24 10, 2019

Caring for Your Dog’s Paw Pads

By |2019-10-25T15:03:43-07:00October 24th, 2019|Blog|0 Comments

Colder weather is just around the corner, which means shorter days, snowy walks, and all the hot chocolate you can drink. For pet parents, though, it signals the start of one of the most pet care-intensive seasons of the year: winter. Hold on, you might be saying to yourself. Isn’t summer the month where Fido maintenance levels up? Not necessarily, especially if your pets need to take walks outside. Cold weather brings snow, ice, and general discomfort, which means it is the time of year to spend some time caring for Fido’s paw pads.

Paw pads are an often-overlooked aspect of pet maintenance. Maybe it’s because they’re hidden unless Fido is lying down. Maybe it’s because they’re not an especially fun part of pet care. Perhaps it’s just that they’re easy to forget. Whatever the case, we realized there’s a lot of need for a resource about caring for these adorable little toe beans. Here’s what you need to know, especially when gearing up for the winter months.

What are Paw Pads, Exactly?

Paw pads are a layer of pigmented skin, most often black but sometimes pink, that cover fatty tissue on Fido or Fluffy’s paws. They are essential to an animal’s foot structure, working with the pet’s nails to provide protection and stability. The assist with balance, provide traction, help with stability, and absorb shock.

Importantly, paw pads are lightly warming. The fat tissue underneath is insulating, providing some much-needed protection from cold winter sources, like ice, snow, and salt. Equally dangerous are the ice-melt products that cut through the winter freeze. While paw pads can protect against these chemicals, they may burn, itch, or become uncomfortable.

Everyday Habits

There are a few things pet parents can do every day to ensure the longevity of Fido’s paw pads. While some parts of the year necessitate these steps more than others, occasional checks are necessary for optimal pet health.

  • If you walk your pet in the winter, wash off their paws after any trip outside, especially if they have been walking on salt-treated surfaces. Fido could ingest the chemicals accidentally, leading to dangerous health complications.
  • If you walk your pet in the summer, wash their paws every time they enter the house, especially if you live in a city. Rat urine, which is common in city parks and on sidewalks, can carry dangerous diseases. If your dog tracks it into the house, it could cause health complications for both you and Fido.
  • Try dog booties, regardless of climate. This is a great way to protect your pup’s feet, even in the most extreme weather conditions. Look for sturdy, well-fitted, non-slip boots. If you’re in the market for winter shoes, look for options with light insulation.
  • Trim the fur or hair that grows between your dog’s paw pads. This will keep their feet healthy, provide more traction on slippery surfaces, and prevent the build-up of ice during winter walks.

Paw Pad Care and Preparing for Winter

The best thing you can do to prepare for winter walks is to introduce Fido to his new shoes. Doing this slowly will help desensitize your pup to the wearables, making him less stressed out and more comfortable moving around. The process should take between two and four weeks, depending on your pet’s obedience.

When picking out your pet’s shoes or winter boots, do your best to bring them along when you make the purchase. This is a great way to ensure proper fit and allow Fido to have some say – or, at least, bark at the options he finds scarier than the others. Bring lots of treats, rewarding him for trying on the boots.

Once you’ve picked out a pair of shoes, complete the following steps regularly for several weeks. Fido will feel comfortable in his new shoes in no time!

  1. Call him to you and have him lie down.
  2. Slip the boots on one at a time, giving him treats after each boot.
  3. Keep him inside, at least at first. Indoor training allows you to control the environment, limiting potential stressors.
  4. Bring out the toy basket and encourage your dog to play with the shoes on. This will keep his mind off the new boots and get him used to wearing them.
  5. Give him some time to play around the house in the boots. Take them off if he starts to get nervous and try again later.
  6. After a couple of weeks, start taking him outside, but bring the treat bag along. Consistent rewards are the best way to get a dog used to something. Just be sure to keep an eye on the boots themselves – they could fall off without you noticing.
20 09, 2019

5 Common Autumn Dangers for Pets and Parents

By |2019-10-25T15:00:24-07:00September 20th, 2019|Blog|0 Comments

When most pet parents think of dangerous weather, summer or winter come to mind. Very rarely do the mild, temperate seasons present natural threats to pup safety. But even though temperatures are more pleasant, and paws are more easily protected, autumn brings a few of its own dangers to pet parents across the country. Some might seem obvious, and some would never have crossed your mind. Here are five common health hazards for Fido and friends.

