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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.

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10 Things To Do Before Taking a Nervous Dog to the Groomer

Use These Tips to Get Your Nervous Dog to Enjoy Grooming

At Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique we understand the needs of a nervous dog. Many adopted or rescued pets come from a  difficult past. Dogs like this need special devotion to help them overcome their anxiety.

Some dogs love the pet salon while others fear it. A reputable grooming salon takes strides to make a dog’s time there a luxurious and soothing experience. Understandably, for a dog, even this pampering experience can be scary. A pet salon is full of loud noises from the clippers and blow dryers. Dogs can become fearful of other dogs that are also there for a grooming even when dogs are kept separate. All these foreign stimuli can make grooming a traumatic experience for a nervous dog. In some severe cases, dogs can have a full-blown panic attack from not being properly acclimated to the situation.

The issue with nervous dogs is that, for their safety, a professional should be the one doing their grooming. Every dog needs grooming. Without regular brushing, washing, and a trimming a dog’s coat can develop matts. Dogs that are neglected—without grooming—can develop skin irritations. Not to mention a dirty dog means a dirty house. Even though your dog may have some anxiety, she’s still going to need the pet care that comes with grooming.

No matter your dog’s situation, follow these ten steps to help prepare your dog for a positive grooming experience.

Step 1: Massage

When a dog goes to the groomer, a specialist will attend to areas of her body that need to be cleaned—even the sensitive areas. Her ears, groin area, paws, and glands will need to be handled. To get a dog ready for this, you can give your dog a full-body massage. Gently pet your dog from head to toe. Play with her paws and make sure you spread her toes apart. Play with her ears and scratch her bum. Making sure your dog is used to being handled is the first step.

Next, give her a massage on a raised table. This simulates the experience she will have at a grooming salon. Take baby steps with a nervous dog. Whatever you can do to make your dog more comfortable is a good idea. Plenty of soothing languages, treats, or a blanket will help her association with these foreign experiences a pleasant one.

Step 2: Bathing, Brushing, and Supplies

Try exposing your dog to as many of the sensations of grooming as possible. Re-create these experiences in baby steps at home first. Then when your dog is ready, take her to the groomer.

If you can safely give your dog a bath at home, give this a try. Constantly brushing your dog every day is also good for them. Get them used to as many sights and sounds as possible. Turn on a blow dryer so she can hear the sound then give her a treat. Hold up a pair of nail trimmers next to her paws without clipping—then give her a treat.

It might seem excessive, but for a nervous dog, this will help.

Step 3: Make Sure She’s Plenty Exercised

That old expression, “A tired dog is a happy dog” is very true. Not only do dogs crave exploring the world by peeing on everything, they need to get plenty of exercise. Before taking your dog to the groomer make sure she’s had a walk. This will give her time to relieve herself and workout any nervous energy.

Step 4: Find an Understanding Groomer

Not every groomer has the resources or the professional skills to handle an extremely nervous dog. If your dog suffers from anxiety or aggression, inform the groomer of the situation. Some groomers actually specialize in dogs with special needs.

Splash and Dash groomers are thoroughly trained with the professional skillset to accommodate for any dog. Our trained staff will work with you and your pup to ensure a safe and comfortable grooming experience.

Step 5: The Car Ride

When your dog is still a puppy is the best time to start acclimating them to car rides. Car rides can be very stressful for a dog. A car ride is a foreign experience. Your dog may anticipate a stressful destination like the groomers or vet. Take your puppy on car rides while they’re young. This can get them used to the motion of the car and the sounds of traffic. Drive around without a set destination. If your dog is older, you can still counter condition them to make car rides a more pleasant experience.

Bring your dog’s favorite blanket or toy. Make sure they are comfortable. Doggie car seats and restraints will ensure their safety. If your dog has stomach issues during the ride, this is most likely due to motion sickness. If this is the case, discuss anti-nausea medication with your veterinarian. Drive around without a set destination so that your dog will not relate a car ride to a stressful visit to the groomers or vet. This will curb their apprehension. Continually reassure your dog with a calm voice and plenty of treats.

Plan a trip to the groomers after your dog has mastered stress-free car rides.

Step 6: Training Visit

After finding a groomer you and your dog are comfortable with, ask if you can schedule a training visit. On this visit, you can walk around with your dog and help them slowly adjust. Your dog can see the facilities, hear the loud clippers & blow dryers, and can practice standing on a grooming table.

This also presents an opportunity for your dog to meet the groomer. A principled groomer will take the time to meet your dog and help her to relax. During this time a groomer can help coax her nervousness away.

Step 7: Special Equipment for a Nervous Dog

Dogs with anxiety are common. Over the years specialty grooming supplies have been made to adjust the grooming process for a nervous dog.

Scaredy Cut was developed with this purpose. Scaredy Cut are serrated blades with 7 comb attachments—1/2 to 1 or #1 to #6. This allows a groomer to trim a dog’s coat with the same precision of an electric blade. This silent clipper is a less abrasive way for a groomer to trim down a nervous dog’s coat.

Another specialty item that you can consider are Mutt Muffs. This headgear covers your dog’s ear to help them protect their ears against loud noises. Mutt Muffs fits the contour of your dog’s head and straps comfortably in place. The sound-reducing headgear was designed for airplanes but can be useful for dogs at the groomers. Another noise reduction product is the Happy Hoodie which wraps around a dog’s ears and head. This device was made specifically for dogs to help protect and calm them from the loud noise and high-pressured air from a blow-dryer at the grooming salon. The swaddling effect is similar to one that is produced from a Thunder Jacket.

Step 8: Aromatherapy

Many groomers, including Splash and Dash, have adopted aromatherapy into their pet salon treatments. The way aromatherapy works for dogs is through conditioning. You can train your dog to associate the calming scents with peacefulness. The ingredients of aromatherapy dog shampoos are typically botanicals like lavender, chamomile, and essential vitamins. These formulas are designed to induce a calm state.

Splash and Dash has a shampoo dedicated to getting nervous dogs to calm down. The shampoo treatment is aptly named—Relax.

Step 9: Acepromazine

Acepromazine is an over-the-counter tranquilizer and nervous system depressant administered for nervous dogs. The drug works as a dopamine antagonist. It is used to prevent anxiety during thunderstorms, fireworks, and vet or groomer visits. The effects of acepromazine last 6-8 hours and can combat nausea, stabilize heart rhythm, and lower blood pressure.

Before you give your dog any medication, consult your vet first! Your vet will be able to give you directions on a proper dosage for your dog and any expected side effects. Use of Acepromazine should be for a worst-case scenario option.

Some dog’s adrenaline will kick in under stress resulting in a more ‘drunken’ state where their behavior may become erratic. If your dog has been diagnosed with extreme anxiety, you may need to use prescription sedatives or have a veterinarian administer sedation.

