February 5 We have been told for years that older dogs should have a lower protein diet, but new research suggests that this is really only the case for dogs with kidney issues. Once your vet has checked out kidney function and pronounced your dog problem free, your older dog should have a normal protein level in his food, about 22-24% is the norm depending on activity level. Consider easier, more digestible forms of protein though, like cottage cheese, white sea fish, ground white meat turkey and chicken breast. Richer meats tend to be harder for oldies to digest…think about your grandparents and how they probably couldnt eat a 16 ounce steak anymore, well, your dogs much the same once he gets older too!
February 4 Older dogs can start to have bladder problems. I can highy recommend a product called ‘bladder control’ by ‘Nutrivet’ that really worked for my own dog and has worked wonders in every client dog that I have recommended it to. For my own dog, I started with the recommended dose, and then tailed it off once the problem was cured, eventually only having to give one tablet every four days to keep my dog, and my house, ‘swamp free’…You can buy it at Petsmart, its completely natural and is not hormone based at all.
February 3 Consider agility…yes, really! Not all agility is jumping through hoops and running through tunnels. For an older dog, agility could be something as simple as stepping on or off a log or a step, walking over some carefully placed poles on the ground [in ladder type formation] or learning to balance walking along a ‘beam’ of some kind. Start slow, start small, and watch your dog conquer small steps that eventually become miles!
February 2 Just because your dog has eaten Pedigree for ten years doesn’t mean it has to for the rest of its life…switch to the best, freshest food you can get for him so that he an really get his taste buds zipped up and enjoy his food during his twilight years.
February 1 Dogs with achy joints can really benefit from Glucosamine and MSM supplementation. Todays highly processed diets [more on that on another day] strip so much of the natural goodness in foods. Glucosamine is found in meat and fish, but with ultra heat treatments and rendering used by dog food companies, so little of this finds it s way to the cells. Talk to your vet about the right glucosamine for your dog; ask if they do injectable glucosamine as new research suggests that this is more beneficial than tablet form, but your vet can guide you on this.
January 31 Dogs are never too old to learn, in fact, your older dog may be even easier to train than a puppy! Here at the ranch we introduce nose work very successfully to older dogs that have never done this before and my, how quick they are to learn it! Teaching sit and down might be hard for an older dog’s joints, but how about teaching them to stand and wait? Or teaching how to ‘touch’ with her nose when you move your hands around?
January 30 Please remember that the brain is a muscle that requires a regular work out in order to be in tip top condition. New environments, new experiences and new friends can all help to kick start a tired brain. Try to do something new at least twice a week; even if its seems small to you,the new experience will be huge to your older dog.
This week, in honor of our 14 year old guest Otto who suffers from Canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome [alzheimers] we will be giving tips about how to get the best from your older dog.
January 26 Using a slow down dog dish can really help the overweight dog…slowing down his consumption leads him to feel fuller after completing his meal because he took his time eating it…just like humans do!
January 25 Low calorie and low sodium chicken broth can be a useful addition to the food bowl as it helps to swell dry kibble, making it bigger in bulk and easier to digest, while giving a ‘gravy like’ taste.
January 24 Green veg add bulk and fewer calories to food so are a useful addition to your dog food bowl for an overweight dog, but don’t overlook the use of fruits…blueberries, pears and apples can slightly sweeten and add huge taste to your dogs food bowl without the mass of calories. Dont overdo it, but if Fido is eating less, at least make it interesting!
January 23 Not all dogs respond to the same foods in the same way; like some humans have a body type that burns fat better with more grains or carbs, and some need a higher meat content, not all dogs burn fat on the same food. Carbohydrate tends to slow down a dogs’ metabolism, while more lean protein tends to speed it up. Each dog is individual so pay close attention to how your dog responds physically to his diet and feed what suits him personally.
January 22 Remember that ALL movement is beneficial..if your dog is extremely overweight, and you aren’t able to take him running, you can start by walking him for short periods on a human treadmill at the slowest most easy rate. While treadmills are no comparison to outdoor ‘sniffy’ walks, they tend to be much more gentle on the body, so a short walk in the woods followed by a low intensity walk on the treadmill is a great place to start.
January 21 Overweight dogs tend to move more slowly and cannot be rushed into an exercise program …be sure to build your dogs exercise slowly week by week so as to not overwhelm his body and cause damage.
