Pet Care Tips to Improve Pet Health and Quality of Life

Understanding the Sounds of Dogs
Posted by Bee (Philadelphia, PA) on 07/31/2007

I have a tip to go on your quality of life pet page. Years ago I read an interview with Siegfried and Roy and how the tigers communicate by exhaling sharply through their noses. I wondered at the time of the interview whether it was the same with dogs and then promptly forgot about it. Then recently when I was asking my dog if he wanted to go for a walk, I heard him do a quick and almost inaudible exhale through his nose. It was very subtle but there it was. My ears perked up and I started to listen to his sounds more carefully. Ha hah. Well, now I hear him doing it all the time! -- when he walks into a room and sees me there he'll do it, when I ask him if he's hungry he does it. I take him to the dog park in my area and sure enough the other dogs are communicating through their noses to one another and their owners. Dogs really do have a unique system of communicating... subtle and wondrous! Just wanted to share it with all of your dog lovers on the website and Cesar Milan too if he's reading.

4th of July and New Year's Eve Fireworks Issue
Posted by Earth Clinic (USA)


In the USA, the 4th of July and New Year's Eve are without a doubt the 2 blackest days in a dog's life each year. Emergency Services like 911 and animal shelters dread these two nights (as well as Halloween, when black cats are stolen & sacrificed by cults). We have heard many horror stories of dogs getting terrified by the sound of exploding fireworks, clawing their way out of the yard, only to escape onto a busy street and get hit by a car. Thousands of dogs die needlessly every 4th of July and New Year's Eve. What a tragedy.

If your dog has sound sensitivities (i.e., terrified of thunder), please consider keeping him or her inside once it gets dark on any holiday where there will be exploding fireworks. Do not trust your dog to be okay out in the yard!

Simple Solution for Sensitive Pets: We suggest you close the windows and drown out noises to the outside with loud fans or another kind of white noise. Speaking of white noise, you can buy an excellent cd for $10 on called, yep, "White Noise" that will give you over an hour of waterfall-ish sound. Put the CD on "repeat" and you're good to go. While the CD might give you a headache, it is an excellent solution for pets who are terrified of loud and sudden noises. It's a must in our household!

Avocado Poisonous to Birds
Posted by Marilyn (Portland, Ore) on 12/18/2010


Avocado is lethal for birds, so much so that my avian veterinarian has a sign about it in the entry of her offices. This is avocado in ANY form, dip, guacamole, or just a tasty (to us) ripe avocado. Many of us who read this site's helpful tips are caretakers of beloved companion parrots and cockatoos or smaller winged merry-chirps. Let's keep them all happy, healthy and singing.

White Vinegar for House Training and Accidents
Posted by Tucson_arizona (Tucson, Arizona, U.s.a.) on 06/03/2010

White vinegar is excellent to clean our tile floors, we just got a puppy a few weeks ago, and with house training him he of course had accidents inside, we went to pet store to buy some stuff with enzymes to use on the urine spots, and the lady at the store said that vinegar is a great way to get rid of the scent and clean the floor. She said to avoid most all commercial cleaners, esp. anything with ammonia because a dog will be attracted to that and will be able to smell where it urinated before, and thinks it is ok to keep going there.

Don't Leave Dogs in the Front Yard
Posted by Deirdre (Atlanta, Ga) on 12/25/2009


This is a plea to all dog owners to please not leave your dog in your front yard, even if he/she has an electric collar/fence. I live in the Atlanta suburbs and another dog in our neighborhood, a beautiful white bulldog, was stolen last week out his front yard. I was out walking our dogs and encountered the family in their SUV, calling for their dog. They told me he had disappeared from their front yard, which he never left. The next day I saw that they had posted signs everywhere. I hope they find him.

I am very saddened when I hear about people leaving dogs in their yards because I know for a fact that dogs get stolen from their yards quite often. I had a roommate years ago in Los Angeles whose beautiful siberian husky was stolen from the front yard of my roommate's rental house. There is a happy ending to this story. He recovered the dog a year later when his jeep was stopped at a light in downtown LA and heard a dog howling nearby. A friend in the car said, hey that sounds just like Pierman! So my roommate pulled over, jumped out of his jeep and ran around the corner to find his dog sitting with a homeless person. The dog apparently recognized the sound of his owner's car a block away and started howling. The poor dog was in very poor health after a year on the streets and had developed an eating disorder. But how amazing that he was reunited with his owner!