Step 10: Take Your Time and Ease Into It

Allow your dog to adjust in baby steps. After a training session, maybe just have your groomer do a bath and brush. Next time, your groomer can try a nail trimming and ear cleaning. Your groomer will work with your dog toward getting a whole grooming session done in one appointment. Each time your dog gets a treat, and plenty of reinforcing loving approval. Over time, your dog will be less nervous and hopefully begin to associate the groomers as a relaxing part of their life.

If you are looking for a special place to bring your fur-baby click here! Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique is more than happy to offer their services toward nervous dogs who need accommodations and a loving touch to ease their way into grooming. Splash and Dash is not simply a grooming shop. The company offers a pet spa and salon experience that pampers your pets in sudsy luxury.

Finding a groomer is like finding a babysitter. You will want to leave your dog in trusting and professional hands.

 

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Help! My Dog’s Breath Smells Like Fish

No More Suffering When Your Dog’s Breath Smells Like Fish; Know How to Get Rid of it!

I think at most, the longest my dog’s breath ever smelled truly minty was for a few hours. Just like humans, a dog’s breath will return to its natural state of less than fresh scent. The difference between us, and our dog’s, is we don’t explore the world with our tongues. So, depending on what your dog is getting into, will determine what his breath smells like. If your dog’s breath smells like fish, there are a few identified culprits of this potent problem.

Where are the Fish, Seriously Where?

Is it the Glands?

Many of us dog owners live miles from a lake or sea and our dog’s breath still smells like fish. It’s incomprehensible. One of the main reasons a dog’s breath smells like fish is actually even grosser than the fish possibility. Dogs have two anal glands bordering their anus—one at five and one at seven o’clock. When these glands ‘are expressed’ they empty out a very pungent fishy odor. As your dog proceeds to clean himself with his tongue, this odor transfers to their mouth.

The scent is like a Twitter update for dogs. Chemical information about a dog’s age, gender, emotional state, and more are picked up when your dog smells another dog’s anal secretions. Dogs will naturally express their anal sacs as they defecate. However some dogs—small breeds in particular—have trouble expressing and pressure builds up. To relieve the pressure they’ll scoot their butt across the floor or nip at their hind regions. Some dogs have transparent anal expressions while other’s fluid is brown and viscous. This makes it harder for a dog to naturally express them.

If you’re a brave soul, you can express the anal glands yourself by applying pressure to the glands. The best place to do this is in the bathtub—right before a bath. Wear gloves and use paper towels to keep the secretion contained. Pick up their tail, reach around the gland and pull forward. Or, you can have your dog groomer or veterinarian perform this procedure. We don’t blame you!

Is it the Plaque?

Dogs need regular teeth brushing too. The inside of a dog’s mouth is teeming with bacteria. When plaque buildup turns into tartar an overabundance of bacteria can lead to bad breath. Halitosis, gingivitis, and periodontal disease all stem from bad oral care for dogs.

An internal disease could also be the culprit. Kidney and liver failure can cause bad breath with a fishy smell. A sweet-rotten smell could indicate diabetes and breath smelling like urine is consistent with kidney disease. If your dog is having urinating or defecating issues this is a sign it’s time to visit a veterinarian immediately.

Is it what he’s Eating?

Some dog owners give their dog fish oil which contains omega-3 and omega-6 which are great for dogs for healthy cell growth. Just know dogs do burp and that burp will be invasive to the nostrils. Salmon and Whitefish are also typically used as ingredients in kibble dog food. Check your dog’s food ingredient list for fishmeal, Docosahexaenoic acid, and eicosapentaenoic acid. These can also be a likely source of the fishy smell.

How Do I Get Rid of It?

Depending on the issue most causes of bad breath can be easily treated. Again, small breeds do have the most issues with anal gland expressions. Have your groomer take care of this for you. It’s cheaper than a veterinarian visit and your dog gets a bath afterward— ridding all the smells. Once their glands are good that fish odor will disappear.

If it’s a matter of oral hygiene, proactive measures are the best way to handle this. Make sure you’re brushing your dog’s teeth at least twice a week. Groomers can also take care of this process for you. Between teeth brushing sessions give your dog a chew toy or rawhide. The mechanical action from the friction scrapes away tartar by 70%, according to WebMD.

If it’s a more serious medical issue, seek out veterinary services immediately. Once your vet diagnoses the problem they can assist you with doggie lifestyle changes to make. If your dog’s breath smells like fish as a result of gastrointestinal abnormalities or other internal organ failures, more drastic steps may have to be taken. All this is preventable with good pet care.

If you’ve tried all of the above then it’s probably his food. Speak with your vet about the best high-quality food to provide for your dog. Splash and Dash recommend the rotational diet. This diet provides kibble, fresh, raw, and canned food for diverse sources of nutrients. Larger kibble dog foods also promote chewing which helps scrape plaque. The rule of thumb is the more protein the better. Cheap dog foods contain fillers and other unhealthy additives that may not only be making your dog’s breath smell like fish but is not providing an adequate amount of nutrition.

Besides all the above pathways to fresher breath, there are also water additives and minty dog chews that can help rid the smell. We hope your dog’s breath improves so you don’t have to be disgusted when they go for those tongue-filled kisses on your face!

Play Dirty. Live Clean!

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Do’s and Don’ts of Introducing the Family Dog to a New Baby

Relieve the Stress of Introducing Dog to Baby with These Tips to Make the Experience Memorable

Dogs are innately attuned to their owners. Most likely, as the nine months has progressed, your dog has felt the change in the air. Whether you have a nervous dog, a temperamental one, or a lover—using good judgment when it comes time for introducing the dog to your baby will help relieve stress. Studies have shown that a dog’s dander is actually good for an infant’s immune system! Yet making sure your dog is ready for the transition is important. This is for your child’s safety and the dog’s too. There are a few tricks and behavioral approaches you can use with your dog to ready them for the change.

Once a baby enters the house, inevitably, the dog will lose the spotlight as the center of attention. Your newly born child is going to take up much of your time. Your dog might exhibit some jealousy. Dogs can become confused with the new stimulus—the sight and smells of a little human creature might throw him off. As the family’s routine changes, adjusting to the new baby, your dog’s schedule will change too.

Preparing for this can be a smooth transition with careful preparation. A few dog training techniques and a peaceful introduction will support the bonding experience between your dog and the baby.

Start Before You Bring Home the Baby

Before the baby arrives is the best time to begin the acclimation process. Gradual changes to your dog’s routine will help prepare him. The trick is for the dog not to associate these changes with the baby. This will alleviate any tension.

