Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

Many dogs love to channel their inner cow and munch away on grass. For some, it may even be a part of their daily routine. They may even be particular about what type of grass they eat.

Are they hungry? Sick? Is it bad for them? Are they bored? 

Firstly, don’t fret, you’re not the only one confused or concerned, especially if your pooch is vomiting after munching away at your lawn.

Fortunately, experts believe it isn’t something you should be worried about. 

So why do they do it?


happy dog



They Are Scavengers


It is a common misconception that dogs’, like cats are carnivores, when in fact they are omnivores. For thousands of years, dogs have been known as opportunistic scavengers that will consume anything that fulfils their basic dietary requirements. 

Due to domestication and evolution, the modern-day dog is no longer like their ancestors who would frequently eat the whole of their prey, including the stomach contents of plant-eating animals. 


Today, dogs seek out plants as an alternative food source with grass being the most common as it is closest at hand. 



dog running in field



Needed Nutrients


Grass has essential nutrients that your dog may be craving, especially if they are being fed a commercial diet. If your dog has increased the amount of grass it eats, they may be lacking in fibre. In this case, you might want to consider introducing cooked vegetables into your dog’s diet. 

If your dog just enjoys munching on grass here and there, you may want to buy a small grass tray just for them. This will give your dog a safe piece of grass to nibble on, free from possible pesticides. 



dog lying in grass




Vomiting After Eating Grass


If your dog has a gassy or upset stomach it will seek out a natural remedy to cure it, and for them, grass seems to do the trick. When consumed, the grass blades can tickle the throat and stomach lining and in return, this sensation can cause a dog to vomit. This is more likely to happen if the grass is gulped down rather than chewed. If your dog occasionally nibbles on grass with no symptoms then they may just be enjoying it or they may have needed to add a little more fibre to their diet.

However, if your dog is ingesting large amounts of grass at a time and gulping it down, they may be unwell. 

If other symptoms occur including, licking its lips, salivating or swallowing a lot, frequent diarrhoea or your dog is vomiting more than once a week you should seek your vet for advice.



boxer dog in grass


Did you know the "alpha pack leader behaviour" is actually a myth? Read more here




Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Alpha Dog Myth Debunked – Why Your Dog Shouldn’t Be Trained That Way

Commonly emphasized by celebrity and TV dog trainers, dogs will only respect your authority if they see you as the “alpha” – a fearsome, dominating pack leader. 

Well, do we have some news for you (and your pup), this so-called “alpha pack leader behaviour” is actually, a myth. 

Through vigorous research and studies over the years, it has been determined that dogs respond best to positive reinforcement, consistency, and love.

So how in fact did this all come about? Keep reading to learn how the “alpha dog” was first discovered, plus why this mentality is not the answer for a healthy relationship with your pet.


Crying Wolf


An animal behaviourist by the name of Rudolph Schenkel spent much of the mid 90’s studying wolves at the Basel Zoo in Switzerland. Schenkel watched them for days, trying to understand what governed their social interactions.

He soon published his findings in a paper called ‘Submission: Its Features and Function in the Wolf and Dog’. In it, he wrote about the competition for status within a pack, where a male and female would emerge as “first in the pack”, and defend their social position as pack leaders. And with that, the idea of the alpha wolf was born.



It was later discovered that his entire paper was based on a faulty premise: the idea that a bunch of unrelated animals brought together in captivity would behave the same way they would in the wild.

A modern wolf researcher by the name of David Mech quoted, “Such an approach is analogous to trying to draw inferences about human family dynamics by studying humans in refugee camps.” And according to his research, wild wolves actually live in family units that are particularly similar to those of humans. 

In his findings, he analyzed that parent wolves guide the family’s activities and divide the “chores” between each family member. It’s only when the pups get older, that their social status is based on birth order, with the oldest at the top. 


