Dog Care & Maintenance
We get a lot of questions about how to care for your furry companions, so here is some insight from classes we’ve been trained in to answer some of the many questions we get asked about! Everyone has their own specific way of caring for their pet & it truly depends on the pet & your lifestyle to determine many of these factors that we have helped in attempting to explain. We are always learning & eager for advice, so feel free to share any of your own insights with us anytime! Hope this helps!
Feeding Tips for Dogs
Depending on a dog’s age, size, and type, there are different feeding guidelines. In experiencing different life stages, each stage requires different nutritional needs. There are no rules in determining if canned or dry food is healthier for your dog. Make sure whichever is chosen that it fulfills the dog’s nutritional needs. For further questioning on feeding, it’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian.
For puppies under the age of sixteen weeks old, they require more feedings at 4 meals a day. In having food that is “complete & balanced”, they will receive the vitamins & minerals they need for a growing body. In bringing a puppy into your new home & environment, the best way to transition them is by keeping them on the food that they’re on currently from the place of adoption. This will ensure they don’t get an upset stomach. They can easily be transitioned to new food by combining their current food with new food to wean them off of the food. Refrain from giving them adult food too quickly. Always check the labeled bag to ensure it is in fact 'puppy food'.
Reaching the mature adult age, in being older than nine months of age, different food initiatives are taken to care for the dog. Now that their bodies have grown and their stomachs have enlarged, they are ready for 'adult food'. Based on the dog’s size and the type of dog, it is recommended they eat 1-2 a day. Some dogs like to graze and some dogs are better off being fed 1-2 times to prevent them from overeating. Although large dog's tend to do just fine being fed once a day, observe your dog to see what’s best for them.
As a dog reaches the elderly stage in their life, much has changed which affects the way they eat. Since many dogs slowdown in activity, along with a decreased metabolism, they may need to cut back on their portion sizes. Of course, they may lose their appetite already. Food labeled specifically for 'older dogs' is best.
Pet Care Items & Uses
1. Water Bowl & Food Dish: Each pet should have their own set of bowls. Metal bowls are easiest for dishwashing & to prevent them from being chewed on.
2. Toothbrush & Toothpaste: Use daily on your dog for long-term health.
3. Dentastix: To help with tartar build-up, as an addition to brushing their teeth, we recommend 1 serving every other day.
4. Nail Clippers: Cutting the dogs nails once a month is important to prevent scratching of the furniture, floors, & yourself! Prevents any orthopedic problems from arising also.
5. Leash: To keep dogs close to you & out of harm's way (outdoor critters, other dogs, cars), have leashes that are non-retractable for a safety precaution. Utilize daily for sniffing spree's, mental & physical exercise.
6. Collar: For safety, have your dog leashed as much as possible when not at home to a nylon collar while having their ID dogs attached just in case they are to bolt off so that they can easily be returned to you. For small dogs, nylon material is important since trachea problems are a common issue. They need something soft around their necks. A soft harness is best used when going on walks while utilizing the collar with tags.
7. Crate: To get some extra sleep, it may be best to keep your dog in a crate at night time. Make sure it's big enough so they are able to stretch out, roll around & get cozy in their bed, on their blankets, or with their sibling in the crate.
8. Flight Carrier: A 25lb carrier is important for flying safely under the seat (where your foot room is). The carrier should be cushioned with wool/soft material for extra comfort, along with breathing holes encompassing the entire carrier for easy oxygen flow so that they don't overheat & so that they can breathe easier.
9. Toys: To keep dogs busy while away, refraining from them getting bored, fill balls or KONGS with treats or peanut butter, hardy plastic bones that you can stick smaller treats in & leave out toys that they won't destroy.
Step-by-Step Procedure in Bathing Your Dog
Bathing your dog, you want to ensure all supplies, including brushes, shampoo, conditioner, & towel are ready prior to diving in. Some dogs may be more difficult than others. Wear a long sleeve shirt if you feel they may scratch you or feel free to hop in with your suit on! Dogs need to be bathed every 4-6wks.
