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Dogs tell you “I Love You”

5 Ways Your Dog Tells You “I Wuf You”

For anyone that has a dog in their life, they know what it’s like to have the unconditional love of their canine companion. Dogs show us their love though their undying loyalty and kindness, but it’s the funny things that they do that really make us feel special.

No two dogs are ever going to be the same, but there are certain things that almost all dogs do to show us the quirky ways of their love. Take a look at these 5 secret ways that dogs say “I love you”:

#1 Well, Good Morning to You, Too!

1

Every morning do you feel that wet nose rubbing against your face, nudging you awake? It may be to go outside or to fill up that food bowl for breakfast, but ultimately it’s because they love you oh-so-much and they just want you to be awake.


One of the few times I’m awake before Chloe!

Frankie would always get in my face and sniff my hair to wake me up when I was still living at home. It was nice waking up to snorting in my face! But I had to be quick because usually he really had to poo!

Chloe will lick my nose up to my eyes when it’s time to wake up. Nothing like a slobbery kiss to wake you up!

#2 Not Freaking Out When You Leave The House

2

Whether your dog has free reign of the house or stays in their kennel when you go, if they don’t fight you when you walk out the door, it’s for one reason and one reason alone: They love you. And not only that, they know that you will be back. So go ahead and feel warm and fuzzy inside each time that happens.


“Just remember to bring me back something!”

Chloe likes when we leave because she has her own room with a queen bed that she can look over the backyard and watch squirrels and birds. She loves to sunbathe when the sun is hitting just right. (We have a camera in her room so we can check on her!) She knows when we tell her to “Go To Bed”, she’ll get a treat and have the whole room to herself. She mostly just naps!

#3 Stalking You–As Best As A Dog Can

3

Dogs are not going to slink around the house stealthily the way in which a cat can–unless maybe there’s food involved–but when they sort of creep on you, the reason is simple: they just gotta be near their numero uno, because they wuv you.


“Don’t tell mamaw that I’m up here.”

Frankie always had to know where mamaw was going around the house. He would be hot on her heels so he wouldn’t miss anything going on. My mom has tripped over him more than a dozen times because he’d always be right behind you trying to sneak.

Chloe has to know where I’m at all times. I can’t even get up to get a drink without her sneaking around the corner to see what I’m up to. She’s always trying to find where I’m at in the house if I’m not next to her. She loves to sit close to me wherever I’m at.

#4 Leaning On You

4

This move is something that all dogs do–regardless of shape or size–and some dogs, like the Doberman, even have the running joke (they’re known as the “Doberlean” by owners). Dogs lean on you so that they can connect with you, literally channeling their love to you by touch. Pretty sweet, right?


It’s so wonderful that dogs put so much trust and love that they love to lean against you. I’ve had many dogs lean on me when I took them for a walk at the shelters. It’s really funny when a big dog like a great dane just starts to lean against you and you have to try to hold both of you up!

“Could you tell these other humans to get out of our way?”

Chloe loves to lean her head on daddy when we are going somewhere. I know she wants to sit up front and cuddle! She really leans against you when you start to pet her and she begs for more by leaning harder against you, until she flops on the floor and does a “pet me” dance on her back!

#5 Bringing You Their Favorite Toy

5

Dogs are like kids sometimes, and like kids, they can have little phases of fun. But if you notice that your dog continually brings you their favorite toy of the moment, this means that they love you, respect you, and not only this, but look to you as their pack leader. And that my friend, should make you proud.


“I’ll wait until your out of the bathroom mommy.”

Chloe’s favorite toy is her “Blue Ball” that she loves to shove at you. All you have to ask her is, “Where’s your ball?” and she’ll go grab it. It’s especially funny when she doesn’t remember where she left it and gives a look like, “Where the heck did I put?”. Of course it’s a toy where you can put treats in, so she really loves it when we give her cookies in it.

How does your dog tell you that they love you? Any weird ways? Tell me in the comments!!

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Do Dogs Cry

Dog Tears And What They Mean

I found this article written by The Labrador Site Team and thought it was very interesting and informative.

Can Dogs Cry? What Do Dogs' Tears Mean?

If you are a dog owner, then you surely understand that your canine has feelings. And research increasingly supports the view that dogs experience a range of emotions.

A study in 2016 showed that dogs are able to recognize emotions not only in other dogs but in humans too. In addition, many dog owners share stories about their dogs trying to comfort them when they are crying or upset.

Excitement, fear, love and anger are some emotions that your dog is likely to feel.

What are the emotions your dog is showing you?

When trying to understand your canine’s emotional range and figuring out their overall health needs, you may wonder whether your dog feels sadness and cries like a human.

You also may be curious whether they cry due to pain or illness.

Keep reading and we’ll discover whether dogs feel sad and if they shed real tears.

Do Dogs Feel Sadness?

Do Dogs Cry: Dog Tears And What They Mean
We know now that dogs experience a wider range of emotions than previously thought.

Unlike humans, dogs become emotionally mature early and have an emotional range equivalent to a two- to two-and-a-half-year-old child.

If you are familiar with toddlers, then you certainly know that they cry. Like a toddler, dogs feel emotions like fear, distress, anger, and suspicion.

These emotions are related closely to sadness. However, more complex emotions like shame and guilt never develop in dogs. So, dogs do not feel sadness quite like humans do.

Despair, remorse, depression, dejection, and misery are a few words that you might use to describe your own sadness. But when it comes to your dog, stress, discontentment, and uneasiness are better descriptors.

Do Dogs Cry When Sad?

When a dog is sad, you may see telltale signs that it is upset.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), canines have specific types of body language that can tell you how they are feeling.

While body language may not directly indicate a specific emotion, it can tell you if your dog is content, scared, or feeling aggressive.

What Is Your Dog Thinking? | Discover Magazine

Relaxed features indicate contentment. When relaxed, your dog’s mouth will be slightly open with the tongue out, and it may be panting. Its eyes may almost seem to be squinting, and the ears and tail will be in neutral positions.

How to Help a Scared Dog

In the case of fear or stress, your dog may take a submissive posture. Eyes will be partially closed, the ears will be pinned back against the head, and the tail will be between the legs. You may also see the mouth closed and the snout angled toward the floor.

It may seem as though your dog is cowering in front of you.

Excessive Dog Barking and Vocalization | PetMD

When your dog is in distress, you may notice some vocalizations.

Stress vocalizations include high-pitched barks, whimpering, and yelps. Yelps, whines, and whimpers may also indicate that your dog is experiencing pain. A dog in pain is more likely to growl or bite, so use caution if you think your dog might be suffering.

These 8 Dogs Imitate Their Owners To Perfection | HolidogTimes

In some cases, you may even notice your canine companion mimicking human words or sounds. This is a common tactic your dog may use to show affection if you have reinforced this behavior.

While all of these things may be noted, there is one thing you will not see—your dog crying tears.

Can Dogs Cry Tears?

You may want to know, can dogs cry? Yes, dogs can shed tears.

However, they do not cry in the way we do in response to emotion. To understand tears and crying, it may help if we take a look at how a dog’s eyes are constructed.

Dogs have the same basic eye structure as other mammals. The cornea, lens, conjunctiva, and sclera make up the different tissues within the eyeball, just as they do in our eyes.

Structure and Function of the Eye

The eye sits in the orbit—or eye socket—and is protected by the upper and lower eyelids.

The tissues of the eye need to be kept moist. Moisture lubricates the tissues so the eyes can move smoothly in the socket and the eyelids can glide over the eyes.

We all know how uncomfortable dry eyes can be, and it’s the same for dogs.

Moisture also helps to wash away grit and debris that can scratch the sensitive surface of your dog’s eye.

Humans have a fairly simple lubrication system that involves the secretion of fluid from glands. They are called lacrimal glands, tear glands to you and me, and each eye has one.

These glands release fluid that is then forced over the surface of the eye with the help of your eyelids.

Do Dog Tears Differ from Human Tears?

Yes, our dog’s tears are different from ours.  Dogs have much more complicated lubrication and eye moisture systems.

Third eyelid

First, canines have a third eyelid located in the inner portion of the lower eyelids. This third eyelid, or nictitating membrane, is a clear structure that moves over the eye to protect it. It also moistens the cornea while maintaining vision and produces lymph fluid that helps prevent infection

Dogs also have three types of glands that provide moisture for the eyes. These glands work together to produce the moisture your dog needs to keep its eyes healthy and functioning properly.

Glands of the dog's eye

They are the lacrimal glands, like humans have, the meibomian glands and mucus glands. The lacrimal glands create watery tears, the meibomian glands produce an oily tear while the mucus glands produce mucus.

When your dog blinks, these three are mixed together. This creates a thicker fluid that takes longer to evaporate and offers better protection to the eyes.

Is Your Dog Crying Tears?

No, your dog isn’t crying tears of sadness. Dogs do not cry when they are sad.

In fact, humans are the only beings that cry. According to Scientific American, humans even stand out against other primates as the only animals that cry emotional tears.

So, what is going on if you see dog tears? Well, it is likely an issue that requires the assistance of your veterinarian.

In medical terms, the excessive production of tears is called epiphora.

Tear Stains Under Dogs' Eyes: What They Mean And What You Should Do About  Them

Epiphora is a medical condition that can be caused either by disease or a congenital disorder. In the case of a congenital disorder, your dog may be predisposed to watery eyes due to the shape of its face, particularly the eyes and nose. Excessive tears may cause red or brownish stains.

Congenital epiphora conditions are most commonly caused by the turning in of the eyelashes, the folding inward of the eyelids, or the bulging of the eyes themselves. 

Why do dogs cry tears - well, dogs like this French Bulldog are prone to eye problems
Flat faced dogs like this French bulldog are vulnerable to eye problems that cause watering and tears.

Labrador Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, Bulldogs, Pugs, and Mastiffs are just a few breeds that are prone to these sorts of issues. 

Other symptoms of epiphora include:

Epiphora in Dogs
  • redness
  • crusting or discharge
  • eye sores or ulcers
  • odor
  • loose or inflamed skin around the eyelids
  • squinting.

If your dog is exhibiting these symptoms, speak with a veterinarian as soon as possible. Treatment should be provided right away so your dog feels as comfortable as possible.

Treatment may be as simple as applying a topical medication daily or as complicated as corrective surgery.

What Causes Tearing?

If not caused by a congenital issue, a medical issue may be causing the eyes to water excessively.

The following conditions may result in excessive tearing:

  • foreign matter or debris in the eye
  • conjunctiva infections
  • sinusitis or acute sinus infections
  • allergies
  • tear duct obstructions
  • immune-related illnesses.

In order to diagnose the cause of epiphora, your veterinarian may need to use imaging tests to find the problem.

Specifically, X-rays may be needed to find eye abnormalities. Imaging and visual examinations may be done with contrast dyes to help your veterinarian distinguish the structures of the eye.

In situations where simple tests cannot be used to locate the issue, the veterinarian may order blood tests, MRIs, or CT scans. In cases where a serious issue is suspected, but cannot be positively identified, surgical exploration may be required.

Do Dogs Cry – Summary

Dogs produce excessive tears from their eyes in response to injury or infection or due to inherited problems with their facial anatomy.

Dogs don’t cry tears in response to emotions, such as sadness or fear, or when they are in pain.

That doesn’t mean that dogs don’t feel emotions. On the contrary, recent research shows that dogs experience and understand a range of emotions. Learning how dogs display their emotions through body language can help us understand them.

If your dog’s eyes are producing excessive tears, they are likely to be sore and uncomfortable, so do get it checked out by a veterinarian as soon as possible.


Behind the Door at the Vet

I have worked in the veterinary field for many years and have seen plenty of dogs that come in because they are crying and have something going on with their eyes. The first thing the vet will do is look into their eyes with a light to make sure their pupils are dilating correctly and see if the retina is still attached to the back of the eye. Next, they will stain the eye with fluorescein be sure there are no scratches on the cornea.

Fluorescein Stain to diagnose any scratches on the cornea.
This is fluorescein in the eye to check for any scratches on the cornea.
Test to see how dry or watery the dog's eye is.
This is a test to see how dry or watery the dog’s eye is.

If the eye is bad enough, the vet might suggest surgery to remove the eye if nothing has worked. Dogs are very resilient and this only effects their depth perception and not seeing peripheral vision on that side.

Comments:

Can you tell when your dog feels sad? Do you think your dog knows when you are sad? Tell me about it in the comments box below.


References:

Albuquerque N, Guo K, Wilkinson A, Savalli C, Otta E, Mills D “Dogs recognize dog and human emotions”  The Royal Society 2016

Morris P, Doe C, and Godsell E, “Behavioural reports and subjective claims by animal owners”  Journal of Cognition and Emotion 2007

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/are-humans-the-only-prima/

https://www.merckvetmanual.com/dog-owners/eye-disorders-of-dogs/eye-structure-and-function-in-dogs

Featured

When Camping With Your Dog

Do you take your dog camping?

In the U.S. alone, more than 30 million people each year take their pets with them while camping. Yet, when we first started camping with Chloe, I was unable to find much written on the subject.

Sure, there were the occasional articles in magazines that reminded us to use pet ID tags, bring plenty of water, and take their favorite toy.

But in terms of providing genuine support or bottomline information, there was nothing out there. Since it was something that I felt was badly needed, I decided to write this article.

While there are numerous issues to consider while camping with dogs, these are some of the most important.

1. Make Sure that Your Dog Can’t Get Lost

It’s one thing if your dog gets free in your neighborhood. It’s another when you’re at a rest stop, nine hundred miles from home. Either train your dog to come when called or make absolutely sure that they’re on a leash at all times.

2. Get All of their Vaccinations Up to Date

If your dog gets into an altercation with another animal (or a person), the central issue will become their rabies shots. If you stay at a campground that has a demanding pet policy, you’ll need to verify your dogs vaccination records.

3. Make Your Dogs Easy to Identify

If your dog does get lost (unfortunately, it happens all the time), the ability to easily identify them will become critical. For permanent identification purposes, consider tattoos or microchips. At a minimum, make sure they wear tags that show their name, your current phone number, and the date of their last rabies vaccination.

4. Clean Up After Your Dog

The biggest complaint about dogs has nothing to do with their bark, their bite, or their behavior. If you pick up after your dog, you’ll be helping dog owners everywhere by not spreading diseases found in feces.

5. Learn How to Provide First Aid to Your Dog

If a medical crisis occurs while at home, you drive to your local veterinarian. But if you’re heading down a dark highway in a strange town, it will seem like a bad dream. Although there are ways to get help while on the road, it always takes more time. In the meantime, your ability to provide competent first aid could save your dog’s life.

6. Involve Your Dog in Everything You Do

If you really want your dogs to have a good time, include them in your activities. Take them with you on long walks. Buy a cheap plastic wading pool and let them play in the water. Throw a ball. Cook them up a hamburger. If you do stuff like that, they’ll do cartwheels the next time you decide to take them camping.

7. Call the Campgrounds Before You Go

Even if a park claims they’re pet friendly, always call ahead to confirm their policy regarding your dogs. Most parks we’ve been to are very pet friendly and always love on Chloe.

8. Plan Ahead for the Unexpected

Have a plan (for your dogs) in case of a flat tire, a serious accident, or a fire in your RV. Start with a few extra leashes, a pet carrier, and an extra fire extinguisher. Then have a fire drill to identify potential problems.

9. Learn About Your Camping Environment

The U.S. is a huge country with a vast assortment of dangerous wildlife, treacherous plants, unpredictable weather conditions, and demanding environmental challenges. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you might inadvertently be putting yourself and your dog in danger.

10. Recognize and Respect the Views of Others

While some of us cant imagine traveling without dogs, others can’t image traveling with them. If you keep your dog under control and clean up after them, you won’t give others much to grumble about.

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Choosing a Pet Sitter

There are many things to consider when you are looking for a pet sitter for your dog. If you go somewhere you can’t take your dog, an option is hiring a pet sitter.

Pet sitters care for your pet just as a babysitter cares for your child while you are gone. Pet sitters do much more than just providing food and water. A good pet sitter will look after your pet as you would yourself. A pet sitter will provide exercise, some playtime, some attention and also be aware if your pet needs veterinary attention.

Assistant Dog Sitter Job | Jet Set Pet Sitters, LLC

People with particularly high maintenance pets will benefit from the services of a pet sitter.

Pet sitters will allow for the most positive experience your pets can have while you are away. Pet sitters offer the added advantage of allowing your pets to stay in their own environment while you are away. Your pet will be less stressed than if they where in a boarding place.

Making the right choice between a pet sitter vs. dog facility %%page%%  %%sep%% %%sitename%%

Pet sitters provide one on one attention and the special care that your beloved pet will require in your absence.

Hiring a pet sitter will not only give you peace of mind but will also save you worrying about your pet while you are away. Your home is also a lot safer. You have someone who will pick up the mail, water the plants and check on the general welfare of the entire home.

Its worth the expense for the added peace of mind and the comfort of your dog.

Finding the Right Pet Sitter

If you are going through the trouble to pay someone to look after your pet and home while you are gone, you will want to spend some time choosing the best pet sitter for you and your pet.

You can start with an online search. You can also ask your Veterinarian for a reference. The vet often knows who the best pet sitter in the area is.

Make sure you see some qualifications.

Also make sure to ask for references and follow up. This is the best way to get some idea of how reliable your pet sitter is. References are the best way to gauge which is the best pet sitter for your home.

It’s best to line up a few different options. Arrange interviews with them all. Check to see how they interact with your animal. Many pet owners know that animals can be fussy too!

How to Choose a Pet Sitter (with Pictures) - wikiHow

When interviewing your prospective pet sitter, it’s useful to see if the sitter asks a variety of questions too. The pet sitter should be interested in any medical conditions your pet might have, likes, dislikes allergies etc. If your sitter does not ask these questions, rather choose someone who is genuinely concerned about the well being of your pet.

When choosing a pet sitter you don’t want to take any chances. After all it’s not just your pet who is vulnerable it’s the entire contents of your home too!

You can make things a bit easier for your pet sitter too. Buying extra pet food and treats, leaving clear instructions and taking your pet for their regular checkups will ensure that things go smoothly. If you have a pet that is fussy or has a medical condition make sure you leave clear instructions for the sitter as to how to handle the situation.

Also if you have a complicated alarm system or security system make sure to explain clearly to the sitter how to get in and out, and how to secure the property in your absence. Leave a copy of your keys with a trusted neighbor and explain that you will be away. You can never have too many people keeping their eyes open.

Now that you know your pet and home are being well looked after, you can have a relaxed holiday. All that’s left to do is enjoy your vacation!


My Experience As a Pet Sitter

Wag! Dog walking and pet sitters

Rover Dog walking and pet sitters

I have worked with companies like Wag!, Rover, and Care.com taking care of people’s dogs. I always do a meet-and-greet before the owners leave. This gives everyone a chance to talk and get to know each other, especially the dog! Some companies don’t require it, but it is essential that you engage with the owners and any questions they have.

While walking or pet sitting, I let the owners know what is going on and take pictures of their dogs enjoying time with me and send them to the owner. I always give updates on how they are doing, how much they have been eating, and about their bowel movements (especially when it’s diarrhea).

I try to find the best activity for the dogs like if they like walking in a park, walking around the neighborhood, or just playing in the backyard. I make sure they get all their energy out before I leave them.

“A tired dog is a happy dog.”

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Is Your Dog Bored?

Most pet parents know that physical exercise is vital for their dog’s health and wellbeing. But did you know that mental stimulation is just as important for a happy, healthy, and well-adjusted dog?

“I just know there’s crumbs in here somewhere!”

Keeping your dog’s mind active is a great way to relieve negative emotions like stress, anxiety, and boredom. It can also help prevent behavioral problems, including barking and destructive chewing.

Looking for some fun and engaging ways to keep your pup’s mind active? In this article, I’ll share 8 ways to challenge your dog’s mind.

