Choosing a dog daycare and dog boarding facility

dog eating birthday cake whilst dog boarding

 

Questions To Ask When Choosing a Dog Daycare and Dog Boarding Facility

Congratulations! You’ve just brought a new dog into your family and you’re looking for him to get some exercise and socialize during the day and/or board whilst you’re away on holiday. So what are the next steps? How do you choose a dog daycare and dog boarding facility? How do you know if it’s a reputable facility? It can be a daunting decision as you want the best for your fur baby. We completely understand and have compiled a few questions to get started along your journey to finding the perfect dog daycare!

  • Where will my dog be playing, sleeping, and eating?
      1. Every reputable dog daycare or dog boarding facility will be pleased to show you where your pup will be eating, sleeping, and playing. Though it’s not uncommon to have specific hours during which a tour can take place, be wary of any facility that won’t let you see the spaces that your dog will be occupying – everything should be transparent!
  • Who will my dog be playing with?
    1. This is an important question because sometimes small dogs don’t like being around big dogs or sometimes older dogs prefer a slower pace to life as opposed to being around rambunctious dogs. A good dog daycare or dog boarding facility will understand this difference and place the dogs in various play group based on size, temperament, and energy levels. Also, the best facilities will conduct personality assessments on each dog to ensure good playful group dynamics.
  • What does the facility look and smell like?
      1. When you book an appointment to visit the dog daycare, ensure you walk around the play areas and sleeping areas and have a good sniff! Lingering smells of urine, feces, stains and dirt can be signs that general cleanliness and upkeep is poor. You obviously want to ensure that your dog’s home away from home is as welcoming and clean as possible. Of course, accidents happen, especially with puppies, but look for signs of long neglected stains and smells.
  • What about emergencies or injuries?
      1. Ask specifically what happens in the unfortunate event of an injury to your dog and what procedures are followed should that it occur. The most reputable daycares will notify you immediately with the description and extent of the injury with a recommendation of care and then follow your directions. Reputable dog daycares will also have a policy in place should the owner not be reachable. Typically this takes the form of a vet authorization form, which will allow the daycare to seek care for your pup.
  • What insurance coverage does the company have?
      1. Every business will have some sort of general liability insurance but when it comes to your pet, you’ll want to ensure that any bites, scratches, or injuries are covered should your furry friend be injured at doggie daycare. Read over the contract that each daycare facility provides carefully as some will require that you have your own insurance while others may require you to pay the company’s deductible should you need to make a claim.
  • How experienced are the staff? Are they bonded?
      1. You’ll want to know who is handling your dog, what experience he or she has, how long the staff has been at that specific daycare, and if they’re pet first aid certified. These are important questions as it speaks volumes to the overall care by the daycare and dog boarding facility. If the daycare attendants are happy people, you know your pup is in good hands. You’ll also want to know if the employees are bonded. The bonding process involves a criminal background check of the employees. This is especially important if your daycare arranges a pick up or drop off service from your home.
  • Local Regulations and By-Laws
  1. Obviously, local regulations will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but there are a few general things to look for across jurisdictions.First – are they’re any regulations about how many pets can be looked after at any given time? In Toronto, there are limits on the number of dogs that can be walked on the public streets at the any time (3 dogs if you don’t have a dog-walking license and a maximum of 6 dogs if you do). The number of dogs that can be housed in a private dwelling is 3 dogs but in a commercial property, there are no limits to the number of pets that can be kept. Be sure to ask your daycare if they have a staff to dog ratios and if there any limits of the number of pets at any given time. Take into consideration of size of dogs and size of facility when hearing these numbers as 10 Yorkies are not the same 10 Huskies should the dog to staff ratio be 10 dogs to 1 staff.

    Second – for boarding, are there any regulations about keeping animals overnight? In Toronto, unless you are an Animal Hospital or a Vet Clinic, there is no zoning category that allows for animals to be kept overnight without a zoning by-law variance. Though this by-law section is rarely, if ever, enforced, asking your daycare and boarding facility about this can demonstrate their professionalism and willingness to operate and comply with the local regulations.

