Categories
Dog Education

20 Husky Mixes That Are Incredibly Cute

If you're like most dog lovers, you probably love Siberian Huskies. You may not like how big they are or how much they shed though. What's the solution then? How about a mix!

There are plenty of husky mixed breeds so I picked out my favorite to share!

Huskamute. Husky Malamute Mix

Husky isn't big enough for you? Try a Malamute mix!

Pomsky. Husky Pomeranian Mix

Imagine a Husky that stays a puppy forever. That's what a Pomsky is, though they are a bit expensive!

Saint Bernard Husky Mix

Shepsky. German Shepard Husky Mix

Imagine the energy this mix has! You may need a ball launcher to keep them active

Golden Husky. Golden Retriever And Husky Mix

Husky Corgi Mix

The fun of a Husky but a bit smaller.

Australian Cattle Dog Husky Mix

Beagle Husky Mix

Chow Chow And Husky Mix

Does it get any fluffier than this?

Pitbull Husky Mix

Is this the cutest mix?? It's definitely near the top of my list.

Korean Jindo Husky Mix

Probably one of the most loyal Husky mixes.

Bloodhound Husky Mix

May have some Golden Retriever and Mastiff mixed in! They are also an incredible working dog.

Husky Shepherd Mix

Those blue eyes really melt my heart

German Shepsky. German Shepherd Husky Mix

I love how their ears point straight up!

Shiba Husky

If the Pomsky is a little too small for you then a Shiba Husky (Shusky?) is perfect.

Timber Wolf Husky Mix

Although he is cute, I've heard that wolf hybrids a lot to handle!

Rottweiler Husky Mix

If you have a husky parent and a Rottweiler dog breed mate with each other, you'll get this cute mix.

Border Collie Husky Mix

Sheltie Husky Mix

Border Collie to big for you? Get the miniature Collie, otherwise known as a Sheltie!

Bosky. Boxer Husky Mix

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Dog Education

12 Reasons Your Dog is Shaking Their Head

All dogs shake their heads from time to time -- it's their response to any little irritation of the ears, cheeks or general head area. We're all familiar with that goofy, jowl-shaking, ear-flopping shake. But when it becomes more than just an occasional thing and presents itself as repetitive behavior, that's probably a cause for concern.

Continual head shaking in dogs can mean a whole host of things; from something as simple as a couple of itchy bug bites on the ear after an afternoon of rolling around in the grass, to something a little more scary, like a nervous system reaction from toxin ingestion.

Whatever it is, nothing beats your vet's personal advice -- but for now, we're here to help you figure it out so that when you call the vet, you're armed with the most information that you can be. Here are the top 12 reasons why your dog might be shaking his head:

Bug Bites on the Ears

Dogs love to spend time running around outdoors and exploring all sorts of different areas -- most of which contain some type of bugs. Bug bites are common on dogs, especially from fleas, ants and certain types of spiders, as well as stings from bees.

Sometimes the place that gets bitten or stung is your dog's ear, which will result in repetitive head shaking as an attempt to ward off the itch and irritation associated with the bite. Typically, this isn't a big deal for your dog and will present itself as a mild redness, rash and swelling.

However, just like people, some dogs are allergic to insect stings and bites, so you should keep an eye on the affected area for at least the next 48 hours. If any of these symptoms get worse or new symptoms occur, call your vet immediately.

For now, cleaning the affected area and applying a mild anti-itch medication should do just fine.

Ear Mites

Ear mites are so tiny that they're barely visible to the human eye, but will often present as what looks like a sprinkle of black pepper or dirt on the inner ear of your dog. They will often cause the dog to produce a brown, grainy ear wax, similar to the appearance of coffee grounds.

The ears will usually appear red and rashy due to irritation which causes the dog to excessively scratch and shake its head. Ear mites are a very common problem among dogs, as they are contagious and can be transmitted to any other dogs that come in close contact or share a living space with an infected dog.

Your veterinarian will typically prescribe a cream or spray, applied directly to the affected area, and daily cleanings.

Ticks

If your dog has been in a forested or high grass area recently, you may want to check their ears for ticks. Ticks can present in many different sizes, but typically appear as a brown, grey or black bump surrounded by a swollen patch of skin.

A tick will burrow underneath the skin on any part of your dog -- including the ears -- and bury itself near a blood source, where it will stay and feed until it is satiated. If your dog is shaking his head, it may be because of the irritation caused by the tick.

Ticks can transmit 15+ diseases, so their immediate removal is important -- but doing it properly is also very important. Of course, the best method is to let a trained professional do it (your vet), but ticks can also be removed at home with a pair of blunt-tipped tweezers.

Removal must be done very carefully, as it's easy to kill the tick or leave part of it behind, creating new problems and furthering the potential for disease transmission.

Here's a video on how to remove a tick (we skipped it 45 seconds in for you)

Here's more information on the TickEase mentioned in the video

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Ear Infection

Ear infections in dogs are usually caused by bacteria or yeast -- however, most of the issues described in this article can be contributing factors to an ear infection, so it’s a pretty broad-reaching category.

In addition to head shaking or head tilting, physical symptoms of an ear infection can include redness, scratching, swelling, odor, discharge, hair loss in the ear area, rubbing the ear on random objects, loss of balance and hearing loss. Dogs with allergies, exceptionally hair ears and floppy ears can be especially prone to ear infection.

If you think that your dog might have an ear infection, see your vet immediately to prevent further damage. 

Foreign Body In The Ear Canal

Grass seed and other tiny objects can easily fly into the ear of a dog while he's having a good time playing outside. A dog's outer ear canal is vertical, unlike a human's, which has both inner and outer sections horizontal.

Because of this, small foreign objects in the ear can get knocked deep into the canal and stuck between the vertical and horizontal sections at the "joint". So if the head shaking suddenly begins during or after a play session outside, visually check the outer ear canal for any signs that something may be lodged in it.

Unfortunately, by the time you notice your dog shaking his head, he's probably already knocked it deep enough into the ear canal that it'll require a trip to the vet to remove it. If it's close to the outside, you can remove it with tweezers, but anything that's actually lodged in the canal is already damaging the ear canal and hurting your dog (thus, the head shaking) and should be removed by a professional so that no further damage is incurred. 

Injury On The Head

Dogs get little nicks and cuts all the time, but if the injury is on the side of your pup's head or neck, he may be shaking his head in an attempt to alleviate the stinging or pain that the injury is causing.

