6 Cat & Dog Boarding Tips Every Pet Parent Should Know

Let’s be honest. As fun as vacations are, it can be super stressful leading up to them. Why add worries about pet boarding on top of it all?

If you want to feel good about your pet being in good hands while you’re away, keep reading for 6 cat and dog boarding tips every pet parent should know.

You’ll find that with a dash of due diligence, a sprinkle of home, and a pat of preparation, you’ll have the perfect recipe to give your pet a pawsitive stay at the “pet hotel.” In fact, they may even look forward to your next vacation!

6 Tips for Stress-Free Pet Boarding

1. The Early Bird Gets the Worm (or Cat Condo)

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in planning our epic vacay that we let time slip away from us. But beware! Pet boarding facilities fill up fast during prime travel months, so if you wait, you could miss out.

Also, you’ll need to make sure your dog or cat is up-to-date on their vaccinations in order to be accepted as a “tenant.” Because some vaccinations take 10–14 days to kick in, you’ll want to be ahead of the game in getting your pet into the vet.

2. Ask Your Pet Pals

Just like you wouldn’t book the first hotel you see online, you’ll want to do a little digging to find the best boarding facility for your dog or cat. A great starting point is to just ask around. Post on Facebook to see who your friends recommend, talk to your pals at the dog park, ask your vet for recommendations, or go look at Yelp reviews.

3. Take a Tour

When selecting a boarding facility, schedule a tour and get to know the staff. Come with a list of boarding questions to ask. A tour will give you an idea of how clean and well run the place is. You can also bring your pet along for a “meet n’ greet.”

4. Do a Trial Run at Puppy Daycare

Many dog boarding facilities double as puppy daycares. Get your pup in for a few days of doggy daycare to see if he has a tail-wagging good time in their care. This will help you feel a lot more confident when it’s time to say good-bye for a few days.

5. BYOB

Er – that’s “Bring Your Own Blanket.” If your pet has a favorite blankie or snuggle buddy, take it to the boarding facility so they’ll have a comforting reminder of home. You can also bring their own food and water dishes, so their routine is as normal as possible.

6. New Diet? Don’t Try It.

We admit, it wouldn’t be super exciting to eat the same thing. Every. Single. Day. But the weeks leading up to pet boarding aren’t the time to switch up your pet’s diet. Boarding can already be a bit stressful … which can sometimes manifest itself as an stomach upset. New diets, especially if not introduced slowly, can make an upset stomach even worse.

On the Fence About Cat or Dog Boarding?

If you just can’t get yourself on board with the idea of pet boarding, here are some alternatives.

  • Hire a trusted house sitter. Many people love the convenience of just having someone come to their home without packing up their pet’s things. This is often a great option for cat owners, as most cats don’t like to ride in the car and may not take to boarding as well as dogs.
  • Hire a dog walker. If your dog doesn’t have separation anxiety and you’ll only be gone for a few days, hire a dog walker who can also do potty breaks, feeding and watering … and of course, belly rubs. Long walks will be fun for the dog and help curb any loneliness until you get back.
  • Take your pet with you. Dog-friendly hotels and home rentals are everywhere, so you may just want to consider bringing your pet along for the ride.

P.S. If your pet is smelly after boarding, do this …

Even at the cleanest of places, pets can often be a bit, well, stinky after being boarded. Between unpacking, laundry and weeding out the hundreds of photos on your phone, you’ll likely have a ton to do after you get home. If you don’t have time to give your dog or cat a bath, just spray them – and their belongings – with Oxyfresh Pet Deodorizer.

This is a favorite deodorizer of veterinarian offices and boarding facilities because it wipes out odors without polluting the indoor air environment which, according to a new report by the EPA, is 2–5 times more polluted than the outdoor air.

A true breath of fresh air, Oxyfresh Pet Deodorizer is 100% non-toxic and completely dissolves odorous molecules instead of simply masking them with overpowering fragrance and chemicals.

Pets, vets and groomers love it, and you will too!

Want more odor-fighting tips? Check out: How to De-stink Your Smell Dog & Keep Your Home Fresh.

Oxyfresh - Smells Happen, Always Be Ready - Eliminate Stinky Dog Smells - Pet Deodorizer

Dog Ear Infections 101: Everything You Need to Know

Spring has sprung … and unfortunately, so have dog ear infections!

Ear infections are the most common health condition in dogs, and it’s estimated that 20 percent of dogs have some form of ear disease.

The risk of your pooch getting an ear infection drastically increases in the spring and summer months.

Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to protect your pup and keep him healthy, happy and ear infection-free this season.

Keep reading for the dirt on Dog Ear Infections 101: Everything You Need to Know.

4 Clues That Fido Is Facing An Ear Infection

A little detective work on your part will likely uncover if your dog is suffering from an ear infection. (Your dog’s veterinarian is, of course, the definitive resource.)

#1. Look at Your Dog’s Ears

A normal dog ear should be light pink with a little bit of pale yellow wax. If the ear is red, inflamed, hot to the touch or contains excessive wax or debris that resembles coffee grounds (a sign of ear mites), chances are the ears are infected.

#2. Smell Your Dog’s Ears

Granted, this isn’t the most glamorous part of being a pet owner, but it’s a surefire way to tell if there’s a problem brewing in your dog’s ears. A strong musty smell is a sign of yeast overgrowth, and bacterial infections can also cause a funky odor.

#3. Cue in to Their Body Language

If your dog normally loves head pats and rubs behind the ears but is suddenly shying away, this could be your dog’s way of telling you his ears are infected.

#4. Watch for Head Shaking or Scratching

Infected ears are usually itchy ears! If you see your dog head shaking and scratching more than usual, that’s his way of saying, “I need a little help here!” Read more about the signs of dog ear infections.

