Should Your Dog Take a Glucosamine Supplement?

Should Your Dog Take a Glucosamine Supplement?

 

 

 

 

Joint problems like arthritis and inflammation afflict dogs as they age just like they do with humans. These issues can slow your dog down and make movement painful, reducing their quality of life and long-term health.

These conditions are particularly prevalent with large breed dogs, and especially labrador retrievers, though it can affect any dog, no matter the breed or their size.

All is not lost however, and – again, just like with humans– there are plenty of diet supplements for dogs on the market that can improve any joint issues Fido may be suffering with. Although unable to provide a total cure, the best supplements can relieve pain and, if started early enough, even serve as a preventative measure.

One such diet supplement is glucosamine, which you may be familiar with as a human supplement to help ease joint stiffness and the symptoms of arthritis.

Glucosamine for dogs is similar to the human formulation and can prove a valuable tool in the fight against arthritis regardless of the stage the arthritis is at.

In essence, glucosamine is a naturally occurring compound found in the connective tissue and fluid around joints. The supplement is simply a synthesized version of this.

(Image above – K9 Care Labs Chewable Joint Supplement)

 

Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs

 

It can be quite difficult to detect whether your dog is suffering from arthritis, as our canine friends tend to hide their weaknesses and suffering as an innate defensive response.

Having said that, look out for the following clues that could be signs of joint discomfort in your dog:

  • A decrease in activity and sense of lethargy. They may be particularly hesitant on long walks, and running up and down stairs
  • Tender to the touch, particularly around their hind legs and hip joints
  • A restlessness when lying down or sleeping, indicating pain from swelling and inflammation

 

 

Your Vet’s Advice

First things first, always consult your vet if you suspect your dog may be suffering from arthritis or a similar joint problem and they will be able to provide tailored advice and medication to best fit your dog’s needs.

Otherwise, you can make your dog as comfortable as possible by:

  • Providing them a healthy, balanced diet (remember to reduce their portion sizes accordingly if they are less active than normal)
  • Giving them plenty of rest and avoiding stressful environments
  • Giving them plenty of love and attention
  • Supplementing their diet with substances like glucosamine and other vitamins and minerals to help slow and support the aging process

Image above:  Deep Dish Cuddler Bed for Joint Relief (also available in Jumbo size).

 

Glucosamine Benefits for Dogs

 

By taking glucosamine regularly, in the manner advised by your vet, your dog can expect to enjoy the following benefits:

  • Pain relief from muscle inflammation, bone loss and arthritis
  • The rebuilding of lost cartilage
  • Improvement in joint function and movement

Consequently, you’ll notice that your dog has more energy and freedom to move, leading to a greater quality of life and an array of other health benefits.

Additionally, taking glucosamine as a preventative measure for arthritis will mean your dog is less likely to need medicated pain relief in their future.

 

Comparing Glucosamine to Veterinarian Pain Medication

 

  • Glucosamine is cheaper than pain medication
  • Glucosamine carries less risk of unpleasant side effects than pain medication
  • Glucosamine is less likely to react with other supplements, dietary intake and medicines than pain medication

 

You can start your dog on glucosamine at any age; just remember to consult your vet so that they can advise on the best dosage tailored to your pet’s particular needs. As a diet supplement, it carries low risks of side effects and can prove preventative for arthritis and other joint problems later in life.

Having said that, if your dog begins to develop signs of arthritis, or if they are already in the full throes of the disease, glucosamine supplements are still a valuable tool in your dog’s health kit.

If you suspect that your dog may be developing joint problems or arthritis, consult your vet so you can begin treatment and glucosamine supplementation as soon as possible.

 

 

How to Give Your Dog a Glucosamine Supplement

 

Your vet should be able to advise on the correct dosage of glucosamine for your dog, taking into account such factors as their weight, age and the extent of their problems.

It’s imperative that you do consult a vet before administering supplements or other medicines to your dog: only a trained professional will be best placed to know how your dog will react to a certain formula.

Often, your vet will advise your arthritic dog be put on an initial ‘administration’ or ‘loading’ phase, featuring a high intake of glucosamine in a short period, followed by a ‘maintenance’ period with a lower dosage over a longer time span.

Many manufacturers of glucosamine for dogs will have special formulations like flavored chews, liquid, or crumbling tablets to add to food. It depends on your dog’s sensibilities which one they best prefer and are most likely to ingest.

Some manufacturers include additional vitamins and minerals in their glucosamine supplement formulations to provide extra support and benefits to your dog.

Some popular added substances include:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: to reduce inflammation and improve the condition of skin and coat
  • Sulfur and sulfur-containing compounds: helps to rebuild cartilage and joint health while improving the condition of skin, hair, and nails
  • Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM): reduces stiffness and inflammation
  • Manganese: strengthens bones

 

 

Glucosamine Side Effects are Not Common

 

The side effects for a dog taking glucosamine are rare although not unheard of, and usually avoided if you follow dosing advice from your vet.

  • Allergic reactions: dogs who suffer from shellfish allergies may also be allergic to glucosamine supplements. Your vet will either advise a lower dose of the supplement or recommend a plant-based formulation.

 

  • Interactions with blood sugar: glucosamine supplements can interact with your dog’s blood sugar levels, particularly if they are also taking blood-thinning medication. Again, consult your vet for tailored advice.

 

  • Gastrointestinal upsets: glucosamine supplements can be a little harsh on your dog’s stomach and digestive system, occasionally leading to flatulence, vomit, and diarrhea. The best way to combat this is to administer their dosage with food or lower their dose, after consulting with your vet.

 

The Best Glucosamine Supplements for Dogs

 

Below, I’ve rounded up and reviewed what we consider to be the best glucosamine supplements for dogs currently available on the market.

 

 

Trusted manufacturer Nutramax are the people behind the best glucosamine supplement for dogs on the market with their all-round joint support chewable tablet, Dasuquin With MSM.

