Dog fur tells a lot about a dog’s health

A happy dog is a healthy dog, and a healthy dog has strong, shiny fur. Your dog’s coat is one of the best ways to gain insight into your dog’s condition, be it physical or emotional. It’s very important to get to know the ideal qualities of your furry friend’s breed and to set aside time to maintain his or her coat with regular brushing and washing.

The right food
A balanced diet with plenty of protein and amino acid content will help strengthen and replenish your dog’s coat by giving it the building blocks of the hair’s natural structure. Dog fur is made mostly of protein, so a coat that is dull or fragile can be an indication that your pooch isn’t getting the best nutrition. Do your research about the best kind of food and the right portions of it for your dog. If the diet needs an extra boost, you can talk to your vet about pet supplements.

Unwanted guests
The fur can be an inviting shelter for ticks, fleas, and other parasites that are very bad for your dog’s health. This is especially true in dirty, matted hair. Parasites can lead to infections and discomfort in your dog. Keeping the coat clean and brushed gets you up close and personal with your dog’s skin and hair, ensuring that parasites stay away or don’t get to set up shop for very long.

Bad news with balding
Excessive hair loss or patches of baldness on your dog’s coat can be a sign of any number of problems. This can result from such things as hormonal problems and tumors, though it can also be a symptom of emotional problems, like stress or impulse control issues. Different breeds have different rates of shedding, especially as the seasons change, but extreme or unusual hair loss can be an indication of more serious concerns for your dog’s overall health.

That “new dog” smell
The look and feel of the fur aren’t the only ways to monitor your dog’s health through his or her coat. The fur should also smell fresh in between baths. A strong, musky, or foul odor on dry fur is often an indication of bacterial infection, fungus, fleas, or even dry skin. A coat that stays stinky even after a scrub is a sign that a visit to the vet may be in order.

Keeping your dog’s coat strong and shiny will teach you a lot about how to care for his or her health in general. It’s a great way to monitor nutrition, win the fight against parasites, and stay informed about your dog’s feelings. It’s also a wonderful way to bond. Regular brushing, baths, and petting are all part of the process, so show your dog love and attention for the good of his or her health as well as the good of your relationship with one another.

Do you keep a specific regimen to ensure your dog's fur is healthy, strong, and shiny?

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Housebreaking your puppy: Do's and don'ts

By Cesar Millan from article (

The process of housebreaking often brings on feelings of nervousness and worry, but the process does not have to be stressful—for you or the puppy.

The truth is this is a situation in which you have Mother Nature working with you right from the start while puppy training. When the puppies are first born, they eat and they relieve themselves inside the den, but the mother always cleans them. There is never a scent of urine or feces where the puppies eat, sleep, and live. When they get old enough, they learn to use outside areas as they imitate their mother.

In this way, all dogs become conditioned never to eliminate in their dens. From two to four months of age, most pups pick up on the concept of housebreaking and crate training quite easily since it is part of their natural programming.

Puppy’s digestive tract
Another built-in plus when it comes to housebreaking is our puppy’s digestive tract, which is extremely quick and efficient. Five to 30 minutes after the puppy eats, she’ll want to defecate. So with a consistent eating schedule, and your attention to the clock, your puppy can maintain regular trips outside.

In the early days of housebreaking, you also want to make sure the puppy has a place to relieve herself where she feels safe; a place that seems and smells familiar. Have you noticed how dogs will often eliminate in the very same spot they’ve done so before? The scent acts like a trigger.

Your energy
As always, remember that your own energy is a big factor in your housebreaking efforts. If you are feeling nervous or impatient or are trying to rush a puppy to relieve herself, that can also stress her out. Using a loud, high squeaky tone to encourage your puppy to “go potty” is a distraction to the dog, so try and avoid any conversation at all.

Setting a routine
First thing every morning, bring your puppy outside to the same general area. It is important to remain consistent throughout the process so your puppy can learn the habit.

Once your puppy has successfully gone outside, it is important to reward the good behavior. It doesn’t have to be a big, loud celebration, but a simple quiet approval or a treat can get the message across of a job well done.

Positive reinforcement
Don’t punish your puppy for an accident or do anything to create a negative association with her bodily functions. Stay calm and assertive and quietly remove the puppy to the place where you want him to go.

Done correctly, housebreaking should not be a turbulent production but just a matter of putting a little extra work into getting your puppy on a schedule during the first weeks after she arrives at your home. Don’t let unnecessary stress over this very natural, uncomplicated process taint any of the joy surrounding the puppy training process and your new dog’s puppyhood.


Pupsicles: Easy Summer Treats to Keep Your Dog Cool


The Petfinder Foundation loves delivering special treats to shelter pets, and once we made these cooling catsicles, we were inspired to create a frozen pupsicle that our dog friends in shelters — and at home — would love, too.

Tom Eats Pupsicle

Tom, an adoptable Chihuahua mix at HOPE Animal Shelter in Tucson, Ariz., loves pupsicles. (Photo credit: Karen Hollish)

So we reached out to Sara Gromley, public relations coordinator at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona. Located in Tucson, the HSSA is no stranger to oppressive heat, and Gromley’s base pupsicle recipe is surprisingly simple: Find a container, add low-sodium chicken broth and freeze!

“Frozen broth is a welcome treat for shelter dogs on a hot day,” Gromley says. “Plus, iced treats are incredibly easy and fun to make!”

Once you master the base recipe, get creative! Try making bigger pupsicles to keep your dog entertained even longer, or add extra-special treats for him to find inside. If you don’t have chicken broth on hand, you can use plain water, too.

