Monday, May 31, 2010

How to Housebreak Your Dog without Losing Your Sanity

This is the second half of an outstanding two part article/series on housebreaking a dog of any age from the wonderful folks over at Mercola Healthy Pets. Follow the advice to help in your housebreaking trials. You can follow Dr Karen Becker in the video and/or the article as she discusses crate training, positive reinforcement, and fine-tuning for dogs with special needs. Feel free to add any advice you might have or agree with by leaving a comment.

As I mentioned in part 1, Four Proven Principles of Housebreaking a Dog of Any Age, of this two-part series, there are three keys to successful housebreaking, and they’re so important I want to repeat them here:

* Consistency
* Positive reinforcement
* Patience

As I also mentioned last week, the first principle of house training is to never leave your dog unoccupied – not even for a minute. For most of you, that is easier said than done. That’s why I recommend crate training.

I’m a big fan of crate training and recommend it to all my dog owner clients at my animal hospital – especially those who need to housebreak their pup.

Whether your pooch is a puppy or a senior, a new member of your pack or an old hand, providing him with his very own cozy space has a number of advantages for both of you. This goes double if your dog isn’t yet potty trained.

The Beauty of Crates

Why is a crate a good idea for you and your dog?

A crate allows you to work with your pup’s natural desire to be a den dweller. Dogs in the wild seek out small, dark, safe spots to inhabit.

If you bring a new puppy into your home and you don’t have a crate ready for her, she will try to locate a spot – under a table or chair or even behind the toilet in the bathroom – which answers her need for a secure, out-of-the-way “den” of her own.

If you were to leave her in her makeshift den, you’d soon notice she would not relieve herself there. That’s because dogs are programmed by nature not to soil their dens.

In the wild, nursing wolves and coyotes teach their pups to relieve themselves outside their dens. This keeps predators from investigating inside their little homes, and keeps messes outside the sleeping area.

And that is exactly why crates are so useful for un-housebroken dogs. A dog with her own made-to-order den will not want to soil it, so by purchasing a crate for her, you work in harmony with your pup’s natural instinct to keep her little space clean.

As long as your dog is getting consistent and frequent trips outside to relieve herself, nature will prompt her not to soil her den space in between potty trips.

You’re halfway to the housebreaking finish line if your dog is not soiling her crate, but instead is waiting to be taken outside. The bonus, of course, is that she’s also not making a mess on your floor.

Purchasing a Crate

Crate size is important. You want a space that is not too small, but not too big.

Your dog should be able to stand up, lie down and turn around in his crate. It should be large enough for him to move around in comfortably, but not so large that he can easily use one end as his bathroom and the other end for sleeping and snacking. A crate that large can actually slow down the housebreaking process.

If you’re unsure what size crate you need, talk to a store employee about the size of your dog and what you want to accomplish, and he or she should be able to help you pick the right size enclosure.

You can also talk to a breeder, veterinarian or other knowledgeable source about what size crate to buy.

If you’re crate training a puppy, especially a medium to large breed dog, keep in mind you’ll most likely need to graduate to a bigger crate as your pup matures.

Getting Your Dog Used to His Crate

The first rule of crate training: never force your dog into a crate.

Remember Meredith from part 1? She’s the 10 year-old, un-housebroken stray girl I rescued by the side of the road on my way to work recently.

We actually kennel trained Meredith because her home, for now, is Natural Pet (my clinic) and the clinic is outfitted with kennels, not crates. We started out by feeding Meredith in her kennel to associate a positive experience (food) with her new safe place.

You never want to introduce a crate, shove your confused pup into it, close the door and leave him. That’s how you wind up with a dog with a raging case of separation anxiety and/or a pathological aversion to enclosed or small spaces.

At my house, we never pull a dog out of his crate, either. The crate represents a safe zone for your dog, so you never want to make his safe zone feel unsafe to him by forcing him into it or out of it.

The second rule of crate training: it’s all good.

In other words, everything about the crate must be a good thing from your dog’s perspective. Treats go in the crate. So do chew toys, raw bones, and very special indulgences like maybe a Clever K-9 filled with almond butter or chicken strips.

The goal is to have your dog voluntarily enter his crate – and sooner rather than later.

What I do at home is drape a blanket over the back half of my dogs’ crates to create a quiet, dark (den-like) environment. My dogs use their crates as bedrooms – they go into them to sleep.

If your pup has had no bad experiences with a crate and you create a safe, dark little den for him inside, he might just go right in voluntarily as soon as you present his new space to him. If so, that’s excellent!

Even if your dog takes to his crate right away, you still want to stick with the “it’s all good” rule and put treats, toys and other goodies in there for encouragement.

Overcoming Hate for the Crate

If your dog is nervous about his new little space or has an actual aversion to a crate due to a bad past experience, you’ll have to take it a bit slower.

A dog that has experienced a crate as a form of punishment or has been locked up for inappropriately long periods must be gently and patiently reconditioned to view his crate as a good thing.

Obviously you want your pup in there comfortably -- with the door closed -- as soon as possible in order to successfully housebreak him. But until he gets the “it’s all good” message about his crate, you’ll need to be extra vigilant about getting him outside to potty at frequent, regular intervals.

Make sure to leave the door to the crate open for a nervous puppy or dog. Put food rewards around the outside of the crate and inside as well so your pup can get comfortable going in and out of his crate without worry about being trapped inside.

Move his food and water bowls closer to his crate to further associate good things with the crate.

In Meredith’s case, once she understood the door to her kennel remained open whether she was inside or not, she got comfortable going in and coming out on her own. Soon, she chose to go in, lie down and rest awhile before coming back out.

Because we fed her inside her kennel with the door standing open, she quickly developed the habit of running excitedly to her kennel as soon as she saw her meals being prepared.

Once you sense your dog is comfortable inside his crate at mealtime, try closing the door as soon as he starts to eat. Do it nonchalantly, without fanfare. Praise him in low tones and then get busy with something.

Chances are he’ll finish his meal and then realize the door is closed and he’s not free to leave his crate. Meantime, you’re going about your business as though nothing is different.

Your pup may look at you with an expectant or confused expression as if to say, “Um, hello? The door’s closed. I can’t get out.”

You don’t need to ignore him completely, but you should keep to your own business and stay very, very calm as though there’s nothing out of the ordinary going on. Your dog may whine or cry a bit, but he should pretty quickly decide to lie down.

I recommend when you first start closing the crate door that you close it only for short periods of time. You’ll also want to leave an interactive toy or treat inside the crate – to keep your pup pacified.

After a few minutes, when your dog has relaxed inside the crate and seems to be saying “Okay, I’ll just hang out in here awhile,” that’s your signal the crate has gone from a bad thing to a neutral experience for your dog. Open the door and allow him the freedom once again to come and go.

Once your dog is associating only good things with his crate and feels comfortable inside it, you can close the door for longer periods of time. Don’t try leaving your house for short periods until he’s completely comfortable with the crate while you’re home.

Establishing Verbal Cues

Back at Natural Pet, little Meredith, true to her den-dwelling canine nature, absolutely would not pee or poop in her kennel, so we expanded her territory by baby-gating her in my office. Since my office then represented a larger “den” of sorts, Meredith also refused to relieve herself in there.

When I arrive at the clinic in the morning, the first thing I do is put Meredith on a leash, grab some treats, and take her outside to relieve herself.

I bring her to a specific spot each time and I give her about five minutes to do her business. That’s usually enough time for her to sniff around and decide to go.

Now, if you take your un-housebroken dog to her spot and she just looks at you … and you look back at her … and she keeps looking at you as if she’s wondering why you’re standing there looking at her, it’s a good sign she’s not going to do her business this trip.

What you want to do in this case is bring her right back to her crate (or room) and close the door. You’ve got a pup with a full bladder and full intestines and you don’t want her loose in your house. That’s a set up for her to fail, and the goal of housebreaking is successes, not failures.

In a half hour or so, grab the treats, take her back outside to her spot and let her try again. You shouldn’t have to repeat this more than once before your pup really needs to go and will, but be prepared just in case to go back and forth from the crate to the potty spot a few times.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming if she doesn’t relieve herself when you take her out the first time that she doesn’t need to go. Sure she does – especially first thing in the morning. She should either be in her crate or outside in her potty spot until she has done her morning business.

In the beginning, Meredith really didn’t know what she was doing standing outside. She’d sniff the ground, check out the leaves blowing around, and eventually she’d just squat. She didn’t realize that’s exactly what I wanted her to do, so I had to reinforce – mark -- her behavior with a verbal command.

The minute Meredith started to urinate I’d say “go potty.” That’s how I marked the behavior I desired. The goal is to associate in your dog’s mind the verbal cue “go potty” with the act of relieving herself. “Go poo” is her command to defecate. You might try another phrase that pays like "do your business" or "get busy". Whatever works!

Eventually, you’ll be able to take your dog to a spot – ideally any spot of your choosing whether at home or elsewhere – and give the verbal cue you've chosen and as if by magic, she will!

Reinforcing Positive Behavior

It’s easy to get overly excited when your pup potties outside right where you want him to, but you want to make sure not to get so excited that you scare him while he’s in the act, causing him to stop doing the thing you’re praising him for. Make sure your “go potty” verbal command is said in a low, reassuring tone.

Within three seconds of your pup finishing his business, you must give him a treat and say “good job.” Give him a couple more treats and continue to praise him before you go back inside.

Don’t wait until you’re back indoors to give your dog his treat. What will happen in his little doggy brain is he’ll associate the food reward with coming back indoors rather than with relieving himself outside. You’ll soon feel like you’re being tricked to let your dog outside, only to see her beg to come back in to receive a reward.

That’s why it’s critically important that you remember the treats when you take him outside, and then reward him within three seconds after he completes the desired behavior.

For those of you with fenced backyards …

If you happen to have the luxury of a fenced backyard and don’t care what part of the yard your dog uses as a potty, you can simply let him out on his own to relieve himself. However, I don’t recommend you do this at the beginning.

Number one, you won’t know whether or not he’s done his business unless you watch him every second he’s outside. Number two, it’s impossible to establish a verbal “go potty” cue if you’re inside and he’s outside. And finally, you can’t give him a food reward within three seconds if you’re in different places.

Some individual dogs and certain breeds just seem to understand from a very young age to do their business outside the house. Those pups tend to be the exceptions and not the rule, however.

Your dog may or may not become completely house trained if you let him out into the yard by himself or install a doggy door before he understands the verbal cue and food reward systems.

A Final Word about Meredith

I’m delighted to tell you Meredith is now successfully housebroken, thank goodness!

She does have a small “special problem” though. Meredith is inclined to forget her manners when a female dog in heat is at the clinic. For some reason the presence of intact, in heat dogs at “her” clinic causes Meredith to mark her territory.

So these days, when we have an in-heat female scheduled for an appointment, we put Meredith in her “hot pants.” These are little denim underwear with Velcro fasteners that cover her genitals.

Meredith’s hot pants are not only a fashion statement – they’re another tool we use in harmony with her natural canine instinct not to soil herself. With her genitals covered, Meredith is able to control her urge to mark so as not to urinate on herself. If you have a male dog that is inclined to mark, try a “belly band” to reduce this behavior in the house…just don’t forget to take it off when he goes outside!

Hopefully you’ll find these tips helpful if you need to house train not only an adult dog -- perhaps from a shelter or rescue organization or even a stray like Meredith -- but a dog of any age that joins your family

"How to Housebreak Your Dog without Losing Your Sanity." Mercola Healthy Pets - Dr. Karen Becker. Published 05-19-2010 12:00 AM. {}

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Four Proven Principles of Housebreaking a Dog of Any Age

The wonderful folks over at Mercola Healthy Pets have an outstanding two part article/series on housebreaking a dog of any age. Follow the advice to help in your housebreaking trials. You can follow Dr Karen Becker in the video and/or the article.

Up to 25 percent of dogs relinquished to animal shelters by their owners end up there due to housebreaking problems. The same statistic applies to dogs seen by veterinarians -- 25 percent of behavior-related visits to vets concern toileting.

It’s clear from these numbers that:

1. Housebreaking is a hot issue for dog parents.
2. Successful house training could save the lives of millions of dogs each year.

I think one of the main reasons attempts to potty train fail is because pet owners tend to look at their dogs as four-legged humans, and if a human in your household were to use the floor instead of a bathroom to relieve himself, it would be quite upsetting.

But dogs are not people, and when you get very upset with a dog that has done her outside business indoors, your tone and the actions you take to show your disapproval often have the opposite outcome of the one you intended.

Your pup has done something natural for her by relieving herself when the urge struck. You have reacted in a way that’s natural for you, which is to be offended that a furry family member has just made a stinky mess on your carpet, tile or hardwood floor.

So what’s the solution? Read on.

A Personal Story

I decided to talk about house training today because of a recent personal experience I had with an adult dog that was not housebroken.

I was driving to work about six months ago and thought I saw a fox off to the side of the road in a ditch. I pulled over to take a closer look and realized the fox was actually a small, fuzzy dog that was up in years – she looked to be about 10. I spent the next half hour trying to catch her because she was one very frightened pup.

When I got her to Natural Pet, my animal clinic, we checked her over thoroughly. The poor girl was a mess. She had mange. She had bad hips, bad eyesight, and her nails were grown into the pads of her little feet. It was obvious she’d been homeless for quite some time.

But we fixed her all up, got rid of the parasites causing the mange, and “Meredith” started hanging out with us at the clinic.

We all like Meredith very much – she’s a lovely girl. But we quickly realized Meredith was not housebroken. And I’m not talking about a temporary lapse in memory or a reaction to unfamiliar surroundings. Meredith had not the first clue about the proper place to potty.

Sadly, I’m not sure Meredith has ever been inside a house or even a warm enclosure. She had no idea that relieving herself on the floor at my feet was not a good thing.

Worse still is we quickly realized Meredith had been abused. The minute anyone raised a voice to say, “Oh, no, honey! No!” when she squatted right in front of us to piddle, she’d flatten herself on the floor and cower in her own urine.

We soon realized we had our work cut out for us in house training Meredith. And it occurred to me that if I was facing the challenge of potty training a 10 year-old dog, there are some of you who are surely confronting the same dilemma with a rescue, shelter or other homeless pup.

The following housebreaking principles can be applied to puppies and young dogs as well as adults.

Principles of Housebreaking a Dog

First, I want you to know that you can housebreak a dog at any age.

Instilling good potty habits from the start in a puppy is much easier than re-training an adult dog, but if your furry friend is older, do not despair.

There are three things that will ensure your success as you take on your housebreaking challenge, and I can’t stress the importance of them enough:

* Consistency
* Positive reinforcement
* Patience

Housebreaking Principle #1: Never leave your un-housebroken dog unattended.

Not even for a minute. If you aren’t actively engaged with your dog, having her in the same room doesn’t count.

For example – we put Meredith behind the counter in the reception area, in a confined space, with from one to four people right there with her at all times. But no one was actively focusing on Meredith, and she relieved herself right there behind the counter.

We allowed Meredith to fail. We had her with us. We were trying to watch her. But because we were busy with other things and no one was actively engaged with her, she urinated on the floor. That wasn’t Meredith’s failure, it was ours.

What should we have done, since we couldn’t realistically engage with her every minute she was with us? We should have used a crate.

Some dog parents believe crates are a bad thing. Not true! The fact is a crate is actually a very natural, normal habitat for a dog, as long as your pup doesn’t associate it with punishment.

Dogs are den dwellers by nature. Under normal circumstances, they enjoy and will seek out small, safe, warm “bedrooms” in which to rest. If you provide your pup with his own little den (crate), and there’s nothing forceful or punishing about his association with it, he’ll make it his own.

I’ll discuss more about crate training in part 2 of this series next week.

If you’re dead set against crate-training your un-housebroken dog, then your only other option is to tether your pup to you so that no matter where you go, she’s right there with you.

The way to do this is to put a clip on the leash, put the leash on your dog, and clip it to your clothing or belt. The leash should be no longer than four feet.

Obviously, this arrangement won’t be practical for many of you. It wasn’t for us at Natural Pet while we were housebreaking Meredith, so we opted for crate training.

Housebreaking Principle #2: Feed your dog on a schedule.

If you leave a bowl of food available at all times for your un-housebroken dog to nibble at, nibble he will. He’ll nibble all day and he’ll poop all day as well, and it will be next to impossible for you to figure out the best time to take him to do his business.

I don’t recommend the all-day-buffet method of feeding pets under any circumstances, but it’s an especially bad idea with a dog that isn’t housebroken.

At Natural Pet we feed Meredith twice a day, in the morning and again in the evening. An hour after her breakfast and an hour after her dinner we know Meredith will need to relieve herself, so someone is always available and prepared to take her outside at those times.

Feeding your dog on a schedule makes elimination more predictable and allows you to exercise more control over the situation. And the more opportunities you give your pup to succeed by relieving himself outside, the faster he’ll be housebroken.

Housebreaking Principle #3: Reward your dog for good behavior.

In order to successfully potty train your dog it’s crucial that you reward her for good behavior.

Since your pup isn’t fluent in English, it’s important to praise her in ways a canine understands. She can pick up cues from the tone of your voice, for example saying things like “That’s a good girl, that’s really good,” in a quiet but loving tone.

Almost all dogs speak the language of food, so treats are also a good reward during the housebreaking process.

When your dog eliminates in the right spot outside, praise her with words and give her a treat within three seconds of the behavior. Remember that consistency is crucial, so make sure you have treats with you to reward her within three seconds every time she goes in the right spot.

After a short time, she’ll recognize that she makes you happy when she eliminates outdoors, and in return she receives a reward. You want to reinforce that good behavior every time it happens, and there’s no better reward in the beginning than those food treats.

Once your dog is fully housetrained, you can reduce and eventually eliminate the food treats and offer only verbal praise for her good toilet habits.

Housebreaking Principle #4: Don’t punish your dog for mistakes.

This can be the most difficult principle to follow, but I can’t stress its importance enough.

Yes, it’s frustrating, disappointing and maddening when a four-legged family member just doesn’t seem to want to cooperate with the housetraining program. But in order to successfully housebreak your pup, you must avoid punishment of any kind when he makes a mistake. And he will.

I don’t know where a “technique” such as rubbing a dog’s nose in his excrement originated, but it’s inappropriate, unhealthy, and not helpful in the least.

If I miss a cue from Meredith, or she doesn’t give me one and I haven’t been proactive in attending to her and she makes a mess on the floor, it’s my fault, not hers. If I yell at her or use a reprimanding tone, all I’m teaching her is to fear me. She knows I’m upset at her. She doesn’t know why. She’s confused, but mostly she’s scared.

From your dog’s perspective, you’re the center of the universe – his loving and kind pack leader. Except every once in awhile, unpredictably, you turn into a scary, screaming lunatic.

He may realize the “scary you” comes out coincidentally with a mess on the floor, but he does not connect his elimination behavior to your anger, especially if he made the mess several minutes or hours ago.

Even if you catch your pup in the act of relieving himself indoors, anger or force are inappropriate reactions. What can happen in that case is your pup will connect you seeing him eliminate with your anger, and he may just get sneaky about it.

In short, you cannot punish or frighten a dog into appropriate behavior.

The important thing to remember is by the time your dog is relieving himself on your floor, your opportunity for a successful toileting adventure outside has passed. All you can do is clean the mess, review what you could have done differently to avoid it, and rededicate yourself to the housebreaking process. You will succeed!

Stay consistent.

Stay positive.

Stay patient.

And stay tuned next week for the second half of this two part series. I’ll be talking more about the finer points of crate training and I’ll also offer some special tips and tricks to help with difficult or unusual housebreaking challenges.

Part two of this article series can be read here: How to Housebreak Your Dog without Losing Your Sanity

"Four Proven Principles of Housebreaking a Dog of Any Age." Mercola Healthy Pets - Dr. Karen Becker. Published 05-12-2010 12:00 AM {}.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Training Your Labrador Puppy - Crate and Bite Training

Here are some great tips on bite training and crate training your Labrador Retriever from Susana Labradors.

In this video you will learn:

Labrador Retriever puppy biting - when they do bite, grab them by their lower jaw and press on their tongue with your thumb. They will learn that hands to mouth is very uncomfortable.

The best way to train your Labrador Retriever - let them follow you around.

Potty training your Labrador puppy using a crate.

Crate choices - plastic or wire, different uses. Providing comfort in the crate.

Susana Labradors is a top-flight California Labrador breeder with gorgeous Labrador puppies for sale. Each one of their Home raised Lab puppies is from their own Lines.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Dogs Summer Survival Guide Broadcast

The Dog Days of Summer are here and hotter than ever. In this one hour radio show broadcast, titled Summer Survival Guide, you'll learn how to recognize heatstroke in your dogs, and when to take your dog to the vet. Learn about activities that you can do with your dog when it's freakin' hot. It's everything you need to know to survive summer.

The Summer Survival guide is hosted by The Lucky Dog Show.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

FDA Warns Dog Owners: Some Bones can be Harmful

We had a post earlier this month in regards to The United States Food and Drug Administration warning consumers that giving their dogs bones to chew is a dangerous practice that can cause serious injury to pets. You can read that post by visiting: FDA Says Bones Unsafe For Dogs.

The follow video also warns dog owners that some bones can be very harmful to your dog.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

FREE Wyson Epigen Pet Food sample

Wysong is offering a free sample of their brand new product Wysong Epigen for cats and dogs.

Information from Wysong: Wysong Epigen™ represents the first important kibble pet food innovation in almost 60 years (patent pending) and moves conventional dry extruded pet foods much closer to the high protein meat-based, starchless foods carnivores are genetically designed for. With that, they are given greater opportunity to enjoy their full natural health. Epigen™ is equally appropriate for both cats and dogs.

How can a diet be equally suitable for both cats and dogs?

Are the prey animals consumed by wild cats and dogs notably different? Then why believe that a pet food need be formulated for a specific species, or that one food could not be equally suitable for both cats and dogs?

The fact is pet foods have been designated species-specific because of different regulatory nutritional requirements (minimums), and frankly, because it's more marketable. People want to believe that what they are feeding has been specifically formulated for their animal.

Epigen™ has been designed to mimic, as much as possible, the foods canines and felines consume in the wild. Because wild canine and felines consume much the same foods, and Epigen™ is formulated to emulate these foods, it is equally suitable for cats and dogs.

Further, Epigen™ exceeds all regulatory nutritional minimums for both cats and dogs of all life stages.

I do have a couple of things that I am curious about with their pet food:

It a very high protein percentage - 60%

Starch Free kibble - I thought wheat, rice, potato and corn were starches, but it may have something to do with them being proteins that they are not counted as starches (maybe the literature they send will provide further information).

Anyway.. if you would like to request a FREE sample of Wyson Epigen Pet Food, literature and when Epigen launches, just fill out the request form on their website. Make sure you read through the "More Info" and "FAQ's" links.

If anyone knows any further information on Wyson Epigen, please don't hesitate to share with us. If anyone has furhter questions in regards to their Epigen pet food please comment or send me an e-mail. I will get them all together and send off an e-mail to their company.

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Harnessing the power of your Dog's Nose

Another wonderful video from Stephanie Colman of Caninestein Dog Training. Stephanie always provides sound advice on basic-advanced obedience, problem-solving and so much more!

If you've missed any of her videos, do yourself a favor and search through All About Labradors to find them, you just might learn a new trick or tip.

In this next video, Stephanie teaches us that harnessing the power of your dog's nose has benefits for him and for you.

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Thursday, May 06, 2010

FDA Says Bones Unsafe For Dogs

FDA Says Bones Unsafe For Dogs
Silver Spring, Maryland

The United States Food and Drug Administration has warned consumers that giving their dogs bones to chew is a dangerous practice that can cause serious injury to pets.

The FDA warns that giving your dog a bone to chew can cause broken teeth; mouth or tongue injuries; blockage in the esophagus, windpipe, intestines or stomach; constipation due to bone fragments; bleeding from the rectum as the dog tries to pass fragments; and peritonitis. Peritonitis is a sometimes fatal and difficult-to-treat bacterial infection of the abdomen which is caused when bone fragments spike holes in the stomach or intestine.

"Some people think it's safe to give dogs large bones, like those from a ham or a roast," says Carmela Stamper, D.V.M., a veterinarian in the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the Food and Drug Administration. "Bones are unsafe no matter what their size. Giving your dog a bone may make your pet a candidate for a trip to your veterinarian's office later, possible emergency surgery, or even death. Make sure you throw out bones from your own meals in a way that your dog can't get to them. And pay attention to where your dog's nose is when you walk him around the neighborhood - steer him away from any objects lying in the grass."

Stamper recommends that you chat to your veterinarian about alternatives to giving bones to your dog. "There are many bone-like products made with materials that are safe for dogs to chew on. Always supervise your dog with any chew product, especially one your dog hasn't had before."

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Monday, May 03, 2010

Wild Mushrooms Can Poison Dogs

April showers bring more than flowers -- they bring wild mushrooms, too. Some of these wild mushrooms are poisonous to our Labrador Retrievers.

Just something to watch for in your yard and along your walks with your Labrador Retriever. Remember, many Labrador Retrievers are not too picky about what they eat (I know mine aren't) and by them eating a wild mushroom, it can lead to serious poisoning. There are at least several reported cases each year, with occasional fatalities.

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