Best Dog Carrier Hiking Backpacks : Choose the right one!

Best Dog Carrier Hiking Backpacks

Getting out in nature with your dog can be a very rewarding experience.  You both get some fresh air and exercise, plus your dog isn’t left cooped up inside the house or boarded at a kennel while you spend the weekend backpacking.  But what do you do if you have a small dog who tires easily and can’t keep up with an all-out hiking adventure?

Recently I found myself asking that very question and the answer was: get a dog carrier hiking backpack and take your dog with you!

hiking-

Before making a purchase like this, which I knew would affect not only my enjoyment and safety but also that of my dog, I wanted to make sure I was well informed.

As it turns out, the dog carrier hiking backpack market is actually rather large and filled with all sorts of products from rolling/backpack combos that let your dog play astronaut (more on that later) to multi-purpose carriers that come with a bunch of different straps and methods of carrying.

To simplify things, I skimmed the various “best dog carrier hiking backpack” lists and narrowed them down to the 10 carriers which appeared the most often.

Before comparing them, I wanted to make sure I knew the key things to look for when selecting a carrier.

  1. SIZE

Carriers are sized by both your dog’s weight and their length (nose to butt when sitting in a “begging” position.  It is important to have the necessary measurements so you know which carrier will properly fit your pet.

  1. CARRYING POSITION

Decide whether your dog will be most comfortable lying down, sitting down, or with legs out through holes in the carrier.  Understand that legs out carriers are designed for short term carrying, not long term.

  1. STRAP PADDING & CONFIGURATION

If you plan on doing hikes of any length while carrying your dog, you will be thanking yourself for taking the time to find a pack with padded straps.  Bonus for packs that have a waist strap as well as shoulder straps.  A chest buckle can also really help to keep the shoulder straps from sliding down.

  1. VENTILATION

On a hot day, you will want to make sure your dog is getting enough air flow inside the pack.  Look for lots of breathable mesh.

  1. VERSATILITY

Depending on your purpose, it can be nice to have carrier which can not only be used for a hiking backpack, but also as a rolling/car/airplane/hand held/over the shoulder carrier.

 To save you some time, here (in the order I discovered them) are my top 10 Dog Carrier Hiking Backpacks with their sizing and pricing information as well as the pros/cons I found and my overall opinion of each.  At the end, once you have made your own choice, I will share which carrier I decided to go with and why.

dog-

Top 10 Dog Carrier Hiking Backpacks

1) BINGPET Dog Carrier for Small Pets

Weight Limit & Dimensions:

  • Weight Limit: 12 lbs.
  • Dimensions:5″L x 14.5″W x 14.5″H (base is circular)

Amazon Price & Rating:

  • $34.99
  • 7 Stars

Pros:

+ Versatile: Top half zips off allowing the base to be used as a bed.

+ Safety: Collar clip inside keeps dog from jumping out when carrier is opened.

+ Dual carrying options: Shoulder strap and padded handle

Cons:

– Ergonomics: Round base causes carrier to want to tip when carrying using shoulder strap.

– Human Comfort: No backpack style straps to evenly distribute weight and keep pet from moving around.  (An older version of the product had backpack straps, however that version was discontinued and is no longer available.)

Overall Impression:

While good for a trip to the vet or a ride to a friend’s house, this carrier doesn’t seem like anything I would take for a walk, let alone a hike.  I am going to keep looking for something that is a bit more versatile.

2) Outward Hound Kyjen PoochPouch

Weight Limit & Dimensions:

  • Weight Limit: Small (10 lbs.), Medium (20 lbs.)
  • Dimensions: Small (6.5” L x 10” W x 8” H), Medium (8″ L x 11″ W x 10″ H)

Amazon Price & Rating:

  • Small ($14.45), Medium ($21.25)
  • 9 Stars

 Pros:

+ Temperature Comfort: Nylon fabric repels sweat & breathable mesh sides promote air flow.

+ Safety: Interior safety harness keeps dog from jumping out when pack is opened.

+ Extra support strap: Waist strap in addition to backpack straps for added support.

Cons:

– Sizing: Product tends to run small with the medium size fitting only a 9 lb. dog rather than the advertised 20 lb.

– Human Comfort: Although the backpack and waist straps are supposed to distribute the dog’s weight well, many reviewers complained of the straps chafing and sliding out of place.

Overall Impression:

The sizing issues are a bit concerning.  I don’t want to order a pack only to have to return it because it is the wrong size.  Comfort is also crucial and this pack doesn’t seem to have it.  Since correct sizing and long term wear-ability are important to me, I am going to pass on the Kyjen pack.

avenue

3) Natuvalle 6-in-1 Pet Carrier Backpack

Weight Limit & Dimensions:

  • Weight Limit: X-Small (12 lbs.), Small (16 lbs.), Medium (20 lbs.), Large (24 lbs.)
  • Dimensions (in sideways position): X-Small (14” L x 7.8” W x 7.8” H), Small (16” L x 11.4” W x 8.8” H), Medium (18” L x 11.8” W x 9.7” H), Large (20.5” L x 14.3” W x 10.5” H)

Amazon Price & Rating:

  • X-Small ($69.90), Small ($74.90), Medium ($79.90), Large ($84.90)
  • 5 Stars

 Pros:

+ Versatile Carrying Options: Backpack, Front pack, Shoulder bag, Handbag, Upright position & Side position.

+ Safety: Zippers have a security buckle to prevent your dog from wiggling the zipper open.

+ Multipurpose: XS, S, M are airline approved to fit under seats.  Seat belt loops allow dog to be buckled in during car trips.

 Cons:

– Quality: Multiple reviewers state that the zippers separated or broke quickly, the straps frayed, the seams ripped out, and the Velcro used to secure the bottom padding to the carrier was not sufficient to keep it from shifting.

– Customer Service: In case of the need for a return, customer service seems to be difficult to contact and slow to respond.

Overall Impression:

I really want to like this carrier because of all the versatility and functionality it offers.  That said, if a product falls apart quickly and cannot easily be replaced, it will be useless regardless of how great the design is.  The quality control issue may be a deal breaker for me.  I will keep looking for a similar product at a higher quality.

4) Petsfit Comfort Dog Carrier & Ventilated Backpack

Weight Limit & Dimensions:

  • Weight Limit: 15 lbs.
  • Measures 13” L x 13” W x 16” H

Amazon Price & Rating:

  • $52.99
  • 6 Stars

 Pros:

+ Sturdy Mesh: Mesh is rubberized rather than simple fabric, so it is stronger and resists tearing.

+ Window: Your dog can get a better view of your hike through the pop up plastic window on the top of the bag.

+ Human Comfort: The padded straps evenly distribute weight while the chest buckle keeps the straps from sliding off your shoulders in the middle of a hike.

Cons:

– Sizing: This carrier only comes in one size.

– Breathability: One negative review commented that the carrier quickly got hot inside.

Overall Impression:

This product looks amazing and has only one negative review out of forty seven!  I am very impressed with the comments about quality and comfort.  Mesh that won’t rip, zippers that won’t separate, and the perfect combo of functionality for both my dog and myself?  Yes please!

At $52.99, the pricing is just between the entry level and high end carriers.  I will check out the remaining six options, but this looks like it may very well be the winner for me!

man

5) K9 Sport Sack AIR Dog Backpack

Weight Limit & Dimensions:

  • Weight Limit: X-Small (5-8 lbs.), Small (8-14 lbs.), Medium (13-20 lbs.), Large (20-35 lbs.)
  • Dimensions: X-Small (fits dogs 10-13” long), Small (fits dogs 14-17” long), Medium (fits dogs 17-20” long), Large (fits dogs 20-23” long)

Amazon Price & Rating:

  • X-Small ($69.94), Small ($66.95), Medium ($69.94), Large ($147.03)
  • 2 stars

 Pros:

+ Sizes: With four sizes to choose from, dogs all the way from 5 lbs. to 35 lbs. and 10” to 23” will fit in the K9 Sport Sack.

