Dog Behavior

Summer Dog Safety Tips: Part 2

Calendar Posted on Jul 31, 2014 by tmiltz

Dog Safety For the Summer Heat

Unfortunately, summer is winding down. Although you still have a full month to make the summer of 2014 unforgettable, FlipFlop Dogs is here to remind you how to keep your dog safe in the last frenzy of summer vacations and last minute activities.

 

While our first Summer Dog Safety post was focused on dog safety at the beach, this time around, we’re focusing on things that happen at home. Whether you are squeezing in your beach trip over Labor Day or hanging out at home (lounging on beach chairs like Charlie), please remember how dangerous summer can be for your furry loved one.

 

Heating Up: Everyone has seen the posts on the dangers of leaving your dog in a parked car during the summer. Just. Don’t. Do. It. Leave your dog at home, with the air condition on, where they are safe from the dreaded heat in the middle of the day. Fans are not enough when it comes to cooling down a dog, as they are different than how humans cool off. Especially when you will be gone for hours (or the whole day), air condition is definitely the safer bet in knowing your dog will not be overheated. Adding a few ice cubes to their water bowl will ensure the water stays cooler longer too.

 

Screen First: If the temperature is cool enough to open the windows and doors, always have a screen (without any rips or holes) in. Screens will prevent dogs from being able to jump out the window or running out the door. This may sound silly, but if your dog sees a squirrel and the window is big enough, they may try and jump out to get it. Screens also prevent any bugs/insects from getting in to bite your family members/dog.

 

Summer Doggy Vacations with FlipFlop Dogs

Summer Doggy Vacations with FlipFlop Dogs

 

Staying Up-to-Date: The summer brings out animals and insects, which means that it is especially important for your dog to have their vaccinations up-to-date, including rabies. Rabies are most often found in bats, raccoons, foxes and skunks, as well as, other wild animals. Rabies can be deadly as soon as symptoms start to occur, but can be full prevented by having the vaccine. If your dog is not vaccinated, keep them inside as much as possible and walk them on a leash when you do go outside. For extra preventative measures in keeping strange animals wondering your yard, do not feed your dog outside and keep your trash closed so animals are not able to dig through it. Dogs are also prone to mosquito, bee and wasp bites. If you see that your pup has been bitten, remove the stinger and notice if they develop an allergic reaction. Be prepared to take your dog to the vet if they swell up in the area or if you notice other allergic symptoms. Lastly, as we approach fall (gasp!), we have to watch for ticks and fleas. Check with your vet to get any needed vaccinations before going on a trail hike.

 

Keeping the Hair Long: While this may seem counter intuitive, keeping your dogs hair long actually helps to keep them cool during the summer. Your dog’s coat is adapted to regulate them during all seasons. During the summer, their coat prevents them from overheating and from getting sunburnt. Do not shave their hair, but you can trim it, if needed. If your dog’s hair is already thin and light colored, apply baby or dog sunscreen to the exposed areas while they are in the sun. With any type of coat, brushing and cleaning the hair is especially important in the summer to keep their circulation healthy and rid them of the shedding hair. Rather than keeping them in their wool sweater, brushing takes off the unwanted hair and puts them in a light “summery” t-shirt.

 

Enthusiastic Swimmers Only: Spending your last summer weekend at the beach or by the pool? Be mindful that some dogs, but not all dogs, like to swim. Let your dog warm up to the idea of swimming by starting in shallow water or by using a ramp. Call them into the water, but never force them in. Once your dog is in the water, keep a watchful eye on them and notice when they start to get tired. Swimming is a great exercise and perfect to cool off during the summer, but using all their muscles and keeping their head afloat can tire them out quickly. We also recommend using a doggy life preserver until your dog gets a hang of the “doggy paddle”. Never throw your dog in to the water, as it could scare them, injure them or worse. If you are planning a day by the water, always have a shaded area where your dog can lay so they do not overheat or become too exposed to the sun. They don’t need to be tan!