Check for signs of cuts or swelling and clean any wounds that you might find. Getting the cut cleaned may be all puppy needs to alleviate the sting and go back to his busy day.

Allergies

Dogs who have allergies are genetically inclined shake their head, and allergies often develop in the first year of his life. However, the symptoms of the allergy won't present themselves until the dog encounters the allergen in question for the first time. When he does encounter an allergen, just like people with allergies, the symptoms can be very wide-ranging. 

Often, however, itching is a big part of allergies, and the head and ears aren't exempt from the itchiness. The dog will shake his head to combat itchiness in the ears, however, the head shaking can in turn cause other symptoms -- like an ear infection or hematoma -- which will in turn cause more head shaking.

Allergies are one of the more difficult afflictions for animals, as they don't know what their trigger is and don't know to stay away from it. Luckily, as their human, you know that if your pup seems extra itchy or out of sorts, it's time to get them to the vet before a simple allergy problem turns into a whole host of other problems to take care of.

Too Much Ear Wax

Excessive ear wax in dogs isn't necessarily itself a condition, but it is often the most visibly physical sign that something else is going on. If your dog is shaking his head and your inspection of the ear turns up a build-up of ear wax, it could point to ear mites (brown or black, grainy wax), a bacterial ear infection (waxy, yellow or greenish wax), or a fungal ear infection (reddish-brown to dark brown wax with a pungent smell).

Normal ear wax is yellowish to tan in color, but there should almost never be an excessive amount of it -- so if you notice a build-up of any ear wax, get an examination by your vet right away. 

Aural Hematoma

An aural hematoma is an inflammation of the blood vessels in the pinna, or ear flap. Certain breeds are more likely to develop the condition and are traditionally dogs with more "floppy" ears, like Dachshunds, Jack Russell Terriers, Scottish terriers, German shepherds, greyhounds, or rottweilers.

A hematoma (which looks like a bubbling of the ear) appears on the pinna when blood vessels are irritated, inflamed and ruptured -- typically because of an allergic reaction to something.

Because his ear feels strange and painful, the dog will shake its head, causing its ears to flop around more. But this solution is like scratching a bug bite for humans -- temporary relief followed by more pain because you've further damaged the skin. It's a vicious cycle.

Keep an eye on the hematoma and talk to your vet about the best way to get rid of it -- and to prevent future ones from happening.

Toxins

The saying goes, "curiosity killed the cat," but we all know that getting into things they shouldn't isn't just limited to our feline friends. If your dog has recently gotten into something he shouldn't have, like trash, cleaning products, medications or other toxins, his head shaking may be a direct effect of the toxin's interaction with his nervous system.

Take a quick look around the house to make sure that nothing looks out of place -- and if it does, your next actions should be to look up the nearest pet hospital and call an animal poison control hotline. Here are some options that are open 24/7

  • ASPCA's National Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-426-4435, $65 consultation fee)
  • Animal Poison Hotline (1-888-232-8870, $35 per incident)
  • Pet Poison Helpline (1-800-213-6680, $35 per incident)

Brain Injury

Brain injury can be caused by head trauma, hypo- or hyperthermia, hypoglycemia, seizures, nervous system damage or autoimmune disease among others. If your dog has dealt with something of this nature, then head shaking could be an unfortunate symptom of the brain damage.

Abnormal posture and irregular movements are one of the many symptoms of brain injury, and this includes the head tilt and head shake. As always, you should get your dog to the vet if you notice the sudden onset of head shaking, but in this case, it might be more of an ongoing issue for your pup.

Balance Issues

Some dogs may have balance issues due to complications from neurological issues, past head trauma, stroke or vestibular syndrome. A dog's vestibular system, located in their inner ear, helps balance and spatial orientation. When damaged, it can cause dizziness, vertigo, trouble standing and other disorientations.

Dogs with balance problems may shake their heads or perform repeated head tilts due to the disorientation. 

Categories
Dog Education

10 Reasons Your Dog is Drinking More Water

Most dogs need about an ounce of water per pound of body weight. Most dogs are messy drinkers, so it's hard to tell exactly how much water is making it to their mouths and how much they're actually ingesting.

Polydipsia is the medical term referring to an increased level of thirst in dogs. Dogs who are polydipsic may seek water in places other than their water bowl such as shower stalls after their human has been in them, open toilet bowls or dripping sinks.

Dehydration

The first and most obvious reason is because he needs it! Just like people, your dog may be playing outside on a hot summer day and not even think about being overheated and dehydrated until dehydration has reached the painful stage.

Along with increased interest in water, signs of dehydration in dogs include thick, rope-like saliva, lethargy and dry mouth. If your dog has these signs, don't allow them to free-drink -- again, just like humans, suddenly overwhelming the stomach with large amounts of liquid can cause vomiting, which, in turn, can cause further dehydration.

Use ice chips or allow them access to smaller amounts of water at a time, keeping an eye on their rehydration for the next few hours.

Illness

Most of the time, increased water intake and increased urine output go hand in hand -- and both can be a sign of the onset of an illness. But before you panic, make sure that your dog truly is drinking more water than normal.

Measure your dog's actual water intake over a period of 24-48 hours, keeping in mind the 1 oz. water = 1 lb. body weight formula. If he's drinking a good deal more than that, then illness could be the culprit.

Medical issues that cause an increase in water consumption include (but are not limited to) urinary tract infection, uterus infection, Diabetes, Hyperthyroidism, kidney disease and kidney failure. Only your vet can give you a proper diagnosis.

Hyposthenuria

Hyposthenuria is the medical term for the chemical imbalance of urine in dogs. It can be caused by trauma, hormonal problems or kidney problems. Excessive thirst and urination are symptoms of hyposthenuria along with occasional urinary incontinence.

If you think that this may be the case with your pup, you'll need to get him to the vet so that the vet can run a series of tests in order to diagnose the disorder, including a blood panel and urinalysis. 

Cushing's Disease

Hyperadrenocorticism, commonly known as Cushing's disease, is a disease of the endocrine system, which controls a dog's hormones. This particular disease generally affects middle-aged and older dogs, and causes an excess of cortisone in the dog, which causes gastrointestinal distress and hypertension.

An increased thirst (and subsequent increase in urination) are one of the main symptoms of the disease, along with increased hunger, panting, loss of hair, lack of energy, insomnia and sexual side-effects, which in turn can each cause their own symptoms.

