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Summertime Guide to Walking the Dog

How to Exercise Pet Safety While Walking the Dog in the Heat of Summer

Walking the dog is one of the best ways for our four-legged companions to get exercise and explore the world. Dogs both love and need to be walked. Walking provides great exercise and allows dogs to partake in their favorite ancestral habit—peeing on everything. With the heat indexes rising, it’s important to know when it’s too hot to walk your dog. Also important is knowing the best ways to keep them from experiencing heat stroke (hyperthermia).

According to a British Veterinary Association study, 48% of vet clinics had to treat dogs for heat stroke during the summer months. The two prevailing reasons heat stroke occurs is because owners neglectfully leave their dogs in cars and dogs overheat due to vigorous exercise while on a walk. Many pet parents aren’t even aware that their dog is severely overheating. Even when the air temperature is only 86-degrees F, the asphalt temperature can swelter to 135-degrees F—hot enough to fry an egg in five minutes. Imagine this on your dog’s paw pads!

Dogs also have a different way of cooling down than humans. Humans regulate heat by sweating. The primary cooling method for a dog is, of course, panting. The way it works is a dog’s tongue swells up—fills with warm blood—while air is forced rapidly over the tongue. As a dog pants, their breathing matches the natural resonant frequency of the airways. This allows warm moisture to evaporate from the tongue which is exhaled while cooled blood returns from the tongue into the body. Dogs have small sweat glands on their feet but these sweat glands are not enough to be a thorough heat losing mechanism.

Heat Strokes (Hyperthermia) in Dogs

The veterinary definition of hyperthermia is when a dog’s body temperature is elevated beyond an accepted normal range. The temperature typically associated with hyperthermia is 106-degrees F. At this temperature, inflammation of the body occurs with a possibility of brain damage and even fatality. This makes it very important to be observant while walking the dog in hot temperatures.

Symptoms of Hyperthermia:

  • Red Gums
  • Non-Production of Urine
  • Sudden Kidney Failure
  • Shock
  • Heart & Lung Failure
  • Vomiting Blood
  • Blood in Stool
  • Seizures
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle Tremors
  • Uncoordinated Movement
  • Unconsciousness

The two most common factors behind dogs overheating are easily preventable. Being aware of the environmental temperature and your dog’s body language can help prevent them from getting hypothermia. When walking the dog in the heat, the increased muscle activity generates an exorbitant amount of body heat. The rise in environmental heat puts dogs at risk during long walks, without shade or access to water. As you walk the dog, continually monitor their behavior and make sure you take breaks if they are excessively panting. Providing water for them to drink at these breaks is also important.

Leaving a dog in the cark is another easily prevented situation that leads to dogs overheating. Even on a fair day, it only takes minutes for a parked car to turn a car into a brick oven. Even with the windows cracked it is not safe. On a 78-degree day, the inside of a parked car will swelter to 100 degrees in a few minutes. If you need to run errands and cannot bring your dog, please leave them at home in the air conditioning, instead of in a parked car.

Dogs that are Susceptible to Overheating:

  • Young puppies & senior dogs have a harder time regulating their internal body temperature
  • Obese dogs have extra layers of insulation in the form of fat which prevents them from cooling
  • Brachycephalic dogs (squishy faced breeds) have a more restricted breathing pathway which hinders them from cooling down
  • Dogs diagnosed with laryngeal paralysis (narrow breathing passage) also have a more difficult time breathing and consequently harder time dissipating heat
  • Dogs with dark coats who absorb more solar radiation instead of reflecting it

How to Avoid Heat Stroke While Walking the Dog

Timing of the Walk

A little bit of common sense goes a long way for your dog’s safety. The middle of the day, when the sun is highest in the sky, is, of course, going to be the hottest time of day. Try and take your dog for a walk either early in the morning, or late at night, when the temperature isn’t quite as scorching. If you have a dog-walker take your dog out while you are at work, ensure they are walking your dog at an appropriate time.

Route of the Walk

Try and pick a route that avoids asphalt and concrete. Find a route that is shady. This will avoid any unnecessary heat that your dog experiences. Also, make sure they have access to plenty of water. Bring a collapsible water bowl and water bottle for frequent breaks where your dog can re-hydrate.

Dog Boots & Socks

A pair of dog shoes can help protect a dog’s paw pads from the heat radiating from the ground. They also protect a dog’s paws during any season from elements like rocks, broken glass, burrs, snow salt, and other debris which can be dangerous.

Go for a Swim

Dogs need plenty of exercise, even in the summer, but hot temperatures make pet owners consider other ways for dogs to get some exercise. Instead of walking, or going to the dog park, why not visit the dog beach? Swimming is a great form of exercise and helps cool a dog off.

Moisturized Dog Paw Pads

A dog’s paw pads are naturally tough but were never meant to walk over the hot asphalt and concrete. Paw pads can become cracked, irritated, and collect debris from the ground that can damage the paw pad. If your dog is vulnerable to damaged paw pads you can apply coconut oil to their paws to help alleviate any irritation. Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique also offers a ‘pawdicure’ service that moisturizes your pup’s paw pads—preventing cracking, peeling, and cleansing away bacteria with an effervescent scrub.

Trimming the Nails and Hair Between the Toes

Having your veterinarian or groomer trim the hair between a dog’s toes helps them gain traction. It also prevents dirt, twigs, and other debris on the ground from getting lodged into their paws. Maintaining a dog’s paw-fur also helps with a dog’s natural temperature regulation.

Trimming a dog’s nails might not help with keeping them cool but it is equally important for their health.

 

Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique wish you luck while walking the dog this summer. Please be safe and make sure your dog has plenty of water and shade. In the worst case scenario, if your dog does experience heat stroke, know how to cool your dog down.

For tips on bringing your dog’s body temperature down, click here.

 

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How Hot is Too Hot for a Dog to be Left in the Car?

The summer 0f 2017 is shaping up to be the second-hottest summer on record, according to Scientific American. Each of the last three years has broken global high-temperature records. This is pushing heat indexes well over 100 degrees in some states. States like Texas, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Illinois are experiencing scorching heat waves that are leaving many wondering how hot is too hot for a dog to be in a parked car?

You should never, under any circumstances leave a dog in a parked car—even with the windows open. Cars can become furnaces in the summer heat. At 78-degrees, the inside of a parked car can climb to 100 degrees in minutes. It only takes 10 minutes for the interior temperature of a car to reach a potentially fatal 109 degrees on 90-degree day. Since dogs can only regulate heat through panting and minor sweat glands on their footpads, temperatures above 104-degrees put them at high risk of overheating (hyperthermia).

It is simply way too hot for them.

Dogs with wrinkly faces (brachycephalic) are even more susceptible to overheating like Bulldogs and Pugs. Obese dogs, puppies, or senior dogs also have a higher chance of suffering from heatstroke. Medical conditions like respiratory disease, heart disease, lung disease, or central nervous system disease put dogs at higher risks too. Knowing how hot, is too hot, for a dog is important when the temperature swelters to dangerous notches in a mercury thermometer.

A responsible guardian should look for other ways around leaving a dog in a hot parked car!

How Hot is Too Hot for a Dog?

When the outside temperature reaches 90-degrees, heat must dissipate through evaporation. For humans, this means sweating, and of course, for dogs, this means panting. If a puppy or dog’s body temperature exceeds 103-degrees, veterinarians consider this abnormal or hyperthermic. At this point, dogs will begin exhibiting symptoms of hyperthermia. Symptoms include excessive drooling, bloodshot eyes, and muscle tremors.

