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7 Ways to Help Your Dog Deal With Separation Anxiety

Severe Separation Anxiety DogsHave you adopted a dog that is showing signs of separation anxiety when you leave her alone?  If so, you’ll probably find these 7 ways to help your dog deal with separation anxiety helpful.

Some dogs will develop this panic even if they’ve lived with one family their whole life, but it’s most frequently seen in dogs adopted from shelters or ones that have been passed around from home to home.

Dogs are pack animals. And they have emotions and the need for security just like us.

If their pack keeps abandoning them, it creates fear and heightened anxiety. Unfortunately, we can’t explain to a dog that we’re coming back. They see us leave and start to panic, not wanting to be left behind again.

Signs of Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Some dogs will do whatever it takes to get out of the environment they’ve been left alone in, which can include chewing through doors and walls, chewing out of plastic crates, even jumping through plate glass windows. These are extreme cases. Symptoms Separation Anxiety Dogs - Getting Out of Yard

Other dogs will

  • howl
  • cry
  • bark incessantly
  • pant excessively
  • chew up furniture
  • dig under fences or climb over if left outside
  • poop or pee in the house even though they are house-broke 

 How to Reduce a Dog’s Separation Anxiety

It can take a long time to get a dog over separation anxiety and some dogs may never entirely overcome it.

There are some things you can do, though, to try and help your dog feel less anxious when you leave.

If you do these 7 things, you’ll be on the road to a happier, stress-free dog.

1. Don’t Make a Big Deal of Leaving OR Returning

Keep everything low-key.  Don’t fuss over your dog as you’re leaving.Calmly Leave Dog - One of 7 Ways to Help Your Dog Deal With Separation Anxiety

The same is true when you return home.

Your dog will be ecstatic to see you, but as hard as it is, just ignore her for a few minutes, like it’s no big deal that you actually did come back to her.

She thought you were gone for good, but you’re saying, “hey, it’s no big deal. I’ll always come back for you.”

Then, after she’s calmed down some, you can pet and reward her for being calm.

If you have some free time, you might want to try this in increments of just a few minutes at a time. Keep repeating the process – leave casually for a few minutes, return and ignore your dog. No big deal. Always coming back.

Then stretch the time a little longer that you’re away.

This can be a big factor in helping your dog’s separation anxiety lessen in intensity.

2. Provide a Toy or Special Treat As You Leave  Dog Relieving Separation Anxiety by Playing With Ball

You might try hiding a few treats or favorite toys around the house and tell your dog to “find it” as you calmly walk out the door.

This is a fun game to teach your dog and may help your dog with separation anxiety by giving her something to do while you’re away.

3. Say The Same Thing Every Time You Leave

Maybe say something like “see you later” or “I’ll be back” and then nonchalantly walk out the door. This is of course if you can leave your dog alone in the house without having to crate her.  Actually, you can do this with your crated dog as well.

Or

4. Change Up Your Routine Each Time You Leave

Personally, I prefer to have the same routine and say the same thing every time I leave my dog home alone.

But others say to change it up so your dog doesn’t get anxious when she hears “see you later” or sees you picking up your keys.  This might be a good idea for dogs with extreme cases.

5. Crate Your Dog While You’re Away

Dog Feels Safe in Crate - No Separation AnxietyDo this only if your dog sees it as a safe place.

Be sure to start crate training way before you have to leave her alone in a crate while you’re gone.

And be sure to use a crate that’s large enough that your dog will be able to stand and move around a little to stay comfortable.

Be sure to place a nice thick dog bed or padding in the crate as well.

OxGord Double-Door Folding Metal Pet Crate with Divider - 36 InchOxGord Double-Door Folding Metal Pet Crate with Divider – 36 InchPetmate Two Door Top Load 24-Inch Pet Kennel, Metallic Pearl Ash Blue and Coffee Ground BottomPetmate Two Door Top Load 24-Inch Pet Kennel, Metallic Pearl Ash Blue and Coffee Ground BottomROYAL CRAFT WOOD Dog House Crate Indoor Kennel for Small Dogs, Pet Home with DoorROYAL CRAFT WOOD Dog House Crate Indoor Kennel for Small Dogs, Pet Home with Door

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 6. Teach Your Dog Obedience Training

Teaching your dog obedience makes you the leader and lets your dog know that you’re in charge and that you won’t let anything bad happen to her while you’re away.

She’ll learn to have confidence in you and trust that you know best.

Teaching commands such as “sit”, “stay”, “lay down”, “come” and “leave it” are important for many safety reasons but also to show strong leadership by you to your dog.

The more in control your dog sees you, the safer she’ll feel overall.

7. Make Sure Your Dog Gets Plenty of Exercise

This is really important and something a lot of us neglect to do because of busy schedules or just plain laziness on our part.

Taking your dog for a long walk does wonders for both you and your dog.Relieve Separation Anxiety With Exercise

Or if the weather doesn’t permit going outside, maybe throw a ball for your dog in the house for awhile if you have a safe place to do that.

Getting some of that excess energy out of your dog before you leave the house will help her relax while you’re gone.

Dogs Read Our Body Language More Than We Know

Dogs Read our Body Language Which Can Trigger Separation AnxietyDogs are smart and they pay very close attention to our body language. I can leave my bedroom while my dog stays on the bed watching me and remains calm.

But if I grab my jacket off the clothes tree and leave the bedroom, she knows I’m going somewhere.

She’ll be right at my heels.

So if there’s something you do as you get ready to leave that seems to stress your dog out, do that one thing over and over, but don’t go anywhere. Get her so used to you doing that one thing that it’s no big deal anymore.

For example, if your dog starts to get anxious as you pick up your keys, pick them up and walk into another room of the house.  Set your keys down.  Wait a few minutes, then pick them up and again and set them down in another room.

Just remember where you left them, so you don’t actually lose them!

You could also do this with a jacket that you always put on just before you leave.  Put it on, take it off.  Do this several times a day.  Then maybe put it on and go outside and come right back in.

This type of thing helps condition your dog so that when you do these things and actually leave, it isn’t going to trigger the anxiety attack that it used to trigger.

That’s the goal, anyway.

This could take several days or even months of work to finally see some positive results. Never give up. Changing any behavior can take time.

My dog, Maia, is a pit/lab mix and has had separation anxiety since I adopted her at the age of 2 1/2 years. It wasn’t extreme, but she would climb over the fence/gate if I left her alone.Signs Separation Anxiety Dogs - Anxious Look

She would get a terrified look in her eyes when she saw me getting ready to go somewhere, begging me to take her with me.

Be Patient With Your Anxious Dog

It has taken several years but I am now able to leave Maia alone in the house for several hours if necessary and she is fine. She is, however, 9 years old now and I think she finally realizes that I am always coming back to her.

I think what worked for me was mainly time, but I also extended my gate higher so she couldn’t climb over it. She has never been destructive so at least I didn’t have to worry about that.

And I always stayed calm leaving and returning. She is also very food driven, so I would give her a special treat when I left. That helped her relate my leaving with something good.

Below is a video of a rescue dog with separation anxiety and part of the process of helping him overcome it.

Treating Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Treating separation anxiety can be different than reducing it, if that makes any sense.

There are ways you can treat it that can lessen the severity, but aren’t actually changing the behavior.  Changing the behavior itself takes time, consistency and a lot of patience.

Treating it, on the other hand, can mean giving medication or using such things as the Thunder Jacket.

