Friday, October 19, 2012

Five Essential Nutrients for Skin and Coat Health

Keeping your companion animal’s skin healthy and coat shiny can prove challenging. Even though you might already feed a quality food, and brush and shampoo regularly, there’s more to this area of pet care than you might think. Veterinarians will tell you that the condition of the skin can be a good indicator of a pet’s overall health and nutrition status. That’s why wise pet parents should monitor their companion animal for any of these tell-tale signs …

• Dry, flaky skin or a dull, brittle coat
• Oily, foul smelling skin or a matted coat
• Thin coat, excessive hair loss or red, blotchy skin
• Excessive scratching (especially, seasonally)

The skin is the largest organ in the body and requires proteins and other nutrients. It’s not surprising that subtle changes in the amount of nutrients supplied to the skin can have a noticeable effect on its overall condition.

Fortunately, many pets eat complete-and-balanced pet foods that meet the nutrient profiles specified by expert panels and regulatory bodies. However, there are other factors that can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Pet foods that are improperly stored in the home, or in warehouses for many months without climate control prior to entering your home, can have reduced nutrient availability. Deficiencies may also arise when an animal is unable to digest, absorb or utilize nutrients as a result of genetic, environmental or stress factors, or some diseases. Even if your companion animal eats a nutritious diet, her skin takes a backseat to the rest of her organs … in essence, only receiving the “leftovers”. Therefore, I believe it’s important to supplement with additional nutrients, to help your furry one achieve skin and coat health.  However, you don’t want to just start adding these things on your own.  You can over dose your pet and upset the entire balance and actually make him sick or worsen the condition.  Stick to a healthy, holistic product that is all natural and will be absorbed into the delicate system.  We recommend Nuvet supplements.  They have proven to be the best on the market.  You can’t find these in stores as they are made fresh, and can be ordered directly.  While you cannot possibly get everything your body needs in just dog kibble alone, it is necessary to supplement.

Here are the top five essential nutrients you should consider for optimal skin and coat health:

1. Omega-3 Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acids

The importance of balanced supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids cannot be stressed enough. Omega-3 fatty acids play a structural role in cell membranes, help resolve inflammation and are vital for maintaining normal skin structure and function. Omega-3’s are fragile molecules and prolonged storage or improperly balanced vitamin E can deplete levels of fatty acids in food and supplements. Signs that your pet may be suffering from a deficiency of these nutrients include a dull, dry coat and dander.

2. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant vital to the maintenance of skin cell membrane stability and protection against free-radical damage. Also, vitamin E interacts with many nutrients while in the body, including omega-3 fatty acids, to promote optimal skin health.

3. Zinc

Zinc is critical for regulating different aspects of skin cell metabolism. Its presence is involved in skin cell replication. Zinc is essential to the body’s response to disease and inflammation and is involved in the metabolism of another crucial skin nutrient, vitamin A. Signs of a zinc deficiency include: a dull, dry coat; localized redness; hair loss; and scales that appear on the legs, around the mouth or on the eyelids.

4. Vitamin A

Vitamin A is involved in skin cell growth and repair. It is essential to maintain the integrity of the skin barrier and the proper growth of hair and nails. Vitamin A also supports the production of healthy oils in the skin. Both deficiency and excess vitamin A can lead to skin problems such as hair loss, poor coat quality and increased susceptibility to bacterial infections, which is why the correct balance of vitamin A is so critically important in the diet.

5. Vitamin B

The B-complex vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, d-pantothenic acid, niacin, pyridoxine, B12 and biotin) work in concert with the nutrients mentioned above to coordinate energy metabolism and synthetic processes. B vitamins are water-soluble, and therefore can’t be stored in the body. The balanced daily intake of these vitamins is vital to overall health. Dry, flaky dander and hair loss are the signs most consistently associated with B-vitamin deficiencies.
An important take-away from this discussion is that all these nutrients, while each important in their own right, work in concert with one another, and with other nutrients in the body. That’s why it’s incredibly important that these nutrients be provided in a balanced, holistic way. As you can see, some of the deficiency symptoms overlap (e.g., a dull, dry coat and dandruff could signal a deficiency of any or all of these nutrients). I urge you to choose a balanced skin-and-coat supplement, and to work with your veterinarian to ensure that your companion animal is receiving all the nutrients he or she needs to shine. At Susana Labradors, we have found an awesome supplement called “Nuvet”  like a one a day, it helps to keep our yellow Labradors, black Labradors where you can spot dander on the fur, and our fox red Labradors coats free of hot spots, and helps boost the immune system of our Labrador puppies.  You can read more about this all natural product, lead free on our nutrition and health page.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Crate Potty Training

