How to Potty Train Using Training Pads

30 Aug 2014 | Filed in Dog Training

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Perhaps you aren’t at home during the day to take your puppy outside to potty or maybe it is insistent upon relieving itself in your house instead of when you take it outside. Whatever the reason, using training pads as a way to teach your puppy not to go on the floor can solve your problem. Once your puppy learns that the pad is the only appropriate area to potty, it will cease going on your floors. 1Designate an area for your puppy while you are teaching it to potty on the pad. If necessary, set up a baby gate to confine it to a certain area, particularly one with hard floors that are easy to clean.

2Spread training pads all over the surface of the confined area of floor at first so that the puppy won’t miss its mark. If you just put one or two pads in the area, you can’t expect the puppy to know that’s where you want it to go.

3Remove soiled training pads and replace them with fresh ones as needed. Make note if there’s a specific area the dog tends to relieve itself upon.

4Remove a training pad every three days, but not the ones that cover the areas the puppy seems to favor.

5Keep removing training pads every three days until there’s just one left. Discard and replace the training pad as needed.

How to Stop Dog Litterbox Snacking

25 Aug 2014 | Filed in Dog Problems

People may find this habit hard to understand, but many dogs tend to indulge in eating feces — their own or those of other animals.

Here are a few reasons why your dog might eat poop:

Mother dogs eat their pups’ stool to keep the whelping area clean, and pups may mimic this behavior. This behavior tends to fade during adulthood, but some dogs continue throughout life.

Some dogs indulge due to boredom, stress or because they consider it a sort of delicacy.

Dogs have fewer taste buds than humans and that may be part of why they seem to be less selective than we are in regards to what they will put into their mouths.

In some cases there may be an underlying medical cause, such as lack of sufficient nutrients in the diet. Be sure to check with your vet to rule this out as a possible cause.

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ThinkstockIf your dog is eating his own poop: This problem is fairly easy to resolve. Since it’s easy to predict elimination when your dog is on a walking schedule, promptly discard feces so your dog does not have access to them. If possible, bring a toy with you to distract your dog as you clean up (allowing him to focus on you cleaning up his stool may inadvertently increase its perceived value).

If your dog is eating your cat’s poop: Put the litter box in an area where your dog can’t have access to it or confine your dog in an area away from the box.

Regardless of whose stool your dog is eating, avoid reprimanding them for doing so, as this may result in your dog simply waiting to do it when you are gone. If you catch your dog, try to remain calm, as your urgency might exacerbate the problem.

Will Canine Lupus Shorten a Dog’s Life?

21 Aug 2014 | Filed in Dog Life Style

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If Lucy is limping around and having difficulty getting up in the morning, you might suspect arthritis. But with your dog’s lameness switching from one leg to another, and the presence of scaly, red sores, it’s likely something else is wrong. These symptoms, along with testing, may lead your vet to diagnose canine systemic lupus. It’s an autoimmune disease that’s as serious as it sounds, and it could possibly shorten Lucy’s life.

Potentially Fatal

Lupus is a chronic disease meaning once Lucy has it, lifelong treatment will be necessary. She’ll have her good days and bad days as the disease goes into and comes out of remission. Becky Lundgren, D.V.M. wrote in her article “Systemic Lupus Erythematosus” for VeterinaryPartner.com that the disease is potentially fatal. Canine lupus is capable of shortening a dog’s life because it causes her immune system to attack her own tissues and cells. Occasionally the resulting cell damage can lead to death.

Difficult Diagnosis

Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to keeping lupus from affecting Lucy’s life span, but diagnosing it can be difficult. The symptoms are difficult to pin down because not all dogs show the same signs. Additionally, the ones you’ll notice, such as fever, lameness and skin and mouth sores will come and go. This can keep you from recognizing the condition as serious. Blood tests have to be done to confirm other symptoms such as anaemia, thyroiditis and antinuclear antibodies.

Prevention is Problematic

The cause of canine lupus isn’t known, although some factors have been suspected as having an effect on which dogs develop the disease. Lucy could be genetically predisposed to having canine lupus, or a viral infection or a drug reaction could bring it on. Because of the uncertainty surrounding the cause of lupus in dogs, there’s no sure-fire way to prevent any dog from getting it, other than keeping a dog who has it from breeding to avoid perpetuating the disease.

