Stinky Dog Farts: Causes And Prevention Tips

Eww, Who Farted?

Stinky dog farts are sometimes a thing of legend. You know your dog has a gassy problem when cuddling on the couch turns into a test of how long you can hold your breath. Your four-legged family member can let them rip with more stench than any person you know. While all dogs fart on occasion, some have the unnerving ability to pass gas that can only be described as deadly.

Farting is completely natural and sometimes even good for your dog’s health, but poots that make you gasp for fresh air are a sign something isn’t right with your dog’s digestion. Smelly dog farts can’t actually hurt the person who’s forced to smell them, but the underlying issue could be affecting more than your home’s air quality. Before I get into ways to stop the smell, consider possible reasons your dog’s fart are especially bad.

Why Dogs Fart

According to the AKC, dogs develop gas for the same reasons their owners do.

“A change in diet, a food that doesn’t agree with them, and gastrointestinal illness can all lead to imbalances in the microflora in your dog’s stomach and small intestines. These organisms are responsible for the excess gas and subsequent farts that are making you and your dog miserable.”

Pug acting surprised that their owner blamed the farts on them. Stinky dog farts
“Well how dare you do that near me!”

Eating too much fiber and ingesting foreign objects can both be reasons why a dog is farting more than normal. Certain dogs also tend to swallow a lot of air when they eat and drink, especially short-nosed brachycephalic breeds like Pugs and Boston terriers. This additional swallowed air has to come out some way!

Dog that has fart gas coming out of them. Very stinky dog farts
“Do you guys smell that?”

A sudden change in their diet can also upset a dog’s stomach, and excessive farting may be a symptom of food allergies. Before you can successfully put an end to the stink, you’ll need to determine whether the issue is related to a medical problem or nutritional lapse. If your dog isn’t interested in trying the new food you decide on, use this special trick.

  • Pick up the food bowl that has the new food that your dog doesn’t seem interested in.
  • Go to the fridge and open it, shuffling things around in the fridge.
  • Act like you are putting something in the dog bowl and shuffle the food around.
  • Set the bowl back down for the dog to eat.

Most dogs will think, “Hey, they just put some good yummy human food in my bowl!” and start to eat the new food.

How to Help Stinky Dog Farts Less

A French Bulldog farts and saying "Oops".

Your strategy for helping relieve your dog’s stinky dog farts will largely depend on the underlying cause. It might not be necessary to try all these suggestions, but if your dog seems otherwise healthy and you haven’t been able to pinpoint anything specific that’s causing the smell, it won’t hurt to initiate a full-on plan of attack. Here are a few things you can do.

1. Switch Dog Foods For Less Farts

Before you stress over the possibility of your dog being sick, realize the food they eat is directly related to the gas they produce. VetWest Animal Hospital writes,

“Most cases of chronic flatulence are caused by a diet that is poorly digested by the dog. These poorly digestible diets cause excessive fermentation in the colon and subsequent gas formation.”

Commercial dog foods aren’t always formulated with a dog’s healthy digestive system in mind. It’s up to you to read the list of ingredients and determine if it’s helping or hurting your dog’s health. The extra food your dog earns through begging could also be an issue. Dogs aren’t built to properly digest most human food, and regularly eating table scraps could be the simple reason why your dog farts. High-fat diets are known for causing excess gas, and foods like beans, dairy, and peas aren’t good either.

Try switching to a better quality dog food to test if it affects your dog’s gas. When you make the switch, do it gradually. Your dog’s stomach and intestines need time to adjust to the dietary change.

How To Transition Your Dog To A New Food

2. Make Them Eat Slower, Less Air for Stinky Dog Farts

Along with what your dog eats, how they eat could also be contributing to their farting problem. Dogs that scarf down their food in seconds also swallow a lot of air. The extra air passes through the digestive system and puffs out the other end in the form of flatulence. You need to slow your dog’s roll, and the best way to do that is with a slow feed dog bowl. These bowls have maze-like ridges on the bottom that force chowhounds to slow down.

Food bowls made with swirls inside so dog has to slowly eat making for less farts. This really helps with stinky dog farts.

PetMD also reports respiratory diseases can cause dogs to take in extra air, and AKC lists brachycephalic breeds like bulldogs and pugs as being more likely to swallow air while eating. Dogs might also take in excess air because they’re eating near a competing dog and feel the need to hurry up and eat before their food is stolen. Moving them to a private area during dinner will help them relax and eat without swallowing too much air.

3. Get Moving, Leave Farts Outside

Guide of how much exercise a dog should get.

Overweight dogs that rarely exercise are more at risk of developing chronic gas than the average active pup. Regular exercise helps stimulate the gastrointestinal tract. When digested food moves through the system smoothly, noxious gas is less of a problem. Going on walks also encourages dogs to poop, and going to the bathroom gives them the chance to expel those nasty odors somewhere other than your living room.

4. Feed Multiple Meals Per Day

Feeding a dog one or two large meals a day is okay, but it isn’t what’s best for their intestinal tract. With small meals, there’s less food sitting in the stomach that can ferment and turn into gas. This prevents there from being a build-up of gas that eventually turns into an expulsion of toxic fumes (aka stinky dog farts). Eating smaller amounts of food is also easier on digestion for dogs with sensitive stomachs. It won’t change the amount of food your dog eats, it only spreads out calorie consumption to be more manageable.

5. Avoid Handing Out Table Scraps

“If I just could have some of that please.”

There’s a reason dog food comes separately from our own. Foods high in fat and sugar that we humans enjoy (probably too often) can upset a dog’s tummy. Most dogs are lactose intolerant as well, so don’t go tossing them cheese or cakes. You should also avoid letting them have steamed vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower. (If it makes you have major gas, it’s going to be worse for your poor dog.)

6. Try Dietary Supplements for Farts

A study (admittedly of humans) found that charcoal and zinc acetate reduced the fart smell. Another study found that Yucca schidigera reduced hydrogen sulfide concentrations that make dog poop extra smelly. All of these are available as dietary supplements, but consult your vet before you start giving them to your dog. They might also recommend probiotic powders or antacids.

7. Visit the Vet If Farts Are Not Resolving

If nothing seems to be working, it’s time to consider the possibility your dog has a medical condition. Excessive gas could be a symptom of any of the following issues:

  • Canine colitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Cancer
  • Pancreatitis

But don’t freak out just yet. The only way to confirm the theory is to visit the vet. Don’t hold back when describing the severity of your dog’s smell and the frequency of their farts. Whether your dog has a GI illness, allergies, pancreas function failure, or parasites, a vet will be able to give you a diagnosis and suggest appropriate treatment.

“Hurry up and give me one of those gas pills. I’m feeling bloated!”

Frankie’s and Chloe’s Stinky Dog Farts Story

“Fart war begins after we eat.”
“There goes that sound again!”

Frankie was a pug, so I knew there would be farting. It was always cute at first when he would fart because he would toot and be startled by it. You’d hear a little “pffft” and he would quickly turn and sniff asking “Did that just come out of me?”. Later in his life he developed pancreatitis, which made his farts the worst I’ve ever smelled. It would make you gag! Then we’d have the family fanning the direction it would go!

“I think I just farted.”

Chloe has a little smoosh in her nose and has a elongated palate, so a lot of air gets trap when she eats and gets treats out of her toy. I’ve never heard a dog fart so loud! Some of the time I think it’s my husband. Chloe doesn’t care when she farts. She just lets them flow right out without noticing what she’s doing. When she’s sleeping is when the worst of the farts come out. All you hear is a “hhoooo” and all of a sudden it reeks!

10 Bad Human Food You Should Never Feed Your Dog

Before throwing your dog a scrap of food, be sure it won’t harm them.

