Hot Weather and Your Dog

dog in grass

It’s a hot time of the year, a great time for swimming and playing at the park.  But what about your dog?  It’s hot outside, and special care needs to be given to him to keep him cool and comfortable.

dogs drinking

Your dog needs fresh water at all times

Dogs can’t live very long without water.  We need nice, cold water to drink.  If your dog stays outside or is outside a lot, provide clean, cold water at all times.  Change the water every day, and make sure your dog doesn’t spill it.  If he spills, your dog won’t have any water to drink and can get dehydrated or, even worse, die from lack of water.  Consider buying your dog a heavy duty water bowl.

It’s very hot outside, and dogs need a shaded area.  A doghouse is nice, but it gets hot inside that little space.  Try a beach umbrella or a small canopy.  Your dog can get sunstroke if he doesn’t have a shaded area available at all times.

It does get warm under our fur, but don’t have your dog shaved down to the skin.  Always consult your veterinarian before cutting your dog’s hair to keep him cool.  A dog’s fur isn’t given to only keep him warm.  It helps him to avoid getting sun burnt.  Also, for some dogs, if their hair is shaved, it will never grow back the same again.

dog swimmingSwimming pools are great for humans to cool off in and can sometimes be great for dogs too.  But never ever let your dog swim alone.  The edges of the pool are slippery, and your dog might fall in and not be able to get out.  Keep a little gate around your pool to keep your dog out when you’re not around.  Make sure your dog doesn’t drink the pool water either.  Keep in mind that not all dogs are born swimmers.  Some dogs just sink!  Consult your veterinarian before you let your dog swim with you.  Also, you might want to buy a dog life jacket.  If your pool is by a high surface, make sure your dog can’t jump in.  Once, when my humans’ pool was by the porch and I was very young, I jumped in.  Thankfully, one of my humans saw me and helped me out.  That was very scary!

The sun beats down on the sidewalk, and makes it very hot.  A dog’s paws are tough, but not as tough as a human’s shoes.  Before you take your dog for walks, feel the sidewalk with your hand.  Is it too hot?  If so, walk your dog when it’s cooler outside, such as in the early mornings and late evenings.  You don’t want your dog to have sore or burning paws!

chained dog

Leaving your dog chained or tied is very dangerous

Please never leave your dog outside tethered or chained.  Even if it’s nice outside or he’s in a shady spot near water, your dog can easily get tangled and strangle to death.  Also, if he gets tangled, your dog will not be able to reach water and will die of thirst.  You must also remember that dogs who are chained or tied are more likely to bite someone because they feel trapped.  It’s not good for your dog to be chained outside alone.  It is a detriment to his health, safety, and happiness.  Please do not risk your dog’s life.  Have a fence built or buy a kennel to let your dog play in while outside.  But please don’t leave your dog tied up outside.  It’s just too dangerous.

foxtail

Foxtails can be very hazardous for dogs

Check your dog regularly for any burs or foxtails lodged in his coat.  These can get stuck on your dog’s paws as well and sometimes even in his ears and nostrils.  If your dog has a bur or foxtail stuck in his ear or nose, don’t try to get it out.  You can easily push it further down.  Take your dog to the veterinarian for help with removing burs and foxtails from dangerous places.  Just remember that when the foxtail plant is green, it won’t harm your dog.  However, when it is dried and is tan in color, it can latch onto your dog, causing him much pain.

dog itching

Fleas and ticks can make your dog very uncomfortable

Fleas and ticks spell trouble for dogs.  These pests cause us to itch and scratch and can carry diseases.  This time of year is the perfect time for your dog to become flea and tick infested.  Ask your veterinarian and other dog owners what flea and tick preventive medicine works best for their dogs.  Also, mark your calendar or make a reminder on your phone to give your dog his preventive medicine however often the instructions call for.  Vacuum carpeted areas and wash pet beds often to help keep these nasty pests away.

Some dogs get overheated easily, especially dogs with a short snout like the Pug.  Research your breed, and see if he is extra susceptible to heatstroke.  Any dog, however, should not be left in the hot sun for too long.  If you suspect your dog has heatstroke, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Have a safe and fun summer with your dog!