So this is my plea to all pet owners to please be very careful when you leave your dog outside. Microchipping is a great idea in case the dog is stolen or runs away, but better to always supervise your beloved canine friends.

Thanks for reading...

Don't Leave Dogs in the Front Yard
Posted by Barkoutloud (Tampa, Florida) on 08/22/2012


Re: Dog in yard... If you have a small dog, BEWARE! Hawks and owls prey on small animals, and if your dog is small, they will be swept away! I knew about that, and inherited a small dog recently. I've been taking her out into the back yard, and had forgotten about that until a hawk swept by me and landed on a branch eyeing my little dog! It made me shiver knowing that if I hadn't been right there between her and the hawk, I would have been left standing watching the hawk take her away! Now I take her out on a leash every time!! .. And I hold on tight!

Brushing Your Dog's Teeth
Posted by Janielam (Blackfoot, Id, USA) on 08/30/2009

I used one of those battery operated toothbrushes to brush my dog's teeth. It worked amazingingly well! You can really get to those hard to reach back places in the dog's mouth.

Administering Liquid Remedies
Posted by Linda (Toronto, On) on 03/15/2012

Instead of adding Apple Cider Vinegar to my dog's drinking water, I add it to their food.

Pet Odors
Posted by Flourshoppe (Houston, Texas, Usa) on 06/17/2011

I couldn't believe it either but, it does work. My almost 13 year old Cockapoo Miranda, although paper trained, does miss and over time, that specific section I keep her papers in, needs extra cleaning. I first steam clean with regular cleaning solution. I then RINSE several times with just hot water. THEN, I add a solution of Apple Cider Vinegar and go over that area 2 times. Amazing how within a day, there is no sign of urine smell.

Pill Tips: Cream Cheese
Posted by Fleabag (Liverpool, Uk) on 10/25/2010

I learned this trick from a vet when my first dog became a master at locating and discarding pills from food/treats. Take any soft food they like (jam, cream cheese, a small chunk of dog food etc) and bury the pill inside. Then place on the end of your finger and pop onto the back of the dog's tongue, close its mouth and stroke the throat. The whole process can be achieved before the dog even knows what's going on. I've always fed pills this way since and never had any problems, even with my grumpy Collie/Terrier

Overnights at the Vet
Posted by Kevin (Jim Thorpe, pa) on 03/18/2009

Carla, Jane, I HEAR YA!

Carla I hate to say it, but $500? You got hosed. I love the part, We want to keep an eye on him, but there were no eyes there!

Carla, been there. At least you're pet walked out alive, mine didn't.

I can tell you a few horror stories. Here's the bottom line. Do research on all the vets in your area and beyond!

Call, ask simple things, like what a regular check-up will cost, what it entails, etc. There are very, very GOOD VETS! There are also very, very, bad vets!

If you go to a dog run or any place where pet folk gather (there's a rail/trail by my house), talk it up. Where do you take you're pet? How is that vet?

It's amazing and scary what you might hear.

Local dog shows are also a great place, this is where I found my Pet's vet. I have to travel apx. 35 miles to get to him, but believe me, it's worth it. He does'nt over charge, does his best to keep you're bill low and really, really goes the extra mile. In fact he knew of a drug store that made liquid compounds for my cat that flat out refused to take pills (Yeah, I went to a dog show to find my cat's vet.).

The vet that was 5 miles away from that drug store didn't know that. That vet was also a mere 3 miles from my house, and THAT vet told I had to find a drug store that did that on my own. He didn't know? Maybe he was getting a good profit from selling pills? But a vet that was 35 miles away knew where I could get liquid compounds made. Catch my drift?

This is 'Just a thought' but if you know of any 'no-kill' shelters in you're area, talk to them. See if there are any vets doing work there, they most likely are giving a big discount to the shelter for their work. Thought being, these guys are not in it just for the money, they are in their profession for the love of it. But again, it's just my thought on that.

They are out there folks, but YOU have to do the research!

