Is it Safe to Walk a Dog in Hot Weather?

There is nothing better than walking your dog on a warm sunny day, but sometimes it can get too hot for our canine companions. You may be wondering if it is safe to walk a dog in hot weather, and today we are going to be answering that question for you.

Ignoring hot weather or hot surfaces such as tarmac can be incredibly harmful to both dogs and humans alike. If your dog is inhaling hot air, then their panting can have little cooling effect and they will rapidly overheat.

While you can’t change the weather, there are things you can change that make both you and your dog’s walks more comfortable. Read on to find out more!

So, Can I Take My Dog for Walks in Hot Weather?

Now, let’s get to the main question “Can you take a dog for walks in hot weather?”. The answer is yes, but you there are some things that you need to watch out for. Let’s check them out below.

The Physical Traits of Your Dog

Some canines are more than happy in hot weather, while others struggle through the summer season. We have listed some of the things below that may affect the way your canine companion handles hot weather during a walk.

Breed and Coat Type

Your dog’s breed and type of coat will have an enormous effect on how they handle heat during a walk. Dogs with longer, thicker coats tend to feel the effects of hot weather more than those with short, thin coats.

Coat Colour

Another trait that can affect the way your dog handles heat during a walk is the colour of their coat. Darker colours tend to absorb more heat than lighter colours, so if your dog has a black or dark coat they will absorb more of the sun’s rays.

Age and Health Condition

The age and health condition of your dog has a massive impact on how they handle hot temperatures during summer walks. Puppies and older dogs are not as efficient at regulating their body temperature when compared to healthy dogs that are in their prime years. If your dog is still a puppy, is old or sick, be more cautious about when you take them for a walk.

Heat stroke is much more likely to occur in dogs that are old or those that have health problems. If your dog starts to show the signs of heat stroke it is important that you try and treat the problem as soon as possible, as the condition can cause permanent damage and possibly even death.

Your Dog’s Tolerance to Heat

Dogs that have grown up and built a tolerance to warm temperatures will feel more comfortable during hot weather walks. If your canine companion has only ever experienced mild temperatures, they will struggle more on hot walks.

The Weather Itself

How hot is hot weather? That depends on where you are and who you are. Some people think that it is hot when it is 25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit), while others wouldn’t bat an eyelid until it gets to 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit).

Your dog will also have their own idea of what hot is too them, so you need to be mindful of that. While you may find the temperature perfectly acceptable, your canine companion may be struggling in the heat. You need to find a time that works for both you and your dog.

What is the Best Time to Take a Dog out for a Walk in Hot Weather?

Going out for a walk in the middle of the day when the sun is at its highest and the temperature is at its warmest is a recipe for disaster. While it depends on where you live in the world, you should avoid taking your dog out for a walk between the times of 11am to around 3pm. If you live in a country with longer days, you may want to extend this period of no walking.

In some extremely hot places (or if the weather is much hotter than usual), we recommend taking your dog out early in the morning or late a night when the sun has gone down.

Watch Out for Hot Asphalt

One of the biggest areas of concern when walking a dog in hot weather is the asphalt or tarmac. Footpaths, roads and driveways can get extremely hot when the sun is at its brightest. This can lead to burnt paws, a major problem for our canine companions.

To check the temperature of the asphalt, touch the back of your hand directly onto it. Hold your hand in that position for about 10 seconds. If you can do that without getting too uncomfortable you should be okay to take your dog for walk. On the other hand, if you find that the tarmac is too hot for your hand it will definitely be too hot for your dog’s paws.

What are the Signs of Burnt Paws?

If you have been walking your dog on hot pavement, look for the following signs to see if your dog has burnt paws:

  • Limping or attempting to walk slowly
  • Licking or chewing of the paws
  • Darkening of the skin around the paws
  • Any blisters, peeling or redness
  • Any other damage to their paws
  • Excessive amounts of heat coming of their paws (when you touch them)
What You Should Do if Your Dog’s Paws Get Burnt

If you notice that your dog’s paws are burnt or that they are in the process of getting burnt, it is important to get your dog to a cool place as soon as possible. In some circumstances you may need to even carry your dog to stop any further damage being done.

Once you have removed them from the hot environment you should run their paws under cool water or use a cold press. However, don’t use ice water as this can make the problem worse. Just use regular tap water. Additionally, do not let your dog lick or chew the pads of their paws.

If you suspect that your dog has burns on their paws, we recommend that you get them to the vets as soon as possible. Burns can become infected if left untreated and they can lead to even more serious issues down the track.

Other Things You Can Do During Hot Weather

Look for Other Places to Go for Walks

While it is important to avoid hot pavement, it is also important to take your dog out for regular walks. If you can only take your dog out during the middle of the day you should try and find a cool place to walk them. Grassy parks with running water are a great place to take your dog for a walk when it is cold, just watch out for the hot tarmac in the carpark or on footpaths.

Try Some Dog Booties

Dog shoes can protect your canine’s paws during walks on hot surfaces. They are also great if you ever have to take your dog anywhere where there are sharp surfaces that could damage their paws. If you have to walk your dog during the hotter parts of the day, we definitely recommend trying them out.

However, while dog booties are great at protecting your pup’s paws, many dogs will find them uncomfortable. Trying to get the booties on can be a real pain, so your mileage may vary with this solution.

If you are looking for some dog shoes, we recommend having a look at My Busy Dog’s Water Resistant Shoes.

Groom Your Dog

Regular grooming can help to keep your dog cool and comfortable when temperatures rise. While you may think grooming is only for long haired dogs, it can also work wonders for short haired canines as well.

However, don’t cut your dog’s coat too short as it can actually have the opposite effect. The reason for this is because a dog’s coat offers protection against the sun and acts as cooling insulation. Removing too much of the coat will leave them exposed to the sun and unprotected.

Unless you are very experienced grooming dogs, we recommend that you take your pup to a professional groomer. This way they can trim your dog’s coat to the correct length.

Use Paw Protection Wax

While we have never personally used paw protection wax, lots of people recommend it. Paw protection wax like the one from Musher’s Secret is an excellent way to protect your pup’s paws from sand, hot pavements, ice and salt.

The wax not only protects your dog’s paws but also moisturises them and helps heal wounds, along with keeping the paws healthy. Apply the wax before you go out for a walk and it should help keep your dog’s paws protected.

What Should I Bring on Hot Weather Walks?

If you are just going for a short walk around the block, we wouldn’t bring anything extra. For those going a bit further, you should bring some extra supplies just in case you or your dog gets too hot.

As dogs can easily become dehydrated in hot weather you should bring some extra water and a foldable water bowl with you during long walks. Dogs are resilient animals and will keep on walking even when they are severely dehydrated and overdoing it. Giving them a drink regularly and walking in the shade should help to prevent dehydration.

What About Dog Sunscreen?

Us humans are always told to apply sunscreen before heading out in the sun, but what about dogs. While you may think dog sunscreen is a bit of a waste of time, it can help protect your dog from the suns damaging rays.

Dogs that have pale skin or fur are more likely to get sunburnt than those with darker skin and fur. Additionally, areas where the is skin showing are much more susceptible to sunburn.

We recommend this one from Epi-Pet.

Other Things to Bring

Along with the above, we recommend that you bring a towel. A wet towel is an excellent way to cool your dog down if they are getting too hot. If you also have some dog sunblock and a pair of protective dog shoes we recommend that you bring these as well.

Heat Stroke During Walks

Signs of Heat Stroke in Dogs?

Dog fur is excellent at keeping your dog warm when it is cold but can cause problems when the temperature gets too high. This is because, unlike humans, dogs shed excess heat by panting (they also have some sweat glands in their paws that remove a bit of heat as well). While panting is usually very effective, it sometimes isn’t enough.

This can lead to overheating, which can be a serious issue if it is not attended to quickly enough. If you notice that your dog is getting too hot you need to cool them down as soon as possible.

Heat stroke is a form of non-fever hyperthermia that occurs when a dog’s heat-dissipating mechanisms cannot accommodate excessive external heat. It is typically associated with a temperature of 41 degrees Celsius or higher and can lead to multiple organ dysfunction.

If your dog is suffering from heat stroke, you need to watch for the following signs:

  • Excessive panting
  • Dehydration
  • Signs of discomfort or distress
  • Hyper-salivation and vomiting
  • Laboured breathing, Weakness or collapse
  • Tongue colour that is dark red to almost purple
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Increased body temperature – above 103° F (39° C)
  • Reddened gums and moist tissues of the body
  • Production of only small amounts of urine or no urine
  • Vomiting blood
  • Seizures and muscle tremors
  • Wobbly, uncoordinated or drunken gait or movement (ataxia)
  • Unconsciousness in which the dog cannot be stimulated to be awakened

What Are the Causes of Heat Stroke?

There are a number of causes of heat stroke in dogs, including overheating. We have listed some of them below:

  • Excessive heat and humidity from either weather conditions or being enclosed in an unventilated environment (car, room, etc.)
  • Excessive exercise
  • Poisoning from various compounds such as slug and snail bait, and strychnine. These poisonous compounds can lead to seizures which can cause your dog’s body temperature to rise abnormally.
  • Diseases that increase the change of developing hypothermia; such as heart disease, larynx, paralysis of the voice box and muscular related disease
  • Upper airway diseases that inhibit breathing.

What to Do if Your Dog is Suffering from Heat Stroke

It is incredibly important that you act as quickly as possible if your dog is suffering from this condition. You need to recognise the signs and the causes of the issue, whether that is too much heat or some other issue. The first step you need to take is to reduce your dog’s body temperature as soon as possible.

If you are out on a walk and you suspect that your dog is suffering from heat stroke, look for places to cool them down. Try to find some water like a stream, river or lake where you can immerse their body. Additionally, if there is a drinking fountain or tap nearby you can splash some water over you do to cool them down.

Another great way to cool a dog down suffering from heatstroke is to cover them in a wet towel. This will quickly and safely reduce their body temperature.

It is important to only use cool water, not iced or very cold water. While you may think that using very cold water is better, it can actually make the cooling process more challenging for your dog. This is because cold water can cause blood vessels near the surface of the body to constrict. Gradually reducing your dog’s temperature is much better than trying to do it suddenly. This also goes for drinking water as well.

Once your dog’s temperature has been reduced sufficiently, you should take them to the vets as soon as possible. Your vet can examine your dog and ensure that their normal body temperature has been reached, and that no permanent damage has been done.

How to Prevent Heat Stroke from Occurring on Walks

As we wrote earlier in this article, the best way to prevent heat related problems from occurring on walks is to take your dog out during a cooler time of the day. However, there are times when things are completely out of your control. If this is the case, there are some things you can do to make the likelihood of heatstroke occurring much less likely. Check them out below:

Keep your dog hydrated throughout the day – Giving your dog access to fresh cool water at all times during the day will help prevent heat related problems from occurring during walks.

Keep them out of the sun – If your dog has been sitting in the sun all day and then goes for a walk, they will be much more likely to overheat. Try to keep them in a cool environment out of the sun both at home and when they go out for walks.

Cool them down with water – If it is really hot you can try and get your dog in some water. Put a wet towel over them before a walk or purchase a paddling pool that they can play in. If you live near a lake, stream or river you can also start the walk off with a swim.

Make some cold treats – Another great way to cool your dog down before a walk is to give them some cool treats. Flavoured or plain ice cubes are an excellent way to cool your dog down. We love to give our dog’s ice cubes with peas or carrot in them. However, if your dog is suffering from heat stroke do not give them ice cubes. You can read more about giving your dog ice cubes at PetMD.

Wrapping Up Can I Take My Dog for Walks in Hot Weather

The simple answer is yes, you can take your dog for walks when it is hot, but you need to avoid the hottest parts of the day. You need to be able to recognise the signs of an overheating dog and watch out for burnt paws. Always check the temperature of any surfaces you and your dog walk on before going out.

How To Treat Dog Dandruff – Everything You Need To Know

Just like people, dogs can suffer from dandruff. It’s annoying, uncomfortable and can be difficult to get rid of. Dandruff can make a gorgeous dog look bad, especially when you give them a rub down and you notice unsightly white flakes everywhere.

Skin conditions are the most common reasons for veterinary visits and dandruff can be a big part of them. Dandruff can be caused by a wide range of different things that we are going to discuss throughout this article.

If your dog is suffering from dandruff or you suspect they are, we are going to give you all the information you need to know to combat it.

What Is Dandruff

Dandruff is actually caused by a skin condition called seborrhea, which causes flaky skin and greasiness of the hair and skin. It is incredibly common in dogs and can lead to a secondary infection of the skin. Dogs can sometimes smell bad due to the build-up of oil on the hair and skin.

Seborrhea, What’s That?

Seborrhea or seborrheic dermatitis is a skin condition in which the skin’s sebaceous glands produce too much sebum. It often affects the flanks, face and back and causes the itchy, flaky, red skin we often associate with dandruff.

There are a couple of types of seborrhea, seborrhea sicca (dry seborrhea) and seborrhea oleosa (oily seborrhea). Dogs usually suffer from a combination of both types of seborrhea.

In addition to this, dogs can suffer from primary or secondary seborrhea. Secondary seborrhea is the most common, while primary seborrhea is rarer and is usually genetic, so it gets passed down through the family.

What Causes Dandruff in Dogs?

Dandruff can be caused by several different factors in dogs. These causes could be anything from allergens in the environment or the food your dog consumes. Irritants like dust, pollen, household cleaners and possibly even flea saliva can cause your dog to develop dandruff.

Endocrine disorders like hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease are also common causes of dandruff in dogs. If your dog is suffering from a fungal or bacterial skin infection, they can also develop dandruff. However, infections will typically cause dandruff to manifest itself as skin flakes all over the body instead of one area.

  • Allergies – anything from food to environmental reasons
  • Parasites (both internal and external) – ticks, fleas and mange mites
  • Fungal infections – especially yeast infections on the skin
  • Hormonal problems and imbalances – Cushing’s disease, thyroid disease, etc.
  • Environmental factors – pollen, temperature, humidity
  • Obesity
  • Musculoskeletal pain or disease – your dog may not be able to groom or clean themselves properly
  • Dietary problems

Sometimes, the exact cause of dandruff or seborrhea cannot be found (this is named as idiopathic seborrhea).

