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Dog Friendly Tips: Scratching and Itching Dog

If your dog does not have fleas, she or he may have dry skin, a bacterial skin infection, external parasites, or another condition.

See your vet to determine the cause. To maintain healthy skin and coat, be sure your dog gets plenty of water, good nutrition, and proper care and grooming.

One of my mother's Rhodesian Ridgebacks had a skin infection once, causing the coat to become black as the skin was visibly marked (the coat is very short on a Ridgeback). The other dog did not cartch the same infection so the cause was unknown.

An antibacterial cream was prescribed along with a supplement which took a while to work.

In longer coated dogs skin infections may not be so visible through the thickness of the coat.

Dog Friendly Article: Dogs Have Needs Too!

So, you are thinking about getting a puppy, or maybe you have already brought home a cute little bundle of four-legged joy. For a puppy to become and remain a behaviorally well-balanced and thriving adult dog, there are many important aspects to consider, not the least one being that your new charge will have needs. Yes, your dog will have needs, and if those needs are not met, you will find yourself wondering, why is my dog being so bad? But the truth is, your dog isn't bad, he is just mentally and physically bored.

Now, dogs are not people, and they are not little children in fur coats (harm can come from treating them only as such), but they are sentient beings who have needs in much the same way that we humans have needs. Let us consider for a moment what it must be like for a dog whose needs for exercise, structure, and mental stimulation are not met by comparing their life to our own.

Imagine getting up in the morning, going to the restroom, eating breakfast, and then spending your entire day at home. You will be spending this time alone, with no books to read, no internet to surf, no facebook to check, no phone to call friends, no RPM class at the gym, and no Oprah or Ellen in the afternoon. If you are lucky, and I do mean lucky, you might get to walk around the block... but day after day, this is the life you will be living.

What if you have the physical stamina of a Lance Armstrong or a Mia Hamm? How long before you start to go stir crazy? A few months, a few days, or maybe even just a few hours?!

Now imagine that after many lonely hours of inactivity and boredom, you hear a sound at the door. Yea!! A family member has finally arrived home and you are starving for a reprieve from the monotony of your day. You run to the door with exuberance, jumping up into the arms of your loved one and knocking them over. They then yell at you for being so rude. You beg your loved one to take you somewhere, maybe to the park or for a swim at the lake, but they are so exhausted after a long day at work that they just don't have the time or the energy. It's time for them to prepare dinner, help the kids with their homework, sit in front of the t.v. for a few hours, and then go to bed. Tomorrow will be another day, just as dull as today.

I could easily go on, but I am sure by now we all get the point. Dogs are not stuffed animals used for decoration around the house, and yet sometimes we treat them as such. And then we wonder why they behave in ways that do not meet with our expectations. So what is a well-intentioned human to do for their four-legged friend? The answer is mental and physical stimulation! Mental stimulation includes teaching your dog skills in the form of obedience commands or tricks. Mental stimulation also means taking your dog places where they will see new things, smell new things, and touch new things. Yes, variety is one of the spices of life, for us as well as for our dogs! And the better behaved your dog is through training, the more places they are able to go. It's a synergistic process.

Then there is the all- important physical stimulation, also known as exercise. Healthy dogs need rigorous activity daily, and a walk around the neighborhood doesn't count as such. Once your dog is well versed in obedience skills, you can begin a dog sport such as Agility, Flyball, Dock-Diving, or Doggie Disc. For the best of both worlds, combine physical AND mental stimulation. For example, when you play with your dog, also incorporate their commands. A dog that is asked to perform both mentally and physically is a dog that will be far more worn out than a dog that is exercised without any mental stimulation. There is an axiom that holds true; a tired dog is a happy dog, and belongs to a happy owner.

Karen Smalley is co-owner of and has been helping dogs and their people throughout the Atlanta area for over 20 years. She has titled her Border Collie, Casey, to the highest level of Obedience Competition, and she is currently training her two year old Border Collie, Bodhi, in the sport of Flyball.

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