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All the dogs I see attending regular daycare tend to completely ignore their human parent whenever in the presence of another dog, and pull atrociously on leash when they see another dog. I also feel like the rough play and practicing such over arousal around dogs contributes to leash aggression. Dog walkers can provide more appropriate exercise options and individual TLC that dogs really need. The best daycare I worked in, we played match maker and put our play groups together based on what the dogs needed and who they did best with.

My groups were dogs and it was heaven. An under confident dog could chill with the seniors and learn that new dogs can be pretty rad. The puppies could be matched up with other puppies or good teaching adults as needed. Tiny dogs could run wild with other itty bitties without fear of being treated like a fleeing rabbit.

And in between group play times, dogs were able to nap and relax in their own indoor- outdoor kennel. They want an exhausted dog. Daycare owners want profit. It takes more time for daycare staff to rotate out five groups of four dogs than it take to run two larger groups. And what about us, the daycare staff, how does it affect us? Our requirements of him did.

This is an excellent post! She is not a really playful dog, but can be if she trusts a dog after a time. I think she would find doggy daycare simply too stressful. Great article and fantastic comments! We operate the largest indoor Dog Daycare in Jacksonville, FL with 15, square feet total space and 5, square feet of rubber dog floor. Our staff are trained to use basic commands daily, and we send these commands home for the owners to use on a daily basis. No dog is too old to learn and when dogs trust us in a group, they can trust the owners on a leash too. Dog Daycare is like shopping for Daycare for a child.

Not everyone of them is equal. Here in Jacksonville, we are in competition from Rover and DogVacay, and people think that a residences is the same as what we offer. Far from it and these residences operate without a license, would you want to have your kids supervised by an unlicensed daycare facility?

Doggy Day Care –Fun for Fido or Not?

I shudder to think about it. We have countless cases of dogs who were scared of their own shadow, and who come in and after time are fantastic members of dog daycare. Their owners are thrilled and with consistent simple commands, they can become excellent members of the family dynamic. We love what we do at Happy Hound Dog Resorts! It is a great business! I am very lucky to have a center with a highly trained, attentive staff less than a mile from my home.

They start puppies with an hour and a half puppy play group on Sunday afternoons, they test for temperament, have three separate rooms plus the outdoor area, and have multiple webcams. Tesla is always excited to go, and they give me a report of his day when I pick him up. This has been a really interesting conversation.

We have a young dog who thrives in the company of other dogs but is nowhere near being reliable off-leash yet. When we adopted her, we were very up front with the rescue saying that we needed a more extroverted dog who was comfortable in groups, because there are so many dogs in our extended family. Arya is absolutely that — very good match by the rescue. The first two or three times we dropped her off she was unsure but willing, and we got great reports. After that, she would leap out of the car and drag us in. Now, she recognizes the road the daycare is on and starts getting excited in the back seat!

The staff always has some kind of insight about her personality or some compliment that tells me they are really paying attention to her. And it turned out to be nothing at all. My parents have a dog, however, who would just crumple at a daycare. She is introverted in the extreme and due to a series of physical problems has actual brain damage that has resulted in some really weird personality traits.

It was when I first got Pongu. I picked the daycare based on its proximity to my home. His leash manners seemed to have gotten destroyed in the span of a single day, though, so I never took him back. We adopted a dog 7 years ago only because there was an excellent day care near us. With both of us working full time we would not have gotten a dog to leave it alone 40 hours a week. I visited the day care before we even got the dog to make sure it was the quality I wanted. The key is to visit a few times without calling and see the response you get and how everything is running.

My recent adopted pup is also going as I need somewhere I can leave them occasionally. If your dog resists going in after a reasonable adjustment period, that is a big red flag! I used a daycare for my first greyhound, Trinkett. Twice a week, for full days. This was a very good daycare, which would sort dogs into groups with similar play styles and energy, and incorporated a lot of down time as well where they could relax, gnaw on bully sticks, that sort of thing separated and crated, of course.

So it worked out well… she got to spend time with other dogs and people, and everything was fine. I had to stop eventually because she started having troubles going up the stairs to the location, the start of a long physical decline that eventually wound up as osteosarcoma I have never been sure how much of the initial discomfort was related to that versus other problems, since there was never a really good diagnosis for what the initial problems were. But until that, she enjoyed going. She has generalized anxieties, and can do well with careful management, and might actually benefit from a carefully controlled interaction with other dogs and people.

My little rattie, Pixie, might be able to handle daycare, if she was put with appropriate dogs, but I am concerned that putting her with the wrong dogs would only exacerbate some of her current bad habits. I would not take my dogs to either of the doggie daycares in my town. Neither of them segregates dogs by size at all and both run the dogs in huge groups. They do both have adequate numbers of staff but I question how trained the staff are. One of them uses methods I do not like in training.

They also had a small dog attacked by a big dog. But the really questionable thing they did was advise the owner they did not need to seek Veterinary care for the small dog but just keep an eye on it these things seem to happen prior to the weekend. The poor dog had some serious punctures and was pretty painful. What might have required wound care, antibiotics and pain meds ended up requiring surgery. Now yes the owner should have gone against the advice of the doggie daycare owner, but at the same time any bite should be seen by a Veterinarian.

At the other doggie daycare a staff member used medication from one dog on another. This was not a medication mix up those do happen but a decision from the staff member that the dog needed the medication. This required the dogs owner to make a trip to the Vet to make sure no damage had been done. These things make me not want to place my dog in daycare here. I was paying all that money for a isolation cell when they had a perfectly good yard at home.

