How many times do dog roll on the ground, licking his coat or chewing his fur? That’s actually his way of keeping clean. But that’s not enough! You pooch needs a little help from you, when it comes to cleaning and grooming.
Grooming is an important aspect of responsible dog parenting. Brushing and bathing apart, grooming also allows you to thoroughly check your dog for any abnormalities or illnesses on a regular basis. In fact, it’s alright if you don’t have a routine set. Dogs, fortunately, do not need to bathe as often as their human friends. Besides, you can always start small, keeping one task each time. For example, you can brush your furry bundle a day and bathe him the next. Keep the nail trimming for another day; this way you can keep your sessions shorter, which is not only helpful for you but also less stressful for your pooch.
In addition, there is one more thing you need to keep in mind, always use suitable quality grooming products and tools. Your dog’s skin is different from yours and therefore need special products designed just for them. In this post, we will talk about the basic essentials of dog grooming. Here are a few things you need to know.
1. Brush His Hair Regularly
Fortunately, most dogs enjoy brushing. But how many time do you need to brush your pooch and what kind of brush you need, depends on his hair type. According to some of the most experienced Brandon dog groomers, long-haired dogs need daily brushing as they are more prone to matting and tangling of hair. Short-haired dogs, on the other hand, can have a few weeks’ breaks in between brushing.
A weekly brushing is enough for medium-haired dogs to prevent matting and tangles. Increase the brushing frequency during shedding season. In fact, you can always brush your dog daily for a healthy and shiny coat, as long as he enjoys it. And as you brush, always check for ticks.
While there are different shapes and sizes of brushes are available, they can be broadly categorized into three different brush types. These are:
- Bristle brushes, which can be used for all type of hair. You should determine the length of the bristles and the spacing between bristles determine, depending on your dog’s hair coat. For instance, dog with longer hair coat need the widely spaced and longer bristled brushes, while dogs with coarser hair coats need stiffer bristles.
- If your dog has medium to long hair or curly or woolly coats, go for the wire-pin brushes that come with or without rubber-tipped ends.
- For removing mats and tangle, slicker brushes with fine wire bristles are just perfect.
Irrespective of the brush you are using or your brushing frequency, be gentle, especially when removing mats or tangles and take your time. It must be a pleasant experience for your dog, something he looks forward to.
2. Bathing Your Pooch
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), you should bathe “your dog at least once every three months.” However, there is no harm in increasing the frequency if your four-legged friend goes outdoor a lot or has skin problems. One thing to remember that bathing them too frequently can dry out their hair coat and skin, causing severe problem in the long run. Dogs who go swimming also require less bathing.
The following are some additional tips to bathe your pooch safely:
- Use lukewarm water to bathe your dog
- Dog’s skin is different from humans, use shampoos specifically designed for dogs. Talk to your vet about what products you should use, especially if your dog has skin problems
- Use a bath mat, if using bath/dog tub to avoid slipping
- Massage in the shampoo gently, working from head to tail and rinse well
- Give him a good rub using a large towel to dry him
- If using a blow dryer, keep it at low heat setting and point it little to the side instead of pointing it directly at your dog
You can use a bath toy if your pooch is overexcited or does not like the bath. Similarly, you can also take them to qualified groomers for a professional bathing service.
3. Give Him Periodic Haircuts
Some dogs like Shih Tzu, Australian Shepherd, or Poodle need regular haircuts as they have continuously growing hair. Depending on your dog’s breed, you need to cut their hair in every 2-4 weeks. Now, this is one task best left to professionals.
As you heed towards the groomers, make an effort to calm down your dog to ensure that the grooming visit goes well. Stay with your dog, if possible, especially if you have a small pup or an aging dog to provide a familiar environment.
4. Make Regular Ear Checks
Some dogs produce excessive earwax and/or have a lot of inner-ear hair. Clean their ears at regular intervals using a cotton ball dampened with liquid ear cleaner for dogs, mineral oil, or hydrogen peroxide. But don’t go too deep as it may cause irritation, trauma, or infection. Simply lift away the wax or dirt instead of rubbing it into their ear as their inner-ear skin is very delicate.
To clean your dog’s ear, gently fold his ear back and wipe away the dirt from the underside of his ear. Check for swelling, odor, discharge, and other signs of infection.
5. Nail and Paw Care
Your dog’s nails shouldn’t touch the ground as he walks. You will need some nail clippers, either a scissors type or a guillotine type, depending on what you’re most comfortable with. Alternatively, you can use an electronic nail grinder, after consulting your vet.
Since your dog is likely to resist during the pedicure, tire him out with some vigorous exercise and also get someone to help you hold him down. In addition, check your dog’s feet regularly for infections, wounds, and/or foreign objects like debris, pebbles, and small pieces of broken glasses. Give him proper winter and summer paw care and use a good pad moisturizer and always be careful when taking him for a walk.
