Dogs That Dig Furniture

27 Jan 2017 | Filed in Dog Training

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Why dogs dig at your furniture

The ancestors of our modern dogs had no comfy beds or couches to lounge on, of course, so when they wanted a comfortable spot to lounge, they’d simply make one.

Dogs today retain the instinct to do that. Dogs who spend time outdoors will dig a nest-like depression in the soil or dry grass that comfortably fits their body contours, and lounge there, alternately napping and surveying their territory.

Why a digging dog can be a problem

When indoors, this instinct is still active, and dogs will try to arrange the surface where they wish to lounge to fit their body. If this means digging a hole in the seat of your brand new lounge chair, the cost to repair or replace that cushion will never even enter your dog’s mind.

How to live with a dog that digs

One possible answer is obvious – keep the dog off the furniture, period. Provide your dog with her own personal blankets and pillows that you do not mind getting ruffled up.

If you wish to allow your digging dog to share your comfy furniture, but don’t want her to dig into it, lay a blanket or other durable fabric on the seat, with the edges tucked down around the sides of the cushion. When your dog indulges her instinct to dig a nest, she will untuck the blanket and rumple it up, instead of trying to dislodge and rumple the upholstery.

Flying With Dogs

30 Dec 2016 | Filed in Dog Training

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Michelle Christner of Pittsburgh figured she’d save on kennel costs by taking her Miniature Pinscher foster dog, Cricket, on her flight to Florida. After all, she never had trouble flying with her Yorkshire Terrier-Poodle mix Mary Poppins, or her son’s Toy Poodle, Lil Bo Beep. Second thoughts emerged when she arrived at the airport and introduced Cricket to the leather flight bag meant to house her for several hours. After a five-minute struggle and some shoving, she finally got the feisty 8-pound pooch into the bag.

“Everyone within a mile of us is now hearing the frantic barking of what appears to be a completely insane Tasmanian devil disguised as a Min Pin. She was barking like she was going to attack someone — anyone,” recalls a mortified Christner. Her foster dog crooned at her feet throughout the flight — despite medications approved by her veterinarian, but often discouraged by others, including the American Veterinary Medical Association.

“She barked and clawed at the [bag’s] netting to actually make a hole so she could stick her head through,” Christner says. Ignoring a chew toy, the pooch “chewed on my shoe.”

The experience taught Christner some lessons about the right and wrong way to pursue canine air travel — a subject that divides animal lovers.

To fly or not to fly?

Breeders and dog fanciers routinely fly dogs without trouble. Airlines assert that air travel is safe for dogs, as does the Air Transport Association of America. But American Kennel Club spokesperson Lisa Peterson adds a caveat: “We certainly believe it’s safe to fly with your dog on any commercial airline flight, provided the owner takes certain pre-flight precautions.”

Several humane organizations and some veterinarians warn of hazards for dogs in the cargo holds of planes, citing incidences of dogs injuring themselves as they claw at the crate to try to escape or escaping when crates open accidentally on a tarmac. Don’t fly pets if possible, especially if the pet isn’t small enough to fit in a carry-on kennel you can take into the cabin, advise the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society of the United States.

Since record-keeping by the U.S. Department of Transportation began in May 2005, 30 pets became injured during air transport, 17 pets became lost and 49 pets died, according to a DOG FANCY review of federal records as of March 2007.

“I much prefer having the dogs travel with the owner inside a car or van because they can take breaks when appropriate, stretch their legs, and are being handled by people who know and love them,” advises Texas A&M University animal behaviorist Bonnie Beaver, DVM, American College of Veterinary Behaviorists diplomate, and past president of the American Veterinary Medical Association. “While many dogs travel successfully by air, I know of the horror stories where problems occurred.”

But, recognizing flying is sometimes unavoidable, experts advise that there is a lot to think about if you’re going to try it.

Practical advice

1. Definitely fly your puppy in the cabin as you coo and feed him tiny treats like beef extract on the tip of your finger, advises Tufts University veterinary behaviorist Nicholas Dodman, BVMS, a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists and the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.

