Never cut your Morkie’s whiskers – here’s why

Morkie dog whiskers

Part antenna and part sense of touch, whiskers are long coarse hairs on your Morkie’s face. If you cut your Morkie’s whiskers, you can expect him to be grumpy and growly because he’ll be disoriented; even his vision is affected.

funny looking morkie

Called vibrissae because they vibrate, whiskers are long, coarse hairs that act like a dog’s GPS.

About five times thicker than hair, whiskers are sensitive to air currents, touch, or vibrations, so they can help your Morkie find his way, especially in the dark.

Despite a dog’s incredible sense of smell, his vision isn’t so great. Dogs are naturally farsighted (things in the distance are clear, but things closer are blurry).

Add the blocking effect of a muzzle, and most dogs are poor at seeing closer things. That’s where sensitive whiskers really help out.

Whiskers are so important, that 40% of the dog’s brain is set aside to process their signals.

from Psychology Today

How do dog whiskers work?

When a whisker touches a surface or is moved by an air current, it vibrates right down to the nerve, which transmits that message to the brain.

Whiskers are SO sensitive that they can pick up the smallest changes in air currents.

Whiskers themselves have no feeling, but the nerves at their base are highly sensitive to touch or movement.

dog whisker diagram

There are FOUR types of whiskers on dogs, and each one has a special function

types of dog whiskers

A dog’s very long eyebrows (called “superciliary whiskers“) have another function. When they touch something, the dog’s eyes automatically close, so he doesn’t get poked in the eye.

Mystacial whiskers on either side of the upper lips pick up shifts in air currents. A dog can have up to 20 on each side. They’re sometimes called moustache whiskers.

That little tuft of whiskers under your dog’s chin — called an Inter-ramal Tuft — helps him figure out how far away the food bowl is and what’s right under his nose, which is where most dogs have a blind spot.

Genal whiskers grow on the cheeks and help a dog judge the distance to the edges of his environment.


Rats, seals, walruses, and monkeys all have prominent whiskers

Most mammals have whiskers. Biologists think they first developed to help the animal in the dark, especially cats who tend to be nocturnal.

Did you know that a cat’s whiskers grow out to be exactly as long as a cat is wide/high? This is because cats use them to figure out if they can fit somewhere, like in an old box.

While cats have 12 neatly arranged whiskers that form four rows on either side of his face, a dog’s whiskers are random.

Ever notice, when kids draw cats, they always include whiskers; but they rarely draw whiskers on dogs

whiskers on cats
how kids draw dogs

What happens if you cut a dog’s whiskers?

Noooooooo………..Don’t ever cut your Morkie’s whiskers! But if you do by mistake, you should know it can leave him feeling disoriented and lost. The stress might make him cranky and growly.

It doesn’t HURT a dog to cut his whiskers, but it does limit hunting and playing for a while. Dogs NEED their whiskers to get around their environment.

Four more cool things about dog whiskers

1. What are whiskers made of?

Whiskers are the same as hair, but they’re about three times thicker. Whiskers and hair are made from keratin, a strong fibrous protein.

2. Can I pluck my dog’s whiskers?

NO, definitely not. There are so many nerves at the base of a whisker that pulling one out will certainly hurt — quite a bit. Plus, each whisker is deeply embedded, much more so than regular hair.

3. Do dogs’ whiskers fall out?

They do fall out from time to time, and it’s nothing to worry about. A new whisker grows in to replace the old one. However, if your dog is losing a LOT of whiskers at once, it’s a good idea to see your Vet. This could be a sign of something else going on, such as mange or ringworm.

4. Why do groomers sometimes cut off a dog’s whiskers?

Some groomers think that whiskers look scruffy, so cut them off for a clean look. Dogs who are in shows sometimes have their whiskers trimmed off too. But it’s not a good idea. Whiskers are much more than cosmetic; they serve a purpose.


Holiday safety tips for your Morkie

Holiday safety tips for your Morkie

The festive season means time to enjoy family. But keep these holiday safety tips in mind when it comes to your Morkie. Rich foods, certain decorations and more can mean a trip to the Vet.

holiday hazards for dogs

The Top Ten Holiday Hazards for your Morkie


  1. Raisins and grapes
  2. Nuts
  3. Toxic holiday plants
  4. Tinsel
  5. Electric cords, lights
  6. Wrapping paper, ribbons, ties
  7. Onions, chives, garlic
  8. Chocolate
  9. Turkey, bones and fat
  10. Tree preservative

Raisins and grapes are very toxic for dogs. Although scientists don’t know exactly why, this phenomenon is well documented. Dogs of any age or breed can be affected. Grape/raisin toxicity can lead to suddenly kidney failure in some dogs, but not all.

Just another reason to ban fruit cake from your home.

Toxic holiday plants – two of the worst are holly and mistletoe which can cause gastrointestinal problems, difficulty breath and even heart failure!


Nuts. Most nuts are not good for dogs and some are downright dangerous. Macadamia nuts and black walnuts can be lethal in large enough doses. Others like peanuts (not salted, roasted or spiced) and plain cashews are “OK” for dogs in small amounts, but really, they’re best avoided since they’re also a choking hazard for a small dog like a Morkie.

Tinsel and other ornaments – eeewwww, shiny object! Tinsel can be sharp, and if it wraps itself around the intestines or balls up in the stomach, it can mean major surgery to save your pet’s life.

Turkey bones, fat and skin should be kept well out of reach of pets. Cooked bones especially, revery dangerous. After they’re eaten, bones can break off in shards and puncture an animal’s intestines.

Turkey itself can be quite fatty for a dog, unless you stick to a plain piece of white meat with no skin and no gravy. Otherwise your Morkie could get an upset stomach or even a bout of painful pancreatitis.

Onions are, surprisingly, quite toxic for dogs and cats They contain an ingredient called thiosulphate which can damage red blood cells and lead to anemia. In the same family, garlic, chives and leeks should be avoided as well. Some experts say that garlic, prepared properly for dogs, isn’t dangerous and in fact, is good for your pet. But the benefits don’t seem worth it.


Chocolate contains the toxin theobromine. We can easily metabolize theobromine, but dogs process it much more slowly, so it builds up to toxic levels in their system. A small amount can cause major gastrointestinal distress; and a large amount, can even lead to death.

Wrapping paper, ribbons, ties are all attractive to dogs, and all can get lodged in your dog’s stomach or intestines, causing illness and pain.

Electric cords, lights. Curious puppies and kittens can get caught up in the excitement of lights, and bite through, burning themselves and shorting the wires. Keep them out of reach, and/or tape them down.

Tree water. Commercial preservatives typically contain some kind of fertilizer, some type of sugar, and fungicides. Some contain other ingredients such as aluminium sulphate.

The amount that a child or pet could consume isn’t poisonous, but will cause a stomach upset and vomiting.

