Monday, November 14, 2016

Keeping Your Dog Calm During Holiday Craziness

The holiday season is officially here, which means a number of different things. Not only is it a special time of the year when you get to be with the people who matter to you most, but all the different things going on which need to get done can lead to very busy days. Between getting everything ready for holiday events and potentially hosting guests at your home, you’ll likely find yourself worn out at the end of many days.

While you know exactly why things are suddenly more hectic in your life, the same isn’t true for your dog. But your dog will notice all of these changes, which is why it’s important to be proactive about helping your pooch combat stress. If you’re wondering what you can do to help out, we’ve put together five proven tips for you:

1. Be Consistent with Your Dog’s Routine

When things get really busy, it’s easy to let the structure of your normal schedule slide. However, that’s only going to trigger more anxiety in your dog, which is why it’s best if you can stick to doing things like feeding your pet its dog food at the exact same times each day.

2. Amp Up Exercise

On the subject of routine, going outside is a common daily activity. Between the busy nature of the holidays and colder temperatures, dogs often get less exercise during this time of the year. The problem is that excess energy can contribute to a dog feeling anxious, which is why trying to wear your dog out on a daily basis can help it stay relaxed.

3. Create a Comfortable and Secure Space

Whether holiday guests are coming over for a dinner or to stay with you for a few days, your dog will probably enjoy interacting with them. But that doesn’t mean your dog will want to be around them all the time. You can give your dog the space it needs to feel relaxed by creating a comfortable and secure area in part of your home that’s away from all the holiday activity.

4. Pay Attention to Holiday Hazards

Although you should feel free to enjoy decorating your home with holiday cheer, just be aware of any items that may create a temptation for your dog to snatch and chew. Keeping those types of items out of reach of your dog will prevent any stressful holiday mishaps.

5. Make Your Dog Feel Included

A big part of what makes this time of year so special is coming together with loved ones. That’s why you can definitely include your dog in your celebrations. There are plenty of tasty but still healthy dog treats that you can surprise your pet with throughout different times of this season.

By being consistent with your dog’s routine, amping up exercise, creating a comfortable & secure space, paying attention to holiday hazards and making your dog feel special, you can help your dog enjoy this season by keeping its stress to a minimum.


The Many Things a Dog's Nose Can Tell You About Them

There’s a fairly common belief that if a dog’s nose is wet and cold, it automatically means the dog is in good health. To understand why that may not always be the case, it’s important to understand the role a dog’s nose plays in its overall body functions. While humans have sweat glands to help us regulate our body temperature, dogs actually use their nose and the pads on their feet.

So, if a dog is properly hydrated, there’s a good chance its nose will be moist. On the other hand, if a condition is preventing a dog from being able to adequately hydrate, its nose may be noticeably dry. In the event you do notice your dog’s nose is dry for an extended period of time, it’s worth bringing this issue to your vet’s attention.

Because that’s just one example of what you can learn about your dog from its nose, we want to cover several more notable signals that this part of a dog’s body can send:

Body Temperature

As with humans, a dog’s internal temperature can go higher or lower. It’s worth noting that dogs run a little warmer than people. 101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit is the normal range for them. If you notice your dog’s nose is quite hot or much colder than normal, you should look deeper into what’s causing this change.

Runny Nose

Dogs can get nasal discharge. There are actually a few different forms this type of discharge can take. The first is clear. In addition to small amounts of clear discharge being completely normal, irritants like pollen or air freshener can cause a temporary increase in how much comes out. Thick opaque mucus is the next type of discharge. This generally means there’s a severe irritation or infection and signals that your dog needs professional medical attention from a vet. The same is true if your dog has a bloody nose or any amount of blood in its nasal discharge.

Changes in Pigment or Texture

If you periodically look at your dog’s nose, you’ll notice that it appears uniform in size and lacks textural or pigmentary changes. What happens if there are changes? It’s generally a sign of underlying health issues. A common example is nasal hyperkeratosis, which is often seen in older dogs and certain breeds, including Labrador retrievers. Since it can be a sign of other conditions like KCS, you’ll want to bring it up with your vet.

Even though gauging your dog’s condition is a little more complex than simply checking if its nose is wet and cold, given all the useful information a dog can signal with its nose, you’ll probably find that paying attention to this part of your dog is helpful in allowing you to take great care of it.