May Is Pet Allergy & Asthma Awareness Month

Allergies are common in pets, especially when Spring pops up and so does all of the pollen. Many of us humans are affected by the pollen that flies around and we get the indefinite sniffles, coughs, sneezes, and puffy eyes. Not only can allergies be miserable for humans, but they can be miserable for our furry friends. 

Asthma can also affect both cats and dogs during this time. Here are some signs and symptoms that you should look for in your pets to make sure that everyone is enjoying the warmer weather and the outdoors.

Allergies are common in pets

Ah, the pretty grass and the bright new leaves! Everything is so fresh and new but what else is new is all of that tree and grass pollen. Depending on where you live will also depend on high those pollen rates are going to be. While humans are affected by seasonal allergies, so are cats and dogs, and knowing what affects them can certainly help you keep them from chewing their fur off. 

Does your dog seem to be chewing and licking their paws more often right now? Are her paws getting red and inflamed? If so, then you probably have a case of allergies with your fur baby. 

The same can manifest in cats. They can have skin and ear infections, also chew on their paws, and have wheezing, coughing, and sneezing. Keep a close on these symptoms in both cats and dogs since their symptoms generally will devolve a lot faster than in a human. 

Pet Allergy Symptoms

  • Chewing of their paws
  • Ear infections
  • Coughing & sneezing
  • Wheezing, especially if they have asthma
  • Rash
  • Skin irritation and inflammation

How do I prevent allergies in my pet?

Bathing, pet food, and even mild medications can help keep your pet a lot more comfortable during the Springtime allergens. Also, talking with your vet will help you figure out what the best course of action will be for both of you. Here are some of our suggestions (yes, even if you have a cat, some of these can be used, but contact your vet before giving either your dog or cat any kind of human medication).

  1. Bathing: regular bathing is always going to help your pet's skin be moisturized when using the right shampoo. If your pet is more susceptible to allergens, using the right medicated shampoo will help alleviate symptoms. While Dawn seems like a great shampoo, during high allergy season, make sure that you're bathing your dog and cat with the right shampoo and save the Dawn for your now pollen-covered car. 

Also, something else that you can do to help your dog after you have gone out on a walk is to make sure that you wipe down his coat with a soft cloth and clean his paws before coming back into the house This help keep the pollen outside and keep your pet comfy inside

  1. Pet food: Cats are especially affected by low-moisture food, and allergies can only increase their skin irritation. The same can go for dogs, too. Make sure that you're feeding your dog and cat the right food that can help them retain the right body weight as well as the right amount of retained water. Also, some foods can contain allergens and contaminants that can also exacerbate allergies when going outdoors. Make sure you consult your vet if your Fido or Fluffy has seasonal allergies. 
  1. Antihistamines: Use these sparingly and, again, consult your veterinarian. Antihistamines can help alleviate symptoms in your pets if they are showing a lot of signs of an allergy – paw chewing, scratching ears, skin irritation, etc. PetMD has some great advice on how to administer medications to your pet that is showing allergic reactions. 

Pets can have asthma, too

While not usual, pets can also have asthma. It's an allergic reaction to environmental stimulants, so you'll need to pay special attention to your cat or dog if they also have allergies. Beyond just pollen, perfumes and dust in your house can also affect your pets. Here are some symptoms that you should look for. 

Asthma symptoms in pets

  • Wheezing or trouble breathing
  • Coughing & sneezing
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Pale or blue gums (see your vet immediately if this happens)

Preventing asthma in your pets

  • Don't smoke around your pets, especially in enclosed areas
  • Refrain from aerosol sprays like hairspray
  • Don't use perfumes
  • Try to use natural cleaners as much as possible
  • Make sure your floor cleaning products are pet friendly
  • Bathing your pet regularly
  • Clean the little box regularly

Still not sure? Make sure that you make an appointment with your vet to go over all of the symptoms that you see to find out what's ailing your cat or dog. Keeping up with their pet food, regular shots, and regular wellness exams will keep you, your pet, and your veterinarian up-to-date on what's going on with your pet's health. Also, now might be the time to consider some pet insurance, too, so you're always protected against any emergency problems that might arise in the future.

