LUV My dogs: allergies

LUV My dogs

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Showing posts with label allergies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label allergies. Show all posts

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Why Your Dog is Good for You?

Why Your Dog is Good for You?
  Dogs offer more than just companionship. If you’ve got a furry friend already, you likely have quite a few reasons to thank your dog. If you’re considering getting a pooch, check out these surprising benefits of having a dog.

1. RESISTANCE TO ALLERGIES!


  While dogs can be one of the worst triggers for people with allergies, growing up in a house with a dog makes children less likely to develop allergies over the course of their lives. Even if you were just a fetus when your mother lived with a dog, you are still less likely to be bothered by animal hair and dander, or to develop eczema as an adult.

2. You’ll exercise more.

  Owning a dog can motivate you to exercise every day. On those days when it might be easy to skip a workout, looking at your dog standing by the door waiting to go for a walk can give you the push you need to get out there. Taking your dog for a 30 minute walk every day can greatly improve your health.

3. Dogs Boost Your Mood

  Dogs have long been known to make great companions, but did you know that they actually improve your mood? Research has shown that it only takes a mere 15–30 minutes with your pet to feel more relaxed and calm. Playing with your dog also raises your brain’s levels of dopamine and serotonin, which are neurotransmitters that are associated with pleasure and tranquility. Psychologists from Miami and St. Louis Universities found that the benefits of having a canine companion can be equivalent to having a human companion. Looks like pooches can get your tail wagging!

4. Your social life may improve.

  Not only does walking your dog help you to get exercise, it might also help you get a date. People are more likely to stop and talk with you when you’re walking a dog. Going to the dog park or taking your dogs to run errands can also lead to strangers striking up conversations with you about your dog.


5. Dogs Are Better Than Medicine

  In addition to boosting your mood, your dog is also great for your health. Your body reaps a lot of benefits from having your fur baby around. Dog owners have been found to have lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, fewer heart attacks, and according to a study by the British Journal of Health (2004), dog owners also have the added benefit of having fewer medical problems than those without pets.

6. CANCER DETECTION!

  Your dog could save your life one day. It seems that our canine friends have the ability to smell cancer in the human body. Stories abound of owners whose dogs kept sniffing or licking a mole or lump on their body so they got it checked out, discovering it was cancerous. The anecdotal evidence was later backed up by scientific studies. Dogs are so good at this that some of them are trained to detect cancer, in as little as three hours.

7. You can grow old gracefully.

  Dog ownership benefits elderly people in many ways. Alzheimer’s patients have fewer outbursts when there is a dog in the home. Caregivers of elderly patients report less stress. Dogs offer wonderful companionship for the elderly as well.

8. Dogs Can Help Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis

  Clearly, dogs are extremely helpful in helping people deal with medical issues. Dogs have been found to be beneficial to people with various medical issues, but especially with those diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Dogs help people with RA to move more often and encourage play as well as helping them get their mind off of their condition. Dogs are great motivators to get moving and they sure are good at distracting us from things!

9. You’ll feel safer.


  Dogs can be an effective home security system. Studies show that barking dogs deter burglars. Just knowing that you’ve got a dog who can use its keen sense of hearing to detect anyone prowling around can help increase your sense of security, which is good for both your mental and physical health.

10. BE HAPPIER!

  Dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression than non-pet owners. Even for those people who do become clinically depressed, having a pet to take care of can help them out of a depressive episode, in some cases more effectively even than medication. Since taking care of a dog requires a routine and forces you to stay at least a little active, it is harder to stay inside feeling down all the time. The interaction with and love received from a dog can also help people stay positive. Even the mere act of looking at your pet increases the amount of Oxytocin, the “feel good” chemical, in the brain.

Happy days with your dog!

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Summer Safety for Dogs

Summer Safety for Dogs
  The summer months can be uncomfortable—even dangerous—for pets and people. It's difficult enough simply to cope with rising temperatures, let alone thick humidity, but things really get tough in areas that are hit with the double blow of intense heat and storm-caused power outages, sometimes with tragic results.
  Summer is a terrific time to be a dog owner. It lets you run, swim, and play with your dog in nicer weather than any other time of the year. However, summer also brings unique risks to your dog's health that you should keep in mind throughout the season. 
  The warm summer months are the perfect time to take your dog with you for outdoor, family fun. But with the rising temperatures, dogs can easily get overheated in the summer, causing them to become dehydrated and sick.  Not only is it important to keep dogs safe in hot weather, it’s also important to keep them clear from hazardous chemicals and certain foods. 


1. Never, ever, EVER leave your pet in a hot car.
  It can take minutes – yes, MINUTES – for a pet to develop heat stroke and suffocate in a car.
  Temperatures in cars can rise quickly so make sure to take your dog with you when you get out of the car. If you must leave your dog in the car, be sure to leave the windows down, which will allow the air to circulate and keep your dog safe.
  Most people don’t realize how hot it gets in parked cars. On a 78 degree day, for instance, temperatures in a car can reach 90 degrees in the shade and top 160 degrees if parked directly in the sun! Your best bet is to leave your pet home on warm days. If you’re driving around with your dog or cat in the car, bring water and a water dish and take your pet with you when you leave the car.