ThunderShirt SPORT Dog Anxiety Jacket, Fuchsia, MediumThunderShirt SPORT Dog Anxiety Jacket, Fuchsia, MediumThe Original Anxiety Wrap, Medium, BlackThe Original Anxiety Wrap, Medium, BlackVivaglory Anxiety Shirt, Stress Relief and Anti-Anxiety Wrap for Dogs, Adjustable, Gray, XSVivaglory Anxiety Shirt, Stress Relief and Anti-Anxiety Wrap for Dogs, Adjustable, Gray, XS

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Dog Anxiety Relief - Soothes Dogs With Separation Anxiety - Lifetime Replacement Guarantee - 100% Natural - Helps Calm Barking, Obsessive Licking, Aggression, and Thunder Fear. 30ml. Made in USADog Anxiety Relief – Soothes Dogs With Separation Anxiety – Lifetime Replacement Guarantee – 100% Natural – Helps Calm Barking, Obsessive Licking, Aggression, and Thunder Fear. 30ml. Made in USADog Calming Aid - Chewable Time Release - Chamomile Flower, Passion Flower, Thiamine Mononitrate, L-Tryptophan - 60 ChewablesDog Calming Aid – Chewable Time Release – Chamomile Flower, Passion Flower, Thiamine Mononitrate, L-Tryptophan – 60 ChewablesNatural Dog Anxiety Relief - 90 Soft Chews - Reduces Stress & Promotes Relaxation for a Calm Dog - for Travel, Separation Anxiety, Storm Fear, Fireworks - No Drugs & Non-Drowsy - Proudly Made USANatural Dog Anxiety Relief – 90 Soft Chews – Reduces Stress & Promotes Relaxation for a Calm Dog – for Travel, Separation Anxiety, Storm Fear, Fireworks – No Drugs & Non-Drowsy – Proudly Made USA

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These can be quick fixes for those that don’t want to take the time to change the behavior.

But over time, they might even help with the behavior change if done in conjunction with some of the other 7 ways to help your dog deal with separation anxiety.

I hope you’ve found this helpful and I appreciate any comments or questions you might have about your dog’s separation anxiety.

 

 

 

 

 

 

14 Ways to Prevent Stomach Bloat in Dogs

Zoey happy and peaceful before bloat took her life.A few years ago I lost Zoey, my Great Dane/black lab mix to bloat.

Unfortunately, with her being a mixed breed, I didn’t realize the risk factors for her, nor recognize the early warning signs.

I have done some research since and would like to share what I have found in order to help others prevent stomach bloat in their dogs, especially anxious dogs.

With this condition, prevention is the best hope. Once your dog has developed bloat, it may be too late to successfully treat and save her.

I’ll delve a little into the condition of bloat to explain what happens, but I would mostly like to stress the importance of what you can do to prevent bloat, especially if you have an anxious dog to begin with.

Add raw meat to prevent bloat

What Causes Bloat in Dogs?

Bloat, also known as Gastric dilatation-volvulus, occurs when the sphincter between the esophagus and the stomach malfunctions and there is an obstruction of the outflow through the pylorus.

The pylorus is a small opening at the base of the stomach, allowing partially digested food to flow out to the duodenum. When this gets clogged for whatever reason, the food can’t pass through. With the malfunction of the sphincter closing off the other end, the stomach fills up with air.

The stomach may then torque or twist up to 360 degrees and the dog can’t throw up or otherwise relieve the condition.

The only hope of fixing the situation when it gets to this point is through aggressive surgery, and even then the outcome is not very promising. The best cure is prevention.

I don’t believe it’s 100% clear what exactly causes bloat for each dog.  There are many possible causes ranging from excessive water intake and exercise to facing a stressful situation on a full stomach.

Anxious Dogs Are at Higher Risk

One thing I didn’t realize is that overly anxious dogs are at a higher risk of developing bloat than happy easy-going dogs.

My dog Zoey was rescued from a very abusive situation and pretty much lived at a high level of fear and anxiety, seemingly always waiting for something terrible to happen.

That, coupled with the fact that she was an older dog and had the deep chest of a Great Dane, made her highly susceptible to bloat.

Not all dogs have the propensity to fall victim to this condition. It is mainly seen in dogs with deep chests who may be underweight, older, fearful, or overly anxious.

Here are 14 steps on how to prevent bloat in dogs, especially anxious ones:

1. Don’t allow your dog to drink excessive water for an hour before or after a meal, but otherwise always Monitor your dog's water intake on hot days to avoid bloathave fresh water available.

2. Control your dog’s water intake on hot days. Some dogs will drink too much on their own. Only give them a few drinks at a time every few minutes.Avoid bloat dogs by not feeding one large meal

3. Feed small portions of food two or three times a day. Feeding one large bowl of food once a day can cause some dogs to eat too fast, filling the stomach with not only food, but a lot of air.

4. Control rapid eating by putting a medium to large sized rock in with the food so your dog has to eat around it, but make sure its large enough that it is not eaten as well.

5. Don’t feed only dry food – add raw meat when possible.Add raw meat to your dog's diet to avoid bloat

6. When feeding dry food, look for a kibble that does not have fat as one of its first 4 ingredients and does not have citric acid as a preservative. If you can’t avoid the citric acid, do not add water to the kibble.

 Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Original Turkey & Chicken, 26-Pounds Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food, Hi Prairie Canine Formula with Roasted Bison & Venison, 30-Pounds Rachael Ray Nutrish Dry Dog Food, ‘Chicken & Vegetable Recipe’, 28-Pound

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7. Also when feeding dry food, look for one that has rendered meat meal with bone product as one of the first 4 ingredients.

8. Feed a high quality diet.

 Solid Gold Hund-N-Flocken Holistic Dry Dog Food, Lamb, Brown Rice & Pearled Barley, Adult Dogs Solid Gold High Protein Holistic Dry Dog Food, Red Meat with Buffalo, Adult, 22lb Grain Free Dog Food – Natural Quality Protein Dry Dog Food with Vitamins and Minerals

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9. Don’t elevate the food bowl. This is one I would have never thought of, but it seems to be a possible contributing factor in dogs that are possible candidates for developing bloat.

10. Avoid brewer’s yeast, alfalfa, or soybean products, because these can produce gas.

11. Promote good bacteria in your dog’s intestinal tract by supplementing with probiotics such as acidophilus.

 Probiotics for Dogs and Cats – Powder for Digestion, Diarrhea Relief LuvMe Probiotics for Dogs Canine Total Health Formulated with CFU’s Pet Ultimates Probiotics for Dogs, 137 grams Ultra Concentrated Probiotic Miracle Dog Probiotics for Dogs (360 servings)

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12. Some people also believe it helps to give a bloat-susceptible dog 1Tbs of apple cider vinegar after each meal to aid in digestion.

13. Avoid subjecting your fearful or anxious dog to highly stressful situations if at all possible. If you can’t avoid such things as trips to the veterinarian or boarding your dog or changing your dog’s routine, try to make it as low-key as possible.Prevent Bloat by Keeping Dog Calm

To help calm your anxious dog, try using something like a Thundershirt during times of stress. Also, Rescue Remedy may help calm your dog.

14. Keep a product containing simethicone on hand to give to your dog at the first sign of gas such as belching more than twice. This would be a product like Gas-X, Phazyme or Mylanta Gas (must be for gas, not regular Mylanta).

