Keeping a regular collar (also known as a flat collar) on your dog is must for any dog owner. In addition to a microchip, your dog should be wearing a collar and ID tags at all times. Even the most responsible pet owners might have to face the devastating situation of a lost dog, and your four-legged friend is much more likely to get home to you quickly if he is wearing a collar.

However, a flat collar may not be the ideal choice for everyday walks with your dog.

  • Even a dog that pulls lightly can be at risk of neck injuries and other health issues due to damage from a collar.
  • Scared or panicked dogs can quite easily slip out of flat collars.
  • Prong and choke collars carry the highest likelihood of injury and damage to your dog, but even a flat collar can be harmful if you jerk the leash too hard.

Studies have shown that there are many health issues that can be caused from walking your dog on a collar, including:

  • Hypothyroidism, which can be caused from trauma to the thyroid gland in the neck
  • Ear and eye issues as a result of extensive pressure on the neck
  • Behavior problems caused by pain or other physical injuries from the use of a collar

While it is important to keep a flat collar on your dog for identification purposes, it is a good idea to attach the leash to a back-led or chest-led harnessrather than the collar.

How Should You Choose the Right Collar or Harness?
You may be overwhelmed with options when it comes to collars and harnesses for your dog. Check out the links below to figure out the best (and worst) options for you and your dog:

Related Reading:

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Is It Safe for My Dog to Drink From Rivers, Lakes or Oceans?

Any animal compelled to lap up toilet water probably has a cast-iron constitution, right? So what harm can come to a dog who drinks out of natural bodies of water? Plenty, as it turns out.

Outdoor water sources can harbor organisms and chemicals that can be harmful to your dog, some of which can put you at risk for zoonotic disease as well.

Some of the Risks

Here’s just a sampling of what can lurk in outdoor water sources:

Bacteria. Water that’s contaminated with animal or human waste can contain bacteria, including species of salmonella, Campylobacter, Escherichia coli and Leptospira .

In mild cases, these bacterial infections can lead to diarrhea (which could make for a long drive home from the beach, even with the car windows rolled down). Severe infections with these organisms can be much worse. Some of these bacteria may be shed in the stools of infected dogs, and improper handling of feces can potentially lead to infections in people.

Of these bacteria, infection with the Leptospira species can be especially concerning. These bacteria are often found in marshy or muddy water and slow-moving or stagnant pools frequented by wildlife, such as raccoons, opossums, skunks and rodents. Infection in dogs, if not treated early, can result in liver and/or kidney damage and death. Organisms can be shed in the urine of infected dogs, leading to potential infection in people.

If you live in an at-risk area or like to take your dog hunting, ask your veterinarian about leptospirosis vaccines. Although these vaccines can’t offer protection against every subtype of these bacteria, they do help protect dogs against some of the more common ones.

Blue-green algae. Though not exactly a plant, these bacteria produce energy by photosynthesis. Cyanobacteria can form colonies of blooms that often float on the water’s surface, especially during the hot weather of summer and early fall.

Dogs may swallow the blooms while swimming or ingest them when grooming their coats after being in the water.

Some of these blooms produce toxins, such as microcystins, which can lead to liver failure, and anatoxins, which typically affect the nervous system. Signs can begin soon after ingestion and may include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, collapse and death.

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.

Parasites. Outdoor water sources are also sources for parasites, including species of the protozoans Giardia and cryptosporidium. If your dog gets diarrhea after a day on the water, one of these may be the culprit.

Chances are, these parasites won’t be spread to humans, but there is a slight risk for those who are immunocompromised. 

Chemicals. Outdoor bodies of water can not only contain surface runoff from surrounding lands, such as pesticides and herbicides, but other chemicals like gasoline and oil from boaters. 

Salt. Consuming a little bit of ocean salt water probably won’t hurt your dog, but large amounts of it can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Dogs drinking ocean water may also experience diarrhea. 

So What’s a Dog Owner to Do?

When heading into the great outdoors with your dog, always pack a portable bowl and plenty of fresh water. If you notice your dog trying to drink out of a river or lake (or the ocean), lead him to his water bowl. 

In cases where the water smells or looks dirty (as enticing as that is for most dogs), it might be better to keep him on shore. And if your dog doesn’t seem like himself after a day on the river, lake or beach, take him to your veterinarian, just to be sure. 

And remember: If you wouldn’t drink the water, it’s probably not safe for your dog to drink either. 

How to Ease Separation Anxiety in Dogs

• Give your dog a minimum of 30 minutes to 1 hour of  aerobic exercise each day. 

▪ Work on basic obedience commands (come, sit, sit-stay, down, down-stay) for 15 or 20 minutes each day. Use rewards for compliance (praise, a quick pat on the chest, a food treat) rather than reprimands or punishment for lack of compliance. If you need help getting consistent obedience from your dog, work with a professional trainer.

