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Another great article from Sarah Holloway

Sarah Holloway takes a fascinating look at dog pregnancy and the secret world of the unborn puppy!

Today we are going to be looking at the journey your puppy made from conception to birth.

You’ll learn about the early signs that a female dog is pregnant, find out how long dogs are pregnant for and discover how the puppies develop week by week.

We’ll also consider the steps that need to be taken in looking after your pups’ mom in the weeks before birth. We’ve also included a brief look at what causes phantom pregnancies, and why some pregnancies sadly fail.

Dog pregnancy – do you want to breed from your dog?

If you’re thinking about breeding from your own Labrador you’ll find some interesting information here too. But the best place to begin that journey is with this article : Should you let your Labrador have puppies.

There’s a lot to keep in mind if you’re considering breeding your Labrador, and there are issues you must think on carefully before you make a decision. The above article will help you.

A lot of preparation goes into planning a mating – from choosing the right mate, getting the right health tests carried out, to making sure the mating goes smoothly. These are all topics in their own right.

But today, we are going to focus on the pregnancy itself. So we’ll pick up the dog’s pregnancy story from right after mating. First let’s look at how long we can expect dog pregnancy to last.

How long are dogs pregnant?

Dog pregnancy is often considered to last for around nine weeks. So that’s one week of dog pregnancy for every month of human pregnancy.

But it’s not quite that simple. Let’s take a closer look.

If a Labrador’s pregnancy is planned to the smallest detail, and her owner knows exactly when she ovulated, then her gestation period can also be predicted with uncanny accuracy.

The majority of litters across all breeds of dog are born on the 63rd day after ovulation.

In 2001 a team at Utrecht University in the Netherlands included 31 Labrador retrievers in a study of how breed and litter size affects dog pregnancy length.

They found that because Labradors tend to carry large litters they also have slightly shorter pregnancies – 61.5 days on average.

But what if you took a more fateful approach to mating your girl, and you don’t know exactly when she ovulated?

In this case, expect her to give birth 55 to 64 days (eight to nine weeks) after mating.

Why the wide range? Let me explain…

Predicting the gestation period of dogs

As for all mammals, dog pregnancy begins when sperm fertilizes an egg.

Dog sperm can live inside a dog for up to ten days, and whilst it does gradually degrade and become less likely to fertilize an egg, it still means that a girl mated ten days before she ovulates could still get pregnant.

At the other extreme, a female dog’s eggs can survive for up to six days after ovulation, although they will also decline in quality over this period, so that late breeding is more likely to be unsuccessful or result in smaller litters.

So in theory, there’s a sixteen day window during which a female dog can get pregnant.

Now if you’re doing the sums, that’s a sixteen day window for getting pregnant, but a nine day window for giving birth.

How is that possible?

Ongoing research at Nippon University in Japan suggests that eggs which are fertilized late then progress through the early stages of development more quickly, so that the puppies are still born a predictable amount of time after ovulation.

Amazing. Now you may be wondering how many babies you might expect.

How many puppies is my dog likely to have?

In 2010, scientists at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science conducted a retrospective study of over ten thousand dog litters, to find out what factors influence litter size.

Their study included 223 Labrador litters, which ranged from one to thirteen puppies, and an average of seven.

They found that litter size is closely linked to breed size: Labradors are large breeds, so they tend to have large litters.

(By comparison, toy breeds and small breeds had an average of three or four puppies in a litter.)

They also found that litter size decreased as the mother got older, and that litters conceived by artificial insemination produced fewer puppies than natural mating.

Studies have also shown that litter sizes decrease when dogs are more closely related.

So now your dog has mated but you’re still not sure whether she is pregnant. So what happens next?

Recognizing signs of pregnancy in dogs

A female dog is unlikely to show any signs of pregnancy in the first couple of weeks.

In this time, the fertilized egg divides into a round ball of cells called a blastocyst, which travels through a female dog’s reproductive system until it reaches the uterus and finally anchors to the lining of her womb (the technical term for this is “blastocyst invasion”, how lovely!).

Only once the embryo attaches to the lining of the womb do the cascade of hormone changes associated with pregnancy begin, and bring with them their tell-tale symptoms of pregnancy.

What dog pregnancy symptoms might you expect to see? Do dogs suffer from morning sickness for example?

Do dogs get morning sickness?

Well, just like in humans those pregnancy hormones might can make a female dog feel a bit nauseous.

So she might go off her food, and even vomit a little.

Everything happens in fast forward compared to a human pregnancy through, so morning sickness in dogs only lasts a few days.

Other signs of pregnancy

Some female dogs show signs of tiredness or listlessness in very early pregnancy because of all the hormones being released. At around 30 days you might notice that her nipples have started to change in color and size.

At this time you might also see a discharge of thin clear mucus from her vagina. As long as the mucus is clear you don’t need to worry – this is quite normal.

You should have your dog checked out by your vet if a discharge has blood in it, or if the mucus is not clear or has a bad smell.

But just like in the first two months of a human pregnancy, the first couple of weeks is often outwardly fairly uneventful. And despite their best efforts at symptom spotting a Labrador might not show any early signs to those who are watching her closely.

Confirming signs of pregnancy in dogs

Unless a Labrador’s owner has had a lot of breeding experience, they will need a vet to confirm whether mating has resulted in pregnancy.

