May 21, 2017

Making Good Doggy Dental Habits

You can admit it, you hate the dentist. We all do! But brushing your teeth is very important - and not just for you, for your pup, too. Here are some doggy dental tips so you can make good habits and have a healthy dog with pearly-white teeth. 

Must-Haves

To keep up with your dog's dental health, you'll need a few tools. First, a doggy toothbrush. There are toothbrushes made specifically for dogs that are angle and slip over your finger to make it easier. You can also use regular soft-bristled toothbrushes (kids toothbrushes work great for small dogs).

You'll also need doggy toothpaste.  Unlike humans, dogs don't really get the whole "spitting" thing with toothpaste, so make sure you get a toothpaste that's specifically for dogs. These come in yummy (even meaty) flavors and are safe for your dog to swallow. 

Preparation

Let your dog sniff and lick the toothpaste. Then, put some on the toothbrush and let them lick it. They'll like it because of its taste and might even think that you're just feeding them treats in a whole new weird way.

 Brushing

For the act of brushing, your dog will need to be okay with you grabbing their mouth. To tackle one layer of teeth at a time, you'll need to lift up the lips of their muzzle. First the bottom, then the top. Make sure you have a firm grip with one hand on their muzzle. Brush the front teeth gently and slowly, one at a time.

To get to the back teeth, you'll need to gain your pup's trust. Once they're okay with the front teeth being brushed, gently open their jaw enough to get to their back teeth. or some dogs, this could happen right away but for others, it might take a few days.

Repetition

While all vets would recommend that you brush your dog's teeth every day, that's probably a big ask. Your dog will be plenty happy and healthy if you brush their teeth at least once a week. Make it a Sunday night activity. The repetition will help get your pup used to it so it's not a struggle.

So who's teeth will you be brushing tonight? (Hopefully the answer is yours and your dog's!)

May 15, 2017

Have a Fun, Safe Memorial Day

Memorial Day is just around the corner - which means a relaxing day off with friends or family. Memorial Day is about remembering those who gave their lives but it is also about spending quality time with those we love, and of course, barbecues. To make sure everybody stays safe on Memorial Day, here are some pet safety tips for the holiday.

No Table Scraps

Even if you're okay with giving your pup table scraps, make it a rule for the day that guests can't give you dog any food besides dog food/treats. Making that rule outright will make it easier than trying to monitor what your guests are giving them.

No Bones

Along with no table scraps, make a no bones rule, too. Bones can be dangerous for dogs because of their tough texture, gristle, and fat. This makes it hard for dogs to digest and can damage their pancreas. It's also a choking hazard if dogs try to swallow a bone. 

Fresh Water & Shade

The tools for a happy, healthy dog on a sunny day? Water and shade! If you're having a cookout or going to one, you should make sure that your pup has plenty of access to water and shade so that they don't get overheated. 

Keep Fireworks Far Away

Setting off your own small fireworks and sparklers are fun - but keep them away from your pup! They might get curious and get hurt. And if you're going to the big firework show? Leave your dog at home. They can become easily frightened by the loud noises and bright flashes that fireworks make.

Sunscreen for Everyone

Not only is it important for you to lather on your sunscreen, but it's important to put it on your dog, too. Even though they have fur, dogs can also get sunburn, which isn't only uncomfortable for them, but dangerous. Ask your vet for sunscreen recommendations since not all human sunscreens will be dog-friendly.

And as always, have fun! Hopefully these tips will help you keep your pup safe on Memorial Day as you remember those gone and spend some quality time with your family.

May 12, 2017

Breed Feature - Alaskan Malamute

This breed feature is on the large, fluffy, sassy Alaskan Malamute. 

What They're Famous For: Alaskan Malamutes are famous for their sassy attitudes and their large size. These dogs are known for being giant babies because no matter their age or size, they tend to act like puppies. 

History: The Alaskan Malamute is one of the oldest Arctic sled dogs.They are thought to be relatives of domesticated wolf dogs (which might explain their stubbornness). The bred originally came over with hunters about 4,000 years ago and is even thought of as the original human companion. Malamutes became sled dogs in the late 1800s, during the Gold Rush and they were bred specifically for this purpose beginning in 1926. In 1935, Alaskan Malamutes were officially recognized by the AKC. 

