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How to Potty Train an Older Dog

If you’re wondering how to train an older dog, you’ve come to the write place. Whether you have just adopted an older dog, or your existing senior has taken a backslide in potty training, it can be frustrating to deal with an accident-prone pooch. Don’t give up! An old dog CAN learn new tricks, and in this article we are going to cover how to potty train an older dog.

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Before you can potty train an older dog, you have to define the problem. What kind of accidents is your dog having, and when are they having them? Do you have a new senior dog who sneaks off behind the sofa to relieve themself? Has your older dog started to have accidents out of nowhere?

Start by making a list of the problems and situations where your dog is having these accidents. Note if the accidents are happening when you are home, or when you are away. Is your dog awake and deliberately eliminating, or is it happening in their sleep? Are they using one location consistently, or is it happening all over?

Why Are They Having Accidents?

Now take a look at your list. Do most or all of the situations fall under a single category? Is your dog always making mistakes when you are gone during the day, or at night when you are asleep? Are they soiling their crate or your living room carpet?

Has anything changed in their diet or schedule? Sometimes changing between regular and daylight savings time can throw older dogs off their usual potty timing, for instance.

Watch this short video on house training an older dog.

Medical Problems

Whether your dog is new to you, or has lived with you for years, it’s a great idea to start with a veterinary check. Have them do bloodwork, a urinalysis and a fecal exam before attempting to potty train an older dog. Sometimes medical problems masquerade as behavior issues in older dogs. You don’t want to work on retraining your dog if they need antibiotics for a bladder infection.

Diseases like diabetes and kidney disease often cause frequent urination, so if your dog is suffering from these kinds of medical problems then you will need to get them under control before you can tackle the soiling issue.

Talk to your vet about how to potty train an older dog. They are a great resource for information!

Age-Related Problems

Another common reason for senior dogs to have accidents is doggy dementia. One early sign of dementia is a retraction in their potty training. Does your dog go outside, and then come straight in and have an accident? Are they having accidents right in front of you and not trying to hide it?

These could be signs of early stage dementia, so have your vet take a look at things to determine if this is the problem.

Older dogs often can not hold their bowels and bladders as long as healthy adult dogs. It could be that your dog is having accidents because they need more frequent access to the outdoors.

You might want to read: Are Poinsettias Poisonous to Dogs?

Also, as the weather turns to winter, it could be that going outside is harder for your senior. You may need to encourage them more, and provide more support in the colder months. There may be a simple fix instead of having to potty train an older dog.

Behavior Problems

If medically and mentally your dog checks out, then most likely you are dealing with a behavior problem. These are the hardest kinds of soiling problems to change, especially if your senior has been doing this behavior for a long time.

If your senior is new to you, check with their previous home to see if they had this problem there as well. If it is a new problem, then chances are good that some time and patience will take care of things!

Strategies for Retraining

While learning how to potty train an older dog is is similar to training a puppy, there are a few differences. A puppy genuinely doesn’t know where they should be going to the bathroom. A senior dog should know to go outside, so if they are having accidents (and there are no medical reasons for them) then it is being done despite their prior training.

Consistency, Opportunity, Rewards

The best way to get house soiling issues under control is to get your senior dog onto a strict schedule. Make sure you are feeding them at the same time, everyday (yes, even on weekends).

Erratic feeding times can throw your older dogs digestion off schedule, making it hard to predict when they need to go to the bathroom. If you feed them at the same time, they should need to potty at the same times. It makes their eliminations more predictable.

Be sure to offer your senior dog a chance to go outside more often than you have previously. During the day, give them the chance to go every 3 hours. Take them outside after they wake up from a nap and after eating, just like you would for a puppy. Reward your dog when the eliminate in the proper place.

Crate Training

Crate training can help some seniors regain their potty training, so if you haven’t done crate training on your dog, now is a good time to start. Crate your dog any time you will be away from the home, or if you can’t directly supervise them. Make the crate comfortable by providing a (washable) bed and a safe toy. You can even feed your dog in the crate to make it a positive place for your dog.

If your dog soils the crate when you are away, then it is likely that they can’t help themselves. Dogs do not like to go to the bathroom where they sleep. This is an indication that your dog needs more frequent access to the outdoors. If you can’t provide that, then you may just have to accept the soiling and limit the damage as you can.