Cushing's is most commonly caused by a benign (non-cancerous) tumor on the pituitary gland. While many panels of tests will need to be run to positively identify Cushing's disease, the problem can most often be solved with a small surgery to remove the tumor and/or drugs to control the release of cortisone into the dog's system -- so it is a manageable disease. 

Medication

If Fido has recently begun taking any medications, the medication itself may be the cause for excessive thirst, just as it can be in anyone taking a medication. Particularly thirst-inducing medications include anti-seizure meds, thyroid medication, behavioral medications, steroids, medications aimed at heart disease and many others.

If the fascination with water began around the time that puppy began taking the medication, that's likely the culprit. However, keep an eye on it to make sure it's not too excessive -- and place a call to your vet, just to keep them in the loop about what's going on with your dog's condition.

Stress

Similar to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in humans, dogs are sometimes prone to develop compulsive behavior due to a traumatic experience or long-term stressful situation. Triggers can be anything from thunder storms to connecting a certain sound/smell/sight with a horrible experience that the dog may have had before he came to your home, so it's often hard to diagnose stress-induced behavior in dogs.

Excessive water drinking, even when not thirsty, is one of the many compulsions that a stressed out dog can engage in. Again, like humans, there are many different therapy options that are available for a dog with stress-induced compulsions including a process called desensitization and counter conditioning (DSCC), which basically teaches the dog to first ignore the trigger, and later disassociate the bad feelings from the trigger.

Psychogenic Polydipsia

Psychogenic polydipsia is the psychological need to drink excessive amounts of fluid -- which, for dogs, is generally water, since it's all that they have access to. This is a psychological disorder that occurs in humans, too, and is generally characterized by the brain not sending the signal to the body to stop drinking once its thirst is satiated.

It most often occurs in dogs who have trouble with anxiety, which can often present itself as nervousness, excitability or unnecessary fear. Since the dog has no way of knowing that its drinking is excessive, it will continue to do so as a way to help cope with its anxieties, and will continue to drink, causing the kidneys to work overtime to remove the excess water from your dog's system, causing excessive urination and eventually a condition called solute washout.

Fortunately, your dog's body can fix solute washout on its own, but only if the water intake is limited to a reasonable amount. Since this is a psychological condition and the excessive drinking is a coping mechanism, it won't be as simple as giving your dog less water to drink -- you'll need to find the underlying cause of the condition and treat the anxieties causing it in order to truly stop the problem.

Dietary changes

Have you recently changed anything in your pup's diet? If you've changed their kibble or treats, an increase in sodium, sugar, filler or another dehydrating ingredient may be to blame. 

If you've changed or eliminated canned food, they may be missing the small (but important) hydration that they were getting from their food -- canned foods are generally around >70% water, while dry food contains <10%. Try switching back to the old food or treats to see if the increase in water consumption stops.

Food allergies

So you've changed your dog's food, but the label looks A-OK and you can't see what could be causing the problem. Perhaps an ingredient in the new food is foreign to Fido and it's causing a food allergy to rear its ugly head for the first time.

Food allergies account for only 10% of all allergy cases in dogs, but it's still a very important cause to look in to. Food allergies in dogs are caused by a genetic predisposition to develop allergies, followed by a whole host of external factors that science hasn't quiet nailed down yet.

Food allergy symptoms present themselves in MANY different ways -- from scratching at the head, neck and ears, to head shakingto gastrointestinal problems, your pup's food allergy could be expressed in many different ways. 

However, if their throat is feeling kind of strange to them, attempting to drink it away might be doggie's only recourse -- thus, an increase in water consumption. If it is indeed an allergy causing the symptoms, an allergy panel run by your vet and an elimination diet are going to be your next courses of action.

Food intolerances

Again, food as the culprit, but a food intolerance is very different from a food allergy. An allergy to a specific food has to do with the dog's antibody response to a specific food which causes the itching and other symptoms associated with an allergy.

An intolerance, however, is similar to the reaction of a human being who can't handle spicy or greasy foods -- your dog's specific digestive system just isn't designed to cope with a certain food, and therefore, can create symptoms like gas, diarrhea or vomiting when that food is introduced.

These gastrointestinal issues can cause dehydration in your pup, and thus, an increased thirst. If you have a backyard or just aren't one to monitor your dog when nature calls, just make sure to pay a little more attention when he goes out for the next few days and you can safely rule this one out. 

Categories
Dog Education

Dogs and Chicken Bones

You've probably heard it a million times before--you can't give dogs chicken bones, but have you ever considered why? Out in the wild, wolves and coyotes, and yes, stray dogs will often kill a chicken and might chew or eat the bones too. If the behavior is okay for wild animals, what is the harm in feeding chicken bones to our dogs? The truth is that feeding any cooked bones to your dogs is something you need to avoid.

Why Can't I Feed My Dog Cooked Bones?

Cooked chicken bones and other types of cooked bones can splinter and break apart causing damage to a dog's digestive system. Raw bones usually do not splinter and are safer for dogs to eat; however raw bones can have salmonella, e-Coli, or other harmful bacteria.

What Do I Do If My Dog Eats Chicken Bones?

Dogs love chicken bones, and they will do whatever they can to sneak one away if you aren't looking. If your dog happens to snag a chicken bone and eats it there are two options you have:

  1. Take them to the veterinarian
  2. Monitor the dog carefully, then take them to the vet if they become distressed

A trip to the emergency vet is costly and unless your dog is showing signs of discomfort or choking you should go with option two. Most of the time when a dog eats a chicken bone, they are fine; however, four things could happen as a worst case scenario:

Harmful Effects of Eating Chicken Bones

1. Choking

Chicken bones may get stuck in the roof of your dog's mouth. When this happens, they will paw and their snout, drool heavily, and probably wine or show you other signs of their discomfort. When this happens, see if you're dog will let you open their mouth and dislodge the bone. If the dog has swallowed the bone and it is stuck in their throat, the dog will have breathing troubles and make choking or gagging noises. You should try to open your dog's mouth and see if the bone is retrievable

2. Gut or Intestine Blockage

If your dog has eaten a lot of bones there is a risk of gut impaction which is when the bones get all knotted up inside the intestines and create a blockage. Blockages stop food from passing and cause vomiting and dehydration. The bones caught in the intestines can become stagnant and release bacteria into your dog’s bloodstream which can cause death. Gut impactions can be life-threatening if they are severe and not removed. Your veterinarian will need to do an x-ray to determine if surgery to remove the obstruction is necessary.

