Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Finding the Right Rawhide Chew For Your Dog

There are literally thousands of “rawhide” dog chews on the market, but they are anything but equal in terms of safety, quality, and price. We advise that you do your homework and take your time before buying chews for your dog.

Avoid buying chews like these, which were made out of shredded, pressed bits of rawhide bound together with who-knows-what material. Also, these contain artificial colors – a completely unnecessary ingredient in a dog chew.

These rawhide rolls are made with a small sheet of rawhide wrapped around a bunch of chunks and fragments of rawhide. When the outer sheet loosens with the dog’s chewing, the small chunks inside could pose a choking hazard, or even perforate the dog’s esophagus or intestines.

The rawhide roll on the left is an example of the kind of rolls we would not buy. The outer layer is nice and thick, but it is hiding all sorts of little scraps inside. The roll on the right, made by Wholesome Hide, displays all the traits we are looking for in a top-quality rawhide chew. It’s made in the United States from a single sheet of fresh, thick, natural rawhide from U.S.-raised cattle.

Quality is worth the expense
I’ve also never seen any other rawhide chews that are as expensive as these chews! Good quality rawhide rolls usually sell in stores for about $6-7 for a three-pack; a single roll of the largest size that Wholesome Hide sells for that much in some stores! (Prices are generally lower online and in bulk.)
However, the Wholesome Hide rolls last much longer than most rawhide chews; it lasts up to a week (chewing for an hour a day or so) to chew one down to the point that I take it away for safety reasons.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Doggy Paws in Winter

Winter can be especially hard on a dog's paws. Unprotected from ice, snow, and slush, and bitter cold, their paws need special care in winter. By taking a little extra time to keep your dogs' paws well-groomed, you can minimize problems with cracked, sore pads, blisters and infections.

The products used to clear the ice and snow that accompany cold winter weather can be a real hazard for dogs. Rock salt and most chemical de-icers can irritate a dog's paws and turn a winter walk into a painful ordeal. Stay away from heavily salted areas as much as possible when walking your dog.

Inspect paws after walking in areas treated with salt and other de-icers. Check between toes and examine the foot pads for cracks in the skin. Look closely at any inflamed areas for splinters, embedded gravel, etc.
Snow, especially wet snow, clings to long haired dogs as they run and play in the snow. When snow or slush from melting ice and snow on sidewalks sticks to the hair beneath a dog's paws, lumps of ice, often mixed with rock salt and gravel, build up between their foot pads and toes. Walking hurts.

Always wash paws with warm water after outdoor play and winter walks. Even if there's no trace of cracks, irritation or any damage and no snow and ice to remove, it's important to wash away all traces of salt and other de-icers so a dog can't lick it off later. Never let a dog try to chew away any lumps if ice and snow sticking to its paws or hanging from its fur.  

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Food Allergies 101

Nothing to sneeze at: food allergies in dogs.

At a Glance

Some of the breeds most prone to food allergies include: Boxer, Cocker Spaniel, Springer Spaniel, Collie, Dalmatian, German Shepherd, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzer, Retriever, Shar Pei, Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, Dachshund, and West Highland White Terrier
Most common food allergens include: beef, dairy, and wheat.
Least common food allergens are fish and rabbit.
General signs and symptoms of allergies include: dry itchy skin, excessive scratching or licking, bald patches, a high frequency of hot spots, ear infections, skin infections, diarrhea, and vomiting.

By Elizabeth Pask and Laura Scott

Is your dog itching and scratching? Does she have frequent ear infections or poor coat quality? You could be contributing to your dog’s distress without knowing it if she’s allergic to what you’re feeding her. Food allergies are a rising concern with dog owners and it seems like more and more dogs are suffering from them.
But what exactly is a food allergy?

Learn more...

Toy Poodle found in a ditch outside a shelter practically unrecognizable as a dog

An amazing rescue story surfaced last week, one with all the hallmarks of a good Cinderella tale, including dramatic makeover. Ripley the dog, so named because it's nearly impossible to believe there was a young, purebred, Toy Poodle under the matted, dirt- and cockroach-filled fur ensnaring him, must have one heck of a fairy godmother.