The Top 3 Dog Friendly Beaches in Newport Beach

Top 3 Dog Friendly Beaches in Newport Beach 2 Dawg Nite

Featured in hit television shows and movies like the OC, Newport Harbor, or Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, Newport Beach is well known as the perfect travel destination for the entire family. And your dog is no exception. Newport Beach is a dog friendly beach that welcomes dogs daily. Before the hours of Continue Reading

9 Tips to Prevent Dog Bites on Halloween

9 Tips to Prevent Dog Bites on Halloween

Many dogs enjoy the holidays. Nonstop doorbell rings and visitors showering attention may be doggy bliss for your pet. But even friendly, laid-back pooches get their tails in a twist over the disruption to routine. That can be dangerous for pets and for people.

Dogs recognize people by smell but also by sight. A dog may not recognize a favorite human behind that Halloween mask. Miniature goblins, witches and other ghoulish visitors often are strange children he won’t know. A flowing cape or sparkly fairy wings can be scary. A frightened dog easily mistakes a waving “light saber” or pitch fork as a weapon aimed to hurt.

Halloween is a high risk holiday for dog bites with children in costumes that scare dogs encountering strange pets on their own turf. And when hero dogs defend themselves, their homes and their people from “space aliens” your child could get bitten. Wolfsbane, garlic and holy water won’t help but these tips can keep trick or treaters safe and the dogs happy, too.

Call Ahead. It’s best to plan trick or treat visits with people you know-and ask them about confining their dog before you arrive. Pet “parents” want to keep their “fur-kids” safe, too, and should appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Keep Doors Clear. Closed spaces and especially entryways get dogs excited. Your pet will be hyper-protective of doors and gates. So when the kids arrive, keep King in his own room. Advise your children to avoid entering a stranger’s gated fence when a dog is inside-that keeps him from escaping, too.

Admire From a Distance. Costumed kids should not approach, touch or play with any dog they don’t know. Even a known pet may be suspicious of a three-foot Sponge-Bob. Cute dogs may be friendly but swipe candy or knock down a toddler.

Supervise. There’s nothing better than parents eyeballing their kids and dogs. An adult should always be present when kids and dogs mix. Petting any dog requires permission first from the person who knows the dog best.

Ask Before Treating. Candy can be dangerous for dogs. And some owners may not want you to treat their dog with food rewards, either, so always ask. Offering a treat to an unknown dog might tell him you’re a walking smorgasbord open for business so he pesters you-or mugs you-for the trick or treat bag.

Look Away. Should you notice a strange dog, don’t stare. In dog language that can challenge to dog to show you the sharp ends of his teeth.

Be a Tree. Loud giggly voices, running and arm waving can be so exciting to dogs they chase kids out of reflex and perhaps knock them down. So if a strange dog does approach standing still-like a tree-helps keep him calm.

Be a Log. Dogs instinctively jump up to check out a human’s face, and that Halloween mask may prove too intriguing. But if your child gets knocked down, coach her to act like a log-roll up and be still-until the dog goes away. Otherwise a wriggling kid teases the dog to grab the costume-or an ankle-and play tug.

Avoid Doggy Gangs. Just like rambunctious kids, when a bunch of friendly well behaved dogs get together they can egg each other on and paw-step over the line. So give doggy gangs some space. If their approach concerns you, don’t run or yell-stay still. You can sacrifice the candy by throwing it far enough away to entice them to munch while you walk away.

Approximately 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year with 800,000 individuals-half of them children-requiring medical treatment. Half of all children in the US experience a dog bite by age 12, with 5 to 9 year olds and boys at significantly higher risk. That’s actually a low percentage compared to other types of injuries, but still scary enough for Halloween. Use these tips and avoid adding to the statistics.

Parasites and Dog Parks

 

PARASITES AND DOG PARKS

 

PARASITES AND DOG PARKS

Sometimes when I see the results of a scientific study, I can’t help but think, “That’s interesting, but how relevant is it to my life?” That was not the case when I ran across “Prevalence of Giardia and Cryptosporidium species in dog park attending dogs compared to non-dog park attending dogs in one region of Colorado.”

The researchers are from Colorado State University (CSU), and there are two big dog parks within a couple of miles of campus, both of which my dog regularly attends.

The scientists collected feces from and surveyed the owners of 129 dogs that belonged to students or staff from CSU. Analysis of the fecal samples (66 from dog park attendees and 63 from non-dog park attendees) revealed that the dogs that frequented dog parks were more likely to be infected with Giardia and Cryptosporidium than dogs that did not. Overall, the prevalence of all gastrointestinal parasites in the 129 dogs was 7 percent. These results are not too surprising. After all, dogs poop at the dog park, and GI parasites are primarily transmitted through contact with contaminated feces.


Interestingly, no correlation was found between dog park attendance and clinical signs associated with gastrointestinal parasitism (e.g., diarrhea, vomiting, or inappetence). This can probably be explained by the fact that a healthy adult dog’s immune system is often able to control Giardia and Cryptosporidium infections to the point where no symptoms develop. Also, the study’s sample size was not very large. It is possible that a larger study that is more representative of the general population (i.e., not just veterinary students and staff) could have different results in this regard.

The take-home message from this research is this:

If you take your dog to the dog park, you need to put extra emphasis on your gastrointestinal parasite control program.

Many heartworm preventatives and broad spectrum dewormers do a good job of controlling hookworm, roundworm, and sometimes whipworm infestations, but they are ineffective against other types of parasites, including Giardia and Cryptosporidium. Fecal examinations are not foolproof either, which is why I typically recommend a combination of fecal testing and prophylactic deworming for dogs at significant risk of parasitism.

Even more importantly, if your dog develops symptoms consistent with gastrointestinal parasitism, make sure that your veterinarian knows whether or not your dog attends a dog park or comes in frequent contact with canine fecal material in any another way. Diagnosing a Giardia or Cryptosporidium infection is not always easy, and your veterinarian will need to get an idea of your dog’s individual risk factors to decide which diagnostic tests are most likely to bear fruit.

Is it Safe for Dogs to Eat Grass? Let Me Tell You a Fairly Disgusting But True Story

 

Is it Safe for Dogs to Eat Grass? Let Me Tell You a Fairly Disgusting But True Story

 

Is it Safe for Dogs to Eat Grass?

 

 

 

 

 

 

So your dog eats grass. No big deal, right? Today, let me share a harrowing and pretty personal tale on the dangers of grass eating.

One of the most persistent questions I’ve received over my career is this: Why do dogs eat grass?

The answer is simple: Nobody knows.

There’s a correlation between gastrointestinal upset and grass eating. This has led some people to posit that dogs eat grass in order to make themselves vomit. I think the notion of grass as a vomit inducer is absurd for two reasons:

First, plenty of dogs eat grass when their stomachs feel fine, and they don’t vomit afterwards. Second, who in his right mind would believe that a hedonistic creature such as a dog – a creature that happily copulates in public, steals food off of tables, eats garbage, sniffs butts, and licks its own genitals – would ever WANT to throw up?

Is it Safe for Dogs to Eat Grass

Dogs don’t suffer from self-image problems and bulimia. They may eat grass when they feel sick, but I don’t believe they do it in order to make themselves more sick. Let’s go back to that first reason. Plenty of dogs eat grass whether they feel sick or not.  Some dogs just seem to like grass.  My pal Buster is one of them.  He is especially fond of the tender young grass shoots that sprout in the spring. This brings us to another of the most common questions I have received over my career: Is it safe for dogs to eat grass? My answer to that question is no.

Lawns may be treated with toxic chemicals. Grass is home to parasites such as roundworms. Grass may become stuck in the mouth and the pharynx (the structure at the back of the throat).  And, as I discovered recently, grass may be the source of another significant physical menace.

My day started off well enough.  Buster and I were in Tahoe, and although spring was in full force back home in San Francisco, Tahoe was still markedly wintery. We slept in and then enjoyed breakfast (mine was leisurely; Buster is a Labrador retriever mix, so his was consumed in 30 seconds).  We then set out on our morning constitutional. Buster lifted his leg on several snow banks.  We made it to the end of the road, and we started on a National Forest path.  Buster likes to poop in the woods, and we hadn’t made it 20 feet beyond the road before he started to dilate.  He darted off the path to move his bowels. That’s when things went wrong.  Buster pooped without incident (he always does), but then he became distressed.  He walked back to the trail, but continued to posture and strain.  I began to worry.  Had he prolapsed his rectum? I corralled him, lifted his tail, and promptly identified the source of his distress.  It was the mother of all dingleberries.

The day before I had observed Buster chowing down fresh green grass sprouts in our yard.  A number of these stalks were now sprouting from Buster’s anus, replete with turd fragments that dangled several inches below the source. The fragments bounced on the backs of Buster’s thighs as Buster danced and strained in an effort to rid his rectum of the mess. This called for quick action.

Is it Safe for Dogs to Eat Grass.Eating grass can lead dogs to having rather traumatic bowel movements, complete with grassy dingleberries.I tossed aside the ski pole that I carried to help with balance in the snow. I shed my gloves. I begged Buster to be still, but he refused. The only thing that seemed to bother him more than the dingleberry was my attempt to deal with the situation. Buster twisted and pranced. He had a knack for catching his leash under his tail, where it rubbed on the dingleberry. I peeled a poop bag off of the leash and, with great difficulty (considering the agitated dog at the end of the line) opened it — whereupon I discovered that it had a massive hole at the grabbing end.  I maneuvered my hand to the intact middle of the bag and after a bit of chasing managed to reach my pal’s anus.

I wish I could say that one gentle tug was all it took. Sadly, each of the half dozen grass stalks required individual extraction.  When the miserable operation was complete I attempted to wrap the defective poop bag in another bag, only to discover that the new poop bag also had a massive hole.  I did my best to wrap things up, but it was not a pleasant endeavor.

‘Dogscaping’ Your Backyard is Easier Than You Think

‘Dogscaping’ Your Backyard is Easier Than You Think

Chances are, you may have been “dogscaping” your backyard for quite a while – and didn’t even realize you were on the forefront of a hot new trend.

The concept is simple.

“In its most basic form, dogscaping is landscaping with your dog’s needs in mind,” said Tom Barthel, a Michigan-based master gardener and author of “Dogscaping: Creating the Perfect Backyard & Garden for You and Your Dog.”

Conscientious pet parents who consider their dogs’ habits (both good and bad), potty preferences, general comfort and the like probably already have yards that are somewhat dogscaped.

“The most important features for any dog-friendly yard are shade, shelter, fencing, space for exercise, clean water and, of course, a place for them to do their business,” said Julie Orr, a landscape designer who has experience creating pet-friendly yards in Northern California.

“You want to make a list of all the things they would do naturally, including any behavioral issues and special health needs.”

Behavioral issues, as it turns out, can prove to be a big motivating factor when it comes to how to set up an outdoor area for your dog. Working with, instead of against, your dog’s natural inclinations can save you a lot of energy and frustration.

Designated Digging Areas

Pet parents can discourage their dogs from ripping up this spring’s daisies by providing a designated digging area.

“Choose an area where you don’t mind digging up about two feet of ground,” advised Eugenia Vogel, i Love Dogs’ Ask a Trainer, who has more than 20 years’ experience as a dog trainer and behavioral consultant.

Dogscaping Your Backyard is Easier Than You Think“When your dog isn’t watching, dig down at least three feet and start planting goodies for him to discover. Pack the dirt tightly over each item, leaving just a few inches between. When you get close to the top, have something really good and smelly, like a piece of chicken, be the first thing he discovers. Make sure it’s a few inches below ground so he has to dig a little to get to it. He’ll smell all the other goodies then, too. Be sure to replenish the stash when it gets low.”

To discourage your dog from digging in off-limit areas, Barthel also recommends putting chicken wire down and securing it with landscaping staples.

“They’re giant staples and they’re really long, and they slide right into the dirt very easily,” he said. “Fill in the holes where your dog’s been digging, lay down the wire, fasten it with staples and cover it with mulch. When your dog goes to dig, he won’t get any farther than the wire. That discourages a lot of dogs right away from digging in those places.”

Digging isn’t just an aesthetic issue: Determined dogs can dig out of a yard and escape.

“Walk the perimeter of the yard, closely inspecting any small gaps in containment, and fix them so your dog doesn’t find them and make escape tunnels,” Vogel said.

“Fences should be at least 3 feet into the ground, so your dog doesn’t dig under them. If your fence doesn’t meet these criteria, you can have cement poured along the bottom, three or four feet out from base of the fence. Also be sure there aren’t any picnic tables or other items that your dog could use as a springboard over the fence for a spree around the neighborhood.”

Some dogs dig holes simply to cool down. “They might dig a hole and lay in it because they’re just plain hot. It’s cool against their skin and it’s refreshing,” Barthel said. “Make sure your dog has enough shade in the backyard and has opportunities to cool down. Maybe there’s a wading pool you can fill up, or give your dog a squirt with the garden hose to make him more comfortable and relieve that desire to be in the cool dirt.”

Pathways for Patrolling Dogs

‘Dogscaping’ Your Backyard is Easier Than You Think.For “patrolling” dogs, it’s best to work with their natural pathways if possible.

“For most dogs, it is easy to note their favorite running paths – look for the worn patterns on soil – and then mimic that path with stone pavers or wood mulch, because it’s going to get really worn down if the soil is left bare,” Orr said.

She also recommends taking plant placement into account.

“Patrolling dogs need a wide berth along the yard’s perimeter to allow them room to do their job of protecting you,” Orr said. “Planting shrubs and trees several feet away from fences and keeping them pruned up from the ground will allow your dog damage-free access.”

A Place to Potty

Providing clean drinking water and a potty place can be closely related topics; one leads to the other. Where to place the drinking water in relation to the potty area is important.

“If your dog pees all over the yard, just choose one spot to keep free of toys and food, and he’ll start going there; he won’t want to be peeing all over his water or food,” Vogel said. “Do keep the area on the lawn, however. It’s a dog’s natural instinct to go on a softer surface to avoid the pee splashing back on him.”

Dogscaping Your Backyard is Easier Than You Think.Your dog’s peeing place plays into another important element, too – unsightly urine burns on your lawn. Barthel said there is conflicting evidence about what causes these burns.

“Some say it’s the pH in the urine. Others say that it is the nitrogen waste as a result of dogs’ high-protein diets, and the nitrogen burns grass,” he said.

There are a couple of things you can do regardless of the cause.

“Offer your dog as much water as possible,” Barthel advised. “Dogs should always have a source of clean drinking water. It helps dilute all the metabolic waste. Dogs that have to retain their urine all day or that are not well-hydrated often have very concentrated urine. Even one dose of that urine can burn an entire path of grass quickly. Make sure your dog is getting lots of opportunities to go to the bathroom and getting lots of fluids to help relieve those metabolic wastes, and you’ll start to see fewer incidents of burning.”

A designated potty spot – away from your dog’s water bowl – can also eliminate unsightly burns in areas of the lawn regularly used by your family.

“A lot of dogs make a habit out of marking or urinating in the same spot, especially male dogs,” Barthel said. “So you can train your dog to go in the same area and make sure that area is out of the way. Or you can conceal the area with some planting.”

Pooch-Safe Plants

“All dog owners want a safe, non-toxic environment for their pets,” Orr said. “To keep lawns green and healthy, I suggest topdressing with compost, lawn trimmings or organic fertilizer. Because fertilizers need time to dissolve, always spray irrigate immediately after application. Secondly, because many dogs, especially puppies, like to chomp on plants, I design my dogscaped yards by avoiding thorny, spiny, sappy and toxic plants that can be harmful to your pet.”

If you’re not hiring a professional designer to help, Orr recommends you be aware of plants that are toxic for dogs to avoid any accidental poisonings.

‘Dogscaping’ Your Backyard is Easier Than You Think!She also recommends taking a pet’s age and special needs into consideration.

“My vet once told me that pets age like humans do,” she said. “We both start to lose muscle mass, our skin starts to sag and joints begin to hurt. If your dog’s breed is susceptible to hip dysplasia, consider the future possibility of needing smooth walking surfaces and wide corners for dog wheelchairs, just in case.”

Professional designers can help pet parents balance the needs of both dogs and humans. They can also help with large-scale projects or structural changes to a yard.

Orr recommends finding designers through the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) and interviewing a couple of them before selecting someone with whom you’re comfortable. “Ask to see examples of their work, especially as it pertains to pets,” she advised.

DIY Dogscaping

For those who prefer the do-it-yourself approach, dogscaping your yard doesn’t have to be terribly complicated.

Here are some basics:

  • Shade – Make sure your dog has a cool place to retreat from the heat, such as a comfortable, shady planted area, a doghouse or another sheltered area.
  • Shelter – Just like humans, dogs don’t want to get wet or cold, so your dog will need shelter to stay safe from the elements.
  • Water – Whether it be a simple bowl, an anti-ant water dish or a dog-drink spigot, your dog needs water to stay hydrated and cool.
  • Potty area – Your dog has to do his business somewhere, so make sure it’s in a place that’s acceptable with you and comfortable for your pooch.
  • Fencing – Walk around your fence and make sure there are no gaps or holes. Also make sure your dog can’t dig out from underneath or jump over the fence to get out.
  • Exercise area – Your dog needs to stretch his legs, run and interact with people for his optimal health and happiness.

The most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to sacrifice your own wants and needs for a beautiful backyard. With some compromise, both you and your dog can be happy.

“You don’t have to give up on all those plants that you’ve always wanted to have in your yard,” Barthel said. “You can put up some barriers or little fences. You can use raised flowerbeds to get them out of your dog’s way so he won’t mess with them. You can still get what you want out of your yard and a nice space to entertain and enjoy. It’s just a little bit of consideration and a little bit of planning, and some careful observation of your dog. You can make it work.”