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Blog posts of '2016' 'May'

Pet Paw Care: Summertime Tips

Summer is upon us and the temperatures are starting to rise! As it gets hotter so does the pavement, making it important for pet owners to protect their dog’s paws from getting burnt. Would you walk across hot pavement without any protection on your feet? You might not have thought about it before, but the first time your poor pup gets his paws burnt you will never forget it. Here are some summertime tips for pet owners to help protect your dog’s precious paws.

Avoid Hot Surfaces

19250153_lThe most obvious way to avoid your dog’s paws getting burnt is to avoid walking them on hot surfaces all together. Your dog's pads can easily burn and blister as a result of walking on a hot pavement or through hot sand. Try walking your dog on grassy areas or somewhere that gets a lot of shade. You should aim to walk your dog in the morning or at night. During the coolest parts of the day the pavement will also be much cooler.

Try Dog Booties

If you really can’t avoid the pavement when it’s hot you might want to look into purchasing a pair of dog boots. They are definitely a great way to protect your dog’s paws from the heat and potential injuries, if you can actually get your dog to wear them. Be aware that not all dogs can adjust to wearing shoes and may have a hard time walking in them.

Try Socks

Socks make a great last minute solution if you need to take your dog out onto hot pavement. You can try a pair of your own or baby socks, or you can purchase socks specifically made for dogs. Once again though, this only works if your dog is willing to wear them. If your dog starts chewing at them he/she is probably not going to tolerate it.

Moisturize Your Dog’s Paws

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 3.57.32 PMYour dog's pads are naturally rough. They have to be so he/she has traction when they need to turn quickly, sprint off and stop quickly. If the pads become cracked they are prone to collect dirt and debris, which can cause injury or an infection. Moisturizing them daily will help prevent injuries like cuts, cracking, or peeling of the paws. Minor injuries can make your dog's paws more susceptible to burns and other serious problems. Moisturizing your pet’s paws with our Certified Organic Paw Rescue will keep your dog’s paws in healthy condition. The Shea butter we use in our moisturizer is an exceptionally hearty healing agent that has natural regenerative properties and is safe if licked. All you do is apply the paw rescue to calloused, rough or hardened pads and paws, rub into paws and massage gently to soften and heal. Your dog will love you for this!

Wash and Check Paws Carefully

 After walks it’s always a good idea to wash paws off and check for any signs of damage. Symptoms of Paw Injury:

  • Bleeding
  • Blisters
  • limping
  • holding the injured paw off the ground
  • discoloration of the pad (difficult to see if the paws have a very dark pigmentation)
  • excessive licking and/or chewing of the paw.

If your dog is showing any of these symptoms you should call your vet. We hope you found these tips helpful and if you have any tips of your own please share them with us in the comments below. Be sure to check back on our blog as we post more summertime tips for pet owners!

Pet Ear Care: A Guide for Pet Owners

When was the last time you cleaned your dog’s ears? If you can’t remember, or the answer is never, you are like many pet owners who tend to forget about the ears when it comes to grooming. Unfortunately, the ears make the perfect breeding ground for various nasties, making pet ear care extremely important. Adding ear care to your pet’s grooming routine is the best way to help ensure healthy ears and keep them safe from infections.

Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears

Dog’s are not the biggest fan of getting their ears cleaned, but if you have the opportunity to start them when they are a puppy you will make it that much easier on yourself in the future. If not, don’t worry you will just need a little time, patience, lots of treats and our Pura-Tips™ Ear Cleansing System to help make the job that much easier. Ear Cleansing systemOur Pura-Tips™ Ear Cleansing System is an easy, all-natural way to clean your dog’s ears. The system comes with 25 Pura-Tips™ and our USDA Certified Organic Cleansing Serum. Our Pura-Tips™ are eco-friendly, made from a bio-based foam that is amazing at absorbing dirt, oil and grime in your pet’s ears. Our USDA Certified Organic Cleansing Serum is made with Organic Oils such as Organic Mullein Oil which acts as a natural disinfectant. To use just shake well and apply two drops of the serum to the opening of the ear canal. Massage base of ear to evenly distribute solution into ear canal. Spread and remove excess liquid by swabbing outer canal with a Pura-Tip™. The Pura-Tip™ will absorb any dirt and grime in your pet’s ear. Our tips are soft and designed to not damage the inner ear or ear canal, but you should always be extremely careful when using the tips and cleaning your pet’s ears. Never put anything into your dog’s ear canal. Foreign objects in the ear canal run the risk of causing laceration and puncturing the eardrum. The Pura-Tips™ are reusable and should be rinsed with hot water between uses (3-5 uses before disposing). Want to see our Pura-Tips™ Ear Cleansing System in action? See how well this system works on both dogs and cats here.