 

 

Happy 4th of July!

two dogsThe 4th of July is a great holiday, full of dazzling fireworks and waving flags.  But this holiday can also be very frightening to dogs.

fireworksFireworks create big “booms”.  Your dog can hear much better than you, so the “booms” are very loud to him.  This is frightening to dogs and can make us cry.  Help your dog by putting him in a room where it will be hard to hear the fireworks.  Give him a very yummy bone to get his mind off of the loud noise.  Also, give him very special treats and praise him for ignoring the fireworks while he eats it.  Again, fireworks are upsetting to dogs, but if you distract your dog and tell him it’s alright, he’ll soon forget about his fears.

Flags are great to have in your yard on the 4th of July, but make sure they don’t frighten your dog.  If your dog has never seen a flag flapping in the yard, he may become alarmed and bark at it.  If your dog shows fear or aggression towards the flag, take the flag into your house and show it to your dog.  Give him a treat, telling him he’s a good dog while he observes the flag. This way he will see that the flag is nothing to worry about.

dog with tilted headIf you have a party on this holiday, make sure not to forget your dog.  Parties can be confusing to dogs, and we tend to get underfoot.  Put your dog in his cage or in a room where it is quiet, and give him some toys and a bone to keep him company.  Also, make sure to follow these party safety rules:

  • Put all purses and bags on top of the counter, away from your dog.
  • Don’t feed your dog any candy.
  • Make sure your dog is not underfoot, so he doesn’t get stepped on.  Ouch!
  • If your dog gets very excited when company arrives, put on his leash so he won’t jump on anyone.
  • Before company arrives, take your dog for a long walk or play a game of fetch.  This way, your dog will be tired during the party and won’t be jumping on anyone.  He will be very happy to lay on his bed and chew on his bone.

Following these safety rules, your dog can enjoy the party happily and safely.

dog looking out window

Fireworks scare dogs

Because of the loud noise on this holiday, dogs want to get away from all of the stress.  Some dogs jump or climb over fences.  Others dig holes under it and slip away from fear.  To ensure that your dog stays safe on the 4th, don’t let him outside when the fireworks start without supervision – even if you have a securely fenced yard.  You can never tell what your dog will do under stress.

If you’re going to a friend’s house or an event to watch fireworks, please don’t bring your dog.  He will probably become frightened and bark, whine, and possibly run away.  If your dog becomes scared, he may accidentally knock someone over or, even worse, bite.  So for your dog’s safety as well as others’ around him, leave your pet at home.

Fourth of July can be scary to many dogs, but if you distract your dog from the fireworks and take a little time to give him some extra attention his stress can be greatly reduced.

Sissy

Have a safe and fun 4th of July with your dog!

Happy Easter!

Puppies in basketEaster is a wonderful holiday.  Spring has sprung, and everything outside has turned to a lush green.  For many humans, Easter is a rush-rush time, filled with many activities.  After going to church, it’s time to see the family, eat a big dinner, and have some Easter candy.  It’s a very busy day, and it’s important to make sure your dog is not forgotten in all of the holiday bustle. Although your dog doesn’t know it’s Easter, you can still make his a happy one by giving him a special dog biscuit or showering him with belly rubs.

Some people have parties on Easter, and your dog can be part of that, too.  If family is coming over to your house or you are bringing your dog to another house, make sure you follow these simple safety rules to keep your dog safe:

  • Put all purses and bags up on a counter, out of reach from your dog.
  • If any presents are unwrapped, throw away all trash.
  • Don’t give your dog any candy.  It could hurt him.
  • If your dog is stressed out from all of the hustle and bustle, let him nap in a quiet room with a few toys to keep him company.
  • Leash your dog when the company is at the door.  This way, your dog won’t bounce up and down on them.
  • Always make sure your dog is not underfoot; it’s no fun to be stepped on.  Ouch!

pup

Many people, as an Easter tradition, will have an Easter egg hunt.  Plastic eggs filled with candy will be hidden outside or in the house for the excited children to find.  This is great, but just make sure your dog doesn’t find an Easter egg for himself and break into it.  Candy can make dogs very sick so it is best for us to stay away from it.

Keep all chocolate away from your dog.  Chocolate is poison to dogs.  Please place all Easter goodies up high and out of reach from your furry companion.  If your dog tangles with any chocolate, call your veterinarian right away.  If your dog eats too much chocolate, it could kill him.

