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     Healthy Weight     What's in Your Dog Food?   

Just like humans, a healthy dog starts with the food they eat! It's important to be an educated consumer when it comes to your pet's nutrition. It's also important to manage your pet's weight properly since obesity in pets is on the rise!

How do I know if my dog is a healthy weight?

Telling a dog's ideal weight can be difficult at times and most will overeat if you let them. Dog obesity is on the rise and becoming an actual epidemic which can lead to serious health problems. Use the steps below to check and see if your dog might need to shed some pounds!

Step 1

Look at the dog's ribs. When you feel for the ribs, you should be able to feel each individual rib, with a thin layer of fat over the bone. If you can see each rib, the dog is too thin; if you cannot feel any ribs at all, the dog is too heavy.

Step 2

Check the dog's back near the base of the tail. There will be a little fat covering the area. This is a sign of a healthy dog. Again, if you can actually see the bone sticking out, the dog is too thin; if you are unable to locate any bones while feeling the area, the dog is too heavy.

Step 3

Feel around the dog's spine, hips and shoulders. Like the ribs, these should be covered in a thin layer of fat, but you should still be able to locate them with your hand. If these bones stick out and are not covered in that thin layer of fat, the dog is too thin. If those bones are hidden from view and you cannot locate them by feeling around, the dog is overweight.

Step 4

Look at the dog from above. There should be a noticeable taper at the base of the ribs that widens at the hips. The dog should have an "hourglass figure," so to speak. This is a healthy dog. If the ribs are too visible, or if the body doesn't taper between the hips and ribs, the dog is unhealthy. Step 5 Look at the dog from the side. Like the taper from above, from the side the dog should have a smaller diameter around the waist than around the ribs. Several types of dogs have a very distinct abdominal tuck; with others you have to look a little more closely.

What's in Your Dog Food?

Have you ever wondered what's in that dry kibble you put in your dog's food bowl every morning?

The bag is covered with pictures of whole chickens, prime cuts of beef, a cornucopia of vegetables and wholesome grains. In some cases the pieces of dog food are even shaped or colored to resemble these ingredients, but are they really what has been packed into those dry pellets that you are giving to your best furry friend?

You'd be surprised to learn what's really in that "specially formulated" food, and you owe it to your dog to find out! Read more at the website, What's in your dog food?

 

 

              Choosing a Vet        Vet Checkups        Vaccinations        Heartworms  

      Fixing Your Dog         Dental Health            Emergency #'s           Books to Buy

Keeping your best friend in the best health possible is always important. Nutrition is a great place to start, but vet checkups, monthly heartworm prevention and getting your dog spayed or neutered are equally as important.

Please note: the information below is just a general guide to prepare you with knowledge on how to care for your dog, if any health issues arise always seek the help of a veterinarian; do not try to diagnose issues on your own and in the event of an emergency please take your dog to the nearest emergency hospital as quickly as possible.

Choosing a Veterinarian

Choosing the right veterinarian for your hound is just like choosing a doctor for yourself. There are many different vets who all have different styles and personalities, so even if you have to try a couple out at first, you will likely find one that fits you and your dog. Some vets are open to alternative treatments, such as TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), homeopathy, and acupuncture.

Sometimes if you haven't been able to find a solution to your dogs ailment through conventional medicine it might be a good idea to find a veterinarian who will take a holistic approach (treating the patient as a whole, not just treating the symptoms). You can find a holistic veterinarian in your area using AHVMA's (American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association) search on their website.

Whichever vet you choose it's best to try to stick with the same veterinarian over the span of your dog's life. This way they are familiar with your dog's medical history and can better diagnose any issues that arise. If you do switch vets make sure to have their records transferred to the new veterinarian so they have all the information they need.

Vet Checkups

Yearly checkups with your vet are important for every dog. Even a healthy dog needs to visit the veterinarian for vaccinations or a heartworm test. Yearly heartworm test is required to purchase monthly heartworm prevention which is a must for every dog (read more on heartworm disease below).

For older dogs, over 7 years of age, it's recommended that they have 2 yearly checkups along with yearly blood work in order to catch any issues as early as possible.

Always make sure to tell your veterinarian everything and anything that you can think of during your visits. Even something you may not think has anything to do with the symptoms your dog is showing could help the veterinarian decide a treatment plan. For example, if your dog isn't eating as much, drinks less water, goes to bed earlier, holds his head to one side, or goes to the bathroom more frequently. It's important to be aware of your dog and their routines so that if anything changes you can bring it to your vet's attention on your next visit.