2. Outdoor Play
  Steer clear of long walks and strenuous exercise on hot, sunny days. Avoid prolonged sun exposure. Not only is there a risk of heat stroke - dogs can get sunburns, too. Consider sunscreen for your dog. If you are planning to spend time outdoors with your dog, find a shady spot and provide plenty of fresh, cool water. Try to take leisurely walks during the cooler times of the day, like the morning or evening hours. Remember to protect your dog's feet from getting scorched by hot pavement. Sunscreen for dogs can help protect your dog as well.

3. Make sure your pet is protected from parasites like fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes.
  If not protected, your pet is at risk for heartworm, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and a host of other nasty and dangerous conditions. And don’t forget, many of these diseases can be caught by people, too!


4. Events
  It might be best to leave your dog at home when going to large outdoor festivals or parties. A large crowd can be overwhelming and it increases the chances of injury, dehydration and exhaustion. Plus, there's bound to be a lot of unhealthy or even toxic food and trash on the ground that your dog might try to eat. Also remember that fireworks and other loud noises can frighten dogs into running away or otherwise injuring themselves. If you do bring your dog to events, keep her close by and watch out for potential hazards.

5. Keep the paws in mind.
  When the sun is cooking, surfaces like asphalt or metal can get really hot! Try to keep your pet off of hot asphalt; not only can it burn paws, but it can also increase body temperature and lead to overheating. Also, it’s not a good idea to drive around with your dog in the bed of a truck – the hot metal can burn paws quickly (and they can fall out or be injured or killed in an accident). 

6. Limit exercise on hot days
  Take care when exercising your pet. Adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears, who are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets, who typically have difficulty breathing. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet's paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible. Always carry water with you to keep your dog from dehydrating.

7. Bring extra water
  Bring a bowl and plenty of water to keep your dog well hydrated while away from home. Bring double the amount that you think you may need to ensure that your dog has continual access to fresh water to cool off.

8. Keep up grooming
  Make sure to keep your dog’s fur and nails trimmed during the summer months. Too much fur can make it easier for dogs to overheat, for fur to become matted, and for bugs to stake a claim in the furry confines of your dog’s coat. Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed will help limit torn nails, which can easily become infected.


9. If your dog loves to swim, give him his very own "kiddy pool."
  Dogs who love the water love it even more in the hot months and getting wet keeps them cool. Providing a small, kid-sized pool will also keep them safe.

10. Just because dogs instinctively know how to swim doesn’t mean they’re good swimmers.
  And if they jump in your swimming pool, they might not be able to get out without help and could easily drown. Make sure your dog can’t get into your swimming pool without you around. And if that’s not possible, make sure he can get out on his own.

11. Leave pets at home for firework displays
  If you’re headed out to watch the fireworks display it’s best to leave your dog at home. The loud noises mixed with the nighttime away from home can cause your dog to become disorientated.

12. Steer clear of fertilizers
  Some fertilizers and lawn care products can cause an allergic reaction in dogs. Speak with your vet about what types of lawn care products are best to use.  Always keep chemical bottles off the ground to keep dogs from accidentally ingesting them and becoming sick.


13. Believe it or not, dogs can sunburn, especially those with short or light-colored coats.
  And just like for people, sunburns can be painful for a dog and overexposure to the sun can lead to skin cancer. Talk to your veterinarian about sunscreens for your pet (don’t assume a sunscreen for people is appropriate for your dog).

14. If you can’t trust your dog 100% to come when called, keep him on a leash. Summertime means all sorts of exciting sights, scents, critters running around, and new and exciting places to explore. You never want to lose your pet because he she became distracted in an unfamiliar environment and was lost or harmed in an accident. And remember, not every dog is meant to be off-leash; some dogs just can never be fully trusted to come when called. Make sure you understand your dog’s tendencies and err on the side of being overly-cautious.

15. After a long winter, many dogs put on a few extra pounds
  Summer is the perfect time to increase his level of exercise and get in tip-top shape. A pet that maintains a healthy weight throughout his lifetime will live, on average, 2-3 years longer than an overweight pet! Just make sure not to over-exert your dog – give him or her adequate rest and if  your dog is especially overweight, make sure you ease him or her into physical activity.

  However, summer also brings unique risks to your dog's health that you should keep in mind throughout the season. These summer dangers include:
  Heat stroke occurs when your dog’s body temperature rises dangerously high. It is most common when dogs are left in a car for too long, or when they exercise in the heat. Never leave your dog in the car in hot weather, and always remember that a cracked window is not enough to cool a car. Your dog always needs access to shade outside. Muzzling interferes with a dog's ability to cool itself by panting and should be avoided.
  Sunburn. Dogs can burn in the sun just like people can. White, light-colored, and thinly coated dogs have an increased risk of sunburn. Sunburn causes pain, itching, peeling, and other problems. To prevent sunburn, apply a waterproof sunscreen formulated for babies or pets. Be sure to cover the tips of your dog’s ears and nose, the skin around its mouth, and its back.
  Burned Foot Pads. Sidewalk, patio, street, sand. and other surfaces can burn your dog’s footpads. Walk your dog in the morning and at night when outdoor surfaces are coolest. Press your hand onto surfaces for 30 seconds to test them before allowing your dog to walk on them. If it is painful for you, it will be painful for your dog.
  Dehydration. Prevent dehydration by providing your dog with unrestricted access to fresh and cool water both indoors and outside. Ice cubes and frozen chicken or beef broth encourage your dog to take in more fluids and help keep it cool. You can also feed your dog wet dog food during the summer to increase its fluid intake.

