How to Gently Remove Burrs from a Dog’s Fur

It is very common for dogs to come home with burrs stuck to their fur. While it is generally not a cause for concern, burrs can cause some medical issues if ingested or should they scratch the skin or become matted in your dog’s fur. Always check for burrs when doing your tick inspection when you return home from your walk. Remove any burrs immediately to avoid further discomfort for your dog.

When I am out with my dogs I often find burrs on their paws, ears or belly. The dogs may stop and attempt to pull the burrs out with their teeth if they are irritating, or they may not notice and the burrs become ground into the fur as they walk, play and roll. Removing burrs can be difficult, but over the years I have found a way to gently remove burrs from a dog’s fur.

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post. All medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

What Are Burrs?

Burrs are the flowering portion of a plant called Burdock. Every second year, after the plant flowers it creates burrs. They are small (approximately 1’’) brown balls. They have many prickly spines that have hook-shaped ends. These ends easily grasp onto many fabrics, hair, and fur.

Burdock can be found in countries all over the world. It is commonly found growing in fields, along the edge of paths or roads, or in any treed area. It is a weed that spreads rapidly and can withstand cold weather.   

Other terms for Burrs: Stickers, Briers 

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

Are Burrs Harmful to My dog?

When a dog rolls in the grass, burrs that are attached to the fur can become ground in.
Photo by: M. Shea

Often, after walking your dog, you will find burrs attached to his fur. While they are usually found around the paws, legs, and ears, they can attach to any part of the body. If your dog rolls in the grass, sniffs under a bush or walks through a field, he might find himself covered in burrs.

Generally, burrs are not cause for concern, but there are situations where burrs can cause harm to your dog.

What happens if my dog eats burrs?

While burrs are not poisonous to your dog, ingesting them can cause lesions in the dog’s mouth and throat. These can be irritated and become infected. Your dog may find it uncomfortable to eat or drink.  

Should he continue to have difficulty eating or drinking, or is showing signs of pain or discomfort, take your dog to a vet immediately. If any burrs have been swallowed they can cause internal issues that may require antibiotics, pain medication, or, in severe cases, surgery to remove the burrs.

How burrs on the face can affect a dog’s vision?

If your dog has burrs on her face, it can be dangerous. If they are stuck close to her eyes, they can scratch the dog’s eyes and cause temporary or permanent damage. 

What happens when a dog steps in burrs?

When burrs are stepped on, they can lodge themselves in the fur between the dog’s toes and pads. This can make walking very difficult as each step causes the burrs to scratch the skin. With each step the burrs are ground further into the fur and do more damage.

How can burrs in the fur harm your dog?

When a dog is covered with burrs, they can become ground into the lower layers of fur or undercoat. This can cause matting in the fur. When matting occurs, it is uncomfortable, even painful to move, sit in certain positions, or sleep. 

If burrs get close to the skin in thinner fur, they can cause scratches when they scrape the skin’s surface. If this goes unnoticed, it can cause infection. 

Once again, see a vet to determine the medical need to tend to or medicate the scratches.

If the burrs are left in the fur, it can cause further issues. They can begin on the surface, but with activity, they can be forced deeper into the fur. Sometimes, in an attempt to remove burrs from their body, your dog may move them from one place to another (ie. behind the ears to the eyes), causing more damage. This is why it is always best to inspect your dog for burrs after a walk. You will avoid any potential issues for your pup. A thorough scan for burrs can be done at the same time as you are checking for ticks.

How Do I Get Burrs out of My Dog’s Fur?

There are many ways to remove burrs from your dog’s fur. The best process to choose may be decided by the severity of the situation.  

Can I Pick Burrs Out of My Dog’s Fur?

If the burrs are still on the surface of the dog’s fur, you may get away with just picking them off of the dog with your fingers. This is usually possible if you discover them immediately after they have latched on. 

Should I Comb or Brush Burrs out of a dog’s fur?

If the burrs have settled down into the fur, it may be difficult to remove them. You can opt to use a brush or a comb, but be careful that you are not hurting your dog in the process. 

Steps to remove burrs from your dog’s fur:

Tools you will need to remove burrs: 

Dual-ended comb – one side wide, one side fine.

Coconut oil or Olive Oil (Both are safe for dogs when used in appropriate doses), or a dog safe detangler

A dog brush

Some healthy dog treats

Make sure you take your time. In this case, the “rip of the band aid” approach is not helpful. 

  1. Apply coconut oil or olive oil or detangler to the fur and burr.
  2. Place your fingers between the bur and the dog’s skin. Hold the fur firmly to prevent pulling the skin.
  3. Use the wide-toothed end of the comb to gently remove the burr. Start with the part that is furthest from the dog and slowly work your way toward the skin. IF YOUR DOG SHOWS ANY SIGNS OF DISCOMFORT, TAKE A BREAK
  4. When the larger part of the burr has been removed, turn the comb over and use the fine-toothed end to remove the remaining smaller bits.
  5. Brush your dog.
  6. Give your doggo a treat!

Best prevention:

While it is almost impossible to avoid burrs, steering clear of areas where you are aware that burrs are growing will reduce the possibility of exposure. Some parks or hiking trails may have fewer burdock plants. Choosing the best location for walking your dog could save him from discomfort. 

If you have burrs on your property and would like to remove them to prevent your dog from frequent burr removal sessions, this article might help: https://homeguides.sfgate.com/how-to-kill-cockleburs-12567376.html

Summary

It is very common for dogs to come home with burrs stuck to their fur. While it is generally not a cause for concern, burrs can cause some medical issues if ingested or should they scratch the skin or become matted in your dog’s fur. Always check for burrs when doing your tick inspection when you return home from your walk. Remove any burrs immediately to avoid further discomfort for your dog.

Please follow and like us:

7 Reasons Why You Should Stay Off Your Phone When Walking Your Dog

When you are out with your dog, you must pay attention to everything that he is doing. If you spend your time focusing on your phone, you may miss something that will harm your dog – or worse.

When you are out with your dog, you must pay attention to everything that he is doing. If you spend your time focusing on your phone, you may miss something that will harm your dog – or worse. These are 7 reasons why you should stay off your phone when walking your dog, even if he is on a leash:

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post if required. All safety and medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice, and treatment.

You May Not Notice Your Dog Pooping and Fail to Clean it Up

While this may not seem like a serious problem, it could land you in a legal mess. In many places, failing to clean up after your dog can result in fines. An extreme scenario would be where your dog leaves a present on the wrong neighbor’s lawn. You could end up with more than a fine. You could be faced with a formal complaint that, if the neighbor is angry enough, results in having to move or forfeit your pet. 

Your Dog May Lunge At or Chase and Harm Another Dog

If you are not tuned in, you may not see another dog in the vicinity. Even the most well trained and disciplined dog can react to another animal without warning. If your dog becomes aggressive, she can do some serious physical harm to another dog. The result of the fight can be two-fold. First, both animals can be seriously injured. While the physical pain these dogs are suffering is very sad, there could be some very large vet bills incurred. On top of that, if a dog is deemed aggressive or viscous, a judge can rule that she has to be put down.