Below we have gone more in depth about the different causes of dandruff.

Allergies and Environmental Factors That Cause Dandruff in Dogs

Changing seasons bring lots of different changes and challenges for dogs, from dry hot weather, to cold air and allergies in spring.

If your find that your dog’s dandruff problem seems to coincide with decreased humidity and colder temperatures it could simply be a case of dry skin. Additionally, if your dog develops dandruff with the first wave of spring pollen it is probably due to an allergic response.

Shedding caused by seasonal changes can also lead to dandruff. This is because dead fur can build up and lead to poor coat health.

Grooming Problems

Improper grooming can have a major effect on your dog’s coat condition. It is incredibly important to keep your dog clean and well-groomed at all times, as this can help to prevent possible infections or infestations from occurring. Keeping your dog well-groomed also helps to keep their coat nicely lubricated and prevents flaking skin and dryness.

Fleas, Mites and Other Parasites

Fleas are something that all dog owners and dog’s fear. They can be incredibly irritating and may be the cause of a dog’s dandruff problem. Many dogs are allergic to flea saliva and the reaction they have can lead to dandruff, dry skin, itchiness and a whole host of other problems.

Occasionally, dandruff in dogs can be caused by Cheyletiella mites. These mites burrow deep into your canine’s coat and skin to lay their eggs. The mites can cause itchiness, scaling. Dandruff caused by these mites can sometimes be called “walking dandruff”.

Demodex and Sarcoptes scabiei mites can also be the underlying cause of dandruff in dogs. These mites cause demodectic and sarcoptic mange, which causes irritation, itchiness, hair loss and dry skin amongst other things.

Diet

A good diet is essential for dogs. Diets that do not have enough omega-3 fatty acids can cause skin and coat problems like dandruff. Dogs can also be allergic to certain food items, which can lead to dandruff.

The majority of good dog foods will have all the nutrients and vitamins your dog needs to stay fit and healthy. Try to stay away from cheaper dog food products or talk with your vet about what could be best for your dog.

Fungal and Bacterial Infections

Yeast infections of the skin or ringworm are common reasons for dandruff in dogs. Dogs typically develop yeast infections between their toes, in their air canal and around their anus.

Despite its name, ringworm is not an invasion of tiny worms, but actually a fungal infection. It is incredibly contagious and can cause itchiness, poor coat health, skin problems and dandruff.

Illness or Disease

If you find that your dog’s dandruff problem is not caused by any of the above, it could be because they are suffering from a systemic illness like Cushing’s disease, diabetes, thyroid disease, liver disease and kidney disease.

Check out PetMD for more information on Cushing’s disease.

Check for any changes in your dog’s behaviour, like changes in their energy levels, appetite or urination. Your vet should also be able to help you with this one.

Dog Dandruff Signs and Symptoms

Dog dandruff will present itself as either oily, flaky skin or dry, flaky skin, depending on what breed your dog is. The flakes of skin are actually dead skin cells that have stuck together and are falling off.

Dandruff can also cause scratching and itching, and in some cases it can even lead to hair loss or baldness. Some areas of skin can appear thick and bumps, pimples and scabs can also be a sign your dog is suffering from dandruff.

If your dog is experiencing baldness in addition to the flaky skin, you should book them in for a trip to the vets. Hair loss can be a sign that your dog is suffering from a systemic illness like Cushing’s disease or thyroid disease.

What Breeds of Dog Are Most Likely to Develop Dandruff?

Dog breeds that are most likely to develop dandruff can be broken down into two categories. We have outlined them below.

Dog Breeds More Likely to Develop Dry Dandruff
  • Dobermans
  • Dachshunds
  • German Shepherds
  • Irish Setters
Dog Breeds More Likely to Develop Oily Dandruff
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • English Springer Spaniels
  • Basset Hounds
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Sharp-Peis
  • West Highland White Terriers

How Is Dandruff or Seborrhea Diagnosed in Dogs?

Your vet can conduct a number of different tests to diagnose your dog’s dandruff condition. They may conduct a thorough physical examination of your dog, including skin scrapings for parasites. A flea comb can be used to see if your dog is suffering from a flea infestation.

Vets can also take fungal and bacterial cultures of their skin to check for any infections. In addition to these tests they may take blood tests to rule out any allergies, endocrine diseases and dietary or digestive disorders.

Your vet will probably ask you questions about your dog’s behaviour, diet and energy levels, along with the frequency of their urination and drinking. The answers you give them can help put together a picture of your dog’s overall health and condition.

A fecal examination may be required and a biopsy of the skin may be necessary. If all other options have been ruled out, your vet may make a diagnoses of primary (inherited) seborrhea.

How to Cure Dog Dandruff?

Depending on the cause of your dog’s dandruff, treatment can be easy or difficult. There are a range of different treatment methods and your vet may recommend a specific one for the cause of your dog’s dandruff.

It is important to understand what the underlying cause of the dandruff is in order to treat it effectively. For example, if your dog is suffering from some sort of infection, a round of antibiotics may be needed.

However, a simple case of dry skin that causes the dandruff could be treated by a range of different products or methods.

Give Them a Bath

A bath is an excellent way to get your dog clean. You may want to make use of a shampoo that is designed for dogs, and you might even want to try a medicated shampoo. “Dry” dandruff sufferers will benefit from a shampoo that has been formulated with sulphur, systolic acid or iodine.

For those suffering from “oily” dandruff, you can use a shampoo that is formulated with coal tar, benzoyl peroxide or selenium sulphide.

Some dog shampoo products are formulated for both skin types, and can be a great option to treat dandruff. If you find the shampoo product you are using is not having the desired effect, try another one. Getting the right product can be a process of trial and error, however, we have listed two ones we recommend below:

Nootie Medicated Dog Shampoo

Pro Pet Works Natural Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

How Often Should a Dog Be Bathed?

This can be a difficult question to answer, as it really depends on the severity of your dog’s condition. If your dog has normal skin give them a bath about once a month. For dogs with skin conditions or dandruff we recommend washing your dog about once a week, unless specified by your vet. Washing your dog too much can cause dry skin and can actually make the problem worse.

Once you see that they dandruff is starting to disappear and any sores, bumps or scabs seem to be healing, you can reduce the frequency of the bathing.

Groom Them Regularly

In addition to giving your dog a bath, you should be regularly grooming your dog as well. Give them a regular brush and if your dog has a longer coat, make sure it is maintained well (trimming, etc.) You can take your dog to the groomers if you want. Grooming your dog will keep them clean and can help to remove any potential contaminants or allergens. It can also help to stimulate oil production, which gives your dog a nice shine.

Check Their Diet

One of our Labradors, Daisy, had a moderate case of dandruff when she was a younger dog. Ultimately, we discovered that this was her diet when we changed her food.

Dietary issues and what dog food product you give to your dog can have a massive effect on the condition of their coat. Your dog needs to consume the correct amount of vitamins and nutrients to have optimal health.

The first port of call is to look at the food you are feeding your dog. Try and change it for one that is formulated for coat health. Food high in omega-3 helps to promote healthy coat and skin.

Another option is to try a dog supplement, such as zinc and vitamins A and E. Vitamin A and E will help their skin and Zinc can improve their immune system. You can also supplement with fish oil for extra omega-3.

Always make sure that your dog is drinking enough water. If your dog is not consuming enough, look for creative ways to get more water down them. Give them ice cubes with treats inside or try some canned food.

Use a Humidifier

Humidity can be a major cause of dandruff

Natural Treatment for Dog Dandruff

There are a number of different natural treatments you can try. We have covered some of them below:

Rinse with Apple Cider Vinegar

You can use an apple cider rinse to help control your dog’s itching and dandruff problems. Mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar with water, and apply the mixture to your dog’s coat as a rinse or as a spot treatment. If you are spot treating your dog, use a soft cloth and then dab it onto the affected area. Make sure you do not get the mixture into your dog’s eyes or mouth.

Finally, let the solution dry on your dog and repeat every couple of days.

Try a Lime Juice Rinse

Just like apple cider vinegar, lime juice can be used as a rinse to help clear your dog’s dandruff. Once again, you want to combine equal parts of lime juice and water, and rinse your dog with it after they have had a bath. You can also apply it as a spot treatment with a soft cloth.

Soothe with Oatmeal

Oatmeal can be incredibly soothing for irritated and itchy skin. The irritation and constant scratching of certain skin conditions can lead to dandruff, so it is a good idea to try and reduce it. Check out this article on how to make gentle shampoo for your dog.

Try Some Fenugreek Seeds

Fenugreek seeds are another great option to help cure your dog’s dandruff. Soak around 2-3 cups of the seeds overnight, and then make a paste from them in the morning. Apply the paste to your dog’s skin and leave it on there for about one hour. After this, clean the paste off with cool water.

Use Olive and Coconut Oil as a Moisturiser

Both coconut and olive oil can be an effective moisturiser for your dog’s coat and skin. Try mixing coconut oil with water and using it as a rinse. Apply the rinse to your dog and let it set on them for around five minutes. Wash it off like you would do with shampoo and apply it once a week.

Home Remedy Treatment for Dandruff on Dogs

Listerine Mouth Wash

While this may seem like a strange one, it can work. Listerine mouth wash can help relieve itching and flaky skin. This is because it contains Thymol, Menthol and Methy Salicylate, which are all effective at combating fungus or yeast that causes dandruff.

  1. Mix equal parts of Listerine with water
  2. Apply this mixture on the affected area and let it rest for around ten minutes
  3. Give your dog a bath and wash off the Listerine mixture

This will hopefully cure your dog’s dandruff problem quickly and effectively.

Milk of Magnesia

Milk of magnesia has been used to treat seborrheic dermatitis for years. It is perfectly safe for dogs and is great for helping their dandruff problem. There is no mixing with milk of magnesia, simply massage it onto your dog’s skin and allow it to sit for at least thirty minutes. Once thirty minutes is up, simply wash it off.

How to Treat Walking Dandruff on Dogs?

Walking dandruff or Cheyletiellosis is incredibly contagious and the treatment method is slightly different to regular dog dandruff, as the issue is caused by mites. A dog that is suffering from walking dandruff will usually suffer from inflammation, irritation, hair loss and skin sores.

Your dog may need to undergo weekly lime sulphur dips to treat the issue. In addition to this, your vet may recommend that you use pyrethrin shampoos or sprays.

In some cases, flea control medication may be recommended and in more severe cases your vet may prescribe invermectin. The drug is administered orally or subcutaneously, and can be toxic to some breeds of dog.

If your dog is suffering from walking dandruff, you will also have to treat the environment they live in. Wash their bedding and thoroughly clean your house to prevent any further infestations.

Summing Up Dog Dandruff

As you can see, dandruff could be caused by something simple or something complicated. If your dog has dandruff, the first port of call is to work out what the cause is. Dandruff that appears during certain seasons is usually caused by allergies or the weather.

For more complicated cases it is best to contact your vet. They will be able to conduct a number of tests on your dog to work out the underlying cause of the dandruff.

If you have any other methods of dandruff treatment you know, leave them in the comments below.

Now Read: How To Treat Dog Diarrhea – Complete Guide 

How to Keep Your Dog Cool at Night

We all love hot weather, but there is nothing worse than being entangled in a duvet on a hot night. While you can strip off the sheets on your bed, your dog is stuck with their warm coat. Dogs can overheat pretty quickly in hot weather, so what can you do to help them cool down at night?

In this guide we have put together all the information you need to know about cooling a dog down at night. Ignoring heat can lead to a number health complications and possibly even death in extreme circumstances. Before we get into ways to make your dog more comfortable, let’s look at a few different factors that can impact how your dog deals with heat.

Things That Can Impact How Your Dog Deals with Heat

Age and Health

Young puppies, older dogs and those with health conditions are much more likely to feel the effects of heat. This is because they are not as good at regulating their temperature when compared to healthy dogs.

Your Dog’s Breed and Coat

Different breeds are better or worse at dealing with hot weather. Dogs that have longer, thicker coats or those more suited to lower temperatures like Huskies are more likely to struggle in hot weather.

The colour of your dog’s coat can impact on their ability to deal with hotter temperatures as darker colours absorb more heat. However, as we are dealing with cooling a dog down at night, this should not have any impact.

Your Dog’s Heat Tolerance

Some dogs have developed a tolerance to living in hotter climates. If your dog has only experienced cold or mild temperatures and then gets hit by some hot weather, they are more likely to struggle.

Environmental Factors

The environment your dog is in can have a big impact on how hot they get at night. Is your house well ventilated or does it keep the heat in at night? Have you got air conditioning or can you open the windows to let heat out? All these things will impact how well you can cool your dog down at night.

How Do Dogs Dissipate Heat?

Instead of sweating, dogs reduce their body temperate by panting. Dogs do have some sweat glands in the pads of their paws, which help to dissipate heat, but not by much. If panting is not enough, a dog’s body temperature will rise and they can quickly overheat.

Health Concerns for Dogs at Night

Heatstroke and Overheating

Overheating is a major concern in hot weather. Dogs can get too hot and they may not be capable of bringing their body temperature down quickly enough to avoid nasty health complications.

Excessive panting and other signs of discomfort indicate overheating or heatstroke in dogs. Extreme cases can cause vomiting, weakness, seizures and possibly even death. Heatstroke is associated with a body temperature that is higher than 41 degrees Celsius.

Main Causes of Overheating and Heatstroke in Dogs

We have listed some of the main causes of heatstroke and overheating below:

  • Excessive heat and humidity from either weather conditions or being stuck in an environment with no ventilation.
  • Too much exercise.
  • Diseases that increase the chance of developing hypothermia; such as heart diseases, paralysis of the voice box and other muscular related diseases.
  • Any disease or sickness that restricts breathing.
  • Poisoning from various different products or compounds such as weed killers and slug and snail bait. These chemicals can cause seizures which can lead to a rise in body temperature.
How to Treat a Dog with Heatstroke

It is incredibly important to reduce your dog’s body temperature if they are overheating or suffering from heat stroke. You must recognise the signs of overheating and then deal with them in a swift manner.

Try and immerse your dog’s body in cool water (not their head) or spray them with water from either a hose or water bottle. You can also try wrapping your dog in wet towels or using fans to cool them down. If possible, move your dog out of the hot environment and put them in a place that is cooler.

