All About the Different Types of Pointer Breeds

The pointer breeds are hard-working dogs that are thought to have originated in Spain, Portugal, Great Britain and Eastern Europe. The first pointers may have appeared in England in the mid-17th century. This hunting breed is driven to follow scents in the wind and to indicate their prey’s position by pointing to it with their bodies. The pointer breeds are medium-sized dogs with an average weight of 45 to 75 pounds. They stand 23 to 28 inches tall at the shoulder and have an average lifespan of about 12 to 17 years. The coat comes in several colors, either solid or in patterns.

Born hunters, pointers will stand still with one foot raised off the ground to point the hunter in the right direction of the prey. Their hunting instincts may be sparked by birds, rabbits and cats, but pointers can usually get along with indoor cats when they are raised with them. Even if you are not out hunting, it’s in their nature, so pointer breeds will constantly stop to point to birds. Their hunting instincts develop early on, and they will retain what they learn throughout their lifetime.

Pointer breeds are great hunters, but at home these fun-loving dogs love to spend some quality time with you on the sofa or to play all day long with the children. They love people and when given the opportunity, pointer breeds can become great friends. They also love outside activities. The pointer breeds are very protective in nature and will alert you to the presence of strangers, making them excellent watchdogs. The pointer breeds are good natured dogs that are not generally aggressive.

Pointer breeds have many great attributes as a companion. They are loyal, hard-working and even-tempered. They also run hard and fast, making them good companions for a runner or cyclist. These dogs are also naturals at dog sports.

These pointer breeds have short, smooth coats that are very easy to care for and their fine coats shed very little. Just give your pointer a weekly brushing and you’re good to go.

The pointer is a very versatile breed and an exceptional family dog. Pointer breeds are energetic and fun-loving, and they are very well suited to active homes where they will be a member of the family. They are loyal and true friends.

Pointer breeds are strong and energetic with a mind of their own. They may be a little too much dog for an older person or a first-time dog owner, since they need consistent training and an hour or two or daily play, walks or exercise. When they don’t get enough exercise pointers can be very destructive with chewing, digging and other unwanted activities. This is especially true when they are young.

Meet the German Shorthaired Pointer

Originally from Germany, this low-maintenance breed is moderately easy to train. Their coat is solid liver (a reddish brown color), or liver and white in distinctive patterns.

A versatile hunting dog, the German Shorthaired Pointer can point birds and also hunt rabbits and raccoons. It can trail deer and retrieve on land or from water. The German Shorthaired Pointer is a great hunting dog – but for an active family he is also a great family pet. This breed is very energetic and highly intelligent. Alert and protective, the German Shorthaired Pointer is also an excellent watchdog.

The German Shorthaired Pointer is a very versatile dog that demands much of your energy and attention. If you do not have at least an hour or two to devote to exercise or walking on a daily basis, the German Shorthaired Pointer is not a good choice for you. These dogs require daily activity that gets their hearts pumping.

The German Shorthaired Pointer is a very active dog, but once all of his exercise needs have been taken care of, he is a calm house dog that loves to be a member of the family. He has excellent manners, and he is loyal and fearless. The German Shorthaired Pointer bonds firmly to his family. He enjoys playing with children and will happily play all day. He also enjoys some good couch time with you and is a very loving companion.

To learn more about the German Shorthaired Pointer, go to Meet the German Shorthaired Pointer.

Meet the English Pointer

The English Pointer, also known as the Pointer, is a friendly and intelligent dog in the Sporting Group that excels at hunting. It has a strong athletic build and high energy levels. This is a graceful dog with an elegant carriage. The English Pointer is very even tempered. They get along well with children and are not aggressive toward people or other dogs.

What You Need to Know About the Recent Raw Dog Food Warnings

A number of reports, recalls, and warnings have been issued over the course of 2019 regarding feeding pets raw food. Recently, a couple of raw dog food warnings have been issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) targeting specific companies and their raw food products warning consumers of the presence of harmful bacteria.

The reason for the warning as test results revealing the presence of Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes — two extremely harmful forms of bacteria that can cause sickness and even death in both animals and humans. A number of products from each company were tested with the samples used resulting in the presence of these bacteria.

While some companies and their customers have pushed back on the FDA’s findings (and in some cases, even refusing to issue a recall for the product in question), it brings some important considerations to light. First is the reason why people feed dogs raw food in the first place.

Why Do People Feed Dogs Raw Dog Food?

The general thinking behind raw dog food is that it’s more closely aligned with what our pets historically ate prior to domestication and the mass production of pet food. Advocates for raw food argue that it is easier for our pets to break down during digestion because animals hundreds of years ago did not consume cooked and processed foods.

