How Healthy is Your Pooch?

We can’t simply ask our dogs how they’re feeling so we rely on other cues to check on them. Here are some tell-tale signs to look for regarding the status of your dog’s health.

Familiarize yourself with your dog’s usual tendencies. Dogs have personalities just like people, so notice if their behavior changes in any way… it gives you a heads up that something might be off. (Be sure to tell your Highrise Pet Care walker about your dog’s sick or distressed behaviors so they can contact you if something doesn’t seem right.)

Pay special attention to grooming habits. If your pup has stopped caring for him/herself and it is beginning to show on their coat, take this as a red flag. Refusal to take care of their coat may suggest that your pooch is feeling distressed or unwell.

Notice changes in energy level. Although it is normal to have your pooch range slightly in energy, be sure to take note when there are major drops or spikes in activity. If your pooch is becoming hard to contain when you get home at the end of the day, it may be a sign that they need to release some energy throughout the daytime hours. Consider hiring a walker to help get them more active.

Watch for changes in eating habits. Especially if your pooch usually eats a large quantity of food, sudden loss of appetite is a hint that something may be wrong. If you’re concerned about a change in eating habits, it is a good idea to bring your dog to the vet to get checked out for an illness.

Pay attention to aggression and friendliness. Changes in social behavior could be linked with multiple causes, including how much attention they are currently receiving, old age, or outside sources of stress. Take action if your dog is acting out, and evaluate any changes in their environment that could be the cause.

What did we miss? Send us a tweet or an email to let us know what signs you use to tell if your dog is healthy.

Getting a Puppy to Sleep

Puppies experience separation anxiety during their first couple weeks in a new home. The best time to add structure is while they’re still young and impressionable. Once their schedule and routine is set, your new family member will find comfort in his surroundings and sleep through the night.

Getting Started

Your pup’s crate should be large enough so he can stand, stretch out and turn around. Bigger isn’t better. Your pup needs proper space, but not enough to run around. The crate will feel most comfortable and cozy with blanket, towel, or bed on the floor. Nuzzle his favorite stuffed animal in there so he has a snuggle buddy.

Resist the temptation to place him in the crate for a time-out. Your puppy needs to associate the crate with feelings of warmth and comfort. As an owner, you want this to be your pups safe place where his mind can be at ease.

Setting a Ritual

Set an evening ritual and try to be disciplined about sticking to it. Feed your pup approximately two or three hours before bedtime. Be sure to take him out for a potty break and playtime about an hour before bed. Once you’re ready to call it a night, place your pup in the crate with a small treat and toy, then gently place a blanket or towel on top of the crate. This will create a quiet, dark, and private space for your pup to get a great night of rest.

So you’re all set, right? Unfortunately it’s not that simple because this is Chicago. There will be street noises and rowdy neighbors that will cause your little pup to wake up. Be ready for restless nights. Puppy’s cannot go for eight hours without a break, so let him out when you hear your pup whimpering. You’ll learn which sounds are for attention and which are more urgent.  After your pup relieves himself, place him in the crate and say goodnight. Do not play or cuddle with him (this is hard to resist!).

Next Steps

As your puppy gets older and more mature, he will start going to Chicago’s dog parks and get to sleep quicker and sleep for longer stretches of time. As a general rule, the number of hours a puppy can “hold it” is equal to their age in months. This means the first few months can be a challenge… but by sticking to a routine, you’re on the fast track to a normal sleep schedule!