Dog Grooming

How to Avoid Getting "Tick"ed Off This Spring and Summer

Tick on leafIt’s that time of year again, folks; the time of year that dog owners the world over dread. That’s right, it’s flea and tick season.  To help you out, here’s our primer on how to protect your pets from the most dangerous of those two bloodsucking baddies: the tick. To learn more about the tick’s menacing counterpart, the flea, check out September’s blog post, found here.

There are four types of tick that are prevalent in North America: the Deer tick, the Brown Dog tick, the Western Black-Legged tick, and the American Dog tick (also known as the Wood tick), with the two Dog ticks being the most common. All of these ticks have been known to spread potentially fatal diseases in dogs and cats, such as Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Canine Ehrlichiosis, and Canine Anaplasmosis, but tend to be less dangerous to humans (with the exception of the Deer tick, which can spread Lyme disease).

So how do you recognize these mini-menaces? Members of the arachnid family, like spiders or scorpions, ticks have four pairs of legs, can have a hard or soft shell, and are usually a shade of reddish-brown. They can be especially hard to notice or discover due to their incredibly small size; most ticks are roughly one-eighth of an inch long prior to feeding! After feeding, ticks can balloon up to half an inch long. Click here for a snapshot of common ticks and the diseases they can carry.

While found most frequently in wooded areas, ticks can lurk in the grass, shrubs, or other foliage in your lawn as well, so it’s best to employ as many preventive measures as possible to keep your pets safe. First and foremost would be utilizing a topical flea-and-tick medication like Frontline® Plus, Revolution®, or K9Advantix®, which can be purchased at your vet or at most local pet stores. One important thing to note when using a topical treatment: do NOT bathe your pet for at least two days, at the risk of washing the medication off. Lyme disease vaccines are also available for dogs, and can be administered by your vet.

Another good preventive measure is to trim any tall grass, bushes, and shrubs that could provide a shelter for ticks. Foliage and vegetation should be as close to the ground as possible. There are also some EPA-approved insecticides available that can be applied under shrubs and bushes and in other crevices where ticks are likely to hide. Don’t worry about spraying your grass; ticks prefer shaded, protected habitats, so those should be your focus. Read post »

Bring On the Doggie Bling!

LucyIt’s a beautiful, sunny spring day and Lucy is strutting down Boston’s posh Commonwealth Avenue like she owns it. Her black hair is glistening in the mid-day sun, and crystals are sparking around her neck. All around her, people stop and stare as she strolls by, walking with all the poise and confidence of a top runway model. Lucy pauses for a moment and takes it all in; she’s high-fashion, and she knows it, and she loves the attention. So, who is this Lucy? An up-and-coming model? An about-to-be-discovered starlet? Guess again. Lucy (shown at right)  is a two year-old Chihuahua-Pug mix, and one of a growing number of posh puppies decked out in today’s newest canine fashion trend: “doggie bling.”

With celebs like Oprah, Jessica Simpson, and even Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner decking their pooches out in the finest jewels and couture brands, it’s no wonder we here at DogWatch Hidden Fences have been seeing a rise in the presence of bejeweled best friends. From Swarovski crystals to designer logos, today’s pooches have the chance to be more stylish than ever before.

High-end boutiques, couturiers, internet shops, and big-box pets stores alike are all carrying a large assortment of dazzling and trendy collars for your fashion-forward furry friend. A quick Google search for “doggie bling” turned up literally thousands of results. It would appear that what was once looked at as eccentric has, in fact, become “de mode.”

Dog Wearing Jewelled CollarIf your dog is already rocking a DogWatch collar (as all the coolest pets are these days!), not to worry; sleeker collar styles, like Coach’s signature logo collar, will fit just fine underneath it. You don’t need to limit yourself to collars, however; doggie bling exists in all manner of forms! There’s the sophistication of a Louis Vuitton logo leash, or perhaps a Gucci dog bag?