 

Pros:

  • Dasuquin is most complete joint support supplement on the market today
  • It’s a chewable tablet that’s easily digestible
  • Its formulation includes Chondroitin Sulfate, ASU (avocado and soybean unsaponifiables), MSM and green tea to effectively reduce stiffness and other symptoms of arthritis
  • Dasuquin With MSM benefits from over ten years worth of clinical use and research
  • It’s suitable for long term use and effective when used for arthritis, hip dysplasia and other joint problems

Cons:

  • It’s quite expensive in comparison to other supplements on the market

 

 

 

Another Nutramax product, Cosequin DS, is in second place and is well known for being potent and fast-acting – hence why it’s vets’ favorite glucosamine supplement for joint health.

 

 

Pros:

  • Cosequin DS is the most recommended supplement for joint health among veterinary professionals
  • It contains glucosamine hydrochloride, sodium chondroitin sulfate, MSM and manganese
  • It’s a chewable tablet so is easily digestible and has a light liver flavor
  • Suitable for use on dogs of all different sizes, ages, and joint symptoms
  • The supply lasts for a long time and is particularly economical once your dog progresses on to the maintenance stage and requires lower dosages
  • The initial administration stage is very strong and works quickly in relieving chronic joint problems

 

Cons:

  • Particularly fussy dogs may not enjoy the very light taste of the chewable tablet

 

 

 

These PAH Hip + Joint Chews are full of potent and fast-acting vitamins and minerals, promising pain relief, joint support and an extra glossy coat for your dog.

 

Pros

  • PAH Hip + Joint Chews contains extra-strength glucosamine, MSM, Chondroitin and Omega-3 fish oils
  • The Omega-3 ensures a strong and glossy coat, as well as providing additional anti-inflammatory support
  • Formulated in a chewable tablet with a delicious chicken flavor
  • Made in the USA using a cold pressed manufacturing process which ensures no active ingredients are lost
  • It works quickly and effectively to combat joint problems and comes with a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied
  • It’s gentle on your dog’s stomach

 

Cons

  • Some users have commented that it’s difficult to halve the chews without them crumbling – be sure to use scissors or a super sharp knife if you try!

 

 

Offering something a little different, TerraMax Pro’s Hip & Joint Advanced comes in a liquid form and is easy to combine with food and water – perfect for fussy eaters! 

Additionally, it contains a high dosage of the glucosamine and other helpful compounds.

 

 

Pros

  • Hip & Joint Advanced contains an unmatched 1,600 mg of glucosamine hydrochloride, 1,200 mg of chondroitin sulfate and 1,000 mg of MSM.
  • It’s also fortified with Hyaluronic acid which helps the rebuilding process of cartilage and joint tissue
  • It’s a liquid formulation which is absorbed faster and more efficiently into the bloodstream than tablets are
  • TerraMax manufacture their supplements in the USA, and they last for a long time with a money-back guarantee if you’re unsatisfied
  • All ingredients are rated at human grade and are distilled to provide the purest form.
  • The liquid is free from gluten, corn, milk, yeast, sugar, salt, starch and soy derivatives

 

Cons

  • As it’s in liquid form, this glucosamine supplement doesn’t last as long as the other solid products on this list.  The manufacturer recommends that you keep the bottle in the fridge after opening it.

 

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

Arthritis will afflict most dogs as they age. Unfortunately, dog owners and veterinarians rarely notice the early warning signs of arthritis because dogs tend to hide soreness and discomfort until the arthritic changes in joints have become severe.

Supplements to the dog’s diet – such as glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, omega-3 fatty acids and MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) – can assist in decreasing inflammation and improving your dog’s ability to repair and strengthen joint tissues. And while high-quality supplements are very safe, they tend to work best in combination with other forms of arthritis treatment.

You can be proactive by giving your dog a daily joint supplement. And of course, be sure to check with your vet if you suspect any joint problems. Image above:  Gypsy Rock Dog Mug.

 

Pet Medical ID Tags by Lauren's Hope

 

Thanks for visiting and reading … I hope this article provided you some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

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Dog Shampoo Buying Guide

Dog Shampoo Buying Guide

How to Find the Right Dog Shampoo For Your Special Pet

 

But first – do you actually need special shampoo for your dog? … or can you just use human shampoo?  It might be tempting to simply use human shampoo and conditioner instead of specialized pet products to bathe your dog, but it really isn’t a good idea. Image above: Kreative Arts Modern Giclee Dog Prints.

Although the odd occasion may not do them much harm, frequent use of human products can be harmful to your dog and certainly won’t do the condition of their skin and coat any favors. There are 2 major reasons to avoid using human shampoo on your dog:

 

Skin pH levels

Human shampoo tends to be marginally acidic in order to best clean our skin, which has a pH somewhere between 5.2 and 6.2. Dogs, on the other hand, have an alkaline skin pH of up to 7.5 – using such acidic human shampoo on them could break down their skin mantle and make them vulnerable to bacteria and parasites.

 

Sensitive skin

Dogs are generally much more sensitive than humans as their skin only has between 3-5 layers, in comparison to humans with 10-15 layers. As such, our skin can take more of a battering from harsh products and chemicals while your dog will be more easily irritated. Such irritation leads to dryness, scratching and abrasions.

If you have to bathe your dog with human products – perhaps in a particularly smelly emergency with no pet products at hand – try to opt for mild formulations used on babies and children. Dr. Debora Lichtenberg VMD states in Petful, “veterinary dermatologists recommend Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo frequently for sensitive dogs.”

 

 

How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog?

 

How often you need to bathe your dog will vary from breed to breed and also depends on their individual lifestyle and habits.

Let’s say they like to spend time outside, playing in the dirt; in this case, you would generally expect to bathe them around every four to six weeks or so. If your dog gets smelly in between full shampoo baths, opt for a simple plain water rinse in between.

Dogs that spend more time indoors and rarely get dirty will require less regular baths. Depending on how smelly they get, a bath somewhere between every 2 to 3 months would be about right.

Double-coated breeds, such as Labs, should really only be bathed every three months – or even less often – unless they get particularly smelly. Their oily double coats will dry out from too much shampooing, depleting the insulating, protective properties and waterproofing their coat has.

Just as with humans, shampooing too often has a tendency to dry out the skin and hair, leading to irritation, scratching and in extreme cases maybe even lesions.

