Home-made treatment to stop scent-marking is condemned
A bizarre practice to stop pet dogs scent-marking has shown its first signs of having arrived in this country from the United States.
So-called belly banding has been spotted this week by the staff at an animal charity, when a young dog was admitted as a stray.
Using an amateur technique now widely available online, the dog arrived with a fabric band tied around its middle, with a sanitary towel placed inside it, pushing against the dog’s penis and stomach.
While the activity may be made with all good intentions and is not regarded as an act of cruelty, it can hide medical issues such as diabetes, bladder stones and urinary tract infections.
It concerns me that this is something so easily available online for people to copy
Equally, the practice of belly banding could lead to the dog becoming ill, with issues like skin rashes and urinary tract infections occurring if the area is not cleaned regularly.
“The idea is that the penis is pushed against the body to stop the dog wanting to urinate,” said Wendy Kruger, dog training consultant at the Wood Green animal welfare charity in Godmanchester in Cambridgeshire, where the practice came to light.
“In the case that we saw, certainly the owners who came to claim the dog were very much loving dog owners, but they had found out about the process and just had no idea that this could ultimately be harmful, or that it was really just masking a relatively easy behavioural issue to solve.”
Scent-marking is not uncommon among dogs, but it may be happening for a number of reasons – from lack of confidence, to having never been taught to use appropriate locations to urinate.
Kruger said: “This just isn’t a practice we’re comfortable to hear about or see. Scent marking can be easily solved by things like taking the dog out and rewarding him for toileting in appropriate places, and always ensuring the dog is in the same room as you.
“We always encourage owners to consider neutering as scent-marking can in part be driven by hormones.
“It concerns me that the idea is something so easily available online for people to copy and that owners may think it’s a quick fix. Instead of going this route I would urge them to call us and let members of our behavioural service discuss how to better overcome issues of scent-marking for the long-term.”