I have found this topic to be quite the debate amongst vets, dog owners, and the general public. While one person may say your dog looks just fine, the other may say your dog is absolutely over weight! But how can we really tell? I will explain!
You should be able to feel your dogs bones (aka: ribs) underneath the layer of skin and tissue quite easily.
However, you should not see your dogs ribs too easily, as in, they should not be popping up from the fur/skin.
If you cannot feel your dogs ribs, that’s a good indication that your pooch may be over weight.
If you really have to hunt for those rubs, your dog is absolutely over weight.
While standing directly over your dog, you should see a very definitive waist. For example, your dogs chest and rib cage should be wider than your dogs hip/belly area. There should always be an indent to the waist.
If your standing over your dog and its waist is the same size or larger size than its ribcage, your dog is over weight.
Some people find chubby dogs cute and adorable, while that may be true to the eye, whats going on internally is the most important thing. When your dog is over weight, they too go through physical and mental issues, just like us humans can. Physically it makes it difficult for them to get up or down just simply because of all the unnecessary added weight to their bones and muscle structure. It can damage or injure bones and joints, as well as add layers of fat around their organs. Dogs are not meant to be over weight, they are only meant to carry enough fat for energy, not for insulation purposes. Extra weight can easily make your dog hot all the time, or get hot much quicker than a healthy weight would. These animals need to be monitored more closely in the summer months for risk of having a heat stroke. Also, an over weight pooch may live a lesser amount of years because of the damage it has done to its body while aging. So if you want your furry friend around for a while, I suggest taking a look at his or her weight, and make the proper adjustments if needed. Always read the ingredients in your dog food, the first ingredient should always be a good protein source. Also, look at the sugar content of the food and the carbohydrate levels, as these two items will add more pounds to your pooch than needed. A raw protein diet is the healthiest way to go in our opinion, which is exactly what the wolves get out in the wild. So please, keep an eye on your dogs weight and pay attention to those ingredients, it may save your companions life!
Preparing for your trip
First and foremost ensure that the camping location you are planing to stay at allows dogs and familiarize yourself with their policies on dogs. You will also want to ensure your dogs health for the trip by confirming they are up to date on vaccines (including a bordetella vaccine) and routine health checks. They should also be on flea/tick/heartworm prevention. Also, make sure they are micro-chipped and/or have the appropriate collar with ID tags. These tags should have a cell phone number on them so you can be contacted ASAP in regards to your dog.
What to pack
Bring enough water for your dog to drink, unless there is a water supply available at the campsite that you plan to use. DO NOT allow your dog to drink out of standing bodies of water while camping. Your dog should continue to eat his regular diet during the trip; pack enough food and treats to last for your entire stay. Pack a food dish and water bowl. Bring appropriate bedding such as a blanket or a cot-style bed. I would not suggest large pillow/couch like beds for sanitary reasons. Also bring some toys to keep your dog occupied.
Make sure to pack a copy of your dog’s health records and vaccination reports. This is especially important if you are crossing state lines. These vet records can also come in handy if for any reason they need to be boarded while you are camping. Other essential items include a leash or long line and collar or harness, if required a carrier or other means to confine your dog, bags to pick up your dog’s waste, a first aid kit, a brush or comb and any medications your dog takes regularly.
Once at the camping ground, follow campground policies which frequently include keeping your dog on leash. Depending on campground policy you can get a longer line as well for this purpose or have your dog properly off leash trained. This will keep peace with your camping neighbors and your dog will not be at minimal risk for becoming lost or injured. Keep a close eye on your dog and keep them near you at all time. Be aware of keeping your dog away from things such as campfires and cooking utensils that can cause injury. A “leave it” command is also useful in case your dog begins to explore or picks up something that he should not have.