With excessive shampooing a dog’s hair quickly loses its natural shine and can also become damaged, brittle and broken. If your dog’s fur has ever felt rough to the touch, this could well be the reason.

The best way to prolong time between baths and keep your dog looking healthy and clean is to commit to a daily brushing schedule.

On the other hand, your dog does need that regular shampooing in that 2 to 3 month range; although it’s a cardinal sin to bathe your dog too frequently, not bathing them at all will also put the health of their skin and coat at risk.

Unlike humans who breathe in allergens, dogs absorb them through their skin.  If you decline to wash your dog – or don’t wash them enough – all of the dirt, debris and bugs your dog may have picked up on their travels will hang around in their skin and hair until they’re absorbed. This can lead to irritation, scratching and eventually – in extreme cases – lesions.

 

 

Quick Tips For Washing Your Dog

 

Before Bathing

Brush your dog to remove any tangles and debris caught in their hair, and prepare the room for bath time by by assembling products ready to use, laying down towels or waterproof sheets and keeping treats on hand to reward good behavior. 

Of course, you will want to remove your dog’s collar and lead (if they need to be restrained, use a muzzle or a special bathing tether).

Warm up the water to lukewarm, and line the sink with a non-skid mat for your dog’s comfort.

 

In the Bath

Introduce your dog to the water slowly by spraying their backs first and keeping the power on low, allowing them to get used to the sensation. Protect your dog’s face from the shampoo and water by applying a little petroleum jelly around their eyes and putting cotton balls in their ears.

Use a soft shampooing brush in the direction of hair growth to best lather in the shampoo and avoid any tangles. Use the brush again to gently clean the paw pads.  Then, rinse thoroughly by wetting the head and face first before working your way down the rest of their body.  Keep rinsing until the water runs clear.

At this point, some owners choose to use a special dog conditioner to seal the hair cuticle and keep the coat shiny and full of moisture. Follow the steps as for shampooing, making sure not to get any chemicals in your dog’s eyes.

 

Once Your Dog is Clean and Rinsed

Lift your dog out of the bath and wrap them in an absorbent towel. Avoid rubbing them dry as this can tangle their hair; blot the coat instead. They will probably want to shake themselves dry too.

Make sure your dog stays in the warm until they are completely dry.

 

 

Dog Shampoo Reviews and Recommendations

 

 

There’s no one product that suits all dogs and the shampoo you choose must suit your dogs specific requirements and the job at hand.

 

To help make sure you find the right product for your needs, I’ve split the products  into 5 categories:

  • All natural, organic shampoos.
  • Heavy duty shampoo.
  • Hypo allergenic Shampoo.
  • Shampoo and conditioner combined
  • Conditioners

 

 

The Best All-Natural, Organic Dog Shampoos

 

These shampoos contain only natural ingredients, suitable as a general purpose shampoo for most dogs and breeds. Gentle yet highly effective.

 

Earthbath is well known for totally natural dog care products that are intelligently formulated to effectively clean dirty dogs.

 

Ingredients:

There’s no irritating soap in this shampoo, which is good news for dogs with sensitive skin.

There’s also no parabens, phosphates, synthetic dyes, perfumes, gluten DEA, enzymes or SLS/SLES.

Oatmeal and aloe vera combine with purified water to combat skin irritation and moisturize, while coconut based cleansers, Vitamins A, B, D and E and food-grade vanilla and almond extracts create a truly luxurious, natural dog shampoo.

 

Pros:

  • It’s made of natural ingredients, is guaranteed cruelty free and is made of biodegradable packaging. You won’t be hurting your dog or the environment!
  • The oatmeal and aloe will combat and heal your dog’s itchy parts while effectively re-moisturizing their skin and hair.
  • There’s no soap so it’s gentle and no-tears.
  • The vanilla and almond extracts make for a beautifully scented dog.
  • It lathers very easily.

 

Cons:

  • Seriously smelly or dirty dogs may need a heavier duty shampoo than this all-natural offering.

 

Why I recommend it:

With a great smell, all natural ingredients and a gentle formulation that will also heal sensitive skin, Earthbath is an obvious top choice.

 

 

 

 

 

Wahl is another natural shampoo manufacturer, and has various formulations and scents to choose from, depending on your preferences and your dog’s needs.

 

Ingredients:

Wahl guarantee that all their ingredients are solely plant-derived.

This shampoo contains oatmeal, aloe vera, coconut, lime and lemon verbena to soothe dry skin and restore some much needed moisture.

There are no harsh chemicals included and it is guaranteed to be PEG-80 (Sorbitan Laurate) free.

 

Pros:

  • Totally natural and soothing ingredients ensure this shampoo is safe and gentle for use on your dog.
  • Oatmeal helps to heal your dog’s dry skin and provide welcome itch relief.
  • The shampoo is concentrated so only a small amount is needed to create a rich lather.
  • There are a variety of scents available aside from this Coconut & Lime Verbena formulation: Lavender & Chamomile, White Pear, Cornflower & Aloe, Eucalyptus & Spearmint, and Lemongrass Sage.

 

Cons:

  • Some users found the scents quite strong so it may not be suitable for people and dogs with allergies or a particularly sensitive sense of smell.
  • Again, the natural ingredients and gentle formulation mean that very stinky dogs may still need a heavy duty cleaning.

 

Why I recommend it:

Wahl ensures your dog gets a thorough clean and smells fresh after a round with this shampoo while protecting your dog from any harsh chemicals and irritants.

 

 

 

 

Best Heavy Duty Dog Shampoos

For times when your dog rolls in something particularly dirty or smelly like animal excrement or perhaps motor-oil, gentle shampoos just aren’t going to make the grade.

So it’s a good idea to keep a heavy duty shampoo in reserve, not for general routine use, but for the inevitable, particularly grimy emergencies. You won’t go wrong with either of the following two.  Image above: 7 Wall Arts Handpainted Dogs on Motorcycle

 

BarkLogic’s shampoo is also all-natural and made of plant-derived ingredients, but is heavier hitting on serious odors with its natural deodorizing qualities and refreshing scent.

 

Ingredients:

This shampoo has a long ingredient list but is guaranteed to be made of 100% plant and mineral derived components.

