7 Common Health Issues in Older Dogs

Thanks to improved veterinary care and better food, our dogs are living longer than ever.

Dogs reach their golden years when they turn 7, generally speaking. Larger breeds, which tend to have shorter life spans, are considered seniors when they turn 6 years old.

As our pups age, they mellow out, but they also face a new set of challenges and health issues. Here are 7 of the most common health issues in older dogs.

1. Gum Disease

Like humans, dogs experience dental issues as they age. Many develop gingivitis, which usually precedes periodontitis, or gum disease.

When bacteria in the mouth turns into plaque on your pup’s teeth, it can cause her gums to become inflamed. Saliva then hardens the plaque to create tartar. That tartar can spread underneath the gum line and cause inflammation, or swelling.

Gingivitis can progress to periodontitis if left untreated. When this happens, the gums start pulling away from the teeth and creates pockets. Pockets can become infected and lead to bone loss. Gum disease can cause an infection to spread into the bloodstream and damage the organs.

Symptoms to Look For

  • Bleeding or red gums
  • Difficulty picking up food
  • Bad breath
  • Blood on chew toys or in water
  • Chewing on one side of the mouth
  • Nasal discharge or sneezing
  • Not wanting the head to be touched
  • Lumps or bumps in the mouth
  • Making noises when eating or yawning
  • Loose teeth

Complications of Gum Disease

  • Greater risk of heart, kidney and liver disease
  • Tooth pain
  • Jaw fracture

How can you help prevent gum disease in your dog? Brush her teeth twice a day.

2. Arthritis

Arthritis is extremely common in older dogs, just as it is in older humans. Cartilage acts as a buffer for your pup’s joints, preventing damage and pain.

Over time, that cartilage can break down and cause the joint to become inflamed. Arthritis occurs when one or more of the joints become inflamed. Dogs may experience stiffness and swelling. They may limp or have a change in their gait. Some dogs may be reluctant to move or have trouble walking or standing.

While large and giant breeds are at greater risk of developing arthritis, small and medium-sized dogs can also develop it.

Symptoms to Look For

  • Sleeping more often
  • Weight gain
  • Less interest in playing
  • Less alert
  • Change in attitude
  • Overly cautious when climbing stairs
  • Limping

Complications of Arthritis

The good news is that arthritis is manageable and tolerable for most dogs. Some may develop chronic pain and less interest in activity. In large dogs, severe cases of arthritis can cause the dog to be unable to climb stairs or even walk.

When mobility is restricted by arthritis, some dogs may urinate or defecate in the house because it’s too painful to walk outside.

Arthritis can often be managed or even alleviated through diet changes, maintaining a healthy weight, medication and exercise.

3. Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome

Sometimes referred to as “senility,” cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) affects many older dogs and can cause them to feel: forgetful, anxious and confused. CDS is similar to Alzheimer’s disease in many ways.

Some dogs with CDS start having accidents in the house, sleep more or wander around aimlessly. Some senior pups spend long periods of time staring blankly into space.

Veterinarians are still unsure of what causes CDS. Just like with Alzheimer’s, dogs with CDS develop a build-up of nerve-damaging protein that creates plaque.

Symptoms to Look For

  • Forgetting familiar toys
  • Forgetting owners
  • Forgetting tricks
  • Urinating and defecating in the house
  • Pacing
  • Compulsive, repetitive behaviors, like walking in circles
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness and anxiety
  • Loss of appetite

Treating and Managing CDS

Dogs with CDS will require life-long therapy and support from their humans. Some dog owners find that dietary intervention and behavioral changes can help keep the condition under control.

Maintaining a healthy and stimulating environment is one way to improve CDS or better manage the condition. Exercise, play and training can make a world of difference.

Medication, behavioral therapy and diet changes will likely be a part of the dog’s management plan.

4. Vision Problems

Many older dogs develop vision problems or total blindness. While distressing for us humans, this condition doesn’t necessarily change your pup’s day-to-day living.

Blindness generally develops over time, and if you can catch it early on, you can start teaching your dog how to rely on his other senses (hearing, smell and touch) to navigate the world.

Deteriorating vision is a normal part of the aging process for dogs – just as it is for humans.

Symptoms to Look For

  • Cataracts (the eye will appear to have a white coating)
  • Bumping into things
  • Red or irritated eyes
  • Dilated pupils
  • Falling
  • Bluish haze on the pupil (sign of nuclear sclerosis)
  • Frequent eye infections

Treating and Managing Vision Loss

If your dog is exhibiting signs of vision loss, your vet may recommend medication or surgery, depending on the severity of the condition.

The treatment will largely depend on the cause of the vision loss. Dogs with diabetes, for example, may develop vision problems. In this case, the vet might recommend dietary changes and more exercise to restore vision.

But if the vision loss is just associated with aging, simply teaching your dog how to cope in a world with compromised eyesight may be the best thing you can do. Your vet can help you find the best treatment option for your dog.

5. Hearing Loss

Like with vision, older dogs may also lose their hearing. Some dogs become completely deaf, while others are simply hard of hearing.

Nerve degeneration is a common cause of hearing loss, and the process happens gradually.

Some dog owners mistake hearing loss for dementia, as the symptoms can be very similar.

Symptoms to Look For

  • No response to sounds, such as squeaking toys, clapping, loud noises, dogs barking, etc.
  • Startled when woken
  • Difficult to wake
  • Excessive barking

Treating and Managing Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a natural part of the aging process and usually cannot be stopped, but dog owners can help their pups adjust to a life without sound.

You may not be able to get a hearing aid for your dog, but you can change the way you communicate with your pup. Teaching your dog hand signals is one way to ensure that your pup still complies with commands – and knows when it’s dinnertime.

6. Kidney Disease

Many senior dogs develop kidney disease, but regular geriatric exams can help catch the disease early on.

The kidneys are responsible for removing waste and maintaining balance in your dog’s body. When the kidneys stop working properly, toxins start building up in the body which can lead to kidney failure.

Many things can cause the kidneys to stop working properly, including:

  • Kidney stones
  • Normal aging
  • Rupture of the bladder

Symptoms to Look For

  • Urinating more
  • Drinking more water
  • Accidents in the house
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Brown discoloration on the tongue
  • Ammonia smell on the breath

Treating and Managing Kidney Disease

While kidney disease is not reversible, it can be managed with the right treatment plan, which may include:

  • Fluid therapy
  • Diet changes
  • Medication
  • Vitamins and supplements

Some dogs can live years with chronic kidney disease and still enjoy a good quality of life. Others may not have such luck. Your vet can help you determine the best course of action to take for your dog.

7. Cancer

Cancer is the leading cause of death in older dogs. It’s often difficult to catch the disease early on, as blood tests rarely detect cancer in the early stages of the disease.

Checking for lumps and bumps on the body is important.

The most common forms of cancer in dogs include lymphoma, soft tissue cancer, bone cancer, breast cancer and oral melanoma.

Symptoms to Look For

  • Difficulty eating
  • Drooling
  • Excessive panting
  • Coughing
  • Changes in body weight
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Bleeding in the mouth, ears and nose
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Blood and mucus in the stool

Treating and Managing Cancer

Cancer in dogs can be treated using chemotherapy, radiation and surgery either alone or in a combination.

The treatment will depend on the type of cancer and the recommendation of your vet.

Most dogs suffer few serious side effects from chemotherapy, although some breeds (e.g. Old English Sheepdogs and Poodles) may experience thinning of hair.

Treating cancer can be a costly endeavor, which can leave pet owners with a difficult decision. But great strides have been made in cancer treatment for dogs, so the outlook is better now than in the past.