Why Do Dogs Get Ear Infections?

  • Allergies. Spring isn’t all tulips, daffodils, and longer days. It’s also the start of allergy season! This can be miserable for us humans, as well as for our four-legged friends. In fact, allergies are the #1 cause of canine ear infections. As your dog spends more time exploring the Great Outdoors, pollen, grass and other allergens can attach to the face and ears, leading to an ear infection.

Did you know? Dogs with food allergies are even more prone to ear infections. According to the American Kennel Club, 80 percent of dogs with food allergies will develop ear inflammation.

  • Water Play. Does your dog love to swim or run through the sprinklers? This can put your pup at risk for ear infections. That’s because water can easily get trapped in the ears, due to the unique “L” shape of a dog’s ear canal. This warm, moist environment creates the perfect breeding ground for yeast and bacteria growth. All dogs who spend time in the water can get ear infections, but the risk is even higher for floppy-eared breeds like Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, Basset Hounds and Labradors.
  • Abundant Ear Wax. Excessive ear wax is a cause of ear infection, and when a dog’s ears are infected, their bodies will produce even more wax to try and fight the infection. This works against them, often making the infection worse.
  • Ear Mites. These pesky parasites most often affect young puppies or dogs who buddy up with outdoor cats. Ear mites feed on the wax and oils inside a pet’s ear and leave behind debris that looks like black coffee grounds. Ear mites create major itch, and it’s the wounds from all that scratching that can lead to ear infections.
  • Medical Issues. A variety of medical conditions, from hypothyroidism to foreign objects lodged in the ear, can cause ear infections. Be sure to keep those regular checkups at the vet to make sure your pup is healthy.

Dog Ear Infection Treatment: What to Do

If your dog is showing signs of an ear infection, you’ll want to take action right away by scheduling an appointment with the veterinarian. The specific course of treatment will depend on the cause of the ear infection. For instance, ear infections caused by yeast are treated differently than those caused by bacteria or mites.

It’s important to follow treatment instructions exactly, otherwise you could find yourself right back in the vet’s office with a repeat infection. Not fun for your wallet and definitely not fun for your pet.

Warning: If you try to let it “run its course,” you could make the situation worse. Dogs with ear infections tend to excessively scratch at the ears to find relief from the itch. This can cause cuts and abrasions in the ear, which can be painful and make an existing infection more severe.

Some dogs get ear hematomas from vigorous head shaking and scratching. Ear hematomas are pockets filled with blood that form on a pet’s ear flap. While hematomas can sometimes heal on their own, the result can be the appearance of “cauliflower ear” due to the blood not reabsorbing evenly throughout the ear.

Most alarming, ear infections that spread to the inner ear can cause permanent hearing loss, serious eye problems, facial paralysis, and problems with balance and coordination. All of these things can be devasting to a dog’s quality of life.

Prevention Is Your Best Measure Against Dog Ear Infections

Towel off. Dry both sides of your dog’s ears after water play. This will discourage yeast from brewing in the ear.

Rule out food allergies. Eighty percent of dogs with food allergies tend to suffer chronic ear infections. Some of the most common food allergens are beef, wheat and dairy products.

Signs of a food allergy: 

  • Ear inflammation
  • Licking the feet
  • Itchiness
  • Tummy troubles like excessive gas or diarrhea

A few things to keep in mind about food allergies: Most dogs are allergic to more than one thing, and they can suddenly become intolerant of a food they’ve eaten for years. To figure out your pet’s allergies, you’ll need to do an elimination diet.

Step way from the tweezers. Contrary to popular opinion, plucking your dog’s ear hair will not stop ear infections, and can actually cause irritation and redness, making the ear an inviting place for an ear infection to happen. If you’re concerned about your dog’s ear hair, talk to the vet or groomer.

Keep the ears clean. This is the best way to prevent ear infections. But look before you leap. Overcleaning or using a subpar ear cleaner can actually encourage ear infections. Check out these 5 tips for cleaning your dog’s ears.

Dog Ear Cleaner: Avoid the Ouch!

Even if you’re the queen (or king) of DIY projects, it’s not a good idea to concoct a home-made ear cleaner. Ingredients like hydrogen peroxide, vinegar and rubbing alcohol can sting and burn already inflamed ear tissue. Also, most home care solutions are formulated with as much as 50 percent water. Since water trapped in the ear is a main cause of ear infections, this can be counter-productive to the dog’s ear health.

Many store brand ear cleaners also contain alcohol and other harsh ingredients that can sting delicate ear tissue. That’s why veterinarians and groomers use and recommend Oxyfresh Pet Ear Cleaner. It’s 100% free of alcohol and fragrances, which means a burn-free, soothing experience! Instead, it’s formulated with the exclusive ingredient Oxygene®.

Safe, gentle and non-toxic, Oxygene® quickly neutralizes odors and bacteria, soothes itchy and irritated ears, and removes wax buildup, dirt and mites, leaving your dog with clean, fresh-smelling ears. No other pet care line has it!

And, Oxyfresh Pet Ear Cleaner is different than other cleaners because there’s no need to hassle with the extra step of rinsing – great news for dog owners who are already a bit intimidated by the idea of cleaning their pet’s ears.

Listen to what your dog is telling you and keep those ears clean. Oxyfresh Pet Ear Cleaner is here to help!

P.S. Get those tails wagging and share this post with your fellow pet parents.

Does Oxyfresh Pet Water Additive Really Work?

