Dog | Frequently Asked Questions
Why does my dog shake/tremble?
There could be a number of reasons for your dog shaking. It could be fairly harmless or be a sign of something more serious that may warrant a trip to the vet. Your dog may be shaking due to excitement, anxiety or fear. Or he may be shaking because he is cold, or has a fever. If you think he may be cold, bring your dog into a warm environment. If he appears to be shaking as if cold in a warm environment this may be because he has a fever. Dogs sometimes shake or quiver when they are in pain. A trip to the vet is necessary when you have ruled out shaking due to excitement, anxiousness, fear, or the cold, as there could be a number of medical reasons for shaking.
Why does my dog shake when sleeping?
Just like humans dogs dream! A lot of the time your dog will be shaking or twitching in his sleep because he is dreaming about chasing his favourite toy. This sort of shaking is nothing to worry about. However your dog may also be shaking because he is cold, if you suspect this may be the case move him to somewhere warmer to sleep or make his bed a bit more cosy with extra bedding. Shaking could indicate pain. It is likely that if pain or a medical condition is the cause of the shaking your dog will also shake when awake. If this is the case you should contact your vet.
Why does my dog shake his head?
Its common for your dog to shake his head when there is discomfort in his ears. This could be due to a buildup of wax or more commonly an infection of the ears. If you notice shaking of the head you should check your dog's ears, and contact your vet. For information on how to check your dog's ears click here.
Why do dogs shake their heads when they bark?
If your dog is barking only when shaking his head this is likely to be out of excitement. If it is a constant shaking of the head even when he isn’t barking then it may be an ear infection.
Why does my dog keep licking me?
The good news is licking is usually a sign of affection! The bad news is, no one likes to be covered in dog slobber. When your dog licks you endorphins are released that make your dog feel happy. Dogs also like the salty taste of your skin! If you want your dog to stop licking you, everytime he starts to lick you, you should stand up and leave. Soon your dog will associate him licking you with your departure which is not what he will want and so the licking behaviour will stop.
Why does my dog stare at me?
There may be a number of reasons your dog is staring at you, but he will mainly stare at you because he wants something from you. He may be hungry and want his dinner, he may want a walk, he may want to play, or he may just want a tummy tickle. He may also be staring at you because you smell funny, especially if you’ve been around other dogs.
Why do dogs smell bad?
We are generally all familiar with that doggy smell. It's unsurprising dogs smell considering they go exploring is muddy puddles and undergrowth when on long walks, and only have a wash about once a month! Your dog may smell bad because he has rolled in something smelly like cow poo or he may be suffering from gas. If you wash your dog regularly you should be able to combat that doggy smell. Infections of your dog's ears, mouth or anal glands can also cause bad smells. If you suspect the cause of the smell might be infection you should contact your vet.
Why do dogs eat grass and vomit?
Contrary to popular believe it isn’t that common for your dog to vomit after eating grass. Some researchers believe that dogs use grass as self medication to ease stomach upsets, which is why your dog may eat grass and then be sick. However, less than 25% of dogs that eat grass vomit afterwards. A lot of the time dogs eat grass because they need more fibre in their diet or if they are bored. Eating grass is considered a natural dog behaviour so it is nothing to worry about.
Why do dogs eat poop?
Also known as coprophagia, eating poo is not an uncommon problem and is quite a nasty habit for your dog to pick up. If your dog is eating poo it is likely that they are not absorbing enough nutrients from their food. Eating their own poo allows them to eat partially digested food meaning they can get nutrients. Poo eating may also be a sign or an intestinal parasite like worms. It is worth a visit to the vet to check up on your dog and to get advice from your vet on the correct food. If you want to break the habit of coprophagia getting the correct food is important, and you will also have to be very thorough and quick in clearing up after your dog. There are products on the market you can feed to your dog to make their poop taste bitter, but these may not always work.
Why do dogs roll in poop?
It is believed that rolling in poo or other foul smelling things such as animal carcasses is a very natural behaviour. Dogs ancestors would roll in poo or dead animal carcasses as a way to mask their scent so when hunting their prey they couldn’t be detected. Keeping your dog on the lead will prevent poo rolling situations.
