Natural Ways to Deter Fleas

puppy running

One thing all dog owners can agree on, no one likes fleas! As small as they are, they can be a big nuisance to not only your dog, but your whole household. It is recommended that you discuss with your vet the best flea prevention for your dog. Most people choose to use topical applications of medicated flea control. This week we are looking at some natural methods to help protect against fleas.

 

Apple Cider Vinegar          Who knew the wonder remedy has benefits for dogs too? Some dog owners have found adding a little bit of apple cider vinegar to their dog’s water can help to deter fleas. Approximately 1 tsp is enough for a 40lb dog, diluted in about 1 Litre of water. If you find your dog doesn’t like the taste, you can put a 50/50 mixture of apple cider vinegar and water into a spray bottle and just spray down your dog’s fur. Depending on how comfortable you are with the smell of apple cider vinegar, you can also spray down the dog bed and any other furniture he typically goes on.

 

DIY Flea Bath           If it’s getting to be around flea season, you can pre-emptively give your dog a homemade flea bath. Just combine 2 cups of water with the juice of 1 lemon and about ½ cup of his normal doggy shampoo. Mix well, and use in place of his regular pet shampoo during his next bath. Your dog will smell lemony fresh while also keeping pesky bugs at bay!

 

Go To The Beach!               Many dog owners swear by the use of salt on fleas. If you’re worried that maybe you’ve seen one or two fleas around, take your dog to go swimming at a dog friendly beach! The salt from the water may ‘dehydrate’ and kill the fleas. Because this method hasn’t been studied, this method is not recommended if you’ve seen many fleas on your dog. Be sure not to do this method too often, as the salt will also start to dehydrate your dogs skin and dry out his hair.

We hope that these natural remedies help you and your dog stay happy, healthy and free of fleas!

Dogs and Thunderstorm Anxiety

dog watching storm

If you’ve owned several dogs in your lifetime, chances are you’ve seen firsthand dog anxiety during a thunderstorm. It is very common for dogs to experience nervousness with the big noisy thunder and flashes of lightning, it can be scary! But just because it’s fairly common, doesn’t mean your pup has to be scared of thunderstorms anymore!

 

If your pooch suffers from anxiety during thunderstorms, it’s important to first look at any other issues or anxiety your pup may have. Often times, a small issue like anxiety during thunderstorms, is linked to a much bigger issue. Does your dog get enough exercise during the day? Does he have enough mental stimulation? Do you practise bonding exercises with him? Does he show anxiety during any other times? Does he suffer from separation anxiety? These are just some examples of questions you will need to ask yourself before addressing your dog’s anxiety. If we aren’t asking these questions and only seek out to solve this one problem, your dog may still have issues in other areas in his life that could be linked to the thunderstorm nervousness; and it will be much harder to calm him down during thunderstorms if these other issues aren’t addressed.

 

The cause of anxiety can be drastically different in every dog. Maybe your dog hasn’t had enough mental stimulation and so he is all ‘pent up’ when the thunderstorm starts, resulting in shaking, barking, hiding, etc. If you are having trouble identifying the underlying cause of your dog’s behaviour, look up a dog behaviourist for advice.

 

The signs of anxiety in your dog during a thunderstorm can vary, but commonly panting, barking, whining, hiding, drooling, and/or dilated pupils.

 

With most behavioural issues in dogs, the answer is often ‘desensitization’. Meaning the dog is slowly introduced in a positive manner to the thing, place or person that they have an undesirable reaction to. With lots of time and patience, the dog learns to be calm in the presence of the previously reactive item.

 

Unfortunately, storms are a special case as it is difficult to truly mimic a thunderstorm in the sense of a dog. Not only are they picking up on the thunder and lighting, they also hear the changes in the wind and changes in the barometric pressure (this is why dogs can often sense when a storm is coming). So it is even more important when it comes to thunderstorm anxiety, to investigate if your dog is fulfilled in other areas of his life (such as physical and mental stimulation, training, bonding with dogs and humans, etc.) With these other areas of his life fulfilled, you will see a dramatic difference in your dog during the storm.

