Doodle Care

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Trimming Your Dog's Claws

Keeping your Labradoodles claws in check can be a daunting task but it is absolutely necessary.  You must trim your dog's claws on a regular basis, usually once or twice a month.  Don't forget the dew claws on the inner side of the front paws!  They are easily forgotten but must be trimmed like every other nail.  If you do not trim them, your dog will be much more likely to snag them on something and tear them.  A torn dew claw is a very painful thing for your dog and often results in a trip to the vet.

The frequency with which you trim your dog's nails will vary depending on its lifestyle and activity level.  If you are not comfortable trimming or feel unprepared to do so, have a groomer or vet show you how.

Cleaning Ears & Plucking Ear Hair

Cleaning your dog's ears isn't the world's most entertaining job, but it should be part of your normal grooming routine.  Your dog's ear health depends on you.  Infections come on quickly and keeping your dog's ears clean and dry is the best way to ward them off.

If you notice your dog scratching at his or her ears or if you see redness in the ear or detect an unpleasant odor coming from the ear, your dog may have developed an ear infection.  Visit your vet if you notice any of these symptoms as cleaning alone won't clear up the issue.

Bacteria thrive in moist places like the ear canal.  Removing excess hair might be necessary to allow proper air flow.  Keep the hair trimmed short, just underneath the ear flap and if the ear canal itself has an abundance of hair, clipping it short or plucking some of the hair out may be helpful.  Refrain from excessive plucking as to much irritation to the skin can create entry points for bacteria as well.  Your vet or groomer can show you how to pluck ear hair efficiently.

Eye Care

Take these three simple steps to prevent eye infections in your dog.  Regular cleaning and care is a must.

1.  Keep hair trimmed away from your dog's eyes using blunt tipped scissors.  Hair that rubs against the eye can introduce bacteria, leading to infection.

2.  Keep your dog's eyes clean by using an eye wash or pads designed to wipe away debris and gunk.

3.  Check your dog's eyes regularly and schedule an appointment with your vet if you detect any irregularities.

Teeth Care

Your dog absolutely requires good dental care.  Fortunately, preventing oral disease is easy by brushing your dog's teeth regularly.  To introduce your dog to dental care, start slowly and gradually.  Dip a finger into beef bouillon and gently rub along your pet's gums and teeth.  The most important area to focus on is the gum line (the crevice where the gums meet the teeth), where bacteria and food mix to form plaque.  Focusing on the gum line, start at the front of the mouth, then move to the back upper and lower teeth and gum areas.  Once your pet is okay with a little bit of touching, gradually introduce gauze over your finger and rub the teeth and gums in a circular fashion.

When your pet can handle the gauze, try brushing with a toothbrush specially designed for pets or a very soft, ultra-sensitive toothbrush designed for people.  The bristles should be held at a 45-degree angle to the tooth surface and be moved in an oval motion.  Scrub the gum line, as this is where odor and infection begin.  Gradually add special dog/cat toothpast (flavored with meat or fish), but never use people toothpast or baking soda, as both will upset your pet's stomach.  This entire process should only take a minute or two once your pet gets use to the idea.

Home care can be improved by feeding your pet an unmoistened dry pet food and offering him hard biscuits after each meal.  Both dry food and biscuits produce abrasion to help keep plaque to a minimun on the crown of each tooth.

Exercising Your Dog

Dogs need exercise for their physical health and mental well-being.  Each dog has different exercise needs, but Labradoodles generally need an hour of physical activity every day.  Good options include running, playing a good game of fetch, talking a long walk, jogging or biking with your dog.

Exercise is paramount for your dog's health and its good for the human-dog bond as well.

If your dog is still growing, do not take him or her for long jogs and definitely do not take your dog with you for a run.  Developing joints can be harmed by repetitive motion on hard surfaces.

Avoid exercising in extreme heat.  If you plan to take water along for you, remember that your dog will need water too.  If your dog seems tired, discontinue what you are doing and let your dog rest.

Dog Diet and Health

Planning your dog's diet is an important and occasionally challenging decision.  Canine health depends on the appropriate balance of nutrients and calories sufficient for prime growth, activity level and cellular repair.  Whether you decide on a dry kibble diet, a raw food diet or a combination of the two, be sure that the diet is complete and balanced.  We suggest choosing food with high quality animal proteins, whole grains and vegetables from organic sources.  Avoid foods with unidentified fat or protein sources, byproducts, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives and added sweeteners.  When considering dog foods, don't forget to look at what's in those treats you buy for your four-legged friend.  Buy healthy and avoid preservatives, fillers and byproducts.

Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and ticks are a nuisance but if they aren't taken care of right away they can infest and possibly kill your dog.  They spread disease, cause allergic reactions and transmit blood and intestinal parasites.

There are many ways to tackle fleas and ticks.  Most chemical products are safe if used properly.  Specialized products treat individual issues and some products prevent and kill both fleas and ticks.  One product treats for both and also prevents heartorm.  Listed here are a few of the most studied and well known products.

Advantage treat fleas only.  Monthly topical.

Frontline Plus treats fleas and ticks.  Monthly topical.

Revolution treats fleas, ticks and hearthworm.  Monthly topical.

Sentinel treats fleas only.  Monthly oral.

For those who prefer holistic care frequent bathing and manual removal of fleas and ticks can help prevent infestation of your home and yard.  Use a flea comb and tick remover after each bath.

Heartworm

Heartworm can be deadly if not caught in the early stages of development.  Prevention is critical.  Heartworms live in a dog's bloodstream and attack the heart muscle.  The most common treatment of heartworms involves giving your dog a medication every four to six weeks.  The medications come in chewable tablets or a topical application.

Chewables are made by Heartgard, Interceptor and Proheart.

Topical applications are made by Revolution and Advantage.

One of the best ways to aid in flea, tick and heartworm prevention is to make your yard as uninviting for fleas, ticks and mosquitoes as posssible.  Keep your grass trimmed short, eliminate standing water and introduce plants that repel these pests.

The information above was provided by the Australian Labradoodle Association of America.