4 Easy Ways to Give Your Pet a Shiny Coat

A soft, shiny coat is not only great for cuddling, it’s also a sign that your pet is healthy from the inside out. As pets age, however, their coats may become dry and lackluster, and you might wonder what you can do to get the sparkle back. The good news is that there are definitely some easy steps you can take to improve the appearance of your four-legged friend’s coat and keep them looking and feeling their best.

Keep in mind, however, that a dull, dry, or thinning coat can also be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Be sure to consult your veterinarian if your pal is looking a little rough around the edges.

Here are 4 easy ways to give your pet a shiny coat.

1. Good Nutrition For a Shiny Coat

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The quality of a pet’s coat has a lot to do with good nutrition. Your pet should be eating a high-quality, well-balanced diet rich in proteins and nutrients, including Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids work to promote shine and reduce shedding. Many pet foods contain Omega-3s, but you can also give your pet fish oil supplements. Just be sure to check with your veterinarian before starting your pet on any new diet or supplement.

2. Brush Your Pet’s Coat Frequently

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Brushing your dog every day is best, but if you can’t commit to the daily routine, brushing at least a few times a week should do the trick. Brushing not only removes tangles, prevents the formation of mats, and removes dirt and debris between washings, it also helps to distribute your pet’s natural skin oils over their body, which makes for a smooth and shiny coat.

3. Wash Your Pet, But Not Too Often

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How often a pet needs to be bathed varies from breed to breed. Some pets need monthly washes, while others can go several months without getting a scrub down. Ask your veterinarian or a groomer how often you should be bathing your furry friend, and stick to that schedule (unless of course your pet gets particularly dirty). Just keep in mind that bathing your pet too frequently could strip them of valuable skin oils that are essential for a shiny coat.

When do you bathe your pet, only use a high quality shampoo formulated for cats or dogs, and for extra softening, follow with a soothing conditioner.

4. Protect Your Pet’s Coat

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Fleas, ticks, other parasites, and allergies can irritate your pet’s skin, cause them to scratch, and wreak havoc on their lovely coat. Protect your pet from fleas and ticks with a monthly preventative, and if you ever notice persistent itching or scratching, contact your veterinarian; they may want to test for parasites or allergies.

How do you achieve a shiny coat for your pet? Leave a comment and tell us about it, and to get wholesale prices on flea and tick preventatives, healthy coat supplements, and a wide range of other medications, sign up for PetPlus!

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How to Choose a Dog Shampoo

The shampoo aisle at the pet store is not unlike the shampoo aisle at the drugstore. There are tons of brands to choose from, various formulas, numerous scents, and lots of promises. While it might seem like choosing a shampoo at random is the easiest way to go, the truth is that the shampoo you choose for your dog does matter.

So how can you choose the right dog shampoo for your furry friend?

1. Evaluate Your Dog’s Skin

Healthy fur comes from healthy skin, so the first step in choosing a dog shampoo should be evaluating your pup’s skin. Is their skin normal? Greasy? Dry? Flaky? Itchy? Does it have a funky odor? When it doubt, ask your veterinarian to take a look at your pet’s skin and give you the rundown. This will help you start zeroing in on a good dog shampoo.

RELATED STORY: DIY Dog Dry Skin Treatment (And Handy Medications)

2. Evaluate Your Dog’s Coat

Some dogs have smooth, silky fur. Other dogs have coarse, curly hair. Some dog fur is prone to tangling and mats, while others is greasy to the touch. Feel your dog’s fur, and ask your veterinarian for their opinion. You’ll be one step closer to choosing a dog shampoo.

RELATED STORY: The Causes of Dog and Cat Dandruff

3. Consider Your Options

Once you’ve evaluated your dog’s skin and coat, you can take a look at different shampoo choices for your dog’s particular pampering needs:

If your dog’s skin and coat are normal: Choose a basic cleansing shampoo, like Perfect Coat’s Tearless Dog Shampoo. A basic cleansing shampoo will clean the coat, strengthen it, and leave your dog smelling fresh.

