The Grooming Brushes for your Dog

Dog grooming is a process by which dog’s appearance is enhanced. It not only enhances the appeal but also keeps your pet hygienic and clean. It is also essential to keep your pet stress free and comfortable, especially those with long or heavy coats.

Much like your dog, pet brushes come in just about every shape or sizes. As a pet owner, you must first consider your pet’s coat and the grooming need to determine what brush to buy.


Types of Pet Brush

Slicker brush

A Slicker Brush is primarily designed to get rid of any debris, loose hair and mats/ knots in the fur. It is typically rectangular in shape and has fine wire bristles, packed tightly together. This type of brush works with all pet coats.

Each wire bristle is angled slightly as to not scratch the skin, however, you must be cautious while using this type of brush as it tends to be sharper. You shouldn’t apply heavy pressure on it.

Pin brush

Pin brush is often a wooden brush with wire pins that have a protective ball at the end to prevent scratching the skin.

It’s made for longer and silkier coat types. It’s usually recommended for show dogs –who have long fur coats.

Bristle brush

The bristle brush is best suited for dogs with short or wiry coats. The bristles remove debris and leave a nice shine. It can also be used on double coated dogs (a soft undercoat and weather-resistant outer coat), such as Collies and Huskies.

Shedding blade

Shedding blade is a brush in a horseshoe shape comb with small, harmless teeth used for shedding loose fur. A shedding blade works several ways, but you must ensure caution to avoid any injury to your dog. Do not apply heavy pressure when brushing with a shedding blade, especially around sensitive areas like the groin and bony projections

Undercoat rake

The undercoat rake looks like a pin brush, but with fewer and longer pins. It’s designed to get deep into double and heavy coats of dogs.

On most shedding breeds, it can remove dead and fuzzy undercoat in minutes, and leave the top coat shiny and healthy. On harsh-coated dogs, they mimic the hand-stripped look quickly and easily. Undercoat rakes can be used on a wet or a dry.


Check Pet Grooming to learn more about best brush for you dogs.

Diabetes among Dogs

Alike humans, dogs may suffer from diabetes too. There are two types of diabetes common in dogs.

  • Diabetes Insipidus
  • Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes insipidus is sometimes called "drinking diabetes" because it is a rare diabetes which often leads to failure in regulating body’s water content.

Diabetes mellitus or Diabetes in general is a common disease in middle-aged and older dogs. It’s a complex disorder of carbohydrate, protein, and lipid metabolism in dogs. It can be the result of a relative or absolute insulin deficiency or of peripheral cell insensitivity to insulin which is characterized by high blood glucose concentrations such that the renal threshold is exceeded.

It is a disease of the pancreas. Diabetes typically occurs when dogs are between 4 to 14 years old. Unspayed female dogs are twice as likely as male dogs to suffer from diabetes.

The Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs

  • Change in appetite
  • Excessive thirst/increase in water consumption
  • Weight loss
  • Increased urination
  • Unusually sweet-smelling or fruity breath
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vomiting
  • Cataract formation, blindness
  • Chronic skin infections

Types of Diabetes Mellitus

There are two types of Diabetes Mellitus.

  • Type I is an insulin dependent diabetes which results from total or near complete destruction of the beta-cells. It is more common form of Diabetes mellitus among dogs. Most forms of diabetes can be managed with insulin, however, dietary and lifestyle improvements are also essential.
  • Type II is a non-insulin dependent diabetes because some insulin producing cells remain in the body, however, the amount produced is insufficient or the tissues of dog’s body is resistant to it. It commonly occurs in older obese dogs.

The breeds which are more prone to Diabetes are;

  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Dachshund
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Pomeranian
  • Terrier
  • Toy Poodle

When you know the cause, the vets can look into the diagnosis and possible treatment, however, the effective treatment is only possible during the early onset of the disease.

How often do you visit for Well Checks?

A well check or wellness examination is a periodic medical tests of the pets to assess their overall health. A wellness examination may also be called a 'check-up' or a 'physical examination'. The necessity of a well check is to ensure that your dog remains healthy throughout its life. A well check may also include regular shots for rabies, flu etc.

"The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends for dogs and cats to have check-ups annually, at least."