Another Dog, Coyote or Other Animal Might Approach and Attack Your Dog

Border Collie on a leash with a man and dog approaching on a path in a park.
Photo by: M. Shea

Similar to the previous situation, if you are not focused on what is going on around you, your dog could become a victim to another aggressive dog. Not all dogs are on leashes and not all owners are paying attention to what their pets are doing.

In my area, as well as many others, there is a large coyote population. A smaller dog is very vulnerable to a larger canine. If you are alert, you can remove your dog from harm’s way. Your dog may be severely injured or killed by an attacking dog, coyote, or other wild animal common to your area, if you are on your phone.

Children May Run Toward Your Dog, Causing an Aggressive Reaction

If your head is buried in your phone, you may not notice a nearby child. Although many children are afraid of dogs or taught at an early age not to approach a dog without asking, I have been in many situations where a child or group of children is so excited to see my dog that they run toward him squealing with excitement. This can be very scary for any dog, but a dog who is already timid can become very reactive. If he should bite a child, it could cause serious injuries. In this unfortunate situation, the dog will still be legally blamed for harming the child and you could be ordered to put your dog down as he will be deemed a dangerous animal.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

Sniffing Something Dangerous Can Cause Illness

Border Collie sniffing a patch of large green leaves in the park.
Photo by: M. Shea

When your dog’s head is down and sniffing intently on something, you may want to take notice. While letting your dog sniff is important for their mental stimulation, some things can cause illness or pain. If your dog is sniffing another dog’s poop, she could contract a virus or illness that is left in the poop. The same can happen with urine.  

Other surprises are lurking in bushes, flower beds, and grass, including ticks, bees, wasps, and smaller animals like skunks or porcupines. If you are not looking at where your dog’s nose is pointed, it could end up with some painful and harmful results for your pup.

Something Could Get Stuck in Their Paw

It is very common to see someone walking along, surfing on their phone while their doggo is hobbling along on three legs. It is very common for dogs to have painful paw issues while walking. Sharp objects could become lodged in their foot, salt often gets stuck between their toes. Snow or ice buildup between their toes can be very uncomfortable, and a very hot sidewalk is a source of great pain. While you catch up on your social media or answe an email, the source of your dog’s pain goes unnoticed and unaddressed. If the offending item becomes embedded in your dog’s foot, the dog could be in pain for several days before it becomes apparent to you, at which time your dog will require a visit to the vet. 

Walkee Paws, As Seen on Shark Tank

Your Dog Could Eat Something Poisonous

Humans drop things that can make your dog seriously ill or kill them. Sadly, this can be accidental or intentional. There are also things found in nature that are poisonous. If you are distracted by your phone, you are less likely to notice when your dog scoops something up. As a dog walker and a dog owner, I have scooped more things out of dog mouths than you can imagine. The ones that could have been devastating were a big piece of chewed gum that could have contained Xylitol, acorns, a balloon, a chocolate bar, and alcohol-filled vomit. Dogs are very quick to scoop things off of the ground. If I hadn’t been paying attention, these dogs could have become very ill. I have seen many other dangerous things on the ground while walking my doggos, including pills and a bag of drugs. Fortunately, I managed to avoid them.

Vehicle Coming Out of Nowhere

A red car driving on a snow covered road taken from inside another car.
Photo By: M. Shea

When you are walking along a sidewalk, you feel safe from things like traffic. You’re not. Many situations can arise where your dog could be hit by a vehicle if your are not alert and prepared. Cars may be backing out of their driveway in a hurry. Others may not be able to see you in their blind spot.

There are many other scenarios where your pet could be stricken by some type of vehicle. You may be crossing a street where nobody was coming when you first looked but now a car appears out of nowhere. A landscaping or snow removal vehicle that comes around a blind corner could be a disaster. Vehicles that lose control on slippery roads can land up on the sidewalk. While these last few examples are freak accidents, they do happen. Staying alert and aware of your surroundings, gives you a better chance of keeping your dog out of danger.

After reading about these 7 reasons why you should stay off your phone when walking your dog, you should realize that…

Working or playing on your smartphone may seems like a great way to fill time while walking your dog. Truthfully, it is a dangerous distraction. I jokingly say that my phone is an extension of my arm. I run 2 businesses that require my constant attention. While I understand the urge to “just check one thing”, I also understand that doing so can have dire consequences for the dog I am with. I do my best to keep it tucked away until the end of each walk. Once the dog is home and safe, I take a moment to address all of the alerts and updates. I hope you can see why this is an important decision.

Walk safe!

Please follow and like us:

Which Dog Breeds Can’t Swim?

When you and your dog plan to spend time near water, it is important to know which dog breeds can’t swim and how to prevent unwanted accidents.

When you and your dog plan to spend time near water, it is important to know which dog breeds can’t swim and how to prevent unwanted accidents.

As a teenager,  I remember swimming with my cousin one Sunday afternoon. My mom, my aunt, and her St. Bernard, Tiny, were sitting on the beach watching us in the water.   My cousin was splashing around when suddenly, Tiny came barreling into the water and headed straight toward us.  With all the activity she thought my cousin was drowning and came out to rescue her.

The water was fairly shallow and my cousin was able to stand up to show Tiny that she was ok.  As soon as she did, Tiny turned and swam back to shore.  It wasn’t long before she was struggling to swim. She was barely keeping her head above the water. Her size and the weight of her coat were pulling her down and we were worried about her drowning. We each walked alongside her and helped her to shore. 

Until that day, I thought all dogs could swim. It turns out there are many dogs that either can’t swim at all or shouldn’t be in deep water for any length of time due to their body shape, size, or amount of fur. The following is a list of some of the dogs that should avoid the water and some reasons why it might be unsafe for them.

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post if required. All safety and medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

Some Dog Breeds Who Struggle to Swim or Play in Water

Any dog who has a flat face, also known as brachycephalic, will have a high risk of drowning as water will easily enter their mouths and nose.  Most dogs with flat faces contend with a variety of breathing issues at the best of times.  These issues would be exacerbated  if water should be inhaled and they would struggle to stay afloat. These breeds include:

English bulldogs

French bulldogs

Boxers

Pugs

Pekingese

Body structure comes into play when trying to swim. Some dogs with short legs and long or round bodies will find it difficult to swim. Their short legs make it difficult to wade through the water, resulting in the dog becoming tired and unable to continue to stay afloat. The following dogs fall into this category:

Dark brown French Bulldog panting with his ears up.
Photo by: M. Shea

English Bulldogs

French Bulldogs

Corgis

Daschund

Basset Hound

Scottish Terriers

Bull Terrier 

You will notice that the English and French Bulldog fall into both of the categories listed above, making it clear that they should not be around water without strict supervision and safety gear in place.

