Does Your Dog Destroy Things When You Are Away? Find out more!

Have you ever come in the door to a scene that looks like the aftermath of natural disaster? Trash can turned over and stuff strewn everywhere? Have you ever wondered if your dog just gets bored when you leave and resorts to naughtiness?  It may seem like it, but it may not be that straightforward.

 

Don’t forget that your dog is an animal and not a human. His prime objective, down to his very DNA is to survive. Humans are wired similarly, but over time, we have evolved away from our primal roots. Dogs have changed too, but not quite as much. They are still dogs that have wild tendencies that are designed to help them survive against the odds in the wild.

If you think about the natural environment that wild dogs live in, you realize that the world is full of sights, sounds and smells. The wild environment is active and spacious. Wild dogs live in family groups. They know that there is safety in numbers. When wild dogs are alone, at the very least it is somewhat boring, but at the worst, it is downright dangerous!

On the one hand, you are right.  Bored dogs can turn to mischief, just to stay entertained. When we leave dogs home alone, we can provide some ways to manufacture entertainment for them. Lots of enrichment toys are available today and you can even create your own fun games. Try hiding toys and treats for your dog to find in your absence. You can buy a mechanical fetching apparatus or puzzle toys to make your dog think to get a treat. You can buy a hollow and durable chew toy and fill it with canned dog food. Then freeze the toy and it will entertain your dog for hours when you are away. We call these “popsicles”! Check out some other ideas by clicking here.

home early pug

Don’t forget that dogs that are anxious and stressed may try to self-soothe through chewing, foraging, or trying to dig. Truly anxious dogs, like ones suffered from separation anxiety disorder, can even hurt themselves. If you are not sure how your dog reacts when you are away, it is fairly easy and inexpensive to set up a web cam to watch. If your dog exhibits behavior, while you are away, that is physically or emotionally damaging, please seek help. Your veterinarian can provide advice and assistance. He/she might even suggest a consultation with a veterinary behaviorist.

Everyone has to leave their home sometimes. Leaving seems like it is not a big deal to you, but it might be to your dog. Some dogs are not stressed by your absence and merely seek entertainment, but some dogs are acting out because of true anxiety. Knowing the difference is a quality of life issue for you and your dog. If you are not sure which reason explains your dog’s behavior, ask your vet. In either case, making your dog’s time alone more busy and fun is always a good idea.

For more on how to entertain dogs (and be entertained yourself), follow me on Facebook by clicking here.

Are you worried about the pets that are trying to survive in the aftermath of real disasters? We are too, so we are spreading the word about some special groups that are helping pets rescued from this year’s hurricane disasters. Click here if you want to help. https://www.heschatt.org/give/harvey/

 

 

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Cats versus dogs with Victoria Stilwell. Tips to help everyone get along.

Join me with the amazing Victoria Stilwell to talk about tips and tricks when you have to integrate these two ancient enemies. We talk about bringing a dog into a cat home and vice versa on Nine Lives with Dr. Kat. Learn about when is the best time to introduce these species and what you are up against with individual breeds and ages of pets. You can subscribe on iTunes or click here to listen FREE
http://petliferadio.com/ninelivesep7.html

If you have pets, you need to read this before Halloween 

Many of us have not thought of these things to keep pets safe and happy on this creepy fun holiday!

From The Vet: DO’s and DON’Ts for Halloween

Goodbye, My Friend

I just said Goodbye to my friend. Do not pity me. It was a gift that I could give to him. When I walked into the room, where I have visited with him so many times in his life, he lifted his eyes and whined under his breath. His family did not hear him, but I did. It was then that I knew. I could not let him down.

I have power in these situations. Families look to me to help them know. Usually I explain what I think medically, but remain non-committal because this is the family’s journey. Their hearts have to lead them to the decision when they are ready. But sometimes, only occasionally, will I make a stand. At these times, I must disregard the needs of the humans and only care about the needs of my patient.

In this case, bone cancer had ravaged my friend. He was living with pain, every second of every day. I know this intellectually and I explained it to the family. I had prescribed appropriate pain medication and increased dosing along the way to do what I could. But in the end, the pain won. I saw it in his eyes and I could not let him down.

I told them that there was no wrong answer, but the whole situation was wrong. We had to address the pain, at least his pain. For me and the family, the pain continues. I will miss his sweet face. He was always happy to see me, even today.

And so we all said Goodbye and he slept, with dignity and peace. It hurt us all, but not him. He has always trusted me and I did not let him down. I have honored my friend, my oath and my profession, but oh, how it hurts.