You should not use ice water to cool your dog down quickly as it can actually reduce the body’s ability to cool. Icy cold water can cause blood vessels near the surface of the body to constrict, which can slow down the cooling process. Additionally, drinking water should not be icy cold and never force your dog to drink, only encourage them to do so.

Always take your dog to be examined by a veterinarian if they have suffered from heat stroke. Your vet will be able to confirm that your dog’s normal body temperature has been reached, and that no damage has occurred.

The good thing is that heatstroke is very uncommon at night and is more of a concern during the day. You can read more about heatstroke in dogs here.

How to Keep Your Dog Cool at Night

Keeping your dog cool at night requires you to pay attention to environmental factors. You need to be aware of the temperature both outside and inside where your dog sleeps. There are some things that can’t be changed, but there are still plenty of things you can do to make your dog’s night a bit more comfortable.

Keep the Air Conditioning On

If your house has air conditioning, make sure you leave it on overnight. This will help to keep the room cool and will keep both you and your dog much more comfortable. If the air con doesn’t reach the room in which your dog sleeps, move them to a room that it does (if possible).

For those that don’t have air conditioning, try place a fan in front of where your dog sleeps and leave it on overnight.

Keep Their Water Topped Up

A dog should always have access to plenty of fresh water to drink, especially when it is hot. Dogs can quickly become dehydrated if they do not have access to water, so never leave them without any.

When it is hot we recommend that you provide an additional bowl of water or two, to make sure they never run out. You can also drop a few ice cubes in their bowl or fill it up from cool water from out of the fridge.

Give Them a Cool Surface

When dogs are hot they will naturally find the coolest place to lie down on. Floors that are made from tiles will be cooler than those that have a layer of carpet on them. In addition to this, your dog may not want to sleep on their bed as it may trap more heat.

If you do not have a cool floor to let your dog sleep on, we recommend that you use something like a cooling mat. This cooling mat from The Green Pet Shop is perfect for dogs that get too hot at night.

Move Your Dog Downstairs

If you have a multi-story house and your canine companion sleeps upstairs, you should move them downstairs if possible. They will be a lot cooler and more comfortable than being in a stuffy bedroom.

Purchase a Kiddie Pool for Your Dog

A plastic kiddie pool or dog wading pool filled with water is an excellent way to cool your dog down. Your dog’s body temperature will quickly reduce if they sit in it and they hold more than enough water for them to drink. However, a paddling pool filled with water probably isn’t going to work for dogs that sleep inside. Still, you can get your dog to lie in one before they go to bed to reduce their body temperature.

Give Them a Wet Blanket

Wetting a blanket and letting your dog lie on it is an excellent way of cooling them down. Replace your dog’s regular blanket and a wet towel and let them sleep on it at night. You can also cover your dog with a wet towel to cool them down if they are overheating or suffering from heatstroke.

Groom Your Dog

Regularly brushing your dog can help to remove any excess or old fur, which can trap heat close to the body. If your dog has a longer coat, you may want to consider getting it trimmed for the summer months.

Give Them Some Icy Treats

Dogs love treats and icy ones are an excellent way of getting your dog’s core body temperature down. Freeze some food like carrots or peas in ice cubes and let them have them before bedtime. You can also give your dog a plain ice cube, but don’t do this if they are suffering from heatstroke.

Concluding How to Keep a Dog Cool at Night

Keeping your dog cool when it is hot at night is really about managing environmental conditions and recognising when your dog is starting to overheat. If you are feeling too hot, then your dog is probably feeling the same way.

Now Read: How Much Exercise Do Dogs Need? 

How To Treat Dog Diarrhea – Complete Guide

Diarrhea is not a topic that many people like to talk about, but if you own a dog, chances are you have probably cleaned up the doggie runs more than a few times. It is one of the most common problems dogs face, as they have a penchant for putting almost anything in their mouths, no matter how disgusting it is.

While diarrhea may simply be caused by something bad they have eaten, it can also be a sign of more serious health complications or conditions. If your dog is suffering from regular episodes of the runs, we recommend taking a trip to the vets as leaving it too long can make matters worse.

When it comes to treating diarrhea in dogs, there are a number of things you can do. However, before you even think about trying different treatment options, you need to try and figure out the underlying cause of your dog’s bowel problem.

Today we are going to cover everything you need to know about dog diarrhea and how to treat it. You can never totally prevent diarrhea, but there are some things you can do to limit the frequency of the unpleasant experience.

How Does a Dog’s Digestive System Work?

Before we go into the different causes and treatment options for diarrhea, let’s look at the digestive system of a dog. A dog’s digestive system is of course completely different to a human’s one.

The digestive system of a dog is where good health starts and it is important to keep it working correctly. If your dog’s food is not digested properly, all other parts of the body can pay the price and you will probably be cleaning up a nasty mess.

The digestive system of a dog is responsible for three things:

  • Digestion of food
  • Nutrient absorption
  • Eliminating or preventing dangerous and toxic substances from getting into the body

The Different Parts of a Dog’s Digestive System

A dog’s digestive system starts at the mouth. Food is broken up into smaller pieces by the teeth and then lubricated by the saliva. Compared to humans, a dog’s saliva is designed to kill bacteria rather than break it down. This is why they can tolerate different items that would make humans incredibly sick.

The food then passes down into the esophagus, which is the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. It is a muscle that contracts and moves in wavelike motions to push food down to the stomach.

Food rapidly passes through the esophagus and then enters the stomach in chunks, where most of the digestion happens. The stomach works similarly to a cement mixer, grinding, mixing and liquefying the food that enters it. A dog’s stomach acids are about three times stronger than a human’s one, at about 1 to 2 PH. This is so they can digest food that is pretty much completely intact.

The next stop for the food is the small intestine. This is essentially a long, hollow tube and it is about four times the length of your dog’s body. There are openings within the small intestine that let in digestive juices from the gallbladder and pancreas.

The main job of the small intestine is to absorb nutrients from the digested food into the bloodstream.

Finally, the digested food enters the large intestine, also known as the colon. This has the important job of saving water and mineral electrolytes from the food that has gone through the digestive system. It is incredibly important for a dog’s hydration levels. The rest of the unused food is turned into poop, and we all know where that goes!

In normal circumstances the time that food takes to pass through a dog’s digestive system should be under ten hours. What comes out the other end should be firm and well-formed.

The Symptoms of Dog Diarrhea

  • Straining to go to the toilet
  • Possible listlessness
  • Possible anorexia
  • Depression
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • More water in feces than normal
  • Possible increase in the volume of feces
  • Toilet accidents
  • Vomiting
  • Blood or mucus in the feces

Major Warning Signs for Dog’s with Diarrhea

If your dog is experiencing any of the following, you should seek the advice of your local veterinarian:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Abdominal pain (groaning, bloating, panting rapidly, yelping or avoidance when their tummy is touched).
  • Diarrhea that lasts more than 48 hours (This is especially the case for younger and older dogs, or those with chronic diseases).
  • Lethargy
  • Blood in their stool or black, tarry stools

Common Causes of Dog Diarrhea

There are a whole host of different things that can upset a well-balanced digestive system and cause diarrhea. Some things are more serious and can be life-threatening, while others like eating excessive amounts of grass are pretty harmless.

We’ve listed a number of different causes and reasons for the dog runs below:

Change in Diet – sometimes, the simple act of changing your dog’s diet or adding something new into can cause diarrhea. Your dog may take a few days to adjust to the new food and proteins, which is why many dog-food manufacturers recommend that you introduce food slowly. If the diarrhea continues for an extended period of time, you may want to consider going back to the original food you were feeding them.

Garbage Gut – Dogs have a habit of eating everything and anything. This desire to munch down on even the most disgusting things can lead to what’s known as “garbage gut” or “garbage toxicosis”. Try to avoid letting your dog eat out of date food products, rubbish or things like poo.

Allergies – Dogs can have allergies to a number of different food items. If you are introducing new food to your dog, try a little bit first to see what happens. If your dog has an allergic reaction you will know about it pretty quickly, but some food may simply make their bowels slightly irritated.

Dangerous Foods, Plants and Other Substances – We’ve all heard about how food items like chocolate are dangerous to dogs, and a sign that your dog may have ingested some is diarrhea. Plants and other dangerous substances can cause diarrhea in dogs along with a whole host of other problems. If you suspect that your dog has ingested something toxic, you should take them to your veterinarian immediately.

For more information on dangerous food for dogs, check out our “Ultimate Guide to What Dogs Can Eat” article.  

Food Intolerance – In some cases, certain food items will simply not agree with your dog. You need to find out which ones these are and avoid them.

Parasites – Dogs can suffer from a number of different parasites, especially if they are younger, older or weaker. Parasites can cause your dog to get the runs and other issues may arise like skin problems as well. We’ve listed some common parasites that can cause diarrhea in dogs below:

  • Hookworms
  • Whipworms
  • Roundworms
  • Coccidia
  • Giardia

Bacterial Infections – Did you know that, on average, one gram of dog poo contains 23 million fecal coliform bacterial? That’s a significant number of bugs that have the potential to cause an upset stomach and diarrhea.

Dogs can suffer from anything from salmonella to campylobacter, which can cause extreme cases of diarrhea. Additionally, these bugs can be passed onto humans, so if you are dealing with a dog with a bacterial infection, be extra careful. To diagnose these bugs, a fecal analysis will have to be conducted.

Viral Infections – Parvovirus, along with other viruses such as distemper and coronavirus can cause extreme diarrhea in dogs. Out of these three, parvovirus is the deadliest, with signs appearing 2 – 5 days after infection. Some of these signs include life-threatening diarrhea and vomiting. Vaccination is essential to maintaining good health in dogs.

Distemper is another virus that can cause diarrhea. In addition to the runs, your dog may experience sticky eyes, coughing, vomiting and a fever.

Coronavirus is the least deadly out of the three we have listed and is more common in puppies due to their week immune system. However, provided your dog doesn’t become dehydrated, they should be perfectly fine.

Swallowing an Indigestible Foreign Body – We only know about this one too well. Some dogs seem to have a penchant for eating items that will block up their bowels and we seem to have one of them. If you have a sneaking suspicion that your dog has got something stuck in their tummy, look for any missing items or broken toys around the house. What caused one of our dog’s blockage was the threads from a rope tug toy. You will probably also find that your dog vomits and loses their appetite in addition to any diarrhea they may experience.

Stress or Upset – If your dog has been through a traumatic event or something has changed in their life recently, they may develop diarrhea.

Antibiotics and Other Medication – Different forms of medication and antibiotics can have some pretty nasty and messy side effects. If your dog has just started taking medication it may be the cause of their diarrhea. If this is the case, contact your vet about possible options.

Illness or Diseases – If your dog is suffering from something like kidney, hearth or liver disease, some types of cancer, colitis, or inflammatory bowel disease, it may be the cause of their diarrhea. These types of illnesses and diseases need to be discussed with your veterinarian and may require prescription medication.

A Bit More About Antibiotic-Induced Diarrhea?

As we said above, the runs can be caused by antibiotics and this is often called acute diarrhea as it is sudden and tends to last for a couple of days to a couple of weeks.

Why Do Antibiotics Cause Diarrhea?

Just like humans, dogs can experience side effects when they are taking antibiotics. Antibiotic-induced diarrhea occurs because antibiotics not only kill off the bad bacteria causing the infection, but they can also kill of off the good bacteria on your dog’s digestive tract. The reduction in these beneficial bacteria can cause the balance of bacteria in your dog’s digestive system to become unbalanced, which can cause diarrhea.

Do All Dogs Experience Diarrhea from Antibiotics?

No, not all dogs will experience diarrhea when they are on antibiotics. There are a number of factors that will determine whether your dog will experience diarrhea from them. These include:

  • Their overall health – Some dogs have a weaker immune system and “stomach” than others. These canines are more likely to experience diarrhea from the use of antibiotics.
  • The strength and type of Antibiotic – Not all antibiotics are created the same, and different brands, types and strengths can have different side effects. Some antibiotics are much stronger than others and will be able to kill off bacteria in a shorter period of time. These stronger antibiotics are more likely to result in an upset tummy and diarrhea as a result of that. Additionally, the dosage and amount they take in a day can have an effect on their stomach.
  • The length of treatment – A dog that is exposed to antibiotics for an extended period of time will potentially have more side effects. This is because there is a higher risk that the beneficial bacteria are killed off as well.

Should I Stop Giving My Dog Antibiotics?

It is always recommended that a patient finishes their course of antibiotics in order for the treatment to work. However, there is always the question on whether to continue using antibiotics if they are causing diarrhea. The problem is that stopping the treatment can mean that the infection is not fully cured, but continuing can cause your dog to become dehydrated and suffer from malnutrition.

For those with dogs that are suffering from severe antibiotic-induced diarrhea, it is always recommended to consult with your vet. They may be able to prescribe a course of anti-diarrheal medication that is used in conjunction with the antibiotics. Additionally, you vet may recommend switching to another type of antibiotic that is easier on the stomach.

In some unfortunate situations, there is no other option that can be used other than the antibiotics prescribed. In this case, your vet will assess the overall condition and will either recommend managing the diarrhea problem or ceasing the antibiotic treatment completely.

What Should Dog Poo Look Like?

It’s not something many of us like to inspect, but it is important to know what a healthy stool looks like. You need to grade the poop against a set of criteria, called the four C’s; colour, consistency, content and coating.

Colour

A dog’s stool should be chocolate-brown in colour, but may have some minor deviations in colour due to diet, hydration or dyes in their food. The reason for the colour is because the gallbladder releases bile to help breakdown food. Bilirubin is a pigment in the bile and it effects the colour of a stool.

You should not see any major deviations from the chocolate-brown colour. If you do, it could be a sign that your dog’s health is suffering. Let’s look at some abnormal colour patterns in a dog’s stool:

  • Yellow or grey stools can indicate problems with the liver, pancreas, or gallbladder.
  • Red streaks are indicative of bleeding in the lower digestive tract
  • Black stools are a sign that there is bleeding high up in the digestive tract.

Consistency

Interestingly, some vets use a number grading system to score the consistency of a dog’s stool. This poo rating system starts at 1, which is very hard, and goes to 7, which is more puddle like.

