Category Archives: Dog Behavior

Think You Know the Symptoms of K9 Urinary Tract Infections? Think again!

“My dog is acting nuts,” I told the vet’s office lady over the phone.

“What do you mean?”

“She’s not behaving normal – just crazy,” I responded.

“What’s going on?” the lady asked in a tone that suggested I was the crazy one.

I know my dog . . .

If you have owned a dog for a while, you know their personality, their quirks, and their behaviors. I knew she wasn’t behaving normally (for her). I made an appointment for the next afternoon.

 

So, What Was the Crazy Behavior?

My 12-year-old pitbull, Lacey, doesn’t like to go out in the rain. She’s a big baby.

The weather was sleeting, and it was cold. Lacey wandered through the doggy door to the outside, down the steps and laid down. She wouldn’t come back in. I’d call her and she seemed confused. She’d start to walk to the deck stairs, pace back and forth, then turn around and lay back down.

She was now cold and completely soaked.

I hustled outside and brought her indoors. I wondered if she was getting dementia. Later, I found her standing with her head in the corner – again very weird.

Later that evening, she sat next to me on the couch and pressed her head into my chest rubbing up and down. I thought, “Aww, how sweet.” But then, as I ran my hand down her side,  I could feel it tightening like contractions. Instantly, I knew my dog was in pain.

 

Urinary Tract Infections: Common Symptoms

The typical UTI symptoms usually include:

  • blood in the urine
  • cloudy urine
  • strong urine odor
  • trying to pee, but not able to get much out
  • dribbling urine in the house – can’t control it
  • excessive licking of the genital area
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • fever
  • nausea/vomiting
  • crying in pain while urinating
  • drinking more than usual

 

Know the Quirkier Symptoms

Symptoms including:

  • confusion
  • off-balance, dizzy, possible falling or tripping
  • agitation
  • shaking/chills
  • unusual behavior
  • walking with an arched back
  • sleeping in unusual postures

 

How Does a UTI Get Diagnosed?

First, you’ll need a clean urine sample; ask your vet for a collection container.

Take the sample to your vet to run a:

  • urinalysis; or
  • urine culture (this takes a couple of days).

This will tell the veterinarian what kind of bacteria or fungi your dog may have contracted, and which antibiotic to use (should you choose that route). You want to eradicate the infection the first time because having to use additional rounds of antibiotics can cause antibiotic-resistant bacteria which you really don’t want.

(I prefer the urine culture because it determines the specific cause of the UTI infection, bacterial or fungal. The treatment can then be targeted for that particular cause.)

 

Do NOT Let a UTI Go Untreated!

If left untreated, a UTI can turn into a serious and possibly life-threatening problem (once it travels to the kidneys). At a minimum, get a urinalysis or culture to see what your dog is dealing with and then treat it with prescribed antibiotics or holistic alternatives.

 

Holistic Alternatives

Once you know whether you’re dealing with a bacterial or fungal UTI infection, get your canine on an appropriate treatment immediately.

If you decide to use holistic options, only use organic, pesticide-free herbs on an empty stomach.

Couch Grass

Effective herbs for addressing UTIs include:

  1. cranberry extract or powder;
  2. marshmallow root, and/or
  3. couch grass.

You could also use amino acid methionine. When used along with cranberry extract, it can be as effective as an antibiotic. Consult with a holistic vet versed in herbal treatments for proper dosing.

 

A Final Note

Whether you choose traditional or holistic treatments, the idea is to properly diagnose and treat your dog quickly.

I believe that holistic treatments and traditional treatments can work harmoniously. I use holistic treatment options on a regular basis with my dogs. But at times, you may opt for a traditional approach with antibiotics.

If your vet doesn’t offer holistic veterinarian services, search online for a holistic veterinarian near you. You can use the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) to search.

Whether you have access to a traditional or holistic vet, you must make the best decision for your dog.

No judgment here.

 


Sources:

Top Remedies for UTI in Dogs

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) in Dogs & Puppies

Lower Urinary Tract Problems and Infections in Dogs

Herbs for Your Pet’s Urinary Tract Health

 

Image Credits (In Order of Appearance)

Photo by Pamela Morrison

Photo by Igor Ferreira from Pexels

Image by fernando zhiminaicela from Pixabay

Image by Free-Images.com

Photo by Pamela Morrison

 


Meet our Guest Blogger

Pamela Morrison is a professional copywriter for the pet industry including marketers, pet product and service providers, veterinarians and holistic pet practitioners. She does home visits for a local rescue when she can and has been a dog foster mom. She lives in western Michigan with her husband and two dogs, Lacey and Zadie. Pam enjoys walking her dogs, reading, and drinking lots of coffee!

Click here to learn more about Pamela on her LinkedIn page.

 


 

Dog CPR: How to Do It Safely

The Steps for Safely Performing CPR on Your Dog

Image by Luisella Planeta Leoni from Pixabay

 

No one likes to expect the unexpected.

But when you’re faced with a life-threatening emergency requiring K9 CPR, proper preparation may be all that stands between life and death for that dog.

 

 

Dog CPR Involves Artificial Resuscitation

Image by Pet Safety Crusader


Click here to learn more at the Your Pet’s Au Pair blog: “How to Safely Perform CPR on Your Dog.”


LEARN Basic First Aid and CPR from the comfort of your couch!

Sign up for the upcoming Virtual First Aid and CPR class hosted by The Pet Safety Crusader!

(Register before February 14th for the February 22nd class!)

Dog & Cat First Aid & CPR

Dog and Cat First Aid & CPR by The Pet Safety Crusader

Is It Always Bad When A Dog Growls?

Is It Always Bad When a Dog Growls?

Dogs communicate in a variety of ways including

well-established body language, barks and even growls. 

But is it always a bad thing when your dog growls?

 

Click here to learn more at Your Pet AuPair‘s blog post: https://tinyurl.com/y2lyrh7a.

And please share with a fellow dog owner!

If You Own a Dog, Are You Aware of this Suffocation Risk?

Image by Foto-Rabe from Pixabay

 

I thought I had heard it all when it comes to the trouble our dogs (and even cats) can get into. Well, I stand corrected, because recently I learned about a common danger that exists at this very moment in almost every household (probably including yours)!

I’m talking about empty snack bags that contain:

  • Chips
  • Pretzels
  • Crackers
  • Popcorn
  • Jerky
  • Cookies and MORE!