As an Easter treat, you could bake your dog some homemade doggy biscuits.  Your dog will love you for it!  You could even put some dog biscuits into baggies and tie them up with pretty ribbon to give away to all of your dog’s friends.

Have a tail-wagging Easter!

Easter eggs

The Importance of Spaying/Neutering Your Dog

sleepy Lacy

Lacy

My best puppy friend, Lacy, got spayed recently.  That means that she was fixed so she can’t have any puppies.  Why is that so important?

great dane puppies

There are too many puppies without homes

It’s important because there are already too many dogs.  Too many dogs are in animals shelters, unable to find a home.  There are also too many stray dogs roaming the streets.  Some are lost but others were dumped because their humans couldn’t find a home for them.  These stray dogs can bite someone or carry diseases.  So it’s very important to spay your female dog or neuter your male dog.

Why have a male dog neutered?  After all, he won’t ever have pups.  However, male dogs who have not been neutered are more likely to roam, trying to find a mate.  They also will be more aggressive to other dogs and less obedient.  If you fix your male dog, he will be less likely to get certain diseases.  Have your male dog neutered so he can be a happy, healthy pet.

For a female dog, you will be spared the cleaning up after her, she will be healthier, less likely to have certain diseases, and you won’t have to avoid other male dogs when she goes into heat.  “Heat” means that it is the time for a female dog to mate with a male dog.  Please spay your female dog so she can be a happy, healthy pet.

boston terrier puppy

There are many benefits of having a spayed/neutered dog

Naturally, someone has to breed dogs, or we wouldn’t have our wonderful pets.  There are many good people who breed healthy and happy puppies.  They find homes for each and every one of them.  If they are unable to, they keep them until they can find the perfect family.  They also make sure that the puppies will never end up in a shelter by instructing new owners on the care of dogs.  However, these breeders always keep in mind the demand for their breed of puppies.  If the demand for Labs is down, they won’t breed because they won’t find a home for all of them.  But for your average dog, breeding is not a good thing.  The behavior issues, diseases they could get, and wandering are not good for a dog you intend to keep as a pet.

The great thing is, the operation your dog will have to be spayed/neutered is painless!  He or she will be put to sleep and won’t feel a thing.  Of course, your dog will be sore afterwards and a bit groggy.

So for the sake of your dog and his or her well being, have your pet spayed/neutered.  It’s for his health, and you don’t want any more puppies to end up homeless in shelters.dog smiling

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

be mine

Be my Valentine?

Valentine’s Day is a fun holiday for both you and your dog. On this special day, people will give candy, stuffed animals, and flowers to the ones they love. Even though your dog doesn’t know it’s Valentine’s Day, you can still make his day the best by playing an extra game of fetch or giving your dog a belly rub.

cookies

Do not feed your dog any candy, especially chocolate

On Valentine’s Day, many people eat chocolate.  Even though this candy tastes wonderful to humans, do not ever feed any to your four-legged friend.  It is toxic for us, and can kill dogs if we eat too much.  Even if you just feed your dog a little (don’t give in to those puppy-dog eyes!), he will still have a terrible stomach ache and might even vomit.  So keep all candy, especially chocolate, out of reach from your four-legged friend.  Also, always pick up and throw away all candy wrappers.  Your dog may try to eat them, since they smell good.  This is very hazardous for your dog, as he could choke on them.  Take extra care with foil candy wrappers.  If swallowed, foil becomes as sharp as a knife.  If you even think your dog has eaten wrappers or chocolate, call your veterinarian right away.

Sometimes, on this special day, people will have parties. Your dog can be involved in the party, too, and have loads of fun, but you need to take some precautions.

  • If any presents are unwrapped, throw away all trash as soon as possible.dog playing
  • Place all purses and bags out of reach of your dog.
  • Don’t feed your dog any candy.
  • Make sure your dog is not underfoot, so he doesn’t get stepped on.
  • If your dog seems stressed out from all the holiday activity, let him nap in a quiet room or his cage with a few toys and perhaps a bone or two to keep him company.
  • If your dog is known to get very excited when company arrives, play a game of fetch or take a walk before the guests come.  This way, your dog will be tuckered out and able to sleep quietly on his bed while the party goes on.