The contents of commercially produced food have also been called into question, particularly as certain additives and ingredients may be toxic for the sake of adding flavor and preserving the food. Other advocates for raw dog food cite the fact that common pet foods today include a number of unwanted elements, such as fillers, chicken byproducts, rancid oils and fats, and more that aren’t considered suitable for human food products.

Additionally, raw dog food advocates argue that regular pet food simply doesn’t contain enough nutrients that a dog would need. While there are significant arguments on both sides (those for raw dog food and those who believe it’s just fine), there are some straightforward facts that should be addressed.

The Raw Dog Food Warnings Were Issued for a Reason

Whether you agree with the methodology behind the recent raw dog food warnings, it’s important to understand that certain forms of bacteria — and not just any bacteria, but truly harmful bacteria — were found in certain lots of tested raw dog food products. Their existence in a few lots means those same bacteria could exist in other lots, too. The FDA urged consumers to reconsider their purchases and warned those that had already purchased the products in question to dispose of them and sanitize any surfaces with which they had come into contact.

When feeding your dog raw food products, it’s important to understand that because it’s raw, there is no way to truly guarantee that it won’t get your pet sick. The same goes for processed dog foods. But as the recent raw dog food warnings indicate, it’s something that dog owners must consider carefully. Some people believe that raw dog food — despite the increased risk for the presence of potentially harmful bacteria — is acceptable because dogs, cats, and other animals have thrived for thousands of years hunting and eating their prey raw and that their bodies are more aptly suited to those diets.

On the other hand, those against raw dog food argue that today’s commercially produced foods are actually better for dogs because they contain a more complete balance of nutrition. And while a dog owner feeding a dog raw food would have to wing it to find the right balance over time, commercially produced food is ready to go and can provide your dog with a balanced amount of nutrition.

Pet Food Protects More Than Pets

One thing worth noting is that the way dog food is produced is intended to protect dog owners just as much as the dogs themselves. In the recent raw dog food warnings, lots of product were tested for the presence of harmful bacteria. Remember that as a pet owner, you’ll handle this food yourself as you prepare it for your pet. Depending on the product, this could happen multiple times per day.

Whether that’s dry, off-the-shelf food or wet, refrigerated food, your hands will eventually come into contact with it. Certain forms of bacteria thrive in different types of food. Some forms of bacteria can even grow in environments devoid of oxygen (such as the inside of a can). This is why you may occasionally see a canned food product bulging from the side or on top. Do not purchase these products.

Keep the Allergies Out With These Spring Dog Cleaning Tips

Spring is here, and the inevitable cleaning is well underway in many households nationwide. Part of that is spring dog cleaning — a chance for you to give your furry friend a refreshing makeover as well as an opportunity to clear out a winter’s worth of dander, shed fur, and other unwanted things your pet may have dragged in or dropped off in your home over the colder months.

Here are a few tips to get your home and pup ready for the warmer season ahead.

Help Your Dog Out with Keeping Her Coat Clean

First on our list of spring dog cleaning tips is a good, old-fashioned brushing. And we don’t mean the normal 1-2 minute brushing you might give her just to keep her coat neat and tidy. We mean a real brushing. Consider a product that will remove excess hair from her undercoat. This will help prevent shedding and also keep your dog cooler. Remember that certain dog breeds will need to be brushed more frequently than others. Learn more about properly grooming your dog.

Remember to bathe your dog frequently as well. A spring dog bath will not only help keep your dog’s coat clean and fresh but will also help to clean the skin further down. This is important, as the winter months can be hard on pets’ skin just as it can on humans. Be sure to use a shampoo that won’t dry your dog’s skin out with each bathing — dry skin will result in more dander and more issues with allergies. Learn more about keeping your dog’s coat clean during the spring months.

Medications Can Help with an Allergen-Inducing Spring Dog

Whether you already have a dog or have been considering adding one to your family, it’s important to take proper precautions for anyone with an existing allergy to dogs. Certain medications and immunotherapy can help members of your household will help alleviate any allergy symptoms you or your family members may have.

Clean Your Home — and Its Air — Thoroughly

As the weather begins to warm up, your pet will start to shed. Even if you have a breed that doesn’t typically shed much, some shedding is expected, so it’s important to keep your living space as clean as possible. In addition to your normal routine cleaning, deep cleaning under couches and chairs, appliances, rugs, and tables should be performed to clear any hair or dander that may have accumulated there over the colder months. Also remember to clean your dog’s bedding as this can be a significant source of hair accumulation.

Hair removal throughout your home is important, but just as important is ensuring the air inside your home is clean, too. Don’t rely on your furnace filter to catch everything, even if you have a higher-end allergen-catching filter. Consider an air purifier to help catch dander, hair, and other pet-related allergens and cycle the air more rapidly. And remember that if you open the windows for fresh air, you’re also letting more allergens inside — so an air purifier will be very helpful in catching pet allergens and natural allergens from outside.