Christmas tree preservatives aren’t necessary, according to experts – just fresh water is all you need to minimize needles dropping and keep the tree from being super dried out. If you really want to add something, try 1/4 cup corn syrup mixed into 1 quart of water. Keep the tree basin filled.

And a big danger during the holidays

morkie running in field good quality photo

Running away. With people coming and going, the doorbell ringing, and lengthy goodbyes at the door, your Morkie has plenty of chances to sneak out and dash off into the night. Keep him in another room or safe in a carrier cage or kennel while your guests are coming and going.

Can dogs eat turkey?

What to do if your Morkie does eat turkey bones

Don’t panic.

Don’t try to make your dog throw up; better, say experts, to let the bones work their way through….UNLESS your dog is pacing, upset, choking, gagging or licking his lips a lot (a sign of anxiety). In that case, contact your Vet or an Emergency Vet right away.

If he seems alright, feed only soft foods for the next few days, such as rice or white bread. Keep him calm and quiet, and monitor his poop for the bones or bone fragments. 

Keep your dog calm and quiet for the next few days. Monitor his poop carefully for bones or bone fragments. 

If your Morkie has any of these symptoms, contact your Vet immediately:

  • difficulty going poop
  • black or bloody stools
  • vomiting
  • no appetite
  • diarrhea
  • seems to have abdominal pain.  

More tips and ideas for the holidays, including gifts for dog lovers.

Small Dog Syndrome – does your Morkie have it?

Small Dog Syndrome – does your Morkie have it?

If your toy dog is a pain in the neck, he’s probably suffering from Small Dog Syndrome and the problem originates with — YOU! So what exactly IS Small Dog Syndrome, and how do you overcome it?

Is Your Morkie a Spoiled, Snarky Brat?

Symptoms of Small Dog Syndrome 

This syndrome defines the little dog who is spoiled and obnoxious.

It is the caricature of some breeds, like Chihuahuas or toy Poodles.

Yet there’s no biological reason for whiny, entitled dogs; they all started out as canines. But pets with small dog syndrome have been trained to act badly.

This includes:

  • being territorial over areas of the house, toys, food or people
  • biting and yapping
  • growling
  • peeing or marking all over the house
  • ignoring house training or potty training
  • obsessions with certain toys, food bowl or people

You would never accept this behavior from a large dog.

Small Dog Syndrome is NOT the same as Separation Anxiety

sad dog

Separation  Anxiety is a serious problem, not a mere annoyance like Small Dog Syndrome.

A dog with Separation Anxiety is nervous, frantic, sad and agitated when separated from his main caregiver.

There are steps you can take to reduce Separation Anxiety in your Morkie, but it’s likely that the original causes are beyond your control:

  • was your dog removed from the litter too early? Toy dogs should stay with their mothers until they’re at least 8 weeks old.
  • was your dog surrendered to a shelter, abandoned or given to a new family?
  • has the dog lost someone significant in his life?
  • has there been a traumatic event in his early life, such as an attack by a large dog?
  • time spent in a pet shop or an animal shelter
  • being a puppy mill dog

For more about resolving this painful situation, please check out the ASPCA’s article here.

“Small dogs compensate for their size by acting big and tough when they feel intimidated, nervous, upset, threatened or afraid.”

Isn’t Small Dog Syndrome natural?

Small dog syndrome, or the tendency for tiny dogs to be yappy, untrained, snappy and generally obnoxious, is not something that is natural or common to small breeds by nature.

It’s learned behavior that is brought about by the way we owners treat our toy dogs.

As humans, we are programmed by Mother Nature to coddle and take special care of creatures we perceive as ‘babies.’ No surprise, it’s a biological response, and it’s how our race has survived. The problem is, toy dogs, with their big eyes and tiny size, bring out that same “babying” tendency in us, even when they are adult dogs.

So we keep over-compensating for their small size (carrying them everywhere!) and overlooking bad behavior that we would never tolerate in a medium or large size dog.

The good news is, with some understanding of the roots of the problem and active steps to counteract it, you’ll have a happier, healthier and more centered small dog.

spoiled dog


What Small Dog Syndrome is NOT

  • It’s not a high spirit, outgoing dog.
  • It’s not a happy, sociable dog.
  • It’s not a high-personality dog.

A dog with Small Dog Syndrome is a spoiled dog who has decided to take the lead in his or her household. The “SDS Dog” often doesn’t see himself as a dog. 

But doubling down on discipline is not the solution. In fact, it can make an SDS Dog worse!

More firm discipline on its own can actually make Small Dog Syndrome WORSE

How to Conquer Small Dog Syndrome

Remember, your Morkie is:

  • first an animal
  • then a dog
  • then the breed – a Morkie
  • then, and only then, your pet named “X.”

Once you understand your role in treating your Morkie like a little person, not a dog, then you can start taking steps to combat the problem including:

  • stop carrying your little dog all over – do you see a 15-year-old human child in a stroller?
  • don’t let your little dog jump up on you – would it be OK if your dog were a Rottweiler?
  • let your dog know with a sharp verbal correction, incessant barking and yapping are not acceptable. Or withdraw your attention to make your point.
  • don’t let your small dog sit on you to “claim you.” As the owner, you set the time for snuggles.
  • ensure your little dog has his own bed and designated quiet area; a corner or an open door crate works well.
  • don’t encourage hysterical behavior by comforting your dog; just ignore it.

Some truly spoiled dogs featured on

See more.

So what’s a Napoleon Complex and does your Morkie have one?

The Napoleon Complex is named after Emperor Napoleon I of France (1769 – 1821). A French statesman and military leader, he rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars (France vs. Great Britain) 

Portrait of Napoleon

Common folklore about him suggests that Napoleon compensated for his lack of height by seeking power, war, and conquest. His enemies, the British, mocked him as being small and short-tempered.

It turns out Napoleon was of average height for the time (5′ 7″ or so), but the term Napoleon Complex stuck. Today it’s the theory that says people overcompensate for short stature with aggressive social behavior and an attempt to dominate others.

dog dressed as napoleon

Ever thought of having a portrait painted of your Morkie?

This fabulous example, someone’s pet done up like Napoleon 1, was done by  Check them out – the artwork is fabulous.

Want to take better care of your Morkie?

Check out this COMPLETE HANDBOOK for raising a happy, healthy Morkie. From puppy to senior. Includes potty training, feeding, common health concerns, obedience, vaccinations and much more.  Charts, photos, illustrations and easy-to-read text.

Read it on your smartphone, computer, laptop, iPad or reader.

ORDER this invaluable e-book today 

Or read more about the MORKIE MEGA GUIDE e-book.


Order today and take better care of your Morkie

From getting a Morkie, to common health concerns, what to feed your Yorkie-Maltese mix, which deadly vaccinations to avoid — and much more! 

