Nearly 90 percent of dogs communicate silently. Vocalizations and bites represent only 10 percent of their language. So, how do you know what your dog is saying in his silence?
Here are some common signals and their meaning:
Turning the head away: Peaceful intentions. Avoiding possible conflict. Prevents eye contact, which most dogs find threatening.
Lip licking: Peaceful intentions. Calms a social group, eases tension. But it also may precede a bite from a fearful dog.
Yawning: Stress reducer. Commonly observed at the veterinarian’s office or at the groomer.
Tail positions: Up means confidence. Down signals a relaxed or submissive state. Between legs means fear. Wagging with entire body signals joy. Wagging without the body indicates stress, interest or excitement.
Raised hackles: The dog feels threatened or is overstimulated.
Shivering: Fear, tension or overstimulated.
Paw lift: Forward weight distribution signals a friendly state or begging. Rear weight distribution could indicate fear or distrust.
Closed mouth: Precedes bite. Helps gain scent, conveys seriousness.
Open mouth: Relaxed.
Grimace: Tense jaw muscles with mouth pulled back at corners exposing canines or all teeth signals fear, excitement or aggression.
Whale eye (whites of eyes visible, dilated pupils): Conveys fear or aggression.
Presenting stomach: Laying squarely on back with paws over center of chest signals submission or trust. On side, lifting one hind leg indicates fear, apprehension or fearful submission.
Sneeze: During or after enjoyable activity signals happiness.
Bowing: Means the dog is playful.
Breathing: Through stomach signals a relaxed state. Through chest indicates excitment or stress.
Sniffing ground: This is a calming signal that shows peaceful intent, relief of stress or an attempt to gain a scent.
Freezing: Signals the dog is contemplating a fight or flight.
Drooling: During the presence of food means the dog is hungry. During stressful situations signals fear and, for dogs that suffer car-sickness, often precedes vomiting.
Do you ever ask yourself how much water your pet should be drinking a day? Probably not! We generally fill their bowl up in the morning and go about the day. Your pet may not be getting enough hydration, especially if the bowl is empty two hours later, but no ones home the rest of the day! Here’s some factors to think about to make sure your pet is getting properly hydrated and ways to easily achieve it.
The size of your pet is important. A 90 pound dog will need far more water during the day than a 20 pound one. The food your pet is eating will affect the amount of water they need. Is the food wet or dry, what is the sodium content, are some ingredients going to make them more thirsty than others. All good questions to ask yourself!
How about your pets age. Younger dogs and cats need more water than senior dogs. More active breeds will drink more than lap dogs. Climate plays an important role in how much a dog or cat needs hydrating. The temperatures inside your home can also be an important factor. Also, is your cat or dog on medications that make them loose more of their bodies water weight.
It’s so important for your pet to stay hydrated all day long. Like humans, they will easily dehydrate if left without water for too long. Here’s some tips to remember.
If you’re crate training or leave your pet shut off from the rest of the house while at work or out for long periods, make sure to leave them with clean fresh water at all times. Make sure the bowl is large enough to last throughout the day. Or use an automatic water dispensing bowl.
Change the water bowl frequently and clean the bowls out daily. Find out what material the pets bowl is made of to determine how clean it stays. Our pets will stay healthier with clean fresh water in their bowls!
Remember when hiking with your dog to take along enough water for them to drink. A package of ice cubes work great to make sure the water is fresh throughout the day. You can even drop a few in their bowl during the day to keep the water full and clean.
I was going to write a Thanksgiving blog all about the pros and cons of feeding our pets table scraps but something happened on my morning walk that’s irritated me so much, I decided to voice my very opinionated opinion on what it means to be a responsible pet owner instead!
I’ve owned pets all my life and now run a successful pet sitting company. I consider myself a loving, caring, responsible pet owner. I believe in keeping pets safe, feeding them healthy food, making sure they’re physically healthy, exercised, socialized and loved. But, apparently nowadays, it means something entirely different. When was this new rule book written because I must have missed the issue! And, who wrote it? Since when, in this politically correct world we live in, do we have to follow someone else’s rules because they think it’s the politically correct thing to do in order to be a responsible pet owner.