About The Author:

David Rowe is the lead writer at World Of Puppies. He has a keen interest in dog health, training and nutrition. He also owns a French Bulldog named Max.

35 Stores Where Your Dog Can Shop With You

Every dog parent has had to leave their pup behind at home or drop them off at doggie daycare in order to run errands at one time or another. After all, many stores don’t allow pets other than service animals inside. But what if you could take your pup shopping with you, even if he’s not a service dog?

In fact, you can do just that at numerous major chain stores, from Academy Sports + Outdoors to West Elm. Below, we’ve rounded up 35 of these stores that generally allow pets–whether they’re service animals or not.

But before we get to the list, we have to give a necessary caveat: Even if a company is generally pet-friendly, it’s usually up to the manager to decide whether or not to allow non-service animals in an individual store. As a result, policies can differ from one store to another or change when management changes. If you’d like to take Rover shopping, your best bet is to call ahead to the store and confirm their pet-friendly policy.

Without further ado, here are the 35 stores–separated by category–where you can bring your dog, plus tips for taking your canine companion shopping.

Clothing

  1. Abercrombie & Fitch
  2. Anthropologie
  3. Ann Taylor/Ann Taylor Loft
  4. Bebe
  5. Free People
  6. Gap
  7. Old Navy
  8. Ross
  9. Urban Outfitters

Everyone needs a trusty friend along while they’re trying on clothes, so why not bring your favorite canine companion to give her opinion? But your pup will probably smile in approval at whatever you try on, so don’t expect them to be too critical of the latest styles at these retailers.

Beauty and Cosmetics

  1. Bath & Body Works
  2. LUSH Cosmetics
  3. Sephora

Your dog may not wear makeup or crave a bath bomb after a long work week, but they can help you shop for them at these popular beauty stores. Just make sure they don’t try to sample any of the products, as dogs explore the world around them by smelling and licking objects and these stores are usually full of new and enticing smells that will excite your pup.

Bookstores

  1. Barnes & Noble
  2. Half Price Books

Should you read a romance or mystery novel or get the latest nonfiction bestseller? Your dog can’t read, but he can help you pick out your next book at these bookstores. In fact, he’ll probably convince you to pick up a heartwarming novel about dogs while you’re at it—just don’t try to bring him into the in-store cafe, as they don’t usually allow pets.

Craft Stores

  1. Hobby Lobby
  2. Michaels

You can never find the bead or the yarn aisle when you need to buy them for your next project, but your pup can help you sniff out these supplies at popular craft stores Hobby Lobby and Michaels. Make things meta and decide on a pet-themed craft project—perhaps a photo collage of your favorite puppy pictures?

Department Stores

  1. Bloomingdale’s
  2. Macy’s
  3. Nordstrom
  4. Saks Fifth Avenue

Upscale department stores aren’t the first thing that come to mind when you think of pet-friendly retailers, but several major anchor stores allow dogs. Just keep in mind that not every store in the mall is equally pet-friendly, so plan accordingly.

Hardware

  1. Home Depot
  2. Lowe’s
  3. Tractor Supply Co.

Home Depot and Lowe’s are some of the most well-known stores with a pet-friendly policy and some locations have allowed dogs to go shopping with their owners for literally years. Tractor Supply Co. takes their pet-friendly policy one step further and actually offers PetVet preventative clinics at certain locations, so your dog can get caught up on his vaccinations while you shop.

Home and Decor

  1. Pottery Barn
  2. Restoration Hardware
  3. West Elm

We all know that that second couch you’re looking to buy is really just a second dog bed, so why not take your pup along to help you pick it out? These three upscale home decor stores are all dog friendly—just don’t actually let your pup test out the furniture in store and be mindful of any breakable knickknacks located at dog-level.

Pet Shops

  1. Petco
  2. PetSmart

What would a pet store be without a pet-friendly policy? Two of the biggest chains in pet care, Petco and PetSmart, both allow dogs inside (as well as other more unusual pets, including sugar gliders and pot-bellied pigs). Out of all the categories listed here, your pup will probably have the most fun shopping at these stores, as he can help you pick out new dog toys and treats.

Specialty Shops

  1. Apple Store
  2. Foot Locker
  3. Hallmark
  4. Tiffany & Co.

While some stores in this category might be surprising, your pup can help you shop for anything from computers to shoes to cards to diamond jewelry. Since you’re there, perhaps you should pick up an extra-luxurious leather collar in Tiffany blue to show just how much you love your pup?

Sports and Outdoors

  1. Academy Sports + Outdoors
  2. Bass Pro Shops
  3. Gander Mountain

Sports and outdoor retailers are a natural fit for pet-friendly policies, as many dog parents like to take their pups hiking, camping or kayaking, just to name a few popular outdoor activities. Bass Pro Shops even hosts family-friendly Dog Days events in the spring, so check to see if your local store will be participating this year.

Tips for Shopping with Your Dog

Generally speaking, your dog must be properly secured in order to enter these stores, which means a harness or a leash or possibly a carrier for smaller dogs. Stores often require that all pets be up-to-date on their vaccinations as well (but then again, your dog should already be caught up anyway).

While some dogs are perfectly fine without any training, other pups can find shopping an anxiety-inducing experience. Everything looks, smells and feels different, and the aisles block dogs’ line of sight. To test out your dog’s feelings, take him on a walk in an area with heavy pedestrian traffic. This will let you see how your dog reacts without the added complication of store shelves.

When your dog is ready to proceed, a pet store is a great introduction to shopping indoors. It will look and smell familiar, giving your pup less to get acclimated to. Try to visit the store at off-peak hours when there won’t be as much foot traffic, which makes the experience more relaxing for both you and your puppy. You can then experiment with other types of stores once your dog gets comfortable.

Shopping with your dog can be a fun experience for both of you as long as you prepare properly. Make sure to call the store(s) ahead of time to confirm their pet policy, and don’t forget to reward your pup’s good behavior with a dog treat or even a fun purchase just for them.

Author Bio:

Jordan Smith is a full-time stay-at-home mother of 2 daughters and a new dog Luna! She loves blogging, crafting, and spending time with her family. She also enjoys strolling the streets of downtown Charleston, South Carolina and all the amazing food her hometown has to offer.

Life With A Deaf Dog: Tips To Train Your Four-Legged Friend

Dogs travel hundreds of miles during their lifetime responding to such commands as “come” and “fetch.” – Stephen Baker

Training your pet dog is a “one of a kind” experience; in fact, it is one of the most joyful experiences that you can have with your four-legged friend. Though training a dog can be done easily, it might be challenging to train dogs with sensory disabilities such as a deaf dog.

However, it is still possible to train dogs that are unable to hear commands. Being deaf does not mean they are not trainable, as dogs of all breeds are clever and equally adaptable to change. If you have a dog at home who is a part of your family but is deaf, read this article to learn a few tips that will guarantee to help you train your four-legged friend.

Learn How To Get Your Dog’s Attention

Getting attention from a deaf dog is the first thing you will have to learn before you can ask your dog to do anything. Grabbing their attention is a must, as only by grabbing your dog’s attention will you be able to instruct them. Here, you simply cannot call out their names and expect them to run to you, so how do you get their attention?

