To have a dog is an incredibly enriching experience for you and your family but before making any hasty decisions, you have to come to the unanimous agreement that a new addition is going to be right for you all – at all times. So, are you really ready to get a dog?

 

The cute little puppy you are planning to bring home will be part of your family for at least 9-15 years. They will be fully-dependant on you and your family for everything: water, food, shelter, exersize and vet care. They’ll also need a big portion of your time for training, and of course time solely for love and attention. As well as their love they also bring lots of financial and social responsibilities, so it is vital that all members of the family are reading and willing to begin this adventure together. It won’t always be big sloppy kisses and warm cuddles, dogs are much more of a responsibility than that! So before you get tempted by the big, brown puppy eyes – make sure to answer the following questions.

 

Why do you want a dog?

There are multiple reasons to add a dog to the family, some dogs are aquired for positive reasons and some sadly are not.  Firstly we will take a look at some examples of why people want dogs:

 

Companionship If you have the time to invest in your dog the rewards are truly wonderful, dogs are instinctively social animals and thrive as part of a family (“a pack”). However, if your lifestyle means that your dog will be left along for long periods of time – perhaps another pet will be more suited to you. aving reduced amounts of time does not mean you cannot get a dog – it just means you need to find one who has lower exersize and grooming requirements and enjoys his own space.

Activity  Each dog, regardless of breed, size and energy levels needs to be taken on daily walk. This means you (or your family) need to be ready to walk rain or shine! This will also help you all to stay fit and healthy and get some fresh air! Walking your dog can also lead you to socialise more whether it be a dog park or just from being outside.

Family Research has shown that children who grow up with a dog are less likely to suffer allergies, have increased co-ordination and improved confidence and social skills. Although parents are ultimately responsible for the care of the dog and supervision of the children and dog together, children can gain valuable life skills from caring for a dog, such as negotiation, compassion, responsibilities and patience.

Other dogs  Perhaps your dog has just passed away or you already have a dog and are looking to add another set of paws to the family? Dogs are naturally social creatures and can provide great company for each other.

 

Impulse Perhaps one of the most common reasons for dogs in shelters is that people have bought the dog on a whim and without proper planning. You need to assess your lifestyle to identify not only what you need from a dog but what they need from you. Size, temperament, cost are all aspects that should be considered beforehand to prevent any hidden surprises. Getting a dog will change your life in many ways, be sure you are prepared for the commitment.

Trends Dogs are living, breathing animals who are a huge responsibility not a fashion statement – selecting dogs for personal reasons such as to look tougher with a large breed of dog or to carry small breeds around like an accessory or a toy are not good reasons to get a dog.

Problems at home A dog will not solve personal problems among family members however can worsen things as puppies can add an element of stress. A puppy is a huge responsibility and needs everybody working together through the potential stresses. Adding a dog to an already tense atmosphere may just amplify the problem.

Nagging kids To add a dog to your family means you are signing up for a large commitment of time and resources. Although your children could help care for your dog, you will be the primary owner – and the one who foots the vet bills! Don’t be tempted by this, instead try to get your children involved in dog related activities such as dog walking or volunteering at shelters to learn about how much responsibility owning a dog takes!

A surprise gift The scale of this commitment should never be made on someone elses behalf. No matter how generous your intent, it is a very personal decision to make and thorough discussions should be had regarding the size, breed and a multitude of other factors, they need to be in total agreement.

 

Ultimately, the decision to get a dog should solely rely on your commitment to owning a dog for their entire lifetime – no matter what. Once you take your canine companion home they come part of your family they should be treated as such in any event.

 

The day-to-day living guide

 

Each family has their own needs, schedules, medical problems, space and time limits. Research into breeds that may be more suited to your family’s lifestyle. Are you an outdoorsy family? Are you seeking a dog that doesn’t shed much due to allergies or preference? How much time can you offer a new dog? Dogs require lots of time, patience and care (oh and money!) so make sure to do a lot of investigation when trying to figure out which dog is right for you.

 

Instinctively a pack member they will be seeking social connections and a strong leader figure (this is where you come in). You are solely responsible for all your dogs training as they look to only one pack leader – a well trained dog is much more content. Training your dog is one of the many steps that lead to being a responsible dog owner in the community. Other key factors in responsibly owning a dog are making sure they are up to date with vaccinations, that they are flea, tick and worm free and that they are well exercized, happy and healthy dogs.