Eliminate Previous Accidents

Just as with puppies, your older dog is drawn to eliminating in locations where they (or another animal) have eliminated before. You need to clean these areas and remove all traces of the previous accident. Using an enzyme-based cleaner on your carpets, like Nature’s Miracle, will break down the urine residue and remove the odors from the fabric.

While vinegar and other natural home cleaners cover the smell to our weak human noses, canine noses can easily smell the urine underneath the vinegar. Use a cleaner designed for animal accidents so that the odor can really be neutralized.

Limit Accident Possibilities

The key to retraining is to make it so your dog can’t wander away and have an accident out of sight. You will have to limit the access your senior has to the house until you are sure they have figured out the rules. You can use baby gates and other barriers to physically prevent your dog from leaving the room.

Leash Them in the House

The best way to retrain an older dog who can manage their eliminations but is choosing not to is to leash them to you at all times while they are inside. That way, they can’t get more than a few feet away from you. If you see them starting to sniff around for a nice spot, take them outside and wait until they go to the bathroom. Reward and praise!

Do this for two weeks straight, and then try your dog off the leash. If they have another accident, leash them again for a couple of weeks, take them out for potty and praise and reward all successful outside eliminations.

Final Thoughts on Senior Accidents

Sometimes, despite everything we can’t get a senior dog reliably potty trained. If they have had a lifetime of urinating indoors, they may never be trustworthy when left on their own. Do your best to prevent them from going inside and provide them with rewards for going outside.

For older dogs who go backwards in their training, retraining can often help a lot. As long as the dog is capable of holding it as long as they are being asked to, they should pick up on the retraining quickly.

You may need to provide your older dog with more opportunities and rewards for successful outside elimination. If you can’t get your dog outside (like in the middle of the night) you may have to keep your dog in a kitchen or bathroom, where they can have an accident that is easier to clean up.

For seniors, sometimes we have to flex to accommodate their needs. I have a 17 year old schnauzer who can not go more than 3-5 hours without having an accident. Crating her is cruel, because she can’t get away from the mess in a crate and can’t help needing to go potty. So she gets gated in the kitchen when we are away, and at night. We just mop the floor frequently.

Avoid using diapers if at all possible. Diapers keep the mess off your floor, but make it likely that your dog will develop skin infections and bladder infections from contact with the soiled diaper. Belly bands can be helpful in some male dogs who mark inside, however.

Good luck, with patience and persistence you can find a new normal with your senior dog!

how to potty train an older dog
This dog doesn’t think he needs to be potty trained.

Author Bio

Jen Clifford has a B.A. in Biology from Reed College. She was a field biologist for several years, and then spent 10 years working in veterinary medicine as a receptionist and technician.  Jen is currently a freelance writer living in the Pacific Northwest with her Tribe of pets. She is a passionate animal lover who is dedicated to helping people find solutions to their pet-related challenges.

You can find more of her work at her website

Calming Music for Dogs

Calming music for dogs is a new concept to me that I find intriguing. Think about it:  Music affects people in a number of ways. When I hear a song that was popular in my teens, I’m immediately brought back to that place. Certain songs can literally lift me out of the blues, or center me during yoga practice. It makes sense that it would work for dogs.

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This post contains affiliate links.  That means if you click on a link, it will bring you to a product. I always try to provide the most relevant links for you. You never have to make a purchase.

In this post, I’m going to talk about the idea behind calming music for dogs. What works for some dogs, might not work for another. However, there are some basic concepts to keep in mind and I’m going to share those with you. 

The Science of Calming Music for Dogs 

It’s not easy to find hard-core data to prove the effects of calming music for dogs, but from an objective point of view, it certainly makes sense. Whatever affects your mood and energy affects your dog. 

ScienceDaily published an article in 2015 (Sage publications) with a summary that reads:

“It is widely accepted that, in humans, music confers numerous benefits. An extensive body of research indicates that these benefits extend even to patients under general anesthesia, and include reduced perceived pain, anxiety and stress.”

You might also be interested in reading a study on calming music for dogs. In this instance, the dogs were kenneled and observations were made as to whether dogs were calmest based on the genre of music.

Musical Myths  – Heavy Metal

Studies show that listening to heavy metal music (typically defined as loud, angry music with negative effects), does more to boost the psyche of the person who chooses to listen. Why? The music matches that person’s physiological arousal. It’s like being validated for the way you feel, and that’s a good feeling!  However, that might not translate well to your dog.

WATCH this mash-up of funny dogs howling to music.  

Should I play Heavy Metal Music for my Dog?