Is it all hype or does it really can help relieve bad pet breath and help prevent against gum disease? Guest blogger and pet enthusiast, Kyle Holgate, weighs in with his own experience …

One of the most often overlooked part of pet care is taking care of a pet’s oral health. It’s critical to take steps to help your pet maintain proper oral health. 70% of cats and 80% of dogs will have periodontal disease by the age of 3. Periodontal disease is extremely painful and very expensive to treat. Not only that but it can spread to your pet’s vital organs and cause damage, taking years off of their life.

“Many more veterinarians are offering dental cleaning services than in the past, and things can get pricey quickly. Dogs must be sedated in order to properly clean and polish their teeth, plus you may need X-rays as well. This can run anywhere from $500 to thousands of dollars!”

Check out Woof Whisker’s blog on how easy it can be to keep your pet’s teeth clean and breath smelling fresh with Oxyfresh. It goes in depth on how Oxyfresh works and how the doggies don’t even notice it’s there. Proper oral care doesn’t have to be complicated.

Read the full blog here

Oxyfresh - Pet water additive stops pet breath

How to De-Stink Your Smelly Dog & Keep Your Home Fresh

Help! My dog stinks! 

Even if you dust like a ninja and scrub a toilet like nobody’s business, if you have a smelly dog, keeping your home odor-free can seem like a losing battle.

So what’s a desperate pet owner to do?

Keep reading for some easy “how-tos” to de-stink your smelly dog and keep your home fresh.

Once you get the routine down, you’ll have a “home sweet-smelling home” and enjoy those doggie snuggles so much more!

Smelly Dog Must-Do: Adopt a Washing Routine

A lot of times, it’s not the dog himself that’s to blame for all the odors in the home … it’s his things! Follow these washing guidelines to keep pet odors at bay, and even keep your dog healthy.

  • Food bowls: wash with hot soapy water daily. Yes, daily! Just imagine if you ate off the same dirty plate each day. Not only would said plate be stinky, but it could make you sick with all the bacteria buildup. According to a study by NSF International, dog bowls are the fourth germiest item in the house! Also, it’s smart to use stainless steel bowls versus plastic, as they don’t harbor as much bacteria.
  • Water bowls: wash once a week with hot soapy water. Rinse out as necessary in between thorough washings.
  • Bed covers & blankets: wash once a week. This will keep pet hair, allergens and all the other icky smells they track in from the outdoors away.
  • Collar: as often as you wash the dog. Collars can be super stinky with all the oils they absorb and all the debris they collect. To get your dog’s collar squeaky clean, fill a bowl with hot water and a few squirts of liquid soap. Let it soak for 15 minutes, rub out any soiled areas, then rinse and let air dry.
  • Toys: wash once a month. Pet toys can be a source of Staph bacteria, yeast and mold – so no surprise that they take the cake as the seventh germiest item in the house. Wash both soft snuggly toys and hard playing toys like rubber bones. Hard toys can be washed thoroughly with hot soapy water and then left to air dry. Plush toys can be washed in the washing machine on delicate cycle.

Perfect Your Vacuuming Technique To Remove Dog Smells

Pet hair is stinky. Yet do you ever feel like vacuuming isn’t really making an impact on the pet hair problem? It could be your technique. Here are 5 vacuuming tips to get your carpets cleaner.

  1. Vacuum horizontally and then vertically to get trapped pet hair out of the carpet.
  2. Take your time. Make several slow passes over the same area. (If you go too fast, it just stirs up dust instead of trapping it in the vacuum.)
  3. Use a vacuum specific for pet hair.
  4. Make sure to get the corners of the rooms, especially in the areas where the dog sleeps. If your dog has a crate, move it and vacuum along the sides where it usually sits.
  5. Don’t forget to clean your vacuum’s components.

Are Smelly Dog Toots Taking Over Your Home?

Often silent but deadly, every pet owner knows the woes of dog farts. They can literally overtake an entire room. While this can come in handy on occasion (“It wasn’t me, it was the dog!”), these terrible toots can definitely “reek” havoc in the house.

Some dogs are simply more inclined to gas – we’re talkin’ to you boxers, bullies and boston terriers – because of their face shapes. Short, flat snouts will cause more air to be swallowed during eating and drinking, leading to gas. While dog farts are a normal part of life, if your dog seems to have them ALL THE TIME, here are some main causes:

  • Table Scraps: Diet is the #1 culprit of excess dog flatulence. If you often give into that intense stare and feed your dog a large amount of table scraps, watch out for incoming toots.
  • Low-Quality Dog Food: Cheap carb-loaded dog foods with fillers like corn, wheat and soy can be hard for dogs to digest, causing gas. Try switching to a grain-free dog food to see if that helps the problem.
  • Gobbling Up Their Food: Wolfing down food too fast causes extra air in the stomach. If your dog is a speed-eater, there are more serious issues to be concerned about, such as bloat. Check out these tips to get your dog to eat more slowly.
  • Not Enough Exercise: Dogs who exercise pass less gas. Yet one more reason to dust off those running shoes and get outdoors.

Practice Good Dog Grooming Habits

Proper grooming will help de-stink your smelly dog and keep him clean from head to tail.

  • Coat. The average pooch needs a bath about once a month. Keep in mind, this varies by breed, length of coat and activity level. When bathing your pet, make sure to use a hypoallergenic dog shampoo that does not contain alcohol or harsh fragrances. These ingredients can cause skin problems, making odors even worse.
  • Ears. Whether it’s from yeast, mites or a bacterial infection, stinky ears can be REALLY stinky. Keeping your dog’s ears clean will not only help with his smell, it’s also the best way to avoid painful ear infections. Use an alcohol-free dog ear cleaner to avoid drying out the ear canal and stinging their delicate ear tissue.
  • Smile. Did you know that a dog’s breath actually shouldn’t have an odor at all? If your pet has stinky breath from a lack of oral care, that horrible smell can be transferred all over your furniture, bedding and carpet via the dog’s drool. Even more important than getting rid of the odor, pet dental care keeps dogs healthy and can even increase their lifespan by 2–5 years! Check out your options for at-home pet dental care.

