Monday, August 31, 2015

Why Does My Dog Kick When I Scratch His "Sweet Spot"?

If you’ve got a dog that loves belly rubs, as many of us do, than you’ve no doubt found “the sweet spot” that gets his leg kicking. This usually happens when you scratch him in his saddle region – the belly, sides, and parts of the dog’s back. The exact spot varies depending on the dog. Some dogs have several spots that get their legs moving.

This silly behavior got us wondering, why do dogs kick their legs when you scratch their belly?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

What's In A Name: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

While the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a relatively new breed, recreated less than a century ago, his prototype is the toy spaniel that has existed for centuries as a companion to royalty and nobility.

It's said that King Charles II, who reigned from 1660 to 1685, never went anywhere without at least two or three of these spaniels. He even decreed that the spaniels should be allowed in any public place, including the Houses of Parliament. It's claimed that the decree is still in effect today in England, although no one has tested it recently to see if it's true.

After Charles II's death, the King Charles Spaniels' popularity waned, and Pugs and other short-faced breeds became the new royal favorites. The King Charles Spaniels were bred with these dogs and eventually developed many of their features, such as the shorter nose and the domed head. The King Charles Spaniels depicted in paintings from earlier centuries were almost extinct.

In the 1920s, an American named Roswell Eldridge started searching in England for toy spaniels that resembled those in the old paintings. He searched for more than five years, even taking his search to the Crufts Dog Show, where he persuaded the Kennel Club to allow him to offer 25 pounds sterling — a huge sum at the time — for the best dog and best bitch of the type seen in King Charles II's reign. He offered this prize for five years.

In 1928, Miss Mostyn Walker presented a dog named Ann's Son for evaluation and was awarded the 25-pound prize. Roswell Eldridge didn't live to see the prize claimed, as he had died just one month before Crufts. Interest in the breed revived, and a breed club was formed. The name Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was chosen to differentiate the breed from the flat-faced King Charles Spaniel (known as the English Toy Spaniel in the United States).

Saturday, August 29, 2015

What's In A Name: Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise means small, curly-haired lap dog in French. One of the oldest dog breeds around, they date back to the 14th century when a water spaniel and a poodle were crossed in the Mediterranean region, according to Animal Planet. By the 16th century, they became the dog of choice for French royals, and some were performers in traveling circuses, according to the AKC. And they’re still loyal companions and lively entertainers.

Their non-shedding coat makes the Bichon more tolerable for people with dog allergies, but grooming costs add up: They need haircuts every six to eight weeks. Despite their high-maintenance needs, these gentle dogs make excellent family companions. They learn tricks fast and are friendly with all people and dogs.

Friday, August 28, 2015

What To Do If Your Cat Isn't Using the Litter Box

If you're having a hard time persuading your cat to use the litter box, it may be time to draw a line in the sand.

Most cats are happy to use a litter box because their instinct is to bury their urine and feces. But when their burying preferences include the laundry basket, the bed or the Persian rug, you've got a problem.

There's always a reason they stop using their box and it's not to make you mad or get revenge  Take a close look at what's going on in your cat's world. You should be able to uncover the source (or sources) of the trouble, and make the changes that will put his world to rights again.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

9 Tips to Make Your Backyard Dog-Friendly

If you’re bringing a new dog home or are shifting with your furry pal into a home with a garden or backyard, you need to know that your dog can get injured in many ways even in your own backyard.

Don’t let this worry you; all you need to do is make your backyard dog-safe. And if you haven’t the slightest idea of going about this, you’ve come to the right place!

Here are nine ways you can make your backyard a safe haven for your dog.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

10 Reasons Your Dog or Cat Is Itching

Pet Itchiness

Why do you scratch? Because you itch. Why do dogs or cats scratch? For the same reason.

So what causes your pet's itching, licking, scratching or rubbing? It can be a mystery at times. Skin conditions with very different causes can look alike. For example, dogs or cats suffering from flea allergies, food allergies or environmental allergies may display similar signs of skin problems. The treatments, however, are very different.

A veterinarian can determine the source of the infection in order to determine the most effective treatment. For example, an antifungal ointment won’t work on a bacterial infection or ear mites.

If you’re wondering what’s causing your Fido or Fluffy to itch like mad, it may be one of these most common culprits:

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

How to Get Your Dog Ready for the School Season!

