Monday, June 12, 2023

Preparing for the 4th of July.

 More dogs go missing on the 4th of July than any other day. If you think of the traditions of the holiday from a dog's point of view, it is a bunch of loud noises they don't understand and they get scared and run.

Plan ahead to keep your dog safe. 

Make sure your dog is wearing an up to date ID tag with your address and phone number. Having a county license on your dog will help get them home faster if they are picked up and taken to the county kennel. If your dog isn't microchipped, make an appointment with your vet or find a low cost micro chip clinic in your area. 

Next, take a walk around your yard and think about security from the point of view of a frightened dog. Make sure your fence and gates are secure. Make sure fence panels aren't loose so your dog can slide underneath. Look for any areas where your dog has been digging. That is likely to be a low point and an easy escape route.  I make it a point to walk the fence perimeter in my back yard a couple times a week to make sure nothing has changed or come loose. High wind weather events seem to be more common now, make sure you check fences and gates after the storm has passed.

Puppies and young dogs can be desensitized to loud noises like fireworks or thunderstorms. Have very high value treats available, be inside with windows closed to mute the noise as much as possible and use your positive marker word or clicker after every boom and then treat. As long as the puppy isn't overwhelmed you should see them begin to anticipate that click/marker and treat with every noise. Pay attention to the weather forecast, if storms are forecast be ready to train. 

If you have a dog that is noise sensitive there are products available that can help. We carry herbal based products from Ark Naturals and Open Farm that help to keep your dog calm. These work best if given in advance of the storm or fireworks so planning ahead is important. If your dog needs more than herbal supplements, Clean Remedies CBD tincture is a wonderful addition to a treatment plan. 

Keep your dog safe this 4th of July. Keep them indoors, windows closed, fan or music going. A licky mat or puzzle toy will help keep them busy and focussed, too. Come in and talk to us, we can help you find what you need.

Friday, May 12, 2023

How To Keep Your Dog's Paws Healthy And Happy

 Just like human feet, your dog's paws can take a beating. Hot temperatures, rough surfaces and not knowing when to quit running or playing can take it's toll. So, what can you do to help?

Be aware of surface temperatures. On hot, sunny days avoid black top, it can actually cause burns. Walk early in the day before black top heats up. It can hold heat, so be careful in the evening. Cement/concrete is usually cooler, but check the temperature with your hand before you walk your dog on to it. 

Sometimes seasonal allergies show as itchy feet in dogs, and can make them very uncomfortable. Skout's Honor makes a Probiotic based Paw Spray that is very helpful in relieving the itch. I spray it on and then distract the dog from licking their paws for 10 minutes while it soaks in. 

Skout's Honor Paw Balm is a great way to prevent rough, dry paw pads. Using it regularly will help prevent pads from cracking and bleeding. Again, be prepared to distract your dog from paw licking for at least 10 minutes after applying. It won't hurt them if they lick it, these formulas are non toxic, but you get better results if the product has time to soak in. Apply it directly to the pads and work it in between the pads with your fingers. Having treats handy is also very helpful, reward even a little cooperation!

Skout's Honor has a full line of grooming products, from shampoos to ear cleaner and even a great skunkwash if your dog gets sprayed. We are happy to help you choose the products that will work best for you.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

It Is Hot Outside, Keep Your Dog Safe and Hydrated!

 It is very hot and humid in Northeast Ohio right now, and even worse in other parts of the country. What can you do to keep your dog or cat safe in these crazy hot temperatures?

Get your exercise in early or late. An early morning walk before temperatures and surfaces have heated up is a great idea. If you can't do early mornings evenings are also a good choice. Be careful of surfaces that have been baking in the sun all day. Grass paths or concrete sidewalks are usually a safe choice, asphalt can hold heat for a long time so always check the temperature with the back of your hand before you walk your dog on them.

Frequently dogs and cats don't drink enough water to maintain hydration. Keeping the water bowl fresh, or adding ice cubes may increase the fun of drinking. Dash, my standard poodle will ignore the water bowl until I change it, then he will take a good long drink.

