How To Tell If Your Dog Is In Pain And What To Do To Help

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Is Your Dog Telling You They’re In Pain?

“I wish I could tell you how I’m feeling.”

Some dogs will let you know when they’re painful in obvious ways, but others act more stoic. Dogs are generally thought to have a higher tolerance for pain than humans, and some dogs will try to hide their pain as a natural survival instinct.

Many of the signs that a dog is painful are subtle, so it’s easier to recognize them if you know what’s normal with your pet. Being aware of your dog’s normal activities and behavior will help you recognize changes that might indicate pain.

Here are six signs that your dog might be feeling painful and what you should do about it.

1. Limping

One of the most straightforward symptoms of pain is limping. This can be a sign of injury, sore paw, or even a reaction to the pain associated with arthritis.

If your dog is reluctant to go up stairs, is slow to get up in the morning, or walks stiffly, it may be arthritis pain, especially if your dog is older. Many dogs suffer from arthritis, but there are ways to help ease the pain. Ask your vet about medications and other treatments.

Back and neck problems happen a lot in dachshunds, but any breed can injure themselves.

Mobility issues and changes in posture are also indicators of a problem that needs medical attention.

2. Vocalization

“AAHHHHHH!! I think I just pulled a muscle!”

The closest thing to speaking for a dog is whining and whimpering, and a dog who cries out painfully is trying to tell you that something hurts bad. Carefully examining your dog’s body may help you discover where the pain is.

A dog who’s usually vocal may become quiet when they’re painful, which is why it’s important to be familiar with your dog’s normal behavior.

Changes in how often your dog barks, whines, or makes other vocalizations can definitely be a sign that something is wrong.

3. Stomach Ache Or Loss of Appetite

“My tummy doesn’t feel right. I shouldn’t have gotten into the trash and ate that old pizza!”

It’s not always easy to recognize tummy troubles in a dog, but here are some signs:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

If a dog is hurting, they’re less likely to eat normally. Watch for loss of appetite that might indicate pain from a stomach ailment, oral discomfort, or other conditions.

If it lasts more than a day, a visit to the vet is in order.

4. Panting

Excessive panting, especially when accompanied by trembling, can be a signal that your dog is painful.

While panting is fairly normal for dogs, you should take notice if they pant at odd times or for no reason. If you notice your dog panting in the middle of the night or in an air conditioned room, check for other indications of pain.

Pain can cause changes in breathing, including an irregular respiratory rate.

5. Restlessness Or Changes In Sleep Habits

“I just can’t fall asleep feeling this way.”

A painful dog can feel restless and exhibit an inability to get comfortable and lie still.

Pacing, repeatedly readjusting position or getting up and down frequently are all causes for concern.

Sleep patterns can be affected as well. A dog in pain might sleep more than usual or could have difficulty sleeping.

Again, familiarizing yourself with your dog’s normal behaviors will help you determine if something is out of the ordinary.

6. Changes In Behavior And Temperament

“THAT’S THE SPOT THAT HURTS!!!!!!”

Pain can change a dog’s behavior and, just like a human, a dog can act grouchy when in pain. Some dogs become more aggressive and may even bite, especially when touched in an area that hurts. It’s the animal’s natural instinct to protect themselves to prevent further pain.

Avoidance behaviors, like shying away from contact with people and other pets are common when a dog is in pain. If your dog normally enjoys being touched and is suddenly making moves to avoid your touch, pain may be the culprit. This is sometimes coupled with depression, lethargy, and mental dullness.

Other dogs may seek more attention and act needy when in pain. Any radical or sudden behavior changes are a clear indication that your dog needs medical attention from a vet.

What To Do If You Suspect Your Dog Is In Pain

It’s important to keep your dog from suffering and to keep minor problems from becoming major ones. Be gentle, and don’t make the pain worse while you’re attempting to locate the cause.

Do not medicate your dog yourself. Human medications for pain and inflammation are dangerous and can be toxic for an animal, especially in the wrong dosage or when combined with other medications. You can call your veterinarian to ask what you can give until your appointment to keep your dog comfortable.

There are many reasons the animal could be in pain, and some of them might indicate a more serious issue. Chronic pain triggers like arthritis can be managed well with your vet’s help.

