Happy Cat??

By Dr. Karen Becker and comments by Diane Weinmann


How to Create a Happy Cat

In addition to feeding a nutritionally optimal, species-appropriate diet, keeping kitty at a lean-and-healthy weight, and providing exercise incentives, there are several components to her indoor environment that you’ll need to consider from her uniquely feline perspective. These include:

  1. Litterbox location — In the wild, cats not only hunt prey, they are prey for other animals. Certain activities make them vulnerable to predators, including eliminating. This vulnerability is what causes anxiety in your kitty when her litterbox is in a noisy or high traffic area.

Your cat’s “bathroom” should be located in a safe, secure location away from any area that is noisy enough to startle her or make her feel trapped and unable to escape.

  1. The opportunity to “hunt” for meals and snacks — Your cat, while domesticated, has maintained much of his natural drive to engage in the same behaviors as his counterparts in the wild, including hunting for food, which also happens to be excellent exercise. A great way to do that with an indoor cat is to have him “hunt” for his meals and treats.

Separate his daily portion of food into three to five small meals fed throughout the day in a variety of puzzle toys or indoor hunting feeder mice (available for raw and canned food, too!). You can also hide his food bowls or food puzzle toys in various spots around the house.

  1. Places for climbing, scratching, resting, and hiding — Cats are natural climbers and scratchers, and those urges don’t disappear when they move indoors. Your cat also needs her own resting place and a hiding place where she feels untouchable.

Cats prefer to interact with other creatures (including humans) on their own terms, and according to their schedule. Remember: well-balanced indoor kitties are given the opportunity to feel in control of their environment. Jackson Galaxy has written several books on creating feline environmental enrichment around the home that I highly recommend.

  1. Consistency in interactions with humans — Your cat feels most comfortable when his daily routine is predictable, so performing little rituals when you leave the house and return can help him feel more comfortable with your comings and goings. A ritual can be as simple as giving him a treat when you leave and a nice scratch behind the ears as soon as you get home.

Playtime should also be consistent. Learn what types of cat toys he responds to and engage him in play, on his timetable. Of course, while you can encourage him to play, it’s pointless to force the issue. Oh, and when he’s had enough, he’s had enough!

  1. Sensory stimulation — Visual stimulation: Some cats can gaze out the window for hours. Others are captivated by fish in an aquarium. Some even enjoy kitty videos.

Auditory stimulation: When you’re away from home, provide background noise for kitty that is similar to the ambient sounds she hears when you’re at home, for example, music or a TV at low volume. Olfactory stimulation: You can stimulate your cat’s keen sense of smell with cat-safe herbs or synthetic feline pheromones (e.g., Feliway).

All in all, paying attention to your kitty, interacting and talking with them will go a long way to ensure their happiness. Provide stimulation—you get bored right?  Well, they will to!   If they seem upset or sad consider what may have changed in their life or environment to have caused their issue.  When all else fails, contact Diane who is an animal communicator at dianefortheloveofanimals@yahoo.com.


Why Do Some Dogs Hate The Rain?

Why Do Some Dogs Hate The Rain?

by Amber King and comments by Diane Weinmann


It’s raining, it’s pouring, and the dog refuses to go outside. While some dogs seem drawn to water whether it’s a muddy puddle or a springtime rainstorm, others do everything in their power to stay perpetually dry. The threat of getting wet keeps them inside no matter how full their bladder, and even a slight drizzle on their daily walk is enough to launch them into panic.

If this sounds like your dog, you already know how challenging an aversion to rain can really be. No matter where you live, it’s bound to rain eventually. Your pup can try, but they can’t stay dry forever.

Here are a few reasons to explain your dog’s anti-rain behavior and how to help them work through their weather-related woes.

#1 – It’s Honestly Unpleasant

Umbrellas were invented for a reason. Getting dripped on by raindrops and pelted in downpours isn’t fun. You end up cold and damp, and the feeling of rain hitting your face and falling on your head is irksome. Dogs are sometimes more tolerable than humans when it comes to comfort, but that’s not always the case. A lot of dogs protest going out in the rain simply because it’s irritating.

