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Can Dogs See Color?

Is everything in a dogs world black and white? We get asked this question almost everyday at Splash and Dash Groomerie and Boutique. This idea has been widely accepted for decades, but in all reality, this theory is completely untrue. Another misconception is that Dogs only see in shades of grey, this is incorrect as well. The simple answer to this common misconception is that people often misinterpret the meaning of being color-blind.

Can Dogs see color? The answer isn’t so “black and white” as many think. 

What is Color Blindness?

This topic actually dates back to the 18th century when English scientist John Dalton conducted some of the first studies on congenital color blindness. Dalton became aware of the phenomenon of color-blindness because both he and his brother weren’t able to recognize some colors, confusing red with green and pink with blue.

The most common color-blind defect in humans is the red and green perception. It is mainly caused by abnormalities in color-detecting molecules known as cones in the retina (but we’ll talk about that more later).

This truth is, dogs do in fact see colors, but the colors that they see are neither as rich nor as many as those seen by humans. Look at the example below to understand the colors your dog is seeing.

Can dogs see color

The figure above shows the color spectrum of Human sight compared to Dog sight

 

The Science Behind It

You weren’t just going to take our word for it, were you?

Alexandra Horowitz – author of “Being a Dog” – told us that it’s difficult to know exactly what colors a dog sees, but it’s probably similar to what we see at dusk.

In the eye are light receptors called cones and rods. Cones help us distinguish different colors, while rods help us see in dim lighting. Well it also turns out that dogs just happen to have fewer cone receptors in their eyes than humans. This means that they can’t see as many colors.

Human cones are able to detect 3 different colors: blue, red, and green. Dog cones can only detect 2 colors, and no one is exactly certain which colors they are able to detect, however some experts believe it could be blue and yellow.

In What Ways are Dogs Eyes Better Than Humans?

Dogs actually do have a wider peripheral vision than that of humans. This is credited solely to eyeball placement! It’s simply because dogs’ eyes live on either side of their heads, they can see an impressive 250 degrees. This is 60 degrees wider than their human friends, who max out at 190 degrees. Of course, there’s a range somewhere in the middle — a Labrador, for instance, has a much different facial structure than a pug.

The pro to having close-set, front-facing eyes? The central field of vision where both eyes intersect, which helps with details and depth perception. Where humans have a large amount of this binocular vision, dogs do not.

dogs see better than humans

The image above shows how a Dogs peripheral vision is better than Humans

 

How Well can Dogs See?

This is a common question when Dog owners go to the local vet with eye concerns. The truth is, if your dog was to walk into an eye doctor today he would probably be prescribed some form of eye ware! If a human’s comfortable seeing 20/20, dogs are down at around the 20/75 range. No need to worry, dogs are still getting a general picture idea of the object or scene in front of them. It’s not like your dog needs reading glasses anyway.

can dogs see color

Can Dogs See in the Dark?

Dogs eyes actually have more rods than their human counterparts, which is also the reason why they see much better at night time than we do. Dogs also have an extra layer of eye tissue that humans lack called the ‘tapetum lucidum’, which reflects light into the retina. This extra layer of eye tissue boosts dogs night vision even more, and is a reason why your dogs eye might shine in the dark.

Dogs see very well in the night time because of the ability to adapt to low-light vision. No one is exactly sure how much better dogs can see in the night time, however it is a noticeable advantage. Dogs have evolved to see better in both bright and dim lightning, whereas humans do best in bright light.

How do Dogs Perceive Color?

Researchers at the University of Santa Barbara conducted an experiment where they taught dogs to pick the odd-colored circle out of a choice of three circles. If the dogs were showed colors that they could not distinguish, they would fail the task.

Dr. Gerold Jacobs, Professor of Psychology at the University of Santa Barbara, lead much of this color vision research in dogs. He is careful to point-out that while we cannot determine exactly what the dog perceives the color to be, we think what humans see as a red, orange, yellow or green appears as different saturations of yellow to a dog. While blue-green, blue-violet appear as different saturations of bluish gray to a dog.

Can dogs see color

Scientists experimenting to see if dogs recognize certain colors better than others. The Dog on the left has a reaction when seeing blue and yellow, compared to the dog on the right who has no reaction to the colors green and red.

 

What Colors do Dogs See Best?

If you were to throw a green tennis ball in high grass do you think your dog would be able to find it? It’s possible, although it would be much easier for your dog to find that tennis ball if it were blue or yellow.

Dogs can see best if the color is either yellow or blue, this would mean a lot of what dogs are seeing in the world is grayish-brown. That lush green lawn that us humans see looks more like a field of dead hay to a dog.

Now that you know that dogs don’t see certain colors in the way humans do, it would make sense to purchase products based on what would be more pleasing to your dog, rather than yourself. Buying a toy that is easier for your dog to see should be a top priority when you decide to shop for your pup.

can dogs see color

The picture above shows the comparison from Human to Dog eye sight. Keep this in mind when buying certain colored toys for your pup

Our ‘Cycle dog’ toys are very colorful and Eco Friendly. Help reduce you and your dog’s carbon paw print with our line of eco-friendly toys and accessories, all of which are made in the United States out of high quality recycled materials.

