Thursday, May 21, 2015

Taking a Break

I wanted to inform everyone that I will be taking a break from blogging to focus on my summer internship. I will resume posting content in the fall. Until then, feel free to read my posts I have written over the past few months. Thanks for visiting and be sure to check back for new content in the fall!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Moisturizing Homemade Shampoo Recipe

Last week, Jake, my boyfriend's 5 year old golden retriever, was in dire need of a bath. Jake's doggy odor could be smelled five miles away and his coat looked dull. A doggy spa day was definitely on the agenda.  

Instead of bathing him with a bottle of oatmeal shampoo I bought at my local pet store, I decided to make a concoction of my own. I wanted to make a shampoo that would not only cleanse him but add some extra shine to his coat so I did a little homework. I researched cleansing products that were all-natural and pet safe. Then I came up with a recipe to tailor Jake's cleansing and moisturizing needs. 

What You Will Need:

​Baking soda, oatmeal, coconut oil, aloe lotion, pure essential oil drops and water.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Choosing the Perfect Dog Bed

Dogs need a warm and cozy space to catch some z's. Whether it's their own doggy bed or half of your bed, dogs will find a special spot to rest their heads at night. Every night my dog Dudley used to sleep in my bed under the covers. However, if your are the kind of person that doesn't like to be woken up by a cold nose nudging your arm or a getting slobbery kisses, buying your dog their own bed would be the best option.

Dog beds come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials. The most popular dog beds are pillows, cushions and mats that lay on the floor. If you are looking for a more luxurious bed, you can purchase a doggy couch or futon. For owners with a creative side, you can buy a dog bed that is built into your own box spring. The person who designed the box spring was obviously a small dog lover. Sorry big dogs.

Choosing a dog bed that fits your dogs size and other personal needs is important. Large dogs need bigger beds than small dogs. Older dogs may need beds with more cushion and warmth.

A small dog would feel comfortable in a small to medium size round bed.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Protecting Your Dog Against Fleas and Ticks

After a long and grueling winter, spring is finally in the air in Western New York. I can now take my dogs for a walk without having to bundle them up in sweaters. Brody, Suzy, Mandy and Otis can play outside and freely romp around in the grass. However, along with the nice weather comes the responsibility of treating my dogs for fleas and ticks.

Treating Your Dog With Flea Medicine:

There is no need to be alarmed, treating dogs for fleas is not a hard task. It only takes a few minutes to apply the liquid medicine on a dog's skin once a month. 

To apply the flea medicine to your dog, squeeze the majority of the liquid in between their shoulders. You can apply the rest of it further down their back. Make sure the medicine soaks into their skin and doesn't rest on the top of their fur. For best results, don't pet your dog until the liquid has dried.

Canine Influenza Outbreak

On Wednesday morning, Mandy could barely get up and refused to eat. I knew something had to be wrong so I called my vet and made an appointment right away. Thankfully it was nothing too serious, she had a bladder infection and the vet prescribed her with an antibiotic. During the visit though, my vet alerted me to a canine influenza outbreak and gave me a packet explaining the virus. 

This is the packet I received from my vet.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Bathing Your Dog

Some dogs don't mind getting a bath while others absolutely hate it. Dogs could care less if they smell so bathing is not a priority to them. As a result, if you want your dog to cooperate in the tub, you have to make bathing a positive and rewarding experience for them.

When I give my dogs a bath, I get mixed results. Suzy will sit patiently in the tub and only shake a few times. On the other hand, Brody will jump out of the tub half way through and flood the bathroom floor. It's not that he hates bath time. He is just too energetic and thinks it's playtime.

Tips for Bathing Your Dog at Home

Whenever I bath my dogs, especially Brody, I always put on old clothes because I never know if I will end up getting a bath too. Once I'm ready, I give Brody a thorough brushing so all his excess hair won't plug up the drain. I always get my bath soap and towel ready too.

Oatmeal dog shampoos are good to use on a dog with skin allergies.

Minimizing Smell With Daily Grooming Routines

The fresh and squeaky clean smell of bath soap only lasts so long. After a week or so, the refreshing scent will wear off and your dog will go back smelling like they usually do. Most of us owners refer to this as the "dog smell". Your dog's scent can be smelled on your hands, carpet, furniture or anything your dog comes in contact with. The longer it has been since you brushed or bathed your dog, the worst the smell will be.

