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How To Make My Dog Eat Slower

July 18, 2017 | Dog Training, Fun Games, Helpful Tips, Pet Health, Pet Safety, Training

How to make my dog eat slower

How To Make My Dog Eat Slower

Does your dog treat every meal like it’s the first time they’ve eaten all week? If your dog eats too fast, we’ve got a few tips you can try to make your dog eat slower.

Why Does My Dog Eat So Fast

A lot of dogs develop their fast eating habits as puppies. They are often competing with their litter mates for food, and they learn that whoever snoozes loses! Dogs develop the habit of eating very quickly and then it becomes their typical behavior when they eat.

Some dog breeds are known to eat very quickly, such as labradors, golden retrievers, beagles, basset hounds, and dachshunds. Dogs all have different personalities and eating styles, and eating fast is a common issue many pet parents see.

Problems If A Dog Eats Too Fast

When your dog eats fast it can become a serious issue, so it’s important to train them to slow down. Otherwise, they could possibly choke from eating too quickly or vomit the food back up. Bloat can also occur from gulping down an excessive amount of air. Bloat causes the stomach to expand and possibly twist, which can become life threatening very quickly. The main symptom of bloat is vomiting mostly foam, or a swollen stomach. If you think your dog may have bloat, you need to take them to the vet immediately.

Bowls To Help Slow Down Eating

The great thing is that getting a dog to eat slower is a problem with a pretty simple solution! The easiest way to slow them down is to change up their bowl.

  • Slow Feeder Bowl: There are tons of slow feeder bowls you can buy and they work wonders at making your dog eat slower. Slow feeder bowls separate the food into smaller areas so your dog has to work at getting their food instead of just inhaling it. We love Outward Hound’s clever and cute bowls. Their Fun Feeder bowl did a great job training my puppy to slow down. Now she has graduated to using a regular bowl again!
  • Cookie Sheet: A cost-effective method to help your dog eat slower is to use a cookie sheet. Just spread the kibble out in a thin layer and they will be forced to slow down.
  • Muffin Tin: You probably already have a muffin tin, which can also double as a slow-feeder bowl. Divide out the kibble in all of the different holes and watch them enjoy finding their food! They have to work harder to get the kibble out of each individual hole, which will take a bit more time.
  • Puzzle Feeder: There are a variety of puzzle feeders and puzzle balls that work great at helping your dog eat slower. They can’t get to the food all at once and need to move things around to find the kibble or get it to dispense from the toy. This method is very stimulating and interactive for them, which is always fun!

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Alternative Dinner Activities

If you want to take a new, fun approach to dinner, you may also want to give these options a try!

  • Make Dinner Be Training Time: If your dog loves their food, they likely will think of it in the same way they think of a treat. This is great because it means you can use kibble as a reward for training. If you’re working on any new tricks or skills, measure out the amount your dog should be eating for a meal and then use that kibble as their reward. Make sure you still are giving them all of the food they should be getting at a meal time. Dinner training sessions are a great way to bond, and you’ll have a happy, well-behaved dog!
  • Hide and Seek: Some dogs love to play hide and seek with food. Have your dog sit and stay while you let them see you hide a few pieces of kibble. Then say “Seek” to release them from their stay, and they can go get the food. Once your dog understands the concept, you can make it harder by having them sit and stay somewhere they can’t see you hide the kibble. Then the game actually makes them seek out the food, which is great for mental stimulation.

It’s very simple to correct the issue of a dog eating too quickly, and it’s important so you prevent things like choking, vomiting, and bloat. You have so many choices, from using the simple home remedy of a muffin tin, to buying a spiffy slow-feeder bowl, or you can even turn feeding into an interactive and fun session. Any of these approaches will quickly remedy your pup’s scarfing issues and will make dinner time a calmer experience for everyone!

 

Charleston Dog WalkerCharleston Dog Walker provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in your home that is customized to your pet’s needs. We’re so happy you found us (and we know your pet is, too!) and we would truly be honored to be your pet care provider. Give us a call at 843-580-2212 or contact us to get more information about how we can help your pet!

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When Is It Too Hot To Walk My Dog?

June 7, 2017 | Charleston, Dog Walking, Helpful Tips, Pet Health, Pet Safety


When Is It Too Hot To Walk My Dog

When Is It Too Hot To Walk My Dog?

