Healthy Dental Care for Dogs

As pet owners, we do a lot to make sure our pets are in tip-top shape. From regular health care exams to some of the healthiest dog food around, you probably put a lot into your dog’s health. However, dental hygiene is commonly overlooked.

Taking care of your dog’s teeth is essential for their overall health and wellbeing. Poor dental hygiene can lead to all sorts of diseases, which can be quite painful for our furry friends. 

While we can take our dog to the vet for professional teeth cleaning, dental procedures often require general anesthesia, which is expensive and can cause side effects. Instead, it is usually better to forego professional, veterinary cleanings as long as possible by taking care of your pup’s teeth at home. 

Here is everything you need to know about keeping your dog’s mouth sparkling: 

Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

Just like humans, brushing is the first and best defense against periodontal disease for dogs. Brushing your dog’s teeth is much like brushing your teeth. You’ll need a toothbrush and toothpaste. However, practically no dog likes to have their teeth cleaned, so there is a little bit of strategy involved. It is always best to start as young as possible with a tooth brushing routine so your dog knows what to expect. If your dog is not used to their teeth being touched, you will have to start slow. 

The first step to brushing your dog’s teeth successfully is to invest in a proper toothbrush. There are many different toothbrushes available, some that look like average human toothbrushes to those that fit over your finger. Most of these are quite inexpensive, so we recommend trying out a few to see which one you and your dog prefers. We prefer the double-sided toothbrushes that fit over your finger, as these allow you to brush both rows of teeth very efficiently.

The toothpaste you get is also necessary. It should be enzymatic, which means that it has enzymes in it to help break down the plaque. Many kinds of toothpaste designed for dogs come in dog-friendly flavors, like bacon and peanut butter. Some dogs like every flavor, while others are a little pickier. If your dog is picky about what kind of food and treats they eat, they’ll probably be picky about the flavor of their toothpaste as well. 

You should brush your dog’s teeth a few times a week and extra if they get a bad breath between sessions. Daily brushing is preferred, but this can be overwhelming for most pet parents.  You should brush their teeth similarly as you brush your teeth, making sure to brush along the gum line. Try to choose a time when your dog is well-exercised and relax. Take your time and have plenty of treats nearby. 

Use Dog Dental Chews

While brushing your dog’s teeth is the best way to keep them clean, there are also a couple of more natural ways you can help keep your dog’s teeth extra clean. Dental chews are one of these ways. There are countless bones and treats out there that claim to keep your dog’s mouth clean. None of these are a replacement for teeth brushing, but they can be an excellent addition – especially for dogs who tend to fight their toothbrushing sessions. 

Almost all chews have some dental benefits. In the wild, dogs keep their teeth clean by chewing on bones, which scrap of the plaque and tartar as they chew. In our homes, this works much in the same way. Despite what some companies will tell you, all chews are the same when it comes to their dental cleaning properties. Because of this, your first concern should be the safety of the chew. That means choosing chews that are rawhide-free and those that won’t splinter when chewed. 

Often, it is better to keep things more straightforward. Instead of investing in an expensive bag of dental chews, it is usually better to pick up some basic bones from the pet store. 

Keep an Eye on Their Oral Health

Every time you clean your pet’s teeth, you should give your pet’s mouth a quick once over. A healthy dog mouth looks a lot like a healthy human mouth. Their gums should be light pink, but not red and swollen. Their teeth should be white and clean, and they shouldn’t have any out-of-place growths on their gums or tongue. You should also keep an eye out for tooth loss. If you notice that anything is off, it is essential to talk to your vet right away. Dental problems that are caught early are often far easier and cheaper to treat than those that are found later. Your vet will likely need to do a dental x-ray to see the problem clearer.

Furthermore, checking their mouth can also prevent sticks and other debris from getting lodged for an extended period. It isn’t uncommon for dogs to get sticks stuck along the roof of their mouth. 

Does the Type of Food Matter?

Yes!  You will want to feed your pet the best dog food because the type of dog food does matter when it comes to your pet’s dental health. Dry food has natural abrasive properties, which can help keep your dog’s teeth clean. According to some studies, dry food substantially decreases a dog’s risk for specific oral health problems. If your dog has significant oral issues, you might want to consider switching their food. Still, as long as you’re taking care of their teeth in other ways, it is often not necessary to change their diet.  

With that said, specialty high quality made dog food that is designed to improve dental health can be helpful as well. However, it is vital to get a complete picture of your pet’s health before switching their dog food. If the dental food is poor quality, it is often best to continue with your dog’s current food. 

The Importance of Oral Care

Brushing our pet’s teeth is essential for their overall wellbeing and health. Pet dental disease like gingivitis can often cause other issues and might require expensive surgeries, which come with their side effects. While it might be challenging to begin a toothbrushing routine with our dogs, it’s essential if we want them to grow old and happy. 

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New Products for Your Dog

Put a spring in your dog’s step with these new products.

new dog products april 2020

Paw Tribe Beaded Collar
Who wouldn’t want a collar as unique as their dog? These one-of-a-kind beaded collars are not just functional but comfortable and eye-catching, too. Handmade by artisans in Kenya, the collars come in a wide variety of colors and styles, like Indigo, Blue Geo, Zanzibar, Coachella, Serengeti and more. Sizes run from S to XL. $48 | The Paw Tribe;

new dog products april 2020

So convenient, this self-contained device has three customizable spray nozzles (based on fur length) to get beneath the fur and down to the skin. Water and shampoo wash the coat clean, while a soft suction pulls dirt and water into a separate dirty water tank. It’s also eco-friendly, as just 68 ounces of water cleans an 80-pound dog, while a traditional bathtub uses up to 19 gallons of water. Not only can you wash your dog anywhere, anytime, with minimal mess, but the BARKBATH Dual Use cleans messes from your pet on soft surfaces, like carpets and upholstery. $199.99 | BISSELL;

new dog products april 2020

ALL-IN Life-Stage Dog Supplements
These one-of-a-kind, patented absorption technology formulas contain the key nutrients your dog needs at his particular life stage to promote digestive, cellular, bone, mental and immune health. It focuses on growth and development for puppies, performance and recovery for adults, and restoration and rejuvenation for seniors. ALL-IN has clinically proven protein-based absorption —designed to match the metabolic rate of a dog’s life stage. No other pet supplement has this absorption technology. It’s non-GMO, gluten free and lactose free. $39.99 | Vetericyn Animal Wellness;

