Ever wonder what Dogs require?
Lets start with TRAINING. If you decide a puppy is the route you would like to go, we require that you enroll your pup in a basic obedience class. Participating in “puppy school” teaches you so many great things like desensitizing your puppy, leash training, bite inhibition, and so much more. They also provide an amazing opportunity to bond with and socialize your pup! These classes aren’t just for puppies but are also helpful for older dogs that need to brush up on their manners. All dogs need guidance, consistency, and boundaries to succeed. They are pack animals meaning they have an alpha who makes the rules, and everyone else follows. You need to be proactive with your dog and not just seek out training only once a problem arises. You want to correct these problems before they develop into something which is way above your skill set. The sooner you start training and the longer you stick with it, the less likely you are to experience these bad behaviours. Behavioural and training issues are the number one reason for dogs needing to be rehomed. It is necessary, especially with big dog’s that you are in complete control of your animal. What you say goes. Getting an early start on training, rewarding behaviours you like and correcting unwanted behaviours before it even starts is so important and gives a dog the best chance at a happy life.
The CRATE. We are huge advocates of crate training, especially when it comes to introducing a new dog into your home. Dogs are den animals. They prefer small, confined spaces for safety and to feel secure. Where do dogs run to when they are afraid? Under chairs at the vet’s office, behind the couch when it’s thundering or between your legs when something is scary. They need this security to feel comfortable. It also adds a level of structure, boundaries, and consistency. A den is a tiny dirt hole that they can barely move around in. We’ve upgraded this den for them by using a crate with a comfy bed/blanket, a nice heated or air-conditioned room and a yummy treat or fun toy. So, what’s so bad about that!? Sounds like the life when you compare it to canines in the wild. Crates should only be used for safety and never for punishment. When introducing a new dog to any home, it is important to keep them in the crate whenever you are unable to supervise them. It’s especially necessary when you may have things they can get into, or other animals/children in the home. You are still learning everything about them, and they are still learning everything about their new home and the people in it. They’re still figuring out what the rules are and what is or isn’t ok for them to do. Not to mention the crate is a key component when it comes to tackling potty training. The most important part is it keeps your animal (and furniture) safe. In the crate your dog is unable to eat anything that may harm them. It can prevent large vet bills or worse, the death of your dog. You wouldn’t let your 1 year old who doesn’t know any rules or what they are doing roam freely around your house, so why would you let a new puppy or dog who hasn’t lived inside before do it? Finally, it keeps your doors, couches, and baseboards safe from a dog thinking they are a better toy then their yummy treat you left. It is also important to make sure the crate does not have anything in it or around it that the dog could potentially choke on or if eaten cause an obstruction. We do agree that dogs can eventually be left outside of their crate but only when they can be completely trusted. If your dog is having troubles with adjusting to the crate a few things you can do are exercising the dog before crating them or getting them used to the crate by keeping the door open and praising them when they show positive behaviour. Start slow, starting with feeding every meal in the crate. Do not give in if your dog is screaming and if they are, only let them out and reward them once they have settled. With these tips your dog will love their crate in no time! If you chose not to crate your dog you MUST make sure they have a safe space blocked off where they will be safe when you are not around.
VETTING is something we take very seriously. We have seen too many dogs who are not properly cared for suffer from completely preventable things like heartworm and lyme disease. We understand the costs of some of these preventions are not cheap but DOGS ARE NOT CHEAP! Dog’s shouldn’t only go to the vet when they are on their death bed. They need to be seen at least once a year for a number of reasons. There are only a few things your vet may find mandatory but for Salty Animal Rescue all our dogs must have the following throughout their whole life.
Vaccinations are crucial for your dog’s health. We at Salty Animal Rescue require all adoptive families to not only do all core vaccines but also the noncore/optional vaccines.
Rabies is a core vaccination, it gives your dog immunity to the rabies virus and must be given every 3 years. This virus can be transferred through wildlife like raccoons, skunks and foxes and it is mandatory regardless of where you live.
The DHPP vaccine is another core vaccination that must be done. This is a combined vaccine and provides immunity against Distemper, Adenovirus (Hepatitis), Parvovirus and Parainfluenza. These diseases are very common and if your animal is not protected from them the outcome can be fatal. Depending on the dogs age the time between administering the vaccines may vary. Always speak to your veterinarian about what vaccines will be due when.