The perfect poo is rated at 2, is caterpillar in shape and feels like Play-Doh when squeezed. Stools that are not formed properly are a sign that the large intestine is not re-absorbing water correctly. Hard stools are a sign of dehydration and may be painful to pass for your dog.

If your dog passes the odd super-soft or super-hard stool it should not be a cause for concern, especially if they are completely normal in their behaviour. If the problem persists for more than a day, you should contact your local veterinarian to get their opinion.

Content

Finding out what’s inside a dog’s poo isn’t the nicest job. The idea of dissecting a dog’s stool is vomit inducing for some people, but it can give you quite a bit of information about your dog’s health. A dog’s stool should look about the same on both the inside and out, but you may notice a few abnormal things about it:

  • Foreign material or objects – Dogs love to eat all sorts of things and you may find the leftovers in their stools. Bits of socks, little pieces of toys, rocks, and other non-food items are all commonly found in a dog’s stool. If you suspect your dog has eaten something bad, taking a look at their poo is a great way of finding out whether it has passed through.
  • Worms – Tiny rice-shaped tapeworm segments and long and skinny roundworms can be found in your dog’s stool. Check fresh stools for worms as older samples that have been left outside may have little creates that weren’t originally there.
  • Fur – If your dog’s stools have big clumps of fur in them it can be a sign of over-grooming. This is typically caused by stress, skin disease, allergies or even boredom.

Coating

A dog’s poo should not have a coating over it. Bowel inflammation or problems often lead to a coating of mucous on a dog’s stool. If the poo leaves a trail on the grass or ground after you pick it up, it is indicative of bowel issues.

If you notice any small streaks of red blood, you should keep a close eye on your dog. A single streak is probably okay, but any more than that and you should contact your veterinarian.

How Often Should a Dog Poo?

A dog should be going for a number two at least once a day. If your dog is going a bit more that is perfectly normal. However, if your dog is doing small amounts with straining, several times in an hour, this could be a sign that their large bowel is inflamed.

In addition to health problems, the amount a dog poos can be effected by the amount they have eaten, the individuality of the dog and any medication they are on.

Dehydration Caused by Diarrhea in Dogs

Dehydration from diarrhea is a big problem and every dog owner should learn the signs of how to check for it. You first need to know your dog’s normal condition before assessing them for dehydration.

Check Their Gums

The gums of your dog are an excellent place to start if you want to check for dehydration. A dog’s gums should be solid and shiny with wetness. The gums should automatically fill back up with blood if you push on them.

Remember to check your dog’s gums before they get sick, so you know what healthy ones look like. You can then compare them if you suspect your dog is sick.

Check Their Skin

If you pinch your skin and then let go, it should go back to its original shape (if it doesn’t, book yourself into a doctor now). This is exactly the same for dogs. The liquids in a dog’s body help to maintain skin elasticity.

To check for this, grasp the skin on your dog’s neck and then let go. It should immediately return back to its original position on your dog’s neck. If it doesn’t and it maintains a tent-like shape, your dog is dehydrated.

Dehydration requires immediate action and you should take your dog to the vets immediately. If you are unable to, you must get liquids into them as soon as possible. This can be difficult if your dog is not interested in eating or drinking, so you must force it into them.

You can use a syringe to get liquids into your dog. Place the syringe at the back of your dog’s mouth, near the top of their throat. If your dog is struggling to swallow, gently massage their throat, which will cause a natural reaction of swallowing.

How to Treat Dog Diarrhea?

Now that we have covered all that, let’s look at how you can fix your canine’s pooing problem. Treatment will ultimately depend on the cause of your dog’s diarrhea, so you find to find that first. We have given you some of the common causes of diarrhea in dogs earlier in this article, but we still recommend getting your vet’s advice before you start trying to treat them.

For those with dogs that are very young, old, or have pre-existing health conditions, you should definitely call your veterinarian. Diarrhea can be severely debilitating for those dogs, even when it appears to be relatively mild. You should also see your vet if your dog is experiencing other problems including; vomiting, streaks of blood in their stools, dark and tarry stools, lethargy, pain or even depression.

If your dog is otherwise healthy, we have created a list below of some things you can do to help them.

Make Sure They Have Plenty of Water

Diarrhea can quickly cause a dog to become dehydrated. Always ensure that your canine has access to plenty of fresh, clean water and encourage them to drink.

If you need to, you can add diluted chicken or beef broth to their water to encourage them to drink. Diluted Pedialyte can also be used to help a dehydrated dog as well. The last thing you can do is to give your dog a few ice cubes. They may be more willing to munch down on ice cubes than drink water, especially if you put a few treats in them.

Try a Fast

For dogs suffering from diarrhea that have only vomited a couple of times, try and withhold their food for around 12 hours. Make sure you provide them with small amounts of water frequently while you are doing this.

Withholding food for a period of time can help to clear the cause of the upset and allow the gastrointestinal tract to settle. However, if your dog is not strong or healthy enough for fasting, it can lead to further complications. For this reason, we do not recommend fasting for puppies or elderly dogs, who need the nutrients.

Once your dog has finished their fast, you can slowly reintroduce food into their diet.

Give Them Some Rice Water

Boil high-quality rice in a large amount of water and then remove the grains. You should be left with a creamy white soup that you can give to your dog. To make it a bit tastier, you can add a bit of chicken broth or baby food.

Rice water will help get liquids into your dog and can prevent them from getting dehydrated.

Try a Diet of Chicken and Rice

A plain diet of boiled chicken (no bones or skin) and rice is excellent for dogs suffering from diarrhea. For dogs that have simply got diarrhea, you can try and change their diet immediately. If your dog is experiencing vomiting, you can still feed them some chicken and rice, but you should wait at least six hours after they have stopped before feeding them.

You can continue to feed chicken and rice to your dog in small quantities every two or three hours. Over time, gradually increase the amount of food you are feeding them each meal, and lengthen the time between meals.

Add a Bit of White Rice to Your Dog’s Diet

If your dog is suffering from a light case of diarrhea, you may not need to completely change their diet to something like chicken and rice. Simply adding a small amount of rice to their regular diet can help harden up their stools. It also makes a great healthy treat for your dog.

Feed Your Dog Some Pumpkin

Pumpkin is one of life’s superfoods and it can really help a dog with diarrhea (we can attest to this). It contains a load of soluble fibre, which is excellent for slowing down your dog’s digestion system and helps absorb more water.

You can feed your dog roasted, canned or pureed pumpkin, as long as no extra ingredients are added to it. Diggen Your Dog offers a specially formulated pumpkin powder for dogs, which you can check out here.

If you are wondering how much you should give your dog, a couple of teaspoons of pumpkin puree or a couple of small pieces should do the trick. However, remember that too much pumpkin can actually make the problem worse.

Read more about the benefits of pumpkin for dogs here.

Give Them a Boiled Potato

A boiled, skinned white potato is about as plain as you can get, which makes it excellent for dogs with diarrhea. They are perfect for helping to settle upset stomachs and provide energy to weakened dogs. You can even mash them up to make it even easier for your dog to eat.

Try a Probiotic

Probiotics can help repopulate your dog’s digestive system with healthy bacteria. Additionally, there is growing evidence that probiotics boost the immune system in the digestive tract and throughout the body.

Probiotics are often found in food such as yoghurt, however, you can also purchase probiotic supplements from a health food store or your veterinarian. Remember that not all probiotics are created equal and can even be a waste of money. You need to select a probiotic that is stable through the manufacturing process and has got a long shelf life.

We recommend Pet Ultimates Probiotics for Dogs.

If your dog is on other medication, probiotics can still be given to them, just not at the same time. Probiotics must be used consistently to improve your dog’s condition, and a canine with an acute problem will likely see faster results than one with a chronic problem. Take a look at this article for more information on probiotics for dogs.  

Take a Look at Over-the-Counter Medication

Medication that is designed for humans can be used to help a dog with diarrhea. However, you should always use these with caution and consult with your veterinarian before giving them to your dog.

Change Their Normal Dog Food

Sometimes, a dog’s normal biscuits or food are the cause of their diarrhea problems. Changing their food to a different blend or brand can cure the problem. Additionally, some manufacturers offer foods that help sooth stomach problems. You may need to buy these from your veterinarian or online.

The Simple Natural Limited Ingredient dog food from Wellness is a great option for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

How To Prevent Dog Diarrhea

There is no surefire way to completely prevent your dog from getting diarrhea, but there are some things you can do to help. Try to keep your dog away from stray dogs, old discarded food and always make sure they are up to date with their vaccines. Always take your dog to the vets for regular check-ups and if you think something is wrong, act quickly.

Additionally, always feed your dog high-quality food and try not to change their food too much, unless it is due to allergies. If you do change their diet, slowly introduce the new food.

The last prevention method is to always watch out for anything that could become stuck in your dog’s digestive system. Foreign objects that get stuck in your dog are a major issue that we only know too well. If a toy is starting to fall apart or is not tough enough for your dog, we recommend getting rid of it.

Wrapping Up This Guide to Curing Dog Diarrhea

Curing dog diarrhea fast is difficult and it will depend entirely on what is causing the problem. For light to mild cases of diarrhea, we have listed some treatment methods above. If your dog is suffering from a more severe case of diarrhea, it is always best to contact your vet.

Remember to always contact your vet if your dog is experiencing the following:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea that lasts more than 48 hours
  • Lethargy
  • Blood in their stool or black, tarry stools
  • If they have eaten a foreign body and are experiencing diarrhea

As a dog owner, you will almost certainly experience at least one (usually many more) episodes of diarrhea from your canine companion. A single episode should not worry you too much, but if it continues it can be a sign of larger health complications.

Now Read: The Ultimate Guide to Dog Skin Conditions and Diseases 

Why Do Dogs Sneeze?

You’ve probably noticed your dog sneezing at some point. While this can be entertaining and cute when it comes out of nowhere, it can be worrying if your dog continues to sneeze. If your dog’s sneezing has you worried, you are probably wondering if you should take them to the vets and what you can do to get them back to their healthy and happy self. In this article, we have put together all the information you need to know about sneezing dogs and how to help them.

What Is a Sneeze?

Most of us see sneezing as a sign of sickness or poor health, which is true in some circumstances, but not all. Sneezing is actually a method that the body uses to rid itself of unwanted material and to keep itself healthy. A sneeze is a reaction to “bad” particles in the nose canal.

Sneezes are essentially involuntary contractions that push air from the lungs through the mouth and nose. They are not only caused by bad particles, but also anything that irritates the mucus membrane that is inside the nasal passage.

The occasional sneeze is not a problem, however, continuous sneezing for an extended period of time can be a sign of other health complications. Additionally, if your dog is acting distressed or out of character while sneezing, it may be best to contact your veterinarian.

What to Look for in a Dog Sneeze?

Sneezing is perfectly normal for dogs and humans, but excessive amounts of it can be a sign of bigger issues. We always recommend that you seek veterinary help if you think that your dog’s sneezing problem is the result of sickness or underlying health issues.  There are a number of different things to watch out for that can help you determine the cause and severity of your dog’s condition including:

Breathing Problems

Obstruction or inflammation of a dog’s nasal airways can cause sneezing, and it is typically a reaction to a medical condition. Most of the time, these conditions are not serious at all, and can be similar to the common cold found in humans. However, some conditions can be a bit more serious and may require veterinary assistance. Minor inflammation of the airways can usually be treated with over-the-counter medication.

Bleeding

If you notice bleeding from your dog’s nose, you should seek advice and treatment from a veterinarian. Bleeding is not usually caused by constant sneezing, but can increase the frequency of it. A bleeding nose could be the sign of more serious health problems.

Discharge

Yellow or green discharge in addition to your dog’s sneezing is most likely caused by an underlying health condition. Your dog may experience discharge from their eyes, nose or mouth and it can signal a wide range of different issues. You should seek the advice of your vet if the discharge continues for more than 24 hours.

Swelling

Swelling or a puffy face can be scary for dog owners. Many different things can cause a dog’s face to swell, from inspect or animal bites to allergic reactions. In addition to a swollen face, your dog may also sneeze as well. If you notice any swelling you should monitor your dog closely. You should take your dog to the vets if the swelling increases or their condition worsens. Most reactions to animal or insect bites should subside after a couple of hours.

Common Causes of Sneezing in Dogs

Just like with humans, there are a number of different things that can cause sneezing in dogs. Let’s look at some of them below:

Allergies

While dogs typically react differently to allergens than humans, some of them can cause canines to sneeze. Seasonal allergens such as pollen are a likely cause of your dog’s sneezing. If your dog’s sneezing problems line up with spring or summer, an allergic reaction to pollen is probably the cause.

Sneezing caused by seasonal allergies will usually last about two to four week. Your dog may also have watery eyes and they may chew their paws and scratch themselves excessively.

If you would like to read more about seasonal allergies in dogs, check out our guide to dog hay fever.

Upper Airway Obstruction

In some cases, a dogs sneezing can be caused by an upper airway obstruction. This is similar to humans who snore severely and suffer from sleep apnea. Any excess tissue that is located in the upper airway can lead to an obstruction that causes a dog to sneeze.

An obstruction may be caused from any number of things; including foreign bodies, cancer or polyps in the nasal passage. However, the most common cause of obstruction in the upper airways is Brachycephalic Syndrome, which is an airway obstruction condition that is usually found in breeds such as Boxers, Bulldogs, Pugs. This is because they have pushed-in snouts that can become easily blocked. The airway blockage can lead to sneezing, snorting, and snoring.

Foreign Bodies in The Nasal Passage

A “foreign body” in your dog’s nose is essentially something that should not be there. Some dogs love to dig or sniff the ground obsessively, which can lead to foreign objects such as soil, dust or grass getting up into their nasal passage.

This causes your dog to sneeze as the inside of their nasal passage is lined with tiny hairs that are super sensitive. Sneezing is the body’s way of trying to expel the foreign object and it works very effectively. Occasionally, medical intervention is required as sneezing just isn’t enough to remove the foreign object.

If a foreign object is located in your dog’s nose, you may notice them sneezing, pawing at their nose and possibly even nose bleeds. Your dog may also have slightly different breathing and there could be a lump or bulge on one side of their face or snout.

Foxtails

Foxtails are small, spiked balls of pain and are commonly found in places like California. In late spring to early summer, Foxtail plant heads go brown and dry, and then spread across the landscape. They are particular attracted to dogs and can cause all sorts of problems. You will often find Foxtails in your dog’s fur, embedded into their paws, in their ears and up their nose.