WoofPack Dog-Walking Accessory Bag
The WoofPack dog-walking accessory bag carries the load you don’t want to carry. The bag has separate pockets for things like house keys, cellphones, plastic bags, dog treats and more. Plus it has a unique inner pocket with antimicrobial lining to carry your dog’s used poop bag while neutralizing residual odor. Shoulder strap measures 35 inches at full length. Comes in a variety of colors from black/camo to red/taupe to spring green/khaki. $29.97 | WoofPack Trails;

Related: Hiking With Dogs: A Guide to Safely Taking a Hike With Your Dog

new dog products april 2020

Wellness CORE Bestie Bars
Created to celebrate a partnership with Best Friends Animal Society, these Bestie Bars have been inscribed with sweet sayings to spread the love with furry best friends. Packed with protein and super food ingredients, they come without grains, corn, soy or artificial colors or flavors. Available in Chicken & Carrots flavor and comes in an 8-ounce bag. Buy them at or a store near you. $4.99 | Wellness;

new dog products april 2020

Calmer Canine
Looking for a drug-free solution to help anxious dogs regain calm? Using
a specifically tuned micro-current signal, Calmer Canine targets the anxiety center in a dog’s brain to stimulate a dog’s natural ability to restore emotional balance. This treatment system includes a comfortable and easy-to-use vest that holds the battery-operated device in the proper position over the dog’s head during treatments. The washable vest is available in five sizes. It’s lightweight, so dogs can sleep, eat, play and go about their normal daily routine while wearing Calmer Canine (under human supervision). The therapy can be applied by holding the device in place by hand. Sizes XS to XL. $229 – $249 | Assisi Animal Health;

new dog products april 2020

Fit Tunes Dogs
Now your dog has got the beat with this portable and upbeat speaker created to engage your pup with music to walk, run or play by. The device is preloaded with 12 musical tracks with stimulating sounds based on the study of tempos in canine movement by sound behaviorist and composer Janet Marlow. There are squeaky toys, whistles, nature noises, human praises and more to get your dog more alert and active. The lightweight speaker (5 ounces) clips to a leash, belt or bag and is Bluetooth compatible. Includes a USB charging cord and instruction manual. $49.99 | Pet Acoustics;

Blue-9’s Balance Harness
Finally, a harness that offers a customized fit for any size dog. With its six adjustment points, this harness ensures dogs will have full range of movement without any chafing. Includes a leash attachment ring on the front and back for better control with dogs that tend to pull. Comes in a variety of colors — black, blue, red, purple, sky blue, hot pink, orange or camo. Available in XS, S, M, M/L and Large. $39.95 | Blue-9 Pet Products;

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Don’t Be Fooled — Myths and Facts About Life with Pets

While a dog may be man’s best friend and a cat gives off a very sophisticated air, that doesn’t mean humans necessarily understand anything at all about their four-legged friends. In fact, in many ways, our pets are like that friend who remains eternally wrapped in the mystery of the unknown. You may be able to connect with them in a way you can’t with anyone else, but every time you look deep into their eyes you find that you don’t really know much about them.

If you’ve scratched your head about things like your dog’s ability to see color, why your cat sniffs at the AC vent so often, or any number of other questions, don’t worry. Below are answers and explanations to some of the most common myths, legends, and bona fide facts that have kept dog and cat owners alike puzzled over the years.

Are Dogs Color Blind?

Let’s start with a classic: are dogs color blind? Savvy dog owners are probably already aware of the fact that the answer to this one can be a bit complicated. For the sake of argument, we’re going to officially say no, dogs are not fully color blind. However, while they can certainly see colors in some fashion, the answer to the question isn’t quite that simple.

It turns out that while dogs can see color, the hues they see are less intense or varied than those detected by their human counterparts. According to Psychology Today, humans see a rainbow as:

  • Violet.
  • Blue.
  • Blue-green.
  • Green.
  • Yellow.
  • Orange.
  • Red.

In comparison, dogs appear to see the same order of colors as:

  • Dark blue.
  • Light blue.
  • Gray.
  • Light yellow.
  • Darker yellow/brown.
  • Very dark gray.

So while dogs are not officially “color blind,” they are certainly blind to particular colors.

Do Cats Have Nine Lives?

This one’s quick and easy: certainly not. Cats have one life to live just like the rest of us. However, due to their quiet yet adroit lifestyle and their naturally healthy pedigree, they can often manage to live very long lives and survive scenarios that other pets wouldn’t. This proclivity towards survival has helped them garner a reputation for living “multiple lives” when other animals would have perished long before.

Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?

It’s a saying that’s as common as the clearly false “cats have nine lives” mantra — but is it real? Well, it turns out that cats have a naturally inbuilt balancing system called the “righting reflex.” This reflex gives them an unusually impressive ability to re-orient themselves when they’re falling through the air.

While this means cats are particularly nimble, and they very often do land on their feet (certainly more often than dogs or humans do), cats can and often do land in a less comfortable, injury-prone fashion as well, making this myth one that should never be tested.

Does Owning a Larger Dog Prevent You From Renting?

This is a common rumor that can dissuade many potential dog owners from finally getting that black lab or golden retriever that they’ve always wanted. However, it turns out that this one is, once again, false — at least most of the time.

Sure, there’s bound to be a grumpy landlord somewhere out there who refuses to entertain the idea of admitting a renter purely on the size of their dog, but generally, if an apartment is open to pets, the size shouldn’t matter much. Typically a pet owner will be required to put down a deposit or pay a fee for their pet — which is perfectly reasonable considering the damage they can cause. The good news is, these payments are also commonly refundable, which means if your dog is well-behaved, regardless of his or her size, you should be able to live in an apartment with your bigger pet and never even hurt for it, financially speaking.

If You’re Allergic to Pet Dander You Can’t Own a Pet, Right?

