You, Your Pet & Separation Anxiety

As we take a few more steps toward another new notion of normal, lets’ take our hats off and say a great big ‘THANK YOU’ to our pets for helping to keep us sane and feeling useful during the lock-down.

Pets can help people to live ‘mentally healthier lives’ by providing comfort, companionship and motivation. Lock-down has been really tough on everybody, especially those who live alone and owners have been praising their gorgeous dogs across the nation.

Now, we all know what a positive impact our pets have had on our mental health since the very beginning of the pandemic.

We now owe it to our pets to think ahead and try and relieve any stress they may feel when it is time for us to change their routine again and go back to work.

The pandemic has meant that we have spent a lot more quality time with our pets.

Dogs are social animals and most of them – haha – love our company! But some may become extremely anxious when they’re away from us all of a sudden. This is called separation anxiety.

Some of you may have even gotten your pet during the knockdown which means they won’t have spent much time – if any at all – away from you.

We should be proactive in making plans now and not delaying. Taking steps now will help them in weeks and months to come and will ultimately leave your pets feeling calmer and more relaxed.

How you start this process of separation depends on your dogs’ tendencies. If you know your pet gets anxious when you leave, we suggest you start off by taking things slowly.

Separation anxiety can turn into a major behavioral issue over time if it is left unchecked. And that’s the last thing you want for you and your pet.

Anxiety could present itself in the form of; panting, barking, whining, lip licking, attempts to escape, yawning and in some cases urination and defecation.

This process is all about supporting your dog during the adjustment period. Therefore, to avoid any unnecessary trauma manifesting, taking it slow and finding ways to tailor your approach would work perfectly. Be at one with your pooch we say!

They are very sensitive to minor changes in environment and energies.

If your dog is very anxious, start by taking a few steps towards the door and returning to comfort them when needed.

You can increase the time slowly and be sure to be there if needed. It’s a trust exorcise.

Leaving the TV or radio on is a good distraction for them or even leaving food puzzles for them to work out whilst you’re at home but in another room.

You could eventually be separated by a door or a child gate when your dog is comfortable. If your dog doesn’t show signs of anxiety – you can start off with longer bursts of separation.

The is the start of you factoring in time away from your dog each day – in order to help them cope when alone.

You can eventually start to organise their day with time apart, play times, exercise, food puzzle activities and quiet times. If you know your pet will be traveling in a car with you – now is the time to prepare them for that with short trips locally.

Picking up your keys and assessing your dogs’ reaction is another great one to help build your dogs’ resilience. Building positive associations with food rewards is a great way to help instigate new routine whilst helping them have a bit of fun.

Take baby steps with them towards a positive change.

how to keep your dogs cool in the heat wave

Keeping your Dogs cool

Ooh! It has been an absolute scorcher recently. This unusual British heat wave has got us thinking about you and your dog. And despite the rain, we wanted to give you some information on how to keep your dog cool & happy in this heat and crazy humidity.

Keeping your dog nice and cool can sometimes be difficult to manage. Especially as we are not used to this kind of heat. So, we thought we’d put together some do’s and don’ts on keeping your dog’s body temperature under control and some general information to keep you in the know. Dogs can’t sweat through sweat glands as much as we humans do. Dogs have sweat glands on their noses and their paw pads. So whereas we can sweat from just about anywhere on our bodies, dogs are limited. Instead, dogs regulate their body temperature through their respiratory system.

Dogs with shorter noses and flatter faces have much harder time tolerating heat, so beware if you own a pug, bulldog, or another breed with these features. Dogs can suffer fatal heatstroke within minutes. Helping them regulate their internal thermostat is very important. Just like a lot of us, they love a good run around on a sunny day and sometimes do not understand their limits.

  • Here a few do’s & don’ts just for you:
  • Encourage your dog to stay in shaded areas and out of direct sunlight;
  • Put a damp towel down for them to lie on;
  • Fill a hot water bottle with cold water;
  • Circulate cool air – keep windows open, turn on a fan or keep air con at a reasonable temperature;
  • Keep dogs out of greenhouses or conservatories. These places can get dangerously hot even if its mild outside;
  • Never leave your dog in a parked car. Temperatures inside cars can reach astronomical levels on a warm summers day;
  • It is advisable to keep white faced dogs indoors during the peak heat of the afternoon as they are more susceptible to sunburn. As well as dogs with white ears and noses;
  • If you have one, put a paddling pool in the shade for them to splash about in. However, if your dog gets super excitable – be mindful of them exhausting themselves in the paddling pool.
  • ‘Swimmers Tail’ can occur in an overexcited dog which could lead to a bruised immobile tail;
  • Always leave a bowl of fresh water out;
  • When out walking on a sunny day, always pack fresh water and a bowl;
  • Ice cubes as a cooling snack always go down well;
  • Try popping their favourite treat in the freezer to cool it down;
  • Be careful of your dog playing in the garden for long periods of time;
  • Check the pavement isn’t too hot for walks. If it’s too hot for your hand, then it’s too hot for your dogs’ paws. If that is the case then stick to grassy walks.

The best thing we can say after taking these precautions is to keep an eye out for signs of heatstroke. If your dog is panting heavily, seems exhausted or dribbling – move them to a cool place and put cool water on their coat. Make sure the water is cool, not freezing.

