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Showing posts from October, 2017

Service Dogs: How to Make Your Dog a Service Dog and More

Dogs are capable of working in many different capacities, but one area they excel in is service. Some service dogs protect, others save lives, but all strive to help humankind. Of these, there are five main types of service dogs: assistance, rescue, personal protection, estate guard, and sled dog.

Assistance DogsAssistance dogs are trained to assist those with mental or physical disabilities, giving their human companions a more independent life. The Golden and Labrador Retrievers are among the most popular breeds used in this category. Other assistance dogs include the Samoyed and the Smooth Coated and Rough Coated Collies.

Rescue DogsUsed in a search-and-rescue capacity, these dogs work in various conditions, many of them harsh. Great stamina, intelligence and skill are required of rescue dogs, of which the most popular breeds include the Saint Bernard, Newfoundland, and Portuguese Water Dog.

Personal Protection DogsThe canine equivalent of the bodyguard (and better at it than Kevin…

How can I treat my dog’s skin problems?

There’s a reason skin issues are one of the most common reason for veterinary visits- skin problems are very prevalent in the dog! It’s an organ, a barrier, and sometimes the source of a lot of misery when it’s in bad shape.

The number one mistake owners make when dealing with skin problems is waiting too long to go to the veterinarian. The problem with skin is that although irritated skin often looks the same no matter the source of the problem, until you have an accurate diagnosis as to the reason for your dog’s woes, it will never get better. Here are some of the more common skin issues in the dog:

1. PARASITESFleas and mites can wreak havoc on a dog’s comfort by causing intense itching, and often secondary infections due to all the licking and biting an uncomfortable dog undertakes. Getting rid of the parasites is step one; dealing with all of the secondary inflammation is step two. While fleas are visible to the naked eye, mites require a skin scrape and a look under the microsco…

Herbal Remedies for Dogs

EIGHT HERBS TO IMPROVE YOUR DOG'S HEALTHHerbs. How boring would your Bolognese sauce be without them? Herbs have long been used to treat and prevent ailments in people, and apart from smelling good and adding an extra something to your cooking, certain herbs can help out your dog, too.

If you have room to grow herbs (and you really don’t need much, a window box is perfectly fine), why not grow a selection that can be used to treat some common dog ailments? Hey, it may help you save a few bucks on vet visits -- and saving money is always a good thing.

ALOE VERAThis spiky leafed herb is pretty amazing. It's medicinal value has been appreciated since ancient times, helping to heal wounds and even stomach ulcers in people, amongst other things.

You'll be glad to know it's also good for your dog if applied topically. Aloe Vera gel can be applied topically to help treat minor burns, scrapes, and skin irritations due to its cooling and anitbacterial properites. But pet parent…

Herb 'N' Living: Growing a Home Garden for Your Pet

Some animal experts have asserted that pets intuitively eat plants according to their specific medicinal value -- that is, as long as they have several plants to choose from. The problem, however, is that we choose our plants for beauty rather than edibility. So when a pet has only household plants or landscaping to choose from, it can lead to something more serious than a bellyache, especially if the plants are toxic or sprayed with chemical pesticides and fertilizers. But, given the right plants to choose from, your pet will be able to treat itself and you won’t need to worry about potential side effects.

Whether you have a large yard space, a small four-foot by four-foot plot, or a windowsill, you can grow a healing garden for your cat or dog. Most of these plants are simple to grow and inexpensive to boot. Even better, many double as home remedies for you and your family.
So without further ado, here are a few tips that will earn you an honorary green thumb.
For an outdoor garden, …

Healthy Dog Food for Your Dog's Digestion

PROBIOTIC, PREBIOTIC BENEFITS FOR DOGSWe all know dog food is essential for the health of our dogs. But what's more important is what is in the dog food. A dog's digestive system, which is mainly responsible for breaking down food, absorbs the nutrients from the dog food and distributes it throughout the body and prevents toxins from entering the bloodstream. In fact, research indicates that 70% of a dog's immune system lies in the digestive tract. So then, what are some of these ingredients in dog food that can help maintain proper digestive health for your pet?

1. PROBIOTICSWhat are probiotics? They are the "good bacteria" that help improve the digestibility of ingredients and are an essential part of the immune system. By feeding your dog food with live probiotics after it has been cooked and cooled (to assure maximum survival) reinsures you are re-inoculating the digestive tract.

2. PREBIOTICS Prebiotics are similar to probiotics. However, according to the In…

Growth in Dogs: What to Expect

If a young dog has joined your pack recently, you likely have questions about what the first year or so in her life will look like from a developmental perspective. When will she stop growing? What do those big paws really mean? Dr. Susan O’Bell, a primary care doctor at Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston, and Dr. Matthew Rooney, owner of Aspen Meadow Veterinary Specialists in Longmont, Colo. and a board-certified specialist in surgery, have the answers.