 

What else can you do to help your dog during the storm? With all of your dogs needs being met, he may still show a few signs of anxiety during the storm. Some quick fixes for this are the ‘thundershirt’, a clothing item for your dog to wear that has antic-static lining and fits snugly on your dog to mimic the feeling of being swaddled. Make sure during the storm that everyone in the house stays calm, don’t over react or anticipate your dog to freak out as he will feed off that and often freak out more. If your dog has extreme anxiety and you’ve consulted a dog behaviourist, you may want to speak with your vet about homeopathic remedies to help calm down your dog. But remember, any quick fixes will not solve any underlying problems or truly help your dog to learn to calm himself down without your help. Your dog depends on you to not only protect him, but also to teach and guide him how to calm down without depending on or waiting for you to be there.

 

What is the Canine Good Citizen Program?

dog smiling with owner

Is your pooch the perfect gentleman? Knows all his manners and loves to meet new dogs and people with a calm demeanor? Your dog may already have what to takes to pass the CKC Canine Good Citizen test!

What is the Canine Good Citizen program? It was created by the CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) in 1989 to encourage responsible dog ownership and the goal being that the dog acts appropriately in various surroundings and situations. The program encourages the owner to use non-aversive training methods, and to strengthen the bond between owner and dog to improve training results as well as overall happiness (for both the owner and the dog). This program also helps improve communities as the dogs are less likely to act inappropriately towards strangers, assuming the manners continue to be maintained after the certificate has been earned. Even people who may be a little nervous around dogs, are typically much more at ease when you tell them your dog is a certified Good Citizen!

For your dog to earn his Canadian Canine Good Citizen certificate (also known as ‘CCGC’), you must set up a testing date with one of the CKC approved evaluators through the CKC website. On the date of the test, you must bring all paperwork for your dog such as proof of vaccinations and license, dog brush, plastic bag, leash and collar (or harness is also acceptable). The test must be done in a public place so that there are some distractions around. The dog is given the Canine Good Citizen Test broken down into 12 steps.

1. Accepting A Friendly Stranger (Owner shakes hands with a friendly stranger, dog must remain calm)
2. Politely Accepts Petting (Evaluator pets the dog, testing the dog for shyness)
3. Appearance and Grooming (Evaluator inspects that the dog is well looked after, coat in good condition, healthy teeth, clear eyes, etc.)
4. Out For A Walk (Owner walks the dog, any tension on the leash is automatic failure)
5. Walking Through A Crowd (Dog remains calm in busy public setting, does not show signs of stress or nervousness, must continue to have a ‘loose leash’)
6. Sit/Down On Command and Stay In Place (Dog must know ‘sit’, ‘down’ and ‘stay’ and able to perform these reliably even with distractions)
7. Come When Called (Dog must know ‘come’ reliably even with distractions)
8. Praise/Interaction (Evaluator observes the relationship between owner and dog when owner gives praise, as well as the dog should be able to calm down easily and quickly after praise is done)
9. Reaction To A Passing Dog (Dog remains calm and not nervous, shy or aggressive when passing a dog)
10. Reaction To Distractions (With distractions present, dog must remain confident and not fearful or overly excited)
11. Supervised Isolation (Evaluator tests that the dog continues to have good manners and respond appropriately to commands from a stranger while the owner is not within their eyesight)
12. Walking Through A Door/Gate (Dog waits for the owner to give the ok before going through gate, dog must calmly walk through door or gate and not charge or pull)

It may seem daunting at first if you are in the early stages of training with your dog, but completing the CCGC program is an excellent foundation towards more fun things with your dog like agility or performance events. Not only does it help give a foundation to training, it also greatly increases the bond between you and your dog as you spend lots of time together practising and training for this test. You will also learn to read your dog’s body language better and it will almost be like you can have conversations together! The Canine Good Citizen program gives you the confidence to take your dog anywhere and know he will be on his best behaviour.

Breed of the Week: Italian Greyhound

italian greyhound

Meet our cute and tiny featured breed this week, the Italian Greyhound! This miniature pooch is super playful and gentle. When they aren’t cuddling up to you on the couch, you can find them bouncing around outside with pure joy!

 

The Italian Greyhound is the smallest of the sighthound group. The breed originated in Italy approximately 2,000 years ago when Italians started breeding naturally smaller greyhounds. Many experts will debate the origin of this dog actually dates back as far as 6,000 years ago as some drawings on ancient Egyptian tombs have depicted a small dog very similar in resemblance to the Italian greyhound. There is even rumor that an Italian greyhound looking dog was discovered in the remnants of the city of Pompeii. Being from the sighthound group, the Italian Greyhound’s original purpose was to hunt for small game.