Most importantly, it is free of sulfates, phthalates, PEG, DEA, Triclosan, Gluten, artificial colors, dyes and fragrances that can all cause irritation.

 

Pros:

  • It eliminates odors on contact, working like a detergent to gently lift away and dissolve dirt and debris from your dog’s coat.
  • A totally plant-derived ingredients list ensures the product works gently on your dog’s skin and is also hypoallergenic and non-toxic.
  • It’s suitable for vegans.
  • The shampoo is easy to work into a rich lather.
  • It’s biodegradable and made in the US.

 

 

Cons:

  • The lemon scent is very subtle – you may need to repeat the shampooing once or twice if you’re after a truly refreshing scent.

 

Why I recommend it:

As an effective deodorizer but sporting an all plant-based ingredient list, it’s hard to go wrong with this Barklogic shampoo – it may be heavy duty in its effectiveness but not in its deployment of chemicals.

 

 

 

Synergy Labs Veterinary Formula Triple Strength Dirty Dog Concentrated Shampoo

 

 

SynergyLabs produce a variety of popular dog shampoos, some with excellent deodorizing qualities, but this particular formulation stands out for its seriously heavy-duty action on dirty dogs.

 

Ingredients:

This shampoo isn’t as packed to the nines with chemicals as its cleaning qualities may suggest.

Aalongside de-ionized water, there’s a variety of foaming agents, glycerine, DMDM hydantoin, tetrasodium EDTA and fragrances.

In order to protect your dog’s skin and coat, it’s also enriched with Vitamin E, aloe vera, shea butter and wheat protein.

 

Pros:

  • It possesses three times the number of active cleansers of its competitors, ensuring that dirty dogs are dealt with easily and effectively.
  • It boasts an exclusive ‘Dirt Repel’ formula.
  • It’s scented with subtle and refreshing green apple and tea perfumes.
  • The Vitamin E, aloe vera, shea and wheat protein work to restore moisture to your dog’s coat and skin while ensuring that none of the natural oils are stripped away.
  • It lathers easily and is concentrated, so a little goes a long way.

 

Cons:

  • Some owners of particularly smelly dogs have reported that the fresh, clean smell is not very long-lasting, sticking around for only a few days after bathing.

 

Why I recommend it:

The Synergy Labs Dirty Dog Concentrated Shampoo is very effective on dirty dogs – particularly those who have rolled in something stinky – without being too harsh on their skin and coats.

 

 

 

 

Best Hypo-Allergenic Dog Shampoos For Sensitive Skin

 

 

Some dogs suffer with allergies and sensitive skin, Labradors being particularly prone it seems when compared to many other breeds.

For these poor souls, many standard shampoos can leave them feeling irritated and uncomfortable, with the inevitable scratching and biting that follows sometimes leading to broken skin and further complications.

The obvious answer is hypo-allergenic shampoo formulated specifically for dogs with allergies. Image above: CafeTime Pillow Case.

 

This 4-Legger Dog Shampoo could have easily ended up in my favorite organic shampoo selection, but its amazing moisturizing qualities means that it’s a firm favorite for dogs with sensitive skin.

 

Ingredients:

It’s actually certified to organic food standards so you can be sure that there’s nothing but the safest of natural ingredients in here.

As well as coconut, olive and jojoba oils, there’s also aloe vera and essential oils like lemongrass and rosemary. There are no parabens, DEA, MEA, PEG, DMDM hydantoin, alcohol, sulfates or artificial fragrances and colors.

 

Pros:

  • It is specially formulated for sensitive skin with an abundance of natural moisturizers that heal the skin and coat without stripping natural oils. There’s even anecdotal evidence that it works well on dermatitis conditions.
  • The lemongrass and rosemary essential oils are natural flea and tick deterrents.
  • It’s made in the US, 100% vegan, not tested on animals and the packaging is recyclable.
  • It’s hypoallergenic and gentle enough to be used on all skin types and age brackets.

 

Cons:

  • Some owners have noted that the consistency is significantly thinner than other shampoos – be careful when pouring it out of the bottle!

 

Why I recommend it:

As well as being hypoallergenic and specially formulated for sensitive skin, this 4-Legger shampoo smells great, helps to keep pesky fleas and ticks at bay and is totally natural and safe to use.

 

 

 

 

Vet’s Best have formulated a good value shampoo ideal for dogs with sensitive skin and allergies, which is ‘no tears’ and restores moisture to their coats.

 

Ingredients:

The main ingredients are Allantoin, Panthenol, Aloe Vera and Vitamin E.

 

Pros:

  • It’s hypoallergenic and designed to thoroughly cleanse and re-moisturize dry skin, soothe itching and re-energize brittle coats.
  • There’s no soap, guaranteeing ‘no tears’ at bath time.
  • It won’t affect any topical flea or tick treatments you may have applied.
  • Some owners reported a reduction in hair shedding after using this shampoo.
  • It’s so smoothing that you won’t even need to use a separate conditioner afterwards.

 

Cons:

  • It’s quite difficult to work this shampoo into a lather due to its runnier texture.
  • As it’s hypoallergenic, there’s no scent to this shampoo. While some owners may like that there’s a neutral smell, others may be disappointed.

 

Why I recommend it:

This Vet’s Best Hypo-Allergenic Shampoo is an excellent no-frills, great value, hypoallergenic shampoo that cleans your dog effectively while restoring moisture to their coat and skin. Plus, no tears means bath time doesn’t have to be traumatic!

 

 

 

 

What About Conditioners For Your Dog?

 

After bathing your pooch, it’s likely you now have more water on the floor and all over yourself than there ever was on your dog. So yes, we hear you – why would you want to spend even more time on the job of bathing?

Well, shampoo removes all the grime from your dogs skin and coat but a side effect of this is leaving each hair ‘open’, where oils can escape and unwanted contaminants might enter. This can leave hair dry and brittle.

Also, all the brushing, scrubbing, lathering and drying that a good clean requires results in broken and damaged hair – no matter how carefully you work.

Using a conditioner repairs damaged hairs, fills in cracks, restores elasticity, prevents oils from leaving the hair and seals it against contaminants entering.

