Sunday, December 30, 2012

Puppies Lose Their Teeth Too!

Like humans, puppies go through the teething process when they are growing within the first year of their lives. When they are first born, puppies don't have teeth until when they are about six to eight weeks old, and then their average 28 baby teeth count will slowly come in for the next few months.

When the little pups reach about three to four months old, they will start to lose their baby teeth and have their adult molars and canines come in. For some, it can take up to almost a year for the average 42 adult teeth to grow. During this time, again like humans, the teething process can be irritating and even painful for your little mutts.

So here are a few things you can do at home to help make your puppies "growing up" smoother:
  • Lots of chew toys: You may notice that your loving and cute little puppies are starting to misbehave by chewing and biting everything that they can get their little paws on. To help save some of your furniture and/or shoes, be sure to have a lot of different chew toys or bones that they can munch on as an alternative. 
  • Soft foods: If the teething process is uncomfortable for your baby mutts, you may notice that they don't have as good of an appetite as they used to. In this case you can try substituting a part of their meal with softer foods such as canned dog food to ease some of the pain and discomfort. 
  • Numb the pain: If it's obvious that the teething process for your pups are painful, you can always try numbing their mouths by putting ice in their water and/or applying a wet frozen wash cloth to their gums on a regular basis. For further actions or tips, consult your trusted vet. 
Keep your mutts happy, healthy, and hearty!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Safe Christmas Toys for Your Dogs!

So while you're out shopping for your family, in-laws, relatives, neighbors, and their pets for Christmas, it's important to distinguish which toys are safe and which ones are not-so-good for your mutts.

Here are a few tips as to how to choose safe toys for your dogs as Christmas presents and stocking stuffers:
  • Toy quality: It's important to take a good look at the quality of the toys before you make a purchase. Toys that are too soft or have too many accessories and weak parts like eyes, frying ends, and strings may be easily shredded and digested. 
  • Toy size: So in the case of dog toy safety, size does matter. A toy too small for a big dog may cause choking hazards, and a toy too big for your dog's mouth may irritate or harm their teeth and gums.
  • Dog treats: Be sure to read the labels on all dog treats, especially the new ones that you want to try out. Some treats may contain a lot of preservatives and ingredients that are not healthy for your mutts. You may also consult your trusted vet on whether or not the treats you're feeding your dogs are good for their health.
Keep your mutts happy,healthy, and hearty!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

How To Dog-Proof Your Christmas!

For celebrating one of the biggest holidays of the year, it is important to have safety in mind when getting into the Christmas spirit with all your beautiful decorations around the house.

Here are a few tips on how to doggie proof your Christmas to avoid disasters:
  • Christmas tree: Whether you have a real or artificial tree in the house, be sure to cover the bottom or water stand with a skirt to keep your mutts away from either chewing the bark or drinking the water. For the real trees, the pine sap mixed with water can be poisonous to dogs if consumed. Also in terms of tree ornaments, be sure to put the delicate/glass and/or eatable ones towards the top of the tree where your mutts can't easily break them, eat them, or get cut by glass.
  • House decor: Other decorations around the house like candles and plants can also be dangerous for your dogs. It is important to keep these decor out of reach from you mutts since things like candle wax, mistletoe, and poinsettias can be poisonous to mutts if consumed and can cause other serious health issues.

  • Electrical cords: It goes without saying, your dogs chewing or playing with electrical cords spells disaster for you, your family, and your mutts themselves. So be sure to keep electrical cords hidden or out of reach from your dogs such as Christmas lights and extension cords. Spraying dog anti-chew sprays from the pet store may also help keep your mutts from getting into trouble.
Keeping your mutts happy, healthy, and hearty!

    Friday, December 14, 2012

    How to Treat Dog Paw Injury!