 

With these summer dog safety tips in mind, enjoy the last full month of your summer and have fun outside with your pup. Try not to play outside in the heat of the day, but summer is the time to enjoy the great outdoors before it gets cold again. Now we want to hear from you….What was the best activity you and your pup did together this summer? Comment below! 

 

Does your summer consists of vacations? No worries- we’ve got your dog covered with their summer vacation too! FlipFlop Dogs is the alternative to traditional dog kenneling. Rather than having your dog stay on a cold concrete floor, your dog will vacation in the home of one of our loving Companion Families. We alleviate the stress of going away by picking up your dog at your home to take them to the Companion Family’s home, and drop them off at your home after you arrive. Our Companion Families are background checked, and home inspected before a paw steps in their doorway. Our Companion Families do not work, or do not work outside the home (providing 24/7 care and attention). We match your dog with a Companion Family that fits their daily needs and will maintain their routine down to a tee. Lastly, we always have an emergency and back-up plan if anything were to happen so you can have full peace of mind while you are away. Book your dog’s vacation today!

Fourth of July Dog Safety

Calendar Posted on Jun 24, 2014 by tmiltz

FlipFlop Dogs July 4th

 

Happy July 4th to our FlipFlop family!

 

Before the parties and barbecues begin on Friday, ensure the safety of your dogs for a happy celebration. While we, humans, find enjoyment in July 4th festivities, our furry loved ones do not.  Whether you are having a party at your house or going to the neighbors, your dog’s safety should be in consideration. Below are our tips for your dog’s safety before, during and after the fireworks and parties.

BEFORE

  1. Identification please. Up-to-date tags/identification, microchip and fitted collars are critical. Dogs get extremely scared from all of the commotion and fireworks that they are more prone to run away. According to the Pet Amber Alert, more pets go missing during July 4th-6th than any other time of the year. Updated identification greatly increases your risk of finding your dog, if something were to happen.
  2. Calming products. There’s not shame in turning to other products when fireworks are just too stressful for your pooch. There are a number of great (and safe) products that really help in decreasing anxiety. Our recommendations would be the Thundershirt, dog appeasing pheromone products or ProQuiet. Always ask your vet before using any of these products.
  3. Prepare the room. Play calming jazz music or have the TV on in a room filled with their favorite toys and bed/blanket to provide a relaxing atmosphere. Closing all of the blinds and curtains help in lessening the bright lights from the fireworks. This room should be set up with tranquility and serenity in mind.
  4. Plenty of exercise. A well-exercised dog is a calm and happy dog. Don’t skimp on giving your pup a long walk or run on the morning of 4th of July.

DURING

  1. Closed quarters. Putting #3 to use, keep your house doors closed and your dog in the calming room. Your dog is easily able to run out of an open door when guests are coming in and out of the house. Having your dog locked in a safe, quiet room will lessen the risk of them accidently escaping. Also, remind your guests that you have a dog and to always close the door behind them.
  2. Use a crate. We recommend using one if your dog is more likely to become destructive during stressful times, or if they feel more comfortable in their crate.
  3. Their best friend. Sometimes all you need is to be comforted. Your dog might feel best if you stay by their side when times are stressful. Just make sure to stay in the house with them and not outside. Curl up on the couch, pop in a movie and enjoy the night with your pup.
  4. No show. Do not, do not, do not bring your dog to a firework show. Circling back to #1, having your dog outside when they are scared is a bad idea, especially when you are closer to the fireworks.
  5. Dog food only. If you’re having people over, give them a friendly reminder that your dog eats plenty of their own food and does not need any human food. Whether your dog is allergic to the food, or not, it’s safer to avoid the situation all together. Providing a bowl of healthy dog treats will give your guests an option to feed your dog, if they would like.
  6.  Act natural. Acting nervous or anxious around your dog will only make them more scared.