+ Color Choices: While many carriers only come in a couple colors, the K9 features Jet Black, Charcoal Grey, Summer Mint, Cobalt Blue, and Red colors options.

+ Adjustable Height: An extra “block” is available to place in the bottom of the K9 sack in case your dog is shorter with a bit heavier build.  This allows you to size up for a comfy width without making the sack too tall for your dog to see out of.

Cons:

– Human & Dog Comfort: The shoulder straps apparently don’t distribute the dog’s weight well, so it pulls on the human’s shoulders.  From the standpoint of dog comfort, reviewers noted that the holes for the dog’s front paws to come through were pretty small causing the fabric to dig into the dog’s legs.

– Breathability: Owners commented that the carrier got warm for both them and their dogs.

Overall Impression:

This carrier sounds relatively mediocre to me.  While the color and size choices are great, they simply don’t negate the comfort concerns.  The whole point of taking my dog with me is that we can both enjoy the shared experience, not suffer through it.

That said, at 4 stars, it sounds like this carrier may be worth a try if you have time to order, test the item, and return it if it doesn’t work out.

 6) Pet Gear I-GO2 Plus Traveler Rolling Backpack Carrier

Weight Limit & Dimensions:

  • Weight Limit: 25 lbs.
  • Measures: Large (16″L x 12″W x 15″H), Extra Large Plus (16”L x 13.5”W x 22”H)

Amazon Price & Rating:

  • Large ($35.99), Extra Large Plus ($89.78)
  • 0 stars

 Pros:

+ Versatility: This pack can be used as carrier, backpack, tote, car seat, or roller bag.

+ Telescoping Handle & Wheels: Instead of having to carry your dog the entire trip, you can roll the carrier like a suitcase on smooth level surfaces like parking lots and sidewalks.

+ Human Comfort (for shorter humans): Reviewers who are shorter (< 5’6”) said that the backpack straps were very comfortable and the pack rode well on their backs.

Cons:

– Human Comfort (for taller humans): Reviewers who are taller (5’9”+) stated that the rolling wheels dug into their lower backs when they wore the carrier as a backpack.

– Dog Comfort: The bottom pad is thin and virtually non-existent.  Nearly all reviewers (even those who liked the carrier overall) mentioned adding their own supplemental padding.

Overall Impression:

The versatility of this carrier is very appealing to me.  Unlike the Nautuvalle carrier which has similar features but poor quality, the overall quality of this carrier appears to be acceptable.  Adding more padding isn’t preferable, but it also isn’t a deal breaker in my case.  At 5’4”, it sounds like the carrier would be reasonably comfortable on me.  So far, I am going to rank this as my second choice behind the Petsfit.

mountain-

 7) OxGord Paws & Pals Rolling Backpack Carrier

Weight Limit & Dimensions:

  • Weight Limit: 20 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 14”L x 11”W x 19”H

Amazon Price & Rating:

  • $21.95
  • 9 stars

Pros:

+ Easy Clean Up: The outer polyester material is removable from the carrier frame for ease of cleaning.

+ Telescoping Handle & Wheels: As with the PetGear carrier, you have the option to roll your dog along behind you rather than carry her over flat, smooth surfaces.

+ Pet Comfort: With extra-large mesh screens, this carrier allows plenty of viewing range for dogs who want to see all the sights along the trail.

Cons:

– Quality & Durability:  Multiple reviewers mentioned that the mesh tore, zippers broke, and the metal supporting rods poked through the outer fabric with normal use.

– Dog Comfort: The downside of all the mesh is that it is less supportive.  Some owners said their dogs seemed uncomfortable and that they kept falling into the mesh.

Overall Impression:

This seems like a middle of the road quality at bargain price style of carrier.  If I were only going to use it a couple of times a year to go to the vet, it may be worth it.  Since I anticipate using my new carrier frequently, and am willing to invest a bit more money for quality, this doesn’t seem like the right fit for me.

people

8) Pettom Travel & Hiking Bubble Backpack for Dogs

Weight Limit & Dimensions:

  • Weight Limit: 22 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 12.6″L x 9.4″W x 36.6″H

Amazon Price & Rating:

  • $82.99 for roller/backpack combo, $67.99 for backpack only
  • 6 stars

Pros:

+ Versatility: The entire frame and wheels can be removed when wearing the carrier as a backpack.  No more wheels digging into your back as with other wheeled/backpack combo carriers!

+ Color Choices: Every carrier on the market seems to come in black and grey.  This one features a baby pink, cheerful yellow, or classic brown faux leather look.

+ Style: The unique bubble view port lets your dog play astronaut and is sure to turn heads when you are out in public.  It can also be swapped out with a plastic grate if you prefer.

 Cons:

– Assembly:  Some assembly is required and unfortunately, the provided instructions are less than helpful.  The writer of said instructions was not a native English speaker and it shows.  Be prepared for a good laugh and a bit of frustration as you attempt to decipher the manual.

– Durability: Some reviewers had the plastic rivets holding the carrier together snap.  Others experienced breaking of the ring around the astronaut bubble.

Overall Impression:

My wannabe astronaut self is jumping up and down with excitement at how adorable the bubble viewport on this carrier is!  The fact that it comes in a pretty baby pink is a definite bonus for me as well.

Since other roller/backpack combos had comfort issues, the idea of the wheels completely detaching from the backpack portion of the carrier is very appealing.

The 3.6 star average review is disconcerting, however since the majority of the complaints appear to be related to the assembly frustrations, I am willing to overlook it.  If I choose this carrier, I will plan extra assembly time and be prepared with a bottle of wine to make the process more enjoyable.

welsh-corgi

9) Cosmos Colorful Pet Carrier Bag

Weight Limit & Dimensions:

  • Weight Limit: Small (5 lbs.), Medium (8 lbs.), Large (15 lbs.)
  • Measures: Small (9.5″ pocket length), Medium (11” pocket length), Large (12” pocket length)

Amazon Price & Rating:

  • Small ($11.97), Medium ($12.97), Large ($13.97)
  • 2 stars

Pros:

+ Price: At less than $15 each, this is the type of carrier that you don’t have to worry about losing.

+ Portability: Since the carrier is all fabric, it simply folds up for travel and storage; no need to worry about where to store it.

+ Style: No bland colors here; the Cosmos carrier is all about looking like you are on your way to a fiesta at a sandy beach!

Cons:

– Human Comfort:  At this price point, the straps are simply not padded well, and this puts more pressure on your shoulders.

– Pet Comfort: With all 4 paws and their tail poked through holes in the carrier, your dog’s appendages are liable to fall asleep if you carry them around in it for too long.

 Overall Impression:

When I first saw this particular carrier pop up on the top 10 list, I was a bit confused because it is much more simplistic than all the others.  It doesn’t pretend to be versatile; it doesn’t have a bunch of extra features and pockets.  It is simply a basic fabric carrier for short little walks.  The only thing pretentious about it is its bright colors!

At the sub-$15 price point, it may not be a bad idea to have one of these little carriers on standby.  It won’t, however, work for my primary carrier as I need a more long term carrying solution for hikes.

person

10) Pettom Front Cat Dog Backpack Travel Bag Carrier

Weight Limit & Dimensions:

  • Weight Limit: Small (up to 15 lbs.), Large (up to 22 lbs.)
  • Measures: Small (11″ x 11″ x 16.9”), Large (13″ x 12″ x 17”)

Amazon Price & Rating:

  • Small ($59.99), Large ($54.99)
  • 2 stars

 Pros:

+ Clean Up: Removable bottom pad makes for easy clean up.

+ Color Choices: With options like cyan, pink, brown, green, orange, and purple, there is a signature color for everyone no matter what your taste.

+ Stability: Dual waist and chest buckles keep the carrier from sliding around while on a hike.