Foxtails can go far into your dog’s nostrils, making them very difficult to remove. If your dog starts sneezing uncontrollably all of a sudden, then it could be caused by a Foxtail in their nose. At this point you should seek out help from your veterinarian, as it will be incredibly difficult for you to remove it.

Nasal Mites (Pneumonyssoides Caninum)

Nasal mites are microscopic bugs that make themselves at home inside your dog’s nasal passage. They can cause terrible itching in your dog’s nose, which could be the reason your dog is sneezing excessively. The mites are so incredibly irritating that they can even cause nosebleeds and chronic nasal discharge.

It is almost impossible to prevent your dog from getting nasal mites, as they are often found in places where your dog loves to put their snout (dirt, holes, etc.). They can also contract nasal mites off other infected dogs.

Nasal mites are identified by taking a nasal swab and putting it under a microscope. If you suspect that your dog has nasal mites, it is best to take them to the vets immediately, as they will be able to run a swab test for you and select the best treatment method.

Infections or Diseases

Occasionally, sneezing in canines can be a sign of more serious health complications. There is a wide range of different diseases and infections that produce sneezing as a symptom. Diseases and infections that effect or are located in the upper respiratory system, like Kennel Cough, are the main culprits. Dogs that are suffering from upper respiratory infections will usually cough as well as sneeze.

An infection caused by the opportunistic Aspergillus fungus can also cause sneezing. It is believed that a nasal Aspergillus infection is contracted when there is direct contact with the fungus through the nose and sinus. Symptoms other than sneezing include pain and bleeding, possible discharge from the nose and visible swelling. Some other infections, like the distemper virus, can not only cause sneezing, but can also be deadly.

Additionally, dental problems such as an infected tooth or root can be a cause of sneezing in dogs as well. This is because the third upper premolar has roots very close to the nasal passage. An infection around this area can lead to sneezing and nasal drainage.

While many infections are short, some can be more serious. If your dog continues to sneeze for an extended period of time, you should contact your vet to determine the main cause and get a treatment plan sorted.

Nasal Tumours

While the word tumour sounds pretty scary, nasal tumours are actually pretty common, especially in dogs with larger snouts, like Irish Wolfhounds or Collies. Nasal tumours are often found in dogs over the age of eight and second-hand tobacco smoke has been identified as a significant cause of them in dogs. These tumours can obstruct a dog’s nasal passage and can cause them to sneeze.

While most tumours do not turn into cancer, they can continuously grow, which can cause your dog to sneeze more frequently. In addition to sneezing, a dog that has a nasal tumour may also experience bloody discharge from their nose. Tumours can grow incredibly slow, so always keep an eye on your dog if you sense something is up.

Any dog that is suffering from a bloody nose should be taken to a veterinarian for a check-up. Your vet will be able to determine the cause of the bloody nose and will be able to recommend a treatment plan. Unfortunately, surgery on the nasal command can be difficult, but your vet may be able to recommend something else.

The Vacuum

Interestingly, vacuum cleaners can be the cause of a dogs sneezing. When you turn a vacuum on, it blasts out clouds of fine dust into the environment. Dogs (and even humans) with sensitive noses can react to this.

Household Cleaners and Irritants

Household cleaners and irritants like cigarette smoke can trigger sneezing in dogs (you can read more about the effects of smoking on pets here). Canine’s noses are incredibly sensitive to different products and items that we use around the house. Try and match up your dog’s sneezing with the product or item you are using.

For example, does your dog start sneezing when you use a particular cleaner? Or is it caused by dust build-up in your house? Work out what is causing your dog to sneeze, and try to limit their exposure to it. This may mean putting them outside when you are using a cleaning product.

Excess Weight and Obesity

Dogs who have packed on a few too many pounds tend to display the same symptoms as those with an upper airway obstruction. They will sneeze and snort, and you will probably here them snore as well. If your dog is overweight, talk to your vet about a diet plan for them.

Reverse Sneezing

You are probably wondering what reverse sneezing is. Well, it is more of a honking sound rather than the normal “ahh-choo” sound. It is not really a sneeze at all, but it has a technical term of mechanosensitive aspiration reflex.

Reverse sneezing is actually quite a common occurrence in dogs, especially in smaller breeds and brachycephalic breeds such as Lhasa Apsos, Shih Tzus, and Pugs. The sound of a reverse sneeze can be alarming for dog owners. This is because it may sound like your dog is suffering from an asthma attack, struggling to breath or choking.

While a reverse sneeze can be worrying, it should only last a couple of minutes and they are not life threatening. We only recommend that you see a vet if your dog is experiencing repeated reverse sneezing episodes. They should be able to tell you the cause of the problem.

Anticipation or Excitement

As crazy as it seems, your dog’s sneezing may simply be caused by anticipation or excitement. Many dogs, especially small ones, get so excited that they sneeze. This may simply be the anticipation for a treat, a walk, or to see you. Our two black Labs love to snort and sneeze when we come home or when we take them to the dog park. Not all sneezing is bad!

Home Treatment for Dog Sneezing

For dogs that suffer from frequent sneezing or snorting, or those that have had a change in their sneezing pattern, we recommend that you seek veterinary advice. For less serious cases, there are a few things you can do to make your dog a bit more comfortable.

  • Confine your dog – Keep your dog confined to a smaller area. This will allow you to monitor your dog’s behaviour easily and will prevent them spreading any contagious diseases or bugs (if they have any).
  • Avoid too much exercise – You should avoid taking your dog on long walks or to the park. Too much exercise can worsen the condition and interaction with other dogs may spread the problem.
  • Take their temperature – If your dog is reading above about 38 degrees Celsius (101 Fahrenheit) you should seek out the advice of your veterinarian.
  • Avoid using irritants around your dog – As we said earlier, if your dog reacts to certain chemicals or irritants, try to limit their exposure to them. This may mean putting your dog outside when you are cleaning the house or doing the vacuuming.
  • Avoid potential allergens – This is one of those difficult ones. It is impossible to avoid all allergens, but if your dog is allergic to something, try to remove it from their environment.
  • Learn your dog’s normal behaviour – Knowing how your dog normally behaves can help when problems arise. Think of things like how often do they sneeze? What are their energy levels like? And how do they react to the environment around them.

What Your Veterinarian May Do

If your dog’s condition is serious enough to warrant a trip to the vets, or you are just worried about them, here’s a few things they may do during an examination.

  • Look at your dog’s history – Most vets will ask you a few questions about your dog to understand their medical history and behaviour. They may also look up any previous information about your dog’s medical health. They may ask you questions like when did you first notice the sneezing? Have there been any changes? Is your dog showing signs of any other symptoms?
  • Conduct a physical examination – As there can be many possible causes of sneezing, your vet will examine your dog’s entire body as part of the assessment process.
  • Order laboratory testing – A blood test is a common occurrence in situations like these. Blood and other laboratory testing can help identify different causes, diseases or infections. They can also help determine whether your dog is allergic to anything.
  • Conduct X-rays and other imaging – If your vet suspects that there could be an obstruction, tumour or foreign body, they may conduct an X-ray. They may also carry out imaging if your dog is suffering from brachycephalic syndrome.
  • Carry out a visual examination under sedation or anaesthesia – A thorough visual examination may require the vet to anesthetise your dog. They may also take tissue examples as well for microscopic evaluation or use tools to check the upper respritory tract.
  • Recommend treatment – Depending on the cause of the sneezing and what the results from tests show, your vet may recommend some treatment.

Summing Up Dog Sneezing

As you can see, the reason for sneezing in dogs can be varied. There are lots of different things that cause sneezing and treatment can be simply or complicated. Light sneezing is perfectly normal for dogs, but we always recommend that you see a veterinarian if the condition is worsening or you believe it is caused by an underlying health condition.

Now Read: The Ultimate Guide To Dog Skin Conditions and Diseases

How To Treat Dog Eczema Fast

Eczema is an irritating and itchy inflammation of the skin that causes dogs to chew, lick and scratch their skin. If you have ever experienced eczema yourself or know somebody that has it, you probably already understand how annoying and irritating it can be. Your dog experiences these same irritations, so you need to treat the condition as soon as possible.

The skin condition comes in two forms; wet eczema and dry eczema. Wet eczema results in moist discharge from the affected area, while dry eczema usually causes dry, flaky skin that can be wrinkled. While these conditions are slightly different in appearance they will both cause severe itchiness and irritation.

Dogs will respond to eczema by scratching, chewing and licking it, which can cause self-inflicted wounds to appear. These wounds will be open to bacteria that can cause secondary infections. Additionally, due to the constant licking, biting and scratching dogs may experience hair/fur loss and matted coats.

What Causes Eczema In Dogs?

There are a number of different reasons why dogs develop eczema. The vast majority of eczema cases in dogs are caused by atopic dermatitis (atopy). This is an allergic reaction that causes the immune system to abnormally react to various substances. The result of this reaction is inflammation and eczema. Dogs that are sensitive to flea bites can often develop eczema. Below we have listed some of the many other reasons dogs may develop eczema.

  • Extreme weather conditions
  • Exposure to chemicals, plants and other substances that may be irritating to your dog
  • Excessive licking, scratching or chewing
  • Impacted anal sacs or anal sac disease
  • Allergies to food
  • Mites and parasites
  • Bacterial, fungal or viral infections
  • Deficiency in much needed vitamins and minerals
  • Contact dermatitis

Are Certain Breeds More Likely To Develop Eczema?

Yes, some breeds are more likely to develop eczema. Breeds such as Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds and Chinese Shar Peis are more prone to developing the skin condition. But why are these breeds more likely to get eczema?

German Shepherds eczema typically starts on their rump, with the primary cause thought to be fleas. However, the initial irritation can also be due to impacted anal glands. Golden Retrievers on the other hand usually develop the condition under their ears, on the side of their face. The Shar Pei’s wrinkled skin makes the breed more likely to develop eczema.

What Are The Symptoms of Dog Eczema?

Eczema symptoms in canines can vary depending on whether the condition is dry or wet eczema. The symptoms of eczema can often resemble other conditions symptoms, such as the mange or normal allergies. For this reason, it is important to get the advice of your veterinarian as they can determine the cause and tell you what the condition is. Eczema will usually worsen as your dog licks, chews and bites the affected. We have created a list of some of the possible symptoms that are associated with eczema in dogs.

  • Scratching, chewing, licking and biting of the skin
  • Severe itchiness and irritation
  • Hot spots
  • Rash or redness around the affected area
  • Dogs may rub themselves against furniture or other surfaces to relieve irritation
  • In pain
  • Alopecia
  • Thickened skin
  • Discharge around the affected area
  • Moist and matted hair
  • Scaly or crusty skin
  • Discoloured skin
  • Lesions
  • Sores or open wounds
  • Secondary infection

Diagnosing Eczema In Dogs

To help your veterinarian develop and accurate diagnosis it is extremely important to give them a good picture of your dog’s condition, lifestyle, living arrangements and any medical problems. For example, a dog that loves to swim in the sea on a regular basis may start to develop eczema. This information is vital to a correct diagnoses and is important for a vet to know.

By telling your vet everything, including when the condition started, they should be able to work out what possible changes or environmental factors have caused the eczema. Once you understand the cause of the condition you can begin to treat it.

How To Treat Dog Eczema?

As we wrote above, treating dog eczema starts with identifying the underlying cause of the condition. For most dogs with eczema this means that the appropriate flea, tick, mite or parasite treatment is used. In other cases, such as eczema caused by food allergies the allergen must be removed from your dog’s diet. Other irritants like chemicals, household cleaners and other products may need to be eliminated from your dog’s environment as well, especially if they are a suspected cause.

If your dog is suspected to be suffering from food allergies of some sort, your vet may suggest using an elimination diet to work out what the culprit is. Hypersensitivity testing may be required to identify what household chemicals and products could be the cause of the condition.

Your vet may prescribe a course of steroids or antihistamines to help relieve the symptoms. It is important to reduce the skin irritation, regardless of whether the underlying cause can be diagnosed or not. This is because dogs will further worsen the condition by scratching, licking and chewing the affected area. If your dog is suffering from a secondary infection caused by condition, your veterinarian may prescribe a course of antibiotics as well.

A variety of other treatments may also be recommended. Topical treatments such as a mixture of sulphur, calamine and coal tar can be used on the skin. However, the affected area will need to have the hair removed before any topical treatment can be used. Additionally, your vet may also recommend using a vitamin supplement if the condition is thought to be caused by a vitamin deficiency.

Home Remedies and Prevention Tips For Dog Eczema

While going to see a vet and getting their advice is important, there are some other things you can do to help your dog recover. We have listed some of these below, however, we recommend that you always talk to your veterinarian about any treatment methods before you start using them.

Try some shampoo. Medicated shampoos with ingredients such as oatmeal and essential oils can help reduce the fungal and bacterial presence on the skin. They can help to calm some of the irritation and inflammation, which will make your dog’s recovery quicker.

We Recommend that you check out this natural shampoo here.

Try some oils for flea prevention. As fleas are the number one cause of dog eczema, it is best to try and prevent them from infecting your dog. Essential oils are extremely effective at preventing fleas, however, they must be diluted first. Coconut oil is a great option as you can give it to your dog both topically or orally. The higher lauric acid content in the oil, the more effective it will be.

Give Vitamin E oil a go. Vitamin E is a very powerful antioxidant that can help to fight aging, but that’s not why you should use it. The antioxidant can also be used to moisturise your dog’s dry skin. Massage it into their skin and don’t worry if they try and lick it off.

Use flea prevention products. Like we said above, essential oils can be used to ward off fleas. There are a range of different products you can use from flea collars to products like this one from Bayer Animal Health.

If your dog has fleas, we have written a complete guide to treating them here.

Keep your dog well-groomed and their environment clean. Grooming your dog and checking for fleas on a regular basis can help prevent eczema from forming. Try and give them a bath once every fortnight and use a flea comb to check for fleas. However, do not wash your dog too much as this can cause them to develop eczema. Additionally, you should wash your dog’s bedding and clean the environment they are in on a regular basis.

Get them on a good diet. A dog’s diet is incredibly important. Feeding your dog poor quality food or food that does not suite them can lead to a range of problems, including skin condition issues. Talk to your vet about the food they would recommend for your canine.

