Dogs chewing their paws is a common behaviour – it can be likened to a human scratching their hand. Nevertheless, persistent and consistent paw chewing could be a sign of health problems. If you have concerns about your dog’s itchy paws, you should contact your vet to err on the side of caution.
Puppies start chewing from a young age due to toothache when their adult teeth are developing, chewing also allows them to explore the world through taste. Older dogs may continue chewing as a way to clean their teeth and strengthen their jaws.
Common reasons why dogs chew their paws include; cleaning, scratching, boredom, allergies, a bug bite or a skin infection. This blog will break down each common cause of dogs chewing paws and how to alleviate the need to chew.
Why Do Dogs Chew Their Paws?
One of the most common reasons why your dog could be chewing his paws is to clean them. We humans have the luxury of washing our hands frequently throughout the day, unlike our four-legged friends.
The anatomy of a dog paw is primarily made up of three sections; the digital pads, metacarpal pad and nails. Between the digital and metacarpal pads, there are areas covered in fur that attract dirt and dust, which can be uncomfortable for dogs, causing them to chew on their paws.
Dogs get itches all over their bodies, especially on their paws as they have the most contact with the ground. The behaviour of scratching for a dog is similar to that of itching the hand of a human.
When a dog scratches continuously for any amount of time, it could be an indication that there are parasites such as ticks or fleas on the dog, especially during the summer months.
You can reduce the risk of parasites infecting your dog by doing a few things. You should keep your dog’s main outdoor area free of faeces to help prevent parasites. Regular grooming, whether at home or at a groomer, can also help reduce parasites.
Dogs can be protected against parasites with spot-on treatments and collars that prevent ticks and fleas from encroaching.
Our kennels and dog shelters are designed to give your pup a peaceful place they can call their own, with high-quality materials used to ensure their home is protected from rot, fungus and insect attack. Alongside regular grooming, keeping their kennel and outside space clean helps reduce unnecessary chewing and scratching.
Dogs can pick up bad habits frequently if they don’t have enough entertainment. Keeping your dog mentally stimulated is just as important as keeping them physically fit.
There are many symptoms of boredom in a dog such as barking, pacing and chewing. In order to alleviate boredom in your dog, keep their brains engaged by providing them with brain training games.
One fun game you could play with your pup is adding small treats to a towel, rolling it up and then tying it in a loose knot. Allow the dog to untie the knot and unravel the towel to reveal the treats, this creates a long-term activity for the dog to help reduce their boredom.
Allergies can also cause a dog to excessively chew their paws. Environmental allergies such as grass and pollen can irritate dogs’ paws causing them to start chewing their paws. There are also instances when food allergies contribute to itchy paws, so it’s worth checking that your dog isn’t allergic to an ingredient in their food.
Prolonged chewing can create open wounds on paws and lead to skin infections.
Noticing Consistent Paw Chewing
Consistent paw chewing could be a sign that your dog has injured themselves. While on a walk, dogs can easily fracture a toe or claw or puncture a paw pad. Gently check the bottom of your dog’s paws for signs of injury. If you spot anything abnormal such as an ingrowing nail or puncture to their paw pads, or if your pet appears to be in pain, consult a vet as soon as possible.
There is also a possibility that excessive chewing is a sign of a skin infection. If your dog is developing a lot of skin infections this can be an indicator of hyperthyroidism. If your pet is scratching continuously, for more than a couple of days, you should make an appointment with your vet.
Is Your Dog Chewing Their Paws Too Much?
As chewing is such a common practice among most dogs, how can you tell when chewing becomes too frequent?
Frequent licking can lead to an injury in itself, as a result of a dog having a rough tongue, this can irritate the skin on and around the paws. These lesions mixed with moisture from licking can create open wounds on the skin that can easily become infected.
When your dog scratches the same spot repeatedly for more than a couple of days, you should take them to the vet to have their paws examined.
Stopping Your Dog From Chewing Their Paws
Chewing paws excessively can be prevented by addressing behavioural issues early. You can prevent future worries by teaching the puppy that chewing their paws is a bad habit, just as you would teach them not to chew furniture.
Be attentive and watch out for your dog chewing their paws. When you start to see this behaviour, check that the dog’s paw is clean and that it doesn’t have any lesions. If you discover that your dog chews their paws as a habit, distract them with a toy or activity.
Dogs that are well exercised are less likely to chew on their paws. It is important to ensure that your dog gets the daily exercise they need at levels that will tire them out. As a result of being physically tired, a dog will want to sleep, which prevents them from chewing on their paws.
The quickest and easiest way to keep a dog from chewing their paws is to give them chew treats. In addition to strengthening the dog’s jaw and cleaning their teeth, long-lasting chew treats distract them from chewing on their paws.
The cost of living increase has seen a lot of people cutting back on everyday luxuries to pay for necessities. But have increases in the cost of living changed how we spend on our pets?
We have explored the pet costs that have risen over the last couple of months and which outgoings pet owners are cutting back on to pay for their pet’s needs.
The following article will explore the results of the survey that over 500 pet owners completed.
Pet Costs That Have Risen With The Cost of Living
With the cost of living increasing, so is the price of owning a pet. We surveyed 500 people and asked them: With the cost of living increasing, which pet ownership costs are you spending more on?
The majority (49.8%) of pet owners we surveyed agreed that the cost that has risen the most is pet food. There are plenty of options for pet food out there, including tailor-made dog food subscription services.
Making your own homemade treats can reduce the amount pet owners spend on their pets’ diet. To find out more about which flavour treats dogs prefer, read our recent blog post here.
Substituting table scraps into your pet’s diet is far more complicated however, as you must research the foods that are appropriate to your pet and consult a nutritionist if you are substituting large amounts of table scraps for kibble.
11.8% of pet owners have seen an increase in their spending on vet bills. So, what can you do to look after your pets’ health at home?
Weight management is one of the best ways to decrease your trips to the vet. A dog within the parameters of a good weight for their breed is less likely to have weight-related problems such as diabetes and breathing issues.
Ensure they have a balanced diet and an appropriate amount of exercise and playtime for their breed.
9.3% of pet owners agree that their pet ownership expense that has increased the most is pet insurance.
Many new pet owners ask the question: Is pet insurance needed? Although legally, your dog or cat has to be microchipped, it isn’t mandatory to have pet insurance. Charities such as the RSPCA encourage pet insurance to cover extraordinary circumstances like accidents, illness and unplanned treatment.
Pet insurance costs can vary from pet to pet – the premiums depend heavily on the breed and age of the dog as well as the pre existing conditions that the pet may have. You may find that insuring your pet from a young age is one of the best ways to secure the best price.
The average cost of grooming has risen across the UK, with 5.4% of the surveyed pet owners highlighting that this is the main cause of their increasing pet-related outgoings. With the high volume of dog purchases over the last couple of years, grooming services are more in demand than ever, so securing a grooming slot costs more.