Non-core vaccines are vaccines that veterinarians may not see as mandatory but we at Salty Animal Rescue do, especially when it comes to Bordetella and Leptospirosis.
Leptospirosis is spread (usually from wildlife) through animal’s urine. Dogs can contract it by simply drinking out of contaminated puddle or eating contaminated soil. The vaccine is given at least once a year. There have been more and more cases of Leptospirosis out there and any Salty Animal Rescue dog must be protected against it.
Bordetella (kennel cough) is the other non-core vaccine that we find mandatory. It is an airborne illness and is very contagious. Dogs can acquire this from dog parks, vet offices, kennels etc. It also needs to be administered at least once a year, sometimes more if your dog is regularly in high risk environments. It is extremely important to protect your dog from Bordetella especially if they are ever around other dogs.
Vaccinations are extremely important to keep up to date with. We need to make sure our animals have the best chance when it comes to their health. If you are worried about over vaccinating you can ask your vet to perform a titer test that will show which diseases they are still immune to. So please do not use “over vaccinating” as an excuse to not get your animals vaccinated at all!
Preventions are another thing we view as mandatory. Flea and tick prevention needs to be done every year from at least March-November. Locally the number of ticks (especially black-legged ticks) have increased tremendously. They are everywhere and as soon as the temperature reaches 4 degrees or higher you can bet the ticks are out. Tick’s transfer tick borne illnesses like Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, Anaplasmosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. These diseases will ultimately decrease your dogs quality of life, leading to exhaustion, and stiffness/ swelling of joints. Not to mention its extremely costly to treat. We highly suggest using oral preventives like Nexguard (usually suggested for puppies) or Bravecto. Bravecto only needs to be administered every 3 months and comes in a chewable tablet. For puppies, as they grow the dose will change, so they will need to go into the vet monthly to get the correct dose until their weight plateaus. Flea collars and topical preventions are not always sufficient enough to protect your dog. If you have young children who interact with the dog, you need to be careful with topical solutions as they can get it on their hands and then put the solution in their mouth. Flea’s are not only gross, but they also transfer nasty things like the intestinal parasite Tapeworm. They multiply like crazy and are extremely difficult to get rid of once they are in your household. It is very important to protect your dog from heartworm. Heartworm is a nasty parasite that is transmitted by mosquitos and can be extremely expensive to treat (at least $2000). If your dog gets heartworm it can really affect the dog’s quality of life in many ways. Every year a heartworm test should be performed usually around April-June. This is a simple blood test that ensures your dog does not already have heartworm. It is important to make sure your dog is tested for heartworm before you begin giving them the preventative because if they are given it when they already have heartworm it can cause your dog serious harm and may even be fatal. Heartguard is the preventative we suggest using. Again, it’s an oral chewable tablet that is given once a month from June-November. The health of our dogs is so important to us and we will always feel responsible for them. We need to ensure they receive the best care possible.
Microchipping is EXTREMELY important. Although you may have the proper leashes, collars, and tags on your dog, more times than not the dog escapes without those on. A microchip is the only thing they cannot lose, and will help you be contacted sooner once your animal is found. Even if your dog is not a flight risk, microchipping is mandatory for anyone who chooses to adopt a dog from Salty Animal Rescue.
Grooming to us is a part of vet care, because it is essential to keep your dog happy and healthy. The amount of grooming needed varies from dog to dog. However all dogs should at least have their nails clipped monthly, a good brushing every so often and their ears cleaned whenever they become dirty. With certain breeds it is necessary for them to have regular visits to a groomer to have their coat professionally looked after. We do not recommend over bathing your dog because it takes away their natural oils and can dry out their skin. You may not believe it, but taking care of your dog’s oral health is a serious matter. Bad dental care can not only cause problems with your dog’s teeth but it can also do damage to their heart and kidneys! We personally recommend that people brush their dog’s teeth with a dog toothpaste as often as once a day, but we know this may not be realistic for everyone. Finding different treats or chews that can help remove plaque from your dog’s mouth is almost just as good as brushing their teeth. There are so many different products out there to keep your dog’s mouth healthy. Grooming too can be expensive, so do your research and make sure it will work with your budget before getting the dog.
