Tuesday, July 25, 2017

6 Must-Haves for the Dog Parent


We started this blog 4-years ago and since then I have been posting quite a bit on Canine health. It's a lot of information! This week, I decided I would consolidate some of the information into 6 "must-haves" for every dog parent. These are things that you should have in your pantry that can help not only your dog, but you as well. It's a win-win situation when two-legged family members and four-legged can share the same health benefits of a product! I have numbered them, but the list is not in numerical importance. Plus, I will have each item connected to a link. This link will give you more information on that specific item if you would like to learn more. Some of these items have a whole plethora of health benefits!

Here they are:
  1. Organic Raw Honey can help with wound recovery, digestions, immune support, allergies and skin issues. Plus it tastes really good and has an abundance of vitamins, minerals, is anti-microbial, anti-fungal.... you get the point.
  2. Aloe Vera: I don't have a link to this product, but I should! When I talk about Aloe Vera, I'm not talking about the bright green (or blue) stuff that comes from Walgreens. I'm talking about the plant. The stuff that is 100% pure. You can use the inner gel of this plant to help relieve skin irritations or cuts. A tiny bit of Aloe Juice can also help relieve constipation when ingested.
  3. Lavender Essential Oil: Before applying essential oils, they should always be diluted accordingly... and even more diluted for canines. Essential oils should also be canine safe and therapeutic grade. Some oils that can be used on humans cannot be used on dogs. Lavender oil is generally regarded as one of the super safe oils and can be diffused or applied topically to calm a nervous dog. To apply topically, dilute accordingly and massage behind the dog's neck and ears. You can concoct your own linen spray to spray down your dog's bedding (or bandana). Last, use lavender oil as a flea repellent by mixing vinegar, water and a couple drops of lavender. Spray on your dog before going outside.
  4. Stinging Nettle: Unless you are crazy like me and grow your own stinging nettles, it's best to just buy the tea at your local natural grocer. Or buy online. Harvesting stinging nettles can be quite tricky. BUT, stinging nettles is considered one of the "super foods" that is jam packed full of nutrients and has a natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory. Used as a rinse, it can help with itchy, dry skin and bug bites.
  5. Coconut Oil is again, one of those use for anything and everything products. It can help with digestion, oral health, balance insulin, immune support, promote a healthy skin and coat... the list goes on and on. 
  6. Apple Cider Vinegar can be used for cooling hot spots and rashes, it repels fleas and ticks, promotes a healthy circulation, can be used as a natural ear cleaner, supports a healthy urinary tract and digestion. 
Always remember to do your research on the proper way to use these products and don't over do it! A little goes a long way in canine (and human) health. Moderation is key. Having these products on hand and promoting a healthy diet with exercise is a great way to minimize the trips to the vet and keep your furry friend healthy and happy. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Kennel Cough


It seems that an outbreak of Kennel Cough has hit the Bozeman, MT area and has dog owners (and daycares) in quite the panic. Kennel cough is often called "Bordetalla" after the bacteria Bordetalla bronciseptica, which dogs can get vaccinated. BUT Kennel Cough, aka infectious tracheobronchitis, is actually a term for an infection in the trachea and bronchial tubes that can be caused by bacteria or virus. This infection is highly contagious and has an incubation period of about 5-10 days after exposure. It usually diminishes after the first 5 days, but can linger for up to 10-20 days. Infected dogs can remain contagious for up to 14 weeks even after symptoms disappear. The classic symptom of Kennel Cough is a forceful, persistent cough. Infected dogs may also exhibit sneezing, runny nose and eye discharge.

Luckily, here at Bark City, we have not had any cases of Kennel Cough in our daycare. We would like to keep it that way! In order to try our very best, we have taken the following measures:

1) Our facility is set up with 3 different air circulation systems (one for the standard side, one for the enrichment program, and one for the training room). We will not be letting dogs from the two different programs mix (standard will just stay with standard, enrichment will stay on that side and the training room we will be using as a quarantine room for possible coughing. Since this is an air born virus hopefully this will help eliminate the possibility of it spreading.
2) If your dog coughs even just once, your dog will be pulled out and put in the training room. You will be called and asked to please pick up your dog. Boarders, if no one is available to pick up your dog, they will stay in that room (and of course given potty breaks) for at least 24hrs. If they cough more than once they will need to see a vet and will need to stay in quarantine for the remainder of their stay.
3) We do spray down and disinfect all of our yards twice a day and disinfect all indoor space daily.
4) We will be offering complementary coconut oil or goats milk to all boarders if the owners wish. These two things  help support the immune system. We also sell these products and are adding a Bone Broth mix onto our shelves if you would like to purchase and take home with you. 😊

5) We are diffusing a mixture of Canine safe essential oils that are known to help support the respiratory tract.
6) Employees will be disinfecting hands and feet if dealing with a coughing dog before handling another dog.