 Cons:

– Human Comfort:  Multiple reviewers said that the bottom of the pack dug into their back when wearing it as a backpack.

– Lack of Side Pockets: While most other carriers feature extra pockets to hold leashes, treats, toys, car keys, and phones, this carrier does not.

Overall Impression:

The streamlined, non-bulky look of this carrier is very appealing to me, as are the fantastic color choices.  The price is mid-range for this type of carrier.  I am worried about the potential comfort issue with the pack digging into my lower back.  Still, with 4.2 stars, it may be worth giving it a test run to see how it works for me.

walk

My Final Choice: Petsfit Comfort Dog Carrier & Ventilated Backpack.

There were a bunch of different options, and several of the carriers on the top 10 list seemed like they had the potential to work for me.  At the end of the day, I decided to go with the Petsfit Comfort Dog Carrier & Ventilated Backpack for multiple reasons.

  1. SIZE

While this carrier does only come in one size, it is a size that will accommodate my dog’s weight and length perfectly.

  1. CARRYING POSITION

My dog will be free to either sit or lie down as she pleases.  The carrier will work well for longer hikes because her paws aren’t hanging out.

  1. STRAP PADDING & CONFIGURATION

This pack has the padded shoulder straps, waist strap, and chest buckle that I was looking for.  It should be plenty comfortable for long weekend hikes.

  1. VENTILATION

With mesh on both sides as well as the top of the pack, my dog will get plenty of airflow and even a cross breeze depending which way the wind is blowing.  The mesh is rubberized, making it much more durable than regular mesh.

  1. VERSATILITY

This pack doesn’t have any extra functions.  It is simply a great quality dog carrier hiking backpack.  While I would have appreciated some extra versatility, ultimately I decided it wasn’t worth sacrificing comfort for.  This pack will excel in its function as a dog carrier hiking backpack, and that is what I was truly looking for from the start!  I can always pick up that fun astronaut rolling pack for weekends in the city.

Best of luck as you choose the right backpack for you and your dog.  We will see you out on the trails soon!

 

Best Traveling Crates for Small Dogs – Buyer’s guide

Traveling Crates for Small Dog
The first thing to do before buying Traveling Crates for Small Dogs is measure your dog. It might seem like a small dog wouldn’t take much room, but make sure it has enough room to stand and stretch. Measure the dog from the base of its neck to the base of its tail and add three inches to that distance. That’s the minimum length your crate should be. Then measure from the ground to the top of the dog’s shoulders, add three inches and that’s the minimum height of the crate.

Traveling Crates for Small Dog

You might think there’s no such thing as a crate that’s too big since the animal must have room to lie down and stand, but don’t get a crate that’s much bigger than the dog. A dog’s instinctive comfort with small places goes back to the instinct of the wolf to find a den. A wolf’s den is just big enough for it to lie down and stand in. If you get a crate that’s substantially bigger, it won’t provide the feeling of safety and security a dog needs. Another reason to avoid a crate that’s much bigger than your dog is that you don’t want the dog to be able to use one end for eliminating and the other end for lying down. The crate must mimic the wolf’s den that an animal would instinctively never soil.

Crates

Different travel crates work well for different kinds of travel. Airlines have certain requirements that include the crate being made of substances such as metal, fiberglass or rigid plastic. It can’t be crushable, so if you’re traveling by plane, you’ll have to look for crates that meet their requirements.
Traveling by car gives you more options. There are some soft carriers that provide a very comfortable place for your dog to relax or sleep, plus they’re lighter than hard crates and pack up easily. Setting them up usually doesn’t take more than a few minutes.

Buyer's guide

One of the best dog crates for travel is the EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Crate. It’s very easy to put together and breaks apart easily. It has not one door, but three: one on the end, one on the side, one on top. This makes it easy to tend to your dog from above, without taking him out of his crate. It has a steel tube frame, outer pockets for storage and plenty of ventilation. EliteField crates fit dogs of all sizes except for the tiniest of dogs.

Traveling Crates

For those little pets, the Sherpa Deluxe Pet Carriers are one of the best carriers. They come in three sizes for dogs up to 22 pounds. These soft carriers are approved for airline travel. They have plenty of ventilation, have a spring wire frame that allows you to push the back of the crate underneath a seat, and have a washable faux lambskin liner. They also come with a rear pocket for storage of the extras you might need to access easily.

Should I Neuter MY dog? [Read this and you will change your mind!]

Should I Neuter MY dog?

You just left the vet’s office following your puppy’s six month check-up.  Everything went well; he got his shots and you even managed to hold him still through the dreaded nail clipping portion of the visit.  Then, as you were leaving, the vet’s assistant handed you the brochure – “What You Should Know About Neutering.”

Should I Neuter MY dog?

As you walk home, you consider the pros and cons of neutering while Rusty (blissfully oblivious that the fate of his genitalia hangs in the balance) trails along beside you.  The brochure quotes various reputable sources who all say that the benefits of neutering are many and the risks few.  In fact the only downsides the brochure mentions are potential anesthesia reactions and infections of the surgical site.

Your friend Jess had her dog neutered not that long ago though, and you remember her telling you that Gus wasn’t the same afterwards.  She said she couldn’t quite put her finger on it, but he just didn’t act like he used to, and he felt like a different dog.  You wonder – does neutering a dog change his personality?

 neutering a dog change his personality

From what you recall of biology class, you know that neutering would effectively eliminate most of the testosterone Rusty’s body produces.  Without that testosterone, would your protective alpha dog suddenly become a docile follower?  Rusty is always looking out for you and making sure you are safe; do you really want to risk losing that and instead having a dog that hides under the covers trembling at the sound of a knock on the door?   Would Rusty lose his fearlessness along with his fertility?

A tug on the leash brings you back to the present, and you see Rusty proudly lifting his leg and marking as his territory the side of a very expensive luxury car.  From across the street at the outdoor cafe, you hear an angered shout of the owner of said car.  It seems he witnessed Rusty’s transgression.  Ducking around the corner after offering the owner an embarrassed apology, you begin to think that personality changes from neutering may not be all bad.  A decreased interest in excessively marking territory would actually be a welcome change.

neuter

At home, you go online and do some research; Rusty deserves for you to make an informed decision.  Many veterinarians, breeders, and dog owners say that the changes which they noticed in their dogs following neutering were more in behaviors than in actual personality.  They observed a decreased frequency of sexual behaviors like marking expensive cars and humping dinner guest’s legs.  The neutered dogs were also less likely to become agitated around female dogs.  One of the most notable benefits was that the neutered dogs became less focused on other dogs and instead they re-focused on their humans.  Un-neutered male dogs can become more aggressive and territorial as they age, so rather than making Rusty completely docile, neutering him may simply temper his protective nature so that it remains at an appropriate level.
Does neutering a dog change his personality?  It’s hard to know for sure, but what is clear is that his behaviors are likely to change for the better.  Sorry, Rusty—time to make an appointment with the vet!

Dog X-rays : Cost and Helpful Information To Learn.

The Cost of X-ray and Associated Costs

Dog X-rays: Cost and Helpful Information

Veterinarians use x-rays on a regular basis to help them diagnose and monitor a variety of conditions. Dog owners should know some basic information about the cost and what is included in the cost, how the x-rays are used, and the safety of the procedure.

What Can X-rays Diagnose in Dogs?

Doggie x-rays can help veterinarians identify orthopedic issues, intestinal issues, tumors, ulcers, and polyps, in addition to the broken bones they are used for in humans. Orthopedic issues include things like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, fractures and bone deformations. Intestinal issues include blockages because a dog swallowed a non-food item or bladder stones.  However, x-rays may not be the best tool for identifying tumors that blend in with surrounding tissue, or for diagnosing neurological, cardiac, or pulmonary issues. Other imaging techniques, like ultrasound, CT scans, or MRI, are available that might be better for some of these specific issues.

