Category Archives: Healthy Dog

Keeping Your Dog Entertained When the Weather is Bad

No matter what part of the US you live in, giving your dog his or her daily dose of exercise can be a chore at times.  When your pup looks at you like, “what’s next?” and the weather is not conducive to outdoor activities, there are always other options.

Here is a list of indoor-related activities for your pup:

  • Arrange a doggie play date with a close friend or friends.  You may want to be sure that the host has dog-proofed their house, has ample room for play, and that all dogs attending are spayed or neutered and up-to-date on vaccinations.  Also, make sure the dogs are introduced properly and have similar temperaments before play.
  • Hide-and-seek with your dog?  Of course!  Use the “stay” command, so you can hide.  Once you are hiding, command “come” and once they find you, reward them with their favorite toy or treat.  This can be done over and over until your dog is tired.  If your dog isn’t so familiar with commands, put him or her in one room of your house (don’t forget to shut the door!) while you hide treats in the other rooms to find.  Just make sure to remember how many treats have been hidden!HideSeekDog
  • Have a deer or elk antler in reserve and only bring it out when the weather calls for it.  This will keep your dog preoccupied for a while and additionally carries other health benefits.
  • Take your dog on an outing to the closest pet store (or your favorite one!)  Most love to go for a car ride, and now he or she can check out all the goodies while you pick up some essentials.  Hopefully there will be some other dog-lovers there with their furry friends, and you can say hello to some new faces.  If you’re feeling extremely generous, you might also consider buying a new toy or treat for your pet to take home, too.  (It is hard to say no, isn’t it?)
  • Drop your dog off at a reputable doggie daycare center once or twice a week.  This will give your dog the opportunity to get out of the house and exercise.  Plus, socialization is always important – your dog needs friends, too!
  • Dress up your dog and take silly pictures using your phone’s camera.  Post pictures to your social media accounts and give your friends a good laugh.  Better yet, take a video of them romping around, totally caught off guard DressUpDoggiewearing all their new clothes.
  • Find a flashlight.  Turn said flashlight on.  Shine on the floor; see if your dog reacts!  Many will chase this bright spot on the floor for hours, if you let them.
  • And a final, old fashioned game — tug of war!  What dog doesn’t love giving his human a challenge?  Just be sure not too play too rough, and let your dog “win” some rounds, too!

Whether the days are too short, too cold/hot, too windy or too rainy… there is always something new and interesting to do.  Daily attention and exercise is just as vital to dogs as it is to us.

It’s your turn to share with us!  Leave your ideas in the comments section about some things that you like to do with your dog when you’re home and feeling cooped up from the weather.

 TugOfWarDoggies

 

Fleas Are Not Your Friends

puppy-scratching-fleas-300x282Chances are that if your dog has fur he has had fleas at some point. Actually, even if your dog doesn’t have fur they can still get fleas; they just hide better in fur. At some point you’re going to need to do something about them if you haven’t already. So let’s get down to it.

There are plenty of medicinal options out for there you to choose from – Frontline, Advantage, etc. – and there are plenty of versions – pills, topical, injections. Is any one going to be better than the other? Absolutely, but with a few clauses.

Quick tip: giving your dog a bath regularly will help in the fight against flea prevention. Be sure to use the right kind of shampoo and begin at your dog’s head and neck, working your way down.

First off, every dog is going to react differently to various medications just as a human would. For example, one dog may do very well with a pill form of flea prevention and do very badly with the exact same brands’ topical version. It is also important to take into consideration your dogs’ weight as getting the best application is based on this. There are also medications that are made specifically for certain breeds and weights. This is why it’s important to speak with your veterinarian about the best choice for your dog.

Your veterinarian will be able to tell you what has the best track record for what breed, age and environment your dog lives in. So remember that if your first choice didn’t work there are several explanations. One possible reason is your dog has sensitive skin. There are some breeds that react badly to topical ointments and other dogs that simply may just be allergic to that type of flea treatment.