Campfires and Barbecues. Your dog may try to take burning sticks from the fire, which are hard to retrieve since they think that you are playing when you chase them. Food that is stuck to barbecues after cooking can tempt your dog to lick the barbecue and burn its tongue or mouth. Lighter fluid is a poison and should not be left where your dog can reach it. Keep your dog away from barbecues and campfires unless it is on a very short leash.

  Chemicals in the Water. It is no secret that most dogs love to swim. Swimming can be fun for you and your dog and helps prevent heat stroke. However, chlorine can irritate a dog's skin and upset its stomach. Rinse your dog with fresh water after swimming in a pool and do not let it drink more than a small amount of pool water. Standing water, such as puddles, can also be dangerous for dogs to drink due to the presence of antifreeze or other chemicals. Provide your dog with fresh water to drink whenever possible.
  Seasonal Allergies. Fleas, mold, flowers, and other potential allergens are common during summer. Allergies cause itching (and with it, excessive scratching), coughing, sneezing, discomfort, and other problems for your dog. Keep your dog away from allergy triggers when possible, especially if you know it has a particular allergy. Ask your veterinarian about whether your pet would benefit from a canine antihistamine or other medication.
  Keeping Your Dog Safe! Bottom line: keep an eye on your dog. Don't leave her unattended. It's important to always exercise common sense and proceed with caution to help keep your dog safe, regardless of the season. Summertime comes with its own set of hazards, so make sure you are familiar with the risks. Learn what warning signs mean trouble. When in doubt, call your vet right away. When all is said and done, it will be much easier for you and your dog to enjoy the summer.

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Friday, May 2, 2014

Hypoallergenic dog breeds

Hypoallergenic dog breeds
  You wouldn’t disown a family member over allergies, but many families forego their puppy parenting dreams to keep the family allergy free. Not all dog breeds trigger watery eyes and sneezes, however: Some shed less, have less dander or don’t have any fur at all!
   In truth, no dog is completely hypoallergenic. All dogs produce dander (microscopic skin flakes that can be inhaled and potentially irritate the nose and eyes or cause sneezing) and of course saliva. Dander and saliva are the main causes of allergic reactions in some people. However, because the breeds in this list are low shedding it's thought they may also produce less dander and are better for people with allergies to dander. If you have allergies you should spend some time around the breed you are considering, before you buy, to see if the breed causes you to have an allergic reaction.

The myth
  Though some studies suggest the possible existence of hypoallergenic dog breeds, there is too much variability to conclude that such a breed exists. According to researchers, claims about the existence of hypoallergenic dog breeds may have been fueled by unsubstantiated articles on the internet.
  The significant allergens are proteins found in the dog's saliva and dander. Some studies have suggested that the production of the allergen, and therefore human allergenic reaction, varies by breed, yet more recent scientific findings indicate that there are no significant differences between breeds in the generation of these allergens.One study found hypoallergenic breeds to have significantly more allergen in their coats than non-hypoallergenic breeds although there was no differences in the allergen levels in the air or on the floor.

Effect of size
Size may be a factor in determining hypoallergenicity. It is possible that the total body surface area of the dog is more indicative of reduced production of allergens than its breed.
 Smaller dogs will also leave fewer environmental pollutants containing dog dander and dog allergens (reduced fecal matter, urine and saliva). Small hairless dogs may be less likely to cause allergic reactions "because it's so easy to bathe them and the dander falls off them." Dogs may leave behind urine, saliva and fecal matter as allergen sources. Dogs with access to the outdoors may introduce outdoor allergens such as mold and pollen with larger animals tracking in more of these allergens. It is well established that most individuals with dog allergy also suffer with additional environmental allergies. Individuals with dog allergy may also be at increased risk for human protein hypersensitivity with cross-reactivity of dog dander allergen and human seminal fluid.

Dog Breeds for People with Allergies
  These “hypoallergenic” dog breeds are popular among people allergic to dogs because they tend to shed less, and thus, disperse less dander. As important as these characteristics are for allergy sufferers, it’s equally important though to make informed choices by keeping into consideration other traits such as the breed’s personality and energy levels.

1.Bichon Frise
  As long as this pampered pooch is well groomed, he will shower his dog owners with love and affection rather than dander. The secret resides in this breed’s double coat: the top coat gives the bichon its signature powder-puff look, while the undercoat traps dead hairs preventing them from falling to the floor. This often means less sneezing and less sweeping, but it also means more grooming as the coat needs to be groomed to prevent the dead hair from getting tangled within the undercoat creating mats.

2. Schnauzer
  These shed-less pups are great for the owner who loves to be the center of attention -- or the kid who loves playing "Follow the Leader." The schnauzer loves his owners so much that he won't let them out of his sight, so expect to have a buddy by your side at all times. He does need a firm hand, though, to balance his stubborn, energetic and protective temper. Schnauzers come in three sizes: Standard, giant and miniature.

