A Comprehensive Guide To Lupus In Dogs: Can It Be Cured?

Two types of lupus can occur in dogs. DLE, being the second most common autoimmune disease to affect the skin of dogs. Some dogs have a predisposition for developing lupus, but any dog can be affected. It’s essential for owners to be aware if their dog is predisposed, what symptoms look like and what to do to get the best care for their pet. Ultimately, a dog with a predisposition for lupus won’t necessarily develop the disease and can make a great family pet. Even dogs that do develop lupus can lead fulfilling lives, providing they have the right treatment.

What is Lupus in Dogs?

There are two types of lupus that can occur in dogs. These two types are autoimmune diseases and are believed to be genetic. Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE), commonly known as collie nose, affects a dog’s face, particularly the bridge of their nose, their lips and ears. Sometimes DLE can also affect their feet and genitals. The other type is system lupus erythematosus (SLE) and is more serious to the health of a dog than DLE. SLE not only affects the skin but also the organs, including the heart, liver, and kidneys. Some dogs can experience painful joints, lameness, and lethargy too. Any autoimmune disease in a dog, such as lupus, is the body attacking itself, which will result in pain and discomfort for the dog.

Common Symptoms of Lupus in Dogs

There are several health conditions in dogs that can present similar symptoms to lupus, so it’s important to know what to look out for. Common symptoms for DLE include extreme redness, skin sores, cracked skin, itchiness and ringworm and/or loss of pigment on their nose. SLE’s symptoms include joint and muscle pain, which can be seen when they walk, lethargy, a loss of appetite, their fur falling out, swollen lymph nodes and seizures. Both types have the potential to be fatal.

What Causes Lupus and Can it be Prevented?

In general, it’s believed that lupus is a genetic disease, but environmental factors can play a part too, such as sun exposure, viral infections and having a reaction to certain medications. While a lot of research supports this as the cause, it’s not definitive. Previously, lupus was believed to come from a wolf’s bite, which is why it was named lupus, as it’s the Latin word for wolf. As there’s no concrete evidence to support the cause, it can be difficult to know how to prevent lupus, but most experts and vets will recommend a healthy lifestyle, consistent activity levels and avoiding excessive direct sunlight.

Are Some Breeds More Likely to Develop Lupus?

Any dog can develop lupus, but because it’s a genetic disease, some breeds are predisposed to it. DLE is more likely to occur in German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Chow Chows, Shetland Sheepdogs, German Shorthaired Pointers and Brittany Spaniels. On average, it’s likely to present itself in dogs over 6 years old, but onset can begin at any age. DLE is more likely to occur in the summer, as the sun will make symptoms worse, especially scaly skin and sores.

SLE, a predisposition, is seen in Shetland Sheepdogs, Old English Sheepdogs, Afghan Hounds, Beagles, Collies, Irish Setters, and Poodles. Owners with any of these breeds as pets should be aware of the symptoms of lupus and any other illnesses that are common in them so that spotting the symptoms early on is easy, and veterinary care is sought as soon as possible.

Should predisposed dogs be avoided?

Deciding which breed of dog to get is an important part of bringing a pet into a family home. Some of the breeds that are predisposed to lupus are great breeds that make wonderful pets and shouldn’t be dismissed because of this. The chance of developing lupus is relatively low, and any breed will be predisposed to developing certain illnesses. For example, German Shepherds are predisposed to lupus but are known for being smart, friendly and loving dogs that make an ideal family pet.

Similarly, Poodles have very few other predisposed health conditions and make loyal pets that are easy to train and will quickly become a valuable part of the family. Anyone buying a dog from a breeder should ask about the parent’s health to get an indication of their dog’s future health. It’s advised by vets that dogs with lupus shouldn’t be used for breeding to reduce how common it is.

Spotting Lupus and What to Do

Firstly, it’s important for owners to know if their dog is of a breed predisposed to developing lupus. Knowing the signs and symptoms of the condition can help them to spot it early on, which means treatment can be started sooner to prevent symptoms from becoming severe. It’s also essential to understand other diseases and illnesses that breeds are predisposed to that may have the overlapping symptoms. This can prevent owners from jumping to the conclusion that could get in the way of the correct diagnosis and treatment. If an owner ever suspects that their dog has lupus, they should make an urgent appointment with their vet. Keeping a diary of symptoms can be helpful for vets to make a correct diagnosis and start treatment.

The Big Question: Can it be Cured?

Sadly, the short answer is no. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing that can be done to help a dog with lupus. Without treatment, both types of lupus can be fatal. SLE symptoms can be relieved with corticosteroids, such as prednisone, and antibiotics. Keeping dogs out of  sunlight will help with the severity of symptoms, as well as keeping them active and healthy.

Sometimes vets may recommend chemotherapy. It can suppress the abnormal responses that the immune system is having. Also reducing how much the body attacks itself, as well as reducing pain. DLE is easier to treat, but still cannot be cured. Topical corticosteroids are to be used to reduce inflammation of the skin and sores. Prednisone and antibiotics are also used to prevent and treat secondary infections, such as from skin sores.

Alternative Treatment Options

Sometimes the traditional method of treating lupus won’t work. Some owners would rather try natural approaches to avoid nasty side effects. Alternative treatment options for lupus include massage therapy, acupuncture, and dietary changes. Vitamin E and Omegas 3 and 6 fatty acids can also be added to the diet. They can help to relieve symptoms, particularly pain. The ultimate goal is to get dogs with lupus as healthy as possible. Giving their body a better chance at healing and functioning well.

How Dogs Daily Lives are Affected by DLE

DLE mainly affects a dog’s skin. The hardest parts for owners, is that they will likely be uncomfortable from their skin being sore, itchy and cracked. This irritation can have an effect on their personality and temperament. Owners may find that their dog becomes aggressive out of frustration, so it can be best to keep them away from children and strangers that could set them off, especially during a flare-up. DLE symptoms are generally worse when dogs are exposed to too much sun. It can benefit them to be walked early morning or evening when the sun isn’t as strong.

 cute red dog border collie lying in the snow, portrait

How Dogs Daily Lives Are Affected by SLE

SLE is more severe than DLE. SLE can have a much bigger impact on a dog’s life, as well as their owner’s. While symptoms can improve, lethargy and pain can make it difficult to achieve or maintain this. Short, frequent walks will be best for dogs with SLE, and if they’re on pain medication, it’s best to exercise shortly after it’s been taken when it’s most effective. Ideally, this will also be in the morning. When they’ve had a long night’s sleep, energy levels are at their highest. Seeing a dog have a seizure can be very stressful for an owner, and also means they have to take full responsibility for their dog’s safety. This means owners need to be with their dog at all times in case of a seizure. They may need to be cleaned up if they lose control of their bladder or bowels during a seizure.

A breed with a predisposition to lupus isn’t guaranteed to develop the disease and can still make a great pet. Even dogs that do develop lupus can still have a good quality of life with thorough and prompt treatment. Some adjustments will need to be made, but they’re always worth it as owners get a loyal companion in return.


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Natural Remedies for Pain & Anxiety in Dogs

It can be hard to soothe our furry family members when they are experiencing pain or feeling anxious. When they are anxious, they may be pacing, cowering, or exhibiting obsessive behaviors like licking, whining, or jumping. When they are in pain, they may be irritable, lethargic, or needy. Because humans and dogs can’t communicate effectively with each other, it can be hard to find solutions. Though there are some medications to treat issues with pain and anxiety, some have problematic side effects. While some dogs do need those medications, others may react positively to natural remedies, instead.

The first step is always to consult your veterinarian to address your dog’s health-management needs. They can discuss the best solutions for your pet’s pain and anxiety to make sure they aren’t suffering. It’s also helpful to understand if your dog is high-risk for these ailments in order to prepare for their needs. Oftentimes, natural health supplements can help with feelings of pain and anxiety. You can also practice soothing techniques, creating a safe space, and helping them exercise in a way that can offer relief.

Check With Your Vet

If you notice your dog may be experiencing pain, it’s important to talk to your vet right away. Your dog may not show pain in an obvious way, so it’s good practice to take your dog to the vet if they are exhibiting any new behavior. Your vet may prescribe a pain relief medication in order to help them feel comfortable, but it’s okay to ask about natural remedies if you’re concerned about potential side effects. Some behaviors that could mean your dog is in pain include:

  • Increased Urination: Frequent urination could be a sign of a bladder infection, kidney failure, or an allergy.
  • Obsessive Grooming: Dogs tend to lick areas that hurt them.
  • Aggression: Pain can cause a dog to feel threatened, so a newly aggressive dog should be taken to the vet.
  • Insomnia: Just like people, dogs find it hard to sleep when they are in pain.
  • Loss of Appetite: A disinterest in food could mean they are experiencing pain or feeling sick.