Dogs need exercise every day and a lot of pet parents ask us “when is it too hot to walk my dog?” during these hot days. Summers in Charleston (along with spring and fall days) can get quite hot. It can be easy for your dog to overheat, so it’s vital for you to understand what heat your dog can safely handle.

What Temperature Is Too Hot For A Dog Walk?

There is not a hard and fast temperature that makes it too hot, but a good rule of thumb is 90 degrees and higher is too hot. On days with very high temperatures, the best idea is to modify your walk times to be early in the morning or late in the evening. These times of the day are cooler and you won’t have the direct sun beating down on your pup. An even better gauge than just the temperature is feeling the sidewalk or road you will be walking on. We use the 5 Second Rule: Place your hand on the pavement and if it is too hot for you to hold there for 5 seconds, it’s too hot for your dog to walk on it.

How To Keep A Dog Cool On A Hot Day

Even on hot days, it’s still inevitable that you’ll have to take your dog outside to go to the bathroom. There are lots of things you can do to keep them cool even when the temperature is boiling. Find shadier paths to walk instead of walking in the direct sun. It’s best to have your dog walk on the grass or dirt instead of pavement so that they don’t burn their paws. Plan out your path so that you can have stops every so often in grassy or shaded areas so their paws can get some relief. It’s also important to limit the time outside, so once they take their potty break, head back home.

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Dogs That Overheat Easily

Every dog is different, but there are certain factors that can make your dog overheat easily. Your dog’s breed can help you determine if they may not do well on a hot day. Dogs that are short-faced, such as Boxers, French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, Pugs, Pekingese, Boston Terriers, and Shih Tzu’s are dogs that typically overheat very quickly in hot temperatures. Overweight dogs are also much more likely to overheat and have a higher risk for dehydration. Another factor to consider is your dog’s coat color, as darker coats will absorb more heat than lighter coats.

Signs Your Dog Is Too Hot

Most dogs are good at telling you it is too hot for them – you just need to know what to look for! When you first go outside, give your dog a minute or two to adjust to the temperature change. If they act like they want to go back inside, that’s a great sign that they know it’s too hot outside. Once you get going on your walk, watch to see if your dog is high-stepping. When the ground is too hot for their paws, they will be uncomfortable and will try to minimize the time their paws touch the ground. You can also check their paw pads every so often to see if they feel warm or cool. If they are warm, then it’s better to head home and go back out when it’s cooler.

Plan For The Summer

We’re just getting into the crazy hot days of summer here in Charleston, so now is a great time to start adjusting your dog’s walking routine. Plan for walks in the early morning and late evening to ensure your dog stays cool. If your schedule doesn’t work for that new routine, give Charleston Dog Walker a call! We’d love to make sure your dog gets all the exercise they need and still stay cool!

 

Charleston Dog WalkerCharleston Dog Walker provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in your home that is customized to your pet’s needs. We’re so happy you found us (and we know your pet is, too!) and we would truly be honored to be your pet care provider. Give us a call at 843-580-2212 or contact us to get more information about how we can help your pet!

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5 Ways To Keep Your Dog Safe In The Car

May 9, 2017 | Charleston, Dog-Friendly Charleston, Helpful Tips, Pet Safety, Pet Travel

5 Ways To Keep Your Dog Safe In The Car

My two dogs are like my kids so they go everywhere with my husband and I. We load them up in the car and off we go! Dog car safety is important so you can ensure your dog will be safe anytime you bring them along with you in the car. Here are our top 5 tips for dog car safety:

Top 5 Dog Car Safety Tips

Tips For Dog Car Safety

  1. Buckle Up! Dogs should wear seatbelts, just like people do. Doggy seatbelts don’t work quite the same way, but they will restrain your dog in case of an accident. You can buy a dog seatbelt, which has a buckle on one end and a leash clasp on the other end. Attach the leash clasp to your dog’s harness, rather than their collar. If you’re in an accident, they are restrained by the harness instead of pulled by their neck.
  2. Use a doggy hammock. A doggy hammock is great for your car because it eliminates the gap between the front seat and back seat. Your dog can stretch out without worrying about falling off the seat when you brake. It also protects your car’s seats from dirt, scratches, and pet hair!
  3. Keep everyone’s head inside the car. I know – it’s SO stinking cute when dogs stick their heads out the window. Have you seen their ears flapping in the breeze?! Adorable. Unfortunately, it’s also super easy for debris to hit your pet. They could have something fly into their eye, or the adventurous dog could take the opportunity to try and jump out. Windows up (or at least mostly up) is always the best policy.
  4. Don’t let your dog ride in the bed of a truck. For people with bigger dogs (or dogs who manage to get wet and dirty having fun adventures), it’s tempting to let them ride in the back of your truck. This can be extremely dangerous, though, since they have no protection if you get in an accident while they are back there. They could also easily try to hop out, even if you have them on a leash. The safest place is always in the vehicle with you.
  5. Bring your dog crate along. If your dog’s crate can fit inside your car, the crate is always the safest place for them to stay. It makes for a comfortable ride for them and protects them in case of an accident.