Here is what you need to do. Follow these tips to get the your beloved pup’s attention:

  • Stomp Your Foot – Stomp your foot on the floor to get a deaf dog to look at you. This is definitely a unique way to grab your dog’s attention. But we recommend you to try this unusual method because at times the vibrations coming through the floor are enough to turn your dog’s attention in your direction.
  • Use A Flashlight – Make use of a flashlight. Many other owners of deaf dogs do so to give away a signal to them. Try training your dog by turning the flashlight on and off and make them look at you. Keep doing this constantly till the time your dog turns to see where the light is coming from. Then the oldest trick in the book – the minute the dog finds the source of flash light, give him/her a treat. Giving treats is the simplest way to let them know they did what you wanted. This is probably one of the quickest methods to gain attention from your dog. Your dog will quickly learn that flashing the light is your way of calling them to attention. In a matter of a few days, the dog will learn that a flash of light means that he/she needs to look at his owner.
  • Vibrating Electronic Collar – Make use of a vibrating electronic collar. They are different then the regular electronic ones that gives minor harmless shocks to aid in training. Vibrating electronic collars are an excellent tool for reinforcing many verbal commands as these simply vibrate when you press a button on the remote.

Train your dog to look at you by making the collar vibrate on the click of a button. We advise that you continue this for some period to get your dog to familiarize with the concept. Continue doing so until your dog looks at you and the minute he/she turns their attention to you stop the vibration and give a treat. The major benefit of this is that it can be used in almost every situation.

Learn Hand Signals

It is known that deaf people speak using sign language. Similarly, dogs can be trained for basic obedience commands by the use of human hand signals. There are certain standard signals you can use to train your dogs. These signals are used by many dog trainers, so you can learn a trick or two from them. But also feel free to create your own hand signals. Of course, you will start once you have managed to grab your dog’s attention. And then you can give a hand signal rather than a spoken command.

Use Sign Language

People communicate with their dogs using basic commands. For instance, dog owners use words such as walk, car, treat, toy, good, and many others. So the question is how you would help your dog understand these commands? Well the answer is simple – the repeated connection between the words and the actions will help your dog to learn them.

Use the same concept when dealing with a deaf dog, but rather than using spoken words, you can use sign language. A few simple words in American Sign Language can prove to be of massive help for many owners of deaf dogs. They use these signs to indicate everyday tasks and you can also create your own signs for different words.

The Trick Is Treat

For many dogs, praising and caressing them for their behaviour is a reward for them but it doesn’t work with deaf dogs. To praise your deaf dog, you have to keep small treats in your hand and give it to your canine friend every time he/she does something rewarding. For example, if your dog obeys you when you give the ‘sit’ command, he/she deserves a treat. Once your deaf dog starts understanding your commands, you can reduce the amount of treats. But, make sure you’re cutting on his diet in the early days of training when you’re giving them more treats.

Keep Your Canine On Leash

It is often seen that many people love to take their dogs on off-leash walks. It’s a good thing to take your dog on off-leash walks in fenced areas. But, when it comes to deaf dogs, it’s probably not a good idea to take them for off-leash walks in unfenced areas. Even a well-trained dog can lose focus at off-leash walks, and your command will be useless to recall a deaf dog. So, for the safety of your deaf dog, keep him/her on leash.

Make Your Dog Feel Comfortable When Touched

In the first few days of training, it is possible that your canine friend will feel uncomfortable when touched. You will have to work slowly on it to keep him/her calm and relaxed when someone touches them from behind. At first, deaf dogs find it upsetting, especially when they are sleeping and are being touched. Sometimes, it can even make your dog feel anxious and make them to snarl or snap out of fear.

Start practicing by gently touching your dog’s shoulder or back and whenever you touch them, give some treats as well. It will make your dog feel that you care for them and don’t want to hurt him/her. Continue this process for several days and soon your dog will not be afraid when someone touches him. It is also important to keep their body hair groomed with dog clippers so that your dog feels loved and cared.

Put all these tips into practice and sooner your differently-abled dog will be a more active, receptive, and happier four-legged friend.

10 Ways to Control Dog Shedding

Cleaning up pet hair can be annoying, expensive and time-consuming, but there are steps you can take to minimize the amount your dog sheds. Shedding occurs so that animals can rid themselves of old, damaged or extra hair. Some breeds shed more than others as a general rule, but almost all dogs shed at least a little as a normal, healthy function. You can’t eliminate shedding completely, but you can reduce it by keeping your pet well-groomed and healthy.

1. Feed your dog a high quality, appropriate diet

Your dog’s health relies on a high quality diet that meets their nutritional needs. Digestible protein sources are the foundation of a good pet food, but there are many other factors to consider when choosing the right food for your pet such as age, breed, activity level and reproductive status. Pet food packages often come with a statement from the Association of American Feed Control Officials that will help you discern if that food will meet your dog’s needs. Be sure to consult your veterinarian to ensure that the food you have chosen is appropriate for your dog and is providing them with adequate nutrition. If you are noticing an excessive amount of shedding in your dog, start by evaluating their diet. A dog’s coat is often a reflection of the quality of food she eats, and nutritional imbalances can cause unwanted hair. Dogs with food allergies or sensitivities may be especially prone to diet-related shedding, and you may have to experiment with a few different pet foods to find which one works the best for them.

2. Keep your dog hydrated

Dehydration can cause dry skin and an increase of shedding, so make sure your dog has access to clean, fresh water at all times. Adult dogs need about one ounce of water per pound of body weight per day to stay hydrated, but growing puppies often need more. Be sure to keep one water bowl near your dog’s food bowl, but also consider placing additional water bowls around the house if hydration is a concern. Make sure your dog can easily and comfortably access their water bowl. Puppies may need smaller bowls, but some senior dogs may need an elevated bowl in order to drink without pain. Many dogs enjoy ice cubes especially in the summer. With the approval of your veterinarian, you can also try giving your pet moisture rich table foods such as cucumbers, bananas or sliced apples with the seeds removed. To increase hydration you can also add water to their food or choose a pet food with a higher moisture content. If you want to check a dog’s hydration, carefully feel their gums. If they are sticky or dry, they are likely dehydrated and need more water.

3. Add a fatty acid supplement

Omega-3 fatty acids can enhance the health of your dog’s coat and control shedding by decreasing dandruff and soothing irritated skin. You can choose a specially formulated omega-3 supplement at your local pet store or you can try adding olive oil or flaxseed oil to your dog’s food. Guidelines suggest starting with one teaspoon of oil per ten pounds of body weight, but check with your vet before adding any supplements to your dog’s diet. Salmon, tuna or other fish rich in these fatty acids can also be used to boost skin and coat health, but be sure to check with your vet first and take the necessary precautions. Fish skin is generally safe for dogs, but fish bones can be a choking hazard.

4. Control allergies and fleas

Allergies and fleas can also be a cause of increased shedding. Fleas cause itching, but even more so if your dog is allergic to the insect bites. In fact, many times the first sign of a flea infestation is hair loss along the dog’s spine, neck and thighs. You may also find red bumps, spots or scabs on their body. Steroids or other medications can be used to relieve itching once an infestation has occurred, but all dogs should take a year-round flea preventative. Care should be also taken that your dog’s environment is regularly cleaned to ensure that the fleas do not have a chance to breed. Even dogs who regularly take a flea preventative may occasionally be bitten.

5. Keep regular check ups with your dog’s vet

Your dog’s veterinarian is a wealth of information when it comes to the health and well-being of your dog. If your pet is experiencing an increase in shedding, don’t hesitate to check with their vet. Some health issues such as mites, trauma, allergies, ringworm, infection and hormonal imbalance can affect your dog’s skin and haircoat. Early identification of a problem can lead to easier and speedier treatment.

6. Check your dog’s collar

Your dog’s harness or collar may be the culprit when it comes to excess pet hair. An ill-fitting harness or collar can rub your dog’s skin causing irritation and itching. If you suspect that your dog may be uncomfortable, a friendly associate at your local pet store can recommend the right harness or collar for your dog’s size, body type and breed.