A body temperature of 106-degrees—not caused by a previously diagnosed illness is most likely from external or environmental heat. At 107-degrees—the critical point—multiple organ failures, and even death can become imminent. For this reason, it’s important to know how to reverse internal body temperatures.

How to Reverse Overheating

An overheating dog is an immediate medical emergency. Dog owners need to take urgent steps to lower their dog’s body temperature or risk brain damage, organ failure, or death.

Your dog should always have access to water and shady areas. If a dog is showing signs of overheating make sure they still have something to drink. Add a pinch of salt to replace any minerals a dog has lost during panting.

Take cool (not cold) water and pour it over a dog’s head, stomach, armpits, and feet. If there is a bathtub nearby you can also submerge your dog in cool water—holding their head up to prevent aspiration pneumonia. You should also massage your dog’s limbs vigorously to restore blood circulation. Placing a cold packet on your dog’s head will also bring their body temperature down.

Always call emergency veterinary service so they can properly assess your dog’s condition.

What to do if You Come Across a Dog in a Hot Car?

Time is imperative when it comes to preventing a dog from getting brain damage. At a sustained 107-degree body temperature, it can take only 15 minutes for brain damage to occur.

If you see a dog in a parked car, take down the car’s color, model, make, and license plate number. Try and have the owner paged in the nearest building over an intercom system or through a businesses registry.

If needed, call the humane authorities or police.

Alternative to Leaving a dog in Parked Car

Even when the weather is fair it’s a good practice never to leave your dog in the car. There are plenty of alternatives that don’t put your dog in any danger and still allow you take a cruise with them.

Drive Through/Curbside Service

When you go out to eat, drive around a drive-through or order curbside service. Most restaurants have mobile apps that make this super convenient and easy. This way you get the food you want and your pup has companionship through the whole process.

The Buddy System

If you want to bring your dog for a ride, bring a friend or family member to watch over them while you run inside for errands. This way you can leave the car on with the air conditioning running, without worrying.

Pet-Friendly Places

With over 68% of the U.S. population owning a pet, dog-friendly establishments are becoming more popular. Restaurants with outdoor dining are usually fine with you bringing your dog in. Some shopping malls have even opened their doors to our canine companions too!

Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique wishes the best for dogs of all sizes and shapes! We adore animals and hate to see when animals suffer from negligence. Please be responsible this summer and know when it is too hot your dog to be in a parked car.

 

Play Dirty. Live Clean.

 

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How to Prevent Injuries to Your Dog’s Paw Pads

When is the Heat Dangerous for Dog Paw Pads?

On scorching summer days, humans have the privilege of wearing flip-flops and shoes to protect their feet from the asphalt or concrete ground. Asphalt absorbs the sun’s rays, making a perfect surface area to fry an egg, or cause injury to a dog paw pad. Air temperature can be misleading. At only 77 degrees Fahrenheit, asphalt temperature can reach 125 degrees—hot enough for skin destruction to occur after 60 seconds of contact. At this temperature, asphalt is only six degrees short of being able to fry an egg in five minutes. Since air temperature is not always an accurate reflection of ground temperature, it’s important to be aware of the heat index to protect your dog’s paw pads!

Dogs are what’s known as a digitigrade species. This means that they walk on their toes, unlike plantigrade species, who use the entire sole of their feet to move. The part of a dog’s paw that makes the most contact with the ground is the pads.The metacarpal,  metatarsal, and digital pads function as the load-bearing, shock-absorbing pads. Although these dog paw pads are tough, they can only take so much heat before injury can occur. The carpal pad makes less contact with the ground and is used for skid and traction when a dog is on an incline or stopping.  

A dog’s paw has five basic parts:

  • Claw
  • Digital Pads
  • Metacarpal Pad (front paws)
  • Metatarsal Pad (rear paws)
  • Dew Claw
  • Carpal Pad

The Five Second Rule

If you live in a hot climate, with temperatures that reach into the 90’s then you need to know the ten-second rule. Veterinarians agree, this is one of the simplest and best gauges to discern if the ground is too hot for a dog paw pad.

To assess the heat level, place the back of your hand against the pavement. If you cannot hold it for five seconds, it’s too hot to walk your dog. If the back of your hand is uncomfortable, it can be painful for your dog to walk on this surface. When the pavement reaches this temperature, many dogs will whimper or begin ‘high-stepping’ on the pavement.

If this is the case, stop the walk. Try and find shady areas or routes that are not in direct contact with the sun. Grass and dirt paths won’t absorb as much heat, so you can try sticking to these walkways.

Dog Boots Or Shoes

Some awesome pet supplies you can get for your dog are dog shoes. A dog paw can only withstand so many of the elements and dog shoes come in handy for more than one season. Dog boots, or shoes, can protect dog paws from rain, snow, salt, and heat. Also, any sharp debris, burrs, or salts that can injure a dog’s paw pads cannot pierce through the material.

High-quality dog shoes made with durable moisture-resistant materials, keeping sharp objects and water out. They also are equipped with reflective straps for extra visibility and protection during night walks.

If you live in a hot climate or a major city with tons of concrete, consider getting your dog some extra protection.

Let Your Dog Dig

Yes, dogs do tear up our backyards as a form of entertainment but many are also doing this to keep cool. Soil further from the ground surface-level is less hot and your dog’s digging efforts may be an effort to reach this cooler soil. If it’s possible, locate a shady area where you allow your dog to dig.

If you want to keep your backyard pristine, it’s better to just keep your dog inside with the A/C cranked. Remember if your dog gets dirty you can take them by your local Splash and Dash for unlimited bathing, brushing, and loving!

Summer Swimming

We at Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique believe that exercise for dogs is very important! When the heat is unbearable, your dog still needs to get all their energy out. Instead of a walk, why not head down to your local dog beach or lake for a swim?

If neither of these is an option for your doggo, you can think of buying a paddling pool for your dog to splash around in. A paddling pool helps them cool down without presenting the danger to their dog paw pads.

Keep Dog Paw Pads Moisturized

A dog’s paw pad is naturally tough but dogs aren’t meant to walk over the hard, hot surfaces like concrete and asphalt. Combined with frequent walks overtime, it may be necessary to moisturize your dog’s paw pads. Moisturizing their paw pads can help prevent cracking, peeling, and minor injuries. Even more helpful, Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique offers a pawdicure treatment that not only moisturizes a dog’s paws but removes bacteria through a cleansing effervescent scrub.

More Tips to be Safe in the Heat

Not only should dog owners be cognizant of their dog’s paw pads but be aware of heatstroke in general. Nordic dogs with double coats have a natural insulation process but have a higher chance of overheating when the heat index is over 100 degrees. When you are not home, the best practice is to leave your dog inside with the air conditioner running. Never leave your dog in a parked car! Temperatures can reach fatal levels in minutes.

Start a walking schedule that is either early in the morning, or late at night, when the pavements had time to cool off. When walking, stick to pathways that are not asphalt or concrete and remember the five-second rule. Bring a water bottle and collapsible bowl for your dog to drink from. If your dog starts exhibiting any signs of heatstroke, stop walking immediately and help cool him down.

Dog Heat Stroke Signs Include:

  • Red Gums
  • Non-Production of Urine
  • Sudden Kidney Failure
  • Shock
  • Heart & Lung Failure
  • Vomiting Blood
  • Blood in Stool
  • Seizures
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle Tremors
  • Uncoordinated Movement
  • Unconsciousness

If your dog begins symptoms of heatstroke, contact emergency veterinary services. In the meantime, there are some things you can do at home to help them reach a healthy temperature.

Steps to Cooling Your Dog Down:

  1. Place them in a bathtub or a cool (not cold) body of water. If this is not an option run cool hose water over their coat.
  2. Allow water to fill up the tub, keeping their head elevated to prevent aspiration pneumonia.
  3. Apply a cold pack to your dog’s head to lower body temperature.
  4. Massage their limbs. This helps circulate their bloodstream and reduces the risks of shock.
  5. Let him drink as much water as he wants and add a pinch of salt to replace minerals lost from panting.

For more information of dog heatstroke, click here!

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These Doggy Nail Polish Colors are in This Season

We are spoiling our dogs more than ever these days. We love to treat them like our own children! The options in making your dog absolutely fabulous are almost endless as doggie couture becomes more popular. Cuteness options range from plucky haircuts, bows & ribbons, and even some creative and vibrant strokes of dog nail polish. Dog nail polish is too fun! You can use it to match their personality or outfit! Most dog grooming salons now offer nail polish services so your pup can leave with toes that match their spunky personality.

Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique offer 26 different colors of dog nail polish and polish pens. We use Groomer’s Choice Nail Polish Premium Formula and Warren London Pawdicure Pens. Both brands are industry standards and are completely non-toxic and safe for animals. Our grooming salons have dozens of ways to accessorize your dog. Our grooming practices not only help them to be their healthiest but also their cutest.

Keep reading to find out more about dog nail polish, what to choose, pet safety tips, and how your groomer can help!

How to Choose the Right Dog Nail Polish

If you decide to paint your dog’s nails at home, finding the right dog nail polish can be a little overwhelming. There are tons of different brands and colors to choose from. We recommend starting with safety first. Find a nail polish that does not contain formaldehyde, toluene, or dibutyl phthalate—which are all toxic for dogs. Many popular doggie nail polishes have ingredients that are beneficial for a dog’s health. Ingredients like seaweed, green tea extracts, aloe, or Vitamin E are always a positive when shopping around. Also, try and find a quick-drying dog nail polish. This way your dog doesn’t have to sit still for too long.

Next, you will want to choose a color that will show up well on your dog’s nails. If your dog has dark nails you will want to look for bright colors. Dark nails seem to only absorb certain colors, so look for pastels, neons, and flashy colors. Some dog nail polish brands also sell a white base coat which helps make colors ‘pop’ more.

If you are planning an outfit for an occasion, let this be your guiding force. Your favorite sports team’s colors will look great at a tailgate party. Having a doggie birthday party for your princess? Flamingo Pink dog nail polish will match her tiara and princess outfit!

Popular Colors This Season Include:

  • Sapphire Shimmer
  • Tourmaline Shimmer
  • Raspberry Sorbet
  • Fire Engine Red

Polish Pens

At Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique locations, our groomers also use polish pens. We use Warren London Pawdicure Pens to draw on even more creative designs. The line comes in 13 colors from Black to Gold and everything between. Groomers can draw more intricate designs with polish pens because there is more precision when using a nib over a brush. Seasonal favorites like stars and stripes for Fourth of July or snowflakes for the Winter Holidays are always adorable on your pooch.

The pens only take around 40 seconds to dry so dogs are not under any strain while staying still. The pens are water-based and have no odor. Usually, it only takes one smooth application of polish to fully cover the nail.

Application is simple. Shake the polish pen, then remove the cap. Press the point downward on the nail and the polish will start flowing. Run the nub across the nail for an application.

Pet Safety

Never use human nail polish on a dog’s nails! Dogs lick at their paws and nails and even when the polish has dried it can still be harmful. Human nail polish contains formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate, which are extremely toxic for dogs. Ingestion of these chemicals can lead to chronic conditions like asthma, developmental issues, and other illnesses.

Also, before applying nail polish, you need to inspect the condition of your dog’s paws. Open sores, tears, or cracks can be worsened by dog nail polish and remover. Make sure your dog’s paws are pristine before painting their nails. A groomer will perform a wellness check for you, making sure your dog’s paws are in the best condition.

Many believe that applying dog nail polish is as easy as brushing the polish onto a dog’s nails. In reality, it is actually a multi-step process even after trimming a dog’s nails to a healthy length.

First, a groomer needs to trim the fur around a dog’s nail so that stray hairs do not interfere with the brushing application. Some try to push the hair back with nylon but this is not very comfortable for a dog. Nails need to be cleaned. Wipe away any dirt or debris that will muddle the polish. Leaving dirt trapped underneath polish can also lead to nail fungus growing.

How to Apply Dog Nail Polish

The first step is always trimming the hair around the nail, then clipping the nail itself.  Even if you are not polishing your dog’s nails, they need to be clipped to a safe length. Overly grown nails force a dog to walk with unhealthy posture, limiting mobility and causing arthritic issues later on in life. Without trimming their nails back, paint flakes will chip off quicker as your dog walks on rough surfaces.

As with all grooming, the best time to do is when your dog is nice and calm. Make sure your dog is accustomed to having their paws handled and they are properly exercised before starting. If you do this at home, it’s a good idea to take baby steps and reinforce the process with treats and encouragement. Have a friend hold a chew toy filled with peanut butter for your dog to lick on while you polish their nails. Speak soothingly to them as you work. If your dog seems irritable, stop. You can paint one nail at a time until your dog is comfortable enough to let you paint a whole paw. Once you get all four paws done, you can apply a second coat to make the polish appear brighter or even out the lines.

Removing Nail Polish

You can let your dog’s painted nails grow out and trim them as the paint begins to flake off. This will take some time. Using dog nail polish remover is a more practical and safer solution.

Again, do not use human nail polish remover, which contains acetone, a chemical toxic to dogs. Dog nail polish removers are soy-based. These tend to be biodegradable and help provide moisture. Not only are they good for your dog, they’re good for the planet!

Removal is pretty much the same as wiping off human nail polish. Apply dog nail polish remover to a cotton ball and wipe away the polish.

Consider Letting Your Groomer Paint Your Dog’s Nails

Dogs are notorious for being sensitive when it comes to their paws. Unless your dog is accustomed to having their paws handled from puppyhood, they will more than likely make a huge fit over having their nails polished. If this is the case, as a responsible pet owner, you need to decide if it is even worth it to have their nails painted. Painting your dog’s nails should never be forced on a dog and the process might be tedious, but never uncomfortable.

A professional groomer has the expertise, training, and skill-set to use the highest quality dog nail polish combined with precise techniques for your dog’s safety.

The groomers at Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique do an amazing job painting your dog’s nails for any occasion. Click here to learn more about how our groomers can better your dog’s health through pampering and luxury.

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Five Tricks That Almost Any Dog Can Do

Simple Dog Tricks Your Dog Can Learn Easily

The saying ‘an old dog can’t learn new tricks,’ isn’t quite true. Older dogs, whether adopted or the dog you’ve had for years, can indeed learn new dog tricks. It just might be a little harder for her and you will have to adjust for a longer learning curve. Puppies, like human babies, are exploring the world for the first time and their minds are ripe to absorb new things. Obedience training, dog training tricks, and dog park socialization are learned while young. This doesn’t mean you can’t work with your dog to get her to learn some new dog tricks. The same is true when it comes to different breeds. Some dog breeds have been stigmatized to be stubborn and harder to train but the truth is any dog can learn new dog tricks.

