Wondering how to keep your furry pal healthy?


Getting yourself to the gym can be a significant challenge. It’s even tougher when you can’t drive, you lack opposable thumbs, and your primary skills are “Sit” and “Stay.”

Yes: Dogs need to focus on their fitness, too. And like any good workout partner, they depend on their fellow friends to keep them in shape.

For a primer on keeping your dog healthy, we talked to Ernie Ward, D.V.M., a veterinarian and founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. Ward is also the creator of K9 Fit Club, where personal trainers, dog trainers, and dog owners can take classes to exercise with their dogs. (They have over 46 locations around the country. You can check out other dog fitness centers near you.)

Ward walked me through the best exercises you can do to get your dog moving, and the exercises you should probably avoid. Here are a few workout scenarios for different types of canines.

When your dog thinks kettlebells are toys

Kettlebell swings make for a great at-home workout, until your 10-month old Labrador-mix puppy (like mine) decides to jump up and get involved.

“I’m kind of anti-kettlebells-around-dogs,” Ward says. “It’s critical to evaluate [how dangerous the exercise you’re doing] could be to your dog when you’re doing swift movements or you’re moving weight. Sometimes you can’t overcome that movement instantly—like the arc of a kettlebell swing—and if your dog is in the same room, you could injure them,” he said.

Before you start any exercise or activity, take a step back and ask yourself: What are the potential risks here for my dog or myself?

“We do lunges in K9 classes, but we actually have the dog under restraint when we’re doing big movements, because your dog may dash underneath you—then everybody gets injured.”

If you’re exercising near your dog, keep them on a leash. Knowing how your dog reacts will help you determine what exercises you can do while they’re around.

When your dog loves to tackle you (especially during planks and crunches)

Plenty of pet owners have found they can do workouts with their dogs out of their crates. But when I get on the floor to do planks or abs routines on a mat, my dog thinks this is the perfect opportunity to jump on me or barrage me with licks.

If you have a calmer dog that can lie nearby and chew a bone or relax while you’re on the floor, go ahead with one of our core routines. Otherwise, doing floor work may lead to injury—or, at the very least, a lackluster abs workout.

When your large dog gained weight and you’d like to help him shed the pounds

Veterinarians often see “spring-training injuries” in dogs that hibernated all winter, then started running again, Ward says. If your dog spent all winter on the couch, then they “aren’t ready to spring forward and play Frisbee, do agility exercises, or even swim.”

So, as with any new workout routine, ease yourself and your dog back into action.

“We see a lot of knee ligament tears in the spring from deconditioned dogs who have put on a few extra pounds or just lost muscle and strength,” Ward says. “Sometimes it’s a trauma injury where the dog falls off because their agility isn’t there. They’re just out of practice, so be aware this “spring-training” scenario is real for dogs…as well as people.”

Read more




Natural Options That Work for Dog Skin Cancer


Skin cancer isn’t just a disease in people … and it isn’t just caused by too much time spent in the sun without sunscreen. Half of all dogs get cancer, and all forms of cancer are on the rise, including dog skin cancer.

In fact, skin tumors are the most common tumors found in dogs.

Let’s look at the most common types of dog skin cancer, then we’ll look at two natural treatment options that will help your dog safely, without surgery.

Types of Dog Skin Cancer

There are several different types of dog skin cancer. Three of the most common are:

  • Melanoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Mast cell tumors

1. Melanoma

Melanomas are abnormal growths that involve melanocytes – the cells that produce pigments (color). These cells are found throughout your dog’s entire body, wherever tissues are colored. Melanomas can either be benign or malignant.

Benign melanomas:

  • Typically range in size from very small to 2.5 inches or more in diameter.
  • Are usually less concerning than malignant melanomas because the risk of them spreading is not very high.
  • Are black, brown, gray or red in color.
  • Usually found on areas of the skin that are covered with hair.

Malignant melanomas:

  • Are a more aggressive, invasive type that usually spread fairly quickly to other areas of the body.
  • Can spread to any area of the body, including the lymph nodes and lungs, making them a much more serious threat than benign melanomas.
  • Are most often in a dog’s mouth, around the lips, or on the feet (in toenail beds or on the pads).

The cause of melanoma in dogs isn’t clear. While melanoma in humans is usually caused by damage to the DNA of skin cells (especially by UV light), this isn’t likely with dogs since many of the melanomas occur in areas not directly exposed to UV light.

