My Puppy eats stones!

Puppies are always exploring and picking up things in their mouths. More often than not it tends to be things that are rather dangerous if swallowed. There are things you can be doing to stop puppies eating stones.

Chewing stones is a common problem, particularly with puppies. They usually grow out of this behaviour, but sometimes the habit continues into adulthood and often surgery is needed to remove them. You can see here a Labrador who ate 13 large stones!

We are not sure why stones are so attractive to chew or swallow, but it could be a throw back to their ancestory as wild coyotes and wolves are known to chew stones. However, vets do not advise you letting your dog eat them as they can break their teeth and get caught in their intestines and lead to serious health problems.

Sometimes there is an underlying health problem that makes your dog eat pebbles. It could be ill or in pain or another possibility is that it could be deficient in phosphorus, calcium or iron. Or it could just be plain boredom and the dog needs more stimulation and exercise.

So, If you have tried changing your dog’s diet, given it more exercise and attention and its still chewing stones, then it’s time to take it to the vet for a check-up as there could be a health problem. If your dog’s stomach is hard and tight, the indications are that it is full of stones that he is unable to pass. Again a necessary trip to the vet!

For puppies, the best solution is distraction. Practise getting your pup’s attention and offering praise and rewards when he looks up at you. Take a variety of toys and play with him so he learns there is an alternative to stones. Try not to tell him off as this can reinforce the behaviour.

This is also a good time to begin to introduce the ‘leave it’ command. Begin practising with a toy that your puppy is showing interest in. Hold it in one closed hand and let him sniff it. Tell him to ‘leave it’. Wait for him to turn away and then immediately praise and offer him a better reward from the other hand. Using this principle continue practising bringing in other toys that he finds more tempting. Try the technique with items on the floor as well.

Fortunately, with time and patience and plenty of playful interaction with toys this behaviour can be stopped. ‘Leave it’ training will not only help with the stones, but will also be useful to use when out walking and your dog picks up something undesirable that you need him to drop and not create a game of tug!

 

Keeping your dog tick free and grooming your dog is an important part of a dog owners duties, it helps keep your dog healthy and keeping your dog tick and parasite free from living in their fur, the main ones to look out for our tick’s and fleas. In addition grooming helps the owner and dog bond, it is recommended to regularly groom your dog from an early age, most dogs enjoy being brushed, it also allows the dog to get used being touched in area’s which may be checked by the Vet later in life.

There are a lot of good quality tick and flea products available to help keeping your dog tick free and are also very good at repelling flea’s however some of the best repellents will not prevent parasites from latching on to your pet. If your dog spends a lot of its time outside regular checks should be permitted, after walks in woodland, leafy or long grassy area’s should cause for more attention as these are prime tick hang out areas.

Checking for tick’s

It is not uncommon to stumble across a tick when playing and stroking your dog it is important to check your dog regularly. Run your hands over your dog’s body paying attention to feel for any bump or swollen area, if you feel something suspect check to see if a tick has burrowed it’s self in that surrounding area. Be sure to check all over including between toes and under belly, face and ears, inside of ears are a common place to find ticks as they latch on when running in long grass and fields. Ticks are not always black and can be of different shades of brown, they can also be very tiny, not much bigger than a pin head, please check carefully.

It is noteworthy to be aware of checking yourself and family members after walks or activities in these prime parasite environments, dogs can directly transmit tick borne illnesses to people. A tick may enter your home on your dog’s back and then move on to you or another pet or vice versa.

Removing a tick safely

If your dog is unfortunate enough to have a tick, it will require to be removed however don’t panic!

1: Things you will need
– Pair of latex gloves (often can be found in a first aid kit)
– Clean pair of tweezers
– Antiseptic wipes

2: Removing the tick
– Make sure to wear the gloves ticks can transmit diseases to humans
– Grasp the tick as close to the dog’s skin as possible, try not to pinch the skin
– Once you have got a firm grasp of the tick at the head pull outwards in a straight swift motion removing as much as the tick possible.
– Clean the wound with the antiseptic wipes.
– If a small part of the tick remains try not to worry it will eject it’s self in time.

3: The removed tick
It can be a good idea to keep the tick for a short while in a small container of alcohol and mark the date. This is just a precaution in case your dog does happen to become ill and the evidence could help the veterinarian best treat your pet

4: Give your dog some love
Make sure the wound is clean as possible with the antiseptic wipes and be sure to clean the tweezers and wash your hands.
The ordeal is over; reward your dog with a treat or just some play time.

*Be aware of any symptoms of tick-borne diseases. Symptoms to watch out for are loss of appetite, fever, fatigue or lameness. Keep an eyes on the area the tick was removed for any possible indication of infection if you are at all concern at any time consult your registered Vet.

A dog can be one of the most loyal and rewarding of pets however getting a dog is a big decision and large commitment therefore it is wise to take some time to contemplate if it is right for you (the family) and the dog before embarking on the exciting time of bringing a dog into your home.

Once you are certain and sure you can provide a safe and secure home and offer the time it takes to exercise and train your dog (in all weathers) then you are going to need to contemplate what dog is right for you including what age, sex and breed is going to fit into your home and lifestyle.

Male or Female, Puppy or Adult dog

Dogs of all ages can be very appealing and it can be very easy to get carried away with taking a dog home without considering the consequences. A dog may last 15+ years so it’s worthwhile considering the time and money required.
Choosing an adult dog may be a better option over a puppy depending on your lifestyle and circumstances. As much as having a puppy and seeing them grow can be very adorable and rewarding, puppy training can be very time and energy consuming. An Adult dog will more than likely be house trained and a lot more settled meaning it will have passed the chewing and destructive stages of growth and development. A typical smaller dog matures faster and lives longer than a larger breed however on average adult hood begins from the years of 2-3.

Size and coat length

Before deciding on a breed it can be helpful to decide on a size of dog. Large dogs do require a bit more living space and therefore the size of dog and if it would be suitable for your home is something you should consider, it can also help you choose the right breed for you.
Coat length is another important factor and whether a non moulting breed might be a better option for you and your family.

Dog breed
When selecting the right breed of dog it can be far too easy to be influenced by appearance and as much as your decision will be made on personal choice and how they look do not forget the temperament of the dog and importantly the dog’s history, especially if you are choosing a rescue dog, it is very likely they will come with some behavioural issues.
Many dogs are bred specifically for looks, known as designer breeds; others are bred for their working prowess resulting in a whole range of different breeds and temperaments to choose from. Which breed and temperament depends on you and your circumstances, it might be helpful to speak to breeders especially if you are contemplating a pedigree breed. The kennel club www.thekennelclub.org.uk is an excellent resource and can be very helpful to anyone thinking of getting a dog for the first time.