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Welcoming a dog into your family is a joyful time. Your new dog is probably excited and nervous as he settles into a new environment.

Many people mistakenly assume that they know how their dogs are feeling or that their reactions are similar to human reactions. Dogs communicate by barking or growling but often use body language to communicate their needs and emotions. This is especially critical if they are suffering from a health issue.

Before bringing home a new pet, here are some things to consider.

Welcoming a New Dog

Many people believe it is best to adopt a dog. Pet adoption can save a life while opening space for another rescue. While puppies are sometimes available for adoption, more often than not, adult dogs are in need of adoption. You will miss the cute and cuddly puppy phase, but there are advantages. Older dogs are often trained and calmer than younger dogs, which can make the transition easier on you.

Before adopting, prepare your home by providing your dog with his own space. When welcoming a small breed, like a Pomsky, into an apartment, create a fun and healthy environment. Open the windows to air out your space and be sure to clean corners and crevices to make sure it’s safe. Buy dog toys and create an obstacle course so your dog can stay entertained when indoors.

There are also plenty of fun bonding acts you can do with your dog. Dogs benefit from playtime but training them also helps you to better understand them. By using positive rewards, you’ll discover how your dog expresses appreciation and happiness.

Walking or driving with your dog is another bonding activity that both of you will benefit from. As he explores new surroundings and locations, you can observe his interactions with nature, people, and other dogs. Take your dog out to activities that focus on him, like grooming and pet massages, to show him that you care.

You can also bond with your dog better when you understand what he is trying to communicate.

Understanding Your Dog’s Body Language

Understanding canine body language is crucial to discovering your dog’s needs so that you can properly care for him. Several signs are commonly misunderstood.

For example, many people think that when a dog wags his tail, it always means he’s happy. But tail wagging can express other emotions. First, know which way your dog’s tail normally lies, especially if it is a breed with a curly tail. Then, observe the motion.

A raised tail means excitement, which can be positive or negative. The faster it moves, the more excited or agitated he is. When greeting you, it may be a slow wag or a circular wag, meaning he’s happy. When the tail is in a neutral position, he’s relaxed. However, he’ll hold it up when he’s feeling confident or assertive. A tail that is down or tucked under the body indicates anxiety or fear.

Another visible indicator of emotions is body position. When hunched over, a dog may be expressing stress or fear. Rolling on their backs may indicate the desire for a belly rub, but it can be an expression of anxiety. Aggressive body language for dogs includes twitching their tails and pitching their weight forward to make themselves look bigger.

Over time, you will understand your dog’s body language. However, there are some things you need to look out for to ensure that his health is not at risk.

When Your Dog Communicates Health Problems

As beloved companions, we want our dogs to live a healthy life. While we can help them by taking them for regular checkups and caring for their physical needs, it’s important to understand when they are experiencing a health crisis. Certain breeds are susceptible to dog health conditions and having this information ahead of time is important. For example, pugs are at risk of hip dysplasia and two types of diseases that can affect their brain.

Any dog is also at risk of choking. You must recognize and know what to do when your dog is choking. When struggling to breathe, your dog will show signs of panic, like showing the whites of his eyes or clawing at his neck or throat. Act quickly to keep him safe. If he’s awake, it’s risky to clear his throat so call the vet immediately. However, if he’s unconscious, you can perform the Heimlich maneuver on him if you know how.

In other cases, you can stabilize your dog’s urgent pet care needs before bringing him to the vet.

  • If you think he’s broken a bone, wrap the injury in a towel or bandage to secure it.
  • When your dog suffers a bite, clean the wound and treat it with an antiseptic.
  • In the case of potential poisoning, identify the product and call the vet or pet poison control immediately.
  • If your dog shows signs of excessive panting, drooling, or lethargy, he may have heatstroke, so move him to a cool area before asking your vet for guidance.
  • When your dog has a seizure, clear the area to keep him safe and contact your vet.

Hopefully, your dog won’t experience an emergency. In the meantime, help him stay healthy and fit.

Helping Your Dog Thrive

In addition to understanding canine body language, you can help your dog thrive with exercise, regular outings, and plenty of affection.  Be sure your home is safe, too, by keeping harmful chemicals up high and your floors clear of objects he can swallow. Train him to avoid chewing non-food objects that he can swallow by giving him healthy treats.

For many dogs, food is love but you should avoid feeding him from your table. Instead, pick a dog food brand that is rich in vitamins and minerals that he needs. You may also want to consider giving your dog supplements, such as hemp products like CBD. These can provide essential nutrients that help regulate his gut, enhance his coat, and reduce pain and anxiety, making it a great choice for many dogs.

Learning to communicate with your dog starts with welcoming him into your home and bonding with him. By learning to read his body language, you’ll understand his needs better and bond with him. This can help you and your dog thrive as you build a life-long relationship.

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