As a dog approaches seniorhood, their mind slows—similarly to human minds. This is called canine cognitive dysfunction. One natural way to prevent this is to provide a healthy diet full of Omega 3 and Vitamin C & E. Another way is teaching new dog tricks to help keep your doggo’s mind active. Pet parents don’t need to worry about their senior dogs getting a little senile. It’s just another part of life. Besides, being a healthy practice, dog tricks can continue to establish the bond you have with your dog. She’ll love the attention, treats, and affection she gets during training sessions. Plus, when she’s mastered new dog tricks, you can show off how smart she is at parties.

The key to getting a dog to master any training is consistency. Everyone in the house needs to stick to a dog’s training program and follow the same steps. Some dog trainers prefer clickers, while others like verbal or visual commands. Everyone has their own preference. For instance, if you teach your dog to sit by saying the command “sit” and your partner says “bottom,” it’s really going to confuse your dog. Pick a style of cuing and stick with it. Training is also much easier when your dog is less distracted and exercised. Pick times in a quiet place, without distractions, and after a good walk. For the best results with these tricks, it’s easiest for your dog to already know ‘sit.’ From a sitting position, your dog will be more relaxed and less inclined to get distracted.

Read this article for some dog training tips on how to get your dog to learn some fun dog tricks!

Shake Hands

Some people call it ‘shake,’ some call it ‘paw’ but we all get the idea. Pet owners love this trick because it’s cute and very easy to teach. ‘Shake hands’ is usually the third trick a dog will learn after the bonafide ‘sit’ and ‘stay.’

When you have a treat in a closed hand, your dog will naturally paw at your hand because they sense the treat. From a seated position, let your dog paw at your hand. As soon as their paw makes contact with your hand, use the verbal command. This reinforces the association of your command with their act. Gradually, as they make the association, take the treat out of your hand and increase the duration of time with their paw is in your palm. As your dog  masters ‘shake’ you can begin teaching variations like ‘high five’ and ‘wave.’

Always reward her with a treat after she pulls off the desired dog trick.

Go To Your Place

This dog trick is handy and impressive. It helps prevent dogs from jumping up on guests and is a positive way of getting your dog out of the way while you’re cleaning or moving heavy things. You can use a special rug, crate, or dog bed for this dog trick as a target zone. Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique recommend using a dog bed when first starting out.

The first part of this trick is simple. Toss a treat into your dog’s bed and as they go to eat the treat, say the verbal command. Next, pretend to throw a treat on the bed. If your dog does not enter the bed, just wait a few seconds for them to try and sniff around in the bed. Once their feet are on top of their dog bed, give them a bunch of treats when all four of their legs are inside. After this, get your dog to lay down. Next, wait and see if your dog will go to the target zone on their own. A step toward the bed earns a treat. Once they enter the bed, they earn another one.

If your dog is hesitant to lay down once in the target zone, you can use a treat to lure them down into a laying position. To do this, hold onto a treat with your hand closed and lower your hand in front of their face. Dogs will naturally follow the treat.

Kiss

This dog trick is a classic. To quickly teach this one, you’ll need something sticky like post-it notes and of course, treats! In this variation, your dog will bring their snout to your face, without actually licking you. You’ll use the sticky-note as the target zone at first.

With your dog beside you, take a post-it note with it stuck to your hand. Your inquisitive dog will sniff the post-it note. As they do this, say the command, then reward. Keep moving the post-it note further away, getting your dog to inch forward. As her snout makes contact with the post-it note, reward her.

Spin

This is another dog trick that looks complicated but is actually super easy to teach. Since dogs can be lured—will follow a closed palm with a treat inside—you just have to train them to associate your command with the movement. Dogs are sensitive to directions. Pick a direction for them to spin and stick with it. A counter-clockwise spin is a completely different dog trick than a clockwise spin, so teach one direction at first.

With a treat in one hand, lure them onto all fours going in the requested direction. Keep your hand low and say your command once the rotation is complete. Slowly wean your dog off of lure movements by transitioning them to learn to spin without your hand as a guide.

Play Dead

If your dog knows the tricks ‘sit,’ ‘lay down’ and stay then they are ready to graduate to learning to ‘play dead’ or ‘sleep.’

First instruct ‘down,’ and as your puppy lays down, rub their belly for comfort. Gently roll your dog onto her side and reward her. After a few sessions, your dog will get comfortable on her side and anticipate this movement next. At this point, start adding the command ‘stay’ while she is on her side. As you go through the each individual trick with your dog, substitute the old commands with ‘play dead.’

Eventually, your dog will be able to ‘play dead’ in one fluid motion when she makes the connection between the words.

Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique wish you luck with teaching your dog new tricks! We advocate positive-reward methods of dog training. For a loving relationship with your dog, do not force dog tricks into their repertoire. Learning tricks takes time, patience, and positivity.

For great treat-rewards that are guilt-free, our shops offer all-natural chia seed pet treats that your dog will love and provides a boost of health benefits.

Live Dirty. Play Clean.

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Using Cooling Pads for Your Dog Will Help Him Get Through the Summer

The heat of the summer can be tough on your doggo. As the mercury rises and the sun’s rays belt down, some dogs have a harder time keeping themselves cool. New technology found in a dog cooling pad can make it easier for all our four-legged friends. Instead of your dog plopping down on your floor, they can have their own cooling pad to keep the sweltering temperatures at bay.

Keeping your dog cool during the summer is a simple process that is also very important. We at Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique recommend keeping your dog inside when you’re not home. This keeps them out of the hot temperatures in the comfort of air conditioning. If this is not an option, make sure your dog has access to shade and plenty of water while outside. Providing a cooling pad can also help your dog from overheating, which can lead to heat-related illnesses.

Nordic dogs with thick double coats are especially vulnerable to maladies caused from overheating (hyperthermia). Huskies, Australian Shepherds, and Pomeranian are just a few of the breeds of dogs that will benefit from a cooling pad. Many cooling pads significantly lessen the chance of heat stroke and hypertension. Also, dogs who have cushing’s disease, arthritis, and skin conditions benefit from having a cooling pad against their skin.

This article will discuss the different types of cooling pads found on the market and which ones we think are the best for your dog.

Different Cooling Pad Designs

Depending on your budget and your dog’s needs will affect what kind of cooling pad you will want to buy. There are cooling pads designed to go in a crate, outside, or as an addition to a dog bed.

Automatic Cooling Gel Pad

Most pet stores recommend this cooling pad design because it is the most effective and inexpensive option for your dog. An automatic cooling gel pad comes pre-filled with a cooling gel that is usually activated by pressure. When your dog lays on the pad, the pad will lower in temperature anywhere from 5-10 degrees lower than the outside temperature. Some brands will cool down even lower. Many automatic cooling gel pads will stay at this range for three to four hours before automatically recharging.

