Monday, August 13, 2018

Modern Feeders and Beds for Small Dogs (and Cats) from Animalove

Modern Feeders and Beds for Small Dogs (and Cats) from Animalove

We know all the old clich├ęs about cats and dogs — there’s the one about raining, but more commonly, the one about fighting — but we also know that many, many cats and dogs get along and coexist quite swimmingly. Nevertheless, if you’re into these awesome modern feeders by Animalove, you might not want to let your dog know they’re really designed for cats — just to, you know, keep everyone happy. Animalove’s minimal wooden feeders are handmade in Montreal and are sized just right for small dogs (and cats), as are Animalove’s awesome felt pillow beds. Check out the full collection at Animalove and on Etsy.


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© 2018 Dog Milk | Posted by Katherine in Beds + Furniture, Dining | Permalink | No comments

Wondering How Often to Bathe a Dog? It Depends on These Factors

The post Wondering How Often to Bathe a Dog? It Depends on These Factors by Wendy Newell appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.

There are few dog parenting topics with as many differing points of view as how often to bathe a dog. And the answer isn’t a straightforward one, either. Let’s look into some factors that play into how often to bathe a dog right here.

Here’s how often I bathe my dog

Riggns has gotten a bit slower at hiking as a senior dog.

Riggins out on a hike. Photography courtesy Wendy Newell.

Before we get into the specifics of how often to bathe a dog, here’s my story. I have a 12-year-old German Shorthair Pointer mix named Riggins. In his old age he has slowed down quite a bit, but when he was young he was a pistol! We had to go for an hour-long walk or run every day. Weekends were reserved for hiking and outdoor adventures. In between, there was playing and digging in the backyard and romping in mud- and pee-filled parks. He was a filthy beast. During the height of his activity I gave him a bath every Sunday. I’d throw him in the shower, and was always shocked at how much dirt went down the drain.

Of course, I was anxious. I’d heard the advice that you should only bathe a dog once a month, at the most. Unfortunately, Riggins smelled — bad — and I couldn’t live with a smelly creature snuggling up next to me in bed.

I did my homework and picked a show dog shampoo that was gentle enough that it could be used every day. Add a heavy fish protein-based food and the health of an active pup, and Riggins’ skin was always healthy with a silky black coat that glistened in the sun!

The once-a-week bathing worked for me at the time. But will it work for your dog?

First off, why should you bathe a dog?

Before we offer some insight on how often to bathe a dog … why do dogs even need baths in the first place? The most important reason to bathe your dog is for his health. Without a bath, your dog’s skin could get irritated and infected and his coat could get matted and hard to manage. It’s also important that your dog gets bathed regularly to ensure that he can live healthfully alongside your family in your home (and as a cuddle buddy!).

How often to bathe a dog

A dog getting shampooed and bathed.

How often to bathe a dog depends on a few different factors. Photography ©fotoedu | Thinkstock.

How often to bathe a dog depends on his breed, coat quality, skin needs and activity level. So, how often should you bathe your dog?

  1. When he smells. It’s an easy rule of thumb. If your dog smells bad, beyond just normal dog smell, it’s time for a bath!
  2. Consult the professionals. Talk to a professional groomer. She has the knowledge and experience with different breeds and pups so she can help you understand what schedule will be best for your dog’s health.
  3. Medical reasons. If your dog has skin issues, he may be prescribed medicinal shampoo. Riggins used this for a couple of years and it was an amazing solution for his itchy skin. Follow your vet’s directions when using medical shampoo. It will usually require washing more frequently than you are used to and spending more time with a wet, soapy dog as the medicine works its magic!
  4. Pay attention to your dog’s skin. If your dog’s skin gets dry and flaky, you are most likely bathing too often and stripping out important oils from his coat.
  5. Double-coated breeds. Pups with double coats like Samoyeds, Alaskan Malamutes and Chow Chows, will most likely need less frequent bathing but more brushing to keep their coats healthy and clean.
  6. Oily-coated breeds. Basset Hounds, for example, tend to have oily coats. These pups may require bathing as frequently as once a week.
  7. Short-haired dogs and dogs with water repellant coats. Weimaraners and Dalmatians tend to need very few baths as they can regulate their natural oils without much help.

