People who don't own dogs tend to believe that pooches are groomed for purely aesthetic reasons.
But as a dog owner, you're well aware that caring for a dog's coat, claws and teeth is about much more than just making your furry friend look pretty--it's about making them happier and more comfortable.
Veterinarians often talk about another benefit to grooming - the tangible health benefits.
Regardless of the breed, a regular grooming schedule can help prevent the development of a number of annoying health conditions in dogs, while also helping owners identify several serious conditions early on.
Curious as to why this is? Here are fivereasons why a regularly groomed dog is a healthier dog.
1. Prevent Skin Infections
An unkempt coat can pose serious risks to your dog's health. Dirty coats (especially long ones) are perfect repositories for mould and bacteria. As these grow and multiply, they can cause skin conditions and sores on your dog's skin, which can easily get infected and lead to more serious health issues.
Long-haired breeds like Collies or Shih Tzus are at a higher risk of developing these conditions, but short haired dogs can still get them.
All dogs can benefit from a regular grooming schedule that includes a good brush, wash and in some cases, trim.
2. Keep Them Cool
For thousands of years, dogs have accompanied us as we moved around the world. Wherever we settled, our furry friends would settle too, and as we mingled with other peoples, so did our dogs.
This mingling has left us with a wonderful diversity of dog breeds, each of which can be traced back to a particular place in the world. But while these breeds developed to thrive and survive in particular places, today they can be found all over the world.
This means that many dogs breeds are ill-equipped to deal with the weather of the places where they live, which can affect their health.
For example, heat stroke and heat exhaustion are very real things for dogs. Regular haircuts can help many dogs, but especially long-haired breeds, avoid them.
Keeping a short coat during the summer months, can help dogs cool down in excessively hot environments, keeping them happy and healthy..
3. Prevent Eye and Ear Infections
Dogs with longer facial hair often develop crusts on the corner of their eyes due to irritation that can lead to discomfort and infection, especially when bacteria and mold grows in their coat.
A similar thing occurs in a dog's ears. There, bacteria growing in unkept hair can also lead to the development of ear infections, which can be painful and annoying.
Routine grooming in the form of washes and trims will help prevent the developments of these annoying and painful infections, resulting in happier and healthier dogs.
4. Improves Posture
When most people hear about dog grooming, they immediately think about cleaning and cutting a dog's coat. But grooming also includes trimming the dog's nails, which (perhaps surprisingly) also has significant health benefits for dogs.
Veterinarians often recommend regular nail trimming because it decreases the risk of your dog getting their nails caught (and torn out) on floors, carpeting and furniture, which can be EXTREMELY painful for your pooch.
But on top of this, the benefits of regular nail trimming on a dog's health can be far more important. Overgrown nails can change the physiognomy of a dog's paws, which forces them to change their natural stance and gait.
This unnatural posture can lead to the development of arthritis in their legs and hips, which can make your doggy's life a living hell, especially as they grow older.
5. Helps Identify Serious Conditions Earlier
In addition to helping prevent skin infections from developing, regularly grooming your pooch can help identify serious conditions by allowing you to see any lumps, bumps or growths that may be developing on your dogs skin.
Identifying these signs early on (especially in the case of tumerous lumps) may help save your dogs life.
A happy dog is a healthy dog
Just like with humans, there's a direct link between a dog's happiness and their health.
That's why keeping your dog comfortable and happy with regular grooming is another great way to boost their health.
And what's more: a clean, well-groomed dog is a pleasure to cuddle and curl up next to, which will make YOU happier and healthier too!
For thousands of years, dogs have accompanied humans as we moved around the world. Wherever we settled, our furry friends would settle too, and as we mingled with other peoples, so did our dogs.
This mingling has left us with a wonderful diversity of dog breeds, each of which can be traced back to a particular place in the world. It's no surprise then that many dog breeds are associated with a particular place or country and have that country or place of origin in their name (think German Shepherds, Tibetan Mastiffs, Siberian Huskies, etc).
While in some cases figuring out where your dog's ancestors are from is easy, in others it's not so clear. Are you wondering where in the world your dog is from?
Here's a quick Atlas of Dog Breeds that will get you thinking of how international your pup really is!
Dog owners know that spending time with your furry friends can make your day better. It's one of the reasons we love them.
Researchers have studied relationships and found in scientific studies that playing with your canine companion can help fight the symptoms of anxiety and depression by boosting your mood and improving your quality of life.