Important: Rethink Those Air Fresheners!

According to an indoor air report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans, on average, spend 90 percent of their time indoors, where pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than the outdoor air.

What’s one of the biggest offenders for our polluted indoor air? Yep, those toxic air fresheners and plug-ins. From phthalates and pesticides to propane and formaldehyde, air fresheners contain a host of chemicals (disguised under the word “fragrance” or “perfume”) that aren’t just harmful to the humans in the household … they’re harmful to our pets!

Introducing the Safe Alternative to Freshen Your Home from Doggie Smells, Fast …

Oxyfresh Pet Deodorizer is the quickest and easiest way to keep your pet and your home smelling fresh, without the worries of harmful ingredients.

Unlike air fresheners that just mask odors with strong fragrances (aka chemicals), Oxyfresh Pet Deodorizer is fragrance-free and uses our secret ingredient Oxygene® to neutralize odors completely. This exclusive ingredient is safe, gentle, effective and 100% non-toxic to people and pets!

Whether your house smells like dog, litter box, or some bad combination of the two, just give Oxyfresh Pet Deodorizer 60 seconds to unleash some serious freshness.

No time for a bath? This doggie deodorizer is so safe and gentle, it can even be sprayed directly on your pet.

This is the go-to product that has changed the pet odor-game for thousands of dog owners. Try it, love it! 

P.S. Got some friends in your pack who struggle with smelly dog odors? Share this post with them!

Oxyfresh - Smells Happen, Always Be Ready - Eliminate Stinky Dog Smells - Pet Deodorizer

3 Unique Solutions to Stop Bad Dog Breath

Happy dog owner getting puppy dog kisses … it always looks so picture-perfect on TV and in Valentine cards.

But the reality is … most pet owners steer clear of doggy kisses for one simple reason: dog bad breath.

Contrary to popular belief, a dog’s breath shouldn’t smell at all. If it does, it’s a sign of gum disease, which can progressively get worse as plaque and tartar accumulate along the dog’s gum line, causing inflammation, infection, tooth loss and even harm to their vital organs.

Here’s the good news: in addition to regular check-ups at the vet, you can EASILY adopt an at-home teeth cleaning routine for your dog to give him fresh breath and a best-on-the-block kind of smile. And, if you catch gum disease early enough, you can completely reverse it.

One solution does not fit all when it comes to dog dental care. That’s why Oxyfresh has 3 unique solutions to stop bad dog breath. Keep reading and we’ll tell you all about them so you can find what’s right for you.

But First, Why Oxyfresh for Dog Bad Breath?

The Oxyfresh difference is Oxygene®. Many pet dental products contain alcohol, additives, mints or clove oils – ingredients that only mask bad breath temporarily and can sting dogs’ delicate gum tissues.

Oxygene® is a gamechanger because it’s a gentle, 100% non-toxic ingredient that eliminates bad breath on a molecular level rather than covering it up artificially. It’s also the first line of defense against gum disease, which can take years off a pet’s life.

By fighting bacteria, Oxygene® effectively cleans the teeth and gums each day, reducing plaque and tartar buildup. You’ll find this exclusive ingredient in all of our pet products.

3 Oxyfresh Products for Healthy Smiles & Fresh Dog Breath

#1. Oxyfresh Pet Dental Gel Toothpaste

To brush or not to brush, that is the question.

The answer is: with Oxyfresh Pet Dental Gel Toothpaste, you can go either way.

Brushing is still the best way to remove plaque buildup from a dog’s teeth and gums, but if you try it and it doesn’t go well, you can also just apply this gel straight to the gums with a finger brush, your bare finger or a piece of gauze. You can also apply a drop to the tongue for instant fresh breath support.

Free of artificial flavor additives and other junk, Oxyfresh Pet Dental Gel Toothpaste is tasteless and odorless, so your pet won’t try to chew up the toothbrush (or your finger). It’s formulated with odor-fighting Oxygene® to fight plaque and bad breath plus aloe to pamper your pooch’s gums.

Want a leg up on tooth brushing? Check out this article: How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth … Without Losing Your Sanity.

“It’s everything advertised. Healthier gums, tartar buildup disappearing, breath so much better nearly immediately. Gonna continue as part of their dental hygiene.”– Jonny J.

#2. Oxyfresh Pet Dental Water Additive

This award-winning, vet-recommended water additive is the perfect complement to toothbrushing, especially if you can’t brush your pet’s teeth every day. (Brushing should be done at least 3x a week in order for the dog’s teeth and gums to benefit.)

The Oxygene® and zinc in this formula will freshen your dog’s breath while helping to fight plaque buildup. Just add to the water bowl and that’s it. Your pet won’t even know it’s there. Giving your dog Oxyfresh Pet Dental Water Additive is one of the easiest way to support daily pet dental health without a lot of time or effort.

“Love this stuff. It prevents bad breath and cleans my pup’s mouth just putting it in his water. I’ve been using Oxyfresh [Pet Dental Water Additive] in his water since he was a pup. He never has bad breath, and I feel good that his teeth and gums are always indicated healthy by me and his vet. This stuff works!” – Posted by Quintessential

#3. Oxyfresh Pet Dental Spray

This is the newest product to join the Oxyfresh line and our customers could not be more excited! This convenient, non-toxic spray with Oxygene® and zinc is a must-have for when you and your pet are on-the-go.

Whether your dog has a playdate with Buddy, an overnight at grandma’s, or simply likes to get close to you during car rides, keep Oxyfresh Pet Dental Spray nearby and fresh breath will always be just a spray away.