 

There’s a lot to digest in the questions above but this should get you started to selecting the right dog daycare for your dog! Feel free to contact us for further information or check out our website. Any questions that you can think of that we haven’t covered above – feel free to leave a comment and we’ll incorporate it into the next version of this article.

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!

Breed of the Week: Scottish Deerhound

scottish deerhound

Our featured breed this week is the majestic and always happy Scottish Deerhound. These long-legged dogs have a very quiet nature, they much prefer to avoid any chaos, and watch from a comfy couch instead!

 

The Scottish Deerhound breed dates back as far as the 13th century. Back then, only people who were Dukes or higher ranking could own this breed. During the 13th century there was a large decline of deer in England, most of them had migrated to the Scottish Highlands resulting in a very high concentration of deer in that area. The Scottish Deerhound breed was developed to help control the population of deer. These dogs are very long and lean, shaped almost to mimic the deer so that they could effectively track down, chase and hunt them. During the 18th century, breech-loading rifles gained popularity, and more and more deer hunters were using guns instead of depending so heavily on the Scottish Deerhound. During World War I, the breed almost became extinct, and they still remain to be recognised as a very rare breed.

 

The Scottish Deerhound is often described as graceful and undemanding. They are rarely ‘needy’ and generally don’t have many issues with separation anxiety.  An adult Scottish Deerhound is graceful and very fast. Although they can run like nobody’s business, they are also very comfortable and happy to lounge indoors on the couch with you. When they do get outside, make sure it is a very large area they can run around and that it is fully enclosed as reliable recall can sometimes be an issue with this breed. They need daily activity to stretch those legs and get out some energy.

 

Scottish Deerhound puppies and teens are often not as graceful as the adults. Similar to a young Great Dane, Scottish Deerhound puppies can be quite awkward when running and playing as they are still getting used to their very long legs. Scottish Deerhound pups need extra exercise for all that puppy energy, and they love to play with everyone!

 

Although very intelligent and a great natural temperament, the Scottish Deerhound can be a bit stubborn to train. They need someone who is very consistent and patient to help communicate what is expected of them. They require a lot of socialization around small animals otherwise they are often likely to chase small, fast moving animals (sometimes including small dogs and cats!).

 

With their wire-hair coat, they require brushing once or twice a week. They can easily get tangles in their hair after romping in the yard, and easy fix is to rub in some baby oil to help loosen any knots or tangles. They do require hair trimming, but they frequency will depend on each individual dog, typically every 3-6 months.

 

The Scottish Deerhound is a gentle quiet breed that loves to run fast. Although they may not always come back when called, they make great family pets and generally get along with everyone they meet. This majestic breed makes a wonderful addition to laid back families with lots of open, fenced in space to run around!

Preventing Bloat in Dogs

dog eating

Extreme bloat in dogs is a serious health concern. Sometimes the bloated stomach contorts, also commonly known as a ‘flipped stomach’ or ‘twisted stomach’. The medical term for it is actually Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV). It can cause serious harm to your pup, so it is important to know the warning signs, what to in the case of bloat and what can trigger bloat to happen in the first place.

 

Triggers of Bloat

When a dog eats a large meal or drinks a lot of water, his stomach expands. This expansion can put pressure on other organs nearby causing problems such as a lack of blood flow or a tear in the stomach wall. Sometimes if a dog is very active, this will cause the bloated stomach to rotate or ‘twist’, preventing enough blood to get to major organs.

Many larger breed dogs have a much higher chance of developing GDV in their lifetime, as opposed to smaller breed dogs; this is due to their deep and narrow chests. Dog breeds such as Great Danes, Boxers, German Shepherds and St. Bernards all have very high chances of having bloat at some time in their life. Dogs who have suffered from GDV, often have a much higher chance of it occurring again. Because bloat can occur if a dog eats to fast or has rigorous exercise to close to eating time, dogs who are naturally very active should be fed small meals and try to relax for a bit before going for a run. A popular tool if your dog tends to eat too fast is a ‘slow-feeder’ type bowl.

Although it is widely believed that bloat or a flipped stomach happens only to dogs who are too active after eating, there are also many cases where there was no known reason as to what caused the bloat. That is why it is important for every dog owner to know the symptoms and stages of bloat and how to handle situation.