Any large dog with a heavy coat will likely be in danger when the coat becomes saturated.  Similar to the situation I witnessed with Tiny, they will quickly find that the weight of the coat when full of water makes it difficult to stay afloat. Here are a couple of breeds who would find swimming to be a challenge:

Cane Corso

Chow Chow

Saint Bernard

Note: small dogs with heavy coats can have the same issues as the weight of their coat is heavy relative to their size.

Some dogs who have multiple issues, including body structure,  flat face, and are fragile when it comes to temperature.  Any cold water or cold air when they come out could result in illness. It’s best for these breeds to hang out on the beach with a bowl of fresh water,  under an umbrella:

Maltese

Shitzu

When swimming in cold water, a dog’s body temperature needs to adjust to the change in temperature.  For some breeds with shorter or thinner fur, or who are very thin, this does not happen as easily, leaving them unable to stay afloat. Some breeds who have difficulties with regulating body temperature are:

Greyhounds

Whippets

Dobermans

Boxers

Additional Circumstances that can Affect a Dog’s Ability to Swim.

Another thing to remember is grooming and the length of fur. Many dogs have fur that, when wet, will cover their eyes. This makes it difficult to see and maneuver their way to safety.

A dog’s age can affect their physical condition and change their ability to function on land as well as in the water.  You should never assume that because your dog was fine swimming in the lake at the cottage last year, that the same will apply this year.

Sunset along a treelined a lake.
Photo by: M Shea

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

Do Dogs Instinctively Swim?

No,  Not all dogs can be thrown into the water only to have their natural instincts kick in allowing them to swim back to safety.

If your dog is not familiar with water, there may be a learning curve.  While some are natural swimmers, others need to practice getting in and out, swimming, and generally feeling at ease when playing in or near the water.

This is not a complete list of dogs that have trouble swimming or playing in the water.

There are so many breeds and so many mixed breeds that it would be almost impossible to list every one who would be at risk in the water.

Even if your dog is not on the list, it is always advisable to check with your vet before taking your dog for a swim, boating, or to the beach or pool.  Your dog may also have specific medical issues that would make it better for them to stay dry. Dogs who are prone to skin issues or ear infections might also want to opt out of the pool party.

Best Practices for Keeping Dogs Safe From Water Accidents

It is always the best practice when your dog is near water, be it on the beach, poolside, or in a boat, to have them wearing a floatation device. There are life jackets that are designed to fit your dog’s specific breed, keeping them safe around water.  Lifejackets for dogs are not one-size-fits-all. It is important to find the right fit for your dog’s shape and size.

Even dogs who are avid swimmers should not be left around water unattended. It is important to keep dogs safely in sight while around lakes, oceans, rivers, or streams. Pools should be safely fenced off from where your dog plays in the yard. When boating, every dog should be wearing a life jacket. Even the strongest swimmers can suffer some form of injury in a boating accident or a fall from the boat that will prevent them from swimming to safety, even when docked.

Should your dog fall into the water, be sure to pull them out quickly and dry them thoroughly to avoid other medical issues. If you are concerned that they may have swallowed salt water,  been injured in the fall, or from the water itself, you should have them checked immediately by a vet to be sure all is well.

Summary and Further Reading

Knowing which dog breeds can’t swim is important, but there are many things to consider when you take your dog to the beach.  This article will give you some ideas about how to enjoy a day at the beach with your dog.

https://www.wikihow.com/Choose-the-Right-Life-Jacket-for-Your-Dog#:~:text=You%20want%20the%20vest%20to,body%20at%20the%20neck%20opening.

Play safe.

Please follow and like us:

Should You Sleep with Your Dog?

Sleeping with your dog can offer a sense of security. Knowing that your dog will alert you to any noises or dangers allows you to sleep deeper. Because you are not on high alert you are able to relax, providing better sleep quality. 

I remember my aunt crawling into bed every night followed by a German Shepherd named Silver, a Golden Lab named Custo, and a little mutt named Tidbit. I was always jealous of the way they loved her and wanted to be with her. She would work long days and arrive home late in the evening. From the moment she arrived until she left for work again the next morning, these pups were glued to her. There were many other family members home throughout the day, but their bond with her was special. 

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post if required. All safety and medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice, and treatment.

It never crossed my mind that having her dogs in her bed might be considered poor pet parenting or bad for her health. It wasn’t until I was an adult and had my own dog that I started hearing mixed ideas of the benefits and dangers of sleeping with your dog.

How a Dog Can Make You Feel Safe

The face of Princess, a German Shepherd, looking at the camera while laying on the floor.
A dog may prefer not to sleep in your bed. (Photo: M. Shea)

When I inherited my first dog, a German Shepherd named Princess, I was living alone with my two daughters. She was my father’s dog until he passed away. Thankfully, he had trained her very well and she was an excellent guard dog. I knew the basics of caring for a dog but had only owned cats until she came to stay. Although I had never felt vulnerable or been afraid in my home, as soon as Princess moved in, I felt an immediate sense of security. I felt safer when my teenage daughters were alone in the house while I was at work, and I slept a little deeper knowing that she would alert us and protect us from anything without hesitation. 

Princess never slept in my bed. She was welcome to, but she disliked the stairs and opted not to come upstairs to the bedroom. She had her own armchair that she would curl up in at bedtime and as soon as we came downstairs in the morning, she would wag her tail and jump up to greet us. I always felt guilty and occasionally I would sleep on the pullout couch to be close to her. Sometimes she would crawl in beside me, and other times she would return to her chair beside the pullout and sleep in her place. I took this as a sign that she was happy with her sleeping arrangements.

Different Dogs have Different Preferences

Years later, after she passed away, I adopted Zorro, a rescue dog who was only 9 months old. He had been living with his foster mom who had trained him well and he was very well-loved. She told me that he did not like being crated. She had tried but he would cry and shake in fear. I decided that I would never even try to use a crate with him. We got him a nice bed for the floor, and he was offered the option of crawling in with me. He has slept in my bed for almost five years and rarely leaves the bed at night. He has his side, I have mine, and the cat has adopted the bottom corner. I am beginning to understand how my aunt felt and it’s pretty good!

The face of Zorro, a black Labrador Retriever staring off into the distance while in bed.
Some dogs are more comfortable curling up in your bed. (Photo: M. Shea)

Still, I read and hear rumblings of why this may not be a good idea, so I decided to look into it in more detail. It turns out, there are pros and cons for both the human and the doggo. 

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

The Benefits for Humans

As I felt with Princess in the house, sleeping with your dog can offer a sense of security. Knowing that your dog will alert you to any noises or dangers allows you to sleep deeper. Because you are not on high alert you are able to relax, providing better sleep quality. 

The benefits of proper sleep include improved mental health, improved physical health, weight loss or maintenance, and improved memory. 

Why Sleeping With Your Dog Might Not Be Good For You

There are times when sleeping with your dog can be detrimental to your health as well. As long as you are getting a good night’s sleep, then all is well. However, if your dog is causing your sleep to be disturbed, you may be putting yourself in an unhealthy situation.