January 20 Because I am seriously considering going on a diet ( just at the consideration stage for now…don’t get excited! LOL ) this weeks tips are going to be about related things… For weight loss, absolutely reduce your dogs food and increase his exercise, but be mindful that dogs are pretty visual and if the bowl looks emptier than usual, he’s going to get depressed, as would we. Replace a portion of his kibble with some green beans so that your dog has the same bulk but less calories.
January 17 Hardwoods can be very difficult for canine limbs, the softness of their foot pads slip and slide all over shiny floors which can lead to serious [and expensive] injuries. Invest in non slip mats and rugs and place them at regular intervals on hardwood and tiled floors to keep Fido happy and sure footed at home.
January 16 Keep the area between your dogs toes clean…trapped dirt combined with the moistness between their toes can create inflammation and infection. Olive oil on a pad is also useful to use here as the oil can create a barrier against snowy conditions while also moisturising and cleansing the skin.
January 15 Clean your dogs ears regularly…..not all dogs can tolerate ear cleaner being squirted into their ear, but a cotton wool pad dipped in warm olive oil can feel soothing and gentle in the ear and will help to remove debris.
January 14 Long nails aren’t just unsightly, they can also cause gait problems…..keeping your dogs nails nice and short will help him to walk properly.
January 13 Green tea makes a very effective mouthwash for dogs with mouth sores.
January 12 Garlic in small quantities in the diet ( beware, some breeds like Sheba inus cannot tolerate garlic as its poisonous to them) can be an excellent deterrent to fleas and worms.
January 11 Oatmeal makes an excellent aid for hot spots…make oatmeal with hot water, put into an old sock and apply the sock to the hot spot once its cool enough for the dogs comfort.
January 10 Apple cider vinegar added to the water bowl can be a real boost to intestinal health.
January 9 A grated potato makes a great poultice if your dog has a nasty spot.
January 8 Honey, applied to wounds where the skin has torn away has been found to help speed healing; apply a generous coat of it and cover with a sterile bandage, then change daily.
January 7 For a dog who retains water, parsley can act as a wonderful diuretic, yes it works for humans too, ladies! We use lots of it in the food at the ranch as it tastes great and the dogs love it.
January 6 Ginger root…a little grated into some hot water is a very effective antidote to nausea and sickness. Steep the root in boiling water and then strain reserving the liquid, let your dog sip the cooled water every couple of hours. You can add honey to make it more palatable. Ginger also is a mild anti inflammatory and pain reliever…
January 5 This weeks tips are all about some uses for herbs and spices that we might find in our fridge or pantry.
January 4 Healthy gums mean a healthy dog…. don’t put off a proper dental exam at the vets as gum disease can lead to serious infections in other organs
January 3 Make your New Years resolutions doable…for instance mine will be to eat far more cake, to spend more time enjoying my dogs and to NOT start giving a flying fig about whether or not my backside looks big in something..LOL
January 2 Make a habit of telling those who improve your life or who make you happy just how much you appreciate them…I start every morning with my Federico with a kiss and a thankyou for all the hard work he puts in at the anch.
January 1 If your family don’t appreciate how much you love your dog, consider rehoming….ALL OF THEM!
December 31 This cold weather can affect your pooches coat, going out in the cold and then coming into the warm dry heat can make Fidos coat dry and brittle… This is a great time of year to start adding a little oil to the dog food. Either extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil, both are readily available at supermarkets, and just a tablespoon per day for a medium sized dog can work wonders.
December 30 Rub vaseline onto your dogs paws to protect them on icy side-walks
December 29 Alaskan Sled Racers serve warm food to their dogs during rest stops as a wonderful way to warm and comfort Fido doing so at home especially with an older dog can ward off winter chills
December 28 Older dogs can really benefit from a fleece short scarf around their neck in cold weather to ward off a chill when the wind blows
December 27 Mud and grime are almost always easily wiped off with sensitive skin baby wipes and save getting the dog in the bathtub.
December 26 If this unexpected cold snap has left fido feeling chilled to the core, raid the kids closet! Baby clothes and kids clothes make excellent make do dog sweaters perfectly able to ward off chills. Simply chop off the arms and hey presto! Doggy sweater!
December 24 Those beautiful Christmas fruit bowls look so pretty, but do remember that grapes are poisonous to dogs, so please keep them where your dog can’t reach it.
