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Dog Daycare is the best Socialization Tool

What is Matting?

Matting occurs when a dog’s hair next to the skin gets knotted, tangled in clumps masses. If un-brushed, the clump gets bigger, tighter, and closer to the body.  This can be caused by a lack of brushing, wet coats that have not been brushed out or dried properly, or a harness or collar that continually rubs against a dog’s fur. It is important your dog stays mat free as it can cause health issues like stress from licking and biting at the area, leading to general discomfort. Fleas and parasites might be hiding in their coat, which might cause sores, lesions, bruising, or discolored skin. The matted hair might also be hiding hot spots, and other skin infections. Unchecked, those areas can get bigger and spread. This could lead to the dreaded shave down.

a brown dog half way through getting a shave down

Simply put, matting is painful for your dog and brushing out established matts involves a process of pulling live hair out of the skin as healthy hair is encase in the matting. De-matting can cause increase pain and irritation, redness, and swelling.

What does it feel like to brush it out? Imagine a painful knot you’ve had to brush out of your own hair. Now imagine that you don’t understand what’s causing that pain. And to top it off, its on sensitive areas of your body like behind your ears, or in your armpits or on your chest. Yikes!

Do we need to get a shave down?

If the matting is somewhat loose and not close to the skin, it may be possible to brush through and remove some areas. This process is usually painful and stressful for most dogs. The kindest way to remove matting is the dreaded shave down, whether the matting is sparse or covers the dog. Shaving out the matting is not an easy fix! The clippers the groomers use get hot, which can cause further irritation. The matting might pull on the skin as it’s being taken off, which increases the likelihood of nicks. The best thing to do is to avoid matting in the first place, and maintain a healthy and knot free coat.

Maintain your Dog’s Coat = No Shave Down

short, manageable, & cute

Separation Anxiety Preparing Pets for Post-Quarantine Life By Erin Lovett, General Manager & Tito Rivera, Senior Behavior Counselor

According to Dr. Nick Dodman of the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Massachusetts

“Separation anxiety affects nearly 20% of the approximately 80 million pet dogs in the United States. That equates to 16 million dogs who suffer from Separation Anxiety. Older dogs are more prone to the condition. It is a devastating diagnosis leaving dogs and the parents who love them in distress.”

There are various reasons why a dog develops Separation Anxiety. Environmental factors, age, anxiety levels, genetics, physical health, and poor early coping skills between the ages of 3-12 weeks may contribute to the likelihood that  dog may develop the condition. A new factor, one of which is new for many of us, is the very abrupt work from home status since March. The issues have become so prevalent that many New Yorkers are finding themselves questioning,“how did we get here?”. In May, the New York Times put together an article discussing how to prepare to leave your dog home alone, again:

Read More: How to Prepare Your Dog to Be Left at Home Alone (Again)

Common Misconceptions

It is a common misconception that a dog will chew, destroy, or defecate because they are mad at their owners. In reality, the dog is experiencing some level of stress and is looking for a way to find relief.

Warning signs may include:

  • shadowing the owner from room to room
  • door dashing through opened doors
  • over exuberant greetings upon arrival urination or defecation
  • continuously vocalizing or destroying things in the absence of its’ owner

For others with less clear and milder symptoms, the signs may go untreated and cause daily distress for the dog.

Although there are a wide variety of symptoms that a dog with Separation Anxiety may display, the symptoms themselves resemble other factors such as: boredom, lack of mental and physical stimulation, cognitive dysfunction, noise phobias, and physical pain. Seek professional help if your dog displays any of these symptoms; separation anxiety does not resolve on its own.

Solutions

In conclusion, provide your dog of any age with lots of fun things to do throughout the day. If you suspect separation anxiety, make an appointment with your vet to rule out alternative medical concerns. Then speak to your behavioral counselor to create a tailored training and management program.

Gatherings

By Michelle Aragon, Apprentice Behavior Counselor
 

In this blog we will talk about what to do with your furry friend during big family events.