Go See Your Veterinarian

If you suspect that your dog is in pain, don’t hesitate to get professional help from your veterinarian right away. They can form a diagnosis and prescribe the right treatment.

This is almost always a better option than trying to treat pain in your dog, yourself. If you try to do so, you could end up doing more harm to your dog than good. So get to the vet!

Valentine’s Day With Your Dog

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3 Ways To Celebrate Valentine’s Day With Your Pooch

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time of year to get closer to the ones you love, including your furry friends. As they say, your pet really is a part of the family! 

Unfortunately, your dog can’t really join in on the “traditional” Valentine’s Day things. Chocolate and roses are a bad idea to give to your dog, so you’ll have to get more creative. Here are three ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your pooch that they’re sure to love just as much as you do.

1. Spoil Them with a Special Treat

While dogs can’t have chocolate or most human foods, that doesn’t mean you can’t treat them to something special for your furry friend. With pet bakeries and gourmet treats everywhere, buying a Valentine’s cookie box for dogs is a perfect idea. 

Not only is this a delicious way to include your pet in the Valentine’s Day celebration, but it’s also sure to get them excited for other holidays. Gift your dog special treats, and make sure you have your own (human-friendly) options for yourself so you don’t get jealous!

2. Arrange a Pet Play Date

Your dog might love hanging out with you, but this is a day for love and affection. Bringing other pets into the fun can make this an even better and more festive time. 

If your furry friend gets along with others of his own species, invite some dog friends for a pet play date. A few toys and balls are all the preparation you need to get everyone ready for a fun day. The more, the merrier!

3. Book a Professional Photoshoot 

While you might think professional photographers are only for family portraits and wedding events, think again. More and more photographers are exploring new territory by taking professional, gorgeous photos with pets and their owners. Even if you’re not able to book a professional, you can set up your own at-home photoshoot like a pro. 

What better way to celebrate your love for your pooch than with Valentine’s Day photoshoot? Book a session, get dolled up together, and enjoy the perfect portrait. This makes the best keepsake you’ll cherish for years to come, and your pet is sure to have a lot of fun in the process. 

To take things up a level, get your dog professionally groomed before your big photo session. Have them treated to the best level of pampering, making sure they look their finest for their photos? These are something you’ll want to keep for a while, so you want to have Fido looking his absolute best for the camera. 

Enjoy the Best Valentine’s Day Fun

Your pet is a part of the family, so use Valentine’s Day as a way to honor them and the role they play in your life. As a partner, they’re always there for you in good times and bad, sickness and in health. They’re your companion, so treat them to a special day that’s all about them. 

These three ideas above are perfect no matter what type of activities your pooch enjoys. Dogs love being the center of attention, so any quality time spent with your furry friend is sure to be a great day.

Dog Eye Tears And What They Mean

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Do Dogs Cry?

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. But do dog eye tears really mean they are sad?

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.

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?

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.

Relaxed Face

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.

Fear or Stress Face

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 In Distress

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.

Dogs Mimic Humans

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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:

  • 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?

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.

This is fluorescein in the eye to check for any scratches on the cornea.
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.


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

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

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“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, 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

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

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

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

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

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

“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

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

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 Personal 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.

Stinky Dog Farts: Causes And Prevention Tips

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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.

Song of the Skunk Cabbage

By the shores of Gitche Gumee,

By the shining Falling-Water,

Sat a sated son of nature,

Breaking wind with sacred pleasure.

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.”

“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!

“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

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.

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.

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

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 awful fart smell around the room!

“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!

Winter Time! Taking Care of Your Dog in the Cold

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“I need more clothes than just a scarf!”

Yay! It’s snowing!

Dogs can have a blast in the winter, exploring and frolicking in freshly fallen snow. But dogs (well, most dogs anyway) particularly love a snowy terrain. They like to bound and dig in their giant, new, snowy playground and never seem to want to go inside no matter how ready their humans are to leave the cold and wet outdoors behind.

However, frozen precipitation and colder temperatures can also be dangerous for dogs if their owners don’t take proper precautions. If you’re a new pet parent, or simply unsure of the best way to care for your pet during the winter months, it’s important to get acquainted with the do’s and don’ts of keeping your pet safe and healthy out there.

Keep Them Bundled Up

“I know I look dapper in this sweater!”

