Why Does My Dog Lick Constantly?

26 Jul 2017 | Filed in Dog Problems

Q: I have a question about dog anxiety. My Rottweiler, Bailey, licks compulsively. It seems like he just can’t relax. Is there something I can do to help him chill out?

I have been considering taking him to the vet, but don’t want him to have to take a sedative. Any suggestions?

A: I would definitely take your Rottweiler to the vet. First, you want to rule out licking because of allergies or injury.

ThinkstockIt may be an obsessive-compulsive behavior, and there have been drugs developed in the last few years that have helped dogs with OCD considerably.

Some repetitive behaviors are made worse because the dog uses them as attention-seeking behaviors. Some dogs find negative attention to be more rewarding than being ignored.

However, before we consider the licking to be attention-seeking behavior, you want to rule out the other reasons first.

Take Your Dog To Work Day: Tips, Tricks and Essential Advice

23 Jun 2017 | Filed in Dog Life Style

This year marks the 15th Pet Sitters International’s Take Your Dog To Work Day. The day was created to celebrate canine companionship and boost adoptions. While we all know it’s fun to be able to take your dog to work instead of leaving them behind one day of the year (unless you are lucky enough to work for a company that welcomes pets year round) the day can also cause accidents, especially if you have non-dog savvy workers or a fearful pup.

15 Tips for a Successful Take Your Dog to Work Day

Always check with management and your co-workers to ensure everyone is comfortable having dogs in the office.

Bathe and groom your dog before her office debut so she is clean and odor-free, and free of any parasites such as fleas or ticks.

Only allow dogs to visit the office who are up-to-date on vaccines, and never bring your dog if he appears sick.

If your dog is aggressive or overly shy, keep him at home. Meeting new dogs and people in an unfamiliar environment can be too stressful for some dogs.

Bring with you everything your dog might need, including food, treats, bowls, toys, and a leash. And don’t forget paper towels, clean-up bags, and pet-safe disinfectant.

To keep your dog comfortable, consider bringing a crate, especially if you are routinely in and out of your office workspace.

Designate an appropriate area where dogs can relieve themselves and stress that people need to pick up after their dogs.

Avoid forcing co-workers to interact with your dog. Those who are interested will seek out you and your dog.

Monitor the amount of treats your pet eats, and educate co-workers ahead of time about what is and isn’t safe for dogs. Bring extra food or treats that your dog is used to that people can safely feed your dog.

Have an exit strategy. It’s OK to take him home at anytime if he is uncomfortable or boisterous and causing a distraction.

Remember that the point of TYDTWD – aside from having fun – is to educate people about pet adoption and helping pets in need.

If your office is closed on Friday or employees are interested in bringing other pets, consider celebrating on another day during Take Your Dog to Work Week, June 16-20, 2014. Or any other time of the year!

Ask your local shelter or rescue group to join your TYDTWD event. They can bring adoptable pets or information about local adoption opportunities and you can hold a fundraiser to benefit the guest shelter.

Take lots of pictures, and share them on your company’s website or social media pages. You could also have a photo contest or award prizes for cutest dog or best owner-dog look-a-likes.

Make everyone in the office aware of general safety tips whether they are bringing a dog or interacting with one. The following sets of tips can be passed around the office to ensure the day goes smoothly without a fright or bite in sight.

7 Rules Everyone in the Office Should Follow for Take Your Dog to Work Day

Have a great Take Your Dog to Work Day by following these rules! If you have any questions, always ask your co-worker first before say hi to their dog.

Never approach another co-worker’s dog with your dog, it may not be dog-friendly

Always ask your co-worker before you greet the dog

Always approach a dog from the side, do not stare directly at the dog’s face, and do not reach over the dog’s head

Do not approach a dog that a co-worker has left alone in their office

Do not feed a dog without permission (she may have allergies)

Avoid coming up behind a dog, it can startle him

Avoid bending over a dog. Instead, kneel by their side

If you know your dog is shy of people, tie a yellow ribbon on his leash and collar for the day, so the rest of the office will know.

