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Importance Of Trimming Your Dog's Nails

Human hand holding a dog's paw

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.

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  •  License: Image author owned 

This guest article was written by Eva Kettler, an animal enthusiast who often writes for the LaPorte Animal Clinic & Supply. Besides writing, Eva enjoys renovating her 60-year-old home and making peach jam.

Understanding the Life Spans Of Dogs

Irish Wolfhound

Having the companionship of a great dog is among the greatest joys in life. They certainly don't live as long as they should. The average lifespan of a dog in the developed world is 12 to 14 years. This is only a general statistic. Some breeds of dogs live longer than this average, and some breeds have lifespans that are considerably shorter than this overall average. As a general rule, the smaller the dog, the longer it will live. The larger breeds of dogs tend to live below average lifespans.

Dogs With Shorter Lifespans

According to many sources, the Irish Wolfhound is the breed with the shortest average lifespan. These dogs average about seven years. The Irish Wolfhound is the tallest dog breed and often weighs more than 150 pounds. Two problems tend to shorten the life of this breed. Because their bones grow so quickly, they are often plagued by bone cancer as they age. They are also highly susceptible to a variety of cardiovascular disorders.

Some other dog breeds with shorter than average lifespans are the mastiff and bull mastiff. Some mastiffs weigh more than 200 pounds. They live to seven or eight years of age and often succumb to heart problems.

Another breed of dog that is not that huge but does have a shorter than average lifespan is the boxer. These popular dogs have a shortened lifespan due to the fact that they have a higher than average incidence of cancer. They are especially plagued with mammary cancer. These dogs tend to live to about age ten.

There are dogs in one group that generally have below average lifespans, and some of these are smaller dogs. They don't follow the rule of a smaller dog equals a longer life. Brachycephalic dogs are dogs with pushed in noses like the English bulldog and the French bulldog. These type of dogs have a difficult time breathing, and this puts great stress on the heart. Brachycephalic dogs average anywhere from eight to ten years of age.

Dogs With Longer Lifespans

The oldest dog on record is an Australian cattle dog who lived to be over 29 years old. While most Australian cattle dogs won't live anywhere close to this long, these dogs do have long lifespans. The average lifespan of these dogs is around 15 years old.

Another long-lived breed that is not well-known is the schipperke. These are small, black dogs with no tails. They weigh about 20 pounds, and many of them live into their late teens.

Three very popular breeds of dog also have longer than average lifespans. Poodles, Yorkshire terriers and Chihuahuas all tend to live out their days into their middle teens. Even though toy breeds are beset with a number of congenital maladies, they just seem to hang in there and keep on going year after year bringing joy to their owners.

Most of the other popular breeds of dogs including Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, beagles, Pomeranians and German shepherds live an average lifespan. However long dogs live, they bring gladness every day of their lives.

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Eric Blair is an animal enthusiast and avid pet blogger. Eric writes for NuVet Reviews, a site that examines NuVet products and grades their ability to help your pet live a healthier life. 

How To Care For Your Dog Teeth At Home

Oral health care is not just an important part of good hygiene, it is important for overall health when it comes to people and their furry best friends. Yes, your dog needs to maintain good oral care, on a daily basis too.  The health of your dog’s mouth is vital to its overall health and should be factored and worked into your daily routine, along with scheduled feeding and exercise. While it is important to let the professionals check your dog’s teeth every six months or so – there are things you can do to help keep your dog’s oral health in optimum shape.

The Basics of Brushing Dogs Teeth

You should be brushing your dog’s teeth daily. If life is too hurried and an extra minute is not available every day, try to factor the time to conduct a quick brush every other day or at a bare minimum, twice per week. Brushing your dog’s teeth helps keep plaque and tartar at bay which if left on the teeth can quickly turn into a serious mouth condition and lead to other health concerns. Tools to help make brushing somewhat easier include a special toothpaste made for dogs, longer for you to maneuver, and do not forget the special doggy toothpaste. While the toothbrush is not necessary, the toothpaste is since people toothpaste can make dogs sick.

Flossing Dog Teeth is Essential

Much of a dog health care plan is the same as ours. Flossing is an essential follow up to brushing your dog’s teeth to ensure that plaque that is left from brushing is removed before it hardens and becomes more difficult to remove. Flossing is something you will need to work with as you and your dog become comfortable with this task. Give your dog breaks as holding its mouth open for extended periods of time can be very uncomfortable. After a while, flossing will become second nature for both you and your dog.

Keeping Clean In-Between Cleanings

If you are brushing your dog’s teeth less than once daily, it is a good idea to offer your dog ways to clean his teeth in-between cleanings. There is a wide selection of treats available at pet-friendly retailers that can help accomplish this for you. Talk to your dog’s veterinarian to discuss their preferred type of teeth-cleaning snack.

In addition to these three easy teeth cleaning steps, you should conduct a visual inspection of your dog’s mouth daily. Early detection of a problem is the best way to help prevent serious issues with your dog’s oral health later on. Signs of a potential problem are bad breath; bad doggy breath is not typical. Red and inflamed gums that bleed easily and signs of yellow buildup on your dog’s teeth are other symptoms you should watch for. If any of these signs are noticed take your dog into your veterinarian as soon as possible. It is also important to make sure your dog has regular oral health care visits twice a year for a checkup and be sure to ask your veterinarian on tips for improving your oral health care for your dog.