Over 300 pages of vital information.

THE Comprehensive Guide to Morkies

The WORST vaccination for your Morkie!

The WORST vaccination for your Morkie!

You might have heard there’s a disease on the rise in dogtown called Leptospirosis. Three questions pop into your mind —

  • what is lepto-whatever?
  • how common is it?
  • should I get my Morkie vaccinated?

Let’s take a look at those answers.

What is Leptospirosis?

This funny squiggly thing is a Leptospirosis bacterium (that’s a SINGLE bacteria) … it looks a little like a piece of lint, but it’s actually a harmful germ.

The Lepto virus is spread by the urine of infected animals.

Typically, that’s a rodent.

BUT, raccoons, dogs, and even pigs, cattle and horses can carry Lepto. The infected urine goes into the soil, and into the water system where the Lepto bacteria can survive for weeks.

Your Morkie drinks from a stream that’s been infected with rodent urine… BOOM!

Wait!! What??! That’s SOOO unlikely. 

dogs swimming in creek


Dogs swimming in a creek could be at some risk of being exposed to Lepto bacteria. Does that mean they’ll get sick? Not necesssarily.



You may have read some disturbing news about Leptospirosis being in the rise, killing animlas, being spread to humans, etc. But who is spreading this news?  The media, looking for sometning, anyhting, new to print or broadcast.  Vets, who’d love for you to drop by and spend some money, and VACCINE MANUFACTURERS, like Duramune.

Duramune recently published a study showing that 8% of dogs tested positive for Leptospirosis. As points out, “most Lepto infections are subclinical” meaning the dog isn’t sick, he just has antibodies showing he’s been exposed to Lepto. And he’s fine.  NO SYMPTOMS, NO ILLNESS.

Many Vets recommend these non-core vaccines as a matter of course. But are they really necessary?

Probably not.

The Lepto vaccination isn’t necessary, and it is downright dangerous for small dogs.


When any non-core shot is recommended, be sure to ask your Vet about your small dog’s specific chances of getting the disease, the severity of that disease, the success rate of the vaccine and the risks that come with vaccination.

Since you might not get all the answers you deserve, or you might suffer from ‘white coat syndrome’ (feeling intimidated by doctors), or you’re simply confused, please, continue your research into non-core vaccinations.

Non-core vaccines for dogs

The list is long, and includes:

  • parainfluenza virus (CPiV)
  • influenza virus H3N8
  • influenza virus H3N2
  • distemper-measles combination vaccine
  • Bordetella (kennel cough)
  • Borrelia (Lyme disease)
  • canine Corona virus
  • Rattlesnake vaccine
  • LEPTOSPIRA vaccine

The Leptospirosis vaccine is called a KILLER for a reason


They don’t work very well.

thumbs down symbol

Any vaccine can have dangerous side effects; doubly so for SMALL DOGS.

thumbs down symbolthumbs down symbol

They don’t last very long.

thumbs down symbol

How effective is the Leptospirosis vaccine?

Leptospirosis appears in many different strains (over a hundred) including a common one that attacks humans. Vaccinations work against JUST FOUR STRAINS of the disease, but other strains may still hurt your dog.

This vaccine is usually given with several others — it’s the L in combo shots.

Like all vaccines, some of the ‘extras’ or additives can be more dangerous than the product itself. Vaccines are made with toxic ingredients like Aluminium and Thimerosal. 

The vaccine (sort of) protects against FOUR strains of Lepto.

There are OVER 320 strains of Lepto!

Symptoms of Lepto infection

Symptoms of a Lepto infection include fever, muscle pain, vomiting and diarrhea, poor appetite, lethargy, depression, and blood in the urine. In more serious cases, the dog may be jaundiced – Lepto attacks the liver and kidneys. And – this is hard to see in a dog – but look for a yellowing of his gums.

Medical treatment will definitely help a dog with Lepto – milder cases can be treated at home with help from your Vet; very serious cases require hospitalization where your dog will get antibiotics and other medications to control vomiting and diarrhea.

Now look at what the vaccine can do to your Morkie

Adverse reactions to Leptospirosis vaccination

Leptospirosis is a “killed” vaccine. It’s also been called the “killer” vaccine because it is the #1 cause of adverse reactions in small dogs. They can have a severe allergic reaction to the Lepto vaccine, particularly younger dogs and small breed puppies.
In fact, this vaccine has a reputation for being the most likely
to cause reactions, also known as anaphylactic shock reactions (“anaphylactic” = allergic). These include:

  • vomiting
  • severe diarrhea
  • panting and wheezing
  • disorientation, dizziness
  • collapse

The #1 WORST vaccine for small dogs

And the award goes to …. the Leptospirosis vaccine.

It is often called the “killer” vaccine because it is the #1 cause of adverse reactions in small dogs.

Keep your Morkie safe without endangering his health

When does a Lepto vaccination make sense?




Does your small dog go wilderness camping or backwoods hiking with you? Roam on rural property, or drink deeply from creeks and streams? Not likely!

If this isn’t your dog’s lifestyle, this is one you can probably skip. Keep in mind though that at least one Vet supply website ( is warning Vets that they should continue to advise it for their clients’ pets – and to remind clients that even small dogs can come into contact with infected wild animal urine outside. Is this a scare tactic? I think so.


Given the risks, I personally would never get the shot for my small dog and I live in the country. Instead, stay alert to symptoms of the actual infection, and you can reduce the vaccination count by one at least.


A final note about Lepto

Today, the tests for actual Leptospirosis infection are much more accurate than ever and incidents of the illness are reported more frequently and accurately — compared to other illness which is registered probably between 1 and 10% of the time.

That and the new interest in this disease can make you think it’s an epidemic. It’s NOT.


FOR MORE INFORMATION, check out this excellent article by Dana Scott. 

Want to take better care of your Morkie?

Check out this COMPLETE HANDBOOK for raising a happy, healthy Morkie. From puppy to senior. Includes potty training, feeding, common health concerns, obedience, vaccinations and much more.  Charts, photos, illustrations and easy-to-read text.

Read it on your smartphone, computer, laptop, iPad or reader.

ORDER this invaluable e-book today 

Or read more about the MORKIE MEGA GUIDE e-book.


Order today and take better care of your Morkie

From getting a Morkie, to common health concerns, what to feed your Yorkie-Maltese mix, which deadly vaccinations to avoid — and much more! 

Over 300 pages of vital information.

THE Comprehensive Guide to Morkies

How to Tell if Your Morkie is Too Fat

How to Tell if Your Morkie is Too Fat

“Does this make me look fat?” Is there a worse question from a partner or friend? It’s just so awkward because no matter what you say it’s still uncomfortable.But what about a friend who asks you, “do you think Max is overweight?” Max is my friend’s four-yer-old Morkie and yes, he is overweight. In fact, he’s FAT, FAT, FAT. I don’t want to hurt my friend’s feelings because clearly she thinks he is absolutely perfect. But what about the all too real dangers of obesity in our pets?

