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101 Dog Care Tips – Selecting the Right Boarding Facility for Your Dog? – Tip 6

Selecting the Right Boarding Facility for Your Dog?

No one likes to have to go away and leave their pooch behind.  There are several things that you should keep in mind when selecting the boarding facility for your pooch.

First contact the facility that you are interested in to make sure that they have availability for the dates that you want.  (during holidays, good facilities book up early)

Make an unannounced stop in to tour the facility.  Mornings are typically clean-up time, so if you visit in the afternoon and things are still out of sorts, that could be a bad sign.  Also, if they are not willing to give you a tour, that is also a reason to move on to a different facility and scratch this on off the list.

Find out how often your pet will be fed.  Also, will they have their own water bowl and how often they are excised during the day? Some dogs do not do well on foreign types of food, so ask if you are able to bring your own food to the boarding facility.  These are all important factors in minimizing the stress of your pooches at these facilities.

Take notice of the employees.  Are they friendly and cooperative?  Are they willing to take the time to answer the questions that you have?  Are they trained and caring?  Take notice of the way that they are interacting with the dogs while you are going on your tour.  Are they treating them gently and are they taking time in handling them?  Also, staff on site 24 hours is a great benefit, just in case something would happen.

Find out about their requirements for proof of immunizations and what immunizations they require.  Although this is a pain, it is for the protection of your pooch.  The more immunizations they require, the less chance there is to contract something.  You may also want to ask about their policies regarding flea and tick control and if they give all leaving pets a flea bath or shower.

Also ask what procedures are taken if a pooch appears to be ill or refuses to eat.  In addition, a veterinarian on staff or on call is very beneficial.

These are just a few of the things that will help in making your pooches stay pleasant.  If you ask the right questions, you will feel more comfortable when the time comes to drop your pooch off and drive away.  Also, make sure to leave your dogs with a bully stick or dog treat so that they are occupied when in their room!

101 Dog Care Tips – Dog Food and Treats – Tip 5

101 Dog Care Tips – Dog Food and Treats – Tip 5

My Parents always used to say “ You either pay at the doctor, or by eating well”.  The same goes for our pooches.  There are so many options out there for things such as food, supplements, and treats.  There are a few key things that you might want to consider before selecting these for your dogs.

•    The more natural the better.  Food and treats that contain all kinds of ingredients that you can’t pronounce, mean more artificial ingredients.

•    Grains like corn and wheat have shown to cause food allergies for our pooches.  Consider grain choices when buying your food.

•    Food sources that contain the meat rather than the by-products mean a higher quality food

We recommend looking into small companies that make pet food in batches in the United States and are preferably all natural with minimal ingredients.  Feeding raw food is also another great option, as you as the owner has total control over what your pups are eating!  There are now even frozen patties or mixes that make this option even easier to do.  Watch your dog when changing diets to make sure that they are not having bathroom issues, excessive itching, or other symptoms, which could potentially signal an allergy to something in the food.

No body likes having to give their pooches pills.  Fish oil is a great supplement which contributes to both skin and cardiovascular system health.  Salmon oil, in the liquid form can be put in their water or over their food.

When buying your dogs treats, make sure that they are a high quality meat or vegetable product, which are fully digestible.  Many treats out there (including raw hide) are not digestible, which can pose problems if your pooch swallows a piece.

Lastly, always do your homework!  There is a wealth of information on food and treats available on the Internet and in print today.  Look into reviews of the food you are feeding and pay close attention to recalls and customer complaints!  We hope that all pups out there stay happy and healthy!

101 Dog Care Tips – Skin Care – Tip 4

101 Dog Care Tips – Skin Care – Tip 4

Although all dogs probably don’t care about what there coat looks like, it is very important to keep a shiny, healthy coat!   Besides just looking and feeling better, healthy skin and coat can in most cases indicate the overall health of the pooch.  Sudden changes in coat can indicate underlying medical problems.  Below are several recommendations to ensure healthy, happy skin and coat:

Feed your dog a nutritious diet with the proper balance of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, including omega fatty acids and Vitamin E. About 20-25 percent of the diet should be protein.

