Posts Tagged ‘pet care’

July 4th: Pet Safety Tips

Monday, July 1st, 2019

The Fourth of July is the highlight of summer for many of us. Your dog, however, may not be so enthusiastic about the holiday. Keep reading for some handy pet safety tips!

For many pets, fireworks are terrifying and for good reason! They’re loud and unpredictable. While us humans are having a great time celebrating, our pets only hear explosions and feel scary vibrations. It makes perfect sense that their fight or flight instinct would kick in. Thankfully, there are ways to comfort your dog on the loudest day of the year while keeping them safe.

Fido’s First 4th

Is this your first Fourth of July with a new four-legged family member? Even if you have a confident, social, happy dog, they may be sensitive to fireworks, so it’s best to spend your first holiday together so you can gauge your pup’s response. Being in a familiar, comfortable (and secure!) place will help calm them down if they become scared of the noises. If you notice that your dog isn’t bothered by fireworks, you may be able to celebrate at places other than your home next year.

Stay Home, Stay Safe

If you know your dog is afraid of fireworks, the biggest danger you face is Fido running away from home. 30% of all lost pets go missing on July 4th. If your pup gets spooked, their first instinct is to flee. Thousands of dogs run away every year, so make sure your home is secure; double check your fence line for holes/gaps and close all gates securely. Ensure your dog is wearing an ID tag and is microchipped (with current info!).  If your dog does escape, don’t panic! Start searching for your pup in your neighborhoo and alert your neighbors (social media can be very helpful). Animal shelters are on high alert around the week of the 4th, so be prepared to call local shelters in case your pet has been picked up by a Good Samaritan.

“I’m Freaking Out, Man!”

If your dog shows intense fear around fireworks, don’t leave them unsupervised. Ever. They’re depending on you to keep them safe and will feel so much more comforted by your presence. Give your dog lots of pets, treats and reassurance. You can distract your dog with games, puzzle toys or their favorite bone. One of our favorite options is the Thundershirt; it’s the dog equivalent of swaddling a baby. It has an 80% success rate and the lightweight vest applies mild pressure to help ease anxiety. CBD treats, pheromones, and melatonin can also be helpful anxiety supplements, but try them beforehand to determine which works best. If your pet enjoys his crate, that enclosed space may make him feel especially safe. You can even leave your own blanket or shirt in the crate for added comfort. Turn on the television or play music before the fireworks start to help drown out the noise before they really get going. If all else fails or if you just know nothing else will help, contact your vet who can prescribe a sedating medication to help make the Fourth of July more manageable. Woof!

Howlitosis: When Bad Breath Happens to Good Dogs

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

There are few things in life better than getting kisses from a dog. However, you may not feel this way if your dog’s breath is so bad it could peel paint! Dogs aren’t self-conscious about their halitosis and will kiss you no matter what ghastly smell is coming from their mouth. Thankfully there are many ways you can be a friend to your best friend, and help them improve their oral health.

What Causes Canine Bad Breath?

Halitosis (or bad breath) in dogs can be caused by several factors. It’s important to speak with your veterinarian about what may be the cause of your dog’s bad breath and rule out any underlying health issues.

Periodontal Disease: Like humans, if dogs don’t maintain proper oral hygiene, they can develop dental issues. Tartar and plaque build up are the most common, and can be the culprit behind some nasty morning breath especially if decay is a factor. If this buildup is not treated, it can progress to periodontal disease which includes inflamed gums, overgrowth of bacteria, and even worse breath (if you can imagine it!). Also keep in mind that smaller dogs are more susceptible to periodontal disease than larger dogs because their teeth are packed more closely together making them vulnerable to filthy fangs.

Pyoderma: Pyoderma is a bacterial skin infection that is commonly occurs in the facial and lip folds of a dog. Brachycephalic breeds (calling all Pugs, Bulldogs, Pekinese & Boston Terriers!) are especially susceptible to this condition, but it can affect any breed. Symptoms include scaly, crusty, or pustules which produce an odor. They look much like a large, horrible pimple. Treatments include antibacterial sprays , topical hydrocortisone cream, and antibiotics.

Kidney Disease: Metabolic issues like kidney disease can also negatively affect your dogs breath. Kidneys help eliminate toxins in the blood stream, so when they are not doing their job, the waste build up can cause a terrible mouth odor.

Diabetes: Rather than foul smelling breath, a diabetic dog produces a sickly-sweet fruit like odor in its mouth. This is due to high levels of diabetic ketones that are in the body. It can also smell a little like the acetone you find in nail polish.