Why does my dog roll on his toys?
It is likely your dogs is trying to mark his toys as his. Rolling on his toys leaves his scent on them so other dogs and you know that they are his!
Why does my dog rub his face on the carpet?
There could be a number of reasons your dog is rubbing his face on the carpet. He may have mucky face that he just wants to clean, or he may simply just like the feeling of rubbing his face on the carpet so will go for a good head rub every so often. If your carpet smells particularly interesting your pup will want to rub his face all over it to smell it. He could be using your carpet as an itching device in response to allergies, or he could have parasites such as those pesky fleas or ear mites. If you suspect this might be the reason then you will need to treat your dog for fleas. If your dog is constantly rubbing his face on your carpet you should contact your vet as it may be a more serious skin condition.
Why do dogs tilt their head?
There are a number of theories surrounding why dogs tilt their heads in an undeniably cute way. One theory is that when we talk to them they tilt their head to hear us better. Muscles that are used within the ear are controlled by an area of the brain that controls facial and head movement, so the head tilt is the result of your dog trying to listen to you. Another theory is that after a few times of tilting their head, they learn that the head tilt earns them attention, as who doesn’t fuss over their dog when they tilt their head?
Why do dogs yawn?
Dogs tend to yawn in response to an exciting or stressful situation. It is thought that a yawn helps to calm them. If you notice your dog yawning when you are training him he might be trying to send you a message that he would like a break. If he is yawning before a break he is anticipating something happening and trying to calm himself.
Why do dogs yelp when sleeping?
Just like humans, dogs dream and when they sleep, they make sounds; the same as us sleep talking! Mini barks, yelps and growls are perfectly normal for a sleeping dog.
Why do dogs eat mud?
If you notice your dog eating dirt it may be because he is suffering from mineral deficiencies and is trying to compensate for this by getting minerals from the dirt that he is eating. If you notice this behaviour you may have to change your dog's food. Your vet can advise you on the best food for your dog. However your dog may be eating mud out of boredom. If this is the case you need to be very vigilant when your dog is outside and use discipline to teach your dog not to eat mud. If you see this behaviour, give him a spray on his nose with water. He will soon associate mud eating with a negative experience and should stop.
Why does my dog have diarrhea?
Diarrhea can be caused by a change in diet, ingestion of something toxic, ingestion of an object, a food intolerance, an infection, a disease, or stress. If the diarrhea continues, it is important to get in contact with your vet as it may be a result of a more serious, underlying, medical condition.
Why do dogs snore?
Dogs snore for the same reasons that humans snore. A partial closing of the throat, or blockage in the nose and throat that cause your dog to make a comical snoring sound. If your dog is a brachycephalic breed (a dog with a squashed face) it is very likely they will snore due to the shape of their face. These breeds can suffer from collapsed nostrils, an elongated soft palate, or eversion of the laryngeal saccules. All of which can lead to snoring.
Why does my dog always lie on me?
You and your family are a pack in your dog's eyes and it is natural for them to want to be around you. It may stem from their wolf origins of huddling together to keep warm, but more than likely, your dog just wants to be close to you. Your dog will see you as pack leader and will want to reinforce that bond by sleeping close by.
Why does my dog run away?
Dogs may run away for a number of reasons. If you have an intact (not neutered) male dog he may run away to mate with a female that is in season and nearby. Some dogs run away because they are bored or lonely. Your dog may be running away because it has too much energy. If you aren’t exercising your dog enough he may feel the need to exercise himself!
Why do dogs attack other dogs?
There are a few reasons your dog may attack other dogs. When he comes across another dog he may be feeling scared, feel like his space is being invaded, feel the need to be dominant, over excited, feel like he needs to protect us. If you haven’t established yourself as your dog's ‘pack leader’ it is more likely that your dog will show aggression to other dogs as your dog may feel the need to protect you. However if you assert yourself as your dog's leader, they will see you as a calm, assertive pack leader and will follow your lead.
Why do dogs bark at other dogs?