Even if the temperature is above freezing, pets’ extremities, just like our own, are extremely susceptible to wind chill. They can get hypothermia and frostbite on their exposed paws, noses and ears. While dogs don’t typically wear hats for long, you can help protect them from the cold by putting them in insulated sweaters and jackets, and covering their feet with waterproof paw booties. Those booties will also help keep their paw pads from cracking from the de-icing salt on roads and walkways.

Wipe Them Down as Soon as They Come Inside

“After you dry me with the towel, can I go back outside?”

As a form of precipitation, snow can leave pets cold and very wet at the end of a snowy play session, and if they remain like that for a while, they could get a cold or hypothermia (your furniture will also take a beating). In order to avoid all that, make sure to towel them off as soon as they come inside. You can keep a designated pet towel by the door so you never forget this important step.

NEVER Leave Pets Outside Overnight or For an Extended Period of Time

“Are they ever going to let me in? I’m starting to get balls of snow stuck to my fur.”

According to the Humane Society, you should never leave pets outside for long periods of time when it gets cold. In fact, leaving a pet outside alone in temperatures below freezing for more than 30 minutes is considered neglect, which is a punishable crime. Even if you have a typically outdoor cat, they should be able to get inside somewhere warm whenever they need to.

If your pet has to spend a significant amount time outdoors, they should have access to a dry, insulated shelter that’s large enough for them to move around in and maintains their body heat.

Eating and Drinking Guidelines

“Is this melted snow?”

Dogs especially expend more energy when they’re running outside in the cold. You can help them make up for that by feeding them a bit more food so they can replace the energy/calories they lost playing. You may also want to consider exchanging your metal food and water bowls for plastic ones if you keep them outside as a warm dog tongue could easily get stuck to them.

Keep Pets From Eating Rock Salt

DO NOT LET DOGS EAT SALT ROCKS

Pets suffering from salt poisoning, unfortunately, becomes much more common in the winter months. Rock salt is regularly used to de-ice the roadways and walkways they walk on. If they ingest it, either while on a walk or by licking it off their paws, it can be fatal. The best way to prevent salt poisoning is to keep an eye on your pet and if you notice they’ve eaten salt, wash their mouth out and call the pet poison hotline. If you’re not sure whether or not your pet has ingested salt, here are some warning signs of salt poisoning to watch out for:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • lethargy
  • not eating
  • excessive thirst
  • and/or urination
  • incoordination
  • tremors
  • seizures

There are safe alternative products to use on your slippery walk and driveway that are pet safe.

Take Them for Their Annual Vet Visit

“You said this was just a check-up. If I feel any shots, I’m pooping in your car!”

Right before winter hits is the perfect time to take your pets in to see the vet, because you’ll learn if they have any new conditions that might make winter a bit tougher on them. For example, chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease can lower a pet’s cold-temperature tolerance. And, of course, new or worsening arthritis can make for stiffer joints during cold snaps.

Shorten Walking Times

“I wish I had some fancy boots to keep my paws warm.”

It may be tempting to let your pet play in the snow for hours on end, but like us, they have cold weather limits, they just aren’t as aware of them. So if it’s below freezing, you should limit playtime to under 30 minutes, especially if you have an older pet or one that’s compromised in any way.

Cold Temperature Guidelines for Dogs

“I don’t whether I want to look silly or be cold.”

In general, cold temperatures should not become a problem for most dogs until they fall below 45° F, at which point some cold-averse dogs might begin to feel uncomfortable. When temperatures fall below 32° F, owners of small breed dogs, dogs with thin coats, and/or very young, old or sick dogs should pay close attention to their pet’s well-being. Once temperatures drop under 20° F, all owners need to be aware that their dogs could potentially develop cold-associated health problems like hypothermia and frostbite.

Don’t Leave Your Pet in a Cold Car

“Ummm, I think you forgot to roll up the window.”

Just like how a car left in the hot sun can heat up fast and basically become an oven for any living thing inside it, cars left out in the winter become like refrigerators. So the general rule of thumb is don’t take your pets on errands if you know you’re going to be leaving them in a car for longer than five minutes, especially if it’s balmy or freezing outside.

Pet-Proof the Inside of Your House

“I could sleep here all day with that warm fire.”

