pets

The HowTo For Choosing A Dog Coat

by Dylan Brodderick
When I was a child dogs rarely wore dog coats. There was a wide spread myth that a dog’s fur was enough to keep them warm on cold winter days. Clearly, this was false as some dogs are simply not naturally suited for colder climates. The dog coats that were available were generally pretty ugly and generally pretty difficult to put on.

These days responsible pet owners know that it is important to protect your dogs from the elements. Accordingly, there are many, many different types of dog coats on the market. You can choose from the strictly functional to the flashy-splashy, from the moderately priced to the less-moderately priced. There are coat styles more suitable to short haired dogs and coat styles more suitable to longer haired dogs. Some dog coats are water-proof, while other coats are insulated. Some people like to have a lighter weight dog coat for the milder days. There are coats that your dog can step into, coats that wrap around with Velcro fasteners, and coats that are similar to capes with a waist band. Some coats designed for larger dogs have pockets for owners to carry items such as dog toys or gloves. A nice feature to look for in a coat is some sort of reflective strip to add to the safety of your pet.

Dog coats come in a wide range of designs and colours. Some dog coats include safety features such as bells and reflective stripes. There are so many options that it can be difficult to choose the right dog coat for your dog. Below are the four most important considerations in choosing a coat for your dog.

1. Regional weather. Is the coat needed to protect your dog from the elements or is it a style thing? If you live in a temperate climate and the temperature rarely goes below freezing then you needn’t worry too much about the insulation factor of the coat and, in fact, should be careful that the coat doesn’t make your dog overheat. If you live in an area that has severe winters then you should look for a coat that is both insulated and wind proof and uses fabrics such as gortex. You may also want to look for a coat that is water proof especially if you live in an area that experiences freezing rain.

2. Can the coat be machine washed? Dog coats can get grubby very quickly and sometimes can get soiled by the dog relieving himself. Only consider dog coats that can be thrown into the washing machine. Keeping the coat clean will depend on your dog. Hopefully, during the spring thaw it will be warm enough that your dog can go coat-less. Expect to wash the coat twice per year.

3. How easy is it to dress your dog. If the coat is too difficult to put on then it will spend the winter in the closet and your dog will have a chilly winter. It is helpful to look for a coat with Velcro strip fasteners as these seem to be the easiest manner of dressing your dog. Also look for a coat that fastens at the back or side of the dog.

4. Size of dog coat to purchase. Before you start searching for the perfect dog coat you need to take a few measurements. Measure again the circumference if his neck and add 1 inch. Measure again around the broadest part of his chest and add one inch. Lastly, measure your dog from the start of her tail to the base of her neck. Take these measurements with you when shopping for a dog coat.

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Identifying Common Dog Allergies

There are many conditions that can make a dog itch or have hair loss, including autoimmune. endocrine, infectious, and parasitic skin diseases. Therefore, it takes some detective work to identify the right cause.

A veterinarian might be able to come up with the right diagnosis. Alternatively, they may need to refer your dog to a veterinary dermatologist, who is a specialist in treating animal skin conditions.

If allergies are thought to be the cause, the first thing a veterinarian will usually ask is if the dog is on any kind of flea-control product. Flea allergies are the most common type of allergies and are the easiest to control. There are many options available from high-street and online pet stores.

If flea allergies are ruled out, food allergies are checked next. Food allergies are not seasonal, while most atopic allergies start out as a seasonal problem.

Dogs which develop atopic allergies typically show symptoms when they are 5 years of age, but food allergies can be a problem at any time. They are high on the list of suspected causes when a dog first gets itchy skin at an age of over 5 years, or less than 6 months.

When testing for food allergies, the dog is put on an “elimination diet” for at least 10 weeks. This means it is fed food that consists of a protein and carbohydrate that the dog has not eaten before, such as venison, duck, and potatoes.

Veterinarians offer these special foods, and some may be found in retail stores. Or, the owner may choose to feed the dog a homemade diet of foods recommended by the veterinarian.

Should the dog’s itching subside by at least half, the allergen is clearly being caused by one of the foods that make up its regular diet. For confirmation, the dog owner can reintroduce the regular diet to see if the symptoms return.

To pinpoint the specific ingredients that trigger the allergy, the dog owner should feed the special diet again and add one ingredient at a time from the old diet. One new ingredient should be added weekly, with close attention being paid to how the dog reacts.

Or, the owner may decide to stay with the special diet to avoid causing the dog any further discomfort. Either way, while the dog is being tested for food allergies, it should not be given treats, table scraps, or rawhide toys that may contain an allergen.

To check for atopic and contact allergies, veterinarians use an intradermal allergy test, or skin reaction test. The dog is mildly sedated, a small area on the side of the dog is shaved, and small amounts of potential allergens are injected into the skin on the shaved area. Should the dog be allergic to one of the injected substances, the skin will become slightly inflamed, showing that the cause of the allergy has been found.