If you see a yellow ribbon on a dog, the best thing to do is ignore him. Even if he comes up and sniffs you. Just because he is checking you out to see if you are a threat, does not mean they want you pet him.

12 Signs a Dog is Uncomfortable

Look for these signs and stop approaching the dog if you see any of them, even if the owner is telling you the dog is friendly. All of these are signs the dog is uncomfortable and may bite if pushed.

Whites of the eyes

Cowered, low body posture

Tail low-set and/or tucked (for breed)

Ears low or back

Piloerection (hair along back and neck raised)

High tail set (for breed) with a slow or very rapid wag


Backing away

Hiding behind owner or furniture

Baring of teeth

Growling, barking


Use your best judgment and err on the side of caution. If you are unsure, it’s best to just not pet the dog.

At-Home Dental Care for Your Pet

15 Jun 2017 | Filed in Dog Gooming

Many pet owners dismiss their pets’ bad breath as simply “normal” or something to be ignored. However, bad breath is a hallmark of periodontal disease, a bacterial infection of the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. If you notice that your pet’s mouth has an odor and/or you observe discolored teeth, he or she may have developed some degree of periodontal disease. What starts as gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) can quickly lead to permanent loss of gum tissue, damage to ligaments and loose or missing teeth. Periodontal disease can cause bacteria from the mouth to enter the pet’s bloodstream and circulate through the heart, liver and kidneys.

ThinkstockBanfield’s internal research team found this year that 68 percent of cats and 78 percent of dogs three and older show signs of periodontal disease. Sadly, according to the team’s data, less than half of pets diagnosed with periodontal disease receive dental cleanings. In all breeds — particularly small breeds — both professional dental cleanings and at-home care are equally essential to oral health.

At-home care can include the use of water additives, tooth brushing with specially-formulated toothpaste for pets, dental chew toys, kibble designed to clear and prevent the build-up of plaque and paying special attention to any changes your pet exhibits. As a pet owner, you should examine your pet’s mouth at least once a week to look for signs of swollen or bleeding gums (gingivitis), brown buildup on teeth (plaque/tartar) and abnormal lumps, bumps or swellings. Be sure to examine the back teeth (molars) by lifting the lip to expose the outside surfaces of the teeth. Also, observe the color of your pet’s gums. The gums should be shiny and pink — not white or dark red.

If you notice any usual signs or symptoms or changes in your pet’s mouth, consult your veterinarian to schedule an exam. He or she will examine your pet, inform you of any problem areas and make treatment recommendations. You might need to schedule a professional dental cleaning, according to your veterinarian’s recommendations for your pet’s particular breed and condition.

Tarry or Bloody Stool in Dogs

19 May 2017 | Filed in Dog Health

Halloween Dog Safety. Photo: G. Cioli
Halloween Candy

Everyone loves candy and on Halloween candy is everywhere. While your dog may have never been tempted by sweet treats before, keep in mind that candy probably has never been so accessible! On Halloween candy can be found in bowls, on tables, next to doors, in trick or treat bags being carried at dog level and in the hands of small children who might think your dog would like to share the snack. Candy also makes it onto the floor when spilled during the handout or dumped out for the all-important candy sort.

Spooky Sugar and Frightful Fats

While not all candy is specifically poisonous to dogs, it does contain large amounts of sugar and fat. The ingestion of large amounts of either can lead to pancreatitis in dogs.

Chocolate Nightmares

Present in a substantial amount of Halloween goodies, chocolate is highly poisonous to dogs even in small amounts (learn more about dogs and chocolate) and should never be shared with your pet.

Wrathful Wrappers

While wrappers are of no interest to humans and often end up scattered on tables and floors, they can look like a delightful snack to your four legged friend. While they might be empty and free of candy, wrappers can actually be as dangerous or even more dangerous than the candy itself. Foil and cellophane can cause life-threatening bowel obstructions, which may require surgery.