 SIMETHICONE TB 80MG MNT***KPP 100 Phazyme Maximum Strength Gas Relief, 36 Softgels Gas-X Antigas, Extra Strength, 125 mg, 72 Softgels

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Which Breeds Are Most Susceptible

Deep-chested dogs of the breeds of Great Dane, Doberman, German Shepherd, Weimaraner, Gordon and Irish Setters, Rottweiler and even the Basset Hound are most susceptible to bloat.

Just to be clear, though, not every dog of these breeds is susceptible to bloat.  However, dogs with deep, narrower chests than others of the breed seem to be at more risk.

Symptoms of Bloat in Dogs

Catching a dog showing the first symptoms of bloat can possibly save its life.

If you notice your dog belching several times, throwing up repeatedly, acting uncomfortable or attempting to poop without results, she could be starting to bloat. If you suspect symptoms of bloat in your dog, get that dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Other signs may include:

  • Salivating excessively
  • Looking for a place to hide
  • Standing in a 4-legged spread eagle kind of stance
  • Pacing
  • Trying but unable to vomit

If surgery is necessary, your dog has a better chance at survival if caught early.  The stomach can then be tacked to the wall of the abdomen (gastropexy) to prevent it from flipping back over.

One thing you can do to determine if there is anything going on in your dog’s stomach is to put your ear against her side and listen. If you hear absolutely no gut noise, that’s not a good sign.

Normally, a dog will have some noise going on all the time in their stomachs. Not hearing anything could mean it’s filling up with air.

Even having a stethoscope on hand is a good idea.  You’ll be able to hear your dog’s stomach better that way.

 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope, Black Tube, 28 inch, 2450 Prestige Medical Clinical Lite Stethoscope, Hot Pink MDF® Dual Head Lightweight Stethoscope – All Black (MDF747-BO)

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In later stages, your dog’s stomach will actually enlarge and feel like a basketball full of air.  Death usually comes within hours.

 

Don't panic over bloating dogs symptoms

Don’t Panic if You Own a Deep-Chested Dog, But Be Aware

I don’t want to create a sense of fear among dog owners, but rather a sense of awareness.

Although these deep-chested breeds are at higher risk than other breeds, any fearful or anxious dogs within these breeds are certainly more susceptible to developing bloat.

All of these precautions should be taken for these dogs if at all possible. For any dog, it is always best to create a peaceful, calm environment whenever possible to ensure a well-balanced, happy, and healthy existence.

Remember, we are the stewards of these wonderful animals who love us unconditionally. Prevention of stomach bloat in these high-risk breeds is far better than trying to cure it with surgery when it might be too late.

(I am not a pet health care professional.  I have worked with dogs for many, many years and speak from my own experience and research.  The information in this post is not meant to replace any advice from professionals, but merely to help you with your own research.  If you suspect your dog may be showing signs of bloat, please seek out your veterinarian immediately.)

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Awesome Halloween Costumes for Dogs

halloween costumes small dogsAwesome Halloween Costumes For DogsOkay, I know, some people think dressing our dogs up in costumes is silly, degrading and maybe even a little cruel. But you gotta admit – they’re also pretty cute! And some are downright funny!

 

Take this cowboy riding a horse….bull….okay, it’s just a corgi.  But it’s so cute!

In a hurry to get the rodeo dog costume?  Buy it Here

When the dog starts running and spinning around, the cowboy goes with him, flinging his hat around! The dummy cowboy moves like a real one would if it were riding a bucking bronc or bull!  How cute is that!?

Watch the video below for the full effect.

If you’d like to get one of these great outfits for your own dog, you can find it at Amazon by clicking the image below.

 Crazystone’s Pet COWBOY Funny Costume Apparel with 1 Hat (Medium)

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Halloween Costumes for Extra Large Dogs

Here is a popular “wig” for larger dogs. It’s a full lion’s mane that comes in just one size but fits necks from 13″ to 32″, depending on which one you choose. I have to admit it sure looks realistic on dogs that are the same color as the mane!

Lion Mane Costume and Big Dog Lion Mane Wig - Large Dog Costumes by Pet KreweLion Mane Costume and Big Dog Lion Mane Wig – Large Dog Costumes by Pet KreweGimilife Dog Costume Lion Mane Wig(Light Brown)Gimilife Dog Costume Lion Mane Wig(Light Brown)

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Below is a video showing how the mane wig looks on a few different breeds. It definitely looks better on some than on others.

It looks great on a mastiff because they have the body that looks similar to a real lion. Be sure to measure the neck, though, before you purchase one for your mastiff. Some necks might be too big!

It also looks great on yellow labs and golden retrievers.
Zack & Zoey Fuzzy Tarantula Costume for Dogs, 20Zack & Zoey Fuzzy Tarantula Costume for Dogs, 20

Spider Halloween Costumes For Dogs

One of the scariest and funniest costumes for dogs of all sizes is the tarantula costume.

There’s a video below that millions of people have watched on YouTube, so you might have already seen it, but even so, it’s fun to watch again.

The one I love is the guy on the floor of the elevator with the “giant tarantula” on top of him when the doors open for the two women.

I have to admit that might be a little scary!

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Cute Halloween Costumes For Small Dogs

halloween costumes for small dogsAnd of course we mustn’t forget the tiny dogs – the yorkies, toy poodles, chihuahuas.  There are some very cute costumes for them as well.

If you think your little dog would come to your rescue at the slightest hint of danger, you might want to get him the Alfie Pet Superhero Superman costume (below).

And if your little princess thinks she is the queen of the household and everyone should cater to her every need, the Queen of Hearts costume might be perfect!  (below)

Then again, if you imagine your little poodle as having a high pitched voice if she could talk, how about the Minnie Mouse costume below?

And of course for those looking for pirate Halloween costumes for dogs, the Pirates of the Caribbean costume is great for those adventurous little dogs that like to steal everybody else’s food, toys, bones, whatever.  (see below)

 

 NACOCO Pet Dog Costume Pirates of the Caribbean Style (Small) Alfie Pet by Petoga Couture – Superhero Superman – Size: S Anit Accessories 12-Inch Royal Queen of Hearts Costume, Small NACOCO Pet Clothes Pet Costume Minnie Costumes (Small)kt

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There really are a lot of awesome Halloween costumes for dogs on Amazon.  If you don’t see one on this page that would fit your dog’s personality, just Click Through This Link over to Amazon and find the perfect costume for your dog (and maybe one for you too).

And the cool thing about dog costumes is that your dog probably won’t outgrow it by next year (like your kids might)!

How To Choose the Right Dog Bed

best dog beds large dogsLike people, dogs love to have a soft cushiony place to curl up and take a little nap.

If you’d like to get right to the information on how to choose the right dog bed, just scroll down the page a little.

I know a lot of us, including myself, allow our dogs to sleep on our beds.  That’s not always the best idea, but for a single person it’s very comforting for both dog and human to curl up together on a cold wintry night.

chihuahua in very small dog bed

However, sometimes it’s just not practical.

If you’re in a hurry to find some unique dog beds, check these out:

 BigBig Home Short Plush Hypoallergenic Cool Unique Dog Car Beds Mini Sofa Black and Brown Pet Bed Coolaroo Elevated Pet Bed Large Grey

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When Shouldn’t Your Dog Sleep With You?

If your dog is older and there’s a possibility she might fall off the bed, it’s not a good idea to allow her to spend the night up that high.