“Oh no, I can’t own a cat, I’m allergic.” It’s a common phrase, but is it legitimate or just a cop-out? While there are plenty of people who genuinely suffer profoundly from pet allergies, often lighter cases can be easily controlled via things like over the counter medication and even more natural solutions like CBD oil or other essential oils.

In addition to treating allergy symptoms, there are many hypoallergenic breeds of dogs and cats. For instance, a Basenji or an Affenpinscher are excellent allergy-friendly dog breeds, while Cornish Rexes and Balinese are good candidates if you’re looking for a cat that won’t keep you up at night with the sniffles.

If You Want to Get a Pet, Don’t You Need to Settle Down First?

For some reason, the idea has proliferated over the years that a dog goes with that “house with the white picket fence” scene. However, that has never been further from the truth than nowadays. For starters, 61% of pet owners from the younger Millennial generation claim to have prioritized getting a pet that could travel with them, while 84% of the generation report having actually traveled with their pets.

Even if you’re a retired Baby Boomer, though, you can still easily hit the road with your four-legged friend. RVers, for instance, have an easy way to transport their animal around with them. While traveling with an animal does require more work, it isn’t something that should be eschewed as particularly difficult.

Why Does My Cat Love to Sniff the Air Conditioning Vent?

Cats love to smell things — including the air conditioning. Why? There are actually a few different reasons:

  • They smell mildew and mold.
  • They smell rotting garbage.
  • They smell sewage from a ruptured vent pipe.
  • They smell traces of old cigarette smoke.
  • They smell a gas leak.
  • They smell something produced by a mechanical issue within the AC unit.
  • They smell stagnant water from within your AC.

Whatever the reason, if your cat is sniffing the AC vent, you may want to take a look as to why — you might have some maintenance to do.

Is a Dog’s Mouth Really Cleaner than a Human’s?

A common myth regarding pet hygiene is the misconception that your dog’s mouth is cleaner than your own. While a dog’s mouth certainly is better at fighting some bacteria than a human mouth might be, it is also definitely not cleaner

In fact, dog’s saliva can be filled with hundreds of unique bacterias and it can also include plenty of parasites that you definitely don’t want to go ingesting on a regular basis. While dog’s mouths have no trouble getting the job done, they aren’t superior to a human’s oral cavity.

You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks … or Can You?

Yes, yes you can. In fact, dogs can learn throughout their entire lives — and they want to. As long as you approach your dog with the same patience as you do a puppy, you can help them learn anything from “sit and stay” to “rollover” and even “play dead” with nothing more than some diligence, patience, persistence, and possibly a handful of treats.

Do Dogs Only Wag Their Tails When They’re Happy?

This one is mostly true, although it requires a bit of explanation. When a dog is happy they do, indeed, wag their tails. However, they also wag their tails when they’re simply excited. This can happen in a situation where they’re alert, on guard, or otherwise not happy

A dog’s tail is actually a bit more useful than simply an indicator of excitement, too. For instance, when a dog is feeling submissive or even nervous, it’ll lower its tail and even fully tucks it under its body if it’s scared. In addition, if a dog is simply curious but not sure about the excitement factor quite yet, they may stick their tail straight out. 

It’s also worth noting that, while dogs wag their tails when they’re happy, it appears to be a purely social phenomenon. Even if they’re overjoyed, when a dog is alone they typically will not wag their tail. 

If My Dog’s Nose Is Warm or Dry is She Sick?

It’s often suggested that if your dog’s nose is dry or warm they might be sick or otherwise unwell. However, it turns out that a warm or dry nose is, well, a warm or dry nose. It happens, and it typically doesn’t indicate any one specific problem

Sometimes it can mean little more than the fact that your dog was just sleeping, they woke up, and they haven’t licked their nose in a while. Regardless, you should never make important decisions about your pet based on the moisture level or temperature of their olfactory organ.

Separating Fact from Fiction

Humans are a funny bunch, and we always manage to develop various myths and legends based on past observations. Sometimes these can be helpful but, as is often the case with pet myths, they can also often be little more than a rumor or an entertaining old wive’s tale. 

Regardless of the particular myth in question, it’s never a good idea to make any serious or life-altering decisions for you or your pet based on a rumor or myth without first doing a little research and then consulting your veterinarian.

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Yes, Your Dog Can Get Too Many Walks

COVID-19 has most of us social distancing, working from home and just generally spending a lot more time with our dogs. Dogs who rarely get walked and usually spend their days looking out windows or sitting in yards are being walked, sometimes several times a day. Small dogs are being dragged down sidewalks with cooped-up guardians trying to take them for runs, and even Olympic-level fetch games are happening. Sydney Cooper Public Relations Manager for Fi  explains that according to its current data, dogs are taking approximately 1000 more steps per day, as compared to the same days before COVID-19. Is this sudden activity change safe for dogs?

Always consult with your vet before beginning a new exercise routine for your dog, particularly if your dog has any underlying health conditions or concerns. This is the kind of appointment that likely could happen virtually during COVID-19, if that is a service your vet clinic is offering. After talking with your vet, here’s how to start a new exercise routine with your dog.

Man and dog playing fetch by Shutterstock. too many walks, too much excerise

Related: What to do if Your Dog Needs Vet Care During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Start slow

For dogs who might not get a lot of outside exercise and enrichment especially in new places, Dr. Mandi Blackwelder, who owns Healing Arts Animal Center providing veterinary rehabilitation, physical therapy and acupuncture, reminds guardians that for dogs “outside is a very overwhelming place when you don’t go there a lot.”

When you do start taking walks, “keep your leash at 6 feet and if someone is coming toward you, do not let your dog have a conversation because if your leashes get tangled now you are way closer than 6 feet” meaning you aren’t social distancing. Plus, “If your dog gets in a dog fight, now you are going to the vet.”

Physical exercise is fantastic for dogs, but it needs to be done intentionally and in moderation, just like with people. “If you are starting to train for a 3-mile run, you don’t start out running 3 miles; you gradually work your way up to that distance,” says Dr. Zoe Launcelott, a member of the surgery team at NorthStar Vets Veterinary Emergency Trauma & Specialty Center. The safest way to increase your dog’s exercise is to slowly increase intensity to build up endurance.