How often does your pet need grooming? For most dog breeds, a grooming session every 1-3 months ensures that your dog has a healthy, well-maintained coat. However, this will depend on your dog’s coat. An interim job such as nail clipping is recommended once or twice a month by The Kennel Club.
Many pet owners are going back to work in an office or onsite instead of working from home full time. This has resulted in more pet owners needing daycare and dog walking services more often. 4.5% of pet owners agree that their spending on daycare/dog walking has increased.
Depending on your pet, a varying amount of care is needed when you’re not there. If your pet is relatively calm on their own, then less daycare/dog walking from a professional will be required. It is recommended that dogs aren’t left on their own for more than 4 hours at a time. With a puppy or older dog, the owner will need to come home more frequently than this. Breaking alone time up and being with other dogs is a great social activity and allows the dog to get its daily exercise.
4.4% of pet owners have seen an increase in the cost of bedding and dog toys.
Dog beds should be replaced every 1-5 years, depending on the level of wear. If you see any holes, tears or loose strings on a dog’s bed or their toys, these should be replaced immediately to prevent the risk of choking.
The remaining 14.8% of the surveyed public responded that they are spending more on other aspects of their pet.
What would you cut back on before reducing spending on your pets?
Cutting back on eating at restaurants and drinks out is the first thing that two in five pet owners do as they are faced with higher costs for pet ownership. Of the 500 pet owners we surveyed, 42.1% of the surveyed pet owners agree that they will reduce the amount of meals/drinks that they go out for, in order to pay for pet costs.
Monthly streaming subscriptions – Netflix, Amazon Prime
Streaming service charges quickly add up, especially when families have more than one subscription. Earlier this year, new figures revealed that 1.51 million Brits cancelled streaming services, with half a million of these cancellations due to cost. One in four pet owners agree with this result, with 24.7% of those surveyed confirming that they will axe services like Netflix and Amazon Prime to pay for their pets’ needs.
The weekly shop has massively increased in price, alongside the increasing cost of dog food. As a result, 10.6% of pet owners are planning to cut back on their weekly food shop to help pay pet ownership costs.
Petrol/diesel and travel costs
Petrol and diesel prices are at an all time high, with these cost increases being a key driver of inflation across the UK. 10.4% of pet owners are prioritising reducing the amount of travelling they do to save cash for pet-related purchases. Drivers may choose to stop taking short journeys, lower average speeds, or dabble in hypermiling techniques to increase their car’s fuel efficiency.
Utility bills (electricity/gas)
4.6% of pet owners are cutting back on utility bills to afford their pets. This may involve reductions in spending on heating and reducing water consumption.
Just 1.7% of pet owners don’t feel the need to reduce any of their outgoings in order to spend money on their pets.
So, there we have Benchmark Kennels breakdown of spending on pets across the UK. If you are unsure of how much money to set aside for your pooch, check out the PDSA advice on lifetime and monthly costs.
About Benchmark Kennels
Benchmark Kennels provide a range of bespoke outdoor dog kennels designed for the comfort of all dog breeds, shapes and sizes. The team crafts thermal dog kennels, insulated dog cabins, and wooden dog kennels to suit all requirements. Every kennel is handmade to order, with professional fittings to give you peace of mind that your dog kennel is secure and weatherproof.
The team attends trade shows, promoting the benefits of providing a space for your dog away from the bustle of the home and family.
Benchmark Kennels are trusted suppliers to the National Trust, Balmoral estate, the Royal Family of Abu Dhabi, Country Estates, top dog breeders and pet owners nationwide.
Across the globe there’s lots of exciting cities full of fantastic attractions, but what about the best dog-friendly cities for our four-legged friends?
As people move back to the city and look to get away more through 2022, where will dog owners be looking to travel to that caters exactly for their pet’s needs? Benchmark Kennels have rounded up and analysed the top ten most dog-friendly cities across the globe, looking into factors such as the number of veterinarians, groomers, parks, pet stores, pet friendly restaurants, the dog-friendliness of the climate and transport, ranking almost one hundred of the largest cities across the globe, to reveal which are the most dog-friendly.
Whether you’re considering moving home or simply taking your pooch for a weekend away, this guide on the topmost dog-friendly cities is the perfect read for you.
The ten most dog-friendly cities across the globe
1 – London
Overall, London ranks first as the top most dog-friendly city across the globe. After being assessed on several factors such as the number of parks, dog groomers and pet stores, London ranked first out of 85 of cities worldwide.
The UK capital took the lead on the number of dog walking services with 834 in the area. With 163 parks, you’ll never be short of somewhere to walk your pooch and with 240 pet stores, you can count on London for your much-needed pooch supplies.
With 92 paw-friendly rentals and 71 dog-friendly restaurants, London is certainly one of the best places across the globe to visit with your furry friend. In fact, in January 2022, it was revealed that London housed the best dog-friendly hotel (Lucknam Park) in the UK.
With 240 veterinarians and a dog-friendly metro, London has certainly earned the accolade of the top most dog-friendly city.
2 – New York City
The city of New York ranked second in the top most dog-friendly areas in the world, after being assessed on a number of paw-friendly factors. The data revealed that New York has around 423 dog walking services and 94 parks, so your pooch can enjoy plenty of fresh air.
With 60 dog groomers and 240 pet stores, your furry friend can continue looking and feeling their best.
If you’re looking to visit New York, the city offers 116 dog-friendly rentals and the largest number of paw-friendly restaurants across the globe, with 548. New York city is well-known for its wonderful cuisine, so you and your pooch can enjoy some pawsome food together!
3 – Toronto
One of the best dog-friendly cities across the globe is the capital city of the Canadian province of Ontario, Toronto, which ranks third. The study revealed that the city has around 188 dog walking services and 88 parks, providing your pooch with plenty of fresh air and space to explore the beautiful city.
With plenty of dog-friendly businesses to visit such as the 33 paw-friendly restaurants the city offers, there’s still plenty of places to take your much loved pooch.
Although there are a few more rules when it comes to travelling on the metro with your dog, it is still allowed, making it much easier to get from place to place. However, your canine must be on a leash or secured in an enclosed container during weekends and weekday off-peak periods.
4 – Melbourne
Melbourne, the capital of the state of Victoria in Australia, ranks fourth with 256 dog walking services and 73 open space parks. Melbourne reaches top temperatures of approximately 20.4°C, making it the perfect warm environment, without being too hot and risking your dog’s health.
With 279 dog groomers in the city, your pooch will never have to worry about looking for places to get a haircut again.
With 240 pet stores and veterinarians, Melbourne is sure to have all of your pets needs covered. When it comes to travelling across the city of Melbourne, your pooch will be allowed on public transport, as long as it is wearing a leash and muzzle.
5 – Berlin
The capital of Germany ranks fifth, with around 429 dog walking services and 54 parks for your pooch to roam in.
Jam packed with paw-friendly attractions, Germany is an extremely dog-friendly area where pooches are allowed almost everywhere including in 56 dog-friendly rentals and on public transport free of charge.
