We often hear Pet Parents describe unusual or changed behaviors in their dogs who are normally content. Sometimes, too, as their designated pet sitter, we observe a shift in behavior with a “regular” guest who returns to our home for pet care and suddenly, Fido is acting differently.
It’s important for both owner and pet sitter to listen carefully to what’s being said – sometimes vocally, but more often by demonstration – by that dog.
If we are considering boarding a dog for the first time, we always ask about our prospective guest’s exposure to other dogs and past social experiences. This is important information to know in order to connect our Pet families with an appropriate host family.
Dogs are social creatures! Socialization is extremely important to promote their confidence, balance and mental well -being. All dogs should be regularly introduced to new landscapes!
Consider how frustrated you would be if kept indoors all day with little stimulation. You would go stir crazy too! Some dogs will demonstrate their frustration via destruction, indoor elimination, digging up the backyard or constant barking.
Boredom is common in dogs that spend a lot of time alone or lack proper physical and mental exercise. Dogs that are exercised daily are much happier and healthier. At a minimum, a daily walk will also help provide added stimulation that is critical to their mental health. Dogs process their surroundings by scent. They read the “pee-mail” of other dogs left on bushes, trees and fire hydrants. It’s the canine version of Facebook or Instagram…it’s how they indirectly communicate with each other!
If you can’t take your dog for a daily walk, consider hiring an in-home pet care sitter or dog walker, enrolling in doggie daycare, find suitable playmates with neighbors or meet up with your friends at dog-friendly restaurants.
Training is another option and isn’t just for puppies or dogs who are “acting out”. Teaching your dog new tricks, at any age, helps promote interaction with you (that special “bonding” moment!) while providing the mental stimulation they need. More active and athletic breeds especially benefit when given a chance to fulfill the need of their breed. We have professional dog trainers on staff who are happy to provide private consultations and lessons with you and your furry child.
If your dog is showing other signs of frustration, or unusual behavior, it could be due to an undiagnosed health condition.
Pain is something your dog will never admit to! They are genetically wired to hide their weaknesses. Consider their wild ancestors; predators seek out the weakest member of the pack…so our dogs act tough, even when they aren’t feeling well.
Cues such as shaking, tucking in of the tail, limping, unusual aggression, constant barking, growling or snapping could be a sign that your dog is uncomfortable due to health reasons; call your Vet for a complete well exam to rule out any underlying conditions.
Fear or “thunder” anxiety may be another cause. Loud noises, unfamiliar faces and (again) isolation from people and other furry friends can create a negative reaction.
Pet insurance is always a good idea. Without it, you may forgo treatment that will help your pet feel better.
Most dog owners are diligent about maintaining routine vaccinations, yet regular well exams that include flea & tick treatments, heartworm prevention, dental cleaning, and a host of other Vet services are often “waived” in light of the cost.
Pet insurance typically covers up to 90% of these expenses, so why not look into a pet plan? Visit our PET STORE for a link to EMBRACE insurance for a free quote.
Best wishes for good health and happy tails always!