Ultimately, your dog won’t be harmed  by any music you decide to play, provided it’s not too loud for your dog’s sensitive ears.  Loud, jarring blasts are just going to be uncomfortable for your dog. And your grandmother. 

If you’re looking for calming music for dogs, it makes sense to find music that is inherently calming for you. I’ve read various things about reggae and rock being the elixir for anxious dogs. I’ve also read that classical music is truly the way to go. Personally, I think that whatever music relaxes you will relax your dog. 

Think About This

Music changes your physiological responses. Think about the music you love (for me it’s ska punk, classical, and alternative indie) and you feel a slight shift in mood for the better.  Now, think about being forced to listen to the music you absolutely hate.  For me, it’s country music (no offense anyone!). The thought of it makes my neck tense. My jaw clenches and my breathing gets shallow.

The Ripple Effect of a Calm Mood

The secret to finding calming music for dogs, is finding the one that works for you. Dog owners understand just how in tune our dogs are to our emotions. If you’re projecting negative emotions, your dog is going to pick up on that. 

My suggestion is to find music that you really love, even if it is heavy metal. I know, it sounds ridiculous, but I believe (with no scientific data to back me up!) that if your environment is happy, your dog’s environment will be the same.

A Few Warnings…

As you’re choosing music for your dog, keep in mind that music with loud blasts or deep rolls might sound like the very things your dog is afraid of. Static pops and hisses might sound like fireworks to a dog.  Various musical instruments and frequencies might have the unintended effect of provoking stress.

Searching For Stress Relief?

Millions of people all over the world seek ways to relieve anxiety in their dogs. Separation anxiety is a big issue that creates unnecessary stress between dog owner and dog.

As dog owners, we seek all types of ways to relieve stress in pets including antidepressants like Prozac, essential oils, massage, acupuncture, and sometimes a change in diet. We look for the perfect beds and the best place in the house for our dogs to rest.

Best Calming Music for Dogs with Separation Anxiety

REVIEWS are excellent for Through a Dog’s Ear sound system. This product plays 5 hours of classical piano to soothe and calm dogs during stressful times. The benefit of purchasing this is that you don’t have to spend hours combing through your music library. It’s pre-set and ready to go!  I’m all for convenience and, frankly, I’m willing to pay a little more for it. If it saves time and does what it says it’s going to do…I’m in. 

Calming Music for Dogs – RECOMMENDATIONS

The following suggestions are just a sampling of the various choices of music available. 

Healing Frequency Music Project – WHOLETONES

This music was developed to promote calm in people and animals. It can be used to aid in sleep, destress dogs who suffer from separation disorder, and as a barrier to the sounds of fireworks, thunder, etc. 

NOTE:  I don’t promote religious ideology through my blog and I wanted you to know that this particular product (the book) speaks to that.

The book that comes with the package helps to “demystify the science behind the frequencies”.  To read more, you can click on the image below. This is an affiliate link. 

Sleep Music for Dogs 

Noise is exhausting. No matter how much you say you’re used to it, it still affects you on a molecular level. 

We have a way of blocking out familiar sounds in order to be able to function normally. However, that cute little puppy you just brought home might be frightened. To help ease the transition, why not incorporate calming music for dogs into the nighttime ritual? 

Here are a few more music selections you could try:

Reflections of Nature. 

Ocean Waves 

Relaxing Rain

Through a Dog’s Ear, Music to Calm Your Canine Companion

One Final Note You Should Be Aware Of:

Like us, dogs need sleep as much as they need exercise and optimal nutrition. When stress and anxiety get in the way, these important elements are disrupted. 

I’ve suggested a few nature CD’s, and I know from experience that they work. However, some CD’s incorporate “storm sounds” that might not be especially calming for your dog!  You may want to listen to the CD yourself before depending on it in a stressful situation.

I want to thank you for reading this post and I hope you’ll come back for another visit soon.  Please take a moment to Pin, Tweet, or Post this article. 

Calming Music for Dogs
This jerk has no idea that his manly accordion tunes are scaring the dog!

Dog Prozac Aggression FAQ’s

Dog Prozac aggression can mean two things.  1) It might be that your dog has become aggressive because of Prozac (rare)  2) It can also mean that your dog is being treated for aggressive behavior.

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This post contains affiliate links.

If you are afraid your dog is going to hurt someone, you need to take control. The first thing to do is take your dog to the veterinarian. Underlying disease or pain could be at the root of the problem.