3. Constipation

If dogs eat bones frequently their stool will become hard and difficult to pass. This can cause constipation and be dangerous if not treated. Constipation may cause your dog pain and eventually lead to vomiting and toxins in the bloodstream. Constipation in dogs can usually be relieved with enemas or laxatives, but occasionally a veterinarian intervention is necessary.

4. Peritonitis

Another risk is that the chicken bones can tear or stab at the stomach wall or intestines. When a tear or hole in the intestines occurs, the dog’s gut contents will leak into their body and can poison them. Emergency surgery to repair the tear is the only treatment option, and even this may not always work.  

Luckily these extreme reactions are rare. You will still need to look for signs of these complications to eating chicken bones for 48 hours after your dog eat them.

Monitoring a Dog That Eats Chicken Bones

If your dog has eaten chicken bones, you must watch them for signs of complications from eating chicken bones including choking, blockage, constipation, and peritonitis. If your dog exhibits any of the following symptoms within three days of ingesting chicken bones, contact your veterinarian immediately.

  1. Choking or gagging that results in difficulty breathing
  2. Blood in stool
  3. Vomiting with or without blood
  4. Whimpering or whining when going to the bathroom
  5. Hard, difficult to pass stool
  6. Lethargy, disinterest in play
  7. Stops eating or drinking
  8. Restlessness or pacing
  9. Diarrhea
  10. Fever
  11. Excessive drooling
  12. Excessive panting
  13. Any other behavior that is unusual for your dog

Many people think that they should force their dog to vomit if the dog swallows a chicken bone. Do not do this. Forcing a dog to vomit up chicken bones can be more harmful to the dog than letting them pass. When throwing up the bones, the bone can break or splinter resulting in tears to the dog’s esophagus.

Chicken bones will usually pass within three days, and in many cases, the bones are digested safely.

Helping Your Dog Pass Chicken Bones

Your veterinarian may suggest some natural remedies to help your dog pass the chicken bones safely. First, taking your dog for extra walks during the first 12 hours after ingestion will help your dog digest and pass the content of their stomach. If your dog seems to be uncomfortable or in pain on these walks, call your veterinarian.

You can also feed your dog fresh or canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) and papaya or sweet potatoes. Add Metamucil (1 teaspoon per 22 pounds). Metamucil helps draw water to the stool and make the stool bulkier to making passing any undigested bones easier. Feed the mashed veggies with Metamucil to your dog to help aid in passing the bones naturally through stool.

If you don’t see any bones in the stool, do not worry! Most dogs will digest the bones, and there will not be any large chunks or apparent signs of bone.

Making sure your dog doesn’t have access to chicken bones is the only way to prevent any of the terrible outcomes of eating cooked bones (or raw). Don’t forget, if you are ever unsure of what to do or if your dog is okay or not, call your veterinarian or the emergency animal clinic nearest to you.

Categories
Dog Education

Why Do Dogs Chew Sticks?

You’ve probably noticed that your dog loves sticks. As soon as you pick one up, he’s alert and ready to run. You’ve seen your dog lay outside chewing on sticks for hours, not caring about anything else in the world, but have you ever wondered why does my dog eat sticks?

Dogs love to chew on sticks because they are easy to chew, and they resemble bones. Dogs chew to relieve stress, anxiety, and boredom. Some dogs are more known for chewing than others, but nearly any dog will jump at a chance to gnaw on a nice, dry tree branch. Their earthy scent and taste also appeal to canines, but veterinarians warn that chewing sticks may not be very good for man’s best friend.

Some dogs also have a condition called Pica. This is a condition that drives animals to eat nonfood items. It can affect dogs as well as humans and other living creatures. Pic is a compulsive behavior that is considered destructive and can lead to serious health issues. Lack of exercise and poor socialization can be triggers for Pica. If you notice your dogs frequently eating things It isn’t supposed to combines with changes in digestion or stool, you should consult with your veterinarian about Pica.

Why Chewing Sticks Is Dangerous For Dogs

Dogs will chew on sticks until they break apart in small pieces. They gnaw at the ends, and the sticks can splinter apart. If your dogs get a mouth full of small sticks or splintered wood and try to ingest the wood, there can be health problems for your dog.

Risks of Chewing and Eating Sticks:

Gut or Intestine Blockage

If your dog has eaten a lot of sticks there is a risk of gut impaction which is when sticks get all knotted up inside the intestines and create a blockage. Blockages stop food from passing and cause vomiting and dehydration. The sticks caught in the intestines can become stagnant and release bacteria into your dog’s bloodstream which can cause death. Gut impactions can be life-threatening if they are severe and not removed. Your veterinarian will need to do an x-ray to determine if surgery to remove the obstruction is necessary.

Constipation

If dogs eat sticks frequently their stool will become hard and difficult to pass. This can cause constipation and be dangerous if not treated. Constipation may cause your dog pain and eventually lead to vomiting and toxins in the bloodstream. Constipation in dogs can usually be relieved with enemas or laxatives, but occasionally a veterinarian intervention is necessary.

Peritonitis

Another risk is that the sticks can tear or stab at the stomach wall or intestines. When a tear or hole in the intestines occurs, the dog’s gut contents will leak into their body and can poison them. Emergency surgery to repair the tear is the only treatment option, and even this may not always work.

Release of Toxins

Some wood is especially dangerous for dogs to eat including the limbs of fruit trees like apple, lemon, or pear trees which have toxins that can cause your dog to become nausea or have stomach cramps. These types of sticks are very aromatic to dogs, and you should take care to pick up the sticks in your yard so your dogs cannot get to them. Other types of branches that are poisonous to dogs include azaleas, black walnut, red oak, red maple, yew, black cherry, black locust.

Getting Stuck

A piece of wood can quickly get stuck in your dogs mouth and lock it open. Sticks can also get stuck to the roof of their mouth or even in their throat. If a piece of the stick is stuck in your dog’s throat, the situation can become life-threatening if the dog is unable to breathe.

What Do I Do If My Dog Eats A Bunch of Sticks?