Size: The Alaskan Malamute is a fairly large, muscular dog, weighing in at 71 - 95 pounds and standing 22 - 26 inches tall. 

Appearance: Malamutes are full of fluff. In fact, all of their fur often makes them look bigger than they are. They also are often confused with Siberian Huskies because of their coloring and features. On the whole, Malamutes have a lot more fur than Huskies. 

Who They're Perfect For: If you're a dog lover and an active person, the Alaskan Malamute is perfect for you. These dogs require a lot of work, but they also give you tons of love back! They're stubborn so you'll definitely want to have some dog training under your belt. And you'll also want to set aside time to brush their long coat. 

May 09, 2017

Doggy Month of May

We're in the midst of spring and there are plenty of doggy holidays to celebrate. Here are some ways you can devote May to the dogs.

National Pet Month

A lot of months include pet holidays, but this is the official pet month! Celebrate all of your pets, big and small, scaly and furry. 

Responsible Animals Guardian Month

This isn't just a reason to celebrate animal guardians - it also raises awareness about caretaker responsible. The yearly event was launched by In Defense of Animals, an organization that has a goal to end animal abuse.

Pet Cancer Awareness Month

This holiday is sponsored by both Pet Cancer Awareness and the Blue Buffalo Foundation for Cancer Research. They team up together to increase awareness of pet cancer, which is a challenge most pet owners don't expect to face. It helps spread awareness about signs of cancer, common types of cancer, prevention, and treatment.

Chip Your Pet Month

It's just what it sounds like - chip your pet! While your dog might not roam often, you never want to take the chance. If you dog gets out, it will be much easier for them to make it back to you if they have a chip. Chips are very small and go under the skin at the top of their neck. If somebody finds your pet, they can take them to a vet, where their chip can be read and they will easily be returned to you. 

National Service Dog Eye Examination Month

This event is hosted every year by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists. For a service dog to be able to to do their job properly, they need all their senses! For that reason, more than 200 veterinary ophthalmologists attend this event every year to check the eyesight of service dogs all over the US and Canada.

April 29, 2017

What's the Right Type of Flea and Tick Med?

It's that time of year again. With the weather warming up and the gentle winter behind us, there's going to be tons of ticks out this summer. Unfortunately, more ticks increases the chance of more deer ticks, which increases the chance of contracting lyme disease. To be smart, you'll want to get your pup on some flea and tick medication as soon as possible. But there are lots of choices out there. Here are some different types of flea and tick medication:

Oral

Oral flea and tick medication comes in the form of a pill or a chewable that's fed directly to your dog. Some products, like Nexgar, are given to your dog once a month. Other products, like Bravecto, are given to your dog every three months. To be on the safe side, set an alarm on your phone or computer so that you'll remember when it's time for a new dose. 

With oral medications, you'll most likely need a prescription because they might not be right for dogs who have a history of seizures or other major medical problems. However, it's as simple as calling your vet, who knows your dog's history, and asking them for a prescription.

Oral flea and tick prevention is great for dogs who will eat just about anything. If you have a picky eater, it might be hard to get them to swallow it. Either way, if you choose this route, it's a good method to disguise the pill in rolled up cheese or peanut butter. 

Topical

Topical flea and tick medication is put directly on your dog. The most popular meds come in this topical form, like Frontline, K9 Advantix and Advantage. All of these come in once-a-month doses. You have to squeeze the liquid out right in between your dog's shoulder blades. Here, they won't be able to lick it off.

 Check with your pet for recommendations instead of just buying the cheapest version over-the-counter. Some meds, like Frontline, aren't working as well because fleas and ticks have become resistant to them. 

If you do choose this method, it's best to know that you'll need to refrain from washing or bathing your dog for three days before and three days after application. The chemicals disperse themselves throughout your dog's whole body, but if you wash them too soon, you might wash out the chemicals before they have sunk in.