    Dog paws are one of the most vulnerable places for injuries - they are exposed to anything sharp and extreme temperatures almost on a daily basis. So if and when you mutts do get a cut or a split paw on their foot, here are a couple of steps that you can take at home to help your dogs' speedy recovery:

    1. Remove debris: First, clear out all debris that may be on the paw or around the wound with tweezers and/or cotton swab. 
    2. Cleaning the wound: Second, swish the wounded paw in some warm water with Epsom salt to help clear out the rest of the debris in the wound. Then dry the paw with some clean paper towels or regular hand towels. Be sure to check for and get rid of any remaining debris in or around the wound. 
    3. Kill the bacteria: Third, use something like betadine to rinse over the wound to kill the bacteria that may be in the paw. This helps prevent infections that may lead to other serious health issues. Try avoiding hydrogen peroxide or alcohol for disinfecting since they tend to dry out or damage the tissue on the paw slowing the healing process.
    4. Wrapping it up: Fourth, apply some antibiotic ointments on the wound to help with the healing and some clean and sterile gauze to wrap the paw up. You may also put a few layers of self-adhering bandages over the gauze to make the bandaging more durable for walking. Be sure to NOT have the bandages too tight and keep it clean and dry by changing it often.
    These are just basic precautions that dog owners can do at home by themselves to help a minor paw injury of their mutts. For any other questions or major paw injuries, please consult your trusted vet.

    Keep your mutts happy, healthy, and hearty!

    Tuesday, December 11, 2012

    Winter Health Tips For Dogs!

    As dog owners bundle up for the cold winter temperatures, it is important to also keep in mind that our furry little friends need some seasonal adjustments to their environments too.

    Here are four winter health tips for you as a dog owner to help make your pups a little more comfortable during freezing temperatures:

    1. Good shelters: If you have outdoor dogs, be sure to place them in a warm, dry, and wind resistant place. Portable heaters can be useful as long as they are safely installed and out of reach from your mutts so they won't get burns from the heaters. 
    2. Fresh food: Leaving your dogs' water bowl outside to freeze into ice is not a healthy option for your mutts. Neither is letting your dogs eat snow when they are thirsty. Always have a fresh, clean, non-frozen bowl of water and food for your dogs if they are outdoors, which means you may have to check up on them more than usual.
    3. Avoiding frostbites: The tips of your mutts' ears, tails, and paws are very susceptible to getting frostbites in cold weather. Keep an eye out for symptoms like firm waxy skin and/or blisters. Dog booties and coats are good ideas to avoiding such pain for your dogs. For more information on dog paw care, take a glance at the previous blog post "Best Winter Tips for Your Dogs Paws."
    4. Proper dietary needs: During the winter time, dogs tend to sleep more and exercise less as a way for them to conserve energy for their bodies. So adjusting their food amount is also critical to the health of your mutts. You don't want to feed them too much compared to summer time when they may be much more active. 
    Keep your mutts happy, healthy, and hearty!

    Friday, December 7, 2012

    Feeding Your Dogs Vitamins

    Vitamins are a great way for humans to keep up on their necessary daily nutrients for potentially a long and healthy life. So naturally, we would think that the same health rules would apply to our loving mutts. However, if you have healthy dogs who don't have prescribed health issues by your trusted vet, then feeding your mutts vitamins can actually have a damaging effect on your furry little friends!

    Humans normally take these different supplements because we don't tend to always eat the right things or eat enough of the healthy foods. If you feed your dogs good balanced meals every day, then vitamins are not needed for their diet. 

    Good dog food brands (like IAMS, Pedigree, Purina...etc) already have all of the necessary nutrients for your mutts' body. So by feeding your mutts extra supplements on top of their daily diet actually puts their little organs into overdrive. For older dogs, their internal systems may not be as powerful as it used to be, so the vitamins may not be properly digested and would cause other major health problems which can lead to surgery or even death. Unless your trusted vet prescribes some type of vitamins for a specific need for your mutts, it's best to continue feeding them a healthy diet.

    Keep your mutts happy, healthy, and hearty!

    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    Flu Season for Dogs!

    As the flu season arrives, people are rushing off to their family doctor or nearest drug store to get a flu shot that will hopefully help make the winter days more bearable to survive. Among the busyness, however, people tend to not realize that their furry little friends can catch a cold or the dog flu as well.