Remember that after applying your chosen medication, fleas will continue to hatch and appear on your dog for several days. In fact, it can take up to a month for the medication to take full effect. The strength of each medicine will vary, but know that your veterinarian can prescribe stronger flea medication than you could buy in a store on your own.

Quick tip: if your dog has fleas, use a flea comb regularly to remove them. Keep a bowl of soapy water nearby and dip the comb in after each pass.

After giving your dog the medication there are also monthly applications available. This is a great preventive measure to use on an ongoing basis, especially if you dog is primarily outdoors. It’s also possible to treat your house or yard for fleas by using water-proof chemicals. This may speed up the process of getting rid of them.

Multi-preventive medications are injections or monthly pills for your dog that guard against fleas, ticks, or other parasites. Injections are not only becoming more popular because of their effectiveness at killing fleas, but also their longevity – a typical flea prevention injection will last up to 6 months!

With knowledge on new products, success rates, and breed specific options, your vet will be able to recommend the best option for you and your dog.

Walk it Out

Walk it Out

Providing structure and a routine of exercise for your dog goes a long way. One thing to note is that dogs do not often entertain themselves. For example, your dog barking can simply be out of boredom. If you have a dog that is misbehaving, one reason can be due to an over abundance of energy and not enough outlets for that energy.

This is all the more reason to take your dog on routine daily walks. This will provide them with an activity they love, a time to bond with your dog, and a great way for them to release all that built up energy.

Getting Ready

Your dog knows when it’s time to go on a walk. Most likely they’re all over you when they see you grab their leash. So it’s important to understand just how important a walk is to them. It’s a great time for them to get out and explore and expend some of that curious energy, but make sure they know the rules.

Before you go out consider having a routine with your dog. You can relay various commands to them as you and your dog get ready, such as having your dog “stay” while you calmly put their leash on. Providing a calm environment before you go on the walk will help reinforce good behavior on the walk. Make sure to also reward your dog for good behavior so they know they’re doing something right.

Who’s Walking Who?

A common problem many dog owners experience is their dog actually walking them and not the other way around. Your dog will naturally be excited by the big wide world, but that doesn’t mean they should have the freedom to pull you around your neighborhood. When you walk your dog make sure they are either beside you or behind you; this helps to reinforce your relationship and establishing you in the clear role of leader.

While your dog will enjoy their walk it should not be looked at as a time for overexcitement and play. Your dog should understand that a walk is a calm activity. You can help to reaffirm this environment for your dog in various ways.

If you find your dog is running ahead of you or becoming over excited, stop your walk, calm your dog down and wait patiently until they’re ready to continue. When you start walking again make it a casual movement so as not to pull your dog out of their calm state.

When and Why to Walk

Become-A-Dog-Walker-300x225If you work during the day and your dog is left home by themselves, you should walk your dog before leaving for work. This will put your dog in a “rest” state and help to curb destructive behaviors while you are gone. You should also walk your dog when you get home as they’ll be ready to go again by this time.

Dogs of all breeds can benefit from daily walks with their owners. By positioning yourself in the leadership role and giving your dog a daily exercise like walking, your dog will be less likely to be destructive, have separation anxiety, and have other behavior issues.

Daily walking will help ensure both you and your dog are healthy and happy.

Signs of a Healthy Dog

Just as scheduling regular veterinary checkups is important, so too is being able to understand the signs of a healthy and unhealthy dog. Learning how to recognize these signs will help you keep your dog healthy and happy.

Cold Nose = Healthy Dog? Maybe.

Curious by nature, your dog’s first impulse when interested in anything is to sniff around a bit.  However, don’t be alarmed if your dogs’ nose is warm; a dogs’ nose will fluctuate between warm and cold throughout the day. If your dog’s nose is warm for a prolonged period of time or shows signs of cracking, you should take your dog to the vet.

