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Thursday, October 29, 2015

HALLOWEEN DANGERS FOR YOUR PET



Although Halloween is a fun and exciting time for humans as well as those creatures from other dimensions, it can be a very frightening time for our pets.  To our dogs, which have amazing abilities for facial recognition, all the masks appearing on Halloween as well as the constant doorbells can cause a lot of stress and confusion.

Secondly, we would all like to believe everyone out there is kind and loving to animals, but it is just not true.  There are people out there who actually wish to do harm to animals and Halloween is an especially high-risk time for pets.

To keep our pets safe, please keep them safely confined inside where they can’t bolt when frightened and cannot be taken from the yard, or frightened and escape the yard.  To keep them calm, keeping them contained perhaps in a bedroom with music or a T.V. , so they won’t get stressed every time they hear a doorbell is always a good idea.

The other safety risk during Halloween is all the yummy stuff which we enjoy.  But these are definite safety risks to pets.  The four most common food-related Halloween hazards for pets are chocolate, candy overindulgence, raisins and candy wrappers.  Generally, the darker the chocolate is, the more dangerous to our pets.  Overindulgence is self explanatory.  If your pet gets into a bag of candy, do you really think he will stop after just one or two?  (If he's like me, probably not.)  Grapes and raisins in any amount are extremely poisonous to dogs, even small amounts can cause kidney failure.  These should be avoided at all costs.  Lastly, I’ve never known a dog to get into a bag of candy and stop long enough to unwrap the candy before eating, hence the problem with candy wrappers which can cause life-threatening bowel obstructions.

The best way to protect our pets is to be hypervigilant with the candy.  Keep it up and out of the way of the pets, either inside of a closed cupboard or higher than they can jump or climb.  Discuss with your kids the seriousness of keeping their candy away from the pets.  If after all you can do, your little four-legged goblin still gets into something, please get help sooner rather than later.  Contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately at 1-800-213-6680.  

Here's wishing you a Happy and Safe Halloween!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

TOP 10 BEHAVIORAL PROBLEMS Continued

So last week we discussed the first five behavioral problems seen in dogs:  Digging, Chewing, Begging, Not Coming When Called, and Pulling on the Leash.  For more on these see the previous post.  The last five of the top 10 behavioral issues are:

6.  Separation Anxiety.  The goal is to make sure your dog knows that you will always come back.  Start by leaving for just 5-10 minutes.  Give a chew toy and leave the radio or TV on.  Do this several times.  Always be calm and don't make a big fuss when returning so he knows that it's okay for you to come and go.  Stay away in a little longer increments after he seems okay with the shorter time frame, gradually increasing time away.  Crate training is a good way to prevent separation anxiety, although this is easier with a younger dog.  Always ask your vet for advice on crate training an older anxious dog.

7.  Whining for attention.  If you pet your dog, look at her, or do anything except ignore her, you are teaching her that whining works.  To stop this, turn your back when she whines, look away or leave the room.  Make sure to pet, play with her and give rewards when she is not whining.

8.  Jumping.  If the dog jumps on you, raise a knee to bump the dog down to the ground.  Do not give him any attention unless both front paws are on the ground.  Then you can greet and pet or tell him to sit.  Then wait until he does before petting.  Keep greetings low key.

9.  Biting.  Any dog can bite if they feel nervous or threatened.  Socializing your dog early can teach him to feel relaxed around people.  Gradually exposing him to many different settings, places, and people will help him to feel safe.  Spend a lot of time with your dog so they learn to trust people, but be especially careful when your dog is around kids and food.

10.  Barking.  Some dogs bark out of frustration.  Yelling at your pup will just make it worse.  Obedience training can help frustration barking.  Teaching your dog to sit before doing something fun can help them to learn to control her impulses and learn patience.  Distracting them from the source of the barking with a toy or command.  Also making sure your dog gets plenty of exercise both physical and mental each day will help.  A tired dog is less likely to bark out of frustration or boredom.
Sunday, August 16, 2015

TOP 10 BEHAVIORAL PROBLEMS


My son recently adopted a new puppy and we've been working on some training.  I thought I'd share some of the ideas I found that may help others.  I've broken it down so it's not too long.  I'm posting the first five here and next week I'll post the last five, so stay tuned...
  1. Digging.  If your pooch has a digging problem, scolding them after the fact doesn't help.  If you can catch them in the act, say "no" and distract them with a toy.  You may also remove them to an area that is okay to dig, i.e., sandbox with buried toys, etc.  Whatever you choose, be consistent.
  2. Chewing.  This is a problem especially for puppies who use chewing as a calming mechanism as well as a way to explore their surroundings.  This is a habit that needs to be broken right away.  Give them their own chew toys and give them to him when he chews something he shouldn't.
  3. Begging.  This habit is preventable.  If you just never give food from the table they won't learn to beg.  If you adopt a dog that already has this habit, you may need to try crating or removing the dog to another room at meal times to break the begging habit.
  4. Not coming when called.  Always praise your dog when he comes to you whether you called him or not.  This way they learn that coming to you is a good thing.  If he doesn't come when called, don't chase him.  Call again while moving away from the dog.  If he still doesn't come, tell him to sit and go get him.  Always use "come" or "here" when calling instead of his name.  If you just use his name he may not understand what you want from him.
  5. Pulling on the leash.  Never let your dog pull on the leash or he will learn that pulling pays off.  Keep the leash short but loose.  Whenever the leash goes tight, stop walking and he'll stop to see why you aren't moving.  When he comes back, reward him, then start walking again.  It won't take long before he learns that pulling is getting him nowhere.