The most important thing is safety. The doors will be opening and closing as you welcome in your family and friends but this is also an opportunity for your furry friend to run out the door. Pick a spot in the house that is away from the entrance, most preferably a room, and place a crate or a bed. If you do place a crate make it as comfy as possible. Put a blanket over it to make it more private for your dog. This will secure that your dog does not bolt out the door as your greet your guest.

If you do want your pets present in the festivities have them tethered so they don’t bolt out the door as it also minimizes any risk of injuries; we don’t want our happy pups tumbling people down by accident. You can also set up a baby gate to block them from reaching the opened door. We also recommend giving your pet breaks throughout the holiday gatherings. They may love to socialize but there will be a point where they just want to nap and take a break. This is where that comfort spot comes in again. You can place them in their comfort spot so they can rest and recharge.

Dogs know their family but they might get a little shy around new family or friends they have never seen. To help with introducing your dog to family or friends they have never seen have a bowl of treats in the entrance on the door. Have people grab one treat and ask for a simple sit and treat your pet. This will create a positive association with new people and will also reinforce proper greetings. No one knows your dog better than you do, so if they are noise sensitive give each guest a heads up so they can approach your puppy in a quiet and calm way.


Always know what makes your dog uncomfortable. Any sudden movements from a person can spook your pooch, kids screaming, high pitch hello’s, loud clattering, deep voices, tall people, it can be anything small or big. Giving your pet a break throughout the festivities will help them enjoy the day more. Have their first greeting with a new member a positive one and remember to have your pet in a safe, secure spot while your guest come in. Micro-chipping and having the proper identifications is always highly recommended.

We hope these tips help you during all the holidays throughout the year. Have a great holiday and a very happy new year!

 

Cold Weather – Prepare for the Cold

By Casey Kantarian, Senior Behavior Counselor
 

Humans prepare for winter all the time with coats, sweaters, hats, gloves, scarves, boots, pet safe salt, shovels and more. What can we do to prepare our dogs for the cold?

Sweaters are great for some dogs, while other dogs have fur that protects them from cold temperatures. If you have a coat, you feel well protected from freezing temperatures. What happens when your bare hands are exposed and your ears are freezing?  The rest of your body feels very cold and it takes a while for you to warm back up. Protect your dog with booties and socks like you would with gloves. Expose them to socks and booties well in advance before the winter months. Put them on and let them walk around indoors, using treats and fun games while they wear them. If they love meal time, put them on and give them their food. As puppies, it is important to teach your dog that holding their paws and touch their ears is fun! This helps for vet checks, tick checks, stress free grooming time and more! Remember, if it is too cold for you, it is too cold for your dog. Booties and socks keep your dog warm and prevent your dog from the dangers of salt and frostbite! Get your dog used to socks and booties now! If booties and socks are difficult for you and your dog, keep them safe with pet safe wax protection. Mushers Secret Paw protection wax is a great alternative to booties to protect them from salt. This does not protect them from freezing temperatures!

Signs of frostbite and freezing temperatures:

  • Lifting its paw up in the air and trying to lift another paw
  • Bitterness and coldness when you touch the paw pad and the ears
  • Discoloration of the affected area (Pale, grey)
  • Can cause swelling

 

If you think your dog has been exposed to freezing temperatures, use dry towels and blankets that have been warmed by the dryer. Keep them wrapped up and call your vet right away.

If it is in the low or high 30’s and bellow, do not let your dog outside longer than a quick relief walk. If your dog does not go to the bathroom, let them back in side to warm up and try again later. If your dog struggles to use the bathroom when there is snow, still try to do short relief walks. If they do not go on the first try, bring them inside to warm up and try again later. Once they do go to the bathroom outside, reward them 3 treats, one right after the other with a high value treat.

Keep your pets occupied during the winter months with mental stimulation games in doors. Enter your dog in an indoor agility class to prevent “cabin fever” and an opportunity to build a positive relationship with your dog.

 

Halloween Hazards

By Michelle Aragon, Apprentice Behavior Counselor
 

Today we will be talking about the scary side of Halloween! Xylitol, chocolate, decorations that can be swallowed, and creepy monsters that can spook our furry friend. It is very important to keep in mind that what we consider fun can be scary for your pet.