1) Provide Interactive Toys
Providing interactive toys is a great way to challenge your dog’s mind and keep them mentally stimulated. Some of the most popular types of toys include interactive chew toys and puzzle feeders that can be stuffed with treats. Dogs also enjoy toys of different textures, colors, shapes, sizes, and smells to stimulate their senses and keep things interesting.

How to Teach an Old Dog New Tricks | Dog Quality | Dog Quality

2) Teach a New Trick
Despite what you may have heard, old dogs CAN learn new tricks! In fact, learning new tricks is a fantastic way for dogs of all ages to stay mentally active. Looking for some simple tricks to teach your four-legged friend? Look at these other articles I give instructions on.

Train how to “Sit”

Train how to “Stay”, “Come”, and “Go to Place”

3) Keep Walks Interesting
Dogs love exploring the great outdoors, and a regular walking routine can keep them physically fit and healthy. The sights, scents, and sounds they encounter on their walks also help stimulate them mentally and prevent boredom that can lead to unwanted behaviors. Provide some variety by walking your dog in different environments and changing the pace and duration of walks to keep things interesting.

4) Organize a Playdate
Introducing your dog to other dogs is one of the best ways to keep them mentally active and enhance their quality of life. We recommend starting off slowly by introducing your dog to just one or two other dogs. It’s also important to supervise your dog carefully until they’re properly socialized around people and other animals.

Playing Hide and Seek with the Dogs [VIDEO]

5) Play Hide-and-Seek
A classic game of hide-and-seek is great fun for you and your pup! Tell your dog to “sit” and “stay” then find a hiding place in your home. Next, call your dog’s name and wait for them to sniff you out. Most dogs will enjoy the excitement of tracking you down. It’s also good exercise for their mind and body.

Set up an obstacle course !! | Aussie Pooch Mobile

6) Build an Obstacle Course
Building an obstacle course in your home or yard is an entertaining way to challenge your dog’s mind and teach them basic agility training. Household items like chairs and broomsticks can be used to make a simple course. Extra equipment like tunnels and hurdles can also be purchased from pet supply stores.

7) Practice Obedience Training
Teaching your dog basic commands can help prevent behavioral problems and keep them safe. Obedience training also stimulates your dog’s mind and strengthens the bond between you and your four-legged friend. Start by teaching your dog the 5 basic commands: sit, stay, lay down, come, and heel.

8) Give Your Pup Something to Chew On
Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs. It’s great for relieving stress and anxiety, and keeps them mentally and physically stimulated. Choose a high-quality commercial chew toy or a raw bone about the size of your dog’s head. Always supervise your dog while they’re chewing, and never give cooked bones as they can splinter and break.

I hope you discovered some fun new ways to challenge your dog’s mind! Keeping your pup healthy doesn’t need to be difficult. Just provide plenty of mental and physical exercise.

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Normal, Soft, Runny, & More: What Your Dog’s Poop Tells You

“After I empty myself, you know I’ll want more food!!”

*Warning: Poo Pictures are Ahead. At least there’s no stink!!

Dog owners have to have a high tolerance for being grossed out. We’re expected to clean up after our pups, and not many of them are trained to use a human toilet.

But picking up your dog’s poop isn’t just a courtesy or a matter of public health, it’s a chance for you to find out what’s going on inside your pup. Dog feces can tell you a lot about a dog’s health and what may be wrong with their diet.

If you see anything unusual about your dog’s poop, then it’s time for a call to your vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment! Here are a few things your dog’s stool can indicate.


Normal Stool

Normal form of dog poop.

Normal, healthy dog poop tends to be firm and a little moist.

You should be familiar with your dog’s normal stool so that you can monitor any changes. The volume, color, and odor are important to note, too.

Dogs who get too much fiber tend to produce high volume with a strong odor. This happens with certain dry food diets, as your dog can’t process all the nutrients and pushes them out. Raw food diets can result in smaller stool with a weaker smell.

Any of these can be normal depending on your dog’s diet, so pay attention to what your pup’s poop usually looks and smells like.


White, Chalky Stool

White chalky dog poop.

Dogs who eat a raw food diet that’s high in calcium or bone might pass stool that is chalky and white. This can be a sign that your dog is at risk for obstipation, which is an inability to evacuate their bowels without outside help.

This chronic constipation can lead to lethargy, loss of appetite, and vomiting. It requires help from a veterinarian, so save these stool samples and bring them in.


White Or Tan Specks

White specks in dog poop.

If you see white or tan specks in your dog’s stool, you should save a sample and bring it to your vet right away.

These specks can indicate a parasite infestation, like roundworm or tapeworm.

Your vet should be able to detect these things before you see evidence in your dog’s stool, which is why you should always go in for regular check-ups.


Black, Tarry, Green, Yellow, Or Red Stool

Black Tarry Stool In Dogs
Yellow dog stool.
Blood in your dog's poo - PDSA

Poop that is black, tarry, green, yellow, or red usually indicates bleeding and can be a sign that there are problems in the intestinal or anal area.

It can mean anything from an injury to the GI tract to cancer.

This will require a trip to the vet to determine exactly what the problem is, so again, save your dog’s stool sample so it can be tested.


Soft, Loose Stool

Soft, loose stool.

If your dog’s poop seems soft and loose, it may just be an indication of a change in diet, or it may mean your dog has been eating things they shouldn’t be eating.

If you’ve changed your dog’s diet recently, monitor changes in poop. You may have to alter the diet if it doesn’t improve.

A soft, loose stool can also indicate giardia or another intestinal parasite. Make a trip to the vet if the poop consistency doesn’t return to normal.


Greasy, Gray Stool

Grey greasy stool.

Poop that looks gray and greasy can indicate that there’s too much fat in your dog’s diet.

It may be time for a dietary change because too much fat can lead to inflammatory conditions like pancreatitis. These conditions can be mild or life-threatening, so take your dog’s diet seriously.


Watery Diarrhea In High Volume

Normal, Soft, Runny, & More: What Your Dog's Poop Tells You - DogTime
“I can’t stop pooping!!”

If your dog is having three to five bowel movements a day and producing a high volume of diarrhea every time, it’s likely a problem in the small intestine.

There can be any number of causes from injury, to a viral infection, to bacteria, to food allergies.

Your vet will need to determine the cause, so bring in a sample of the stool for testing.


Watery Diarrhea In Low Volume

Some watery diarrhea.

If your dog is having more than five bowel movements a day and producing a low volume of diarrhea each time, the problem is probably in the large intestine.

Again, there can be a range of causes, including worms, polyps, ulcers, or cancer.

Your vet can determine the cause, so you should provide a sample of the stool for testing.


Soft Stool With Mucous

Gastroenteritis Images – Dog – Phoebe's Tails

A soft stool with a coating of unusual mucous can be a sign that parvovirus or parasites are present. If you notice worms or eggs in soft or watery stool, this is also an indication of parasites.

If you see this type of stool, then–this shouldn’t be a surprise at this point–get to your vet and provide them with your dog’s stool sample.

Your vet should be able to catch many of these infestations before you see visible signs in your dog’s stool, so make sure to keep up with regular check-ups.


My Dog Poo Stories

I’ve had my fair share of looking at dog poop from Frankie and Chloe to working with other people’s dogs.

With Frankie, he would always be eating something he shouldn’t like leaves and seeds that fall from trees. It would always make him have diarrhea. When he got older, we started noticing mucus and blood in his stools. We took him to the vet and he was diagnosed with pancreatitis. Thanks to us paying attention to his poo, he got medication right away.

Chloe usually has normal poops. I’m always looking closely to make sure nothing is weird about her stools. Once in a while when she gets new treats, she might get some diarrhea, but we keep her very regular with her food.

When working with other people’s dogs, I always let them know what types of stools mean. Being a vet assistant, I am always happy when clients bring in stool samples of their dogs. It’s a very important item to dissect to understand what is going on inside the dog.

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sit, Sit, SIT!!

Do you have a new puppy that you are starting out training or an older dog that doesn’t know any commands?

Sitting is one of the first basic commands to train a dog to do. Having them learn this will help with jumping, being overly eager to get something, and can help with when they want to run away.

The main idea is for the dog to understand what you want when you tell them to “Sit”. Yelling at them saying “Sit” without having them understand what you want them to do, will just sound like you are punishing them for something.

Before you even start training, you’ll want to tire out your dog by going for a walk or playing. The dog will focus better afterwards than being hyper and distracted by everything. Also, make sure they haven’t eaten yet. You want them hungry for the treats you will be giving!

First, you’ll need treats to entice your dog to do what you want. I like to give pea sized treats so they aren’t filling up too quickly and decide to leave when they are full.

Now let’s start training!

You’ll want your dog standing up on the floor. You can’t teach them “sit” if they are already sitting! If they are sitting, entice them with a treat by slowly letting them sniff it and pull it towards you. They should want to walk towards you.

After they are on all fours, now you’ll hold the treat up to where they have to kinda stretch their neck to sniff the treat. If you have shorter dog, you can start training on your knees. (Once the dog understands what “sit” means, you can stand up and do the command.)

Here comes the tricky part!! You’ll want their nose to stay attached to your hand with the treat over their nose while you move your hand towards them. You’ll go over their head with their nose up to make them want to sit by themselves. Some dogs will just start to back up. Have them come back to you and try again by slowing down your hand with the treat towards them. Make them really want the treat!

Sit Happens - Animal Friends, Inc.

As soon as their butt touches the ground, say “Sit” once with a happy tone and lots of praise. And of coarse the treat!! You’ll want to do this repeatedly a couple times so the dog knows what you want them to do. Making sure to any say “sit” once. If you start saying more than that, the dog will get confused if they’re suppose to sit after you say it once or a couple times. The more you say “sit” the less it means to them and your just starting to sound like a snake!!

Training sessions should last around 15 minutes at first. Puppies usually have a small attention span before they start getting cranky! Older dogs may have the same problem and just start to ignore you. Make sure you are making the training fun and keeping the dog happy. If you yourself are getting agitated, be sure to end the session on a happy note!! You don’t want your dog to associate you being agitated to training! They won’t want to learn anything because they’ll be fearful!

If you are doing clicker training, you can do all the same steps with clicking when their butt touches the ground and saying “Sit”. Slowly take treats away and just use the clicker with saying “Sit”.

Now your dog knows how to sit!! Training is a lifetime commitment. You’ll have to remind them again and again during their life what “Sit” means.


Training Frankie & Chloe

“I sit if you give me something to eat!”

Training Frankie was pretty easy. He always wanted food especially if it was in your hand! He caught right on what to do. He would even bark if you didn’t give him something right away to eat!

“I have my pajamas on. Can we go to bed?”

With Chloe, we noticed her butt doesn’t touch the ground! It was a little harder since she would jump from a sitting position. I think she’s part kangaroo!! Now she knows to drop her bottom if she wants something from us. She’ll come and sit right in front of us with puppy dog eyes. This usually means she wants her treat ball!!

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Ever Thought About Fostering?

Heartbreaking photo of sad dog left at shelter by his family.
“Why did my humans put me in a place like this?”

We’ve all seen the sappy commercials that show poor dogs in really bad conditions. Seeing what dogs go through with humans that don’t care about them. This is happening everywhere.

“Will you please get me out of here?”

People surrender their dog because of different situations, but all the dog can think is “Why did you leave me here?”. Being in a shelter can change a dog’s personality. They are scared in being in a new environment with nobody they know and other dogs asking the same questions. “Are we ever getting out of here?” is what goes through their heads every time they see someone pass their cage.

A dog giving up hope in a shelter.
“I don’t know how much more I can take of this place.”

I’ve been a volunteer with shelters and have seen happy dogs come in to only wait for so long that they begin to break down and lose hope. These are the dogs that need a home even if it’s just for temporarily. That’s where fostering come in!

Opening your home and heart can help so many dogs that don’t do well in a shelter environment. This gives the dog a chance to relax in a home where it’s not so scary for them.

Fill Out the Foster Application

Many shelters offer an application that you can fill out to become a foster home. The application mainly asks questions like do you have any other pets, do you have any children, do you leave frequently out of town, and if you have a yard. A person from the shelter usually does a home check to make sure it’s a right fit for a dog to be in your home.

The next step is determining what kind of dog you would like to foster. Would you like to take care of a sick dog that you have to give medications to? Or do you know how to train, so you might want a younger dog that doesn’t know commands? Nobody will pressure you in taking a dog that you don’t feel comfortable with in your home. If you do foster a dog that isn’t working out, you can always tell the shelter that it’s not a good fit and they will find another foster home for that dog.

All you need to provide is a loving home. The shelter/rescue covers all expenses from food to vet costs. They do not care how much you make. Anyone can become a foster!

You will never have to pay out of pocket for anything. (Unless you really spoil them!) Shelters pay for all care and feeding like:

  • Any food the dog should eat. Kibble, soft food, medicated foods.
  • Bedding. Beds and blankets are sometimes provided.
  • Toys. A variety of toys from squeaky to chewy toys.
  • Leashes and collar. Basic leash and collar, or if the dog needs a specific kind, they will provide them
  • Vet care. Veterinary care is all covered with the shelter. Shots that they need, checkups, surgeries like spay and neuters, and any medications. Also if they get sick, vet care is covered by the shelter.

Your First Foster Dog

Ok, now you’ve filled out the application and are ready for your first dog to foster. Your first foster should be an easy dog or puppy. You want your first experience to be a joyful one for you and the dog. You wouldn’t want to overwhelm yourself and have the dog transfer to another home.

When you get the dog to your house, you’ll want to keep them in a quiet room where they can decompress and settle down. They’ve just been through a whirlwind of places and seeing new people and are probably scared. After a couple days when they feel ready, they can start to come out and explore your house. Make sure to keep an eye on them!

Now you can start interacting with them by playing and training. Show them what is acceptable to chew on and basic training like Sit, Stay, and Come. These are great when someone is interested in adopting them. (Yes, you are doing all of this to get them adopted. Most shelters/rescues won’t let you “foster fail” for the first 3 dogs you foster.) Just think, once they get adopted, you have room for another dog in need that you can foster.

Lots of adopters will share pictures of how the dog is doing in their home. This brings fostering it’s heartfelt feeling that you are supporting dogs to go to good loving homes.

But, what if you have to travel?

Shelters will provide a “vacation foster” that will take care of your dog either in your home or theirs for the time you are away. So no worries if you need to be out of town for a short time.

Traveling To The Vet

Shelters/Rescues want to make sure the veterinary clinic is within reasonable travel distance for you. They usually have preselected vets that they do business with and will let you pick which one you’d like to travel to. There are also volunteers that can take the dog to and from the vet if it’s not convenient for you. I’ve done this many times!

Fostering dogs from shelters and rescues can help save lives.

Contact your local shelter/rescue for questions and how they do the process of fostering.

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“Dog Only” Bed

Do Dogs Really Need a Doggy Bed?

“I think I rolled over too many times!”


Anyone with a pet dog knows that these lovable creatures love to curl up snugly or stretch out nonchalantly at their favorite spot and snooze. Right after an energetic game of catch or past feeding time, dogs usually retreat to their own space and sleep to regain their strength and liveliness.

Dogs love a warm, comfortable and quiet place to rest. Puppies love to be cuddled and usually dig the couch or his masters lap when about to nod off into dog dreamland. Thus, it is a necessity to have a nice, comfortable and perfectly-sized bed for your dog.

Your doggy will absolutely appreciate their own cozy sleeping and napping spot. Dogs are creatures of habit and will typically sleep at the same spot, so a comfy dog bed at their own corner is a great gift that your dog will be grateful for.

Of course you can create your own dog bed: a wooden box with a pillow or blanket is an easy and inexpensive alternative. There are, however, a huge assortment of dog beds available at pet supply stores that will perfectly suit your dog. Since your pup can’t choose a bed for themselves, here are some tips that can be useful when buying a dog bed.

PICK A BED THAT WILL SUIT YOUR DOG’S PERSONALITY AND SLEEPING HABITS
You should know the type of bed your dog would be most comfortable in. Dog beds come in many different styles like round nests, donut or cuddler beds, round fluffy balls or pillows, square flat mattresses, orthopedic, and sofa shaped beds sized just right for a dog.

Does your dog love to curl up into one big fur ball?

Then a cuddler, similar to a pillow with sides, would be appropriate. If they are a sprawling sleeper, a larger mat would be excellent. Some dogs love to sleep on their bellies; a rectangular-style dog bed would be perfect for them.

YOUR DOG’S SIZE

The size of your dog is an important consideration. A small, thinly padded bed would be adequate for toy dogs like Chihuahuas and Shih Tzus. In comparison, Dobermans and Huskies would need larger, heavily padded beds where they can stretch out comfortably.

Whatever size your dog is, pick a dog bed that is slightly larger than him. This is to allow room for growth, especially for puppies, and allow room for movement.

EASILY WASHABLE

Make sure the dog bed is made of removable and washable materials. It will definitely get dirty and smelly, so it is important that you can easily wash it anytime. Make sure too that the material is appropriate for the dog’s fur. Look for machine washable bedding if at all possible.

GET CEDAR

– Look for a dog bed that is filled with cedar: cedar repels fleas
– Refillable cedar-filled dog beds will make your pet happier and less stressed
– Make sure you don’t have an allergy to cedar

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

Where will you put your dog bed?

This is also an important consideration when choosing a bed for your pet so you can pick the right material. Some dog beds are more suitable for an indoor location like in the bedroom or living room instead of outdoors, like in a porch for instance.

Climate and local weather are important factors to consider as well. Choose a dog bed that will provide warmth for your dog in winter and air circulation during summer.

QUALITY

Indestructible: 4 Easy Ways To Chew-Proof a Dog Bed (or any furniture )

Durability is also essential. The dog bed must be able to withstand your dog’s chewing as well as his sharp claws. As we all know most dogs are messy, so make sure the dog bed you choose is up to the challenge.

Pick a dog bed cover that is washable and made from durable fabric. Consider the color and style of the dog bed too. You might want your dogs bed to complement your walls or furniture. You should know that there are dog beds that can accommodate a variety of your dogs special needs.

Heated dog beds and orthopedic foam dog beds are available and are excellent choices for older and arthritic dogs. Your dog will definitely appreciate his own bed in his own little space. The health and well-being of your dog will depend not only on diet or exercise but also on how much comfortable sleep and rest he gets.


“I love sleeping in Mommy’s old bed!”
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The Most and Least Dangerous Halloween Candies for Dogs

This is a great article I found on Rover.com that explains what kind of candy and chocolate is bad for dogs. Most importantly is keeping your dog away from the candy.

What should you do when there’s a Halloween candy emergency?

Most Popular Halloween Candy 2018: See Top Sweets In Every State | Across  America, US Patch


Quick, what’s worse for your dog: Hershey’s or Jolly Ranchers? Or is there a difference?

We asked the author of The Ultimate Pet Health Guide, holistic veterinarian Dr. Gary Richter, for his take on Halloween candy and our pets. We know that dogs and candy don’t mix, but some types are more dangerous than others. Even chocolate treats vary in their potential for harming our dogs. *Dr. Richter is a member of Rover’s Dog People panel of experts.

Not a health threat in a small quantity

A small quantity means less than 10 grams. That’s about two teaspoons. Another way to visualize the quantity: one Jolly Rancher is 6 grams.

Vegan Halloween Candy: Your Essential Guide | Keeping the Peas
  • Candy corn
  • Skittles
  • Sour candy
  • Lemonheads
  • Starburst
  • Smarties
  • Blow Pops
  • Jolly ranchers

Unsafe in larger quantities

Larger quantity here means greater than 10 grams. Chocolate is harder on small dogs, so your dog’s weight is a factor in chocolate toxicity.