    Although this may not happen as often as it does for humans, dogs too can get sick from their own form of flu virus or a respiratory inflection. Some symptoms that may suggest such an illness for your mutts include a low fever, running nose, a consistent cough, and/or just feeling down and lack of energy. Most of the time dogs can contract the sickness from boarding kennels, animal shelters, the doggie daycare, or the dog park since that's where they come in the most contact with other mutts. Dogs of old age and certain breeds like flat-faced mutts are also more susceptible to doggie colds and flu. 

    While a minor cold or flu may not cause too much damage to your mutts, not helping them recover to their normal healthy state can lead to other major issues. If left untreated, a cold or the flu can create a secondary infection like pneumonia which can be deadly for dogs. So if you suspect any type of infection or sickness, talk to your trusted vet for advise and possibly some prescribed antibiotics for your mutts.

    There are dog flu shots that may be available for your mutts if you think they really need them (again, talk to your trusted vet). The shots don't guarantee that your dogs won't get sick - they just lessen the severity of the illness. Otherwise, for a minor cold or flu, make sure your dogs get plenty of rest and fluid.

    Keep your mutts happy, healthy, and hearty!

    Friday, November 30, 2012

    Finding the Right Toothpaste for Your Dogs

    As we've talked about the importance of brushing your dogs' teeth on a weekly basis, the use of dog toothpaste can also add to the benefits of healthy teeth and gums for your mutts.

    One way to make things easier is that dog owners will wait until their mutts are tired either at the end of the day or after an intense exercise session to brush their dogs' teeth so they won't have too much energy to fight back. Finding the right toothpaste can also help the whole teeth-brushing experience for you and your dogs tremendously. Most dog toothpastes have different fun flavors like chicken or beef so your mutts would actually want you to brush their teeth since it's like getting a treat each time.

    Here are a few things to look out for when finding the right dog toothpaste:
    • Ingredients - Checking the label is important to see what is in the toothpaste before purchase. Make sure to stay away from products that contain alcohol, baking soda, and/or grapefruit and citrus flavors since these ingredients are hard to digest.
    • Small samples - Every dog is different and may like different flavors or textures (like gel versus paste), so it may be smart to buy a small tube of dog toothpaste first to test and see if your dogs like that kind or not.
    • Only for dogs - It is crucial to NOT use human toothpaste for your dogs' teeth. A lot of human toothpastes contain ingredients like bleach which can be harmful for your mutts' health. Also dogs don't normally spit out the toothpaste like we do, so it really isn't a good idea to try to be experimental this way.
    To find out exactly which dog toothpaste to use for your mutts, consult with your trusted vet.

    Keep your mutts happy, healthy, and hearty!

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

    Brush Your Dogs' Teeth!

    While some dog owners may think that this is a silly or high maintenance thing to do, brushing your dogs' teeth on a regular basis contributes to a huge part of their long-term well-being and health.

    Mutts may not get cavities the same way or as frequently as humans do, but their teeth will still get plaque, gingivitis, and tartar build up if left uncared for. This may lead to some minor problems such as bad breath and cavities, or it may result in severe health risks like dental infections that can potentially be poisonous and deadly to your dogs.

    Ideally dog owners are suppose to brush their mutts teeth every day (just as you would brush your own teeth). However, brushing your dogs' teeth once or twice a week is already a great improvement from those who don't really do anything at all. Again, while every day teeth cleaning is best, a minimum of twice a week is recommended since plaque tends to build up every three to five days. 

    Think of it this way: as a dog owner, you can take 10 to 15 minutes out once or twice a week (if not every day) to ensure your mutts' life-long happiness.

    Keep your mutts happy, healthy, and hearty!

    Friday, November 23, 2012

    Top Three Benefits to Raising Your Dogs' Feeding Bowls

     Some of us may not know or are even aware of this but a part of your mutts everyday well-being is having a relaxed environment when they are eating their food. This includes the issue of the height of your dogs' feeding bowls.