What you’ll need to wash your dog

Now that we’ve given some pointers on how often to bathe a dog, let’s look at how to bathe a dog properly:

  1. Shampoo 
    • Choose a dog shampoo that fits your dog’s coat quality and the frequency with which you need to wash him. Diluting the shampoo with water up to 1:8 will allow you to easily cover your dog in suds without over-using the product.
    • A good way to know that the products in your dog’s shampoo are gentle and safe is to make the dog shampoo yourself at home. Here are a few homemade dog shampoo recipes to try.
    • Do not use human shampoos for adults or babies on your dog. They are most likely going to be too harsh and harm your dog’s skin.
  2. Lukewarm water. You don’t like a cold shower, so why would your dog?
  3. Brush. Comb your dog pre-bath to help shed any dead hair. Comb your dog again after your dog’s coat is dry to keep your dog’s coat free of mats and to help spread out your dog’s natural oils.
  4. Dry carefully. Do not use a hairdryer on your dog. It is most likely too hot, and the harshness will dry his skin out. Pat your dog with towels and air dry, or use a dryer specifically designed for dogs.
  5. Wet alternatives. Try using dry shampoo and/or dog wipes (use wipes made specifically for dogs — not wipes made for humans or babies, as they have ingredients that may be harmful to dogs in them) to keep your dog dirt and mud free in between baths.
  6. Patience and love. Some dogs don’t like baths, like my darling Riggins. With love and patience, you can make the experience less scary and even enjoyable to them.

Tell us: What’s your take on how often to bathe a dog? We’d love to hear from you. Let us know your dog-washing tips.

Thumbnail: Photography ©Chalabala | Thinkstock. 

We’re celebrating the Dog Days of Summer on Dogster.com this August! Join us for insight on summer fun, grooming, safety and more.

This piece was originally published on February 16, 2018.

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The post Wondering How Often to Bathe a Dog? It Depends on These Factors by Wendy Newell appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.

Will Brain Games Improve Cognitive Functions in Dogs?

The post Will Brain Games Improve Cognitive Functions in Dogs? by Jackie Brown appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.

It’s long been known that humans who frequently use their brains to problem solve maintain sharper minds, even in old age. A new study hopes to find out if the same theory is true for our canine friends.

Cognitive scientists at the Clever Dog Lab, a research center in Vienna, have taught hundreds of test subjects of different breeds to use a touch-screen game to earn food rewards.

Through recording the dogs’ progress learning increasingly difficult tasks and requesting feedback from the owners, the researchers aim to discover whether brain games lead to improved cognitive function.

Thumbnail: Photography ©Indeed | Getty Images.

Jackie Brown is a freelance writer from Southern California who specializes in the pet industry. Reach her at jackiebrownwriter.wordpress.com.

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Dogster magazine. Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? Subscribe now to get Dogster magazine delivered straight to you!

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The post Will Brain Games Improve Cognitive Functions in Dogs? by Jackie Brown appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Home Treatment for a Dog Abscess — If It’s a Visible Skin Abscess

The post Home Treatment for a Dog Abscess — If It’s a Visible Skin Abscess by Kelly Pulley appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.

When my Pit Bull Hudson developed an abscess, I didn’t really know what it was. The only kind of “abscess” I’d heard of was the one in my mom’s tooth. So, on the sudden discovery of the swelling in Huddie’s left front leg from shoulder to paw, I frantically jumped online to do research about how to treat a dog abscess at home before heading to the vet. I’ve found that you can often get quicker results with medical issues by searching by image. And there they were — pictures of mostly ruptured dog abscesses, which could make the strongest stomach turn.

First, what is a dog abscess?

A dog looking confused or sad.

Yikes! What exactly is a dog abscess? Photography © JZHunt | Thinkstock.

An abscess is a collection of pus that occurs anywhere on your dog’s body. Causes of a dog abscess include parasites, bites and bacteria. It’s actually protecting the body by localizing an infection. White blood cells move into the area and collect in the tissue.

You’ll usually see a swelling under the skin; if an abscess has formed on top of the skin or the skin has broken away, you would likely see a red, raised bump. And remember, an abscess is squishy and warm.

A dog abscess can be painful, so your dog will let you know — but if you have a dog who is pain-tolerant, such as my Hudson, that may not be a good clue.