 

Another essential thing to consider is the cost of owning a dog – and not just the obvious food, water and a bed – but the unexpected health costs, the recurring monthly cost, the new toys and pet insurance! Have a look at our article on the 10 things you’ll need for a new puppy. Many people forget that when they first get their dog they must have them vaccinated and spayed/neutered which is costly just within the first few months. Also having to pay the vet bills if your canine companion has poor health (perhaps throughout his life). Once you have a dog they are a member of your family which is why it is crucial to have really educated yourself about what you can handle.

 

When you get a young puppy – be prepared for a lot of mess! There will inevitably be some sort of damage – whether it be huge or not and this must be thought of especially if you are in rented accommodation. Ask yourself this, where will you be in five years? Will they allow pets in your next property? Are you planning on downsizing? As a large breed might suit your lifestyle now however your planning on a move to a smaller house or flat will prove significantly harder.

 

Poor-planning is a common reason for dogs to be given to rescue shelters. This is an extremely important decision – to share your life – and it should not be taken lightly as you must be dedicated to it. Try to be realistic about your circumstances and although those big puppy paws are almost irresistible I really recommend to look firstly at rescue shelters not only will you benefit from the low adoption fees – the dogs are usually already house-trained, micro-chipped and have basic training even if only from their time at the shelter. They will also be spayed/neutered and have had full vet-checks for any future problems.

 

“Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever” Karen Davidson

 

ready to get a dog

Oatmeal Baths For Dogs

Oatmeal Bath For Dogs

Just like many of us, dogs can get itchy or uncomfortably dry skin. The reason for this can be a number of things, it could be that your dog is simply susceptible to dry skin, or it could be that your dog has common dietary or contact allergies or in some cases a skin disease.

If you have any doubts or concerns then I would always recommend seeing a veterinarian first and trying to get to the root of the problem.

Also please note that dogs can sometimes get itchy or dry skin if they have or recently had fleas, if you know your dog has fleas then I would recommend treating this first. There are many options available, I personally use either Douxo Chlorhexidine PS Shampoo or a homemade natural alternative.

Ok – so lets look at how to create our oatmeal bath for dogs.

In this how-to we will be looking at two different methods of our oatmeal bath for dogs. The first method is the standard Oatmeal Soak Method and the second is the Oatmeal Rub Method, both achieve the same goal but the rub method is catered towards dogs that have more localised problems, like multiple patches of itchy skin or just a single region.

If the rub method is more appropriate you can jump to that section by clicking here.

Oatmeal Soak Method – Oatmeal Bath for Dogs

Things you will need…

  • 1 Large Cup of Uncooked Oatmeal
  • A Blender/Food Processor
  • A Jug
  • A Brush
  • A Bathtub
  • A Dry Towel

If you have a smaller dog and you are bathing them in a small bathtub or sink you could use a smaller amount of oatmeal.

Oatmeal Bath for Dogs in a Sink

Smaller dogs can be oatmeal soaked in sinks

 

Step 1

Add your cup of oatmeal into your blender/food processor and blent it until it has become a fine powder the consistency should be flour-like.

Ensure the top is correctly sealed as this can chuck out a lot of oatmeal powder.

Any oatmeal is ok providing that it is plain and isn’t flavoured or sweetened.

Once you have you powdered oatmeal put it to one side and move on to the next step.

Step 2

Now just like any normal dog washing session we need to prepare the bathtub, i find that if you feel the bathtub up to about the middle-lower portion of your dogs chest it works great for soaking your dog in the oatmeal.

If your dog finds this amount of water an issue having a less-filled bath is not a problem.

Like any other dog bath make sure that the water is the correct temperature (lukewarm) and be sure to check routinely before adding your dog. we don’t want to add burns to already itchy skin!

Step 3

Add your oatmeal powder to the bathtub water and begin to mix it in, the water should become a pale-milky color as the oatmeal dissolves, be sure to thrash the water around as the powder has a tendency to clump up.

Once fully dissolved move on to the next step.

Step 4

Now its time to get your pooch ready for his oatmeal bath, as a word of caution i would suggest getting a slip-proof matt as the oatmeal can make the floor very sippy for both you and your dog.

Ok so gently pace your dog into the bath and allow them to soak for a minuet or so, now get your jug (you can also use your hands) and gently scoop some of the oatmeal water up and pour it onto your dogs back.