Caring for a Dog With Lupus

Treating Lucy’s lupus with immunosuppressive drugs and corticosteroids can reduce the chances of the disease damaging her tissues and cells. That can go a long way toward ensuring the illness won’t cut her life short. At home, you can do your part by encouraging rest during her flare-ups, even crating her if necessary to keep her from overexerting. Bright sunlight can increase the frequency of those flare-ups, so helping her to avoid intense sunlight is beneficial. Pet MD notes that if Lucy’s kidneys have been affected by the disease your vet likely will put her on a low protein diet, too.

Health Defects Due to the Overbreeding of Pets

19 Aug 2014 | Filed in Dog Health

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As soon as a breed of dog or cat becomes popular, careless overbreeding increases. Inattention to selecting the hardiest, healthiest animals for breeding causes health defects in the pet population.

Eye Problems

Dry eye (which can cause corneal scarring) is prevalent in Lhasa apsos, pugs and Shih Tzus. Dachshunds bred for a dappled coat are often born blind or with undeveloped or no eyes.

Hearing Loss

The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals reports that genetic deafness occurs in 80 dog breeds, primarily Great Danes, Dalmatians, collies and Old English sheepdogs. This defect is closely linked to white pigmentation.

Joint Problems

Careless breeding results in abnormal hip development (canine hip dysplasia) in large dog breeds like the golden retriever. Small dogs, such as the Chihuahua, are prone to dislocating kneecaps (patella luxation).

Breathing Problems

Breeding dogs and cats for excessively flat faces causes respiratory problems, especially in the Pekingese and bulldog and the flat-faced Persian cat.

Birthing Difficulty

Over 92 percent of Boston terriers are born through cesarean section, with bulldogs close behind at 80 percent, according to Telegraph.co.uk. This is due to selectively breeding for extremely large heads.

Degenerative Disk Disease

Some dogs are genetically predisposed to spinal injuries, especially dachshunds, due to their elongated spines. This often leads to paralysis in adulthood.

More on Dog Anal Gland Care

16 Aug 2014 | Filed in Dog Gooming

You might have seen one of the many videos online where a dog is scooting his butt across the floor in a most humorous way. Not only is it unfair to the dog, who has no idea millions of people are laughing at his expense, it’s also a sign of a potentially serious problem – infected anal glands.

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ThinkstockYou might be a little embarrassed to talk to the vet about this, but it’s vital that you do. Learning how to care for your dog’s anal glands will help him stay healthy and may save you the cost of an emergency visit to the vet later on.

Anal glands are a dog’s calling card — they emit some fluid when pressured by urinating or defecating and that same fluid has your dog’s own unique smell. They can also release the smell when a dog is excited, as when meeting another dog. If the glands aren’t expressed naturally and regularly, they become impacted which can lead to infection or even a rupture.

Regular Care of the Anal Glands

Some dogs never have a problem with their anal glands so it’s up to you to be aware of the warning signs. The famous scoot across the floor is a good indication that your dog needs his anal glands expressed. Other signs are a fishy odor around your dog’s behind or soft stool.

The Role of Nutrition

By feeding your dog quality dog food with fewer cereal fillers, he will likely produce firmer stools, which will naturally express the anal glands. Be sure to check with your vet before starting any supplements.

Having a Professional Express the Glands

This is really recommended as an expert is less likely to hurt your dog and can do it quickly and efficiently. You can bring your dog to the vet to get the glands expressed when you notice a sign that they’re impacted. You can also bring him to a professional groomer. A groomer is a good choice because she likely sees your dog every few months and, thus, there’s less time that the glands are going unchecked.

Doing It Yourself

This is not recommended, but if you have no other option but to express the glands yourself, here are some simple instructions. The key is to be calm, prepared, and as quick as possible as this is not a pleasant experience for your dog. First, locate the glands. They are at about five and seven o’clock on either side of his anal opening. Next, wearing latex gloves, apply firm but gentle pressure to the glands. Hold a warm cloth over the opening to prevent a squirt of the nasty fluid. Some fluid should be expelled from the opening. Do not repeat the process; simply wipe your dog with the washcloth and reward him.

Vegetables For Dogs

10 Aug 2014 | Filed in Dog Food

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Dogs always seem to be hungry, and they just love “people food.” So when you are looking for a healthy treat to add to your dog’s diet, try vegetables safe for dogs. Not only are vegetables filled with vitamins and minerals, but the non-starchy vegetables are also low in calories and fat and provide fiber that promotes healthy digestion.

