Archive for March, 2016

Minty Fresh! Tips and tricks for cleaning your dog’s teeth

Monday, March 28th, 2016

Does your dog suffer from bad breath? And do their sweet doggy kisses make you want to plug your nose? The solution is simple. Dogs need clean teeth just like you and me! They are at risk for gum disease and tooth decay, as well as infections which can spread and cause life threatening conditions.

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Here are some tips on how to set a healthy dental routine with your furry loved ones. Brushing just three days a week can make a huge difference. First, pick a time of day when your dog is calm and relaxed, maybe after a nice long walk or in the evening when things are winding down. It doesn’t matter what time as along as your dog is calm enough for you to stick a toothbrush in their mouth without an impromptu game of tug ‘o war. Using a toothbrush made for dogs can be helpful because the bristles are softer and special angled. Also be sure to use dog friendly toothpaste. Never use human toothpaste when brushing your dog’s teeth because it contains ingredients that are potentially dangerous for your pet. Many major brands contain additives such as sudsing agents which can lead to liver damage if enough is ingested.

Two other toxic additives are xylitol and fluoride. Xylitol is commonly used as a sweetener, and dogs who ingest it are at risk of a surge in insulin followed quickly by a precipitous drop in blood sugar. It can also cause severe liver disease. Fluoride can cause a multitude of problems from digestive upset to irregular heartbeat, so please be safe and make sure to purchase pet toothpaste at your local pet supplies store.

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Comfort is key, so make sure your dog feels safe and relaxed – it’s always a good idea to kneel instead of standing over/above your dog. You don’t want your stance to be at all intimidating and if your dog seems too upset or anxious, just stop and try again later!

When it comes to your dog’s oral health, gums are just as important as teeth. You might want to start by gently using your finger to massage along your dog’s upper gums to help them get comfortable with the sensation. Next, try putting a small amount of toothpaste on your finger to and let your dog taste it so they can get used to the smell, flavor and texture. Then, put these two steps together and try this in combination with the toothbrush. Lift the upper lip and angle the bristles to reach the gum line, then gently brush in small circles.

If you’re just getting started with regular brushing routine, some slight bleeding may occur. However, if your dog’s gums bleed every time you brush their teeth, it may be a sign that you are brushing too hard or they have a pre-existing condition that may need attention. If so, contact your vet!

Last, but not least make sure you are reassuring during this process by patting your dog’s head and whispering sweet nothings into their ears and please end on a positive note. Give your dog a healthy teeth-cleaning treat (We love treats from The Honest Kitchen) and tell them they did a good job!

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Go For Ride?!?! Dog-friendly vehicles and supplies

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

If you’re a dog, there is nothing better than sticking your head out the window of a car while on a road trip or just a short jaunt. The beautiful smells and the excitement of going somewhere new (or to your favorite dog park!) can be one of the happiest activities for your pet. Dogs love going for a ride and you might as well make the experience enjoyable for everyone involved. Here are some pet friendly features you should look for when purchasing a new or used vehicle, or outfitting your current car.

go for ride

Easy access – a hatchback or back door that lifts up so the dog can jump in and out with ease. It also makes things easier for you and your back when lifting a crate in and out of the vehicle! Seats that fold flat are also a good idea because it keeps the seats themselves from getting too dirty. Subaru and Volvo, along with other auto companies offer pet-friendly designs and packages to help keep Fido happy, and lastly affordable seat covers to help keep your car more dog-friendly and less pig sty are never a bad idea.

When traveling with a pooch it can be convenient to have a large cargo area to accommodate dogs and supplies, such as spare tires, water/food, leashes, etc. If you’re an owner who doesn’t want your dog in the front seat, looking for a car that comes with a ‘pet barrier’ is ideal or purchase a cargo divider afterwards. Large dogs can be difficult to lift in and out of cars, and you don’t want to hurt your back so a lower to the ground profile will make it easier for dogs of all sizes and ages to climb in and out on their own.

Windows, great for rolling down, less great to clean dog slobber off of! However, keeping them rolled down on warm days (remember if it’s over 75 degrees it’s best to leave Fido at home) to provide ventilation and fresh air is must. Another nice option are rear A/C vents or air vents on the seat itself so your doggy can benefit from the cool air on a hot day. Most dog owners know carpet is pretty much a dog hair magnet. Paying a little extra for rubber mats makes a huge difference as does selecting a vehicle with an easy-to-clean interior. If your pooch is smarter than the average bear or has magically grown opposable thumbs, childproof locks are one of the most important safety features as they can help prevent the dog from accidentally opening or closing the window or door.

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No matter what vehicle you and your pooch are riding in you want to be able to trust that your dog is safe. Some guardians use a padded harness that secures the dog to the seat, however recent studies have shown that they may not be safe as previously thought. One of the safest options is a secured, crash-tested crate in the previously discussed cargo area. Whatever option you choose, the most important objective is to keep your dog safe at all times and that also means not driving with your dog on your lap. Yep, we said it. Please don’t. It’s unsafe for you, your pup and everyone else on the road.

Here at Dog-ON-It-Parks, we’re all dog lovers and seeing a dog happily riding in a car with its tongue rolled over to the side, nose twitching, smelling everything the world has to offer is the best thing ever! Make that ride as comfortable and as safe as possible with a pet friendly vehicle – your dog will love you for it!