7. Brush and groom often

Frequent brushing removes excess fur and redistributes your dog’s skin oils throughout their coat. This ensures that less of your dog’s hair will end up on the furniture. When grooming your pet, take your time and be gentle. Working through snarls and tangles without care can cause your pet pain which will in turn cause them to avoid grooming. Taking care to ensure that brushing is a pleasant experience for both you and your pet will prevent it from being a chore. Instead it will become an enjoyable bonding experience for both you and your pet. The best way to gain your pet’s trust and cooperation is to make brushing a daily routine. Regular, daily grooming prevents large and painful knots from forming in your dog’s hair and promotes a beautiful, healthy coat. If possible, brush your dog outside to prevent loose hair from finding its way onto your furniture. No matter how frustrated you may become with your dog’s shedding, never be tempted to shave their coat. This leaves some dogs at risk for sunburn or even more serious problems such as skin cancer or heatstroke.

8. Customize your brushing tools

When it comes to grooming, make sure you have the right tools for the job. There are endless varieties of grooming brushes, but the three basic types are bristle brushes, wire-pin brushes and slicker brushes. Different hair types need different brushes and methods. Bristle brushes can be used on all coat types, but are customized for various breeds by varying the space between bristles as well as their length. For a longer hair coat, the bristles should be longer and more widely spaced. The stiffness of the bristles should correspond to the coarseness of your dog’s fur.

Dogs with medium, long, curly or woolly coats benefit from wire-pin brushes, which can be made with or without rubber on the tips. Slicker brushes are made with wire bristles and are valuable for working through matted or tangled hair. Many dogs need more than one type of brush to effectively remove all dead hair. If you need help choosing the best tools for the job, your dog’s groomer or vet should be able to recommend a brush or set of brushes that will work for your breed’s hair type.

9. Use a de-shedding tool

If your pet is a heavy shedder, consider buying a de-shedding tool. De-shedding tools work by reaching under your dog’s topcoat to remove loose hair from their undercoat without damaging live hair or injuring their skin. Some de-shedding tools claim that when used as directed they can reduce shedding by up to 90%. Most brands are appropriate for animals with long or short hair and are easy to use. De-shedding tools are particularly effective when used just before spring when dogs’ winter coats fall off and in the fall when dogs’ winter coats are just beginning to grow.

10. Bathe your dog regularly

Regular baths can help remove your dog’s loose and excess hair. However, it is best to research how often your dog should be bathed. If your dog baths too often, it may dry out their skin which can cause an increase in shedding. Be sure to find a gentle shampoo that won’t irritate your dog’s skin. Dogs with long hair may need a little help drying off after a bath. Use a cool blow dryer on the lowest setting to remove any remaining loose hair and prevent your dog from getting too cold.

It’s impossible to completely eliminate your dog’s shedding, but these tips will help you to minimize the amount of pet hair in your home and car. The normal amount of shedding can be kept under control by taking additional action in your home. Remove hair from your home regularly as hair becomes more difficult to remove as it embeds itself into upholstery fabric. Frequent vacuuming and use of furniture rollers will remove pet hair and dander. It may be worthwhile to use furniture throws to cover sofas, chairs or beds in your home to reduce mess. If your pet travels with you in the car, these can also be used to cover car seats. Furniture throws can keep your furniture looking and smelling clean while saving you the task of extensive vacuuming. With a little effort and knowledge, you can control your dog’s shedding and maintain a beautiful home.

Author Bio:

Emily Conklin is the author for Gladwire.com, a happy, uplifting news site and social community on Facebook. When she’s not writing she enjoys skiing, traveling and playing her bunny.

5 Tips for Greeting a Strange Dog

We meet new people every day in our day to day life and there is a certain way in which we meet and greet them. We present ourselves in such a way that we don’t post any threat or an intention of wrongdoing to them so that the other person feels comfortable with us and has no problem having us around. The same is the case with dogs. Dogs are the most loyal animals known to mankind and most of us like to spend time with them.

There may be some personal reasons due to which one is not able to have a dog at their home, but that doesn’t stop one from playing with someone else’s dog or a strange dog. But there is a way we need to conduct ourselves in front of dogs so they feel comfortable around us. Dogs like to be sure about the person who’ll be playing with them.

Five tips that can always help you in getting your way with dogs are mentioned below. These are easy to follow tips and don’t require much effort on your part.

1. Always ask the permission of the owner before going near them

One may encounter a dog with their owner while going somewhere and may have the heart to play with it. So, what should be the approach? First and foremost, you should greet the owner and ask them if it would be alright for you to play with their dog for some time.

Owners know their dog the best and wouldn’t stop anyone from playing with their dog if it was not for a reason. The dog may not be comfortable around strangers and may get aggressive and anxious about them, which may be a cause of concern for everyone.

If someone who is close to you is friends with someone and you come face to face with them, there is a chance that you will be friends with them as well, but on the other hand, if there is some ill blood between that person and your friend, you will be wanting that person to steer clear of your way as soon as possible.

Same is with dogs, behave nicely with their owners and take their permission and it will make your chances getting acquainted with the dog a lot more than what it was 5 minutes back.  And if they allow you to play with their dog, they can help you in getting familiar with the dog in a shorter period of time than what would have you taken by doing that on your own.

They know what makes their dog happy and piques their interests better than anyone. They can also help you with understanding the different body signals that the dog is giving, indicating to something.

2. Allow the dog to make the first move

It is often said that the best way to get familiar with dogs is by not doing anything. One doesn’t need to make any move at the start to get started with the dog. Everyone loves their own privacy and personal space and that is the case with dogs as well. They will be very much alert to your presence and will be carefully examining your each and every movement.

You must learn to present yourself before them in such a manner that doesn’t show you are anxious. Keep a cool demeanor around them and don’t make your body stiff. Let your body go loose. The dog will sniff you.

3. Behave correctly in front of dogs

It has already been mentioned that it always helps your case if you keep a composed body around the dog and appear cool and relax. It is said so because dogs have the ability to sense if someone is fearful. This makes them a bit more defensive and agitated as well.

But there is more to how you present yourself. Some of the most common things that people tend to neglect while approaching a dog, but which is of a lot of importance for dogs are: –

Do not make any sudden, uncalled for movements

Making a sudden movement in front of anyone will startle them, let alone a dog. You don’t want to give them any reason to be afraid of you and that’s why you should avoid doing anything that may raise a suspicion about you, making sudden and quick movements being one of them.

Do not take a head-on approach

It may be okay amongst the humans to approach each other from the front, but it certainly is not a good way to approach a dog. It will always help your case if you approach the dog from the back or sideways. This allows you to portray a person who is a lesser threat than a person who may be approaching from the front. It also helps you in seeing the body movements of the dog which can tell you about the dog.  

Avoid eye contact

We are told from the very beginning of our lives that we should always look into the eyes of the person we are talking or interacting with but guess what, the equation changes when it comes to interacting with the dog. A direct eye contact may convey a message that you are challenging them or questioning their dominance, which can lead to an unpleasant situation.

Offer them your fist when you feel they are starting to feel comfortable around you

This is again a contradiction from what we do amongst us. One should offer their fists to the dog when they feel that the dog doesn’t mind their presence. The dog prefers the offering of a fist despite it being a symbol of power in human tradition because it looks smaller when compared to the hand when it is opened.

Do not touch their head or the face; opt for the chest or the shoulders

How will you feel if a person whom you have just met minutes ago start touching your face and patting your head? Extremely angry. You would feel like getting away from that person as fast as you can. This is what dogs feel as well. Nobody likes to be touched on the face or be patted on the back for the record. If you want to show your love to the dog, you can opt for either rubbing their chest or the neck or gently press their shoulders.