Your second option might be a dog trainer or behaviourist, and your third option might be Prozac.

If you’re reading this post, I’ll assume you’re having difficulties with your companion animal’s behaviour.  This post answers the most frequently asked questions on the topic of dog Prozac aggression.


#1 How Can I Tell if My Dog Has Dog Prozac Aggression?

Dog aggression can come from learned behaviour. It can also be a response to fear and anxiety. Unprovoked dog aggression can also be genetic.

Ask yourself the following two questions:

aHas my dog attempted to bite or attack someone in the last month?

Certain dogs like Cocker Spaniels develop a condition known as Rage Syndrome. The dog can be perfectly fine one minute and biting the next.

b) Do I feel safe with my dog 100% of the time?

Everyone thinks their own dog would never turn on them, but it can happen.  Brain injury and disease can contribute to unprovoked aggression. Pain can make a dog bite.  You might not know that your dog is in pain or is suffering from an illness.

A veterinarian can do a full examination to see if there is an underlying health condition.  Certain health conditions like thyroid disorders, diabetes, rabies, etc., can contribute to that aggression.

You might be interested in:  Calming Music for Dogs


2.  Should My Dog Be Euthanized For Aggression?

If your large dog were to maul and kill another person, your dog could be put down, and you would likely face charges.

A much smaller dog might not maim or kill a person, but he/she is still a risk to children, other animals, etc.   In this case, it would depend on the severity of the situation.  Ultimately, the decision is in the hands of the law.

Avoid This From Happening!

Don’t Take Too Long!

Reconditioning an aggressive dog takes time. However, at some point you have to consider other options.  Give it six to eight weeks at the most. If you don’t see any improvement, it might be time to consider Prozac.  Let’s assume a veterinarian as already determined there is no physical condition causing the aggression.  In that case, it might be in the dog’s best interest to take Prozac.

3. Can Dog Aggression, Fear, and Anxiety be treated with Antidepressants?

Yes. dogs have been successfully treated with antidepressants like Prozac.  It’s designed as a temporary measure long enough to get your dog back on track. 

Prozac for dogs helps to manage signals in the brain. It takes up to six weeks to work (or longer), but it could put your dog in the right frame of mind for reconditioning. 

That means socializing your dog in a variety of situations involving other people and animals. It might mean trying your dog on a new diet, and it will definitely include regular exercise.

Serotonin works as a neurotransmitter, sending messages to the brain. It’s known as the “feel good” hormone and it is released during moderate exercise. In as few as 15 minutes, both you and your dog could be feeling better.

Did you know that some breeds are prone to rage syndrome?  Rage syndrome, or Sudden Onset Idiopathic Aggression, is a genetic condition that affects certain breeds, like Cocker Spaniels.  



4. Is Dog Prozac Aggression a Side Effect of the Anti-Depressant?

In extremely rare cases, yes.  Work with a veterinarian who has experience treating dogs with Prozac and make sure to attend all follow-up appointments. The doctor will assess any side-effects and adjust dosage accordingly. 


5. Can I Manage Fear Aggression in My Dog Without Help?

If you want to try to correct the problem on your own, it’s important to take a lot of precautions.  Make sure to put a “Beware of Dogs” sign on your property. Muzzle your dog when you take him/her outside.

It’s in your best interest, however, to talk to a dog trainer/ behaviorist. You could learn a few useful techniques in just one visit.

6. My Companion Animal Cornered and Attacked Me. What Should I do?

First, look after yourself.  The love for your dog shouldn’t get in the way of common sense.  Bring your dog to a veterinarian for an assessment. 

Disease, pain, or genetic conditions could be causing the problem.  Do not wait for someone to get seriously injured.




7. What Else Does Prozac Treat?

Prozac helps a number of conditions including dog aggression, noise anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and separation anxiety.

It’s not easy, but you may have to look within yourself before you can help your dog.  Is your home overly noisy and chaotic? Do you reward your dog to try to get him to stop jumping, barking, or lunging?  In your mind, you might be trying to calm your dog by speaking softly and patting him. Your dog, however, just sees it as a reward. 


8. Can Prozac Replace Behavioural Modification?

In order to see the behaviour you want, it’s going to take time and effort.  Prozac isn’t designed to solve the problem, however. Prozac is a tool to help calm your dog while you “fix” the real issue.

