Six Bad Things Good Dog Owners Do

Six Bad Things Good Dog Owners Do

There are millions of pages online about bad dog behavior, but what about bad dog OWNER behavior? Here are six things that bad owners do and they probably don’t even know it.

If you spot yourself in any of these, it might be time for a change.

1. You treat your dog like a baby.

We all love our Morkies a ton, but sometimes it gets a little weird. You know the type of owner I mean: her Morkie’s name is embroidered on her pillows, and there are dog toys of every kind, scattered from kitchen to bedroom to bath. The dog is so spoiled that she would do well on ‘Toddlers and Tiaras.’

If you want to act silly like that, it’s ok. But what about the effect you have on your Morkie? She is a dog, and she wants you to treat her like a dog. It’s in her DNA. Despite how different they seem, your Morkie and a wolf in the wild are closely related and have the same interests: running, sniffing, chasing, barking, rolling in bad smells, and more.

Like the wolf, your Morkie is a pack animal and needs structure and discipline to feel fulfilled, and not frustrated. Your dog wants and deserves your affection, but he also deserves training and exercise. And to be treated like a dog.

your dog and a wolf are the same

2. Your dog is under-exercised and bored.

If your Morkie has bad habits like chewing or barking too much, it could be a cover for something else: he’s bored. Animals have pent up energy, and it needs to be burned off with activity.

That activity includes plenty of exercise even for toy dogs.

It also includes mental stimulation in the form of training and games.

Dogs have had jobs for centuries, from rounding up cattle to hunting or hauling. Even the little Yorkshire Terrier started out earning his way as a ratter in the mines and factories of Victorian England.

Dogs get frustrated if they can’t meet their instincts, and that’s when they start to show signs of aggressive or bad behavior.

So give your dog a job. Two good long walks a day, sniffing out the neighborhood, is a good start; or tossing a toy to fetch, or learning a trick. These are all ways to use up his excess energy and engage his brain.

3. You're acting like your dog's playmate, not pack leader.

If you’ve watched the Dog Whisperer or read any of Cesar Millan’s books, you know how adamant he is that:

• Dogs are pack animals.
• Someone will be the leader of the pack (the alpha dog).
• It better be you.

You’ve just abdicated being the pack leader, and now you’re the follower. Your dog is calling the shots, not you. Instead of following your dog’s lead, make it clear that play begins when she is calm and responsive, and you are ready.

As Cesar Millan reminds us, “Being a pack leader is not a part-time occupation; it’s all the time.”

Being a pack leader does not mean using aggressive, dominant behavior. It simply means you’re in (calm, controlled) charge.

Follow the example of the mother dog. Mother dogs eat before feeding the puppies. They don’t allow puppies to jump on them, and they make it clear when they need some alone time. Take some leadership lessons from the mother dog.

4. You're inconsistent with your dog.

Sometimes you let him jump up on the couch, then you don’t. You have no established daily routine.

You don’t use the same commands, and instead, try to talk to your dog in full sentences. Then you’re surprised when the dog doesn’t follow instructions.

Dogs love routine, and they respond best when they can anticipate what’s coming.

5. Instead of teaching your dog, you punish bad behavior.

When you don’t have the patience to teach your dog proper behavior, chances are you end up frustrated and punishing your dog. Physical punishment is ALWAYS wrong, and it will always result in the loss of trust between you and your dog.

 

a trained dog is a safe dog

6. You're tense and nervous around your dog.

Because they can sense so much about us, dogs know if we are tense, angry, tired, nervous often better and before we know it ourselves.

Dogs communicate with you and other dogs through hundreds of non-verbal signs, including reading your body language, tone, facial expressions, scent, and much more.

When they’re upset, dogs have two primary responses: fight or flight. If they’re thrown off by your jangled nerves, then chances are the answer will be “fight.” Your Morkie may become aggressive, whiny, bark too much or even nip and bite.

Glucosamine for your Morkie?

Glucosamine for your Morkie?

If you’re worried about your dog’s joints you might want to add glucosamine for dogs to your shopping list.

Glucosamine is an amino-sugar that young healthy dogs produce continually. It helps joints to build and maintain cartilage. Cartilage is vital because it is the tough spongy layer that shields the bones in joints from each other.

As dogs age, they produce less and less glucosamine, which can lead to a painful condition called osteoarthritis, where bones start to rub painfully at the joint. This generates the pain and inflammation of arthritis.

If your dog responds well to glucosamine supplements, he will have healthier cartridge, better mobility, and less pain. Like humans, not all dogs respond to glucosamine, so you need to try it to find out.

 

normal joint versus arthritis

 

 

The AKC agrees

The American Kennel Club (AKC) agrees that no one knows exactly how glucosamine works, but it appears to help build better cartilage to protect against joint degeneration.

Since it has very few side effects it is worth trying because many studies have shown it does provide relief.

What is arthritis?

Inflammation of a joint or joints causing pain and/or disability, swelling and stiffness, and due to various causes such as infection, trauma, degenerative changes or metabolic disorders.

While there is no cure for arthritis, some treatments can lessen pain and improve mobility.

Signs of arthritis in dogs

  • difficulty standing or sitting
  • stiffness getting up or after resting
  • slow, steady weight gain
  • less interest in playing
  • licking certain joints
  • behavior changes like decreased appetite and snappiness or forgetting potty training
  • difficulty getting comfortable at night
  • sudden whining or crying we your Morkie moves or when you’re petting him

Dogs can’t tell us about their arthritis pain

How big will my morkie get? Picture of a morkie puppy

Is glucosamine safe for dogs?

Glucosamine or glucosamine chondroitin for dogs is safe, say Vets, as long as you follow the recommended dosages and directions. Your Morkie’s weight is an important factor in just how much glucosamine is right.

Fortunately, if your dog does get too much, the excess is flushed out in the urine.

Watch your Morkie for any signs of glucosamine allergy

made from lobster shellsGlucosamine supplements are usually made from something called chitin. Chitin is extracted from the crushed shells of crustaceans, which include lobsters, crabs, shrimp, and barnacles. So if your dog has an unusual allergy to shellfish, this could be a problem.

Symptoms of an allergy can include

  • itching
  • cramps
  • vomiting and diarrhea

Glucosamine plus Chondroitin sulfate

Another nutrient called chondroitin sulfate is often combined with glucosamine for dogs.