3 .Yorkshire Terrier
  What makes this breed a favorite among allergy sufferers? The fact that it grows hair, not fur. Hair has a longer growth cycle in this breed which means that it is shed less frequently. The drawback though is that these cute fellows require constant grooming to prevent their hair from becoming a matted mass. Having a groomer shave them in a “puppy cut” can provide a temporary low-maintenance solution.

4. Bedlington Terrier
  Although at first glance, he looks more like a lamb than a dog, the Bedlington terrier could be the perfect canine addition to a laid-back family. These do not shed and are very mild-mannered.







5. Shih Tzu

  Dog lovers with allergies shouldn’t be fooled by this breed’s long, silky locks; in reality, the shih tzu sheds very little. When it comes to coat care, dog owners have two different options: keeping the coat short into a cute “puppy” cut or keeping it naturally long. Keeping it long though comes at a price: the coat requires daily maintenance and frequent brushing.


6. Poodle
  For a good reason, many allergy sufferers cherish the poodle. This breed is blessed with a non-shedding coat. In this case, dog owners need to thank this breed’s tight, curly locks that shed very little and retain dander rather than dispersing it in the air and on the floor. The bad news is that since the dead hair doesn’t make it to the ground, it remains trapped within the curls causing a need for frequent grooming to prevent matting.



7. Italian Greyhound
  Perfecto! This little Italian has a thin coat, so he barely sheds, and it's easy to keep him clean of allergens. The breed is very playful and loyal, and does not need a big yard. They're extremely sensitive to cold, though, so this isn't a good breed for a family living in a chilly climate.


8. Portuguese Water Dog
  For a good reason the Portuguese water dog made its way to the White House. After extensive research the Obamas had to find a breed that wouldn’t trigger Malia’s allergies. Like the poodle, this pooch has a low shedding rate because of his “curly hair-do, which prevents dander from collecting on the floor, clothes, upholstery and furniture.



9. Chinese Crested
  Going bald at times is the best way to prevent hair problems. This breed comes in two varieties: the hairless, which is virtually hairless unless you count the tufts of hair found on its head, feet and tail, and the Powder-puff, which has a complete coat with soft hair. While Chinese crested obviously shed less and have less dander, as with other “hypoallergenic” dog breeds, there will be allergy sufferers doing fine with this breed, and others having problems.



10. Basenji
  No, not Benji from the movies, but even better. These pups don't shed or bark, they have very little dander and they're darling, so they're a great choice. They do sometimes make an odd yodelling noise, and they can be hard to train, like most hounds). But this stubborn demeanor comes packed with a lot of lovable personality.





11. Samoyed
  The Samoyed is a sneezing owner's dream come true. This breed does shed, but you'll find no doggie odor or dander, making these dogs the perfect option for people with allergies. They're known for being laid back, gentle and "smiley," so they're great around kids.


12. Airedale Terrier
  Also known as the “king of terriers” because it’s one of the largest specimens within the terrier category, the Airedale has also the potential to be allergy friendly. Like several other breeds, the wiry coat in this breed reduces the amount of shedding which minimizes the release of dander. The coat though needs careful grooming because the hard, wiry hair doesn’t make room for the undercoat to grow through. There are two ways to solve the problem: pulling out the top coat though a method known as ”stripping,” or opting for twice-a-year clippings.


13. American Hairless Terrier
  This breed seems to have been purposely created with allergy sufferers in mind. It all started in 1972 when among a litter of rat terriers, a hairless puppy was born. The owners liked this puppy so much that once mature, they decided to breed her in hopes of passing down the hairless trait. They were lucky and the breed was recognized in 1998 by the American Rare Breeds Association. According to Woman’s Day, allergy sufferers who had reactions to dogs known for being allergy friendly did just fine with the American hairless terrier.


14. Maltese
  At a first glance, this breed may not look like a dog recommended for allergy sufferers. It has a long, silky coat that may make an allergic person’s nose tickle just at the mere sight. However, as mentioned, it’s not the length of a dog’s coat to make allergy sufferers people sneeze. The Maltese breed sheds very little, and because this breed requires loads of grooming, the number of allergens is often kept to a bare minimum.


15. Bouvier des Flanders
  The Bouvier des Flandres is a powerfully built, compact, short-coupled, rough-coated dog of notably rugged appearance. He gives the impression of great strength without any sign of heaviness or clumsiness in his overall makeup. He is agile, spirited and bold, yet his serene, well behaved disposition denotes his steady, resolute and fearless character. His gaze is alert and brilliant, depicting his intelligence, vigor and daring. By nature he is an equable dog. His origin is that of a cattle herder and general farmer's helper, including cart pulling.