How often to visit Vets?

The time and duration for well checks or periodical visits may differ according to the age of the dog.

Puppy

In general, you should take your pup to your vet every 3 to 4 weeks for necessary vaccinations and to check if it’s developing any complications or other physical infirmities. The regular check may include, shots for rabies and distemper-parvo. Your pup might need shots if it’s displaying symptoms of kennel cough, influenza or Lyme disease.

Adult Dogs

Adult dogs range from the age between 1 to 7 years (depending on breed). These dogs require annual wellness check, including a heart worm test and other tests your vet recommends based on the results of the check.

A booster shots for rabies and distemper-parvo can be essential, typically every 3 years (note that there are state laws which mandate the frequency of rabies shots—your vet will tell you when you need to bring your dog in for his rabies shots).

Older Dogs

Older dogs range from the age between 7 to 10 years. These dogs require wellness check every 6 months or bi-annually. Alike humans, older dogs are prone to developing certain diseases and complications as they get older, including arthritis, gum disease, diabetes, vision problems and blindness, kidney disease, cancer, and dementia.


What to expect in Wellness Check?

Pre Examination

To better assess the need for well check, you vet will inquire about your dog’s diet, exercise, thirst, breathing, behavior, habits, elimination patterns (i.e., bowel movements and urination), lifestyle, and general health.

When you schedule a well check, your vet might ask for urine or stool sample too. It’s mandatory that you keep records of your dog’s previous tests, check-up, illness and medical history.

Physical Examination

The thorough physical examination includes;

  1. Alertness and appearance: Does your dog appear bright, alert and responsive?
  2. Evaluation of gait: Is there any stiffness, lameness, swelling or asymmetry?
  3. Skin and hair coat: Check for inflammation on skin or hair loss and hair quality.
  4. Body Condition Score (BCS): On a scale of 1-9, a number is assigned to indicate if your dog is underweight, overweight or ideal weight. A score of 5 indicates an ideal body weight.
  5. Overall Measurement: The overall measurement may include assessing the body weight, body temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate and capillary refill time.
  6. Examination of face and mouth: This includes overall tests of eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and throat etc.
  7. Palpation of lymph nodes: Are any enlarged or painful?
  8. Auscultation: Are there unusual breath sounds, a heart murmur, or a heart rhythm abnormality? Auscultation is performed on both sides of the chest.
  9. Palpation of the abdomen: Are there areas of discomfort or palpable abnormalities?
  10. Rectal examination: Are there any growths present within or around the rectum? Is the prostate gland enlarged or painful? Is the stool normal?

Check Pet Medical Services to learn more about pet health and well checks.

5 Step for Maintaining a Dog House (Kennel)

Most dog owners choose to keep their pet inside their home and save themselves from the hassle of building or maintain the dog house. However, many owners build a dog house to provide a private space for their pets and for keeping guard or maintaining hygiene of home.

doghouse, dog house, dogshed or kennel is a small shed commonly built in the shape of a house, a shelter intended for a dog. It is a structure in which a dog is kept and it is intended to provide a safe place to dogs outdoors.

 

When you build a house for your dog it is important to keep check on wear and tear, and hygiene issues too, so your dog can enjoy a safe shelter.


Here are 5 Step on maintaining your dog house

Disinfect the entire house

You must regularly disinfect your dog house for prevention from fleas, tick and other allergies. Keeping the dog shelter clean ensures that your own home is safe from germs.

You can find various disinfectants in the market, however, if you are using a bleach solution, do care to dilute it in the ratio of 1:32 (one part of bleach with thirty-two parts of water). After using the bleach, do not forget to rinse the surfaces inside the house to prevent any chemical ruins and inhalation.

Regularly clean accessories and materials

Regularly empty and clean water bowl, food bowl, toy and sheets or blankets. Keeping sheets and blankets under the sunlight kills most of the germs without the need to wash it often. Dogs often have a habit of bringing foreign stuffs inside their kennel. You must remove them and keep the inside cleaner to prevent germ infestation.

Provide cold-proof layer

If your city or suburb is colder or has a harsh winter, it is important that you provide extra protection for your dog. Warm the dog's indoor bed if the dog lies directly on cold and try making an elevated bed from the floor. Avoid metal or concrete for the floor.