December 23 Having lots of friends and family in over the holidays can be super stressful for your dogs with all those different people talking at her, prodding and playing with her. Be sure to give her her space and have a designated safe zone that no human can go into, only her, for when it all becomes too much…
December 22 A great Christmas gift idea for an older dog? Try the senior citizens version of ‘Through a Dogs Ear’ cd..it helps to calm older dogs in the car or in new and stressful situations.
December 21 Deer antlers make the best chew toys for dogs! They may be more expensive than run of the mill chew toys but they last for years and create hours of happy, teeth cleaning fun. Get your pup one for Christmas….
December 20 Be careful with string and ribbons, if swallowed they can caught up in your dogs stomach and create very serious problems
December 19 Mix your turkey leftovers with some chicken broth and some cooked veg for instant wet dog food that you can top your dogs normal dry food with…he’ll love it!
December 18 This is the season for chocolate in plentiful supply all around the house and even on the tree, so please be careful that your dog can’t reach it. That lovely hot cocoa with marshmallows and chocolate sprinkles can be very toxic to poor Fido so don’t let him anywhere near it!
December 17 Put ten minutes aside every day to just play gently and appropriately with your dog. Nothing builds a relationship better or quicker than shared good times.
December 16 Wrestling is never a good thing for a human to do to a dog. When you make such huge physical contact with your dog, all he has to handle you are his teeth, never a good idea to teach a dog to use his teeth on a human is it? Almost every bite case I went out to consult for last year involved a child or adult wrestling with the dog in ‘play’ and the dog learned nicely how to bite its humans through that route. Squeal loudly when your dog bites you in play and end the game straight away. He will learn quickly that it doesn’t reward him to bite. Which could save his life and your child’s face…
December 15 If your dog do
December 14 Understand the value your dog puts on his toys and why he will not want to share with some visiting play-date pal. Dogs do not comply with the ‘share nicely’ ethos of humans normally, so don’t put your dog in a situation that seems intrinsically unfair to him, pick up his toys and just encourage the two dogs to play nicely together without his toys being brought into it.
December 13 Be careful of sticks and always supervise your dog when he’s chewing one. Sticks can play havoc on the gums, despite the fun they bring, so careful observation will ward off hefty dental bills.
December 12 Every game you play with your dog is an opportunity to teach him good manners…retrieve should be rewarded with huge thanks and praise, tug games can teach a dog self control, hide and seek teaches your dog to value you (fear of loss of the owner when working with a dog who bolts and has poor recall is a VERY useful tool).
December 11 With the game of tug of war, always let your dog win some of the time..no one likes a game where they always lose, or worse feel like its a battle. Its supposed to be fun for both parties!
December 10 Don’t throw away cardboard boxes! Dogs love em, plus its a great way to start your dog with nosework. Hide a small piece of chicken or steak or the old staple, garlic sausage in there and watch your dog have a blast!
December 9 Dog bored of his toys but you cant afford to go get more? Make a towel burrito! Roll up an old hand-towel into a big sausage shape, secure it with duct tape and then use it as a tug toy with your dog or as a retrieve toy.
December 8 This weeks tips are all about playtime….
If its wet and windy and you just cant get out with your dog, turn your living room into an indoor ‘fun park’. Leash your dog at the entrance to the room, then have her watch you place treats very obviously and with much fanfare in five or six different places. Make the treats nice smelly things like garlic sausage or hot dog, as it increases the excitement for your dog. Put your dog in a sit, unleash and tell her to ‘find it’….guiding her to the general area of the treats and making her use her nose. She’ll have a blast!
December 7 A dollop of natural active culture yogurt on your dogs food gives her an excellent source of easily digestible probiotics. For dogs that don’t like plain yogurt, here at the ranch we use Greek Gods’ yogurt with honey, never met a dog who didn’t like it, and while its not as high in cultures as some yogurts, some is better than none, right?
December 6 Very often dogs who suffer with their anal glands, need a complete change in diet. Talking to your vet about the amount of fiber in your dogs food and how your dog metabolises it is the best course of action for sustained anal gland troubles.
December 5 Always have a can of unsweetened pumpkin to hand in the pantry; its a really useful addition to the dogs food to help stop ‘scooting’ if the dog has anal gland problems.
December 4 Deer antlers make wonderful chew toys for your pet though expensive at first deer antlers are full of minerals and last forever while effectively cleaning your dogs teeth.
December 3 Calming pills can be useful for some dogs in the very short term, while you are working out longer term solutions. These can be purchased at most good pet stores and typically contain l-Tryptophan. They are normally easily digestible and in my experience take the edge off in some dogs by up to 20%.
