31 Aug

6 Tips on Introducing Your New Dog to the Family Dog

Two Important Questions

Although deciding to add a new family member to your home is a nice idea, it is one that has to be carefully handled in order to ensure that everyone remains happy. There are two very important questions which must be considered and answered before you take the step.

Can I cope with another dog?

Dogs demand care and attention to keep them going and of good behavior – feeding, regular walks, training, vet visits, etc. Being a pet owner places on you the burden of responsibility; Are you ready to carry more? Do you have the resources in terms of time and money to lavish on another dog? Your answer to these questions would determine if you should go ahead or not.

What’s My Dog’s Personality?

Granted that dogs are sociable animals, each one has a unique personality and because of this, issues of dominance and confrontations over shared resources can arise. Study your resident dog to know his or her temperament – is your pet the calm, quiet and shy type that may cower in the presence of a more aggressive, louder and bolder dog?

infographic with tips on how to introduce your new dog to your family dog


How to Introduce a New Dog to the Family Dog

  1. Establish Control Through Training: When planning to bring home a new dog, the first and most important step is to ensure that you have a good deal of control over the one that is already living with you. Do the following:
  • Take your dog through a reward-based training to respond quickly to verbal cues and commands so that he or she responds to your instructions to sit, focus etc.
  • Train your pet to behave well while in the company of people and other dogs.
  • Ensure that he or she gets daily sessions of exercises, play and rest.
  • Your dog should have his or her own bed space, toys and play area.
  • Leash training is required to keep your dog in check in case the need arose. It is necessary to ensure that you can be in full control to be able to avert any display of aggression.
  1. Initial Introductions: The first few meetings of both dogs should take place in a neutral location in the yard or away from home. During this period of introductions, use a leash sparingly and only when it becomes necessary. Let the two interact freely and watch their faces and body languages for signs or expressions associated with fear, distress, anxiety or aggression. If both of them decide to ignore the other and play alone, it’s okay. Good behavior from either dog should be rewarded with food treats. These meetings should be brief and followed by a short period of rest when you cater to each dog’s needs.
  2. Don’t Punish Aggressiveness: It is important that you allow both dogs express themselves freely. If you punish your dogs for lip lifting, growling, snarling or snapping, this might suppress these natural instincts. Scolding will also impact negatively on their mutual communication.If you notice a fight brewing, call the resident dog to sit and stay with you or redirect the attention of both dogs to other activities.
  3. Give Each Dog His Space: Both dogs should be fed in separate areas to avoid anxiety or conflicts during feeding. Sleeping areas should also be separate to prevent fights springing up in the night,
  4. Seek Opportunities For Further Bonding: Take advantage of periods of calmness (such as when watching TV) to further introduce the two to each other, During these times, put a leash or some other form of restrain on each dog and always reward friendly behavior.
  5. Keep Watch: Keep a close watch over both dogs. The new dog should naturally be willing shy away from confrontation and defer to the resident dog. Always encourage them to play with each other as long as there are no signs of aggression.
24 Aug

Allergic to Man’s Best Friend: 10 Tips for Dog-Allergic Dog Lovers

some people have allergies to dogs

Having an allergy shouldn’t come between you and your desire for a canine companion. There are quite a few dog breeds out there to choose from and with a little bit of attention to grooming you can enjoy a great relationship with your dog.

Choosing Dogs: Tips For Allergy Sufferers

  • Before you finally decide to take your dog home, it is advisable that you spend about half an hour with him or her in an enclosed place to be sure that you’d be okay.
  • Choosing from any of these breeds does not guarantee that you wouldn’t still be exposed to allergens. So, you’ll need to pay attention to the following tips in minimizing your exposure to dander and other allergens.
  • Although breeds that don’t shed or shed lightly are preferred, you might want to consider your schedule as the grooming needs for each breed differ. The long coat of the Coton de Tulear, for example, requires daily grooming while The Irish Water Spaniel (Rat Tail Spaniel) doesn’t require as much grooming.
  • Also important is the energy level of the breed. While some like the American Hairless Terrier would do just fine with moderate exercises like walking and indoor play but require regular grooming, others like the Peruvian Inca Orchid have a great deal of energy and require regular activities, although needing minimal grooming.
  • A breed like the Lagotto Romagnolo on the other hand, requires plenty of activity while also needing regular trimming and brushing to prevent its coat from matting.
  • Dog dander is not restricted to the body because the urine and stool can also carry traces. Get rid of accidents promptly ensuring you use hand gloves and sanitize the affected area using an enzyme cleaner or bleach.
  • Regularly bathing and grooming your dog’s fur is another way to reduce your exposure to allergens. However, you shouldn’t go overboard with bathing your dog as excessive washing can result in dry skin which may make your dog resort to scratching and leaving dead skin particles in the air.
  • Ensure that your dog is not exposed to dust mite or other allergens by ensuring that her sleeping area is kept clean always.
  • If you have allergy symptoms, it is advisable to not allow your dog access to your bedroom or bed to prevent any triggers.
  • Vacuum your carpet regularly to remove trapped dander, fur and other allergens. Better still, you may consider tiling your floor or opting for hardwood or vinyl flooring.