Consider using a hot water bottle or a microwavable heating pad, designed to stay warm for up to 12 hours. Using heated water and food bowl is a good option. You can also add inner wall to provide insulation from cold. Care to use a plastic or flaps as the door to keep the cold out.

Check for leakages

Because of wear and tear, the dog house can endure leakage over the time. This poses a problem during rain, winter and wind.

Start by removing all the old shingles and sub-roofing. Add a layer of insulation, lay down some water-resistant membrane, and then re-shingle. You can also use water proof coating or cover for the house

Upgrade or improve doghouse every year

Although you need to clean the dog house every week, the entire house may require an upgrade or maintenance to keep it safe, clean and hygienic. The major upgrade can be done once a year.

If the growth of size is continuous, you must design the house according to dog's proportionate size. Building a larger dog house may not be suitable for smaller dogs, and vice versa.


You can consult with the Vet and experts to learn more about housing conditions and requirements.

How often do you groom your dog?

Dog grooming is a process by which dog’s appearance is enhanced. It not only enhances the appeal but also keeps your pet hygienic and clean. It is also essential to keep your pet stress free and comfortable, especially those with long or heavy coats.

A person who professionally grooms the dog is known as dog groomer or Groomer. The grooming procedure, time and tools differ from one breed to another and one coat type to another.


5 benefits of Regular Grooming

  1. Eradicate Health Problem –Grooming lessens any chances of various health problems, such as skin allergy, parasitic infections, scratches and matted hair.
  2. Cleanliness –General tidiness and physical appearance is ensured by regular and proper grooming.
  3. Vital Organs in Check –Grooming also monitors the status of essential body parts for the infection, such as; Eyes, Ear and Teeth, Nose, Underside, Skin Coat, Nail and Pads etc.
  4. Physical Appeal –The physical appearance and standard is maintained with regular grooming.
  5. Stress-free environment –Matted hair, long and burly fur can cause stress to many dogs on daily basis. Grooming keeps them comfortable and happy.

Grooming based on Coat Type

Short haired

Short-haired dogs may require fewer baths and grooming to keep them clean. Grooming every 5-6 months is generally enough. They can be bathed every 4 months. Short haired canines like German Shephard may shed excessively. You can ask your groomer for any low-shed services. Keep in mind that nothing will stop shedding entirely, not even shaving your dog.

Short hair and double coated

These kind of dogs typically shed seasonally. You can choose to groom them four times a year to keep them clean and prevent excessive shedding. They require bath every 6 weeks to keep their coat clean and also to protect their natural oil. Golden Retriever is a popular short haired doubled coated dog which requires constant grooming and bathe.

Long hair and double coated

These dogs may frequently suffer from matted and overweighed hair. Matted hair invites moist, infection and allergies. They tend to shed seasonally and have long feathers on their feet, legs, bellies, butts, and ears that needs to be trimmed often.

You must never shave your double coated dog, as they are unable to grow their top layer coat back! Akita, Alaskan Husky, Alaskan malamute, American Eskimo, Chinook, Chow Chow, Finnish Spitz and Finnish Lapphund few examples of long haired double coated dog.

Thick Undercoated

Thick undercoated dogs require proper grooming to ensure their thick undercoat remains safe. These undercoat must be removed seasonally but never shaved. Shaving may cause severe skin problem, allergy and sunburn.

Thick undercoated dogs require grooming at least every three months. Golden Retrievers, Huskies, Collies, Shelties and Shepherds are dogs with thick undercoat.

Silky coated

The single coat on dogs tend to be silkier which grows continuously, hence it must be trimmed periodically. They can be groomed every 2-3 months. Some may require grooming every 4-6 weeks to prevent severe matting. Afghan hound, Maltese dog, Shih Tzu, Skye terrier, Tibetan terrier and Yorkshire terrier are few examples of silky coated dogs.

Curvy or Wavy coated

These dogs are the most likely to mat because of the excess of hair and chances of entanglement. Any hair longer than half an inch should be brushed at least twice a week; and hair longer than an inch should be brushed daily.