Brody snuggled up on the furniture.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Baking a Homemade Birthday Cake

Cake Recipe:
2-1/2 cups water
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
1/3 cup peanut butter
3-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup oats
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Frosting Recipe:
8 ounces of fat free cream cheese
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup of Greek yogurt

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Settling an Upset Stomach

From time to time, dogs will get a bout of diarrhea or vomiting. A new dog food, too many treats, table scraps or a tasty plant in the backyard can cause an upset stomach. 

Is your dog feeling under the weather?
An occasional case of the runs or vomiting is nothing to panic over. With a little TLC and frequent potty trips, your dog should be over it in a day or two. Here are some tips and home remedies to have your pooch feeling back to normal in no time.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Relieving Arthritis Pain

Dogs experience joint pain from arthritis just like humans. The cartilage deteriorates around their bones and causes pain and inflammation.

My family's 10-year-old pit bull Mandy was diagnosed with arthritis six months ago. When she was diagnosed, she weighed over a 100 pounds. The vet stated that the main cause of the arthritis was her weight.

Mandy recently became a member of my family because my grandmother could no longer care for her. When we took her in, she was extremely overweight. My grandma spoiled the heck out of her. Mandy was given endless amounts of treats, mounds of table scraps and an overflowing bowl of dog food.

Mandy knew if she gave grandma a sloppy kiss she would get a tasty treat in return.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Clipping And Cleaning

I know pleading with your dog to hold still while you trim their nails, wash out their eye boogers and clean dirt out of their ears are tasks that owners hate to do. However, these easy to overlook grooming routines are fundamental to maintaining your dog's health and well-being.

Regularly clipping a dog's toe nails is necessary for a dog to walk normally and avoid painful nail breakage. Cleaning a dog's eyes and ears are important to avoid infection. Here are three easy tips to keep your dog's nails, ears and eyes healthy.

Tip 1: Nail Clipping

Trimming your dog's toe nails doesn't have to be a grueling task as long as you take it slow and associate the nail clippers with a tasty treat.

When my dogs were puppies, I got them used to nail trimming by playing with their feet and touching their nails with the clippers. Then every time Brody, Otis or Suzie let me clip at least one of their nails, they got a treat.

Once your dog is not afraid of you clipping their nails, the task is easy. Hold the dog's toe between your fingers and position the blade so it's facing the nail. Put the nail between the blades and cut a small portion of the nail at a right angle.

Treating Itchy Skin With Home Remedies

Does your dog have dry or itchy skin? Are they frequently scratchy and digging? If so, here are some home remedies I use on my dogs to relieve itching and add some shine to their coat.

1) Vitamin E

The first remedy I recommend is giving your dog vitamin E because it adds nutrients and moisture to dry skin. If a dog suffers from dry skin, rashes and hair loss, a vitamin E deficiency could be the cause. You can add some vitamin E oil to their bath or give them a proper dose in pill form. According to petMD, vitamin E can also help reduce inflammation, strengthen the heart and improve an older dog's memory. 

Vitamin E has many health benefits for your dog. Before giving your dog a pill, make sure to check with your vet for the correct dosage.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Baking A Healthy Fruit Filled Dog Treat

I did a guest post for Pawsitively Pets on my delicious treat recipe. Special thanks to Ann Staub for posting it! Check it out here

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Buying Safe Dog Toys

Rubber or rope? Stuffed or squeaky? Dog toys come in a variety of shapes, sizes, sounds and colors. The type of toys I choose for my furry friends usually depends on their chewing or playing habits.

Brody enjoys a game of fetch and loves to chew. I usually buy him hard rubber toys that are easy to toss across the yard and able to withstand hours of gnawing.

Brody loves to play with toys.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Choosing Dental Treats and Rawhide Chews

When you walk into a pet store, the treat and bone selection can be overwhelming. There are so many brands and flavors it's hard to choose which one to buy. Dental treats, rawhide chews and rubber chews are options that will improve oral health and satisfy a dog's need to chew. Dogs that chew on bones and rawhides have stronger teeth and less tartar build-up.

Dental Treats

Dental treats can be given daily to kill harmful bacteria in a dog's mouth and freshen their breath. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Brushing Your Dog's Teeth

February is dog dental month. To end the month off right, I decided to focus this week's posts on how to keep your dog's teeth pearly white.

There are several ways to care for your dog's teeth. The best way is to brush their teeth. As an alternative, many owners give their dogs dental and rawhide chews.

While chomping on dental and rawhide chews can strengthen teeth and scrape away at soft tartar, brushing helps remove plaque and harder tartar. Owners should complement brushing with dental and rawhide chews.