If your dog’s skin or coat is dry/itchy: Choose a soothing shampoo, like Veterinary Formula Soothing & Deodorizing Oatmeal Shampoo. A soothing shampoo will clean and moisturize the skin and coat without stripping skin oils. Most soothing shampoos contain emollients that increase moisture in the skin, as well as soothing ingredients such as oatmeal, Vitamin E, aloe vera, and fatty acids. If your dog’s dryness or itching is severe, your veterinarian may recommend a medicated shampoo such as Epi-Soothe Oatmeal Shampoo.

If your dog’s skin or coat is greasy/oily: Choose a shampoo specially formulated to remove excess sebum and grease from the skin and coat, like Ark Naturals Neem Protect Shampoo. In severe cases, your veterinarian may recommend a medicated shampoo such as Pyoben, which removes secretions from the coat and flushes grease from the hair particles.

If your dog’s coat gets tangled: Use a 2-in-1 shampoo and condition, like Fresh n’ Clean’s 2-in-1 Oatmeal Conditioning Shampoo, or a soothing shampoo followed by a conditioner, like Richard’s Organics Nourishing Conditioner. Just remember that matted fur is not easy to detangle even after a conditioner is used, so brush your dog’s fur before bathing them and cut out problem mats.

What shampoo do you use on your dog, and why? Leave a comment and let us know. And to save 20% on dog shampoo, sign up for PetPlus! PetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more. Learn more at PetPlus.com.

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How to Make Your Dog’s Crate More Comfortable

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Your dog’s crate should be a place they want to go. It should be their personal cozy nook for napping and their safe space to escape a bustling household or loud noises. What shouldn’t it be? A place they associate with punishment or anxiety. And with the right crate training, it won’t be. Outside of proper crate training, you can also make your pal’s place more comfy and desirable with a few easy steps. Let’s take a look.

1. Find the Right Size

The size of your dog’s crate is incredibly important. It will not only determine their comfort, it will also determine how they feel about the space. Your dog’s crate should be large enough that they can sit up in it without needing to bow their head. They should also be able to turn around and stretch out. However, the crate shouldn’t be too big. A crate that is just right for your dog’s size will offer that snug den quality that a dog so desires.

RELATED STORY: 14 Essential Products for Every Dog Parent

2. Add a Bed

Most crates have a hard plastic base, and while a dog won’t necessarily mind curling up on top of it, a soft bed may mean your dog ends up inside of their crate more often. Look for a bed that will cushion your dog’s joints, support their back, and be easy to clean (ideally, one that allows you to clean the cover as well as the bed itself).

3. Use a Crate Cover

Cover your dog’s crate with a blanket or sheet to create a dark, private den. Your dog will enjoy the privacy, security, and cool darkness of the space. Just remember to leave the door uncovered so that your dog can move easily in and out.

4. Provide Access to Water

This is especially important if you plan to leave your dog in their crate when you are out of the house. Purchase a bowl or water bottle that hooks onto the side of the crate, and remember to clean it and change the water regularly to avoid bacterial growth.

5. Offer Toys, If You Wish

Some trainers discourage their clients from putting toys inside their dog’s crate, as it changes the purpose of the crate from a calm resting place to one for playing and chewing. However, others say it’s just fine, and it’s ultimately up to you. If you do decide to leave your dog with toys or chews, make sure that they cannot be ripped apart, broken into little pieces, or swallowed.

RELATED STORY: DIY Pet Projects: How to Make Pet Supplies, Treats, and More From Scratch

6. Supply Soothing Smells

If your dog suffers from separation anxiety when they are put inside of the crate or they just don’t seem to like it, try leaving a piece of your clothing or a blanket that smells like you. A dog’s sense of smell is incredibly powerful (10,000 to 100,000 times more acute than ours!), and a familiar smell can calm your dog and make them feel at home.

Does your dog use a crate regularly? How do you make it comfortable? Leave a comment and let us know, and sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.

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How to Clean Your Dog Between Baths

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Taking the dog to the groomer can be expensive and grooming your dog at home can be a time-consuming ordeal. However, your dog will be happier and healthier with regular baths and brushings, and your house will smell better, too! But life happens, and sometimes you have to put off your dog’s bath for a week or two. So how can you clean your dog and keep them smelling fresh between baths?

