Archive for April, 2014

While dogs and their haircuts get most of the attention at dog shows, there is quite a bit of dog fashion on display at most shows. Even such wash ‘n wear dogs as Pointers and other shorthaired breeds can display some bling in and out of the ring. Show fashions for dogs include such items as collars, leads, grooming coats, and snoods, to name just a few things.

 

Collars and leads

Gone are the days when show dogs would wear simple Resco show leads or a chain link collar and nylon lead. Sure, there are still plenty of handlers who use these traditional leads at shows but you’re just as likely to see a dog sporting something much fancier in the ring. Kangaroo leather leads are popular today with some handlers because of their softness and pliability. Other handlers like something a little showier. They choose colored, braided show leads with beads, usually custom-made . The colors are often chosen to emphasize their dog’s coloring. Such leads can be expensive but when you have a special dog you want to call attention to him or her.

 

Grooming coats

Another item you often see at dog shows, especially if you wander around the grooming area, is a grooming coat or jacket. (This doesn’t refer to the groomer’s jacket worn by the handlers, though they wear them, too.) Grooming coats for dogs are often placed on a dog after a bath to help the hair dry flat or to keep the hair in place before the show. They can come in a variety of materials depending on the kind you want for your dog, the weather, and other factors, but lycra coats made of swimsuit material are very popular. The lycra swimsuit coats typically have a narrow opening for the head to keep the hair on the neck smooth. The material around the body is loose and open so the handler has to pin it in place. These suits come in a variety of colors and prints. Many people who sew make them and sell them so if you would like to buy one for your dog you can often ask around and find out who is making them or find someone online who makes them. The coats are especially useful for longhaired dogs.

 

Grooming coats are removed once the dog arrives at the show so the handler can apply some last minute touches prior to going in the ring.

 

Snoods

Snoods look something like shower caps for dogs. They are cloth hoods that fit around a dog’s head and especially the ears of longhaired dogs. Owners use them to keep long ears out of food, though some people keep the snood on the dog at other times besides meal time. They can be made out of any lightweight material and they have elastic sewn around the edges to hold them in place. Dogs usually learn to put up with them, though most owners have to keep putting them back on when they come off. Along with keeping the dog’s ears out of his food, the purpose of the snood is to keep the ears clean and keep the long ear hair from breaking off. Think of them as turbans for dogs. As you can imagine, snoods come in all kinds of colors and prints.

 

Along with these fashions, there are many other things used for grooming and showing dogs that can come in a variety of colors and styles. Brushes and other grooming accessories can come in different colors is you would like to have your tools match your dog’s things. Even shears come in pink, blue, and other colors if you would like to invest in colors. Dog shows can be as fashionable as you would like to make them.

Heatstroke and Your Dog

Summer can mean fun times for you and your dog but it’s important to be mindful of how the summer heat affects your dog, too. Dogs can suffer from heatstroke, just like humans. It can even be fatal. Unlike humans, dogs don’t sweat (or sweat just a little through their paws). They rely on panting to cool themselves. When the temps get very hot, your dog can quickly become overheated and the results can be tragic.

 

Signs of heatstroke in dogs

Signs of heatstroke in dogs include the following:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Excessive panting
  • Increased salivation
  • Bright red tongue
  • Red or pale gums
  • Thick, sticky saliva
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting (sometimes with blood)
  • Diarrhea

If the heatstroke progresses, it can lead to seizures, coma, cardiac arrest, followed by death.

 

Heatstroke is nothing to take lightly.

 

Actions to take if your dog has heatstroke

If your dog has heatstroke, even before taking him to the vet you should start trying to lower his body temperature. Remove him from the heat immediately. Wet him thoroughly with cool (NOT COLD) water. If you have a small dog, use lukewarm water. Start increasing air movement around your dog with a fan. If you attempt to cool your dog too quickly you can cause life-threatening medical conditions! Go slowly.

