Our vet offers common-sense things you can do to keep your dogs healthy and safe.
As Jan. 1 approaches each year, I am asked what sort of new year's resolutions I recommend for dog owners. In fact, not long ago the Dogster editorial staff posed the question to me. I'm not one to let down my editors if I can avoid it, so this article is dedicated to new year's resolutions for dog owners.
I have heard that some motivation experts advise making only one new year's resolution, but this article would be a bit light if I offered only one, so there will be several. However, if you resolve to do only one new thing for your dog in 2013, here is what I recommend: Resolve to brush your dog's teeth
. Please don't laugh. I have been recommending tooth brushing for my entire career, and I put my money where my mouth is: My pal Buster's teeth get brushed every night. For years I suffered ridicule and derision (often from some of my friends who are veterinarians) for this activity. However, I'm getting the last laugh now -- Buster's teeth are nearly perfect, and many of the people who have made fun of me have dogs who need dental work. Dental disease
is the No. 1 -- by a mile -- medical problem of dogs. It occurs in more than 80 percent of adult dogs. It causes pain
, bad breath
, and lethargy. It might be linked to heart disease, bodily inflammatoy conditions, diabetes
, and cancer. Advanced dental disease requires treatment with general anesthesia for root planing, supra- and subgingival scaling, and (often) extractions or other advanced periodontal procedures. It's expensive, and it's no fun.
Dental disease is almost totally preventable with tooth brushing.
I recommend using a human soft-bristled toothbrush. Do not, however, use human toothpaste. Human toothpaste contains fluoride and is not safe to swallow. There are a variety of veterinary toothpastes widely available in pet stores. Gently brush the outside all of the teeth, focusing on the gum line in a circular fashion. It is not necessary to open your dog's mouth in order to brush teeth -- the toothbrush can be slipped between the lips. Remember that dogs have relatively massive mouths, and that there are teeth all the way in the back. The current recommendation is to brush teeth at least once every 24 hours.
Clean teeth can lead to a cleaner bill of overall health. The overwhelming majority of dogs will tolerate tooth brushing. However, sometimes it is necessary to wade into the process gradually by first habituating your dog to having his mouth handled, then using a toothbrush without paste, and finally graduating to full brushing with paste.
Some hardcore adherents to certain diets believe that their diets will prevent dental disease in dogs. My experience? No diet can accurately make this claim. Even if you believe that your dog's diet is good for the teeth, no harm will come to your dog from brushing the teeth as well. There is no reason -- other than the nuisance of it -- not to brush your dog's teeth. Period.
A few weeks ago I was walking Buster when I saw an off-leash Yorkshire Terrier trot across a street and approach us. His owner showed up a few minutes later, busily engaged in sending a text message to someone. Although I'm sure he won't, I would love for that dog's owner to resolve to use a leash and pay attention
. Leashed dogs are almost never hit by cars (although I have treated a few who were struck by vehicles that drove onto sidewalks). Fights between two leashed dogs are vanishingly uncommon. The Yorkshire Terrier
in question could have been creamed by a car as he crossed the street ahead of his owner. And, if Buster were less friendly, the Yorkie could have been mauled or killed.
Leashes make for happy, healthy, safe dogs.
I also recommend that dog owners resolve to take time to properly socialize their dogs
. Well-mannered dogs are joys to be around. They don't bark at strangers, knock over old ladies, lunge at other dogs, or chase joggers. Most important, they don't give ammunition to people who fear or dislike dogs -- you know, the people who would like to see dogs banned from parks, other public areas, and special events.
Speaking of dog haters, they get especially mad when they step in dog poop. So, for that matter, do dog lovers. Please, resolve to be a decent member of society and pick up your dog's poop
Finally, if your dog hasn't had a checkup in a while, I recommend that you resolve to take him in for a physical
. However, if your dog has been getting shots every year, I recommend that you rethink your dog's vaccine schedule
. I am surprised by how many adult dogs get every vaccine every year despite the mounting evidence that this is probably not the best thing. Talk to your vet about which (if any) vaccines are appropriate based upon your dog's lifestyle and age. And while you're there, talk about starting a broad spectrum heartworm and roundworm preventative
. These help keep your dog free of potentially dangerous parasites, some of which can spread to humans.
