5 Things That No One Ever Told You About Being A Dog ParentApr | 14 | 2022
At least once or twice in our journey as dog parents, especially in the beginning, we’ve all stopped and wondered, why has nobody told me about this before? From unexpected trips to the vet because your dog got into something they weren’t supposed to have their nose in, to dealing with pest infestations, and random happenings in between, sometimes figuring things out the hard way just feels like a normal part of being a dog parent. Though it’s hard to be prepared for every little situation that can go wrong with our beests, we thought it would be helpful to put together 5 common but important topics that every dog parent should know about.
1. Dental Hygiene
Taking care of your dog’s teeth and gums as early as possible will prevent a lot of health complications as your dog gets older. Dental disease is one of the most common illnesses in dogs which can cause other health complications such as organ failure, eye issues and tooth loss. It’s recommended that you begin taking care of your pups’ teeth early on or as early as possible. If not taken care of regularly, early signs of dental disease are bad breath, excessive drooling, discolored teeth, or inflamed / bleeding gums and can be seen as early as 2-3 years of age in your dog. As your dog gets to their senior years, dental hygiene becomes one of the key factors attributing to life span and health complications. Most dog parents wished they would have been more proactive and educated on preventive action in their dog’s early years. Our doggy dental guide has more information and tips on ways you can start taking action.
Foxtail is small sharp prickly clusters of grass that pops up once Spring hits, and it can linger around up until Summer. It is found in tall grass areas, hiking trails, open fields / parks, alongside the road and also sidewalks. Little pieces of foxtail can get stuck on pup’s skin or in their paws and sometimes be inhaled through their nose while they’re sniffing around, triggering sneezing or coughing fits later on. Foxtail can cause serious pain, discomfort, and sometimes bleeding or infection so we recommend inspecting your pup, even if they have no symptoms at all, after every walk / adventure. Check your pup’s face, ears and paws first, then inspect large fur areas such as neck, stomach, and hips. If you suspect foxtail injuries in your dog, look up how to remove or treat them safely (combing it out or using tweezers or your fingers) or call your vet for advice. But some precautions you can take are avoiding tall grass areas or protecting your pup with paw booties or face mask. No one ever tells you about Foxtail injuries and some of us unfortunately have had to learn the hard way. It’s important to remember that educating ourselves (and fellow pet parents) can help prevent these stressful situations and keep our dogs safe. Remember to curb your pup during these warmer seasons and check your neighborhood / hiking trails for any Foxtails as the seasons start to change.
3. Emergency Bag & Plan
Harsh weather changes, the global pandemic and natural disasters like wildfires or floods are more common now than ever. Most of us have some sort of plan for ourselves or family put into place for those emergency situations, but a lot of us forget that we also need one specifically for our pups. Emergency situations can be overwhelming and chaotic for a dog at any age, so making sure you have an action plan and an emergency bag ready will prevent a stress filled environment for everyone. Do research on evacuation locations and pet hospitals in your area that are dog safe. Also put together a “go bag” or emergency bag kit just for your pet, including extra food, medication, a first-aid kit and extra gear. Our guide to making your own Emergency Kit lists what important things should be in your kit to help prepare for any situation.
4. Senior Care & Preventatives
As humans, most of us take a lot of early prevention so we can live a longer and healthier life and same goes for your beests. Being a dog owner is a lifelong commitment which means that we are also responsible for our pup’s when they get to their senior years. We may not be experienced enough or completely prepared to care for a senior dog but taking precautions and practicing good habits can steer us away from serious health complications later on. Feeding a healthy diet, giving supplements and proper vitamins, keeping a strong immune system and scheduling regular vet visits are some ways to keep beests healthy. Once your dog hits the senior age (as early as 6-7) making sure you make adjustments to accommodate their needs is important, such as taking shorter walks / exercises often so as not to physically overexert your dog, avoiding hard foods / treats that their stomach might not be able to digest anymore, or using steps / ramps to help them get on and off the couch or car as their joints and muscles are not as strong as they used to be. Our senior care guide lists more helpful tips on how to better take care of your senior beesties and what you can start implementing early on.
5. Fleas & Ticks
Warmer weather seasons are great for adventures but it also means pests like fleas and ticks are out looking for hosts like your pups to feed off of. 1 in 7 dogs can carry fleas which are tiny insects that feed off your dog’s blood and cause them to intensely scratch and cause severe discomfort. Fleas can also carry bacteria and dirt that can cause your dog to get other health complications. Some signs that your dog might have fleas are if they are scratching, licking, or biting. Another sign might be if you see red bumps on the skin under their fur or if you have small red itchy bites. If not taken care of, fleas can quickly reproduce and infest your home and dog which can take several months to get rid of. We recommend researching a preventative that works for your budget and can be easily added to your routine. Topical and oral medications are available which you can give your dog regularly, along with natural remedies such as lavender plants and apple cider vinegar spray to keep pests away.
Ticks are similar to fleas but are mainly found outdoors and they prefer to latch onto humans and pets. They are typically bigger than fleas and can carry more bacteria than fleas when they latch on to a host. The best way to remove a tick is with tweezers in an upward and steady motion, it's also important to clean the area and the tools you are using. Once the tick is removed dispose of it in alcohol or a sealed container, or flush it down the toilet, and remember to never crush it with your fingers.
If you do believe your dog has a flea infestation or is suffering from excessive tick bites ask your vet about a plan of action that is safe for your dog.
There is no handbook for being the perfect dog owner, but sharing first hand experiences and constantly educating ourselves is a step in the right direction in making sure we give our pups the happiest & healthiest life. You can never be prepared enough for situations like a flea infestation or a natural disaster but as long as you make a quick plan of action, stay calm and ensure your dog knows they'll be okay…you’ll be able to get through any situation together.
P.S. Please share this post with a fellow dog parent !!
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