Best ways to get rid of fleas

Fleas debate

So this is awkward.

But we had a little incident of fleas the other week. And we know, this happens to everyone. And it’s nothing to be ashamed of.. however we just couldn’t get rid of them.

We have a few too many pooches in the office, so we’ve had to institute a doggie ban until we can eradicate the problem, which is only made slightly more bearable thanks to Hachiko (so we can check in with them during the day).

This has also been the source of a heated debate- what’s the best way to get rid of fleas. Or more specially natural vs. medication. We’ve already written in the past about home remedies but lets take a deeper dive into the options here:

In the Natural corner:

  1. Rosemary Flea Dip – Boil water with a bunch of fresh rosemary twigs for 30 minutes. Strain the liquid and add to a gallon of warm water (it must be warm or it’s not effective, but make sure it’s not too hot!) give your pooch a good soak and then let them air dry.
  2. Lavender Essential Oil– place a few drops on the back of your dog’s neck and base of the tail. You can also sprinkle a few around the house
  3. Make your pup smell & taste awful (to fleas!) by adding a tablespoon of apple vinegar to their water or spoonful of brewer’s yeast to their food.

In the medication corner we find:

  1. Spot on treatments– usually very effective, but they can be strong and have warnings so read the labels carefully
  2. Oral Medications– pills that are given monthly are widely available and also work on immature fleas. (We recommend giving them with a treat!)
  3. Shampoos– There are a bunch on the market (We like Oster’s natural Oatmeal Flea and Tick Shampoo which Kills fleas and ticks at all stages of the lifecycle through naturally-derived Pyrethrins from Chrysanthemum flowers) and we’ve had good results though it’s a bit of a hassle and can require multiple uses as results usually last for around 2 weeks.
  4. Tick dips– lasts for longer than shampoos and should not be rinsed off (Sentry is a popular choice)
  5. Tick collars– more preventative than a treatment, but helpful!

Which method have you found most useful? Hopefully we’ll be flea free very soon and all our dogs will be back to distract us from working…

dog working
Our pooches are a major part of the work force here!

The Perfect Homemade biscuit (Yum)

Nothing shows love like slaving away in the kitchen for a few hours… right? We decided to shower our pooch with love (or at least are planning on doing so this weekend) and we are on the hunt for the best biscuit recipe!

Here is the list we have so far… let us know your favorites!

1. Peanut Butter, Banana and Parsley Biscuits from Margaritas in the Rain

Margaritas in the Rain

2. Cheddar and Blueberry Biscuits from Live. Laugh. Cook. Live. Love. Cook.

3. Peanut Butter Bacon Dog Treats from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Sally’s Baking Addiction 2

4. Mint Buckwheat Dog Biscuits from Lola the Pitty

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The Perfect Winter Wardrobe

We admit it. We love to dress our pets. And while there is no doubt this is a fashion statement, it can also be necessary. In the winter we feel our pooches need some extra care and protection. So we have put together our wish list items for Winter 2015.

  • No winter outfit is complete without a pair (or 4) of boots. We are loving the waterproof boots from Ruff WearThis collar from
  • Beast + Babe adds a pop of color to combat winter blues
  • We love the Camp Reversible Coat from Billy wolf is not only reversible but also water repellent (and made in Brooklyn!)
  • There is no doubt we will be the coolest dog on the block with this hat
  • And of course at the end of a long winter day we all deserve a nice bed to curl up in, and this one from Jax & Bones looks extra comfy!

We love to buy local products (and you can see from some of the designers in the list) , do you know of any others we should look out for?

A walk in the woods

 

164CED34-93BA-4D71-866B-261FAEEA65A5Yesterday we went for a picnic and came across this guy.

Black and White Sunday Blog Hop

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

 

 

10 Home remedies to perk up your pup

Colds, Flu’s, general winter blues got your pooch down? Before you run to the vet try these simple homemade remedies!

