Guest Post: Essential dog vaccines to obtain before boarding

Dog Vaccine Doctor Guest Post: Essential dog vaccines to obtain before boarding

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Editor’s Note: Keep in mind, dog vaccines can be beneficial to your pet whether they are being boarded at a large facility with many dogs or a small home with maybe only one other pet. You can’t control what other people’s pets have been exposed to, but you do have control over how an exposure could affect your dog. Check with a trusted veterinarian to determine the best plan for your pup.

For dog owners intending to leave their beloved canines in a pet boarding facility, it is important to get all your bases covered. Keep the pet’s health in mind, and get your dog vaccinated before sending your pet to a dog boarding facility such as a kennel. Kennels have varying requirements when it comes to vaccinations and pet care so it is best to ask them before getting your pet vaccinated. Here are some of the more common ailments and vaccines given to pets bound for boarding.

Common Dog Ailments

Kennel Cough – Aptly named kennel cough, this ailment is often caused by the Bordetella bacteria or the parainfluenza virus. The disease is commonly found in poorly ventilated kennels, but kennel cough is transmitted in a similar way as the common cold in humans. Dogs can easily get infected when they come into contact with another canine that has the virus.

Parvovirus – A parvovirus infection is a fatal disease commonly found in unvaccinated dogs. The virus can affect both the cardiac and gastrointestinal areas in the dog’s body. It is highly contagious and can set in quickly. Puppies are the most susceptible due to their weak health.

Distemper – Canine distemper is caused by the distemper virus. The ailment commonly affects the gastrointestinal area and respiratory system. Although commonly found in dogs, the virus can also infect other types of animals such as ferrets, wolves, foxes and raccoons. The disease is spread by inhaling or coming into direct contact with secretions from an infected animal.

Rabies – Rabies is a fatal disease caused by a virus which can affect all types of animals. It is easily transmitted by getting bitten by an infected animal. The virus attacks the victim’s nervous system, causing the person or animal to act wildly or unusually fearful.

Common Dog Vaccines

C5 – For kennel bound dogs, ask for the C5 vaccine. This vaccine will help protect the canine from kennel cough, distemper, parvovirus, parainfluenza and hepatitis. If the dog’s vaccinations have lapsed or if the canine has never been vaccinated before, a booster shot is also required. The booster shot is commonly given approximately two to four weeks after the initial vaccination has been injected. Inter-nasal formulas are available and work quicker. These can work as last minute vaccinations for dogs bound for the kennel.

 It is important to note that although the vaccination can help increase the dog’s resistance from acquiring the kennel cough, it cannot make the dog fully immune from the disease. Similar to the common cold in humans, in a few cases, getting vaccinated can also produce symptoms similar to kennel cough. This can occur around three to ten days after getting the shot, which is why vaccinations should be given at least two weeks before the dog is left at a dog boarding facility.

C4 – This type of core vaccine can protect dogs against the parvovirus, hepatitis and distemper. It can also provide protection against the parainfluenza virus, one of the causes of kennel cough. In some cases, dog boarding facilities will allow dogs to be boarded as long as they have been injected with this vaccine.

 C3 – The C3 core vaccine provides protection against the parvovirus, hepatitis and distemper. This type of vaccine will not provide any protection against the parainfluenza virus or the Bordetella bacteria. As such, dogs will still be susceptible to the kennel cough even after being injected with the C3 vaccine. On its own, the C3 is not a suitable pet care vaccine for a dog entering the kennel facility.

Rabies vaccine – The rabies vaccine is given separately from other forms of vaccines. Puppies that are at least 4 months old can be given the rabies vaccine. For optimal pet health, rabies vaccines should be given once every 3 years while the booster can be administered once a year.

It is important to remember that it takes several days before the dog vaccines take full effect. As such, you need to plan ahead and send your pet to the vet at least two weeks before leaving it at the kennel. Keeping your pet’s vaccines up to date ensures that your canine remains healthy even when left at a pet boarding facility.

Written by Robert Gold, a writer for Paradise 4 Paws DFW.