Click here to learn more at the Ken Caryl Pet Spa’s blog with this life-saving post: Yes, Your Nosy Dog Can Suffocate in an Empty Chip Bag!

And PLEASE, share it with a friend to protect other curious dogs, cats and pets!

Guest Blog: Is Your Puppy Too Excited Around Other Dogs?

Dogs are naturally social creatures that enjoy attention. As a matter of fact, nothing more can make them go gaga than chancing upon their own kind, regardless of breed. That should not come as a total surprise because dogs came from a long line of ancestors who had thrived living in packs.

Photo by Eva Blue on Unsplash

 

Why You Need to Teach Your Puppy to be Calm

Unfortunately, some puppies and even adult dogs find it hard to contain their excitement and go completely overboard when around other canines. A dog may bark, whine or lunge at other dogs when they are giddy. These actions may come from a friendly standpoint, but the other dog might perceive it as a threat, especially if their personal space is being violated.

If your puppy or adult dog acts this way, he might be in danger of being attacked by another dog. Also, if this hyperactive behavior is ignored, it may progress into aggressiveness. This tendency is more evident in dogs that show signs of fear and anxiety. But, addressing the issue should be done in the right manner. Yelling will not help and will only impose a sense of negativity to the dogs involved. Also, if you pull your leashed dog close to you when he is about to interact with another dog, this can create unwanted tension. If you reprimand your dog for acting this way, it will lead him to think negatively about associating with other dogs, fueling unwanted and negative behaviors.

 

Is Your Dog Excited or Stressed?

Did you know that dogs often look the same way when they are excited or stressed? This can be a shocker for most pet parents to realize what they once viewed as a happy behavior is actually a cry for help.

It is not bad for dogs to get excited, but there are key differences between:

  • Stressed and anxious energy; and
  • Happy and enthusiastic canine energy.

A dog’s energy depends on their mental state at the time. As owners, we often observe their physical behavior without understanding the true energy behind it. Dogs are “cute” when they are over-excited or over-stimulated, but this attitude is not ideal for your dog. Also, when we match this type of excited energy from our dogs, they respond with more excitement, heightening their already intensified feelings which can lead to unwanted behavior.

To identify whether your dog is exhibiting signs of anxiety or excitement, take note of how he behaves when he is in a relaxed state. You can see how comfortable a dog is based on his posture and behavior. It can also be characterized by a soft gaze with squinted or rounded eyes and ears slightly erect and placed forward (does not apply to dogs with floppy ears). When you talk to him, he acknowledges you by moving his ear backward and relaxing his mouth.

Photo by Andrew Pons on Unsplash

 

Other Reasons Your K9 is Overactive Around Other Dogs

  • Aside from anxiety, your dog might be displaying fear. So when he acts in a reactive manner, other dogs and their owners may walk away in avoidance or fear, which is your dog’s intention if he is fearful.
  • Another reason is frustration. Many dogs feel restrained due to the leash wrapped around their neck that holds them back whenever they are excited to see other dogs. You also see this type of dog behavior with closed fences and gates.

Defining Your Role as a Canine Parent

Your dog might be too overeager upon seeing other dogs. Acknowledging your dog’s need to be with other dogs is essential. But, he has to learn to approach potential friends – and even old friends – with confidence and calmness. To protect your furbaby and ensure that he is capable of handling different social situations, you need to identify the root cause of this excitement. As mentioned earlier, some dogs act all gung-ho when seeing other dogs to mask their anxiousness or fear. If this is the case with your dog, you will need to address potential issues with anxiety, fear or frustration when training your dog to be calm.

Prevention is better than cure, many would say. The easiest method to prevent your dog from acting out when they see another dog is to go the other way. But do not wait until your dog gets all riled up.  Properly socializing your dog as soon as possible will also help avoid unwanted, unsocial and overexcited behaviors.

The following methods below can help your dog learn:

  1. To channel their extra energy into something positive; and
  2. Help them learn how to stay calm and collected when hanging out with his peers.

 

Two Ways to Calm Your Puppy Down

During training, use a well-fitted harness to protect your puppy’s neck if he lunges forward upon seeing another dog. You might also want to ask a friend to help out and lend you his or her emotionally-stable and mature dog that will not overreact to your puppy’s over-eagerness or unbridled playfulness. Always reward your puppy’s good behavior with his favorite treat!

Method #1: Calm to Me

  • Enlist the help of a friend with a calm dog. Meet them in a park or have them join you and your leashed puppy for a walk. Keep all training short and fun
  • Once you see your friend and their dog, ask them to stop at a distance where your dog is still comfortable and not becoming overexcited. Tell your dog to sit or stay.
  • Ask the other dog to slowly approach. As soon as you notice your dog starting to go into a frenzy (timing is very important), ask your friend and their dog to stop, turn around, and walk away.
  • Wait until your dog is calm once again and repeat the process. As long as your dog remains calm and remains in the sit and stay position, the other dog can continue to move toward him. But the moment he begins barking, lunging or getting aggressive, your friend and their dog should stop, turn around and walk away.
  • Repeat the process for a few days until your dog fully grasps the concept and use this process to introduce to him other dogs.

Method #2: Sit and Stay

  • Have your friend bring their calm dog over to your home. Before the dog and his owner come, place your dog on a leash.
  • Once the new dog enters your premises, command your dog to sit or stay. Tug the leash gently to the side if necessary to get your dog’s attention (but refrain from pulling back).
  • If your dog maintains a composed demeanor and obeys your orders, hand him a treat. Repeat several times with different dogs for several weeks until your dog automatically calms down without any command when seeing a dog.
  • Once your dog has learned how to act properly when there is another dog, have him socialize with all kinds of other dogs.

Photo by MaggieLovesOrbit On Insta on Unsplash

 

Dogs are naturally sociable and reprimanding or pulling them back when they get excited will not resolve the underlying issue. Use the tips and methods detailed above to train your dog to be more social and less reactive with anxiety, over-excitement or even fear. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out for expert help! A dog trainer or behaviorist can help identify behavioral issues and design an effective plan of action to create a happy, confident and social dog!

 


Meet our Guest Blogger:

Brian Larsen is the Co-Founder and CEO of RejuvaPet, LLC — the creator of RestoraPet and RestoraPet Hemp. He spent nearly 10 years developing these products to rehabilitate and protect pets at the cellular level, for a vastly improved quality of life.