Overnights at the Vet
Posted by Sheila (Los Angeles, CA) on 03/18/2009

Uggh, reading this reminds me how many terrible vets that I've been to over the years. I had a bad experience at one of the top recommended vets in LA a few years ago and it's made me much more cautious. I brought my dog in for an annual checkup and to get booster shots. The technician took him in the back and didn't come back for 15 minutes. I thought it was really weird and started to get angry. When he returned my dog he made up some excuse why he was back there so long. But later at home I saw my dog licking his right leg. When I looked more closely it looked like a puncture mark from a needle! I called the vet and they denied they had done anything to his leg and it must be my imagination. I told one of my friends about it who worked for a rescue organization. She disclosed that this same vet was very unethical... A few years back, her organization brought this same vet their cats and dogs to be immunized and cared for. Turns out he was drawing blood from them to use for transfusions for his surgeries on other cats and dogs! The rescue organization, enraged, called him on it and never brought their rescues back. But the terrible thing is that that I don't think they ever filed anything against this vet. At least now you can report this sort of thing anonymously online at various websites that rate doctors and vets.

I agree, we should all research vets and groomers and dog walkers online before walking in the door.

Overnights at the Vet
Posted by Michelle (Union City, Tn) on 02/20/2011

Yes, you have to stand your ground. When my great pyr started having problems.. Throwing up, etc. , I took her to 3 different vets and $1500 later, they still couldn't tell me what was wrong. One vet wanted to keep her on an iv, so I let them keep her one night and she wound up chewing the iv up and pulling it out. Not to mention all the dogs barking there were very nerve wracking. So when I went to check on her, I told them that I wanted to take her outside on a sheet or blanket and keep her hooked up out there. They looked at me like I was crazy and said that nobody ever had that request before... SO we went outside in the sun, laid on a sheet and she got hooked up to her iv.. She was a lot happier - and so was I - that she could be outside in the sun, away from all them barking dogs and with her owner. So no matter how crazy it seems, stand your ground and do what is best for your pet. If it doesn't seem right, it probably isn't. Go with your gut!

The Ears Tips Gauge Internal Body Temperature
Posted by Carrie (Riverside, CT) on 04/02/2008

I noticed as my dog has aged (he's now 14) that he gets cold quite easily. That said, I never bath him in the winter months because he has a hard time warming up afterwards and shivers for hours. This winter I realized that a good way to guage his body temperature was by feeling the tips of his ears. When he's internally cold, his ear tips are cold. He will start to shiver if I don't warm them (the ears) up. I can also warm him considerably simply by massaging along his spine, up and down. I also give him a good scratch over his entire body since that too warms him up. His ears get nice and toasty by the time I am finished and he has a satisfied glow!

Heating Pad for Cold Climates
Posted by Michael (Concord, Ohio) on 01/15/2008

I have a five yr. old Jack Russell. He has had surgery on one of his rear legs years ago due to defect in his knee joint. Over the years the best thing other than drugs for the vet to stop the pain and o comfort him was Heat. We moved from Cold Ohio to Naples, Fl. for a few years and he was like a pup again. Laying in the sun and that really helped him a lot. Now due to work we have had to move back to Ohio and the winter is really starting to take it tole on him. Instead of keeping him on meds from the vet we place a heating pad in his bed during the day and really helps him. Believe me, three or four hour of that and he is good to go. Other home made cures other than a good diet just are not going to made much difference. You got a just try the heating pad. It's cheap and it works.

Dog Park Tips
Posted by Jonna (Los Angeles) on 01/11/2008

I recently rescued a young border collie/chow mix and have been taking him to the dog parks every other day along with my other 2 dogs. He was most likely kept in a crate most of his life because he doesn't know how to walk on a leash nor socialize with other dogs. At first he just barked at the other dogs entering the park, but a few weeks ago he started to wait at the gate and literally pounced on dogs entering the park and nip at their ears, causing a complete ruckus! I stopped this aggressive behavior by carrying a spray bottle filled with water set to a thin but powerful stream (like a water gun)... every time I see that obsessed look as a dog is approaching the gate from the parking lot I say "NO, back off" and then spray him water on his face (doesn't hurt, just shocks him). It has also been very helpful when other dogs get into a fight. A few squirts and the dogs break apart. I highly suggest people carry a spray bottle or a water gun with them at the dog park. Just be careful you don't spray other dogs with it unless it's a bad fight you are breaking up -- the owners might get pissed off!

Night Lights for Aging Dogs
Posted by GS (Reston, VA) on 08/22/2007

A tip for your aging pet section. My 13 year old g. shephard mutt started to lose his eyesight and hearing recently. This in turn caused him to be disoriented at night -- with a hint of dementia! As soon as I got into bed and turned off the light, my dog would get up from his bed (at the base of my bed) and wander around the house looking for me. Well, one night he tripped down the stairs because it was so dark. Enough was enough. The next day I went to Home Depot and purchased 2 nightlights, one for the hallway and one for the bottom of the stairs. Now there is enough light peaking into the bedroom that he no longer gets up disoriented. Hope this helps someone! GS.