December 2 Do not make a big thing about leaving your dog… drawing attention to the situation by saying huge goodbyes and administering hugs will only make your dog more worried about what is happening. Keep farewells as low key and cheery as possible.
December 1 Leaving a TV or radio on can be an effective distraction/ boredom alleviator to some dogs, as it drowns out the silence.
November 30 Heating and air vents can be annoying to a dog; place crates away from these if at all possible as your dog is going to get far more stressed if you are not there and he’s being blasted by cold air and hates it!
November 29 Record the sounds of your daily routine when you re bustling around at home doing chores and play it on a loop continuously back to your dog when you’re out of the house; the sounds of the familiar will calm him.November 28 Never leave your dog for any length of time when he is hungry…hunger causes stress in dogs and stress can lead dogs to chew and be dispruptive. A filled kong not only provides mental stimulation but also a handy stomach filler if you’re having to leave him near a meal time. Extra tip…keep a filled kong in the freezer or fridge always so you have one ready to go should you need to leave in a hurry.
November 27 Leaving a t-shirt that you have worn to bed, in your dogs resting area will dramatically help to calm your dog down. The pheremones associated with relaxation that we exude when we slep are absorbed into the fabric, providing a rich but calming fragrance of relaxed owner to the pup.
November 26 Does your dog miss you terribly when you re gone and finds it hard to settle? This weeks tips are all about separation anxiety and easy things to do that help. The first and most important tip for this problem is….always take your dog for a good long ‘sniffy’ walk before you leave him for any length of time either loose in the house or in a crate. The old adage, ‘A tired dog is a happy dog’ is oh so true!
November 25 Raw egg in your dogs food every day, shells and all, can help give healthy skin and coat
November 24 When preparing your vehicle for the winter season please remember that Anti Freeze is extremely lethal to dogs. Its always best to have your anti freeze topped up away from the house as even one drop spilt on the floor can be life threatening for your dog.
November 23 Although its tempting to leave out dishes of candy for visiting guests please resist the urge to do so as if your dog ingests too much candy and in particular chocolate he will get very sick. Chocolate in particular is incredibly toxic for dogs.
November 22 Dog had a few too many scraps and diahorrea? If your dog is young and healthy, fast for 24 hours, this clears their system out and gives their digestive system a rest. Be sure to let them have access to clean fresh drinking water at all times though.
November 21 Fresh turkey is a lovely rich source of serotonin, so be sure to give your dog a cut of the holiday meat…it calms them down.
November 20 Dog snot on your windows ? Use a squirt of Dawn Dish Soap on a wet sponge for a smear free shine.
November 19 Is your dog bored with his treats during recall training? Stopped coming when he is called? Try changing to fresh treats like blue cheese or fresh pork sausage and be amazed at his response.
November 18 A couple drops of rose geranium oil on the collar is wonderful at repelling fleas.
November 17 Is your dog a persistent chewer on furniture and alike ? Try Bitter Yuck on any chewable surface like tables, chair legs, door blinds etc. it will stop the most persistent chewer.
November 16 Weeds driving you mad but don’t want to use harmful weed killer on your lawn ? Attach a hose sprayer to your hose and run Dawn dishwashing detergent through it and spray your weeds. Weeds only, of course as it will harm plants too…. lay your weed mat and mulch on top and hey presto ! Job done.
November 15 Done your research and are certain you want another dog ? Always, where possible do a “dry run” with a foster dog before you adopt. This is a win win situation as it gives a rescue dog the chance to be in a loving home instead of at the shelter, plus it gives you a chance to see whether you are cut out for life as a multiple dog family. Its best to foster the breed you have chosen obviously, although never discount a mixed breed, as sometimes you get the best of both worlds !November 14 Thinking of adding to your pack ? Be sure to look at the breed closely before you adopt ! Most failed adoptions and subsequent returns are because the adopter didn’t realize what they were taking on. If you want a calm dog who is happy to chill a lot, don’t adopt a Border Collie. If you intend to run 5 miles a day with your dog and don’t mind dealing with some separation anxiety, thats when you may want to think about a Weimaraner……. Most of the breed rescues are very knowledgeable and helpful and are happy to advice on whether your lifestyle will suit the dog you are considering, so talk to them at length first.