 


 

Happy New Year to Dogs and Their Owners!

The New Year celebrations are right around the corner.

As you’re making plans for your end-of-the-year parties and resolutions, be sure to include your dog and his comfort in your plans!

What do you need to consider to ensure Fido enjoys the festivities? Keep reading to find out.

 

Fireworks

With your dog’s incredible hearing ability, fireworks can be a dog’s WORST nightmare! Consider this: humans hear at a range of 20 and 20,000 Hz. In stark contrast, our beloved K9s hear a frequency range of 40 to 60,000 Hz! With that kind of hearing, loud fireworks can rattle even the calmest dog.

Click here to learn more from our blog post last year.

Holiday Food & Drinks

Sadly, emergency vet visits increase this time of year and they can quickly destroy the holiday spirit and your budget! Remember, many of the foods, treats and drinks (alcoholic and those that are not) you enjoy can be potentially dangerous to your canine. Traditional favorites include (but are not limited to):

  • Turkey, skin & bones, ham ,etc.
  • Table scraps (especially those that are spicy and fatty)
  • Alcoholic beverages including egg nog, beer, wine and cocktails
  • Yeast dough
  • Sweets (especially those with xylitol) and chocolate

Have a Safe and Happy New Year!

New Year’s Parties & Celebrations

Not all dogs are well-equipped to deal with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, especially when it comes into their safe place/home. Keep in mind, these celebrations are never a good time to “socialize” your dog especially if they usually tend to not be social.

If you’re bringing the New Year’s Eve party home, make sure your dog (and even other pets) has a safe and quiet place so they are both secure and protected from running away or unleashing an unwanted bite (because of fear, anxiety or stress).

In addition, below are some other traditional New Year’s Eve items you should consider banning to keep the pets in your home safe during the celebrations:

  • Confetti
  • Sparklers
  • Party favors
  • Glow sticks & bracelets
  • Party poppers
  • Noisemakers

With some thoughtful planning, you and your pets can enjoy the New Year’s celebrations safely!

Happy New Year's 2019

 


Additional Reading:

Holiday Pet Safety: www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/holidays.aspx

Holiday Safety Tips: www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/holiday-safety-tips

8 Tips for Helping Your Anxious Pet When There are Fireworks Outside: www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/care/noise-anxiety-staying-calm-during-celebrations

 

Guest Blog: Is Reiki Energy Healing Right for Your Dog?

Dogs are mindful, spiritual beings who generously give of themselves to the lives of their humans. If you appreciate the beauty of nature and animals or share your life with companion animals, you already appreciate this priceless, unconditional love. Many dog lovers believe the relationship with their canines is based on a pure, spiritual connection creating deep, long-lasting bonds. Reiki can help promote those closer bonds.

Unfortunately, just like their humans, dogs can also suffer from physical and emotional issues. This is especially true if an animal has suffered a difficult or traumatic experience; came from not-so-ideal circumstances or is struggling with grief, abuse or fear of humans.K9 stress may also occur due to:

  • A restricted or unnatural lifestyle like overbreeding;
  • Boredom and a lack of regular exercise or mental stimulation; and
  • An improper diet.

Any of these situations can produce an unhappy, unhealthy and stressed dog. Reiki can help promote healing and the ultimate return to health.

What is Reiki?

The word “Reiki” comes from the Japanese terms “higher power” and “life force energy.” Reiki is a non-invasive, respect-based and meditative energy healing practice. It was traditionally used in human circles for spiritual healing, stress relief and self-improvement. For generations, people have benefited from the peace, relaxation and healing shifts that come from a Reiki session.

But energy healing is not just for people. Reiki can also be a simple, yet powerful form of energy healing for enhancing calm and well-being in your canine companion while creating and fostering a closer bond with them.

Originally designed for use in shelters and sanctuaries to calm its stressed and anxious residents, Reiki has evolved into an effective tool to calm an upset dog as well as assist an ill or injured one. Regular sessions of Reiki may also help keep long-term, chronic diseases, disorders or pain in check and even help lessen the severity of the symptoms.

Hands-On or Hands-Off Reiki?

Reiki energy healing can be done in one of two ways: hands-on or hands-off (over distance). The hands-on approach is generally more effective if the dog enjoys being touched. In cases where the dog does not tolerate physical touching (for reasons ranging from medical to psychological), distance – or hands-off – Reiki may be a better option.

Most dogs enjoy the calming, soothing and healing energies employed by a skilled Reiki practitioner. Some dogs cannot get close enough during a session and may actually lean into the practitioner or even end up fast asleep in their lap.

For dogs in high-stress situations (such as shelters or when being transported for adoption or veterinary purposes), distance reiki usually works better. It can also used for K9s who do not live near their Reiki practitioner or who are in hospice.

Reiki works well with most animals because they are naturally open and receptive to energy. They naturally understand and respond to the flow of energy and tend to heal more quickly than people since they are not prone to mental blocks or defense mechanisms that can block the flow of healing energy.

What to Expect

Sessions can run from 20-60 minutes, depending on the dog and their willingness to staying still for an extended period of time. The greatest benefits from Reiki are achieved with regular sessions (weekly, bi-weekly or monthly) determined by each individual dog and the level of healing they require.

Many pet parents report positive effects in their dog’s general health and disposition with the use of Reiki. Feedback from others have offered hope in the reduction of chronic pain and even the possible reversal or remission of severe medical issues.


However, please remember that Reiki is not a replacement for routine veterinary care, or a reason to disregard needed medications or medical procedures.


Reiki offers a non-invasive energy healing suitable for any dog and condition. It will not interfere or contraindicate with any regular veterinary care and serves as a useful tool in helping your dog with physical or psychological issues. Please keep in mind that even in healing sessions for ailing animals, it may only ease an inevitable passing. Reiki is powerful, however, it is not a perfect cure-all. Ultimately, it is always the animal guardian’s decision regarding what level of care to seek including which modalities.

When approached with an open mind and heart, Reiki energy healing for your dog may offer a healthier, calmer and happier life.