There are other things you can do too! Sunburn could lead to painful blisters & sores on your dog. Long term exposure could even lead to some skin cancers. However, It is possible to buy pet sunscreen as a precaution. You can also buy a few accessories to keep your dog cool. For example; Cooling Vests, Cooling Mats and even Cooling Bandanas!

We hope you have a great week guys.

dogs have anxiety with fireworks

Fireworks, Dogs and Anxiety

Most of us think of the fifth of November as a time for fun, fireworks, warm hats & gloves and the coming together of loved ones in celebration.

It can truly feel like a magical time.

Before my teens, the internet wasn’t a huge thing at all yet! And now that it is – creating and spreading awareness is an integral part of society. It’s important to attach a responsibility to an action and think about the consequences of what a seemingly innocent activity is.

Fireworks are fun to watch (for most) but there are other things we, as pet owners, need to take into consideration in order to keep our pets feeling safe and happy.

For dogs, Bonfire night continues to be one of the most terrifying times of the year – which is so heart breaking. Already this month, concerned owners have started sharing pictures and videos of their terrified pets.

To put it simply – our gorgeous dogs just don’t know what the ‘heel’ is going on.

Animals have a more acute sense of hearing than humans and so perceive any loud noise as a threat.

Loud noises trigger the flight or fight instinct in a dog and therefore their anxiety is triggered massively.

This blog is going to shed some light on a few little things that you can do at home that will help calm your pet. You can start with prepping as much as you can. For example, feeding them and filling up the water bowls before the fireworks start as there is a chance that they won’t eat or drink when feeling distressed.

  1. Take them for a long walk earlier in the day

It is best to take your dog earlier on in the day and not after dark when the fireworks start. Nice long walks well help them to relax, burn some energy and feel more at ease when the noise starts.

  • Don’t react to fireworks yourself

Dogs perceive fireworks as a threat so seeing their owners respond without fear will help keep them calm.

  • Sound therapy – Get them used to loud noises

There are a lot of CDs, apps or video’s that you can play to your dog as you get closer to fireworks season then will help condition them into understanding that they are not under threat.

You can play the sound of fireworks whilst cuddling your pet, giving them treats or just generally doing something to positively reinforce the sound

  • Muffle the sound of fireworks if you can

The RSPCA recommends that close your doors, windows and curtains to try to block out the sound as much as possible.

  • Create a safe space for your dog

It is important that your pet has a safe space to run to once the loud noises start – whether that is in a cupboard or under furniture. Trying to coax your pet out during loud noise displays can actually cause more stress and anxiety so it is recommended to give them a moment in their space.

  • A sleepover

If you are aware that your dog gets anxious and you know there are going to big fireworks displays near you – we’d recommend organising a sleep over for your dog at a friends or relatives house IF you know it is going to be much quieter.

We hope that some of these tips will help you and your pooch stay as calm as you possibly can. This time of year is all about helping dogs feel loved, positively in control of their environment and relaxed.

aggressive dog behaviour and dog attacks

Common reasons Why Dogs Attack

Good day to ALL from us at Hounds of Hackney.

We are reporting to you after what was a magnificent bank holiday full of gorgeous sunshine and long walks with the dogs.

Warm & dry weather is always a good excuse to go for walkies and whilst the sun is still shining and making your dog’s social life hectic, we’d like to talk to you about staying safe whilst you are both out and about.

Today we’d like to draw your attention to dog attacks. Whilst we’d like to keep the subject light and lovely – we are all about raising awareness and talking about concerns. We want you to feel as equipped with information as you possibly can be and regrettably – this happens.

There are many reasons as to why your dog or another dog may become aggressive. Illness, frustration, leash aggression, protection (hyper vigilant over territory), social aggression, anxiety or fear – to name a few – can all be reasons for a dog to attack. However, whatever it is that causes the hostile reaction doesn’t really matter when two dogs are locked in battle, with you on the other end of your dog’s lead.

Advice on what to do seems to depend on who you are talking to. If you manage to spot the start of a stand-off between your dog and another dog – Be wary of pulling your dogs lead as this could make your dog more aggressive as it is reacting to your aggression and anxiousness.

If the interaction becomes more heated – try to put a barrier in between the dogs or distract the dogs attention with something like a stick. However, NEVER use it to hit the dogs out of fright as this could make the situation worse. You should never pick up your dog in an effort to protect them as this may encourage the attacking dog to leap at you.

Body Language is a big thing to consider and lowering yourself and making eye contact with the offending dog can encourage their rage. Also, it is important to remember not to open your mouth and show your teeth, as again, the offending dog could turn on you.
Snarling, growling, barking, baring teeth, a stiff tail and ears are all things to watch out for but sometimes these things can come out of nowhere.

The most important thing to do for you and your dog is to stay as calm as possible, avoid running away, use stern commands and where possible, try to separate the dogs without putting yourself in danger.

If your dog is hurt, seek medical advice straight away. Wrap them in a blanket and keep their nose exposed but be wary as a dog in pain can bite out of frustration.

We hope you have no need to employ any of the strategies above when out with your pet but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Knowledge is power.