Tips on Keeping Your Dog Cool and Refreshed During Summer

Hot days can be unbearable for most people. It can get so hot we’d do anything to get some shade and a way to cool off. That heat is no less excruciating for your dog, so don’t forget about them during the summer, as they may need help staying cool. Make sure to provide them with a nice shaded retreat they can go to when the sun becomes unbearably hot.

How Cool Is Your Backyard?

image 6Dogs will look for cool places to lie down and deal with the heat. If you don’t already have such a spot, make one; your dog will be grateful for it. Planting a few trees can be an excellent way to create shade which both you and your dog can share. Move the dog house away from the scorching sun and put it in a place where it is cooler. Also, if you have a detached garage, leave the garage door ajar just enough for your dog to crawl in, it will provide them with some much needed relief.

Install a Doggie Pool

image 9There’s no better way to take your mind off the heat than to take a dip; and your dog will be thinking the same. Unless you want to have the sprinkler turned on all day long, which could leave your lawn soaked and might ruin the grass, it’s better to invest in a dog pool. They’re similar to kiddie pools, except they’re built to withstand dog paws. Not only will it keep your furry friend cool during those hot summer days, it will also provide them with a place to exercise and have fun. Just make sure to change the water frequently, that way it will be nice and fresh for your friend.

Use Ice to Keep Water Cool

image 10During summer, it’s very important to change your dog’s water often to keep them from getting dehydrated. You should frequently check if your dog water bowls need to be refilled; the hot weather can make the water go stale quicker than usual. Help your little friend stay cool by dropping a few ice cubes into their bowls. That will ensure that water is always refreshingly cool. After all, hydration is important for everyone, your dog included.

Give Your Dog a Treat

image 8Dogs deserve to be treated well, especially when hot weather rolls around. You can help them out by putting their favourite treat in the freezer or you can whip up a yummy doggie treat and have it frozen. Homemade frozen dog treats can be a delicious way to help your dog stay cool in the summer, just make sure not to use anything that could upset their tummies. Also, check with your vet if it’s safe to give it to them, you don’t want to have to rush them to the doctor’s office.

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Summer weather can be difficult to deal with; and dogs often have it quite bad. Help them stay hydrated and cool and their gratitude will know no bounds. You can have fun in the sun while trying to stay cooler together, making it an opportunity to spend some time with your beloved pet. It’s imperative to have plenty of water, as it is one of the most efficient cooling aids during summer; both you and your dog are going to need it.

25 Most Popular Dog Breeds and their Health Issues

Today you can choose a dog breed of any form, shape or size. Each breed is also different in terms of character and personality. There are many more factors you need to consider when thinking about your future pet.

However, health issues should also be considered before adopting a dog because different breeds are more prone to specific health problems and a dog owner you must be aware.

Study the infographic below to learn more about your favorite breeds, their potential health risks, and the requirements to keep you future pet healthy! If you want to get more details about each breed then read more here.


dog breeds and their common health problems


The Dangers of Dog Waste

To most, dog waste is just an inconvenient part of being a pet owner. No one enjoys having to pick up after his or her dog, but leaving pet waste unattended in your yard could put you, your family and your pet in danger.

Let’s outline the dangers of pet waste, and why scooping your pets poop is always the best option!

1. Stool Eating

At one point or another, we’ve all witnessed our pets eating their own stool. Dogs are natural scavengers, and while it may be hard to fathom, it’s natural for them to taste the stool they find in your yard. The habit is known as coprophagia and is especially common in young animals.

While the practice is mostly harmless, and usually only requires a begrudgingly clean up, it can be dangerous for your pets. The stool your dog eats can cause stomach aches, vomiting and gastroenteritis. In extreme situations it can cause a parasite to infect your precious pooch.

2. The Deadly Parvovirus

Most dog owners should be aware of parvovirus. This devastating illness can kill dogs in a matter of days and is almost 80% fatal when contracted. The virus is spread easily when your dog comes into contact with contaminated feces, but can also be passed along from dog to dog contact.

Symptoms include:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Fever


The good news is, there is a vaccination to prevent your puppy from contracting this devastating disease. However, if your dog is behind in shots, parvo can be extremely easy for them to pick up.

3. Worms, Worms, Worms!

Dog waste that has been left out for long periods of time can also affect the lives of humans. When water enters the environment, it can accelerate the bacteria and viruses that live naturally in waste.