I always think it’s interesting to remember that a dog’s world is confined to where you take them. Most of their life is just in your house or neighborhood. That’s why most dogs love car rides! They have a sense of adventure and love to get out and explore with you. We’re lucky in Charleston to have so many dog-friendly places to go, so load up your pooch and let them explore the world! Just make sure to keep them safe while you’re doing it!

 

Charleston Dog Walker provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in your home that is customized to your pet’s needs. We’re so happy you found us (and we know your pet is, too!) and we would truly be honored to be your pet care provider. Give us a call at 843-580-2212 or contact us to get more information about how we can help your pet!


Guide To Taking A Road Trip With Your Pet

May 1, 2017 | Charleston, Helpful Tips, Pet Products, Pet Safety, Pet Travel, Things To Do

Guide To Taking A Road Trip With Your Pet

What’s an adventure without your four-legged friend in tow?  My husband and I love taking our dogs on road trips – even if that means hair all over the car and enduring some dog farts! There’s a lot to think about when you bring your dog or cat along on a road trip, though. That’s why it is super helpful to have a plan in place when you are road tripping with your pets. Here’s our pet road trip guide to help you prepare for your road trip:

Pet Road Trip Guide ChartPet Road Trip Guide

  1. Prepare the car so your pet can travel safely. If your kitty is coming, make sure you have a cat carrier or crate so they can have a cozy bed. This will also keep them contained so they don’t climb or fall all over the car. If you have a small dog, crates are the safest way for them to travel in a car. For the bigger pups, check out a car hammock so they don’t fall off the seat at stop signs. You should also consider a doggy seatbelt. Doggy seatbelts attach to their harness or collar and then buckles into the seatbelt.
  2. Make a pet suitcase (or bag) with all of their supplies the day before. Gather all of their food and medications, favorite toys, poop bags, litter box and litter, treats, and beds. Measure out how much food you’ll need and put it in a gallon ziplock bag. Be sure to bring along a measuring cup so you can easily get food out at meal times. If your pet has refrigerated medications, you should find a small cooler. Bring along some ice packs so it can stay at the correct temperature. Don’t forget to pack some water bottles and bowls for food and water!
  3. Double check that your pet’s collar has tags with up to date information. You never know what could happen and you want it to be easy for your pet to get home to you if they get lost.
  4. Reserve a pet-friendly hotel room if you need a place to stay during the drive. We love using Trips With Pets, which shows you all of the pet-friendly places in the area you’re traveling to. I highly recommend calling ahead and booking your room, as most places only have a few designated pet rooms and they can fill up fast!
  5. Tire your dog out before jumping in the car. Our favorite tactic for having a good road trip with our dogs is to start our trip with a stop at the dog park. Our dogs run wild and play with all of their friends for about 30 minutes and then we load them up and start the trip. They are tired out after all the play time, were able to go to the bathroom, and then they are happy to just lay down and take a nap for the first part of the trip.

This pet road trip guide helps make car trips with your pets fun and easy. Just remember to prepare your car, gather all of your pet’s supplies, book your room, and tire them out. You and your pets are sure to have an awesome road trip!

Pet Road Trip Guide

Charleston Dog Walker provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in your home that is customized to your pet’s needs. We’re so happy you found us (and we know your pet is, too!) and we would truly be honored to be your pet care provider. Give us a call at 843-580-2212 or contact us to get more information about how we can help your pet!