Expert recommendations
  Researchers have shown that frequently bathing dogs reduces the amount of allergen related protein on the fur or hair of the dog and the amount of airborne allergen. Bathing a dog at least twice a week will minimize or even eliminate the reaction of an allergic person to a dog.
  Frequent cleaning and vacuuming of the home, using air filters, restricting the dog to certain rooms, and adopting a small dog that can easily be given frequent baths are all recommended by the Humane Society of the United States to control allergens. Scientific research has repeatedly shown that good cleaning practices in the home remove allergens from the environment.
  Many allergists suggest that a dog not be introduced to the environment of a dog allergic individual. While "allergy shots" can reduce many individuals' dog-allergic reactions, the most common approach remains avoidance.
  There have been recent studies suggesting early introduction of pets to home may reduce the likelihood of developing sensitization. There are reports of individuals who will become less sensitive with continued exposure to a pet in the environment. But allergists warn that pet owners cannot rely on a breed being non-allergenic just because a particular allergic pet owner can tolerate a specific dog of that breed.



The Bottom Line
   Too many dogs are abandoned each year because of allergies. It is estimated that about 14 percent of dogs are relinquished because of allergies. This could have been avoided by conducting more research prior to adopting the pet and taking steps to better manage the allergies.
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bathing Your Dog

Bathing Your Dog
  There are no firm guidelines for how often to bathe a dog. The quality and texture of the dog’s hair (whether it’s long, silky, curly, smooth, or wiry) will determine how much dirt it collects and how frequently the dog should be bathed. Your dog’s lifestyle and activities will also influence how often she gets dirty and needs a bath. If you own a dog with special coat requirements, you may wish to consult a breeder or a professional groomer for specific recommendations.
  The usual reasons for bathing a dog are to remove accumulated dirt and debris, to facilitate the removal of dead hair at shedding time, to eliminate doggy odor in dogs with oily coats, and to improve the appearance of the coat. Routine bathing is not necessary for the health of the coat or the dog. In fact, frequent bathing can rob the coat of its natural sheen and make it harsh and dry. For most dogs, regular brushing will keep the coat and skin in good condition and eliminate the need for frequent baths.

General Dog Bathing Guidelines
  I recommend you bathe a dog with normal skin once a month with dog shampoo or human baby shampoo. If you want to bathe more often than that, use a soap-free or moisturizing shampoo to prevent the skin from becoming dry.

Bath Time’s the Best!
   No matter what age, size, sex or breed of dog you have, you can make bathing a pleasant part of your dog’s life if you do two things:
  Teach your dog to associate bathing with things he loves.
  Take it slow and easy.

Associate Bathing with Good Things
  Many dogs find bath time unpleasant—and who can blame them? It involves being restrained, soaked with water (which some dogs really dislike), slathered in scented suds and handled in various, sometimes uncomfortable ways. However, you can help your dog learn to tolerate—and maybe even enjoy—bathing.
  The secret is to teach your dog that bathing is always followed by things he loves. If your dog learns that bath time reliably leads to wonderful stuff—like special treats, brand-new chew toys, the start of a favorite game, a walk in the park or dinnertime—he’ll soon learn to feel much better about it. And if he feels much better about getting a bath, he’ll behave better too, which will make bath time easier for both of you. So whenever you bathe your dog, help him to associate bath time with things he enjoys. Right after putting him into the tub, give him a tasty treat, like a small bite of chicken or cheese. If your dog seems nervous about running water, give him a treat right after turning on the tap. After toweling him off, immediately invite him to play a rousing game of tug or give him a handful of his favorite treats. With repetition, your dog will probably decide that getting a bath is fun, not frightening or stressful.

About Puppies
   If you get your puppy used to regular bathing now, bathing him as an adult will be a breeze. Follow the guidelines above with your puppy. The same ideas apply. Try to focus on associating bath time with treats, toys and games, and on slowly and gently introducing your puppy to the sights, sounds and sensations of bathing. Bring some toys into the tub, encourage your puppy to play with the bubbles and make the bath seem like playtime.
   It’s also worthwhile to get your puppy accustomed to other kinds of grooming and handling. Take time every day to touch your puppy all over his body. Handle his feet and toes, open his mouth and look at his teeth, examine his ears, brush his fur, carefully trim his nails, lift and handle his tail, and gently restrain him in your arms for a few seconds at a time. Immediately after touching or handling, give your puppy his favorite treat or play with him. Just like with bathing, your goal is to convince your puppy that people restraining and handling him result in good things. If you can build your puppy’s positive feelings about grooming when he’s young, handling and grooming will be much easier for you both throughout his life. 

Time for a Bath

Step 1
   Prepare your workspace. Gather all the items you will need, towels, dog shampoo, dog conditioner (if needed)and sponge and lay it out so it's close at hand when needed but not in the way of getting kicked and splashed by the dog. Pull over the hose or turn on the water for the bathtub. When finding the right temperature, keep in mind that dogs have more sensitive skin. Keep it a lukewarm to warm temperature.
  •    Find a helper if you think you'll need one.
Step 2
  Brush the dog's coat thoroughly. This is a good time to inspect for any skin/coat/health issues while relaxing and showing your dog some love. If you spot any ticks, you may want to see a vet to get it removed or remove it yourself.