It combats enzymes that might damage the cartilage and fluid in the joints. Together with glucosamine, it’s like a double whammy for pain and stiffness.

A vet and tech support person, demonstrating good Veterinary careGet the correct diagnosis

If your Morkie seems to have stiff, sore joints it’s important that your Vet diagnose what’s happening before you start treatment. Osteoarthritis is just one possibly with these symptoms. Others could be Lyme Disease, Tetanus or parasites.

6 More Ways You Can Help Relieve Joint Pain for Your Morkie

If your Morkie is showing signs of joint pain and/or osteoarthritis, here are 6 more things you can do to help reduce her struggle:

  1. use area rugs for traction on slippery floors
  2. keep nails cut short
  3. provide a warm, padded bed
  4. never let your Morkie jump down from a bed, chair or sofa
  5. keep food and water within close reach
  6. try skid proof socks

It may take at least 3 months to see an improvement in your dog who is taking glucosamine supplements.

Picking a Brand of Glucosamine

Nutraceuticals – dietary supplements – aren’t regulated by the FDA like regular pharmaceuticals, so it’s important to read labels and take extra care in picking a brand.

Some kibbles include glucosamine, but the quantities available in food like this are far too small.

Some foods like Bone Broth (see my latest post on this wonder food) contain good amounts of glucosamine for dogs.

Or you might choose a specific supplement so you’re sure your Morkie is getting enough of the good stuff.  Check out bestglucosaminefordogs.org for more information.

For a rundown of the best glucosamine for dogs, see bestglucosaminefordogs.org here.

Keep your Morkie calm this July 4th

Keep your Morkie calm this July 4th

Dogs and fireworks just don’t mix… for most dogs, celebrations like the 4th of July are the worst day of the year. How can you keep your Morkie calm and safe this year? Here are 4 strategies for a happier, safer Morkie this July 4th.

FEAR OF FIREWORKS is completely normal for dogs. Flashing lights, tremendous noise, and crowds all work to keep your Morkie on edge and nervous. Some dogs are extremely fearful and will do anything to escape the anxiety of fireworks. That’s when a dog will try to run away.

In fact, July 4th is the busiest day for shelters and humane societies because of runaway dogs. One year, a runaway Morkie even made the evening news.

Strategy #1: Keep your Morkie away from fireworks

The best place for dogs during big celebrations like the Fourth of July is away.

Put your Morkie in a quiet place, close the curtains, and run the TV or radio to mask sounds.

Include his crate or bed, plenty of toys, food, and water nearby. Check on him from time to time, but don’t baby him or pay too much attention to his fears – it can make him more fearful and needy.

dog cozy in bed safe and sound

Strategy #2: Keep your Morkie safe

Make sure your Morkie is wearing a collar with up-to-date identification, including your phone number.

If people are coming and going, put your Morkie an extra door away from the action so he can’t suddenly slip out.

Make sure windows are secure. Dogs will jump right through a screen in their panic to escape.

Designate one family member to be in charge of the dog. Sometimes everyone thinks the other person is keeping an eye out, and nobody is.

Never leave your Morkie outside in the yard during a get-together. It’s too easy for him to slip away.

safety first on the 4th of july

Strategy #3: Keep your Morkie calm

Try a pressure vest like a ThunderShirt

Experts say they can really help calm an anxious dog.  You can read all about them in my blog post here.

No time to get a ThunderShirt? Try a homemade version with Ace Wraps, thanks to Kathy Coffman and Gracie Girl on Pinterest.

See my other blog post on ThunderShirts here.thundershirt for dog anxiety

Try a calming scent

Dogs sense of smell is many thousands of times stronger than ours, so aromatherapy makes sense. Four scents, in particular, are found to be effective in calming dogs:

  • lavender
  • vanilla
  • coconut
  • ginger

Other scents reported to calm dogs include cedar, orange, and lemongrass.

lavender oil to calm dogs

An old standby: Rescue Remedy

 

rescue remedy

 

Rescue Remedy for Pets is available at Amazon and in health food stores and many drugstores.

 

And two more remedies – Benadryl and D.A.P.

Benadryl liquid is great for your dog’s allergies, and it’s calming. Generally accepted as safe for dogs, children’s liquid Benadryl in a small quantity may work for your Morkie. Don’t give it to him, however, if he’s taking other medications and be sure to get the regular kind, NOT sugar-free. The Xylitol in sugar-free formulas is highly dangerous for dogs.  (Download a free info sheet about Benadryl for dogs here.)

D.A.P. or dog appeasing pheromones are used to keep your dog calm under stressful situations. A popular brand is Adaptil, which comes with an electric diffuser. Other formats are also available, like a wearable collar scent. Read more here.

Strategy #4: Help your Morkie get used to loud sounds

Well-known dog trainer and therapist Victoria Stilwell offers four individual CDs which you play to your dog to help him get used to loud noises. Different types of loud sounds progressively increase over the course of the CDs. You can read more about this canine noise phobia treatment here.

July 4th for people

july 4th is fun for people

July 4th for dogs

July 4th for dogs is a nightmare

 

3 things to avoid if your Morkie is afraid of fireworks

PetMD.com offers these sensible tips:

Don’t baby your dog. If you fuss over her too much, she may get confused and become more afraid. Or she could learn that she gets extra attention or yummy treats when she’s stressed. Act normally. You can play with her, feed or do other fun activities.

Don’t punish her. Do not lock her in a crate or tie her up. She could injure herself trying to get away from the scary sound. She may also believe she’s in trouble for being afraid. Fear is a behavior, not an obedience issue. Your dog isn’t doing anything wrong by being afraid — even if the noise seems harmless to you.

Don’t force her to gut it out. Making your dog endure the sounds — especially without trained supervision — could make things worse.

And one more way to help your Morkie to stay calm

A brisk walk before the festivities begin is always a good idea – “a tired dog is a good (and calm) dog.”

10 Reasons to Neuter/Spay Your Morkie

10 Reasons to Neuter/Spay Your Morkie

10.  Neutering reduces health risks for male dogs.

Neutering your male Morkie eliminates any chance of him getting testicular cancer. It also removes the risk of benign hyperplasia of the prostate gland, prostatitis and perineal hernias in dogs.