If you realize certain triggers are causing your dog to feel anxious, you should talk to your vet about potential remedies or rule out any serious health issues that could be causing your dog to feel this way. Some behaviors that could mean your dog is anxious include:

veterinary examing cute beagle dog

  • Compulsions: Compulsive over-grooming, pacing, or jumping could be a sign your dog is feeling anxious.
  • Hiding: An anxious dog may hide under something or curl into a ball.
  • Aggression: If a dog is suddenly aggressive, it may be a sign of anxiety.
  • Barking: Excessive barking and howling is a sign of anxiety in dogs.
  • Chewing: Chewing furniture, bedding, or other household items could be a sign of an anxious dog.

Identifying Risk Factors

Some risk factors for dogs who may experience pain or anxiety have to do with their breed, age, background, and health history. Identifying some of these risk factors can help you to prepare for the possibility of your dog experiencing these issues and how to help them. For example, some dogs may be more prone to anxiety depending on their breed. Working breeds may become anxious without enrichment and exercise. A dog who has experienced neglect or abuse will be more susceptible to separation anxiety, fear of loud noises, feeling overwhelmed around a lot of people, etc. Identifying these risk factors can help prepare you for the possibility of treating them for anxiety.

Older dogs experience a lot of health problems that can cause pain. Dogs who have health issues may also be more susceptible to pain than healthier dogs. Things like arthritis, dental issues, and injuries can result in your dog experiencing pain. Knowing this can help you, and your vet keeps an eye out for signs that your dog is hurting and help you to make a plan for pain management.

Natural Supplements

If you and your vet have decided that your pet’s pain isn’t so severe that it requires prescription pain medication, or that the side effects are problematic for your dog’s health, you may try looking into natural health supplements for pain. Similarly, if you’ve decided you want to try a natural remedy for their anxiety, there are some natural methods you can try.

Pain:

  • St. John’s Wort: St. John’s wort can help reduce pain in the muscles, joints, and nerve endings and is applied topically.
  • Cayenne: The cayenne herb has capsaicin which can block pain receptors and increase circulation. There are cayenne creams you can apply topically.
  • Turmeric: This anti-inflammatory has a similar effect to cortisone and can be fed to dogs by adding it to their food.

Anxiety:

  • CBD oil: CBD oil has anxiety relief and pain relief properties. It can be added to their food or purchased as a treat. Just be sure it’s CBD oil meant for dogs that doesn’t contain any THC.
  • Chamomile: Chamomile is an herb that works as a sedative. You can use it as a tea that you can pour into their water, or in the form of a calming spray to apply topically.
  • Lavender: Lavender has calming properties. You can apply lavender to your dog topically as an essential oil.

Personal Closeness

Another natural remedy to help your dog with pain or anxiety is just to be near them. Again, if your dog is in severe pain, it’s not enough to be near them — they need to visit the vet. Otherwise, for many dogs, their owner’s presence is calming for them. For dogs experiencing anxiety, your affection can help them to cope and may calm them even better than many medications or natural supplements. Our animals offer us many positive mental health effects, and we have the ability to offer the same to them.

You might try sleeping with your pup in your bed in order to help them stay calm at night or if they are feeling anxious. Not only can this help them, but it can also be beneficial for you as well. If they are triggered by something making them anxious, like fireworks or visitors, stick close to them, so they feel safe. If you notice your dog is experiencing pain, you can try sitting with them and speaking in positive tones so that they begin to feel calm. You might even try petting them or massaging problem areas. Just be aware that not all dogs feel calmed by their owner and may get aggressive under these circumstances, so use caution.

Creating a Safe Space

Many dogs feel much more at ease when they’re experiencing pain or anxiety when they can retreat to their own space to feel safe. Help your dog feel safe by creating this space for them in your home. This area should be only theirs, filled with their scent, and away from overwhelming sounds or stimulus. Often this safe space can be exactly what a dog needs, which is a natural remedy that can mimic a dog’s natural extinct to be in a den.

 smiling dog on bed

  • Kennel Training: Proper crate training is important in making sure your dog associates their crate with comfort. Once you’ve done this correctly, your dog can retreat to this space whenever they need.
  • A Comfy Bed: A comfortable bed can help dogs who experience pain due to arthritis, sore muscles, or injury.
  • Practicing Avoidance: If you know your dog’s trigger, you can use their safe space to help them avoid the thing that causes pain or anxiety.
  • The Power of Music: In your dog’s safe space, you might try to play music in order to promote feelings of peace. An added perk is that it can also help to drown out anxiety-inducing sounds in or around your home.

Exercise

Exercise is a great natural remedy for your dog who experiences pain or anxiety. If dogs were to create a list of self-care activities to help their mental health, exercise would be on there. Dogs love to run, complete tasks and explore the world around them. For dogs who experience pain, it’s important to find ways to exercise that won’t exacerbate their discomfort. Swimming is a great option for dogs who experience arthritis or other similar ailments.

Exercise can also help dogs who are anxious. It taps into their natural instincts, allows them to interact with you, and expands their energy. Because so many dogs feel anxious as a result of boredom or a lack of enrichment, exercise can really help to reduce anxiety and the side effects that result from it. For example, if your dog is destructive when they are left alone, it may help to play a few minutes of fetch with them before you leave.

Just because your dog is experiencing pain or anxiety doesn’t mean they should immediately be put on a prescription medication that could have harmful side effects. However, it’s also important to note that natural remedies don’t always work for extreme cases and it’s not okay to leave your pet in pain if they need to be medicated. Talking to your vet about your dog’s needs should always be your first step. In terms of natural remedies, there are many options that may work for your pooch. Natural supplements, providing them with attention, creating a safe place for them, and providing them with sufficient enrichment and exercise are all natural remedies for pain and anxiety that can help your dog live a happier life.


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The Essentials of Doggy Daycare

We all need to leave our pups behind from time-to-time. It may be because we have to put in some long hours at work. Or it could be because we’re finally taking that vacation we’ve saved up for. Either way, leaving our dogs alone in the house can often lead to pent up energy and unruly behavior. For many of us, a dog door with a big backyard isn’t an option, so we end up with the occasional mess because the dog-sitter doesn’t make it there in time to let them out. Luckily, doggy daycare centers are increasing in popularity, and are popping up all over the country. The only downside is that doggy daycare can lead to a dog ear infection or other common ailments that can be common to shared spaces. However, with just a few simple precautions and some smart daycare research, we can keep our pups healthy, well socialized, and well-behaved.

What To Look For When Shopping Doggy Daycare Facilities

Some of us use doggy daycare as a way to help our pups pass the time and enjoy themselves while we work our nine-to-fives. Others just like to give their pups some fun with furry friends, while we have dog-free get-togethers. Whatever the reason, the wrong doggy daycare will send home a frightened or even sick pup. The right doggy daycare will send home a happy, well-adjusted, and hopefully tired pup from playing all day. This quick reference checklist can help anyone understand what to look for when shopping locations and investigating whether daycare is a great fit.

Facilities tour:

Walk in and ask for a tour. It’s the easiest way to get a good look at where dogs are kept all day. Is it dark, bright, spacious, or cramped? Chances are, if we feel uncomfortable there, our dog will too. Be extra careful to check for unsupervised areas or blind corners where a doggy daycare leader may not be able to see some dogs while observing others. And look for comforts like a variety of clean toys. There should be lots of fresh water available from fountains, rather than bowls that can run out of water and can collect saliva and germs. Also, look around for practical design features like non-skid surfaces so playful dogs won’t injure themselves while running and jumping.

Cleanliness Check:

Some facilities boast cameras with a live internet feed, but nothing can replace actually walking through a facility. We can check for foul smells that cameras just can’t show us. A bad smell means they aren’t cleaning up after the dogs often enough. Does it look like they sweep and power wash often? If they don’t, we risk exposing our dogs to the many diseases and infections other dogs can bring with them. Do they have an indoor and an outdoor area? If so, are they both kept clean? And what about the dogs themselves? Are they pretty clean? Or are they running around an outdoor area that has mud puddles? Every facility should have an indoor and outdoor space, or at least a covered protected area. All spaces and everything in them should be clean at all times.

