As the saying goes, an object in motion stays in motion. That could not be any truer when it comes to our dogs. Exercise is a key ingredient in keeping our pups looking and feeling their best. There are many ways for our fur-ever friends to get their daily amount of required exercise.
Indoor Versus Outdoor Activities
Exercise is exercise. The key is keeping your pup moving which helps to speed up his heart rate, use all of his muscles and burn calories. Most pups enjoy the smells and looks of nature but on certain days (heavy rain, lots of snow, or extremely hot weather) indoor activities can be just as fun and beneficial.
Basic Outdoor Activities
The most common basic outdoor activities include a brisk walk, a fun game of fetch, or play wrestling with your dog. Dogs love human interaction and when fun is mixed into it allows for a better experience. It also provides a very good bonding experience which dogs naturally tend to seek.
Basic Indoor Activities
Some fun basic indoor activities include tug-of-war, hide and seek, and learning new tricks. Although these types of activities are not as active as outdoor activities, they will still allow your four-legged friend to burn extra energy and keep mentally alert. Remember, activity time is not just to stay physically fit, but mentally sharp too.
How Many Minutes A Day Should I Spend Exercising With My Dog?
Although every dog is different, one thing most people agree on is each dog should be on the move for at least thirty minutes a day. Certain breeds, like Retrievers, Spaniels, Collies, Pointers, and German Shepherds require more activity time than breeds such as the Bulldog, Basset Hound, Shih Tzu, Pug, and Chihuahua. Although each breed is different, thirty minutes a day is a relatively good goal to strive for. If your dog seeks more playtime, go for it!
Frequently Asked QuestionsHow Do I Know If My Dog Reached His Activity Limit?
It is normal for dogs to pant while running and playing but this is a sign they are getting tired. Watch your pup’s tail. Is it wagging or straight down while he’s playing? A wagging tail is generally a sign that your dog is content, comfortable, and happy. Consider breaking the play time up into intervals and allow your pup to sit or lay down for a few minutes every fifteen minutes or so. This will also give you a small break to catch your breath too!Will My Dog Overheat?
Heat exhaustion certainly is something that every dog owner needs to watch for. The most telling symptom of heat stroke in a dog is excessive panting. Other common symptoms may include general signs of discomfort, excessive drooling, reddened gums, vomiting, diarrhea, mental dullness or loss of consciousness, uncoordinated movement, and collapse. Should your pup ever reach this level immediate medical care is needed. The key, however, is to monitor your dog while outside playing before he begins to overheat.What Can I Do to Keep My Dog Feeling Good During Activity Time?
Fresh water! Water is essential as it hydrates your dog and helps to keep him cool. Although providing him with water during activity time is very important, making sure he is properly hydrated before and during activity, time is also necessary. Don’t wait for your pup to show signs of dehydration before giving him a refreshing bowl of water.Is Activity Time in Cold Weather Safe?
Outdoor activity time in the cold is safe, however, proper precautions should be taken. A very overlooked aspect of this has to do with what we focus on in the warm months, hydration. During the cold winter months, the humidity levels in the atmosphere are much lower. With the lower humidity, your dog can easily become dehydrated if he or she is not drinking enough water. Keeping your dog bundled up, preferably with an insulated dog sweater is a great start. Properly sized dog shoes also will also help to keep his paws warm and dry. You wouldn’t want to walk outside on snow or ice without protection and neither does your pup!Practice Makes Perfect
Establishing a good routine for your dog while he’s still a puppy will allow him to grow into a healthy and active adult dog. Forming good habits at a young age will also help to assure many years of feeling and looking great. Take the time each day to show your pup why he’s known as man’s best friend!
It’s that time of the year when many of us take our annual vacation. For those of us who plan to bring our fur-legged friend on vacation, it is wise to plan ahead to ensure your pup has an enjoyable experience. Whether it be a road trip or a flight, proper planning will help make your vacation easier and safer for your dog.
Road Trip Vacations.
Traveling with a pet by way of motor vehicle involves more than just having him hop in the back seat and taking off. This, especially if you will be driving for an extended period of time. Here are a few car travel safety tips to help you prepare for a more enjoyable and comfortable journey.
Prepare, prepare, prepare. For first-time dog travelers, a good way to get your dog accustomed to long road trips is by taking him for shorter trips ahead of time. Building up his tolerance to car rides before taking him on a long trip is a good way to start.
If you are traveling to another state, it is a good idea to bring a copy of your pup’s vaccination records. Each state has its own set of animal laws, and having a copy of these documents readily available will save time and effort should they be needed.