If you don’t like getting stuck in a random rainstorm without your umbrella, you can’t be surprised that your dog feels the same way. Even dogs that are the first to jump in the pool don’t like the rain. It’s not because they don’t like water, it’s because being dripped on over and over is annoying.


#2 – Doggy See, Doggy Do

Dogs take cues on how to behave from the people they spend the most time with—their owners. In the case of the dreaded rainstorm, a dog could learn to hate the rain because they’ve observed their owner expressing similar feelings.

If you work yourself into a frenzy running around closing windows or moving things inside, your dog is going to pick up on your emotions. Your grumblings about bad weather may only be halfhearted, but your dog takes them seriously.

#3 – Negative Associations

Besides their owner’s reaction, a dog can also develop their own negative associations to the rain. If they’re afraid of thunderstorms, for example, they learn fast that rain is often a precursor to those scary booms. It could only be a light drizzle, but the memory of rain coming down during a storm is enough to put them on edge.

Another negative association toward water could have to do with how you discipline your dog. Spraying the dog with the hose when they’re digging in the garden or barking at the neighbor is never a good idea. The only thing they learn from being sprayed is that when water is falling from the sky, their owner is mad. The same concept works if you scold your dog for not doing their business fast enough in the rain. You’re inadvertently making a connection between getting wet and being punished.


#4 – Noise Sensitivities

It might not be the rain itself that bothers your pet; it could be the sound. Heavy rain can be pretty loud, and nervous dogs and dogs with noise sensitivities can react negatively to even the slightest pings of rain hitting a hard surface. Rain on the windows, roof, even your umbrella—it can make a dog nervous enough to want to stay as far away from it as possible. Bella’s House and Pet Sitting says,


How to Help

On sunny days, your dog’s habit of hating the rain is easy to downplay. It only seems important when the weather channel starts calling for clouds. There are ways to entertain your dog indoors if going out on a walk isn’t an option, but there’s still the problem of outdoor bathroom breaks. If your dog refuses to go outside in the rain even when they’ve been holding their bladder all day, you’ll need to find a solution. Here are a few ideas.


Gear Up

You don’t like going out in the rain without something to cover up with, and your dog might appreciate his own set of rain gear. A doggy rain jacket will keep his fur dry, and a fitted hood or hat will keep drops from hitting his face. Rain jacket material might also amplify the sound, however, so make sure your pup isn’t bothered by noise. Booties are also good for pups that don’t like getting their paws wet. If your pup isn’t the type to tolerate accessories, buying an umbrella big enough to cover the both of you might work.


Be a Partner

Fearful dogs look to their owners for support and reassurance. If you’re trying to force your dog out the door while you stay safe and dry inside, you’re sending a message that they’re on their own. Being alone in an uncomfortable situation will usually only strengthen their aversion. Leading your dog outside into the rain will tell them, “Hey, I’m doing it too. You’re safe with me.”


Start Water Desensitization

Desensitizing your dog to rain needs to be a slow process full of positive reinforcement. Your method of shoving them out the door and not letting them come inside until after they’ve done their business will only traumatize them further. Instead, Rover suggests techniques to make them feel more comfortable. They say,

Get your dog used to water by taking him out to pee after you’ve watered the lawn. You could also try feeding your dog on the wet grass or playing with them in a sprinkler or with a garden hose to create positive associations with the feeling of wet terrain.”

If it’s the noise your dog is afraid of, use the same method of desensitizing. Start with simulating the sound of rain with a hose or sprinkler and give your dog praise and treats at the same time. Your goal is for them to replace their fear with anticipation of a reward. While you’re at it, make an effort to completely halt all negative associations to water. When it starts raining, show your dog you’re happy, not disappointed. Never use water as a punishment.   I will mention that the rain make a huge racket on the roof of the arena in the stable that I kept my horse and my horse never cared—weird!

