Author Archives: kevin

vet appointment

7 Questions to Ask Your Vet at the First Appointment

In America, 40% of people own a dog.

But, how many Americans are asking these vital questions when visiting the vet for the first ever time with their new pooch?

If you’re about to take your puppy to their first vet appointment, read on to learn the top seven questions your pup wants you to ask on their behalf.

Let’s take a look:

1. When Can my Puppy Meet New Friends?

Puppies need to learn how to interact with people and other dogs. You may be thinking, the sooner the better, right?

Well, this certainly isn’t the case. Your pup should be kept away from others dogs until it has all of its vaccinations. But, your vet is the best person to tell you when you should be socializing your dog.

Don’t make the mistake of introducing your dog to friend’s dog’s until you’ve had the all clear from the vet!

2. When Should my Puppy be “Fixed”?

Unless you’re planning to breed from your puppy, you’ll need to think about when it should be either spayed or neutered.

The most common time to do this operation is between six and nine months. However, if your pup is healthy, it could be fixed as young as nine months old.

3. How Can I Prevent Breed Related Disorders?

Whether you have a pug or a golden retriever, unfortunately, there are breed related disorders associated with all pedigree pooches.

Asking your vet how to keep such breed related disorders under control is responsible and can save your pet some long-term suffering.

4. What Should My Dog be Eating?

This question may be one that you feel is obvious. But, your vet could give you some insights into what your dog should be eating.

Are you feeding your pup the right levels of nutrients? Do you know everything they can’t eat? There are many foods which dogs are allergic to. A few popular foods that are bad for dogs include:

  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol
  • Grapes
  • Caffeine

When you first bring your puppy home, make sure to check online before feeding it anything to ensure you’re not accidentally handing over poison as treats.

5. How Much Exercise Should My Dog Get?

Again, you may think that this question comes down to common sense. But, it is possible to over-exercise a young pup – even if they don’t ever appear to tire!

If you forget to ask your vet this question, then don’t worry. You can buy books which are all about your dog breed to help.

6. What Vaccinations Should my Puppy Have?

This is a vital question. Not getting the right vaccinations for your puppy is a mistake which could cost its life.

Your vet should very easily be able to lay out which vaccinations your dog needs and when.

7. When Should I Come Back to the Vet?

A very self-explanatory question but one which is also very important. We asked Dr. Ellen Colwell from Sykesville Veterinary Clinic this question, and she told us, “I recommend setting reminders on your phone so you don’t miss your vet appointment. Your pup can’t remind you after all, and rescheduling can be inconvenient!” Ok, sounds like a good tip!

Vet Appointment Questions Made Easy

If you forget these questions at your next vet appointment, don’t worry. You can easily call up to ask.

Have you taken your pup to the vet but are yet to pick a name for your little precious pooch? Check out which celebs call their dogs what for some inspiration!

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lab puppy at vet

7 Awesome Benefits of CBD Oil for Dogs

63% of dogs owners consider their pets to be part of the family.

Every pet owner wants their dog to be as happy and comfortable as possible. If your dog is suffering from an ongoing issue, you would do anything to make them feel better. You already go to the best vet you can find, but do you wish there was more you could do to help them?

CBD oil could be just the solution. Read on to learn everything you need to know about the benefits of CBD oil for dogs.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD (cannabidiol) is a chemical found in both hemp and cannabis. It is not the same as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is found in cannabis and gives cannabis its psychoactive properties.

Quality CBD oils are pure and only contain the CBD compound. This means that they provide all of their beneficial effects without exposure to THC.

Despite the similarity in name, the majority of oils are made exclusively from hemp, rather than cannabis. As THC is not found in hemp, there is no risk that your dog will get ‘high’ from CBD oil. You can read more about CBD here.

Instead, your dog will simply enjoy the benefits that CDB can provide.

1. Pain and Inflammation Relief

Canine arthritis can affect 1 in 5 dogs. The pain receptor in your dog’s brain is called a vanilloid receptor and this controls swelling and pain.

CBD oils interact with your dog’s brain, to block the vanilloid receptor. With the receptor blocked, neurons cannot turn on. This prevents the receptor from sending the pain signals through your dog’s body.

This, in turn, reduces the pain and inflammation for your dog. It can be highly effective to ease inflammatory joint conditions like arthritis. You can even see the improvements after only a few days in some cases.