Since your pets should be spending more time indoors in the winter, it’s a good idea to secure all of your heating devices that could be susceptible to a bounding and/or large creature. For example, if you’ve set up a portable heater in your living room, make sure you have a barrier around it so that your pet doesn’t knock into it or knock it over and potentially start a fire. And if you have radiators that can get hot, you might want to put a barrier around them as well so that pets don’t burn themselves.

Frankie Hated the Snow, Chloe Loves the Snow!

“I don’t want to go into that crappy snow! I’ll just poop inside!”

In his younger age, Frankie would tolerate being in the snow to potty, but he never played a whole lot. He just went out to do his business and wanted to come right back inside the house. As he got older and developed diabetes, his litter paws couldn’t take the cold any longer. He would walk out alright, but then he would hop around until someone would pick him up to go back inside.

“Throw me another one of those snowballs!”

Chloe on the other hand could play in the snow forever! She loves running through the snow and being goofy. She especially loves when I make snowballs for her and throw them. It’s funny when she instantly freaks out because she can’t find it in the snow! Then I let her lick a snowball so she knows its a real ball!!

Why Do Dogs Chase Squirrels? National Squirrel Day!

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Why Dogs Chase Squirrels

“I’m going to get you little squirrel!”

A walk in the park or a stroll down a country lane can turn into a frenzied hunt for squirrels for some dogs and their owners! A flighty little dash of fur and suddenly your pup is off on the chase. Their prey drive kicks in and there is very little you can do when this happens.

Hunting, chasing and rushing off after small animals are a worry if you are out walking and trying to enjoy some exercise. Everyone wants to feel safe to walk in a park or open country environment with their dog.

Chasing squirrels is particularly common for breeds of dogs with instinctive desires to hunt. They get the scent of a little critter like a squirrel and Mother Nature takes over. Small breeds of dogs, like Terriers, are natural born hunters. In many situations, uncontrolled chasing can have unhappy consequences. Overcoming instinctive reactions is challenging but not impossible. Armed with patience and some helpful guidelines, you will be able to make a difference and curb this behavior.

The Root of the Behavior

Hunting

“I’m going to get you this time! That’s the last time you poke fun at me.”

Hunting is a natural behavior of animals like dogs that have descended from wolves. Nature has equipped dogs with a strong sense of smell and a desire to chase smaller creatures. Their brains are wired to respond to an animal running away with a chase reaction. Add to that some breeds are bred to track and flush out game. They are driven by the scent of the animal they are chasing and an innate prey drive response. When your dog gets into this instinctive mode, it is difficult to change their mind without some prior intervention and coping skills.

Sense of Smell

“I know I can smell a trail of squirrels around here somewhere. Can you smell them?”

A dog’s keen sense of smell is the key issue. Dogs have a sense of smell that is between 1000 to 10,000 times more powerful than ours. Some dogs, like Beagles, are incredibly scent driven. Dogs also have a large olfactory center in their brain where they can store all the information about smells they know. The scent of squirrel is probably high up there on the list of scents to remember. In some cases, long after the squirrel has disappeared, your dog will carry on the chase just because they still smell the scent of the squirrel.

Squirrel: “Maybe if I just act like a dog, he won’t notice me.”

The hound group of dogs is especially scent driven. It is a good idea to find out about a breed and it’s instinctive behavior before you contemplate having them join your family.

Positive Reinforcement Obedience Training

A good place to start correcting the behavior is with some basic obedience training. If you are aware that the breed you have is a member of the scent hound division, then keeping their focus on you is going to be very important.

Your dog should focus on you while on walks when you notice something that may trigger your dog to misbehave.

Attending obedience classes and learning the basic commands of sit and stay will give you more control. Reward your dog for listening and being focused on you. Little treats that they really love will give the message that you have a better reward to offer than the squirrel in the tree. Correcting instinctive behavior is challenging. While you are trying to correct the behavior walk on a leash or even use a Head Collar to have control over lunging and pulling.

Avoid areas with lots of squirrels while you are training. Start your obedience activities a fair distance away from the squirrel zone and move closer as you see your dog being more focused on you and less on the squirrels.

Prey driven behavior may need the help of an animal behaviorist if you are not able to deal with this yourself.