4. Allow the dog to decide how close they want you to be near them

It is not advised to go too near the dog if the dog is avoiding coming that near to you. Since this is the very first meeting, the dog will be a little bit suspicious of you, however nice you are, that’s why you should not take that as a negative hint. Instead, respect whatever space the dog has provided you with and try to enjoy within that area only.

5. Learn their body signals and what they mean

Dogs cannot speak the language we speak, they cannot write as well. But the best way to know what the dog is trying to say is to notice their body movements. Each body movement is a signal in its own form and they maybe are trying to convey some message to you. That’s why it was mentioned earlier that it is important for you to take permission from the owner first because that way, they can tell you about the various habits of the dog as well and how they behave when they like or dislike something. Some of the common body signals that are portrayed by most dogs are: –

  • Relaxed

A dog is relaxed when their ears are upwards and their tail is down. A relaxed dog will have a gaping mouth with its tongue slightly exposed. Such a dog will usually have their heads in a higher position. One can approach these dogs as they don’t mind a presence or two around them as long as the stranger doesn’t present any imminent danger.

  • Aggressive

This is the form that you should be more careful of and must remember so that you can back out in time before any damage is inflicted by the dog on you. An aggressive dog usually will have its tail stiff and raised, the hackles on the body will be raised, wrinkled nose and their lips will be curled in such a manner that the teeth will be clearly visible along with the gum and they will be leaning forward so that they are ready to attack if you try to do anything that may seem out of place.

  • Fearful

A dog that is living in a fear should be left alone unless you are an expert because your presence as a stranger may cause them more damage than the good that you were expecting. They will have their tail tucked between the legs with no visible movement while their whole body will be lowered.

The hackles on the body will be raised and the ears will be in a backward position with their pupils dilated, nose wrinkles, lips curled and the teeth visible. It should always be kept in mind that a dog might be fearing something, but it is still capable of showing aggressive behavior and may attack you if you try to do something that doesn’t go down well with them. It is very aptly said that a tiger that is cornered should be feared the most.

  • Stressed

Like humans, dogs can be stressed as well and as mentioned above, should not be approached by unless you are an expert. A dog can be identified as being under stress if they have their tail down, body lowered, ears back, pupils dilated and are panting rapidly along with sweating from the pads. One should not approach dogs exhibiting these traits, but they can help them by calling an animal shelter home who can take good care of them.

  • Playful

A dog in a playful mood is a sight to behold because they’ll be radiating energy. One can recognize a dog to be in a playful mood by noticing that their tail and ears are up, pupils dilated, and they have exposed their tongue by opening their mouth in excitement. They will have a body position in such a way that will help them to rocket forward. This nature is usually accompanied by excited barking and maybe some attacks as well as in invitation to play.  

So, these are some of the ways that one can usually look up to if they are planning to interact with a dog they have never met before. These things should be kept in mind otherwise as well so that you can help others as well who might not be understanding if their presence is welcomed by a dog or not. A true dog lover will understand that a dog, like maybe humans, may be going through some tough time and may not like any stranger’s presence at that time. One should understand that dogs also have a personal space and that should be respected, even if that means that we have to kill our own desires for a while.

Author Bio: Willie May is a housewife, good mother, pet lover and a blogger. Auxier  is her dog and Mimo is the name of her cat. She loves them very much. She has an aim to help other pet owners by sharing her experiences with her pets and that’s why she opened Best Pets (her personal blog)  in Feb, 2017.

How to Have an Amazing Vacation with Your Dog

The only time in a year when you get to relax and enjoy is the holiday season. We all need to disconnect from the materialistic worries and spend quality time with our loved ones, cherishing their presence. Well, how can pet parents have fun without their fur-babies by their side, right!

We dog parents can never relax without having our pooches with us. Leaving them behind means continually having to worry about their health, if they are getting enough to eat or if they miss us, of course, we miss them too. Well, then why not take them along? After all, they also deserve a vacation.  Here are fantastic tips that can help you plan a vacation with your pooch:

Travelling by air

A few years ago the travel rules regarding traveling with pets were quite strict but now as more parents want to take trips with their dogs, the complexities have eased quite a bit. Statistics gathered from a recent survey done by TripAdvisor show that 53% of the respondents traveled with their pets and wanted to stay at hotels that accommodated them. Due to this increasing demand, most airlines and hotels have begun to facilitate pets. There were times when your pooch could only travel in the cargo, but now they can sit in the cabin with you. However, there are rules that pet-parents strictly need to follow.

Getting the tickets

While booking a ticket study the rules each airline has regarding dogs. Most airlines allow dogs that could fit under a seat and are not more than 20 pounds, some charge a fee while others let you travel for free. Furthermore, for each type of dog, there are specific USDA approved carriers that you need to use. There are specifications such as the material of the carrier (should be plastic), the size (your pup should be able to stand up, lie down and turn around and other conditions regarding ventilation, empty food dishes, etc. Study all the regulations and make sure you comply with them.

While booking a ticket for yourself make sure the airline has a seat available for your pooch, book both the tickets at the same time. If you have another pet, make sure the air service allows multiple pets.

Choose a time of the day when the temperatures aren’t extreme if your pet is going to travel in the cargo hold and make sure he can cope up with the stress of being alone with baggage.

Try to find a direct flight, so there are no stopovers and try to fly on weekdays when there is less rush at the airport.

Choosing an establishment

Selecting a pet-friendly hotel is a must. You can research accommodations that welcome dogs, call them up and ask about the fees, also try asking for a room close to the elevator.

Confirm if the pooch will be allowed on the furniture; also ask if there is a separate area to walk your dog.

Make sure they use the right cleaning procedures after a pet family has checked out to avoid contracting any diseases.

Search for vets and emergency hospitals in the area just in case you have to pay a visit.

Preparing for the vacation

If you are traveling internationally, you need to have all your pet’s updated documents and a health certificate signed by your vet confirming that your dog is free of diseases. Each country has different regulations for bringing a pet and for taking them back home, some even require you to microchip your dog. Each state needs a specific set of vaccinations too such as rabies and other declarations. Complete all the paperwork beforehand as some processes might take a long time.

Go shopping and buy all the essentials you might need for your pet. Here is a list of the things you should buy:

  • Flea control products
  • Name tag with emergency contact number
  • Pet wipes or grooming products
  • A First aid box that contains a gauze bandage, thermometer, Neosporin, tweezers, styptic powder, cotton balls, antibiotic soap and any particular medicine your dog might need
  • Food and treats that your dog loves to eat. You can also make his food yourself and pack it along with your stuff.
  • Food and water dishes
  • Leash and poop bags
  • Crate that your pooch would find comfortable
  • His favorite toys

Before the flight

Double-check the reservations by calling your airline and the hotel; withhold your pup’s food about 4 hours before the flight to prevent vomiting in case your dog gets nauseous. Don’t follow the same practice if you have a small breed or a young puppy. Give your pooch water until the time of flight; make sure you leave the empty dishes in his crate so the flight attendants can give him food and water.

Make sure you have all the documentation ready, buy a USDA approved carrier that is comfortable for your pet has proper ventilation and can be easily handled by the airline staff. Also, ensure that it doesn’t leak, put a tag on the carrier with your pet’s name, your name, contact details and even mark “Live Animal” on it

Accustom your pooch to his carrier; it will make it easier for him to travel in it.  After his daily walks, make him spend some time in the crate, it will help reduce the stress at the time of the actual trip.

Before leaving take your pet for a grooming session so he can feel better and fresh.

Reaching the airport

It is better to reach the airport early, not more than 4 hours before the flight time though. To check in you’ll have to go to the passenger terminal if your pet is traveling in the cabin. Otherwise, you would have to check in at the air freight terminal. Afterward, go to the checkpoint, take your pooch out of the crate and put him on a leash before going for the security check.