2. Treat Seizures and Epilepsy

It is estimated that around 5% of dogs suffer from seizures. Conventional treatments for seizures and epilepsy include Potassium Bromide and Primidone.

Many of these treatments in dogs come with side effects though. While they are successful against epilepsy and seizures, each dog will react differently. For some, they can cause organ and liver damage.

In some cases, your dog can be resistant to the medicine. This means the treatments might not work at all.

CBD has natural anti-convulsant properties which means can reduce the intensity of seizures. It reduces the electrical disruptions in your dog’s brain which are the cause of the seizures. On top of this, the only proven side effect of CBD for dogs is that it can cause some animals to experience higher levels of tiredness.

3. Reduced Anxiety

Dogs can suffer from anxiety and stress just as much as their human companions can. It isn’t uncommon for them to suffer from specific phobias!

It has been shown that CBD oil helps manage these conditions. If your pet is generally anxious, it can aid in relaxing them. CBD oil normalizes and stabilizes the chemical fluctuations in your pet’s brain which lead to anxiety and stress conditions.

It can also be helpful if the stress triggers from a phobia or traumatic experience. The relaxation benefits help not only de-stress your dog but also help with rehabilitation and overcoming phobias.

4. Help Fight Cancer

CBD and other compounds in hemp have proved to have an ‘anti-tumor’ effect. CBD has even helped cancer cells to stop growing. Usage also has proven to increase tumor cell death rates.

CBD aids your dog’s immune system’s ‘killer cells’, which are used to fight cancer. How is does this is that it stops the cancer cells from being able to produce the energy they need. Not only does it increase tumor death rate, but it has shown to slow and stop tumor cell production too.

5. Reduce Autoimmune Issues

It isn’t uncommon for dogs to suffer from allergies. CBD oil can help with this as it can reduce the production of inflammatory cytokines. These are what cause hypersensitivities, allergies and autoimmunity your dog can experience.

It can help suppress the Th17 dominance, which is a huge cause of autoimmune diseases. CBD also helps reduce the production of inflammatory macrophages and this, in turn, reduces chronic inflammation.

It has also shown to have powerful antioxidant properties. Some studies even state that it could be more potent than vitamins E and C.

6. Increase Appetite and Reduce Nausea

As your dog ages, they can often begin to lose their appetite and this can lead to weight loss. There are also some medical treatments your dog may require during that life, that can reduce appetites and cause nausea.

If your dog doesn’t want to eat or is on a treatment that suppresses their appetite, CBD oil can help. It has been shown to stimulate the appetite.

If your dog isn’t eating because they are feeling nauseous, or they have ingested something that left them feeling sick, it can help here too. As with the human trials, animal studies have shown CBD oil relieves nausea and vomiting. It can even be effective if drugs or toxins have caused the symptoms.

7. Help With Neurodegenerative Diseases

CBD also looks promising for dogs suffering from spine and nerve issues, such as degenerative myelopathy. It has proven to help humans with diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. CBD helps by protecting the brain’s cells from increased toxicity.

While there have been few studies on dogs with neurodegenerative diseases, it is known that dogs and most mammals react similarly to CBD to humans. This is because we all have endocannabinoid systems.

In the studies that have been undertaken on elderly dogs, CBD has shown to protect the brain from the death of cells caused by free radicals and toxins.

The Benefits of CBD Oil for Dogs

As you can see, CBD oil is perfectly safe and can provide your pet with many benefits.

Whether your dog is recovering from trauma, or just getting older, the benefits of CBD oil for dogs can help to reduce pain and help them lead their normal doggy life. It can also be taken as a simple supplement to help boost their overall health.

If you found this article useful, check out our tips on natural flea and tick prevention to keep your dog safe from diseases while they are out and about.

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dog scratching

Down To Earth Dogs: Tips for Natural Flea and Tick Prevention

Are you doing everything you can to protect your dog from fleas and ticks? If you’re using the medicine your vet gave you, unfortunately, that’s not enough.

In fact, the chemical flea repellent from the vet could be hurting your dog more than helping him.

The best way to protect your pets, children, and home from fleas and ticks is to go natural. The natural route is safer for your pet’s health as well as your own. And, it’s way easier than you think.