Encouraging the Behavior

Squirrel chasing is always going to distract your dog on a walk as it buys into their prey drive instinct. The natural sequence of predatory action is:

  • search
  • stalk
  • chase
  • grab

It is important to watch out for the initial stages of this sequence and intercept before the chase begins. Try to watch your dog and anticipate the beginning of the sequence and intercept with a distraction. A noise distraction is often successful as this will draw attention away from the squirrel even if it is just for a moment. A tin full of coins to shake or loud whistle could be the noise distraction.

Join a Group For Tracking Dogs

The prey driven dog or scent hound may actually bring you a lot of joy if you recognize their natural ability and join groups of other dogs and their owners participating in tracking events. Training with other dogs and rewarding your dog for the behavior they were bred to do could be great fun for both of you.

Find dog tracking groups at: https://www.akc.org/sports/tracking/getting-started/

Scent Game at Home

Learn how to play scent games at home or in your backyard.

Start with a few bits of kibble or a treat and let your dog search for the treats. Say ‘find it’ or ‘go fetch’ as a command and then build on the experience by hiding treats in more difficult places. You will be rewarding your dog for using their natural instinct and challenging their mental and physical abilities. Although chasing squirrels is not to be encouraged, participating in scent trail groups and organized activities is a great idea.

Search and rescue activities and agility are all the kinds of dog outlets that will go a long way towards enjoying the instinctive nature of your dog as a true blue hound.

Other Solutions and Considerations

Your dog’s safety is always of paramount importance and therefore encouraging random chasing in public places poses dangers to the dog and other citizens. Starting obedience training early on in your dog’s life will help enormously to give you the upper hand.

Trying to break the pattern of a prey drive instinct will require patience and determination. You will always have to manage your walk with care as you look out for the instinctive signs of a chase mode. Getting your dog to focus on you is the important behavior you are looking for.

Remember the chase is enjoyable for your dog. They are having fun while you struggle to get them under control. Some breeds are more driven to chase than others, so take that into consideration and find activities to allow for this instinctive desire to chase. Your prey driven dog will thank you!

Patience Will Pay Off

“I know I’m not suppose to chase after that squirrel, but he’s been mocking me!”

Preventing squirrel chasing could be almost impossible with some breeds of dogs but you may be pleasantly surprised when some of your patience and time spent training pays off. Imagine how you and your dog will feel after a round of ‘find it’ in the park when you have a moment of success.

Knock knock.

Who’s there?

Fido.

Fido who?

Fidon’t catch that squirrel, I am going to go nuts!

Chloe LOVES Looking For Squirrels

“What kind of creature are you?”

Chloe loves squirrels. Whether it’s sitting inside looking out the window for squirrels or walking and catching a glimpse of one before I redirect her attention. She’ll try sneaking on them if she’s in the backyard, but she’s not very good at sneaking!

She’s only caught one squirrel that had an injured leg (squirrel was too slow!). Chloe only had it gently in her mouth, then dropped it when I yelled at her to drop it! The squirrel wasn’t injured by Chloe and ran away.

On walks when she sees one, she’ll start whining and do her little jumpy dance. I just have to redirect her with a little “Ah, ah” and she will stop with a little huff. (She gets mad that she can’t play with the squirrels!)

How To Stop A Dog From Digging

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Why Do Dogs Like to Dig Holes?

“There has to be some treasure here somewhere!”

Do you need to know how to stop a dog from digging up their yard? Just why do dogs dig holes? And how can we keep dogs from digging under fences and in flower beds?

If your puppy has been digging holes in the flower bed every time your back is turned, or every time you try and plant something in the flower bed, you are probably wondering how to stop them.

To stop a dog from digging effectively, it’s important to understand why they are digging holes. Dogs dig holes for lots of different reasons. Once you know why your dog digs holes in the yard, you’ll have a better chance of stopping them effectively, without conflict.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons your dog might be digging. And what you can do to prevent him from digging.

How Do I Stop My Dog From Digging?

There are two possible ways to stop a dog from digging. One is to prevent access to the area they like to dig. The other is to work out why they are digging, and then tackle the root cause.

Erecting a fence to separate your dog from any area that they could potentially dig is something that you could consider. If your puppy is still small, then you could use a puppy pen to prevent them from getting access to their desired area.