Kids and Dogs
KIDS AND DOGS should NEVER be left alone unsupervised. This is how accidents happen and most times when the incident isn’t witnessed it is assumed to be the dog’s fault. It’s extremely important to show your children how to properly interact with a dog. Sometimes dogs don’t like to be pet on the head, smothered with a hug, or stepped/laid on. Teaching your children to respect the dog’s space, and creating boundaries for both your dog and them is extremely important. Make it so the crate or dog bed is their safe spot. That when your kids see them in those areas, they have to leave the dog alone. Dog’s communicate with their mouths, and sometimes dogs who don’t know how to make a better choice (like walking away) when they are uncomfortable, use their mouth instead. This is not a form of aggression but simply the way a dog tries to correct the child and tell them that they do not like what is happening. If you cannot watch your children and dogs together, the crate is your best tool.
Will you ADVOCATE for your dog when you see it is being made to feel uncomfortable or scared? This is one of the most important things you can do as a dog owner. Never let your dog feel like they have to take any situation into their own “paws”, because it usually results in a bad ending. Notice your dog’s overwhelmed at the dog park and being bullied? Get your dog out of that situation. If that means asking the other dog’s owner to please call their dog off then do it. When your dog snaps to tell the other dog they do not like what is happening, they are more than likely going to be the one people look at and say “wow that’s a bad dog”. Notice your dog doesn’t like strangers forcefully coming up to them and giving them a hug? Do something. If your dog doesn’t want to be best friends with every single person they meet, that’s fine. In fact, forcing your dog into those situations and not sticking up for them causes a bad experience for the dog. This can result in the dog feeling the need to react and take control when they meet new people or other dogs. So, advocate, stop the individual before they get too close. Say sorry they are timid of new people and keep walking. It is so crucial for your dog to know that you have things covered. That you are in control and if something ever happens, they can rely on you to take over. Having this creates good dogs. Dogs who do not feel the need to react to every dog or person they see. Confident dogs who are balanced and relaxed. If there’s one thing we want to see, it’s individuals being successful with their dogs. They don’t have to love every single dog or person they meet. I know I sure don’t, but they do have to learn how to make better choices and coexist with others. Part of teaching that involves advocating for them when you have the chance. Then they don’t have to be forced to make a poor decision in the future.
The DIET you feed your dog is very important! You have the full responsibility of making sure your dog is getting a balanced diet full of all the nutrients they need to ensure a happy, healthy life. Lately, there has been a lot of speculation about feeding your dog a “grain free” diet in relation to Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM). The claim that all grain free foods are the same is not true. Not every “grain free” food contains a large amount of legumes or potatoes, which are the ingredients that supposedly cause DCM in some dogs. Currently, there is not enough evidence to prove that these ingredients or “grain free” diets in general, actually do cause DCM in all breeds or not. Yes dog owners should take note of the possible risk of grain free foods, especially if they do own a breed that is predisposed to DCM (Dobermans, Great Danes, Newfies, St. Bernards, Irish Wolfhounds and Cocker Spaniels), but that doesn’t mean they should just switch from a high quality “grain free” diet to a mediocre one with grains. Doing so could actually end up causing their dog more harm. Please make sure you do your own research when choosing a diet for your dog. Some dogs may have special dietary needs and will require a specific diet. For dog’s without those special needs, we recommend a high quality kibble. We usually advise people not to buy any dog foods that you can find at your grocery store, as it’s essentially cardboard. Always look at the ingredients. If the first 3 things on the label aren’t actual food, or are “by-products”, it is probably not the best choice for your dog. You can feed a small amount of things like chicken breast or canned food as a topper, but both chicken breast and some canned foods do not have enough nutrients to be considered a complete diet. All puppies should remain on a size specific puppy kibble until 9-12 months of age. The larger the breed the longer they should be fed puppy food. Remember if you are introducing a new food to your dog to slowly transition to it. Add a little more of the new food and less of the old food to their bowl each day, until it’s just the new food. This will help prevent any stomach issues your dog may have from the food change. We never suggest feeding a raw diet especially to dogs under a year old. With a raw diet it can be very difficult to ensure your dog is getting all the proper nutrients they need to grow big and healthy! We also do not suggest a vegan diet. When do you ever see a dog prefer a piece of lettuce over a piece of chicken. Dog’s are omnivores, they eat EVERYTHING! Just because you want to be vegan does not mean your dog wants to be. Treat wise you don’t always have to stick with store bought treats. To add a little variety to your dog’s diet, you can also try small amounts of dog safe human foods (like certain lean meats, fruit and veggies) for an occasional healthy treat. Remember to always do your research on what human foods are safe or not when feeding them to your dog. There are many human foods that can be deadly to dogs like grapes, chocolate, onions, xylitol, coffee, alcohol, cooked bones etc. Some dog food brands we suggest are: Now!, Orijen, Wellness, Go, Acana (coming out with a line WITH grains), and Merrick!
