Author Archives: AZPetVet

How to Prevent Dogs from Eating Poop & Why They’re Doing It

how to prevent dogs from eating poop

Why Did My Dog Eat Poop?!

Although poop-eating, or coprophagia, is relatively normal for dogs and puppies, it’s a wildly unsightly habit. Not to mention, there’s really nothing more grotesque than watching your pup munch on its own or another dog’s stool before moseying over and planting a wet one on your face. 

Among all of the gross hobbies your dog could have––drinking toilet water, rolling in mud, licking their behinds––poop-eating is among the least ideal. Fortunately, there are several ways to discourage it. Here are some key tips for how to prevent dogs from eating poop altogether.

Reasons Why Dogs Eat Poop

American Kennel Club (AKC) shares that in many cases, dogs will take up poop-eating as a result of some sort of environmental stress or behavior triggers, including:

  1. Isolation: Research shows that dogs cooped up in a kennel or basement away from their families are more likely to eat stool than those living in spaces near their family.
  2. Confinement: Dogs who spend excessive amounts of time confined in small spaces can develop poop-eating habits, which means it’s not uncommon to see this in dogs who have been rescued from shelters. 
  3. Anxiety: Coprophagia is a typical response to punishment or harsh house training methods. In this case, dogs may eat their own poop to remove any evidence of using the bathroom where they shouldn’t have.
  4. Seeking Attention: Dogs who consume their own poop may be out to get a reaction or consider it a game.
  5. Association With Real Food: Dogs fed in the same proximity as their poop may make a connection between the odors and ultimately, over time, be unable to differentiate.
  6. Nursing Mothers: Nursing females often eat the feces of their young to keep their space clean.
  7. Nursing Pups: In some cases, puppies will become confused by sniffing fecal odor on their mother’s breath after she’s cleaned them or their den. Mothers may often vomit food mixed with fecal matter, which may lead the puppy to develop this same habit.
  8. Elderly/Sick Pet: Sometimes, a healthy dog will consume feces from a weaker canine family member. Researchers predict this may be related to a dog’s instinct to protect its pack.
  9. Taste: Dogs sometimes eat the stool of another species like cats or horses solely because they find the taste enjoyable.

Furthermore, if your pet starts snacking away on poop, you should consult with your vet to rule out other underlying problems like:

  • Parasites
  • Nutrient-deficient diets
  • Malabsorption syndromes
  • Diabetes, Cushing’s, thyroid disease, and other appetite-increasing conditions 
  • Steroids or other drugs

How to Prevent Dogs From Eating Poop

Is it bad for dogs to eat poop? Stool, especially found in other species, often contains certain beneficial nutrients. However, it can also contain harmful bacteria, so it’s best to dissuade them as best as possible. Try out strategies like vitamin supplementation, enzyme supplementation, and taste-aversion products like poop-eating deterrents. Along with that, dog owners have seen improvements following training and environmental management methods such as:

  • Keep the dog’s living space clean
  • Keep the yard clean and free of poop
  • For owners with both dogs and cats, store the litter box out of reach
  • Closely monitor dogs on walks and immediately pick up after them
  • Work on commands like “leave it” and “come,” rewarding with a treat

Additionally, AKC provided these facts on fecal-eating for pet parents to consider:

  • Coprophagia was more common in multi-dog households. In single-dog homes, only 20 percent of dogs had the habit, while in homes with three dogs, that rose to 33 percent
  • Poop eaters are no harder to house train than any other dogs
  • Females are more likely to eat poop, and intact males were least likely
  • 92 percent of poop eaters want fresh stuff, only one to two days old
  • 85 percent of poop eaters will not eat their own feces, only that of other dogs
  • Greedy eaters—dogs who steal food off tables—tend to be poop eaters

So, is it normal for dogs to eat their poop? Yes. But as you’ve learned, the causes and solutions to this are not always simple. Assess the situation as well as your dog’s everyday living and eating environment, and adjust accordingly to minimize exposure and ultimately any poop-eating opportunity. If you find these at-home prevention tips and tricks are ineffective, contact your local AZPetVet so we can help you come up with a plan for how to prevent your dog from eating poop.

Disclaimer: Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.