Best wishes for a happy new year to all!
A dog should always be a considered choice and NEVER an impulse buy. Please help us spread the word about this during this high gift-giving season.
This Holiday Season, Remember: A Puppy Is NOT a Present.
We all have them. The in-law who unapologetically keeps an "outside dog." Or the friend who thought it was cool to let the family retriever shack up with the dog down the street so her kids could witness the "miracle of life." Or the coworker who surprised his fiancee on her birthday with a Yorkie puppy from the pet store.
And let's be honest: They make us feel like complete failures as responsible pet people. Yes, our own dogs went to puppy socials, play with lead-free toys, and were "fixed" at an appropriate age. But maybe we didn't share that article on where pet store puppies come
from enough on Facebook, or made our stance on the benefits of spay/neuter loud enough for those in our immediate networks to hear.
As the holidays approach, so does an opportunity to educate the people around us on a timely issue: that of puppies being given as holiday presents without too much though or planning beforehand. I don't know about you, but I cringe inwardly when I see stock photos of dogs with bows strapped to their heads displayed in wrapped boxes beneath Christmas trees. It's an image that's readily accepted all over the world. But that doesn't make it right. Because a puppy should never be: 1. A novelty item
. One that was a smash hit on Christmas morning, but an undesirable chore in the post-holiday world. A dog is at the very least a 10-year commitment, and if your intended recipients are not up to the task, you have no business gifting them with one. 2
. A stuffed toy.
Some dogs might resemble one (I'm looking at you, Boo!
) but again, the responsibilities associated with toy vs. dog aren't remotely in the same region. And if your daughter is obsessed with Pomeranians
because of Boo, there's a stuffed animal replica
you can buy her. 3. An imposition.
Just because you thought a puppy would make a great gift doesn't mean the recipient does. When your big "surprise" goes south, are you prepared to care for the pup for the rest of its days? We hope your backup plan doesn't involve dumping him at the already-overcrowded local shelter. 4. An impulse buy.
If your family isn't up to the commitment, you can't just return that puppy to the pet store. It's not unusual for puppies returned to pet shops to be put down in horrendous ways, either. Please, please, please
do your homework if you're adding a dog to the family. Research dog breeds
to find the best fit. Find a breed-specific rescue group or a reputable hobby breeder
if you must have a purebred. Or go to the shelter as a family and make an informed decision together. To be clear:
We are not opposed to you adding a dog to the family during the holiday season if the addition is one planned far in advance. We only ask that you make an informed decision and not a knee-jerk one that is bad for everyone down the line.
This time of year is notorious for last-minute impulse buys, so I hope you understand the concern.
If you're a regular Dogster reader, you probably already know these things. But it's highly possible there are people you know who don't. You can help us reach those people by sharing this article, or using the graphics below on your Facebook and/or Twitter feeds. We hope they'll be a great conversation starter for your friends and family.
A photo isn't just worth a thousand words -- it might just save your dog's life. Here are some you should have on hand at all times.
Your smartphone's photo album can be much more than a brag book filled with snapshots of your favorite four-footed friends. It can actually be a life-saver -- especially if, say, you're traveling and you forgot not only your dog's medication, but its name and dosage -- or your dog sitter runs out of said med and needs your help refilling it.
If you're like us, you already use your notes app to keep track of everyday reminders. But a photo is worth a thousand characters, and images are so much more effective as mnemonic devices!
Dogster EIC Janine Kahn keeps many sharp photos of her Italian Greyhound, Moxie, on her iPhone.
Here are eight items that can easily be recalled -- not to mention texted or emailed to the appropriate person -- with a snap of your camera's shutter button. Please take these pictures without delay, and use the comments section to tell us what we've left out!
8 Important Dog-Related Photos to Have on Hand: 1. Pictures of your dog's current medications; make sure the RX name and dosage are clearly visible in the photos.
2. Pictures of your dog, in case (heaven forbid) he or she goes missing and you have to create a Lost Dog flyer on the double.
A snapshot of Moxie's tag collar and license.