Genetics also seem to play a role. The breeds most at risk include:

  • Vizslas
  • Schnauzers
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Airedale Terriers
  • Bay Retrievers
  • Scottish Terriers


2. Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma is a type of cancer that originates in the outer layer of the skin, the squamous epithelium. Carcinomas are characteristically malignant and particularly invasive.

Squamous cell carcinomas:

  • Typically grow quickly, getting bigger with time.
  • Are usually resistant to healing.
  • May appear as crusty, bleeding sores that don’t heal for months, or hard, white-colored wart-like growths.
  • Are usually found on the belly, around the genitals, or the feet.

As with melanomas, there’s some debate over what causes squamous dog skin cancer. Extended exposure to sunlight, which is known to damage cells, is the most commonly accepted one. A weak immune system may help these cells become malignant. There may also be some association with the papilloma virus as a cause.

Genetics may also be a factor. The breeds most at risk are:

  • Keeshond
  • Standard Schnauzer
  • Basset Hound
  • Collie


3. Mast Cell Tumor

Mast cell tumors are the most common type of dog skin cancer. They occur in the mast cells, the immune cells that play a role in allergic reactions and inflammatory responses. These cells contain histamine, heparin and enzymes to fight off predatory foreign invaders, but damage from allergies or inflammation can cause problems.

Mast cell tumors:

  • Usually develop in the skin, but they can also develop internally, but this is less common.
  • Can vary widely in size, shape, appearance, texture and location.
  • May show up as an isolated lump or mass, although they can appear in clusters.
  • May grow in size, then shrink.
  • May appear red in color, could be hairless or could be ulcerated (an open wound).

Aside from the lump, most dogs won’t have any symptoms of irritation or illness.

Unfortunately, the causes of mast cell tumors in dogs are not clear. The sun is a potential culprit, but genetics also seem to play a role. The dogs most at risk include:

  • Boxers
  • Bulldogs
  • Pugs
  • Boston Terriers
  • Beagles
  • Bullmastiffs
  • Dachshunds
  • Schnauzers


Why Not Surgery?

If it’s cancer, why not just have it surgically removed? There are several reasons.

Surgery’s invasive. Any time you cut into your dog’s body, there are risks from the anesthesia, blood clots and post-op infections.

Also, to attack any of the remaining cancer cells, the conventional veterinary approach is to bombard an already compromised body with chemical poisons and radiation through chemotherapy and radiation.

Natural Solutions for Dog Skin Cancer

Here are the two most effective natural treatment options for dog skin cancer.

1. Neoplasene

Neoplasene is a cream made from bloodroot extract. It works by causing apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells. Once applied to the tumor, the tumor cells actually die and the tissue will eventually slough off.

The Pros: It works and it’s not as invasive as surgery. With surgery it’s really hard to get all of the microsopic cancer cells but neoplasene seeks them out and helps the immune system seek and destroy them.

The Cons: It can only be used under veterinary supervision. Because the cancerous tissue sloughs off, a hole is left and proper wound management is crucial. It can also be painful for the dog which is hard for some dog owners to accept.



2. Turmeric

Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin – which is essentially its active ingredient. Curcumin has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, wound healing and anticancer activities.

There have been literally thousands of studies done on turmeric, and nearly 1/3 of the studies done on it are cancer research … and the results are very promising. It’s been shown to not only kill cancer cells and prevent more from growing but to stop precancerous changes from becoming cancer in the first place. And, not only does it kill tumor cells, it does so selectively, leaving healthy cells alone.

The American Cancer Society has said “Curcumin interferes with cancer development, growth, and spread.”

The Pros: Turmeric works, it’s inexpensive, it isn’t painful and you can use it to treat dog skin cancer at home.

The Cons: Turmeric stains your hands, carpets and furniture so you have to wrap it after each application.



One of the easiest ways to use it is with a salve. Here’s a recipe

Recipe For Healing Salve For Dogs

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 part organic turmeric powder
  • 1 part raw coconut oil (cold pressed)
  • 1 part organic lecithin powder

Mix the ingredients together to form a paste and store in a glass jar. Keep it refrigerated.