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Guest Post: How to find the right dog bed

dog bed orange stripe Guest Post: How to find the right dog bed

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There are a plethora of options out there but finding the right bed for your canine is an enormous step that you shouldn’t take lightly. Every dog needs his own space and with the amount of options available these days it can be hard to choose. Your choices are so varied that theirs can become less important in making your bed fit with the décor of your home. Dog beds can last to accommodate your canine for the rest of their life if maintained correctly and kept clean.

Remember, some dogs sleep up to 16 hours a day so their bed can be a massive part of their life.

First of all, evaluate your pooch, his/her size, age, health and needs. Understanding your dog is the fundamental goal in getting the bed correct; smaller dogs and toy breeds prefer beds that they can snuggle into and keep warm such as wool and faux suede fabrics.  Fabrics are much more basic in cheaper beds but are much more suited if your dog malts/sheds an awful lot or gets wet or has a tendency to chew and rip.

Getting a bed with a good pillow and cushioning is another superb addition especially for smaller and older breeds that will enjoy the comfort. Check to see if the coverings are removable and you can wash them; some cheaper beds may be made of poor material that cannot be washed or risks damage from regular washing. Note that these cushioned beds can be a little warm in the summer and your dog may opt for another place to sleep, even on the cold floor.

Waterproof bedding is a great idea if your older dog is suffering from incontinence or they spend a lot of time outside, or if you want an outdoor bed for the summer. Usually waterproof beds are easier to clean and maintain.

Consider your budget, bedding prices can range from £20 – £200+ ($25-$250). There are many points for pricing including quality of the material, size and requirements for your canine. Wool and faux suede and sherpa fleece are always much more expensive, but are not suitable for chewers or for some younger and older breeds. Nothing grows faster than a puppy, so remember buy a bed to accommodate your dog in the long run. Something we have done is buy a smaller bed for a puppy and then buy a more expensive luxury bed when our puppy is getting towards full size.

Chewers and very active dog owners may prefer beds without sides, so a large cushion or memory foam, and flat beds, are a better choice. Is your bed going in a dog crate? If so, look for rectangular dog beds that fit the shape of your crate, maximizing the space for your dog.

Using your dog bed for training, or using it as a reference for bedtime is a great tip. Allowing your dog to sleep in your bed can get them into bad habits and output bad, sometimes dominating behaviour, and often give you a bad nights sleep. Finding a good quality dog bed is easy with Kennelstore.

Chris Turton woks for Kennelstore, the UK’s biggest provider of dog kennels, housing and runs.

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Guest Post: raising Bosco, a German shorthaired pointer

I have a German shorthaired pointer, and let me tell you, they are absolutely crazy! For one, they are a hunting breed. I’m not a hunter. This obviously created an ownership dilemma that caused me to get creative throughout training.

My dog’s name is Bosco, and he’s a classic German shorthaired pointer (GSP). He’s 7 months old and some days he seems younger and other days he seems older. It’s totally unpredictable. He’s all over the place, mentally and physically. Having said that, he’s also come a long way and is starting to fit nicely into a routine.

 Guest Post: raising Bosco, a German shorthaired pointer

Photo of Bosco by Griff Haeger.

Below I list some quick ways that I was able to harness the energy of Bosco, with the goal of helping future owners of German shorthaired pointers.

I taught him how to win

This particular breed of dog is one of the most difficult that I’ve ever dealt with. However, the breed is also very desirable in the sense that once they are trained, they become a wonderful acquaintance. My first step in training Bosco was to teach him how to win. I noticed from the very beginning with Bosco that he always wanted to do things his way. Whether this behavior is the result of his biology or not, I wanted to control it immediately.

 How I did it:

I fell back on the traditional method of dog treats to train him on the basics. For instance, I would show him that I had a treat before hiding it from view. I would wait patiently until he backed up and sat down. Just as he did so, I would provide the treat. I did this over and over. I got control quickly and he learned to listen to me and respect my personal space. For broader training, I learned what he enjoyed, and then showed him when it was tolerable for him to do those things.

 I helped release his energy!