Think about all the adorable puppy kisses your dog has given you. Now think about the millions of bacteria that mouth has come into contact with, especially if you have waste in your home environment.

Hookworms, ringworms and tapeworms all thrive in moist environments and can be passed easily with dog to human contact. Children are more likely to contact these parasites, especially if they are playing in the same environment where your dog poops.

Common symptoms of these parasites include:

  • Itchy rashes
  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss


To avoid passing these parasites onto your dog or your family, eliminating your pet’s waste from the living environment is a must.

While picking up poop is hardly glamorous, it is one of the most important aspects of being a responsible pet owner.

Dog waste is the third biggest cause of water contamination in the world, and shockingly, almost half of American dog owners admit that they don’t regularly pick up their dog’s waste.

Time to start scooping!

By: Louise Armstrong

Louise Armstrong is a writer and pet lover based in Houston, Texas. When she’s not working at her regular job, she can be found as the blog author at Scoop Doggie Doo.

How to Help Dogs in Need

It’s hard not to want to help those adorable, furry faces and wagging tails. For some of us, however, it can be difficult to help out pups in need due to lack of funds or an inability to adopt a pet. Thankfully there are so many other ways to help dogs in need from the local to international level without committing to something that you are unable to fulfill. There are dogs all over the world that are in need and every little gesture helps. If you are looking for a way to help, here are a few options to put a smile on a pup’s face.

Help Dogs in Need


Many animal shelters cannot stay afloat without volunteers. Volunteering at your local shelter is a great way to help out dogs in need and you only have to sacrifice your time. Shelters need dog walkers, room cleaners, event help, dog socialization, and even dog cuddlers. Even one hour on a Saturday taking dogs for a walk can mean a huge difference for that dog. It’s one more time spending time away from their kennel, more experience on a leash, and more socialization to help them become a more desirable candidate for adoption. Just be sure that you understand what is required of you before deciding to become a volunteer. As if you needed any other reason than spending some time with pups in need, there are also resume benefits to becoming a volunteer. It’s a win win for all.

Help Dogs in Need


Fostering is a great form of volunteering but requires a ton more commitment and hard work. This is why the need for fosters is so great. Dogs that require more socialization, have behavioral issues, health problems, or aren’t emotionally stable enough for a shelter environment tend to be in the care of fosters until they are adopted. Many foster families take on tasks to help the dog with behavioral and fear issues in order to help them become better candidates for adoption. Other fosters keep dogs if there isn’t enough room at the shelter or house puppies until they are old enough to be fixed and vaccinated. Many seniors have discovered that they are great candidates for dog foster homes due to them being home with the animal, gaining just as much from the social interaction, and the dogs helping them remain active.


Donating can mean a ton of different things from donating money, blankets, food, or your time. Many shelters and organizations rely solely on the donations of others for many of the things that the dogs need every day. Something as simple as buying a can of dog food every time you grocery store or donating an old comforter can mean a ton to your local shelter. Make it a tradition to donate some money to your favorite animal charity every Christmas, donate an hour of your time on Saturday a month, or bring old dog toys to your local shelter. Every donation matters for shelters that are completely non-profit and rely on donations from the community.

Help Dogs in Need

Spreading Awareness

If you are unable to spend any money, donate anything, sacrifice any time, or foster an animal, you can always take part in spreading awareness for the cause. The power of social media is astounding and you can do a great deal for your local shelter, favorite charity, or a dog with medical needs by sharing their story on social media. Tell your friends about an event that your local shelter is hosting, share a GoFundMe page for an animal in need, or post the website for the animal charity that means the most to you. The more eyes on these issues the more help you will do.


Fundraising is a great way to raise money and awareness. Whether you are fundraising for locally, nationally, or internationally, you’ll be aiding that organization in a great way. If you need an idea for a fundraiser you can ask your local shelter for ideas or come up with an idea on your own. You can make your own dog treats, sell them, and give the proceeds to dogs in need. Start a blanket drive to donate blankets to your local shelter, set up coin cans, or do dog walking for donations. You and a few volunteers can do an animal shelter scavenger hunt going door to door requesting an item from your list that will benefit your shelter like a blanket, jar of peanut butter, an old dog toy, a can of food, etc.
For those that would love to help a dog in need but can’t adopt or donate a lot of money, there are many ways to provide aid to our furry friends in need. Those that volunteer their time and energy are just as important as those that volunteer money, so don’t let a lack of funds keep you from helping. Your local shelter is always available to help you discover which way of helping makes the most sense for you. So volunteer your time, open your home to foster, donate what you can, spread awareness, or fundraise in order to get slobbery kisses, see tails wagging, and feel wet noses.