 

Xylitol is one of the scariest things your dog can get its mouth on. It can be found in gum, granulated powder for cooking, candies, mint, toothpaste, mouthwash, it can be found in anything that contains the smallest amount of sugar. Any amount that is ingested can be fatal. Some of the symptoms can be vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures, and in severe cases liver failure. The scary part is that there are some sugar-free gums that will show no symptoms for up to 12hrs! If you suspect your pet ingested xylitol its best to rush it to the emergency room. This scary chemical can also be found in chocolate. Everyone who has had or has a dog knows to keep chocolate away, especially dark chocolate. Some symptoms of chocolate poisoning is extreme thirst, pacing, diarrhea, shaking and seizures. These symptoms can last up to 72hrs.  During the day of Halloween it is vital that we keep anything slightly sweet away from our pets. Especially if you’re pet has a sweet tooth.

 

 

During holidays we keep an eye on our little kids just in case they want to grab a small decoration that can be swallowed, this must also be done with our pets especially puppies. Dogs explore their world using their 5 senses and especially their sense of taste. Anything small that is new to them they will sniff, lick, and possibly try to eat it. This is of course is a choking hazard. We don’t want anything lodging the intestines of our pets because that can result in a pricey vet bill that could have been avoided. Keep any decorations out of reach or in a container so it isn’t easily accessible to your kids or your furry kids.

Another danger is people in costumes. We understand that these ghouls and goblins roaming the streets are not real but to our pets they are! There are two ways our pets can react, they can either run or fight. They will try to remove themselves from the scary situation by running far away and in any direction they can which is a great risk. Keep your dog indoors either in a crate or in a room and let them sit this holiday out because we don’t want our pet fighting the “scary monster” either!

As social animals ourselves sometimes we want to include our dogs in events but our pets do not perceive the world the same as we do so it is important that if there is a slight possibility of our pets getting hurt, scared, or protective its best to give them a quiet evening to themselves. They would enjoy that a lot more! If you are worried that your dog ingested something call the ASPCA 24hr poison hotline: 888-426-4435.

Biscuits and Bath offers training classes, private lessons, train-and-play sessions, and home phone consultations with our trainers. Ask about what is best for you and your dog!

 

Frolic

Frolic – Why Kids Need Dogs

By Mary McGranahan, Biscuits & Bath Intern
Have you ever been stopped by a kid on the street while walking your dog? Has your dog ever scared a kid by jumping on them to play? Both high energy and friendly, dogs and kids are a perfect match. Here are some reasons why children should experience dogs in their life.

 

Safety

Children are going to run into dogs their whole lives, especially children who are living in New York City. It is important for them to know how to approach dogs or react when they are approached by them. If they learn to read the nonverbal cues a dog gives, they will be able to tell which dogs are safe to pet and which dogs are best left alone. They will also know how to control their actions around dogs. Sometimes excited movements and affectionate gestures, such as hugging, that are natural to a child, may frighten a dog and cause them to lash out. Children who know how to properly greet dogs will be opening their world to many happy new encounters.

Self Esteem

Dogs are great at giving unconditional love and encouragement. Children benefit from the nonjudgmental nature of a dog’s love. It boosts their self-esteem. Studies have found that children who have trouble reading or verbally communicating will talk and read to dogs. They know dogs cannot understand if they make a mistake so they feel comfortable around them. Children also gain confidence from being made responsible for the care of a dog. Even completing the smallest task, such as filling the dog’s water bowl, makes a child feel accomplished.

Leadership

 A child gains leadership skills through teaching a dog. The child has to give the dog commands. The child also learns how to say yes and no to the dog. In leading a dog, the child is gaining confidence in their ability to lead others.

Socialization

Having a dog can help a kid come out of their shell. People like to approach dogs on the street and dogs like to say hello to new people. A kid will learn how to socialize as he or she is doing the same for the dog. This is especially evident in kids with Autism, who are more likely to introduce themselves and respond to questions when they have spent time with a dog.