Dog sitting around foods that dogs shouldn't have.

Sometimes it’s really difficult to say no to your dog – especially when they pin their bottomless brown eyes on you as you eat dinner. How can you deny that face? Well, in some cases you absolutely must turn your dog down. There are some bad food that you should never feed your dog.

Keep this list in mind the next time your pup points their puppy dog eyes at you. Now, you’ll know what is most dangerous to him. Keep in mind – these are only some of the foods your dog should never eat.

The Bad Food You Should Never Feed Your Dog

Alcohol

Your dog shouldn't consume ANY alcohol.
“Which team did you bet against?”

You probably know not to give your pup alcoholic beverages, but I want to reiterate how harmful it can be for your dog. Alcohol has the same impact on a dog’s liver and brain that it does a human. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma, and even death.


Avocados

Avocados are a food that can be harmful for your dog.
“I don’t know if you should be feeding me avocados.”

Some fruits and vegetables are completely okay for your dog to consume. Others are not so safe. Some say avocados are safe. Others say avocados are not. Some say just a little is fine. Bottom line, keep your pup away from avocados. This fruit has persin, a fungicidal toxin, which can cause serious health problems in many animals. The Merck Veterinary Manual says dogs are more resistant to persin than other animals, but it could still cause harm. Keep your pup away from avocados.


Candy, Chewing Gum, Toothpaste, and Mouthwash

Xylitol is very toxic for dogs. Watch out for food that contain this ingredient.

Many of these foods contain xylitol, a sweetener that can cause insulin release in many species. An increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels). What this means practically for your pup: vomiting, lethargy, loss of coordination, and even seizures. These items are a no go for dog consumption. Some sweet treats also contain Xylitol, which can be deadly to dogs.


Chocolate, Coffee, and Caffeine

Chocolate, coffee, and caffeine are very harmful foods for your dog.
“Could I just have one cookie and a sip of your coffee?”

These three things speed your dog’s heart rate and stimulate the nervous system.  They contain methylxanthines which can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, seizures, and even death. Note: Dark chocolate is more harmful than milk chocolate. The amount your dog ingested and your dog’s weight and other factors determine how sick your dog may become.


Cooked Bones

Dogs should not eat food with cooked bones as splinter in the stomach can happen.
Don’t let this be your dog.

Bones are not as easily digestible. It’s not difficult to snap or splinter the bone into smaller pieces and/or jagged edges. This makes for a choking hazard for your dog. The bone could get stuck in your dog’s throat or even damage the gastrointestinal tract.


Onions and Leeks

Garlic and onions are a no-no food for dogs.
“By the way these smell, I’m not getting close to them!”

These foods are particularly harmful to your pup. It doesn’t matter if they are cooked, raw, powdered or within other foods. They can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. If a dog consumes enough of any of these foods, it can lead to negative consequences. As these are often an ingredient in a recipe, it’s important to keep an eye out for them.


Grapes and Raisins

Raisin, grape & currant food poisoning in dogs
“Please don’t feed these to me. It can really hurt me.”

These foods can be highly toxic to dogs. And for some reason, dogs are extremely attracted to the sweet fruit. In 2016, the Animal Poison Control Center received more than 3,700 calls involving grapes and raisins. Unfortunately, grape/raisin toxicity can even be fatal. Ingesting the fruit could potentially lead to acute (sudden) kidney failure in dogs. 

Here are the signs and symptoms that may occur after a toxic ingestion of grapes/raisins:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy, weakness, unusual stillness
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea, often within a few hours
  • Abdominal pain (tender when touched)
  • Dehydration (signs include panting; dry nose and mouth; pale gums). A quick way to test for dehydration is to gently pull up on the skin at the back of your dog’s neck. It should spring back immediately.
  • Increased thirst and/or urine production or diminished amount of urine or complete cessation altogether
  • Kidney failure (which can be fatal)

Macadamia Nuts

You should never feed your dog macadamia nuts.
“I’m not feeling so well.”

You must be vigilant if you have macadamia nuts near your pooch. They can be extremely toxic to your pup, causing weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors, and hyperthermia. These symptoms typically appear within 12 hours of ingestion and can last between 12 and 48 hours.


Raw/Uncooked Meat and Eggs

Raw foods you should be careful preparing for your dog.

While raw diets are very popular and can be very healthy for your dogs, extreme care should be exercised, as these uncooked foods can have bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli which causes food poisoning. Have you ever had food poisoning? It’s not pleasant, and your dog can have similar uncomfortable symptoms like vomiting, fever and enlarged lymph nodes.


Salt and Salty Snack Foods

Salty snack food that dogs shouldn't eat.

Large amounts of salt aren’t good for a human or dog diet. However, loads of salt is even more concerning for dogs. Eating lots of this mineral can lead to sodium ion poisoning. Symptoms of the disease include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, increased temperature, seizures, and even death. That means don’t share your potato chips or salted popcorn with your pup.

What To Do In Case Of An Emergency

If your dog consumes some of these unhealthy-for-dogs human foods, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center right away. There are risks with eating food that doesn’t mesh well with a dog’s biology, and you can’t treat the harmful effects at home.

Treatment varies depending on what your pup consumed, but oftentimes your vet will induce vomiting. 1800PetMeds explains some forms of treatment, “For pets that shouldn’t or can’t vomit, your veterinarian may give your pet an anesthetic to flush the stomach. Gastric flushing removes a large amount of material and removes materials that are slow to exit the stomach. Veterinarians will not use this technique with convulsing pets, or with pets that swallowed caustic materials such as bleach or petroleum products.”

What to Do in a Dog Emergency: When to See an Emergency Vet
“I can’t believe I ate something bad for me!”

You can’t be around your pup at all times, so you may not catch your dog in the act of eating something they shouldn’t. Your job is to notice any changes in your dog’s behavior. If they begin to show signs of lethargy, start vomiting, have loss of coordination, or the other symptoms we mentioned, take your dog to visit her doctor.

Please SHARE to pass on this story to a friend or family member.

Dog Eye Tears And What They Mean

Do Dogs Cry?

I found this article written by The Labrador Site Team and thought it was very interesting and informative for dog eye tears.

A dog looking out the window with a tear handing on their nose.

If you are a dog owner, then you surely understand that your canine has feelings. And research increasingly supports the view that dogs experience a range of emotions.

A study in 2016 showed that dogs are able to recognize emotions not only in other dogs but in humans too. In addition, many dog owners share stories about their dogs trying to comfort them when they are crying or upset.

Excitement, fear, love and anger are some emotions that your dog is likely to feel.

Different dogs with facial emotions.

When trying to understand your canine’s emotional range and figuring out their overall health needs, you may wonder whether your dog feels sadness and cries like a human.

You also may be curious whether they cry due to pain or illness.

Keep reading and we’ll discover whether dogs feel sad and if they shed real tears.

Do Dogs Feel Sadness?

Lab that looks like they are about to have tears.
We know now that dogs experience a wider range of emotions than previously thought.

Unlike humans, dogs become emotionally mature early and have an emotional range equivalent to a two- to two-and-a-half-year-old child.

If you are familiar with toddlers, then you certainly know that they cry. Like a toddler, dogs feel emotions like fear, distress, anger, and suspicion.

These emotions are related closely to sadness. However, more complex emotions like shame and guilt never develop in dogs. So, dogs do not feel sadness quite like humans do.

Despair, remorse, depression, dejection, and misery are a few words that you might use to describe your own sadness. But when it comes to your dog, stress, discontentment, and uneasiness are better descriptors.

Do Dogs Cry When Sad?