7 Things Excess Weight Makes Worse in Pets

Almost 60% of dogs in America are dangerously overweight. A pet that’s just 10% to 20% over his ideal weight can suffer from:

  • Canine diabetes.
  • Digestive problems including constipation, flatulence and diarrhea. Phew, who needs it!
  • Serious damage to joints, bones, and ligaments are a direct result of too much weight.
  • Heart disease and high blood pressure.
  • Difficulty breathing – fat pushes on the abdomen wall and there is less room in the for the lungs to fill properly. Overweight dogs often wheeze, unable to take a full, deep breath.
  • Increased chance of cancer could be another risk to your Morkie who’s overweight. The exact link between obesity and cancer isn’t known yet, but why take chances?
  • A shorter life – just like people, dogs with all the burdens overweight causes, simply don’t live as long.

Keep your Morkie fit and trim and she’ll be a happy, lively companion for many years.

How can you tell your Morkie is overweight?

Many of us don’t want to see what’s right there. But there are obvious signs of overweight in dogs. First, from the side, you should be able to see a definite ‘tuck’ at his stomach.


From overhead, what shape is your Morkie?

  • He should have a clear waist, not just go straight down.
is my dog fat
Uploaded by: Wikivisual

Here’s what to look for from a top view of your Morkie

overhead view of your dog  

Three ways you can help your Morkie slim down

1. Cut out dog treats and people food

If your Morkie needs a reward, try a baby carrot or a good ear scratching. Otherwise, cut out all snacks. Today’s commercial dog treats are so high in salt, fat and sugar that they’re addictive. Dr. Ernie Ward, who heads up a not-for- profit organization dedicated to healthier pets, calls them “kibble crack.” If you cut out treats and snacks, your Morkie will also miss also a number of questionable products, including rawhide chew sticks, dental sticks, “greenies” and begging strips.

say goodbye to junk food for dogs

2. Gradually reduce your Morkie’s dog food

Does your Morkie have a health problem that’s making her overweight? Check with your Veterinarian before you start any weight reduction program. Go for a gradual and steady loss of weigh over a number of weeks or even months. Reduce your pup’s calorie intake over several weeks, by carefully measuring your Morkie’s usual meal. Then reduce it by 5% to 10% every two or three weeks. Tip: feed your dog at the same times every day, dividing the food into 3 or 4 portions to help him cope.

slowly reduce your morkie's food

3. Walkies!

Now the hard part: daily exercise.

If you’re not on a regular walking program with your dog, why not start one today.

Start out small and build up over time. For the first week, a 10-minute walk every day will be enough to get the ball rolling. Every week, increase this by 5 minutes until you’re up to half an hour.
Then add a second, short walk per day – starting at 10 minutes. Soon you’ll be up to two 30 minute walks per day and both you and your dog will see excellent results.

Weigh your dog regularly and chart your progress – check pet stores for scales sized to Morkies, or use a baby scale (often on sale online, or available in thrift stores).


Monitor your Morkie’s weight

monitor your dogs weight


Keep an eye on your Morkie’s weight with regular monitoring. Invest in a baby scale and track his weight once a month in a notebook. A pound or two, either way, doesn’t seem like a lot of weight, but it could represent 20% of your Morkie’s weight. That’s like the average 140-pound woman gaining (or losing) about 30 pounds.

baby scale


Baby scales are available online and in stores, or check your local thrift shop.

We're so used to overweight dogs, we don't see it any more.

At least 65% of all dogs in America are overweight.

No wonder our dogs are getting dangerously heavy.

An estimated 160 million Americans are either obese or overweight. Nearly three-quarters of American men and more than 60% of women are obese or overweight. These are also major challenges for America’s children – nearly 30% of boys and girls under age 20 are either obese or overweight, up from 19% in 1980.

– source: The CDC

Read more


Want to take better care of your Morkie?

Check out this COMPLETE HANDBOOK for raising a happy, healthy Morkie. From puppy to senior. Includes potty training, feeding, common health concerns, obedience, vaccinations and much more.  Charts, photos, illustrations and easy-to-read text.
Read it on your smartphone, computer, laptop, iPad or reader.

ORDER this invaluable e-book today 

Or read more about the MORKIE MEGA GUIDE e-book.

Order today and take better care of your Morkie

From getting a Morkie, to common health concerns, what to feed your Yorkie-Maltese mix, which deadly vaccinations to avoid — and much more! 

Over 300 pages of vital information.

THE Comprehensive Guide to Morkies

Diseases from dogs

Diseases from dogs

Owning a dog is proven to be really good for you… lowering your blood pressure, encouraging exercise and even reducing depression. But there’s a downside too. There are some diseases that we can catch from our pets, and some of them are serious.

Diseases you can get from your Morkie

The Center for Disease Control says that the most common diseases you can get from your Morkie are:

  • Campylobacteriosis
  • Dog Tapeworm
  • Hookworm
  • Rabies
  • Roundworm
  • Brucellosis

These diseases aren’t that common, and you can’t always blame the dog.  You can get Campylobacteriosis for example, by eating contaminated food, drinking contaminated water, or having contact with infected animals.


This one is fairly common, but can be caused by bad food, bad water or an infected pet or another animal.  Cross-contamination of foods, eating raw chicken or not washing your hands well are other causes of Campylobacteriosis – which is a leading cause of diarrhea. 


Read more at the CDC

Campy – what???

Break this word into three parts for easier pronunciation – Campy-lo-bacteriosis

Here’s how from YouTube:

Dog Tapeworm

Again stay away from the raw meats if you don’t want to end up with tapeworms. (We’re looking at you, steak tartare). To get tapeworm from your dog or cat, you’d have to swallow an infected flea.


Read more at the CDC


Keep your shoes on and you’ll be safer from hookworm.

These intestinal parasites are more common in dogs and cats, especially puppies. They’re spread from poop and infected soil, so walking barefoot is a no-no. A child might accidentally eat the worm eggs (we don’t even want to know how!)  Hookworm can cause itchy, painful skin or a queasy stomach.

By the way, puppies not treated properly for tapeworm can die.


Read more at the CDC

More worms you COULD get from your Morkie


This one is more serious: roundworm can cause a disease known as toxocariasis, which takes two forms:

  1. Ocular toxocariasis – which can result in vision loss, eye inflammation or damage to the retina when the creature invades the infected person’s eye. Typically, only one eye is affected.
  2. Visceral toxocariasis: this results when Toxocara larvae migrate to various body organs, such as the liver or central nervous system.