They may require grooming every four to six weeks to prevent severe matting. Curly coated retriever, Pumi, Portugese water dog, irish water spaniel, Lagotto Romagnolo and Poodle are few of the curvy or wavy coated dogs.


Check Pet grooming to learn more about proper grooming technique and professional help.

How to Perform CPR on Dogs?

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation or CPR is a lifesaving technique useful in many emergencies, especially when your dog’s breathing or heartbeat has stopped. Heart attack, near drowning or electric shock are few of the occasions when a dog may require CPR. Unlike humans, the resuscitation is done only through the nose but mouth, and the CPR is only performed on unconscious animal to avoid the risk of being beaten.

CPR alone is unlikely to revive the heart. Its main purpose is to restore partial flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and heart. Its objective is to delay tissue death and to extend the brief window of opportunity for a successful resuscitation without permanent brain damage.


Common CPR technique for dogs

Check for breathing and a heartbeat

Confirm if your pet is breathing or check their heartbeat. If they aren’t breathing or there is no sign of heartbeat, then immediately begin CPR with chest compression.

Give chest compression

CPR for Dogs below 30 Pounds (14 kg)

For cats, small dogs and deep chested dogs, place the heel of one of your hands directly over the pet’s heart and place your other hand directly over the first hand.

Compress the chest for one inch to one-quarter or one-third the width of the chest for a count of one and then let go for a count of one. Carry on at a rate of 100 compressions in a minute.

CPR for Dogs above 30 Pounds (14 kg)

Without bending both the elbows, press the rib cage in a downward motion.

Compress the chest for one-quarter to one-third the width of the chest for a count of one and then let go for a count of one. Carry on at a rate of 80 compressions per minute.

Make sure the chest comes back fully (recoils) before compressing again.

Give resuscitation

To provide resuscitation, gently close the dog’s mouth and extend the neck to open the airway. Cover their nose with your mouth and exhale until you see their chest rising. Give a second rescue breath.

Continue CPR

Continue giving CPR with a cycle of 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths until your dog begins breathing again on its own.

Check again for breathing and a heartbeat

Briefly check for breathing and a heartbeat every 2 minutes.

If your dog doesn’t show any sign of improvement after 10 minutes, you can stop the procedure as it hasn’t proven successful.


Is hairball common in Dogs?

Although it’s uncommon among canines, coughing up hairball can sometimes be a problem for dogs with medium to long fur. It is mostly attributed to self-grooming, however, there other reasons for the dogs to ingest its own hair.

Unlike dogs, felines or cats have a major problem of vomiting hairballs frequently as they are more susceptible to self-grooming and cleanliness causing ingestion of huge amount of hair.

 

What is hairball?

Known as tricholith or trichobezoar, hairball is the accumulated animal hair or fur that surrounds a non-digestible item generally stuck inside the stomach of the animal. It is generally accumulated when the hair doesn’t pass through feces and is stuck in the intestine.

The hairball is generally shaped rounded, tubular or spherical, depending on amount ingested. It can be wet and soggy mass or a dry one too.

Why do dogs cough up hairballs?

Typically, a dog who inadvertently swallows his own hair or fur in the process of self-grooming will pass any stray hairs in his feces. As they don’t often groom themselves like cats, ingestion of hair is least common among most dogs.

Hairball formation has a kind of snowball effect; once a hairball begins to form, the more hair a dog ingests, the larger it becomes. Once a hairball is large enough, physical discomfort may compel them to vomit it out.

Self-grooming

Self-grooming is the major cause of hair ingestion. The licking of own fur can sometimes lead to ingestion of hair and causes to accumulate inside the bowel.

Fur Shedding

Fur shedding can be other major reason for hair ingestion. There is fur shedding season for dogs which can cause them to ingest more hair than often.

Wound, Tick-bite or Allergy

Sometimes, wound or tick-bite can cause dogs to lick their hair more often. This can lead to ingestion of more amount of hair which isn’t easily passable through the bowel.

Eating prey

Some dogs with prey instincts tend to eat up the whole animal with feather and furs. Since hair is indigestible, it will remain inside their stomach and accumulate over the time.

How to prevent it?

There are many ways to prevent dogs from swallowing their own hair. First, let’s look at the symptoms of hairball problems.