Dog school season

August is the month when many households prepare to go back to school. Amid the hustle and bustle of all the preparations, it's important not to forget your dog. Chances are the kids have been playing with him in the summer, meaning your dog was probably not lonely or bored. All of a sudden your dog sees their family companions putting on a backpack and heading out the door without them!

To ward off any stress your dog may experience, here are some tips to prevent your dog from feeling anxious:

Monday, August 24, 2015

Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe During an Outdoor Adventure

Outdoor Dog Safety

These days, more and more outdoor enthusiasts are spending their leisure time hiking, backpacking, camping, or engaged in other outdoor activities with their canine companions.

Outdoor Dog SafetyThere's nothing quite like an adventure in the great outdoors to clear the mind, heighten the senses, and give four-legged family members an opportunity to feel the earth beneath their paws and explore the smells, sights, and sounds of the natural world.

Being outside in nature offers countless benefits for body and mind, but it also presents some risks that you should be aware of and prepared for. And while most people worry primarily about a fall or other injury or a frightening encounter with wildlife, a much more common outdoor hazard is exposure to infectious disease.

Both you and your dog can contract an illness from infected animals, insect vectors (typically mosquitoes, ticks, flies, fleas, or mites), contaminated soil and water, and even spoiled food.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

What's In A Name: Great Dane

Danes as we know them today were developed in Germany to hunt boar and protect estates. Despite the name, the Great Dane wasn’t developed in Denmark. In fact, the breed name comes apparently from a French naturalist, who saw the dogs in Denmark and called them Great Danish dogs. Note that Germans today call the breed Deutsche Dogge, or "German Dog.” Sounds like the Germans are spot-on with accuracy in this case!

Despite their large size, Great Danes are known to be very affectionate  to their owners and are also known as the world's "biggest lapdogs".

Saturday, August 22, 2015

What's In A Name: Doberman Pinscher

One of only a few breeds named for a person, the Doberman was named after Friedrich Louis Dobermann, a late 19th century German tax collector, which was a dangerous role during that time. He also ran the Apolda dog pound. With access to dogs of many breeds, he aimed to create a breed that would be ideal for protecting him during his collections, which took him through many bandit-infested areas. He set out to breed a new type of dog that, in his opinion, would be the perfect combination of strength, speed, endurance, loyalty, intelligence, and ferocity. Later, Otto Goeller and Philip Greunig continued to develop the breed to become the dog that is seen today. The second "N” got dropped along the way, although it is still used in many other languages.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Why Play Is Important For Your Cat

The regal cat seems to be a creature of leisure — she certainly doesn’t run around the yard with wild abandon like her canine counterparts. Many cats are quite content to sit on a windowsill all day long, taking naps and watching the world go by. But that doesn’t mean cats don’t need or enjoy playing games with their owners. Of course they do! Cats love to be mentally and physically stimulated and they love to spend time playing with their owners.

When it comes to cats, however, play isn’t just about fun and games. For cats in the wild, the act of play is actually a serious business that helps kittens learn important survival skills like stalking, chasing and trapping prey. Even if your cat never ventures outside your home, this basic instinct to hunt can remain strong, which is why it is important to give our feline family members the opportunity to express this natural behavior through play.

Along with satisfying your cat’s natural instincts, play is important to helping keep your pet healthy and happy. Play provides important exercise for cats, especially those that live exclusively indoors. Regular play can help keep your kitty active and help her maintain a healthy weight. Interactive play between you and your cat may also help prevent some behavior problems that can arise from boredom. Finally, play is simply a great way to interact and bond with your cat.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Subtle Signs Your Dog Might Have Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is a common problem for many dogs and their guardians. To the uninitiated, it may not sound like a big deal, but it's actually a very serious issue.

Dogs who at first seem just exceptionally eager to see their humans are often brewing a full-blown case of separation anxiety just below the surface. Behaviors to watch for in your dog include:

  • He needs to be within a few feet of you at all times
  • She gives you a frenzied greeting every time you come home, whether you've been gone 5 days or 5 minutes
  • His mood changes noticeably as you go about preparing to leave the house
  • She engages in behaviors while you're gone that she doesn't do when you're home

Many people tend to confuse some of the more subtle symptoms of separation anxiety for signs of love from their dog. In fact, if she hasn't yet had a significant anxiety episode, you might think her over-the-top greeting each time you return from the mailbox is just a sign of her extreme devotion to you.