Roundworm larvae are fairly common in puppies. This is another reason to ensure your puppy is wormed at the Vet’s and for doubling up on handwashing.

Read more at the CDC


OK, we have to admit: Ringworm is not a worm, it is a contagious fungal infection.

Ringworm shows up as a ring-shaped rash on the skin or a bald patch on the scalp. It passes easily from pets to people, and from people to people, who can get it from direct contact with an infected animal.

Read more at WebMD

Read more at the CDC


Rabies has been all but eradicated in the western world, but it is still found in wild animals like bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes. In other countries, however, dogs still carry rabies.

A virus, rabies is spread by saliva from the infected animal so is spread by a bite. The rabies virus attacks the central nervous system, heads to the brain and eventually causes death. By the time the symptoms have appeared it is often too late to treat the victim.

Vaccinations for rabies keeps the disease in check. Unfortunately, we tend to over-vaccinate our pets and this includes annual or bi-annual rabies shots when one vaccination at the beginning of your dog’s life is usually sufficient to prevent rabies.


And two more – Lyme Disease and Leptospirosis

According to the CDC, it is highly unlikely you’d get either of these diseases from your pet.

Although dogs and cats can get Lyme disease, there is no evidence that they spread the disease directly to their owners.

However, pets can bring infected ticks into your home or yard. Consider protecting your pet, and possibly yourself, through the use of natural tick control products for animals. You can read more about this in my book Ticks on Dogs: Small Dog Nightmare.


Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that your pet COULD get from drinking water contaminated by infected wild animals, mostly rodents. In humans, it may produce no symptoms, or it may come with many, including high fever, headache, chills, aches, vomiting, jaundice, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rash.

To catch Lepto directly from your dog, he would have to be infected, then you would have to have direct contact with urine through broken skin. You CANNOT get the Lepto virus through saliva.

Because there are so many strains of Leptospirosis, and vaccines have proven ineffective, most dog owners are not vaccinating their dogs – and especially not small dogs.

Three sensible ways to control diseases you can get from your dog




1. Hygiene

  • good hand washing goes a long way in deterring these zoonoses
  • keep your dog clean as well – regular bathing and combing helps and it also lets you check on the condition of his skin and coat, often leading indicators of illness in dogs
  • clean up dog poop and urine right away
  • wash your dog’s bedding regularly
  • keep water and food dishes clean, and separate for each pet


2. Common sense

  • get your pets wormed regularly and consider heartworm medication
  • make sure they have veterinarian check-ups at least annually
  • feed your dog a quality diet
  • infants, the elderly or anyone with a compromised immune system, should be extra vigilant about exposing themselves to dangers


3. Watch your dog

  • keep an eye on your dog:  don’t allow him to eat garbage, dead animals or birds or hang out at bird feeders (birds can a number of zoonoses)
  • beware of pet food recalls – especially pet snacks like jerky treats. They are often recalled because of salmonella dangers (visit for regular updates)
  • don’t let your dog eat poop or drink out of the toilet (which would be quite a feat for a Morkie!)


Read more

You can read about all 14 possible diseases and infections you can get from your pets (zoonoses) here at  for more details.

How often should you walk your dog?

How often should you walk your dog?

How often should you walk your dog?

Lots of people get a small dog because they don’t think they need long walks. But small dogs need walks just as much as big ones – so how often should you walk your dog?

There are plenty of benefits for both you and your Morkie, and fall is a perfect time to start a healthy habit like daily walks.

7 Reasons to walk your Morkie every day

  1. Exercise is great for everybody: canine and human. This is a no-brainer reason to walk.
  2. Weight control is easier with regular walking, again, for both you and your Morkie. Small dogs tend to put on weight more easily, since it doesn’t take much and because owners often don’t exercise them enough.
  3. Walking can help relieve constipation.
  4. Gentle, regular walking is a good way to ease arthritis pains.

5. A well-exercised dog is less likely to be destructive at home because he’s had a chance to burn off that excess energy.

6. Walking on a leash is a great way for your Morkie to learn discipline, and to understand that you are the leader of the pack.

7. A walk is a good way to give your dog some mental stimulation too. Dogs love walks because they get to sniff out all sorts of new scents, and maybe socialize with other people and dogs. While you want to keep your Morkie moving, don’t be so extreme that he never gets to “stop and smell the roses.” Those scent trails are VERY important to dogs – they are like their twitter or facebook.

The best leash and collar to use to walk your Morkie

The best collar to use when you walk your Morkie isn’t a collar at all, it’s a harness.

Because both Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese can be prone to collapsing trachea (windpipe), it’s important that your dog doesn’t pull on a collar.

A collar is fine for keeping your dog safe via up-to-date i.d. tags, but for walking, look at a harness to minimize the risk of throat and neck injury.

Pulling on your Morkie’s neck can make tracheal collapse – or collapsing windpipe – worse. Morkies are prone to this disease, because both parents are too.

collapsing trachea illustration

say no to retractable leashes

Just say NO! to retractable leashes

Retractable leashes get the thumbs down from most animal experts. Even Consumers Report has warned how dangerous they can be.

Although they will give your Morkie extra freedom to sniff and poke around, they break more easily; they can wrap around your legs easily, and they teach your Morkie to pull because that’s what releases more leash.

A retractable leash lets your dog get too far away from you, too quickly.

Does your Morkie go crazy when you pick up the leash or mention the word “walk”?

My own dogs can make going out very stressful.

The Yorkie, Tinkerbell, SCREAMS she’s so excited. I’ve finally learned how to manage this. When she starts with over-the-top yelping and screaming because she thinks we’re going for a walk, I say (calmly) No, no. Then stop all actions that will lead to a walk. I put down the leash and go into another room and sit calmly.

Then I try it again. Still going crazy? Then I repeat the actions: say No, drop the leash and go into the other room quietly.

It only took two times and now, she’s just fine when we start out on our walk.

How often should you walk your dog?


Finally, to get back to the question of this post: How often should you walk your dog?

Daily is important. Shorter more frequent walks are often better, but longer walks work too, provided your Morkie has built up to them. Like us, dogs need to ramp up to exercise, not jump in all at once.

Experts say that a brisk walk that is 15 to 20 minutes once a day will mean real benefits for your dog… and for you.

Start slowly, keeping your Morkie’s age and health level in mind. Then build to one or two 20-minute walks a day.

Six Bad Things Good Dog Owners Do

Six Bad Things Good Dog Owners Do

There are millions of pages online about bad dog behavior, but what about bad dog OWNER behavior? Here are six things that bad owners do and they probably don’t even know it.

If you spot yourself in any of these, it might be time for a change.

1. You treat your dog like a baby.

We all love our Morkies a ton, but sometimes it gets a little weird. You know the type of owner I mean: her Morkie’s name is embroidered on her pillows, and there are dog toys of every kind, scattered from kitchen to bedroom to bath. The dog is so spoiled that she would do well on ‘Toddlers and Tiaras.’

