Breed of the Week: St. Bernard

saintbernard

If you’ve seen the famous movie ‘Beethoven’, then you’re already familiar with our breed of the week, the St. Bernard! This big cuddly goofball is a well-known family dog that really is a gentle giant! Read on to find out why everyone’s heart melts when they meet a St. Bernard!

 

The St. Bernard breed was developed in the 17th century Switzerland as companions to monks. They were bred from various mastiff-type dogs. These dogs would accompany the monks on search patrols as they were excellent at detecting avalanches about to happen. With their keen sense of smell, they were also used to track anyone who had been buried in snow by the avalanches. When the weather was too bad for the monks to do their searches, they would send out groups of St. Bernards to go alone and search out for anyone who had been lost or buried in the snow. When the dog would find someone, one St. Bernard would lie on the body to keep it warm, while another Bernard would go back to the monastery to alert the monks. The very recognizable barrel under the neck of a St. Bernard, would contain some sort of alcohol so that the person being rescued could drink it to help stay warm while waiting to be rescued.

 

Now that we use helicopters and various forms of technology for search and rescues, the St. Bernard is generally just used as companion dog. As with most giant breeds, the St. Bernard does require daily exercise but not as much as a highly active dog such as a Border collie or Weimaraner.  But due to their extra-large size, they do take up a lot of space so they may not be best for small living areas such as an apartment. They get along great with kids as well as cats and other dogs. As with any breed they should be well socialized at an early age. St. Bernards should also learn all of their basic obedience at an early age as to not become to rambunctious when full grown and to prevent jumping on people (as they could easily knock an adult over!).

 

The St. Bernard doesn’t require any hair trimming, but they do shed a lot! They will need to be brushed at least once a day. And if you don’t like drool, then you will not enjoy living with a St. Bernard. They will drool on anything and everything! You won’t ever have to worry about buying them booties or a jacket for the cold weather, they were bred to work in the snow! So they often really enjoy going for even longer walks during the cold weather.

 

Living with a St. Bernard is like living with a giant cuddly teddy bear, they are excellent cuddlers (their original job was to basically cuddle people buried in snow and keep them warm!). They get along great with everyone and really enjoy being around their owners. Hopefully you like the snow because St. Bernards will want to play in the cold weather all day! And as long as you’re okay with drool, the St. Bernard could be the perfect breed for you.

Doggy Dental Care

Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy with a toothbrush

We all know to keep up with our dog’s basic grooming; nail trimming, brushing & hair trimming. One very important piece of their basic grooming that is often forgotten is their dental hygiene. Dogs don’t know to brush their teeth every day, so it is up to us as their owners to ensure that their teeth and mouth stay healthy and clean. Here are some tips to keeping your dog’s dental hygiene the best it can be!

 

Crunchy Treats

Giving your dog crunchy food and treats is a great way to help work off any plaque build-up on their teeth. Having to chew on things like raw carrots or big pieces of kibble will help to work off some of the built up plaque on your dog’s teeth. This method will definitely help reduce plaque, but crunchy treats should be used in combination with other teeth cleaning methods as crunchy food will often not reach all of the built up plaque around the gum line.

 

Teeth Scaling

Dogs that have a lot of built up plaque on their teeth will often require vets to do a procedure called teeth scaling. This involves the vet putting the dog under anesthesia and then using dental tools to scrape off all the plaque on your dogs teeth. The vet will also generally do a full x-ray of your dog’s mouth after teeth scaling to ensure your dog’s mouth is in good health. This procedure is the most effective to keeping your dog’s mouth clean but it is also the most expensive as well as requires your dog to be under anesthesia. If your dog is young and his teeth are in good health, you likely won’t require this procedure until he gets older. Be careful of any groomers claiming to provide teeth scaling. It is a procedure that should only be done by your vet as they use the proper anesthesia to prevent your dog moving during the scaling, as well as they are trained to provide full cleanings without harming the many blood vessels in your dogs mouth.

Teeth Brushing

A very effective method of teeth cleaning that you can do for your dog every day is physically brushing his teeth, just like you brush yours every day! Ask your vet on the best dog safe toothpaste to use (as they are not all made equal!), and you can pick up little dog toothbrushes. Some dog toothbrushes are built to fit right on your finger to make it easier for you to thoroughly clean your dog’s teeth. It is important to start brushing your dog’s teeth early on so that they become comfortable with it, as it will be a weird and new sensation to your dog at first.