3. Closeup shots of your dog's license and vaccination tags -- make sure they're in focus so all letters and numbers are legible.
4. A picture of your dog's microchip ID info, and a Web site screen shot of Home Again (or whichever company's chip is implanted in your dog).
Some vaccines Moxie received as a puppy.
5. A picture of your dog's food -- the package it comes in -- to make it easier for your dog sitter to restock in case the supply runs out in your absence.
6. A picture of the business card of the pet-supply store where you buy your dog's food, especially if it's a prescription diet.
Moxie's microchip number.
7. A picture of your veterinarian's business card, clearly showing the phone number, email, and physical location address (or a screen shot of the hospital's Web site).
A screen grab of the emergency hospital that's nearest Janine and Moxie.
8. A picture of the business card of the nearest 24-hour emergency vet hospital (or screen shot of the hospital's Web site).
Dogster readers, what would you add to this very important list?
BY Julia Szabo
A popular misconception is that dogs age 7 years for each calendar year. In fact, canine aging is much more rapid during the first 2 years of a dog's life. After the first 2 years the ratio settles down to 5 to 1 for small and medium breeds. For large breeds the rate is 6 to 1, and for giant breeds the rate is 7 to 1. Thus, at 10 years of age a Great Dane
would be 80 years old while a pug
would only be 64.
How to Tell a Dog's Age If you've taken in a dog whose age is unknown, there are some ways to determine his age. Here are some things vets check to get a general sense of how old a dog is: The Teeth:
Dogs usually have a set of permanent teeth by their seventh month, so if you've come across a dog with clean pearly whites, he is likely a year old or thereabouts. Yellowing on a dog's back teeth may put the dog between one and two years of age, while tartar build-up at a minimal level could mean you have a dog between 3 and 5. Missing teeth or severe wear usually means the dog is a senior and could use some special dental care. Muscle Tone:
Younger dogs are more likely to have some muscle definition from their higher activity level. Older dogs are usually either a tad bonier or a little fatter from decreased activity. The Coat:
A younger dog usually has a soft, fine coat, whereas an older dog tends to have thicker, coarser (and sometimes oilier) fur. A senior dog may display grays or patches of white, particularly around the snout. The Eyes:
Bright, clear eyes without tearing or discharge are common in younger dogs. Cloudy or opaque eyes may mean an older dog.Use this chart to calculate your dog's age:
Old Age in Dogs
The age at which a dog can be considered elderly varies widely among models. In general, the larger the dog, the more quickly it declines. For instance, a Great Dane
could be considered "senior" at age 5, while a smaller toy poodle
would still be spry at twice that age. Remember, however, that just because a dog is chronologically old doesn't mean that an endless series of malfunctions is in store. In many cases an elderly dog
can enjoy many healthy, active, pain-free years.
One of the best ways to prolong the life and improve the functions of an elderly dog is to carefully regulate its fuel intake. Older dogs exercise less and thus need fewer calories. And since age reduces their ability to digest and absorb nutrients, high-quality food specifically formulated for their needs is a necessity. Excessive amounts of protein, phosphorus, and sodium can aggravate kidney and heart problems, so most such foods contain smaller amounts of higher-quality protein, along with reduced quantities of other elements. Levels of vitamins, zinc, fatty acids, and fiber, however, are increased.BY http://www.dogster.com/dogs-101/calculate-dog-age-in-dog-years
Preventing Dog Heat Stroke During Summer Walks By Vera Torres
The majority of people love the Summer Season, especially in New York City, however, warm and humid weather can be a threat for your dog's health by suffering a heat stroke. First of all you should be aware that certain dog breeds are more prone to suffer a heat stroke because of their short-nose, or large dogs because of their wide chests. Then if you own a dog that falls in either of these two categories, you must be even more extra careful! For example, an English Bull-dog is short-nose breed, or a Weimaraner dog is a large wide chested breed. Generally, any breed is very susceptible to heat. Secondly, it is important to understand that dogs do not cool off as easily as human beings because dogs can't sweat. Dogs do have sweat glands on their feet, but remember that their body is covered entirely with fur. Therefore, the method dogs use to realize the heat from their bodies is by breathing or panting which it is not enough if a dog is exposed to high temperatures. Dogs can easily, in as minimum as 15 to 20 minutes, get a heat stroke.Here are a few tips to help your dog beat the summer's heat:
What are the symptoms of canine heat stroke?
