29 Jun

Why Do Dogs Lick?

dog sticking his tongue out

It is important to bear it in mind that your dog doesn’t have the luxury of words like you do to express feelings or emotions. He or she therefore has to resort to doggy means like barking, licking or pica (ingesting inedible objects) in order to get your attention.

The reasons dogs lick are varied but the bottom line is that there is a message being communicated whenever your dog licks you, herself, other people or dogs and objects. It is part of your responsibility to be observant in order to know what is being communicated.

dog licking bananas

5 Reasons Dogs Lick

Here are few of the general reasons why dogs lick

To Show Affection: Dogs lick to express emotions like love and affection. Just like you, there are times when your dog feels like expressing her adoration and a lick on your face on certain occasions, like when you arrive home, could jolly well be your dog saying “I love you so much” “You mean the world to me” or “Welcome, glad to see you”

To Connect: You may sometimes find your dog giving your visitors or other dogs a lick. They sometimes do this to connect, possibly to pick up a scent from your visitor or to show the other dog that he is welcome.

To Submit: Dogs in a pack lick to show submission to a leader. So on some occasions, your dog licks your hand or feet simply to show submission.

To Clean Up: Your dog may lick her body for the purpose of grooming. However, observe if any part of the body is getting unusual attention. Excessive licking of the anal area may be a sign that he or she needs to use the potty.

For Healing: Your dog may also tend to lick any part of her body that is injured or causing discomfort. The saliva has antibacterial properties and he or she may lick wounds and sores to prevent them from becoming infected. Being watchful will help you notice this early to avoid excessive licking.

What About Compulsive Licking? Normal dog behavior, such as barking and licking, isn’t a problem as long as it doesn’t become compulsive. Compulsive behavior is usually a sign that something is wrong or lacking and can be taken care of through training or by dealing with the root cause.

If the licking happens often or long enough to irritate you or others, then you may need to let your dog know it is not acceptable. However, you need to be discerning to figure out if he or she is just being naughty or is trying to tell you something.

Sometimes, all your dog may be telling you is that the water bowl is empty or that she is bored, anxious afraid or upset about something.

22 Jun

How Do I Stop My Dog From Barking? – 3 Reasons Why Dogs Bark

dog at rest

Why do human babies cry? Basically because that is their primary mode of communication when hungry, seeking attention, or experiencing some form of discomfort. Usually, all a parent needs do to stop the crying is to sort out the baby’s needs. However, when the crying becomes excessive or incessant, you know there is something definitely wrong on a deeper level.

The same reasoning applies to your canine members of the family. Together with other body gestures, barking is a dog’s main means of communicating needs, excitement, and danger and so on. But when it becomes excessive or out of control, you need to investigate.

Look In Before You Look Out

A lot of times, the barking problem is not the fault of the dog, so if your dog barks all the time, you need to look within yourself first to be sure you are not the cause. Your dog looks up to you for leadership and unwanted behavior is usually an indication that you are missing out something important. Moreover, your dog depends on you to take care of his or her needs and when these are not being met, your pet resorts to barking to get your attention. Excessive or unwanted barking is a signal for you to check what you might not doing right.

sled dogs barking

Stopping Your Dog from Barking

Here are 3 possible questions you need to ask if your dog barks and how you can help.

  1. Is your dog bored? Boredom is the most likely cause of a barking problem. You are probably not giving your dog enough exercises or outdoor play time to keep him or her happy and healthy. Dogs are naturally active creatures and when deprived of this, barking may be the only way to express it. A regular exercise regimen is an ongoing requirement for an emotionally and psychologically balanced dog and this should not be compromised. If your other activities would hinder this, you can get the assistance of a professional dog walker such as Saint Louis Dog Walkers
  2. Are You Sending The Wrong Signals? Your dog’s behavior is formed through positive reinforcement. Because of this, it is quite easy to unintentionally encourage the wrong behavior thorough your actions without even realizing it. For example, if you always cuddle her up when she welcomes you back home with a bark, you are telling your dog that it is okay to bark. The same thing may happen if you try shouting her down while barking- you are increasing the excitement. Train your dog to greet you through other means other than by barking. It is possible to train your dog to bark on command or only when for the right reasons.
  3. Am I Giving Enough Attention Or Affection? Your dog loves you and wants to be shown some love also. If your dog barks all the time, it may be because you have been ignoring him or her for too long. Devote quality time, once in a while, to give your dog a treat. Make physical connection with your dog as often as possible so your friend knows everything is okay.
15 Jun