Brush, Even if You Can’t Bathe

Depending on what kind of dog you have, brushing is usually a lot less time-consuming than bathing, especially if you keep up with it regularly. Dogs with thick or curly hair (like Poodles) may need to be brushed more often to avoid mats and tangles, but it’s worth it. Brushing removes dirt and debris that can contribute to a foul stench.

RELATED STORY: What Are Some Low Maintenance Dogs?

Doggy Wipes

Doggy wipes work to freshen your dog up between baths. They are gentle, non-toxic, moisturizing, and usually smell lovely (just like the ones for babies!) Use doggy wipes to clean your pup’s paws and paw pads, their rear end, and even their entire body.

Dry Shampoo

If you want to clean, deodorize, and refresh your dog’s coat between baths, try a dry shampoo. Dry shampoos are very easy to use; they are powder formulas that can either be sprinkled or sprayed onto your dog, rubbed in, then brushed through. They instantly absorb excess oil and grease, break down dirt and grime, and leave your dog’s coat looking soft and shiny and smelling great.

Dog Perfume or Cologne

Dog perfumes are a popular choice for stylish pups or pups who aren’t smelling so swell between baths. They are designed to be light, aromatic, long-lasting, and safe. Some companies even make perfumes that mimic popular men’s and women’s designer scents. If your dog seems even the slightest bit irritated by the perfume’s smell, discontinue use, and never use human perfumes or colognes on a dog.

RELATED STORY: My Dog’s Breath Smells! What Should I Do?

Clean Your Dog’s Bed!

If you do everything you can to keep your dog clean between baths, it will all go out the window if their bed is still dirty and smelly. Wash your dog’s bed and blankets regularly to remove dirt and body oils. If you have the option, choose a bed that allows you to wash both the cover and the cushioning. Your dog will thank you by curling up for a sweet-smelling slumber.

How do you keep your dog clean between baths? Leave a comment and let us know, and sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.

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How to Exercise Your Dog When You’re Sick

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Waking up with a headache, sore throat, and stuffy nose is no fun, and the last thing most people want to do when they’re feeling under the weather is take their dog out for some exercise. But your dog depends on you to provide them with mental and physical stimulation as well as bathroom breaks (unless you have a doggie door), and it’s up to you to find a way to give your dog those things even when you’re unwell. Here we’ll present some alternative ways to exercise your dog when you’re sick.

Note: Remember that forcing yourself to take your dog out for their regular exercise could make your illness worse. Consult your doctor if you are feeling out of sorts and you’re not sure how much activity is appropriate.

Indoor Games

Indoor games are a great way to get your dog active when you’re feeling sick. Many games can even be played right from the comfort of your own bed. Here are some examples:

Laser Pointer Chase: Buy an inexpensive laser pointer and shine it back and forth across the floor. Your dog will delight in chasing the moving light, and will wear themselves out in the process. Remember not to shine the laser pointer into your dogs eyes as it could damage their retinas. Read these other tips for playing laser pointer chase for your dog without driving them crazy.

Indoor Fetch: If you have a long hallway or other large indoor space, you can play fetch indoors. You may even be able to play it from the sofa or your bed.

Tug-of-War: Another stimulating game that you can play while laid up is tug-of-war. Many dogs love to play this game with a rope toy, but remember that it can bring out your dog’s competitive side, and you should make sure that you have a solid relationship in which you are the pack leader before engaging in this type of game. Many trainers also recommend ending games of tug-of-war with you successfully winning the toy.

Puzzle Toys: Puzzle toys require your dog to problem solve in order to release food or treats that you stuff inside. There are many different types of puzzle and food-dispensing toys, and a variety could occupy your dog for hours while you get some rest.

RELATED STORY: The Benefits of an Active Dog

Low-Impact Outdoor Exercises

If you’re feeling well enough to go outside but still not 100%, you can engage in some outdoor activities while still taking it easy.