Luckily, most dogs will be okay if they eat sticks as long as they don’t eat them frequently. If your dog only chews sticks and doesn’t eat them, you will probably not have much to worry about. If your dog has eaten a lot of sticks, you need to watch for the warning signs of the complications of eating sticks listed above. Some of the warning signs to watch for over 72 hours after your dog eats sticks include:

  1. Choking or gagging that results in difficulty breathing
  2. Blood in stool
  3. Vomiting with or without blood
  4. Whimpering or whining when going to the bathroom
  5. Hard, difficult to pass stool
  6. Lethargy, disinterest in play
  7. Stops eating or drinking
  8. Restlessness or pacing
  9. Diarrhea
  10. Fever
  11. Excessive drooling
  12. Excessive panting
  13. Any other behavior that is unusual for your dog

If your dog begins showing any of these signs, call your veterinarian or emergency vet immediately for further guidance.

Can Dogs Chew Sticks Safely?

You may not want to deny your dog a game of catch with a stick or a few minutes of chew time on the branch of a tree. If you are going to let your dog chew sticks, you need first to make sure that none of the sticks are the poisonous kinds listed above. You should also make sure that your dog only has large pieces that don’t fit inside his mouth. Monitor your dog while chewing and if they begin to swallow pieces, take the stick away from them.

If you want to deter your dog from eating sticks you can purchase bitter sprays that cause the object it is sprayed on to taste very bad and bitter. If you spray this on sticks that your dog chews they will eventually become trained to avoid sticks because they associate a negative taste with the sticks.

Remember if your dog is every exhibiting abnormal or unusual behavior, consult with your nearest veterinarian.

Categories
Dog Education

Why Does My Dog Lick My Feet?

Have you ever come home from work, take off your shoes and socks, and relaxed on the couch only to have your dog snuggle up to your legs and begin licking your feet? This odd and uncomfortable behavior may be one you want to train out of your dog, but before you do, you should know why your pet is licking your feet.

Reasons Your Dog Licks Your Feet

Showing They Are Submissive 

Dogs will lick their owner’s feet to show them they understand the pecking order of the pack. Dogs look at your family as their pack and their owner(s) as the pack leader. Dogs who are naturally more submissive will demonstrate their submissiveness to the pack leader by licking their feet. Your dog is happy in this role and feet licking is part of how they show you.

Attention Seeking 

When your dog wants your attention, they will do everything they can think of to get it, including licking their owner’s feet. Your dog will first indicate they want attention with their body language such as giving you a hard stare, leaning against you, wiggling and vocalizing, but when those tactics don’t work, they may exhibit other behaviors such as jumping, pawing, barking, or licking. Shorter and smaller dogs will often lick or even nibble their owner’s toes to get attention.

Getting to Know You

Dogs get to know the world around them through the millions of receptors in their mouth and nose. Dogs scent memory is much stronger than their visual memory, and they will remember who you are based more on smell than what you look like. The human body releases pheromones, salt, water, and waste in their sweat. Dogs will often lick sweaty places on their owner’s body, including their feet to gather information about them.

Because You’re Dirty 

Your dog licking your feet may be an indication that your feet simply are not clean. Did you step in some food? Have you been walking around barefoot outside? Your dog could be licking your feet because there is something on your feet that your dog wants.

Stress Relief

Dogs lick things for the same reason they like to chew on things—it’s great stress relief. Licking and chewing releases endorphins in your dog’s brain that helps them relax and deal with stress. However, if your dog is excessively licking your feet or other objects such as the couch or floor, this may be a sign of compulsive behavior that needs to be addressed through training or possible medication from a veterinarian.

How to Stop My Dog from Licking My Feet

Even though licking your feet may be perfectly natural for your dog and a way for them to show affection, the behavior may be annoying or uncomfortable for you. If you want to get your dog to stop licking your feet (or other parts of your body), there are a few ways you can modify this behavior humanely.

1. Ignore the dog

Your dog may be licking your feet for attention, and when you give them the attention, they are asking for you are rewarding them. Ignoring your dog shows them that licking is not the best way to get your attention.

2. Say No

Training your dog to understand what no means is essential. When your dog licks your feet, use a firm voice to say “no” then walk away from your dog. Your dog will begin to understand this behavior is undesirable.

3. Redirect

If your dog is licking out of boredom or for stress relief redirect them to a toy or bone that is appropriate for licking, biting, or chewing. Redirecting your dog is the best way to train them not to lick people because it encourages their instinct while directing that instinct towards the right outlets.

4. Exercise

Dogs who begin licking excessively are probably doing so out of boredom and pent up energy. If you are finding your dog’s anxiety levels are starting to climb, you should start exercising them more. Make sure to get in two walks per day and spend some time at the dog park throwing around a tennis ball. You can also use a dog ball launcher to keep them active when you're not around.

5. Add Bitters

Every pet store has a biting or licking deterrent that contains bitters. Spray or dab on the bitters, and when your dog licks it, the taste will be just as the name suggests—bitter. Your dog will learn that licking these things will never be pleasant. You may be hesitant to spray your feet with anti-licking sprays from the pet store, but if your dog is particular to your shoes or socks, this spray can help your wardrobe last a little longer!

Is Licking A Health Concern for Dogs?

Licking is not typically a health concern for dogs. Dogs, as well as cats, will gather and process information about their world through licking and smelling. Dogs will also lick to get attention or to get food. Unless the behavior becomes excessive or your dog is licking dangerous objects, you shouldn’t worry. If the licking does become excessive, or bothersome to you, call your veterinarian for a behavior consultation.

Every dog is different, and if your dog is licking your feet, the reason may be completely different than something you have read on this list. If your dog is exhibiting licking behaviors that are excessive or new, make sure to talk with your vet or trainer about why this could be happening and what you can or should do about the behavior.

Categories
Dog Education

14 Ways to Stop Doggy Flatulence

I'm sure we have all experienced our dog's flatulence at one point or another. Isn't it the worst when you have friends and family over and your dog clears the room? It's time we put an end to that! Here are some ways to get your dog's flatulence under control.

The Proper Food

Do a little research and find out what some of the best foods are for your dog. Your dog's diet should include dog food specifically designed with his age, breed and lifestyle in mind.

It should be easily digestible and nutritionally sound and should not include ingredients like ash, low-quality proteins (such as "by product") or wheat, corn or potato products (anything with the word "meal" in it) which work as large amounts of carbohydrates do for humans -- they fill you up with empty calories and don't provide much nutritional benefit or energy.