1. Brush out their coat to loosen any dirt that may be in their fur while brushing out any matts.
2. Put the dog in the sink or tub (rubber mat underneath to stand on) & shampoo with dog formulated shampoo (never human shampoo) around the neck before putting any water on them.
3. Wet the dog with warm water (not hot water), starting at the head & working your way back down the body.
4. Work in the shampoo, lathering & rinsing. Repeat if necessary. If the dog has long coarse hair, follow up with conditioner.
5. Drape towels on the dog's body & head if it's a bigger dog while they're still in the tub/sink. Once a majority of the dog is dry, let out of the tub/sink. A blow dryer can be used by working your hands through their fur as you dry to ensure you aren't burning them.
6. Brush again & brush even more if shedding.
As a bonus, give your pup a treat after for being such a trooper!
Dogs are much like humans in the fact that they require routine cleanings. Grooming is very important for overall quality of life, affecting both their inner & outer appearance. Even though it may take 10 minutes of your time daily, it's worth it in the long-run. If regular nail clippings aren't done, they can experience foot problems. If their teeth aren't brushed regularly, they will most likely have periodontal disease with an abundant of plaque & tartar build-up. This could also be life threatening in leading to kidney or heart disease because the lack of care or tooth loss. Ear infections are very common, so cleaning must be done regularly to prevent awful infections. Brushing them is most important to prevent matting of their fur which can cause big knots that can't be brushed out, but rather have to be cut out & can lead to a stinky dog! As a person takes care of themselves with clipping their own nails, brushing their teeth daily, showering, cleaning their ears with a q-tip, & brushing their own hair, similar upkeep must be done with their pet whether that's daily or throughout the week.
Grooming a dog, a lot is to be done to make sure they look good & remain healthy. Starting with their nails, clippers that are specifically made for dogs are needed to keep their nails off the ground. As soon as they begin to touch or are touching the ground, a trim is in order to prevent foot problems. Cutting them short enough, the quick must not be clipped as it may cause bleeding & discomfort. Enough of a trim is needed so that the nail isn't touching the ground. Even doing 1-2 nails at a time, tremendous praise & love can be given in-between trims, praising them for being so strong while distracting them. Purchasing a toothbrush to fit the size of your dog's mouth & doggie toothpaste, brush their teeth daily. They will most likely lick or gnaw on the toothbrush, but that doesn't hurt anyone! Gnaw away & get the task completed! Cleaning their ears, look to ensure the ear in a healthy pink color that doesn't smell or have any discharge. If they're swollen or have those traits, put a halt to the ear cleaning & see your vet immediately to treat the ear infection. If the ear looks healthy, clean away, wiping the outer ear with a cotton ball, then cleaning the ear out with a liquid cleaner. Whether you have a short or long haired dog, regular brushing is very important 1 day a week or every day! It's very easy & beneficial to your pup!
Heartworm can cause great harm to cats & dogs if infected. Precautions need to be taken to prevent the ailing effects of this type of filarial of small threaded worms. A simple bite from an infected mosquito can cause a worm to reach maturity after 6 or 7 months which resides in the heart for several years which can ultimately cause congestive heart failure; death. Treatment can be done to help a horrific episode as such. Killing the adult worms, the pet can utilize an arsenic based compound which clots & kills the worms. The pet may experience flu-like symptoms, but it treats the heartworm which is most important. If the heartworm is far past the early detection period, surgery can be done to remove the worms form the right atrium of the heart. Removing the worms will give them a better chance at recovering thankfully. Even though it may take weeks of sedentary lifestyle to treat the heartworm infestation, it's worth keeping your cat & dog at ease, keeping them in this state to keep them living a longer life. Monthly heartworm medication should be taken which comes in various forms such as a pill or liquid that is applied to the skin on the back of their neck. Yes, it may be expensive, but again, it's completely worth saving your sweet companion's life!