Creative ways to consume that leftover Halloween candy | Charlotte County  Florida Weekly
  • Almond Joy
  • Reese’s
  • M&Ms
  • Snickers
  • Kit Kat
  • Twix
  • Tootsie rolls
  • Dark chocolate (medium to large dogs)
  • Butterfinger
  • Milky Way

Unsafe in any quantity

Xylitol Candy - Sugar Free Substitute For Better Dental Health -  DentalsReview
  • Bubble gum containing Xylitol
  • Dark chocolate (for smaller dogs)
  • Raisinets
  • Raisin-containing candy
  • Sugar-free treats sweetened with xylitol

What is Xylitol?

The artificial sweetener xylitol is highly toxic to dogs and cats. Sugar-free gum and other “low calorie” foods frequently contain xylitol.

Ingestion of xylitol can lead to low blood sugar, seizures, and/or liver failure.


Milk chocolate vs. Dark chocolate


Chocolate is bad for dogs because of a compound called theobromine. The darker the chocolate, the more of that compound exists. So generally speaking, dog owners should worry more about darker chocolates such as bittersweet varieties.

However, that doesn’t milk chocolate is ideal for dogs. Dr. Gary explains, “there is very little actual chocolate [in milk chocolate], but a small dog and a large quantity can be an issue. Also, the sugar and fat can lead to GI upset.”

He adds that “the relative level of toxicity is related to the amount ingested, the type of chocolate, and the size of the animal. Smaller animals and larger amounts of chocolate are the most potentially dangerous combination.”

Symptoms of chocolate toxicity in dogs:

  • hyperactivity
  • tremors
  • elevated heart rate
  • seizures

“Chocolate can be fatal in high enough quantities,” he adds, emphasizing that “the most toxic chocolates are the ones with the highest level of cacao.”

What should you do when there’s a Halloween candy emergency?

Dog Ate Chocolate: What Happens? | Reader's Digest

If chocolate, artificial sweeteners, raisins, or macadamia nuts are ingested by your pet, contact a veterinarian or animal poison control immediately.

Animal poison control: (888) 426-4435

Dr. Gary makes this final point: “remember, symptoms of toxicity may take hours or even days to show up. In many cases, by the time a pet looks sick, it may be too late to treat them successfully.”

So when in doubt, call in help!


My View Behind the Door

I’ve been employed in a couple veterinary clinics where I’ve seen the dogs come in for ingesting chocolate and candy. The sooner they are brought in, the faster the recovery is. I’ve witnessed a dog that ate 6 little bags of chocolate coins, a dog that ate most of a bag of Andes Mints, and a dog that ate Whoppers. In each case, we had to give them medicine to make them throw it up. (At least the vomit smells like chocolate!) After that, we give them liquid charcoal so that any remaining chocolate will not be absorbed into their system.

It’s usually a messy scene with all the vomit and charcoal splattered everywhere, but the dog gets to feeling better after everything is out of their system.

So be sure to keep all chocolate up and away from dogs!!

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Sleepy, Snoring Dogs


It is not unusual to see pet owners let their pets sleep with them at night. In fact, 1/3 of pet owners have at some point, allowed their pets to sleep on their beds. Dogs provide a companionship that can’t be given by any other breed of animals. It’s nice to have a little furry body to cuddle with.

“ZZzzzzzz”

Dogs have a sleep pattern that is much like ours. Dogs often resign with complete trust on their humans, which makes them a bit more relaxed during the night. This explains why most dogs fall to sleep more easily and later on, enter into deep sleeps where REM sleep activities can occur.

In fact, once dogs enter this stage, the owner needs to shake them heavily before they are actually roused from sleep. (Be careful if you have to wake them as they may startle and bite accidentally.)

“I’m dreaming I’m a Ninja.”

Many of us have already witnessed a dog paddling during sleep or at times, barks with eyes close. These dogs are said to be dreaming.

Breathing patterns can also be observed among dogs. There are breeds which deliver heavier breathing while there are those who breathes very lightly. The heavy breathers are much prone with snoring than those who do not snore as heavily.

Dogs who snore can be quite a nuisance during the night, depending on the degree and frequency of the occurrence of this phenomenon. This is why Chloe is not allowed to sleep in my bed at night!

Like with humans, there are various considerations why dogs snore. Most though deals with the obstruction of air passage which cause the collision of certain parts along the throat area that in turn, leads to collapse of these parts.

BOAS - breathing problems in flat-faced dogs - PDSA

A snoring dog must be checked of various causes to determine which treatment can be best applied. Some dogs are especially prone to specific allergic reaction that causes the constriction in the airway.

It may also be that there are some excess tissue found in this area that inhibits proper breathing. It is best if a veterinarian checks on various factors through careful evaluation of the dog’s anatomical features and general symptoms.

Dog Obesity: How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight
“Did you mention food?”

Or probably, your dog is overweight. Like with humans, obese dogs are more likely to snore during the night. This is because they have more flesh surrounding their throats. Thus, they have excess tissues that dangle along the throat which can potentially cause the obstructions.

Once this problem is corrected, the risks of developing snores will be decreased. This would not only be healthy for your dogs, you may eventually enjoy nights of quiet tunes.

Snoring also lies with the general face features. Dogs all seem to have pushed-in faces which narrows their air passages to certain degrees. The construction of their nasal passages also largely contribute to the difficulty of breathing.

They are like humans who are forced to breathe using only twenty-five percent of their actual nostrils. Dog breeds with shorter faces need lots of effort to maximize their nostrils. It takes them more hard work to control breathing and they are more prone to snoring.

Minor surgeries can do your dog great relief. Be sure though that before any decision is made, you are well educated with the potential risks and consequences of surgery for dog snoring. Most are actually irreversible so careful analysis must be rendered. It is best to follow the guidelines provided by your veterinarian.


Frankie & Chloe Snore!

Since Frankie was a pug, of coarse he would snore because of his smooshy face. He would always love to lay on papaw’s lap and fall asleep (my dad would fall asleep also). He had a tiny snore and when he would start dreaming, he would start puffing out his little cheeks with a little “wuf”. We always made sure his throat and trachea was ok with the veterinarian.

Chloe is a boxer/pit mix with a nose that’s just a little shorter than normal. When I took her for a check-up with the veterinarian, they asked me if she snored and that there is a procedure they can do to cut her elongated palate. It wasn’t a necessary surgery since she did fine with eating and drinking without choking. I love her snore and wouldn’t change it!

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What’s In a Name?

The big question:

What should I name my dog?

You either are thinking about getting a dog or already have them in your home. Now what should you name them? Naming dogs is just as difficult as naming humans. But it comes down to personal preference.

“Can you pick just one?”

In naming your dog, you should pick something that is simple to say and doesn’t sound harsh like with a “k” at the end. Dogs tend to pay more attention to names that end with “y” or “ie” like Frankie. This is the name that you will be calling for them to “come” to you. (I know a lot of people have nicknames for their dogs.)

“Is that what you want to call me?”

You can go though names with your dog and see if they react to a certain name. This is really good if you adopted a dog that had already been named and you want to rename them. (This can help the dog associate new people are good to be around.) Some dogs may just look at you like your talking giberish!

I like to get to know the dog’s personality first before make a full commitment on a name. If they seem silly and likes to clown around, you might think a name like “Monkey”. If the dog is more laid back and chill, you might think of a name like “Droopy”. You might go by the color of their fur for a name like “Brownie”.

There are always the basic names like Bella, Lucy, Lucky, Fido, Angel, etc. Just remember that there are many dogs with these names so when you start calling your dog, you might get a couple more coming to you!! In the veterinary field, this can become confusing. I’ve worked when there were 3 Bellas and they were all the same breed of dog. We just called them by their last name!

“We’re all named Bella!!”

Hide-n-Seek

There are fun ways for your dog to learn their name. At first, every time you say their name and they look at you, give them a treat. You can walk and call them over to you by saying their name cheerfully.

“Where did she go?”

Then you can start to play “hide and seek” with them. Have someone hide in your house (start off easy) as the other person is distracting the dog. Then the person with the dog can tell them to “go find” the person hiding. When they find you, give them treats and lots of lovings. Do this repeatedly and make it a little harder when they start to find you easy.


How Frankie and Chloe got their name

I had Frankie’s name already picked out before I met him. I knew I would find the right pug that would fit the name “Frankie”. When I seen my “Frankie”, I knew I had to have a middle name for him, which was “Butterball”. With Chloe, she was already named “Diamond”, so that would be her middle name, but we wanted to change her first name. We thought for a couple days after meeting her. I wanted to name her “Reeses”, but my husband didn’t like it. We started thinking about characters in shows that we watched. I was watching “Smallville” at the time and said “Chloe”. That was it!!!

I still do “hide and seek” with Chloe. Especially when she seems bored. I’ll walk out of the room casually, then go hide and call her name. It’s always funny listening to her trotting around and shoving her nose in doorway and snorting. Then when she does find me, I say “Yay” and give her lovings.

Frankie Butterball
Chloe Diamond

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Who’s A Little Chunky?

Loving Your Dog With Food

“Don’t judge me! I swear, just one more slice!”

We all love our dog babies, but we might be loving them too much with food. I know it’s hard to resist their puppy dog eyes when they want a treat! But we should monitor how our pet’s weight is affecting them. Just like humans, too much weight on their body and joints will lead to health problems.

“Are you telling me I’m the same shape as my ball?”

Dogs can gain weight for various different reasons, like overeating, too many treats, or an underlining health issue. … This can cause stress on your pet’s body, exacerbate other health issues like heart disease and arthritis, and can end up taking years off your pet’s life.

Health Problems Caused By Dog Obesity

There are many diseases and conditions that come along with extra pounds. These include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Osteoarthritis, especially in the hip
  • High blood pressure
  • Orthopedic problems, cranial cruciate ligament injuries
  • Skin disease
  • Heart and Respiratory Disease
  • Decreased life expectancy (up to 2.5 years)

Using body weight as a guide, dogs are considered to be overweight when they weigh 10-20% above their ideal body weight. They are considered obese when they weigh 20% or more above their ideal body weight.

VCA Animal Hospital

Veterinarians have a guide that you can use to assess your dog.


So Your Dog is A “Chonk”

There are ways to put your dog on a “diet”. I know nobody likes to hear that word, especially dogs that really want that treat or a little extra food! You have to be your dog’s willpower. BE STRONG FOR YOUR DOG SO YOU BOTH CAN ENJOY MORE HAPPY DAYS TOGETHER!!

Mommy’s bootcamp walk!!

Food: Your veterinarian can tell you how much your dog should eat for their stage of life. Puppies usually get fed 3 times a day as pose to senior dogs need fed less because they are less active. (The feeding guide on food bags are usually more because the food companies want you to buy more of their food more often.) You can try putting their food down for 15 minutes and let them eat. When they stop and walk away, pick up the food so they aren’t eating all day long.

Funny pug working out by benching weights.
“I can do this!”

Exercise: Get your dog more active! When going for walks, you can make it more vigorous with a little jogging or hiking. (I know not all people will want to do this, me including!) Even just a short walk outside will do you both good to clear your head and have bonding time with your dog. Have more play time with fetching, playing with toys, or with a laser (make sure not to shine in dog’s eyes.) by making them chase after it. I personally do this with Chloe. She goes nuts and runs around the house to catch it!

Treats: This is where most of the calories come from! Dog cookies, bully sticks, pill pockets (they have to make these taste good if there’s a pill inside!), and peanut butter are some of the treats with the most calories. Instead you can give your dog carrots, green beans (rinsed with water), celery, asparagus, blueberries, and snap peas. You can put these in toys that hold “treats” just the same as dog cookies. It will give your dog something to do and you’re not just “handing out” treats.

Frankie’s Story

I know it’s tough to keep them on a healthier lifestyle especially when they are begging for treats that they used to have. I had to do all this with my Frankie. Pugs are one of popular breeds that gain weight fast because they are just so cute! We used to free feed him (just leaving a bowl full of food out all day) and giving him lots of treats like dog cookies and my dad giving him table scraps (I DO NOT CONDONE GIVING TABLE SCRAPES!!!). Pugs are suppose to weigh between 16-18lbs and Frankie was hitting 30lbs!!! The veterinarian diagnosed him with diabetes and told us to cut down his meals to twice a day with special weight/diabetic food. He also mentioned to give him treats like carrots and green beans (rinsed with water to get the salt off). That was a wake up call to all of us. He was put on insulin twice a day. And this would be for the rest of his life! Frankie didn’t care what he was eating as long as he had something to chew on. We bought toys that you can put “treats” in and he had to figure out how to get them out. He loved playing around with them and plus it gave him exercise chasing the toys around. After months of being strict about his food and treats, he weighed around 20. He was a lot happier, as long as there were carrots in his toys!!

“Mom, this sweater you made me makes me look fat!”
“I’m ready to work on anything!”
Featured

Who Wants a Bath?!!

Does your dog stink or have mud on their fur?

Dogs need to bathe just like humans to get off grime and filth. You wouldn’t want to live in a house where nobody showered!!

“I smell so good now! Don’t you love that smell?”

What’s the best option for your dog to get bathed?

You can bathe your dog by yourself at home, take them to a grooming salon, or hire a bathe/groomer to come to your house in their dog bathing van. Each of these are great choices. I personally bathe Chloe at home in my shower!

Bathing your dog at home

Be sure to have everything ready and handy when you are going to start bathing. You don’t want a half watery/soapy dog running around your house! You can brush your dog before getting them wet to get rid of excess fur. (Don’t brush afterwards because that just causes the fur the pull and you may pull clumps of fur out by the roots!)

Water, Shampoo, Rinse, Dry

Bathing dog outside with hose.
“Please hurry up, that’s really cold!!”
  • If you are doing this outside, a hose is good if the setting of the nozzle is on shower (you don’t want to irritate their skin if on a forceful setting.) Another thing is with a hose, you don’t get to change the temperature of the water so it’s going to be very cold.
  • Have something for the dog to stand on so they aren’t slipping and sliding around.
  • If you are doing this in your tub/shower, make sure the water is luke warm. If you have a little dog, you can do this in the sink. Don’t use hot water as this can scald the dog’s skin.
  • You’ll want to start apply water gently over their feet at first to get them used to the water. Then you can go up their legs to their torso. When you reach their neck, be careful not to get any water in their ears. This can lead to ear infections because water can get trapped around the eardrum. If you do get water in their ear, you can clean out their ears with dog ear cleaner to make sure no bad bacteria grows. (Here is my guide on cleaning ears: Doggeekworld.com/clean-dog-ears )
  • You can use a face cloth to wash off their face.
Dog shampoos.
  • Next is the dog shampoo. MAKE SURE TO USE ONLY USE SHAMPOO SAFE FOR DOGS. Human shampoos are too harsh for dog’s skin. Dog shampoo is formulated for their sensitive skin and fur. You’ll want to lather below the neck (making sure not to get any in their ears!) and down their bodies. When you get to the feet, make sure to suds up between the toes. This is where your dog’s “corn chip smell’ is coming from! I like to massage my dog as I’m doing this. It’s also a great way to check if there are any new lumps or bumps.
  • Now the rinsing off!! Start at the neck and put water down their back to rinse the soap in a downward motion. Make sure your get all the soap off because it can dry and may irritate the skin. And make sure their face is clear of any shampoo.
  • After all the rinsing is done, it’s time to dry off. I like to towel dry my dog by rubbing the towel all over. (Chloe always loves this.) Pay attention to drying the feet as they hold a lot of water. Give their paws a slight squeeze to get the water out.
  • NOW GET READY FOR THE ZOOMIES!!! It’s the dog’s way of drying themselves off. They will probably want to rub on the furniture, flop around on the carpet, or go outside and roll around!
Pug having zoomies.
“I NEED THIS CLEAN SMELL OFF ME!!”

Do-It-Yourself Petwash

At many pet stores, they offer you a place where you can bring in your dog and use their special tubs along with shampoos, combs, towels, and dryer. This is a good medium choice if you don’t want to bathe your dog at home and don’t want to pay a lot for a groomer.

Pricing is usually a one set price for any dog. (I’ve done these many times with Chloe. It takes a lot of strain off your back and you don’t have to clean up your dog’s mess!)

Taking them to a Groomer

Taking your dog to the groomer can safe a lot of hassle on your part. (I know my back always hurts after bathing Chloe.) At the groomers, there are trained staff that know how to take care of your dog’s fur coat. They have special tubs and shampoos that they can use as well as special drying tools. (No more wet dog running through the house!) The dog is always on a leash inside and outside the tub. The staff know how to wash and rinse your dog’s coat and what kind of drying methods to use. (Short nosed dogs can’t have a heated dryer in their kennel because of probable overheating.) They have powerful dryers that get down to the skin to dry any coat. After they dry, they can brush out your dog’s fur to make it nice and silky.

Pricing with groomers vary because of services that they offer. They may also go by what kind of breed. A Saint Bernard would cost more than a medium short hair dog!

Groomer come to your house

Groomers are becoming more mobile and bring all their equipment to your house. They do all the bathing in their van/truck. It’s nice to not have to get your dog in your car to take them to their groomers. Plus, with all this pandemic stuff going on, it’s a better option if you don’t want to bathe your dog yourself. They do all the same things as they would if they were in a concrete building. Bathing tubs with leash holders, special shampoos, and dryers are all equipped in their van/truck.

Pricing with mobile groomers vary on location they have to travel and the size/breed of your dog. It’s a simple process and you can set up for the groomer to come to your house as often as you like.


Frankie and Chloe BathTime

Pug in a tub.
“Some of these are fart bubbles!!”

Frankie always loved to get bathed. We would bath him in our tub with a non-slip rug and he would just stand there, take in the nice water and rubs. Of coarse as soon as he was done, he would have after bath zoomies around the house and then poop! He would always excite himself of so much.

I’ve taken Chloe to DYI baths and she likes them until I use the blow dryer. It’s mainly the loud sound it makes. (I don’t blame her. It’s loud!) I’ve given her baths in our tub which makes for a back ache on my part. Plus we didn’t have a handheld shower facet so I used a cup. That took forever!! Tried giving her a bath outside when it was warm because I knew the water would be cold. She hated it. Even though I was sweating, she was trembling cold. So we wrapped her up in towels as I cooled off with the hose!!

Then we build our new shower that is huge so we both can get in, shut the door, and give her a bath. She really likes the new shower because we have a handheld facet that sprays gently and river rock to stand on so it feels natural on her feet.

Shower that we built by ourselves.
Shower that we built by ourselves.
Featured

Feeling a Little “Itchy”

Flea in different stages.
The war on fleas

Has Your Dog Been Perpetually Scratching?

If you find little bugs jumping around or little black specks in your dog’s fur, you should take a closer look to make sure they don’t have fleas or ticks.

How to Spot the Signs of Fleas

Tick dirt

The problem begins with some scratching here and there. Maybe you spot some tiny specks around the house that you might’ve missed before. Maybe that beautiful hair that was so thick is looking a tad thin these days. Before you know it … yep. It’s confirmed. Your dog has fleas.

Every pet owner should be aware of the signs of a possible flea infestation. They include:

Cartoon dog scratching
  • Your dog is scratching. Even if you don’t catch fleas red-handed, if you see your pet scratching or biting at its fur, fleas may well be the culprit. That’s because not only can fleas cause a sharp pain when they bite, their salivary glands give off a substance that’s irritating to many dogs.
Fleas on a fle comb
  • You can see them. Adult fleas are about an eighth of an inch long. They’re reddish-brown and very thin. It’s hard to really see what they look like without a microscope (though it’s easier on a light-colored fur), but they do have big back legs. They can jump, by some measurements, upward and outward at least 12 inches in a single leap. And one estimation finds that for every adult flea found on your pet, there are at least 100 immature ones hanging around.
Lots of flea dirt.
  • You can see what they leave behind. It’s called “flea dirt,” and it looks a little like pepper. A good way to test is to put these specks onto some damp tissue paper. If it’s flea dirt, the specks will turn red because of the digested blood they contain. You can spot this “flea dirt” on your pet’s skin, or your pet could leave it someplace, like:
    • Its bedding
    • The carpet
    • That favorite chair they have been sleeping on even though you’ve ushered them off it a thousand times
  • You can see other suspicious stuff around your home: Fleas lay eggs on your pet — tiny white ovals — that mostly fall off into the environment around it (your bed, the dog bed, the carpet, that favorite chair), only to hatch a few days later into flea larvae.
Larva flea

You can see larvae, too. They’re little, squiggly, worm-looking things with brown heads that will feed on all those specks until they wrap themselves up into a cocoon called a pupa. From larva to pupa takes about 3-4 weeks. During this time, it’s very hard for any flea treatments to penetrate the cocoon. This is why it’s important to do routine flea treatment around the house for a month!

