Category Archives: Dogs

Chocolate Overdose: What to do if they find your secret spot

Most of us have that secret spot of emergency chocolate, for those extra hard days.  Unfortunately, the chocolate stash can be very dangerous for our pets if they find it.

The question we end up asking ourselves is how much is too much chocolate, and what should I do if my dog eats chocolate?

How much is safe?

As long as you know how much was eaten and what sort of chocolate it is, it is relatively easy to work out if your pet is in danger. 

The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous, is the general rule. 

Dark, bitter baking chocolate contains more toxins than milk chocolate. Milk chocolate is not as toxic as dark chocolate, and white chocolate contains very little of theobromine, which is the concerning chemical found in chocolate. 

Other factors that may impact your pet include whether there were any other ingredients such as caffeine, sultanas, macadamias, and xylitol (also toxic to pets and used as an artificial sweetener).

Many pets are very sensitive to rich and fatty foods and will get a nasty bout of pancreatitis or gastroenteritis from overindulging. Also, pets that gobble the whole lot so quickly that they eat wrappers, foil and plastic are more susceptible to a foreign body problem as well.

What Does Chocolate Do to Dogs?

Chocolate contains theobromine which is a methylxanthine that stimulates the heart and nervous system while relaxing smooth muscle. The low-grade signs of poisoning often include vomiting, diarrhea, panting, restlessness, hyperactivity, and increased heart rate.

At higher doses, neurological signs such as tremors, seizures, coma, and death can occur. Often it takes a few hours to develop the dangerous symptoms and as theobromine has a long half-life it can take a few days for pets to improve even with treatment.

What Should I Do?

If you have a reason to suspect your pet has eaten chocolate, get them to the vet immediately.

If there is a chance that the chocolate is still in the stomach, including vomiting quickly is cheap, effective and safe. Usually, if the consumption was within an hour, inducing vomiting solves the problem. Insider tip: vets don’t mind making chocolate-eaters vomit – it smells so much nicer than the usual vomit!

 

Protect your dog from Mosquitoes

It’s almost summer, but to us dog owners we know what season really is almost here: flea/tick/mosquito season. It’s that time of the year when you become wary of letting you dog walk through ominous-looking grass and uncut lawns. After all, mosquito bites carry deadly consequences and can transmit diseases like heart-worm and West Nile. But if encasing your dog in a protective, impenetrable bubble doesn’t work for you, here are some ways to keep your dog sage and bite-free all summer.

Whatever you do, DON’T use human insect repellent on your dog.Mosquito Protection-Dog

Human bug sprays are great for us, but they’re toxic for our furry friends. Deet, the main ingredient in most drugstore bug sprays, can cause vomiting, seizures, and skin irritation when exposed to dogs.

When applying bug spray, make sure your dog doesn’t lick your skin, if they do, contact your vet immediately.

Avoid leaving standing water around your home.

Mosquitoes, much like humans, need water to live. Restricting their access to water is the best way to keep adult mosquitoes from breeding and, thus, unleashing more mosquitoes into your home.
To prevent this, eliminate any standing water around your home. You might also want to empty your dog’s water bowl at night when you know they won’t be drinking it.

Don’t walk your dog at peak mosquito times.

Just like how us humans have rush hours, mosquitoes have their own time of the day when they’re the most active, and those times are at dawn and dusk. Avoid walking your dog during these hours and they’ll be less likely to be bitten.

Buy insect-repellent products made for dogs.

Fairly self-explanatory, but stick to products that are made for dogs. That way you know they’re safe to use. Most flea and tick products are formulated to repel mosquitoes as well.
K9 Advantix and Bio Spot are two examples of great triple action products that should keep your dog free of bites all summer long. You can also buy sprays and other insect repellents from your pet store.

Don’t ignore natural remedies.Mosquito Protection-Dog

If you’re not comfortable using chemicals on yourself, let alone your dog, there are lots of natural remedies for mosquito prevention that work just as well as the chemical ones. Lemon eucalyptus oil is an effective repellent that keeps mosquitoes at with its repugnant smell.