At the end of the day, using a conditioner results in a stronger, healthier, shinier looking and all around better coat. Using a conditioner after bathing is certainly better than never doing so.

 

I recommend the following conditioners:

 

This Isle of Dogs Conditioner not only smells great but is also gentle enough to be used regularly. It promises to transform your dog’s hair into silky, lustrous locks.

 

Ingredients:

This conditioner is notably more chemical heavy than many of the other products we’ve discussed, but it’s undoubtedly a heavy hitter when it comes to smoothing out your dog’s hair.

The full ingredients list includes PEG-40 castor oil, PEG-12 dimethicone, DMDM hydantoin, aloe barbadensis leaf juice and a number of strengthening proteins.

 

Pros:

  • It’s very effective on tangled hair and restores moisture to the coat immediately. Some owners have described ‘run-your-hands-through-it silkiness’.
  • The jasmine and vanilla fragrance is subtle and attractive.
  • The abundance of aloe leaf juice and proteins in the formulation help to manage and maintain a silky, strong coat in the long term.
  • It lathers well, rinses off really easily and doesn’t leave a sticky residue.

 

Cons:

  • There are a lot of chemical ingredients so it won’t be suitable for owners looking for a more natural conditioner.

 

Why I recommend it:

This great value Isle of Dogs conditioner will immediately put paid to any knots, tangles or matts in a dog’s hair and leave them with a healthy and beautifully glossy coat.

 

 

 

 

Perfect to use after a good wash with the Earthbath shampoo recommended above, this all natural moisturizing conditioner goes a long way, recommended to dilute 1 part in 16 parts water for use.

 

Ingredients:

There’s no artificial or synthetic ingredients in this all natural conditioner, the ingredients consisting of: Purified water, vegetable-derived conditioner, colloidal oatmeal, aloe vera and organic shea butter.

 

Pros:

  • The Stuff works on all hair types to condition, detangle and penetrate matting.
  • The inclusion of colloidal oatmeal and aloe vera moisturizes and soothes irritated, itchy and dry skin.
  • It doesn’t wash off topical flea and tick treatments (saving money on re-application.)
  • It’s concentrated and so a little goes a long way. Nice for the budget conscious.

 

Cons:

  • Try not to spill or spray any of the product into the dogs eyes as it can irritate – though this is true with the vast majority of products on the market.

 

Why I recommend it:

Eartbath has a solid reputation with the vast majority of users giving this conditioner 4 or 5 stars and positive feedback.

It’s all natural, in biodegradable packaging, so it’s kind to your dog and friendly to the environment.

However, it’s the results that most speaks volumes. This stuff simply works 🙂

 

 

 

 

Best Dog Shampoo & Conditioner Combo

 

Although a separate shampoo and conditioner will give the best results, combining the two into one product can still give a great performance, leave your dog with a healthy, clean, shiny coat – But more importantly cut down on the total time it takes to bathe your dog.

Here’s a quick look at two of the best combined shampoo and conditioners.

 

This Paws & Pals 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner is one of the most popular on the market thanks to its natural formulation and sheer effectiveness at cleansing and conditioning your dog’s skin and coat.

 

Ingredients:

Certified organic, there are only natural ingredients to be found in this shampoo and conditioner, such as aloe vera, jojoba and coconut oils, oatmeal, shea butter and rosemary. There are no parabens and only naturally derived foaming agents.

 

Pros:

  • The ingredients list is all-natural, high quality and organic, guaranteeing a gentle, non-toxic yet effective clean.
  • It’s suitable for vegans, made in the USA and recyclable.
  • Dry and itchy skin will be soothed by the unique combination of aloe, shea butter, oatmeal and natural oils – prepare to see an instantly glossier coat too!
  • The added conditioner will detangle and smooth your dog’s coat.
  • There’s no soap in this product and it’s guaranteed to be no-tears.
  • Works into a lather and rinses out with ease.

 

Cons:

  • It’s relatively expensive in comparison to some of its competitors although you do get a lot of product for your money at 20 ounces.
  • The fragrance is very subtle.

 

Why I recommend it:

As both a shampoo and conditioner, this Paws & Pals Dog Shampoo and Conditioner combo  provides a complete bathing experience for your dog. With all natural ingredients too, you can be sure of a gentle and effective clean.

 

 

 

 

This one-stop shop shampoo and conditioner is from the renowned Earthbath who make great all natural pet products.

 

Ingredients:

The Mango-Tango is made up of purified water alongside a variety of plant-derived cleansers and conditioners.

It contains aloe vera, Vitamins A, B, D and E, as well as glycerine, natural preservatives and mango essence.

There’s no SLS/SLES, DEA, phthalates, enzymes, parabens, artificial dyes or perfumes, soap or gluten, so it’s kind to a dog’s skin.

 

Pros:

  • It’s totally natural so you can be sure of a gentle yet thorough clean and condition of your dog’s skin and coat.
  • The added conditioner detangles, softens and promotes shine to your dog’s hair with long-lasting effect.
  • The mango scent is really refreshing.
  • It won’t affect any topical flea treatments.
  • It’s vegan and the packaging is 100% biodegradable.
  • It lathers and rinses out easily.

 

Cons:

  • It isn’t specialized to deal with any significant skin or hair problems so you may need to look elsewhere if your dog has issues in this area.

 

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

 

So there you have it, some super recommendations for the best dog shampoo and conditioners.  There are hundreds of options out there, some good and some bad. Hopefully our little guide will help you to avoid the bad ones and buy the right product to keep your dog’s coat and skin in tip top condition.

 Just remember that the best shampoo for your dog is not your shampoo! They have very different needs. Image above: Wittsy Glassware Dog Lover Wine Glass.

 

Pet Medical ID Tags by Lauren's Hope

 

Thanks for visiting and reading … I hope this article provided you some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

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Best Flea Treatments for Your Dog or Cat

 

Best Flea Treatments for Your Dog or Cat

 

Your Complete Guide to Getting Rid of Fleas!

