Dog Care

Informative articles about dog care. From dog health to dog travel, dog grooming to dog nutrition, our informative dog care articles will help you and your pet live a long, healthy and happy life together.

Cool Dog Care Tips for a Hot Summer

Summer Dog Care TipsAhhh those hot, humid, lazy days of summer! You’ve stocked up on sunscreen, Popsicles, bottled water, a new bathing suit or two… now what did you forget? Your dog! Many people don’t realize that dogs need special care during the summer months just like we do, and Dogs Central would like to offer the following dog summer safety tips to help ensure that your dog has a cool summer:

General Dog Summer Safety Tips

Car Safety: Never leave your dog unattended in direct sunlight or in a closed vehicle – even for a few moments. This can cause heatstroke and possibly death. The best place for your dog on a hot day is in the shade in your back yard with a great big bowl of fresh water to drink.

Exercise Safety: Avoid strenuous activities, like jogging, with your dog during extremely hot periods of the day. Plan your running for the early morning or evening hours when the temperatures cool. Both you and your dog will have a much better time.

Garden Safety: Be careful of what you leave around when you’re planting your flowers or tending to the lawn. Many lawn and garden products contain chemicals that can be harmful, or even fatal to your dog if swallowed. Keep any toxic substances well above snout level where you dog can’t reach them, and be sure to wait at least 24 hours after any chemical application (ie. pesticides, weed killers and fertilizers) to let your dog out on the lawn.

Watch out for bugs! Not only do they bug you – they can also bug your dog. Dogs can be allergic to bee and wasp stings, mosquito bites as well as other insect bites, so be sure to have a first aid kit on hand that has Benadryl, an antihistamine, in it. If your dog does sustain a severe insect bite, be sure to take him to the vet immediately.

Hydration: Make sure there is always a source of fresh, cool water available for your dog to drink. Imagine wearing a fur coat on summer’s hottest days and not being able to take it off! A bit warm, perhaps? Make sure your dog has a cool spot to rest in the shade or indoors with the air conditioner or fan on when the summer sun blazes with plenty of water to drink.

Identification: It can be great fun to take your dog on summer vacation – but that fun can easily be turned into tragedy if your dog should go missing in unfamiliar territory. Make sure that your dog has an up-to-date ID tag on his collar so that you can be contacted if he should go missing. One excellent pet ID tag is Pet Angel ID Tags, which features a 24 hour answering service to help reunite lost pets with their owners.

Beach Summer Safety For Dogs:

Taking a swim in the ocean or lake is a great way for dogs to cool off in hot weather, but be sure to check with the lifeguard about water conditions first. Dogs make wonderful targets for jellyfish, sea lice and other interesting creatures.

Watch out for sunburn! Those harmful UV rays can burn your dog’s nose and ears. Apply sunblock 30 minutes before going outside, and reapply if your dog takes a swim. Limit your dog’s exposure to the sun, too.

Take care of tender tootsies! Your dog’s feet will burn if he spends too much time on hot sand or sidewalks. Imagine going without your sandals on a hot day…. Ouch!

Don’t let your dog drink sea water. Cool ocean water is a tempting treat for a hot dog on a scorching day. Make sure he has plenty of cool, fresh water to drink at all times.

Summer is a wonderful season to enjoy the great outdoors with your dog. If you follow these dog summer safety tips, both you and your pet will have a happy, healthy summer.

Dog Influenza Epidemic May Be in Store

Dog With The FluA canine form of influenza that has caused illness in numerous dogs in Illinois is reported to be spreading throughout the midwestern USA, according to Dr. Jose Arce of the American Veterinary Medical Association. The virus, thought to have originated in Chicago, IL, has already spread to 12 surrounding states.

The H3N2 flu can cause serious illness in some dogs, while others will experience mild to moderate upper respiratory symptoms. Veterinarians can now diagnose this dog flu using a test offered by IDEXX industries, where, according to Tracie Hotchner, most diagnostic testing and research on canine diseases is performed.

How is Canine Influenza Spread?

Just like with human influenza viruses, the dog flu can be deadly for vulnerable pets. If your pet is very young, very old, has a health condition such as cancer or other immune-affecting disorder, the dog flu can make them very ill or even cause death.

How is Canine Influenza Treated?