Life stages of the flea

After that, they’re fully grown fleas, looking for a ride and a little of your pet’s (or your) blood.

If you see tapeworms, (internal parasites that are white or pinkish white and look like small pieces of rice that often show up by slipping out of your pet’s rectum) that’s a sign your pet may have been having it out with fleas.

Is your dog is losing its hair? It’s not from the fleas themselves, but from all the itching and biting. Fleas often gather at the neck and shoulder blades of your pets. The base of the tail and along the back of the legs is a favorite hangout for them, too. Those are also places animals will bite to get to the fleas. That can take its toll on a dog’s coat. With full-blown infestations, fleas are visible in the bare areas of a pet’s belly, too.

Dog with bad flea irritation.
  • Does their skin looks irritated: If you can get past your pet’s fur and look at the skin, fleabites are usually small, raised red dots. Again, look for bites on the back and neck and on the base of the tail. Another problem with fleabites is they can lead to flea allergy dermatitis, also known as fleabite hypersensitivity. If your pet has this, their skin can become itchy, red, and scaly. It can lead to secondary skin infections, too.
Pale gums.
  • Their gums are pale: With a large infestation of fleas, some pets (especially smaller pups) could be in danger of anemia, or a loss of red blood cells. Fleas can take in up to 15 times their body weight in blood. Pale gums often signal anemia.

Fleas are, in the strictest sense of the word, pests. But they can be way more than that. They can transmit disease (to humans, too) and cause life-threatening problems for your pet.

Treatment

Your veterinarian may consider using flea treatments as a “dip” bath which is a deep cleaning with a special shampoo for fleas. Your vet may do the first treatment in the clinic. There are also shampoo for sale at pet stores that work if there aren’t a lot of fleas on your dog. Follow the instructions very carefully. There are “flea”combs that you can go through your dog’s fur to get the fleas out. Flea combs are metal combs close together.

Flea medication

Flea pill/topical medication: This is the best thing to have all year round. Fleas are always around. They usually disappear when it’s below 32o F. But as soon as it warms up, their back!

Household cleaners for fleas.

For your house: Clean, clean, and clean some more!! You should clean anywhere your do touches. That means carpet, sofa, chairs, bed, your own bed if you let them on there. There are sprays you can buy to spray in all the areas of the house at pet stores. Remember, the cocoon life stage last 3-4 weeks where the sprays won’t be able to penetrate.


Ticks

What a tick looks like up close.


Ectoparasites are organisms that live on the outside of an animal. Ticks are fairly common ectoparasites of dogs. How often you see ticks on your dog and how severe a tick assault will be depends on the region of the country in which you live, the time of year (tick activity varies in warm and cool weather), the habits of your dog, and how and when you use tick control products. Some ticks can infest dogs that spend most of their time indoors, and even dogs that only spend brief periods of time outside can have ticks.

How will ticks affect my dog?

Pup with a ton of ticks in ear.

Ticks attach to your dog by inserting their mouthparts into your dog’s skin. Many ticks also produce a sticky, gluelike substance that helps them to remain attached. After attaching to your dog, ticks begin feeding on your dog’s blood. The places where ticks attach can become red and irritated.

Although rare, ticks can consume enough of your dog’s blood to cause a deficiency called anemia. Certain female ticks can also cause a rare paralysis in dogs as a result of a toxin they produce while feeding. More important, ticks are capable of causing many diseases in your pet. The disease with which most people are familiar is called Lyme disease. Another is Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Lyme disease.

Lyme disease can cause arthritis and swelling of your dog’s joints, resulting in painful lameness. Rocky Mountain spotted fever can cause fever, lameness, and other signs. There are also other diseases that ticks can transmit to your dog. Your veterinarian can answer questions about the diseases that are important where you live. View forecasts for Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis in your local area at https://petdiseasealerts.org.

How do I prevent my dog from getting ticks?
It is very difficult to prevent your dog’s exposure to ticks. Ticks can attach to your dog when he or she goes with you on walks, hikes, or during any outdoor activities.

It’s best to buy these products from your veterinarian. Your veterinarian is up-to-date of any reactions and what is best for your dog. There are cheap products out there that have not been properly tested and may cause problems for your dog.

Seresto flea/tick collar lasts up to 8 months
Lasted for 8 months.
One pill every 3 months
One pill every 3 months
Monthly administration
Monthly

The best way to prevent ticks from attaching to your dog is by the regular use of tick control products. Your veterinarian can advise you about the best product for your dog and your situation. Your veterinarian is also aware of diseases that are common in your area and can pose a risk to your dog.

If you have a tick problem in your yard consider:

  • treating the outdoor environment (be sure to understand what products you are using and how they affect the environment)
  • making a landscape change to make the environment less tick friendly – this can be done by providing a 3 foot buffer between the lawn and any woods. Mulch, wood chips, or gravel work well, and help to decrease the migration of ticks into yards.
  • ridding your yard of wild animals
  • Often more ticks are present or they are more active at certain times of the year. Your veterinarian can tell you how to avoid locations where large numbers of ticks are found.

Can humans be harmed by ticks?

Tick on a human.

Ticks can attach to and feed on humans. The skin where ticks attach to humans can become red and irritated. Ticks that transmit diseases to your dog can also transmit many of the same diseases to people. It is important to realize that people do not get these diseases from their dogs. Both people and dogs get the diseases from ticks they come into contact with outdoors. Diseases, such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which have already been described in dogs, can also be very serious in humans.

Removing the Tick

Using a pair of tweezers is the most common and effective way to remove a tick. But not just any tweezers will work. Most household tweezers have large, blunt tips. You should use fine-point tweezers, to avoid tearing the tick and spreading possible infections into the bite area.

How to remove tick with tweezers.
Make sure to get the “mouth parts” out.

Spread your dog’s fur, then grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Very gently, pull straight upward, in a slow, steady motion. This will prevent the tick’s mouth from breaking off and remaining embedded in the skin. People often believe it’s the head of the tick that embeds in the skin. But ticks don’t have heads, in the conventional sense, so what gets inserted into your dog is known as “mouth parts.”

Another option that is even easier to master is the use of a tick removal hook. It’s especially useful if you live in a tick-dense area where your dog is frequently playing host to the vexing little critters. There are several types of hooks, like the Tick Twister or the Tick Stick. You simply put the prongs on either side of the tick and twist upward.

A gif showing how to take a tick off with a tick twister.

Never remove a tick with your fingers—it’s not only ineffective, but the squeezing may also further inject infectious material.

After you’ve removed the tick, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly, clean the bite site with rubbing alcohol, and rinse the tweezers or tool with disinfectant.

If you have questions about human diseases that are transmitted by ticks and how you can protect yourself, you should consult a doctor.

DID YOU KNOW?
  • While ticks themselves cause only mild irritation, they can carry diseases that pose a serious threat to animals and humans.
  • Ticks can be prevented by regular use of tick control products.
  • Just pulling off a tick can leave body parts attached to your dog. Ask your veterinarian about proper tick removal and tick control.
  • Illnesses transmitted by ticks can case fever, anemia, paralysis, lameness, and other symptoms.
  • People can not catch Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever from infected dogs, but the same ticks that bite dogs can cause these illnesses and others if they bite humans.
  • Adult ticks can live up to 3 years without blood meal.
  • Ticks live on three different animals during their life.
  • Most ticks spend most of their life OFF the host (animal) in the environment.
  • Ticks can’t jump and don’t “fall from trees” as most people think, but transfer onto hosts when animals or humans walk through long grass, bushes and brush.
Featured

Pit Bull Awareness Month

Getting the right information about Pitties. For my birthday, I’m writing about one of the most misunderstood dog. Pibbles!!

Pit bull laying with paws crossed.
“Let me explain to you about me people.”

There are lots of Pit Bull misconceptions – for example, have you heard that they have locking jaws? If it’s on the internet, it must be true, right? This might be funny if it were any breed other than Pit Bulls. Thank goodness October is National Pit Bull Awareness Month, because people who share their lives with a Pit Bull (or two or three!) understand the need for ongoing educational programs for this gentle and loving yet sorely misunderstood and frequently maligned breed.

Bringing Awareness to the “Breed”
To clarify, “Pit Bull” is not a breed, but rather a generic term that encompasses several dog breeds whose original purpose included bull and bear baiting and later dog fighting. It’s loosely applied to breeds with similar traits and characteristics. “Pit Bull” includes the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and mixed-breeds.

Pit bull with glasses on.
“Let me just show you where it says to NOT DISCRIMINATE!”

National Pit Bull Awareness Month started on October 26, 2007 as National Pit Bull Awareness Day (NPBAD) by Jodi Preis of Bless the Bullys, a Pit Bull rescue and education group in Tennessee. Congress didn’t vote on or approve it so it’s not an official holiday, but politicians have been busy passing breed-specific and dangerous-dog legislation. This is why ongoing educational programs designed to dispel myths and counter the breed’s bad-boy image are necessary. In 2011, NPBAD was expanded to entire month of October.

Why Dispelling Pitbull Misconceptions Matters
Despite the breed’s intelligence and trainability, decades of popular culture characterized in books and movies have created a negative stereotype. As a result, responsible Pit Bull owners must go above and beyond general good-dog-ownership practices to counteract the ongoing stigmas. NPBAD’s goal is to change that negative image by bringing positive awareness and attention to the Pit Bull and their responsible owners.

Pit bull is tired of people talking negative about them.
“I’m tired of the crap they talk about me.”

Why is this important? Because what you don’t know will hurt you and your dog. When negative stereotypes run amok, breed-specific legislation and dangerous-dog laws appear. From small towns such as Manly, Iowa (population about 1,342) to large cities including San Francisco, Denver, and London, politicians are mandating how dogs must be walked in public or contained on property – just because they’re Pit Bulls. Worse yet, many cities have banned Pit Bull ownership. Yes, you read that right. Many cities have made it illegal to own a Pit Bull, a Pit Bull mix, or any dog that resembles a Pit Bull.

What You Can Do


A good friend of mine owns three Pit Bulls. Occasionally, I check on her dogs when she’s not home, and the only thing I’m greeted with is a lot of tail wagging. No barking, no snarling, no menacing glares or scare tactics. Not a peep. On the other hand, two of my five Australian Shepherds will not let anyone on our property if we’re not home. Of course, the irony is the stereotypical assumption that it’s the “Pit Bulls” who will eat you alive!

-this is from anonomys (co-worker)
Pit bulls sitting and waiting for food.
“We are all waiting patiently!!”

You can debunk negative stereotypes and prevent breed-specific legislation by being a good breed ambassador, which includes making sure your Pit Bull is a good citizen. Granted, Pit Bull owners face an uphill battle because every time they go out in public with their dog, they represent the breed in a positive or negative manner. Pit Bull owners must remain attentive to misconceptions about the breed and recognize that people’s perceptions are shaped by the dogs they meet.

Here are a few proactive and doable suggestions:

  • Educate yourself about the breed, know their history, temperament, and physical and mental requirements
  • Socialize your Pit Bull appropriately so they can grow into a confident, well-adjusted adult without anxiety and fear
  • Train your Pit Bull so they walk nicely on leash and sit while being greeted, which provides a positive image of the breed (An unruly Pit Bull looks aggressive even if they’re not.)
  • Stay active and visible in a positive way with your Pit Bull, such as dock diving, agility, obedience, and therapy work, which helps to counteract the breed’s negative image
  • Capitalize on your dog’s tremendous sense of humor by teaching them fun tricks, such as speak, wave, or rollover
  • Soften the breed’s bad-dog image with fun, colorful scarves or bandanas. Experts discourage spiked collars as they perpetuate the breed’s aggressive image
  • Spay or neuter your Pit Bull. Leave the breeding to people who know what they’re doing
  • Get Involved

Why limit it to one day or one month?

Why not promote positive canine role models and Pit Bull awareness 365 days a year? Experts offer these suggestions:

  • Support your local humane society or rescue organization by volunteering or fostering a dog in need
  • Join local or national dog clubs that host educational seminars, public-service announcements, and dog shows, which are great venues for debunking myths and educating yourself and the public
  • Support American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen program, designed to reward dogs with good manners at home and in the community. The AKC does not recognize the American Pit Bull Terrier; however, the breed is eligible for the CGC program
  • Support the American Dog Breeders Association’s Safe Dog Program, which offers a test of a dog’s socialization and basic obedience training, along with certification of the dog owner’s knowledge of basic canine psychology and responsible canine ownership
  • Stay Informed
  • Get involved in your community by searching online for breed-specific legislation in your state. Suggested sites include:
    • Stop BSL
    • American Kennel Club
  • Make a Commitment
    • Make a commitment to change by getting involved.
Featured

Dog “Pawdicures”

Dogs need their nails done and kept “paw”lished

Dog nails painted like human nails.

Keeping your dog’s nails is an important task that needs to be done frequently. Just think if you didn’t care for your own nails. Not keeping them healthy can lead to infection, not walking properly, and pain when nails get too long and start to curve into the dog’s paw pad. (I’ve seen this many times!)

Dog nails that are WAY too long and interfering health.
This is painful not only to their feet, but their legs and joints because of the way they have to maneuver to have the least pain.

Too long of nails on dogs can also have them getting caught on things like carpets, rugs, fences, and areas that have cracks. It’s not fun the have your nail ripped off partially or completely. Check especially if your dog likes to run that their nails and nail beds are in contact. Dogs can run their nails down even if it’s painful for them.

Dog worried about getting his nails trimmed.
“Did you just say you were going to trim my nails??”

Trimming your dog’s nails shouldn’t be a bad experience. If they become fearful of having their nails trimmed, they won’t want anyone touching their nails or paws. This can lead to biting when touched, like chewing you up or the veterinary clinic people that need to trim your dog’s nails. (There a lot of dogs that HATE getting their nails done especially my own Chloe!)

The best action you can take is when you first get your dog, whether as a puppy or adopted, get them used to having their paws touched. You can do this with treats as when you touch their paws and they don’t react, you give them a treat. You can also use peanut butter in a toy for them to be distracted while you play with their paws without them reacting badly.

Treating your dog as you play with the paws and trimming their nails can help get them accustomed to having nail trims.
“Oh, I get yummies if I just let my human touch and play with my paws!”

After you have established a no reaction to having their paws played with, you can try to put little pressure on their toes and nails. This is just very little pressure (not pinching) like lightly squeezing a grape without it busting. This will get them used to having their paws and toes manipulated with your hands without anything happening yet.

Tools for trimming nails
Common dog nail clippers.

Most people use the guillotine type that look and work like using scissors. When using these types, make sure the blade is sharp. If they are dull, they pinch the nail and really hurts the dog’s paw. You wouldn’t want a doctor using a dull blade when cutting!!

Trimming your dog's nails with a dremel is just as efficient as clippers.

There is also grinding tools that work exactly like a dremel. These kinds use a sandpaper texture on a wheel that spins really fast. Lots of dogs prefer humans using these as they DO NOT pinch like the guillotine type of nail trimmers. But, they can get hot with the friction against the nail. To use these, you should do short taps of contact. If you have a dog that has long hair on their paws, I would recommend trimming the fur first so the dremel will not get the hair caught in the wheel. There are dremels specifically for just dogs that have covers, but I would rather be safe than sorry! (Your dog didn’t ask for you to wax their paws!!!)

Trimming the nail

Dog having a worried look on it's face wonder if you're going to cut it's nails.

Ok, here is how you trim your dog’s nails. Most people are NOT comfortable doing this by themselves and are scared to hurt their dog. This is very common and the only way to get over this is to go slow and take only a very tiny bit off at a time. It does come with practice to know where and how to trim/cut your dog’s nails. Every dog is different in the way they like their nails to be trimmed. Consider also how you position your dog. Make sure not to move their legs in a weird position where it could hurt the dog. Older dogs may like to lay down and be comfortable. (You wouldn’t want a person doing your nails harshly and leaving you in pain!)

Here is a picture of a dog nail and where the “quick” is located. (Think if you cut your nails back too much. OUCH!!!!) Finding the “quick” is sometimes a hit and miss trial at first. (This is when treats and peanut butter come into play! Have them thinking and doing something else to keep them busy and not worry what you’re doing.) When cutting/dremeling back the nail, you will start to see a “black moon” (dark circle inside the nail). This is the outside of the “quick” and you are very close to making the nail bleed. When you see the moon, STOP! This is the farthest you can cut on the nail. DO NOT CUT ANY MORE ON THAT NAIL!!! If the nail starts to bleed, you can use special quick stop powder/pen or if you don’t have that, you can use regular flour. (Just needs something to stop and soak the bleeding.)

How to locate the quick in a dog's nail.

Nails should be trimmed usually every two weeks to get the “quick” to recede back. If your dog walks on concrete, the concrete slowly files down the nail if your dog is active. Normally you only have to trim once a month if your dog is active.

There is a veterinary procedure some clinics can do to cut the dog’s nails past the quick, but this requires for the dog to be put under anesthesia and going home with antibiotics and pain medications. There can be complications if the nail gets infected or if the dog is active before the nails recover.


Frankie and Chloe’s opinion on trimming nails

Cutting pug nails can sound like a pig squealing!
I have to say, this is so true!!

Frankie always had big opinions on nail trimming. (Most pugs will screech like pigs when getting their nails done!! This is a fact from me!!) My parents and I would always take him to the vet office for nail trims. We could always hear him screaming his little head off!!

Chloe HATES guillotine type of nail clippers. We always use grinding tools. My husband and I have to tag team with me on peanut butter duty and him dremeling her nails. We notice that most dremels emit a high frequency noise that drove Chloe nuts when she heard it. We finally found a dremel that’s quiet and easy to use.

Featured

Doggie Daycare & Boarding

Do you work long hours? Are you going somewhere that you can’t take your dog?

Dogs have fun alternatives from staying home all alone when you’re gone or can’t pay attention to them all day. Ever consider taking your fur baby to a doggie daycare where they play with other dogs and get their energy out? How about having them staying in a doggie hotel (boarding)?

Doggie Daycare
Dog daycare room with dogs playing.
A fun supervised play time with other dogs.

This is a fun alternative to leaving your pup alone or bored while you’re working or have to be gone for many hours at a time. With doggie daycares, they get to play with other dogs while being supervised at all times. Many daycares have facilities that are inside and outside (when it’s nice out). Floors are usually a rubber mat where it is easy clean up and sanitary. There are things for the dogs to climb on like kiddie slides and obstacle toys. Some places even have a camera so you can check on them playing. (Pet Parents are the only ones that can see and watch the play area.)

Dog daycare with different rooms for play.

To find a good dog daycare, it’s best if they give you a little tour of the facilities so you can see how they operate. Many daycares require an assessment of your dog and how they get along with other dogs. The dog daycare business will usually separate dogs into a couple groups according to temperaments and sizes. (You wouldn’t want a chihuahua getting trampled by a great dane!!) The business will also need the veterinarian that you go to if there happens to be an accident or your dog starts having a medical issue.