A real meat should be listed at the top of the ingredients list, making it one of the main ingredients in the food. Not only will following these guidelines make your pup less gassy, but they'll give him a better overall health as well.

No Table Scraps

Your dog is likely going to beg when you're cooking or eating a meal, but that doesn't mean that you have to give in. You're the pet parent here for a reason -- you know better than Fido what's good for him.

Dogs with high-fat diets tend to have more issues with flatulence than dogs who don't. Adding spices to anyone's diet can cause digestion issues. And beyond that, sudden changes in your pup's diet are a big cause of gastric distress.

So when you feed your pup those scraps of meat you're just adding to everyone's eventual discomfort.

Watch The Snacks and Treats

It's not too difficult to understand that what you put into your dog is what's going to come out of your dog. And just like people, too many treats and snacks can wreak havoc on the digestive system.

Excess sugars, carbohydrates and fats in your dog's diet can cause gas, as well as obesity, which in turn can make a dog more prone to be flatulence -- it's an endless circle. Also, watch that your pup doesn't get too many rawhide snacks, as they can ingest air while chewing which can also lead to gas. Snacks and treats are, as always, best in moderation. 

Slow Down Eating

If your dog eats too quickly, it can also ingest air which causes flatulence. Additionally, too much food hitting the digestive tract at one time can cause difficult digestion which also causes flatulence.

Many pets have an ingrained habit of eating too quickly, so if you notice that your dog's food is disappearing almost as soon as it's given to him, work on slowing him down. First, space feedings out throughout the day into two or three meals instead of just giving a single bowl of food and allowing the dog to self-feed. If that doesn't help, try putting a smaller, over-turned bowl into your dog's larger food bowl so that he has to eat around it and take smaller mouthfuls.

Another method is to place a ball into the dog's dish so that he has to move it around in order to get to his food. However you do it, slowing down your dog's eating can work wonders for flatulent dogs.Enter your text here...

Live Dairy-Free

Just like people, some dogs are have a natural lactase deficiency, which is a lack of the enzyme that breaks down lactose, causing lactose intolerance. If your dog is one of them, any type of dairy can cause some rather uncomfortable digestive issues for your pup, a symptom of which will be quite a bit of gas expulsion. 

Dogs with GI disease also have a very difficult time with dairy. Dogs don't need dairy in their diets, so don't let the puppy eyes scam you into hours of regret later.

Know Your Dog's Food Allergies and Intolerances

Another reason to stay away from table scraps with your pet is because he may have an allergy or intolerance to something you're feeding him -- and you won't find out until the damage is already done. Allergies typically manifest as an itching, head shaking or swelling, but intolerances are all about digestive distress.

If your dog seems to have gas every time you give him a certain food, then it's likely a good idea to stop giving it to him, no matter how much he begs -- it's for his own good!

Avoid Dietary Indiscretion

A "dietary indiscretion" refers to any time that your pup gets into, and making a meal of, something he usually doesn't and really shouldn't have. This includes eating garbage, food meant for other species of animals (cat, bird, etc.), feces, rotten or spoiled food, rodents or anything else that isn't a part of his diet.

While it's bound to happen occasionally, make sure that your other pets' foods aren't left out and the garbage can is secure. While your dog might be pretty enthusiastic during the initial episode, it's going to mean a rough night ahead of them trying to digest their indiscretions -- which means lots of flatulence.

Keep Away From Hard-To-Digest Foods

Beans, peas and soy products are filled with proteins that are very hard for your dog to digest and, therefore, cause quite a bit of gas. Even if you're not feeding your dog beans and peas from your own dinner plate, check his dog food -- the culprit may be in your ingredients panel.

Cut Down On Veggies

Veggies are filled with lots of fiber. That's part of why humans are supposed to eat them. However, your dog's diet is different and doesn't call for all of that fiber, and you'll find out why when he begins to expel excess gas.

Veggies are more like a treat for dogs -- especially the more obviously smelly ones such as onion and asparagus, as well as cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussel sprouts. If he's really got a love affair with a certain vegetable, give it to him in a tablespoon-sized serving and only on occasion. 

Watch For Swallowing Of Air

If your dog is of the short-headed or stub-nosed variety, such as a boxer, bulldog, chow chow, staffy or pug, then he likely breathes more through his mouth than his nose. You may often notice that your dog snores and pants more than other dogs. These things are pretty normal for a snub-nose, but they can still lead to air-swallowing and then flatulence. T

his also goes for overweight or obese dogs, who sometimes have trouble breathing due to the extra weight on their bodies. There may not be anything that you can do to completely stop their flatulence in the long-term, but talk to your vet to make sure you know what to watch out for in these specific types of dogs.

Check For Parasites

There are several different types of internal parasites that can cause gas in your dogs including roundworm, heartworm and tapeworm. There will usually be other symptoms that come with parasites in addition to the gastric distress, so make sure you're keeping up with your dog's vaccinations and dewormers and if his symptoms go beyond simple gas, get him to the vet right away.

Activated Charcoal

Adding a bit of activated charcoal to your dog's diet can help to detoxify (and therefore de-stink-ify) gases while they are still in your dog's intestines. It can be purchased at most pet stores and will come with instructions on dosing.

However, it is best used for the occasional bout of digestive upset rather than a habitually stinky pup, as the charcoal also absorbs nutrients and cannot be administered for more than two or three days at a time.

Check Medications

There are many different types of medication that your dog might be on that can cause flatulence. Prescription or over-the-counter drugs that impact digestion and bowel function can lead to gas, as can antibiotics, antidepressants, blood pressure medication and narcotics.

Check your dog's medications to see if they could be the culprit and talk to your vet to see if anything can be changed to help your pup with his gastric distress.

Visit Your Vet

As always, if your dog suddenly becomes chronically gassy and none of the above seem to be the culprit, nothing beats an examination by your dog's veterinarian. Canine flatulence can also be a symptom of an underlying disease or health concern, and nobody will know better than your vet.

So In Conclusion

This can be a tricky situation to solve, but we have found these are the best methods to help with the smell of dog flatulence in your home. Knowing your dog is no longer a ticking time bomb should give you back some peace of mind! Just follow our tips and find which ones work best for your dog's gas. 

Categories
Dog Education

Why Does My Dog Smell Like Fish?

Dogs can develop an unpleasant smell in many ways, including rolling around in something, getting sprayed by a skunk, or from plain being dirty.

