Every October, children around the neighborhood put on their best costumes and celebrate Halloween. This holiday is a favorite for kids and adults alike, and folks often love to include their dogs in the celebration as well. For a fun Halloween for both people and pets, it's important to keep a few things in mind. Here are a few safety tips that every dog owner should know this autumn:
Chocolate and Sweets are Not for Pets
All types of chocolate, including dark chocolate, is toxic and sometimes even deadly to dogs. Because of dogs' excellent sense of smell, be sure to keep all chocolate and candy out of reach of dogs, not just out of sight. Remember, chocolate poisoning is not something to take lightly. Signs include vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures, and need immediate medical attention. Even candy that doesn't contain chocolate can be dangerous. Many candies contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener, which is also toxic to dogs. Dogs can still celebrate with healthy pet treats, of course, which is always an excellent alternative to human treats.
Keep Pumpkins Out of Reach
Pumpkins and other typical autumn decorations such as cornstalks or hay do a great job making homes spooky for trick-or-treaters. Unfortunately, they aren't as fun for dogs. Although they aren't poisonous, they can cause stomach upset or intestinal blockage. Another reason to keep pumpkins out of reach is that candles or electric lights are often involved, and neither is something a dog owner wants their pup to play with.
Be Careful With the Costumes
Some dogs love to be dressed up, but for others, it's a stressful experience. Be sure to try on any costume before the big night to make sure the dog is comfortable and happy wearing it. A good costume won't limit the dog's movement or ability to see, hear, or breathe. Owners should supervise their costumed dogs in case the outfit should break or become loose. There are also plenty of great Halloween ideas out there for dogs who don't like a full costume, so don't force it if the dog doesn't enjoy wearing one. Get creative and experiment with patterned bandanas or a collar clip-on.
Give the Dog a Safe Space
Even the most well-trained dog might become unpredictable when visitors in strange costumes coming to the door every few minutes. Dogs might get overexcited or nervous. Because of this, it's a good idea to keep an eye on them throughout the night and make sure they have a safe spot in the house to retreat to if they want to. It might also be a good idea to keep overly excitable dogs on a leash for the night, which will prevent them from jumping up on trick-or-treaters or even trying to run out the door.
Halloween is a fantastic time for making memories with friends, both human and animal. Whether it's a dog's first Halloween or they're a seasoned veteran, the best treat anyone can give their dog is a safe and fun holiday.
There are certain things you've got to accept when you decide to bring a dog into your life, and barking is one of them. Barking is a natural and necessary aspect of a dog's communication, socialization, and safety, but you don't have to put up with constant vocalizations from your pup. Even the noisiest of dogs can be trained to control their barking. These simple tips are central to limiting your dog's barking.
Dogs don't bark for no reason. Whether your dog wants attention, is distressed, or wants to notify you about something in the environment, their barking is a reaction to some stimulus. Try to remove these triggers when your dog barks. If they are barking at someone walking past the window, close the curtains. If they're barking to draw your attention, don't give it. By showing your dog that there are alternative ways to get noticed, you'll reduce their motivation to bark.
As with all dog training, you need to positively reinforce your pooch's good behaviors - in this case, not barking. Give your dog a treat and a "Good boy!" when they stay quiet in a situation that would normally elicit barking. If your dog does stay quiet for a prolonged period of time, reward them for this behavior with a treat, a pat, or attention. Over time, your dog will learn that there are upsides to not barking and their vocalizations will diminish.
It is also important not to reinforce barking, so ignore them when they are noisy. It can be difficult to ignore barking because vocalizations may be attached to danger - you don't want to ignore your dog when he's reacting to a home intruder! But by training your dog to bark less you are ensuring that when they do bark, it is for a real and important reason. Don't pay attention to your dog when they're barking and reward them when they stop.