It takes about six to eight weeks for the medication to really take effect. Once it does, use that time wisely. Your dog might seem to suddenly be “okay”, but without the supplemental training, that dangerous behavior is going to come back with a vengeance.


9. Where Can I Find a Good Behaviourist?

Check out this link to the Association of Professional Dog Trainers.

Locate certified trainers by clicking on “Locate a Trainer”.  You will need to enter your zip code.

In Canada, go to the Canadian Association of Professional Dog Trainers .

In the United Kingdom, go to the Association of Pet Dog Trainers.


10. Does Prozac for Dogs Have Side-Effects?

Thankfully, Prozac has very few serious side-effects.  Dog Prozac aggression is a very rare occurrence.

In the first few weeks, your dog might experience some tummy upset and loss of appetite. This should clear up.

All medications have rare side effects and, in Prozac, they include aggressive behaviour (ironically), seizures, severe itch, diarrhea, and liver damage.

Keep regular follow-up appointments to ensure the best possible outcome.


11. How Do I Wean My Dog From Prozac?

Don’t even think of this until your dog has been on it for a while. The weaning process takes time and must be done very slowly to avoid discontinuation syndrome. 

12. How Will I Know When It’s Time to Wean My Dog Off of Prozac?

The veterinarian will help you to decide when to wean your dog off of Prozac. Consult with a trained animal behaviourist, your family, and friends, before taking your dog off of Prozac.

Get an honest, unbiased opinion. The important thing is to have a healthy, happy dog.

To Sum It Up…

You should always take an aggressive dog to the veterinarian before he/she hurts someone. It’s possible that an underlying condition is causing the aggression.

Dog Prozac aggression is an extremely rare occurrence and should not stop you from considering an antidepressant.  Mild side-effects could include tummy upset or diarrhea.

If your veterinarian prescribes Prozac for your dog, make sure to follow the dosing instructions carefully. Weaning a dog too quickly could be dangerous. Work with your veterinarian when the time comes.

I’ve just given you a lot to consider. Have I missed something? Do you have an aggressive dog and, if so, how do you deal with it?  I love hearing from readers. 

Feel free to comment below or email me at:


Dog Prozac Aggression
This innocent dog just wants to play! He doesn’t have Dog Prozac Aggression


11 Easy Ways to Reclaim Your Dog’s Health in 2018

Dogs are amazing companions who demand nothing and give everything. The worst thing we can do for our dogs is become complacent. Unfortunately, dog’s age at a much faster rate than we do and – eventually – the time is going to come to say goodbye.

There’s a lot we can do, as dog owners, to stretch out their lives in a way that’s meaningful. The following tips are designed to show you common signs and symptoms of disease because the earlier these things are diagnosed, the better the overall prognosis.

1. You Can’t Reclaim Your Dog’s Health in a Bag of Chips

This tip is specifically for me, and anyone else who uses treats to express love. I’m guilty as charged and, as a result, I have an overweight dog. I like to think that being female contributes some of the weight gain, and that her breed might be predisposed (she’s a lab), but I’m pretty sure the real reason is from me overfeeding her.

Do This:

  • Gradually ease off of the added treats
  • Commit to walking your dog at least 4 to 5 days a week and build up to 7 days per week.
  • Ask your veterinarian about the type of food you feed your dog.  He/she will be able to suggest better alternatives for weight loss.
  • Tell your friends and family what you’ve been doing. That way, they won’t be tempted to spoil your dog when you are not looking.

As your dog loses weight and eats a more balanced diet, you will probably notice a big shift in energy and general well-being.

2. Canine Hip Dysplasia

Have you noticed your dog limping a little when standing up for the first time after a nap or extended cuddle session? It could be the development of arthritis, but it might also be the beginning of hip dysplasia.

Hip Dysplasia is caused by the abnormal development of the hip. This condition creates instability in the joint. In severe cases, dislocation of the thigh bone is possible.

The first sign of hip dysplasia is an abnormal gait. As the condition advances, your dog may have trouble climbing stairs or suddenly won’t be able to jump into the car.

Do This:

Bring your dog to the veterinarian if you notice a decrease in your dog’s mobility or sudden, stiff joints. The veterinarian may suggest a change in diet, physiotherapy, and regular (but low impact) exercise.

The tweet below introduces the next topic on mast cell tumors. The dog is gorgeous and I hope everything turns out alright for him.