Walks: “Start small and go longer. Start with a 10-minute walk and increase by 5 minutes per walk, per week,” advises Dr. Blackwelder.

Runs: If you want to take your dog running with you, start very slowly with your dog running for just a couple of minutes at a time. However, before you run, consider if your dog is really going to be a good running partner. Dr. Blackwelder notes that while some small dogs run with their owners and do well generally, she doesn’t recommend that small dogs go running with their guardians. “Our stride length as a general rule is so much longer than theirs. It makes it hard for them to get into a rhythm,” which can easily lead to injuries.

Backyard games: If you and your dog are spending more time in the backyard and your dog is doing a lot of running around, limit and gradually increase time your dog is allowed to have off-leash time to run to slowly build up conditioning and endurance. “If you start noticing your dog is getting tired or is sore the following day, decrease back to a tolerated time frame,” advises Dr. Launcelott. Fetch is a favorite game among many dogs, but you also want to slowly build-up endurance for your dog. It can be easy to throw the ball for an hour, but if your dog isn’t used to that, Dr. Blackwelder advises instead it’s best to go slow and ”increase by three ball throws per day over time.”

Routines: Because of COVID-19 all of us have shifted routines. Things are not normal right now, and that’s not just true for but also for our dogs. If your dog is used to you being out of the home most of the day at work, he may be confused about why you are there, and not have a clear sense of time.

For dogs who spend a lot of time alone during most weekdays having their people home is exciting, but also can be a little overwhelming. Dog guardians have their hearts in the right place by increasing their dog’s activity. Your dog might even be begging to play more because that’s what he is used to doing in the evenings when you get home from work, but the difference is now you’re home all day and your dog’s body isn’t conditioned for a significant increase in high-impact play overnight.

Dr. Blackwelder notes that playing fetch all day with your dog would be like “you are lifting weights eight hours a day.” Significantly increasing that kind of high-impact play can lead to over-straining muscles and tendons, which are “more likely to be caught in an injury situation,” which would be complicated by the pandemic cautions Dr. Blackwelder.

All of us want to help our pets avoid injuries in the best of times, but particularly right now during the pandemic when vet care is significantly more challenging to access with vet clinics having to adopt contactless visits for guardians (not being allowed in) and many orthopedic surgeons and specialists not even taking appointments.

Tricks for canine conditioning

While appropriate physical exercise is important for every dog, mental stimulation is just as valuable. Not only are tricks good for mental exercise, they actually can provide dogs some important physical exercise as well and provide a structured and intentional way of building muscle tone and conditioning. Dr. Blackwelder advises that tricks like Sit, Down, Stand, Bow, Shake, Backing Up and Sitting Pretty/Begging when done in moderation are particularly helpful.

COVID-19 is giving many people a great opportunity to spend more intentional time with their dogs. Be thoughtful and cautious about how much activity and what kind of activity your dog is getting.

“High-impact activities can be a great way to entertain your dog and keep them healthy, just be sure to monitor how your dog reacts to the activity and adjust as you see fit. If you see any lameness, stop the activity and have your pet evaluated by a veterinarian,” says Dr.  Launcelott.

Remember going slow and building up your dog’s physical conditioning will allow you and your dog to be active together now and, in the future, and avoid canine injuries.

Top photograph: Westend6 | Getty Images

Read Next: Signs of Arthritis in Dogs — Recognizing Dog Arthritis Symptoms Early and Treating Them

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Simple And Effective Dog Training Tips

It is a true fact that most people bring home a dog to have a companion. Dogs can instantly brighten one’s day. But, it is generally observed that day to day issues of creating a mess, chewing, barking and digging get in the way of the peace of mind of the pet parents. It then becomes the need of the hour to train the dog properly. A properly trained dog is a happy dog helping the pet owner to become a happy pet parent.

Proper training and socialization rank the highest when it comes to a dog’s basic needs. The training should start as soon as possible so that it doesn’t turn out to be an impossible task for the pet parents afterward. Training the dog is a very big project. Thinking about it as a wholesome task would complicate the process, but if taken step by step, it is something that can be achieved in a planned manner. The most rewarding part of dog ownership is successfully training the dog. It is an excellent way to bond with your pet and helps in building a good relationship with them.

Reward and Punishment 

It is tried and tested that dogs will repeat good behavior always when it’s followed by a reward. While expecting the dog to behave in a certain way or learn a trick, it is always believed that giving any sort of treat or reward will result in the repetition of that behavior. On the other side, if we do not want to let the dog behave in a certain way or suppress his bad behavior, removal of the ‘reward’ is a good way to ensure that the behavior is not repeated. For example, giving him a bone when he successfully does something or learns something new as desired by the pet parent will make him understand that it is good behavior. 

Deciding the house rules 

Before bringing a dog home, it is required that certain ground rules are decided amongst the family members. These rules will define the dog what he can or cannot do indoors. In which parts of the house is he allowed. What are those areas of the house that are not to be explored by him? If these rules are decided upon early, it will avoid confusion for both the pet and the pet parents.

Responding to the name

Teaching him to come when being called by his name is the command that has to be mastered first and foremost. The pet parent has to come down to his level and teach the dog to respond whenever being called by his name. It can further aid the process of positive reinforcement. Give him a treat in the initial phases when he comes to you after hearing his name. It may happen that the dog might respond quickly when he’s sitting ideally. The actual success of the trick is when he responds when he’s busy with something interesting.

Set Realistic Expectations 

Training a dog is a slow process, it is not something that can be achieved overnight. It is equally important to have realistic expectations about changing the dog’s behavior and the time it will take to change the behaviors that are not liked by you. If a  certain behavior is being practiced by a dog for a long time and you want to currently change it, give it some time. It also depends on how long the dog has rehearsed the behavior. It’s never too late to modify behavior but some of it takes a bit longer than the others. The behavior you want to alter can be the way he greets people or his habit of constantly digging the backyard. 

Being Consistent

Whenever the dog is undergoing the training session, it is important to involve as many family members as possible, so that everyone is aware of how the dog is getting trained and are on the same page. There needs to be a single command word that is used by every member of the family, regarding the different tricks that are to be learned by the dog. If we wish the dog to jump off the couch whenever we say down, then everyone should be on the same page and should give the command as “Down” to the dog so that he jumps off the couch. If everyone is commanding in a different way and expecting the same behavior then the trick will never be learned by him.