When I take my friendly female to a dog park, she politely meets other dogs, then heads for the edges of the park to hunt lizards. Heck, I have more lizards in my own yard for her to hunt. Your statement that dogs play between two individuals made me smack my forehead. Two dogs would chase each other and the rest would watch. More often, one dog would chase after birds and my Miki would chase him. For me, I get up extra early to take my dog to the park during off leash hours before heading into work. After a good romp for 1. Though I do have a dog door to the backyard too, in case he needs to relieve himself during the day.

Sometimes go to the park at night too during off leash hours or just go for a walk in the neighborhood. Really interesting topic! Our first experience with doggy daycare was with our now 5 yo standard poodle mix. We took her to a dog trainer in the nearby city, and we really liked her style positive, clicker-based, very knowledgable. She also ran a doggy daycare and so we started taking Daisy there once a week. We had seen how the puppies were carefully monitored when they had playtime at the end of class, and it was clear this would be a well-run place.

And it was great — the best clue, we thought, was how eager Daisy was to get inside every time we took her. She went for several months and has been rock solid in dog interactions ever since. The kennel offers daycare a few days a week itself and were happy to take on Rosa as a socialization exercise. Again, it has been a tremendous success, and since Rosa is a Bullmastiff it was vitally important to us that she be properly socialized with dogs.

Both dogs went really as part of puppy socialization, one day a week for several months. Daisy now wants to be with us more than with a random group of dogs, and Rosa is beginning to mature to that point as well. My husband and I are the owners of a smaller doggy daycare. I am so happy to see an article like this as not all dogs do well in daycare.

We do an assessment of each dog that comes and have turned many dogs away. Our primary goal and concern with our business is the dogs. We want them happy, healthy and safe. If a dog is too dominant, the dog cannot be here. If the dog is anxious and clearly not happy, then we let the owner know that this is not the right environment for their dog as well.

Fantastic blog post Trisha. My dog is not a daycare dog. Even if I thought she did have the correct temperament to cope, knowing what I now know about dog sociability and behaviour, I still would not be happy to send my dog to a day care facility. They are allowed out for a run about and play in the enclosure a couple of times a day with the staff.

We have to compromise sometimes though. She is quite a robust girl and has always been dog reactive since adopting her but the time in the kennel environment does not seem to be making her reactivity any worse. If anything, she has improved massively and this has been noticed by the staff over the years too. You find what works for both, hopefully. We did it different. Never more than dogs in a group with 1 and often 2 employees supervising and the dogs did NOT get stuck together all day long with no escape. THAT was a daycare situation that worked well.

Rescue Greyhound Dog Loves To Race Around His New Forever Home - BLUE - The Dodo

My 2 year old rescue sheltie goes once a week. Hers has established play groups based on size and temperament, and the dogs are on a schedule of two hours of play, and two hours of naps in separate kennel areas. The employees stay on for years and know all of the dogs, and their play styles and temperaments well, which help reduce problems, I think.

Most of the dogs there are regulars on certain days, so my pup has her group of doggy friends. He loves people. The more the merrier. He is a party guy and likes nothing more than a group of people and dogs hanging out. Moreover, he has excellent doggie social skills, not any thanks to me because I was a bit clueless when I got him as a pup, but I did socialize the heck out of him. And then he promptly removed himself from the area, came over and laid down by me for a couple minutes til everyone calmed down, before restarting play.

Young Jack would have been a great doggie daycare dog. He played well in groups. He is good with most dogs; the only trouble is when a dog is his height but half his weight and he fails to recognize the weight difference and bowls them over by mistake. But once he hit full social maturity at around the age of 3, he lost tolerance for overly exuberant play in other dogs, and he interprets normal body-slamming play of boxers, labs, and other slap-happy dogs as over-exuberant.

Given the chance, he will bust in on the playing pair you mention in the post. And then his good dog social skills evaporate and his cow-herding instincts take over. Corgis are not the elegant herders that border collies are. Three in the middle is too many and the dogs seem to lose track of who is where and run over the top of each other. Besides being rude and bossy, it is also not really safe for a inch tall, 35 pound dog to be in the middle of a bunch of body-slamming 80 pound labs who are twice his height and land on his back.

But rough-housing? Nope, I keep him out of the fray. Luckily he will come back or stop on a command. But doggie daycare? Not a good candidate. He also has a thing for the ladies, despite having been neutered at 6 months. Had I put him in daycare at two when he lacked social status and did not try to control other dogs and never revisited my decision or watched how his play with groups changed, I would never have known there could be a problem.

My dog is a daycare dropout okay, she was kicked out. I think she enjoyed aspects of it like the young ladies who made up most of the staff , but she definitely had a limit to her tolerance of the other dogs, and apparently it was crossed a few times which is why she had to leave.

In the end, I think it was a combination of my dog not being right for a full day of being over-stimulated and staff who were not able to give her a break when needed. She now gets one-on-one attention from the dogwalker instead. I noticed the article by Camille Ward and Barbara Smuts is no longer on that website domain expired.

Can you suggest another source where I could find it? To do or not to do. The ornate thing that I hate in the dog x human relationship is the excuses that people make to not spend time with their dogs. The bottom line in all of this is in fact, that we love our dogs. But, do you love them enough to give them yourself. No one else looks after them or cares for them.

The only time I came into contact with prevalent integers like dog day care, pet sitting and kennel was when i came to the city. Every time I see someone dragging their dogs down the sidewalk or yanking at the leash, twisting the dogs neck in strange angles, I feel sad. Sad that the ignorance of people want the dog to pee on demand and get back home so they and watch tv or better yet, make that phone call. In the end of all this, your dog will not leave your side, he will protect you and he will love you until he no longer can.

My greatest hope is that I can take care of my dogs as well as they took care of me. All they ask from me is me and I can give them that. We have one very high-energy young terrier in the group, and that dog will get some of the others to play, but generally they will break off after a bit and go interact with the humans. Which is what most of the dogs do… wander from human to human getting petted and treated and sometimes a bit of tug. Which is why we spend some of the time working stays, off-leash walking, recalls, that sort of thing.