Geranium oil and soybean oil when mixed together can also be used as a repellent. Although you can find products with these ingredients in health food stores, you can also mix together these oils yourself and make your own D.I.Y bug spray.

Fix any broken window screens in your home.

Most mosquitoes get into the home through open windows or broken window screens. If you wake up with new bites on your arms, your windows might not be protecting you and your dog as much as you think.

Be wary of any holes or tears in screens that might be letting bugs in. And don’t forget to fill in the gap between the air conditioner and the window frame, too.

Tips for Leaving Your Dog on Vacation

For many dog owners, leaving on vacation becomes a cause for anxiety when thinking about leaving your dog behind while you are gone.

We like to take our dog with us when possible but sometimes that just can’t be done. The logistics of the situation just won’t allow it. You might be going somewhere too difficult to take your dog or it could even be an unwelcome or even unsafe situation for them.

We’ve created a list of tips to help you out in this stressful situation with the hope that it makes things a little easier for you.

Chances are you’ll be more worried than your furry friend is so please try and have fun while you’re away.

Make sure your dog has up to date ID tags

We’re sure that you’re going to leave your do in the best hands possible but even then sometimes things happen. Make sure your dog has its tag with correct contact information on it.

Leave detailed instructions

Make sure your caretaker can get in touch with you and that they know what to do should any situation arise and you aren’t reachable. Be specific on how much food your dog gets for each meal, and how many treats they get. If they need medicine, leave instructions for how much they need to take and how to give it to them. 

Related: Pet sitting vs pet boarding

Keep in touch

Since we have tools such as Skype or Facetime, make a video call to check in on your dog. This always helps me out because I love the look on by dog’s face when she hears my voice. Her ears will perk up and I’ll get to see she’s okay and the warm feeling when she reacts to seeing me.

Make sure they’re aware of your dog’s behaviors

All dogs have they’re own quirks and behaviors that you manage without having to think about it too much. Your caretaker, however, will need to know if you’re dog will become a savage beast at the sight of a squirrel. Make sure they’re aware.

Leave comforting items for your dog

Perhaps you can leave a t-shirt in your dog’s crate so they can be comforted by your scent. Maybe you can leave special treats with them. Maybe if they’re being dog sat at their own home you can leave a radio on if they’re not used to the sound of an empty house. 

Related: The Advantages of a Pet Sitter Over Boarding

Don’t turn your goodbye into an event

If your dog is used to being left alone every day when you go to work, try keeping a similar routine. An unusual emotional goodbye may leave them feeling anxious. It may not be easy for you but you want to leave your pet feeling as relaxed and normal as possible.

Leave your dog in good hands

You can’t make it so that your dog is never sad or emotional. You can, however, make sure they are in a safe place where they will be well cared for. Leave your pet with someone you trust, whether it is a dog sitter or a pet boarding service. 

Know your dog loves you

We have never seen a case where a pet forgot who their owner is. Even the pets who enjoy the adventure of boarding with other pets and love their caretaker will still love their owner. Nothing will change that.

Stray Dog Adopted by Monastery, Becomes Friar and Internet Sensation

Carmelo the "Friar Pup"

Have you heard about Carmelo, the newest online animal sensation?

Carmelo, (also known as Friar Bigotón) was a stray who was adopted by the St Francis Monastery of Cochabamba, Bolivia. 

The monastery announced that the furry pup, whom they have named Carmelo, has joined their fold. He has even been given a habit to wear just like the rest of the friars.

“His life is all about playing and running. Here, all of the brothers love him very much. He is a creature of God” said friar Jorge Fernandez.

St Francis, who the monastery is named after is the patron saint of animals, so it was only natural for them to adopt this dog. They wanted to set an example for others to open their homes to animals in need.

