The Top 5 Things You Can Do To Keep Your Dog Healthy

1.  Water.  You probably already know that dogs need fresh, clean water at all times.  All of us do.  But if you want to remove as many toxins as possible from your dog’s water and do everything possible to keep him healthy, think about using a water filter.  Tap water can contain many unhealthy chemicals such as lead and low levels of prescription medications.  A water filter or purifier can help remove as many toxins from the water as possible and make the water healthier for you and your dog.

2.  Food.  There are an amazing number of dog foods on the market today.  Unfortunately, many of them are not made from very healthy ingredients.  They may technically pass government standards but they can contain ingredients that you wouldn’t want your dog to eat.  You can choose healthier food for your dog by doing some research and learning to read dog food labels.  Look for foods that contain more meats than fillers.  Most of the better foods contain much less corn and other cereal products.  It’s not necessary to go completely grain-free but you should look for foods that have named meat sources, such as lamb, lamb meal, chicken, chicken meal, and so on.

You should also avoid foods that contain the preservative ethoxyquin.  This same ingredient is used in making tires.  It’s not something that you want your dog to eat.  Instead, look for natural preservatives such as Vitamin E, Vitamin C, citric acid and rosemary.  These natural preservatives all have antioxidant properties and are healthier for your dog.

3.  Vet care.  Good vet care is, of course, important for your dog’s long term health.  This means flea control, heartworm prevention and receiving the necessary vaccinations.  However, all of these issues are the subject of some debate.  Flea control and heartworm prevention often involve using strong chemicals.  Some people feel that pets are being over-vaccinated.  You should familiarize yourself with these issues and discuss them with your veterinarian.  We are not advising you to leave off topical flea control or chewable monthly heartworm prevention.  Heartworms can kill dogs and flea infestation can make a dog’s life (and their human’s) miserable.  Vaccinations are necessary, at least at some intervals.  We are recommending that you do further reading and talk to your vet about what is necessary for the health of your dog.

4.  Exercise.  It’s very important that your dog gets the proper exercise.  As much as 40 percent of the dogs in the United States are considered to be overweight or obese.  This is often because owners overfeed them, give them too many treats and table scraps, and because the dogs don’t get enough exercise.  Taking your dog out for a daily walk is a good way to help your dog stay in shape.  Add a weekly run and your dog will be a much healthier dog.

5.  Spend time with your dog.  All of the other things you do for your dog’s health — providing him with good water, food, vet care and exercise — will be meaningless if you don’t spend time with your dog.  Enjoying your time together can do more than almost anything else to keep your dog healthy and happy.  Dogs have been shown to have a beneficial effect on human health.  The same is true of humans and dogs — we have a beneficial effect on their health.  Just petting a dog can improve the way he feels and acts.  Spend time with your dog and he will be a happier, healthier dog throughout his life.

The Top 5 Things You Can Do To Keep Your Dog Healthy courtesy Dog Articles.

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Who’s A Canine Good Citizen?

The Canine Good Citizen program is an American Kennel Club program open to all dogs, mixed breed and purebred.  Its purpose is to reward dogs and their owners who can show that they have good manners both in the community and at home.  It fundamentally stresses responsible dog ownership and good social skills.  Dogs who take part in the program go through a 10-part test and, if they pass, receive a certificate from the AKC and the CGC title.

The Canine Good Citizen program is often the first step for an owner and their dog in obedience training.  They may go on to participate in obedience competitions, agility or rally events.  However, many people earn the CGC title just to prove that their dogs have basic obedience skills.  The CGC title is often accepted as proof by landlords and others that a dog has basic obedience skills.  Forty-two state legislatures have already passed resolutions endorsing the Canine Good Citizen program at the state level.

Before taking the CGC test (sometimes at a dog show or other AKC event, sometimes at a dog training center with a certified tester), an owner will sign a Responsible Dog Owners Pledge.  After that, he/she and their dog will go through the 10-step test:

Test 1: Accepting a friendly stranger
This test shows that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach and greet the handler.  The evaluator comes up to the owner and speaks to him/her while ignoring the dog.

Test 2: Sitting politely for petting
In this test the dog should allow a friendly stranger to touch him while he’s out with his owner.  The owner may talk to the dog throughout the test.

Test 3: Appearance and grooming
In this test the dog should welcome being groomed and examined.  He should allow someone, such as a vet, groomer or friendly stranger to go over him.  The evaluator will look over the dog to see that he/she is clean and groomed.  The dog should appear to be in good condition.  The evaluator then combs or brushes the dog, checks the ears and picks up the front paws.  This simulates a vet exam — dogs should be well-behaved during vet exams.