“Love this stuff – it is magical. My Pomchi used to have terrible breath, and since using this, it has vanished.” – Kaley B.

A Healthy Smile Equals a Happy Life.

Just like your own dentist will tell you, plaque needs to be removed daily to keep your smile healthy. The same holds true for your pet. Plaque is the start of gum disease, which can be very painful for pets as it progresses. By partnering with Oxyfresh, you can protect your dog from dental disease and finally enjoy some stink-free kisses this Valentine’s Day … and all year long!

Oxyfresh is proud to support the health and happiness of pets around the globe. We invite you and your fellow animal lovers to check out our complete line of pet dental and grooming products at oxyfresh.com.

Psst … we even have dental care products for humans! 

Oxyfresh - Pet water additive stops pet bad breath

What Makes Great Dog Dental Hygiene?

As part of a dog’s grooming schedule, regular teeth cleaning should be top of the list.

Studies have shown that once weekly tooth brushing has little, if no impact, on reducing buildup in the mouth. For that reason, many professionals recommended picking up that toothbrush at least 2-3 times per week for your dog.

But why?

Many owners believe that the food Fido eats, along with specific chews, are enough to keep his teeth in tip-top condition. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. If it were, periodontal disease wouldn’t be the most common clinical condition found in dogs.

Periodontal disease starts when bacteria found in the dog’s mouth forms a substance called plaque (you’ve probably heard about this from your own dentist). This plaque sits on the surface of the teeth, and when mixed with saliva, it forms tartar. Along with sitting on the teeth, plaque and tartar seep into the gum lines, resulting in inflammation. This will eventually lead to receding gum lines and tooth loss.

The only way to prevent this is by regular tooth brushing. So, what does great dog dental hygiene look like?

2–3 cleaning sessions a week, water additives and specific chews? We hear your cries of wonder from here. Let’s start with getting Fido used to a toothbrush.

Getting Your Dog Used to a Toothbrush

The younger you introduce teeth cleaning, the less stressful it will be for both human and dog.

Buy a toothbrush and just let Fido sniff and explore it. You can even put the toothpaste on the brush and let the dog lick it. That way he’s not taken off guard when it’s time for tooth brushing.

Tip

Never use human toothpaste on your pet. Human toothpaste often contains xylitol, a sugar-free sweetener, which is toxic to dogs and can be fatal. Human toothpaste also contains fluoride which, again in large amounts, is toxic to dogs.

Always use a high-quality toothpaste specifically formulated for dogs.

How To Start Brushing Dog’s Teeth?

Introduce teeth brushing in short bursts to start with, perhaps only a couple of seconds initially, slowly increasing the time spent brushing and the frequency. Stay calm and praise your dog throughout the process. When you have finished, reward Fido with a high-quality treat or chew. You could opt to use a dental chew for double the effectiveness.

We need our dogs to learn that tooth brushing isn’t that big of a deal – that it’s always a positive experience. That’s why the reward at the end is important.

We know that dogs learn through operant conditioning. When something positive happens, they are more likely to repeat the behavior and be relaxed. The behavior you are asking for here is for Fido to stay calm while you brush his teeth. Through positive reinforcement when he does stay calm, he is more likely to repeat the behavior when you bring out that toothbrush.

What’s the Teeth Brushing Routine for Dogs?

Spend a couple of minutes brushing his teeth, 2–3 times per week. Get into a routine. You may do it first thing in the morning or last thing at night. Just like humans, dogs like routine. This will ensure you stick to cleaning his teeth.

By regularly brushing his teeth, you can also monitor Fido’s oral development.

Puppies will have 28 teeth by the time they are 8 weeks old. Between 3–4 months old, their adult teeth will start to erupt, and you will notice baby teeth around the house where they have fallen out.

Sometimes, adult teeth will erupt without the baby teeth falling out, leading to dental overcrowding. This is particularly common in small and toy breeds, which is why periodontal disease is so common in these breeds. Overcrowding causes trauma to the teeth and soft tissues.

Through regular brushing you will notice if his baby teeth are falling out and adult teeth are forming as they should.

You can also check his bite. A typical bite for a dog should be a scissor bite where the lower canines sit on the outside of the gum line, in front of the upper canines. An abnormal bite can lead to painful ulcers in the mouth.

We’ve mentioned the importance of removing bacteria from Fido’s mouth for the health of his teeth, but it also plays a part in keeping the rest of his body fit too!

Bacteria moves!

Without regular brushing, bacteria can build up in Fido’s mouth and be released into the rest of his body. The same bacteria have been found in the circulatory system in dogs, ultimately damaging cardiac tissue, resulting in endocarditis. In short, bad teeth have been linked to infection and inflammation in the heart. Studies have also shown a link between periodontal disease and insulin resistance and kidney and liver issues.

What If I Just Can’t Get Fido to Accept Me Brushing His Teeth?

In an ideal world, a toothbrush is the tool of choice to keep your dog’s oral health in tip-top condition.

However, it is possible to rid the mouth of some bacteria with some gauze. If you are able, wrap some gauze around your finger and wipe Fido’s teeth. It’s not the most effective strategy, but it’s better than nothing. Make sure you still use high-quality toothpaste specifically formulated for dogs.

Also, keep in contact with your veterinarian. They can carry out dental treatments, whether it be cleaning or removal of diseased teeth.

How Do You Brush an Older Dog’s Teeth?

If you have an older dog, visit your veterinarian before you start brushing his teeth.

You need to know what you’re dealing with. If Fido already has diseased gums or teeth, brushing them may be painful and it won’t be a positive experience.