Simple Command Words 

It is essential to make use of simple command words in order to train the dog in much lesser time. Simple command words such as come, sit, stay, leave, up can help ease the process of behavioral training. It will be much easier for both the pet parents and the pet to understand what behavior is expected from the dog when being given that particular command.

Shorter training sessions 

Dogs, unlike humans, do not have the tendency to focus on something for a longer duration. Dogs can learn best when the training session is in small increments. Longer sessions will only be exhaustive and can even affect the pet’s health. For any pet parent, pet healthcare comes before anything else. Making the training sessions shorter gives the pet parents the opportunity to teach the dog something new every day! 

Teach on “Dog Time”

 Dog’s live in the moment. Minutes after they have done something, they tend to forget about it. It’s essential that the training technique happens at the time the dog is exhibiting that particular behavior, be it good or bad. If he’s doing something good, it is required that he gets rewarded then and there so that he associated that particular behavior with a reward and will likely repeat the same in near future. Similar is the case with bad behavior. Try the chosen training technique of corrective actions right away so that the dog makes the association between the behavior and the correction.

Obedience training 

Training the dog to obey the commands is an ongoing process depending upon the dog, the methods used and the bonding between the pet and the owner. It’s best to start the basic training routine once you get the chance to bond with your dog. Training the dog to obey the commands helps in establishing a line of communication between you and your dog. It is required to constantly communicate with the dog about what you want it to do and reward it when it listens to you in an expected manner.

Ending on a positive note

It is always nice to end any training session be it long or short, with a positive note. The training session will bring out the best results if ended on a positive note. It is always encouraging to hear words of appreciation such as ‘Excellent!’ and ‘Good job!’. Words like these will create a positive sense and help the pet to achieve the task easily. It is a good practice to leave him with lots of praise, treats and some petting. After his training, play with your furball for some time so that he shows up with a wagging tail at the next session. 

Author Bio

Esha Sinha is a seasoned writer who has over the years contributed quality content on various high-profile websites. She has particularly excelled in niches like Fashion, Business, Entrepreneurship, Education, Pet Healthcare, etc. Her professionalism, four year’s experience, and expertise make her one of the most sought-after content writers in the field.


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Does My Dog Have Asthma?

I consider myself tech-savvy. I’m typically on the cutting edge of medical innovations, pushing technological boundaries and generally an early adopter of all things veterinary. I was one of the first veterinarians on Facebook, and I love leveraging virtual communication to better help my patients

Not long ago I was scrolling through my Instagram feed when a mention notification popped up. I clicked it, and a video of a dog coughing, open-mouthed breathing and generally struggling to suck in deep breaths appeared. The caption read, “@DrErnieWard, this is one of your patients. But is it asthma, tho?”

Worried (and a bit perplexed), I replied to contact the clinic immediately so we could examine the poor dog. Any pet experiencing difficulty breathing is considered a medical emergency. I didn’t know if this dog was suffering from a severe allergic reaction that could cut off his airway, worsening heart failure or heartworm disease, infection or chronic bronchitis. Asthma, or recurring episodes of airway inflammation, is exceedingly rare in dogs (though somewhat common in humans and cats). Many experts doubt that asthma exists as a canine clinical condition. Infection or an allergic reaction to environmental allergens or pollutants including smoke, mold, dust mites, cat dander or pollens was my primary concern as I hit “reply.”

A suspicious smell

An hour later I was listening intently to the breathing of an otherwise happy 4-year-old mixed breed Lab named Dorsey. As in Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter. Except the 20-something owners called him Dorso. That explained the “tho.” The “wheezing attack” had lessened a bit, but Dorso was still laboring to inhale. His owners reported he’d been like this for several days, and about a month ago Dorso “had a couple of bad days, then got better.” I didn’t have a diagnosis yet, though I had a pretty good idea what was going on. Let’s just say I’m particularly sensitive to smells and something had tripped an internal sniff alarm.

We ran a heartworm test, basic blood and urine tests, and chest X-rays. I wanted to determine if infection was involved, because infectious bronchitis (even ‘kennel cough’) can “wax and wane,” making diagnosis tricky. Heartworm disease can also create periodic allergic narrowing of the airways and eventually lead to respiratory and cardiac failure. Whenever I see a case such as this, it’s infectious until proven otherwise. This is critical because seemingly mild bronchitis can quickly result in life-threatening pneumonia.

The blood and urine tests were normal. The chest radiographs revealed a classic “lacy” lung pattern, suggestive of mucus and inflammation along the lining of the airways. It wasn’t extreme, indicating the condition was relatively recent. Bronchoscopy (a small camera inserted into the lung passages) or a tracheal wash (a procedure to evaluate samples from the upper airway) would be the next diagnostic steps. I didn’t think they were likely to be needed based on my presumptive whiff test.

As I reviewed my findings with the owner, my hunch was confirmed by a telltale square bulge in the owner’s shirt pocket. “How long have you smoked?”

The owner said his job had become stressful during the past few months, and he’d succumbed to his old cigarette habit. His partner scolded him and said the stench was unbearable. I agreed with an involuntary nose scrunch.

Fixing the problem

My therapeutic approach was straightforward: Eliminate the offending allergen and reduce the airway inflammation. I informed the owner that he’d need to either stop smoking or at least smoke outdoors, far away from Dorso. His partner snorted that he could take his smokes to another house.

Next, I administered a short-acting steroid injection in the office to provide quick relief and prescribed a short-term corticosteroid to open his bronchi and help remove the mucus. We would re-examine Dorso in two weeks to see if additional tests or treatment was needed. We discussed that if he had a “breathing attack” to immediately administer the steroid and get Dorso to a veterinarian. If he continued to suffer from chronic bronchitis, a rescue inhaler may be needed for emergency use.

