Tips for Cleaning Dog Beds

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Regularly washing bedding will keep your pet happy and your home safe from contaminants.
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18 Memes That All Dog Parents Will Laugh At

Even during the most difficult times, dogs are always there for us. They are always around to make our day and bring a smile to our face. They also do plenty of silly, unexplainable things that make us love them even more. Dog memes are a great way to relieve stress in life. Many dog parents can closely relate to the creative memes of dogs doing silly things. These images might not be funny to the rest of the world, … Read more
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Anxious Pit Bull Finds Passion and Confidence Hiking with New Dad

Penni’s early life was awful. She spent her first years in the basement of a drug house until she was abandoned. Rescue group Fur Friends in Need saved her from a kill shelter just before she was scheduled to be euthanized. That’s where she found her forever companion, Dog Dad Blaine DeLuca. Her life started down a brand new path filled with adventure, fresh air, and nature. Penni Spent 6 Months Learning to Trust Her New Dad Fur Friends in … Read more
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Abandoned Puppy Finally Finds Comfort With Human Baby

A little boy named Ian and an adorable dog named Callie are best friends. They grew up side by side, and they’re about the same exact age. Their special bond started when they were both only 3 months old. When Callie was just a puppy, she was abandoned by her first family. She was left tied to a fence all alone. She whimpered for help until a kind man came to the rescue. He adopted the little puppy and brought … Read more
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Bulldog Puppy Being Baby-Talked To Demands Respect

Sometimes controlling that baby-talk voice you use to interact with your dog can be tough. We can’t help it, they’re just so tiny and cute! The “voice” is basically a reflex. Whoever filmed an adorable viral video of a Bulldog puppy has this issue too. In the video that boasts hundreds of thousands of views, an extremely tiny puppy named Greta gives some sass to her person. Her human sits on the couch, babbling at her in the “voice.” From … Read more
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A Call to Action: The Daily Struggles of Flat-Faced Dogs

Since the Mercola Healthy Pets site was launched over a decade ago, I’ve been writing about the epidemic of poorly bred dogs and the significant health challenges faced by flat-faced (brachycephalic) dogs. I’ve picked up the paced in recent years as the breeding of these animals has become more extreme in terms of exaggerated features, and their popularity and long list of health problems has continued to grow.
Veterinarians here in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia and elsewhere are seeing ever increasing numbers of these dogs with more — and more severe — health problems as a direct result of selective breeding for looks instead of health.
As a veterinarian and passionate advocate for all animals, it’s inconceivable to me that so many breeders, breed and kennel clubs, and dog owners either don’t understand or simply don’t care that so many of these dogs spend their entire lives struggling just to breathe, never mind enduring all the other disorders and diseases they frequently develop.
Veterinarians Have a ‘Professional and Moral Obligation’ to Take Action

Recently, someone brought to my attention a paper written by a team of veterinarians at the Sydney School of Veterinary Science at the University of Sydney in Australia. The authors of the study have caseloads of veterinary patients that include brachycephalic dogs, and the following is their stated reason for the paper, published in the journal Animals in early 2019:

“Brachycephalic dog breeds are increasing in popularity, despite them suffering from well-documented conformation-related health problems. This has implications for the veterinary caseloads of the future.
Whether the recent selection of dogs with progressively shorter and wider skulls has reached physiological limits is controversial. The health problems and short life expectancies of dogs with extremely short skulls suggests that we may have even exceeded these limits.

Veterinarians have a professional and moral obligation to prevent and minimise the negative health and welfare impacts of extreme morphology and inherited disorders, and they must address brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) not only at the level of the patient, but also as a systemic welfare problem.”1

Two of the co-authors of the paper, Paul McGreevy, professor of Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare Science, University of Sydney, and veterinarian Anne Fawcett, a lecturer at the University of Sydney, also co-authored an article for online publication The Conversation.
In the article, they discuss in heart wrenching detail the daily struggle many flat-faced dogs — especially those with extreme brachycephaly — endure. The most significant of these is brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS), which occurs “because the nose, tongue, soft palate and teeth are crammed into a relatively small space, reducing the size of the airway.”2
Short-Skulled Dogs ‘Struggle to Breathe’ and ‘Can’t Stand the Heat’

According to McGreevy and Fawcett, dogs with BOAS have:

“… increased respiratory noise, effort and difficulty in breathing, an intolerance to exercise, gagging, blue gums (in the mouth), overheating and fainting. Brachycephalic dogs probably experience the unpleasantness of air hunger (lack of oxygen and surplus of carbon dioxide) and, compared with healthy non-brachycephalic dogs, show marked increases in respiratory rate as temperatures rise.”