Another mistake owners of dogs with separation anxiety often make is to assume their pet's destructiveness in their absence is simple misbehavior. They believe their dog is acting out of boredom or anger at being left behind.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

4 Tips to Care For Your Pet's Teeth

Let’s face it: No matter how much you adore your pup or kitty, her breath can be downright gross at times. But that may mean that she needs more than a good brushing — bad breath can be a sign that your pet is suffering from gum disease (also known as periodontal disease), which can lead to serious health concerns, ranging from tooth loss to organ damage.

With a majority of adult pets suffering from some degree of periodontal disease, maintaining your pet’s oral hygiene isn’t a luxury — it’s a vital piece of her healthcare routine. Here’s how to keep your pet’s mouth cleaner so you can keep your cat or dog healthier from tooth to tail.

1. Visit Your Veterinarian for Teeth Cleaning 
Dental care for dogs and cats should start at your veterinarian’s office. Pets need to be regularly evaluated for the presence of dental tartar and disease and be treated if necessary. The fact is, about 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats over the age of 3 suffer from significant oral disease that requires treatment. Such treatment might include a tooth or multiple teeth being pulled to stop infection and prevent additional health problems.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The WORST Fruits and Vegetables to Give Your Cat

Want to give your cat a healthy treat or snack? Fruits and vegetables can be a great (and inexpensive) option. But some items in the produce aisle are actually quite dangerous for felines and can cause them more harm than good. You don’t want the wrong snack to make your cat vomit, upset his stomach or worse. Check out our list below to find out which fruits and veggies to never feed your feline.

It’s also important to remember this: Always consult your vet before giving your pet a new food item, especially if he has a medical issue. And go easy on all treats and snacks as those extra calories add up.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Hot Spots on Dogs: Treatment and Prevention

hot spots dogs

Hot Spots are one of those less then desirable skin irritations seen in pets. Often, you'll here your vet refer to them as moist eczema, but you ... well, you can call them hot spots. They occur when your dog itches, scratches or licks him or herself excessively, eventually forming a wet scab on the fur. But what do you with a hot spot?

Hot Spots (also known as Summer Sores or Moist Eczema) can seemingly appear spontaneously anywhere on a dog's body; the surrounding area can rapidly deteriorate too. This moist, raw skin disorder has a variety of causes but the most consistent factor is bacteria.

Anything that irritates or breaks the skin can create the environment for bacterial contamination if the surface of the skin has but only a little a bit of moisture on it. Such incidences of moisture can be such seeminly innocuous things such as as a recent bath, swim, stroll in the rain, or playtime in wet craze. Even a slightly oozing sore can provide enough moisture and/or nutrient for a bacterial infection to take hold.

Although there are various types of "hot spot"-causing bacteria, most respond to oral and topical antibiotics. For some reason, cats rarely acquire hot spots.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

What's In A Name: Treeing Walker Coonhound

An efficient and reliable hunter of raccoon, squirrels and possums, this coonhound chases its prey up a tree, and then sometimes can virtually climb the tree to get at it. It is a descendant of the English Foxhound, and has been bred for extensive exercise and is not suitable for urban life despite being a gentle companion.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

What's In A Name: Keeshond

This companion of Dutch bargeman is a typical spitz with a tightly curled tail, heavy coat, and small erect ears. It gets its breed name from Kees de Gyselear, a Dutch politician. The Keeshond was once a popular guard and vermin controller in the southern Dutch provinces. It is also known as a German Wolfspitz.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Chronic Ear Infections in Dogs and Cats

  • Chronic ear infections may involve bacterial or yeast overgrowth in the external, middle, or inner ear.
  • Chronic infection can permanently damage the ear canal and cause pain, neurologic signs, and deafness.
  • Ear infections are usually secondary to an underlying condition that allows for an unhealthy ear environment. Treatment is based on eliminating the bacteria or yeast with antibiotics or antifungal medication while working to resolve the underlying condition.
  • Regular ear cleanings and resolution of the underlying condition help to prevent recurrence.