Some dogs move a lot throughout the night. They may be trying to get comfortable; they may be hot (or cold) and looking for a position that provides the right temperature. If they stretch out and start taking over the bed, you will not have enough space and it could cause you to lose sleep simply because you are unable to find a comfortable position. They may also be really light sleepers which is great for your protection but can make them a little restless. This constant movement may disturb your sleep.

How Does Your Dog Benefit from Sleeping with You?

Dogs are instinctively pack animals. They travel in packs and sleep curled up close to one another. It’s often said that the human becomes their dog’s Alpha Dog. This means that your dog considers you their pack leader. It is a natural response for your dog to want to sleep close to their leader, so being in your bed offers them the same type of comfort they would experience in the wild. This closeness also allows for your dog to bond with you, and you can further develop a level of trust between you and your pup.

In Some Cases, it’s Best if Your Dog Doesn’t Sleep in Your Bed

While you may think it’s a great idea, curling up with you for the night may not be in the best interests of your dog. Sometimes, there are medical reasons that cause your dog to be uncomfortable in your bed. A dog who has arthritis may be uncomfortable on a soft bed, but worse, the pain from arthritis may be excruciating if you roll over on a paw in the night. It also may be difficult to jump onto or down from the bed if your dog has sore joints. Offering a ramp or visiting the vet or dog chiropractor could help to ease these discomforts, but it may be best to place a nice bed on the floor, at least until they are feeling better. You can place their bed close to yours, so your dog feels as though they are still laying with you.

Pain is not the only reason you may want to avoid having your dog in your bed. Your dog may just not enjoy being there. Some dogs are too hot. Some are too big and some just prefer the cozy feeling of their crate when they sleep. Take the cue from your pet and let them decide what is best for them

How Do You Decide What is Best for You?

You know yourself and your dog best. Between the two of you (or more of you are anything like my aunt) you can decide what provides you all with your best sleep. There is no right or wrong. While I couldn’t get Princess to sleep with me, I understood and respected that it was best for her. I can’t get Zorro to leave my side and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Please follow and like us:

How to Help a Dog Who is Grieving the loss of a Pet Friend

It’s always an emotional time for a family when you lose a family pet. This is no different for the other pets in the house. They can experience the same stages of grief that a human does.

It’s always an emotional time for a family when you lose a family pet. This is no different for the other pets in the house. They can experience the same stages of grief that a human does. There are many thoughts and ideas about how to help a dog who is grieving the loss of a pet friend. Some are simple and others will require time and patience. It’s important to remember that you are going rough this together.

What does a dog grieving the loss of another pet look like look like?

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

Searching or Pacing is a Sign that Your Dog Is Missing Their Friend Who Has Passed Away

Your dog may begin going from room to room or pacing around looking for something.  She will probably spend a lot of time circling and searching areas where her partner spent a lot of time.  Dog beds, toy boxes or that special spot on the couch where she would normally find her friend will be thoroughly and repeatedly inspected in hopes that the missing friend will return.

A Dog May Cry or Whimper When They Lose a Pet Friend

When she can’t find her partner, she may begin crying or whimpering.  Just as humans feel sadness and confusion when we lose a loved one, your dog may cry and whine.  She may come to you whimpering and “asking” for help to find her lost friend.  

Symptoms of a Dog Who is Experiencing Anxiety After the Death of a Pet Friend

An anxious dog will appear to act out. She may revert to behaviors you haven’t seen since she was a puppy, such as peeing in the house, or destroying furniture.  Your doggo may start barking when there appears to be no cause for it.  She may react badly when you leave the house.  Remember, she has not been alone when you leave for as long as your lost pet has been in her life.  When you leave the house – or even the room – she feels completely alone now.

A Grieving Dog May Become Needy – “Velcro Dog”

In coming to you for help, she may appear very needy.  She has lost her partner and may be searching for someone to share her time with.  Her days used to be filled with a playmate.  Now she wants that interaction from you.  She may also just need to be comforted by someone safe and you are her closest friend. Sometimes, she recognizes your grief and wants to take care of you.  Her need to curl up on your lap or be glued to you wherever you go could be for both or your benefit.

A Dog Who Has Lost a Friend May Become Depressed

Dogs can experience depression.  You may see changes in the way she interacts with you and other family members.  She may retreat to her bed and sleep longer than usual.  Some dogs may not want to play like they usually do.  All of these are signs of depression.

A Grieving Dog May Experience a Lack of Appetite

Not eating may be another symptom of depression, or it may be a reaction all on its own.  Dog’s rarely go off of their food unless they are ill or experiencing emotional turmoil.  It’s probably just temporary, but if it goes on for mor than a couple of days, you should contact a veterinarian for advice.  If she stops drinking, you should contact a vet immediately to avoid dehydration.  There may be something more than the loss of her friend going on.

How to help your pet cope with the loss of another pet:

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post if required. All safety and medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

Consistent Schedule Will Help A Grieving Dog Cope With The Change

Keep routine consistent.  There is already a big change to your doggo’s daily routine, so it is best not to change anything more. The familiar is comforting.  Meals should be served at the same times, walks taken at the same times.  The pet that passed away may have required more frequent outings, or a special mealtime that was followed by all.  Although your surviving dog may not require the same schedule to be kept, it is a good idea to maintain consistency.  Maintaining a routine provides stability in a situation that has lost some of its normalcy and will provide your dog with some form of peace.

Provide Extra Attention to the Grieving Dog

Pay extra attention to your doggo.  She needs to fill the void in her life.  She used to play, sleep or even just sit stare out the window with her buddy.  That is not an option anymore and she will be looking for a new partner.  Let her curl up on the couch beside you.  Talk to her.  Take her outside when you work in the yard. Let her know you are there for her and she still has someone who loves her.

It’s important to remember to comfort her, but avoid spoiling her. If you get too carried away, you may find yourself with a whole different emotional issue to be concerned about.

Offer the Scent of the Lost Friend to Your Dog To Help Comfort Them

One idea to help your dog would be to gather toys, bedding, clothing – anything that has the scent of the missing friend – and put it in a special place in your home for your dog to visit.  A dog’s sense of smell is directly related to her memory. Your dog may be comforted by the scent of her missing playmate. Having a place dedicated to the memory of her friend may provide her with solace at times when she is struggling with her loss.

Socialize with Dog Friends to Help Ease the Loneliness

Socializing with other dogs can offer a distraction from the missing friend.  Play dates with other dogs will substitute the playtime she used to have with her partner

Socializing her with other dogs and people can offer a distraction from the missing friend.  Play dates with other dogs can be a substitute for the playtime she used to have with her partner while allowing her to make new friends.  She will appreciate a little doggy one-on-one time that has been missing from her daily life.

Don’t Run Out and Get a Replacement Dog

You may want to run out and get another dog for her.  While this may be a good idea for some, it may not be for others.  Just as it is for humans, you can’t simply replace a life long mate. Refrain from replacing the lost companion too quickly.  Watch your dog. See how she is doing on her own.  She how she responds to other dogs. It is best to wait until she is ready for a new friend and appears to have stopped searching and/or grieving for her lost companion.

