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Your Dog’s Health: Cataracts

What to Look For and How to Help

Most of us have known someone with cataracts at some point in our lives, but did you know dogs can have cataracts too? Cataracts affect the lens of the eye, causing it to thicken and lose its transparency. When cataracts develop, they can impair your vision and, in some cases, even cause blindness.

Most people associate cataracts with old age, but the most common cause of this issue in dogs is inherited conditions or underlying diseases like diabetes. Some dogs even have cataracts at birth, or that develop within one and three years of age.

Symptoms of Cataracts in Dogs

The most obvious indication of cataracts are eyes that look cloudy or bluish-gray. Additional signs that your dog might have cataracts include:

  • Frequent eye rubbing
  • Eye redness, discharge, or excessive blinking
  • A sudden hesitation or reluctance to jump on furniture or climb stairs
  • Increased clumsiness



Some of these changes in your dog’s behavior can be a natural part of the aging process or indicate other issues, like arthritis, so it’s important to schedule an appointment with your vet so they can make a diagnosis.

Treating Cataracts in Dogs

Your vet might recommend a variety of treatments to address your dog’s cataracts. For example, if there’s an underlying condition like diabetes, your vet will work to manage that issue. They might also recommend eyedrops to prevent inflammation from developing or other problems, like an infection. If your dog is healthy aside from having cataracts, your vet might suggest cataract surgery with a veterinary ophthalmologist.

Dogs with progressive cataracts causing severe vision loss can still live a full and rich life thanks to their remarkable ability to adjust to new situations. Talk to your vet about how you can help your dog and family cope with vision loss.

To reduce your dog’s chances of developing cataracts, you should schedule yearly physicals that include a routine eye exam. These appointments help your vet monitor your dog’s health for underlying issues and treat any conditions that can cause cataracts before they become serious.

By |June 17th, 2019|blog|Comments Off on Your Dog’s Health: Cataracts|

Tech to the Rescue!

The Modern Dog

Whether you like it or not, technology is here to stay. And we couldn’t be happier because of all the ways it’s made things better for dogs! We’ve already written about how smartphones can do more than take pictures of your dogs and highlighted five of our favorite apps for dog lovers. But, there are even more ways technology can help keep our dogs safer, healthier, and happier.

Safety

Microchipping your dog is a valuable step in helping them find their way home again if they ever get lost. But, now, you can also add a built-in GPS collar that sends updates to your smartphone about your dog’s activity and whereabouts! With a wide range of GPS collars to choose from, it’s easy to keep track of your dog so they’ll never get lost again.

Health

Wearable technology isn’t just for humans anymore. If you’re trying to keep track of your dog’s daily exercise or get insight into their general health and behavior, FitBark could be right for you. This wearable device tracks your dog’s sleep quality, daily activity, distance covered by running or walking, and the number of calories they burn.

Supervision

No one likes leaving their dog at home alone. But now, you can check on them while you’re away with devices like the Petcube Camera! This camera is far more than a basic webcam. Not only does it sync to your smartphone, but it also lets you talk to your dog and play fetch with them with a built-in laser pointer!

Smart Toys

Looking for ways to banish boredom or reduce anxiety in your dog? Smart toys like the CleverPet Hub and PupPod provide interactive, high-tech puzzle games that stream to your phone! These exciting toys can keep dogs of all ages and abilities challenged while they learn.

Has technology changed your relationship with your dog? Tell us in the comments below!

By |June 10th, 2019|blog|Comments Off on Tech to the Rescue!|

It’s Your Party!

May Birthday Roundup

Minnie

April showers bring May… birthdays? It does at Wagging Tails! Can you believe that we celebrated over 30 birthdays in May? Was your dog’s one of them?

Our Birthday Club is free and comes with a bandana, Playday, and a birthday party!

Visit our Photo Gallery to see all of the happy dogs in our Birthday Club!

By |June 3rd, 2019|blog|Comments Off on It’s Your Party!|

Pool Days Are Back!

Plunging into Summer

We’re happy to announce that POOL DAYS are back!

This year from May 16 through August (weather permitting), all dogs attending “Playday” doggy daycare sessions are welcome to join us for POOL DAYS on Tuesdays and Thursdays!

We offer POOL DAYS at both of our locations from at 8am until 2pm to make sure there’s plenty of time for your dog to dry off before heading home for the night. We also fill each of our kiddie pools in the outside play areas so there’s plenty of space for splishing and splashing. Still, POOL DAYS are popular, so we recommend reserving your dog’s spot in advance. And, even if you’re stuck at work all day, you can still join in on the POOL DAY fun! Our outdoor camera feeds provide a bird’s eye view of the pups while they play.