What Can X-rays Diagnose in Dogs?

The Cost of X-ray and Associated Costs

The cost of x-rays for your dog is dependent on many factors. The cost can vary wildly between different veterinary offices, locations, and types of x-rays. In the U.S. x-rays will cost between $80-$150 per image. Globally, you can expect to pay €60-€160 in the United Kingdom or €40-€80 per photo in the Netherlands.  However, none of these price ranges include the costs of sedation or anesthesia, the cost of barium if needed, the cost of the vet visit, the cost of getting multiple photos (which is almost always necessary), or the cost of a specialist (like a radiologist) if necessary. The cost of sedation will vary on your dog’s size and cost $40-$180 on top of the cost of the x-rays. Emergency or after-hours care will often cost up to twice as much as the cost of care during regular business hours.

The Cost of X-ray and Associated Costs

The cost of x-rays will also vary depending on your location. Urban areas with multiple offices are more likely to offer competitive rates than rural areas. However, large metropolitan areas with a higher cost of living overall will be more expensive than the cost in smaller cities.

It is possible to discuss the price with your veterinarian or shop around for better prices, but here are some more factors to consider.

Don’t waste time if your dog is in pain. If a traumatic event has occurred, or even if your dog has developed a limp suddenly, they are probably in a lot of pain. Dogs don’t have the ability to tell us how much pain they are in. If you think your dog is in pain, don’t prolong his or her suffering by spending days waiting to hear back from several veterinarians’ offices.
Cheaper is not always better.  If you have a regular vet that you and your pet are comfortable with, discuss the price with them. So long as they can explain to you the reason that their prices might be more than others, it is probably worth the peace of mind for you and your dog to stick with someone you trust.
Ask Questions! Asking the right questions can help ensure that you are not paying for unnecessary items. The more you know, the more likely you will be to pay a fair price and get exactly what your dog needs.
  • Ask why the cost is higher at this office than another one.
  • Ask why the x-ray is necessary and ask how many images they will need to take.
  • Ask about whether or not sedation is necessary.
  • Ask to see an itemized list of the included costs. Use the itemized list to make sure that you aren’t paying for unnecessary supplies (like barium for a leg x-ray). You can also use the itemized list to make sure that you won’t be surprised with a separate cost for sedation that wasn’t included in the previous price.
If a vet is recommending that you pay for a bunch of tests to protect their liability in case of a mishap, you probably need to ask yourself if they are worthy of your trust.

It is possible to discuss

Don’t be afraid to tell your vet that you have done your homework and have found better prices elsewhere to see if they are willing to adjust their prices accordingly. If necessary, you can also set up a payment plan, either with your vet’s office or with a company like Care Credit. If medication is necessary, make sure that your vet is using the generic version instead of the name brand. In some cases, it is safe and cheaper for vets to use medicine formulated for humans, but make sure to follow your vet’s instructions on this. If possible, schedule your appointment for earlier in the day so that you don’t have to pay after hours or overnight fees.

X-ray Types

Generally speaking, when people refer to different types of x-rays they mean x-rays that are taken on different areas of the body. However, there is also a difference between digital and traditional x-rays. Traditional x-rays create a film photograph, while digital x-rays transfer this image to a digital file that can easily be shared among a group of specialists. Digital x-rays will cost more than traditional x-rays.

Abdominal X-rays- Abdominal x-rays are one of the most common x-rays for dogs. Abdominal x-rays are used to identify intestinal blockages, check for bladder stones, and can be used to identify tumors (depending on the placement of the tumor in relation to abdominal organs, it may or may not be visible on an x-ray). They are also commonly used to determine the number of puppies an expectant mother is carrying, but only after 45 days of pregnancy. Because they are relatively easy to capture, it is less likely for dogs to need sedation for an abdominal x-ray.

X-ray Types

Chest X-rays- Chest x-rays are used to check for cancers and other diseases of the heart and lungs. If your pup has been through a traumatic event, like being hit by a car or falling from an extreme height, chest x-rays will be used to check for broken ribs or to see if air has gotten inside the chest cavity. Chest x-rays are relatively easy to capture, so long as the technician is able to move the legs, so it is unlikely that sedation will be required. However, barium may be used to highlight the esophagus or other internal organs, and the use of barium will be an additional cost.
Dental X-Rays- Dental x-rays are used to identify issues with the teeth and jaws. Unfortunately, these tend to be some of the most difficult x-rays because it is difficult to get the dog to keep their head still. Therefore, sedation might be required for dental x-rays and will influence the cost.

What to Expect

Is Sedation or Anesthesia Required?

Sedation and anesthesia during x-rays depend mainly on the type of x-ray and your dog’s personality.

Types of x-rays are based on what body part is of concern. The x-ray images will come out better if the animal is still. It is easier to get animals to stay still in certain positions. For example, if they are lying down on their back, they should be still enough for an x-ray of their abdomen. However, if the x-ray requires them laying in positions that are uncomfortable, it will be harder to get them to lay still, so sedation might be necessary. If the x-ray needs images of an internal organ, a muscle relaxer may make it easier for the x-ray to capture the image.
Your dog’s personality will also make it easier or more difficult. The x-ray itself does not cause pain, but the whole situation may cause anxiety for many animals. If you have an extremely anxious dog or a dog that tends to attack strangers, sedation may be necessary. Even if your dog is comfortable with your vet, it may not be comfortable with the x-ray technician or other staff members that will assist. If the dog is currently in pain, it might avoid sitting or lying in the necessary positions, so sedatives or anesthesia can help make your dog more comfortable.

Is Sedation or Anesthesia Required?

Most often, x-rays can be done without the use of sedation or anesthesia. However, if sedation is necessary, it will be an additional cost that will depend on the size of your dog.

Before the X-ray – Preparing Your Dog for an X-ray

There should be very little preparation for the x-ray event. In some cases, your veterinarian will ask you to have your dog fast for a twelve-hour period before the x-ray. This fasting will reduce the stomach contents so that the vet can see past the stomach to other organs or to see if there is a blockage in the intestinal tract. In general, the best way that you can prepare your dog for an x-ray is to simply keep it as calm as possible.

The X-ray Procedure – Can I Stay with my Dog During the X-ray?

The x-ray procedure is similar for dogs and humans. First, your dog will be placed on a table that has a glass or plastic shield with the x-ray film underneath it. This may be confusing for some dogs because they are generally told not to climb on tables and furniture, but now they are being asked to. However, experienced technicians will be able to help your dog through this. Your dog will be positioned so that the necessary body part is visible. Specially made sandbags may be used to calm your dog and to encourage stillness or other restraint devices may be used to hold your dog in a particular position. The technician will move the x-ray beam into the correct placement above your dog. The technician will step away from your dog, but continue talking to it so that it stays calm and still. Then the technician will push a button for the image to be captured. This process may be repeated several times depending on how many images your vet needs.

The X-ray Procedure – Can I Stay with my Dog During the X-ray?

You will most likely not be allowed to stay with your dog during the x-ray. In the United States, state laws indicate that owners are not allowed into the x-ray room. However, in cases where the dog is extremely anxious or difficult to restrain, the technician may ask the owner to assist in holding the dog in place during the x-ray. If this happens, the owner must be over 18, must wear protective garments, and must not be pregnant or nursing. The reason that protective garments must be worn is simply that the radiation required to capture an x-ray image of a dog is higher than the radiation used in human x-rays. However, this radiation is not dangerous to humans or dogs, unless there is repeated or prolonged exposure.

Are X-Rays Bad or Harmful to Dogs?

So long as your dog is not getting x-rays excessively often, they will be perfectly safe. In most cases, the benefits of diagnosing a health problem with an x-ray far outweigh the risks of radiation.