Likewise, if you notice your dog’s nose is always cold, this could be the sign of a cold. Just as you would expect your nose to be running if you were sick, your dog’s will too.

Healthy Eyes and Ears

While some dogs have eyes that tear up naturally, under normal circumstances your dog should have free and clear eyes. If you notice your dogs’ eyes consistently discharging or appear to be red or irritated, consult your veterinarian.

You should think of cleaning your dogs’ ears just as you would your own. If you notice your dog is scratching their ears more, this could be an indication of an infection. Dogs with more hair in their ears may need more frequent cleaning as well.

Show Your Smile

Take care to ensure your dog has healthy and clean teeth that are free of plaque and tartar build up. While you can brush your dog’s teeth just as you would your own, an easy way to help your dog have healthy teeth and gums is to give them treats that are specifically designed to help keep their teeth clean. As an added benefit, they can also help keep your dog from having “dog breath”.

Manage Your Dog’s Weight

Most dogs aren’t going to turn down a bowl full of food when you put it in front of them; all the more reason to regulate how much food your dog eats. Dogs that are overweight have increased risk of other health problems including heart and respiratory issues.

As different breeds benefit from different portions and formulas of food, you should consult your vet on the best choice for your dog. At an ideal weight, you should be clearly see their waist and be able to gently feel your dog’s ribs on the sides. An indication of an overweight dog could be struggling during times of exercise or playing.

Paws and Pads

Having four feet means there’s twice as many feet to worry about than you’re used to. While your dog’s pads are designed to be tough and resilient, they still need proper care. Routinely trimming their nails is one way to ensure their feet stay healthy. While trimming their nails, you can also check for any redness, swelling or foreign objects.

Your dog may not be able to tell you what they need, but understanding these signs and indicators will ensure your dog remains happy and healthy.

How to Have Fun with your Pets While Staying Active

Walking or Running

Exercising with your dog is a great way to keep you and your best friend healthy. If part of your exercise routine includes walking or running, consider taking your dog along with you. This will help keep your dog healthy and can be considered a time to bond and build your relationship. Remember to bring along water both for yourself and your dog though; they get tired and thirsty just like you.

Swimming

If you have access to a pool or lake, swimming can be great exercise for your dog and will help keep them cool on those hot days. While most dogs can swim, you should be slow to introduce your dog to the water to first make sure they are comfortable with this activity. Although you may find they’ll leap right in without a second thought!

The Dog Park

If you have a dog park nearby, this can be a great way to spend time with your dog and provide them with lots of space for running and playing. Giving your dog the opportunity to interact with other dogs can also help your dog to get used to seeing other animals.

In terms of training, dogs can benefit greatly by watching and learning how other dogs behave and interact with their owners and one another. Wide open spaces like the park also serve as excellent places for games of fetch.

Teach Your Dog an Old Trick

While playing fetch may be an old trick, this can be a great activity for you and your pet to enjoy. This activity works better with larger breeds as they are more likely to chase after things than smaller dogs, but you should still use an object that is relative to your dogs’ size.

While traditionally you may think to just throw a stick, you can also use a ball or Frisbee. You can also throw many objects at once. When first playing fetch with your dog, it will help them to learn if you actively engage and chase after them or run with them after the object for the first few times.

Your Dog Likes to Win

Playing a game like tug-of-war with your dog is a great way to get your dog moving, but there are a couple things to note. You should use an ideally sized rope for your dog; using a rope too large will prevent your dog from being able to get a good grip and they’ll become frustrated rather than enjoy the fun.

If you get the distinct impression your dog is using all their strength to get the rope from you, you’re probably right. Your dog will treat tug-of-war as a game they want to win so don’t be afraid to lose the match. Especially since using all your strength could be dangerous for your dog as you may accidentally injure their jaw, teeth, or their pride!

There are still many things you can do with your dog to stay healthy including dancing, hiking, agility training, yoga, soccer, or cycling. Experiment to learn which activities suit you and your dog the best.