You will want to repeat this every other minuet or so until your dog has soaked for around 15 minuets.

As this is quite a long time I would suggest entertaining your dog a little so they don’t get restless, just talking away about anything seems to do the trick for me.

Step 5

Ok so now that your dog has soaked for around 15 minuets its time to get them out, the trick is to not fully rinse your dog off as the oatmeal mixture will leave a protective layer on their skin.

Once your dog is out and on the non-slip matt you want to pat dry them with a clean towel, again we do this as to ensure we still leave the oatmeal’s protective layer on their skin to sooth the itching or discomfort.

 

Video Tutorial – Oatmeal Bath for Dogs

This instructional video uses slightly different methods then described above, feel free to experiment with how you wish to carry out your oatmeal bath for dogs.

Oatmeal Rub Method – Oatmeal Bath for Dogs

This is the alternative for the oatmeal bath for dogs, and is more appropriate for dogs that have more localised problems, like multiple patches of itchy skin or just a single region.

Things you will need…

  • 1/2 Large Cup of Uncooked Oatmeal
  • A Blender/Food Processor
  • A Jug
  • A Cloth or Sock (Optional)
  • A Bathtub or Bowl
  • A Dry Towel

If you have a smaller dog or the treatment is only for a small area you can use smaller quantities of oatmeal.

As you can see what we need is very much the same as the oatmeal bath for dogs, but in this method we are going to make an oatmeal paste instead of solution.

Step 1

First lets mix our half cup of oatmeal with half a cup of water. We then want to mix this solution until it becomes a thick gooey consistency.

Step 1.b (Optional)

If you feel its more appropriate you can add your gooey oatmeal paste into a cloth or old sock and then tighten it, either by tieing it or by using a rubber band or plastic tie.

Oatmeal Bath for Dogs Cloth

Step 2

Now just as in the oatmeal for bath for dogs we need to prepare the bathtub. Again if your dog only has a few problem areas you may find it easier to use a bowl or jug to pour water over them.

Step 3

Ok so now we need to rinse your dogs hair and skin through with warm water.

Step 4

Now we want to take our oatmeal paste and apply it to the problem areas, if you’re using a cloth or sock use light circular motions to ensure you get full coverage of the area. We want to repeat this for 5-10 minuets.

Try to keep your dog still so that patches are not missed. I find talking to them does the trick.

Step 5

Finally we want to lightly rinse the dogs fur with warm water, try not to fully rinse through the dogs hair as the oatmeal leaves an invisible protective layer on the skin, that of course we want to maintain!

Once rinsed pat dry your dog with a clean towel and we are done!

whether you used the oatmeal bath for dogs or the oatmeal rub, your pup should now have some relief from dry skin or itchiness.

Have you made an oatmeal bath for dogs before? Or perhaps you know another method that wasnt mentioned? Please feel free to share your experiences below!

Thank you very much for reading and good luck with your oatmeal bath for dogs!

Oatmeal Bath for Dogs

Homemade Flea Sprays

Homemade Flea Sprays - Natural Flea Repellents

In this article we will cover the two most common and widely used homemade flea sprays, both act as fantastic natural flea repellents and can be made in a few minutes.

At the end of the article there is a quick conclusion of what methods best and what you can do to help maximise your natural flea treatments!

In todays modern world new chemicals are continuously being introduced into the consumer market, whether it be chemicals for food preservation, insect repellents or as this article would suggest flea killers and flea repellents.

But what do these flash new products contain? Yes we may have a list of ‘ingredients’ but unless you have a degree in chemical engineering you are certainly at a loss.

Time and time again we have seen household products recalled and taken of the shelves as a new revelation has been made regarding the active chemicals within.

Sometimes its worth just taking a step back and looking a little closer to home to solve common problems, im not suggesting you start using baking soda for toothpaste but just that when dealing with children and animals its always wise to use natural ingredients and processes.

In this article we will be looking at how to get rid of fleas in your home without introducing any potentially harmful chemicals.

Specifically we will be making a homemade flea spray that works as a natural flea repellent.

Lemon Flea Spray

Lemon flea spray is easily made and has been used as a natural flea repellent for a very long time. Please note that this spray will not kill fleas directly, but due to its strong citrus odor it works as a very strong, natural flea treatment and should be used on areas on which your pets frequent, for example your pets bed and blankets.