Important to Note:

The ideas provided in this post are just some ways to help your dog cope with the loss of a four-legged friend. If symptoms of depression or over sleeping last for several days, or of your dog refuses to eat for more than a couple of days, see a veterinarian as soon as possible. There are medications that can be administered to help with your dog’s emotional condition and methods of care that a trained veterinarian may recommend. 

Get WagWell Box Now
Please follow and like us:

Socializing Your Dog or Puppy

Socializing you dog or puppy will help him to feel safe and to understand what is happening around him. By taking the time to introduce your dog to a variety of situations, you are opening him up to new experiences.

Socializing your dog or puppy is a very important part of raising a happy and well-adjusted dog.  It encourages confidence, it teaches manners, and it allows for enjoyable outings. 

Socializing your dog or puppy is the first step toward training.  A dog who is not socialized will have difficulty with trust as he has not been exposed to new ideas, smells, noises or friends, both human and four legged.  He will learn to feel safe. It will help him to understand what is happening around him. By taking the time to introduce your dog to a variety of situations, you are opening him up to new experiences and showing your dog that the world is a fun place to be.

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post if required. All safety and medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

Introducing Your Puppy to Humans

Puppies are trusting and adventurous.  They are open to new ideas.  They feel that everyone loves them and will comfortably visit with anyone who is calm and inviting. 

Use every opportunity to introduce your puppy to new people, of all ages.  Taking them for daily walks has multiple benefits.  Obviously, the exercise is great and the ability to let her sniff, explore and learn about new situations provides great brain stimulation, but there will likely be people and other dogs along the way as well.  At a public park or hiking trail, your pup will have many chances to engage with humans and dogs of all ages and sizes. 

If the humans want to pet the new puppy and your puppy doesn’t seem fearful, let them.  Your dog will learn to be comfortable being approached and touched by many people.  This will create a level of comfort with people in general.  If you keep your pup away from people and anxiously pull her away, she will associate other humans with anxiety.  Once this happens, your pup may shy away from, or even become aggressive toward people because they think people are to be feared.

If the human that wants to visit with your puppy is a young child, be sure the child is calm. Be sure the parent is present and agrees to the interaction.  If possible, show the child how to let the puppy sniff his hand first and not to try to grab or move too quickly. Speak calmly and softly to both of them. Keep your puppy from jumping on the child or being too bouncy. This will benefit both the puppy and the child, as it teaches them both how to behave in each other’s company.

A dog, even a puppy, who jumps up on a young child, can create a permanent fear of dogs.  Alternatively, a child who pulls a puppy’s fur or slaps at her, can instill a fear of children in your pup.  Both of these can be avoided by taking the time to introduce both of them the best way to interact with each other.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

Introducing Puppies to Other Dogs

When introducing your puppy to new dogs, be sure to wait until she has had all of her vaccinations.  Once she can safely play with other dogs, you can take her on puppy play dates with other pet owners.  Make sure you know the temperament of the dogs you are introducing your pup to.  An overzealous or even mildly aggressive dog can have a negative impact if your puppy is afraid.  Start slowly with well socialized dogs or other puppies so that she feels safe and calm.

Another way to expose your puppy to a variety of dogs is to take a puppy training class.  While there are many dogs around that you may not know, you will be there along with a professional trainer to encourage proper interactions and maintain controlled environment.  Your puppy can be learning basic skills and manners while meeting new friends.

NOTE: LEASH FREE PARKS ARE NOT A SAFE AND CONTROLED ENVIRONMENT.  DOGS PLAYING IN A DOG PARK ARE RARELY CALM.  THEY ARE VERY EXCITED AND WILL OFTEN APPROACH YOUR PUPPY VERY QUICKLY.  THIS CAN BE TERRIFYING AND WILL BE DETRIMENTAL TO YOUR PUPPY’S DEVELOPMENT.  ALSO, NOT ALL DOGS ARE PROPERLY SOCIALIZED AND THE INTERACTIONS CAN BE AGGRESSIVE AND DANGEROUS.

Socializing Older or Fearful Dogs

Unfortunately, many dogs don’t have the benefit proper socialization as a puppy.  Rescues, for example, have often been neglected or abused before they are rescued and placed in a loving home.  Some have lived on the streets where humans were a threat and other dogs were competition.  Rescues are usually older and have passed the point of innocent puppy curiosity.  This makes socialization more difficult, but not impossible. 

There are many challenges to overcome. It will take much more time and patience.  You will have to devote a lot of time, and perhaps elicit the help of a professional trainer, but it will be worth it.  These dogs are often so grateful and eager to please. They are so loving because they have lived in fear and danger for so long.

Many of the methods used for puppies can be used for timid dogs, but the results may take a lot longer.  The use of positive reinforcement, encouragement and treats will go a long way. A professional trainer will be able to assess your dog’s needs and guide both of you through the best methods of socialization.  In the mean-time, exposure to a variety of places and people will help your fearful doggo to realize that he is safe in his new environment.  He will slowly learn to trust, which will go a long way to develop great social skills.

Get WagWell Box Now

Other Important Things to Consider When Socializing Your Dog or Puppy

When meeting other dogs on walks or in social settings, it’s important to remember to ask permission to approach another dog.  Even if the dog seems calm and well behaved, there may be an underlying issue that could be triggered with a seemingly innocent movement or sound.  The same rules apply for dog interactions. Your dog or puppy may just want to play with a new friend, but the other dog may be learning or dealing with fears or stresses that could result in a scary or dangerous encounter for both animals as well as the owners. 

Summary

Socialization is a very important part of raising a happy and well-adjusted dog.  It encourages confidence, it teaches manners, and it allows for enjoyable outings.  A well socialized dog is not fearful of the unfamiliar.  He doesn’t react negatively to new people.  When he sees another dog, he does not feel threatened or afraid.  These become a positive part of his day.  Each new person or dog friend is a step toward living his best life. Socializing your dog is the best way to ensure that he is able to have a peaceful and stress-free life.

Please follow and like us:

When to Choose an Indoor Potty for Dogs?

Most dog owners would benefit from having an indoor dog potty on hand. It can save your floors and carpets, but more importantly, it can save your dog from physical and mental stress.

Many dog owners have chosen to use the indoor potty option while training their puppy, but once they are trained the pee pads go away and they move on to daily walks or being let out into the backyard to do their business.  Unfortunately, these options are not always easy for a lot pet owners.  There are many circumstances when it is better to choose an indoor potty for dogs.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

When Indoor Potties are Essential:

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post if required. All safety and medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

Senior Citizens or People Who Have a Physical Impairment Might Choose an Indoor Potty

Many dog owners are not able to walk several times a day. Some may not even be able to walk once.  Hiring a dog walker is a great option, but can get expensive when the dog needs to go out several time daily.  Having an indoor potty allows the dog to relieve himself as needed and the owner to feel satisfied that their dog is not uncomfortable.

