ASK OUR NUTRITIONIST
In every issue of our Pet’s Delight Magazine our in-house nutritionist, Sam, answers questions sent in by our customers. Have a question? Email Sam on firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us on social media @PetsDelight.
Question from @stutchihuahua on Instagram
How do I deal with fur shedding and excessive barking?
Firstly, lets address fur shedding. Dog hair can be a pain, you can find it everywhere from your car seat to your sofa – and even sometimes your dinner plate. Certain breeds shed more than others, such as German Shepherds, and some coats tend to lose hair more than others too – like those with double-coats. However, there are some lifestyle or environmental factors that can contribute to your dog’s coat shedding which you can change. Things like allergies, a poor diet, reactions to medication, fleas, or even anxiety can all be contributing factors.
I would recommend getting some special brushes to help reduce your pet’s shedding – the FURminator reduces shedding by up to 90% which can help you in the short term. More long term I would carefully consider your dog’s diet, is it packed with protein, free from grains and corn – or is it full of fillers and low on meat? Your dog needs the right nutrients to have a healthy coat, once you get this right the shedding should reduce.
I recommend foods that are grain free, high in animal protein, with all the correct nutrients for your pet.
Some of my tips for reducing shedding are:
1. Adding olive oils or flaxseed into your pet's diet
2. Including a high-Quality protein diet
3. Including omega 3 & 6 in the diet ( six fish Orijen / Fish4dogs ocean white fish/salmon, Acana wild coast )
Now onto barking. No-one should expect a dog never to bark, it would be like expecting a child not to talk. But some dogs do bark excessively and it needs to be gotten under control. The first step is to figure out why your dog is barking in the first place. Some of the most common reasons for barking are:
Your dog feels territorial/protective: when a person or animal comes into an area that your dog considers his or her own, it can trigger barking.
Your dog is alarmed or fearful: some dogs will bark at any noise or object that startles them – this doesn’t necessarily have to be in their territory.
Your dog is bored or lonely: dogs left on their own can become sad and may bark because they are unhappy. Dogs are naturally pack animals so spending too much time alone can be upsetting for them.
Separation anxiety: it’s not unusual for dogs to suffer with separation anxiety. There are signs that your dog may be suffering with this over loneliness, such as pacing, destructive behaviour, and going to the toilet in different places. Your dog may also run in circles or do other repetitive movements such as running alongside your fence.
How to help your dog
It will take some training and a lot of patience to get your dog to bark less, it’s not something you can change overnight. Before you try the below, we would recommend consulting with your vet to see whether there could be an underlying medical issue causing your dog to bark.
The first rule is not to shout, if you shout your dog will think you’re joining in and will feel encouraged. Speak calming but firmly. Try and train your dog to understand the word quiet.
A tired dog is a quiet dog. Take a long walk, or have a long play to wear your dog out, he or she will be less likely to bark.
If you find that your dog barks mostly when you’re gone, keep him or her busy by providing different toys or having a food-dispenser.
Never ever reward barking. If your dog thinks you are happy with this behaviour he or she will continue to do it.
If the above steps don’t help, it might be worth speaking to a dog trainer. We recommend Aimee Orme at Pawfect Behaviour.
Question from @maxx_the_poodle on Instagram
My dog is a picky eater. What do I do?
It’s not unusual for dogs to be fussy from the offset, or become fussy at some stage in their life. Dogs can be finicky; they can turn their noses up from foods they don’t like which can be hard to handle if you find yourself constantly rotating your dog’s food between flavours or brands – as you need to switch over carefully each time. However, if your dog has suddenly stopped eating his or her food it’s important you visit your vet to rule out any health issues, things such as tooth pain, kidney or liver issues, or even cancer could be underlying issues.
Once you’ve ruled out a medical condition, consider the below.
Top reasons why your dog might have stopped eating:
1. Have you changed his or her food?
Lots of dogs won’t accept a new food straight away, it also might not agree with their stomach if you make an immediate switch. This is why we recommend transitioning to new food over a period of 7-10 days, start by adding some of the new food to the old food and then gradually remove the old food. If you do the transition properly and your dog is still refusing his food, give him a little while and his hunger should soon kick in and he’ll gobble it up.
2. Could your pup have tummy ache?
Dogs get tummy aches just like humans do. If you see signs such as vomiting or diarrhea, then letting your pup avoid his usual food could help him.
3. Could he or she be stressed?
Recently moved, changed your schedule, or introduced a new family member? Dogs can get stressed and it can affect their appetite just as it does with humans.
Ways to get your dog eating again
1. Change the texture of your dog’s food by adding some warm water, or topping it up with wet food. Sometimes it’s the texture of kibbles on their own that your dog is fussy about.
2. Get a dog food that smells strong, or a topper that smells strong. Don’t think about food that appeals to you when choosing the flavour or brand of dog food for your pet. For dogs, the food that smells the strongest is the best – flavours like fish are a great choice for attracting your dog to his or her food.
Question from @theboywithwings4 on Instagram
My dog gets scared when I try to pet her. I think she might have had a violent past.
I wish I could say this was an uncommon problem but here in the UAE it sadly isn’t. If you rescue a pup they often come with challenging pasts, which leaves them with habits or personality traits that don’t work well in their new owners’ home until they settle in.
The main piece of advice I would give is to please be patient, understanding, and kind. There will be a number of triggers for your pet that will remind her of her past, and once you learn these it will be easier for you to train her to know you aren’t going to harm her. It’s also really important that, if possible, you have an in-depth chat with the person or organisation you are taking your pet from, as they are often aware of their past or at least their triggers so you are prepared from the offset.
It may take a while but your pet will come around, and if it has been a while then again I would recommend touching base with an experienced trainer who will be well-versed in advising you such as Aimee.