5 Dog Hygiene Essentials

If there's one thing that dogs know how to do instinctively, it is playing around in places that are less-than-hygienic.Milo probably just loves digging in mud or splashing around in puddles. This is him playing, so he isn't thinking about the hygiene implication.Therefore, the onus is on you as a great dog parent to keep his hygiene top-notch at every point in time.

Here are 5 essentials to help with your pup's hygiene:: 

  1. Clean the Paws

Your pup is constantly roving about and stepping in so many places that it's hard to keep track. It is therefore not surprising that his paws can pick up various objects like molds, pollen, dust mites, and even pesticides!Dog baths are not a daily affair but cleaning Milo's paws at least once a day isn't a bad idea. You can use a rub down or a paw soak depending on your preference.If there's hair between his toes, trimming and brushing are in order too.

  1. Clean the Toys

Most, if not all of your pup's toys go in his mouth, making it an efficient germs transfer pathway. Therefore, cleaning these toys regularly is essential to maintain good hygiene.For starters, you should never use cleaning sprays or disinfectants, this can be toxic for Milo. A safer alternative is soaking the toys in a half water,half vinegar mix for about 30 minutes.Non-soft toys can be cleaned with a water-diluted bleach solution. Toys should be cleaned at least once to twice every month.

  1. Brush the Teeth

Dental hygiene for your pup goes beyond just maintaining a healthy set of teeth to actually preventing potentially fatal disease(s).Periodontal disease is caused by a buildup of tartar in the teeth, as a result of poor dental care. It can have significant side effects like lethal bacterial infections if left alone without treatment.

However, brushing your pup’s teeth can help prevent this. So, rule of thumb, when brushing your teeth, remember that Milo's need brushing too!

  1. Clean the Dog Bed

Your dog's bed can be a haven for germs and parasites. Ticks, fleas, allergens, an entire parade. Although your pup might not entirely love the entire process of keeping them clean, it is one that you have to do for their sake and yours. 

Beyond keeping your pup clean, you need to ensure that one of their favorite spots is too. A great dog bed should have a removable fabric cover so that you can wash it at least two times a month.If you have a breed that sheds significantly, then vacuuming the dog bed on the regular is in order as well.

  1. Clean the Collars and Harnesses

After some period of extended use, your pup's collar can start to smell not-too-great. Collars and harnesses do not require constant maintenance.However, once they start to smell or show dirt, it's time to wash. You could either use the washing machine or a mix of dog shampoo in hot water.Maintaining your dog's hygiene is synonymous with maintaining his well-being. You shouldn’t need any convincing since you love your pup!

Essential Tips for Walking Your Dog

Walking your dog every day isn't just about allowing them to take in the sights outdoors. It is a requirement for their overall health and well-being.Walks present an opportunity for physical exercise which your pet needs, and is pretty good for you too.

When walking Bella, here are some essential tips to note: 

  1. Allow Sniffing!

Our human noses boast of five or six million receptors. But depending on the dog breed, some may have up to 300 million!This goes to show the stark difference and just how important sniffing is to them.It allows your pet to gather information and is necessary for mental stimulation as well. Depriving Bella of exploring an interesting scent is doing her a great disservice.Provided her actions are not disturbing anybody around, give some extra minutes for sniffing.

  1. Don't Pull On the Leash

Dogs have a natural reflex called the 'opposition reflex' that causes them to go in the opposite direction of a force pulling them.From your pup's perspective, you walk way too slow for her to spontaneously explore interesting sights and smells, so tugging might happen.To ensure a loose leash always, try changing directions when she's getting ahead of you, and reward with treats when she catches up.This would encourage a constant loose J-shaped leash.

  1. Favor Alternative Walking Restraints

Traditional collars are great, but in the long run, they do more harm than good. Avoid using a slip or pinch collar or choke chain on your pup, these can be very dangerous.Instead, a great alternative could be a chest-clip harness or head halter. Your pet may be only acting up because she doesn't like their collar.Switch things up and see her go from a monster puller to a calm walker on a leash.Also, you could train your pup to walk off-leash, and implement this in areas where it's safe for her to do so.

