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. 

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.

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Why 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 many pet owners.  There are many reasons why dog owners 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.

When Humans are Senior Citizens or Have a Physical Impairment

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

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 Dog

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.

Long work days

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.

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

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.

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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 even 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.

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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.

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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!

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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 of bloat.  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.

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How to Find a Good Dog Walker

Although you may get lucky and find the best dog walker in the world posted on a telephone pole, the process of choosing a good, safe and reliable pet care provider can be made easier by starting with these three options.

Where to look for a Good Dog Walker

There are ads all over social media, Kijiji, newspapers and even flyers in your mailbox.  But how do you know where to look for a good dog walker. How do you trust a total stranger with your furry family member?   Although you may get lucky and find the best dog walker in the world posted on a telephone pole, the process of choosing a good, safe and reliable pet care provider can be made easier by starting with these three options.

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.

Word of Mouth

Start with friends and family. If you have people who are close to you who are dog owners, perhaps they have been in your situation in the past.  They may know someone who is perfect for you.  Having someone who has had first hand experience with a dog walker is comforting.  If your dog parenting practices are similar to the friend’s, you will have a lot more confidence in someone they are recommending than someone you find in a random ad. 

Knowing how to find a good dog walker will help to ensure safe and happy visits for your pup.

Unfortunately, the walker may not have the availability that you require or may not be in your area.  In this instance it would be a good idea for you to has him/her for a recommendation of someone that they know who also does pet care.  Most dog walkers know someone else and most would not recommend anyone who was not reputable. Any walker who has a good reputation would likely only recommend someone who would enhance that reputation, so would not just pass on any name unless they were familiar with the referee’s practices.   It would still be wise to ask if they have ever worked together or how they know each other.  This will give you an idea of how much the two know about each other’s methods. It would be advisable to look at the walker’s website and check the references posted there as well.

Veterinarian’s Office

Many vets will have a bulletin board in the waiting room of their office.  Have a look and see if there are any advertisements.  Many dog walkers will leave advertisements or business cards posted on the bulletin board.  Often, the staff in the vet’s office are familiar with the dog walker.  If you do find a posting, ask the vet staff if they know or would recommend the dog walker.  Although they are not affiliated with or responsible for the actions of the dog walker, they may be able to provide some insight.

Pet Care Agencies

There are many pet care agencies that will provide you with a listing of dog walkers in your area.  When selecting a pet care registry, investigate the company’s reputation.  Do some leg work to be sure they have a solid history and that they offer the services you need. An example of an established network would be Rover.com.  Rover offers pet care options in the United States, Canada and Europe. They require a criminal background check from all of their pet care providers, and provide insured pet care for all bookings through the agency.  I have worked with Rover for almost 2 years and I have met many clients who swear by Rover’s services because of their history, reputation and practices.

If you decide to go through an agency, look for a company in your area that offers biographies and client ratings for their providers.  Many of my pet parents say that the reason they chose me was not only because of my five-star reviews, but because of the number of repeat bookings I have had.  They told me that they felt that having the same clients request my services repeatedly was an indication that I was good with their pets as well as reliable. The more statistics and details you know about a potential walker, the better chance you will find the best care for your pet.

Added Suggestions

After looking, researching and narrowing down the best candidates, you are ready to call and book an interview.  Although you think you have chosen the most perfect candidate, it is wise to call and book an interview with the top 3 or 4 candidates.  A potential walker may look great on paper but you may not be happy with the person that arrives at your door.  This may be due to many reasons including changes in availability since booking your interview, personality conflicts or maybe even a poor reaction by your pup.

Checklist for Finding a Good Dog Walker 

  • Investigate word of mouth referrals, bulletin board posts in trustworthy places (vet’s office) or reputable agencies.
  • Narrow down your search to 3 to 4 potential walkers.
  • Take your time and interview all of the finalists. 
  • Have questions ready.
  • Make notes.
  • Ask for references and actually call the references to get a feel for their perspective about pet care.
  • Review your notes after meeting with all of the walkers. 
  • Compare all references, written and verbal.
  • Make your decision.

Summary

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.

If you follow all of these steps your chances of finding someone you are happy with (and more importantly who your doggo is happy with) is pretty strong.  Having said that, be sure to monitor any changes in your pups behavior to be sure all is well.  I also recommend checking in with neighbors to see if they have seen the interaction between your dog and the new walker.  As a pet care provider I also love seeing some form of security system or a FURBO Camera to keep an eye on what goes on inside your home when the walker/sitter is caring for your fur baby.  You can never be too safe!