Confirming pregnancy in dogs early on (rather than waiting until it’s plain to see), is vital for planning the best care for a female dog and the best outcome for her puppies.

There are several ways of confirming pregnancy in dogs – vets are happy to discuss these if necessary. Let’s look at some of the diagnostic tests available

Dog pregnancy test: abdominal palpation

Abdominal palpation means very carefully massaging the dog’s tummy to feel for puppies growing in her uterus.

It’s a completely no-tech approach, and the one vets and breeders have relied on since time immemorial.

Abdominal palpation is most effective for detecting pregnancy in the fifth week after mating, when the embryos are a little over an inch long (three centimeters), but not yet cushioned by amniotic fluid.

Someone with a lot of experience might be able to detect embryos by palpation as early as three weeks after mating and as late as six weeks.

Abdominal palpation is not always conclusive, for example if a dog is nervous during the examination and tenses her stomach muscles, if she is overweight, or if she’s only carrying one or two pups and they are tucked right up inside her abdomen.

When this happens, the vet might recommend one of the following alternatives for confirming pregnancy.

Using ultrasound to confirm pregnancy in dogs

Ultrasound scans are seen by vets as the “gold standard” for finding out if a dog is pregnant. They are reliable and you can be reassured from as early as three weeks after mating.

Many breeders now use these scans routinely.

Depending on how sophisticated their ultrasound equipment is, a vet might also be able to predict a girl’s due date using the scans.

Using radiography (x-rays) to confirm pregnancy in dogs

Your dog’s pregnancy has usually been confirmed by physical signs and symptoms, palpation or ultrasound by the time the puppies they show up on an x-ray.

This only happens once the unborn pups’ bones have started to calcify after six to seven weeks and sometimes even later.

The great advantage of an x-ray is that different skeletal structures, for example the skull, the spine and the teeth, become visible in a very specific order and at very predictable times.

If the pregnancy wasn’t planned, and no-one is sure when mating took place, x-rays can confirm, sometimes to the day, how far along the pregnancy is.

Radiography is also the most reliable way of counting how many pups a dog is carrying.

Can you give a dog a pregnancy test?

So there are multiple of ways of finding out if a dog is pregnant, but is it ever as simple as getting them to pee on a stick?

I’m afraid not.

Since 2010 Pfizer have produced a pregnancy test for dogs called the Witness Relaxin test,
which detects elevated levels of relaxin hormone secreted by the placenta during pregnancy.

However, the test needs a sample of blood plasma, so requires a visit the vet to have blood drawn and the plasma separated.

The tests are widely available online, but don’t seem to have gained much following with vets, so it’s wise to ask ahead whether a vet keeps them in stock.

These tests can usually detect pregnancy from about 22-27 days after mating But be warned – they can also produce a false negative result. If you are pretty sure your dog should be pregnant the test should be repeated after a week.

At $20-$30 a test in a box of five they don’t come cheap. But they don’t need to be refrigerated and have a shelf-life of around 18 months.

And finally, just in case you’re tempted to try: human pregnancy tests detect the presence of human chorionic gonadotrophin hormone – they cannot detect pregnancy in dogs!

But there’s no time to rest on your laurels, because dog pregnancy is short, and those puppies are going to be here before you know it.

Next we’ll look at the stages of a dog’s pregnancy, and caring for the female dog during her pregnancy.

The stages of dog pregnancy

Let’s rejoin our unborn puppies four weeks after fertilization.

They’ve anchored to the lining of the uterus, and the placenta now delivers nutrients from mum to pup.

The 4 week pregnant dog: days 21 – 27

The fourth week of pregnancy is an exciting time to be a dog embryo.

They’re only 15mm long, but their nervous system is developing, and other cells are differentiating into tissues, organs and bones.

If your dog has an ultrasound scan in this week, you’ll be able to make out the puppies’ heartbeats for the first time.

This also the week when embryos are most vulnerable to damage which could impair their development later.

The 5 week pregnant dog: days 28 – 34

The mother Labrador to be, and her pups, have made it past the halfway mark!

The puppies’ limbs are beginning to form, and most puppies which are healthy at this point will remain so for the rest of the pregnancy.

The 6 week pregnant dog: days 35 – 41

As the puppies grow inside her, you’ll finally begin to notice your girl’s tummy begin to swell, and her nipples will get noticeably darker. Mom might also start to become uncomfortable and want to rest more.

A clear discharge from her vagina at this stage is also no cause for concern. Meanwhile, her puppies are beginning to produce the pigments in their skin which will determine the markings in their coat when they’re born.

The 7 week pregnant dog: days 42 – 48

In week seven the bones of the puppies’ skulls and spine harden and become distinct on an x-ray. If you’re lucky you could even feel the puppies moving in her tummy.

Some female dogs might also begin shedding their hair on their tummies this week as well. And the development of her breasts will be clear to see. This is a completely normal part of the body preparing for birth.

The 8 week pregnant dog: days 49 – 55

The puppies’ limbs and pelvic bones are calcified and discernible on an x-ray too now.

As her due date draws near, mom starts to produce colostrum – the nutrient rich first milk her puppies need in their earliest days.

The 9 week pregnant dog: days 56 – 63

This week an x-ray will even pick up the puppies’ teeth.