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Pet-Friendly Home Design

Monday, March 14th, 2016

Giving your dog a space to call their own is important as it adds structure to their life and strengthens the pet/guardian bond. Take napping for example; isn’t it more comfortable to sleep in your own bed? Dogs feel the same way!

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Here are some ways to help make your home pet-friendly without breaking the bank:

The kitchen; the heart of every home. Building a spot for your dog in the kitchen allows them to be part of the family’s hustle and bustle while still keeping out of the way if necessary. Incorporating a small eating area into your kitchen design with space for a food dish and water bowl is a fun way make Fido happy. This can be something as simple as a small shelf on the end of an island, pantry space or a bottom drawer.

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With large and often heavy food bags, storage can be inconvenient for dog owners but they can easily conquer that problem by inserting handy storage compartments somewhere in the kitchen. They can be built into the kitchen cabinets or under the counters, giving the owner quick access to the food at feeding time and keeping the food out of site from any mischievous pets who might get into to trouble should they find an open bag (Labradors – you know who you are!). To keep toys at bay, it’s a good idea to think about an open hamper or basket where toys can be easily tossed into for quick clean up as well as easily retrievable by the pet. If you don’t want your pet getting into their toys unsupervised, you can use a decorative basket which can be closed and therefore keeps toys out of reach.

dog toys

Pets have all sorts of different reactions to taking a bath, but to make it easier on the owner there are ways you can turn part of your laundry or utility room into a washing station. An oversized stainless steel sink for smaller dogs or a commercial floor mounted sink for medium to large sized dogs are both inexpensive and convenient. For a larger pet, a walk-in shower is a great solution for grooming along with a handheld shower head. This can make it much easier to bathe your dog because you have control of the water flow and direction of the spray wherever you want…especially if your dog is being difficult! Just make sure to keep towels nearby for both your pooch and the puddles on the floor. You don’t want your pooch to catch a cold or lose their footing and slip.

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Now what about flooring? If you have hardwood floors, keep reading. When you’re considering hardwoods make sure you specify them as “unfinished”, and then add a durable top coat so the occasional accident doesn’t seep through. Also, be aware that hardwood flooring can be stressful for some pups. Older dogs can have trouble navigating them and every dog finds hardwood a bit slippery, so a slide and fall incident can cause serious injuries to their hips, knees and elbows.
To help prolong the life of your floors, make sure you keep your pets nails trimmed to avoid scratches as much as possible and throw down some area rugs. They can help to brighten up a living space and also provide your pup with a comfortable spot to rest (along with helpful traction)!

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Whenever you make changes to your home it is imperative that you keep your dog in mind, it’s their home as much as it is yours and making simple changes for their comfort and your organization can change the lives of both you and your pet for the better.

Pet Health: National Poison Prevention Week

Friday, March 11th, 2016

Protect your pets! There are many foods that can hinder your dog’s health and Dr. Justine Lee has some wonderful insights and much needed information for all pet owners. Dr. Lee is a world-renown veterinary speaker, DVM, DACVECC, DABT and a double board-certified emergency critical care specialist and toxicologist. She’s also the CEO and founder of VETgirl, which is a subscription-based podcast and webinar service offering RACE approved continuing education.

'Whoa! Slow down, kids! Your mom will neuter me if I bring you home with stomachaches from eating too much of that junk.'

According to this expert some of the most ten commonly talked about poisonous foods for dogs are actually more of a question mark. Avocado, for example, isn’t poisonous at all. While fertilizer might have scary looking names on the list of ingredients, most of the contents are natural and harmless. Garlic is another food that pet owners don’t need to worry about. An average-sized dog would need to eat a lot of garlic before they showed any signs of sickness, but talk about bad breath! What are you going to do when your animal comes up to you with garlic breath? Give your furry friend a “doggy” breath mint.

On the other hand, there are some foods which are dangerous, but not rarely are they deadly. Grapes and raisins are poisonous to dogs and can damage their kidneys, but scientists aren’t sure what chemical in the grapes and raisins actually affect dogs. What’s more unusual is that not all dogs appear to be affected by the toxin. Then there is caffeine, this can be found in large doses in coffee beans and other stimulants. You might need your morning coffee, but dogs can accidently ingest caffeine if these products are left within reach. Please be careful when throwing your coffee grounds in the trash.

Dr. Lee also points out some foods and substances which are extremely poisonous and you should keep your dog far away them. Bread dough is one of them because it contains unrisen yeast. There are a couple of concerns for a dog that has eaten bread dough. First of all, there is a large mass of dough in the stomach that is continuing to rise. Plus, the warm environment of the stomach promotes ongoing fermentation of the alcohol in the dough, which can result in ethanol toxicosis. Chocolate is horrible for your pets as it has high amounts of theobromine which is extremely toxic to dogs. Xylitol is poisonous as well and can be found in chewing gum, mints, toothpaste, nasal spray, and over-the-counter medications. Xylitol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, which causes a release of insulin from the pancreas. This release of insulin results in a rapid decrease in the level of blood sugar. If untreated, these conditions can be life-threatening.

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We love macadamia nuts around here, but make sure your dog steers clear of them. They are 80% oil and the high fat content can inflame your dog’s pancreas. There is also an unknown toxin in the nuts which can affect your dog’s brain waves and muscles. Last but certainly not least, is mold. Mold can be dangerous to everybody, including your dog. The most common sources of toxic mold are found in pasta, nuts and cheese.

In order to make sure your pooch lives a long and healthy life, please keep these things out of reach and spread this important message to dog owners all over the world.


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