Archive for October, 2011

Keep Doggies Safe This Halloween

"I can haz candiee?"

Halloween is around the corner and that means dress-up, candy and fun. Many of us like to include our dogs in the festivities; putting them in costumes or taking them trick-or-treating. It’s up to us to make sure they don’t get into any mischief that could hurt them. To keep your dog calm and secure, follow these common-sense Halloween safety tips.

• No candy treats. Don’t leave candy out that your dog can get into and eat. Chocolate, especially dark and baking varieties, can be toxic to dogs and cats, causing vomiting and diarrhea even in small amounts. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in candy, mints and gum, causes rapid low blood sugar and liver failure in dogs. Call your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 if you suspect your dog has eaten toxic candy.

• Watch out for wrappers. Foil from candies, lollipop sticks and small plastic decorations can cause intestinal blockage if ingested by your pup. Don’t let an emergency vet visit for a ruptured intestine ruin your holiday!

• Keep pumpkins and other decorations out of reach. Your dog’s tail (or a freaked-out cat) can knock over candles and start a fire. While fall decorations such as pumpkins, squash and corn are non-toxic, your dog may have an upset stomach if he eats them. Don’t let your dog chew lighted decorations or electrical cords; he could get burned, shocked or cut.

• Bring your dogs and other pets inside. Unfortunately, some people can play cruel tricks on animals, especially black cats.  To be safe, don’t let pets out alone on Halloween and in the days leading to and following the holiday.

• Consider putting your dog in a bedroom if you have trick-or-treaters. A constantly ringing doorbell or knocking can stress some dogs. They may also become afraid when they see strangers in costumes.

• Don’t let your dog dart out the door. If he becomes startled or afraid, he might just make a run for it. It’s a good time to make sure your dog has the proper I.D. tags. Lost dogs with identification have a much better chance of being returned to their owners.

• Dress your dog in a costume only if he’s comfortable. Some pups like dressing up and some find it stressful. Try on the costume before Halloween and see if your dog feels distressed. If he doesn’t like it, don’t force him to wear it. Also, make sure your dog can see, hear, move and breath freely in his costume.

• Always supervise  your dog while he’s in costume. Some dogs try to eat their costumes or get tangled on trees and fences.

STOP BY OUR HALLOWEEN OPEN HOUSE!

For a safe and fun Halloween celebration, join Dawg Gone Good on October 31st from 4-8 p.m. We’ll have food, witches brew, prizes, discounts and more. Have your dog’s paw read by a real animal communicator for a $5 donation to NM Dogs Deserve Better. See which pooch has the winning costume. Let your dog get a treat for doing a trick. We’re located in Nob Hill, on Central at Wellesley, in beautiful Albuquerque, NM.

 

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Why Does My Dog . . . ???

Do you ever feel like your dog has selective hearing? No matter how many times we scold them, our four-legged friends can seem hell-bent on eating the cat’s food or digging up the yard. Dogs actually love rules and want to please us. When they don’t, it’s because they don’t understand what we want. It’s up to us to consistently reinforce the rules and train our dogs out of bad behaviors. Here, some common behavior issues and how to resolve them.

Not Coming When Called

Many of us experience this frustrating behavior with our dogs. Teaching your dog to come when called is essential to his health and safety. To get your dog to come, you need to make the experience a happy one. Call to him in a happy voice and when he runs to you, reward him with praise, hugs and treats. Don’t use a scolding tone and if your dog runs, don’t chase him. Practice calling him in the house or your yard and reward him every time he obeys. Until your dog can be trusted, never let him off his leash in an unconfined area.

Pulling the Leash

Dogs pull on the leash because they’re excited, scared, see something to chase or want to get to other people and dogs. They also naturally walk faster then us. A great technique to stop leash pulling is to completely stop any time the lease is not loose. Stand still, ignore your dog and once he stops pulling, praise him and move forward. You have to be consistent in this training, which means stopping a lot, but your dog will learn that walking by you will get him where he wants to go.