Does a dog abscess need to be treated by a vet or other professional?

Talk to your vet to determine whether the abscess can be drained and treated at home or needs to be done at the office. The vet will probably still need to see your dog’s abscess and do some tests so he knows what antibiotics to give your dog and discover what is causing the infection. Your dog will need professional treatment if you are not able to be very diligent about keeping things sterile and sanitary, or if it is very large and you cannot drain the abscess on your own. In this case, your vet will make an incision. Surgery may be necessary.

Even if your vet says you can treat the dog abscess at home, it’s best to have your veterinarian show you how to treat it first before you do it at home by yourself. When your dog has a visible skin abscess, it’s always good to have a complete blood test run. Sometimes samples of the pus will need to be taken to evaluate its cause. Internal abscesses must only be treated by your doctor.

How to treat a dog abscess at home

Close up of a dog abscess.

Close up of a dog abscess. Photography by Kelly Pulley.

I had my vet’s blessing to home-treat Hudson, even though his abscess was so huge. Remember that even if you just call your vet or send him pictures, you’ll still need your vet to prescribe a course of antibiotics, which must be finished. (And note that you should always check with your vet first rather than launching into any kind of home medical treatment.)

Home treatment for a dog abscess is likely okay if you are obsessive about making everything sanitary and sterile. Make sure you remember to flush the abscess and apply a wound cream several times a day. Also note that you are not likely to get sick treating the abscess because of the way it looks, feels and smells. Really! We’re talkin’ Essence de Dog Pus here! Often, skin and fur will fall off at first, too, so be sure you can handle that.

Your dog can be easily treated by you if, for example, he’ll let you flush the abscess with saline and stick your finger waaaaaay up into the pocket of the abscess to apply ointment.

Before you begin home treatment for a dog abscess, make sure you have the right tools:

  1. Alcohol. To sterilize your hands whenever you are going to touch the abscess or anything or any area that comes in contact with the abscess’ excretions.
  2. Sterile saline solution. To rinse all those pockets of the abscess.
  3. Wound ointment. My vet gave me an all-natural foam; yours may have a different solution. It also must be sterile.

Follow these instructions for dog abscess home treatment:

  1. Apply pressure and squeeze. If the abscess hasn’t ruptured on its own, apply a warm compress (a towel soaked in warm to hot water) and gently press down and squeeze the abscess. It will probably take quite a few applications to get it to drain depending on the size. Pus will flow like wine when it ruptures, so be sure to have another towel under the abscessed area.
  2. Keep it centered. You may or may not see an accumulation of pus in the center of a pocket. If so, be sure to remove all of this.
  3. Clean like a crazy person. A dog abscess should NOT be covered. It has to heal in the same way as a puncture wound, from the inside out. That means as pus continues to emit from the wound, you’ll have to clean up constantly at first.

More tips on treating an abscess on a dog yourself

  1. Follow your vet’s instructions. My vet told me to rinse the dog abscess twice a day, apply the wound foam once to twice a day, and to make sure Hudson took all of the antibiotic.
  2. Despite all the attention it needs, try not to obsess on the abscess. It takes a long time for an abscess to heal. It’s been a month since I started treating Hudson’s and it’s still got a way to go.
  3. You will get to know this abscess intimately. And don’t let the extreme grossness and shocking nakedness of a dog abscess deter you from treating it at home. Think of it as another opportunity to bond with your dog.

Tell us: Has your dog ever had an abscess? Did you treat your dog’s abscess at home or at the vet? Let us know in the comments!

Thumbnail: Photography by pixbull / Shutterstock.

This piece was originally published in 2013.

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The post Home Treatment for a Dog Abscess — If It’s a Visible Skin Abscess by Kelly Pulley appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.

What Are the Causes of Black Dog Poop?

The post What Are the Causes of Black Dog Poop? by Jennifer Lesser appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.

When it comes to your pet’s health, sometimes the proof is in the poop. Most pet parents will schedule a visit with the veterinarian if their pet’s droppings suddenly change size or consistency. But what about when your dog’s poop suddenly turns an unusual color, like black? Is black dog poop normal or a cause for concern?

Why Black Dog Poop Happens

A dog squatting or pooping and peeing in a grass field.