Maybe you have a large dog and there just isn’t room for all of you on the bed.dog needing its own beddog needing its own bed

Another type of situation where a dog shouldn’t be allowed to sleep with its human is if the dog is an alpha and is trying to establish dominance over you and other family members.

A dog that growls when you try to move him over or off the bed should not be allowed to sleep up there. That’s your space, and you make the rules where you’re going to sleep.  If your dog doesn’t abide by your rules, he needs his own bed.

Where Should You Put a Dog Bed?

Your dog likes to be where you are.  It might be a good idea to have her own bed in the living room or office or wherever you spend most of your time during the day.

That way she can be comfortable and keep her eyes on you as you get things done around the house.

At night you may or may not want your dog in the bedroom with you.

What Type of Dog Bed Should You Choose?

The type of dog bed you decide to get for your dog should depend on these things:

What size is your dog?

puppy beds small dogsSmall dogs are pretty easy to shop for but sometimes a medium sized dog needs a larger bed than you would think. It’s best to measure the length of your dog to be sure you get one large enough.

How Old?

As dogs age, their joints get stiff and sore just like ours do.  A thick orthopedic dog bed is great for supporting dogs in their senior years.

Do you want an indoor or outdoor bed?

Some beds are made for inside, and some are made more endurable to being out in the weather, such as in a dog house or on a patio.

What type of material and thickness do you want?

Some dog beds are filled with cedar shavings.  They give off a nice aroma plus help keep fleas away.

Then there are the memory foam dog beds that are made of thick memory foam to mold to your dog’s shape and provide a nice soft cushion.

The cheaper varieties tend to be filled with polyester and might not last as long as a more expensive one, but some of them can be thrown in the wash.

How Easy Will it Be To Clean?

You might want to read the label before purchasing a bed to see if you can wash it periodically.  Some beds can be thrown whole into the washing machine.

Others need to have the outer fabric removed via a zipper and then that part can be washed.

Some are made of a canvas material that you can just wash off with a sponge or even a hose.

Do You Want a Raised Bed?

If you want a nice place for your dog to relax outside, an elevated dog cot works very well.  Most of them areelevated dog bed made of breathable nylon canvas, so air flows through and also makes them easy to rinse off.

This gets your dog up off the damp ground to keep them cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

You can always add a nice soft throw or padding on top of the cot to give your dog even more cushiony comfort.

Price range

You can find a basic polyester-filled dog bed for around $20.

But if you want something more extravagant for your four-legged friend, such as an actual dog couch, you can pay anywhere from $100 to $175. dog couchdog couch

Orthopedic beds average between $60 and $90.

An elevated dog bed usually runs between $40 and $60.

So, once you’ve decided on which type of dog bed you’d like to get, you can run down to your nearest pet shop or farm and ranch store to find one, or just head over to Amazon.com and check out the many sizes, shapes and styles of dog beds they have.

 Furhaven Pet Orthopedic Pet Mattress, Large, Chocolate PetFusion Ultimate Dog Bed & Lounge. (Large Gray, 36 x 28 x 9.5 Best Friends by Sheri OrthoComfort Deep Dish Cuddler in Sherpa, Brown BRINDLE Soft Memory Foam Dog Bed with Removable Cover

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How Can I Stop My Dog Eating His Poop?

 

my dog eats dog poopI know.  It’s disgusting.  The thought of it might even make you want to gag.  A dog eating its own poop/dung/feces.  Whatever you call it, it’s gross.

It actually has a name – coprophagia

Fortunately, it’s fairly rare. But for those who have to deal with it, the big question is “how can I stop my dog eating his poop?”

Fortunately, it doesn’t pose too much of a health risk.

It is, however, disgusting to us humans and does produce nasty breath in your dog.

It can also infect your dog with worms.

I had a yellow lab named Gracie who was rescued from a puppy mill.  She ate her own stool, so I know the frustrations of this.

Why Dogs Eat Dog Poop

1. Hunger – For a dog like Gracie, who was one of over 40 breeding dogs, she probably didn’t get enough to eat.  This was one way for her to satisfy her hunger.

Feeding dogs twice a day may help your dog feel fuller and have less of a need to fill her stomach.

2. Boredom – This is another problem Gracie had when she was being used as a puppy manufacturer.  She lived in a fairly small kennel and had nothing to do all day. So she ate her poop.

It was probably also a way to keep her kennel clean.  Dogs like to keep their sleeping area clean.

3. Curiosity – Many young dogs will put just about anything in their mouths. Feces is just another thing to try out.  Usually a young dog who does this will outgrow it.

4. Observation – Sometimes a dog will see another dog nibbling on poop and decide to try it for herself.stop dog eating own poop

 

What You Can Do

There are some things you can do to stop your dog eating feces.

1. Clean up poop as soon as possible.  If you observe your dog eliminating, pick it up with a pooper scooper or plastic bag before she can eat it.

However, since it’s not always possible to be there at the appropriate time, there are some other options.

2. Consider adding digestive enzymes.  Sometimes nutrients will slip through your dog’s digestive system unused.  Your dog might smell the undigested nutrients and consider it uneaten food, and re-eat it.

Sometimes adding digestive enzymes that help absorb more of the nutrients in the food will stop a dog eating stool.

There are several types of enzymes you can add to your dog’s food.

Probiotics for Dogs and Cats - Powder for Digestion, Diarrhea Relief, Regularity, Promotes Immune System and Digestive Health - 8 ozProbiotics for Dogs and Cats – Powder for Digestion, Diarrhea Relief, Regularity, Promotes Immune System and Digestive Health – 8 ozNaturVet Digestive Enzymes Plus Probiotic for Pets, 1-PoundNaturVet Digestive Enzymes Plus Probiotic for Pets, 1-PoundDr. Mercola Digestive Enzymes For Pets - Dietary Supplement For Cats & Dogs - Contains 5 Enzymes - 5.26 ozDr. Mercola Digestive Enzymes For Pets – Dietary Supplement For Cats & Dogs – Contains 5 Enzymes – 5.26 ozDigestive Enzymes For Pets - Veterinarian Approved - Contains 9 High Potency Enzymes - 100% Vegetarian Based - Scent Free - Powder Enzyme - For Dogs and Cats - 1 BottleDigestive Enzymes For Pets – Veterinarian Approved – Contains 9 High Potency Enzymes – 100% Vegetarian Based – Scent Free – Powder Enzyme – For Dogs and Cats – 1 Bottle

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3. Make the dung smell bad to your dog.  There is a product called For-Bid that you can sprinkle on your dog’s food. It’s supposed to make the poop smell and taste bad for the dog.

Unfortunately, many reviews I read on this stated that their dog developed diarrhea and bad gas after eating the food with the For-Bid in it.  I can’t recommend something that can potentially hurt your dog.

A couple of less invasive suggestions might be canned pumpkin or even pineapple juice mixed in with the food.  This seems to work for some dogs.

Farmers Market Organic Pumpkin, 15 Ounce (Pack of 12)Farmers Market Organic Pumpkin, 15 Ounce (Pack of 12)Nummy Tum Tum Pure Pumpkin For Pets, 15-Ounce Cans (Pack of 12)Nummy Tum Tum Pure Pumpkin For Pets, 15-Ounce Cans (Pack of 12)

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4. Keep your dog occupied.  Dogs need activities during the day to keep them busy and less bored.

This could include going on walks, providing chew toys, other dogs for companionship and play time, balls to chasevisiting nursing homes for therapy, etc.