If Your Dog Is Sick An Indoor Potty Option Will Help

If your dog is ill or on medication, she may need more frequent trips outside.  When you are working and away from home for several hours a day, it is important that your dog has options.  Hiring a dog walker is a good way to break up the day, but if the illness or medication to fix the illness, causes frequent urination or diarrhea, it may be best to provide your dog with an alternate option that is comfortable.

Senior Dogs Will Benefit From an Indoor Potty

As dogs age, they may have difficulty holding it the way they did when they were younger.  Just like humans, bladder leakage and frequent need to void their bladder is a real and common issue.  Having an indoor potty option will help to relieve the stress associated with waiting for you to wake up, or return from work.

When Pet Parents Work Long Days, Choosing an Indoor Potty Will Help

Life happens.  Even if you have a dog walker coming once or twice a day, there may be some days when you are leaving your doggo for longer than you intend to.  Meetings, deadlines, traffic, public transportation delays, snow storms or whatever other interruption may happen throughout the course of your day, can cause you to be held up.  An indoor potty offers the option that both you and your dog will appreciate.

Choosing an Indoor Potty Helps with Condo/Apartment Life

Living on the 34th floor provides a beautiful view, but accessing the elevator and getting outside with a dog who hasn’t been out all night can be a cause for accidents to happen.  Puppies have little control and seniors are in similar situations.  Your dog still needs to be walked, but at least he will not be placed in a difficult situation waiting for several minutes trying to get out of the building.

Weather Restrictions Could Require Staying Indoors

Weather can affect a dog’s ability to be outside. Some breeds have difficulty with extreme temperatures.  In extreme heat or humidity, it becomes difficult for dogs like pugs or bull dogs to breath. Alternatively, a chihuahua might struggle in extreme cold.  During these times, walking may not be an option and your dog may be better off staying inside to do his business.

Messes on the floor are never pleasant to clean, but they are not the worst part of the accident.  Before a trained dog will let go of his bladder or bowels in the house, he has probably held it until he was in physical pain. Holding it for too long could also lead to a urinary tract infection that would cause him to have difficulty holding it for several days. Psychologically, the dog immediately feels guilty.  Now they have experienced both a physical and mental struggle. 

Having an indoor potty as an option for your dog offers freedom for everyone.  It should never take the place of regular play and exercise, but there are many circumstances where they are beneficial for everyone involved.

Indoor Potty Options for Various Sizes of Dogs

Small dogs have a number of indoor potty options to choose from.  Because of their size, they can use something as small as a kitty litter box or a dog potty tray.  If they are trained to use this method at a young age, they learn that this is normal.  For those who are unable to walk their dogs, this is a great alternative.  A very small dog can get plenty of exercise in a relatively small space, and special toys and sniffing games can be offered within the house to provide plenty of mental and physical stimulation. 

Indoor dog potties excellent for temporary situations like puppy training and recovery from illness or surgery.

Many choose to use disposable pee pads.  They are quick to clean up, easy to maintain and disposable. They are absorbent enough for small bladders and relatively inexpensive. Pee Pads are also excellent for temporary situations like puppy training and recovery from illness or surgery.

Washable pee pads are reusable and are good for training as well as permanent use for small through large dogs.

Indoor turf patches placed on a potty tray provide a more natural alternative to the pee pads.  The tray catches any overflow. The turf patches can be replaced as needed. They are offered in all sizes.

If you are looking for something more permanent, you may want to subscribe to Doggy Lawn.  It’s an actual patch of grass that is sent to you at intervals that suit your needs. Simply replace the patch and disposed of the soiled patch.  It is as natural as the grass in the park and comes in a variety of sizes, so even your extra-large dog will be comfortable using it.

Because the grass is real, this is a very eco-friendly option.

For people with more space in their home, there are large litter boxes that are suitable for both male and female large dogs. 

Summary

Most pet parents’circumstances fit into one of the categories listed above. This means that most dog owners would benefit from having an indoor dog potty on hand. It can save your floors and carpets, but more importantly, it can save your dog from physical and mental stress. You and your dog will appreciate it.

Please follow and like us:

Why You Should Never Pet A Dog Without Asking

Often people see a dog walking along with his owner and feel it’s alright to just walk up and pet him. Although the dog may be cute and seem really friendly, you may not know how the dog is feeling.

There are many reasons why you should never pet a dog without asking the owner. Often people see a dog walking along with his owner and feel it’s alright to just walk up and pet him.  Although the dog may be cute and seem really friendly, you may not know how the dog is feeling.  Dogs, like any other creature, have feelings and emotions that could impact their reaction to strangers.

Here are some things to consider when you see a dog out for a stroll:

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

You Don’t Know the Dog’s History

Often people see a dog walking with his owner and feel it’s alright to just walk up and pet him.  Although the dog may be cute and seem really friendly, you do not know how the dog is feeling or how he will react.

Many rescue dogs come from very difficult or traumatic backgrounds.  Often, they were abused or left to live in horrible conditions.  Many never fully recover from their experiences.  Although they may be perfectly calm and happy with their new family, there are certain noises, smells, movements or even voice tones that trigger the fear they once felt. 

If you or your child move toward a dog without warning, the dog may react in a defensive manner that looks like aggression.  Usually, they are more afraid than you are, but they will growl, bare their teeth and in some cases, bite to protect themselves.

Just like humans, dogs can suffer from a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Although you may be a dog lover that would never consider harming a dog in any way, you may be wearing the same perfume or cologne that someone who once harmed them did.  Your voice may have a very similar tone  or your red jacket may be a reminder of an arm that once hit him. 

A dog owner will often know what can trigger his dog’s fears and will let you know what is best for his dog. 

The Dog May Not Be Feeling Well

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post if required. All safety and medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

When dogs are feeling under the weather, they may not be up to having company.  An upset stomach, an ear infection feeling weak or ill in any way can cause a dog to react differently that she normally would.

They may just prefer to be left alone.  A walk is necessary for them to get some fresh air and do their business, but what they really want is to get back home, crawl into their doggy bed and curl up for a nap.

If someone comes toward them, all bouncy and excited to play with the dog, you may get a warning or other negative reaction from him.

Again, this puts everyone in an dangerous position.  A simple, “Is it alright to see your dog?”, could spare everyone, including the dog, a lot of grief.

The Dog May Be On Some Kind Of Medication

Just as with humans, medications can affect your mood, balance, judgement and fatigue and adrenaline levels.  Approaching a dog that is feeling out of sorts could result in a reaction that is very out of character for the dog.

The dog’s owner knows if her dog is taking medication.  She would also be aware of even the most subtle irregularities in her dog’s behavior and would be able to explain why it may be best to wait for another day to visit with him.

The Dog May Be In Training And Needs To Focus

When a dog is in training it is important for the owner to have his full attention.  Every lesson takes concentration and focus.  By randomly walking up and petting someone’s dog, you may be interrupting a training session and setting the dog’s learning back.

It may appear that the dog is just walking along, but it is possible that the owner is trying to maintain a connection while guiding the dog through a distraction or trigger.

