Gross Parts of Being a Dog Owner and How to Deal
Most dog owners (including us!) are madly in love with their dogs. Those adorable puppy eyes just melt our hearts and make it so hard to say no to, or even get mad at for more than a second. But being a dog owner is often accompanied by some gross and sometimes embarrassing dog habits. You know the ones. “Unique” smells, body fluids, or weird behavior can be annoying and even embarrassing with guests. Being a dog owner over the years, we have learned some tips and tricks that have put a stop to, or prevented some of the gross dog habits below.
Drinking from a Toilet Bowl
You’ve likely seen a dog drinking from a toilet before and yup, gross. But typically what this means is quite obvious…he’s thirsty! This doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t filling up their water bowl. But are you filling it often enough? Is it in a location that he or she can access as needed? Are you cleaning the bowls enough and adding fresh water? The toilet bowl is gross, but the water is often fresher and cooler. If it’s become a habit, be sure you are giving him what he needs and consider adding a child lock to the toilet lid as a reminder to keep the lid down. Take turns with a family member to stay on top of quality water if you can’t be 100% of the time.
Gross Anal Gland Issues
This is one of the absolute worst. If your dog has suffered from it, you know exactly what smell and actions accompany the issue. Dogs have anal glands sacs that should normally express on their own, but if this doesn’t happen it can cause a lot of behind licking, scooting his behind across things and a really gross smell. Some dogs just suffer from this more than others in our experience. You can take your pup into the vet and have them manually express them as needed, but you can also make changes to their food and see if that helps, use supplements etc. The more firm the stool, the less likely this will occur. Dog foods with certain ingredients, a sensitive tummy or table scraps could all be playing a part. We’ve heard good things about these dog chews too!
Dog Shedding and Dander
Not only do dog hair and dander look gross, they can make us and our guests feel pretty gross too. It can also make them feel itchy and uncomfortable so it’s important to increase the amount of attention you give their coat. Take time to brush your dog daily to remove the excess using a brush that works and feels best for his fur length. Just 5 minutes of brushing outside can remove a ton of hair and dander that would normally end up on furniture and cause allergy symptoms. Bathing more often, but with a gentle shampoo will also help. Too much bathing with harsh soap however, can actually increase the issue. Lastly, take a look at the ingredients on dog food. Foods rich in omega 3’s can work wonders for a healthy and moisturized coat that will shed less and decrease itching.
Cleaning and Licking Themselves
The act of your dog licking themselves is kind of yuck, but the reason behind it is the same as a cat. They are cleaning themselves up and it’s totally normal. Chances are, this “habit” won’t go away. However, there are some things you may be able to do that will help. Bathing them more often is one option, as long as you aren’t harshly stripping the natural oils from their coat. You can create more issues if you go overboard. If you think the licking is excessive, discuss this with their vet. At the very least, they can make sure there isn’t something more serious going on with their skin.
We won’t go down the long list of reasons why a dog may hump other dogs, people or objects. Some of those are certainly hormonal and some are just habit. Thankfully, the habit is often breakable. The sooner you put a stop to it, the easier it will be. If you have spent any time training a dog then you likely know that consistency is key. Just like potty training, it’s important to discipline while it’s actually happening. Offer positivity and rewards for good behavior of course and give it some time.
Embarrassing Sniffing of Private Parts
This is so AWKWARD. Awkward for you, and even more so for your guest. We all know that a dog’s smell is his key to information so remember he isn’t trying to be “weird”. It doesn’t mean that he is free to put his snout anywhere he dang well chooses either. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of it, you know it’s embarrassing whether anyone acknowledges it or not. Taking time to teach your pup right from wrong goes beyond potty training. If you need leashes, or training collars to assist when company is around then do so. With some positive reinforcement and a redirect of his attention, you can minimize the issue.
The issue of dog breath is disgusting, but very common. Certain breeds are more susceptible to issues, but if you start with great dental care at a young age it will make a world of difference. Dental cleaning at your Vet will likely be recommended, but doing some work at home will also help. Brushing regularly, giving treats and toys that support dental care are good preventatives. Staying up to date on yearly checkups will also give you insight into anything that could be more serious. Brushing teeth at home may be tricky, but the more you do it, the easier and more “normal” it will become. Find a toothpaste and brush that works best for the both of you. You’ll be thankful you didn’t wait till their elderly years to start taking care of their teeth and gums.
There are many issues far beyond this list that can be icky. But if you made the choice to be a dog owner, you likely were already somewhat aware of them. Some dogs will display different behaviors that are unusual and unpredictable. (One of our dogs would chase shadows, and lick the floor while pouncing and trying to catch it, creating a huge pool of saliva on our floors!) Each dog has their own silly personality. Don’t overthink it too much, and if certain habits really drive you nuts, then just focus on those specifically. They don’t need to be perfect, and a little training from you or a professional can help. They love you and all your flaws, so remember to do the same for them! 🙂