By the time your dog gets to about 2years old, s/he should have had their teeth looked at by a professional who will be able to give you an indication of how frequently to go for follow up treatment based on their findings.
It is a good idea to make home dental care a regular part of your routine to keep your dogs’ choppers in good health and your veterinary costs down.
Avoiding bones that splinter easily, and rather stick to things that are softer than your dogs’ teeth like rubber balls. Look out for treats and chews that help reduce plaque and tartar build up.
The rough texture of dry food will keep your dogs’ teeth clean, as will dry biscuits. Dental chew sticks can also be found at your local pet store.
Of course, you can also brush your dogs’ teeth. Although your dog may resist the ‘activity’ at first, but with enough repetitions it will eventually become part of normal life. If your dog protests too much you might need to go for a check-up, as there could be gum sensitivity. Make sure you get a toothbrush and toothpaste that is approved by the AVDC – a flavor like chicken will make the task a bit easier for you to administer. Dental wipes are also available as an alternate option.
To get your dog used to brushing start with massaging his or her gums for a few minutes and gradually build up to 30 minutes, holding the head firmly but not fighting.
Your dogs’ breath will also give you an indication of tooth and gum health. A particularly foul-smelling stench, loss of appetite or excessive vomiting and drinking can indicate that it is time to pay a visit to the vet. Pink gums (rather than red of white) are a sign of healthy gums.
Is there something that worked well for you and your dog? Let us know.
If you’re celebrating Halloween this year, we’re sure you’ll want to include your precious pooch in your festivities. And what is Halloween without a costume? We’ve put together an album of costume ideas for your dog.
While there are many families who are strictly ‘Cat Families’ or ‘Dog Families’ there are a number who prefer to have a mix of animals in their herd. If you’re part of one of these hybrid families, you’ll know that dogs and cats can actually get along, it just takes a bit of time and patience to introduce them.
First things first – remember that dogs are pack animals and will take their cues from you. This may require you to make some changes in your cat-loving home if you wish to introduce a puppy or dog into your family.
Make sure your puppy is relaxed. Giving him or her a snack, meal or taking him for a walk will help with this.
Provide a safe environment within which you can expose the cat and dog to each other, keeping the dog on a leash to begin with.
Set boundaries – make sure your pup understands that nipping the cat or chasing it is not going to make you happy. A firm “No” should do the trick if repeated.
Keep interactions short to begin with, removing your puppy from the room if s/he gets too excited.
Make sure you give your cat lots of attention when you are alone without the puppy.
A final note – if you’re bringing a puppy into what was cat territory, remember that claws can hurt your puppy so guide him/her around the cat, and be patient.
Have you had experience introducing a dog into a cat household? What helped?
To get you started, we thought we’d summarize the main message – Dogs don’t have thumbs so they use their mouths to get your attention and explore their world.
The best thing to do as a dog-parent is to try to understand how your dog operates so that you can bridge the communication gap and help your pup put his best paw forward. Be vocal when your pup does something that hurts you so that s/he knows what they’re doing is wrong, and then look at teaching the NICE command so they can learn to take things gently. More about that here.
Paving is a natural nail file for dogs, but sometimes, left untrimmed, dogs nails can crack, break or bleed.
As dogs get older, they run a greater risk of getting arthritis in their feet from nails that have grown into their feet.
So, just how do you trim a dog’s nails?
The first, and often the best, option is to take your beloved pooch to the vet. It’s the stress-free option and quite handy if you have a wriggly pup. Look for a veterinary clinic where you can have this done at a lower cost.
If you feel comfortable after watching you can try clipping the nails on your own:
Use nail trimmers that are designed for dogs
Ask someone to help you hold your dogs’ head
Hold each paw firmly and press down so that the nails are exposed.
If the nails are dark, trim small slices off to avoid damaging the soft parts. If you see a black dot in the centre of the nail, stop cutting!
On white nails, look out for the pink section – cutting too close to this section can result in pain and bleeding.
If blood is drawn, take a deep breath, reassure your dog and use cotton wool to stop the bleeding. Your vet will be able to give you guidance for the next trim.
If you don’t have nail styptic powder to put on the bleeding nail, you can try putting a toe in flour.
The dew nail is inside the leg and can form an ingrown toenail if left untrimmed.
Nail trimming should happen once a week, or twice a month for dogs that don’t walk on lots of roads or pavements. Just remember to get your dog used to the process. Practicing from the time he’s a puppy with treats like small pieces of chicken or cheese as rewards will help.
Have you found anything that helps make the process easier for you and less stressful for your pooch? Share it with us below.
It’s time for your Dog Training Basics Tip of the Week –
It may seem like an obvious place to start for some, but for new dog parents this one simple command can be the difference between a happy household, and one ruled by a disobedient dog.
Teaching your dog to sit is the basis for all other commands and will come in very handy if your dog gets a little over excited. Not sure how to teach your dog to sit? Not to worry, we’ve put together this handy guide to get you started.
We recently added a few new sections to the Dog Training Basics website.
The recommended products section is to help new dog parents train their furry friends, the comprehensive list of dog trainers will help you get your dog off to a good start, and of course there is the Ask A Question section where you can submit something for our panel of expert dog trainers to answer.
Have you looked at them? Were there any that we forgot? How about something that you recommend? Something that really helped you out when you were teaching your dog to sit, love his crate or take treats from your hand without snatching?