A Clean Spring Dog is a Happy Spring Dog

With warmer weather comes more opportunities for outdoor fun and adventure — as well as mud, water, and other grime. As you start to take your dog outdoors for walks and other fun, remember to keep her clean when you return home. Not only will this help keep your home fresh this spring, but it will also keep your pet feeling fresh as well.

While you won’t need to give your dog a full bath after just one walk around the neighborhood, if it’s sprinkling or if your dog gets into some muddy mischief, consider rinsing her off. The last thing you need is a dirty home and a dirty spring dog scratching herself all over your rugs and furniture.

Remember that spring is also a time when ticks and fleas start to show up, so frequent bathing and protective medications or applications are important to keep her free from disease, insect bites, and irritating itching. Bathe her frequently to remove any unwanted guests, keep up on your treatments and medications, and brush her frequently.

Learn More About Allergies and Dogs

Are You Ready? Here Are the Most Popular Dogs of 2018

Hot off the presses, it’s the PetPlace list of the most popular dogs of 2018! Just as with other trends, certain dog breeds also ebb and flow in popularity. However, specific dog breeds seem to always hold the top 10 spots, at least according to the American Kennel Club — and once you read about them, you’ll learn it’s for a good reason.

Many of the breeds on this year’s list of the most popular dogs of 2018 have held their respective positions for a long time. Whether it’s because they’re more relaxed and comfortable around families or if it’s due to a lengthy history in helping out their human masters with hunting, tracking, or performing other tasks, these breeds have earned their positions over the decades and centuries and are continually recognized as the most popular dog breeds out there.

If you’ve been thinking about adding a furry friend to your family, here’s a top 10 list of the most popular dogs of 2018.

#1: The Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog breed of 2018 — and has held this spot in the ranks for nearly 30 years! Clearly, this breed has become an American favorite. This breed has a long and storied history and was even great for hunting. Nowadays, you’re much more likely to find them snuggling family members and walking around the neighborhood. Learn more about Labrador Retrievers here.

#2: The German Shepherd

The German Shepherd, also known as an Alsatian, has for many years been one of the most popular dog breeds. Ranking high on the list of the most popular dogs for 2018, the German Shepherd is a remarkable guide and herding dog. Used by law enforcement for scent detection and finding people stuck in debris after a disaster, German Shepherds also make loyal companions and are easily trained. Learn more about German Shepherds here.

#3: The Golden Retriever

Similar to the Labrador Retriever, our third breed on the list of the most popular dogs for 2018 is the Golden Retriever — also renowned for its ability to serve as a guide, hunting companion, and of course, a loving member of any family. Golden Retrievers are loyal, friendly, and extremely loving. The breed is extremely healthy with only a few commonly reported medical conditions. Learn more about Golden Retrievers here.

#4: The French Bulldog

Descended from a long line of bulldog breeds, the French Bulldog will make a wonderful family companion if you’ve been looking to add a furry friend to your household. As a non-sporting dog, French Bulldogs don’t require a significant amount of exercise and will generally prefer to stay close to you and snuggle. As with other short-nosed breeds, the French Bulldog may develop breathing problems. Learn more about this breed here.

#5: The Bulldog

Next up on our list of the most popular dog breeds of 2018 is the Bulldog! If you love wrinkles and squishy faces, this breed is for you. Bulldogs love attention and will actively seek it out. Bulldogs may not get along with other dogs, so keep that in mind when considering this breed. Bulldogs also need human presence, so if your job keeps you away, consider if this breed is right for you. As with other short-nosed dog breeds, Bulldogs are susceptible to potential breathing problems. Learn more about Bulldogs here.

#6: The Beagle

Developed in the British Isles and often used for rabbit hunting, the Beagle has a long history and close relation to hounds. They love to hunt but are trainable, loving, and easygoing — making them a great addition to a household with children. They are also fairly low maintenance, requiring little grooming. However, because of their nature, Beagles love to dig. They must be properly trained to prevent this. As with other breeds, Beagles are susceptible to some commonly occurring medical conditions. Learn more about Beagles here.

#7: The Poodle

There’s a good reason why Poodles make the list of the most popular dogs for 2018 — they have a centuries-long history of being favored as a symbol of luxury and wealth. While they do have some roots in hunting and other tasks, Poodles nowadays make great companions for virtually any household. They are affectionate and intelligent but require daily grooming. It also worth noting that different varieties of poodles may acquire or be born with certain conditions. Learn more about the different varieties of poodles here.

#8: The Rottweiler

The Rottweiler is a breed with roots reaching as far back as ancient Rome. Due to their strength, size, and loyalty, Rottweilers have always made great guard dogs for police and homes alike. It’s important to note that training for a Rottweiler is critical — properly trained, a Rottweiler will be a loving lifetime companion. The breed is often maligned for its aggression, but this is due to improper training. The breed is healthy overall with some commonly occurring conditions that potential owners should know about. Learn more about Rottweilers here.