The one exception is pregnant dogs. X-rays are only safe for pregnant dogs after 45 days of pregnancy. After 45 days, it is common practice to use an x-ray to determine the number of puppies in a litter. However, x-rays are not the only method that can be used during pregnancy, and the other methods will not expose the puppies to potentially harmful radiation. If the purpose of the x-ray is just to count the number of puppies, it is probably not worth the risk. However, if there is a sign of trouble during or before birth, an x-ray will be beneficial to both the mother and the puppies.

Are X-Rays Bad or Harmful to Dogs?

Can I See My Dog’s X-Rays?

You should always be allowed to see your dog’s x-rays and most often your veterinarian will go over them with you to explain any information about your dog’s condition. However, x-rays are legally considered a part of a patient’s medical record, even when that patient is a dog. Therefore, the original x-ray photographs must legally stay in your dog’s patient file at their vet’s office. You can request a copy of the x-ray photographs, but an extra fee may be charged.

Other Kinds of Medical Imaging for Dogs

X-rays are the most common diagnostic tool for most vets, but they are certainly not the only ones available. Ultrasounds, MRI, and CT scans can all be used to focus more intensely on a specific body part.

Ultrasound- Ultrasounds project a harmless sound wave into your dog’s body. The sound waves bounce off different structures within your dog’s body and register a picture of the surfaces inside. Even though dogs’ sense of hearing is stronger than humans, these sound waves do not harm them. Ultrasounds can be used for reproductive purposes after 21 days of pregnancy. They can also be used to check internal organs such as the heart, liver, or lungs. As with x-rays, the cost of an ultrasound will vary depending on your vet’s office and the equipment they are using as well as the purpose of the ultrasound. They can range from $50-$500. It is a good idea to ask questions about certifications, equipment, and specialists so that you know exactly what you are paying for.

Magnetic resonance imaging

MRI- Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a scan that produces detailed images of the body. MRI uses magnetic fields and radio-waves to produce a picture of internal organs. It is especially useful for diagnosing neurological conditions or spinal cord conditions. MRI requires specialty equipment that your local veterinarian will most likely not have access to. This equipment is usually only found in veterinary schools or advanced diagnostic centers. The scarcity of the equipment means that you need a referral from your vet to make an appointment, and it means a much higher cost. An MRI could cost up to $2500 per scan.
CT Scans- CT scans, also known as Cat Scans, take numerous x-rays rapidly. These series of x-rays can then be presented in cross-sections so that the vet can see a more focused picture of the specific body part. CT scans are mostly used for examining the most complex body parts like the head, chest, and joints. Just like the MRI, CT scan equipment is scarce and expensive. CT scans can also cost up to $2500 per scan and will require a referral before the appointment.

Cheap natural dog food : How to find one as easy as possible !!!

Cheap natural dog food

Cheap natural dog food

Finding affordable, cheap natural dog food can be challenging for many dog owners. Faced with seemingly endless options, it can be difficult to know where to start, and what to look for. Finding healthy dog food doesn’t have to break the bank!

puppy

Here are a few tips to make the process of choosing cheap and natural food for your dog as easy as possible.

One of the most important aspects to choosing a dog food that is both cheap and healthy is to make sure that the food in question contains all the ingredients necessary for your canine companion’s diet.

pug

Protein should generally constitute the majority of any good dog food. Healthy protein options for your dog include chicken, beef, salmon, and rabbit.  Many dog foods also contain grains and other carbohydrates such as soy, beans, rice, oats, wheat and barley.

Pet food is regulated by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) according to the “95% rule,” requiring at least 95% of the product to agree with the labeled ingredients. For example, if the dog food in question is labeled “Beef Dog Food,” then 95% of the dog food must contain beef. The ingredients are always listed in order of predominance, with the first ingredient listed making up most of the product’s weight.

dog

Keeping these regulations in mind, when attempting to find a cheap and natural dog food, it is especially important to check the dog food ingredients. Despite the effective advertising put out by some of the most popular (and expensive!) dog food companies, many dog foods on the market contain ingredients that can harm your pet.

Here are a few ingredients that you might consider avoiding when feeding your dog:

  • Wheat (gluten)
  • Preservatives such as butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), ethoxyquin, and propylene glycol (PG)
  • Food dyes
  • Rendered fat

Now that you know what to stay clear of, you still have quite a few decisions to make. Do you want to feed your dog wet or dry food?

pekinese

If cost is a limiting factor, dry food will likely be your best bet. Dry food is cheaper, less messy, and even helps to clean your dog’s teeth. There are also several downsides to dry dog food. For example, dry dog food has a very low moisture content and can contribute to your dog being dehydrated. Furthermore, dry dog food often contains artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives, none of which are necessary in a healthy dog’s diet. So, when choosing a dry food, remember to pay attention to the ingredients!

pet

Moist dog food is also an excellent option, if you can afford it. Moist dog food contains a much higher moisture content and can be easier for older dogs to chew, however, it can also contain additives. Additionally, moist dog foods can have much longer shelf lives than dry dog food. Make sure to check the ingredients of any moist dog food before deciding to buy it, and always check the expiration dates to be safe.

 

Good Cheap Dog Food : Is it still Possible to Find One?

Good Cheap Dog Food

Is it still Possible to Find Good Cheap Dog Food?

Ever want to treat your best friend with the best quality things but wonder why is it so expensive?

Well there is hope.

Having a puppy is fun, great companionship, and not to mention the cuteness overload. They are our family. However feeding your best friend can add up in spending and be more than you bargained for. To be able to determine the best food out there, take account of the nutrition needs of your dog and what type of food you want for them.

dog

There are brands out there that are great quality while still being cheap. All it requires is a little investigation. An expensive brand does not always mean better quality. What the product is made of is more important. There is also no perfect brand of dog food. Each one is different and every dog is different. Find the one that works best for your pup.
Read the reviews and look at the history of the brand. Some brands just started but make great quality food. Other brands have been around for years and know their formulas well. Find the price you want first, and then follow these tips to ensure you are buying the perfect one.

pooch
Here are a few tips on how to find a good quality of food while sticking to budget.

  1. Look at ingredients of the food. Cheap dog food can have cheap ingredients which can cause health issues for your dog. Depending on the type of dog you have, there are different formulas out there that will work for your breed better than others.
  2. Check out the protein. Dogs need a lot of protein, so when reading labels make sure that it is in the first few ingredients on the list. Beef and chicken are higher in protein than other meats but depending on the age of your dog, different types of protein are still good. Younger dogs will need more protein, and older dogs need more fiber in their diet.
  3. Is the food balanced? Are there fruits, veggies, and vitamins in it? Also look to see if the food has any fillers in it like soy protein or corn. Real ingredients and meat is more nutritious than fillers.
  4. Find the flavor. Every dog is different and has a preference. Try out some different types and see what is more exciting for your dog.
  5. Try to stick with natural food. It will have fewer chemicals in it and be better for you dog’s health and appetite.
  6. Look at the label closely. Some will try to trick you in claiming that it’s the best when it is not.

small breed

Finding the right product is important. It will allow your dog to have a great immune system, shiny fur, and maintain a healthy weight providing you a happy, energetic dog.

Once you have looked at different food brands and found one you like, compare it at different stores and online to see who has the better pricing. Some places will have coupons and memberships that will allow you to get those discounts.

cheap dog food

Your dog deserves the best and it is possible to find cheap, great quality, food without breaking the bank. Stick to your budget and follow these simple tips to find the best food to make your dog smile.

The Best Dog Foods for Shih Tzus and Yorkies : A guide for our fur babies!

The Best Dog Foods for Shih Tzus and Yorkies

The Best Dog Foods for Shih Tzus and Yorkies

Dogs are a man’s best friends and if you own a playful Shih Tzu or an affectionate Yorkie, you know how true this can be. And you will go to any length to keep your best friend healthy. A balanced diet is the first step to taking care of any pet, but with so many options available, it is hard to know where to start. Always discuss nutrition with your veterinarian because they will be able to offer guidance with your specific dog in mind.