Treatments

Brush, Brush, Brush: You (hopefully!) brush your pearly whites twice a day, every day. Now imagine that you’re stuck on a desert island for months without a toothbrush. Things would feel pretty gross inside your mouth, right? This is probably the state of affairs in your dogs’ mouth if you’re not brushing his teeth regularly. Brushing can be a daunting task at first (if you can, start during puppyhood!), and both you and your dog will have learn together. Start out once a week and gradually increase to at least 3 sessions per week (daily is ideal). There are many flavors of dog tooth paste that are irresistible to dogs, so make sure to find one that your pooch loves. Also make sure to find an appropriately sized toothbrush for your dogs’ mouth. When you go in to brush, get down on your dogs’ level, and let your pup become familiar with both the brush and paste. If your dog is tolerating this, gently pull back their lips and softly brush. Make sure to take breaks to reward your dog with treats (it sounds counterintuitive while brushing but removing tartar/plaque and not necessarily food particles is your number one concern). Be patient, and reassuring to your pooch, and don’t get frustrated if it takes several sessions for him comfortable with the concept.

Veterinary Dental Cleanings: If your dog absolutely won’t allow you to brush his teeth and has bad breath, consider a dental cleaning with your vet. Dogs will receive an initial exam and blood work to ensure they are healthy enough for anesthesia. They are then placed under general anesthesia so the dentist can do a thorough cleaning and address any underlying dental problems. For example, a vet may pull a dogs infected tooth during a cleaning if it’s found to be the source of pain, infection, or bad breath. Vets can also treat gum issues they discover during the cleaning. Though many dog owners may be nervous with the idea of anesthetizing their dog, rest assured it’s very safe. Ask your vet about their anesthesia protocol; more and more vets are using local anesthesia during dental procedures to they don’t have to administer as much general anesthesia.  Depending on the state of your dog’s oral health, professional cleanings are recommended every 6 months – 1 year.

Chews and Treats: There’s no question that your dog is going to love this solution! The right treats may be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to treating their bad breath. Dental chews are designed to help remove tartar and plaque while satisfying your dogs natural urge to chew. Make sure to never leave your dog unattended with a chew, and check labels to avoid artificial ingredients, sugar, and fillers. For a special treat, consider giving your dog a raw frozen bone! They will go crazy for it, and these bones encourage a pH level that kills bacteria in their mouth!   

CBDog: Cannabis & Canines

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019

It’s no secret that millions of people use cannabis for medicinal and/or recreational purposes. There are hundreds of chemical properties in cannabis, the most well-known being THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis (AKA getting high), but can also help with health issues including pain, nausea, anxiety, and epilepsy. However there’s a new kid on the block that’s becoming a superstar in the pet health industry – keep reading for more info on how CBD might help your canine.

What is CBD?:

CBD (Cannabidiol) is one of the chemical compounds found in cannabis, and for pet health applications, it’s derived from hemp plants that contain less than 0.3 percent THC (so your dog won’t get stoned!) and is considered safe and nontoxic by veterinarians. CBD supplements can be ingested orally or can be applied directly to the skin with a topical salve. Right now, you can legally purchase CBD for your pet in all 50 states through veterinary clinics, pet stores and online retailers.

How can CBD help your pooch?:  

Because cannabinoids offer both relaxation and pain-relieving benefits, there are many situations in which CBD therapy can be helpful. If your dog suffers from seizures, low appetite, chronic pain, cancer, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, or neurodegenerative conditions, you may want to consider adding CBD to their treatment plan.  However, they can sometimes interact with other medications, so it’s important you speak to your vet dog beforehand. Results for anxious dogs are especially compelling. If you have a Nervous Nellie who suffers from separation anxiety, fear of loud noises or fireworks, or is constantly on high alert, CBD may help to take the edge off.

Dosage Recommendations: 

Depending on the delivery system you are using, dosing may vary. You might consider starting with half the suggested dose to see how your dog responds, and slowly increase as needed. General CBD dosages are as follows:

  • Dogs up to 25 lbs. – up to 1.25 mg twice per day
  • 25-50 lbs. –up to 2.5 mg twice per day
  • 50-75 lbs. – up to 3.75 mg twice per day
  • over 75 lbs. – up to 3.75 mg twice per day

If your dog is on the picky side, don’t give up hope! You may need to try several different brands until you find one that your dog finds palatable. We use CBD with our office dogs, and have found oil is the easiest to work with.  You can drop it directly into their food, a treat, peanut butter, etc.

Again, it’s helpful to reach out to your vet with any questions and do some additional research to help determine of CBD might help your dog!

 

 

Dog Parks Are For People Too!

Monday, April 9th, 2018

Dog parks are parks for people…with dogs!  Consider this: It’s a late Wednesday afternoon, and as soon as you get home from work, you greet your excited pup and head off to the dog park together. Though you’re tired from a long day, you want your 4-legged friend to have some time to exercise, enjoy the sunshine, and socialize with his furry pals. It’s important to you that your dog reap all the benefits of the dog park on a regular basis, but did you ever consider that it’s benefiting you as well? Read on…

Fresh Air – Truth: Most of us don’t get enough time outside in the fresh air. Between our jobs and hectic schedules, it can be challenging to get some quality outdoor time where you can feel the breeze on your face. While your dog plays, take a few moments to appreciate the great outdoors and take some deep, calming breaths. You’ll be amazed how a few lungfuls of oxygen can help with everyday stress. 