When Pet is Unwell
Seeing a pet unwell is one of the most heart wrenching experiences, knowing that they can't talk to tell you exactly what's wrong. Observing their behavior is key to understanding if they're hurting or feeling under the weather. Do they smell differently, passing gas often, walking funny, lounging too much, or have loss of appetite? There are many observed behaviors to watch out for that make it easy to tell that they aren't feeling 100%. If unfamiliar with the current symptoms or if you aren't qualified to treat for such, call your regular veterinarian if available & ask for help in describing what you're experiencing with your furry one so that they can suggest a treatment or medication to help. In following through with 'doctor's orders,' if able to at home, follow-up with them the next day or next few days after you see changes which are hopefully positive changes in your pet's behavior. An in-office vet visit is best for the follow-up. If your pet is in critical condition with signs of being unable to move, persistent vomiting, diarrhea (possibly bloody stool), difficulty breathing, seizures, can't walk or lay down, if they've collapsed and refuse to get up, struggles to urinate, won't eat or drink water, coughs nonstop, experiences severe pain, or if they've gotten into something that's toxic or poisonous, get them to your nearest vet ASAP by transporting them being as careful as possible. Time is of the essence when a pet is experiencing a critical situation.
With dogs, bumps & bruises are bound to happen! There are so many curiosities in the world for them to explore, that cuts, abrasions, burns, or stings may occur & we have to be prepared to treat these with specific first aid procedures. In determining what trauma your dog has experienced, it's important to observe. Checking their heart rate, larger dogs should be 50-90 & smaller dogs up to 150.
Burns are not something to take lightly with your dog. They come in various forms (thermal, chemical, or electrical), ranging from mild to severe. Do not go without making a vet visit when your pet is burned. Unless your vet says otherwise, you can treat the burn with a cream, but you don't want to risk causing more pain to your companion or causing a serious infection. The burn alone is already "ruff" on them! Your best response to a pet burning themselves is covering the burn with a cool dampened cloth & transporting them directly to the vet. You don't want to cause more harm!
Does your pup enjoy sun bathing or sticking their noses in the bushes, sniffing those pretty roses? They may eventually encounter a sting if so! Stings can be fairly easy to treat if your dog doesn't have a severe allergy to insect bites. Find the spot of discomfort & see if there's a stinger still intact. The area may be pink, red, or swollen to help you locate the spot better. Clean the area with soda & water. To reduce the swelling, cold compress on the bite, in 5min increments. Lastly, pat the area with a bit of aloe to reduce the swelling. Again, if it's known or you come to find they're having an allergic reaction, take them directly to the vet as one bite can be deadly! After the vet treats them, keep an eye on them when you can when they're outdoors, especially during Spring or Summer when the flowers are blooming or in bloom & the bees are out!
Symptoms of Poisoning & Treatment
Knowing critical signs that your pet may be poisoned, may just save their life. Dogs are known for getting into things, so the chances they could be poisoned someday is likely. Knowing the warning signs of poisoning may include vomiting, nausea, pain, drooling, tremors, loss of appetite, diarrhea, rash or irritation, lethargy, loss of coordination, collapsing, labored breathing, sensitivity to light, burns around the mouth, disorientation, shortness of breath, loss of consciousness, non-responsive behavior, or an asthma attack. In any event, contact your vet right away! Inform them with as much information that you know including what you believe they've eaten, how much, while indicating what current medications they're on. They will let you know if you can administer an at home treatment or if they need to be brought in right away. If they do go in, bring the poison so the vet can pinpoint exactly what to do in an efficient and effective manner. They may perform treatment with charcoal, sodium sulphate, or other ways to get the poison out as quickly as possible. Regardless if it's something minor or not, poison isn't to be messed with, so always call your vet if something bad has been ingested. Remember, it is up to you to keep them safe, so keep their living environment free from poison!