#9: German Shorthaired Pointer

Another dog with a history in hunting and retrieving, the German Shorthaired Pointer is a favorite amongst those with an active or athletic lifestyle. Because the German Shorthaired Pointer requires activity and exercise, the breed would do best in a home with space and even a fenced backyard. The breed is a great choice for those who jog or do other outdoor activities and is fiercely loyal and committed to its owner. It is a very healthy breed with few commonly occurring medical concerns. Learn more about the German Shorthaired Pointer here.

#10: The Yorkshire Terrier

Despite its size, the Yorkshire Terrier is a surprisingly strong and resilient dog breed. Originally used to hunt rats, the breed quickly became a fashionable pet for the wealthy. Their long coats require more frequent grooming, but the Yorkshire Terrier is otherwise trainable and very friendly. They may not initially be tolerant of children but can be trained to be comfortable around them. While the breed is overall a healthy choice, it can suffer from some commonly reported medical conditions. Learn more about the Yorkshire Terrier here.

Explore More Articles About Top Dog Breeds

Why Preparation is Critical When Flying with a Dog

More and more dogs, cats, and other pets are finding their way onto our airlines than ever before. Delta Airlines alone carries more than 700 emotional support animals per day — around 250,000 annually. But apart from emotional support animals (ESAs), what about those of us who just want to take our dog on an adventure? Dog lovers everywhere consider their pets as more than just pets — they’re part of the family and should get to experience our adventures alongside us.

Traveling with man’s best friend might seem like a great idea, particularly as trends like solo travel and slow travel lead to more people traveling alone and for longer periods of time than the traditional vacation or weekend getaway. With this form of travel, it makes sense that more people would want to take their pets along for the ride — after all, the alternative would be kenneling or getting a pet sitter. Unfortunately, an increasing number of pet deaths pertaining to air travel are being reported — along with situations in which airlines refuse to allow certain dog breeds on board.

Additionally, recent incidents regarding regular pets being masqueraded by their owners as ESAs has caused airlines to push new policies that have outraged flyers and caused a fair amount of online debate. While these events have made it harder for those with true disabilities to fly, it has also made it more difficult for those who just want to take their pet along on a trip.

If flying with a dog is a part of your travel plan, here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your dog remains safe, healthy, and stable during the trip — and that you’re meeting all of your airlines’ requirements.

Consider If Your Dog Can Handle Air Travel

Remember, your dog doesn’t understand what flying is nor does she have an understanding of what it’ll be like. It could be very stressful for her, especially if your trip will involve more than one stop and layovers between them. If you have a long flight ahead, you might have some difficulty keeping your dog calm (and as we’ll discuss shortly, tranquilizing might not be a solution).

Kenneling your dog while you’re away may be a better decision if a friend or family member is unable to take care of them for you. Just as flying with a dog has certain requirements, so too does kenneling a dog. Once you’ve found a reputable kennel, review their requirements thoroughly as well as its appearance and cleanliness to ensure your day will be safe during her stay. But if flying with a dog is your only option, you’ll have some homework to do ahead of the flight.

Call the Airline Ahead of Time

Not every airline has the same policy when it comes to flying with a dog. Those that do allow it will have specific fees and requirements in order to permit your dog to travel with you. You can review current airline policies and fees here. Make sure you understand these requirements carefully, as fees can be steep and accumulate for each separate flight, and certain dog breeds may not be permitted in the cabin or at all. Those that are will be required to be in a sturdy container that is marked Live Animal with an up arrow and must be carefully stowed under a seat.

Make Sure Your Dog is Health Enough to Fly

Every airline that permits flying with a dog will require a health certificate from a vet proving that it’s in good health, is free of any contagious diseases, and is up-to-date on its vaccines. If your flight is a few weeks or months away, don’t head to the vet too early. Many airlines will require documentation that is no older than 10 days.

Reconsider Tranquilizing Your Dog Before Departure

Tranquilizing or sedating your dog before your flight will alter its equilibrium, which can be dangerous because your dog may not be able to balance well. Also, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the risk of respiratory or cardiovascular problems can increase when an animal is under sedation. Carefully consider the pros and cons of sedation for your dog before taking her with you on a flight.

Certain Dog Breeds May Have Difficulty Flying

Brachycephalic (short-nosed) dog breeds like Boston Terriers, pugs, bulldogs, boxers, some mastiffs, Pekingese, Lhasa Apsos, and Shih Tzus are at increased risk during air travel. These breeds are already often prone to respiratory problems, and changes in air pressure, temperature, and quality can heighten those risks. Additionally, short-nosed breeds can have difficulty breathing when stressed. If placed in a cargo hold or in a cramped cabin, the dog may experience difficulty breathing, and you might not know.

