blog

Your Dog’s Health: Heart Disease Alert

Understanding the Risks & Identifying the Signs

Heart disease has been making local and national headlines lately. But this time, it’s because of concern over the sharp increase of dogs with a particular form of heart disease called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

puppy sitting in food bowlSome dog breeds have higher rates of heart disease. However, recent findings from the FDA reveal a potential link between DCM and dogs eating certain foods. While continued research is still needed, there is significant concern with recipes containing sweet potatoes, legumes – like peas, lentils, and chickpeas – and some foods containing regular potatoes in various forms, whether whole, flour, or protein.

The FDA first alerted the public to their rising concerns over dog food and DCM in July 2018. But what is cardiomyopathy, and why should we be worried?

Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy

DCM in dogs is just as scary as heart disease is in people. When a dog has DCM, their heart muscle weakens, which affects its ability to pump and contract properly. As the disease progresses, their heart chambers become enlarged, and their valves can start leaking. All these changes pose serious risks for your dog, including congestive heart failure and death.

The Signs of Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Dogs with cardiomyopathy can display a variety of symptoms, depending on the extent of their condition. Common signs of DCM include:

  • Lack of energy
  • Inability to exercise
  • Weakness or collapse
  • Reduced appetite
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Coughing
  • Breathing problems, including shortness of breath
  • Abdominal swelling


Unfortunately, just like humans with heart disease, dogs can have DCM without displaying any symptoms. This means a dog can suffer sudden death from dilated cardiomyopathy without showing any signs of illness.

To learn more about DCM and the FDA’s findings, we encourage you to read this coverage from the American Kennel Club. For more information on your dog’s health and whether they’re at risk of heart disease, contact your veterinarian.

By |July 8th, 2019|blog|Comments Off on Your Dog’s Health: Heart Disease Alert|

It’s Your Party!

June Birthday Roundup

dog wearing birthday hat

Carter Roo

Carter Roo can’t stop smiling because he celebrated his birthday at WTPR last month!

Members of our free Birthday Club spend their special day enjoying a complimentary Playday, bandana, and birthday paw-ty!

See all the dogs that celebrated with Carter Roo by visiting our photo gallery! Not a member yet? Sign up today!

By |July 1st, 2019|blog|Comments Off on It’s Your Party!|

Tail Waggers of the Month

Meet Midas and Allie!

Bloomington Tail Wagger

Midas has been coming to WTPR since he was six months old. As a baby, he was a member of our Eagan pack. But, after moving to Bloomington, this sweet golden retriever was able to call our second location his home away from home too!

One of the things 6-1/2-year-old Midas likes most about his doggy daycare visits is Pool Days. When the weather permits, he claims a kiddie pool for himself and spends the whole day lounging in it! Midas also loves his routine almost as much as hanging out in the pool, but the recent home remodel has thrown him off. His owner Eric says they’re expecting their first child, so they can only imagine how big of a change it will be for Midas having a new baby in the family!

Eric tells us that Midas doesn’t have a very good nose. That means that when he loses sight of a treat, he can’t sniff them out very well. One time, however, Midas surprised Eric and Carrie by stopping and sniffing a snowbank intently. All of a sudden, he plunged his head deep in the snow, resurfacing moments later with a mouthful of McDonald’s French fries. Apparently, Midas doesn’t have a problem sniffing those out!

While Midas doesn’t mind digging for French fries in the snow, he hates getting his paws wet. This quirk has earned him the nickname “Princess Paws” at home. As long as the pavement is dry, you can find Midas prancing like a horse on his walks and really hamming it up if he thinks someone is watching.

Midas is a special dog with a charming personality. Eric says Midas loves pushing his face into small spaces. This trait tends to throw off strangers who meet him for the first time because Midas ends up shoving his face between their legs and leaving it there!

Eagan Tail Wagger

Allie has been coming to our Eagan location since November 2018 when her owner Christy first rescued her. It’s taken a little while for Allie to come out of her shell, but she’s found some good friends to play with — especially Mallow the Siberian Husky and Boss the Pitbull — and she enjoys following the play coaches around during her Playday visits.

This 3-1/2-year-old Australian Shepherd is very sweet, loving, and always ready for a cuddle. Allie uses her nose to nudge you for pets and even wants you to hold her paw while she’s curled up beside you. She’s also eager to please and a quick learner who really loves her routine, especially her long morning walks. Consistent training and her love of treats have helped Allie become more confident, and Christy has loved seeing Allie’s true personality emerge as her fears subside. In fact, Christy says that Allie’s gentle disposition, affectionate demeanor, and ability to learn quickly are her top assets. Christy hopes that with ongoing training, Allie could become a certified therapy dog.

What’s the best part of having Allie in her life? “I feel incredibly grateful we found each other,” Christy told us. “From the first day I met Allie at the Border Collie Rescue of Minnesota, she pulled on my heartstrings. I learned she came from a Reservation in North Dakota, and she already knew some basic commands. I believe someone must have loved her but could not financially take care of her. Her joy and affectionate personality were what drew me to her. After losing my cairn terrier in July, Allie came along at the right time and has once again filled my home with so much love. I’m proud to have been able to provide her with a forever home.”

Congratulations Midas and Allie!

By |June 24th, 2019|blog|Comments Off on Tail Waggers of the Month|

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|