Step 3
  Pick a good shampoo. If your dog scratches a lot, decide if the scratching is from parasites, allergies, or simple skin irritation. If your dog is suffering from parasites, pick out a good flea or problem specific shampoo at a pet store or retail store. Otherwise, select a mild shampoo, or make the shampoo yourself, as many dogs are allergic to shampoos that contain chemicals. Some general dog shampoos are formulated with oatmeal to help reduce general irritation. If you have a puppy, check to make sure that he is old enough for the shampoo that you have chosen.
  •   The key to reducing general irritation is to rinse your dog well after the bath. You might get a snap-on hose attachment designed to help you rinse your dog thoroughly. These snap-on attachments are available for both a sink (for the small dogs) or for the shower for larger dogs. Always rinse the dog with clean water, no rinse cups needed. Some of the snap-on attachments have nice long hoses and sprayers so you can simply hold the sprayer upside down under the dog to rinse the belly. Your dog will think it is at the spa! If it is during the summer, you may want to just wash your dog outside with the hose.

Step 4
   Get your dog's coat nice and wet, then apply the shampoo. Start with the head. Make sure to massage shampoo into all of his creases, or rolls, like under his front legs and neck. For best results, use your thumbs or fingers to massage in a circular motion. Be sure to thoroughly scrub areas that are always seeming to get dirty.

Step 5
   Wash the head and face. This is very important if your dog has or has had flea problems. It will wash them on to the body and therefor make it easier to get rid of as many as possible.If your dog shampoo is not marked "will not sting eyes," Get a warm damp flannel and gently rub his face and under his chin. Use warmer water for this, as it also shocks any fleas, also aiding in getting rid of them. Make sure you DO NOT get shampoo in your dogs eyes, nose, ears, or mouth.
  •    Inside ears is a favorite hiding place for fleas, but breeds with big ears (Shih-tzu, Bloodhound, Maltese, etc. are prone to infections if their ears are wet inside. For these dogs, wash inside only with a slightly damp washcloth, or use damp cotton swabs (try not to use Q-tips, which may harm your dog's ears).
  •    Keep the shampoo on your dog for as long as the bottle calls for.
Step 6
   Rinse your dog until the water from his fur runs clear. Then rinse one more time. If your dog shies from rinsing his face, use your hand to bring water from the faucet to his face repeatedly to rinse. You can also use a wet washcloth and wash off the water with small circles.

Step 7
  Get a small or big towel, lay it over your dog's back, and rub your dog dry. Make sure you dry the inside of his ears also. A dog's instinct is to shake itself when wet, though, so be careful. In the winter, or for small dogs almost all the time, lay a dry towel on the floor and use a hair dryer and dog brush to dry and brush your dog.
  • You may also want to spray some perfume for dogs on your dog. You can get this at your regular dog store. Be careful with the perfume; some dogs may be allergic, so consult your vet or a professional groomer before you use it on your dog.
  • For dogs prone to ear infections, use 2 drops of a vet-supplied rinse that will help dry the ears.
  • A dog is not washed properly until the hairs inside his ears have been pulled out; this is especially true of dogs prone to ear infections. 
Step 8
  Finished.

Bathing Alternatives
  If you can’t or don’t want to use your bathtub to bathe your dog, try one of the following ideas instead:
  • If you’ve got a medium-sized or larger dog, you can bathe him in the shower. It’s much easier for dogs to step into showers without tubs.
  • If it’s warm enough, try bathing your dog outside. You can use a plastic kiddy pool or a regular hose. If your dog loves to chase a stream of water coming from a sprayer, you can incorporate that game into bath time. Spray water into the pool and let your dog jump in to chase the stream. After a minute or two of fun, shampoo and rinse your dog. Then, after the bath, you can play with the sprayer again to reward your dog.
  • If you have a small dog, you can bathe him in a kitchen or utility sink. You won’t have to bend over, and your dog won’t have to get into a big bathtub, which might scare him. You can use the kitchen-sink sprayer to conveniently wet and rinse your dog!
  • You can purchase a special tub made specifically for bathing dogs, such as the Scrub-a-Dub Dog Tub. Dog tubs usually include a leash clip to restrain your dog, a hose and a showerhead attachment or sprayer. Some are designed to make it easy for your dog to get into and out of the tub. Many are portable, so you can bathe your dog anywhere you like.
  • Some pet-care businesses, such as boarding kennels, day cares and groomers, offer do-it-yourself dog wash stations. Usually, you just have to bring your dog. The business provides shampoo, conditioner and towels. The self-serve tubs include sprayers or hoses, and they often have ramps, so your dog can easily walk into the bathing area.
  • If your dog really dislikes bathing, only bathe him when absolutely necessary. Instead of getting him wet, brush him daily and use a damp cloth to wipe stubborn dirt off of his fur and paws. You can also try using a powder, spray or foam “dry shampoo” on your dog. Just apply the shampoo to your dog’s coat and then brush him. No rinsing is needed.
If Your Dog Already Fears or Dislikes Bathing

  Some dogs are fearful or aggressive when their pet parents attempt to bathe or handle them. Signs of fear or aggression include trembling, trying to get away or hide, drooling, panting, whining, freezing, staring, growling, snarling, snapping and, of course, biting. If your dog does any of these things when you try to bathe him, you need the professional help of a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB or Associate CAAB) or a veterinary behaviorist (Dip ACVB). If you can’t find one of these professionals in your area, you may be able to find a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT). If you elect to hire a CPDT, be sure to determine whether she or he has professional training and experience in treating fear and aggression, which isn’t required for CPDT certification. Please see our article called Finding Professional Help to locate a qualified expert near you.


