Handy tips

Ear Cleaning Solution

For routine cleaning, you can mix your own ear cleaning solution by combining 1 part water with 1 part vinegar and 1 part hydrogen peroxide.

De-skunking Remedy

The most effective solution is to mix 4 cups hydrogen peroxide, 4 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of dishwashing soap. Put cotton balls in your dog's ears so that the solution does not get on his ears. Apply the solution starting at the dog's head and working towards his back end. Be careful not to get any in his eyes. Rub the solution into the coat. Rinse it off well and repeat if necessary.

Nail Trimming

Most people don't clip their dog's nails themselves because they are afraid of cutting the quick. We use a Dremel tool which grinds the dog's nails and makes it very easy to avoid the quick. It also leaves a smooth finished nail surface that won't catch on carpet or clothing. See below for a video demonstration.

 

When first introducing the Dremel tool, have your dog "Down" and turn on the tool a distance away. Bring the tool closer and talk reassuringly to the dog. For most labs, they can be easily assured with some biscuits. This may be as far as you get the first time. The next time, try touching the dog's nail with the tool while an assistant gives treats and talks to the dog. Then grind the nail by holding the toe firmly (to reduce the vibration from the tool) and go back and forth across the end of the nail and as you get close to the quick grind the nail at an angle. We suggest that you do one nail each day until they are used to it or if the dog is adapting quickly, do one paw per day. Soon you will be able to quickly an cleanly grind all four paws in one session.

Vacuuming

Finding it hard to vacuum up all of those dog hairs from carpets or furniture? I use a spray bottle to mist the carpet or furniture as I vacuum. It eliminates the static which makes it easier and quicker for the vacuum brush to pick up the hairs.

Furminator

The Furminator is easily the best brush for dogs that we have ever used. Well worth the investment, you will find it invaluable when your dog starts to blow its coat.

Udder Balm/Bag Balm

Deliver a soothing ointment to your dog's cracked pads, paw abrasions, cuts and skin irritations with Vermont's Bag Balm.

Puppy Retrieving Toy

An easy and inexpensive retrieving toy for puppies and older dogs is to cut a 10 - 12 inch piece of the tubular insulation that is used to fit around hot water pipes (it is black and about inches in diameter). Put it in an old white sock and tie it off at the end. You can also put a thick piece of doweling inside the insulation fro added weight and tie a foot long rope at the tied end of the sock to give you better throwing ability. This toy is particularly useful when your puppy is teething and his mouth is sore so you can continue retrieving with your pup without him hurting his mouth while retrieving a hard retrieve dummy and risk turning your pup off of retrieving.

Solution for No Chew

The commercial solution of Bitter Apple Spray works well to prevent pups from chewing furniture and other things you don't want damaged. However, you can also make your own No Chew solution by mixing 1/4 tsp of Tabasco sauce in 1 cup of water and then placing the solution in a spray bottle. (Check for staining possibility before spraying on household items). We find this solution particularly useful outside to teach pups not to snack on the flower beds and lawn furniture.

Fibre in Diet

Some dogs get harder stools as they get older or sometimes get occasional constipation. A heaping tablespoon of bran or canned pumpkin put in every meal often alleviates the problem.

Insect Repellent

For a safe insect repellent for your dog particularly on the head around eyes, nose, ears and mouth, AVON Skin So Soft bath oil has been found to be 85% as effective as DEET (in a recent study conducted by BC Centre for Disease Control). Smells a whole lot nicer as well...