 

With their natural hunting instincts, it’s easy to see why this dog will often chase anything that moves! The Italian Greyhound can be found either bouncing off the walls and wiggling his body like crazy, or nuzzled into a cozy blanket or lying in a sunspot. Because of their high energy spurts, you want to be sure to give your Italian Greyhound lots of time every day to run around outside and let lose some of that energy. Preferably with some doggie friends as the Italian Greyhound gets along amazingly with other dogs, they thrive having canine friends to play with.

 

Italian Greyhounds makes wonderful family pets and are very suitable for apartment or condo living with their small size (but be sure to get them out to run around every day!). They get along great with kids, and usually tolerant of young kids when socialized properly. As long as the young kids are polite and respectful to the dog, and know not to try to pick them up unexpectedly (Italian Greyhounds are very sensitive to touch and usually dislike being grabbed by surprise) They are very sweet and gentle dogs that also get along well with other pets such as cats. Much like cats themselves as they like to nuzzle up to a warm couch or sleep under a sun beam from the window. Italian Greyhounds will often perch themselves on top of a couch so they can look out the window, much like a cat. But make sure they don’t climb too high, this breed often suffers from broken legs from trying to jump across high places.

 

This breed is very easy to maintain their good looks. Being short-haired, you don’t need to worry about taking them to the groomer for hair trimming. Just basic maintenance grooming like teeth and ear cleaning, nail trimming, baths, etc. Although not hypoallergenic, they do shed very little so hair all over the house won’t be much of a problem.

 

Italian Greyhounds are a wonderful choice for a family pet and get along fantastically with other dogs. The have a contagiously happy and playful personality. If you’re looking for a cute little clown that’s also an expert cuddlebug, look no further than the Italian Greyhound.

Ways Your Dog Says ‘I Love You’

dog heart

It’s pretty easy to see when humans are showing their love or affection for one another, kissing, hugging, hand-holding, etc. But do you know all the little ways your dog tells you he loves you? You may be surprised to learn some of the almost unnoticeable ways your dog is saying ‘I love you’.

 

Yawning (When You Yawn)

When humans yawn from seeing another human yawn we often think ‘yawns are contagious’; but really, it is a sign of sympathy. When you are more attached to the person who is yawning, you are more likely to also feel the urge to yawn as you are unconsciously showing sympathy for the person. Crazy thing is, dogs do the same thing! Recent studies have shown that the more bonded the dog is to the person who is yawning, the more likely they are to yawning. Of course, we also know that yawning in dogs can also be a sign of anxiety or anticipation, so be sure to analyze the situation if your dog is nervous, excited to go somewhere, or just taking the time to say ‘I love you’!

 

Wiggling Their Eyebrows

 

According to the Behavioural Processes Journal, a Japanese Study revealed that dogs are likely to wiggle or raise their eyebrows when they are reunited with someone they like! In the study, dogs were observed when exposed to various toys, strangers and their owner. The results showed that there was unpredictable movement towards the toys and strangers, but consistently dogs would move their left eyebrow in some way whenever they saw their owner! When studied further and discovered that dogs often have the same reaction to other dogs that they know well, this tells us that dogs moving their left eyebrow definitely has a correlation to the relationship they feel they have with the person or dog.

Wanting to Sleep Near You

Whether sleeping on your bed or in his own dog bed near your bed, dogs want to sleep near someone they feel close to and trust. In dog world, sleep is a very vulnerable state, this is why most wild dogs or wolves will sleep in a pack as there is safety in numbers. But you will rarely find a dog sleeping near someone they don’t trust. In their eyes, the safest place to sleep is with you because you are their protector, and they love you for it! It’s a huge compliment when a dog trusts you enough to sleep close to you and definitely shows their love.

 

These are only some of the ways our furry companions tell us they love us. And every dog is different, so your dog may have even more cute ways that he says he loves you that we haven’t discovered yet!

Healthiest Dog Breeds: Part 2

dog with veggies

This week we are continuing our look at some of the healthiest dog breeds. So far, we’ve looked at the Australian Cattle Dog, Border Collie and Havanese. All of these dog breeds have relatively low health concerns and a higher than average lifespan. Today we are looking at three more fantastic and healthier than average dog breeds!