3 puppies in a bucket

What This Means for You and Your Dog


With the discovery that the so-called “dominance training” is based on a faulty science, leads to the question: Are the alpha roll approaches used by celebrity trainers wrong or ineffective?

At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal choice and what works best for one pet family, may not for another. 

However, what can be said is dominance tactics as mild as a quick smack on the flank, to those extreme as forcibly rolling your dog over on their side and pinning them to submit, in a sense really aren’t consistent with those in the wild. 

Dogs, and cats for the matter, are extremely instinctual creatures and when presented in a situation that they don’t quite understand, can a lot of the time lead to any form of response, positive or negative. 



So, when seeking a certain behaviour or action, why would it make sense to act in a way that your pet doesn’t understand? And wouldn’t it seem more logical to act in consistency with your pet’s natural instincts and work together as a team? 

As a matter of fact, most experts in recent times have advised that attaining a healthy relationship with your dog requires a focus on positivity and reinforcement. Or as the American Veterinary Medical Association says, “reinforce the desired behaviours, remove the reinforcer for inappropriate behaviours, and address the emotional state and environmental conditions driving the undesirable behaviour."  

For example, when training your dog give treats for good behaviour, and pay attention to your own behaviour – when you react to a naughty dog with attention, for instance, you’re inadvertently reinforcing that action. 

Try work on figuring out how to prevent your dog from being reinforced for the behaviours you don’t want, and reinforce them liberally for the ones you do want. And if you can do this, you’re well on your way to developing a relationship of mutual love, respect, communication, and communion that every pet owner hopes to have with their dog.

couple with dog


Want to know how to stop your dog from digging holes in your backyard? Click Here to learn more.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

How To Stop Your Dog From Digging

 If you have a dog, chances are your canine friend has dug more than their fair share of holes in your backyard.

Dogs dig for many reasons – boredom, hunting, comfort, attention-seeking, and instinct to name a few.

To an extent, we should just accept that some amount of digging is okay, and is simply part of owning a dog.

However, to help ensure your dog’s digging doesn’t get out of hand, here are  a few tips to keep your pooch, your yard and you at peace.

dogs digging

Diagnose The Problem


The best way to change your dog’s behaviour is to first get to the source of the problem.

Some digging can be random and difficult to diagnose, however most of the time there will be discernible reasons for the behaviour. 

Dogs often dig holes for one or more of the following reasons: entertainment, physical comfort, attention-seeking, escape, or prey-seeking.

So to help you understand the reason why your dog digs, start off by identifying when, where and why your dog is digging.


dog sitting in grass

Give Your Dog More Attention


Alike children, canines are not all that different when it comes to getting your attention by whatever means necessary.

Your dog may have learned that digging a hole in your new veggie patch gets attention from you, even if that attention is of the negative variety.

If you believe this may be the case, ignore your dog after the digging and lavish your dog with attention for good behaviour.

Additionally, try ensure your dog has plenty of time with you on other occasions. A happy dog won’t need to find attention in all the wrong places.

Punishing your dog for digging by banishing them from your presence is only likely to exacerbate the bad behaviour.

You may even consider bringing your dog to work with you, so you can keep an eye on your fur friend – plus pets make work more fun!



lady kissing dog

Reduce Your Dog’s Boredom


Often for no other reason, dogs will dig simply because they are bored.

Signs that your dog is bored may include; staring at the fence for a long period of time, whining, or engaging in playful or ‘hyperactive’ behaviour, such as, you guessed it, digging holes.

To help put a stop to your dog’s boredom, try providing entertainment with toys and playtime – try to rotate the toys every so often to keep your dog excited.

In particular, KONG Dog Toys are designed to keep your dog entertained and chewing for hours, especially when stuffed with treats , or even a spoonful of natural peanut butter.

Another way to avoid your dog’s boredom is to provide routine and exercise with walks and runs.

Try walking your dog at least once a day and consider playing games such as fetch along the way. This will really get them tuckered out – a tired dog is not a digging dog.

