What are the warning signs of dog dehydration and how to prevent it?

Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan, Detroit, summer fun with your dog, dog dehydration


Summer is upon us and its a fantastic time to spend outdoors with your dog and human family. It is also dog dehydration, dog drinking water, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michiganimportant to become educated and more concerned about everyone’s hydration including knowing the signs of your dog becoming dehydrated and how to prevent it.

As with humans, dehydration can occur before we realize we are thirsty and dogs often times do not show that they don’t feel well until its a serious condition. For dogs, dehydration can lead to serious life threatening emergencies. So it’s important to provide your dog with frequent access to clean water to drink throughout the day.

In addition to frequent drinking water, here are some other tips:

  • Limit your dog’s outdoor activities to early morning and late evenings when it’s cooler outdoors.
  • Ensure your dog has ample cool ventilation when you are away from the home.
  • Don’t leave your dog in your car on warm days even with the air conditioning running as many dogs have died quickly in cars in which the car stalled and thus the air conditioning turned off.
  • Provide your dog with ample shade when outdoors
  • If you need to walk your dog in public wearing a muzzle for safety purposes, only use a basket style muzzle rather than a form fitting muzzle. The basket muzzle will allow your dog to more readily pant which is how dogs cool themselves off. The form fitting muzzle should only be used for short durations, such as during a veterinarian exam.
  • Store your dog’s veternarian and your local 24 hour Emergency Vet Hospital phone numbers in your cell phone.
  • Locate veternarian offices and 24 hour Emergency Veternarian Hospitals in the areas you travel to with your dog prior to embarking on a trip.

The American Kennel Club has a nice article about knowing the warning signs and preventing dehydration.

They list the following warning signs:dog dehydration, thirsty dog, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan

  • “Loss of appetite
  • Reduced energy levels and/or lethargy
  • Panting
  • Sunken, dry-looking eyes
  • Dry nose and gums
  • Loss of skin elasticity”

A dog’s normal temperature is 101-102.5. If your dog has a high temperature and/or exhibits the above symptoms contact your veterinarian (or an Emergency 24 hour Veterinarian if after hours) immediately.

Meet the Plymouth Veterinary Hospital Staff

Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth Veterinary Hospital, Plymouth, Michigan, Dr. Vyvian J. Gorbea, Veterinarian

Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down and chatting with Dr. Vyvian J. Gorbea, D.V.M., Ph.D. and her staff at her clinic, Plymouth Veterinary Hospital in Plymouth, Michigan. It was a great meet and greet IMG_1385where we learned about each other’s businesses to better serve our mutual clients.

Plymouth Veterinary Hospital is accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) since 1992.  The office manager, Julie told me what a honor that is as only approximately 18% of all veterinary hospitals in the United States are accredited by AAHA due to their strict standards. Plymouth Veterinary Hospital is a full medical and surgical facility providing preventative veterinary health care, nutritional and weight management, veterinary dental care with dental radiology and therapeutic laser therapy as well.

IMG_4496Walking into their lobby, you’ll be instantly impressed with it’s visual welcoming nature and the friendliness of their staff. Look further and you’ll notice how clean the exams rooms are kept.

They also have an entry and exit door to the lobby which helps dogs avoid each other as they enter and leave the facility. Additionally, I have always found the staff to be very professional, efficient and caring. If you’re looking for a Veternarian in Plymouth, Michigan give them a call at 734-453-0485.

Dog Poop Bags: How to open them and which ones to buy

Not all dog poop bags are the same.  Some bags are cheap but as the saying goes, “you usually get what you pay for.”  They tend to be very thin and break open while you’re cleaning up your dog’s dirty business. Others are thicker, come in different colors and most importantly some are easy and some are difficult to open. For the ones that are hard to open, Katie Babcock, a dog trainer at Michigan Dog Training LLC , shows in the below video how one can more easily open the bags without licking a finger. Because oh that’s gross when you are cleaning up poop. Later in the video, Michael Burkey, President of Michigan Dog Training LLC talks about which poop bags his company has found to be most effective.

Dog Poop Bags: How to open them more easily and which ones to buy


7 Tips to keep your dog cool in the summer heat

Michigan Dog Training, www.michigandogtrainer.com, michigandogtraining.me

Fun in the Sun

With the warming days of summer upon us, it’s important to guard your dog against heat stroke and to know the warning signs of heat stroke before it becomes life endangering.

According to Pets Web Md, “Heat stroke begins with heavy panting and difficulty breathing. The tongue and mucous membranes appear bright red. The saliva is thick and tenacious, and the dog often vomits. The rectal temperature rises to 104° to 110°F (40° to 43.3°C). The dog becomes progressively unsteady and passes bloody diarrhea. As shock sets in, the lips and mucous membranes turn gray. Collapse, seizures, coma, and death rapidly ensue.”