Collar

Flea collars have a bad reputation for being powdery and gross, but they're making a comeback! New flea collars are clean and subtle, without that powdery dust that old collars are famous for. The collars are good for 8 months, so it's 8 months on, 4 months off.

To get a collar, you can go to any pet store. The most popular collar that also works well is Seresto. 

Collars are great as long you're okay with your dog wearing the collar all the time. Some people don't like flea collars if they have kids because they can be toxic if they are put in your mouth.

You have lots of options. Ask your vet if you want more information!

April 27, 2017

The Dog Family Tree

Thanks to a study published in Cell Reports, we can learn a whole lot more about the dog family tree. The all-new tree is another way to look at the way doggy heritage works. 

The tree comes in map-form. Out of these maps, the relationship between many different breeds is shown. In order to develop this map, researchers tested the genomes of over 1,346 dogs. 

The map doesn't just show how dogs are related, but where they came from, too. You can examine the map in order to see where breeds were crossed to get the modern breeds we have today.

Something else the map reveals is that dog relations don't really work the way we think they might. Working dogs aren't necessarily related to all other working dogs just as toy dogs aren't necessarily related to all toy dogs. This is because when people were looking for dogs for certain jobs, they would want specific traits. Because of this, they might breed two dogs from different "groups". 

A discovery that was made because of this research is a whole new dog: an "ancient" type of dog that supposedly came to America long before Columbus did. Called "New World Dogs," these dogs likely came over from Siberia to Alaska. Other dogs that were likely around in early America were hairless dogs, whose genes can be found today in the Peruvian Hairless Dog and the Xoloitzcuintli. 

Not only are doggy family trees cool - they're informative! By looking at these kinds of maps, we can find out information about the origins of our dogs and even trace hereditary diseases. Who knows - maybe your dog comes from a famous lineage!

April 25, 2017

Breed Feature - American Foxhound

You ain't nothin' but a hound dog... except this blog's features, the American Foxhound, is so much more than just a hound!

What They're Famous For: American Foxhounds aren't quite "famous", but rather very rare! Besides being slightly rare, they are most famous for their beautiful voice. This pup's howls can be heard even from miles away! They also have a sniffer that is constantly stuck to the ground. Fun fact: George Washington owned 36 foxhounds!

History: The American Foxhound was one of the very first breeds originating from the United States. Throughout the 1700's and 1800's, it was developed by breeding certain breeds of hounds to get the ideal agility, speed, and intelligence. It has "America" written all over it. The Foxhound was also bred to hunt foxes, hence the name "Foxhound".  However, this is was specialized training. They were trained to hunt foxes but not kill them. 

Size: A medium-sized dog, the American Foxhound stands 21 - 25 inches tall and weighs anywhere from 44 - 75 pounds. Male Foxhounds tend to be much bigger. 

Appearance: These pups look like a typical member of the hound family. They have tall, skinny legs and long, hound ears. Their face and ears can be on the shorter side, almost resembling a beagle. Their colors and markings are similar to that of a beagle, as well.

Who They're Perfect For: American Foxhounds are ideal for active people. Since they were bred to hunt, they'll want lots of running or walking. They're also good for people who want an easy-going, sweet dog. Foxhounds might be independent at times, but they love their humans.

April 21, 2017

Tips for Housetraining

New puppies or new dogs can be very exciting! But sometimes, whether you get a puppy or a shelter dog, you might have trouble getting your new pup to go outside or on their Fresh Patch. Here are some tips for getting your dog housetrained.

1. Use a Crate

The use of a crate is helpful for housetraining your dog. Why? Because dogs don't like to go to the bathroom where they sleep or eat. Imagine going to the bathroom in your bed - it wouldn't be pleasant! Make sure that the crate is big enough for your dog to turn around in, stand up, and lie down. Make sure it isn't too big, either, because your dog might feel like they could go to the bathroom in one corner and avoid it. 

2. Don't Scold - Praise

Don't yell at or smack your dog for making a mess in the house. It just creates a sense of fear and mistrust. And often, dogs don't make the connection of what you're yelling at them for. On the reverse, when they do go outside, praise them and/or give them treats. 