If diagnosed early, supportive health care can help, but the best measure is to prevent your pet from contracting this very contagious disease. If you have a young puppy, older dog or dog with health issues, avoid coming into contact with other dogs in large numbers. Dog parks, boarding kennels, doggie daycare centers and even veterinary clinics are potentially hazardous locations for vulnerable pets.

Pet owners should watch their dogs for symptoms such as unusual tiredness (lethargy), cough, excessive panting, vomiting and diarrhea, irritability and lack of appetite. A visit to your veterinarian is essential for any dog showing flu symptoms, since early health care measures can prevent the development of secondary infections and pneumonia.

Dogs with flu should be kept away from other dogs, and be provided with a safe, quiet and comfortable area in which to recover. Fresh, clean water should be available at all times, and they should be supervised carefully for signs of worsening illness.

If you work with dogs, take care to protect your own pet at home by washing your hands frequently and changing clothes on returning home.

You can learn more about Canine Influenza at:

Debbie Moore – Dogs and Puppies Central

Dog Safety Tips

Tips To Help Keep Your Dog or Puppy Safe, Happy and Healthy!

Dogs have been “man’s best friend” for thousands of years. Since dogs watch over their owners, it’s only right that dog-loving humans keep their pets safe in return. And now, dogs need our extra attention more than ever. With a little thought, you can easily create a safe home for your precious pups.

As you know, dogs have a keen curiosity. Take a look at your home from your puppy’s perspective and you’ll likely find all sorts of interesting items to check out. You may not realize that dogs first sniff, then mouth things to inspect them. So it’s especially important that you keep the following out of your dog’s reach:

  • insect traps
  • phone and electric cords
  • ashtrays and cigarettes
  • open doors and windows
  • rubber bands
  • housecleaning chemicals
  • candles
  • Christmas tree ornaments
  • uncovered trash cans
  • medications
  • foodstuffs like: chocolate and grapes
  • plastic bags
  • batteries
  • anti-freeze
  • valuable items, like jewelry, photos, and books

Don’t forget the great outdoors when inspecting your dog’s area. Dogs, especially puppies, find plants fun playthings. They love to dig in the dirt or pull branches off shrubs. Because of this, make sure the plants in and around your home aren’t a health risk to your dog.

The following common house and garden plants are toxic to dogs:

  • English ivy
  • dieffenbachia
  • mistletoe
  • philodendron
  • elephant ear
  • caladium
  • boxwood
  • holly berry
  • azaleas
  • chinaberry trees
  • oleander
  • wisteria
  • hydrangea

Other ways to protect your pup include keeping him or her safely confined to your home. Wandering dogs are more likely to be injured by vehicles or meet up with unkind people.

Make sure your yard is fenced and the fencing is tall enough and strong enough to keep your dog from roaming. Many dogs try to dig out under the fence, so it’s crucial you regularly check for gaps around the fence perimeter. Teach everyone in your family to carefully close doors and keep gates latched.

Additionally, it’s important that your pet wears a collar with an identification tag at all times, in the event he or she gets lost. In fact, most cities require that all dogs wear a collar and tag. This way, it’s more likely your dog will be returned home safely to you. You may also consider microchipping, where a small silicone chip containing your contact information is painlessly inserted under the dog’s skin.

Most animal shelters and veterinarians automatically scan lost pets in search of a microchip. However, an identification tag will be useful if your puppy is found by an average citizen. If you reside in an area prone to natural disasters, keep an emergency pet supply kit handy. Include a week’s worth of food and water, as well as any medication your dog needs.

Don’t forget a photo of your pet too, in case you’re separated at any time.

Dog Litter Box Training

Litter Training A Dog

Tips on Litter Training Your Dog

Who Says Litter Boxes Are For Cats Only? Many times, as a dog owner, we must all find ourselves waiting on Fido to finish his business on a stormy night and thinking – “Why didn’t I just get a cat?” Cat owners have always had things a little easier that way – safe inside on those cold late-nights when we’re stuck outside holding the leash or the door for our canine companions.

Also, if your dog has trouble walking any distance because of osteoarthritis or age related conditions, or perhaps suffers from a medical problem which causes increased urination, a litter pan would certainly be a helpful and humane alternative to having your dog beg to go outside, get you out of bed, or wait for you to dress for the weather and take him outside.

Well there’s good news! Most breeds of dog can be trained to use a litter box . Some breeders of smaller breed dogs will regularly train dogs to use a litter box as a matter of convenience if they live in an area with harsh winters.

