Tips for Pet Dental Care | from Sparky the Dog

February was Pet Dental Month! What a great way to help pet owners remember that dental care is super important, even for dogs and cats. Instead of telling you of the many reasons why you should brush your pet’s teeth – you probably already know those – I’d like to share a few tips in getting the job done.

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Is Your Dog Meant to be a Therapy Pet?

therapy petDogs are lovable creatures that bring joy and meaning to people’s lives around the world. Isn’t it amazing how a dog can light up your life with a simple wag of their tail? It’s a beautiful thing that more and more people are starting to realize. There are numerous benefits of having a dog around.

Do you have a social, sweet and lovable canine at home? Have you noticed that your dog makes people smile without even trying? Does your dog love being a true companion to everyone he or she meets (there are always exceptions, of course)? If you answered yes to these three questions, your dog might be meant for therapy work.

Many dogs love being around people to offer a warm coat for them to rub or a shoulder to cry on. Some dogs crave, and thrive on, the attention they get from humans. Some dogs are just meant to make people feel great.

If you think your dog would make a great therapy pet, keep a few things in mind. Remember that it’s not just about the dog, but also about the dog-and-handler team. You have to be as willing to meet people as much as your pet is. It’s a duo, not a one-man show.

Being a therapy pet is an important job that should be taken seriously. Many people and dogs go through training to take on this reputable task. Not all pets or pet personalities are meant for therapy work. It’s challenging and not always as simple as you might think.

Keep in mind that just because you think your dog is the best thing since sliced bread, others may not. Not everyone will go gaga over your pup and that’s ok! It’s not about everyone. It’s about the few that you can truly help.

Reach out to someone who is already in this line of work to paint a clear picture for you. There might be a few steps for you to take before your dog can get to work helping people. Is your dog trained? Does he or she have proper manners? These are a few things to keep in mind.

If your pet is meant to be a therapy companion, congratulations! There are few things to keep at the forefront of your mind, yes, but this line of work can change your life. Seeing someone light up because you brought your dog on a therapy visit can change your perspective on things. It’s a magnificent way to give back.

If your dog is wonderful, why not share him or her with the world?

How to Prepare Your Pet for Winter Weather

139856735-cold-weather-dog-paw-care-632x475With holiday arrangements in full force, it might be hard to remember to prepare your pet for the colder winter months. You know it’s headed your way and your pet can probably sense it, but what exactly can you do? Take some time to make sure you have everything he or she might need before the freezing temperatures hit hard. Below are 5 ways to help prepare your pet for the colder months ahead.

  1. Your pet has fur, but could they benefit from a nice warm coat or sweater while spending time outdoors? ABSOLUTELY. If you already have a coat from last year packed away take a few minutes to make sure it still fits your pet. Whether your pet enjoys the outdoors or runs in and out only to take care of their business, an extra layer might not be a bad idea. If your pet has never used a coat before, consider taking him and her to the store to get a comfortable fitting. You might also want to introduce the coat or sweater to your pet slowly. Have them wear it for small amounts of time to start off with. Some pets do not enjoy having clothes on.
  1. Put a reminder by the door to check your pet’s feet when they come inside. Whether it’s snow, leaves or any other outdoor debris, checking your dog’s feet as they come indoors is never a bad idea. Snow can get stuck in their fur and cause issues. You might want to leave a floor mat, towel or paw cleaner by the door to help eliminate potential issues.
  1. Refresh your memory on all things that are hazardous to pets this time of year. One to always remember is antifreeze. Dogs are attracted to the smell and it tastes sweat on their tongue. Licking up antifreeze can be very bad for your pet. Holiday poinsettias are also dangerous. Don’t let them take a nibble on this plant! Here are a few more articles that will give you even more tips about pet poison prevention.
  1. You might not want to get your pet as many haircuts. Depending on the dog, it might not be the best idea to keep the same grooming schedule as you do in the warmer months. Does your dog’s groomer keep your pet’s hair a bit longer in the winter or do you prefer it just as short? Do you think your pet will be extremely cold if it snows? Will keeping his or her coat longer cause snow to get stuck in it. This might be a good question for your veterinarian. Depending on the pet and how many coats your pet has, adjusting your grooming schedule might be a wise idea. Changing up the type of shampoo you use can also be beneficial. Try a shampoo with added moisturizers.
  1. Keep an eye on your pet’s skin. Just like humans, the cold can cause issues for your pet’s skin. Keep an eye out for redness, cuts and dryness. If you see signs of skin irritations limit the time your pet spends outdoors. You might even need to visit the vet. Pay close attention to your pet after they go outside each time. A lot of dogs enjoy the snow, which can cause issues to the paw pads, nose and ears. Keep an eye out and you might be able to spot any problems.

Do you have any ideas for pet owners to help prepare their pets for the colder months? Share them with us on our Facebook page.