Frozen treats are always fun in the summertime, and will help keep your pet hydrated. Raw goat's milk is a great choice. It is hypoallergenic and very digestible. You can use it to top a meal or pour some in a bowl for your dog or cat to enjoy. The Bones & Co also makes whipped goat's milk, great to use on a licky mat or stuffer toy like a Kong. Unsweetened applesauce or pureed pumpkin are some other healthy high moisture choices you can add to the dinner bowl or a licky mat. If you want to make the licky mat a little more challenging you can place it in the freezer after you apply the applesauce or pumpkin puree. Keeping your dog busy inside will help use up some energy if they aren't getting their usual outdoor exercise. Bone Broth is another healthy way to add moisture to your pet's diet. It is also rich in collagen, so good for joint health, too. Dog's Naturally magazine has a great recipe for bone broth that is easy to make at home or we have it available frozen in 16 oz glass jars.

 A plastic kiddy pool can be great fun even if your yard is small. They are available in several sizes and usually hold up well to doggy toenails. You can also get two and double them if your dog is large or heavy. If your dog doesn't want to get in the pool, tossing in floating toys for them to retrieve will help keep them cool.Planet Dog and West Paw have some great floating toys that are made in the United States. We move ours to a new spot every day or two to avoid dead grass spots. 

Hopefully the heat wave will break soon and we can all enjoy some comfortable outdoor time. Until it does, stay safe and enjoy the air conditioning.


Saturday, December 5, 2020

Does Your Dog Need A Coat? Most Likely, Yes.

 Many people think that because their dog wears a fur coat all year, the dog must be good to go come the harsh winter weather.  Unfortunately that is not always true. 

Double coated dogs are fine without coats, such as huskies, malamutes, akitas, and German shepherds.  These dogs evolved working outside in cold temperatures and their coats are an indicator of this.  But single coated dogs benefit greatly from wearing a coat outside, such as greyhounds, boxers, pit bulls, cane corsos, etc.

Jenny August at Fargo Fleece has been making dog coats by hand here in Northeast Ohio for 10 years.

“The cold affects our pups the same way it does us,” Jenny says. “Dogs come equipped with their own external layering system, but some dogs have lighter layers of fur or smaller body mass than others and some are not genetically suited to the environments they find themselves transplanted in.”

Small dogs can be particularly susceptible to the cold due to a couple factors.  They have less muscle mass which produces less heat.  Small dogs also stand much closer to the ground and the closer proximity to the cold radiating outward from the surface saps their warmth faster.  Since they’re also small, puppies face 
the same challenges in addition to the fact that puppies have higher water content which causes them to lose their heat faster. A breed that doesn't need a coat as an adult, like a golden retriever, would benefit from one as a puppy.

We are proud to carry hand made coats from Fargo Fleece and Terrier Wear. These coats are well made, machine washable and will last!

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Meat Treats; Pieces and Parts

While rawhide has been a popular dog chew for decades, it is actually one of the most common causes of bowel obstruction. Rawhide is a byproduct of the leather industry and it isn't very digestible. It may also be treated with preservative chemicals making it even more dangerous. Dogs love to chew, and they also need to. It is a stress reliever and helps keep their teeth clean. So what are some good choices?

Trachea, necks, duck heads and pig ears
Giving your dog or cat freeze dried animal parts, like pig ears or beef trachea adds a minimally processed component to the diet. Pig ears and snouts are made up of cartilage, highly digestible
while providing a longer lasting chew. Beef trachea or esophagus, duck or chicken feet are also good choices. Freeze dried organ meats like hearts or gizzards are a pretty quick chew but are rich in protein, supplying amino acids and vitamins that can be lacking in processed pet foods. Farm Hounds has a great selection of organ meats made from pasture raised animals, hearts, livers and poultry gizzards just to name a few. They source their ingredients from small family farms, avoiding the contamination risks of factory farming.