With 240 veterinarian’s in the area, you can be sure your furry friend is safe in any unexpected emergencies, and with 171 pet stores you won’t have to travel far for your pooch’s essential supplies.
With an average daytime temperature of around 14°C, you can be confident your dog will enjoy walkies, without being too cold or getting heatstroke.
6 – Madrid
Although it may have gone under your radar when it came to a pooch holiday, Madrid ranks sixth and is actually one of the most dog-friendly cities, having an average daytime temperature of around 20.5°C.
With 124 dog-friendly rentals you’ll have plenty of places to stay, and plenty of places to travel to, as in Madrid, all pooches are allowed on public transport.
With 793 dog walking services and 36 parks, you can enjoy the scenery with your much-loved pet.
With 127 dog groomers in the city, you can always take your pooch for a trim if they get too warm or even buy them some pet cooling supplies from one of the 121 pet stores in the area.
7 – Paris
Known as the city of love, Paris ranks seventh. The city of Paris houses around 426 dog walking services and 171 parks, making it one of the top ten most paw-friendly areas.
You can visit all of the top attractions including the Eiffel Tower, the Château de Versailles and a range of other places, with the Metro being pet-friendly and free. The whole city is yours to explore!
The city of Paris has around 80 pet stores and 240 veterinarians, a well-equipped area for your pooch.
If all of that walking has worked up an appetite, enjoy some french cuisine with your pet in the city of romance, at one of the 11 dog friendly restaurants the city has to offer.
8 – Tokyo
Eighth is the capital of Japan, Tokyo. Well-known for its cherry blossoms, markets and sacred sites, the city offers around 539 dog-friendly parks to explore. With 33 dog-friendly rentals, you won’t be short of places to stay either. With pooches allowed on public transport, you can explore all Tokyo has to offer.
Take your pet to one of the 173 groomers or 240 pet stores in the city for a pamper and a little treat.
With an average daytime temperature of around 18.5°C, you and your pooch can be comfortable without being too warm or too cold on your adventures.
9 – Washington D.C.
Washington D.C. came ninth in the top most dog-friendly cities with 141 dog walking services and 40 parks.
With 384 dog-friendly restaurants to choose from, you’ll certainly be able to enjoy the top dishes and drinks of the city including pizza and craft beer.
Washington D.C. has around 38 dog-friendly rentals, which is more than enough choice when it comes to fantastic places to stay.
With the freedom to roam Washington D.C., and dogs being allowed on public transport, you can enjoy the city to the fullest potential, looking around the grounds of The White House or even around one of the 240 pet stores Washington D.C. has to offer.
With 240 veterinarians in the area you can be sure you’re covered if your pet does fall ill.
10 – Barcelona
Barcelona ranks tenth in the top most dog-friendly cities across the globe. Barcelona is known for its stunning architecture and world-class cuisine. With 76 dog-friendly parks to roam and 6 dog friendly restaurants, you can enjoy the best parts of the city with your furry friend.
In Barcelona, the metro is dog-friendly so you won’t have to worry about travelling around without your pooch, they can enjoy every part of the trip by your side. Housing 61 dog-friendly rentals, you won’t be short of places to stay in the city, either.
With 88 groomers and 72 pet stores in Barcelona, your pooch can enjoy a well-deserved treat on their holiday.
The United States houses the most dog-friendly cities
The research revealed that the United States houses the top most dog-friendly cities with both New York and Washington D.C. ranking in the top ten.
The most dog-friendly UK cities
The researchers also looked into which UK cities are the most dog-friendly, using the same metrics – including the number of veterinarians, groomers, parks, pet stores, pet friendly restaurants, and the dog-friendliness of the climate and transport.
A Dog’s Favourite Biscuits and Treats Revealed for International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day – 23rd February
With International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day fast-approaching, how can we make sure our dogs enjoy their special day as much as possible?
While the origins of this festivity remain unclear, we know exactly how it should be celebrated – with a biccy!
Dog biscuits were first marketed in 1860 by an Ohio salesman by the name of James Pratt. In fact, one of the employees at Pratt’s London factory was Charles Cruft, the future founder of Cruft’s Dog Show.
While biscuits are widely recognised as a popular dog treat that always goes down well with our pooches, which brands do we favour?
Britain’s Favourite Dog Food Brands
1 – Pedigree
It’s official, Pedigree wears the crown as the leading dog food brand for British pooches! This famous company was first started by a small team of dog food makers under the name of the Chappell Brothers in 1930s Manchester. It didn’t take long for the product’s popularity to be recognised. The company was soon bought over by an American group called Mars, a huge corporation which also owns Cesar, Whiskas, Royal Canin and more!
2 – Bakers
Just falling short of first place is Bakers, a company that was first started by Edward Baker. Baker was a Suffolk businessman running a family flour company who sought to develop dog food that was nutritious as well as tasty.
3 – Tesco
In third is supermarket mogul, Tesco. Tesco has been making dog food for over 30 years and has become such a popular choice for paw parents that an increase in pet ownership during lockdown caused extreme shortages of their products as they could not keep up with the demand.
4 – Bonio
Squeezing into fourth place is the popular UK dog biscuit brand, Bonio. This company has been around since 1932 and operates from Liverpool. Bonio dog treats are crunchy, oven-baked biscuits that come in flavours such as original, chicken and meaty chip. There is also a high fibre option for the health-orientated pups!
5 – Winalot
And in fifth is Winalot. This brand of dog food was first used in 1927 and marketed towards racing greyhounds, hence the name! However, the brand quickly became popular with domestic canines and soon became a brand leader.
Pups in Training
Let’s be honest, obedience training can be very trying! Sometimes it feels hopeless, like the odds are against you and your pooch is destined to be an unruly pup.
To gain some insight into this testing part of puppy parenthood, Benchmark Kennels decided to reach out to the founder of Rebarkable and overall puppy expert, Ali Smith.
“Certain breeds are definitely easier to train, but there is no ‘disobedient’ breed. Just some who are bred to be independent and some who are bred to work closely with you.
“More biddable breeds include German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, toy poodles, border collies – essentially the breeds that are often deemed ‘smart’ breeds, and the more aloof or independent breeds like Huskies, Harriers, Shiba Inu, and a whole host of terriers are usually equally smart, it can just be more difficult to find their wavelength.”
Treats can provide the perfect reward and incentive for pups to follow commands. Creating this positive connection between food and obedience can speed up the training process massively.
However, some dogs are also more inclined to work for food than others, such as greedy labradors and pugs! These breeds happily see treats as their reward whereas working dogs such as spaniels, shepherds and collies might find a toy and a good game of tug and war more enticing. The key to the training process is finding what motivates your dog in particular.
Adapting Treats to Different Environments
The environment in which a dog is taught has a direct impact on their concentration levels and as a result, their ability to learn and absorb new tricks or habits. The Benchmark team contacted clinical Animal Behaviourist and fellow expert in all things dog, Rachel Rodgers, to expand on why certain treats are more effective in different environments.