Recognize When It's Natural
You can train your dog to bark less but you cannot stop them barking forever. There are times when your dog will still want to draw your attention to something that is distressing them. You should aim to stop them barking when it isn't appropriate, like when the postman comes to your door. Realize that you cannot stop your dog barking 100% of the time and recognize when you've reached a happy medium with your dog's barking.
Teach A "Quiet" Command
Teach your dog to "Speak" by giving the command, waiting until they bark, and then giving them a treat. When they can bark on command, add a command to stop barking by saying "Quiet" and rewarding them when the barking stops. The quiet command lets you stop your dog barking easily when they do become noisy. If your dog does bark in future you can use a sharp, clear "Quiet!" to acknowledge and stop them.
Your dog can learn to bark less with consistent, controlled training, so take these tips on board and look forward to a happier and quieter life with your pooch.
When it comes to looking after your dog's health, the basics of good diet, exercise and regular check-ups are generally well understood. Yet, an area that's often overlooked by many owners is looking after their pup's teeth. Most people agree that good dental hygiene can add up to five years to a dog's life, so it's important not to overlook. Here's what you should know about canine dental care.
Basics of a Dog's Dental Hygiene
Thankfully, dogs don't have nearly as much sugar in their diet as we do, so brushing twice a day isn't strictly necessary. Yet, according to the site Pets WebMD, by the time a dog reaches 3 years of age, more than 80 percent show some sign of gum disease. This is because most owners don't know how to take care of their dog's teeth. Over time, just as in humans, this can develop into decay and eventual tooth loss.
As well as being uncomfortable and making eating and general activity more difficult, this can have serious health implications in the long term. Dogs rely on using their mouths as much as humans use their hands, so any problems in this area can have a significant effect. Also, as with humans, buildup of bacteria can lead to it entering the bloodstream and causing heart, kidney and lung problems.
What to Look Out For
The signs of gum disease and other problems may not be immediately obvious, so it's important to regularly inspect your dog's teeth and gums for any problems. General symptoms include unwillingness to chew toys or eat, and drooling more than normal. Black gums are sometimes the result of natural pigmentation and not always a sign of trouble. However, if you notice the color changing over time, then there may be an issue that needs addressing. Bad breath is another symptom, and could be a sign of infection.
How to Brush and Check the Teeth
Unfortunately, if your dog isn't used to you checking their teeth, they may become confused and even frightened. It's important not to rush the process, but rather, to make it gradual. The routine is like any kind of training: it will seem weird at first, but they'll gradually see that there's nothing to be afraid of and begin to accept it. Just be sure to never be forceful or make any surprising movements.
Ideally, you should brush your dog's teeth every day to avoid the buildup of plaque. To start with, you can do it less often and then make it a daily process when your pup gets used to it. If that sounds like too much, then even once a week is a lot more than most owners ever do. You can't use a normal toothbrush or toothpaste, so head to the pet store and look out for specific products there. Pastes are often flavored like meat to make it appealing for your dog; a little taste can be given at first to introduce them to it.
Nice and Gradual
Using gentle motions, brush the dog's teeth and gums as you would your own. Never press hard, as this can cause gum inflammation. Be sure to go slowly at first. You're unlikely to be able to brush the back of the teeth, but if your pooch lets you, then all the better. Make this a pleasurable experience, and remember that even a little brushing is better than none, so be patient at first and don't force it. Reward your brave friend with a treat or play afterwards to encourage it as a pleasurable experience. Look out for biscuits, chews and other foods which advertise dental health benefits. Some are shaped to have a lightly abrasive effect which can further aid cleaning. Finally, for optimal care, head to the vet for an annual check-up and cleaning.
If you follow this advice, you'll be doing your dog a massive favor in the long run. Unfortunately, canine dental hygiene is an often-overlooked side of their healthcare, and problems can occur if this is ignored. Remember not to force the cleaning routine, especially if they're an older dog that's never experienced it before. Even an occasional cleaning is better than none. Try to slowly introduce it as a routine and make it pleasurable so your dog becomes happy to let you clean their pearly whites.
