Uncategorized Archives - Hot Diggity! Dog Walking + Pet Sitting

In his younger years, my Australian Shepherd Koda and I enjoyed our fair share of long beautiful trails together. At his prime he’d happily climb mountains all day long – I was always the one trying to keep up with him! Even at 13 years old, Koda is still convinced he’s up for the task, but his heart and legs just can’t keep up anymore. He still begs to get outside and go exploring with me, and I’m never one to say no to my baby boy. Over the years I’ve learned some useful ‘hiking with dogs’ tips and tricks, and learned to adjust based on Koda’s skill and needs. If you’re thinking of taking a four-legged pal on a hike, here are some things to keep in mind that will keep you, your dog, and other hikers happier.

Is hiking right for YOUR dog? 

First things first is to make sure your pup is even up for the task! Most dogs, regardless of size, make excellent hiking companions as long as they are physically fit for the level of hiking that you plan to do, if they are obedient, if they are socialized among people and other dogs, and if the weather is not too hot. These are important “ifs”! There are adjustments that can be made however, to make sure pups of all sizes and ages can enjoy the outdoors!

Fitness Level

Hiking is more strenuous than walking. The terrain is uneven and usually involves vertical gain. If you spend more time lounging around than exercising, chances are good that your dog does too. Likewise, if you’ve mapped out a 10-mile hike but your daily dog walk consists of a casual stroll around the block, you may be carrying your pooch for the second half of the hiking route. Before you load up your dog in the car, make an honest assessment of your dog’s fitness level to be sure it can comfortably go the distance.

Health

In addition to its fitness level, your dog may have other health considerations that affect its ability to hike. Take these seriously! For example, brachycephalic (flat faced) breeds can have trouble breathing, so the temperature and length of the hike need to be taken into serious consideration. Koda now has a little arthritis, as well as heart disease so ANY kind of strenuous exercise or hot weather is strictly off the table for him. In order to compensate, we may simply drive to a trail I know is short with no elevation gain at all, on a cloudy and cooler day. Otherwise if i’m feeling up for something longer, I’ll load up his all-terrain stroller or grab my dog-carrying backpack! There are so many products on the market that make getting your dog outside possible, despite whatever health concerns they may have. These are our favorites: Dogger Stroller & K9 Sport Sack Backpack

Behavior 

If you feel your dog is fit enough, then ask yourself whether they are sufficiently well-behaved. Hiking may take place in the wild, but that does not mean you will be alone. Be sure they can heel, sit, stay, and come at your verbal command. Your dog should also be comfortable on a leash with polite leash manners. As importantly, your dog should be completely socialized among other dogs and humans. Trails are narrow, often with dense undergrowth on either side. You will be close to others when you pass on the trail or at the top of a popular mountain. If your dog is aggressive or overly protective, it will not be a good hiker-dog. Ditto if it’s prone to barking, which disturbs the quiet that so many people value on their hikes.

Size & Age

Assuming your dog is in shape and well-mannered, most dogs over 30lbs will make a great hiking companion, which is not to say that small dogs cannot trot down the trail just fine. An energetic Pomeranian can out race a lazy Labrador if the trail is relatively smooth and short. However, small dogs have to take a lot more steps to cover the same piece of ground, and they cannot jump as far up or down a rock, so they may need a lift where a larger dog would not. For my little Pomeranian, I always bring along my K9 Sport Sack backpack for when he gets tired!

Personally I feel like age is actually more of a factor than size. Old dogs, like old people, have stiffer joints, arthritis, and other ailments that reduce their physical abilities. Be gentle with puppies too. Lack of obedience training aside, hiking up and down steep, uneven trails can adversely affect the development of a growing puppy’s hips, shoulders, and other joints, which are not fully formed.

Keeping Your Dog Safe

So you’ve determined your pooch is up for the task! Even though they may be physically capable, it is still up to you to keep them safe. Not every hike is dog-friendly, and those that are might still have elements that seem attractive to you but that could pose a danger to your dog. 

