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.

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.

Electronic Collar Training Tips

30 Aug 2016 | Filed in Dog Training

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An electronic collar emits a vibration or an electric charge to a dog’s neck when he engages in undesirable behavior. Also called E-collars or shock collars, these training aids are operated by a remote switch. Used as part of a positive training program, an E-collar can be a valuable asset in teaching a dog to obey, but care must be taken not to harm the dog. The stimulation pack on the collar may be adjusted to increase or decrease the level of the electric charge, depending upon the dog’s sensitivity level.Fitting

Innotek, the manufacturer of a wide array of dog training equipment, suggests adjusting the collar snugly while leaving enough room to easily insert a finger between the strap and the dog’s neck.

Use the collar on clean fur and remove the collar when you are not actively training the dog, taking care not to leave it on your dog longer than 12 hours at one time. The probes on the collar may result in a rash or sores if the collar is too tight or if it is on the dog’s neck too long.

Remove any other collars before fitting your dog with an E-collar. Metal clasps and dog tags may interfere with the efficiency of the receiver.

Training Session

Determine a behavioral goal and employ repetition during the training session. For instance, if your dog barks every time the doorbell rings, recruit an assistant to ring the bell a few times over a period of 15 minutes. When the doorbell rings and your dog barks, issue the command “Shush” and depress the transmitter briefly to reinforce your command.

Begin with the lowest stimulation level on the collar and increase it slightly if your dog does not respond. Some dogs will tolerate a strong shock, while others will become agitated by a low level of stimulation.

Avoid continuous stimulation; just a small shock will suffice. Continue the training sessions daily until your dog sits quietly when the doorbell rings.

Along with the collar, use treats to reinforce positive behavior. Even if your dog barks when the doorbell rings, praise him when he becomes quiet and give him a treat.

Warnings

Not all trainers approve of using E-collars because a dog may not understand why he is receiving the shock, and he may become anxious or fearful. Electronic collars should not be used as punishment. In addition, puppies under 6 months old may not be mature enough for this type of training. Verbal commands must always be used in conjunction with an E-collar.

15 Amazing Dog Cakes

22 Aug 2016 | Filed in Dog Life Style

I celebrated my birthday this weekend – yay me! While I don’t normally like to make a big fuss (okay, that’s only partially true) it happens to be a big one and I’m going all out. There are two things I love in this world — ok five things, but: husband, family and Guinea Pigs- today is not about you, what I love most are dogs and cake, so today in honor of my birth, I’m going to talk about that.

Like so many other victims of the summer birthday, I watched as kids brought in cupcakes to class, knowing I would never get to experience such joys. Don’t get me wrong, my parents tried to throw me birthdays, but they ended up being more of the invite your favorite, few friends and hope for the best, as summer vacations and camps made it hard to plan. At the office we have a tradition of celebrating everyone’s birthday with a delightful feast, but alas I’m not at work either and so I’m left to celebrate myself, my way and why not? I’m the editor after all. It’s my party and I’ll write if I want to.

Before you find this to be too sad I should mention that I celebrated my birthday with a vacation and visits with friends and family exactly as I would like – it just doesn’t sound as funny when I say that.

So on that note, here are the 15 best dog-themed birthday cakes, I never had:

1. I love a cake with a little something extra to chew on.

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Photo from Picsgen

2. This cake that looks a little too much like the real thing.

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Photo from The-Cake-Lovers

3. No one likes to get walked all over, but I’m pretty sure it’s okay if these cute puppies walk all over my cake.

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Photo by the FoodAdventure

4. I don’t discriminate, dog cupcakes are great too.

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Photo from thecupcakeblog.com

5. I really “dig” this dog cake.

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Photo from worthpinning.com

6. I’d be happy to take these guys on a walk… or a taste test.

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Photo from pinkribbonbakery.ca

7. This lady like pup would be the perfect treat for any dog-loving, birthday girl.

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Photo from tipskidsparty.com

8. These soulful eyes are the true meaning of puppy love. This cake is certainly to “sweet” to eat.

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Photo from cakesdecor.com

9. If I was ever turned into a dog cupcake, I imagine it would look something like this.

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Photo from the CupcakeBlog.com

10. We’ve all wondered what dog food might taste like.

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11. These Bulldog cupcakes don’t look excited to celebrate, but as an owner of a Frenchie I know that the look on the outside of these wrinkly pups doesn’t always match the sentiment within.

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Photo from BaggyBulldogs.wordpress.com

12. Please someone make me this magical looking dog cake.

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Photo from MaydenCake.blogspot.com

13. You should never give puppies as gifts, but a gift box with a dog cake, is totally okay.

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Photo from CakeCentral.com

14. You should always let sleeping dogs lie, especially if it’s their birthday.

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Photo from TastyTreats.co.uk

15. If someone made a cake inspired by me writing about dog cakes, this is what it would look like.

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Photo from Dahlia’s Cakes

Have you ever gotten a dog-themed cake or dessert for your birthday? Tell us about it in the comments below!

How to Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

14 Aug 2016 | Filed in Dog Gooming

When should you brush?

The best time to brush your pet’s teeth is when you are both relaxed. If your pet growls, bites, scratches or shows any other signs of aggression during the procedure, stop immediately and consult your Banfield doctor for advice.

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ThinkstockThis process should be introduced slowly, and may even take several days to weeks for your pet to adjust to the treatment. Start with step 1 and move on to the next step as your pet accepts each step.

Step 1

Gently position your dog in a corner (of a sofa, chair or room) so that he will be secure and more easily handled. Carefully lift the lips to expose his teeth.

Step 2

Rub your finger over the dog’s teeth and gums for about 15 seconds to get the dog used to having something in his mouth. It might be necessary to do this a couple of times before the next step.

Step 3

Put a small amount of toothpaste specially formulated for pets on your finger, and allow the pet to taste it.

Step 4

Slide a finger brush onto your index finger and put a small amount of toothpaste on the brush. Gently rub the brush over your dog’s teeth and gums. Repeat this process for the next few brushing session. Because finger brushes are not as effective as regular toothbrushes, the pet should be transitioned to a regular bristled toothbrush as soon as the pet is comfortable with it.

Step 5

Apply a small amount of toothpaste to a bristle brush specially designed for pets. Place the brush bristles at a 45-degree angle to the gum line. Move the brush gently in circular patterns over the dog’s teeth. Start by brushing a few teeth. As brushing sessions continue, slowly include more teeth. Build up to about 30 seconds on each side of the dog’s mouth. Remember to brush both upper and lower teeth.

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