  1. Acorns and Oak Leaves. Autumn has some of the best dog walking weather you’ll ever experience, but be wary of what’s lying on the ground. You’ll see plenty of acorns and dead oak leaves on the sidewalks, but be sure to avoid them. If your dog ingests anything, it can be fatal. These small nuts and leaves can severely impact your pup’s gastrointestinal health, and if your dog has kidney disease, the acids in acorns can further aggravate the condition. Pets that have consumed any part of an oak tree may have bloody diarrhea, which is often a sign of renal failure. If you suspect your dog ate several leaves or acorns, bring them to the veterinarian.
  • Mushrooms. To be fair, mushrooms seem to appear almost year-round. But falling leaves rot in tepid autumn heat, which creates a breeding ground for some pretty gnarly fungus. Keep an eye on your dog when she’s playing in leaves, and be sure to look for hidden mushrooms and spores. If your pet eats a mushroom, bring them to the veterinarian immediately, even if you don’t know what type they consumed. Common signs of poisoning include excessive drooling, dry heaving, and difficulty standing and/or walking.
  • Ticks. Ticks are out in warm weather, but autumn has its own special threat: fallen leaves. Ticks stick to leaves when the fall to the ground, meaning that pile of yard clippings could be teeming with little insects. Check Fido for ticks after every walk, thoroughly checking between his toes and inside their ears, nose, and gum flaps. If a tick isn’t removed within 24 hours, the likelihood of transmitting a virus multiplies. 
  • Antifreeze. When temperatures begin to drop at the end of autumn, antifreeze can become a real problem for pet parents. Radiators from cars may leak or break, leaving fluid on the ground and in area easily accessible to pets. The liquid smells and tastes sweet, making it an ingestion hazard. If your dog doesn’t eat it on the spot, he might step it in and accidentally lick it off later. If you suspect your pet has antifreeze poisoning, go to the vet immediately.
  • Halloween candy. This might be the most obvious addition to this list, but it deserves to be mentioned. Autumn brings great weather and a fun time, but that means chocolate and other sweets become available in large quantities. Though fun for us, these foods are toxic to most animals. If you have pets around, be sure to keep an eye on the treats in case one happens to fall on the floor.
10 09, 2019

Managing Your Dog’s Seasonal Allergies

By |2019-08-21T10:17:42-07:00September 10th, 2019|Blog|0 Comments

For some people, severe allergy seasons bookend summer. If you’re not affected by pollen in the spring, autumnal ragweed will probably cause a runny nose. If that doesn’t get you, some types of mold, which flourish in the warm, wet weather of early autumn, will probably do the trick.

When people have allergies, they take over-the-counter medication and wait it out. However, most pet parents don’t know that dogs can also have seasonal allergies. If you’re not looking for them, you might miss the symptoms, resulting in an uncomfortable autumn for most pups.

Allergies don’t always manifest in dogs as they do people. Your pet won’t likely sneeze or have runny eyes. More commonly, they’ll scratch, lick, and chew their skin, which can cause hair loss, sores, and secondary skin infections. This happens when allergens are inhaled, creating skin issues from inside your pet. Itchy skin, ears, and recurrent ear infections are tell-tale signs of seasonal allergies.

So, what do you when autumn allergy season is just around the corner and Fido is starting to scratch? Plenty of management strategies exist. Here are a few of our favorites.

 

  • Visit your veterinarian. This one might seem obvious, but some pet parents need the extra push. If your pet has mild, seasonal symptoms, symptomatic medications are probably all they need. Mild anti-itch shampoos, antihistamines, and steroids can do wonders for your pet’s comfort and happiness. Just be sure to visit the vet before making any decisions.
  • Up your bath count. While most seasonal reactions are caused by inhaling allergens, pollen and ragweed can settle into your pup’s fur. This exacerbates their allergies. To prevent against this, give your dog a bath at least once a week. If the scratching has already begun, be sure to use an anti-itch shampoo.
  • Minimize travel. If you know your dog has a history of seasonal allergies, try not to schedule trips and vacations with her in autumn. You never know what regional allergens exist until the symptoms appear with full force. Plus, you don’t want to subject Fido to hours of uncomfortable travel while they’re experiencing allergies, especially if the travel carrier is too small to let them itch.
  • Get an allergy test. Yes, they exist for dogs. Knowing the specific culprit can help pet parents minimize exposure to allergens and reduce the anima’s symptoms. When you understand the cause, you can get a better, more specific solution. This is also a great option if you’ve noticed a sudden onset of symptoms with no discernable cause. Talk to your vet about getting a test done.