“We’ve found that dogs enjoy licking their way to toys, treats, kibble, carrots and other assorted surprises in large blocks of ice,” Gromley tells us. “This great enrichment idea keeps our critters busy, cool and happy. They love the variety, and we love seeing them enjoy summer with the coolest treats around. It’s inexpensive, long-lasting fun!

Here are guidelines for the base recipe, which can and should be improvised to meet your dog’s desires (and the kitchen equipment you have on hand):


What you need (makes eight servings)

  • 16 oz. low-sodium chicken broth
  •  8 2.4-oz. kitchen containers with lids (pet bowls or ice cube trays also work)
  • 3 oz.  hard cheese, cubed

Pet Safety Lady Tips (

Pet Safety Lady

Christina Selter "Pet Safety Lady" founder of Bark Buckle UP is the recognized national go-to expert and heads up the leading research team for pet travel safety. She has safely buckled more than 10,000 pets into vehicles, has been featured on thousands of national and local newscasts, speaks on the senate floor, international press conferences even automobile trade shows as a leading female automotive expert. Christina has also delivered more than 4,000 pet oxygen masks through the Bark 10-4 program and secured over 3,000 pets in life jackets. By using cutting-edge technology, she has taught more than 100,000 families in her pet safety classes around the country. She is an independent consultant and safety adviser, providing unbiased product reviews.


Housetraining Your Dog (

The basics

Start by picking an area where you want him to go. For most dogs, this should be outside in a fenced yard; yet some condo or apartment dwellers may not have that luxury and choose instead to paper and/or place train their dog. Next, you'll need to work on getting your dog to this special spot when he has to go.

Housetraining requires time, patience, and consistency to work. Some puppies may not be fully housetrained until they are 8-12 months of age. One of the first lessons is that, while your pooch is in training, he should not have the run of the house. You must keep him somewhat confined, either in a certain room, or if needed, a dog crate (keep crating to a minimum until your dog learns to hold it.)

Remember that a puppy can only go so long before they have to "go." A general rule is that a puppy can only hold it as long as he is old--in other words, a three-month old pup can only go three hours without a trip to the doggy potty. For adult dogs adopted from shelters, a refresher course on housetraining is always a good idea.

Steps to take:

  • Put your dog on a regular meal schedule. Remove any food that he doesn't finish.
  • When dogs are learning, keep a sharp eye on them. It takes awhile for a dog to learn how to signal you that he needs to go, so watch for the signs. If he suddenly leaves the room, sniffs the floor, turns in a circle--whatever sort of signal he's come up with--take him outside immediately.
  • If watching your dog is hard or impossible, you should confine him. Put him in a small room with the door closed or space separated by a child gate. Another option is to use acrate. All of these options should only be used for short periods of time. Remember, a puppy generally lacks the ability to hold it for that long. You could also tie a short (about four feet) leash to your belt which ensures the dog is always with you. As you train him, you can also increase his freedom to roam, but watch out for those tell-tale signs.
  • When you take your dog outside, be sure to reward and praise him when he eliminates. Taking him to the same place each time may help encourage him to go. Some dogs will eliminate quickly, both outside and on walks; others may need a bit of exercise first.
  • Make a schedule for potty times and stick to it. Your young pup will need to be taken out at least once an hour and always after eating, playing, and napping. You will probably have to take your puppy out several times during the night, too. Always take your pooch out first thing in the morning and just before you retire for the night. If you are going to leave him alone and confined for a while, take him out and encourage him to relieve himself first. Grown dogs will probably need at least four opportunities a day to eliminate.
  • If you catch your dog in the act of urinating or defecating, make a loud noise (such as "STOP!") and immediately put him outside. The idea is to shock him into stopping. Carry him outdoors if he is small enough or grab his collar and escort him out. When he finishes outside, reward and praise him. If you were too late to punish him, don't make a fuss or put him outside; it's too late for him to make the connection.
  • An enzymatic cleanser should be used to clean the spot. These cleaners help to eliminate the odor that attracts your dog back to the spot again.


  • Don't push and rub your dog's nose in the spot. This old wives' tale doesn't work.
  • Don't yell at your dog unless you have caught him mid-act. The yell is meant to scare him into stopping, not verbally punish him for the accident.
  • Don't smack him with a newspaper, or throw him outside. Punishment doesn't work!
  • Don't confine your dog in a crate if he has eliminated there previously. Dogs don't like to be where they have gone potty and you will simply stress him out.
  • If your dog is an outside dog, don't bring him back in right after he goes. Leaving him out awhile may help him learn to hold it.
  • Don't use ammonia cleaners on stains. Urine contains ammonia and may act as an attractant for your dog.

Most of all use patience. Your puppy isn't punishing you, nor is he necessarily a slow learner if he has accidents. You may simply have missed his signs that it was time to go.

Paper training and your pup

After many studies, it has been shown that training your dog to go on paper while also expecting him to go outside is confusing and can make housetraining much more difficult. If you want your dog to go outside and hold it inside, then you must consistently be there to take him out when he needs to go.

However, there are some cases where your dog just can't go outside. If you have mobility issues, or live in an apartment or condo, there may not be an outside for you to use. In these cases, paper training is the same as training him to go outside. The area where you want him to go should be well defined. Don't put papers down in one area, and then change them to another. Be sure there is plenty of room for him to go and change papers frequently. If there isn't room left on the paper, he'll likely go as close to it as possible, but on your nice floor.

If you have a patio or balcony, using a boxed chunk of grass sod as a potty spot is a good idea and will get him used to going when on walks. You can buy these in some pet stores ready to use or you can make one yourself with materials from your local garden store.

Source: Adapted from the ASPCA