 

We all know how important is it to take care of our oral health, it is just as important for your dog to have good oral health & hygiene too! The best way to ensure your dog’s teeth are clean and plaque free, is to be brushing their teeth with dog safe toothpaste every day. Combined with vet teeth scaling as determined by your vet, as well as some crunchy treats, your dog will have the brightest smile around!

Breed of the Week: Chow Chow

chow-chow-dog

Here comes the Chow Chow! A bouncy, fluffy, energetic teddy bear that loves his family! This dog is an independent thinker and some say this breed acts more like a cat than a dog!

 

Chow chows are believed to be one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. Originating from Mongolia, they were kept by Chinese emperors to guard all of their valuable possessions. Some emperors kept as many as 2000 Chows! The breed started becoming very popular outside of China after Queen Victoria gained interest in them, and then in 1895 a breed club was finally formed for the Chow Chow. Now in the modern world, many celebrities have fallen in love with the breed too! Sigmund Freud’s daughter became a Chow breeder and Martha Stewart would often bring her own Chows onto her television show.

 

As you can probably guess by looking at these big fluffy teddy bears, the Chow would be considered high maintenance for grooming. They require daily brushing, sometimes twice a day if your particular Chow is a heavy seasonal shedder. Basic grooming like nail clipping, teeth cleaning and bathing will also be required. Some owners choose to shave down their Chows, but most groomers will recommend against this due to the Chow’s ‘double coat’. When dogs with double coats are shaved, it often leaves the hair to grow back much coarser than it was before, as well as diminish it’s naturally ability as insulation in colder weather. So we highly recommend that you don’t shave your Chow Chow’s coat, but instead simply keep up with brushing and your Chow will be feeling comfortable as well as keeping stylish!

 

Chow Chows are very family oriented. The family unit they grow up with they will often bond to for life and be very loyal companions. Chows are often independent and serious type dogs and do not like to be ‘messed with’; for this reason they should be carefully monitored around young or rowdy children. Chows need to be heavily socialized when puppies to ensure they are not too standoffish or weary of strangers, as well as to become comfortable around children and other animals. Most Chows have a natural tendency to be very friendly with cats, probably because they act so similar in mannerisms! Although they are almost always calm and almost lazy inside the home, they do still require a fair amount of exercise to keep them happy and healthy.

 

Chows are a wonderful choice for individuals or families looking for a laid back dog that will always be happy to see their owners. Loved by many celebrities, this dog gets along great with cats and can get along well with kids when socialized early. The Chow Chow will love to go for a long run with their owner and then relax for the rest of the day at home. So make sure to consider the Chow Chow when looking to add a new dog to your home!

Breed of the Week: Golden Retriever

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Possibly the most well-known dog breed anywhere, our breed of the week is the ever classic Golden Retriever! This breed has been popular in TV & film, and commonly thought as the most family oriented breed. If you are considering adding a Golden Retriever to your life and family, read on to learn more about why we love them so much!

 

Goldens originated in Britain in the 1800’s. To develop the Golden that we know and love today, breeders crossed various existing breeds such as the Newfoundlander, Irish setter, and various water spaniels. The breed was used to retrieve water fowl for hunters. When the hunters would shoot the fowl, the Golden Retriever had to quickly swim out into the water and bring the water fowl to his owner. The task required the dog to be accustomed to the loud noise of the gun, as well as energy and focus to swim out into the water all day.

 

The loving and happy Golden Retriever is a wonderful family pet. They get along great with kids of all sizes, cats, dogs, you name it! As with every dog breed, even Golden Retrievers need to be socialized early to reinforce their love for everyone! Goldens have a lot of energy and will need daily walks as well as regular hikes or some other form of energy-draining activity. They are very intelligent dogs and will often learn all of their obedience very quickly. To help keep them from boredom, try playing some games that mentally stimulate them or teach them a new trick such as bringing you your car keys! They do very well learning tricks involving ‘retrieving’ considering their history.

 

Golden retrievers do require daily brushing, sometimes twice a day as their hair can easily tangle after a few hours of playtime! Depending on your particular golden, many owners will bring their Golden Retriever once every few months to have their ‘feathers’ trimmed. ‘Feathers’ being that wispy looking hair off of their legs and tail. You may find you need to bathe your Golden every month or so as they have a tendency to get dirty when playing. They gravitate towards playing in the dirt or muddy water. We would recommend investing in a sensitive shampoo that is advertised as safe to use for frequent dog bathing, as you don’t want to dry out your dog’s skin by bathing too often.