However, most people do not want to fence their backyard. They would rather enjoy spending time in it with their dog – but without fear for their rose bushes!

So let’s look at alternatives to fencing your dog out of their favorite digging zones.

Why Do Dogs Dig Holes?

To understand how to stop a dog from digging, your first step should be to establish why they are doing it.

There are a lot of possible reasons that your dog could be digging. These include enjoyment, prey drive, accidental reinforcement from the owner, excess energy and even escape efforts!

Let’s look at each of the potential reasons in turn, and what you can do to help stop your puppy digging in each scenario.

“Where did I put that bone?”
  • Temporary Changes: Stress-Related Digging
  • Digging For Fun
  • Digging to Hide Food
  • Dogs That Have Learned to Dig
  • Dogs Digging to Solve A Problem
  • Energetic Dogs That Dig
  • Dogs Digging Under Fences to Escape

Temporary Changes to Your Dog’s Situation

Pregnant bitches can dig when they wouldn’t ordinarily, due to instincts to create a place for their pups.

Likewise some dogs dig when they are anxious. This stress can be caused by a new environment or change in lifestyle. For example if you have gone on holiday and someone else is caring for them.

Provided things go back to the status quo soon, then this digging behaviour should reduce once normality returns.

If your pregnant bitch starts digging in a way which is out of character for her, then it’s worth waiting to see whether this behavior stops once she has had her litter of puppies.

However, if your puppy or dog is a keen digger and the behavior has increased gradually over time, then you will need to take action to stop your dog digging. What you should do to prevent dogs from digging holes will depend upon the reasons why they are digging them in the first place.

Dogs Enjoy Digging!

“Is this hole big enough for your flowers?”

Some dogs dig just for the fun of it. This is more likely to be the case with Labrador puppies than adults. Some dogs will lose interest in digging as they grow.

Sometimes a dog that digs for fun will continue doing it into adulthood however. This is something which certain breeds of dog, such as Terriers, are more inclined to do because of their ancestors’ roles.

For those dogs who continue to enjoy digging, there are ways to channel this enthusiasm more productively. One which a lot of people find success with is in making them a dedicated digging ground. This will usually consist of a structure much like a children’s sandpit. You can encourage them into it if they are reluctant to go by offering treats and standing in it yourself. However, most dogs upon realising that there is an easy to dig surface will happily redirect their efforts to it.

Rather than trying to prevent dogs from digging, in this scenario we just give them their own dedicated digging zone! The dog is still happy, and so are your rose bushes!

Dogs Digging to Hide Extra Food

“I have to hide this in a hole where I can remember for later.”

Dogs will also sometimes hide surplus food, so if they are given a large chew toy or bone to gnaw on for example, they will dig a hole to put it in when they have temporarily had enough.

If this is the only circumstance in which your dog is digging, there are a few ways in which you can stop them.

One is by only giving bite size treats which they won’t be inclined to store. Another is by supervising them when they have a large bone or chew toy. Either taking it away as soon as they are bored with chewing or eating it, or only letting them have it indoors where they haven’t got the option of digging.

If your dog is young, you can try giving them access to these things outdoors again in a few months when the habit has worn off.

Dogs Who Have Learned to Dig

The answer to the question ‘why do dogs dig holes?’ is sometimes “because someone accidentally taught them to”!

They have have been accidentally taught to dig by their owners, or rewarded by the things that they have found.

‘Just doing what needs to be done!”

If you are a keen gardener then your dog might have observed you shoveling soil on several occasions. You may even have laughed or encouraged them at some point when they tried to get involved.

They could also have found something tasty in the soil once, and effectively reinforced their own behavior and been encouraged to keep trying.

If this is the case you can break this habit.

First prevent access to the area of the garden that their efforts are focused on. Although this can be tricky, putting up temporary fencing or only exercising them on a long line for a while in the yard can break the habit effectively.

You may find if you do this that after a few weeks you are able to give them access to this area again without the behavior restarting. Although I would advise leaving them indoors when you do your weeding in the future!

Is Your Dog Digging to Solve a Problem?

“I love the feeling of smushed mud on my belly!”

