Accidents Happen!

New dog peed on the oriental rug? Pooped in the laundry pile in the kids' room? Guess it's time to find him a new home. Wait a second... is your 3-year old son having potty training relapses? Did your daughter wet the bed until she was 6? You must have shipped them right off to the orphanage then, right?

I am using an overly sarcastic undertone just to drive home how LUDICROUS it is that dogs are returned to breeders, dumped at shelters, or just flat out neglected because of habits that are sometimes out of their control. As the pet parent, your reaction is always within your control. I am not an expert in this, or any other dog behavior topics; I am hoping to prevent just ONE dog from becoming homeless over a bad habit..

As I wrote in my Nature's Miracle post last week, I have been dealing with a myriad of stains and messes. This struggle with housebreaking is all too real with Finn so believe me when I say I can relate. I understand and I sympathize. I have not seen or experienced it on all levels but I feel your burden and your frustration. Just breathe. Take inventory of what is important to you and try a new method to address the challenge. Most importantly, talk with or visit your dog's vet to rule out any medical issues that could be causing incontinence. Once you get the "all clear", try some of these tips: 

  • Correct and redirect with an "outside" command (and take pup outside); DON'T scold
  • Use a bell by the door or develop another method to signal he needs to potty
  • Watch for signs that your pup is about to go (sniffing, circling)
  • Skip the pee pads, they can be confusing to some dogs, especially if your goal is to eliminate all "eliminations" in the house
  • Stick to a schedule - if your pup has to go after every meal, make that a routine time to take him out
  • Feed at consistent times or intervals and remove food bowls after a few minutes and especially when you leave to reduce accidents
  • Record and watch the activities of a normal day; you might learn when and why the mess occurs
  • Praise and reward potty outside and reinforce with a phrase ("good potty outside", for example)
  • Stay calm. Be patient. Breathe. Laugh. And clean ;)

UPDATE! Finn had a HUGE breakthrough this week! On 1/28/15 he whimper-barked while I sat at my desk, opening mail. I found it odd since we had come in from our evening walk no more than 10 minutes earlier but I was certain he was trying to tell me he had to go outside. Mind you, we had snowbanks over my waist and the wind chill was 15 degrees so our first walk was brief. I also knew there was no way that he was asking to go outside for fun. So, any way, the moral of the story is that I listened to his cue, signaled "outside" and, sure enough, he went #1 AND #2! TMI? I don't care -- it was a proud dog mom moment for sure!

Be positive and don't forget to leverage the experts - vets and (positive reinforcement) trainers, as needed! And set realistic expectations. Young pups and elder dogs simply should not be expected to "hold it" for more than a couple of hours, max. Sending good vibes!

Block Island Day Trip

When one is blessed with a long weekend such as Labor Day, what does one do? Plan a day trip, of course!

Cooper, Finn and I went to Block Island with my mom on Saturday. She and my dad visited it for the first time last year and brought Cooper a souvenier dog collar with tie so, naturally, I just had to go there myself and check out the inventory. I'll take you through my internal evaluation of how I decided that this trip would be enjoyable for us, 2- and 4-leggeds alike!

Are they allowed on the ferry? Is there an extra charge?

Yes, dogs are allowed at no charge! Depending on the port and boat you choose, the dogs might only be allowed on the outer decks and are always required to be leashed or in a carrier.

Can I take them in the shops and restaurants with me?

Most shops were very welcoming and some just tolerated the dogs being in there but we were not asked to leave any of the several establishments we entered. We ate outside at 2 different restaurants, including The Oar which was awesome!

Are we traveling during their normal meal time(s)?

We scheduled the 12:30 ferry from Newport so the boys had their breakfast. I brought them a few treats and plenty of water for the day and got them home for a slightly later-than-usual dinner so no need to pack a full meal.

Will the elements be too much for the pups to handle?