Whining for Attention

Does your dog whine when her ball rolls under the sofa? Whining to get attention, treats or a toy can be annoying and you may be unknowingly reinforcing that behavior. If your dog whines and you make eye contact, touch, or even scold her, she’s getting your attention. Instead, teach your dog to stay quiet. Don’t give her any attention or rewards until she stops whining. You can also cross your arms, turn your back and ignore her to show her that whining won’t work.

Digging

Dogs dig for many reasons: to bury a bone, chase prey or get cool in the summer. They’ll also dig if they’re confined, bored or need exercise. Stop your dog from digging as soon as it happens so your pup won’t make it a habit. Start by giving your dog walks, playtime and training. Don’t leave your dog unsupervised in the yard and redirect him with a firm “no” if he starts digging.

Barking at the Door

When someone rings your doorbell, does your dog go wild? While it may make sense to yell at your dog to quiet down, she doesn’t understand and thinks you’re barking, too. One way to stop door barking is to teach your dog to go to a place such as her bed. Have a friend knock or ring the doorbell. Throw a treat on your dog’s bed and tell her, “Go to your place.” Work to get her to go to her bed first, then reward her with a treat. As she progresses, try opening the door. If your dog, steps off her bed, close the door quickly.

Jumping on People

Dogs interact with other dogs by jumping on them so it’s natural for them to jump on people. Many people send the wrong message to jumping dogs by pushing them away with their hands or yelling at them. Dogs see this as a game and a reward for jumping. The most effective way to stop a dog from jumping is to cross your arms and turn your back to the dog. Ignore the dog and don’t give him any eye contact.

Finding Safe Dog Toys

Some people may think we spoil our dogs if they have toys. What they don’t understand is that toys relieve boredom, lessen stress, provide a chewing outlet and help with behavior issues. Plus, they’re a fun way to interact with your pup. When choosing toys for your dog, you should take into consideration your dog’s age, size and chewing tendency. You’ll also want to ensure that the toys are safe to prevent choking, intestinal blockage and exposure to toxins. Dog toys are not regulated, so consider the following tips when shopping for your dog.

Tips for Buying Safe Dog Toys

1. Buy your dog toys from a pet store. The owners of these stores source safe dog toys from reputable manufacturers. They can also recommend the right toys for your dog based on his age, size and activity level. Avoid buying dog toys from grocery, discount or dollar stores—these tend to be cheaply made and could be a choking hazard for your dog.

2. Look for toys made in the USA. Many dog toys are manufactured in China and contain high levels of lead, chromium and cadmium. Dog toys are not subject to any regulations or safety standards; it’s up to owner to research the safest brands.

3. Opt for non-toxic, lead-free, phthalate-free toys. Painted toys have the largest amount of lead. Vinyl and plastic dog toys contain phthalates, chemicals that leech out of plastic and can cause chronic toxic effects on organs.

4. Choose the right type of toy for your dog. Knowing your dog’s instinctive behaviors, activity level and temperament will help you select the right toy. For instance, if you know your dog will tear apart a soft toy in minutes, opt instead for a hard rubber bone or ball.

5. Find the right size. If a toy or ball is too large, your dog will have problems carrying it in her mouth or handling it with her paws. Too-small toys can cause choking if swallowed. Don’t give your dog a ball that he can push to the back of his mouth.

6. Beware squeakers. Dogs love squeaky toys and many will tear a toy apart to get to the squeaker. If swallowed, the plastic squeaker could choke your dog or cause an intestinal blockage.

7. Remove decorations from toys. For your dog’s safety, take off ribbons, strings, tags, buttons, decorative eyes or anything else your dog can chew off and swallow.

8. Give toys made specifically for dogs. Some people give dogs toys made for children. Many times these toys will not hold up to a dog’s chewing instinct and can pose a choking hazard.

9. Throw out worn toys. Check your dog’s toys often and discard any that are broken, cracked or pulling apart. You don’t want your dog swallowing the broken bits.

10. Provide variety. Your dog needs more than one type of toy. Always have toys that your dog can carry, roll, cuddle and attack.

