Category: TIPS & TRICKS

Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Ice Treats 1

Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Ice Treats

Prep: 10 Mins – Cook Time: 30 Mins – Freezer: 1 Hour+

INGREDIENTS
1/4 Pumpkin Diced
1 Small Sweet Potato Diced
1 Scoop Vet’s All Natural Grains
1/4 Cup Dry Dog Food

WHAT YOU’LL NEED
Pot & Ladle
Stick Blender
Silicone CupCake Tray and/or some Freezer Safe Toys

https://www.organixdogspa.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/20181119_111211-2.mp4
Chunky Mixture After Blending.

METHOD

  1. Boil the Pumpkin and Sweet Potato until soft.
  2. Blend together keeping the mixture a little chunky.
  3. Add the Grains last and stir to combine.
  4. Once the mixture has cooled, use a ladle to scoop the mixture into the CupCake Trays or Toys. 
  5. Place the patties/toys into the freezer for about an hour or until frozen.
  6. Feed to your dog when you’re leaving the house to keep them entertained or on a hot day to keep cool! 😀

Add the grains after blending to avoid them getting stuck in the blenders blades!

TIPS
If the mixture is flowing out of the toys,  place them into a silicone pattie to prevent losing the mixture. Once frozen the toy should come out of the silicone easily.

Use toys that are easy to clean and are freezer safe such as rubber Kong toys.

If your dog doesn’t like the toys or treats, try feeding them unfrozen. Not all dogs will enjoy the icy cool feeling 😛

TIPS
If the mixture is flowing out of the toys,  place them into a silicone pattie to prevent losing the mixture. Once frozen the toy should come out of the silicone easily.

Use toys that are easy to clean and are freezer safe such as rubber Kong toys.

If your dog doesn’t like the toys or treats, try feeding them unfrozen. Not all dogs will enjoy the icy cool feeling 😛

Not all grains are created the same! We use Vet’s All Natural as it’s formulated for dogs by a vet in Australia. If your dog has an intolerance or r vet has recommended your dog stay away from grains – check with them if this ingredient is ok or just don’t add it!

https://www.organixdogspa.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/20181119_174748.mp4
Lulu, French Bulldog – A very happy customer.

SUBSTITUTE IDEAS
Pumpkin – Butternut Squash
Sweet Potato – Broccoli Florettes
Vet’s All Natural – Dry Dog Food
Add Watermelon or Strawberries for A Fresh Summer Flavour! 😛

Add some dry food pieces that your dog likes to encourage them to give the treats a try!

These icy are a great way to keep your dog cool but to also alleviate boredom. By freezing the mixture inside a dog toy, your pup now has to work hard to get the food out. As the mixture melts from either the weather or your dog’s tongue, the more appealing the toy becomes and the more your dog will work at it as they are being rewarded as they are playing.
Pretty cool stuff, huh!?

DISCLAIMER
I used paper cupcake liners and silicone trays as I made way too much mixture. I know my dog won’t eat the paper but it’s safer and better for the environment to use your dog’s toys and/or silicone cupcake trays. 🙂

How to Keep Your Dog Cool In Summer

Believe it or not, grooming can actually keep your dog cool! And I don’t necessarily mean by shaving them!
There are 9 different type of coats your dog could have but no matter the coat type this simple technique will keep your dog cool and allow them to efficiently regulate their body temperature.

BRUSH THEM!
I speak a lot about the importance of brushing your dog and I promise it is with good reason. Brushing your dog has many benefits and they’re not all cosmetic.

  1. Aids in blood circulation
  2. Removes dead undercoat
  3. Removes knots & tangles
  4. Distributes natural coat oils
  5. Just generally feels good 😛

Today we’re looking specifically at benefit #2. Removing the dead hairs or undercoat.
Doing so via brushing allows your dogs skin to breath, so to speak. Leaving the undercoat inhibits airflow making your dog feel warmer in hot weather.
For those that shed a lot or tend to knot easily, a quick brush every day to every other day is best.
For the rest, a quick brush once or twice a week is enough.
I say a ‘quick brush’ because I mean it. If you brush your dog regularly you won’t need to spend hours when you finally get around to it and your dog will thank you for it.

The knot or undercoat you can’t remove today, you’ll probably be able to get tomorrow. If that fails, cut it out and start again.

SHAVING
Although I don’t recommend shaving double coated breeds for reasons I’ve mentioned here. Shaving other coat types can make their coat more manageable for you to look after in terms of cleanliness and upkeep such as brushing which in a round-a-bout way will help keep your dog cooler.
If your dog’s hair is really long and you don’t want to/can’t brush the debris out every day, a shorter lengthed coat may be more manageable for you.
Sometimes a simple tummy or hygiene shave can also assist in keeping your dog cooler as these are often areas that are hard to brush and knot more easily.