Sometimes pet owners fail to truly understand what makes their animal click. With German shorthaired pointers, movement and action make them click. I knew this going in and am very thankful for the knowledge. As I’m not a hunter, I had to take into account the biology of Bosco and what it would mean to our relationship. His breed has evolved over years and years to form a creature of rambunctious energy and playfulness. I had a plan from the beginning to incorporate him into my life and meet his energy demands.

 How I did it:

  • Golf: I take Bosco with me when I golf at a local course. Not many places allow this, but it’s a great idea if there is one in a particular owner’s area that does. It’s great exercise for both of us. He has plenty of space to run and I get to hit the links while having a leisurely stroll.
  • Frisbee: One of my best friends and I love to huck the Frisbee. This activity is also convenient where Bosco is concerned. Not only does he chase the disc, but the throws are usually of great distance. This gets the guy running! Any adventure that an owner can utilize to tire a GSP is immediately an ideal pastime.
  • Late night bike rides: When I first got Bosco I had a lot of trouble sleeping because he would continue living life until the wee hours of the morning. He didn’t ever want to hit the sack and get some sleep, so I got creative with my bike. My routine is to ride around the neighborhood three or four times before I head to sleep, with him chasing. This gets me outdoors at night and gives him one last chance to expel some energy. This idea has worked wonders.
 Guest Post: raising Bosco, a German shorthaired pointer

Photo of Bosco by Griff Haeger.

I respected him

German shorthaired pointers demand respect, and rightfully so. I did some research before getting Bosco and expected this from the get go. I can’t stress enough how important it is to respect this breed of dog. Not only are they smart, but they have high expectations with regards to their daily life and activity. Bosco is not the type of pet that could survive in a college apartment or sedentary household. I learned to give him what he needs before he demanded it. He began to respect me when he realized this.

How I did it:

I did my research on the breed and gauged his individual personality from day one. I got a sense of what he needed to sleep well at the end of the night and planned my activities around his needs. Oftentimes pets can totally change the livelihood of their owner, and in my case, this held true. My life is different, but much better, with Bosco.

German shorthaired pointers are great dogs. However, they need to have the right owner and caretaker. I don’t think I would be a sufficient guardian if I hadn’t done my research and altered my lifestyle to accommodate Bosco. I hope this article helps future owners of GSPs, because they are a great breed whether used for hunting or simply a family friend.

Griff Haeger is a dog aficionado. When he’s not taking Bosco for a crazy hike or fixing an air conditioner at work, he writes about natural dog food.

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Guest Post: The best dog boarding options this spring

The holiday season is a busy time for most people. If you have kids, the months of March, April, and May are filled with vacations, parties and family visits. Many people head out of town to spend spring break with their extended family. Loving dog owners may feel guilty about leaving their pet during the holidays but if they are not able to bring their dog with them, they have no other choice but to leave them behind. Since it can be extremely difficult to find a pet sitter during the spring holiday season people need to find a good overnight dog boarding facility that will take good care of their pet.

pet on bed Guest Post: The best dog boarding options this spring

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The difference between a kennel and a pet hotel

Kennels and pet hotels both care for dogs while their owners are out of town but they offer different levels of service. A basic kennel keeps dogs in cages. They do not supply pet beds or structured play areas. Kennels let dogs out into a fenced area but not all kennels walk the dogs or play with them each day. Kennels are the cheapest boarding option because they only offer basic care and services.

A pet hotel offers a more luxurious setting for dogs. Rather than staying in a cage, dogs stay in their own spacious suites that include lighting and a comfortable bed. Staff members do their best to make the dogs feel secure. Some dog boarding facilities even play soft music at bedtime to help dogs relax in their new environment. Staff members monitor pet hotel guests 24-hours a day and if any sudden health issues arise, the animals receive professional medical treatment right away.

People who have an energetic dog should choose a dog hotel that offers doggy daycare services for boarded dogs. Not all dog hotels offer doggy daycare but they do take the dogs for daily walks and give them the opportunity to run and play in an indoor or outdoor play area. Pet hotel staff members take the time to talk to and play with all of the dogs in their care. Some pet hotels also offer grooming services.