When a dog is sad, you may see telltale signs that it is upset.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), canines have specific types of body language that can tell you how they are feeling.

While body language may not directly indicate a specific emotion, it can tell you if your dog is content, scared, or feeling aggressive.

Pug that is happy with a smile and tongue hanging out.

Relaxed features indicate contentment. When relaxed, your dog’s mouth will be slightly open with the tongue out, and it may be panting. Its eyes may almost seem to be squinting, and the ears and tail will be in neutral positions.

A dog that is cowering with ears down and making them seem small.

In the case of fear or stress, your dog may take a submissive posture. Eyes will be partially closed, the ears will be pinned back against the head, and the tail will be between the legs. You may also see the mouth closed and the snout angled toward the floor.

It may seem as though your dog is cowering in front of you.

Dog that is barking while laying down because they are hurting.

When your dog is in distress, you may notice some vocalizations.

Stress vocalizations include high-pitched barks, whimpering, and yelps. Yelps, whines, and whimpers may also indicate that your dog is experiencing pain. A dog in pain is more likely to growl or bite, so use caution if you think your dog might be suffering.

A human and his dog with the same facial expression.

In some cases, you may even notice your canine companion mimicking human words or sounds. This is a common tactic your dog may use to show affection if you have reinforced this behavior.

While all of these things may be noted, there is one thing you will not see—your dog crying tears.

Can Dogs Cry Tears?

You may want to know, can dogs cry? Yes, dogs can shed tears.

However, they do not cry in the way we do in response to emotion. To understand dog eye tears and crying, it may help if we take a look at how a dog’s eyes are constructed.

Dogs have the same basic eye structure as other mammals. The cornea, lens, conjunctiva, and sclera make up the different tissues within the eyeball, just as they do in our eyes.

Structure and Function of the Eye

The eye sits in the orbit—or eye socket—and is protected by the upper and lower eyelids.

The tissues of the eye need to be kept moist. Moisture lubricates the tissues so the eyes can move smoothly in the socket and the eyelids can glide over the eyes.

We all know how uncomfortable dry eyes can be, and it’s the same for dogs.

Moisture also helps to wash away grit and debris that can scratch the sensitive surface of your dog’s eye.

Humans have a fairly simple lubrication system that involves the secretion of fluid from glands. They are called lacrimal glands, tear glands to you and me, and each eye has one.

These glands release fluid that is then forced over the surface of the eye with the help of your eyelids.

Do Dog Eye Tears Differ from Human Tears?

Yes, our dog’s tears are different from ours.  Dogs have much more complicated lubrication and eye moisture systems.

The third eyelid is located in the corner inside of the eye.

First, canines have a third eyelid located in the inner portion of the lower eyelids. This third eyelid, or nictitating membrane, is a clear structure that moves over the eye to protect it. It also moistens the cornea while maintaining vision and produces lymph fluid that helps prevent infection

Dogs also have three types of glands that provide moisture for the eyes. These glands work together to produce the moisture your dog needs to keep its eyes healthy and functioning properly.

Glands of the dog's eye

They are the lacrimal glands, like humans have, the meibomian glands and mucus glands. The lacrimal glands create watery tears, the meibomian glands produce an oily tear while the mucus glands produce mucus.

When your dog blinks, these three are mixed together. This creates a thicker fluid that takes longer to evaporate and offers better protection to the eyes.

Is Your Dog Crying Tears?

No, your dog isn’t crying tears of sadness. Dogs do not cry when they are sad.

In fact, humans are the only beings that cry. According to Scientific American, humans even stand out against other primates as the only animals that cry emotional tears.

So, what is going on if you see dog tears? Well, it is likely an issue that requires the assistance of your veterinarian.

In medical terms, the excessive production of tears is called epiphora.

Tear Stains Under Dogs' Eyes

Epiphora is a medical condition that can be caused either by disease or a congenital disorder. In the case of a congenital disorder, your dog may be predisposed to watery eyes due to the shape of its face, particularly the eyes and nose. Excessive tears may cause red or brownish stains.

Congenital epiphora conditions are most commonly caused by the turning in of the eyelashes, the folding inward of the eyelids, or the bulging of the eyes themselves. 

Dogs like this French Bulldog are prone to eye problems
Flat faced dogs like this French bulldog are vulnerable to eye problems that cause watering and tears.

Labrador Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, Bulldogs, Pugs, and Mastiffs are just a few breeds that are prone to these sorts of issues. 

Other symptoms of epiphora include:

Epiphora in Dogs
  • redness
  • crusting or discharge
  • eye sores or ulcers
  • odor
  • loose or inflamed skin around the eyelids
  • squinting.

If your dog is exhibiting these symptoms, speak with a veterinarian as soon as possible. Treatment should be provided right away so your dog feels as comfortable as possible.

Treatment may be as simple as applying a topical medication daily or as complicated as corrective surgery.

What Causes Dog Eye Tears?

Collage of dogs and different eye conditions.

If not caused by a congenital issue, a medical issue may be causing the eyes to water excessively.

The following conditions may result in excessive tearing:

  • foreign matter or debris in the eye
  • conjunctiva infections
  • sinusitis or acute sinus infections
  • allergies
  • tear duct obstructions
  • immune-related illnesses.

In order to diagnose the cause of epiphora, your veterinarian may need to use imaging tests to find the problem.

Specifically, X-rays may be needed to find eye abnormalities. Imaging and visual examinations may be done with contrast dyes to help your veterinarian distinguish the structures of the eye.

In situations where simple tests cannot be used to locate the issue, the veterinarian may order blood tests, MRIs, or CT scans. In cases where a serious issue is suspected, but cannot be positively identified, surgical exploration may be required.

Dog Eye Tears – Summary

Dogs produce excessive tears from their eyes in response to injury or infection or due to inherited problems with their facial anatomy.

Dogs don’t cry tears in response to emotions, such as sadness or fear, or when they are in pain.

That doesn’t mean that dogs don’t feel emotions. On the contrary, recent research shows that dogs experience and understand a range of emotions. Learning how dogs display their emotions through body language can help us understand them.

If your dog is producing excessive dog eye tears, they are likely to be sore and uncomfortable, so do get it checked out by a veterinarian as soon as possible.


Behind the Door at the Vet

I have worked in the veterinary field for many years and have seen plenty of dogs that come in because they are crying and have something going on with their eyes. The first thing the vet will do is look into their eyes with a light to make sure their pupils are dilating correctly and see if the retina is still attached to the back of the eye. Next, they will stain the eye with fluorescein be sure there are no scratches on the cornea.

Fluorescein Stain to diagnose any scratches on the cornea.
This is fluorescein in the eye to check for any scratches on the cornea.
Test to see how dry or watery the dog's eye is.
This is a test to see how dry or watery the dog’s eye is.

If the eye is bad enough, the vet might suggest surgery to remove the eye if nothing has worked. Dogs are very resilient and this only effects their depth perception and not seeing peripheral vision on that side.

Comments:

Can you tell when your dog feels sad? Do you think your dog knows when you are sad? Tell me about it in the comments box below.


References:

Albuquerque N, Guo K, Wilkinson A, Savalli C, Otta E, Mills D “Dogs recognize dog and human emotions”  The Royal Society 2016

Morris P, Doe C, and Godsell E, “Behavioural reports and subjective claims by animal owners”  Journal of Cognition and Emotion 2007

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/are-humans-the-only-prima/

https://www.merckvetmanual.com/dog-owners/eye-disorders-of-dogs/eye-structure-and-function-in-dogs

Bored Dogs? Use Mental Stimulation

Most pet parents know that physical exercise is vital for their dog’s health and wellbeing. But did you know that mental stimulation is just as important for a happy, healthy, and well-adjusted dogs? Have you noticed your bored dogs being destructive?