Your dog uses his bark to communicate with other dogs. There are a variety of different types of bark all with a different meaning. Your dog could be barking because he wants to play, this bark will be accompanied with a wagging tail and playful stance. Your dog may begin barking at another dog to assert his dominance, this type of bark is accompanied with dominant body language. It's very common for dogs to bark when they are scared, this bark will be accompanied with submissive body language. If you have two dogs, they may bark to one another to alert each other to danger. For more on dog body language read here.
Why do dogs whine?
Dogs usually whine to communicate something to us. This could be because they need the toilet, they’re hungry, they just want some love and attention, they are excited to see you, they’re scared or anxious, or even their toy has got stuck and they need you to help them get it! To understand why your dog is whining you should try to read his body language.
Why does my dog yelp when I touch him?
The most likely reason your dog is yelping when you touch him is because he is in pain and discomfort. If you find he is yelping just at you barely touching him this could be because he is expecting the pain and really doesn’t want you to touch him. Much like if you’ve hurt yourself and you tell someone not to touch your injury! It is important you get your dog to the vets as soon as you can to try and find the cause of your dog's pain.
Why does my dog yelp when I pick it up?
If your dog isn’t used to being picked up the yelp may be a small objection to being handles. It is likely to be this if you have never picked up your dog before. You need to make sure you’re picking your dog up correctly to make sure they feel safe. Read here for more information on how to correctly pick up your dog. However it is more likely that your dog is in pain. If you suspect your dog is in pain you should contact your vet as it could be a serious medical issue.
Why do dogs cry at night?
Your dog is probably crying at night because he is trying to get your attention. He may be feeling anxious and stressed, but it is very important that you do not get up and give your pup any attention as he will associate whining with you giving him attention. It is best to ignore this behaviour and it will eventually stop.
Why do dogs wee on their bed?
Dogs peeing on their beds can be behavioural or be a sign of a medical problem. If your dog is weeing in his sleep or while lying down it is likely that this could be a urinary tract infection and it's important you contact your vet. Your dog peeing on his bed could be behavioural; if he has done it once and then his bed smells of wee he will continue to urinate there as he now thinks his bed is where he should wee.
Why does my dog wee on me?
This behaviour can be for a couple of reasons. One reason is that your dog may be marking his territory. He is putting his scent on you so other dogs know that you belong to him. This marking can happen if you haven’t correctly asserted your dominance as your dog's ‘pack leader’. Your dog may urinate on you when he is excited to see you. If this is the reason this will usually only happen when you have arrived home after work or a day out. Some dogs do this as a submissive gesture. They wee to let you know that they are of no threat to you.
Why do dogs wee when excited?
Sometimes dogs but more often puppies cannot control their bladders when they get excited. Your dog probably doesn’t realise that they are weeing so you shouldn’t try to correct this behaviour. Puppies will usually grow out of this. If your older dog urinates when excited, try to avoid over exciting him.
Why does my dog ignore me?
You may have inadvertently taught your dog to ignore you. When you repeat a command over and over again your dog will soon tune out what you are saying and begin to ignore you. This is because dogs language is through body language. When training your dog you should never repeat a command more than 4 times. Your dog may have also learnt to ignore you because he associates your command with a negative experience so will ignore that command.
Why do dogs itch?
The most common cause of an itchy pup is fleas. However other common causes include insect bites or stings, ticks, allergies, or a skin condition. If you suspect the itching might be caused by a skin condition you should take your dog to the vets.
Why do dogs dig?
Digging is a natural instinct for dogs (albeit a pretty annoying one!). Your dog may be digging because he wants to find a cooler spot to lie in. A lot of dogs dig because they want to bury something of value, like a bone of their toy. This instinct to hide things comes from their ancestors who would conceal food so they could come back to it and eat it. Some dogs dig purely for entertainment, this is very common in terriers who have been bred to dig. Giving your dog their own sandpit to dig in will prevent them digging up your precious flower borders!
Why do dogs drool?
Just like humans dogs saliva contains enzymes that start off the digesting process. Breeds that have a loose upper lip like the St. Bernard, Newfoundland, and Bloodhound can suffer from excessive drooling. However if your dog doesn’t have a loose upper lip then excessive drooling can be a sign of mouth or gum disease so a trip to the vets may be necessary.