Leash your dog

There are many tempting smells and critters out in the wilderness. Squirrels are all too fun to chase, but we are also sharing the world with other animals who could prove to be a dangerous advisory to your pup. There are also cliffs and other rough terrain you wouldn’t want your dog to fall down. Even if your dog is impeccably obedient at following commands and friendly with other people and pets, you can’t always trust OTHER people’s dogs if you’re on a busy trail. To avoid any scares—or worse—be sure to put your dog on a leash. 

Water

Always bring fresh water for your dog. Yes, your dog will want to drink lake or river water but he’s safer drinking water that you bring from home. Do all you can to discourage drinking any water you encounter on your hike. You’ll not only reduce his risk of running into potentially bad bacteria and parasites like giardia but also reduce the chance of minor tummy troubles.

Watch out for blue-green algae. Hot weather also means a bloom of blue-green algae on many lakes and ponds. This algae is toxic for dogs and can be fatal. If you suspect that your dog has swallowed blue-green algae, it’s important to get him to the veterinarian immediately. No antidote for the toxins exists, but supportive care may help your dog survive.

Essential Items for Hiking with Dogs

Leash: Avoid long leashes. A better choice is either a short heeling leash or a moderate leash under 10 feet long that you can quickly shorten to heeling length. There are even nice hiking specific leashes that are completely hands free! 

Tick Removal Tool: Just like humans, dogs are susceptible to tick-borne diseases. I always make sure to carry my handy “tick key” for easy removal for my pup or myself.

Collar and Identification: Make sure your dog has a well-fitting collar or harness with your telephone number and your dog’s name, rabies tag, and license on it.

Water: Always make sure to bring enough water for yourself and your dog. I’d recommend about 8oz per 10lbs of pooch. 

Collapsible water/food dish: Make sure to bring your pup his own water dish. Drinking straight out of the bottle can be incredibly messy and wasteful. I like the lightweight, collapsible kind that can hook right to my backpack. Like these!

Dog food/snacks: Bring actual dog food and/or dog treats, which are nutritionally balanced and easier for dogs to digest than human food.

Poop bags, plus extras: “Leave no trace” is the name of the game. It’s no fun carrying poop for an entire hike, but you need to pack it out. I bring extra so I can double bag them! 

Dog first-aid kit: Basic components should include the following, but you can also purchase pre-made kits for convenience! 

  • Bandage scissors
  • Dog toenail clippers
  • Tweezers
  • Cleansers and disinfectants such as hydrogen peroxide and Betadine
  • Topical antibiotic ointments such as Bacitracin or Neomycin
  • Gauze pads 
  • Gauze roll
  • Non-stick bandages
  • Adhesive tape (1- and 2-inch rolls)
  • Muzzle: Even the most passive dog can get snappy when stressed due to injury

Non-essential Item Suggestions

K9 Sport Sack – If your pup may not be physically up for hiking, but still wants to enjoy the fresh air. I can’t recommend these backpacks enough! At 30lbs, Koda is a little heavy to carry in one of these for long distances, but I use one for my 8lb pomeranian ALL the time! He absolutely loves it. 

Hiking Boots – If you’re worried about your pups feet – hiking boots might be the solution! Koda once had a small cut on his foot, and I had him wear just one to keep it clean while we went for our hike. It worked wonders! Folks seem to love the RuffWear brand booties. 

Cooling Vests – These are magic! On hot days, you can really do your dog a favor by bringing along a cooling vest for them. RuffWear makes my personal favorite.

Packable Dog Bed – Since both of my pups are now “seniors” I always bring along a packable dog bed so we can stop and rest along the way. Bonus points if the bed is weather resistant and machine washable like these Kurgo brand ones!

Many cat owners eventually desire to add a new feline family member to their existing solo cat resident (and sometimes, multiple cats!) and are often faced with the difficult question: how do I integrate a new member into the family as smoothly as possible? 

Luckily, we at Hot Diggity have put together a handy guide for new kitty integration, to make your new family member feel right at home in no time! 

Give Your New Friend A Comfy Space! 

Cats usually take a bit of time to adjust to new surroundings, especially with the scent of other animals near! Give your new friend a chance to get settled into a secure location in their new home. In a small room or bathroom, set up your friend with a litter-box, a bed, food and water, and a few creature comforts – toys, soft blankets, etc. – to help them to feel secure. 