Water Filled Cooling Pad

These cooling pads are on the lower-tech side but are relatively cheap. Water filled cooling pads are good for temporary use when traveling with your dog. The design is simple. Just fill the pad with water and place it in the freezer or refrigerator. When the cooling pad reaches the desired temperature, place it out for your dog. The tricky thing about these cooling pads is finding the most suitable temperature for your dog. They will only stay cool for around 2 hours before you will need to place it back in the refrigerator.

Simple Gel Cooling Pad

This is probably the cheapest option for pet owners. The pre-filled gel remains at a constant temperature that is usually between five to ten degrees lower than the outside temperature. If you live in a climate that is not overwhelmingly hot, this might be the best option for your dog.

Our Top Five Favorite Options

Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique considered tons of cooling pads on the market and whittled the list down to our top five favorites. We considered price, effectiveness, and features to find the best cooling pads.  

Pet Dog Self Cooling Mat Pad for Kennels by Arf Pets

Features:

  • Automatic Recharging Cooling Relief for up to Three Hours
  • Flexible Mat Design
  • 100% Safe for Animals made with Non-Toxic & Latex Free Materials
  • Durable Gel Construction
  • Three Sizes

Price: $69.99–$104.99

 

Premium Pet Self Cooling Pad by The Green Shop Pet

Features:

  • Pressure Activated Cooling System
  • Cooling Relief for Up to 4 Hours
  • Automatically Recharges After 15 Minutes of Non-Use
  • Durable Gel Construction
  • Five Sizes

Price: $19.98–$59.99

 

Cool Bed III by K&H Pet Products

Features:

  • Water Saturated Cool Core Which Absorbs Pet’s Heat
  • Fill Once With No Tools Necessary
  • Durable Construction from Nylon & Vinyl
  • Recommended for Outdoor/Indoor Use
  • Three Sizes

Price: $27.22–$49.99

 

Coleman Pet Cooling Mat by Coleman

Features:

  • Maintained Five to Ten Degrees Less than Outside Temperature
  • No Refrigeration Necessary
  • 100% Non-Toxic
  • Three Sizes

Price: $17.88–$25.99

 

Chillz Pad Comfort Cooling Gel Pad by Hugs Pet Products

Features:

  • Rechargeable 100% Non-Toxic Gel Technology Absorbs Body Heat
  • Recommended for Indoor/Outdoor Use
  • Puncture Resistant Material
  • Three Sizes

Price: $12.98–$29.98

 

More Cooling Options for the Summer

Living in a warm climate and having a dog with a thick coat is not always an ideal situation for their comfort and health. It is important to maintain a grooming schedule during the summer months to ensure coat length is optimal. We recommend having your groomer trim down a dog’s belly fur so they have more skin contact with a cooling pad. Brushing is also especially important to keep a dog’s shedding hairs from getting trapped in their coat.

 

Besides setting up a cooling pad for your dog, you might consider taking them for a swim. If you don’t have access to a dog-friendly beach or lake, you can always get a paddling pool for your backyard. If your dog loves the water, they’ll love a paddling pool! Your dog can splash around in fresh water, giving them a break from the heat. Backyard misting systems are also a fun option that supplies your dog with refreshing water.

 

Also in this vein are cooling vests that you can wrap around your dog’s body. Many of these vests reflect solar radiation while evaporating, which draws heat away from a dog. Activating a cooling vest is as simple as soaking the vest in water, wringing the vest out, and placing it on your dog.

 

Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique urge you to be mindful of the scorching temperatures when it comes to your dog. Preventing overheating is as simple as making sure your dog has enough water, access to shade, and is inside when alone. Getting a cooling pad or any other cooling system can help your dog be their most comfortable this summer!

 

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Spa Treatments That Your Pup Needs

Regular Spa Treatments are Vital to a Dog’s Health

Owning a dog is one of life’s most joyful experiences. Coming home to a wagging-tail and happy, expectant eyes is an amazing feeling that dog owners relish. As you know, dogs have amazing abilities to enrich our human lives. Owning a dog has been shown to lower Cortisol, the stress hormone, which is why therapy dogs have such impressive results. Studies have even shown that having a dog around your infant helps strengthen a child’s immune system. Your dog gives you unconditional love and care! Showing this requisite love is pretty simple: provide healthy foods, spa treatments, and lots of affection.

At Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique, we are here to help with all three! The spa treatments we offer are made with your dog’s needs in mind, and the products in our stores are the same products we use at home with our own dogs.

Grooming is a vital part of a dog’s general health. A trained groomer can help keep a dog’s skin pH balanced, provide a wellness check for diseases or parasites, and style your dog’s coat in a way that is healthy and chic. Grooming is preventative care that can stop medical issues before they begin. This helps save money by avoiding costly visits to the vet. It also saves you time, you would otherwise spend cleaning your dog and house from all the shedding! Regular grooming for many dogs is a tedious process and it’s not always easy to get it done with a busy schedule. This makes professional grooming a practical part of owning a dog.

Veterinarians suggest beginning dog grooming around eight to 12-weeks-old and no later than 16-weeks-old. Starting early allows your puppy to associate grooming as a good thing. This will make grooming easier for them and their groomer for life. It’s also important to start early because establishing good grooming habits for your dog is important for their health. Common issues like matting, periodontal disease, and kidney disease can all be easily prevented by regular trips to the groomer.

This article walks dog owners through the importance of spa treatments for a happy and healthy doggo!

Brushing

Brushing is one of the most overlooked parts of spa treatments.

All dogs shed. Hair shedding is a continuous process despite the season. Regular brushing removes any dead hair and dander that is trapped in a dog’s coat and stops painful matting from turning a coat into a knot. Brushing also distributes a dog’s skin oils—preventing hot spots and other skin irritations.

Dogs need to be brushed every day. You can brush your dog at home, or have a professional do it as much as you needed on top of a wash with the Splash and Dash signature service!

Bathing

Having your dog bathed regularly is another important part of a healthy grooming schedule. It’s just as easy with the signature service, which lets you take your dog in for a bath whenever you want!

We use all-natural eco-friendly dog shampoos that remove the debris and chemicals—picked up from lawns and concrete–away from your dog’s coat. Quality shampoos also help lock in needed moisture and vitamins for a vibrant coat shine and healthy skin.

Ears & Eyes

Cleaning a dog’s ears and eyes are important to make sure your pup doesn’t get an infection.

Dogs that are prone to tear staining (epiphora) have a higher risk of yeast infection and the area around their muzzle will need to be cleaned often.

A dog’s ears are also susceptible to infection. To prevent redness, swelling, or a smelly discharge your dog’s ears need to be cleaned at least twice a month. This also inhibits parasites from making their home in your dog’s ears.

Nail Clipping

If you can hear the click-clack of your dog’s nails making contact with your floor, then their nails are too long!

Before domestication, dogs’ nails grind down naturally as they walked over rough terrain. Most dogs today will get their daily walks in, but this not nearly enough for their nails to wear down. When a dog’s nails are too long, they will compensate with bad posture—torquing their spine and locking their legs into what’s known as ‘goat on the rock’ posture. This can lead to joint issues and immobility later on in life.

Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed also helps prevent overgrown nails from cutting into their pads and infection in their nail bed.

Teeth Brushing

Bad breath is only the beginning. Brushing your dog’s teeth and providing dental chews will stop gingivitis and periodontal disease along with that bad fishy smell we get when our dogs lick our faces. Built up plaque hardens into tartar, a magnet for bacteria. This overabundance of bacteria can leak into a dog’s bloodstream. This causes kidney disease and other organ issues that are preventable with good oral care.