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Dirty Food Bowls Can Make Your Dog Sick

Dirty dog bowls, damaged dog bowls and dog bowls made of certain materials can cause a variety of illnesses for your dog.

Do you have a regular dog bowl cleaning routine?  Many people don’t.  It is not uncommon for pet parents to just refill the bowls daily and occasionally, when it becomes visible, rinse them out to get the residue off.  Let’s face it, dogs eat just about anything (and I mean anything) so a dog bowl can’t  harm them, right?  Wrong!  Dirty food bowls can make your dog very sick.  Actually, dirty dog bowls, damaged dog bowls and dog bowls made of certain materials can cause a variety of illnesses for your doggo. Here is what I have learned about the best dog bowls, the best cleaning methods for you dog bowls and how to wash your dog bowls safely.

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.

Selecting the Right Dog Bowl

It’s very important that you choose a safe bowl for your dog.  The best option would be stainless steel that is dishwasher safe. It is also best to have at least two sets of bowls so that when one is being cleaned, the other is available to use. 

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 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.

How Can Dirty Food Bowls Make Your Dog Sick?

Saliva remains in the bowl after a dog eats.  This, along with the leftover bits of food can act like a Petri dish where germs can grow freely.
Dirty food bowls can make your dog sick when food a remain in the bowl. Saliva remains in the bowl after a dog eats. This, along with the leftover bits of food can act like a petri dish where germs can grow freely.

Your dog actually uses his or her tongue to scoop up the food or water from the bowl.  Saliva remains in the bowl along with the leftover bits of food. This can act like a little petri dish where germs can grow freely.  Gross right? Is it safe to use detergents? How do I clean my pet’s bowls safely?

Many dog parents are afraid to use soaps or detergents in their dog bowls. They are afraid that they will leave a residue that could be consumed by their pet.  Fortunately, this is no more likely to happen to your pet than it would for yourself or your family members after doing the dinner dishes.

Some feel that rinsing the dishes under hot water is the best method.  Unfortunately, a simple rinse under hot water leaves dirt and food particles on your dog’s dishes where bacteria can grow.  This bacterium will be ingested by your dog and can cause some significant health issues.  Because of this, it is crucial that all dog dishes be washed regularly and sanitized a minimum of once weekly.  This is especially imperative if your dog is on a raw food diet. Any raw meat should be removed from the bowl and disinfected after each use. Meat that reaches room temperature is a breeding ground for a number of serious bacteria, including Streptococcus, Listeria and even Salmonella.

How to Safely Wash Your Dog’s Bowls

A study was done in 2011 by NSF International listing the “germiest places in a home”.  Number one on the list was the kitchen sponge.  Number 4 was pet bowls.  This means that the tool most people use to clean the 4th dirtiest item in the home is the 1st most dirty item.  Seems kind of counter intuitive now, doesn’t it? So, what do we do about it? 

Option 1:  Daily

Use your dishwasher when possible.  Any food dish that your dog eats from, should be dishwasher safe.  The dishwasher will sanitize the bowls and provide a safe place to feed your doggo.  I personally prefer to rinse the bowls even after they go through the rinse cycle on the dishwasher in case any dishwashing liquid residue is left behind. 

Option 2: Daily

If you don’t have a dishwasher, or prefer not to use it for your pet bowls, you can use a basin of clean, hot, soapy water.  Wash the bowls with a clean, non abrasive, sponge.  If you are not sure how clean the sponge is, wet it and place it in the microwave for 2 minutes.  This will help to disinfect the sponge, which will in turn keep the sponge from contaminating your dog bowls. 

Wash the bowls thoroughly, making sure to pay close attention to any crevices. Rinse the bowls in hot water to remove the suds, just as you would your household dishes.  Air dry.

Option 1:  Weekly

Even though you are washing your bowls daily, it is recommended that they are given a good disinfecting once a week.  Some suggest that you briefly (one minute maximum) soak the bowls in a bleach and water mixture (always check labels for the safest water to bleach ratio) and rinse in cold water.  It is not recommended that you do this with plastic bowls as bleach can get into the plastic and will not rinse thoroughly.  I personally do not use bleach on my pet’s bowls. I am not comfortable using chemicals of that strength near my dog’s food. Although I know it’s been rinsed well, I prefer a more natural alternative.