From a practical perspective, play fights can quickly escalate into something more serious and you need enough people to deal with any incidents. Of course, as Patricia says, you want staff who can spot any potential problems before they happen. Good info. She also had way too much energy for us to work off given her size so we found a wonderful doggy daycare after trial and error that meets the criteria you listed.

They have rules such as: your dog needs to be there before noon and preferably early so that they are not overwhelmed by a group. They also give them rests if they are there for a long period of time. We now take her twice a week for daycare and walk her or visit doggy parks the other days. So now we have a trainer from Dogs Best Friend come walk him every day. That seems to be working. Please list other suggestions or maybe the name and city of your daycare so that they are available for others.


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I would love to hear other suggestions for Maui. Thank you for another wonderful article!!! Our dogs have never been to doggy daycare or dog parks, thankfully we have a very large fenced yard for them to safely play. Our guys wear the breakaway collars, or none at all, because they are major neck biters when they play. The Princess then has a regular routine of going over to the Aussie and pretending to grab him, which initiates the play and herding routine with the BC. Excellent additions from readers, thank you all so much. A few additions of my own: One is about the ratio of staff to dogs.

A few others, who also run day cares, said they thought was too many dogs; one had a ratio of Such great advice. My own Cool Hand Luke went to puppy classes for years, and was brilliant with young dogs until he was about eight or nine. At that point, rather than give a polite tooth display to a rude puppy, he growled and lunged fast and hard. I thanked him for over 7 years of excellent service and never took him back to puppy class again.

I checked it and had no trouble. Anyone else? I really appreciate your style Trisha and regularly refer customers to your materials and posts. I carry many of your books in our lending library at Red Rover and love to acquire new ones to share. Equating your reaction to forced socialization at 5 years old to how an adult dog reacts is apples-to-oranges. Incidentally I homeschool my now 8 year old child. When she reacted to care at 5 as you did, we walked away together. Humans are very dependent upon their parents, especially their mothers, at that age. My hope, which was eventually rewarded, was that she would develop a more healthy reaction to time with her peers with my support and time.

Now she pushes me away when she gets a chance to socialize with other children. Happy day! I am fascinated by animal behavior and opened a dog daycare to meet the needs of dogs like my own and to allow myself the freedom to return to school for an advanced degree. Dogs have survived in our nightcare because staff were onsite to call for emergency care not from being in our care but for other emergencies such as a bad reaction to new meds in one case.

We provide daycare for dogs who have limited chance for canine exposure without coming to Red Rover. Too many people have just one dog. I personally believe the life of a healthy dog who does not get an opportunity to be with other dogs is sad. When I rescue a dog who is uncomfortable around other dogs I push their boundaries gently, if possible and safe to do so, and have been rewarded with a happier, more confident dog.

Ask me about Leo. Granted dog daycare is not for all dogs. I liken it to clubbing at 48 with a bunch of somethings. Not my idea of fun. That said I DO socialize with other people in groups I enjoy. I would not enjoy living a life without opportunities to socialize with other humans. I do not think dogs should have to either. What I like about this article is that it is open to other ideas you do admit your prejudice , has good general guidelines for choosing a daycare, and that you admit there are good daycares out there.

We know our own children best. We supervise them at all times when out together. Many dogs just prefer to be out alone one at a time. These dogs are always supervised when out together. I currently have a dog of my own who does enjoy day care. He goes to a daycare once a week just to play with other dogs. He is very social. The day care is run and staffed by the owners of the facility no outside staff and a busy day would be 20 dogs.

Every other dog I have ever owned would have been horrified to be dropped off at day care but this one just loves it. I do refer people to this day care if I think their dog would benefit from it. The owner says that day care should make your dog a better dog socially, not just a tired dog and the end of daycare. He wants the dogs to be easier for the owners to take with them other places because of their experience at day care.

I wish that I had had these resources or even bothered to look at these resources before I put my two through almost two years of doggy daycare. They both went when they were little and by the time my boy was asked to leave he was a nervous wreck, picking fights etc etc. The staff to dog ratio was utter bollocks — at times 1 person to dogs.

Bobby was stressed, irritable, didnt like other dogs in his face and we have had to deal with the consequences since. We thought doggy day care would take care of everything especially some training. It took care of nothing. Now I can see that they were so hyped up at the prospect of going and when they came home they were literally so exhausted from the stress that they slept right through and I put it down to being so happy and tired from a full day of planning.

The staff were not trained and there was no proper evaluation from what I could tell. I never even got told about interactions that Bobby had with other dogs until it was too late or weeks later. I even went there for one hour — well I lasted about 30 mins I couldnt take it, it was so loud and horrible I actually cannot believe I left my dogs there.

Sorry, have to respond to Heather Mycholuk. I also think daycare is a great option for the right dog and the right situation. Like any service, you need to do the right research, but it can be great fun for mostly outgoing, YOUNG dogs. And there are always those dogs that can be changed. But, lo and behold, over time and with the right guidance, I saw them gain confidence and turn into outgoing, happy dogs.

After all, look at you, Trisha. You hated going to school, but now you are a warm, outgoing, respected public speaker. Just goes to show ya! Thanks for taking the time to chime in Heidi, I greatly appreciate it. I agree with you absolutely that day cares can be great for some dogs and can help some dogs become more comfortable around others. My primary point was that day cares vary widely, and dogs vary widely, and one needs to be very thoughtful about matching up Dog A to Daycare B. And I do appreciate those of you who have defended people who take their dogs to day care.