You might need to change when your dog sleeps or introduce a dog crate if you don’t already have one. If your dog likes to jump up, blocking him off from the baby’s room will be helpful. Teaching your dog the trick “go to your place,” will also be extremely helpful. During times when you need your dog to be relaxed and out of the way use this command.

You don’t need to “wean your dog off affection” but be aware that if your time spent with the dog lessens, he might get jealous or anxious. The best way to handle this is to not have any abrupt changes when the baby comes home. You want to establish a positive association with the arrival of the baby.

You can play baby sounds at increasing intervals for your dog to adjust to the new sounds. It might seem excessive, but remember a dog’s hearing is much more acute than humans. A dog can hear a frequency range between 67-45,000 Hz compared with a human’s range at 64-23,000. This means that a baby’s crying might be frightening for a dog or at the very least unfamiliar and strange.

This same positive association exercise applies to smells. Before introducing the dog to your baby, take an article of the baby’s clothing and let your dog sniff to get accustomed to the scent. Give him a few treats for the positive association.

How to Handle the First Day

Just to be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to introduce your two children—one four legged, one two—a few days after you bring the two legged one home. Greet your dog alone first. You don’t want him to get excited and jump up on the baby. Of course, your dog is going to know something’s up, but this gives you and your spouse time to prepare, and time for the dog to adjust. A meeting in closer proximity should happen a few days later, especially if your dog is anxious.

When the time arrives put your dog on the leash first and allow him to sniff the baby. Praise, treats, and pets! Make sure your dog feels the love so that he can associate this with the baby. Most dogs have no trouble adapting, but being precautious never hurt. If everything goes smoothly, next time, you can have the two meet without the leash. Always allow your dog to approach the baby—invites prevent bites. If your dog has the choice to interact, they will respond better.

As the family settles down, don’t forget to continue to give plenty of affection when the baby is around. You don’t want him to identify good things with the baby’s absence. Once your baby begins to crawl make sure you are always close by watching. Dogs are tolerant but babies are exploring the world for the first time. They might pull on a dog’s tail or ears. Natural canine behaviors for communicating warnings could be snapping or growling.

Most of these tips are provisions. More than likely your dog and baby will be pals at first sight. Your dog will recognize your baby as one of the family and even be protective of your child!

Get Your Dog Relaxed

One of the best ways to have your dog be in the calmest state is treating them to a day of luxury at the pet spa. Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique offers tons of therapeutic and cleansing services for all dogs. Not only will your dog be nice and clean for the first day they will be relaxed.

Splash and Dash has an aromatherapy relax treatment with Canary Islands Lavender and Soothing Chamomile. Lavender is used as a tonic for healing burns and deters fleas as a strong antiseptic while Chamomile has pure fatty aromas which work as a natural sedative with exfoliating properties.

The Splash and Dash signature service is also something to consider with a newborn. Most of your time will be preoccupied with caring for your two-legged child. You don’t want to neglect the ‘pupperoni.’ With the signature service, you can drop the dog off for unlimited bathing and brushing at your convenience. This will free up your time for the more fun parts of having a dog.

 

Splash and Dash Services Include:

  • Standard & Showroom Style Grooming
  • Bath & Brush
  • Teeth Brushing
  • Nail Trimming
  • Aromatherapy
  • Facials
  • Pawdicures
  • De-Matting
  • De-Shedding
  • Ear Cleaning
  • And More!

 

We hope you new parents found this article helpful and we wish you congratulations and best wishes! Play Dirty. Live Clean!

 

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High Tech Pet Gear You Didn’t Know You Needed

High Tech Pet Gear & Gadgets

One of the best times to own a pet is right now. Today’s innovation makes way for modern pet gadgets that can make your dog’s life better, and your life easier. High tech pet gear first started taking off in 2009 when the category first became popular on Amazon. Since then, inventors and pet enthusiasts have collaborated on some really cutting-edge pet products.

Ranging from the practical to the strange, tons of high tech pet gear is available for you and your doggo. Even those who can’t own a pet due to allergies or living-facility restrictions may have options soon. Robotics researcher, Steve Yohana, developed what he calls the Haptic Creature—a robot designed to re-create touch based communication. The robot looks like a rabbit, with short fur on its belly and two ears. The Haptic Creature simulates purring, breathing, and ear twitching. Peculiar, yes, but Yohana says he’s had enough requests to make him interested marketing the product after his research is completed.

The availability of the quirkier gadgets makes sense as the pet industry continues to swell. More people own pets in the U.S. now more than ever. Meaning, more dogs to care for with high tech pet gear. In 2016, pet owners spent $66.75 billion. As the Millennials replace the older generations as the primary pet owners, many want their dog to have the best care available. This means going outside of the traditional toy box to find some updates on old classics and new gadgets to teach an old dog new tricks.

High Tech Novelty Items

Market experts say that high-tech novelty items are the most widely sought after products from pet parents. Items like gear that translates your cat’s meows into human languages. Or, treat feeders that give you the power to launch treats across the room like a T-shirt cannon at a baseball game are filling up aisles at pet stores.

  1. The Woofer

Putting clothes on dogs is cute, but it’s old news. Most pet boutiques have all the stylish clothing your dog needs, but few have clothes that are also speakers. The Woofer is a dog jacket that plays music! Now you can play music as you run with your dog or even turn the dog park into a dance party.

Yes, we’re thinking what you’re thinking. Veterinarian specialists have approved The Woofer as safe for your dog’s acute sense of hearing. The speaker is located on the backside of your dog, away from their ears, and volume levels are in the safe zone. The jacket comes in four sizes to fit breeds from a Jack Russell to a German Shepherd.

  1. Pet Snack Launcher

There are few companies making these hand held pet treat launchers that make giving your dog a treat make you feel like you’re in Kubrick’s “2001 Space Odyssey.” Most treat launchers are pretty cheap, but not all function the same, so ask your pet groomer or read reviews to get the highest-quality launcher.

Simply load up your dog’s favorite treats into the top cartridge and push the button. This interactive toy makes treat-time more of a game. You can master launching the treats into the eager jaws of your doggo for a seamless chomp.

  1. The CATTERBOX

There are a bunch of apps available on smartphones to help you decipher your dog’s bark, or your cat’s meow, into human languages. The most popular of all these devices is a collar called CATTERBOX. The collar translates your cat’s meows and generates a human voice deciphering the point your cat’s trying to get across. Usually, feed me. The collar works with the developer’s app and gives you various options for your cat’s new reproduced voice.

Cats aren’t the only ones having fun. There are dog translator apps available on the smartphones and the What’s Yapp dog collar is in beta version. These items combine hard science, imagination, and a fun ability to suspend your skepticism.