From essential oils to routine checkups, there many natural flea repellent methods. Keep reading to find out why you should go natural, and tips for natural flea and tick prevention.

Are Chemical Flea Repellents That Bad?

Flea prevention medications from the vet are full of synthetic chemicals. Essentially, they’re pesticides that soak into your dog’s skin. This can be problematic for your pup’s health.

The chemicals used in vet-prescribed flea repellents include fipronil, pyrethroids, and imidacloprid.

Fipronil can cause nerve damage and thyroid toxicity. Pyrethroids have caused pet seizures and heart attacks. Imidacloprid causes muscle weakness and increased cholesterol levels.

Instead of exposing your dog to these risks, keep reading for natural methods.

1. Avoid Dense Nature

The first step of prevention is to avoid taking your dog to flea and tick breeding grounds. Dense forests with non-maintained bush areas are home to fleas and ticks.

Although taking your dog on a hike through nature is fun, try to avoid areas that aren’t well maintained. Don’t walk through areas that don’t have a clear and wide path. And, don’t let your pup run off into the wilderness.

2. Feed Them Garlic

Garlic prevents and treats hundreds of ailments, from infections to cancer. Its medical use originates from ancient Chinese and Sanskrit texts. Today, it’s still used as a holistic alternative to Western medicine.

Luckily, garlic has just as many benefits for dogs as it does humans. And, it’s an excellent flea and tick repellent.

When feeding your dog garlic, it’s important you don’t feed them too much. Small dogs shouldn’t have more than one clove; large dogs can have two. Finely dice the garlic, allow it to sit for 10 minutes, then add it to their food.

Make sure you bathe your dog with castile soap. Harsher soaps will strip the garlic from the fur.

3. Use Essential Oils

You’ve probably used essential oils for aromatherapy or to cure a headache. Did you know that many oils are effective at preventing fleas and ticks?

Here are some of the oils you can safely use on your dog:

Citronella

This essential oil is often used to repel mosquitoes at campsites and in backyards. It’s also excellent for repelling ticks and fleas. Plus, it’s natural and 100 percent safe for dogs.

Eucalyptus

A 2010 study researched the effectiveness of essential oils on repelling insects. Of all the oils tested, eucalyptus was the most effective.

Some other essential oils used to repel insects are clary sage, basil, and cedarwood. To use these and other essential oils as flea and tick repellents, check out the natural recipe below.

4. Homemade Prevention Recipe

It’s easy to make a homemade flea repellent once you understand the ingredients. Besides essential oils, you will need diatomaceous earth, neem powder, and arrowroot powder.

Diatomaceous earth is a type of soil made from the fossils of the aquatic diatom. These organisms’ bones contain a substance called silica. Silica prevents fleas and kills them within four hours of application.

Need powder derives from the neem tree. It repels fleas, ticks, flies, and other biting insects.

Arrowroot powder is a plant-based substance. Not only does it thicken the flea preventing recipe, but it also helps heal existing bug bites.

Natural Flea Prevention Powder Recipe

In a mason jar, combine half a cup of diatomaceous earth and a quarter cup of neem powder. Stir in a quarter cup of arrowroot powder.

Then, choose an essential oil from point three. Stir in 30 drops of flea-repelling essential oils.

Pour the mixture into a salt shaker bottle. Bring your pup outside and shake the mixture into your hand. Rub the powder against your dog’s skin.

Make sure you rub the mixture along your dog’s back, tail, legs, and torso. You can apply this preventative mixture once a week.

5. Check Them Often

The biggest key to preventing fleas and ticks is checking your dog’s fur often. You should also pay attention to their behavior. Excessive itching, licking, and biting their skin is a sign of fleas and ticks.

Check your pup’s fur by pushing the hairs in the opposite direction of their growth. This gives you a direct view of their skin. Look for red patches, hair loss, or bite wounds.

Also, check your dog’s gums. When dogs have ticks, they can develop anemia from the blood loss. Pale gums are a sign of anemia.

What to Do if You Find a Bug

When checking your pup’s fur, it can be scary to find live ticks or fleas. Removing them isn’t hard, but it is crucial. To learn how to remove ticks, click here.

The next thing to do is wash their bedding. You need to wash anything your dog comes in contact with. Fleas can live in fabric like carpets, bedding, and couches.