  1. Pick Up After Them

Your dog would likely poop during the walk, and you're supposed to pick up after her. It extends beyond just being a responsible pet owner.Dog poop can be a health hazard to both pets and humans. It may have potentially harmful microorganisms like E. coli, hookworms, roundworms, salmonella, and giardia.These microorganisms can infect other pets and humans and may also permeate the soil and contaminate water bodies.

  1. Arm Yourself With Lots of Water

For walks beyond half an hour or so, particularly in hot weather, your pet would likely get thirsty.Pups have a harder time regulating their body temperature, unlike us, so they can easily overheat. Although dogs sweat, the thick coat they have makes the cooling down process pretty inefficient.Hence, they do a lot of panting, making them dehydrated rapidly.The water you bring along goes a long way in helping Bella enjoy her walk more.

What to Look for When Buying a Dog Bed

Your pup deserves a comfortable private spot to curl up and dream dog dreams. There's no spot she would be fond of as where she gnaws on her chew toys in peace and complete comfort.This is precisely why you would need to pay extra care when buying your pup a bed. No worries anyway, we're here to save you the stress of overthinking.

Here are important features to look out for when buying a dog bed:

  1. Size

You don't want to buy a bed that ends up being too small for your pup. If anything, a bed with some extra space is ideal.To choose the right bed size, factor in the body size of your dog, and then some more. The bed has to be large enough so that she can lie in all natural positions without discomfort.

Here's a rule of thumb to help: ensure that they can curl up comfortably, and also stretch out comfortably. A bed size that allows for this would be ideal. 

  1. Durability

Your pup has her chew toy, yes. But, what's to say that she wouldn't extend her chewing to the bed. In the teething stage, it helps to ease the pain.For older dogs, it's a way to maintain jaw strength and clean their teeth. There might also be factors like boredom, stress or she might be hungry.

Whatever her reason for chewing, it could be dangerous if your dog can chew up these pieces and they end up in the intestines or stomach.If your pup is a potential chewer, beds with canvas-like fabric and aluminum or PVC pipe material are advisable.

  1. Padding

A well-padded bed would provide great comfort for your pup. Dogs have bony joints that are not very padded, and this is why you need to pay special care to the bed's padding.These joints can become pressure points, and prolonged pressure on them can lead to skin wounds, pain, and probably skin damage. These joints are those of the shoulders, elbows, and hips.However, a well-padded surface would supply sufficient comfort for your pup.

  1. Material

The padding of the bed is important, but one main determining factor of comfort is the material that it is made with.For instance, high-quality memory foam would provide a more comfortable surface relative to polyester filling or loose foam.To test whether the material is great, squeeze the padding, and if you feel your fingers touch, the material might not be ideal.After a while, it would probably wear down as a result of your pooch's weight and be a source of discomfort to her.

  1. Ease of Cleaning

To start with, removable, machine-washable covers are an absolute necessity.Your dog's bed can harbor several germs and parasites, and without a clean bed, you don't have a clean pup.Ideally, you should take the covers off and wash them once or twice a month.The fabric should also be durable enough to withstand washing multiple times.

Pet First Aid; You Should Know This!

Dogs have a very inquisitive nature and danger is a strange concept. Some strange object? They're chewing on it already.This makes for a possibility of potential physical harm. Sometimes, minor emergencies might arise and all you need is basic knowledge of pet first aid.

So, here is some essential pet first aid information that you should know: 

  1. Noting the signs

There's a possibility that you didn't see what happened, and this is why noting signs is essential. For starters, you have to know your pet's regular behavior.If he's acting out of character, then there might be something wrong and you should start probing. Factors like a sudden change in appetite, smell, or behavior can indicate something out of the ordinary.

Furthermore, a sign like gasping or panting, could imply airway blockage, throwing up could indicate food poisoning, and so on. 