It's no secret that some dogs love to eat grass. When given an opportunity, many canines will munch of the stuff with relish. For some, it's an occasional indulgence. Other dogs insist on having their greens daily. If you've seen this behavior in your own pet, you may wonder why. You are not alone.
There are many theories that have attempted to explain this peculiar habit. The truth is, scientists don't quite agree on the exact reasons behind this perplexing behavior. Let's take a look at some of possible explanations that dog experts have given:
. To Treat Tummy Troubles: This is the explanation that you've most likely heard from others. Even vets have expounded on this theory. It is commonly believed that dogs will eat grass when they have an upset stomach. The thought is that the dog will eat grass, and then vomit. This will rid himself of whatever was disagreeing with him. Seems reasonable, right? The biggest issue with this theory is that research hasn't backed it up. In spite of how smart your dog may be, there is no evidence Fido is smart enough to know to treat his stomach ailments with grass. Furthermore, in a study done on this subject, researchers discovered that dogs vomited after eating grass less than 25% of the time.
. To Clear a Blocked Nasal Passage: According to some experts, dogs may chew on grass as a way to clear out their noses. The tickly blades might stimulate your dog's nostrils, causing him to sneeze.
. To Get Rid of Parasites: Grass is an excellent source of non-digestible fiber, something that may be lacking in your dog's diet. It's possible that dogs have an instinctive desire to eat grass as a way to get more fiber, which could clear away parasites. Even if your dog is on deworming medications, the instinct persists according to this theory, and your dog still feels driven to go for the green.
. It Tastes Good (to Your Dog): Perhaps the simplest explanation is that your dog simply likes the taste or texture of grass. While this may seem odd, when you consider all the other things canines like to eat, it's not all that unusual. While we tend to think of dogs as being carnivores, the truth is more complicated. Wolves and other wild dogs are actually opportunistic omnivores. When your dog eats grass or other plants, he may simply be following in his ancestors' primordial footsteps.
We may never know for certain why dogs love to eat grass, but we can rest assured that it is most likely a harmless habit. Most researchers and vets agree that there is little or no reason to worry about your dog casually partaking in grass. Be aware that pesticides and herbicides can be harmful to your canine companion, so keep a watchful eye on where your pet decides to dine. In being watchful, take note of things that seem unusual, such as an obsession with grass-eating or frequent vomiting. If you see something that seems wrong, be sure to speak with your vet. They will be able to tell if your dog's herbivorous habits are normal or not. Otherwise, feel free to let your canine friend chew to his heart's content.
Christmas is one of the most hectic and special times of the year. We are often so rushed that we can forget there are many dangers for our pets during this season. The last thing we need is a trip to the emergency vet clinic. So this post is dedicated to providing just a few reminders about holiday hazards.
Trees and Plants
Please keep these simple tips in mind so both you and your pet have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.
The holiday season has arrived. While this is one of the most enjoyable times of the year it can contain unique threats to our pets. So this post is dedicated to providing just a few reminders about holiday hazards.
Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching and there are numerous hazards associated with our traditional feast we should keep in mind:
Pay attention to signs of stress in your pet and remove them from the situation before things get out of hand, especially if your pet is not used to small children. Stress signals include yawning, excessive panting, lip licking and whale eye.
Here's wishing you, your family and your pets a Happy Thanksgiving.
Most people know that chocolate is toxic to dogs but do you know why?
Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound that is a heart stimulant, diuretic and is used in medicine as a
vasodilator. Symptoms include excitability, hyperactivity, muscle twitches, excessive panting, vomiting and
diarrhea. Because of the diuretic effect, your dog may pass large volumes of urine and be unusually thirsty. Theobromine can increase the dog’s heart rate, increase blood pressure, and cause the heart to beat irregularly. In severe cases, seizures can occur.