Intake and Orientation:

What does the intake or interview process look like? Do they take anyone as long as they can pay? Or do they have strict rules about the dogs they allow into their facility? Also, what is their process for eliminating problem dogs? We want our dogs to be as safe as possible, which means the intake process should be more than checking a vaccination record and getting a check. Do they insist on a trial period where they will test dogs to ensure they are sociable? Do they have relationships with local trainers so those who need a little work before being allowed into daycare can get a referral? The more interested they are in serving their community and keeping the dogs happy, not just the guardians, the better.

Ratios and Risks:

Even the most experienced dog sitter can only handle so many dogs at once. Some states have rules, but others do not. Many associations have made rulings about what they think is an okay ratio. On average, 15 dogs for every human guardian dedicated to keeping their eyes on the dogs is considered acceptable. More careful doggy daycare facilities will have smaller ratios to break up the occasional fight while keeping an eye on the other dogs. We all need to decide on what we’re comfortable with but listen carefully to the reasons the facility manager gives. Do they say, “it’s the best number because it’s the law” or do they say, “it’s the best number because we care about every dog getting the right amount of supervision?”

Training and Philosophy:

Sometimes we can make an educated assessment of the best ratio and weigh the risks if we understand the training each staff member has and their philosophy about animal welfare. Some are certified trainers. Others are high school students earning a few extra bucks working under a manager who has training, but who isn’t physically present with the staff member and the dogs. We can also ask them why they do what they do. Is it just a job? Or do they really love spending time with dogs every day? Do they believe dogs just need to fend for themselves as long as they don’t fight? Or do they want the dogs under their care to enjoy themselves, play, socialize, and have a good experience? The answers matter when it comes to the wellbeing, health, and safety of our canine companions.

Division and Details:

Dividing the dogs into groups and categories can be just as important as bringing them together into play areas. Puppies shouldn’t be placed in the same areas as full-grown dogs. Senior dogs need to be in a slower-paced area where they won’t be balled over by more youthful dogs running around at full speed. Big dogs and small dogs aren’t necessarily placed together because small dogs can look tempting to dogs who like to critter. And smaller dogs can be intimidated and frightened if they suddenly find themselves surrounded by several large dogs. Many facilities will require a temperament test to make sure a dog is fit for the very social atmosphere of doggy daycare, but that isn’t necessarily enough. Double check that the facility has rules about how pups are divided and the details behind their reasons.

Permits and Policies:

Many facilities will have rules and policies about the dogs they accept. They need to make sure the dogs are in good health, have all their vaccinations, are spayed and neutered. They’ll often have a limit on the number of days a dog can spend at a daycare in 1 week. This is because even though humans need a safe place to send their pups for a variety of reasons, dogs also need some downtime, away from the constant politics of group socializing. Otherwise, they run the risk of some dogs growing irritated over time. It’s also advisable that we all check the permits and licensing of doggy daycare centers. We can check with the chamber and the better business bureau. And we can look at reviews on Google, Facebook, and Yelp. These can be a critical guide when seeking a high-quality center with a good track record.

Amenities and Extras:

Amenities can set one facility apart from all the rest. And most centers don’t charge for their ‘extras’ because they want to advertise a minimum level of care. They know what canine companions deserve, rather than risk looking like they are trying to nickel-dime their patrons. Extras may include fresh, clean bedding provided for dogs who want to take a little mid-day nap. They may have a swimming pool with additional staff members available. Some facilities will offer up to two private-time meals per day with owner supplied food. They’ll usually also administer prescriptions if needed. And some facilities will even offer an exit bath at the management’s discretion, just in case dogs end up extra disty, have an accident, or are covered in playtime slobber.

Conclusion

From grooming to boarding, training to daycare, simple dog-sitting to resort-style spas, doggy daycare can offer a range of services and an array of options. Some may be a big room with some water and toys and where pups can play for a few hours while their guardians run errands. Others can end up being a canine companion idyllic home-away-from-home, where they are spoiled and love nothing more than to play with their beastie besties. Whatever we decide, we just need to make sure we make the best decisions for our fur-baby’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being. We may need to choose something that will be easy on our wallet’s, but let’s also make sure our final choice is a place that will keep our pup’s tails wagging long after they’ve left, and with excited anticipation for their next visit.


Author bio:
Maria Harutyunian is the PR team lead at Vet Organics. She writes about dogs and pets, in general, to help pet owners like her take better care of their furry family members.

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Home Remedies for Dogs: What Works and What Doesn’t

If your pooch is under the weather, your first port of call must be your vet. However, some minor maladies, such as cuts and scratches, can be treated at home. You may also want to supplement your vet’s ministrations with some supportive home care. Luckily, some common household products can be used in particular situations to help your dog. Always check with your vet first to ensure you are doing the right thing.

dog welcome home on brown mat

I often see posts on social media from desperate dog owners, asking the dog community for advice regarding their sick or injured pet. Since most dog owners are not scientists or vets, they cannot be called upon as experts in dog medicine. As a result, the answer thread is usually a mire of pseudoscience and anecdotes that are as well-intentioned as they are dangerous. How is the original poster supposed to distinguish between useful and harmful? The following list is based on the most commonly suggested home remedies I have seen. With their efficacies backed up by scientific research, clinical studies, and logic.

Coconut oil: An Excellent Moisturiser, But a Poor Medicine

Its high smoke point does not give it magical properties.

Coconut oil is revered for its supposed ability to improve your dog’s skin and coat, help his digestion, fight infection and irritable bowel, and even heal wounds. Some people add coconut oil to their dog’s food; others rub it into the skin and then wash it off. While small amounts of coconut oil in your dog’s diet won’t do him any great harm, podgy pooches can do without the added calories. Research on the effects of coconut oil on dog health is scarce; most studies have been conducted using petri dishes or mice.

There is no evidence that feeding coconut oil to your dog will have any effect on his skin, coat, or digestion. Claims of antibacterial properties are based on studies investigating bacteria from human mouths or petri dishes. Whilst lauric acid, the main source of saturated fat in coconut oil, has some limited antimicrobial properties in a petri dish, those properties are not carried by coconut oil. There is, therefore, no reason to feed your dog coconut oil, except as a treat if he likes it.

Coconut Oil: Benefits

So is coconut oil of any use at all? Potentially, yes. Coconut oil penetrates human hair better than mineral oil does, so it may improve coat health and shine if used in a shampoo or rubbed into the coat and washed off. One good source is CocoTherapy Organic Virgin Coconut Oil.

However, it should not be applied to open sores or wounds. Doing so may trap dirt, inhibit wound cleaning, or cause your dog to lick the wound more since he may like the flavor! There is no evidence that coconut oil is more effective than standard antiseptics, or simply cleaning and dressing the wound. And rats in a lab do not translate to your dog at home: a clean cut on a clean rat in a clean environment is less likely to become dirty or infected than a dog who likes to roll around in the garden and lie down in puddles.

Turmeric: a delicious spice, and nothing more.

An ancient Ayurvedic treatment for many ills, but sadly it will not help your dog.

Touted as a wonder spice, I have seen turmeric recommended by dog owners as a treatment for pain, inflammation, and even some serious conditions such as cancer. You can even buy or make “golden paste,” a suspension of turmeric in various wholesome-sounding oils, often mixed with other spices to improve the (otherwise poor) absorption of curcumin by the body.

Turmeric contains curcumin, the supposed active compound. Curcumin gives mixed results in clinical trials, sometimes giving scientists hope in developing a wonder-drug by showing signs that it has done useful things when it hasn’t. Research in curcumin is prolific and sometimes promising, but never definitive. While it may appear to cause various effects on living tissue in the lab, no double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial in humans or dogs has ever shown curcumin to be effective as a medicine. If your pet is suffering from painful or inflamed joints, applying a cold pack (make sure it is not uncomfortably cold) or giving him a gentle dog massage may help him feel better.

Turmeric: Benefits

However, the curcumin in turmeric may reduce inflammation and can be good for your arthritic dog. One good source is Zesty Paws Turmeric Curcumin Bites. It can also have a calming effect.

In the study, the dogs were given 8 mg of curcumin per kilogram of body weight. My 25 kg herding dog mix would, therefore, need 200 mg per day. Since turmeric powder only contains 1-4% curcumin, that translates to 3-10 generous teaspoons of turmeric a day sprinkled on his food, and that’s assuming that all the curcumin in the turmeric is bioavailable (able to be absorbed by the body), which it is not. Curcumin and turmeric have been shown to be toxic in humans and lab animals if ingested in large quantities, and long-term use as a dog supplement carries risks. Feeding large quantities to dogs is therefore not advisable until further research has determined how much is too much.

Even two teaspoons of turmeric is a lot for one meal.

Garlic: can help to heal wounds, but should not be given orally

Don’t feed this to your dog.

