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Importance of Trimming Your Dog's Nails

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In thinking about caring for a beloved dog, many people forget about trimming the nails. Yet keeping your dog’s toenails trimmed is an essential part of the dog’s health, and trimming should be done at least once a month. If your dog’s nails can be heard on the floor when he walks, or if he’s beginning to limp, that means it’s time to trim.

A dog’s walk can be drastically affected by its nails, since dogs walk and run on their toes. This is a stark difference from humans, since our nails are not used for walking or providing balance. If you’re in doubt about how often to trim the nails or how short they should be, keep these two principles in mind. The nails should not protrude over the pads of the dog’s paws, and they should not touch the ground.

When the nail is too long, walking can become awkward and even painful. Long nails can also contribute to hip and back problems, splayed or deformed feet, punctures that open the skin to infections, and bone trouble. Long nails can also begin to split or bleed into the pad of the foot. This will cause the dog to walk slowly, limp, or not walk at all.

There are two ways to trim nails: with a standard toenail clipper or with a dremel. A standard clipper works well, as long as the person is careful not to take too much off. If the clipper cuts to the quick of the nail, it damages the tender vein that runs through the nail. This will cause even more pain for the dog, along with some light bleeding. On the other hand, the dremel is a gentle sander that can round the edges of a nail without cutting to the quick. In light-colored nails, the quick is easy to see. If your dog has dark or black nails, you may want to use the dremel simple to avoid hitting the vein.

Of course, regular trimming should be part of your dog’s care since puppyhood. Yet if you adopted the dog when it was older, there may be an adjustment period as the dog becomes accustomed to the monthly routine. Dogs can often be frightened simply because they don’t know what to expect. Trusting the process to a professional at your local animal shelter or veterinarian may be the best choice simply because that person is skilled at calming down animals in distress. If you opt to trim the nails at home, make sure to involve someone whom the dog trusts, and reward his good behavior with a treat afterward.

Many dogs, especially younger ones, will wear their nails down simply by playing. Inactive or older dogs, though, will prefer to walk on grass or other soft surfaces, and their nails will not be worn down naturally. Check your dog’s nails periodically until you have a sense of how quickly they grow. No matter what your dog’s breed, lifestyle, and health history are, nail trimming should be a regular part of his care.

Author bio: This guest article was written by Eva Kettler, who often writes for LaPorte Animal Clinic in northern Colorado. When she's not writing, Eva enjoys renovating her 60-year-old house and making peach jam.

Doggy Play Dates: The Dos And Don'ts

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As a parent, you know that your kids need to interact with other children so they receive the social development they need. This is why you set up play dates or enroll your child in school or activities.

Your dog also needs to learn how to interact with other animals, which is why it’s always a good idea to allow your dog to attend some doggy play dates or playgroups every now and then. Not only will your dog get the exercise he or she needs, but he or she will also have fun learning to play with other dogs.

As with any interaction, there are certain rules and general guidelines you should follow to ensure that the play date is successful. The following are common dos and don’ts for your doggy’s next play date.

Do: Have your dog current on his shots.

When your dog is playing with other dogs, it’s common that some roughhousing may occur, and your dog may become scratched or scratch the other dog. This is why it’s extremely important to be sure your dog is up to date on his shots and has all necessary vaccinations. If the other dog were to have a disease or illness, your dog would be covered from catching the disease or illness himself if their playing goes a little too far. Plus, since your dog will be spending time near the other animal, having them vaccinated and up to date on other shots will keep them from catching fleas or heartworm.

Don’t: Forget the water and treats.

Make sure that you bring plenty of water and treats for your dog (and the other dog) during the play date. Dogs will be spending a lot of time playing and running around, and they can become easily dehydrated if it’s hot. Make sure your dog and the other dog have plenty of water to consume on their date.

You will also want to make sure you have treats. This is a great way to get both dogs to listen to you during the play date, and it can be a great way to distract them if they start to misbehave.

Do: Give them room to play.

Doggy play dates are always more successful when there is ample room to play. Try to schedule the play date when the weather is nice so the dogs can be outside running through a yard, dog park or open field. When dogs are cooped up inside your home, their roughhousing may result in damaged furniture or injury to the dogs. If the weather is not cooperating, make sure you designate a large indoor area for the dogs to play that doesn’t have anything that could be damaged or cause injury.