While camping, check your dog’s fur and skin regularly for ticks as well as for plant material like thorns or burrs. Plant materials should be brushed free of your dog’s hair, if possible. In some situations, cutting or shaving the hair may be necessary to remove these items. Remove ticks promptly by grasping the tick near the skin and pulling gently and slowly away from the skin. Wear gloves when doing so. Do not handle ticks with bare hands as they can transmit diseases to you as well as to your dog.
Most campground activities you can probably do with your dog as well. You can take walks on nature trails or go biking. If your dog is well behaved and you are a good swimmer take him for a canoe ride. The picture at the beginning of this article is of the last time I went camping. We had a pleasant afternoon on the lake and we stayed dry the whole time.
*This article originally sourced from http://blog.deboerdogboarding.com
I just listened to a story of someone living next to a person who had 3 dogs and 2 cats, and decided she didn’t want to live there anymore. So this person packed up her stuff, took the smallest dog with her, and headed out to a new place of living over an hour away. With no regards to the animals left behind, they were to fend for themselves inside this vacant home with no way out to go potty, no food, and no water. After about 2 days of no one showing up anymore and the dogs barking from inside the house like crazy, a neighbor popped over to see what was going on with the animals. Looking in the windows, she quickly realized these animals were simply left behind. When she made a phone call to the owner, she said her sons were taking care of the house and animals twice daily, although this was not the truth at all. So asking permission to enter the home and give the animals food and water, the friendly neighbor started going over a few times a day to let them out to go potty as well. Realizing the cats were eating dog food (which is not good for cats), she went to the store and picked up a bag of cat food. The owner insisted she was coming back for these animals in a matter of a couple days, but if the neighbor could find them all new homes, then she would just give them away (not even knowing who would take them or where they were going.) So the neighbor did everything she could to find a better home and better owner for these animals, but to no avail. A few days passed and the owner still never showed. In the meantime, the friendly neighbor was still going over to take care of them, although on one particular day, she found one of the dogs laying on the floor. This dog had died. Most likely from stress of her terrible living situation and lack of human attention and affection. Heart broken, the neighbor called animal control, made a report to press on the owner, and have the dog removed from the home. These stories are not far and few in between. Animals are left in abandoned homes and garages all the time. Most are left outside to bare the weather. If you see ANY animal in this kind of danger, please please please report it right away, do not hesitate to call and help, these animals need our voices! Do the right thing and help save an animals life.
In the end of all of this, that same friendly neighbor adopted 2 beautiful cats and 1 gorgeous Great Dane, and they all live very healthy and happily together.
Wet Noses: The wetness is a mucous secreted to help absorb scent, which the dog will then lick their noses to sample the scent through their mouth. Impressive!
Heart to Heart: A small breed dogs heart beat is around 100-140 beats per minutes, whereas a larger breed dogs heart beat is only 60-100 beats per minute.
Good Eyes!: Dogs really can see in the darkness, thanks to a special membrane called the tapetum lucidum.
You will need 1 quart of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, 1 teaspoon liquid dish washing soap and large plastic container and rubber gloves. The gloves are optional but recommended. It is important to wash your dog immediately with this solution before the skunk oils dry or your dog will have a residual smell for months.
While you are preparing your solution, it is best to keep your dog outside or your home will bear that wonderful skunk smell for about 9o days (give or take). First check to make sure the skunk did not get into the dogs eyes. If eyes are irritated or red flush with cool water immediately.
When you mix the solution use a large plastic container (at least 1-gallon if not larger is recommended). Metal containers can encourage auto-decomposition of the peroxide. Caution: Do NOT save this mixture or make it ahead of time, as the mixture could explode if left in a bottle or container. DO NOT get the solution in the dog’s eyes.
To clean your dog thoroughly massage the mixture into your their fur. Let it sit for a few minutes. The longer you leave it in, the more likely it is that your dogs coat will become “bleached” because of the peroxide. Then rinse solution out completely.