Top Dog Breeds For Allergic People

women walking dogs

Xloloitzcuintli (Xolo): This rare dog breed is very easy to care for because it is usually hairless or comes with a short coat which does not require a lot of grooming. This makes it an ideal hypoallergenic dog.

Portuguese Water Dog: The Portuguese Water Dog has a webbed feet and a waterproof coat which requires regular grooming but makes it able to cope pretty well outdoors. This breed is suited to people with low tolerance to allergens.

The Bichon Frise: This breed has a curly coat that produces little dander and is another good choice for people prone to allergies.

Other dog breeds that allergic people should consider include:

Afghan Hound, American Hairless Terrier, Basenji, Bedlington Terrier, Bichon Frise, Havanese, Irish Water Spaniel, Komondor, Labradoodle, Schnauzer, Spanish Water Dog, Irish Water Spaniel, Maltese, Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Poodles

17 Aug

When Dogs Get Diarrhea: How to Deal with the Doo

resting puppy sticking tongue out


As a dog owner, Diarrhea is one of those symptoms that you are likely to deal with eventually but it also one that can be easily remedied without necessarily requiring a visit to the vet.

Diarrhea results when something goes awry with the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and is easy to identify. It could simply be your dog’s body reacting to an ingestion of bad food or  food-borne pathogens. In this case, the diarrhea helps to quickly get rid of these unwanted materials before they become absorbed and pose more danger. Mild diarrhea will wear off after a while and with a little home care and adjustment of your dog’s diet.

When It Isn’t Just Diarrhea

Ordinarily, a bout of diarrhea shouldn’t give you any reason to worry except if…

  • The disorder persists for more than 48 hours.
  • It is accompanied by vomiting. In this case, your dog loses a lot of water rapidly and could become dehydrated.
  • You observe that the stool is black and has traces of blood in it.
  • Your dog groans or pants rapidly, looks bloated or tries to avoid being touched in the abdominal area. All these are indicative of abdominal pain.
  • Your dog loses appetite.
  • Your dog becomes lethargic or slow.

In any of these situations, you should see your vet promptly.

puppy at rest

How To Treat Your Dog’s Diarrhea

Fast your dog from food: Diarrhea causes your dog’s bowel to become too sensitive and contract faster so that food is pushed through quicker than it should. Making her stay off food for about 12 to 24 hours gives the bowel time to rest and recover from the effect of the pathogens.

During this fast, you can give her white rice-water. This is the creamy liquid you get by boiling 1 cup white rice in 4 cups water for about 20-30 minutes (or half this measure to prevent wastage). After sieving off the rice and allowing the liquid cool, you can serve it to your dog as often as he or she accepts it. You can add a little extra flavoring such as a teaspoon of chicken baby food to make the liquid tastier.

Also, ensure that your dog drinks a lot of water during the fast to prevent dehydration.

Use Probiotics: Your dog’s bowel contains microorganisms which aid digestion and these could become depleted as a result of the diarrhea. Probiotics are live bacterial cultures similar to these and administering them on your dog would help to quickly replenish any shortage of these bacteria and speed up recovery. Probiotics can be added to the rice-water solution once daily during the fast and continued for 5 days. Please note that probiotic supplements for dogs are available over the counter and are different from that of humans or cats.

Ease your dog off the fast gradually: Don’t resume your dog’s regular diet immediately after the fast. Start him or her out first with some bland, non-fatty easy-to-digest food such as chicken without the skin or a combination of chicken with boiled white rice, pasta, or mashed potatoes.

You can also mix equal portions of cooked ground turkey and pumpkin or sweet potato and feed this to your dog 2 or 3 times a day until the stool becomes normal again.

Don’t serve your dog food containing milk and dairy products.

At this point, your dog’s stool should be scanty and pale which is an indication that she is getting better.

If your dog doesn’t like the bland food you can try out prescription diets such as Purina EN and Hills ID which could help in speeding up recovery.

Feed smaller rations: Divide up your dog’s meal into smaller rations and feed him or her several times during the day.

Return your dog back to his or her normal diet when the diarrhea has ceased.