They are ready to come out into the world, and the nine week pregnant girl will be nesting in preparation for the impending birth.

Your vet may suggest that you to start taking her temperature several times a day: when it drops to below 100°F, birth usually follows within 24 hours.

You can start watching for the signs that mom is going into labour.

Going into labor

There are a few behaviors which indicate that birth is imminent. This can last for six to twelve hours, or even longer, while the cervix dilates and prepares for delivery.

Human moms even show some of the same signs like being restless and losing their appetite. Even nesting behaviour – an urge to clean and tidy up the house.

Watch for the following signs:

  • restless and pacing, followed by falling asleep
  • digging
  • panting and shaking/shivering
  • returning often to the place where she plans to give birth
  • licking herself
  • becoming quiet and introverted
  • going off her food
  • possible vomiting.

Caring for a pregnant dog

Pregnancy is a time to treat your Labrador with more love and care than ever, and it’s vital to include your vet in planning her care as early on as possible.

Book her in for a checkup around three weeks after mating to confirm the pregnancy.

In the meantime, don’t administer any flea or worming treatments (if she falls due for one, call your vet for advice).

Remember that her puppies will be at an especially delicate stage of development around weeks four and five, so start limiting strenuous exercise and rough play at this time to keep mom and pups safe.

However, you’ll want to prevent her from getting fat and make sure the her muscles keep in tone. This will help her to be strong during labor.

She can enjoy normal activities and you can take her for regular walks. Once she is about six weeks pregnant she’ll tire more easily – let her set the pace.

Around this time she’ll also be starting to think about where to give birth. Prepare somewhere warm and enclosed with lots of blankets, and encourage her to start sleeping there.

If you don’t have an experienced mentor to help you through whelping and lactation (and even if you do) you’ll need a copy of the dog breeder’s bible – it’s called The Book Of The Bitch (in the UK the word bitch is a commonly used term for female dogs).

Feeding the pregnant dog

The first vet’s appointment is the time to discuss what food the pregnant dog should be eating during pregnancy, and if she needs any supplements.

For the first couple of weeks after mating, you can simply continue feeding her normally.

If she has morning sickness try to tempt her with smaller meals at more frequent intervals. Don’t worry, her appetite with return soon, and the puppies aren’t in any danger if she doesn’t seem to eat much for a few days.

As the pregnancy progresses your girl’s appetite will increase – especially from week 6 onwards. She does need extra calories to support her pups’ growth – but watch her weight. A pregnant dog should not gain more than 50% of her original weight.

The mom’s growing uterus might not leave much room in her tummy for extra food. To get round this, your vet may recommend feeding her a suitable brand of puppy food. Puppy foods are high in calories and quick and easy to digest: perfect for supporting a pregnancy.

There’s a lot of contradictory advice out there, so let your vet guide you as to how much food she needs at each stage of pregnancy, and whether she would benefit from additional vitamins.

You might have heard people talk about giving pregnant dogs calcium supplements.These are for during and after labor.

Do not give your dog calcium supplements during pregnancy because they can cause problems during labor and lactation The mum does need more calcium for the pups developing inside her, but her own body takes care of this.

She produces a hormone which naturally increases calcium levels in the blood. When supplements are given too early not enough of the hormone is available after birth to ramp up calcium for lactation, even with supplementation.

Dogs and pregnancy: when things don’t go to plan

Hopefully when your dog gets pregnant it will be the result of careful planning and culminate in the arrival of a healthy litter of puppies.

But life does not always run thus, so this article wouldn’t be complete without information about the other possible outcomes.

Phantom pregnancy in dogs

Phantom pregnancy, or pseudopregnancy, is the appearance of dog pregnancy symptoms in a female dog who isn’t pregnant.

It’s a peculiar phenomenon – whilst it’s not unheard of in other animals, it is rare outside of the dog world.

A dog experiencing phantom pregnancy may gain weight, have enlarged, darkened nipples, display nesting behavior and even produce milk.

A recent study among vets also reported changes in behavior. The most common were collecting and mothering objects, and aggression. The most usual physical signs were enlarged breasts and milk production.

A phantom pregnancy can either be a puzzle if you know for a fact your girl didn’t mate while she was in season, or a heartfelt disappointment if you thought a carefully planned mating had been successful.

Phantom pregnancies are usually self-limiting and the symptoms end of their own accord.

It’s important to stop your dog from stimulating her milk production by licking her nipples though, as this can prolong the phantom pregnancy.

If you are at all worried about your girl during a phantom pregnancy, it’s always best to see your vet, who may recommend using synthetic hormones to bring it to an end.

Mismating: managing unwanted dog pregnancy

Just like in our human lives, even when we try our best to do everything right, accidental pregnancies still happen.

Mismating is the term we give to unplanned breeding between two sexually intact dogs.

Your vet will be able to discuss your options with you if your Labrador has mismated.

Pregnancy loss in dogs

Happily, miscarriage – known as spontaneous abortion – isn’t very common in dog pregnancies.

Embryos which are lost early in pregnancy are reabsorbed by the mother, so we don’t know very much about how often it happens.

Spontaneous abortion in the later stages of pregnancy is rare. When it happens it is usually the result of either an imbalance in the hormones supporting the pregnancy, or an infection of the uterus.

If your girl loses a puppy in the later stages of pregnancy you’ll notice abnormal bleeding from her vagina, and possibly find the lost puppy.

