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Archive for January 2014

Dental Health

Dog Dressed HalloweenHere are some tips to your dog’s dental health. These will help you to identify problems and possibly treat them.

Dogs
The breath of a dog may never smell like lilies, but if your dog’s breathe is likely to melt butter you should probably take the pooch to your vet, especially if this bad breathe is accompanied by loss of appetite, vomiting, and excessive drinking or urinating.

Once a week you should get face to face with your dog so their lips can be lifted to reveal the teeth and gums. The gums should be pink; white, red, or swollen gums are not good. you should take your pet to see a vet. The teeth should be clean and not have any brownish tartar.

In order to avoid plaque build up, tartar, and gingivitis you should take your pet for regular teeth cleaning. Without regular cleaning your dog’s gums may start to recede or even loose his teeth.

The good news is you can clean your dog’s teeth at home with a canine teeth-brushing kit. You can ask your vet to recommend a tooth brush and tooth paste for your dog. The brush should be made especially for dogs. Or you can use a fresh piece of gauze and wrap it around your finger to brush the teeth.

Never use human tooth paste or fluoride when cleaning your dog’s teeth. You can make tooth paste using baking soda and water or use what your vet recommends.

You should accustom your dog to having its teeth brushed. Massage your dog’s lips for 30-60 seconds twice a day for a few weeks. Then you can move to touching the teeth and gums. Once your dog is comfortable being touched this way you can rub the tooth paste or baking soda mixture on his lips so he can get used to the taste. Then the next step is to introduce the tooth brush.

Clean your dog’s teeth in small circular motions at a 45 degree angle. Work in your dog’s mouth one area at a time and lifting the lips as needed. The teeth that touch the side of the cheek usually have the most tartar. If your dog resists being brushed don’t fight with them. Let them go and try again another time.

If you can build up to brushing your dog’s teeth 2-3 times a week you can give your dog the gift of dental health.

The oral diseases you should look for are: periodontal disease, gingivitis, halitosis, swollen gums, proliferating gum disease, mouth tumors, salivary cysts, and canine distemper teeth.

Chewing on toys can help eliminate tooth decay as well. Ask your vet to recommend some toys with dental benefits for you pooch, and take good care of your dog’s teeth!

Small Breed Dogs

CVH 13Not all dogs are created equal and the small breed dogs are no exception. Small breed dogs, or Toy Breeds are the miniature version of their larger counterparts. This has been achieved through years of selective breeding. Diminutive dogs make great loving companions, the European royalty also kept these lap dogs for companions. Small breed dogs make excellent pets for smaller spaces like apartments and condos. These breeds make excellent first time pets for inexperienced dog owners, but their fragility means that families with small children have to be careful with interactions between the dog and children.

Some toy breeds are noisy, but all of them love attention from their owners and strangers. These small dogs are loyal, intelligent and can learn to do tricks, which makes them great competitors in obedience competitions. But before you go and pick out the cutest pup from a breeder, here are tips on how to choose a small breed dog that is right for you.

First consider the size of dog you want, even some small breeds are close to being a medium sized dog. Generally the main difference is in the weight. Smaller dogs are easier to pick up and carry around, but that can have problems of its own. When training your dog you have to remember to let your dog do things on his own. For example don’t carry him to his litter, let him walk there. If you constantly carry him/her around they will not know what to do when you aren’t around and make messes on the floor.

ChihuahuaOn the other hand these dogs are intelligent and learn really fast making the training time shorter than a slower learning breed dog who will require more patients and time. So if you want an easily trained dog you will need to do your homework into which breed is more easily trained.

Most small breeds don’t require a lot of maintenance, small dogs tend to shed less, which makes them more allergy friendly, but they will still cause allergic reactions because of their dander and saliva. But some small breeds shed more than others and then there are the sheds a lot more than others. Again research into the type of dog you want will eliminate any stress about allergies or unwanted shedding.

As mentioned above you will want to be careful with your toy dog around children, excessive ear pulling, teasing, smothering and generally unwanted behavior can result in nips, barking and biting. So always supervise the interactions between your dog and children. Otherwise your dog will love the children and visa versa.

Lap dogs also make great guard dogs. They’re very protective of their home and will bark when strangers come to the door. Some breeds are better at guard duty than others though, another consideration if you live in an apartment or condo.

We hope these tips were helpful, but the deDaschundion and research are still left to do to decide which breed is right for you.

 

Environmentally Friendly Flea Control

fleaPrepare to feel itchy as we dig into the world of fleas. Fleas are wingless insects that live off the blood of mammals and birds. They grow to be 1-4mm in size and have a brown or reddish brown color. Although these insect do not have wings they can jump great distances, 20cm vertically and 41cm horizontally.

Fleas have a four stage life cycle; egg, larva, pupa, and adult flea. A single female flea can lay as many as 60 eggs a day, and the average lifespan of a flea is 90 days. That adds up quickly if even a small number are introduced into your home. And you will know if your pet has fleas because you will see them scratching and biting areas where the fleas are irritating their skin. Sometimes flea bites can result in hair loss as the animal repeatedly scratches the same area, or even in sores if the animal aggravates a bite by over scratching and biting.

Fleas will bite humans as well and their saliva can cause skin irritations that are a small, hard, red itchy spot that will be slightly raised and swollen with a single puncture point at the center. Flea bites often appear in clusters or lines, and can remain itchy and inflamed for up to several weeks.

Many people try to control this pest by calling an exterminator, but there are more environmentally friendly ways to deal with fleas. Instead of using poisons and gases to get rid of these parasites you can do a few simple things that will ensure that you are bringing the fight to the fleas.