Spring Cleaning Safety Tips for You & Your Furry Friends

spring cleaning safety tips

Spring Cleaning Safety Tips & Advice for Pet Owners

Believe it or not, spring has nearly sprung, which means it’s time to wash away the winter germs and welcome the change of seasons with a clean home. Your pets may be small, but they are a mighty part of the house, carrying with them some mighty odors along with mighty amounts of dirt, hair, and saliva. As the weather begins to warm, the winter coat begins to shed, and that fur collects in every corner of the house –– under furniture, on top of furniture, and even on your clothing. A lint roller only goes so far, so time to bust out the big cleaning guns.

Luckily, we have some spring cleaning safety tips and advice on how to disinfect dog toys and some suggestions for dog supply organizers that every pet parent should know about.

Spring Cleaning Tips

  1. Donate Old Toys & Accessories
    • Toys aren’t meant to last forever. If your pet’s toy bin is getting out of hand, go through and create three separate piles: keep, donate, trash. Store any favorites back in the bin, set a date to deliver those in good condition to your local shelter, then trash the broken or scrapped ones. This will eliminate clutter and rid your home of the unwanted germs and bacteria living on that 3-year-old, de-stuffed, de-squeaked, saliva- soaked, unidentifiable plush toy pelt.
  2. Wash Beds & Bedding
    • Don’t just wait for spring to give your pet’s beds a really good wash. Just as you would wash your own bedding frequently, the same goes for your furry friend. Otherwise, the buildup of hair, dirt, food, saliva, and other germs will often produce a putrid odor or even attract unwanted creepy crawlies over time. 
  3. Sanitize Bowls
    • It’s great to get in the habit of rinsing your pet’s bowls every night but to ensure no bacteria and germs are being passed to your pet, take some extra time every week to scrub them out or throw them into the dishwasher for a thorough cleaning. 
  4. Deep Clean Carpets & Floors
    • Regular cleaning and vacuuming is a must, but spring is the perfect time to give your floors some extra love. Puppy potty-training wreaks havoc on the carpet and dirty paws track muck and mud indoors, so do some research. You may determine it’s worth the bucks to invest in a high-end carpet cleaning appliance or professional service.
  5. Replace Air Filters
    • Spring cleaning time is the perfect time to replace the air filters in your home. You can scrub the dishes, wash the beds, and deep clean the floors, but if you neglect to eliminate the primary source of storage for dust, hair, and dangerous allergens, then all that hard work will have been in vain. Look into specialized air filters for pet owners that work hard to minimize this kind of buildup.

Spring Cleaning Safety Tips for Pets

  1. Store any cleaners and chemicals out of reach.
  2. Immediately toss used rags in the laundry bin and dispose of paper towels in a closed/ sealable wastebasket. 
  3. Invest in pet-safe soap and other natural cleaning supplies.
  4. Put your pet in another room or outside if weather permits whenever you’re vacuuming/mopping to avoid injury.
  5. Ensure floors are 100% dry before allowing pets to return to the space.
  6. Inventory your pet’s first-aid supplies (if you don’t have a first-aid kit, now’s the time to create one!) and take a few minutes to look over expiration dates on any medications or products and refill as needed.

How to Disinfect Dog Toys

Your pet’s toys spend a significant amount of time in their mouths, in the yard, on their beds (or yours), in puddles, and many other places where dirt and grime can collect. How to disinfect dog toys is a distant thought for many, but neglecting to do so is a habit we should quickly work to reverse.

  1. Soak in a natural dog-safe sanitizer like a water and vinegar solution (avoid bleach, peroxide, Lysol, or similar products)
  2. Pay extra attention to outdoor toys, soaking in double the amount of vinegar/natural sanitizer for double the amount of time.
  3. Rotate your pet’s toys to make cleaning easier, giving them a set to play with while the other is being washed.
  4. Re-introduce the toy with enthusiasm as washing certain toys often means removing the smells and other elements that gave them their “mojo” in the first place. This way, you associate positivity with a clean toy – essentially telling your pet that clean is good!
  5. Clean the toy bin. Additionally, it’s best to store toys in a bin rather than a basket as the plastic or hard surface is much easier to sanitize than fabric.

Deep cleaning and decluttering the space is one thing but keeping the space clean is another. Consider trying out any of these dog supply organizers from Rover to keep your pet’s areas and accessories organized. 

Lastly, if you’re prepping your space for some serious spring cleaning and unsure which supplies are pet-safe, check with your veterinarian or local pet supply store for recommendations for you and your household!