These smells can be explained by dogs just being dogs, who have been known to eat feces, dead animals, and to roll around in similar things for reasons unknown.

Their curiosity and playfulness get them smelling bad, quickly. But a fishy smell is a sure sign of something quite specific, and it isn’t something you can simply wash off. That fish smell is from anal gland secretions

Yes, this is the dirty side of having a dog in the family.

What Are Canine Anal Glands?

Canines have anal glands on each side of their anus that resembled small sacs. Anal glands are similar to sweat glands and they produce a hormone that is a marker for your dog.

Anal gland secretions are passed on through feces and will let other dogs know information about the dog that left the feces. Your dog has their own scent, which they use to mark their territory, or to attract a mate. Dogs use their sense of smell to store memories and to learn and explore their environment.

These glands and the scent they secrete are the reason why dogs sniff each other’s butts. They store that scent information in their memories so that they can know that other dog in a more personal way.

From these smells, they can tell friend from foe, where territories begin and end, find a mate, and to help them find food. (Which is the main motivation)

What is Anal Gland Expression?

Anal glands can be expressed involuntarily when a dog is scared or startled. This is completely normal, and you probably won't even realize it happened, except for the fishy smell that is left in the air. If your dog begins to smell like a fish constantly, their anal glands may need to be expressed manually due to a blockage.

Another thing you’ll notice your dog doing is scooting their butt on the floor or outside. Dogs don’t do that to scratch an itch. They know that they need to express their anal glands, and they put pressure on the area to do so. It’s gross, but it is best to clean the area right away, so that the oils from the anal glands don’t seep into the flooring. The smell will get worse, and turn into more of an ammonia, urine-like smell that is hard to get rid of.

If you notice a fishy smell about your dog, take them to the veterinarian for a simple anal gland expression. The veterinarian will express the glands manually and check to see if there are signs of impaction, infections, tumors, or anal sac disease.

Anal Gland Impaction

Anal glands can become impacted and not able to express properly with defecation or otherwise. When the veterinarian manually expresses the sacs, an impaction will be evident if the glands are very hard to the touch and a thin, brown, ribbon of paste material comes out of them.

Anal gland impaction is common in dogs, but more prevalent in small dog breeds. Impaction can occur because of a naturally occurring abnormality in your dog's glands or because their feces is too soft to properly express the glands when passed. Overweight dogs have an increased risk of their anal glands being impacted.

Anal Gland Infection

Anal glands can get infected when they are impacted and not expressed. Infections can cause painful abscesses that cause the glands to be swollen, discolored, and painful. If an abscess is not treated it can rupture through the skin causing more pain, bleeding, and discomfort.

When this happens, your dog will need rounds of medications, and probably a cone around their neck, so that they don’t lick or bite the infected area.

Anal Gland Tumors

Tumors in the anal glands present often as anal gland impactions at first. The anal gland sacs will be hard to the touch and the glands may not express on their own. Your veterinarian will try manual expression to rule out impaction. If the veterinarian is not able to express the glands, he may want to order a biopsy or to perform an ultrasound to ensure that a tumor is not growing in the glands.

These types of tumors aren’t life-threatening, and are usually treated by removing the tumor, so that the gland can work properly.

Anal Sac Disease

Anal Sac Disease refers to an infection or abscess in your dog's anal glands that usually begins as an impaction. Anal sac disease often occurs when impactions are frequent and left untreated. If the infections turn into abscesses, these can be treated. However, if problems keep occurring your dog may need surgery to remove their anal glands.

Symptoms of Anal Sac Disease:

One of the most common symptoms of anal sac disease, and one of the first you will notice, is a fishy smell coming from your dog. You may first think this smell is passing gas, but a fishy smell is indicative of an impacted anal gland. Other symptoms include:

  • Dog scooting their butt on the floor
  • Biting at their butt
  • Constipation
  • Pain when pooping or sitting

Treating Anal Sac Disease:

The treatment for anal sac disease depends on the progression of the disease. When your dog first has an impaction and needs their anal glands manually expressed the veterinarian might suggest you add more fiber to your pet's diet to harden and enlarge their feces. You will also be told to exercise your dog more as obese dogs are at a greater risk of having anal gland problems.

Preventing Anal Sac Disease

As long as your dog’s anal glands are normal, they can avoid anal sac disease by maintaining a healthy weight, having enough fiber in their diet, and getting plenty of exercise.

In Conclusion…

If you notice any type of funky smell coming from your dog that isn’t the smell of feces or passing gas, then it is best to contact your veterinarian to see what’s going on with them. Before you do that, make sure that they are clean so you can rule out them being dirty. There isn’t a need to worry, though. All of these problems may be yucky, but they are easily treatable and aren’t life-threatening. Your fur baby is still a good boy/girl.

Categories
Dog Education

Why Does My Dog Chew Their Feet?

Pet dogs are known for exhibiting funny behaviors that make us laugh. You can log onto any social media platform and find videos of dogs being cute, unusual, or extraordinary.

What some pet owners fail to realize however is that a few of the strange habits your dog has may not be quirks. Our dogs cannot talk to us and exhibit certain behaviors when they are sick, unhappy, or need care.

If your dog is chewing on their feet, it could be no big deal or just weird puppy behavior, but this behavior could also indicate a health problem.

Common Health Problems Associated with Feet Chewing in Dogs 

Many dogs chew their feet because they are dirty, have something stuck between their toes, or are just bored. Some dogs will even chew at their paws when the hair gets too long. However, if this type of behavior is persistent or your dog shows signs of pain or distress while they are chewing their feet, a more significant health issue may need to be addressed.

Pain from Injury

Dogs can easily get rocks, thorns, and gravel in their paw pads that can cause them to chew at their feet. Most of the time, dogs can relieve themselves of the pain and use their teeth to dislodge whatever is stuck in their paw, but sometimes they need their people to intervene. Dogs paw pads can get injured from hot pavement, cuts, and even road salt build up or ice.

Arthritis

Arthritis is an inflammatory disease that affects many dogs, especially senior dogs. Arthritis affects the joints and structural architecture of the bones causing degeneration. This immune system disease is treatable with medication but is painful and crippling for dogs if left untreated. Domestic dogs will show signs of arthritis such as being careful, or hesitant before jumping, getting up, or running. Dogs may also gain weight, have a change in attitude, or show other odd behaviors such as biting their feet. If your dog begins having range of motion issues or pain, you should talk to your veterinarian about possible arthritis.