Always take your Labrador to the vet if she loses a pregnancy. She’ll need a checkup to make sure she’s healthy. If the loss was the result of an infection then she will need to be treated.

It is also possible to miscarry one or more puppies, and carry the rest of the litter to term. Your vet will be able to tell you if your dog is still pregnant with other puppies.

Dogs and pregnancy

Phew, we’ve made it through this potted digest of dog pregnancy, and there was a lot to take in!

Your Labrador’s pregnancy can be a time of mixed emotions, both exciting and nerve-wracking.

By planning the pregnancy in advance and consulting with your vet from the very beginning, your dog’s pregnancy should be happy and healthy.

Pregnancy and childbirth is a natural process for all mammals. Dogs are mostly able to manage quite well on their own and instinctively know what to do. During whelping your role is to be there, offer comfort, and to notice when things don’t go according to plan.

Of course you can arrange for help and support from someone with experience in caring for a dog while she’s giving birth. Definitely be sure to have phone numbers to hand in case of an emergency.

The book I mentioned above will give you all the information you need about the whelping process and caring for your new babies.

This article has been revised and updated for 2019.

Another great article from Jordon

New evidence is popping up everywhere about the benefits of giving your pet CBD products to treat a variety of conditions. Both studies done by experts and anecdotal evidence from other pet owners seem to suggest that these products really do work!

We know CBD oil can be effective, but many of us ask the questions: how and why? What makes CBD special? How does it affect the body? We will go over that and more to give you a new insight into how this mysterious chemical can make the lives of both humans and animals better!

What Is CBD?

The first thing to know when discussing how CBD works is what it is.

CBD stands for “cannabidiol.”  Cannabidiol oil is an ingredient derived from hemp, which is part of the cannabis plant – also known as the marijuana plant.

What Does CBD Do?

Some of you may be concerned about the fact that CBD is a component of marijuana. However, it does not mean that it produces that “high” effect found in most marijuana products. Actually, that is the job of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol.) CBD for pets should not contain any THC whatsoever.

CBD instead is known for:

  • Relieving pain
  • Calming anxiety
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Treating epilepsy
  • Easing the pain and discomfort of arthritis

Other potential benefits of CBD for your dog can be found here.

What Can’t CBD Do?

Science supports the fact that CBD products have the potential to treat a number of ailments, but there is currently little to no evidence that it can do any of the following:

  • Cure cancer. Cancer is caused by cells multiplying more rapidly than they should, causing tumors to grow and to impact the organs negatively. Some studies have suggested that CBD can induce apoptosis (the death of cancer cells), but they do not suggest at all that it can do so at a rate to completely eradicate the disease itself. While it may be able to treat cancer, it is not proven to cure it.
  • Heal chronic conditions. Yes, the evidence we have seen so far is pretty convincing that CBD can reduce inflammation in chronic diseases, but again, it is not a miracle cure. All this chemical has been shown to do effectively so far is treat pain and some swelling.

How Does CBD Affect the Brain and Body?

To produce these marvelous effects on the brain and the body, CBD attaches to our natural cannabinoid receptors. Humans and some animals have what is known as the endocannabinoid system. The main system is comprised of CB1 and CB2 receptors.

CB1 Receptors

CB1 receptors are mostly in the brain, though a few can be present in the rest of the body as well. They deal with:

  • Chronic Pain
  • Mood
  • Appetite
  • Memory
  • Coordination

CB2 Receptors

CB2 receptors are what deal with the immune system and inflammatory responses. Instead of attaching to these receptors, though, CBD encourages the body to make more cannabinoids.

Studies on the Effects of CBD in Pets

Scientific researchers have recently been conducting trials and studies on the effects of CBD oil products in animals. Each explains what CBD treats and how.

  • A study published in July of 2018 by several veterinary college researchers tested the effects of CBD on dogs with osteoarthritis. Half were given CB, and the others were given a placebo. After the treatment periods, these researchers observed that the dogs given the real product experienced less pain than the others. These dogs were also more active, and they experienced no side effects!
  • In 2012, a large group of scientists and doctors studied rats and mice suffering from chronic inflammation. The results proved that some of these animals given CBD had significantly lower levels of inflammation afterward.
  • A trial conducted by Dr. Stephanie McGrath showed evidence that 89% of dogs treated with CBD for epilepsy experienced seizures less often. Nine dogs were given real CBD, and seven others were given placebos. This sample size is admittedly small, but she believes that this is an encouraging sign that CBD can treat epilepsy.

Of course, there is a long way to go before we truly uncover what all CBD products for pets can and can’t do for our fur babies. However, it seems that more great news comes from medical professionals and animal scientists every day!

Another great article from!

From petrified pooch to confident canine – In seven simple steps

Oh Fido. It’s tough to see him frightened and not really have a clue as to how to help (or what he’s even scared of). From jumping at the slightest sound, to following you EVERYWHERE, and showing tell-tale signs of fear (such as a dropped tail, crouching and panting), it’s always pretty clear when you’ve got a nervy canine on your hands.

The question is, what can you do about it? And the answer, is to follow these seven simple tips.

