Dental Care for Dogs


Some people don’t realize that dental hygiene is as important for dogs as it is for human beings. Just like in people, dogs’ teeth can gather plaque after eating. When plaque builds up and hardens it becomes a coarse brown substance called tartar. As tartar accumulates it can work its way under the gums and cause painful infections and gum disease. This goes on in the mouths of dogs just like it does in people. You brush your teeth every day, probably three times. What does your dog do?

Teeth Brushing for Doggies

Veterinarians recommend that dog owners brush their dog’s teeth at least twice a week to keep the buildup of tartar at a minimum. Most pet supply stores carry specially designed toothbrushes and toothpaste just for dogs. Remember that a dog’s sense of taste and smell is far more acute than that of a human and the zesty, tingly, mint taste of toothpastes for people will be extremely awful to a dog. Try brushing Rover’s teeth with Crest just once and it will likely be the last time he lets you anywhere near him with a toothbrush. Use the specially designed doggie toothpaste.

Dental Chew

Some people don’t have the time or patience to brush their dogs’ teeth on a regular basis. If you’re one of these, you’ll want to care for Chopper’s choppers in another way. A dog’s natural tendency to chew is a built-in dental care mechanism. Dog biscuits break into small chunks when chewed and rub against the teeth, providing a cleaning service. There’s no substitute for brushing your dog’s teeth, but if you can’t do that, make sure he gets some sort of crunchy dog biscuit on a regular basis.

Mouth Diseases in Dogs

Dogs that do not receive proper dental care and do not have access to crunchy teeth cleaning foods run the risk of several types of mouth disease. These can be as mild as gingivitis (a gum disease that results in swollen, inflamed gums) and as serious as a bacterial infection that can spread through the dog’s bloodstream causing damage to vital organs. You owe it to yourself and your dog to take care of his teeth.

Doggie Dentistry

Dental services are available for dogs, just like they are for people. A dog’s teeth can be filled, capped, and extracted if necessary, just like a human’s. The best course of action, however, is to avoid the need for such services by properly caring for your dog’s teeth. If you can avoid unnecessary pain and discomfort for your furry friend, you should do so. Preventative doggie dental care can save you money as well. Doggie dental procedures can be quite costly.

My Dog Has Fleas!


Fleas are a problem for dogs and their owners alike. These tiny insects will live on the body of your dog, sucking the animal’s blood and laying eggs. The bites and presence of fleas will cause the dog to itch and if the dog happens to be allergic to fleas (the allergy is technically to the insects’ saliva) it can experience extreme itching, loss of fur in some places, inflammation, and infections. Regardless of whether the dog has an allergy to flea saliva, infestations must be dealt with or they will go on and on and the fleas will also infest your home, other pets, and can even live on humans. In short; you can be directly and adversely affected by an uncontrolled flea infestation.

Detecting Fleas

If you suspect that your dog has fleas because it’s been scratching more than usual, there are ways to check for their presence. Fleas are very small (about an eighth of an inch long), but visible to the naked eye, and brownish in color. Because they prefer dark places they will try to hide beneath the dog’s fur, under the collar, or on the underbelly. Their fecal material can also be seen on the dog’s coat and looks like multiple black flecks or specks – almost like pepper. If fleas or their droppings are found it is time to treat your dog to get rid of them.

Treating Your Dog for Fleas

While flea collars, powders, and sprays may help to prevent infestations to some extent, they will not help if the dog is already infested. When fleas are infesting a dog the female lays eggs at a rate of about thirty per day. These eggs fall off the dog and into the carpet, soil, or wherever the dog may be. In these areas they hatch and pupate, eventually growing into adult fleas which can then re-infest the dog. In order to halt the cycle all the fleas on the dog and in the environment must be killed or the life cycle must be interrupted.

There are several flea treatments available for dogs, but one of the best is an oral medication that will not kill adult fleas, but does kill the eggs and larva. This interrupts the flea life cycle and prevents them from coming back, as long as the dog is not continually exposed to new fleas. If that is happening, the source must be cleaned of fleas whether it is the carpet, the environment, or other dogs with which your pet associates.