A New Hobby – More and more dog parks now feature agility equipment. If you and your pooch are looking for an exciting new hobby, train your dog to go through an agility course! You can work on improving time through the course, ignoring distractions, and working on advanced agility moves. Your dog will work hard mentally and physically, and you will get a kick out of how talented your dog really is. And just for some giggles, check out these dog agility bloopers.

Exercise – You know that exercise plays a vital role in the overall health of your dog, plus it makes him plain old happy. The same can be said for you! When you take a trip to the dog park with your best friend, take the opportunity to engage with him. By getting your heart rate up, you are taking care of your cardiovascular system and releasing endorphins at the same time.

Feel Good Hormones – Researchers have discovered that when we spend time with our pets, our bodies release a feel-good hormone called Oxytocin. This hormone played a key role in the bonded relationship we began with dogs thousands of years ago. So, while you’re playing fetch with your dog at the park, you’re releasing a hormone that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, and helps strengthen your bond with Fido that much more.

Socializing – Like us, dogs are very social creatures. They enjoy being part of a pack and love to greet every other dogs. They even “exchange business cards” by sniffing each other’s rear ends as they meet each other. Humans need socialization too, though it’s best you leave the rear ends of new friends alone.  If you make going to the dog park part of your lifestyle, you’ll inevitably start seeing some of the same people and get to know them and their dogs. Strangers become friends very quickly when you have dogs around to help break the ice.

A Change of Pace – Many of us are living hectic lifestyles in which we feel overworked and stressed. On top of that, we often spend too much time staring at electronic devices.  There is something to be said for unplugging. Dogs are the best teachers when it comes to living in the moment. Next time you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, head to the dog park and take 30 minutes with your best friend to unwind, unplug, and de-stress. You’ll feel refreshed and recharged when you head home!

Be the Wise Owl – Are you an amateur dog expert? If you have years of experience in training and caring for your own dogs, chances are you have invaluable tricks up your sleeves.  There are lots of new pet parents at the park, or even other folks like you, and it can be a fantastic opportunity to share resources and ideas.  You all may have answers when it comes to reputable veterinarians in the area, favorite chew toys, and basic obedience tips.

Giving Back – If you’re looking for a way to get involved in your community, dog parks are an excellent place to start. Many off-leash areas are run by volunteers who help with maintenance, clean up, and events. By volunteering, you’ll get to know similar minded people, and truly make a difference in your town. And if your community doesn’t have a dog park yet, consider starting your own group to fundraise and help improve the lives of people and their pets.

 

 

Making Pet Travel Pawesome!

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

Making Pet Travel Pawesome: Pet travel has gone to the dogs and pet parents couldn’t be happier!  Between working service animals on flights and more families including their 4-legged friends on vacations, dogs are travelling at record rates. Travelers with service animals and pets know that the potty problem used to mean added airport stress; where will your dog relieve himself when in a time crunch to make your flight? Thankfully airports now provide terminals with accessible animal relief areas which cater to the jet setting pooch. Dog-On-It-Parks is proud to lead the pack with design services and products that make travel more comfortable for dogs and their owners. Two airports that we’ve outfitted (San Diego and Atlanta) were featured in the list of American Kennel Club’s Top 10 Most Dog Friendly Airports. We love making air travel easier for service animals and pets alike, and with just a few key items, any airport can provide a “pawsh” relief area for dogs.

The Grass is Greener:  One of the most important elements in a pet relief area is quality surfacing. One popular option is our PetGrass Pods; their short, dense blades allow for easy waste removal and the antimicrobial agents built into both the yarn and backing help to prevent odors. Available in standard in 50″ x 40″ squares or custom sizes, they snug together for easy installation and maintenance and typically cost less than a standard roll-style turf installation. Pods are a wonderful choice for high traffic areas, as they can easily be swapped around to manage wear and lifted to clean underneath.  The addition of a Fire Hydrant is a fun touch, and provides a place for dogs to get an update on each other’s jet setting adventures.  And don’t let your pooch become parched! Providing hydration for dogs is very important, as they are more likely to become dehydrated while traveling. Our Pedestal Bottle Filler with Pet Bowl features a handy eco-friendly bottle filler as well as a pet bowl, so you don’t have to shell out top dollar for airport bottled water.

Shopping and Adventuring in Style: Dogs aren’t only living the high life at airports. Many more public spaces such as malls, restaurants and retail establishments are welcoming our furry friends and proving pet-friendly areas for play, hydration, and relief. With a treat canister, built in waste bag dispenser and water bubblers galore, our Dream Fountain is a hit among pups everywhere and will keep customers coming back again and again.  Lastly, adding a few select pieces of agility equipment will also help ensure that your public space is the place for dogs to see and be seen, all while having a barking good time.