If you want to act silly like that, it’s ok. But what about the effect you have on your Morkie? She is a dog, and she wants you to treat her like a dog. It’s in her DNA. Despite how different they seem, your Morkie and a wolf in the wild are closely related and have the same interests: running, sniffing, chasing, barking, rolling in bad smells, and more.

Like the wolf, your Morkie is a pack animal and needs structure and discipline to feel fulfilled, and not frustrated. Your dog wants and deserves your affection, but he also deserves training and exercise. And to be treated like a dog.

your dog and a wolf are the same

2. Your dog is under-exercised and bored.

If your Morkie has bad habits like chewing or barking too much, it could be a cover for something else: he’s bored. Animals have pent up energy, and it needs to be burned off with activity.

That activity includes plenty of exercise even for toy dogs.

It also includes mental stimulation in the form of training and games.

Dogs have had jobs for centuries, from rounding up cattle to hunting or hauling. Even the little Yorkshire Terrier started out earning his way as a ratter in the mines and factories of Victorian England.

Dogs get frustrated if they can’t meet their instincts, and that’s when they start to show signs of aggressive or bad behavior.

So give your dog a job. Two good long walks a day, sniffing out the neighborhood, is a good start; or tossing a toy to fetch, or learning a trick. These are all ways to use up his excess energy and engage his brain.

3. You're acting like your dog's playmate, not pack leader.

If you’ve watched the Dog Whisperer or read any of Cesar Millan’s books, you know how adamant he is that:

• Dogs are pack animals.
• Someone will be the leader of the pack (the alpha dog).
• It better be you.

You’ve just abdicated being the pack leader, and now you’re the follower. Your dog is calling the shots, not you. Instead of following your dog’s lead, make it clear that play begins when she is calm and responsive, and you are ready.

As Cesar Millan reminds us, “Being a pack leader is not a part-time occupation; it’s all the time.”

Being a pack leader does not mean using aggressive, dominant behavior. It simply means you’re in (calm, controlled) charge.

Follow the example of the mother dog. Mother dogs eat before feeding the puppies. They don’t allow puppies to jump on them, and they make it clear when they need some alone time. Take some leadership lessons from the mother dog.

4. You're inconsistent with your dog.

Sometimes you let him jump up on the couch, then you don’t. You have no established daily routine.

You don’t use the same commands, and instead, try to talk to your dog in full sentences. Then you’re surprised when the dog doesn’t follow instructions.

Dogs love routine, and they respond best when they can anticipate what’s coming.

5. Instead of teaching your dog, you punish bad behavior.

When you don’t have the patience to teach your dog proper behavior, chances are you end up frustrated and punishing your dog. Physical punishment is ALWAYS wrong, and it will always result in the loss of trust between you and your dog.


a trained dog is a safe dog

6. You're tense and nervous around your dog.

Because they can sense so much about us, dogs know if we are tense, angry, tired, nervous often better and before we know it ourselves.

Dogs communicate with you and other dogs through hundreds of non-verbal signs, including reading your body language, tone, facial expressions, scent, and much more.

When they’re upset, dogs have two primary responses: fight or flight. If they’re thrown off by your jangled nerves, then chances are the answer will be “fight.” Your Morkie may become aggressive, whiny, bark too much or even nip and bite.

Glucosamine for your Morkie?

Glucosamine for your Morkie?

If you’re worried about your dog’s joints you might want to add glucosamine for dogs to your shopping list.

Glucosamine is an amino-sugar that young healthy dogs produce continually. It helps joints to build and maintain cartilage. Cartilage is vital because it is the tough spongy layer that shields the bones in joints from each other.

As dogs age, they produce less and less glucosamine, which can lead to a painful condition called osteoarthritis, where bones start to rub painfully at the joint. This generates the pain and inflammation of arthritis.

If your dog responds well to glucosamine supplements, he will have healthier cartridge, better mobility, and less pain. Like humans, not all dogs respond to glucosamine, so you need to try it to find out.


normal joint versus arthritis



The AKC agrees

The American Kennel Club (AKC) agrees that no one knows exactly how glucosamine works, but it appears to help build better cartilage to protect against joint degeneration.

Since it has very few side effects it is worth trying because many studies have shown it does provide relief.

What is arthritis?

Inflammation of a joint or joints causing pain and/or disability, swelling and stiffness, and due to various causes such as infection, trauma, degenerative changes or metabolic disorders.

While there is no cure for arthritis, some treatments can lessen pain and improve mobility.

Signs of arthritis in dogs

  • difficulty standing or sitting
  • stiffness getting up or after resting
  • slow, steady weight gain
  • less interest in playing
  • licking certain joints
  • behavior changes like decreased appetite and snappiness or forgetting potty training
  • difficulty getting comfortable at night
  • sudden whining or crying we your Morkie moves or when you’re petting him

Dogs can’t tell us about their arthritis pain

How big will my morkie get? Picture of a morkie puppy

Is glucosamine safe for dogs?

Glucosamine or glucosamine chondroitin for dogs is safe, say Vets, as long as you follow the recommended dosages and directions. Your Morkie’s weight is an important factor in just how much glucosamine is right.

Fortunately, if your dog does get too much, the excess is flushed out in the urine.

Watch your Morkie for any signs of glucosamine allergy

made from lobster shellsGlucosamine supplements are usually made from something called chitin. Chitin is extracted from the crushed shells of crustaceans, which include lobsters, crabs, shrimp, and barnacles. So if your dog has an unusual allergy to shellfish, this could be a problem.

Symptoms of an allergy can include

  • itching
  • cramps
  • vomiting and diarrhea

Glucosamine plus Chondroitin sulfate

Another nutrient called chondroitin sulfate is often combined with glucosamine for dogs.

It combats enzymes that might damage the cartilage and fluid in the joints. Together with glucosamine, it’s like a double whammy for pain and stiffness.

A vet and tech support person, demonstrating good Veterinary careGet the correct diagnosis

If your Morkie seems to have stiff, sore joints it’s important that your Vet diagnose what’s happening before you start treatment. Osteoarthritis is just one possibly with these symptoms. Others could be Lyme Disease, Tetanus or parasites.

6 More Ways You Can Help Relieve Joint Pain for Your Morkie

If your Morkie is showing signs of joint pain and/or osteoarthritis, here are 6 more things you can do to help reduce her struggle:

  1. use area rugs for traction on slippery floors
  2. keep nails cut short
  3. provide a warm, padded bed
  4. never let your Morkie jump down from a bed, chair or sofa
  5. keep food and water within close reach
  6. try skid proof socks

It may take at least 3 months to see an improvement in your dog who is taking glucosamine supplements.