 

If you’re looking for an all-round great companion that greets everyone with a wagging tail, you are sure to love the Golden Retriever! They do great with most living situations; even in small apartments, as long as they receive enough exercise. They are gentle dogs with lots of energy that have a way of quickly becoming your best friend for life!

Breed of the Week: Schipperke

schipperke

Have you heard about our latest breed of the week? The Schipperke! This little black fox-looking dog is not super well known but wins over your heart at first play! They are active little dogs with a constant smile on their face. Read on to learn more about the Schipperke!

 

The Schipperke was originally bred in Belgium as a very effective watchdog. Their ancestors are a larger breed with similar looks, known as the ‘Leauvennar’.

 

With their natural instinct to watch and protect, you can be sure you are safe with the Schipperke watching your family and home. They are definitely a small dog with a huge personality and confidence, with these characteristics they definitely need to be heavily socialized with people to ensure they don’t become standoffish or aggressive towards new people.

 

These little guys never run out of energy! To keep them happy and healthy you will need to spend a lot of time together exercising as well as keeping them mentally stimulated (they are a very intelligent breed). They would do very well in agility competitions. You could also teach them games to get out some energy at the same time as giving them mental stimulation. A great game to play with your Schipperke would be ‘search & rescue’. This game consists of having your dog facing away from where you will be hiding a toy. Once you’ve hidden the toy, tell them ‘find it’, and once they have found it and brought it back to you, give them praise or a treat! This helps to drain some energy, keep them mentally stimulated, build their confidence (the pride they get when they’ve found the toy), and strengthening your bond!

 

The Schipperke typically has an all-black coat, but can also come in brown (chocolate), cream, black and tan and red. Although the other colours (aside from black) can be quite rare to find. This dog really does look like a little black fox with their furry bodies and tiny little legs. As well as their fox-like pointy nose and ears. When they open the mouths they almost look like they are smiling at you!  They will require trips to the vet for a hair trim about once a month, along with all their other basic grooming needs (brushing, nail trimming, etc.).

 

The Schipperke can do well in a household with respectful children (not too rowdy, so possibly not great with very young kids). Just as with any breed, they should always be socialized early. Whether living with a single person or a family, this dog just wants to live an active and busy lifestyle. Schipperke owners quickly bond with their wonderful and sweet companions and always feel protected with them around!

Breed of the Week: Weimaraner

weimaraner

One of the most beautiful and majestic hunting dogs, our breed of the week is the Weimaraner, commonly nicknamed, the ‘Weimy’. These highly active dogs are unexpected goofballs and constantly keeping their families entertained.

 

The Weimaraner was bred in Germany in the 19th century. The dog was bred to be a hunting dog for animals such as deer and boar. Today’s Weimaraners are still widely used as hunting dogs. These dogs love working all day in the fields and certainly have the energy for it! For this reason, this breed probably wouldn’t do so well in a small apartment. They love to run in big open spaces and just as with other active breeds, if you do have a working dog living in a small space, ensure that they are getting plenty of exercise to help not feel so confined.

 

No excessive grooming required for this breed! They typically have a short, all over-grey/silver coat. While you don’t need to bring this dog into the groomers for a hair trim every week, Weimy’s still shed and will need frequent brushing (as well as other basic hygiene upkeep like nail trimming, ear cleaning, etc.).

 

Although you may find many hunting dogs to be quite serious and maybe even a little standoffish, the Weimaraner surprisingly has a quite goofy personality! They love to do lots of ‘play bows’ with their doggy friends. They get along great with other dogs and small kids (when properly socialized), and they love to make you laugh. Even in a game of fetch, you may find your Weimy doing crazy spins of excitement waiting for you to throw the ball! They are very playful dogs when not on the job. But once they get to work, they are all business and their focus is like no other.

 

If you’re in need of an excellent hunting dog, or maybe just an active and loveable companion, the Weimaraner can suit many different lifestyles. Just ensure that they have enough space to run around and lots of activities to fill their day!

Breed of the Week: Pug

Have you been searching for a super cute dog that doesn’t require too much exercise and will make you smile with their daily antics? Look no further than our breed of the week, the pug! These clowns of the dog world are always making their owners laugh and enjoying life with a great big smile!