Fly Direct If Possible

Depending on your travel plans, consider booking direct flights to minimize the stress imparted on your dog. Multiple stops, layovers, and other air travel norms aren’t the same for animals as they are for humans. If you’re flying with a dog that has to be checked as cargo, you might not see her until you arrive at your final destination. If you’ll be flying internationally with your dog, it’s important to do your planning well in advance to ensure the safety of your dog as well as compliance with your destination country’s rules.

How to Handle the Loss of a Pet

Tips to Help You and Your Family Deal with the Loss of a Pet

Pets become an important part of our lives, and losing them can be devastating. Every loss is different, and how a person responds is unique. Below we will share some ways people respond to the loss of a pet, provide some tips on how to better deal with the loss of a pet, and share some tips on how to best help support children and help them understand the loss of a pet.

Dealing with the Loss of a Pet – Children vs. Adults

As adults, our understanding of death is very different from a child’s. The understanding and comprehension a child has about death depend largely on their age. Death may or may not be permanent in the mind of a child. Read this article for a good understanding of what children understand about death at different ages. Go to How to Tell Your Child About Putting a Dog Down: Dos and Don’ts. If you have pets and children, this article is a must-read.

As adults, our ability to deal with the loss of a pet can depend on many factors. These can include our prior experience with loss and death, other stressors in our lives, our individual relationship with a particular pet, and our family or social support network. There are many different ways a person can respond to the loss of a pet.

How People Deal with the Loss of a Pet

As a veterinarian, I’ve seen just about every reaction to the loss of a pet you can imagine. For some, the pet was their child or family member. They grieve deeply. Others have verbally told me “it was just a dog,” and that is that. No tears. No emotion. And I’ve seen every emotion in between.

Below are some reactions to the loss of a pet that stand out in my mind:

  • Hard being strong. Some individuals get their first pet as young adults, start a family, and find themselves losing a pet with their children. As they work through their own grief, they have to be strong for their family. Sometimes there is concurrent guilt as they reflect how their pet was number one for many years, then became a lower priority as life changed.
  • Suicidal thoughts. I’ve had clients tell me they didn’t want to live after the loss of a pet. This is just about the hardest thing to deal with. Anyone that considers self-harm or contemplates suicide must seek help from a professional. An excellent article that walks you through the stages of grief and support options was written by Bonnie Mader, who was the co-founder of a Pet Loss Support Hotline at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine. Read her full article here (which includes support phone numbers): Pet Loss Support: Helping You Cope After Your Dog’s Death. There are pet loss counselors — read this interview at Pet Grief Support: Talking with a Pet Loss Counselor.
  • Guilt. A number of clients focus on guilt with the loss of a pet. Guilt can originate from thoughts that they were busy and believe they neglected their pet’s signs of illness until it was advanced. Or, it can have to do with limited financial resources to provide possible life-saving medical care. Some find it difficult to grieve properly due to their guilt.
  • Memorial. Many pet lovers place some of their grief and emotional energy in creating a memorial or tribute to their beloved friend. I’ve seen this in the form of a funeral (some quite elaborate), a photo album, and/or artistic creations such as a painting. Some find a special urn for the ashes and place it in a particular area in their homes and lives.
  • Save the ashes. Some clients find comfort in having their pets cremated and saving their ashes to be later buried with them or mixed with their own ashes. Several believe that this allows them to be together forever and provides comfort.
  • Silence. Some pet owners cope by not talking about their loss and trying to put it out of their mind. If I see them in the clinic, their pet never comes up and if it is mentioned for any reason, they shut that conversation down with a quick topic change.
  • Lost. Some clients become somewhat lost and want to be alone. They avoid social activities and family functions. I’ve actually had clients not want to come back to a hospital because of their profound memories of dealing with a pet’s loss.
  • Rituals. Over the years, I’ve had clients perform quite simple to elaborate rituals to mourn the passing of a pet. For years, I had a client come to the hospital and request to light a candle in a room where she euthanized her 20-year-old pet that had cancer. She felt closer to her pet and believed she felt its spirit present. Another client celebrates her dog’s birthday every year with a glass of wine, close friends, and a stroll through memory lane with a photo album.
  • Sadness. My first pet was named Kali. She died unexpectedly when I was in college and to say I was devastated is an understatement. I still cry when I think of her and become sad. I’ve learned to box off those emotions, at least most of the time. Occasionally I see a cat that reminds me of her and an involuntary tear is shed. Feelings of loss and sadness are common and can continue for years.
  • Jewelry. Another way clients take comfort in this difficult time is to have jewelry made from their pet’s ashes. I frequently have clients show their special pieces of jewelry for pets that I have cared for. They have truly found comfort in knowing their pet is with them all the time when they wear their jewelry.
  • Fake strength. Some try to be strong, they may even say the wrong things, they may even be inappropriate with a joke or laughter, while being devastated by the loss of their special friend. Some find comfort in physically carrying their pet out of the clinic and going home to dig a burial hole. Sometimes the physical act of digging a hole allows them some personal time to say goodbye and provides closure.

Many of these responses described can be categorized into the stages of grief that include anger, denial, depression, acceptance, and bargaining. Learn more about these stages — go to Pet Loss Support: Helping You Cope After Your Dog’s Death.

The Ultimate How-To Guide for Grooming a Dog at Home

Along with their daily walks and mental stimulation, there is another important part of being a pet parent; maintaining a regular grooming schedule at home.

Even if you attend appointments at your local grooming salon, there are still jobs that need to be done at home, this is especially true for large or high maintenance dogs.

We have put together 5 top tails for grooming your pooch at home.

Start Young

Socializing your puppy means he experiences everything the world has to offer. The more he is exposed to something, the more he learns it’s nothing to be feared and potentially, that when certain things happen, good things happen too!

When I walk past the neighbor’s yappy dog and ignore him, I get a treat, for example. Grooming should be a part of this process. As a puppy, start handling him, touching all the parts of his body, his paws, his tail, his tummy and his ears. Reward him and praise him as you go. You want him to learn that being handled is nothing to be worried about. Start in short sessions, a couple of minutes here and there. Slowly increase the time spent handling him. You may find that giving him a chew to distract him will help or putting a dollop of peanut butter on the kitchen cupboard helps encourage him to stand whilst you handle him.

Introduce The Tools

Once you are confident he can tolerate being handled, now you need to introduce the tools of your trade. These will vary depending on the breed of dog you have. For double coated breeds, a rake and metal comb will be your life saver. For tight, curly coated breeds a slicker brush and metal comb should be the top of your tool list! For any breeds who suffer with knots or matts, so again those curly coated breeds, you may want to invest in a de-matting knife. Not as brutal as it sounds, it simply cuts through knots and matts to make it as pain free as possible to remove them. For soft, sleek coated breeds you may want to invest in a rubber paddle brush. These have rubber nobbles which grips loose hair, removing it as you brush.

Get Into A Routine

It’s easy to let life get in the way, you’re running late home from work, or family issues have taken over. But if you get into the routine of grooming, you’re less likely to forget. Maybe you will groom your faithful friend before work, maybe just before bed. Dog’s like routine too, they will soon get into the swing of things if you are consistent.

Grooming Isn’t Just Brushing

Whilst the tools we’ve mentioned only really look at brushing your pooch, when we say grooming, we mean the whole caboodle. Fido needs his ears and eyes checked regularly and cleaned. You can clean their eyes by simply dampening some cotton pads and wiping around the area. You may find a specific dog safe ear cleaner keeps their ears grime free. Pay attention if your dog is a poodle or poodle cross. They regularly need their ears plucking due to the hair growing inside their ear canal. Failure to keep on top of this often results in ear infections!

Brush Their Teeth Too

Just like humans, dogs get plaque and tartar build up. The best way to prevent this is to brush their teeth. Again, introduce it as early as possible. Start by just letting them sniff and explore the toothbrush and toothpaste. Introduce short sessions, it may only be 20-30 seconds for the first time. Praise throughout and reward when you have finished. You want Fido to learn that tooth brushing isn’t that bad, especially if there’s a treat at the end of it! Studies have shown that brushing your dog’s teeth only once a week shows no improvement in plaque and tartar build up, so several sessions throughout the week are necessary to keep those pearly whites strong and healthy! Not only that, but bacteria growth in the mouth has been known to move around the body, causing other health issues too.

Grooming at home is a huge part of being a pet parent, by starting young you stand the best chance of making it as stress-free as possible, for both of you. Choose the right tools for the job and regularly praise and reward throughout. Getting into a regular routine gives you the best chance of staying on top of it but seek the advice of a qualified groomer if there is ever a time you are unsure of grooming your faithful friend!

The Truth About Your Dog’s Droppings and the Effect on Your Lawn

We all have a special place in our hearts for our pooches. However, most dog owners would tell you their daily droppings aren’t the most fun thing to deal with. In fact, picking up Fido’s mess is a top annoyance for many Americans. But picking up dog poop is an essential part of keeping both your lawn and yourself healthy. Learn more of the truth about your dog’s droppings and the effect on your lawn with these common myths:

Myth #1: It’s Just Poop, It Can’t Make Me Sick

Truth: Dog waste contains millions of bacteria that could lead to some severe health problems. Allowing dog poop to stay on your lawn creates a higher risk of getting sick. Dogs and other animals (including yourself!) could step in the poop and transit tiny particles to other areas of the home. Carpets, furniture, and other spots where your dog walks can contain harmful bacteria. Common problems associated with dog feces include intestinal issues, diarrhea, and kidney disorders.