Occasionally a dog will dig because it helps to solve a problem that they are having. The most common example is probably a lack of somewhere soft or cool to lay down. If the weather is hot and your dog digs a hole and lays down in it, they are probably trying to cool off. You can stop them from doing this by providing a shaded area or paddling pool for them to play in.

Likewise, if the weather doesn’t seem to be a factor but they are still resting in their newly turned out hole then it could simply be that the undug ground is too hard to lie down on.

Providing them with an alternative place to rest will mean that they don’t need to dig to achieve it. Perhaps an outdoors waterproof bed or a pile of straw, depending upon the set up in your garden.

Energetic Dogs Dig More

“Gotta dig. Gotta dig. Gotta dig!”

A lively dog might decide to start digging to burn off some of their energy. If they don’t have space to run, or have missed out on routine daily exercise, then they will find other ways to stretch their legs.

In addition, dogs with more prey drive may transfer this very specific energy to digging! Labradors, for example, were bred as gundogs. They have a certain level of inherent prey drive.

This may be transferred to digging if they have seen or smelled rabbits or other animals popping in to visit your back lawn. They are digging to try and get at the rabbits. Or other creatures that they can smell have been around the yard earlier.

If your dog is digging because they are bored or looking for prey, then keeping them busy when they are in the garden will help.

There are a couple of ways to keep your dog busy in the yard. You can try some games or do some fun bits of training. Make sure it is a positive experience for them. The excitement you offer is greater than that which they got from burrowing into the ground.

Try keeping their favorite toy just for yard time. Get some new special treats that you give for high reward training outdoors.

Dogs Digging to Escape

“I need to get to those pesky squirrels!”

If your dog is digging under fence lines because they want to get out of the back yard, this can be tricky to deal with. Especially if they have self-rewarded by managing to escape in the past.

Dogs are more likely to repeat a behavior that results in “things improving” for them. If your dog is digging in order to leave your yard, or just to be able to see out past the fence line, the solution is to make sure they get no ‘reward’ from doing this.

How to Keep Dogs From Digging Under Fence Boundaries

The best thing you can do is to enforce the fencing under the ground so that it is impossible for them to achieve anything.

Make sure that it is not just wire, as being able to see the outside world may be reward enough for them to keep doing it. A dig proof fence should be a visual barrier as well as a physical one.

If you can entirely block your dog’s visual access to the world beyond your back yard, they will over time give up on their endeavors.

But it is vital that you make sure they don’t gain anything from doing it. So make sure they don’t get out, or get to see more of the world by digging.

If they do, they will keep on trying to dig under the fence in the hope of another reward!

How to Stop a Dog From Digging

“I love helping out!”

Hopefully I’ve shown you that knowing how to stop a dog digging will depend partially upon why they started doing it.

You may find that solving this problem is simple once you have established why your dog is doing it. Or you might have to implement several of the options above to resolve the problem. For example, restricting access to certain areas of the garden and putting a digging zone into another.

Whichever method you use to prevent your dog digging in your backyard, make sure that you don’t fall out with them. They are not doing it to annoy you.

And although it might be frustrating or time consuming temporarily, it is totally within your power to stop them kindly but effectively.

I Am Dog, Hear My Growl

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“Something is going to happen!”

I am dog, hear my growl.

Something’s happening in my bowels.

I hope you have some paper towels.

When Your Dog Has a Stomach Starting to Growl

There’s no worse problems then when your pup has the poops. Especially when they have the accident inside the house! I’ve dealt with lots of accidents from my own dogs and dogs that I have pet sat for.

Pet Sitting Mess

The worst experience I had was when I was pet sitting for two boxers. They were litter mates and still very young (1 year old). They were very active and loved running around the house after each other. (The pet parents were strict of not letting them run in the backyard because they didn’t want mud tracked in.) I would give them walks and play in a certain room they were allowed to run around in.

Well, one of them decided to run downstairs and the other boxer followed. I was guessing they had to potty so we went to the back door. I was only allowed to have 1 at a time in the backyard so one had to wait.

So I let one of them out. All of a sudden all I could smell was poop. I went searching for the other boxer still in the house. Well, he had to REALLY go potty and just let it out on the carpet. He made about a foot around mess of diarrhea. It took most of the roll of paper towels to clean up!

Make sure if you ever pet sit, make sure the owners show you where the cleaning agents are!