 

9. Spaying reduces Mammary Gland Tumors in female dogs.

The more often a female goes through the hormonal spikes of a heat, the higher the chances of tumors. Once females had several heats, intact female dogs have a one out of four chance of developing mammary tumors.

What is spaying?

In female animals, spaying involves abdominal surgery to remove the ovaries and uterus.

This can be done by traditional open surgery or sometimes through laparoscopic surgery where a very small incision is needed.

What is neutering?

Neutering a male involves making a small incision to remove the dog’s testicles.

Complications or  dangers

Risks are very low in these operations. Many of us don’t want to put our dogs under anesthetic, but deaths related to anesthetic during spaying or neutering or less than 0.05%.

There is some concern that spaying could cause a  little incontinence later for a female, and that neutering could cause less control for a male, leading to ‘dribbling.’

Neutered dogs of both sexes have a 27% to 38% increased risk of adverse reactions to vaccinations, another reason to be selective in how many vaccinations your Morkie gets and how often.

Always review risks with your Vet before any procedure.

 

When to neuter or spay?

Puppies can be neutered or spayed any time after 8 weeks according to some experts but the trend now is to wait a little longer,  until at least 6 to 8 months. Dogs can also be spayed or neutered as adults, but expect a female who has already been in heat, to cost a little more for spaying.

 

Recovery period

The ASPCA advises the following – along with following all your Vet’s instructions of course —

  • Provide your pet with a quiet place to recover indoors and away from other animals.
  • Prevent your pet from running and jumping for up to two weeks following surgery, or as long as your veterinarian recommends.
  • Prevent your pet from licking the incision site, which may cause infection, by distracting your pet with treats or by using an Elizabethan collar.
  • Avoid bathing your pet for at least ten days after surgery.
  • Check the incision site daily to confirm proper healing.

8.  Eliminate the danger of Pyometra in females.

Pyometra is a nasty infection of the uterus that strikes up to 15% of female dogs. Surgery is needed FAST to save a dog with this condition but a female whose uterus has been removed doesn’t face this danger.

Symptoms of Pyometra include:

  • Swollen tummy
  • Vaginal discharge.
  • Lethargy.
  • Depression.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Vomiting.
  • Frequent urination. 

 

7. Males will mark and spray less.

Male dogs who haven’t been neutered are very territorial and will mark their territory with small amounts of urine – all over! And they’ll also spray urine as a sign of dominance. Very messy in your home.

 

6. Reduce humping!

Or as the Humane Society calls it, “inappropriate mounting.” Both males and females who haven’t been spayed/neutered will often hump your leg… or anyone else’s including your mother-in-law and your boss. That’s just awkward.

5.  Cut down on runaways.

All dogs should be safely fenced or contained; there’s no reason to let your dog have the run of the neighborhood, risking getting hit by a car.  Neutering/spaying reduces your dog’s urge to escape to find a date.

4. Keep your male Morkie from roaming and fighting.

male dogs fighting over a mate

 

The ASPCA reminds us:

An intact male will do just about anything to find a mate, including finding creative ways escape from the house. Once he’s free to roam, he risks injury in traffic and fights with other male animals.

3.  Avoid messiness and the nuisance of your female dog in heat.

Estrus, the proper name for the female’s heat, is the time when your female Morkie is receptive to mating.

It occurs about every 6 months and lasts 2 to 3 weeks.  Signs of estrus include blood-tinged discharge, which isn’t a huge problem with small dogs like Morkies.  But there are other  annoying behavior changes like:

  • nervous, unsettled more alert – possibly barking more
  • pacing, trouble sleeping
  • urinating much more frequently
  • humping other dogs, toys, your leg
  • howling, whining
  • attempts to get out of your home (to find a mate)

female dog in heat

Females in heat have to wear a kind of doggy diaper that makes going potty difficult. They’re never too happy with it either.

2.  Your Morkie will probably live longer spayed or neutered.

Longer life? Neutered pets live longer than intact pets – that’s a proven fact. However, it’s not clear if that’s because owners who neuter their pets generally take better care of them, or if the actual neutering extends a dog’s life.

Whatever the reason, we all want our Morkies around as long as possible.

 

neutered and spayed pets live longer

The #1 reason to spay or neuter your Morkie

10.  There are too many dogs in the world already

Those who can’t find homes are euthanized – put down – killed – however you want to express it, in the U.S. alone, more than 4,000,000 cats and dogs—about one every eight seconds—are put down in shelters each year. Do we need more litters? No, and none by accident.

there are too many dogs in the world

 

 

Thundershirt for Dogs

Thundershirt for Dogs

Amelia’s Maltese Button suddenly started biting and chewing on himself. He started nuisance barking and had started hiding and growling. Button was normally a very calm and loving dog (except if she saw a squirrel) so Amelia was concerned.

A visit to the Vet didn’t uncover any physical problems and more walks didn’t help either. Amelia gave her pup a little more attention, more snuggles and petting to try and calm her, but nothing worked. Finally, Amelia realized that the problem was major noise from next door. The neighbors were renovating and contractors had been in every day with heavy equipment, tearing down walls and pulling up concrete. 

Noise anxiety

Noise anxiety is a very common problem for dogs, especially small dogs.

Typically, it is triggered by thunder or fireworks, but any sudden and loud noise can trigger an anxiety that’s hard to see in your pet.

A dog with noise anxiety can have symptoms including trembling, biting, excessive barking, hiding, growling, submissive urination and more.

Petmd.com outlines 3 levels of dog anxiety and fear:

Mild fears: signs may include trembling, tail tucked, withdrawal, hiding, reduced activity, and passive escape behaviors
Panic: signs may include active escape behavior, and increased out-of-context, potentially injurious motor activity. Classic signs of sympathetic autonomic nervous system activity, including diarrhea
Anxieties: lesions secondary to anxious behavior (such as licking and biting at the self)

Treating Noise Anxiety

Changing the environment is the obvious treatment for a dog with noise anxiety; don’t take him to fireworks displays, keep him close during the thunder, and so on.

You can also talk to your Vet about a variety of prescription medications. Some are given regularly for the life of the dog, and some are used only during the anxiety event.

If you go this route, be sure to talk about side effects and long term risk any drug might pose.