 

Check your dog’s rectal temperature every five minutes. Once his body temperature is down to 103 F, you can should dry him thoroughly and cover him so he won’t keep losing any more heat. Take him to the vet right away. He will probably be dehydrated. In some cases a dog can have organ failure as a result of heatstroke. Your vet may want to give your dog IV fluids and monitor him.

 

If your dog is able to drink on his own, allow him to have room temperature water. However, don’t try t force him to drink anything.

 

Preventing heatstroke

There are some sensible things you can do to prevent your dog from having heatstroke.

  • If you have a brachycephallic dog (short-nosed) or if your dog is overweight or has any condition which could predispose him to having problems in hot weather (such as heart disease, breathing difficulties, old age, etc.), make sure you keep your dog indoors in a cooled environment during hot weather. Don’t allow him to play or overexert himself outside when it’s hot.
  • Make sure your dog has access to fresh, clean water at all times.
  • Do not leave your dog in a parked car in the summer, even if you park in the shade. The temperature inside can get very hot in just a short time.
  • If your dogs spend time outside, make sure they have access to shade.
  • On hot days you should restrict your dog’s exercise, especially during the hottest part of the day. If you jog or do other activities with your dog, keep your dog home on the hottest days.
  • Do not muzzle your dog on hot days. It will prevent him from getting enough air.
  • Concrete and asphalt areas, as well as the beach, reflect heat and make things hotter for your dog on hot days. Avoid these places with your dog when it’s very hot.
  • On hot days consider wetting your dog or hosing him off. Use sprinklers or provide your dog a kiddie pool to splash in.
  • Use cooling products to keep your dog cooler such as cooling pads and cool neck ties and bandanas for dogs. Use air conditioning for your dog if you have it. Freeze water in soft drink bottles or place ice in resealable food storage bags – wrap them in a towel for your pet to lie on.

 

If you use these tips you can keep your dog cool all summer long, no matter how hot it gets.

Whether you live in the city or the suburbs, or even out in the sticks, barbecues are one of the events that define the summer months. Grilling chicken, burgers, or hotdogs with some delicious side dishes and cold drinks – what could be better on a lazy summer afternoon? Your dog thinks so, too!

If you’re one of the many Americans who will be cooking outside this summer, there are some things you can do to make your barbecue safer for your dog.

  • Be sure to secure gates to your yard before your guests arrive. Check them as guests arrive and leave and then once again after everyone leaves. You don’t want your dog to accidentally slip out of your yard during any confusion while people are coming and going.
  • If you’re expecting guests for a cookout, consider keeping your dog indoors. There are lots of potential accidents that can occur around a barbecue grill. Plus, some dogs have trouble controlling themselves when they see people trying to balance food in their laps. Your dog might get in trouble with your friends. If you know your dog has bad manners, keep him inside.
  • If your dog stays outside while you cook out, make sure you put away sharp objects such as barbecue forks. Put food wrappers in a covered trash container immediately so your dog won’t be tempted to eat them. And, be especially careful with any food, cooked or uncooked. Dogs are notorious for snatching food when you’re not looking. You could discover that your dog has stolen five pounds of hamburger meat for your burgers and eaten it before you even noticed it was missing.
  • If possible, put your dog on a long leash and put someone in charge of him. This way he’ll be part of the gathering without being able to get in trouble.
  • You can also keep your dog entertained – and your guests, too – with some fun games while everyone is waiting to eat. Consider providing your guests with a Frisbee or some other toys that your dog likes to play with. Your dog and your guests can have a lot of fun while you grill. These games can be especially fun if you or your guests have children.
  • Once everyone starts eating, don’t forget about your dog. The grill is still hot and dogs can easily burn their paws or muzzles trying to reach something that smells good.

If your dog has had some obedience training and he knows the “down-stay,” you can put him in a long down-stay outside with your guests. Remember to reward him for being good! It’s hard for a dog to resist the tempting aromas that come from the barbecue grill.

Most dogs love a happy gathering as much as people do. Add some food cooking over a fire, and your dog will be delighted when you barbecue. If you take the precautions suggested here, your dog should be safe when you cook out this summer.