CONCLUSION
Brushing your dog helps remove the excess hair that is trapping heat close to your dog’s skin, making them feel hotter. A hygiene shave or a shorter haircut on some dogs may assist with brushing and keeping them cooler but on some dogs, shaving them can actually make them feel warmer by exposing their skin to the suns rays.

Remember to speak to your groomer about what they can do to help your dog this summer!

CREATE A COOL ENVIRONMENT
We can’t all stay at home with our dogs with the cooler on so it’s best to help your dog keep cool naturally for those times when you can’t have them inside.

  1. Create shade.
    Trees are great for this but you can also put up some shade cloth and create the shade yourself. If you have a pergola or some sort of undercover area such as a garage, remember to actually go out there and check if it is, in fact, cool in that area especially if they only have one shaded/undercover area. My garage is quite cool most of the time but after a few hot days, it does become rather hot so I have 2-3 other options for my dog to go.
  2. Get a pool.
    The whole family will love you for it! Just kidding! I just mean the plastic clamshell kiddie pools! 😛 Fill both sides with water and place them in the shade so the water stays cool. Most dogs will wander into it or at least drink from it if it’s really hot even if they don’t like water. These pools have fairly high sides for smaller dogs so make sure you put something around it so they can walk in and out easily. Only fill them up enough to allow your dog to lay in the water safely.
  3. Give them a Gel Bed.
    You can buy them from here or eBay. Some work just like an ice pack. Pop it in the freezer, cover it with a towel or blanket and lay it out for your dog to use. Again, lay it in the shade to prevent it warming up too quickly.
  4. Lydia’s Doggy Ice Pack.
    Fill a freezer safe bottle 3/4 of the way with water and freeze it. Freeze as many as you like and put them all around the place: In your dog’s bed, near their mat, under a tree etc. These bottles can be used as something to lay next to, to lick and to keep the environment cool. Remember they will build condensation for your dog to lick and as the ice eventually melts the bottles will probably drip everywhere.
  5. Provide Doggy Icy Poles or Pupscicles 
    Get a silicone ice tray and fill it up with water and some food your dog loves. Now your dog can enjoy their own doggy icy pole! Watch your dog the first time you give them one to ensure they’re eating it safely i.e.: Just licking it away to reach the food.
    There are some great recipes all over the internet too! Place them inside a dog bowl to keep them off the ground and prevent your dogs treat from melting away.

Use as many of these methods as you can so your dog can choose whichever they prefer or suits them at that particular time but also provide a neutral spot for your dog. Don’t go placing gel beds over the top of every single bed your dog has or they will have nowhere to escape the cool strange gel thing!
from these, give your dog plenty of water bowls so they don’t have to go far to find water and always make sure their ‘stuff’ is out of the sun throughout the whole day – remembering the sun moves during the day so a shady spot now might be a sunny spot in an hour.

How do you keep your dog cool?

5 Things to Keep Your Dog Warmer in Winter

If your dog really feels the cold, whether that’s because they’re older or have very little hair, or are just a little more sensitive than most, there are some great ways to help them keep warm while you’re off to work for the day.

The easiest way to help keep your dog warm and also give them the choice to cool down if need be is by giving them the tools they need to keep themselves warm. Think blankets and fluffy items that can be placed in their house and snuggled into.

Unfortunately, this may not be a good option for those with dogs who seemingly hate their bedding! I have some tips for those whose dogs prefer a diet of stuffing.

  1. Add extra bedding.
    This could be a sheepskin rug, a heated pet bed or a fluffy throw rug.
  2. Make sure their kennel is positioned appropriately.
    Angle it so there’s no direct wind entering the kennel’s doorway. Keep the kennel under cover where possible.
  3. Remove any draught issues altogether.
    Instal plastic curtains or a doggy door to the kennel opening.
  4. Keep them off the floor.
    Raise their kennel with wooden blocks or place their bed on top of a trampoline bed.

You may be thinking, But how do I know if my dog is cold?

Some signs are:

  1. Actively seeking warmth like sunshine or laying on clothes from the clothesline.
  2. Shaking.
  3. They’re cool to touch. Feel under their armpits as well as over their back.
  4. Making themselves small such as curling up in a corner.

Some of these are also signs of nervousness. By providing warmth, your dog should feel comfortable and happy. If they continue to curl up and shake, consult a dog behaviourist you may have a very nervous dog on your hands.