Most owners I know who utilize day cares are the kind of people who care deeply about their dogs. Of course there are owners who over utilize such services, but then, our species is a highly varied, and often illogical one, right? I have to agree with the statement that you have to know your dog. We have 2 dogs. One is a Border Collie who hates doggie daycares. It is far too chaotic for him and he becomes a big ball of stress. My Australian Shephard loves it. Every dog is his friend and he truly loves to play.

We made a mistake of leaving them both there when my husband and I traveled out of town for his medical care. I have learned the the needs of my border collie and that of my aussie are far different and at times we go out of town or need a daycare environment we have found one who can accommodate both dogs needs to keep them safe and happy. Running a daycare and training dogs are two completely different things and, since I do both, I have a really good idea of those differences. The dogs are distracted and some become reactive. The play areas are for the dogs, not the people.

We have a tour on Saturdays when the dogs are not out if people want to see the facility. And strangers videoing the dogs? No nooks and crannies for the dogs either- small spaces are a no-no since dogs can feel trapped and aggress to get out. For trainers to give daycare advice is about as good as a daycare owner giving training advice. My hound is not a dog who can be send to your typical day care: She is reactive to new dogs and needs to be introduced very carefully and slowly to each and every one. She also gets bored very easily and does not believe that being confined with a pack of dogs is fun.

However, she can go to a very special doggie day care here in Oregon. Dogs get picked up in the morning in a little yellow school bus. Each has her own bench where they are buckled in. Upon arrival, they go for a several hour hike in the woods, then hanging out in a pasture next to the river before being returned home in the afternoon. Pictures and videos from their adventures are then posted later that evening on facebook. The hound is only ever seen in passing — but that is ok as she always circles in her own big radius around her people on walks.

Great idea for the not so faint of heart elk, bears, coyotes, etc. The hound has no complaints. Though I have reduced her time there because her hips are getting stiff more easily now that she is middle aged. I take care of dogs all day everyday and nights. If I was younger I would create a place right outside the city and have a bus to pickup my city dogs for the day dropping them in the eve. There would be different indoors living rooms for the elderly, and outdoor large runs for the energetic, with separate areas for large breeds, pups, etc. All that to say that dogs have many many different requirements.

I find them to be over the top nutty, unable to listen or focus but tired. I think daycare do tire dogs but are they tired from stress? If we agree that dogs are not pack animals then really other than a few very high energy it is the wrong place to have them spend their day. What I do know is that not only does it not teach them anything but it reinforces bad behaviors, stresses, and certainly keeps their nervous system on high alert the entire day. The workers have very very little education do not know how to read behavior are paid very badly and therefore the care is not great.

My main complaint is that dog owners are less and less willing to train their dogs to stay home alone, not chew up their house, be housetrained, etc and simply drop them off for someone very unqualified to care for them. Hiring a dog walker is so much better!!


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  • Basically if you get a dog you should know that you will need to have time before going to work, after work, time to take a training class for the first year and a half. Adding a dog walker in the middle of the day if you work long hours. I also question do dogs need socialization with other dogs once mature, do they need to play everyday once mature? My answer is no they do not, certainly not everyday. Like most other things, it honestly depends.

    My well socialized Border collie had to be boarded while I traveled when she was 8 months old and this was when she had her first experience in Doggy Day Care. I believe the staff did a good job of supervising but when she came home, for the first time in her life she began to show reactive behaviors. Subsequently she was boarded and had day care in a facility that I later found did not provide the close staff supervision I expected, and again she came home less confident around other dogs than before she went.

    I gave it one more try back at the first facility but the results were the same — an increase in reactivity which I am still working to overcome. I have decided no more day care for her as it seems to be counter-productive in making her more excitable and stressed in the presence of other dogs. I wanted to say thank you for your comment about Luke. I have a 7 year old named Copley that has been wonderful with puppies for a long time. He also attended daycare in his younger years and loved it- I could see that on camera at the day care and I watched all the time.

    They only put groups of 3 or 4 dogs in to play at a time then rotated out. He had one friend in particular and they asked me and that owner if it would be ok to just let them play sometimes and we both said sure- so they would put those two in together during breaks and days they only played with each other. Well he started getting older and I adopted a second dog who he played with constantly and he just starting to come home too tired from daycare- so we never went back. Fast forward a few years and I got a foster pup just for the weekend and he started over reacting to the puppy- not hurting him but his corrections were not appropriate for what the puppy had done.

    I stopped fostering puppies the rescue was not too happy but I figure I did my years and so did Copley. We have a lot of dog friends- mostly because I have no social life outside of dog sports- and he still enjoys his time with friendly, adult dogs that keep their paws out of his face. A few people have made comments about it but I just figured he got too old to want puppy teeth chewing on his face- and I totally understand that. Thanks for the blog Trisha!

    Loved you initiating this conversation.


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    It prompted me to write one of my own which sums up my sentiments. The whole day care idea and the posts have been very interesting. I took one of my dogs to a small dog social once and she walked through the group of twenty or so dogs, giving a quick greeting and then made a bee line for the people bench which she settled down on to watch the party. I knew then this was really not her scene.

    She loves to play with another dog her size in my home, but not in a group. When I take my dogs to the park, they have good social skills and get along well, but again they like to watch play from the sidelines or just greet and move on. I do agree every dog in unique and has different requirements.

    I am not confident in many of the dog walking services either. Dog ownership has exploded and so too has our knowledge of the emotional and mental needs of our dogs. I think we are still trying to reconcile our old way of being with dogs with our new reality of life with dogs today. It can be especially hard for those who live alone, the elderly and those with mobility issues who might not have support or back-up in providing care. They are also a segment of society who really benefits from having a dog. Daycares and dog walking can also be very expensive.

    It seems that more and more having a dog has become complicated and challenging for many. I have been fortunate in that I have a neighbourhood with many dogs and good neighbours. Daycares are fine for some, but are not the answer for everyone. Holly, your website is great and your facilities look state of the art.