By walking up and petting the dog, you will break that connection and the dog loses focus.

She May Be A Service Dog

Service dogs are used for a variety of reasons. Most people immediately think of a guide dog for people with reduced sight or blindness. The fact is that service dogs are used for many purposes. People with physical disabilities, PTSD, and those who need emotional support commonly have service dogs to help them function on a day to day basis.

A service dog needs to be totally focused on the owner for service purposes.  When someone randomly approaches a service dog to pet her, it could compromise her ability to do her job properly.

The Dog May Be In Physical Pain

A dog who is experiencing some kind of pain may not want to be touched, Many dogs suffer with arthritis.  Others could be dealing with dental pain or recovering from surgery.  These are not visible signs of pain.

If you approach a dog who is in pain, he may be reactive. Although this would only be an attempt to warn you to stay away, it can be scary for both of you.

The Owner May Have Difficulty Holding On To The Dog If He Gets Excited or Spooked

If you approach a dog who is easily excited, she may lunge or pull on her leash.  The owner will have to hold the dog back.  Should the owner be physically incapable of comfortably holding the dog, the situation could result in a number of scenarios.

  • Senior citizens, people with physical impairments or someone with a broken limb could be put in a position where they fall, causing injuries.
  • The dog could harm you by jumping up.  A heavy dog lunging at you can be a lot stronger than they appear. 
  • The owner cold lose control of the dog and it could run away.

If you don’t know a dog and you would like to approach him, ask the owner if it is a good idea to pet their dog.  If they say no, don’t feel offended.  Know that by leaving the dog to enjoy his walk, you have helped him and potentially avoided a dangerous situation.

Your safety is as much your responsibility as it is the dog owner’s.

Please follow and like us:

What to Ask When Looking for a New Dog Walker

You need to know what to ask when looking for a new dog walker. You must be sure that you can trust the potential walker with the proper care of your pet as well as your home and all access areas such as apartment/condo lobbies, hallways and elevators and underground parking lots. Whoever you choose should love dogs, be responsible, dependable and respectful.

Are you looking for quality pet care? First you have to know where to look for solid candidates. Next, you need to know what to ask when looking for a new dog walker. You must be sure that you can trust the potential walker with the proper care of your pet as well as your home and all access areas such as apartment/condo lobbies, hallways and elevators and underground parking lots.  Whoever you choose should love dogs, be responsible, dependable and respectful. 

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

Here is a list of some things you should look for when screening a potential dog walker:

What kind of Training and Experience does the Dog Walker have?

Although there is no formal training needed to be a dog walker, you should find out what kind of background the candidate has with caring for dogs.  Many will have years of experience working for themselves.  Many have worked for other experienced walkers and have been shown some methods of operating and tricks of the trade to ensure that the dogs in their care are safe and having fun.  Knowing that you would be handing over your pet to someone with knowledge and experience will help you to have confidence in their abilities.

Someone who has been working as a dog walker for a prolonged period of time also indicates that this is a permanent position for them.  Someone who is new to the job or only works part time at it may not be in it for the long term. 

Dog walking seems like an easy job, but many people learn quickly that it is physically demanding. Dogs can pull or need help walking.  Some older puppies or dogs need help getting up and down stairs.  It requires someone who is happy being outside in any weather. Many who feel that this is a quick and easy way to make money, don’t factor in the potential downpours, extreme heat waves and blizzards that they will be faced with.  Someone with little experience may give up when faced with these challenges, leaving you without a walker. 

This is not convenient for you, but also creates an unstable situation for your pup.  Just when he gets used to his new friend coming to walk him daily, that friend disappears from his life.  They do feel the loss and can act out of there is too frequent of a turnover.

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post if required. All safety and medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

Will the same person be coming to walk your dog every day?

Knowing what to ask when looking for a new dog walker can help make your dog’s daily visits safe and happy.

Some dog walking agencies or companies have multiple employees.  The daily schedule for each employee changes with the bookings in various locations and the walkers are sent to different homes.  It is important that your dog has a stable routine and a familiar face coming to the door every day.  Make sure that, with the exception of illness or vacations, the walker coming to your door is the same every day. In the event of the occasional change to the schedule, be sure you are notified in advance.  You should have the opportunity to meet or at least be informed of a new person who will be caring for your doggo as well as gaining access to your home. You wouldn’t want your key or access code to be handed to someone new without your knowledge or consent.

How many dogs your walker will be walking at once?

Many cities have laws restricting the number of dogs that can be walked at one time.  Although the walker you are screening may abide by the legal guidelines, you or your dog may not be comfortable with larger groups.  Some dogs don’t thrive in a pack setting.  This becomes a challenge for all of the dogs and the dog walker.  If you prefer only solo walks, or a maximum of 2 or 3 pups at a time, that is your preference.  Be sure to make it clear in the interview so as not to waste your time or worse, wind up with your dog in an uncomfortable scenario.

How does the dog walker go about pick up and drop off?

I have seen many dog walkers with 5 or 6 dogs in their vehicle. They park in a driveway and leave the dogs unattended while picking up the next dog or dropping one off. There are a few minutes that they are away from the vehicle and in the client’s home. During this time the dogs are left unattended.  I have also seen situations where there were two walkers in the vehicle.  One walker remained in the vehicle while the second entered the client’s home.  The dogs were never left alone.  You need to know which approach is being taken and how comfortable you are with the practice being offered.

Will the dog be walked or taken to the dog park?

Many dog walkers pick up the clients and head off to the dog park.  The allow them to run and play off leash for the 30 minutes or hour and then round them up and bring them home.  There are many dog owners who are happy with this approach. Many are not comfortable with their dogs being off-leash surrounded by a number of unfamiliar dogs in a relatively uncontrolled environment.  Neither is right or wrong, these are just concepts you need to be aware of when selecting a dog walker.  If you prefer parks, walks in your neighborhood or just playtime in your own fenced in yard, you must be clear about your requirements. The walker you choose should be someone who can provide you with the services you desire.

How does the walker handle keys or entry code information?

When you are handing over access to your home, it is imperative that you know how the keys or access codes will be handled.  Security and privacy practices should be followed.

Dog walkers will have many keys and codes to juggle on a daily basis.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of walkers who label their keys or code lists using the client’s address, family name or even the dog’s name.  This can be very dangerous should they lose their keys or drop their list or phone containing the information.  This leaves your home and family vulnerable.  Make sure your walker uses some form of color coding or undecipherable method of labeling this sensitive information.

What type of communication does the walker provide after each walk?

Your dog is going to be spending time with the walker on a regular basis.  You may want to know what your dog is doing while he is away from home.  You may also want to know things like whether or not he peed or pooped.  Did he do well when crossing paths with other dogs?  Was he socializing well with the group?  These are ways an owner can be clear about your dog’s wellness as well as social happiness.  If your dog has not relieved himself by a certain time in the day, you may not stop to get groceries on the way home. Chances are your pup will need to go out sooner than later.