Option 2:  Weekly

If you prefer not to use bleach, the alternative recommendation would be to use a vinegar and water mixture, followed by a thorough rinse in warm water. The recommended ratio is 2 parts water to 1 part vinegar.

How can Water Affect My Dog Bowls?

Depending on where you live, your plumbing and water filtration system, the effect you water has on the dog bowls is something to be considered.  Calcium build up creates a crusty rim on the bowl that doesn’t come off very easily.  Using an abrasive sponge is not a good idea as it can scratch the bowl and leave it vulnerable to bacteria, so it is best to use the previously mentioned vinegar/water mixture.  Soaking in this solution will help break down the residue, leaving the bowl smooth and shiny.

Wrapping it all up!

  • Dirty food bowls make your dog sick because of food residue and saliva.
  • Using a stainless steel, dishwasher safe food bowl is the best option.
  • Sterilizing in the dishwasher is the best cleaning method.
  • If washing by hand, make sure the sponge/cloth is new or sterilized before use.
  • Rinse with a vinegar/water solution and rinse with warm water weekly to thoroughly disinfect the bowls.
  • Have multiple bowls so that you can swap them out when the others are being cleaned.
  • Use the vinegar/water solution to remove calcium build up and hard water stains from your dog’s bowl.
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Why Do Some Dog Breeds Have Their Tails Cut Off?

One method of tail docking is performed when a puppy is between 2 and 5 days old. The breeder uses surgical scissors to cut off the puppy’s tail without anesthetic.

I was playing with one of my favorite neighborhood dogs the other day.  He is a beautiful Boxer with the sweetest disposition and is the patriarch of the neighborhood dogs.  He has not been neutered, but he has no tail.  I asked his owner why he would have one of the procedures done and not the other, and why he chose tail docking.  His response was that the breeder had done it before he adopted his dog.  He wasn’t even offered the option.  I have heard this before, from a client who owns a Golden Doodle.  She said she wasn’t even aware that there was a choice until after she had picked up her puppy.  This made me wonder why some dog breeds have their tails cut off?  What is the reasoning behind the procedure and how it benefits the dog?

I decided to do some research and came up with some surprising information.  I had always assumed that was supposed to have some kind of medical benefit, but why?  Here is what I discovered:

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 is Tail Docking and how is it done?

Tail Docking, also known as Tail Bobbing or Tail Cutting, is the process of removing most of a dog’s tail at the base.  There are 3 methods of removal. 

The first is performed by the breeder.  A strong rubber tie is wrapped around the tail.  This cuts off the circulation from the body to the tail.  The part of the tail beyond the tie is expected to fall off after a few days.  This has to be performed when the puppy is between 2 and 5 days old.

Some dog breeds have their tails cut off (Tail Docking) because they are working dogs, but most have it done for aesthetic reasons. Many owners don't even know  how the tail is removed or that Tail Docking is an option.
Some dog breeds have their tails cut off (Tail Docking) because they are working dogs, but most have it done for aesthetic reasons. Many owners don’t even know how the tail is removed or that Tail Docking is an option.

The second method, also performed by a breeder when the puppy is between 2 and 5 days old, is performed by cutting off the puppy’s tail using surgical scissors. Neither of these two processes involve the use of anesthetic and the puppies are awake.  Because of the circulation to the tail at this age, stitches are not usually necessary. 

The third method involves a veterinarian.  This is done when the dog is over 8 weeks old. The vet will place the puppy under anesthetic and use a scalpel to remove the tail.  The skin at the base of the tail is pulled over the open wound and held together with stitches.

According to the RSPCA and many other studies, any of these processes cause considerable pain at the time of removal and can result in long term pain as well as associated medical, emotional and social issues.

In 1996 The University of Queensland did a study of 50 puppies.  This was included in their findings:

“The behaviour of 50 puppies of traditionally docked breeds was recorded during and after the procedure of tail docking at the University of Queensland Companion Animal Veterinary Hospital. The behaviours were recorded at the time of the procedure and then in 5 second intervals for the first minute followed by 10 second intervals until the pup settled to sleep. All puppies vocalised intensely (‘shrieking’) at the time of amputation of the tail, averaging 24 shrieks (range of 5 to 33).”

Read more here:  https://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:712177

History of Tail Docking

Tail docking began many centuries ago.  Dogs were not pets in the sense that they are today.  Although still considered companions, most were working dogs. They were used for herding on farms or as hunting dogs.  On a farms, dogs would round up cattle or sheep. Because of their close proximity to the larger animals as well as their exposure to machinery, it was felt that their tails were subject to injury. It was thought that removing the tail was a preventative measure to ensure the dog’s safety.