When visiting your new family member, keep your voice calm and speak softly. If your kitty is particularly shy, we recommend that you sit on the floor close to your new kitty, and allow him to approach you. You may also set a couple treats on the floor in front of him to allow him to assess that you are not a threat. 

If you have small children, please be sure that they are supervised around your new kitty! Help them to place their hands to gently pet your new kitty’s head, and reiterate the importance of leaving tails and paws alone – both for the safety of the kitty, and the safety of your child. 

Introduce Smells! 

It’s important that your existing cat(s) begin to become accustomed to the smell of your new cat. We recommend that you take as many clean towels as there are cats, and rub the cats with the towels, particularly around their cheeks – then place the towels on the other side and allow your pets to explore the new scents! 

We recommend that you keep the routine of rubbing towels on your cats and moving them across the door for three to four days. This will give your pets an opportunity to settle in and become accustomed to the new scent, simplifying the integration process.

Start Small, Stay Home! 

After three to four days of scent integration, you may give your pets an opportunity to meet one another. Crack the door of your new kitty’s personal space a couple inches and allow them to approach the door on their own, supervising closely. Likely, it’s your existing pets that will be more curious to meet the companion they’ve been smelling for the past few days! 

When you notice your cats noticing each other, say their names and offer each cat a treat – they will begin to associate one another’s names with a tasty morsel. It is easier to do this if you have a friend or family member to help. If your fuzzy family is hesitant, or positioned far apart from one another, having a human with each of your animals makes it simpler to offer all treats and individual attention as they adjust to one another’s presence.

Don’t be alarmed if you hear an occasional hiss, or a bit of a low growl – this isn’t necessarily indicative of an approaching fight, but simply a show of dominance as your cats establish new systems of hierarchy in your home. 

We recommend that you keep these interactions short at first, over the course of several days, and only while you are at home. Start with twenty minutes, then an hour, then two, and so forth. Allow your new kitty to have their own space while you are away from home or sleeping. 

Speaking of Helpers! 

If you have a friend or family member that knows your existing kitty well, supplement your kitties’ interactions by having a friend hang out and play with each of your pets while they’re out and being adjusted! If one kitty is particularly shy, set a little can of wet food next to them, and give them lots of pets and attention while they’re eating. They’ll quickly begin to realize that the others’ presence is not indicative of a negative sign, and build pleasant associations with one another. 

Patience, Patience, Patience! 

Most cats will be adjusted enough to their new homes to be integrated over the course of a couple weeks.

However, we recommend that you continue to keep your new kitty’s area available to them as they adjust, including their own facilities, food bowls, and bed, separate from your other pets, and if you notice any distress from your other kitty, or kitties, give them a little space and try again. Don’t be discouraged – love takes time to grow! 

Above all else, remember that patience is the key to success; if you give your pets the necessary adjustment period early on, you will be the most likely to set a stage for a harmonious household for years to come. And if all else fails, please consult your veterinarian – they are always there to help you!

Saturday, May 11, is National Dog Mom Day. Founded in 2018 by Dig, a dating app specifically designed to connect matches who love dogs, and intentionally placed right before Mother’s Day, it is a day to celebrate the special bond between women and their precious pups. Here are some special ways you can celebrate this day with Fido, even if you’re currently quarantined and can’t stray too far from home!

“Picnic in the Park” 

Pack a picnic that both you and your pup can enjoy together, and spend time together in a local park! There are a variety of recipes that both you and your pup can enjoy for a sense of camaraderie and togetherness. Some fun ideas:

  • Sweet potato jerky: simple and easy, and nutritious for humans and pups alike! Simply cut ½ inch strips, line on a parchment sheet, and bake in oven preheated to 225 for 3-4 hours or until desired tenderness is achieved. Store in airtight container for 2-3 weeks if tender, and up to 3 months if crisp! 
  • Pupsicles: puree berries and banana in a blender (add some peanut butter if desired), place into an ice cube tray, and freeze. For an easy-to-eat human version, you may add a toothpick to create a mini-popsicle!
  • Pasta Marinara: while we don’t recommend rich sauces for your pup, a little rice or pasta (preferably whole grain) is perfectly fine! Pasta tossed in a healthful, whole-ingredient tomato sauce provides both you and your pup with vitamin C and deliciousness to boot! 
  • Roasted butternut squash: easy peasy! Just cut butternut squash into 1” chunks, toss with a little olive oil, kosher salt, and a dash of pepper, place on a sheet pan, and roast for 25 minutes at 400 degrees or until the squash is tender, turning once with a spatula.
  • Salmon cakes: Take one 6 oz can salmon, ½ cup bread crumbs, and gently mix together. Mix in one beaten egg, ¼ cup bell pepper, and a tsp. of fresh dill. Form into patties. Heat in a skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown, 3-4 minutes on each side.

You’ve got yourself a lunch to share with your pup! 

Pedicure Party with Penny! 

There are a variety of pup-safe nail polishes on the market! Not only will your pup look absolutely adorable, but you can use these polishes on yourself as well. Of course, don’t forget to do a doggie photo shoot with your favorite friend to show off your new look! 

Here are some products that we recommend: 

  • Warren London Pedicure Polish Pen: Simple and easy to use, with a wide variety of bright colors, this pen works on pup and human nails, and dries in less than forty seconds, making it a good choice for even more impatient pups! Review summary: reviewers recommend the bright pink and bright purple as their favorites! 
  • Color Paw Fast-Drying Premium Nail Polish: This polish comes in a traditional nail polish bottle, offers full coverage, and dries within about 30 seconds – and is easy to use for humans as well! Review Summary: Most people recommend two coats, highly prefer the baby blue, and report that the polish stays on for 2+ weeks! 

A Stroll in a Stroller

Dogs who are older, or who struggle with mobility issues, still need time in the fresh air for optimal health. If you have an older pup, or a pup with mobility issues, who misses the days when they were able to run unencumbered by the limitations of age or illness, or even if you are just looking to get in shape without exhausting your puppy, consider purchasing a quality stroller to maximize both your pup’s time outdoors and time spent with your aging pup. 

In addition to providing your pup, who may otherwise be limited on their outdoor experience, essential time in fresh air, using a stroller over a pet carrier means that you can go for a lengthy run and give your pup a break when they get tired, give your back and shoulders a break if you’re headed to the vet, and provide your pup a safe space if you take them to the office or an event where their anxiety may otherwise be elevated. Even if your pup does not struggle with mobility, a stroller can provide your pup with a safe environment to nap if you’re heading to a dog-friendly restaurant with friends, or if you’re outdoors on a hot day where the ground can become too much for his delicate feet! Just pack your pup’s stroller with his favorite toys or a cuddly blanket, and head out without worry! 

Luckily, there are several companies that have taken your pup’s limitations into consideration and created strollers specifically designed to allow your pup to enjoy the great outdoors without tiring him out!

Our favorite all-purpose stroller is the Dogger Stroller. With 12” air-filled tires, this stroller can navigate any terrain, and has an extra-high basket which allows your pup to get a better view of their surroundings. Featuring hundreds of 5-star reviews, this stroller is a bit of an investment at $269.95, but is well worth the cost! 

If you’re looking for something a little simpler, the Pet Gear Ultra Light Travel Stroller is a good starter stroller for your pup. Easily collapsible for travel, featuring over 1000 promising reviews, and only $39.99, this is a good choice for folks whose wallets are not quite ready for a larger investment, but who still want the opportunity to meander in the sunshine with their more delicate pups. 

Cute Dinner Date!

While Oregon is currently under a stay-at-home order, restaurant openings are just around the corner! Thankfully, Portland has many restaurants with patios that are more than happy to accommodate you and your favorite date!

If you and your pup are fans of sports, The Bucket Brigade Sports Bar has a large enclosed dog-friendly patio where you can kick back with a beer while your pup runs around with his friends! The stone walls surrounding the patio are high, making it safe for even the largest dog to safely play! And if it’s a cold or rainy day, the patio has a covered section with heaters to keep you and Fido nice and toasty!

If coffee is your beverage of choice, and you enjoy a good happy hour with your furry friend, visit the Java Hound Coffee Bar in NW Portland. In addition to offering local teas, coffees, and pastries, and a special goat-milk puppacino topped with doggy treats, the third Thursday of every month features a pup-friendly happy hour from 5-7 p.m., where you and your pup can try human and pup-friendly beer and wine. 

Featuring all-day happy hour every Monday, and dog friendly front and back patios, The Rambler Bar has delicious hearty fare such as turkey pot pie dumplings and a brisket french dip, features a wide variety of unique cocktails (and mocktails!), and is open late into the night on weekdays and weekends alike. 

Looking for some extra-fancy vegan or gluten free fare to share with your pup? Victoria Bar features an elegant setting, complex and delicious cocktails (notably named with many Princess Bride references!), and a sunny patio for you to relax with an array of small plates easily customizable to any dietary requirements. Pro-tip: the buffalo cauliflower can satisfy even the most voracious meat eater! 

If you’d like a little menu for your pup in addition to some tasty fare for yourself, Portland’s staple breakfast joint, The Tin Shed, has a responsibly-sourced and frequently local menu to accommodate most palates, and even has a little doggy menu so that Fido can feel just as included! House-made peanut butter banana ice cream with a dog biscuit, anyone? 

If you’re looking for a friendly place that can accommodate all dietary requirements, and is welcoming to both human and pup children, look no further than Pizza Jerk. Simple checkered tablecloths and a patio with lots of umbrellas make this location a fun go-to for the whole family! On a hot summer day, you can also enjoy an adult slushie to keep you cool as you munch away on your slice of vegan sausage pizza!

Even if you’re living in Beaverton, you can still enjoy some time on a friendly patio with your pup. The Fireside Grill has a large friendly dog patio and features a large menu with American fare, including burgers, sandwiches, and several cuts of steak – and it does have a couple vegan options for your plant-based friends! 

Support Shelters with Wine

If you’re looking for a simple way to support your community shelters, consider buying a bottle of wine from a company whose proceeds go towards such support! Rescue Dog Wine features red and white wines galore, as well as several club options for various budgets, including a once-a-year holiday wine club which ships twelve bottles directly to your door during the holiday season. Prices per bottle range from $18.99 to $39.00, and 50% of your purchase goes to rescue dog and charitable organizations and supporting dog foster parents. Employees for Rescue Dog Wine also regularly volunteer their time to pups in need! 

Chateau La Paws rotates affordable, easy drinking wines for all palates, with proceeds going to no-kill shelters and individual bottles featuring previously sponsored pups with happy adoption endings! This wine company has donated over $100,000 to North Shore Animal League America, which is involved in everything from elevating the status of mixed-breed pups, to supporting foster and adoption programs throughout the U.S. At $14 per bottle, these wines accommodate most wallets!

Simple and Snuggly 

There are many other simple ways that you can celebrate this day with your best pal. Snuggle up on the couch with a blanket for you and Rover to marathon a favorite show (or a David Attenborough nature special!), and take the opportunity to pamper yourself with a face mask or other mini-spa experience. If you’re feeling photogenic after a little self-pampering, set a timer on your phone and have a mini photoshoot with your pup – and finish the day with a living room campout!

If you wouldn’t mind being featured in one of our social media campaigns, please don’t hesitate to send us an email at [email protected] and let us know how you’re celebrating National Dog Mom Day! We’d love to feature you and your pup in a celebratory post down the line!

April 30th was National Shelter Pets Day, and in honor of this holiday, we wanted to list some of the many reasons why choosing to adopt rather than purchase an animal is a choice more kind to your heart, your community, and your wallet.

You Are Saving Multiple Lives

You are giving an animal, who may have come from a situation of neglect or cruelty, or who may simply have been abandoned when its owners became incapable of caring for it, another chance at life in a happy home. 

Additionally, as animal overpopulation has led to the euthanization of millions of healthy animals each year, your adoption also opens a shelter bed for another animal, who will now have the same opportunity as your new companion.