Test 4: Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)

This test shows that the owner is in control of the dog on a loose leash.  The dog may walk on either side of the owner.  The dog should appear to be attentive and responsive to the owner’s changes of direction.  There are several turns on a course in this test.  The owner can talk to the dog, praise the dog, and give commands.

Test 5: Walking through a crowd
The test shows that the dog can move calmly and politely in foot traffic and be controlled in public places.  The dog and owner walk around and pass close to several people.  There should be no over-excitement, shyness or resentment.

Test 6: Sit and down on command and Staying in place
This test shows the dog’s training and that he will respond to his owner’s commands to sit and lie down.  He should also remain in the place commanded by his owner.  The leash is replaced with a 20-foot line during this test.

Test 7: Coming when called
During this test the owner walks 10 feet from the dog, faces the dog and calls.

Test 8: Reaction to another dog
This test shows that the dog can behave well around other dogs.

Test 9: Reaction to distraction
During this test the evaluator chooses two distractions.  These can be dropping a chair, having a jogger go by, dropping a cane, etc.  The dog should not show any panic or try to run away or otherwise misbehave.

Test 10: Supervised separation
This final test shows that the dog can be left with someone and still maintain his good manners.  The owner is out of sight for three minutes.  The dog shouldn’t bark the whole time, whine or show more than mild agitation.

All of the exercises are performed on leash.  Your dog should wear a buckle or slip collar.  Leather, fabric or chain collars are fine.  You should bring your dog’s comb or brush with you to the test.

Kennel clubs and dog training centers offer classes for the Canine Good Citizen test but it is possible to pass the test without taking any classes.  You can prepare for it with your dog at home.

The Canine Good Citizen test is a good test for dogs and their owners.  It’s good for your dog to learn some basic manners and for you to work with your dog on simple obedience lessons.  These lessons will come in handy again and again for your dog and make him a more desirable dog in the community.

Who’s A Canine Good Citizen courtesy Dog Articles.

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Dogs in Heat: The Facts

There are numerous questions that people ask, when learning about dogs in heat. There are practical   answers that help dog owners to understand the estrous cycle.

The proper name for heat is the estrous cycle and during this cycle a dog can become pregnant. The obvious sign is bleeding from the vagina and the vulva might be swollen. The bleeding isn’t profuse, especially in small dogs. She will urinate more often. The biggest clue is the sudden surge of male dogs hanging around your yard. Observe the small dog before her first cycle more carefully, as it can be harder to tell when she first goes into the estrous cycle.

The majority of  female dogs come into heat at between six to twelve months of age, though it can be sooner or later. For some it it as long as fourteen months. Have your vet examine your dog, if she hasn’t cycled in fourteen months. They normally come into heat twice yearly. The smaller dogs are the ones that might come into their cycle earlier and the larger breeds might take longer than the usual time.

The estrous cycle is broken into four parts.

1) Proestrous is the initial stage. Its duration is between four and twenty days. The dog bleeds, is usually shy, her vulva is swollen, and she isn’t receptive to male dogs.
2) The estrous part of being in heat is from five to thirteen days long. The female dog is receptive to males and the blood secretion is a lighter color.
3) Diestrous is the next stage and now her secretions lessen and she begins to lose interest in the male dogs. If she got pregnant, the pregnancy duration would be between sixty and sixty-four days.
4) Anestrus is the period when the dog’s heat cycle finishes and she stays in in his stage for five to eleven months.

The majority of the cycle is around three weeks and doesn’t include the most of the anestrous period.

When your dog is in heat, she will be more excitable and can use some extra attention. Brushing,  petting, and talking to her will soothe her nerves. You can control the mess made through bleeding by putting a doggy pad on her or keeping her in her “den” area when inside. The space normally set aside as her place to sleep is her den. Visit her often, if she is confined to this space.

Breeders of dogs usually test for progesterone  levels, which signifies the dogs most fertile days. Normally those days are the 11th through the 15th day of heat. She can become pregnant during her first heat. The majority of breeders don’t breed their dogs that soon. They usually have genetic testing done prior to breeding. Some serious hip problems aren’t apparent until the dog is about two years old.

Spaying her is advisable, if you don’t want her to have puppies. The traditional advice has been to allow her to experience one cycle or  have puppies once before spaying. But vets now spay earlier. Ask your vet how soon you can have your dog spayed.

Dogs in Heat: The Facts courtesy Dog Articles.

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