A few things for good measure:

  1. DIY hot water bottle.
    Fill up a plastic bottle with warm water. Not boiling, just warm, and place that in your dog’s bed or kennel with a blanket over the top. That way your dog can curl up beside it for warmth.
  2. Use an old mattress to create a den.
    Dog’s are most comfortable with den like sleeping arrangements. If your dog can’t get used to the idea of a man-made dog kennel and bed or just plain refuses to go inside a kennel. Many have found their dogs are most comfortable with some of their old stuff. Try using an old mattress laid in the garage and give them a few old clothes or blankets as bedding. They will appreciate being able to smell you on the bedding and will be able to create their own little hideout.

How to Check your Dogs Paw Pads for Debris

As it’s getting colder, wetter and probably muddier. If you don’t already do this, it’s a good time to start. Checking your dogs paw pads for debris can prevent any discomfort, injuries and potential vet visits. If you’re unsure of how to do this, follow these steps.

It’s extremely important to keep your dog comfortable and do this without force.  Sit by your dog however they are most comfortable, be that laying or sitting.

If Laying, Sit facing your dogs feet & belly so you can freely see beneath their paws.
If Sitting, Sit behind your dog. Lift the front feet one at a time and bend back the paws to face you. You should be able to see directly under the paws. For the back feet, try to lift and look at them with minimal movement. If your dog is leaning on one hip (most will be) then both feet will be visible from one side.

Then,

  1. Squeeze the larger paw pad section (metacarpal pad) gently. This pressure allows the rest of the toes to separate so you can see between the paw pads.
  2. Gently separate any hair in the way,  just to loosen it enough to ensure nothing is tangled or stuck.
  3. On short haired breeds, it will be very easy to see if anything is stuck, on long haired breeds it can be trickier. If you’re struggling to see the paw pad clearly, it may be worth asking your groomer to shave the paws out to help keep them clean and make it easier for you to see.

Tips

  • Dogs with long hair between their toes are at a higher chance of having things get stuck! Make sure to check thoroughly as it is easy to miss small objects that may have gotten lodged while walking. Clipping the paw pads can help with this.
  • Try to move your dogs legs and feet in a way that is comfortable & non straining for their limbs. Remember, their legs can only lift so high and their joints can only bend so much.
  • If your dog pulls away from you you’re either, A) Squeezing too hard or your dog is uncomfortable with the pressure. or B) There is a certain amount of pain from that paw. Applying pressure not only separates the paw pad enabling a better view for you but could also apply pressure to a painfully lodged object.
  • If unsure, ask your groomer or vet how to check or if they can check for you. They do this every day.

I’ve often found mud and small sticks stuck under my dog’s paws after a walk in the park. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever found between your dogs paws?

Does My Dog Really Need to Wear a Jacket in Winter?

Jackets and jumpers on a dog can be the cutest thing ever! Some dogs absolutely love putting their clothes on and will run to you as soon as you pick up their favourite set of Pj’s. Others will run away from you at the sight of the cupboard where their raincoat is stored is opened.
Whether or not your dog likes to wear a coat can become a determining factor as to whether you use them or not, but, you do need to know when it’s a good idea and when it’s not.

 

Types of Coats/Jackets/Jumpers

We’ll just use the word jacket from here.
Make sure their comfortable! No rubbing, no itchy fabrics, no velcro touching their skin, not too tight, the correct length etc.
There’s heaps of ways a jacket could become uncomfortable for your dog. The first time they wear one they may not know if they can move or not. If you’ve ever tried one on your dog and had them standing in one spot like a statue – that’s what I’m talking about. So, as long as you’ve tested it all over to ensure it’s comfortable, you can feel confident about allowing your dog to get used to it.


Providing your choice of attire is comfortable for your dog:
Jumpers are often a little bit more body hugging, allowing your dog to move more freely but won’t protect your dog from the rain. Dogs with little or no hair benefit most from jumpers as it provides them with a sort of, toupe, if you will.

Jackets/Coats are great for dogs that don’t appreciate something wrapped around their body. It leaves there legs free to move whilst protecting their body, back and spine from the cold. Make sure all the velcro and tie ups are not rubbing anywhere and ensure it’s a good length for your dog. Above the floor and covers the length of their back.

 

But, does my dog need to wear a jacket?
Short answer, sometimes. Haha sorry!
Generally, If your dog has hair, anything except a smooth coated dog or hairless dog, your dog shouldn’t need one. After all, that’s what their hair is for. Although, each dog has their own optimal temperature. Person A’s German Shepherd might be hiding in their house curled up having a nap while Peron B’s Pug is running around in the rain. The trick is to know when your dog is cold and warm and circumstances when they may need some help. Some breeds are more susceptible to the cold and sometimes it’s just the individual dog.
Their kennel should be their place of warmth in winter and a place to keep cool in summer. I always recommend a sheep skin or wool rug to place on the floor of the kennel for warmth + a few fleece blankets and a trampoline bed in the summer for comfort and air flow.