Related: Three questions to consider when choosing a new pet

As often happens, the cute little animal has taken social media by storm, with millions of people sharing and commenting on photos of Carmelo. He’s even gained worldwide coverage from national media networks.

Carmelo’s adoption became possible through the Cochabamba, Bolivia animal rescue group Proyecto Narices Frías (Cold Nose Project).

They wrote on Facebook, “If all the churches of our country adopted just one dog and cared for it like Friar Bigotón, we are sure that the parishioners would follow this excellent example.”

It’s safe to assume that their example has worked and that many of Carmelo’s millions of fans have adopted other pets.

Related Post: Tips for the first 30 days of dog adoption

 

Tips for the first 30 days of Dog Adoption

The first few days in your home are special and critical for a pet.

Your new dog will be confused about where he is and what to expect from you.

Setting up some clear structure with your family for your dog will be paramount in making as smooth a transition as possible.

BEFORE YOU BRING YOUR PET HOME

 

  • Determine where your dog will be spending most of his time. Because he will be under a lot of stress with the change of environment (from shelter or foster home to your house), he may forget any housebreaking (if any) he’s learned. Often a kitchen will work best for easy clean-up.
  • If you plan on crate training your dog, be sure to have a crate set-up and ready to go for when you bring your new dog home.
  • Dog-proof the area where your pooch will spend most of his time during the first few months. This may mean taping loose electrical cords to baseboards; storing household chemicals on high shelves; removing plants, rugs, and breakables; setting up the crate, and installing baby gates.
  • Training your dog will start the first moment you have him. Take time to create a vocabulary list everyone will use when giving your dog directions. This will help prevent confusion and help your dog learn his commands more quickly.
  • Bring an ID tag with your phone number on it with you when you pick up your dog so that he has an extra measure of safety for the ride home and the first few uneasy days. If he is microchipped, be sure to register your contact information with the chip’s company, if the rescue or shelter did not already do so.

Related: Rules of thumb in positive reinforcement

First Day:

  • We know moving is stressful — and your new dog feels the same way! Give him time to acclimate to your home and family before introducing him to strangers. Make sure children know how to approach the dog without overwhelming him.
  • When you pick up your dog, remember to ask what and when he was fed. Replicate that schedule for at least the first few days to avoid gastric distress. If you wish to switch to a different brand, do so over a period of about a week by adding one part new food to three parts of the old for several days; then switch to half new food, half old, and then one part old to three parts new.
  • On the way home, your dog should be safely secured, preferably in a crate. Some dogs find car trips stressful, so having him in a safe place will make the trip home easier on him and you.
  • Once home, take him to his toileting area immediately and spend a good amount of time with him so he will get used to the area and relieve himself. Even if your dog does relieve himself during this time, be prepared for accidents. Coming into a new home with new people, new smells and new sounds can throw even the most housebroken dog off-track, so be ready just in case.
  • If you plan on crate training your dog, leave the crate open so that he can go in whenever he feels like it in case he gets overwhelmed.
  • From there, start your schedule of feeding, toileting and play/exercise. From Day One, your dog will need family time and brief periods of solitary confinement. Don’t give in and comfort him if he whines when left alone. Instead, give him attention for good behavior, such as chewing on a toy or resting quietly.
  • For the first few days, remain calm and quiet around your dog, limiting too much excitement (such as the dog park or neighborhood children). Not only will this allow your dog to settle in easier, it will give you more one-on-one time to get to know him and his likes/dislikes.
  • If he came from another home, objects like leashes, hands, rolled up newspapers and magazines, feet, chairs and sticks are just some of the pieces of “training equipment” that may have been used on this dog. Words like “come here” and “lie down” may bring forth a reaction other than the one you expect.Or maybe he led a sheltered life and was never socialized to children or sidewalk activity. This dog may be the product of a never-ending series of scrambled communications and unreal expectations that will require patience on your part.

Related: How much exercise does your dog need

Following Weeks:

  • People often say they don’t see their dog’s true personality until several weeks after adoption. Your dog may be a bit uneasy at first as he gets to know you. Be patient and understanding while also keeping to the schedule you intend to maintain for feeding, walks, etc. This schedule will show your dog what is expected of him as well as what he can expect from you.
  • After discussing it with your veterinarian to ensure your dog has all the necessary vaccines, you may wish to take your dog to group training classes or the dog park. Pay close attention to your dog’s body language to be sure he’s having a good time — and is not fearful or a dog park bully.
  • To have a long and happy life together with your dog, stick to the original schedule you created, ensuring your dog always has the food, potty time and attention he needs. You’ll be bonded in no time!
  • If you encounter behavior issues you are unfamiliar with, ask your veterinarian for a trainer recommendation. Select a trainer who uses positive-reinforcement techniques to help you and your dog overcome these behavior obstacles.Congratulations! If you follow these tips, you’ll be on your way to having a well-adjusted canine family member.

SOURCE: http://www.zalaw.com/images/happy-dog.jpg

SOURCE: https://www.petfinder.com/dogs/bringing-a-dog-home/tips-for-first-30-days-dog/


 

Does Your Dog Need a Winter Coat or Boots?

When winter winds come whistling, I’m the first to don a heavy overcoat, a knit hat and boots — and my dogs aren’t far behind. It’s a common misconception that dogs, equipped by nature with fur coats and a higher body temperature than humans, will do just fine in cold weather without accessories such as sweaters, coats and booties. That might be true for hardy sled dogs who spend their days in training for the Iditarod, but I can assure you that dogs with short or thin coats or those with certain size or health limitations need just as much protection from the cold as you or I do. Here’s what you need to know about dressing your dog for winter.

Coat Check
Dogs with short, thin or fine coats feel the cold quickly — but that doesn’t mean that your pooch needs to bundle up every time he leaves the house. If your dog is going outdoors for a quick potty outing and coming right back inside, no need to wrestle him into a sweater or coat and booties. The same is true if you’re going for a brisk walk. Chris Zink, DVM, a canine sports medicine authority, says dogs who are exercising continuously shouldn’t need a coat because they create their own heat.

But if that brisk walk takes your thin-coated dog through the snow, or if he’ll be running through areas where ground water could splash up and freeze on him, then a coat or sweater is a good idea. Dr. Zink also recommends protecting certain sensitive body parts — some coats made for field dogs provide coverage of the penis and testicles.

Dogs who spend time outdoors but aren’t consistently active during that time can benefit from a sweater or coat to help them conserve body heat. For these dogs, I recommend a lightweight sweater or coat that won’t restrict your pooch’s front-leg movement. We (my dogs and I) are big fans of Fido Fleece. Have a couple on hand so your dog will always have a dry one to wear; putting a damp coat or sweater on will just make him colder.

Bassets, Dachshunds, Corgis and other small dogs may lose heat more quickly because their low stature or small body size puts them in closer contact with snow. Other dogs who may appreciate the comfort of a coat include pets with Cushing’s disease, diabetes, or heart or kidney disease. Their health conditions may make it more difficult for them to regulate their body temperature. Young puppies and old dogs are also more susceptible to chills. And even if your dog has a long or thick coat, he’s not made to spend hours outdoors in below-freezing weather without protection.

Finally, remember that while a coat can keep your dog warm, it can make it difficult or impossible for him to escape if he falls through ice into water. Avoid situations where that could happen.

To Shoe or Not to Shoe
What about those paws? Do dogs really need booties? That’s a matter of opinion. Some dogs can benefit from them, especially if they have furry feet that collect ice and snow between the toes, but fit is super important.

Booties should be comfortable, without rubbing against the dog’s paws, and of course they need to actually stay on. Dr. Zink says booties are most important for sled dogs running long distances, dogs walking on surfaces covered with salt or ice melter, which can be toxic, and dogs with hairy paws that collect snowballs. Be prepared to try out lots of booties until you find the ones that are right for your dog’s tootsies.