- Number one rule of thumb: If the temperature is high outside, keep your dog from spending long periods of time outdoors. Take her out just for the necessary amount of time to do her duties. It is just as humans, we avoid exposure to the heat.
- Even if you are running errands, do not take your dog with you and/or leave her in your car. Keep in mind that the car's metal can get over heated very quickly, thus the same can happen to your dog in as little as 20 minutes.
- If you plan to take a long walk at the park or to go to the dog run. It can be difficult to keep your dog under the tree's shadows. Best advice is to have with you a frozen bottle of water to provide cool water to your dog in time slots of 15 to 20 minutes in between.
- Do not assume that your dog will be free of suffering a heat stroke if you go swimming with her. During summer time, the water can very well be as warm as 72 degrees, and that temperature is more than enough for a dog to get overheated.
- If you own a short-nose or a large breed dog. A cooling dog collar can help your dog to keep a normal body temperature while in the outdoors. Truth is, the collar is suitable to any type of breed.
- Another way to help your dog cool down is to rub alcohol on her paws. Especially after walking on hot pavement.
- For the dog owner who takes their dog running. The best time to do so is very early in the morning or in the evening by the sunset when temperature is not high.
- The dog has excessive panting.
- Underneath the ears and neck is super hot.
- If you can measure her rectal temperature and if it is high at or above 104 degrees; your dog is suffering from a heat stroke.
- Her saliva is thick, gum are pale and tongue reddish.
- If your dog vomits or collapses then it is time to seek immediate medical help.
Meanwhile you are taking your dog to the vet. Pour cold water around her neck and underneath her ears. Your dog might not want to drink water, but it is recommendable to make her drink small amounts. Put your dog in a cold environment. For example, turn on your car air conditioner high enough while you arrive at the veterinary office.
Remember immediate emergency measures are essential for a dog who suffers a heat stroke. That can draw the line between death and life. However, it is better to play it safe and preventing a heat stroke is the ultimate way to go.
Many people use crates for housetraining their puppies or keeping younger dogs out of trouble when nobody is home. Often, once a dog is successfully potty trained, the crate ends up on Craigslist or Freecycle, ready for a new home.
Keep in mind that crates are not just for puppies, and that crate training, like all training, is a "use it or lose it" enterprise. Dogs should learn to be crated and practice crating throughout their lives. Even if you don't need your crate for potty training anymore, you will be glad to have it in case of emergencies.Casey Lomonaco owns Rewarding Behaviors Dog Training in Binghamton, NY.
Like dogs of any age, senior dogs need physical exercise tailored to their needs, as well as mental stimulation in the form of training, play, and interactive games. The oldest dog I've ever trained was 17 and deaf when we began working together!
Your dog's advanced age may present new challenges. You may need to train your dog to accept a sling around his rear for assistance up the stairs, or to learn new boundaries as he loses his vision.
A qualified trainer will help you train your dog useful and adorable new behaviors, regardless of your pup's age!Casey Lomonaco owns Rewarding Behaviors Dog Training in Binghamton, NY.
Any dog, regardless its size, shape or breed should be taught the five basic commands. Let's be honest, dogs are cute, but a trained dog is even more pleasant to be around. These commands, if taught correctly, will make your life and your dog's a very happy one.
It is very important that you train your dog with positive reinforcement. Find out, or you might already know what motivates your dog the most. For some dogs, is about food, and for other, affection will move him. Either form of reward you will be using to train your dog, remember that timing
is the key factor when training your dog. If you reward your dog even 5 seconds later, you may be rewarding the wrong behavior. It is also important to fill yourself with a lot of patience and consistency. The more you practice with your dog, the better he'll get at learning the new command. Practice one million times until your dog automatically does the command you ask him to do.
The basic commands are "Sit", "Down", "Stay", "Come", "Heal".Sit
: Your dog pretty much sit and remains sat until you release him.
