Archive for July, 2011

Reduce Your Dog’s Carbon Footprint

Could your dog be worse for the environment than an SUV?
That’s the claim that two New Zealand scientists made in 2009, citing that a medium-size dog has more than a 2 acre carbon footprint while an SUV has a 1 acre one. (A carbon footprint measures the impact our activities have on the environment based on the amount of greenhouse gases we produce.)

Dogs like meat–a medium-size dog eats 361.5 pound each year–and producing meat requires land and energy. But how can we blame dogs for our environmental woes? They are an irreplaceable part of our lives, lowering our blood pressure, getting us off the sofa and making us laugh. While many disagree with this claim, it has opened up a conversation on “green pet options.” As we all work to sustain and preserve our natural resources, you can choose environmentally responsible foods and products for your dog.

Ways to Reduce You Dog’s Carbon Footprint

1.  Choose natural food and treats. Your dog’s food should be free of artificial colors and flavors, preservatives and synthetic ingredients which create their own carbon footprint.

2. Look for environmentally friendly toys and accessories. You can find a wide range of dog products made from recycled materials such as beds made from plastic bottles or balls crafted from recycled rubber.

3. Use non-toxic grooming products. Look for shampoos and conditioners that have natural ingredients to avoid dumping more chemicals into our ecosystem.

4. Switch to bio-degradable bags to dispose of your dog’s waste. “Green” poop bags stay out of our overfull landfills.

5. Seek out food and products in recycled packaging. This will conserve water and raw materials needed for future resources.

Top Five Eco-Friendly Products (available at Dawg Gone Good)

Orbee balls and toys from Planet Dog, made from recycled rubber


 
 
 
 
 
 

Petcurian’s Go! Natural, wholesome food with natural preservatives


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

West Paw Design’s Eco Mat, made from recycled bottles


 
 
 
 
 
 

Taste of the Wild, hormone- and antibiotic-free foode
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Happy Tails, cruelty-free, all natural grooming products

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Soothing Skin Problems

Skin problems make dogs miserable. The health of the skin is important because it acts as a barrier to protect your dog from dehydration, infection, ultra-violet light and caustic substances. If your pup excessively scratches, licks and chews her coat, you’ll need to get to the root of the problem.

Symptoms of Skin Problems

• Scratching, licking or chewing at skin
• Scabs
• Redness or inflammation
• Hot spots (one area where itching is intense)
• Round, scaly patches on face or paws
• Dry, flaky or irritated skin
• Hair loss or bald patches
• Rashes
• Lesions
• Drainage of blood or pus
• Swellings, lumps or skin discoloration
• Rubbing face against carpet or furniture

Causes of Skin Problems

Many factors can cause skin problems in dogs and usually it’s a combo of things making her itch. Since it’s not easy to identify the underlying causes, consult your vet as soon as you see skin problem symptoms.

Parasites

Flea bites can irritate the skin and some dogs have an allergic response to the saliva following a bite. Sarcoptic mites, also called scabies or red mange, create intense itching, alopecia and inflamed skin with many small scabs. Demodex mites, known as mange, live just under the skin in hair follicles and oil glands and cause severe itching and patchy alopecia.

Allergies

Sensitivity to common substances such as pollen, weeds, dust, mites, trees or grasses can cause itching and scratching. Your dog may also develop food allergies to common ingredients in dog food such as beef, chicken, wheat, corn, soy, fillers and colorings.

Infections

Ringworm, a contagious fungal infection, causes inflammation, scaly patches and balding. Dogs can also develop bacterial and yeast inflections when the skin is damaged from other skin problems.

Other

A dog may lick her skin excessively from stress or boredom. Hormonal changes can cause change in skin color or coat thickness. Some shampoos and conditioners can irritate dog’s skin.

Prevent Skin Problems

• Use natural, hypoallergenic shampoos recommended for dogs.

• Brush your dog regularly.

• Feed your dog a healthy, balanced diet without artificial fillers.

• Work with your vet on a parasite prevention or flea treatment program.

• Provide a calm environment for your dog.

• Regularly clean and vacuum your home.

Products to Help

Dawg Gone Good offers a number of products that can help you treat your dog’s itchy skin.

Happy Tails offers shampoos and conditioners for itchy skin such as Comfy Dog, Fur Butter, Flea the Scene and Itchin’ for Relief.

               

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Conair Yellow Dog massaging brush helps improve a dog’s coat.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Taste of the Wild provides a natural grain-free formula with vitamins and minerals to provide your dog with a balanced diet.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Go! Natural provides wholesome formualtions with meat plus fruit and vegetables.

