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  • Let's Talk About...Teeth Hygiene

    Should you brush your dog's teeth? Is a professional cleaning worth it? What can I do at home to help my dog's breath? Keep reading for the answers to these questions and more. *This post is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any ailments you or your dog may have. I am not a medical professional; the only medical advice I can give is to see your veterinarian. Any questions or concerns you may have regarding your dog's health need to be directed to a licensed veterinarian. Should You Brush Your Dog's Teeth? The short answer: yes! In a perfect world, you would brush your dog's teeth every day, just like you do your own (hopefully). In reality, most people - myself included - don't have the time, energy, or inclination to brush their dog's teeth every day. Some dogs never get their teeth brushed, and they are just fine. Could their breath be better? Of course! Even if you only occasionally brush your dog's teeth, it's still better than never brushing them. Brushing is also a good way to bond with your dog! Dental Treats: Yes or No? It depends on the treat. Just like with all treats, you want to make sure you're giving your dog something healthy. Just because it says it will give them fresh breath doesn't mean it won't upset their tummy. Also, be aware of size: too big and tough, and your dog could crack a tooth on the treat; too small and your dog could swallow it whole and choke. There are also toys that are supposed to help clean your dog's teeth. They can be rubber or crochet. The rubber toys usually have "spikes" that poke and rub your dog's teeth and gums when they chew on them, helping prevent tartar build-up. Toys that are crocheted worked by allowing your dog's tooth to go through the tiny hole so the yarn can wrap around the tooth, acting almost like floss. Either are fine to use under supervision. Remember, a super chewer can tear the rubber apart and swallow it, and the crocheted toys can come apart and be swallowed or get stuck in your dog's teeth, irritating their gums (and driving them crazy). If you're worried about bad breath, you can get some treats specifically meant to help with that. You can also get additives for your dog's water. However, in my opinion the water additives don't work well enough for the amount of effort you have to put in to cleaning their water bowl (the additive can leave a film) and readding the additive. If you've used an additive and had a different experience, let me know in the comments! Is Professional Cleaning Worth It? In my opinion, yes. Most dogs begin developing tartar (the hard brown stuff at the base of the tooth) around age five. Once they hit that age, I recommend having your vet check them out. If the vet thinks they look ok, great! You can wait a while. If not, start talking about a professional cleaning. Ideally, professional cleanings should be done every two years. However, that will depend on your dog and how much care you give their teeth (do you brush daily, weekly, or never?). So, What Do I Do? With Bella, I try to brush her teeth weekly. Whenever she gets a bath, she gets her teeth brushed as well. Afterward, she's given her "bath treat," which takes her a while to eat and so offers the added bonus of some mental stimulation. When I found Bella, the vet guessed her age at five, because she was just beginning to develop tartar. Her teeth weren't too bad, so I waited a few years to get her first professional cleaning. I plan to have her teeth cleaned every two years, as recommended by my vet. Just FYI, after the cleaning, your dog's teeth will be tender (even more so if they had to have teeth extracted). After Bella's dental, I gave her pumpkin (just plain; NOT pie filling) and soaked her kibble in warm water until it was soft. The pumpkin helps with any stomach upset leftover from anesthesia or pain and is a nice little treat for doing such a great job with the surgery. Bonus Info: Many people think a dog's mouth is cleaner than a human's. This is not true. There are two main reasons people think this: a swab from a dog's mouth does not react to penicillin the same way a swab from a human's mouth does; and dogs tend to heal faster than humans, supposedly because they lick their wounds, which introduces good bacteria to the wound. In regard to the swab, this happens simply because dogs have different bacteria in their mouths than humans do. They have different systems, eat different things, and drink different things (that puddle may look clean, but...). The bacteria in their mouth is not going to react the same way bacteria from a human's mouth will. As for the licking of the wounds, dogs do tend to heal faster because they lick their wounds. However, it's because of blood, not good bacteria. Licking promotes blood flow; blood flow speeds recovery. Again, I am neither a medical professional nor a scientist (science was actually my worst subject in school). The Bonus Info gathered above is simply based on my own research. I suggest you do some research yourself, including asking your vet any questions you have regarding your dog's mouth health. Keep up with the Let's Talk About...Hygiene series by subscribing below!