The weather outlook was fabulous for our trip - no storms or rain on the radar. I did consider the potential that their paws would get quite hot walking around town so we took breaks often, chose grass over pavement when possible, and stayed hydrated.

Are they allowed on the beach?

Ha, well... We learned the dogs are not allowed at Ballards but when we asked about the other beaches, we mostly heard that they were generally tolerated when kept on-leash. There were a few "No Dogs Allowed" that seemed to be overlooked as long as the dogs were well-behaved and no beachgoer lodged a complaint.

Bundle up, it's going to be a HOT one!...?

Would you wear a wool sweater or a coat on a 95-degree day? How about 80, or even 70 degrees? 

Now imagine sitting in your car on those hot days, all bundled up… and sweating! Do you think having the windows cracked – or even wide open for that matter – would help to keep you cool? A car traps heat like a furnace. It can become 30 degrees hotter inside the vehicle than outside in fewer than 20 minutes.

The sad truth is that hundreds of pets die each year as a result of being left unattended in scorching vehicles. If you are in any way like me, then you enjoy your dog’s company and hate leaving them alone. But, on days when the temperature is projected to reach 70 degrees or higher, your dog is safest in your home with the cool breeze of a fan or air conditioning.

You also risk your dog being stolen when left unattended. Criminals looking to make a quick buck will often jump at the opportunity. The same is true if you “secure” your dog to a parking meter or bike rack while you’re in the store. Please don’t let this happen to your dog. Many stores will let you walk or carry your dog inside for that quick errand; just ask first and you might just be surprised. So, unless every stop you make that day will be at a pet-friendly establishment where your dog accompanies you in, please leave them home! Just pick up a nice toy or treat to show them how much you missed them. Trust me – your dog will thank you!

What to do if you spot a dog alone in a vehicle (windows open or not):

  1. Determine the condition of the dog (see signs of heatstroke below).
  2. Record the vehicle’s license plate number, make, model, and color.
  3. Locate the owner; ask the nearby businesses to announce it over the loudspeaker.
  4. Report the incident to the local animal control or police department if the owner cannot be found or is not willing to remove the dog – ANIMAL CRUELTY IS A CRIME IN MOST STATES PUNISHABLE BY IMPRISONMENT AND/OR FINES.
  5. Stay with the dog until help arrives. It might be frowned upon, but I’d break a window to save a dog… just saying.

The signs of heatstroke in a dog:

  • Excessive panting and drooling
  • Anxiousness or whimpering
  • Abnormal gum color (darker red or even purple)
  • Lack of bodily strength or collapse

Remember, heatstroke can be deadly! If a dog shows any sign of heatstroke, it is critical to cool and calm them. Seek shade or head indoors and apply cold, wet towels, refreshing them every few minutes. Do NOT shock the dog in an ice bath. Instead, you should run cool water over the dog's body and wipe it quickly. The dog should be taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible for expert care.

Other helpful tips:

  • Avoid walking your dog on pavement when it is above 85 degrees. You can also help protect their paw pads with dog boots or balm.
  • Always provide clean, cool water for your dog regardless of the season.
  • Store the local animal control numbers of your city/town and those you frequent (work, relatives, friends, shopping plazas, etc.).
  • Spread the word by hanging posters at school or work (where permitted) and asking local businesses to do the same.
  • Ask parking lot security and attendants to locate the owner or notify police if a pet is alone in a hot car.
  • If you’re a business owner, you have a better chance of accomplishing this next task than most of us do: Make announcements on your loudspeaker periodically on hot days just reminding customers not to leave their pets (and God-forbid, their children) in the car unattended.
  • If you are aware of or suspect animal abandonment, cruelty or neglect such as dog fighting, starvation, inhume or inhabitable conditions, REPORT THE CRIME to your local police and animal control. Massachusetts Statute § 77 covers cruelty to animals, which includes, “(if the pet is) deprived of necessary sustenance… (if the owner) unnecessarily fails to provide it with proper food, drink, shelter, sanitary environment, or protection from the weather… (the owner) shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years or imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2 ½ years or by a fine of not more than $2,500, or by both such fine and imprisonment”.