Also make sure to point out any new lumps or bumps. It's best for your vet to look at them to determine if they could possibly be cancerous and if they need to be removed. Remember, the earlier you catch it, the easier it is to treat! We suggest that every owner do a quick look over of your pet once a month. This is important for weight (see the Nutrition section for weight guidelines), and for any skin issues or lumps and bumps that might appear.

Just give your pet a 5 minute massage, rub your hands over their back, chest, belly, legs, neck and ears. Look at their eyes and teeth to check for developing cataracts and tarter buildup. If you find anything abnormal or different, it's best to get your pet into the vet to let them take a look. This is especially important for older dogs!

Vaccinations

Rabies vaccination is required by law. Puppies should receive their first rabies vaccination at 4-6 months of age and a booster rabies vaccination one year after that. After the first booster shot, rabies boosters can be given once every 3 years.

Other vaccinations are recommended by veterinarians for distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus and parainfluenza.

However there is a movement towards not vaccinating your dog unless they are exposed to frequent boarding situations where vaccinations are required. It is believed that keeping a dog healthy with proper nutrition and exercise will keep their immune system working well enough that vaccines are not necessary. It is also thought that vaccines cause a number of skin related issues that arise in otherwise healthy dogs.

Besides the rabies vaccination it is up to you to decide if and how much vaccinating is right for you. It's a good idea to find a vet that is willing to work with you if you feel vaccinating your dog isn't right for you.

Heartworms: Tests, Prevention and Treatment

Heartworms are a serious epidemic in the dog community and can be easily prevented by administering monthly heartworm prevention medicine to your dog.

What are Heartworms?

Heartworms are actual worms that live inside of the heart and are a major problem for all types of animals. They are spread by mosquitoes and are found in all 50 states and throughout the world.

The Lifecycle of a Heartworm

The heartworm larvae are in the mosquito's mouthparts and enter the dog's skin at the site of the bite. The larvae then burrow beneath the skin and develop into small worms. These worms enter the dog's veins and are carried to the heard where they mature into adult worms. This process can take approximately 6 months.

Adult heartworms can grow from 4 to 12 inches long and live up to five years. As many as 250 worms may be found in a heavily infested dog.

Heartworm Tests

A heartworm test must be done prior to starting your dog on a heartworm prevention. It is a simple blood test that can be done by your vet. Yearly tests are required to make sure that your dog has not contracted heartworms. Even if you keep your dog on monthly preventative it is important to get the yearly tests. A yearly test is usually required by your vet in order to get a prescription or purchase a heartworm preventative.

Heartworm Treatment

If your dog tests positive for heartworms there are treatments, but the treatments are dangerous, difficult, and costly. Using a monthly prevention is easier and much more effective.

The two FDA-approved drugs used to treat heartworms both contain arsenic. The dog might also have to be confined while receiving treatment. Some elderly dogs, or dogs in poor health might not even be a candidate for treatment because it could be fatal.

So if you're debating at all on giving your dog heartworm prevention, stop. It's the best thing you can do for your dog and it'll save you the heartache of watching your best friend struggle for their life when it all could've been prevented by one little pill each month.

Heartworm Prevention

There are different heartworm prevention products on the market, they vary in the drugs they use, but all are generally effective. The most popular brands are Heartgard and Interceptor. Both must be given monthly on the same date. A description of each brand is below:

Heartgard Plus - Medication comes in the form of a chewable tablet which most owners find easy to get their dogs to eat. It prevents against heartworms, roundworms and hookworms. Go to the Heartgard website.

NOTE: Heartgard contains the drug ivermectin which is potentially toxic to some breeds such as Collies, Border Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, Australian Shepherds, Old English Sheepdogs, and longhaired Whippets. About 70% of dogs in these breed categories tested positive for the genetic defect that causes fatal reactions to ivermectin and drugs like it

Interceptor - Medication comes in the form of a flavored tab. It prevents against heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. This drug is safer to use on Collies and Collie crosses. Go to the Interceptor website.

Coupons for both of these heartworm prevention drugs can be found on their websites.

Talk with your vet about starting your dog on heartworm prevention. Puppies should be started at 6 to 8 weeks of age, so don't wait!

Why Spaying and Neutering Your Dog is so Important

The nationwide crisis of homeless dogs leads to euthanasia in a majority of shelters across the nation. The number one cause of this crisis is unwanted pregnancy. Dog owners who do not get their pets fixed are contributing to the homeless dog population.

Common reasons for not fixing their dogs include costs, an interest in breeding, and a need to keep the male dog intact for "masculinity" reasons.