Fleas can be a real nuisance for dogs and their owners, but catching them and treating the dog quickly is the key to eliminating the infestation and preventing the insects’ return.

Incessant Dog Barking


Dogs bark for a number of reasons. Sometimes these can be good reasons such as to warn of an intruder or to express fright or pain. Sometimes these can be “bad” reasons as far as humans are concerned – attempts to sound menacing or simply to get attention fall into this category. Whatever the reason for a dog’s barking, it can often be considered a nuisance by the dog’s owners and their neighbors alike. Because of this there are several methods employed to control a barking dog.

Training

By far the best method of controlling incessant barking is to train the dog not to bark or, more specifically, to bark only at the appropriate times. There are several ways to accomplish this, but dog trainers usually agree that traditional reward and reprimand systems are the most effective and the kindest to use.

Some people opt for an electronic “bark collar” as a shortcut to training the dog themselves. The collar contains an electronic device which is activated by the action of the dog barking. The device issues a small electric shock which pains and startles the dog. Eventually the dog is able to associate the negative stimulus with the barking and stops doing it.

The problems with these systems are multiple, however. Some dogs simply don’t learn that the barking is the cause of the negative stimulus, and continue to bark despite the discomfort it causes. Particularly hairy dogs may not even feel the shock or activate the device because its metal points must contact the skin directly in order to deliver the shock. Also, the collar itself is not enough and must be backed up with training anyway. It is a bad idea to use the collars for an extended period of time.

Some owners find the concept of delivering an electric shock to the dog to be “cruel.” While that may be a matter of personal opinion, the collars are proven to provide only minor discomfort for a short time and will not actually harm the dog. Another type of collar that operates on the same principle delivers a mist of citronella in front of the dog’s nose. Dogs hate the smell and soon realize that it is caused by the barking. Success rates for citronella collars are comparable to those of the electronic variety.

Surgery

By far the most extreme method of controlling a dog’s barking is to have it undergo debarking surgery. In this procedure a small fold of tissue is removed from the larynx of the dog, rendering it unable to bark. Some find this procedure to be inhumane and, since the dog’s bark may return after a few months anyway, it is certainly a less than perfect method which few vets will recommend.

Basic Puppy Training Techniques


There are a number of important guidelines that you need to keep in mind when teaching your puppy the basics about good behavior. Exercising the right training techniques is what will make or break your training regimen with your dog. Follow these five important guidelines and teaching your puppy will be easier than ever.

1 – Be Gentle – Your new puppy is going to be extremely sensitive at first, and as a result will not be able to handle anything that is too stressful on both an emotional and a physical level. Although learning generally quickly takes place, now is the time where your puppy will react poorly to stress or being trained too rough. If fears are picked up too easily during the training process, then it may inhibit the puppy’s ability to learn, so make sure to be gentle but firm in your training.

2 – Keep Things Brief – Puppies have even shorter attention spans than children. Your puppy is only going to learn when his or her attention is on you, and you will not see the results that you are looking for when your puppy is tired physically or mentally. Make sure to be brief when putting your puppy through training activities, and then you can move on.

3 – Exercise Patience – Expecting overnight results is only going to frustrate you and cause your training regimen to lose its focus. Relax, and understand that things like this will take time, and puppies learn in spurts. Puppies also do go through brief memory lapses so do not allow yourself to become overwhelmed if your puppy seems to forget some of its training from one day to the next. Exercise patience when it comes to training and you will be just fine.

4 – Exercise Simplicity – Teaching your puppy should be done in a step by step process if you want to attain the best results. This is the best way that your puppy will learn. Exercise a simple, step by step approach and your puppy will learn more quickly and will enjoy the process more thoroughly than if you were to employ a more intensive training regimen.