  • Let's Talk About...Eye Hygiene

    Ever wonder what that weird goop coming from your dog's eyes is? Should you be concerned or just clean it away? What about the crust? And red stains? Take a breath. We'll cover all that; just keep reading! *This post is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any ailments you or your dog may have. I am not a medical professional; the only medical advice I can give is to see your veterinarian. Any questions or concerns you may have regarding your dog's health need to be directed to a licensed veterinarian. What's with the Eye Goop? Eye goop (and crust for that matter) is normal in dogs. It's just like when you and I wake up and clean the corners of our eyes out. Dogs produce tears to help keep their eyes clean and their corneas (the clear layer of tissue at the front of the eye) moist. These tears sometimes drain away (which is why some dogs have tear stains), but sometimes they accumulate as "eye boogers" (the goop or crust that you have to clean away). Your dog's eye boogers are made up of several different things: dust, skin cells, oil, and mucus, to name a few. What About Tear Stains? Tear stains are a result of your dog's tears draining away. While these tears are usually clear, they can sometimes be a reddish-brown color due to porphyrin. Porphyrins are simply molecules that are produced when your dog's body breaks down iron. This discoloration is in no way harmful to your pup. So How Do You Clean Their Eyes? For regular goops and crusties, you can use a damp cloth. For tear stains, there are a couple of things you can do. Try cleaning the dog's eyes a few times a day. Keep the fur under the eyes trimmed down. Use stain-reducing wipes (I have never needed stain-reducing wipes, so I am unable to recommend a product; try asking your vet or groomer for a recommendation). If your dog isn't too keen on you messing with their eyes, you can take them to a vet or groomer, or you can hire a trainer to work with them so they at least tolerate you cleaning their eyes. When Should I See a Vet? If your dog begins to produce more goop, crust, or tear stains than usual, or if the color changes, make an appointment within the week. It could just be the seasons changing (an increase in pollen or high winds could be irritating your dog's eyes more). If you see any redness in your dog's eye, contact your vet the next day; it could be allergies, but it could also be an infection. You should also contact your vet the same or next day if you notice swelling in your dog's eyelid and the area surrounding the eye; this could be a little more urgent. While allergies can cause swelling, so can infections, injuries, and illnesses such as glaucoma. How do you keep your dog's eyes clean and healthy? Leave a comment below! Be sure to subscribe to stay up to date on all our posts.