Repulsive Raisins

While you might be thrilled to see a healthy treat in Halloween goody bags — beware! Some people switch out the usual candy for a healthy snack of trail mix or raisins. While healthy for humans, raisins are highly toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure.

Human Halloween Costumes

While you might not think your own costume has anything to do with your dog, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Halloween costumes, especially children’s costumes, often include small parts and unusual materials that may resemble your dog’s toys or chew toys. They might even make unusual and tempting noises. Be careful not to leave the costume unattended and beware of any loose pieces that may become a doggie disaster.

Glow sticks and glow jewelry are a good way to keep your child visable, but could look like a toy/stick to your dog. If your child is carrying a glow stick, remind them that they should not wave it around in front of the dog. Chewing on glow sticks can cause your dog mouth pain, irritation and drooling and ingesting a glow stick can cause intestinal blockage.

Dog Halloween Costumes

While some dogs might like being dressed up, it’s wise to experiment first to see if a pet likes to be in clothing. When choosing your dog’s Halloween costume, remember these tips:

When selecting a Halloween costume for your dog, make sure that it fits well. A costume that is too restrictive or too loose could cause harm to your dog. Take time to acclimate your dog to the costume prior to the big day.

Make sure pet costumes do not limit an animal’s movement, hearing, sight or ability to breathe or bark. Also check the costume for choking hazards.

For dogs that don’t like cosutmes, a Halloween collar, leash or bandana can be just as festive.

Halloween Decorations

Decorations are a regular part of Halloween fun, but some can pose a safety hazard to your dog and your home. Use fake cobwebs sparingly outdoors. These may adversely affect pets and wildlife. As with any holiday decoration, don’t let pets chew or eat items like crepe paper streamers or tinsel – these can discolor your pet’s mouth, cause upset stomach, choking and intestinal blockage.

Pumpkins and Jack-O-Lanterns

While many people feed small amounts of pumpkin to their dogs for health purposes, there is a big difference between cooked and pureed “food-friendly” pumpkin, and decorative, raw pumpkins.

Dogs should never eat the shell of a pumpkin or gourd, but during the fall season, many decorative pumpkins and gourds are coated with materials, such as glue, glitter or shellac that can be toxic to your pet.

Once Halloween is over, ditch the carved pumpkins. They can become dangerous as they may deteriorate and grow mold over time.

Re-think placing candles in Jack-O-Lanterns. Pets can easily knock them over and start a fire. There are many great battery-operated alternatives to light up your pumpkin that last longer and are safer for everyone!

Stress Free Halloween

Although it is tempting to include your dog in the festivities, sometimes the best option for everyone is to keep the dog away from the festivities all together. Halloween can be a scary and stressful time for your dog. Halloween is synonymous with spooky music, strange noises, creepy decorations and holiday pranks. The yells and screams of trick-or-treaters, doorbells ringing and a parade of costumed strangers at the door might all be in good fun, but your dog probably doesn’t know that.

Keep your dog inside. The late night commotion might cause your dog to spook and flee.

Take your dog on a long walk before Halloween night. This will help with anxiety and get them ready for an early bed time.

Create a quiet and comfortable room for your dog that will not have people going in and out of it. Consider playing music to drown out strange noises.

If you aren’t going to be home for trick-or-treaters, turn off the lights in the house so people will be less likely to knock.

Pumpkin Paw Prints Recipe

13 May 2017 | Filed in Dog Food

We all want to spoil our pets during the holidays, but giving your dog table scraps can be dangerous. This do-it-yourself dog treat recipe for Paw Print Pumpkin Biscuits is safe for your furry friend and is a healthy way for your dog to share in the holiday baking.

The recipe comes from Roberta Deen of Capers Catering Company in Los Angeles. She is one of the chefs who contributed to the book The Culinary Canine: Great Chefs Cook for Their Dogs- And So Can You!