[Disclaimer]
Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a  medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.  

World Spay Day: The Importance of Spaying and Neutering

Benefits of Spaying a Dog or Cat

Established in 1995, World Spay Day is celebrated annually on the fourth Tuesday in February, and this year it falls on February 23rd. However, the entire month is recognized as Spay/Neuter Awareness Month (AKA Beat the Heat Month), and local animal shelters and humane societies often host awareness events.

World Spay Day is a campaign aimed at raising awareness of the importance of spaying and neutering companion animals and encouraging people to do so as it can save lives. It’s completely expected that you might be asking, “why spay and neuter?” or have some additional questions regarding World Spay Day so we’re here with some answers and to talk you through the importance of spaying and neutering your pets.

Importance of Spaying and Neutering

  1. What’s the difference between spayed and neutered? Spaying is a veterinary procedure that removes the uterus and ovaries of a female pet. This typically requires minimal hospitalization time and offers lifelong health benefits. Neutering is the veterinary procedure that removes the testicles of a male pet. This can vastly improve the male pet’s behavior and also can provide lifelong health benefits.
  2. Benefits of spaying a cat/Benefits of spaying a dog. Many pet owners often ask, “why spay or neuter?” The answer is simple: long-term health. Breast tumors are cancerous in about 50% of dogs and 90% of cats but spaying your pet helps prevent breast tumors and uterine infections. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection against these diseases. Additionally, neutering your male pets helps to prevent testicular cancer and other prostate issues as well as minimize poor behaviors.
  3. What if I choose not to spay my pet?  The instinct to procreate is strong in animals. An unspayed dog will enter into a “heat cycle” where her hormones tell her to breed. This can result in bloody discharge, swollen/inflamed genitals, excessive mounting, and may attract other dogs to mount her as well. In addition to this, male pets, including those still intact, can smell females in heat from great distances away and will do anything they can to reach them. Lastly, having a litter of puppies is not always safe. Intact females are at risk of developing Pyometra, a potentially fatal infection in the uterus that is often a result of hormonal changes in the reproductive tract.
  4. What if I choose not to neuter my pet? While these claims may vary from breed to breed, some consistencies can be stated about unneutered cats and dogs. Males can be very aggressive. By failing to alter your pet, they produce more testosterone, which can intensify aggressive tendencies. Excessive amounts of testosterone can be harmful to a domesticated dog. They may be more inclined to initiate fights with other males they come across, and can be more likely to view other males as rivals rather than friends. Unneutered pets can also project this same aggressive energy toward humans. Furthermore, an unaltered male will have more sexual energy meaning much more mounting of furniture, people, objects or female animals. If he cannot achieve this, he can feel stressed and agitated.

Additionally, while dogs are known as ones to mark their territory any chance they get, cats are more likely to mark their environment when still intact and, unfortunately, feline urine is much stronger and contains high levels of ammonia making it harder to clean out and giving off a more pungent odor. 

Celebrate World Spay Day or Spay/Neuter Awareness Month by spreading the word and raising awareness behind the importance of spaying and neutering your dog or cat. By doing so, you can help protect pets against certain types of illness, address

 

Celebrating Your Pets and Valentine’s Day

pets and valentine's day

Celebrate Your Pets AND Valentine’s Day

Who says National Doggy Date Night is the only excuse to “wine n’ dine” with your pet? Pets and Valentine’s Day go paw-in-hand, too! Celebrate your love for your furry companions all month long. 

While gifting chocolate and roses may be the go-to choice for humans, both are harmful to animals. The toxic level of chocolate for dogs (and cats!) varies pet-by-pet and by the type of chocolate consumed. Chocolate is toxic to animals because it contains the chemical theobromine along with caffeine. These chemicals are often used medicinally for humans, and dogs cannot metabolize them as efficiently, making them more sensitive to the chemicals’ effects. Luckily, there are countless safe and non-toxic ways to celebrate. Spoil them with healthy pet treats and festive Valentine’s Day pet toys, or head out for some one-on-one time at the park or pet store, and you’re guaranteed to have a happy Valentine’s Day with your cats, dogs, and other furry – (or even not so furry!) – friends.