3. Ample Breaks

Give your dog at least six bathroom breaks a day when you're first houstraining them. A good schedule to follow is to take them out first thing in the morning, before you leave, twice during the day, once after dinner, and the once before going to bed. You can then limit that to four breaks a day once they're trained. 

4. Pick a Spot

Pick a spot outside that you want your dog to go in. To encourage them to go there, no matter how long it takes, just try to stand there with them until they go. 

5. Use Commands

Use a repeated command, like "go potty", when your dog begins to go. Then, they will start recognizing this command and you'll be able to encourage your dog to go as soon as you command them. 

And of course, if you find yourself too busy to take your pup out during the day, Fresh Patch is an ideal option. Because of its real grass, your dog will feel natural going in it and going outside in the grass. 

April 21, 2017

The Bravest Owner

We've had quite a few stories about owners saving their dogs from perilous situations... and it's happened again!

On Tuesday, April 18th, John Brady was out on Avalon Pier with his Jack Russell Terrier, Josh. In the age of the digital media, it was all caught on video by a bystander and posted to Facebook.

The incident started when two larger dogs ran at Brady's Jack Russell. When they went after Josh, Brady picked him up. That's when the dogs began attacking Brady. As he told KTLA 5 news, "It was so scary. I was just face to the ground, and just being chewed on by... I couldn't even call them dogs."

It's important to remember that it's not common for dogs to show this kind of aggression, but that it's likely that these dogs have showed aggression before. The owner of the dogs is seen in the video, asking for help to get her dogs under control.

Though there were many onlookers, panic ensued. In these kind of circumstances, it's risky to try to grab a dog away. Thankfully, somebody helped grab Brady away from the dogs, who then started attacking each other, And it was all to protect Josh.

After a couple days, both Brady and Josh are well and recovering. Brady needed skin grafts on both legs and will need several more surgeries to address the deep wounds caused by the dogs. Josh, who also underwent surgeries at the vet, will be okay, too.

If you want to show your appreciation of Brady's bravery, he has a GoFundMe page set up by his daughter to help with expensive vet bills. 

Although Brady went through this tremendous battle, he isn't coming away with much bitterness. The only advice he gave? 

"Keep dogs on leashes."

Agreed, Brady! We hope you and Josh have a swift recovery! 

April 18, 2017

What to Expect When You Adopt

Adopting a new dog can be exciting and scary all at the same time. It's hard to know what's going to happen when you adopt a new dog. Here are some tips on what to expect when you're expecting (a dog). 

Shyness or Excitability

When you first bring a dog home, they might react in a few ways. Since they are in completely new environments, they might get very excited and seem restless. On the opposite side of that, they might become very quiet and not move much. Both are normal reactions and you just need to give your dog time. Don't "return" them because you can't see their personality quite yet. Their full personality often doesn't come out until weeks down the road. 

Strange Reactions

If your dog was abused before, things like newspapers, umbrellas, or other things you hold in your hand might seem scary to them. They might also be frightened by certain commands. Be patient and come up with some new commands. Avoid holding "scary" objects above your head at them.

Crate Options

You're presented with some options on what to do with your dog when you leave home. Crating would be best when you're trying to get your dog used to being at home. For the first few weeks, use a crate even if you plan on free roaming eventually. 

Housetraining

In a new home, your dog might not let you know they need to go outside. If they go in the house, don't yell at them or hit them. Take them outside, let them go there and then give them a treat for going outside. 

Food Habits

Your dog might not eat right away, or eat more or less. Make sure you ask what type of food the shelter used, and if you want to change, swap it out gradually. Don't expect your dog to eat a full meal every day. Just let them eat when they're ready.

For any more tips on bringing a new dog home, check out Petfinder's list of tips here. Good luck with your new pup!

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On July 6, 2010, the Fresh Patch Company began operating from its headquarters in Florida. Its flagship product is a disposable pet commode consisting of hydroponically grown grass within a cardboard container. On September 3, 2013, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a patent for the construction and continuous delivery/replacement method of the product (U.S. Patent No. 8,522,719).

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