Picking a Brand of Glucosamine

Nutraceuticals – dietary supplements – aren’t regulated by the FDA like regular pharmaceuticals, so it’s important to read labels and take extra care in picking a brand.

Some kibbles include glucosamine, but the quantities available in food like this are far too small.

Some foods like Bone Broth (see my latest post on this wonder food) contain good amounts of glucosamine for dogs.

Or you might choose a specific supplement so you’re sure your Morkie is getting enough of the good stuff.  Check out for more information.

For a rundown of the best glucosamine for dogs, see here.

Keep your Morkie calm this July 4th

Keep your Morkie calm this July 4th

Dogs and fireworks just don’t mix… for most dogs, celebrations like the 4th of July are the worst day of the year. How can you keep your Morkie calm and safe this year? Here are 4 strategies for a happier, safer Morkie this July 4th.

FEAR OF FIREWORKS is completely normal for dogs. Flashing lights, tremendous noise, and crowds all work to keep your Morkie on edge and nervous. Some dogs are extremely fearful and will do anything to escape the anxiety of fireworks. That’s when a dog will try to run away.

In fact, July 4th is the busiest day for shelters and humane societies because of runaway dogs. One year, a runaway Morkie even made the evening news.

Strategy #1: Keep your Morkie away from fireworks

The best place for dogs during big celebrations like the Fourth of July is away.

Put your Morkie in a quiet place, close the curtains, and run the TV or radio to mask sounds.

Include his crate or bed, plenty of toys, food, and water nearby. Check on him from time to time, but don’t baby him or pay too much attention to his fears – it can make him more fearful and needy.

dog cozy in bed safe and sound

Strategy #2: Keep your Morkie safe

Make sure your Morkie is wearing a collar with up-to-date identification, including your phone number.

If people are coming and going, put your Morkie an extra door away from the action so he can’t suddenly slip out.

Make sure windows are secure. Dogs will jump right through a screen in their panic to escape.

Designate one family member to be in charge of the dog. Sometimes everyone thinks the other person is keeping an eye out, and nobody is.

Never leave your Morkie outside in the yard during a get-together. It’s too easy for him to slip away.

safety first on the 4th of july

Strategy #3: Keep your Morkie calm

Try a pressure vest like a ThunderShirt

Experts say they can really help calm an anxious dog.  You can read all about them in my blog post here.

No time to get a ThunderShirt? Try a homemade version with Ace Wraps, thanks to Kathy Coffman and Gracie Girl on Pinterest.

See my other blog post on ThunderShirts here.thundershirt for dog anxiety

Try a calming scent

Dogs sense of smell is many thousands of times stronger than ours, so aromatherapy makes sense. Four scents, in particular, are found to be effective in calming dogs:

  • lavender
  • vanilla
  • coconut
  • ginger

Other scents reported to calm dogs include cedar, orange, and lemongrass.

lavender oil to calm dogs

An old standby: Rescue Remedy


rescue remedy


Rescue Remedy for Pets is available at Amazon and in health food stores and many drugstores.


And two more remedies – Benadryl and D.A.P.

Benadryl liquid is great for your dog’s allergies, and it’s calming. Generally accepted as safe for dogs, children’s liquid Benadryl in a small quantity may work for your Morkie. Don’t give it to him, however, if he’s taking other medications and be sure to get the regular kind, NOT sugar-free. The Xylitol in sugar-free formulas is highly dangerous for dogs.  (Download a free info sheet about Benadryl for dogs here.)

D.A.P. or dog appeasing pheromones are used to keep your dog calm under stressful situations. A popular brand is Adaptil, which comes with an electric diffuser. Other formats are also available, like a wearable collar scent. Read more here.

Strategy #4: Help your Morkie get used to loud sounds

Well-known dog trainer and therapist Victoria Stilwell offers four individual CDs which you play to your dog to help him get used to loud noises. Different types of loud sounds progressively increase over the course of the CDs. You can read more about this canine noise phobia treatment here.

July 4th for people

july 4th is fun for people

July 4th for dogs

July 4th for dogs is a nightmare


3 things to avoid if your Morkie is afraid of fireworks offers these sensible tips:

Don’t baby your dog. If you fuss over her too much, she may get confused and become more afraid. Or she could learn that she gets extra attention or yummy treats when she’s stressed. Act normally. You can play with her, feed or do other fun activities.

Don’t punish her. Do not lock her in a crate or tie her up. She could injure herself trying to get away from the scary sound. She may also believe she’s in trouble for being afraid. Fear is a behavior, not an obedience issue. Your dog isn’t doing anything wrong by being afraid — even if the noise seems harmless to you.

Don’t force her to gut it out. Making your dog endure the sounds — especially without trained supervision — could make things worse.

And one more way to help your Morkie to stay calm

A brisk walk before the festivities begin is always a good idea – “a tired dog is a good (and calm) dog.”

10 Reasons to Neuter/Spay Your Morkie

10 Reasons to Neuter/Spay Your Morkie

10.  Neutering reduces health risks for male dogs.

Neutering your male Morkie eliminates any chance of him getting testicular cancer. It also removes the risk of benign hyperplasia of the prostate gland, prostatitis and perineal hernias in dogs.


9. Spaying reduces Mammary Gland Tumors in female dogs.

The more often a female goes through the hormonal spikes of a heat, the higher the chances of tumors. Once females had several heats, intact female dogs have a one out of four chance of developing mammary tumors.

What is spaying?

In female animals, spaying involves abdominal surgery to remove the ovaries and uterus.

This can be done by traditional open surgery or sometimes through laparoscopic surgery where a very small incision is needed.

What is neutering?

Neutering a male involves making a small incision to remove the dog’s testicles.

Complications or  dangers

Risks are very low in these operations. Many of us don’t want to put our dogs under anesthetic, but deaths related to anesthetic during spaying or neutering or less than 0.05%.

There is some concern that spaying could cause a  little incontinence later for a female, and that neutering could cause less control for a male, leading to ‘dribbling.’

Neutered dogs of both sexes have a 27% to 38% increased risk of adverse reactions to vaccinations, another reason to be selective in how many vaccinations your Morkie gets and how often.

Always review risks with your Vet before any procedure.


When to neuter or spay?

Puppies can be neutered or spayed any time after 8 weeks according to some experts but the trend now is to wait a little longer,  until at least 6 to 8 months. Dogs can also be spayed or neutered as adults, but expect a female who has already been in heat, to cost a little more for spaying.


Recovery period

The ASPCA advises the following – along with following all your Vet’s instructions of course —

  • Provide your pet with a quiet place to recover indoors and away from other animals.
  • Prevent your pet from running and jumping for up to two weeks following surgery, or as long as your veterinarian recommends.
  • Prevent your pet from licking the incision site, which may cause infection, by distracting your pet with treats or by using an Elizabethan collar.
  • Avoid bathing your pet for at least ten days after surgery.
  • Check the incision site daily to confirm proper healing.

