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.

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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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Ask A Vet: How Can I Make Sure My Cat Is Happy?

Cats are predators and we make them house pets.  We all want happy cats. Find out ways to make sure they are.

http://iheartcats.com/ask-a-vet-how-can-i-make-sure-my-cat-is-happy/

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About The Vet: Dr. Kathryn Primm is a practicing small animal veterinarian. She has consulted on articles for national magazines, done numerous radio interviews and appeared on local television. She has contributed to an article for Woman’s Day in Feb 2014 and June 2015 and a piece for Prevention magazine on shelves now.

She has a social media presence on Twitter, Facebook , YouTube and Google+ and enjoys interaction with others about her passions, animals and communication. She is a regular contributor to Boomeon, the online community which can be found at www.boomeon.com . She has also written a book, Tennessee Tails:Pets and Their People. The book received recognition as Runner Up in the Memoirs category at a national book festival. You can read more about Dr. Primm and how to be the best pet parent on her website, www.drprimm.com.