Another option is behavior training therapy, which CAN work but takes time. 

Pressure Wraps for dog anxiety

Pressure Wraps for dog anxiety also called a dog anxiety jacket, a pressure wrap works Much like swaddling an upset baby. Gentle pressure wraps for dogs work surprisingly well.

You can buy the popular ThunderShirt, or make your own by modifying an old t-shirt. The principal is the same: light and constant pressure is applied to the dog’s torso and chest.

 

a pressure shirt for dogs is like swaddling a baby

ThunderShirt is the leading pressure vest for dogs, and is available in all sizes and colors

Here’s what a pressure wrap like the ThunderShirt can help:

 

  • canine separation anxiety
  • noise anxiety
  • social anxiety

Questions and answers about pressure vests for dogs.

How long can you keep a ThunderShirt on a dog?

The makers of ThunderShirt advise:

When properly sized and properly put on with a comfortably snug fit, your dog should be very comfortable. If your dog will be wearing a Thunder- Shirt for more than one hour at a time, we recommend removing ThunderShirt every one to two hours during the initial periods to check for any signs of irritation points.

Once your Morkie is used to the ThunderShirt, he can wear it comfortably for extended periods, but it should be removed TWICE A DAY.

 

Does the ThunderShirt really work?

Although we don’t know precisely how they work, pressure wraps like the ThunderShirt do work. The wrap creates pressure points which may help release calming hormones.

A properly fitted pressure wrap is calming for your dog and can help reduce anxiety and fear, without the use of any drugs or medication.

 

Is ThunderShirt washable?

Yes, the manufacturer advises that the ThunderShirt can be washed in a regular cycle using regular laundry detergent and cold water. Hang to dry. 

 

How long does it take for the ThunderShirt to work?

Put ThunderShirt onto your dog or cat, and you will likely see results with the very first usage – no training necessary. However, for some, it may take two to three usages to see maximum results. For some more serious anxiety cases, such as severe separation anxiety, you should consult a good trainer for how to integrate ThunderShirt into a training program.

How much is a ThunderShirt?

You can order one online at Amazon for about $45 or visit your local pet supply store. 

A happy ending for Amelia and Button

At her wit’s end because of Button’s anxiety, Amelia heard about the ThunderShirt and decided to give it a try.

After wearing it just twice, Button was free of his sudden anxiety symptoms and life returned to normal.

Summer Dangers: water intoxication

Summer Dangers: water intoxication

It was a tragic accident that didn’t need to happen.

Ben Carthy and his wife Lucy were devastated after their dog Max died after playing in a lake. Their beloved springer spaniel, Max, died from swallowing too much water.

Ben shared:

“We are so unbelievably devastated that a simple game of fetch in the water, something we had done a hundred times before, resulted in such a perfect day turning into our worst nightmare.

“Water intoxication was something we knew nothing about. At this time of year, so much awareness is spread about not leaving dogs in hot cars but no one ever mentions the hazardous effects of your dog ingesting too much water while playing.”

iNews UK

Water intoxication results in deadly LOW levels of sodium.

What happens when a dog takes in too much water?

When your dog takes in more water than his body can process, the excess water dilutes bodily fluids, creating a potentially dangerous shift in electrolyte balance.

When sodium levels fall, cells start filling with water as the body attempts to balance the sodium levels inside the cells with falling levels outside the cells. This inflow of water causes the cells — including those in the brain — to swell.

The ultimate results can be lethal.

Symptoms of Water Intoxication

Lethargy might be the first sign a pet parent sees. After a good play session, dogs are usually tired but happy.

A dog with water intoxication will be tired to the point of collapse. Neurologic signs are probably already occurring, so look for a “spacey” appearance to the eyes.

Vomiting water and excess drooling are also key first signs. Seizures can occur if neurologic signs continue to progress.

Look for:

  • Bloating
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Coordination loss
  • Excessive salivation
  • Restlessness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Glazed eyes
  • Pale gums

Although it’s not common for Morkies to play in the water for long periods of time, it is worth knowing about Water Intoxication and its potential effects.

RECAP – Water intoxication

  • Water intoxication is a rare but often fatal condition in dogs. Dogs that love being in the water and playing with sprinklers or hoses are at the highest risk.
  • Water intoxication causes hyponatremia, a condition in which sodium levels drops to dangerously low levels.
  • Symptoms of water intoxication include staggering, vomiting, pale gums, and dilated pupils; severe cases can cause loss of consciousness and death.
  • Water intoxication is a medical emergency, and even with aggressive veterinary care, many dogs do not survive.

It’s actually possible for your Morkie to ingest too much water, and each year a small percentage of water-loving dogs get dangerously drunk on their favorite beverage.

Water intoxication can result in a potentially fatal condition called hyponatremia, which is an excessively low blood sodium level. Dogs that play in the water for long periods of time are at highest risk, as are dogs that ingest water from a lawn sprinkler or hose.

Reduce the risk of your dog taking in too much water

  • Reduce the time your dog spends in the swimming pool.  He is probably drinking all the water that comes into his mouth.
  • Make sure your dog does not play with water sprinkles or a running hose.
  • Always provide a sufficient amount of water on your pet´s bowl.

Best dog shampoo for your Morkie

Best dog shampoo for your Morkie

There are more than 3,600 products on Amazon under “pet shampoo.” They all work pretty well, but are they all made with safe ingredients? And why should you care? In one word:

Cancer

  • More dogs than ever die of cancer.
  • 1 in 4 dogs will be diagnosed with cancer.
  • Cancer now is the leading cause of death in dogs over 10; 1 in 2 will die from it.

Hereditary factors play a role, but by far, toxins in the environment (including what they eat) are responsible for the vast majority of cases.

Skin is the biggest organ mammals have. A dog’s skin is especially sensitive. So why take chances on products that are absorbed into the pet’s skin, and even licked off.

Here’s what worries me about pet shampoo:

  1. Manufacturing is unregulated. Some pet shampoos use cheap, nasty ingredients, even though they’re known to be harmful, even causing cancer.
  2. Labels lie. The stuff written on the shampoo bottle is often false and misleading; manufacturers can claim just about anything.
  3. Confusion around the basics. Shampoo can be a soap or a detergent. Which is better, and why?
  4. Ethics. Many shampoos are tested ON animals. Wait, what? It’s hard to believe, but true. That’s just wrong.

more dogs die of cancer

How to pick the best dog shampoo for your Morkie

A good and safe shampoo should be free of sulfates, alcohols, harsh chemicals and detergents.

