That is the question that I have been asking myself for the last couple of weeks.
Is it separation anxiety?
Is it a scent on the carpet? I was shampooing my carpet daily and it was getting old.
Is she making a statement?
Has she lost her mind? This was what I really thought it was. It didn't seem to matter that I had increased her potty break frequency. I was at my wits' end. What in the world had changed?
Well, it was none of the things I thought it could be. I noticed a spot of blood in her urine and I took her to the vet. The poor dog had a UTI (urinary tract infection). It was a bona fide medical reason that was easily treated with antibiotics. I felt like a terrible dog mama. The desire to frequently urinate was also distracting her. She needed longer walks and fewer distractions because she was much more uncomfortable than usual. Lesson learned. Always check for medical reasons if your pet's behavior has changed suddenly.
Dogs have approximately 125 million-300 million scent glands depending on the breed. Compared to our 5 million scent glands as humans, the difference is enormous. Dogs can tell where we have been and who we have been with as soon as we enter the room. This is why dogs are generally so happy to explore new surroundings. They smell so much more than we do! Sniffing around the neighborhood is how dogs catch up on all the local news. They can tell who has been in the yard and even if the other dogs are sick. Reviewing all this information is mentally tiring to dogs and is just as important as the physical aspect of a good walk for dogs. The smarter the dog, the more important it is to mentally stimulate them. Smell (and nose work) is a wonderful way to do that. This is important to remember the next time you take your dog for a walk and get frustrated because they want to smell every bush and tree trunk. If you have an athletic dog and want to make sure they’re tired, be sure to include some slower sniffing time for their brain. A dog that gets mental and physical exercise is calmer and happier. You’re couch and shoes will thank you.
I have searched for a well-stocked first aid kit for pets and the choices out there are either full of bandages and tape or very expensive. I chose to build my own because it is actually much less expensive and you can load up on things your specific pet needs.
Pet First Aid/CPR courses are highly recommended before trying pet first aid or CPR at home. Have emergency vet information in your phone and take photo copies of your pet’s vet record. Keeping this info handy on your phone will save you time in the event of an emergency.
Always call a veterinarian or poison control hotline before inducing vomiting. Know your pet’s accurate weight so you can give correct dosages of medication. Being prepared to administer emergency first aid while on the way to the vet may save your dog’s life.
Here is a shopping list to build your own first aid kit for your pet:
Always follow up first aid or CPR with a trip to your vet to follow up and rule out any other issues.
I moved back to California with my dog Betty last year after living in other states for the the last fifteen years or so. I wanted to familiarize myself with the local laws as a responsible pet owner. Many laws have changed since I lived here before. I want to share some of what I have learned with you to keep all of our pets safer. I will be sharing them over the next few weeks.
First up -Leash law. This is such a source of debate among dog owners. Most owners know that it is a good idea for most dogs - other people's dogs in particular. Nobody wants a strange dog running up to them or their pets. The news is full of sad stories depicting tragic accidents and horrific injuries because an unleashed pet got loose and the result is often devastating. Many people think it is ok to allow THEIR pet to roam free because they believe that it is justified if the area is remote, uncrowded, or their dog is just too good to worry about. I have heard the reasons. We were the only ones around (until they weren't). My dog is friendly (until they are attacked). My dog has a solid recall. My dog is too old for a leash. My dog is too young for a leash. I do it all the time - it is fine. I have even had dog walking clients expect me to walk their dogs off-leash in Los Angeles because they do it all the time.
Here is the problem. The law is clear:
"No person owning or having possession, charge, custody, or control of any animal, except cats which are not in heat or season, shall cause, permit, or allow the animal to stray, run, or in any manner to be at large in or upon any public street, sidewalk or park, except as otherwise expressly provided in section 63.44 of this Code, or in the bed of the Los Angeles River or upon any unenclosed lot or land."
Enclosed private property or public dog parks (if you dare) are the ONLY legal places to let your dog off leash. Having an Emotional Support Animal is not an exception. There are some exceptions made for true service dogs that MUST be off leash to perform their tasks such as police K9 animals. There is a lot of confusion over the difference between an Emotional Support Animal and a Service Dog. This will be covered in an upcoming article soon.