AFTER

  1. Reward. Give them treats for being calm and a good dog during the fireworks. July 4th is a lot for dogs. Give them extra love, praise and healthy treats to reinforce their positive behavior of staying calm.
  2. Cleaning up. If you had a party at your house, don’t let your dog be the clean up crew. Dogs will eat any of the food left behind, including the scrapes from the grill. Food and alcohol remnants can lead to disrupting their digestive system, or worse. Keep them in a room until you are done cleaning up.
  3. For next year. Notice what worked and what didn’t in helping to calm your dog during the fireworks. If your dog did not handle the loud noises well, (despite all the distractions you provided) talk to your vet so you know how to handle the situation better for next year!

 

 

Enjoy your festivities and check out our Facebook page for more dog safety tips leading up to July 4th, as well as, homemade dog treat recipes. If you are going away for July 4th and need a safe, loving home for your dog to stay in, book their vacation with FlipFlop Dogs today! We match your dog with a Companion Family that meets their home-life routine and provides 24/7 one-on-one care while you are away. Peace of mind guaranteed!

Summer Dog Safety Tips: Part 1

Calendar Posted on May 29, 2014 by tmiltz

Beach Safety for Dogs

Who else is starting to get their summer glow back? Dreaming of lying on the beach and spending your days on the water are now in arms reach. While you are focused on the positive enthusiasm, realizing that summer is upon us, here at FlipFlop Dogs, we felt it was the perfect opportunity to give you summer dog safety advice.

 

 

We want you to have a happy, healthy and safe summer with your dog, but the beach poses as a threat to many dogs. The four major safety concerns are: dehydration, salt intoxication, sunburns (including paws) and a heat stroke. To avoid any health concerns, follow these dog safety summer guidelines to have a carefree couple of months.

 

Dehydration: With the heat, dogs can easily get dehydrated- just like humans. Although, they are unable to alert us as well, a quick sign would be when they start acting lethargic, have sunken eyes and panting with a dry mouth. A simple preventative measure is to bring water for your dog when you are outside in the heat for an extended period of time. If you are playing Frisbee, you can easily fill that up with cool, clean water in between throws. We recommend providing them with water, at least, every 15 minutes to ensure they will not be dehydrated. Dehydration at the beach can be especially concerning, which leads into the next point of salt intoxication.

 

Salt intoxication (hypernatremia): If you bring your dog to the beach, be aware of how often they gulp down the ocean water. Dogs do not understand that salt water is harmful to them, and different than the clean water you normally provide for them. Some dogs have a tendency to overload on salt water by keeping their mouth wide open while playing or swimming. Even a little salt intake can upset certain dog’s stomachs. The early signs of hypernatremia are vomiting and “beach diarrhea”, but can quickly develop full-fledged hypernatremia by showing neurological signs of having trouble walking, seizures and sudden depression. If you notice these signs, take your dog to the vet immediately to be treated. Prevent this by using the tip above and provide your pup with fresh, clean water frequently so they aren’t as tempted to start swallowing the salt water.

 

Sunburns: Just like humans, dogs can get sunburnt.  Our FlipFlop Dog, Charlie, is our first dog to get noticeable sunburnt. Like other white coated, thin haired dogs, this should be a concern as their skin turns distinctively pink/red after lying outside. While there are pet specific sunscreens, baby sunscreen works just as well and is more accessible at local stores. After applying the sunscreen, keep a watchful eye to be sure your dog doesn’t lick the area (which would reverse the benefits of applying the sunscreen in the first place). Providing an umbrella or shaded area for your dog to lie under is another easy way of preventing sunburns and overheating.

 

Your dog’s skin is not the only part that can be burnt, but also their paws. Asphalt, sand and boardwalk wood can all become too hot for your dog’s paws when the summer temperatures are rising. A way to tell is by putting your palm on the ground. If it’s too hot for your palm, it’s too hot for your dog to walk on. Try walking them in a different area, such as grass, or at a different time in the day.