Easy to make our dogs gobbled them up. They would also make great dog lover gifts to take to your friends this holiday season or any time of year. Package them up in cellophane or a nice tin and you’ll have your friends barking for the recipe.


1 cup plain pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)

1 cup peeled, 1/4” diced, lightly blanched fresh pumpkin

1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds, coarsely chopped

1 cup quick-cooking oats

2 cups whole-wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup canola oil


Preheat oven to 325 (300 if using a convection oven)*

Mix above ingredients in a large bowl

Add water to achieve a chocolate-chip cookie like consistency

Line baking sheets with parchment paper

Drop by teaspoons (for the petite puppies) and Tablespoons (for the big guys) onto baking sheets about 2 inches apart

Flatten into rounds with a fork in a cross-hatch pattern

Bake for 10 minutes

Switch the baking sheets front to back, top to bottom and bake for 5-10 minutes longer until golden and firm – adjusting time for teaspoons (a bit less) and for tablespoons (a bit longer)

Turn off oven and leave the door open until the treats cool completely

Yield depends upon size of the cookie

Treats should be fed in moderation. Consult your veterinarian any time you are making changes to your dogs food or diet.

Dog DNA and Humans

17 Apr 2017 | Filed in Dog Health

Between the time dogs and people first fought over a bone at a kill and the time they shared a burger at a drive-thru, humans somehow molded dogs into the most varied and specialized species on earth. They did all this without the concepts of evolution, genes or DNA.

Then came Darwin, Mendel, and Watson and Crick. The last century has seen more changes in dog breeding than the past 10 centuries combined. In the 20th century, researchers such as Stockard, Warner and Humphries, and Scott and Fuller undertook hundreds, if not thousands, of experimental crosses. But by the last quarter of the 20th century, large-scale dog genetic projects were gone, largely because dog-breeding studies took too much time, space and money.

A few researchers maintained small genetic projects. Gregory Acland and Gustavo Aguirre were searching for answers to progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) inheritance in dogs. Their pedigree analyses and crosses between breeds showed that several types of PRA existed, most of which were recessively inherited. Breeders clamored for some way to identify carriers, but without information about the dog genome, finding the gene and devising a DNA test was only a dream.

That dream started to materialize when Jasper Rind, a yeast geneticist, became interested in the inheritance of canine behaviors such as herding and swimming and ran into the same roadblock as Acland and Aguirre. But Rind was acquainted with the process of building genetic marker maps, so he assigned his post doc, Elaine Ostrander, to the task of building one for the dog.

Pressing forward

The project began slowly but got a boost in 1996 when Ostrander joined forces with Acland and Aguirre, giving her access to their samples and pedigrees. Their combined efforts produced the first rough map of the dog genome, with 150 markers. It didn’t pinpoint the gene for PRA, but it narrowed down its location to one chromosome.

Funding was still scarce because mice, not dogs, were the accepted animal model for human hereditary disease. That changed in 1998, when researchers discovered the mutation causing narcolepsy in Dobermans. Human narcolepsy researchers used the information from the narcoleptic dogs to better understand the process in people, something mouse research hadn’t provided. If dog genetic research was applicable in this case, why wouldn’t it be applicable in others?

In fact, dogs make ideal candidates for genetic research that can help people. They share many of the same diseases and environmental risk factors as humans, and they have highly distinctive breeds with distinct disease predispositions. Some breeds have been essentially inbred for hundreds of generations, and most dogs come with generations of known pedigrees. These reasons, among others, convinced the National Institute of Health to provide the funding needed to create a complete genome map of the dog.

It was completed ahead of schedule, and as technologies improved, maps based on other dogs were added in a fraction of the time the first map took. By comparing sequences from several dog breeds, researchers have identified 2.5 million places on the genome where changes in a single nucleotide frequency often occur, accounting for the variation we see in dogs. These single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) may soon be available in a public database called “CANMAP.”