 

German Pinscher

The courageous and proud German Pinscher is one of the healthiest dog breeds. Considering they are on the larger side, it’s a delightful surprise to find out this breed actually has a very low risk of hip dysplasia (a common problem for many large breed dogs). They have an average lifespan of 14 years old and the only health concern that is a common problem for this breed are cataracts which (depending on the exact cause) can be detected early and treated or managed. This is a pretty active breed so to ensure they get to a healthy 14 years old or more, be sure to give them a proper nutrient-rich diet and plenty of exercise.

 

Miniature Schnauzer

This wonderful breed puts the confidence and hardiness of a big dog into a little fluffy package. An intelligent and energetic breed, the miniature schnauzer definitely makes our list for the top healthiest dog breeds. The have a very high average lifespan of about 13-15 years old, and not uncommon to live even longer! With proper care and health management, these dogs often live their entire lives without any major health problems. As with many dogs, one problem to watch out for is hip dysplasia. With proper care and preventing measures, this problem is usually not an issue for the dog. Discuss the best ways to prevent hip dysplasia with your vet as he may give specific recommendations for your dog, but the most effective way is to keep your dog active with daily walks, runs, swims, etc. But avoid exercises that put a lot of pressure on your dogs joints such as jumping or going up and down lots of stairs.

English Springer Spaniel

If you are an outdoorsy person, you’d definitely get along great with the last healthiest dog breed on our list. The bold and energetic English Springer Spaniel has an expected lifespan of 10-14 years. They love running outside all day with their family, and all that exercise and fresh air definitely helps to maintain their excellent health. This breed is prone to a few health problems that should be tested for and treated by a vet to ensure a healthy pup! Some health concerns for the English Springer Spaniel are retinal dysplasia, hip dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy (which can eventually lead to blindness). Although there is no cure for progressive retinal atrophy, after consulting with your vet, you may be able to give your dog antioxidant supplements to reduce the severity and slow down the rate of degeneration in the retina.

 

It is always a good idea to research breeds before considering a new dog, and one of the biggest concerns when looking at a breed are the health concerns and average lifespan. As you can see with the dog breeds we’ve discussed, the most important consideration to keeping your dog healthy is to provide proper nutrition, exercise, and of course, love!

Healthiest Dog Breeds: Part 1

dog doctor

When looking to get a new dog or puppy, one of the biggest concerns of many future pet parents, are the common health problems of the breed. Even when considering a mixed breed dog, it is important to be knowledgeable and aware of possible future health issues with each breed that make up your mutt. This week we will be listing some of our favourite dog breeds that are well-known for their lack of health issues, also taking into consideration a long life span and great quality of life.

 

Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle dog belongs to the herding dog group. A medium-sized dog weighing about 30-35lbs when full grown. This energetic dog loves the outdoors and running around with his doggy friends all day. This is a very ‘sturdy’ breed that has no problem running into thick forests or jumping into lakes and getting dirty. They have an average life span of 13 years, and with proper exercise and nutrition, often live well beyond that number. You may be surprised to find just how active these dogs remain even into their later years. Your 8 year old Australian Cattle Dog will likely still be running around just like he did as a puppy!

 

Border Collie

Another super healthy dog also belonging to the herding dog group, the Border Collie! They are very active dogs that need a lot of daily exercise to help keep them healthy and happy. They have an average lifespan of 12-14 years and a few minor health problems that may occur in their later years such as hypothyroidism and Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA). With proper care, many Border Collies live into their senior years without any major health problems. Many Border Collie breeders have taken special care and many years to help ensure their puppies are as healthy as possible. Most of the small health issues that can occur in Border Collies can be tested for as a puppy and prevented or controlled before they become adult dogs.

 

Havanese

The smallest breed on our list today, the cute and cuddly Havanese! This breed has an average lifespan of 12-14 years and have very few health problems. Typical health concerns for Havanese are deafness and elbow dysplasia, these problems usually only occur in older Havanese although some puppies may be born deaf. Unlike our breeds listed above, the Havanese only needs short daily walks. But make sure he does get those daily walks! Dogs who are overweight are more likely to develop elbow dysplasia with that extra weight they are carrying around. Also remember to feed your Havanese high-quality dog food that doesn’t contain too much protein as that can also lead to canine elbow dysplasia.

 

These wonderful dog breeds  are known for their health and high quality of life and with proper exercise and nutrition, you are sure to give your dog the best years he can possibly have!