Puppies can comprehend the same way we can, but it does take a bit of time and patience. When you potty train your puppy with a crate, at first the puppy wont understand why it's been put into the crate, the puppy might be scared, the puppy might not want to be inside the crate, and the puppy might have separation anxiety from being alone and bored. Do not force the puppy into the crate, you need to entice the puppy to go into the crate with treats or a tasty bone. The first few days of crate training is very rough because the puppy will bark a lot. The puppy will eventually get acclumated to the crate. You may expierence a few accidents inside the crate for the first four days. Try to remember to let the puppy out often to encourage the puppy to do its buisness outside. Either way, the puppy must stay inside the crate for at least one hour at a time, increasing the time by fifteen minuets, up to a half an hour, three hours max. (especially over night). It helps if you put your puppy on a schedule (potty time, play time, eat/drink time then back in the crate). When you let you puppy outside to go potty, go outside with the puppy and bring some treats with you, when you see the puppy go potty, give the puppy a treat when its done and say "good potty!" in a "Happy Tone" of voice, so the puppy knows it's doing the right thing. This process is repeated, if the puppy is barking in the crate, that is a sign that the puppy needs to go potty. It is tempting to let the puppy out of the crate every time the it barks, but the puppy needs to know it has to be quiet inside the crate, so you dont want to let the puppy out every time it barks or the puppy will be training you! You can gauge this by keeping a journal, and keeping record of times to let puppy out. Never allow your new puppy to run around inside your house just after opening your crate door.  Carry or leash walk your puppy outside to go potty each time in the designated potty area or area in which you want him to eliminate. The puppy has to learn that the crate is its little home until its potty trained. The puppy must be fed in the crate and it must sleep in the crate until it is trained to not go potty inside the crate. This will come in time, there will be accidents along the way. The crate training process takes 2-3 weeks and it is extremely effective if the process is done correctly. But don't forget that a puppy is just like an infant, there will be times where the puppy will be barking at four in the morning because it needs to go potty, letting it out right away is the best thing to do to ensure perfect crate training for your puppy. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pet’s Lost and Found in Real Life

We asked our PetRescuers Facebook community from the more popular microchip manufactures and here is what they said.,. Stories of families reunited with their beloved pets poured in from coast to coast of families reunited with their beloved pets. Some reunions came after years apart and hundreds of miles of separation. Here are just a few of the uplifting stories we’ve received:

Six Years Later

“On Memorial Day weekend in 2005, some fireworks scared our little dog Stinky away from where we were staying. We did everything we could think of to find her—called local shelters, hung posters—but nothing worked. Over the next six years, I never gave up hope. Then in May, 2011, I got a call from animal control. Unbelievably, they’d found Stinky and contacted us through HomeAgain. Never give up!” -- Amy

A Real Scare on Halloween

“Right before Halloween 2010, we lost our beloved cat Squeaky. Our children made lost posters and searched the neighborhood with no luck. After seven months lost, the local shelter found her and tracked her to us through her microchip. I’m a true believer in the microchip now.” --

Stolen—and Recovered

“Over two years ago, the unthinkable happened—my Chihuahua, Pinto, was stolen. I cried day and night, and eventually gave up hope of finding her. Then one day I got a call from the chip company and she had been found over 100 miles away! Getting Pinto back was the best day of my life.” -- Marrissa

One Mile Away and Completely Lost

“One night during a horrible snow storm, our 10-year-old German Shepherd got lost. He was gone for over a week. My husband put flyers in all the neighbors’ mailboxes. It ends up, our dog was only a mile away, but he couldn’t find his way home in all the snow. If it wasn’t for my husband and having the implant I don’t know how I would have found him.” –Robbii M. (Facebook PetRescuer)

Looking for Mom

“While I was stationed in Iraq, I called home and found out my dog had run away over a week before. Some kids found her seven miles from home and took her to the Emergency Room. The ER scanned her microchip and got her home safe. I think she was looking for her Mama, poor girl.” –Toni D. (Facebook PetRescuer)

Susana Labradors real life stories as told by 2 of my puppy clients

After getting a yellow Labrador puppies from Susana Labradors, I had Bucky outside while the phone rang.  I should have let it go to the machine, but instead I ran inside leaving Bucky out front to do his business.  When I returned a minute later, Bucky was gone.  So of course I combed the neighborhood looking for my tiny 8 week old puppy to no avail.  An hour later, the phone rang and to my surprise, a woman going to work spotted my puppy, took her in her car with her as she made her way to work which was 60 miles from my house.  She pooped into a local vet and admitted “I found this puppy, and if it doesn’t belong to anyone, I want to keep him” Well, luckily we had Susana Labradors chip him, and once scanned I was notified to pick up my puppy.  Thank goodness for the chip..or some woman would be walking my precious Bucky.