Low cost and even free spay neuter clinics can be found all across the nation. If you are low income or are on unemployment you can seek help from the ASPCA. Click here to find a list of low cost spay/neuter programs in your area.

If you have a pure bred dog and are interested in breeding, then please do so responsibly. With puppy mills still in full swing in most states there is an overwhelming number of dogs for sale and there is no real need to create anymore puppies when so many are still hoping for a home.

Not only does spaying and neutering your dog prevent unwanted pregnancy, it also keeps them from roaming, reduces the risk for cancer and can make male dogs less territorial.

Spaying

Spaying can prevent a wealth of issues for you girl dog. The process of spaying is removal of the entire uterus, including the ovaries. This prevents the heat cycle, which is a plus in and of itself! But it also eliminates problems such as cystic ovaries, false pregnancies, pyometra, and uterine cancer. Pyrometra is a life-threatening infection of the uterus.

Dogs should be spayed at about 6 months of age. Spaying before the first heat cycle reduces the risk of mammary tumors by more than 90%.

However, if your dog has a recessed vulva, which can lead to chronic juvenile vaginitis and urinary tract infections, then spaying should be postponed until after the first heat cycle.

Recessed vulvas, also known as an "innie", have skin folds around the vulva where urine can pool, creating a perfect environment for bacterial growth. If you're dog does have a recessed vulva, it's important to wipe the vulva clean with baby wipes after each time they urinate in order to prevent infections. If you believe your dog might have a recessed vulva make sure to discuss it with your vet. If you and your veterinarian decide it is best to wait until after the first heat cycle to spay her, then it is extremely important to keep her indoors as much as possible during her cycle so there is no chance of unwanted breeding! Click here for more info on determining if you're female dog has an "innie" or an "outie".

If you are thinking about breeding your female dog, please only do so with the help of a veterinarian. There are many complications that can arise throughout pregnancy and during labor and it's important that you take her to regular checkups before and after birth.

Neutering

Neutering your dog reduces the chances of prostate enlargement, plus the risk of testicular tumors is completely eliminated. If done at an early age (6 months is recommended), it can prevent dominance issues, roaming to find female dogs in heat, marking territory with urination, and helps to avoid aggression issues.

If you are a male and own a male dog, please rest assured that he will feel no less masculine if he is neutered. He will be much more at ease not having the urge to chase after every female dog in heat!

Dental Health

Dental health is easily overlooked on dogs. Most people assume because they each crunchy kibble or chew on their toys that their teeth must be clean right? Unfortunately it's usually not that simple

Caring for Your Dog's Teeth

In order to prevent gingivitis, periodontitis, and tooth loss, it is important to brush your dog's teeth regularly and provide proper items for them to chew on. It is also important to make sure your veterinarian checks your dog's teeth upon their yearly checkups to see if a cleaning needs to be done.

Brushing Regularly

Regular brushing can prevent plaque and gum disease, and save you the cost of yearly cleanings which are expensive and require your dog to undergo anesthesia, which gets more dangerous the older they are!

It's not as hard as you might think and once you get the hang of it, you can make it a nightly routine, brush your teeth, brush your dog's!

How to Brush Your Dog's Teeth

Using a good dog toothpaste, lift up the dog's lip and holding the toothbrush at a 45° angle against the tooth and gumline, brush your dog's teeth by moving the brush in small circular motions. Make sure not to brush too hard! There is no need to brush the inside of the dogs teeth because the tongue creates a self-cleaning action keeps the inside surface relatively clean.

If bleeding occurs this indicates gum disease, but daily brushing should tighten the gums and stop the bleeding in one to two weeks.

Brush at least 3 times a week for healthy teeth and gums. If your dog has already developed periodontal disease you will need to brush daily.

DO NOT use toothpaste for humans, the ingredients are not good for them. There are many different dog toothpastes on the market, some can be found at pet stores and some you can get from your veterinarian.

You can also make your own homemade toothpaste by mixing 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 teaspoon of water.

Chewing for Clean Teeth

There are a number of items on the market that boast the ability to clean your dogs teeth. While not all of them can live up to the hype, there are some things that can aid in cleaning your dog's teeth between brushings and stimulate the gums. Below are a few that we recommend! But remember, nothing is a substitute for brushing!

Bones

Our #1 suggestion for the best interim teeth cleaning product, raw beef bones. Do not cook the bones, the heat will impact the bones and harden them, this could cause tooth breakage and a costly vet bill to remove the tooth!

Just go to your local grocery store and ask for some beef bones. They will usually cut them to your preferred size, which is important so your little dog doesn't overextend their jaw trying to chew on a large bone!