 There are definitely times when jackets are helpful, assuming your dog has a warm place to stay during their time away from you when you’re not home.

NEVER: Keep a jacket, coat or jumper on your dog when you are not there as they can become entangled. You’d never want your dog caught out in the rain because their jacket got caught on a plant or tree in the backyard!

 

Your dog is likely not to need a jacket if:

    • They are panting. They’re already warm! (They can also be nervous if their panting in certain situations)
    • They feel warm under their armpits or on their body.
    • They have their jacket on and feel hot underneath it + other symptoms of being hot. They should feel warm but not hot.
    • It’s above 20 degrees Celsius and sunny.
    • Their paws are leaving prints on the floor – that’s them sweating.
    • They’re currently sunbaking. Your dog knows what they’re doing.

 

Your dog may prefer a jacket if:

    • They have little to no hair (Think, Italian Greyhound or Smooth Dachshund)
    • There is an icy or chilly wind.
    • It’s raining on your walk.
    • Your dog feels the cold more – they shake on days when it’s not that cold.
    • Their elderly – again they may feel the cold more than others.
    • Your dogs is sick and a vet recommended they stay warm.

I’ve determined my dog is cold! When should I put a jacket on?
Think of your dog wearing a jacket the same as when you would wear one. At home, what does your dog do? Most will curl up in their bed or might be playing with some toys. You wouldn’t wear a jacket in bed or when playing a sport because you generally feel warm doing those activities. Of course, pay attention to your individual dogs behaviour but in most cases, a jacket is not needed at home. They have their bed and/or kennel for warmth.
When you leave the house to go out somewhere or on a walk, you would grab a jacket. If the weather permits and pups coming along, you may like to dress them in a coat to keep warm and/or dry.

 

Tips for stylish owners

    1. Make sure their comfortable! That means, their used to it and don’t mind wearing one. There’s nothing rubbing on their skin to cause irritation or cuts and they are actually cold without one.
    2. Get a few different jackets. Some warmer than others. Your dog may only need a light windbreaker one day and a fluffy fleece lined coat the next day.
    3. If during your walk you think your dog may be getting too hot, their panting, they feel very hot under their jacket, it may still be cold outside but that particular jacket is too warm. Have a lighter jacket with you and switch to the lighter one. Have you ever felt warm and removed your jacket only to immediately feel the chilly wind? It’s not a nice feeling for you or your pup.
    4. If your dog has longer hair, just remember the friction of a jacket may cause your dogs hair to knot up, always brush your dog after wearing a coat to prevent excessive knots or matting from occurring.
    5. Try a few different styles of jackets on your dogs to see which they feel the most comfortable in. Some will prefer jumpers and others coats.

 

Conclusion
Jackets and jumpers are an awesome way to keep your dog warm so you can enjoy your winter outings together. But too many times have I seen dogs walking the streets in cute little outfits, panting away trying to tell their owners their too hot. Learn to recognise the signs of heat stress, avoid dressing your dog in outfits unsuitable for the weather and make sure your dog isn’t miserable and uncomfortable wearing clothes. Your dog will thank you for keeping them warm while you get to put them in gorgeous colourful coats and you’ll feel better knowing you can confidently determine when your dog needs one and when they don’t.

What brush should I use on my Dog?

I ask people all the time about what kind of home grooming they do with their dog. I’m very glad to say most do in fact brush their dog, but the main question I get is, “What brush should I use?”. While there are heaps to choose from, I’m sure you can imagine you wouldn’t use the same brush on all dogs. It can still be incredibly tricky to choose the right one without ending up with one of everything!


One for shedding, one for the long haired areas, one for the smooth parts and one for knots. There are heaps of different types of brushes all designed for different types of coats (dog hair) and for different purposes.
Below is a list of common brushes and their uses. There are many, many more but as a pet owner, there’s no need to have a drawer full like I would! You may only need 1 or 2. Don’t let the pet shop lady push you into purchasing one for each day of the week 😉

 

The Comb
 


This is all you need for a long haired dog! Other brushes are useful too, but if you keep on top of your dogs hair with a comb, you should not need to use anything else.
You can get a double sided comb or a straight comb, long teeth or short teeth, ones with soft handles, wooden handles or no handle.
Make sure you get one with steel teeth and two different sized teeth spacing. The handle you choose is completely up to you and what’s most comfortable.
A comb is used on any long haired dog and is best used for removing knots; the different sized spacing will help in removing bigger knots through to smaller knots. Comb your dog just as you would your own hair, if the comb gets stuck it usually means there is a knot, find the knot with your fingers and use the end of the comb to cut the knot in half if possible, once it’s small enough, use the comb as normal again over the knot and it should slide out easily.
If your dog has a thick, double coat like a Bernese Mountain Dog, it would be best used in conjunction with a long pinned slicker brush, but is not essential.