Some dogs like to jump up on people when they arrive at their house.  This is their way of saying hello.  Even though it may be cute, someone could get hurt.  Dogs have sharp claws!  Don’t punish your dog for doing this; he doesn’t mean to hurt anyone.  He’s just trying to give everyone Valentine’s Day kisses.  But this doesn’t mean you should let your dog get away with it.  Whenever I jump up on someone, my human helps me off and says, “Off, Sissy.”  This way, while I am practicing my good manners, I am learning a new command.

waiting

It’s loads of fun to give presents on this day, and, if you want to, you can get your dog a present. This present could simply be a homemade doggy biscuit or a new toy. A toy Kong would make a great present for a dog. Kongs can be stuffed with peanut butter or dog kibble and provide dogs with hours of fun.  They bounce funny and come in all sorts of chewing styles.  There are Kongs for a good price at Amazon.com.

Have a tail-wagging Valentine’s Day!

two assuies

 

Caring for a Senior Dog

older dog

A 10 year old Mastiff

 Senior dogs are very special.  They’ve seen a lot in  their time and know a lot too.  I don’t know why, but it makes a human sad when they see the first gray hairs on their dog’s muzzle.  It shows the signs of  aging.  But to us dogs, it means nothing.  We are still the loving dogs that like to dig in the dirt, visit our best doggy friends, and take nice walks around the neighborhood.  Dogs don’t notice when they can’t chase a ball nonstop or catch a Frisbee as good as they could a few years ago.  But hey, I’m eleven years old, and I feel just great!  I still love to run in the yard and do my little doggy dance  for my treats.  I like to preform my various tricks, and romp in the snow.  I  adore it when my human stuffs my Kong with peanut butter and dog kibble.  I am filled with energy and enjoy it thoroughly when my human and I head outside to learn some new tricks.  Although I do admit that things have slowed down for me this past year, I am still the loving puppy-dog that my humans picked up from the breeders eleven years ago.

Dogs are usually senior dogs when they turn about 7.  Most of the time, when dogs hit that old age block, they get a little slower and like to sleep more than before.  But remember, even if you’re sad your dog is getting on in age, don’t let him know it.  Dogs are smart and we can tell when our human is sad, mad, or happy.  If you get upset about your dog being older, he will sense it and wonder what he did to make you so sad.

Dogs are forever at their human’s side.  Through the good and bad times, your dog is there with a wagging tail and that silly grin on his face.  When dogs get older, it’s their human’s turn to stand by their dog’s side as he ages.  This doesn’t mean mourning over your dog because he’s gotten old.  It means that you will need to spend some more time with your dog and give him lots of extra love and care.

Beds

When dogs get older, they need soft, warm beds to sleep on.  Senior dogs like beds they can cuddle up and be warm in.  If your older dog suffers from being cold, you may need to consider placing a heater by his bed. (But please don’t ever go to sleep with a space heater running.  It is a big fire hazard for both you and your pet.) You might even need to get a sweater for your dog if he gets too cold.

Note: Older dogs get more tired than younger dogs.  When your senior dog is sleeping, please never disturb him unless it is absolutely necessary.  Always remember that your dog needs his sleep.

old dog on bed

Exercise

Even if your dog is twelve or even older, exercise if very important.  It is bad for dogs to lay around all day, no matter what the age.  But this doesn’t mean your senior dog could handle a long hiking trip.  Older dogs have to take things a bit slower, and that makes them easier to care for.  They will be perfectly happy with a short walk around the neighborhood and a brief game of fetch.

Teeth

As your dog gets older, his gums become more sensitive.  So he need toys of softer material to chew on.  Check out this Kong for senior dogs at KongCompany.com.  To prevent discomfort and rotting teeth, give your dog some dental bones and brush his teeth with special dog toothpaste.  Please always supervise your dog with bones!

Cloe, 16 yr old poodle

Cloe, a 16 year old Poodle

You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

There has never been anything further from the truth!  The “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” saying is just ridiculous!  Any dog can learn a new trick, no matter how old.  Sure, your senior dog may not be able to learn to roll over twenty times in a row or do a doggy handstand, but they can learn some awesome tricks that are easier on their back and good for their age.  Check out Basic Training to see the basics of dog training.  There’s nothing more fun for dogs than learning something new.  It gives us something to think about, and we won’t be bored.  So grab your dog’s leash and a handful of dog treats and start training!