 

Heat strokes: Panting and disorientation are the main signs of a looming heat stroke in your dog. Dogs can easily over heat by being outside in the hot temperatures. Limit the amount of time they spend outside and do not leave them outside unattended.  Daily exercise is always healthy, but during the summer, be careful with the temperatures and monitoring your dog’s heat intake. Exercising should be moved to the early morning or late evening to prevent a heat stroke. Most dogs do not realize anything is wrong and will keep jogging or walking, so it’s your job to know when to stop. To cool your dog down, bath them in cool, not cold, water. Cold water can make overheating worse. If your dog does not cool down, call the vet. Heat strokes can happen outside, inside and, especially in a car. Did you know that an inside temperature of a car can rise 40 degrees within an hour, when the temperatures are between 72 and 96 degrees outside?! Thanks to the study done by Stanford University School of Medicine, we know for that to be true. Leave your dog home, inside and with air condition to prevent any over heated related incidents.

 

Use your best judgment in keeping your dog safe and cool this summer. If you notice something “off”, contact your vet as the summer heat could be affecting your dog. Your dog can still have fun outdoors by playing in a sprinkler and when they are being carefully monitored during the hottest months.

 

Look for more dog safety blog posts throughout this summer, including an upcoming post on safety while swimming. Comment below if you have any specific concerns about your dog’s safety during the summer- we’d love to provide you with our tips.

 

 

 

 

Resources: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/top-summer-pet-hazards/story?id=16775200#1

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27 Reasons You Know You’re A Dog Owner

Calendar Posted on Apr 30, 2014 by tmiltz

Dog owners alike experience daily humors that non-dog owners would not appreciate nor understand. Dogs are our best friend and life would not be the same without the shedding, slobber and an occasional ‘refinishing’ of chew marks on the furniture.  They lighten the mood when its tense and can read your emotions when all you need is a partner by your side. To all of the ups and downs, dog owners go through much of the same experiences. Leading into…

 

Dog Owner with Dog
Dog Owner with Dog

 

You Know You’re A Dog Owner When….

    1. You take a bite out of your dinner and you get dog hair in your mouth, but continue eating.
    2. You instinctively react when you hear a doorbell on the TV because you know your dogs will start barking.
    3. When rain is in the forecast, you know that mud and smelly wet dogs are in your future.
    4. You have more pictures of your dog than your friends and family on your phone.
    5. You always have someone to talk about your day with and they listen intently.
    6. You’re instantly happier when you walk into your house to a wagging tail and an excited dog.
    7. You know what it’s like to be outside at 6am, 9:30pm, and whenever else your dog has to use the bathroom.
    8. You have children gates…without the children.
    9. Your car windows are never clean, or are cleaned only with dog slobber.
    10. You and your dog have a secret language, such as knowing exactly what to do when you say “do your business” while standing in a grass field.
    11. You go for walks in the rain, snow and wind so your dog can receive their daily exercise.
    12. You have an Instagram account for your dog and it has more followers than you’ll ever have.
    13. You consider your dog’s comfort level when looking for a new car.
    14. Your parents refer to your dog as the “grandkid”.
    15. You plan your social activities around your dog. “No happy hour tonight, promised Shadow we were going for a run.”
    16. You feel more comfortable talking about your dog than yourself.
    17. You’re happier than most people you know. (Dog owners usually are.)
    18. Your recent search history is looking for places that are “dog friendly”.
    19. You have more nicknames for your dog than your significant other.
    20. You spent a big chunk of your day thinking about what your dog is doing at home.
    21. You stop everything you are doing when you start to hear the “pre-barfing”, coughing noises.
    22. You get your dog groomed more often than you get your hair cut.
    23. Trying to teach your dog a new trick has become your favorite pastime.
    24. You realize that sitting on command may be the only trick they know, but you show them off either way.
    25. Your holiday card usually contains a picture of your dog, who may or may not be dressed up for the occasion.
    26. Your plans for Saturday consist of taking your dog for a run, going to the dog park and going shopping with your dog.
    27. You know for a fact you have the best dog there is.

 

 

Did we miss some of your favorite dog moments as a dog owner? Share them by writing a quick comment below!