Splash and Dash offers dental care and will work with your dog to freshen breath and brighten smiles!

Glands & Sanitary Areas

Have you ever watched your dog do the infamous drag-the-butt-across-the-carpet move? We all have. We all laugh. But the reason they’re doing this is grosser than you would think!

All dogs have anal glands that naturally express themselves as they do their business. Toy breeds sometimes have a harder time expressing their glands and need some help relieving the pressure. When a dog scoots their butt across the ground, they are attempting to relieve this pressure themselves. This move also leaves some stinky-smelling stuff on your carpet. You can express your dog’s glands at home, but there is no shame in having a professional do it. We don’t blame you.

The sanitary areas are also important for ‘doggie business.’ Long hairs can trap urine or fecal matter in their fur and no one wants to have that in their house! Regular trimming of the sanitary areas keeps everything hygienic and will be much more comfortable for your pet.

Specialty Spa Treatments

On top of the signature service, Splash and Dash offers some awesome pampering spa treatments that will leave your dog looking and smelling great.

Doggie Facials

We have a Blueberry and Pinkberry doggie facial which cleanses the pores around a dog’s face and muzzle. A facial also helps rid tear stains caused by epiphora and cleans up the fur around the muzzle if your pupperoni is a messy eater.

Pawdicures

An effervescent pawdicure attends to your dog’s cracked pads and will cleanse away any chemicals found in fertilizers.

Aromatherapy

What pet spa treatment is complete without some blissful scents formulated to induce a desired emotional state? Yes. We’re still talking about dogs here. Splash and Dash offers four different scents that help relax your dog with a safe ratio of all-natural botanical fragrances.

DeShedding

All Splash and Dash spa treatments are 100% guaranteed and this guarantee can be seen in the lack of dog hair no longer accumulating on your couch. Using specialty shampoos and grooming techniques, your dog’s coat will be sleek and shiny on their body, not your furniture!

At Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique we have a variety of care options administered by trained professionals to give your dog that same spa experience you receive at a human spa. We also offer top-of-the-line products like toys, treats, food and more! Come on by and check out all the fun happenings at our stores across the nation!

 

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Your Dog Deserves All Natural Food

What is the Best All Natural Dog Food?

We at Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique want to preface this article by explaining that all dogs are unique. Some dogs have obesity issues, some need extra protection for their teeth, or even food allergies. Researching the best all natural dog food is a collaborative effort. Take the time to discuss with specialists what specific nutrients your dog’s needs. If you have a dog with any diet peculiarities, please consult your vet before switching diets, or deciding what to feed your new puppy.

With this said, finding the best diet option can be one of the most beneficial things you can do for your dog. The best all natural dog food should be packed with protein for building and repairing muscles, glucosamine & chondroitin for joint health, and fatty acids to keep their coats nice and shiny. Providing great food gives your dog a much higher quality of life. In the past few years, we’ve also become more aware of the things you don’t want in your dog’s food.

Look out for:

  • Artificial Chemicals & Colors
  • Chemical Preservatives
  • Synthetic Byproducts
  • Antibiotics
  • Exposure to Pesticides/Herbicides
  • Filler Foods like Sugar or Corn Syrup
  • GMOs

It’s important for pet parents to be able to read a dog food label to know exactly what’s in the treats and food you’re feeding your dog. The good news is, as more people become aware and the demand to provide the best all natural dog food becomes more prevalent, pet food makers are developing healthier formulas every day. This article will walk you through how to make the best selection for your dog.

The Rotational Diet

We’re big fans of the rotational diet and we use this method on our own dogs at home. The rotational diet is based on the science that dogs need variance in their diet. Feeding a combination of dry, wet, fresh, and raw foods is one of the best ways to ensure that your dog gets adequate nutrients.

Most veterinarians agree that feeding a dog a completely raw food diet is the best way to provide nutrients. But we, as dog owners, know this is not always practical for pet parents’ budget, effort, and time. The diversity of a rational diet allows your dog to get most out of their food without breaking your budget and spending hours of prep time each week. Pups who are picky eaters also love the rotational diet because it’s not the same flavor day in and day out.

Using the four elements, you can get your dog on a schedule providing different parts of the rotational diet for each meal. One meal can be the best all natural dry kibble food and a grain-free canned meal for dinner. Fresh meals consist of prepared vegetables and meats without fillers or byproducts which are minimally processed and make excellent snacks. These are known as the ‘scraps.’ Finally, every once in awhile, give your dog a completely raw protein-rich meal. Because dogs have a different anatomy than humans, veterinarians advise that a dog needs one gram per pound of their ideal body weight per day.

Canned Vs. Wet Food

If you choose to opt out of a rotational diet, there is still the decision of getting canned or wet food. Before World War II, all dog food was actually canned. In an effort to ration metal for the war, the U.S. government mandated that pet food was a non-essential. The shortage of metal pushed pet food companies to figure out another way to store and distribute. These companies quickly learned to process the food into kibble by ‘baking it’ and storing the food in bags. After the war, many pet parents loved the convenience of dry bagged dog food and the temporary fix became an industry standard.

The issue with dry food is that many brands contain unhealthy fillers that provide zero nutrients for your dog with unnecessary calories. The calorie-dense kibble food is one of the leading reasons for doggie obesity. Most kibbles have been processed. Moisture is extruded by a machine using thermal pressure during the manufacturing process. This means that it cannot be reconstituted by adding water. Kibble food will never return to its natural form. Many also argue that dogs do not receive enough hydration from dry food and need moisturized canned food to sustain themselves.

Canned food is not only typically much more expensive but it can worsen a dog’s oral hygiene. Wet foods stick between a dog’s gums and teeth and there is less chewing involved. The mechanical action of chewing naturally scrapes plaque away from a dog’s teeth. Larger kibble foods promote this chewing. Canned food will also spoil quickly. It needs to be covered and refrigerated after opening or it will need to thrown away. If you have a dog with long fur around their snout, eating wet can food can get messy.

Deciding which to use—canned or kibble—is more of a question of economics. If you choose the best all natural dog food then using kibble will be more than fine. If you have a toy breed that eats small portions, canned food might meet their needs equivalently.

It’s more about the quality of the food than anything else!

Top Five Dog Foods

  1. Nature’s Variety Instinct

Instinct is made using all natural ingredients with no preservatives and artificial chemicals. Using cold pressure technology, Instinct locks in raw foods into kibble form. Instead of using thermal pressure, the manufacturers are able to seal in all the nutrients by freeze-drying raw food.

  1. Blue Wilderness Blue Buffalo

Blue Buffalo is grain free and does not contain chicken by-product meals, artificial preservatives, corn, wheat, or soy. We like the entire company’s food line which includes options that resemble the ancestral wild diet like Wilderness and Natural Veterinary Diet which is packed with vitamins and minerals. Many of us at Splash and Dash feed our own dogs with Blue Buffalo.

  1. Earthborn Holistic

Chicken meal and whitefish meal are the proteins used alongside easily digested grains like oatmeal, barley, and brown rice. Fruits and vegetables are baked in to provide immune system support. Earthborn is great tasting for dogs and is more affordable than some of the other brands.

  1. The Honest Kitchen

This brand uses ingredients that are approved for every member of the family to eat—human grade. Human grade food is held up to the FDA standards instead of the AFFCO. The company also makes base mix food. Healthy dehydrated ingredients are mixed with warm water to make every meal a balanced one that you can add meat to.