Dog poop can also pose problems for your dog and other pets. Roundworms and tapeworms are often found in dog poop which can spread to other animals. This intestinal issue can make your pets and you sick.

Myth #2: Dog Waste Fertilizes My Lawn

Truth: While you may see more growth in certain areas of the lawn where your dog likes to relieve himself, dog poop does more damage than good. Dog urine is high in nitrogen and can cause dead patches of grass. Dog poop also creates an unsightly “landmine” situation where you and your family can’t enjoy the lawn that you’ve worked so hard to maintain.

Dog waste isn’t a good fertilizer like cow manure. Spreading dog waste onto a garden can contaminate the produce.

Myth #3: Heartworm Spreads Through Dog Poop

Truth: Heartworm is a horrible disease that has become a significant problem for many pet owners. Although it would be easy to blame dog poop for spreading the parasite, heartworm actually spreads through mosquito bites.

Myth #4: My Neighbors Don’t Really Care

Truth: Your neighbors do care! Many homeowners associations will fine an owner who doesn’t pick up after Fido since the poop creates an eyesore for the neighborhood. Dog poop also produces an unpleasant smell which can cause a big stink with your neighbors. About 10 million tons of dog poop is not picked up each year creating a germy, unsightly damper on the environment. It’s one of the biggest contributors to urban watershed pollution in the country. The feces gets swept away by stormwater and contaminates creeks, rivers, and ponds. This issue has created division among many neighbors who find dog poop in their yard… especially if they don’t own a dog.

Myth #5: It’s Not A Big Deal

Truth: The fact is that dog poop left on the lawn can become an eyesore for your home. Those who pass by may think that the inside of your home is also not cared for. If you’re trying to sell your home, allowing dog poop to pile up in the backyard is a major turn off and can significantly reduce the value of your home.

Now that we have debunked the common myths about dog poop and your lawn, what can you do to keep your lawn healthy?

Pick It Up On A Regular Basis

We’re all busy so you may not have time to pick up dog poop every day. So set a goal of picking up poop every three days to keep the lawn clean. This will help keep the smell down in the yard as well as allow the grass to have a chance to bounce back. This is an excellent job for older kids, like teenagers, who understand good hygiene after coming in contact with fecal matter.

Take Bags Along

Walking your dog is a significant part of owning a pet. Daily walks help the dog get exercise and can cut down on hyperactivity while inside the home. Make sure you always have a bag with you on walks in case your pup relieves himself on someone else’s lawn. If you forgot your bag, make a note of the mess and make sure to come back after the walk to clean up after your pet.

Where to Discard Poop

Many homeowners end up gathering the poop and throwing it in the trash. This can lead to a stinky home if forgotten or left in a trash can indoors. Of course, you could always flush the poop when you get home. Some pet care companies have introduced new biodegradable pet waste bags that will slowly decompose.

Create A Designated Spot

When bringing home a new dog or puppy, consider training them to only poop in one area of the yard. This can cut down on your need to hunt for poop all over the yard and make it easier to care for your lawn and your pet. Pet proofing your yard and garden is also a good way to keep your dog safe when left outdoors unsupervised.

Properly Care for Your Lawn

For those areas of the lawn that your dog visits often, diluting the spots with water. This will help break up the concentration of nitrogen and allow your grass a chance to recover. Other options include spreading lime over the lawn to help neutralize the acidic parts. Reseed bare spots where the grass has died and consider adding fertilizer to help lawn growth.

Can Dogs Eat Strawberries?

Dog owners commonly ponder about the toxicity of foods. The questions about the safety of different foods increased after learning that certain foods were toxic that led to a lot of press coverage.

The most important toxic foods are Chocolate, Grapes and Raisins, and Peanut Butter. Exposure to the dangers of these foods have encouraged pet owners to ask about other human foods such as can dogs eat strawberries. Learn more about what dogs can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Dogs Can’t Eat.

Can Dogs Eat Strawberries?

A strawberry is a a round, oblong, spherical, or heart shaped sweet soft red fruit with a seed-studded surface grown from a strawberry plant. The world production of strawberries is estimated to be nearly 10 million ton/year.
The strawberry plant is a low growing green plant that produces white flowers that yield the strawberry fruit. They are grown worldwide. Strawberries are commonly eaten by themselves or prepared in foods such as pies, ice cream, milk shakes, energy drinks, salad dressings, preserves, fruit smoothies, fruit bars, candy, or enjoyed covered in chocolate. The flavor and aromas are common in candy, perfume, cosmetics, candles, and many more products.

It is believed that the first strawberry was bred in France and came to North American in the mid 1700’s. The strawberry has received recent press discussing that it is not a classified as a traditional “berry” based on the biology of the plant and that it is technically an “accessory fruit”.

