a dog lying in bed
General Dog Care

Anxiety in our Pets

portrait of a russell terrier puppy

Anxiety seems to be ever growing these days. Just like people, our pets can experience anxiety and at different amounts. They may experience anxiety in only a ew instances, or they could be pets who are anxious throughout the day and night. As a groomer, I feel I have been seeing an increase in dogs who have separation anxiety and anxiety being groomed. This seems to stem from pets who got used to their owners being home and the ones to groom them but are really struggling after their owner returns to work. 

Please know, it is always a good idea to contact your veterinarian if you feel your dog has an ongoing problem with anxiety. They can help by prescribing anti-anxiety medicine or by helping you find a behaviorist or behavior consultant for canines. This is especially important if your pet’s anxiety starts to develop into aggressive behavior. Even if your pet only experiences it at certain times, like car rides, your veterinarian can help you with that! Anxiety is stressful, and we know that stress can do unseen damage on human bodies. It is the same for our pets, so we need to make sure we get them feeling better to live a happier and longer life.

Now that we understand how serious anxiety in pets can be, let us go into what anxiety looks like in dogs. Note that dogs do not need to present all these symptoms to be considered anxious but not all of these alone indicate that your pet is anxious. Again, if you are unsure please see your veterinarian. 

Anxiety in a dog may appear as:

°Excessive Panting

°Licking of the lips

°yawning repeatedly 

°avoiding eye contact


°Self grooming to the point of tearing out fur/giving themselves hot spots

°Salivation and drooling

°Running away from home

close up of a little dog
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There are even more that are not listed, but this list will give you a good idea on what to look for if you think your pet is anxious. Check out the resources at the bottom of the article for more information.

Now that we know what anxiety looks like, let’s go into some ways to help your pet through that anxiety. 

Create a Daily Routine: Our pets thrive on routine. Keeping their feeding schedule, play time, walk time, and any other activities around the same time and in the same order will help them feel secure. Try to keep their days as consistent as possible. Cats especially like to stick to the same daily routine.

Incorporate Daily Exercise: Physical activity is a great way to help your dog lower their stress. Walks, fetch, or other physical games help your dog work off extra energy that they may be turning into anxious energy. Walking with your dog or going on runs with them may also help lower stress for you as well!

Keep them Mentally Stimulated: Mental stimulation is just as important as physical exercise and helps dogs focus on something other than whatever is making them unhappy. I wrote an article on ways to keep your pet mentally stimulated which you can find here, and includes a lot of different tips and methods.

Compression Shirts: If you have not heard of a Thundershirt for your dog, I would look into one! These are great during times like thunderstorms or fireworks. If you do not have one, or do not have the money to get one, try looking online for a video on how to wrap your pet in a blanket to help them. This gives them the feeling of being hugged and the compression may help lower their anxiety. This isn’t the best fix for all cases of anxiety, but situationally they can work very well!

Create a Sanctuary: This can either be a spot in your office area, a crate, your bedroom. Any place that your dog will be able to get to at any point that they need to get away. Make sure to NEVER use this space as a punishment or where you put them if they misbehaved. They need to see this kennel/spot as a place to come if they feel overwhelmed or stressed out. Make sure it is comfortable for them, if using a kennel make sure they can stand and turn around so they can make themselves comfortable. Sometimes adding an item of your clothing like an old shirt will help them. 

Adding Pheromones and Calming Music: Online and in pet stores you can find calming pheromone plug-ins for dogs and cats. They put out a hormone that helps to lower your pets anxiety. Calming music is also helpful, and having these two things while working on separation anxiety can be a big help. Also if you know a stressful time is about to happen, get their sanctuary ready for them and if possible play music and use pheromones to help them stay calm. 

a dog sitting on a fallen tree trunk
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If most of these do not work on your pet, then it is time to find a behavior consultant. You can find them for dogs and for cats, and they can work with your and your pets specific problems. They notice things you may not, and be able to help you see them too and work through the problem. They are great for helping desensitize your pet when it comes to separation anxiety, other dogs, and any other triggers your pet may have. 

I hope this article is of some help to you and your anxious furry friend. I have listed below my references for this article for some continued reading!

Stay calm and keep wagging!