For a young pup during the crucial formative time in his life, being jostled in a cargo hold as a noisy plane takes off and lands is akin to taking Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride at a theme park. Any “horrendous experience,” Dodman says, “can have long-lasting, lifetime effects.”

2. Choose the quickest direct early-morning or evening flight to ensure your dog travels when temperatures are favorable in the cargo hold and on the tarmac — and fly direct to ensure he doesn’t end up in a different city from you. Avoid flying during extreme weather — hot or cold.

“In general, I discourage people from flying with dogs that cannot actually be in the cabin with them,” Beaver says. “There are air traffic delays that can become real problems, and I certainly discourage dogs from flying if there is not a direct connection from origin to destination. Humans have enough problems making connections.”

3. When buying a crate or kennel, be sure it’s large enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down in. Look for a sturdy one with locking bolts and strong metal doors. The strongest have four metal rods that fasten the door to the container, the federal government says. Further secure the door by adding tie wraps that can be cut in an emergency.

Many injuries, deaths, and escapes happen when dogs chew their way out of a plastic crate, push the door open, or take advantage of a broken or improperly latched lock. For example, a Golden Retriever named Skipper “lost teeth, cut his gums, and lost toe nails” as he chewed and scratched to try to get out of his kennel during a cross-country flight to Seattle in June 2006, according to a Continental Airlines report to the federal government. When another dog — a Greyhound named Gianna — arrived on a December 2006 Alaska Airlines flight to Seattle, she was discovered with her mouth and jaw stuck on the front gate of her kennel.

4. At home, get your pet accustomed to the travel carrier or kennel for at least one month, lest he put up a fight like Christner’s Cricket.

Joan Carlson, executive director of Florida’s Humane Society of Vero Beach & Indian River County, took deliberate steps to acclimate her cousin’s new mixed-breed puppy, Little Bella, for a flight from Orlando to Philadelphia: She put special treats and toys in the carrier, as well as Bella’s meals. She let Bella walk in and out of the carrier at will. Gradually, as days wore on, Carlson closed the carrier to make Bella stay inside for a short time, then increasingly longer periods. Carlson eventually took Bella in the carrier on a short car ride to get her accustomed to the idea of motion. When the pair finally flew, Bella “was a little whiny at first,” Carlson says, but “it was her safe place. It was very easy to adapt to being in a crate and being on a plane.”

5. Don’t assume your pet will be accepted on the flight. Reserve a space for your dog — whether he travels in the cabin or in the cargo hold. Airlines have limited spots for animals.

6. Be sure your dog is fit to travel by getting him checked by a veterinarian a week to 10 days before your trip, as airlines require. Realize that pre-existing conditions could become a problem anyway. For instance, older dogs can have borderline kidney disease without their owners realizing it. They compensate by drinking lots of water, Dodman says. If such a dog gets on an airplane without free access to water, Dodman says, “you can precipitate renal failure.”

7. Don’t feed your dog for four to six hours before flight time, HSUS advises. A small amount of water before the trip is OK. Freeze a margarine tub filled with water and place that ice — not water — in the kennel’s water tray. That way, water won’t dump into the kennel and onto your pet, but hydration will be available as the ice melts.

8. On your dog’s collar, attach two pieces of identification — a permanent ID with your name and home address, and a temporary ID with the phone number where you can be reached during your travels. Also helpful: a microchip or tattoo as permanent ID. The more ID, the better.

Know your dog

As with many situations, it’s important to trust your gut when considering flying your dog. If you suspect your dog is a nervous Nellie who couldn’t take the flight, you’re probably right.

The drug maker Novartis Animal Health estimates that 15 percent of dogs suffer from some degree of separation anxiety, which, Dodman says, makes them poorer flight candidates. “Those dogs can’t be left alone,” he says. “They can actually chew through metal. They’re like Houdini dogs.”