I cannot imagine why anyone thinks it’s a good idea to deliberately create an animal who will, for his or her entire life, suffer from air hunger — the frightening sensation of not being able to breathe in sufficient air.
The hotter the environment (indoors or outside), the harder brachys must work to cool their bodies by panting.

“As a result,” McGreevy and Fawcett write, “the tissues of the upper airway swell, further reducing airflow and eventually causing airway obstruction, which causes them to get hotter. It’s a life-threatening vicious cycle.”

When you see a Pug or a Frenchie or a Bulldog panting heavily, I hope you’ll keep this in mind. We all need to be much more aware of the effort these dogs exert every minute of every day just pulling air into their lungs and keeping their body temps in the normal range. And as if all that wasn’t enough:

“Affected dogs also change the way they sleep to avoid airway obstruction, sometimes by adopting a sitting position,” write McGreevy and Fawcett. “They also raise their chins or sleep with a toy between their teeth to keep their airways open. Indeed, 10% can sleep only with an open mouth.”

Other health problems associated with extremely short skulls include “excess carbon dioxide concentrations (that shift the acid-base balance of the blood), neurological deficits, skin disease, eye disease and certain behavioural disorders,” as well as brain disorders, back problems, difficulties giving birth, problems swallowing, vomiting and regurgitation.
In addition, brachys have a higher risk of complications from anesthesia than other breeds, yet also a higher need for surgery to treat their many problems.
A Call to Action for All Veterinarians

McGreevy, Fawcett, and the other co-authors of the Animals paper believe veterinarians need to take a more active role in discouraging the breeding of dogs with conditions like brachycephaly that seriously compromise their health, longevity, and quality of life. From the McGreevy/Fawcett article:

“The brachycephalic dog patient may place veterinarians in ethically challenging situations when they are approached to help in treatment and breeding of affected animals.
In discussing breed-associated disorders, veterinarians may appear to be critical of the very features that clients find most endearing about their companion animals and some have preferred to speak up only anonymously. Or veterinarians may have a conflict of interest if they draw an income from treating the typical disorders.
But unless veterinarians and breed organisations speak up, the demand for extreme brachycephalic breeds will continue. The enormity of the welfare problem is increasing with the increased demand for affected dogs.”

I’m in 100% agreement and hope all my colleagues in the veterinary community are as well. As one of the contributors in the video above states: “Bring the breed standards back to healthy standards.” It’s a simple and perfect way to turn this unconscionable situation around and begin selectively breeding animals for good health, first and foremost.
Thankfully there are emerging joint initiatives around the world, like the Love is Blind campaign in Australia, to bring awareness to the animal welfare problems caused by humans breeding unwell dogs.
In my opinion, more veterinarians need to be referring their clients in search of puppies to educational websites such as PupQuest that help prospective dog owners understand these issues before they make an impulse purchase.
Even more promising are worldwide joint initiatives such as the International Partnership for Dogs that facilitates communication and collates resources, information and results for the harmonization of genetic testing between testing facilities, breed clubs, breeders, veterinarians and concerned pet parents. Change can happen, but it will take the concerted effort of all of these groups for the health of our purebred dogs to improve. Sources:Bark, February 2019 Comments (11)

Ohio Animal Shelter Emptied (In A Good Way) During COVID-19

Even though dogs can’t contract COVID-19 to our knowledge, many have been impacted by the outbreak. Animal shelters are, after all, staffed by people who are susceptible to the virus. With less staff available and an increase in owner surrenders, shelter animals suffer too. Not to mention, people no longer venture into shelters looking to adopt. These days, social media is a vital tool for interacting with our community. The Animal Friends Humane Society in Hamilton, Ohio took advantage of … Read more
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Dog Was Never Supposed to Walk Again, But Beat All Odds