Don’t: Ignore the dogs.

While you may use the play date as a chance to catch up with your friend or learn more about a new individual, it’s still important that you keep an eye on the dogs. It’s always possible that their playing may become too intense, which could result in injury to one (or both) of the dogs. Always make sure to pay close attention to the dogs and intervene if their play turns to aggression.

 

Danielle Nottingham is a vet tech and writer at DogTrainingCollars.com who loves to write about proper pet etiquette for dog owners who are new on the scene.

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Your Canine Escapee - Understanding And Preventing

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If your dog happens to be a runner, he will most likely get very creative when plotting his escape. Dogs that do exhibit the characteristics of a runner will escape by climbing the fence or digging an escape tunnel underneath the fence. Unfortunately, you may be harbouring your own little Houdini of the canine world.  Dogs can escape from their yard in any manner that they possibly can, and for a number of different reasons.  Understanding the cause of those daring doggy-breakouts goes a long way to curbing the behavior and keeping your dog safely within the confines of his own yard.

A well looked after dog does not run away from home because he is unhappy.  Any can feel the need to escape just to satisfy his natural instincts to explore his environment.  Sometimes, the boundaries of the yard and an occasional walk around the local park on a leash aren’t enough to satisfy the urge to investigate the smells and activity that are just beyond his boundaries.

Reasons your dog may try to escape your yard are:

  • Social contact – if your dog has been left alone for a long time, he may go looking for some company.
  • Search for a mate – entire dogs will do whatever it takes to get to a female in season.
  • Bored – a lack of play toys in the yard will encourage your dog to look for toys elsewhere.
  • Energetic – if your dog needs more exercise, he may take himself for a walk.
  • Separation anxiety – dogs with this debilitating condition will escape to search for their owner.

The problem for dogs, when they escape is that they have no concept of the dangers they may face in the wide world.  They have no understanding of the difference between roads and pathways, or the injuries they risk by stepping in front of a moving vehicle.  What does concern them however, are the distractions such as socializing with other dogs; chasing smaller animals, and raiding garbage bins in a quest for leftover food.  These positive rewards only reinforce your dog’s desire to escape, making it difficult to break the habit once it takes hold.  

How to Escape Proof Your Fence

Obviously, ‘plugging the leaks’ goes a long way to stopping the escapes, as does an understanding of the underlying causes listed above. Your fence may need to be reinforced both above and below, and any gates with loose latches will need repair. Move any items that your dog could climb on well away from the fence.

If you are struggling with your dog’s need to wander, there are several things that you can do to reduce the number of escapes, or even prevent them altogether. These include increasing the level of physical and mental stimulation through walks, games and interactive toys, providing clean and comfortable bedding, initiating regular feeding times with a well-balanced diet, obedience training to keep your dog’s mind active, and ensuring that all gates are locked and obvious escape routes blocked. If your dog is not neutered, then this would be a good way to reduce his efforts to woo a lady dog.

The sooner the reason for your dog’s escaping is identified and managed, and the more secure your back yard, the less you’ll have to worry about him. You will have peace of mind when you’re not home, knowing that your canine best friend is safe in your yard and not at risk of coming to harm.

Amanda Davis is a service dog trainer and a freelance writer. Amanda uses her love and talent for writing to share dog training and behavioral tips for dog owners.

How To Choose The Right Vet For Your Pet

Choosing a vet for your pet can be a very difficult decision, with so many veterinary practices available, how do you make the decision of which one is the best for you and your pet? Whether you are choosing a vet for a regular check-up or you believe your pet may have a health issue, choosing the perfect vets is essential.

Here are some things you should base your decision on:

Animal and area of expertise

The majority of household animals you will be able to take to any standard veterinary practice, meaning you may find choosing the perfect vet a little more difficult. Standard household pets include:

  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Budgies, cockatiels, parrots
  • Hamsters
  • Guinea pigs and gerbils
  • Rabbits
  • Fish

If you have one of the above pets it is likely you will be able to walk into almost any veterinary practice and be immediately seen.