Just so you know, my husky hates the rain and of course, LOVES the snow.  My horse was the same way.  I think they all imagined that the sky was falling verses the gentle feel of drifting snow flakes on them.  So as you can see, I rarely rode in the rain (unless we got caught and then we’d hurry home) or walked the dog in the rain.  My husky will go out as far at the bottom of the driveway and turn around and go back inside!  What a bunch of wimps!!!!!


Pets and Your Love Life: What the Experts Say

By Helen Anne Travis and comments by Diane Weinmann


Want to be a better spouse or partner? Take a few lessons from your pet. Pet’s always get it right and are pure love!


That’s the advice of Dr. Tiffany Margolin, DVM and author of “Relationship Reset: Get Her To Love You As Much As Your Dog Does.”


Pets can teach us everything from how to greet our partners when they come home after a long day, the importance of turning off the television and spending quality time with our partners, and even how to end a fight gracefully, she says.


Then there’s the art of the agenda-less soft touch. You know how a cat pushes against your hand when you rub her cheek? We humans have the same response to a soft touch, explains Margolin. “There are a lot of relationship subtleties you can learn from having a pet.”  Diane’s dog will just lean onto her leg for an hour just craving comforting contact.


Learning To Care For Others


For many people, having a pet is how we learn to take care of something other than ourselves, says Dr. Laurie Hess, a board certified avian veterinarian and owner of the Veterinary Center for Birds and Exotics in Bedford Hills, New York.


Pets teach us how to bond and how to love; from them we learn the art of reading body language and moods, she says. All of these are very important traits to pay attention to in a romantic partner.


“Animals teach you intuition,” says Margolin. They also teach us patience.


“You have to be patient,” she adds. “That puppy will [sometimes] pee on the carpet 50 times before it learns.”


Pets may make us better people, but does that come across loud and clear to our potential partners?


Experts say the answer is yes. And to understand why, you have to go back in time to the early 19th century.


Keeping Up With The 1800s Joneses


People first started having pets, in the modern sense of the word, in the early 1800s, says Dr. Diana Ahmad, University of Missouri curators’ distinguished teaching professor and author of the book “Success Depends on the Animals: Emigrants, Livestock, and Wild Animals on the Overland Trails, 1840-1869.”


A few interesting things led to this pet phenomenon, she explains. Middle and upper class people finally had the means to take care of animals they didn’t plan to eat. The large number of people traveling west at that period were keen to bring along a dog for protection, or a cat that reminded them of the family they’d never see again (remember, there was no Skype or email back then). Finally, a series of books by authors like Charlotte Elizabeth Tonna and Lydia Maria Child suggested that how we treat animals reflected on our family’s social status. “It was a ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ thing,” Ahmad.


In today’s world, our pets still tell other people a lot about our personalities and potential to be good partners.


Having a well cared for pet tells romantic interests we’re likely a nurturing person capable of making a commitment, says Margolin. It shows people we can take responsibility for someone other than ourselves.  You must be a giving individual to care for a pet—in essence you are able to put your pet before yourself.  This aspect of your personality tells someone a lot about the person you are!


So go ahead, put that funny photo of you and your pet in your dating profile, the experts say.


“If your pet is a big part of your life, you need to share that with people,” says Hess. “You don’t want something like that to be a surprise.”


Think about it this way, says Margolin, if your pets are important to you, and you’re looking for a big-hearted person who accepts that, you can use that photo of you and your pet as a filter of sorts.


If a potential partner isn’t willing to accept you for the pet-lover you are, “Maybe they’re not someone you want to be with,” she says.


What About Platonic Partners?


Even if we’re not looking for love, pets can help us meet new friends and bond over a shared interest, says Hess. Just think of all the dog-walking groups, bird clubs, and rabbit societies out there.


“Having a pet fosters a sense of community,” she says. And a common interest in pets can be a great social lubricant.


We can also learn a thing or two about making new human friends from the way we interact with animals.


Remember the last time you saw someone walking a friendly-looking dog on the street, says Margolin. Didn’t you just want to run over and pet it?


Imagine if you applied that same enthusiasm to greeting a stranger, she says, minus the petting, perhaps.


Go at it with no preconceived notions or prejudices. Why not wag your tail and see how the conversation unfolds?


