If your dog uses his time alone in the house to bark endlessly, pee on the carpet, or tear up the sofa—and those behaviors are accompanied by depression or stress—your pooch may be suffering from separation anxiety, a very common behavior problem.
Overcoming disorders like separation anxiety takes time, patience and consistency, but it can be done! Just take the following steps, and you’re already on your way.
Make sure the problem is separation anxiety. The first step in tackling behavior issues is to rule out any underlying medical problems that might be causing your pet’s misbehavior. Next, rule out other behavior problems. For example, consider whether your dog’s inappropriate elimination is due to incomplete housetraining.
Take action. So you’re sure the problem is separation anxiety? Try these strategies to address the issue:
Keep all greetings relaxed. When leaving, give your dog a pat on the head, say goodbye and leave. Similarly, when arriving home, say hello to your dog and then don’t pay any more attention to him until he’s calm and relaxed.
Give your dog a workout. Giving your dog lots of mental and physical stimulation goes a long way toward quelling behavior problems—especially those involving anxiety. Exercise can enrich your dog’s life, decrease stress and provide appropriate outlets for normal behavior. And once she’s all tuckered out, your pal won’t have much energy left to get into trouble.
Reward your pooch! Teach your dog to associate your departure with a reward, like a delicious stuffed Kong or other food-dispensing toy. This positive association can help resolve the problem, as well as distract your dog for the first few minutes you’re gone!
A few weeks ago, we shared an Urgent Alert about the dangers of leaving dogs in parked cars on hot days. What we didn’t know at the time, though, was just how urgent the situation truly is.
According to a new poll conducted by the ASPCA, an overwhelming majority of adults—93 percent—who have never encountered a dog in a car on a hot day said they would do something to help, but of those adults who actually faced such a situation, only 63 percent took action.
“Taking decisive action when you see a dog left in a hot car is critical during these warm months,” said Dr. Louise Murray, Vice President of the ASPCA Animal Hospital. “There is a startling gap between those who state they would act and those who actually did something when faced with the reality of a dog at risk.”
The nationwide telephone survey also revealed the following findings:
51 percent of those who saw or heard a dog in a hot car made attempts to look for the owner, making it the most common action taken
24 percent said they made attempts to rescue the dog themselves and 23 percent called the police
Women were much more likely than men to have taken action (75 percent versus 58 percent) after seeing a dog in a hot car
When an animal is in danger of overheating, your actions can literally mean the difference between life and death. We hope that you will make a commitment to act whenever you encounter a dog alone in a hot car—and you can start by taking our pledge today.
The lovely warm weather brings out the nature lover in many of us, including our pets! If you’re taking your pet along for some outdoor adventures, such as an overnight camp trip, you’ll want to read our expert tips from the folks at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.
1. Bring a pet first aid kit. It is always better to be prepared and often remote campsites will not have quick access to veterinary care.
2. Be sure to locate the closest animal emergency clinic and add its contact information to your phone.
3. Pet proof! Before you let your pet out on your campsite, thoroughly inspect the area to make sure other campers haven’t left anything behind.
4. Don’t let your pet roam. Because your pet is not familiar with the area, he could get lost, fall into a river, or become stuck. Other well-meaning campers may feed him something toxic or may have rat poison out in their campsite. He also may have a run in with some not-so-well meaning wildlife. (Your pet first aid kit will have everything you’ll need to make a de-skunking bath that really works).
5. Make sure that your pet has proper ID on her collar at all times and a reflective collar if she will be out on the campsite at night.
Last year, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) in Urbana, Illinois, handled nearly 180,000 cases about pets exposed to possibly poisonous substances. Check out our top 5 tips for what to do in a pet poisoning emergency.
1. Be Prepared
Before an emergency arises, save your veterinarian’s phone number, the phone number to the closest emergency veterinary hospital, and the number for APCC (888) 426-4435, on your phone.
Make a Pet First Aid Kit. You can often provide important initial treatment at home. This is especially easy if you have a first aid kit for your pet. (link to pet first aid kit on ASPCA.org)
2. Stay Calm
If you are calm, you will able to provide the information that will be vital to providing the appropriate medical care for your pet, and you will help your pet to stay calm, too!
3. Assess Your Pet
Take a good look at your pet. Is she showing any unusual behavior? If your pet is unresponsive, having any trouble breathing, is bleeding, or having seizures or convulsions, your pet needs immediate medical attention. Call your veterinarian or local veterinary emergency hospital to let them know that you are on your way with your pet.
4. Gather Information
What did your pet consume? Get an exact name of the product that was involved. For medications, write down the name of the medication and the milligram strength. For herbicides, and pesticides, be sure to get the name and concentration of the active ingredients and an EPA registration number.
When did it happen? Was there a time frame that you were gone or did you catch your pet in the act?
Has your pet vomited? If so, look to see if he or she vomited up any of the poison or any packaging eaten at the same time.
5. Be Proactive
Don’t wait for your pet to start showing signs before you seek help. Often one of the best things that we can do for your pet is to prevent symptoms before they happen by preventing the poison from being absorbed.
Contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center to see if there are things that you should do for your pet at home, or if this will require medical treatment at a veterinary hospital.
You know what they say: where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
A recent study by the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine underscores the link between secondhand smoke and cancer in pets. According to the study, secondhand smoke can cause lung and nasal cancer in dogs, malignant lymphoma in cats and allergy and respiratory problems in both animals.
Cats are particularly susceptible to tobacco smoke—the study found that repeated exposure to secondhand smoke doubled a cat’s chances of getting cancer, and living with a smoker for more than five years increased the risk fourfold. Lymphoma is one of the leading causes of feline death.
Though there are currently no statistics on how many pets die each year due to the effects of secondhand smoke, the CDC estimates that over 42 million adults in the United States regularly light up—which means plenty of pets are at risk. And though research is still being done on the risks of electronic cigarettes, it is worth noting that nicotine is extremely toxic to animals. E-cigarette cartridges should be disposed of with utmost care in order to prevent animal ingestion.
If you are a pet parent—especially a smoker—be on the lookout for the symptoms of cancer, which include coughing, trouble eating or breathing, drooling, weight loss, vomiting, nasal discharge, bleeding, and sneezing.
The ASPCA strongly urges pet parents to designate their homes as smoke-free areas. Either set up a smoking space outdoors, or, even better, quit the habit altogether (after all, it’s bad for humans, too).
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