Edwards, J. (2021, June 29). Helping your dog battle anxiety and stress | FitBark. FitBark GPS Pet Tracker & Activity Monitor | Smart Collar for Dogs & Cats. https://www.fitbark.com/blog/helping-your-dog-battle-anxiety-and-stress

Petroff, M., & DVM (Clinical Behavior Resident). (2020, April 23). How to help calm down an anxious dog. The Best Pet Health & Care Advice from Real Vets | PetMD. https://www.petmd.com/dog/behavior/evr_dg_how-to-calm-down-an-anxious-dog

Top 10 Tips for Relieving Your Pets Stress. (n.d.). Fairfax Veterinary Clinic. https://fairfaxvet.com/top-10-tips-for-relieving-your-pets-stress/

yorkshire terrier in physician robe with stethoscope on light background
Cat Health and Wellness, General Dog Care

Picking Health Insurance for your Pet

small funny yorkshire terrier dogs with nurse cap and stethoscope
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There are an increasing number of pet parents getting insurance for their pets, and for good reason! Costs of veterinary care only continue to rise and when our pet gets sick or injured suddenly it can really be stressful having to decide the course of treatment based solely off of what the cost may add up to. When my Abby became ill with a tumor the cost quickly added up between the visits, x rays, and medications. I was wishing I had invested in pet insurance for her, and will be doing so for my next dog. So I wanted to share what I have learned about picking good insurance for your pet!

Firstly, I want to discuss another option that will help finance your pet’s medical care. If you want to have some sort of protection to be able to pay for veterinary care immediately, there is a credit card named Care Credit (I am not affiliated with this company, and am speaking from my personal experience with them as a consumer). My vet offered it to me when Abby was just a puppy, and it truly did help cover what I needed to in that moment (she had hurt her paw in the backyard and was limping). This is, however, a credit card. They will pull your credit and you will have to pay this amount back with interest. My vet was very kind and offered to help me with the paperwork, but from what I hear not all vets do this. You can also apply before an emergency so you already have it on hand. Care Credit does a lot of offers that if you spend over a certain amount on your card you have x amount of time to pay it back interest fee. Always look into what the company is offering when you need to use it. This option also has the added bonus of being able to be used by people as well at certain medical facilities like dentist offices. Not all practices accept Care Credit, make sure to call ahead and verify! 

a vet treating a sick dog
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Now to get into the meat of the article, pet health insurance. 

Before getting to the advice part, let us go over how exactly your pet’s insurance will work. Pet insurance works on a reimbursement basis. This means that you will pay up front costs of the veterinarian, then you send in your receipts and other necessary paperwork to your pet’s insurance company and they will send you money back for whatever they cover under your policy. Now there are a few companies out there who will pay the veterinary directly but they are few and far between. 

*Compare, Compare, Compare: Not all plans are created equal. Make sure you really look through what each plan covers for your pet. Most of these policies will not cover pre existing conditions, and may not cover certain procedures or wellness visits. Make sure to find a few different companies (check references at end of article) and see what fits your lifestyle best!

*Ask Them Questions: Make sure to call these companies and ask them questions. Not only will this give you a better idea on what will be covered and how their policy works, you get a better understanding of their customer service. If you call and no one can answer your questions or you can’t seem to get through to anyone at all, it may be in your best interest to try another company. 

pomeranian puppy
Photo by Vanserline Vandenberg on Pexels.com

*Start Young: Because these companies typically do not cover pre existing conditions, it’s best to start as young as possible. Even something as simple as a spell of vomiting before the policy starts could be labeled as a pre existing condition and would run a risk of not being covered in the future. Adopting an older dog does make getting a policy tricky in this regard, but no matter the age of your pet, insurance is still important!

*Check for Loopholes: As stated in the above advice point, these insurance companies will find ways to not cover things (just like us!). Along with not covering pre existing conditions, they may also have a waiting period before the policy starts up. If anything happens during that time, they most likely will not cover it. This is an unfortunate necessity on their part, to help prevent insurance fraud, but make sure to be vigilant of your pet during this time period. Make sure things like breed specific illnesses and other areas of concern are covered!

Picking out pet insurance can seem daunting, but pets are becoming such a huge part of our daily lives that even companies like Geico are offering pet insurance! There are a great many options to look into, and make sure to check my references at the end of the article to help you on your journey! Stay safe and healthy!


Geico. (n.d.). What is pet insurance and how does it work? An Insurance Company For Your Car And More | GEICO. https://www.geico.com/information/aboutinsurance/pet/#:~:text=Pet%20insurance%20is%20a%20form,are%20covered%20by%20the%20policy

Hospital, C. V. (2022, December 6). 8 tips for choosing the best health insurance plan for your pet. Vet In Toney | Countryside Veterinary Hospital. https://mycountrysidevet.com/8-tips-for-choosing-the-best-health-insurance-plan-for-your-pet/#iLightbox%5Bgallery805%5D/0

Metz, J. (n.d.). Best Pet Insurance Companies of February 2023. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/pet-insurance/best-pet-insurance/

General Dog Care

Dog Parks; What You Need To Know Before Visiting!