How to Workout With Your Dog: 7 Awesome Exercises

The warm weather that we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived! It’s time to throw off the sweater and hit the outdoors in your sleeveless shirts. But there’s another little guy (or girl) who’s been waiting to enjoy the beautiful sunshine as well: your loveable pooch!

Your dog wants to play around in the sun and flowers, too, and there’s nothing they would like better than to enjoy the day with you. With this in mind, you would really benefit from getting in a good workout with your dog. But what sorts of workouts could you really do with your doggo? What is the best way to exercise with your dog?

No need to fear! This article will give you some good ideas as to what you can do to have a fun dog workout with your pup. Keep reading to find out more!

1. Standard Curl Workouts With Your Dog!

Everyone loves a good curl, so why not switch out the ol’ dumbbells with your four-legged friend? This is an easy workout to do, as well. Simply gather your dog around your forearms and go for a nice lift. Don’t forget to do a few sets to make the workout worth it!

2. Go for a Walk!

The age-old workout with Man’s Best Friend! Going for a walk is one of the easiest things to do, and you get to see a whole set of sights and sounds. Just strap on the doggie lease and you’re ready to go.

3. Do Some Doogo Squats!

Time to get those legs strong and toned! Doing squats with your dog is simple to do. Hold your dog in your forearms and keep them close, then go down for a nice squat Make sure you keep good form!

4. It’s the Right Time for Hiking!

Want to upgrade your walking challenge? Try going on a hike! Hikes are a challenging way to get your blood pumping and strengthen your connection with your best friend.

5. Try Puppy Pushups!

These are easy to do, as long as your dog is willing to stay on your back. Simply use your doggo as resistance as you do traditional pushups. Doggy licks are almost guaranteed to be your reward.

6. Planks With the Pooch!

If you can’t do a pushup, don’t worry; planks are a great option as well, and they work your core even more than a traditional pushup. have Fido act as resistance as well on this move.

7. Don’t Forget to do Yoga!

Yoga is not only good for you, but also for your pup. There’s flexibility and mental calmness involved for both you and your pet, and both of you will grow stronger because of this great workout.

Get Going With Your Pup!

Now that you know how to workout with your dog, you can have tons of fun with them over the coming sunny months. Make sure that you enjoy spending time with your pooch and get toned and fit with your best furry friend!

How To Tell If Your Dog Is Getting Too Much Exercise

Have you wondered if you have tuckered out your dog too much but he's still wanting to have fun? Well, there are telltale signs that your Fido may be getting too much exercise. We'll go through things that you should look for in your dog and how to make sure that you both are being safe yet healthy.

Exercise is Good

Exercise is good for both you and your dog. When you do exercise together, you continue to strengthen your bond and create fun and lasting memories. It benefits both your physical needs as well as your mental needs, maintains muscle mass, and continues to have long-lasting health benefits. Coaxing your furry friend off the couch, and yourself as well helps cardiovascular health, decreases obesity, and helps maintain a healthy weight. So, get out and start having some fun. 

So, how do you know that your dog has had a bit too much exercise? Let's dig into that but we're not going to bury a bone here. We want to make sure that you are keeping your doggo healthy but protected. 

Pause for the Paws

Whether it's Summer or Winter or any other time of the year, you'll always want to make sure that you keep track of Buster's paws when you're exercising. 

During the summer months, the pavement can get extremely hot which can burn and blister his paws while you're out walking. Try thinking about taking your furry friend out for early morning walks or taking a drive to the local dog park. Keeping his paws off of the pavement will definitely keep his paws protected. If you're in an urban area, pavement covers up to as much as 45% walking areas. On a steamy, hot summer day, asphalt alone can get up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Ouch! Who wants to walk on that?!

Adversely, the winter months can have the same effect to your pup's paws. Snow, ice, and salt can also take a toll on your dog's paws. Getting some booties for their paws is always good, especially when you're active. 

Regardless of when you're exercising with your pup, make sure that her paws are protected and always check them when you get home. 