Dog is bored inside house and decides to chew on the couch.
“I just know there’s crumbs in here somewhere!”

Keeping your dog’s mind active is a great way to relieve negative emotions like stress, anxiety, and boredom. It can also help prevent behavioral problems, including barking and destructive chewing.

Looking for some fun and engaging ways to keep your pup’s mind active? In this article, I’ll share 8 ways to challenge your dog’s mind.

1) Provide Interactive Toys Made for Dogs

Interactive treat dispenser that dogs have to figure out how to get the treat by pushing buttons.


Providing interactive toys is a great way to challenge your dog’s mind and keep them mentally stimulated. Some of the most popular types of toys include interactive chew toys and puzzle feeders that can be stuffed with treats. Dogs also enjoy toys of different textures, colors, shapes, sizes, and smells to stimulate their senses and keep things interesting.

2) Teach a New Trick to Dogs

Woman training her dog to shake with their paw.


Despite what you may have heard, old dogs CAN learn new tricks! In fact, learning new tricks is a fantastic way for dogs of all ages to stay mentally active. Looking for some simple tricks to teach your four-legged friend? Look at these other articles I give instructions on.

Train how to “Sit”

Train how to “Stay”, “Come”, and “Go to Place”

3) Keep Walks Interesting

Woman taking her dog walking through a forest trail.


Dogs love exploring the great outdoors, and a regular walking routine can keep them physically fit and healthy. The sights, scents, and sounds they encounter on their walks also help stimulate them mentally and prevent boredom that can lead to unwanted behaviors. Provide some variety by walking your dog in different environments and changing the pace and duration of walks to keep things interesting.

4) Organize a Playdate for Dogs

Dogs have a playdate and running with a stick in both their mouths.


Introducing your dog to other dogs is one of the best ways to keep them mentally active and enhance their quality of life. We recommend starting off slowly by introducing your dog to just one or two other dogs. It’s also important to supervise your dog carefully until they’re properly socialized around people and other animals.

5) Play Hide-and-Seek With Dogs

Playing Hide and Seek with the Dogs


A classic game of hide-and-seek is great fun for you and your pup! Tell your dog to “sit” and “stay” then find a hiding place in your home. Next, call your dog’s name and wait for them to sniff you out. Most dogs will enjoy the excitement of tracking you down. It’s also good exercise for their mind and body.

6) Build an Obstacle Course for Dogs

Home made obstacle course for dogs.


Building an obstacle course in your home or yard is an entertaining way to challenge your dog’s mind and teach them basic agility training. Household items like chairs and broomsticks can be used to make a simple course. Extra equipment like tunnels and hurdles can also be purchased from pet supply stores.

7) Practice Obedience Training With Your Dogs

Dog is learning to shake with their paw.


Teaching your dog basic commands can help prevent behavioral problems and keep them safe. Obedience training also stimulates your dog’s mind and strengthens the bond between you and your four-legged friend. Start by teaching your dog the 5 basic commands: sit, stay, lay down, come, and heel.

8) Give Your Dogs Something to Chew On

Frankie with a rawhide chew that he loved.


Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs. It’s great for relieving stress and anxiety, and keeps them mentally and physically stimulated. Choose a high-quality commercial chew toy or a raw bone about the size of your dog’s head. Always supervise your dog while they’re chewing, and never give cooked bones as they can splinter and break.

Playing with Frankie with a rope toy.

I hope you discovered some fun new ways to challenge your dog’s mind! Keeping your pup healthy doesn’t need to be difficult. Just provide plenty of mental and physical exercise.

Dog Poop: What Your Dog’s Poop Is Telling You

Dog is smiling while taking a poop in the weeds.
“After I empty myself, you know I’ll want more food!!”

*Warning: Dog Poop Pictures are Ahead. At least there’s no stink!!

Dog owners have to have a high tolerance for being grossed out. We’re expected to clean up after our pups, and not many of them are trained to use a human toilet.

But picking up your dog’s poop isn’t just a courtesy or a matter of public health, it’s a chance for you to find out what’s going on inside your pup. Dog feces can tell you a lot about a dog’s health and what may be wrong with their diet.

If you see anything unusual about your dog’s poop, then it’s time for a call to your vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment! Here are a few things your dog’s stool can indicate.


Normal Dog Poop

Normal form of dog poop.

Normal, healthy dog poop tends to be firm and a little moist.

You should be familiar with your dog’s normal stool so that you can monitor any changes. The volume, color, and odor are important to note, too.

Dogs who get too much fiber tend to produce high volume with a strong odor. This happens with certain dry food diets, as your dog can’t process all the nutrients and pushes them out. Raw food diets can result in smaller stool with a weaker smell.

Any of these can be normal depending on your dog’s diet, so pay attention to what your pup’s poop usually looks and smells like.


White, Chalky Dog Poop

White chalky dog poop.

Dogs who eat a raw food diet that’s high in calcium or bone might pass stool that is chalky and white. This can be a sign that your dog is at risk for obstipation, which is an inability to evacuate their bowels without outside help.

This chronic constipation can lead to lethargy, loss of appetite, and vomiting. It requires help from a veterinarian, so save these stool samples and bring them in.


White Or Tan Specks in Dog Poop

White specks in dog poop.

If you see white or tan specks in your dog’s stool, you should save a sample and bring it to your vet right away.

These specks can indicate a parasite infestation, like roundworm or tapeworm.

Your vet should be able to detect these things before you see evidence in your dog’s stool, which is why you should always go in for regular check-ups.


Black, Tarry, Green, Yellow, Or Red Dog Poop

Black Tarry Stool In Dogs
Yellow dog stool.
Blood in your dog's poop

Poop that is black, tarry, green, yellow, or red usually indicates bleeding and can be a sign that there are problems in the intestinal or anal area.

It can mean anything from an injury to the GI tract to cancer.

This will require a trip to the vet to determine exactly what the problem is, so again, save your dog’s stool sample so it can be tested.


Soft, Loose Stool

Soft, loose stool.

If your dog’s poop seems soft and loose, it may just be an indication of a change in diet, or it may mean your dog has been eating things they shouldn’t be eating.

If you’ve changed your dog’s diet recently, monitor changes in poop. You may have to alter the diet if it doesn’t improve.

A soft, loose stool can also indicate giardia or another intestinal parasite. Make a trip to the vet if the poop consistency doesn’t return to normal.


Greasy, Gray Stool

Grey greasy stool.

Poop that looks gray and greasy can indicate that there’s too much fat in your dog’s diet.

It may be time for a dietary change because too much fat can lead to inflammatory conditions like pancreatitis. These conditions can be mild or life-threatening, so take your dog’s diet seriously.


Watery Diarrhea In High Volume

Watery diarrhea coming out of a dog taking a poop.
“I can’t stop pooping!!”

If your dog is having three to five bowel movements a day and producing a high volume of diarrhea every time, it’s likely a problem in the small intestine.

There can be any number of causes from injury, to a viral infection, to bacteria, to food allergies.

Your vet will need to determine the cause, so bring in a sample of the stool for testing.


Watery Diarrhea In Low Volume

Small amount of watery diarrhea.

If your dog is having more than five bowel movements a day and producing a low volume of diarrhea each time, the problem is probably in the large intestine.

Again, there can be a range of causes, including worms, polyps, ulcers, or cancer.

Your vet can determine the cause, so you should provide a sample of the stool for testing.


Soft Stool With Mucous

Poop with mucous.

A soft stool with a coating of unusual mucous can be a sign that parvovirus or parasites are present. If you notice worms or eggs in soft or watery stool, this is also an indication of parasites.

