Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Canine Human Connection

          I have written a few articles now, which I hope you have found informative as well as entertaining, and it has occurred to me that I have yet to write an article about the connection we humans seem to have with dogs. Where does the love and trust between humans and dogs come from? Did you know that a dogs jaws can deliver anywhere from 200 - 320 lbs. per square inch, depending on the breed, when they bite down? Yet how many times have you put your face and neck within striking distance of those fearsome canine jaws? I would wager, if your a dog owner, you do it all the time. Now that is trust if I ever saw it. So why do we trust them so much? I have a theory about this, and it goes like this. Dogs have been been with us ever since we humans have roamed the earth. Back then it would have most likely been wolves. Which, as we all know, is where all the dogs you see today originated.

          Dogs have helped us do so many things through the ages. Everything from herding to rescue, dogs have been there with us. I think it only fitting that our most loyal companions be given the credit they are due. Could we have gotten along with out dogs? Sure, but the road would have been much harder to travel without them. Even in today's technological world, dogs have their place. They were there with us on 9/11, helping to track down survivors, they are here with us now helping the disabled, they are still working our fields, on our farms and in our homes. They watch over us when we sleep and protect us from harm, whether it is your dog at home, a police dog, or even a dog patroling with a soldier on the front lines of a war zone, dogs have always been there, willing to sacrifice themselves for us. So the next time you pat your dog on the head, think of all the dogs that are helping us now and how many dogs have helped us humans over the ages, and ask yourself... Where would we be now without their help over centuries? So you see, when we put our faces and necks near a set of jaws that could do so much damage to us, I believe the trust is there with good reason, even if it has never crossed your mind, deep down, we all know our dog will be there for us.

          Thanks for reading, and remember, keep your furry family members healthy and happy... they deserve it.

Nick C

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Dogs Teeth Need Care!!!

          One thing that often gets overlooked when it comes to a dogs health are his or her teeth. A dogs teeth and gums need care, just like yours or mine do. Some dogs need more care than others. I happen to believe genetics play a large role in whether or not they will have bad teeth. That is no reason to ignore the issue. Dogs will very seldom get cavities, plaque and tartar build up are the main culprits when it comes to dental problems for dogs. Plaque and tartar build up can leave your dog susceptible to gum disease. If you allow plaque and tartar to build up on your dogs teeth it will begin to build up around the gum line causing your dog pain and discomfort. If this has already happened, you will need to get your dog to the vet as soon as possible. Your vet should have the tools and skill it requires to remove all that build up and get your dog some relief. If your vet does not have a dental program, they will be able to point you in the right direction. However, most vets can take care of plaque and tartar build up right in their exam rooms. I can not stress this enough, if you find your dog has red gums, discharge, or tartar build up, you must get them to the vet. If you wait to long there are a litany of problems that can occur, and none of them are good.

          Once all the tartar and plaque has been removed, you can then begin to provide your dog with a home dental routine. This is a simple thing. You will need to brush your dogs teeth once a day. There are all kinds of products to help you with this, there is even beef flavored doggie toothpaste. I know, I know.... ewwwww.... But the dogs love it. Before you brush your dogs teeth it is a good opportunity to check your dogs teeth out and make sure they look healthy. Once you have given the once over to your dogs teeth, you can begin to brush. Be sure to brush along the gum line to remove any plaque build up. That is it, really, a simple brushing to avoid all the horrors that come with gum disease.

          Thank you for reading, and remember, if you take good care of your dogs teeth it will go a long way in ensuring you have a healthy, happy furry family member.
Nick C.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Stop the Obsessive Licking

A dog grooming his or her self occasionally is quite normal. However if you see your dog licking at one spot constantly there is probably something going on and it can quickly become a serious problem. A sore could develop and become infected or there could be a wound that you are unaware of. In my experience there are three main reasons a dog will lick obsessively.

1: Allergies. Yes dogs have allergies and a lot of the time this will manifest itself through dry and itchy skin. The discomfort will cause the dog to lick in an effort to sooth the skin, in actuality they will end up hurting themselves. Thankfully allergies are easy enough to deal with, a simple trip to the vet and some medication often does the trick.

2: Injury. If a dog gets stung, bitten, or just plain hurts its self through a bump or fall, it will lick at the affected area. This may require a trip to the vet, and you may end up having to "cone" your dog to stop them from licking at the wound. Your dog will look silly, yes, and may even become a klutz while wearing the cone, but a silly klutzy dog is a small price to pay in order to avoid an infection.

3: Lack of exercise or mental stimulation. If a dog becomes bored and does not get the proper amount of physical and mental exercise, it may become an obsessive licker. There are a few ways to deal with this. First and foremost you MUST walk your dog, if you find he or she is still obsessively licking, it may be because it has developed into a habit. There are a few ways to break this habit. A cone is one way. With out being able to lick for a few days the habit will end right there. I have also seen some products that you spray on the area you do not want your dog licking. These products will have different flavors that will not appeal to your dog to put it mildly. Bitter apple or citrus are some of these flavors. The trick is to get your dog to stop licking for about a week. At the end of that time your dog, if you have started exercising it properly, will forget it was even licking to begin with.

