Dog Health Problems Related to Grooming Products

20 Sep 2016 | Filed in Dog Health

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Grooming can help keep a dog healthy. Removing mats and tangled fur is a good way to prevent sores and other skin irritations from developing. Fleas, ticks and other parasites are more readily uncovered, and it is easier to spot lumps and tender spots when a dog is groomed. But some grooming products have unpleasant side effects on some sensitive dogs, Despite its benefits, grooming can cause problems, especially if a dog is allergic to ingredients in the products used.

Skin Irritants

Symptoms of skin problems due to a shampoo allergy include excessive scratching or licking, scabs, hot spots, scaly patches and flaky skin. Like people, dogs’ skin carries natural oils that shampoos can strip. Discontinuation of the offending products will usually stop the allergic reaction. Be certain to use products meant for dogs, rather than human shampoos, as dogs’ skin has a much higher pH level than humans’. Hypoallergenic shampoos are available from groomers and pet supply stores. In addition, veterinarians have prescription shampoos for dogs with severe allergies.

Cancer Threat

Some dog shampoos have strong ingredients including toluene, butyl acetate and ethyl acetate. For example, butyl acetate is a chemical solvent that serves as a foaming agent and is also used in upholstery shampoo and nail polish. These ingredients are thought to contribute to organ problems and an increased cancer rate in laboratory animals and humans. Read the label to find shampoos with less caustic ingredients. Hypoallergenic shampoos and natural-formula shampoos can be found at pet supply stores and from groomers.

Clipping Too Close

A dog’s skin can become irritated if it is clipped too close or if the clippers get too hot and burn the skin. Scabs can appear and the skin can become blotchy, usually clearing up on its own within a week. The skin can be treated with antibiotics if the irritation is severe and persistent.

Health Problems for Dog Groomers

On that proverbial other side of the coin, people who groom dogs can face health problems. These typically stem from daily exposure to chemicals, disinfectants and pesticides in some grooming products and manifest themselves as skin allergies and other maladies. In addition, some dog parasites can be transmitted to groomers. Treatment depends on the exact cause of the problem and often involves changing the dog shampoo and other grooming products used.

Make Your Own Chicken Jerky Dog Treats

13 Sep 2016 | Filed in Dog Food

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Pet jerky treats, which include chicken, duck or sweet potato jerky treats, have now been linked to more than 1,000 deaths in dogs, more than 4,800 complaints about animal illness, and three human deaths. Despite exhaustive testing, the FDA has been unable to find a contaminant causing illnesses.

If you choose to feed your pet jerky treats, one option is to dry your own treats using a food dehydrator or your oven. This allows you to buy local, high-quality meats, giving you peace of mind about the safety of the ingredients.

Jerky Basics

Dehydration preserves foods by removing moisture, which inhibits the growth of microorganisms. You can dehydrate most raw meats, such as slices of beef, chicken, turkey, fish, or liver, as well as many fruits and vegetables, such as sliced apples, sweet potatoes, and carrots.

Several brands of small dehydrators are reasonably priced and easy to use. These machines have stacked or slide-out trays that hold the food to be dehydrated. A motor provides heat and powers a fan that blows hot air over the food. A tray at the bottom catches excess moisture.

You can also dry foods in your oven — on a cookie sheet — if it can be set at a low enough temperature. The lowest temperature for many ovens is 150 degrees Fahrenheit, and that’s fine. Prop the oven door open a few inches with a towel so hot air laden with moisture can escape. This works well, but because your oven is also heating the air in the kitchen, it uses more energy than a food dehydrator would.

Store dehydrated foods in airtight containers in the refrigerator or freezer. Protect these foods from moisture and humidity, or they will spoil.

The American Veterinary Medical Association advises pet owners who feed jerky treats to do so in small quantities and only on occasion, especially with small-breed dogs.

Chicken Jerky Strips

The thinner you slice the meat, the less time it takes to dry. Popping the meat into the freezer for about 15 minutes beforehand makes it easier to slice thinly.

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast tenders, sliced into strips about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick

1/2 cup vegetable oil

Directions

Rinse off chicken breast and remove any fat. Fat slows down the dehydrating process and makes your jerky spoil faster. Slice the chicken with the grain. This will help make the jerky even chewier.

Lightly coat the chicken slices with vegetable oil to prevent sticking.

Place the chicken breast strips evenly on the tray, leaving space between them and making sure they do not touch each other.

Once they are all in the dehydrator, turn it on and set the temperature to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

The jerky will probably take between three and 12 hours to fully dry, depending on how thick you cut your slices. Start checking it once every hour after the first hour. To check it, open up the tray and take one slice out. Cut it open with a sharp knife and examine the inside. You should see no moisture at all, and it should be the same color throughout. If it’s not finished, put it back in for another hour. Once it gets close, check every half hour.

Once your jerky is done, store it in airtight containers. Write the date you made it on them. Out of the refrigerator, the treats last about 10 days in an airtight container. They’ll keep in the refrigerator for approximately three weeks. They can also be frozen for up to eight months.

Can You Change a Dog’s Name After Adopting Him?

6 Sep 2016 | Filed in Dog Adopted

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You’ve brought home your new best friend, and he’s perfect in every way – except for his name. He looks more like a “Toby” than “Beauregard.” The good news is it is easy to change a dog’s name after adopting him, and in some cases it is best to give him a new name to go with a new life. Have a question? Get an answer from a Vet now!

Positive Association

Whether Beauregard knew his name well or was given that name in the shelter, changing it is as simple as teaching him a new command. Once you’ve decided on his new name, periodically call his new name in a happy, upbeat tone of voice. When he looks at you, praise him enthusiastically and reward him with treats. Even if he doesn’t look at you the first few times, give him a treat when you say his new name. Soon he will start looking at you when you say his name because he knows that word means something good. Continue to cheerfully say his name and reward him with treats multiple times a day for a few weeks.

It may take some dogs just a few times to learn a new name; for others it may take a few weeks. Attaching his new name to a fun game like fetch or obedience training also reinforces it: “Toby, get the ball!” “Toby, sit.” “You are such a good boy, Toby!”

Name Pairing

Another way of teaching him a new name is to pair it with his old name for a while and eventually drop the old name. So if his old name was Beauregard, and you want to change it to Toby, start calling him “BeauregardToby.” Eventually drop “Beauregard” and just call him “Toby.”

The Name Itself

Don’t worry if the new name is completely different from his old name. Many people think that the new name should be similar to the old name, such as changing “Dolly” to “Molly.” It really isn’t necessary for them to be similar since dogs associate our tone and actions with the name instead of the actual sound.

Never associate the new name with something negative. Do not call your dog by his new name to scold him or to come to you for something he does not like. You want your dog’s new name to be positive. When deciding on a new name, make sure it doesn’t sound similar to something negative or a correction.

A Fresh Start

For dogs who have been mistreated or who have behavioral issues, a name change is often the first step to changing the dog’s mindset and behavior. If Beauregard was in an abusive home, he may associate his name with mistreatment, so a new name helps to give him a fresh start. A dog who has had behavioral issues may associate his name with the bad behavior you’d like to correct. A new name can help him to respond to positive behaviors.