What happened to the days where you could walk your dog without a leash, go to a school yard and have the dogs play with the kids, go to a park and have the dogs running and playing alongside the people, letting them swim in the ocean and sun themselves on the sand. What happened to having your neighbor call and say your dog was visiting them at their house and they just gave them a sandwich. What happened to letting your dog pee and poo on a walk and not panic because you forgot a bag for cleanup and it might cost you a hefty fine.
I was at a park with my dog a few weeks ago playing catch with a ball when a police car came blazing across the park and stopped in front of me and my dog. The two officers proceeded to tell me I was breaking a law! Yes, breaking a law playing fetch with my dog in a park! They then proceeded to tell me they were going to write a ticket and if I resisted giving them my name and information, they would tasser me and my dog with their tasser guns! Yes, this is all true, as unbelievable as it may sound. This can’t be what it means to be a responsible pet owner, because quite honestly, it scares me to death if that’s what it means.
What I love about dogs, is they have no agenda’s and they live by their instincts. They don’t stop and think, can I, should I, could I, dare I, what if I….. But people nowadays seem to think they should.
I’m really tired of people going out of their way to stop their car or come out of their home to take the time to lecture and scream about your dog walking on their grass, peeing in their yard, pooping and making sure you have a bag to clean it up. Really? Really?? When did we make everyone a dog deputy!!
And, those signs people buy and stick in their lawns, warning you about the code violation your dog is committing if he poops on their grass. Really? Really??? I walk around stressed and full of panic if I forgot a bag. Are they going to call the cops, have me arrested? It’s become so coo coo crazy. And, we just seem to let it continue.
I miss the good old days. I really do. When dogs could be dogs. People were kind and everyone lived in harmony, not fear because you forgot your poop bags on the morning walk or you took your dog off leash to fetch a ball.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Lets give thanks for the pets and focus on the joy that they can bring if you let them!! And, give serious thought to how far we’re letting this politically correct world take over what we already know. How to be a responsible pet owner!
You want to let your dog give you one of it’s slobbery loving kisses but, ohhhh no, it’s the breath of the beast heading towards you instead!
Signs of periodontal gum disease include the yellow and brown buildup of tarter around the gum line, inflammation and bad breath. Your dogs and cats don’t have to be seniors for this to start happening. Infact, it can start as early as 3 years of age.
You’ve tried giving them bones to chew on, breath drops in their water, even tried brushing their teeth with pet toothbrushes! Ya, like your dog likes a big hard plastic toothbrush in it’s mouth! Not my dog. Ugh! Nothing is working, now what?
If your dog doesn’t like plastic pet toothbrushes and if “finger brushes” make them gag, you might have more luck using a simple, thin cotton glove. Place toothpaste on your gloved index finger and gently massage your pet’s teeth and gums. Most dogs find this sensation pleasurable and relaxing.
The glove is analogous to your finger, which your dog presumably trusts, and not hard, inflexible, or rubbery. Wash your hand in the glove and hang the glove to dry for next time. (So simple!)
Eighty percent of humans brush their teeth at least twice a day, but very few pet owners brush their pet’s teeth at all. Yes, guilty as charged! But, with this glove idea, it’s made it easy and a positive experience for both myself and my dog.
Now, I’m working up the courage to try it on my cat! Meowrrrrrrr!!!!
Many pet owners have adopted or rescued their dog and may wonder, how old is this dog, really? Others pet owners may think they know it’s age by applying the old 7 to 1 ratio. For every year of a dogs life add 7 years. Which, by the way, is not exactly accurate either.
Dogs age much more rapidly in the first two years of their lives but then it slows down to a 5 to 1, 6 to 1 or a 7 to 1 ratio, depending on the size of your dog.
Small little Chihuahua’s will be in the 5 to 1 ratio after the first two years while Labs and Chow’s may be a 6 to 1 ratio. If you have a St Bernard lounging around the house, then bump that up to an 8 to 1 ratio. Yes, 8!
So, just how old is your dog? Here’s some other signs that may help you figure it out.
Your dogs teeth will be a good give away for signs of aging. Dogs usually have a set of permanent teeth by their seventh month, so if you’ve come across a dog with clean pearly whites, he is likely a year old or thereabouts. Yellowing on a dog’s back teeth may put the dog between one to three years of age, while tartar build-up at a minimal level could mean you have a dog between 4 and 6. Missing teeth or severe wear usually means the dog is settling into senior aging.
