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5 Love Languages for Dogs

Have you ever wondered how to tell your furry friend you love them? Maybe you shower Fido with toys, hugs, or even pamper them with treats! But sometimes we humans express our love for our pooches in ways that are hard to understand for them and might not be designed to meet their needs. For example, if you buy another cute outfit for your puppy, it is your way of expressing your love, but it probably does not really make your pup feel better. Below are a few helpful tips to help express your love for your pooch, in healthy ways that will really strengthen the bond you have with them.

Physical Exercise

When your dog doesn’t get proper physical exercise, that may cause them to become destructive, jumpy, anxious, or even become overly fixated on things. Every dog is different to what they need, but some ways you can exercise your dog are to go on a long walk, play fetch or practice obedience commands.

Mental Exercise

There are more ways to tire out your pup and that is with mental stimulation. Your dog may become bored with their normal routine so you can switch things up by playing enrichment games. Using dog puzzles to hide treats or learning new obedience training will get them thinking outside the box.

Giving Proper Praise

You may unconsciously be praising Fido incorrectly; meaning, you may be praising naughty or just straight up bad behaviors. When your dog scratches at you, barks and demands attention/affection (which admittedly, my dog does)  and you react by giving them what they want, they learn to become pushy and sometimes rude. Learning when to praise and when to correct is key to communicate effectively with your dog. 

Correcting bad behaviors

Just as important as it is to know when/how to praise your dog, it is equally important to correct unwanted behaviors in the way dogs understand. By stepping up and setting healthy boundaries for naughty behaviors, you will notice your pup will start listening to you more, respond to your commands, and best of all, become a more well-rounded, obedient dog!

Stability

Having stability isn’t just providing a roof over your dog’s head, food, or even ‘luxuries’ of the modern world. It’s about providing structure and leadership to maintain a healthy mindset. As pack animals, dogs naturally need a leader or Alpha to provide structure and stability in their life. This alone can be a game-changer. When dogs don’t have proper leadership, they can become reactive, have fear-based aggression, become overstimulated or even be fearful and unpredictable. 

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Human Foods You Can Share With Your Pooch

Whether you’re having a meal or simply a snack, you’re bound to give in to the wide-eyed dog begging for a morsel à la Puss in Boots (an act any dog behaviorist will condemn, mind you!). Those beautiful black eyes will peer into your soul, forcing your hand to hand over a few little bites from time to time. However, as generous as sharing your food with her may seem, you’re actually harming her and putting her health in danger. For instance, chocolates, onions and garlic foods, and fried foods are bound to affect your dog’s health, causing diarrhea and vomiting. Some cases may escalate, leading to the need for medical treatment.

Luckily, there are some foods which you can share. In fact, some of the following should be part of your dog’s diet in order to boost his immunity and ensure his health for years to come.

Cheese

As cheesy as this may sound, cheese is the best treat you can give your pooch as long as he’s not lactose intolerant. String cheese may especially become his favorite since he can play with it as well. However, you’re welcome to also give your dog cottage cheese since it’s full of protein and calcium. In fact, mix it with dog food for an extra dose of nutrition.

Yogurt

Another human food to give a non-lactose intolerant pup is yogurt. This edible will improve his digestive health, which is why it’s ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Just remember to give him unsweetened yogurt without artificial flavoring or even fat-free yogurt if he’s on a diet. Moreover, in summer, serve it frozen as a cool treat you both can share.

Veggies

Though your dog is essentially a carnivore, you should make sure that she gets her fair share of veggies from time to time. While certain vegetables are bound to irritate her stomach and cause diarrhea, you can definitely feed her the following to ensure her health on the long run.

Broccoli – Excellent for your pooch, this vegetable has over 33 cancer-preventing compounds which can boost her immune system. However, moderation is important as too much green can affect your dog’s thyroid function.

Sweet Potatoes – Though sweeter than regular potatoes, they’re ideal for your gal as they contain vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium and other nutrients that keep her healthy.

Green beans – These make great snacks for your pooch as they’re low on calories and high on nutrition, vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids and other nutrients.

Baby Carrots – Another snack-worthy veggie, raw baby carrots are filled with antioxidants that can ensure the health of your doggie.

Pumpkin – According to Modern Dog magazine, pumpkin contains fiber and beta-carotene. As a result, your dog’s digestive health will improve. However, moderation is necessary here as well since too much can cause diarrhea or flatulence.