Muscle Soreness

We all get it, especially when we get back out to working out again. Sore muscles and stiffness are also things that your dog can get if they get too much exercise or too much in a short period of time. You will need to make sure that you watch your dog for any signs that they refuse to get up, get down, move, or have a hitch in their steps. These problems can result in too much exercise. To make sure that you and your dog are working well together, take exercise a little bit easier. You go out for your run in the morning and do light play with your dog after you get back. Both of you get some exercise, mental stimulation, but you're both protecting each other from overdoing it. 

If you have a dog that has a strong work and play drive, you will have to be extra careful and extra cognizant of their movements. You'll need to look for stiffness, potential aggression, passiveness, or favoring a leg. These can all be telltale signs of overworking and over-exercising your dog.

Don't Forget The Joints

With everything mentioned above, too much exercise can cause some join damage like sprains and strains. Since about 60% of a dog's weight is on their front limbs, excessive exercise can lead to a lot of various problems. Depending on the breed of your dog, over-exercising can put your dog's limbs at risk for injury. Low-to-the-ground dogs like Basset Hounds, Dachshunds, and Pekinese can be easily at risk for joint injuries. 

Also, the age of your dog can also have an effect on too much exercise. A dog that is younger can withstand longer walks, while puppies and senior dogs need shorter walks. Puppies can go on multiple walks throughout the day while a couple of shorter walks for senior dogs is a good choice. 

It's good to know the signs of your dog and what they are going through. Keep exercising, but also make sure that Fido and Maggie are also getting the best and most comfortable exercise. 

Pet Sitters vs Kennels – Which is Best for Your Pet?

Entrusting a stranger to look after your beloved pet is a difficult decision for any owner to make. Who's more qualified, the kennel facility, or the pet sitters you find through apps such as Rover and Wag? How can you be certain that your furbaby ends up in good hands?

What to Look for In a Kennel

While the rates for pet hotels tend to be higher than those of a sitter, the best facilities offer services that your neighborhood dog-walker can't! Most kennels provide professional bathing, grooming, training, along with live surveillance that can be accessed from your phone. You're able to see who interacts with your pet the most and observe how they're responding to the stay.

Don't depend on online reviews for an honest peek into the facility you're interested in. Take a tour and see for yourself! Is there rat poop in the drains or along the floorboards? Are the individual runs clean and free of urine or feces? Do the animals have proper bedding? Are senior dogs getting the extra attention necessary? 

Make sure that the building is up to date with Fire Marshal regulations and ask to see where the extinguishers are located. Some locations keep one or two staff members on-site during the evening, but it’s not uncommon for companies to send all of their employees home after a certain time in the evening.

This is something to seriously consider if you're not comfortable with your pet being alone for an extended period away from home.

Working With a Sitter

You may have to set up your own surveillance system if you hire an in-home pet sitter, but at least you know exactly who is coming and going. Keeping your furbaby at home also means that they won't have as much exposure to diseases like kennel cough and distemper. Both are highly contagious, and outbreaks have occurred in boarding facilities.

Give your sitter a mini-interview. Ask them about their experience with animals. If your pet has any special needs, find out whether or not they'll be comfortable with the requirements. Unlike boarding facilities, you may have better like with the accuracy of online reviews. Look for someone who has repeat clients, lots of photos, and a good reputation within the community of the app or website.

Keep in mind that a cheaper rate doesn't necessarily mean that you're getting an awesome deal. Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. It’s no different when hiring someone to look after the thing you love most! 

Ultimately, it’s up to you to make the judgment about what's right for you and your pet. In terms of safety and comfort, where do you think your dog, cat, or otherwise will feel the least anxious in your absence? When you examine each scenario, which option makes you feel at ease?

Take a few nights to sleep on it so that you can make an informed, well-thought-out decision.

Retractable Leashes for Dogs: This is What You Need to Know

While most puppies can learn simple commands as early as 7 weeks, most experts agree that you start formally training your dog around 6 months of age.

Training your dog includes everything from house training to socializing and walking on a leash. When you start leash training, you’ll have a choice between a retractable or fixed leash.

Retractable leashes have a bad reputation but incidents with this type of leash are largely the result of improper use. There are pros and cons to this type of leash and specific times when you’d consider using them.

If you’re trying to find the right leash for your dog, keep reading. We’re going to tell you when to choose a retractable dog leash and why. 