Contact us or reserve your dog’s spot in the pool online today!

By |May 27th, 2019|blog|Comments Off on Pool Days Are Back!|

Tail Waggers of the Month

Meet Kemper and Ozzie!

Bloomington Tail Wagger

Kemper is a playful terrier mix who’s nearly four years old and has been part of our Bloomington pack for over two years. During the summer months, Kemper loves sunbathing outside during his visits. But when the weather doesn’t cooperate, you can usually find him supervising the action in the play areas from one of our ramps.

After a good doggy daycare “Playday” session, Kemper likes to ride shotgun with his dad while they pick up his mom on their way home. Bruce says that Kemper is usually so tired, though, that he doesn’t realize that Jenny has gotten in the car until she’s already climbed in the backseat! It doesn’t take long before Kemper joins her for some pets, however, and Bruce plays chauffeur on the drive home while they snuggle in the backseat.

Kemper is a sweet and loving boy who knows what he wants. When he’s ready for a walk or to go outside, Kemper disappears into the living room and waits for Bruce or Jenny to find him. At night, he likes to sleep in bed with his people, unless they disturb him by moving even the tiniest bit. Kemper’s also happy to go into the bedroom and tuck himself in for the night when he’s done for the day. And this smart boy knows that if Bruce or Jenny is on the phone, he should go look out the window because one of them is coming home any minute! But, if you really want to know how Kemper feels, you need to watch how he moves his ears or listen to his sighs. Unfortunately, Bruce says Kemper’s sighs can mean he’s bored and wants to go for a walk or that he’s tired, but they all sound the same!

What’s the best part of having Kemper in their lives? “We rescued Kemper at six months old. We don’t know what happened in his life beforehand, but it left him a little scared of the world,” Bruce said. “The best part of owning him is showing him every day that it’s not a scary place and watching him become just a little more confident.”

Eagan Tail Wagger

Two-year-old Ozzie has been coming to our Eagan location since he was a puppy. During his visits, this happy golden retriever loves to bark at his friends — especially the other Goldens! — until they play with him. Once they do, he’s quick to give up and roll over on his back while they romp. Ozzie also loves spending time with his human coaches, getting lots of cuddles and pets.

If he can’t play at Wagging Tails, Ozzie likes to wrestle with his dad, Tim, instead. To get Dad to play, Ozzie will play bite Tim’s toes while he relaxes in the recliner! While Ozzie loves to wrestle, he isn’t the most athletic of dogs. Tim and Kelsey also describe him as “being a bit on the husky side.” But these minor details didn’t stop Ozzie from surprising them once by jumping up on the dining room table from a standstill during a big family dinner!

When he’s not dancing on tables, this lovable pooch makes friends everywhere he goes. On walks, Ozzie is often surrounded by a group of neighborhood kids. When this happens, he likes to sit in the middle of the circle with his head thrown back, smiling up at them with a happy grin. Ozzie’s also a kind and gentle little lover who seems offended when squirrels and rabbits run away from him.

While he’s a people and animal lover, Tim and Kelsey told us that Ozzie is also a lazy boy who likes to sleep in late. In fact, the only time he really gets cranky with them is if they wake him up too early! Ozzie will also glare at them when he’s ready for bed and they aren’t there yet. They also say that he sways his hips when he walks like he’s got swagger and squeals like a pig when he’s really excited.

When we asked Tim and Kelsey what made Ozzie extra special, they said, “Ozzie makes everyone who sees him smile. He has the type of demeanor that makes you feel calm and happy, just by being in his presence.” They also said that Ozzie has made their family feel complete.

Congratulations Kemper and Ozzie!

By |May 20th, 2019|blog|Comments Off on Tail Waggers of the Month|

It’s Your Party!

April Birthday Roundup

Rowdy

Rowdy

Rowdy LOVED celebrating with us at Wagging Tails in April. Has your dog had a birthday party yet? Our Birthday Club is FREE and comes with a party, “doggy daycare” Playday session, and a bandana!

See all of our April party pups in our Photo Gallery!

 

By |May 13th, 2019|blog|Comments Off on It’s Your Party!|

Preparing Your Dog for a New Family Member

Setting Your Dog Up for Success

Pug peeking out from behind a chairIt can be exciting welcoming someone new into your household. But, whether it’s a baby or an adult, it can be a stressful time for your resident animals. Not only are there new sights, sounds, and smells for them to get used to, but new additions can also throw off your dog’s routine. Unfortunately, when dogs are stressed or afraid, it can lead to unwanted and even dangerous behavior.