          So keep an eye out and make sure your dog is not licking obsessively and you will be sure to have a healthy, happy furry family member. Thank you for reading and look out for future posts!

Nick C.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Exercise - A Must for All Dogs

There are three ways or categories I have found for exercising your dog, and those are: Play, Physical, and Mental. All three of these categories are very important to the well being of your dog. The benefits of exercising your dog properly are just to numerous not to do it. A well exercised dog will be calmer, more fit, and will have less emotional problems, just to name a few of the benefits. If your dog is anxious, jittery or hyper then exercise can go a long way to helping your dog become happy and healthy, and that is what we all want for our lovable fur balls. A tired dog is a happy dog!
Play: There are many ways to play with your dog, we all know dogs are playful so why not take advantage and help your dog get in a little physical and mental exercise while playing. Lets take the game of fetch for example, most dogs love this game. However if you are a husky owner, like myself, you may want to find another game... Huskies do not fetch. Whether you know it or not there is a lot going on during a simple game of fetch, there is the physical exercise your dog gets from running after the ball or stick, and there is mental stimulation as well... having to find the ball, bringing it back to you and hopefully following your command to drop or release the ball. Most of all play time allows your dog a little freedom. A game of fetch in an open, secure area allows your dog to run off leash. It allows your dog to decide how he or she is going to go after the ball, how fast or slow to run, which path to the ball it takes. These are all things your dog will be free to do on his/her own terms. The best thing about play time is your dog will be interacting with you. An hour of fetch can do wonders for your dog. There are many fun things you can do with your dog that will incorporate exercise. Be creative and do the things your dog likes to do and there will be a lot of fun for you and your dog during play time.
Physical: Physical exercise plays a very important role in keeping your dog healthy and happy. Physical exercise includes everything from long walks to play time. If your are not able to take your dog for at least an hour walk each day, there may be some things you can do to shorten that time span, but you will have to exercise your dog everyday. Depending on the breed of dog you have there are ways of incorporating chores and work for your dog that will make the walk a little more challenging. For example if you have a breed like a husky, hitching your dog to a wagon and have them do some pulling will greatly increase the amount of exercise your dog gets in a set period of time. Pulling is what huskies love to do, but this trick works well with most mid sized to larger dogs. If you have a big dog like a mastiff you may want to add some weight to that wagon. This kind of thing will give the dog a sense of purpose and will help stimulate them mentally as well. If pulling a wagon is not good for you, you could buy doggie saddle bags. Put this on your dog when you go for a walk, you can put your water bottle, clean up bags, and maybe a snack in the saddle bags and this will give your dog a chore that will increase the amount of physical exercise. Depending on the size of your dog, you can add a little weight to the saddle bags, however you should check with your vet before doing this to ensure you have a safe weight limit for your dog. I do think it is important to note, while you walk your dog you should not let your dog walk in front of you or pull you, you need to make sure your dog knows you are leading. If you do not do this and you let your dog lead while on walks, it could lead to behavioral problems later. As a last resort, for physical exercise, you can train your dog to use the treadmill, this will at the very least help to burn off any excess energy your dog may have stored up.
Mental: This is a type of exercise that far to often gets over looked by most dog owners. It is vital to have your dog think, it will keep them focused and happy. It is another important cog in the wheel for your dogs health and happiness. The best way to give your dog mental stimulation is through teaching your dog commands and giving them chores to do. Simple commands such as sit, stay, and come are good ways to start your dog on the road to good mental stimulation. I will be covering how to teach your dog some of these things in later articles and videos, so keep an eye out for them. You should start with simple commands and build on them, be creative and take them as far as you can. I have found that my Lab, Jasmine, loves to play seek and find with her toys. I will hide her toy and have her find it. She loves it and I can see the amount of decision making that goes into finding her toys. It is a great mental exercise for her. You should try to do some sort of mental exercise with your dog every day. It does not take long and the rewards are great. If you put in a little time and effort, you will be amazed at how much your dog can accomplish
If you ensure your dog is getting enough play time, physical exercise, and mental stimulation you will find you have a very happy content dog.
Thank you for reading, and remember, keep your furry family members healthy and happy.
Nick C.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Hey all you dog lovers, my name is Nick, and I live just outside of Philadelphia with my loveley wife and two lovable dogs. I am the proud owner of a black lab and a siberian husky. We rescued both dogs. The husky had been severly abused and the lab was on her way to the SPCA. The two have become the best of friends and are inseperable. I can't imagine my life without them. I hope you enjoy this blog. My hope is to promote service dog charities and no kill shelters. I would take them all if I could but since I can't this is the next best thing. I also want to have a little fun so we will have videos of my goofey dogs at play as well as photos of not only my dogs, but my friends and families dogs as well. I hope you will participate and send me pics and videos of your furry family members. I will be sure to put them up on this blog for all to see.