▪ Wean your “Velcro dog” from being attached to you at all times when you’re home. Use a baby gate to barricade her in a separate room for part of the time when you’re home.

▪ Provide her with a delicious distraction, such as a Kong toy stuffed with a food treat (peanut butter is a popular Kong stuffer) while she’s by herself. You can also use a “down-stay” or “get in your bed” command to put some distance between you.

▪ Ignore her for 20 minutes before you leave and 20 minutes after you return. Effusive goodbyes and hellos make a dog with separation anxiety feel worse.

▪ When you leave her alone, don’t give her the run of the house or apartment. Instead, use a baby gate to confine her to one room, such as the bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen—wherever she’s least likely to do damage or disturb the neighbors. Leave a radio or TV on very low to provide distracting background noise.

▪ Do not leave a dog with separation anxiety in a closed crate. Many dogs with separation anxiety have panic attacks when crated and will injure their mouths or front feet trying to bite or claw their way out of the crate.

▪ Don’t use an anti-bark collar. It’s unlikely to work on a dog with separation anxiety.

▪ Start a program of desensitization or “flooding.” Flooding for separation anxiety would involve setting aside several hours on a weekend during which you enter and leave your apartment so often that you essentially wear the dog out. Leave the apartment every few minutes, on a varying schedule, for a minute or two at a time then come back. Be sure not to return while your dog is barking or howling, or else you will be rewarding her for that behaviour. If it’s impossible to walk out the door without having your dog bark, you might have a friend remain in the apartment while you go in and out. Desensitization for a dog with separation anxiety involves giving her your customary cues that you’re leaving—such as picking up your car keys or briefcase, opening the coat closet, putting on your “work shoes,” and so on—without actually leaving.

▪ A DAP diffuser or collar may help calm an anxious dog.

▪ An antidepressant may be helpful for a dog with separation anxiety. Clomicalm (clomipramine) is widely used for that purpose. In severe cases and for occasional use, an anti-anxiety medication can also be given one hour before your departure. No drug can extinguish separation anxiety on its own, however. Desensitization is essential.

Excerpted from Hound Health Handbook © 2004, 2009 by Urbanhound, LLC Used by permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. New York All Rights Reserved Available wherever books are sold.

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Introducing a new Dog into your home.

Introducing a new dog can be an exciting, but potentially stressful situation. You may have children or other dogs in the home, and might not be sure how your new addition will fit in with current family members.
When it comes to introductions, advance preparation and patience will be key. Make sure your current dogs are able to cope peacefully around other dogs before you decide to bring home another dog. Multi-dog households can work well, but they can also lead to serious fights and potential injury.
If you have children in the home, teach them how to stay safe around dogs, and make sure your new dog will be good with children. Introducing a dog to a new baby is a delicate proposition – one that you want to get right from the beginning to ensure a special lifelong bond between child and dog. Introducing older children to a new dog must also be done with care to make sure that both dog and family members understand each others’ needs.
Introductions should occur slowly and should never be forced. Dog-to-dog introductions are best done on neutral territory, and sometimes taking the dogs for a walk together first is a good starting point. Minimize face-to-face greetings as much as possible, as these can get tense quickly.

You should stay calm at all times during these initial introductions, as any tension can be felt by your dogs. If you are having trouble with introducing a new dog, find a qualified trainer near you to help.
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5 Apps That Could Save Your Dog’s Life In An Emergency

1. ASPCA Mobile App (free)

The ASPCA mobile app stores and manages your pet’s health records, delivers breaking news about animal welfare, includes a step-by-step guide for finding a lost pet, and tells pet parents what to do to take care of pets in case of a natural disaster.


Source: ASPCA

2. Tagg (free)

Tagg offers a free app that syncs with their GPS Pet Tracker. Through the app, pup parents can track their dog’s location and activity level. Should the worst happen and a dog get lost, the Tagg offers in-app driving directions to the pet’s location.

tagg app

Source: Dream Big, Bark Loudly

3. PetTech PetSaver App

The PetSaver app from PetTech includes detailed instructions for CPR and first aid procedures, as well as lists of foods, plants and substances toxic to pets.


Source: iTunes

4. American Red Cross Pet First Aid App ($0.99)

Another comprehensive first aid app, the American Red Cross pet first aid app includes instructions for handling common emergencies, tools to find the closest vet or 24-hour animal hospital, advice on giving medication, and more.


Source: Google Play store

5. Buddy Rescue by VineLight (subscriptions TBD)

VineLight Buddy Rescue is an app-in-progress looking for backing via Kickstarter. If funded and developed, the app would respond to emergencies such as fires in the pet’s home by notifying 911 and neighbors who could rescue pets even before the fire department arrives. VineLight Buddy Rescue also includes GPS pet tracking, as well as integration with other smart devices in homes to open doors in case of emergency.

Source: Kickstarter