In the case of ticks, the process is similar. You need to clean the entire house from floor to ceiling. In extreme cases, you may need to call an exterminator.

Ready to Try Natural Flea and Tick Prevention?

When it comes to repelling fleas and ticks, natural methods are the way to go. Chemical medications from the vet can do more harm than good.

Try using the essential oils and natural powder recipe above. Natural flea and tick prevention is the strongest weapon against infestations on your pup.

For more tips on taking care of your dog, check out this post on the benefits of getting pet insurance.

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dog outside

6 Ways to Keep Your Dog Safe Outdoors

Dogs are known to be very social animals and love to be outside. In fact, outdoor enrichment is important to keep your dogs social and improve their human interaction. A walk in the park to play fetch, or a quick stroll to exercise to work their limbs all contribute to their health.

As a pet owner who regularly takes their dog outdoors, knowing how to keep them safe is important. Whether by getting a good quality leash, collar, or buying mosquito repellent for dogs, it’s essential to take steps to protect them from outside elements. If you’re curious on what you can do to improve your dog’s safety, here’s an article discussing 6 ways to keep your dog safe outdoors.

1. Check the weather

If it’s too hot outside, you want to make sure your dog does not get overheated by the sun. Let your dog drink plenty of water and make sure not to stay too long outdoors in this kind of weather.

Panting heavily and drooling excessively are signs of heatstroke. In such cases you must immediately move to shady or cool area to cool down.

Now for cold days, if your dog can withstand cold temperatures then there should be no problem. Small breeds with short hair tend to get cold easily so you may need to provide cover for them in this kind of season.

2. Vaccinate your dog

Vaccination is important and it’s one of the best things you can do to ensure your dog’s safety from certain diseases. Ask your veterinarian on which vaccines are recommended for your type of dog and make sure to get your pet vaccinated regularly.

3. Look out for other animals

While it’s okay to play around with other animals when you’re outside, you should also look out for your dog as it interacts with other animals around. Be careful when it runs around chasing squirrels in the backyard. Supervise them and be aware of their surroundings.

4. Beware of potential poisons

dog outside

Photo credit: Dallas Reedy via Unsplash

Dogs are pretty curious and may run around poking at random things when they’re out. Some of the most common toxic hazards outdoors include stagnant water, poisonous creatures, and toxic plants.

Stagnant water can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes, so don’t let your dog play around in such waters. Some plants like tulips and lilies can be harmful for your dog as well, so it’s worth considering if you’re landscaping your own garden. Some kinds of frogs, toads, snakes, and spiders may also be poisonous. It pays to know which creatures are prevalent in your area and take steps on how to avoid them.

*New: 99 Cute and Funny Name Ideas for a Dachshund

5. Protect them against parasites (Including mosquitos!) 

Mosquitoes carry parasites that can get transmitted to your dog through a bite. One such parasite is Heartworm and it can cause serious damage do your dog’s heart and lungs. Fleas and ticks are also something you need to prevent to avoid possible infection and skin irritation. Talk to your trusted vet on the proper steps to take to avoid these parasites from infecting your dog.

6. Use a collar ID tag

Collar tags are important in identifying your dog in case it gets lost while wandering around outside. The important thing in a collar is that your contact information is correct and up to date so it will be easy to reach out to you in case of an emergency. In some cases some pet owners even microchip their dogs for better tracking.

Photo credit: Jamie Street via Unsplash

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french bulldog collar

How to Choose a Dog Collar Your Pup Will Actually Love

Whether you’ve just brought home a new dog or you want to treat the one you’ve had for years, choosing a collar is something you need to put a lot of thought into. But with so many options, it can be hard to decide what’s best for your dog.

The good news is, when you consider a few things ahead of time, making the right decision becomes a lot easier.

Keep reading to learn how to pick a collar both you and your dog will love. Use what you learn and you’ll find that other dog owners will be asking you how you managed to pick such an awesome dog collar. Let’s begin!

Size of the Collar

The first thing you need to get clear on is the collar size you need. You don’t want to end up finding the “perfect” collar, only to find it’s not the right size for your pup.

Luckily, a lot of dog collars have a feature which allows you to adjust the size. This is good, but even then, there will be limits to how big or small the collar will be.