  1. Fromm Family Foods

Based out of Wisconsin, this company has three dry food lines and canned food that will please your gourmand doggie and your budget. The grain-free and protein-rich formulas are made with ingredients you can actually pronounce. A bowl filled with Fromm is a meal of all-natural dog food that keeps tails wagging!

Decisions for Your Dog

As you shop around, comparing different dog food formulas against your dog’s nutritional needs, remember that price does not always mean the best all natural dog foods. There are dozens of affordable brands on the market that provide everything your dog needs to be happy and healthy.

Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique wants the best for your dog, and wishes you luck finding the best!

 

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10 Things to Remember When Choosing a Dog Training Collar

I have spent time with dogs that are a little fluffy parcel sent from heaven and dogs that are a fiery furrball from hell. Adopting a rescue dog from the streets is an amazing experience and some of the sweetest dogs I’ve worked with were rescue dogs. However, some rescue dogs can have aggression or anxiety issues resulting from their past. Dogs from breeders can also exhibit unwanted aggressive behavior. Many choose to use a dog training collar as a tool to help with behavior modification.

There are several types of dog training collars you can choose from. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on e-collars or more controversially put “shock collars.” This article will simply present information and leave you to choose the best option for your dog. If you have an aggressive dog at home, please seek out professional advice from a dog trainer before deciding on using any dog training collar. We encourage pet owners to make humane and safe decisions for their dogs!

Shock collars were first used in the 1960’s with hunting dogs. Although they are not intended for punishment they do administer a shock. Most e-collars have varying levels of intensity and dog trainers recommend finding a “working level” for dog training. The working level is the intensity level at which a dog perceives stimulation that is not painful—but has a nagging, annoying quality. An e-collar is meant to be used as a deterrent to train away negative and unsafe behaviors until dogs no longer need prompting. These kind of collars can be used coinciding with the set boundary of an “invisible fence” or can be set to shock when a dog barks, triggered by the vibration of vocal cords.

Here are ten things to keep in mind when considering a dog training collar for your pooch.

1. Types of Collars

Regular

Flat

A flat collar is the standard collar for dogs. This collar is not considered a training collar—its only functionality is attaching identification and a leash. For proper fitting, allow two fingers width for wiggle room.

Martingale

Also known as a “limited-slip collar,” a martingale is designed for dogs with narrow heads like Afghan hounds or Greyhounds. The collar has a length of material with a metal ring at each end. A separate loop of material slips through each ring and a leash is attached to the ring at the end of this loop. If the dog’s head begins to slip out, the leash will contract. If properly fitted, the collar will tighten to the size of your dog’s neck without choking them.

Head Collar

A head collar fits similarly to a horse’s halter. One strap fits around a dog’s neck—sitting high on their head—while the other strap forms a loop around the dog’s muzzle. The leash attaches to the bottom of the muzzle loop. This leash is typically used for large dogs with the strength to jump and pull at the leash.

Aversive Collars

Choke Chain

This collar is made with metal links that tighten around a dog’s neck if they pull against the leash. The leash is supposed to fit high up on a dog’s neck, above the ears. Unlike the martingale, you have no control over the extent of tightening, so it is possible to accidentally choke a dog with this chain.

Prong or Pinch Collar

Also like a martingale, a prong or pinch collar has a control loop that is made of chain. The chain on this leash has blunted points, fang-shaped metal links, or prongs that face inwardly at a dog’s neck which pinches a dog’s neck when they pull against a leash. The size of these prongs should be appropriate to the size of your dog, but even if fitted correctly, the prongs will shift toward your dog’s trachea, pinching them.

E-Collar or Shock Collar

Shock collars use an electric current which passes through two metal contact points which signal a dog. Most shock collars have varying levels of intensity starting at no stimulation, to a working level, and finally a shocking, painful jolt.

Shock collars need to be fitted so that the prongs are nestled through the fur—against the skin. Caution! Shock collars can irritate and inflame a dog’s skin. Don’t leave a collar on for an extended amount of time and wash your dog’s necks where the contact points touch the skin regularly.

2. Positive Reinforcement Vs. Aversive Behavior Modification

There are two schools of thought when it comes to dog training.

The first and, most industry-preferred method, is positive reinforcement. This is when trainers use rewards and positive incentives to train a dog. The key is to get your dog to associate wanted behavior with treats & affection and unwanted behavior with attention-withdrawal. E.g. If you want to get your dog to stop jumping up—turn around when they jump on you and do not give them attention until they are sitting calmly. Once they are calm, give them treats and affection.

The second method of training is aversive training. This is when trainers or dog owners use collars and other devices to train “challenging” dogs with correction or punishment. Reliance on physical discomfort and sometimes even pain is used to deter unwanted behavior.

Professional dog trainers will use both techniques depending on the case of a dog’s needs. Your job as pet parents is to know the difference. Know the pros and cons of each to make a responsible decision on which training method you want to use with your dog.

3. Importance of Bonding

Both training techniques require developing a sense of trust and kinship with your dog. Using positive behavior reinforcement has the best results when a strong relationship exists. When a dog is eager to please and willing to modify their own behavior, each command you teach them will come quicker.

The same is true when using aversive dog training collars. A shock collar will effectively deter unwanted behaviors like jumping up or incessant barking but there is nothing to reward wanted behaviors like obeying a command to “sit.”  Training with only negative feedback is not always enough to teach new commands.

Later in this article, we will take a look at a UK study which reviewed the effectiveness of using dog training collars that used electric currents contrasted with using positive behavior reinforcement.

Cons of Using Electric Dog Training Collars

4. The Shock

Most pet owners are uncomfortable with inflicting pain onto their pet. Even when e-collars’ intensity can be adjusted, you are still using aversive behavior modification. Not every dog trainer knows to use the working level when training and inexperienced people can accidentally injure their dogs.

5. Misplaced Fear

If you have an aggressive or anxious dog, the last thing you want to do is instill fear. With shock training, some dogs begin to fear people, objects, or situations they begin to associate with the stimulus from the collar. The best way to counteract this disassociation is by limiting distraction when using a dog training collar. This will ensure that your dog associates pulling on the leash with the collar stimulus and not your neighbor’s lawnmower.

6. Over-Correction

This happens when a shock or stimulus is administered with bad timing—too late for a dog to associate behavior with the shock—or when a boundary fence or automatic bark collar delivers shocks unintentionally or too often. Without proper dog training techniques with shock collars, a dog might develop an issue that wasn’t there before. For instance, if a dog associates the collar’s stimulus with being outside, they might start urinating in the house as a result of the shock administered by the electric fence.

7. No Positive Reward

The way a dog inherently learns is through experimentation. With positive reward association, a dog knows they will be given a treat once they figure out what they are supposed to do. Even teaching a puppy to sit for the first time relies on them correlating the act of sitting with the delicious taste of a treat. Using dog training collars as the only means of training limits training to only deterring unwanted behavior.

Pros of Using Electric Dog Training Collars

8. Adjustable Intensity

Most e-collars on the market have a range of stimulus intensities. They also have a warning beep or vibrate mode that precedes a shock. Other collars have sprays which administer harmless but foul scents like citronella or an ultrasonic sound which only a dog can hear.

