28 Sep

Is Your Dog Depressed? 8 Things to Do Now

As emotional beings, dogs can sometimes suffer from depression which can be triggered by different factors. Depression in dogs isn’t difficult to notice and as an owner, you should be able to observe the signs so that the cause can be addressed before it poses a threat to your dog’s life.

dog depression infographic

When a dog is going through a bout of depression, you may observe behavioral changes such as:

  • A Lack of enthusiasm and unwillingness to play
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Pacing as a result of restlessness
  • Weight loss due to poor eating
  • Weight gain due to lethargy or binging
  • An Increase in household accidents
  • Aggressiveness or Destructive behavior or
  • Avoidance and hiding
  • Paw licking or chewing

Physical signs that may also indicate depression in your dog include

  • Sluggish movement
  • Sad or squinty eyes
  • Droopy ears
  • Extra shedding
  • Keeping tail between the legs rather than wagging
  1. Visit your vet: Before you conclude that any observed sign is due to depression, you should first see your vet to eliminate any possibility of sickness because some of the signs stated above may also show up in a physically sick dog.
  2. Get to the root: Once you have ruled out any medical condition, you would need to find out the cause of the depression. Has there been a major change in the dog’s routine? Dogs love routine and any disruption in routine can easily lead to stress and consequently, depression. If your schedule gets busier and your dog doesn’t get the kind he or she is used to getting, canine depression might result. A change in routine can also occur as a result when:
  • Your dog suffers a sudden loss of a canine or human companion
  • Your dog senses your own emotional stress and begins to empathize with you
  • There is an addition to the family such as a new child or dog which may affect how much attention he now gets.
  • You change homes or your dog’s home environment is changed due to a major renovation.

Don’t fuss over your dog’s state. Stay calm, be assertive, and patiently attend to his or her needs. Identify the possible cause of the depression and work on finding a remedy.

  1. Take out more time to give quality attention – Having more fun time with your dog can help him or her overcome depression. Engage in activities that he or she enjoys, visit the dog park, teach new tricks, play games that would help him or her exercise and so on.
  2. If the depression occurred as a result of a canine companion, let your dog socialize with other dogs or consider getting him or her another playmate.
  3. If your dog has to spend more time alone due to changes in your work schedule, you can engage the services of an in-house pet sitter.
  4. Reinforce positive behavior. If for example, he or she hasn’t been eating well, reward your dog with a treat and lots of cuddles anytime he or she eats.
  5. If you need to move homes or relocate your dog, ease him or her gradually into the new environment and ensure you stick to a routine.
  6. As a last resort, if your dog’s condition doesn’t show any improvement after some time, see your vet for possible recommendation of antidepressants as the condition might be as a result of hormonal imbalance.
21 Sep

When and Why Should I Spay Or Neuter?

bulldog puppies

Spaying or neutering is a surgical procedure in which the reproductive organs of a dog are removed in order to prevent procreation. For a male dog, it entails removing the testicles while for the female, the uterus and ovaries are removed. In simple terms, spaying applies to a female while neutering can apply to either. These procedures are quite simple, require minimal hospitalization, and have both health and social benefits for your dog.

If you don’t intend to keep the offspring of your dog, it is advisable to neuter early for the overall health of your dog and also to prevent over-population.

When To Spay Or Neuter Your Dog

You may neuter your male dog as early when he is between 6 to 8 weeks while a female can generally be spayed when she is at least 6 months old (when she is yet to have her first heat). Because neutering too early may have negative implications, your vet will offer the best advice on the most appropriate time for your dog.

Attempting to neuter a male dog later in life may lead to surgical complications, especially in situations where the testicles are retained within the abdomen. This condition is a high risk factor for cancer.

cute bulldog

Why you should consider Spaying Or Neutering Your Dog

Better health: 5 out of 10 cases of uterine infections and breast cancer results in fatality. Spaying helps to reduce your dog’s exposure to these life threatening conditions. For their male counterparts, it reduces their risk of developing testicular cancer, prostatitis and perineal hernias. Besides, your dog mating an “unknown” male or female poses a health risk which neutering prevents.