  1. Vitamin E- is great for your dogs skin. Apply directly to the skin by a doggie massage, or a soaking bath. If you want to give it orally talk to your vet about the proper dosage!
  2. Use citrus power to get rid of fleas- fleas hate citrus, so sprinkle your pet with a small amount of fresh squeezed orange or lemon juice
  3. Also sprinkle Borax powder on your floor when you dog has fleas and that will help by deteriorating the insects’ exoskeletons.
  4. Get rid of ticks and get a walking odor distributor- by dabbing some Rose geranium essential oil to your pooches collar
  5. Chamomile tea is great for itchy skin- make some tea let it cool and put it in a spray bottle and use as needed
  6. For a more serious itch make an oatmeal rub- mix oatmeal with water rub on to the itchy areas and leave for 10 minutes
  7. Upset tummy- give your dog some plain yogurt, the live cultures will ease it quickly
  8. For diarrhea- try mixing some pumpkin puree with your dogs food
  9. Alleviate bad breath with pupsciles- mix carrot, lime juice and fresh mint freeze and serve as a treat
  10. Does your pet get carsick? Grate ginger and mix with peanut butter as a snack before getting in the car

 

Have you used any kind of home remedies in the past? How long do you wait before turning to conventional medication?


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Haciko Debate: Raw food diet

We all know the age old saying of we are what we eat. One of the main decision us dog parents need to make is around what type of diet we want our pet to eat.

Dry food, wet food, raw food, commercial, locally made, homemade.

The choices can be overwhelming. And one of the hottest issues seems to be around raw diets. We wanted to take a deeper look at conversation and understand a little bit more what the advocate and critics say.

The raw food for dog movement started in Austalia in 1993 by vet Ian Billinghurst promoted “BARF” diet, which stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food, which was essentially Bones and Raw Food, and is according to Dr. Billinghurst a more natural diet in line with what dogs would eat in the wild. Critics have pointed out that 1. Dogs live much shorter lives in the wild, so this is not necessarily a strong selling point, and 2. That a lot of the breeds we raise at home are very different to wild dogs.

The FDA and ASPCA  have weighed in, backing the critics in saying that there are great health risks in raw food diets. Specially in a 2010 Pet food study the FDA testing 193 commercial raw food and found that 15 were positive for Salmonella and 32 were positive for L. monocytogenes.

However let’s look at the pro’s and con’s to the raw food diet:

Pro’s:

  • Safety– there have been numerous pet food recalls and by preparing your dog’s meals you know exactly what you are feeding them
  • Nutritional benfits– you control exactly what you dog eats (and can tailor food based on allergies or sensitives). Commercial dog food also contains preservatives which you can eliminate from your dog’s diet
  • Health benefits– Everything from better dental health, to shiner coats, and higher energy levels. Some even say this is an outlet for chewing tendencies and can lead to overall better behavior.

Con’s:

  • Safety concerns– raw food is known to contain a number of pathogens (such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Clostridium perfringens, Clostridium botulinium, and Staphylococcus aureus). These pathogens usually only pose a serious human risk to the immuno-compromised, the elderly, and young children; however, this is a very important consideration if you are feeding a raw diet and have people in these risk groups living in your home.
  • Nutrition and health- Nutrient deficiency is a big concern on homemade raw diets. It’s hard to and time consuming to adequately balance a diet. Furthermore there are health risks from the food itself, eating bones has been known to hurt dogs and is a major concern.
  • Commitment– raw diets can be both very expensive and time consuming.

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Separation Anxiety- How to identify and treat it

 

When speaking with dog parents a common concern seems to come up- seperation anxiety. Separation anxiety can range from a mild problem, to a severe one, to a an extreme level more akin to separation panic. But don’t worry- there are ways to help alleviate this fear.

How to identify separation anxiety

A pup chewing your rug can also come from boredom, so how can you tell when you are looking at separation anxiety? According to most experts there are a few tell tale signs:

  • As you are getting ready to leave does your dog start to get depressed
  • When you walk out the door your dog will go into a slight panic- barking, scratching the door
  • Overly joyful when you get home (to the point of hysteria)
  • Read more about signs and symptoms here

At the end of the day you know your pet best, so trust your instincts here.

What to do

There are ways to alleviate separation anxiety.

  • No big goodbyes- try to avoid contact with your pet before you leave, the goodbyes are more for you, and if you make it a big deal they will see it that way
  • No big hello’s- same as goodbyes, when you get home ignore your dog for a few minutes, don’t immediately jump and pet them
  • Get them used to it- start by leaving for 5 minutes, then 20 and then a whole day
  • Leave a something of yours behind- a shirt you slept in, or anything that smells like you
  • Feed them right before you leave and they will associate you leaving with something positive
  • Take long walks before you leave- tired them and they can spend the time away from you contently napping
  • Some people prefer to crate their pooch to give them a sense of security

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How to: choose a doggie daycare

A few posts ago we looked at how to choose the best pet sitter for your dog, and today we are looking at it from a different angle- Doggie Daycare.