6 Reasons Dogs Need Regular Walks

2 women walking a dog

Regular dog walking provides many benefits

There are plenty of reasons why we don’t walk our dogs enough. We’re too busy. It’s too hot (or cold). We rationalize that small dogs get enough exercise running around the coffee table. But dogs really need daily walks. Here are six reasons why walks are beneficial to dogs (and humans:)

1. Obesity

Did you know that over HALF of American dogs are obese? Yes, you might think that little belly is cute, but what is it doing to the inside of your dog? Obese dogs, like humans, are more likely to get heart disease and diabetes. It won’t only shorten their lifespan, but it will lighten your pocketbook. And if you’re personally struggling to stave off the pounds, walking your dog is a great option. You get more exercise every day.

2. Instinct

Neither dogs nor humans were built to sit around on the couch all day. Wild dogs run around with their pack to find food. Before the plethora of convenient food options, humans had to get up and hunt or farm their food. We are both used to getting up and moving, so why fight instinct?

3. Boredom

The number one reason that dogs exhibit bad behavior? Lack of exercise. Simply put: they’re bored. You know the feeling of being stir-crazy if you sit home all weekend, order in, and binge watch something on Netflix. At the end of it, you feel bored. Imagine if that was your whole life. It is the same as putting your dog in solitary confinement. They need to get outside not only to stretch their legs but to stimulate their minds.

man walking 2 dogs

4. Lifespan

Dogs that are walked more tend to live longer. Dogs’ lifespans are short as it is, but we develop very strong bonds with our pets. After their pet dies, many dog owners regret not spending more time with their pet, including walking. This is especially the case if the condition the dog died from could have been avoided or managed through simple exercise.

5. Quality of Life

Some dogs need stairs in order to get up into the couch. They get arthritis and achy joints just like humans. In humans and canines, this sort of pain can be avoided by just walking. If you could do something for twenty minutes a day that would prevent your dog from living a life full of pain, wouldn’t you do it?

6. Confidence

If dogs are kept indoors, they never learn how to interact with people, deal with stimuli, etc. By consequence, when they inevitably run into these stimuli, they freak out because they do not know how to react. This creates a fearful dog. Fearful dogs have anxiety and are more likely to bite. Do not let this happen to your pets!

If you find yourself getting too busy to take your dog for a regular walk, contact us at Saint Louis Dog Walkers. We can provide your dog with exercise and companionship when you can’t.

08 Jun

Dogs and Apartment Living – 11 Important Tips For Owners

dogs living in an apartment have special requirements from dogs with yards

Dogs living in an apartment have special requirements compared to dogs with a house and yard.

Being able to afford a home with a yard doesn’t usually come cheap; living in an apartment has therefore become the norm for a lot of city dwellers. For a lot of folks, this has given rise to the challenge of adapting pets, especially dogs, to apartment living. Since this trend has come to stay, it has become imperative for dog owners to have a clear understanding of what it takes to cater to the needs of this important family member. Here are a few things to consider in ensuring a pleasurable apartment living experience for both you and your dog.

  1. Check with Your Landlord: You will need to be sure that pets are allowed in the building before making a decision. Some buildings allow dogs but have regulations with regard to breed, size and so on. Ensure you are quite familiar with and abide by the laid down rules.
  2. Consider Your Living Space: Do you have enough room to accommodate both of you? This would determine whether you should go for a small or large dog. You want your dog’s area to be properly carved out for him or her in such a way that you don’t get into each other’s way.
  3. Breed Matters: Most dog breeds can adapt to living in an apartment. However, some breeds are more adapted to apartment living than others because they are calmer or don’t do much moving around, or they require less space to do so. Breeds such as the Chihuahua, Shih Tzu, English Bulldog, French Bulldog, Corgi, Pekingese, Pug, Pomeranian, Standard Schnauzer, Tibetan Spaniel, Yorkshire Terrier and the Dachshund among others can cope better in an apartment.
  4. Personality Matters: Another important consideration is your dog’s personality. Although your dog’s breed may generally adapt to apartment living, there could be exceptions. Your dog may just have higher energy levels than others of the same breed and would require greater attention. Also, since you would have neighbors, you wouldn’t want to pose a nuisance to others with a dog that is hostile or barks often.
  5. Exercises Are Important: Dogs are genetically wired to run around and will need exercises to ensure their physical and mental well being. Daily walks and exercises are therefore a necessity regardless of size or breed. Apart from these daily walks, your dog will also require regular exercises to stay active and happy. The amount of exercising your dog will require depends on individual energy level but exercising is a must. In addition, regular visits to a dog park will also afford him or her the opportunity to play with other dogs and ward off monotony. If you work long hours or you are not able to meet up with the exercise requirement of your dog, a dog walker will come in handy to help you meet this very important need.
  6. Feeding: Don’t compromise on quality when it comes to your dog’s feeding. Stick to pet food rather than people food to avoid a situation where your dog could go begging or eating from other places. Also, ensure an ample supply of water.
  7. Training: You will have to completely housebreak your dog. This might pose a bit of a challenge if you live high-up; so you may need to start out using piddle pads and work at it until you achieve 100% housebreaking. You will need to also give your dog other behavioral training and promptly obey cues. This is one reason why trained adult dogs may be a better deal than puppies for apartment living.
Dog going on a walk