Thank you for helping to keep your community’s pets safe!

Winter Storm Nemo Tips for Your Dog

"If you don't like the weather, wait a minute."

Living in New England, we hear this saying a lot. But as time progresses it seems pretty certain that our area will be hit hard by the impending blizzard Friday into Saturday.

Though questions still linger regarding exactly how much snow will hit each area of our state, a blizzard watch has been issued for many areas, meaning heavy snow accumulations, strong winds and very low visibility will make travel nearly impossible during the storm.

As such, we'd like to share some tips for making it through Winter Storm Nemo with your dog.

  1. Do your shopping today. Pick up any dog food, medications, pee pads or pet-safe rock salt before the storm begins. Travel is not recommended during the storm, and depending on your location and whether you lose power, there's no telling when you'll be able to get to the store.
  2. If your dog requires medication that needs refrigerating, such as insulin, be sure to have ice handy in case you lose power. You'll still need to keep that medication cold.
  3. Only take your dog outside when absolutely necessary during the storm. This blizzard will bring very strong winds, blowing snow, freezing temperatures, and very low visibility. Your dog will probably be miserable being outside in this anyway, but don't stay outside any longer than necessary. And obviously, under absolutely NO circumstances should you be leaving your dog outside during this storm. Some dogs do love snow, but wait until after the storm is over before allowing them outside to play. The whipping winds and low visibility create too much risk during the storm.
  4. When do you bring your dog outside, protect small, old or sick dogs from the elements with a sweater or coat. You could also consider putting some booties on them, if they allow it, to protect their toes from the snow and ice.
  5. Some dogs can become very anxious during severe weather. Keep them calm by distracting them with toys and games inside the house.

Good luck riding out Winter Storm Nemo! Stay safe!

Dog Trend Outlook - Bicycling

bicycling with your dogWalkyDog PlusAnother growing trend that 2013 will bring is an increase in people bicycling with their dogs. You might be thinking, "What if someone owns a 75 pound German Shepard?" Have no fear. There are all kinds of different methods you can follow to enjoy a bike ride with your dog this year. It'll be spring before you know it, so start planning a safe bike ride now!

One of the most popular methods for enjoying a bike ride with your dog is to use a bike-leash attachment. A bike-leash attachment allows you to safely take your dog on bike rides while maintaining control. There are different kinds of attachments on the market, so do your research and choose whichever one will make you and your pet most comfortable.

One option would be something like the WalkyDog Plus Bike Leash. This universal attachment attaches just under the seat of your bike and includes internal springs that provide shock absorption should your dog suddenly pull or go in a different direction.

Another option would be something like the 1-Running-Dog Bike Tow Leash. This attachment simply clips to the frame of the bike near your tires and prevents the dog from tipping your bike and can be installed quickly without tools.

Both of these devices allow your dog to run alongside your bike without allowing them to get too close to the pedals.

dog in a bicycle basketAn option for smaller dogs would be a pet bicycle basket. If using a basket, it's a good idea to make sure your dog fits comfortably inside and is calm enough to remain seated the entire length of your bike ride.

As with bike-leash attachment, there are many different kinds of bicycle baskets. Some are made of wicker while others can be more "sporty" and made of fabric on a frame. These are generally intended for dogs 10 pounds and under.

But before you head out on the road with your bike and dog in tow, read over these safety tips to ensure a fun, safe ride for both:

1. Always follow the installation and safety directions of the product you choose to use. There's a reason why they're there!

2. Make sure you have a bike water bottle filled with water for not only you, but also your dog. Allow your dog to drink frequently, especially on hot days.

3. Keep your pace equal with your dog's trot. It's ok to use faster paces in short bursts, but generally your ride should be a comfortable trot for your pooch.