How to select the best facility

Whether people choose to take their dog to a kennel or pet hotel they need to find out more about the facility before dropping off their pet. People should always take the time to walk through the entire facility, including outdoor dog runs or play areas to see if the environment is safe, clean and cheery. Pet owners should take note of how the staff treats the animals and check for signs of a poor quality facility such as empty food and water dishes, foul odor, lack of bedding and toys or unhappy staff members. If the pet owner wouldn’t dream of spending one night at the facility they should not leave their pet there.

All good dog boarding facilities have strict rules and requirements. They ask that boarders and doggy daycare participants be up to date on their vaccinations and they do not let mature animals participate in group activities unless they are spayed or neutered. These rules are put in place to protect all of the dogs staying in the facility. People should never leave their dog at a boarding facility that does not ask to see a copy of the animal’s immunization records.

Nobody likes to leave their dog but people who find an excellent dog boarding facility can relax knowing that their favorite animal is in good hands. Many modern facilities even give their customers the opportunity to view the different rooms of the pet hotel online via webcam so they can check on their pet anytime they please while they are away.

Written by Robert Gold, a writer for Paradise 4 Paws.

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Guest Post: How to prevent a dog ear infection this winter

smiling healthy dog Guest Post: How to prevent a dog ear infection this winterThese damp, cold months can be a prime time for ear infection in dogs. This is yet one more reason — on top of the main one that it’s just too chilly out there for man or beast — to keep dogs indoors as much as possible this time of year. Dogs with diabetes or other conditions are especially susceptible to the harsh effects of winter weather, but all dogs should be kept inside most of the time during this cold season. When it comes to being prone to dog ear infection, breeds with long, floppy ears are especially susceptible, but it’s a common ailment that needs immediate treatment in all dogs.

Sure-fire Signs

If you see your furry friend shaking its head or pawing at its ears, these are classic signs of a dog ear infection. There may also be a foul odor or redness inside the ears. A brown, powdery discharge in a dog’s ear usually means a parasitic infection such as ear mites, while odor in the ears is typically caused by yeast growth. Many vets say that signs of ear infection in dogs in the winter may mean that the cause is an allergy to parasites or to a certain food. Allergy, and all other causes of dog ear infection, should be dealt with by a veterinarian as soon as possible to prevent permanent hearing loss.

Continued Causes

Vets will work to determine the cause of the ear infection so as to hopefully prevent a recurrence. He or she may prescribe ear drops or another medication to clear up the infection. Bacteria, yeast and parasites are common causes of ear infection in dogs, but tumors or other medical causes, including allergies, are also possible. Ironically, too much cleaning of the ears can make dogs susceptible to an ear infection, so it’s important to discuss how and when to clean your dog’s ears with your vet so that the procedure will specifically benefit your dog.

All Ears

Based on your dog’s breed, your vet may instruct that you should clip the hair inside your dog’s ears regularly. He or she may also suggest an ear cleaning solution to use. Whatever you do, never use cotton swabs made for humans and jab them inside your dogs delicate ears! Breeds with inner ear hair or long, floppy ears are especially prone to dog ear infection as yeast and bacteria growth can be increased in these environments. The breeds most prone to ear infection include, but aren’t limited to, Bassett Hounds, Beagles, Labradors, Spaniels, Chow Chows, Schnauzers, West Highland Terriers, Poodles, Sharpeis and Shih Tzus.

On Guard

Being on the watch for signs of ear infection in your dog is crucial both to prevent pain for your pet and to get fast veterinary help to stop any permanent hearing loss from occurring. Keeping all dogs indoors most of the time is also important during the winter months as the damp, cold conditions can make dog ear infection even more likely to occur. Bbeing out in the cold and wind is only going to make an infected ear more painful and more of a problem. Keeping your precious Lucky, Lucy, Max or Molly inside with your family this winter and getting him or her to the vet if you notice any signs of dog ear infection can make getting through these cold months as pleasant as possible for both you and your pet.

C Onyett Guest Post: How to prevent a dog ear infection this winterChris Onyett is an experienced marketer and designer who is passionate about dogs. He created the Dog Help Network after an experience with his own dog, Kupo. He learned that doing proper research and learning from others’ experiences can be just as important as taking a veterinarian’s advice. Connect with Chris on Google+.

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