Home grooming is not really a big thing, if you know the basics. And it also improves your bond with your pup. All it needs is a few hours’ investment and a little attention on your part. But if you are still finding it hard, professional dog groomers are the best solution. After all you wouldn’t like to take chances with your best furry friend.
Home alone is not really a thing for dogs. They are never happy when we leave them back home; in fact, they are rather bored and lonely. But unfortunately we have works to do and most employers, retail establishments, and restaurants etc. won’t allow dogs no matter how much we would love to cradle our four-legged friends on our hips all day round.
Dogs have anxiety issues when you leave them alone. They need constant love and attention apart from food and water at regular intervals. Many pet parents complain that their dogs behave in a disruptive or destructive manner when left alone. Such behaviors usually involve like urinating, defecating, howling, barking, chewing up shoes, carpets or curtains etc., digging and/or trying to escape. And these may lead to self-injury and household destruction. While such behaviors often indicate lack of polite house manners, they can also be symptoms of separation anxiety and distress.
Dogs become upset when separated from their owners and as a result separation anxiety triggers. They are deeply attached to their human friends and often become agitated, anxious or depressed in their absence. This is the only reason behind their disruptive or destructive behaviors when left alone in home.
The good news is there are ways to help your furry friend to overcome separation anxiety and eventually teach them to stay happy even in your absence. Here are 3 tips to teach your dog to stay happy when home alone.
1. Reward Your Pup for the Right Reasons, Only!
According to a South Tampa dogs daycare, pet owners often end up rewarding their puppies for all the wrong reasons and that becomes a habit often leading to separation anxiety. It basically starts when you get your puppy home for the first time. When you take the puppy away from his family where it was born into, it is a big change for the pup. He cries too often, especially when left alone. But when your pup cries, most likely you pick him up to show sympathy and shower your love. And while you think you are creating a bond with the little one this way, helping them to trust you, you are actually rewarding his crying.
The same goes for letting him out of the crate when crying. So avoid rewarding your pup for his crying, rather reward only for desired behavior. Teach your puppy to settle down and be quiet for increasing periods of time. Don’t pick your pup up if he is crying for being left alone. In fact, it is better to leave them alone from time to time, even if you are at home to teach them calmness and patience. Reward these kind of behaviors, preferably not by cuddling but by giving him toys to play with.
Much to your disliking, you should avoid interacting constantly with your pup to let him learn to play with his toys on his own and entertain himself. Your dog must also learn to accept the crate and understand his limits and boundaries. This is how he will gain respect for his environment and is less likely to develop anxiety issues.
2. Keep Your Furry Bundle of Joy Busy
It is best to keep your dog busy when you are around as well as when you are not. Start the day with some good, hard morning exercise before you leave for work. What kind of exercise and how much exercise depends on your dog’s age, breed, health and fitness, and the weather. And it is better to consult your vet to understand your dog’s exercise tolerance. The goal is to give him varied physical exercise along with some mental stimulation so that he flops down on his bed to sleep as soon as you both are home. This will allow you to leave the house with a sad dog looking at you and no barking or howling too.
In addition, make sure you leave behind some toys to play with when he gets up. Using food-dispensing toys is, in fact, a great way to keep you pooch really happy even in your absence. You can use chew toys or toys like Kong that can be stuffed with his favorite dog food. There are some food-dispensing toys that come with variable difficulty levels. They are a great option to frustrate your dog and keep him active and engaged. For most dogs, successful foraging is equal to a good time.
However, it is important to ensure that your chew toys and food-dispensing toys can stand up to pooch’s jaws as not all of them are suitable for a solo dog.
3. Consider a Dog Daycare
Dog daycares are usually great for home-alone dogs. You can drop your dog off in a daycare where they can spend their day in secure play yards, indoor playing areas, and swimming pools, socializing with other dogs.
However, if your dog doesn’t enjoy the company of other canines or if you can’t afford the fees of a doggie daycare, consider hiring a daily dog walker. This way you dog will not only have the company of another human in your absence, but can also release excreta under proper supervision. While many dogs can hold their urine and feces almost all day long, it can result in urinary tract infections.
Besides, dogs produce highly concentrated urine during a long wait. This increases the chances of crystal formation and cystitis, which can be a life threatening condition for your dog. It is therefore better to have someone look after your dog in your absence, be it a daycare center or a walker.
While it is important to teach your dog to entertain himself, you should also understand that your four-legged friend is dependent on you, at least for certain things. Make sure his needs are met even if you are not there. Being left alone should not be a punishment to him, rather an opportunity to explore within his limits and boundaries. And don’t forget to reward him as you come back home; the poor thing has been waiting for you the entire day!