Why does my dog follow me everywhere?
This is mainly down to your dog's natural instinct. As a pup your dog would have followed his littermates around. As your dog's ‘pack leader’ it is your job to keep your dog safe and provide food. Your dog knows this and so sticks with you as he knows that is what's best for him and this is what your dog's ancestors would have done in the wild. A study done by scientists has found that dogs can show attachment to humans. So your dog is seeking you out for safety and because he loves you!
Why do dogs growl?
Dogs usually growl when they are scared, or being aggressive and dominant. They will also growl to protect their territory and possessions. Another reason for dogs growling is if they are in pain.
Why do dogs groan?
Dogs will often groan or sigh when they flop on the floor after a long walk. Most of the time they are groaning in delight or satisfaction, however sometimes they may be groaning because they are in pain.
Why do dogs howl?
It is a natural instinct for your pup to howl. You may find that your dog will howl in response to the phone ringing or sirens. Dogs are wired to howl like this as this is what wolves do to signal to their pack members where they are. Dogs suffering from separation anxiety tend to howl when they are on their own. Some dogs howl in pain, or when they are nervous or anxious.
Why does my dog hate other dogs?
If your dog hasn’t had any socialisation with other dogs then he is likely to be aggressive and appear to ‘hate’ other dogs. It is very important that your dog is properly socialised with dogs from a young age, however, they are never too old for training classes and many adult classes are available to get your dog properly socialised.
Why does my dog have a runny nose?
Your dog could have a runny nose for a number of reason with some being more serious than others. If the nasal discharge is clear then it is likely your dog could be suffering from allergies. Just like humans dogs can be allergic to pollen, foods and even humans! Your dog's runny nose might be due to something causing a blockage. You may be able to see the cause and be able to carefully remove it, or it may sort itself out. If the discharge is cream/yellow/green in colour then your dog probably has an infection and you will need to contact your vet as the issue could potentially be serious.
Why does my dog jump up at me?
As a puppy your dog was taught by its mother to greet other dogs face to face by licking each other faces. Unless taught otherwise by you, your dog will think this is the normal way to greet a human so will try to reach your face by jumping up at you. Jumping up can also be a sign of dominance. It is important to teach your dog from a young age that jumping up is not acceptable.
Why do dogs lick other dogs?
This is the dog version of humans shaking hands. It is how dogs greet each other. Dogs that are friends and are familiar with each other will sometimes groom one another.
Why do dogs chew their paws?
The most common cause for dogs chewing their paws is that there is an irritation or pain there. Paws (in particular fluffy paws) are prone to picking up debris (thorns,twigs etc) when on walks. This can cause irritation and pain to your dog, and they may be trying to remove the irritation by chewing on their paw. Another cause could be fleas or red mange. Red mange is a mite that affects dogs paws and can make them very itchy! Another reason for perpetual paw chewing could be stress or anxiousness.
Why do dogs cough?
Dogs cough for the same reasons as humans; to get rid of dust particles or other irritants in their airways. A persistent cough is usually a sign of illness. If the cough is a ‘honking’ cough, then your dog probably has kennel cough. This will usually clear up by itself and isn’t a worry as long as your dog is still eating and drinking plenty. If the cough persists for longer than a week you should take your dog to the vet.
Why do dogs vomit?
Dogs vomit for the same reasons that humans vomit. To get rid of unwanted or indigestible substances from the gut. Your dog may have eaten something that his stomach doesn’t agree with, which has caused vomiting, such as a change in diet causing an intolerance or a foreign body (a small toy). Dogs can suffer from travel sickness and heatstroke. Sometimes vomiting can be a sign of a more serious medical condition such as a stomach ulcer, intestinal parasites, viral infections. If you suspect the vomiting is due to something more serious you should take your dog to the vet.
Why does my dog bark at me?