By: Chelsy Ranard

Chelsy is a writer from Montana who is now living in Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her journalism degree in 2012 from the University of Montana. She is passionate about animal welfare, is the proud mom of a German Shepherd named Titan and a sassy cat named Kitten, and spends her Fridays volunteering at Simply Cats.

Help Dogs in Need - Author

Oral Care Program for Your Puppy

Healthy gums and teeth are an important part of your dog’s overall health. Today, oral disease is actually the #1 health problem diagnosed in dogs. Therefore, it is important to understand your dog’s oral physical makeup and associated warning signs of gum disease or unhealthy teeth. Almost all oral problems are caused by bacteria build up in the mouth; it leads not only to bad breath but also periodontal disease, loose teeth, fatal heart, liver, and kidney disease.


Simple inexpensive procedures can be taken at home to prevent oral problems, determine if problems are already started, or treat and heal them. A dissertation of the dog’s teeth and mouth is first given before these actions are discussed in detail. Except for wisdom teeth, dogs have the same teeth types as humans: incisors, canines, premolars, and molars but their mouth, jaw, and saliva are dissimilar.

The incisors are located in the front and are the smallest of the set. There are 6 each in the upper and lower jaw. They are used for scraping and picking up things. Canine also nibbles at himself with the incisors at skin irritations caused by allergies and parasites such as fleas, mites, and lice.

The canines are the largest and used to grab and puncture whatever the dog is trying to hold such as bones, junks of meat or a foe’s flesh. There are 4 canines, one on each side of the upper and lower jaw.

The premolars number the most at 16 with four on each side of both upper and lower jaws. They are used for the general chewing of the food; as opposed to the 10 molars that are used for heavier grinding. There are 2 on the back of each side of the upper jaw with 3 beneath them on each side of the lower jaw.

Dogs are natural carnivores and therefore their mouth, jaw, and facial structure are different from humans whom are omnivorous. The dog’s mouth and jaw are much larger percentage wise to the overall head and facial size than a human’s. This allowed canine ancestors, including the wolf, to grasp, kill, and tear apart their prey. The upper and lower jaw basically only move up and down with very little forward/backward or side motion, the relative placement and shape of the teeth produce the shearing, tearing, and cutting motions necessary to efficiently consume the meat and bones that are their natural diet.

A dog’s saliva does not contain any digestive enzymes as human saliva; this attribute will become critical when we discuss procedures to promote canine healthy teeth and gums. Dogs do not need the digestive system to start in the mouth as humans since they “wolf their food down”; that is they grasp it, tear it, and swallow it quickly before their prey (mountain lions, bears, larger wolf pack, etc) or their family canine companions arrive to “share” the food. The salvia being very slimy acts as a lubricant to facilitate swallowing the un-chewed, undigested food.

With this background of the dogs’ oral characteristics let’s now discuss how to promote healthy teeth and gums which is so important to the dog’s overall health, longevity, wellbeing, and happiness.

First and foremost, you have to learn how to recognize that your dog and best friend is not feeling well and has some sort of health problem. This is much more difficult for dogs than your children, spouse, or close friends. Unlike most humans, dogs hide or do not display pain or discomfort because they feel it is an indication of weakness. The most common and recognizable symptoms of health problems in your dog’s mouth are bad breath, discolored teeth, tarter-plaque deposits on the teeth, red and swollen gums, loose teeth, and ultimately the unwillingness to chew and eat.

Bacteria buildup on the teeth and gums is almost always the cause of these disorders. It starts by growing on food trapped in the mouth after eating. This bacteria growth is the first kind of plaque that starts forming. It commonly forms in between the teeth, in the pits and grooves of the teeth but mostly along the gum line of bacteria now living in and under the gums. A biofilm forms on the surfaces of the teeth that is literally a mass of the bacteria. The mouth supplies a perfect ecosystem for the fast growth of the biofilm; it is moist, warm, has correct PH of 6 to 7, and contains nutrients that provide the necessary nourishment for fast bacteria growth. Early detection of plaque is difficult since it starts as a slime layer that is clear or white turning to a pale yellow only after an extended time. This is a very natural process and starts so quickly that it cannot be avoided or stopped from happening, but instead it must be constantly removed. This includes the layer on the surfaces of the teeth and bacteria that start growing in and under the gums. The bacteria can be variants of the strong and dangerous streptococcus strain, if left to accumulate it can reach a concentration that becomes extremely harmful to the overall health of the dog.