What might cause black dog poop? Photography © winyoo08 | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

“A normal stool for a dog should be firm and dark brown in color … and the color of the stool should be fairly consistent from day to day, providing the dog eats a regular diet,” explains Dr. Dawn M. Spangler, assistant professor of shelter medicine at Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine in Tennessee.

Though it’s a relatively rare occurrence, when the color of your pet’s poop suddenly takes on a black, tarry appearance, it can actually point to a number of digestive conditions. According to Dr. Ramon Nieves, owner of Del Mar Veterinary Hospital in Florida, that tarry black dog poop is known as melena, and is typically a result of digested blood in your dog’s poop. Though it’s not actually a condition itself, melena is a symptom of some other underlying health issue, such as a blood clotting disorder or an ulcer.

“A common complaint by pet owners is that they’ve spotted some blood in their pet’s stool, and as veterinarians we can pinpoint where the bleeding is occurring in the GI tract based upon the color they describe … whether it’s dark or bright red, or even black,” Dr. Nieves explains. He notes that black dog poop typically occurs as a result of bleeding in the upper portion of the gastrointestinal tract; the dark color and tarry consistency of the feces signifies the digestion of blood as it has passed through the intestinal tract. It may also occur if your dog has ingested a significant amount of blood from the respiratory tract — such as if he’s been coughing and swallowing blood from his lungs, or even if he’s had a nosebleed.

So, Why Is Black Dog Poop … Black?

Whatever the cause, black or tarry stools indicate that there is bleeding in the stomach or small intestine of the dog, Dr. Spangler confirms. “The stool is black because the blood has been digested, causing it to change color,” she says. The causes of melena vary widely, and can mean anything from exposure to toxins or a foreign body in the gastrointestinal system to pancreatitis and kidney failure. “A few of the more common causes of black dog poop are cancer, foreign bodies, parasites, and viral or bacterial pathogens,” Dr. Spangler adds.

What to Do About Black Dog Poop

That’s why if you notice black dog poop — or you suspect that your dog is experiencing any sort of gastrointestinal upset — call your veterinarian as soon as possible. Symptoms such as your dog refusing his food or water for more than 24 hours — or if he or she is experiencing persistent vomiting or diarrhea — are always a cause for concern, Dr. Spangler notes. “Dogs can quickly become dehydrated, so it’s better to see a veterinarian sooner rather than later to get them the care and treatment they need,” she adds.

Pet owners should also tune in to their dog’s overall behavior, such as if your normally perky pooch is suddenly spending the entire day on the sofa. “Another symptom to notice is if you pick up your pet and they whine or cry … dogs and cats get stomach cramps and pains just like we do when something isn’t right,” Nieves says.

If you’ve discovered that your pet’s droppings have turned from their usual brown to black, Spangler explains that your pet’s veterinarian may check your dog’s stool samples for intestinal parasites, assess abdominal x-rays, and run blood work to help determine the definitive cause of the black color in your dog’s poop. “Treatment will depend upon the diagnosis,” she says, “but could include things such as anti-parasitics, antibiotics, antacids or anti-nausea drugs.”

Tell us: Has your dog ever experienced black poop? What was causing that black dog poop?

Thumbnail: Photography © DieterMeyrl | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

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The post What Are the Causes of Black Dog Poop? by Jennifer Lesser appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Dog-I-Y: 3 Easy All-Natural DIY Bug Sprays for Dogs

Dog-I-Y: 3 Easy All-Natural DIY Bug Sprays for Dogs

We’re in the throes of pesky insect season, which doesn’t just affect us humans — our dogs are targets of bug bites, too! Help keep these little pests at bay naturally with these easy homemade recipes from our friends at Pretty Fluffy. All you need are a few different essential oils, filtered water, and some small spray bottles and you and your dog(s) will be living pest-free all summer! Check out Pretty Fluffy for the full recipes.


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© 2018 Dog Milk | Posted by capree in DOG-I-Y | Permalink | No comments

Is Your Dog Pooping Blood? What to Do Next

The post Is Your Dog Pooping Blood? What to Do Next by Jackie Brown appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.

Yikes! When you see something red in your dog’s poop, the first thing you think of is your dog pooping blood. But don’t panic. First, determine if the red you’re seeing is truly blood and read on for how to handle blood in dog stool.