Dogs bark at us to communicate that they want something. That might be food, attention, or to alert us to a danger. It can be difficult to know why our dogs are barking at us, but if you are able to identify what the cause of the barking you can try to address the issue to stop your dog from barking. Dogs bark when they are scared, protecting their territory, in response to other dogs barking, if they are hurt, or when they want attention and a tummy tickle.
Why does my dog bite me?
Dog’s will only ever intentionally bite someone if they feel threatened and scared or are in pain. If your dog bites you, you have to ask yourself why your dog was so scared that he would bite you. Evaluate the situation which caused the bite. Most of the time dogs biting and being aggressive is because they haven’t been trained properly and have been mistreated. Dogs can be aggressive over possessions and territory, and if not trained properly to leave or drop toys then aggression can sometimes result in a bite. It is important to train your dog from a young age to leave and drop toys so possessive behaviour does not develop into adulthood. Fear can also cause dog bites. If you socialise your dog as a puppy your dog should learn that they don’t need to fear any humans or other dogs so this type of aggression won’t develop later in life.
Why does my dog not bark?
Some dog breeds are much quieter than others such as the Bernese Mountain Dog, the Great Dane, Golden Retriever, Great Pyrenees, Mastiff, Newfoundland, and Whippet. Some dogs just don’t feel the need to bark at lots of things. If you have a new dog he may still be getting used to his surroundings and may not find his voice until he feel comfortable. Having a dog that doesn’t bark isn’t anything to worry about.
Why does my dog not eat?
Loss of appetite can be a symptom of illness. If you notice any other symptoms or changes in your dog's usual behaviour you should contact your vet. Your dog may not be eating if he has a problem in his mouth that makes it painful to chew. If this is the case you should take your dog to the vet. If your dog has just had vaccines or an operation it is likely he will lose his appetite for a while, but it should return fairly soon and usually isn’t anything to worry about. Another possible reason for your dog not eating is if you have changed his food. Sometimes dogs won’t eat if their surroundings change, and it may take time before they will eat as they adjust to their new environment. Some dogs can be fussy eaters, and you may have to try a few different foods before your picky pup will eat. You also need to consider if you are giving him too many treats, too many treats throughout the day may affect your pups appetite at dinner time.
Why does my dog mouth me?
Mouthing is a natural behaviour in dogs that needs to be corrected when your dog is a puppy. Dogs use their mouth to explore, and during play. If your dog mouths you he is probably just being playful, however this behaviour can be an irritating behaviour in adult dogs which is why at a young age you need to teach your puppy not to mouth you.
Why do dogs watch TV?
Since the design of higher resolution TV dogs can now recognise the images on the TV as moving images and not just a flickering. If there is something interesting like another dog on the screen your dog may watch it because he is interested in it!
What's a Dog's Normal Body Temperature?
The normal temperature for your dog is 38-39.2°C.
How do dogs get worms?
How your dog gets worms can be dependent on the type of worm. Roundworms, Hookworms, and Whipworms can infect your dog when your dogs eats some eggs that are on the ground. For example if your dog eats some grass with eggs on, they can get worms. Dogs can get tapeworms by eating a flea that has eaten an egg. Heartworm, that live in your dog's heart and blood vessels, can be contracted from mosquito bites. Worms can be passed on to puppies if their mothers have them.
How do dogs mate?
The male dog will begin by sniffing the females vulva. If she is receptive she will pull her tail to one side which is known as ‘flagging’. The male will then mount the female and insert his penis and begin thrusting. During this thrusting he will ejaculate. After this the dogs will form a ‘breeding tie’. The male dog will lift his hind leg over and the dogs will stand rear to rear with the penis still inserted. During this time the bulbus gland on the males penis will swell and the dogs will be locked together. Breeding ties can last anywhere between 2-30 minutes. During this time they should not be separated as this could cause damage. An inexperienced bitch may start to get anxious at this point and it is important that she is calmed down so she doesn’t cause damage to the males. When copulation is finished the males bulbus gland will reduce in size and the dogs will separate.
How do dogs get ticks?
Dogs can pick up ticks when out and about on walks. Ticks are particularly common in long grass and woodland areas. If there are lots of wild animals that enter your garden it is more likely that your dog will pick up a tick. Ticks can latch on easily if your dog just brushes past one.