You Can Improve Your Health

Dozens of studies have demonstrated that pet ownership contributes to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, lowers muscle tension, and has a myriad of positive effects on one’s mental health. 

A 2015 study by the CDC found that children who were raised with pet dogs had significantly lower rates of childhood anxiety, and a 2014 study on community-dwelling elderly people determined that caring for a pet improved cognitive function and feelings of isolation and depression.

You Are Helping to Abolish Puppy Mills

Commercial breeding facilities are legal in most states, and are inherently designed to maximize profit over animal health and welfare. Approximately 10,000 puppy mills are currently operating in the U.S., and only approximately 3,000 have any regulation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

In these facilities, animals typically have no access to veterinary care or protection from extreme weather; female dogs are bred continuously, without adequate recovery time, and often killed when they can no longer reproduce; animals frequently struggle with health problems, including bleeding or swollen paws, severe tooth decay, ear infections, dehydration, and lesions on their eyes, which often lead to blindness.

Each year, over 2 million puppy mill puppies are sold to often unsuspecting owners, encouraging the ongoing operation of mills, while over 3 million dogs are killed in shelters. By choosing to adopt, you are also helping to discourage ongoing operation of these substandard facilities, which will improve the lives of many animals over time.

Choosing a Breed is Not Impossible!

Many people choose to buy because they think they won’t be able to find the breed they’re looking for in a shelter pet – and this is not true! Shelters frequently have specific breeds that have been surrendered due to lack of original owner preparedness – and there are even many breed-specific rescue organizations throughout the country. PetFinder and Dogster both have handy search tools for breed-specific rescues. 

While you wait, you may always volunteer your time as a foster parent to a pet in need. By fostering, you will meet pets of various breeds, and your rescue may acquire a breed you’re looking for in the meanwhile. Or, you may find that breed is less relevant than personality and end up with a completely unexpected family member!

You Are Saving Significant Money for Your Pet’s Startup Costs

Your pet’s initial exam, flea/heartworm treatment, vaccinations, microchipping & registration, and spay/neuter surgery can run upwards of $1000 out of pocket. On the other hand, your shelter pet will come health checked, with current vaccinations, and usually already spayed or neutered – ready to settle in at home with you without an immediate need for medical care! 

Frequently, shelters also develop partnerships with select local veterinarians that will allow you to acquire reduced-cost services for the duration of your pet’s life.

Your Pet’s Personality May Already Be Known

Many shelter pets spend some time in foster homes where they are prepared for adoption. Foster parents take the time to get to know their pets’ personalities and prepare them for adoption – so you have a much better chance of knowing what your new friend is like – their likes and dislikes, favorite things, and so much more!

Older Pets Can Be Easier to Adopt

If you’ve ever raised a puppy, kitten, or other young animal, you know that they require a lot of additional time to raise! Puppies need to be potty-trained and may have accidents as they grow; kittens are bundles of energy that will tear through your house at ten million miles an hour, knocking everything down as they go! You have to take the time to teach your new fur baby how to walk, what not to scratch or eat, and so much more.

Adopting an older pet from a shelter means that not only will their personalities be more developed, but they will also be calmer, and likely already arrive potty trained. Plus, you can leave an older pet alone a little longer than a young animal, which may be more suited to someone with a busy career.

As many non-essential businesses are being temporarily closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, you may have found your pups groomer to be among them! While we don’t recommend going all out and giving your pup a whole new hairdo – we’ve got some basic at home grooming tips to keep your pup looking fresh until you can visit the doggy salon again. If you’ve got a short haired breed, or one that doesn’t need regular haircuts, these basics will keep your pup looking and feeling their best year round, too!

The most important thing to remember is that you want your dog to enjoy (or at least not hate) the grooming process. Some pups might not mind at all, while others may find the whole soapy situation incredibly stressful. This may mean breaking up the grooming process into small steps, only a couple minutes a day, instead of making a whole day out of the process. Of course, be sure to give your dog plenty of treats along the way!

 

Nails

Tools of the trade:


As a general rule, you should plan on trimming your dog’s nails once a month. Some dogs will need more or less frequent nail trimming depending on a couple different factors. For example, larger and more active dogs that spend a lot of time outside on pavement will wear down their nails naturally and will need to be trimmed less often than a smaller pup that spends most of his day napping on a comfy bed.

