Well, it felt like it would never happen, but it did! Summer has finally arrived and temperatures are soaring! Not only are people spending more time outdoors socializing and visiting all the local festivals and carnivals, but ours dogs are too which is great...kinda.
Don't get me wrong, our dogs deserve to get out of the house and into the summer sun just as much as we do, but at what cost?
One of my BIGGEST pet peeves is seeing dogs out and about during street festivals when their feeties are being exposed to HOT asphalt. A lot of people don't realize that if the street or sidewalk is too hot for you to walk on without shoes, it's too hot for your dog to walk on too!
At just 77°F, the asphalt reaches temperatures of 125°F which is enough to cause severe injury to the pads on your dogs feet. Here's another fact about just how hot the asphalt gets on a summer day: you can fry an egg in just 5 minutes at 131°F. Would you want to walk on that in your bare-feet?
If you want to take them to this weekends art festival in the heart of downtown, that's great, but you should take precautions to ensure you're not putting your fur kid in danger.
So the next time you want to take your dog out for a trot around town, just make sure the pavement isn't too hot for your feeties before forcing your dog to walk on it with his precious feeties!
Lets face it, we all dread thinking about the day our fur kids will leave us and we all try to do as much as we can to give them long, healthy lives, but sometimes we inadvertently do, or don't do, things that can actually shortens their lifespan.
Some things are pretty obvious, if we each crummy food we tend to have a shorter life span, the same applies to your pooch, but there are things that don't necessarily stand out as detrimental to your dogs longevity. I've compiled a short list of some things you can do or avoid doing to give your dog the best possibility of a long, happy life!
One of the most frustrating and most obvious issues is an overweight dog. Sure it's kind of cute when you refer to your dog as "chunky monkey," but the truth is a lot of dog owners don't recognize the impact extra weight can have on their dogs lifespan and quality of life.
Just like people, being overweight can introduce several secondary issues such as arthritis, diabetes, kidney disease, hypertension, joint and hip issues and sometimes even behavioral issues. Over-weight dogs can also experience chronic inflammation which increases the risk of cancer.
The truth is eighty five percent of dog owners would classify their dog as being a healthy weight. The reality is that 53% of those dogs are considered obese. That's scary! As a responsible pet parent we should all obtain the proper knowledge to provide our dogs with the best life possible and that means maintaining a healthy and appropriate weight. After all, we are the hands that feed them! Literally!
That's right, an unhealthy mouth can lead to not only dental issue like Gingivitis, but it can also lead to issues outside the mouth like heart, kidney and even respiratory problems.
Tartar build up in the mouth can cause some pretty nasty breath, but it also can create pockets between the teeth and gums where bacteria and other debris gather. This can lead to infection, inflammation, bone loss and abscesses. Once your dog has developed this condition, called Periodontal disease, it's irreversible and can be very painful.
Research has also shown that certain bacteria found in the mouth produce a protein that adhere to artery walls and can cause blood clots. Uh oh!
Point is, keep your dogs teeth clean! If you're not sure how, check our my post about Petzlife.
Removing the Baby Makers
A lot of people think having their dog altered is just a means to end the possibility of unwanted liters. While this is true, spaying and neutering also reduces the risk of cancer by nearly 100%. That means cancers such as mammary gland tumors, uterine, ovarian and testicular cancer are 4 less things you and your dog have to worry about.
Altering your dog also decreases their desire to roam which can reduce your dogs urge to escape the yard. Just a little food for thought to backup that last statement, eighty-five percent of dogs who are hit by cars are unaltered.
As an added bonus, on average, altered dogs tend to live 1 to 3 years longer than their unaltered counterparts! That's 1 to 3 more years you get to spend loving your pup.
Dogs are instinctual, social pack animals; they thrive and crave attention. It's one of the reason why dogs are able to cohabitate with a multitude of other pack or herd animals like sheep, horses and cattle.
When dogs are properly socialized they are generally happier, healthier, friendlier and more predictable, making new environments and people less stressful and more enjoyable for everyone, including you!
Dogs who are not adequately socialized are much more likely to develop aggressive or destructive tendencies as they have not been equipped with the proper tools to deal with new or different situations. They often develop anxiety, depression and are generally less healthy and often present with chronic skin and coat issues.
There are tons of ways to socialize dogs of all ages, here are just a few:
Exercise & A Healthy Diet May Keep Sickness Away But A Trip To The Doctors Is Still A Must!
A lot of pet parents only take their dogs to the vet when it's time to renew vaccines or there's an obvious issue, but yearly exams can detect issues before they become big problems or before they're too advanced to treat.
Your veterinary is trained to notices small things that may seem trivial to you, like lipomas or fatty deposit on an older dog. What you think is benign and unimportant could be an indicator of something much larger and much more serious, like cancer or infiltrative lipomas which can invade muscle tissue.