How do dogs get fleas?
Fleas are easily transferred between dogs and other animals like cats in close proximity. If your dog has been with another dog that has fleas it is very likely that your dog will have caught them. Sometimes humans can unwittingly carry fleas on them if they’ve been in contact with an animal that has fleas.
How do dogs get mange?
Mange is caused by several species on skin mites. Your dog has mites living on its skin naturally and they usually cause no harm to your dog. However when mites grow out of control they can cause mange. Different species of mites cause different types of mange. Canine scabies (Sarcoptic mange) is caused by Sarcoptes scabei.
How do dogs go to sleep so fast?
Dogs typically sleep for 13-14 hours of the day. Some breeds, such as Saint Bernards and Bernese Mountain dogs, sleep for longer. In the wild dogs have to conserve lots of energy for the demands of their tough daily life so they have adapted to be able to sleep when they need to. i.e when there is nothing to do dogs can sleep. Dogs can easily adapt their sleep cycle to your lifestyle. When they aren’t doing something they will sleep instead.
How do dogs go blind?
The most common cause of blindness in older dogs is cataracts. Another cause of blindness can be glaucoma whereby fluid collects in the eye and causes pressure to build which damages retinal cells causing blindness.
How do dogs find mates?
Dogs are domesticated animals so their owners choose mates for them!
How do dogs find their way home?
It is thought that dogs have the ability to make a mental map of an area, they can survey the area by taking note of terrain, and using their sense of smell as well as hearing to build a mental map. Some scientist think that dogs can sense the magnetic field and somehow use this to navigate.
How do dogs leave their scent?
Dogs mark their territory by urinating. Dogs can obtain a lot of information from smelling other dogs urine. From the pheromones in a dog's urine other dogs can pick up on the age, gender, health, and reproductive status of that dog.
How old do dogs have to be to leave their mother?
The recommended age for puppies to leave their mother is 8 weeks, however some breeders will ask you to wait until the puppies are 12 weeks.
How do dogs feel when you leave them?
Dogs form a close bond with their owners and do miss them when they are out. It is important to get your dog used to being left alone as otherwise it can result in destructive behaviour, such as chewing and causes the dog stress, resulting in barking and whining. Leaving your dog for a few minutes at a time when they are young and building up the time you leave them slowly, will help ease their stress and they will soon be happy and fall asleep when you go out.
How do dogs express pain?
It can be difficult to know when your dog is in pain. But if you observe him carefully you should be able to workout when there is something up. If you notice a change in his behaviour. Anything out of the ordinary can indicate pain, a lot of the time your dog won’t interact with you and will seem quiet and a bit withdrawn. Your dog may vocalise to indicate pain, this can be anything from crying out loudly when you touch the source of pain to a constant whimpering. Tummy pain and nausea can be the hardest type of pain for you to detect, however excess salivation and a loss of appetite are usually indicators of tummy troubles. If your dog is constantly nibbling or licking a certain area, this usually means that there is some kind of irritation that is causing him discomfort. If your pup is panting heavily that can also be an indicator of pain.
How do dogs recognise their owners?
Dog’s rely on their senses to recognize us. We all have our unique smell that our dog recognizes. However research has suggested that dogs rely most on just recognizing what our faces look like.
How do dogs talk to each other?
How do dogs overheat?
The same way that we do! Physical exertion and hot weather can make your dog over heat. Plus they are wearing a fur coat...
How do dogs sweat?
Dogs don’t have the ability to sweat in the same way humans do. They do have sweat glands on their paws but they use panting as a method to cool down.
How do dogs feed their puppies?
Dogs are mammals and produce milk the same way that humans do.
How do dogs cool down?
Unlike humans dogs don’t have the ability to sweat all over. They do have sweat glands on their paws, but this is where the sweating stops. Instead dogs will loll their tongue out and pant to cool down. In hot weather is can be very easy for your dog to overheat so it is important you take measures such as providing shade or a wet towel for your dog to cool down and provide plenty of fresh drinking water. It is also wise to avoid taking your dog for long walks in the middle of the day during hot weather.