The Covid-19 pandemic has to a boom in first-time dog owners, who have been left puzzled by certain forms of behaviour their pets have shown during lockdown.
Everything from questionable dietary choices, excessive licking and staring into space are just some of the habits that dog owners have been struggling to understand.
The Kennel Club tracked Google search trends during the pandemic puppy boom and found a nation of dog owners baffled and looking for reassurance on canine habits and seeking answers to age-old questions relating to man’s best friend.
Luckily canine organisation, has offered its expertise to put minds at ease.
Spokesperson Bill Lambert said: “We all want reassurance that our pets are as happy and healthy as they can be, and this is highlighted by what the nation’s dog lovers are searching.
“Whilst there have been many people becoming dog owners for the first time this year, there are also many long-term dog owners who are continuing to learn the behaviours and needs of their pet. As such, The Kennel Club, is here to help all dog owners, guiding them through every step of their pets’ lives, and to provide reassurance for the unexpected.”
Here are the top five questions answered by The Kennel Club :
1. Why does my dog eat grass
- They like it
We tend to think of dogs as mainly eating meat, but it’s normal for them to eat both meat and plants.
- They’re bored
If your dog isn’t getting enough mental stimulation then they may turn to behaviours such as eating grass, digging or chewing
Eating grass occasionally is normal for dogs, but you should contact your vet if your dog:
- Shows other signs, such as not eating the food you give them, seeming tired or having diarrhoea or constipation
- Eats grass obsessively
- Keeps eating grass and being sick
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2. Why does my dog stare at me
There may be a number of different reasons why your dog stares at you, but it’s usually because they want to know something or are trying to tell you something. Understanding what that special ‘something’ could be is the key to knowing why your dog is staring at you, but it’s most likely for one of the following reasons:
- They want to know what you’re doing or what you’re going to do next
- They’re confused about what you’re up to or what you want from them
- They want something from you, such as food, affection, to go for a walk or to go to the toilet
- They love you!
Most of the time a dog’s stare has meaning, but understanding that meaning can sometimes be challenging. Often this stare is nothing to be concerned about and is perfectly normal behaviour for a dog that’s trying to communicate with you.
However, you know your dog best, so if you have any concerns about your dog or their behaviour then always ensure your speak to your local vet or dog behaviourist.
3. Why does my dog shake
Dogs can shake for a number of different reasons and these can be divided into three main categories:
- Behavioural (they’re scared, anxious or excited)
- As a response to their environment (they’re wet or cold)
- Medical: they’re in pain, they feel sick, or it may be a sign of a health condition, such as epilepsy, generalised tremor syndrome, muscle weakness, ear problems or poisoning
Keeping your dog warm, dry, relaxed, up-to-date on their vaccinations and out of paw’s reach from poisons can help to prevent the most common reasons for your dog to shake.
If you’re unsure why your dog is shaking you should always speak to your vet, especially if you’re concerned about them, or if the shaking is new, severe or accompanied by other signs.
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4. Why does my dog eat poo?
Eating poo, also known as ‘coprophagia’, is a normal behaviour for many animals and is seen in roughly 25 per cent of dogs. There are many reasons why your dog may be eating poop, but it’s probably because they just like the taste and texture of it.
We may be repulsed by the very thought of poo, but to dogs, it’s packed full of interesting information that tells them about who its maker was and what they’d been eating. As well as just enjoying a delicious dung dinner, dogs may feast on faeces because:
- It’s a behaviour they learned as a puppy from their mum
- They get some nutritional value from undigested matter
- They’re hungry and looking for something to eat
- They’re bored or stressed
- They may have a medical condition
Eating poo is a normal behaviour for dogs and although it’s disgusting to us it’s usually relatively harmless.
Even though your dog may enjoy dining on dung, it’s probably something to be discouraged as there is always the risk of parasites, viruses and bacteria.
Also, some medications can pass through an animal and into their faeces and these may be toxic to your dog, such as worming medications found in horse manure. If you’re unable to stop your dog from eating faeces, always ensure you give them something to eat or drink afterwards to help rinse out their mouth.
Don’t let them lick you. Always wash your hands thoroughly if in contact with your dog’s mouth or saliva and make sure they’re up-to-date on any worming treatments.
5. Why does my dog follow me everywhere
If your dog follows you everywhere then it’s a sign that they trust and love you and that you make them feel safe. Following you very closely can be a sign that they’re bored, they want something, they’re feeling scared or are just being nosy. It is also part of their natural social behaviour, to watch and follow what you are doing to help maintain a good relationship with you.
Wanting to be close to you is a normal behaviour for dogs, but some dogs may be too clingy or even become anxious when their owner leaves. There are a number of ways you can help your dog feel more confident, but you should always consult your vet or a behaviourist if you’re concerned about them.
What’s the strangest thing your dog does? Let us know in the comment section below.
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