Friday, July 24, 2015

A Guide To Canine Parasites

This great article from Dogguard.com was sent to me via Brooke Krueger and her Brownie Scouts.  Thank you girls for your efforts at educating others!  


A Guide to Canine Parasites

Dogs are not just pets, they are valuable members of our families. Just like all family members, we care deeply about their happiness and health. This is why it is crucial to keep them free of parasites. It is common for dogs to be infected by some sort of internal or external parasite at some point during their lives. If left unattended, the effect of these parasites on your canine companion can range from mildly irritating to life-threatening. With that said, let us take a look at the most common parasites that could effect your four-legged friend.
Coccidia
Coccidia are tiny single-celled parasites that infect your dog’s intestinal wall. Although they are more commonly found within puppies due to their underdeveloped immune system, they can also infect adult dogs, cats, and kittens. They cause a condition called Coccidiosis. One of the most prominent symptoms that dogs exhibit is watery, mucus-based diarrhea. If the condition is left untreated, bloody diarrhea and a diminishing ability to control bowel movement will develop. Pets are usually infected after digesting soil that is contaminated with coccidia-infested dog excrement or other substances.
Ear Mites
Ear mites are tiny mites that dwell on the surface of ear canal skin, barely detectable to the naked eye. An infestation of these mites will cause irritation and inflammation or more serious skin and ear infections if left untreated. An infestation usually produces a characteristic black or brown discharge, and in some cases, a dog’s ear canal may become obstructed by a coffee ground-like substance. Ear mites are most commonly passed from pet to pet, outside and indoors. Ear Mites are highly contagious and are most common within outdoor cats, who in turn infect their canine companions.
Fleas
Fleas are a wingless external parasite that feed off blood. This parasite might trigger skin allergies. They can also transmit other parasites to your pet, such as tapeworms. The pet will often repeatedly scratch and chew themselves if fleas are present. The constant itching might cause red skin irritation and patches of fur loss. Fleas are visible to the human eye, so you might see tiny brown fleas darting through your dog’s coat. Fleas leave behind “flea dirt”. This dark, soil-like residue is actually flea feces, which will turn a red or rusty color when dampened with water.
Giardia
Giardia are a single-celled parasite that lives within your dog’s intestine. It is more common in puppies than it is in older dogs. Water and substances that have been contaminated with feces are the main cause of Giardia in dogs. This tiny parasite can cause a Giardia infection, which is marked by diarrhea. Prolonged and untreated cases of this infection may cause weight loss, vomiting, poor health, and even death.
Heartworms
Heartworms are parasitic worms that live in the heart and pulmonary arteries of an infected dog. They are only transmitted from mosquitoes that carry infective heartworm larvae. Symptoms of a heartworm infestation may be very subtle or not show at all in the earlier stages of the disease. The longer it goes untreated, the more pronounced the symptoms become. A once active animal might tire easily, cough, and show shortness of breath.
Hookworms
Hookworms are parasitic worms that live within the digestive system of your dog. They hook themselves onto the lining of the intestines and feed off the animal’s blood. The parasite lays eggs that are transferred into the environment through your dog’s feces. Young hookworms, called larvae, live in the soil and can infect other animals simply by contact and penetration of the skin. Dogs can also contract hookworms when ingesting dirt that contains larvae. Hookworms cause internal blood loss, diarrhea, and notable weight loss.
Roundworms
Roundworms are the most common parasitic worm. They live and feed within your dog’s digestive system. There is a variety of ways roundworms can be contracted, making it difficult to contain spreading and infection. A pregnant dog may transmit roundworms to her unborn puppies, and a nursing dog can infect puppies through milk. Dogs can also get roundworms if they ingest feces containing eggs or other contaminated wild animals. Dogs may not show any signs or symptoms of an infection, although major infestations trigger diarrhea, weight loss, vomiting, a dull coat, and a potbellied appearance.
Tapeworms
Tapeworms are long, flat parasitic worms that latch themselves onto your dog’s intestines, generally the small intestine, using hook-like suckers. The medical term for a tapeworm infestation is called Cestodiasis. Dogs commonly get infected by ingesting a tapeworm-infected flea. As a tapeworm grows, segments of its body will break off and pass through your dog’s intestines. These fragments might manifest as dried white or cream-colored “rice grains” embedded within your dog’s feces. Due to irritation caused by this condition, dogs will scoot while in a seated position and lick their rears frequently to relieve discomfort.
• Tapeworm Infection in Dogs
• Intestinal Parasites – Cyclophyllidean Tapeworms
Whipworms
Whipworms are a common intestinal parasite in dogs. Whipworms reside in the cecum, the area where the large and small intestine meet. Dogs contract whipworms through consumption of soil and feces contaminated with whipworm eggs. Dogs infected with just a few whipworms may not exhibit any symptoms, but severe cases can cause bloody diarrhea, serious disease, and death.
• Whipworm Overview
• Fast Facts – Whipworms (PDF)
Ticks
A tick is a common parasitic arthropod that latches itself onto animals’ skin and feeds off of their blood. Ticks are attracted to movement and warmth, which compels them to seek out mammals. Tall grass or plants in wooded areas are prime hunting grounds for ticks and likely places where dogs might pick them up. This is one reason many pet owners choose to contain their animals through the use of dog fences. On dogs, ticks usually like to latch themselves onto skin in crevices or areas with little to no hair – frequently around the ears, in between the toes, inside the inner legs, and within skin folds. It is vital to be remember that ticks can spread serious diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
• Tick Encounter Resource Guide
• NPIC – Ticks
Mange
Demodex are tiny parasitic mites that cause a skin disease known as mange or canine demodicosis. While certain kinds of mites are common residents of your dog’s hair and skin follicles, some are far more harmful. If the mite population proliferates, it can cause mild to severe skin infections. Usually, if a dog develops mange, it indicates that the immune system has been compromised by another medical condition. Demodex mites create patches of missing fur, generally originating around the muzzle and advancing towards the rear due to irritation and itching.
• DNR – Mange
• Pets and Parasites – Mange
Scabies
Sarcoptic Mange, also called scabies, is caused by a highly contagious skin parasite called the Sarcoptes scabiei mite. This type of mite burrows into the skin, resulting in severe itching and irritation that causes scabbing and hair loss. These symptoms are most often seen on the ears, chest, abdomen, elbows, and hocks of infected dogs. It is a nonseasonal parasite, and it can be found in all ages and breeds of dogs.
• Sarcoptic Mange Information
• Mange in Dogs – Canine Scabies