Bubba the Black Lab was an energetic, goofy, fun-loving member of the Flynn family. He was a healthy and happy five-year-old dog when life changed dramatically in a moment. Bubba and Joe Flynn were out in the yard playing fetch one day at their Bozeman home. Joe lobbed the ball into the air, Bubba took off towards it, and then suddenly collapsed on the ground. Bubba had suffered a canine fibrocartilaginous embolism, or Canine FCE.  Bubba Received a Devastating Prognosis … Read more
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11-Year-Old Twitter Star Virtually Pets Dogs During COVID

11-year-old Gideon Kidd is the genius behind the social media page titled “I’ve Pet That Dog”. For about 3 years, Gideon has gone around petting dogs and posting photos of them on social media. Fans loved seeing all these adorable canines, but with the coronavirus pandemic currently in place, it’s difficult for Gideon to continue his project. So, Gideon decided to continue petting dogs virtually. Even though we need to stay inside, Gideon knew that he could still share his … Read more
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Country Star Lee Brice Adopts Rescue Dog

You might expect someone of financial means or celebrity to purchase a purebred animal from a breeder. That’s not the way country music star and “Rumor” singer Lee Brice does it though. This week he and his family rescued a dog in need. Buck, an 11-month-old Beagle, probably doesn’t even know he’s a member of a famous family. He’s just happy to have a family to call his own now. Buck permanently joins Brice, his wife, and their three children … Read more
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The Exciting Trends Making Shelter Animals More Adoptable

All over the U.S., animal shelters are progressing well beyond the warehousing operations they once were. Pets today are considered family members, and a growing body of research provides evidence of the importance of animal companions and the human-animal bond.
Thankfully, more and more shelters are stepping up to do their part to take better care of their residents while also helping improve their chances of being adopted, and of making those adoptions “stick.”
Recently, the online magazine Bark listed several trends that demonstrate how animal shelters are upping their game.1
5 Ways Animal Shelters Are Stepping Up for Pets

1. Pet-centric facilities — Shelters are remodeling old facilities and building new facilities designed to address the needs of their animal residents, such as natural light and stress reduction.
As Jenn Barg, director of operations at Colorado’s Larimer Humane Society (LHS) explained in an interview with Bark:

“People in the sheltering world are paying attention to how to build a facility designed around the animals’ needs and behaviors rather than to make it easier to clean or simply to maximize the number of animals that can be held at one time. Better-designed facilities mean less barking, less disease and the ability to provide a more enriching and calming environment for the animals.”

Innovative design strategies include:2

• Placing indoor plants as a barrier between rows of kennels, which reduces barking
• Windows facing sidewalks to tempt passersby to come in for a closer look
• Skylights for natural light and fresh air
• Improved air quality and ventilation systems

2. Environmental enrichment — Many shelters are now focused on providing enrichment for the animals in their care with training and behavior modification programs, community interaction, educational programs for foster and adoptive families, and veterinary care specifically targeted to shelter pets.
Some shelters also provide piped-in animal-centric music, more comfortable bedding, play groups, kiddie pools, community play areas, and outdoor park-like settings for exercise.
3. Community outreach to help keep pets out of the shelter system

“A major goal of innovative shelters is to be the first places people turn to when they need help with their pets,” explains animal behaviorist Karen London in her article for Bark. “Meeting that goal involves offering a variety of services to benefit all of the animals in the community, not just those in the shelter.

Changing the model of a shelter from animal control to preventing animals from entering the system in the first place is a big deal, one that includes being a resource for the people who are concerned they may need to surrender their pet, regardless of where that pet was originally obtained.

If animals need medical or behavioral assistance, the shelter may be able to help their owners solve whatever problems they’re having rather than requiring them to surrender the pet.”

4. Outside-the-box thinking to increase adoption rates — Shelters are creating programs that appeal to a broader base of volunteers. The more opportunities a local animal shelter provides to the community, the greater the response.
A large population of volunteers means more services for the animals. For example, some shelters offer dog walking and cat cuddling programs that appeal to people who can drop by the facility on their way home from work for 15 to 30 minutes of furry stress relief.
Other shelters allow volunteers to take pets to adoption events and help with dog training classes. “Running Buddy” programs are also cropping up in lots of shelters. As London writes:

“Personally, I’ve benefited from the program in my community; once a week, a shelter van filled with crated dogs arrives at our local running store. Volunteer runners take a dog out for a run of 20 to 30 minutes.

It gets the dogs out of the shelter, gives them exercise and makes them visible to the community as they run through town wearing their ‘Adopt Me’ vests. Many of the program’s dogs have been adopted by volunteer runners, great matches forged by their shared love of running.”