Dogs require regular exercise and generally love time spent outside.

Endeavor to establish regular times for feeding and other activities so that your dog gets used to a particular routine.

  1. Update Vaccinations And Medications: Since there are others living in close proximity, it is quite easy for parasites and diseases to spread. You, therefore, need to assure your dog’s health and protect yourself and others. Always ensure that your dog’s shots are regular and up-to-date.
  2. Maintain Good Hygiene: Clean up messes immediately and keep your home clean and fresh regularly. Vacuum your home often to get rid of pet dander and ensure you keep your dog clean.
  3. Have A Good Supply And Variety Of Toys: Spending a lot of time indoors can lead to boredom; you will therefore need to provide a lot of toys for your dog to play with and scratch on. This would also prevent him or her from substituting your furniture or other belongings as play things.
  4. Keep Your Dog Safe: Keep your pet safe from domestic accidents by keeping windows and patio doors and securely locked. Visits to the balcony should be on a leash. Also, sharp objects and poisonous substances should be kept safely away.
01 Jun

6 Reasons Why Cats Need a Pet Sitter

group of cats

Cats can benefit in many ways from the use of an in-home pet sitter

Unlike dogs, cats are generally quite adaptable and are able to cope pretty well on their own and do not require as much attention or stimulation to carry on. Because of this, you might be tempted to believe that they can be left alone at home or boarded in a kennel while you are on vacation, but that can cause problems. Using the services of a professional pet sitter not only gives you peace of mind and assurance of your cat’s safety while you are away, among other benefits.


  1. Cats love familiarity: Having become used to the safety and comfort of your home, your cat may become stressed out if you decide to keep him or her in an unfamiliar surrounding like a kennel or even another home. Using a pet sitter in your home gives your cat a feeling of reassurance even when you are not there.
  2. Cats have emotional needs: Cats, too, have the need to for love, attention, and care like other pets. Leaving your cat alone at home or in a kennel or engaging an in-home pet sitter could mean the difference between coming back to meet a cat that just managed to survive without you and one that is well catered to, emotionally balanced and didn’t quite notice your absence.
  3. Cats love routine: Subjecting your cat, or any pet for that matter, to sudden drastic changes in routine can have undesirable consequences on his or her well being. Keeping your pets at home under professional care will ensure that their routine is not disrupted in any way.
  4. Cats need Adequate Care: Though generally not very demanding, cats still require a good deal of playtime and grooming. For instance, Jacques Arthur explains in his book Cat Keeping Guide that the hair mats of the Persian cat require at least 20 minutes of grooming daily and one hour of grooming per week. If you are in a similar situation and will not be available to do it yourself, your best bet is to hire a professional pet sitter. Also, your pet’s medications can be administered while you are away from home.
  5. Lower Health Risks: Apart from the emotional distress that kenneling or boarding exposes your cat to, he or she can easily pick up infections from the surroundings and other cats. In-home pet sitting minimizes this risk to a large extent and ensures that your cat stays healthy. Even if health issues arise, there is someone available to attend to them.
  6. Reduced Exposure to Domestic Accidents: Leaving your cat at home without supervision exposes her to hazards that could cause harm or even death. It is quite easy for cats to get stuck in enclosed places like heating vents and kitchen appliances. With a pet sitter checking in at regular intervals, the risk is minimized. There is also the possibility of something going wrong in the house – like the heating becoming faulty or a pipe leakage. Your pet sitter can easily notify you or get it fixed in your absence.

If your cat is in need of an in-home pet sitter in the St. Louis area, please contact Saint Louis Dog Walkers. We can provide food, medicine, water, and as much or little attention as they desire in a familiar environment at home.