Not prepared to shell out hundreds of dollars for these designer dog items? Don’t worry, you are (definitely) not alone. If you want your Main Street pup to look like a Madison Avenue couture pooch without the hefty price tag, you can try one of these fun, affordable options. You can paint her nails with non-toxic puppy polish. (We hear Lucy prefers pink.) Many dog stores carry collars with faux jewels and unique designs that will make you dog stand out. For the crafty dog owner, adding a pendant charm to your pup’s collar or bedazzling a leash is another inexpensive way to keep up with the latest canine fashion trends.

Need some inspiration before embarking on your own “Project Runway”-style doggie fashion project? The Domestic diva herself, Martha Stewart, is the proud owner of two French bulldogs, and loves to create beautiful, charming and functional things for them. She regularly features dog- themed design projects on her website, ranging from simple – like fastening a silk flower to your dog’s collar – to challenging – like making a fleece-lined dog coat. Try them out, and you’ll be proud to answer back when someone asks you: “Where did you find that gorgeous item?”

For inside the home, bowls and beds fit for royalty abound. From gold food and water dishes to canopy beds, your dog can truly live the luxe life! Again, you can decorate these items at home, creating a custom item to suit your dog’s unique personality.

After all, you and she know she’s fabulous; why shouldn’t everyone else?

We invite you to share your photos of your decked-out dogs on the DogWatch Facebook page and via Twitter. The more fabulous the better!

Top photo credit: Jaclyn Mosher

Bottom photo credit: Gary Knight via Flickr

New Year’s Resolutions for You and Your Dog

We’re approaching the end of January. How are your New Year’s resolutions going? Need an extra boost to keep it up during the rest of 2011? Why not include your dog in the action?

The DogWatch Hidden Fences team thinks that dogs make everything more fun – and we’ve come up with some ideas to energize your resolutions with the help of man’s (and woman’s) best friend!

Exercising with a dogExercise With A Smile

Starting an exercise routine is a perennially popular resolution. Dog owners who take on this task can not only improve their own health but also the health of their pet. Bring your dog along on your walks and runs.  Your dog will get some much needed extra exercise, and their happy faces will encourage you to fight through those tough hills and that painful last mile.

If you prefer to exercise indoors, incorporate some fetching games into your warms up and cool downs. It will help you start and end your workout on a happy note. Furthermore, by including your dog in your routine, it will give you one more reason to stick with it. You don’t want to disappoint Max or Bella, right?

Flex Your Mind Muscles

If you’re anything like us, you love curling up on the couch next to your sleeping pup. While we all love these precious moments of relaxation, sometimes we also crave some fun activities that challenge us to think in new ways. These activities range from reading that new novel your co-worker raved about, mastering the New York Times crossword puzzle, or building that bookshelf that is still in pieces in the basement.

How do you find the time for these tasks? Get the whole family involved, including the family pet. Establish “puzzle hour” or “reading night,” and ask that everyone disconnect from their phones and computers and TVs during this brief period of relaxing “brain time.” As for the dog, give her her own learning activity. Stuff a KONG toy with her favorite snack, or place treats inside a “puzzle” toy (read about some examples here). She’ll be occupied and energized – just like the rest of the family.

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Summer Dog Grooming Tips: Cut, Rinse, Repeat

Do you ever look at your dog during these hot summer days and think: “He must be miserable in the heat with all that fur.”  Or maybe you think: “It’s impossible to keep her clean, with all these trips to the park and beach.”

If so, then read on!  We have compiled a few tips to help you keep your dog cool, clean, healthy and, dare we say it, fashionable this summer.  This week, our advice comes in two parts: the cut and the rinse.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow?

When it comes to grooming advice for dogs, the lessons are as varied as the breeds themselves.  There is not room enough in a blog post to cover all the grooming tips out there, so we’ve picked out several that we feel are especially important in the summer months.

First of all, not all dogs actually need a drastic summer cut.  Dog breeds that hail from cold weather climates, such as Samoyeds and Huskies, should not get a short buzz cut.  This type of cut will prevent the dog’s coat from growing back properly.  Not only will the coat not grow back as beautifully as before, the new short coat may actually hinder a dog’s ability to cool herself.  These natural thick coats act an “air conditioner” by reflecting light and “lofting” as the dogs moves.

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