Common Breeds: Golden Retriever, Maltese Terrier, Yorkie, Poodle etc.
Uses: Any long hair & to remove knots

ODogStore Product

 

The Slicker Brush

These brushes come in an array of widths, pin lengths and pin firmness. Generally speaking, you would choose a small width for a small dog or area (if you feel more comfortable using a smaller brush on smaller areas like their face), a longer or shorter pin length depending on the depth of their coat (A samoyed would use a longer pinned slicker to a Husky and the longer the pins the less pressure you need to reach the skin so be careful!), softer pins are for softer, easier to remove knots but I would stick with soft/medium pins anyway as the harder the pins the more chances of brush burn. I’ve personally not felt the need to get a hard pinned slicker.

If your dog has no knots but has some undercoat coming out, I like to use a slicker to loosen it all up and then collect anything I’ve missed with a comb. If there is a particularly stubborn knot I would use a slicker over the knot again to loosen the knot, if it doesn’t come out, I switch to a comb. So It’s pretty much used in conjunction with a steel comb but there are certain circumstances when it is better to use a slicker.

Common Breeds: German Shepherds, Samoyeds, Husky’s etc.
Uses: Any long hair & to loosen the coat

 ODogStore Product

Rubber Curry

 

My favourite brush! This ones for the short haired breeds (or to give any dog a massage while having a bath!). I have pulled soooo much hair off of a dog just by misting the dog with a conditioning spray and brushing them over with a rubber curry in circular motions. Most love the massaging feeling and you can see what you’ve removed from them if you look under the brush at the rubber teeth. Very satisfying! 
Choose a size and shape that fits your hand nicely and that fits around your dog’s body comfortably. If they have loose skin in areas it’s best to pull it taught (gently) so that the brush isn’t skipping over their skin folds like receiving a massage without massage oil!

Common Breeds: Jack Russel, Dachshund Short Haired, Pug, Staffy etc.
Uses: Removes loose hair

De-Shedding Rake

 

 

For long haired breeds, If you’ve been brushing your dog regularly (or not) and the hair has built up into clumps you may find it easier and even quicker to use a de-shedding rake instead of the comb and slicker brush routine. These tools have either one or two rows of metal prongs/teeth that are quite thick. They’re designed to pull the under coat (those clumps) up and out. They can help with knots but the teeth aren’t really designed for knots and that’s when you may want to switch to a comb. If you find a knot, the de-shedding rake will feel like it’s gotten stuck in the coat, remove the rake gently and try to remove the knot with the comb, then continue with the rake. Be careful running the rake over the leg joints, it’s best used over the body of the dog. Stock to the comb and slicker method for sensitive areas.

Common Breeds: German Shepherd, Alaskan Malamute, Newfoundland, Chow-Chow etc. Not really suited to drop coated breeds though.
Uses: Removing clumps of hair during high shedding times

 

De-Matting Rake

 

Not to be confused with the de-shedding rake! This is a serious tool that I don’t personally believe should be sold without explanation.
A Mat, when referring to a dogs coat, Is a knot that has become so knotted and twisted, it has formed a large, tight hair mass (mat), often quite taught on the dogs skin. 
They generally need to be cut out or shaved off, carefully. To avoid, bruising, skin irritation, itchiness and more horrible things.
So, this device was invented. It’s a hard one to explain without physically showing you but I’ll do my best!
The teeth on this tool are actually cutting blades. You can use them to try to cut portions of the mat which are intertwined in the hopes of saving the dogs coat from needing to be shaved off. If you are able to slice the mat into pieces, so to speak, you would then use a combination of a comb and slicker to smooth it out and fully remove the mat. However, it can be quite dangerous depending on your dog’s tolerance, how much pain they are in and how close the mat is to their skin. Use with caution!

Common Breeds: Not specific to any coat type.
Uses: Slicing knotted hair to aid in mat removal

 

In Conclusion!
If your dog has short or smooth hair you really only need to get a rubber curry for in between grooms, although most are happy to wait for the groomer to do it and that’s fine because their hair is short, there’s generally no risk factor to choosing not to brush. But I would encourage it as many dogs enjoy the massage!
If you are blessed with a long coated or heavy coated dog then I do hope you enjoy brushing! You can get away with only buying a steel comb and keeping on top of any thickening or extra fluffy areas as the hair begins to shed. Drop coated breeds like Maltese Terriers can get very tangly so daily-weekly combing is ideal.