Cut Your Walk in Half: If you usually take your dog for a half-hour walk, take them for a 15 minute walk instead. Choose an area with easy terrain (no hiking!) and a time of day when the weather won’t be unpleasant (e.g., in the summer, walk in the early morning or late evening to avoid high heat). Then, give your dog the rest of their exercise by playing some indoor games or offering them a puzzle toy.

Yard Fetch: Take your dog out to the yard and throw a ball or frisbee. If you’re tired, you could even play fetch while sitting in a lawn chair or reclining in a hammock. Ensure that your yard is secure and all gates are closed and locked so that you won’t have to worry about chasing after your dog when you’re feeling low.

RELATED STORY: 3 Ways to Be Safer Walking a Dog at Night

Ask For Help

If you’re really ill, you may not be able to exercise your dog at all. If this is the case, consider taking your dog to dog day care or a boarding facility while you recover. Alternatively, you could hire a dog walker to stop by once or twice a day to relieve you from your duties.

How do you exercise your dog when you’re sick? Leave a comment and let us know. And to keep your dog healthy, consider signing up for PetPlus. PetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more. Learn more at PetPlus.com.

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Blind Dog Duffy Can Finally See His Family Again

This is Duffy, the formerly-blind dog. Having lost his vision to diabetes, Duffy the Irish Terrier was blind for over a year. However, thanks to the miracle of modern science, he was recently given back his sight. And he could not have been happier.

RELATED STORY: What Causes Blindness in Dogs?

Watch as he sees his family for the first time in over a year!

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Keep in mind that he knew nothing but darkness for over a year! In the video, Duffy is overcome with joy at seeing his people again. Just look at that tail go!

A BLIND DOG’S LIFE

When Duffy was adopted roughly 9 years ago, his family knew that he was a somewhat unhealthy pup. He had signs of liver disease and the onset of diabetes was looming on the horizon.

RELATED STORY: Causes of Diabetes in Your Cat or Dog

Duffy’s condition worsened due to complications with his medication. The most devastating blow came when Duffy lost his vision. “I can only imagine what went through his mind the day it all went black,” said the dog’s owner, Benjamin May, in the original Reddit post.

However, as frightening as it must have been for him to lose his sight, it must have been that much more exhilarating to have it come flooding back. You can see it in the video — he can barely contain himself!

Duffy’s insulin treatment cost his family approximately $350 a month, and the surgery cost $5,000. While some think that the amount of money spent is too high, the May family has a different view on it. “He’s happy and he makes us happy, he’s family to us, you can’t put a price on family,” (Reddit).

Sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.

Source:
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/06/17/the-beginning-of-this-dogs-story-broke-its-owners-heart-the-ending-brings-tears-of-joy-to-her-eyes/
http://www.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/286it4/our_dog_duffy_went_blind_due_to_diabetes_after_a/

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7 Ways to Puppy-Proof Your Summer BBQ

Summer parties are a blast, and what better way to introduce your dog to your clan and friends than hosting a BBQ? To make sure everyone stays safe and has fun, here are some tips to keep in mind.

1. Create a Puppy-Only Lounge

Dogs need a lot of sleep, and it’s exhausting to get passed around all day long. Make sure there’s a VIP spot your pup can retreat to when he needs a time out; create your set-up so that your dog may be gated away from the festivities when he needs to rest.

RELATED STORY: Create a Special Space for Your Dog

2. Keep a Dog’s Eye View When Setting Up

Imagine what this party is going to look like from your dog’s point of view, and set up accordingly. Don’t place hors d’oeuvres on end tables, coffee tables, or anywhere else that’s within reach of the dog. Resist the urge to use candles, especially on low tables where a tail-wag could knock a candle over, or on a table with a tablecloth in case the dog ever decided to climb or pull on it.

3. “Don’t Feed the Dog!”

Spread the word far and wide: Do Not Feed the Dog. There are too many people foods that are poisonous for dogs, and besides, many pet parents don’t want their dog to learn obnoxious begging behavior by being fed people food at every turn. It’s a great idea to place a sign on the food table telling guests not to feed your pet so that you don’t have to nag.

RELATED STORY: The Most Poisonous Foods for Dogs

4. Puppy-Gate the Grill

Avoid painful burns by keeping your dog away from the grill. All that sizzling food smells delicious, but spare your dog from splatters by making sure he can’t get near a hot grill, bon fire, or other cooking surfaces.