While I loved my white Labrador puppy that I got from Susana Labs, she was a crafty one.  She figured out how to get out of my back gate while I was away.  3 months later after I contacted Susana Labradors and bought a second puppy assuming Sadie was gone forever…the phone rang…I guess crafty Sadie figured out how to escape her new owners place too.  She is back in my arms thanks to the recovery chip, and by the way, Sasha and Sadie are the best of friends!

Almost Half of You Have Lost Pets

Every year, as many as 10 million pets are reported lost. It can happen to anyone. In our recent Facebook poll, 49% of our PetRescuer community told us they’d lost a pet once, and 15% said they’d lost a pet more than once.

Why do pets run away? Animals are highly curious by nature, so exploring and chasing objects is instinctual. They are hard-wired with a desire to find out what lies beyond their territory. Often, their sense of smell can get them into all kinds of trouble—whether they smell food or other animals. Just the scent of another dog or cat can lure your pet away. The good news is spaying and neutering can reduce this likelihood by as much as 90%.

If your pet gets lost, stay calm and start looking immediately in your area. In many cases, your pet won't have gotten far by the time you realize they're missing. The majority of our Facebook responders said they'd found their pets inside their own homes—in a drawer, the pantry, the garage or under furniture.

Most dogs are recovered within a two-mile radius of their home. They normally wouldn't run in a straight line for an extended distance, no matter how strong or fast they are. Small dogs may be able to go half a mile at most. Friendly pets typically find people or other pets to play with—so look for them in public parks or neighbors’ yards. If your pet is shy, you may find them hiding under bushes and parked cars.

Rescuing a Lost Pet

We all know losing our own pets would be heartbreaking. But what if you see a stray dog or cat that you suspect is lost? Most strays have a home—usually a good, loving home—but somehow got away. Many animal lovers have a hard time passing a pet that seems alone without at least wondering where he or she belongs. If you’re one of those people, here are a few tips to help get Rover or Fluffy back home:

  1. Determine that the pet is really lost. Is he or she walking down the street with purpose? Does the pet look street savvy? If you’re in a rural area, the animal may just be headed home.
  2. Look for signs he’s not a stray. True strays may look confused and scared and be dirty, thin, or haggard. Lost pets, on the other hand, will probably look well fed and groomed, and have a friendlier disposition.
  3. Get the pet’s attention. In order not to startle him, make a soft clucking noise with your tongue or call him gently to you. Does he have a collar with ID tags? If so, you’ve got a great shot at finding the owners right away. If not, he may have been microchipped, so take him to your local shelter or vet so that they can scan him. You don’t have to relinquish the pet to the shelter—you’re just trying to find his or her owners.
  4. Offer treats. Some lost pets may come to you and then shy away when you reach for them. It’s helpful to have treats or food with you. Toss the food gently to one side of the animal, not directly at him.
  5. Never corner a fearful animal. Be careful if a dog bears his teeth, growls, or snaps at you, or if a cat arches and hisses. It’s a good idea to leave aggressive pets alone and call animal control.
  6. Find a leash or crate. If the animal doesn’t have a collar, you can use a belt or tie as a makeshift collar and leash so that you can control him. In many instances, the best way of capturing a stray cat is with a humane baited crate, which you can get at a feed store or hardware store.
  7. Protect your passenger. Often, a pet will come if you open your car door and call him or her. If you can get a lost dog or cat into your car, crate him. If you don’t have a crate, try to secure him in the backseat. You don’t want a fearful animal jumping into your lap as you drive.
  8. Proceed with caution. If you take a pet home, remember that you don’t know this animal and that he may be unpredictable. Don’t corner him, leave him alone with children, or try to take food or treats away from him.
  9. Get the word out. If the animal doesn’t have ID or a microchip, post brightly colored FOUND DOG or FOUND CAT posters at busy intersections in the neighborhood where the pet was found. Don’t include too much information about the animal just in case a scammer contacts you.
  10. Next steps. If you’ve managed to catch a friendly dog or cat, make every attempt to find his owner. Call local shelters, get the animal scanned for a microchip, and check local classifieds for lost pet ads. Remember, there is a possibility that the dog or cat was dumped and now you’re his owner. Perhaps you’ll want to keep Rover or Fluffy if every attempt to find his owners has failed.

This article was written by someone else other than us at Susana Labradors.  However, I thought it was worth the read.  You know, from time to time we may see a lost Labrador wandering around the street.  The last one I saw was a yellow Labrador adult male dog.  We managed to get him to come towards us, and immediately collared him and put an appropriate sized dog chain around our mail box, so he couldn’t wander.  This gave him a little room to get up and turn around but it secured him . We gave him food and water and sat with him for a while.  As darkness approached, we left him to sit there on a blanket by our mailbox.  Sure enough, his rightful owners came driving by looking for him and claimed him.  They left me a Thank you note in the mailbox, with their name and address.