Pros of Retractable Leashes

The number one benefit of a retractable leash is that it gives your dog freedom to roam while still giving you a degree of control by having them tethered. But there are a few additional benefits to these dog products, depending on the type of dog you have.

If your dog tends to tangle their leash, a retractable leash can’t twist into knots. Dogs who tangle their leash tend to be high-energy dogs, and these dogs also benefit from retractable leashes. That’s because they have more freedom to roam, which gives you a better chance of tuckering them out and exhausting their energy.

If you’re a runner or jogger, you might benefit from a retractable leash if you like to take your dog with you. Using a retractable leash means you don’t have to stop every few feet. Your dog can run alongside you or in front of you and do their business without you having to stop.

Cons Of Retractable Leashes

The cons of retractable leashes include the degree of control that you have. Retractable leashes can give your dog 16ft or even 30ft of leeway. If you need to gain control over your dog while they’re that far away, you’re going to have a hard time doing so.

The other downsides of retractable leashes have to do with how they’re made. For one, a retractable dog leash made from nylon can not only snap but also cause rope burns. And big, bulky handles are easy to lose grip of, which means the leash will go bouncing behind your dog and potentially cause them to panic and run.

Best Time To Use A Retractable Dog Leash

With those pros and cons in mind, the best time to use a retractable dog leash is when you’re walking a trained dog on familiar grounds and with lots of space. Without sufficient room, your dog can get tangled in trees and shrubs or into trouble with other dogs and people. And in unfamiliar territory, you don’t know what awaits your dog around the next corner or over a hill on a new trail.

You might use a retractable leash to train a puppy in an unfenced yard, too. But be careful when using a retractable leash to train. Because there’s always tension on these types of leashes, your dog may learn to pull.

Get to Know More Pet Products

Retractable leashes can be great tools in specific circumstances. If you like to jog alongside your pup or if you have a lot of open space that you’re familiar with, for example. But, if you’re training your dog or walking them in unfamiliar territory, you might consider a different type of leash.

To have a look at your options, as well as pet products for birds to reptiles, check out what we carry.

Why It's Important to Socialize Your Puppy

The world is filled with sights, sounds, smells, and myriad other environmental factors that can be overwhelming for puppies. It's important to socialize your dog early so that she feels comfortable outside of the safety of your home when she meets other people and animals. Without proper socialization, your best buddy could become anxious, depressed, or even aggressive. 

When should socialization start?

The ideal socialization age for puppies is between three and twelve weeks old, with seven weeks being the average age to start socialization. During this time, your pup is very impressionable and more accepting of new things. He is more likely to absorb new experiences rather than shy away from them.

As puppies age, they become more cautious about the world around them. Dogs between 12 and 18 weeks may show signs of fear and aggression when introduced to new experiences. However, owners shouldn't allow the fear to dictate their dog's behavior and instead continue trying to safely and gently socialize their puppy.

Benefits of Early Socialization

Your puppy is a member of your family, and the goal is for him to feel safe, loved, and calm. By socializing early, you're helping to ensure that your dog can confidently navigate new experiences, like meeting new people or enjoying family outings. This is especially important for families with young children. Without proper exposure to kids, your dog may become fearful or aggressive with eager and easily excitable children. 

How do you socialize your puppy?

Socializing your puppy isn't easy, but the results are extremely rewarding. To start, expose your buddy to a variety of situations that she'll encounter regularly like trips to the park, neighborhood walks, visits from friends, or grooming appointments. The more experiences that you can introduce your dog to, the better he will respond as he grows into an adult. Taking time to help your puppy understand the world around her means that you can enjoy more experiences with your best buddy as an adult.

If you encounter issues or just need a little more help to get started, talk to your veterinarian and they'll be able to help you create a socialization plan. 

The Facts About Dogs and Their Paws

Are you concerned that your dog is licking or chewing her paws a little too much? 

Although licking is associated with normal grooming behavior for dogs, when it becomes excessive and includes constant chewing, this could indicate an underlying problem.

One of these conditions could be the culprit behind your dog's incessant grooming.  