9 Signs Your Pet Is Jealous (and How to Stop It)

9 Signs Your Pet Is Jealous (and How to Stop It)


By Nicole Pajer and comments by Diane Weinmann


Sometimes our pets behave in a way that suggests they are jealous. When we bend down to pet another dog, our pup may shove his way in front of us, knocking our hand away from his canine companion. A cat may excessively meow when you’re not paying attention to him, or a dog may annoyingly whine when another pet in the house gets a treat and he doesn’t. But are these actually jealous behaviors? Experts disagree.

“Pets don’t experience jealousy in the true sense of the word,” says Katenna Jones, associate applied animal behaviorist and owner of Jones Animal Behavior in Warwick, Rhode Island. “What you are most likely seeing your pet exhibit is assertive, pushy, or rude behavior—e.g., the pet that bulldozes other pets out of the way—or social hierarchy, where a higher-ranking pet displaces another pet.”

On the other hand, a recent study found that dogs “exhibited significantly more jealous behaviors (e.g., snapping, getting between the owner and object, pushing/touching the object/owner) when their owners displayed affectionate behaviors towards what appeared to be another dog [an animatronic toy that moved and vocalized] as compared to nonsocial objects [a children’s book and a plastic jack-o’-lantern].”

Suzanne Hetts, applied animal behaviorist and co-owner of Animal Behavior Associates in Littleton, Colorado, concludes the jury is out on whether a pet feels the same type of jealous feelings that humans do. When a pet is determined to get your attention or his favorite toy back, “We have no idea whether a pet’s emotional state is equivalent to what people label as jealousy,” she explains. “In most cases, this is better described as a competitive situation where the pet is competing with another individual—human, dog, cat, or otherwise—for something it wants.”

Jealous-Like Behaviors in Pets

Regardless of what you call it, this type of behavior is often unwanted or unhealthy. Here are some jealous-like behaviors that pet parents should be on the lookout for:

  1. Aggression. “This can often be in the form of biting or nibbling of the animal or person getting attention over them,” says Dr. Scarlett Magda, founding president of New York City-based Veterinarians International.
  2. Going to the bathroom indoors. “Our pets can’t express their thoughts and feelings in words, so instead, they sometimes express their feelings in actions,” says Dr. Geoffrey Broderick, a veterinarian in Huntington, New York. “If you see them peeing or pooping in places where they shouldn’t, they may be trying to tell you something.”
  3. Paying extra attention to their owner. According to Broderick, this can come across as a pet cuddling up extra close to you and suddenly licking your hand or face. “This is a sign of affection and they are trying to get your attention,” he says.
  4. Pushy behavior. Magda notes that this often comes in the form of a pet “inhibiting another person or animal from moving freely on a regular basis or pushing their way into a situation demanding the attention of their owner.”
  5. Growling, hissing, or getting into a fight with another pet. This may especially be an issue in a multi-pet household where pets are competing for their owner’s attention and resources, Broderick points out.
  6. Trying to scare off strangers. “Pets may aggressively bark, hiss, or growl when owners are greeted or visitors arrive,” Magda says.
  7. Doing a trick. According to Broderick, this is a surefire sign that your pet is trying to get your attention.
  8. Crowding your space. “Cats sometimes will lie down on your work table or sit on your computer keyboard to get attention or even start knocking things off the table,” Broderick says. “A dog may sit up and beg to try and get your attention or sit up on their hind legs.”
  9. Leaving the room. Sometimes when our pets get mad, they may have a tendency to withdraw, Broderick says.

What Causes Jealous-Like Behaviors in Pets?

According to experts, jealous-like behaviors in pets typically suggest boredom or a ploy for attention from their owners. “Sometimes, just like people, they can feel insecure,” Broderick explains. “They need individual attention, lots of cuddling, and activities to keep them busy and to keep them from being bored. Sometimes, our pets just want us and they don’t want to share us with another pet or person.”

In circumstances like this, here’s what could be going through your pet’s head: “I see you doing something. You look happy. I want that,” Jones says. A lack of resources (only one toy for multiple pets), social conflict, too small of a space, stress, lack of exercise, and genetic disposition can cause jealous-like behavior, she adds.

Magda advises pet owners to pay close attention if one pet or family member is receiving more attention than another, a new pet or family member has arrived in the household, or there is inequality in the amount of food or treats between pets.

Diane Weinmann recommends talking to an animal communicator to find out from the source, your pet, what is causing unwanted behaviors.  It’s a much better to know exactly what or who is causing the problem than to guess.

How to Stop Jealous Behavior in Pets

Here are some of Magda’s tips for nipping this type of behavior in the bud, before it gets out of control:

  • Keep a diary to record circumstances that cause signs of jealousy/aggression to occur, so you know what to look for. This can also be helpful for behaviors that you cannot manage on your own, as you can share the list with your vet or a professional animal behaviorist.
  • Avoid giving too much attention to one pet versus another.
  • Train dogs to feel safe in their crate so they can feel relaxed during their “time out” period. Give cats a space to call their own as well.
  • Feed pets separately to avoid conflict during mealtimes.
  • Ignore your pets when you arrive home so they don’t feel like one is getting more attention than the other. The level of emotional excitement will diminish, preventing signs of aggression from occurring.
  • Put leashes on both dogs when walking two at a time and consider a gentle leader for better control.
  • Don’t pet one animal at the expense of the other.
  • Have at least two of all toys and beds but remove food-based toys unless supervised.
  • Catch your pets being good. Give them attention and praise when they are acting the way you want them too.

Diane Weinmann recommends a custom treatment bottle of Bach Flower Essences that helps with emotional issues.  Bach Flower essences are a holistic way to reframe your pet’s way of thinking to bring about changes in behaviors.  These essences do not contra-interact with any medicines that your pet would be taking and you cannot harm or overdose your pet.  See Diane’s website for more information at www.theloveofanimals.com

Managing unwanted behaviors and keeping our pets mentally healthy are keys to avoiding unpleasant situations down the line, Broderick says. “As pet parents, we need to attend to their physical and emotional needs, just like we do for our human children,” he says. “Our pets just want to feel loved.”



Are European Dogs Born Well-Behaved?

By Dr. Becker and comments by Diane Weinmann

If you’ve ever visited Europe, you might have noticed that European pets, generally speaking, are quite well-behaved — maybe more so than dogs born and raised in the U.S.

One couple who moved from Dallas to London found that perhaps their dogs weren’t quite “ready for prime time” in comparison with the dogs that had been raised in their new country. They wondered if it was just their imagination. Determined to get to the bottom of their growing suspicion that their pups might need a little more tweaking in the behavioral department, they asked a friend, who happened to be a professional dog trainer, to give them some pointers.

Throughout Belgium, France and other places throughout the United Kingdom, Kama Brown, a certified professional dog trainer-knowledge assessed (CPDT-KA), kept her eye peeled for any wisdom she could glean regarding European dogs, as well as their owners.1

Is It Me or Is It My Dog?

One of the first things Brown noticed was the freedom most dogs enjoyed, but well-deserved. She was intrigued to see that most dogs were off leash, even when they visited museums, toy stores and markets and rode on trains, trolleys and elevators. Only when waterfowl were present were European dogs leashed.

She also noticed that when children wanted to approach dogs on the street, they were told to “avoid distracting them,” and that admonition was consistent everywhere. Dogs weren’t asked to wait while their owners went inside stores or eateries, or to lie under tables on the train or tram. The dogs did so without being told. Still, Brown observed:

“Young dogs in Europe did the same things as young dogs in America. A [9]-month-old black Labrador jumped onto a counter to sniff the cheese selection at the market. A small mixed breed stopped to sniff each interesting spot.

When a young Bulldog resisted going down the stairs to the Underground, the owner coaxed him down each new step. A man with a very young puppy walked quickly to keep the puppy from picking up objects he found along the way. Nothing I saw made me think that European dogs were born well behaved.”2

Another of her observations was that dogs were basically ignored. No one fawned over them, asked owners if they could give their pets food morsels or even pet them. The non-interaction extended to other dogs; owners avoided letting their dogs sniff, stand near or play with other dogs.