How much chocolate will hurt my dog? That depends on the type of chocolate and the amount of theobromine it contains.
Below is a quick reference of harmful levels:
Dog’s weight Amount of milk chocolate Amount of baking chocolate Appr. Mg of theobromin
5 lb. 4 oz. 0.5 oz. 200
10 lbs. 8 oz. 1.0 oz. 400
20 lbs. 1 lb. 2.5 oz. 900
30 lbs. 2 lbs. 3.25 oz. 1300
40 lbs. 2.5 lbs. 4.5 oz. 1800
50 lbs. 3 lbs. 5.5 oz. 2250
60 lbs. 4 lbs. 7.0 oz. 2700
70 lbs. 5 lbs. 8.5 oz. 3400
Although white chocolate only has 1mg of theobromine per ounce it is mostly sugar and cocoa butter. So it is best to avoid white chocolate as well.
This article has been shared with permission. (Thank you, Ingrid)
I Can't Stop Talking About Raw Goat's Milk
By Ingrid Berger - Florida Territory Manager, Southeast Pet
Talking about raw goat’s milk is really a passion of mine, and chances are I might talk your head off about it if the topic ever comes up in conversation. I want to give you a brief overview of the benefits of raw goat’s milk and share some of the positive results I have seen happen with my own dogs on goat’s milk. Seriously, the results my retailers, their customers and I have seen goat’s milk do for pets are truly amazing.
Raw (unpasteurized) Goat's Milk is, as some say, one of Mother Nature’s perfect foods.
Why goat's milk instead of cow's milk? Goat milk has a smaller fat and protein chain which makes it easier to digest than cow milk which comes mostly from Holstein cows.
But won’t pets have diarrhea if they drink milk? We’ve all heard that, but today we’re talking about raw milk. Raw goat’s milk is great for you pets digestion and is very different from the pasteurized milk found in your local grocery store. Pasteurization kills the vitamins and most of the enzymes in milk. One of those enzymes that is killed is Lactase. Lactase is the enzyme needed to break down lactose because goat’s milk has it, you don’t need to worry about lactose intolerance. Raw goat’s milk can be used in place of pumpkin to firm or soften stool’s that are too loose or dry.
Our pet’s bodies only make the enzymes needed to break down what they are currently eating, so if they always eat the same diet, they don’t have all the enzymes needed when switching foods. Raw goat’s milk has all of the enzymes needed for digestion, so no tummy upsets when switching foods.
Raw goat’s milk will populate the gut 100 times more than powders or pills, and is absorbed within 20 minutes of drinking it. Basically, it gets the gut in perfect order…and if the gut is in order, the rest of the body has to follow suit.
What makes Raw Goat’s Milk so wonderful? Here’s my ABC’s of Goat’s Milk:
Antihistamine & Anti-Inflamatory. Raw goat’s milk from grass fed goats is a natural antihistamine helping with allergies. It stabilizes mast cells that reduce inflammation caused by allergies. Because of this stabilization of mast cells, it is also a natural anti-inflammatory.
Bacteriacins. Most of the raw goat’s milk that is available for our pets, is fermented/cultured, increasing tremendously the amount of probiotics in the milk. This gives the milk longer shelf life in the refrigerator after thawing by adding bacteriacins (nutrients made to fight bad bacteria). Once the milk is thawed, it is good in the refrigerator for 7 to 14 days, depending on the brand.
CLA. Raw goat’s milk from grass fed goats is high in CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid). This a cancer fighting fat. CLA has been proven in European studies to reduce the risk of cancer by 74% and existing tumors by 60%.
Caprylic Acid. Raw goat’s milk from grass fed goats is also high in Caprylic Acid, a yeast fighting fat. This is where we have seen the most incredible results. Dogs with yeasty feet, ears, tummies, and even tear stains, gone after only a few short weeks drinking the goat’s milk. I ran into an English Bulldog breeder in one of my stores and she told me she no longer ‘bleaches’ the tear stains before going into the show ring. All her Bulldogs get goat’s milk daily. She was thrilled by the results after only 3 ½ weeks. Note though, the yeast will sometimes get worse first, as it comes out of the body, but it will get better (mostly ears, not so much tear stains).