In case you needed another yet another great reason to spend time with your dog (or maybe convince your boss that you can bring Fido to work), here are 5 scientifically-proven ways dogs are good for your mental health.
1. Boost Serotonin Levels
According to scientists at the University of Missouri-Columbia, petting your dog stimulates the release of serotonin, a hormone that helps fight depression and anxiety.
2. You Have Companionship
Studies show that caring for dogs (and other animals) can help make us feel needed and wanted. This social support is a proven antidote against one of the biggest triggers of depression: loneliness.
3. You Get More Exercise
Dogs force us out of the house to go on walks, hikes and runs. These activities help dog owners meet daily exercise requirements, which in turn help ward off depression and anxiety, according to a study from the University of Portsmouth in the UK.
4. You Meet New People
A study from Harvard University shows that dogs can be a great social lubricant for their owners, helping them start new friendships. Because dog owners frequently stop and talk to each other on walks, they combat loneliness, which as mentioned earlier, is one of the biggest causes of depression.
5. They Help You Create Routine
Dogs require a regular feeding and exercise schedule. Having a consistent routine keeps dogs balanced and calm—something that actually works for humans too! According to experts at the Mental Health Center, routines can help people living with mental health challenges like depression and anxiety by giving them structure in what can feel like an otherwise chaotic life.
Does your dog bark every time he sees another pooch?
Does he or she get anxious, scared, or even aggressive when you pass by another dog during a walk?
If so, your four-legged friend probably needs a little bit of extra help learning how to socialize.
Teaching your dog how to be friendly with other dogs isn't always easy. But if you're patient and follow these five steps carefully, there's a good chance you (and your dog) will be able to actually enjoy your daily walks, without being afraid of seeing other dogs.
1. Start slowly
The first thing you need to do to socialize your dog is to get them used to seeing other dogs.
This is a slow process and begins by taking daily walks to the dog park.
Or to be more precise, to the area right outside the dog park.
Stand outside the park with your four-legged friend, and allow them to watch the other pups and observe their behavior.
If your dog reacts aggressively, move back from the fence, and slowly move forward until they are comfortable and quiet. You might have to do this a few times until they can get close enough.
Once you're able to get close enough without having your dog bark, it's time to start with positive reinforcement.
2. Bribe them with treats
Most dogs will do anything for a treat.
That's why you should always have a stash of treats at your disposal to reinforce good behaviour.
When it comes to socializing your dog, this means giving them a treat whenever they have a successful interaction with another dog.
What does this look like?
Basically, whenever another dog comes near the fence of the dog park, you should give your dog a treat. This creates a positive association in your dog's mind that they will connect with being around other dogs. This will encourage positive social behavior in the long run.
3. Avoid any sort of negative reinforcement
One of the biggest mistakes that dog owners who have antisocial dogs make, is to tug on their leash whenever they see another dog during a walk.
If you're out walking and another dog comes into view, resist jerking on the leash and yelling at your dog. This reinforces the idea that seeing other dogs is a negative experience.
Instead, if your dog is getting anxious or even a bit aggressive distract them. Use a toy or a treat, and praise them for paying attention to you rather than the other dog.
While this won't help socialize them per se, it will help avoid any type of negative association related to seeing other dogs.
4. Stay on a schedule
When your dog is comfortable enough to begin socializing with others, it's important to make sure that you're still going slow. Timing interactions with other dogs is a great way to do this.
Make sure that these first interactions are long enough so that the dogs can get acquainted, but not so long as to tire your dog out. Once the pooches have established a relationship (this can take a few weeks), then you can let them spend a bit more time together.
5. Choose friends wisely
Not all dogs are meant to be friends.
That's why, when your dog is starting to become a little bit more social, it's important to be smart about the friends you choose to introduce them to.
Introducing a Shih Tzu to a St. Bernard (while adorable) may not be a great idea. Making sure that the dogs are about the same size, will facilitate socialization.
On a similar note, it's important to remember that if your dog has trouble socializing, you may not want to introduce them to extremely social dogs, nor to super shy dogs. Always make sure that the dogs you are introducing to your pooch are friendly before your facilitate a meet and sniff.
Practice Makes Perfect
Going slow and allowing your dog to become increasingly comfortable around other dogs is the key to success. Once that occurs, the more successful interactions your dog has with his furry cousins, the easier it will get!