It has these characteristics:

 

  • is safe and non-toxic
  • non-irritating, natural solution
  • doesn’t say proprietary blend or proprietary fragrance
  • free of sulfates such as SLS, ALS, SLES, etc.
  • has no formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, like butylparaben, methylparaben or propylparaben
  • no MEA, TEA, DEA or phosphates

OR, pick a dog shampoo that’s “Certified Organic”

Just organic, or natural, or all-pure, etc. won’t work.

Those terms don’t have any legal meaning in the pet world. A manufacturer can add a tiny drop of something good, and then call the product Natural or Organic.

Certified Organic goes through testing and certification. The USDA Organic seal on grooming products means the products are free from artificial colors, preservatives and fragrances, and GMO ingredients.

But it's complicated

Of course, it’s not that simple because there’s a disagreement about “soap” and Certified Organic dog shampoo contains soap. 

Plenty of great, natural and safe shampoos that do not have the USDA Organic Seal, because the manufacturer doesn’t want to use soap.

Other companies are so small or new, that they can’t afford to go through the process yet to get the Certified Organic label.

So we’re back to reading the details on the label.

The good guys: here are some brands you can trust

Certified Organic

4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoos
Bodhi Dog Shampoo Made with Organic Oils
BotaniVet Certified Organic Manuka Honey Pet Shampoo
Dr. Mercola Healthy Pets
Fieldwork’s Moosh Natural Dog Shampoo
Fluppets Certified Organic Pet Shampoo
H&P’s Certified Organic Pet Shampoo With Coconut Oil and Aloe Vera
H&P’s Fresh Collection
Lola & Max
Max & Neo
Organic Oscar Oatmeal Shampoo
Paws & Pals Natural Dog-Shampoo and Conditioner
Paws & Pals Natural Dog-Shampoo and Conditioner
Pura Naturals Pet
SUDSY WUDSY ORGANIC DOG SHAMPOO™

Products nearly as good as Certified Organic

earthbath
Eco-Pet Shower Pet Shampoo
Fifi & Fido Natural Pet Shampoo
Odie and Cody Natural Dog Shampoo, Organic Pet Shampoo for Dogs, Cats, Puppies, Kittens, Guinea Pigs & More

picking the best dog shampoo

earthbath offers an excellent All Natural Shampoo line with plenty of choices:

Oatmeal and Aloe Shampoo, Fragrance Free
Oatmeal and Aloe Shampoo
Mango Tango 2-in-1 Conditioning Shampoo

Shed Control Shampoo
Hypo-Allergenic Grooming Foam for Dogs
Deodorizing Shampoo
Hypo-Allergenic Shampoo
Coat Brightening Shampoo
Ultra-Mild Puppy Shampoo
Dirty Dog Shampoo
Eucalyptus & Peppermint Shampoo
Tea Tree & Aloe Vera

red flag warning about dog shampoos

Red flagged products

These are just a few popular dog shampoo brands that contain 4 or more dangerous products.

  • Arm & Hammer shampoos
  • Hartz products
  • Isle of Dogs Everyday Elements
  • Wahl Dog/Puppy Shampoo

Can dogs eat grapes?

Can dogs eat grapes?

Can dogs eat grapes? No, and scientists don’t even know why. We just know that grapes – and raisins – can be highly toxic for all dogs, especially small dogs.

We know chocolate is really bad for dogs but did you know that grapes can be a killer? I knew they could be a choking hazard or that the pesticides used on grapes could be bad but it’s more than that. Grapes contain something that can be very toxic to dogs.

HALLOWEEN HAZARD!

Sun Maid raisins are a hazard for dogs

Tiny boxes of raisins can be tempting – and dangerous – for dogs.

For a small dog like a Morkie, eating as few as six grapes can be deadly!  That goes for raisins too.

The AKC (American Kennel Club warns:

Grapes and raisins are known to be highly toxic to dogs, though research has yet to pinpoint exactly which substance in the fruit causes this reaction. Because of that, peeled or seedless grapes should also be avoided.

Symptoms of Grape Poisoning

Watch for these signs that your Morkie may have eaten grapes or raisins:

  • the dog becomes extremely hyper and jittery
  • vomiting, diarrhea, shaking and stomach pains
  • the dog who’s eaten grapes soon stops urinating
  • very lethargic.

Coma and even death can follow.

If you think your dog has eaten grapes or raisins, here are the steps to follow:

  1. Make the dog vomit. You can do this by giving him a solution of equal parts water and hydrogen peroxide.  About 1 tablespoon of each is enough for a Morkie-size dog.  Administer up to three times.
  2.  If that doesn’t work you can also give your dog activated charcoal if you happen to have it.
  3. Get your dog to the vet immediately. Take someone with you to call while you’re on your way.

Keep a poisoning kit on hand for your Morkie

Other types of poisoning – and the symptoms

Watch for long-term signs of kidney failure

“In both small and large dogs of all breeds, the ill effects include kidney disease and even kidney failure. Common symptoms of this include irregular eating and drinking habits: Affected dogs often lose their appetites and begin to drink excessively.”

– aspengrovevet.com

Dry shampoo for dogs: is it any good?

Dry shampoo for dogs: is it any good?

Dry shampoo or waterless shampoo can be a good way to keep your dog fresh smell between baths. But does it work, and it is safe?

Dry shampoos are much more convenient, but just like ‘regular’ dog shampoo, dry products can be overused and can contain a toxic mix of chemicals and additives that are harmful to your Morkie and to you.

Dry — or waterless– shampoo comes in a wide range of formats, including Sprays, Aerosol, Powder, Foam, and Mousse.

 

All work with alcohol or starch-based formulas to absorb grease and oil from the hair.

They work cosmetically to make hair or fur look cleaner, but the scalp isn’t cleaned by these products. And whatever is absorbed, sits on the hair, along with the shampoo product. That residue can build up over time, making hair brittle and easy to break. Too much residue on the scalp can lead to inflammation, itching, scaling and reduced hair growth.

Does waterless shampoo work on dogs?