How should you feed it? Sometimes I give it to my dogs straight in a bowl, sometimes on their dinner or breakfast, or sometimes mixed with a raw egg. If you like, you can also thaw the milk, then pour it into ice cube trays and refreeze it to made goat’s milk ice cubes. Since milk separates when frozen, I shake it up a bit before pouring and make sure it is totally thawed before serving.
My Testimonial. Both of my dogs have been drinking raw goat’s milk for almost 2 years now. When Tucker, my little guy, he had problems with a yeasty tummy and within 3 weeks on goat’s milk, it went away. He’s a wire haired dachshund and has those long ‘hound’ ears. Although he has never had yeasty ears, but they can get smelly and dirty. That’s not the case anymore. I hardly ever have to clean them. And that actually goes for both my dogs. I don’t bathe them as often as I used to either. And NO doggy smell.
What I didn’t expect, was that after about 4 ½ months of drinking the milk daily, was that he would become so playful. He instigates play every day with his ‘sister’. He never did that even as a one year old. Tucker would be so content to just veg all day or sit on my lap. He feels so good now, bouncing around and is more active and playful as an almost 7 year old than he was as a 7 month old.
Both my fur ‘kids’ get their goat’s milk daily and I think they’d run away from home or report me for ‘dog abuse’ if I ever stopped. They love it!! They know when I’m getting it out of the fridge and they start ‘dancing’ and screaming until it gets in their dishes for them to drink. Raw goat’s milk is the best thing I have ever given my dogs. ‘Little man’ had some issues, but now they are gone and he feels great! My little girl has not had any health problems, but she gets the milk daily as well. I know it will help keep them both the healthiest they can be and I want them around for a long, long time.
Bordetella, also known as Kennel Cough or canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is an airborne bacterial pathogen that infects the upper respiratory tract of dogs, very similar to the common cold in humans. It is a little more serious for dogs as it can develop into pneumonia.
The symptoms include:
Because it is airborne, this disease is easily spread from dog to dog especially in areas where there are dogs in concentration such as; day care, shelters, obedience classes, dog parks, and boarding facilities. The symptoms of Bordetella usually occur for about ten days, but the dog is still contagious for 6 to 14 weeks after the infection is resolved.
Treatment is usually done with antibiotics and cough suppressants. There are two types of vaccines available and are either injected or given intranasally. If the injection is chosen 2 doses need to be administered 2 to 4 weeks apart. Please note that after being vaccinated, a dog can “shed” the virus for about 72 hours and possibly infect other dogs. It can also take up to four days before maximum protection is achieved.
Do you know how to tell if your dog has a fever? Dogs and cats normally have a higher body temperature than humans. Normal for your dog is 101 degrees Fahrenheit, 102 for cats. A temperature over 103.5 is considered a fever. You will need rectal thermometer to take your pet's temp, there really isn't any other method. Have someone help by restraining your dog while taking your pet's temperature. You don't want your dog to sit or escape during this procedure. The thermometer should be fairly clean when it is removed. Blood, diarrhea or black, tarry stools indicate an abnormality and you should contact your vet. If your dog does have a fever, keep them well hydrated. You can also add some pedialyte to replace minerals that can become depleted during a fever. Some pets prefer beef or chicken broth or the water from a can of tuna. Use whatever works, as long as you get them to drink. If you are having trouble, you can try using an eyedropper or turkey baster and squirt water into the side of their mouth. Call your vet if your pet's fever lasts longer than 24 hours.
Karen is the owner of Karen's Canine Kitchen. She is passionate about helping her customers select the best products so their pets can live happy, healthy lives. Karen and her husband have three rescue dogs of their own.