5 Ways to Have a Happy Valentine’s Day With Your Dogs & Cats

 

  1. Do Something They Love! The best way to ensure a happy Valentine’s Day with dogs and cats is by stepping into their world and doing what they love to do. If your pet loves running, lace-up and get going. Bird watching? Find a park bench and observe. Chasing a string around in circles for hours? Get comfortable! 
  2. Spoil with Special Treats! Pet bakeries are popping up all over the place and serving up delicious, healthy pet treats that cater to animal’s dietary needs and restrictions. 
  3. Go Shopping! Hit the store and let them pick out their own Valentine’s Day pet toy. Pet stores often allow leashed pets inside to peruse the shelves so next time you visit, let them explore and take their pick, then head home to play!
  4. Go on an Excursion! Take a trip to the sand, hit a hiking trail, or start up a game of fetch at the park. Whether there’s a destination or it’s just a drive around the block, your pet loves an outing.
  5. Movie Night! Pets and Valentine’s Day and movie night – what more could you need? If Fido or your feline friend often prefer to sleep their day away indoors, they’ll likely love a movie night. Any chance to cuddle up on the couch and soak in the warmth of their favorite human.

Between National Doggy Date Night and Valentine’s Day, February comes with endless opportunities to spoil your pet and say thank you for all of the unconditional love and spoiling that they provide you during the rest of the year. Make the day about them just as all of their days revolve around you. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Disclaimer

Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.

 

 

National Doggy Date Night – February 3rd

doggy date night

Dog-Friendly Date Ideas for a Doggy Date Night

The new year brings new opportunities to slow down and enjoy the simple things like spending quality time with your pup! Treat them to a dog playdate on National Doggy Date Night, Wednesday, February 3rd. 

The National Today science team surveyed 3,000 pet owners to discover just how much they loved their pups. They ranked each state by asking owners how often they let their pup lick their face or sleep in their bed, as well as how often they say “I love you,” buy them gifts, conversate with them, dress them in special outfits, and simply curl up and relax together. The results of each were close! The researchers followed up by asking single and married women who they would rather take on a date – their dog or significant other – and at least 20 percent voted in favor of doggy date night. Additionally, participants were asked how their dogs make their lives better, how having a dog affects day-to-day life, and the most popular dog playdate ideas/doggy date night activities:

  • 64% – Give your dog a special Valentine’s Day treat.
  • 53% – Tell your dog, “I love you.”
  • 39% – Make or buy a special gift/treat for your dog.
  • 33% – Post photos of your dog on social media with a loving message.
  • 28% – Include your dog in Valentine’s Day activities with your significant other.

Just like people, dogs like dates, too! You can always go for a walk around the block or play some ball in the backyard, so for doggy date night, try and think outside the box and add some fun to your dog playdates.

Our Favorite Dog-Friendly Date Ideas:

  1. Hit the Town: Head outside for a dog playdate. Find a park with some wide-open space for your pup to sniff and explore or run free and play a big fetch game. If weather permits have a picnic! Pack a basket with a blanket and snacks for both you and your pup to enjoy. Be sure to snap some commemorating photos throughout the day.
  2. Spa Day: Treat your pooch to some primping and pampering. If your pup enjoys a trip to the spa, schedule a grooming appointment. If your dog prefers to stay home, consider a DIY spa night. Look into all the different spa products specifically designed for dogs and treat your pooch. Suds up in the tub and get that coat glowing. Grab some moisturizing, dog-friendly lotion and apply it to your pup’s nose and paws. 
  3. Drive-In Theatre: Yes, these still exist! Given the current state of the country, this dog-friendly playdate idea is not only safe for your pooch but also a safe environment for you. Most drive-ins don’t mind if you bring your pet with you, so pick out a show time and pack up the family to enjoy this throwback date activity. 
  4. Shopping: Shopping is something everyone can enjoy and can make for a great outing. Several big box home improvement stores are pet friendly, so you can shop for new home appliances or tools, and your furry companion will be happy to go along for the adventure. Head over to a local pet store and pick out some new swag, upgrade your pup’s bedding, or stock up on treats – let Fido pick out his favorite!
  5. Car Ride: Hitting the open road– it’s no mystery that a good ‘ole car ride is one of most dog’s favorite pastimes. It’s perhaps the simplest dog playdate idea, but likely the one your dog will be most thrilled about.

Your pup isn’t picky. For them, an evening spent with you is more than enough. No matter how you choose to spend National Doggy Date Night, any adventure where you’re together is sure to be perfect in your dog’s eyes. Enjoy!