Your dogs muscle tone is another clue. Younger dogs are more likely to have some muscle definition from their higher activity level. Older dogs are usually either a tad bonier or a little fatter from decreased activity.
Does your dog have a shiny coat of fur? A younger dog usually has a soft, fine coat, whereas an older dog tends to have thicker, coarser (and sometimes oilier) fur. A senior dog may display grays or patches of white, particularly around the snout.
Look into your dogs eyes. Bright, clear eyes without tearing or discharge are common in younger dogs. Cloudy or opaque eyes may can mean your dog is starting to age.
One of the best ways to prolong the life and improve the functions of your dog as it ages is to carefully regulate its fuel intake. Older dogs exercise less and thus need fewer calories. No matter what your dogs age, a healthy dog is a happy dog and needs lots of love from it’s owner at any age!
Yes, even our pets can go green with a little help from their owners! Here’s a few easy tips that will make a big impact on the planet.
Cat Food. It can be more eco-friendly by favoring certain cat food flavors over others. According to John Robbins, author of The Food Revolution, it takes significantly more resources in terms of land and water to produce one pound of beef as compared to a pound of chicken. So, when you’re at the store staring at the shelf and trying to decide which of the 15 flavors to pick, consider the ones that are lower down in the food chain. Choose chicken over beef. Look for seafood that is sustainably harvested such as sardines or mackerel instead of tuna. Go organic with your cat food. Certified organic foods are produced without synthetic pesticides or genetically modified ingredients and the organic farming process helps to preserve the integrity of the land and water.
Cat Litter. Forget those disposable plastic liners. You can keep your cat’s box fresh with daily scooping and washing it regularly with a mild soap and some water. When you do need to replace the litter box, look for one made from recycled plastic. Go with litter made from recycled paper products, corn or wheat.
Cat Toys. They can be eco friendly too. To reduce waste, choose quality over quantity and choose toys that you’re sure Kitty will enjoy. Cats are notoriously finicky, so if you buy something that you’re not sure your cat will like, chances are they wont. Get creative and look around the house for articles you already have. A pen top or bottle top can keep a cat intrigued for hours. Try hair rubber bands and cut up toilet paper rolls. A roll of string or yarn or an old cardboard box and cover can become your cats next favorite toy.
Share the Green. Once your cat has settled into her new earth-friendly routine, share your green knowledge and experience with fellow cat lovers. Greening the entire planet can start with just one cat and owner, so take the first step today toward reducing your cat’s carbon pawprint today!
It’s 4am, your deep into REM sleep, when your 12 pound tabby jumps on your head and decides it’s time to play! Or meows incessantly until your eyelids are forced open and your wide awake. Sound familiar? This is a deciding moment for cat owners to seize the moment and do some training.
However, remember it’s 4am and most of us are not thinking clearly and just react instead! Ah, just what the cat was hoping would happen. Whether it’s positive or negative reactions at that point, doesn’t faze the cat at all. They have you up and paying attention to them. Mission accomplished!
Ok, cats are nocturnal by nature. I get it. When we’re at work, they spend the day sleeping. When we get home, they’re ready to roll. You feed them, play with them and then just when you turn out the lights for bed at night, they’ve hit their stride. But wait, there is hope. Here’s some ideas on how to get your cat to sleep at night.
Try increasing their activity during the day. Indoor cats, especially, need stimulation. Leave window blinds open and places for your cat to sit by a window to watch the outdoors. Put a birdfeeder by a window. Cats can entertain themselves for hours watching the action. Think about adding another pet companion to the house. Someone to play with during the day. Keep some music or tv going while your out. Cats will watch and listen. It’s great stimulation. Keep the house light and bright. If it’s dark all day, cats will sleep. And feed your cats closer to bedtime. When their bellies are full they tend to sleep for longer periods of time.
Most important, at 4am when the cat is sailing across your bed, nibbling at your feet and pouncing on your face, ignore them. Don’t react and they might just learn to sleep through the night!
I am lucky to work with so many wonderful clients in my business and hear stories everyday about another pet being rescued to a loving home.
Rescuing a dog or cat from a shelter is a big commitment but one of the best ways to save more lives. Shelters are filled with abandoned, abused and neglected pets. Many of the shelters are not structured to be no-kill organizations. Adoption is the only way these beautiful creatures can be saved.