Christner, for one, says her foster dog, Cricket, won’t be taking another plane trip. “I don’t think she was cut out to fly. She did not like to be confined and it made her crazy,” she says. Unless her name has been blacklisted after the Cricket fiasco, Christner says she will continue to travel with her other two dogs, “as they are true travelers.”

Why Dogs Bite

27 Nov 2016 | Filed in Dog Problems

Every year in the United States, 800,000 dog bites are severe enough to need medical treatment; 17 are fatal. Fifty percent of all American children are bitten by a dog before the age of 13. Literally every dog has the potential to bite. Luckily for us, most don’t. Understanding what causes this phenomenon might help you to avoid becoming next year’s dog-bite statistic. The following are six common reasons why dogs bite.

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ThinkstockDominance aggression

In cases of dogs who bite due to dominance aggression, members of the dog’s human family are most often the victims. Innocently attempt to move a dog off the bed to change the linens; push down on his rump to ensure compliance with a sit command; step over a dog who’s resting inconveniently in the doorway and the dog erupts in a “you’d better not do that” vocal warning, followed by a bite.

In each situation, the dog believes that he is in charge – that his humans have not earned the status to tell him what to do. Dominance aggression is most commonly – but not exclusively – seen in unneutered males and in confident breed types, such as rottweilers, chow chows, Lhasa apsos, English springer spaniels, Old English sheepdogs and Rhodesian ridgebacks, to name but a few. Obedience training as early as possible can abate a dog’s tendency toward dominance aggression, but dogs who are naturally and intractably dominant aggressive must be closely monitored and kept clear of situations known to trigger the negative behavior. Hollywood trainer Shelby Marlo, author of “Shelby Marlo’s New Art of Dog Training: Balancing Love and Discipline,” states, “Management is underrated. There is nothing wrong with knowing the dog’s limitations and living within those boundaries.”

Protection of valuables

The protectiveness some people seek when acquiring a dog can prove to be a liability. Some dogs believe the only way to protect their valuables is through an act of aggression. A dog’s list of valuables may include food, toys, territory (a house or a car) or even their human family members. Dogs have been known to “protect” one family member from another, driving crying children away from their mothers or chasing amorous husbands out of bedrooms.

The protection of territory is most often seen in males of guarding/herding breeds, such as German shepherds and rottweilers, while certain cocker spaniels and Labrador retrievers – females more often than males – put on ferocious displays over toys and chewies resulting in punishing bites to hands and faces.

Again, early training and/or lifelong management are the only solutions.

Fear aggression

The fear aggression response is most often directed toward strangers. Veterinarians learn early in their careers: when in doubt, muzzle. Like people, dogs are naturally fearful of unfamiliar and potentially threatening situations. A dog raised in a quiet adult household will be distraught by noisy, fast-moving youngsters. The dog may bark and lunge to drive them away and deliver a stinging nip to children who do not heed the warning.

There is no particular breed or gender predilection for fear aggression, but these biters commonly lack early socialization to a wide variety of people and experiences. ASPCA Vice President of Behavioral Medicine, Amy Marder, V.M.D., states that “with a dedicated owner and a responsive dog, fear aggression can be greatly improved.”

Maternal aggression

The first two to three weeks after a female dog gives birth, her puppies rely on her for all they need to survive: warmth, nutrition, stimulation to prompt elimination and protection. Even the most outgoing, well-trained dog may show signs of maternal aggression if she feels her newborns are at risk. No training is indicated here, rather an awareness of the new mother’s innate need for a safe space. By limiting visitors to the whelping box to one to two adult family members during those first couple of weeks, the new mother will stay relaxed and focused on the job at hand. There will be plenty of time for socialization once the pups’ eyes are open and they are toddling about under their own steam.

Redirected aggression

An attempt to break up a dog fight is the most common scenario for this category of biting. Two canine opponents are barking, posturing and biting at each other when all of a sudden hands reach in and grab at collars, tails and hind legs. The adrenaline-pumped dogs blindly whip around and land oral blows to body parts of the interrupters.

Fights are best broken up by loud noises or strong blasts of water when available. However, sometimes that is not enough. If you must lay hands on fighting dogs, stay as far away from the mouth as possible and move swiftly and decisively.