 

Empathy and Compassion

Children learn empathy and compassion through interacting with animals. Dogs are reliant on the help of humans to meet their needs. Through feeding, bathing, and walking a dog a child is learning to take care of others. In return for their care the dog gives them love and companionship. This teaches them that, not only is caring for others right, it is also rewarding.

Happiness

The simple fact is, dogs make kids happy! When a kid interacts with a dog their brain releases serotonin and dopamine, both chemicals that make you happy. Blood pressure drops as well. When a child plays with a dog they are getting exercise and all the good endorphins that come from it. Dogs are therapeutic for kids who have PTSD, OCD, anxiety, fears, and developmental delays. They are used in hospitals and on college campuses to help students deal with grief and anxiety.

Children who have spent time around dogs will feel safe and be more empathetic, confident, and happy. To learn more about how you can give your child and their friends great experiences with dogs check out frolickids.com, email us at info@frolickids.com, or call 212-401-3015.

Unleash your inner dog!

Separation Anxiety

By Tricia Del Sorbo, Senior Behavior Counselor – CPDT-KA
 

“Hi my name is Rocky. I love long walks and playtime with my friends at Biscuits & Bath. Most of all, I love my mom. In the morning, I wake her up by licking her feet. Then she gives me my breakfast and we go for a walk. I love walks! When we come back inside she takes a shower. I don’t like this because she closes the door and I can’t see her. Then she puts her makeup on.  I really do not like when she puts her makeup on because after she puts her makeup on, she goes outside alone. When she goes outside alone, then I’m left all alone.  I don’t know if she’s forgotten me or if she’s gone forever. I yell for her to come back but she does not hear me. My heart starts to race, I pace and shake but she still does not come back.  I panic so I chew on the couch. Sometimes I even wet myself because I am so worried. I hate it when I cannot see her. My effort pays off though. After 8 hours of yelling for her she comes back.” -Rocky

“Hi my name is Jennifer. My dog Rocky has been destroying my home and peeing out of spite. He barks so much my neighbors are complaining. I am at risk of being evicted from my apartment. He is an angel when I am with him. I do not know what to do.” -Jennifer

According to Dr. Nick Dodman of the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Massachusetts, separation anxiety affects nearly 20% of the approximately 80 million pet dogs in the United States. That equates to 16 million dogs who suffer from Separation Anxiety. Older dogs are much more prone to the condition. It is a devastating diagnosis leaving dogs and the parents who love them in distress.

There are various reasons why a dog develops Separation Anxiety. Environmental factors, age, anxiety levels, genetics, physical health and poor early coping skills between the age of 3-12 weeks may contribute to the likelihood that a dog may develop the condition. Sometimes separation anxiety may develop in the same way as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in which a single scary experience causes a lifetime of stress. For dogs who have been moved around from household to household or from family to family may develop attachment issues and panic when left alone.

Separation Anxiety is a medical condition that should be diagnosed by your vet in close communication with your behavior counselor. Often, dogs with separation anxiety will require both medication and training. Some dogs may experience psychogenic anorexia, which makes them so nervous that they refuse to eat in the absence of their owner. Other dogs may be so anxious that they injure themselves in panic or even self-mutilate by chewing their paws, legs, rump or tail.

It is a common misconception that a dog will chew, destroy, or defecate because they are mad at their owners. In reality, the dog is experiencing some level of stress and is looking for a way to find relief.  Luckily, we now have the technology to help us in these situations. If you suspect your dog may be anxious when they are home alone, set up a camera to monitor their behavior. Symptoms of Separation Anxiety vary from dog to dog. Warning signs may include shadowing the owner from room to room, door dashing through opened doors, hyper-arousal and over exuberant greetings upon arrival. For some people, the signs of Separation Anxiety are clear. The dog may try to escape, self-mutilate, urinate or defecate, continuously vocalize or destroy things in the absence of its owner. For others, the signs may not be as clear and milder symptoms may go untreated and cause daily distress for the dog.

Although there is a wide variety of symptoms that a dog with Separation Anxiety may display, the symptoms themselves resemble other factors. Boredom, lack of mental and physical stimulation, cognitive dysfunction, noise phobias and physical pain can also manifest in ways that may seem similar to Separation Anxiety. Seek professional help if your dog displays any of these symptoms.