Two weeks later Dorso came sashaying into my exam room. He greeted me with a sloppy kiss. I took the opportunity to steal a sniff from his coat. I was thrilled no odor alarms sounded, and he seemed completely happy and normal. The owner reported Dorso’s breathing had been perfect after the last visit. They had finished the meds, and, more importantly, had also ended the smoking relapse. Dorso would need to be monitored carefully for any further signs of bronchitis, as dogs that develop airway disease are at increased risk for future airway ailments.

Later that day, my phone buzzed, announcing I’d been “mentioned” on Instagram. The link took me to a picture of Dorso and I snuggling after our recheck. The owner described what had happened and thanked my staff for their help. I replied, “We love seeing Dorso. He’s the best patient! Glad it wasn’t asthma, tho.”

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Horses, like any other grazing animal, do get subjected to all kinds of dangers while out in the pasture. If and when they sense any discomforts, they will usually shy away from feeding well or even abandon their pastures altogether. You do not want any of these to happen to your horse, do you?

To be on the safe side, you have to implement and abide by some tips to help you out. We have sampled some of the top tips you may consider to utilize to maintain your horse in a state of absolute safety while out in the open pasture. Please check ThepetsTutor for more tips for your horse.


Tip I: Separate horse while feeding

Horses, while feeding, often tend to argue and jostle among one another. To prevent this from happening, you have to see to it that you separate the two of them from each other. Place each horse in its own feeding stable and cordon it off singlehandedly.

Maintain some keen eye of attention on them as they feed. Do not hesitate to separate any quarrels. If possible, supply each one its own food at a place that is separate and distinct from the other one. This separation is also vital in responding to allergies and special food needs.


Tip II: Pay some attention to the feet

The feet of the horses are the engines on which they run. As such, the least you might want for them is to hurt their feet or subject the same to some unwanted dangers. To forestall this, you have to shield the same from the adverse external weather elements.

These include ice, excess precipitation, mud, and snow. Do place a reinforcement on the feet of the horse. Plastic is the material that is mostly recommended for the job as it is highly resistant to water and mud damages.

Tip III: Fence the pasture appropriately

You should at all times maintain a fence around the pasture area. The purpose of this fence is to maintain your horse in a complete state of safety and seclusion. Horses are sensitive to any insecurity and fear. They also tend to lose appetite in the process.

Cordoning your area well is a sure way of enhancing their own safety and utmost peace of mind. This, in turn, translates into increased appetite and healthier feeding all the while. Even after fencing the horses in, you have to carry out some regular checks.


Tip IV: Enclose them in blankets

When grazing out in the open during a cold season, the horses are generally prone to the risks of hypothermia and frostbites. The horse blankets are designed to mitigate these two unfavorable eventualities. You should hence ensure that you utilize the blankets properly and timely.

Make sure that the blankets fit just fine. They should neither be oversize or undersize. Then again, they have to b thick and warm enough to allow them to trap as much heat as possible. Check the horse out several times to see to it that the blankets stick firmly.


Tip V: Apply some boots if necessary

When it is too cold and muddy, you cannot rely on your ordinary horseshoes. They are not tough enough to maintain your horse in a stable state of reliability all along. Instead, you want to bring in the boots that are specially designed for the job.

Unlike your ordinary shoes, these are larger, stronger, and more stable. They are subsequently better placed to provide your horse the support it needs to perform exceptionally well. Only be sure that you settle on the right size to prevent the possibility of the horse tripping off while in transit.


Tip VI: Get rid of the halters

Halters are straps or ropes that are encircled around the head of the horse to lead it to the desired destination. While good when walking the horse down a path, these halters normally have the tendency to stifle their feeding and drinking of water.

That is why we recommend that you eliminate them when out in the pasture. This is to give your horse some ample time and space to eat peacefully. If you must put them on, insist on the safety halters as they break when they confront an obstacle.


Tip VII: Maintain the same turnout group

A turnout group refers to the buddies of the horse with which it feeds and associates on a regular basis. It is important that you maintain it consistently all the while. Changing a member or two is not advisable at all as it may confuse the horse to the extent of interfering with its feeding.

Moreover, fights, squabble and jostles also increase when new members arrive and are yet to ‘fit into the system.’ If you must change and introduce new buddies into the group, consider doing so intermittently to allow the horses to familiarize themselves fully.


With the seven tips we have looked into above, it is our firm belief now that you are appropriately equipped to do a good job overall. All you have to do now is to skim the list carefully to be able to know what each step entails and how likely you are to benefit from the same.

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French Bulldog

Strong and stout, the French Bulldog captivates his family with animated playtimes, fanciful frolics and, yes, bountiful snuffles, too. A relatively easy keeper, the Frenchie has small exercise and grooming requirements, but big companionship needs. This isn’t the breed for people looking for a dog with all-day energy or a protective attitude (Frenchies likely sleep through doorbells), but the breed makes a charming, low-maintenance family friend.

Photo: vetography | Getty Images

Frenchie facts

  • Weight: Under 28 pounds
  • Life span: 10 to 12 years
  • Coat: The coat is short and smooth. The Frenchie’s skin is soft, loose and wrinkled.
  • Color: White, cream, fawn or any combinations of those. Markings and patterns include brindle, piebald, black masks, black shadings and white marking.
  • Colorful controversy: Rare “fad” colors often come with health issues; families looking for healthy Frenchies do well to work with professional breeders adhering to AKC
    breed standards.
  • Grooming: An occasional bath and a weekly brushing suffice. Wrinkles should be cleaned regularly since bacteria can hide in the folds.
  • Shedding: Yes, moderate shedders
  • Ears: The Frenchie is credited with bat ears, broad at the base, elongated, with round tops.
    celebrated underbite: The underjaw is deep, undershot, square and turned up.
  • Heat tolerance: Sensitive to cold and heat, too, the French Bulldog doesn’t tolerate extreme weather conditions. He needs indoor living with A/C in the summer and heat in the winter.
  • Equipment: Fences around any pool area and life jackets for water play; Frenchies don’t swim well, if at all. Hypoallergenic shampoo to help avoid allergic reactions or skin sensitivity. Cooling mats or extra fans in summer.
  • Possible health issues: Anesthesia is riskier with Frenchies, so families need to find a vet with experience handling brachycephalics. Most Frenchie pups (with their large and broad heads) are delivered via caesarean section.