    Good for you. Trisha makes some sound comments here though. Important yes? I would be immediately suspicious of any facility that refused to video the dogs on request from an owner. Some dog breeders are even doing this now. Webcam is a great way to keep an eye on what is happening with the dogs and to learn about play and social skills.

    It would also reassure the customers that their dog will be safe and not unnecessarily stressed. Really, what would any facility have to hide if they were committed to fulfilling their high standards? Other larger dogs in the small include really old calm dogs with issues like HD or just shy dogs. The groups are rotated. Puppies are grouped together, oldies ate grouped together etc.. After a good months of doing this every morning, a few weeks ago she went to the big as usual, looked out then wimped out and headed to the small as usual..

    Every morning since she has raced out into the big yard tail wagging a mile a minute lol. I would rather put my dog in a kennel than in a daycare. My last dog was an aggressive Airedale and the Kennel was a bit sad but the only solution. Excellent article on a complex topic. Thank you Dr. As you mention, dog day cares are not a one size fits all situation.

    The one I worked for put profits ahead of everything else, which caused no end of problems. This was dangerous for both the dogs, and the staff members. There are other ways to socialize your dog without overwhelming them and having it backfire. They make my day! The more dogs that are together in one place can cause dangerous consequences; such as fights, and even injury to the one person.

    This is plainly wrong. And fortunately, it is an area that we may be able to do on our own without the need for a pet health practitioner. We recommend you use the following scale, which ranks dog food in order from healthiest to least or unhealthy. Move your dog up levels as far as you can to the top level to improve their diet to see if that solves the issue. This scale is from our resource guide, How to Make Healthy Food Choices For Your Dog , a page document that we researched, wrote and keep updated about how to make healthy food choices for your dog.

    We also include the text directly from the resource guide adding some explanations about the items in this scale. The best foods choices to feed your dog are ordered as follows. We will provide additional explanation about these food categories after this list.

    However, this list is only as good as the ingredients used. For example, if you purchase canned dog food with corn or soy in it, but purchase a dry dog food product with neither, then the dry dog food might be a better choice. Homemade raw is the best diet for our dogs, but only if you are careful to give them the appropriate percentages of ingredients and supplements so that they eat balanced meals. Dogs that are sick or with compromised health may do better with cooked food. Irradiation is a process whereby food is subjected to ionizing radiation to attack bacteria by breaking chemical bonds in molecules that are vital for cell growth.

    It does not result in radioactive food, but it does increase the free radicals and has shown to reduce nutritional values of food in the same way that cooking does. HPP is a process whereby food is subjected to intense pressure, which kills pathogens. You will have to contact manufacturers to find out if they use HPP. If they do not use HPP, you should ask what they use to control pathogens. By law, dog food manufacturers are required to produce product free of pathogens, unlike human food.

    They are doing something to control pathogens, so you should ask and find out to be sure you are comfortable with their process. Another process that at least one manufacturer we know of uses is electrolyzed water, a relatively new process in the U. The ingredients are soaked in this water to eliminate pathogens.

    But raw meats, especially chicken, may naturally contain the salmonella pathogen. And that is normally not a problem for humans because we cook our meat, and it is also normally not a problem for healthy dogs because they can digest salmonella. So if you purchase raw dog food with chicken, then it has to be processed somehow to remove the salmonella, which means that whatever process the company uses, the end product is not as healthy. You need to find out what that company is doing. It is not recommended to feed kibble with raw in the same meal because raw digests faster than kibble.

    The end result will be kibble in the digestive track that is fermenting and could be causing gas. Try feeding kibble in one meal and raw in another. Studies show that fats can oxidize quickly, even if there are preservatives in the product. It requires a great deal of energy to produce, which increases costs and carbon footprint. But as solar energy becomes more widespread, those costs will go down and the carbon footprint will be much less. While freeze dried weighs a lot less to transport, with reduced shipping costs, if you buy locally produced dog food from small retailers, there really is not much, if any savings on logistics costs.

    Sure, if you are shipping freeze dried halfway across the country, then there are some savings in logistics costs, but does it outweigh the energy cost to produce? Regardless, just try to buy from local or regional dog food companies to reduce the carbon footprint to get food to you. Dry kibble is the predominant way people feed their dogs and is among the worst choices. The term digestibility coefficient refers to the percentage of a dog food that the dog absorbs into his or her body during the process of digestion. Dog food companies are not required to obtain or report digestibility and may not disclose it even if asked.

    But you should ask anyway and if you do feed dry dog foods, try to feed ones with higher digestibility ratings. We know that you want the best for your dog but that may get too cost prohibitive when you are talking raw, especially when you look for quality ingredients like at the level that we do for our dogs and in our dog food products that we sell. Just do the best you can. If all you can afford is dry kibble, then try to get the highest quality you can find, which we show you how in our resource guide. If you want to incorporate some raw, fresh foods into your kibble diet, then check out this post on The Food Stack For Dogs, which is what we do.

    Pay close attention to adding in some home made or very high quality plain goats-milk yogurt to help their digestive systems, which we talk about in what we do for our dogs. And don't just throw supplements at the problem.

    See a Problem?

    As we mentioned, that is what conventional medicine does and that rarely solves the problem. Dogs were made to extract all the nutrients they need from food. There is testing you can do to determine which foods your dog has an immune response. This might help, but it can be misleading because in humans, the health of the gut greatly influences our immune response to foods. If you have a healthy gut with good levels of beneficial bacteria, you can tolerate a lot more than if you do not.

    The same may be true for dogs. That is why it is better to first get your dog on the healthiest diet you can, then work on individual food testing through trial and error. If moving your dog up the quality scale does not help, then you may need to look specifically at which food ingredients cause an immune or allergic response.