The main reason we pick this convenient way to clean our dogs is to reduce the smell.

All the products do that to varying degrees but they’re a temporary fix. 

Manufacturers are enthusiastic about the miraculous results their products deliver, but in reality, dry shampoo doesn’t really clean an animal; it can’t repel dirt and oil. It simply absorbs the oils on the coat.

Dry shampoo just sits on the coat until the next bath

Since it doesn’t get rinsed off, that oil and product just sit there on the coat.

That’s ok for the occasional cleanup or emergency but should be alternated with ‘real’ water-based shampooing to actually remove the dirt, oil, and debris.

Dry shampoo can be more convenient, but does it really work?

upset, wet dog

As expert Julie Anne Lee DCH RCSHom reminds us in DogsNaturallyMagazine.com,

the skin is the largest organ in the body, protecting your dog from everything in the world.

It’s a barrier and a defense against germs, bacteria, cuts, scrapes, bruises, sunburn and much more.

Washing it too often, or covering it up with toxic ingredients, is harmful to your dog’s overall health and wellbeing.  We’re encouraged to do both thanks to –the Fear Factor perpetuated by marketers, that says everything must be perfectly clean and sterile! 

Like the hand sanitizer rebound

This Fear Factor tactic was used to sell more hand sanitizer products, and that has failed us because we’re making germs and bacteria more resistant than ever. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that overexposure to antibiotics can lead to bacterial resistance, making it more difficult or even impossible to treat. Using hand sanitizers may actually lower your resistance to diseases by killing good bacteria, which helps protect against bad bacteria. 

This is the same principle for bathing your dog: don’t do it too often, otherwise, you’re removing good bacteria and beneficial oils.

How safe is waterless shampoo?

Dry shampoos can be a toxic, soupy mess!

Pet products like shampoos don’t fall under any regulatory rules or laws about contents. Manufacturers can use just about anything. And they’re not obliged to tell the truth on the label, so it’s hard to find safe products.

Some of the dangerous ingredients in dry shampoos include:

  • Preservatives, FD&C Blue #1 (artificial colors) and Fragrance (artificial fragrance). These are all directly linked to cancer.
  • Ammonium Lauryl Ether Sulfate, which is often contaminated with known cancer-causing compounds.
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine which can trigger immune system failure, and allergies. 
  • The ingredients that make the product absorbent, including Ethanol, can help other toxins get absorbed into your dog’s system 

 

A better way for a fast cleanup

If your Morkie needs a quick clean up, thoroughly brushing his hair will go a long way in freshening him up. You can also dip his feet in water and dog shampoo for a rinse; a dog’s feet can be a significant source of stink since that’s where they sweat.

If you’re using a waterless shampoo or wipes, be sure to look for products like Burt’s Bees, below.  They’re free of Phthalates, artificial color and fragrance, and petroleum by-products. 

Look for products like Burt’s Bees, free from artificial colors, fragrances, preservatives and other toxins.

cups to rinse dogs paws

These cups are handy for rinsing dog’s paws.

But relaxing Morkie in a pink robe, pretending to be at a spa

A thorough combing can freshen your Morkie.

A natural tick repellant good for the whole family

A natural tick repellant good for the whole family

Ticks are horrible little spider-cousins. They carry disease, bite, suck blood and scare us half to death. But for small dogs, there’s something worse than ticks:

Tick prevention treatment

Commercial tick fighting products contain toxic chemicals necessary to kill parasites. For small dogs, that deadly cocktail can be overwhelming. Way back in 2010, the EPA warned consumers to be very careful treating smaller dogs because of the number of deaths and serious illnesses reported after using a tick treatment.

 

 

In September 2018, the EPA reissued the warning: pet parents need to be very careful with these products and manufacturers need to be more clear about their dangers, and proper dosage.

For more, read the previous post – Flea and tick pills for tick prevention. Safe or not?

Ticks are a nightmare for small dogs… and the meds to protect against ticks are even worse than the ticks.

A tick feeding on a dog. Note how swollen the tick is, with the victim’s blood.

The War is On!

Americans spend more than $1 billion each year on products designed to kill fleas and ticks on pets!

Are we winning the war? Probably not; fleas can be a real nuisance for dogs, but ticks seem almost impossible to conquer.

They are super resistant to insecticides and can live for long periods without food (up to 2 years). Like a science fiction nightmare, ticks latch on to their host and bury their heads in the flesh, drinking the victim’s blood. Blood is their only meal, in fact.

Incidents of tick-borne illness are spiking, and ticks are spreading out across North America and around the world.

Ticks are terrible for small dogs, but tick control can be even worse

Ticks are extremely difficult to control and prevent, even with the most effective products.

But what’s better?

Heavy chemicals to keep ticks away, or the risk of tick bites and possible disease?

Chemical treatments can really tax your small dog’s liver and other organs. Some products are safer than others, but let’s face it – these are powerful insecticides, formulated to poison life. They’re simply not safe for a small dog.

Small Dog, Big Danger

 

  

Small dogs are easy victims for ticks.

They’re so low to the ground that small dogs are a handy snack for ticks, who latch on to their small bodies as they pass by. And even indoor dogs and cats are not safe from the tick, because we can carry ticks indoors ourselves; then the tick sets up housekeeping, looking for a handy victim, like a small dog.

Ticks carry deadly diseases


First, ticks carry some serious diseases that can hit small dogs hard, including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme Disease and a host of others with names 12 syllables long.

Ticks can cause infection

Even when ticks are not carrying any diseases, their bite alone can be dangerous. The tick bite, filled with bacteria, can generate a nasty infection. The same bite obviously packs a bigger punch in a 5-pound dog, than in a 95-pound pet.

Ticks can trigger a bad allergic reaction

Any dog, or human, for that matter, can have an allergic reaction to a tick bite. But for a tiny dog, this allergy can turn into a life-threatening response — an anaphylactic reaction.

For dogs, an allergic reaction hits the liver hardest. This brings on sudden diarrhea, defecation, urination, and vomiting. A small dog quickly dehydrates and could lose consciousness and ultimately slip into a coma and death if left untreated.
If an insect or tick bite sets off a reaction that bad, there’s no time to waste. Your dog needs immediate medical care, or he could die!