 

Warning Signs of Bloat & What to Do

The symptoms of bloat typically don’t take long to appear. The dog may seem restless and start pacing. He may try to vomit but is unable to. Other typical symptoms are pale gums, drooling and rapid heartbeat. As all dogs are different, he may show only one of these symptoms or he may show many. If you notice your dog having any of these symptoms or any dramatic change in health or personality, you should always call your vet first to determine with an expert if he needs to come in. With cases of bloat, time is extremely important to the dog’s recovery.

If your dog experiences any of these symptoms, it is important to try and keep him as comfortable as possible until medical attention. Do not encourage the dog to get up and move around if he has collapsed, just make sure he is in a comfortable position. Do not try to force the dog to eat or drink as this can worsen the problem.

Once at the vet, the vet will relieve the pressure in the dog’s stomach by either a tube or a needle, depending on the severity. All cases of bloat should be seen by a vet immediately to prevent any further complications.

 

Bloat or GDV can be a very scary thing to deal with. It can be even scarier for your dog! That’s why we owe it to our furry best friends to know what to look out for and how to help until proper medical attention from a vet professional.

Water Safety Tips for Dogs

lab swimming

With the weather getting warmer, many of us will be trying to get up to the cottage for some relaxation by the water. Many dogs love the cottage life, jumping in the lake and going for a swim! Feeling that breeze through their fur when they’re next to you on the boat. This week we will be discussing how to keep your pooch happy and safe when playing in or near the water.

 

Not All Dogs Love to Swim          While there are many natural born swimmer breeds such as the Newfoundlander and Chesapeake Bay Retriever, there are also some breed who don’t often take to swimming very well. Breeds with short little legs and/ or short snouts can have trouble paddling strong enough to keep themselves up when in water. Some examples of these breeds are Pugs and Corgi’s. Due to their shorter legs, it can be somewhat rare to see these types of dogs enjoying deep water as they aren’t physical built for swimming. Of course, there’s always an exception to the rule and some shorter legged dogs are in fact great swimmers. It is always a smart idea to stay nearby if your little legged dog wants to try swimming, just in case you need to help him out.

 

Life Jackets and Vests                   There are many places online that make breed and size specific life jackets for any dog breed. If your dog isn’t a confident swimmer, it may be a good idea to put a life vest on if you know you will be near the water. If you plan on taking your dog on a boat ride, no matter what breed or swimming experience he has, he should be wearing a life vest. Just in case you happen to go over a big wave or if your dog unexpectedly reacts to something while on the boat, you always want to make sure he is wearing a life vest for any unexpected moments. These doggy life vest often come with durable handles on the top so you have a much easier time pulling him out of the water if needed.

 

Keep Your Dog Within Eyesight You never know what your dog can get into. He may be enjoying himself in the water so much, that he ends up going too far out. This prevents you from being able to reach him in time if there’s any sort of emergency. Be sure that your dog knows to stay close and within your eyesight. If you’re with others, have them help keep a look out, the more eyes the better when it comes to safety!

 

Check The Water First                  We all know that it can take some time for large bodies of water to warm up near the beginning of summer. If the water is too cold, it can put your dog at risk for hypothermia. Some dogs that were bred to swim and hunt in the water have a double coat, helping to protect their body from cold water. For dogs that don’t have this double coat, it doesn’t take long for hypothermia to set in. A good rule before your dog goes swimming, is to check the water yourself first! Take a quick dip to check the water first. Check around where you are to make sure there aren’t any warning signs posted for things like jellyfish to ensure your dog won’t have any unexpected encounters.

 

Some dogs can’t get enough of the water while others prefer to stay on land. Whatever your dog’s preference is, make sure he stays safe this summer by following our water safety tips!

Health Needs of Diabetic Dogs

old golden retriever

Having a dog who is diabetic requires some knowledge of what possible behaviours to watch out for. Many diabetic dogs live completely normal lives like any other dog, and very rarely do they suffer from negative side effects. But it is important nonetheless to be aware of what happens in your dog’s body when their insulin is low and how to prevent as well as treat it.