Fruits

Like vegetables, fruits are an important part of a healthy doggy meal. However, you need to be selective of which fruits to give him, so abide by the following.

Apples – Apples are excellent for dogs, especially since they keep the dentist at bay. Giving your dog apples will clean his teeth while providing him with fiber and vitamins A and C. Just make sure to seed and core the apples before handing them over to him.

Bananas – Dogs go bananas for bananas. They’re also good for pooches since they back extra nutrients and energy. Just make sure not to give your dog too much or else you’ll have a “messy” situation to deal with.

Blueberries – All forms of berries are great for dogs since they contain antioxidants, fiber and vitamins. You can serve a little frozen to avoid upsetting your dog’s stomach.

Popcorn

Though you shouldn’t give a lot of popcorn to your pooch, a little won’t do any harm, especially if you skip the butter and salt. This low-calorie snack contains potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, boosting your dog’s health during movie night.

Also on this list are rice, hot dogs, cooked salmon (keep the sushi for you), eggs, chicken and peanut butter. For more information on what to give your ol’ boy, talk to your veterinarian or reputable dog trainers in your area.

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Pet Owner’s Manual: Caring for Your Fur Baby’s Eyes, Ears and Teeth

There are many reasons why owners ‘baby’ their pets. In your case, it can be anything from knowing that he’ll be by your side to the cute way she looks at you whenever you come home. Regardless of why your fur baby is precious to you, you need to remember that you have a set of obligations towards him. In addition to enrolling him in dog behavior training to ensure his good behavior, you should take care of his overall health. Aside from taking him to the vet and checking his coat for pests, you should give much attention to his eyes, ears and teeth.

Caring for Lady’s Eyes

Those big, brown eyes you adore need you to take care of them. If you have dogs with large, protruding eyes such as pugs, you need to guard their eyes from potential injuries. On the other hand, long-coated dogs, especially white ones, may develop tear stains.

Regardless of which case applies to your pooch, make sure to regularly clean her eyes early in the morning. Gently remove the gunk around the corners with an eye cleaning pad or a soft, moistened paper towel. Don’t use a cotton swab as you may end up harming her delicate eyes if she twitches. Also, avoid any chemicals as these can irritate your dog’s eyes.

While cleaning her eyes, make sure to examine them as well. Look out for redness, excessive tears, frequent blinking, squinting and cloudy pupils. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, it’s time for a quick trip to the vet.

Ensuring the Health of Fido’s Ears

Those delicate ears which perk up at the sound of your voice are quite sensitive, but they may demand a little extra care if you have a poodle or any other breed that’s prone to developing ear problems. Whether your pooch has pricked up or dropped ears, you should check these regularly for crustiness, redness, excessive wax and obnoxious odors. If his ears have thick hair on the inside, consider taking him to a professional groomer to prevent infections and ear mites.

That aside, establish an ear cleaning routine for your pooch. Using a vet-prescribed mild ear cleaning solution and wool balls/gauze, follow these steps.

While holding his head, gently lift his ear to expose its insides.

Following the directions on the solution, squeeze a little into his ear and massage the outside of his ear canal.

Wipe out the excess solution with the cotton ball or gauze.

Again, your dog’s ears are sensitive, so avoid keeping any solution behind. Also, don’t push the cotton wool into his ear canal. Finally, reward your dog with praise and a treat after you’re finished. After all, he was a good boy.

Protecting Rex’s Teeth

Just like you, your dog can develop plaque, tartar and gingivitis, resulting in the foul dog breath you’ve been complaining about. If you don’t take action, you’ll need to get your dog’s teeth cleaned, a process that traditionally requires anesthesia. To prevent these issues in the first place, get dog toys, dental sticks or even rawhide bones to remove dental plaque. Also talk to your vet about which dog toothpaste and toothbrush you can use.

If you haven’t brushed your canine’s canines yet, don’t worry. The process is easy. First, squeeze some toothpaste on his brush and let him sample it. Lift his top lip and rub the brush against his teeth and gums for a few seconds. Finally, give him a treat for behaving himself. Preferably, you should repeat this process daily, but realistically try to commit to doing it 2-3 times a week. Moreover, use this as an opportunity to check for potential tooth and gum issues such as red or swollen gums and darkened teeth.

Ideally, you should start all of these tasks while your pooch is still a puppy. This may mean enrolling her in puppy training to ensure that she doesn’t resist you or bite you hard. However, once your dog’s behavior is at its best, you can start taking care of its eyes, ears and teeth to ensure its health and companionship for years to come.