Author Bio: Sami Berman fosters dogs that are considered at-risk from local shelters and rescues. Sami provides a loving and safe environment for her furry guests that begin with a reliable dog containment system with remote training collars.

5 Tips For A Flea-Free Four-Legged Friend

    Your dog is going to be concentrating on scratching and chewing and you are going to be concentrating on trying to get rid of the fleas before they take over your home. Any special pet treats are going to have to take a backseat for the moment.

    This year the flea problem has stepped up big time according to vets across the country. The mild winters in most states and heavy rains have given a significant boost to the flea population. For millions of dog lovers winning the battle of "man against flea" seems like it will be impossible.

    Your dog does not understand why you spend hours washing, brushing and spraying his fur instead of throwing the ball, rubbing his belly and splurging on squeaky dog toys. In order to get things back on a normal track you need to find some effective ways to win the war and get a totally flea-free dog.

    Here are 6 tips that will help you get those fleas out of your house and out of your dog's hair.

    1. Remember that there are some excellent flea products now on the market. Check with your vet and get your pet started on whichever flea treatment they recommend. These are usually topical medications that you need to apply to your dog's skin once a month. Some brands even have sprays that offer affordable treatment for fleas. They can usually be used on cats, dogs, kittens and puppies. The spray is easy to apply and one application can last 4-8 weeks, depending on the brand.

    2. Quality canine food and the best vitamins for dogs should all be part of your arsenal in the war against fleas. A healthy dog with a strong immune system makes a less inviting target for fleas and ticks. There are some vets who believe that specific supplements and vitamins can work to repel any flea infestations.

    3. Make sure to brush and comb your dog every day. This will give you some important bonding time and it is a great way to remove any fleas or flea eggs that may be present in the fur. Also, use grooming tools with small teeth that have been specially designed to assist with the removal of fleas.

    4. Use an organic shampoo with citrus extracts the next time you shampoo your pet. These products do not contain harsh chemicals and the fragrances help keep fleas at bay.

    5. When treating your dog for fleas you have to remember that you must also address the pet's bedding and play areas. If you do not eliminate all fleas and eggs you can't solve the problem.

    It may seem like a tremendously hard challenge, but some diligence will help you win the war against the fleas.  Your dog will be much happier, and so will you.  Following these 5 tips will help get you a flea-free home much sooner rather than later!

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    • License: Image author owned 

    Mike Rictor's dog has been bitting at his fur latly. He decides to look up information on flea prevention since it is really bothering Lucky. 

Four Health Tips Pet Owners Need To Remember

 

People love their pets, and they’ll do whatever they can to make sure that they’re happy and well taken care of.  Some people prefer to own fish, while others love having a hutch full of rabbits. But, overall people in America seem to love owning cats and dogs far more than other animals. From 1970 to 2010, the number of dogs and cats in homes has increased from 67 million to 164 million.  A lot of people spend time making sure that their pets are well fed and have toys, but are less diligent when it comes to regular vet appointments and shots.  Every pet owner should make sure that their pets are in good health, but pet health should go beyond a few trips to the vet.  If you want to make sure that your pet is in the best health, remember these important pet health tips.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

In the past few years’ pets have been gaining weight along with their owners, and now obesity among pets is a considerable health issue.  Unfortunately pets can develop other health problems if they’re obese.  Keep in mind that pets don’t need nearly as many calories as humans do each day.  For example, 185-370 a day for a small, inactive dog and just 240-350 calories daily can be enough for a 10-pound cat.  Talk to your vet about the best diet for your pet, and see if they recommend any vitamin supplements.

Have your pets spayed and neutered.

Millions of pets end up in shelters across the United States each year, and that number would decrease if more owners spayed and neutered their pets.  The procedure can be performed as early as 6 to 8 weeks in age, and can be done quickly and is relatively painless for your pet.  Spaying and neutering have other benefits that go beyond pet population control.  Having your cat or dog spayed or neutered could also reduce their risk of contracting certain cancers.

Avoid Using Human Medication

Some pet owners think that a little Ibuprofen can help their pet’s aches and pains, but you should never give medication that is made for humans to your pet.  The ASPCA recognizes human medication as a major pet toxin, and even a small dose has the potential to cause kidney damage, seizures, and even cardiac arrest in a dog or cat.  Talk to your vet about proper medications and topical treatments that can be used on your pet, and keep a list in case of emergencies.

Give Flea and Tick Treatments

All pets, regardless of if they go outside or are strictly indoor pets, should always be given regular preventative flea and tick treatments.  Fleas, ticks, and other parasites can easily find their way into your home. Once they get into your home, they become much more difficult to remove. Fortunately there are many preventative treatments that have the added benefit of treating worms and other troublesome parasites.

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Sean Carter is an experienced writer who has contributed to numerous blogs covering a variety of topics such a travel, health and the latest technology and gadgets