Monday, July 28, 2014

Double Coated Dogs: The Great Shave Debate

There has been much debate over shaving your dog’s coat during the hot summer months.  After doing some research of our own, the answer to the great shave debate really depends!  No matter what type of coat, it is important to consistently keep your dog brushed and bathed in order to maintain a healthy coat that will protect your dog’s skin from the harsh sun.  For dogs with single layer coats, shaving might be a great option to keep your dog cool.  For dogs with double layer coats, summer grooming is slightly more complicated.

Not sure if your dog has a double coat?  See if his or her breed made the list

What you might not know about double coats:

  • The undercoat grows on a different cycle than the primary hairs
  • The secondary hairs are on a shorter growth cycle
  • Primary hairs do not shed as often and can take years to regrow 
  • If shaved, the coat may never come back in the same
  • Repeated shaving can permanently change the ratio of secondary to primary hairs, resulting in either:
    • A fuzzy thicker coat that is more difficult to maintain
    • A sparse, patchy coat

Natural Adaptation. A properly maintained double coat can insulate your pet from heat. When double-coated breeds undergo normal seasonal shedding, which is triggered by longer daylight hours, they drop much of their undercoat.  If this shedding coat is properly maintained and removed by brushing, bathing, and drying, what is left is a small to moderate amount of undercoat and the long, glossy hairs.  This longer but reduced coat, helps to defend the pet from hot air, overexposure to the sun, and even from biting insects.

Natural Protection. A pet's coat protects against sunburn and skin cancer. Thinner coats, or white or light-colored coats are especially vulnerable to sun damage. You dog's coat helps prevent bug bites, and as you know bugs are quite common in the summer! The bites can be quite painful and may potentially cause allergic reactions, hot spots and irritation.

Always exceptions. According to the ASPCA, there are better alternatives to shaving, such as trimming and brushing your pet's coat, especially during warm weather, but of course, there are also exceptions. If your dog has hot spots, you might need to shave the area to help it dry out and heal properly. If your dog's coat is full of mats, you may also want a groomer to shave the coat so to prevent irritations. Your vet may also recommend shaving to help treat medical conditions of the skin. Dogs with long hair around their back end, may also benefit from a trim back there to keep the area clean.

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide what is best for your dog.  The more you know about your pet's coat, the better you are able to give them the best care.  Last but not least, don’t be afraid to ask your groomer if you have any questions on how to properly trim your pet to beat the heat!  They are the experts, and will be sure to give you the necessary information to make the best decision possible.

Source: ASPCA, PetAge

Monday, July 21, 2014

Don't Waste Puppyhood!

The first months of a puppy’s life is crucial to the way he or she will behave for the rest of their adult dog life. As a new puppy owner, you must be cautious and aware of how and what puppies learn so you have a well behaved dog. With the help of renowned animal behaviorist Dr. Ian Dunbar and his seminar “Don’t Waste Puppyhood!” we’ve summarized some major puppy musts.

Socialization. Dr. Dunbar believes that a dog’s temperament is forged by 12 weeks, so it’s important that the puppy’s first month at home is used wisely. He urges owners to “flood” puppies with social stimuli, and to be exposed to five new people a day -- the wider variety, the better!

Routines. New owners should continue to use a long-term confinement area with three distinct sections. This should be used whenever you are gone. While you are home, your puppy should be crated unless the two of you are interacting. It is very important that the dog learns how to be alone in small doses, and sees the crate as a comfortable resting option.

Rewards. Dunbar strongly believes that while still a puppy, a food bowl should be a rite of passage. All food should be hand-fed until your dog is perfect for you. Meals should be used for classical conditioning during socialization or for training. If there’s anything left over, it should be put in a chew toy.

Puppy Class. Puppy classes are another way to practice and improve upon socialization and obedience. Dr. Ian Dunbar believes puppy classes should be held completely off leash, but there are benefits to your puppy learning how to behave properly while leashed. The primary purposes of puppy class in the earliest stages are interaction with others and teaching bite inhibition.

Reliability and Trust. While teaching obedience to your puppy, every 15-30 seconds, there should be a training interlude, where you call your puppy back to you. Sometimes you can simply grab a collar and give a treat, and sometimes try to lure behaviors like sits or downs. Then, send the puppy back to play. This helps build off-leash reliability, modulates arousal levels, and teaches the puppies to think despite distractions.