If the plaque biofilm is not removed it starts to mix with minerals in the saliva and calcifies becoming extremely hard turning into tartar; once this happens it is impossible to remove it by brushing. If not removed, this tartar layer which starts growing along the gum line forms pockets under the gums. These pockets provide an environment that promotes even more rapid growth of the bacteria leading to bad breath, red swollen and receding gums, periodontal disease, loose teeth, and very expensive veterinary dental bills. At this stage, the bacteria enter the dog’s bloodstream and can start life threatening diseases in the heart, liver, and kidneys. Eventually the dog will experience enough discomfort that they will quit eating and even change behavior towards other dogs and humans.

Fortunately all these oral problems are preventable. The key is to start early with a thorough and continuous oral care program. If you don’t begin early and problems are already present it is never too late to start. We have seen dogs as old as 10-12 years greatly benefit from starting an oral care program. “Rescue” dogs are notorious for having oral problems at an advanced stage benefit greatly from initiating a thoroughgoing systematic program. The fundamental principle is to achieve and maintain a clean bacteria free mouth, this can be facilitated by proper diet, brushing, oral sprays, or veterinarian cleaning with special instruments and procedures.

A good oral care program starts with visual inspections of your dog’s mouth. This should be daily but several times a week is sufficient. These inspections need not be an imposition, upsetting or unwelcome time for you and your dog. If possible start when they are a puppy but even older grouchy snappish dogs can be won over. Take play time or petting and bonding times to get your dog accustomed to you having your fingers near or in their mouth. Gently rub the gums for a few seconds that will set the stage for brushing.


By making sure your dog’s daily diet contains some sort of hard biscuits, dog dental chews, or raw bones you can help prevent and remove plaque and tartar formation. All natural and grain free products are the best. Chew toys can also help clean the teeth but make sure they are toxin-free and cannot be broken apart and consumed causing digestive problems.

As in humans brushing the teeth and gums is an effective means of combating plaque and tartar. Brushing is problematic for many dogs. As mentioned above you must be able to easily and comfortably work with your dog’s mouth. It has to be done at least once or even twice daily to be effective. Use as small as possible brush with soft or medium bristles. Do not use human toothpaste. Use plain water, commercial dog toothpastes, or make your own toothpaste. An effective mixture is baking soda, propolis, strawberries, & distilled water. If the taste isn’t suitable you can eliminate strawberries and add a little honey. Propolis is a very effective antibacterial agent (its health benefits are discussed in more detail below), strawberries supply malic acid to help whiten and also lowers PH that enters bacteria growth, and honey is good natural sweetener and amplifies all the great properties of the propolis.

The better solution is to use a dog oral spray that is formulated to eliminate the bacteria, soften the hard-calcified plaque layer, and work both above and below the gum line. An oral spray is much easier to administer than brushing and since the dog’s saliva does not contain digestive enzymes, once sprayed into the mouth it assimilates with the saliva and tends to work over long periods of time, especially if applied before bedtime. Ingredients to look for in these sprays are the following: peppermint, thyme, neem, grapefruit seed extract, grape seed extract, propolis, and chlorophyll. Make sure they are natural ingredients and “Made in the USA” is always a plus.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint is well known for its very potent and effective antiseptic and antibacterial properties. It was used by the ancient Greeks (1000 BC) and the Romans for its therapeutic and health benefits. England and the United States started commercial development in the 18th century. Peppermint contains significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. This makes it one of the most utilized ingredients in commercial mouthwashes, breath mints, and toothpastes. Clinical studies and controlled tests have found it is extremely effective at killing anaerobic bacteria, the type of bacteria that thrive in a low oxygen environment such as the mouth causing bad breath, plaque, tartar, and gum disease leading to the loosing and loss of teeth.