Here’s how to use it:

  • Apply it once a day for 7 days
  • After 7 days, let it air for 24 hours
  • If there is still a lump, reapply for 2-5 more days, until the lump pops or falls off


Read More

Pet Dental Month


Poor dental health for your pet can lead to gingivitis or periodontal disease, common dental issues for your best friend. It is estimated that most pets show signs of periodontal disease as early as three years old. Regular checkups and good dental care can help to insure that your pet stays healthy, and keep you both smiling.

This past week we saw the crowning of a new champion at the 142nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Out of more than 2,800 dogs representing about 200 different breeds, a little Bichon Frise named “Flynn” pranced away with the Best In Show title. If you watched any of the judging on television you may have noticed that a judge would examine each contestant, beginning by pulling back its lips to check its teeth. In part, they compare the animal’s physical attributes to the standard for that dog’s particular breed, but they are also checking to confirm the dog’s age and health.

A pet’s teeth are a good indication of its general overall physical condition. While some ailments can cause dental problems, it’s very possible that poor dental health can cause internal disease affecting other parts of the animal’s body.

Dental issues usually result from a build-up of tartar, which begins in pets the same way it does in people, as food particles and other elements accumulate around the teeth. The teeth take on a brownish-yellow appearance and often the animal develops what many of us call “doggie breath”. That odor may be an indication that your pet has – or is developing – periodontal disease. As it progresses, periodontal disease can cause pain and discomfort for an animal. But untreated, infection in the gums could eventually spread to vital organs like the kidneys, heart and liver.

One way to keep your pet’s teeth healthier is have them checked by your veterinarian. The vet may recommend a teeth-cleaning procedure, which usually involves anesthesia, because most animals won’t sit still and open wide. Your vet may also recommend things you can do to help keep your best friend’s teeth, and its whole body, healthier.

read more


I’m all ears when you talk to me!


When talking to your dog, it’s not just what you say but how you say it. Using praising words in an upbeat, positive tone of voice, activates your furry friend’s pleasure center. What a great thing to do for your best friend!


Do you talk to your dog? I have always heard that the average dog recognizes about 150 words, although “experts” say that a dog really does not respond to the words but rather to its owner’s voice, the way it is said (with excitement, or caution) and perhaps also to the human’s body language.

A friend recently said he talks to his dog every day. When he gets home, he knows she is looking forward to some attention; but he tells her to wait because he has to set down the items he is carrying. And she does – wait, I mean. When he has put his things away he looks at her and says okay, and she knows that’s the time to come over to greet him and get loved and petted. He is convinced that his dog understands what he says.

Turns out my friend may be right. In Hungary a dozen dogs were trained to lie calmly in an MRI scanner while researchers spoke to them and monitored the effects on their brain. They discovered that a dog’s brain operates very much like a human brain, in that the left hemisphere processes the meaning of a word and the right hemisphere analyzes the intonation, or how the word is spoken.

When the dogs heard words that were familiar to them, the brain’s left side was active. When praising words were spoken in an approving tone, the animals’ reward center in the right side lit up. But when they tried saying neutral words in an approving tone or positive words in a monotone, they didn’t get the same reaction. The dogs recognized when they heard familiar positive words in the right tone of voice.

The results of this non-invasive experiment seem to support what dog owners know from personal experience. Your canine friend understands much of what you say. Maybe that’s why they make such good listeners and great companions. read more


#Dog Vitals – Normal Heart Rate, Body Temperature, & Respiration


What is a dog’s normal resting heart rate? What should a dog’s body temperature be? Is your dog breathing too fast? These are questions you may be wondering about if your dog is feeling under the weather and your need a frame of reference or if you notice that your dog’s pulse, temperature, or respiration aren’t what you think they should be. A dog’s regular vitals are different from a human’s, so while your normal temperature might be 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, your dog’s might be completely different. Here are a few normal stats that you should expect to see in healthy dogs.

Normal Heart Rate For Dogs

Healthy Dog

The normal pulse rate for dogs can vary depending on the dog’s age and size. The resting heart rates of small dogs and puppies are faster than the heart rates of large or adult dogs. Puppies can have resting pulse rates of 160 to 200 beats per minutes when they are born, which can go as high as 220 beats per minute at two weeks of age. Up to 180 beats per minute may be normal until a year of age. Large adult dogs can have a resting heart rate of 60 to 100 beats per minute, while small adult dogs can have a normal heart rate of 100 to 140 beats per minute.

