How To Prepare Your Dog For A Kennel Stay

How To Prepare Your Dog For A Kennel Stay

Having to stay at a kennel can be traumatic for a dog. The environment is often loud and full of strange people and dogs. They are not in a comfortable room, lounging on a sofa like they are used to doing at home. For you, there’s the worry your dog will be safe and happy or the trouble they may cause. Whether you are preparing for a week-long stay or just a weekend, there are things you can do to prepare your dog for a stay that is safe and pleasant.

Preparing Him to Be Left

If you are home most of the day, then chances are your dog is not used to be left alone for longer than a couple hours. For these dogs, a kennel stay can be very traumatic not just because of the environment, but because you don’t return quickly. So for starters, you need to begin leaving your dog for longer and longer periods of time so they get used to you not being around. If you work all day, your dog is already used to this routine and he won’t be as upset.

If your dog shows signs of separation anxiety – it’s time to work with a professional dog trainer.

Crate Training

Since almost every type of kennel facility will put your dog in some type of crate or run during part of his stay, crate training can help them be comfortable in a confined space. For this work, you will need to start the training a least a couple months before you plan to leave them.

Trial Run

If the kennel you are using also offers daycare, it’s a great idea to leave your dog there a couple times just for the day. This allows him to get used to the people, dogs and smells. It also lets you know whether or not your dog is going to be able to handle it. Not all dogs are suitable for these types of kennels. Better to find out during a trial when you can go pick him up, than when he is stuck there for a week and you are away on vacation. If they don’t offer daycare, have your dog spend a night or two to help him get used to it. Again, better when you are around to pick him up if the need arises.

These tips will also help with a dog that has to go to a groomers and be left in a kennel until it’s their turn, or even a stay at the veterinarian’s office.

Keep Him Healthy

While the kennel should require it, make sure your dog is up-to-date on vaccines he may not normally get, such as bordetella. This is a vaccine that dogs do not always get because if they are not in contact with other dogs, they probably are not in danger of getting sick. However, at a kennel there will be many other dogs. In addition, stress and the large amount of activity in the play area can cause their immune system to get run down, making them more susceptible. A dose of flea control is also a good idea.

Check out the kennel before booking and make sure it’s clean and that proper disinfectant is being used. Nothing worse than getting your dog back and he has an illness or fleas.

Doing these simple things can really make a difference in how enjoyable of a stay your dog has at the kennel. Not to mention keeping him out of trouble so that he is welcome back the next time you are

going on vacation. If it turns out your dog is not suitable for a kennel atmosphere, your next option is a pet sitter. Check out this article on how to pick a good pet sitter for your dog. (link to our other article).

The Basics of How Your Dog Digests Food

The Basics of How Your Dog Digests Food

Ever wondered if your dog digests his food in the same way you do? Interestingly, dogs have the shortest system of any mammals. It takes around 9 hours for the whole process (depending on age, health and size of dog). Puppies take even less time. Knowing a bit about how your dog’s digestion process works can help you tell if something is amiss. So here are the basic facts about how your dog digests his food every day.

Step 1: Mouth to Esophagus

The mouth isn’t really part of the digestive system, but it’s where things start. Your dog’s salvia helps carry the food into the esophagus to get to the stomach. In the esophagus, muscles along the wall push food down towards the stomach.

Step 2: The Stomach

Next the food goes past the cardiac sphincter and into the stomach where gastric folds along the wall help grind and digest food. Hydrochloric acids and enzymes start to break down any large pieces your dog swallowed – particularly big chucks of meat or bone. This is where your dog may regurgitate if the pieces that were swallowed are too big for the stomach to handle. If you don’t stop him, your dog will just eat it back up – all part of the process and totally normal (unless he threw up a foreign object!).

Food will not be completely digested when it leaves the stomach. Instead it’s become “chyme” an acidic mixture of partly digested food and gastric juices that’s ready to move on to the…

Step 3: Small Intestine

The main part of digestion happens in the small intestine, which is roughly three times the length of your dog’s body. There are three parts to the small intestine. It is in the small intestine where the food will be broken down into its simplest form and will pass through the walls into your dog’s blood. By-products will be carried to the liver, and fat is absorbed into lymph vessels and then into the bloodstream. The small intestine has three parts:

1. The duodenum. The gallbladder (bile duct) and pancreas (pancreatic duct) are attached to this piece as well as the stomach. Enzymes and other fluids are produced by the liver and pancreas and pass through these two ducts to mix with the food and continue digestion.

2. The jejunum. Next, food goes through the second part of the small intestine which is covered with villi – small projections that add surface area so that nutrients can be absorbed as the chyme passes through.

3. Ileum. Finally, what’s left passes through this last portion and on to the…

Step 4: Large Intestine

Once at the large intestine, all that is left is waste. The large intestine’s main job is to remove access water from feces as needed. There is some fermentation of dietary fiber as well, which can cause gas. From the large intestine, waste enters the colon (which is actually part of the large intestine) and then leaves your dog’s body though the anus and rectum.

Large Breed Dogs Have Some Differences!

While all dogs have basically the same digestive system, it turns out there are some differences between small and large breed dogs. A study done by veterinary researchers in France found that in large breed dogs, the weight of the intestines is only 3 percent of their body weight. In small dogs, it’s 7 percent. This equates to less intestinal area for digestion and absorption of nutrients.

In addition they found that in large breed dogs, food stays longer in the colon, which gives more time for the bacteria in the colon to ferment food. This equates to more by-products that cause more water in the colon and ultimately more watery feces. It can also cause them to have to go more frequently than small dogs.

While it may sound relatively simple, digestion is a complex process where many things can cause problems. A key to healthy digestion is proper nutrients. We have all experienced upset stomachs when we eat too much sugar, fat or not enough protein. The same things effect our dogs. Knowing a bit about their system can also help you keep track of your dog’s health better. For example, now that you know digestion takes the average dog just 9 hours, if your dog hasn’t gone to the bathroom in 18 hours, there may be something wrong. The more you know how your dog’s body functions, the easier it will be for you to tell when something is not functioning as it should.

8 Ways to Burn off That Puppy Energy When Stuck Inside!

8 Ways to Burn off That Puppy Energy When Stuck Inside!

Bad weather is no fun, especially if it’s keeping you indoors more than you would like. But, if you own a high-energy puppy, being stuck indoors can soon become a nightmare as you try to keep your cute bundle of fur from destroying your home out of boredom. If you are fresh out of ideas, here is a list of things you can do inside that will physically wear out your puppy, stimulate their mind and keep you sane!

1. Indoor Agility

Setting up a small indoor agility course is easy and teaches your puppy body awareness while expelling energy. You don’t have to spend money on equipment, just use things around the house. Examples of things you can use:

· Chairs with broom poles placed on the leg bars or seats (depending on your dog’s height) for jumps

· A mat for a “pause” area

· Cones or boxes set up for weave poles

· Blankets over the spaces between furniture to make tunnels

2. Hide-n-seek

Chances are, you had plenty of fun on rainy days when you were a kid playing this game and now you can play it with your puppy. BONUS! This game is AWESOME for teaching your puppy to come because it makes the recall fun and exciting for them! It uses both physical and mental energy so your puppy will tire with this game as well. Put him in a stay while you run and hide, then call him to you. Your pup has to find you! Be sure to have a reward for him when he finds you, such as praise and attention. If your puppy does not have a stay yet, distract him by spreading a few pieces off kibble on the floor while you run and hide. Start out in easy places until your puppy learns the game. Have several people hiding and take turns calling him to make it more fun.

3. Training

Using their brain tires your puppy out, so doing some training can help get rid of energy too. Rainy days are great for brushing up on your training or teaching your puppy new behaviors or tricks.

4. Scent Work

Another fun game is scent work. Like hide-n-seek, scent work uses both physical and mental energy. You can use your puppy’s meals for this game, making meal time last longer, which is another bonus. Just hide the kibble around a room for your puppy to sniff out. You will have to start easy, hiding treats behind object or underneath something they can easily tip over after sniffing out the food. You can gradually build up to harder places, like under the bed or in a drawer. You can also use toys and have your dog sniff out the toy, but this is more advanced and will require more work to train.

5. Give Him a Job

Another thing you can do is teach your puppy to help out with a chore or two around the house to keep the boredom at bay. For example, teach him to put away his toys or to pick up your clothes and put them in the laundry basket. It will make doing household chores more fun for you and keep your puppy occupied.

6. Activity Toys

Activity toys are good if you don’t have time to do something with your puppy right then, but you need to occupy him. They lengthen meal time and provide mental stimulation as your pup works out the puzzle to get their reward (their meal).

7. Take an Online Training Class

Fresh out of ideas for training? There are now classes you can take online! Not only will it expend physical and mental energy, but your puppy will be learning new behaviors at the same time. You won’t have to leave your house and you can do the work whenever it’s convenient for you.

8. Indoor Rally Course

Like agility, rally obedience can easily be done inside your house. All you need to do is mark out a path using cones (if you have them), books, pieces of paper, etc. And then you can make yourself some signs based on real rally behaviors or just make it up as you go along! If you have never done rally, the basics are easy! Each station gives you and your dog a command to follow. For example, sit in heel position or sit/stay while you walk once around your dog. You can make up your own or look up rally signs online.

Many of the items on this list expend both mental and physical energy. These are the best types of activities for your young puppy because they not only wearing him out, but they help develop his thinking brain and strengthening your bond as you work together. This makes all of these perfect choices to chase away those bad weather blues.