These can be signs of disease in the mouth:

  • Watch him eating, is he struggling to eat?
  • Is he avoiding eating completely?
  • We all know the joy of “dog breath,” but is Fido’s breath particularly rancid?

Halitosis (bad breath) is caused by bacteria in the mouth, giving off foul-smelling gases. It is one of the first stages in gingivitis. Here you will notice changes in gum color and inflammation. The gums will often bleed on contact. Gingivitis can be reversed through teeth cleaning, but if left, it leads to periodontal disease.

Fido may need a veterinarian to remove the buildup so far. This gives you a better chance of maintaining at-home dental care with the suggested brushing frequency and schedule above.

Along with dental appointments and regular tooth brushing or gauze brushing, the food you feed to your pet can also support tooth health.

Here are a couple of additional solutions:

  1. Water Additives
  2. Dry Kibble

Dry kibble is more abrasive than canned food, which can be beneficial for removing plaque. However, specially manufactured dental food has been known to reduce plaque and gingivitis by 39% and 36% respectively when compared with a typical dry food.

Studies have also shown that adding one dental chew per day to a dog’s diet results in a statistically significant reduction in plaque and tartar accumulation, along with improved mouth odor. Regular chews also reduce occasions of professional intervention.

Summary

While it may be the most common clinical condition in dogs, periodontal disease is completely preventable by following a great dental hygiene routine for your dog.

Introducing teeth cleaning from a young age will make it the least stressful for both human and dog as possible.

Remember to start slowly, let him explore and sniff the toothbrush and toothpaste. If the toothbrush is difficult to accept at first, wrap some gauze around your finger. Praise throughout, and reward when you have finished.

Not only does regular brushing keep his mouth healthy, but the rest of his body too!

Schedule regular checkups with the veterinarian, just in case Fido does need a dental cleaning. Watch for problems eating or particularly foul-smelling breath. Get into a routine and consider the food and treats you are feeding Fido and whether they are beneficial in maintaining his dental hygiene.

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Author Bio

Article by John Woods a member of the APDT (“Association of Professional Dog Trainers”) chief editor at All Things Dogs; a digital dog publication.

Causes of Dog Depression … And What to Do About It

Does your usually cheerful dog seem a little off lately?

Dog depression isn’t in your imagination … just like people, dogs get sad too.

If only they could talk and tell us how to make it all better.

Even though they can’t “use their words,” there are signs of depression in dogs to watch out for, and many natural ways to get their tails wagging again.

Keep reading because we put together everything you need to know about the causes of dog depression and what to do about it.

How to Tell if Your Dog Is Depressed

The symptoms of dog depression aren’t so different than the symptoms that affect us humans (minus chewing up the couch). If you notice any of these signs of dog depression, take heart – there are many easy steps you can take to boost your pup’s spirits.

Signs of Depression in Dogs

  • Low energy
  • Change in appetite
  • Hiding or isolating
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Howling or whining
  • Excessive paw licking (a self-soothing behavior)
  • Disinterest in activities the dog would normally enjoy
  • Sudden aggression such as chewing up the couch or snapping at you

Oftentimes, dogs that are depressed will actually look sad. If you’re super in tune with your dog’s body language, you can likely tell if your pet is sad. (This can be harder to determine if you have a “sad-faced” breed like a Basset Hound or boxer.)

7 Reasons for Dog Depression

1. Change in the Pack

The passing of a family member (including other animals) is the most common cause of dog depression. Other changes to the pack, such as a new baby in the home or a new spouse or roommate, can also make a dog sad.

2. You’re Depressed

One of the amazing things about our faithful companions is how intuitive they are with our moods. If you get the January blues, have seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or are in a period of mourning, it could be that your pup is responding to your own grief.

3. Not Enough Exercise

Running around in the backyard just isn’t enough exercise time for the average pooch. In general, dogs need about 5 miles of walk time per week. Not only is this good for their physical health, but also their mental wellbeing. Be sure to let your dog take time to “smell the roses” (and the fire hydrants) during the walk to get the most enjoyment out of it.

4. New Schedule

Dogs love routines just like we do. If you have a drastic change in your work schedule and aren’t home as much, your dog could be sad during the adjustment period.

5. Negative Punishment During Dog Training

Dogs that act sad and withdrawn could be experiencing fear due to negative training. Whether it’s a shock collar, sprays, or vocal or physical intimidation, many dogs will stop offering up behaviors altogether for fear of doing the wrong thing. Studies show that positive reinforcement training not only makes dogs more obedient but also happier.

6. Physical Move

Let’s be honest – moving is not fun for anyone, tail or no tail. A move disrupts a dog’s entire routine and surroundings. You can help by giving meals/walks at the same time each day and getting their bed and toys set up as soon as possible.

7. Dog has Undiagnosed Medical Issues

Unfortunately, dogs can’t tell us when they’re in pain. Instead, they may just act mopey and disinterested in activities they would normally enjoy. Joint pain/inflammation and dental disease are two common medical issues that can cause a dog to act depressed.

Should You Consider Medication for Dog Depression?

If your dog’s depression sticks around after trying the natural approaches below, talk to your vet about prescription medication options to treat your dog’s depression. Usually dogs will only have to be on medication temporarily, around 6–12 months.

Like with any medication, there are sometimes side effects, from tiredness to constipation. Your vet will be able to help guide you to the right solution for your pet.