Have a pet travel kit prepared before leaving. Inside this kit include a few of your pup’s favorite toys, a leash, a collar, a small backup bag of dog food, and a few bottles of drinking water. For dogs who prefer to ride on the car’s seat versus in a crate, consider a properly sized safety dog harness. Buckle up for safety!
It is also important to make sure to double-check your dog’s identification tag on his collar. If in the event he escapes your care, the person who finds him will be able to more easily identify who he is and who to contact. You should also take into consideration your pet’s potty needs. If you plan to pull off of the roadway to allow him to do his business, make sure you have disposable waste bags and a disposable container to put the waste bags in after use.
Traveling By Air
Air travel is certainly a quicker method of transportation but much more stressful for your dog. It will require him to be away from his family and in a crate in a different and loud environment. Many dogs do not handle air travel well and this form of transportation for them should only take place if absolutely necessary. Below are some travel tips for dog owners who plan to fly their dogs.
Book a direct flight to your destination if possible. This will allow your dog to get situated in one area versus having to be transported from plane to plane. It will also limit the amount of time he has to be in a crate and away from his family.
Consider purchasing a USDA approved dog transportation crate. The crate should be large enough for your pet to comfortably stand, turn around and sit in. Inside the crate, include one of your t-shirts. Your pup will be comforted with this due to him being able to smell your scent while he is away from you. Be sure to secure at least two forms of identification on this crate which include your name, phone number, and address. Make sure your dog doesn’t overeat leading up to the flight. Chances are the flight will cause him stress and an upset stomach could lead to vomiting and or diarrhea.
Tips For Keeping Your Dog Safe After You Arrived
Scope out the area where you are staying before letting your pup explore. Certain destinations will have areas designated just for dogs to play in. Be sure to keep him well secured on a leash and collar and be mindful of other dogs in the area. Remember, not all dogs are as friendly and outgoing as yours. Even though you are all on vacation and most likely taking the day as it comes, try and keep your pup on his routine feeding schedule. This will allow him to feel a sense of normalcy and better his chances of keeping his outdoor potty time schedule the same.
Entrusting a stranger to look after your beloved pet is a difficult decision for any owner to make. Who’s more qualified, the kennel facility, or the pet sitters you find through apps such as Rover and Wag? How can you be certain that your furbaby ends up in good hands?
What to Look for In a Kennel
While the rates for pet hotels tend to be higher than those of a sitter, the best facilities offer services that your neighborhood dog-walker can’t! Most kennels provide professional bathing, grooming, training, along with live surveillance that can be accessed from your phone. You’re able to see who interacts with your pet the most and observe how they’re responding to the stay.
Don’t depend on online reviews for an honest peek into the facility you’re interested in. Take a tour and see for yourself! Is there rat poop in the drains or along the floorboards? Are the individual runs clean and free of urine or feces? Do the animals have proper bedding? Are senior dogs getting the extra attention necessary?
Make sure that the building is up to date with Fire Marshal regulations and ask to see where the extinguishers are located. Some locations keep one or two staff members on-site during the evening, but it’s not uncommon for companies to send all of their employees home after a certain time in the evening.
This is something to seriously consider if you’re not comfortable with your pet being alone for an extended period away from home.
Working With a Sitter
You may have to set up your own surveillance system if you hire an in-home pet sitter, but at least you know exactly who is coming and going. Keeping your furbaby at home also means that they won’t have as much exposure to diseases like kennel cough and distemper. Both are highly contagious, and outbreaks have occurred in boarding facilities.
Give your sitter a mini-interview. Ask them about their experience with animals. If your pet has any special needs, find out whether or not they’ll be comfortable with the requirements. Unlike boarding facilities, you may have better like with the accuracy of online reviews. Look for someone who has repeat clients, lots of photos, and a good reputation within the community of the app or website.
Keep in mind that a cheaper rate doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re getting an awesome deal. Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. It’s no different when hiring someone to look after the thing you love most!
Ultimately, it’s up to you to make the judgment about what’s right for you and your pet. In terms of safety and comfort, where do you think your dog, cat, or otherwise will feel the least anxious in your absence? When you examine each scenario, which option makes you feel at ease?
Take a few nights to sleep on it so that you can make an informed, well-thought-out decision.
While most puppies can learn simple commands as early as 7 weeks, most experts agree that you start formally training your dog around 6 months of age.
Training your dog includes everything from house training to socializing and walking on a leash. When you start leash training, you’ll have a choice between a retractable or fixed leash.
Retractable leashes have a bad reputation but incidents with this type of leash are largely the result of improper use. There are pros and cons to this type of leash and specific times when you’d consider using them.
If you’re trying to find the right leash for your dog, keep reading. We’re going to tell you when to choose a retractable dog leash and why.