27 08, 2019

How to Reduce Anxiety for Your Pets

By |2019-08-26T20:00:54-07:00August 27th, 2019|Blog|0 Comments

Image by pexels 

Guest Post by Elise Morgan

Pets experience anxiety the same way as human beings. However, unlike people, dogs use body language to communicate their level of anxiety. Traveling with a dog that has car anxiety can be quite dangerous. To help your dog,  you should first understand what triggers the car-anxiety.

Dogs can display signs and symptoms such as a tucked tail, fidgeting, avoidance of eye contact, and hiding depending on the level of anxiety. The common signs of anxiety also include increased pacing, increased salivation, trembling or shaking, hyper-vigilance, lip licking, frequent yawning, and decreased appetite. To improve the human-pet relation with your dog, you must learn how to calm your anxious dog. If you ever notice a repetition of any unusual behavior, you should seek professional advice from an animal veterinary or a certified animal behaviorist.

Why Pets can Sometimes be Anxious

Causes of anxiety in different dogs vary because every dog displays diverse signs and symptoms. You should learn to recognize the stress signals from your dog to understand what causes anxiety for your pet. Here are the common reasons why your pet can sometimes be anxious.

New Environment

Dogs that are prone to carsickness always anticipate the travel with anxiety. Either the car environment or the anticipated destination triggers this anxiety. The dread and fear of traveling—if you have a routine of going to the veterinarian in your car, for example—can induce stress and anxiety. A dog’s anxiety may also be triggered by car sounds such as those produced when you drive over rumple strips.

Separation Anxiety

Some dogs are fond of each other or even attached to their owners. If you sleep with your dog, it experiences the cuddly consequence of human-pet intimacy. Your dog gets used to comfort and companionship whenever you are around. However, once you sell puppies, separate dogs, or let go of your favorite pet, it is highly likely that the dog will suffer from separation anxiety. Be keen to notice separation anxiety symptoms such as chewing or digging furniture, howling, and frequent pacing or even using the bathroom inside the house. The dog tends to act out while you are away.

Pet History

Pet history could cause anxiety if the rescued dog had a bad experience with other dogs or even the previous owner. Such dog depicts anxiety signals whenever they are exposed to anxiety triggers. For example, a dog that had an awful experience with lagers dogs will start trembling in the presence of such dogs.

Tips for Reducing Anxiety in Your Pets

Even though it is difficult to know if your dog’s anxiety may develop into anxiety-related severe problems and severe disorders, the following tips can help you predict and calm your puppy or dog:

Determine the Cause of the Anxiety

Learn to read the body language of your canine friend to determine the things that trigger their anxiety. Only then you can know how to avoid the negative experiences that cause anxieties such as aggression-related anxiety.

Make Sure You are Getting Enough Play Time with Your Dog

Enough socialization and play with your dog can to get out their energy and prevent the development of anxiety. Play also enhance mental, and physical well-being of your dog

The Bottom Line: Dog Anxiety

Dog anxiety is common just like human anxiety. Understanding causes, symptoms, and treatment options for dog anxiety can help you prepare for these situations ahead of time. Such essential facets can also help you prevent situations that trigger your dog’s anxiety.

21 08, 2019

Through Your Dog’s Golden Years: How to Properly Care for a Senior Dog

By |2019-08-21T10:42:54-07:00August 21st, 2019|Blog|0 Comments

If you have been together with your dog for a long time, then your canine companion has probably been one of the most important parts of your life for most of this period. You might have noticed that your dog has been acting differently lately. They might be tiring out more quickly or they are not eating as much.

Don’t panic! Your dog is most likely still healthy and happy. All of these signs are just a natural part of their aging process, and it’s most likely that they are starting to enter their senior years.

How do I Know if my Dog is a Senior Dog?

Unlike in humans, there is no single standard age where a dog can be considered a senior. For dogs, the general age to be considered a “senior” is around seven to ten years. However, the size of the dog does matter: large breeds tend to age more rapidly compared to small breeds. A Great Dane, for example, would be considered a senior dog at around seven years old, but a Pomeranian will only be considered a senior once they reach around ten or eleven years old.