Tick bites can even mean excessive blood loss


A female tick can consume more than 100 times her body weight, in blood. A couple of them on your small dog can actually lead to anemia from blood loss, specifically the loss of red blood cells.

Tick prevention medications are WORSE

Special EPA Warning – for dogs under 20 pounds!

Most flea and tick products contain chemicals that are “likely to be carcinogenic to humans” according to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). This appears in tiny print on the product packaging.

In fact, the EPA has identified at least 1,600 pet deaths over the past 5 years linked to spot-on flea and tick treatments. The EPA also confirms that spot-ons account “for more than half of ‘major’ pesticide pet reactions — incidents involving serious medical reactions such as brain damage, heart attacks, violent seizures and death.”

Back in 2010, the EPA warned the public about an alarming increase in adverse reactions to spot-on products. 
The worst reactions were found in dogs under 20 pounds.

 

How can you protect your Morkie from ticks AND from tick repellants?

The Alternative to Deadly Tick Treatments: a smart, 3 part program

 

This 3-part program offers sound protection, without the potentially deadly risks. At a glance, here’s the program:

1. BANISH TICKS from your home and yard, and avoid places where they hang out. Use a safe, alternative repellent on your small dog to deter ticks.

2. SPOT & REMOVE any ticks from your dog and watch the bite area carefully. Check your dog every time he comes in from outdoors.

3. TEST ANNUALLY for tick-borne diseases at your Veterinarian’s, via blood tests.

Check for ticks every time your Morkie has been outdoors. Here’s where to look.

 

download tick repellant recipe

Magic Tick Fighting Dust

for your home, your pets and yourself

Use this tick repellent safely in your yard, in your home and apply it right on your small dog. Dust it on your outdoor clothes for more protection.

If you see a tick inside, sprinkle some of the magic dust around about once a week. Or be proactive and use it regularly.

RECIPE

(with thanks to www.PrimallyInspired.com)

    • 1 cup FOOD GRADE Diatomaceous Earth or DE
    • 1/2 cup Neem Powder
    • 
1/2 cup Yarrow Powder
    • 20 Drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
    • 
Mix everything together and put in a shaker jar. To use it dry, simply sprinkle lightly on your dog; in your yard, on carpets, your outdoor clothes – whatever you want to protect from ticks.

Reapply daily if your dog is outside for long periods each day.

 

Notes on ingredients:

The ingredients for “Magic Tick-Fighting Dust” are available online from Amazon and other online retailers, or in health food stores and many drugstores.

  • Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth or DE. This is made from sedimentary mineral rock and contains the important trace metal called silica. It’s very important that you pick FOOD GRADE, not the DE that’s for pool filters.
  • Neem Powder is ground from the bark, seeds, leaves, and flowers of the Neem Tree. It has been used for centuries as a general cure-all in Indian medicine. Drugs.com notes that around the world, neem leaves are used to treat worm infections, leprosy and ulcers, and for heart disease.
  • Yarrow Powder is made from the common weed yarrow, native to most of the Northern Hemisphere. It is used as a herbal treatment for fever, cough, the common cold, diarrhea, skin allergies and more. It’s often an ingredient in natural and organic shampoos.
  • Eucalyptus Essential Oil is offered at most health food stores. It’s thought to be stimulating, healing and regenerating, and it repels pests. This is the same Eucalyptus Oil used in aromatherapy. (Look for pure or organic versions.)

The Flea and Tick pill: just how safe is it?

The Flea and Tick pill: just how safe is it?

Worry about tick bites heats up as the weather warms up. But is the flea and tick pill treatment the best way to protect your Morkie?

 

Yesterday while I was waiting for my dogs to get their nails ground at PetSmart, one of the groomers brought out a shocking little package for another dog owner: TWO LIVE TICKS from the small dog she was grooming.

The dog looked like a Westie mix and lives in a suburb outside Toronto. Despite the fact that he only visits his own yard, he had ticks already in early May.

This is what the two ticks looked like – the one on the left was wriggling madly, and the one on the right had just supped on the host dog’s blood so is engorged with blood.

Spotting a Tick

Just count the legs!

2 Western black-legged ticks – Ixodes pacificus – on a finger. From left to right: nymph, adult male, and adult female

Ticks are easy to identify: they have 8 LEGS

Only ticks and spiders have 8 legs in the insect world. Others have 6, so it’s easy to tell if the pest is a tick or not.

Small Dog, Big Danger

Ticks are bad for anyone, let alone a small dog. Here are some reasons why.

 

Small dogs are easy victims for ticks.

They’re so low to the ground that they’re a handy snack for ticks, who latch on to their small bodies as they pass by. And even indoor dogs and cats are not safe from the tick, because we can carry ticks indoors ourselves; then the tick sets up housekeeping, looking for a handy victim, like a small dog.

Ticks carry deadly diseases

First, ticks carry some serious diseases that can hit small dogs hard, including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme Disease and a host of others with names 12 syllables long.

Ticks can cause infection

Even when ticks are not carrying any diseases, their bite alone can be dangerous. The tick bite, filled with bacteria, can generate a nasty infection. The same bite obviously packs a bigger punch in a 5-pound dog, than in a 95-pound pet.

Ticks can trigger a bad allergic reaction

Any dog, or human, for that matter, can have an allergic reaction to a tick bite. But for a tiny dog, this allergy can turn into a life-threatening reaction.

It’s like what many schoolchildren suffer, with their peanut allergies – an anaphylactic reaction. 
In people, our lungs are most affected. We start wheezing and our mouths and faces swell. But for dogs, an allergic reaction hits the liver hardest. This brings on sudden diarrhea, defecation, urination, and vomiting. A small dog quickly dehydrates and could lose consciousness and ultimately slip into a coma and death if left untreated.

If an insect or tick bite sets off a reaction that bad, there’s no time to waste. Your dog needs immediate medical care, or he could die!

Tick bites can even mean excessive blood loss

Another tick danger for small dogs: a female tick can consume more than 100 times her body weight, thanks to your dog’s blood! A couple of them on your small dog can actually lead to anemia from blood loss, specifically the loss of red blood cells. This isn’t common, but if it is going to happen, it will happen to a small dog versus a large one.

But tick prevention medications are WORSE

Special EPA Warning – for dogs under 20 pounds!

Most flea and tick products contain chemicals that are “likely to be carcinogenic to humans” according to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). This appears in tiny print on the product packaging.