11. Rotate your dog’s toys. Don’t let your dog have all his toys at once. Hold some back and then switch them so your dog stays interested.

12. Always supervise your dog when giving new toys. Observing your dog with toys will keep her safe and also let you know what types of toys work best. If your dog starts shredding or destroying a toy, take it away. Decide which toys your dog can play with unsupervised, which ones he can handle for short periods of time and which ones require supervision every time.

Dawg Gone Good’s Top 5 Safe Toys

1. Orbee-Tuff Glow-in-the-Dark Whistle Ball from Planet Dog is made in the USA from non-toxic recycled materials.

 
 
 
 
 
 
2. The Hol-ee Roller from JW Pets is a tough rubber honeycomb ball perfect for fetching and tugging.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
3. KONG Rubber Toys are made in the USA out of a natural red rubber compound that dogs love to chew.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
4. Mingo from West Paw Designs is an unstuffed plush toy made in the USA from non-toxic, organic fabric.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
5. Daisy’s Funny Bone from Life Is Good is a 6-inch non-toxic bouncy toy with a peppermint scent.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Legal Disclaimer

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

How to Control Shedding

Do you love your dog but hate his hair everywhere? We put up with hair on the furniture, in our cars and on our clothes just because we love them. Some dogs have been advertised as non-shedding, but that’s not true. All dogs shed in order to get rid of old, damaged and extra hair, and some shed more than others.  Breeds such as poodles, schnauzers and certain terriers are considered light shedders. Dogs with undercoats, such as huskies, labs and German sheperds, shed a ton. Shedding usually occurs during spring and fall as the seasons change, but some dogs shed year round. While you can’t stop your dog from shedding, try the following tips to control it.

1. Brush daily. This is the best thing you can do to control the amount of hair in your house. Brushing loosens the hair so you can remove it before it falls on your furniture or clothes. It will also keep your dog’s coat soft and clean.

2. Choose the best brush. A slicker brush with stainless steel pins will smooth your dog’s coat and collect hair. If your dog has a double coat, try an undercoat rake or shedding blade to quickly remove the dead hair without hurting the top coat. A mat breaker will help you brush through tangles and snarls without hurting your dog’s delicate skin.

3. Use a deshedding shampoo. This type of shampoo removes excess hair and strengthens the hair shaft without drying out the skin. Many formulas contain Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids to promote healthy skin and a shiny coat. Oatmeal shampoo will also help soothe the skin for a shiny coat.

4. Bring your dog in for our Desert Dry Grooming. If you’re short on time or don’t have deshedding tools and products, drop your dog with us. We will brush, clip and dry shampoo him so the fur doesn’t fly in your house.

5. Feed a diet that encourages a healthy coat. Some manufacturers brand food specifically for healthy skin and coat. Look for a high-quality, nutritious food with fatty acids and digestible protein sources.

6. Give your dog fatty acid supplements. Increasing your pup’s intake of Omega 3 and Omega 6 will encourage a sleek, shiny coat and healthy skin.

7.  Keep allergies and parasites under control. Allergens along with fleas, ticks and other external parasites cause extreme itching which leads to lots of scratching and flying hair.

8. Remove pet hair quickly. Pet hair works its way into the fabric of your upholstery and your dog’s bed. Newly shed hair is easier to vacuum up or get off with a brush or lint roller.

Excessive shedding can be caused by ringworm, skin infection, mange, cancer, thyroid imbalance and stress. If your dog is losing lots of hair or has bald spots, take him to the veterenary for a check up.

Dawg Gone Good’s Top 4 Shedding Control Products

1. Furminator, a deshedding tool that easily removes loose undercoat to reduce shedding by 90% after 4 to 6 weeks.

2. Ark Natural’s Don’t Shed on Me, an all-natural spray-on mist with lactic acid to reduce excessive shedding and moisturize the coat.

3. Taste of the Wild, a grain-free food with an Omega fatty acid blend to maintain healthy skin and a shiny coat.

4. Happy Tails Canine Spa Fur Butter, a deep conditioning treatment that combats itching and leaves the coat silky and easy to brush.

Legal Disclaimer

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