The answer to the question, “can dogs eat Strawberries”… the answer is yes. Dogs can eat strawberries but in moderation. Dogs often love the soft moist texture and many enjoy this as a healthy snack. Strawberries are a good source of antioxidants, fiber, and Vitamin C.

The Dangers of Strawberries to Dogs

Ingestion of large amounts of strawberries can cause gastrointestinal upset such as diarrhea. Although uncommon, ingestion of strawberry stems and plants can cause gastrointestinal obstruction. The leaves and plant, while not toxic, are very difficult to digest. Signs of problems include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, straining to defecate, and/or a decreased appetite.

The other danger of strawberries to dogs is the danger of choking – especially when eating a large whole strawberry. Some dogs are not good at “chewing” their food and the danger of choking can occur. This is more common in small dogs.

Please be careful if your dog eats anything strawberry flavored that contains the sweetener xylitol. This can be an ingredient in diet or low calorie pastries and drinks, especially those created for people with diabetes. Learn more about Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs.

Do Dogs Need Strawberries?

There is nothing in strawberries that dogs require on a regular basis. What dogs do need is a high quality AAFCO approved dog food. Learn more about Nutrition in Dogs.

The Safest Way to Give Strawberries to Dogs

The safest way to give some strawberry to your dog is to give small pieces of clean fresh strawberry. Dogs should never be feed the strawberry stem or leaves.

How Much Strawberry Can You Give a Dog?

One medium-sized strawberry cut up is plenty to give a small dog, two to three for a medium-sized dog, and three or four medium sized strawberries for a large sized dog.

Can Dogs Be Allergic to Strawberries?

While it is possible for a dog to be allergic to anything, dog allergies to strawberries are uncommon.

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Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?

Dog owners commonly ponder about the safety of feeding human foods. The question of food safety increased after learning that specific human foods are toxic to dogs that led to a lot of press coverage. The most important foods toxic to dogs are Peanut Butter, Grapes and Raisins, and Chocolate. This encouraged pet owners to ask about the safety of other foods such as shrimp.

Learn more about what dogs can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Dogs Can’t Eat.

Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?

A shrimp, commonly referred to as a prawn, is an animal classified as decapod crustaceans that live in the water. There are thousands of species that serve as an important food source to various ocean animals including various species of fish. Shrimp have an elongated body, strong tails, and most commonly move by swimming. The tails of shrimp are a common delicacy for human consumption and the commercial shrimp industry is estimated to be over a 50 billion dollar a year business.

The answer to can dogs eat cooked shrimp is yes they can. Shrimp can be prepared plain, streamed, grilled, sautéed, baked, boiled, or broiled. Dogs love the soft firm texture, flavor and smell of the shrimp and can enjoy it as a healthy snack. Shrimp are a good source of protein, phosphorous, selenium, choline, copper, iodine and vitamin B12.

The Dangers of Shrimp to Dogs

When researching the safety of shrimp for dogs, there are five considerations that impact the danger.

  1. Pancreatitis or gastrointestinal upset can occur in dogs that aren’t use to shrimp or after ingestion of shrimp cooked with seasonings and butter. Too much oil, fat, or seasoning can lead to gastrointestinal upset or pancreatitis.
  2. There is a risk of choking or esophageal foreign bodies from the tails (shell). This is more common in small dogs but can occur in any dog.
  3. Ingestion of large amounts if fish tails can cause gastrointestinal upset and constipation.
  4. Raw shrimp can contain a bacterium that infects dogs (and you) such as E.Coli, salmonella and/or listeria which can cause symptoms of infection in dogs.
  5. Some dogs may be allergic to shrimp.

The answer to the question, “can dogs eat shrimp” …the answer is yes.

If your dog ingested shrimp and is showing symptoms such as trouble swallowing, vomiting, diarrhea, not eating or lethargy, please call your veterinarian or closest emergency clinic.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Any food can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs. What may not cause illness in one dog may create sickness in another dog. The same can happen in people. Some foods that bother some people may not affect others.

Do Dogs Need Shrimp?

There is nothing in shrimp that dogs require however shrimp is a very good source of protein and nutrients. Learn more about the nutritional needs of dogs. Go to Nutrition in Dogs.

The Safest Way to Give Shrimp to Dogs

The safest way to give shrimp to your dog is to offer a small amount of unseasoned or lightly seasoned deveined cooked shrimp. If feeding shrimp, ½ of a shrimp is plenty for a small dog, 1 shrimp for a medium-sized dog, and 2 or 3 for a large sized dog.

Can Dogs Be Allergic to Shrimp?

Dogs can have food allergies including to shrimp. The most common food allergens in dogs are beef, chicken, and dairy. Symptoms of allergies in dogs can include skin infections, ear infections, scaly dry skin, and persistent itching.

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