How Dogs in Europe Are Trained to Behave

The more Brown found herself in areas where dogs were plentiful, the more she realized what she was seeing was very close to the way service dogs are trained and treated in the U.S. Owners do their best to maintain a calm, comfortable environment, which encourages them to be calm and quiet, as well.

When service dogs in the U.S. walk through crowds or encounter people, their owners and trainers are always pleased when no one approaches them to pet them, talk to them or get in their dogs’ space. Strangers, when wise, don’t encourage interaction at all with dogs they’re not familiar with, and that’s how owners of service dogs typically like it.

The simple reason for this is that such interaction does distract dogs. It puts them in conflict, even in the presence of their owners, because the signals aren’t consistent. Brown explains:

“We treat service dogs this way because we understand that interacting with them makes training harder for their handler. When strangers frequently offer treats and attention, or allow their dogs to rush into another dog’s space, it produces specific emotional responses, which will arise each time a new person or a strange dog approaches. Sometimes, this emotion is pleasure, but more often, anxiety, over-exuberance or defensive behavior is manifested.”3

Strangers’ Interaction With Dogs Distracts and Confuses Them

One of the most interesting phenomena on this side of the pond is how little most people, including dog owners, understand that lavishing praise and conversation on any and all dogs is setting those dogs and owners up for failure, Brown asserts. Further, the fact that dogs aren’t restricted from many areas helps them become more acclimated to different environments, which helps them remain calm rather than unsure of what’s happening and how to respond. Brown says:

“If being taken to new places were a regular occurrence, it would not excite a dog into lunging through doorways. If barking and pulling were consistently ignored in young dogs, those behaviors could never become a game or a way to get attention. Unlike the restrictions put on U.S. dog owners, Europeans are able to consistently expose their dogs to new sounds, sights and smells, which mentally enriches the dogs without overstimulating them.”4

Determining not to acknowledge a dog you (or your children) are not familiar with may be one of the best things you can do for them. Owners don’t have to calm or reassure dogs that become overexcited when strangers don’t approach or engage them. Brown says that lack of distraction allows dogs to relax and focus on their owners.

The upshot for Brown’s newly planted London dwellers was that they could relax, too. Just living in a European city would be three-quarters of the way toward success because their dogs would be ignored! The key to socialization was their dogs’ simple presence — not constant attention. Other than bonding with their pup or pups and teaching basic manners, nothing else would be needed. Except perhaps a little “schooling” for over-attentive dog lovers.

I can tell you that when I was on Santa Margarita (wonderful place in Italy) I wandered into a non-descript church but was completely amazed at the interior that was breath-taking!  As I stayed to enjoy the mass and the ambience I realized that there were dogs all over in the church just laying at the owner’s feet.  I thought this was the greatest thing since sliced bread and I highly recommend that our beloved USA get a clue!

Weird Things your Dogs Do and Why!

Your dog does some very wacky things. In fact, at times, watching the antics of your pet is better than watching TV especially those that don’t have cable! So I bet you think to yourself –what are they thinking and why in the world are they doing that?

I’ve listed a few strange doggie antics that I think you will enjoy.

My Dog dips his paw in his water bowl   dog splashing

I was at the shelter this week and witnessed an odd behavior when a yellow lab was dipping his paw and splashing water in and all around his bowl as I filled it. In fact, as fast as I filled it, he was emptying it with his paw. He did not seem interested in drinking the fresh, cool water—oh no, he was just playing! I bet this happens once in a while in your home too. Well, when I asked the dog why he was scooping the water out of the bowl he told me he liked wet paws and licking them. Ah ha! That answer sort of made sense to me. I have witnessed dogs repeatedly licking their paw but obviously having wet paws in the first place was better than wetting them with their tongue.

My Dog Eats Grass and Other Strange Plants!  dog eating grass

Yep, my dog thinks the park is a gourmet buffet of tempting grasses for his palate. He will walk past dandelions, chives and many other types of edible plants to happily chew on a tall leafy plant that looks like really long grass.

According to Dr. Karen Becker, if your otherwise healthy, well-nourished dog nibbles on selected grass once in awhile, there’s no cause for concern. (as long as there was no toxins on the plants).


Dogs that selectively choose specific grasses to nibble on may be seeking out the plant’s medicinal qualities (many grasses are high in potassium and enzymes) or looking for a natural source of fiber. But then there are the frantic, non-selective grass eaters, which may mean a GI problem is brewing. I have seen this behavior in our back yard. Once in a blue moon he will run into the back yard and immediately start pulling grass out, roots and all, and scarfing it down like it’s a delicacy.


Dogs will instinctively search for natural remedies for the occasional upset stomach, and grass often does the trick, not to mention it’s usually easy to find. There is something about the texture of grass that triggers vomiting or a bowel movement in many dogs, which relieves tummy discomfort. But if the grass eating is chronic and especially if it causes your pet to vomit frequently, it’s time to make an appointment with your veterinarian.

In the meantime, I recommend upgrading your dog’s diet if she’s still eating kibble or any non-human grade commercial dog food. Most healthy dogs fed a balanced, species-appropriate diet don’t eat grass because they receive all the nourishment their bodies need from their food, and they rarely suffer from digestive issues. Adding probiotics and digestive enzymes can also benefit dogs with “sensitive stomachs.”

I purchase very expensive, grain free food and supplement it with home cooked meat. Being certified in canine nutrition I am certain that my dog is receiving optimal nutrition from a species-appropriate diet but if he continues to eat a good amount of grass, I would consider growing my own sunflower sprouts. Sprouts can provide an easy, inexpensive source of fresh, live, organic vegetation and are much more nutritious for your pet than grass.

Ever see your Dog Performing the Scratch Dance?

Every day when I walk my dog, he moves his bowels (obviously the reason for the walk). As I stand there waiting for him to finish, I get my bag all ready and the second he is done I bend down to pick up his excrement. Guess what? I get a face full of grass, dirt, leaves or snow depending on the time of the year. That’s a fine thank you for the walk! It’s bad enough that I have to carry the stinky stuff back home but to get a face full of dirt/grass/snow is not my idea of facial!

So why is this annoying behavior occurring? It seems that many of the dog’s ancestors (wild dogs and wolves) kicked at the ground after pooping to hide and also mark their territory. Dogs have glands in their paws that have pheromones and by scratching the ground they release their individual scent onto the dirt. Ever have to physically pull your dog away from sniffing a tree, fire hydrant or specific flower? They are learning about the dog that has previously been there. So let’s doe-si-doe!

Why Does My Dog Eat Poop?

You witness your dog gobble up a turd he found outside like it’s a filet migon. Gross, right? So what is with this disgusting habit? Well, dogs eat poop for lots of reasons.

Again, according to Dr. Becker the scientific name for stool eating is coprophagia. Sometimes, there’s an underlying medical problem like an enzyme deficiency or pancreatic insufficiency. Intestinal malabsorption and GI parasites are also common medical reasons underlying coprophagia.

If your dog is on a poor-quality, processed dry food diets he will often seek out other sources of digestive enzymes to make up for a chronic enzyme deficiency brought on by a biologically inappropriate diet.

Coprophagia can also have a behavioral cause. Dogs that are feeling anxious or stressed may eat poop. Additionally so will dogs who have been punished for inappropriate elimination, which includes many puppy mill dogs.

Dr. Becker’s recommendations for curbing/eliminating this behavior include feeding a diet containing human-grade (preferably unprocessed) protein and supplement with probiotics and digestive enzymes, and insuring your dog has toys that stimulate her brain and alleviate boredom. Also insure he is well-exercised. You may want to consider experimenting with some of the over-the-counter coprophagia deterrent products. Make sure you look for a non-toxic product that doesn’t contain MSG.

If despite your best efforts your dog’s poop eating behavior isn’t improving, or is getting worse, I recommend making an appointment with your vet to rule out any underlying medical reason for the behavior.fowllanguagecomics-comics-dogs-poop-1717830