Because dogs are more inbred than people, finding individual genes responsible for a disorder is comparatively easy. Generations of inbreeding result in sections consisting of millions of bases of identical DNA within a breed, as compared to only tens of thousands in people. And because breeds descend from only a few founders, a hereditary disorder found in a breed tends to arise from the same mutation in every affected member of that breed. This differs from the case in people, or even mixed breeds, in which it’s possible for diseases that look the same to be caused by different mutations.

By comparing genetic maps from different breeds, researchers estimate how closely breeds are related to one another. This makes it easier to home in on mutations for diseases shared by related breeds because such mutations probably come from the same founding stock. When a similar-appearing disorder occurs in a distantly related breed, it’s more likely to arise from separate mutations. Collie Eye Anomaly, for example, occurs in several related herding breeds. This made it easier for researchers to narrow down the candidate genes to only a few that were shared by four different related breeds with the disorder.

Human-canine DNA

Which brings us back to the gene for PRA. At first glance, dogs with PRA seem to have the same disorder. But Acland and Aguirre’s early research had shown that different breeds get different types of PRA. The gene for the most widespread form of PRA, progressive rod-cone degeneration (prcd), was among the first genetic mutations located in the dog. Since then, DNA tests have been developed for many canine hereditary diseases, including other types of PRA, von Willebrand’s disease, cystinuria, and others. Of course, some tests don’t quite make the list of Nobel Prize eligibility, but they’re still useful – and popular. In fact, some ongoing research is now aimed at finding genes associated with normal conformation differences such as skull and limb length and hair types.

In a few recent studies, the use of SNPs allowed the researchers to pinpoint target genes using just a handful of dogs. In one case, fewer than two dozen dogs were needed to track down the mutation responsible for white coat color in Boxers. It turns out that white Boxers really are different from your average white dog. The white is caused by the same mutation found in people with Waardenburg syndrome, which causes pigment abnormalities and hearing loss. The ability to use just a few dogs to find mutations opens the door for mapping less widespread conditions.

Success is often measured by funding. The AKC Canine Health Foundation and the Morris Animal Foundation both continue to fund genetic studies. Both organizations recently contributed to the $2.2 million needed for startup funds for the Pfizer Canine Comparative Oncology and Genomics Consortium (Pfizer contributed more than $1 million), which is gearing up to collect tissues and fluids from 3,000 dogs over the next three years. And thanks to a grant for $16 million, European researchers have recently organized LUPA, a consortium of 20 universities. They plan to gather DNA samples and health histories from 8,000 dogs, using the data to look for genes for 18 diseases.

Football Dog Treats: Touchdown Tasties

11 Apr 2017 | Filed in Dog Food

Football games and snacks go hand in hand for humans, but what about the dog? Whether it’s Super Bowl Sunday, watching your favorite team, or playing around with the kids, include your dog in the football fun. Football dog party ideas>>

Check out these pawsome football-shaped dog treats Lucy Postins, CEO of The Honest Kitchen, created in honor of game day.


1 cup dehydrated dog food

¼ cup ham, diced

3 tbsp grated American or Cheddar cheese

½ *Avocado, mashed

1 free range egg, lightly beaten

3/4 cup warm filtered water


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Hydrate the dog food with the warm water and stir. Thoroughly mix in the remaining ingredients to form a batter.

Use your hands to form the mixture into “football” shapes, and place onto a greased or non-stick baking sheet.

Bake in a 350°F oven for 20 minutes.

Cool completely before serving.

Treats can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

*Although avocado stones are poisonous to dogs (and the stone as well as the tough skin could potentially be a choking hazard), the flesh itself is fine for occasional feeding in small quantities, and is a great source of natural, healthy oils. Take care to keep avocado skin and stones out of your pet’s reach and dispose of them (as well as other hazardous food scraps like onion and cooked meat bones) in a secure trash can that they can’t easily raid while you’re enjoying the game. Learn about other fruits and vegetables you can feed your dog: Fruits for Dogs, Vegetables for Dogs.

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