2017 has been a great year for us, and at A Leg Up, we want to thank you for sharing it with us. To show our gratitude, we decided to give you with the best giph-t (!) of all: 10 amazing dog giphs to help lift the holiday spirit!
Don't know how to celebrate this year? Here's what you can do!
The holiday season upon us (seriously where did the year go?) and we want to help you get a headstart on your gift shopping (so you can spend more time on enjoying egg nog with friends while wearing ugly sweaters).
We encourage you to support local businesses during the holidays, and give gifts of experience rather than things, to both help our economy and environment.
A great gift idea is A Leg Up gift card, redeemable for daycare or boarding. And they’re just a click away (scroll down to get yours).
Why Is A Leg Up gift card such a great gift? We're glad you asked!
The Top 6 Reasons Boarding Makes a Great Gift
Dog lovers often don’t’ want to use a kennel.
With us, there are other like-minded dogs get to play with.
Family and friends are often too busy to help out . . . or they’re travelling too (it happens all the time with weddings).
It’s like their favourite canine gets a vacation, too.
It’s convenient – we do pick up and drop off, too.
What better way to endear yourself than to endear yourself to their dog?!
The Top 7 Reasons Daycare Makes a Great Gift
People worry about their dog when they have long days or they’re too busy.
No matter how much we people try, we can’t play with a dog like a dog plays with a dog.
It’s a great cure for separation anxiety.
Everyone loves a tired happy dog at the end of the day.
We have two locations – one at each end of town.
It’s convenient – we do pick up and drop off, too.
We play targeted games like Tic Tac Paw with them throughout the day, so the dogs get mental and physical stimulation.
If you've ever suffered from allergies, you know just how miserable they can make you feel.
The runny eyes, the sniffles, the itchy skin...yuck!
You wouldn't wish that feeling on anyone. Especially not your furry friend...
But sadly, our pups are just as prone to suffer from allergies as we are. This means that as dog parents, it's our responsibility to know how to identify the signs of an allergic reaction, and to know what do to prevent them from happening!
Here are some useful information and some handy tips.
In both dogs and human, allergies are the result of an overactive immune system.
While these systems normally protect us from actual threats such as bacteria and viruses, allergic reactions occur when the immune system mistakes non-harmful environmental substances (allergens) as threats to the body.
These allergens can be inhaled or ingested, or may simply come in contact with a dog’s skin. Depending on how the pup comes into contact with the allergen, a variety of skin, digestive, and respiratory symptoms can occur.
Here are some signs you should keep an eye out for:
Itchy, runny eyes
Itchy back or base of tail
Coughing or sneezing
Hair loss, scabs or crusts on the skin.
Types Of Allergies
The symptoms will depend on the type of allergy your dog is suffering from.
Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD)
Flea Allergy Dermatitis is a common ailment in dogs. It stems from a sensitivity to flea saliva and results in skin irritation that can make your dog feel miserable.
There are lots of flea preventatives and treatments that can help prevent FAD. If your dog suffers from it, the best thing to do is to use these treatments and comb your dog for fleas regularly during peak flea season.
Environment allergens are much harder to prevent. That's because there are so many of them, and your dog's exposure to them may be out of your control.
These are some of the most common ones:
Tree, grass, and weed pollen
Dust and house dust mites
Figuring out the exact cause of the allergy is important if you want to prevent it.
A good way to start doing this is by paying close attention to you dog. If he or she is allergic to something inside your house, he’ll have symptoms all year long. Outdoor allergies tend to be more seasonal.
If it turns out your dog has an environmental allergy, you’ll want to do everything you can to reduce that allergen inside your home. This may include:
Washing their bedding and vacuuming our house every week to prevent dust from gathering,
Bathing them weekly to help remove environmental allergens and pollen from their fur or skin
Use a gentle dog shampoo
Switching to non-toxic cleaning products
Investing in an air purifier to control dust mites,
Not smoking around your dog.
Dogs can develop food allergies at any point in their life.
Vomiting, diarrhea and constant itching are all signs that your dog may have developed a food allergy.
If this is the case, visit your vet. They'll most likely prescribe a 12 week hydrolyzed protein diet to figure out the cause of the food allergy and come up with an appropriate course of action for your dogs diet.
Dogs with food allergies typically respond best to homemade or raw diets once the allergen has been discovered.
What to do with this information?
Here are three things you can do right now to know if your dog has an allergy.