Meet our Guest Blogger:

Raven Hannah is a self-described animal whisperer, lifelong pet parent, and owner of HolisticPetsAndPeeps.com. She is certified as a holistic consultant, aromatherapist, Reiki practitioner (for animals and people), and pet nutritionist. She encourages others to celebrate animals as part of the family, as well as keep them happy, healthy, and spoiled! When Raven isn’t busy being a slave to her very demanding senior cats or helping her favorite rescues with fundraising projects, she is most likely working on growing her businesses and raising awareness in an effort to make this world a better place for all creatures.


 

K9 Etiquette in Public: 101


Dog ownership is a popular way of life in the United States. With an estimated 89.7 million dogs owned (as of 2017 according to American Pet Products Association (APPA)), chances are you have seen plenty of dogs out with their owners in public. Some of them are well-behaved and unfortunately, some are not. If you enjoy bringing your pooch to dog-friendly public places and businesses, make sure they earn a good reputation! Below are a few ideas on how to practice good doggie etiquette.

Know Local Regulations 

In many places, keeping your dog on a leash while you’re in public isn’t just good manners – it’s the law. A good leash (including retractable ones) should be long enough to allow your dog some freedom while you walk, but not so much that you lose control. Leashes also help let others know you are in control – many people will become uncomfortable if an unleashed dog is running toward them.

Safety

As you walk your dog, keep safety at the forefront of your mind. Use sidewalks if they are available; if not, always walk on the left side of road, facing traffic. If you are walking around daybreak or dusk, bring a flashlight and/or wear reflective clothing so you stay easily visible. Remember, darkness can fall quickly in the winter months so be prepared. Also make sure your dog is wearing identification tags so you can get him back in case he gets away from you.

Personal Space and Training

Make sure your dog maintains a respectful distance from other people when you are in public. Many people are afraid of dogs and others don’t want to be bothered or licked. It’s also important to realize that not all dogs you meet in public are friendly and letting your dog run up to them can cause negative reactions and possibly even a fight.

A leash is the best way to control your dog’s behavior coupled with training some basic voice commands. The basic commands should include:

  • sit;
  • stay;
  • heel;
  • leave it; and
  • come.

It’s fairly easy to teach these basic commands using your dog’s favorite treats. For example, to train your dog to sit, hold a treat by his nose and slowly raise your hand up, which will cause his head to come up and his bottom to go down. Once he is in a sitting position (and holding it for a few seconds), say “sit” and give him the treat, along with some affection. Repeat until he can do it on command consistently (each dog learns differently, so be patient). You can follow the same basic procedure for other commands as well. If you want some help with training these basic commands, research training methods, attend an obedience class or hire a dog trainer for one-on-one training.

Waste Patrol

This is pretty simple – always scoop your dog’s poop. It’s a good idea to bring extra plastic baggies every time you go out to make sure you have enough. Letting your dog urinate in public is fine, but don’t let them go on anything a human might touch – flower beds, mailboxes, trash cans, etc. Your neighbors will appreciate it if you keep your dog from peeing on their lawns as well.

Be Aware

No matter what happens when you’re out with your dog, be aware of others around you. Know when your dog might do something inappropriate and always be ready to head him off. If you can’t stop him, at least acknowledge the issues and explain that you will take care of the problem. Sometimes, a simple apology or acknowledgement goes a long way toward defusing a potentially difficult situation.

If you are like many dog owners, you want to have your dog out in public with you as much as possible. Remember that good pet etiquette starts with owners (that’s you), so make sure you are committed to keeping your dog’s behavior within the bounds of acceptable social behavior. Follow the tips above and you’ll be able to enjoy years of socialization and fun with your dog.

 


Meet our Guest Blogger:

Jessica Brody is an avid dog lover and passionate advocate for rescue pets. She created OurBestFriends.pet to offer an online place for animal lovers to share their favorite pet photos and stories about their furry pals. Jessica believes dogs are the best creatures on earth and enjoys writing about and sharing photos of dogs (and other pets!) on her website.


 

Antler Chews: Are They Safe for Your Dog?

Should you give your dog antlers to chew?
Are antlers a safer option to other chews on the market?
Are all antlers the same?
How are antlers “graded” and what does it mean?

Dogs are natural chewers. Whether it’s a puppy exploring his new world through his mouth, or adult dogs chewing to release pent-up energy and/or stress, most dogs enjoy this instinctive behavior.

While almost anything is better than your K9 destroying your expensive leather shoes or couch to indulge their need to chew, are all chew treats created equal (and safe)?

Are all Chews Created Equal?

After the shocking revelation in 2007 about the toxic, Chinese-made dog treats sickening and even killing pets (dogs and cats); dog owners everywhere became more concerned and vigilant about the treats they were offering to their dogs.

When even more information came out about all the potentially deadly chemicals used to mass-produce rawhide in China, “safe” choices became even further limited for canine guardians. (Not to mention numerous horror studies about rawhide pieces becoming stuck or causing obstructions requiring surgery to save a dog.) Click here to learn the harmful truth behind making rawhide.

Are Antlers a Safer Option?

So, what about something more “natural,” like antlers from wild deer or elk?

Like most subjects about dog health, “expert” opinions about whether antlers are a completely safe chewing option falls between both ends of the spectrum. From slick marketing campaigns raving about the wonders of antlers for your dog’s chewing pleasure to so-called dog experts decrying even the thought of offering an antler to your dog to chew. While the controversy rages on, educate yourself on the pros and cons of antler chews for your dog.

Factors to Consider

Deciding whether an antler chew is good (or not) for your dog involves a number of factors, including:

  • What kind of chewer your dog is;
  • Your dog’s current dental health;
  • The “grade” of antler you are planning to give your dog to chew; and
  • The supplier/distributor of the antler chews and whether they sell cheaper, low-grade or inferior products.

When you know better, you can make better choices for what to safely offer your dog to chew. Knowing your own dog is the first place to start. Is your dog a heavy or aggressive chewer? The chewing needs or habits are vastly different for a Chihuahua versus a Rottweiler. Smaller teeth and jaws cannot stand up to extremely hard objects like antlers.

Also, consider your dog’s current dental health. Have they suffered from dental issues that would rule out giving them hard items to chew?

Not sure if your dog’s teeth are healthy? Click here to learn more.

If you have determined your dog’s dental health and chewing needs can tolerate hard chewing, keep reading to learn more about antler chews.

What IS an Antler?

Antlers come from moose, caribou, elk, reindeer and deer. Typically, elk antlers are the easiest ones to find.