How Often Should I Clean My Pet’s Ears?

How often you clean your dog’s ears depends on your pet's breed, coat, level of activity, age, and ear wax production. Many breeds grow hair in their ears, which will help to trap debris and cause infections. We recommend that most dogs with normal ears have cleanings at least once a month. Others may need more frequent cleanings, especially dogs that like to swim.

Which Dog Breeds Are More Susceptible to Ear Infections?

Floppy Ears BloodhoundDogs with floppy ears are more prone to ear infections than dogs with shorter ears. Moisture is a necessary ingredient for many infections, and the floppy ears on some breeds prevent proper air circulation. No circulation means no evaporation, meaning the moisture is trapped in the ear providing the perfect breeding ground for yeast and bacteria growth.

How Do I Know If My Dog Has an Ear Infection?

Numerous things can work their way deep into your pup's ears and cause problems, including bacteria, ear mites or tiny seeds and grass bits he/she collects as they run and roll around the yard. Your dog won't be shy about letting on that his/her ears are bothering them. You'll notice them whimpering, scratching and shaking their head in an attempt to alleviate the discomfort.

Symptoms to keep an eye out for:

  • Discharge from ear
  • Odor around the ear
  • Excess scratching, pawing or rubbing at the ears
  • Redness in the ear canal
  • Sensitivity or pain around the ears
  • Ear swelling
  • Masses around the ear area

If you suspect your dog does have an ear infection call your vet right away. You never want to try and resolve an ear infection on your own... Adding pet ear care to your grooming routine is a way to prevent having to make that call to the vet.

Pet Preparedness: A Pet Parent's Guide to Disaster Preparedness

Do you have a plan in place for your pet if a natural disaster strikes? Many of us are prepared and plan for ourselves and our family, but our pets are part of our family too, and leaving them out of the equation can put you and your pet in danger. Planning ahead is the key to keeping yourself and your pet safe. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Make an Evacuation Plan

Pet Carriers and Leashes

10134848_lPurchase a pet carrier for all your pets. This will make it easy to transport your pets during an evacuation. Familiarize your pet/pets with their carrier and take them for car rides before a disaster strikes. For good measure write your pets name, your name and your contact info on the carrier as well. If your pet is too big for a carrier a leash is fine. Be sure to keep the leash and carrier where it is easy to grab when you need to exit your home quickly.

Plan a Pet-Friendly Place to Stay

Search in advance for out-of-area pet-friendly hotels or boarding facilities, or make a housing exchange agreement with an out-of-area friend or relative. Never leave your pet behind if you evacuate! (Local and state health and safety regulations do not permit the Red Cross to allow pets in disaster shelters, only service animals are allowed in Red Cross shelters.) At petswelcome.com you can find a list of pet-friendly hotels in the US.

 Help Emergency Workers

The ASPCA recommends using a rescue sticker alert to let people know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible to rescue workers, and that it includes the types and number of pets in your household and your veterinarian's phone number. If you have already evacuated with your pets (and if time allows) write "EVACUATED" across the stickers so rescue workers don’t waste time looking for them.

Choose a Designated Caregiver

In case you are not home during an evacuation choose a temporary caregiver, consider someone who lives close to your residence. He or she should be someone who is generally home during the day while you are at work or has easy access to your home. A set of keys should be given to this trusted individual. This may work well with neighbors who have pets of their own where you can be there them if they are not around. When selecting a permanent caregiver, you’ll need to consider other criteria. This is a person to whom you are entrusting the care of your pet in the event that something should happen to you. When selecting this “foster parent,” consider people who have met your pet and have successful cared for animals in the past. Be sure to discuss your expectations at length with a permanent caregiver, so he or she understands the responsibility of caring for your pet.

7466811_lWhat if You and Your Pet Get Separated?

Microchip Your Pet

This is one of the best ways to ensure that you and your pet are reunited if you get separated when disaster strikes. Be sure to keep the microchip registration up to date, and include at least one emergency number of a relative or friend who lives the closest to you.