Tumors

There are several different types of skin cancers, and tumors that dogs can be afflicted with and these tumors can sometimes show up on their feet and between their toes. One common type of cancer that affects dog feet is the squamous cell carcinoma. These tumors are generally malignant and invasive and present as a scaly tissue that lines body cavities such as between toes.

Squamous cell carcinoma is usually first seen around the toenail and affects the bone and tissue of typically just one toe. Tumors can look like small nodules with a reddish plaque surrounding it, or a blistered appearance. Cancer will grow and ulcerate eventually and large breed dogs, as well as dark-colored dogs, are most commonly affected. If your dog has swollen feet or toes, is limping, has a sore or ulcer, solid mass on his toe, or is showing signs of his foot bothering him such as biting his feet you should consult with your veterinarian immediately.

Allergies

Dogs can have allergies to some of the same things that humans have allergies too including pollen, dander, plants, other animals, insects, dog food, and medications. Allergies can affect the skin and cause itching, rashes, and skin inflammation that will make your dog chew or bite, and scratch at their skin.

Some dogs have atopic dermatitis which is chronic allergies brought on by grass, mold spores, house mites, and environmental triggers. You will know if your dog has atopic dermatitis by the time they are six months old in most cases, but some cases may present mild symptoms. For most dogs, symptoms will become severe by the time they are three years old.

Only your veterinarian can determine if your dog has an allergy and what they are allergic. Therapies for allergies range from injections to decrease itching, pill medication, or topical ointments. Anti-itch shampoos and regular bathing and skin conditioning regimen may also help.

Demodicosis Mange

Mange is a common inflammatory skin disease caused by Demodex mites inhabiting the hair follicles and skin. Demodex mites can cause lesions, skin infections, hair loss, and itchiness. The severity of symptoms depends on the severity of the disease.

Demodectic mange (demodicosis) can be localized or affect a dog’s entire body. When the patches are localized, symptoms tend to be less severe. Mange is common on the legs, torso, and face of most dogs. Mange can disappear spontaneously in dogs, but dogs with long term cases often need medication to help get rid of the mites and control skin infections. Flea and tick medications and treatments are the best way to treat mange; however, there are also pills dogs can take daily to stop mange.

Canine Compulsive Disorder

Although uncommon, dogs can have compulsive disorders where normal dog behaviors become exaggerated or last longer than appropriate or expected. Excessive spinning, tail chasing, licking, biting, scratching, chewing, or staring into space can indicate a compulsive disorder in your dog including feet biting.


Canine compulsive disorders are usually caused by trauma or stress and frustration. Compulsive behaviors in dogs get worse over time, and impulsive behaviors can be dangerous. Dogs that bite too much or chase their tail too much often risk self-mutilation which can cause numerous health problems including needing emergency surgery.

Some behaviors that may seem compulsive are your dog’s way of trying to get attention from you. If your dog only exhibits odd behavior in your presence, the behavior is most likely a response to boredom or needing more attention from you. Set up a nanny cam to see how your dog behaves when you aren’t home.

Signs of compulsive disorders can also be signs of other health problems such as neurological or biological issues. If your dog is exhibiting what you believe are compulsive behaviors such as biting, licking, barking, scratching, or chasing, talk to your veterinarian first before starting therapies or training.

While feet biting may be one of your dogs’ little quirks, there can be underlying health issues that the biting is indicating. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action for your dog’s behavior.

Categories
Dog Education

Why Doesn’t My Dog Chew Their Food

As a dog owner, you’re always looking out for your do to make sure they are healthy or getting into things they shouldn’t be. Recently you may have noticed that your dog doesn’t usually chew their food and swallows it whole without chewing. This normally happens because your dog is eating their food in a hurry which can be detrimental to their health. But there are many reasons your dog is always in such a rush to finish their food.

It is important that you establish the cause of the problem so that you can mitigate it as soon as possible. My dog used to have this habit and I got so worried and I asked my vet and did some research to come up with why my dog was not chewing and was just swallowing its food whole!

Why Your Dog Doesn't Swallow Their Food

Pack Mentality

If your dog always thinks that there is some form of competition whenever it is eating its food, it is likely to swallow its food without chewing it. This mostly happens when dogs are out there in the wild. Even if your dog isn’t in the wild we must remember they are animals and they will still have these tendencies that they can not control. Just like my friend’s collie will try herding you when you play with them!

The Nature Of Your Dog’s Teeth

Your dog’s teeth are designed for ripping and tearing meat. Unlike other animals, dogs do not have flat molars that can enable it to chew food for longer periods. Their teeth aren’t built to chew food and they will simply decide to swallow it. This is much different than us humans. Our teeth are built to chew food before swallowing! Next time you get a chance, take a look at how your dog's teeth are pointed and not meant for much chewing.   

Your Dog’s Environment

If you have several dogs at home, your dog thinks that it must fight for food so that it can eat. Your dog may be worried about other dog’s taking their food so they will eat as fast as possible to prevent it from being stolen. In this case, they will not think they have time to chew their food and will swallow it whole. If this is the case, you may want to feed your dogs separately.

What Are The Solutions That You Should Consider?

Ensure That Your Dog Eats an a Relaxed Environment

You should do what you can to make your dog feel like it is not in a hostile place to eat. Make your dog think they have as much time as they need to eat. If you are doing something near your dog and you’re in a rush it can make them feel rushed as well, which would not be a relaxed environment from them. Having a relaxed environment before, during, and after my dog eats has definitely helped in them slowing down when they eat. 

Give Your Dog Larger Pieces of Food

The size of your dog’s food can help them slow down in eating. Feeding them small pieces of the food makes it much easier for them to just swallow it whole in a few seconds. I’ve begun feeding my dog some carrots or frozen beans mixed in their bowl to put some bigger pieces of food that takes time for them to chew and is also healthy for them!

Use a Plastic Bowl

This is a weird one, but I have found it works! A metal bowl can make a lot of noise which can stress your dog out or make them feel like they aren’t in a calm environment. A plastic bowl is going to reduce that noise and make them feel like they are in a calmer environment. This will relax them and have them eat slower.

Nowadays, my dog usually chews their food before swallowing it. Look into trying these solutions and let me know how they work for your dog!

Have you seen a solution that works? Let me know in the comments