If you have a pet that appears to be a little less common, the choice of vets will be more limited – this can make choosing the perfect vet for your animal a little easier. To ensure your pet gets the best care possible, you will have to choose a vet that specialises in your area of animal. There is little point in taking a tortoise to a standard veterinary practice as it is likely they will not be able to perform the correct standard of care.

Budget and price

The cost of using veterinary services can vary by quite a lot; some vets may offer more affordable care whilst others may seem a little extortionately priced. You should factor in the cost of using the veterinary service into the decision of choosing a vet. There is little point in joining a veterinary practice if you are never going to be able to afford the services they are offering.

All veterinary practices must meet certain standards, meaning you should not be put off by the lower-priced vets.

Word of mouth and reviews

The best way to judge a veterinary practice is from the reviews it withholds. Ask close friends and family for any recommendations when it comes to taking your loved household pet to the vets – it is likely they would have had both good and bad vet experiences. Take all comments on board and do a little further research yourself. If it seems that the bad review does not match its highly-reputable service, it may be a one off bad experience.

Have a look online to see the highly-rated veterinary practices in your local areas, if any receive exceptional reviews that interest you, it may be worth enquiring.

Welcome offers

Many veterinary practices will advertise welcoming offers to new people and animals joining their practice. This is a way to entice new customers in, so this should not be overlooked. If the welcome offer is something that you are going to benefit from, it is worth putting them in your Top 5 list to choose from.

Choosing the perfect vet is essential to your pet health, it is important that your pet has regular check-ups to avoid any health issues.

Carlton Professional advertises vet nurse jobs throughout the country. They understand the importance of employing professional, caring vets up and down the country to care for your pets.

5 Tips For Camping With Your Dog

Camping is an awesome activity that the whole family can participate in almost equally and everyone can enjoy. The adults get to get away from the hectic pace of the everyday life, while the kids have the chance to explore and enjoy the beauty of nature unchecked by a commercial skyline and pollution. With the right precautions, it can also be a fun outing for Rover (or Fido), as well. However, there are some things you need to keep in mind when planning a camping trip where the family dog will accompany you.

Remember the Food!

Many people make the mistake of making sure they have plenty of human food when they go camping, only to discover that they have no dog food when they get to their campground. If you’re only going to be away for a day or two, or are really close to a market you can buy dog food at, that’s not much of a problem. However, if you’re hours away from “civilization” you may not have the option of jumping in the car and heading to the store.

Remembering the food requires you to consider what kind of camping you’re going to be doing. If your version of camping is pulling the RV into the “campground” and hooking up to water, power, and TV, you’ll be able to bring whatever you want for Rover to eat. On the other hand, if your version of camping entails strapping on a backpack and hiking up into the hills for a few hours before setting up camp, your dog food options are rather limited due to weight restrictions.

Ensure That Pets Are Allowed Where You’re Going

You get the family all excited about going camping, get everything you need for the humans packed, then pack everything you think you’ll need for the canine companions in your group. Next, you drive for several hours to where you’ve given a deposit for your campground. After you arrive and have had a chance to get everything set up to your liking, the ranger stops by to welcome you.

However, once he sees Fido, you’ve got a problem because you forgot to make sure Fido could come with you; that he was welcome according to park rules. Since Fido isn’t welcome at that camping spot, guess what? You get to pack everything up end your camping trip several days early because you failed to ask a single question.

Animal Safety

Your dog is part of your family and as such, you want to make sure he/she is safe when you’re camping. After you’ve made sure that dogs are welcome, ask them about any precautions you should take to ensure your dog’s safety. Are there predators you should be aware of?

Provide a Means to Keep the Dog from Wandering Off

Since you don’t want to wake up and discover that Fido has left the premises, you need to provide a means to ensure that doesn’t happen. This can be something as simple as a stake and rope to allow to dog to move around while keeping him close. You can also go to the extreme and bring a sleeping cage for your dog, which will also help if there are animals that can present a danger.

Remember His Health

Does your dog have health problems that require medication? If so, don’t forget those meds. Also, get your dog vaccinated for lime disease and get a supply of your favorite flea and tick repellant.

Neil Kilgore is the Jack (Russell) of all trades at Greenfield Puppies in Lancaster Pa. He regularly blogs about dogs, breeders and puppies on the Greenfield Puppies website.