March 11th, 2015
Your Pooches Nail Care
Your dogs nail care is just as important if not more important than your own nail care! The basic rule of thumb is when their nails touch the ground, its time to be trimmed. You will see dogs who live in an area where there is mostly grass or dirt, or mainly inside dogs, will need their nails trimmed much more often than a dog who lives in the city. This is because they are not naturally grinding down their nails on pavement and gravel like most city living dogs do. In fact, most city pooches won’t ever need their nails trimmed, unless they still have their dew claws, then in that case those two nails will need a trimming here and there.
Make sure to purchase nail trimmers for your dog in the correct size. You would never want to use large snippers on a toy breed for example. There are also nail filers available, which instead of clipping will grind the nail down and round out the rough edges. Some are battery powered while others will plug into an outlet.
Of course you always want to make sure your pooch is okay with having their paws touched and held. Ideally you would have started this while they were a young pup, getting them use to having their paws touched and then eventually their nails trimmed. Make sure to take your time and stay calm yourself, because remember, whatever your feeling on the inside, your dog will feel through your energy as well!
While holding your dogs paw firmly, clip the nail top to bottom, not side to side, and be sure to cut a similar curvature in its nail, verses a completely vertical cut. Be sure not to clip the quick, which is the pink area that contains blood vessels and nerves. However if you do by accident, expect and little whine from them, and calmly apply a styptic powder to stop the bleeding. A good indicator that your nearing the quick is when you see a circle on the nail where you just clipped. When you see this, you know that nail is trimmed up and your ready to move to the next one.
If you have a complete fear of trimming your dogs nails, or even a lot of anxiety, please do not hesitate to bring them to a groomer and let a professional do it for you. We always recommend finding reviews on the groomer of your choice before making a decision of who to go with for your trimming needs. Happy Trimming!!
March 9th, 2015
Spring Time and Your Pooch!
The snow is finally melting, the breeze is warming up, and flowers are starting to bloom! However, its not all sunshine and beautiful butterflies, we need to make sure our four legged companions are protected from the bad insects and parasites!
As the weather turns warmer, the biting insects become more active. This can lead to internal organ issues, lack of nutrition, and sometimes may even lead to death. Spring time is very important to have your pooches on preventative medication as well as a great topical to keep those fleas and pesky insect biters away!
Beware of mosquito’s around your dogs as well! They can do much more damage than just an itchy bump. They can carry diseases like heart worm. This disease is not one to be overlooked, so make sure your dogs are not outside unattended for long lengths of time as well as not tracking through thickly wooded areas or wet areas, as mosquito’s are quite thick amongst them.
And one more friendly reminder! Cat and dog preventative medication and topical treatments are much different, so please be careful to separate the two if you have feline companions as well.
Enjoy this beautiful weather friends!
March 6th, 2015
Would you steal a dog if it looked abused and neglected?
This topic has been the center of many heated debates. Some folks say “I would absolutely steal a dog if clearly the laws were broken in providing for it, and would take necessary steps in retrieving the animal to properly care for it and find a new safe forever home”, while others say “If the dog is not yours, you have no right in taking it. Just as much as you can’t take someones property because it was abused or neglected. The best thing to do is report it to the proper authorities and allow the law to handle the situation.”
Take a moment and think about what you may do.
We are not consenting or agreeing to either side here, but we believe this topic should be heard and given some consideration on what the best thing may be to do. Maybe with the help of the public, our laws may change in the future and make it more difficult for people to leave their dogs outside year round chained or tied up, without shelter, fresh water, etc. The truth is, yes there are many dogs left neglected and in most cases abused as well. It is up to us to use our voices when their voices cannot be heard. We as people need to come together and stand up for these innocent animals and make sure they all get a chance at a safe, healthy, and happy life.
February 28th, 2015
Did you know?
In every breed of dogs, there are two different types. This is written especially for first time pet owners, or owners who are looking at a breed different than what they have had in the past.