“ If in doubt, try chillin’ out! ” Photo: gollykim | Getty Images

The French Bulldog’s rich (and slightly risqué!) history

The English Bulldog provided the breeding foundation for today’s Frenchie. Over time, some British breeders developed smaller, lighter Bulldogs with an extra dose of vivacity. When English lace makers moved to France, they took their popular, lighter Bulldogs with them. These Frenchie forefathers became the darlings of ordinary Frenchmen, including Parisian streetwalkers. Americans visiting France became enamored with the breed, too, and introduced the dogs to the states. Especially fond of the bat-ear style, Americans wrote the breed standard to include bat-style ears. These days, Frenchies are the fourth most popular breed in America.

Photo: riklam | Getty Images

No triathletes here

Teaching a Frenchie takes patience; they’re agreeable but stubborn. Training a Frenchie in obedience takes determination as well as a sense of humor. Frenchies want to please their owners, but they also want to please themselves. If the two interests don’t coincide, Frenchies may choose to suit themselves! If you’ll be humiliated if your dog dozes off in class, you should rethink Frenchie ownership.

Although Frenchies appreciate walks and playtimes, they don’t tolerate strenuous exercise. Frenchies are brachycephalic: Their short faces make breathing less efficient than longer-muzzled dogs. They’ll have trouble cooling themselves off in hot weather and after vigorous workouts.

Car travel with the easygoing Frenchie is usually stress-free, as long as he’s kept cool. For airline travel, keep in mind that some airlines have concerns flying brachycephalic breeds in cargo. Short-nosed breeds are especially vulnerable to air quality and temperature changes.

Frenchies usually get along well with other animals and treat strangers amiably. A relatively quiet breed, few Frenchies bother to bark at newcomers. Instead, they’re inclined to greet them with slobbers and kisses. Their families won’t hear much barking, but they’ll certainly hear snorting and snoring galore.

Top photograph: MirasWonderland | Getty Images

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How to Tell a Cat’s Age?

Do you know when the birthday of your cat is? If not, it is worth knowing because cats from different age groups have different needs. For example, an older cat will be healthier if it will be fed with higher protein content which is not the case for younger kitties. 

We guess you are now curious to find out how you can tell the age of your feline pet. Actually, it can be pretty difficult to know if you did not have your cat from birth. But, in this article, our goal is to help you approximate your cat’s age through different factors. 

To begin with, a kitty gains one pound each month up until 4 to 6 months. So, if you adopted a kitty weighing 3 pounds, it is most likely that it is 3 months of age. 

5 Tips to Figure Out A Cat’s Age through Different Methods:

Once your kitty cat has reached its adulthood, it is rather challenging to pinpoint its birth year but there are some indicators to make a wild guess such as the following:

  1. Check Those Teeth

Kitten’s baby teeth (deciduous teeth)  begin to come-out between 2 and 4 weeks of age. Then at 4 months of age, these baby teeth begin to fall-out and the permanent teeth start to erupt. Typically, by 6 months to 1 year of age, all the permanent teeth of your cat are in place. 

Once all those adult teeth are out, one way that you can check so you can tell the age of your cat is the color of its teeth. The yellower the teeth are, the older the cat is. Why? Blame on its wear and tear. 

 Typically, if you see only a bit of tartar, your cat is still young, around 1 to 2 years of age. Between the age of 3 and 5 years, you can see an increase in the yellowing of its teeth.

 As your feline pet advances in age, say at 10 years or older, all of its teeth are shining yellow already!

Color is not the only indicator of age. Check the quality of the teeth. By this, it means that the older cats have dull-looking teeth, lack in luster, whiteness, and even less in number unlike those beautiful and sparkling with a complete set of teeth that you see in ads. This type of wear and tear begins to show at around 5 years of age.

Some of the teeth are not as pointed anymore and in some cases, have broken off. By age 10, some of its teeth may be missing and may also show signs of gingivitis or inflammation of the gums. 


  1. Check Those Furs

A kitten’s fur is baby-fine and soft but the texture changes as your cat get older. Its fur will get thicker and rougher. The color may also change-from brighter to lighter or vise versa. 

Once your cat is in its senior years, you will also see some gray or white patches of hair pretty much the same as what happens to its human parents. 


  1. Check Your Kitty’s Grooming Habits

Are you impressed by your cat’s obsessiveness with cleanliness? Your cat constantly cleans itself to stimulate blood flow, to clean its wounds, and to maintain its body temperature. But, as cats get older, the lesser they groom themselves. 

There are many reasons why your cat stops cleaning itself at a certain age but the dental issue is one reason. Around the age of 5 years, tartar and plaque begin to accumulate and these cause pain and discomfort. 

If your cat is experiencing painful teeth and gums, it will result in a reluctance to groom itself. 

The other reason why your cat stops grooming itself is due to arthritis brought about by aging. It can be very painful for your cat to move constantly, more so to reach those areas like its neck, as a result, grooming is done less frequently. 


  1. Check Your Cat’s Eyes

Cats have the most unique eyes in the world of animals. So beautiful that these are imitated by many women in the form of makeup application known as the cat eye makeup. 

Healthy kittens and adult cats have clear and bright eyes. If you inspect your feline pet’s eyes closely, you will not see any cloudiness and discharges. But, once your cat ages, those once brilliant eyes will turn into dull and cloudy eyes. 

Usually, you will start to notice the change in its eyes clarity by the age of 10 years old. 

Aside from clarity, try to examine your feline pet’s iris. This is the colorful portion of the eyes. As your cat advances in age, you will see some changes in the iris which is called iris atrophy. What happens is that the inside of the iris breaks down and gets thinner and some strands will begin to manifest on the iris. 


  1. Sexual Maturity

Don’t be surprised if your tomcat begins sexual maturity as early as 6 months of age. Around this time, you will notice a change in its behavior brought about by hormones. For example, it will act out by displaying aggressive behaviors especially if you have other cats in the house. 

Other signs of sexual maturity among male cats are urine spraying and nighttime vocalization (that sound you hear as if a human baby is crying out loud), and wanting to escape from your home. 