5 Weird Dog Behaviors Concluded

Calendar Posted on Apr 02, 2014 by tmiltz

Dog chewing on boneDog chewing on bone

Dogs were one of the first animals that were domesticated. Although this happened hundreds of years ago, dogs still maintain some of their basic instincts learned from the wild. Have you ever wondered why your clean pup likes to roll around in stinky things (like the garbage)? Or why they enjoy chewing on a good bone? Most of these things are not harmful behaviors, unless it becomes obsessive. Let’s uncover the mystery behind these 5 weird dog behaviors, which are actually quite normal to them.

 

  1. Rolling Around in Stinky Things. This behavior does not have a clear origin, although scientists have a couple of reasons as to why dogs would enjoy doing this. Scientists have shown that dogs want to mark their territory by spreading their natural scent over the original strong smell. While others believe they used to roll in the foul smells to rid their natural scent and disguise it with the strong stinky smells. This would allow them to sneak up on their prey easier in their hunting days. The other reason could be that they really enjoy how it smells- think teenage boy that just discovered cologne.  If your dog is a stinky smell lover, try to keep the garbage out of their reach. On walks, work on obedience training by saying “Leave it” when they start to roll in the stink.
  2.  Endless Tail Chasing. Ah- the tail chasers! As puppies, the tail is a mysterious fluffy and long thing hanging off of their body. They find that chasing it seems to the fun and entertaining. Dogs will continue to do this as they enter adulthood if the behavior is reinforcement by getting attention from their owners by laughing or encouraging them. Tail chasing could become a dog behavior to worry about. If your dog continuously does this, they could be wearing down their nails and feet pads, or obsessively do this until they become dizzy. Notice when and how often your dog chases their tail. Tail chasing could be a sign of boredom, anxiety/stress, or they could be seeking attention. To prevent your dog from chasing their tail, provide them with an adequate amount of exercise, pay lots of attention to them when you are home, and do not encourage the behavior.
  3. For the Love of Bones. Dogs of any size and breed love bones. It’s one chew toy that they all seem to agree on (even those dogs that don’t love playing fetch). Thousands of years ago, bones would provide a source of nutrients for dogs because they had marrow on the inside and fat around it. While domesticated dogs do not need to hunt their prey for the meat and bones anymore, they still find joy in chewing on a good bone to remind them of their ancestors. Provide your dog with a bone that is fitted for their size and monitor when they are chewing on them. Bones can be dangerous when they get too small and could get lodged into their throat. Ask your veterinarian about what bone would be best for your pup’s size.
  4. Suckling on a blanket. Dogs can be as attached to suckling on a blanket as much as a child is to their binky.  This behavior could mean that your dog was weaned off from nursing too soon or that they had to fight with their siblings to nurse. Suckling on a blanket is not usually a harmful habit, as dogs can simply find comfort and calmness from it. Suckling does become an issue if they are sucking on their own skin, known as flanking. This is particularly common in Dobermans, and should be corrected to prevent them from harming themselves. Giving your dog plenty of exercise and providing them with interactive toys to keep them entertained, can break the suckling behavior.
  5. Eating their feces. This behavior, coined coprophagia, is bizarre, to us. Why would they want to eat their own poop or throw up? There are a couple of reasons that are mentioned throughout evolution. When a mother had a litter, she fought to protect them from any prey. Their feces would smell like dogs, so she would clean up after them by eating their feces, which also keeps their area clean. Another reason, if dogs have a poor diet, they eat the feces because it has protein and traces of dog food in it. This is usually prevalent in impoverish environments. Dogs are also known for eating the cat feces in litter boxes.  To prevent this behavior from happening, tell them to “leave it” when they start sniffing the feces and use positive reinforcement when they do. Use a hooded litter box to prevent your dog from getting into the cat feces as well. Providing your dog with a healthy and balanced diet fit for their needs should prevent them from looking elsewhere for their nutrients.

 

 

If your pup shows signs of these behaviors, use positive reinforcement and obedience training as a way to correct the behavior. Also, provide them with the exercise they need, as a tired dog is a content dog. Refrain from using negative reinforcement or scolding your dog as a method of correcting behavior.

 

What weird behaviors does your dog partake in? Share with us by commenting below!