As a word of caution if you plan to use this flea treatment for cats, please be aware that cats, just like fleas do not favour the citrus odor. You may find the vinegar flea spray more appropriate.

What you will need
The amount of ingredients can vary depending on your individual circumstances.

  • 6 Lemons
  • 1 Quart (1 Litre) of Water
  • 1 Saucepan and Lid
  • 1 Sharp Knife
  • 1 Clean Spray Bottle
  • Natural Lemon Oil (Optional)

Lemon Flea Spray - Homemade Flea Spray

How to make your homemade flea spray
First you will want to cut your lemons into slices. Once sliced, pour your water into your saucepan and bring it to the boil and allow to simmer.

Then carefully drop your sliced lemons into the boiling water and leave it for around 5 minutes.

Once boiled for 5 minutes turn off the heat, add your saucepan lid and leave your lemon solution overnight. This allows the lemons oils and juices to fully blend with the water.

If you don’t want to leave it overnight you can add a few drops of natural lemon oil and continue

After this simply add your lemon water to a clean spray bottle that has not contained any chemicals and you are ready to go!

Lemon Flea Spray – Natural Flea Repellent


This video tutorial uses a slightly different method but feel free to use it as a visual aid.

Applying your homemade flea spray
After your pet has had a bath and as many fleas as possible have been removed lightly spray the natural flea repellent onto your pets fur.

Be careful not to spray the flea repellent into your pets eyes, nose or any other sensitive area as this may sting and cause discomfort.

Once the citrus odor has dissipated from your pet (normally a week) you can reapply this natural flea repellent following the steps mentioned above.

As an additional preventive measure you should spray down your pets freshly washed beds and blankets and again repeat when the odor dissipates.

Fleas naturally do not like the citrus odor and will avoid these areas allowing simply steps like vacuuming to fully remove fleas from your home.

How long will the homemade flea spray last?
If you store your natural flea repellent in the refrigerator then it should keep for a minimum of a week allowing you at least two full flea treatments.

Vinegar Flea Spray

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article cats do not like the citrus odor given off by the lemon flea spray.

Since the flea repellent is ment to be added to the cats beds, blankets and the cat itself it can cause minor distress and a little bit of confusion.

The solution is to use a different homemade flea spray, in this case vinegar flea spray.

How to make your homemade flea spray
Unlike the lemon flea spray the vinegar flea spray is a lot simpler to make and many pet owners belive that it is a more effective method!

Just like before you need to find a clean spray bottle (not previously contained chemicals) and fill your bottle half up with water.

Once done then add a few drops of soap to the water and then fill the remainder of your spray bottle with white or apple cider vinegar and then shake/stir the solution to finish.

Vinegar Flea Spray - Homemade Flea Spray

Applying your homemade flea spray
Once your pet has been bathed and as many fleas as possible have been removed with a comb or brush, gently spray the natural flea repellent directly onto your pets fur,

Just like before be careful not to spray any flea repellent into the pets eyes, ears or other sensitive areas, as due to the ingredients this can cause discomfort.

Additionally you can add this natural flea repellent to your pets freshly washed blankets and beds so that the fleas will not resettle in these areas.

What homemade flea spray works best?

The vinegar flea spray is probably a little more effective overall, it is certainly easier to make and can really leave your pets with a nice soft coat.

But…

The lemon flea spray also acts as an effective natural flea treatment and will also makes your pets, their beds and your whole home have a nice, fresh citrus smell.

So whats the answer?

Use both! but with a little modification…

When bathing your pets add a little white or apple cider vinegar to the water and then wash it into your pets fur. After the bath allow your pet to air-dry (providing it’s not to cold).

Then go round and spray down all your pets freshly washed beds and blankets with your lemon flea spray and then finally gently spray your pets dry fur (as explained above).

By using both the lemon flea spray and the vinegar in the bath water you are getting the best of both worlds and getting maximum use of your natural flea repellents.

I myself have used his method for a few years now and think it works great!

Last words…
I hope you found this article helpful and got all the information you needed to get started with your natural flea treatments.

Please be sure to check that your pets have no pre-existing allergies or intolerance to any of the ingredients used and if unsure be vigilant for common symptoms.

The chance of your pet having an allergic reaction are very rare but we would rather be safe than sorry!

If you have anything to say or perhaps another method or homemade flea spray feel free to post a comment below.