Older Dogs Are Fun!

Hey, just because your older dog isn’t a little, bouncy puppy doesn’t mean that he’s not any fun.  It’s quite the opposite.  Senior dogs are easy going, need little exercise, and don’t mind snuggling up on the couch while their human watches TV.

People love puppies so much that they sometimes forget that older dogs are special.  While puppies are great, I think that there’s nothing like an older dog who has been loved.   Here’s a little secret: your dog’s senior years are the best.

Have a great time with your older dog, and enjoy just being together!

Sissy on chair

Sissy at age ten

Brrrr! It’s Cold!

labIt’s time to say goodbye to colorful fall and say hello to cold winter.  You’re probably planning on wearing a heavy coat, lighting the fireplace, and drinking lots of hot chocolate.  But what about your dog?  Special attention and care must be given to him so he can have a wonderful and warm winter too.

My, It’s Cold Outside!

It’s very cold outside, and, if you own an outdoor dog, this can be a big problem.  A doghouse is warm, but not enough to keep your dog from freezing.  Consider buying an outdoor heater to put in the doghouse, or bring your dog inside.

dog outside

Special care must be given to an outdoor dog during winter

No Ice, Please

With the cold weather, it’s easy for your dog’s water to turn into a block of ice.  Your dog cannot drink ice, and without water he will die of thirst.  However, you can fix the “icy” problem by buying a special heated dog dish that will keep your dog’s water from freezing outside.  Remember, your dog cannot drink ice.

No Hair Cuts!

With the cold weather here, don’t have your dog’s hair cut.  It is meant to keep him nice and warm, like a big coat.  I grow out my hair for the winter, and I look like a big teddy bear.  My humans have to spend a lot of time brushing my long, curly hair to keep it from matting.

Let it Snow!

Swirling snowflakes, mounds of snow, and icicles hanging from the trees.  Snow is wonderfully fun, dog in snoweven for your four-legged friend! However, you must take precautions with your dog.  Here are a few:

  • Buy some little booties for your dog’s feet. Some dogs’ paws bleed from the cold snow.
  • After your dog runs in the snow, thoroughly dry him with a towel.  This will keep him warm.
  •  Never let your dog out of your sight when he is out of a fenced yard.  If he wanders off, even for a little way, he could easily become lost.  The snow ruins finding a scent for dogs, so they cannot smell their way home.
  • If your dog gets cold, buy him a little sweater to keep him warm.

Fireplaces

A dog curled up beside a roaring fire – it’s picture perfect, isn’t it?  However, it is very dangerous.  Among many other dangers, your dog could become curious of the pretty, colorful flames and try to touch it or a spark could fly from the fire and set his beautiful coat on fire.  Continue to enjoy your fire, but put a little fence around it to keep your precious pets out.

Take special care of your dog and enjoy winter!

I Want a Puppy For Christmas

jack russell pup

Christmas is not a good time to get a new puppy

Children often ask for a puppy on Christmas.  They insist that it is the only thing they will be happy with.  When he receives the puppy, the child will be delighted, showering kisses on him and giving the little fur ball a big hug.  But it is quite the opposite for the little puppy.  He is away from his litter mates and mother for the first time, scared of the new surroundings and noise, and won’t receive the proper attention he would get if it wasn’t a holiday. All the holiday bustle can be very disturbing for a new puppy.

puppyThere are also many other things to consider.  Will you be away from home, even for a short time?  Where will your puppy be?  In his crate, alone?  This will cause the little puppy to suffer from loneliness, which will greatly affect his behavior later on.  He will probably bark, whine, and chew things because he misses his mother and litter mates.

Puppies learn the most from their very first experiences with their new human family.  It is very important to give your puppy a good “first impression”, and holiday stress and loneliness are definitely not good impressions.  These bad experiences will trigger unwanted behaviors that will be very hard to fix later on.