It’s also believed that antlers do not splinter or chip as easily as some other bones or toys. While antlers may seem similar to “horns” … they are actually different. Cow horns are made from a substance call keratin; similar to our nails and hair. They also have a lining of bone inside them.

Antlers, on the other hand, are made from real bone and cartilage with a marrow core. They are actually a bony outgrowth of the animal’s skull. Since they are actual bone, they are also very hard. Antlers are typically shed each year allowing a new set to grow in their place. Antlers (unlike processed bones or rawhides) also offer nutritional value in the form of:

  • Calcium
  • Protein
  • Chondroitin Sulfate
  • Glucosamine
  • Collagen
  • Magnesium
  • Iron and Zinc

For dogs fed a raw diet, bones are important to their diet. But, it is not necessary for them to eat very hard bones (like antlers or weight-bearing leg bones).

Grading Antlers: What it all Means

Antlers are “graded” on five different levels. Before you buy any kind of antler for your dog to chew, below is what you need to know first.

Grade A+ Antlers

These are the highest quality and most pristine antlers, previously reserved for high-end craft and artisan use. They constitute less than 5% of all antlers each year. Only a few stores and distributors are focused on selling antlers of this caliber.

Grade A Antlers

These antlers comprise the top 10-15% of all antlers each year. They have been shed during the current – or previous – year. These antlers will appear a little more on the light-brown side; as they have been freshly shed and have had only minimal exposure to the elements.

Grade B Antlers

This grade of antler comprises the bulk of all antlers sold online by the “high-end” brands. These antlers are easily recognized as they will be white from sun bleaching which also means they are dried out. They may also show visible marks of rodent chewing. These antlers are approximately one to two years old. While they may be sold by well-established brands, it does not mean they are “safe dog chews.” While they are not the worst of the antlers, they are definitely not the safest for your dog based on their age and being dried out which means they could splinter or chip much more easily.

Grades C and D

The final two grades are combined together because, for all intents and purposes, these antlers are “junk” and definitely not safe for your dog. These antlers are not only white from years in the sun and exposure to the elements; but there is also a white powder that can be easily scraped off the surface. In addition, the antler has almost a coral-like porous crystalline structure to it, due to having lost too much moisture. This makes it even more susceptible to breaking, splintering or chipping even with minimal effort. These antlers are commonly sold in the big-box pet stores and outdoor sports stores.

A Few Final Cautions

  • Make sure any antler product you buy and give to your dog is sourced from the USA (preferably from organically raised animals). Note: China does chemically process and ship antlers to the United States.
  • Also, make sure you buy the right size antler for your dog (one that cannot be easily swallowed).
  • Do not give puppies any kind of antlers to chew on. (The high protein content can cause stomach upset and diarrhea.)
  • And finally, if you do decide to give your dog an antler chew (or any other chew as well), always supervise them to keep them safe! No chew product is 100% safe and healthy for every dog. Digestive or dental issues, possible choking (in the mouth or throat) and intestinal obstructions are always a risk.
  • Check with your veterinarian first before giving your dog any chew product.

 


Additional Resources:

The Perils of Gum Disease in Dogs

Dogs Love These Chews, But They Fracture Teeth Like Crazy

Are Deer Antlers Safe for Dogs to Chew On?

Antlers for Dogs: Are Deer Antlers Safe for Dogs to Chew On?

Are Antlers Safe for Dogs?

Deer Antlers as a Chew Toy for Dogs

Are Deer Antlers for Dogs a Good Chew Toy?


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Fido, I Love You; but STOP Jumping on People!

For a passionate dog lover, there’s nothing better than coming home after a rough day and being greeted by a happy and jumping Fido. This display of unconditional love makes all the woes melt away.

But, what if someone else is coming through your door? Perhaps your young child’s friend? Maybe your boss? Or worse, an elderly person?

Do you really want your dog to jump on people in your home or anywhere else for that matter?

Not everyone loves dogs (I know it’s shocking, but those people do exist!). Even other dog lovers may not appreciate dog paw prints (especially dirty ones) on their clothes or dripping slobber on their face. The truth is that “hugging,” “kissing” or any unwanted jumping is not polite, acceptable dog behavior.

Why Commands May Not Work

FACT: Our dogs want our attention more than (almost) anything else in the world! If they get any reaction when they jump on you – or someone else – they will certainly do it again.

What’s often tough for humans to understand is that our dogs don’t understand any other language but “dog.” So, even when you tell your dog to “get down,” “no jump” or even “you should know better than to jump on people,” your dog simply understands that his behavior got you to notice him … in other words, to pay attention to him! One of the things they want most!

So, even if you’re trying to get the dog to stop jumping by giving him a command such as “off” or “down,” pushing the dog down with your hand(s), or trying to hold the dog back by his collar, he is still getting attention for the behavior. It doesn’t matter to him that the attention is negative; it still counts as attention (much like young kids who will do just about anything to get your attention, positive or negative).

When guests enter your home, you want to show them you are in control of your dog, so you are even more apt to talk, touch or restrain him during these times. Here’s the problem – the more you do this, the more the dog realizes (especially when new people enter) he will get lots of attention for jumping. Score one for Fido (zero for the human).

But you can’t just do nothing right?! So, what should you do?

Patience, Consistency and Calmness are Key

First, practice all training in the privacy of your home where your dog will be less distracted. In the beginning, limit the training to just you and the members of the household. Consistently practice the acceptable behavior with every single person (adults and children), every single time anyone walks in. Remember, it takes 100% consistency for a dog to learn something new, so be patient and stick with it. If you give up, he will quickly go back to his old habits and be even more confused about what you really want.

Second (and this one is a bit harder), as much as you love those “hugs” when you come home, by allowing Fido to continue this behavior with you, he will think it’s acceptable to hug everyone. How does he know that it is acceptable for him to hug you, but not other people? Stay consistent and clear in what you do want from your dog.

It takes time to break a habit (just like for us humans), so remain patient and calm. Getting angry, anxious or annoyed will only confuse your dog and make the training process longer and harder. If you find yourself running out of patience, end the training session on a positive note and try again later.

Begin with this basic exercise each time you (and others) come home. When Fido jumps on you, turn around so that you no longer face him (effectively removing the attention he seeks). He may jump on your back. Stand perfectly still and stay calm. If he comes around to your front, turn around again, so that you face away from him. He may jump on you several times, but if you completely ignore him (no eye contact, touch or talk), he will eventually get bored and try to figure out a new way to get your attention.