Pain-induced aggression

While pain-sensitive breeds like Chihuahuas are common perpetrators, any dog may bite if hurting, depending on the degree of pain. An otherwise gentle dog will bite a beloved owner’s hand trying to soothe, bandage or examine wounds. Like us, each dog has a unique pain threshold and tolerance. A sweet floppy-eared dog suffering from otitis externa may bite on getting his ears tousled; a dog with hip dysplasia may turn on a handler pressing down on his hips to enforce the sit command.

Of course, any dog can be provoked to bite by overly zealous physical disciplining.

Pestered beyond limits

There are dog biting incidents that don’t fit into the aforementioned categories. Perhaps a new category is required, called “Pestered Beyond Limits.” Bites in this category are often prompted by children (or adults) who simply don’t understand that even a dog has limits. Hug a sleeping dog, blow puffs of air in his face, put a rubber banded knee-sox on his nose to turn him into an “elephant dog,” ride him like a pony, stuff him inside a pillowcase just to see if he’ll fit, poke, prod, tickle him, and sooner or later, the dog will say “NO!” the only way he knows how – through a bite.

There are three keys to bite prevention: learn to understand canine behavior, take the time to socialize and train all dogs – the younger the better – and teach children to respect all dogs, starting with their furry buddies at home. With this accomplished, there is no telling how low bite statistics can go.

If you are approached by a menacing dog:

do not attempt to run

stay quiet, and remember to breathe

be still, with arms at sides or folded over chest with hands in fists

avoid eye contact

The Dog And The Meter Reader

In 1997, the safety division of Con Edison, New York City’s utility supplier, set a goal of a 20 percent reduction in worker accidents for 1998. By October, they were on target in every category except dog bites, having surpassed 1997′s 24 bites in the third quarter. Bernard Duffy, project specialist for Environmental Health and Safety, and The ASPCA worked together to create a mandatory half-hour program for all Con Edison customer field representatives. The program aimed at preventing utility worker/dog interactions and minimizing injury should an interaction take place.

Field worker Edwin Gomez credits this ASPCA Bite Prevention Workshop for saving him from a serious injury. Upon arriving at a customer’s home to read the electric meter, Edwin Gomez followed Con Edison’s company policy, and requested that the family dog be secured in another room. That done, Gomez went to work. Before he finished, however, the dog escaped from isolation, flew at Gomez and grabbed his arm.

Fortunately, Gomez remembered the advice he learned at the Bite Prevention Workshop: “If bitten, push into the dog’s mouth instead of pulling away.” And push he did, using his flashlight against his arm for added pressure. Sensing he was no longer in control of the bite, the dog let go and ran away, leaving Gomez shaken but with no more than a couple of small punctures in his sleeve and a sore arm from the tetanus shot he got “just in case.” At last count, dog bite incidents were reduced by more than 50 percent from last year.

Working Like a Dog Beyond the Office

21 Oct 2016 | Filed in Dog Life Style

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Doyle, an 11-year-old black Labrador Retriever, spends a lot of time in the air these days with his owner, retired surgeon Peter Rork, M.D.. But Rork’s no ordinary pilot: His cargo is almost strictly of the canine variety. After retiring from practicing medicine, Rork co-founded Dog Is My CoPilot Inc. in 2012, a nonprofit organization based in Jackson Hole, Wyo., dedicated to flying dogs from low-adoption, high-kill areas to areas with shelters able to place the dogs in homes with loving families.

The most rewarding part, he says, is the follow-up photographs when he sees the puppies that are in the arms of the children with their big smiles and new families. “It’s a win-win situation,” Rork says. “I feel like Santa Claus with my sleigh every time I taxi away with the dogs.”

But unlike that other legendary flyer, it’s not a bright-red-nosed Rudolph at the helm of Rork’s “sleigh.” Rather, the cockpit’s shotgun seat — and the sidekick duties — belong to his wet-nosed “co-pilot” Doyle.