4. Avoid sudden turns or stops. Unless your dog is trained to understand bicycling commands such as "woah" to slow down and "stop," any sudden change in pace or direction is likely to be a surprise to them. Make the ride enjoyable for them as well by keeping this in mind.

5. Begin by practicing in short intervals together. It will probably take some time for your dog to become accustomed to riding alongside or inside a bicycle basket. Give them lots of praise and start out slowly. Add time and distance as you both become more comfortable.

By following this tips, bicycling with your dog can be fun and beneficial for you both!




If you're looking for the secret Ballet Dog image to win the pair of tickets to enjoy Boston Ballet's "All Kylian" performance, look no further! You've found it!

Now post the name of this blog entry on our Facebook wall to win!

The first person to post the name of this blog entry on our Facebook wall will win a pair of tickets to one of 4 performances of the Boston Ballet's "All Kylian."

Winter Activities for You and Your Dog

bored dogThe cold weather and occasional snow doesn't mean that you can't enjoy the outside with your dog for the next few months. Some dogs thoroughly enjoy the cold weather and snow. In fact, veterinarians warn that dogs still need adequate exercise to maintain a healthy weight and keep boredom at bay during the winter. After all, a bored dog can become a destructive dog.

So with a little preparation for the elements, you can still enjoy outside activities with your pet during the winter. Here are a few ideas:

Winter Activity #1 - Play in the Snow

Whether you venture into your own backyard or head to a dog-friendly local park, playing in the snow with your dog can be a lot of fun. Just be sure that if your dog is a small breed, ill, elderly, or a breed such as a Greyhound or Whippet that is slender and has short fur, you provide a warm coat or sweater for them. (Check out our blog, "Do Dogs Really Need Sweaters?" featured on the Booties are another option to keep your dog's paws dry and warm.

Playing fetch in the snow with a brightly-colored ball can bring a lot of joy for your pooch. And if you have children, chasing them throughout mounds of snow is a great way to release some energy.

Just make sure that when you return you wipe off your dog's paws, ears, face and coat, so that no ice becomes wedged in places that can cause frostbite.

dog agilityWinter Activity #2 - Agility Classes

The winter months can be a great time to sign your dog up for some agility classes, which offer exercise and discipline during a time when your dog can become restless. These classes train your dog how to jump through hoops, walk through and over obstacles, and jump over things all while following your direction.

The Potter League for Animals in Rhode Island offers a great variety of classes and fun activities for your dog. Petco also sometimes offers agility training. Call your local animal shelter or Petco or check their websites for more information.

Winter Activity #3 - Play Groups

Perhaps your dog needs less disciplinary training and just needs more social interaction with other dogs? One great option is checking out Meetup. Meeting is an online database of events and groups organized by people like you! Just log on, choose the "Pets and Animals" category, choose the area to search in and you'll gain access to information about doggie play groups located in your community.

The Potter League for Animals also offer some great play groups organized by age and size. Check out their class calendar for more information.

And lastly, your local Petco offers doggie play groups as well. Check your local store's online calendar (here is the calendar for the North Dartmouth, MA location) or call to inquire.

dog volunteerWinter Activity #4 - Volunteer

Dogs are so full of love, and they enjoy showing it. So for a fulfilling activity to do with your dog, consider volunteering with them! Winter can be a long, bleak season for many residents of communities like nursing homes, and a visit with a happy, furry pet can really brighten their spirits.

Call your local nursing home or animal shelter to inquire about any volunteer opportunities that exist for you and your pet. In most cases, your dog may need to pass a behavioral test to ensure they will safely interact with strangers and will be comfortable and can follow basic commands.

Or, consider just bringing them for a trip to visit an elderly relative! The happy reaction people will have when enjoying time with your pet will warm your heart and give purpose to your dog during the cold, winter months.

Disaster Preparedness Includes Your Pets

dogs at animal shelterWorking full-time as the head of marketing for an insurance agency, I am constantly reminding people how to prepare for severe weather, creating disaster plans, etc.