What Is a Chronic Ear Infection?
Ear infections are usually secondary to inflammation of the external ear canals (the tube-shaped part of the ear visible under the ear flap). Inflammation of the canals leads to the reproduction of normal bacteria and yeast that live in the ear to the point where the body is unable to control their numbers (called overgrowth). Other bacteria can also take advantage of the inflammation and unhealthy environment inside the ear to establish infection. The overgrowth of these organisms causes more inflammation. Inflammation of the ear canal causes swelling, making the tube narrower than usual. Inflammation also causes an increase in the production of wax. The ears become very itchy and painful. Severe ear infections can lead to eardrum rupture and middle and inner ear infections. Deep infections can lead to deafness and neurologic signs.

Certain disorders or diseases may be the primary reason ear infections develop. These conditions include:

  • Allergies (environmental and food)
  • Ear mites
  • Foreign bodies
  • Skin disorders (like seborrhea)
  • Thyroid disease (in dogs)
  • Tumors or polyps in the ear

Ear infections may recur because of the inability to control the original infection or treat the underlying cause. Chronic changes lead to future infections, and scar tissue and permanent narrowing of the ear canals can make future infections difficult to treat.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Common Health Conditions to Watch for in Your Puppy

As with human children, puppies have their own set of health concerns that you need to be aware of. Taking your puppy to a veterinarian for a checkup is a good way to make sure he's starting out healthy, but because some conditions can occur in later puppyhood, you need to be aware of them as well.

Communicable diseases, such as canine distemper, parvovirus and rabies, can sicken and kill puppies who are not properly immunized. All puppies should receive a series of core vaccinations starting at 6 to 8 weeks of age and repeated every three to four weeks up to 16 weeks of age.

Intestinal parasites are a common condition in puppies. Even puppies raised in pristine environments can acquire worms from their dam because some worms stay dormant in her body until hormonal changes brought on by pregnancy activate them. Your veterinarian can diagnose intestinal parasites from a stool sample and prescribe appropriate treatment.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

What To Do If You Trim Your Pet's Nails Too Short

Nail trimming is an important part of a regular grooming routine for dogs, cats, and rabbits. If your pet’s nails get too long, they can break, which is painful and sometimes results in infection.

The easiness of this task depends entirely on the animal. Some pets don't even seem to notice it happening, while others cry and struggle to get away. (For some tips on how to get your dog accustomed to nail trimming, read our blog post here)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A 3 Step Guide To Stop Your Dog From Jumping on People

Stop Dog Jumping

Jumping on people is a common complaint for many dog owners. Most dogs jump with no malicious intent, they are just exuberantly greeting those they are happy to see.  None the less, it can be potentially dangerous.  Dogs can easily knock someone down, (especially the elderly and young children), trip a guest entering the home, or scratch with their nails.

In most cases, a dog’s jumping is our fault.  Many owners have encouraged their dog’s jumping from puppyhood.  If your puppy or dog jumps and you respond by petting/saying “hello”, you are clearly reinforcing and rewarding this unwanted behavior.  Here is a three step process which may help:

Monday, August 10, 2015

4 Odd Sleeping Dog Habits

Think your dog has some weird sleeping habits? From napping curled up in a ball to the twitching that some dogs do when they dream, we investigate what these habits mean — and even where in a dog's evolutionary history they come from.

Curling Up In a Ball
This behavior, aside from being just plain adorable, has a fascinating evolutionary basis. When dogs sleep in the wild, they often dig a nest and tuck into a ball to conserve body heat. Curling up also helps protect their vital organs - the ones inside the abdomen - from potential predators. This doesn't necessarily mean that your dog feels unsafe in his bed; it could just be that he happens to have the same sleeping preferences as his ancestors!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

What's In A Name: Beagle

The exact origins of the word "beagle" are a bit mysterious.

The etymology of the name has been traced back to several possible options which include the French begueuleor “open throat” which is a combination of the two French words bayeror “open wide” and gueuleor “mouth”; the word beag which can be found in Old English, Gaelic and French and means “little”; the French word beugler which means “to bellow” and the German word begele which means “to scold”. These myriad options paint a very vivid picture as to how the dog was seen back then and its origins; unfortunately, the actual origin of its name is still unsure. The American Kennel Club traces the name back to the 16th century, when the hounds became associated with the French word becguele ("noisy person") thanks to the din of their howls during hunts.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

What's In A Name: Dandie Dinmont Terrier

The Dandie Dinmont gets its name from a character in Sir Walter Scott's novel Guy Mannering. The character "Dandie Dinmont" is thought to be based on James Davidson, who is credited as being the "father" of the modern breed. Davidson's dogs descended from earlier terrier owning families.