In fact, the EPA has identified at least 1,600 pet deaths over the past 5 years linked to spot-on flea and tick treatments.

 

 

The EPA also reports that spot-ons account “for more than half of ‘major’ pesticide pet reactions — incidents involving serious medical reactions such as brain damage, heart attacks, violent seizures, and death.


Back in 2010, the EPA warned the public about an alarming increase in adverse reactions to spot-on products. 
The worst reactions were found in dogs under 20 pounds.

  • most adverse reactions happened in dogs younger than three years, and often happened the first time the owner used a spot-on product
  • although the EPA doesn’t know why they believe some breeds are especially vulnerable to tick treatments. Those breeds are the Chihuahua, Shih Tzu, Miniature Poodle, Pomeranian, Dachshund, Maltese, Yorkshire Terrier, and Bichon Frise

  • mixed breeds seem more susceptible to adverse reactions from these products

There are hundreds of pesticides are on the market to protect against fleas and ticks. These products include “spot-on” medication applied to an animal’s skin, flea sprays, powders, and collars. The FDA warns many can cause nausea, vomiting and neurological side effects.

poisonous symbol

There are five main commercial options for fighting ticks and fleas:

1. Spot-on products

2. Flea and tick collars

3. Powders and sprays

4. Oral medications

5. Preventative treatment (vaccination)

Once the pet has ticks, specialized (highly toxic) shampoos are often recommended.

A ‘tick dip’ is the worst – this is a concentrated liquid that is applied all over the dog and left to dry. As you’d expect, this is even more toxic than preventative treatments.

Ticks are a nightmare for small dogs… and the meds to protect against them are even worse than the ticks.

“All the known problems with flea and tick pills are FAR worse for dogs under 30 pounds, according to the FDA.”

Ticks are terrible for small dogs, but tick control can be even worse

Ticks are extremely difficult to control and prevent, even with the most effective products.

But what’s better?

Heavy chemicals to keep ticks away, or the risk of tick bites and possible disease?

Chemical treatments can really tax your small dog’s liver and other organs. Some products are safer than others, but let’s face it – these are powerful insecticides, formulated to poison life.

They’re simply not safe for a small dog.

If you don’t want to poison your little dog with tick treatments, how can you protect him?

The alternative to deadly tick treatments: a smart, 3-part program

 

Instead of subjecting your small dog to toxic chemicals cocktails, you can protect him with an aggressive 3-part program that does not include commercial tick treatments.

Start by working to remove to banish ticks from your environment and avoid going where they thrive.

Watch your Morkie very carefully for ticks – examine your dog every time you have been out for a walk and are in contact with grass.

And third, get your Morkie checked for tick-borne illnesses once a year.

MONDAY – the recipe for Magic Tick Fighting Powder, a natural way to banish ticks — and it works!

Never sit on a log!

Walking in the woods? Experts say that sitting on a log for just 5 minutes means a 30% chance of picking up a tick!

Other places to avoid include:

  • any areas where grass or brush is overgrown
  • off-trail when hiking
  • leaf litter – which can make a good home for ticks

 

tick alert - avoid tick hangouts

Avoid tick hangouts!

Ticks can be anywhere

Besides your own yard, ticks can live in dog parks in the foliage or on other dogs. Wild animals can bring them near your home, thanks to your generosity in offering snacks like nuts and seeds.

And of course, if ticks ride into your home on you or your small dog, they can set up household there quite nicely.  Doggy daycare and kennels are two other places ticks can thrive. You can even meet them at your Vet’s office, from infected patients!

You can buy my book on ticks and small dogs from Amazon for instant download here.  Just $2.99

Read it on your Kindle, smartphone, laptop, iPad – anywhere!

Aspirin for dogs: is it safe?

Aspirin for dogs: is it safe?

It’s horrible to see your dog in pain and suffering, but what’s worse is giving him meds that can make him worse. NEVER give aspirin, ibuprofen or other people medications without checking with your Vet. The results can be tragic.

The confusing world of pain medications

OTC or over-the-counter pain medications can be confusing, but here’s a brief rundown. 

There are two main types of non-prescription pain relievers: NSAIDs and Acetaminophen. Both work to help relieve pain and reduce fever. NSAIDs also reduce inflammation for conditions like arthritis.

 

Dogs should never be given either kind of pain reliever – NSAIDs or Acetaminophen – without specific instructions from your Veterinarian.

NSAID Brands

The most common kinds you’ll see on pharmacy shelves are:

  • Aspirin (Bayer, Bufferin, Excedrin)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB)
  • Naproxen (Aleve)

The most common brand of Acetaminophen is Tylenol. Others are:

  • Actifed
  • Alka-Seltzer Plus
  • Contac
  • Coricidin
  • DayQuil
  • Dimetapp
  • Dristan
  • Excedrin
  • Midol
  • Mucinex
  • NyQuil
  • Robitussin
  • Saint Joseph Aspirin-Free
  • Sinutab
  • Sudafed

The worst part is -- your Morkie can't tell you when he's in pain.

NSAIDS for dogs

Given NSAIDS, dogs can develop vomiting and diarrhea (often bloody), intestinal problems, loss of appetite, bleeding disorders, kidney or liver dysfunction or failure.

They can even die without fast treatment. It is not safe to give your dog any amount of aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen, or other anti-inflammatory meant for humans.

ACETAMINOPHEN for dogs

Acetaminophen can be extremely toxic for dogs; too much can destroy their liver cells, plus damage the kidneys along with red blood cells.

danger sign symbol

What can dogs have to help ease pain?

With your Vet’s approval, you can give your dog one of the specific canine pain control medications, such as Carpofen, Etodolac and Meloxicam.

Other ways to help your dog with pain

Conditions like arthritis can be helped with changes in diet and omega-3 fatty acids. Physical therapy, acupuncture, and cold laser treatments are other avenues your Vet might suggest.

Low dosage aspirin for dogs

Vets will prescribe aspirin on occasion, but never decide and give it yourself.

A number of websites sell aspirin for dogs, but don’t give it to your Morkie without checking with your Vet first. He/she can advise if it’s safe for such a small dog, and what the dosage should be.

Do not take matters into your own hands.

From PetMD.com


Infographic by petMD.com

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