And finally, let your dog socialise with other dogs. Take your dog to the local dog park or dog beach and let them sniff, saunter, and socialise to their heart’s content.


active couple with dog

Remove Temptations


The more temptations that your dog has, the harder it is for them to resist digging.

If you can create a yard that is less tempting to dig holes in, your dog’s behaviour will be much easier to keep under control.

Below is a list of the most common temptations and how to overcome them.
  • Freshly Tilled Dirt: Dogs enjoy digging in freshly tilled earth, so if you're working in the garden, try remove fresh dirt from your dog’s reach with a fence or covering.
  • Buried Bones: Go out and dig up any bones or other items that your dog has buried. Also try avoid your dog seeing you do this, or it may be seen as part of the fun. Fill the hole back in and add discouragements such as large rocks, citrus peels or chicken wire.
  • Gardening: If you do gardening, don't let your dog see you till or dig in the earth, as this would simply be positive reinforcement. If you can do it, why can’t I?

dog sniffing

If you have any other great tips for helping with your dog’s digging, please let us know on our Facebook page or in the comments below. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Six Superfood Ingredients for a Healthy Dog

Superfoods for my dog... but I don't even eat those?!

As a matter of fact, you actually might.

Just because we use the word 'superfood' doesn't mean we're talking about expensive, mystical foods from a far away land.

Superfoods are rather just everyday foods that could already be sitting in your pantry or fridge.

In fact, there are many superfoods that humans and dogs can share, so it won’t even cost you an extra cent.

Adding them to your dog's diet can provide a range of health benefits for your fur-friend, plus they taste great too!

So without further ado, here are our top Six Six Superfood Ingredients for a Healthy Dog.


Do you have an older dog? Click here for our Essential Guide to Caring for an Old Dog.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Six Tips for a Stress-Free Move with a Cat

Moving house is generally a very stressful time for everyone – especially for your feline friends.

Dogs don't seem to mind all that much, but the packing, routine changes, and all the strange new smells can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for a cat.

During this time, cats can show signs of aggression, house soiling, and excessive meowing or crying. And because cats form definite attachments to places, they often will try to return to their old home if they escape or are let out too soon. 

But with our Six Tips for a Stress-Free Move with a Cat, we ensure your move will go as smooth as possible, and guarantee your cat will accept their new address in no time.

1. Consider Boarding


A simple way to avoid some of the stress on your cat is to place them in boarding the day before you move, and bring them home when everything is a little more settled.

This also stops the risk of your cat escaping and going missing, and allows you to set your new home up, before adding your cat back into the mix.

Plus by doing so will allow for a much calmer environment to bring your cat home to and become familiar with. 

cat boaring

2. Carrier Tips


Whether you're placing your cat in boarding or bringing them with you, they're most liking going to cross paths with their carrier.

So if your cat is a little unsure about theirs, bring it out a few days earlier.

Many cats will eventually start to explore this strange new space, and may even start sleeping in there (try putting a clean towel inside).

And when the moving day does come around, make sure their carrier has a nice absorbent towel base – as some cats are known to soil themselves out of fear or stress.

cat carrier

3. Feline Tranquil Formula


Cats see and experience things a lot differently to us. So when we pack, move furniture and introduce them to a new environment, their whole world changes.

Their senses are practically bombarded with new stimuli.

This can be a very traumatic time for them, as cats like routine, patterns and predictability – basically they don’t like change.

Feline Tranquil Formula Tablets are a simple and cheap option that can be used to bring your cat's anxiety levels down, and overall help them better deal with being in an uncomfortable situation. These tablets contain Tryptophan and essential B group vitamins to help maintain normal emotional balance in cats.