Grape Seed Extract

Although grapes and wine made from grapes have been in existent since ancient times Grape Seed Extract (GSE) and its antioxidants properties were only discovered in the 20th century. GSE contains powerful antioxidants that recent clinical studies have shown to be effective in breaking down the biofilm formed by plaque. These antioxidants are 20 times more powerful than vitamin C or E and have been shown to be very effective in stopping the growth of streptococcus bacteria that is prevalent in oral periodontal diseases.

Thyme Oil

Thyme oil is one of the oldest known herbs being documented in the oldest existing Egyptian medical text dated 1550 BC. Its anti-microbial, antiseptic, antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties have been used by ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Jamaicans, Romans, and middle ages Europeans for treating bad breath, gingivitis, plaque and tooth decay. Thyme oil is up to 54% thymol which is a very strong effective and well documented antiseptic. Today it occurs in many well known toothpastes, mouthwashes like Listerine, oral cleansers and hand sanitizers which do not rely on alcohol. With recent concern about over use of antibiotics, thyme oil has been proven to be effective against staphylococcus bacterias including the potent and dangerous MRSA strain while not aiding in creating new resistant strains of microbes and bacteria.

Neem Oil

Neem oil, also being one of the oldest medicinal oils, has been used by ancient civilizations for therapeutic purposes for thousands of years. It has potent antimicrobial and antifungal attributes. Multiple clinical studies have shown neem oil to reduce the bacterial level in the mount and eliminate or reduce the effects of oral diseases such as gingivitis, bleeding gums, and bad breath. A noteworthy benefit is its long history of no meaningful side effects.

Grapefruit Seed Extract

Grapefruit Seed Extract (GFE) has powerful natural antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial properties, and does not decrease levels of beneficial internal flora. Compared to other plants and herbs it is relatively new being developed in the seventeenth century. In addition to its medicinal properties, GFE lowers the PH levels in the mouth disrupting the bacterial ecosystem slowing its growth.


Honeybees manufacture propolis by mixing resin from local plants with beeswax and pollen. It not only provides structural and sealing properties to the beehive but also provides protection from funguses, bacteria, and diseases from parasites. It has been used for therapeutic purposes for millenniums by ancient societies such as the Greeks and Eastern Indian cultures. Propolis has a wide range of antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties in addition to helping the body absorb calcium promoting healthier teeth and bones such as the jaw. Propolis is being used more and more by the dental industry to fight cavities and oral diseases caused by bacteria. Propolis from New Zealand created by honeybees using the resin of the Manuka Brush has 60% higher concentration of the antiviral and antibacterial compounds than that from other regions of the world. This is one situation where it is recommended to use a non-USA product.


Chlorophyll is an essential biomolecule that creates the critical photosynthesis process in all plant life. It promotes improved health in many ways, including preventing infections helping wounds heal quicker, helps digestion, enhances the immune system, and helps cleanse and detoxify the body. It enriches the hemoglobin in the blood that in turn improves circulation and increases oxygen content improving overall vitality and health. As a key ingredient to an oral spray it helps move and absorb the spray into and under the gum line where it is critical to eliminate existing bacteria.

The best oral sprays will contain all or some combination of these ingredients. Even though they are all effective against oral problems they all work in unique ways, using different mechanisms, and at different rates. The oils enhance each other’s performance blending well forming a very homogeneous solution.

If after being on a good diet containing oral chews, daily brushing, and or use of an oral spray, the dog stills has bad breath, red swollen gums, and teeth with plaque and tartar, a visit to a veterinarian is required. They will usually anesthetize the dog and use ultrasonic means to remove the plaque and tartar. This is more of a ‘cosmetic” solution since it does not eliminate the root cause of the problem which is bacteria free healthy gums. Make sure they also treat the mouth with appropriate antimicrobial solutions. Once the teeth are cleaned a good oral program as outline above should be started.

By: Bruce Harte

Bruce Harte is a Partner and Head of the Research Staff at . He has always been a devoted dog owner with his companions over the last 60+ years ranging from mongrels, to beagles to golden and black labs. They have always been raised naturally not only with diet and dog supplements but also with their environment including their adobe home on 13 acres in the high Sonoran Desert or rustic cabins high in the Pines of the White Mountains of eastern Arizona. Receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in 1968 Bruce has over 50 years experience in technical and scientific research. Bruce’s love of gardening, natural herbs and remedies combined with extensive knowledge of Native American culture has enabled the VitaHound site to become a robust source of dog supplement and nutrition information.