss you and sulk.

 

Pet Boarding or Pet Sitting

Many people wonder if pet sitting is better than pet boarding. While pet sitting lets you choose a pet sitter to come to your home to feed, play and walk your dog, pet boarding will collectively do all this along with grooming and socializing your dog with other animals.

Unlike pet sitting, pet boarding allows your furry friend to share a common space with other dogs. And yes, pet boarding can be slightly cheaper than pet sitting because of the fixed space and multiple staff hired to look after the animals.

Check this infographic for more information.

 

According to Thumbtack.com, the national average cost to board a dog is $50. Expect to pay anywhere from $40 to $60 for boarding your pet for 24 hours. Get discounted rates from the boarding facility by becoming their regular customer.

Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best doggy daycare in Urbandale, to enjoy the finest dog boarding services.  We offer pet boarding, grooming, veterinary care, and training.