What you can do:
1) If your dog coughs (even just once) please keep it away from all dogs for at least 24hrs to make sure it doesn't turn into something more.
2) If your dogs develops a cough call your vet asap and follow their instructions.
3) Stay away from all dog parks and dog populated areas that you are not sure if there has been a coughing dog there or not.
4) Call and report any coughing to us or the facility your dog stayed at so they can watch the other dogs in their care.
5) Let us know if your dog stayed at another facility so we know if it has been exposed to the virus or not.
 

Please remember, boarding and daycare facilities are not the only place that your dog can get a virus (neighbor dogs, friends dogs, dog walking on the street, dog parks, pet sitters, hiking trails ect). If your dog gets sick, keep them away from all dogs for at least 10 days after the last symptom showed and contact your vet to get the official "OK" before socializing your dog with other canines. For more information, you can follow the below links:


Monday, July 3, 2017

How Much Sleep Does a Puppy Need?


So you got a new puppy and for most of the day this little fur ball is the cutest thing in the world. But during particular times of day, your little wiggly butt turns into a beast of incessant barking and biting. Let's face it, those puppy teeth HURT. So what's up with that? Chances are, your puppy is tired and overstimulated. Puppies need A LOT of sleep, and I mean A LOT. Dog's sleep more than humans (lucky them), but a puppy needs more sleep than most people think. The younger the puppy, the more sleep they will need. A newborn puppy will sleep about 22 hours a day and use the rest of it's time for things like nursing. At 3-months, your puppy will need about 15-20 hours of sleep a day. This sleep is crucial for body development. Things like: building muscle, brain development and improving the immune system. If your puppy does not get enough sleep, you get a cranky, destructive teeth chomper that is at risk for infections and illness. NOT GOOD.

The problem is that, like human toddlers, puppy toddlers don't necessarily know when they should sleep. They want to play, play, play! It's your job, as the canine parent, to teach your puppy the appropriate sleep patterns.

How To Help Puppy Sleep:
  • Create a sleep friendly environment: A dog can hear 4x's the distance of a human and has 125-300 million scent glands compared to a human's measly 5 million. Nap time for a puppy should be quiet and dark with minimal noise. This may mean having puppy in a separate room from all the other household activity. Adjusting the light and noise is critical to making sure your puppy is getting good sleep.
  • Give your puppy new experiences, but allow them to process those experiences afterward: Taking your puppy to the park or downtown is great for proper socialization skills. But again, remember that a dog's senses are much different from our own. What you may consider a mundane walk through the neighborhood is an overwhelming amount of smells and noises to your puppy. Give your puppy new experiences, but give them time to sleep and process afterward.
  • Exercise: It's always good to provide your dog with daily exercise. An under exercised dog will become frustrated and find not-so-good ways to express this frustration. But, on the flip side, an over exercised puppy will become cranky. It's the body's way of saying "Hey! I need sleep!"
  • How to Handle a Cranky Puppy: If you find yourself in a situation where your puppy is barking, biting and overall just being a little terror. Don't just toss them in the crate and call it good.  Remember, a puppy might not realize he/she is tired! You must first find a way to calm your puppy and then put them in "the sleep zone". A crate should be a positive experience and should not be used for "punishment". If you are frustrated with your over-tired little fur ball, they will sense that frustration. Tossing them in the crate while frustrated will cause them to associate their crate to a negative feeling.  
 There are times when you should worry that your puppy is getting too much sleep and something might be wrong. Puppies, like human children, will sleep more during growth spurts, but if your puppy has low energy while awake, you may want to take them to the vet. Your puppy may be anemic or have an internal parasite. Anemia can be caused by things like a flea infestation and a flea infestation can lead to internal parasites like tape worms.

For more about sleep and dogs, please visit these other posts by Bark City: