Archive | July, 2017

Sunburn Relief for You and Your Pooch

good dog spotIf you enjoy fun in the sun, you probably know the pain of a sunburn. Here are some natural products that can offer relief from the pain. Don’t forget the canines, either! If you have a short-haired dog, they can get sunburned too. 

(* means canine-friendly).

  1. Aloe vera*: All sun-worshippers should know this one. If you are prone to sunburns (or fire), your home should have an aloe plant. Pluck a leaf and peel it open. Some people will refrigerate the leaves before application for added relief. You can also mix it with vitamin E.
  2. Milk or Yogurt: This one may surprise you but many swear by it. Applying milk or yogurt to your skin will help instantly cool it. No need to worry about calories here, so go for regular rather than low-or-fat-free. (Bonus: 4oz plain yogurt, 1oz of aloe vera gel and 15 drops of lavender oil is even more effective). Topically, you can try these remedies on your dog, but dogs can have sensitivities to dairy products (and let’s face it: they WILL try to eat it). Some non-sweetened yogurt is OK for dogs so if you are going to try this remedy on Fido, go with the yogurt. 
  3. Coconut Oil is successful at soothing the burn and the associated itch, while also moisturizing the area. This will help reduce peeling and scarring.
  4. Lavender*: Adding lavender essential oil to cool water, and then spraying it over your burn will provide immediate relief. Like coconut oil, it will help reduce scarring. For extra relief, add aloe vera into this mixture. (Bonus: lavender essential oil used on dogs can help reduce anxiety. The quality of the essential oil is important though, so get natural, therapeutic-grade oils, especially if you have cats in the house).
  5. Rose Water*: Misting yourself with chilled rose water will provide great relief, make you feel royal and make you smell wonderful. Win, win, win. Be sure to get authentic rose water, rather than synthetic.
  6. Cucumber*: Cucumber is the vegetable of the summer. It is refreshing to eat, to add to water (with lemon), and also helps sooth sunburns. The best way to do this is to first blend the cucumber, then apply it directly to your skin. Some people will shred it instead. This is also great for burned eyelids.
  7. Chamomile Tea: Applying cooled tea or tea bags (after steeping) to the skin can help with inflammation and sting from sunburns. Using the tea bags can be especially useful if you burned your eyelids. For easy application, dip a sponge in the tea, then use the sponge to spread over the burn.
  8. White Vinegar: Chill and spray, voilà! White vinegar contains similar healing properties to aspirin, making it effective at relieving sunburn symptoms. It’s also a great household cleaner! Diluted white vinegar might be OK to apply to your dog’s skin, but they shouldn’t ingest too much of it. They also might be really offended by the smell. 


Dog Friendships

good dog spotDo dogs form friendships with other dogs? If you live or work with dogs you are going to answer, “Yes, of course they do!” It’s surprising then that there is very little scientific research confirming that dogs do in fact form friendships. In scientific terms, a friendship would be called a “preferential bond,” which can be difficult to study in animals, especially ones living in loving homes. Some animal behaviorists believe they have witnessed friendships in other species, such as wild chimpanzees and baboons, and of course, there are thousands of videos online showing same species and cross-species bonds.

At TGDS, we definitely think we see friendships form between our daycare dogs. Many dogs come on certain days of the week and regularly see the same dogs every time they come. We notice that dogs will be excited to see certain other dogs, and play together every time they come. The dogs here will even form cliques with each other, with a whole group of dogs playing together and becoming friends. Just like people, dogs have certain personalities and prefer the company of other dogs with certain personalities. You may have noticed this in your own dog. A lot of the friendships formed at TGDS are between dogs of similar breeds. For example, Labrador and Golden Retrievers often become friends with each other because they have very similar personalities and play styles. Many of the herding breed dogs play together as well. Then, of course, there are plenty of friendships formed between dogs of different breeds! It truly is fascinating watching the dogs here form friendships with each other that last years. Hopefully some day there will be more scientific information about how dogs form friendships with other dogs and how they develop these preferences for some dogs over others.

To read more about dog friendships, check out these interesting articles:

Can Dogs Form True Friendships with Other Dogs from Psychology Today

Do Dogs Form “Real” Friendships? From Patricia McConnell

Do Dogs Form “Real” Friendships?


Summer Hydration

Summer is (finally) here! One of the most important things you can do for your health is proper hydration. Water plays an important role in overall body function because when your body is good dog spotdehydrated it does not run as effectively. Water intake can affect many body processes, such as thermoregulation, blood circulation, nutrient and waste transportation, joint health, and brain cognition.

Every person and situation is different when it comes to how much water you need to consume on a daily basis. The typical recommendation is eight glasses of water a day, which is a good baseline amount to shoot for, but some sources suggest that men should consume about thirteen cups a day and women should consume nine. You should adjust the amount of water you drink based on your exercise regime and the weather. It is best to spread your water intake out throughout the day. Drinking too much water at once can push nutrients out of your body and be potentially dangerous

Water isn’t the only way to maintain hydration throughout the day. Juices and fresh fruits and vegetables are also great options. If you are doing strenuous exercise for more than an hour a day, sports drinks are a good option for replenishing sodium and other vital nutrients. Contrary to popular belief, small amounts of caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, and sodas can also aid in hydration.

Symptoms of dehydration in humans include dry mouth, feeling tired, dizziness, headache, and dark urine or infrequent urination. If you start experiencing any of these symptoms on a hot day, it’s a good idea to take a break from the heat and replenish liquids in your body.

Pet Hydration

Just like humans, pets can get dehydrated as well.

Dogs have a strong thirst drive, and therefore are pretty good about consuming enough water as long as it is available to them. You can also be sure your pet is consuming enough water by feeding wet food or adding water into their dry food. Providing vet-approved fresh fruits, veggies, and meat can also be a delicious way to increase their water intake.

Cats do not have a strong thirst drive. Wild or feral cats obtain most of their water from the foods they eat. Providing your cat wet food regularly is a great way to ensure they are consuming enough water (recommended to provide wet food at least once a day or every other day). Domestic cats are often at risk of kidney issues because they do not consume enough water.

Symptoms of pet dehydration include lethargy, panting, dry nose and mouth, sticky saliva, loss of elasticity to the skin (the skin should snap back into place when lightly pulled between the shoulder blades), sunken eyes, and difficulty walking (a sign of severe dehydration). If you think your pet is dehydrated, get them into a cool spot and try to get them to drink water. If your pet won’t drink water, you could give them wet food or vet-approved fresh fruits and veggies that will get them to intake water. If you suspect your pet is severely dehydrated, you should get them to the veterinarian immediately.