Will a Dog Use a Litter Box?

It just makes more sense than any other option. Larger dogs can also be taught to select a “target spot” inside the home and return there as a matter of habit – usually this is done with newspapers. So logically, if a dog can be taught to go in a place that you choose, shouldn’t it be a simple matter to place a dog litter box in that target area? It is that simple.

Simple Steps To Dog Litter Box Training

Dog Litter TrainingFirst though we need to consider the basics. It is best to train a dog while still a puppy. It isn’t impossible to train an adult dog, but the earlier that you develop good habits, the less likely the dog is to fall back to some previous behavior. If your dog is older, that doesn’t mean he is a lost cause, and may in some cases only help to make your dog easier to train – providing that he has developed some level of obedience already.

Training a dog to do anything usually involves identifying a positive behavior – and then rewarding it repeatedly until the dog reaches a point where the desired behavior becomes associated with a good thing like a treat or praise. Puppies respond better to treats more regularly, so a food treat that you will associate solely with the use of the litter box is a key.

Try to find something that is small, but very flavorful or with a distinct smell, not the regular food that the dog has in his bowl at meal times. ( Cheese, small bits of cooked liver, small slices of wiener, bits of carrot, or store bought dog treats should work – but be sure the dog likes the treat before you invest in a big bag.)

Second, we need to catch the dog doing the behavior in the right place. The best way to do this is to place the dog in an enclosed area with newspapers or a small litter-box in the corner and watch for the puppy to go.

When the puppy goes, immediately praise him and offer the treat. Even easier is to crate-train your dog. Rather than the long wait, put your puppy in a small enclosed space right after feeding. Wait a short time and then watch to see if the puppy is doing ok, then take him out and place him in the litter box.

The timing of the meal and the fact that he’s now restricted to the large litter box should increase the odds that he will be ready to go while you are watching him. Remember too that dogs are more prone to bathroom stops in the early morning when they wake or after you return home from work, school or shopping.

Reward, Reward, Reward!

The reward you give your dog for going in the litter box is two-fold, offering mainly the treat at first, but also the praise. After a few days you will find that your dog will look forward to visiting the litter box and getting the good things that go along with it. (snack & praise). Soon you’ll be able to let the puppy choose his own times to visit the litter box, but be warned, some dogs have been known to “fake” a bathroom trip or two once they get into the habit.

Keep a sense of humor and reward him for trying, it will only reinforce the idea that he’s starting to understand. However if the fake trips become too frequent. You may wish to save the treat and just offer mild praise for false alarms.

The praise component is very important, don’t neglect it! Remember that there will be many times that you may be elsewhere when the dog needs to go. It’s a good idea to bring the dog to site and praise him when you get home or when you discover his earlier handiwork – make sure that you only offer special attention when your dog is on target.

Another consideration is the type of surface. Some dogs may already be used to going on a plain surface or on newspapers. You can leave your litter box liner bare, or line with a single sheet of newspaper – depending on the dog. Either way, clean-up is still easy. If you have a dog that is used to going on the grass, you may have a more difficult time switching, but it is worth a try, and you may find an organic or recycled litter that will act as a good substitute.

For smaller dogs, you may be able to use an absorbent litter, but do use some caution here as you’ll want to test your dog’s reaction to the type of litter that you use. If your dog is a “digger” then you may wish to avoid using a litter at all. You should try to avoid clumping litters – whether clay based or natural fiber – if your dog is curious about the “clumps” that form.

Experimentation is the only way to be sure that your dog finds the litter box a comfortable stop, without also making it a site for exploration. Assume the worst and be wary of any litter that might cause problems if ingested.

When your Dog forgets:

If your dog happens to eliminate in the house but in an inappropriate spot (only while you’re home), clap your hands to interrupt her and take her quickly to the desired location immediately. You don’t have to get angry, just disrupt the activity and establish that you wish the dog to stop. Many dogs will react to a firm “No”, or a loud “AH, AH, AHHHH!”

In Summary:

Any elimination in the pan should be enthusiastically praised and otherwise rewarded as soon as it happens. It also will be helpful to reward even mild interest and sniffing in the vicinity of the litter box.

Dogs are bright and will get you intent soon and enjoy this activity as much as any other game that you might play with them. The extra attention to dog litter box training early on will usually pay off with a life-time of easy clean ups and a contented pet.

Further Reading About Dog Litter Training