Since Dog Is My CoPilot was founded, Rork and Doyle have logged more than 400 hours, and just this past February, they flew their 1,000th dog to safety. All that flying gives Rork plenty of quality time to spend with his canine pal. “He just curls right up and does fine,” he says, adding that dogs, like people, adjust to the altitude without issue.

“I like the company,” Rork says. “He’s my best friend. We’re really a team, and Doyle truly is my co-pilot.”

Working Overtime with Canines

Rork certainly isn’t alone; many workers report having better days when they’re allowed to work alongside their canine companions. A recent study by Virginia Commonwealth University found that employees who brought their dogs to work experienced a reduction in stress level scores of about 11 percent during the workday, while workers who didn’t bring their dogs experienced up to a 70 percent increase in those same stress-level scores.

Dogs also help us interact better with one another, an important attribute even — and maybe especially — in high-intensity workplaces. “Dogs have a way of softening the environment,” says Alan Beck, Sc.D., director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine in West Lafayette, Ind. “So if you’re having a meeting, a dog gives a focus of attention and takes some of the pressure off. You now have something common to talk about besides how much you’re charging me, or why you want this raise, or why a particular law won’t work.”

That’s how it is for U.S. Rep. Ken Calvert of California’s 42nd District, who brings his 6-year-old MiniatureDachshund Cali to work on Capitol Hill every day.

“Sometimes, you know, people come in here that may not agree with me,” Calvert says. “Almost everybody loves dogs, so Cali takes the edge off.”

Calvert remembers a specific time when a four-star general came into his office to discuss serious business. “Cali just launched into the office and jumped on top of him and started licking his face,” he says. “He had to smile at that. I could tell he loved dogs, too, so we knew he was a good guy.”

As chairman of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee and a member of several other congressional committees, pressure often looms large for Calvert. Having Cali around, he says, provides some relief. On a typical day, Cali can be found springing onto the laps of staffers and roving from bed to bed — both Calvert’s Legislative Director Rebecca Keightley and Deputy Chief of Staff Tricia Evans keep dog beds by their desks and dispense a hearty amount of treats. During the workday, Cali has free rein, often hopping up on Calvert’s couch to play or nap, or propping herself right up on his desk to, as Calvert puts it, “help with paperwork.”

Less Stress, More Wags

Having dogs around also provides physical benefits. That’s certainly the case for Matthew Offord, a Conservative Member of Parliament for Hendon, a suburb of northwest London. While he spends many of his days out meeting his constituents, on office days, Offord often brings his 3-year-old Jack Russell Terrier Max to work. Offord’s workplace isn’t quite as open to dogs as is the U.S. Congress. “Dogs, except guide dogs, are not generally allowed in the Palace of Westminster, but one or two slip through,” he says.

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Why bring Max along? “Parliament can be a very fast moving, and at times stressful, environment,” Offord says. “There is nothing quite like giving a dog a pat to relieve stress. Taking Max out for walks lets me have 20 minutes to myself to mull things over and think things through.

“Taking him for a quick walk also offers an opportunity to get away from sitting at a desk to get a bit of exercise,” he says, “both for me and my staff, who enjoy taking him for walks if I am in the chamber or a meeting.”

For Offord, there are social benefits, too. “When I am out in the constituency, Max often acts as an icebreaker,” he says. “I think some people feel a lot more comfortable when they can share stories with me about their dogs as well. He’s a particular favorite with the children at a residential care home, who sometimes find it easier to communicate with Max than the adults around them.”

Four-Legged Counselors

The uncanny ability of dogs to help people interact with one another and relax in stressful situations is one of the many reasons neurologist Gayatri Devi, M.D., director of New York Memory Services in New York City, brings her 4.5-year-old German Shepherd Dog mix Lola and her 5-year-old Boxer mix Gage to work with her each day. “I think the idea of a dog in a doctor’s office is unusual,” she says. “But they make the patients feel better. … Kids, if they’re afraid to be in the doctor’s office, they will see the dogs, get excited, and forget where they are. People with dementia who are nervous when they come in the office, they become so busy petting the dogs they are not as concerned or worried anymore. For the most part, just seeing the animals, it’s such a calming influence.”