Pros of Retractable Leashes
The number one benefit of a retractable leash is that it gives your dog freedom to roam while still giving you a degree of control by having them tethered. But there are a few additional benefits to these dog products, depending on the type of dog you have.
If your dog tends to tangle their leash, a retractable leash can’t twist into knots. Dogs who tangle their leash tend to be high-energy dogs, and these dogs also benefit from retractable leashes. That’s because they have more freedom to roam, which gives you a better chance of tuckering them out and exhausting their energy.
If you’re a runner or jogger, you might benefit from a retractable leash if you like to take your dog with you. Using a retractable leash means you don’t have to stop every few feet. Your dog can run alongside you or in front of you and do their business without you having to stop.
Cons Of Retractable Leashes
The cons of retractable leashes include the degree of control that you have. Retractable leashes can give your dog 16ft or even 30ft of leeway. If you need to gain control over your dog while they’re that far away, you’re going to have a hard time doing so.
The other downsides of retractable leashes have to do with how they’re made. For one, a retractable dog leash made from nylon can not only snap but also cause rope burns. And big, bulky handles are easy to lose grip of, which means the leash will go bouncing behind your dog and potentially cause them to panic and run.
Best Time To Use A Retractable Dog Leash
With those pros and cons in mind, the best time to use a retractable dog leash is when you’re walking a trained dog on familiar grounds and with lots of space. Without sufficient room, your dog can get tangled in trees and shrubs or into trouble with other dogs and people. And in unfamiliar territory, you don’t know what awaits your dog around the next corner or over a hill on a new trail.
You might use a retractable leash to train a puppy in an unfenced yard, too. But be careful when using a retractable leash to train. Because there’s always tension on these types of leashes, your dog may learn to pull.
Get to Know More Pet Products
Retractable leashes can be great tools in specific circumstances. If you like to jog alongside your pup or if you have a lot of open space that you’re familiar with, for example. But, if you’re training your dog or walking them in unfamiliar territory, you might consider a different type of leash.
To have a look at your options, as well as pet products for birds to reptiles, check out what we carry.
The world is filled with sights, sounds, smells, and myriad other environmental factors that can be overwhelming for puppies. It’s important to socialize your dog early so that she feels comfortable outside of the safety of your home when she meets other people and animals. Without proper socialization, your best buddy could become anxious, depressed, or even aggressive.
When should socialization start?
The ideal socialization age for puppies is between three and twelve weeks old, with seven weeks being the average age to start socialization. During this time, your pup is very impressionable and more accepting of new things. He is more likely to absorb new experiences rather than shy away from them.
As puppies age, they become more cautious about the world around them. Dogs between 12 and 18 weeks may show signs of fear and aggression when introduced to new experiences. However, owners shouldn’t allow the fear to dictate their dog’s behavior and instead continue trying to safely and gently socialize their puppy.
Benefits of Early Socialization
Your puppy is a member of your family, and the goal is for him to feel safe, loved, and calm. By socializing early, you’re helping to ensure that your dog can confidently navigate new experiences, like meeting new people or enjoying family outings. This is especially important for families with young children. Without proper exposure to kids, your dog may become fearful or aggressive with eager and easily excitable children.
How do you socialize your puppy?
Socializing your puppy isn’t easy, but the results are extremely rewarding. To start, expose your buddy to a variety of situations that she’ll encounter regularly like trips to the park, neighborhood walks, visits from friends, or grooming appointments. The more experiences that you can introduce your dog to, the better he will respond as he grows into an adult. Taking time to help your puppy understand the world around her means that you can enjoy more experiences with your best buddy as an adult.
If you encounter issues or just need a little more help to get started, talk to your veterinarian and they’ll be able to help you create a socialization plan.
Are you concerned that your dog is licking or chewing her paws a little too much?
Although licking is associated with normal grooming behavior for dogs, when it becomes excessive and includes constant chewing, this could indicate an underlying problem.
One of these conditions could be the culprit behind your dog’s incessant grooming.
- Allergy: Whether it’s the result of seasonal allergies or a flea infestation, dogs lick their paws to relieve the itch. Keep in mind, though, that the discomfort might not be in their paws. When dogs feel itchy, they lick somewhere accessible, like their paws, to soothe the irritation located elsewhere on their body.
- Injury: Cuts, debris between the toes, or other skin abrasions can prompt dogs to chew or scratch their skin.
- Habit: Dogs who are frequently left alone for long periods of time or those who don’t receive adequate exercise will lick and chew their paws out of boredom.