 

Diabetes in both humans in dogs, is a result of the body not producing enough insulin or the body having an inadequate response to insulin. Just like with humans, when dogs eat, their bodies break down the food into individual macronutrients that the body can then sort and utilize. Glucose, made up of a small chain of simple sugars, is a type of carbohydrate used primarily to give the body energy. Insulin is meant to be produced when we eat food so that it can carry the glucose to where it needs to go to be used as fuel for the body. When the body does not produce a sufficient amount of insulin, glucose is not able to be utilized. As a result, blood sugar levels increase and when left untreated, can lead to very serious health problems.

 

If a dog is not able to produce enough of the hormone insulin on his own, the vet may recommend a dosage of insulin that he will need to take at certain times every day. It is very important that the insulin is given at the right time. Your vet will give specific instructions on dosage and times, depending on your dog’s individual needs and if he has type I or type II diabetes (dogs most commonly have type I, while cats are more likely to have type II).

 

Some signs to watch out for that your dog has diabetes are excessive thirst, lethargy, weight loss, a change in appetite or vomiting. Your dog may show several or maybe just one of these symptoms. In general, if you notice any abnormalities in your dog’s behaviour, health or appearance, you should immediately discuss with your vet as early detection of diabetes can prevent more serious health problems.

 

Although the exact cause of diabetes in dogs is unknown, it can sometimes be a result of obesity, autoimmune disease, or can develop as a result of certain medications. Some dog breeds have been known to be more susceptible to developing diabetes. Breeds such as miniature schnauzers, Keeshonds and Samoyeds seem to be more likely to develop diabetes compared to other dog breeds, especially at around 6-9 years of age.

 

The best way to try and prevent diabetes is to help your dog stay active by getting enough exercise every single day. As we know, dogs who are obese can be at higher risk of developing diabetes so make sure your dog also has a healthy diet that doesn’t include too many treats or table scraps! And as we mentioned earlier, watch out for any changes in your dogs behaviour as early detection of diabetes can help prevent more serious health complications as a result from the disease. With help from your vet and keeping your dog active and eating a wholesome diet, your dog is sure to live a happy and healthy life!

Breed of the Week: Jack Russell Terrier

jack russell terrier

Our energetic featured breed this week is the rough and tumble Jack Russell Terrier! This little guy is the epitome of a big dog personality in a little dog body. This breed is packed full of self-confidence and they are almost always on a mission; whether it be to chase a squirrel up a tree or playing a game of fetch with their owner, they are their happiest when they have a task at hand!

 

The Jack Russell breed was developed in the early 1800’s. Everything about the Jack Russell tells you they were specifically bred to be the best fox hunters. They are fast and muscular, able to chase a fox without slowing down. Their bodies are compact and flexible so that they can easily get into burrows or hollowed out logs with no problem; wherever a fox can go, the Jack Russell can follow. Being used for so long as fox hunters, this breed is well known even today for their high energy and stamina.

 

The Jack Russell is a highly active dog and needs an owner who enjoys going for long walks and hikes. It is also a good idea to get your Jack Russell Terrier involved in agility competitions, the breed typically excels at these events and it’s a great outlet for all that energy! Consistency is key when training your Jack Russell, you want to make sure he knows you mean what you say. Jack Russell Terriers are intelligent dogs, if you ask them to sit and they ignore you and walk away, they will learn they don’t need to do anything you ask of them. You should always follow through on any command, and if they walk away it is best to leash them, bring them back to the training area and continue the session so they learn they can’t ignore your commands. Jack Russells can definitely be a bit stubborn and have a mind of their own so they require an owner is not only consistent but also patient.

 

The Jack Russell Terrier breed requires very little grooming. Their coat can come in almost any colour, and they have three different coat types: smooth, broken and rough. The smooth and broken coat types do not require any trimming, but the rough coat should be brushed once every two weeks or so and go to the groomer every couple of months. The smooth coat is short hair, smooth to touch and sits flat on the body. The broken coat is similar to the smooth coat but can have a few spots anywhere on the body that has longer hair and feels coarse. The rough coat is all over longer hair that feels coarse.