If you can't find a butcher, you can usually purchase soup bones or just buy a rack of beef ribs, remove the majority of the meat, and give them the bones. If the meat is very fresh, and if you feel comfortable, you can give your dog the rib bone with the meat on it. They will be more than happy to clean it off!

DO NOT feed your dog chicken, pork, or any other animal bones. The possibility of splintering is too great and there have been too many emergency room visits costing thousands of dollars to prove it. The only bones that are acceptable to feed your dog are RAW BEEF BONES.

What about Nylabones?

Nylabones have been proven to break dog's teeth, plus there have been many instances where large pieces have gotten lodged in dog's intestines and caused death.

Also, because the plastic that Nylabones are made out of does not show up on x-rays, it can be too late before a veterinarian even knows what is causing the issue. We strongly urge you to remove any and all Nylabones from your house and to spread the word! Read more about the danger of Nylabones here along with people's personal experiences.

Toys

Rope toys are fantastic toys to give to your dogs. They act as floss, are cheap and there is no fear of your dog ingesting fabric which can get lodged in their intestines and cause a blockage.

What about all those "dental" chews?

We are hesitant to endorse the use of any"dental" chews since the news that the popular treat Greenies have killed dogs by getting lodged in their esophagus and intestines. Read the CNN article here. For this reason we suggest sticking to natural alternatives to be safe.

Important Numbers to Have in case of an Emergency

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center:   1-888-426-4435 (Note: A $65 fee may apply)

Your local Emergency Pet Hospital open 24 hours

Books Every Dog Owner Should Have

Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook - Buy it on Amazon

 

 

       Speak Their Language          What NOT to Do        Changing your Mind set

         Positive Reinforcement          Undesirable Behaviors        Potty Training

                                 Crate Training                 Specific Behavioral Problems

Whether you're new to being a pet parent, or you are already a seasoned dog owner, finding a way to communicate with your hound is essential to achieving harmony. Too many dogs are removed from their homes due to unwanted behaviors that their humans don't know how to deal with.

We want to help you solve those issues so you can keep your dog right where he belongs, with you! There are simple solutions to every issue that arises and don't worry you're not alone, most of these issues are very common and easily solved!

How to Speak Their Language

Dogs learn from repetition. So if you pickup their leash every time they get to go for a walk, soon enough they will know that it's time for a walk the minute they hear the leash or see you grab for it.

If you have a dog or have ever had a dog, then you've experienced this first hand. Ever notice that they learn the word "treat" really quickly? So why on earth is it so hard to teach them everything else? It's all about being consistent, and working with them often. It's easy to pull a treat out of a bag every day and say, "Want a treat?!" Teaching other commands are just as easy to do, we just have to learn to be consistent and praise the correct behavior as soon as it is preformed.

What NOT to Do

The worst thing you can do while training your dog is to physically punish them in anyway. You can let them know you're displeased with an accident in the house by saying, "Oh no!" loudly, but do not throw them abruptly outside or pop them on the nose, or shove their nose in it. None of these things help them to learn and will only tarnish your relationship with the dog.

It is a proven fact that dogs respond better to positive reinforcement, so praising them for doing the right thing will get you where you want to be a lot quicker then just constantly punishing the dog. Tell them what you want them TO DO, not just want you don't want them to do.

In example: if your dog has an issue with biting peoples hands (something they weren't taught as a puppy), then instead of saying "No Bite!", teach them the command for "Kisses". This is easily done by spreading a bit of peanut butter or honey on the back of your hand and as they lick it off, repeat the word "Kisses". After a few sessions they will learn the word and you can practice without the peanut butter or honey.

Changing your Mind set

Most trainers still teach physical punishment, but this is definitely on it's way out in the training world. The new age of dog training is taught with positive reinforcement and is more effective and loving than ever before!

Another effective tool in training is to "be the pack leader" as the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan, discusses on his shows and in his books. When sharing your life with another species, although domesticated, it's important to understand the way their thinking works. They have a "pack mentality" so you have to calmly assert yourself as the leader. That can be done as simply as changing your energy, thinking, "I'm in charge here." Usually dogs will automatically follow who they deem to be the person in charge of the household. They are looking for a leader, and if you don't lead them, they'll take the lead!

It's also important to give our dogs boundaries. If we don't give them boundaries then they don't know what to do with themselves, and they'll run amuck! It's not cruel to tell your dog they can't jump all over you, or to crate train. These things are comforting to the dog, it helps them learn their place in the family and makes you a happier owner, which equals a happier dog!

