Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dog Dander Blues.

If you suffer from dog allergies you should know that shaving your dog isn't the answer, neither is going the route of paying tons for a "hypoallergenic dog" just because you have allergies to dogs. Allergies are caused by dander, which is basically the dead skin that falls off of the dog. It's not the dog's hair that is the problem.

Dog dander exacerbates allergies and asthma due to the proteins, also called allergens, that are found in the dander. While less hair usually means less dander, don't be fooled that a dog can be completely hypoallergenic. Also, dander differs between breeds and animal species due to different mixes of proteins and cells found in the dander. People who suffer from dog allergies may be allergic to specific breeds of dogs, or they may be allergic to all dogs.

There are a few things you can do to reduce the dander in your home and on your dog . . .

1) Bathe your dog once a week or every other week. Use a soap-free, shampoo so you don't dry out skin and cause irritation. I like Earthbath Eucalyptus & Peppermint. It's all natural and safe for daily use and it doesn't wash off flea treatments!

2) Add Fish Oil to their diet, and feed a quality diet. Be sure you are feeding your dog a high quality diet as it can effect skin and coat conditions. Also add fish oil to your dog's diet. You add 1000mg per 10lbs/per meal. You can get fish oil capsules almost anywhere. My favorite is the liquid in the pump, called Grizzly Salmon Oil. (I've found it at City Pet Supply in Dallas.)

3) Vacuum your floors often. Vacuuming will remove any dander, dust, hair and any other things that can easily cause allergies or irritate them. It is recommended to vacuum daily if you can. Also get baseboards, under all furniture (dust bunnies love it there!) and in corners.

4) Filter the air. A portable high efficiency particle arresting air purifier will continuously filter dander from the air, and many are designed to run economically 24 hours a day. These air purifiers will not only remove dander, but odor, hair, dust, and many other household pollutants that may be present in your home. An excellent resource for a HEPA air purifier to remove dog dander is offered by Purer Air.

Nothing will completely rid your home or dog of dander but doing these things will reduce it such that you may possibly not have an issue at all. For those with more severe allergies using a daily Zyrtec or other daily OTC allergy medication may help as well (consult your physician first).

You shouldn't have to sacrifice the family pet due to allergies, just learn how to manage it!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hello World.

I wanted to invite those who read the blog but are not a participant in the newest, biggest thing -- Facebook -- to consider joining our facebook page. I post a lot, a lot, a lot on there! If you want to join just get a free account and bookmark the page. You can go directly there by this address: Click the button at the top of the page that says "Like".

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dog Friendly Landscaping

I thought this would be a great subject. It's gorgeous outside and it's time to start some spring planting for those with yards! However, when you have a dog (or more than one) it can be frustrating to keep a nice yard and a dog happy at the same time.

I know right now my backyard is a disaster. It's all dirt, poop and then my nice trees. The trees are the nicest part of my yard at this point. While my dogs are only outdoors sporadically throughout the day they are out long enough to demolish any resemblance of a nice landscaped yard. I like nice yards, it's one of my things. But I feel like it's not going to happen at my house. I'm sure I'm not alone.

I have lately become more aware that I need to do something because my daughter doesn't even have a nice yard to play in that is safe (from nasty stuff) and clean. I'm a fan of this great site [on Facebook] I found (I think just through a Google search for pet friendly landscape) called Paw Friendly Landscapes. I was sad to see they are located in Colorado. Then I did some browsing on their site to find that they do custom landscape design plans for your yard--no matter where you are! Whoa! So I'm going to submit some photos and fill out a design form. I'll see what they come up with for my yard and when we get the funds hubby and I will start doing it ourselves!

A few tips for you on dogs and landscaping:
  • Think realistically first and foremost. If you want a gorgeous yard with no appearance of a dog, well then you may have to start walking your dog on leash and not allowing much time in the yard!
  • Less grass is best. Find designs that utilize more paths, mulch, bark, gravel, etc. This gives your dog more substrate to walk on that isn't ugly or easily destroyed.
  • Keep plants that are hardy and/or potted. Low lying flower beds are just asking for a waste of money and time. Most dogs will trample these in a matter of days. If you must raise the beds high, or plant in planters and pots.
  • Use hardy ground cover, such Asian jasmine. Asian jasmine is attractive and hardy against just about all things dog--pee, poo and stomping! You can plant this anywhere and it spreads nicely too. You can also use Mondograss (monkeygrass). This is a nice and popular ground cover. It does spread like wildfire so be sure to contain it in beds if you don't want it to mix with your actual grass yard.
  • Offer shade so that your dog can cool and doesn't dig or find his own shade.
  • Put grass in but not a whole yard full. Put areas of grass and other different substrates for eye appeal and for saving your grass against dog paws, pee and other matter!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Fungility classes are now posted to our website! Here is a little snippet of Trevor, my Jack Russell testing out one of the jumps I got for class.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Jake the Wonder Dog!

I've had some folks ask for an update on Jake and thought it would be easier to put some info here instead of writing numerous emails over and over again. . . .

Jake is doing remarkably well. He's gaining weight, he still has about 6 pounds to go, and he is loving his new canned-food-only diet! Today he picked up one of Trevor's (my Jack Russell) balls and tossed it around. He's not a ball dog. Lots of Labs are, he's not. So it was funny to see him playing period but even funnier that he had a ball!

He also felt good enough to dig a hole under the fence to chase after Trevor. Trevor has taken to digging into the neighbor's yard. Thank goodness it's into another yard and not onto the busy, busy street that our back fence backs up to. However, digging is not good no matter where it is! Arrgh, the pain of fixing my yard! Funny thing is that when Trevor digs out Jake goes bonkers. Jake is a quiet dog and if he barks in the yard I know for sure that Trevor has escaped. Then Jake frantically digs after Trevor and even eats the bottom of the fence boards. It really drives him nuts.

I had a refrigerator repair guy out and had shoved the dogs outside while he was there. As I'm talking with the man I hear Jake's desperate bark and I say, "Excuse me one of my dogs just dug out . . ." He looked at me, "Oh. How do you know that?" As we couldn't see the fence from where we were standing. I said, "My Lab tattles on my Jack Russell!" and whisked out the door to find Jake digging after him. Trevor is back and Jake is now resting to settle himself and cool off.

Bottom line: he seems to be back to his old self again!