A photo or two to show where your pup was and how he enjoyed his outing is also a nice touch.  Many of my dog parents say that they enjoy receiving a couple of pictures after our walk. Pictures of their dog playing or rolling in the snow became the highlight of their day.

Does the dog walker know Pet CPR and First Aid?

There are a number of places that offer CPR/First Aid courses for pets.  A dog walker who is trained in emergency care would be an asset.  If you have a dog with medical issues, who is a senior or even a puppy who picks up and chews everything in its path, you may want to have someone who is capable of removing an object that is causing your dog to choke.  Someone who can recognize an emergency situation and react accordingly would be beneficial.  You might want someone who is able to administer medication should your dog become ill.

Does your dog walker have insurance?

A dog walking agency or company, will likely have proper insurance coverage.  If you are hiring an individual, they may not.  This is an important question to ask of anyone you are screening.

There are companies that provide insurance specific to dog walkers and pet care providers.  They address everything from pet injury or death (hopefully this will never be needed!) to liability for the pet owner’s home and even lost keys.

A walker who has insurance coverage for their business indicates someone who offers responsible business practices and stability.  Most fly-by-night walkers will not go so far as to invest in a 12-month insurance policy.

Summary

Hiring a dog walker or pet care provider is an important, long-term agreement that should not be taken lightly.  You must ensure that your dog and your home will be left in the best hands possible.  Take your time, have your list of questions ready and make an informed decision.

Your dog will love you for it!

Please follow and like us:

Choosing the Best Dog Bowls for Your Dog’s Health

What you serve your dog’s food in can be a health hazard in a number of ways if you aren’t aware of the dangers. Although it seems basic, choosing the best dog bowls for your dog’s health is something that should be thought through and investigated thoroughly. Everything from the size, height and materials used to produce the bowl should be considered.

Who would have thought that choosing a dog bowl would be such an important event?  It is.  What you serve your dog’s food in can be a health hazard in a number of ways if you aren’t aware of the dangers. Although it seems basic, choosing the best dog bowls for your dog’s health is something that should be thought through and investigated thoroughly. Everything from the size, height and materials used to produce the bowl should be considered.

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post if required. All safety and medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

What size of dog bowl is best?

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

Dogs come in different sizes, so their bowls should too.  Your dog should be able to comfortably reach to the bottom of the bowl.  When scooping up the last few bites the rim should not be pressing on her neck.  The small bones in a dog’s neck are extremely fragile and this pressure can cause damage. 

Is a raised bowl better than on the floor?

There are mixed reviews as the benefits of raised bowls.  Some smaller studies have indicated that raised bowls will prevent bloat.  This is a stomach issue that causes extreme pain and potentially even death.  There are some larger dog breeds that are more prone to bloat, but it can happen to all sizes and breeds.  Initially it was thought that the raised bowls would help ease the possibility of bloat, but it has since been found that it may actually increase the risk.  The only time raised bowls might be recommended would be when a dog has neck or spine issues that make it painful to bend the head downward.  If your dog has spinal issues, it is best to discuss your options with your vet.  A professional will be able to guide you to provide the most suitable accommodations to ease your dog’s discomfort.

What material should a dog bowl be made of?

Dog bowls can be made from a variety of materials. Each of those materials can have high and low- quality levels.  It is important to be sure that, regardless of the material you choose, you are sure that the bowl is of a quality that is safe to serve food on.  If it’s not safe for a human to eat from, it is not safe for your doggo.  You will often see labels that say, “for pet use only”, or “not for use by humans”.  This indicates that the materials used are dangerous.  They may contain high levels of lead or other chemicals that you would not want your dog to consume while eating or drinking. 

Here are the 3 most common types of dog bowls in order of safety:

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel dog bowls are the safest choice for your pup.  It must be made of high-quality stainless steel.  It must not say for pet use only, and it must be dishwasher safe.  High quality stainless steel, when washed properly, will not scratch easily.  A scratch-free surface, combined with diligent washing practices, prevents any bacteria from building up in the bowl.  This keeps your dog’s food free from contamination that can cause him to become ill.

Ceramic or Glass Bowls for Dog Food

Golden Retriever Puppy with Paw in Water Dish
Many dogs like to play in their water bowls.  They will use their paws to swish around in the water. Their claws scrape against the sides and bottom of the bowls causing scratches and chips where bacteria can grow.

Choosing a ceramic or glass bowl for your dog’s food and water is still a strong choice.  The caution with these types of bowls is, again, the quality of the materials used. Be sure it can be washed in the dishwasher so that it can disinfected thoroughly,  Many low-quality bowls can contain chemicals and lead.  This can cause serious repercussions for your pet.  If you choose ceramic, be sure that the glaze used to create that shiny finish does not contain lead.  Also, if the bowls become chipped or cracked, these crevices will provide a place for bacteria to build up and create a contaminated area.  By washing your dog’s bowls frequently and safely, you can prevent build-up. 

Another benefit of daily washing is that you have the opportunity to inspect the surface of the bowls. If there are any chips or cracks – even really small ones – you should throw it away.  It’s just not worth the risk to keep it and it will never be cleaned properly once the glazed seal has been damaged.

Plastic Bowls for Dog Food

Many people use plastic bowls for their dog’s food.  This is ok, but they should be washed carefully and replaced more frequently.  Once again, you should always choose a standard of plastic that is safe for human use and it should be dishwasher safe (top shelf).  The biggest concern with plastic is how easily it can be scratched, allowing bacteria to contaminate the food and water you set out for your pup.  There are some plastics that are more porous than others.  Be sure that you choose a bowl with a smooth surface and that you clean and monitor the bowls daily for damage. 

How do dog bowls get damaged?

You may think that your dog bowls are safe because you are only putting soft food and water in them, you are disinfecting regularly and you are washing with a gentle sponge.  These things will definitely help to prevent damage, but there are some sneaky little things that can cause scratches and nicks.

  • Some dog’s like to carry their bowl.  By holding the bowl with their teeth they can scratch any surface, or even leave tooth prints in some softer materials.
  • There are dogs who will use their front teeth to reach the last few kibbles or to grab the last bit of soft food that is sticking to the bottom or side of the bowl.  This can cause tiny scratches that are almost undetectable. 
  • Sometimes a dog’s tags will rub up against the sides of the bowl (inside and out) while he is eating. This causes small scratches and scuffs.
  • Many dogs like to play in their water bowls.  They will use their paws to swish around in the water. Their claws scrape against the sides and bottom of the bowls.
  • There are even dogs who just like to chew on the sides of the bowl.  Puppies are known to chew on anything to easy the discomfort of teething. A water bowl is cool and firm, providing relief.

Summary

Choosing the best dog bowls for your dog’s health is an important dog parenting decision. Stainless steel is the safest option for your pup’s food and water. Regardless of the type of bowl you choose, it is vital to inspect, clean and disinfect your dog’s bowls as a part of your daily and weekly routine. 

See:  Dirty Food Bowls Can Make Your Dog Sick to learn how to properly care for your dog’s bowls.

Please follow and like us: