Best Friends Pet Care : The Dog Dish
Best Friends Pet Care : The Dog Dish

ARCHIVE

2017

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Best Friends Pet Care : The Dog Dish

Grooming to Keep your Pet Healthy and Comfortable During the Winter Months

Winter is hard on skin – for humans and for our pets. Indoor heat and cold arid air outside make skin dry and itchy. Many owners are unsure about the best way to keep their pets comfortable in winter. The solution is to keep up regular grooming schedules.

Following are answers to some of the most often-asked questions about winter skin care.

Q.  Should pets be bathed during the winter?

A. Yes!  A clean pet is a healthy pet. Regular shampooing and brushing during the winter months keep the skin and coat healthy. Follow the shampoo with a conditioning and moisturizing rinse. The drying process is key, because leaving dampness at skin level can cause problems. A short coat might be fine with just a vigorous toweling, but longer hair needs separating with comb or brush and plenty of airflow. Be very careful with your home hair dryer: use the lowest heat setting and keep it moving to prevent burns. (Professional groomers are equipped with high volume, low heat machines to dry quickly and safely.)

Q. Should I leave my pet’s hair long in winter to keep him warm?

A. If you decide to leave the coat longer, be prepared to brush often to prevent matting. Tangles form fast and trap moisture, a major cause of skin problems. Matted hair is not comfy and warm, but air trapped in layers of a well-brushed coat is effective insulation.

Maintain the same haircut schedule year round for breeds that require regular trimming. Your groomer can keep the style longer than in the summer, but allowing hair to “grow in” all winter can necessitate a drastic ‘short shave’ in spring.

If you’re concerned about your pet being cold when he’s outdoors, a sweater or fleece coat is a better option than letting his coat grow long and unruly.

Q.  My dog seems to itch a lot more during the winter. What can I do?

A.  With windows closed and heaters on, low humidity indoors will dry pet’s skin. Counteract this with regular brushing to stimulate and spreads the natural oils.

Medicated shampoos and soothing moisturizing conditioners help if your pet’s skin seems itchy or scaly. Consult a professional groomer or veterinarian for recommendations. Nutrition is also important for skin health; omega oils in food or as a supplement  is good.

Q.  Why do my pets nails seem grow faster in the winter?

A.  When dogs have fewer hours of exercise, nails can become overgrown because they are not being worn down with normal activity. Claws may need more frequent attention during the winter months. The ideal time is after the shampoo, while soft. Nails should  barely touch the ground when the dog is standing. While clipping, check for hair between the pads that form uncomfortable lumps, and trap snow and ice.

House pets need regular grooming for health and hygiene. Don’t skip tasks – like nail clipping and tangle removal – just because they are difficult. If there are things you cannot or do not want to undertake yourself, seek the help of a professional. Your pet will be happier and more comfortable.

 

Tags: Grooming, Pet advice, Winter

Resolutions to be a Better Pet Parent in 2013

Did you begin the 2013 by making New Year’s resolutions? Perhaps to exercise more, eat better or spend more quality time with family and friends during 2013?


As pet owners, we should consider adding a resolution or two designed to improve our pets’ health and well-being. We asked our Dog Dish experts for their advice on ways we can be better pet parents in the year ahead. Here are their recommendations:

1. Take your pet to the vet — A healthy-pet check-up and routine testing is important, so schedule a visit to your pet’s veterinarian. Be sure your pet’s vaccinations are current, and keep up with heartworm and flea treatments throughout the year.

2. Get weight under control. If your pet is overweight, it’s essential to assess his diet. Your pet’s needs change over time, so be sure to ask your vet about the best diet for her age, breed and health. Resolve to stop feeding table scraps to your pet and to cut back on treats.

3. Pump up the exercise. Without a regular work-out, your dog may put on weight and develop health problems or behavioral issues. A long walk or run can be a bonding experience, but if you can’t fit one in your schedule every day, doggy day camp is a great alternative.

4. Send him to school. A well-behaved dog is a pleasure to be with, but training is also your responsibility as a pet parent. Whether it’s to learn the basics, take on advanced tricks or try agility, enroll the two of you in a training class this winter.

5. Make grooming routine. Regular brushing and bathing do more than just you’re your pet nice to be near; they contribute to your pet’s good health. Always use shampoo and conditioning products formulated for pets. If you are unsure about the best choice for your pet’s coat and skin, ask a professional groomer.

6. Give your dog a social life. Dogs are social animals and most really enjoy spending time with other canines. A dog that gets out and about has a higher quality of life, is better adjusted, and responds more reliably to training cues. Visit the dog park, join a meet-up group or enroll him in doggy day camp so he can make new friends.

7. Pet-proof your home. Be sure your house is pet safe: cover electrical cords, put medications away, clean up spilled antifreeze or pesticides, and get rid of poisonous plants or place them up high, out of reach.

8. Update your pet’s ID. Have your pet micro-chipped, if you haven’t already done so. Get a new collar and ID tag for your pet. Make sure your pet is properly licensed.

Tags: Pet advice, Pet health

It’s Holiday Season: Time for Fun, Feasts … and for Giving!

I just love holiday time! There are so many fun things to do and good things to eat. And everybody is in such a good mood!

And then there’s the turkey…I LOVE turkey. My mom says Best Friends will be hosting holiday turkey dinners for the pets staying with us on Thanksgiving and Christmas again this year!   These lucky dogs get to eat slices of freshly roasted turkey on top of turkey-and-rice dog food and some of my favorite veggies. There’s even one of my favorite desserts:  a sweet potato doggy biscuit.

Here I am doing a taste-test with my friend Mia:

 

Not only is there yummy food, but the people who take care of everyone are making extra turkeys to share with the pets at animal shelters near our centers. Makes me feel good that those pups waiting for someone to take them home will get to have a delicious dinner too!

You know what else Best Friends is doing? Every year they have an Animal Angel Tree program in all their centers that collects donations for shelter and rescue groups until the end of the year. I just love the way the tree looks in the lobby—so pretty with the paper ornaments! The ornaments have pictures and information about dogs and cats and what they’re wishing for this Christmas or Hanukah. C’mon people—let’s make some dreams come true!

You know, I go to camp every day, so I’m really excited about all the parties they’re going to have in Doggy Day Camp. I just can’t wait for my picture with Santa Paws! This year I’ll have to remember to give a biggggg smile!

It’s gonna be a great holiday season at Best Friends this year! Be sure to stop by and share in the fun!

XOXO Belle

 

For details, check out your local Best Friends Facebook page.

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Editors’ Note:  Belle is an English Lab who attends marketing meetings with her mom when she’s not hanging out with friends in Doggy Day Camp. Because she’s an authority on what dogs like to do and eat, Belle posts from time to time about dog-friendly events at our centers nationwide.

 

Tags: Dogs, Holidays
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