Christmas is a very busy holiday.  A puppy can easily be forgotten during the bustle.  During Christmas, you cannot give your puppy the special care and attention he needs.  So don’t get a dog for Christmas.  If your kids want a pup, give them a book about dog care and a collar.  Tell them that the puppy can’t come yet because he hasn’t been born yet but will be with them soon.  Trust me, you’re doing your dog-to-be a favor by sparing him all of the holiday stress.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is a time of joy, for our Savior came on this special day.  And it’s almost here!  Are you excited?  You are probably doing some last-minute shopping and gift wrapping.  But what about your dog?  Holidays can be very stressful for animals, and special care must be given to your pet so he can have a safe and happy Christmas.

Safety First

You may not realize it, but your dog’s health and safety are at risk during Christmas.

cookies

Don’t feed your dog any cookies or candy this Christmas

First of all, don’t feed your dog any Christmas cookies, candy, or leftover food.  It will encourage begging, and anything other than your dog’s normal diet will result in stomach pains and maybe even vomiting.  Also, your dog could develop life-threatening pancreatitis.  Pancreatitis inflames the pancreas and causes terrible pain and nausea for your pet.  So resist, and if you have company over, kindly explain to them that your dog cannot have any human food.  But be sure to set out a jar of your dog’s biscuits so your guests can feed him those!  Keep the presents around the tree, but away from your dog.  Dogs are curious, and we love to play the game “find what’s inside the box”.  You can either put a small gate around the tree and presents or put all presents up on a table beside the tree.  Please be extra cautious of foil wrappers with food presents.  When swallowed, foil acts like a knife, tearing sharply on the inside.

Caution!  Never feed your dog any meat bones!  If you are having a turkey or some meat this Christmas, you will probably be tempted to give your dog one of those juicy bones.  But resist!  That juicy bone could result in an emergency trip to the vet or even death.  Bones from turkeys and any other meat easily break into small pieces.  These can become quickly lodged in your dog’s throat, causing him to choke.  Please never put your dog at such a risk!  Feed him a safe dog biscuit instead.

begging puppy

Decorate your home with your dog’s safety in mind

I’m sure you’ve decorated your house for this holiday.  Christmas trees, lights, wreaths, and many other pretty decorations make your house look very festive.  However, your dog’s health will be at risk with all of these pretty decorations.  Always put them somewhere high so your dog can’t reach them.  Also, if your dog loves to sniff and poke his nose everywhere, put a little gate around your Christmas tree.  This way, he won’t damage or upset it, causing it to fall on him!  Always make sure that all wires are out of your dog’s reach.  Dogs love to chew!

Make sure you never bring toxic plants into the house.  Mistletoe, poinsettias, and holly are poison for dogs.  Call your vet immediately if your dog your dog tangles with any of these.

Last of all, just in case, know your veterinarian’s emergency phone number.  Write it down and tape to your cabinet or fridge, so you can have easy access to it at all times.

How to Avoid Stress

Any major holiday can be very stressing for your pet.  To help avoid stress, try to keep on his normal schedule, so your dog won’t become confused or upset.  Give him his food, walks, and playtime at the same time as always.

sad dog

Christmas can be very stressing for dogs

Dogs can become moody on Christmas, so make sure to give your dog personal space.  If your guests include small children, ask them not to crowd your dog and, if this happens, put your dog in his cage or a room with some toys.  If small children irritate him he might bite them.

Traveling?

Many people go long distances to see their families on this very special holiday.  And if you can’t bring your dog, you need to do some thinking.

Your dog will need to stay somewhere while you’re gone.  It can either be with a friend or at a doggy day care.  If you choose to leave your dog at a day care, make sure your dog will get plenty of exercise and there is a clean, safe environment.  If your dog has any health issues or doesn’t like other dogs, alert the staff so they can take the best care of your dog.

Even if you’re only going to be away from your dog for a few hours, it can be very stressing for your dog, especially if he’s a puppy or a senior dog.  If your dog can’t handle being alone even for a few hours, leave him with a friend.  Never leave your dog alone for too long!

Make Some Christmas Dog Biscuits!

Now that you’re all set to help your dog have the very best holiday, check out my Dog Biscuit Recipe.  You can use a cookie cutter to make these into all sorts of holiday shapes and it makes great Christmas presents for your dog and his friends!

Have a fun and safe Christmas with your dog!

happy dog