How to Help Your Sad Dog Feel Better

  • Give it time. Long-term depression in dogs is rare. Often, time really is the best way to heal the wounds of doggy depression, especially if the cause is from a move, change in routine or pack members.
  • Focus on what they love. If your pet is acting depressed, don’t force them into “fun” activities they don’t want to do … even if it’s something they used to enjoy. This could actually make their depression worse. Instead, hone in on the activity they still love and do more of that!
  • Visit the vet to rule out medical issues. Because illness can often make a dog feel sad (or mimic the symptoms of depression), it’s important to make an appointment with the vet to make sure there’s not an underlying health issue at play.
  • More attention. Dogs are happiest when they’re around their people. In addition to physical activity, “more attention” can be as simple as spending time brushing your pet or giving extra cuddles. If you’re unable to give your dog as much attention as he needs, consider doggy daycare or hiring a dog walker.
  • Don’t overdo the praise. When your dog is acting depressed, don’t start pouring on the praise and giving a bunch of treats. They will think they’re being rewarded for their depressed behavior. Instead, treat and praise when they show interest in activities, whether it’s a car ride or a walk.
  • Adopt another pet. If your dog is depressed from missing a fur-sibling, if your heart is open to it, consider bringing a new pet into the home. To make sure this is not a stressful situation for your pet, follow these dos and don’ts of introducing a new pet.
  • Take care of your dog’s teeth. Periodontal disease is one of the most painful yet common health conditions affecting dogs. By age 3, 80 percent of dogs already show signs of gum disease.

The importance of adopting a home dental routine can’t be stressed enough … not only can this add years to a pet’s life, but it can ensure those years are happy and free of pain.

We get it – if your dog is already sad, introducing a new and potentially stressful routine like dog tooth brushing isn’t the best idea.

Problem solved with Oxyfresh Pet Dental Water Additive. This no-brush daily dental solution is tasteless and odorless – just add to your dog’s water bowl. No change in routine, no turning up their noses! Our secret ingredient Oxygene® fights plaque buildup and completely neutralizes stinky dog breath.

Oxyfresh Pet Dental Water Additive is non-toxic, vet-recommended and USA-made … best of all, it works to keep pets’ teeth and gums healthy.

Let’s spread some happy.

We love pets here at Oxyfresh and hope your precious dog is feeling better soon. If you know another pet parent with a sad pup, share this post with them.

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1-Step Solution for Clean Cat Teeth: No Brushing Required

The thought of cat teeth cleaning can inspire fear in even the bravest of pet owners.

Well, hang on to those toothbrushes, because there’s a brilliant and totally simple 1-step solution that gives you the same benefits of brushing without all the hassle (or hissing).

Before the big reveal, take a quick second to learn WHY clean cat teeth are so important to the health and happiness of your precious pet.

3 Reasons to Clean Your Cat’s Teeth

#1. Freshen Your Cat’s Breath

You don’t have to be a cat whisperer to hear what your cat’s breath is trying to tell you. A light fishy scent is normal. ANYTHING stronger than that is not and should be taken seriously, as cat bad breath is often a sign of a bigger problem, including gingivitis. (Read more about cat halitosis and the causes of it.)

#2. Fight Plaque Buildup

Ask who its biggest enemy is, and your cat may point its paw at the dog next door. The vet, however, will tell you something different: PLAQUE. 

Plaque is the root of an unhealthy mouth. If you don’t remove plaque from your cat’s teeth, it can eventually lead to full-on periodontal disease, a painful dental condition that can cause an array of health problems and even take years off your cat’s life.

Periodontal disease occurs in 4 stages, each one more serious than the last … and it all starts with plaque.

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Keep in mind, plaque is unavoidable. The formation of it is a natural process that occurs every time your pet eats. Having a plan to remove plaque is the key to a healthy smile.

Say Cheese Tuna! Toothy Facts About Cats

  • Cats have 30 adult teeth (regular oral care will ensure they keep all 30 of them!)
  • 70% of cats over the age of 3 have some form of dental disease
  • In its early stages, gum disease is completely reversible
  • Tartar buildup is the most common clinical sign of dental disease
  • According to the AVDC, periodontal disease is the #1 clinical condition affecting adult pets

#3. Avoid the Need for Professional Cat Teeth Cleaning

While every cat is different, you can greatly improve your chances of avoiding professional cleanings if you practice good oral hygiene at home.

Professional cleanings are needed if tartar has formed in your cat’s mouth.

Tartar is simply plaque that has hardened, and it’s impossible to remove at home. It’s easy to spot if you know what to look for. Unlike plaque, which is gummy and clear, tartar is usually yellowish or brown in color.

A professional cleaning will usually involve an x-ray, anesthesia, scaling and polishing. (Are the dollar signs ticking by in your head?)

Did you know? Plaque, which is loaded with bacteria, can begin to harden into tartar on your cat’s teeth within 3–5 days. That’s why it’s a necessity to have a daily plan for removing it.

Introducing the 1-Step Solution for Clean Cat Teeth … No Brushing Required

For nearly 30 years, Oxyfresh has been offering the safest, most effective pet dental care products … and now, we’re offering the EASIEST solution too!

Introducing Oxyfresh Pet Dental Spray. This non-toxic dental spray is paws-down the quickest, most convenient way to give your cat the DAILY dental care it needs. Just spray on the gum line and you’re done!

  • Instant fresh breath
  • Reduces plaque buildup
  • Promotes healthier teeth & gums
  • Tasteless & odorless … pets love it
  • So easy … just spray on the gum line

Our Secret to Clean Cat Teeth: Oxygene®

Some pet owners swear it’s magic, but it’s really just great science. Oxygene® is our unique and exclusive ingredient that neutralizes bad pet breath and bacteria at a molecular level. Through the safe, gentle process of oxidation, Oxygene® turns stinky sulfur compounds into sulfite ions (odor free).

Combined with zinc, which is proven safe and effective in oral care products, Oxyfresh Pet Dental Spray delivers a quick, on-the-go solution to fight plaque and bad breath each day. Perfect for cats AND dogs!

