NEW YEAR

Due to cost of living increases, I needed to raise my rates accordingly. I try to be fair and reasonable. Thanks for your understanding.

There is a groomer in Morris Park, Waggin' Tails, who appears to do a good, professional and compassionate job on dogs. I've seen her working, and she is gentle, careful and conscientious, with both hair cutting and clipping nails. I'm not sure if she does cats, but give her a try if you're looking for a groomer you can trust.

SOFT STOOLS AND STRAINING ON WALKS

Often, dogs have soft stools or diarrhea, or they strain and are constipated. This problem can be fixed by simply adding fiber to their diet, such as pumpkin, or in changing the food they are eating (always make changes slowly). High quality foods are available in pet supply stores or online, rather than the local supermarket or grocery store, but homemade raw food is the best for your dog or cat.

I recommend the book, Dr. Richard Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats for healthy easy recipes you can learn to make in an hour or less. The book has lots of helpful, enlightening information as well. I have been using his recipes since 1998 with good results in my cats over the years - shiny, soft fur and bright eyes, and increased energy and health into old age. (Dr. Pitcairn and his co-author wife, Susan, have long been the trusted name in holistic veterinary care and continue to be at the forefront of natural pet health; he is founder of the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy.)

HOW LONG IS TOO LONG TO LEAVE YOUR DOG ALONE?

● Dogs can only be relied on to hold their urine or feces one hour for every month old they are, until 8 hours at 8 months old. And remember that sick or older dogs won’t be able to hold it as long as healthy young adult dogs.
● A two month old puppy can hold his bladder for up to 3 hours. Time increases an hour per month of age. At 6 months of age he will be able to hold his bladder for 7-8 hours (a work day). No dog of any age should be made to wait longer than 8 hours!
● Different breeds have different social needs: hounds are extremely social, but some “working” breeds and guard dogs are fine for 10-12 hours. 
● Dogs can go for 8 to 10 hours without urinating overnight, while sleeping. However, all dogs need to be taken out after a meal or a drink, upon waking up and after a period of play.

Health: 
● Urinary frequency in dogs will vary due to factors such as age, sex, body size and overall health. 
● Typically, smaller breeds and younger dogs will need to urinate more frequently than larger breeds and older dog. 
● The average healthy dog will produce approximately 10 to 20 ml of urine for each pound of bodyweight per day. 
● Ideally adult dogs should be allowed outside to relieve themselves at least 3-5 times a day.

If they can’t have a stool for long periods, it can result in an impacted colon, requiring laxatives or even surgery to remove and repair the damage. A bladder infection, or cystitis, is an inflammation of the bladder due to bacterial or fungal infection. When your dog is forced to hold their urine for extended periods, it gives the urine time to build bacteria. Resulting infections can occur which will only cause your dog to need to urinate more frequently until treated properly. If this continues, kidney stones can form, and even cancer, or blockages, which can be fatal.

Give them an option if you spend long hours away from home, consider an indoor litter box or pads so they can relieve themselves at their own leisure. A doggy door to be let out into the enclosed yard is another option; asking a neighbor, relative or a dog walker to take out the dog are other options. This will help keep your dog from overwhelming his body or even secretly eliminating behind the couch.

Dogs show signs whenever they need to potty. Circling, pawing at the door, coming to get your attention are all signs. A dog relies on their owner to help them fulfill a happy day. Initially, a dog feels the need to urinate when their bladder is half-full. The body senses the swelling of the bladder and informs the dog that it’s ready to be relieved. A dog may start to show signs of needing to go before it is vital that they go. This is to give you adequate time to make arrangements to allow them to relieve themselves.

Remember that if they can’t eliminate in the proper area, they will do so wherever they feel most secure- such as behind furniture. This is mostly because they understand that what they’ve done isn’t according to the rules, but as far as their body is concerned, they needed to do what is only natural. Do keep in mind that if you have to go, it’s likely your dog has to go too. Consider if you had to hold in your bowel movements or urine for a long time. Wouldn’t you feel uncomfortable? Perhaps even in pain?

Every good dog owner understands the importance of letting their dog take care of nature’s call, but it’s just as important to understand why.

MANAGING A DOG WHO IS REACTIVE ON LEASH TO OTHER DOGS

When walking a dog who reacts, such as barking aggressively and/or lunging, when he/she sees, passes or hears another dog or dogs, positive associations can affect the dog's behavior. So when the dog begins to lunge or growl, pull out some good food such as pieces of cheese or treats he can't resist, tell him to sit, and give him some, each time this happens (you can be generous with the treats so the dog will remember). Soon the dog should begin to associate other dogs with pleasant things, the food or treats; the unwanted behavior will diminish, or at least become manageable. A dog's emotional associations can be manipulated; we can take good advantage of this. This is known as classical conditioning. Dogs are different than people in that dogs can't think about how they feel, they just feel it; humans can think about their feelings intellectually and control them. Dogs can't control their feelings; they just have a reaction. They may have had a bad experience with a dog, or have been undersocialized. 

How to Prevent Pulling on Leash

Walking tips: Front-closing harnesses, such as Easy Walk, and the head halter , Gentle Leader, are very good tools for dogs who pull on the leash. They are humane and make walking your dog easier and more enjoyable.

You can make your dog pay attention to you on a walk by using food rewards. Instead of “Max” or “Lassie” charging ahead and ignoring you, your dog will learn to sit on command and look back at you often, when you stop for obedience breaks with special food or dog treats.