Feline Tranquil Formula 120 Tablets

4. Before the Move


A few weeks before moving house some general things to consider include:

  • Make sure your cat is micro-chipped and wearing a collar with a pet tag that is up to date with correct phone numbers.
  • If they are home on the moving day, restrict them to a small and quiet space in the house (laundry, bathroom or bedroom).
  • Try to keep your cat’s routine as similar as possible and don’t forget to schedule some cuddles and playtime at the end of a long day.
  • If you’re travelling a far distance by car, consult your vet about any health concerns that could impact your cat’s well-being.
  • Avoid feeding them breakfast on the morning of the move as this may contribute to an upset tummy.

cosy cat


5. During the Move


If your cat isn’t placed in boarding during moving some general things to consider include:

  • Keep your cat safely enclosed in their carrier until you're in an enclosed room at your new place. And try not to open the carrier to ‘comfort’ them during transit as they may make a quick dash and try escape.
  • Do not leave your cat unattended in a hot car or out in the sun in their carrier. A car can heat to dangerous temperatures within 10 minutes, even on a relatively mild day.
  • Avoid putting food or water in their carrier, unless you're planning on being on the road for more than 12 hours. 
  • For lengthy journeys, ensure the carrier is big enough for a littler tray and have food bowls that ideally can be refilled from the outside, and won’t spill during transport. 

cat on leash

6. After the Movie


Once you have moved house some general things to consider include:

  • Set your cat up in a small room; the bathroom or laundry are ideal. And let them get use to this one small space where they have food, water, litter, plus some things that smell familiar – basically set it up like a nice cosy home.
  • After a few days, let you cat suss out another room, and gradually allow them to explore their new environment. 
  • Do not let your cat outside for at least 2-4 weeks after a move. And when you do decide to let them out, make sure the initial access is supervised and ideally just let them out into a fenced area. Cats are easily startled and will often dash out into another cat’s or dog’s territory or the road. Some cats have been known to return to their old homes, so the longer you keep them inside, the better.
  • Avoid letting your pet outside after dusk and before dawn to not only protect your cat, but the wildlife too. 

cat in trees

Overall, you can’t help that your cat is a creature of habit, so moving can be quite stressful for them. We do hope that these tips will help to make the whole process a little easier, and smooth as possible for you and your feline friend. 

Ever wondered why cats love cardboard boxes so much? Click here to find out why.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Why Cats Love Cardboard Boxes

While some scientists attempt to send the first rocket to Mars, others are doing more important things like finding out why cats love cardboard boxes so much.

cat-in-box


Cat owners across the country probably all know the feeling of dismay when you’ve gone out and purchased a good quality cat bed, only to find your feline friend curled up in that empty microwave box you’ve been meaning to take out to the recycle bin. 

The reason why your cat loves to squeeze into those oh-so-comfortable, tight spaces has remained one of life’s greatest mysteries – until now.

cat-in-box


Research has found that the main reason why cats seek out cardboard boxes, or any confined space for that matter, is because it gives them a sense of protection and safety from ‘predators’.

Domestic cats show many instinctive traits that match their wild feline ancestors – so it only seems logical in their minds to find a hidden place to take their 20-hour nap. 

cat-in-box


It has also been noted that cats may gravitate to small confined spaces to cope with any environmental changes or stressors.

A study was performed on 19 cats where half were given access to confined spaces, and the other half weren’t. Results found stress levels decreased significantly in the cats that were able to relax in boxes.

cat-in-box


Another reason behind the ‘magnetic’ force the draws your cat to cardboard boxes or confined spaces, could be because they are trying to avoid unwanted attention – particularly if they know they are in trouble.

According to ‘The Domestic Cat: The Biology of its Behavior’, cats don’t have very good conflict resolution strategies, so running and hiding is a copying mechanism for this. 

And it’s not just cardboard boxes. Cats appear to fit themselves into any enclosed space. This includes drawers, vases, shoes and even kettles.

cat-in-box

Cat logic: If I fit, I sit.

Let us know in the comments below where your cat loves to nap!

Did you know talking to your pet is good for your health? Find out why here.

Sunday, December 25, 2016