You can get brushing kits and toothpaste at your local pet store or veterinary clinic.

Here is a brushing kit I saw at Petco for $15.
I typically buy toothpaste from my vet. A tube costs $8. Avoid using human toothpaste on dogs because it will upset their stomach.

Getting your dog used to you brushing their teeth can be a process. Your dog may give you resistance at first but they will adjust to it. Start by opening their mouth and touching their teeth. Once they are comfortable with that, try putting some dog toothpaste on a soft bristled toothbrush and begin brushing.

Here is how I brush my dog Brody's teeth step by step:

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Comparing Mainstream and Specialty Dog Foods

Feeding your dog a healthy and balanced diet is important. It may be more convenient to take a stroll down the pet food aisle at the local grocery store and buy whatever is on sale but that's not the healthiest option. Grocery stores don't carry specialty brand dog foods that offer natural ingredients.

Most mainstream brand dog foods you find at Tops or Walmart contain cheap by-products and fillers. Meat is rarely the first ingredient on the label. 

Meats and vegetables are always the main ingredient in specialty brands. Dogs need a food filled with wholesome products for a good source of protein and carbohydrates.

In addition, dogs should be consuming a diet that tailors to their specific needs. As a dog ages, they require more supplements and vitamins. Mainstream brands don't add these extras in their foods. They typically don't offer grain free options for dogs with allergies either.

However, specialty brands come in a variety of options for dogs accommodating all different life stages. For example, my 10-year-old pug, Otis, eats a holistic food made for small breed senior dogs. On the other hand, my 2-year-old pit bull, Brody, eats a grain free food made for large breed adult dogs. 

To compare ingredients in mainstream brands with specialty brands, I decided to take a trip to Walmart and Petco. I found one brand of dog food from each store and compared the ingredients listed on their labels. I chose to focus on the brands Gravy Train and Blue Buffalo.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Giving Your Dog Table Scraps

Jacob, my boyfriend's golden retriever, loves table scraps. I mean it's pretty safe to say most dogs love human food but Jake's love goes much deeper.

Every time my boyfriend's family sits down at the table for dinner, Jake comes right over. His preferred spot is next to my boyfriend's dad, Kevin, or me. Jake knows the odds of getting a morsel are the best with one of us. 

I know you can't resist my puppy dog face.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Treating Canine Diabetes

Feeding a proper diet and monitoring blood glucose levels are vital to keeping your diabetic dog healthy. In most cases, your vet will recommend you feed your dog a prescription diet and instruct you to give insulin injections.

Diabetic Dog Foods

Prescription foods are made specially for diabetic dogs and are high in fiber. With soluble fiber, the digestive system absorbs glucose slower and prevents a spike in glucose levels. 

Two common food brands that vets carry include Hills w/d Glucose Management diet and Royal Canin's Diabetic formula. Both brands come in canned and dry foods.

I fed Dudley Hills w/d for three years and he barely got a reading below 200mg/dL. However, I did notice more of a blood glucose reduction when my vet stopped carrying it and switched to Royal Canin. After eating the new food, his lowest blood glucose reading with 11 units of insulin twice a day was in the range of 180mg/dL to 190mg/dL. Compared to a level of 600mg/dL when he was first diagnosed, that is a decent reading.

Mandy, my grandma's 10 year old diabetic pit bull, also saw an improvement after eating Royal Canin. In October, she was diagnosed with diabetes and had a glucose level of 400mg/dL. With 27 units of insulin twice a day, she now maintains a level between 160mg/dL to 180mg/dL.

Here is what the bag looks like. You can only purchase it at your vet or online with a prescription.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Growing Up With Dudley

I wasn't planning on starting out my blog by telling the story of my first dog Dudley. I was hoping to tell our journey together though various posts. However, his health took a turn for the worst Monday morning and I had to make one of the toughest decisions of my life, putting him down.

Dudley was a part of my family for almost 12 years. The responsibility of caring for him throughout my childhood has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I wouldn't know the tips and tricks of raising a dog if it wasn't for him. He is the reason I am so passionate about dogs.

I remember the day my dad and I brought him home like it was yesterday. It was a sunny July afternoon and my eight year old self was bursting with excitement. I wanted a puppy so bad. The minute I saw his wrinkly puggle face, my heart melted. I paid the breeder with my allowance money I had saved up and off we went.

I spent the rest of the summer potty training him and teaching him basic manners. We were inseparable from here on out.

Dudley slept beside me every night.