Dogs: Our Four-Legged BFF’s

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Sitting on a bench next to your dog…what could be better? To Fido…nothing!  While your mind is on the house and car and kids and work…his mind is on the feeling of being next to you. Just enjoying the casual scratch of his ears and listening to all the sounds and smelling all the smells the world has to offer. Dogs are incredibly therapeutic; their calming presence reminds us to slow down and their curiosity is a good reminder to appreciate the small things. They love us unconditionally, are pure in their intent (especially if it involves treats!), and spread love and joy with a happy wag of their tail.

BFF

 

Dogs add almost an immeasurable value to the family unit. With childhood obesity becoming an epidemic in the United States, getting a dog could be a way to help your little munchkins stay fit and healthy. If your child wants a dog that means they will be outside playing with their furry friend and taking their dog on walks, not to mention the regular trips to your local dog park! All of this can mean less time playing video games or watching television, and instead developing new and healthier habits.

Young girl with golden retriever walking away into sun

Pets can also provide a sense of security in a family, especially by “alert barking” when they let you know they’ve heard something out of the ordinary or become protective of you when strangers are near. Many dogs have gone above and beyond to protect the ones they love. There was a recent story of a dog who saved its seven-year-old human from a rattlesnake by allowing itself to get bitten while the girl made her way to safety. Who doesn’t need a hero in their family?

Hero

Now you don’t have to pay extravagant prices for special pups when you’re looking for a furry friend. While many people do pick out a breed they are fond of and purchase their pets through reputable breeders, that is not the only avenue. Adopting or rescuing a dog is incredibly rewarding (just ask the guardians of our office dog Rory!), and you save a life while doing so. Visit your local humane society for more information on the adoption process, as each rescue organization does things differently.  It may involve a home visit, a meet and greet with all family members including your current pets, as well as an adoption fee or recommended donation.

Here at Dog-ON-It-Parks, we encourage you to take a moment and give your pup a hug…but only if they enjoy it!  Even better, take them for a walk or visit your local dog park to show your appreciation.  Dogs have the ability to enrich and change our lives for the better…that’s what makes them best in show!

 

Time to Be Positive: Dog Training Tips & Tricks

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

Pawsitive Reinforcement:

When it comes to dog training, there are many options and opinions as to the best method, however we believe that positivity breeds more positivity! Positive-reinforcement training techniques use non-confrontational methods to engage your dog’s brain. This is done by rewarding positive behavior, and establishing rituals and training actions that are incompatible with negative behavior. Essentially, you reward the positive and either ignore the negative, or direct them to a behavior you do want.  Easy, right?  Doing this can help to lessen your dog’s frustration with the learning process, while still allowing the dog to feel good. There should be no forceful actions as this can damage your pup’s trust. Think about you it…how fast would you sit down for a cookie, some praise or a nice pat on the back? To a dog, those actions are not only treasured but an important part of their lives. Here are some tips on how to incorporate positivity in your dog’s training.

Treat Generously: 

First of all, when using positive reinforcement timing is key; the reward must be given within seconds or your pet might not connect the dots.  An example is when you give your dog a treat for sitting down at your command. You don’t give them the cookie after they’ve sat back up and their attention is on something else, you reward them when all of their attention is focused on you and what they are doing. There are several types of positive reinforcement, it can encompass treats, praise, petting, or even a favorite game. Although most dogs (including our office crew!) are highly food-motivated, and this type of reinforcement can often yield the best results.

Sit. Stay. Play: 

You also want to pay attention to the type of commands you are using with your pet. Keep them short! Use simple one-word commands which are easier for your dog to understand. Some examples are: Come, Sit, Stay, Down, Heel, Off, etc… You might also want to inform your family or those you live with of these to help avoid confusion for your dog later – consistency is key! Your training sessions should also be short and fun, and the goal is to have your dog associate good things while training.

More How To’s:

As time goes on and your pet becomes more skilled (and hopefully better behaved!), it is a good idea to gradually back off the treats and use them only on occasion. Eventually, the treats should no longer be necessary, however you should always reward Fido with verbal praise and a pet. It is important that you continue to use these techniques to maintain the behaviors you want from your dog.

Reward-based dog training helps create a range of desirable behaviors, which builds mutual feelings of trust and confidence, and a bond that will last for years to come. If you’d like more info on positive reinforcement and dog training, we highly recommend Victoria Stilwell’s website.  It’s a wonderful resource for all things dog. Good luck and woof woof!

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!

rules

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.

feeder

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.

Pet_Designs_Shower

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)!

dog on rug

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.

chocolate-toxicity-chart-pets

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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