  • Let's Talk About...Ear Hygiene

    Ever wonder how to best clean your dog's ears? Not sure which products to use? Are you hurting them, or are they just not used to it? Continue reading to learn more about cleaning your dog's ears. *This post is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any ailments you or your dog may have. I am not a medical professional; the only medical advice I can give is to see your veterinarian. Any questions or concerns you may have regarding your dog's health need to be directed to a licensed veterinarian. How often should you clean your dog's ears? The frequency at which you clean your pup's ears will vary depending on a number of factors: how much time they spend outside; whether they have ear problems (such as infections or deafness); and the type of ear they have (upright vs. floppy). You should clean your dog's ears at least once per month. More often is definitely fine, but less frequently will run the risk of developing ear infections. However, cleaning them too often can garner the same result. If you clean your dog's ears too frequently, you will irritate the ear canal, leading to raw skin that is more prone to infections. Again, the frequency at which cleaning is needed will depend on the factors mentioned above. The more time a dog spends outside, the more frequently you will need to clean his ears. Dogs who are outside most of the time collect more dirt than dogs who spend all day inside on the couch. A dog who is prone to ear infections or who is deaf may need more frequent cleanings due to discharge. Also, the type of ear your dog has can affect how often you clean them. Floppy ears will need to be cleaned more often than upright ears. While it may seem the opposite would be more accurate (the ears are floppy, so they don't collect as much dirt, right?), floppy ears don't get as much airflow as upright ears. Not only does this keep the wind from being able to blow out loose dirt, but it also creates a moist environment. Bacteria love a moist environment. Upright Ears Floppy Ears (The white flecks on her ear are paint; she decided she needed to supervise.) How should you clean your dog's ears? There are a couple of ways to clean your dog's ears. You can use a washcloth, a cotton swab, a rinse, or a combination. Washcloths are easiest for bigger dogs, while cotton swabs work better on smaller dogs. I always recommend a rinse; the liquid can get deeper than you can, and it will work longer. If you're going the washcloth route, be sure it's soft and damp. A rough or dry cloth can be abrasive and lead to scratches or raw patches inside the canal (again, leading to infection). Only go as far as you can see; you don't want to jab your finger into your dog's eardrum. Use your finger to clean the canal and scoop out any dirt or wax you see (am I the only one who finds it oddly satisfying to see that gunk come out on the cloth?). If you want to use a cotton swab, be sure you're comfortable doing so. It is much easier to damage your dog's ear with a swab than it is with a cloth. If in doubt, just use a cloth. Use the cotton swab to wipe out the gunk. Again, be sure to only wipe the areas you can see. DO NOT go too far down. With a rinse, you'll want to have a towel handy. Put the tip of the dispenser right at the opening of the canal (again, going too far down can cause damage) and squeeze a good amount into the dog's ear. Pull the dispenser away and use the dog's ear flap to gently massage the liquid down into the canal. Once you let go of the ear, raise the towel to cover your face; your dog will shake its head, and liquid (and possibly gunk) will go everywhere. Use the towel to clean off any extra liquid. Go ahead and give the ear flap a good wipe-down while you're there. Honestly, a combination is, in my opinion, the best way to go. You can use a cloth or swab to get out the visible gunk, then use a rinse to get a deeper, longer clean. How does Bella get her ears cleaned? Bella, like many small dogs nowadays, has allergies, so she usually gets her ears cleaned once per week. She has a special rinse from the vet that I may use between cleanings if her allergies are really bothering her. For Bella, I use a cotton swab. Her ears are pretty small, and I worry I would hurt her if I tried to use a cloth and my finger. Once I've gotten the gunk out with a swab, I use the rinse. Her ears are left clean and fresh, though she's not usually happy about it. What if my dog doesn't like having his ears cleaned? Many dogs don't like having their ears cleaned. Some really enjoy it (cleaning the ears can really scratch an itch they can't quite reach) while most merely tolerate it. However, there are those few dogs who absolutely hate it. Usually, these dogs just aren't used to having their ears cleaned. All they need is a little help. I recommend having a partner (or hiring a trainer). Have someone distract the dog with treats while you clean his ears. For most dogs, this is all it takes. However, remember that things can be a little more complicated than they seem and that there is always a bite risk. If you are at all worried about how your dog will react to having his ears cleaned, take him to the vet or a professional groomer (be sure the groomer is reputable; not all groomers know how to handle bite risks). How do you clean your dog's ears? Have a suggestion not listed here? Leave it in the comments! Be sure to subscribe to catch all the upcoming Let's Talk About...Hygiene posts.

  • Let's Talk About...Hygiene

    Over the next several weeks, I'll be talking about your pup's hygiene. From ears and teeth to bathing and brushing, we'll cover what to do, how to do it, and how often it should be done. Keep reading for a sneak peek at the areas we'll look at and some of the topics we'll cover. Ear Hygiene How often should you clean them? How should you clean them? What products do I use? Eye Hygiene What's with the goop? What about tear stains? When to seek professional help. Teeth Hygiene Should you brush your dog's teeth? Dental treats: yes or no? Is professional cleaning worth it? What do I do? Nail Hygiene Clipping vs Grinding vs Cauterizing Scratch board: what it is and how do you use it? My method for Bella's nails. Coat Hygiene The coat will be discussed in two parts: brushing and bathing. There a lot of topics to discuss for each, so I'll break them up: easier for you to read and easier for me to write. Brushing How often should you brush your pup? What type of brush should you use? The benefits of regular brushing What products do I use? Bathing How often should you bathe your canine? The benefits of baths. To blow dry or not to blow dry? When to see a groomer. How I bathe Bella. Don't forget to come back in the following weeks to learn more about how to keep your pup's hygiene in tip-top shape. Be sure to subscribe to get alerts whenever the newest blog post is available!

