The website Companion Animal Psychology is a great resource for dog and cat owners interested in learning how to better understand their pets.
The site recently published some helpful advice on how to ensure that your dog is as calm as possible during trips to the vet’s office. The tips are based on research published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science, which you can find HERE.
The researchers found that many factors can increase your dog’s stress at the vet, including prior negative experiences, the dog’s individual genetic makeup, and upsetting sights, sounds, smells, etc. at the vet.
Another cause of fear is something called “trigger stacking”—the combination of stressful experiences that can go into a vet visit (being put in a carrier, being restrained, etc.).
Here are just a few recommendations for helping dogs that feel anxiety about going to the vet. Be sure to read the full article for more information!
Avoid feeding before a visit so your dog will be interested in treats given by staff at the vet’s office. Treats are good rewards after unpleasant procedures like vaccinations.
Bring a blanket or toys from home to help comfort your dog.
Stay with your dog during the exam/consultation, and any other procedures if possible.
Get your dog used to car rides, carriers, and routine physical handling before trips to the vet. Nail trimming and ear cleaning at the vet’s office can help accustom your dog to being there.
Very stressed dogs can wait in the car rather than the waiting room. Muzzles and sedation can also be helpful in extreme cases.
The American Pet Products Association recently released its latest pet industry spending numbers and reports that we spent a record-breaking $72.56 billion on our pets in 2018, up $3 billion from the 2017 figures.
The survey found that millennial pet owners are driving the spending, with their willingness to pay more than previous generations for quality pet products and services.
Here are a few key spending figures from the APPA survey:
Food: $30.32 billion
Supplies and over the counter medications: $16.01 billion
Veterinary care: $18.11 billion
Live animal purchases: $2.01 billion (this is down 4.3% from 2017)
Other services (boarding, grooming, etc.): $6.11 billion
Premium brand pet foods and treats continue to be a driving factor in pet industry growth. Other areas of growth include nutritional supplements and digital pet-related technologies.
The APPA also notes that Americans, especially millennials, are acquiring greater numbers of pets through shelters and rescues, which may account for the decrease in live animal sales.
Check out the statistics, including spending estimates for 2019, on the APPA website HERE.
Maisie is an adorable and active dog who also happened to be born both deaf and blind. Maisie is known as a double merle dog, the result of breeding two blue merle dogs together (generally regarded as poor breeding practice).
Double merles are prone to both eye and ear abnormalities that can lead to blindness and deafness, as was the case with Maisie.
Maisie was a rescue puppy when mom Haley adopted her after fostering her for just a few months. Haley developed a successful training routine for Maisie that incorporated touch.
Haley and Maisie work together to raise awareness about the health risks of breeding double merle dogs. Check out the heartwarming story of Haley and Maisie from The Dodo:
A study of anxiety and fearfulness in German Shepherd dogs has identified a genetic connection with certain mental health disorders in humans.
Researchers at the University of Helsinki studied noise sensitivity and general fearfulness (such as fear of new people and situations) in a group of Finnish German Shepherd dogs.
They found that generalized anxiety in dogs can be located to an area of the canine chromosome that corresponds to a similar area of the human chromosome which has been linked to such conditions as schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder.
The researchers note that it has been more difficult to identify a genetic cause of noise sensitivity in both dogs and humans. They think that noise sensitivity may be related to flaws in certain receptors for neurotransmitters, such as oxytocin.
The genetic basis of fearfulness in this group of German Shepherd dogs shows that, in some cases, fearfulness in dogs may be hereditary. Of course, environmental factors can also play a role in canine anxiety.