Tips to guard against heat stroke include:

1. Provide your dog with plenty of shade and cool water to drink when outdoors.

2. Provide your dog with a kid’s wading pool of water to cool off in.

3. Bring your dog indoors especially during the hotter parts of the day.

4. Never leave your dog in a vehicle when the temperature is above 70 degrees  and in the sun. Cracked windows will not give enough ventilation for your dog nor allow the heated air that is building up inside your vehicle to escape.  Basically, if it would be too uncomfortable for you to sit in your car, it’s too hot for your dog as well (the same rule applies for your dog in the winter time too).

5. Limit exercise (playing with other dogs, playing fetch, walks and runs, etc.) to cooler parts of the day.

6. Take your dog to a dog friendly beach for some cooling off swimming fun.

7. If your dog becomes overheated, place cool compresses under your dog’s armpits and groin area. You can also cool down the pads of  your dog’s feet or place him/her in a kid’s wading pool or a bathtub filled with cool water. Dousing your dog with cool water will have little impact due to the fur which effectively wicks the water away. If your dog’s conditions don’t immediately improve or if your dog is very lethargic, take your dog to your veterinarian. Once your dog’s condition has improved, you should still take your dog to your veterinarian as soon as possible, to rule out any resulting health complications of having had heat stroke.

Knowing the signs of heat stroke and the 7 tips to keep your dog cool will make sure you and your dog enjoy a safe warm summer together. For more helpful tips and to inquire about dog training, contact Michigan Dog Training LLC.

Testimonial from Holistic Pet Food Advisor Damesworth

Debbie Damesworth

Debbie Damesworth a holistic pet food advisor had this to say of Michael Burkey, owner and professional dog trainer at Michigan Dog Training:  “I just met Michael as a visitor to our BNI chapter. I was highly impressed with his professionalism and knowledge of what he does. His background is very impressive with much experience. He also is a Life’s Abundance holistic pet food distribution. Ask him about the benefit’s of feeding your dog the right balance of nutrition.”

Pet CPR and First Aid – Would You Know What to Do?

Michael Burkey, Michigan Dog Trainer, Pet First Aid and CPR, PetTechIf your pet was injured and in distress would you know how to deliver first aid and/or CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation)?  Last weekend, I attended a workshop entitled “E7 Palozza” at That’s My Dog!, a superb dog training facility in Dubuque, Iowa.  One of the presenters was Sharon Lawson, a certified PetTech Instructor.  She provided an excellent training course for the professional dog  trainers in attendance about CPR, First Aid and Care for Your Pets.

Although, I have been certified in CPR and Advanced First Aid for humans, attended previous first aid classes for dogs, and been around dogs for most of my life; the PetTech class was enlightening.  I would recommend a similar class for anyone with a pet.  It was very educational and the learning was made fun via the use of simulated dogs to practice rescue breathing and CPR.

You never know when one of your pets or a friend’s pet will become injured or distressed. And, the immediate care you give may increase your pet’s chances of surviving before receiving veterinary care. For a PetTech class in the Canton, Michigan area; contact Roberta Chapman of First Aid 4 Paws.  She is a certified PetTech Instructor and prior Veterinary Technician.

What Not to Feed Your Dog

What Not to Feed Your Dog!

Along with dog training, socialization, exercise and mental stimulation; a pet’s nutrition is important for optimum health.  And, it can be very confusing as to what one should and should not feed their dog.  One has to educate themselves about pet food ingredients, read dog food labels, and weed through the marketing and celebrity endorsements.

One example of a marketing ploy used by many pet food brands is to advertise a different version of their food just for puppies.  Puppies need increased calories for their growing bodies, not some magic puppy ingredient.  The same is true for senior dogs who require a lower calorie serving.  Life Abundance pet food does not engage in this marketing ploy of developing a food promoted as a puppy or senior food.  Instead, their dog food is made for all stages of a dog’s life.  For puppies, one should feed 25% more in it’s serving compared to an active adult food serving.

I have fed my dogs Life Abundance dog food formulated by Dr. Bicks, DVM for many years.  And, I attribute their long healthy lives (Simone and Willow are 15.5 years old and Draco will be 14 next month, all Belgian Malinois with an average life span of 10-12 years according to the American Kennel Club) in part to the quality and freshness of this food.  I’ll write more about the benefits of Life Abundance in a future post entitled, “What to Feed Your Dog.” However, if you wish to learn more and/or order Life Abundance for your dog, go to my website and click on Dog Store.

Since this post is about “What Not to Feed Your Dog”, Life Abundance gives some insight on their website:

  • “Your dog eats the same food every day. The brand you feed is your dog’s main source of nutrition and vital to a long and healthy life. As a caring pet parent, it is important to see through clever marketing ploys when choosing a food worthy of your best friend.
  • Although you may think all pet food manufacturers have your pet’s best interests in mind, this is not always the case. Some manufacturers use ingredients that you would never knowingly feed your dog. In fact, you may be shocked to learn what some brands of dog food really contain.
  • Life’s Abundance Premium Health Food is veterinarian-formulated with safe and wholesome ingredients, including a blend of vitamins and minerals, high-quality proteins, whole grains, an antioxidant system, nutritious vegetables and fruits, omega fatty acids, calcium and phosophorus for healthy teeth and strong bones and dietary fiber to help maintain a healthy digestive tract. Life’s Abundance contains no artificial flavors or colors. And there’s no corn, corn gluten, wheat or wheat gluten.”