To qualify your dog for doggie daycare, your dog must be up-to-date on the follow vaccines:

Puppies getting their vaccines.
  • Bordetella (Kennel Cough Vaccine), some daycares may ask to have this vaccine every 6 months
  • Rabies
  • DAP (Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus)
  • Influenza (Dog Flu Vaccine)
  • Leptospirosis

Doggie Daycare schedule is usually a couple hours playing with breaks in between. (If a dog is getting moody, the staff lets them have a break from the group.) They get fed if they are there at their meal times. Staff is always engaging in the play and making sure everyone is happy. There are usually toys that the pups can play with as long as no one starts to guard them. (Then sadly, the toys get taken away.)

Boarding

Boarding kennels with outside access.
These kennels have inside/outside access.

If you are going away somewhere that you can’t take your pup with you, there are boarding facilities that take care of your dog all day and night. They require the same vaccines as daycares (Bordetella, Rabies, DAP, Leptospirosis, Influenza). Make sure they have their vaccines AT LEAST 1 WEEK BEFORE they are to be boarded. This will give the vaccine time to go through the dog’s system. The boarding facility will need a veterinarian that the dog sees regularly if anything should happen, they will call your veterinarian.

Boarding kennels inside building.

This is a great option if you don’t want someone coming to your house without you there. Most boarding businesses will give you a tour of the place and show different size kennels they have. There are sometimes options if you want your pup to be pampered with their own tv in their kennel or outdoor area connected to their kennel. Boarding businesses have different extra options like:

  • Treats like a KONGR with peanut butter inside topped with dog cookies
  • Ice cream specially made for dogs
  • Extra love from a staff member
  • Walks with a staff member
  • If the boarding facility has a daycare, there is an option that your pup can play during the day with other dogs. (Temperament testing will need to be done first.)
  • Food (if they provide)
  • Medication administered at some businesses
Dogs in boarding kennels.

You can bring a blanket for your pup so they have something familiar and their favorite toy. (Some boarding facilities recommend NOT bringing items as they can become lost when getting washed.) They usually supply blankets (if your dog won’t chew them up!) and beds that are raised up from the floor. Some even have heated flooring for cold weather.

Checking In/Out
Front desk checking in/out

The number one things is to have reservations. This gives the business an idea of how full they will be during specific times. (Holidays require a reservation to be made well in advance due to limited room.) Just like with people hotels, there are check in and out times. (They may charge extra for picking up after the check-out times.) The businesses like to have less commotion going on so the dogs aren’t always hyped up on who’s coming and going.


I STRONGLY advise that you get a tour and read reviews of the business. You can get an idea of what other people have experienced and the energy of the staff. Be sure to ask questions!!! Your dog is your fur baby and you wouldn’t want them treated anything other than great.


My Perspective From the Inside

Me with a pug at a dog daycare.

I have personally worked in doggie daycare and boarding facilities. From the inside, it’s best to find a place that has limited occupancy space. This way your pup will get the attention they deserve. I have worked at places where they can board over 300 dogs at a time. It’s mainly around holiday time. It’s a very chaotic time and the pups don’t get all the attention they need. With staff trying hard to keep up with feedings and cleaning, it gets overwhelming.

I like places that have limited space as each dog gets the attention they deserve. These kind of places are great for older dogs as staff can take their time to accompany them when going out potty or any other things like medications.

Pugs at a dog daycare.

Also, some business still discriminate against bully breeds. It’s sad to see bully breeds not being able to play with other dogs when it’s just what kind of dog they are that’s stopping them. I’ve been in situations where I’ve been bitten by a Pug, Australian Shepard, and Basenji. It’s not just the breed they are, it’s the temperament they have.


Chloe’s Experience

Chloe has stayed at different boarding facilities. Each one of them, she’s had a different experience. The best was where she got to play with other dogs during the day and had a comfy bed for night. She came home happy and wore out!! She has been to one that did discriminate and wasn’t allowed to be around other dogs. (My fault for not booking ahead of time.) I could tell she came sad and disgruntled. I made it up to her with extra treats and going for a nice walk!

Close-up of Chloe
“Mom and Dad, we need to talk about these weird places you leave me for a day, a week, a month, a year. I don’t know, I can’t tell time!”

There is one business that I will NEVER go back. She was put in a fenced kennel where other dogs could get to her. (She is getting in her old age and doesn’t want to be bothered by some other dogs.) She came home with her nose all scratched up and bloody. And her paws were very red, probably the chemical that they use to clean the floors. I of coarse gave them a bad review.

All I can say is go with your gut (and your dog’s gut) in finding a place that you and your dog will love.

Boxer not impressed that he was left at a boarding facility.
Featured

Just Keep Walking

Dog scared of little dog.
“Get that little yapper away from me.”
A dog showing it's teeth to another dog.
“Oh come on dude, all I wanted to do was say hi. You don’t have to get all mad about it!”
A dog chasing a human up a fence.
“Come here person. I just want pets!”
Dogs with yellow ribbons.
A dog with a "please leave me space" vest.
Two dogs that want to say hi to each other.


Chloe’s Walks

When Chloe was younger, she wanted to meet every dog and every person. She would lunge and bark. Many times I would get people looking scared or hurry up and run to the other side of the road or park. She does have a deep bark, so it probably does sound alarming to people that aren’t used to deep barking. I’ve trained her to just leave what’s going on and just continue to walk. I always make sure that when walking and see another dog, that she is always on my side where she won’t be able to get to the other dog. If the other dog seems out of control, I simply go over to the edge or just walk to the other side of the road all together. There shouldn’t be any fights amongst dogs when owners have control over their dogs.

My Chloe with slobber.
“Mommy, how about we go home and get cleaned up and have a drink?”
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Bringing Home a Shelter Dog

A Guide To The First Hour, Day, Week, & Month

So, you’ve made the decision to adopt a dog and the day is nearly here. While shelters are generally awesome with the post-adoption support, it sometimes helps to have a plan in place for those first few weeks and months. Keep in mind that they are coming into an unfamiliar place with new humans.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

-Benjamin Franklin
Shelter behaviorist with dogs.
Shelter behaviorists are the people that are great to talk to as they have a sense of the dogs’ personalities in the shelter.

Most shelters have a behaviorist that will examine common things that the dog can come in contact with like cats, are they food aggressive or a resource guarder, how they interact with adults, and try to figure out their personalities. Some things just can’t be tested in a shelter’s environment like how they are with kids (this could be dangerous if they don’t know what kids are), some sounds such as doorbells, kitchen noises, and common household item noises.

What should you expect from your shelter dog when you bring them home.
“Thank you for adopting me! Now please give me a chance to feel comfortable.”

With that in mind, I’ve put together our top tips for what to focus on in that first hour, day, week, and month after bringing a shelter dog home.

The First Hour
How your shelter dog will adapt will largely depend on their history and reasons for ending up in a shelter. If they have been well cared for and well-socialized in their previous life, they will likely adapt quite well.

Dog unsure of what to do and nervous.
“I’m not quite sure how I should act.”

If they have found the shelter incredibly stressful and they didn’t have the best experience prior to the shelter, they could take a little longer.

That first hour should be dictated by your dog. You need to be patient and follow their lead. Let them explore their new surroundings on their own terms. Don’t force them into every room in the house; just give them space. You can shut doors or gate off areas where you don’t want the dog to explore quite yet.

Watch them from a distance. (Don’t overcrowd as this can lead to anxiety.) If they’re behaving inappropriately, offer a distraction with a wanted behavior instead.

Use positive reinforcement and reward-based training to help start them off on the right foot in their new home.

The First Day

Dog crate with bedding, toys, and treats.

You may have set up a crate as a den for your new shelter dog. They can use it as their safe space when they’re feeling a little over-whelmed.

This is particularly helpful for anxious or small dogs, but only if they’ve had either no experience or only good experiences with a crate so far in their life.

Crate broken by dog.
This can lead to injury to the dog and make the dog more fearful of crates.

If a crate was used as a punishment or to simply keep them out of the way in their previous life, then the sight of one will likely instill fear immediately. Don’t push too hard for them to get inside. You can toss some treats in and leave the door open to see if they’ll try to go in by themselves. Give them lots of praise if they go in or even just sniff at it. If they are very fearful of the sight of a cage/crate, take it away from the area. (*Crates/cages were made to make the dog feel safe like having a den. Never punish the dog for not going in.)

During this first day, you’ll learn a lot from your shelter dog. If you have other pets, you should carry out the initial introductions before bringing the shelter dog home. Some dogs can cope with other pets on their first day; some may prefer a quiet day just to get used to their new environment.

Watch your new addition’s body language — this will tell you all you need to know about how they’re feeling.

Diagram of dog language.

The First Week
During the first week you should try to make the introductions to close family and friends, but again, you must move at your dog’s pace.

If they’re settling well into their new home, they may accept new humans at this stage. If they’re wary or nervous, you may want to leave the introductions for another week. The shelter should have informed you on your dog’s socialization skills and experience with other humans and offered guidance if potential issues could arise.

In this first week you may venture out on your first walk around the block. Again, take your time and be patient. It’s a whole new world to your new addition.

Taking your dog out on it's first walk.

Of course, on your first few walks you do run the risk of coming across something your dog has never seen before, and you don’t always know how they’ll react, even if the shelter was diligent in telling you about your dog’s history.

Keep them on leash at all times, at least until you understand more about their personality and typical behavior.

The First Month
Depending on the history of your dog, you may start to train or retrain.

If your dog doesn’t have basic commands or recall, then that’s where you should start. You can figure out pretty quickly how best to teach them. Find out if they’re most motivated by food, toys, praise, play, or some other reward.

Dog learning commands.

Offer a selection of toys and treats on the floor and see which item your dog chooses first. This will be how you keep their attention during training.

Old dog learning new tricks.

There’s a myth that you can’t teach old dogs new tricks, but that’s not true. Any dog can be trained — you just have to find the right motivation for them. No matter the age or history of your shelter dog, you can train or retrain them.

If your shelter dog has picked up bad habits, then you should start retraining with a focus on redirecting and replacing unwanted behaviors with appropriate, wanted behaviors.

Dog is bored and tearing up the furniture.

So, for example, if your dog barks inappropriately, teach them to bark on command, instead. You can then train them to stop barking on command, too. If your dog is chewing on furniture, clothing, or inappropriate items, provide them with a sturdy chew toy and reward them when they use it instead of your shoes.

You may wish to consult a professional trainer if you find it difficult to teach your dog wanted behaviors.

Bringing a shelter dog home is no small task, but the reward is worth it. Most shelters provide excellent support post-adoption, but it certainly pays to have a plan in place. The most important thing is to be patient and follow your dog’s lead.

A thank you note for choosing a shelter dog.
“Thank you for picking me as a family member.”
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A Dog’s Closet

Chihuahua with a large selection of clothes in a closet.
“What shall I wear today?”

What does your dog like to wear?

Let Your Dog Be Stylish With Purpose

Some “warm-weather” dogs just aren’t suited to colder climates, and for many of these breeds, outerwear is essential when the bitter chill of fall and winter sets in and your buddy starts to dread his evening walk. A sweater can keep him warm, but it’s important to make sure it fits properly so he can enjoy the winter wonderland in both comfort and style.

Measurements

Diagram of how to measure your dog for clothes.

Save some time and take a few measurements before you take your pup shopping. Using a measuring tape, have him stand straight and measure from the base of his neck (where the shoulder blades start) to the base of his tail. Once you have his body length measurement, measure around the widest part of his chest for the girth measurement. Lastly, loosely measure around the largest part of his neck. Jot down his length, chest and neck measurements and take them with you when you shop.

Proper Fit

Frenchie wearing a cowboy hat.

The absolute best way to ensure proper fit is to bring your dog with you to try on sweaters; many pet stores allow him to try before you buy. Use his measurements and the size chart on the packaging as a guide. While you slip him in, take note to make sure the sweater fits easily over his head and neck. Check that the leg openings don’t constrict him in any way. You want your buddy’s sweater to be snug but not tight, and leave his lower belly free to allow for easy urination. Finally, watch him walk around in his new sweater to make sure it doesn’t hang, drag or otherwise impede his movements.

Styles

Dachshund wearing a sweater.
Whippet with a turtleneck sweater.

Some sweaters are cape style with open bellies, while others fully encompass your buddy’s torso. While all breeds can benefit from warm tummies, smaller breeds that are lower to the ground, such as yorkies and dachshunds, especially need full sweaters that cover and protect their bellies from rubbing on the frozen ground. Consider turtleneck styles for greyhounds and borzois, lest their elongated necks get left out in the cold.

Material

Frenchie with a cotton shirt.

Material is important in terms of comfort, fit and care. Wool is toasty but can be itchy and uncomfortable. A washable wool blend, cotton and acrylic are some of the best bets for canine sweaters. Keep in mind most material will stretch over time, so it’s important to find a sweater in a washable material.

Alterations

Some breeds, despite all your careful measuring and try on sessions, just have a difficult time fitting into universal sizes. Alterations may be necessary to ensure a comfortable fit. The bulldog, for example, has a wider neck that makes sizing tough. If you’re crafty, consider fitting the sweater to the rest of his body and making a simple snip cut to the front to allow for a better fit. A V-neck sweater is a dapper addition to any bulldog’s winter wardrobe.

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It’s So Hard to Say “Good-bye”

Pug with angel wings.
“Over the Rainbow Bridge”

*Warning: You will need tissues.

When it’s time to say good-bye

Saying good-bye to your best friend is one of the hardest moments of being a dog owner. Everybody wants their dog to live forever. I know their time on earth is never long enough.

A Dog's Last Will & Testament.

There are many factors that need to be thought over to make sure your dog is not suffering. (Too bad they can’t make out little Doggy Wills!)

Dog typing on a typewriter.

Old Age

Old Golden Retriever
Old Golden Retriever

As our dog ages, they start getting grey muzzles, not wanting to go out as much, or stops enjoying things that they once loved. Older dogs can get arthritis and their joints may start to hurt. You might notice your dog is having a harder time getting up from laying down and having you help them on the couch or bed. It is important to see a vet if you notice your dog in pain as to control pain. Many dog may start to have incontinence also.

Health

This Heart Condition Is So Common In Boxers, It's Actually Named For Them

Many types of dog breeds are prone to health problems in their lives. Golden retrievers may be prone to having cancer along with many other breeds. Boxers are known to be prone to heart problems like Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) which has been named “Boxer Cardiomyopathy”. Veterinarians pay close to the boxer’s heart to make sure they catch any irregular heart functions.

Really obese chihuahua.
Obese Chihuahua

A startling statistic is that more than 55% of America’s household pets are obese. Obesity is a leading cause of illness and death among dogs and is a risk factor for heart disease, kidney and liver disease, and diabetes. Pet owners should control the weight of their dogs by monitoring the dog’s caloric intake in conjunction with the animal’s energy expenditure.

Another health problem is kidney disease which occurs when a dog’s kidneys no longer properly filter waste products from the blood or maintain necessary hydration. A telltale symptom of kidney disease in dogs is drastically increased water consumption – a sign that can be easy to missed.

Beagle drinking water.
How much does your dog drink?

Due to the enormous uptick in canine obesity in recent years, dogs are developing diabetes at alarming rates. A diabetic dog will struggle to regulate his or her blood sugar, leading to potentially fatal reactions to food. Like kidney disease, an early warning sign of diabetes is a significant increase in water consumption. (My baby Frankie had diabetes for 9 years with constant monitoring with insulin shots.) So if your dog is diagnosed with diabetes, it can be controlled with insulin.

Dogs can live with the tick-borne illness Lyme Disease for years without displaying any symptoms. However, Lyme Disease can cause serious health problems for your pet. Hard-to-detect symptoms include depression, loss of appetite, and pain. For dogs that are frequently outdoors, early detection of Lyme Disease is crucial.

Accidents

Dog involved in a road accident.
Dog that was hit by a car.

Hit by a car or attacked by another animal can cause many problems for the dog to survive. You should always take your dog to the emergency clinic if this ever happens. (Be sure to keep yourself safe when transporting as the dog will be in pain and bite you. I suggest making a muzzle out of anything that’s handy.)

Quality of Life

Lab not wanting to eat.

When the inevitable time comes when they can’t stand by themselves, won’t eat or drink, or they don’t want to move at all, it’s time to take them to the vet for a quality of life (QOL) exam. There may be some medications that may help with making your dog comfortable, but if there’s nothing they can do, they might suggest putting your dog to sleep (euthanizing).

Saying Goodbye: Making the Decision to Euthanize Your Dog.
Saying “Good-bye” until we meet again.

That’s the one word that dog owners hate to hear. Even when you know it’s their time, it’s hard to come to terms with doing it. It’s a very humane way of stopping the suffering for the dog. It’s a simple process that the veterinarian can do. The veterinarian will put in a vein catheter in one of the legs and inject a sedative to release pain and calm the dog down. (This is usually the same type of sedative they use before surgeries.) This will relax the dog and you’ll notice a more blissful look to them. The dog can still hear and feel you so give them all the kisses, hugs, and last good-byes. Then when you are done saying your final good-bye, the veterinarian will inject the euthanasia solution in the catheter. It doesn’t take long for the solution to go to the heart and stop it. The veterinarian will then make sure the dog has passed away. Many clinics will do an ink paw print for you.

Create A Bucket List For Your Dog.

But you can always let them pass at home doing things that they love (or new things) like eating human foods, playing with the whole family, being on the furniture when before they weren’t allowed, sleep in bed with you, have a toy/ball party, and be sure to give them all cuddles.

Clay Paw Prints of Your Pet.

Now you have to make a choice for care after your dog has passed away. You can have them buried either in your backyard or cemetery, cremated where you can get their ashes back, or cremated without getting their ashes back. Many places that do cremations can do a clay paw print for you.


Saying Good-bye to Frankie

(My personal story)

My dog Frankie on the last day of his life with my parents.
Frankie on his last day.

It’s been a whole year since I have said good-bye to my Frankie. He was 14 years old when my family and I had him put him down by the veterinarian.

My dog Frankie helping around the house with a screwdriver in his mouth.
Frankie helping around the house with a screwdriver.

My parents got custody of Frankie when I moved out and got married. (I still made sure Frankie knew I was his mommy. My parents were mamaw and papaw to him.) I always checked in on him and visited a lot. I was there when he was diagnosed with diabetes, cushings disease, pancreatitis, and the love of wanting to eat anything that would fit into his mouth (luckily we always got what was in his mouth or it came out his other end without any blockage!).

Then I get the call that he wasn’t eating, vomiting every time he tried, and he was weak. I booked a plane trip to see him (and my family). Of coarse that was a couple days out. My mom called again saying they took him to the vet and the veterinarian suggested putting him to sleep. IT WAS ONLY 2 DAYS BEFORE I COULD GET THERE. I was heartbroken, but knew he was suffering and I didn’t want to prolong his situation. I told my parents to go ahead and do it. That was the hardest good-bye.

Frankie's grave in the back of my parents' house.
Frankie’s grave in the backyard of my parents’ house.

“Over the Rainbow Bridge Until We Meet Again.”

The Rainbow Bridge to heaven.
Featured

Being Attached to Your Dog by a Leash

Teaching Your Dog to Walk on a Leash

TOP 10 REASONS TO LEASH YOUR DOG

Sign saying to pick up your dog's waste and tell dogs bark, bark, ruff.


Virtually every community has a leash law. The law requires that dogs be kept on a leash at all times when on public property. While on private property, dogs must be under control of their owners. The intent of the law is to protect the health and safety of the public and to protect your pet. The use of a leash will benefit you, your neighborhood, and your pet. There are many good reasons to keep your dog on a leash.