- Anxiety: A change of routine, like a new baby, or separation can trigger anxiety in some dogs. Anxious pups will often groom their paws excessively.
- Compulsive Disorder: Although uncommon, constant licking could be a sign of obsessive-compulsive behavior, which can be difficult to treat and control.
More than nuisance behavior, incessant licking and chewing can lead to real problems for your best pal. If left untreated, it could result in painful damaged skin, open sores, bacterial infections, and a vicious cycle of constant irritation.
Regularly check your dog’s skin for any irritations that may be causing discomfort. And, if you notice Fido grooming himself more than usual, contact your veterinarian immediately to pinpoint the issue and start a treatment plan.
Keeping your dog’s ears clean is important for maintaining their overall health.
While some dogs’ ears are naturally clean and require little maintenance, others need extra care. Dogs with long or really furry ears, like cocker spaniels, that accumulate dirt and debris more easily are often more prone to ear infections and other problems.
The physical makeup of your dog’s ears isn’t the only factor that increases their risk for ear conditions. Yeast and bacteria are two of the most common irritants that can compromise the health of dogs’ ears. However, allergies, hormone disorders, ear mites, moisture or wax buildup, and extra hair can also lead to issues.
Regardless of the type of ears that your dog has, checking them regularly to see if cleaning is needed should be part of your regular pet care routine.
Here are some helpful tips to clean your pup’s ears safely.
- Check to make sure that your pup’s ears actually need cleaning. Only clean them if you notice a change like a mild odor or visible debris. Excessive cleaning can lead to irritation or infections.
- Clean the external part of your pet’s ear only.
- Gather your supplies. You’ll need cotton balls, gauze, and a towel. Never use cotton swabs or anything with pointed tips, since they could push debris further into the ear or damage the inner structures.
- Choose an area of your home that’s easy to wipe up—ear-cleaning can get messy. A mudroom or bathroom is a great choice.
- Use an ear-cleaning solution recommended by your veterinarian. DIY solutions may contain harmful irritants.
- Add the cleaning solution to the ear canal and gently massage the base of the ear for about 30 seconds.
- Allow your pup to shake her ears back and forth once the solution has been added. This is where the towel comes in handy to wipe your dog’s face and any excess spray that may have hit you.
- Gently wipe out the ear canal with the gauze or cotton balls. The AKC recommends going no further than your first knuckle inside the ear.
- Use clean gauze to thoroughly dry the ears. Leaving behind moisture creates an environment for microbial growth that could lead to ear infections.
Sometimes dirty ears signal more than a need for routine cleaning. It could indicate an ear infection. Here are some signs to look for:
- Strong yeasty or bad smells from inside the ear
- Redness or swelling
- Vigorous ear scratching
- Constant head shaking
- Balance issues
- Crusts, peeling, or scabs around the ear
- Hair loss
- Rubbing the ear against objects such as furniture and walls.
- Hearing issues
- Bloody, brown, or yellow discharge
If you notice any of these signs or if your dog appears to be in pain while you’re cleaning their ears, contact your veterinarian immediately. Your dog could be suffering from an ear infection or another condition that needs medical attention.
We all dream of it – cuddling up with your pooch in bed on a cool night, reading by your nightlight and snuggling down for the evening. So, is it good or bad to co-sleeping with your dog? We weigh in on the pros and cons of sleeping with Fido in your bed.
First, let’s start with the pros of sleeping with your dog
He’s soft and snuggly, and you just adore that light snoring that he has that helps you drift off into dreamland. He’s warm and there’s nothing like waking up to your sweet boy in the morning. Plus, just having your dog around can help relieve stress and anxiety and sleeping with him can certainly lower any symptoms of anxiety and stress. All great benefits with keeping your pooch with you when you sleep.
Sometimes, we have the blue and are down, and sleeping with your dog can help relieve depression. The chemical that is released when you’re in close contact with your dog is called oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, that helps elevate your mood. Also, while you’re sleeping, oxytocin promotes theta brain waves that occur during REM sleep – that time of sleep where you have dreams. So, not only is sleeping with your dog comfortable, it helps elevate your mood and promotes REM sleep.
In one study, researchers found that women sleep better when they are next to their dogs. Researchers from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York found that women who sleep with their dogs actually sleep better and feel more secure than if they slept next to their human counterparts. Sounds harsh, but hey, that doesn’t mean that you both can’t sleep next to your dog! Improved sense of security, better sleep, and they generally had better bedtime schedules. So, cuddle up!
Here are even more ways that sleeping with a dog can help improve your sleep from decreases in loneliness, lowering blood pressure, and bond strengthening with your dog.
OK, so when it is not a good idea to sleep with a dog?