 

 

Fleas are more than an annoyance — they can affect the health of their host dog or cat. A flea’s saliva could trigger allergies, and the itching and scratching that ensues can lead to a more serious skin infection. Infected fleas can also transmit tapeworms and bacteria — including bacteria that are harmful to humans. A large enough number of fleas can even cause life-threatening blood loss.

Unfortunately, fleas are not a problem that will go away on its own. In fact, ignoring a few fleas can quickly lead to an infestation. Female fleas can lay up to 50 eggs a day, many of which fall off and land in carpets, bedding and furniture. Once the larvae hatch, they remain inactive in cocoons for weeks or even months. Unsuspecting pet owners might think the problem is resolved after killing the adult fleas, but the life cycle will repeat weeks later unless eggs and larvae are prevented from maturing into adult fleas. Experts say the most effective way to keep fleas off a dog or cat is with a topical or oral medication.

If fleas are bugging your dog or cat, topical treatments like Advantage and Frontline can provide long lasting relief. I also found some great oral medications, and even a flea collar that’s safe and effective. There are other alternatives, too, but most generally are ineffective at best, and possibly hazardous at worst.

But before we go any further, be sure its fleas – 

Not all scratching indicates dog fleas. Scratching of the ears may indicate ear mites or another ear infection. Scratching or licking other parts of your pet’s body may indicate a food allergy, or other irritation.

 


Fleas are about half the size of an apple seed, but may be as large as the size of a grain of rice. They’re jumping insects, with laterally flat bodies, and they have no wings. If you don’t see actual fleas, look for flea poop. Flea waste may collect on the skin of your pet, and will look like tiny crumbles of dirt.

 

What to Look For in a Flea Treatment

 

  • Works quickly and reliably. The best flea treatments should work quickly enough that your pet will find relief within a short period of time. If the first one you try doesn’t work, try something else.

 

  • Kills adult fleas, eggs and larvae. Some medications and treatments kill adult fleas only, so you may need to re-treat fairly often, or combine them with a second flea treatment to avoid re-infestation.

 

  • Causes few side effects. Most flea treatments have potential side effects, though those are mostly minor. However, others could be life threatening to certain animals. Cat owners in particular should avoid products containing permethrin and other pyrethroids.

 

  • Is easy to use. “Spot-on” topical treatments are quick to apply to a pet’s neck or back, while tablets can often be tucked into a treat like cheese or peanut butter.

 

 

Topical Flea Treatment

 

Also known as spot-on products, topical treatments are squeezed out of a tube and applied to the pet’s neck or back. One advantage of these products is that they generally contain insect growth regulators (IGRs), which prevent eggs from hatching and larvae from maturing into adult fleas. This means that a single application can completely eliminate fleas for up to a month.

However, these products have drawbacks as well. Although they’re generally safe for pets if applied correctly, they can irritate the skin or eyes of humans; should you come in contact with the product, it must be rinsed off promptly. Once applied, the product may take several hours to dry. During this time, it may rinse off in water, and the residue may transfer to other pets, furniture or humans. Moreover, some pet owners find the smell or feel of the spot-on treatments unpleasant.

 

 

Flea Collars

 

Until recently, experts have said that flea collars are generally ineffective; some are toxic to pets and people as well. There is one exception, however, Seresto, which uses the same active ingredient as a well-rated topical treatment, Advantage, but in a slow-release formulation.

Seresto also has a tick killing ingredient. Seresto is pricey, so other options are more cost effective if you pet is indoors most or all of the time, but for pets that spend lots of time out of doors, it can make sense. No other flea collar receives much, if any, positive feedback from pet experts.

 

 

 

 

Oral Flea Medications

 

Flea control medications such as Capstar, pose no risk to humans, and they don’t leave any messy residue. Oral flea treatments tend to kill adult fleas very quickly, but most of them don’t contain an IGR to deal with the eggs and larvae. This means that pet owners must either combine the tablet with a second treatment that contains an IGR, such as a spot-on product, or keep repeating the dose until no new fleas are hatching. Another problem is getting a pet to take the pill.

While some users say their pets will gobble them happily if they’re tucked inside a treat, others — especially cat owners — find it very difficult to get them down their pets’ throats. Also, some oral medications are available only with a prescription from a vet.

 

 

Alternative Flea Treatments

 

Flea shampoos can provide immediate relief by killing adult fleas on the pet, but they don’t leave enough residue behind to kill new fleas as they hatch. As for flea dips, bombs, powders and sprays, many of them contain chemicals called pyrethroids, such as permethrin. Experts warn that these chemicals are highly toxic, especially to cats. Some vets say that products containing permethrin can be safe if you only have dogs in your household, but all warn to not use such products on cats or even on dogs if one is likely to come in contact with a cat. Permethrin comes in for the sternest cautions, but some experts also warn against the use of other pyrethroids as well.

Natural remedies are more controversial. I see lots of recommendations for them around the Internet, however, there’s little scientific evidence that they are effective in most cases. In a recent blog post, Nancy Kearns of The Whole Dog Journal says that she’s “never had much luck with the plethora of natural remedies out there.” And some natural remedies are rated to be just as toxic according the GreenPaws Flea and Tick Products Directory published by the Natural Resources Defense Council, and in some cases more so, than many of the topical and oral treatments recommended in this report

 

 

Shopping for a Flea Treatment

 

Talk to your vet first.

Your vet may have specific recommendations for products he or she thinks are the most appropriate. This is especially important in the case of pets that are weak, older, medicated, sick, pregnant or nursing, or that have previously had an adverse reaction to a flea control treatment. Additionally, some products are not suitable for puppies and kittens.

 

Check your pet’s weight.

All flea control treatments are packaged according to the pet’s weight. Don’t try to guess your pet’s weight or buy the wrong dosage because it’s cheaper. You might end up with a dosage that’s too low to kill the fleas or, worse, one that’s too high and causes serious side effects.

 

Read the directions.

Before you buy a product, take a look at the application instructions and make sure you understand them. Even if you have used the product before, review the directions to make sure they haven’t changed. Many reported illnesses in cats and dogs from flea control products are due to misuse. Lack of effectiveness is also often the result of improper application. Be especially careful not to use flea control treatments designed for dogs on your cat, or vice versa. Permethrin, a pesticide found in some topical dog treatments, can be lethal to cats.

 

Choose the right treatments.

Don’t waste your time with flea shampoos, dips, sprays or powders. Vets generally agree that these products are ineffective at best and toxic at worst. The same goes for “natural” remedies like essential oils and garlic, some of which are no less toxic than the most effective flea control products per the ratings at the GreenPaws Flea and Tick Products Directory.

 

Buy your flea remedies from your vet or from a reputable retailer.

Many products sold online, and sometimes even in stores, are counterfeits that may be ineffective or harmful to pets. Counterfeit versions of Frontline Plus are particularly common.

 

Are generics safe?

Frontline and Frontline Plus topical treatments, and Capstar oral medication, are available in generic formulas at savings ranging from a little to a lot. Experts say to avoid the cheapest generics as they likely won’t provide the same level of protection as better options. Also, though they might use the same active ingredients, the inert ingredients may differ, and that can be the difference between a treatment your pet tolerates well, and one that might irritate. Consult with your vet if you are unsure of any flea treatment.

 

Be wary of new products.

That’s the advice of The Whole Dog Journal, which adds that you shouldn’t feel pressured to change if a flea treatment that you’ve been using is continuing to work well. In addition, newer flea treatments have been subjected to less “real world” testing, which can often reveal shortcomings or hazards that lab testing fails to turn up. “We suggest that pet owners stick with older products until the safety of new ones has been established,” says Nancy Kerns, editor of The Whole Dog Journal.

 

If you don’t see it, ask.

Pet stores may not keep all their flea remedies on the same shelf. Some of them may be locked up in a separate case to prevent theft. If you don’t see the one you want, ask an employee where to find it.

 

Treat the whole house.

Money spent on a flea treatment is wasted if you don’t get the fleas out of your house. Vacuum carpets and upholstery daily, and discard the vacuum bag (outside the house) right away so fleas don’t escape. Also, wash bedding, and wipe floors and furniture.

 

Keep your eyes open.

After treatment, monitor your pet for any signs of a harmful reaction. Be prepared to contact your vet if necessary. Also keep an eye out for fleas that survive the treatment – a nit comb is very useful for checking your pet for any remaining fleas.

Some products can be re-administrated right away while others should not be. Follow manufacturer instructions to the letter and talk to your vet about additional treatment.


 

As the name suggests, a flea comb is a grooming tool used to comb through your pet’s fur. But unlike regular combs, the teeth of a flea comb are very finely spaced allowing the comb to physically trap and remove fleas, flea eggs and flea “dirt” from your pet’s fur. The tightly-spaced teeth on the comb are also useful for picking up and removing dander, dirt, and other debris from your pet’s fur.

Even if you don’t think your pet has fleas, using a flea comb periodically can help you identify fleas before they become a more difficult to treat problem.

 

 

Know what to expect.

Some flea treatments work almost immediately, some take a day or more for effects to be seen. Frontline and Frontline Plus work by over stimulating a flea’s nervous system, something that’s often mistaken for an increase in fleas or an adverse reaction (caused by a short-term uptick in flea bites) by anxious pet owners.

 

 

Flea Treatment Recommendations

 

The top two topical flea treatments for both dogs and cats are Advantage II and Frontline Plus. They use different active ingredients, imidacloprid and fipronil, respectively, to eradicate infestations. The two insecticides work differently, but experts say that when used correctly, they are both safe and effective.

Both products receive mostly positive reviews from veterinarians and pet owners, but we found somewhat stronger recommendations for Advantage II. Cat owners, in particular, tend to give Advantage II for Cats high marks for its effectiveness, safety and ease of use. While it does not work for every cat, it’s more consistently effective than any other topical treatment. Most owners also find it easy to apply and are not bothered by the odor.

 Advantage II is a reformulated version of an older product called Advantage, first released in 1996, which killed only adult fleas. The current version includes an insect growth regulator (IGR) to kill flea eggs and larvae as well. Both the original Advantage and Advantage II get positive reviews from veterinarians, including those who specialize in cat care. Vets at the All Feline Hospital in Lincoln, Neb., describe Advantage II as “very safe and effective on cats.” However, reviews from cat owners indicate that in very rare cases, cats may have dangerous reactions to this treatment, so it’s probably wise to consult a vet before use.

 

Advantage II for Dogs is sold in several different dosages, for small, medium, large and extra-large dogs; as you might expect, versions for larger dogs cost a little more than those for smaller ones. Dog owners are not quite as enthusiastic about Advantage II as cat owners. Although most owners find it effective, dog owners were more likely than cat owners to complain that Advantage II either didn’t work or stopped working before the one-month treatment period was up. Veterinarian dermatologist Jon Plant, writing at the Itchy Dog Blog, notes a study, albeit in cats, that shows some drop in effectiveness toward the end of a month. He adds that “the Advantage line of products are generally very effective for flea control in most situations, when used as directed (monthly).”

Bayer (the maker of Advantage II) also offers Advantage Multi, which is offered by prescription only and in formulations for dogs and cats.  It adds additional protections against hookworms, round worms and other parasites (depending on the species). However, it is not an all life cycle flea killer and is only effective on adult fleas, not flea eggs and larvae. The cat version is the only product that’s also FDA approved for use on ferrets (minimum weight of 2 pounds). One disadvantage to products in the Advantage line is that they don’t protect against ticks. If that’s a concern, a different product could be a better choice.

Frontline Plus, like Advantage II, is a reformulated version of an older product. The original Frontline killed adult fleas, as well as lice and ticks. The new version, Frontline Plus, also contains an IGR to kill fleas at every stage of their life cycle. It continues to protect against ticks and chewing lice as well, something that Advantage II can’t do.

 

Frontline Plus for Cats

 

 

Frontline Plus for Dogs

 

 
 

Frontline Plus gets high marks for safety from both vets and pet owners.

Frontline works by over-stimulating a flea’s nervous system, making them hyperactive before they die. That can make it look like your pet’s flea infestation is actually getting worse as fleas that were previously unseen rise to the top of its coat, and that results in some negative feedback in user reviews, but vets have few reservations. Dr. Plant notes that Frontline Plus is “100% effective at 12 and 24 hours from 1 day to 28 days post treatment.”