If you see this type of stool, then–this shouldn’t be a surprise at this point–get to your vet and provide them with your dog’s stool sample.

Your vet should be able to catch many of these infestations before you see visible signs in your dog’s stool, so make sure to keep up with regular check-ups.


My Dog Poo Stories

I’ve had my fair share of looking at dog poop from Frankie and Chloe to working with other people’s dogs.

With Frankie, he would always be eating something he shouldn’t like leaves and seeds that fall from trees. It would always make him have diarrhea. When he got older, we started noticing mucus and blood in his stools. We took him to the vet and he was diagnosed with pancreatitis. Thanks to us paying attention to his poo, he got medication right away.

Chloe usually has normal poops. I’m always looking closely to make sure nothing is weird about her stools. Once in a while when she gets new treats, she might get some diarrhea, but we keep her very regular with her food.

When working with other people’s dogs, I always let them know what types of stools mean. Being a vet assistant, I am always happy when clients bring in stool samples of their dogs. It’s a very important item to dissect to understand what is going on inside the dog.

Kid patting a dog that is pooping.

Candy That’s Most/Least Dangerous for Dogs

This is a great article I found on Rover.com that explains what kind of candy and chocolate is bad for dogs. Most importantly is keeping your dog away from the candy.

What should you do when there’s a candy emergency?


Quick, what’s worse for your dog: Hershey’s or Jolly Ranchers? Or is there a difference?

Candy pile that dogs shouldn't have.

We asked the author of The Ultimate Pet Health Guide, holistic veterinarian Dr. Gary Richter, for his take on Halloween candy and our pets. We know that dogs and candy don’t mix, but some types are more dangerous than others. Even chocolate treats vary in their potential for harming our dogs.

*Dr. Richter is a member of Rover’s Dog People panel of experts.

Candy that’s not a health threat in a small quantity

A small quantity means less than 10 grams. That’s about two teaspoons. Another way to visualize the quantity: one Jolly Rancher is 6 grams.

Vegan Halloween Candy: Your Essential Guide | Keeping the Peas
  • Candy corn
  • Skittles
  • Sour candy
  • Lemonheads
  • Starburst
  • Smarties
  • Blow Pops
  • Jolly ranchers

Unsafe candy in larger quantities

Larger quantity here means greater than 10 grams. Chocolate is harder on small dogs, so your dog’s weight is a factor in chocolate toxicity.

Chocolate candy that dogs should never ingest.
  • Almond Joy
  • Reese’s
  • M&Ms
  • Snickers
  • Kit Kat
  • Twix
  • Tootsie rolls
  • Dark chocolate (medium to large dogs)
  • Butterfinger
  • Milky Way

Unsafe candy in any quantity

Xylitol Candy is not good for any dog to ingest.
  • Bubble gum containing Xylitol
  • Dark chocolate (for smaller dogs)
  • Raisinets
  • Raisin-containing candy
  • Sugar-free treats sweetened with xylitol

What is Xylitol?

The artificial sweetener xylitol is highly toxic to dogs and cats. Sugar-free gum and other “low calorie” foods frequently contain xylitol.

Ingestion of xylitol can lead to low blood sugar, seizures, and/or liver failure.


Milk chocolate vs. Dark chocolate candy


Chocolate is bad for dogs because of a compound called theobromine. The darker the chocolate, the more of that compound exists. So generally speaking, dog owners should worry more about darker chocolates such as bittersweet varieties.

Dark Chocolate Candy is the most potent for dogs.

However, that doesn’t milk chocolate is ideal for dogs. Dr. Gary explains, “there is very little actual chocolate [in milk chocolate], but a small dog and a large quantity can be an issue. Also, the sugar and fat can lead to GI upset.”

He adds that “the relative level of toxicity is related to the amount ingested, the type of chocolate, and the size of the animal. Smaller animals and larger amounts of chocolate are the most potentially dangerous combination.”

Symptoms of chocolate toxicity in dogs:

  • hyperactivity
  • tremors
  • elevated heart rate
  • seizures

“Chocolate can be fatal in high enough quantities,” he adds, emphasizing that “the most toxic chocolates are the ones with the highest level of cacao.”

What should you do when there’s a candy emergency?

Dog ate chocolate candy and now feels horrible.

If chocolate, artificial sweeteners, raisins, or macadamia nuts are ingested by your pet, contact a veterinarian or animal poison control immediately.

Animal poison control: (888) 426-4435

Dr. Gary makes this final point: “remember, symptoms of toxicity may take hours or even days to show up. In many cases, by the time a pet looks sick, it may be too late to treat them successfully.”

So when in doubt, call in help!


My View Behind the Vet Door

I’ve been employed in a couple veterinary clinics where I’ve seen the dogs come in for ingesting chocolate and candy. The sooner they are brought in, the faster the recovery is. I’ve witnessed a dog that ate 6 little bags of chocolate coins, a dog that ate most of a bag of Andes Mints, and a dog that ate Whoppers. In each case, we had to give them medicine to make them throw it up. (At least the vomit smells like chocolate!) After that, we give them liquid charcoal so that any remaining chocolate will not be absorbed into their system.

Dog in a vet clinic that veterinarian has induced vomit. Vomit chocolate everywhere!

It’s usually a messy scene with all the vomit and charcoal splattered everywhere, but the dog gets to feeling better after everything is out of their system.

So be sure to keep all chocolate and candy up and away from dogs!!

Dog Snore: Does Your Dog Snore While Asleep?


It is not unusual to see pet owners let their pets sleep with them at night. In fact, 1/3 of pet owners have at some point, allowed their pets to sleep on their beds. Dogs provide a companionship that can’t be given by any other breed of animals. It’s nice to have a little furry body to cuddle with. But does your dog snore?

Dog that gets to sleep in owner's bed.
“ZZzzzzzz”

Dogs have a sleep pattern that is much like ours. Dogs often resign with complete trust on their humans, which makes them a bit more relaxed during the night. This explains why most dogs fall to sleep more easily and later on, enter into deep sleeps where REM sleep activities can occur.

Dreaming While They Sleep

In fact, once dogs enter this stage, the owner needs to shake them heavily before they are actually roused from sleep. (Be careful if you have to wake them as they may startle and bite accidentally.)

Puppy that doesn't care what happens when they are sleeping.
“I’m dreaming I’m a Ninja.”

Many of us have already witnessed a dog paddling during sleep or at times, barks with eyes close. These dogs are said to be dreaming.

Breathing While Asleep

Breathing patterns can also be observed among dogs. There are breeds which deliver heavier breathing while there are those who breathes very lightly. The heavy breathers are much prone with snoring than those who do not snore as heavily.

Dogs who snore can be quite a nuisance during the night, depending on the degree and frequency of the occurrence of this phenomenon. This is why Chloe is not allowed to sleep in my bed at night!

Like with humans, there are various considerations why dogs snore. Most though deals with the obstruction of air passage which cause the collision of certain parts along the throat area that in turn, leads to collapse of these parts.

Diagram of the soft palate in regular nose and short nosed dogs that make them snore while they sleep.

A snoring dog must be checked of various causes to determine which treatment can be best applied. Some dogs are especially prone to specific allergic reaction that causes the constriction in the airway.

It may also be that there are some excess tissue found in this area that inhibits proper breathing. It is best if a veterinarian checks on various factors through careful evaluation of the dog’s anatomical features and general symptoms.

Obesity Can Make Dog Snore While They Sleep

A chunky dog laying in the grass.
“Did you mention food?”

Or probably, your dog is overweight. Like with humans, obese dogs are more likely to snore during the night. This is because they have more flesh surrounding their throats. Thus, they have excess tissues that dangle along the throat which can potentially cause the obstructions.