Using Positive Reinforcement to Achieve Success

Understanding the way a dog learns in crucial to communicating with them. Dogs don't learn by negative reinforcement (yelling, hitting, etc.), they learn by positive reinforcement. When you reprimand a dog for a bad behavior by yelling, they have no idea what you're talking about at first and will learn to tiptoe around you thinking they are in trouble at all times.

Have you ever gone to pet a dog and they duck their head like they're going to get hit? This can happen with the best of intentions and even good owners can fall victim to the urge to pop a dog on the nose for unwanted behavior. Unfortunately it's hard to undo fear in a dog, so it's best to leave the corporal punishment at the door when training a dog. Use repetitive words to teach them what certain things and behaviors are called and then you can easily refer to them and your dog will know just what you want out of them.

In example: an effective potty training method is not to shove the dog's face in it's accident and tell it "potty outside", quite the opposite actually! Potty training begins with frequent trips outside until a routine is set, and when the dog pees or poops outside, you keep repeating whatever word you choose to call it (potty outside, etc.) until they finish, and then meet them with great praise and a treat once they are finished, they'll learn in no time! If they have an accident in the house, don't physically reprimand them. Make a loud nose, like, "Oh no!" then say your word (potty outside, etc.) and carefully (and nicely) place them outside. They may not go, but this will help them to associate it with your word.

A dog will do whatever you ask for a treat. So use that to your advantage!

Undoing Learned Undesirable Behaviors

When adopting a dog after puppy hood, they can come with some learned behaviors that are less than desirable. Already learned behaviors can be more difficult to undo, but not impossible!

When they get to a new house they have the opportunity to learn a new lifestyle. Make sure to start training using the techniques discussed here right away and to BE CONSISTENT. Don't get lazy after they start to get the hang of it. Keep up with training until they are doing it on their own for a couple of weeks at least. If they gain bad habits at their new house it will be harder to break!

Potty Training

Potty Training Tools

There are a few great tools you can use in potty training.

Puppy Training Pads - These pads are made with something that attracts the dog to them to go potty. They work like a charm for most pups. Just place them throughout the house and once the pup has learned to go on them start putting fewer out and slowly move them closer to the door you want them to go out.

Bells for the Door - There are actual bells sold for this purpose, or you can just get a couple of bells and tie them on a string and hang them around your door handle. Make sure the dog can reach the bells to hit them if they need to go outside. Every time you open the door, ring the bells. After time, the dog will hit the bells to tell you they need to go potty or want to go outside. (These are for use when there is no dog door present.)

Belly Bands - For boy dogs only, they wrap around the dogs belly, covering the pee pee. You put the belly band on the dog only when he is in the house without access to outside (this will not work when a dog door is in use). This will prevent marking and peeing accidents in the house. When the dog tries to go in the house he will pee on himself, causing an icky feeling and he will learn to go potty outside while saving your carpet! You can put a large maxi pad on the belly band to save it from getting pee on it.

Dog Doors - By far the best potty training option, as dogs seem to learn this the quickest. They are great if you have the ability to install one in your home and make it much easier on busy people so the dog can go in and out as they please!

The Process of Potty Training

Potty training begins with frequent trips outside until a routine is set (right when they wake up, after meals, before bed time, etc.). Usually if you feed your dog at the same times each day, you will get an understanding of when they need to go potty.

When the dog pees or poops outside successfully, repeat whatever word you choose to call it (potty outside, etc.) until they finish. Once they finish going, meet them with great praise and a treat. Show them how proud you are of them and they'll learn in no time!

If they have an accident in the house, don't physically reprimand them. Make a loud nose, like, "Oh no!" then say your word, (potty outside, etc.) and carefully (and nicely) place them outside. They may not go once you put them outside, but this will help them to associate it with your word.

Use these techniques and tools and your dog or puppy will have potty training down as quick as you can say, "Potty Outside!"

Crate Training

Crate training can be simple, but you can also do more harm than good if done incorrectly. The crate should be a wonderful place for the dog. It should simulate their "den". We suggest the open metal crates as opposed to the more enclosed plastic ones. Most dogs like to be able to see out, at least when first learning to be crate trained. You can always add a cover later if your dog is used to their crate.

At first, place something soft to lay on in the crate, a bed, crate pad, towel, or blanket. Leave the door open at all times, put treats and toys in there so the dog can go in and be comfortable in the crate while you're home and the door is open.

Once they're comfortable going in and out, close the door for a couple of minutes while you stay near the cage, then open it and praise them with positive speak and a treat. Continue this multiple times, preferably over a couple of days, before continuing to the next step.

