Shedding. Constantly darting underfoot. What the heck is going on with your pet? Could there be an underlying health issue? Here are the facts from Woman’s Day magazine.
- Shedding gobs of fur. Dr. Marty Becker is veterinarian and author of Why do Dogs Drink out of the Toilet. He says that all pets shed, no matter what the breed, even the so-called “hairless” types. To keep it under control, he says vigorously brush your dog or cat on a regular basis. Once every week is fine for short-haired breeds, while pets with long hair need a daily three-minute once-over with a brush to evenly distribute their skin’s oils and keep their coat healthy. Bathing pets in anti-bacterial shampoo also helps cut down on shedding. Now, if you notice your pet suddenly shedding massive amounts, or you see bald patches and raw skin, consult a vet. Stress, allergic dermatitis, low thyroid and Cushing’s disease can all affect shed cycles. Arthritis will often keep cats from self-grooming.
- What does it mean when your pet darts under your feet? According to animal behaviorist Dr. Patricia McConnell, author of The Other End of the Leash, pets love to “manage” our travel in a particular direction. They have a need to control and influence others’ behavior, just like we do. For many dogs, it’s a native “herding” instinct. For example, Border collies and Australian shepherds have been bred to run in front of animals to stop them from moving forward. Cats do it for a number of reasons. Maybe there’s food in the kitchen, maybe they want you to stop and play with them or maybe they just want your attention. McConnell says a good option is to throw a toy away from you as you walk, to make them run after it. Your pet will eventually think, “Owner walks; I run and get a toy! Look what I can make my human do!” He’ll think he’s training you, when you’re actually training him.