Signs that a Dog is a Senior

As with their age in years, the signs that signify aging in dogs can vary from one breed to another, and indeed, one dog to another. However, there are general signs that you might want to look out for, such as:

  • Eating Pattern and Weight Gain: Senior dogs tend to eat a lot less and a lot more slowly compared to younger dogs since they are not as active. You might also notice that they are gaining weight more quickly compared to when they were younger.
  • Drinking and Peeing: Many senior dogs tend to drink a lot less as well, however, they start to have trouble with their bladder control. You might notice that your dog, who hasn’t peed in the house since they were housetrained, has recently started to have accidents even while they are sleeping.
  • Sleeping Frequency: As with humans, senior dogs tend to sleep a lot more compared to when they were younger. They also tend to look for cool, dark, and quiet places, even if they didn’t mind sleeping in the middle of a noisy and crowded living room when they were younger.
  • Cognitive Health: Senior dogs are prone to canine dementia. You might notice that they’re not responding as quickly to an external stimulus, or they start to bump into things more often, or they might even look like they’re getting lost inside their own home.

How can I Take Care of my Senior Dog Properly?

Given that your dog is now approaching their twilight years, it is important that you give them the right level of care and attention to make their remaining years as safe and comfortable as possible. Luckily for you, an online dog care guide for senior dogs isn’t hard to find.

If your dog isn’t sick, the best way to care for them during their senior years is simply to increase the level of your care and attention a little bit! Where you once scheduled vet checkups once a year, maybe make it twice or even thrice a year now. Where you were not as discerning with their dog food (most store-bought brands are fine for middle-aged dogs), you might want to consider investing in senior-care dog food that’s high in good fatty acids.

There are generally three areas of your senior dog’s life that you want to focus on: their health, their nutritional intake, and their level of exercise. Aside from more frequent and regular vet checkups, you should also inspect your dog now and again. Look for any symptoms that are common in older dogs, such as cataracts (cloudy eyes), arthritis (joint pain), or even bumps in the skin that can signify more serious diseases such as cancer.

When it comes to your dog’s food intake, make sure that you are feeding them the right kind of dog food and in the right amount. Senior dogs generally don’t need dog food in the same amount as their younger counterparts, but they do need dogfood that’s fortified with vitamins and fatty acids.

Finally, when it comes to exercise, when senior dogs love to exercise. Just keep a closer eye on them during walks to see if they are getting tired and need a break. They might also be feeling pain in their joints or paws, so you might need to slow down or shorten your walks.

2 08, 2019

How to Safely Remove a Tick in a Pet

By |2019-06-25T19:47:17-07:00August 2nd, 2019|Blog|0 Comments

Ticks are both a daily nuisance and an extreme danger for all pets who spend time outside. Whether you’re going for a walk near your home or traveling out of state for some outdoor adventure, these little bugs are hazardous. If you do find a tick on your pet, it is essential to remove it correctly. Any contact with a tick’s blood can potentially transmit infection to your animal or, in some cases, to you. Plus, improperly removing one of these pests can result in breaking the insect apart, leaving the head inside your animal’s skin. You’ll want to remove the insect as quickly as possible, but you’ll need to carefully follow instructions to reduce possible harm. We’ve included a step-by-step guide to safely removing a tick.

Step 1: Put on latex or rubber gloves to you do not have contact with the tick or the bite area. Keep a screw-top jar full of rubbing alcohol nearby, and if possible, enlist a partner to help distract and soothe the animal during the removal process.

Step 2: Using a pair of tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the animal’s skin as possible. Pull straight upwards with even, steady pressure. When the tick comes loose, place it in the jar. This will allow you to bring it to the veterinarian for testing in case the insect transmitted any disease to your pet. During the removal process, be sure to not twist or jerk the tick; this could leave parts of the insect inside the pet, and the tick could regurgitate infecting fluids.

Step 3: Use rubbing alcohol to disinfect the bite area, then wash your hands with soap and water. Remember to sterilize your tweezers with alcohol or by carefully running them over a flame. Remember to never squeeze or crush the tick, as the insect’s fluids may contain infective organisms.

Step 4: Monitor the bite area over the next few weeks for any signs of infection, such as redness or inflammation. If you suspect an infection, bring your pet – and the jarred tick – to the veterinarian for evaluation.

The best way to protect your dog from tick bites is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Many products on the market for flea treatment can also kill ticks. If you’re interested, speak to your veterinarian about the best product for your pet. Dog owners can also ensure a tick-free lawn by mowing regularly and removing weeds.

Even with the bet preparation, accidents are sometimes inevitable. If you find a tick bite on your dog, a steady removal is the best, safest thing you can do for him.

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