About a week later I was crossing the street and saw a few cop cars and a civilian car pulled over next to the busy street where we live off of.  Apparently this same dog got out and this time was unfortunately, hit by a car.  Out of curiosity, I made my way through the crowd and recognized the dog.  I alerted the officer, that I knew where the owners lived.  I ran home and grabbed their business card they had left me and my work for the day was done.

I don’t know the outcome of this poor dog that kept breaking out of their gate, if he lived or died.  But without dog collars for Identification, or a microchip implant, it is a big mystery as to how to get these dogs home.  Luckily for him I was there.  The odd thing is that I rarely get opportunity to leave my ranch, as I am kept so busy raising and training our Labrador’s here.  I just happened to be out on foot that day and it was as if I was supposed to be there right at that time for the livelihood of this poor dog.  Otherwise, no one would have known where this dog lived and the owners may not have checked the veterinarian’s offices.

Before we let one of our precious yellow Labrador puppies go to a new owner, I always ask “how will my puppy be living”?  Just to make sure that they have proper gating and fencing.  Most people who buy our Labrador puppy’s will love them and care for them, but it is a constant caring as they grow and change and develop personality’s.  Some dogs can be jumpers or diggers left alone to their own accord and tragedies can happen with a dog that is bored. 

So keep an eye on your dog, be sure it is safe for him if you leave your property.  We suggest a commercial kennel or run that is puppy/dog safe for him to live in while you are away.  Check our web site on How to build your own.

Pet-Safe Household Cleaning Products: How to Clean When You Have Pets

A number of common household cleaning products are toxic to pets or, at the very least, can irritate their skin and respiratory system. Luckily, most pet stores and online pet retailers are savvy about carrying pet-safe cleaning products. Keeping pet-safe cleaning products on hand is great for those quick clean ups, but there are also some very common household items that are effective and great for pet-safe cleaning. Here are some of the best that we at Susana Labradors like to use around our Labrador retriever puppies.  Enjoy!:

  1. Alcohol: Isopropyl alcohol is a great disinfectant and nontoxic once it dries. Dilute alcohol to remove dirt and stains from surfaces like countertops or the floor. A full concentration of rubbing alcohol may hurt your pet when not dry, so as a rule of thumb, dilute ¼ cup rubbing alcohol with 1 gallon hot water.
  2. Baking soda: This inexpensive product is a great substitute for scouring cleansers. Use it to scrub the tub, sink, and even the kitchen floors. As an added bonus, it deodorizes as it cleans. Sprinkle it into your carpets to remove pet odors; it’s even safe to use on upholstery! It can also replace your toxic metal polishes or be used to scrub out the litter box.
  3. Borax: This product is found in the laundry aisle. Use as directed with your usual laundry detergent to get your clothes and pet bedding really clean in the washing machine. It can also be used to scrub the tub and tiles in your bathroom, and even kills fleas! Borax is a naturally-occurring mineral made of very sharp granules. Sprinkle some into your carpet, rub it in with a broom and then just vacuum it up.
  4. Drain cleaner: Commercial drain cleaners are incredibly toxic. For a natural alternative, pour half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of white vinegar down the drain, and then cover it with a dinner plate. After half an hour, run hot water to see if the clog has dispersed. If not, try again, and then use a plunger. If that still doesn’t work, use a commercial drain cleaner or call a plumber. Do not, under any circumstances, try the natural method after using a commercial cleaner. The resulting fumes can be toxic.
  5. Cornstarch: Cornstarch does a great job of cleaning rugs, windows, and even polishing some metals.
  6. Mineral oil: Replace your toxic wood polish with mineral oil. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice for a fresh smell. Mineral oil is flammable, so keep it away from open flames.
  7. Potpourri: Some store-bought potpourris contain chemicals that are harmful to pets, as do all scented candles and air-freshener sprays and plug-ins. Instead, put cinnamon sticks and cloves or cinnamon tea (don’t forget to add water!) on the stove over low heat for about half an hour. Only do this while you’re home – don’t forget and leave the house with the stove on.
  8. Salt: Use coarse salt as a scouring powder.
  9. Steam: There are quite a few handheld steam cleaners on the market today, and since they use only heat and water to clean and disinfect, the result is completely pet-safe.
  10. Steel wool: Plain steel wool and a little elbow grease will clean food that's stuck on pots and pans.
  11. Vinegar: A vinegar/water solution is great for cleaning the bathroom, kitchen, and windows. It will also clean rust stains. This also works on my hard wood floors to remove pee and urine from all those little accidents that our yellow lab pups for sale have, and we have been working hard on their training. Visit our website again to see these adorable Labrador puppies for sale, and you never know, one of them may spark your interest.