  1. It’s a great good neighbor policy, preventing your dog from trespassing on
    the neighbor’s property during your walk. It also keeps your dog from
    jumping on people you encounter, ensuring that your dog has the chance
    of being properly introduced.
  2. Improved companionship. A well trained and leash-obedient dog is a
    pleasure to walk with.
  3. Walking your pet on a leash will prevent the spread of disease. It is less
    likely that your dog will be exposed to Parvo or Distemper. A leashed dog
    can be restrained from sniffing the droppings of other animals.
  4. A leash is commonly referred to as “Your Pet’s Lifeline,” protecting your
    pet from traffic and unrestrained animals. Accidents or animal bites are
    greatly reduced when responsible pet owners obey the leash law.
  5. An obedient and well behaved dog is a positive reflection of its owner.
  6. Re-locating your dog into another household is 100% easier if your dog is
    obedient and leash trained.
  7. It’s a great way to reward your dog. Your dog will immediately respond
    with a wagging tail the moment he or she sees you holding the leash.
  8. It’s a great identification tool, symbolizing that the dog has an owner, and
    enabling someone who sees the leash and identification tag attached to
    the dog’s collar to find you if you and your pet should become separated.
  9. It’s a great relief to wildlife, keeping your dog from chasing squirrels, deer,
    and other wildlife.
    10.It’s the law! The law is in place to protect other members of the public and your pet from injury.

What type of leash is best for you and your dog? Everyone has a special reason that they use and like certain leashes.

Standard leash.
  • The standard flat lead.

This is your common leash made of nylon. It’s the cheapest, fastest, one to grab to go. Since these are more cheaply made, a dog can chew right through them. Also when training, they can scuff up your hand easily.

Bungee leash
  • Bungee and stretchable rubber leashes.

This kind of leash is best with dogs that are running with you. The “bungee” part will give you both a little shock absorption. I would not recommend these for dogs that are reactive because when you try to pull them back towards you, there is still that “bungee” slack that you have to fight with. (This may lead to a slower reaction from the dog.)

Harness lead
  • Harness lead.

These are made from rope and are made for a shorter time of wearing. It’s important to properly fit because the rope can rub the fur off.

Easy walk harness
  • Easy Walk harness lead.

This is great lead when walking and still training the dog how to walk properly on a leash. (It’s best for the dog to already know basics of “Follow Me” or “Heel”.) How these work is if the dog tries to walk away from you, you can redirect where their body is going. (It’s like a head harness, but for the body.) These are great for dogs with the longer necks (greyhound, suki) or if the dog has had a previous neck injury.

Slip lead
  • Slip leads.

This is an “all in one” leash and collar. The loop or “collar” goes around the head and is secured usually with an adjustable leather joint around the dog’s neck. You usually see these types in dog shows or if the dog is going be off leash. It’s simple and easy to use and store away. (I have one that I use for shelter dogs so it’s easy to transfer from one dog to another without using a clip or buckle.)

Retractable leash
  • Retractable leashes.

These are nice to have when you want control of your dog while having them at a longer distance from you. When they get closer to you, it automatically will retract into the handle. There is also a “pinch” toggle that you can customize how much length they get. These leashes come in different lengths of “cord”. I personally use this one when Chloe is running on the beach and wants to get into the water. Warning: if you hold onto the cord to pull dog back or as the dog is running, you can burn and can cut your skin.) Also, you need to pay attention to where the dog is if you have lots of slack on the leash. (I’ve personally have seen many people not pay attention to where their dog is and the dog ends up getting into a dangerous situation with other dogs.)

Traffic leash
  • Traffic leashes.

Leashes like this are short enough to have the dog right next to you. They are called traffic leashes because you keep your dog by you the whole time mainly passing other people or dogs. These are great for crowded areas. I’ve used this when taking Chloe into festivals so she’s stuck by my side at all times and I can correct her faster if she’s distracted.

Leather leash
  • Leather leashes.

Leather is great on your hands when you are working, training, or walking your dog. These are usually higher priced than a regular leash, but they are softer on your hands. They are more durable and last longer than a traditional leash.

Chain leash
  • Chain leashes.

The metal links are resistant to chewing, and the leash is heavy enough to slow down some dogs. It’s also very hard to snap or break a metal dog leash, so this is a great option for large, strong dogs. There are different sizes of metal links making the leash lighter or heavier depending on what kind of dog you have. (Example is don’t put on a think heavy chain on a chihuahua.)

  • Attachable waist leash.
Waist leash

Hands free walking/running, but still have the security of your dog by your side. These are great for runners or if you just need your hands free. There is a waist buckle for you and the leash clips onto it with rings. There is a bungie on the upper half to shock absorb any quick stopping or turning. Most have an extra handle closer to the dog when you need to pass a distraction or people. Some may also have a pack to keep your phone, poo bags, and ID/credit cards.


Frankie’s & Chloe’s experience with leashes

My dog Frankie dressed up as a farmer.
Going to a Halloween dog party. Little Farmer!!

Frankie has tried a couple of these. He was started on a regular leash, but it was rough on our human hands. Then he was switched a retractable leash to go out potty and short walks. He loved the “almost freedom” of a retractable leash.


Me and my dog, Chloe, at the beach.
On the West Coast.

I’ve had Chloe on many of these leashes. The BEST one is the waist leash. We can go walking and I’m not having to constantly hold onto the leash. Mine has a pack that I can keep my phone, poo bags, keys, and ID/credit cards. It makes me relax more and Chloe likes that she can walk into the grass when she needs and come back to my side. When we are at the beach, I have her on a retractable leash so she can explore. (She would run after seagulls if I let her loose!!)


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Dog Necklaces (Collars) and Training Collars

Picking out the perfect collar for your pup

Picking out the right collar for your dog should be a fun experience. But walking into a pet shop or looking online can be overwhelming. Whether you want them to look stylish or looking for a collar for a special reason, they should be comfortable for your dog.

Collars

What are the characteristics of different types of dog collars
These are basic collars that your dog can wear everyday.

Basic collars that your dog can wear everyday are usually made from leather (be careful when bathing your dog for it will bleed) or nylon webbing. Less common materials can include polyester, hemp, metal, or “oilcloth” (vinyl woven with cotton).

How to Fit a Dog Collar Properly
Here’s how to measure the 2 finger gap.

When fitting these to your dog, you should take the measurement around their neck first. Most collars will show common measurements that the specific collar will fit. Make sure to have at least 2 fingers worth of a gap between the collar and dog’s neck. This is so your dog can be comfortable while wearing it. (Just imagine having a tight necklace around your neck!) With this type of collar you can put their identification tags (with name and number), rabies tag, and microchip tag on so they can get back home faster if they run away. (I put all three on Chloe’s collar so if she ran away, people would know she was microchipped also.)

Special Collars
Martingale collar on a Suluki

Martingale collars are sometimes called “greyhound collars” because they’re designed for dogs whose heads are more narrow than their necks. They’re very popular among owners of greyhounds, whippets, Salukis, and other slim-headed breeds. These types of collars are usually wide to protect their necks when attached to a leash. (They can do damage to their necks if they don’t have an appropriate collar on.)

Hunting collar with tag embeded

Hunting collars are for dogs that hunt. These kinds of collars usually has a built in identification tag. These are very nice as they don’t have their tags jingling around and getting caught in brush (which could scare what they are hunting away). Most of these are very durable and washable.

Training Collars

Training collars have special ways of training like learning to walk on a leash, stop barking, and getting the dog’s attention when they are not leashed or contained. These types of collars should only be used for training.

Pinch Prong collar is a metal collar with “prongs” that pinches the dog’s skin when pulled on. Lots of people use these to help with walking while on a leash. (I highly recommend teaching the “Follow Me” command before resorting to this collar.) Fitting this collar is more difficult. Here is a video that demonstrates how to put a pinch prong collar on and use safely.


Choke Collar Chain is a loop of metal (sometimes rope is braided in) that goes around the dog’s neck for training. These should never be left on if not training. The dog may choke itself to death if snagged on something and your not there to save them. Here is a great video about how to properly use a choke chain.


Head Harness/Gentle Leader is not quite a collar, some models come with a fastener that links to a regular dog collar, but is a great tool when training a dog. Think of it like a horse’s bitless bridle that controls their head in the direction you want them to focus on and turn. (I personally love this training tool.) It’s an easier way to tell the dog what you are expecting of them with a short sharp tug. These are not a muzzle. Dogs can still open their mouth and play with toys.


Electric Shock Collar is a collar that has 2 prongs that sit at the dog’s upper throat under their chin. It comes with a remote control that is equipped with a sound (to warn the dog that if they don’t do what’s told, there will be a shock next) and settings for how strong the shock will be. If you train with this type of collar, DO YOUR HOMEWORK AND UNDERSTAND HOW TO USE. This kind of collar can cause burning if used at a too high frequency and can lead the dog to become fearful.

In this video, the guy explains how to use a shock collar step-by-step.

These are all great tools when used correctly. Training should be a bonding experience for both you and your dog.

“Remember to always have fun with your dog when you are training!”

Happy pittie
Someone is excited to start learning!!
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Dog Ears and “Howl” to clean them

Frenchie listening.
“I’m listening!!”

Taking Care of Dog Ears

Keeping you dog fit and healthy is just like taking care of a child. There are many things that you have to check on your dog to make sure there isn’t anything wrong or bothering them. I will be discussing how to keep dog ears clean and problems that can occur with them.

Cleaning Dog Ears

Common dog ear

Cleaning your dogs ears is something you need to do at least a month. How often you should clean your dogs’ ears depends on their coat length (longer the coat, the more hair in the ear), how often they swim and get them wet, wax production, and age.

A Dog’s Ear Canal

Diagram of inside dog's ear

Dogs have a longer ear canal than us humans have. Also, their ear canal curves into an “L” shape. This makes it easier and less frightening because it is hard to reach the ear drum with your finger.

Cleaning:

Cleaning dog ears may sound frightening to do yourself, but it is actually very easy. You want to make the experience a good one, so I would suggest having something to keep the dog occupied while you are cleaning, like having a surface covered with peanut butter to keep their head steady. The materials you should have on hand to clean their ears with are:

Soft guaze.
  • Guaze — This should a soft gauze that won’t scratch the inside of the ear.
Malacetic ear cleaner.
  • Cottonballs — You can split these in half if you have a dog with littler ear canals.
  • Q-Tips — These should only be used on the outside of the canal for the creases of the ear. (If the dog shakes if you have a Q-tip in their ear canal, it can break off inside and hurt the dog. And it will be harder to retrieve the Q-tip out of the canal.)
  • Dog ear cleaner — This should be a special cleaner for dog ears. (Usually your vet has this for sale without a prescription or you can buy it at your local pet store.) Using alcohol or hydrogen peroxide will strip the ear canal of good bacteria and may cause dry, itchy ears that can become irritated.
How to Clean Your Dog's Ears

First, you squeeze the ear solution into the ear. (Yup, go ahead and make a pool inside the ear.) Then swish the ear around to get the built-up wax loose. Next, you use the gauze or cotton balls to swipe the inside of the canal. (I personally like to use the gauze because you can get deeper and it has enough of texture to grab ahold of the wax.) Use a clean cotton ball/gauze every-time you swipe the ear. Go ahead and let your dog shake it’s head. This will loosen up more build-up. Once the inside of the canal is clean, you can use the q-tips to clean the creases on the outside of the canal that the cotton ball/gauze didn’t get. You can then dry off around the ear with a soft towel.

King Charles dog with floppy ears

With a longer dog hair coat, there are hairs inside of the ear. If you take your dog to the groomers, they usually will pluck these out so wax doesn’t build up around the fur and cause an ear infection. These breeds are usually Malteses, Poodles, Terriers and Labradoodles to name a few.

Infected ear

If there is a pungent smell coming from their ears, there could be an infection. You should take them to the veterinary clinic so they can clean their ears and give them ear medication to fight the infection.

Dogs like to shake their heads
Dog shaking head.

Dogs like to shake their heads and ears after waking up, drying themselves off after being in water, and to shake off a tickle in their ears or their body. But if you notice your dog is constantly shaking, pawing, or scratching at their ears over and over again, this could be sign of a problem they may be having. It could an ear infection, hair in the ear canal, ear mites, or a foreign object like cheat grass (this is a grass seed that has barbs and works itself into areas).

Ear Hematomas

Dog shaking head.

Shaking their heads repeatedly can cause an ear hematoma. This is when a blood vessel between the skin breaks open and causes a pooling of blood. The dog’s ear will start to look like a balloon filling up with air. This needs to be seen as soon as possible. (If the dog scratches it open, this can make for a big mess and healing may take longer.) Mainly dogs with floppy ears get these because of the slapping against their head. If your dog has ears that go straight up, not cropped, their ears abstain more slapping against the head. German Shepards, Corgis, and Huskies have a lot of problems also with hematomas.

Treating the Hematoma
What a ear hematoma looks like.

Surgery is usually needed to repair ear hematomas. If is a small area, the veterinarian may just use a local anesthesia, cut the area open, and inject a steroid. If it is most of the ear, the veterinarian may consider doing the surgery by using full anesthesia. The vet will then cut the ear for draining of the blood and may cauterize the blood vessel that is broke. Then the vet will wrap and fold up their ear up against the dog’s head

Ear and head wrap aftercare.

Then comes the aftercare. This is usually between 6-8 weeks. In this time period, the dog shouldn’t shake their head. If the dogs starts to shake, quickly make them stop. (There are special head wraps that you can buy to help keep the dressing on and the ear in place. See Chloe’s story below.) After the first week of care, the vet will want to check on them and change the dressing. This will usually be every week until the ear has heeled and dressing is no longer needed.

Another Hematoma?

This is very possible to happen again if the vessels in the ear break open. This can be very frustrating as an owner. But every dogs’ ears are different. If the vessels in the dog’s ear are tiny and thin, they may be prone to hematomas. Your veterinarian should notice this and go over the plans of care.

Pet dog has buttons sewn onto her ear

Chloe’s Personal Story

My Chloe baby

I was working in a veterinary clinic. I had no idea what an ear hematoma looked like on a dog’s ear yet. All I noticed was Chloe’s ear started having a small area, the size of a grape, on her ear inflating like a small balloon. It grew very slow, but I could see it getting bigger everyday. By the third day of ballooning up, we took her to the vet. They said it was an ear hematoma because of her shaking her head because there was a hair in her ear. They said the hematoma was pretty small, so they could just go ahead and cut, drain, and wrap her ear up. I was working and got to help with her small surgery. It was used with local anesthesia, a simple small puncture, drain, and wrap her ear which took nothing but 15 minutes. We did our best to not let Chloe shake her head.

We were very strict in aftercare. All our check-ups went great and her ear was back to normal.

One month passes, and I see her getting the same lump on the same side of her ear. All I could do was say, “Well, here we go again!”

My Chloe with a head wrap on.

This time after the vet opened it up and drained it, they injected a steroid to stop the vessels from bleeding and plug up the area. Her head was once again wrapped up. This time we bought a special head wrap that velcro over the dressing. It was a life saver. (I highly recommend getting them.) All our check-ups went perfect. The vet said that should solve the problem.

My Chloe with a head wrap and inflatable collar.

Three months go by after all the aftercare went well, then here comes Chloe with her same ear blowing up like a balloon, getting bigger every couple hours.

This time the vet injected even more steroid in her ear. He said her ear will probably be warped, but I didn’t care about that. I just wanted this to be the last time dealing with this.

She now has a warped ear with lumps where the steroid is. We’ve been in the clear for 2 years!!

My happy Chloe with her wonky ear.
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Bringing Your New Pup Home

You brought your new pup home and now what?

How to introduce your dog to your home

Adding a new family member to your home is an exciting experience for the whole family. But before you bring your new dog home, there are some things you should think about and plan out. It’s better to be prepared and have everything ready so you can enjoy and train your new dog.

Dog items to have on hand before getting your dog.

Items to have beforehand

Having items like food, treats, food and water bowls, some toys, a crate, a collar, a leash, and some blankets or plush dog bed can make it easier for you so you aren’t rushing around to find these items and not enjoying your dog after you have brought them home.

Sleeping/Relaxing area just for the dog.

Make a Sleeping/Relaxing Area

Have a plan where the dog is going to relax and sleep when you aren’t able to watch them or when you leave the house. This should be a quiet peaceful place where there won’t be distractions like children running around.

Outside area for dog to potty.
Mobile grass that you can use if you don't have a yard.
These are great for apartments.

Where’s the Potty Area going to be?

What kind of outdoor area do you have for the dog to go potty? Will the dog be able to go potty outside or do you need to get a doggy turf potty (these are mainly used if you live in an apartment on multiple floors and only have a balcony). Remember, you’re going to have to potty train, so you’ll be going inside and outside a lot at first.

Puppy proofing your house.

“Puppy Proofing”

Lastly, you should “puppy proof” your home. Cover electrical wires or have them where your dog can’t get to them. Make sure hazardous house cleaners are put in cupboards with child locks (dogs can use their nose to open doors!). Make sure children learn to keep their toys picked up. I would recommend having doors to rooms you don’t want the dog to go into kept closed.


When you have the essentials, you are ready to bring your new pup home!
Home Sweet Home
Human showing dog around new home on a leash.

Keep them leashed when entering the house

When you bring your dog home, have them on a leash as you enter your home. Walk them around with you and let them sniff around to get used to everything. (If you let them off leash, they could go potty somewhere or start tearing up something that they shouldn’t!!) While your pup is learning about your house, you should keep them in one room with you at a time. This will make watching them easier for you and you won’t be running around the house trying to find them, or what they have gotten into!! You can keep them tethered to an area or have gates closing off an area where you can see them. (Most dogs won’t go potty in the area they are resting.)

Dog tied to human with a waist leash.

If you need to walk around the house, you can attach them to you with a leash around your waist. (This will also help with the “Follow Me” command because they will associate being around you as normal.) This will help also when they have gotten accustomed to the house rules and will follow you around the house themselves.

Potty training.

Potty Training

Potty training is the most important thing to start. If you have a puppy, this will be every couple hours since puppies have little bladders and can’t hold themselves very long. This will begin as soon as they get up, after eating, after drinking, after playing, after a nap, before you leave them crated, and before they go to bed at night. It’s important to have a routine so the pup can begin to understand when it’s the correct time to go potty. Accidents will happen, but to remember that they are still learning. Do not punish a dog for going potty inside. This can lead to them being scared to potty in front of you and they can start to hide their pees and poos in places where you won’t find it. This can be a stinky situation!!

Toys that are for dogs.
Pug being destructive with shoes.
Don’t punish if they are chewing on something they shouldn’t. You can give them one of their toys to exchange. Give them praise when they start playing with their toy.

Proper Dog Toys

Teaching your dog what their toys are from other household items that aren’t for chewing and tearing up is also important. You wouldn’t want to find that your dog has been chewing on your favorite expensive shoes! Kids should keep their toys picked up so the dog doesn’t get confused and start playing and chewing on your kid’s teddy bear, barbie, or legos. This can lead to ingestion of an item and cause blockage in the dog’s stomach. (Meaning an emergency trip to the vet!!)


Dog’s First Vet Visit

Dog's first vet visit.

This should happen preferable the first week or so after you bring your pup home. Be sure to check around and ask family and friends about their recommendations. It is very important to establish a veterinary clinic. Your dog is going to be going here for check-ups, vaccines, and when they feel under the weather. Their first visit is usually a wellness exam to make sure they are in top health. (Some breeders and rescues will pay for your first visit!) The veterinarian will go over what vaccines and any health questions you have. They may also recommend foods, places to take your pup like daycares and dog parks when they have been fully vaccinated. They can also recommend training classes.

Your dog may take weeks to get comfortable with their new routine. It’s a lot to learn and remember for them. You wouldn’t expect a baby to know this much in a few weeks!!

Pug laying on it's back on the couch all comfy.
Thank you for adding me to your family!!
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Dogs Riding in Cars as Passengers

“Who wants to go for a Ride?”

Taking your dog with you for a ride in the car can be fun for both, but there are steps you should take to keep you and your dog safe. Having a dog in the car is just like if you had a child with you. Make sure the dog is safe and secure (preferable in the backseat) so they aren’t distracting you while you drive and they aren’t jumping around.

Doggy Seatbelts

Dog with a dog seatbelt on.