    In this case, you are actually getting more at potential epigenetic and genetic causes for your pet's issues, but you can still do this on your own by elimination and substitution. Make sure you feed your dog meat-based proteins, not vegetable. Our read of research tells us that vegetable-based protein does not work for dogs. Many dogs have issues with poultry chicken, turkey, duck , so try eliminating them. Or, dogs could have issues with beef, or all red meat, or maybe it is fish. You won't know until you start eliminating and substituting. It could be dairy.

    While we see little dairy in dog food products, if you feed yogurt for probiotic supplementation, that could be an issue. Try goats-milk yogurt, which is what we feed. Substitute with more nutrient dense vegetables. If you are eliminating and substituting meats, then make sure you do the same for fats. At the same time that you are working on foods, make sure you try and address environmental toxins that may be poisoning your dog.

    Dogs, just like humans, are designed to filter out a certain level of toxins. But when exposure increases beyond the body's ability to detoxify, then accumulation occurs, which can lead to health diseases and conditions. It is possible that if your dog is suffering from food issues, they could go away if you address toxicity from the environment.

    The obvious environmental hazards come from a dog being lower to the ground than humans and spending a lot of time sniffing, licking and sitting on the ground. If you can, try to go greener in your choice of materials used in construction projects in your house. For cleaning, we stick mostly with vinegar and use Nature's Miracle , an enzymatic cleaner.

    Look at how much access they have to synthetic materials via collars, water and food bowls, toys and sleeping beds. While limiting the use of synthetics is almost impossible for toys, if you can at least do it for their eating and drinking bowls, then that is another way to reduce exposure. We use these bowls because they have rubber on the bottom to reduce slippage and reduce noise. Unlikely you will completely eliminate exposure to environmental toxins, but reducing exposure to them will allow your dog to hopefully keep up with detoxification on their own.

    Look at radio frequency radiation emitted from all the wireless devices we have. They are proving to be a problem for some humans and so they could be problematic for our pets. While it may be difficult to remove WIFI and mobile phones from our lives, try to at least shut off at night anything that emits or receives an RF signal. That includes WIFI, mobile phones, bluetooth devices, and any other internet enabled devices like light switches or security cams. That is what we do. Electromagnetic radiation can also get emitted from the electrical in our homes.

    We use this Steterizer meter to test each plug and if the level is above 50, then we plugin in these Greenwave Dirty Electricity Filters. And we retest our plugs every six months with the Steterizer filter and readjust the placement of the Greenwave filters.

    Recommended reads: ages 8–10 | Books | The Guardian

    It may be a good idea while you are working on the consummables and reducing toxicity in your dogs environment to have your health care practitioner perform some standard tests to rule these out. Pathogens can take hold if there are nutritional issues going on from food or an immune system that is under strain from environmental toxins. Is your dog getting enough physical activity? They may be bored and picking up other things and eating them gives them something to do. We have an infographic and article on the benefits of dog sports for non-competitors. Is your dog getting enough mental activity?

    Mental stimulation is just as important as physical. Dogs that get plenty of physical activity but little mental may still be bored and looking for something to do. You can teach your dog the brain workouts listed in this infographic on your own or find dog training classes. Training your dog gives them mental stimulation. Many people go through one or two dog training classes and that is it for the remainder of their dog's life. But many trainers like us offer a wide variety of classes and we have many clients who consistently take classes not just to keep up with training, but to always be teaching their dogs something new.

    Consider giving your dog more jobs to do, as we profile in this post. Use interactive toys to feed your dog meals and treats, which makes them work for their food, both physically and mentally. We have a wide variety of toys that we have collected over the years, but here is a list of some of our favorites that we use all the time:.

    Kong toys. There are many different versions that you can fill with food or treats to keep your dog occupied. We user ours constantly, especially with our Snack Stuffer product. This toy makes it easy to put treats in and adjust how difficult you want to make it for your dog to remove the treats. When you purchase, try to stick with toys in the range of yellows, blues, violets, and grays, which we explain in this post. If you are looking for more resources to help with mental activity and training, we recommend the following:.

    This is our own book that we wrote that will help you with an adolescent or energetic dog. Issues related to physiology are usually the easiest for health practitioners to find because they are physical differences that can be directly seen, either through physical inspection or medical scanning technology. If your efforts in changing foods, limiting environmental toxins, checking for pathogens and working on the various brain related issues we talked about above are not working, then deeper medical testing may be required.

    Again, if medical tests reveal something, you need to dig deeper to figure out why. If your dog has thyroid problems, for example, this issue can be caused by food, environmental or pathogen issues. Don't just settle for medication. Medication might be good to temporarily help out, but don't rely on it permanently unless you know what is causing the thyroid problems and you have no other way to fix them other than medication. The only study we could find with regards to PICA is that it is associated with low hemoglobin Hb , hematocrit Hct , or plasma zinc Zn concentrations.

    If that is the case with your dog, supplementation in the short-term to get these values back in line might really help, but you have to ask why they are off to begin with. Look at epigenetic and genetic factors, if you can. Coprophagia may actually be related to a dog's need to help balance the bacteria in its gut. We have no evidence or studies behind this, but have read anecdotally that this may be the case.

    We regularly see our dogs eating feces from deer, bunnies or other animals. PICA and Coprophagia can be tough issues to resolve. But think about solving them in a structured way using a dog log to record your observations and the Functional Medicine Framework to help guide. You may still have a lot of work ahead of you but at least you have some tools and a plan to help walk you through. We have embedded it below so you can see it, but you can click this link to open it in a new tab. Way to Go by Karen B. London, Ph. McConnell, Ph. Bully sticks that we use for our dogs and which work well for some heavy chewers.