1: Begin with firm foundations – set up good obedience during walks

Sit, stay, heel – these are the basic commands that your dog should know (and obey) during your walks. These cues, and the consequent treats that follow (such as being handed a ball or toy) are essential distraction techniques for when you spot a hazard looming. Speaking of which…

2: Worried during walks? Distract your dog

A cautious, concerned canine during a walk can lead to disaster around other dogs or unpredictable people. The solution? Distraction. By giving your dog something to do while walking (like chewing a bone or carrying your bag), you give him something to focus on. In doing so, he’ll hopefully remain distracted on what he’s ‘doing’, rather than what may happen (and being hyper-sensitive to all that’s around).

3: Switch items from scary, to something to salivate over

If your dog is scared of certain items, try ‘exposure management’. This might sound rather technical (and a little intimidating), but it’s actually really straightforward.

Simply take the item that your dog is afraid of, and place something on it that your dog loves (treats usually work best!). So if Sammy’s scared of skateboards, place a few treats on the top and encourage him to explore. Once he’s comfortable with that, move on to pushing the skateboard slightly (with items such as this, which are common in parks) it’s usually the movement that dogs are uncomfortable with. Remember, with exposure management – slow and steady wins the race.

4: Seek out fresh new places where your dog can taste success

Practicing and repeating problem behaviors only reinforces them. Staying cooped up inside isn’t helpful for anyone – not for humans, not for dogs. Getting out and about to new places can allow your dog to explore, and be fascinated, by the new smells and sights around him.

This may not necessarily mean a walk in a forest (some dogs aren’t comfortable out in the Great outdoors); it may mean a late-night wander in a dead-quiet park. But no matter the environment, it’s the newness of the place that will encourage his innate curiosity to explore.

5: Sign up for agility training

Agility training involves plenty of physical effort and dexterity on the dog’s part. And yet agility isn’t really the key skills being learned.

By showing them how to complete new tasks, and with your dog gradually working towards getting it right every time, their trust in you grows and their confidence in their own abilities increases. With each tunnel, pole or hoop successfully navigated, they’ll learn that what once seemed insurmountable, can be mastered. And so their confidence will (hopefully) grow and grow

6: Have a trial run with another dog

For dogs that don’t fear (or show aggression) to other dogs, a more confident canine pal can prove to be a real behavior-changer.

After all, dogs (much like humans) observe the actions and interactions of others, and can mirror behaviors that they come to see as appropriate.

A key pointer here is that some companionships are more effective than others, and it may take a few trial play dates to discover a dog that’s a natural, positive fit with yours.

7: Harness the targeting technique

Targeting is the practice of touching a specific part of your dog’s body to re-direct his attention to you. This becomes more effective than simply calling his name during a frightening experience, as it’s used less often.

To train him, hold a treat in your hand. Once he begins to sniff around it, say ”nose” and pass him his treat. Regularly practicing this will show your dog that bumping his nose on your hand, and giving you his focus, will result in a yummy treat being given.

Alaskan Husky struggling with dog anxiety? Stressed out St. Bernard? We’ve got just the thing. 100% natural CBD dog treats, that are packed not just with stress-exterminating cannabidiol, but also with plenty of good stuff to boot (good stuff such as potatoes, natural bacon flavoring, whole peas, sweet potatoes, potato starch, dried plain beet pulp, mixed tocopherols, carrots & rosemary extract.

Jennifer S.

Jennifer is the voice behind the FOMO Bones blog. She’s pretty sure in her past life, she was a Great Dane. However, we peg her as more of a labrador. Regardless of her breed, she’s a dog enthusiast who has 15 years experience training dogs and owners.

Awww, puppies – they’re fluffy, fun and full of love. But for every inch of cuteness, puppies are also darn hard work. They demand time, money and (above everything else) plenty of love and affection.

So there’s actually plenty to consider (and prepare) if you’re soon to welcome a new four legged friend into your home.

1. Get ready for the nipping, chewing and biting

Puppies have are incredibly inquisitive nature (and by virtue of this, they also have an appetite for chewing on sofas, shoes and just about anything else that takes their fancy).

At first, they’ll explore their boundaries by chewing up your personal items right in front of you. And as they gradually begin to learn that this behavior is met with a firm “no”, they’ll move on to chewing things out of your sightline (so you’ll need to keep a beady eye on them at all times – or move things out of their reach!).

It’s important that you hop onto this behavior while they’re in the act. Dogs can’t comprehend being disciplined for things that have happened a while back (even with you pointing at a slobbered up, chewed up shoe).

You could also try dousing your items with bitter apple spray, which is odorless, but leaves an unsavory tangy taste in the mouth.

Finally, bear in mind that dogs don’t chew and bite things to be naughty. They could also be teething, and it can be a sign of malnutrition or hunger.

2. Puppy-safe zone your home

While your new recruit is in training, you may want to consider zoning your house off. Many new dog owners buy baby gates and play pens, which protect certain rooms and create a safe space while they’re home alone.

3. Feed me, feed me! – How much?!

Puppy tummies are rumbling for food practically all the time. In fact, they actually need feeding as much as four times the amount as a fully-grown adult dog! But this isn’t so surprising when you consider that pups should be gaining at least one to two grams per adult pound per day.

There are special formulas of dog food for pups – and with good reason, too; they are enriched with vitamins, minerals and fats, as well as including a higher protein content.

You should also do your research into the breed of your dog, as some have unique dietary needs compared to others.