These steps can help keep your dog comfortable and calm while they adjust to changes in their household.

Don’t Wait to Get Started

Before your new addition comes home with you, find ways to introduce your dog to them in advance. These strategies might include placing some of their items around your house and encouraging your dog to investigate them. Or, having your dog meet their new family member a few times before moving day. If you’re expecting a new baby, try playing recordings of babies gurgling, cooing, or crying to help expose your dog to these strange, new sounds. Throughout the introduction process, be sure to provide lots of treats, toys, and reassurance so that your dog associates the experiences with good things.

Pay Attention to Your Dog’s Body Language

It’s human nature to want everyone to get along. But, don’t rush it when introducing your dog to their new family member. Unfamiliar things can be scary for some dogs, especially children or medical items like canes, walkers, or wheelchairs. And, when scared or panicked, even the sweetest dog can lash out and bite. Handle introductions carefully and watch your dog for signs that they’re afraid or stressed. You should also supervise all interactions until you’re confident your dog is calm and comfortable.

Remember Your Basic Training

Adding a new member to your household always makes things busy, but don’t forget the importance of regular obedience training. Before your new family member moves in, work on foundation skills like “sit,” “down,” and “off.” Practicing these basic commands ensures your dog will do them reliably with someone new in the house. They also give your dog direction on how to respond to changes in their environment. Being confident in your dog’s obedience training is also incredibly helpful if you have someone moving in who is unsteady on their feet and could fall if jumped on. Once your new family member moves in, continue practicing these basic commands to help reinforce your dog’s good manners.

Be Patient

Don’t expect your dog to accept a new household resident overnight. While they adjust, be sure your dog has a safe and quiet space where they can retreat if they’re feeling stressed. Whenever possible, try to keep your dog’s schedule as normal as possible and avoid creating additional stress, like taking them to the vet or groomer. Be sensitive to your dog during this time and make sure to spend one-on-one time with them to help them cope with these household changes.

Remember, some dogs take longer than others to adjust to new family members. But, by being sensitive to your dog’s response, you can help make it a positive experience for everyone.

By |May 6th, 2019|blog|Comments Off on Preparing Your Dog for a New Family Member|

Do Dogs Need a Walk Every Day?

Understanding Your Dog’s Exercise Needs

It seems like an easy question when it comes to whether a dog needs a walk every day or not. But the answer isn’t always cut and dry.

Daily walks do more than provide your dog with physical exercise. They also serve as an enrichment activity that exposes them to new sights, sounds, and smells, which is good for their happiness and mental health. Without regular exercise and mental stimulation, dogs are more prone to destructive behaviors like chewing and digging.

When it comes to walks, several factors determine your dog’s individual needs.

Breed

dogs greeting each other on leashesSome dogs have high activity levels while others are natural born couch potatoes. If you have a dog that’s considered a sporting, working, or terrier breed, they could benefit from one or two walks a day. Since puppies are busy growing, it’s important to focus on shorter outings instead of one long walk.

Age

Your dog’s age also can play a role in their activity level. As a general rule, young dogs often need more exercise. As they move into their middle and senior years, they often have less stamina or issues like arthritis that can slow them down. Even if your dog has mobility problems, though, they still usually enjoy a slow walk outdoors.

Exercise Tolerance

Most healthy dogs in good physical shape can benefit from a 20- to 30-minute walk each day, and some can handle up to two hours at a time! Pay attention to your dog during your outings to see how they respond to the activity. And, if you have an older dog or an animal that’s overweight or has health problems, ask your vet for guidance on how to incorporate a daily walk into their schedule.

But what if you can’t walk your dog on a daily basis? Don’t worry; there are other ways to keep them mentally and physically engaged! Check out your local dog park or sign up for doggy daycare sessions! Want to up the ante? We also offer One-on-One Playtime and Nature/Urban Walks in the fresh air! All of these activities offer numerous benefits for a dog’s mental and physical health, so contact us for more details.

To increase your dog’s enrichment indoors, you can choose from several options. It’s easy to keep them challenged by adding obedience training into your daily routine. Or, increase the FUN factor with activities, like nose work and puzzle toys, from our Fun Ways to Play Indoors post!

Do you walk your dog every day? Tell us in the comments below!