3.Mast Cell Tumors and Other Forms of Cancer in Dogs

The scariest thing in the world is finding an unusual lump or bump on your dog. At least it is for me. Lumps and bumps could signify anything from a fatty tumor to a mast cell tumor. Don’t ignore any unusual protrusion!  Veterinarian medicine has come a long way and a lot of these things can be fixed when caught early.

Do This:

Use grooming time to look for any unusual lumps and bumps. You’ll find mast cell tumors on any part of the dog, but don’t forget to your dog’s abdomen and perineum (the area between your dog’s genitals).

Fear is a bad reason to avoid seeing the veterinarian. Remember, even a cancerous tumor can be removed early. Treatment is usually quite good in this case.

Some of the dogs most likely to develop mast cell tumors include

  • Boxers *highest rate
  • Boston Terriers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Beagles
  • Schnauzers
  • Bulldogs
  • Pugs
  • Bullmastiffs
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Bull Terriers
  • Staffordshire Terriers
  • Fox Terriers

Don’t worry about looking silly if it turns out to be nothing. Get your dog to the veterinarian to check out any unusual lumps and bumps.  There’s a good chance it’s nothing….but bring your dog in just to be sure!

4. Yeast Infections In Dogs with Weakened Immune Systems

Have you noticed your dog itching much more than usual lately?  It could be a skin condition, but it might also be a yeast infection.

Dogs with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a yeast (fungus) infection.   Medicated dogs or dogs who have other illnesses may be more susceptible to these infections because of a lowered immune response.

Various strains of yeast infection include:

  • Histoplasmosis (subclinical, meaning the initial symptoms are nearly undetectable).
  • Valley Fever (severe – spores thrive in dry, dusty regions) Can affect the lungs.
  • Cryptococcosis – spores that are inhaled. This fungus can make its way into the dog’s brain.
  • Blastomycocosis – common along the eastern seaboard, Great Lakes, Mississippi, Ohio, and Missouri River valleys. This fungus lives in your dog’s respiratory system.
  • Sporotrichosis – This fungus inhabits the skin after physical contact with spores from the soil. These spores gain access through breaks in the skin. Hunting dogs are mostly prone to this particular fungus. 

One of the main symptoms of a yeast infection is excessive itching of the skin. You might also notice a yeasty smell.

Do This:

Watch the condition of your dog’s skin and notice if he/she has been itching a lot. Pink or red skin means the yeast infection is in the early stages. If you notice a cheesy or spoiled-milk odor, you should bring your dog to the veterinarian. Treatment includes removing allergens from the home, topical ointments, a prescription, and a diet change.

5. The Importance (and Controversy) Over Vaccinations

Vaccinations are especially important when your dog is still a puppy. At about 12 weeks of age, your dog can be vaccinated for things rabies, parasites, canine influenza, and leptospirosis.

Leptospirosis is most often found in wet areas of the United States. Leptospirosis is a bacteria that can l live a long time as long as it’s wet. Think about the recent floodings in the United States and reports of their contaminated water. That is where you’ll find leptospirosis. Unfortunately, dogs will drink out of just about anything. This is where you should prevent him/her from doing that.

The next tweet explains the myths associated with vaccinations.

Watch Out For This:

Leptospirosis in dogs is transmitted when the dog:

  • drinks from infected urine
  • is in contact with other domestic animals who have it (through skin cuts, eyes, mouth)
  • drinks or swims in urine-contaminated water (floodwater, rivers, etc.)
  • interacts or lives in close proximity to infected livestock or wildlife

The bacteria lives up to six months in urine-contaminated water. Even the damp soil can harbor the bacteria. This creates a risk of infection through scratches, scrapes, open wounds, and mucous membranes.  Dogs can transmit the bacteria to humans. However, the number of reported cases is relatively low.

The best fight against this serious disease is through regular and appropriate vaccination.

6. If It’s Not Rice, It’s Probably Worms

Unless your dog just sat in a pile of sticky rice, you might want to investigate those rice-like things under his/her tail.  Yes, it’s disgusting, but the faster you have parasites treated in your dog, the less chance of them affecting the dog’s general health.

Tapeworms look like rice segments and are usually found on the underside of the dog’s tail, or around the anus area. A quick trip to the veterinarian will fix the problem.

Other worms to watch for include:

  • roundworm
  • ringworm
  • whipworm
  • heart worm
  • hookworms

You could try homeopathic remedies for parasitic infection, but the fastest most effective way is through your veterinarian.