“When teaching something new, or taking known tricks into an unfamiliar, distracting environment such as a park, we need to use higher value products such as meat-based treats. When in a familiar place like the home, lower value treats such as more traditional, shop-bought biscuits like milk and gravy bones can work well.”
While it may seem like treats are not compelling your dog like they should, it may be the case that what you are offering is simply not tempting enough to command your pooch’s attention, especially while they are in an interesting environment. It is a good idea to vary the treats that you give your pup to ensure that each remains interesting and does not lose its effect.
Common Fur-Parent Problems (and how to fix them)
Barking at the doorbell, begging at the dinner table, jumping up at guests – we’ve all been there! However, what often falls under the radar is how specific dog treats can be used to fix these behavioural issues.
While these issues can be frustrating, it is essential to consider why a dog might be acting in such a way. After ruling out potential causes of pain or fear, it is worth considering that your pooch is oblivious to the fact that they are doing anything wrong.
Rachel Rodgers explains:
“We should never punish a badly behaved dog because in the majority of situations, the reason that the dog is ‘badly behaved’ is that they have not been taught the right thing to do in the first place.
“Teaching an incompatible behaviour to the problem behaviour can be a great way to tackle common issues.
“If a dog is jumping up, scatter food on the floor: their nose will be down sniffing out treats which is incompatible with being up near someone’s face and jumping! They are also getting rewarded for keeping their 4 paws on the floor which over time will become their new behaviour. Dog barks at the postman? Teach them to lie quietly on the bed where they will get a tasty chew.”
While small, soft treats are perfect for training and teaching tricks as canines can eat them quickly, longer lasting treats such as biscuits can be ideal when teaching pooches to be calm around visitors. Giving a long-lasting biscuit or chew on their bed when people arrive can also help dogs learn to settle and relax in a set area rather than jumping all over guests. It is all about choosing the right kind of treat depending on the situation or environment.
However, if owners are really struggling with their pet’s behaviour, they should seek professional advice from an appropriately trained and accredited individual. The dog training and behaviour world in the UK and in many countries is unregulated meaning anyone can call themselves a trainer. They may not have the knowledge and experience required to help appropriately.
Whether you are a fan of custard creams or chocolate digestives can be a point of contention, but what about your dog? Although dogs only have about one-sixth of the number of taste buds that humans have, we can’t help but wonder if our pooches have snack preferences.
Ali Smith was able to shed some light on the subject. According to Ali, our furry friends tend to favour flavours of liver or whole proteins such as chicken and ham. However, it is worth keeping in mind that some treats are definitely healthier than others. Just like human food, the less processed, the better: recognisable ingredients are always a good sign!
The Treats our Dogs go Crazy for
The team at Benchmark Kennels decided to do some digging. We asked 300 dog owners for their pooches’ favourite snacks and compiled a comprehensive list of dogs’ favourite alternative treats.
Just as Ali Smith predicted, the dogs were chicken lovers, with over 1 in 5 of owners voting this popular poultry as the treat that their pooch gets most excited for. Dogs are not bothered about whether the chicken is freeze-dried, baked, or boiled, so don’t bother with any elaborate cooking, these pooches are easily pleased.
The second most popular snacks were hot dogs and sausages, without onion and garlic of course which are harmful for dogs. This quintessential American delicacy was suggested by almost 1 in 6 fur-parents. In fact, Rachel Rodgers recommends using this food as a training incentive. “Small pieces (no larger than your small finger nail) of hot dog or ham can be really good high value treats for training.” However, Rachel also warns that meat products with a high salt content are harmful for our doggos and should be avoided. To be safe, stick to reduced fat and salt hot dogs, with no garlic or onion powder flavouring.
Cheese narrowly misses out on the top two spots with 46 four-legged fans. Luckily, this tasty treat also gets Rachel’s approval as she advocates for its efficacy in the training department. She suggests owners use small pieces of low fat plain cheese like mild cheddar when teaching dogs new skills and notes that Blue and aged cheese should be avoided as they tend to upset a canine tummy.
In fourth is beef liver, with 43 out of 300 canine enthusiasts choosing this treat. Again, pooches are not fussy about the cooking method, whether freeze-dried, baked, or boiled, dogs are sure to enjoy it!
Next came the classic kibble with 35 votes, followed by salmon jerky in sixth place which was suggested by 26 pooch owners. Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids for dogs which supports immune systems and decreases inflammation. It can also keep your canines looking classy by maintaining a shiny, health coat.
There is a three-way tie in seventh place, with 21 owners mentioning carrots, salt-and-additive-free beef jerky and ice cubes.
It is important to opt for salt-and-additive-free jerky so as to not make dogs ill, this can become quite serious.
On the other hand, carrots make the perfect low-fat snack for our canine companions. These vegetables are known to clean dogs’ teeth, keep bowel movements regular, support eye health, strengthen immune systems and maintain healthy skin and coats. However, while carrots are rich in Vitamin A which has many benefits, it can also build up in the body and become toxic. As a result, it would be best to not overdo it with the carrots.
Ice cubes can make a great cooling treat for dogs, especially on a hot summer’s day. However, the ice cubes must be a safe size so as to not pose a choking risk, it might be best to offer small ice cubes or ice shavings to be on the cautious side.
And in eighth is xylitol-free peanut butter. Although this snack is popular among dog owners, this treat should only be given in moderation as it is high in fat and has a high salt content. As a result, it is not advisable to offer peanut butter to overweight dogs or those with kidney problems. Also, it is essential to only use peanut butter that does not contain xylitol as this chemical is toxic for dogs.
Although dogs are the biggest human food enthusiasts, it is best to be careful and research foods before offering them to pooches. Rachel Rodgers warns:
“There are certain human foods which would be toxic and dangerous to give to our dogs. Any foods containing chocolate, raisins, grapes etc. need to be avoided as this could have deadly consequences to the dog. Other human foods are ok to give dogs but in small quantities.”
While it can be tempting to get over-enthusiastic at the thought of embracing International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day and plan to stuff your pooch with every flavoured doggy delicacy, it is important to celebrate sensibly. Overfeeding can lead to obesity and a whole list of other health consequences such as heart disease, diabetes and arthritis, all of which negatively impact your furry friend’s life span.
Simply watching your pooch’s portions will allow you both to enjoy the festivities while watching out for your partner in crime and what is best for them in the long run.
About Benchmark Kennels
Benchmark Kennels manufacture bespoke outdoor kennels to suit dogs of all breeds, shapes, and sizes. The kennels are handmade and made-to-order, with professional fittings to give you peace of mind that your kennel will be stable and withstand the elements. They offer both bespoke wooden kennels, along with a range of eco-kennels that provide additional thermal insulation.
The kennel retailers are trusted suppliers to the National Trust, Balmoral estate, the royal family of Abu Dhabi, Country estates, top dog breeders and pet owners nationwide.