The most important thing to remember when cutting a dog’s nails is that pups have a vein in their nails called a quick that will bleed (and hurt!) if you cut it too short. In dogs that don’t get their nails cut frequently enough, the vein can grow very long, so you can only take a little bit off at a time. If that’s the case, you should trim a little bit off your dog’s nails every week to encourage the vein to shrink back into the nail.

If you use dog nail clippers, the easiest way to cut your dog’s nails is to position your dog in a way where you can flip their paw back and look at the underside. Once you’ve got your dog comfortably situated, begin to trim. In dogs with white nails, the quick is visible, and thus, it’s easier to trim the nail to avoid coming near the quick. If your pup has black nails, however, only cut off a little bit at a time. You will see a tiny black dot surrounded by white when you get close to the quick. That’s how you know to stop.

Nail grinders are a great way to get your dog’s nails short and smooth with less risk of cutting the quick. Nail grinders can be loud however, so you may need to introduce it to your dog slowly. Use the same process to take off a little bit at a time until you see the dot in the middle of the nail showing that you’ve gone short enough.

It’s a good idea to keep styptic powder handy to stop bleeding if you trim a nail too short!

 

Brushing

Tools of the trade:
 

Most dogs benefit from being brushed a couple times a week. Even if you have a pup whose breed requires less frequent brushing, all pups can benefit from a regular brushing routine: it helps dogs to remain calm during grooming appointments, keeps their skin healthy and prevents a buildup of dander, and it’s an excellent way to bond with your best buddy! But which of the many grooming tools do you actually need for regular coat maintenance?

SMOOTH AND SHORT COATS: 

For our “bully” breeds and hounds, a bristle brush works well. A gentle rub-down with a rubber brush or grooming mitt to loosen dead hair and dirt should be sufficient, but if your dog has a long enough coat to get some small knots, a pinhead brush will sort them out.

LONG COATS:

Old English Sheepdogs and other shaggy breeds are prone to tangles and matting. Use a slicker brush or wide-toothed comb to gently work through any mats – don’t cut them out. An undercoat rake is needed to get through all the layers of hair and reach the roots after the tangles have been removed. 

DOUBLE COATS:

Most retrievers and shepherds have a double coat – meaning they have a soft, seasonal undercoat that sheds twice a year, and a coarser outer coat that sheds only once a year. Double-coated dogs can have both long and short coats. For either coat length, start with a slicker brush to remove loose hair from the outer coat and any debris trapped in the coat. Then, use an undercoat rake, which is a specialized tool to get through the double coat and gently remove any dead hair or tangles from the inner coat.

SILKY COATS:

Yorkies and other soft lap dogs typically have long and fine hair, with no undercoat. Use a comb to remove tangles, and a bristle brush to keep it nice and shiny.

WIRE COATS:

Many terriers have wiry coats that are rough and do not shed. Use a curved-wire slicker brush and a stripping comb to thin out an overgrown coat and brush away mats.

CURLY COATS:

Doodles and Poodles and Schnoodles, oh my! These coats are soft, thick, and puffy. They may shed less than other breeds, but they can be hard to maintain. To remove tangles from curly coats, use a metal comb or dematting tool and work slowly, exercising patience.

 

Teeth

Tools of the trade:

80% of dogs have periodontal disease or other dental problems by the time they’re 3 years old – that’s a staggering percentage! Gum disease is no small matter either: it can lead to lost teeth, abscesses, a broken jaw, heart disease, or even death. That’s right – the bacteria from your dog’s bad teeth can get into their bloodstream and cause a myriad of problems. 

You should aim to brush your dog’s teeth every day, but a couple times a week at a minimum will suffice. If you’ve never brushed your dog’s teeth before, you need to start slowly. Always use a dog specific toothpaste – not your own! They come in an array of pup-friendly flavors too! Let them sniff and lick the dog toothpaste first, then put the toothpaste on your finger and rub it on the outside of your dog’s teeth. Work your way up to a finger toothbrush and then a dog toothbrush.