Garlic is not something I see recommended very often, except as an oral supplement for parasite control. This is unfortunate, as it has great potential as a home remedy – though not as a parasite preventor. Garlic is poisonous to dogs in moderate to high doses (15-30g per kg can cause serious illness or death), and even small amounts should probably not be fed long-term. Garlic should not be fed to your dog as a vitamin supplement or antibiotic, or to treat or prevent cancer, due to the availability of more effective, well-researched, and safe alternatives. Feeding your dog a balanced meat-based diet, supplemented with a small amount of safe fruit and vegetables, should be enough to preclude vitamin deficiency.

If you shouldn’t feed garlic to your dog, what use does it have as a remedy? Garlic contains some powerful antimicrobial properties which can help prevent infection and promote wound healing. For small, fresh wounds, applying a tiny amount of garlic mixed with water on a clean cloth or dressing may help prevent it from becoming infected, provided that you also keep the wound clean and prevent your dog from licking it.

Apple cider vinegar: delicious in salads, but useless as a medicine

Your dog may enjoy a slice of apple as a treat, but he won’t appreciate the vinegar.

Apple cider vinegar is popular among humans for treating all manner of minor complaints. That is their choice. But to recommend it as a dog medicine is irresponsible, as there is little evidence that apple cider vinegar does anything medically useful in any animal. Furthermore, there is no evidence that apple cider vinegar is more medically useful than any other kind of vinegar. If you pour vinegar directly onto cancer cells, they die (it is acid, after all), but that does not mean apple cider vinegar cures or prevents cancer in dogs.

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV): Good for Dogs?

There is some evidence that vinegar reduces blood glucose spikes in diabetic humans and rats, and reduces the appetite, promoting weight loss. However, that does not mean you should give it to your dog, as it does not decrease glucose absorption, and these studies were in humans, not dogs; there is no evidence that apple cider vinegar has any beneficial effect on dogs. Additionally, feeding acidic liquid to your pet is not good for his teeth, and may cause issues with the upper gastrointestinal tract.

Applied topically, any vinegar has antibacterial and antifungal properties. However, its acidic profile can irritate or even burn skin, especially after frequent or prolonged skin contact. Vinegar is not recommended for use on wounds or damaged skin. This may hurt your dog and irritate the area. It does not prevent or heal allergic reactions. A diluted solution of any vinegar may help keep your floppy-eared dog’s ears free of bacteria and fungi, but test it on a small patch of his delicate ear skin first to ensure it won’t cause any reaction, and don’t get it into his ear canal or any places where you can’t rinse it off.

Honey: as good on wounds as it is on toast

Drizzle it on ice cream, a gammon joint, or your dog’s grazed paw.

Dogs often suffer minor cuts and scratches, for example from poking their noses into cat-related situations. Keeping the wounds clean and dry is usually enough to allow them to heal fine. Large wounds and those that have become infected should see a vet. However, sometimes you may feel like applying something to the wound to prevent it from becoming infected. As mentioned above, vinegar and coconut oil are not good things to apply to wounds, but a mixture of garlic and water might prevent infection or cure addictions, and is harmless so long as your dog doesn’t keep licking it off.

No human ointment should be applied, as many are poisonous. However, honey possesses powerful antibacterial properties and is safe for (non-diabetic) dogs to ingest in small quantities. In fact, some vets apply honey to wounds that won’t heal. My dog recently had a tumor removed, and the stitches became infected. His vet applied honey under the bandage as a topical antiseptic. He is also on antibiotics, as honey is not a magical cure-all. It only works on the surface, but for a minor wound, honey alone may be effective at preventing infection.

A little bit of honey goes a long way to heal a small wound.

Many people, when talking about honey, recommend that you buy organic, raw, or manuka (tea tree) honey. However, you can save a few bucks buying regular honey. All honey is antibacterial, as it contains a lot of sugar and a little hydrogen peroxide. (it is worth noting here that hydrogen peroxide, while effective at killing bacteria, and promoting wound closure, can delay wound healing even in low concentrations, and should never be directly applied to wounds). Manuka honey may be slightly more effective at lower concentrations than regular honey. But if you’re going to slather it on undiluted, it doesn’t matter what kind you. There is little evidence to suggest that manuka honey is more effective than other honey types. Certainly not enough to justify the price difference.

Conclusion

When considering your dog’s health, you want to make sure that any substance you use will help him without harm. If you are unsure about any particular substance, always check with your vet before using it on your dog; many things that are safe for us are poisonous to them. Natural substances are as likely to be harmful as artificial stuff. Wasp stings and snake bites are a testament to that. Just because somebody used a particular ingredient on their dog and they believe it worked; does not mean that ingredient will heal your dog. While most of the substances listed above are not the miracle cures, research continues into the healing properties of kitchen ingredients.


Janet Miller is a dog trainer, former AKC judge and lifelong dog lover. She writes regularly for Your Dog Advisor, The Bark and a number of other dog-related blogs.


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Dog Bites: Prevention & Liability

We all want what’s best for our dogs. We raise them to be outstanding, friendly, and well-behaved community members. Some dog owners may think that their sweet pups are harmless. Regardless of their general behavior, they experience such personal relationships with their furry friends, as we all do. However, a dog’s sweet demeanor does not always mean they’re incapable of biting unsuspecting people or other dogs.

Injuries

Dog bites are actually relatively common. Every year, almost 5 million people are bitten by dogs; and 30,000 of these cases are so severe that the victims needed reconstructive procedures, often needing to find a way to manage chronic pain for the rest of their lives.

These staggering injury statistics are proof that all dogs are capable of biting. Especially, when they aren’t properly trained and are provoked by children or adults. When a dog bites someone, dog owners are placed in a very complicated situation. They can even be at risk of losing their best friend.

However, dog bites are preventable. As long as dogs are given the proper tools to learn positive behaviors and acceptable boundaries. Dog owners should spend time learning about their dogs’ personality in order to understand how to prevent dog bites from occurring.

Preventing Dog Bites From Occurring

Preventing dog bites is all about giving your dog the time and attention they need to learn what behaviors are acceptable for them to engage in, as well as doing your part as a dog owner to make sure they always feel safe and comfortable. Training your dog can’t begin early enough; this is especially true if you adopt them as a puppy. In this case, you have the opportunity to socialize them, build their confidence, and provide structure for their interactions with others.

Some ways to help prevent your dog from biting include:

  • Being Aware of Their Limits: Dogs often bite when they feel threatened, physically unwell or are protecting their owner, food, or favorite possessions.
  • Going Through Obedience Training: Your dog is less likely to bite if they’ve been taught to obey basic commands.
  • Spaying or Neutering Your Dog: Some research has indicated that spayed or neutered dogs are less aggressive than those who are not; this is also just a responsible choice for pet owners to keep pet populations down.
  • Getting Them Accustomed to Petting: Train them to behave when they are pet and touched on their head, paws, and tail, so they don’t feel surprised when a stranger does this.
  • Socializing Your Dog: Use treats and exposure to a familiar child to teach them to be extra gentle around kids and adults in general.
  • Using Positive Reinforcement: When your dog behaves well around children and strangers, give them treats to let them know they’re doing a good job.
  • Letting Your Dog Growl: Dog owners often train their pets not to growl because it is a threatening behavior; however this is a good warning sign that they’re uncomfortable.
  • Hiring a Professional Dog Trainer: If you can’t seem to get your dog’s behavior under control; hire a professional who will know how to adjust their behavior properly.

Red Flags

When red-flag dog behaviors begin to occur, you can take action by helping them learn that these habits or actions are not appropriate. For example, dogs who chew excessively can often bite or gnaw on people when they don’t have toys around. As a dog owner, it’s best to give them plenty of toys for them to chew on; and if they begin to chew on anything else, reprimand them with a stern, “No.”

Dogs are also more likely to bite if they are wound up and unable to release some energy, as this can cause them to become frustrated and physically uncomfortable. For dogs who require a lot of exercise, be sure to take them outside and give them plenty of playtime.

If you feel in over your head about how to handle bad behaviors in your dog, consider hiring a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They will have the knowledge and experience to help stop your pup from gnawing on hands or excessive biting of other items. This will give them the training foundation they need to learn obedience and continue life-long training to ensure model behavior.

Misconceptions of Averse Training

Although there are many different ways you can help your pup break bad biting habits, averse training techniques should  be avoided by dog owners. Averse dog training techniques are sometimes used by dog owners and even some trainers, including Cesar Millan — the TV personality, The Dog Whisperer.