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

SPRINGTIME BLOOMS AT SIMPLYDOGSTUFF

If you're tired of the dark and dreary winter days, hop on over to SimplyDogStuff.com and check out what's blooming for spring!  We have some of the most fun colorful harnesses available.  These sweet harnesses from Doggie Design come in XXXL sizes up to approximately 100 lbs and have been strength tested to 386 pounds by an independent lab.

They come in this beautiful Ombre color using a special blending technique.

They come in colorful Neon Sport colors, as well as bright iridescent top stitch color choices!

Also available are cool "Under The Sea" cool mesh harnesses!

There's something for everyone so check them out and find something to start your spring off right!









Thursday, February 5, 2015

NATIONAL PET DENTAL HEALTH MONTH

That stinky dog breath isn't just annoying for you, it's a potentially serious health problem for your pooch as well.  Unfortunately, by age 3 most dogs have evidence of periodental disease, but by the time they get veterinary dental treatment, it's often too late to prevent extensive disease.  As a result of being under-treated, periodontal disease can also be associated with damage to internal organs as your pet ages.

Since February is National Pet Dental Health Month why not start your pet on a dental hygiene routine, starting with a good cleaning and checkup from your vet.  Some clinics even offer discounts during the month of February. The following is a super simple step by step informational video on starting your pet on a brushing routine.  


For some great products to help with your pet's oral hygiene see our Health and Wellness link below.  Remember February is also the month for Valentine's Day so show your pup the love by taking good care of their health!  You'll appreciate the fresh kisses they give in return!

Dental Flossing Bone

Dental Flossing Ball
Plaque Off
Kissable Toothpaste and Brush

Sunday, January 18, 2015

JANUARY NATIONAL TRAIN YOUR DOG MONTH

The Association of Professional Dog Trainers National Train Your Dog Month focuses on making training your pup a part of your everyday life!
The value of dog training has great benefits including:

  1. Establishing a more positive relationship with your pet.
  2. Better understanding your pet’s behavior (and misbehaviors).
  3. Decreasing potential “miscommunications” and day-to-day stress. 
  4. Increasing the safety of your family and guests, as well as for your pet.
For a lot of great information on behavioral problems, training techniques, free webinars as well as other valuable tools and techniques check out https://apdt.com/pet-owners/training-and-behavior/.  You may also find more information on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AssociationofProfessionalDogTrainers.US.