Collar and ID Tags

Keeping a collar and ID tag on your pet, will also help you and your pet be reunited in the unfortunate situation you are separated from your pet. Be sure to keep the information updated on your pet’s ID tag.

Prepare an Emergency Supply Kit for Your Pet

  • Pet first-aid kit (learn more about what should be included in a Pet First-Aid Kit)
  • 3-7 days’ worth of canned (pop-top) or dry food (be sure to rotate every two months)
  • At least 7 days worth of water for your pet (store in a cool, dry place and replace every two months)
  • Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans are perfect)
  • Litter or paper toweling
  • Liquid dish soap and disinfectant
  • Disposable garbage bags for clean-up
  • Pet feeding dishes and water bowls
  • Extra collar or harness as well as an extra leash
  • Photocopies and/or USB of medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires (Remember, food and medications need to be rotated out of your emergency kit—otherwise they may go bad or become useless)
  • Flashlight
  • Blanket
  • Recent photos of your pets (in case you are separated and need to make “Lost” posters)
  • Especially for cats: Pillowcase, toys, scoop-able litter
  • Especially for dogs: Extra leash, toys and chew toys, a week’s worth of cage liner

Download the ASPCA App

The ASPCA has a pet safety app for lost pets, disaster prep and emergency alerts. Use this essential tool to keep your pets safe during emergency situations and to store vital pet records for your cat or dog. This free app from the ASPCA shows you exactly how to search for a lost pet and provides information on making life-saving decisions in the event of severe weather or a natural disaster. You will also be able to take weekly actions to help pets in need across the country! Learn more here. AND, don’t forget to comfort your animals. Animals can get very stressed during a disaster or evacuation, just like people, a calm presence and soft voice will help to relax them. Some animals, especially cats, may be too scared to be comforted. Do the best you can to keep them safe and calm, try toys, blankets, or even treats. Our pets are always there for us when we need them and they will appreciate you being there for them when they need you.

How Well Do You Know Your Dog’s Nose?

Do you ever wonder what your dog’s nose is trying to tell you? If you’re like most pet owners you worry when something seems off with your pet. When do you know if your dog’s nose is too wet or too dry, too warm or too cool?

Keep in mind a healthy dog's nose can fluctuate between wet and dry several times over the course of a day. Just like we can experience dry noses with our allergies or changes in temperature or weather, dogs can experience similar dry noses. And there are many reasons your dog can have a dry, warm nose that have nothing to do with their health. Here are things that you should look for:

What Does A Dry Nose Mean?

As we said above a dry nose doesn’t always mean your dog is sick, but it can indicate an underlying issue such as an allergy or irritant. A dry nose is definitely uncomfortable for your pooch and interferes with their ability to smell. When a dry nose is left untreated it could go from bad to worst, drying out and forming crusty scabs that flake off and could create bleeding. BUT there are some things you can do before that happens.

Take note. When is your dog’s nose is dry, is it only during certain times of the day or year? How long have you noticed a dry dog nose? Taking note of the details can help you discover the cause. Many different things can contribute to a dry nose including weather, dehydration, allergies and more. These are a few leading causes:

  • Weather. Either extreme heat or cold can contribute to a dry nose. Exposure to the sun can cause your dog’s nose to get sunburned. During the winter the skin is also prone to drying out, especially if your dog spends a lot of time keeping warm by the heater.
  • Allergies. Your dog could be sensitive to food, plastic water dishes or toys, household cleaning products, personal care products you use on your dog etc.Organic Nose Butter
  • Dehydration. 

If it’s weather causing the issue, there are simple steps you can do to prevent your dog’s nose from drying out. Our Certified Organic Button Nose Butter is perfect for providing relief and soothing your pups nose. Our all-natural ingredients work to sooth and heal dry irritated skin plus our organic nose butter is 100% safe and won’t irritate the skin further or trigger any allergies. If your dooggy’s nose gets sunburnt our organic nose butter will help relieve the pain. In the future to prevent a sun burnt nose look for natural sun protection for dogs to apply before he/she goes out in the sun.

Allergies happen to be a leading cause of dry noses and dog allergies to plastic happens to be the most common. If your dog drinks or eats from a plastic bowl, replace it with a non-plastic option. If your pup plays with plastic toys remove them and see if it makes a difference. Food can also be triggering an allergic reaction. If you make some changes and you don’t see a difference it’s time to call a vet. A vet can help you pin point the underlying cause.