What NOT to Do
   Do not physically punish or yell at your dog if he resists bathing. Doing this will only make him feel worse about the activity, and it will probably worsen his behavior.
Do not force your dog to submit to bathing if he’s obviously frightened. Contact a professional behavior expert for help instead. 
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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Spring tips for dogs

Spring tips for dogs
  Spring is here!! And that means it’s time to get off the couch, grab the leash and get outside with your dog. I cannot think of a more exciting time of year for us humans or our canine friends when everything is blooming and hope springs eternal . And speaking of Spring, we’ve got lots of new articles to spring on ya that will also hopefully help you out as you dive into warmer weather.
  Dogs tend to love spring because they get to spend more time outdoors. After being cooped up during the winter it is a joy for them to be able to take advantage of the lengthening and warming days to release all of their pent up winter energy. It is equally joyful for us watching our dogs have a good time. However the warmer days bring about certain health concerns so take a moment and make sure your dog is fully prepared for spring.

Depending on where you live mosquitoes start becoming more active. 

  Generally heartworm preventative medication should be given year round to prevent infection because mosquitoes thrive year round in many parts of the country and as our climate continues to warm mosquitoes tend to stay active longer each year. Despite this some pet owners do not give heartworm preventatives in the winter so spring is a good time of year to make sure your dog has been checked for heartworm and is current on his heartworm preventative medication. The cost of heartworm preventative medication is a bargain when compared to how much it costs to treat heartworm disease

Ticks and fleas become more prevalent .
  There are a variety of products available to combat these nuisances, so ask your veterinarian which one is best for your dog. Start early as preventing ticks and fleas from becoming a problem is far easier than dealing with a major flea infestation and get into the habit of regularly checking your dog for ticks. Ticks are typically found around the head, on the ears, neck, chest and forelegs although they can be found anywhere. Usually it is easier to find them by feeling for them instead of looking depending on how long your dog’s coat is.

Save the Sticks
  Sticks — now readily available after the winter thaw — can cause choking and severe injuries in dog’s mouths and throats. (Read the Daily Mail article: “How throwing Fido a stick could kill him.”) So if your dog likes to chew and chase, pack a Frisbee, tennis ball or other toy instead.

Keep Fido Away from New Plants
  Many dogs like to eat grass, but if your dog likes to chew on other plants, now’s the time to get out your plant guide. Some native plants can cause vomiting, diarrhea or even death, so before you let your pooch chomp down on those leafy greens, check out this guide to toxic and non-toxic plants.

Achoo! Does Your Dog Have Allergies?
Does your dog have itchy skin all of a sudden? Is she sneezing more than usual? Here are some tips to help you look for allergy symptoms in your dog and also some remedies to help you get your pet feeling better in no time.
April fools is right around the corner but no reason to fool around when it comes to your dog. Go ahead and enjoy the warmer weather with your dog on a walk tonight – he will be so thankful. In fact, he might even jump for joy!


Spring is a good time to check and make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date.
 Dog to dog contact increases in the spring and continues on into the Summer months. Your dog is exposed to more infectious diseases during this time of year. For example many veterinary clinics start to see increased incidence of kennel cough in the spring because of increasing dog-to-dog contact.

Use Pet-Friendly Products for Spring Cleaning
Spring cleaning is the perfect occasion to review your cleaning product’s pet-friendliness. If the bottles do not say their contents is dog-safe, it’s best to keep these products where your dog can’t get them. If your dog does ingest a household cleaner, the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association recommends you, “do not call a human poison control center; they do not have any information on pets. Instead, contact your veterinarian and/or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Hotline (888-426-4435) for accurate information.”

Hide the Antifreeze
 Cars use antifreeze year-round, so you always need to stay vigilant to keep your pup safe. Many dogs like the taste of antifreeze because it’s sweet, but it’s also deadly. Learn more about preventing antifreeze poisoning here and contact your vet immediately if you suspect your dog’s been exposed.

Prevent Dog-Park Bullying By Knowing the Signs
  As the weather gets warmer, you may be bringing your dog to the dog park more often. Make sure it’s a safe and fun time for all by knowing the symptoms of bullying and how to deal with them. Learn these simple tips for spotting and preventing dog-park bullying and know how to stop a dog fight before it starts.

Keep Artificial Sweeteners Away from Your Dog
  Easter’s right around the corner and that means plenty of chocolate and other dangerous dog treats. Keep your pup safe as you celebrate spring by keeping all sweets, candies and gum away from your dog. While many people know about the dangers of chocolate, only a small amount of the common artificial sweetener xylitol can be deadly.

With spring rains come spring mud, keep your dog’s feet dry and your house clean by keeping a towel near the door and perhaps in your car as well.

Spring means fun times for dogs  so pick up the leash and go for a walk or hit the dog park. You are bound to notice a little spring in your dog’s steps.