4. Walkies!! – How often?”

Pups generally require around 5 minutes of exercise per month of age until they’ve reached adulthood (at which time they’ll be able to get out and about for longer periods).

Some breeds – like huskies, border collies, boxers and dalmatians – will require more exercise than most (so it’s well-worth doing your research before deciding which breed you can commit to).

You’ll also need to bear in mind your pup’s jabs. Most vets don’t recommend letting your pup out until one week following their second jab. But don’t worry – if they’re yet to be fully inoculated, you can still play with them and exercise them at home.

5. Goodbye, farewell – is this forever??!?!

Puppies can be notoriously prone to separation anxiety. Training is the first step to showing your dog that you WILL return. This simply involves leaving them in a safe room, saying goodbye, and waiting outside. Do not return until your pup has stopped whimpering or barking. Once they’ve calmed down, enter the room, praise them and give them a treat.

Repeat this process over and over until they know that:

  1. There’s no need to shout and stress
  2. You ARE coming back
  3. It’s far better if they remain calm and collected

FOMO bones also help when the time comes to actually leave them all alone. With all-natural CBD, your dogs natural levels of calming cannabinoids are about to get a welcome boost.

FOMO Bones contain passion flower (for topping up their GABA, which can become depleted in stressful situations); Valerian Root (a herbal plant with mild sedative properties) and Chamomile (the white flower known for soothing nerves and lulling you to sleep).

This article by Jennifer is originally published at FOMO Bones.

Author bio: Jennifer is the voice behind the FOMO Bones blog. She’s pretty sure in her past life, she was a Great Dane. However, we peg her as more of a labrador. Regardless of her breed, she’s a dog enthusiast who has 15 years experience training dogs and owners.

Another great article by

What is the most common killer of dogs?  Would you be surprised to know that it is obesity-related problems?

Dog-obesity related problems are the number one killer of our pet dogs

The Statistics Are Concerning

Just look at the statistics and there can be no denying this worldwide trend.  The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) reports that, in 2017, an estimated 56% of dogs in North America are obese.  This is a truly shocking statistic and it tells us that there needs to be a major overhaul in the mindset of us pet owners.

A survey conducted by APOP also showed that, unbelievably, 95% of obese dog owners actually thought that their dog’s weight was within an acceptable range.  Some may be in denial but the vast majority are likely actually ignorant of what an acceptable weight should be.

What Can Cause Obesity in Dogs?

There are a whole host of issues that can cause obesity and it can be complex to unravel them.  Whilst there are medical conditions and other factors that can influence your dog’s weight, worryingly,  the most common problems stem from problems that human owners create for their dogs. The good news though is that this does mean that, if we are aware of these issues, we can actually do something to change things.

1. Over Feeding/ Free-Feeding

Our lack of ability to appropriately portion control and feed the right diet play a huge part.  There are so many dog foods on the market now and it can be difficult to understand what food may be the best, most healthy option.

Sometimes is just a lack of understanding or, even a lack of effort, to check what the actual feeding amounts should be.  Whilst every dog is different and feeding guides are exactly that, just a guide, it is a good starting point to work from.

It is extremely important to pick a high-quality diet and maintain proper portion control. Food should be weighed out and monitored, treats should generally not make up more than 10% of your dogs diet.

If you are using food for training, consider using their food as part of their rewards, make sure the treats are healthy and low fat and cut them into very small pieces, a little can go a long way.

Another bad habit is when people free-feed their dogs.  They want them to be able to eat whenever they are hungry.  By always leaving food out for your dog and constantly topping up the bowl this is a sure fire recipe for having an overweight dog.

2. Lack of Exercise

Another statistic that I found extremely sad and very surprising, is that a large percentage of dogs do not even receive one walk a day.

Not only will this lack of appropriate exercise undoubtedly contribute to a dog putting on weight more readily but it just seems downright cruel to deprive your dog of the stimulation and health benefits that come with regular exercise.

Making time to have at least one decent walk is crucially important to your dog and, ideally, they should have more than one walk and also their day should be filled with other activities that can help to keep them active and entertained.

The statistics around the number of dogs that don’t receive at least a daily walk are shocking

3. Human Psychology

Our perception of what is an appropriate weight has changed.  When every day you see dogs that are fat, it then morphs into this becoming the acceptable norm and people think that their dog is a good weight when actually they are overweight.

I am very conscious of my dog’s weights and always have been.  Cocker Spaniels are a notoriously greedy breed and it can be easy for them to become overweight if owners treat them too much.  I, surprisingly regularly, had people comment that they thought my Cocker Spaniels were ‘too skinny’, when in actual fact I knew and had also had confirmation from my vet, that they were a healthy weight.

Sometimes it is just that old expression of ‘killing them with kindness’. We see them begging cutely for some yummy table scraps and we can’t help but cave in.  We see spoiling them with food like this as a way to shower them with love when, in actual fact, we could be doing them a disservice.

4. Breed Predispositions

There are some breeds that are more likely to gain weight more easily than others.

There are also breeds that have a notorious reputation for being super greedy.  Breeds like Cocker Spaniels and Labradors.

Whilst it is recognised that there are breeds that are prone to put on the pounds more readily, this does not mean that this should be used as an excuse.  Owners of these types of breeds should just be more vigilant about their dog’s diet and exercise regime to help them maintain a healthy weight.