According to Malena DeMartini, the leader in setting the road map for treating separation anxiety says: “An SA dog’s body is flooded with stress-inducing chemicals each time he’s left alone. The experience of daily panic and fear begins to make him hyper vigilant, constantly watching his owner for signs she may be leaving.”  “This constant state of mild stress punctuated by the panic brought on by actual absences contributes to a devastating cycle of stress chemical production that makes it impossible for a dog to learn to feel safe while alone without training intervention.”

Separation Anxiety does not resolve on its own. Early prevention is key. Start alone training as soon as you get your puppy. Keep them in a safe place and create a routine of leaving them alone for at least 30 minutes a day, not to exceed 4 hours. Play calming music for your pup while you are away to break the sound of silence. Through A Dog’s Ear is a composition of music aimed at calming your dog’s brain. Keep your comings and goings low key. In some cases, the dog starts by looking forward to the explosion of attention and endorphin when you return. The anticipation of your arrival may cause anxiety when the anticipation is prolonged for too long. There is no need to say goodbye when you leave. In fact, for a dog that is anxious when you leave, it may become a signal to the dog that they are about to experience a lot of stress. Some dogs may display aggressive behaviors simply upon hearing the word “goodbye”.  When you return, ignore your dog for a few minutes until they are calm.

In conclusion, provide your dog of any age with lots of fun things to do throughout the day and if you suspect separation anxiety, make an appointment with your vet to rule out alternative medical concerns then speak to your behavioral counselor to create a tailored training and management program.

Biscuits and Bath offers training classes, private lessons, train-and-play sessions, and home phone consultations with our trainers. Ask about what is best for you and your dog!

 

Keeping Your Dog Safe During Fireworks

By Michelle Aragon, Apprentice Behavior Counselor
 

Hello and welcome to another B&B blog! Today we will be discussing about the fireworks during the Fourth of July and how to keep your dog safe and secure. During this holiday, we see a 30-60% increase in lost pets across the country and only 14% return home. To avoid such a tragedy, we will explain the methods you can use to soothe your pet during this loud event and precautions you can take to prevent this from happening.

We must always remember that dogs experience the world by using their senses so noises will be louder and smells will be stronger.  With that in mind, dogs will hear the fireworks louder than we experience them while the smell of gunpowder will be stronger and the dogs will have no idea what is going on around them on top of that. During all that confusion and terror, a dog’s instinct is to run far away from whatever the noises are which is why we recommend keeping your pets indoors during the Fourth of July (and New Year’s) fireworks. That does not guarantee that your dog will not freak out. To make them feel safer, it is best to have a “safe spot” at home, a place where your dog can run to when they feel they are in danger (this could be a crate covered with a blanket). Make sure escape routes are accounted for. Close the doors and windows securely as well as the blinds if you are able to see the fireworks. Play some relaxing music so the fireworks won’t be too loud. Engaging your dog in play or even doing a quick training session may help get your dog’s mind off the fireworks. Think of this as celebrating the Fourth of July with your dog minus the scary loud noises! If your dog is a yard dog we recommend keeping them indoors. Out of panic, your dog will try to climb fences or gates and might get injured. Better to be safe than sorry!


If you want to help your dog to overcome their fear of fireworks we recommend planning ahead. Months of training has to be put in in order to desensitize your dog from fireworks. It is never a good idea to just put your dog in the situation from jump. Start at home and play firework noises from your phone, computer, or tablet. Begin with a low volume and increase slowly as you progress. Remember to have that “safe spot” available to your dog – we don’t want to rush them. Treat and praise them when they react positively to the noises.

Safety must always be a priority! Remember to check and confirm that your dog’s I.D tags, harness/collar, and leash are in good condition and fit properly. Making sure your pet has the proper identification is essential. Micro-chipping is highly suggested, especially in NYC!

If you are uncomfortable or unsure of putting your dog through any situation then it is best not to. Be safe and have fun!

Biscuits and Bath offers training classes, private lessons, train-and-play sessions, and home phone consultations with our trainers. Ask about what is best for you and your dog!

 

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