Better Behavior: An unneutered male dogs would naturally seek female company and would go all out to satisfy this need. If he is unable to do this, he might resort to mounting furniture or humans. Such a dog could also exhibit aggressive behavior such as getting into fights with other males in an attempt to win the right to mount a female dog. He would dig under a fence and roam or stray away from the home to satisfy this sexual urge thus risking injury from fights or car accident. Neutering would keep this in check and keep him more at home. His attention would be more on his human family than his canine opposite,

Most male dogs mark their territory by spraying urine and this can be an unwanted behavior, especially indoors. An unspayed female will also yowl and urinate more frequently when on heat. Neutering before the onset of this behavior can completely prevent it from occurring.

Low Cost: Spaying and neutering are low cost surgical procedures that won’t hurt your pocket. Compare this to the cost of keeping a litter or paying for damages if your dog causes trouble while straying.

14 Sep

My New Dog is Soiling the Crate. What Can I Do?

dog in a cage

Dogs don’t naturally like to poop or urinate in the same place they live, eat and sleep. However, certain conditions may alter this nature and you’ll find a dog soiling his or her crate. Situations that may be responsible for this include:

A Health problem – A sick dog may not have the strength to walk out of the crate in order to get rid of waste.

Lack of attention – When you leave your dog in the crate for extended periods of time; she may not be able to hold herself and may end up soiling her crate.

Upbringing – If your dog grew up in an environment such as a high volume breeding or boarding facility where the space available doesn’t allow for a separate spot for peeing or pooping, they could lose their instinct to separate their living area from the toilet area. So, if your dog was adopted, you may find yourself in this situation.

If left unaddressed, crate soiling can become habitual. It is better to housebreak or crate train your dog while he or she’s still a puppy.

While the situation can be remedied, the time it takes would depend on how deeply ingrained the behavior has become.

Don’t punish your dog for soiling his or her crate as this could create anxiety and worsen the problem. Behavioral issues should always be handled with calmness, positive reinforcement and patience.

How to Stop Your Dog from Soiling His or Her Crate

Things required:

  • A small room with easy-to-clean floors such as a bathroom or laundry room
  • A small barrier or baby gate
  • Old newspapers or piddle pads
  • Your dog’s crate
  • Water
  • Toys and treats


  1. The barrier or gate should be placed in the doorway to prevent your dog from leaving the room. It should also be high enough to prevent him or her from jumping over.
  2. Spread the newspapers or puppy pads to cover the entire room.
  3. Place your dog’s crate in one area of the room leaving the door open together with his or her water bowl and toys. If your dog chooses to sleep in the crate and soils it, get it cleaned and change the bedding.
  4. As he or she begins to potty within a specific area of the room, gradually remove the newspapers or pads from the other areas. This stage should be carried out at a very slow pace. If you intend for your dog to potty within the house, you can go ahead and place the piddle pads or litter box in the area he or she frequents. If the plan was for your pet to potty outside, continue taking him or her to the designated area regularly ensuring that you encourage with commendation and treats.
  5. Once you notice a consistency in your dog’s potty habits inside or outside, you can remove the papers or pads from other parts of the room
  6. Re-introduce your dog to crate training gradually, leaving the door shut for short periods of time. If he or she soils the crate at any time, remove them from it to prevent continuation of the habit.

Since it is aimed at correcting a problem, these methods should complement rather than replace the basic housebreaking essentials such as:

  • Ensuring that the crate or kennel is kept clean at all times
  • Adhering to a regular feeding and potty schedule
  • Having a designated area inside or outside the house where your dog potties
  • Making sure you take your dog straight from the crate to the designated potty area when it’s time.
  • Ensuring you make arrangement for potty trips if your dog would be alone for long periods.
07 Sep

7 Reasons Why Dogs Dig and What You Can Do

pet pit bulls like to dig in the yard

A yard or garden with patches of holes dug in it by your dog can be quite unsightly and unwanted. While you may not be able to completely stop your dog from digging up your yard, you can control the behavior by taking certain steps.