5 – Build Confidence – Confidence is the core of every healthy adult dog, and confidence begins with building confidence in a young puppy. Building confidence in your puppy is not hard at all to do; all you need to do is spend positive time with your puppy as often as you possibly can. This will help to build self confidence in your puppy. You should not always be in training mode when you first get your puppy, but instead sometimes you should step back and play with your dog, having fun with him or her in the process. Training is important, but above all else your dog needs to know that you are friends.

These five fundamental training foundations are vital in preparing your puppy for an effective training regimen and will drive better results when properly integrated into your step by step puppy training process.

Dog Accessories


Dog ownership carries with it the burden of a number of other purchases. In order to properly care for a dog and to comply with certain local laws, the owner must have a number of dog accessories in his or her arsenal. Some of these items are necessary, others are merely conveniences. It is important to know exactly what you’ll need to properly care for your dog.

The Essentials
Most of the truly necessary items for dog care are fairly obvious. If you’ve got a dog you’ll need bowls for the dog’s food and water. Mid size to large dogs have a habit of moving their food bowls around the room as they eat. This can make a lot of noise and have the frustrating result of requiring the owner to hunt around for the bowl at feeding time. The problem can be solved by using a heavy ceramic bowl that is difficult for the dog to move around. A sturdy plastic bowl with a rubber lining on the bottom can be useful as well. The rubber on the bottom prevents the bowl from sliding around as Rover enjoys his meal.

For taking the dog on walks you’ll need a leash and a collar. These can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like, but of course you’ll want to take the size and strength of your dog into account when selecting them. The collar can (and should) be adorned with a license tag or at least an ID tag that provides your name and contact information in case your dog is lost.

If you live in a big city like New York (Manhattan), Chicago, or other urban area, you’ll need to purchase that miracle of modern doggie convenience the “pooper scooper.” Most cities have laws against owners simply allowing their dogs to “foul the footpath” or leave little Poodle Bombs all over the city park. In some cities there is a hefty fine for such crappy behavior.

Optional Accessories
There are literally thousands of optional items available for people to purchase for use with their dogs. Some of these items, like the gravity refillable water dishes and food bowls, serve a very useful purpose, others – the dog bandana comes to mind – serve no real purpose and are merely decorative or just plain silly.

One item that some owners do find very useful, especially those that live in a hot climate, are “dog booties.” While they may seem like a simply precocious and relatively useless item, they do a good job of protecting the sensitive pads of a dog’s feet from rough terrain, rocky areas, and hot pavement. Those in cooler climates may not understand, but in some places, particularly the desert environments of cities like Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Albuquerque, the summer pavement can literally become hot enough to fry an egg. You wouldn’t walk barefoot on such a surface and neither should your dog.

Choosing Healthy Foods for Your Dog


Choosing Healthy Foods for Your Dog

Today’s pet food market is larger and more diverse than ever before. While this offers a large number of choices in various types of pet food, it also presents a dilemma in choosing the healthiest food for your dog. Are generic or store brands suitable for a dog? What about familiar name brands like Purina and Alpo? Are the pricier brands that advertise specially formulated ingredients (Science Diet, Eukanuba) really living up to their claims and worth the extra money? All of these are valid questions that loving dog owners deserve to have answered.

Dog Food Considerations

There are several factors to consider when choosing the right food for your dog. Different dogs have different nutritional needs at different stages in their lives. Some things to consider when selecting the food you’ll give your dog follow.

• The Dog’s Age

Puppies have different nutritional requirements than adult dogs just as human children have different needs than adult people. Senior dogs also have different requirements than younger adult dogs. Make sure that you select a food that is appropriate for your dog’s stage in life.

• The Dog’s Health

Does your dog have a specific medical condition? If so, the food you choose may need to be partially dictated by that condition. Diabetic dogs need low-glucose foods and dogs with specific allergies (yes dogs can be allergic to all sorts of things, just like people) may require certain foods as well. Your veterinarian can help you choose foods that are appropriate for a dog with a specific medical condition.