10 Aug

Why Your Puppy Doesn’t Want to Walk

dog on leash about to go on a walk

In handling or training your puppy it is better to view him or her as you would a human toddler and try using some of the methods that would work for a child in dealing with whatever issues may arise. The basic difference is that dogs do not communicate on the same level as we do, you therefore would also need to have an idea about basic canine communication and how these adorable creatures relate with one another.

3 Important Considerations

If your puppy doesn’t want to walk, you needn’t become overly concerned or worried. Stay calm and consider that all you may require is a little adjustment in your approach and perspective. Let’s consider 3 important things necessary for achieving results in puppy training.

  1. Your puppy is intelligent but not as much as you are: as dog owners, we sometimes tend to forget that although our canine family members are quite intelligent, they are not as intelligent as we are and therefore still look to us for leadership and direction- just like toddlers.
  2. You are a puppy parent but not a dog: Ordinarily, without human influence, a puppy would get all the training it needs from and older dog and through interaction with other members of the pack in the ‘family’ way.
  3. Patience is key: Results may not come overnight; you must be ready to stay positive, assertive and reinforce positive behavior.

Once these 3 considerations are in place, it then becomes pretty easy to not only encourage your puppy to walk, but to also give all the needed training that is required.

dogs with leashes waiting to go on a walk

Why Your Puppy May Not Want To Walk

Health problems: First, check with your vet to be sure that your puppy is physically okay. Ruling out a health problem can put your mind at ease so that you can focus on dealing with the issue.

Fear: Your puppy may loathe leaving your apartment for a walk because he or she is afraid and this is understandable. Your pet is just starting to make sense of the world and busy sidewalks or a strange environment may cause fear and an unwillingness to venture out.

To deal with this, you may enlist the help of an older dog in motivating your puppy to believe that walking can be fun. You may also try walking as a group with other dog owners to encourage your puppy. In time, your puppy will most likely become comfortable with the idea.

The leash: Your puppy might resist wearing a leash. You may hold off using the leash if your puppy is less than 14 weeks old. When introducing a leash to your puppy train him or her to associate it with playtime. On walks, use the leash only as a guide and not just to restrain movement.

Get Help: You can take the stress off you by enlisting the assistance of a professional dog walker like Saint Louis Dog Walkers

Reward Every Effort

Each time your puppy ventures out for a walk, let him or her know you are happy by offering treats and a pat on the head.

03 Aug

10 Dog Walk Safety Tips

Pug on leash for a walk

When it comes to safety during your dog walks, the same safety measures apply irrespective of whether you live in a quiet neighborhood or a busy city street. Being safety conscious by taking necessary precautions isn’t something that you can afford to take for granted because it puts you in a better position in the event that the unexpected happens.

  1. Plan beforehand: Know exactly where you are going and what you would do on the way. If, for example, you would need to make a stop-over or go shopping somewhere, be sure to find out if pets are allowed at the location or not. This would also determine whether you’d want to have your dog on a short or a long leash.

If it’s not your usual route, you may need to make extra preparations such as getting a doggie boot for rough or snowy terrain or insect repellants for bushy trails.

Note: Let your vet recommend an appropriate insect repellant for your dog as the one you use may harm her.

dog on a leash for a walk

  1. Make your dog comfortable: It’s unlikely you’d wear tight footwear or uncomfortable clothes, so shouldn’t your dog. Ensure her collar fits properly and that the leash is in good condition.
  2. Go with enough water: Ensure that you have enough water to keep you and your dog properly hydrated while you’re out.
  3. No grazing: To prevent poisoning, don’t allow your dog eat or nibble at plants along the way
  4. Have your id: It’s advisable that you are with valid identification tags for both you and your dog before setting off.
  5. Pay Close attention: Keep a close eye on your dog during walks. Don’t let her loose and always let her approach others on a leash.
  6. Go with Piddle pads: Part of your responsibility as a dog walker is that you should be ready to scoop up after your pet. The quantity would depend on the duration of your walk.
  7. Evening Walks: For evening walks wear reflective vests for both you and your dog. Use reflective collars and leashes that reflect from both sides. Better still, LED gear is recommended as they provide protection even under the darkest conditions.

You shouldn’t forget to carry a flashlight for illumination. This not only makes it easy for you to find your way, it prevents you or your dog from stepping on unwanted objects in the dark.

  1. Train your dog to obey cues: You don’t want your dog jumping on people or lagging behind when you want her to move. You will therefore need to teach her to obey simple cues like “sit” or “let’s go”.
  2. During winter: Keep your dog away from metal to avoid the possibility of electrocution or having her tongue stuck.

Avoid snowdrifts as well as icy pathways to prevent slips or falls and don’t allow your dog eat snow so she doesn’t swallow sharp or other harmful objects in the process.