Recovery of Dog Eczema

The good news with dog eczema is that it clears up pretty quickly once you get onto it. By acting quickly, you can stop the condition from getting any worse and help them recover quicker. The longer you wait, the worse the condition will get and it can cause other problems such as secondary infections.

Summing Up Dog Eczema

Eczema in dogs can be caused by a range of different things from food allergies to household chemicals, but the number one cause is due to fleas. You need to do your best to prevent fleas from infesting your dog and remove any potential irritants or allergens.

If you suspect your dog has eczema, we suggest that you see your veterinarian as soon as possible. They will be able to carry out a full diagnoses and recommend the best treatment plan for your dog.

Now Read: The Ultimate Guide To Dog Skin Conditions & Diseases

How Much Exercise Do Dogs Need?

Have you ever felt guilty about not taking your dog out? Do you sometimes skimp on their walks because you are feeling tired? Don’t worry, we’re sure that almost every dog owner has done that at least once, but is it okay?

Dogs, like humans need exercise to keep healthy and mentally stimulated. It doesn’t matter whether your dog is small, big, young or old, they all need exercise. The real question is not “does my dog need exercise?”, but actually “How much exercise does my dog need?”.

As with all things canine related, the answer isn’t as easy as it may initially seem. There are a whole host of different things you need to consider when exercising your dog and we are going to cover them in this article.

The Benefits of Exercise for Dogs

First things first, let’s talk about the benefits of exercise for dogs. We’ve listed the three main benefits of exercise for dogs below.

  • Improved physical health
  • Improved mental health
  • Reduction in unwanted behaviour, boredom and anxiety

The quantity and type of exercise a dog needs will depend on several factors from age, to physical ability, health/injuries and environment. Exercise will help tone your dog’s muscles and will help their metabolic system to function properly.

For those who have a dog that suffers from lack of exercise and mental stimulation, they will tell you that their canines turn to destructive and sometimes even aggressive behaviour. If your dog is behaving bad, it may simply be a case of lack of exercise.

Dogs that fail to burn off the calories they take in can gain weight and may even develop conditions such as diabetes. It is incredibly important to keep your dog’s weight under control and a good balance of exercise and diet will help this.

Is My Dog Naughty or Just Under Exercised?

As we wrote above, bad behaviour can be a result of lack of exercise. If your dog is giving you nightmares will their chewing, digging and just generally naughty behaviour, you may want to try upping their exercise. Many owners label their dogs as naughty or badly behaved, but the simple truth is that they probably need a bit more training and exercise to get them under control.

So How Much Exercise Does a Dog Need?

 

There is no concrete answer when it comes to this question. Your dog’s overall condition, age, breed type and genetics will play a big part in how much exercise they need. For example, our two dogs, Daisy and Winston, require vastly different amounts of exercise, even though there is only a year and a half between them.

Daisy and Winston come from the same parents and are similar in size, but Winston requires a whole lot more exercise than Daisy. Daisy is perfectly content with one long walk a day, but Winston is still bouncing off the walls after two or three walks.

However, the general rule of thumb for a dog in good condition is roughly 30 minutes to two hours of exercise per day. Around 15 to 30 minutes of this exercise should be fairly rigorous and can include anything from running to hiking or playing games.

Your dog’s breed will affect how much exercise they require, so it is important to factor in that. More active breeds such as the ones below require around one to two hours of physical activity a day. Some of these breeds include:

  • Retrievers
  • Shepherds
  • Terriers
  • Scent Hounds
  • Pointers

Less active breeds will require a bit less exercise at about 30 to 60 minutes. Some of these breeds include the following:

  • Giant breeds (Great Danes, Newfoundlands, etc.)
  • Toy breeds (Chihuahuas, Yorkies)
  • Brachycephalic breeds such as pugs or French bulldogs.

The age of your dog is just as important as their breed type, so how much exercise do puppies and older dogs need?

How Much Exercise Does an Elderly Dog Need?

Obviously, as your dog gets older they are going to slow down and need less exercise. However, the amount of exercise an older dog needs can vary wildly depending on their overall health.

Canines around the age of seven will tend to show signs of slowing down and they will probably need less exercise. However, remember that this is just a rule of thumb and some dogs may start to slow down before that or well after that. Our first Labrador, Rosie, was still a very active and energetic dog well past ten years old.

We recommend around 60 minutes of exercise per day for an older dog. This should be broken up into smaller, more manageable chunks that don’t leave your dog feeling too tired or sore.

Consider Any Health Conditions or Injuries

Like humans, as dogs get older many start to develop conditions such as arthritis or dysplasia. Additionally, any injuries can start to take their toll on an older dog and make it painful for them to exercise. If your dog has been diagnosed with any health conditions or they have any injuries, it may be best to talk to your vet about a suitable exercise program for them.

For dogs that are starting to get a bit older, it may be best to limit their exposure to high impact exercise. We recommend that you take them for either a gentle walk or swim. Swimming can help take the weight off their limbs and is an excellent form of exercise. Just remember to avoid swimming in cold temperatures as this can come with its own set of problems.

One other thing to be mindful of is don’t ask too much of your dog when they get older. Even elderly dogs still love to chase a ball or play a serious game of tug-of-war, but these can do more harm than good. If you still want to play these games, make them easier for your dog and try to limit their exposure to high speed direction changes.

Be Observant and Check Your Dog Over Regularly

As your dog ages, you need to be watchful for any changes in their ability to exercise. This may include changes in their movement, breathing and enthusiasm to do exercise. In addition to this, you should check your dog for any painful spots or injuries on a regular basis. This can help to prevent minor injuries turning into more serious ones.

How Much Exercise Does a Puppy Need?

Puppies up to around three months old do not need any sort of ‘structured’ exercise routine. They are small and will tire extremely quickly. Simply playing and interacting with them throughout the day will be more than enough exercise for them.

In fact, you should be more concerned about over exercising a young puppy than under exercising them. Playing to exhaustion or overexerting themselves can cause damage to a puppy’s developing joints.

For those with young children or older dogs in the house, we recommend that you be extra vigilant. Young puppies are keen to play and keep up with children or older dogs and can quickly become tired. Make sure you keep an eye on them and interrupt any play if you need to. Put the puppy in a quiet place where they can rest and recover for the next play session.

As your puppy grows they can handle more exercise. A general rule of thumb is to add five minutes of exercise for every month they grow older. For example, a four-month old puppy may require 20 minutes of exercise, so a five-month old puppy should require around 25 minutes. Obviously, this will also depend on the breed of your dog and their genetics as well.

The Kennel Club has a great article about this, so we suggest checking this out.

Once your dog reaches about three to four months of age, we recommend that you start to introduce a structured exercise regime. It is important to get your dog used to exercising with you on a regular basis.

Up until around 12 months of age it is important to not over-exercise your dog. As we said earlier, too much exercise can damage a young dog’s joints, so it is important to be careful. Once your dog passes 12 months, they can begin to partake in more vigorous exercise.

Here’s Some Top Tips for Walking and Exercising Your Dog

 

Always exercise at your dog dogs own pace. If your dog isn’t tired or is too tired when you get home, you may need to reconsider your dog’s exercise routine. For dogs that are still full of energy, consider adding another walk into the mix or increase the intensity of their exercise.

Vary your route and where your dog is exercised. Take your dog to new places and on new routes to make exercise time more exciting for both you and your dog.

Let your dog have a sniff. It’s important to let your dog sniff and investigate the environment they are in. If you are constantly pulling your dog away from interesting smells, it can have a negative impact on their relationship with you and their mental health.

Get your dog trained. From the moment you bring home your new puppy home, you should be training them. It is far more enjoyable to walk a dog that behaves and does not pull. Training your dog to come, sit and stay can also keep them safe in dangerous situations. We have created a list of the 27 best training tips for dogs so make sure you check that out.

Mix up games and walks. It is important to both walk and play games with your dog. This will keep them exercised, mentally stimulated and will make them form a stronger bond with you. You can introduce games or training sessions into your walks to make them more interesting and exciting for your dog.

Avoid over-exercising your dog. As we wrote earlier in this article, it is important to not over-exercise a puppy, however, this is also true for older dogs. If your dog is struggling, is exhausted when you get home, or refuses to go out at all, it may be a sign that you need to cut back on the exercise. It may also be a sign that your dog is suffering from some sort of health complication or injury, so it may be worth getting them checked out by your veterinarian.

Keep your dog on a lead in busy or built-up areas. Only let your dog off a lead when you know it is safe to do so. This will prevent your dog from running in traffic, harassing other people, or just being a general nuisance. You should also be careful about letting your dog off a lead around livestock.

Get them socialised early. It is important to get your dog used to other dogs, animals and humans as soon as possible.  

Watch the conditions. In summer try to avoid walking your dog on hot tarmac. Tarmac can get incredibly hot and can easily burn your dog’s paws. For the winter months, watch out for ice and be on the lookout for anything like antifreeze.

Summing Up How Much Exercise Does a Dog Need?

As you can see, the amount of exercise a dog needs can depend on a whole host of different factors. Some dogs are energetic and will need lots of exercise, while other canines are more placid and don’t need as much.

You should always be careful about over-exercising a dog, especially puppies, and always be mindful of an elderly dog’s condition and ability. Over-exercising a dog can lead to serious injuries or permanent damage, so be careful.

Dogs that are in the prime of their life will be able to exercise lots, especially more active breeds such as Border Collies. You will probably find that these dogs can out-perform you and can seemingly go all day.

If your dog seems particularly energetic or destructive, try upping their exercise. You may find that this will fix their behaviour problems.

Let us know how much you exercise your dog in the comments below.

Now Read: When Is The Best Time To Start Training Your Puppy?

Best Hot Weather Tips For Dogs and Puppies

While we all love a bit of sunshine, excess heat can be a real problem for both humans a dogs alike. During the hotter months of the year (or if you live in a hot country), it is important to think about whether you dog is cool and comfortable.

Ignoring the heat can lead to some serious health problems and can even be potentially life-threatening to dogs and humans. If the air your dog is breathing in is too hot, then panting has little cooling effect and they will rapidly overheat.

You can’t change the temperature and weather, but you can do some things to make your dog more comfortable and cool them down. In this guide we have put together all the information you need to know about hot weather and your dog.

Not All Dogs Are the Same

Just like humans, dogs are not all the same. Some are more capable or tolerating extreme heat, while others are not. There are loads of different things that can affect the way your dog handles heat. We have created a list of some of them below.

Breed and Coat Type

Your dog’s coat and breed type are going to have a big impact on how they handle the heat. Dogs with longer coats or those more suited to cold weather like Siberian Huskies will suffer more in the heat.

Dogs like Italian Greyhounds are better suited to warmer temperatures as they have shorter coats.

The Colour of Your Dog’s Coat

It’s common knowledge that darker colours absorb more heat, so if your dog has a darker coat they will get hotter in the sun. If your dog does have a darker coat, it may be beneficial to keep them out of direct sunlight.

Age and Health Condition

Puppies, old dogs and sick dogs are more likely to feel the effects of excessive heat. Their bodies are not as efficient at regulating their temperature when compared to healthy dogs in their prime years. If your dog is young, old or sick, you need to be even more cautious when it comes to heat.

Dogs that have health conditions can also be more susceptible to heat stroke, which can cause permanent damage to your dog and even death.

Whether Your Dog Has Built Up a Tolerance

Dogs that are used to hot climates will naturally feel more comfortable when the temperature rises. If your dog has only experienced mild weather and then they suddenly experience a really hot day, they are going to struggle more.

Common Questions About Dogs in Hot Weather

Can I Leave My Dog in the Car?

You should never leave your dog in a car in hot or even cold weather. Temperature extremes are amplified by the car and the inside can become hot very quickly. While some owners will leave windows open, this is still not enough to keep the car cool.

The temperatures reached in a hot car can quickly cause heat stroke, brain damage and even death. You may also find that you come back to a smashed window as some passer-by may bring it upon themselves to save your dog.

If you have a pick-up truck or Ute, you should be careful about leaving your dog in the back. Open truck beds can become incredibly hot as they are often painted dark colours, which absorb more heat.

What Should You Do If You See a Dog in a Hot Car?

Before you go smashing somebody’s car window, there are a few things you can do to help a dog stuck in a hot car:

  • Take down the car’s number plate, model and make
  • Ask any surrounding businesses if they can make an announcement to find the owner. Many owners are unaware of the dangers of leaving a dog in a hot car, so they will return to their vehicle quickly.
  • If the owner of the car cannot be located, you can contact the police or animal control
  • In some countries and places in the world, good Samaritans can legally remove a dog from a car under special circumstances. We recommend you check up on the laws in your local area and use this as a last resort.

You can read more about what to do with animals in cars here.

Should I Take My Dog for Walks in Hot Weather?

Taking your dog for walks is still incredibly important and you need to continue to do it in the hotter summer months. The difference is that you need to plan ahead and be aware of a few things. This could mean changing your regular schedule or when you walk your dog.

When Should I Take My Dog for Walks?

Heading out for a walk in the middle of the day when the sun is at its hottest is a recipe for disaster. You should avoid walking your dog from 11am until around 3pm, although this may change depending on where you live in the world.

In some extremely hot countries or areas, you may have to stick to walking your dog early in the morning or late at night when the sun has gone down.

Asphalt Can Get Hot

Asphalt can get seriously hot, so much so that it can burn your dog’s paws. It absorbs a significant amount of heat and can get extremely hot to the touch. You probably wear shoes when you walk your dog, so it is not a problem, however, it is for your dog.

To check the temperature of the asphalt, touch the back of your hand directly onto it. If you can hold your hand in that position for around 10 seconds it should be okay. However, if you find that it is too hot or uncomfortable, then it is too hot for your dog to walk on.

What You Need to Bring When Walking Your Dog

If you are just going for a short walk around the block, you probably don’t need to bring supplies. For those that are going further afield, there are some things you should take with you.

Dogs can easily become dehydrated when it is hot outside and they often keep on walking even when they are overdoing it. Make sure you bring water and a foldable water bowl with you when walking, so that your dog can have a drink.

Additionally, while you may sunscreen for dogs is a waste of time, it is actually quite important. Dogs that have pale skin or fur and those with skin showing should wear sunscreen before going out for extended periods of time.