One main item that helps dogs stay safe is the doggy seatbelt. This is usually a harness that the dog wears that fastens into the belt buckle. (I recommend not attaching the belt to the collar because if you stop fast, that can cause for a choking hazard and may injure the dog’s neck.)

I like this kind of doggy seatbelt because they are customizable where you can lengthen or shorten how much space the dog gets in the backseat.

Booster seat with seatbelt.
Dog Basket Seat

If you have a little dog (pug, chihuahua, yorkie, small terrier, etc) that can’t see out the window with a traditional doggy seatbelt, there are basket car seats that they may enjoy better. Now they can look around and still be safe and secure.


Don’t want the seats to get dirty and full of hair?

Covering for your back seat.

I have and love the backseat cover/barrier for our truck. This keeps the seats and floor from dog hair, mud, sand, any other debris the dog may track in! They are usually made to be put in the washer when they get dirty. The barrier part of these are great since it stops them from coming up to the front seat area. (Please use a doggy seatbelt with this. Dogs can still jump over the barrier.) There are slots where the seatbelt buckle end pokes out to fasten your dog in.


Does your pup get motion sickness?

Bulldog feeling sick in the car.
“AHHH, things are going by toooo fast!!!”

Dog motion sickness is more commonly seen in puppies and young dogs than in older dogs, just as carsickness afflicts more children than adults. The reason for this is because the ear structures used for balance aren’t fully developed in puppies. This isn’t to say that all dogs will outgrow travel sickness, though many will.

If the first few car rides of your dog’s life left them nauseated, they may have been conditioned to equate travel with vomiting, even after their ears have fully matured. Stress can also add to travel sickness, so if your dog has only ever ridden in the car to go to the vet, they may literally worry themselves sick on the road.

Signs of Dog Motion Sickness

Dogs don’t turn the unflattering shade of green that people do when they’re experiencing motion sickness, but there are some signs of dog travel sickness you can learn to identify. These include:

  • Inactivity, listlessness or uneasiness
  • Yawning
  • Whining
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Smacking or licking lips

Treatment for Dog Motion Sickness

The best way to prevent dog travel sickness is to make the car ride as comfortable as possible for your dog.

Your dog will experience fewer nauseating visual cues if they face forward while you’re traveling, rather than looking out the side windows. One way to guarantee this is by using a specially designed dog seat belt. If you choose to have your dog ride on the front passenger seat, keep in mind that air bags do pose a potential hazard to dogs. Even though you can’t be sure your dog will face forward while riding in a travel crate, many people prefer to use crates for safety — and they do have the added benefit of containing vomit, should your dog become ill.


Dogs in Truck beds

If you need to put your dog in a truck bed, make sure they are contained (crated) and safe. There are many hazards when traveling with your dog loose in a truck bed. Mostly, dogs will want to jump out if they see something enticing. Even having them just tethered to the inside of the bed can cause injuries. If the dog decides to jump out, they can hang themselves! It’s estimated that more than 100,000 dogs die each year riding in the back of a pickup.

Dogs loose in a truck bed.
These dogs can jump into traffic injuring themselves and cause a big accident.
Dog loose in a truck bed.
This dog can jump out, slide off, or fall off.

Don't have dogs loose in truck beds.

Dogs do not have great stability when in a truck bed. They can slide around and injure themselves. In some states, this is illegal. California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island all have strict laws protecting dogs from injury and death from truck beds. Most other states have fines when they catch you.

Crates that are for truck beds.
Here is a great example of crates you can get for your truck.

Chloe’s story

My Chloe in our truck with her seatbelt on.
Chloe in her doggy seatbelt getting ready to take a trip across
the country.

When my husband (Ben) and I would ride around and bring Chloe with us, we were uneducated and did the ‘put a leash around the headrest and connect it to Chloe’s collar’ in the backseat. She would always lose her balance and end up choking herself because she fell to the floor and the leash wasn’t long enough. We immediately started looking for something to keep her more contained. I found a doggy seat belt at T.J. Maxx so I thought I would give it a try. It has been a life saver for Chloe and me. Now I know she safe and won’t go flying if I have to stop quickly.

My husband got a backseat cover for Chloe for Christmas and we all love it. Now Chloe can come up a little closer without falling to the floor to get closer to us. Plus all the mess she tracks in from the beach and mud, all we have to do is pop the cover in the washing machine!

Me driving while Chloe has her seatbelt on.
Chloe likes to pretend that she’s driving!!
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Dogs and Kids Manners

Manners for Dogs and Kids

There are certain things that dogs and kids should do to keep the home a happy place for both. Many times a dog gets displaced (rehomed, taken to the shelter, or even euthanized) because dogs and kids can’t get along. If the dog bites a kid, the first things a parent thinks is sending the dog away. (You wouldn’t do this to a child because they didn’t understand what was expected of them!!)

Dog in a shelter.
About 10% of dogs in shelters are because they didn’t get along with kids.

Manners for the Dog to Learn

There are manners that you can teach a dog to respect you ad your family

How to teach your dog the watch me command
Make sure the dog gives you eye contact before treating or clicking.
  • You can teach the dog to look at you. This will disrupt what the dog is doing or fixating on. This is called the “Look at Me” command. It’s very simple and fun for the dog to learn. (Always make training fun for you AND the dog. This makes the dog feel like they are making you happy and makes for a tighter bond between you.)

  • Here are the steps to take:
    • Have a treat in your hand and let the dog sniff it so they know you have something yummy for them.
    • Hold the treat out straight and to the side of you. (Yes, the dog is going to look at your hand!)
    • This is the part where they have to figure out what they have to do to get the treat. (This engages their mind and makes them think!)
    • As soon as they look or even glance at you, tell them “yes” (or if using clicker training, this is the time to click) and give them a treat (preferable from the other hand).
    • You can then lengthen the time the dog looks at you. After lots of practice and repetition, the dog should look and keep eyes on you for the treat.

This is a way for the dog to always look at you. You can than start saying “Look at Me” when the dog is looking at you. You can now use this command to distract the dog from what they are doing. After the dog understands this command, you can start to tell the dog what to do next.


Now you can start teaching the dog to “Go to Place”
Dog laying comfortably on it's bed.
Teach kids that this is the dog’s space and to leave them alone if they were told to “Go to Place”.

This is where the dog has a certain place to relax and lay down. This could be their crate, a certain rug, or area away from children.

  • First, decide where their special place should be. With treats, you can lure them to the area.
  • As soon as their paws touch the area, tell them “yes” or click. They will start to associate the area or place to where they get treats!
  • When they get comfortable in the area or place and start to sit/lay down, start telling them “Place” then give them a treat when they go to their special place. (They will start to put together that when they hear “Place”, they are going to get a treat.)

Human teaching dog to stay.
The dog is looking at the owner and reading the hand signal. Owner has treats in his other hand.

The next part after “Place” is the “Stay” command. This is where they have to stay in their special place until you relieve them. (This command is more difficult for some dogs. The main point is don’t let them follow you unless you have relieved them from their “place”.

  • With the dog in their “place” and relaxing, start by saying “Stay” (you may put your hand flat like a stop sign) and backup one step. If the dog stays, say “yes” or click and toss them a treat. Then you can return back to them to release them by saying “OK” (Don’t have them come to you for the treat. This makes them think they can just leave their place without you telling them it’s ok.)
  • You can start backing up a couple more steps as long as the dog is staying in their place. Always coming back to them to treat and tell them “Free” to release.
Teaching “Release/Free” Command
Human giving the free command.

This is a hand signal for the “Release/Free”command telling them they are free to move from their space. After the dog has stayed in their place, your can wave both hands back and forth and say “Free”. Saying “OK” can confuse the dog if they hear you say the word, but you wasn’t talking to them. Example is if someone has asked you a question and you reply to them “OK”, all the dog heard was “OK” so they think they can be free from their space.


A fun and very important command is “Come”

This is when the dog will stop what they are doing and come to you. This is very practical when you want the dog away from kids or the dog decides to go running away.

Teaching Your Dog to Come/Recall
  • Begin with them on a tether (long leash) and have treats ready for when they come to you. (Tether is for when they don’t listen, you can reel them in!)
  • Start with a short distance between you. Say “Come” with treats visible and reel them towards you.
  • When they come to you, say “yes” or click and give them a treat.
  • Now try saying “Come” without reeling them in. If they come to you immediately, give them a treat. If they don’t respond right away, reel them in again and give them more treats. (This will make them think, “if I come to you, I get treats!”)
  • Once they understand this, you can have them go out further away from you and say “Come”. (As they go further away from you, you will have to make sure your voice is carrying for them to hear you.)
  • After they have this command down great, you can try without the tether. (If they regress, put the tether back on and reel them in while saying “Come” to reiterate the command.)

*You can also say their name followed by saying “Come” for example, “(Dog’s name), Come”. This should get their attention that it’s them that you are talking to.


Have you ever had a dog that pulls on the leash?

Illustration on how to have dog follow you.
Having your hand by your side with treats will make the dog want to walk with you and get treats!

There is a way that you can teach your dog to follow you and be at your side the whole time. This way you can train your dog to follow you before even putting the leash on!

  • Having treats in your hand, hold your arm to your side so the dog can smell the treats.
  • Start walking and entice the dog with the treats.
  • If the dog is following and keeps their nose at your hand, give them a treat as you are walking. (Best is to start in your house away from distractions!)
  • Walk around your house with treats and your dog following until you know your dog has grasped the idea.
  • Now you are ready to try outside. (I would recommend backyard or somewhere there aren’t a lot of distractions)
  • You are now ready to put the leash on your dog! Make sure you have enough treats to keep putting in your hand. (If you run out of treats, the dog will start to think they don’t have to be right by you and start pulling on the leash.)

Kid Manners to Teach

A Dog Is Not a Toy Talks a Dog Is Part of the Family

Kids like to play and think dogs are just toys for them. Remind children that dogs are not toys! Being a responsible parent and dog owner will make your house happy and will save you and your family from heartbreak.

For young kids, it is best to redirect them if they are mistreating or doing something the dog doesn’t like. Instead of just telling them “No, don’t do that”, you can tell them “Try doing this instead” and show them how to properly be around the dog. This way the kids can still interact with the dog in a safe manner.

Kids under the age of 5 should be taught to be gentle to dogs. No pulling on their fur, ears, tail, making the dog hug them, laying on top of the dog, running up to the dog, or sticking their fingers around the dog’s mouth. These WILL lead to biting.

You can teach how to safely pet the dog by holding onto their hand with your thumb in the middle of their hand (this is to make sure they won’t grab onto the dog or fur) and show how to gently stroke the dog. ALWAYS ACTIVELY SUPERVISE YOUND CHILDREN WITH DOGS. Accidents can happen very quickly and have dire consequences.

“Always leave a sleeping dog alone”

Dogs can startle very easily when woken up quickly and may go into “Fight” mode before they comprehend what is going on around them.

You can teach children the command “Come” by having the dog come to them and the child put the treat on the ground in front of them. (Don’t let them hand the dog the treat because the dog may accidentally bite their hand while trying to take the treat from them. Safety First!!)

If a dog is just too scared of the distraction or of children, you can toss treats AWAY from the distraction or children. This will make the dog feel more comfortable in situations and know they don’t have to participate.


5 Types of Supervision

There are 5 different types of parent supervision. What kind of supervision do you usually do when dogs and kids are together?

Diagram of types of supervision.
*The best is to be a Proactive and Active parents. When you are not watching, things can escalate quickly and become a serious situation.

Dogs are our “Fur Babies” and need to be loved, understood, and taken care of.

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Dogs and Kids

How dogs and kids should interact with each other

*Kids should always be actively supervised with dogs

Dogs and kids need to know how to communicate with each other


First, Understanding what a calm dog looks like
A calm dog is one that will welcome what is going on around them. They do not startle or become too anxious around kids and noises. What you should be looking for is a loose face with eyes calm (not wide eyed or eyes darting around). Dogs are usually laying down or sitting with their mouth open with no or some panting (if they are hot). Ears are relaxed (not laid back or very alert). Tail may be wagging, but don’t let this fool you!

Bulldog puppy relaxing.
Above: Eyes are calm, ears are relaxed, head is on its paws signaling they are content.

Stress signs that dogs give

These signs are telling you that they are nervous and unsure. May lead into biting if not caught soon enough.


A dog shows a lot of signs before they even think of biting. It is very important to understand what these signs are and what you should do before the scenario escalates.

What to look for in an anxious dog.


The #1 rule is to never go by their tail. Dogs wag their tail telling others what they are feeling. People usually don’t pick up on how to perceive the way the dog is wagging its tail. Stress tail wags are usually stiff and very slow. The tail may have a low sweeping look.


Scared german Shepard mix.

When you look at the dog, is its eyes wide and darting around? They are trying to figure out what is going on and if they should “Fight” (bite) or “Flight” (run away from the scene).

They may be licking their lips and nose signaling that they are feeling stressed. Yawning is also a way that a dog shows they are stressed. If they haven’t been exercising or caught up on their sleep (so you know they aren’t just sleepy), this is showing signs that they don’t like what is going on around them.

Some calming signals (dog is trying to calm themselves down) that dogs give out that you should be watching for are:

  • When they turn their body sideways or turn their head away from what is going on around them
  • They may stand still like they are frozen. This is their “Freeze” that means they don’t know how to react and may be scared.
  • They may have slow movements like walking with their head down very slowly. Tail may be sifting low and slow.
  • They may sit or lay down trying to make themselves as small as possible. (Be sure to see how their eyes and ears are. Are they very alert and wide eyed?)
  • If you approach them, they may lick your face signaling for YOU to look away. This is not a kiss. It’s the way a dog is telling you to turn your head away because they are scared and they don’t feel comfortable.

Adults and children should learn a dog’s growl, meaning they are close to biting.

When hearing this, there should be a way to distract the dog away from the scenario. They may also growl with a snarled face. This is when their lip rises up enough to show their teeth and they scrunch up their face with their tongue inside away from their teeth. (They wouldn’t want to bite their own tongue!)


A DOG SHOULD NEVER BE PUNISHED FOR GROWLING


Punishing a dog for growling only makes them more anxious and they may go right into biting before giving a warning.


Here is a video showing when a dog has had enough. (The dog in the video is resource guarding his toy, but the same goes for if kids are aggravating a dog or the dog doesn’t want to be in a particular situation.)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nb2qyZCFNU0

This video is done by a trained professional. The owner gives a command at the beginning for the dog to guard its toy.


Expecting A Baby?


Set your dog up for success when you are expecting and bringing a baby into the house

What should you do to get your dog ready for a new baby?
The best thing you can do to get your dog ready is to “Scent Mark” areas and things that the baby will have a connection to. One item you can use for scent is baby lotion that you will be using on your baby. This means you are marking things that will smell like a baby. Putting baby lotion on:

  • Baby toys
  • Stroller
  • Rocker
  • Baby bed
  • Baby blankets
  • Swing
  • Etc.

This will trigger the dog to welcome this smell, so when you bring the baby home, the dog associates the baby smell is something that is ok and not get anxious.


Dog Reactions


Reactive to Motion
Some dogs are very active to the motion of toys and when kids are playing. For example, if the kids are playing with a remote car and the dog wants to chase after it, it is best to put the dog in an area away from the commotion with something for them to be occupied like a treat or dog toy.

Bikes, skateboards, and scooters may also trigger the dog to run after it. For these occurrences, the best way to help your dog is to train them to focus on you or something else. You can have them play with one of their toys they love or toss treats AWAY from the distraction.

Never use a training collar (pinch collar, choker, or shock collar) when training to avoid a distraction. They will associate the pain to the distraction and they will be more frustrated and may start biting.

I would suggest using a head gentle leader (Think like with horses, you have control of their head) or their regular collar. Just a quick little tug to get the dog to look at you and away from distraction.

← Here is a gentle leader ✅
This kind of leader controls their head and when you pull on the leash, their head will turn in that direction.

← This is a pinch collar 🚫
This kind of collar pinches when pulled on. Dogs associate this with pain and what the distraction is causing them do get more frustrated.

← This is a shock collar 🚫

With this collar, the prongs are placed on the throat and the owner has a remote that can emit a noise and/or a shock. There are different levels of shock frequency. If turned too high, it can hurt the dog and lead to a burn on their neck. Plus it makes the dog more fearful.


Reactive to Noise
The best way to get a dog comfortable with noises associated with babies and kids is to have recordings of a baby crying, children playing and screaming, and loud toys.
Play these recordings while the dog is relaxed. Or you may play these recordings and have the dog pay attention to you while you hold and give treats.


Herding breeds

Most herding dogs would like to herd the children if they are running around. (The dog wants to herd the children all together in a central location. That’s why they are called herding dogs because they were bred to herd sheep, cattle, or other animals! To them, kids are just another kind of animal!!)


Dogs need to have a place to themselves where they feel safe. Somewhere quiet would be idle where they can rest and relax. Crates are a great place! It is a place where only they can go and get away from everything and relax. Never use the crate for punishment. They will associate being punished if they are put in the crate and will stop entering to relax.

More to come tomorrow. . . .

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When Your Puppy Starts Turning Grey

Physical and Mental Signs that Your Dog is Aging

Dog with greying muzzle.
When pets start to get a grey muzzle.

Everybody gets old, including your dog. That adorable little pup that grew into your constant companion may be showing signs of getting old, both physical and mental. Different breeds and sizes of dog age at different rates. A large breed like a Great Dane is considered senior at around six years old. A small dog, like a Chihuahua, for example, may not be considered old until it is seven to ten years old. The more tuned-in you are to the typical signs, the sooner you can help your dog age gracefully.

Physical signs that your dog is aging

Cloudiness in the eyes.
Thin layer of cloudiness.
  • Cloudiness in eyes or difficulty seeing: Eye cloudiness (nuclear sclerosis) can happen so gradually that you might not notice it right away. While it’s a fairly common occurrence in senior dogs and doesn’t affect vision, it may also be a sign of cataracts or other eye diseases, most of which are easily treatable. Your dog may also start bumping into things or have trouble locating a toy on the floor or other familiar objects. You may notice it is more difficult for them to find their way around in dimmed light and the dark. This could signal vision loss.
Frankie yelling.
  • Horrible breath: While doggie breath isn’t uncommon at any age, if your dog seems to suddenly have awful breath, it could indicate gum disease, tooth decay, or infection. The immune system weakens as dogs age and they are not able to fight off infections as easily as they did when they were younger. Along with a good dental cleaning, your vet may decide to do blood work to rule out infection.
Dog walking slow.
Dogs start to get more ache in their joints.
  • Slowing down or difficulty getting around: An older dog may have trouble with stairs, jumping into the car, or just getting up after a nap. You might notice weakness in their back legs. While we all slow down as we age, your dog’s mobility issues could be caused by arthritis or another degenerative disease. Along with any medication or supplements your vet recommends, you will have to adjust your dog’s exercise regimen to slower and shorter walks or a new exercise routine. Swimming, for example, is gentle on the body and many dogs love it.
Lypomas on an older dog.
Lipomas are squishy.
  • New lumps and bumps: Some dogs are prone to harmless fatty lipomas, but these lumps under the skin are more common as dogs age. However, any new lump should be checked by a veterinarian to rule out a malignant tumor.
Dog looking concerned.
“I haven’t been feeling great lately.”
  • A change in weight: It’s not surprising that older, less active dogs sometimes gain weight and you may have to adjust your dog’s diet and exercise to maintain a healthy weight. However, you should also pay attention if your senior dog loses weight. This could be the result of reduced muscle mass, which is common in older dogs, or it might be caused by reduced appetite, poor absorption of nutrients, or a digestive illness. If your dog loses more than 10 percent of their body weight in a few months, or even in a year, consult your vet.
Dog that has urinated on the carpet.
May need to go out to potty more often.
  • Incontinence or difficulty “going:” If your dog suddenly seems to forget their housetraining or seems to strain when urinating, these could be signs of a urinary tract infection or kidney disease. However, incontinence is not unusual in elderly dogs and there are medications that can help.