Keep an eye out for symptoms: Keeping an eye out for symptoms is extremely important. Knowing what symptoms are being exhibited is the best way to understand what kind of allergy your dog may have and figure out what to do next.
Change certain behaviours: Once you have identified that your dog is allergic to something, assess the degree of their reaction. There's a chance that all you'll have to do is change certain behaviours to make your furry friend more comfortable.
See your vet: Sometimes you can't completely remove an allergen from your dog's life. If that is the case, it may be time to talk to your vet about other treatment options. A vet may be able to prescribe medication that reduces the symptoms of the allergy while also addressing it's root cause.
Is their growling, yelping and howling getting old? Have you received complaints from the neighbours about their woofs and their ruffs?
If so, you might like these strategies to get your dog to stop barking (and behave better in the process)...
1. Stay calm...and get a treat!
Yelling at your dog to “keep quiet” when they bark is not a going to get them to stop.
In fact, you'll most likely get the opposite result: your dog will probably think that you're joining him, and bark louder.
Instead of yelling, try teaching them to be quiet on command. Like with any command you teach your pup, the key is to be consistent: every time they start barking, calmly repeat “quiet”. When they stop, give them a treat!
They'll soon learn that the word means, and will be able to quiet down!
2. Tire the dog out
Dogs need to release energy.
They need to jump, play, run.
If they are just sitting around most of the day, they tend to release energy by barking.
To avoid this, increase your dog’s daily activities. Take long walks through your neighbourhood, play fetch, and allow your dog to explore.
Stimulating your dog mentally and physically will ware him out, and a tired dog is a quiet dog.
3. Redirect their attention
Making your dog focus their attention on another activity whenever they start barking can be an effective way to calm them down when they're in the middle of a bark-attack.
Try to get them to start playing with one of their chew toys or redirect their attention to any other activity.
If they comply, reinforce this behaviour with a treat. With patience and treats, you can train them to do a specific activity instead of barking.
4. Kill the view
Some dogs instinctively bark whenever they see or hear someone outside their window.
This isn't necessarily their fault: these dogs tend to be more territorial and want to warn their owners of possible predators.
If this is the case with your dog, the best way to deal with it is to try to do things to prevent them from seeing and hearing people outside. Draw the curtains, put furniture in front of windows, or get a white noise machine to keep your dog from getting defensive.
5. Don't reinforce negative behaviour
Sometimes our first instinct as dog owners is to pick up our dogs and play with them to stop them from barking.
But this may actually be sending them the wrong message: it may teach them that barking will get them special attention.
When dogs bark for attention, the best thing you can do is ignore them. Turn your back on them if you have to.
And once the barking stops, reinforce that positive behaviour.
When accidents happen, emotions run high and without knowing how to deal with the situation safely and effectively, a natural reaction is to freeze up or go into shock.
While we hope you and your pup will ever be in the situation that you need to give them CPR, it’s always best to be prepared.
Being able to administer CPR in an emergency can increase your dog’s chance of survival until a vet is available.
So give your dog a quick hug (we know talking about this stuff is hard) and then take a few minutes to learn this very crucial skill.
Step 1: Check for responsiveness
There are a few ways you can check to see if your dog is responsive including:
Stamping your feet
Shaking the dog's body
Gently pinching the skin between the toes
Lightly tapping the corner of the eyelid near the nose to see if there is a blink response
Step 2: Check the ABCs
1. Establish an open Airway
Lift the dog’s chin so the head and neck are aligned with the body.
Open the mouth and pull the tongue all the way forward and look inside. If you see anything blocking the airway, you can use your finger to move it out.
Do a test breath by blowing in the nostrils to see if the chest moves up and down. If it does, there is an open airway.
2. Check for breathing
Watch or feel for the dog’s chest to rise and fall by placing your hand on the dog’s chest, then bring your face all the way down to the dog’s mouth to feel for breath.
3. Check for circulation
You can quickly try to check a pulse the in the inner upper thigh. However, if your dog isn’t breathing, you don’t want to waste time. If you can’t detect breathing and a pulse within 10-15 seconds, start CPR.
How to do CPR in dogs
This helpful video from the Dog Training Academy will walk you through all the steps to performing CPR.
Stick This Handy Guide On Your Fridge
The ASPCA created this great infographic to help remind you of the steps to take. Keep it on your fridge or somewhere you'll see it regularly to remind you.