All dogs have the potential to bite, even if they haven’t shown aggressive behaviour before. It’s the pet owners responsibility to mitigate this behaviour with training.
Recent research revealed that there had been a huge rise in online users searching for ‘dog bite’, ‘dog bite lawyer’, and ‘dog attack’ since the pandemic puppy boom. These findings suggest more people are seeking advice on rectifying their dog’s aggressive behaviour or what to do after a dog attack.
If your dog bites someone, not only could they cause serious harm to the victim, but the dog could be reported, and you might face legal ramifications.
In this guide, Benchmark Kennels have collated advice for preventing this behavioural problem from developing, identifying the signs your dog is about to bite, and what to do if it occurs.
What can cause dogs to bite?
Biting is often a natural instinctive response to threatening situations, such as if a dog is startled, attacked by another dog or exposed to loud noise.
Other possible causes for dogs biting can include:
- Protecting their territory if someone disrupts their toys, food, or puppies
- Becoming overly excited when playing
- Being bothered while in pain from an illness or injury
- Not being spayed or neutered
A lack of training can cause dogs to feel anxious or scared in social situations, which can cause them to react aggressively.
If aggressive behaviour occurs suddenly, seek advice from a veterinarian in case there is a medical cause.
How to tell if your dog is about to bite
Recognising your dog’s body language and how it changes based on how their feeling, will help you defuse a situation if they become aggressive.
Here are some warning signs to look out for that your dog is about to bite:
- Baring teeth
- Raised hackles
- Rigid and quick tail wagging
- A stiffened body posture
If your dog becomes aggressive when you’re alone, stay calm, don’t make any sudden movements and slowly back away. Don’t look them in the eye, smile at them, or show your back to them either.
If you’re in a public place and there is a risk your dog could bite another animal or person, approach them very carefully and remove them from the situation.
Aggression in dogs often stems from fear or anxiety, so it’s helpful to identify the body language for these emotions too, such as:
- Avoiding eye contact
- Lowering their body
- Hanging their head low
- Pointing their ears back
If your dog expresses signs of distress, calmly and confidently move them to a more comforting environment.
Training methods to prevent dog bites
The best way to prevent a dog from biting in the future is through training them as a puppy as soon as you bring them home, which is usually at eight weeks old.
Dogs should typically be socialised from four to 12 weeks old when their brains are more flexible and receptive. This technique will help them feel comfortable around new people, other dogs, and in new situations without becoming frightened.
If your dog is obedient, you’re more likely to have control over a challenging situation that may make them stressed, scared, or angry. By using basic commands, you can keep your dog out of trouble.
Punishing your dog for bad behaviour is likely to encourage aggression, mistrust, and anxiety. Instead, reward your dog for good behaviour with treats, verbal praise, petting, or playtime and strengthen your bond in the process.
Working with a professional dog behaviourist is a great way to implement these training techniques and minimise bad habits from forming. It’s especially beneficial to work with a trainer if you’re looking to retrain and remedy poor behaviour.
What to do if your dog does bite
If your dog bites you, don’t pull away, as this can increase their aggression. Try putting an object between you and the dog that they can latch onto instead. Avoid making loud noises and don’t hit them, as this will just aggravate the dog further.
Confine the dog to their crate, kennel or another room. Then, clean the wound with soap and warm water. If the bite is deep, painful, inflamed, or discoloured, seek medical attention.
If your dog has bitten somebody else, help the victim as soon as you have safely removed the dog from the situation. Depending on the severity of the bite, you may need to call for an ambulance.
Once the wound has been seen to, exchange contact details with the injured person, as it’ll help your case if you’re cooperative. If your dog was provoked, get the contact details of witnesses as well to support your defence.
Your dog’s behaviour will be held to a higher standard in the future. So, you’ll need to put precautions in place to prevent your dog from biting again.
Keep your dog on a leash until you’re confident they’re comfortable around unfamiliar people and dogs, will listen to commands, and aren’t likely to become aggressive. However, always keep dogs on a lead on private land, where there’s livestock, and in areas with signs stipulating the requirement.
Does your dog need a place to retreat to when stressed?
Benchmark Kennels provide a range of outdoor kennels that your dog can use as a den and retreat to when they feel overwhelmed by guests, loud noises, or other animals. Providing your dog with a ‘safe space’ where they can have uninterrupted alone time is especially beneficial if they struggle with anxiety.
The secure and insulated kennels can be customised to suit your dog’s shape, size, and breed, to maximise their comfort.
During the UK lockdown, many people used their unexpected free time to welcome a new pet into their home, creating a puppy boom. However, the restrictions made training dogs challenging, which has led to a rise in behavioural problems.
As well as younger puppies, the change in routine has also likely impacted the behaviour of adult dogs. As well as exercise and social interaction suddenly becoming limited, the dogs were also gaining much more time with their owners than usual.
To identify which bad habits among dogs have worsened, Benchmark Kennels found the average monthly search volume for terms relevant to dog behaviour from July 2019 to 2020 and from July 2020 to June 2021.
The research revealed that the search volume for some of the terms had surged during this timeframe. This increase suggests that now restrictions have been lifted, more people are looking for advice to remedy their dog’s bad habits than in previous years.
So, what behavioural problems have dogs developed during lockdown, and how can you fix them?
The average search volume for ‘dog aggression training’ from July 2020 to June 2021 was 588 per month, a 93% surge from the previous year. There was also an 81% growth in the average monthly searches for ‘dog aggression’.
Hostile behaviour, such as growling, baring teeth, and long and hard stares, needs addressing quickly with the help of a professional behaviourist. Otherwise, the aggression can worsen and lead to attacks against other dogs or people.
If you haven’t socialised your dog correctly, they’ll likely be afraid of any new experiences, sounds, people, or dogs, which can cause them to react defensively and aggressively. They may respond territorially to new guests in the house too.
A frustrated dog can also express signs of anger if they’re left alone or restrained for too long. You shouldn’t leave adult dogs alone for longer than four hours, but you can’t leave puppies for more than 30 to 60 minutes.
The phrase ‘dog obedience training’ had an average monthly search volume of 756 from July 2020 to June 2021, an 83% rise from the previous year.
Obedience training ensures your dog responds to commands, so you can keep them safe and out of trouble. If your dog has become defiant, you’ll likely need to begin the process again or try different methods.
If left unaddressed, disobedience can lead to a wide range of behavioural problems, including:
- Excessive barking
- Leash pulling
Working with a professional dog trainer is often the most successful way to teach pups obedience, but this wasn’t an option for many owners through lockdown.
Although barking is a standard form of communication for dogs, it can become embarrassing and stressful if it occurs constantly and at inappropriate moments.
The research found that the average monthly search volume for ‘how to stop dog barking’ was 3,767 between July 2020 and June 2021, increasing by 1,209 since the previous year.
