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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!

 

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