Some of the breeds that have been identified as being prone putting on weight more easily include Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Beagles, Dachshunds, Pugs and, as mentioned, Cocker Spaniels and Labradors.  Dachshunds are already more prone to slipped discs and, when they are carrying more weight, it puts them at a greater risk of developing debilitating back problems.

Pugs are a breed that is more prone to obesity 

5. Medical Conditions/ Certain Medications

Certain medications, just like with humans, can have a side effect of weight gain.  If you are being advised to use a particular medication to help manage a dog’s condition, it is important that you discuss the ramifications with your vet.  If weight gain is likely to be an issue, then careful monitoring and a potential change in diet or portion amounts may be required. It is always important to discuss any dietary changes with your vet if they have a condition where a change could have an adverse impact

Steroids are commonly administered to dogs and whilst these do not make them put on weight, they can significantly increase your dog’s appetite.  You can help your dog by feeding smaller portions more often in slow feeders or treat dispensing toysand this can sometimes give them the feeling that they are more full.

There are also diseases that can contribute to a weight problem, particularly those that affect the hormone balances of your dog.  Although hypothyroidism (low thyroid levels) is a common side effect of weight gain, there are a smaller number of cases of the disease occurring whilst a dog is of a healthy weight and, once they have it, it can cause the dog to start gaining weight more easily.

Cushings Disease is also another condition that can impact on your dog’s weight.  Advice from your vet should always be sought when dealing with a condition like this.

6. Age

Senior dogs whose metabolism may have slowed down and whose general exercise levels may have decreased can be prone to putting on weight more easily.

It is incredibly important to consider portion control in relation to the amount of exercise your dog is receiving and it may also be beneficial to consider a diet that has been specifically developed for Senior Dogs.

Senior dogs can have a propensity to put on weight more easily 

7. Can Neutering Make a Difference?

Neutering your dog is a big decision and there are lots of factors that need to be considered.  There is evidence to show that a change in metabolic rates can occur as a result of the removal of the sex hormones. This can result in dogs putting on weight if their daily feeding amount remains the same. There is evidence to suggest that neutering too early can also have an impact.

In my opinion, this should not be a deciding factor, but rather just something to be monitoring so that you can adjust your dog’s diet accordingly should they start to put on weight.

8. Boredom

Some dogs that are not getting enough stimulation can turn to eating to relieve their feelings of boredom.  This is a particular problem for those individuals that choose to free feed. It is extremely important, for all sorts of reasons, to ensure that your dog receives the right amount of stimulation in their daily lives. Not only can it help to reduce obesity issues but it can also prevent behavioural problems and it helps your dog to have a happier life.

The Long Term Effects Can Be Serious

There are a number of serious problems that can result in obesity in dogs.

1. Diabetes

This is a very common condition in dogs that are chronically overweight.  Obese dogs often end up secreting more insulin as a result of the higher blood glucose levels that carrying too many extra pounds causes.  Whilst this condition can be managed, it can impact on your dog’s quality of life and needs careful monitoring.

2. Cardiac Issues

Just like with humans, obesity in dogs can cause heart disease and problems with blood pressure.  Hypertension is relatively common in obese dogs and obese dogs are at greater risk of cardiac arrest.

3. Respiratory Issues

It is recognised that overweight dogs are at increased risk of having respiratory issues.  It can also further exacerbate existing conditions like asthma and laryngeal paralysis.

study published in 1994 evidenced that carrying too much weight increased the possibility of trachael collapse in small breed dogs.

Overweight dogs are more prone to breathing problems and overheating 

4. Increased Risk Under Anaesthesia

If your dog is overweight it puts them at increased risk of complications if they have to undergo a procedure that requires anaesthesia.

Because of the problems that obesity can create with the heart and lungs, when they are in surgery there is a greater risk of cardiac arrest.

Excess layers of fat can also, quite simply, make it more difficult for the vet to actually access what they might need to be operating on or around.

An overweight dog that undergoes surgery under anaesthetic is more likely to be at risk of complications 

5. Gastrointestinal Issues

Tummy troubles are much more common with dogs with a weight problem.  Overfeeding can result in constipation and flatulence is also a more regular problem.

6. Increased Risk of Cancer

Studies show that dogs that are chronically obese are at greater risk of developing certain types of cancer.

7. Likelihood of a Shorter Lifespan and Reduced Quality of Life

By keeping your dog at a healthy weight you will no doubt be improving their quality of life and giving them a better chance of maximising their longevity.  A studypublished in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2005 suggested that dogs that are kept on a healthier diet and at a more optimal weight were likely to live up to two years longer than a dog with a weight problem.

8. Lethargy and Depression

Dogs that are overweight have been shown to be more prone to depression.  Given that they may struggle more with activity and exercise and they may also have underlying obesity-related health issues this makes sense.

Dogs that are overweight can be more prone to depression and lethargy

9. Heat Intolerance

Dogs find it more difficult to regulate their temperatures and can struggle with the heat much more than humans and for obese dogs this can be an even greater problem. Fat insulates the body so it makes sense that an overweight dog is going to get hotter more quickly.

Whilst you are working on getting your dogs weight down make sure that you monitor your dog more carefully for signs of overheating and take steps to help them stay cool in warm weather.  Items like a cool coat and cool mats can be useful.