5. Sleepovers and trial adoptions — Sometimes these are one and the same, however, a “pure” sleepover means the pet goes home for the night with a volunteer. The animal gets a break from the shelter environment and is exposed to the everyday sights, sounds and smells he or she will encounter in a new forever home.
If you’ve ever adopted a pet, you know the animal you meet at the shelter is often very different from the one who ultimately ends up being your new furry family member. The once very shy dog that cowered in the corner of his kennel may turn out to be the most affectionate lap dog you’ve ever known.
This is one of the advantages of sleepovers that are also trial adoptions. One of the best ways to really get to know if a dog or cat is a good fit for you is to spend a few days with the animal in your home. At the Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA in Phoenix, Arizona, pet sleepovers/trial adoptions have become a matter of course.
The program involves having pets spend three days at home with potential adopters. The adopters fill out paperwork and are provided with food and other necessities to care for the animal. During the sleepover, the shelter calls the potential adopters to answer any questions.
After the three days are up, the adopter can decide to keep the animal or bring him or her back to the shelter. The adoption rate from this program is around 75%, and for those animals not adopted after a sleepover, the shelter staff has additional information on their behavior and personality that they can use to more closely match them to future adopters.

A Prototype No-Kill Shelter: Austin Pets Alive!

From its meager but ambitious beginnings in 2008, Austin Pets Alive! in Austin, Texas has become the gold standard of no-kill animal shelters. Some of the goals the shelter has set and achieved in the last 10 years include:
Finding a foster home for every pet on the daily euthanasia list at the city shelter
Securing a facility and setting up a shelter
Creating programs to treat sick animals so they, too, can be adopted
Setting up a bottle-baby nursery to stop large-scale euthanasia of orphaned kittens
Caring for feral cat populations
Another of the organization’s early goals was to create programs to rehabilitate pets with behavior issues. Toward that end, Austin Pets Alive! assembled a behavior team to rehabilitate dogs with behavior issues. It’s one of the shelter’s biggest programs, and it was created to address large dogs with behavior problems — one of the populations of at-risk animals least likely to come out of a shelter alive.
The shelter also has a cat behavior program in which a volunteer behaviorist works with cats and their families to keep them in the home if they’re having behavior problems. Cats living at the shelter who’ve been abused or traumatized also get behavioral help so they can have a successful adoption down the road.
Austin Pets Alive! is a great example of how sheltering can be done in a much more constructive way. Their goal is to help build other no-kill communities. Not just individual no-kill shelters, but entire communities. They’re prioritizing teaching other shelters and communities how to replicate their success. Comments (4)

Separation Anxiety Training

Downtime provides a unique opportunityTwo weeks ago I celebrated with one of my separation anxiety clients over her newfound ability to leave her dogs alone for three-plus hours without barking complaints from her apartment neighbors. And then suddenly the gym where she could finally climb the rock wall again closed and the library that she visited on her first night of dog-less freedom closed and the coffee shops closed and… you know where this is going. But I’m not the kind of person to dwell on the negative, and neither is she, so we had a good laugh about the irony of it all.
Then it hit me: This Coronavirus shutdown is the PERFECT time for us to teach dogs how to handle being alone.Tags: blogdog training

Therapy Dog Comforts Medical Staff On Frontline Of COVID Pandemic

The medical professionals at the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic are giving everything they have to save lives. Doctors and nurses are putting their own lives on the line, working tirelessly to serve patients and slow the spread. It is a stressful time, to say the least. The staff at Rose Medical Center in Denver are getting a bit of relief with the help of a therapy dog in training named Wynn. ER Physician is Training Wynn to Serve … Read more
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5 Tips to Keep Your Dog From Distracting You When You’re Working From Home

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The coronavirus pandemic has given your dog a great gift: Their most favorite person in the whole world has to work from home. It’s an exciting time for dogs everywhere, but it can be stressful for dog owners working remotely for the first time. It takes self-discipline and motivation to work from home, especially when …
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Necessity is the Mother of Invention

This community has been truly inspirational. As dog trainers, problem solving is an every-day practice. No two dogs and situations are the same. We’re really good at taking our understanding of concepts and applying them to find creative solutions. It’s thrilling to see you all apply your genius to quickly change the way you serve […]
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