With all of the great benefits of sleeping with a dog, how could there be anything bad? Well, a few things come into play here – allergies, non-house trained puppies, if you’re a light sleeper, or if your dog has some health issues.
We all know someone with allergies – whether it’s seasonal or animal-related – we understand the misery that they can go through. Even if you have light allergies, it’s better to make sure that your fur baby sleeps on the floor next to you. You’ll still have the benefits of having your dog around, but the other benefit is that their dander and fur stay in their bed and not yours.
House training is a must as we all know. Puppies take a lot of time to house train and, in general, to train. So, you want to make sure that Bella over there knows when it’s time to use the potty and in the right place because your bed certainly isn’t the right place. Nothing like waking up to a wet mess because Bella couldn’t hold it in. So, make sure that you have all of that training in place for a good while before you invite her into your bed.
Speaking of house training, it also helps to improve your relationship and bond with your dog. By doing this, it also helps Bella know who’s the boss around the house. By asserting yourself as the pack leader helps curb any potential aggression down the road as well as territorial concerns. Some dogs may have territorial issues, and if you introduce someone new around the house, especially at bedtimes, this could turn into a tad bit of an issue. Take care of it early and make sure that you’re the boss, not Bella.
So, make sure that you weigh your pros and cons of co-sleeping with your dog and you’ll have sweet dreams, cozy nights, and furry cuddles.
One of the most frequently asked questions that many veterinarians get is whether heartworm and flea prevention should be used year-round. The resounding answer is, “Yes.” Regular flea and heartworm prevention are essential for keeping your dog healthy and happy. Read on to learn more.
Fleas Pose a Year-Round Threat
Contrary to popular belief, fleas aren’t a seasonal pest. While freezing temperatures can kill fleas, it often isn’t enough to eliminate the problem altogether. These perennial pests have found ways to survive in even the chilliest climates.
One of the most common ways that fleas survive in cold weather is by living on wild animals such as raccoons to stay warm. These animals unknowingly host numerous flea eggs, waiting to boom again when temperatures warm. Barns, garages, outdoor kennel bedding, nooks underneath decks and home foundations are also popular places for fleas to hide during the cold.
Heartworm Disease on the Rise
Testing positive for heartworms is a diagnosis that no pet parent wants to hear. Unfortunately, the disease is found in all 50 states and is currently on the rise. Some of the increased risks for infection can be attributed to:
- More and more people are traveling with their dogs, particularly to and from areas with heavy mosquito populations, like the southern United States.
- Mosquito populations are increasing with environmental shifts such as increasing temperatures.
- Fewer dogs are receiving monthly heartworm preventive medicines.
Caused by the deadly parasites that it’s named for, heartworm disease can be transmitted by a single bite from a mosquito. There are often no outward signs of the disease until it is in the advanced stages. The resulting treatment to cure heartworm disease can be costly and, in some cases, the disease proves deadly.
Fortunately, monthly heartworm preventives combined with regular testing are easy ways to protect your dog’s health.
Talk to your veterinarian to develop a flea and heartworm prevention plan that works for you and your precious pup.
When exposed to the hot sun for long periods of time, dogs can suffer from a serious condition called heat stroke. It’s important that you know the signs and understand how to prevent your dog from suffering from heatstroke. Here are five facts that you must know.
1. Normal body temperature in dogs is 100.5-102.5 degrees. Heatstroke will occur when a dog’s body temperature reaches 107-109 degrees. Dogs don’t sweat through their skin the same way that humans do, instead of dogs sweat through their nose and footpads. This means it can take a dog’s body much longer to cool off after prolonged exposure to heat.
2. Certain breeds have a higher risk of heatstroke. This includes short nose breeds, large heavy coat breeds, and dogs with respiratory problems.
3. Since our dogs can’t talk, it’s our responsibility to know the signs of heatstroke. These signs include:
- heavy panting
- difficulty breathing
- excessive thirst
- thick saliva
4. Prevention is a far better alternative because in most cases by the time that symptoms are visible it is often too late. The best method to prevent heat stroke in your dog is to avoid prolonged sun exposure. If you live in a hot climate, don’t leave your dog outside for more than 10 minutes at a time. Do not leave your dog in a car unattended while you run errands. Even with the windows down the car can reach a temperature over 110 degrees, putting your dog at risk for heatstroke.
5. If you think your dog is suffering from heatstroke, there are a few actions you can take.
- Move your dog out of the heat or direct sunlight immediately
- Use cool washcloths and apply them on the footpads and the head
- The cool process should be gradual, avoid using ice water or ice
- Offer your dog water but don’t force her to drink
- Visit an emergency vet as soon as possible