But seeing this feature story on Accuweather about how animal shelters are filling to capacity following the spat of severe weather the nation has been experiencing made me realize that people also need to be reminded to include their pets in their disaster plans.

Your pet is a member of your family. Please do not leave them behind should severe weather strike your community. Instead, plan ahead of time.

Always make sure that your pet has some form of identification on them -- whether it be in the form of a collar with a traditional name tag (always include an updated phone number) or a microchip. Personally I would rather be safe than sorry and would have both! Should something happen to your pet's collar, you have peace of mind that your pet is still identifiable by the microchip that any shelter or veterinarian should be able to scan.dogs in shelter

Severe weather is almost always reported prior to its arrival. Talk with friends or family member who live at least 25 miles away from your community (since their home may not be affected by a storm that hits your home) and discuss possibilities for watching your pets while you sort out the details of damage done to your home, etc.

Evacuation orders are possible in times of dangerous weather. Prepare ahead of time by knowing an animal-friendly home, hotel or shelter that you can travel to. Your pet is a living, breathing thing and does not belong left behind.

As you can see in this Accuweather video, animal shelters quickly become overwhelmed with animals following severe storms. This puts a strain on staff, resources, and of course, the animals. Not to mention, your animal could end up in a kill shelter! And if that happens and you do not locate your pet quickly enough, how will you live with that guilt?

Prepare you and your family before severe weather hits.

Five "Human Foods" That Make Great Training Treats

You already know that the majority of human foods are not healthy for your pet. But did you know that there are certain human foods that could be used as occasion treats for your dog? These foods will even add a nutritional boost to your dog's food!

  1. Raw baby carrots - Gadget loves raw baby carrots, and fresh vegetables are a great addition to your dog's diet, provided it's in moderation. The crunchiness of the raw carrot also satisfies her, and the small size make them easy to use as training treats.
  2. Frozen green beans - Another great vegetable that is usually found in all of our freezers! Dogs love frozen green beans and these low calorie vegetables are a great source of vitamin K and vitamin C.
  3. Apples - Apples are a great crunchy treat for your dog. Just don't let them eat the core and try not to let them eat the seeds. A few seeds won't hurt, but harmful effects are more likely if eaten often.
  4. Peanut butter - Dogs do not experience peanut allergies nearly as commonly as humans do, so peanut butter is generally a healthy, high-protein treat for dogs. This yummy treat can be smeared on one of your dog's toys or let them try to lick it out of the container as a fun game/treat!
  5. Melon/pineapple - During summer months, nothing is more satisfying to my dog than getting a little slice of watermelon, melon or pineapple. These fruits can be high in sugar so they should be served sparingly, but the moist, soft fruits make dogs go crazy with delight!
vitamin K, vitamin C, and manganese

How to Safely Walk Your Dog

Many people take safety for granted when they are walking their dogs. They just attach the leash to Fido's collar and go out the door. But there are definitely steps any responsible dog owner should follow to ensure a safe, happy walk for both owner and pet.

group at dog walkStep 1 - Make sure the collar is adjusted properly so that it will not slip over your dog's head, even when pulled. There would be nothing worse than enjoying a pleasant walk with your dog and then having them pull out of their collar and run away. Just make sure you are still able to slip two fingers underneath it so that it's not too tight! Also, consider using a harness if your dog likes to pull. A harness could provide both comfort for your dog since it takes pressure off the neck, and more security for you during your walk.

Step 2 - If using a traditional leash, be sure to put your hand through the handle and then wrap the handle around your wrist for added security. And regardless of whether you are using a traditional leash or a retractable leash, never walk with it fully extended. Leaving the leash fully extended will not allow ample time or leverage to retract the leash and pull your pet in should an emergency arise. Giving your dog too much room will also allow them to possibly walk in areas where they shouldn't, such as the street.