Once this problem is corrected, the risks of developing snores will be decreased. This would not only be healthy for your dogs, you may eventually enjoy nights of quiet tunes.

Snoring also lies with the general face features. Dogs all seem to have pushed-in faces which narrows their air passages to certain degrees. The construction of their nasal passages also largely contribute to the difficulty of breathing.

Pugs are prone to snoring while they sleep.
Shih-tzus are prone to snoring while they sleep.
Bulldogs are prone to snoring while they sleep.

They are like humans who are forced to breathe using only twenty-five percent of their actual nostrils. Dog breeds with shorter faces need lots of effort to maximize their nostrils. It takes them more hard work to control breathing and they are more prone to snoring.

Surgery For Dog Snore

Minor surgeries can do your dog great relief. Be sure though that before any decision is made, you are well educated with the potential risks and consequences of surgery for dog snoring. Most are actually irreversible so careful analysis must be rendered. It is best to follow the guidelines provided by your veterinarian.


Frankie & Chloe Snore!

Frankie cuddling with his bunny while he goes to sleep.

Since Frankie was a pug, of coarse he would snore because of his smooshy face. He would always love to lay on papaw’s lap and fall asleep (my dad would fall asleep also). He had a tiny snore and when he would start dreaming, he would start puffing out his little cheeks with a little “wuf”. We always made sure his throat and trachea was ok with the veterinarian.

Chloe sleeping in my bed while I get dressed.

Chloe is a boxer/pit mix with a nose that’s just a little shorter than normal. When I took her for a check-up with the veterinarian, they asked me if she snored and that there is a procedure they can do to cut her elongated palate. It wasn’t a necessary surgery since she did fine with eating and drinking without choking. I love her snore and wouldn’t change it!

Dog Weight: Who’s A Little Chunky With Rolls?

Loving Your Dog With Food

French Bulldog eating pizza by himself saying, "Just one more slice! It won't effect my weight!"
“Don’t judge me! I swear, just one more slice!”

We all love our dog babies, but we might be loving them too much with food that effecting their dog weight. I know it’s hard to resist their puppy dog eyes when they want a treat! But we should monitor how our pet’s weight is affecting them. Just like humans, too much weight on their body and joints will lead to health problems.

A dachshund that is very over weight and is just looking sad at their ball.
“Are you telling me I’m the same shape as my ball?”

Dogs can gain weight for various different reasons, like overeating, too many treats, or an underlining health issue. … This can cause stress on your pet’s body, exacerbate other health issues like heart disease and arthritis, and can end up taking years off your pet’s life.

Health Problems Caused By Dog Obesity Weight

There are many diseases and conditions that come along with extra pounds. These include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Osteoarthritis, especially in the hip
  • High blood pressure
  • Orthopedic problems, cranial cruciate ligament injuries
  • Skin disease
  • Heart and Respiratory Disease
  • Decreased life expectancy (up to 2.5 years)

Using body weight as a guide, dogs are considered to be overweight when they weigh 10-20% above their ideal body weight. They are considered obese when they weigh 20% or more above their ideal body weight.

VCA Animal Hospital

Veterinarians have a guide that you can use to assess your dog.

Diagram of the appropriate weight that dogs should be just by looking at them.

So Your Dog Weight is A “Chonk”

There are ways to put your dog on a “diet”. I know nobody likes to hear that word, especially dogs that really want that treat or a little extra food! You have to be your dog’s willpower. BE STRONG FOR YOUR DOG SO YOU BOTH CAN ENJOY MORE HAPPY DAYS TOGETHER!!

Frankie and Chloe on a walk with Mommy to get Frankie to lose weight.
Mommy’s bootcamp walk!!

Food:

Your veterinarian can tell you how much your dog should eat for their stage of life. Puppies usually get fed 3 times a day as pose to senior dogs need fed less because they are less active. (The feeding guide on food bags are usually more because the food companies want you to buy more of their food more often.) You can try putting their food down for 15 minutes and let them eat. When they stop and walk away, pick up the food so they aren’t eating all day long.

Exercise:

Funny pug working out by benching weights.
“I can do this!”

Get your dog more active! When going for walks, you can make it more vigorous with a little jogging or hiking. (I know not all people will want to do this, me including!) Even just a short walk outside will do you both good to clear your head and have bonding time with your dog. Have more play time with fetching, playing with toys, or with a laser (make sure not to shine in dog’s eyes.) by making them chase after it. I personally do this with Chloe. She goes nuts and runs around the house to catch it!

Treats:

Diagram of vegetables that dogs can eat instead of cookies.

This is where most of the calories come from! Dog cookies, bully sticks, pill pockets (they have to make these taste good if there’s a pill inside!), and peanut butter are some of the treats with the most calories. Instead you can give your dog carrots, green beans (rinsed with water), celery, asparagus, blueberries, and snap peas. You can put these in toys that hold “treats” just the same as dog cookies. It will give your dog something to do and you’re not just “handing out” treats.

More on about dogs eating carrots in another one of my blog posts: Can dogs eat carrots?

Frankie’s Story

I know it’s tough to keep them on a healthier lifestyle especially when they are begging for treats that they used to have. I had to do all this with my Frankie.

Pugs are one of popular breeds that gain weight fast because they are just so cute! We used to free feed him (just leaving a bowl full of food out all day) and giving him lots of treats like dog cookies and my dad giving him table scraps (I DO NOT CONDONE GIVING TABLE SCRAPES!!!).

Pugs are suppose to weigh between 16-18lbs and Frankie was hitting 30lbs!!! The veterinarian diagnosed him with diabetes and told us to cut down his meals to twice a day with special weight/diabetic food. He also mentioned to give him treats like carrots and green beans (rinsed with water to get the salt off). That was a wake up call to all of us.

He was put on insulin twice a day. And this would be for the rest of his life! Frankie didn’t care what he was eating as long as he had something to chew on. We bought toys that you can put “treats” in and he had to figure out how to get them out. He loved playing around with them and plus it gave him exercise chasing the toys around. After months of being strict about his food and treats, he weighed around 20. He was a lot happier, as long as there were carrots in his toys!!

Frankie on mamaw's lap miserable because he weighs so much and the sweater I made him, made him look chunkier.
“Mom, this sweater you made me makes me look fat!”
Frankie after he lost a lot of weight and happier.
“I’m ready to work on anything!”

Bath Time: Who’s A Dirty Dog? Time to Clean

Does your dog stink or have mud on their fur?

Dogs need to have a bath just like humans to get off grime and filth. You wouldn’t want to live in a house where nobody showered!!

Dog smiling because he's all dirty from running in mud.
“I smell so good now! Don’t you love that smell?”

What’s the best option for your dog to get bathed?

You can bathe your dog by yourself at home, take them to a grooming salon, or hire a bathe/groomer to come to your house in their dog bathing van. Each of these are great choices. I personally give bathes to Chloe at home in my shower!

I’ve used a waterless shampoo for in between baths for Chloe to smell good!

Dog Bath at Home

Dog getting a bath at home in a tub.

Be sure to have everything ready and handy when you are going to start bathing. You don’t want a half watery/soapy dog running around your house! You can brush your dog before getting them wet to get rid of excess fur. (Don’t brush afterwards because that just causes the fur to pull and you may pull clumps of fur out by the roots!)