Frankie Made A LOT of Messes!

“I’m getting a weird feeling in my belly.”

My poor Frankie had a hard time holding his bowl movements when he got older. He would give you a warning and if you weren’t right there to take him out, he would find a spot near by. With his diabetes, pancreatitis, and some crohns syndrome, it was very hard on his poor tummy.

My mom would stock up on paper towels when they went on sale. It really matters what kind of paper towels to use on messes. Skip the cheap, thin towels.

When it comes to the products that you use to help clean up the mess, make sure it will not damage the area you are cleaning. With carpets and rugs, there a lot of different products, but the ones I choose are:

Try to pick the mess first by scooping up what you can without pressing more into the carpet/rug. Then try dabbing any wetness. Now you can go by what the directions on the bottle say to do. Make sure to get ALL the mess up or your pup will smell that spot and might think it’s alright to go there again!


Also Check Out My Post About: What Your Dog’s Poop is Telling You

Dog Clothes: Should Dogs Wear Clothes? National Dress-up Your Dog Day

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“What shall I wear today?”

What Does Your Dog Like to Wear for Clothes?

Does your dog like to dress up in clothes? Most dogs will tolerate you putting clothes and funny outfits on them. But do dogs really need clothes? They already have a coat of fur! Well, some dogs get cold even when they are in a warm house.

Take Chloe for instance, she likes to have blankets on her when she is chilling on the couch. When I walk her in colder weather, I put a sweater or coat on her to keep the breeze off her.

“I’m ready to go walking!”

Let Your Dog Be Stylish With Purpose

Some “warm-weather” dogs just aren’t suited to colder climates, and for many of these breeds, outerwear dog clothes are essential when the bitter chill of fall and winter sets in and your buddy starts to dread their evening walk. A sweater can keep them warm, but it’s important to make sure it fits properly so they can enjoy the outside wonderland in both comfort and style.

Measurements for Clothes

Save some time and take a few measurements before you take your pup shopping. Using a measuring tape, have them stand straight and measure from the base of their neck (where the shoulder blades start) to the base of their tail. Once you have their body length measurement, measure around the widest part of their chest for the girth measurement. Lastly, loosely measure around the largest part of their neck. Jot down their length, chest and neck measurements and take them with you when you shop.

Proper Fitting for Dog Clothes

“Howdy, how do you like my cowboy hat?”

The absolute best way to ensure proper fit is to bring your dog with you to try on sweaters. Many pet stores allow them to try before you buy. Use their measurements and the size chart on the packaging as a guide. While you slip them in, take note to make sure the sweater fits easily over their head and neck. Check that the leg openings don’t constrict them in any way. You want your pup’s sweater to be snug but not tight, and leave their lower belly free to allow for easy urination for males (you can cover the bellies of females). Finally, watch them walk around in their new sweater to make sure it doesn’t hang, drag or otherwise impede their movements.

Styles of Clothes

“My chest is nice and cozy!”
“I belong in a magazine!”

Some sweaters are cape style with open bellies, while others fully encompass your buddy’s torso. While all breeds can benefit from warm tummies, smaller breeds that are lower to the ground, such as yorkies and dachshunds, especially need full sweaters that cover and protect their bellies from rubbing on the frozen ground. Consider turtleneck styles for greyhounds and borzois, lest their elongated necks get left out in the cold.

Material

Material is important in terms of comfort, fit and care. Wool is toasty but can be itchy and uncomfortable. A washable wool blend, cotton and acrylic are some of the best bets for canine sweaters. Keep in mind most material will stretch over time, so it’s important to find a sweater in a washable material.

And remember if it’s 100% cotton, it might shrink a little!

“If this shrinks anymore, I won’t be able to move my legs!”

Alterations

Some breeds, despite all your careful measuring and try on sessions, just have a difficult time fitting into universal sizes (just like some of us humans!). Alterations may be necessary to ensure a comfortable fit. The bulldog, for example, has a wider neck that makes sizing tough. If you’re crafty, consider fitting the sweater to the rest of his body and making a simple snip cut to the front to allow for a better fit. A V-neck sweater is a dapper addition to any bulldog’s winter wardrobe.


Find some fun clothes for your dog at Amazon.com

Frankie’s Wardrobe