Monthly Archives: October 2013

Fear Issues In Dogs

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There have been a lot of questions lately addressed to me about fear issues in pets. So I want to address the issue about fear/aggression issues in this blog. I am a member of the Pet Professional Guild and one of the issues we talk about are fear issues with animals. Here is a great write up by one of our members who is a professional dog trainer. Her name is Leah Roberts.

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Aggression always (or at least 99.9% of the time) is a fear issue. Just like when we feel threatened we have the choice between fight, flight, and freeze, so do dogs make a similar choice. They may hide behind something and shake, lunge and attack, or just freeze on the spot. In all cases, you want to address the underlying fear, not the behavior. Once you have healed the fear, the behavior will change on its own.

There are two methods of dealing with fear that work beautifully. Both are ways of associating good things with the trigger (object of fear) and replacing that with the perception that the trigger is threatening.

Open Bar/Closed Bar: As long as the trigger is in sight, chicken (or a very special yummy treat) is being shoveled into the dog’s mouth. I also like to “cheerlead” – praise in a happy tone of voice. When the trigger moves out of sight, the chicken and cheering stop.

Click the Trigger: Watch the dog’s eyes. As soon as the dog looks at the trigger, click (or use a verbal marker) and immediately hold the chicken to the side of the dog’s nose, so that his eye contact is immediately broken to take the treat. Repeat. Repeat.

In both cases, it is ultimately important to start at a distance/level of intensity where your dog notices the trigger, but is not bothered by it. If he’s already reacting, you are too close. In both cases, you are working toward getting a “yay, there’s the trigger” reaction. Not just tolerance, but happy excitement. Once you get that, you move a teensy bit closer and start again.

If even once during the therapy your dog is placed “over threshold” – where he feels threatened – you have lost your progress. So you may have to change your routine. If you normally walk your dog where there are other dogs who appear too close for comfort, walk elsewhere for a while until your dog is fine with that level of intensity. If you have your dog out in the house when visitors come and he’s upset, put him away before you have visitors in until he is happy to see them.

Best case scenario, locate a force-free trainer who uses these scientific principles of counter-conditioning. Never “correct” a reaction, because you will associate “bad things happen when that trigger is around” and lose your progress. Note that if you get a reaction, YOU made the mistake, not the dog. You’re too close.

First place to look for a force-free trainer: http://petprofessionalguild.com/

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What Home Treatments Are Best for Diarrhea in Dogs & Reference Guide to Download…

Dog-diarrhea

One of the many new activities I have tried for my pets is cooking for them. It doesn’t mean I have eliminated feeding them holistic dog food but it brings more variety into their daily meals.  One of the side effects that can happen is your pooch can have a diarrhea from the transition. Of course I grew concerned because I needed to make sure my pets were still healthy and I was not feeding them anything that they should not be eating. I checked with our veterianarian and also look up information about pets having bouts of diarrhea and what I can do.  

My pets are fine now but of course it came up in conversations I have had with clients and other pet sitters . We discussed the best remedies and preventative care. So I decided to blog about this for any pet owners that have dealt with this like I have and need another confirmation that their treatment and care is correct when trying to cure diarrhea in their pets.

All dogs, at one point or another, have had a bout of diarrhea. Most diarrhea lasts a couple days, however when loose bowels continue over a long period of time it is a cause for concern; especially if the diarrhea gets severe, and is uncontrolled liquid squirts. My pets are my babies ( And for that matter, my clients’ pets , I treat them as my children too ).  If your baby has a soft stool in his/her diaper, it may not be a cause for you to seek your doctor’s advice, for instance, if you have tried a new food ( my cooking)  which upset the baby’s belly.  If this is the case for your pet, it may be fine for you to treat it at home. However, if your baby had uncontrolled diarrhea, you would seek a medical doctor’s advice, as there could be an underlying cause. Like a baby, a puppy or dog  can dehydrate FAST from severe diarrhea. REMEMBER, diarrhea can be mild or severe and the treatments differ.