Hold a treat in your hand a bit higher above your dog's head, and slowly move the treat backwards over your dog's head. This will make your dog to sit. If this doesn't work, keep moving the treat above his head backward towards his tail until your dog sits. The second your dog sits, reward him with the treat and praise the behavior by saying "Sit!" Once your dog sits repeatedly, wait for a few seconds before rewarding, and remember to give the treat only when your dog is in the correct position.Down
: when your dog is sitting facing you. Hold his favorite treat on your hand and put it on top of his nose. Move the treat slowly straight down to the floor. Your dog should follow your hand and naturally drops to rest on his chest or belly. This is when you release the treat and praise him by saying "Down!" only and only when your dog is on the right position-down! Sometimes, your dog will follow your hand with the treat in with his head without lying down. If this happens, once you have lowered the treat to the floor, move the treat toward away from your dog. This will make your dog lay down, and it is when you release the treat and praise him.
If your dog is not responding to the food reward, it is fine to slightly push your dog's shoulder down and to the side. Once your dog drops to the floor, then immediately praise him and release the treat.Stay
: with this command, your dog will hold his position, which it's mostly when sat, until released.
Ask your dog to sit or lay down. You can also use a leash to keep control of your dog. Once your dog is sat or laid down, stand in front of him, and a firm tone of voice say "Stay" holding your palm flat, very close to his nose. Then, move to a short distance away from your dog, and keeping eye contact with your dog, and return to him. Praise with your dog by saying "Good", or "Great", and give him a treat. Once again, make sure you praise and give your dog the treat only when the dog remain sat and in the staying position. As you practice, increase the time you ask your dog to stay and the distance between you and him. Keep in mind that consistency will pay off and sooner than later your dog will begin to understand.Come
: This command is also called the "life saver". Thus, it is very important that your dog learn this command properly.
Attach the leash to your dog (preferably, a long leash) and walk away about 2 to 4 meters facing him. Say "Come" and pull him quickly in to you, where he will be praised. Make sure you sound happy and welcoming, but firm. And give the command only once. As your dog improves, increase the distance of the leash.
At some point you will be confident to practice off-leash, when so, do it in a fenced area. Give your dog the command and if he doesn't respond, go grab your dog and take him to the spot where you initially gave him the command. It is imperative to not praise or reward your dog until he obeys to your command on his own the very first time. Before practicing this command off-leash, make sure you practice as many times as possible with the leash on. Also, it is a recommendable to reinforce this command for life. Always.Heel
: this command may take some time for your dog to learn it. The purpose of this command is to stop your dog from pulling you. Be aware that you must make it clear who the pack leader is, which it should be you. When on a dog walk, your dog might pull because he simply is excited to be outside, or his walking pace is faster than yours.
Start by having your dog sit next to you on your left side. Walk your dog always on your left side, this action will send your dog the message that you are on charge. Once your dog is calmly sitting next to you on your left. You step out first, and say" Heel" while you start walking. Say "Good Heel" if he walks behind or next to you. If your dog tries to walk in front of you, tag his leash firmly but gently. This should make him to back off. If your dog is pulling you badly. You can stop this behavior by simply stopping every time your dog starts pulling. This will give your dog the message that you aren't going anywhere if he keeps pulling. You will need to fill yourself with tons of patience. But it does pay off. Your dog will learn.
These methods are used at Manhattan Paws Walkers, a NYC dog walker and puppy training Service.
Vera Torres is a professional dog walker at Manhattan Paws Walkers, a NYC Dog Walkers
service, and puppy training tips and tricks resource.
Visit our site at http://www.manhattanpawalkers.com
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6595906
It takes a household to raise a dog. Before you even bring your new pet brought home, create a list of doggie-related household rules and tasks. Who will walk the dog? If you're getting a puppy, who will be responsible for midnight potty breaks during the training stage? Who will take the dog to training class and be in charge of initially training new behaviors? Who is financially responsible for the dog's care? Who will take it to the vet or the groomer?
Delineating these responsibilities before you bring your dog home will help everyone.
Casey Lomonaco owns Rewarding Behaviors Dog Training in Binghamton, NY.