A hunting dog had the potential to engage in fights with other animals.  It was felt that the tail provided a disadvantage as the opponent had something to grab on to, leaving the dog vulnerable. In both cases there was also the concern that if these dogs got too dirty, there could be issues with infection. In later years, when employed as police or guard dogs, this same principle of the dog being vulnerable applied, and the tails were removed for these working 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.

Current Reasons for Tail Docking:

For working dogs in the military, on the police force or on farms, the reason for tail docking continues to be for the safety of the dog.  Many dogs who do not work also have their tails docked.  This is often for aesthetic reasons.  The owners feel the dog looks better without a tail or that this provides a look that is familiar to the breed.  Tail docking, for some breeds, has been a requirement for some show dogs to be allowed to compete. 

There is also the belief that it is required.  Many people who are purchasing dogs from breeders are not even aware that tail docking is an option.  The breeders perform the docking and sell the pups already altered.  The owners, in a number of cases, are not even aware of the reasoning behind the removal of the tail, the process by which it is removed nor the potential hazards associated with it.

Which Breeds Most Commonly Dock Tails?

Only certain breeds customarily have their tails removed.  These include:  Dobermans, Rottweilers, Boxers, Cocker Spaniels, Schnauzers and Poodles.  The American Kennel Club has identified over 60 breeds that are known to have docked tails.

NOTEWORTHY:

In most areas of Canada and the US, tail docking has not been banned.  In many countries the procedure is banned or, at the very least, must be performed by a veterinarian and a medical or other suitable reason is required before the surgery is performed.

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What to Do When Dogs Fear Face Masks

When dogs fear face masks it can be traumatizing just to go for their daily walks.

As the world changes and people begin to come out of isolation, we will be changing many of our daily habits and routines.  One of the most common new things is that many will be wearing face masks to protect themselves and others.  While we are learning to adapt and communicate with our faces covered, our dogs may be very confused by the inability to see facial expressions.  Dogs may be stressed when they see people sporting their new fashion masks.  So, what do we do?  When dogs fear face masks it can be very traumatic when passing someone on the street or when her owner walks in the door looking like Darth Vader.  I found a few hints and tips to help your doggo adapt and to feel comfortable with this new reality.

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.

Tip #1:  Make masks a common household item.

If you have a few masks (or even just one), you can leave them around the house in plain sight.  Placing them in areas that are familiar to your dog including her sleeping area, hanging from a chair in the kitchen or dining room, on the hook where you hang your keys or even wrapped around her treat bag.  By placing the masks where your dog can see them, they become routine, day to day items.  This will offer some familiarity and reduce the element of surprise.

Tip #2:  Let him sniff the mask.

If you hold the mask and let him sniff it, he can see that it is just another object and not something to be guarded against or feared.  Becoming acquainted with the unknown can ease stress.

Tip #3:  Put your mask on in front of your dog.

If you put your mask on in one room and then walk into the room where your dog is, he may be shocked or outright scared.  Remove the element of surprise by putting the mask on while your dog watches.  She will see the transition from the real you to the masked you and the transition will be smoother.  By seeing that it’s you “getting dressed” the level of fear will be reduced.

Tip #4:  Wear your mask around the house.

Now that your dog has watched you put the mask on, try wearing it around the house.  Wear it while you play a game of fetch. Enjoy a brief training session or a belly rub with your mask on. By doing this she will make the correlation that masks are for good times.  Just wearing it around the house while going about your day, will make the mask common place.

Tip #5:  Use treats to associate a potentially scary thing with a positive thing.

If you give your dog a treat when you hold the mask, when you put it on or when you are wearing it, he will associate the mask with good things.  When you are walking your dog and he sees other humans with their masks on, have some treats ready before you cross paths. As you and your pup approach people you can give your dog a small treat before the shock or fear of seeing the masked people occurs.

Note:  Dogs will not be able to read facial expressions through the mask.  They will only see eyes.  Using soft praise, gentle tones and attempt to make your eyes speak rather than your smile. It will help you to communicate with your pup in a new way.

When dogs fear face masks you can help by having a small treat ready on your walks. You can give him one before approaching masked people.