  • Let's Talk About...Finding Strays

    What should you do when you find a dog (or cat)? Keep reading to find out the best steps to take when you happen across a lost canine. I'm sure it's happened to all of us: you're driving along or sitting on your porch and into your peripheral creeps a lost, scared little (or not so little) furball. You love animals and don't want to see it get hurt, but you also aren't completely sure what to do. There are a few steps you can take to help the lost pet find its way home. Before we begin, have a reality check with yourself. Make sure you are ready to take on a stray and the sometimes-stressful job of finding its owners. Ask yourself if you are ready to make the hard decision to surrender the animal to a shelter that may euthanize it. If you don't want to do that, great! However, don't get upset when you have trouble finding a rescue to take the animal. Everyone is packed to capacity right now, so you may be stuck caring for the animal until something can be figured out. If you're ready to start the journey, read on! Step 1: Make sure it's safe Before approaching the animal, make sure it's safe to do so. You can't help them find their way home if you get hit running into the road to grab them. Also, not all animals are safe to be around. Sometimes, it's safer to call the professionals, whether it's animal control or a local rescue organization who has the proper equipment and training to catch a fearful animal. Watch for snarling, flashing teeth, or growling. These are all signs that the dog could attack you out of fear. Also, if you are nervous, the dog will pick up on that and be more likely to attack. If you can't catch the dog calmly, don't try to catch it all. Remember, it can take hours to catch a nervous dog. I sat outside in the Texas heat for two while I convinced Bella that it was safe to approach. Step 2: Check for ID Once you have the dog safely in your possession, check for ID. Don't stop at tags. Tags can come off. Many people have taken to stitching contact details on the inside of collars, so be sure to check for that. If the dog doesn't have a collar or the collar doesn't have information, check for a chip. You can take the dog to a vet's office, shelter/rescue, or check it yourself if you have a scanner of your own. I carry this one with me and check chip numbers here. Don't worry, microchip checks are free. If there's a registered* chip, great! You can contact the owners and get the dog home safely. *Many people think all they have to do is get their pet chipped by the vet. This isn't true. Once your pet is chipped, you have to register your chip (regardless of brand) on a site such as HomeAgain ($20 annually), PetLink ($20 one-time fee per pet), or 24PetWatch (free). If you don't register the chip, it won't matter how many times it gets scanned, no one will be able to contact you about your pet. Step 3: What if the chip isn't registered? If the chip isn't registered, you have a decision to make: keep the dog and try to find the owners the old-fashioned way (flyers; door-to-door; etc.) or contact a municipal shelter or rescue. If you go with the latter option, be sure you are contacting a municipal shelter (one run by the city or county) and not a private shelter. Private shelters are not allowed to take stray animals; they can only take owner surrenders and animals that are transferred from a municipal shelter after a stray hold. Rescues can take any animal they want to, but they may not have the space at that time. If they don't and you are willing, ask if you can foster the dog for them while they try to get it adopted out. Give Yourself a Round of Applause for Helping a Stray If you made the decision to help a lost animal, you are officially a good person! Take the time to feel good about yourself. Whether you ended up getting the animal home, getting it to a rescue, or keeping it, you helped save a life. Hopefully, these tips helped you to do so. Have a rescue story? Share it in the comments! For more tips, info, and fun stuff like recipes, be sure to subscribe!

  • Let's Talk About...DIY Dog Treats!

    Dog treats are great for training or for simply rewarding your dog for being the best friend a human can have. However, buying treats at the store can get expensive in this economy, so I've found a few homemade treats that won't break the bank (some even help beat the heat). Bella sure loved them, giving all three recipes four paws up...though she's not difficult to please in the food department. I came up with one of the below recipes based on some things I had lying around. The other two are recipes I found online; rather than list the ingredients and steps, I'll link to the post where I found them. Remember, with any treat, homemade or store-bought, you must be aware of ingredients your dog can't have. This includes things dogs in general can't have, as well as ingredients your specific dog may be allergic to. Also, make sure you give treats under supervision, especially if your dog tends to scarf without chewing. Frozen Peanut Butter Oat Balls Peanut Butter (I used Smucker's Natural Creamy, but you can use anything that doesn't contain Xylitol) Oats (I used Quaker Oats Old Fashioned Oats, but, again, feel free to use whatever brand you like so long as they aren't flavored) Mixing bowl, fork, and scoop (or your hands) Step 1: The Southern Measurement As I tend to be a bit of a rebel, I didn't keep up with ingredient quantities. As I said, I made this up from things I had in the pantry, so I used the rest of the peanut butter and added oats until it "looked right" (the Southern Measurement). Step 2: Mix 'em Together Add your two ingredients to a mixing bowl and stir. I found using a fork was easiest because the natural peanut butter was pretty thick. The fork allowed me to really get in there! Step 3: Scoop It Out and Freeze I used a portion scoop to scoop my portions out because I'm OCD like that. However, you can scoop some out with your fingers if you don't care about size portions. Roll the portions into balls, set them on some parchment paper (or a plate; whatever you have that they won't freeze to), and stick 'em in the freezer. I left mine in the freezer all night, though an hour should do the trick, depending on how big you made your treats. That's All, Folks! That's all there is to it! I like freezing them because it helps prevent a peanut buttery mess while also providing some enrichment for your dog: while the ball thaws, your dog can roll it around, licking at it. Be careful to watch them so they don't try to chew it while it's still frozen solid or swallow it whole. It also provides a little bit of relief in this Texas heat! Bella sure enjoyed them... Peanut Butter Banana DIY Dog Treats I found this recipe over on Love Mischka. It's a little more involved, as it requires you to bake the treats. However, I popped them in my little toaster oven and didn't have any trouble. Writing this, I'm thinking about trying them in the air fryer; I wonder if they'd turn out any different. Again, Bella really liked them! Orange Creamsicle Frosty Paws This recipe is from Droolicious Dog Treats. It does require a blender/food processor and a silicone mold. Nevertheless, I like that it's another frozen treat that will help your pup beat the heat. However, it can also be altered to fit your dog's taste. Instead of an orange, you could use strawberries or blueberries. When buying your yogurt for this recipe, make sure you get something healthy for your dog (i.e., one ingredient; nothing with added flavors). Be aware these must remain in the freezer with your Peanut Butter Oat Balls; in the fridge, you'll end up with a soupy mess. Bella didn't seem to mind either way, though, considering she ate this treat so fast I couldn't even get a picture. Oh, well; I'll show you the soup instead. That's All, Folks...For Real This Time Whether you go with my lazy-girl-just-what-I-found-in-the-pantry recipe or the more involved, had-to-go-buy-a-mold-but-I-needed-one-anyway recipe, all of these treats are great DIY treats you can make for your dog. As always, remember to supervise your dog when giving them a new treat. Have a DIY dog treat recipe of your own? Please share it in the comments! Be sure to subscribe to stay up to date with Let's Talk About...

  • Let's Talk About...the Nose

    Let's Talk About... is Every Dog Training's blog, where you can find tips, tricks, and information on raising a puppy, training a dog, and finding a new best friend. Did you know dogs have millions of smell receptor cells? For example, the Dachshund clocks in at 125 million cells while the Bloodhound reigns supreme with around 300 million cells (Stanley Coren, How Dogs Think). Activating those cells is a great way to mentally stimulate your dog, which is just as important as physical exercise. A bored dog usually becomes a destructive dog. Keep reading for ideas on how to use your dog's nose to keep him happy and healthy! Tip #1 - Hide Treats in a Snuffle Mat You can hide treats in a snuffle mat like the one shown in the video. I got Bella's at PetSmart; however, you can easily make your own with some fleece and a rubber sink mat. Don't forget to clean the snuffle mat regularly to get rid of any crumbs or saliva your pup leaves behind. Tip #2 - Use Puzzle Feeders Puzzle feeders are another great way to use your dog's nose for enrichment. You can use puzzle feeders at random times with some of your dog's favorite treats, or you can use them at mealtime. Puzzle feeders can be simple, such as a slow feeder, or more complex, like a multi-tiered obstacle course for the nose and brain. Again, remember to keep it clean. Puzzle feeders, with all their moving parts, can be more difficult to clean, so take that into consideration when purchasing. Also, don't go straight to the advanced level. Start your dog off easy (snuffle mat, slow feeder, or beginner-level puzzle) and move them up as they get better at figuring out the puzzles. "For a dog, his nose not only dominates his face, it also dominates his brain and thus his picture of the world." -Stanley Coren Tip #3 - Sprinkle Food in the Yard You can also try sprinkling your dog's food out in the yard or toss treats around for him to find. This is especially effective for scent hounds, whose noses and ears (don't worry, we'll get into that next week) are made specifically for this type of work. Be sure to use a small or well-groomed area so they have a better chance of finding the kibble pieces before the ants. Don't do this if you've recently had any treatments done to your grass, as the dogs can inhale or ingest particles that can make them sick and/or irritate their nose. Tip #4 - Play Hide and Treat Another good way to engage your dog's nose is by playing games like Hide and Treat. Start by removing your dog from the room. Hide treats around the room. If this is the first time playing this game, make it easy (like a treat in the middle of the room) so the dog gets the idea and doesn't become discouraged. As the dog gets better, you can up the level: hide treats behind the chair; under a blanket; etc. Let the dog back in the room and give them a cue like "Seek!" or "Find!" When they find the treat(s) reward them with praise (it should go without saying, but don't reward with treats; it would undermine the game). Use Your Dog's Nose to Your Advantage Activating a dog's nose is a great way to increase mental stimulation. When a dog gets bored, they tend to get destructive. Keeping their minds active is just as important as keeping their bodies active. If your dog is exhibiting destructive behaviors, try implementing one of the activities above. You can also reach out to Every Dog Training for help. Comment below with some of your favorite ways to engage your dog's mind and nose! Subscribe to stay up-to-date with Let's Talk About...

