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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.

Safe Travels with your Dog

Safe Travels with your Dog

Your dog may greatly enjoy the occasional car ride, but it’s important to take the necessary safety precautions whenever you travel with your best friend. We’ve identified a few of the most important safety tips to be aware of whenever you travel with your dog.

Safe and Secure

The best place for your dog in a car is safely secured in a well-ventilated pet carrier. There are wire-mesh and hard plastic sided carriers available for most sizes, but the carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around in. For large breed dogs you can also utilize a dog harness that attaches to a car seat belt.

If your pet is new to traveling in a carrier, help them get used to the new environment by letting them explore it a bit for a couple weeks before your trip. This will help them remain calm in the carrier and not feel like they are being punished or trapped.

Although you may be tempted to let your dog roam free, this can be very dangerous if you are in an accident or have to stop suddenly.

Watch the Weather

It is never okay to leave your dog alone in a parked car. Even on a slightly sunny day your car can heat up drastically in a very short amount of time, dehydrating your dog and increasing the risk of heatstroke. Conversely, in the winter your car will trap in the cold temperatures making your dog susceptible to hypothermia.

Food and Water

If you’re planning a particularly long drive, you should feed your pet a light meal before you leave to keep them satisfied during the drive. For water, consider bringing bottled water or your own in plastic jugs. Your dog is used to the water they drink and a different type could upset their stomach.

It’s also recommended you stop to feed and water your pet. While this is good for their own digestion and stomach, it also ensures they won’t spill everything and make a mess in your car!

Doggie Documentation

If you’re traveling across state lines, you may be required to show proof of your dog’s vaccination records. While this is not required in every state, it’s a good idea to pack a copy just in case.

By having your dog micro-chipped

Having your dog micro-chipped is also a good safety practice. In the event your dog is lost, the microchip allows for tracking and identification. You should also make sure your dogs’ collar includes information on your travel destination including the address and phone number of where you’re staying.

Pack a Bag for your Dog

In addition to the above tips, remember to pack the necessary items for your dogs’ trip. A helpful checklist of items includes:

  • Food and water
  • Bowl
  • Leash
  • A waste scoop and plastic bags
  • Vaccination papers
  • Any required medication
  • First-aid kit
  • Favorite toys and treats

Following these helpful tips will ensure your pet has a safe and enjoyable trip.

 

 

 

Make a Rainy Day a Dog Day

Make a Rainy Day a Dog Day

When the weather outside isn’t the best for outdoor activities with your dog, you’re going to need an outlet for all that energy that’s normally expended in running and playing outside. The following ideas are great for keeping your dog happy, entertained and expending energy in a healthy way.

Hide and Seek

A simple game that can provide lots of entertainment for both you and your dog. Start by leading your dog to their bed or another room and make sure they stay there for a few moments. You can either leave a treat or favorite toy to distract them if need be.

Then find your hiding space and when you’re ready, call your dog’s name to signal them to come find you. Their natural curiosity will ensure your dog uses their natural abilities to sniff you out as they dash around the house looking for you. When they do find you make sure you react surprised and happy, providing a “reward” for them finding you. By reacting this way you teach your dog the rules of the game and give incentive for playing again. Consider having treats on hand if you want them to really enjoy the game!

Ready, Set, Practice!

When you can’t go outside and play with your dog, take the opportunity to teach them a new trick. A good start is to run through the tricks your dog already knows how to do first. This lets your dog know the routine so when they see something new, they understand there’s a reward for successfully completing the new trick.

After you have built up a nice repertoire of tricks with your dog, try running through all of them in quick succession. This can be a fun and fast paced game as you mix the order of the tricks each time. Going through them quickly and rewarding your dog will keep them happy and will reinforce the commands and knowledge of their tricks.

Some of the most common and easy tricks to teach are sit, stay, down, come, speak, shake, and roll over. Once you master the basics you can get into the advance stuff like playing dead and waving.

Treasure Hunt

imgresYour dog is great at sniffing stuff out, especially their toys and treats. Take this opportunity to make a game out of a natural talent. If your dog has a favorite toy you can be sure they know exactly what it smells like and how to find it when they want it. For a little bit of fun, take their favorite toy and make sure your dog sees you take it. Then go hide it somewhere in your house and excitedly tell them to go find their toy. Your hiding spot doesn’t have to be hard; under the couch or on your bed will be about right.

Another way to enjoy the game is to hide their favorite treats inside simple puzzles for them. Consider putting a treat under an overturned cup or wrapping up a blanket with a treat inside. As they know a delicious treat is waiting for them, your dog will love to dig and find their reward.

As you know your dog the best, feel free to make up your own game to turn your rainy day into a dog day!