If your looking for that laid back couch potato dog that everybody, even strangers, can interact with, then you definitely want to make sure to ask your breeder, or better yet, your professional dog behaviorist/trainer what pick of that litter is right for you! Asking for help picking out your next companion is a very wise choice. So many people are either mislead or just simply do not know the difference and will end up with a dog that’s too hyper or too strong to handle, and end up giving the dog to a humane society, shelter, or simply passing it on to the next person. Please help us keep all of our dogs in the right, and safe loving homes forever by simply explaining to the breeder (or whomever your purchasing your pooch from) what kind of dog your looking for as far as the temperament and overall personality so you can be matched up to your perfect canine companion for many years to enjoy!
February 15th, 2015
There Are Heroes in Every Breed
originally sourced from: http://themetapicture.com/hearts-of-gold/
February 6th, 2015
Apple Cider Vinegar and Your Dog
Anti-bacterial and Anti-fungal
Just as you would use bleach or any other household cleaner, you can use ACV to clean and disinfect your home. It is due to the malic acid found in ACV that it is a great natural alternative to harsh household cleaners.
Whether your dog has a little dirt in their ears or a full-blown infection, cleaning your dogs ears with ACV (diluted equal parts) will help clean and heal their ears. Use a cotton ball or soft cloth with ACV dilution to apply in the ears. For routine cleaning once or twice a week would suffice. If an infection is suspected once or twice a day until infection is gone would be recommended (approximately 10-14 days). Always consult with a veterinarian to confirm an infection and for a treatment plan.
Flea Repellent & Control
For all external flea repellent and control methods a diluted solution of 1 part ACV to 1 part water would be suggested.
Soak your dogs collar or bandanna for all-natural flea collars.
Put it in your dog’s water or food; once teaspoons per 25lbs of dog. Adjust this according to your dogs weight.
Create a spray to apply to your dog as a bug spray to apply before hikes or any other activities where fleas may be present.
As a Flea bath. When using this as a flea bath simply applied the diluted solution to the dog and allow the dog to dry to not rinse your dog. White distilled vinegar can be used in this scenario as well.
You can make a rinse of one part vinegar to sixteen parts water (1 cup per one gallon). Once the dog has been shampooed and conditioned, apply the vinegar solution and rinse off of your dog.
Other various benefits
Although vinegar itself is acidic it has an alkaline effect in our dog’s (and our own) body.
Due to its rich content of minerals, vitamins and enzyme; it helps to improve functions of vital organs such as kidneys, liver, and bladder.
There are several other proposed benefits and uses of ACV that are not mentioned here. The uses discussed here are several of the ways I have successfully used ACV.
What NOT to do
Do not use dead vinegar (filtered vinegar such as sushi or wine vinegar).
Never give undiluted ACV for your dog to take internally.
When using as a rinse, be cautious not to get it in your dog’s eyes.
Avoid using ACV on open wounds such as cuts or scratches as it will burn.
*This article originally sourced from http://blog.deboerdogboarding.com
January 28th, 2015
How Does Your Dog Know?
This blog will be a short but interesting one! Our little furry friends know more about us than you think, and sometimes more than even you know about your own self. They have a natural given gift to sniff out some of the most undetectable scents, and 95-98% of the time, they are accurate.
Have you heard over the recent years that dogs may be able to sniff out cancer in humans? Well, its true! Just like they are able to detect the change in a females body when she becomes pregnant. All the new hormones flooding a females body may make their natural scent change as well, and this is what the dogs will pick up on. In more cases than not, the dog knows your pregnant before you do. Once you find out for yourself, that will explain why your pooch may have acted so funny recently.
They picked up on the change, and because they are unsure of what that means exactly (unless you have had pregnancies in the past with the same dog), they tend to behave differently around you. Most often, your dog will become quite attached to you, and sometimes more protective than usual, or if they were never protective, they may be now. So keep in mind if you and your spouse are trying to have a little one of your own, your pooch may be the first to deliver the news!!
January 15th, 2015
Keeping Your Dog Safe This Winter
Keep pets indoors and warm
My Eva would spend all day outside if I let her, but is best to limit yours dog’s time outside. Do not allow your dog to be idle indoors, however, or they can/will act out. You can still take your dogs for walks, as weather allows, or find fun indoor games to keep their mind sharp. Teaching your dog a “find” command is great for those winter months. To do this, hide your dog’s favorite toy or treat and have them search for it in the home.
You should also consider your dog’s coat type. A German Shepherd Dog will be able to withstand colder temperatures better than a Pit Bull, as example. For those dogs with a short coat, a sweater or jacket may be a necessity.
Consider windchill, it can threaten a pet’s life. Dogs are at risk, just as humans are, for frostbite and hypothermia during extreme cold snaps. Exposed skin on noses, ears and paws can freeze quickly and suffer permanent damage.
Give your dogs plenty of food and water
Keeping warm takes energy and burns calories. When your dog has spent a lot of time outside make sure to feed an appropriate amount of food and, as always, keep fresh water available.
Protect paws from salt
Buy pet friendly ice melt. The salt and other chemicals used in ice melt can irritate the pads of your dog’s feet. Make sure to wipe all paws with a damp towel before your dog licks them and irritates their mouth.
Avoid antifreeze poisoning
Antifreeze is a deadly poison, but it has a sweet taste that may attract dogs. Wipe up spills and keep antifreeze (and all household chemicals) out of reach of your dog. Coolants and antifreeze made with propylene glycol are less toxic to dogs and other pets.
Be careful with cats, wildlife and cars
This one is not relevant to dogs specifically, although a small dog may do this. The warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildlife, who may crawl up under the hood. If you park outside, hit your car’s hood to scare them away before starting your engine.
Speak out if you see a pet left in the cold
If you see a dog (or any pet for that matter) left in the cold, document what you see. Important information to gather would be the date, time, exact location and type of animal, plus as many details as possible. I would also suggest video and/or photos. Contact your local animal control agency, in Muskegon County this happens to be the Sheriff’s Department. Make sure you note with whom you speak and when. Then follow up in a few days if the situation has not been remedied.
January 4th, 2015
Dog Fighting Rings
All over the world on every given day, a dog fight is taking place. Although rescue organizations are doing their very best to stop this cruelty, thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dogs from all over the globe are being thrown into fighting rings. The sad thing is most of these dogs do not want to fight. They are thrown in as bait against another opponent, and whether the bait dog fights back or not, the fight continues. These dogs are usually very young, and kept chained outside to a tree, pole, or “shack” of a dog house. These animals have no connection with humans, other dogs, or the outside world. The only humans these dog know are the handlers walking them to the fighting ring. They do not get love or affection, they do not have toys or play mates, they do not go for walks or runs, these dogs are strictly used for human entertainment and money. Why does the public not hear more if these tragic events? Dog fighting rings are “underground” means of entertainment, found both in urban and rural areas. Often times, two dogs fight until the death. If the losing opponent has not died in the ring but suffers very serious injuries, the dog is usually euthanized (sometimes inhumanely by the dogs handler) instead of seeking medical attention that could be quite costly to the handler. Most of these dogs also never see a veterinary doctor, therefore they suffer their entire lives with gaping wounds, gashes to their flesh, holes through the meat of their bodies, and most often, bitten off ears and tails. These animals are put back in their cage or on their chain without medication or wound care. Food and water is a bare minimum, and most of the time when given, is not clean. If these dogs are not suffering from a dog fight, their living conditions, or the lack of water and food, they are simply withering away, frightened and alone. The object of this blunt but true post is to raise awareness of dog fighting rings and their dangers. We invite everyone to do their own research, read the true stories, and look at the real pictures. The words and images will show you the truth, one that we cannot deny, and one that we should all pull together and fight against. Please volunteer your time with rescue organizations to help in any way possible. If you ever suspect animal abuse in any way, please do not hesitate to call for help. Animal abuse is now a felony in most cases here in the U.S. Help us help these poor animals, and bring more of our babies back to loving homes.