Accepting Diversity. Puppy classes and interactions with other dogs should include puppies of all shapes and sizes. It is beneficial to you and your dog to have diverse interactions with other dogs. Small dogs must learn not to run and squeak, and big dogs must learn how to be gentle.

Not sure how to begin to socialize your puppy? Morris Animal Inn has introduced a one-of-a-kind puppy daycare for puppies 2-5 months old. This program, unlike any other, gives young puppies the chance to socialize with others of similar age, learn foundations of obedience, practice leash walking, have a routine-based schedule, and receive tons of cuddles and love from our caring staff! It is important when socializing your puppy, that it is done in a safe and appropriate manner. A bad experience can result negatively for the puppy long-term. We are confident that puppy daycare will help positively guide your puppy through one of the most important time of his or her life!

Source: Ian Dunbar, Science-Based Dog Training

Monday, July 14, 2014

New Study Suggests Dogs Find Kennels Exciting, Not Stressful

A dog "kennel" is slowly becoming an archaic term.  As the pet care industry continues to transform, your pet may now spend his or her time lodging at a pet resort while you're away.  A dog is happier and healthier with a vast amount of amenities, high levels of physical activity and interaction, and new research proves that leaving your dog in a facility's care, like Morris Animal Inn, may not be as nerve-racking as you think!

A recent study found that dogs that spend a short-time boarding may not find it overly stressful and in fact, could find the change of scenery very exciting! This directly contradicts previous research. The dogs that were researched had higher levels of arousal, colder noses and were generally more active than when they were at home.

From swimming, to group play, to treadmill and trail runs, new and exciting activities for your dog while at a pet resort like Morris Animal Inn, continue to prove that your dog can have as much fun as you do while you're on vacation, and all while staying happy and healthy.

Photo credit: Aaron Houston


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Who's Walking Who? Choosing the Right Harness or Head Collar

Summer is here and your pup is probably anxious to pull you out the front door to go for a walk. Even if you don’t have a dog that pulls, choosing the correct equipment can make an ordinary walk with your dog safer and more enjoyable.

Choosing to walk your dog with a harness or head collar can have great safety benefits for your dog. Pet stores have a variety of different items to choose from, which can seem overwhelming. Luckily, there are three that Morris Animal Inn considers the best no-pull devices on the market today, and all of them are available for purchase..

Freedom Harness: Made by Wiggles Wags and Whiskers, the Freedom Harness is specially designed to gently tighten around your dog’s chest to prevent them from pulling. The harness features clips in both the front and the back, and is designed for comfort featuring a velvet strap that goes under your dog’s chest to prevent chafing. The harness comes in a variety of different colors, so you can find the one that best suits your four-legged friend.

Gentle Leader: This product is made by Premier and is marketed as a head collar that stops pulling, lunging and other unwanted behaviors. The Gentle Leader goes around your dog’s mouth and the top of their head and prevents pulling by guiding your dog’s head down when they pull. The device allows for great control of your dog, and is highly recommended for anyone struggling with enforcing proper walking skills. Even though this product goes around the dog’s mouth, it is not a muzzle; the dog will still have free use of their mouth to sniff and eat.

Sensation Harness: Designed by Softtouch, this front connection harness is meant to prevent your dog from pulling.  They also make a swim friendly version for all those water loving dogs! Since the harness clips in the front, where the dog’s chest moves, their body will follow, eliminating pulling.

These items are made to prevent your dog from pulling and have safety benefits unlike other devices such as flat buckles, prong and choke collars, which can often cause physical damage to your pooch when not used properly or used for the wrong dog. A dog who repeatedly pulls on a regular collar risks conditions like a collapsed trachea with repeated wearing. 

These selections mentioned above should not cause damage, will help you while walking, and can greatly benefit both you and your dog. Stop by our lobby and have one of our experts fit your dog for any of them.

A no pull harness can quickly improve your dog’s walking skills, however, manners training will complement these no-pull harnesses and head collars nicely and do more to change the pulling behavior of your dog. 

If any of you have a dog that pulls or deal with them on a regular basis, sometimes it is as easy as getting them on something that immediately works.  The magic is in the product, not the way you use it!  We are catering the needs of each dog, as well as taking into consideration your requests, and what we think would work best for them in a real life situation.