  1. Checking For a Pulse

Just like it is in humans, knowing how to check for a pulse in your pet is essential. The upper third of your pup's thigh region is the best place to check.Simply curl your hand on the thigh and squeeze gently from underneath. The artery which transports oxygenated blood should be pulsing.

It is advisable to use any finger apart from the thumb for this because the thumb has a strong pulse too, and may affect the accurate gauging of your pet's pulse.To get the number of beats per minute, simply time the pulse for 15 seconds and multiply this by 4.

  1. Muzzling Your Pet

When a dog is frightened or in pain, they might likely bite. Muzzling your pet is something you should be able to do. 

However, if your pet is panting, muzzling is out of the question, since they need that air source. Since he'd most likely be on the floor, gently approach and encourage him to place his nose in the muzzle.Once that's done, clip the muzzle on and ensure that it is snug. Not too tight, but not so loose that he can pull it off.

  1. Dealing With a Choking Hazard

A choking hazard can successfully block your pet's airway and prevent him from breathing easily.Some clear signs of choking or airway obstruction include extreme distress, apparent choking sounds, continuous coughing and he may also rub his face along the ground.

The easiest way to dislodge a potential choking hazard involves two simple steps:

  • Suspend your pet in the air upside down, holding up their back legs. 
  • Note the area where the ribs end and the abdomen starts, and then firmly deliver a blow to that area. 
  • Repeat that about four times. 

Another method is the Heimlich maneuver

  1. Transporting Your Dog

A major section of pet first aid entails carrying your pup the proper way. When transporting your pup,

  • Slide your dominant arm gently underneath your dog's chest and let it remain between his front lungs. 
  • Lift him gently, and let his backside cozy between your arm and body, for extra support. 
  • Place your dominant arm behind his back legs, and use your other arm to wrap and support the front of the chest. 

Fun Games to Play With Your Pup This Summer

Summer calls for spending a lot of time outdoors. The garden comes alive and everywhere looks so beautiful.There are new smells and you definitely want to give your pup a feel of this "happiest time of the year."Your pup loves nothing more than playing with his favorite human, and we understand that.

So, here are 5 game ideas that you can explore in the backyard, the garden, or the park:

  1. Frisbee

This feels like an upgraded version of fetch because Fido would be chasing over longer distances. You know how much he loves to fetch, so you can imagine how much more fun Frisbee would be for him.This game also aids agility and is a great way to exercise. If you're only just starting out, use a soft disc instead of regular hard plastic frisbees.Fido might get a couple of hits in the face when getting the hang of the game, and a hard frisbee in the face can discourage him from continuing.

  1. Hide and Seek

Bring Fido's tracking and sniffing skills to the fore with a game of hide and seek. You could even recruit family members so that it's a lot more exciting.Hide in a secluded spot and call out to him to find you. The longer it takes, the more exciting it is for him.To increase excitement further, you could have multiple family members calling out at the same time. As he gets better at tracking everybody down, you could raise the bar on the challenge.Let's see how Fido aces this tracking test.

  1. Tug of War

The excitement in Fido's eyes would be almost palpable, and this is a guarantee. Tug of war is one of the games that pups love the most. The main reason, of course, is the fact that you're trying to get something from them.They have a natural back and forth tugging instinct associated with getting food. Therefore, their natural instincts kick in here. To play, a rugged stuffed toy or strong rope toy works fine.Just ensure that it isn't fraying so that your pet doesn't ingest string.

  1. Treasure (Treats) Hunt

This is a great way for your pup to have fun, and be rewarded with his favorite treats at the end.Hide his favorite treats all around the garden, in different locations, and of course, the smelly ones. So, he has to track down all of these treats while the smells pleasantly assault his senses all over the garden.You can change hiding places from time to time while he's at it, making the game extra fun.

  1. Water Games

A hot day out in the garden goes beautifully with water games. You could use a kiddie pool filled with water and allow your pup to go crazy.If you have a pool, and Fido can swim, this works just fine too. Also, you could visit a pet-friendly beach and watch him splash around in the waves.A game of fetch with a ball would fit in just nicely into the mix too.