    By not having the correct feeding set up for your dogs, you may be causing more stress and discomfort for your mutts than you realize. Here are a few benefits to raising the feeding bowls off the ground for your mutts:
    1. Comfort - When your dogs are reaching down to the ground to eat, they are adding pressure to their necks, backs, legs, and shoulders. Especially for older, larger, and/or arthritic dogs, an elevated feeding and water bowl would alleviate a lot of the pain from their bodies.
    2. Digestion - Some mutts suffer from "mega-esophagus." This condition is a dilated esophagus when your mutt is eating, which weakens the esophagus and makes it harder to move the food from its mouth to its stomach. This usually leads to after-meal vomiting or regurgitation. 
    3. Cleanliness - A positive for you as a dog owner to raise the feeding bowls is that it usually keeps the feeding area cleaner, and the set up also makes it easier for you to clean.

    The best way to figure out the appropriate height of feedings bowls you should get for your mutts is (1) to measure your mutts' wither heights (top of the shoulders to the floor when they are standing on all four legs), (2) subtract about 4-6 inches from that number, (3) and that's the height for your dogs' food and water bowls.

    Keep your mutts happy, healthy, and hearty!

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

    6 Worst Thanksgiving Foods for Your Dog!

    With Thanksgiving just a couple of days away, most households are busy with welcoming family to the home, putting up nice holiday decor, and of course, preparing for the big feast on Thursday. For your mutts, this is a special time of year for them too with more guests who would come over to play and more food for them to eat off the ground. Dog owners, however, need to be extra cautious about what your mutts can and cannot eat.

    So here are six worst Thanksgiving foods that you should make sure that your dogs do not eat off the ground or get from your family members:

    1. Turkey bones - Contrary to popular belief, turkey bones are actually unsafe for dogs to chew on. They are a choking hazard and are hard to digest for your mutts.
    2. Raw or uncooked turkey meat - With food that is not cooked all the way through, turkey meat can lead to salmonella poisoning not just for your dogs but for humans as well.
    3. Turkey skin and gravy - Even though they may taste super delicious, turkey skin is extremely hard for your mutts to digest (and for you as well), and the gravy contains just too much fatty acids which can be terrible for the benefit of your dogs.
    4. Mushrooms/onions/garlic - These vegetables can cause multiple problems for your mutts. They can damage their internal organs by destroying their red blood cells, and the onions and garlic have sulfides which are poisonous to dogs.
    5. Nutmeg - Found in most desserts, nutmeg is unhealthy for your dogs because it has a mild hallucinogenic effect which can cause problems like seizures, tremors, or central nervous system issues.
    6. Cookie dough or cake batter - Any type of raw dough can create unwanted healthy problems for your mutts. This includes again salmonella poisoning, and if your dogs eat too much of raw dough, their body heat can cause the dough to rise inside their stomachs creating minor to major digestive issues.
      Keep your mutts happy, healthy, and hearty!

    Friday, November 16, 2012

    Best Winter Tips for Your Dogs Paws!

    Paw care for your mutts during the winter time is crucial to their comfort and well-being. Your mutts can get unnecessary paw injuries if not taken care of properly. 

    Here are a few basic tips as to how you can keep your dogs feet warm and cozy during cold temperatures:

    •  Washing paws after walks - During the winter the roads and sidewalks are coated with deicers and other harsh chemicals to prevent icy and slippery surfaces. It's best to rinse off or at least wipe off your dogs feet with warm water after their walks to make sure that (1) the deicers do not cause irritation to the mutts feet and (2) that your mutts do not eat those chemicals by licking their paws afterward.
    •  Keeping the paw fur short - You've probably noticed that some times there are small, or big, build up of ice balls on the legs of your dogs after they've played in snow. These are chunks of ice and snow that have stuck themselves onto the fur which can cause a lot of discomfort for your mutts. You can avoid some of this mess by trimming the fur between your dogs paws and toes and keeping it short throughout the winter time.
    • Dog booties - Some may think that it's a silly idea, but dog booties (or dog shoes) are a great way to ensure your mutts feet are warm and comfortable during their outdoor exercises in the snow. These booties are extremely useful when it comes to prolonged walks or outdoor time to prevent your dogs from getting frostbite on their paws.

    There are also other products out there that you can purchase to ensure your dogs paws are taken care of throughout winter. Popular items are things like pet-friendly deicers and paw waxes to keep your mutts paws soft and moist. To find out which products are best for your mutts or if you have other concerns about your mutts paw care, consult your trusted vet.