These type of training techniques involve using unpleasant stimuli on a dog to encourage a reaction and inhibit their behavior. It can involve anything from the use of electric shock collars, pinch collars, and even restricting a dog’s air supply by using rope or pinning them down to the ground. All of these averse training techniques involve the use of force, which causes the dog pain and distress during training.

Bad Training

Certain training techniques have been rejected by animal welfare organizations. They have stated that averse training techniques are not only unacceptable; but also not the most effective way to modify a dog’s behavior. In fact, research shows that there is actually a connection between the use of these techniques in dog training, and undesired behaviors in dogs that appears eventually after this type of training is used.

According to the Dog Welfare Campaign, averse training techniques have implications such as:

  • Increasing the dogs fear or anxiety about the situation in which this training is used.
  • Decrease the dog’s ability to learn.
  • Associate other, coincidental events with a fear-provoking event.
  • Inhibit behavior, but leave the underlying emotional response unchanged, increasing the chance of future problems.
  • Induce new avoidance or aggressive responses.
  • Confusion as to which behavior is required.
  • Causing physical injury to the dog.

Averse dog training techniques use fear to train dogs into becoming obedient. This type of training can make them feel as though they are being physically forced to behave rather than deciding to do so on their own. Eventually causing them to act out further if they feel like they are being put in a threatened position.

Good Training

The most effective way to change a dog’s behavior is through positive reinforcement training techniques, and talking to them in a way that helps them understand what is good and bad. It involves rewarding your dog’s positive behavior with food, praise, toys or play to encourage more of it. By establishing rituals, a dog will learn what behaviors will result in the things they enjoy in life and will do more often. Teaching a dog to exhibit certain behaviors is why positive reinforcement is seen as the best and more effective training method.

Liability of Dog Bites for Owners

In the past, if your dog bit someone, they would be held to the “one bite rule.” This rule means that the law protects dogs and dog owners if the bite was a first-time offense. This was done to give dog owners a chance to correct this behavior in their dogs. With the idea that after the dog owner learned that the dog has a tendency to bite, they would prevent it from happening again.

However, this is now only the law in Colorado, Idaho, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. In other states, depending on the exact situation, dog owners will be held accountable for their dog’s actions. They will also be required to pay any expenses associated with them.

Today, liability is determined through jurisdictions of either negligence or strict liability. In a case of negligence, the dog owner would be liable if they knew or should have known that the dog might bite and took precautions to prevent the bite from occurring based on that prior knowledge.

Strict Liability

Strict liability can hold dog owners liable. Even if their dog bites someone when there was nothing the owner could have done to prevent the situation. However, there are some circumstances in which a dog owner will not be liable for civil damages if their dog bites.

In order for a dog owner to be liable, the following circumstances must be true:

  • The dog must have attacked or tried to attack and injure the person.
  • The person who they attacked had a lawful right to be where they were.
  • The dog was not provoked by the person they bit.

Owner Responsibility

If any of these circumstances aren’t true, a dog owner may very well not be liable for the dog bite. This means that if a dog bites someone during a break-in, the dog owner will not be held liable. It also means that if a person kicks, antagonizes, or otherwise hurts a dog; the animal has a right to defend itself.

However, if those circumstances are true, a dog owner can be held liable for any medical bills associated with the attack; as well as income lost; on top of the pain and suffering that occurs as a result of the attack.

Dog bites can be a very stressful and scary situation to find yourself in as a dog owner. You may feel that you did something wrong for this reaction to have occurred from your dog. However, it’s important to stand by your pet if they were provoked. Take preventative measures to avoid dog bites in the future. Using positive training techniques, you can help teach your dog not to bite. Show them the benefits of being a very good boy or girl.


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Household Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe

Our pets are our best friends, so we want to keep them safe. Home is a sanctuary for both us and our pet companions. It is important that we do what we can to maintain a safe environment. While you know to keep certain animals in cages and the door closed, there are other dangers you should be aware of.

Properly maintaining your home and the surrounding area can do wonders to keep your furry friends safe and secure. It won’t take long to create an animal-friendly home, and the rewards are more than worth it. Heed these tips for a happy and healthy pet:

Be Cautious With Pesticides

Your yard is your pet’s haven, so you want to ensure that your lawn care does not endanger their health. If you use pesticides in your yard or garden, you will want to make sure that they are safe for pets. Further, your pesticides should include ingredients that help to keep fleas and ticks at bay.

Fleas and ticks waste no time jumping onto your pet’s fur. Once they do, they are easily tracked into the home, where they can further harm you and your pets. Female fleas lay up to 2,000 eggs each, and an invasion like that can be dangerous. Flea bites can lead to serious diseases such as typhus or cat-scratch fever. Ticks can cause Lyme disease and transmit other diseases like babesiosis.

This is why it’s essential to use pesticides with flea and tick control. Pesticides that will keep your lawn free of these include Bifen IT or any pesticide that includes Permethrin-10. These pesticides will kill fleas and ticks and are safe for your pets.

On the other side of the coin, there are many pesticides that you want to avoid like the plague if you have a pet. Some of these harmful pesticides include Nudrin, Spectracide, and Phosdrin, which are intended for more industrial needs and are dangerous when inhaled. It is essential that you properly store any chemicals, so they are out of reach of your pet. If you ever notice a spill or leak, quickly get it cleaned up before your pet finds it.

Pressure-Wash Your Home

If you have not invested in a good pressure washer, then now would be the time. There are many benefits to pressure-washing your home, deck, and patio. Keeping the outside of your house stain-free bolsters your curb appeal, increases your home’s value, and prevents possible maintenance problems down the road.

When it comes to the safety of you and your pets, pressures washing your property could also eliminate dangerous bacteria. Pressure washers remove contaminants that that can pile up on your exterior walls, including dirt and harmful mold.

Pets that are exposed to mold can face severe adverse effects including respiratory and digestive issues, allergic reactions, and can even tremors and seizures. These dangers can lurk in your backyard and within your home as well. Indoors, mold is often found in areas where heating and air conditioning vents may be blocked, as well as in humid places like your bathroom or laundry room.

To alleviate this issue inside your home, clean moldy areas with vinegar or baking soda and ensure that all ventilation systems are working properly. If you are unsure if your home is harboring mold, it may be worth paying for a mold inspection so you can take action as soon as possible.

Safety With Guests

Although your pets may absolutely adore you, they might get skittish when new people come around. If you are throwing a party with many new strangers in attendance, you will want to take extra precautions to ensure that your pets remain safe. If you know that they are frightful of new people, consider keeping them in a separate room during your party — especially during particularly exuberant celebrations, like Halloween. Even if your pets are OK with strangers, you will still want to take precautions.

Many of the most common party foods can be dangerous for pets. Grapes, alcohol, chocolate, avocados, and many varieties of nuts to name a few.  Keep these and any foods with large bones away from pets and have some pet treats on hand in case they get hungry during the festivities. Be proactive by letting every guest know that you have a pet and let them know that they should not feed them.

While playing fun music may be great at parties, you might also be mindful of how loud your music gets, as big bangs and sudden sounds may spook your pet. If you put your pet in a separate room, keeping the television on in that room may help distract them. It also wouldn’t hurt to appoint a family member who is less involved in the event as a guardian to keep an eye on the pet during the festivities.

Keep Your Home Safe While You’re Away

The odds are that when you leave for work, your pet stays home. While you are away, you will want to take precautions to ensure that they remain safe. First is creating a comfortable environment. Set the thermostat to a hospitable temperature, especially during frigid winter nights and sweltering summer days. Also, make sure that the carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are installed and working properly so you or a neighbor can be alerted during an emergency.

You also want to make sure that your home is secure and that your pet cannot get into any mischief. Some animals may try to chew through electrical cords, hurting themselves and your electronics in the process. To make the cords more chew-proof, wrap them in a plastic conduit, which can be found at a local hardware store.

Use technology to your advantage by setting up interactive pet cameras around the home. While you are away, you can keep an eye on your pets with an app on your phone. You might also consider a GPS collar that can notify you if your pet leaves the premises and even allow you to track them so you or a neighbor can bring them back home.

Dangers of Pill Bottles

If you use medication on a regular basis, then you need to take extra steps to ensure that it is out of the way of your pets. All pets have medication specific to their species, and just about any human medicines, especially when consumed in large quantities, could be deadly. Some of the most dangerous human medications are also some of the most common, including ibuprofen, Adderall, Clonazepam, and Tylenol, among others.