P.S. I really liked your comment about the hard wood floors and aging dogs. I totally agree.

Understanding the Sounds of Dogs
Posted by Maria (San Francisco, CA) on 03/31/2009

You are completely right! My dogs also do it and, if the idea I'm proposing to them is TOO exciting, then they stamp their paws on the same place, along with the waging tail of course. After 2 years trying to feed them with dry food, which they hate, I also realize that raw food make them happier and healthier. It's been 2 months now since I changed their diet and I can see changes on their energy level and coat as well.

Understanding the Sounds of Dogs
Posted by Alli (Glasgow Scotland ) on 12/21/2023

Hi there, I just read your message and I noticed this with my little Skye and she's a blether always talking to me and I to her. This is wonderful to actually know for sure that's the way they communicate not only with other dogs but with us, sometimes I will say to her hey less of the back chat haha

4th of July and New Year's Eve Fireworks Issue
Posted by Jb (Atlanta, Ga) on 08/03/2013

I use a cd called Canine Lullabys. It has a heartbeat embedded in music. Hate the music, children's nursery songs but, the heartbeat is the key. Very calming.

Hardwood Floors and Steep Stairs
Posted by Darlene (Niagara Falls, Canada)

I have a large german shorthair who is 13 and has arthritic hips. He took a couple of spills down our stairs before I came up with this idea. We already had a doggy seatbelt harness for him. He now wears it 24/7. With this on I am able to walk down with him holding the harness in one hand and railing in the other to steady him to ensure his safety. I'm thrilled and he's learned quickly to wait for me.

Summertime Tips From Cesar Milan
Posted by Susan (USA)

Posted Fri, Jun 29, 2007, 12:26 pm PDT

Want your dog to enjoy the 4th of July festivities as much as you will? Here are some tips on keeping your dog safe in hot summer temperatures.

1. Keep him hydrated. Make sure your dog has access to water. If you're on the move, carry a portable bowl and bottle of water.

2. Different dogs have different needs. Darker coats absorb more heat than lighter coats, and overweight dogs dehydrate faster. Keep this in mind when taking your pack on a walk.

3. Never leave your dog in a parked car. A car retains heat, even in the shade. Add an overexcited dog to the equation, and dehydration can result. On long trips, keep the AC on or roll down the window, and make sure water is available.

4. Be innovative. A wet towel, a water spritzer, a kiddie pool, a fan in front of a pan of ice: these are all great ways to help keep your dog cool.

5. Dogs cool from the bottom up. Lay a wet towel under your dog instead of on top of her coat. Don't forget your dog's paws and stomach when spraying water.

6. Be vigilant! Watch for signs of dehydration. These include excessive drooling, lethargy, bloodshot eyes, and loss of skin elasticity. If you're concerned, get your dog into the shade or go inside, provide water, and contact your veterinarian.

Checking Health of Puppy Litters
Posted by Kay (Jax, FL Usa) on 05/21/2014

Checking the health of puppy litters: I have a friend who found a dog breeder on line and I am concerned they have found a bad one. What website would should the health line of the breeder's dogs? I have already checked the American Kennel Club.

Checking Health of Puppy Litters
Posted by Theresa (Mpls., Mn) on 05/21/2014

Hey Kay!

I recommend starting research on this site first; not all breed clubs participate, however - but the ones that do identify the most prevalent diseases in their respective breeds and actively screen for them.

Next, your friend should be able to get the registered names of the sire and dam to the litter and should be able to search for them here:

I find it also helpful when researching a breeder to google "complaints against X kennel"; if the breeder has a long standing history of selling unhealthy dogs very often they come up in such a search.

And - how's your new puppy? Did the loose stools clear up?