We recommend this one from Epi-Pet.

The last thing to bring is a towel. A wet towel is an excellent way to cool your dog down and can save your dog’s life if they are suffering from heat stroke.

Should I Groom My Dog?

Grooming all dogs, even those with short coats, can help to keep them comfortable when temperatures rise. However, if you cut your dog’s coat too short it can actually have the opposite effect.

A dog’s coat offers protection against the sun and acts as cooling insulation. Shaving their coat will take that protection away and leave them exposed to the sun.

If you do want to groom your dog for the summer, we recommend going to a professional groomer who can trim your dog’s coat to the correct length.

Everything You Need to Know About Heat Stroke in Dogs

What Are the Signs of Heat Stroke in Dogs?

Dogs fur is excellent at keeping out the cold, but it can become a problem when it comes to heat. This is because, unlike humans, dogs get rid of excess heat by panting (although they also have sweat glands in their paws that remove a little bit of heat). Panting just isn’t enough sometimes and they can overheat.

Once a canine overheats, they may not be able to bring their temperature down quick enough to avoid serious health complications.

Heat stroke is a form of non-fever hyperthermia that occurs when a dog’s heat-dissipating mechanisms cannot accommodate excessive external heat. It is typically associated with a temperature of 41 degrees Celsius or higher and can lead to multiple organ dysfunction.

If your dog is suffering from heat stroke, you need to watch for the following signs:

  • Excessive panting
  • Dehydration
  • Signs of discomfort or distress
  • Hyper-salivation and vomiting
  • Laboured breathing, Weakness or collapse
  • Tongue colour that is dark red to almost purple
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Increased body temperature – above 103° F (39° C)
  • Reddened gums and moist tissues of the body
  • Production of only small amounts of urine or no urine
  • Vomiting blood
  • Seizures and muscle tremors
  • Wobbly, uncoordinated or drunken gait or movement (ataxia)
  • Unconsciousness in which the dog cannot be stimulated to be awakened

What Are the Causes of Heat Stroke?

There are a number of causes of heat stroke in dogs. We have listed some of them below:

  • Excessive heat and humidity from either weather conditions or being enclosed in an unventilated environment (car, room, etc.)
  • Excessive exercise
  • Poisoning from various compounds such as slug and snail bait, and strychnine. These poisonous compounds can lead to seizures which can cause your dog’s body temperature to rise abnormally.
  • Diseases that increase the change of developing hypothermia; such as heart disease, larynx, paralysis of the voice box and muscular related disease
  • Upper airway diseases that inhibit breathing.

What Should You Do If Your Dog Is Suffering from Heat Stroke

Quick action is incredibly important when dealing with a dog that is suffering from heat stroke. You need to recognise what the causes are and if it is due to environmental conditions, your first step should be attempting to lower your dog’s body temperature.

You can try spraying your dog with cool water or immersing their body (not their head) in cool water. Additionally, wrapping them in wet towels or using fans to cool them down is a great option to get their body temperature down.

Remember to never use cold or iced water, only use cool water. While this may seem strange, cold water can make cooling more difficult as it can cause blood vessels near the surface of the body to constrict. You should try to cool your dog gradually, rather than suddenly. Drinking water should also be cool, not cold and you should not force your dog to drink.

Once you have reduced your dog’s body temperature, you should take them to be examined by a veterinarian. Your vet will need to ensure that your dog’s normal temperature has been reached, and that no long lasting damage has occurred.

How to Prevent Heat Stroke from Occurring

The best way to keep your dog safe from heat stroke, is to prevent them from getting it at all. While there are occasions when things are completely out of your control, there actions you can take to help prevent the onset of heat stroke.

We are going to discuss some things you can do to keep your dog cool below and you should also ask your vet about what they would recommend.

If you would like to read more about Heat Stroke in dogs, check out PetMD.

Keeping Your Dog Cool When It Is Hot

Keeping your dog cool is a relatively straightforward process. There are some things you can’t change, but there are a number of things you can do to keep them cool during the summer months.

Provide Plenty of Water

Giving your dog access to fresh water at all times is a necessity, even when it is not that hot outside. Dogs can easily become dehydrated if they do not have access to water, so make sure they are always topped up.

Always be aware that your dog will probably drink significantly more water in hot weather, so it may be a good idea to give them an extra bowl of water. This is especially important if you are leaving the house for a couple of hours or more.

You can also drop a bunch of ice cubes in their water to keep it cool.

Give Them Some Shade

Dogs love to plonk themselves down in the sun, but it is important to provide them shade for when it gets really hot. If your dog is in your house, make sure their area has a space that is out of the sun. You can also close curtains and pull down blinds to keep the sun out.

For those outside or on walks, you can find a nice tree for your dog to get under or you could use a building as shade.

Use Air Conditioning

If your house has air conditioning, leave it on when it gets hot, whether you are in or out of the house. While you may see this as a waste of money, it will keep your canine companion significantly more comfortable. It is also much nicer to come back to a cool house than a boiling hot one.

Take Them for a Dip or Spray Them Down

Taking your dog for a dip in a pool, lake or in the sea are great ways to get their body temperature down. Just remember, if your dog is bordering on heat stroke, cooling them down too quickly can make matters worse.

You can test how cold the water is yourself before letting your dog get in, or you can let them enter the water slowly. Exposing your dog to the water gradually will slowly lower their body temperature rather than suddenly.

If you do not have access to a larger body of water, you can use a small child’s paddling pool. This can be filled with enough water to cool off your dog and will let them dissipate heat from their paws (one of the few places they sweat).

You can also simply spray them with a hose or use a sprinkler as well, however, your dog may not appreciate it. Using a fine mist from something like a sprayer bottle is another great option to cool your dog down. You can also use it on yourself, which is an added bonus.

Use a Wet Blanket

Remember we said that a wet blanket is one of the best ways to help a dog with heat stroke. Well, even if your dog isn’t suffering from heat stroke, a wet blanket is still a great way to cool them down. You can even wrap a bag of frozen peas in a blanket and use it to cool them down (just don’t leave the peas alone with them).

Create a Breeze

Sticking a fan in front of your dog is one way to cool them down. It may not be the fastest way, but leaving a fan going during the day can help your dog stay cool when you are not home.

Make Some Cold Treats

There’s nothing dogs love more than tasty treats and they are also a great way to cool down your canine companion. You can make popsicles or flavoured ice cubes for your dog out of a variety of flavours, such as this peanut butter one.

Simply giving your dog an ice cube is also another great way of getting their body temperature down. However, ice cubes and other icy treats are not recommended for dogs suffering from heat stroke as they can cool them down too quickly. You can read more about giving your dog ice cubes at PetMD.

Wrapping Up Keeping Your Dog Cool in Hot Weather

Keeping your dog cool in hot weather is really about recognising signs of a hot dog and acting quickly. You need to be prepared and think about your canine companion when you leave your house. It is really just common sense and if you feel hot, your dog probably feels the same way.

Now Read: Best Tips To Keep Your Dog Warm in Cold Weather

Treatment Advice For Dog Wasp Stings

Dogs love to chase anything that moves, however, sometimes those interesting moving things can give them a nasty surprise. Wasps can be particularly good fun for dogs to chase and snap at, but if you have ever seen a dog stung by a wasp, you know it isn’t pretty.

Wasp stings can cause all sorts of problems for dogs and they can be potentially life-threatening. We have put together all the information you need to know about wasp stings and what treatment methods to take below.

Facts About Wasp Stings on Dogs

Your dog is interested in pretty much everything around them and they love small flying, buzzing insects. Any insect that crosses your dog’s path could be a tasty treat for them or just a bit of a game. It might even be annoying them and they want to get rid of it.

While wasps may seem like a great bit of fun, your dog is not aware of the problems that they can cause. Wasp stings can be seriously nasty and they can even be life threatening.

Wasps sting dogs because they feel in danger. They are threatened by dogs and their natural response is to defend themselves. A wasp will usually sting a dog when they are being touched, pawed at or when their nests are in danger.

Where Do Wasps Usually Sting Dogs?

The most common areas for wasp stings are around the face, inside the mouth and on the paws. These are common places because dogs love to investigate wasp’s nests closely, or dig them up if they are in the ground.

A wasp sting can cause significant swelling, which can be potentially dangerous if it is around the throat. This is because the swelling can cause your dog’s airways to become blocked.

How Wasp Stings Work

Wasps produce venom inside the venom gland, and then store it in a sack. From here, the venom seeps out through valves to coat a smooth, barbless stinger. Wasps keep this venom coated stinger inside a sheath, ready for any potential threat or prey. Male wasps do not have stingers, however, they are known to brandish their harmless behinds in an attempt to frighten off threats.

A wasp’s venom has two aims:

  • First it is used as an offensive weapon that can paralyze insects for easier transport back to the nest.
  • The second aim is to use it as a defensive weapon that delivers just enough pain to convince larger animals to stay away.

Check out this article for more information about how wasps work.

Unlike bees, wasps do not leave their stinger in their victim, so you should not have to worry about removing it if your dog gets stung.

Are Wasp Stings Dangerous to Dogs?

If you have ever been stung by a wasp, you know it hurts pretty bad. Wasp stings are nasty, not because of the small puncture wound the produce, but because of the venom that is injected. Usually a dog will only experience a bit of pain and discomfort, but some dogs may have a more significant reaction.

Allergy & Anaphylaxis from Wasp Stings on Dogs

It can hard to tell if a dog is suffering from a more severe reaction, or they are just experiencing a bit of pain. Dogs can be allergic to all sorts of things including wasps. All wasp stings on dogs should be monitored closely and treated as potential emergency situation.

Dogs can suffer from anaphylaxis, which is a very severe allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis can be potentially life threatening and will almost certainly require a trip to the vets. It can happen in lightning speed and you need to get treatment as soon as possible to get the best outcome for your pet.

If your dog is experiencing an allergic reaction, they may show signs of the following symptoms:

  • General weakness and difficulty moving
  • Trouble breathing
  • Swelling that extends from or surrounds the area they were stung
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Fever or low body temperature

Dogs who are showing the symptoms above should be taken to a vet immediately. If you have a delayed response, the outcome can be much worse.

Pets can die in as little as 10 minutes from anaphylaxis unless they get veterinary help.

Another thing to remember is watch for any signs of delayed anaphylaxis. Sometimes reactions can occur at a later point, not immediately, so monitor your dog for an extended amount of time after the wasp sting.

Treatment for Wasp Stings on Dogs

A single wasp sting isn’t usually dangerous to dogs, unless they suffer an allergic reaction. One wasp sting should only produce a bit of pain and discomfort for your dog, which will eventually subside. Remember that wasps can sting multiple times, which can be more problematic for your dog.

If your dog is not showing signs of an allergic reaction, you will probably not have to go to the vets.

Benadryl Treatment for Dog Wasp Stings

Benadryl is commonly used by dog owners around the world to treat wasp stings. It is commonly used by vets and having some on hand will mean you won’t have to take a trip to them. Before using Benadryl, ask your vet about dosage amounts for your particular dog. Below we have given you a bit of a guide for dosages, but it is always best to check with your veterinarian.

  • Dogs under 30 pounds (13kg) 10mg
  • Dogs from 30 to 50 pounds (13 to 22.6kg) 25mg
  • Dogs over 50 pounds (22.6kg) 50mg

Keeping Benadryl on hand is always useful, especially when you are in an area where there are no vets or when they can’t see you immediately. If you are taking your dog on a long walk or hike, we recommend keeping some Benadryl on you, just in case. Benadryl will usually reduce swelling in about 20 minutes or so.

Always remember to only use plain Benadryl formula or children’s Benadryl. Your vet should be able to recommend the best Benadryl for your dog.

Use a Cold Pack or Compress the Sting Area

A cold pack can help soothe the pain and can reduce swelling and inflammation. You can use a bag of frozen peas or corn wrapped up as a cold pack. Leave the cold pack on the swollen area for about 20 minutes.

Try a Mixture of Baking Soda and Water

A mixture of baking soda and water applied to the sting area can help soothe the pain your dog is experiencing. Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with enough water to create a thick paste and apply it to the affected area. While this is a great way to naturalise the sting, it can be messy if applied to an area with lots of fur.

Wasp Stings Inside Your Dog’s Mouth

Stings inside your dog’s mouth can be a real pain to treat and your dog may not want you to touch them. Ice cubes can be used to help relieve pain, or you can flush their mouth with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed in a pint of water. Use a squirt/water gun to reach the sting area, but avoid letting your dog swallow the liquid.

A sting inside the mouth can make your dog refuse to eat because of the pain when they chew. If your dog is refusing to eat their normal biscuits, soften their food with warm water or low-fat, chicken soup. You can also mix the food up in a blender to make it easier for your pup to eat.

Try this for a couple of days or until your dog can manage to eat their regular biscuits. If your dog is showing no signs of progress after a couple of days, you should take them to a vet.

What if My Dog Gets Another Wasp Sting?

While your dog should learn that they should keep away from wasps, there is always a chance they can get stung again. You should have a good idea of how your dog reacts to wasp stings, but dogs can develop an allergic reaction at any point in their life.

Remember to monitor your dog after the wasp sting and if you notice any worrying signs or anything different, a trip to the vets could be a good idea. If your dog is showing signs of anaphylaxis, you must take them to the vets immediately.

Summing Up Wasp Stings on Dogs

Dogs love to play and chase things and wasps are no different. They may seem interesting and exciting to your dog, but they can give them a nasty surprise. Monitoring your dog and the environment they are in can go a long way to preventing a wasp sting, however, you can never protect them 100 percent of the time.

If you notice any wasp’s nests or a large gathering of wasps, it may be best to remove your dog from that area.

Remember that the main areas a wasp will sting a dog are:

  • On their face
  • On and inside their mouth
  • Around their paws

If your dog is showing any signs of an allergic reaction you must take them to the vets straight away. Additionally, if it is the first time your dog has been stung by a wasp it may be beneficial to take them to the vets for a check-up.

Now Read: Ultimate Guide To Dog Skin Conditions and Diseases

Best Flea Treatment Tips For Dogs

Canines are walking, barking, parasite-attracting machines and it can be frustratingly difficult to prevent the most common parasite, fleas. These tiny insects can be a really big problem if left untreated and by the time you start searching the internet for a solution your dog has probably been suffering for a long time.