• The Dog’s Size or Body Type

Some dogs are overweight. Some dogs are underweight. Some have a natural tendency to get lots of exercise while others tend to prefer to lie around a lot. There are, of course, small, medium, and large dogs as well as the ultra-tiny “toy” dogs. All of these different types of dogs will have different requirements for the type of food they need as well as how much of it.

• Your Budget

Dog food can be expensive, there’s no doubt about it. And where dog food is concerned, the rule really is “you get what you pay for.” Low cost generics and store brands will lighten the burden on your wallet, but may not be the healthiest choice for your dog as they are made with cheap ingredients and lots of fillers. You should buy the best dog food you can on your budget to help ensure your dog’s nutrition.

Guard Dogs And Home Security


These days, home security is simply a must have. Burglaries and crime are always on the rise, which makes it all the more important to protect your home. There are various burglary alarms and home surveillance systems available, designed to help you protect your home. Although they are good in their own rights, nothing compares to an old fashioned guard dog. Guard dogs have been used for generations – to help people protect their homes and their belongings.

For many years, guard dogs have helped to scare off burglars and thieves. Although most have gotten used to dogs now days, nothing fends off a thief more than a vicious dog grabbing his ankle and clamping down. Almost all guard dogs have serious bites and can seriously injure a burglar. Guard dogs are trained to protect one’s home – and they will do so no matter what.

When you get a guard dog, you should always make sure that you let him know who is safe to be around your home. You don’t want the dog to be vicious towards everyone, as friends and family are certainly allowed to be around your home. Most guard dogs are left outside of the home, with some deciding to keep them indoors. Indoor dogs are great, as they will instantly catch a burglar the second he decides to break into your home.

If you plan to keep your guard dog indoors, you should always have a supply of food and water available, as he will be there when you aren’t. You will also need to give him access to an outdoor area as well, so he can use the bathroom. A fenced in yard is an ideal place for a guard dog to go outside, as he can come and go as he pleases. Sometimes, a burglar will try and sneak around the back entrance – which is where giving a guard dog outside access can really come in handy.

Before buying the dog, you should always carefully research the species and where you plan to get your dog from. Police dogs or dogs that have been trained for protection are ideal, as they already know how to defend things. Dobermans and Pit Bulls are great for protection as well, simply because they are well known for being very vicious.

If you carefully research your options and get your guard dog from a reliable source, you shouldn’t have much of anything to worry about. You should never get your dog from a lesser known or poor source, as the dog may be poorly trained or not in good health. A guard dog can be a great addition to any home – providing you get a dog in good health and more than capable to fend of burglars.

Dog Kennels


Dog kennels come in very handy for a variety of different reasons. They are primary offered so that you can keep your dog safe from harm. You may need to have your gate in the yard open to put up a new fence or so you can enjoy working out there or barbequing. Other times they are to transport your dog to the vet, to dog shows, or even when you are going on a vacation.

If your dog is going to fly with you on an airplane you need to get the specifics about kennels from them. There is no way they will bend the rules even slightly to allow your pet on board without the right size and type of kennel. If they don’t get on then you aren’t going to make your flight either. If you have all of this in place then you won’t have to worry about such issues when you arrive at the airport.

Most dog shows are full of different types of dogs that don’t get along. Having yours in a kennel can help to reduce conflicts that may arise. It can also help you to reduce the amount of stress your dog is exposed to before their performance. There are plenty of great accessories for dog kennels too so you can spoil them all you want.

It is very important that you get a dog kennel that your dog can fit into well. You don’t want them to be afraid of the space or to be crammed in there. Always make sure they have access to food and water as well. As your dog grows you may need to get a larger kennel for them to remain comfortable.

It can take some time for a dog to adjust to a kennel but if you work with them it will happen in no time. Make sure they are used to the kennel before you simply place them inside for a long flight or a long drive. You can work with them by placing them in the kennel for short periods of time. Gradually increase that amount of time so your dog will be prepared.