Missed the early socialization window? – There's still hope!
Considering or just adopted a timid older puppy or adult dog that clearly didn't have the best early life socialization? Or recently got a new puppy but were told to keep them locked away and not introduce them to any other dogs or bring them out and about until all of their puppy shots were done and you've now missed their early (3–4month old) socialization window? Sadly, these are scenarios that are (still) far too common. But all hope is not lost!
Yes, there’s no doubt or debate about it … proper early life socialization (i.e., before 16 weeks old) is very important for a dog’s wellbeing and development and, if you’ve missed their critical early “socialization window,” you’re definitely starting behind the proverbial "8-ball." But people have made some pretty impressive shots from behind 8-balls actually, and you can too!
Here’s some information, tips, and resources to help you help your previously under- or unsocialized dog get more comfortable with the world. (And be sure to check out the encouraging and heartwarming video and story at the end to see just how far some of these dogs can come, even when getting some of the worst starts in life possible!)
Reading the 'Pee Leaves'
Did you know that the way your dog is peeing — or not — can give you some important information about their urinary, and even overall health. This article will highlight some of the signs you may notice when your dog pees that could indicate that a vet visit is needed.
Straining While Peeing
If your dog is struggling or straining while they’re peeing, it could actually be a very serious emergency condition. Both male and female dogs can have their urethra (the tube that connects the bladder to the outside world) blocked by a urinary stone, scaring, inflammation, or even a tumor. Male dogs can also suffer a urethral blockage from an overly enlarged prostate (more of a problem in male dogs that haven’t been neutered, as the prostate grows under the influence of testosterone). You should always err on the side of caution if you see your dog straining to pee and bring them for immediate veterinary evaluation. Even if they’re not “blocked,” your dog will be happy that you had them checked to be sure.
Blood in urine,
Though it may not be your favorite topic to think about or discuss, your dog’s poop can actually provide some good clues about their health. Now, I’m not going to go so far as to say that, like the eyes are the windows to the soul, poop is the window to overall health … but it definitely can provide a glimpse! So here’s the skinny on why you should go outside with your dog when they go to the bathroom and generally pay attention to your dog’s poops. They could be trying to tell you something.
Dog Poo 'Ground Rules'
The poop and pooping characteristics outlined below are a general guide. What’s also very important is a “change in normal” for your specific dog. For example, if your dog normally has slightly “soft” stools and is doing well, then all of a sudden develops firm, dryer stools … that could be an indication of a problem. Or visa versa. Or if they normally poop three times a day, and then suddenly start pooping just once a day (without any changes in diet or exercise), then that is a change that should be investigated with your vet. And so on.
Outfitting Your Dog’s Crate Safely
What is and isn’t safe or OK to put in your dog’s crate is a pretty common question we get asked here at Preventive Vet. People often want to know … Is it ok to leave food or water in my dog’s crate? Should I leave one of my t-shirts in my puppy’s crate? What about towels and other bedding? Chews and other toys?
Of course, every dog and every situation is different. Young puppies are different than adult dogs (in many ways!). Similarly, a dog just beginning their crate training is a different situation than a dog that’s already acclimated to and in love with their crate. All that said, there are some general insights and recommendations we can provide to help you as you ponder the safest and most comfortable “interior design” of your dog’s crate.
poisonous plants for dogs,
Crate training puppies,
Crate training tips,
Have you decided to start living a healthier lifestyle? If you’re contemplating the ketogenic or “keto” diet to accomplish your goals, or are already on it, there are some things you should be aware of to best ensure that you don’t endanger the health and safety of your pets while you’re improving your own.
Foods that aren't good for dogs,
Foods that aren't good for cats,
The evening of December 4, 2018 was unfolding like any other. Kristi Blust did the usual quick basketball practice drop off run with her daughter after work, taking the typical 10 minutes or so. She returned home to start making dinner for her family, just like the night before. That's where the similarities stop though. Sadly, that evening wasn’t going to be just like any other evening for Kristi and her family.
Bringing home a new dog — whether they're a puppy or adult — is an awesome thing, no doubt! But it can also be a bit overwhelming, both for you and your new dog. Regardless of where your dog came from — shelter, rescue, foster home, breeder, or even your neighbor down the street — joining your family is a change. An awesome change, but a change none-the-less. And change can be stressful for dogs. This is why many dogs will go through an "adjustment period" when they first come into a new home.
You can ease and shorten their adjustment period — and minimize your own stress — by being well prepared with products and aids that can help your new dog settle into their new life. This article aims to make things easier for you, with some behavior and safety awareness, shopping tips, and recommendations for products that may help you and your pup during this time of transition. I cover everything from calming aids (including pheromones and music), to how to make bedtime "sleeptime," as well as safe toys and crate essentials.
bedtime for puppies
Like many health-conscious people these days, Melissa Wardrop is eating healthier and watching her and her family’s consumption of sugar. She’s also a very considerate person, both generally and also in terms of taking her friends' sugar-free eating habits into consideration. Sadly, it was the two “thank you” loaves of sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free zucchini bread she baked for her friends that led to the loss of her beloved family dog, Lucy, a beautiful and sweet 5 year old Lab.
Grain-free diets for dogs have become all the buzz in recent years with lots of dog food companies, bloggers, and pet lovers extolling them as the cure for all that ails dogs. Now, I’m not going to get into all of my thoughts on this trend. (The board-certified veterinary nutritionists at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine have already done that in these articles on their petfoodology blog.) What I will say though is that it tends to be (emotional) marketing that's driving the grain-free pet food craze, rather than science and an actual medical need for excluding grains from the diets of dogs — even those with food allergies. But again, that discussion is outside the scope of this particular article.
The purpose of this article is to ensure that, if you have chosen to feed your dog a grain-free diet, and especially if it's a food that contains peas, chickpeas, lentils, or potatoes in place of the grains, you are aware of the newly recognized possible link between the feeding of a grain-free diet and the development of Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), a very serious form of heart disease in dogs. DCM is characterized by a distention and thinning out of the muscular walls of the heart, causing it to be a less effective pump to move blood throughout the body. As you might imagine, that’s not a good thing! Dogs with DCM are at great risk of progressing to heart failure. You can learn more about the condition in this article from the good folks in the cardiology department at the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Foods that aren't good for dogs,
Foods that are good for dogs,
Tips to help your dog keep their cool
When the temperatures rise, you may be able to stay cool by sweating or drinking a nice glass of iced tea, but your dog isn't so lucky. Not only should your dog not drink tea :) — or any caffeinated beverage, for that matter — but they also really don't have the ability to sweat very well. Dogs mostly cool themselves off by panting.
So, how can you help keep your pup comfortable and safe when the mercury starts to rise? Fret not, this article contains some tips, tricks, and cool (pun intended) product suggestions that can help.
pet safety tips,
Summer Pet Safety Tips,
Heat Stroke Risk Factors