Functional Items & Practical Gadgets

Novelty products aren’t the only things you might consider getting for your dog. A variety of new high tech pet gear designed to make tedious parts of owning a dog less effortful are entering the marketplace too. For therapy dogs working with owners that have limited mobility, there are products that perform the physical parts of fetch for you.

  1. GoDogGo

This is automatic ball launcher is the world’s first fetch machine. The launcher has been around since 1999 and is now in its fourth generation of development. The way it works is simple. Train your dog to place the ball into the upper bucket part of the toy. The ball is then launched into the air for Fido to catch. Different weighted balls determine how high the ball will fly. A tennis ball will launch 6 feet high and be propelled about 11 feet from the device. A weighted GoDogGo ball will launch up to 15 feet away at the same vertical height.

This piece of high tech pet gear is perfect for dogs that are obsessed with fetch and demand that ball is thrown every minute of every second of the day.

  1. MagneClip

This is a low tech innovation with high tech functionality. This is one of those products that’s so simple you’re hitting yourself in the head for not thinking of it yourself. The MagneClip is a clip that attaches your dog’s collar to their leash. It uses a magnet instead of a spring loaded latch. Simple, but very handy!

Many dog owners know the struggle of holding waste bags in one hand, a water bottle in the other while trying to finagle the leash clip onto their dog’s collar. With spring loaded latches, the process becomes painstaking. Spring loaded clips jam and are meticulous. The MagneClip makes attaching a leash to a collar one fluid motion.

  1. Litter Robot II

This litter box looks more like a part of a space shuttle than high tech pet gear. But trust us, if you get one for your house, you’ll never go back to the low-tech life.  The Litter-Robot is a litter chamber that that has an upward-facing entryway where your cat can enter to do his business. The litter is sifted after every use and is automatically deposited into a drawer for reduced spilling and easy disposal which conserves litter.  A self-adjusting weight sensor detects a cat’s’ weight so every cat you own can use the Litter Robot. 

Pet Safety Items

Having a pet is almost the same amount of responsibility as having a child. Fortunately, there are awesome products out there to help pet owners mitigate that responsibility. As the future becomes the present, pet owners can care for their pets even when they’re not home.

  1. Petcube

This company is pioneering the ability for pet owners to interact with their pets remotely. Both the Petcube play and Petcube bite feature 2-way audio that lets your pet hear you and vice versa. Each also streams 1080p HD video equipped to rotate on a 138°  wide angle view with 3x zoom capability.

These features make it so that you can see your pet wherever he is in the room. Motion detection helps the family keep in touch and alerts you when your pet wakes up or if there are any disturbances in your home. The Petcube play comes with a built-in laser toy while the Petcube bites allow you to give your dog a treat from your phone.

  1. Komfort Pets Climate-Controlled Pet Carrier

For pet owners who find themselves frequently traveling with their animals, this climate-controlled pet carrier will keep their dogs cool even in scorching temperatures. The carrier can hold dogs up to 150 lbs and will cool and heat as needed with an LED monitor used to control the temperature.

  1. Voyce Dog Collar

The Voyce dog collar is a non-invasive and autonomous data health metric tracker. The collar uses IoT technology to give owners analytics on their dog’s health in real-time. It’s like a Fitbit for your dog!

Voyce Measures the following:

  • Heart Rate Variability
  • Blood Pressure
  • Quality of Rest
  • Resting Respiratory Rate
  • Resting Heart Rate
  • Distance Traveled
  • Calories Burned
  • Activity & Intensity
  • Light
  • Core Body Temperature

The data Voyce collects is seamlessly delivered in adaptable integration options with easy-to-navigate viewing dashboards. Voyce can also be integrated into other sensor technologies. Now pet owners have access to clinical data at all times which is backed up on the cloud.

The Future of High Tech Pet Gear

Every day engineers and inventors are dreaming up even cooler high tech pet gear every day. Stay posted to Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique for even more updates and reviews!

 

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10 Best Dog Breeds for Kids

Sometimes the difference between a home and a house are the rising crayon-drawn lines on the wall marking your kid’s age. As the lines move up, the next natural move is to get a dog. Dog’s are great for the whole family! Your kids can learn some responsibility, there will be an extra incentive to get out of the house, and studies have even suggested a dog can boost a child’s immune system. Dogs come in all shapes, sizes, and demeanor. Doing some research on the best dog breeds for kids can help your family find the perfect match.

We want to preface this article by saying that overgeneralizing any one breed can make problems. Some breeds like Pitbulls get a bad reputation from the media. The truth is, any dog that is trained with love will return the love. The same can be said of popular breeds. Just because a dog is a Labrador, or any of the dog breeds that make this list, doesn’t make that dog breed inherently good for your kids. It’s all situational. Every breed can be well-trained and a loving dog for your kids.

If you can avoid stereotypes and take a sincere look into the temperament of some dogs you can take a lot of guess work out of the equation. Finding the best dog breed for kids begins with researching the breed. Then visiting. Once the whole family’s on board it’s time to take home your doggo.

Some Characteristics to Consider

There a few questions to ask before getting a dog. How old are your kids? Is your family active and outdoorsy? Or, are you guys more mellow? Do you have a big backyard? Do you live in an apartment? All these questions will affect the best dog breed for your kids and lifestyle.

Size

With your kids, you will most likely want a dog with a medium-sized build. Sturdiness is a good for young kids who can be clumsy and are still figuring out ‘how to play gently.’ Rowdy kids and toy breeds aren’t always a good mix.

Energy Level

A perfect kid-friendly dog breed should match the energy level of your kids. If your kids love running around outside and your family goes on hiking trips on the weekends, go ahead and get a high-energy dog. Some dog breeds are more prone to lounging than hiking and you don’t want your dog to get over-exerted or irritated.

Intelligence

All dogs need training to learn their manners. This is for your kid’s safety and the dog’s too. Smarter dogs have less difficulty with training and can learn what ‘down’ means quicker. (They can also master tricks too!)

Friendly

Friendliness is a complicated thing to gauge. Most dogs are friendly but some breeds are known to be nervous or impatient. Adopted dogs with a bad past can also be problematic for kids. A few visits with your prospective dog should clear the air on friendliness.

The Best Dog Breeds for Kids

1. American Staffordshire Terrier

The Staffies are part of the terrier breeds and were originally used to control vermin like rabbits and rats. Unlike the Rat Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier has a more muscular build. This dog’s personality is confident, good-natured, and smart. The Staffie used to be the most popular dog in America in the early 1900s. They were the poster dog for WWI and more recently you’ve seen this dog play “Pete” from the “Little Rascals.”

A Staffies’ medium build pairs with the dog’s medium energy level. He’s going to need a good walk every day and can keep up with your kids but don’t feel like you’ll have to ‘wear him out.’ After a good walk, and run in the yard with the kids, Staffies are content to curl up and cuddle. These dogs are true sweethearts.