There are a number of reasons why your dog digs up the yard. The first step towards fixing the behavior is to identify what is responsible. Having narrowed down the possible reasons, you can choose the best course of action to take.

dog standing in water

  1. Boredom: Your dog may resort to digging as a means of entertainment. This could happen if he or she doesn’t get as much exercise as needed. Each dog has a different energy level from one another. For hyperactive dogs, going for a walk twice a day may not provide adequate exercise to release all that energy. Provide extra entertainment with a variety of toys and games to help your dog beat boredom. Engage him or her in more vigorous forms of exercises like running or playing fetch with a Frisbee or tennis ball launcher. If you have a dog park in your neighborhood (and your dog likes other dogs,) take him or her there for a quality time of socializing and playing with other dogs.
  2. To Hunt Prey: The scent of a prey may make your dog want to dig. Don’t forget that dogs are natural hunters and may sometime succumb to this natural instinct to hunt rodents. To prevent this from happening, endeavor to make your yard rodent-free by seeking professional help. Avoid using harmful or poisonous chemicals to do this as it could harm your dog and other animals as well.
  3. Natural Instinct: Some breeds of dogs are naturally inclined to dig than others and most terriers fall into this category. It doesn’t matter whether they are bored or not; they are likely to dig because they enjoy it. Other breeds that enjoy digging are the Portuguese Podengo Medio and Australian Cattle Dogs. For such cases, you can carve out a section of your yard as a digging area and then train your dog to confine his or her digging within this limit. This area should be fenced with freshly tilled earth. Provide an ample supply of treats like raw bone and chewable toys in this area for him or her to play with. If your dog wanders away from this area to dig somewhere else, stop this behavior with a firm “No digging” command and calmly return your pet back to the carved out area.
  4. To Get Attention: Dogs are intelligent creatures and if yours senses that he or she gets your attention (albeit negative) when digging, the behavior is likely to reoccur whenever he or she feels neglected. It is therefore important that you give your dog quality attention and care every day. Don’t leave your dog alone in the yard for long periods. If you notice this pattern, you can correct it by ignoring your dog whenever he or she digs and by lavishing him or her with attention for good behavior. This is a better way to show displeasure than yelling or screaming.
  5. To Escape: If your dog digs close to the fence, it may be in an attempt to escape. One thing you can do is to bury chicken wire immediately under the surface of the dirt. You can also fill the area with cement to harden it.
  6. For Comfort: In hot weather conditions, Your dog may dig up the earth in an attempt to find comfort from the heat by providing a comfortable dog house in a shaded area and ensuring he or she gets a good supply of water.
  7. Compulsive Behavior: If the digging problem is chronic, you may need to get you and your dog enrolled for a basic training. With this and a calm assertive approach, you should be able to deal with the issue.

Other Tips to Prevent Your Dog from Digging

  • Don’t punish, hit, yell at, nor scream at your dog if you find him or her digging. This will lead to the behavior happening when you aren’t around.
  • Don’t punish your dog after the deed has been done as dogs can’t know the real reason for the punishment and may mistake it for something else.
  • You can provide discouragement by filling the digging area with large, flat rocks to limit access or by sprinkling water on your pet from a hose whenever digging occurs.
  • If you are sure your dog doesn’t eat his own poop, you can put this in the hole to discourage further digging. Alternatively, you can use the peel of citrus fruits, such as orange, lemon and grapefruit, to fence off the area. To be sure that your dog would find the smell of the peel offensive, you can test by placing the squeezed juice on your hand and bringing it close to his or her nose. If he or she backs off or shows anxiety, then the peel can be used.
  • If you need to do some digging yourself, ensure that your dog doesn’t see you as this can reinforce the behavior.