5. Lifeguard Your Pup

It’s a common mistake to think that all dogs are strong swimmers. Drowning accidents are quite common amongst pets, so be sure to supervise the pup around the pool.

RELATED STORY: 5 Tips for Dog Safety Around the Home

6. Watch the Dog Around Kids

Dogs and kids just seem to go together, except when they don’t. Some kids can get a little too rough around pets. Likewise, many dogs might bite when provoked by behavior that’s perceived as aggressive or unpredictable. Make sure an adult keeps an eagle eye on the situation anytime kids and pets mix.

7. Bus the Tables

Parties are really fun for dogs, especially when food scraps are left unattended! Make sure you have a crystal clear system for bussing the tables and making sure leftover food isn’t left where the dog can nab it. Clear scraps immediately, and also don’t let trash overflow.

How do you plan on enjoying the warmer weather with your pet? Leave a comment and let us know, and consider signing up for PetPlus to save on your pet’s medications, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.

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Vet Waiting Room Etiquette: 5 Rules To Remember

Ah, the veterinarian’s waiting room. It can be a stressful place for both pets and pet parents, with lunging dogs, whining cats, loud voices, and peculiar smells. Chances are you’ve been a witness to some annoying or unsafe behaviors before, but have you ever evaluated your own waiting room etiquette? It can be easy to forget our manners when we are worried about our pet’s health, distracted by the chaos of the office, or simply having a bad day. Here we’ll look at some rules for how to be a courteous owner while waiting to see the vet.

Rule #1: Cats In Carriers, Dogs on Leashes

It can be tempting to carry a sick kitty in your arms, or let your dog off the leash to socialize once you get inside. However, both of these behaviors are unsafe for your pet and the other pets and people in the waiting area. Cats should always be in carriers. Carriers not only make cats feel safe and comfortable, they also keep a cat from leaping out of your arms, urinating on the floor, or scratching people or animals with their claws. Dogs should be on leashes, but not retractable leashes. Use a leash that will allow you to keep your dog close.

RELATED STORY: 11 Cat and Dog Leash Options Your Pet Will Love

Rule #2: Don’t Let Your Pet Bother Other Pets

The waiting room is already a stressful place for pets and pet parents, and it can be made even more stressful if an excited pet is trying to approach, sniff, or play with other animals. In addition, some pets in the waiting room are seriously ill, and may even have painful injuries that could cause them to lash out, or contagious conditions that could be passed to other pets. And in some cases, your pet might be the sick one.

Even if your pet is just trying to be friendly, the safest and most courteous thing to do is leave other pets alone. Cats should always be in carriers, so you won’t have to worry about this with them. Dogs, however, are on leashes, and owners sometimes give them too much leeway. Keep a short leash and train your pal to “stay.”

Rule #3: Don’t Let Other Pets Bother Your Pet

Just because you aren’t going to let your pet bother other pets doesn’t mean that all owners are going to follow the same rule. Regardless of what anyone else is doing, it is your responsibility to keep your pet safe. Avoid sitting next to lunging or barking dogs, and if a pet is bothering you or your pet, ask their owner to stop it or get up and move.

Rule #4: For Scared Or Aggressive Pets

If you have a pet who becomes fearful or aggressive around other animals, people, or specifically at the vet’s office, ask if you can wait in your car. Don’t let children or adults approach your pet, and keep a good distance from other pets when you do need to go inside. If you are finding it difficult to correct your pet’s unsafe behaviors, consider contacting a trainer or animal behaviorist; your veterinarian should be able to provide recommendations.

RELATED STORY: The Causes of Aggression in Dogs

Rule #5: Dealing With Accidents

Accidents aren’t uncommon in waiting rooms — nerves can get the best of many pets. To avoid accidents, allow your pet to go to the bathroom before going inside. If an accident does occur, don’t try to rush your buddy outside; that will only create a bigger mess. Instead, let nature happen, then let the front desk know so that someone can clean it up.

Have any waiting room etiquette rules of your own? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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