 

The Jack Russell Terrier is a perfect match for someone who has an active lifestyle, but can also be calm and consistent. With a Jack Russell you will never be bored because they are always up to something! And if you’re ever in the mood to play Frisbee, they will always be right there for you and ready to go!

Importance of Keeping Your Dog’s Ears Clean

flapping ears

We all know how important it is to keep our own ears clean to prevent things like infections or hearing loss. It is just as important that we keep our dogs ears clean! We want to make sure our dogs stay happy and healthy; one way to do so is by keeping their ears free of potentially harmful dirt and germs!

 

Unless you have a very talented dog, it’s likely that he can’t keep his own ears clean. So it is up to you to take a look in his ears every so often to make sure there’s no junk or signs of irritation. Dogs (especially ones with long floppy ears) are bound to get dirt, mud, grass, etc., in their ears at some point. Most of it flies out when the dog shakes his head, but to ensure it’s clean, have him sit down for you so you can take a good look in his ears. You want to look out for dirt, excess build-up of ear wax, anything lodged in the ear, redness or lots of scratches.

 

The most noticeable signs if your dog’s ears are really bothering him are excessively shaking his head, leaning his head to one side, scratching the ear excessively and whining or whimpering when someone touches the ear. If you notice any of these signs, it is best to have your vet take a look at the ears as these symptoms generally don’t show up until an infection has taken place and needs antibiotics. To ensure it doesn’t get to the point of infection, you want to use vet approved dog ear wipes to wipe the outside area of your dog’s ears (don’t try to force it too deep in the ear!), this should be done every other day or so.

 

Be aware that the tools we use to clean our ears should never ever be used on your dog’s ears. Q-tips can easily damage delicate areas in your dog’s ear. It is best to have your vet show you how to properly wipe your dog’s ears so that you are gentle but also effective at remove excess dirt or wax. Your vet will likely recommend pet wipes using all natural ingredients so it will help soothe your dog’s ears and not irritate them with harsh chemicals.

 

So when your dog is rolling in the grass and getting his ears dirty, you can worry a bit less now that you know what signs and symptoms of ear irritation to watch out for. With daily ear checks and as needed ear cleanings with pet safe wipes, you dog will have sparkling clean ears!

Preventing Joint Problems In Dogs

senior dog with ball

If you’ve ever owned a large breed dog, you’re probably familiar with how common it is for large dogs to develop joint problems. Many of us don’t realize when our dog has joint problems until it has progressed to the point of them needing medication. So we’ve put together some helpful tips to preventing joint problems so that hopefully your dog won’t have trouble getting around when he gets older!

 

 

Ensure Minor Injuries Get Proper Rest

If puppies have a big fall, tumble down some stairs, etc., they need the proper time to fully heal. Ideally the fall should try to be avoided completely, but puppies will be puppies! After the injury, make sure to limit your pup’s activity until the injury is fully healed. For minor injuries that don’t require a vet visit, you can still call your vet and describe the situation so he can give you a general time to keep the pup on a lower activity level. Injuries that don’t get proper time to heal will often leave the joints weakened and can mean joint issues later on in life for your pooch.

 

Keep Your Dog Active!

Dogs that are carrying extra weight are putting more pressure on their joints when they walk around. This speeds up the deterioration of joint cartilage which can’t be reversed. Keeping your dog slim by giving him regular walks, not too many treats and a wholesome diet will help keep him moving around easily and not put additional pressure on his joints.

 

Early Detection

One of the best ways to ensure that your dog is comfortable moving around and not in any pain is to know the warning signs of early arthritis and sore/weak joints. Taking notice of things like, stiffness when standing up if lying down for a while, limping when walking or after a certain amount of walking, whining or whimpering when doing certain movements. These could all possibly be signs of early joint deterioration. If you start to notice any of these signs, be sure to speak with your vet on how to make your dog more comfortable and if he/she recommends any dietary supplements to help reduce inflammation in the joints.

 

Although arthritis and other joint problems cannot be reversed, and can be hard to avoid, they can definitely be slowed down. With help from you and looking out for any warning signs of joint pain, your dog can live a long happy life!