If your dog has other things to do, she will be less apt to get her nose in nasty places where it shouldn’t be.

5. Add fiber to her diet.  It isn’t really clear why this helps, but it does seem to.  It could be that fiber changes the consistency of the stool, making it less pleasant to the taste buds of the dog.

Dr. Kathalyn Johnson, D.V.M., clinical associate in companion animal behavior at Texas A&M University in College Station recommends adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of Metamucil to your pet’s food every day until she stops eating her stool. Metamucil is very high in fiber.

6. Feed a quality dog food, such as Dynamite’s Super Premium Dog Premium Dog FoodFood, which can be found at dynamitespecialty.com.  You’ll also find other holistic supplements and products there.

If you are diligent in trying these suggestions, you should be able to stop your dog from eating its own poop.

If not, just feed her doggy breath mints, worm her regularly and don’t let her lick you on the mouth!

(Links on this page are affiliate links to Amazon.com)

 

11

How Safe Are Flea Products?

Reaction from flea product

Have you ever wondered why drug companies tell you their flea products are entirely safe for your pet, yet the labels on the products tell you to wear gloves when applying and wash immediately if the product comes into contact with your own skin?  I mean really – how safe ARE flea products?

Why is it okay to put several drops on your dog’s skin, but not one drop on your skin? Are flea products safe for your dog if they contain toxic chemicals?

It’s my personal opinion that flea products containing toxic chemicals can’t be safe for our pets.

On the other hand, the flea infestation seems to be getting worse in some areas.  If something isn’t done to prevent them from taking over residency on our pets, we end up paying vet bills for anemia, skin irritations and more.

Do Flea Collars Work For Dogs?

Bayer Ea Seresto Small DogBayer Ea Seresto Small Dog

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There is one product on the market, a flea collar, that seems to be working really well. It’s called Seresto and is a collar that stays on your dog or cat for up to 8 months.

It takes a few days for it to start working, but once it does, your flea problem should disappear.

But beware when using it. The fact is that it works well. And it is supposedly non-toxic to dogs.

Unfortunately, some dogs seem to be sensitive to it and may end up getting sick or having a skin reaction from the collar.

My suggestion is to try it if nothing else seems to be working. Just keep an eye on your dog while the flea collar is on. If you notice any unusual change in his behavior, health or skin, remove it.

It’s expensive, but because it lasts several months, it’s actually less expensive than other flea products.

Most other flea collars that have pesticide sprayed onto them. This has embedded within the material of the collar the active ingredient of Advantage plus an ingredient that kills and repels ticks.

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What About Other Flea Products Such As Frontline?

I remember a spokesperson for Frontline a few years ago explaining that it was a perfectly safe product, that no toxins get into the pet’s system, that the poison that kills the fleas simply travels along the surface of the skin.

She was pretty convincing.

But how can it travel along the surface of the skin and not get into the blood stream?  Blood feeds the skin.

Whatever toxins are seeping into the pores of the skin are also being carried into the blood stream.

And although these toxic flea control drops seemed to work well when they first came out, they don’t seem to be working as well now, a few years later.

Being around other people’s dogs every day, I’ve seen many frustrated owners who have been faithfully using topical flea control monthly only to have their dogs still covered with fleas.

I have read many heartbreaking stories of pets who have had terrible reactions after being treated with today’s most popular chemical flea and tick killers.dog sick from toxic chemicals 

These include:

  • Convulsions
  • aggressive behavior
  • stiffened limbs
  • lack of coordination
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • excessive whining or crying
  • labored breathing

and more.

What Toxic Ingredients to Watch Out For

Many of the products we have been using on our pets for years such as the liquid drops of Advantage, Bio-Spot, and Frontline, to name a few, contain one or more of the following active ingredients:are flea products safe for your dog?

  • Pyriproxyfen
  • Permethrin
  • Methoprene
  • Imidacloprid
  • Fipronil

or inert ingredients:

  • Polyvinlpyrrplidone
  • Ethanol
  • Carbitol
  • Butylhydroxanisole
  • Butyldydroxytoluene

Laboratory testing was done over the course of a decade to determine toxicology and morbidity results.  These tests were performed by:

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • Extension Toxicology Network
  • N.A. Pesticide Action Network

and other organizations.

According to laboratory testing and results, Fipronil, which is in Frontline Top Spot and Frontline Plus, is a neurotoxin and is suspected of being a cancer agent to humans.

It can cause kidney damage, thyroid cancer, liver toxicity, high cholesterol, miscarriages or stunted offspring, lack of coordination and difficulty breathing.  Wikipedia explains the toxicity of Fipronil.

This is just one example.  Any of the active ingredients previously mentioned in these products can harm our dogs and cats.

Natural Flea Products For Dogsnatural flea control dogs

So what do you do if you have a flea problem but don’t want to use harsh chemicals found in unsafe flea products on your pet?  There has to be a safe way to get rid of fleas.

There is.  In fact, if you click on this link => natural flea products for dogs you’ll find a natural product made from cedar oil that works great for killing fleas.

The way these natural remedies work is by blocking the octopamine of the flea, which is kind of like its adrenalin, so that it simply can’t function and then dies.

This octopamine blocker is an oil extracted from certain plants which have a natural defense against bugs, and then used as the active ingredient in the product.

Here are some more natural flea products:

Natural Pet Spray for Dogs & Cats - Tick + Flea & Insect Repellant with Lemongrass & CitronellaNatural Pet Spray for Dogs & Cats – Tick + Flea & Insect Repellant with Lemongrass & CitronellaWondercide Natural Flea & Tick Control for Pets Home - Cedar & Lemongrass - 16 ozWondercide Natural Flea & Tick Control for Pets Home – Cedar & Lemongrass – 16 ozDr. Mercola Natural Flea and Tick Defense - A Repellant To Help Protect Your Pet From FleasDr. Mercola Natural Flea and Tick Defense – A Repellant To Help Protect Your Pet From Fleas

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Using natural products keeps everyone safe and happy and gets rid of the flea problem.

What Else Can You Do To Get Rid of Fleas?

A few things may help keep the fleas at bay:what can you do to get rid of fleas?

  • Keep your dog clean with regular baths
  • Run a flea comb through the hair on short-haired dogs
  • Use an undercoat rake to get dead hair off of long-haired dogs
  • Feed high quality food with added supplements
  • Spray your yard with a flea killer
  • Use cedar dog bedding

Whether you use natural or chemical flea products, the main thing is the health and well-being of your dog.

There is no absolute definitive guide to how safe flea products are.  I think it somewhat depends on the individual dog.

Just like people, some dogs are more sensitive to chemicals than others.

I do know, however, the devastation fleas can cause not only to your pets, but also to your family and home.

If you’re struggling with a flea problem, keep trying until you find something that works – for your sake and your dog’s.

Have you found a non-toxic flea control product or compound that works for you?  Let us know in the comments below.

 

 

6

Can a Dog’s Unconditional Love Help People Heal?

silhouette of dog and personIn recent years it has become more and more obvious the huge role dogs play in healing, assisting and protecting people.

Their unconditional love for us has them going above and beyond their duties as man’s best friend. So, how can dogs help people?

Healing in Amazing Ways

High blood pressure tends to drop when a dog is snuggled up next to a stressed out person.

Heart attack victims who own pets usually have a better chance of surviving longer than those who don’t.  Dogs help heart attack victims get out and walk around the block instead of sitting at home being depressed.