Dog Park Etiquette and Safety Tips

Dog parks can be wonderful places for dogs to run, play and interact with other canines in a secure area. Unfortunately, not all dogs play well together and not all owners take responsibility for their dogs. If you decide to take your dog to the park, have realistic expectations. Be prepared to watch your dog at all times and protect him if needed. Ultimately, your dog’s safety at these parks depends on you.

Dog Park Etiquette and Safety Tips

Spend a few minutes observing the dogs from outside the fence if you’re visiting a dog park for the first time. If they seem aggressive or unattended by their owners, don’t bring your dog inside.

Be careful at the front gate. Dogs tend to rush to the gate to greet a new dog which could intimidate your dog or lead to a fight.

Supervise your dog. You should keep an eye on your dog at all times to make sure that she is behaving well and that other dogs are behaving well toward her.

Don’t let your dog stay if she seems frightened or other dogs threaten her. Some owners think that dogs should “work it out themselves” when there’s a conflict. Not removing your dog from an aggressive dog will just make her fear worse.

Speak up if an owner needs to pay attention to his dog.  Don’t be afraid to ask an owner to control his dog if there’s a problem.

Remove your dog from the park if he is aggressive or bullying other dogs. Make the safety of other dogs as important as the safety of your own.

Learn to read dogs’ body signals and postures. Dogs communicate with us when they are scared, threatened, aggressive, stressed and happy. Learn to recognize the difference between rough play, which can look and sound violent, and actual threats.

Leave small children and babies in strollers at home. Some dogs are frightened of small children and vice versa.

Don’t take toys to the park unless your dog is willing to share.

Use caution when rewarding your dog with a treat at the park. If your dog doesn’t like other dogs crowding around, treats can be a problem.

Signs a Dog Might Bite

In addition to keeping your dog safe, you need to watch out for yourself. Use caution if you see a dog:

•  standing stiff and still with its hair up

•  staring at you

•  holding its tail stiff and up in the air. Friendly dogs wag their tails in a relaxed way. A dog with a stiff tail up, wagging fast is sending a danger signal.

•  growling, snarling, showing its teeth or barking

Keep in mind that some dogs may not give any signs before biting. When in doubt, be careful, stay calm and slowly back away.

 

Dog Park Goodies

Stop by Dawg Gone Good for the latest products to enhance your time together with your dog.

Planet Dog Wood Chuck, an ergonomic bamboo chucker that works with Orbee Tough balls

 

 

 

 

 

Vibram Disc, a durable fun flyer made from dog-friendly rubber

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EZY Dog Mongrel, a shock-absorbing stretch leash that’s perfect for pullers


Let’s Be Friends: Socializing Your Dog

The secret to a well-behaved dog? Proper socialization. Puppies and adolescent dogs (ages 3 to 6 months) need to be exposed to new people, animals and places in a non-threatening way. These positive experiences will help the dog be calm and accepting as he matures. In addition to early interaction with the world outside the home, dogs benefit from life-long socialization. If you have adopted an adult dog that shows signs of shyness, anxiety or aggression, those traits may always be present. Yet, with socialization, your dog can learn new behaviors that will make interactions with people and other dogs more pleasant.

Tips for Socializing Your Dog

1. Start immediately. Take you dog on short walks around the neighborhood and let her experience her surroundings. Encourage people to pet her and give her treats. Try to expose her to all types of people — men, women, children, people in wheelchairs, people wearing hats and coats, people with bicycles.

2. Invite healthy, vaccinated dogs to your home. If you have a puppy still getting his shots, this allows him to interact with dogs without the worry of a health risk.

3. Bring your dog to Dawg Gone Good. Your puppy can interact with other people who love dogs and visit our relaxation and play area.

4. Take your dog to other dog-friendly businesses such as Home Depot, Lowes or restaurants such as Kelly’s Brew Pub or Flying Star that have outside seating. ABQ Dog has a listing of both on leash and off leash places to take your dog at http://www.abqdog.com/albuquerque-dog-places.shtml

5. Visit friends or have friends over to your house. Show your dog that people are pretty cool by letting your friends give him a toy or treat.

6. Enroll your dog in puppy kindergarten or obedience training. Not only will she be exposed to a new group of people and dogs, she’ll begin learning behavior basics.

7. Check out local dog parks if your dog is vaccinated.

8. Touch your dog, brush him and handle his feet and offer treats for good behavior. This will help when he has to visit the vet or groomer.

Socializing your dog takes time and effort but the reward is a well-adjusted companion that you can take anywhere.

 

Legal Disclaimer

This post is for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for a vet’s professional diagnosis and treatment.