    Toys for food dispensing, tug, fetch and light chewing. The Light Of Dog. Is your dog reactive toward other dogs when on leash? See More See Less. Comment on Facebook. We love our blooming cactus at The Light of Dog Farm! Watch where you step! Our book has been nominated for an award! Wow, I never new eating socks was such a thing, but I now have my first dog who does this.

    She is a one year old Golden Mountain Doodle. She has eaten a lot of socks. Some, she has vomited, and others she has passed, but they all worry me as I understand the risk to her safety. She still manages, very occasionally, to find a sock. Since she knows I will take socks away from her, when she sees me coming, she plays keep away, swallowing the sock whole as fast as she can gobble it down.

    My kitchen and living room are connected by two doorways, so she can literally run in a circle to escape me. After reading all of your advice to others posting here, I understand that she is probably swallowing the socks in a hurry to prevent me from taking them. I can also see that I may have exacerbated this behavior by taking sooooooooo many things away from her without giving her something exciting in return.

    I never thought about this before. She is a pup who needs something taken out of her mouth multiple times every day. She is very gifted at finding the wrong things to chew on. My question is this. How can I turn this around? Do I give her a small food treat every time I take something away from her? Maybe her toys are too limited. She has plenty, but they are all similar, since they have to be tough to survive her chewing.

    She really loves rope toys, but she goes through them pretty quickly, so I have to watch her closely to throw those out before they become dangerous to her. We have yet to allow her any freedom in the house when we are not home, as she would get in a lot of trouble. When we are home, she has chewed and destroyed some of the woodworking, carpeting, computer cords, eyeglasses, pens, shoes, etc. I will work on strong leave-it and drop-it commands as you suggested in other posts.

    Thank you! Hi Susan! But some of us are not that lucky and it makes life more challenging. I would start with lower value items if you can — either things like toys that she is allowed to have or with larger objects that she cannot swallow. And yes, trade with anything that is high enough value that she is willing to trade.

    At this point, do not worry about teaching her to pick up stuff just to get treats. At worst, you then have a dog who has a great Fetch behavior! I would provide lots of value for giving up anything she has. Sometimes things she is not allowed and sometimes things she is allowed — but she gets those allowed items back after you give her your trade item. So she gets an added bonus. Good luck! My goldendoodle is coming up on his 2 year birthday this month.

    Ever since he was a puppy, he has had an issue with finding and swallowing socks. We have 2 other roommates who occasionally get lazy or forget and leave their bedroom door open they always have their laundry laying around their rooms. Our dog will never show any interest in a sock when someone is nearby or watching him but if no one is watching, it turns into a feeding frenzy on socks. He plays with his food ball and kong toys, he is exercised daily, plays with his puppy friends every day, and eats Taste of the Wild dog food. He makes himself VERY sick and it makes us so worried!

    Sometimes that means we have to get a bit more creative in our training to help them understand to Leave It even when no one is there to remind them. And as you know, swallowing socks is a very dangerous habit. And can get very expensive with vet bills too. I would suggest going back and working on a very strong Leave It cue and work up to being able to use it when it appears to your dog that you are not there to see it, but you have some way via video cameras, etc. You might want to find an experienced positive reinforcement based trainer near you to help you with this!

    To all that have posted about this article, we have a major addition to the original article with new research and learnings we have come across to help dog owners address this issue. I got 5 months old American Pitbull Terrier and he eats everything from rocks up to paper, im trying to adjust his food to fix this but my main problem is that sometimes he gets food agressive, its rare but still an issue, i was having lunch in a restaurant and he had his leash attached to a rock thing next to me, i noticed that he was eating rocks, and as always i reach to him, i take one rock of his mouth and when i try to take the second one he snaps and tried to bite me, its a very rare thing and without warning, at home he never gets to eat unless i tell him to so theres no agression at all.

    Im thinking this was because he was in a corner and i was moving in on him. Is there anything i can do to stop this behaviour? Or should i not reach and take stuff of his mouth like that? Thanks you. In a setting away from home, he also might have been feeling less comfortable than at home. When I noticed him eating a rock, I would have taken out one of those tasty treats I brought along and offered a trade for the rock he had.

    By offering a trade, I can more easily get the item away from him but without any bad feelings toward me on his part. Rather than taking away something of value to him, I offer something of equal or greater value in exchange. Do that a number of times when out and about or when he finds something he thinks is pretty high value and he will happily and willingly trade with you. My 7 month old doberman puppy has swallowed about 15 socks to date!! He also like to eating the stuffing from toys and blankets. I have no idea how he finds them as I have resorted to drying them in a closed room as opposed to on the line.

    He also gets raw meaty bones once a day too, eggs and whole sardines a couple of times a week also, so a diet deficiency is unlikely. I am at my whits end with it. Thankfully, they are always passed through his system but we have countless missing socks!! Have you tried adjusting the macro nutrient profile? Maybe try a few more dense carbs in place of the meat. Have you tried probiotics or yogurt? Is he getting enough physical but also mental exercise and stimulation? Those would be my suggestions.

    If Sue has any she will chime in. The Holistic Select contains prebiotics and probiotics. Perhaps I can add some rice to his meals to bulk it up and see if that helps. He has heaps of energy, its possible his daily walk and play in the backyard are not enough for him. Would love some advice.

    Loyola University Maryland

    My almost 7 year old rescue St. Berdoodle has been eating socks and throwing them up for a few months now. Have had her for a little over 2 years. Afia, a vet check to ensure good health is never a bad idea in case she feels she is missing something from her diet. However, it sounds like some training is also in order. IF she scarfs her meals quickly, I would also consider a slow feeder bowl or interactive food dispensing toys to slow down her eating can sometimes help too.