2. American Water Spaniel

The Water Spaniel is a truly happy dog. True to their name, yes, they do love the water. These guys are very active, eager, and charming. Some have said that Water Spaniel’s have a stubborn streak but this only adds to the aloofness of their personality. Many are eager to please which makes them fun to train. Introducing this dog breed to your kid as a puppy should not be a problem—the breed is great with kids!

The dog’s water-resistant double coat will need regular grooming maintenance so be aware of this. If you’re the ‘camping’ type, this dog is a great choice. They’ll be a loyal companion on hiking trips and with their medium build (30-40lbs.) makes them an agile rafting buddy.

3. Labrador Retriever

Everyone has a soft spot for Labs. These dogs are friendly, outgoing, and good-natured. The dogs come in three colors—yellow, black, and chocolate—and deriving from origins of hunting dogs these guys are super easy to train. Many Labradors become guide dogs for the blind or even use their sniffers for police work. We all first fell in love with these guys after seeing the loveable antics of Marley, from “Marley & Me” in the early 2000’s. 

A male Labrador can reach 70 lbs so you’ll want a big yard and enough room in the house for him to roam. Small apartments in big cities might get a little cramped. As America’s favorite dog your kids will have a blast playing fetch, tug-of-war, and maybe tackling agility courses.

4. Bulldog

“Spike,” the Bulldog from “Tom and Jerry” always was the one breaking up the fights. Or at least settling the fights. The English and French Bulldogs are very different dogs but both are great with kids. Frenchies and Bullies are both pretty low-energy. A brisk walk will keep them in shape but the rest of the time they’ll be lounging. These dogs are playful, intelligent, and calm.

A Bulldog can reach 50 lbs—short and stocky. While the Frenchie will at best make it to 28 lbs. Both types will need weekly grooming and can be trained easily. If you want a pupperoni to grace the couch cushions, these guys make one of the best dog breeds for kids.

5. Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherds are the more kid-friendly version of their German cousins (although I had a very sweet German Shepherd as a child). Aussies are mild in gentleness but spirited in activity. As a former herding dog, they’ll need to run around daily. They have beautiful eyes and beautiful coats with black, blue merle, and red merle markings.  

Aussies’ pretty coat fits their demeanor—smart, exuberant, and loving. They are the kind of dog you’ll wake up to with their nose inches from your face. Males can reach 70 lbs while females max out at 55 lbs. Despite a lush coat these dogs only need occasional grooming and respond well to training.

6. Boxer

A Boxer is great for kids because they are goofy, fun-loving, and loyal. They will be protective. I have met both bright Boxers and some, that, well let’s just say I wouldn’t use ‘bright’ to describe them. Still, a very loveable dog! Boxers are muscular athletes and will need some good physical challenges but will be content with daily walks.

A male Boxer can reach 80lbs while females will be at most 65 lbs and a few inches shorter. Part of the endearing quality of these dogs is that they do have a tendency to snore from the wrinkles in their snout. They also shed seasonally but this won’t be a problem with good brushing habits and grooming.

7. Beagle

Anyone who remembers “My Dog Skip” will remember the adorable little Beagle who won our hearts over alongside Frankie Muniz. These dogs are on the smaller side at under 20 lbs but what they don’t have in weight they make up for in playfulness. Beagles are comical, friendly, and inquisitive. They were bred to hunt in packs and pack bonding hasn’t left. They love to be around the family!

Because these dogs are energetic they’ll need long walks and plenty of exercise. They are known to be vocal and will need some loving training to stop excessive barking. As former hunting dogs, they are easily trained and loyal—perfect for family outings to the dog park.

8. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

This prestigious little bundle of tail-wagging joy first got its name from King Charles II who loved the dogs most likely because they shared the same hair style—long and curly. It’s easy to see why this breed is so popular. Cavies are affectionate, graceful, and delicate. Their frame never exceeds 18 lbs, making them the perfect ‘lap dog.’ They’re amazing with kids and will soon replace the stuffed animals.

If your kids are game for lots of affection this is the dog for your family. Training a Cavy is part of his eager to please disposition. Grooming is important with these guys so teaching your kids to gently brush the dog is a fun life-lesson, as they do shed seasonally.

9. Shetland Sheepdog

On a personal level, I love Shelties! These guys are stoic, intelligent, and energetic. As another from the herding group, they will need good runs, especially as a puppy. Like all dogs, they’ll become more and more of a couch potato as they age. Shelties are loyal and will probably follow your children around the house, protecting them.

A Sheltie I’ve met once could out perform most circus animals when it came to obedience training and cool tricks. Shelties shed seasonally and need weekly grooming. Some have a tendency to bark—staying true to their herding heritage—but the ones I’ve met were very calm.

10. The Mixed breeds!

A list of the best dog breeds for kids would not be complete without some advocacy for the mutts! Some of the most amazing dogs I’ve owned and had the pleasure of meeting have been mixed-breeds. Genetic diversity is a good thing and mutts actually have a slight advantage in health over the purebred counterparts.

The best part of choosing a mixed breed is you get the chance to adopt. There are over 70 million animals entering shelters every year. These loving animals need a home! Often, adopted dogs make the best companions. Of course, you’ll want to bring your kids in to meet the dogs as you search. We at Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique encourage you to look at your local shelters for a dog that will change you and your kid’s lives!

Owning a dog on top of kids can be a little tricky at first. For some extra help with care, it’s always a good idea to visit your local Splash and Dash. The signature service membership can save your family time and money so that you can get back to enjoying the more fun parts of owning a dog.

 

Play Dirty. Live Clean!

 

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Heat Stroke Signs to Tell Your Dog is in Distress

 

Who doesn’t love summer? The sun is soaring, high in the sky, beckoning us all out to the beaches, BBQs, and all the fun-filled vacation spots. You’re happy because work is slowing down. The kids are happy because school’s out. The dog is happy because all of a sudden, everyone’s home! But as we crank our A/Cs up and take cover in the shade, it’s important to watch out for dog heat stroke signs. A dog’s coat is suitable to keep a dog warm through the blistering winter, but many dogs are susceptible to heat stroke if we’re not careful.  

Dogs with squishy faces ( brachycephalic) like Pugs and Shar-Peis are extra sensitive to hot weather because of their anatomy. Nordic dogs with double coats like Pomeranians and Huskies may also have a hard time cooling off. Yet all breeds can be affected by heat stroke. When taking long walks or playing at the dog beach, watch for signs of heatstroke. If your dog begins to overheat there are some easy ways to quickly cool them down before things get out of hand.

Don’t let the sun keep you away from the summer fun! This article will show you dog heat stroke signs and the best way to prevent overheating.