If your dog refuses to let you brush their teeth, you may also use dental sprays, water additives, and tooth wipes that are still a better choice than no dental care at all! 

 

Bath Time!

Tools of the trade:

Some people never wash their pups, while others bathe their pups every weekend. You should aim somewhere in the middle. Most dogs should be bathed every 1-3 months, but no more than once a month. If you absolutely must bathe your pup more frequently, be sure to use a very gentle shampoo made specifically for dogs – such as a hypoallergenic or oatmeal shampoo. As overwashing can dry out your dog’s skin and coat, following shampoo with a dog-specific conditioner can help to retain necessary coat moisture. Never use human shampoos to wash your pups, as humans’ skin pH is different than dogs, and even gentle baby shampoos are too harsh for your pup’s skin. 

Pro-tip: Be sure you’ve gathered all necessary supplies before you start the bath – there is nothing worse than chasing a slippery dog around the house who got loose while you went to grab a towel! 

Bathing Instructions:

Prepare the tub with a bath mat or towel to give your pup some traction; dogs don’t like the feel of slippery sink or bathtub surfaces underneath their feet. 

Make sure to use lukewarm water – the temperature you would use for a baby’s bath is perfect! If you have a flexible sprayer attachment, this is WAY easier and time effective than trying to rinse a dog with a cup, but you can make do either way.

First things first: Get your dog wet! Start at their back end and work your way forward toward their head. Then it’s time to soap them up. Be careful NOT to get shampoo in your pups’ eyes – nobody likes that! Using a rubber scrubby brush (as shown in the “brushes” section above) can help you get the shampoo thoroughly through their coat and loosen up dead skin/fur as well! 

Once they’re all sudsy, rinse thoroughly to remove all shampoo! When you think you have all the shampoo out, rinse an additional time (and then once more, for good measure)! It’s easy to accidentally leave a little shampoo in your dog’s thick coat.

Use a towel (or two, or three) before your pup escapes the tub to get them mostly dry then it’s up to you whether you want to use a blow dryer or not. If you do use a hair dryer, make sure to use a cool setting. Dogs can overheat very easily. Otherwise, enjoy watching your dog bolt around the house overjoyed to be out of the tub!

 

Ears

Tools of the trade:

Your dog’s ears should be cleaned at least once a month. You can use an ear cleaner specifically made for dogs or witch hazel on a cotton ball. It’s normal to see a little bit of dirt on the cotton ball after swiping the inside of your dog’s ear, but if the cotton ball comes out gunky or stinky, your dog likely has an ear infection and needs a trip to the vet.

Out of dog treats and reluctant to run to the store for just one item? Running low on supplies due to panic-buyers clearing the shelves? It’s a stressful time for humans and pups alike, and we all deserve a treat or two to keep our spirits high! With this in mind, here are a couple simple recipes for dog treats you can make at home with short ingredient lists that won’t tax your pantry.

These recipes are also simple enough for little humans to be able to help in the preparation process, and will keep in the fridge for one week in an airtight container – that is, if Fido doesn’t get ‘em first!

Also featuring our official Taste-Tester, Mia!
 

Peanut Butter Treats

*1 cup oats
*1 ripe banana
*1 egg
*3 Tbsp peanut butter

Mash up the banana with the egg and peanut butter. Stir in the oats. Place spoonfuls of batter on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and smoosh them a little with a fork. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Mia’s Rating: 4.5/5 stars
“What’s that? Is it for me? GIMME!”

Chewy Cheesy Puffs*
 
*1 cup flour
*1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
*1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
*1/2 cup evaporated lowfat milk
*1 egg

Mix everything together thoroughly. Drop rounded spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 9-12 minutes.
*Some dogs have trouble digesting dairy – don’t overdo it on these treats until you know how you pup reacts.

Mia’s Rating: 4/5 stars
“Mmmmm, cheesey!”
Have fun baking! And remember, Hot Diggity is currently offering Grocery Shopping Services if you’d like to add these ingredients to your next grocery delivery (these are Large Shopping Trip and Large Shopping Trip in your Client Portal!)