Add one teaspoon of flax seed or fish oil to your dog’s daily food.  This will not only add shine and help to reduce shedding, but also benefits your pooches cardiovascular system.

Brush your dog at least once a week, preferably even more, but we know it can be difficult.  If your dog is a shedder, do it more often. This distributes the natural oils, prevents matting and helps minimize dust and dirt, which can cause irritation.  We recommend the Furminator.   It is not only the best for removing extra hair, but they also love the feel.

Try different dog shampoos. There are moisturizing shampoos for a dry or brittle coat, oatmeal shampoo for itchy, irritated skin and dandruff and botanical or herbal shampoos for an overall healthier coat. Biotin helps with dry skin and panthenol adds shine to the coat.

Make sure to take your dog to a veterinarian for regular checkups, which should include inspection of the entire coat, including the tail and paws.  Sometimes skin problems can be hidden in places that we do not typically see, like between paws or under their belly.

Please let us know what you if there are any suggestions for future Dog Care Tips!

101 Dog Care Tips – Cleaning Your Dogs Ears – Tip 3

101 Dog Care Tips – Cleaning Your Dogs Ears – Tip 3

Cleaning your dog’s ears can be a bad experience for both the pooch and the owner.  However, keeping your dog’s ears clean is the best way to prevent against potential health hazards such as ear mites, ear infections and wax build up.  In addition, infections and build-up can affect their ability to hear.

To reduce your dog’s risk for experiencing any of these problems perform a routine ear check.  This is best done on a weekly basis. Below are some helpful hints as to what you should be looking for when checking your dog’s ears:

  • Check the ear for any dirt, wax, foreign objects, or redness in the ear canal.
  • Smell your dog’s ear; if there is a foul smell present, this is usually indicative of a more serious problem.
  • Mites, fleas and ticks like the dark, moist inaccessible area of your dog’s ear.
  • Check for a waxy substance in your dog’s ears, it will almost look like dark brown coffee grinds.

If you think your dog may have any of these symptoms listed above it is imperative that you call and make an appointment to see your Veterinarian. These things can cause serious issues and get worse as they progress.

There are many ear cleaners out on the market, some which are a cleaning solution and rinse aid.  They work great for in between vet visits and really make a difference.  We do not recommend the use of soap and water or Qtips because they can damage the ear canal.

We appreciate you all checking out Tip 3, if you have any suggestions for future tips, or new dog treats or dog related products you would like to see on the site please give us a shout!

101 Dog Care Tips – Dog Nail Care – Tip 2

101 Dog Care Tips – Dog Nail Care – Tip 2

Many people have severe anxiety about cutting their pooches nails, but it might be easier than you think. Have a groomer or your veterinarian show you how to do it. Most pet stores sell a special dog nail clipper. In addition, there is a new tool out called the “Pedi-Paw” which is supposed to gently file your pups nails down over time.  We have tried the tool and found that the noise from the tool itself puts our boys on edge, so we just went back to the traditional method of clipping with clippers.  It is important to try a few things out and figure out which one works best for you and your pooch!

The blood supply to the dog’s nail is called the “quick”. If your dog’s nails are too long and you immediately cut to the length you think they should be, you will cut into the quick and cause your dog’s nail to bleed. Although this is not a serious problem, it can be painful for your pooch and can make for a royal mess around the house.  Most people keep some styptic powder or quick gel on hand to cauterize the bleeding if necessary.

The trick to trimming dog toenails is to train the quick to retreat backward. Remember, simply cutting a large chunk of the dog’s nail is risky and can cause the nail to bleed. Instead, use the following method to avoid cutting the quick.

Cut or file the dog’s nails only a little bit every couple of days. This will cause the blood supply to get shorter at the same time as the nail is being shortened. Many also recommend regular walks, which encourages the quick to retreat and will mean that you will have less of a chance of nipping it.  When you get the nail to the length you would like to maintain, clip every few weeks or as often as necessary to maintain that length. This will prevent the quick from growing too long and prevent the nail from bleeding.