Household Hazards: Pet Proofing Your Home
Protecting your dog by creating a safe home environment is crucial in avoiding problems that could lead to hazardous situations that could negatively affect their health or livelihood. Household hazards are seen every which way you look around your home. Now, let's discuss ways to get around in being able to enjoy those items while keeping your pet safe. Let's start with what we see on the house exterior with windows & doors. Ensuring that they're shut at all times will prevent your pet from escaping or darting at something that intrigues them from the outdoors. In having your dog outside to enjoy the porch, you want to make sure the gaps between the rails aren't too wide where they could fit between & fall & that they can't jump over the rails in case something were to spark them from outside. Garbage cans are very hazardous as they contain an array of items including food that are poisonous to a pet, food that's spoiled, bones they could choke on, plastic products that they shouldn't ingest, the can could topple over on them which could hurt them, or they could even get stuck in the can! Put a tightly fit lid on the can & put in a discreet area such as the laundry room, pantry, utility closet, lower cupboard, or if outside, in an enclosed latched fence area that makes it impossible for them to get into. Most household plants are poisonous too, including Lilies & English Ivy, so ask your vet what plants will work in your home for your pet. If you're not very clean & there are always random objects on your floors, you may want to rethink your cleaning habits! Pets are drawn to shiny pieces, especially pieces that are put right in their pathway. Pick them up & store them so they can't get to them. With candles, LED candles are great. Keeping clean, also make sure to have common household items such as medication, cleaners, insecticides, and automotive products properly stored. Simply use common sense to take the necessary precautions at home to keep your companion healthy & happy.
Pet Mess Clean-Up
Even the most house trained dogs have "oopsies" or accidents here & there. Sometimes they truly aren't to blame & it's not fair to hold a grudge against them. They could have taken on a medical condition that you aren't aware of that makes it difficult to function their bowels. Heartworms, anxiousness, old age, or anxiety could be to blame too. If you are away too long, such as a regular 10hr work day that turns into 12hrs of being away, that could do it too! Pets aren't meant to hold themselves that long, even though some owners force it onto their pets. Be reasonable with them in determining what the factor is in causing the messes and come up with a way to resolve the issue so it doesn't continue.
If they do make a mess, we can definitely recommend some supplies & products that have worked well for us! For one, we always have a great supply of paper towels, small hand towels, & even regular sized towels handy for quick clean-up to blot the urine spots or to pick up the poop right away. Depending on the size of the spot dictates which 'cloth' we use to blot the area. Using a non-toxic cleaner is important while following-up with a pet odor neutralizer. Refrain from spraying Febreeze products to combat the smell as we have found most dogs are allergic to it & Ammonia, since pets seem to think it smells very much like urine which may cause for even more clean up! For the days that you're unable to catch the soiled spots right away on the carpet, use a steam cleaner (Bissel works great). It's only really necessary for when it's been dried into the carpets for too long.
Determining a Daycare or Boarding Facility
With so many dog boarding facilities around these days, it can be a tough decision in deciding which place is best for your fur-baby. Doing extensive research on several boarding facilities then narrowing it down will alleviate many common anxieties of finding that perfect place for your pooch! The best way to get even more reassurance on a facility is asking around to friends, family, neighbors, your veterinarian, or even looking up reviews online! Some important factors to consider include if the facility is licensed & insured + if they require health records. Then there are several factors that you'll know right away if it's a good fit or not for instance, if the pets are freely roaming or crated, how much staff interaction they have (personalized attention), if they're mostly indoors/outdoors, the cost for daycare or boarding, how many dogs are at the facility at the same time (could be too overwhelming if too many), if they're supervised 24/7, if they update you with photos, if the staff has medical training (First Aid & CPR), cleanliness & if the staff is warm, friendly, & welcoming. These are all considerations to take into deep account. Your pet may feel abandoned when you leave them, so you want the facility to be the most perfect fit possible to where you know your pet will eventually get comfortable in. We highly recommend doing a meet & greet with the staff & your companion while doing a trial stay for boarding if leaving for more than 4-5 nights. The last thing you want is for your pet to feel uncomfortable & curled up in the corner all week scared of these unfamiliar surroundings. By doing a couple visits prior, they'll become more familiar with the facility & may be excited to return! Leaving your pet is never an easy thing to do, but by consciously reviewing all of these factors, you are sure to be at much more ease in leaving them behind for their 'staycation' AND hopefully DogWorxx is the right match for your fur-baby(s) for daycare! ;)