PUPPIES are cute and cuddly, but they all eventually turn into adult dogs. If you just want a dog for its “puppy stage” it goes away a lot sooner than you think. By 8 months old they should be considered a DOG, not a puppy. So stop using the excuse “oh she’s just a puppy” when they are jumping and biting everyone after 6 months of age. Dogs reach sexual maturity by this age and guess what, they can already conceive! Puppies may have a short attention span, but keeping your training short and fun is key! They are so smart and have so much training potential, even as puppies. It’s always great to start structured walks as soon as they are fully vaccinated. Not allowing your puppy to go up to every single dog or to pull you everywhere is very important. Instead teach your puppy to follow beside you with a loose leash and show them that just because a person or dog may be passing them on the street, it does not mean they must go and see every single one. Everyone loves a polite, well behaved dog and working on training and boundaries from the start, can give you that. We know you will be excited to take your new pup everywhere and think they need to socialize with everything and everyone but wait! Your puppy should never be going anywhere that they may meet a potentially unvaccinated dog, unless they are fully vaccinated. Your vet will recommend that your puppy not even go for walks around the block until 10 weeks of age. It’s especially important to stay away from pet stores and dog parks. As for socializing, please get as much in as you can, but only do so with dogs who you know are fully vaccinated. Puppies will still be socialized even if you take them for a walk and pass by multiple other dogs without them physically saying hi. In fact, this is huge! It shows them how to co-exist with other dogs. Just putting them out into the world and co-existing with everything is socializing!! At this point you should also be desensitizing your puppy to certain sounds like the scary vacuum cleaner, the garbage can at the end of the driveway and so much more. Slowly introducing them to these things and rewarding them when they react positively can be so beneficial to creating a balanced, easy going dog. Please too never let your puppy or dog eat anything off the ground. There are so many things on sidewalks that can be harmful to dogs. Be on them like a hawk and take advantage of the situation by teaching the “leave it” command. Your new puppy should never be off leash in an unfenced area. Things are new, and between 14-16 weeks they go through a fear stage. This means they might have seemed confident about one thing before, then all the sudden it now sends them into flight mode. Until you have an established bond, and they have an unreal recall, please do not let them off leash in public places! You can still teach your puppy to stay with you while letting them explore by using a long leash. Your puppies are growing fast, so don’t be concerned if you notice they nap a lot. They PLAY HARD and SLEEP HARDER! Signs you should be concerned is if they are having poor bowel movements, not drinking, not eating, have pale gums, and are overall acting lethargic. If this happens please get them to the vet immediately. Puppies should never be over exercised, or run until they are done growing. You may think you need to walk your new puppy for 2 hours a day to make them tired but that’s when you start effecting growth plates. Instead of thinking walks are the only thing that will make them tired, do some mental stimulation. Fill a Kong up, do a fun training session, play tug, or hide their kibbles in a blanket. You would be surprised how exhausting all that is for a little pup.
Make sure if you are interested in adopting a large breed that you take training with them very seriously. Training with all dogs must start on day one. You need to be able to properly control your dog. There’s a reason many large breed dogs have a bad rap. It’s laughable when a little dog barks and is acting insane, but not so much when it’s an 80 pound Shepherd. These are just a few basic tips for your puppy but there is so much more! Again, make sure to do your research so you can start your puppy off on the right foot!