Breed of the Week: Tibetan Spaniel

tibetan spaniel

Our confident, pint-sized breed this week is the adventurous Tibetan Spaniel. These furry little guys share their ancestors with Pekingese, Pug and the Japanese Chin. They are intelligent and very trainable dogs suitable to confident owners.

 

The Tibetan Spaniel breed originated in the Himalayan mountains of Tibet, approximately 2,000 years ago. They were used mostly as companion dogs for the Monks, but were also keen watchdogs. The Tibetan Spaniel would sit for hours on top of a hill near the monastery, and alert the monks by barking if they saw anyone coming.

 

Although with their history you may expect the Tibetan Spaniel to be somewhat of a guard dog, in reality they are all bark and (typically) no bite. They make great watch dogs and will do lots of barking to alert you, but a well-balanced Tibetan Spaniel should never show any signs of aggression even to strangers. Typically, these dogs are pretty aloof around new people, they really light up when their owners are around. They are very loyal dogs that love to spend time with the people they’ve bonded to. Much like cats, they quite enjoy looking out the window for hours at a time, just watching people walking by. Just be sure they don’t lie by the window all day! These little guys need daily walks just like any other dog. They don’t require a lot of exercise, but still need to be active every day for their physical and mental well-being.

 

With their flat faces, the Tibetan Spaniel is known as a brachycephalic breed. So be sure that they don’t over exert themselves or are out too long in hot weather as their short muzzles can make it difficult to breath under these conditions.

 

The Tibetan Spaniel is a very intelligent and confident breed and can sometimes be a little stubborn. They are also extremely sensitive and intuitive to their owner’s mood. With all of this in mind, their training sessions should be done with a lot of patience and consistency. Avoid using any harsh training methods with this breed. The best method for training a Tibetan Spaniel is to first spend quality time together and really strengthen your bond, this will make training sessions much more enjoyable and productive!

 

To maintain the natural beauty of the Tibetan Spaniel, the owner should never trim the dog’s hair, other than the feet. Brushing should be done weekly as well as combing out the finer hair on their face. Depending on your particular Tibetan Spaniel, if they have large facial wrinkles, ensure to keep these clean by wiping them out with a pet safe wet wipe.

 

These compact little companions make great additions to almost any family. With their small size, they are suitable for city living. Using gentle and consistent training, the Tibetan Spaniel can grow to be a well-mannered watchdog and family member.

Benefits of Daily Walks with your Dog

dog holding leash

We all know how important it is for our dog’s physical and mental well-being to get their daily walks, but did you know the wonderful benefits that we receive from those walks? Here are some of our favourite added benefits to going for a nice walk with your pooch!

 

Quality Bonding Time

Dogs enjoy walking and exploring new areas with their ‘pack’ or family as this is one of the ways they bond. Even when visiting places they’ve been to just a few days ago, they will still be able to sniff around and get their daily news of what’s been going on and who’s been walking by. To get the most out of your bonding time with your dog, make sure you are fully involved with the walk and paying attention to your dog (not texting a friend or checking emails). To make it more interactive, try asking your dog to sit before crossing any roads, or make a game of it and have him ‘give paw’ when you see a red car drive by. These little interactions will help translate to your dog that you are excited to be involved in this walk with him.

 

Better Training Sessions

If you’ve worked with or seen a dog trainer in action, then you’ve probably seen that a tired dog is much easier to train than a restless one. Many dog trainers will ask for the dog to come to the session after his walk, or include a long walk at the beginning of the training session to let out any excess energy. The walk will also help your dog breathe in that fresh air and release similar endorphins in their brains that humans get when walking, resulting in a calmer dog.

 

Weight Loss Motivation

Waking up to a dog pulling blankets off of you, ready for their walk, can be great motivation to get up off your tush and get moving! If you are looking for a weight loss buddy, dogs can be a great motivator. Once you get into the habit of an hour long daily walk with your dog, it will get easier and easier for your body to get through that hour. And as the weight comes off and it gets easier to move, you can start taking your dog for hikes or bike rides! This will not only help keep your waistline in check, but also prevent your dog from becoming lazy and overweight.

 

It not only benefits your dog to go for a daily walk, it also benefits us humans! Take your pooch out for a walk today and you’ll both reap the wonderful benefits!