The Dandie Dinmont has a very long body, short legs, and a distinctive "top-knot" of hair on the head.

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Top 3 Myths About Pet Cancer

Myth #1:  A diagnosis of cancer is a death sentence.

A diagnosis of cancer can be scary and emotional, but patients can survive cancer. Each patient’s situation is unique, and treatments have to be tailored to his/her particular type of cancer and stage. Most cancers found in dogs and cats are benign, and when treated with surgery are subsequently cured. Those that cannot be cured with surgery may be responsive to chemotherapy, radiation therapy or immunotherapy.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Tricks to Stop a Cat From Chewing

It's not just puppies who can ruin your favorite shoes — cats can do a surprising amount of damage by chewing. Kittens may chew when teething or just for fun, but adult cats have also been known to chew items around the house. And of course, cats of all ages might love to chew houseplants. Fortunately, there are ways to deter these unwanted behaviors.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Are You Feeding Your Dog the Right Amount of Food?

Dog food amount

One of the best ways to keep dogs healthy is to feed them the right amount of food. Too little and a dog can suffer from nutritional deficiencies. Too much eventually results in obesity and all of the health problems related to that condition including:

  • Musculoskeletal problems like osteoarthritis, cruciate ligament ruptures, and intervertebral disk disease
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Skin disorders
  • Some types of cancer
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to figure out exactly how much individual dogs should be eating. Determining the correct size for meals depends on the type of food dogs are fed, how many times a day they eat, their size, their metabolic rate, the amount of exercise they get, and more.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

How to Give Your Dog or Cat Liquid Medicine

Giving a pet his medicine is rarely easy, but knowing the proper procedure and what to expect can make the process more pleasant—for you and your pet.

Many people find liquid medicines easier to administer than other types, such as pills, capsules, eye drops or injections. But it still takes patience, precision, and a bit of strength to get your pet to sit still and swallow the right amount. Here, how to make the medicine go down easier.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Nipping and Mouthing by Dogs

Nipping and biting can be aggressive or non-aggressive, and it can be hard to tell the difference. However, dogs who nip and bite are usually just playing. But because they are playing in a way that hurts, it’s likely that these dogs haven’t yet learned bite inhibition. Teaching a dog that the behavior is annoying and painful and reinforcing impulse control can put an end it.

After housebreaking issues, nipping and mouthing are the behaviors new puppy owners most often complain about. Older dogs will often persist in this behavior as well. Though most nippy, mouthy dogs are engaging in a non-aggressive form of the behavior, some take a decidedly aggressive approach to nipping and mouthing.

Indeed, nipping and mouthing are natural, usually non-aggressive behaviors that dogs use to communicate during play and normal interaction with other pets and people. However, most people don’t appreciate nipping and mouthing by dogs, and adult dogs can inadvertently cause injury while nipping and mouthing. Therefore, these behaviors should be discouraged starting in puppyhood.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

What's In a Name: Lucas Terrier

The Lucas Terrier is a small terrier breed which originated in England in the late 1940s. The breed was named by Sir Jocelyn (you guessed it) Lucas, 4th Baronet and all living Lucas Terriers in the UK can trace their ancestry back to a small number of his original Lucas Terriers. 

Lucas was a long-time Sealyham breeder in the first half of the 20th Century and bred the first cross between a Norfolk Terrier and one of his own Ilmer Sealyhams. Ilmer Sealyhams were smaller than the mainstream show Sealyhams of the time. He found the mix produced an intelligent and feisty dog with an excellent temperament, suitable for use as a working terrier but equally happy as a domestic pet, and so named the cross after himself.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

What's In a Name: Canary Dogs

While the name may make you think of a tiny bird, the Canary Dog is a big and muscular breed with a rather large head. The Canary Dog was use as a cattle driver and fighting dog on the Canary Islands. The Canary Dog (Perro de Presa Canario) is a large Molosser-type dog breed originally bred for working livestock. The name of the breed is Spanish, means "Canarian catch dog", and is often shortened to "Presa Canario" or simply "Presa". The breed is sometimes also called Dogo Canario, meaning "Canarian Molosser".