9. Faster Training Results

Some pet owners and dog trainers report that it only takes a few shocks to correct an unwanted behavior. Robin Macfarlane, a professional dog trainer with nearly 30 years experience, uses e-collars with success. Macfarlane states that using an e-collar provides dogs with an easier learning curve.

10. You Don’t Need to Present

Although sometimes problematic, if you have a dog that is constantly barking when you’re not home, which is irritating the neighbors, e-collars can be a quick fix. A boundary control electric barrier will also continue working when you’re not present. We do advise against leaving your dog unattended for a long period of time or with a shock collar on their neck.

Final Thoughts

Again, it is completely up to you as a dog parent to decide whether you want to use a dog training collar with your pooch. In the case of e-collars, the controversy exists and many will tell you not to use them like The Humane Society and the ASPCA. Still, there are professional dog trainers that endorse aversive training techniques like Robin MacFarlane and Cesar Millan.

In a UK scientific study, 63 pet dogs were used to find an objective scientific approach to the efficacy of using dog collars. The dogs were separated into three groups.

Group A was trained with shock collars by pro-shock dog trainers. Group B, the control group, was trained without shock collars from pro-shock trainers. Finally, Group C was trained without shock by trainers opposed to shock training. All three groups wore e-collars so there would be no difference in physical sensation (besides administered stimulus). This also ensured that observers of the training sessions could not tell which dog’s were being trained with shocks to maintain unbiased results.

The findings reported that “there were no differences between groups for a number of Corticosteroids in dogs’ urine, a physiological marker of stress.” Adversely, “when it came to salivary cortisol, Group C dogs were actually the highest.” As far as functionality of training, there were no differences between the three groups of dogs. 91.8% of owners reported in improvements in their dogs’ behavior.

Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique encourages you to conduct your own research and consider your own dog’s personality before making any final decisions.

 

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Do Dogs Have Hair or Fur? And How Can I Tell?

We’re Answering the Age Old Question, Do Dogs Have Hair or Fur? Finally the Debate is Settled

Determining whether dogs have hair or fur is a pretty common question. Even some groomers debate over what the correct term for the ‘soft stuff’ that makes up a dog’s coat. Most groomers say fur, stating that hair is on humans—fur is on dogs. Another misinterpretation is that hair will grow forever unless it is cut or damaged, while fur has a growth threshold. Not true. The debate rages on.  It’s just one of those semantic arguments that rival the ridiculousness of whether cats or dogs are truly better. Still, we just need an answer.

Many people also believe that dogs who have hair, instead of fur, are hypoallergenic. Or, that their dog does not shed because he’s furry, not hairy. Others believe that a dog with “hair” is more sought after because it makes the dog unique. This gives pet owners a mistaken point of pride. We’re here to dispel the myths. We sought out to finally put the debate to rest and finally establish the true difference. So, do dogs have hair or fur?  

Technically hair and fur are the same things.  The truth is there is no chemical difference between hair and fur. They are 100% biologically the same thing. The reason there is a distinction is that there are some key differences when it comes to our four-legged friend’s coat but not on the biochemical level. The real differences are the descriptions we use to categorize different dog’s coats.

Hair and Fur are the Same

Both fur and hair are made up of the same chemical—keratin—which is also present in skin and nails. This means that both fur and hair are chemically indistinguishable. The implications of this is that the reason a dog might be considered hypoallergenic is not that a dog has either hair or fur. It’s actually due to the texture of their coat and how much grooming the dog receives.

Each strand of hair begins at the root whether on a human scalp or in the coat of a dog. Each individual strand goes through a cycle of either growing or not growing. The actual part of the strand that is growing is underneath the skin pushing the hair further along. The variation of the cycle is different for each animal. Uncut hair grows at the same rate as recently groomed hair. What deters or stimulates hair growth is a disturbance at the hair follicle, which is beneath the skin.  

The Growth Cycle

What we consider to be “hair” does have a longer growth cycle than what we consider to be “fur.” Outside of the indistinguishable biological factors. This is one of two key differences. The time it takes hair to complete a growth cycle is longer than fur. The hair cycle happens in four different stages—Anagen, Catagen, Telogen, and Exogen.

  • Anagen—This the phase of new hair growth.
  • Catagen—This is the transitional phase when hair stops growing and an outer sheath attaches to a hair strand.
  • Telogen—This is the resting phase.
  • Exogen—This is when hair stops growing and begins falling out to make room for another strand moving into the anagen phase. With dog’s this is what we refer to as shedding.

Hair grows as long as the hair follicle is in active growth during the anagen stage. Depending on genetic factors, a dog can be predisposed to be in the active growth stage from anywhere from years to only a few weeks. Dogs with coats that are genetically programmed for a brief growth cycle are more common. Longer growth cycles of a dog’s coat mean they will shed less. Environmental factors can also affect the growth cycle. Double-coated dogs will have longer exogen phases during the summer to prepare them for insulation during the cold winter.

The telogen phase on human arms and body are much longer than scalp hair. For dogs, and all other mammals, different hair follicles will be in different stages. Some hair follicles are in anagen while others are in catagen or telogen. This is why some dogs are constantly shedding.

Texture: Hair Vs. Fur

Coat texture is different from dog to dog, and from breed to breed. Pet groomers describe texture in terms of silky, wiry, wavy, or corded. Each texture is groomed accordingly.

Fur is considered to be shorter and denser. If a dog is double-coated, the undercoat will be a finer texture than the overcoat. This makes the shedding process easier after the cold months.

Hair has a tendency to be longer and finer or can veer toward wavy or curly. Curly hair is more likely to trap dander and dead hairs inside the coat. This why many believe dogs like the Poodle to be hypoallergenic.

Dealing with Allergies

The main source of allergic reactivity stems from a pet’s saliva. A sensitivity to a certain protein which is found in a pet’s saliva and skin causes the symptoms of allergies. This protein covers a dog’s coat.

Dogs with curly hair like Poodles appear to shed less and don’t have an undercoat. Not only do the tight curls lock carriers of common allergens inside the coat—dead hairs and dander. These dogs also have longer stages of anagen than other breeds. This is why many think these dogs will not irritate those with allergies. Breeds that shed less or have a coat that retains loose or dead hairs are an allergy sufferers best bet. Kerry Blue Terriers, Schnauzers, Bichons and Lhasa Apsos all fit this category. These dogs also have less water resistant oils on their skin than other sporting breeds.

However, just as there is no real chemical difference between hair and fur. There is no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog. Maybe ‘allergenic-resistant,’ but the only case of a true hypoallergenic animal is isolated to a cat. A company called Allerca developed a single line of cats with a natural genetic mutation that held no Fel d 1 protein—the protein found within cats that fires up allergy symptoms.  However, the company stopped operating under the Allerca domain in 2015. Some breeds of cats are considered low allergy because they do not produce enough Fel d 1 protein to be considered allergenic.

Unfortunately for the dog lovers with allergies, all dogs produce dander and have proteins in their saliva that will make your eyes itch and your throat scratchy. The best way to keep your allergies at bay with a dog is regular bathing and brushing. This removes dander and dead hairs. Bathing your dog at least once a week helps maintain their skin’s pH balance, keeps your furniture clean & you allergy free, and is the best preventative care for their overall health.

The Final Verdict

Fur is the more correct term to use when referring to dogs. The term “hair” does not account for dog’s long period of growth. Fur meets this criterion and more accurately describes the plushness of a dog’s coat.