Pets are often attracted to these medications because many of them have a sweet outer coating many animals find appealing. When digested, these pills can cause a multitude of issues including ulcers, disorientation, tremors, fatigue, and collapse. Tylenol, for example, can damage your animal’s red blood cell count, which limits their oxygen intake. All of these issues can be made worse if you are not home to assist.

Always keep pill bottles secured and closed in areas where your pets cannot reach. Be extra diligent in ridding the home of old and expired pill bottles. Throwing these bottles out may not be enough — pets can often retrieve them from the garbage can. One way to truly eliminate the threat is to shred your old bottles. Doing so will reduce this danger and, in the process, destroy the labels which could be full of personal information.

Avoid Other Chewable Hazards

In addition to prescription pills, there are a lot of other everyday items that you might not realize can be dangerous to a dog. For one, make sure to keep your garbage can covered. Old food, potentially dangerous chemicals, and indigestible trash like tin foil and plastic bags could harm your pet, so keep the trash covered.

Here are some other important considerations to keep in mind:

  • Be aware that certain house plants can also be dangerous for dogs and cats including lilies, tulips, chrysanthemum, and azaleas. The toxins within them can cause harm, including kidney failure.
  • Keep your laundry and shoes in closed drawers, as pets can chew on them and choke on the buttons and zippers. If you have any sewing equipment, keep that secure as well because some pets can choke on the string or cut themselves with the needles.
  • Just because you’ve placed dangerous items away in the cupboard doesn’t necessarily mean they are out of reach. You can secure cabinets and drawers that house potentially dangerous materials with childproof latches that animals cannot manipulate.
  • Always keep your toilet seats down. While you may see it happen in the movies, smaller animals could drown while trying to reach into the toilet and drinking the water can expose them to harmful chemicals.

A good way to keep your pets from chewing on the wrong things is to supply them with healthy chew toys. Giving your pet some chewable distractions can keep them (and your furniture) safe from harm.

As pet owners, we all want the best for our pets, so be proactive. Hide dangerous chemicals, keep them comfortable during parties, and make the proper precautions while you are away. Your furry friend will be forever grateful.


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5 Training Tips from the Experts To Calm Aggressive Dogs

Dog aggression can change the entire relationship and lifestyle between a dog and its owner.

Owners are less likely to take aggressive dogs out where they can become potential threats to other dogs, people, and animals. Training is, therefore, essential to curb the underlying causes of aggressive behavior: frustration and dominance.

Here are the expert’s five top tips for training an aggressive dog.

Understanding Dog Behavior

While some dogs have bad reputations for aggressive behavior, it is important that every dog owner understands that any dog can become aggressive. Big dogs just do bigger damage. Dogs are pack animals that rely on a pack hierarchy with the most dominant dogs being the leaders. When a dominant dog becomes frustrated with a situation, he can become aggressive.

As the pack leader, a dog owner must establish clear boundaries and limitations for their dog. It is also important to give every dog ample time to run and play, releasing pent up energy that might otherwise be misdirected into aggressive tendencies.

Signs of Aggression in Dogs

There are two body stances in dogs that should raise concerns about aggression in dogs. The first is a dominant aggressive stance and the second is a fearful, aggressive stance. When dogs are happy and secure, their body language is more relaxed with ears perked up but not erect, tails wag, and their head is up and alert but not stiff.

A dominant aggressive dog places his weight on his front paws as if to get closer into the situation and exert his behavior. His tail stands up, hackles raised with his lips snarled showing teeth. Growling may be audible but don’t wait for the growl to recognize an aggressive dog.

A fearful, aggressive dog isn’t a dominant dog by nature but is reacting to something where he feels he needs to defend himself. His tail is cowered between his legs with ears slicked back and lips slightly curled. His hackles are raised, and he will attack if pressed. This is how many eager children get bit, approaching and forcing an otherwise agreeable pet into a fearful dog posture.

Do not approach a dog in either aggressive stance and don’t allow people or other animals to approach your dog if he is exhibiting this posture.

Aggressive Dog Training Tips

The good news is you can train an aggressive dog to understand he isn’t the leader of the pack and give him coping skills not to lash out. When they don’t have a leader, they step in and take control. When dogs don’t have rules, the make up their own. Take the role of leader and take back control over your dog.

We’ve already blogged about how virtual reality has helped people train their dogs, but here are some tips to alleviate aggression in dogs:

Pro Tip 1: Overcome Leash Aggression

Leash aggression can affect any dog. Every dog owner should understand what leash aggression is and how to deal with this common problem. Dogs greet each other in close proximity, giving each other the full sniff test from nose to tail. A leash constricts a dog in a time when they want the freedom to check things out and move quickly if needed.

The simple solution to leash aggression is the off-leash socialization of dogs. By giving your dog the time, space and desire to meet and greet other dogs, he builds confidence in his stature in the pack. Of course, you need to be aware of dog postures and the signs of aggression. Over time, as your dog becomes more socialized, he will be better suited to meet and greet other dogs while on the leash.

Pro Tip 2: Help Foster Socialization Skills

It’s not just alleviating leash aggression where socialization helps. Dogs who don’t get socialized are often defensive or fearful of new people or animals. If your dog is nervous or fearful of new people, calming tablets can often help.

When a dog develops an aggressive mentality by taking a dominant stance and growling, owners usually remove him from the situation. This gains the opposite desired result by actually rewarding him. It teaches him that his behavior was correct because he was removed from something he didn’t like. He never gets the chance to determine if the threat was really nothing to be concerned with at all.

Being proactive with a young puppy or a newly adopted dog is important. Take him to group obedience training classes, walks in the neighborhood and to dog parks or daycare facilities. It is easier to address socialization while your dog is still defining his place in the pack. At the same time, do know that it is never too late to help an adult dog overcome aggression but is probably best done with a professional dog trainer assisting. Of course, there are some products on the market which can also help; if your pooch barks loudly and constantly or is aggressive, SENTRY Stop That! Noise and Pheromone Spray for Dogs is a good solution.

Pro Tip 3: Control Your Own Reactions

Hitting a dog demonstrating aggressive behavior will only elicit more aggressive behavior. Yanking on his leash when he is pulling will only lead to more pulling. You can’t battle aggression in dogs by being aggressive. Set boundaries and rules for your dog then use positive reinforcement to encourage him to be compliant.

When positive reinforcement is used with a dog, they are more likely to work harder to please you – the person holding the magical bag of treats. Be the leader of the pack with your own consistent behavior, and your dog will follow suit. Using a training collar such as the Gentle Leader will give you control over the dog’s head and face.

Yanking on a collar doesn’t do anything except start tug-of-war. The Gentle Leader controls the head and snaps the muzzle shut if necessary.

Pro Tip 4: Give Dogs Space for Food and Toys

They may sit over their food or a favorite dog toy when other dogs or children are around. Dogs use resource guarding as a way to display dominance and uncertainty. If a dog is fearful that another dog, cat or person will take his food or toys away, he will growl and ultimately become aggressive. The best thing to do is to feed animals apart, especially if someone is new to the pack.

Over time, your dog will realize his food sources are secure and learn to share his toys. But don’t assume this will happen the moment you bring a new dog home.

Pro Tip 5: Hiring a Professional Trainer

A professional dog trainer can help pet owners learn to recognize dominant aggressive behavior and fearful, aggressive behavior in their pets. Dog trainers also help dog owners learn the tricks to help their dog feel secure and understand their role in the pack.

Taking a group class helps to socialize dogs but also gives trainers the ability to see how dogs interact in groups of dogs. They will see your tendencies and help correct you with methods to properly train your dog. Yes, every pet owner requires more training than the pet. Your dog will learn as long as you are consistent, which few dog owners are at first.

If you feel your dog needs more attention than what he is getting in the group, consider individual consultations with the trainer. If you have more than one pet or children, it is good to have the trainer visit your home to see the various stimuli and potential problems that exist. Individual training gives your dog the extra attention he needs to get on track to good behavior.

Good behavior is the goal so you can enjoy walks with him, playing fetch in the park and letting him play with other dogs. Everyone in the family benefits when dogs are socialized and can be out and about without resorting to aggressive behavior.


Author Bio:

Kim Leonard is a staff writer for https://thedogtrainingsecret.com, your best source for dog behavior and training information.

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5 ways to Honor your Pet’s Memory when they Pass

They say losing a pet is heart-breaking for a person. It’s like losing a beloved member of your family who has been with you for many years. A lot of people struggle with the grief from losing their furry friend. They feel embarrassed to grieve over an animal and can often bottle up the feelings. They don’t want to look like they are just crying over an animal, so they try to hide how they feel from friends and family and try to return to work and act like everything is normal.