Heart rate can increase with normal exercise or emotional responses like excitement or stress. This is not often a cause for concern unless it results in health complications or worsens an existing condition. When there are changes in the resting heart rate when a dog is relaxed, it could be a problem. It could be a sign of many serious heart or blood conditions, or it could be a sign that your dog is out of shape and at risk for health issues. If your dog’s resting heart rate is outside of the usual range, it is a good idea to see a veterinarian.

To measure your dog’s heart rate, you’ll need a stopwatch or clock that can show you a count in seconds. You can feel your dog’s heart beat with your hand on your dog’s left side behind the front leg or you can check the inside of the top of your dog’s hind leg. Count the beats you feel for 15 seconds and multiply the result by four to get the beats per minute. You should take the measurement multiple times, as it can vary a bit. You should also do this when your dog is healthy and at rest to establish a normal baseline so you can tell if something is wrong.

Normal Body Temperature For Dogs

Young female veterinarian with a dog

Like humans, the temperature of a dog’s body can vary a bit while still being completely healthy. The usual temperature of a healthy, normal dog is 100 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, which averages out to about 101.3 degrees Fahrenheit. Puppies have a bit cooler normal body temperature between 94 and 97 degrees Fahrenheit until they are about a month old.

There are many health issues or environmental factors that can cause a dog’s body temperature to vary outside of the normal range. When a dog’s body temperature goes above 103 or below 100 degrees Fahrenheit, it is cause for concern. If your dog’s temperature is that far out of the normal range, it is time for a vet visit. Fevers can be symptoms of a variety of conditions that range from mild to life threatening, and overheating can easily occur if a dog is exposed to a hot environment for too long without the chance to cool down. A low body temperature can also be a sign of serious complications or can be the result of hypothermia from exposure to extreme cold.

You can measure your dog’s temperature with a thermometer. Depending on the type of thermometer, you will need to measure rectally or by ear. Rectal thermometers should be used with medical lubricant to avoid injury or discomfort. A traditional glass thermometer should be inserted one to two inches into the rectum for two minutes for an accurate reading. Digital thermometers are easier to use, especially if they are able to read temperature in the ears.

Normal Respiration Rate For Dogs

Dog and Timer

The normal rate of breathing for dogs at rest can vary a lot. On average, a dog will take 24 breaths per minute, but it can be as low as 10 breaths per minute or as high as 35 breaths per minute and still be considered normal. This is for resting respiration rate only. Any physical activity or change in emotional state can result in increased breathing rate and still be a healthy response.

There are many conditions that can change the resting respiration rate for dogs. Anemia, heart failure, lung disease, or any other respiratory disorder can cause high breathing rate, as can simply being out of shape and overweight. Shock, poisoning, physical injury, and many other health problems can cause slower or shallower breathing. You should see a veterinarian if you notice a change in your dog’s resting breathing rate. If your dog is panting, breathing very quickly, and has glassy eyes, it can be a sign of overheating, and you should get to the veterinarian immediately.

To measure your dog’s breathing rate, use a stop watch or clock that shows a count in seconds. Count the number of times your dog’s chest rises in 15 seconds and multiply by four to get the breaths per minute. Do this multiple times to get an accurate reading and check while your dog is healthy and at rest to establish a baseline that you can use to measure against later. read more…


Glucosamine For Dogs?


Glucosamine is a compound that is produced naturally in dogs’ bodies and is mostly found in healthy cartilage. It can also be given to dogs in the form of supplements, or it can be present in the food that dogs eat. Generally, it is used to treat arthritis in dogs, though it can be used to treat other painful joint and bone conditions, as well. If you are considering supplementing your dog’s glucosamine intake, there are several things you should consider, including the delivery method of the glucosamine, the dosage, and the possible side effects. Here is what you should know about glucosamine for dogs.

What Is Glucosamine?

Glucosamine is a natural compound that is made up of the amino acid glutamine and sugar, called glucose. It is produced by dogs’ bodies and aids in the formation of molecules that make up cartilage in the joints. The compound is necessary for repairing the wear and tear that happens to the joints over time. When the body ages, it produces less glucosamine, which can lead to joint problems like arthritis. Supplementing glucosamine for dogs can help maintain the body’s ability to repair joints.

There are three major types of glucosamine. Glucosamine sulfate is the most commonly used in supplements. It is extracted from shellfish shells or produced synthetically and contains sulfur, which helps in cartilage repair. Glucosamine hydrochloride also comes from shells, but doesn’t have sulfur and has been shown to be less effective. N-acetyl-glucosamine is the the third type and is derived from glucose, which helps in the production of the synovial fluid that lubricates joints.