Fleas are not simply an itchy nuisance to your dog. A few can turn into a lot very quickly and the more of them on your dog, the more blood your canine companion loses. Fleas can be the start other nasty diseases and problems, which can even be life threatening to your dog.

While it may all seem like doom and gloom when it comes to fleas, the good news is that getting rid of them is fairly straightforward process. The bad news is that it will take a lot of work and patience on your part. You need to be consistent and have a well thought out plan of attack when it comes to treating fleas.

As a dog owner, you are their best and sometimes last line of defence when dealing with fleas. You need to know how to fight them effectively and the best way of preventing them from infesting your dog’s coat.

Treating fleas is not just about getting rid of them from your dog’s coat, but also clearing your home of them entirely.

In this article we are going to be giving you advice on the best flea treatment for dogs, and what you can do to prevent them from coming onto your pet and in your house. You must always be vigilant and if you notice any signs of fleas you must act immediately.

What Are Fleas Anyway?

Dog fleas (Ctenocephalides Canis) are a species of flea that lives as an ectoparasite on a wide range of various mammals, especially dogs and cats. They are closely related to the cat flea, which can live on even more animals and is more common.

Most common dog flea infestations are actually caused by the cat flea rather than the dog flea.

Fleas can live without food for several days, however, females must have a blood meal before they can produce eggs. The little critters can produce around 4,000 eggs on the host’s body in one go and they take about two to three weeks to reach adulthood.

Adult female fleas can live up to two years in the right environment and can lay thousands of eggs during this time. They can live in your furniture, carpet and many other places for a considerable amount of time, so watch out!

Rather than using wings to get around, fleas use their long, powerful legs to jump from one host to another. Their hard bodies are compressed laterally and they have hairs and spines, which make it easier for them to move through a host’s fur.

Are Fleas Dangerous to Humans?

While fleas typically live on animals like dogs and cats, they can make their way onto humans (there is also a specific human flea). Fleas can sometimes bite humans, however, it is unlikely they will cause serious issues apart from a bit of irritation.

Despite this, fleas can cause different reactions in people and different types of fleas can cause diseases such as plague, typhus and cat-scratch disease.

Flea bites on humans typically occur around the ankles and will be extremely itchy. The bite area usually has a small red spot that is no more than around 5mm in diameter.

How to Tell If a Dog Has Fleas?

A dog that is suffering from a flea infestation will be itchy in the affected areas and will usually bite. lick and scratch themselves. Shaking the head often and scratching at their ears is another possible sign that your dog has fleas.

In severe cases, it is possible to see fleas moving and jumping on and off your dog.

Additionally, dogs may show signs of the following problems:

  • They may become anaemic due to blood loss from large infestations of fleas. This is typically more common in puppies.
  • Some dogs can have an allergic reaction to flea bites and can become extremely irritated.

If the infestation has been left too long, your dog can begin to develop sores and infections due to the excess scratching, licking and chewing.

The Main Symptoms of Fleas

  • Here are some of the signs your dog may have fleas:
  • Hair loss
  • Flea eggs on your dog or in their environment
  • Excessive scratching, biting or licking of the skin.
  • Allergic dermatitis
  • Pale gums
  • Tapeworms
  • Scabs and hot spots
  • Infection
Allergy Dermatitis Caused by Fleas

As we stated earlier, some dogs can be allergic to flea bites. This is called flea allergy dermatitis and it is a condition where a dog is allergic to flea saliva. If your dog is suffering from this, they may experience more severe symptoms.

While most flea treatments do kill fleas, they do not do it until after they bite. This is obviously a bad thing for dogs with an allergy to fleas and they may still suffer the effects of it after they are treated.

You need to thoroughly cleanse your house of fleas if your dog is allergic to them and you may need to prevent your dog from licking, scratching or chewing their body.

How to Check a Dog’s Coat for Fleas

Fleas can move and jump extremely fast, so you are going to need a good set of eyes to see them, unless the infestation is really bad. They are incredibly small, flat-bodied creatures that are dark brown, almost black in colour. The more blood they take in the lighter in colour they will appear.

To check for fleas on your dog, turn them onto their back and look at the areas that are the best hiding place for them. The areas you should look at are the armpits, around the groin and ears, but they can be in other places.

Black specs on your dog or in your dog’s bed can be a sign of “flea dirt” – fecal matter from fleas. There are a couple of ways you can check for the fecal matter:

  • Place a white paper towel under your dog’s body and rub your hand across their fur. If you find any black specks on the towel, it may be a sign of fleas. To distinguish between normal dirt and flea dirt, look for signs of a dark reddish-brown colour when it is wet. This indicates that digested blood has passed through the flea and been excreted.
  • The other way is to run a flea comb across your dog’s body. Make sure the comb touches their skin through the coat and any black specks you find could be a sign of flea dirt. If you find any fleas on the comb, drown them in soapy water before they have any chance of getting back on your dog.

Flea combs are specially made combs with closely set teeth. The teeth on a flea comb are design to catch and pull fleas out from under the coat where they may be hiding. We recommend a flea comb like this one from Safari Pet Products.

Understanding The Life Cycle of Fleas

Before we go into the treatment process for flea infestations, let’s look at the life cycle of fleas. It is important to understand what you are up against and what works best for the different stages of a flea’s life cycle.

Fleas are a multi-stage life cycle insect. They start off as an egg, then turn into larvae, then a cocoon, and finally they will become a fully-fledged adult flea, ready to cause havoc on your dog’s body.

Let’s Look at Each Stage

Eggs

Flea eggs are the main population of flea infestations, with up to 90% of fleas being in the egg stage. They are less than 0.5mm in size and are white or transparent, which makes them very difficult to see. At a glance they can look like small pieces of dandruff.

A female flea will lay eggs on the host, but they can quickly roll off and land on the floor. They do not stick to your dog’s coat like flea dirt, so you they can easily be found all around the house.

Larvae

The larvae of a flea remain dormant until they detect a host. They are negative phototaxic, which means they move away from sources of light. Once they have settled, larvae spend about one to two weeks developing and feeding on flea dirt and organic debris like skin. They will then form cocoons, eventually turning into adult fleas.

You can read more about flea larvae here.

Adult

Adult fleas that have access to blood will look to breed and can create around 4,000 eggs a year. Fleas in their fully grown adult form make up less than 5% of the flea population at any given time.

This is why it is important to not only kill adult fleas, but also treat the flea infestation at every stage of its lifecycle. 

My Dog Has Fleas, What Do I Do?

Now that you know your dog has fleas, let us take a look at what you can do about the problem. Remember that if your dog has fleas, they are probably all around the house and on your other pets as well.

If you have a cat, make sure you use flea treatment that is designed for them. Dog flea treatment products can be dangerous to cats. In some cases, cats have been poisoned by simply sleeping in the same bed with dogs who have been sprayed with flea treatment.

How to Get Rid of Fleas On Your Dog and In Your House

There are a number of ways to get rid of fleas and it will require treatment of all the animals in your house and a good tidy up as well.

What is the Best Flea Treatment for Dogs?

When it comes to treating fleas, the sooner you start the better. A large flea infestation will be harder to eliminate, so if you see any signs of fleas get onto it immediately.

The first thing we are going to look at is tackling the adult fleas that are irritating your dog and breeding. There are many options when it comes to flea treatment and we have listed some of them below:

Prescription Flea Medications

One of the best ways of getting your flea problem under control is using prescription medication. There are a wide variety of products on the market, but newer ones seem to be a bit more effective at treating the infestation. In some cases, it is even possible to gain control by treating only the dog.

Interestingly, some of these products do not hard the adult flea itself, but actually prevent the eggs from hatching. This breaks the life cycle of the flea and as there is no reproduction the flea population they eventually die out.

While these products are great for treating fleas, those with dogs who are allergic to flea saliva may want to look at an alternative method. This is because they do not kill the adult fleas immediately, leaving them to bite.

If you are interested in prescription flea treatment medication, talk to your vet. They can recommend the best option for your dog.

Non-Prescription and Natural Flea Treatment for Dogs

We have looked at prescription flea medication, but what about non-prescription or natural treatment. There are many other products or treatment methods that will kill fleas. The main drawback of these is that they can sometimes be less effective than prescription products. We have created a list of some of the best non-prescription or natural methods of treating fleas in dogs below:

Use a Flea Comb

We’ve already talked about using a flea comb to find out if your dog has fleas, however, it is also a great way of getting rid of them as well. Flea combs will keep your dog happy, healthy and well groomed.

Before using a flea comb, make sure your dog’s fur is not tangled as it can cause pain when you use it. Look for a comb that has narrow teeth or bristles that will catch adult fleas, eggs and larvae (although most eggs and larvae do not live on the host).

We recommend this one from Safari Pet Products.

The main drawback when using a flea comb is that it they can be hard to see, making them easy to miss. Missed fleas can easily start the population again, so we recommend combining the flea comb with another treatment method.

Use a Dog Shampoo

There are many dog shampoos that are designed to combat fleas. These can be an effective way of eliminating the flea problem on your dog, while making them smell better.

Using a shampoo designed to eliminate fleas is much the same as any other normal shampoo. Apply to your dog’s coat and lather with water. Leave it for a few minutes and then wash it off with water. Combine this with a flea comb and you have a great flea fighting weapon!

We recommend this natural dog shampoo from Paws & Pals.

Try A Flea Spray

Another option is to try one of the many pre-made sprays for fleas. These sprays will break the life cycle of fleas and will prevent them from forming large numbers. You must follow all the instructions correctly and do not get them in your dog’s eyes.

Vet’s Best Flea Spray is a great option for those looking for a spray product.

Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Repel Fleas

Apple cider vinegar doesn’t actually kill fleas, but it does make an unpleasant environment for them. Both the smell and taste of apple cider vinegar will make fleas want to move on and it is a great natural flea treatment that you probably already have at home.

Apple cider vinegar is not only great for helping your dog’s flea infestation problem, but it is also great at preventing them. Fleas are much more difficult to deal with once they are on your dog, so it is best to prevent that from happening.

To use apple cider vinegar for flea treatment, just add equal amounts of it and water to a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on your dog when you see fleas, or before they go outside to repel them. You can also use the apple cider mixture around your house when you notice you have a flea problem. Remember to test the mixture on a small bit of the material to see how it reacts.

Make sure you do not spay apple cider vinegar mixture into your dog’s eyes, nose or ears.

You can also add a small amount of apple cider vinegar (about one teaspoon) to your dog’s water as well. This will keep the skin and coat slightly acidic which helps to repeal fleas. This may be better if your dog’s skin becomes irritated by the apple cider vinegar.

Make or Buy a Flea Collar

Mix two drops of lavender oil or tea tree oil to one teaspoon of water. Apply this mixture to your dog’s collar to keep the fleas away.

You can also buy a flea collar that gradually releases insecticide onto your dog’s coat, which keeps fleas off them. Vets do not usually recommend flea collars as they do not deal with the infestation and only keep them at bay.

Use Lemon to Keep Fleas at Bay

Similar to apple cider vinegar, lemon can be used to repel fleas. Fleas do not like the taste of lemon, making it a great natural flea preventative/treatment. Simply add a cup of lemon juice to your dog’s bath or put some on a comb while you are brushing them.

Topical Treatment

Another popular option when it comes to flea control is using a spot-on treatment. These are absorbed into the skin and are perfectly safe for both you and your dog. Topical flea treatment products do tend to be a bit more expensive, however, they are simple to apply. This is because they are usually applied to just between the shoulder blades, rather than the whole body.

Frontline Plus is a popular choice for many dog owners and vets.

Treat the Environment

While you are treating your dog, you also need to go after fleas in their environment. As we know, around 95% of fleas do not live on your dog, so the battle is not over. You need to break this down into two sections, indoors and outdoors.

Treating Fleas Indoors

The first place you should start is in your house. Make sure you sweep, vacuum and mop everywhere, even places where your dog doesn’t go. Fleas can easily move all over your house by hitchhiking on people, clothes and other animals. Pay particular attention to corners and crevices where fleas like to hide or where there could be flea eggs and larvae.

Steam cleaning the carpet can be a good way to kill larvae and after vacuuming, throw the bag away immediately. Remember that vacuuming and shampooing can still leave a good amount of fleas alive, so some chemical treatment may be required.

Wash all your dog’s bedding and any other furniture or material that they lie upon. Additionally, drying is another effective tool when it comes to killing adult fleas, eggs and larvae. Put anything you can into a drying and set it to maximum heat.

The last thing you may want to do is use a flea spray to kill off the remaining fleas. We recommend using something like Vet’s Beast Flea & Tick Spray, which can be used indoors, outdoors and on your dog.

Treating Fleas Outside

Once you have treated the inside of your house, the next thing to do is to move outside. It will be almost impossible to completely remove fleas from the outside of your home, but you can reduce the amount of them.

Use a spray like the one we listed above in shady spots or places where you dog is likely to be.

Preventing Fleas from Getting onto Your Dog and into Your Home

There is always a risk when it comes to fleas. When you take your dog to the park they may encounter fleas and it is incredibly difficult to completely eradicate them from your home. While this is a problem, there are a few things you can do to prevent a flea infestation problem from happening.

Make sure you regularly wash your dog and check their coat for any signs of fleas. Keep them well-groomed and try to stop them from getting close to animals that you know are infested with fleas.

Always remember to regularly wash your dog’s bedding and keep their environment clean. This includes vacuuming, moping and dusting the inside of the house. Keep the outside of your house tidy as well. This means cutting long grass, trimming trees and shrubs and possibly even use an insecticide where fleas could live.

Try to have your flea control treatment ready, so if you do notice any fleas you can start the treatment process immediately. This will prevent the problem from getting any worse. Containing the infestation or effected animal is also important to stop the fleas from spreading.

Final Words on Treating Fleas on Dogs

Fleas can be incredibly difficult to get rid of and they are frustrating to deal with, but they can be beaten. You need to be consistent with your treatment plan and make sure you clean, clean, clean!

If the flea infestation has become serious, it may be worth talking to your vets. Fleas can lead to other diseases and skin conditions, so it is better to be safe than sorry.

Tell us your best tips and tricks for dealing with fleas in the comments below.

Now Read: The Ultimate Guide To Dog Skin Conditions and Diseases