As with all dog food items, portion size is important. Keep your dog’s veggie treats small and talk to your vet about adjusting your dog’s food intake if you are supplementing your dog’s diet with vegetables. Vegetables may be low in calories, but they are not zero calories. Also make sure your dog does not choke on the vegetable in the excitement of eating them.

Watch out for any adverse reaction, such as nausea or loose stools. Sometimes vegetables will cause gas in your dog, so don’t overdo the amount you give him. If you are giving your dog the vegetable for the first time, give him just one small piece and observe his reaction before increasing the size or amount.

There are many ways to serve vegetables for your dogs other than raw, such as cooked, steamed, baked, roasted, grilled or dehydrated. Dogs do enjoy vegetables raw as a yummy treat; however, they have short digestive systems and do not get as many nutrients out of eating vegetables raw as we humans. A good way for dogs to get the full nutrients of the vegetables is to break them down in a pureed form. No matter how you prepare the vegetables for your dogs, do not use salt. Dogs don’t always care for it and it is not good for dogs with heart conditions.

The following are 11 safe, good vegetables for dogs, with suggested cooked preparations and portion sizes for treats.

Asparagus

Preparation: Remove the fibrous ends from the asparagus spears and wash them thoroughly. Toss them with olive oil and grill 30 to 60 seconds on all sides.

Dog treat portion size: Cut into bite size pieces. Feed one to two pieces.

Benefits: Great source of Vitamin K. Good source of Vitamins A, B1, B2, C and E, folate, iron copper, fiber, manganese and potassium.

Broccoli florets

Preparation: Cut broccoli into small florets and wash thoroughly. Place in a steamer and follow the directions. Using a stove, put florets in an open vegetable steamer in a pot with boiling water and cover. Steam for about 6 to 8 minutes until crisp yet tender and bright green. You can also microwave them by putting 2 cups of broccoli florets in a microwave-safe container along with an inch of water for about 5 minutes.

Dog treat portion size: One or two bite size florets

Benefits: Great source of Vitamins C and K. Good source of Vitamin A, folate, manganese and fiber.

Brussels sprouts

Preparation: Choose Brussels sprouts that are green, feel firm and don’t smell too strong. Wash thoroughly and cut off the stems, leaving enough stem that the leaves are still intact. Some chefs advise cutting a little X to in the stem to help the core to cook. You can then microwave the sprouts with water for up to 8 minutes, steam them for 5 minutes or boil the sprouts for up to 10 minutes – a little less for more crunchiness.

Dog treat portion size: 1/2 to 2 sprouts, depending upon the dog’s size

Benefits: Great source of vitamins K and C. Good source of manganese, folate, fiber, potassium and vitamins A, B1 and B6.

Carrots

Preparation: Remove ends and thoroughly wash. Cut into bite size treats and cook in a pot of boiling water for about 10 minutes or steam for two to six minutes until tender.

Dog treat portion size: One or two bite size pieces

Benefits: Great source of vitamin A. Good source of vitamins K and C, fiber and potassium.

Cauliflower

Preparation: Wash thoroughly. To grill the cauliflower, leave a little stalk intact. Marinate the cauliflower for 30 minutes in olive oil and then grill for 5 to 6 minutes on each side until crisp yet tender.

Dog treat portion size: 1 to 2 florets, depending on the dog’s size

Benefits: Great source of vitamin C. Good source of vitamins K and B6, folate and choline.

Cucumbers

Preparation: Wash thoroughly, peel, cut in half and remove seeds. Cut into bite size pieces. Place pieces into pot with boiling water for about 5 minutes. Empty pot into strainer. If the cucumbers are a bit bland, you can add dog-safe seasoning. (No salt)

Dog treat portion size: 1 to 2 bite size pieces

Benefits: Good source of vitamin K.

Edamame

Preparation: Edamame is conveniently available as a frozen vegetable in your local food store. Steam these boiled green soy beans according to the directions on the bag.

Dog treat portion size: One to five unsalted, out-of-shell beans. Note: Always watch your dog eat small food items as he could choke on them in his excitement to gobble them down.

Benefits: Great source of protein, iron, fiber, vitamin K, Omega-3 fats, phosphorus, vitamin B2, potassium, copper and magnesium.

Green beans

Preparation: Wash thoroughly and cut off ends. Use a covered pot to cook green beans in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Serve when cool. You can also cook green beans, brown rice and chicken in chicken broth to serve dogs with an upset tummy.

Dog treat portion size: 1 to 2 bite size pieces

Benefits: Good source of vitamins C, K and A, manganese and fiber.

Peas

Preparation: Fresh peas are usually available as snow, sugar snap or English peas. English peas must be shelled. Snow and sugar snap peas’ shells are edible. You can grill sugar snap and snow peas for about 3 minutes on each side, first lightly coating with olive oil if you prefer. For English peas, you need to shell them first. Cook the peas (minus their pods) in boiling water only two to four minutes until they turn bright green. Drain in a colander.

Dog treat portion size: One or two Sugar snap or snow peas. For English, 1 or 2 tablespoons – depending on the dog’s size

Benefits: Great source of vitamin K, and C. Good source of manganese, fiber, folate, phosphorus, protein, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, potassium and vitamins B1, A, B6, B3 and B2.

Sweet potatoes

Preparation: Sweet potatoes make a great chew if you dehydrate them. Cut them lengthwise, 1/4-inch thick. Just follow the vegetable dehydration instructions included your dehydrator. You can also feed your dog mashed sweet potatoes. To prepare, peel and wash potatoes. Cut into quarters. Put into boiling water in a large pot and simmer for about 20 minutes. Test potatoes with a fork. When they are fully tender, remove from pot, place in a heat-resistant container and mash with a potato masher.

Dog treat portion size: Half or one dehydrated chew, depending on size of dog. Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of mashed sweet potato in dog’s dry dog food.

Benefits: Great source of vitamin A. Good source of vitamins C, B6 and B5, manganese, potassium and fiber.

Potatoes

Preparation: Wash thoroughly, and slice into narrow wedges. Don’t peel the potato. Coat with a little olive oil and place on cookie sheet. Roast in oven (425 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least 20 minutes on each side. Roast longer if your dog likes them crispier.

Dog treat portion size: 1 or 2 wedges, depending on dog’s size

Benefits: Good source of vitamins C and B6, potassium, manganese and fiber. Remember, too, that there are some vegetables you should not feed to your dog. Never offer your dog onions or fresh garlic. Talk to your veterinarian if you have questions or concerns regarding vegetables and your dog’s diet.

The Best Dog Breeds for Truffle & Mushroom Hunting

9 Aug 2014 | Filed in Dog Breeds

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Truffles, among the world’s most expensive delicacies, are fungi that grow under the soil and leaf litter at the roots of several tree species. They require dogs or pigs to find them. The Italian dog known as the Lagotto Romagnolo is specifically bred for truffle hunting, but other breeds are suited to learning the task. Not only must you train these dogs to find truffles, but you must train them not to eat the little fungus fruits. The same canines that hunt for truffles can also find morels.

Truffle and Mushroom Hunting

Any dog can potentially become a truffle or mushroom hunter, but not every breed is perfectly suited to the task. You can try out your dog’s skills at truffle hunting clinics held throughout the country. The training period for “professional” truffle hunting canines lasts between two and four months. If you want to purchase a well-trained dog specifically for truffle or mushroom hunting, expect to pay in the six figures.

Lagotto Romagnolo

Originally used as a water dog in the Italian marshes, the Lagotto Romagnolo has been used for truffle hunting since at least the 19th century. Between the end of World War I and the start of World War II, the breed was used by virtually all Italian truffle hunters. The medium-size, curly-haired canine appears in various shades of brown. Besides his keen nose for mushrooms, this smart dog is easy to train and makes a good family pet.

Detection Breeds

Dogs that shine at detection work often succeed in truffle hunting. These breeds include the German shepherd and Belgian malinois, dogs used by law enforcement and security agencies worldwide. Not only are these dogs talented truffle hunters, but they’re also smart and easily trained, and they possess a good work ethic. While scenting is paramount in truffle training, it’s of little use unless the canine is also obedient and cooperative. The same sort of discipline required for truffle hunting is needed for the more serious pursuits of bomb detection or search-and-rescue.

Sporting Breeds

Dogs bred specifically for sport, such as Labrador and golden retrievers, can excel as truffle hunters. So can various types of setters and pointers. Even beagles can make good truffle hunters, since they’re especially ruled by their noses. If you want to train a sporting breed for the task, choose a dog from field lines rather than from show lines: Breeders of the former make a special effort to pass on hunting talent in their dogs.

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