Don’t give your dog tranquilizers for relieving anxiety and calming him down. At high altitudes, your pooch might face respiratory issues due to these medicines. Only give your pooch anxiety medication if it has been prescribed by the vet, follow the exact dosage as recommended.

If there are any stopovers you can take your dog to the airport pet relief area, most airports do have such dedicated spaces; you can also take him for a poop if he needs to.

Reaching the destination:

Once you have landed, let your pooch relax and familiarize with the new city. Afterward, you can take him for a long walk so he can get a chance to see the city.

Search dog-friendly restaurants and tourist attractions so you’ll get to spend more time with your pooch. Not all countries have such facilities so do your research before planning a vacation.

Going on a road trip with your dog

Of course, going on a road trip might seem easier due to the involvement of fewer rules and regulations. However, it still needs quite a lot of preparation.

Things to do before hitting the road

You need to gather all the needful items, such as health documentation, contact information for your vet, first-aid box, poop bags, leash, and lots of food, treats & water.  You’ll also need a crate, flea control products, your pooch’s toys and his blanket.

It is better to get your dog microchipped before heading out for a trip in case you lose him in another city. Save his microchip registration number too.

Just as we need seat belts to protect us from accidents, our dogs need to be protected too. There are many harnesses available that can secure your dog with the seat belt and prevent your fur-baby from flying out of the windshield in the instance of you applying the brakes. You can also load your pooch in a crate and secure it to the car seat.

Thanks to technology all sorts of information can easily be accessed within seconds when you are on a road trip, you might need to go to a vet in case your pet gets sick. Of course, you can’t imagine finding a vet in an entirely new city; therefore download any app that can help you find vets in the nearby area. You can also use Google Maps to track veterinarians, dog parks, and dog-friendly places when traveling with your pup.

Preparing your dog for the road

There is no point of taking your pooch with you on a trip if he doesn’t enjoy it. You need to ensure your dog doesn’t get motion sickness or anxiety due to car travel. Take him for a few short trips, so he gets comfortable with the car.

When you hit the road

Make sure your dog has released his energy by exercising and other activities before getting seated in the car.

Once you hit the road, make sure you take frequent potty breaks so your pooch can take a poop. Give your dog treats for being a good travel companion and make sure you and your fur-baby have a wonderful time.

About the Author:

Jenny Perkins is an Animal Behavior Specialist and a passionate writer. She loves to write about the nutrition, health, and care of dogs. She aims at providing tips to dog owners that can help them become better pet parents. She writes for the blog Here Pup.

How to Identify and Treat Your Dog’s Allergies

image1

Anyone who has suffered from allergies knows they are no fun. From itching to a stuffy head, hives and even trouble breathing, the health ramifications can be nasty. Allergies aren’t specific to humans — your dog can be just as susceptible to allergies, and your furry friend can experience similar levels of discomfort.

That pain and discomfort could lead to your pet scratching themselves raw or sleeping fitfully (while dogs are our best friend, a cranky dog does not make for great sleep). Unlike you, your dog can’t pop out to the store for some Benadryl. So how do you identify and treat signs of allergies in your best friend?

Types

Animal allergies come in many types:

  • Environmental allergies are caused by something in their surroundings, like perfume, houseplants or cleaning agents. Dogs, like people, can be sensitive to everyday substances. Environmental allergies include seasonal allergies such as molds and pollens.
  • Flea dermatitis is a common type of dog allergy that includes allergies to fleas and flea saliva. Flea bites, unexplained dirt and inflammation are indicators of flea activity. Fleas can cause dogs to scratch at their skin until it flakes or bleeds.
  • Food allergies (and intolerances) come from diet. Common food allergies for dogs include beef, fish, chicken, lamb and dairy products. Food intolerances vary from dog to dog — some may not experience any kind of reaction to foods, while others require a restricted diet. Most food reactions are food intolerances, which cause stomach upset, dull coat and dry skin. True allergies produce symptoms that range from hives to anaphylactic shock (though the latter is rare).
  • Acute allergic reactions are the most severe (and rare) form of dog allergies. Bee stings are a common cause of acute allergic reaction, as well as reactions to vaccines.

Signs

Allergic reactions are easy to spot. No matter the cause, they frequently share symptoms. Scratching is the most prominent sign of allergies, especially if your dog scratches himself raw in places. Those sores are commonly referred to as hot spots. Biting, licking or chewing on itchy spots can have the same effect. Common itchy areas include the face, feet, ears, armpits and belly. It’s important to promptly treat any inflammation that leads to open wounds (or hot spots) to prevent infection.

While hair loss is symptomatic of a lot of medical issues in dogs, including mites and hormonal imbalances, allergies can also be a cause. For dogs, allergy-related hair loss is usually due to fleas and mites or environmental allergies like mold and pollen. Hair loss can come in small spots, like hot spots, or large patches. Because hair loss can be indicative of many different issues it’s usually a good idea to take the dog to visit the vet.

Dogs suffering from an allergic reaction can also exhibit watery eyes, sniffling or sneezing. Recurrent watery eyes can lead to discoloration or tear stains in their fur, around their eyes.

Hives in dogs look similar to hives in people — inflamed, raised, red itchy spots. Inflammation occurs in all types of allergic reactions, but the most severe are associated with acute allergic reactions. Insect bites or stings can cause extreme inflammation, especially swelling of the face. Inflammation is also one of the most obvious symptoms of an allergic reaction to a vaccine. In situations where a dog’s face puffs up, an emergency trip to the vet is recommended.

Ongoing allergy issues can manifest as chronic ear infections, signaled by excessive rubbing, scratching or shaking their head. When a dog frequently scratches at their ears, it creates inflammation. That inflammation accelerates wax development. Excess wax creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and yeast growth. The painful infections inspire more scratching, and the cycle gets worse and worse. Without treatment, dogs can scratch themselves raw around their ears or, in worst case scenarios, risk their hearing.

Treatment at Home

Treatment methods for allergies in dogs differ based on the kind of allergy. Milder allergic reactions can often be treated from home. A little bit of sleuthing can often help you determine the source of the allergic reaction. For food allergies, replace food until you identify the culprit by the process of elimination. Check store-bought food for potentially harmful additives or meat substitutes. If you’re unsure of ingredients in store-bought food, you can make your own dog food or treats.

Some of the common culprits with food allergies or intolerance include chicken, beef, soy, corn, dairy, eggs and wheat. Try switching to a dog food made for sensitive digestion, or rotate through the ingredients in homemade dog food to see if any one item is responsible for the allergy. This method takes a while, but it’s less invasive than an allergy test. If you’re unsure about creating a healthy diet for your dog, check with a veterinarian.

For environmental or contact allergens, use wipes after a romp outside to clean off anything that may cause a canine reaction (and prevent them from spreading around your home). Check things they come in contact with frequently, like their toys, bed or blankets to see if anything there could be irritating them. Likewise, bathe dogs with sensitive skin in hypoallergenic or non-itch dog shampoo.

The same things that reduce homebound allergens in people will also help your dog — change your air conditioner and vacuum filters, clean routinely, and use an air purifier (or a humidifier for dry skin). Look for potential sources of mold and mildew.

Replace plastic food and water dishes with stainless steel or porcelain. Plastic provides a better environment for bacteria growth.

For tear stains, keep your dog’s face and eye area clean by wiping them down a couple of times a day with a warm, wet cloth. Dogs with a lot of fur around the face might need a trip to the groomer to help keep their face clean (and reduce potential for irritants to get buried in fur).

You can buy over-the-counter medications for allergies at any pet store. They vary in both dosage and form. For ingestion, allergy medicine is available in pill and treat form. Topical allergy medicine (including hot spot relief) exists as foams, sprays, creams and shampoos.