In fact, I find it very difficult to be depressed around a dog.  They always have a way of making me feel better.  Dogs heal broken hearts and wounded souls.

 Therapy Dogs: Training Your Dog to Reach Others Dogs to the Rescue: Inspirational Stories A Dog Who’s Always Welcome A Dog Walks Into a Nursing Home

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Therapy

Dogs are used as therapy pets visiting nursing homes and hospitals.

They bring smiles to many sick, elderly or terminally ill people. They help others with rehabilitation therapy, such as encouraging someone to use their arms by throwing a ball for a dog. therapy dog for senior

Seniors who live alone can sometimes become depressed and withdrawn.

But if a dog is brought into the home as a companion for an elderly person, that person may have a noticeable change in personality.

Suddenly they have someone to talk to and keep them company, someone who will love them unconditionally and regardless of how many times they repeat themselves or how they look.

They also have an alarm system now to alert them to a possible home invasion or other emergency situation.  Most dogs are protective of their homes and will bark to alert of any intruders.

Having a dog to take care of also gets a senior out into the world, whether it’s simply to take the dog to the grooming shop for a haircut or nail trim or go for a short walk in the park.  Dogs help seniors get out and socialize.

Assistance Dogs

Then of course there are assistance dogs, such as seeing eye dogs for the blind, hearing dogs for the deaf, dogs that are taught to do certain tasks for paraplegics or other disabled persons and dogs actually prescribed by physicians as companions for severely depressed individuals.

It is well known that some dogs are able to sense when their person is about to have a heart attack or a seizure or when their blood sugar is low.  Some dogs even sniff out cancer.

assistance dogsAnd these are only a few of the means by which dogs are able to help the sick or disabled.

The condition or phobia called agoraphobia is when a person has for some reason become too panic-stricken to venture outside of the home.  In some cases, a dog is able to gradually help the person overcome this paralyzing condition and once again go out in public.  Dogs help heal phobias.

The same thing is true for some people who have conditions such as panic attacks or are manic-depressive.  If they have a dog to embrace or talk to during an episode, it can calm them.  Dogs offer mental health support without even realizing it.

 Guide Dogs! A Kids Book About Guide & Other Assistance Dogs War Dogs: Tales of Canine Heroism, History, and Love Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him Training Your Own Service Dog: Step by Step Instructions

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The Chemical Benefits of Being Close to a Dog

Bonding with dogChemicals are released within our brain as a warm furry dog snuggles up close to us.  Our emotions are influenced by changes in our brain chemistry.

Such biochemicals as dopamine, beta-endorphins and oxytocin are released in our bloodstream when we bond with a living creature such as a dog.

This stimulates positive effects including tranquility, happiness, feelings of safety and even love.

Dogs are being used to help us heal more than ever before.

They are able to

  • soothe us
  • lower our blood pressure
  • make us happy
  • relieve depression
  • help us become more active
  • calm our nerves
  • alert us to low blood sugar
  • see for the blind
  • hear for the deaf
  • detect cancer
  • and totally accept us for who we are.

I believe God uses dogs to help us in ways other humans maybe can’t.  And these are just a few.

So, can a dog’s unconditional love help people heal?  That would be a resounding “yes”!

Below is a video of how one dog helped a veteran overcome his PTSD when everything else failed.

 

 

1

How Do You Get Skunk Smell Off Your Dog?

how do I get rid of skunk smell on my dog?

Did you know that when a dog gets sprayed by a skunk, if it isn’t dealt with immediately, that smell can return every time your dog gets wet for several months?

And did you know that putting tomato juice on a dog that’s been sprayed by a skunk is an old wive’s tale?

Yep, it’ll only turn your smelly dog into a reddish-colored smelly dog.

To find out how to actually get that skunk smell off your dog, scroll down the page a little and you’ll find the answer.

If you live in the country, you most likely have skunks around.  Most dogs like to chase cats. A skunk looks like some kind of cat to a dog.  So the chase is on.

And we all know what happens when a dog chases a skunk!

You need to have some kind of skunk smell remover on hand, whether it’s a home recipe or a store bought product.

There is nothing in the world worse than the smell of skunk spray, in my opinion – especially up close and personal in the middle of the night.

It’s bad enough when you smell it in the air from a skunk that maybe sprayed something a half mile away.skunk smell removal recipe

Or from a skunk that got hit on the road and you have to drive by and smell the lingering aroma.

But when your dog comes running in the house, rubbing its face on the carpet and furniture,  foaming at the mouth and the smell is eye-watering for you as well, what can you do?

Quick!  Grab the skunk smell remover!

So, How DO You Get Skunk Smell Off Your Dog?  

You need to be prepared ahead of time!  That is so important for getting the smell out quickly.

There are some good de-skunking products on the market, such as the Clean Green DeSkunk Coat Relief and Odor Remover for Dogs, 16-Ounce which is a spray you can use right on your dog immediately after being sprayed by the skunk.

This product is made from non-toxic botanicals and is totally safe to spray on your dog.  

However, according to the reviews, it has a high velocity stream of spray kind of like a hornet spray, so beware that it might scare you and your dog.  One person said they sprayed it into a spray bottle and used that.

Also, for the face area, spray it on a washcloth or rag and wipe it on the face.

Although I couldn’t find any information about using this product on furniture, I would definitely try it if my dog came in the house before I could stop her and rubbed up against furniture or carpeting.

Here are a few other products for removing skunk spray:

Nature's Miracle Skunk Odor Remover 32ozNature’s Miracle Skunk Odor Remover 32ozSkunk-Off Liquid Soaker, 32ozSkunk-Off Liquid Soaker, 32ozUnique Natural Products Skunk Odor Eliminator, 32-OunceUnique Natural Products Skunk Odor Eliminator

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Quick Home-made Skunk Smell Removal Recipes

However, if you don’t have a product to use on your skunked dog, you will probably have a few items on hand that can be quickly mixed together to form a skunk smell remover solution to rid your dog of that terrible skunk smell removersmell.  These items are:

  • hydrogen peroxide
  • baking soda
  • liquid soap of some kind, either shampoo, dish soap or hand soap

There are at least a couple different ways of mixing these ingredients.

One recipe calls for:

  • 1 qt of 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/4 c. baking soda  
  • 1 tsp. liquid soap.

Another recipe calls for

  • 16 oz. (1/2 qt) of hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 c. baking soda 
  • a few drops of shampoo.

Leave either of these formulas on your dog for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinse.

I have not tried either of these because, fortunately, I haven’t had to yet.

I can’t say which is best, but I think if I needed to mix up a batch to put on my dog, I would probably use the first recipe, but use 1 c. of baking soda instead of 1/4 c.  That’s only because I know baking soda is good for getting rid of bad smells and this is about as bad as it gets.

how to get rid of skunk smellThe key to using ANY skunk smell remover is to use it as soon as possible after your dog has been sprayed.

Once the oil in the skunk spray has penetrated the skin of your dog, there is no getting it out until it eventually wears off.

If this happens, you may not smell much more than a faint odor as long as your dog stays dry.

But as soon as she gets wet from rain or even a bath, the smell will surface with a stronger pungency until she is once again dry.  This can go on for several months.

Obviously, the very best scenario for getting skunk spray off your dog is to not let it get there in the first place!  Unfortunately, that isn’t always an option when you live in the country.