But then it can make the grieving period even harder as you try to move on from the sad situation. After all, you are just keeping it all inside and to yourself. Rather than trying to ignore your grief, it’s a good idea to try to do something to honor your beloved pet. That way, it can help you express your feelings and reach acceptance that the pet has gone. This will help the whole grieving process if you are honest and do something to remember your beloved pet. Here are five ways to honor your pet’s memory when they pass.

Get a Piece of Memorial Jewelry

When a pet passes away, it can leave a hole in your life. You miss their companionship and having them around. In fact, not seeing them every day is extremely different. Burying a pet can feel very final. You might not find much comfort from standing at their final resting place in your garden. After all, you will struggle to feel close to them when they are in the ground. Therefore, to ensure you can feel closer to them and remember them always, you could consider a piece of memorial jewelry.

When you go for one of these pieces from companies like Ashes Memorial Jewellery, you can choose to make an item of jewelry which you can wear on a daily basis. Using the ashes of your deceased pet, the necklace or bracelet is made that will help you to honor your pet. You will feel close to them, and every time you put the jewelry on or see it in your drawer, you will remember the pet and how they were a special member of your family for so many years.

It can help you to have a keepsake you can keep forever of your beloved pet. It’s often a nice gesture for kids who are also finding the death very difficult. Having a bracelet or necklace can help them to feel close to the pet when they go to school or out for the day. Which will bring them comfort knowing they are close by.

Conduct a Small Funeral

When it’s a pet, they miss out on this service. They often get buried or cremated and then placed in your garden. Therefore, it can prove difficult for you to move on from their death. It’s especially difficult if the death was quite sudden and unexpected such as a heart attack. You feel like you can’t accept and move on from the death, and you feel like you should do something else to honor your beloved pooch or cat.

Therefore, you could conduct a small funeral with your family to remember your furry friend. You can share precious memories about your pet and the times you shared together. Talking about your pet and how wonderful they were during their life will help to bring you some peace and will also honor your furry friend. Each family member can have their say, so they all get to talk about what they loved about the pet. You can bury the pet after sharing your thoughts and feelings. Place the pet in a warm blanket and put their favorite toys in the final resting place. It will bring you all some closure to remember the good times with your furry friend. Which will help the whole family to have some peace.

Donate to an Animal Charity

When your furry friend passes away, you wish you could do something to help other animals. While you will not feel ready to let another cat or dog into your home, you could do something to help them in your pet’s memory. You could donate money to a shelter or a non-profit organization which helps animals.

By doing this in your pet’s memory, it will help to honor your furry friend while helping animals who really need the help. You could give money or even some of your belongings in memory of your pet. Then they will sell these on to raise money for the charity. This money will then be used to help homeless animals who need care and support. An animal charity will definitely be grateful of any support you can give them. As you can see on this blog from Healthy Pets, you could even fundraise for a particular animal charity.

Whether you do a sponsored run or even an activity, it will help to raise money for the chosen charity. Which will also give you something else to concentrate on while you are training for the big event. Fundraising for your beloved pet is also a fantastic way to remember them after they have departed. You can also give the charity items that belonged to your pet. After all, it means they will come to some use even after your beloved animal has died. Furthermore, you could even give the money you spent on pet insurance to a pet charity for a few months in honor of your companion.

Make a Memory Box

One thing that pet owners worry about is that they will start to forget their furry friend. After all, time can move on, and it will feel like it has been ages since they have been in your life. One way you can honor and ensure you always remember your pet is by making a memory box.

You can put pictures and significant items in the box that will honor your pet. You might have collars that your pet used to wear that can go in the box. Or old toys that they used to love to play with. Putting these all in one area will help you to have a great memory of your beloved pet. You can then look back through the box when you are remembering your pet. It will make you smile and will help you to remember all the good times. It’s also a good place to store photos and mementos so that they are all in one place.

Making the scrapbook will also help to distract you when you are grieving, and it’s something you can do with the kids when they are struggling after losing their furry friend. They can choose their favorite photos from the pet’s life, and it’s a great way to remember all the good times. Look back at it every anniversary to remember how important the pet was during their life.

Get a Piece of Art Created of your Pet

A lot of people turn to art when their beloved pet dies. After all, it’s a great way to have a beautiful keepsake of your pet that can help you to honor your beloved companion. Therefore, as a tribute to your pet, you should look into creating something in their memory. It might be the case you go for a canvas you can hang on your wall. Get a local artist to paint the picture and then have it in a prime position in your home. You can pass them old photos of your pet which you love which they can use to draw or paint the picture.

This way it’s something you can then look back at for years to come of your lost pet. You can pass it down to your kids to ensure the pet is always remembered. Or you could get a piece of pottery with your pet’s picture or name on that will help you to remember your pet. You can often make this yourself if you go to a pottery shop. This is also something your kids can help to create. It will help them to accept the death and will become a lovely keepsake for them which will help to honor their lost pet.

If you are feeling creative, you could always draw your own picture of your pet. It will help you to remember them and will give you something to concentrate on after the death which you can take pride in when you have completed the final picture yourself.


Author bio:
Ryan Jones works in the Outreach Team for Ashes Memorial Jewellery, who offer a range of memorial jewelry such as rings, necklaces, bracelets, and pendants.

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Marketing Your Pet Business

68% of U.S. households own pets, and that translates to at least 85 million little critters. That’s a lot of pets to care for, and pet parents are pretty dedicated. They want the best for their little ones, and this is the reason why the pet service industry will rake in over $60 billion by the time 2018 is over.

Of course, the bulk of this spending is on vet care and food. However, a large chunk is also spent on pet products services – gear and toys for dogs and cats, pet sitting, dog walking, boarding, grooming, even pet photography, and burials. If you own a pet service business, you already know the challenges of marketing. You don’t have a large budget for marketing, and yet your business cannot grow without it.

You may be advertising locally because that’s where your customers are. So you may be thinking that, other than a website, digital marketing is not for you. Nothing could be further from the truth.

You can create great content and grow both a following and your customer base.

Here are some ways to use content marketing to grow your business:

Start a Blog on Your Website

You have expertise in your niche, and there are people who want the information you have to give them. You also probably have humorous and poignant stories to tell. Pet parents love these (just think about how popular cat pictures have become on social media). While this is a long-term marketing strategy, you will gradually get a following that will share your stories with their friends and family. Also, if your business is selling products, this is definitely a method for spreading your brand.

Of course, you have to like to write, and you have to get a bit creative. Even if you are not, there are inexpensive content writers you can use to create those blog posts. Some writing agencies, like Canada Writers or Get Good Grade, for example, have entire departments that focus on content writing; you can also hire independent freelancers through sites like Upwork or Fivver.

There’s no doubt that many pet business owners have such a passion for their companies and clients. Also, they have amazing stuff to share with their audiences. The key is presenting that information in such creative and intriguing ways that readers cannot resist.

Email – Automate!

An email is a powerful tool for both nurturing new customers and taking care of loyal ones. You want to grow your email list slowly (no spamming). Over time, you will want to segment that list of subscribers according to where they are in their “journeys” with you – potential customers, those who buy your products or use your services regularly, and those who have only been periodic customers. You have different messages for each of these groups, so craft emails that they will find personally valuable.

So many people think that email marketing is ‘dead.’ In fact, it has a high return on investment. The key is to segment out those audiences, to craft amazing subject lines, and then to deliver what you promise in those subject lines.

You want to thank new customers; you want to offer loyal customers discounts; you want to motivate potential customers with special deals.

There are some great free and inexpensive tools and services you can use to segment your audiences and to schedule regular emails to them, based upon their “journeys.” Even if your customer base is entirely local, email is powerful. In fact, email gives a great opportunity to send personalized messages to multiple clients at one time.

You can also use text messaging to personalize your messages even more, and yet this can be somewhat automated.

Using Social Media

You have an amazing advantage here. People love animal photos, videos, and stories. Use these on your social media accounts. Tell your stories; solicit photos, stories, and videos from others; run contests for a free product or service; create quizzes and surveys for pet owners – when they get involved, they are more connected to you.

Give incentives for your current followers to share your posts – something free or a great discount, etc.

Don’t use social media to sell. Use it to develop connections and relationships; use it to entertain and inspire. These things will keep people coming back to your page – they want to see what you are going to post next. Of course, you can stick in special sales, etc. and certainly link to your website. However, the primary focus should be on what the reader/viewer wants, not what you want to sell.

Kester Simmonds, a digital marketer, and content manager at Best Writers Canada, gives this advice to business owners who want to use social media. “Never, never, never use your page for hard sells. That is so ‘last century.’ Put yourself in the shoes of your visitor and think about what he wants to read or view. Then you will have the topics that engage.”