A popular choice on the Vital Essentials Raw Bar are freeze dried poultry 
Magic shopping the Raw Bar
necks. Neck bones contain a lot of cartilage so are a good source of glucosamine and chondroitin, both important for joint health. Because the necks are freeze dried the bones are essentially raw, so unlikely to splinter into sharp edges. It is important to choose the necks that are the appropriate size for your dog. Small dogs would do fine with chicken necks, medium and large dogs would do better with duck or turkey necks. Fish skin jerky is a great way to add Omega 3 to your dog's diet, a fatty acid that can be missing in processed dog food. Omega 3 is thought to decrease the inflammation response in dogs with arthritis and can decrease skin itchiness for dogs with allergies. 

For many pet owners giving treats is showing love. Our pets are perfectly ok with that and enjoy every crumb. By giving freeze dried or dehydrated pieces and parts you are adding important nutrition to your pet's diet and adding quality to their lives without piling on excess calories and carbs from starches. Definitely a win-win.

Friday, April 10, 2020

So You Have A New Puppy; What To Do Next

Bringing home a new puppy is a very exciting time. They are cute and fluffy, but they will also chew your house apart if you aren't careful. Especially now that everyone is social distancing, how can you make sure your new dog gets everything they need?

Magic, Mayhem and Fritz
Nutrition is extremely important for a growing puppy. Large breed pups especially need food that is formulated to support healthy growth, but at a slower rate than smaller breeds. All puppies need food with the proper calcium to phosphorus ratio for healthy bone growth. Regardless of breed, the first year is a time of rapid growth and development. A high quality food will support that growth and get your puppy off to a good start. It is also a good idea to feed a variety of different proteins. Studies have shown that introducing different proteins early in life can help prevent allergies later in life.

Oliver with a Bully Stick
Safe and healthy chews are very important for a puppy. There are a lot of different chews on the market, some are better than others. Rawhide is very popular, but can be very dangerous if your dog bites a piece off and swallows it. Most vets advise against rawhide for this reason. I like to give my dogs Bully sticks. These are pieces of dried beef tendon and they are very digestible. Freeze dried necks, chicken or duck feet or other "pieces and parts" are also good choices. The Benebone Company makes a nylon based chew, these are made to wear down very slowly and even the tough chewers don't break pieces off.

Puppy classes are great for socialization and training, but with the current shelter in place order in Ohio training classes have been cancelled. Abbe Moen at Affinity Canine is currently holding virtual classes, and can help get your new puppy off to a great start. Check out

Most important, enjoy this time with your new family member!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

What Are High Value Treats? (updated 1/2/2024)

The term high value treat is used frequently in dog training, but what exactly makes a treat high value? The short answer is flavor. To be high value a treat has to be more important to the dog than whatever distraction is going on around them. When you are working with your dog in the living room or back yard with no distractions, kibble would likely work just fine. When you are at the park surrounded by people, running children and other dogs, a treat has to be much more interesting to keep the dog's attention.
Meme courtesy of At Attention Dog Training.

This is why dog trainers will tell you to practice at home until the dog has mastered the behavior, then head to the park to "proof" the behavior with distractions. It is also important to increase the value of your treats as you increase the distraction level.

I like to use freeze dried foods as training treats. They are small, flavorful and since they are nutritionally complete they are a wonderful part of my dog's daily diet. On days we are doing a lot of training I can subtract from regular meals without sacrificing nutrition. These treats come in a variety of proteins so you can change up flavors to keep your dog interested. Freeze dried meat treats are another good choice. You can cut them to the right size for your dog if you need to. Many trainers swear by cheese, either string cheese cut into small pieces or block cheese will work, too.

Treat size and consistency matter too. It is very helpful in training if your dog doesn't have to stop and chew the treat.  A small, soft treat is a great reward but it doesn't break up the flow of training. These treats also hold up well in your pocket or treat pouch, so you aren't fumbling to get one out. Timing is very important in training, when your dog does something great you want to let them know. There is nothing worse than reaching for a treat and only finding dust in your pocket!

We carry a great variety of training treats, please come in and talk to us. No matter the size or age of your dog, we can help you make a great choice.