Behavioral and mental signs of aging in dogs

Frankie laying around.
Frankie at the age of 14.

Physical changes aren’t the only differences you may notice in your dog as they age. Changes in behavior can signal an underlying physical problem or may be a normal sign of aging. If your pup has suddenly turned into a grump, they may be in pain caused by arthritis or be experiencing some other physical discomfort. Or your high-energy companion may be sleeping hours a day. Older dogs need more sleep, just let him nap.

Signs of canine cognitive disorder.

However, changes in behavior may also be the result of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CCDS). According to a study at the National Center for Biotechnology Information, CCDS affects 14-35 percent of dogs over eight years old. A dementia similar to Alzheimer’s in humans, CCDS can bring about pronounced changes in your dog’s everyday behavior:

  • Fear of familiar people or objects.
  • Changes in the sleeping-waking cycle, including restlessness or pacing at night.
  • Increased barking and vocalization.
  • Repetitive or compulsive behaviors.
  • Forgetting commands and cues that they once knew.
  • House soiling.
  • Increased anxiety.
  • Confusion and disorientation.
  • Marked change in activity level.

Your vet will be able to make a diagnosis by asking you simple questions during the appointment. While there is no cure for CCDS, there are some new medications and therapeutic options your vet can discuss with you.

How can you help your aging dog?

The single most important thing you can do is check with your vet if you see any of these physical or mental changes. The vet can determine the underlying medical causes and prescribe treatments. He can also help you make some decisions about your dog’s care going forward: changes in diet and exercise, changes you can make around the house, or in the daily routine.


Sleeping old dog.

Pet owners’ greatest fear is having to make a decision about their pets’ end of life, and that fear may make an owner unwilling to visit the vet. They may also not be educated about the signs of aging and take a “wait-and-see” attitude.

I have seen this first hand and it is heart wrenching. One visit to the vet, the dog is fine, alert, and knows its owner. A month later, the dog is snapping at the owner and family. The owner could barely bring his dog into the vet office because of it snapping at everybody. They decided to euthanize him that day. It really got to me how fast CCDS happened in such a short time.

The cost of care is also an issue for many pet owners. If they are prescribed medication, therapy, or both, it is for the remainder of the dog’s life.


Our dogs give us many years of love and loyalty and it’s only natural to want to make their senior years as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Aging is a normal part of life and with some vigilance and attention to your dog’s health, these can truly be “golden years.”

Old dog wincing at the camera.

” My face may be white, but my heart is pure gold. There is no shame in growing old.”


My Chloe laying outside soaking up the sun.

My baby Chloe is 11 1/2 years old. I have seen her slowing down the past couple years. In her young age, she could walk 5 miles in any weather. (Between 400 – 800 F) Now she can only make it 2 1/2 miles and the weather can’t be over 700 . She takes more naps than usual. (I love when she is snoring and dreaming.) She still has a great body shape because I have decreased her feeding since she’s less active. She has been getting a couple lumps (lipomas) and moles around her body. I keep these in check to make sure they are not rapidly growing (sign of cancer). She is still a happy girl that loves her walks and treats. She hasn’t had any accidents in the house and knows when she needs to go. All we can do is keep our pup healthy physically and mentally.

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The REAL Scoop About “Puppy Mills”

"How much is that doggy in the window?"

What are puppy mills?

A puppy mill is an inhumane high-volume dog breeding facility that churns out puppies for profit, ignoring the needs of the pups and their mothers. Dogs from puppy mills are often sick and unsocialized. Puppy mills commonly sell through internet sales, online classified ads, flea markets and pet stores. In fact, the majority of puppies sold in pet stores and online are from puppy mills. Responsible breeders will be happy to meet you in person and show you where the puppy was born and raised—and where their mom lives too.

Mother dogs spend their entire lives in cramped cages with little to no personal attention. When the mother and father dogs can no longer breed, they are abandoned or killed. Due to poor sanitation, overbreeding and a lack of preventive veterinary care, the puppies from puppy mills frequently suffer from a variety of health issues, creating heartbreaking challenges for families who should be enjoying the delights of adopting a new family member.

Cruel commercial breeders want to maximize profit by producing the highest number of puppies at the lowest possible cost. Here’s how they do it.

Dog in tiny cage
Most puppy mill dogs don’t get a chance to feel grass at all.

More breeding dogs equals more puppies, which equals more money, so cruel breeders maximize space by keeping dogs tightly contained. Dogs are commonly kept in small, stacked, wire-floored crates or in outdoor pens exposed to heat, cold and rain. They eat, sleep and give birth in confinement.

Dog in filthy cage
Dogs are kept in disgusting cages.

The conditions of these facilities encourage the spread of diseases, especially among puppies with undeveloped immune systems. Puppies often arrive in pet stores with health issues ranging from parasites to parvo to pneumonia.

Dog in bad health
These dogs are just meant to breed. When that’s over, their life is over.

Dogs, like people, need regular health care. However, because it can be costly and time-consuming, veterinary care is limited. Breeding dogs and puppies don’t get to see a veterinarian often—not for regular checkups, vaccines, teeth cleanings or even when they’re sick.

Dog with overgrown, matted fur
Pushing dogs to their limits.

Puppy mill dogs aren’t bathed, their hair is not brushed and their nails are not cut. This can lead to painful matting and nails so long it hurts to stand or walk.

Dog laying down in cage
They have hundreds of dogs.

Since puppy mills only plan on selling puppies, there is little incentive to provide much physical or emotional care to the adult breeding dogs. Lack of normal human interaction hurts social animals like dogs. They may pace back and forth in their cages, bark nonstop, cower or appear entirely shut down.

Mother dog with pups
To them, it’s all good as long as the puppy is alive.

Female dogs are bred at every opportunity, even if they are sick, injured, exhausted or have genetic traits that could be damaging to their puppies.

Puppy alone in cage
They don’t care about health or behavior issues.

Puppies aren’t given time to gradually separate from their mother and litter-mates. Once there’s a buyer, puppies are immediately removed. This kind of sudden separation can lead to fear, anxiety and other lasting behavioral problems that may be difficult or impossible to treat.

Puppies in small cage
As long as the puppies live, they get their money.

Puppies are often shipped long distances by truck or plane to brokers and pet stores. The transport may be noisy, crowded, filthy, and too hot or cold. Puppies may also be exposed to illness and disease.

Dog in cage
Most dogs will never know the comfort of a home.

To a commercial breeder, the profits are in the puppies. No effort is made to find homes for adult dogs who can no longer breed. When their bodies are so depleted or sick that they can no longer produce puppies, they’re often abandoned or killed.


Pet Stores:

BE WARNED: WHERE DO THEIR PUPPIES COME FROM?

Pet stores are the primary sales outlet for puppy mills and are essential for keeping puppy mills in business. Both licensed and unlicensed mills sell to pet stores (many mills sell to pet stores without the required license and are not held accountable). Puppies are bred in mills and then shipped all over the country.

For example, puppies bred in the Midwest may be shipped on trucks to southern California or Florida. So these kind of mills can ship all over United States.


My personal story:

What puppy mills really are and how they operate.

I wanted a pug so bad and begged my parents. We would stroll through pet shops and look at all the puppies. One day my mother and I walked into a pet shop that was in the mall. There was one pug that had just been brought in. Of coarse we asked if we could play with him. We played and I begged to get him. Finally they said yes. We asked all about where he came from and the shop owner said he came from a nice Amish breeder with last name Yoder. I thought, “Wow, he must have had a nice family.” On the papers, it said his mom was China Doll. I thought this all sounded like a reputable breeder. My parents and I were the perfect owners. We took him to the vet as soon as we got him to make sure he was healthy. Everything checked out great. Then as I was training him, he LOVED to eat his own poop and everything he could get into his mouth. I thought this was just puppy behavior. But he never grew out of it. Thank god that everything he did ingest, came out without surgery!

This was all before I educated myself about puppy mills. Turns out that a lot of Amish do puppy mills as a source of income. It broke my heart to learn this. At first I thought that I had saved a puppy. But that should not have been my mentality.

That’s what puppy mills are hoping for in today’s world. That you “SAVE” a puppy. That just means that you fell for “PURCHASING” a puppy from them. So as the saying goes:

Pit Bull Love Sticker by Sophie Gamand for iOS & Android | GIPHY
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Microchips: No, not the edible kind of chips!

Microchipping your dog is a life saver

What is a Microchip?

A microchip is a little chip with a number on it that is implanted underneath the dog’s skin with a needle. The needle is inserted under the skin and there is a plunger that pushes the chip in. The needle comes out and leaves the chip under the skin. (There may be slight bleeding since this is a big needle.) The microchip stays in the dog for its lifetime. Sometimes the chip may relocate to another area on the body. That’s why it is important to scan a dog all over to make sure they aren’t microchipped.

How microchips are implanted.

After getting the microchip, you then register the number associated with the microchip number online or the company’s phone number. Many veterinarians and rescues do this for you so when your dog gets lost, you now have a way to distinguish your dog. Veterinarians and rescues keep the microchip number sticker in their system so when the dog is scanned, the number will come back to your profile. So hopefully if a person finds a dog, they will take it to a veterinary clinic and see if it has a microchip.

Why You Should Microchip Your Dog
Scanner checking for microchip

There are some companies that keep your information for free with unlimited updates and some companies that you pay a yearly membership to keep your records on file.

Lost Dog
“Hello, where did you go?”

Always keep your information up-to-date when moving, giving someone else custody, and if you change your phone number. Too many times I have seen a lost dog come in the veterinary clinic that the owners did not update their information.

“As long as you hold me, I don’t care what happens.”

My dog Chloe came from a rescue so they did the implant of the microchip before we got custody. (Most rescues will go ahead and microchip so if the dog gets lost or sold to someone else, they have records that you were the person that got them.) I was there when they did it and she didn’t even flinch. (She is a pretty tough girl!)

“That was a huge needle!!”

Then I talked my parents into getting Frankie (my pug that my parents got custody of) microchipped. He screamed his little head off when they inserted the needle and of coarse he bled. (He was pretty wimpy!!)

*Microchips ARE NOT GPS trackers

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Because I have “Happy Tail”

Ever have your dog wag its tail so much that it starts to bleed?

What is Happy Tail (Also known as Swimmers Tail)

Happy Tail & What You Need To Know About It

Happy tail syndrome occurs when a dog repeatedly whacks his tail against hard objects (walls, doors, furniture) until the end of the tail becomes an open wound. Large dogs with thick, powerful tails and short hair are the most susceptible to happy tail syndrome.

Happy tail syndrome is common in Labrador Retrievers, Pit Bulls, Great Danes, Greyhounds, Dobermans and hunting breeds. If you have a boxer (tail already cropped), a pug, or any breed with a curved tail or a small dog then you can breathe a sigh of relief.

In addition to breed, happy tail syndrome also has  everything to do with personality. Dogs with happy tail syndrome are bright, energetic, and super excited to see people. They will not stop wagging their tails no matter how much it may hurt them.

A dog’s tail can have anywhere from five to twenty vertebrae, depending on its length. If you’ve ever been hit by the long, strong tail of a large breed dog, you know it packs a powerful punch. It feels very much like the lash of a whip. The tip of a dog’s tail is often thin-skinned, and it has a good blood supply. It’s not uncommon to discover the wound after finding the walls of your living room newly decorated with blood.

Skeleton of a dog
As you can see, the tail is a long part of the vertebrae

How are you to tell your dog to stop wagging? Explain to them nicely that they need to refrain from wagging for four to six weeks so that their tail can heal? Trust me, they won’t listen to any advice you give them. 

How Is Happy Tail Syndrome Treated?

If you notice a balding spot or a raw area on your dog’s tail, reach out to your veterinarian before things get worse. While some cases of happy tail syndrome may initially only bleed a small amount, the continual wagging and the force of the wag make this a difficult injury to heal.

After consulting with your veterinarian, clean the open wound removing dirt and debris. Wrapping the injured tail in a soft bandage also helps keep the tail protected, but dogs can be persistent and quite masterful at pulling the bandages off. If this happens repeatedly, an Elizabethan collar may be helpful. It certainly is not fun for your dog, but because these tails take up to six weeks to heal, it may be a helpful option.

We dog owners understand that a dog’s tail is an important part of his personality. It’s also a crucial method of communication. Fortunately, for most families, a capable veterinarian along with plenty of patience and perseverance will bring this tale to a happy ending.

A dog's 'tell tail' sign is all in the wag
“I’m trying to wait patiently.”

My poor Chloe had this happen to her. I of course freaked out when I saw blood splatter all over the room she was being kept in. I looked all over at her body from head to toe. Then I noticed her tail was wet. There was a tiny area of skin that opened up. I knew right away to wrap it up with gauze and vet wrap. I took her to the vet to make sure she hadn’t broken any bones in her tail. Through all this, Chloe didn’t care (she’s a tough pup). The next big hurdle was trying to keep her calm so she wouldn’t wag her tail so much. The veterinary clinic gave us some calming medication. Now she has a little bald patch on the end of her tail where hair won’t grow back. I tell her that she has a little rat tail!!!

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Stinky Dog Feet??

Does your dog’s feet smell like Fritos or popcorn?

Chloe’s frito paws!! Yes, I do smell them!!

While it’s not recommended to go around sniffing your dog’s feet, there is science to back up any claims that your pet’s little paw pads indeed smell like Fritos – or popcorn, depending on who you ask.

As it turns out that the aroma is due to microorganisms living on the foot pads – specifically the bacteria called Pseudomonas and Proteus. Since the hair grows longer between your dog’s toes, it can create a safe haven for the bacteria and creates the perfect environment for them to grow – hence the smell. But there is no need to worry, it’s all completely natural.

Unlike humans – who sweat all over – dogs only sweat through the parts of their bodies that aren’t covered by fur. That means that the most sweat glands are located in your dog’s paws, with a few more in their nose. That is why if it’s a very warm day, you may notice little wet doggie paws on the floor – it’s their sweat!

This also explains why on a hot summer’s day, your dog will sit panting after a long walk in the park, because in general, the areas of skin on their feet and nose isn’t large enough to cool them down. As a result, they heavily rely on the evaporation of moisture from their tongue, as well as from the lining of their lungs, in order to lower body temperature.

But similar to people, the sweat that dogs produce doesn’t really have a scent on its own – it’s the microorganisms that produce the scent. But if you’re worried about the smell coming from your dog’s paws, there are a couple of things that you can try in order to keep the smell to a minimum.

The first trick is simple: just wash the soles of your dog’s feet. The second is to very carefully trim the hair between your dog’s paws.


However, there is a word of caution to keep in mind. While a little bit of a smell to your dog’s feet is perfectly normal, just keep an eye out for excessive smell, discharge, or swelling from their feet. Any of these could be a sign of an infection and should be given immediate medical attention at your local vet.

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Smoke Still in the Air

West Coast Still Has Smoke from Wildfires in the Air

Yes, there are still smoke and irritants hovering over the West Coast in Washington, Oregon, and California. The air quality has still been from very unhealthy to hazardous. When air quality reaches 151-200, it is considered unhealthy (for both humans and pets). This is when you start to experience problems. When the air quality exceeds 300, it is hazardous and may prompt emergency conditions.

Wildfire Smoke and Your Patients' Health: The Air Quality Index | Wildfire  Smoke and Your Patients' Health | US EPA
Be sure to check daily in your area

As irritating as smoke can be to people, it can cause health problems for animals as well. Smoke from wildfires and other large blazes affects pets. If you can see or feel the effects of smoke yourself, you also should take precautions to keep your pets safe.

Pets with cardiovascular or respiratory disease are especially at risk from smoke and should be closely watched during all periods of poor air quality.  Look for the following signs of possible smoke or dust irritation in pets. If any of your pets are experiencing any of these signs, please consult your veterinarian.

  • Coughing or gagging
  • Difficulty breathing, including open mouth breathing and increased noise when breathing
  • Eye irritation and excessive watering
  • Inflammation of throat or mouth
  • Nasal discharge
  • Asthma-like symptoms
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Disorientation or stumbling
  • Reduced appetite and/or thirst

Keep your pets safe

  • Keep pets indoors as much as possible, and keep your windows shut.
  • Let dogs and cats outside only for brief bathroom breaks if air quality alerts are in effect.
  • Avoid intense outdoor exercise during periods of poor air quality. Exercise pets when dust and smoke has settled.

I just wanted to reiterate how serious smoke inhalation is. Your dog cannot tell you that it’s hard for them to breathe. With smooshed faced dogs (brachycephalic), it is even harder for them to breathe.

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Brachycephalic Dogs (Dogs that look like they ran into a wall!)

Smooshed Nosed Dogs

Who can resist a face like that?

There are many things to consider with a smooshy face

These dogs are just too cute. But they do come with more medical issues since their noses are not equipped with a normal structure. Most dogs with this structure snore, grunt, wheeze, breathe harder, inhale food (aspirate where food gets into the lungs), not tolerate heat because they can’t breathe fast enough to cool down, and more complications with their throats.

With these small airways, it is harder for the dog to breathe and they take in less oxygen than normal dog airways. The soft palate (above pic) is what makes the dog snore, wheeze, and inhale food or water.

It is very important to watch these dogs when eating, drinking, and playing.

In warm weather, it is difficult for these dogs to cool themselves off as fast. They have to pant harder to breathe. Most of these kind of dogs have narrow nostrils that make it hard. If they get too exerted, they may faint or go into a coma. This is a serious issue because they are not getting enough oxygen to their brain. If this happens, rush them to the nearest veterinary hospital.

It gets harder and harder to breath with a tiny nose.

If they have inhaled food or water, you may notice they start to breath with a raspy sound in their chest. This is because they have accidentally inhaled to where their lungs get filled up filled up with the food or water. If this happens right after they have ate or drank water, rush them to the nearest veterinary clinic.


Be sure to do your research before adding these smooshed nosed dogs to your family


I’ve had personal experience with pugs, boxers, and pit bulls with smooshed noses. Yes they will snore even if they aren’t sleeping!! (My husband won’t let Chloe sleep with us because of her snoring. It’s LOUD!!) In hot weather, I only recommend potty breaks and short walks (make sure they are not panting hard).

If you come across a dog that is panting hard and collapsing, get help immediately!! The first things you can do is put a COOL towel (not cold because this restricts blood flow) and alcohol on the pads of their feet (this brings out the heat). Dogs can only sweat through their paws.

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Dogs being their funny selves

Dogs have a funny way of making us humans laugh!

Dogs have a happy heart. Just the simple things they do can make us laugh. I don’t know how many times I’ve looked at my dog and they are doing something funny.

Dogs can help humans emotionally

Having a dog not only means all you do is take care of them. They take care of you also. They can sense when you are down and may cuddle with you more. No matter what mood you are in, a dog always knows how to get you out of your funk.

I’ve personally have gone through depression and having anxiety. I’m always happy to know that my dog will help me out.

Chloe always wants to cuddle whether I’m sad or working. That always makes my heart so happy. Just petting and listening to her snoring away brings me back to what matters. Even as I type this post, she is snuggled so hard against me snoring!

Me and Twinkie using Chloe as a pillow

Frankie got to stay will Mamaw and Papaw when I got married and moved out. (I made sure Frankie knew I was still his mommy!) He loved snuggling with mamaw and papaw. He always knew there was a place for him on the couch!

Tired Frankie sleeping on mommy
Frankie protecting his papaw

In

Loving

Memory

of Frankie

Dogs love to show off their silly sides even when they think no one is watching.

Frankie always loved riding on mommy’s back. My mom got this pic just in time!!

Chloe checking out Twinkie’s hut. I asked her what she was doing, and she just gave me a look like “nothing mom”!

“When an 85 pound mammal licks your tears away, and then tries to sit on your lap, it’s hard to feel sad.” — Kristan Higgins