On the other hand, your Molly will reach sexual maturity around 5 and 12 months of age. She will start to go into heat every few weeks. This implies that she is in season and it is ready to find a perfect partner. 

The signs that your female cat is in season are sweetness overloads like wanting to rub its body against your legs all the time, excessive grooming, and vocalization. 

Your Molly can soon become a Queen and have its first litter at 7 1/2 months of age. 


What are the Signs that Your Cat is Old?

If cared well, your cat can live up to 15 years of age. A lot of fur parents like you want to find out if their pets are already in its advanced stage or not. To help you figure out, here are the symptoms of an aging cat:

It begins to lose its muscle mass and weight. 

Your cat will either drink more or less water than usual. 

The sound of its meow is different.

Your cat will experience in moving caused by arthritis. 


Life Stages of Cats by the American Association of Feline Practitioners and the American Animal Hospital Association:


  • Kitten: 0 to 6 months of age.
  • Junior: 7 months to 2 years old.
  • Adult: 3 to 6 years old.
  • Mature: 7 to 10 years old.
  • Senior: 1 to 14 years old.
  • Geriatric: 15 years of age and up. 


How to Tell the Age of a Cat in Human Years? 

Just like many pet owners, we are pretty sure that you want to know the age of your cat and its equivalent to human years. Here it is:

  • The kitten stage: Equivalent to 0 to 10 years in human age.
  • The junior stage: Equivalent to 12 to 24 years in human age.
  • The adult stage: Likened to 28 to 40 years in humans.
  • The mature stage: 44 to 56 years in human age. 
  • The senior stage:  Equivalent to 60 to 72 years old in humans 
  • The geriatric stage: Equivalent to 76 to 100 years plus in human age. 



Knowing the birth year of your feline pet is composed of different factors. Though it is not really excessively important to determine the age of your cat, it is vital to know roughly so you can adjust the necessary care like the diet of your cat. This is especially true if you adopted a stray cat roaming around the streets. 

By examining your cat’s eyes, teeth, grooming behaviors, and other physical characteristics like its fur and weight, you can more or less determine the birth year of your feline pet. 

Author Bio:

Jaden is an author of, a pet blog sharing knowledge about taking care of a pet. He has more than five years of experience in raising small animals like dogs, cats, hamsters, and freshwater fish. What he always focusing on is offering valuable and useful information to pet enthusiasts.

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Why Do Dogs Stink When Wet?

It’s counterintuitive: You give your dog a bath, and he comes out smelling worse. Why do dogs stink when they’re wet? The answer is pretty gross: The pungent scent is triggered by the excrement of living microbes on your dog.

“The smell on the skin of dogs is a result of normal microorganisms that live on the healthy skin and hair of dogs,” says Jennifer Schissler, DVM, assistant professor of dermatology at Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Fort Collins. “These organisms produce volatile chemical byproducts. When your dog gets wet and as she dries, evaporation ensues and releases these volatile compounds into the air so you can smell them more readily.”

The waste from these microorganisms (bacteria and fungi, such as yeast) has little or no scent when dry. But when water dislodges the acrid organic compounds, one whiff of that wafting stench assaults our olfactory senses like, well, critter dung.

Related: So Apparently Dogs and People Share the Same Kinds of Bacteria

Bacteria and yeast thrive in dark, moist, warm conditions, like those under a dog’s fur, so all dogs have some malodor when wet. While unpleasant to us, dogs like stinky things, so the funk probably doesn’t bother them (and may even attract them). And the aroma is not considered harmful to your dog or you.

Fungus among us

There are anywhere from 350 to 16,500 bacteria per square centimeter of dog. That sounds unhealthy, but it’s actually normal.

“All healthy dogs have microorganisms on their skin, which is why even dogs with a very healthy coat and who are quite clean still produce the distinctive wet-dog smell,“ says Dr. Schissler, a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Dermatology (ACVD).

Before you start thinking your dog is a walking Petri dish, consider that about 100 trillion microbes live on and in the human body (collectively they’re called the microbiome). The human microbiome can weigh as much as 5 pounds, and humans shed 38 million bacteria every hour.

We can never completely eliminate microbes from our dog’s skin — and we shouldn’t, says Christine Cain, DVM, assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia. In this case, warm and fuzzy — the very attributes that make a dog an attractive host for microorganisms — is a different kind of feel-good story: That bastion of bugs helps keep the skin healthy.

“There are several studies looking at the bacterial population of the skin and how this shifts with certain diseases,” says Dr. Cain, an ACVD diplomate. “It highlights that the diverse population of microbes on the skin may serve a protective purpose and that shifts in these microbes may have a role in disease promotion.”

Who’s the stinkiest? Double-coated breeds, such as the Shetland Sheepdog (long, thick fur takes more time to dry). Dogs with prominent skin folds, such as the Chinese Shar-Pei (bacteria and yeast thrive in poorly ventilated areas) Dogs who drool, such as the Bloodhound (moisture trapped in hair and skin creates a microbe breeding ground)

Sink the stink

“I don’t think there is an effective way to completely prevent or eliminate dog odor,” Dr. Cain says.

But there are canine products — both over the counter and prescription — that can decrease or mask odor. They include scented shampoos, conditioners, sprays and spot-ons, some of which contain botanical extracts, essential oils and essential fatty acids.

Regularly brushing your dog and keeping his fur trimmed help speed drying time and prevent odor and dirt from becoming trapped. And always dry a wet dog as thoroughly as possible.
Spring’s arrival brings outdoor play and gardening, so be vigilant about keeping your dog away from feces and manure; contact with them leads to more bacteria on the skin (and bacteria is the main reason stools smell).

Related: Wondering How Often to Bathe a Dog? It Depends on These Factors

Bottom line: “If your dog has wet hair, expect the doggie smell, as all dogs normally have microorganisms in their coats,” Dr. Schissler says.

I told you it was gross. But at least now you know that wet-dog smell is universal and not unhealthy. And it’s not your fault — or your dog’s. You can’t get around bathing your dog, and now that you know there are living organisms crawling all over his skin, you probably want to. Right after you bathe yourself.

Top photograph: Holly Hildreth

Read Next: Why do dogs howl?

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