Hopefully, that’s helped you make an informed brush decision and if you have another grooming tool you’re thinking of purchasing or that you have at home and are not sure if it suits you or your dog, feel free to leave me a comment! I’m always happy to help!

As always…

You may be using these dog walking tools wrong!

Flat collars, martingales, harnesses and halti’s. There are so many different walking tools out there that it can become quite confusing for dog owners to choose, let alone actually use them! I know when I was leash training my dog (Stretch, a mini Dachshund) I went through quite a few different styles only to find out that it was easier just to walk him on a flat collar and lead. But before that, I tried a harness because apparently their gentler on backs, a check chain because he pulled a lot and I thought I would train him with it, a martingale collar because I though the check chain was too harsh and finally, a slip lead.

I knew what each of the tools were designed for but what I didn’t realise at the time was that it was easier just to teach him to walk nicely. You can teach your dog to accept and walk calmly using any tool you like, it’s all down to personal preference of you and your dog. I had no issues walking using a harness, but Stretch hated it. Therefore, no more harness. He was comfortable on a  collar, so was I. Collar was the winner.

Commonly Used Tools  
The Flat Collar & Lead
– A safe 24 hour ID tag holder. Easy for you to use and most dogs and puppies have no issues wearing one. Make sure you can easily slip two fingers between the collar and your dogs neck to ensure a comfy yet effective fit, Too loose and your dog could become entangled.
Harness
– Removes neck pressure but in turn can encourage your dog to pull. Remember to stop moving forward as soon as your dog pulls otherwise they’ll learn pulling = forward!
Some dogs find them uncomfortable and will require some getting used to.
 
Martingale Collar
– A flat collar/check chain hybrid. It’s a safer alternative to a full check chain as it can only close so far, but will tighten when they pull so it’s recommended you use it under a trainers instruction.
 
Choke / Check Chain
– Designed for the old school ‘correction training’ method. Not really recommended any more as there are better training methods now. Not recommended for dogs that pull.
 
No Pull Harness
– It sits around the body like a normal harness but features a ‘no pull’ system. Each brand works slightly differently but will incorporate a disliked sensation when the dog pulls such as pressure under the armpits sometimes resulting in a small dog lifting themselves off the ground. They can be used on big dogs but I don’t think they work as well just due to their weight.
 
Head Collar
– Basically the same as a horse head collar as it is fitted around the dogs muzzle and neck giving you a greater control over their head. These work well on large dogs that pull as you’re not having to try to control the weight of their body. (Just like in horses)
 

 

Health Issues?
Some breeders will recommend a specific walking tool for their breed, quite often it is due to common health issues associated with the dogs breed.  For example, Brachycephalic dogs (Squished nosed dogs) or dogs with delicate necks such as Italian Greyhounds are commonly walked on harnesses in fear they may hurt themselves on other walking tools. If you’ve taught your dog to walk properly, they should not be pulling there for eliminating the pressure a collar could place on the dogs neck. If your dog has been diagnosed with a Collapsed Trachea or some other throat related condition then by all means use the tool suggested by your vet.

So there you have it…
For all of you who have been using a harness on their Great Dane in the quest to stop them from pulling you down the street, perhaps there is a more suited walking tool out there for you. Ultimately, use what you and your dog find comfortable, a lot of people prefer harnesses and their dogs walk comfortably with them and there’s nothing wrong with that.  I believe you can teach your dog to walk using any tool but, what you must do is teach them not to pull. For their own safety and yours.

And as always…

The Ultimate Trick to Keeping Your Dog Knot & Tangle Free!

It begins with a day at the beach. Jimmy the Retriever is covered from nose to tail. Sand glued to his belly and a fine layer of black sandy mud compacted under foot.

Lisa & Michael love taking Jimmy to the beach! Seeing him splash in the water brings a happy smile to their faces. When they get home, Jimmy is all dried up. He now sports a stylish set of sandy dread-locks hanging and swaying just off the floor.

Lisa & Michael are about to perform a wondrous trick that will keep Jimmy free from knots & tangles, free from itchy skin and most importantly, free from that nasty cologne: wet dog & beach parfum!

A Bath & Brush!

That’s right folks you heard it here, free of charge!

Sorry about the dramatics but I couldn’t help it! The longer you leave your dogs coat dirty, the harder it is to clean. Just like anything. And even better, if your dog doesn’t fancy a swim and doesn’t usually roll in the mud, good! All you need is a comb and a brush!

 

How often do you brush your own hair? Twice a day? At least once though right? What would happen if you didn’t? Knots, tangles, maybe even some debris from the day?
If you gave your dog a comb and a brush for 5 minuets everyday to every other day, you would be amazed at the difference it makes.
It’s good for circulation, helps distribute good oils, aids in skin checking and of course frees tangles.