In general, you can separate most dog collars into three different sizes — small, medium or large. You’ll need to pick a size that fits your dog now, with a little room for growth.

How Much Do You Want to Spend?

As with all items, there’s a wide range of collars you can select from. Some of the cheapest collars tend to be those made from nylon. Yet the ones that are more expensive are often made from leather.

There’s also the option of buying fancy or designer dog collars that have a special design. (If you’d like to see an example of such a collar, view here to learn more.)

Sturdiness Is Important

When you take your dog for a walk, the dog collar can experience a lot of stress. If you don’t have a collar that’s sturdy, it could lead to your dog getting hurt.

If you buy your collar from a reputable store, you’ll find that the quality should be good.

If your dog pulls a lot on the lead, you’ll want to think about purchasing a harness. This is important because if you have a harness, it means that there’s going to be less pressure on the collar. Many pet stores sell harnesses and you should be able to find one that’s relatively affordable.

If you’re going to buy a harness, be sure to measure your dog ahead of time. This ensures you pick a harness that’s going to fit your dog and doesn’t make them uncomfortable.

Should You Make Your Own Collar?

There are a lot of people now that enjoy making their own collar for their dog. This can sound like a good idea in practice, but if you’re going to do this, you need to be careful.

For one, you need to make sure that you’re not using “weak” materials. As mentioned, the dog collar can experience a lot of strain when you’re taking your dog for a walk. If the material is not strong enough, the collar could snap.

Even if it doesn’t snap, it could stretch. This can lead to the collar slipping off when you’re exercising your dog or taking them for a walk. It could even just come off when the dog is at home.

You also can’t be sure of how sturdy the “clasping” mechanism is going to be when you design your own collar. Most of the collars you buy from reputable stores have undergone rigorous testing.

This ensures that the collar mechanisms are going to withstand stress. But if you make your collar at home, it might not stick to the design processes followed by proven manufacturers.

Aside from that, a lot of people also like to add custom designs to the collars they design at home. Again, this can be a problem.

Things like sequins or beads can make the collar very uncomfortable for the dog. They can also represent a health hazard as the dog might eat them if these items fall off the collar.

When Should You Replace the Collar?

If you’ve just bought a brand new collar, you’re likely not worried about replacing it anytime soon. But it’s something you should keep in mind, so you when it’s time to make a change.

You can learn a lot just by looking at the collar. If you notice that it’s becoming ragged, it’s likely a good time to change it.

In general, leather collars last longer than nylon. But even these collars are prone to some wear and tear.

You should also take a look at the clasp mechanism. If it looks like it is slightly damaged, you should think about replacing the collar as soon as you can.

It also helps to pay attention to your dog. Sometimes your dog will look as though they’re scratching at the collar. When you see this happen, take the collar off and watch how they react.

If their state improves, it’s a sign the collar isn’t up to standard and it needs replacing. Of course, if you buy a new collar, make sure you watch how your dog reacts. You don’t want to end up buying a new collar only to find it causes the same problems.

Ready to Buy a New Dog Collar?

Buying a new dog collar is a big decision. But if you have little experience with buying dog collars, you may not know how to pick one that’s right for your dog.

You need to consider the size of your dog. You also want to think about which kind of design is best. It’s important you avoid designing your own collar as doing so can be dangerous for your dog.

Over time, you need to keep a close eye on the dog collar. You need to make sure it’s in good shape and that it isn’t going to break when you’re out taking your dog for a walk.

Interested in buying some dog accessories? Check out this post for some good ideas!

Photo credit: Andreas Fidler via unsplash.com

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puppy bath

How to Give a Puppy a Bath: Become a Pro in 7 Simple Steps

How to give a puppy a bath: There’s nothing more adorable than snuggling with a cute pup or coming home to their sweet welcome. Puppies are such happy, joyous creatures that it’s hard not to match their energy when you’re around them, even if they’ve done something wrong!

Sometimes, a pup’s curiosity lands him or her in a bit of a mess. It’s not uncommon for dog owners to see their young pets covered in mud, dirt, or getting their nose into something inside the house.

Such occasions call for a bath.

If you’re figuring out how to give a puppy a bath for the first time, follow the steps below.

