essential-oils-for-dogs

Find Out How Essential Oils Can Help Your Dog

Essential oils for your dog are a simple, safe, and healthy solution to many issues. And, they can help your dog live a longer, happier life.

Research has shown essential oils have the ability to relieve conditions ranging from itchy skin to digestion problems. From anxiety to depression. And, so much more.

But… there’s still some uncertainty here.

Essential oils for dogs (and humans) are a relatively new idea. As with any new idea, we (as humans) must do our own research to come to our own conclusions about how effective they are.

They kind of seem too good to be true… don’t they?

If these ‘solutions’ have the power to do everything they claim… why are we just now finding out about them?

Do they really work? And, what can they be used for? We’ll discuss this and more in today’s article.

How Do Dogs Use Essential Oils?

Before we dive in to what various oils may be used for, lets discuss how they can be applied safely to your dog.

When you scroll down to the oils, you’ll notice they may say ‘can be applied topically, ingested, or inhaled. You might also hear it phrased as ‘can be applied topically, aromatically, or internally.

Just as with anything else that’s new, the introduction of essential oils should be gradual and slow. Start with a small amount of an essential oil and watch your dog’s behavior. If the response is neutral but you aren’t seeing much an effect therapeutically, you can generally add more essential oil or increase the frequency of application. Be sure not to start out with a huge amount immediately, though. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Aromatic Application of Essential Oil

When talking about aromatic or ‘inhaled’ application, we’re talking about the use of a diffuser. That could be a nebulizing diffuser or water diffusion.

Nebulizing diffusers pull oil directly from the bottle and disperse the oil through the air. If you’re using a nebulizing diffuser in your home, make sure your dog has a place to escape the ‘air’ from the room if she wants to.

With water diffusion, you start with 1-5 drops of oil in a diffuser. If you have never used oils before, professionals recommend using the water diffusion method rather than the nebulizing diffusion.

Applying an Oil to Your Dog Topically

If we say an oil can be applied topically, that means the oil can be placed on your dog’s skin in certain places.

The most common area to place oil is along the spine of your dog. It’s the area the oil is usually best tolerated.

Some professionals recommend applying oil to the tips of a dog’s ears. Some dogs are okay with this, but most don’t prefer this method. You should avoid using this method if your dog has long ears. Dogs with long ears can shake their head and get the oil in their eyes accidentally.

The skin along the paw pads can sometimes tolerate essential oils… but make sure the oil is diluted if you’re placing it here. This area can easily become irritated.

Finally, certain oils can be placed in your dog’s shampoo. Dogs who have itchy skin usually benefit from this application.

Internal Application for Dogs?

And… internally. Be sure before you provide your dog with any essential oil internally, you fully understand the oil is designed for this (and find out whether the oil should be diluted and how).

Some essential oils can be placed in food and/or in drinking water. A general recommendation is 1 drop per 2 cups of drinking water for dogs.

Calming Oils: Oils to Reduce Anxiety and/or Irritability

Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis): This oil helps to provide a calming ‘mood’ for dogs who are feeling anxious or nervous. Roman chamomile can be inhaled, ingested, or applied topically to your dog.

Hops (Humulus lupulus): Hops can help calm a dog who is anxious, nervous, or irritable. This oil can be inhaled, ingested, or applied topically on your dog.

Valerian root (Valeriana officinalis): Valerian root is a relaxant and mild sedative. It offers calming and soothing support for your dog when she is experiencing anxiety, panic or some sort of tension.

Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans): Nutmeg can help a dog who is anxious or hyperactive with scattered energy. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically on your dog.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): This oil has many uses, but most commonly, lavender can be used to soothe and comfort a dog who is experiencing distress and/or anxiety. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically on your dog. (P.S.- This oil can also be used for allergies, burns, ulcers, and insomnia).

Oils for Fearful Dogs: Dogs Who are Feeling Stressed Out

Frankincense (Boswellia carterii): On its own, or with the support of other essential oils that help reduce a dog’s fearful emotions, Frankincense can help reduce extreme stress. This oil is used in severe cases of fear to help a dog ‘come back to the ground.’ This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically on your dog.

Violet Leaf (Viola odorata): If a dog is shocked or hesitant toward a situation, violet leaf can be used to reduce feelings of nervousness by providing a feeling of comfort and safety. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically on your dog.

Linden Blossom (Tilia cordata). Linden blossom can assist in providing a sense of safety and trust. This oil is commonly recommened for dogs who have a history of abuse. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically on your dog.

Sandalwood (Santalum austrocaledonicum): Sandalwood provides support on a physical and emotional level. Dogs who have emotional imbalances, worry, or uncertainly of situations are among those who can benefit from this oil. It can be very effective on its own, or in combination with other essential oils. And, can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically on your dog.

Oils for Aggression: Let’s Provide Some Comfort

Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia): Vanilla has comforting and nurturing qualities for dogs who experience nervous tension, irritability, and/or anger. Dogs who have been known to bite are among those who this oil is recommended to. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically.

Clary sage (Salvia sclarea): This oil is generally recommended for female dogs but can also be used for male dogs who are experiencing feelings of anger, frustration, and/or mood swings. This oil has been found to have soothing effects. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium): Yarrow has not only shown the ability to heal physical imbalances, but emotional imbalances as well. This could be a dog who has experienced trauma, neglect, and/or abuse… or a dog who is over-sensitive. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically.

Rose Otto (Rosa damascena). Rose Otto is recommended for dogs who have a history of neglect, abuse, or suffering of some kind. This oil is also recommended for dogs who are displaying any sort of aggression. It’s important to note that alternative veterinarians have a disclaimer with this oil… a dog may continue to display aggressive behavior in the beginning of the use of Rose Otto but you may see positive results once your dog has been exposed. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically on your dog.

Vetiver (Chrysopogon zizanioides): Vetiver provides comfort and reassurance for an anxious dog showing aggression. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically.

Oils for Sadness: Relieving the Depression

Neroli (Citrus aurantium): There are many dogs who do not particularly care for this oil. But, if your dog will accept this oil, it can be used to support a dog who is experiencing depression, grief, or loneliness. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically on your dog (only if your dog selects its use).

Peppermint (Mentha piperita): Peppermint has been known to have a calming effect on dogs (and humans!). And, can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically on your dog.

Oils for Flea and Tick Prevention: Make Your Own

Essential oils can be used to prevent fleas and ticks from living on your dog’s body without exposing your dog or your family to those dangerous chemicals from traditional flea medications.

Lemongrass Oil: Insecticidal

Peppermint Oil: Peppermint oil doesn’t kill fleas and ticks, but it does work as an effective repellant to fleas and ticks.

Citronella Oil: Citronella isn’t a surprising candidate on this list. After all, we do use this to protect ourselves against mosquitoes. But, it is also highly effective in repelling fleas and ticks.

Cedarwood Oil: Insect repellent

If you don’t want to make an essential oil ‘flea and tick killer’ yourself, you can investigate Richard’s Organics Naturally Gentle & Safe Flea & Tick Spray which contains a mix of peppermint, cedar, clove, and rosemary essential oils to kill fleas and ticks… and repel mosquitos for up to 4 weeks following application.

Approach with Caution: Follow Some Rules

While oils can be extremely helpful, just as with anything else, we must be cautious. Essential oils are powerful and can produce adverse effects.

‘Principles of Safe Use’ must be in place.

If your dog doesn’t like an oil, don’t force her to use it.

In cases where an oil must be dilated, one drop of essential oil per 50 drops of ‘carrier oil’ (Like grape seed oil) is generally enough.

It’s also possible to overuse oils. Make sure you’re not one of those people who starts using essential oils, and then unintentionally overdoses yourself or your dog.

Be sure not to get essential oil around or near the eyes. And, wash your hands after using any type of oil.

To reduce the chances of your dog (or you) becoming sensitive to an oil or unintentionally overdosing on an oil, a general recommendation is using an oil for no longer than two weeks and then take a rest period. Come back to using that oil later on.

There’s More to Learn… Start Studying Today

This article just brushes the surface of essential oils.

It’s not meant to be a ‘you’re ready to do this’ type of article. You must do your own research before using any essential oil on your dog.

Print this out for reference- and ask a holistic or alternative veterinarian if your individual dog would benefit. Remember, every dog is different. And, depending on the health of your dog, some may be acceptable whereas other aren’t recommended.

And, not all oils should be treated equal… make sure the oil you are purchasing is of high-quality.

There are hundreds of ‘fake oils’ out there. You want your first impression to be as good as it can be. If you try out a ‘bad’ essential oil first, you won’t know if it’s really helpful for your dog (or for you).

You should never place an essential oil on your dog’s skin (or let them inhale/ ingest) without first fully understanding the oil you’re using.

Bottom line… be sure to do further research before implementing essential oils into your dog’s routine.

How Dogs Help You Cope With Mental Illness

Animals have long been used to help provide support for those dealing with medical issues. They can help a person with a vision deficit find their way through a busy store, and they can help calm the nerves of someone suffering from anxiety. Many people wouldn’t be able to get out and mingle socially if they didn’t have their dog with them. If you are considering a furry friend to help you, then here are some health benefits to owning a pooch.

Pets Help to Lower Blood Pressure

You’ve probably heard that owning a hound can help to reduce your blood pressure. Well, there is a scientific fact to back that statement. It’s called the “Pet Effect.” Using 60 people, a study was conducted by the University of Maryland Hospital. They found that when petting a dog for 15-30 minutes, the average person’s blood pressure drops over ten percent.

They Increase Social Connection

Dogs are great icebreakers. Most people love pups, and it can be a great conversation starter. Plus, being in a social situation when you have PTSD or social anxiety can be difficult. Thankfully, having a dog can allow these people to be in public and feel secure. A dog’s senses are far beyond the capability of a human. They can see and hear things that we cannot. So to the person with PTSD, having someone on guard and looking out for them means everything.

They Provide Companionship

Canine friends are used in nursing homes and convalescent centers around the country. The companionship that they provide to the lonely is unparalleled. Dogs love unconditionally. They are great for people who don’t have family and friends to occupy their time. They are a living, breathing being that stays close by your side.

Dogs Give A Sense of Purpose

Many people who suffer from depression, PTSD, and other anxiety conditions may feel that their life lacks purpose. Even those with empty nest syndrome after their children grow up and move away have found that a pooch can help fill the void. A dog can replace that sense of purpose. Parents often feel like they need to nurture and take care of someone since they have done it for more than 18 years. A canine can provide a reason to get up in the morning.

When considering adding a pup to your family, you should know that they can help with loneliness, depression, stress-related disorders, and companionship. Dogs can lower blood pressure and make you feel calmer. A canine companion might be just what the doctor ordered.

Sources:

4 Often Overlooked Doggy Dental Facts

As dog owners, we do everything we can to maintain the health of our furry family member, but it can be easy to forget sometimes the importance of their dental health. Dogs can have similar issues with their dental health that people do, and it’s important to prevent any problems from occurring. Knowing more about what’s happening in your canine’s mouth will help keep you more alert to any potential problems.

Here are 4 overlooked doggy dental facts that can help you and your pet:

Gum Disease

Gum disease is extremely common in dogs. Studies have shown that there is an extremely high percentage of dogs that unfortunately show signs of gum disease as early as three years old. Some of the signs for gum disease include noticeably bad breath, brown and yellow buildup of tartar, and irritated gums. Make sure to examine your dog’s mouth regularly so that you can acknowledge any of these symptoms right away.

Root Canals

Another overlooked doggy dental fact is that dogs can also need root canals. Many people assume that root canals are something done specifically for humans, but dogs can also need root canals because it is common for dogs to break their teeth. If your canine needs to have a root canal, you can expect it to cost about the same as it would for a person. Since broken teeth are common in dogs, it’s important to monitor what your dog is chewing on. Hard objects like wood, rocks, hard treats, and hard toys can be potential dangers to your dog. Giving your dog soft treats and toys will greatly lessen the chance of your dog breaking a tooth.

Periodontal Disease

Smaller dog breeds are at a higher risk of developing periodontal disease. Small dogs are more at risk because their teeth are too big for their mouths. Canine periodontitis symptoms include yellow or brown teeth, loose or missing teeth, red or swollen gums, smelly breath, and a loss of appetite or weight loss. To prevent this, make sure to regularly brush your dog’s teeth, visit your vet for dental cleanings, give your dog toys and food that support dental health, and give your pet treats that are treated with enzymes.

Tooth Infection

If your dogs 4th premolar is infected, you will notice swelling under the eye. This tooth is larger than the others and is also known as the carnassial tooth. Owners typically misunderstand the unique problem because of the unusual symptoms.

Just as your dental health is an important aspect of your overall health, so too is your dog’s. Regular check ups and consulting with your veterinarian on recommended toys, treats, and food will keep your furry friend healthy and happy.

References:

Doctors Foster and Smith

PetMD

Hammond Dental Care

Banfield Pet Hospital

Go On Vacation A Lot? Here’s How To Avoid Common Pet Pawblems While Away

While dogs and cats provide excellent relief from our daily anxieties, sometimes you need a good prolonged vacation to burn off some extra steam. But animals rely on us as much as we depend on them, and being left alone or in a foreign environment can be stressful with them. There are a few precautions you should take to minimize the effects of anxiety on your pet and allow you to enjoy your trip without stressing out about their well-being.

Maintaining an Air of Familiarity For Your Pet

Cats and dogs are creatures of habit. The familiarity of home and the standard routines of everyday life provide them with a sense of stability, and even the most adventurous outdoor cat eventually likes to wander to safety and security back home. While kennels can be a reasonable option for shorter vacations, having a house sitter if you are gone for two weeks or more is a good choice. This allows your pet to stay within the presence of the sights, sounds, and smells that make up their defined territory, but it also avoids anxieties that came from being overly socialized. Interactions with other animals are a positive experience for most pets, but the unfamiliarity of a new environment and the extended exposure to multiple animals can make pets anxious and territorial. Just make sure to set up a regular schedule. Two visits per day are a good average, allowing your pets to get the socialization they need regularly, but this can vary depending on the personality of your dog or cat as well as factors like age and medical conditions.

Lean into the Familiar Routine

Whether you hire a sitter, drop your pet off with a friend, or place them in a kennel or pet hotel, your pet is likely going to experience some anxiety. If you’ve ever scheduled feeding time or walks for your dog, you’ll understand how keenly aware they are regarding the ins and outs of their routine. As their de facto parent, you’re the most assured constant in their routine, but scheduling specific activities for your pet sitter to perform while you’re away can help ease your pet into the process of being away from you. Try to have your sitter stick to this routine as precisely as possible. This will also help the pet understand the terms for times apart in the future and create a consistency they can expect when you go on vacation. Enlisting the services of the same sitter on future outings can go a long way towards making your pet feel more secure.

Put Together a Pet Emergency Kit

It’s generally a good rule of thumb to hope for the best but plan for the worst, and that’s doubly true if you aren’t physically available to deal with a crisis personally. Anything from a natural disaster to a medical emergency could strike while you’re away, and that’s why it’s a smart move to have an emergency kit at the ready for your sitter.

You want to make sure that all of your pet’s basic needs are covered in the kit. Package together secure dry food and preferably sealed water along with bowls for both. An extra leash and collar and a thermal blanket are also key, and you should make sure to include waste bags and a pet first aid kit as well. Consider packing some toys or other personal belongings like blankets as well, so your pet will have an anchor of safety and comfort even if they’re forced to leave their home. Even if an emergency never arises, the kit can double as a to go bag for walks and hikes.

Make Sure All Records Are Updated

If you’re leaving on vacation, chances are you’ve taken the time to pay off your bills and generally get your affairs in order. Your pet deserves the same courtesy. Making the time to take them to the vet and groomer can make sure everything is in order when it’s time for you to say your goodbyes. You’ll also want to make sure their tags and identification are accurate and secured so that they’ll be safe even if they manage to break from their leash or get out of their home or kennel.

Don’t Be Too Dramatic

While you’ll probably miss your little guy or girl while you’re away, making a big deal out of your departure may only make their anxieties worse. Dogs and cats can sense our emotional states pretty effectively, and making a show out of your goodbyes could instill in them the notion that you’ll never return. Treat your farewell with the same urgency as when you leave for your work commute. And if you’re still worried your dog will be anxious, check out our blog to learn some calming exercises you could try.

 

References:

Vetstreet.com

EstateSitting.com

Petinsurance.com

5 Ways Owning a Dog Improves Your Mental Health

It is well known that dogs are the ultimate companions. They offer friendship and comfort to children and adults alike. But dogs can also have a positive impact on your mental health. Particularly for those with PTSD, dogs can provide emotional support and reduce loneliness. Here are five ways that owning a dog can improve your mental health:

Dogs Can Decrease Stress and Anxiety

When feeling anxious or overwhelmed, petting your dog can relax you. The repetitive motion of stroking the dog’s fur and focusing on the rhythm can recenter your thinking and provide a calming influence. Oxytocin is also released when you connect with your pet, which reduces cortisol levels and reduces anxiety and stress.

Dogs Get You Out of the House

It is common for those struggling with depression, anxiety or PTSD to isolate themselves and to avoid leaving the house. However, a dog needs its owner to take him out for walks or for play. This exercise releases endorphins, which increases positive feelings and reduce sensations of pain. Even the exposure to sunshine and fresh air can improve stress levels and depression symptoms.

Dogs Will Listen to You

It can be embarrassing or overwhelming to discuss feelings of depression or anxiety with friends or family for fear of judgment. Dogs, however, offer a sympathetic and unbiased ear, and provide love and comfort regardless of what their owner has to say. Talking through problems or concerns with your dog can have therapeutic effects that positively impact mental health symptoms.

Dogs Provide You With Purpose

When bombarded with anxious and negative thoughts, it can be hard to find value in everyday life. The act of caring for a dog provides an owner with purpose and responsibility, which has been shown to improve mental health. Feeding the dog, taking him outside and playing with him allows for a positive focus on your mental and emotional energy.

Dogs Bring You Joy

Dogs are playful and eager by nature, which can be contagious. Whether playing throw and catch or snuggling on the couch, happy moments with your dog can increase serotonin levels. Serotonin helps to regulate mood, improve your sense of wellbeing, and keep depression at bay.

Training might seem a bit daunting at first, but there are plenty of resources available to help you out! While owning a dog will not cure mental illness, caring for and spending time with your dog can make a positive impact. The everyday routines of walking, playing with, and engaging with your dog can increase neurotransmitters that boost your mood and improve your mental health.

References:

How Dogs Can Help Combat Vets with PTSD | Low VA Rates

What Dogs Teach Us about Peace, Joy, and Living in the Now | Tiny Buddha

Forget the Treadmill. Get a Dog. | The New York Times

Love Your Dog? Kick These Bad Habits Today

A dog’s expected lifespan is already less than 20 percent of that of a human. Rover certainly does not need the effects of his owner’s bad habits to rob him of even more years from his existence on earth. So for the sake of your own health and that of your barking buddy, here are some bad habits that you should consider quitting immediately:

Smoking

Nicotine addiction, as any substance use disorder, is a chronic relapsing brain disease of the reward pathway rewiring. Addiction is characterized by dependence, tolerance, and withdrawal, and has genetic predisposition as well as gender differences. This is why it is important to be evaluated and treated by a specialist in order to achieve the best results. So not only is smoking a surefire way to destroy your health and shorten your life, but research has suggested that second-hand smoke can have the same damaging effects on your loved ones. If you have a dog, you likely count him or her on your list of breathing beings that matter the most to you. And if your pets live indoors, you should be aware that your smoking habit could lead to nasal and lung cancer in dogs.

Laziness

It is no secret that dogs mimic the behaviors of their owners. So if you spend your entire day sitting on the couch watching TV, your dog is likely to do the same. But dogs need exercise just as much as humans do. While they need to move to maintain their physical health, they also need exercise to feel happy about the life they live.. So tell your rear end to quit its addiction to the cushions on your couch. Start incorporating frequent walks into your daily routine, or maybe start doing yoga (with Fido!).

Not Picking Up After Yourself

Speaking of laziness, you should consider the health of your pets the next time you think about neglecting to throw away your candy wrappers and to take your dishes to the sink. Dogs are world-renowned lickers and chewers. And they typically do not care what the item is made of that they have in their mouth. If you decide to continue the habit of leaving your trash out where it does not belong, it is only a matter of time until your dog eats chocolate or chokes on a wrapper.

Losing Your Temper

You might be surprised just how much your emotions influence those of your dog. If you have a habit or yelling or screaming on the phone or to other family members in your house, your dog will feel the stress in your voice. As a result, your dog’s heart rate will increase and adversely affect his or her health.

References:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/pets/7912759/Your-dog-does-behave-like-you-scientists-prove.html

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/27/dog-imitation-humans-canine-behavior-video_n_3653115.html

https://rightpathaddictioncenters.com/smoking-cessation-programs/

 

5 Surprising Benefits of DOGA—Yoga with Fido

Yoga has taken a novel form ‘doga’, which is based on the concept of doing yoga with a companion. However, the companion in doga is your best friend, the dog instead of a human counterpart. The meditative sessions are beneficial not just for you but your pooch as well.

Pooches enjoy the pet-massage and relaxing music at the doga classes. It can motivate them to join you in your yoga each day and bring more fun, vigor, and energy to the class. If your dog shows disinterest still, why not begin it at home where he feels comfortable to be around you?

How Does Doga Benefit You And Your Dog?

Let’s explore the positive effects you’ll reap after joining doga sessions ‘regularly’. It shouldn’t be irregular at any cost or else there are no results.

  1. Better Understanding with Dog:

According to Dr. Danni Shemanski, doga can develop a feeling of being important and loved in your four-legged. If your pooch has been craving for time and attention, doga session will provide him with an opportunity to connect with you. If your pooch is suffering from separation anxiety, it can be tackled well by doing doga with the pooch. According to Dr. Danni Shemanski, doga can develop a feeling of being important and loved in your four-legged.

The mindfulness exercises and a feeling of being connected help to improve your understanding with the dog.

Remember: To avoid poopy mats at the end of the day, don’t forget to take the Fido’s poop scooper, poop bags, etc.

  1. Improved Dog Behavior:

Doga has shown to improve the focus of dogs and their obedience level. Their anxiety problems are toned down to a great extent.

Moreover, as you start feeling connected with your Fido, you’ll begin to understand his body language better. The meditative doga will surely improve your patience level during dog training. This patience and understanding have a two-pronged effect on the dog to demonstrate better behavior and obey the commands.

  1. Reduced Anxiety Levels:

Yoga, music and companion dog will assist in relaxing your mind, body, and soul. It’ll reduce the anxiety levels of pooch by utilizing his excessive pent-up energies. Breathing exercises are extremely relaxing; while cuddling the pooch will add to the good feeling.

The bonding between you as the owner and your anxious/fearful dog will strengthen after attending doga classes regularly. You’ll act more patiently towards the dog. Aggression, anxiety, and other destructive behaviors will be toned down gradually.

  1. Weight Loss:

Whether you are obese or your dog, you both are going to benefit from doga by burning the extra ton of calories. The meditative exercises work on all your body muscles through stretches.

The doga poses involve dogs to do the stretches and imitate your yoga poses. Therefore, the extra calories will get burned and extra energy will be invested positively.

When your dog will try to imitate you, he will definitely end up looking funny. Among all the fun and exercise, you would forget how much time has passed. Yeah, a motivation to visit doga class regularly!

  1. Social Skills:

Dog parks are one good opportunity for you to meet a bunch of people and socialize more often. Doga classes provide you with an equal opportunity to socialize, but with people who are more self-aware, mindful and maybe a bit anti-social. If you are fond of peaceful company, you’ll find many of them at doga classes.

The pooch will learn to socialize too with people and their dogs at the yoga class. The dogs at yoga class will mostly be well-mannered and well-trained due to the meditative effects of yoga. Your Fido might learn a thing or two from them as well.

Introducing a New Dog to Your Home

The first few days in your home are a special, yet anxious, time for you and your new dog. Your new dog will likely be confused about where he is. He won’t immediately connect your home with his home. It’s a completely different environment than what she knows (whether she came from a shelter or a family- it’s still different). It’s up to you to ensure she has the smoothest transition possible.

Before Your Bring Her Home

Before you bring your new dog home, you should determine which area of your home your dog will spend the most time. Then, dog-proof that area and place the crate somewhere comfortable (if you’re crate training). Usually, the kitchen works best. It’s easy to clean up in case of any accidents. Their knowledge of house-training may be lost during a time of great stress like this.

If you plan to crate-train your dog, the crate should be set up before you bring your dog home. Don’t forget to place a mattress of some kind in the crate with them. The type of mattress you should have varies based on the breed of dog you are bringing home, and the age of the dog. Be certain to do proper research on this before bringing your new dog home.

Now, dog-proofing. Dog-proofing your home is critical to keep your dog safe. Tape off any loose wires. Place household cleaners, medications, and other chemicals up high. If you have plants on the floor, do some research and see which plants dogs can and can’t be near.

Finally, have their collar and leash ready to go. On the collar, there should be identification tags already attached. If your dog doesn’t already have a microchip, this may also be something to consider. The microchip isn’t a GPS device, but if your dog were to ever get lost, the microchip would be scanned and an identification code unique to your dog containing all your details would be available.

On the First Day

The first day home could be extremely stressful or overwhelmingly exciting for your dog. Either way, give your dog time to acclimate to your home before you allow any ‘strangers’ to come over. Even if you think your dog is doing wonderful with the transition- one new event could spark stress in the first week. If you have children, show your children the appropriate way to approach a dog.

When you pick up your new dog, don’t forget to ask what she ate that day (and the type of food). If you feed your new dog a completely different food, this could lead to an upset stomach and diarrhea. We don’t want that. An upset stomach could make the transition even more stressful for both him and us.

If you would like to feed a different brand/type of food, do so over a one-week period adding in the new food to their old food slowly. Watch for any signs of stomach upset or loose stools. If you do notice any symptoms, lessen the amount of new food and extend the transition time.

When you arrive home, immediately show your dog where the potty area is and softly say “potty-potty” or similar. Be patient during this time. Even if your dog is fully potty-trained, don’t forget there could be accidents. Your dog may not act like he has to use to the bathroom while he’s outside, then come in and immediately have an accident. Don’t panic, this is a completely normal behavior when being introduced to a new home.

A routine should be put in place immediately. Structure is extremely helpful to a dog adjusting to a new home, and your resident dogs as well if they don’t already have a routine. Feeding, potty-time, and play/exercise, should have an approximate time each day. If the time changes by a half hour occasionally, that’s okay.

For the first few days of your dog being home, try to be as calm and quiet as possible. Limiting excitement during this time will help her adjust. And, it will give you time to get to know your dog better. Take this time to build a foundation for the bond you will share.

Training should also begin immediately. But, after the first week, you can increase the amount of physical and mental stimulation your dog is receiving. Training also helps a dog settle in further and strengthens the bond you are building.

Introducing Your New Dog to Another Dog

If you have a resident dog, introduce your new dog to your resident dog outside in a neutral area. If you have more than one resident dog, introduce one at a time. Don’t rush the introduction. Each dog should be on a leash, and each leash should be loose to allow the dogs to get to know one another.

After the outside introduction, you can bring your new dog inside and do the in-home introduction (if all goes well outside). If you bring your new dog inside immediately without the outside introduction, this could spark a huge list of problems. Keep each interaction between your new dog and your resident dog(s) short and as pleasant as possible. If you see any sign of tension, immediately separate the dogs and try again an hour or so later.

Don’t leave all the dogs alone together until you know it’s safe to do so. Watching your dogs’ body language can help you understand when it’s safe.

The Bottom Line

The most important take-a-way here involves patience. Be patient with your new dog’s behaviors, training levels, and the bond you are establishing. Some dogs adjust quickly and form a bond immediately. Others take more time. Commit as much time as possible to getting to know your new dog while spending time with your resident dogs. Watch your new dog’s body language to understand what she is communicating to you and others.

dog-with-treat

Eliminate Food-Guarding Behavior in 7 Steps

Guarding possessions, whether it be food, a special toy, or any other item, is a normal behavior in dogs. When dogs ran wild, they were forced to guard their possessions to survive. Those who did guard their food, and/or their family were more likely to survive and thrive. Unfortunately, this could become an issue for us, as their family.

Guarding behavior can range from completely harmless to extremely aggressive. Some dogs guard their resources from everyone. And, others guard their possessions from only certain people (like ‘strangers’).

Some dogs guard their bone. Some dogs guard their toy. Some dogs guard their food.

Which of the above is your dog doing?

We’ll talk about how to resolve these issues. And, if your dog isn’t resource guarding, we’ll talk about how to prevent resource guarding as well.

Prevent the Behavior

dog-with-treat

If you have a puppy, now is an excellent time to begin preventing resource guarding. Puppies are prone to developing food guarding behavior because they must compete with their litter mates.

As soon as you bring your dog home, you should begin hand-feeding. Sit down with your puppy and feed him one piece of kibble at a time. Speak softly to your puppy as you’re feeding.

Once your dog is comfortable with hand-feeding, you can move to the bowl. Set the bowl in your lap or directly next to you. Watch your dog’s behavior as she’s eating with you. Continue speaking to your dog in a soft, positive voice as she’s eating.

My Dog is Already Food Guarding

If your dog is currently guarding her food, there are ways to desensitize your dog. The process we will use is known as counterconditioning.

While completing these exercises, be sure to listen to vocalizations and watch your dog’s body language. This will help you understand how he or she is feeling during this time.

The First Step: Only Standing Nearby

You need to go about this step-by-step. Try standing a few feet away from your dog while she’s eating her kibble. During the first step, you should not try to move closer. Calmly talk to her in a reassuring manner while she’s eating. This should be repeated a minimum of ten times before moving to the next step.

The Second Step: Standing and One Step

In the second step, you should still begin by standing a few feet away from your dog. But, you can take one step closer to your dog at this time. When you take your step, throw a treat toward your dog’s food bowl. Then, step back to where you were in the first place. Each day, you can take an extra step (as long as your dog is calm/relaxed). Step 2 should also be repeated a minimum of ten times before moving to step 3.

Step 3: Standing and Walking Away

If your dog has successfully mastered steps 1 and 2, you can move on to step 3. If your dog is still uncomfortable, please stay with the first two steps.

In the third step, continue talking to your dog in a soft tone, while walking toward his food bowl. Stand next to your dog’s food bowl, place a treat in the bowl, and walk away slowly. This step should be repeated a minimum of ten times.

Step 4: The Treat Trick

Continue applying what you have learned in the first three steps. In this step, while your dog is eating, you can hold a treat in your hand. Slowly show your dog the treat as he’s eating his meal. This step should encourage your dog to stop eating what’s in the bowl and take the treat. Once your dog has taken the treat, walk away and stand a few feet away from your dog. Continue to do this at each mealtime until your dog has finished eating.

Step 5: Pick Up the Bowl

The next step… raising the bowl. Please only attempt this step if your dog is 100% comfortable with steps 1-4.

Stand next to your dog and pick up her bowl with one hand. Don’t pick it up all the way… only lift the bowl slightly from the floor. Then, return the bowl to your dog immediately.

Step 6: Now She’s Comfy

Once your dog is comfortable with step 5, you can take the bowl away, place a treat in the bowl, and return it. Your dog now associates you with goodies. At this point, your dog should no longer have any problem with you being near her food.

Step 7: The Final Step

The final stage is to help the other members of your family go through all six steps. Be sure everyone in the household completes the steps in the same manner you did. And, don’t skip a step! This will allow your dog to learn there’s no reason to guard his food… not only from you but from anyone.

DO NOT PUNISH

Do not punish your dog for guarding her food. Your dog is guarding her food because she thinks you’re going to take it away and she won’t get it back. Punishment often results in the behavior worsening as the trust between you and your dog is lost.

DISCLAIMER:

If your dog becomes aggressive with his or her food, you should not attempt to resolve this behavior on your own. Please contact a Canine Behaviorist to assist in the process.