How To Help Keep Your Dog Calm And Relaxed During Storms

April 7, 2017 | Charleston, Helpful Tips, Pet Safety

How To Help Keep Your Dog Calm And Relaxed During Storms

We’re heading into storm season in the low country, which is definitely going to help my yard look a bit nicer. Unfortunately, my dogs are not going to be happy with the rain and thunder that is sure to be coming our way. My older pup, Indy, is always terrified of storms and it’s just heartbreaking to watch. He can feel the storm long before we even see any clouds and he makes sure to run over and give me his storm whimper to alert me it’s on the way. I’ve learned a few tricks over the years about how to keep your dog calm and relaxed during storms, so I wanted to share them so other pet owners can help soothe their dogs.

Having a fear of storms is very common for dogs. The loud noises, bright flashes, pounding rain, and electricity in the air can definitely put them on edge. Luckily, there are a few things that pet owners can do to help a dog who is scared of storms.

How To Help Keep Your Dog Calm And Relaxed During Storms

Exercise Is The Key

An exercised dog is a tired dog, and if they are tired enough, they might sleep right through a storm. If you know a storm is coming soon, then get your dog out for as much exercise as you can fit in. If you don’t have time – let Charleston Dog Walker help by scheduling a dog walking visit. With lots of exercise, hopefully they will be zonked out when the storm reaches you!

Bust Out The Treats

If your dog has a favorite treat that takes a while to polish off, storms are a great time to whip them out. If they are distracted by chowing down on a treat, then they may ignore the bad weather going on outside. Treats also help create a more positive association with storms, which can help them understand that there isn’t anything scary about storms. We love filling a Kong with peanut butter and tossing it in the freezer. When the storm comes, they’ve got a peanut butter popsicle to lick for quite a while!

Distract Them With Calming Music

Music is a great distraction since it can mask the noises of the storm. Try playing this music medley loudly for your dog so they can’t hear the thunder. The mix is specially designed to help your pet calm down and go to sleep.

Get Your Pup A Thundershirt

They don’t work for all dogs, but we’ve definitely heard Thundershirt success stories from people that say it will keep your dog calm and relaxed during storms. It applies gentle, constant pressure, similar to swaddling an infant, to help dogs when they are stressed. The Thundershirt costs about $40 so it’s not a huge investment, but can have a wonderful impact on your pup.

Try Natural Calming Chews

We’re a fan of Happy Traveler, which is a natural, herbal calming chew to ease anxiety. Composure is another calming supplement that creates a relaxed state without causing drowsiness or impaired motor skills.

Hopefully one, or a combination of some, of these tips will help keep your dog calm and relaxed during storms. Most dogs will find a spot that they feel safe in, like a closet, bathroom, or another dark and confined space, to curl up when the storm comes. Go ahead and let them stay in their safe spot – there’s no need to stress them out more by insisting they move. The best thing is to comfort them if they need it, but also allow them to self–soothe, like a baby, so they learn how to handle the storms on their own. When you add in some of our tips above, your dog is sure to have a much better experience the next time a storm passes through.

 

Charleston Dog Walker provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in your home that is customized to your pet’s needs. We’re so happy you found us (and we know your pet is, too!) and we would truly be honored to be your pet care provider. Give us a call at 843-580-2212 or contact us to get more information about how we can help your pet!

 


5 Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe & Happy on the 4th of July

June 23, 2016 | Charleston, Helpful Tips, Pet Safety

Did you know that more pets get lost on the 4th of July than any other day of the year? Fireworks can be scary for your furry pal, so it’s important you plan ahead for to make sure they are safe and happy. Here are a few tips:

  1. Exercise them so they are tired. Take them for a LONG walk, go for a good swim at the James Island County Park, or throw a tennis ball for them to chase at one of the dog parks. The more tired your dog is, the more likely they are to sleep in the evening.
  2. Make sure they have updated ID tags attached securely to their well-fitted collar. The tags should have your current phone number, address, and name. If they do get lose, this information will be their best chance of getting back to you.
  3. Don’t take them to see fireworks – leave them at home. You may think that being with you will help keep them calm, but if a dog is fearful of loud noises like fireworks, leave them at home. They will not appreciate being in a crowded area with fireworks going off – it will just make them more anxious and upset.
  4. Put on some soothing music for them to listen to during the night. If your dog has a certain spot they feel comfortable in (like a bathroom, closet, or their crate), set up the music close to there and turn it up to mask the firework noises. Here’s a great music medley that lasts for over an hour.
  5. Get them their favorite long-lasting treat to keep them distracted and happy. Try putting peanut butter in a Kong and freezing it. Just make sure they have access to water, too… they might be thirsty afterwards!

Make sure you and your pets stay safe this holiday!


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