Several years ago, my Chow Chow got sprayed by a baby skunk twice in one week after it squeezed through a small hole in the fence!!  That was before I knew about skunk smell removers and of course it was in the middle of the night.  And it’s not like Chow Chows are short haired!

I thought I was going to die from the smell.  There was nowhere in the house I could go to get away from it.  So don’t think baby skunks can’t spray as much as the adults!

Be prepared!  Have something on hand to get that skunk smell off your dog as quickly as possible – even if it’s in the middle of the night.

Clean + Green DeSkunk Coat Relief and Odor Remover for Dogs, 16-OunceClean + Green DeSkunk Coat Relief and Odor Remover for Dogs, 16-Ounce

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Fostering a Dog Can Save a Life

Zoey and me

Zoey and me

Fostering dogs can be a very rewarding way to help a rescue organization if you have the space and time in your life to devote to a new dog for a temporary period of time. I have worked with rescue groups over the years, fostering and adopting dogs myself. It’s a great way to acclimate a dog to family life, depending on where he or she has come from.

You can get involved with fostering by volunteering your services with a local rescue group, such as a humane society, a shelter, or the SPCA.

You may be asked to foster a dog who has been rescued from a life at the end of a chain or one who has lived in deplorable conditions at a puppy mill. Being fostered in a home will help these dogs adjust to living inside with a family, but you may need to housebreak such a dog and teach some basic obedience and manners, which will help immensely in getting her adopted.

It’s a big responsibility, especially if you have other pets and other commitments, but if you are one of those who can give up a little extra time and space to foster a dog until a forever home can be found, that is one less dog ending up in a shelter and perhaps being put down because of overcrowding.

The Story of Zoey, an Unforgettable Friend

Zoey, a 5 yr. old great Dane/lab mix, came into my life as a foster dog when her owner died of cancer. The owner had rescued Zoey from some kind of bad situation along with her brother and several other dogs.

But since this woman suffered from cancer for a few years, she didn’t spend the necessary time rehabilitating or socializing Zoey and the other dogs. She simply gave them a safe place to live where they wouldn’t be abused ever again.

I hate to think of what these dogs went through in their early years, because Zoey was literally untouchable. The day we went to pick her up, a slip leash was dropped over Zoey’s head and she had to be pulled out of the house screaming and fighting at the leash in total panic mode. I hated watching this, but it was the only way to get her out of the house as quickly as possible.

She actually wore herself out pretty quickly and kind of gave up once she was outside. We were ready with a crate to put her in. We moved slowly and although she had many chances to bite one of us as we got her in the crate, she didn’t. That was when I knew there was hope for Zoey.
Zoey in the barn kennel

At the time, I was working with a small rescue group and we had turned some horse stalls into cemented kennels that could house 2 to 3 dogs and had an outside yard with access through a dog door.

I lived on the property and took care of the dogs. We took Zoey and another dog from the same home into one of the kennels and opened her crate. She came out and ran as far away from us as she could. We left them to settle in and check out their new temporary home. I didn’t touch Zoey again for a couple of weeks.

Zoey was so afraid of humans, that I couldn’t get near her. So what I did, since it was late spring and the weather was nice, was sit outside in her yard in a chair and read a book out loud so she could get used to my voice and my presence.

I never approached her or tried to touch her. I pretty much ignored her other than talking to her from my chair.

The Big Change

As the days went on, Zoey started showing some interest in me.

She started approaching me, which made my heart soar. I could tell she wanted to trust, she wanted to belong somewhere, but she was just so afraid.

I continued the process of just waiting for her to come to me. If I stayed seated in my chair she seemed to have a little more courage. Any time I stood up, she would run away again.

So I waited, and waited, and read to her every day.

Rescued Dog Zoey and Me Bonding

A moment of bonding

Then finally it happened. She came over to me and let me touch her. I practically held my breath so as not to frighten her. It was the beginning of a friendship I will never forget.

Daily Improvements

From that day forward, Zoey took leaps and bounds in learning to trust me.

At one point I was able to hook a leash onto the old collar that she had arrived in. I just let her drag it around for awhile and then took hold of the end of it, but didn’t put any pressure on her. I just followed her around holding the end of the leash.

Any pressure put on her, any loud noise would frighten her.

I can’t even imagine what kind of life she had to have endured as a young dog.

In fact at one point, I had a fly swatter with me as I sat outside because the flies were so bad. I wasn’t so much using it to kill flies as I was to just swish them away, so there was no loud smacking sounds. But Zoey went into the kennel and literally climbed the wall, trying to find a way out or some place to hide.

I couldn’t figure out what was wrong until I finally realized just me holding the fly swatter was causing her to panic. It brought tears to my eyes.

Anyway, once she started trusting me, Zoey improved daily.

The Moment I Never Expected

The definite day of bonding between us was when she actually climbed up onto my lap in the lawn chair – all 75 lbs of her – and pressed her body against mine as if to say “I’m finally home”.  I was so hoping the chair wouldn’t collapse with the both of us!

As I tried to push her off my lap after a few minutes, she pushed back. She was mine.

She finally got down, did it again the next day just to remind me that she had decided she wanted to be with me, and then never tried to get in my lap ever again. It was a moment of bonding that I will probably never experience with any other dog.

Zoey on Couch

Zoey on the couch

I would never give her up. She moved into my house and onto my bed. She trusted and loved me completely.

I could take her anywhere and she would let other people touch her, pet her, even walk her as long as I was near and she knew she was safe. She even worked in an after school program with young kids who helped socialize her.     But she never trusted or loved anyone else as completely as she did me.

I Wish I’d Had More Time

Zoey is no longer with me. I have lost many dogs over the years, but the one loss that still brings tears to my eyes is the loss of my Zoey.

A short two years of experiencing her gentle butterfly kisses and total devotion ended when she bloated while I was away from home.  To this day I’m not sure what caused it or if I could have somehow prevented it.

The reason for writing this story is to point out the importance of fostering dogs. If I had not taken Zoey in, she would have definitely been put down at the shelter in this town.

It turned out that I adopted her, rather than find her a new home. She had been through so much and we had bonded so strongly, that I could not put her through adjusting to another new home. She gave me a purpose and enriched my life. I gave her the love and friendship she had always longed for.

Sometimes that happens when you foster a dog.

Zoey in yard

Zoey – Finally at Peace and at Home

 

 

I’d appreciate any comments you might have about fostering or about animals you have fostered and/or adopted.

1

How To Trim a Dog’s Nails At Home

how to trim a dog's nails If you have a short-haired dog or even a long-haired one that doesn’t need to go to the groomer on a regular basis, you might not have even thought about the fact that she needs her nails trimmed regularly.  You can learn how to trim a dog’s nails at home and not have to pay to get it done by a veterinarian or groomer.

Some people don’t really know how long a dog’s nails should be or how often they should be clipped.

How Young Can You Start Trimming Dog Toenails?

The reality is that you should start the nail trimming process when your dog is a puppy.  Youtrimming puppy nails can actually do this yourself using simple human nail clippers on young puppies, merely clipping off the sharp tips.

Make it a fun time for your puppy by offering small treats as you handle and trim each nail.  You may want to start out clipping a couple of nails during each session if you have a wiggly puppy.

It’s important not to force your puppy to hold still for you, but rather be an opportunist and clip a nail any time your puppy is holding still, praising and treating.  Remember to use tiny treats for puppies.  Keep the nail trimming sessions short and fun.