Checking Health of Puppy Litters
Posted by Kay (Jax, FL, USA) on 05/28/2014

No, my new puppy still has loose stools. I have had him now for 4 weeks and he has been on chicken and rice probably 3 weeks mixed with different dry foods. When I transition to more dry food than rice and chicken, his stools become runny. The vet wanted to put him on a dog food called EN but I found it to be full of grain, corn meal, etc. My last dog which was a different breed, was allergic to all of that, so I am gun shy of starting my new pup. However, someone else told me to add a tablespoon of plain yogurt to his food(dry food only). He also poops several times a day. He is still gaining weight and he is now 13 weeks old. I don't know if I should bite the bullett and go for what the Vet wants to feed him or not. I have had some bad experiences with vets as they seem to want to sell their food, which isn't always better than anything else. This is a new vet for me. Any input?

Checking Health of Puppy Litters
Posted by Theresa (Mpls., Mn) on 05/28/2014

Hey Kay!

What does your puppy's breeder say about the loose stools? Sometimes the breeder will know if there is something in a particular diet that is contrary to their breed.

I never transition my dogs on to any food - I do a hard switch and feed half the normal rations for the first three meals. This usually works for me. Loose stools in puppies can be from eating too large a portion, so you might try cutting the portion size to see if it affects stool consistency. I do find it easier to transition from home made chicken and rice to a chicken based kibble - over say a fish based kibble. I think as long as you choose a top diet you shouldn't need the EN diet - which I did look at and agree it's all corn and gluten and unidentified mystery protien. I did see that the EN is prescribed for stress based gastro issues - perhaps Rescue Remedy would help or a D.A.P. plug in. Does your puppy suffer from separation anxiety? And take the Rescue Remedy yourself in case your stress load is traveling down leash on you! The yogurt idea isn't a bad one, however there are better ways to deliver probiotics instead of dairy. I just buy varying strains of acidophillus from the refrigerator section at the health food store and dose with every meal.

Checking Health of Puppy Litters
Posted by Theresa (Mpls., Mn) on 05/28/2014



You might try adding some activated charcoal to your pup's food for the loose stools. It's dusty, messy, fly-a-way stuff, so you will need to mix it into moistened or wet food and it will turn everything black! One half teaspoon per meal for 3 days - see if that has any effect.

Activated charcoal is good to have on hand for gastrointestinal upsets and in case of parvo or other enteritis type viruses.

Checking Health of Puppy Litters
Posted by Kay (Jax, Fl, USA) on 05/30/2014

Thanks for the input regarding diet for my new pup. I started him on the EN which was the vet requested. I tried 2 other foods which were grain and corn meal free and the minute I was giving him more kibble than chicken and rice, he did poorly. So, far I am now 3/4 EN to 1/4 rice and chicken and no issues. I may try to switch him to another high quality food(dry) but I needed to settle his stomach first.

General Feedback
Posted by Dr Ashkar Ve5 (Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt) on 05/06/2014

Your site is wonderful
Pleaee if you have any wayes or remedies we can use it with treatment in dogs or cats tell me
Great work

EC: Thank you for your kind words.  We have a whole section on treatments for pets.

Neglected Dogs
Posted by Loraine (Florida) on 08/08/2013

Hey EC... Guys I need your input on this one. My neighbour has a beautiful golden retriever about 2 years old and recently, I noticed that they are leaving her outside in the heat (today was 99%). We live in Orlando so go figure how hot it is in August. It breaks our heart but I am scared to call ASPCA cause I know they will keep her for a few days and put her to sleep and I don't know how to address this issue to my neighbor since we barely say hi to each other. What can I do guys... Any suggestions? please guys help.... Thank you so much

Neglected Dogs
Posted by Wendy (Columbus, Oh) on 08/09/2013

Do you know the family who owns the golden retriever? If so, maybe you could offer to take care of it for them. Otherwise, please contact local rescues in your area ASAP and explain the situation to the rescue group! Here is a link of national golden retriever rescue organizations:

Neglected Dogs
Posted by Mary Kate (Santa Monica, California) on 08/11/2013

Sorry to hear about this situation. Do you know if the dog has plenty of shade and water? That will really make a difference. I know of a shelter out in the Los Angeles Valley that keeps the dogs outside all year round under very shady spots. The owner of the rescue told me the dogs can adapt to hot weather. However, I think shade and abundant water (baby pools too) are the key.

Perhaps call the local aspca, and no kill shelters or the humane society to ask for advice as to how to proceed.

Foaming Water Fountain
Posted by Artekatz (Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africae) on 09/25/2012

I have recently bought a concrete water fountain for my cattery and my cats will use it as their primary watersource. The waterfall part is clear water, but the water in the bowl foams up. Any natural remedies to rectify this foaming?

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