  1. Allergy: Whether it's the result of seasonal allergies or a flea infestation, dogs lick their paws to relieve the itch. Keep in mind, though, that the discomfort might not be in their paws. When dogs feel itchy, they lick somewhere accessible, like their paws, to soothe the irritation located elsewhere on their body.
  2. Injury: Cuts, debris between the toes, or other skin abrasions can prompt dogs to chew or scratch their skin.
  3. Habit: Dogs who are frequently left alone for long periods of time or those who don't receive adequate exercise will lick and chew their paws out of boredom.
  4. Anxiety: A change of routine, like a new baby, or separation can trigger anxiety in some dogs. Anxious pups will often groom their paws excessively.
  5. Compulsive Disorder: Although uncommon, constant licking could be a sign of obsessive-compulsive behavior, which can be difficult to treat and control.

More than nuisance behavior, incessant licking and chewing can lead to real problems for your best pal. If left untreated, it could result in painful damaged skin, open sores, bacterial infections, and a vicious cycle of constant irritation. 

Regularly check your dog's skin for any irritations that may be causing discomfort. And, if you notice Fido grooming himself more than usual, contact your veterinarian immediately to pinpoint the issue and start a treatment plan.  

Tips to Keep Your Dog's Ears Clean

Keeping your dog's ears clean is important for maintaining their overall health. 

While some dogs' ears are naturally clean and require little maintenance, others need extra care. Dogs with long or really furry ears, like cocker spaniels, that accumulate dirt and debris more easily are often more prone to ear infections and other problems. 

The physical makeup of your dog's ears isn't the only factor that increases their risk for ear conditions. Yeast and bacteria are two of the most common irritants that can compromise the health of dogs' ears. However, allergies, hormone disorders, ear mites, moisture or wax buildup, and extra hair can also lead to issues.

Regardless of the type of ears that your dog has, checking them regularly to see if cleaning is needed should be part of your regular pet care routine.

Here are some helpful tips to clean your pup's ears safely. 

  • Check to make sure that your pup's ears actually need cleaning. Only clean them if you notice a change like a mild odor or visible debris. Excessive cleaning can lead to irritation or infections. 
  • Clean the external part of your pet's ear only. 
  • Gather your supplies. You'll need cotton balls, gauze, and a towel. Never use cotton swabs or anything with pointed tips, since they could push debris further into the ear or damage the inner structures. 
  • Choose an area of your home that's easy to wipe up---ear-cleaning can get messy. A mudroom or bathroom is a great choice. 
  • Use an ear-cleaning solution recommended by your veterinarian. DIY solutions may contain harmful irritants.
  • Add the cleaning solution to the ear canal and gently massage the base of the ear for about 30 seconds. 
  • Allow your pup to shake her ears back and forth once the solution has been added. This is where the towel comes in handy to wipe your dog's face and any excess spray that may have hit you.
  • Gently wipe out the ear canal with the gauze or cotton balls. The AKC recommends going no further than your first knuckle inside the ear.   
  • Use clean gauze to thoroughly dry the ears. Leaving behind moisture creates an environment for microbial growth that could lead to ear infections. 

Sometimes dirty ears signal more than a need for routine cleaning. It could indicate an ear infection. Here are some signs to look for: 

  • Strong yeasty or bad smells from inside the ear
  • Redness or swelling
  • Vigorous ear scratching
  • Constant head shaking
  • Balance issues
  • Crusts, peeling, or scabs around the ear
  • Hair loss
  • Rubbing the ear against objects such as furniture and walls.
  • Hearing issues
  • Bloody, brown, or yellow discharge

If you notice any of these signs or if your dog appears to be in pain while you're cleaning their ears, contact your veterinarian immediately. Your dog could be suffering from an ear infection or another condition that needs medical attention.

Pros and Cons of Sleeping With your Do

We all dream of it – cuddling up with your pooch in bed on a cool night, reading by your nightlight and snuggling down for the evening. So, is it good or bad to co-sleeping with your dog? We weigh in on the pros and cons of sleeping with Fido in your bed. 

First, let’s start with the pros of sleeping with your dog

He's soft and snuggly, and you just adore that light snoring that he has that helps you drift off into dreamland. He's warm and there's nothing like waking up to your sweet boy in the morning. Plus, just having your dog around can help relieve stress and anxiety and sleeping with him can certainly lower any symptoms of anxiety and stress. All great benefits with keeping your pooch with you when you sleep. 