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4th of July Safety (and Sanity-Saving) Tips for Dog Owners

The Fourth of July is a special day for both Americans and their pooches. Not only do they get to meet friends after a while, but they also get to flaunt some goodies and tricks they acquired since the last time they met. However, four-legged celebrators are susceptible to many dangers during this special day, which is why you need to be very careful while celebrating Independence Day. The following are ten important tips you need to remember to ensure her health and your sanity during the upcoming weekend.

#1) Keep the Scraps on the Grill and Away from His Stomach

You can’t resist those puppy eyes begging for scraps; you just can’t! However, as tempting as these morsels are, they can upset your pooch’s stomach. Besides, edibles such as onions, avocados and raisins are toxic for dogs. So make sure to instruct your visitors to be brave and withstand the whole puppy charade.

#2) Pass the Alcohol Around But Not to Your Pooch

Keep a close eye on the alcohol as it makes its way to people’s hands. In addition to keeping tabs on your own drink, make sure that no one shares their own with your pooch. If your dog ingests alcohol in any way, keep on the lookout for signs of weakness and intoxication. Contact your vet immediately to fix the damage before it grows worse.

#3) Protect Your Dog from Human Products and Grill Essentials

Since it’s summer and probably mosquito season where you live, you may think that you’re doing Fido a favor by spraying him with insect repellant and dabbing him with sunscreen. However, unless these have a ‘Made for Dog’ label, don’t use them on your dog. You also need to keep matches and lighter fluid away from him as these can irritate his digestive, respiratory and central nervous systems if he ingests them.

#4) Place Glow Jewelry Far Away from Her Paws’ Reach

If you intend on having glow jewelry this Fourth of July, make sure that your dog doesn’t sink her fangs in it. While these plastic accessories are far from toxic, the ASPCA believes that chewing and swallowing them can lead to indigestion, causing excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation. Your dog can also develop intestinal blockage if she swallows larger pieces in your absence.

#5) Go to Parties Alone; It’s Okay to Leave Your Dog Behind

Independence Day BBQs and neighbors’ parties are events where ditching man’s best friend can be a great idea. Let your pooch miss you at home while you’re celebrating this special occasion with two-legged friends. Preferably keep him indoors rather than in your yard unless you want him leaping over fences to find you.

#6) Don’t Leave Her in the Parking Lot

Some dog owners tag their dogs along to parties, but leave them unattended in their cars. Aside from putting your pooch at the risk of being stolen, the heat can get to them even if your windows are partially opened. So don’t put your dog in harm’s way and simply let her stay safely at home.

#7) Save Butch from the Sound, Sight and Burns of Fireworks

Like New Year’s Eve, you’ll need to keep your dog far away from fireworks. If you’re planning on lighting a few off yourself, keep your dog indoors in a room which no one would open. Aside from severe burns and/or trauma, fireworks can harm your pooch through their toxic contents, which include arsenic, potassium nitrates and heavy metals. If your neighbors are planning their own fireworks show, lower the blinds and turn on the TV to block the sights and sounds coming from the outside. Better yet, play soothing music and give your dog all the attention he needs during this nerve-wrecking time.

#8) Find Out How You Can Counter His Anxiety

While you should ignore your dog’s fear to prevent rewarding this negative behavior, you should make sure that your pooch’s at ease. In addition to getting him a special toy or chew treat, take him on a walk and use devices such as Thundershirt. You can also talk to your vet about short-term medication if your dog gets dangerously distressed.

#9) ID Your Dog Even if You’re Keeping Her Home

Even if you’re planning on keeping your pooch home, make sure that she’s wearing an ID collar or preferably micro-chipped. There’s always a chance that someone may open the doors, allowing her to frantically run away due to fireworks. So be on the safe side and make identifying her easy for you and others. 

#10) Find Out if Your Vet is Accessible During the Holidays

Call your dog’s vet or nearby animal hospital to find out about their availability during the Fourth of July. If your vet isn’t in, ask him or her for their cellphone number to contact them in the case of an emergency. Also write down important numbers such as the Pet Poison Helpline to cover all bases. 

With these ten simple tips, rest assured that your pooch will be in great shape. You’re also welcome to bounce ideas and get suggestions from our specialized dog behaviorists on how to manage your pooch’s jitters during the Fourth of July. So have a great weekend from Sam Ivy K-9 Consultants and may you and your pooch have a safe Independence Day celebration.