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Six Ways to Keep from Going to the Dogs

We love our dogs. We take them for regular check-ups and walks. We make sure they have the best caretakers and quality nutrition. But, let’s face it — sometimes life as a dog mom can be stressful. From Fido pooping in the house to incessant barking to unexpected medical bills, your blood pressure can skyrocket in seconds.

And unfortunately for some dogs, fairly fixable instances like these can break down that dog-human bond, landing dogs in shelters.

Fortunately, a bit of planning ahead can be a game-changer and make your life with Fido a lot more fun.

Related: Safe Spaces … for Your Dogs [1]

Below are some common stressors and expert-suggested solutions to help curb the crazies at the best time — before it starts.

1.) The worst habit of all — you know what that is. None of us wants our dog to re-eat its dinner. It’s just gross. “There are lots of theories out there as to why they seem to enjoy this disgusting pastime, but the most widely accepted is that they’re trying to reclaim digested protein,” says veterinarian Dr. Christie Long.

Even if this is the case, it does not make the habit any less nauseating.

Tips:

2.) When walking the dog is the last thing you want to do. I’ll be the first to admit that which of us walks our dogs during a rainstorm — or when we’re exhausted — has definitely started a few fights in my household. And my home isn’t the only one that likes to avoid walks sometimes.

According to the American Animal Hospital Association, 40 percent of dog owners don’t take their dogs for walks. However, not only does walking the dog give your dog a potty break, it pays off in other ways too — making your dog tired and less anxious, keeping his or her mind stimulated (which can help delay canine cognitive dysfunction), increasing the bond between you both, and helping your dog with socialization. So regular walks are important, but what can you do to help de-stress those moments when grabbing the leash is the last thing you want to do?

Tips:

3.) The hassle of housetraining. Most new dogs in a new situation will likely need some form of housetraining, no matter how great their bladder control is. Helping a new canine member of your household understand that peeing is for outside only is critical in creating a happy and healthy space for the whole family. However, if you haven’t done it in a while, housetraining is not fun. Here’s a bit of shorthand I’ve learned after fostering, pet-sitting and adopting scores of dogs over the last 16 years.

Tips:

4. Vet bills and emergencies. We can’t predict the future, and if you’re like a lot of dog moms, unforeseen or unplanned costs can cause some big-time stress. When accidents occur, not only are you worried about your dog, but you’re worried about how much it’s going to cost to diagnose and (one hopes) treat the issue.

Likewise, even routine tests and procedures can add up at Fido’s regular checkup. So what can help take cost out of the equation?

Tips:

5. Finding a dog-friendly home when moving. Moving is, in and of itself, one of the most stressful experiences, and having a dog can indeed make it a bit harder. Sadly, pet-friendly housing is at a premium, so to combat such obstacles, give yourself lots of time to prepare, schmooze and research.

Tips:

6. Finding someone to care for your dog when you’re away. When it’s time to take a break from life, we can’t always bring our beloved dog on vacation with us. And for those of us who take business trips, Fido tagging along is not always an option.

Tips:

We’re only human and sometimes, try as we might, we can’t shake the frustration we have toward our canine companions.

Related: The Power of a Pooch [2]

After all, having a dog in our lives gives us both enormous joy, entertainment and responsibility for another life. It’s bound to cause a bit of friction at times. Along with preventing stressful situations before they arise, it’s important to remember we are in control of how we respond to any situation. When in the moment, try some of the classics: count to 10, breath deeply and if you can, it’s OK to take a break from Fido.

Go ahead. Go for that walk … alone.

This article originally appeared in SheKnows [3] and is used by permission. 

Read more at SheKnows:
9 Ways to Reduce Parental Anxiety That Actually Work
11 Early Signs of Pregnancy You Shouldn’t Be Ignoring
15 Affordable Ways to Elevate Your Living Room [4]