    Then make sure she is getting enough activity during the day both physically and mentally to ensure boredom is not contributing to the issue. He is still a puppy 6 months old , but I am starting to get nervous about his fetish for socks. I brought him to the vet yesterday and they said puppies just eat socks, but he is possessive over socks. I keep my apartment very clean like magazine ready and he still manages to find them. It has happened twice in the two weeks that I have had him where he has thrown up a sock and will swallow it whole before I even have a chance to grab it again.

    I am currently bringing him on walks a day and he plays with the other dog in the home all morning before I go to work. You might try him on a different food. We are currently researching an update to this post and finding that issues like may be strongly related to something missing in the diet. Addison, Ed replied in regard to diet, but let me also give some tips from a training perspective.

    First, puppies love to get into stuff! I saw a study somewhere that said the most commonly swallowed household items are socks and underwear. My guess is that those items tend to hold the most odor from their human family, which for some reason appeals to them. So at this stage, definitely keeping those items out of reach is best. So, teaching our dogs a good DROP IT drop it is for dogs who already have something in their mouth, leave it is for preventing them from picking it up in the first place is also important.

    If we always take away but give nothing in return, we can cause our dogs to get better at guarding things in order to maintain possession. Though resource guarding is not unusual or unnatural, it can be dangerous and we want your pup to learn that guarding items from you is never necessary. Hope that helps! Hello, I have a 15 week old wirehaired pointing griffon. She is also digging through the rocks and getting ahold of the grey flooring that prevents weeds from growing in the rocked areas.

    She is eating the grey felt material and swollowed a sock that I got her to throw up. I thinking she is doing this because she is bored yet we go for walks every day and train every day in the park across the street from my house. Im looking into getting her a toy that despenses food or somthing to keep her more occupied but was curious if there were other reasonings behind these behaviors?

    Im changing her diet from Purina Savor to Purina Focus. I was feeding her 1. Were slowly transitioning to the new food right now so im hoping it may help. Any suggestions to get her to stop digging till I can make a dog run for her? Please let me know if you have any questions and thank you in advance.

    You might want to look at a higher quality food for her. That might not be the problem, but it could be and anything you do is just masking the nutritional deficiencies that she might be getting. We can only recommend raw dog food. But stay away from raw dog food that has been subjected to high pressure processing or irradiation.

    Those methods make it almost as bad as kibble. Smaller pet stores that sell raw and are knowledgeable can help you, or just do your research online. Our rawe dog food is the best you can get, but we only sell direct-to-consumer in the Denver-metro area. Hi Chris, Ed discussed possible nutritional deficiencies in the diet, but I also wanted to respond from the behavioral side of things. Exploration is perfectly normal for puppies — and putting things in their mouths and digging are a part of that.

    The tricky part is keeping them safe if they decide to swallow things — that might mean finding a way to prevent access to dangerous stuff like rocks, socks, etc. I am less concerned if they eat a bit of dirt, leaves, sticks, etc. And food puzzle toys can sometimes help as well along with other opportunities to utilize energy constructively and opportunities to explore their world safely. I have a 5 month old Rottweiler she is doing great potty training.

    My only issue so far is her chewing she plays in a yard with my moms dog while I go to work, as soon as I bring her in the house from playing in the yard she eats then passes out from playing all day. She also poops while in her kennel and howling loudly that the neighbors are complaining. Looks like you have a real challenge on your hands! The key is to really manage the environment the best you can to limit their choices while helping them learn what IS appropriate to chew on.

    Our Zuzu Greyhound loved to chew on anything made of wood when she was that age. Never realized how many things in our house were made of wood until she came along! We used lots of baby gates and ex-pens to limit her options until we got past that stage. Sometimes we need to find ways to make the toys and bones more interesting. We find rotating out toys and bones helps create more novelty for them. Put away or out of reach as much as you can. There is also probably an element of boredom, so the more constructive activities you can give her the better.

    Does she have any interactive food puzzle toys you can put food in? Find toys that will engage her more. Set up some training sessions to get her using her brain. Do you walk her daily? Getting out for more walks can help too. I would not recommend a muzzle when alone at this stage. If you are going to use a muzzle, it would have to be a BASKET muzzle so she can still breathe normally and drink water.

    Some dogs can get those muzzles off pretty easily once they figure out how. Hi, I have a 3yr old Bernese mountain dog. She is constantly chewing socks. She even manages some way of eating baby wipes. Yesterday she tried to get food of the counter while everyone was out of the room. I came back said leave it she did. But she is always floor surfing and looking for something to eat.

    She eats what my vet recommend but I am worried she is going to eat something and not be able to pass it. I put her in my sun room while I ran to the store and came back she tore up my carpet. Natasha, that sounds like a challenge! Most dogs have outgrown these types of behaviors by this age, but not all. Has your dog been checked for any gastrointestinal issues? Sometimes a consult with a board certified veterinary behaviorist can be helpful if there are any gastrointestinal or other medical issues contributing to this behavior.

    If there is not a board certified vet behaviorist nearby, they will often consult directly with your own vet to help sort through issues. Also, have you done any training with your dog? You might also try teaching a very solid leave it as well as giving the dog some additional mental stimulation training new things, using food puzzle toys, etc. I have a almost 3yr old Greater Swiss who is constantly eating socks too!

    I was just outside cleaning up her waste after being sick for a week. She never was a sock eater until recently. Hi Kellie, yikes 10 socks is dangerous! Thank goodness that did not result in an emergency surgery at your vet. I would see if you can figure out what has caused the change in behavior if this is new. A trip to the vet for a thorough check up might be a good place to start. Good luck. I have a 2 year old pitbull. He has major issues with this as he actually had to get surgery from swallowing a small plastic ball that the neighbors threw into our yard.

    He had his surgery a month ago so this worries me a lot. Is there anything I can do to prevent this? I am unsure what other options I have as this is critical to him not hurting himself. Hi Kasey, that is definitely dangerous!