November 13 Dap Diffusers are wonderful to use at times of stress. Dog appeasing pheremones send calming waves to the dog….. just plug in and watch Fido take it down a notch. Available at most good pet stores.
November 12 Food and stress are crucial factors in your dogs shedding…always use a great quality food with real quality meat as the first ingredient and fruits, vegetables and herbs in it. A tablespoon of coconut oil in the food works wonders too.
November 11 Urine stains on the carpet ? Blot up the urine with a paper towel – mix equal amounts of Tide detergent and hot water and work into the area – rinse out with water and blot again to dry – this kills the urine smell dead.
November 10 Has your dog been sprayed by a skunk ? Ugh, this happened to us a little while ago and I found this anti-skunk shampoo formula which seemed to work pretty well. One quart 3% hydrogen peroxide, one quarter cup baking soda, one teaspoon liquid dish soap. Dilute with an equal amount of water. Rub into the coat and rinse many times with fresh water.
November 9 Anal gland problems ? Dog scooting all over the floor ? Pop a couple spoons of canned pure pumpkin in his food which helps the dog to release the glands himself. Cheaper than a trip to the vet !
November 8 If your puppy has itchy skin (and you can’t get to the vet) try spritzing some cider vinegar mixed half and half with water onto the affected area. It helps most dogs to get some relief straight away.
November 7 Is your dog off his food ? Worried he might be sick ? he may just hate his food ! The best way to tell ? Take him to McDonalds ! A double cheeseburger with no pickles, onions or mustard hits the spot for just about every dog in the Universe ! One smell and they’re scarfing away …….. if he doesn’t want it, then you need to think about calling the vet !
November 6 When training a good recall for your dog – a long line can be a useful tool, but they’re so expensive at the pet store….. instead go to Home Depot, buy a 100 foot piece of rope and a snap leash and make your own to the length you choose. Total expense? $10!
November 5 Dog smells in your carpet but don’t want to use chemical fresheners on your rug ? Sprinkle a light dusting of Arm & Hammer Bicarbonate of Soda all over the rug, leave for a few minutes and then vacuum thoroughly. Smell goes with no residue.
November 4 Does your dog get hair all over the cloth interior of your car ? If so, wear a rubber glove and sweep the hair up into a ball. The rubber glove acts like a rake on the cloth upholstery, cutting cleaning time dramatically.
November 3 Does your dog have to take meds and hates pill pockets ? If peanut butter won’t cut it, try the canned “squirty” cheese and squirt a spoonful on your hand, tuck the pill in the cheese and most dogs will scoff it back. Reddi-Whip works just as well too!!!
November 2 Does your dog gulp his food down ? Invest in a “slow down” dog dish (try KV Vet Supply – they are pretty reasonable) or wash a big rock and place it in the center of his bowl so he has to eat around it. Slowing down their eating helps to reduce the chance of GVT (bloat) so its well worth doing this.
November 1 A warm bath of Epsom Salts works very well to soothe the tired muscles of healthy dogs who have just run too hard. Even nicer for Fido if you sit in there with him and massage him.
October 31 Small dog with joint problems ? Instead of buying expensive orthopaedic dog beds, here at the Ranch we use memory foam pillows (we get ours from Costco) as dog beds. They are supremely comfortable and are easier to wash between guests.
October 30 Always let your big dog digest their food for an hour before taking them for exercise, to help prevent against bloat.
October 29 Is your dog a persistent puller? Try the freedom harness from wiggleswagsandwhiskers.com for instant results.
October 28 If your dog cant settle to sleep, try a little warm milk with a teaspoon of honey and a dog cookie. Everyone sleeps better with a little something in their tummy.
October 27 Does your dog have bad breath? Try wheatgrass tablets every day in the dogs food.
October 26 A spoonfull of natural yoghurt on top of your dogs food can help combat digestive issues.
October 25 Raw bones twice a week are wonderful for keeping teeth clean. Always give bones that are bigger than the dogs mouth to prevent choking and always supervise. Remove from the dog after 30 minutes.
October 24 A teaspoon of honey every day is very effective at helping dogs who suffer from allergies.
October 23 The scent of lavender is very effective when used to calm dogs who are anxious. At night-time, put a few drops on the dogs bed or tie a bandana round the neck with a drop on to soothe throughout the day.
October 22 If your dog has fleas. forget expensive flea shampoo. Regular DAWN dishwashing liquid used as a shampoo is super effective at killing fleas instantly. Start with the head and work down.