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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Allergies in Dogs

Allergies in Dogs
  Just like people, dogs can show allergic symptoms when their immune systems begin to recognize certain everyday substances—or allergens— as dangerous. Even though these allergens are common in most environments and harmless to most animals, a dog with allergies will have an extreme reaction to them. Allergens can be problematic when inhaled, ingested or contact a dog’s skin. As his body tries to rid itself of these substances, a variety of skin, digestive and respiratory symptoms may appear.
   If your dog seems to have an allergic condition, it's important to get an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as you can.

 What Are the General Symptoms of Allergies in Dogs?
The symptoms of allergies are usually like those of any other nasal allergy. They include:
  • coughing and wheezing
  • red, itchy eyes
  • runny, itchy, stuffy nose
  • sneezing.

Allergic dogs may also suffer from secondary bacterial or yeast skin infections, which may cause hair loss, scabs or crusts on the skin.


Less common, but more severe allergic reactions include:
  • Urticaria (hives)
  • Angioedema (facial swelling)
  • Anaphylaxis is a rare, life-threatening, immediate allergic reaction to something ingested or injected. If untreated, it can in some cases, result in shock, respiratory and cardiac failure, and death.
  These symptoms usually appear within 20 minutes of being exposed to the allergen, which can include drugs, chemicals, insect bites, or something eaten.
  If your pet has a history of a severe allergic reaction, you may want to discuss various options with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian may give you a prescription for an epi-pen which is a special syringe and needle filled with a single dose of epinephrine. If your pet has an anaphylactic reaction or severe angioedema, inject the epinephrine using the epi-pen and seek emergency veterinary assistance immediately. Be sure to take the epi-pen with you on any trips or hikes.

  What Substances Can Dogs Be Allergic To?
  • Tree, grass and weed pollens
  • Mold spores
  • Dust and house dust mites
  • Dander
  • Feathers
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Food ingredients (e.g. beef, chicken, pork, corn, wheat or soy)
  • Prescription drugs
  • Fleas and flea-control products (The bite of a single flea can trigger intense itchiness for two to three weeks!)
  • Perfumes
  • Cleaning products
  • Fabrics
  • Insecticidal shampoo
  • Rubber and plastic materials
 General allergies
Flea Allergy Dermatitis
Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels
  Flea allergy dermatitis, which is actually sensitivity to flea saliva, is a very common condition in dogs. It's not the bite of the flea that causes most of the itching in dogs with FAD, it's the saliva.
  The saliva causes irritation way out of proportion to the actual number of fleas on the pup.
  If you suspect or know fleas are a problem for your dog, I recommend you comb her at least once daily, every day during pest season with a flea comb. Do this on a white towel or other light colored cloth so you can see what's coming off your dog as you comb. Flea 'dirt' (actually flea feces) looks like real dirt, but when suspended in a little rubbing alcohol or water will dissolve and release a red color (blood) allowing you to discern real dirt from flea dirt.
  Bathe your dog often. A soothing bath will kill any fleas on your dog, help heal skin irritation, and make her feel more comfortable and less itchy. Also, clean animals aren't as attractive to fleas. Pick a non-grain (no oatmeal) herbal shampoo.
 Make liberal use of an all-natural pest repellent like Natural Flea and Tick Defense during flea season.
  For some dogs with a serious case of flea allergy dermatitis, I prescribe an oral drug called Comfortis. It is a chemical, but it's considered the least hazardous of all similar drugs. All drugs can have side effects, but Comfortis has reportedly fewer than topical insecticides.

Food Allergies
  Dogs with a food allergy will commonly have itchy skin, breathing difficulties or gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and vomiting, and an elimination diet will most probably be used to determine what food he is allergic to. If your dog is specifically allergic to chicken, for example, you should avoid feeding him any products containing chicken protein or fat.
  Please note that food allergies may show up in dogs at any age. It often takes some detective work to find out what substance is causing the allergic reaction.

Environmental Allergies
  In addition to flea saliva and certain foods/ingredients, your dog can also be allergic to an infinite variety of irritants in the environment. These can be outdoor allergens like ragweed, grasses and pollens, as well as indoor irritants like mold, dust mites, cleaning chemicals and even fabrics like wool or cotton.
  As a general rule, if your dog is allergic to something inside your home, he'll have year-round symptoms. If he's reacting is to something outdoors, it could very well be a seasonal problem.

How Can Dog Allergies Be Treated?
The best way to treat allergies is to remove the offending allergens from the environment.
  • Prevention is the best treatment for allergies caused by fleas. Start a flea control program for all of your pets before the season starts. Remember, outdoor pets can carry fleas inside to indoor pets. See your veterinarian for advice about the best flea control products for your dog and the environment.
  • If dust is the problem, clean your pet's bedding once a week and vacuum at least twice weekly—this includes rugs, curtains and any other materials that gather dust.
  • Weekly bathing may help relieve itching and remove environmental allergens and pollens from your dog’s skin. Discuss with your vet what prescription shampoos are best, as frequent bathing with the wrong product can dry out skin.
  • If you suspect your dog has a food allergy, she’ll need to be put on an exclusive prescription or hydrolyzed protein diet. Once the allergy is determined, your vet will recommend specific foods or a home-cooked diet.
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