Nail clipping can be a stressful for event your pooch so make sure to give them a reward like a dog treat or dog chew to encourage them.

101 Dog Care Tips – Tip 1 – Oral Care for Your Dog

101 Dog Care Tips – Tip 1 – Oral Care for Your Dog

We are starting a new blog series called 101 Dog Care Tips today which will hopefully benefit dogs and owners alike.  If you have any suggestions that you would like to see a tip on, please let us know.

May dog owners overlook the value and importance of oral care when getting a dog and seldom include it in their pets routine maintenance like regular grooming.  Dogs are like people in that the more their teeth are brushed the better their oral hygiene will be!  Adding this habit to your dogs maintenance regiment can add years to their life, keep their breath fresh, and alert you to any potential oral related problems early.

Many experts agree that owners should brush their dogs teeth about 3-5 times per week to keep them in optimal shape.  Many pet stores sell dog friendly toothpaste and brushes that are specifically designed to accomplish this task.  Failure to do this can lead to periodontal disease, and the sad fact is that 7 or 8 out of pets at their time of passing suffer from some stage of this disease!  Make sure that when brushing you don’t use your typical toothpaste (it can be harmful to dogs), but instead buy dog specific toothpaste or you can make your own with baking soda and water.

There are also many kinds of new supplements out now that you can add to your dogs water which will help in oral hygiene and reduce the natural build up of plaque, however, as a natural dog treat and chew company we recommend keeping it as simple as possible.  Bully Sticks are also great when chewed because they become soft and act as a sort of natural floss.

Some Simple Dog Training Advice

Some Simple Dog Training Advice

Having a dog as a pet brings a great deal of satisfaction and happiness for millions of owners and their families, but training a dog is essential if you are to fully enjoy having a dog and if the dog is to enjoy life with you.

Training methods vary greatly but there is one underlying principal they all share – positive reinforcement.  With positive reinforcement you are seeking to reward the animal every time they do what is being asked of them; the command is “Sit!”, the dog obeys and receives a reward or praise – this is positive reinforcement.

Techniques which involve physical punishment or intimidation are ineffective when it comes to training a dog and you should never hit your dog as though this may produce a short term association of pain or humiliation with an unwanted behavior it is terribly damaging to the relationship you have with the animal.  Your relationship with your dog is vital when it comes to training; your dog looks to you for leadership and views you in doggy terms as the leader of the pack; they look to you for companionship, food and shelter but they are also looking to you as their leader and provider of the standards to which they must conform.  When you hit your dog, you are damaging this perception and the animal is less likely to respond positively to you in future and a scared dog is not an animal you want around you or your family.

Positive reinforcement requires patience on the part of the owner; training your dog is a process and not something that will produce immediate and instant results.  Over time your dog will learn the concepts you are trying to teach but where there is a failure or the animal appears to be learning at a slow pace, it is frequently the owner who is actually the root cause of the issues.

When dog training is carried out, we are not actually training just the animal – we are training a team comprising the owner and the dog, and more often than not, the owner is the one failing in the training program.  Professional dog trainers do not take on a dog directly and train them as a rule, instead, they train the owner in how to train the dog as after all, it is the dog will be looking to the owner for leadership and commands in future and not the trainer.

A dog can also be trained at any age however, the sooner training commences the better; the old saying “You cannot teach a dog new tricks!”, does not hold true but it is more difficult to train an animal that has grown and become accustomed to a different set of rules to work and live by.  Dog training should commence while the animal is still in the puppy stage and can commence as soon as the puppy has been weaned and left the mother.  Start the training process with simple behaviours for the dog to learn – sit and heel, are two good ones to start off with.  Make the activity fun and not just fun for the dog but fun for you too and remember this is not a chore and don’t treat it as such as the dog will very quickly pick up on your cues; every dog will closely look at their owner and take everything in and they will very quickly learn your moods and your personality traits.

Lastly we always recommend dog treats and chews like bully sticks as training rewards as they are a great reward an will naturally keep teeth and gums healthy!

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