Next, close the dog in the crate, and leave the room for 5-10 minutes. Come back, open the crate door and praise the dog. Don't stress if the dog cries, this is a normal reaction and they will quickly get used to the idea when they know you're going to return.

Continue this, making the length of time you're away longer and longer until the dog gets used to being in the crate happily.

Do not leave food or water in the crate. This can cause them to have to go potty while in there and that's a mess you don't want to come home to! Also do not put them in a crate that is oversized for the dog, even if they are a puppy. Most crates come with additional pieces you can use to section off parts of the large crate as the puppy grows. Make sure to use these, because if the puppy has enough room he will use one end of his crate as a restroom and that'll be a hard habit to break!

Solutions to Specific Behavioral Problems

Using what you've learned in the above sections you are now ready to tackle you and your dog's specific issues. We've listed some solutions to common unwanted pet behaviors that will help you and your hound live in peace! Don't see your issue listed here? Contact us and we will get back to you with specific solutions to your problem!

Chewing

Chewing is usually just part of a puppy teething phase that most puppies grow out of on their own, but coming out on the other end with a household of intact furniture will be tough if you don't intervene with some training.

The simple technique here is to give them plenty of things they CAN chew on. So arm your house with ropes, bones, and toys galore. You're house may look like a doggie day care for a few months, but it'll be much better than the alternative!

If you catch them gnawing on something, don't smack them (even if it is your favorite pair of expensive shoes!), just shout, "Oh no!" and remove the object from their mouth and replace it with one of their toys and say, "Chew on this!" After a while they will be inclined to grab the items you have out for them to chew on, but keep an eye on them at all times and keep your valuables up and out of puppy reach because their curiosity will get the best of your stuff!

You can also wrap foam or cardboard around your furniture legs to prevent any slip ups from happening. The last thing you want is to resent that poor little puppy for chewing up your dining room table! Puppy proofing your house is key!

Biting

Along with chewing can come some puppy biting, so teach them the command for "Kisses". This is easily done by spreading a bit of peanut butter or honey on the back of your hand and as they lick it off, repeat the word "Kisses". After a few sessions they will learn the word and you can practice without the peanut butter or honey.

Keep it up though, consistency is key and this is definitely an important habit to break!

Separation Anxiety

When your dog has separation anxiety it can be tough on an owner. You feel bad for leaving them, and don't know how to help them. It can be caused by anything, but somehow they experienced a traumatic event and now they associate it with you leaving.

So how to fix it? You need to disassociate their fear with you leaving. Practice leaving the room for 2-5 minutes at a time and come right back in the room. Keep doing this until they start getting more and more settled about you leaving the room.

If grabbing your keys is what sets them off, just jingle the keys while you stay in the room, don't go anywhere, just frequently jingle them throughout the day when you're not leaving anytime soon. This will help them to change what they associate the keys with.

When leaving, don't make a big deal. Just walk out the door without acting like your leaving for a long period of time. Just act as if you were going to get the mail real quick and you'll be back in a minute.

This is going to take a lot of consistency, and a lot of work, but they CAN get over this. Don't give up on your dog and you'll be impressed in what you can achieve!

Marking

If a dog was fixed later than 6 months of age marking his territory with urine can become a real issue. If your dog still isn't fixed, the solution? Get them fixed! Most of the time this will easily solve the problem.

If the dog has already created a habit, or they are brought to a new place where other dogs visit or reside it can remain an issue. The easy solution? Belly Bands!

Belly Bands - For boy dogs only, they wrap around the dogs belly, covering the pee pee. You put the belly band on the dog only when he is in the house without access to outside (this will not work when a dog door is in use). This will prevent marking and peeing accidents in the house. When the dog tries to go in the house he will pee on himself, causing an icky feeling and he will learn to go potty outside while saving your carpet! You can put a large maxi pad on the belly band to save it from getting pee on it.

Eating Poop

Poop eaters are usually created in one of two ways:

  1. They were potty trained with the use of negative reinforcement (hitting, shoving their nose in excrement and shouting, etc.) and they now believe that going potty anywhere is a negative action, so they try to cover up their "accident" by consuming it. Some dogs are so scared that they will consume any poop they see in order to avoid getting into trouble with their owner. This is obviously a terrible habit that is easily avoided by potty training with positive reinforcement!
  2. The dog is not getting the nutrients or vitamins they need in their diet and so they are seeking them out through other animal's feces.

Either of these issues can be solved by purchasing a product that you can purchase which you add to your dog's food to make the taste of their poop less appetizing.