8.  Eliminate the danger of Pyometra in females.

Pyometra is a nasty infection of the uterus that strikes up to 15% of female dogs. Surgery is needed FAST to save a dog with this condition but a female whose uterus has been removed doesn’t face this danger.

Symptoms of Pyometra include:

  • Swollen tummy
  • Vaginal discharge.
  • Lethargy.
  • Depression.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Vomiting.
  • Frequent urination. 


7. Males will mark and spray less.

Male dogs who haven’t been neutered are very territorial and will mark their territory with small amounts of urine – all over! And they’ll also spray urine as a sign of dominance. Very messy in your home.


6. Reduce humping!

Or as the Humane Society calls it, “inappropriate mounting.” Both males and females who haven’t been spayed/neutered will often hump your leg… or anyone else’s including your mother-in-law and your boss. That’s just awkward.

5.  Cut down on runaways.

All dogs should be safely fenced or contained; there’s no reason to let your dog have the run of the neighborhood, risking getting hit by a car.  Neutering/spaying reduces your dog’s urge to escape to find a date.

4. Keep your male Morkie from roaming and fighting.

male dogs fighting over a mate


The ASPCA reminds us:

An intact male will do just about anything to find a mate, including finding creative ways escape from the house. Once he’s free to roam, he risks injury in traffic and fights with other male animals.

3.  Avoid messiness and the nuisance of your female dog in heat.

Estrus, the proper name for the female’s heat, is the time when your female Morkie is receptive to mating.

It occurs about every 6 months and lasts 2 to 3 weeks.  Signs of estrus include blood-tinged discharge, which isn’t a huge problem with small dogs like Morkies.  But there are other  annoying behavior changes like:

  • nervous, unsettled more alert – possibly barking more
  • pacing, trouble sleeping
  • urinating much more frequently
  • humping other dogs, toys, your leg
  • howling, whining
  • attempts to get out of your home (to find a mate)

female dog in heat

Females in heat have to wear a kind of doggy diaper that makes going potty difficult. They’re never too happy with it either.

2.  Your Morkie will probably live longer spayed or neutered.

Longer life? Neutered pets live longer than intact pets – that’s a proven fact. However, it’s not clear if that’s because owners who neuter their pets generally take better care of them, or if the actual neutering extends a dog’s life.

Whatever the reason, we all want our Morkies around as long as possible.


neutered and spayed pets live longer

The #1 reason to spay or neuter your Morkie

10.  There are too many dogs in the world already

Those who can’t find homes are euthanized – put down – killed – however you want to express it, in the U.S. alone, more than 4,000,000 cats and dogs—about one every eight seconds—are put down in shelters each year. Do we need more litters? No, and none by accident.

there are too many dogs in the world



Thundershirt for Dogs

Thundershirt for Dogs

Amelia’s Maltese Button suddenly started biting and chewing on himself. He started nuisance barking and had started hiding and growling. Button was normally a very calm and loving dog (except if she saw a squirrel) so Amelia was concerned.

A visit to the Vet didn’t uncover any physical problems and more walks didn’t help either. Amelia gave her pup a little more attention, more snuggles and petting to try and calm her, but nothing worked. Finally, Amelia realized that the problem was major noise from next door. The neighbors were renovating and contractors had been in every day with heavy equipment, tearing down walls and pulling up concrete. 

Noise anxiety

Noise anxiety is a very common problem for dogs, especially small dogs.

Typically, it is triggered by thunder or fireworks, but any sudden and loud noise can trigger an anxiety that’s hard to see in your pet.

A dog with noise anxiety can have symptoms including trembling, biting, excessive barking, hiding, growling, submissive urination and more. outlines 3 levels of dog anxiety and fear:

Mild fears: signs may include trembling, tail tucked, withdrawal, hiding, reduced activity, and passive escape behaviors
Panic: signs may include active escape behavior, and increased out-of-context, potentially injurious motor activity. Classic signs of sympathetic autonomic nervous system activity, including diarrhea
Anxieties: lesions secondary to anxious behavior (such as licking and biting at the self)

Treating Noise Anxiety

Changing the environment is the obvious treatment for a dog with noise anxiety; don’t take him to fireworks displays, keep him close during the thunder, and so on.

You can also talk to your Vet about a variety of prescription medications. Some are given regularly for the life of the dog, and some are used only during the anxiety event.

If you go this route, be sure to talk about side effects and long term risk any drug might pose.

Another option is behavior training therapy, which CAN work but takes time. 

Pressure Wraps for dog anxiety

Pressure Wraps for dog anxiety also called a dog anxiety jacket, a pressure wrap works Much like swaddling an upset baby. Gentle pressure wraps for dogs work surprisingly well.

You can buy the popular ThunderShirt, or make your own by modifying an old t-shirt. The principal is the same: light and constant pressure is applied to the dog’s torso and chest.


a pressure shirt for dogs is like swaddling a baby

ThunderShirt is the leading pressure vest for dogs, and is available in all sizes and colors

Here’s what a pressure wrap like the ThunderShirt can help:


  • canine separation anxiety
  • noise anxiety
  • social anxiety

Questions and answers about pressure vests for dogs.

How long can you keep a ThunderShirt on a dog?

The makers of ThunderShirt advise:

When properly sized and properly put on with a comfortably snug fit, your dog should be very comfortable. If your dog will be wearing a Thunder- Shirt for more than one hour at a time, we recommend removing ThunderShirt every one to two hours during the initial periods to check for any signs of irritation points.

Once your Morkie is used to the ThunderShirt, he can wear it comfortably for extended periods, but it should be removed TWICE A DAY.


Does the ThunderShirt really work?

Although we don’t know precisely how they work, pressure wraps like the ThunderShirt do work. The wrap creates pressure points which may help release calming hormones.

A properly fitted pressure wrap is calming for your dog and can help reduce anxiety and fear, without the use of any drugs or medication.


Is ThunderShirt washable?

Yes, the manufacturer advises that the ThunderShirt can be washed in a regular cycle using regular laundry detergent and cold water. Hang to dry. 


How long does it take for the ThunderShirt to work?

Put ThunderShirt onto your dog or cat, and you will likely see results with the very first usage – no training necessary. However, for some, it may take two to three usages to see maximum results. For some more serious anxiety cases, such as severe separation anxiety, you should consult a good trainer for how to integrate ThunderShirt into a training program.

How much is a ThunderShirt?

You can order one online at Amazon for about $45 or visit your local pet supply store. 

A happy ending for Amelia and Button

At her wit’s end because of Button’s anxiety, Amelia heard about the ThunderShirt and decided to give it a try.

After wearing it just twice, Button was free of his sudden anxiety symptoms and life returned to normal.

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