Symptoms

  • Repeated attempts to cough or vomit
  • Dry heaving
  • Constipation
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Gagging
  • Diarrhea
  • A bloated stomach, in more serious cases

The possible prevention methods for hairball ingestion are;

Go to Vet

See you veterinarian to assess if your pet has any skin allergy or parasitic infestation. If it isn’t skin allergy or parasitic infestation, the vet may refer laxative or dietary changes.

Hydration

A well-hydrated dog experiences efficient bowel movements.

Grooming

Grooming is essential to keep pet skin cleaner. It prevents excessive licking of fur which may cause hair fall.

Playtime

Dogs which are more preoccupied with boredom may start chewing or licking themselves simply to pass the time. This may cause hair ingestion, hence, you need to keep your dog occupied with enough fun time.


Learn more about pet care and grooming.

How often do you bath your dog?

Bathing your dog is essential to keep it clean and hygienic or parasite free. The pets enjoy an entirely different lifestyle than us humans, hence, their hygiene may vastly differ. Dogs tend to keep themselves cleaner by licking themselves or by removing toxins from skin through perspiration, however, this may not prove to be hygienic for the owners.

The type of bath and how often may depend on various factors. It is essential that you consult with the Veterinarian or the pet shop owner with whom you bought your dog before indulging in any particular bathing practice.


What is the nature of your dog?

Dogs who spent more time outside the house may need frequent bath than the one staying inside the house. Most dogs tend to just sit on the couch in a room all day.

If a dog play outside in mud and soil, it may need regular wash with soap and brush. These dogs have tendency to carry alien parasites if not cleaned properly and can contaminate entire house indoors.

What type of coat does your dog has?

Bathing once a month works with almost all the dog, however,

  • Dogs with oily coat like Basset Hounds may need a weekly wash.
  • Dogs with short hair, like; Beagles and Weimaraners, may need less frequent baths.
  • Dogs with water-repellant coats, like; Golden Retriever and Great Pyrenees may need less baths so as to preserve their natural skin oil.
  • Dogs with thick, double coat such as Samoyeds, Malamutes and other northern breeds may need fewer baths and lot of scrubbing to get the dirt off their skin.

Does your dog have any skin related or dermatological condition?

As stated before, dogs with short fur and thin coat may need lesser bathe than the rest, however, the skin condition may remain a useful factor in deciding how often to bathe your dog.

Dogs with acute allergies, excess hair loss, bald or dry patches, lumps and bumps need special care. You must consult your veterinarian and only bathe with certain products or at a time prescribed by the expert.

In most cases, wrong shampoo or frequent baths can cause skin related problems. This can be eradicated by consulting with the Vet or when you first catch the sign of any problem.

What bathing products to use?

Soaps and shampoo used by humans mustn’t be used for dogs. Human skin has pH level of 5 while dogs have pH level of 7. The shampoo used by humans are more acidic in nature, which if used on dogs can cause irritation or skin rashes.

Bathing product must have a pH value that is especially formulated for a dog's delicate skin, between 6.5 to 7.5.

The Vets can recommend the right shampoo and technique of bathing to prevent any problem in the future. You should always stick to quality dog related bathing products.

How to bathe your Dog?

The process of bathing your dog is simpler. Here are few factors to remember,

Brush them before bath

It is essential to brush your dog before bath to prevent matted hair which soaks up lot of water and can cause irritations later.

Use lukewarm water

Do not use hot or warm water to bathe your dog, as they have sensitive skin. Hot water can burn the skin easily. Using cooler water for the most larger breed dogs is recommended as they tend to easily overheat.

Use dog shampoo

You must always use dog shampoo and products. The dog shampoo specifically comes with ph level of above 6 and up to 7.5 which is recommended for their skin. Shampoo with lesser pH level are acidic and can cause skin irritations.

Rinse well

You must rinse them well after bath to soak up the water. Water left in the ear or sensitive areas can cause irritation later.

Air-dry

Using natural air-dry or dryer specifically for dogs is essential to keep their fur in healthy condition.

Reward your dog

Do not forget to reward your dog after the bathe to encourage them to stay healthy and love occasional baths.


Check out Pet Grooming to learn more about your dog’s habits and grooming.