Notice something red in your dog’s stool? First, determine if your dog is pooping blood — or something else

Man picking up dog poop.

Think your dog is pooping blood? First, determine is anything red that you’re seeing is, in fact, blood. Photography by By Monika Wisniewska / Shutterstock.

Almost nothing is more alarming than seeing something red in your dog’s poop. Depending on what that red color actually is, red poop can be serious or nothing to worry about. So, if your dog’s poop looks red, is your dog pooping blood — or could it be something else?

“It can be caused by red coloring, like food coloring,” says Tracey Jensen, DVM, Dipl. ABVP, medical director at Wellington Veterinary Hospital in Wellington, Colorado. “It could be something that [your dog] ate that is simply innocently passing through. I once saw a dog that ate strawberry Chapstick, which came through.” If your dog eats red Crayons, they may also color the poop red. In general, food dyes that come from nontoxic sources will pass out in the stool and leave no lasting effects.

If your dog is pooping blood, here’s what to know

A more troubling — but unfortunately, also more common — reason a dog’s poop might be colored red is blood. “Blood in the feces can be caused by infections, including various parasite infections or bacterial infections, inflammatory conditions and we do see colon cancer in dogs,” Dr. Jensen explains. “Sometimes, an anal gland condition can cause a coating of blood on the feces.”

What to do about your dog pooping blood

If you see red in your dog’s stool — and you didn’t recently notice your dog eating a pile of red Crayons — call your veterinarian to make an appointment to have him checked out. If possible, bring a fresh sample of your dog’s stool for the vet to test.

Even if your dog is acting fine, at least contact your vet to have a conversation about your dog pooping blood. “Red always warrants a call,” Dr. Jensen explains. “There are many causes of blood in the feces, some of which are very serious. Contacting your veterinary care team can help you work through some questions to help determine if it’s an emergency.”

Blood in dog poop — could it be HGE or parvo?

If it’s after hours and you see large amounts of bright-red, bloody diarrhea, especially if the diarrhea is accompanied by vomiting and/or lethargy (your dog is just lying around, clearly not feeling good), don’t wait until morning to contact a vet. Bright-red and bloody diarrhea may occur with an extremely serious condition called hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE). Without treatment, dogs experiencing HGE can become extremely sick and even die.

Additionally, young puppies with bloody diarrhea could potentially be suffering from canine parvovirus, a serious — sometimes fatal — viral disease. Seeing adult dogs with large volumes of bloody diarrhea, or puppies with bloody diarrhea, warrants a trip to an emergency clinic to be on the safe side.

The exact color / consistency can help determine why your dog is pooping blood

The appearance of the poop, as well as the color of the blood, are clues that will help your veterinarian determine where exactly the blood might be coming from, which can help diagnose the root cause of your dog pooping blood. “If the feces are normal in shape and consistency, with a red coating on the outside that’s determined to be blood, then we know that it’s coming from lower down in the intestinal tract,” Dr. Jensen says. “If it’s diarrhea or soft feces with the red mixed within, then it tells us the blood is probably coming from a little bit higher up the intestinal tract.”

Sometimes, blood in dog stool is not bright red but very dark, black and tarry looking. “When we see the black, tarry stools, that is digested blood,” Dr. Jensen explains. “When we see red blood that is coating the feces or mixed within it, that blood has not been digested, so we know it’s actually entering the intestinal tract closer to the point of exit. When we see black, that tells us it’s spent more time in the intestinal tract and is very likely is coming from areas close to or within the stomach.”

How do you treat blood in dog stool?

Treatment for a dog pooping blood is highly dependent on the cause of the bleeding. Once your vet is able to narrow down where the blood is coming from, he or she will be able to run some tests to determine the cause and select an appropriate treatment.

The takeaway here? If you notice your dog pooping blood, don’t panic, but do have your dog examined by a veterinarian as quickly as possible. This is not something to wait out, since your dog might require quick and life-saving treatment.

Tell us: Has your dog ever pooped anything red before? Was your dog pooping blood or something else?

Thumbnail: Photography ©NUKUL2533 | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

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The post Is Your Dog Pooping Blood? What to Do Next by Jackie Brown appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.