Just as important is what’s NOT in our formula:

  • No alcohol
  • No flavor additives
  • No mint or clove oils
  • No green tea extracts
  • No harsh ANYTHING

See why thousands of dog and cat owners trust Oxyfresh with their pets’ oral healthcare needs. Try the 1-step solution for clean cat teeth today.

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Dog Flu: What Are the Symptoms?

Is dog flu really a thing?

Unfortunately, yes. And just like in humans, the flu can make dogs sick … really sick.

Knowledge is power when it comes to protecting your pet. So keep reading for everything you need to know about dog flu, including which dog flu symptoms to be on high alert for.

What Exactly IS Dog Flu … And Where Did It Come From?

Dog flu (aka “canine influenza”) is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by an influenza A virus. There are two strains of the virus: H3N8 and H3N2.

The H3N8 strain originated in horses, then jumped species and spread to dogs. The first reported outbreak occurred in 2004 when greyhounds at a racetrack in Florida became ill. Today, H3N8 is considered a canine-specific virus.

H3N2 originated in Asia, where the virus jumped from birds to dogs. It’s suspected that the virus was introduced to the U.S. from dogs that were rescued and brought over here. This strain of dog flu hit the Midwest in 2015 and spread from there. To date, dog flu has been reported in 46 states.

6 Quick Facts About Canine Influenza

  • Can be spread year-round
  • More dangerous for puppies and older dogs
  • Most cases are mild – less than 10 percent of cases are fatal
  • 2 in 10 dogs with the flu will show NO symptoms
  • Dog flu reported in 46 different states
  • Highly contagious among dogs: spreads through sneezing, coughing, barking or via shared toys/water bowls

Be On Alert for These Dog Flu Symptoms

Unlike humans where we have a specific flu season each year, dogs can get hit by the flu year-round. Dogs infected with the flu virus will show symptoms 2–3 days after exposure.

Warning signs to watch out for:

  • Coughing – both moist and dry
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Runny or red eyes
  • Fever
  • Trouble Breathing

Dog flu symptoms can range from mild to severe and will usually last 10–30 days. Severe symptoms that should be considered an emergency are high fever, coughing up blood and trouble breathing.

Surprisingly, 20 percent of dogs with the flu will not display any symptoms at all (but they will still be contagious).

Dogs with those adorable “smushed up” faces, such as bulldogs, boxers and pugs, will often have a tougher time coping with flu symptoms, as their flat faces make it harder to breathe as it is. Dog flu is also more dangerous for puppies and older dogs.

Keep in mind, dog flu symptoms can mimic other respiratory health conditions, including kennel cough, so it will take a trip to the veterinarian to determine if your dog does indeed have the flu.

TIP: Call and make a scheduled appointment with the veterinarian (unless it’s an emergency) and don’t do “walk-in” hours. Because the dog flu virus is so contagious, your vet will want to take precautions to avoid exposing your pet to other animals.

How Long Is Dog Flu Contagious?

How long your dog is contagious depends on the type of flu strain it has:

  • H3N8: contagious for 10 days after exposure 
  • H3N2: contagious for 26 days after exposure

If your dog has the flu, you can easily spread the virus. The canine flu virus can survive on the skin for 15 minutes and 24 hours on clothes and hard surfaces.

Make sure you’re washing your hands really well after petting your sick dog and changing your clothes if you’ll be around other animals.

What If You Have Other Pets in the Home?

Odds are, they’ve already been exposed to the flu virus, as by the time the sick dog shows symptoms, their most contagious period has already passed.

Still, it’s best to limit interaction with other pets if one has the flu. That means no sharing dishes, blankets, hangout spots or playing/walking together. Learn more about quarantining your pet. (Truly, it doesn’t have to be as heartless as it sounds.) You’ll want to be hyper-vigilant about this if you have a puppy in the home or an older pet with current health problems.

Can cats get “dog flu”? As of right now, there’s no evidence that the H3N8 strain can spread from dogs to cats. The H3N2 strain, however, has infected cats, but these cases are extremely rare. (P.S. In case you’re wondering, humans can’t get either strain of dog flu.)

How to Prevent Your Dog from Getting Canine Influenza

If you know dog flu is going around in the area where you live, it’s wise to be an overprotective pet parent and simply keep your dog away from community places like dog parks, kennels, grooming facilities and doggy daycare.

If your dog is exposed to the flu virus, the odds of your dog catching it are close to 100 percent. (But remember – 20 percent of dogs show no symptoms at all.)

There are dog flu vaccines available for each strain. Talk to your vet to see if this is a good option for your pet. Often, it’s just recommended if dog flu is circulating in your area or if your lifestyle requires frequently boarding/daycare for the dog.

How Do You Treat Dog Flu?

If your dog has flu-like symptoms, make an appointment with your vet right away. For mild flu cases, your dog will most likely just need extra fluids, rest and TLC from his favorite person in the world (YOU). If the dog’s flu is severe, your vet will recommend a proper treatment plan based on your pet’s symptoms.

Sharing is caring. Help protect your friends’ pets from dog flu by sharing this post.

P.S. Did you know? Sometimes the flu can hurt a dog’s mouth.

If your dog’s flu symptoms include vomiting and coughing, this can really sting and inflame their delicate gum tissue.

For the ultimate TLC, give your pup Oxyfresh Pet Dental Gel. It’s so easy to use … just apply right to the gum line with your finger.

Unlike commercial brands that often contain alcohol and harsh flavorings, this gentle gel is free of alcohol and other ouch-inducing ingredients.

Aloe and chamomile bring speedy comfort to the gums, while Oxygene® neutralizes harmful bacteria and deodorizes the mouth.

Pamper your dog’s sore gums with the ultimate dental gel. Your dog will thank you!

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