At first, your dog may try to get your attention in another negative way, such as by mouthing your hand, barking at you or tugging your pant leg. Remember, ignore these behaviors completely. You are teaching him that these behaviors will no longer get your attention (the thing he wants most).

If you completely ignore him for a few minutes (each dog learns at his own pace; so again, be patient), he will eventually walk away, grab a toy, sit down, or even lie down. THIS is the time to pour on the affection! You want to show him that calm behavior – with all four paws on the ground – will earn him your attention.

At first, he may get so excited by your attention that he may jump up again. As soon as he does, immediately turn your back again to remind him that jumping will not earn him attention. You may go through the process of him jumping or barking again, but eventually he will choose the right behavior again. When he does, be sure to reward him with praise and affection. Repeat this process again and again until he can handle the affection without jumping up for more.

Always end each session on a positive note. Don’t walk away frustrated. Be patient. He has never done this before. What has worked in the past is no longer working for him. You need to be patient and consistent. Give him the chance to succeed. You will be so proud of him (and yourself) when he learns what it is you really want from him!

Now Practice with Someone New

Once Fido has stopped jumping on everyone in your own household, bring in a friend to help.

Inform your friend ahead of time not to talk to him or pay any attention to him if he jumps. Have the guest turn around if Fido jumps. As hard as it will be, you will need to refrain from talking to Fido, pulling him or addressing him at all. He (again) needs to figure out how to properly earn attention on his own. Ok, so jumping doesn’t work with my family, but when I sit down, they give me love. Maybe if I stop jumping on this person and sit down, she will pay attention to me too. 

When Fido gives her the desired behavior, have your friend reward with either verbal praise or enthusiastic petting. Remind her, however, that if he jumps, she will need to repeat the process. Then start inviting more and more people to come over and practice. Soon enough, with practice, consistency and patience, Fido will stop jumping on guests!

The most important part of this exercise is to remember to reward Fido when he is calm with all four paws on the ground. Many people remember to ignore when he jumps, but then they forget to give affection for the desired behavior. This defeats the training purpose. Fido needs to learn what he should do to get attention. Remember, he just wants to please you and get you to pay attention to him. So show him how to politely get your affection and give him those “hugs” when he is on the ground.

Trust me; your bad day will still get better when you come home, especially when you see him so well-behaved and calm!

 


Meet our Guest Blogger:

Shannon Sumner, MA, CPDT, is a dog behaviorist and owner of Polite Paws, LLC in Downingtown, PA. You can find her at www.PolitePawsDogTraining.com and also at www.facebook.com/Polite-Paws-Puppy-and-Dog-Training-LLC-129384990402/.


 

New Year’s Eve and Your Dog

Now that Christmas has moved on, it’s time to give some thought to the upcoming New Year’s Eve celebrations … and your dog. While we humans love the excitement, parties and fireworks, it’s important to realize that not all dogs agree with our enthusiasm!

Last year, we wrote a very detailed post on planning ahead for the New Year’s celebrations in order to help your dog enjoy the time safely and calmly. You can read it here.

This year, we want to focus specifically on fireworks. We are incredibly lucky that our Great Danes actually enjoy fireworks no matter the time of year! They always join us outside on the deck and watch the show over Lake Tahoe. But not all dogs are so placid when it comes to loud noises and bright, unpredictable bursts of light and color.

How does YOUR dog react?

Just like humans, each dog reacts differently to loud noises. (A personal note: after living in a war zone for several years, fireworks were very difficult for me to deal with after returning to the United States. Finally, after many years, I can enjoy them without flinching.)

Remember, your dog’s hearing is ultra-sensitive. According to PetMeds.org:

The frequencies that dogs hear are much higher and lower than what humans can hear. Dogs hear a frequency range of 40 to 60,000 Hz while a human range is between 20 and 20,000 Hz. Because of this, dogs have a difficult time with very loud noises. Sounds that may be acceptable to you can be uncomfortable to a dog.

Is it any wonder that fireworks can rattle even the most tranquil dog?

So, is Your Dog Afraid?

When dogs are afraid, they exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Cowering or hiding
  • Barking or growling
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Clinging to their owners

Changes in Energy are Also Important

Another important fact to remember is that all dogs feel energy. Some energy is expressed in frequencies, waves and vibrations; including light and sound. This is why some dogs become overwhelmed with the onslaught of both the sights and sounds of fireworks.

Options for a Sound-Sensitive Dog

The following are suggestions; always discuss the best option with your own veterinarian. (Note: We are not compensated for any of the suggested products below.)

  • Wear them out with exercise earlier in the day
  • Distract them with play or their favorite toy or bone
  • Provide a “safe” place; a quiet room (close the windows and curtains) or crate
  • Massage
  • Calming Wraps:
  • Play canine-friendly “healing” frequencies or sound therapy
  • Homeopathic Remedies:
  • Aromatherapy/Essential Oils:
    • lavender, chamomile, ylang ylang, valerian, valor and vetiver):
      1. Spray a small amount on your hands and massage your dog (including their chest and paws) or spray some on a bandana and tie loosely around the neck)
      2. Mist your house, dog beds and favorite hiding spots with an oil/water blend

Help! My Pet Just Ate Something Bad for Them!

We’re SO excited to be a Featured Blogger on Grandma Lucy’s blog especially in time for Halloween!

Go check out our guest blog and learn:

  • What foods are bad (not “dog-friendly) for your dog.
  • The symptoms your dog ate something bad.
  • What to do if your dog begins exhibiting these symptoms.

 


Thank YOU Grandma Lucy’s for helping to keep our pets safe!


 

Summer and Rattlesnakes .. Protect Your Dog!

Just in case ticks, mosquitos, blue -green algae, composts, mulch and fertilizers don’t pose enough dangers to your dog, now there’s one more warm-weather-K9-danger: rattlesnakes.

While rattlesnakes always pose a potential danger wherever they call home, according to experts, large amounts of rain are now driving the snakes out of their natural homes and into our (dry) ones!

Click here to listen to the story by San Diego News, CBS 8; featuring K9 Resort & Spa in Escondido, CA.

Learn more about the types of venomous snakes and what to do in the event of a snake bite to your dog, click here to read more at PetMD.

To learn about snake aversion training, click here to read an article by Victoria Stilwell.