Can Pets get Skin Cancer?

Unfortunately, Yes! Like Humans, pets are susceptible to cancer and other form skin related diseases. Many domesticated and wild animals suffer from some form of cancer too.

Skin tumors are the most common form of cancerous tumors found in Dogs.  However, if it’s caught during early onset, it can be treated effectively. The disease is generally classified into Benign and Malign cancers. The term ‘Benign’ is used for less harmful cancer tumors, while ‘Malign’ is used for harmful cancer tumors.

Dogs have certain sensitive areas in the body where there is less or none protection from hair, like nose and ears. Many dog breeds lack enough fur in their body making them more susceptible to skin related diseases. Too much unprotected sun exposure may cause cancer in dogs.

Photo © Dogs Naturally Magazine

Dog melanomas and mast cell tumors are two major types of cancer found in dogs. These are fatal and life-threatening if left treated.


Six Common Types of Cancer in Pets

Malignant melanoma

Malignant melanoma is a type of skin cancer in dogs that affects pigmented cells known as melanocytes. This tendency is common in humans too. Dogs often develop tumors in pigmented cells that do not metastasize (spread to other parts), which are called melanocytomas.

It mostly occurs in the empty spots, however, some may develop in the body part with hair too. Experts believe that it is mostly a Genetic factor which causes the development of melanoma.

Compulsive licking and unhealthy lifestyle must be prevented in the pets to stop spreading the cells to other body parts.

Squamous cell carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma is a rare form of skin cancer prevalent in dogs. Pets with light-skin or hairless body are akin to this type of cancer. Dalmatians, Keeshonds, Standard Schnauzers, Basset Hounds, Collies, Bull Terriers and Beagles are few breeds mostly affected by it. Most squamous cell carcinomas appear as firm and raised or often ulcerated plaques and nodules.

As reported by PetMD.com, “Tumors can often grow outward into large masses and have a surface that resembles a wart. Treatment includes surgery to remove the primary tumor. Incompletely excised tumors should be treated with radiation therapy to prevent regrowth. These tumors infrequently spread to local lymph nodes and the lungs.”

Mast cell tumor

Mast cells tumor generally occur through allergic reactions. The immune cells contain chemicals or granules that are released upon stimulation by an allergen. These cells are located throughout the body and within the skin. This is a more slow-growing cancer in dogs, however, more aggressive mast cell tumors grow faster and may ulcerate.

Mast cell tumors are mostly found in Boxers, Boston Terriers, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Beagles, Pugs, Shar Peis, and Bulldogs.

As reported by Pets.WebMD.com, “Mast cell tumors most commonly occur on the trunk of the body, though they are found on the legs about 25% of the time.”

Melanomas

Melanomas or Benign melanoma in pets are less harmful. It occurs frequently in dogs with dark pigmented skin. Malignant melanoma is a type of Melanomas which is more aggressive. These tumors are usually solitary and appear as small brown/black masses. They can also appear as large, flat, or wrinkled tumors.

As reported by PetMD.com, “Most melanoma tumors are diagnosed after they are removed. Fine needle aspirates can be done on such tumors; however, they are less likely to exfoliate (distribute into the syringe during aspiration), so the sample obtained in this manner might not be diagnostic.”

Hair Follicle Tumor

Most hair follicle tumors are benign or less harmful and can be cured with surgical removal. They develop as a result of the disordered growth of the hair follicles in dogs. Malignant hair follicle tumors need special care and treatments.

Epitheliotropic lymphoma

Lymphoma is a type of blood-borne cancer of lymphocytes (white blood cells). They are found throughout the body, including the skin, where they offer protection against various pathogens that this organ can come into contact with.

According to PetMD.com, “While technically not a skin tumor, another common cancer that occurs in the superficial layers of the skin is Epitheliotropic lymphoma.”

There can be several forms of lymphoma in dogs. Epitheliotropic lymphoma occurs mostly on skin. Chemotherapy is a common form of treatment.


It is important that you provide proper care, diet and environment to your dog. Each breed of dog may have specific conditions, hence, you must consult your vet for medical guidance. To ensure that your pet is safe, get it checked from a reliable veterinarian today.