Learn More: Dog Allergies Treatment

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Some Basics For Housetraining Your Puppy

by Eric Renfro
Puppies should be housetrained as early as possible. Over 80% of dogs in the U.S. are kept inside the home by their owners. Failing to properly teach them to control their bladders and bowels will have frustrating consequences later. Fortunately, providing a healthy does of consistent discipline, patience, and attention upfront can help ensure your pup is housebroken early. There will be accidents, so plan for them. In the same way toddlers eventually learn to use the toilet, your puppy will also learn to avoid making a mess in your home.

In this article, we’ll describe two important ground rules that you should follow when housetraining your puppy. We’ll also explain why establishing a routine is critical and how to handle the occasional accident when it happens.

Establishing The Ground Rules

Owners who are trying to housebreak their puppies often punish them when they make a mess, even if they don’t catch them in the act. Avoid doing this. If you see you pup having an accident, a stern “no!” is good enough. There’s no need for punishment; in fact, punishing him can have a negative effect.

Also, be generous with your praise. If your puppy is doing things properly, let him know. Remember, dogs need positive reinforcement from their owners. If you only reproach him when he makes a mess and neglect to recognize his successes, it will have a lasting effect.

The Value Of A Routine

The importance of a regular routine when house training your pup cannot be overstated. The repetition reinforces positive behavior. First, make sure you’re providing your pup with plenty of opportunities to go outside; once every two hours is appropriate because they cannot control their bladders for long. Second, choose a specific spot outside that he can use to eliminate, and stick to it. If he has an accident, place the rags you use to clean it up in that spot. The odor will remind him where he is supposed to eliminate.

Third, establish a routine that includes regular feeding, playing, and walking time for him. That will help him adopt a consistent elimination schedule.

Paying Attention And Dealing With Accidents

When your pup is indoors, watch him. Don’t allow him to roam freely throughout your house. That is an invitation for him to leave a hidden “surprise” for you. Instead, confine him to a certain area and pay attention to signs that he needs to eliminate. When you notice those signs, take him to his designated elimination spot and praise him for his success.

As noted, your puppy will have a few accidents. Don’t punish him. If you catch him making a mess inside, interrupt him without scaring him (avoid yelling or chasing him). Take him to his designated area so he can finish. Then, praise him for it. Too many owners are quick to punish their puppies for having an accident. The result is that a pup learns to fear his owner.

Housetraining a puppy requires patience and diligence. However, if you approach it in the right manner, your pup will not only learn to control himself, he’ll learn to trust you in the process.

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5 Smart And Easy Tips For Keeping Your Dog Safe

by Eric Renfro
Your dog relies upon you to keep him safe both inside your home and outside. Most owners realize that they should keep their canines on a leash while they’re outside in order to prevent their roaming into the street. But, their responsibility extends much further. In this article, we’ll provide five tips that you can use to ensure the safety of your pooch.

#1 – Keep Dangerous Poisons Out Of Reach

Your canine’s appetite isn’t limited to the meals you provide him during the day. Given the opportunity, he’ll eat items that are not meant to be consumed (at least, not by him). For example, he may begin eating antifreeze if it is left within his reach. He might also start eating mouse bait, pesticides, and your own medications. Each of these items can lead to significant health issues. Keep them out of his reach.

#2 – Tag Him

You may think it could never happen, but many owners have learned that their dogs are always willing to explore if they’re given the chance. One of the reasons animal shelters in many cities are overflowing is because canines get loose and roam until they’re found. Put a collar and tag on your pooch. Also, consider microchipping him. Then, once a week, check to make sure his collar and tags are secure.

#3 – Keep His Head In The Car

It is a rare dog that doesn’t love to ride in a car with his head sticking out of the window. The problem is that it invites bugs and debris into his eyes. Plus, if you’re involved in a traffic collision, your pooch can be injured. If he’s going to ride in the car with you, keep the windows up enough to prevent him hanging his head outside.

#4 – Make Him Ride In The Cab

Owners will often place their dogs in the exposed bed of their trucks. This is incredibly dangerous for a few reasons. First, the stopping and starting can throw him off balance, often into the sides of the vehicle. Second, taking a sharp turn while your pooch is elevated on the side of the vehicle can throw him from the back into traffic. If you own a truck and you’re bringing him along, keep him in the cab.

#5 – Have A Veterinarian On File

The worst time to look for a veterinarian is when your dog desperately needs one. You should have the name and contact information of a trusted vet within reach. That includes his or her office phone and an emergency number. You should also have a back-up veterinarian that you can take your canine to in the event your primary vet is unavailable.

Your dog’s safety is at risk from accidents. Whether he’s getting into rat poison, becomes lost, or is riding in the back of your truck, you don’t expect him to get into trouble. It happens unexpectedly. Take the time to make sure he’s as safe as possible.

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