We say 'walking' but really we know it's actually 'skating' or 'slipping' or 'pretending you walked the dog in the snow when you sat by a fire with some hot chocolate instead.' But how long can you resist those pleading eyes? Dogs need their exercise, and a daily walk means a daily walk, snow or no snow. So here are some tactics to aid in the preparation of a good winter's walk:
As New Englanders we know snow, and we also know there are proper ways to make our winter experience at least a little more pleasant. For us pet parents, this might mean dedication spent waiting in the cold until Fido does their business, but it also means time spent frolicking in a winter wonderland.
And we can't deny that our pets provide excellent snowy entertainment!
February is National Pet Dental Health Month, which we know sounds just as exciting as you might think it sounds, but the truth is anytime is a good time to get rid of bad breath, and promote a healthy dog-slobber environment!
Dogs and cats use their mouths differently than us humans, they explore the world by sniffing, licking, and taste-testing earth's natural (and unnatural) wonders. What enters their mouth stays there in the form of bacteria, so always be aware of what your pet decides to deem edible. Dogs and cats both have natural bacteria contained in their mouths, usually species-specific, which is not transmissible to people, just like we cannot transfer our colds or sickness to them. However, it is a myth that dog's mouths are cleaner.
So what is the best way to ensure your pet has a healthy dental environment?
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommend daily tooth brushing and annual dental cleanings. Chew toys designed to interact with teeth and gums, or natural chews like antlers, also assist in strengthening and cleaning.
What are the signs of a dental problem? Just like with people, tooth and mouth complications can be unpleasant for our furry friends, and bad breath especially can signal underlying health issues. For questioning bad odor, see our other post Why Does My Dog Stink? Also look out for excessive drooling, loss of teeth, or visual changes, such as spots or cysts on the tongue.
Why does my pet need a dental cleaning under anesthesia? Veterinary professionals can perform oral checkups during a regular exam, but dental cleaning procedures are done under anesthesia. This is often necessary in order for pets to stay still and tolerate dental work, as well as to prevent fear and pain. Certain breeds and older dogs are more likely to require tooth extractions, but always discuss with a medical professional the use and monitoring of anesthesia for pets. For more discussion on anesthesia, check out PetMD, Pet Health Network, and, Veterinary Practice News.
As a part of National Pet Dental Health Month we hope this information proves useful and helpful to the pets and pet parents we interact with everyday. Rest easy knowing your pet won't wake you in the morning with bad breath, invest in chews toys and simple daily tooth brushing to ensure their comfort, health, and happiness. We always appreciate bright, clean smiles from people and pets!
Does your dog need a massage? Or how about a chiropractor?
Admittedly this is probably not the question on everyone's mind coming into the new year, but as 2017 begins, we look forward to our #1 goal of promoting pet health. While a groomer's domain is the skin, pet parents are always welcome to bring up health concerns to groomers. It is important for us to know whether a pet has a serious health condition or has recently undergone surgery. Other conerns we hear often may include 'My pet is limping', 'My pet is constantly licking their paws/licking off their fur', 'My pet is older and cannot stand or sit comfortably', or 'My pet is sensitive in a specific area'. Our groomers will take everything into account and analyze sensitive areas if need be, but beyond fur and skin, we will recommend a visit to the vet if necessary.
Other benefits include:
Want to learn more about pet massage or how to massage your own dog? Try Cesar's Guide on Dog Massage, How to Massage Your Own Dog by Modern Dog Magazine, or learn more through the Bancroft School of Massage Therapy in Worcester, MA. And yes, massage is also great for cats!
Also check out the AKC Canine Health Foundation, Canine Journal, or The Conscious Cat to learn how pet chiropractic works.
So you think you have what it takes to be a master pet chef? You're a connoisseur of all things tasty, you cook nonstop at home, you text your friends recipes at midnight while catching up on the latest episode of the Great British Baking Show. But what will it take to impress your pet?
More about bagged and canned pet food on our previous blog post here. Always be careful when considering a raw food diet for your pet, and be aware of the bacteria or possible illness which can occur from consuming raw foods. Consult your vet before any influential changes to your pet's diet. We've listed only the basics of pet nutrition, and we encourage chefs to expand their knowledge further through ongoing research and practice. By taking your time to make these healthy choices for your pet, they will judge you for the winner you are!
October is the official Adopt-A-Shelter Dog Month, notably shared with National Pet Wellness, Black Cat Awareness, andPitbull Awareness Month. The first week of October is also National Walk Your Dog Week, so grab a pet and a pumpkin spice latte, and you're all set to go! Right? Well, sort of.
While October may encourage you to cozy up in a sweater and adopt all the dogs and kitties of the world, the choice and commitment to adopting a shelter dog, or any pet for that matter, has a few important steps to it. Preparing your household and lifestyle for a new member of the family is one, but unlike buying a puppy from a breeder, shelter pets have a variety of backgrounds which may affect their behavior when entering a new home. The knowledge of where a pet has previously been is a great tool to learning about your new best buddy, but sometimes your pet's backstory might be a mystery. In this case, talk to the shelter about any behavioral concerns, and make sure to research and prepare for any special proofing or adjustments an overly anxious or handicapped pet may require.
After thorough preparation, it's time to choose! Animals of all ages can be found in shelters, so know when considering adopting from a shelter that puppies, kittens, and their adult counterparts are all available to find homes. Older pets may even come with the perks of previous training, and most shelters will spay/neuter pets in their care, with no additional charge to you! Shelters often give full health-screenings, including vaccinations and heartworm tests, and may also microchip the pets in their care. Even more, shelters also have the choice of mixed breeds, which tend to have fewer health issues compared to pure breds.
To search for available pets up for adoption in shelters near you, sites like Petfinder can search by location for a variety of animals, with extra tools to sort by breed, size, and gender. You may also search directly on the MSPCA Boston website, or other shelters and rescue groups like the Marshfield Animal Shelter, the Scituate Animal Shelter, PAWS New England, Last Hope K9 Rescue, or the Greyhound Pets of America. If you bring home a new buddy this month, congratulations knowing you helped a pet in need! Happy October!
Ah, yes, one of the many topics pet owners can bond over. A true classic. There are even multiple dog smells to choose from. Wet dog is a definite favorite, followed closely by dog breath, and who could forget the beloved scent of old dog?
Well, we've been there, done that. Dog smell is just part of the package when you're a groomer. Stink is one of the many reasons owners show their pets a one-way destination to the tub. But what causes a dog to smell, aside from playing not-so-nice with a skunk, and how often is too often for a good, clean wash and dry?
Assess the stink:
Health is a common correlation to a smelly dog. Just like with people, a dog's body emits particular odors if ill or stressed. It is important to recognize what the natural smell of your dog is like, and appreciate them in good health.
What you can do to help:
A summertime pool doodle doing what doodles do best.
You don't need to look far and wide to see that doodles are one of the top dogs in town. We see many doodles, of all sizes, shapes, colors, and mixes. From Labradoodles, to Goldendoodles, to Springerdoodles, and Bernedoodles, every dog is unique. While coat type among doodles can vary, one thing they all share in common is maintenance!
One of the first important steps in caring for your doodle is to get them used to grooming at an early age. Regular brushing should be done when puppies are 3 to 4 months old to familiarize them with being handled, especially around their paws and back-end.
Around a year of age, doodles will lose their puppy coat and grow an adult coat. Since doodles do not shed frequently, they have no way of getting rid of their old coat while the new one grows in. Brushing is the best method to strip out the old coat, or else it will tangle with the new hair growing in. Around this age it is common for groomers to shave down the coat if we see a doodle that is matted.
Matting causes your pet discomfort, as it pulls on the skin. Dogs actually have skin much thinner than a human's, so any mat bigger than a thumb will need attention. Zoomin Groomin does not practice de-matting, which can be painful for your pet. The best way and least stressful for your pet is to have the mats cut out professionally by a groomer, and to shave or trim the coat down. If you cannot run a comb through your dog's fur, then they are most likely matted.
As New Year's Day approaches, it's time to get that list out! You know, the other list, not the one about what you want, but more so about what you need. That's right, we're talking New Year's Resolutions.
Staying healthy is always the way to go, but what if you're already active and on a good track? Or you just want to have some fun? Either way, you can spice up your resolutions and include your pet on outdoor adventures or give them some calming massages! Here's a few more ideas:
1) Enjoying hiking together - and yes, cats can go hiking too !
2) Quality time - brushing, playing, and even giving your pet a massage can help relieve stress and soothe achy joints (just like in people!).
3) Keep both your minds sharp with some obstacle course challenges, or new tricks to learn.
4) Is your dog friendly, calm, and collected? Share the licks and happiness, and they could learn to become a Therapy Dog.
5) And finally, always leave time for a nice long nap together!
Bring on 2016, thank you, and Happy New Year!
Let's face it - whether you just got a new puppy or kitten, or you're deciding to switch your pet over to a healthier option, you don't know where to begin. Whether you shop at a boutique, large pet store, or a general convenience / supermarket, the options are endless. This article will not be suggesting or siding with any one brand or style in particular, but we will outline some tips & guidelines to help you along the way!
Over the years pet nutrition knowledge has in creased immensely - and just like with people, companies now strive to market all natural pet food and have the best options available. Commercial food, while more convenient, is ultimately processed food. Large brands will sometimes not be making their own food, and the larger the scale the more oversights that can happen.
Be cautious also with ingredients, often protein comes from parts of an animal that humans have no use of for consumption. Always make sure to research a specific brand, and see where their food is coming from.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has established guidelines to govern claims a pet food company can make on its label.
*If the food lists a single ingredient, it must contain 95% of that ingredient, not including water
*Phrases like "dinner", "platter", and "entree" means the food must contain at least 25% of the named ingredient . If it states "with" another ingredient, then it contains at least 3% of that ingredient.
On the label, foods with heavier weight (usually that contain moisture) will be listed first. Proteins that are dehydrated for dry food will appear further down the list.
Grain-free foods are not only options for animals that have allergies, but many pet owners choose a grain-free diet for their dog or cat. Pets may also have allergies to soy, potatoes or meat (such as chicken or beef). Some owners also prefer to utilize a raw diet for their pets. While cats are a little closer to their wild cousins, dogs are more domesticated, and their diets should be adjusted. There has not been much research on feeding dogs a raw diet, but so far there is little to know about whether it substantially provides them nutrients.
The big decision now is: Dry food, Wet Food, Dehydrated Food, or Home-made food?
Dry Food: The most convenient, and can be left out for a pet to eat at their leisure. It is easy to measure out, and easier to buy in bulk. Some foods will also help with tooth and gum problems (but if your pet has missing teeth it's best to keep them off harder food). Kibble will have a reduced fat content in order to maintain their shape, so look for a brand to make up for the nutrients. Also, since it is dry, make sure dogs get the water content they need, especially in hotter weather.
Wet Food: Many animals do not get the hydration they need, so feeding wet food can give them the moisture their bodies need. Usually contain less or no synthetic preservatives compared to dry food. Also great for older or ill dogs that have difficulty eating, or may find richly smelling food more enticing. However, wet food can be messy and spoils quickly after opening.
Dehydrated Food: Dry, but all you need to do is add water. You can mix it with other wet, dry, or home made food, or even broth. Dehydrated means the food has not been processed at higher temperatures, and therefore it contains more nutrients. Great for digestibility and a source of protein. Can work as an in-between if trying out new diets for your pet.
Home-made Food: If you are more comfortable cooking up a meal for your pet, then make sure to research animal nutrition, specific diets, and consult with your veterinarian. Never feed them random dinner scraps! Know the science behind their diet, their breed, and any conditions such as allergies. Home-made means you know everything your pet is eating, and they will always have happy bellies. For more tips on home-made, check out these links: The Bark, PetMD, Founders Vet, Know Better Pet Food
While we covered general Halloween safety before, it is important to emphasize a stress-free environment for pets. Since dogs never wear clothes on a daily basis, suddenly sporting an entire costume may come as a surprise! Some won't mind, others might chew, but there will be dogs that are unhappy - so to avoid these situations always remember:
*Make sure tags are off or out of reach from being eaten
*Allow some time beforehand to test the costume, check for skin irritations or allergies
*Have a bright or reflective costume if walking your pet in the dark
*Double check that the costume will not restrict the movement of your pet.
*Allow for breaks, do not let your pet overheat in their outfit
*Do not remove your pet's collar or ID tag, many situations could easily spook your pet or cause them to run
*Always create a comfortable environment for your pet, and have fun!
ZG pro team