Sometimes, we have the blue and are down, and sleeping with your dog can help relieve depression. The chemical that is released when you're in close contact with your dog is called oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, that helps elevate your mood. Also, while you're sleeping, oxytocin promotes theta brain waves that occur during REM sleep – that time of sleep where you have dreams. So, not only is sleeping with your dog comfortable, it helps elevate your mood and promotes REM sleep. 

In one study, researchers found that women sleep better when they are next to their dogs. Researchers from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York found that women who sleep with their dogs actually sleep better and feel more secure than if they slept next to their human counterparts. Sounds harsh, but hey, that doesn't mean that you both can't sleep next to your dog! Improved sense of security, better sleep, and they generally had better bedtime schedules. So, cuddle up!

Here are even more ways that sleeping with a dog can help improve your sleep from decreases in loneliness, lowering blood pressure, and bond strengthening with your dog. 

OK, so when it is not a good idea to sleep with a dog?

With all of the great benefits of sleeping with a dog, how could there be anything bad? Well, a few things come into play here – allergies, non-house trained puppies, if you're a light sleeper, or if your dog has some health issues. 

We all know someone with allergies – whether it's seasonal or animal-related – we understand the misery that they can go through. Even if you have light allergies, it's better to make sure that your fur baby sleeps on the floor next to you. You'll still have the benefits of having your dog around, but the other benefit is that their dander and fur stay in their bed and not yours. 

House training is a must as we all know. Puppies take a lot of time to house train and, in general, to train. So, you want to make sure that Bella over there knows when it's time to use the potty and in the right place because your bed certainly isn't the right place. Nothing like waking up to a wet mess because Bella couldn’t hold it in. So, make sure that you have all of that training in place for a good while before you invite her into your bed. 

Speaking of house training, it also helps to improve your relationship and bond with your dog. By doing this, it also helps Bella know who's the boss around the house. By asserting yourself as the pack leader helps curb any potential aggression down the road as well as territorial concerns. Some dogs may have territorial issues, and if you introduce someone new around the house, especially at bedtimes, this could turn into a tad bit of an issue. Take care of it early and make sure that you're the boss, not Bella. 

So, make sure that you weigh your pros and cons of co-sleeping with your dog and you'll have sweet dreams, cozy nights, and furry cuddles. 

Does heartworm prevention and flea prevention need to be given year-round?

One of the most frequently asked questions that many veterinarians get is whether heartworm and flea prevention should be used year-round. The resounding answer is, "Yes." Regular flea and heartworm prevention are essential for keeping your dog healthy and happy. Read on to learn more.

Fleas Pose a Year-Round Threat

Contrary to popular belief, fleas aren't a seasonal pest. While freezing temperatures can kill fleas, it often isn't enough to eliminate the problem altogether. These perennial pests have found ways to survive in even the chilliest climates.

One of the most common ways that fleas survive in cold weather is by living on wild animals such as raccoons to stay warm. These animals unknowingly host numerous flea eggs, waiting to boom again when temperatures warm. Barns, garages, outdoor kennel bedding, nooks underneath decks and home foundations are also popular places for fleas to hide during the cold.

Heartworm Disease on the Rise

Testing positive for heartworms is a diagnosis that no pet parent wants to hear. Unfortunately, the disease is found in all 50 states and is currently on the rise. Some of the increased risks for infection can be attributed to:

  • More and more people are traveling with their dogs, particularly to and from areas with heavy mosquito populations, like the southern United States.
  • Mosquito populations are increasing with environmental shifts such as increasing temperatures.
  • Fewer dogs are receiving monthly heartworm preventive medicines.

Caused by the deadly parasites that it's named for, heartworm disease can be transmitted by a single bite from a mosquito. There are often no outward signs of the disease until it is in the advanced stages. The resulting treatment to cure heartworm disease can be costly and, in some cases, the disease proves deadly. 

Fortunately, monthly heartworm preventives combined with regular testing are easy ways to protect your dog's health.   

Talk to your veterinarian to develop a flea and heartworm prevention plan that works for you and your precious pup.