Start Exhibiting Your Products at Tradeshows and Exhibitions

If you want to take your business in an exciting new direction, there’s no better destination to head to tradeshows and pet product exhibitions. The great thing about these kinds of events is that they put you in front of the eyes of a captive audience that’s already sold on the idea of getting new pet products that care for their dogs, and other pets. That means all you need to do is catch the eye of the passing trade, and then convince them that what you offer is more than worth parting with their money.

The secret to success at tradeshows is to sign up and register early, and don’t be afraid of paying a premium for the best pitch in the exhibition center. When you sign up early, you’ll have lots more time than your competitors to showcase the fact that you’re going to be attending. This will create a buzz around your brand, and show everyone who comes into contact with your content that you’re clearly going places. Paying a little extra for a great stand location is also really important. You might think that by being right by the entrance you’ll catch the eye of everyone, but how many people spend all their time by the door? As it gets busy, people will head to the center, which is where you need to be if you want to show them how you help pets stay healthy.

If you’re confident, outgoing, and assured, then you’ll have no problem showcasing your pet business to the very people you want to do business with. Come up with some eye-catching promotional ideas such as free pens and key rings, flyers, and even some free grooming tips. You could also get you and your team some matching polo shirts so that it’s clear you’re the people the crowds need to come and speak to.

Approach Magazines and Leading Websites in the Industry

Pet owners are one of the demographics who still buy printed magazines in their droves, so make the most of this fantastic opportunity. Getting your business featured in one of the big pet magazines is a great way to introduce your offering to a whole new audience that’s already in the market for exactly the kinds of pet products and treats you sell. Ideal if you want to take your pet business to new heights by connecting with thousands of your ideal customers.

Just as magazines are widely read by the animal-loving community, websites are just the same. Getting yourself featured on a major website will not only get you seen by a vast new audience, but it will also work wonders for your SEO. Just what you want when you’re looking to bring more eyes in the direction of your latest training treats.

The secret is to offer the editor something unique that they won’t be able to resist printing. You could showcase a new product they won’t have ever seen before, help create a lifestyle piece that subtly drops in your products, or runs something about how you’ve discovered a niche no one has thought of before. It’s all about getting your business out there and being proud of what you’ve achieved. So, with that in mind, you don’t want to limit yourself by deciding that you can’t do something. Your business meets the needs of your consumers, so get out there and make it happen. Editors will love your positivity and find it virtually impossible not to feature you in their next issue or round of content creation.

The Wrap

Pet parents are dedicated to their little critters. They want to pamper them and to find products and services that will do just that. You have a business that meets some of those needs. It’s a matter of making the connections. When you choose to use content marketing, you are choosing a low-budget method of reaching out to your audience, serving it well, and increasing your revenue at the same time. Be creative and useful to your clients, and you’ll be rewarded with the increased number of customers and orders.

Author bio:
Natalie Andersen is an editorial writer and enthusiastic blogger. She believes that everyone’s life has to be the result of the choices they make, but a helping hand is always welcomed. You can connect with Natalie on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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Auto Travel with Your Dog: 10 Approaches for Safety and Security

Are you looking for the safest auto travel with your dog tips? Here, we’ve put together some fantastic ideas that should help you keep your four-legged member of the family safe, excited and comfortable during a long summer vacation or holiday tour!

dog smiling with head out the car window

Are you planning on traveling with your dogs? Well, there are many reasons why you should! After all, these are not only just pets but also one of the key members of the family. They are with us all the time, whether it’s taking a morning walk, or curdling next us during cold nights.

That’s why it’s practically impossible to go on a trip without taking the dog on vacation. However, it’s often stressful for most pet owners as they constantly have to make a lot of travel plans just to ensure the safety of their feline friends. Luckily, here we have come up with some simple approaches to help you auto travel with your dog in the safest way possible. Have a look!

1. Know All the Rules of Traveling With Dogs

Before you even think of going for any trip, you need to first familiarize yourself with the rules of traveling with a dog. Note that they are not the same everywhere and hence, you need to conduct proper and thorough research. Failure to do so will not just put your pet at risk, but it could also see you incur a huge fine.

So, what should you make sure they have? In our research, we’ve found that it’s good to include things like identification tags and microchips that will help you in tracking them down if you get separated during the journey. Another crucial ‘auto travel with your dog’ rule is to carry the most suitable pet vaccines, certificates, and records to keep your dog healthy at all times.

2. Take at Least One Test Drive

It’s crucial that you prepare adequately and in advance before taking your dog on vacation. Such is because not all dogs are used to traveling in a car. Therefore, it’s wise that allow your dog to get used to the ‘rhythm’ as well as motions of the car then see how he or she will react.

bulldog looking out car window

While some dogs are not bothered by staying in the confines of the vehicle, others may suffer from the effects of anxiety. So, start traveling your dogs at least one month before leaving for the trip. You could be running minor errands around the town, or visiting a group of friends, but the key thing here is to take short trips first as you slowly move on to longer journeys.

3. Have a Fully Stacked Emergency Kit

Be ready to handle any good or bad situation if you’re going for auto travel with your dog. Ensure that your dog supplies travel bag has got all the essentials. For instance, pack some extra water, food, a dog leash, and the best first aid remedies.

Other important pet care supplies include:

  • Toys and treats
  • Allergy aids
  • Some pain medications
  • Health testing kits

4. Adequate Restraints!

Do you know how to keep your dog safe in the car? Yes, it may seem pretty straightforward, but it’s something which is often ignored. Now, human beings are not the only ones who need to put on safety belts before driving.

Dogs too suffer from the risk of getting injured in case an accident was to happen. They also have the uncanny behavior of causing distractions to the person who’s driving. This is something which may result in a terrible accident.

That’s why it’s wise to fix your car, with some dog travel-restraining devices that should have him or her not moving about during the trip. This will not only keep your dog safe in the car but also all those traveling in the vehicle.

dog running towards driver side car mirror

5. Have Some Dog-Friendly Accommodations Waiting for You!

If you’re planning on taking an overnight auto journey with your dog tour, look for those places which make them feel happy and loved. After all, you wouldn’t want to get fined by the hotel, charged extra costs or even denied entry, right?

6. When On an Auto Travel with Your Dog, Never Lock It in the Car

One of the key things that you should remember when traveling with dogs is that even the most highly trained and loyal breeds don’t like being ‘abandoned’ or left alone in the car. If you do so, you may find all your windows scratched by the dog, or smashed by a concerned person as he or she tries to rescue the pet.

The weather is another contributing factor. You may be traveling to a place which is hot and with intense sunlight, and the car’s interior will almost certainly suffocate your dog. Temperatures may also drop causing the dog to freeze!

7. Learn How to Prevent Stomach Aches during the Trip

Another critical factor on how to travel with a dog in the car is keeping his or her tummy comfortable while on the road. Yes, similar to human beings, some are prone to car sicknesses, mostly when they travel just after taking a heavy meal. So, to prevent this from happening as you auto travel with your dog, feed him or her at least 4 hours before departure and carry some anal treatment care medications.

dog sitting in passenger seat of car

8. Always Keep Your Dog Fully Entertained

Here’s another important guideline on how to travel with a dog. It’s normal for dogs, especially puppies, to get restless especially after a long journey. Fortunately, we’ve found that packing a simple checklist of all their most-loved objects and toys will keep them feeling excited and busy. You could also stop at certain points during the journey to allow them to stretch and play a bit.

9. Bathroom Breaks, Food and Water

Like we’ve just mentioned, it’s important to make regular stops along the way to allow your feline friend to stretch its muscles. It’s also the perfect time for them to take bathroom breaks and to feed. Avoid giving them water or food in the car because they will only make a mess of it!

10. Have Everything Ready in Case of Car Sickness!

Prior preparation is clearly one of the best ways to travel with a dog. That’s why the last crucial item on our list is learning how to deal with car sicknesses. Here, consult your local veterinarian and get some nausea medications if your dog is new to road trips.

woman and her labradoodle dog driving with the car

Conclusion

With all these taking dogs on vacation guidelines, you’ll have no trouble taking the four-legged member of your family around whenever you go for a holiday trip. In any case, it will be one of your most exciting and fun-filled travel experiences.
That being said, what else do you think should be in this auto travel with your dog list?

About the Author:
Scott J. Pine is a pet blogger and a freelance writer who loves to explore absolutely new areas of writing about pets and travel adventures. His hobbies are pet care, and autos. Scott is also a creator of AllPetsExpert.

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