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: 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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Guest Post: Making sure your dog gets proper nutrition

Like you, your dog needs proper nutrition to stay healthy, and proper nutrition comes from eating the right foods. To help you make sure that your dog is getting the right kind of foods, here’s some expert scientific advice. The information in this article is based on a report by the Committee on Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats of the National Academies. It details the nutritional requirements for your dog, how much it should get, and what happens if it doesn’t.

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For a proper diet, your dog needs a regular intake of proteins and amino acids; fats and fatty acids; carbohydrates; vitamins and minerals. You should also be familiar with the different varieties of dog foods, and pet food additives such as antioxidants, herbs and botanicals, flavors, extracts and colors.

Proteins and Amino Acids

In order to survive, dogs need protein with 10 essential amino acids in their diet. Dogs have been known to avoid a meal that does not contain a single amino acid, and to choose foods that are high in protein. They can live on a vegetarian diet provided it contains enough protein with the addition of Vitamin D.

Fats and Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids are needed to keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy. Fatty acids, which come mostly from animal fats and the seed oil of plants, are the most important source of energy in your dog’s diet. They also improve the taste and texture of dog food. Without enough dietary fats, your dog can develop dry hair as well as skin lesions and be vulnerable to infections. The absence of the omega-3 group of fatty acids may result in problems with your dog’s vision and impaired learning ability.

Carbohydrates

In addition to proteins and fats, your dog’s energy requirements are supplied by carbohydrates. In commercial dog food, carbohydrates come from cereals, legumes and other foodstuffs from plants. Dietary fibers in fermentable carbohydrates help enhance your dog’s immune function. Non-fermentable fibers, like cellulose and wheat bran, are used mostly to bring down the number of calories in an overweight dog. Your dog’s daily energy needs depends upon its age (puppy, young adult, older) and its condition (pregnant, lactating, active, inactive).

Vitamins

Your dog needs low concentrations of vitamins in its diet, especially Vitamins A, D and E. Vitamin deficiencies in your dog’s diet can cause various kinds of ailments such as motor and vision impairment, skin lesions, respiratory ailments, reproductive failure, brain lesions and heart damage. A chronic deficiency of Vitamin B1 can even lead to death.

Minerals

There are 12 minerals that your dog’s diet must contain. A dog needs calcium and phosphorus for strong bones and teeth; magnesium, potassium and sodium for an acid-base balance, nerve impulse transmission and energy metabolism. The right amount of minerals in a diet is important. Calcium deficiency, for instance, results in skeletal abnormalities while an excess of it can result in the same thing.

When buying dog food, carefully read the percentage of fat, protein, fiber and water in the product. Being aware of your dog’s nutritional requirements will help make sure it always has a healthy diet.


As with any dietary or nutritional advice pertaining to dogs, consult with your own veterinarian or pet health provider to determine the proper nutrition for your specific dog(s). –DogSplendor.com 


This article was provided by MindaHome.com where people planning a trip away can easily go to find animal lovers to live in and take care of their pets and homes. House sitting makes it possible for pets to stay in the familiar surroundings of their own homes when their owners need to be away, while pet owners can relax and enjoy their trip comfortable in the knowledge their pets are happy and their homes are secure. To find out more please visit Mindahome.com

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Guest Post: Pet Sitters vs. Boarding – Which is Better?


Leaving your pups behind when you travel is difficult enough without having to worry about who’s caring for them while you’re gone. You don’t want to leave your dogs in just anyone’s hands, but at the same time, cost is a factor. As a dog owner, you have three main options:

  • leave them with family or friends
  • board them
  • hire a dog sitter

But which is the best option? Let’s assume that leaving your dogs with family or friends takes care of both the trust factor and the expense, and focus on the other two possibilities. Is it better to board your dog, or hire a pet sitter? Each has its pros and cons.

Boarding Pros

  • Many vets offer boarding services. If your pet is injured or becomes ill while you’re away, he’s already in a place where he can be cared for, and receive any pet meds he may need.
  • If the boarding facility offers daycare or playtime, your dog doesn’t have to spend the entire time in a cage or run, and can interact with other dogs.
  • You don’t have to allow a stranger access to your home to care for your dogs.

Boarding Cons

  • It may be more stressful for your dog to be alone (without you) in an unfamiliar place with strangers handling him.
  • Your dog is more exposed to infectious diseases like Bordetella, also called kennel cough.
  • Boarding can be expensive, especially if you do want to add on extras like playtime.

Dog Sitter Pros

  • Your dog get to stay in her own home where she’s comfortable, which reduces stress.
  • There is no exposure to other animals, reducing the risk of infectious diseases.
  • Some pet sitters will perform other small household tasks such as retrieving mail, watering plants, dusting, etc.

Dog Sitter Cons

  • You must allow a stranger access to your home; even if they’re bonded and insured, this can be cause for trepidation.
  • Aside from the short time period the pet sitter will spend in your home, your dogs will be there alone, which can be stressful for them.
  • For the convenience of having someone come to your home, dog sitting can be a bit expensive. Costs vary from dog sitter to dog sitter.

The decision of whether to board your pets, or hire a dog sitter is one you must make after doing some research, weighing all the pros and cons, and deciding what is best for your pet and you. If you do decide to hire a dog sitter, choose one that is bonded and insured. You may even want to try to find one who is a member of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters. For boarding, check online reviews and ask around to find reputable facilities that will take good care of your pets. If all else fails, find a pet-friendly hotel, and take your four-legged family member with you!

Jackie Roberts is a writer for 1-800-PetMeds, and loves to help and support the pet community. You can find Pet Meds on Twitter or connect with Pet Meds on Facebook.

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