Take physical control over your indoor environment. Vacuum carpets, drapes, and cushions to ensure that you get the eggs and larva. Carpets not only hide fleas, but it creates a great environment to hide the eggs through their life cycle to adulthood. If you’re experiencing a great amount of fleas you may want to vacuum 2-3 times a day, and steam clean those carpets once they’ve been vacuumed. If you have hard wood floors get at those dust bunnies! Dust like carpet creates the perfect environment to hide fleas and their eggs. If you take your pet into your car you will want to vacuum there as well.

Washing also helps to eliminate these pests because the soap in the water kills them. If you have a doggy bed or a blanket your pet likes to sleep on throw it and all your bedding into the wash ensuring to use hot water. You may even want to throw out the old bedding and hold off replacing it until you get the fleas under control. Fleas will most likely hide in the carpet or bedding waiting for your pets return rather then risk traveling on your pet. The rule is for every flea you find on your pet there are 30 more some where in your house.

Comb your pet with a flea comb and a bucket of hot soapy water. Fleas collect mainly on the tail and neck, so comb through the hair in these places with extra care and attention. When you find a flea wash it off the comb in the soapy water. You can even remove flea feces and dried blood through combing your pet’s hair.

There are oral treatments you can give your pet as well. Giving them natural liver and vitamin B in a flea treat helps to not only eliminate the pests, but make your pet healthier. Always discuss these medications with your vet before giving them to your pet though.

Lastly, there is a natural type of earth that can be effective in controlling the pests as well. Diatomaceous earth is a natural type of earth made from microscopic marine animals. This earth can be sifted into carpets and cushions where your pet likes to sit and the diatomaceous earth will get into the fleas shell and chip away at it and afterward stick to the insect and dry it out and ultimately kill the pest. It’s suggested that you use diatomaceous earth before you vacuum. You can even rub this onto your pet’s skin and it will work the same way on the pest without harming your pet.

If you combine these methods all together, you should see a drastic reduction in household fleas with in the week. To control fleas outside your house you should also spread the diatomaceous earth where ever your pet seems to play or sleep the most. The reason we don’t suggest using pesticides in your home or on your pet is that ultimately these are soaked into the pets skin and yours where the chemicals can enters the blood stream affecting long-term health. Not to mention that fleas are similar to cockroaches in that they adapt to their environment. They become stronger and more immune to the popular commercial flea control chemicals with each generation.

Now that you are armed with knowledge, go out and get rid of those fleas safely for you, your pet and the environment.

Should You Get a Puppy When You’re Expecting a Baby?

132317This is a very difficult question to answer, difficult because it all depends on your level of commitment to the puppy in question. There is no breed of dog that is better with children than another, everything depends on your ability to prepare the puppy for the new baby, and to care for both simultaneously.

Puppies require as much care as a newborn child, if you think that caring for a puppy will prepare you for your forthcoming baby it might, but nothing will prepare you for the work load of caring for puppy and baby. What happens to puppies who are not prepared for babies are hardships that the animal didn’t ask for. Many puppies who cannot be managed after baby comes home from the hospital wind up being rehomed, kenneled, or given to shelters. Many of these situations wind up with an adolescent dog who winds up being put down.

If this would be your first time owning a dog we suggest that you wait until your baby is at least 3-4 years old before purchasing a puppy. When you do decide to get a dog make sure that the breeder is reputable and recommended. After you puppy has had its shots start socializing him/her right away.

If you absolutely want a puppy before the baby comes here are recommended steps to prepare the puppy for the baby. Puppies get used to a schedule and environment, but when the baby comes home all that will change, be sure that you’re slowly introducing your pet to these changes. For example, if you plan on using baby gates to separate the puppy and baby be sure to put them up well in advance of the babies arrival home so the puppy can get used to them. Also make sure you have help taking the puppy for its walks. If you’re unable to walk the dog it will get left outside and become unsocialized which is bad for him/her and your family.

Early gradual changes in your schedule around the house will help prepare the puppy for the changes the baby will bring with it. Let the puppy investigate the nursery before the baby comes home, send home blankets from the hospital for the puppy to sniff and so he/she can get used to the scent of the new baby. It is very important for the puppy to understand and obey the basic instructions like stay and down before the baby comes home. If the puppy shows signs of agitation toward your new baby you should speak to your vet immediately.

When you come home from the hospital you should get someone to hold the baby for you so you can give the puppy the proper attention it needs after your absence from the home. Have the puppy on a leash as the excitement of the day will have him/her excited.

Always supervise your puppy and baby when they’re together never leave them alone even if they are both sound asleep. And never set aside separate time for your puppy from your baby. Always positively reinforce your interactions with your puppy in the presence of your baby. Give the puppy praise and treats so the puppy associates the baby with positive socialization.

Puppies vary in how they welcome a new baby, so give it time. If you’re not seeing positive interactions with in a certain amount of time always speak with your vet. Remember a puppy is always learning, without careful intervention and direction your puppy will pick up bad behaviors, such as chewing shoes, stealing food and chasing cars or bikes.

The best time to buy a puppy is during a time of little change or disruption so they can feel stable and welcome in their own home. Before you buy that puppy research different breeds to find out which type best suits your lifestyle, instead of choosing a dog based on appearances. Think about all that your new puppy will need, how much food it will eat, how many times a day you will need to walk the dog and how much time you will need to spend socializing and training your puppy.

Now that you have considered all these factors we hope you make the right decision for you and your family.