Causes of Diarrhea

Bacteria/ Parasites – Viruses and parasites are one of the main causes of diarrhea in dogs If you are concerned that this is the cause, please get a stool  sample to the vet  to check for Coccidia(Coccidiosis), Giardia, Trichomonas or other infections. If your litter of two-week-old puppies gets diarrhea, it could be worms. Normally we do not worm pups till three weeks, but some do it at two weeks. When worms become active, it can cause diarrhea. If the diarrhea worsens, even after using a worming medicine, you may need to check for coccidia. The incubation period is 13 days, and the dams often carry it. They would come in contact from the dam at birth, or shortly after; they are not born with it.  If a 13-day-old puppy has diarrhea, it often means coccidia. This requires vet medicine to treat. It can be found in a stool sample.

Anxiety – My pets as with all pets get completely excited or stressed over many things. One issue can be the stress of traveling, being in a kennel or a doctor’s office.  Believe it or not dogs/puppies have been known to get diarrhea from the excitement/stress of these issues.

Foreign Diets –  Dogs are natural scavengers and tend to eat many indigestible substances, including garbage and decayed food, dead animals, grass, wild and ornamental plants, and pieces of plastic, wood, paper, and other foreign materials. Many of these are irritating to the stomach as well as to the bowel, and are partially eliminated through vomits.


 Food Intolerance
 – As I mentioned earlier, the change in diet can put a strain on your pet’s belly. Foods that some dogs seem unable to tolerate can include beef, pork, chicken, horsemeat, fish, eggs, dairy products, spices, corn, wheat, soy, gravies, salts, spices, fats, and some commercial dog foods. Note that food intolerance is not the same as food allergy, which causes dermatitis and possibly vomiting, but rarely causes diarrhea.

Drugs & Medications – Diarrhea is a common side effect of many drugs and medications, particularly the NSAIDs ,which include aspirin. Some heart medications, some dewormers, and most antiobiotics also can cause diarrhea.

Treatments of Diarrhea In Dogs

 Home Treatment For Acute Diarrhea

The most important step in treating acute diarrhea is to rest the GI tract by withholding all food for 24 hours. The dog should be encouraged to drink as much water as he wants. With persistent diarrhea, consider giving a supplemental electrolyte solution such as Pedialyte, available over the counter in pharmacies and grocery stores.  This has been a great solution for me and one of my main first options. Dilute it by one-half with water and add it to the dog’s drinking bowl. Custom canine electrolyte solutions and sport drinks are also available, such as K9 Thirst Quencher. These are flavored to encourage the dog to drink. If the dog won’t drink the electrolyte solution, offer only water. A low-salt bouillon cube dissolved in the water can help encourage him to drink.

Acute diarrhea usually responds within 24 hours to intestinal rest. Start the dog out on an easily digestible diet that’s low in fat. Examples are boiled hamburger (one part drained meat to two parts cooked rice) and boiled chicken with the skin removed. Cooked white rice, cottage cheese, cooked macaroni, cooked oatmeal, and soft-boiled eggs are other easily digestible foods. Feed three or four small meals a day for the first two days. Then slowly switch the diet back to the dog’s regular food.

Obtain immediate veterinary care if:

  • The diarrhea continues for more than 24 hours
  • The stool contains blood or is black and tarry
  • The diarrhea is accompanied by vomiting
  • The dog appears weak or depressed or has a fever

What if the Diarrhea is Chronic?

If it turns out that your dog  chronically has diarrhen then your  first step is to find and treat the underlying cause. Diarrhea resulting from a change in diet can be corrected by switching back to the old diet and then making step-by-step changes to pinpoint the cause. When lactase deficiency is suspected, eliminate milk and dairy products from the diet, particularly as they are not required for adult dogs.

Diarrhea caused by overeating (characterized by large, bulky, unformed stools) can be controlled by tailoring the diet more accurately to the caloric needs of the dog and feeding his daily ration in three equal meals.

Chronic, intermittent diarrhea that persists for more than three weeks requires veterinary attention.


If You are Interested in any routine care of your dog, Feel Free to Download this reference guide and print out.  routine-health-care-of-dogs10092013(3)