Our Motto at Splash and Dash Groomerie and Boutique is to play dirty and live clean, which is why we offer Eco Friendly Dog Supplies & Accessories.

Do Dogs Dream?

Your dog is fast asleep, when suddenly he starts shaking, moving his legs to tail, or engaging in some other sort of odd behavior. Could your dog be possibly dreaming?

Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique along with Scientists around the world believe so. In fact, they not only believe that dogs dream, they also believe that dogs dream similarly to us.

What even is a dream?

To think about how dogs dream we should first establish what a dream actually is. Dreams occur during sleep, so understanding the sleep process helps us define what dreams are. Sleep is a natural state of being, in which consciousness and voluntary muscular activity are reduced in both people and animals. Sleep is obviously very important for growth and allows downtime to recharge your body systems and functions. While sleeping, the brain processes information and experience that normally occurs during waking hours.

Dogs Dreaming do dogs dream sleep

Do Dogs Really Have Dreams?

This is a common question we get at Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique, and the answer is always the same. Yes dog dreams do exist, and believe it or not they are very similar to how we dream. Researchers at MIT actually measured rats’ brain activity which can be linked to dogs.

“We looked at the firing patterns of a collection of individual cells to determine the content of rats’ dreams. We know that they are in fact dreaming and their dreams are connected to actual experiences.” – Matthew Wilson of MIT’s Center for Learning and Memory.

Science, right?

But, how do I know if my Dog is Dreaming?

If you’re someone who regularly watches your dog sleep (we won’t judge), you’ll notice that as your dog begins to doze off their breathing will change. It will become more regular, and for an average-sized dog, the breathing will become shallow and regular. It’s actually at this moment where your dogs dream first begins. You may notice some quivering, and your dogs eyes may start moving behind their closed eyelids. The eyes are moving because your dog is looking through the images in their doggy dream as if they were images in real life.

Humans have a very similar sleep phase known as rapid eye movement, or better known as REM sleep. If awoken during this time, humans almost always are able to say that they were dreaming and can even recall vivid details about their dream. Even though dogs don’t wake up and describe their dreams, scientists have managed to gather a lot of information about dog dreams and sleep patterns through clinical observations.

During REM sleep the brain functions much like It does when we’re awake, so dog and people dream about things that occurred during their waking hours. All the experiences gathered throughout the day is processed at night and may be relieved in dreams. Luckily, dreams include a safety feature: the pons. The Pons is basically a part of the brain that stops us from physically acting out our dreams. Although you may feel like you ran a marathon or jumped out of an airplane, you are actually safely tucked away in bed. Similar to his owner, a dog may relive daytime experience and “sleep run” as he chases a cat or fetches a ball.

do dogs dream sleep

How often do Dogs Dream?

Some dogs dream more than others, and the length of the dreams vary according to age and size of the dog. Smaller dogs actually seem to have more dreams than bigger dogs. Research by psychologist Stanley Coren suggests that the length and frequency of dreams may be related to the animals size entirely. For example, a toy poodle may dream every 10 minutes, while a big Labrador retriever may only dream once every 60 minutes. However the length of the poodles dreams may only last a minute, while the Labradors dreams may last 10 minutes long. Dream length and frequency are also related to the amount of sleep required by your doggy. A large dog that has an active day outside may sleep much more soundly and experience longer phases of REM sleep (just like humans), giving him more time to dream.

Do Puppies Dream?

Yes Puppies dream, research suggests they even dream more than their adult counterparts. The young innocent minds of puppies experience more dreams than adult dogs because pups acquire huge amounts of new information daily and have much to process at night (adorable right?). This could be the same reason puppies and adult dogs shake while sleeping, it’s because they are dreaming and processing all of the new experiences of the long dog day.

do dogs dream cute

Do Dogs have Nightmares?

Another interesting topic is whether or not dogs have bad dreams. We get asked all the time at Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique if a dog who shakes while they sleep means something is wrong, and the answer might surprise you.

It may be alarming to see your dog running in place while asleep, or hearing him whimper or shake. However, please don’t be frightened by your dogs strange actions while asleep. Although you’ll feel the need to wake your dog up to interrupt what must be a nightmare, there really is nothing to worry about.

Most dog dreams aren’t nightmares, dreaming is a normal and healthy occurrence that is natural and a regular part of the 24 hour cycle of wakefulness and sleep. Dog nightmares are rare, and more importantly dogs and humans need uninterrupted sleep for health of mind and body, so please don’t wake up your doggy.

Do All Animals Dream?

It’s hard to say for sure whether or not all animals dream, as there is still so much research that needs to be conducted. However, we can say without a doubt that cats, dogs, rats, horses, sheep, and even cows dream while they sleep. What do all of them dream about? It’s hard to say, but science tells us they are dreaming about experiences they have encountered throughout the day and not jumping out of airplanes or running marathons like us humans do in our dreams.

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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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