What is Heat Stroke?

There are two veterinary risks to dogs exposed to an overabundance of heat. The first is hyperthermia, which is an elevation in body temperature that exceeds the accepted normal range. This is different than hypothermia, which is  when a dog loses more body heat than can be produced. A healthy dog’s body temperature floats between 101°  to 102.5° degrees Fahrenheit (38.3°  to 39.2°  Celsius). So any temperature reading over a 103° Fahrenheit (39° Celsius) is in the hyperthermia range.

Heat stroke is characterized as either non-fever hyperthermia that takes place when a dog’s heat regulating body mechanisms of the body cannot accommodate the excess body heat. Veterinarians state that a heat stroke sets in at 106° (41°C) or above. When a dog’s internal temperature gets this high this can lead to organ dysfunction or worse organ failure.

A fever hyperthermia develops with inflammation occurring in the body similar to the kind that a bacterial infection would produce. Non-fever occurs without signs of inflammation when a dog is overheated. All non-fever hyperthermia results from increased body temperature. Other causes of non-fever hyperthermia include excessive exercise, disproportionate levels of thyroid hormones, or lesions in the hypothalamus—a region in the brain that regulates the nervous system. The hypothalamus controls body temperature and other bodily mechanics.

Dog Heat Stroke Signs to Watch For

Heavy Panting

Every dog lover knows that instead of sweating a dog cools himself down by panting. Moisture is drawn from air passing over a dog’s tongue that circulates cooling down their body. Dogs do sweat through their paws to rid their bodies of heat but this is not the primary way of ventilating.

During the hot summers, a dog will usually pant regularly. There are stages of panting that show dog owners their dog is overheating. What pet parents need to watch for is excessive and heavy panting. Typical panting begins with a slightly parted mouth while your dog pants rhythmically. As their internal body temperature increases, the degrees of panting look more extreme. When a dog opens their mouth wide, with a swollen tongue hanging out to the side, this is one the first dog heat stroke signs. If your dog is salivating and drooling excessively this is also a red flag.

Fast or Irregular Heart Beats

Another sign your dog might be overheating is racing or irregular heartbeat. When a dog’s heart rate increases this is the body’s defense from the heat. The blood flow is pumped to the limbs away from any vital organs where damage can occur. If you need to check your dog’s heart rate on the spot without veterinary assistance put your hand to your dog’s chest. Count how many pulses you feel in 15 seconds, then multiply this number by four. A normal heart rate is between 60 and 140 beats per minute.

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 you observe your dog showing any signs of heat stroke, get veterinary service immediately!

What Causes Overheating in Dogs?

Heat stroke is easy to prevent and the primary cause is severe environmental heat and humidity. This can happen when a dog is left outside all day, in a hot car, ventilated room, and a groomer drying cage. All these situations can be avoided and are a result of carelessness.

Another cause of heat stroke is upper airway disease which interferes with normal breathing. When airflow is constricted, this impedes a dog’s ability to circulate air to cool down. Other culprits of heat stroke are diseases like paralysis of the voice box (larynx), heart or blood vessel disease, and nervous-system disease.

Poisoning can also lead toward seizures and an abnormal increase in body temperature which are dog heat stroke signs. Poisonous compounds found in pesticides made with strychnine, which kills small vertebrates, are very harmful to dogs.

Lastly, any dog that is exercising in the heat needs to be monitored closely.  Heat exacerbates a dog’s temperature and when they are exerting themselves in hot temperatures they will need breaks to cool down.

Preventing Heat Stroke is Simple; Here’s How

Lucky for pet parents, like most dangers, heat stroke is easy to prevent. Before dog heat stroke signs even show up there are steps we can all take to keep our dogs safe.

The most common scenario of dog heat stroke is leaving a poor pup in the car on a hot summer day. Even with the windows cracked, car temperatures can reach life threatening sweltering conditions quickly. Pet owners should also make sure dogs aren’t overexposed to hot temperatures without access to fresh water and shade. Even long walks in the sun can be hazardous. Dogs that are more susceptible to temperature (the squishy-faced ones) like Pugs, Bull Dogs, Shih Tzu etc. will need plenty of ventilation.

The two easiest ways of keeping your dog’s temperature in a healthy range are providing cool water and shady areas.

Pet Care for an Overheated Dog

If you begin noticing dog heat stroke signs get your dog into a cooler environment immediately. Contact a veterinarian and in the meantime, there are steps you can take to get their temperature back to normal.

Put your dog in a cool bath tub or run hose water over their coat. Take care to make sure your dog’s head is thoroughly coated with water. If your dog is unconscious ensure water does not enter their nose or mouth. If needed you can apply a frozen pack to their head only. Make sure the water is cool but not cold. Overly cold water will actually counteract a dog’s cooling process, but a package of frozen veggies on their head helps.

Massaging your dog’s legs is also helpful. Rubbing their legs will stimulate blood circulation which will prevent shock. Of course, during all these steps, let your dog drink as much fresh water as he wants. Adding a small pinch of salt to his dog bowl will also replace any minerals he’s lost while panting.

Veterinary Care

If your dog’s heat stroke case is severe a vet treatment will replace lost fluids and minerals. This will be done through intravenous fluid therapy. A vet will also most likely check for secondary complications like kidney failure, brain injury, abnormal clotting, changes in blood pressure, and amount of electrolytes.

Play Safe!

Keeping our dogs safe is an easy task because they’re so cute and we love them so much! On hot days, simple common sense is the best way to prevent heat stroke. Teach your family to spot dog heat stroke signs so you all can enjoy the summer!

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How to Get Rid of that Dog Smell | Tips and Tricks

If you and your dog are inseparable, then chances are, you are also inseparable from their smell. Our canine companions have come a long ways from working dogs that were tethered outside. Most of us dog owners have a pooch that is right now sprawled out on the couch at home. The love of your dog is fair compensation for the added dog smell. But none of us want a house that reeks. This article will walk you through natural ways to get rid of that dog smell.

Why Does the Dog Smell….so Bad?

Oily Skin

When you enter someone’s house and you’re nostrils are immediately invaded by that ‘dog smell,’ it’s usually because their dogs have oily skin. It’s called atopy. This is when a dog’s body overproduces skin oils to compensate for the inflammation and itchiness of their skin due to allergies. The result is pretty stinky. These oils aren’t just emanating from your dog. They stick to whatever surface your dog is near—the bed, the couch, the car seats.

One of the easiest ways to combat the smell is with regular brushing. Brush your dog at least once a day to remove dead hair and the oils caused by build up of dead hair that causes that all-too-familiar stank. Brushing your dog’s hair is one of the simplest ways to get rid of that dog smell.