It's always best to have your dogs checked out yearly. It could prolong their life by years if problems are noticed and addressed early.
There are several factors that play a role in determining how long our fur kids are with us, some are out of our control, but I know I am going to do everything I can to make sure my fur kids are the happiest and healthiest they can be!
Last year around this time there was an article floating around social media eluding to the idea that giving ice cubes to your dog was dangerous and could cause bloat.
Lets start with the basics...
There are essentially two parts of bloat; the first is gastric dilatation and the second is the more serious and life threatening condition known as Volvulus or torsion of the stomach.
When the stomach fills with air, it puts pressure on the organs and diaphragm making it difficult for the dog to breath. Once the stomach has filled with air it's much easier for it to flip on itself resulting in Volvulus. Once torsion or Volvulus occurs it cuts off blood supply to the stomach and causes the tissue and muscle of the stomach to die.
So who's most at risk for GDV or Gastric Dilation Volvulus? While any dog, of any age, and stature can suffer from GDV, it is more common in deep chested dogs such as:
But there is plenty you can do to help prevent GDV from happening:
If your dog presents with a distended abdomen, non-productive heaving or retching, shallow breathing, abdominal pain and is foaming at the mouth, it's time to get them to a veterinary office ASAP. Once GDV presents, it's fast moving and there isn't a lot of time to work with before the dog is in serious danger of dying.
Treatment for GDV is gastric decompression where a tube is inserted into the dogs stomach to release air or by puncturing the stomach with a large needle. Depending on the condition of the dog and severity of the case, the dog may need to be treated for shock and undergo surgery to correct the stomach twist. In some dogs they may choose to tack the stomach in place to prevent GDV from happening again in the future.
Now that you know what bloat is and how it happens, I hope it's clear that giving your dog ice cubes does not or will not cause bloat. In fact, most dogs enjoy a cool drink on a hot summer day. There are even treats and toys that are recommend for freezing for entertainment and refreshment purposes!
It was just about a year ago when our life took a drastic turn...
Easier to potty train, ready to roughhouse, and less likely to accidentally get kicked while walking from one room to another; big dogs filled our house and our hearts, until...an image of a feisty, get caught between your feet accidentally, filled with attitude, little dog appeared on my phone via text message. I drove over an hour to break him out of jail and from the moment he arrived to our house, despite what we thought, he had no plans of going anywhere else. He was a little dog filled with assertiveness that reigns supreme in our house now.
A little dog with really awful, disgusting, gag-worthy, dragon breath named.
Little Dude arrived as a foster, but subsequently failed miserably on every home visit he went on. Well...I should say the potential adopters failed to meet Little Dude's standards, not the other way around, and so, a year later and he's still a part of the Finken clan.
After being sprung from the confines of his jail cell, he was hauled off to the vet for some much needed dental work. I had hoped the removal of several dead and decaying teeth would elevate the disgustingness that was his breath, but alas, this was not the case. Even a good teeth cleaning, expensive food and several brushings later, the flames of his dead fish, rotten egg breath could still be smelled on the other side of the room. I settled on the idea that he was just a dog with stinky breath.
That is until...
My parents dog, Nikki, started experiencing some dental issues of her own. Due to a stage 5 heart murmur, she is not a good candidate for surgery. I had popped over for a visit at their house and was alarmed when I took a gander inside Nikki's mouth. There appeared to be a string of black, thick, tar like substance pinched between the top of her gums and her jowl. Of course I was curious and used a paper towel to pull the stringy like substance from her mouth. After I gagged and threw away the bacteria infected string I called my dad to ask what on earth was in Nikki's mouth. Being the "all natural" nut that my dad is, he started researching different methods of keeping her breath fresh and her teeth clean, he found Petzlife - Oral Care Spray, pictured above, on Amazon.
Petzlife is a mist you spray onto the teeth themselves and into the back of the throat twice a day for the first week than once a day afterwards. It breaks down tartar and bacteria helping to prevent infection and tooth decay.
Needless to say, I tinkered around on my cellphone for a few seconds after getting off the phone with my dad, Petzlife - Oral Care Spray was on it's way to my house via Amazon Prime and free two day shipping. I'm happy to report, despite fighting with Little Dude to OPEN HIS MOUTH the first few nights, this spray works like a charm and makes his breath smell minty fresh. I worry less about the possibility of him needing further dental work down the road now that we have a safe and effective way to help keep his teeth and mouth clean.
It's really not expensive at $19.99 and last for months! I highly recommend giving it a try! It beats trying to brush their teeth with a toothbrush!
Just click on the image below to have a minty fresh solution to your dogs awful breath shipped to your house via Amazon!
Let me know how it worked for you dog in the comments below!
With over 10 years of experience through ownership and rescue work, I hope to share my knowledge and insight to happier, healthier fur kids. Have a question, feel free to ask!