 

Pugs are believed to be an ancient breed originating from China. They were considered prized possessions by their emperor owners. Pugs were even sometimes given their own private room and servants granting their every wish! Throughout many years of breeding, the fawn colour with black mask became the most common; but they can also come in brindle or black.

 

This wonderfully charming breed gets along great with everyone! Just as with any breed, it is important to properly socialize your puppy. With some socialization, the pug gets along fantastically with strangers, kids, cats, dogs, you name it! You won’t need to worry about hours of exercise to tire out a pug! They are pretty well-known for being couch potatoes. You will likely need to stay on top of their food intake and exercise to ensure they don’t get overweight.

 

The Pug requires minimal grooming. Although they do not need any sort of hair trimming, they can shed quite a bit! To help ensure your couches aren’t covered in hair, make sure to give your pug a good brushing at least every other day. Depending on how many facial wrinkles your pug has, it is very important to keep those folds clean, as well as any folds around their short curly tail. You can pick up pet safe wipes from your vet to help keep your pug comfortable and clean.

 

If you are in need of a cute companion that will keep you laughing with their goofball personalities, you should definitely consider adding a pug to your life!

Dog Park Etiquette

            The dog park is a great place to have your dog get out some excess energy and meet new dogs as well as new people. When at a dog park, it is important to know the proper dog park etiquette to keep it an enjoyable place for everyone. We’ve put together 3 easy tips to help you and your furry friend get the most out of your time at the dog park!

Scoop It!

Nobody at the dog park wants to clean up after someone else’s pet, so be sure to watch your dog(s) carefully if they are doing their business. You are completely responsible to clean up any messes your pet leaves. This ensures a better experience at the dog park for everyone. If you notice someone else’s dog doing their business, it is common dog park courtesy to politely let the owner know.

Keep Up With Vaccinations!

Be sure to always have your dog up to date with his vaccinations so that he (as well as the other dogs at the dog park) are much less likely to contract anything. Many dog parks also now require that your dog be spayed or neutered; this reduces any accidental pregnancies and many people believe it reduces the chances of fighting amongst male dogs.

If your dog has recently had a stomach bug or other small illness, it is best to keep them home just as you would keep a small child home from daycare if not feeling 100%. This also goes for fleas, ticks, etc. Dog parks should be thought of like a children’s daycare, you want to make sure they are up to it as well as preventing passing on anything to the other dogs.

Interact With Your Dog!

The reason most people bring their dog to a dog park is to play and run with other dogs. If your dog sees you sitting on the bench looking at your phone the whole time, he may end up just hanging around you instead of playing! Or if you have a more independent dog, he may get into some trouble such as playing too rough with other dogs, digging holes, jumping fences, etc., if he knows you aren’t watching him. So be sure to keep moving around the dog park (this also helps with your dog’s recall as he will constantly be looking to where you are). This helps you be more aware of how your dog is playing with the others and ensuring he is not misbehaving as well as making sure other dogs are not being too rough with him!

If you follow these simple tips you are sure to be one of the most popular people (and dog) at the dog park!

Breed of the Week: Briard

briard

Our super hairy, fun-loving breed for this week is the wonderful Briard! A large breed dog with a lot of energy and a lot of brains! Let’s take a closer look at this gentle and family-oriented breed.

This Briard is originally from France and mentioned in records from as far back as the 12th century! They were used primarily as working dogs to guard livestock (most often sheep).

With their history in protecting livestock, they can sometimes be quite defensive and protective of family members they have strongly bonded to. It is important to heavily socialize this breed to ensure they are not wary of friendly strangers. The stamina it took for their ancestors to work on the farm all day is evident in the energy level of today’s Briards. This breed requires a lot of exercise to stay calm and content. They get along great with kids and are excellent dogs for active families.

This breed is very intelligent and is a quick learner! You will likely fly through basic obedience and your Briard will be asking to learn more and more! Briards do great in agility competitions with their excellent combination of high energy and high intelligence.

It is easy to see that the Briard has a lot of hair! Resulting in daily brushing to avoid tangles and gunk in that hair, as well as regular hair trimming.

One of the oldest breeds in France, the Briard can be a great addition to your home and family. Ensure your Briard gets enough daily exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy. The Briard is a gorgeous dog that will bring your family endless joy!