This year we should all send our appreciation to all the essential workers who have been putting their safety on the line and working during the Covid-19 pandemic. We will be closed today to let our staff spend time with their family.
Why dogs love to eat socks is a question for the ages. I mean, why socks? They are smelly and kinda gross. Is this how they show love? Do they like the taste? Is something about chewing on socks enjoyable instead of their toy?
Ok, so what is the big problem if your dog chews on your socks. Yes it is gross but what else?
Stomach upset: Dog toys are designed so your dog does not eat them and if they do swallow parts, it should pass through their system without issue. A sock is not a dog toy, despite what your dog tries to tell you. Though there are not likely to be any toxins in your sock if your dog eats the sock it can put him at risk of gastrointestinal issues ranging from a simple tummy upset to a serious blockage that can lead to surgery or death.
Expensive habit: Socks are not cheap. You do not want to have to create a sock budget just because your dog is putting holes, or completely swallowing, your socks.
There are few reasons why dogs like to chew on socks. For one, it is a pleasurable experience for them. They like the feel of the sock in their mouth. Boredom is a factor. If your dog is bored, they may look around for things to chew on and socks are easy targets. Acting out can be a cause of sock chewing. Dogs that are having anxiety issues or are emotionally upset about something may try to destroy something that is yours and a sock is an easy target. The biggest reason is the smell. It may be gross to you but it is great to them. Your dog loves you and they want to be close to you. Smelling and chewing on something that smells like you is another way they express love and affection.
If you notice your dog chewing on your socks you will likely want to do some behavioral training. Take the sock away from them and tell them no. Give them alternative things to chew on. If training does not work, try keeping your laundry out of reach of your dog, or at least your sock pile. If your dog has been eating socks and you are concerned that they are having a gastrointestinal issue please call your Albuquerque veterinarian immediately.
With Labor Day coming up, this is a great time to celebrate some of our unseen laborers, the service dog. Service dogs use to meant seeing eye dogs. The role of the service dog has greatly expanded and they have become more more common members of our society.
A service dog is a dog that helps someone with a disability. That dog has been trained to perform tasks specifically for the person with the disability. and has had specialized training for the disability. The disability can be mental or physical.
Kinds of Service Dogs
There are many different kinds of service dogs, and we don’t mean breeds, though there are many different breeds of service dogs as well.
Guide dogs that help people with vision problems from impairment to full blindness.
Hearing dogs to help deaf and hard of hearing people.
Mobility dogs that assist people in wheel chairs or with moving imparements.
Medical alert dogs that detect the onset of medical issues such as low blood sugar (diabetes), anaphylaxis, seizure.
Mental health dogs to help with OCD, PTSD, schizophrenia, anxiety.
These dogs are working dogs, they are not pets. This can be confusing because we are use to dogs being pets. When these dogs are with their humans they are working. This means they are taking care of their human. Never pet a service dog without asking their human first. Many people do not want their dog to be distracted when they are working. Are they always working? No. They are given time off from work. Their “down time” is usually defined by the type of training they have.
The Bigger the Dog the Bigger the Service?
There are many different breeds of dogs that become service dogs. The size of the dog is important to the kind of service they are providing. You would not want to have a chihuahua pull a wheel chair but they could be good for PTSD or hearing services.
German Shepherds, Labs, and Golden Retrievers are the most common guide dogs.
The breed of the dog is less important than the training. These dogs are extensively trained to be desensitized to distraction, to be reliable, and perform very specific tasks. They are trained to only respond to their owners while they are working and to always be paying attention to their human in case the human becomes in need. Trying to distract a service dog is not like trying to get the Queen’s guard to smile. They are helping and protecting their human. Getting distracted could be dangerous to the health and safety of their human.
The Service Uniform
There is no required uniform for a service dog. If someone tells you their dog is a service dog and the dog is not wearing anything that does not mean that they are not a certified service dog. On the other side, a dog wearing a special harness or vest does not mean that dog is an actual service dog. A good example of this are emotional support animals. These are animals that are meant to provide comfort to their human and help with many mental/emotional conditions such as anxiety, but these dogs are not trained as service dogs. For the dog to qualify as a service dog they have to be trained in specific tasks related to the disability. Being a comforting presence is highly valuable but does not qualify as a true service dog. Therapy dogs are the same as emotional service dogs. They provide happiness and comfort and provide incredibly valuable services but they are not official service dogs.
Training a Service Dog
A service dog is not required to be professionally trained. Anyone can train a service dog. There are also training classes you can take to train your service dog.
If you are considering training your own service dog you want to look for certain qualities in the dog:
Calm in unfamiliar settings
Alert or paying attention without being reactive
Good in a variety of different situations and enviornments
Reliable and consistent
An interest in pleasing their human
If you are interested in getting a service dog, there are a lot of trainers/breeders out there that can match you with your perfect service dog to fit your specific disability.
On this labor day as we recognize the hard working people of this country, especially our essential workers who have been showing up to work in the face of Covid-19, lets remember that our service dogs are essential workers too.
The information provided on this website is written by Vetco staff. All information is meant to be informational and is not meant as veterinary advice. If you have a health question regarding your pet, their treatment or anything concerning their veterinary care, please call Vetco to consult with a veterinarian.