There have been some reports, such as this article in The New York Times, indicating that, while fleas in a few parts of the country have become more resistant to fipronil (the active ingredient in Frontline), it and other treatments are still largely still effective in most regions. That’s echoed in comments by Dr. Thomas B. McMillen at the Mercy Animal Hospital in Cranston, R.I., who says “There have apparently been some resistance problems in Florida, but there is no evidence of that around here.” In a study published in Parasites & Vectors, a scientific journal, researchers Tad Coles and Michael Dryden find that reports of resistance to flea treatments is more likely to be caused by improper or insufficient application rather than resistance to the product by the fleas or other pests themselves.

Because the patent for fipronil has expired, generic versions of Frontline Plus are now available. Examples include Pet Armor Plus for Dogs and  Sentry Fiproguard Plus for Dogs.  Formulations for cats are also available, as are generic versions of the original Frontline, designed to kill adult fleas but not eggs or larvae.

 

 
 

 

 

Experts do sound some cautions, however. While the active ingredients are the same, inactive ingredients can differ. The Whole Dog Journal specifically recommends against using low-budget spot on treatments as they can be more toxic and less effective than those “made by the most reputable and responsible manufacturers.” Still, some vets and other experts consider generic versions of Frontline to be a reasonable alternative where budgets are a concern. If you are considering a generic version of Frontline or Frontline Plus, the best guidance would be to ask your vet. Finally, choose your vendor wisely as counterfeit versions of Frontline Plus have also been reported.

 

For Fleas and Ticks

For dog owners who want to control both fleas and ticks, another option is K9 Advantix II

 Made by the same company that makes Advantage II, K9 Advantix II contains the same ingredients, plus an additional ingredient called permethrin that kills ticks and mosquitoes. Permethrin is highly toxic to cats, so K9 Advantix II is for use on dogs only. While permethrin is not generally considered harmful to dogs, reviews from dog owners suggest that K9 Advantix II is more likely to cause side effects than either Advantage II or Frontline Plus. Skin irritation is the most common problem, but a few owners describe more serious reactions. Still, K9 Advantix II appears to be an effective product for treating both fleas and ticks in dogs.

 

 

One Flea Collar to Try

In general, flea collars get a thumbs down from experts as being both ineffective and often toxic. One that breaks from the pack, however, is the Seresto Flea and Tick Collar

This is another product that uses the same active ingredient as Advantage, and is made by the same company, but in a gradual release format that keeps pets pest free for eight months. There’s no IGR, but one’s not needed as the active ingredient is constantly killing fleas as they emerge. Seresto collars also have a tick-killing component, flumethrin, so they are a great choice for animals that spend a lot of time outdoors.

Vet feedback thus far has been largely positive, and the Seresto flea collar receives lots of user feedback at sites like Amazon.com, most of which has been very good. In a blog post, Nancy Kearns of The Whole Dog Journal reports using Seresto to keep her dogs flea free after an outbreak had been eradicated. “So far, so good; I haven’t spotted any fleas, and you can believe I’ve been looking,” she writes. Dr. Plant notes that it kills 100 percent of existing fleas on dogs within 24 hours, and re-infesting fleas in two hours. It’s also 98 percent effective on cats within 6 hours. One caution that he shares is that while the collar is rated to be effective for eight months, frequent swimming or bathing can reduce that duration.

Adverse reactions seem to be relatively rare. However, since this flea collar uses the same active ingredient as Advantage, if your pet has not done well with Advantage, Seresto also won’t be a good choice. Some complaints are seen about the cost, a concern that Kearns echoes as well, especially for those with multiple pets, but keep in mind that a single collar is the equivalent of eight monthly does of Advantage. Versions are available for both dogs and cats.

 
A Complete Flea Control Program

 

Treat the Environment

Indoor flea control involves mechanically removing all stages of the fleas, killing any remaining adults, and preventing immature forms from developing.

Start by vacuuming thoroughly, especially below drapes, under furniture edges, and where your pet sleeps. It is estimated that vacuuming can remove up to 50% of flea eggs. Vacuum daily in high traffic areas, weekly in others. Each time, seal your vacuum bag in a plastic bag and discard it immediately. Do NOT place mothballs or flea collars in the vacuum, since toxic fumes could result.

Use a product that will kill any remaining adult fleas and also stop the development of eggs and larvae. You will need a product that contains both an adulticide and an insect growth regulator (IGR), such as Nylar (pyriproxyfen) or methoprene. This can be in the form of carpet powders, foggers, or sprays.

Foggers are especially good for large open areas. Surface sprays can reach areas such as baseboards, moldings, cracks, and under furniture where foggers cannot reach. Choose the product(s) you use with care, taking into account the presence of children, fish, birds, persons with asthma, etc. Your veterinarian can help you choose the appropriate products for your situation. In severe infestations, you may need the help of a professional exterminator.

Wash your pet’s bedding weekly and treat the bed and surrounding area with a product that contains both an adulticide and an insect growth regulator.

Do not forget to also clean and treat your automobile, pet carrier, garage, basement, or any other place your pet spends much time.

Flea control in the outdoor environment generally involves eliminating the habitat in the yard and kennel areas where fleas are most likely to occur. Fleas tend to like it where it is moist, warm, shady, and where there is organic debris. They will also tend to be where pets spend more of their outdoor time. So be sure to concentrate on areas such as patios, under porches, dog houses, etc.

Rake away any organic debris such as leaves, straw, grass clippings, etc., to disturb flea habitat.

Wild animals such as opossums, raccoons, chipmunks and other small rodents can carry fleas. Try to discourage these animals from entering your yard, e.g., do not feed them.

 

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

Keep in mind that until all of the fleas in your home have died, you will probably still see some fleas, even on a treated pet, since some immature forms may continue to develop. This is especially true if you had a big flea problem to start with. Persistence is the key here. It is essential to keep following an effective flea control program for a long enough time to get rid of all of the fleas, in all life stages. This may take several weeks to 6 months or more, depending on your particular situation.

 

Pet Medical ID Tags by Lauren's Hope

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading … I hope this article provided you some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

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