Bacteria

Odor causing bacteria love wet dog hair. As your dog runs through the sprinklers or after a bath their coat becomes a perfect environment for bacteria to live and reproduce. This is why drying a dog after bathing or swimming is so important! Using many towels, rub your dog down to rid as much moisture as possible. If you use a blow dryer, make sure it is on the cool setting! You don’t want to burn your dog.

 

Yeasty Ears

A dog’s ears are full of sebaceous glands that produce lots of wax. This wax is also the ideal breeding ground for microorganisms that can smell to high heavens. This wax build up is not harmful to your dog but will be smelly. Another issue dogs can have with ears are infections. A skin infection in the ear is due to bacteria or a yeast infection causing that dank smelling apocrine sweat. If this is the case, speak with your groomers and veterinarians for treatments.

Hot Breath

A dog’s oral hygiene is just important as a human’s. Although dog’s don’t need to have their teeth brushed every day, vets suggest brushing at least a few times a week. Different oral care chews can also help scrape tartar from their teeth and give your dog fresher breath.

The Glands

Dogs and scent marking are like wine and cheese, they just go together. Dogs have an instinctual need to ‘mark their territory’ and this is actually a passive act. Just as your dog pees on every sign post on their walk, your dogs are constantly secreting their “dog smell.’ This scent-marking can easily absorb into furniture. Also, a dog’s anal glands release a musty substance while a dog ‘does his business.’ Sometimes these glands can become clogged and will need to be cleaned or ‘expressed’ by a professional.

The First Step in a Cleaner House

Dogs will be dogs. They will roll in anything they like—it’s not always a field of flowers. After a good trip out to the dog park, or hiking, a bouquet of smells will attach themselves to your dog. The best way to keep these smells outside is to keep your dog nice and clean.

Dog’s need to be washed at least once a week. This will maintain a good pH balance for their skin and keep them from bringing in scents from the great outdoors. Many of us don’t have time to properly wash our dogs with quality dog shampoo. As we mentioned before, drying is just as important as the scrub down. This is why it might be worth considering using a professional dog groomer. A dog groomer with a membership program can save you money, time, and of course, keep your house smelling fresh! Successfully knowing how to get rid of that dog smell might be as easy as using a professional dog groomer.

Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique has a membership where pet parents can drop their dog off for a bathing and brushing at a set price. Super convenient! The dog groomers also offer luxurious pet spa treatments that will have your dog relaxed and smelling blissful.

Tips to Keep the House Clean Naturally

Furniture

There are two choices to tackling the furniture and ridding those pesky and gross smells. For both, you will need to strip all the soft furnishings—cushion covers, rugs, duvet covers, sheets. You can either throw these in the washing machine or apply baking soda or a natural odor repellent, then vacuum. You can use detergent mixed with 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar. The more natural cleaning products you use the healthier it will be for the whole family.

Sprinkle baking soda into every crevice of your furniture. The powders innate absorbent properties will soak up all the dog smell. Let the baking soda sit overnight and vacuum away. For the bed, you might want to this procedure in the morning. This way when you get home you can re-make the bed for the night.

The Floors

Whether you have linoleum, tile, or hardwood floors these can all be sources for the dog smell. To keep a crisp smelling house you will need to clean your floors once a week. Sometimes more if you have more than one dog and young children. Regular sweeping of the floors will remove hair. A thorough mop of the floor with 3:1 vinegar solution after sweeping will also eliminate foul scents.

Quick Tips on How to Get Rid of That Dog Smell:

  • Get Your Dogs Bathed Often
  • Sweep & Vacuum Every Other Day
  • Mop Floors Once a Week
  • Use Two Couch Cushions to Switch Out While Washing
  • Wash Dog Beds Once a Week
  • Leave Carpet Powders in for at Least 10 Hours
  • Open the House When Possible
  • Feed Your Dog Healthy Foods

Remember, dogs are animals and we need to let them live like the animals they are supposed to be. Part of this lifestyle is getting a little dirty. It’s not their fault they can develop some unsavory smells and ultimately it is our responsibility as part of their care to keep these scents at bay. If your dog has a potent smell, then more than likely, they have an allergy or some other medical issue that needs addressing. Groomers can help spot these ailments and help provide preventative care.

Good luck with getting rid of that dog smell, and always—Play Dirty. Live Clean!

 

 

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Top 10 Reasons Why Dogs Are Better Than Cats

In this corner, weighing in at a lean 8 pounds, we have Smokey—the American Shorthair cat. Across the ring, we have Buddy weighing in at 65 pounds, the Golden Retriever. Our bets are on Buddy. That’s right! The age old debate is back on the table—why dogs better than cats!

The argument is as old as domestication itself. Starting before Odie and Garfield feuded over the affection of their owner Jon. There are a lot of opinions swirling around in the mix of claws, jaws, and furr when it comes to this debate. So we thought we could clue in readers on some history first.

Cats, Felis Catus,

The domestic cat is believed to have been domesticated as early as 4,000 years ago in Egypt. The culture was as obsessed with cats. The Egyptians worshiped a cat goddess named Bastet—the god of cats, protection, joy dance, music, and family. They even took it one step further and mummified their beloved pet cats to take the journey with them into the afterlife. They even mummified the remains of mice for the cats to snack on!

Cats were adopted from the wild for their abilities to hunt rodents that disrupted crops and home life. Cats are carnivorous and great hunters. The species has an intrinsic ability to stalk prey and pounce, striking to kill with their sharp claws and teeth. Just ask any cat owner who comes home to a dead mouse on their doorstep. Cats have light-reflecting eyes which give them excellent night vision.

Many animal behaviorists actually theorize that cats are nocturnal and since domestication, have adopted to our habits. Since food is readily available there is no need for cats to hunt. Now they have different sleeping habits than their wild counterparts. Cats will usually sleep all day and become more active as the house fills. Still, any cat owner will tell you, cats are night owls and perfectly content to swat at your face while you sleep.

According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), there are 47.1 million households that own at least one cat.

Dogs, Canis Lupus Familiaris

Dogs are first believed to have been domesticated around 15,000 years ago in Central Asia around modern day Nepal and Mongolia.  It is theorized that friendly Eurasian gray wolves actually approached humans first. Scientists believe that because humans wiped out other large mammals during the time period, dogs were spared because of their charm.

Since then, hundreds of breeds have emerged from early wolves. Of the hundreds of breeds, the American Kennel Club currently recognizes 189 of them with mix breeds also making up a huge percent of the dog population. Dogs fist served as companions as working dogs. They helped herd livestock, hunt, guard homes, and use their noses for police work.

The Egyptians also worshiped dogs in the form of the god of cemeteries and embalming—Anubis. Anubis had the body of a man with the head of a dog. The Aztecs also have dogs as a prominent role of their religion. They also believed that the Mexican Hairless dog, or Xolotl, led the soul to the underworld. Dogs have appeared in myth, folklore, and regions countless times showing their kinship with humankind.