Veterinarian Treatment

When home treatments don’t work — or when the allergic reaction seems too severe for home treatment — a visit to the vet is your best option. Diagnostic tools range from exams to tests.

Your vet’s first step will be a thorough exam, often with a lot of questions about your dog’s life, environment and eating habits. They’ll look for any signs of rash, inflammation, hives, or other common symptoms. Make sure to be prepared with information about your dog’s life, any medications they’re taking, and anything you suspect to be the root cause. Sometimes an exam is simple enough to pinpoint the source. If not, your vet might need to run a series of tests.

For dogs with ear infections, your vet might want to look at the ear discharge under a microscope to check for mites, yeast or bacteria. They may also swab the inside of the dog’s ear for testing.

If the suspected allergen is inhaled, like pollens, your vet may opt for blood tests. A blood test involves drawing blood and sending to the lab for analysis.

Allergy testing on skin is similar to tests for humans, which consists of injecting common irritants under the skin to see what reacts. The test can run from uncomfortable to painful (and often includes shaving fur in patches for best results). If a reaction appears within the next couple of hours, that allergen is confirmed, and you can move forward to treatments.

When the allergen is identified, your vet may opt for immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is a series of injections designed to increase tolerance to an allergen over a long period of time — 6 months to a year. It’s usually only prescribed for dogs with serious allergy problems that affect them for a substantial part of the year. The process is thorough, and often owners will have to administer some of the shots. The beginning phases of the treatment often show increased reaction to the allergen, but as the treatment progresses, dogs will show fewer symptoms until the allergic reaction is controlled.

If your dog experiences an acute reaction to food, a vaccine or any other irritant, an emergency vet visit is probably in order. Some vaccine reactions are life threatening. Treatment for a reaction ranges from antihistamine or cortisone shots (for mild allergic reactions) to epinephrine (in life-threatening situations).

Most veterinarians will prescribe a multifaceted approach to treating your dog’s allergies: a combination of medicine (for the allergy), topical skin treatment (for the inflammation) and potentially a plan to adjust the dog’s living situation or diet.

If you’re considering medicating your dog, or are concerned about your dog’s health and behavior, always consult a veterinarian. When it comes to your furry family member, health and happiness is what is most important.

About the Author:

Devin writes from somewhere along the West Coast. He is infected with wanderlust but always tries to bring his dog, Scrummy, along for the ride. You can follow him on Twitter.

7 Important Tips for Living with Pet and Mite Allergens Around the Home

It can be difficult to live with pet and mite allergies, and you might find yourself reacting to them quite often. Short of taking an antihistamine, it can be difficult to see what you can do reduce your exposure – especially since getting rid of beloved pets is out of the question. In this guide, we take you through a few tips and tricks for dealing with pet dander and dust mites that are lurking in your home.

#1 Keep Your House Clean and Dusted

It is important that you keep your home clean and in good condition at all times. Dusting regularly is essential, as is keeping the floors vacuumed and your bedding washed regularly. The same goes for other soft furnishings like cushions, pillows, and throws. Doing all of this will help to reduce and/or remove the allergens from your home, leaving you with air that is much easier to breathe.

#2 Watch the Soft Furnishings

Soft furnishings can make the perfect home for dust mites and pet dander, and they can have a large effect on how much of a reaction you have. If you choose hard floors instead of carpet, allergens are less likely to sink into the flooring and remain there, and will instead be much easier to suck up with the vacuum or wash away.

You can also purchase a mattress cover that has been tested and approved as an allergy-proof item, which will help to keep the dust mites away and allow you to sleep better. Keeping the soft furnishings limited in the rooms you spend the most time in will also benefit you.

#3 Restrict Pet Access in the Home

If your allergies are caused by your pets, try to restrict their access to certain rooms in your home, such as your bedroom. It’s not fair to keep them outside all the time, so restricting their access is an excellent option. You will find that you suffer less, and that both you are your pet are happy with the arrangement. It will also help if you groom them regularly outside and wash them frequently, as the allergies are caused by their dead skin and dried saliva.

#4 Switch the Curtains for Blinds

Curtains are the perfect place for allergens, and they can really provoke you if they are not cleaned thoroughly and regularly. Of course, this is not always easy, and the allergens are often still there when you are done. The best thing to do if you have allergies to dust mites or pet dander is to invest in a set of binds, as these are easy to clean and maintain.

#5 Improve the Ventilation in Your Home

Good ventilation is a great way to keep allergens at bay and ensure the air in your home remains circulated as opposed to becoming stagnant. If you use dehumidifiers in rooms like the kitchen and bathroom, damp air will be removed, which will make the air much easier for you to breathe.

#6 Use a Vacuum with a HEPA Filter

When it comes to selecting a vacuum cleaner, it is ideal to get a model with a HEPA filter. These tend to be hospital grade and work superbly to capture dust mites and general allergens when compared to other types of filters. Models from the Dyson Animal Range are good vacuum cleaners with an approved HEPA filter.

#7 Get an Air Purifier

Air purifiers are a fantastic solution when it comes to relieving you of allergic reactions. They take in the allergens and trap them, expelling clean air in return. Of course, it should be noted that changing the air purifier every 90 days or so is highly recommended. Smart Vacuums suggest the HoMedics HEPA Air Purifier and the Bionaire Compact Air Purifier as some of the best models for the home.

To Conclude

Hopefully this guide has helped to give you a better understanding of the things you can do to keep allergens at bay when it comes to dust mites and pet dander. Keeping things clean and regularly washed, as well as investing in a good vacuum and air purifier are sure ways to make life that much easier for you.

Did our tips help you? Are there any that you would have added? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

About the Author:

Gemma Tyler is a freelance writer and blogger. You can keep up to date by following Gemma on Twitter, Facebook & Pinterest. If you are interested in reading more of her vacuum and cleaning related content, be sure to check out her ultimate guides here.

7 Smart Tips for Taking a Dog Up a Mountain

One of the great things about having a dog is that she can open up a world of exciting adventures for you to enjoy. If you look at dog ownership in the right way then you can enjoy a healthier lifestyle while spending quality time with your pet.

For a lot of people this simply means going to the park with their beloved pooch or making the occasional trip to the beach together. For other people, they might soon realize that their dog can be the perfect company on long hikes and become more active than ever before.

For example, I recently went on a terrific walk up Mount Snowdon in Wales with my Cockapoo, Luna. I learned a huge amount from that trip and decided to use my new-found experience to make a list of some of the most essential tips for anyone looking to do something similar.

1. Plan Well

If you go out hiking on your own then you need to plan well in advance of the day. Even the gentlest and least demanding hill or mountain needs to be tackled carefully or you run the risk of getting lost or getting stuck up there after dark if you underestimate it.

Doing it with a dog means taking a bit more time to plan, as you need to go at her speed and look after her needs as well as your own. You definitely want to make sure that you put in enough planning time to make this a fabulous, trouble-free day out that both of you remember fondly for a long time.

In my case, I decided that we would be best going up the gentlest route to the top of the mountain, even though it isn’t the quickest approach. It is worth thinking about how to make the day comfortable and enjoyable for your dog while you are planning, as this might not always be the same as your own priorities.

2. Start the Day Early

This is the kind of day out in which it makes sense to get as early a start as you possibly can. If you are doing it at the weekend after a tiring week of work then it can be tempting to settle for a long lie-in before setting out.

However, this means that will miss out on some of the best hours of the day. You might also end up running late and not being able to get the end of the climb before it gets dark. Don’t forget that you might encounter some setbacks along the way or your pooch might not be in the same rush to climb the mountain that you are.