To determine the best solution to reduce barking to a manageable level, you’ll need to identify the cause and patterns.
Your dog may be alerting you to new sights and sounds outside, demanding food and toys, or feeling over-excited. The excessive barking may also be out of loneliness, boredom, or separation anxiety if they’re alone too often without enough exercise and mental stimulation.
On top of this, problem barking can indicate poor socialisation if it’s a reaction to the presence of unfamiliar people and dogs.
It’s normal for dogs to experience occasional anxiety, such as when loud noises occur unexpectedly or attending the vets. However, if your dog is commonly nervous, there’s likely a problem that you need to address.
There was an average monthly search volume of 1,181 for ‘nervous dog’ from July 2020 to June 2021, growing by 18% from the previous year.
Lockdown ending likely had an impact on nervousness among dogs. If you were furloughed or working from home, allowing you to spend a lot of time with your dog, it likely came as a shock when your routine returned to normal.
Nervous dog behaviour can consist of:
- Avoiding eye contact
- Tail between the legs
- Loss of appetite
You can calm your dog’s anxiety by taking them for more walks, equipping them with mentally stimulating toys, and avoiding punishing them. Also, try to re-build the pup’s confidence by rewarding independent behaviour, teaching them new tricks and practising behaviour they already know.
As well as this, it’s helpful to provide nervous dogs with a safe place, such as a crate or outdoor kennel, that they can retreat to of their own choosing when feeling overwhelmed and need alone time.
There are many reasons why a dog may bite, including feeling territorial, afraid, angry, or over-excited, but it’s usually due to a lack of training. However, biting can lead to troubling situations. Under The Dangerous Dog Act, it’s illegal for dogs to be ‘out of control’ and bite someone.
The research uncovered the search rate for ‘dog bite’ was already high, with an average of 3,058 per month. The volume increased by 17% over a year, reaching 3,608. Worryingly, the search volume for ‘dog bite lawyer’ also saw a 51% growth.
To prevent your dog from biting, undergo obedience training and keep them on a leash until you’re confident they will respond to commands and stay calm.
Various dog behavioural problems appear to have worsened since lockdown, which is likely a consequence of the uptick of people getting dogs during a time without access to training classes and the opportunity to socialise puppies.
If you need assistance with re-training your dog, work with a professional dog behaviourist. Also, get your dog checked out by a veterinarian to rule out any medical causes.
Cheryl Sampson, Marketing Manager at Benchmark Kennels, said: “As dog training classes and private sessions were off-limit through lockdown, it’s no wonder bad habits have increased.
“Social distancing also made socialising puppies extremely difficult, which may have caused aggressive or nervous behaviour when around new people or animals.
“After adjusting to spending more time with their owners through lockdown, and then being apart again, some dogs may have developed separation anxiety too.
“It’s incredibly frustrating for owners who are trying their best to train their puppy but are struggling to achieve the intended results due to circumstances out of their control.
“You can fix many behavioural problems over time, but it’ll take dedication. There are several DIY methods owners can try if the poor habits are mild. If the dog is out of control and the problems are severe, it’ll be much more effective to work with a professional trainer.”
About Benchmark Kennels
Benchmark Kennels manufacture bespoke outdoor kennels to suit dogs of all breeds, shapes, and sizes. The kennels are built using various materials from wooden to WPC eco-thermal kennels with extra insulation.
The kennel retailers are trusted suppliers to the National Trust, Balmoral estate, the royal family of Abu Dhabi, Country estates, top dog breeders and pet owners nationwide.
You can order a kennel directly from our website or get in touch with us for further advice on the best kennel for your dog’s needs.
Benchmark Kennels manufacture bespoke dog kennels to suit dogs of all breeds, shapes and sizes. You can customise your outdoor kennel to be as luxurious or minimalist as required, built using various materials from wooden to WPC eco-thermal kennels with extra insulation. You can order a kennel directly from our website or get in touch with us for further advice on the best kennel for your dog’s needs.
Barking is a normal form of communication among dogs, but it can become destructive if it happens continuously and at inappropriate times. While you can’t completely stop your dog from barking, you can reduce it to a manageable level.
Benchmark Kennels has put together a guide on the possible causes of excessive dog barking, how to mitigate the problem and teach the pup to be quiet when necessary.
Why is your dog barking?
To successfully treat your dog’s problem barking, you’ll first need to track when and where it usually occurs to identify potential triggers. There are many reasons your dog may be barking, as it can signify various emotions or actions.
Your dog may bark out of frustration if they’re alone for too long. You shouldn’t leave adult dogs on their own for more than four hours and puppies alone for longer than 30 to 60 minutes.
To mitigate your dog’s loneliness, arrange for a dog sitter or walker to keep them company if you aren’t home all day. Alternatively, book them in at a doggy daycare or training session.
Fitting a pet camera also lets you keep an eye on your dog and speak to them to help you stay connected even when you aren’t home.
Barking can also be a sign of boredom, which you can solve by taking the dog for walks and spending time outdoors with them more often. To keep the pup entertained while alone, equip them with mentally stimulating puzzles and toys.
Dogs often bark to get their owner’s attention, which may be due to boredom, separation anxiety or fear. However, a desire for attention is often just part of being a social animal and is more prominent in some breeds.
To discourage your dog from barking for attention, first identify why they’re exhibiting this behaviour and follow the advice from the relevant category.
Also, ignore the pup until they become calm and quiet. Even negative attention, such as telling the dog to stop barking will entertain this behaviour.
Dogs often bark as a way to demand items such as food and toys. If it’s worked before, they’ll keep doing it. So, instead, ignore them until the barking has stopped, and then reward them with the item once they’re calm.
Although, try not to confuse demand barking for them telling you they need the toilet.
If your dog reacts excitedly to you coming home by barking and jumping, don’t respond until they calm down to avoid encouraging this behaviour.
Dogs often bark to let you know something is there, whether that be a person, another animal, or noise, which may be out of fear, excitement, or protectiveness. If the alert barking occurs continuously, it can be annoying for you and your neighbours.
For a temporary fix, block their view by closing the blinds or curtains, drown out the outside noise with the radio, and move the furniture so they can’t reach the window.
However, to treat this problem long-term, engage in active training that encourages the pup to associate these sights and sounds positively.
For example, when someone walks by the house, use a command to distract the dog before they bark and give them a treat. Eventually, this training will help them develop a habit of looking at you as an alert instead of barking.
If your dog barks when they encounter a person or another dog, they may be scared or anxious, often due to poor socialisation.
To change their emotional response to social situations, practice greetings with a friend or trainer and another dog as followed:
- If your dog isn’t already barking and pulling on the leash, approach the owner and dog.
- If your dog begins barking, stop and redirect their attention to you with the command’ quiet’, a treat, or by calling their name.
- If they are calm again, continue the approach.
- If your dog is still over-excited, turn and walk away and continue trying to calm them down.
To minimise the dog’s barking when a guest approaches your home, train them to positively associate the doorbell by practising with a friend and giving the dog a treat when the noise occurs.
It can also be helpful to provide the pup with a dedicated space, such as a crate or an outdoor kennel, that they can retreat to if they become overwhelmed by guests. To encourage the pup to use the area, make it enticing and comfortable with blankets, toys, food, water, and a bed.
What not to do
When trying to combat excessive barking, it’s crucial to avoid specific responses and methods that can worsen the problem.
It’s important not to shout at your dog when they bark, as they’ll think you’re shouting back, which will cause them to carry on. The dog also won’t understand why you’re shouting, causing them anxiety.
If your dog likes being outside, don’t keep them in the garden for too long if they’re continuously barking, as this will only anger your neighbours.
Never use a shock collar on your dog to try and control their behaviour, as this is extremely cruel.
When you begin training, don’t expect a sudden improvement as it can take a while to undo this behaviour, with the timescale depending on your dog’s personality, breed, and age and the problem’s cause and severity.
While it often helps to ignore your barking dog until they become calm, don’t ignore the problem and treat it as soon as possible. When left unaddressed, barking can lead to aggressive behaviour.
If you need assistance with reducing your dog’s barking, contact a professional behaviourist. Excessive barking can sometimes be a symptom of a medical problem, so also get your dog checked by a veterinarian.
Need an outdoor kennel to ease your dog’s stress and anxiety?
Outdoor kennels are the perfect place for your dog to seek some peace and quiet when you’re entertaining guests. Benchmark Kennels offer a range of secure, insulated, and spacious kennels that you can customise to your dog’s size and shape.
At the height of lockdown, many welcomed furry friends into their homes, creating a puppy boom. However, now that life has returned to normal for some and others are experiencing job uncertainty, several owners have sadly had to place their dogs in shelters.
According to Battersea, 31% of people who acquired a dog or cat during lockdown hadn’t considered becoming pet owners previously, indicating that getting a pet was an impulsive decision based on having an unusual amount of free time.
Being abandoned can cause dogs extreme anxiety and put pressure on local charities, but, thankfully, recent research has revealed a huge interest in adopting dogs across the UK.
Benchmark Kennels have analysed the number of visits to dog shelter websites around the 100 most populated UK towns and cities to discover the areas with the highest demand for rehoming pups.
The top five areas with the most interest in dog adoption
These findings revealed that Watford is currently the most popular area for dog adoption in 2021, with 12,799 average monthly visits to a shelter website.
Bristol closely followed with an average of 11,916 dog adoption website visits per month. In third, Edinburgh had 11,696 site visits.
Cardiff and Newcastle completed the top five UK areas, with 8,442 and 6,994 average monthly traffic retrospectively to dog rescue websites.
Belfast residents show the lowest interest in dog adoption.
In the top 25 UK areas, Belfast dog adoption sites had the least interest, with only 820 monthly visits on average, which equates to just 0.2% of the Northern Ireland capital’s population.
However, this low figure isn’t hugely surprising as a recent survey cited Belfast as the sixth least dog-friendly place in the UK.
Has dog adoption increased over lockdown?
The overall interest in dog adoption has increased by 14.7% over lockdown. In the first six months of 2020, there was an average monthly number of 1,474 residents per UK town or city visiting dog adoption sites. A year later, this figure climbed to 1,692.
How many people are surrendering their dogs?
The Benchmark Kennels research found that from January to June in 2020, there was an average of 22 monthly visits to ‘giving up your dog’ websites in each of the 100 most populated towns and cities across the UK, which lowered to 17 during the first six months of 2021.
However, the RSPCA claims to receive 40 calls a day regarding abandoned animals.
Cheryl Sampson, Marketing Manager at Benchmark Kennels, says: “It’s so heartening to see that there’s been an increase in dog adoption, especially considering that lockdown has also spurred a rise in dog theft and abandonment.
“Adopting a dog is such a wonderful act of kindness, as it gives the pup another chance at a forever-home while also bringing so much joy into the new owner’s life.
“Dog adoption is also a huge responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly, as you don’t want to repeat the mistakes of the former owner and have to give up the pup later down the line.
“Before committing to this decision, consider if you have time to train, exercise, and care for the pooch, as well as giving them the attention they deserve. There’s also the ongoing costs involved to keep in mind, such as vet bills, food, petsitters, grooming, toys, and beds.
“If you’re certain dog adoption is right for you, try to ease any stress they may be feeling when welcoming them into your home, and help them adjust to you as their new owner. Providing them with a crate or kennel will give the pup a place to get some peace and quiet if they’re feeling overwhelmed.”
Contact your local dog rescue centre for further advice or information on adopting a dog in your area.
About Benchmark Kennels
Benchmark Kennels manufacture bespoke dog kennels to suit dogs of all breeds, shapes and sizes. You can customise your outdoor kennel to be as lhttps://benckmarkk.wpengine.com/uxurious or minimalist as required, built using various materials from wooden to WPC eco-thermal kennels with extra insulation. You can order a kennel directly from our website or get in touch with us for further advice on the best kennel for your dog’s needs.
Worried your pup isn’t enjoying the sun as much as you are? Especially if you have an excitable young puppy or your pet is nearing the end of its life, staying cool is hugely important, for your dog’s general happiness as well as their health. Some breeds are more sensitive to heat exhaustion than others. If your pup is a flat-faced breed like a pug or chow-chow or has a thicker, heavy coat like a golden retriever, you’ll need to be even more vigilant when it comes to keeping them cool, hydrated and out of the sun.
As a general rule, if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog. Benchmark Kennels have rounded up the best ways to keep your pup cool, so you can enjoy the sunshine with your furry friend, in as safe a way as possible.
How to Cool Your Dog Down
Avoid exercise during the hottest part of the day
Although summer seems like the perfect time to enjoy endless walks with your pup, be aware that exercising in the hot sun can cause your dog’s temperature to rapidly overheat. If you can, take your dog out in the early morning or late afternoon, when the air and pavements are both cool enough for your pup to have a proper runaround, without the risk of overheating.
If it’s just too hot to take your dog on your usual walking route at all, you’ll need to introduce other activities that involve limited energy, but still help your pup get some mental stimulation. Brain games at mealtimes will ensure your dog can enjoy getting rid of some excess energy and spend some bonding time with you too.
Choose an insulated kennel
It’s important for your dog to have a shady, safe space they can relax in when it gets too hot for them to play outside comfortably. Kennels with insulated panels like Benchmark’s insulated timber cabins help keep your dog protected from the elements all year round. When the temperature heats up, thermal insulation regulates temperatures inside your kennel, so your pup can stay cool during summer, and warm during winter.
Low maintenance eco-thermal kennels are also a great option for your pup, offering ventilation, space to move around and play in, and a shaded area away from direct sunlight so that your dog can cool down easily. Elevated kennels with a raised bed help improve the airflow too, keeping your animal’s cosy home cool and well ventilated.