The APPA reports that 60 million households own a dog in the U.S.

Let’s take a look at why dogs are better than cats!

1. More Famous than Cats

Ok so, there’s Snoopy, Scooby Doo, Balto, Marley, Winn Dixie Wishbone, Beethoven, Old Yeller, Hooch, Airbud, Blue from Blue’s Clues, and everyone knows…All Dogs Go To Heaven.

Enough said.

2. Dogs Make you Laugh, It’s Science.

A study conducted by Department of Psychology at St. Bonaventure University reported that dog owners laughed more than cat owners.

Participants who owned a dog, cat, both, or none  were surveyed to see how frequently humans laugh and what provoked the laughter. It was found that dog owners laugh more than people who own both animals with cat owners laughing the least. This explains grumpy cat.

This prompted another study conducted by the Department of Psychology at Eastern Kentucky University. The researchers filmed people playing with dogs. The goal was to determine exactly what was provoking laughter. It’s no surprise that they found that people laugh most at dogs when they fail some aspect of playing. If you throw a dog a ball, and they trip in the process, we all burst out laughing.

The second situation that evoked laughter was when a dog did something unanticipated or exaggerated. AKA, they act goofy.  Still no surprise here. Any dog owner will tell you that it’s hilarious when their dog tries to guess cup the treats in.

Both studies concluded that laughter is a social interaction. Laughing reduces stress and gives you a higher quality of life. Our dogs are partners with us and help us to laugh making them better than the grumpy cat equivalent.

3. Dogs Help You Make Friends

Harvard University partnered with other academic institutions around the world to publish a series of studies scientifically proving how dogs provide human-to-human friendships.  Of course, dog parents already know this, and probably already know why dogs are better than cats.

Dog owners were found to be 60% more likely to get to know their neighbors through a pet related connection. People meet people while walking their dogs and are far more likely to befriend the people they met while walking or visiting parks. When was the last time you walked your cat?

There are also have been numerous studies showing dog ownership makes you seem more approachable and friendly. Researchers from a separate study surveyed 1,210 Match.com users. The studied showed women were twice as likely to be attracted to a guy because he had a dog, and also twice as likely to judge their date based on how they reacted to their dogs. Even more damning for the cat-people, 32% of women surveyed said that a guy with a cat was a potential deal-breaker. Ouch, get a dog!

Dogs making people more social and adventurous is also evident in dog meetups. Many cities have social media pages, dog bars, and even apps dedicated to getting dog owners together.

4. Dogs Can Smell Cancer

Everyone knows dogs have the best nose! Dogs like Bloodhounds possess up to 300 million olfactory receptors compared with about six million in humans. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Working Dog Center have trained dogs to put their sniffers to good work detecting cancer.

With a process called imprinting dogs are able to sniff out different chemicals present in ovarian cancer. Researchers spread the scents gathered from an ovarian tumor on a blanket. They have the dog target each scent over and over again. Each time, they reduce the size of the blanket, and increase the scent. Once the dog has mastered this, they remove the blanket entirely.

Scientists are using this data to build a device that will sense cancer. The chemical the dogs gravitate toward the most will be the chemical they base their sensor design on.

5. Dogs Keep Human in Shape

Everyone who has ever owned a dog can attest to this. Dogs need walks. Most of us get home at the end of the day and hit the couch. But after a few whines and earnest looks from Fido we take a nice healthy walk around the neighborhood.

A study published in the National Institute of Health showed that older people with dogs covered an average distance of a mile daily.  The study also found that dog owners with a backyard spent an average daily duration of 100 minutes walking the dog.

There you go, get grandma a dog!

6. Dogs Can be Trained and Do Cool Stuff, Cats Don’t

A study out of the University of Tokyo showed that cats actually do know their name and have the ability to come when called. They choose not to. Cats have selective hearing, just like your kids.

The study analyzed how cats responded to hearing the voice of their owners compared to the voices of strangers. They determined cats could recognize their owner’s voice and identified with their given  name. 10% of cats involved in the study displayed behavior of responsiveness when called.

Animal behaviorists theorize that because cats were used as independent creatures to hunt rats the strong bond didn’t develop the way it has with dogs. Cats have come closer since agrarian days, but the evolution of cat responsiveness is still antiquated.

Compare this with dogs. Dogs can be trained to sit, shake, lay down, play dead, roll over, and even open doors. These are just tricks for your average pooch. It’s not called the Westminster cat show now is it?

7. Dogs Help Humans from Developing Allergies and Asthma

This is reason six dogs are better than cats.

Dogs are saving the world one potentially asthmatic kid at a time. A study out of University of California, San Francisco, shows that exposure to infants exposed to dog dust—dried flakes of dog skin—help protect against developing allergies and asthma later on in life by altering intestinal bacteria. Mice that inhaled dog dust built a better immune response to cockroach allergens than their non-exposed counterpart.

So having a dog around not only protects your infant but helps build up their immunity. Not sure if the cat does either of these, but boy is he funny when gets his paws on that catnip!

8. The Dog House is Cleaner Than the Cat House

No scientific studies here. Just pure observation of having owned both cats and dogs over a lifetime.

Yes, while dogs are puppies they will tear up the house. But with some proper guidance and good dog training, this stops. Dogs learn to use the bathroom outside and respect the furniture. As long as they get their de-shed service the house is neat and orderly with the doggos.

Cats? Not so much.

You have to deal with the litter box. No matter where you put the thing, or what kind of litter you use, it still has a lingering smell. Also, cats claw everything…everything. Now some cats are good, but I had a cat once that had three scratch posts, but still preferred to maul the couch every time I left the house. Cats also vomit and cough up hairballs! They love to aim for your favorite rug too.

9. Dogs Can Take Selfies

Seriously! A dog training center in London now offers a class called iPad Masterclass. The trainers focus dogs on taking their own selfies and doodling. Dogs use their noses to swipe the screen to take candid shots of themselves for Instagram. The intention of dog training is based on animal behaviorists theories that animals trained to do something have a lower incidence of anxiety and aggression.

This might be true, but we have a feeling all the pet parents who have signed up their dog to take iPad Masterclass really just want a dog that can take their own picture. It’s a pretty cool cocktail party trick…

Dogs are also being trained to recognize and respond to typical commands written on an Ipad. The dog reads the command ‘sit” and then loyally takes a seat. What a time to be alive!

10. Dogs are Man’s Best Friend

Period.

All kidding aside, we at Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique love all animals of every shape and size. We just like to have a little fun every once in awhile. You can join in by commenting on our Facebook page who you think is better, cats or dogs?

 

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