 

If you don’t think you’ll be able to do both. Just buy a comb and comb out those friction areas such as the leg featherings, chest, tail and ears. Be gentle, but comb to the skin. Combing only the top layer of coat on a thick coated dog will do just that… comb the top layer. The under coat will still knot, tangle and potentially, mat.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for keeping those natural oils so don’t start over washing your dog but use common sense. A run in fresh water could mean leaving the coat to dry and brushing it all out. A splash in a dirty mud puddle and you may want to give your dog a wash. Choose the right brush and comb for your dogs coat type and length and a really gentle shampoo. There’s no need for harsh whitening shampoos when you’re just trying to keep the coat nice and skin clean. Brands like: Essential Dog or Cider & Basil are beautiful smelling and won’t strip the coats natural oils.

 

RECAP
When you can, brush and comb your dog. When he needs one. Wash him in a natural and gentle shampoo. If your not washing your dog this time round, spray on a nice conditioning coat spray and give them a brush!
It takes 5 minuets if you brush them regularly. It can take hours if it’s left for weeks! Believe me!

Happy Brushing!

– ODS

5 Tips for Washing Your Dog at Home

While we can’t always get into the groomers, It can be a lot of fun to give your dog a good scrub and watch all the muck wash away. We know it’s important to have our dogs groomed but it’s also important to do it properly. After all, if you’re going to do something, do it right! And/or give it a good old fashioned try!

Whether you prefer the DIY dog wash, the laundry sink or a bucket of warm water and a patch of grass, below are my 5 tips for getting it done properly and safely!

#1 – Use a Good Shampoo
What does that mean? It’s harder than it sounds due to the exceptional marketing of some brands. My tips? Read the bottle, choose chemical free with no artificial fragrances, if you know your dog has allergies make sure the shampoo contains none of it and also choose one that suits your dog’s hair & skin. A good quality shampoo will get out most stains so I’d stay away from any whitening shampoos as most will contain a form of bleach or colouring that’s not great for sensitive skins. If you’re not sure what to use feel free to ask me for some suggestions!

#2 – Use Warm Water
Not too hot, not too cold. In summer go for lukewarm and in winter you can turn it up a notch. Too hot and you’ll burn your poor pup and possibly cause them to fear the bath, too cold on a sensitive dog and you’ll shock them. A lot of double coated breeds like German Shepherds or Maremma Sheepdogs would prefer a cooler bath even when we would find it too cold. To be on the safe side with these woolly breeds, go for lukewarm.

#3 – Towel Dry
You may be thinking how nice it would be to get that fluffy salon finish at home, but using a normal human hairdryer is not the right way. They are often hotter and louder than pet made turbo driers and are not made to stay on for the long periods of time it can take to fully dry a long haired dog. If not used properly, you can also scare the crap out of your dog! Similarly with the turbo driers at the DIY dog wash, be careful of the heat and try to dry in the same direction the coat lays so you don’t create any knots.
It’s safest and still effective to grab a few towels and gently scrunch dry. Try to wash your dog on a day you know you can keep them warm while they dry, whether that’s in a pet friendly room of your house or from the sun/heat. Short coats can be ruffled up in a towel until 99% dry. They’ll probably enjoy a good scratch anyway!

#4 – Be Careful Around Their Head
Dog’s generally hate their ears and head getting wet. You’re also at risk of getting water in their ears and causing an ear infection. The easiest way to prevent this is to put a piece of cotton wool in each ear. This will also muffle sound which can help with timid dogs. If you think you can do it, I push their ears forward and cover their eyes as I move the spray head over their face. This means I am wiping the water out of their face right away and squeezing the excess water from their ears to prevent shaking or any discomfort. If you’re not sure how to do this I’d be happy to show you! Just ask!

#5 – Brush, Brush, Brush
Believe it or not, short haired breeds also require brushing. Brushing promotes healthy skin and coat and also limits shedding. No matter what you do, you CANNOT eliminate shedding. Every dog is different and will shed a different amount of hair. What you can do is control where a majority of it will fall. Choose a location you’re happy to potentially fill with hair. Select the right brush. And give them a really good brush before and after their bath but only while the coat is dry. Using the wrong tools on a wet coat could cause damage. Brushing before the bath will reduce the amount of work you’ll have to do in the bath and brushing after will give a nice finish.

Side note: Choosing the right brush.
For short coats, you can’t go past the trusty rubber curry. You’ll be amazed at the amount of hair this brush will remove and it also gives your pup a nice massage at the same time. Use it in circular motions gently pulling tight any skin rolls to avoid a “getting a massage with no oil” type of feeling.
Zoom Groom, $15.99 @ Pet House Superstore 

I should add, if your dog has a lot of knots, washing them will cause the knots to tighten and can create matting and cause discomfort. If your dog is already matted, you could injure them by trying to brush it all out. At this point it’s best to shave your dog down to allow their skin to breath and for the coat to re-grow. Looking after your dogs coat will prevent the need for a shave down and will also allow your dog to cool efficiently and stay protected from the elements.