Dr. Karen Becker DVM, is a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian. She and Dr. Mercola, maintain a very informative and educational website called MercolaHealthyPets.com.  They are interested in identifying and removing health obstacles even before disease occurs.  In the below video, Dr. Becker articulates what one should not feed their dog.  She makes the confusing pet food industry labels easy to understand.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdDPi-1Yjy0]

How Not to Exercise Your Dog


Question:  Does this dog have aspirations to be a sled or weight pulling dog?  It almost appears as if he is pulling the car.  LOL

Now to get serious:  I applaud the dog’s owner for being creative and ensuring his dog receives aerobic exercise at a local park.  However, this is not a safe way to exercise your dog!

The risk is too great for the dog to be crushed by the vehicle’s tires, the owner may not be able to maintain his grip on the leash if the dog lunges to chase squirrels or dogs, and this is taking multi-tasking to the extreme.  We have laws to prevent drivers from texting while driving.  Do we need to enact laws to prevent running your dog out the window while driving? A little tongue in cheek but come on, really?!    : )

So I stopped to chat with the man and pointed out that this was not a safe practice for his dog.  The initial conversation went like this:

Me:  Looks like your dog is getting some great exercise but that’s not a safe way to do it.

Owner:  Oh I’ve been doing this for years and he hasn’t gone under the tires yet.

Me:  That’s the key word, “yet.”

Owner:  I guess you’re right but he doesn’t go near the tires, unless he’s chasing a squirrel or something.

Me:  So he does go near the tires some times.

Owner:  Well sometimes.

We then talked briefly about some options for him such as:

I don’t know if he will heed the advice but I thought I would write a blog post on it.  So if you see someone running their dog out the window, please make similar suggestions to them as how they can safely exercise their dog.

Tips to Make Veterinarian Visits a Sweet Experience

Visits to your veterinarian should be a pleasant experience for your dog, well most of thevet visits, veterinarian visits, dog training time.  As a child, going to see the doctor wasn’t on my list of fun things to do despite getting a lollipop at the end of the visit.  However, the more times I visited the doctor, the pain seemed to lessen as I kept my thoughts on that delicious sweet lollipop that would soon appear after the vaccination.  Without knowing it, my parents were training me to associate the doctor with getting lollipops.  Or perhaps, I should give them more credit that they knew exactly how to train me.   But that’s another story.  : )

In the above example, the only time I saw the doctor’s office and his staff was when I was sick and needed treatment which meant receiving shots or yucky pills and being exposed to strange instruments and surroundings.  We can do one better with our dogs though.  From the pup’s first health inspection till later in life we should make going to the veterinarian office a regular pleasant experience for our dogs.  That means taking your pup in to be weighed (most vets have a scale in the lobby area so you can do it yourself) and getting tasty treats for being calm in the lobby and while meeting the veterinarian reception staff (if they’re not too busy with other clients) on days in which your pup isn’t being examined.

One of my training goals is to help your dog become adjusted to situations they may find in a veterinarian office such as lobby congestion with strangers and other dogs, being handled and examined by strangers, being introduced to strange instruments including nail clippers, etc.  In a Basic Manners dog class, you will teach your dog to do a “Veterinarian Down Stay” which is quite helpful in keeping your dog calm and out of the way in a lobby setting.

In summary, the keys to making veterinarian visits as stress free as possible are to keep the socialization visits short, sweet and a pleasant experience for your dog.  If you do this, your dog will soon come to view the veterinarian visits as pleasant experiences, …..well most of the time.

Spay/Neuter – How Long to Wait Before Obedience Training?

dog training, group obedience class, german shepherdA question commonly asked is, “how long should I wait after my dog is spayed or neutered before they can participate in dog training?” The quick answer is to consult with your veterinarian as your own dog’s physical needs may be different than with other dogs.

However, in general dogs need about a week to recover. Your dog has just had surgery. It’s a routine surgery but surgery just the same. Veterinarians are concerned about your dog making a speedy recovery without the stitches being pulled out due to excessive activity or jumping.

There is also a difference in what kind of dog sport your dog participates in. There will be a need for a longer recovery time for a dog active in agility, frisbee or Schutzhund than for a dog enrolled in a dog obedience class where the emphasis is on sitting, walking and rewarding calm behavior rather than running and performing jumps.

Your dog is likely to be more active at home than they are to be at a basic obedience dog training class. So it will be important to limit your dog’s running and jumping in the home for a few days after the surgery. So in summary, follow your veterinarian’s advice and base your decision on the type of activity your dog is enrolled in.