This should solve your problem in your own backyard. If it is poop snacks that are drawing your dog in on your daily walks, then just a light tug of the leash when they try to consume the poop should teach them to avoid it in the future.

Digging

Unfortunately some breeds were bred to dig! Terriers are notorious diggers and they have the perfect paws to re-landscape your backyard!

Try giving them a place in the yard that they can dig. Make a small empty bed with some mulch where they can dig and dig. Praise them with positive speak and treats when they dig in their designated area and say, "Oh no!" loudly when they dig elsewhere.

This may be a difficult habit to break with a hard headed terrier who has already been digging holes, but over time they will learn!

 

Register Your Pet   Identification Tags  Around the House  In the Yard  Toy Safety

Making sure your dog has a safe environment to run or play in is a necessity for any dog owner. Potential dangers lurk in the house, yard, and even in the toys they play with! It's best to be as informed as possible because no one likes those alarming and expensive trips to the emergency vet hospital. Prevention is key to keeping your best friend safe!

Register Your Pet

It's important to register your pet with the city you live in. It is required by most cities and will help if your dog ever got out of your yard or somehow got lost. Also be sure to check and see how many pets your city allows, there aren't restrictions in the country but each city has their own pet ordinance, so be sure to look yours up!

Identification Tags

Right after you get your dog make sure to get a collar that is secure (the collar should be loose enough to fit two of your fingers under it), and attach your dog's registration tag from the city, along with the rabies tag that you receive from your vet. But probably the most important item on your dog's collar should be their I. D. tag. This should have your dog's name, and your phone number. You can also add your address on some tags, and this can be helpful if a neighbor find them so they can just bring him back home!

Microchipping

Another way to ensure your dog, if lost, will get returned to you is by microchipping. It is the process of inserting a microchip into the back of your dogs neck. This microchip can be scanned by almost any shelter or veterinarian to receive your information and inform you that they have your pet. This is a fantastic way to ensure that no matter what, you're best friend will never get lost for long, even if they loose their collar once they get out. It is also very easy to update your information, should it change or if your dog is re-homed. Just go online and adjust the info on their microchip number.

There is some speculation on whether or not the microchips can cause malignant tumors around the site of the implant. Not enough research has been done specifically on dogs to know for sure, but it would seem there could be some related risk of a tumor developing.

Tattooing

Another permanent identification option for your pet is tattooing, which is a slightly more complicated process, but it is proven to be just effective without the potential risk that microchipping carries. There are companies that will assign your dog a number, which is tattooed on (a painless process for the dog, taking 5-10 minutes) and will keep your information online. Click here for more information on tattoo identification for your dog.

If your dog is prone to running off, or you have a faulty fence, it is probably best to get some form of permanent identification for them. Only 50% of lost dogs are reunited with their owners, and without permanent identification there is a high probability they will be euthanized if not claimed within the required holding period, which is usually only a couple of days.

Around the House

Household Cleaners

What most people don't realize is that everything that goes on your floor gets on your dog's paws and when they lick their paws, they ingest whatever went on the floor. You wouldn't intentionally feed your dog floor cleaner or all-purpose cleaner, but they are being exposed to it without you even realizing it.

There have been so many cases of common household cleaner toxicity, and some dogs are more susceptible to it than others, smaller dogs being much more vulnerable. The problem is you won't know until it's too late. So why wait for something bad to happen when switching to an all natural cleaner is so much easier?!

There are plenty of products available on the market made 100% from plants. Some are antibacterial, Seventh Generation's Disinfectant Multi-Surface Cleaner works great and is available at Target and Kroger stores, they also sell wipes with are handy for quick cleanups. Almost every store carries some line of all natural cleaners, so give them a try and save yourself an unneeded trip to the emergency vet!

Instead of the Swiffer, opt for the Shark Steamer! There has been some speculation as to whether or not the Swiffer cleaner is toxic to dogs, regardless it isn't 100% natural, so it could easily be a risk. But why chance it when there is a better alternative? A steamer mop not only gets your floor super clean, the steam kills bacteria too, so it's a win win!

In the Kitchen

While a few table scraps here and there won't hurt your dog, you do have to beware of certain foods that are very toxic to dogs. The most well known toxic food is chocolate, but there are quite a few lesser known ones like onions and grapes. Click here for a complete list of Foods Potentially Poisonous to Pets.