Do you share your dinner or perhaps a bite of your snack with your furry little friend? While dogs are just too cute to say no, especially when they look at you with those adorable puppy-eyes, human foods are not appropriate for dogs. The digestive system of dogs are different than that of humans and certain foods can actually be harmful for your canine.
It is important that you inculcate healthy food habits in your dog from as early as possible. But for that you need to discipline yourself as well. For instance, stop giving your dog treats throughout the day; instead, follow regular meal times. Also, avoid over-feeding your dog and don’t encourage feeding from the table. You need to teach your dog to differentiate between dog food and human food and provide them with high quality canine food that are designed to keep them healthy.
The following are 4 top food habits you need to teach your dog.
1. Feed Him Fresh Whole Foods
According to a Brandon pet care center, fresh vegetables and fruits are essential for your dog’s health. These whole foods are packed with live enzymes and fiber, which helps digestion and improves their defecation.
While dogs are carnivores and meat is their natural food, an all-meat diet also contains higher toxin levels. Fresh vegetables and fruits, on the other hand, help alkalize the body and help your dog avoid developing chronic diseases. In fact, vegetables and fruits can be a great alternative to the store-bought shelf-stable foods that you often serve as snacks.
These shelf-stable foods have a longer cooking processes, which kill many of the nutrients. As a result, synthetic nutrients are added to the products to retain their food value. However, unlike synthetic nutrients, fresh vegetables and fruits have nutritional co-factors that help the body to better absorb and assimilate the nutrients. So next time you want to treat your dog, try a piece of carrot. In fact, it is also a good bone substitute for your dog’s teeth and gum maintenance. Pure vegetables too is a great option for maximum nutrient absorption.
However, also remember that certain vegetables and fruits (and also parts of certain vegetables and fruits) can be poisonous for your dog and should be avoided. Talk to your vet before you start feeding your dog these whole foods.
2. Counter Condition Your Finicky Dog
Does your dog just sniffs his food and rejects all but a few bites? You probably have a finicky dog! Now, there are many reasons for his behavior, ranging from his health to what and how you are feeding him. A dog can become finicky if he is sick; so if you observe that your dog has not only lost his appetite, but is also avoiding regular play and behaves in a disengaged manner, it’s time to get a vet appointment and get a thorough check-up.
But if it is not his health, you need to correct the behavior of your finicky dog. As said earlier, avoid feeding your dog table scraps and/or too many treats. If your dog is more excited about the treats and things you feed him from the table, he will eventually lose interest in what’s in the bowl. Similarly, don’t offer several different foods to your dog, trying to coax him into eating something every meal. This will only encourage him to hold out for something better. Instead, follow these steps to correct the bahavior:
- Make it clear to your dog that that no other options exist
- Wait for 30 minutes after giving the food; if he doesn’t eat, take it away
- Set out the same food during the next meal; wait for 30 minutes and take away the food if it is still not eaten
- Maintain your strategy and don’t give in even if your dog is checking around for extra treats. Your dog will eat if he is hungry
However, remember that it may take a little time to eliminate the finicky eating behavior. In addition, you need to careful about certain things when it comes to counter conditioning your finicky dog. If you are changing his food formula, do it gradually. For example, if you are changing from wet to dry food, mix the dry food with a small amount of warm water if the beginning. Also, combine the new food with the old food to help your dog get accustomed to the new food.
3. Try Not to Serve Cooked Meat
While we don’t want our dogs to become the hunters that they have descendent from, cooked meat is something you can avoid feeding your dog whenever possible. When we cook food, we lose many beneficial nutrients. The same happens when you cook food for your dog.
The reason behind this is that the muscles of animals when cooked at high temperatures, releases carcinogenic chemicals called heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which may increase the risk of cancer. And this too applies in case of your dog.
If you still prefer to feed your dog cooked meat, try searing it slightly rather than cooking it through.
4. Add Essential Fatty Acids to His Diet
Healthy fats are essential for your dog’s health, especially for his coat. For example, if you dog has fatty acid deficiency, it is more likely to have a dull coat and have dandruff and a dull and flaky skin. Fortunately, most dog foods are very high in Omega-3 and Omega-6.
Additionally, you can also feed your dog supplements and certain whole foods like chia seed, flaxseed, hempseed, and small amounts of fresh sardines. It is better to avoid fish oils (or at least consult your vet before feeding them to your dog) as they turn rancid very easily and can affect your dog’s liver and kidneys in the long run. Also avoid giving too many fatty acid supplements, as it may cause upset stomachs and vomiting.
Nobody knows your dog better than you, so you are the best person to judge your furry friend’s diet. Discipline your dog from day 1 when it comes to food. Don’t ever let the guilty of leaving your dog alone at home make you feed or treat him more often. Learning healthy food habits takes time; be patient, your furry bundle of joy will eventually reach there and enjoy a healthy and strong life.