The brachycephalic, flat-faced, breeds like Pugs and French Bulldogs already have an increased risk of respiratory issues and heat stroke and, if they are overweight they are the group of dogs that are at the greatest risk.

10. Orthopaedic Problems

Bone and joint issues are one of the most common problems in overweight dogs.

Whilst there are supplements and medications that can possibly help to reduce the chances of developing  joint problems, if your dog is overweight there is a much greater probability.

study published in 2000 in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association suggested that if a dog is overweight this can have a significant effect on the development of osteoarthritis in dogs.

It is not uncommon for obese dogs to require surgery to correct problems with torn ligaments in their knees.  This is caused by there being an unnatural amount of strain being put on that part of the body.

And the list goes on.  It has also been proven that the liver is put under strain in overweight dogs.

How Do I Know If My Dog Is Overweight?

People often do not realise that their dog is overweight.   Obviously every dog is different in terms of their body shape and some dogs may be naturally slimmer than others.  Sighthounds like greyhounds and whippets have a naturally very slender physique and are much less prone to excessive weight gain, whereas breeds like bulldogs are much wider and stockier.

A general rule of thumb is that if you can feel their ribs when you check their body shape this is a good sign, unless you can also see them jutting out in a pronounced fashion and, in which case, they may actually be underweight.

If you cannot feel their ribs, they have a distended belly or there are excess rolls or deposits of fat then it is likely your dog is too heavy.  A dog should have an obvious waist when viewed from above and you should be able to see a tuck of their abdomen when they are viewed from the side.

If you are at all in doubt, take the time to go to the vet for some confirmation and clarification and also to get your dog weighed.  It is also important to look at other factors with your dog to help understand whether there may be a medical problem that is contributing to any weight gain.

If you have a long haired dog it can sometimes be more difficult to assess their body shape 

What Can I Do Help Them Lose Weight?

There are lots of things that you can do to help your dog reach a more healthy weight and maintain it.  If your dog is morbidly obese it may be better to make the changes under the guidance of a vet/ vet nutritionist.

a) Change or Reduction in Diet

This does have to be done with care and consideration.  It is not as simple as just drastically cutting back their food portions.  Patience, commitment and attention to detail are required when managing a weight loss programme.  It is a slow and steady progression and not one that you can rush.

For dog’s that are morbidly obese, we would recommend a diet plan that is worked out in conjunction with your vet/vet nutritionist.

Sometimes it can be useful to consider switching your dog to a special diet that has been developed to promote weight loss.

It is very important to stick to strict portion control, weighing out your dog’s food.

If you are giving your dog treats, make sure that they are healthy and low in fat and that they do not make up more than 10% of your dog’s diet.

b) Use of Treat Toys and Slow Feeders

It can help your dog to feel more full if you slow their feeding experience down.  Using good quality treat dispensing toys are a great idea.

The Classic Kong is the most common and popular treat dispensing toy.   There are lots of other options out there though. There are also lots of options for slow feeders too. A good value and popular option is the Outward Hound Slow Feeders.

c) An Exercise Plan

Again it is not as simple as thinking you can just start taking them out for long distance runs to shift those extra pounds.

If your dog is morbidly obese then more exercise has to be introduced very gradually.  They may have respiratory issues relating to their weight and pushing them too hard and too fast can put them at risk of overheating, put too much strain on their heart and lungs and also on their joints.

Once your dog is at a healthier weight, or if they just need to shed a few pounds, you could introduce exercise that is more active than just your average dog walk.

Consider taking up a dog sport like agility with your dog or running with your dog in Canicross. Not only can this be a great way to help them shed the pounds but it can also create a deeper bond between you both and to help them feel more stimulated.

Playing games with your dog like tug-of-war, fetch and hide and seek can also encourage them to be more active on walks.

Some very overweight dogs may also benefit from some physical therapy given the strain their joints will have been under.

Hydrotherapy sessions, where your dog exercises in water, can also be helpful and they put less strain on an overweight dogs joints.

Introducing your dog to a sport like agility can be a great way of helping to reduce your dog’s waistline 

d) Make Sure That They Do Not Lose Too Much Weight Too Quickly

It is very important to ensure that a weight loss programme is implemented gradually.  If you cut back your dog’s food too much, too quickly it can result in nutritional deficiencies and possible health problems.   Your dog can also start to lose muscle instead of fat if you go too quickly.

It is extremely important that a strict and gradual plan is put into place and, again, with very obese dogs it would be sensible that this is done in conjunction with helpful monitoring and guidance from your vet.  Slow and steady is the key.

e) Regular Weigh-Ins to Keep You on Track

Sometimes, like with human dieting, it can be easy to slip without realising you are doing it.  Maybe you have started giving them a few extra treats or chews here and there and before you know the weight has gone back on.

If your dog has a lot of weight to lose, by having regular weigh-ins at your vet it can help to keep you on track and it can also be a motivator.

It also helps a vet to advise on whether portion control or diet may need to be adjusted further.

Make Sure You Keep the Weight Off

Don’t forget too, that swinging from a low to high weight constantly is also very detrimental to your dog’s health.

Once the weight is off, help them to keep it off by continuing to strictly portion control and keep up a healthy exercise regime.

Keeping the weight off your dog will help them be healthier, happier and probably help them live longer too