The entire code relating to pets can be found here. Be informed and be safe out there.
I love dog parks. I love taking my dog to them. My dogs love to run around and play with other friendly socialized dogs. Unfortunately, where I live, they are not safe. The fences are sound. The benches are sturdy. But there are frequently people there with dogs that are aggressive, out of control, and un-nuetered and un-spayed. A few people ruin it for everybody else. So, my dogs will not be going to the dog park. In a large fenced in park, dogs can cover a great deal of distance in very short periods of time. A fight can break out too quickly to avoid. After being lucky for several years with my pets, the risks are just too great. Yesterday, at our local dog park, a large un-neutered dog was brought into the park. The owner went to the nearest bench and lied down. They were not watching their out-of-control dog. They were asked to leave by other dog owners but they refused to leave. Un-neutered dogs are not allowed into the dog park by law where I live. Signs are posted at every single gate. The area in question is marked for small timid dogs. The large dog started to attack a toy breed dog. The small dog's owner tried to break up the fight. Both the owner and their small dog were both bitten and injured. Police were called and nothing was done even though there were witnesses. The large dog's owner never even got off of the bench. Apparently this dog has done this before. I was not there. So, there may be more to the story. I am so glad I was not there though.
Several months ago at the same park, there was a dog there with an eye infection. The eye was oozing and the dog was frightened by any other dog that was on the infected eye side. That dog should not have been out playing with other dogs. It was very defensive and was lunging toward any dog that came near it. We left when I saw it.
If people refuse to follow the rules and the police are not able to do anything about it, I will not be risking my dog's life taking a chance at a dog park. I love the idea of them. In practice, unfortunately, they just are not safe. So, what can you do?
One of the biggest things to worry about with dog ownership is the fear that your dog will bite someone. Dogs can bite for many reasons. This has been on my mind lately because one of my dog walking client’s dogs recently bit a runner while out on a walk with his mommy. The owner was bent over scooping poo while the runner ran past them. It startled the owner and the lab mix responded by lunging at the runner and broke the skin on his arm requiring stitches. It’s a nightmare for any owner. Any dog can bite given certain circumstances. What can you do?
Several articles have cropped up lately about women being mauled to death by pit bulls. Bully breeds are often the targets of breed bans, and breed bashing in general. When an animal attacks anyone it is heart-breaking. We ask what went wrong? How did this happen? What could have driven the dog or dogs to behave this way?
I love to take my dogs for rides with me. My dog has taken long road trips and she loves a good car ride. I also love seeing other people enjoy their dog's company while in the car as much as I do. There are some important things to do to insure that the car ride is a safe one. Here are some things I do:
This week has been a hard one for my family. We have been dealing with some pretty heavy stuff and we definitely need a break. I thought I would just take a moment and focus on something that always makes me feel better. DOGS.
Here are some reasons to love a dog.
There is a famous quote that says something like. “love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life”. It sounds great. But how do you find that special thing? I’ve always wondered what it would be for me. I’ve always tried to find something to love about what I have done for a living. I cannot say that I was really passionate about any career until I started professionally caring for pets. I had previously been in the auto industry for about 20 years off and on. I took a break when my kids were little and went back to it when they were teenagers. There were many days that I enjoyed. I always enjoyed meeting new people and helping them find solutions. There was much about that industry that I did not enjoy though. It was not my calling. It was a job. I stumbled into the pet industry when I was trying to pay the bills while searching for something that I could truly enjoy. I’ve always loved dogs and cats and they have always loved me. Once I started, I knew that this was something I could do that didn’t seem like work because it felt inherently natural to me -like this is the thing that I am supposed to do. While it is a huge responsibility to care for pets, I enjoy learning how to understand the psychology of dogs and safety as well. I can’t think of a better way to spend my days than walking and hanging out with dogs and cats. I am driven to create a good solid business devoted to pampering and enjoying family pets. I feel like I can make the world a little better, one pet at a time with an attitude of service. I am grateful every day that I found my place. I sometimes wish I could have found it sooner. But, maybe if I had, I wouldn’t have appreciated it as much.