For Longer Coats, there are so many more options, many of which can get a little dangerous if not used correctly so we’ll go with the most effective and safest brush to keep it simple.

A trusty comb and slicker brush is all you need for effective undercoat removal on a regular basis. Combs are generally sized as fine, medium and wide referring to the gaps between the teeth. You can use a mixture of all three or just stick to the medium which will work fine (if you’ll pardon the pun) for most knots.
Slicker brushes come in different diameters and hardness. The size of the brush depends on the area your brushing and the size of your dog, again stick with a medium soft brush and you’ll get the job done. Because slicker brushes are a little more sharp pinned, you need to be careful not to brush too hard and allow the brush to do the work for you. To brush areas like the ears and tail, I always put my hand under where the brush will go so I can feel the amount of pressure i’m using.

Gripsoft are my favourites for these types of tools.
Small Soft Slicker, ~$15 from Vet Products Direct

Medium Comb, $11 from Vet Products Direct


And there you have it, it’s certainly not an exhaustive list but it’s enough to get you in the right direction. We all want to look after our pets as best as we can and if that means you have to get in the tub and give your dog a good wash then go for it!

Happy Washing 🙂

How to Prepare For a Visit to the Groomers

A dog groomers job is not just to “Style & Cut Hair” (You Don’t Mess With The Zohan Movie Quote). It’s also about making the dog feel comfortable and keeping their skin and coat healthy. If the dog is comfortable it makes the groomer’s job a lot easier!

But do you know who else has a say in how a dog feels when it comes into the grooming salon? It’s yours! That’s right, you too can help ensure your dog is ready for its pamper ‘sesh’ by following these easy practices that your dog and groomer will love you for!

Firstly, tell yourself: “My dog, Mr. McFluffigans, Is going to have the best time ever at the groomers today!”. Don’t laugh! Your dog feeds off your energy, so even though your dog might usually be timid, doesn’t take well to strangers/new groomers and is also really sensitive to loud noises. Go in there with YOUR tail high and your dog will feel the positive energy from you and feel confident about what he/she is walking in to!

2. Tire Him Out!
But not too much… A super excitable dog will benefit from a good walk, run or play to lose some excess energy. A groomer will be using scissors and clipper blades that are already dangerous enough without Fido jumping around all over the place. For the benefit of your dog and the groomer, don’t bring them in when they’re full of energy. We’re trying to create a relaxed and comfortable environment for your dog to hopefully enjoy being pampered.

3. Don’t Make a Fuss!
This comes back to your energy again. Even if your dog is good with other people and doesn’t mind you leaving them; yelling and talking in high pitched noises before or as your leaving – “Bye Fluffigan! Bye Baby!..Good Boy!..Yes You Are!” – Will only upset them once you close the door.

Keep calm and walk away – “no touch, no talk, no eye contact.” – Cesar Millan

4. From a puppy, get your dog comfortable having their whole body handled and bring them into the groomers as soon as their fully vaccinated. The more your dog is accustomed to being handled and groomed the more comfortable they will feel in the salon.

5. Get a brush suited to your dog’s coat type and brush them every few days, little bits at a time. That way your dog gets used to the frequency of brushing and it becomes normal. Then you don’t have to sit there for an hour brushing all the knots out that accumulated over the weeks and your groomer will have more styling options for you.

6. Do not let your pet get matted! This is super uncomfortable for them and can cause pain and irritation. Once your pet’s hair is matted, the safest/easiest and most stress-free way to eliminate it… is to shave it all off. Prevention is easy! Regular brushing from either yourself or a groomer. Some pets are more susceptible to matting (Coat length, environment & your pet’s activity level and disposition) and that means dropping them at the groomers once every 6-8 weeks might not be enough and you may need to help out with some brushing at home.
*Do not be confused! Just because you like your dog’s coat shaved, doesn’t mean it’s ok to let them go through the pain of having a matted coat… 🙁

4. Don’t forget about grooming through Winter. You may think it’s cold so Mr. McFluffigans should keep EVERY SINGLE STRAND OF HAIR ON HIS BODY! But this is not true. Your dog will stay warmer the better maintained his coat is. For long-haired breeds, you can stick to coat trims & washes in winter and regular brushing to remove dead hairs.

Now that your dog is calm & comfortable, your dog’s groomer can safely complete your desired haircut or even try something a little fancier!

Did you see a difference in your dog by following this guide?