If you suspect your dog is dehydrated, you should take him/her to the vet immediately. Learn more about dog dehydration here.

If your dog's nose is more than just dry and is cracked, has scabs or sores he/she may have a skin disorder. Ask your veterinarian to check him/her out to ensure everything is okay. Keep in mind some dogs are just prone to dry noses and no matter how many times you visit the vet you can’t change that, but you can supply them relief with our Organic Button Nose Butter.

What Does Nasal Discharge Mean?

Clear Discharge

Generally, you don't have to worry about clear nose discharge in dogs unless it lingers or there are other symptoms. If there's a lingering clear nasal discharge from your dog's nose, chances are good it's caused by allergies, by far the most common reason for abnormal nasal secretions in dogs. A dog's allergy symptoms don't stop at a runny nose; they can also include sneezing, coughing, itchiness, nosebleeds, and breathing problems. Best to avoid the allergy trigger. If you don’t know the trigger talk to your vet about an allergy test.

Mucus or Pus

A nose discharge of mucus or pus could indicate your dog has a bacterial, fungal, or viral infection. Additional signs of an infection might include a bad odor, a nosebleed, and coughing or choking resulting from postnasal drip. You should call your vet.

Yellow Discharge

Distemper can cause a sticky, yellow nose discharge in dogs, and while symptoms may vary, distemper can also cause fever, pneumonia, and twitching and convulsions. You should call your vet.

Nosebleeds

Could be a possible sign of a blockage. A discharge from just one of your dog's nostrils is often a sign there's something stuck in that nostril, like a seed or blade of grass. Other signs include sneezing or pawing at the nose.

If you can easily see what's in your dog's nose, carefully remove it with tweezers. If you can't or don't feel comfortable -- the nose can bleed a lot with minor trauma -- call your vet, who may need to sedate your pet to dislodge the blockage, and then prescribe antibiotics to avoid infection.

Blood, pus, or mucus can also be a sign that your dog has nasal polyps (overgrown mucus-producing glands) or nasal tumors. Other signs include noisy breathing or a bulge on one side of the nose. Your pet’s appetite may decrease, as well. If your dog has these symptoms you should call your vet.

Some dogs, just like dry noses, are more prone to nasal discharge than others, including flat-faced breeds and dogs with soft, floppy nose cartilage. Noisy breathing can be another sign of nostril issues. See your vet if your dog sounds like he/she has trouble breathing.

Nose Pigmentation Change

The color of a dog's nose will vary from dog to dog depending on the breed. It can be black, brown, liver, pink, or the same color as its coat. Sometimes a dog's nose can start off one color and change to another as it ages. Puppies are often born with pink noses, which later darken. What does it mean when a dog's nose loses its pigment turning pink or white? Changes in the nose’s tissue can potentially indicate a deeper health issue, but this is not always the case.

Changes in pigment can also be correlated with a dog’s breed, age, environmental exposure, etc.

  • Weather is the most common reason a dog's nose loses its pigment is called winter nose or snow nose. Some dog's noses change colors from a dark color to pink in cold weather; turning dark once again when the weather gets warmer. Usually when the nose changes color due to the weather it only partially changes pink. Snow nose seems to be directly related to the temperature and is harmless to the dog.
  • As your dog gets older he may lose pigment.
  • If a dog experiences some kind of trauma such as a scrape or abrasion, the nose can turn pink as it heals. The pigment will usually return after a while.
  • Bacterial Infection can lighten the color of the nose. You may see other symptoms as well, the nose may appear inflamed, sore or crusty. You definitely want to contact a vet.
  • Allergies could cause color change as well. In this case you might want to do some investigative work, like discussed above with dry nose.

Although changScreen Shot 2016-05-03 at 6.00.09 PMes in color of your dog’s nose may not always be harmful to your pup, you should always address these changes with your vet to exclude any serious issues. Learn more about doggy nose colors here.

Your dog’s nose can provide hints that can help you understand his/her needs better. Checking your dog’s nose should be a normal part of your at-home wellness exam. Getting acquainted with the look and shape of your pet's nose when it's healthy is important, because then you'll be able to determine when a problem pops up and it becomes unhealthy.