Helpful tips and advice for pet owners

Brushing Is Basic

All dogs should be brushed. Brushing is basic to maintaining a clean and healthy coat. Frequent brushing loosens and removes scale, dirt and dead hair; distributes the natural oils throughout the coat and helps prevent tangles in long hair. How often this should be done and how much times it takes depends upon the haircoat of the individual dog. However, brushing every day is recommended during spring and fall when shedding can be very heavy to help control loose hair. Always brush the dog before bathing to remove dead hair and mays from the coats of longhair dogs.

A brush with natural bristles is popular for removing dead hair. Use a brush with correct bristle length - short for medium and shorthaired dogs, long for longhaired dogs. Another option for many medium and longhaired breeds is a brush with fine bent-wire teeth called a “slicker” or “carder.” For shorthaired breeds a hound mitt with short bristles on one side that you can slip over your hand is very effective. Brushes and other grooming equip-ment are available at pet shops and knowledgeable pet shop personnel can help you make the appropriate choice for your dog’s type of coat.

It’s important to get the brush down to the skin as massaging action helps loosen and remove dandruff flakes. Most longhaired breeds are brushed in layers from the skin outward. Then brush with the lay of the hair for the final touch.

A dog is not groomed if only his back and upper body are brushed. Train the dog to lie on either side and lift its front and then its back legs for underbody brushing. This is particularly important for longhaired dogs because mats often develop in this area. Some dogs object to this and it is necessary to experiment with the most satisfactory way to handle them. Sometimes resting the dog’s foot in the palm of the hand and using gentle strokes solves the problem. Some dogs may like to lie on their back or only one side. Others never like this aspect of grooming no matter how they are handled. If this is the case, be firm and let the dog know this step in the grooming procedure must be followed. Be as gentle and quick as possible, praise the dog for being good and reward him with a treat such as Purina ® Bonz dog snacks or Purina ® Dog Biscuits.

Mats and Tangles

If a longhaired dog is not groomed daily, mats and tangles can be a serious problem. Sometimes tangles can be brushed out. If the coat is matted, try using your fingers to pull the mat apart and then brush the hair in place. If the mat cannot be worked apart with the fingers, grooming preparations are available that lubricate the mats so they are easier to comb out. If combing will not work, the mats must be cut off. Gently pull the mat away from the dog’s body, then carefully cut the hair between the mat and the skin. Blunt-edge scissors are recommended to help prevent injuring the dog if he should wiggle during the cutting procedure.

Grooming Tips

TAKING CARE OF MATTS IN YOUR DOG'S FUR:Frequent brushing and combing will usually take care of matts that may occur in your dog's fur. But, as well all know, matts do still happen but they can be easily taken care of. When cutting the matt out, cut vertically, moving away from the skin from the base of the matt. This way you'll be breaking down bigger matts into smaller ones that can easily be removed with a metal comb or brush. This also keeps from leaving 'big holes" in his fur. Our pet grooming kit has all of the combs, brushes, and scissors you will need to keep those matts under control!
TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR PET'S HAIR SHEDDINGCats naturally shed hair when the weather starts getting warmer. Most indoor cats will shed all year long! Although cats are known for their fastidious grooming habits, combing your cat will not only help control the shedding, but will also help prevent your cat from getting hair balls. We carry the Bamboo deshedding comb made especially for taking care of your cat's shedding hair so the hair won't be all over your house or you! We also have the Bamboo deshedding comb for dogs!
Proper cutting of your cat or dog's nails.Trimming you dog or cat's nails doesn't have to be as frightening as you may think. Most dogs and cats don't like people to mess with their paws, but with a little patience and lots of praise and persistance, you can accomplish this task very easily! It's best to start trimming your pet's nails when they are young, but if this isn't possible, start out slow and steady! You don't have to get all of your pet's nails trimmed in one sitting. Once your dog or cat get's used to the idea of getting their nails trimmed, it will become easier for them and you. As we all have learned, cats and dogs have what's called the quick and it can easily be seen on pets that have white nails. However there are many pets that have black nails which makes it more difficult to find the quick. The best way to start trimming the black nails is to take off just a little at a time. With the right kind of clippers and pet nail files, you will be able to cut your pet's nails without hurting them. Sharp, high quality nail clippers is the key!
Importance of checking and cleaning your pet's ears. Checking and cleaning your dog's or cat's ears is very important to their overall health. Prevention of ear wax buildup and mites in their ears can mean the difference between a very happy healthy pet or expensive trips to the vet. When checking your dog or cat's ears, make sure they are calm and in a quiet environment. Most pets don't like their ears messed with. Look for wax buildup, any kind of discharge, and a brownish substance which may indicate your pet has ear mites. There are several good products that can be used safely on your pet's ears whether you have a cat or dog (or both). Powders are great for keeping your pet's ears dry which will inhibite the growth of bacteria and will keep mites out of the ear. Liquid cleaners will remove excess ear wax and dirt. Combined they will help you keep your pet's ears clean and healthy. We have several different types of products to help you to keep your dog or cat's ears dry, healthy, and clean and odor free.
Which comb or brush to use on your dogCoats come in a wide range of types and textures so sometimes it’s hard to figure out what brush or comb to use! Dogs have soft, silky, fine, dense, coarse, straight or curly hair so it’s which one do you use? Basically, for shorthaired breeds such as Beagles or Dalmatians, you should use a rubber brush or a bristle brush. Soft rubber bristles will pull out loose hair. A bristle brush should be fairly stiff and works best when used with the lie of the coat. Bristles move the oils from the skin to the hair shaft as you brush, leaving a shiny, smooth coat. A medium/fine comb will work like a comb used on your own hair, catching and pulling out the loose hair and dirt. For long-haired dogs that need to be scissored, such as the Bichon Frise or Kerry Blue Terrier, a slicker brush should be used to untangle and remove loose hair. Use a pin brush only if there are no mats. Depending on the hair type, choose a medium/coarse or coarse comb. If the pet is seriously matted, a mat comb or splitter may be needed. A curved slicker with stiff pins will untangle more effectively and will pull out more undercoat, but will also require more care in order to not brush-burn the pet. For breeds with long silky coats, a slicker brush (or, if there are no mats, a pin brush) should be used— along with a medium/coarse or a coarse comb to check for any matting in the coat. For a serious matting problem, try a mat comb or a long pin rake. For double-coated breeds, a number of different brushes can be used: a wire slicker to pull out the loose hair, a pin brush to untangle and smooth, or an undercoat rake or a mat comb to help thin out the undercoat. A moulting comb can also be used to remove loose hair and tidy the outer coat. Depending on the hair type, a medium/fine or a medium/coarse comb should also be used. For sporting breeds such as Setters and Spaniels, a pin brush can be used to untangle slightly matted coats, and a wire slicker will remove loose, dead hair. A medium/coarse or coarse comb can be used to untangle and neaten the coat. If the coat is seriously matted or tangled, you may need to use a mat comb or a long pin rake. In short, there is a grooming brush/comb/tool to fit the needs of any breed of dog, but regular grooming is always a must!
Bathing your dog or puppyDogs should be bathed when they look dirty and/or have a strong doggy odor. If your dog or puppy has matts, they should be removed by combing or clipping before bathing as matts seem to get a lot worse after getting wet. Puppies or small dogs can be bathed in sinks and tubs while large breeds may require bathtubs. (After bathing your dog, be sure to scrub and disinfect the area prior to human use.) If the weather is warm, a child’s wading pool and garden hose may be used. Have your dog’s shampoo or soap, brush and comb and towels nearby before you begin. Place the dog in the tub and soak the dog through to the skin. Use a shampoo that is pH balanced for dogs. If your dog has a special skin problem, ask your veterinarian to recommend a shampoo. When starting the bath, be sure to start at the neck by lathering all around it. This will prevent any fleas from running to their face or ears. I personally use a wash cloth to wash their little faces because it’s easier and my dog loves it! I shampoo twice ( the first shampoo to loosen dirt and the second shampoo to remove it), each followed by a thorough rinsing with warm water, not hot water, should be sufficient to get your dog clean. I also like to use a conditioner to make their coat soft and sweet smelling and it helps prevent matts. Be sure to use a shampoo and conditioner made especially for dogs otherwise you may cause undue skin irritation and dryness.

SAFETY TIPS

Food Safety Tips for your PetsThanksgiving is only a couple of weeks away and soon your house will be full of tempting wonderful smells of pies baking, turkey roasting and lots of other aromas that tempt not only you, but your pet, too! People usually give in to that sad puppy face or the persistant cat but it can be dangerous for your pet if you give them certain foods. Giving them a bite or two of cooked turkey won’t hurt them, but please don’t give them turkey bones or raw turkey. They are very bad for them. Stuffing with sage and/or onion is also very bad for pets as it can cause stomache upset and affect their central nervous system and cats are especially sensitive to alot of the ingredients in stuffing. In order to keep your pets happy and safe this Thanksgiving, why not spoil your dogs with rawhide treats made especially with them in mind or kitty treats that you can make quickly and easily! You can find recipes and great dog treats and keep your peace of mind in knowing you aren’t putting your pets at risk this Thanksgiving and you and your guests can give them a “guilt-free treat” that they will love!
Do you know the signs if an animal has rabies? Rabies is a serious disease caused by a virus. Each year it kills more than 50,000 people and millions of animals around the world. Rabies has been reported in every state except Hawaii where wild animals are the primary source of this terrible disease. Fortunately, rabies is preventable through yearly vaccinations for your pet. Unfortunately, there is no cure if a pet should be infected by this horrible disease. Prevention, therefore, is a vaccination your pet cannot go without! Do you know the signs of rabies? Some of the signs that an animal may have rabies are: changes in the animal's behavior general sickness problems swallowing increased drooling aggression or fearfulness staggering or seizures Rabies in animals always leads to a painful and cruel death. Please make sure your pets (all mammals including dogs, cats and ferrets) receive their yearly rabies vaccine to prevent them from becoming another statistic!
Safety for your pet at nightWe all know how important safety is for people who like to take evening or early morning walks. Visibility is of the utmost. But it is also equally important to insure your dog is visible to traffic while on these walks with their owners. Your dog is enjoying his time with you and “checking out” all the new sites and sounds around him and he isn’t even paying attention to what could be a disastrous situation. The LED dog tag plays an important role in keeping your dog visible while on evening walks. He will be visible at greater distances and give drivers ample time to avoid hitting your dog or you!

The Best Choice in Dog Collars and Leads

There are a couple of items that every dog should have -- a collar of some sort and a leash. Here are some guidelines to follow when making your selection.

How Heavy Should the Collar and Leash Be?

Generally, the collar and leash you choose is merely a matter of personal preference. The most important thing is to remember is to get a collar that fits properly, and a leash that is neither too heavy nor too light for the dog you have. Every pet should wear a collar with an identification tag that gives your name, address, and phone number.


Getting the Proper Fit

That depends on the size of your dog. A large, strong dog can easily break a collar or leash that is lightweight, so they need a heavier collar and leash. Smaller dogs, on the other hand, don't need to carry around a heavy, wide collar and leash. For your dog to be safe and comfortable, the collar must fit correctly.

Here's the rule of thumb (or should we say finger?):

Place two fingers between the dog's neck and the collar; there should be no more than the width of those two fingers between the neck and collar. Any looser than this and the collar could slip over the dog's ears. Check the collar occasionally to see if your dog has any redness or hair loss under the collar.


Choosing the Type of Collar For Your Dog

Buckle Collars

Buckle collars are overall the best choice of collar for most dogs in most situations. Puppies should wear only buckle collars. Buckle collars come in a variety of colors, are made with various materials, and even come in styles that make a real fashion statement!

Nylon Collars

Nylon collars are good for dogs that are in water a lot. Nylon is very durable and washable, and come in a variety of colors. Many owners like to get matching collars and leashes, and some owners even like to match the color of the collar to the color of their dog's coat!

Leather Collars

Leather collars wear well and are very long lasting. Collars also soften from the oils in your dog's skin. Rolled leather collars (round instead of flat) are designed for longhaired dogs and keep the hair from lying flat against the coat.

Training Collars

Training collars such as "choke chains" and "pinch" collars are meant to be used for training purposes ONLY. There is a right and a wrong way of putting these collars on and should only be used during a training session by experienced hands. They are designed to briefly tighten and apply pressure when the trainer is delivering a correction. Never leave a dog unattended with one of these collars on as they may cause injury or strangulation if the collar was to get caught on something. Never use a training collar as your dog's everyday collar, and never put your dog on a tie-out with a training collar.

Harnesses

A harness is placed around the dog's chest and ribcage, and therefore eliminates the potential for choking. These are popular for dogs that tend to pull while they are being walked.

Choosing The Type of Leash for Your Dog

Nylon Leashes

Nylon leashes are very durable and washable, and come in a variety of colors. Many owners like to get matching collars and leashes.

Leather Leashes

Leather leashes are very durable and long lasting. Leather softens from the oils in your skin, which is easier on the hands. Leather leashes are also easier to grip.

Retractable Leashes

A unique feature about a retractable leash is the ability to control how little or how much lead the dog is given. The nylon lead is rolled up and housed within a plastic casing that you hold in your hand. A spring-type function allows the lead to automatically lengthen or shorten (retract) as the dog travels. Imagine retractables working somewhat like a fishing pole. You hold the housing of the lead in your hand and use the lead to "reel your dog in" if necessary. A one-button braking system stops the dog from traveling any farther. It also serves as a locking mechanism should you want to keep your dog at a consistent distance.

Retractable leads are great if you: ·
Walk your dog · 
Own a large dog (the braking features are helpful in controlling large dogs) ·
Will be traveling with your dog ·
Are tired of messy, tangled leads

 

General Helpful Tips

How to help your dog love his or her new clothes!Now that you've found the perfect dog outfit for your dog, how do you get him/her to actually like wearing it? It's pretty easy with a little patience and a lot of praise! The two major factors are proper fit and the garment should be easy to put on and take off. Start by putting the clothing item on your dog and giving him/her lots of praise! Leave it on for a short period of time. The next time, leave it on for a longer period of time and don't forget that all important praise (and maybe even a treat) and in no time, your dog will look forward to trying on all kinds of different doggy apparell!
Common Household Hazards to Pets

Never give your pets any type of medication without first consulting with your veterinarian. Follow label instructions and keep drugs out of reach. There are several household plants that can be harmful to pets such as azalea, dieffenbachia, lillies, mistletoe, and phildoendron, among others, Che ck with your local Animal Poison Control Center for a complete list of hazardous plants to your pets. Be aware of toys with movable parts or stuffed animals with plastic eyes because they could pose a choking hazard to your pets.

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