WHEN DO DOGS STOP GROWING AND HOW BIG WILL MY PUPPY GET?Most dogs’ growth plates close at around 9 to 11 months of age, the doctors say. By that point you should have a good sense of your dog’s ultimate height and length, with giant breeds growing until they are a little over a year old, O’Bell says. Smaller dogs reach full growth a bit sooner, between six and eight months, Rooney says.

“Many medium and large breed dogs retain a ‘juvenile’ appearance for their first one to two years of life, but technically they aren’t still growi…

Grains in Dog Food: What You Need to Know

In the human world, eliminating grains from the diet has been credited with everything from reducing belly fat, to improving skin tone, to alleviating the symptoms of depression.

But what about our pets? Could reducing grain intake also improve our dogs’ health and quality of life?

WHY ARE GRAINS USED IN DOG FOOD?Grains are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and fiber, says Dr. Jennifer Adolphe, a PhD pet nutritionist for the pet food brand Petcurean. They provide carbohydrates, and help dry pet food maintain its shape and crunch.

“They aren’t just filler,” says Dr. Susan G. Wynn, veterinary nutritionist at BluePearl Georgia Veterinary Specialists.

Traditionally, wheat and corn have been the go-to grains for commercial dog food manufacturers. But in recent years, there’s been an increase in what Adolphe calls “novel grains.” These include barley, oats and rye.

Other brands are dropping grains entirely and manufacturing grain-free dog food—opting instead for ingredients like swe…

Fun in the Snow with Fido: Ways to Play with Your Dog in Winter

It is always exciting to get a fresh snowfall and dogs are just as excited as us to romp out in the snow. There are a few things you will need to keep in mind to make sure that any winter activity with your dog is safe as well as fun.

While the snow is falling you may want to stay indoors with your dog, but don’t worry there is still fun to be had. Now is the perfect time to work on training or teach your pup a new trick. Remember to keep sessions around five to ten minutes long in order to keep everyone’s attention span fresh. Multiple short sessions per day are much better for training than one long session.

Another fun indoor activity is to hide food and toys around the house and let your dog “hunt” for them. This helps stimulate their mind, which can be just as exhausting as physical activity. You should start simple and as he begins to figure out the game you can be more creative with your hiding places. Toys that also dispense food and treats can also be used for mental…

Flea Bites on Dogs: What Do They Look Like?

Learning that your pet has fleas is extremely disconcerting. Many pet parents become worried that a flea infestation implies poor housekeeping. Others are disgusted by the fact that these pests are living on furniture, beds, carpets and hardwood floors. Upon discovering a flea problem, immediate action must be taken.

START BY FINDING THE “FLEA DIRT”The crucial first step is to identify whether or not you truly have a flea problem. Adult fleas are visible to the naked eye, but they are tiny and move quickly. In the early stages of infestation, you might not be able to find adult fleas on your dog. Instead, flea feces, also known as “flea dirt” are often the tell tale sign. Fleas feed on your pet’s blood, accounting for why their deposits contain digested blood.

Flea feces are easily visualized on light colored dogs, but it is far more difficult to detect flea dirt on dogs who are dark in color. Running a fine-toothed flea comb through your pet’s fur will easily pick up pieces of flea d…

Flea and Tick Preventatives and How to Switch Products

It may be hard to believe, but getting flea and tick products to work on dogs and cats used to be a long, messy, even smelly process. Today there are so many better options to get these pesky parasites off of your pet and out of your home.

“There are literally a gazillion products out on the market now,” says Keith Niesenbaum, DVM and veterinarian at Great Neck Dog & Cat Hospital.

How do you tell which are the best products for your pet? Niesenbaum recommends consulting with your veterinarian before using any product and if possible, purchasing the product there.

Here is a list of some of the more popular and effective flea and tick products available today and how you can switch your pet from one to another:

FLEA AND TICK SHAMPOOS, DIPS, COLLARS"Flea collars use a concentrated chemical to repel fleas (and sometimes ticks) from a dog or cat," says Jennifer Kvamme, DVM."The chemical will disperse all over the animal’s coat and can last for several months." This …

Five Life-Lengthening Health Tips for Your Pet

HOW TO ADD YEARS TO YOUR PET'S LIFEAnyone who has ever had a dog or cat wishes just one thing — that he or she has a healthy and long life. Here are five tips that can help your pet do just that.

1. FEED A HIGH QUALITY DIET.Pets fed a high quality diet have a shiny hair coat, healthy skin, and bright eyes. A good diet can help strengthen your pet’s immune system, help maintain his or her intestinal health, help increase his or her mental acuity, help keep joints and muscles healthy, and much more.

2. KEEP YOUR PET LEAN.Pets that are overweight are at risk for a myriad of health issues. Obesity is the number one nutritional disease seen in pets currently and studies have shown that being overweight or obese can shorten a dog or cat’s life span by as much as two years. Why? Being overweight or obese puts your pet at risk for joint disease, heart disease and diabetes, among other things.

3. TAKE YOUR PET TO THE VETERINARIAN REGULARLY.All pets, including both dogs and cats, require re…