If you can’t find booties that fit well, or if your dog flat-out refuses to wear them, you can take other steps to protect his paws. As soon as he comes inside, soak his paws for a few seconds in a bowl of warm water, then dry them thoroughly. (If he’s a little guy, wipe down his legs and belly too.) You can also trim the fur between his toes to help reduce or prevent the accumulation of ice and snow there, which can cut the feet or cause your dog to limp. Help prevent cracked and bleeding paw pads by applying petroleum jelly or paw wax before your dog goes outside.

POST SOURCE: VetStreet
IMAGE SOURCE: KURGO

How to Clean Your Dog’s Teeth

You may have heard the saying, “a dog’s mouth is cleaner.” While that is not entirely true, dogs are not as prone to cavities as humans. However, dogs can still develop plaque buildup, which leads to tartar and gingivitis. Although these are concerning issues, they actually lead to serious health issues including heart, liver, and kidney disease. In order to prevent these life threatening issues, bad breath, and yellow teeth, learn how to clean your dog’s teeth.

To properly brush your dog’s teeth, hold the brush at a 45 degree angle and gently scrub at the gum line and teeth. Use toothpaste specially formulated for dogs, which can be found at pet stores. Human toothpaste has many ingredients that are poisonous to pets; never use your own toothpaste.

Pets do not always love the experience, but if you are patient and read your dog’s signals you’ll be able to create a comfortable routine for both of you. The first few times you brush your dog’s teeth, you man not get to clean as thoroughly as you want – that’s okay! Starting slow and building up tolerance to the brushing activity will easy your dog into it gently. Ensure that you’re speaking pleasantly to your dog and avoid yelling in frustration. The first times are admittedly tricky. You can reward you dog with a treat afterwards to encourage better behavior.

If your dog hates this process, there’s still hope. You can make choices that help encourage better oral health for your pup. Crunchy kibble is better for your dog’s teeth than softer foods. The soft food sticks to teeth and leads to decay, while the kibble does not. In addition you can try synthetic bones and chew toys that are formulated to clean teeth. Although these steps help, they are no replacement for brushing your pup’s teeth.

If your pup has chronic bad breath, yellow teeth, missing teeth or other dental problems, see your dentist for the best advice and treatment.

Top Autumn Pet Care Tips

With the changing weather, comes shedding, increased energy and more time spent indoors. Are you taking care of your pet with autumn in mind? Here are our top tips for autumn pet care:

  1. Be mindful of rodent poison. Rodents are likely to make their way into your home during this time of year. You may be tempted to leave poison out in the open, but your pets can get into them with fatal results. Make sure you place the poison in areas that your pets cannot get into, like cupboards and cabinets, or in rooms that stay closed off. Be sure to protect your pets at all costs because rodent poison is very seriously toxic to cats and dogs.
  2. Watch their food intake. During the summer, pets are more active outdoors and burn more energy which can cause them to eat a bit more. Fall and winter can become a pudgy season for both pets and humans, with less activity and increased decadent foods available. Be sure to watch your pet’s diet and ensure they are getting enough exercise during these cooler months. Consult a veterinarian before making changes to your pets’ diet, as every animal has different needs.
  3.  Beware chocolate. Chocolate consumption goes up during the cooler months with the celebration of many holidays. Be sure to keep your pet away from the chocolate, as it can make dogs very sick. Keep your trick-or-treat buckets out of reach from mischievous, hungry pets.
  4. Avoid bones. You may be tempted to give your pooch a turkey bone from your Thanksgiving feast. Most bones are actually a choking hazard to dogs. Toss your pet a piece of turkey meat and throw the bones away instead.
  5. Be mindful of decorations. Until your pet is familiar with the painted pumpkins, stuffed turkey decor, and fake snow in your home, she might accidentally knock them down or ingest them. Keep your decorations up high or out of pet’s reach for the safest bet.
  6. Clean up the anti-freeze. When you winterize your vehicle, make sure to clean up every bit of anti-freeze. It has a sweet smell that draws in pets. However, a very small amount can kill pets. Keep your pet away when you’re using anti-freeze and thoroughly clean any spills.