Keeping Fido Safe this New Year’s Eve by Planning Ahead

Plan Ahead to Keep Your Dog Safe

Now Christmas has come and gone, it’s time to start planning your festivities to ring in the New Year! With some planning and foresight, you can make New Year’s Eve not only fun and exciting, but also safe for your family dog.

Bringing in the New Year conjures up thoughts of fun parties, sparkling drinks, tasty munchies and exciting fireworks.  But regardless of how you decide to celebrate, also plan ahead for the comfort and safety of your four-legged friend.

Remember both the stress and changes in our daily routines can negatively impact our dogs. Dogs are creatures of habit and when familiar schedules change, they can become anxious. Imagine for a moment, through your dog’s eyes, the sudden barrage of unfamiliar sights, sounds, smells and people associated with New Year’s Eve.  With a little planning, you can help your dog effectively deal with the upcoming New Year celebration.

YOU Know Your Dog Best

Each dog is as different as each human being. Only you know your dog’s limits and the situations they are comfortable in. Can they handle busy situations with strange people and overexcited children? If your dog is not well-socialized with all kinds of people, a New Year’s Eve party is not the time to try socializing them.  If your dog becomes overwhelmed with lots of activity or people, give them a “safe place.”

A “Safe Place” for your Dog is Heavenly

Barking, pacing, sudden changes in behavior,  urinating or defecating in the house, excessive panting, licking, yawning or turning the head away and retreating or hiding are all signs your dog may be feeling anxious. NEVER force your dog to do or accept something when they are showing signs of anxiety; this will only accelerate the discomfort, fear or even potential Give Your Dog a Safe Place to Relaxaggression that could lead to an unwanted bite.

Instead, create a secure “safe place” for your dog where they can relax and observe the festivities from a protected distance. Perhaps a crate with their favorite blanket, toy or bone or a quiet room blocked off with a baby gate. (Leaving your dog outside  and unsupervised is not a good option.)

Using a “safe place” for your dog also offers an additional benefit when it comes to tempting party food and drinks.

Alcohol and Party Foods are NOT Dog-Friendly

Just like us, dogs love sampling those delicious smelling foods and it only takes a second for them to grab and run! So again, a designated “safe place” can keep your dog out of harm’s way when it comes to the party foods and drinks; especially when you’re distracted with hosting and serving your guests.  Alcoholic beverages as well as rich, salty and fatty foods/hor d’oeuvres (including those containing the artificial sweetener, xylitol) are all unhealthy for your dog; and potentially, could even be dangerous if ingested.

Fireworks: Ouch, my Aching Ears!

With a dog’s ultra-sensitive hearing, fireworks can rattle even the calmest dog. The bright, Fireworks are Scary for Many Dogsunpredictable flashes of light can also be frightening and overwhelming for some dogs. Again, each dog reacts differently, so plan ahead for your dog. Are there homeopathic remedies that can help them relax? (Always try them beforehand so you know what to expect.) Would your dog be happier staying somewhere else, away from the fireworks, with someone they know? Could something like a ThunderShirt help them stay calm? Your vet can help you make the right decision for your dog’s comfort and safety.

A Tired Dog is a Happier Dog

One of the best things you (or a trusted dog walker) can do before kicking off the festivities is A Tired Dog is a Happy Dogto spend some extra quality time exercising your K9; a tired dog is a happy (and relaxed) dog!

With just a little planning in advance, your dog can also safely and calmly enjoy the New Year’s celebrations.

Happy New Year Everyone!

BEFORE You Hire that Holiday Dog Sitter …

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The holidays are fast approaching which means dog owners will be looking for dog-sitters to watch over their furry family members.

But, before you hand over the keys to your kingdom (and K9s), make sure you know exactly what you (and your dog) are getting into! Don’t leave this important decision to the very last minute, you could come to regret it.

Below are some 8 due diligence tips you MUST do first:

  • Did the potential sitter come recommended by a friend or family member? Great! STILL get testimonials from other previous clients.
  • Always set up a face-to-face meeting with you AND your dog to make sure you both feel at ease with the potential dog-sitter. Make sure you’re meeting the actual dog-sitter, not just the owner of the dog-sitting business.
  • Are they acting in a professional manner? Do they offer you a contract that spells out exactly what they will do … and what they need from you as well? Are they are asking specific questions about the kind of care you’re seeking and making notes?
  • Do a trial run; have the potential sitter watch your dog for several hours or a day (at least once or twice) before you leave for an extended period of time. Notice how your dog acts/reacts around them; these are all clues about what you – and your dog – can expect.
  • Do they have the appropriate insurance or bonding to protect you and your property?
  • Do they have current First Aid certification? Ask to see it. Remember, you’re relying on them to protect your dog especially if something unforeseen happens.
  • Ask about any specializations they offer … do they specialize in small breeds? Big or giant breeds? It makes a huge difference with their comfort level and how well they can deal with your specific dog.
  • Does your dog have special needs? Make sure the person you’re looking to hire can comfortably handle those special requests (giving medication or shots, dealing with an arthritic/fearful/blind or deaf dog, etc.).

By taking the time to find and get comfortable with a potential dog-sitter, you will increase the chances of a pleasant and successful experience of bringing a caretaker into your home and your dog’s life.

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Own a dog business? Let us write K9-exclusive content for you. We make it EASY to give your dog-guardian clients the content they want (building brand awareness and loyalty for your business).

Dog-lovers: Inquiring Minds Want to Know!

At Cold Noses News, we are always working our paws to the bone to figure out how to best Happy-Dog-Pictureserve you, our readers!

So here’s our question: if our K9-exclusive newsletter was offered to you, the dog-lover (not just to business owners), would you be willing to pay a small fee to receive it each month in your inbox? And … what if we told you that each month, in addition to the useful content, there would ALSO be a valuable coupon that would more than cover the monthly cost?

Let us know your opinion in the poll below!

Click here to see our latest issue for August.

Is the Chlorine in Your Pool K9-Safe?

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In our July Cold Noses Newsletter, we talked about the top 3 summer dangers for your dog;  sunburn, ear mites and the fact that not all dogs can – or want to – swim.

But with record heat temperatures this summer, it’s natural to want to let your dog in to your pool to cool off.

But should you?