By |April 22nd, 2019|blog|Comments Off on Do Dogs Need a Walk Every Day?|

Tail Waggers of the Month

Meet Gimli and Havoc!

Bloomington Tail Wagger

Gimli April 2019 Tail Wagger

Two-year-old Gimli has been part of our Bloomington pack for over a year now. When Gimli comes to Wagging Tails, this friendly Labradoodle loves to play with his friends and hang out with his pack leaders.

Gimli’s owner Elisa tells us that her favorite part of each day is taking Gimli out at night to clear her head before bedtime. She said that Gimli takes special care choosing the perfect toy to bring along as soon as he notices her getting ready to head out. And, once their walk begins, Gimli likes to lead the way. He doesn’t pull Elisa. Instead, he looks up at her and indicates which direction he’d like to go with his eyes or by pointing. Some nights, he wants to walk down the street, but others, he prefers circling their apartment building while they listen for owls or check on the moon and stars. Elisa isn’t sure what prompted these unique outings because Gimli likes following her lead during their daytime strolls. But she always looks forward to the variations of toys, walks, or ways of communicating when they share this special time together in the evenings.

In addition to enjoying his evenings out, Gimli is a smart pup who not only knows people by name but his toys as well – including ‘cow,’ ‘dragon,’ ‘tennis ball,’ and ‘squeaky dog’! He makes friends everywhere he goes and even has a bestie named Ollie who lives all the way up in Duluth.

Eagan Tail Wagger

Havoc April 2019 Tail Wagger Owner Kelly has been bringing 7 ½-year-old Havoc to our Eagan location for the past three years now. When he comes to Wagging Tails, he loves supervising the other dogs while they play and getting plenty of pets from our team.

Havoc spent the first two years of his life at his grandma’s house helping her do human daycare 40 hours a week. By the time the human babies were toddlers with baby dolls, Havoc decided he needed one for himself too. His grandma finally bought him his own so that he’d stop stealing the baby dolls from the kids! Havoc still carries it around and sleeps with it every night.

Kelly describes Havoc as a happy, lovably lazy oaf who likes to nap, eat, and get pets. He’s perfected the art of making sad puppy eyes if you’re eating something yummy, and he won’t hesitate to climb on top of you if he wants kisses and attention. Havoc also considers everyone a friend — whether human or animal — and even enjoys the two neighbor cats who like to stalk him on the deck while he’s napping.

What’s the best part of having Havoc in her life? “All the cuddles!” Kelly told us. “Havoc will snuggle right up next to you, throw a leg over you, and start snoring in your neck. He is the most loving, cuddly dog I’ve ever owned.”

Congratulations Gimli and Havoc!

By |April 15th, 2019|blog|Comments Off on Tail Waggers of the Month|

When You Have to Say Goodbye

Dog Bereavement

The worst part of having a dog is saying goodbye. Whether the “time was right” or occurred suddenly, their loss can trigger intense emotions that are hard to handle. Sometimes, we can even be surprised by how much we hurt.

woman and dogPeople don’t spend a lot of time talking about pet grief, but it can affect us on a deep and emotional level. Dogs play a unique role in our lives and give shape to each of our days. We wake up to let them out and feed them, plan our schedules around walks and bathroom breaks, and look forward to snuggling after a long day. They make us laugh, lick our faces when we cry, and are happy to see us no matter what. When they’re suddenly gone, it can come as a tremendous blow that’s hard to recover from. But we often keep these feelings to ourselves and struggle through our days alone because it’s hard to understand the emotional impact animals make on our lives.

It’s never easy to lose a dog, but several things can help you through the healing process.

Change things up

Try reorganizing your daily activities and routines. If your dog was your walking companion, for example, see if you can head out with a friend instead to explore a new neighborhood.

Find social support

If you don’t have friends and family you can turn to while you grieve, there are local and online support groups so you don’t have to feel alone.

Read books and articles

There are several resources available on navigating pet grief, including Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die by Jon Katz and the article Why We Need to Take Pet Loss Seriously by Guy Winch.

Make a memorials

Your beloved dog may be gone, but you can keep their memory alive with memorial activities. Plant a special perennial in your yard or make a donation in their name to your favorite animal rights organization. The possibilities are endless; you can even turn their water dish and collar into a planter or get a Maggie’s Light™ memorial candle.

The main thing to remember is that recovering from the loss of a beloved companion takes time and you don’t have to rush yourself.

By |April 8th, 2019|blog|Comments Off on When You Have to Say Goodbye|