Water, Shampoo, Rinse, Dry

Bathing dog outside with hose.
“Please hurry up, that’s really cold!!”
  • If you are doing this outside, a hose is good if the setting of the nozzle is on shower (you don’t want to irritate their skin if on a forceful setting.) Another thing is with a hose, you don’t get to change the temperature of the water so it’s going to be very cold.
  • Have something for the dog to stand on so they aren’t slipping and sliding around.
  • If you are doing this in your tub/shower, make sure the water is luke warm. If you have a little dog, you can do this in the sink. Don’t use hot water as this can scald the dog’s skin.
  • You’ll want to start apply water gently over their feet at first to get them used to the water. Then you can go up their legs to their torso. When you reach their neck, be careful not to get any water in their ears. This can lead to ear infections because water can get trapped around the eardrum. If you do get water in their ear, you can clean out their ears with dog ear cleaner to make sure no bad bacteria grows. (Here is my guide on cleaning ears.)
  • You can use a face cloth to wash off their face.

Dog Shampoo

Selection of dog shampoos made for dogs.
  • Next is the dog shampoo. MAKE SURE TO USE ONLY USE SHAMPOO SAFE FOR DOGS. Human shampoos are too harsh for dog’s skin. Dog shampoo is formulated for their sensitive skin and fur. You’ll want to lather below the neck (making sure not to get any in their ears!) and down their bodies. When you get to the feet, make sure to suds up between the toes. This is where your dog’s “corn chip smell’ is coming from! I like to massage my dog as I’m doing this. It’s also a great way to check if there are any new lumps or bumps.

Rinse Off

  • Now the rinsing off!! Start at the neck and put water down their back to rinse the soap in a downward motion. Make sure your get all the soap off because it can dry and may irritate the skin. And make sure their face is clear of any shampoo.
  • After all the rinsing is done, it’s time to dry off. I like to towel dry my dog by rubbing the towel all over. (Chloe always loves this.) Pay attention to drying the feet as they hold a lot of water. Give their paws a slight squeeze to get the water out.
  • NOW GET READY FOR THE ZOOMIES!!! It’s the dog’s way of drying themselves off. They will probably want to rub on the furniture, flop around on the carpet, or go outside and roll around!
Pug having zoomies after a bath.
“I NEED THIS CLEAN SMELL OFF ME!!”

Do-It-Yourself Petwash

Do-It-Yourself bath area in stores.

At many pet stores, they offer you a place where you can bring in your dog and use their special tubs along with shampoos, combs, towels, and dryer. This is a good medium choice if you don’t want to bathe your dog at home and don’t want to pay a lot for a groomer.

Pricing is usually a one set price for any dog. (I’ve done these many times with Chloe. It takes a lot of strain off your back and you don’t have to clean up your dog’s mess!)

Taking them to a Groomer

Groomer giving a dog a blow-dry after having a bath.

Taking your dog to the groomer can safe a lot of hassle on your part. (I know my back always hurts after bathing Chloe.) At the groomers, there are trained staff that know how to take care of your dog’s fur coat. They have special tubs and shampoos that they can use as well as special drying tools. (No more wet dog running through the house!) The dog is always on a leash inside and outside the tub. The staff know how to wash and rinse your dog’s coat and what kind of drying methods to use. (Short nosed dogs can’t have a heated dryer in their kennel because of probable overheating.) They have powerful dryers that get down to the skin to dry any coat. After they dry, they can brush out your dog’s fur to make it nice and silky.

Pricing with groomers vary because of services that they offer. They may also go by what kind of breed. A Saint Bernard would cost more than a medium short hair dog!

Groomer come to your house

Mobile Dog bath truck that comes to your house.

Groomers are becoming more mobile and bring all their equipment to your house. They do all the bathing in their van/truck. It’s nice to not have to get your dog in your car to take them to their groomers. Plus, with all this pandemic stuff going on, it’s a better option if you don’t want to bathe your dog yourself. They do all the same things as they would if they were in a concrete building. Bathing tubs with leash holders, special shampoos, and dryers are all equipped in their van/truck.

Pricing with mobile groomers vary on location they have to travel and the size/breed of your dog. It’s a simple process and you can set up for the groomer to come to your house as often as you like.


Frankie and Chloe Bath Time

Funny pug in a tub getting a bath and making fart bubbles.
“Some of these are fart bubbles!!”

Frankie always loved to get bathed. We would bath him in our tub with a non-slip rug and he would just stand there, take in the nice water and rubs. Of coarse as soon as he was done, he would have after bath zoomies around the house and then poop! He would always excite himself of so much.

I’ve taken Chloe to DYI baths and she likes them until I use the blow dryer. It’s mainly the loud sound it makes. (I don’t blame her. It’s loud!) I’ve given her baths in our tub which makes for a back ache on my part. Plus we didn’t have a handheld shower facet so I used a cup. That took forever!! Tried giving her a bath outside when it was warm because I knew the water would be cold. She hated it. Even though I was sweating, she was trembling cold. So we wrapped her up in towels as I cooled off with the hose!!

Then we build our new shower that is huge so we both can get in, shut the door, and give her a bath. She really likes the new shower because we have a handheld facet that sprays gently and river rock to stand on so it feels natural on her feet.

Shower that we built by ourselves so Chloe can have a bath in a spacious place.
Shower that we built by ourselves.

Fleas & Ticks: Who’s Feeling a Little “Itchy”

Flea in different life stages.
The war on fleas

Has Your Dog Been Perpetually Scratching?

If you find little bugs jumping around or little black specks in your dog’s fur, you should take a closer look to make sure they don’t have fleas or ticks.

How to Spot the Signs of Fleas

Dirt that fleas leave behind. Hint: it's poop!

The problem begins with some scratching here and there. Maybe you spot some tiny specks around the house that you might’ve missed before. Maybe that beautiful hair that was so thick is looking a tad thin these days. Before you know it … yep. It’s confirmed. Your dog has fleas.

Every pet owner should be aware of the signs of a possible flea infestation. They include:

Your dog is scratching the fleas off.

Cartoon dog scratching because it has fleas.

Even if you don’t catch fleas red-handed, if you see your pet scratching or biting at its fur, fleas may well be the culprit. That’s because not only can fleas cause a sharp pain when they bite, their salivary glands give off a substance that’s irritating to many dogs.

You can see the fleas.

Fleas on a flea comb from a dog that is infested with fleas.

Adult fleas are about an eighth of an inch long. They’re reddish-brown and very thin. It’s hard to really see what they look like without a microscope (though it’s easier on a light-colored fur), but they do have big back legs. They can jump, by some measurements, upward and outward at least 12 inches in a single leap. And one estimation finds that for every adult flea found on your pet, there are at least 100 immature ones hanging around.

You can see what fleas leave behind.

Dirt from fleas that they leave behind. Try dipping these specks in water, if it turns red then it's fleas.

It’s called “flea dirt,” and it looks a little like pepper. A good way to test is to put these specks onto some damp tissue paper. If it’s flea dirt, the specks will turn red because of the digested blood they contain. You can spot this “flea dirt” on your pet’s skin, or your pet could leave it someplace, like:

  • Its bedding
  • The carpet
  • That favorite chair they have been sleeping on even though you’ve ushered them off it a thousand times

You can see other suspicious stuff around your home from fleas.

Fleas lay eggs on your pet — tiny white ovals — that mostly fall off into the environment around it (your bed, the dog bed, the carpet, that favorite chair), only to hatch a few days later into flea larvae.

Flea larvae life stage.

You can see larvae, too. They’re little, squiggly, worm-looking things with brown heads that will feed on all those specks until they wrap themselves up into a cocoon called a pupa. From larva to pupa takes about 3-4 weeks. During this time, it’s very hard for any flea treatments to penetrate the cocoon.

This is why it’s important to do routine flea treatment around the house for a month!

Life stages of fleas.

After that, they’re fully grown fleas, looking for a ride and a little of your pet’s (or your) blood.