    Keep your mutts happy, healthy and hearty!

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

    Why Puppy Eyes Have Puppy Tears?

    If you're a high maintenance dog owner like me, then it is safe to say that here's one question that has always been burning inside of you: why do my dogs keep getting these nasty tear build ups around the corners of their eyes?!

    For most mutts, it is normal to always have some tears on their faces to help keep their eyes moist and comfortable. However, excessive tearing (or epiphora - an overflow of tears onto the face) for dogs can cause much discomfort  and possibly pain. These excessive tears may be from allergies, an eye illness, or other types of eye irritations. In certain breeds, especially the ones with the short snouts, these dogs are more prone to tear problems due to issues like shallow eye sockets or extra hair growth on the face, which may clog up the small water drain holes around their eyes.

    For treatment, there are certain grooming products out there for pet furs that may help with the tear stains, or porphyrins, on your dogs' faces. For severe health eye issues, some dogs may have to undergo surgery to correct their problems. But as for most minor cases, a simple face wash or eye cleaning will do the trick. Please consult your trusted vet for the best way to help your dogs with their excessive tears so their faces are always clean, cute, and loveable!

    Keep your mutts happy, healthy and hearty!

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

    Top Fall Safety Tips for Your Dog!

     As autumn approaches the leaves turn colors and fall, and the days get shorter for people to enjoy the warm golden sun. For your lively mutts, they are also experiencing the good and maybe not-so-good changes to the environment. With the holidays just around the corner, a lot of dog owners aren't really paying enough attention to their pooches who can get into more trouble than expected.

    So here are top Fall safety tips to look out for as the temperature drops and the festive season starts:
    1. Increased chemical usage: Around this time of year people tend to increase the usage of insecticides and other harsh chemicals due to the insects and rodents who are seeking warmer shelters in your homes. So be more cautious as to where you spray and store these toxins in the house. 
    2. More fleas to go around: Fleas, one of dog owners' most fearing and irritating problems, breed in the Spring time and reach peak number in the Fall. So it is wise to use some form of flea protection by talking to your trusted vet.
    3. Much needed body fat: Dogs who live mostly outdoors would need to be fed more food to "beef up" for the Winter to keep their body temperatures warmer. It is also important to make sure to keep fresh, clean water in the dogs' bowls so that the water does not freeze.
    4. Extra debris outside: As the natural environment changes outside, be cautious of extra debris like leaves, twigs, and fallen fruits on the street or in the backyard where they can create choking hazards or digestive problems for your mutts if eaten. 
    5. Seasonal allergies: Believe it or not, dogs can also suffer from season allergies. This includes excessive sneezing, paw licking, coughing, and/or watery eyes from the extra pollen floating around in the air. For a safe and effective allergy treatment, talk to your trusted vet.
    6. Excess food & candy: People tend to have more than enough food and candy around the house as we go from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas. Be careful of your dogs munching on these human treats as some can cause various health issues like weight gain, choking, dental diseases, or other more severe damages like food poisoning from chocolate. 
    Keep your mutts happy, healthy and hearty!

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

    Feed Your Dogs Pumpkin!

    As Thanksgiving approaches, there are more than enough yellow trees, red leaves, and orange pumpkins going around for everyone. There is even enough for your beloved dogs to benefit from the delicious leftover scraps of pumpkin. 

    If your dogs have been experiencing some digestive problems, specifically diarrhea, one of the most natural, at-home remedies that you can try is feeding your dogs canned pumpkin. Rich in fiber, pumpkin meat absorbs the excess water from your dogs' stool, making the stool firmer within just hours of feeding. These are canned pumpkin that you can purchase at your local grocery store that is not only a healthy alternative for digestive problems but also a tasty treat to lift your mutts' spirits.

    Your dogs can get diarrhea from a variety of sources: they ate something that they weren't suppose to, food allergies, a change in their diet, bacterial or viral infection, and/or a worm infestation. If your dogs' diarrhea is not improving after a couple of days or if they are experiencing other abnormal health issues, you should talk to your veterinarian as soon as possible.

    Keep your mutts happy, healthy and hearty!