What ways do dogs use for showing affection?

Dogs can’t use words to say just how much they love us, so instead make their feelings known through their behaviour and show their affection physically. It’s good to learn and note what these physical signs are so you can be sure to acknowledge them as positive behaviours and show your own in return. After all, everyone likes to feel loved!

Just like cats, dogs use their tails as a way to express their different emotions. These may not always be positive; at times, certain types of wagging can be used to indicate fear or anxiety, or when threatened their tail may take up a defensive position. But they also show happiness and affection – generally if your dog wags their tail very enthusiastically in wide, side-to-side, sweeping motions this is most likely a sign of their love for you. It’s also a show of respect that acknowledges your position as their leader and so their loyalty to you.

It might not be your favourite habit of theirs, but if your dog has a tendency to shower you with slobbery canine ‘kisses’ and bouts of licking then you can be sure this is another demonstration of their affection. Puppies can have a tendency to do this more than adult dogs, but you may find yours still shows you this token of love on a regular basis. Some people can be quick to dismiss this slightly more unpleasant behaviour, but be careful not to do this too harshly as it’s important to not disregard the positive intentions of such an action. Dogs also use licking as part of grooming and do this to other dogs as a sign of intimacy and bonding, the same sentiment that applies if they do it to you.

Ever thought you’ve caught your dog showing you his pearly whites before? Well you could well be right, as research suggests that dogs use facial expressions to show how they’re feeling in the same way that humans do, which leads many to believe that they really can smile!

We’ve all heard the scamper of paws eagerly running to greet us as we get home, or follow us around the house especially after being separated for a while. Close physical proximity is a sure sign of your dog’s love and devotion. Unlike us, who at times have a desire or tendency to seek solitude, dogs are very sociable creatures that would choose to be with their owner almost all of the time. This need to be close to you is a way of showing their loyalty and can also manifest into leaning. It might be a slight irritation as you try not to trip over them, but leaning themselves against your legs is usually a gesture of affection in your dog’s eyes, so if this does happen then bend down and show them some attention, even if it’s just for a minute. If it is an unfamiliar dog that’s leaning into you be a little more careful – rarely this can be a prelude to aggressive behaviour.

A dog rolling over is perhaps one of the most common signs of their affection and trust. Quite often, it’s also a hint for a belly rub too! Take the time to indulge your furry friend and show them some love in return. Dogs are highly affectionate animals and they’re not thought of as man’s best friend for no reason, so watch out for these regular displays of love, be sure to reciprocate and you’ll find you’ve got a guaranteed furry friend for life.

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Introducing a new pet to the home – can cats and dogs really get along?

 

Some of you may already have multi-pet households and are familiar with the challenges this can bring, while others may just know the joy of one pet and are hesitant about introducing another for fear of fighting. While it’s true that cats and dogs are very different animals with opposing traits, there are many instances of them getting along perfectly well and there’s no reason this can’t be the case for you. It’s very exciting getting a new pet, but it’s important to remember and think about your existing pet too, and the impact this will have on an animal used to an unchallenged claim of their territory.

The initial stages are vital for a peaceful transition all round. Now, we don’t usually like to point fingers, but it’s fair to say if there are going to be any problems during the introductions then it’s likely to be caused by the dog. For one, dogs love to chase, and with cats’ instinct to run if frightened this can mean them not getting off to the best start with one another. A way to avoid this is to keep your dog on a lead as a precaution when they’re first in the same room together, until your cat feels more comfortable. Keep the lead loose but make sure to hold it firmly in case your dog does begin to chase; it’s often a good idea to do this as a safety measure until you’re certain that the situation is safe for all parties. It’s also important for cats to have access to a, preferably elevated, place to escape to for when they want to retreat for solitude. Be sure to let them have easy access to this as forcing them to stay close and interact will only cause anxiety and inhibit any relationship building. Treats can be helpful to use, just as you would for reward-based training; giving your cat a treat for good behaviour will eventually mean they associate the dog and its close proximity with treats, and likewise praising and rewarding playful but non-threatening actions from your dog will encourage more of this in the future.

Remember that, like people, new pets can take a while to get to know each other and develop a certain level of trust and comfort. Cats in particular can take some time to build a trusting relationship, so in the beginning stages they may keep themselves out of the way and appear cautious; sometimes, it’s a case of letting them take their time to assess the situation and gradually they will become more comfortable with your dog. The age of either pet can also be a factor of how well they respond to one another, and so may be something to consider before you extend your furry family. Younger cats will likely be more inquisitive with dogs, and their playful nature often means that they don’t scare so easily and this can lead to a strong bond. Likewise, puppies are renowned for being energetic and boisterous at times so this can be overwhelming or frightening for felines, in particular if they’re not quick to pick up on any warning signs from your cat too. If your dog is of a gentle and caring breed or temperament, this is better suited for cats to tolerate, and we all know that in most homes it’s often the cat that makes the rules. When choosing your new pet, take time to thoroughly research different breeds and try to match your pets’ personalities as much as possible, that way you’ll give them the best chance to really be the best of friends and not just fight like cats and dogs!

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Valentine’s Day pet safety tips

Valentine’s Day is a popular excuse for many to celebrate with their loved ones, and that includes your furry little bundles of joy too! We all love to receive presents, flowers and chocolates, but these common gifts which mean a romance filled day for humans can pose a risk for our pets, so be sure to show them just how loved they are by keeping them safe from any such dangers.

Flowers

For some, nothing says I love you like a beautiful hand-picked bouquet of flowers, but if you have a feline family member then choose the types included carefully to make sure it’s a pet friendly arrangement. Often used for their distinctive smell, lilies in particular are highly toxic for cats and can cause kidney failure if their pollen is ingested; what’s more, their petals easily fall off which means a greater risk of your cat coming across them. Another popular valentine’s offering which can harm your pet are roses, due to their thorny stems which can potentially be swallowed or find their way under small paws. Make sure to de-thorn any roses far away from pets to prevent any risk of injury and infection.

Sweets

Heart shaped candies and various other valentines confectionary might look almost too cute to eat, but don’t think that will stop curious pets who come across any! In an attempt to reduce sugar content, more treat foods than ever contain Xylitol, an artificial sweetener that can be toxic to dogs if consumed, resulting in possible liver failure and more instant physical symptoms such as vomiting and seizures. Why not get some pleasing looking pet-friendly treats as a little gift for your furry valentine to prevent them being as tempted from tucking into yours.

Chocolates

Share a box of tasty chocolates with your partner, but not with your pooch! We should all know by now that human chocolate and dogs shouldn’t mix. So Valentine’s Day is another occasion where it’s important to be aware of this, and mindful not to leave any edible gifts lying around where wandering paws might find them. On the whole, the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is to your dog due to higher cocoa content and levels of certain ingredients. It’s not as commonly known, but baking chocolate is also particularly dangerous for dogs; so if you’re planning on whipping up a homemade surprise for your loved one then be careful not to leave any out in easily accessible places. Again, getting some dog chocolate will help give you peace of mind that your pet can be enjoying a safe treat instead of trying to pinch yours!

Gift wrapping

Fancy wrapping means presents can look almost as good on the outside, with all sorts of ribbons, bows and string, which can make them extra attractive to your pets (if not more so!), and to cats in particular. Therefore, make a point to clear any wrapping away straight after opening to reduce such temptation for felines, who are renowned for their love of playing with and chewing string like objects. However, this can lead to them swallowing it which could mean ribbon getting lodged or tangled in their intestines and pose serious health risks as the ribbon acts like a draw string for the intestine causing it to scrunch up and become blocked.

So, be sensible with any gifts for your partner this Valentine’s Day, and choose appropriate ones for your furry friend to make sure they feel spoiled while staying safe and free from harm.

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