If you see tapeworms, (internal parasites that are white or pinkish white and look like small pieces of rice that often show up by slipping out of your pet’s rectum) that’s a sign your pet may have been having it out with fleas.

Fleas Cause Hair Loss From Scratching

Is your dog is losing its hair? It’s not from the fleas themselves, but from all the itching and biting. Fleas often gather at the neck and shoulder blades of your pets. The base of the tail and along the back of the legs is a favorite hangout for them, too. Those are also places animals will bite to get to the fleas. That can take its toll on a dog’s coat. With full-blown infestations, fleas are visible in the bare areas of a pet’s belly, too.

Does their skin looks irritated

Dog with hair loss and red skin due to scratching so much to get fleas off them.

If you can get past your pet’s fur and look at the skin, fleabites are usually small, raised red dots. Again, look for bites on the back and neck and on the base of the tail. Another problem with fleabites is they can lead to flea allergy dermatitis, also known as fleabite hypersensitivity. If your pet has this, their skin can become itchy, red, and scaly. It can lead to secondary skin infections, too.

Their gums are pale

Pale gums from having so many fleas feeding off it's blood supply.

With a large infestation of fleas, some pets (especially smaller pups) could be in danger of anemia, or a loss of red blood cells. Fleas can take in up to 15 times their body weight in blood. Pale gums often signal anemia.

Fleas are, in the strictest sense of the word, pests. But they can be way more than that. They can transmit disease (to humans, too) and cause life-threatening problems for your pet.

Treatment for Fleas

Your veterinarian may consider using flea treatments as a “dip” bath which is a deep cleaning with a special shampoo for fleas. Your vet may do the first treatment in the clinic. There are also shampoo for sale at pet stores that work if there aren’t a lot of fleas on your dog. Follow the instructions very carefully. There are “flea”combs that you can go through your dog’s fur to get the fleas out. Flea combs are metal combs close together.

Flea pill/topical medication

Frontline is the best known topical for fleas and ticks.

This is the best thing to have all year round. Fleas are always around. They usually disappear when it’s below 32o F. But as soon as it warms up, they’re back!

For your house

Household cleaners for fleas.

Clean, clean, and clean some more!! You should clean anywhere your do touches. That means carpet, sofa, chairs, bed, your own bed if you let them on there. There are sprays you can buy to spray in all the areas of the house at pet stores. Remember, the cocoon life stage last 3-4 weeks where the sprays won’t be able to penetrate.


Ticks

What a tick looks like up close.


Ectoparasites are organisms that live on the outside of an animal. Ticks are fairly common ectoparasites of dogs. How often you see ticks on your dog and how severe a tick assault will be depends on:

  • the region of the country in which you live
  • the time of year (tick activity varies in warm and cool weather)
  • the habits of your dog
  • how and when you use tick control products

Some ticks can infest dogs that spend most of their time indoors, and even dogs that only spend brief periods of time outside can have ticks.

How will ticks affect my dog?

Pup with a ton of ticks in ear.

Ticks attach to your dog by inserting their mouthparts into your dog’s skin. Many ticks also produce a sticky, gluelike substance that helps them to remain attached. After attaching to your dog, ticks begin feeding on your dog’s blood. The places where ticks attach can become red and irritated.

Anemia

Although rare, ticks can consume enough of your dog’s blood to cause a deficiency called anemia. Certain female ticks can also cause a rare paralysis in dogs as a result of a toxin they produce while feeding. More important, ticks are capable of causing many diseases in your pet. The disease with which most people are familiar is called Lyme disease. Another is Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease from ticks.

Lyme disease can cause arthritis and swelling of your dog’s joints, resulting in painful lameness. Rocky Mountain spotted fever can cause fever, lameness, and other signs. There are also other diseases that ticks can transmit to your dog. Your veterinarian can answer questions about the diseases that are important where you live. View forecasts for Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis in your local area at https://petdiseasealerts.org.

How do I prevent my dog from getting ticks?

It is very difficult to prevent your dog’s exposure to ticks. Ticks can attach to your dog when he or she goes with you on walks, hikes, or during any outdoor activities.

It’s best to buy these products from your veterinarian. Your veterinarian is up-to-date of any reactions and what is best for your dog. There are cheap products out there that have not been properly tested and may cause problems for your dog.

Seresto collar lasts up to 8 months to repel fleas and ticks.
Lasted for 8 months.
Bravecto is one pill every 3 months for fleas and ticks.
One pill every 3 months
Frontline is a pill given every month for fleas and ticks.
Monthly

The best way to prevent ticks from attaching to your dog is by the regular use of tick control products. Your veterinarian can advise you about the best product for your dog and your situation. Your veterinarian is also aware of diseases that are common in your area and can pose a risk to your dog.

If you have a tick problem in your yard consider:

  • treating the outdoor environment (be sure to understand what products you are using and how they affect the environment)
  • making a landscape change to make the environment less tick friendly – this can be done by providing a 3 foot buffer between the lawn and any woods. Mulch, wood chips, or gravel work well, and help to decrease the migration of ticks into yards.
  • ridding your yard of wild animals
  • Often more ticks are present or they are more active at certain times of the year. Your veterinarian can tell you how to avoid locations where large numbers of ticks are found.

Can humans be harmed by ticks?

Tick on a human.

Ticks can attach to and feed on humans. The skin where ticks attach to humans can become red and irritated. Ticks that transmit diseases to your dog can also transmit many of the same diseases to people. It is important to realize that people do not get these diseases from their dogs. Both people and dogs get the diseases from ticks they come into contact with outdoors. Diseases, such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which have already been described in dogs, can also be very serious in humans.

Removing the Tick

Using a pair of tweezers is the most common and effective way to remove a tick. But not just any tweezers will work. Most household tweezers have large, blunt tips. You should use fine-point tweezers, to avoid tearing the tick and spreading possible infections into the bite area.

How to remove tick with tweezers. Make sure you get the head!
Make sure to get the “mouth parts” out.

Spread your dog’s fur, then grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Very gently, pull straight upward, in a slow, steady motion. This will prevent the tick’s mouth from breaking off and remaining embedded in the skin. People often believe it’s the head of the tick that embeds in the skin. But ticks don’t have heads, in the conventional sense, so what gets inserted into your dog is known as “mouth parts.”

Another option that is even easier to master is the use of a tick removal hook. It’s especially useful if you live in a tick-dense area where your dog is frequently playing host to the vexing little critters. There are several types of hooks, like the Tick Twister or the Tick Stick. You simply put the prongs on either side of the tick and twist upward.

A gif showing how to take a tick off with a tick twister.

Never remove a tick with your fingers—it’s not only ineffective, but the squeezing may also further inject infectious material.

After you’ve removed the tick, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly, clean the bite site with rubbing alcohol, and rinse the tweezers or tool with disinfectant.

If you have questions about human diseases that are transmitted by ticks and how you can protect yourself, you should consult a doctor.

DID YOU KNOW?
  • While ticks themselves cause only mild irritation, they can carry diseases that pose a serious threat to animals and humans.
  • Ticks can be prevented by regular use of tick control products.
  • Just pulling off a tick can leave body parts attached to your dog. Ask your veterinarian about proper tick removal and tick control.
  • Illnesses transmitted by ticks can case fever, anemia, paralysis, lameness, and other symptoms.
  • People can not catch Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever from infected dogs, but the same ticks that bite dogs can cause these illnesses and others if they bite humans.
  • Adult ticks can live up to 3 years without blood meal.
  • Ticks live on three different animals during their life.
  • Most ticks spend most of their life OFF the host (animal) in the environment.
  • Ticks can’t jump and don’t “fall from trees” as most people think, but transfer onto hosts when animals or humans walk through long grass, bushes and brush.