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!