7. Would You Know if Your Dog Were Depressed?

Depressed dogs tend to show the same clinical signs that you or I might. They can become lethargic, not interested in food, drink, treats, or play.  Has anything happened recently to cause your dog’s depression?

Dog’s can go through periods of the blues just like we do. Maybe you are away from home more often for a new job, or maybe one of your other pets has passed on. Don’t be surprised if your dog appears depressed.

Do This:

Try to give your dog a little more one-on-one attention. You might have to coax him/her out of the house, but try to offer walks a few times a week. If the depression seems to get worse with increased exercise, consider a trip to the veterinarian. Other, more serious diseases can be the underlying cause of depression in dogs.  Underlying ailments include:

Heart Disease





The take-away here is to let your veterinarian give your dog a check-up. Any underlying conditions should be treated and, once that happens, your dog’s depression should go away.

8. Fatty Tumors on Your Dog

A noncancerous tumor in a dog is commonly a fatty mass called a lipoma. A lipoma usually feels soft and will not cause the dog discomfort (unless the location of the tumor disrupts movement).

A lipoma is basically a lump of slow growing fat cells which remains localized, not traveling through the body or into other tissues. Lipomas are common and rarely serious.

In fact, the following tweet “pokes” [pun intended) a little fun at fatty tumors. Hope you have a good sense of humor!

Do This:

Watch for a lump or wound with pus.

Check to see if your dog has a fever.

If you’ve noticed any weight loss, lethargy, or sudden cough in conjunction with a new lump, it’s best to make an appointment with the veterinarian.

Remember!  Not every lump is cancerous. Fatty tumors in dogs are soft, moveable, and usually benign.

9.  Knee Injuries in Dogs

The clinical name for a dog knee injury is anterior cruciate ligament.  All you have to remember, however, is ACL for short.

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), also referred to as cranial cruciate ligament (CCL), connects the femur above the knee to the tibia positioned below the knee thereby stabilizing the knee joint. This ligament can tear partially or fully as a result of sudden injury, damage, or progressive weakening of the ligament.

Do This:

-Keep an eye on your dog and take note if he/she can put any weight on the injured leg. A torn ACL will be very painful, causing your dog to limp and favor the knee.

-A partial tear will often get worse until, eventually, it tears completely away. Any signs of knee injury should be brought to the attention of the veterinarian

-Keep your dog’s weight in check as overweight dogs are at higher risk of a torn ACL.

10. Tick Check!

If you live in an area endemic for ticks, do regular checks on your dog. Ticks carry a number of diseases, but the one we’re most familiar with is Lyme Disease. Lyme Disease can be treated with antibiotics if caught early. However, one prescription might not do the trick.

There’s no explanation needed for the next image. Deer ticks (black-legged ticks) are the ones that carry Lyme Disease, and other diseases.

Once your dog has completed one round of antibiotics, you’ll want to have him tested to make sure he is no longer carrying the antibodies

Do This:

Use a special comb designed to pick up fleas and ticks, or carefully scan your dog’s skin with your fingers. Ticks tend to make their way up to the dog’s neck, so check the folds of skin there and look between the folds of the ear. If you spot an embedded tick, pull the tick out with a good pair of tweezers and swipe a little rubbing alcohol over the bite mark to keep it disinfected.

11. Horner’s Syndrome

Horner’s syndrome is caused by an injury to one of the nervous system pathways that leads to the eyes and face of your dog. One minute your dog is fine and the next one side of his face has drooped. Your dog might walk in circles, paw at his face, or walk into walls.

Don’t worry! Horner’s Syndrome isn’t always caused by something serious. In fact, 50% of the cases are considered idiopathetic which means there was no underlying cause.

Do This:

Allow the veterinarian to do a series of tests. This will help to rule out any underlying causes. Things like tumors, neck and head injuries can cause Horner’s symptoms. Symptoms include:

  • Droopy lower eyelid
  • One eye appears sunken
  • Tight or stiff jaw
  • The dog might not be able to eat properly on the side of the face that is affecting him.

The important thing here is to get an accurate diagnosis right off the bat. With an accurate diagnosis, you can get straight to the heart of the matter.

I hope this guide has given you some things to watch for. No need to become a hypochondriac though!  Some dogs never experience any of these things. However, it’s always a good idea to understand what you’re looking for when it comes to your dog’s health and why.

You know have a sound understanding of several common illnesses and conditions that affect dogs.  Why not let your friends in on the secret and share! Just click on any of the social share buttons and viola! you are done.