1. Gather All the Appropriate Materials

You can’t just use your shampoo or soap to wash your dog. They need their own special shampoo, especially at a young age. Make sure you buy shampoo for puppies instead of full-grown dogs and get the one that’s appropriate for your puppy’s type of coat too.

A local pet store like this company (near me inSuffolk Park!) should carry the special shampoo you need.

2. Create a Comforting Environment

Take a moment to consider where you’re going to bath your puppy.

It’s best to do this inside in a tub or even a sink instead of outside with a hose. Your puppy is going to feel more comfortable this way, and they’ll be less likely to get distracted or fidget. For small dogs, you may want to buy a special bin and create a mini tub for them.

Try to make the entire space as comfortable as possible by speaking softly to the puppy and being cautious of loud noises. Don’t get too excited about your puppy’s first bath, as this may be received anxiously rather than positively.

3. Make Sure the Water Is a Good Temperature

golden retriever bath

Photo: Autri Taheri via Unsplash

Just as humans don’t like to shower with water that is too cold or too hot, puppies are sensitive to temperature too. They’re more sensitive than full-grown dogs, so take a second to double check that the water temperature isn’t the same as when you wash your adult pet.

The temperature makes a big difference in a puppy’s first bathing experience. Water that’s too cold mixed with air conditioning is a sure-fire way to make them uncomfortable, sad, and anxious. Water that’s too hot, on the other hand, can be dangerous for your pup.

Use your hand to test the temperature, then fill the water to an appropriate amount. Your puppy should be able to comfortably stand and sit in the water without it coming up too close to their face or even their neck.

4. Avoid Getting the Puppy’s Head Wet

Part of the reason that it’s good to leave the water at a low level is to make your puppy feel safe. The higher the water goes, the more they’re going to feel like they’re in danger or some other form of anxiety.

The other reason to keep the water at a low level is to prevent the puppy’s head from getting wet. This is one of the easiest ways to cause an infection in the eyes or the ears. Not to mention, most puppies don’t like this and they’ll create a negative association with baths if you get their head wet.

Avoid this at all costs. Focus on cleaning the puppy’s body, then worry about their head (and ears) later.

5. Play a Little Bit

Although you don’t want to get the puppy’s head wet, you can splash around a little bit and make the bath more enjoyable for them.

Some pet owners and sitters even bring toys into the mix. They’ll have chew toys or tug ropes for the puppy to play with as they’re taking their bath. This does wonders for the dog’s overall experience, and it helps you bond with them, too.

6. Comfort the Puppy During the Drying Process

Keep in mind that a puppy’s first bath isn’t over once you’re done scrubbing and rinsing them. The drying step is just as important as everything else.

Wrap your puppy in a nice towel and double wrap them if you can. Hold them in your arms and comfort them with kisses and gentle petting as you rub the towel to dry them off.

Then, turn on the hairdryer at a low level. This helps you speed up the drying process without spooking your dog with a high volume.

Don’t hold the hairdryer too close. This avoids burning the puppy’s sensitive skin or harming their coat. You want to keep it a few inches away from the puppy at all times.

7. Clean Their Ears and Around Their Eyes

Once your puppy is clean from their shoulders down, it’s time to focus on the neck and the head. Hold the puppy in your lap and make sure they’re comfortable. Be sweet and cuddly with them until they relax, then start working with the proper cleaning tools.

Note: this will vary depending on the breed of dog you’re cleaning.

Dog’s with large ears have specific cleaning needs inside and outside of their ears. You have to pay special attention to this in order to maintain their hygiene but also not damage their hearing abilities and overall wellbeing.

Dogs with wrinkly faces and big snouts will have other cleaning needs. For most dogs, the eyes should be wiped carefully with a soft cloth.

How to Give a Puppy a Bath: Make It a Positive Experience!

It’s one thing to understand the steps of how to give a puppy a bath and another to know how to make the entire experience a positive one.

Your puppy may be nervous about sitting in a small tub, or they may end up hating the sound of the blow dryer. Whatever stage they get a little anxious in, stop and be there for them. Speak sweetly, give a few pets, and keep going.

When the bath is complete, give them a treat to reward them for their good behavior! Even if they fidgeted a bit or gave you a hard time, comfort them and still give them the treat. This will help correct things for the next bath.

If you really want to do something special for your pup, consider getting them one of these awesome luxury accessories!

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