Step 3 - Be sure to bring along water if your walk will be lengthy, and waste bags. Always allow your dog to rest and sit in the shade if they start to pant.two dogs on leashes walking

Step 4 - Plan the length and pace of your walk according to the age and health of your dog. Older dogs should be allowed to walk at a slower pace and for a shorter distance than younger, more agile dogs may want to.

Step 5 - If walking at night, it's a good idea for both you and your dog to wear some type of bright, reflective clothing or accessory. See our blog post on walking safely at night for more information on that.

Step 6 - Use caution when approaching other people with dogs. Only allow your dogs to meet if the other dog owner says it's ok. It's also smart to avoid stray and wild animals, as you never know what diseases or health issues they may carry and your dog's health needs to be your first concern.

Step 7 - Keep your dog on its leash at all times in public. Only allow them off-leash in areas that are specifically designated for off-leash use.

Happy walking!

A Sleepy Puppy is a Happy Puppy!

It's true that they say "a sleepy puppy is a happy puppy", but what if that sleepy puppy refuses to sleep in his own bed? I struggled with getting Cooper accustomed to his own bed for the past year..!

We began crate-training Cooper from 12 weeks old -- that meant sleeping overnight in his crate and staying in his crate when we were away from home -- in the hopes that he would be house-broken and only do his business outside. This is just one proven method of potty training a puppy since dogs are not supposed to go #1 or #2 where they sleep. Well, I don't mean to brag, but I think he was a bit of an all star. Cooper loved sleeping in his crate and did not make a single peep. He also quickly learned that "go to your place" meant to go inside his crate and wait for a delicious treat. He never had a single accident in the crate but we still had to wait for him to be accident-free for 4 weeks in the house. We slowly "weined" him off of the crate by doing short periods outside of the crate and then a few hours in, while we were at work. This method helped us to determine if he was able to "hold it" outiside of the crate since the living room and connected kitchen afforded him much more space to play and nap.

By 8 months, he successfully past the crate-training phase of his young puppyhood and he got free reign of the old apartment (minus the bathroom, since the trash was at puppy level). Helpful hint - they say that your puppy's age in months can be an indication of how many hours they can hold it! It's not an exact science, but it certainly explains why the little buggers have to go outside so frequently at a young age. It was at this point that we noticed Cooper's desire to jump up on the big (queen-sized) bed of ours and cuddle up to sleep. Obviously I was completely smitten and he wasn't taking up much room... Well, needless to say we got pretty cramped after several months of sharing our bed, especially in the colder months when Cooper refused to move more than an inch away (body heat).

First, I tried just bringing his dog bed close to my bedside and petting him to sleep. Turns out he hates round dog beds with the removable center pad -- HATES them. So, I disguised his bed with a newly warmed blanket that I had draped over the oil radiant space heater -- FAIL #2. Oh, I'll just wheel the space heater over next to his bed just before bedtime and use the timer for 2 hours that way we don't all overheat. Boy is this dog smart. He knew that at 3am he could jump up and cuddle with me and I would be too tired to put him back to bed. In attempt #4, I sprinkled kibble and treats on his bed to make more "inviting" and then maybe he would be convinced that it was THE place to be. Since he knew I was the one with the treats, he decided that after he ate all of the pieces on his bed, he would just beg me for more! Finally, after much research, I decided I needed to purchase a pet-safe heating pad. Voila! He still got the benefit of the space heater for the first hour and then the constant warmth from the heating pad that I place UNDER his pillow bed because he didn't like the way it felt when it was between his bed and the down blanket covering it.

Tip: I actually start with the heating pad on top of the blanket around the same time I turn the heater on and then I move it underneath when it's finally time to zzzz....

Valentine's Day Poses Threats for Dogs

Everyone knows that February means Valentine's Day. Roses, chocolates and a myriad of other gifts are Valentine's Day Dachshund puppyexchanged between sweethearts. But did you know these same sweet offerings could pose serious health risks for your dog?

Let's begin with flowers. Florists and floral departments are quite busy this time of year, with men (and women for that matter) ordering bouquets of beautiful roses and other flowers for their significant others. But if your flowers have thorns on them, watch out! Thorns are dangerous to dogs and other pets. Biting, stepping on or swallowing stems with thorns on them could spell disaster. The thorn could cause a puncture which could lead to serious infections both internally and externally.

Chocolate is another Valentine's Day favorite. Who doesn't like a beautifully-wrapped box of delicious chocolates? But chocolate can be toxic to dogs and cats. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic, but all chocolates can cause adverse reactions in your pet. And the larger the portion ingested, the worse off you are. Gastrointestinal, neurological and cardiac functions can be affected by the ingestion of chocolate. Vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, seizures and rapid heart beat are all signs of chocolate poisoning, so just keep the chocolates in a safe place where your pets cannot get to them.

And if you are celebrating with a romantic dinner at home that includes wine or other alcohol, be sure to keep that far from your pet's reach as well. Even a tiny bit of alcohol being lapped up from the floor can cause problems for your pet. Your pet could experience vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, breathing problems and even fall into a coma from alcohol consumption.

If you think your pet might have consumed something they should not have, contact the Pet Poison HelpLine right away by calling 1-800-213-6680.

February is National Pet Dental Health Month

brushing your dog's teethWe all brush our teeth (hopefully) but your dog can't! And your pets' teeth need love too, as dental disease is the #1 health issue in dogs today. The American Veterinary Dental College (yes, that exists) explains that most dogs show evidence of periodontal disease by the time they are just 3-years old.

That is why February has been deemed National Pet Dental Health Month! Dental health is an important part of your dog's overall health and happiness. Their teeth are much like human's. They can develop bad breath, tartar, plaque and gum disease. And worst of all, they can't tell you when their teeth are bothering them.

Periodontal disease begins with the bacteria in your dog's mouth. The bacteria sticks to your dog's teeth and causes plaque, which if left untreated, can harden into tartar, which you can see. The problem lies in tartar that begins to develop under the gum line. This tartar can begin to destroy the tissues located around the tooth and even the bone holding it in place. This can become very painful for your pet.

So do your pooch a favor and be sure to brush your dog's teeth 2-3 times per week to maintain optimum dental hygiene. There are a number of products on the market to help you maintain their teeth - from flavored toothbrushes to pastes, from Greenies to dental wipes for dogs that are unwilling patients.

Regular veterinary attention to your dog's teeth is also important. Consult with them to determine the best regime and schedule for cleaning.

Here is a great instruction video for cleaning your dog's teeth at home.


Motion Sickness in Dogs

Does your dog suffer from motion sickness? If they do and they are anything like my sister's beagle Benny, it is not fun.

I'll never forget the time I was driving my husband, our dog Gadget and Benny to a dog walk fundraiser Gadget riding in Gavin's powerwheelsI don't think Gadget would get motion sickness from this. I just thought it was cute!that was in Easton (which is roughly 40 minutes away from us) and Benny threw up in my back seat about 25 minutes into the ride. Luckily, leather seats are not so terrible to clean up, but there are ways to help your pet if they experience motion sickness.

Symptoms may include restlessness, panting, drooling and as I experienced, vomiting. According to information on the PetMeds blog, some pets may even vomit if they think they are going for a car ride! For others, symptoms can really occur at any point during the trip.

In terms of medical treatments for Fido's aversion to car rides, Benadryl or Dramamine may help your pet. Or, a newer veterinary drug known as Cerenia may also be effectively used for motion sickness in pets. A homeopathic remedy known as Cocculus may also be helpful in some circumstances.

Some non-medical options include crating pets or using special restraints while riding in vehicles, as this may help lessen the severity of motion sickness. Gradually increasing the length of car trips from a few minutes on up may also help to get pets accustomed to longer trips in moving vehicles.

Of course, talking to your regular veterinarian is the best place to start in figuring out how to help your pooch enjoy car rides.