Doggie daycare is a helpful tool for dog parents while traveling, but it’s also a great option for those days when you are working long hours and don’t want to leave your pup alone all day.

If your pet suffers from separation anxiety, or tends to get destructive when you are gone this option can be a life saver.

Here are things to keep in mind and questions to ask to help you find the best facility:

  1. Visit the facility- check it out, and poke around and see how the rest of the dogs seem
  2. Ask for a trial run- leaving your dog there for half a day will tell you alot about if its a good fit for him, and how he is treated
  3. How are they prepared for emergencies- anything from fires, floods to burglary should be addressed
  4. Do they ask for proof of latest vaccines?
  5. What tests does the daycare conduct to see if your dog will be accepted
  6. How do they organize dogs? Size? Play style?
  7. What is the schedule of a typical day?
  8. How do they handle bad behavior?
  9. What training has the staff gone through
  10. What is the ratio of staff to dogs
  11. What is the procedure if your pooch has a medical emergency? Do they contact your vet or do they use their own?
  12. How do they communicate/ report to you? Daily report cards?

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Hachiko Debate: Diet VS Slentrol

We’ve all been know to pack on the pounds, and our pooches are no exception. In fact according to the Banfield state of pet health report from 2013 1 out of 4 pets in the US are obese.

Diet and Exercise:

When faced with a puggy pup your first response should be around diet and exercise. Unsurprisingly the number one cause of obesity is… overeating. You may measure your pet’s food scientifically, but treats, off the table nibbles will rack up the calories. Start here by reducing your pet’s food consumption by 25%, cutting out the treats, and give them raw veggies instead (broccoli, green beans and carrots seem to be a hit).

Also not all dog food is created equal so check out a list of alternatives or switch to a high fiber dog food. And in general when picking dog food look at the ingredients! Aim for food that is high in protein and low in fat and carbs.

Don’t underestimate the power of more exercise, take longer walks, incorporate sprints, walk up and down stairs and play multiple rounds of fetch.

 

Slentrol- the “magic pill”:

When all else fails there is the only FDA approved doggie diet pill. Slentrol suppresses appetite, and slows the transfer of dietary fat to the bloodstream, and according to reports it works. You pooch can lose up to 0.7% of their body weight in a week.

However this is not a long term fix. Since the pill lowers your dogs cholesterol it can have adverse effects such as depression, anxiety, aggression, vomiting and diarrhea.

Have you used slentrol? Tell us about your experiences!

Baby it’s cold outside… the perfect time to try these great indoor exercises!

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Yes it may be freezing outside, but pooches still need their exercise! While some dogs enjoy a good romp in the snow we have put together a list of the fun exercises you can do from the toasty indoors.

  • Dog Aerobics- work out with Leroy’s Fit Pit
  • Musical canine freestyle- what started as a new method of do training has turned into a professional sport- check out examples here (we also found this crazy example crazy poodle woman workout)!
  • Create your own indoor dogstacle course- use chairs, tables, boxes, mops, hula hoops and whatever else you can find. Run through the course with your pup to get your daily exercise as well!
  • Doga- sign up for some Dog Yoga classes, or check out online instructional videos
  • Have stairs? Use ‘em- run up and down the stairs a few times. Guaranteed to wipe you both out.
  • A cheap laser pointer = hours of entertainment- shine it around and watch your dog chase after it (don’t shine it in your pooches eyes!)
  • Indoor versions of outdoor games- play fetch, keep away, tug of war and more. Just maybe don’t play around breakables…
  • Use a treadmill- there are ones designed especially for dogs (such as DogTread), but you can use a human one, just take the proper precautions.
  • Play shaping games– for a little mental stimulation
  • All about the nose- hide treats around the house and watch your pup sniff them out

We also love making our pooches work for their treats- these toys are great: Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball, PetSafe Busy Buddy Tug-A-Jug Meal Dispensing Dog Toy, Nina Ottosson DogCasino Interactive game

Check out more exercise suggestions:

Indoor exercises for you and your pet 

Ways to exercise your dog indoors

6 Winter Exercise Tips for Your Dog

Rain or Shine: 10 Ways to Engage Your Dog Indoors

How to exercise your dog indoors