Not all dogs will be afraid.  Some won’t even be fazed by the change.  Those that are nervous, new to your household and adapting, coming from bad situations or who are just generally skittish will need some extra time to get used to the changes going on around them. When dogs fear face masks it can be traumatizing just to go for their daily walks. By using the ideas listed above, you can help to make this transition a pleasant one.

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.

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10 Weekend Things to do with your Dog

Dogs just love being near you, but offering them one on one time will always encourage positive behavior while strengthening the bond between you.

When you have some free time in the evening or on the weekend, you might want to spend part of it doing some things with your dog. There are many ways to spend time with your furry friend that will benefit you both mentally and physically. Dogs just love being near you, but offering them one on one time will always encourage positive behavior while strengthening the bond between you.

Here are some ways to fill a long day with your doggo that he will appreciate.

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.

Go for long walks: 
Spending time outdoors is good for you and your dog. It provides the mental and physical exercise we all need!

Spending time outdoors is healthy for you and your dog.  Finding quiet trails, parks or a nice long beach to roam will provide the physical and mental exercise that your dog needs.  You can make it an outing for the whole family to enjoy.  Be sure to bring along water, treats and any safety gear necessary for the season and location.  A GPS tracker is always recommended.

Go for a drive:

If your dog likes the car, he will enjoy a short road trip or day trip. Pack a lunch for each of you, tuck him into his car seat and/or seat belt, and head off to somewhere away from your normal routine.  A walk somewhere out of the norm would only add to the fun.  He will enjoy exploring new territory.                                                                                      

Training the basics:

If you have a puppy you can spend time learning the basic skills – Sit, Stay, heel and come.  If you have an older dog you can practice them. A refresher course is often helpful. Even if it isn’t truly necessary, he will just love spending time with you and getting treats or praise for being a good boy!

Teach fun tricks:

If your doggo is ready to move on from the basics, teaching him cool tricks will be fun for both of you.  Teaching your dog to play fetch is always a fun game that your will enjoy forever.  Other options are hide and seek, roll over or even to clean up his own toys.  That last one will benefit you for years to come!

Spa Day:

A bubble bath can be as enjoyable for many doggos as it would be for you. Fill the tub with some dog safe shampoo and let the bubbles fly. Be sure to rinse well and dry him off to avoid skin irritation.

For those that don’t enjoy a bath, you can spend time brushing him and removing all excess fur. This can help to clean your dog, as well as remove knots that may be causing discomfort or excess fur that could be making it too warm for the season. Using a good brush or comb will aid in the removal of the undercoat and reduce the amount of shedding in your house as well.

Doggy massage:

Turn on some spa music and ask your pup to lie down.  Start at his head and work your way down to his tail, gently massaging his neck, back, underarms, belly and legs.  If your dog has a sensitive area that he doesn’t like to have touched, skip it and move on.  The one on one interaction provides some special bonding time for you both.

Mani/pedi:

Many dogs do not like this one, but it still has to be done.  You can make it more pleasant for both of you by being patient.  When your dog is calm, take a moment to clip his nails so that he is comfortable walking.  If his nails are too long, it becomes painful for your doggo as his toes do not sit in the correct position on the floor when he stands.  You can use clippers if you are comfortable with them or you can try a nail grinder.  I have never used one of these, but I have heard that they can be less stressful for both you and your pup.  There is no fear of over clipping, causing your dog’s nails to bleed.  The more pleasant you can make this process, the more comfortable your doggo will be having his manicure in the future.

Laser Pointer: 

Until I got my current pup, I thought that a laser pointer was a cat toy.  Zorro has proven that dogs have just as much fun chasing that little red dot!  He can do this for quite a long time and he gets very tired by the time we stop.  This is a form of mental stimulation as well because he has to follow the dot. 

Flashlight: 

My German Shepherd, Princess (AKA “Doggo”), loved to chase the beam from a flashlight.  Similar to the laser, she would hunt it down and run after it.  It would keep her busy inside or out (at night) and would give her a good mental and physical workout. I always gave her a special treat at the end of the last chase to ensure that all of her work was worth it!

Snuggle Time:

At the end of a long day, or on a quiet, lazy afternoon, your friend will benefit from a nice cuddle session.  Watch TV, have a nap or read a book with your pup snuggled up close to you.  We are so busy running around most of the time, that we rarely have the time to just sit and be together.  It’s a perfect bonding experience that your dog will love.

Whatever way you choose to spend time with your pup, it will allow you both to de-stress and just enjoy each other’s company.  Whether you take a few minutes or half a day, your doggo will be grateful that you did.

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