We know there are often minor side effects for humans when swimming in – or exposed to – chlorine; dry skin, red eyes and a horrible, nasty taste if you inadvertently swallow some! But what about Fido? Are chlorinated pools safe for dogs?

Unfortunately, chlorine is a necessary “evil” in keeping pools algae- and bacteria-free. But could your dog – or any pet – be potentially poisoned by chlorine?

As with any chemical that could be potentially dangerous, it depends on the level of exposure. Properly maintained pools contain diluted chlorine levels usually unlikely to cause any lasting harm or toxic poisoning to animals or humans.

But, this doesn’t mean there are not potential risks. Concentrated chlorine tablets should always be stored in airtight and inaccessible containers (out of reach of pets and children). Any direct contact with undiluted chlorine (which could damage skin and eyes) or chlorine gas (which could be dangerous if inhaled) should always be restricted.

In addition, pets who swim regularly in chlorinated water may experience:

  • Recurrent ear infections (which could be related to the chlorine or simply more frequent dampness in the ears).
  • Minor stomach irritation especially if your dog loves to gulp water while in the pool.
  • Red eyes or itchy skin (especially if they spend extended periods of time in chlorinated water).
  • Potential airway irritation from the release of excess gas in highly chlorinated pools (typically inside where proper ventilation may be a problem).

So, for the average dog in the average pool, there’s really no serious danger or risks from the presence of chlorine.dog-1310545_1280

But always watch your dog when they are swimming and monitor – and adjust if necessary – their time in the pool if you see any potential risks and/or adverse reactions.

When swim time is over, ALWAYS rinse off your four-legged swimmer with fresh, cool water to remove all chlorine from their fur, skin, eyes and between the toes to avoid any negative side effects.

If You Own a Dog, Should You Mulch?

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It’s that time of year, yard work and landscaping are going on everywhere!

But if you own dogs, should you use mulch? Maybe or maybe not.

Here are two questions to help you decide if mulching will be safe around your dog:

  • What kind of mulch do you plan on using?
  • Do you have a curious – or even bored – dog that loves to chew?

While “mulch” may seem pretty much alike, not all mulch is the same, especially when it comes to the safety of your dog. While most mulch is non-toxic to your dog, there are some that can cause serious medical issues.

cocoa-1134226_1280For example, most dog owners know that chocolate is bad for canines. Similarly, cocoa bean mulch (also known as cocoa mulch; cocoa bean shell mulch and cocoa bean hull mulch) can also be toxic to your dog. While many people like cocoa mulch because of its color and pleasant odor, it may also be a potentially dangerous choice to your dog’s health. Mulch made from cocoa shells (a by-product of chocolate-making) contains the potentially toxic chemicals of theobromine and caffeine (both nervous system stimulants). If large enough amounts of these stimulants (which is directly related to the size of your dog) are ingested, toxic poisoning could mean death for your dog.

Even in lesser amounts, these two potentially toxic chemicals can also cause: irregular heart rhythms, increased heart rates and blood pressure, muscle tremors, hyperactivity, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, anxiety and restlessness, excessive panting, increased urination, dark red gums and even seizures. (And the smaller the dog, the faster and more deadly the effects of toxic poisoning become.)

Going back to our earlier question about having a curious or bored dog that likes to chew, this kind of behavior can cause a severe choking hazard with many kinds of mulch. Also, if ingested, mulch could create life-threatening esophageal and/or intestinal blockages requiring dangerous and expensive surgery.

It’s also very possible that your dog – unbeknownst to you – may be allergic to some types of mulch and end up with reactions like skin rashes, bumps filled with pus, wheezing, excessive itching and hives.

Considering colored mulch? Here are some potential concerns you’ll want to address first:

  • What kind of wood is the mulch is comprised of? Typically, colored mulchwood-806995_1280 is created with recycled wood (like wood pallets and “reclaimed” wood from demolition and construction sites, older fences and decks). Why is this important? Reclaimed, older woods could be contaminated with chemicals like creosote and chromated copper arsenate. (CCA was once used in the manufacture of older pressure-treated wood; although it’s since been banned.)
  • Added colors or dyes could also be toxic to your dog; particularly red and black mulch whichmulch-70901_1280 contains arsenic. While manufacturers and retailers may tell you these colors and dyes are “safe” to use, do you really want to take that chance with your beloved four-legged family member (or even your child)?

It’s also important to know what pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers or mold inhibitors have been added to the mulch you’re thinking about using in your yard. In addition, avoid any mulch that contains essential oils or resins, which could cause drooling, vomiting and loss of appetite and if consumed in large enough amounts, even central nervous system depression and/or damage to your family dog.

So before exposing your dog to mulch in your yard, do some research first before you decide to mulch or not to mulch.

Protect Your Dog and Pets Before the Fireworks!

fireworks-1461874_1280Most humans love fireworks.

But, for many of our pets, the 4th of July is a frightening time. Exploding bright lights and deafening explosions that torture their ultra-sensitive sense of hearing. In response to this assault of uncommon sights and sounds, many dogs and cats will try to avoid the stress of the fireworks by bolting out the nearest open door, window or even out of their own yard. This is why July 5th is oftentimes the busiest day of the year for animal shelters who find themselves overwhelmed with locating lost pets and reuniting them with their worried families.

Did you know that lost pets actually increase as much as 30% during July 4-6? All due to fireworks pandemonium.

To help dog owners prepare in advance to keep their dogs safe and stress-free during the 4th of July celebration, K9 of Mine recently released a new infographic about fireworks safety for dogs.

With the noisy celebration almost upon us, take some time with your family to learn what steps you can all take together to keep your four-legged, K9 furkids safe, happy and protected IN your home to avoid them becoming part of the lost pet statistic this 4th of July holiday.

dog-fireworks-infographic

Even as May Ends, Dog Bite Prevention Never Does

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As May comes to a close with the Memorial Day holiday, Dog Bite Prevention Month is also coming to an end; although preventing and avoiding potential dog bites never expires.

Preventing dog bites is a year-round, full-time commitment and mission.

To further help educate people about understanding canine body language and why dogs bite (critical in avoiding and preventing unnecessary dog bites), we offer this great graphic illustrating the process (or ladder) of how canines react to a perceived threat or stress.

Remember, the more we know, the better we can all do.

Please share this post with other dog-lovers, parents and their children and even non-dog-lovers to help more people better understand and interact with our canine companions.  WhyDogsBiteInfographic