How To Minimize Shedding In Dogs

shedding dog

In the summer heat, shedding seems never ending. Are you tired of clumps of fur collecting in the corners of the house and individual strands embedding in your clothes? Here are the best ways to control shedding in dogs.

  1. Brush your dog regularly. This removes loose fur and helps distribute their oils to keep their fur healthier, and less likely to shed.
  2. Feed your dog high quality food. A better diet will help keep their coat healthy and minimize shedding. Some dogs even have allergy-related shedding, so monitoring their diet is extremely important.
  3. Use de-shedding grooming tools. These tools are specialized for shedding and can help manage fur better than a brush alone.
  4. Regularly bathe your pup. Baths help loose fur fall out, but over-bathing can cause dry skin. This causes fur fallout.
  5. Manage fleas. Fleas cause dogs to scratch themselves and fling fur into the air. Make sure your pooch is flea-free to keep scratching (and fur-flinging) to a minimum.

Some dogs are heavy shedders and little can be done to eliminate shedding completely. It should be noted that shearing a dog will not decrease shedding either. In fact, you’ll be left with smaller strands of fur that will still shed.

If you’re considering adding a new pup to the family but don’t want to deal with fur matting your home, look for a breed that doesn’t shed much, like a maltese or poodle. Many long-haired breeds, like shelties and retrievers, shed heavily.

If all else fails, get a good vacuum.

How Much Exercise Does Your Dog Need?

Taking care of your dog’s health is a primary concern in making their life as long and enjoyable as possible. Exercise is a key component to keep dogs healthy and happy. Regular activity can keep your dog from becoming stressed, bored, and destructive. In addition, it has been shown to reduce anxiety-driven behaviors.

Some dogs prefer or need more exercise, while some need less. Exercise needs differ between breeds, ages, and temperaments. A 3-year-old poodle with a calmer nature may not need as much as a 5-year-old, wiry poodle. Some breeds range between activity levels, as well. For example, some golden retrievers are quite active and others fall into the averagely active category. Make sure to follow a general rule of thumb but pay close attention to your dog’s personal needs.

Very Active Dogs

Herding, (some) hunting, and sporting breeds have a high need for exercise and activity. This means, at least an hour or two of intense activity daily (if not twice a day). These dogs will become impatient and bored if not stimulated regularly. To keep very active dogs healthy try swimming, visiting a dog park, or going for a quick jog. Very active breeds include:

Husky
Malamute
Border Collie
Brittany Spaniel
Australian Shepherd
Dalmatian
Bluetick Hound
Shetland Sheepdog
Jack Russell Terrier

Active Dogs

Terriers, (some) hunting, and other medium size dogs have an average need for exercise. These dogs can get some of their daily exercise from playing in the yard, but should get a minimum of an hour of exercise a day. Some within this range are less active and may only need 45 minutes of activity, while others need up to 1.5 hours. It should also be noted that breeds like German shepherds and greyhounds are prone to bloat and shouldn’t exercise within an hour of mealtime. Take these dogs for walks and play fetch for easy stimulation. Active breeds include:

Cairn
Airedale
Greyhound
Golden Retriever
German Shepherd
Corgi
Labrador

Least Active Dogs

Many small dogs, bulldog varieties, and those with shortened snouts require less exercise than other breeds. However, many of these breeds are prone to obesity and need activity to stay healthy. These types can be active in a small yard to work their muscles and burn energy. Also, brachycephalic dogs with shorter muzzles can overheat easily because of their unique breathing passages. Be sure to monitor the weather and provide plenty of breaks for them. Finally, some large dog breeds are actually less active as well. Less active breeds include:

Chihuahua
Poodle
Maltese
Pug
Bulldog
Mastiff
Italian Greyhound
French Bulldog
Shih Tzu
Great Dane