Make sure you have water with you at all times
The easiest and most important way to keep your dog happy and healthy in the summertime is to make sure they stay hydrated. Dogs need access to cool, clean water at all times. If you’re out and about with your pup, make sure to keep a bottle of water with you, or you could even use a frozen toy to entertain them while regulating their temperature at the same time.
You can also use cool water to pour over your pup if they seem to be panting heavily, or they’ve spent time in the sun. Remember though, you should never give your dog any ice or an icy cold drink when they’re too hot. This could encourage their body temperature to cool down too quickly, and ultimately make their symptoms worse.
Never leave your dog in an unattended car
Unventilated spaces can feel stuffy, claustrophobic and unbearably hot to humans, so imagine how uncomfortable they will be to our furry friends. You should never leave your dog in your car. Even if you leave your pup with water, crack the car windows or are only intending to leave them for a short period of time, your car can heat up incredibly quickly. Most pet owners know the risks, but even after just a few minutes, a hot car can cause serious and potentially fatal issues.
Your pet’s hair should be long enough to stay comfortable, without the risk of it becoming matted, tangled or dirty. Even for dogs that moult a lot, regular brushing and grooming can give you the opportunity to check your puppy’s fur and skin for any issues, burns or bites, as well as helping you form an even closer bond with them. Taking the time to regularly give your dog a good brush gives you the chance to spend some quality time with your pup, and stop their matted fur from becoming hot and irritated in the summer heat too.
Remember that animal fur has evolved to act as insulation in the winter and as a cooling system in the summertime. Because of this, you should never shave your pup or trim their coat without the help of a professional groomer.
Spotting the signs of heat exhaustion
With higher sensitivity than us, dogs are unfortunately much more likely to suffer overheating, heat exhaustion and dehydration than we are. If your dog isn’t kept cool, they could suffer uncomfortable symptoms of heatstroke, a condition that can be fatal if it’s not noticed quickly. To protect your pup during the summer, it’s important to recognise the signs of heatstroke, as well as how to prevent it from happening.
- Excessive panting and dribbling
- Reddened gums
- Mental confusion
- General discomfort
- Weakness or collapse
You know your furry friend better than anyone. Keeping an eye out for any signs of unusual behaviour in your dog, as well as taking measures to keep them as cool as possible, will help stop the temperature from affecting them, so you can enjoy the sun safely and happily. Heatstroke can cause serious problems, quickly, so keep your dog close by on hot days to make sure you can monitor them carefully.
If you’re looking for the perfect kennel to ensure your pup is as healthy, happy and cool as possible during the summer months, Benchmark Kennels offer a range of kennel options for your dog to call their own, as well as advice on the best kind of home for your extra family member.
Having access to a garden is a great way for dogs to stay physically active and mentally stimulated. Being outdoors brings variety to your pup’s day and allows them to burn off any built-up energy. The smells, sounds, and textures outside stimulate their senses too.
However, it’s important to take the necessary precautions to protect your dog from potential dangers lurking in the garden and prevent the pup from damaging the outdoor space too.
To help you create a dog-friendly garden, Benchmark Kennels have put together a guide on the most effective adjustments you can make.
Ensure your dog is comfortable
Tailoring your garden to enhance your dog’s comfort can help them feel calm, which is especially beneficial if your pup is anxious.
- Outdoor dog kennel
An outdoor dog kennel can act as a den for your dog, providing them with a relaxing area when they need some alone time but still want to reside outside. To encourage your pup to use it, equip the kennel with blankets, food, water, and toys.
However, don’t use the kennel as punishment and carefully follow a responsible training plan, so the dog doesn’t feel isolated.
Eliminate harmful gardening elements
Unless designed with a dog in mind, gardens are often rife with toxic elements that can cause accidents.
- Dog-friendly plants
Certain plants are poisonous for dogs and, if ingested, can cause symptoms including vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness, and drooling and would require immediate veterinary attention.
Although consuming too much of any plant can harm pups, here are some low-risk options:
- Coral bells
Also, avoid using chemical gardening products and use natural alternatives instead.
- Lock your shed
If your shed contains chemicals and sharp gardening tools, keep it locked at all times in case your dog wanders inside it.
Protect your pup against theft
Unfortunately, thieves commonly take pups from their own garden, but you can minimise the risk of dog theft by making a few additions to your outdoor space. However, there’s no guarantee that your dog is ever fully protected against theft, so always supervise them when outside.
Fitting a fence that’s at least six feet tall will prevent your dog from jumping over the garden and running away and make it more difficult for thieves to access the garden.
Keep any garden gates locked and fit a bell onto the door to scare off any thieves and notify you if anyone opens it.
Place the kennel near the house as fitting it at the bottom of the garden can appeal to thieves. Always keep the kennel locked, too, and consider placing bells on the door, so you’re alerted if it’s opened.
Avoid damage to your garden
Although your dog’s safety is the priority, don’t forget to protect the garden from your dog too.
- Select a designated toilet area
When dogs urinate on a lawn, it causes unsightly brown patches. To prevent this bad habit from developing, follow a toilet training process to encourage them to use a specific spot in the garden that’s out-of-sight. If your dog does urinate on the grass, rinse it down immediately to minimise the damage.
- Create an obstacle course
A bored dog might destroy your garden out of frustration but you can keep them entertained by designing a play area with toys.
You could also create a dog agility training obstacle course to help keep your pup active, teach them tricks and commands, reduce their anxiety, and strengthen your bond. The equipment can include tunnels, tyre jumping, weave poles, and balance beams.
Dogs often enjoy patrolling the garden, so having clearly defining paths can keep your pup from walking right through the flower beds and flattening them over time.
- Dedicated digging spot
Digging is an instinctive canine behaviour that can ease boredom and anxiety, but it can quickly destroy your garden.
Providing your dog with a toxic-free sandbox for digging can deter them from digging up your flower beds and plants.
Precautions for hot weather
During summer, dogs can quickly overheat and develop heatstroke if you don’t implement preventative measures, such as:
- Avoid using artificial grass, as it retains more heat than natural grass, which can burn your pup’s paws.
- Keep plenty of clean, fresh, and cold drinking water in the garden so your dog can rehydrate.
- Install a shallow water feature or set up a doggy paddling pool so your dog can cool down.
- Create shaded areas in the garden with large trees and shrubs.
However, even with these measures, don’t keep your pup outside for too long in the heat, and if they’re exhibiting any signs of heatstroke (e.g., heavy panting, vomiting, weakness, and excess drooling), take them to the vet straight away as it can be fatal if unaddressed.
Implementing these adjustments to your garden will allow you to enjoy spending quality time with your dog outside free of worry.
Need an outdoor kennel to complete your dog-friendly garden?
Outdoor kennels are an excellent way for your dog to enjoy being outside safely and comfortably. At Benchmark Kennels, we offer a range of sheltered, secure and spacious kennels that you can customise to suit your dog’s breed, personality, and size.