Picture from google.com

Dog parks, normally when I think about dog parks I visualize large green pastures with high fences with dogs running around off leash playing with each other while their pet parents socialize and relax. Is that what you envision as well? I’ll be honest in saying that I have personally never seen a dog park in real life and only in movies. So in order to write this article, I did quite a bit of research to find out what REAL dog parks are like, are they safe and what you should do to prepare for your visit to the dog park, or if you should even visit a dog park at all. After this article there will be a page of references, I highly recommend you read them as they contain lots of amazing information that I was not able to dive into during this article. 

Firstly, I would like to go over the benefits of dog parks. Dog parks can be great places for dogs to get off leash and burn some energy, especially in big cities and places where local governments may have put restrictions on dogs and where they are not allowed to be. It creates a space for the dog parent and dog to bond and be outside and get some fresh air, and is a great way for the pet parent to get in some exercise too!

Deciding if the Dog Park is Right for You and Your Dog

*The Park’s Structure

One of the very first things you can do to make sure your dog will be safe at the dog park is to check out the park itself first. You’ll want a dog park that has high fences and plenty of spaces for dogs to separate from each other in case one needs a break. You don’t want another dog to be able to charge at another and tackle them, even in play, and the other dog does not have an option to hide if they are not interested in playing with that dog or that way. Take note to see if dogs are conjuring around the openings of the park and how big the entrances are. If dogs seem to loiter around this spot, it could possibly start some anxiety with your dog being bombarded with new dogs and scents all at once especially by dogs who are hyper and may not read body language signs from other dogs, but we will go over that in detail after. 

Is it located next to a busy road? Do you feel secure with the park’s entrance that it could stop your dog or other dogs from running outside of the park? Do they have benches, clean up areas or communal watering areas for dogs? Be careful about letting your dog drink from communal areas as they could spread unwanted germs and illnesses from dog to dog. 

*The behaviors of your dog and other dogs

The other area of mention is to watch how your dog is with other dogs, even before going to the dog park. Just like humans, not every dog is interested in every other dog and they may not get along with every other dog. Once a dog hits mature age, they may have less drive to meet new dogs or to play with others (and just like humans, there may be some who simply cannot get enough of other people and dogs). 

If your dog is showing signs like: yawning a lot, panting, becoming suddenly startled, possessive of toys or food then maybe the dog park is not for you. Also be conscious if your dog is overly hyper and plays rough. Not every dog is going to want to play with your dog, especially if they are very hyper! Keep an eye on your dog and other dogs, if they start giving signs that they are becoming uncomfortable around your dog, or your dog is uncomfortable around another dog, you will need to be able to remove yourself and your dog until both have calmed down. 

Preparing to go to the Park!

After doing some research, checking out your local park and determining if your dog plays well with others then it is time to get ready to go to the park! Leashes and collars are not the only items you will need to go to the park. Disposable bags for accidents are a must, along with bringing a dish and water for your dog to drink from when they get thirsty. There are lots of cool portable water carriers for dogs that you can find online or at your local pet retailer. 

Aside from physical items, I highly recommend that your dog is fully up to date all their vaccinations before visiting the park. If you wonder how long you should wait, your vet can tell you that information. They will also be able to tell you what vaccinations they believe your dog should have if you plan on visiting dog parks. 

So What if the Dog Park isn’t for You and Your Pup?

As I stated before, dog parks are not for every pair of pet parents and dogs. But there are still plenty of cool activities that you can do with your dog that don’t involve them having to socialize with tons of other dogs. Consider joining a sport with them like agility or frisbee! There are also events called Barn Hunt which you can find more about at the American Kennel Club’s website. 

I hope this article helped you in deciding if dog parks are right for you and your dog, and if they are not I truly hope you look into those fun activities listed just above! They will help give your pet and you some amazing bonding experiences. 

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Barn Hunt. (n.d.). American Kennel Club. Retrieved December 13, 2021, from https://www.akc.org/sports/title-recognition-program/barn-hunt/

Bergel, H., KPA-CTP, CPDT-KA, & CBCC-KA. (2021, June 7). Should Your Pup Go to the Dog Park? Daily Paws. https://www.dailypaws.com/dogs-puppies/dog-exercise-play/are-dog-parks-safe-for-all-dogs

Dog Parks: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – APDT. (2017, March 10). APDT. https://apdt.com/resource-center/dog-parks-good-bad-ugly/

Helmer, J. (n.d.). Dog Park Safety: What to Know Before You Go. WebMD. Retrieved December 13, 2021, from https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/features/dog-park-safety#2