Shih Tzu

It is always good to do your homework before a vet visit so that you know the specific questions to ask. Here are some important things to keep in mind when choosing a pet food, specifically for your small-breed Shih Tzu or Yorkie.

General Guidelines

Always look for an AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) approved brand. This ensures that the dog food meets the minimum standards of ingredient requirements for all dogs. The label on the package should refer to AAFCO directly and will often say “100% Complete and Balanced Nutrition.” Pay attention to the way that the food is advertised. According to AAFCO standards, a “beef formula” must contain at least 95% beef, but a “beef entrée” may only contain 25% beef.

Yorkies

Always read the ingredient label, but beware of some common misconceptions. In general, dogs need a large portion of protein, a medium portion of fat, and a small portion of carbohydrates. Some preservatives are necessary, to keep the food fresh. Natural preservatives, like tocopherol or ascorbate, are acceptable, but avoid preservatives like ethoxyquin, BHT or BHA.
Ingredients are always listed by weight, so ingredients with a large amount of moisture can be misleading because they are heavier. Similar ingredients can also be labeled as separate ingredients, so a formula that includes kibbled corn, ground corn, and flaked corn can actually contain a lot more grain than necessary. Also, keep in mind that the ingredient list tells you what the ingredients are, but does not tell you the quality of the ingredients. 

Keeping Your Pup in Mind

Once you have narrowed down the possibilities to a quality dog food brand, it is time to consider your dog’s specifications. The AAFCO monitors different nutrient levels based on the dog’s age. Just as human dietary needs change as we grow, a puppy has different needs than an adult dog. Choose a brand that has a variation for your pet’s age.

shih tzu

Individual pets may have specific dietary requirements. If your dog has allergies, you will need to find a brand without those allergens. Some dogs are allergic to chicken so a less common protein, like bison or lamb, can be substituted. But be sure to carefully read the ingredient label because a lamb formula may also include chicken fat, which your dog will react to. If you are concerned about your dog’s digestion, consider a brand with whole grains and vegetables. Very few dogs have gluten allergies, but a grain-free or gluten-free formula can help address skin sensitivities.

Small-breed dogs have different needs than large-breed dogs. Many small breeds have faster metabolisms so they need to eat more calories more often, especially as a growing puppy. Small-breed dogs that are not fed often enough can develop hypoglycemia. Small-breed dogs also tend to have smaller snouts, so they can easily choke. A small-breed formula will have smaller kibbles to prevent choking.

Shih Tzus, in particular, are known for long, fast-growing coats that distinguish their breed, but these coats can also cause skin sensitivities. For this reason, a grain-free formula rich in Vitamin A and Omega Fatty Acids are good for Shih Tzus.

Keeping Your Pup in Mind

Yorkies can suffer from a hereditary issue called a liver shunt where the blood passes directly into their system without being filtered by their liver. A diet with plant or dairy-based protein can prevent or manage this condition. Excessive fat can also cause pancreatitis in Yorkies, so look for a food low in fat.

Yorkie

Which Brand is Best?

Royal Canin offers breed-specific dog food formulas for both Shih Tzus and Yorkies. These formulas are both AAFCO approved and contain natural preservatives. The kibble size and shape are specifically formulated to prevent choking and dental problems based on the breed’s snout size and shape. They are both rich in Omega Fatty Acids to protect the long coats of Shih Tzus and Yorkies. The Yorkie-specific formula includes ingredients that are agreeable to a Yorkie’s sensitive digestive system. This can be purchased from any pet specialty store or through your veterinarian’s office.     At around $35/bag for a ten-pound bag, this brand is also fairly affordable.

yorkie

Hill’s Healthy Advantage has a “small bites” product formulated for small breeds that includes ingredients that support healthy digestion, coats, and mobility for small dogs. However,  the cost may vary.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection formula for toy/small breeds offers a formula specific to the energy needs of small breeds like your Shih Tzu or Yorkie. They also include vital nutrients for joint health and for a healthy coat. Blue Buffalo also guarantees that it avoids potentially harmful ingredients like artificial colors or preservatives. This is one of the most convenient brands because it can be purchased at most local grocery stores or online. It is also one of the most cost-effective brands at only $26/bag for a 15-pound bag.

Ultimately, the choice of dog food is up to you, but by communicating with your veterinarian and keeping these guidelines in mind, you can ensure that your Shih Tzu or Yorkie will be happy and healthy for many years to come.

 

Cheap dog food : How to cut costs when purchasing high quality dog food

Is it still possible to find high-quality, inexpensive dog food?

According to many long-term dog owners, the answer to Cheap dog food is a resounding “no.” Gone are the days when you could walk into a pet store, spend a quick five dollars, and walk out with a sizable bag of food for your beloved pet. With some brands of food costing more than sixty dollars for a week’s supply, many dog owners are left scratching their heads, wondering if they should skip quality (in favor of low prices) or begrudgingly accept a higher price point for better ingredients.

high quality dog food

Indeed, the ingredients are ultimately responsible for the rise in the price of dog food. As the cost of wheat, barley, rice and corn continues to rise, so does the cost of dog food. And even though some dog food brands run promotions and offer coupons to lessen the costs of dog food, prices continue to be astronomical.

chihuahua
However, despite the fact that dog food prices may be unreasonable, dog owners must still purchase the best dog food possible, in order to promote the health and longevity of your furry friends. Here are some easy ways to save costs when purchasing high quality dog food.

1. Search for coupons.

Many dog food manufacturers understand that customers prefer high quality, low cost dog food. As a result, they offer easily accessible coupons. To access coupons for dog food, check the websites of both dog food manufacturers and dog food retail stores. Sometimes, you can save up to 40% on the base price of your dog’s food.

2. Try a different retailer.

The price of dog food depends largely on the retailer you purchase it from. A dog food brand that costs $60 at Store #1 might just cost $50 at Store #3. The websites of most major dog food retailers offer the ability to check prices and inventory availability, so you can find the lowest prices from the comfort of your own home.

3. Experiment with new brands.

Although switching dog food should be done carefully in order to minimize stomach upset for your furry friend, switching dog food can be an easy way to save money. To switch dog food in a safe way, feed your dog a half-and-half mixture of the old brand with the new brand. Continue the mixture for at least three days, or longer if your dog begins to show signs of intolerance, like diarrhea or vomiting.

4. Buy in bulk.

Like all products, dog food is cheaper when purchased in bulk. Buying large packages is a great way to reduce the cost of dog food over a long time period. If you’re worried about the dog food spoiling, you can always make a large purchase with a group and divide up the dog food evenly.

chihuahua
As you can see, buying high-quality, inexpensive dog food is a certain possibility, with a little bit of ingenuity. By working together with friends, carefully strategizing, and creating a solid plan, you will be able to provide essential nutrition for your beloved pet in a way that doesn’t break the bank.

Shih Tzu Grooming :A guide to groom your FurBaby.

The Shih Tzu is known for its regal long and shiny coat. It may be a popular look but those luxurious tresses are not easy to maintain. Some owners opt for the monthly grooming sessions. As the owner of a Shih Tzu the decision has to be made early on how the dog will be groomed. You have to ask yourself: will the hair be kept long or short? Is most of the grooming going to take place at home or will you be visiting a groomer? Find out here which option might be best for you for Shih Tzu Grooming.

Shih Tzu Grooming

What Makes the Shih Tzu Special

The Shih Tzu, a treasure since the early Chinese dynasties, is unusually strong for such a small breed; its name means “Lion Dog” and it is fitting.  Known for its adorable face, the Shih Tzu is up there on the list of most popular lap dogs and best kid-friendly dogs as they are both cuddly and active, depending on their moods and yours.  This breed also gets along well with other dogs and cats in the family.   The Shih Tzu breed definitely wins the Congeniality Award!

What Makes the Shih Tzu Special

The Shih Tzu is blessed with a beautiful double coat which comes in a variety of colors.  That beautiful coat will get matted and messy though, if left ungroomed.