We set off at 4am and this turned out be the best possible start of the day that we could have made. Arriving early and having the place all to ourselves for a short while was a fantastic feeling. Starting so early in the day also meant that there no rush and we were able to enjoy our climb at a decent pace without any risk of darkness surprising us.

3. Take Along Plenty of Food and Water

Another tip you should definitely bear in mind is that of taking along enough supply of snacks and water for both of you. In fact, it is a good idea to take more than you think you need, as you never know if you will get delayed or stuck somewhere.

Thankfully, dog snacks don’t take up too much room and you can also use a collapsible water bowl to make sure that your backpack isn’t too packed with stuff. Even if it isn’t a particularly hot day you will still want to make sure that you offer her a drink now and then.

One great tip I hadn’t thought of before leaving home was to look for restaurants or pubs to have a stop in on the way back to the car. The good news is that we found one on the way down and stopped in for something to eat and drink there, which was a brilliant way to round off the day.

4. Look for Useful Accessories

Unless it is a tough mountain to climb you probably don’t need too many accessories for yourself. A warm jacket, sturdy boots and something to keep the sun out of your eye are among the essentials for anyone, of course.

Yet, you might find that you need to put a bit more thought into the accessories that your four legged friend is going to need when she joins you. An outdoor lead and a winter jacket are a couple of the items that you will definitely need to consider along for your dog on an adventurous trip like this.

In the end, the lovely winter coat I had picked out for Luna wasn’t needed, as the weather stayed pleasant throughout the day, but I was glad to have taken it along all the same. The longer outdoor lead I had bought was used, and while she pulled more than normal I chalked this down to her being overly enthusiastic rather than a problem with the lead that we used.

5. Find Out When to Keep Him on a Lead

Since we just looked at the use of a lead, it is a good point to mention that there are bound to be a number of situations in which you will need to keep your dog firmly on a lead as you hike with her. One example of is if the terrain is treacherous and you feel that you need to keep tight control over her to avoid possible problems.

You might also feel that you want to keep her away from other hikers or other dogs. Not everyone is happy to see a dog bounding towards them while they are out hiking and this can also be dangerous if someone panics when they see your dog running towards them and stumbles or falls.

In some places it is also illegal to let your dog off the lead at any time. This is the case on the climb up Mount Snowdon, so I made sure that Luna was on her lead at all times as we walked up and then back down again. This is one of the reasons why choosing a good lead is a good idea, so that you have more control over how far she can go and can vary the length as the occasion demands.

6. Look After the Environment

No matter where you take your dog for a walk it is important that you look after the planet while doing so. This is truer than ever when you are exploring a pristine mountain or hill with your furry buddy. Isn’t it horrible when you see people leaving rubbish behind them?

These are open, natural spaces that we should all be looking to leave in exactly the same state that we found them. This means being really careful to not leave behind rubbish or dog poo on your travels.

This might feel like a bit of extra hassle but just do what we did and stop to look at the natural beauty all around you for a second. Do you really want to mess up this place so that future human and canine visitors don’t get to enjoy it in the same way that you do? I am sure that you won’t mind a little bit of extra work once you look at in that way.

7. Take Plenty of Breaks

Taking plenty of breaks along the way is the final big piece of advice that we can offer after our great day out. This might seem like something that you would do naturally but it turns out that it is easy to get stuck in the mode of rushing up the mountain and not seeing anything going on around you.

As well as missing out on some of the best sights, this also means that you both risk getting tired out too soon. It is far better to pace yourselves and ensure that you get to the top in good shape and still feeling pretty fresh.   

On our climb, Luna and I had got about halfway up before I realised that we hadn’t yet stopped for a single, proper break. Doing this gave us a chance to take some pictures, get a drink and rest our limbs for a few minutes. These breaks can be among the most enjoyable moment of the whole day.

Conclusion

Climbing up a mountain with your dog isn’t really as difficult as it might appear to be at first. If you take these simple tips into account then you will discover that it is a fantastic day out that should go smoothly from start to finish.

Certainly, we are planning to do it again soon, as it is an addictive business that can easily become a habit once you give it a try.  

About the Author:

Mike is a dog lover who enjoys nothing more than getting out and about with his Cockapoo, Luna, to explore the world together. He runs CockapooHQ, which is a blog all about the Cockapoo Breed.

6 Tips for Walking Your Dog Outdoors During the Winter Months

Winter months are the coldest months of the year in polar and temperate climates.

But just because it’s cold during the winter months it doesn’t mean we have to refrain from taking our dogs out for a walk.

However, when it comes to this, don’t assume that dogs’ fur makes them control the cold better than human beings. Dogs also feel cold. Because of this reason, taking your dog out for a walk during the winter months can be a very difficult and challenging task.

Here are some simple tips that will help you take your dog out for a walk in winter:

1. During winter months, keep your dog outside for a very short time (10 to 15 minutes is okay)

Because these months are very cold, you need to keep your winter walk short. It is important to maintain your dog’s emotional well being by giving him enough time to play outside instead of keeping him indoors. However, don’t spend a lot of time in the cold because you will be hurting your dog’s health. Make sure to pay attention to your dog’s body language. That will give you a hint if he’s had enough of the cold and wants to go back home. For instance, when you’re having fun with your dog in the cold and all of sudden you discover that he is shivering, don’t waste time or ignore that. rather. Take him home as fast as you can.

2. Make sure your dog wears a sweater, vest, and even dog pants.

A dog sweater is an excellent choice when you’re both going out for a walk in the cold. Just like human beings, dogs also feel cold. If you’re dog is one them, keep him warm when you’re going in the cold by dressing him in warm dog clothes.

3. There’s no easy way to tell how solid the ice may be and you don’t want to risk you or your dog falling in. The best way to keep this from happening is to keep a very close watch on your steps.

When walking your dog during winter, select a dog harness versus a dog collar because harnesses have greater control over where your dog walks when compared to a collar.
Also, a harness is much more comfortable than a dog collar, as when your dog pulls away from you the force is spread across their body rather than directly on their neck.

Snow seems so harmless but it can be dangerous. So when you’re out with your dog, keep a close watch on him to make sure he doesn’t eat snow. There could be bacteria or chemicals in the snow that could be harmful to your dog. Large consumption of snow can upset your dog’s intestines. This can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Before you go out on your walk, just let your dog have some water for hydration instead of getting hydrating by snow. It’s no secret that dogs tend to eat whatever they find and as tempting as snow looks and as harmless as it seems, this can be a bad idea. So it’s better keep a close watch than to expose them to the risks of eating snow.

4. Don’t let your dog eat antifreeze

Although, you might not see much antifreeze, don’t take the risk during the winter months, especially when you go on a walk and pass areas that may have this dangerous chemical.

Because dogs are likely to get bacteria, ice or rock salt caught in their feet, which can harm their paws, you need to clean and wipe your dog’s feet carefully. To at least to minimize the damage to their feet, make sure you wipe them with a warm cloth when you get home from your outdoor walk.

This will also prevent your dog from licking their paws and getting sick.

In order to totally avoid this from happening, it’s smart to protect your dog’s paws with doggy mits.

5. Clean any salt and chemicals off your dog.

Finally, if your dogs play or walk outside during wet and snowy winter conditions, be sure to give them a thorough rub-down with a clean towel before they come inside.

These are tips to help you figure out a safe way to take your dog outdoors during winter months. However, if you’re not comfortable with taking your dog out during cold seasons, then just stay at home. Don’t insist on taking him out if you’re not sure because you might end up harming your dog.

About the Author:

John Alex is a resident pet care expert. He also curates a select range of vet recommended and approved products. He enjoys writing educational articles to help those who want to look after their pets all over the place. Check out his latest article about emotional support dogs.