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Attorney Kent Woods has experienced the calming influence his dog Walter, a 2.5-year-old Bulldog, has on his co-workers and clients firsthand. Woods specializes in tax, bankruptcy, and general courtroom representation at Woods Erickson and Whitaker LLP in Henderson, Nev. While conversations in his office are often about money, personal fortune, and conflict, which can get serious, “as a general matter, people trust people who have dogs,” he says. “They know you have empathy and take good care of things. Generally, it helps people feel relaxed and at ease in their lawyer’s office, and it relaxes the tension.”

When it comes to the firm’s 14 other staff members, Woods describes Walter as a delight to everyone. “They get a lot of the same benefits that I do,” he says. “They get a good laugh every time Walter comes into their office, or begs for a treat, or asks to play tug of war.”

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For Woods, the benefits are pretty simple, too. “It gives you something to talk about with your employees and your co-workers,” he says. “It’s relaxing to have him sit around. He tends to sit at my feet under my desk, which gives me peace of mind. It’s like having your family with you all the time.”

How to Give Your Dog a Bath

14 Oct 2016 | Filed in Dog Gooming

As much as we all love for our furry friends to smell fresh and clean, getting to that point isn’t always easy. Dogs are rarely excited to jump into the bathtub for a good scrub. Bathing fearful dogs might be better handled by a professional groomer or your veterinary office. But if you decide to wade in, here are some helpful hints.

GETTING (YOU) READY

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ThinkstockBe sure you’re donning clothes that you’re okay with getting wet and dirty (and furry). Move all your grooming materials into the bathroom shampoo (ask your vet for suggestions specific to your dog), conditioner (a must for longer coats that need to be brushed out), brush, mineral oil (for eyes), cotton balls (for ears), at least two big, absorbent towels and, most importantly, TREATS. Lay a non-skid mat down in the tub to help the dog keep his footing. If you don’t have a detachable showerhead, a bowl or even a large cup is helpful in rinsing.

GETTING (FIDO) READY

Trimming your pet’s nails prior to bath time will not only give your dog better footing, it will also help protect your skin in case he tries to make a break for it. Now, bring the dog into the bathroom and close the door behind you catching a wet, soapy dog running down your hallway is no easy task! Give praise and treats to make him comfortable in the bathroom before you try to get him into the tub. If you’re able to, gently putting a cotton ball in each ear can help keep water out — just be sure to remove them when you’re finished! Also, to help keep shampoo from irritating his eyes, you can put a drop of mineral oil in each one.

BRING ON THE SUDS

Dogs are unlikely to get into the tub willingly. For bigger dogs, a second person to help you get Fido into the bath can help avoid straining your back. Make sure water isn’t too hot or too cold. Let your dog hear and then gently feel the water before going full-speed ahead with the bath. Start shampooing your dog’s shoulders and then move out from there. Be gentle around the face and any sensitive areas but be sure you get down to the undercoat. Read the directions on the shampoo bottle carefully to ensure proper usage. Rinse out all the shampoo, using your fingers to make sure you get through the undercoat to avoid subsequent irritation. This is where a detachable showerhead or bowl comes in handy to be sure bigger dogs get rinsed thoroughly.

NO MORE TANGLES

After the shampoo has been completely rinsed out, you can apply conditioner, if desired. Follow the directions on the bottle because some products need to sit on the coat for several minutes. If you have a particularly squirmy dog, you’ll want to find a fast-acting formula. Once you have finished the bath, it is time to dry your pooch. Towel dry as much as possible in the bathroom. For dogs with longer coats, you may want to use a blow dryer set on low. Before the dog leaves the bathroom, brush his coat out thoroughly because the bath will loosen up a lot of fur, which is better contained in the bathroom than all over the house. Many dogs get “after-bath-crazies,” so hold onto your hat and let ‘em run!

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.

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