Shih Tzu Grooming Styles

Shih Tzus can be groomed to look either sporty or elegantly sophisticated, and their hair can be straight or left curly.

There are seven different Shih Tzu styles:

The basic short clip “puppy cut” on a Shih Tzu gives it a sporty look and shows off its sturdy little body.   The hair is clipped down to about one to two inches throughout the body.  This puppy cut can be made a little longer if you are vigilant about daily brushing to avoid mats.  A puppy cut can be done with longer hair left on the ears to show off the silky nature of the Shih Tzu hair while keeping maintenance as low as possible.  And this cut can be further modified with even longer hair and facial hair to show off a fuller coat and body look.

Shih Tzu Grooming Styles

The hair on the face of the Shih Tzu can be rounded to form a “teddy bear cut,” while the overall length of hair on the Shih Tzu can be left either short or long.

Since the Shih Tzu has the capacity to grow long hair, a popular style for this breed is known as the “top knot.”  The hair on top of the head is left long, while the rest of the body is either short or longer.  The long hair on top is tied together to showcase the silky long hair feature, and to be fancier, it can be braided.   With this style, it is important to keep that long hair away from the face.

Moving away from the more practical cuts, the top knot style can be coupled with long hair throughout the Shih Tzu’s body in what is known as a “show cut.”   This stunning look is also high maintenance, as several brushings a day are required to prevent matting.

Shih Tzu’s body

There are, of course, may other styles for the Shih Tzu.  The hair around the eyes and chin can be trimmed while leaving the hair on the face longer to resemble a West Highland White Terrier.  Bangs are also a popular Shih Tzu look, but you will need to trim them often to keep your dog’s visibility clear.

How you groom your Shih Tzu is up to you.  It takes a year or longer for a short puppy cut to grow to a floor length coat.  And the longer the hair, the more brushing is required.

Grooming Your Dog At Home

The typical pet owner may love the signature long coat of the Shih Tzu, but cutting it shorter makes your pup easier to maintain. Long hair maintenance can get kind of pricey, that is one of the main perks of home grooming. Not only are you saving a pretty penny on the grooming bill but also on the transportation to get the little furball back and forth.

When it’s you doing the cutting, you have more control over styling just the way that you like it. Regular brushing and combing is required in between grooming. Daily maintenance is paramount to ward off a tangled coat. Home bubble baths are also a must to keep your Shih Tzu’s fur healthy.

Grooming a Shih Tzu

Keeping the clippings at home is also another way to bond with your pup. You can find that most dogs get nervous when it is time for a new hair cut. Being there for your dog during a potentially vulnerable time will inevitably bring you closer together. It can be done in the middle of the day when not much is happening around you or even late at night while you are both relaxed and comfortable. Either way, it’s a great idea to get your small dog used to being groomed on a hard surface like a table or countertop.

Shih Tzus can be full of energy so it is best to teach them good grooming habits as a puppy. It will keep the squirming down as they grow older. Take the time to use a higher surface as often as possible to get your dog more comfortable with being that distance from the floor. Constantly reassure them during this process to create a positive environment.

Shih Tzu Brushing

Perfect your home grooming routine by using one similar to the pros. Start by brushing and combing the dog to remove any loose hair from the inner and outer coat. This would also be the best time to detangle any matted hair before bathing. Much like you and I, your pup needs to be dried after bath time.

If Spot is sporting longer hair then it is best to blow it dry. It’s okay to use a brush, but only when the hair is damn. If it’s too wet you can be painful for your dog, while brushing dry hair causes it to easily break. It is best to use two types of brushes to keep the tangles away: a pin brush and a slick brush. Typically you can find a brush with both at any pet supply store. The versatile brush is used to penetrate through both the top and bottom coats to remove any matting while the slick brush smooths the top coat down and gives it that shine. Puppy combs can also be used to remove small tangles throughout the hair in conjunction with your fingers.

style your Shih Tzu

These combs also serve other purposes, they are great when used to keep the dog’s facial hair clean. Always be sure to mist with conditioning spray before brushing. If you can’t decide on which spray to use, put a small amount of regular pet conditioner in a spritzing bottle. Fill the remainder of the bottle with water. When you start brushing remember to work your way from the feet up, tackling one small section at a time. Pay special attention to the chest, neck and ears of your dog. These are areas that you might be finding more matted fur than anywhere else.

How often should I bathe my Shih Tzu

Bathing your Shih Tzu is the best time to get it all lathered up in products that will help its coat to shine. Your pup should be prancing in water and suds every three weeks unless your vet has suggested more frequent cleanings.

It’s best to avoid washing too frequently as to not to remove too much of the natural oils. However, don’t wait too long in between baths either. The longer the oils are left to build up on your Shih Tzu’s skin, the easier it becomes for the skin pores to clog. The dog can begin to scratch more frequently, smell and even have a greasier appearance.

How often should I bathe my Shih Tzu

It’s easier to give Shih Tzus a bath because of their small stature. Utilizing the kitchen sink or the bathtub as a washing station allows for easy access to all of your supplies during this process. You can usually find a bottle for spraying in both of these locations, too. That makes rinsing especially easy.

After all of your tools are set up and you’ve issued the pre-poo brushing session, plug your dog’s ears with cotton balls to keep water from getting into their ears. Water in the ears can lead to infections. Beware of stuffing the cotton too deeply, it is meant to stay shallow enough to block the water not stop a dam. Before you get started, put a slip resistant aid so that your small dog is not slipping and sliding around the entire time.

Wet the whole body, including the head, before you begin to lather. You’ll want to avoid getting anything in their eyes. Use a measuring cup to pour when you get to the facial area if it makes the water easier to manipulate. Ensure that the pre rinse has moistened the whole body before moving on. Choosing the right shampoo and conditioner duo plays a huge part in how your dog’s fur will look. Be sure to have a shampoo that removes the built up oils and whatever other dirt or debris can be found on a dog.

shih tzu

Steer clear of any shampoo with harsh low-grade ingredients listed. These things will surely strip the fur of moisture. You are even putting your pup at risk of having dry, irritated skin. Just as parabens and phosphates are not good chemicals for our skin, they can be hard to rinse from your Shih Tzu’s skin. If they ingest these chemicals it can even result in an upset stomach. Improper pH balanced shampoos can be an issue for Shih Tzu dogs. Try out something labeled specifically for sensitive skin, that should clear things up.

If the vet has let you know that your pet has some sort of allergy there are specially formulated shampoos that can still get them squeaky clean, safely. Conditioner seems like it would be an easy step to skip but when used in conjunction with shampoo it is vital to getting your dog’s hair show ready. However, there is one more step before the washing is considered complete, leave-in conditioning spritz. Using this spritz can definitely make a big difference in how your Shih Tzu looks and feels.

One of the more important functions for the spritz is to make up for any lack of moisture from the shampoo process. It can also be used as a coat refresher in between wash days, aiding in the elimination of knots and matting. Nail Clipping You may find your Shih Tzu doesn’t want to stop cuddling with the comfy drying towel after bath time, but the grooming isn’t over yet. Clipping a dog’s nails can seem like more of a tedious process than it truly is. Learning to take care of this at home saves time and money, especially because you may find that your pup’s nails are growing rather quickly due to their diet.

By this point you should make sure that your puppy is comfortable with you touching their paws during this process. Even if you have not had time to properly familiarize your Shih Tzu with this, be mindful to touch, pinch and rub their paws in your down time together. It may also be best to clip nails when your dog is relaxed or tires as you will get less resistance.

The major thing to look out for when clipping your own dog’s nails is the quick, the vein that runs through each nails. Depending upon the color of your dog’s nails you may not be able to see where the quick end and where it is safe to cut. I would recommend watching your groomer do this first or asking their suggestion on where the perfect place would be to begin clipping. There are a few kinds of clippers available the guillotine, scissors and battery powered grinder. If your dog has been groomed before, ask what style they have used before as your pup will already be familiar with the feeling and may be more comfortable.