December 28th, 2014
Foods Deadly to Dogs
Did you know how many different foods there are that may be harmful or even deadly to your pooch? Several items found in your home on a daily basis can be a hazard to your dogs health if he/she gets into it. Here is a list that can help you keep certain items out of your dogs reach.
Several Human Medicines
If you know or suspect your pooch has consumed any of these items, please call a poison control hotline such as Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661. Please note, a fee may apply when calling a help hotline. You may also go to www.petpoisonhelpline.com for more information.
December 15th, 2014
Sweet potato jerky treats for you and your dog
Most people have heard the saying, “You are what you eat”. Well, so is your dog. Below, you will find
a sweet potato jerky treat recipes for your dog (and for you too, if you feel so inclined!).
Sweet Potato Jerky
1 sweet potato will make about 20 treats. These treats should be stored in the fridge and will have
a shelf life of 2 weeks. If the treats last that long!
Preheat oven to 300 degrees
Once these jerky recipes are complete and cooled, you can cut them into desired treat size.
Remember proper storage will insure maximum shelf life for your homemade treats.
December 1st, 2014
Yellow Dog Project
Yellow ribbons symbolize anything from military support to suicide awareness. Did you also know that a yellow ribbon tied around a dogs leash or collar also has a purpose? These yellow ribbons simply mean a dog needs special consideration and space. A dog could be uneasy in new situations or recovering from a surgery, to a number of other reasons. As the Yellow Dog Project’s website clearly explains these ribbons are not an excuse to avoid proper training, an admittance of guilt, a confession, or a waiver of responsibility.
For further information on this initiative you can visit the Yellow Dog Project’s website or
their Facebook page.
November 18, 2014
Did you know that Humane Society’s all over the United States are becoming increasingly over populated each day? This is a growing problem and unless we all help pitch in to stop it, we can only expect it to get worse.
Over 2.7 million dogs and cats are euthanized here in the United States each year. Many of the accounted for are the offspring of animals who were never spayed or neutered, or were allowed to roam freely. There are many ways you can help end this major problem.
– Make sure your animals are kept on your property and not roaming freely.
- Spay/Neuter your animal if you are going to allow them around other animals unsupervised.
- If your pet is unruly, please contact a trainer and solve the problem before handing them over to a rescue or Humane Society.
- Train all of your animals to ensure there not bigger problems in the future that may lead you to giving up your animal to a rescue or Humane Society.
- If you are unable to care for your animal, please work to find a loving home for them before dropping them off at a rescue or Humane Society.
- Never be ashamed to ask for help to care for your animal.
You can also help by volunteering some of your time at a local shelter or Humane Society, they are always in need of an extra set of hands!
A quickly growing problem we see everyday are owners who hand their dog over to a shelter or Humane Society because of behavioral issues. This is no reason to have to give up your pet, not just yet. K9 Specialist has seen it all, from annoying habits like chasing cars or excessive barking to severe aggression and total lack of control. All of these problems can be controlled with the proper form of training.
Al Casimiro, Owner, Animal Behaviorist and Top Trainer of K9 Specialist, also has a degree in Human Psychology. This extensive knowledge helps not only to understand your dogs behavior and why he/she is doing it, but it also helps him understand the owner. This allows him to see the full picture, including what the dog may be thinking or feeling, as well as what the owner thinks and feels. A large majority of training and working with your dog properly comes from the energy you as an owner is giving off to the dog. We teach you how to control anxiety and fear, and bring forth a more stable energy, one that is calm, confident and collected. Rather than your dog feeling worked up and anxious, K9 Specialist will help your companion feel much more at ease and very comfortable about being by your side.