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Archive for April, 2016

Pet Allergies: From Start to Scratch

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016


dog with allergies scratching itself

Managing Pet Allergies

When we think of allergies what often comes to mind is coughing and sneezing with itchy, watery, red eyes. However, for our four legged friends this is not always the case.

Allergies present in a completely different way in dogs than they do in humans! Pet allergies are often shown in their skin and ears and our four legged friends can feel pretty miserable. Some warning signs might be chewing on their feet until they are red and irritated, rubbing their face on carpet, scratching, recurrent ear infections (because of the wax-producing glands of the ear overproduce), hair loss, and in some cases, they may develop “hot spots” which is when the skin becomes inflamed and infected.

If your dog has tender skin, it is most likely a result of chewing and scratching, which not surprisingly is also the cause of hair loss. When the skin becomes raw, it also becomes more susceptible to bacterial infections so if you see these signs in your dog, take them to the vet right away. Your vet will likely also want to rule out any other causes for your pet’s symptoms before treating them for seasonal allergies.

illustration of common contact allergens for dogs

Now let’s talk about dry skin for a little bit. Do you live in climate with low humidity? When a dog has allergies, their skin may be itchy but that might also be a reaction to climate rather than allergies. For instance, during the winter months, both weather and temperature can play into what happens with your pet’s skin.

You can tell if your pup has dry skin by just giving Fido a once over. Much like people, dogs get dandruff! If a soft touch by you sends your pup into an itching frenzy (or you see the flakes that don’t melt!), it’s likely they have dry skin. Keep reading for tips on how to address this itchy problem!

Diet is also an important consideration in your dog’s skin and well-being! Dry pet foods can have a dehydrating effect on skin and fur, so if you must feed kibble, adding digestive enzymes to your dog’s meals can help improve the release of nutrients and beneficial probiotic bacteria. A healthy gut makes for a happy pup!

There is good news!

Once allergies are diagnosed and Buddy is prescribed an antihistamine or oral steroids such as Prednisone for a bad allergy attack, they can make a quick recovery. However, if your pet is also battling a bacterial skin condition from a hot spot, antibiotics and a skin soothing shampoo such as this one from EarthBath (one of our favorites!) will get your pooch on the road to recovery.

dog taking a relaxing bath with wine and candles

Much like the probiotics, there are some other things you can do to help your dog heal from the inside out. Try giving them a high-quality fish oil or even some coconut oil. Both of these things will help your dog’s coat shine, but also help their skin if it is irritated from scratching too much. Lastly, it has the added bonus of improving digestion and can also help to suppress those allergies so Fido can have more fun outside with less sneezing!

A-Frame: A Dog Agility Classic

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

A-Frame Dog Park Equipment at Storey Bark Park

The Classic Dog Park Agility Obstacle

The A-Frame is a traditional piece of agility equipment; it’s fun for dogs of all shapes and sizes. Now, not all dogs are natural climbers so it is important not to push them past their comfort level. Using treats, praise and positive reinforcement to encourage your dog can also be helpful! According to Pet Expertise there are four types of treats that work best and are healthy options for your dog. They recommend using regular dog kibble, cheese, chicken, and chopped veggies as healthy alternatives to dog biscuits or cookies.

meme of cheese loving dog

There are several important differences between our A-Frame and others. First of all, ours is not as steep. We think all dogs should be able to safely and comfortably play on our equipment! When an A-Frame is too steep and/or too narrow, it’s not only unsafe, it will discourage dogs from using the equipment again if they lose their footing or feel they need to jump off the side. With that in mind, our A-Frame is only three feet high at the peak with an extra wide width of 38”. Another important consideration is the angle of the ramp; traditional (professional) dog agility requires it to be a very steep 98 degrees for large dogs and 104 degrees for the smaller pups. By design, our A-Frame is only 43 degrees, so about half as steep. This helps to ensure that any pooch, whether an agility champ or a novice, can feel like a top dog once they conquer the ramp. One last word of warning, if a dog park company says they are using AKC or USDAA standards for their equipment, be careful! It’s always a much safer bet to install recreation level equipment in a public park.

Our A-Frame is also coated with PawsGrip™, our exclusive highly textured material designed for maximum slip resistance. Other products may have rubber or textured polyethylene. Neither of these are really suited for the use a dog park sees, and the surface can crumble, degrade or crack quite easily. However, PawsGrip™ is made from the same materials used in truck bed liners, and provides a more stable and sturdy texturized surface that is super durable and holds up under frequent use and all weather conditions.

dog playing in the snow on a sunny day

So remember when comparing dog park agility equipment, we don’t just offer the widest range of products you will find, but also the safest and highest quality. Dog parks are essential in bringing your community together and sourcing safe equipment with a lifetime warranty will guarantee a long lived (and loved!) place for all the pooches and their people to play!

Dogs using a-frame dog park play ramp Greenwood Urban Wetland Park

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