What Does Glucosamine Do?

Supplemental glucosamine can be used to provide relief from a number of health concerns in dogs. In addition to aiding in the repair of cartilage, it also has anti-inflammatory properties, which helps to further reduce the pain caused by the degradation of cartilage in the joints.

Glucosamine can be used to treat conditions in dogs such as hip dysplasia and spinal disc injury in addition to arthritis. It can also be used to aid in recovery after joint surgery and slow the aging process in joints. N-acetyl-glucosamine in particular can be used to improve and maintain gut health. It does so by aiding in the creation of connective tissues in the gastrointestinal system. This form of glucosamine can reduce inflammation in the digestive system and improve the symptoms of irritable bowel disease.

How Should You Give Your Dog Glucosamine?

Glucosamine is available for dogs in the form of supplements that can be tablets, pills, powders, or liquids. These are usually meant to be given daily. They can be expensive and are sometimes made synthetically, rather than naturally extracted from shellfish shells. Synthetic supplements can sometimes lose their effectiveness more quickly than natural sources. If you decide to give your dog supplements, you should ask your veterinarian about proper dosage. Some dog foods claim to be a source of glucosamine, but the amount they contain is often far less than what your dog needs to maintain joint health.

Glucosamine supplements are often given to dogs along with chondroitin sulfate, which is extracted from the cartilage of cows or sharks, or methylsulfonylmethane (MSM). Chondroitin helps cartilage retain water, and MSM improves joint flexibility and reduces pain and inflammation.

Another way to give glucosamine to your dog is through the food they eat. Foods that are high in cartilage often contain high levels of glucosamine. Trachea, chicken feet, ox or pig tails, beef knuckle bones, bones that have a lot of cartilage, shellfish shells, green lipped mussel, and bone broth are all great sources of glucosamine. You should ask your veterinarian before making any dietary changes for your dog.

Are There Side Effects?

Some side effects have been seen in dogs that take glucosamine supplements. These are generally uncommon and mild, though if you see symptoms that are concerning, contact your veterinarian right away. Here are a few common side effects of glucosamine.

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive thirst or urination

read more…


A #dog can make a family feel complete


Spending More Time with Your Dog as a Busy Mom

It’s easy to say that your dog is your best friend, but have you ever stopped and wondered whether you’re being the best friend to your dog? With your to-do list all filled up every day, you might forget to set aside at least a few minutes for your furry companion. Remember that your dog relies on you to train its body and mind, so it’s only fair to spend some bonding time with your best pal despite being a full-time mom. Dogs require mental and physical stimulation. If all they do is wander around the house waiting patiently for you to take them out, and then they might suffer from boredom and surplus energy. This might very well explain why your dog tends to chew and bark relentlessly. Thankfully, some simple things can help your dog have a wonderful time at home even if you’re the busiest mom out there.

Use a wireless dog fence

As the name implies, you don’t have to deal with any wires when using this pet containment system, making the installation process a breeze. This virtual fence works by using a transmitter which sends a radio signal to an electric dog collar. When your dog goes beyond the designated radius, it will receive a warning in the form of stimuli. Depending on the manufacturer of the invisible dog fence, the stimuli to be used varies.

Why switch to a virtual fence when your physical fence does the job just fine? One benefit is that it gives your dog more space to roam and play around. You have probably seen your dog trying to make its way out of the fence by digging under, jumping over, or chewing through the fence. With a wireless dog fence, you and your dog can move around more freely without worrying that it might leave your property. Just remember to train your dog so that it understands the warning signals sent by the electric dog collar.

Make it work for food

When your baby is crying, the household chores are piling up, and the deadline is sending shivers down your spine, it’s tempting just to grab some dog food and let your dog eat so you can get back to work. However, studies show that animals prefer working for food. One simple trick is to let your dog do some tricks before putting down the bowl.

You can also use a dispensing machine to allow your dog to work its mind a bit before getting its reward. Scattering these toys around the house encourages your pet to hunt for food, which is a good way of simulating the outside environment.

Change routes regularly

It gets boring when you drive along the same route every day. Your dog feels the same way when it walks the same streets. A change of scenery can go a long way in keeping your dog engaged. With new surroundings to please its eyes and stimulate its mind, your dog will surely be grateful for this simple change. read more…