How do I clean my dog’s ears to prevent dirty dog ears?

Inside the Shih Tzu’s ear canal is a the perfect environment for bacteria and ear mites to grow. Both of these things have the potential to lead to infection which is miserable for everyone involved.

shih tzu ear

Cleaning your pup’s ears may not be the easiest thing to do to control odor, wax buildup and overgrown hair. Gathering all of the materials before you begin can cut down on the unpleasantness for you and your pup. There are only a few supplies needed clean cotton swabs, mineral oils or ear cleaner and ear powder. Wet your cotton ball with your cleaning solution and gently wipe the ear until the cotton swab comes up clean. Be prepared for a few head shakes that will send excess liquid flying. Due to the way a Shih Tzu’s ear is configured it is very easy for debris to get caught in the hair and create a breeding ground for bacteria. Most dogs are not fond of ear hair removal because it can be uncomfortable. Sprinkle in a bit of ear powder, spreading it around the entire canal. Most of the ear hear you will be able to pull out with your fingers, but if it is more difficult tweezers can be used. Curved hemostats tend to work best for this. Be mindful not to catch any skin when you are plucking, that could slow the process down as your dog may become fearful.

Shih  Tzu Teeth Cleaning

It’s easy to think that you can bypass brushing your dog’s teeth, except when it gets a little too funky during your daily kisses. Your Shih Tzu’s dental health is a part of their overall wellbeing. A yearly cleaning with your vet is alway recommended but good oral hygiene can start with you. Start slow and use a soft toothbrush to minimize bleeding gums. Also, this should go without saying but NEVER use any toothpaste aside from those specially formulated for dogs.

Utilize treat time as a time to freshen up those teeth. Invest in higher quality dental chews and breath fresheners to give to your dog daily. These treats can help keep plaque and tartar buildup under control. They will never know that these delicious goodies are actually beneficial to them. Plus, who doesn’t like fresh breath?!

Cutting the coat of a Shih Tzu

The options are unlimited when you are cutting your own Shih Tzu’s hair. Remember, all Shih Tzu’s are not created equally. A cut that you may see on another pup might not work for yours depending upon their frame, fur thickness and a number of other factors. Most Shih Tzu owners are a fan of the cute top knot. It is relatively easy to grow out this section of hair and pull it up with a rubber band. It’s completely up to you, have one ponytail or two, maybe even a bun!

Cutting the coat of a Shih Tzu

We’ve already established that long show coats are regal but really tedious to maintain. It’s easy to opt for the short cut or get the best of both worlds by allowing the length to vary by the season. However you choose to let them sport their hair there are three methods to maintain it: clippers, scissors and shears. Two speed clippers are recommended with a variety of blades. Number 3, 4, 5, 7, 10 and/or 30 might be be best. Choosing any blade 3-7 is good for overall body trimming. Number 10 should be used when getting close to sanity areas and footpads. Clippers have a tendency to heat up quickly, to avoid burning your pooch have some blade coolant on hand. Andis is a trusted brand that generally works well for all grooming needs.

You’ve got all of the tools necessary to have the prettiest pup in town. Happy grooming!

 

Healthiest Small Dog Breeds: I’ll take you through some basics.

Healthiest Small Dog Breeds

If you are looking for a small dog to add to your family, cost of potential vet bills may be critical to your decision. Are some small dog breeds healthier than others? Potentially. There are a few small dog breeds that are known to be generally healthier than other breeds. What are those healthiest small dog breeds, you ask? I’ll take you through some basics.

What are the healthiest small dog breeds?

At the top of our list of healthy small dogs are Beagles.

Healthiest Small Dog Breeds

This breed is consistently at the top of popularity lists, so it is not surprising to see it on the top of healthy breed lists as well. Beagles are excellent for families because they are friendly and gentle with children. Beagles, however, have an increased potential for weight gain, so be sure to give them adequate exercise and a balanced diet.

Affenpinschers are spunky little dogs that do well living in apartments.

Affenpinschers

They are easy to take care of, and they do not shed much. They are generally quiet, but you know when they are excited. Affenpinschers are fearless and protective, so they make outstanding watchdogs. Their curiosity can get them in trouble because it is way bigger than they are. It is important to socialize Affenpinschers early in life so that they become used to people and different surroundings.

Boston Terriers are super adorable, adaptable, and dapper little fellows.

Boston Terriers

They are among the easiest dogs to groom and train. While they are prone to some health problems, the issues are easy to prevent if care is taken when they are young. They do require some attention to their diet to avoid flatulence. Overall, Boston Terriers make lovable and healthy family companions.

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are energetic canines who will love their families forever.

Pembroke Welsh Corgis

They are very intelligent and easy to train. They shed a lot, so it is best to avoid this breed if you or a family member has allergies. Like Beagles, Pembroke Welsh Corgis possibly tend to gain weight, which makes an appropriate diet and regular exercise a must.

The Shetland Sheepdog is an intelligent breed native to Scotland.

Shetland Sheepdog

They shed a lot, and may be difficult to groom. They are generally quiet dogs, but will bark if they sense strangers. Shetland Sheepdogs are energetic. They need a lot of room to exercise and play so apartment life is not recommended. If they are not mentally stimulated they may become destructive or troublesome because of their natural intelligence.

Schnoodles are a hybrid breed between Poodles and Schnauzers.

Schnoodles

Owners often choose this breed because they are intelligent and hypoallergenic like Poodles, and they have the spunk and playfulness of a Schnauzer. These guys are very active and eager to please their owners. They are a great family dog because they react well around children.

Schnoodlesare an extremely active breed who simply love life.

Schnoodles

They are wonderful family dogs who are great with kids. They need a lot of exercise and a balanced diet to keep their high metabolism running smoothly. They do not shed a lot and they are generally one of the healthiest breeds.

Healthiest Small Dog Breeds With Longevity

Chihuahuas are generally known for their longevity if well taken care of.

Chihuahuas

They can live up to 18 years! Chihuahuas are tiny dogs with huge personalities. They are extremely protective of their families. Despite their bad reputation, they are great with kids, and they are very friendly if socialized enough early. They shed little and they are easy to groom. It is important to maintain a daily regimen of exercise and healthy diet to prevent nutritional problems.

Havanese are native of Cuba.

Havanese

They have huge hearts and very playful personalities. They are intelligent and easy to train. They are minimal shedders, but their long coats make grooming a task. Like most small dogs, Havanese have the potential to gain weight, so sufficient exercise is recommended. Havanese are known to live up to 13 years!

What is the Healthiest Dog Food for Small Breeds?

The “healthiest” food for your dog will vary depending on its nutritional needs, breed, and size. Generally speaking, small dogs need a higher caloric content per pound than larger breeds. They don’t necessarily need larger portions, it is more a matter of correct ingredients in the right amounts.

A lack of calories can result in low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia. A higher metabolism, such as those found in smaller breeds, need more calories than an average metabolism to keep the body functioning properly.

Healthiest Dog Food for Small Breeds

Most breeds require a balanced diet with protein, grains, vegetables, and fruits. Fortunately, a lot of commercial brands contain adequate ingredients for a balanced diet. The issue occurs in the portion sizes.

A common misconception is that a smaller breed requires a smaller portion throughout the day. It is important to note that some small breeds may need smaller portions, but more often throughout the day.  Different brands will have different serving suggestions. It is always important to consult with your veterinarian for the appropriate brand and diet for your dog.
Many other breeds of small dogs are inherently healthy and have longevity. To ensure good health, always adopt from reputable breeders with health records from both parents. Avoid adopting from careless breeders, puppy mills, and pet stores when possible. Make sure that living spaces are safe for your dog, and that you are using good training techniques, such as positive reinforcement.