Trimming an Older Dog’s Nails

If you have adopted an older dog, start handling her feet as soon as possible to find out her reaction to this.  Some dogs don’t mind having their paws handled at all.  Others may have issues with it.

So, begin by handling your dog’s paws, gently massaging between the toes and all around them.

Offer treats or do this during a quiet time when your dog is on the couch beside you.  (I know, some people don’t allow their dogs on the couch, but I like to have a warm furry body next to me as I’m watching TV).

When your dog seems to be okay with having her feet handled, you can move on to using the actual nail clippers.  This also goes for the puppy you have been using human nail clippers on.  You can now move to using actual dog nail clippers.

Tools for Nail Clipping

There are a couple different types of nail clippers – the guillotine style for smaller nails and the heavy duty clipper for medium to large nails.  There is also a smaller type for cats and small dogs.

Which Style is Best?

Initially, I liked to use the guillotine style.

guillotine clippersThe blade seemed nice and sharp and easily slid through the nails.

However, it didn’t seem to take long before it would become dull and start grabbing the nail instead of cutting through it.  This is especially not good for a dog who is not comfortable having her nails trimmed in the first place.  You want to be able to make a nice clean cut on the first try.

So I have moved to using the heavy duty type of clipper.

 Best Pet Grooming Clipper By Azur-professional Nail TrimmerBuy Now at Amazon Professional Pet Nail Trimmer For Dogs & Cats, Includes FREE Nail FileBuy Now at Amazon

 These clippers seem to last longer and don’t grab the nails.

If you really want to learn how to trim a dog’s nails at home, just start by taking off the point of the nail. Then you can work your way back by barely slicing off a tiny bit at a time, so if you do happen to get into the quick, it will be very minor and the bleeding will stop with a little pressure.

On clear nails you can see the pink quick inside so you’ll know how far you can clip. With black nails, you can’t see the quick so you will just have to take it slow and sliver off a tiny bit at a time.

One thing to note, though, if your dog’s nails are white – you might think you can see the end of the quick, but it comes to a fine point, so clip a little less off than what it looks like you could do.

Rotary Tools Are Great For Getting Smooth Nails

Another tool I am a huge advocate for is the Dremel tool for filing down the nails.  I’ve tried the kind you see advertised on TV, such as the Pedipaws, but don’t like it nearly as well as the actual Dremel tool.

With the Pedipaws tool, it’s difficult to fit a nail into the hole and be able to see what you are doing.  Many dogs don’t have the patience to let you fuss around trying to fit a nail into that hole and get it filed down and you really don’t want to have to force your dog to allow you to do this, because then it becomes an unpleasant experience.

Instead, I use a regular Dremel, although they now have Rotary-Type Pet Grooming Kits at places like Amazon,  that use the same principal as the Pedipaws, but you can see what you are doing and can do it quicker.

Dremel 7300-N/8 MiniMite 4.8-Volt Cordless Two-Speed Rotary ToolDremel 7300-N/8 MiniMite 4.8-Volt Cordless Two-Speed Rotary ToolBlack & Decker RTX-B 3-Speed RTX Rotary Tool KitBlack & Decker RTX-B 3-Speed RTX Rotary Tool KitDremel 200-1/15 Two-Speed Rotary Tool KitDremel 200-1/15 Two-Speed Rotary Tool KitDremel 3000-1/24 1 Attachment/24 Accessories Rotary ToolDremel 3000-1/24 1 Attachment/24 Accessories Rotary Tool

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I personally use the Dremel 3000, which is fairly quiet and has several speeds.  You could start your dog out getting used to the noise on the lowest quiet speed.  But the faster the speed, the quicker you’ll get the job done.  So once your dog is used to the noise, you can speed it up.

Procedure For Using the Dremel Filing Tool

I use the medium sand paper attachment on my Dremel.  You don’t want too rough of a sandpaper because then it just jumps around on the nail.

I hold the paw with my left hand, making sure I have pulled back or clipped any hair around the foot because it could get caught up in the whirling action of the Dremel and pull the hair out.

Then I grip the nail I want to work on with the thumb and forefinger of my left hand to hold the nail firm. I brace Using a dremel to file dog's nailsthe thumb of my right hand against my left hand to stabilize my working hand in order to keep the Dremel on the nail.

I start at the top of the nail and file down over the edge in a quick smooth action.  To begin with, when you are just getting the hang of it, you might be a little timid, not sure of how much to take off or how far down to grind.  The more you work with this tool, the more confident you will become and you’ll learn how far to grind.

One thing I like about using a Dremel in place of nail clippers is that when you’re grinding a nail down, you’ll know immediately if you are down to the quick, because your dog will probably jerk her paw a little, saying Okay, that’s far enough.  If you actually draw blood, it will be very minimal and with a little pressure on it, will stop immediately.

Don’t Freak Out if You Hit the Quick

On the other hand, when you use regular clippers, you take the chance of trimming your dog’s nails too short, cutting into the quick, causing more pain and a lot more bleeding.  If this should happen, though, don’t freak out!

I trim nails for a living and I’ve cut into quicks many times.  Never has a dog died or even gotten an infection as far as I know from cutting a quick too short.

So many times I’ve heard someone say they tried trimming their dog’s nails at home but cut too short and it bled all over and they’ll never try doing it again.  Most of them weren’t prepared for the blood.  Nails bleed profusely if you cut way into the quick and that, along with the fact that their dog probably yelped when it happened was enough to make them feel terrible.

So be prepared that something could go wrong but that it isn’t the end of the world for you or your dog.

Have Kwik Stop On Hand

Have some Kwik Stop styptic powder on hand.  By pressing a dab on the end of the nail, the bleeding should stop immediately.  You should be able to get it at any pet store and it is also found at Amazon.com

 Top Performance MediStyp Pet Styptic Powder with Benzocaine, 6-OunceBuy Now at Amazon Kwik Stop – 1/2 ozBuy Now at Amazon

If you are trimming dog nails that are too long, you will want to clip them first with regular dog nail clippers.  When you trim overgrown dog nails, you can actually take quite a bit off.  Just keep slicing small sections off until you feel they’re short enough to use the Dremel on.

Then you can regularly use your Dremel tool to keep them filed down so you will never have to clip them again.  Anyone can do this and it will save money and will help stop the quick from growing out too long.

Nails that are too long may hinder your dog’s ability to freely move about, causing physical problems with the feet and legs.  There is also the chance that if left un-managed for a very long period of time, the nails will actually curl around and start growing into the pads of the paws, causing extreme pain and possibly needing surgery to remove.

How Often Should You Trim Dog Nails?

If you take the time and have the patience, using treats and praise, trimming your dog’s nails will become a simple procedure with little to no stress.  Then it will only take you a few minutes every 2 to 3 weeks to file off the points and keep her nails looking and feeling great.  Doing it this often will keep them from growing out to a length that will need to be clipped before filing.how to trim dog's nails

If after trying it yourself, you still feel uncomfortable and stressed out over it, it might be best for you not to attempt it on your own.  Your dog will sense your lack of confidence and will probably struggle and make it harder on both of you.

The best thing, then, might be to consider having a professional trim your dog’s nails because they still need to be trimmed on a regular basis.  This should be done about every 4 to 6 weeks and will cost anywhere from $5 to $20 depending on where you live and who does it.

Learning how to trim your dog’s nails at home will save you quite a bit of money in the long run, but if it makes you too uncomfortable or if your dog is just too hard to work with, getting professional help might be worth the cost.