  • Let's Talk About...The 4th of July

    Happy Independence Day! Did you know that animal control agencies see a 30% increase in lost pets between July 4th and July 6th? Many people don't realize the importance of securing their pets during fireworks season (be it Independence Day, New Year's, or any other holiday on the calendar) until they've lost their pets and scramble frantically to find them. With a few simple steps, you can make sure your dog (or cat) is safe and sound this 4th of July. Don't become a statistic. From securing your pet during fireworks to finding them if they do get loose, read on to learn how to keep your pet safe during the celebrations. Table of Contents Why do dogs get scared and go missing on the 4th of July? How can I keep my dog safe this 4th of July? What do I do if my dog goes missing this 4th of July? Finally, take notes for next 4th of July Why do dogs get scared and go missing on the 4th of July? No dog is safe from fireworks. Even if you can't hear them, your dog can. Fireworks may even be illegal in your area, but there will always be that one person that disregards the law. The highest ranges a dog can hear are between 47,000 and 65,000 Hz, depending on the breed, whereas even the most sensitive human ear can only hear up to 20,000 Hz. For perspective, you would need to add 48 extra keys to the right-hand side of a piano to hit the highest notes a dog could hear. This means that dogs can hear much higher frequencies at much greater distances than humans can. So even if you can't hear those fireworks going off, your dog can, and it usually sounds like someone shrieking directly into his ear. This shrieking sound is distressing to your dog. When dogs are distressed, they try to get away, which is why so many dogs go missing during the 4th of July. Many dogs will act frantically in order to get away: jump fences they never have before; dig under fences even though they are typically diggers; scratch, bite, and pound against doors to get through them; or even chew through wire crates, metal vents, or nylon ropes to escape wherever they are being kept. Then, because it's nearly impossible for them to escape the fireworks, they keep running until they are exhausted, sometimes resulting in them ending up miles away from home. How can I keep my dog safe this 4th of July? Worry not! Below are some tips and tricks for keeping your furry best friend from becoming a stray. Bring Them Inside Many people leave their dogs outside, especially in the country. While I don't support this for many reasons (my pets are my family, and I wouldn't want my family to tie me up outside in the heat or cold), I do understand that it happens. However, if you have a dog who reacts badly to fireworks, do yourself a favor and bring them inside during fireworks season. It is easier to keep them calm and safe inside the house than out in the yard, where they may break their tether or jump or dig under the fence. Don't Give Them Too Much Room Dogs are den animals: they like small, dark spaces. It makes them feel safe and can help calm a scared dog. Setting them up in the laundry room is a good start. My personal dog, Bella, commandeers the closet under the stairs whenever she is stressed. However, an even better solution is to set them up in a crate. Give them a blanket or a bed (so long as you know they won't chew it up) to make it comfy, and use another blanket to cover the crate. It will make it even darker and will help to deaden the noise from the fireworks a little. If you need help with crate training, you can contact Every Dog Training. Cancel Out the Noise In addition to setting up the crate, you can also help deaden the noise of the fireworks with some music or white noise. Many dogs are soothed by classical music, reggae, soft rock, or the sounds of waterfalls. Experiment to see which one your dog prefers. Distract Them Another trick is to distract them. Just like with humans, you can distract dogs from their fear. Play a game. Give them a snuffle mat. Work on basic training. Any of these things will engage their mind and distract them from their fear. Medication Many people give their dogs medication or supplements to help their anxiety. I know people who give their dogs Benadryl to help them sleep. Hemp chews have become a big hit recently. However, as with any medication or supplement, you need to speak with your vet first. They all have side effects. I once knew a dog who was given a hemp chew for his anxiety. Instead of calming down, he got the munchies and chewed the drywall off his run. I personally have never given Bella any type of medication or supplement for anxiety, so I can neither speak for nor against them. However, as I said, always speak with your vet first, especially if your dog is already on some type of medication. Desensitization One of the best things you can do is desensitize your dog to fireworks. If your dog isn't scared, it won't have a reason to run away. This can be a long, sometimes difficult, process, so it's best to get professional help for something like desensitization. If you're interested in starting this type of training for your dog, Every Dog Training is here to help. What do I do if my dog goes missing this 4th of July? First Things First: Be Prepared! Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. I wouldn't recommend having a collar on your dog at this time, because a frantic dog can get their collar caught on something and strangle themselves. If you decide to leave the collar on, go ahead and invest in a tracking tag. This will make them easier to find if they get out. However, even better than a collar that might come off or be taken off is a microchip. Get your dog (all of your pets for that matter) chipped. Make sure the chip is registered (contrary to popular belief, it does not have to be registered with the manufacturing company; you can register a HomeAgain chip with PetLink and vice versa) and that your information is up to date. There's no reason to get your dog chipped if you aren't going to bother having your contact information linked to it. Second Things Second: Get the Word Out You'd be surprised what a group of people can do when working together. If your dog gets out, enlist the help of the community. Post flyers anywhere you can (remember, it's illegal to leave flyers in mailboxes). Post on Facebook pet groups and pages. Go door-to-door. Ask at vets' offices and any local shelters or rescues. Be sure to have pictures and contact information ready to give to anyone who asks for it and let them know your dog is chipped (because it is, right?). Do not call your municipal shelter about your missing dog; go in person! Shelter employees sometimes see hundreds of dogs in a single day, depending on where you're located. They might not remember seeing your dog, or they might have been on break when your dog was brought in. Also, your dog might not look like your dog anymore. Just because you describe a white dog doesn't mean your dog didn't go running through the mud and busy shelter employees think it's actually a brown dog. The only way to know for sure that your dog isn't at the shelter is for you to go and look at the dogs they have. Finally, Take Notes for the next 4th of July Hopefully, you find your dog. Luckily, most reports show that about 90% of lost dogs are reunited with their owners, a percentage that increases for microchipped pets whose information is up to date. So, after you've loved on your best friend because he's finally home, start taking notes. What worked and what didn't work? How did your dog get out? What are things you can do differently for next year? Can you implement some of the practices mentioned above? Once you know the answers, implement them! Start crate training if that's what you need to do. If you want to desensitize, start looking for trainers in your area (make sure they can actually do desensitization work). If you think medications or supplements are the way to go, get on the phone with your vet. Whatever it is you feel will make next year safer for your dog, do it! Don't put your dog, your family, or yourself through this again. Let's Talk About... is Every Dog Training's blog, where you can find tips, tricks, and information on raising a puppy, training a dog, and finding a new best friend. Subscribe to stay up-to-date with Let's Talk About...

  • Welcome to Let's Talk About...

    Let's Talk About... is Every Dog Training's blog, where you can find tips, tricks, and information on raising a puppy, training a dog, and finding a new best friend. My name is Katherine Smith. I'm the owner of Every Dog Training. I received my Associate Dog Trainer certification through the International College of Canine Studies. I offer three main services: Basic Obedience Training, Adoption Counseling, and Behavior Adjustment.* With Let's Talk About..., I hope to give families the information they need to better understand their canine. Future Blog Posts on Let's Talk About... Let's Talk About... blog posts will be published on Tuesdays, so be sure to check back every week. Things to look forward to: Training tricks Tips on raising a puppy Product recommendations (honest reviews; no affiliations) Recipes for dog treats Random information about canines See you next time! See you next Tuesday! Have an idea for a Let's Talk About... blog post? Leave a comment. *You can learn more about the services I offer by visiting Subscribe to stay up-to-date with Let's Talk About...

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