In the Yard

Chemical Fertilizers and Pest Control

If you rent or own a home and you have a yard, then you have to ability to choose what type of fertilizers and pest control you use. Chemical fertilizers and pest control can be incredibly harmful to your pets. Just think, your dog goes out and runs around in the yard, maybe even munches on some grass, comes back in and licks his paws, all the while ingesting whatever products that have been applied to your lawn and landscape. Have you ever noticed those signs the fertilization/pest control company puts in your lawn after they spray on the fertilizer/pest control application? Most say, "Keep Children and Pets Off Until Dry." So what happens when the morning dew comes and your dog goes out to go potty? All of those chemicals come right off of the grass, get on your dog, and come right into your home.

The easy solution? Go organic! Going organic is simple and better for your family, your dogs, and the environment! The results of an organic program for your lawn and landscape are even better because all organic fertilizers are slow-release, giving you a constant green!

All organic fertilizers and pest control can be found through local companies or even at your local hardware store or nursery. Click here for a list of products and companies that offer a safe alternative with even better results!

Toxic Plants & Mulch

Another thing to think about when making your outdoors safe for your dog is whether or not the plants in your landscape are poisonous. Click here for a list of plants to watch out for when installing or renovating your landscape.

Also beware of what type of mulch you use in your flowerbeds. There is a product called Cocoa Mulch that is sold in numerous garden supply stores and can be lethal to dogs who ingest it. Click here to read the Snopes article on Cocoa Mulch.

Toy Safety

It is always important to only give your dog toys that are created specifically for dogs. It may be tempting to purchase regular stuffed animals or toys that may seem suitable, but they might have pieces that could easily be torn off and get lodged in your dogs esophagus or intestines causing a blockage and a very expensive surgery!

Also make sure to always monitor your dog when playing or chewing on toys or treats. Some dogs so not spit out the pieces of fabric and stuffing like most and it can easily cause a blockage. If your dog has a tendency to swallow items a sure sign of a blockage is refusal to eat and pain in the abdominal area. Plastic toys and tennis balls are also easily destroyed and chewed up into small pieces by most dogs and are easily swallowed.

Some treats, such as rawhides get gooey once chewed on and dogs can easily choke if not being watched. Any edible treats, such as Greenies, should also be monitored when given.

Don't leave these types of items with them when you are gone or they are unattended. Rope toys or Kong toys are usually suitable to enjoy for play when unmonitored, but usually dogs sleep when unattended so no toys or treats are really necessary!

 

                        Walking                                 Playing                            Car Rides

Daily walks and playtime are an important part of the bonding experience between human and hound. Your dog's activity level will depend on their breed and age, and it's never too late to start walking and playing with you best friend!

Walking is Essential

Even if you have a backyard, walking is an integral part of a dog's existence. It helps to keep their mind stimulated and their heart healthy. It will solidify your role as the pack leader if you walk them correctly (dog beside you, not in front of you), and you'll get some exercise as well!

Daily walks at a minimum of 30 minutes a day will keep your best friend around for years to come!

Playing Strengthens the Bond

It's easy to get caught up in life and be too busy to play, but your dog is a great excuse to take 15 minutes a day to go play some fetch! Playing with your dog is a wonderful way to really connect with them. They enjoy having fun with you and pleasing you by returning what you threw to them!

In play time it's good to satisfy your dog's need to serve a purpose. So if your dog is a retriever, he longs to retrieve things! If your dog is a hound, he wants to hunt. You can hide treats around the yard or house to have them track them down. Make games specific to your dog, and if your dog is a mixed breed (our favorite breed) tailor the game to their specific likes.

Any way you choose to spend time playing with your dog will create wonderful memories for you and them!

Car Rides

Most dogs love car rides, but some dogs get carsick, so it's important to take a short trip at first to see how your dog handles a car ride. Taking your dog for a ride seems simple, but below are some quick tips!

Do's and Don'ts of Car Riding:

Don't let your dog in the car until it is cooled off or warmed up.

Do let your dog sniff around the car a little before taking off.

Don't let your dog roam around the car while driving, this can be dangerous if they jump on you while driving!

Do use a dog seat belt, car seat or kennel when transporting your dog in your car.

Don't transport your dog in the back of your pickup truck bed. This is illegal in most cities and will be an easy ticket to avoid, not to mention your dog will be safer in the seat next to you!

Do let your dog look out the window when going at low speeds (30 mph or less), but make sure that they are secured somehow so they cannot jump out if the window is down low. If you do not have your dog fastened in somehow then try just rolling down the window a couple of inches so they can get some smells in!

Don't let your dog hang their head out the window when going at speeds over 30 mph. Debris can fly into their eyes, the wind can damage their hearing and they could be seriously injured!

Do walk your dog to and from the car on a leash so they don't run into the street while trying to get into the car!