Dog cooling mats are special mats designed to help regulate the body temperature of dogs in hot weather. They are made of materials that can absorb and dissipate heat, such as gel-infused foam, phase-change materials, or water-absorbing polymers.
Many dogs love their cooling mats, especially when the weather is hot. Dogs do not sweat like humans, and they rely on panting to regulate their body temperature. However, panting may not be enough in extreme heat, and a cooling mat can provide relief and help prevent heatstroke. The mat stays cool to the touch and helps cool down a dog's body as they lie on it.
Most dogs find the cool surface of the mat to be soothing; however, every dog is different and some may not be immediately comfortable with a new type of surface. It's a good idea to introduce the mat gradually and monitor your dog's behavior to ensure they are comfortable and not experiencing any adverse reactions. Additionally, some dogs may prefer a particular type of cooling mat or may not like using a mat at all. It's important to observe your dog's behavior and preferences and adjust accordingly to ensure their comfort and well-being.
Dog cooling mats are usually lightweight and portable, making them convenient for use both indoors and outdoors. They are available in a variety of sizes and styles, and they may be sold with a removable, washable cover for easy cleaning. Here are a few of our favorites from Amazon:
BEAUTY ZOO COOLING MAT - This mat has an absorbent layer and is machine washable. Cool, but not cold, this is a great introduction to cooling mats!
PRESSURE ACTIVATED GEL PAD - This mat is self cooling or can be placed in your refrigerator for faster activation. This pad is filled with a non-toxic gel that can also have orthopedic advantages but might not be the best choice for chewers. Sizing matches many popular crate sizes.
HYDRO COOLING MAT - This mat has a removable ice pack and is the "coolest" of the options but also the most expensive and least convenient. Can be made larger by joining mats together. Probably best for serious heat or when medically required.
UPDATE: Since writing this post, we have discovered our new favorite ear product which is sold by PawTree. Check out their Ear Wash & Ear Dry Kit as well as their Itches & Twitches Deluxe Pack for dogs which is solving ALL of our smelly ears, itchy skin, dull coat and allergy related issues!
Ear infections can occur in any breed but Cavaliers and their hybrids can be particularly prone to ear issues due to their large floppy ears. This problem is further exasperated by the fact that many of them love the water. We've found with our dogs that proper ear care can eliminate many trips to the vet. Here are some suggestions for items to have on hand and how to use them:
This blog post will cover why it's so important to purchase a puppy from a breeder who does DNA tests on their breeding stock and what to look for when provided a copy. We will cover in a future post why you might consider DNA testing your own dog, especially if you rescued, purchased from a puppy store or bought a puppy without researching the breeder.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is prone to numerous health conditions, many of them both financially and personally devastating for their owners. Years ago, we didn't have DNA testing available to help us identify dogs that were at risk for passing on serious genetic defects. Today, that's not the case and therefore any reputable breeder will be able to discuss with you the role that DNA plays in their breeding program and provide you with testing results. Before discussing specific genetic conditions that impact this breed we want to cover the basics of understanding whether a dog is at genetically clear (healthy), a carrier (healthy but can pass on the disease to puppies) or affected (unhealthy and will pass on the disease).
CLEAR - This is the gold standard. This is a dog who is clear of any genetic defects. This means they are not personally at risk and do not carry any genes for genetic defect that can be passed on to their puppies.
CARRIER - A carrier is a dog who carries one (1) gene for a genetic defect. Because they only carry one gene for this defect it will not affect them (they will never develop the defect) but they can pass it on to their puppies. Some consumers mistakenly believe that carriers should not be bred but this is not case. Carriers can safely be bred but only to a dog who is clear for that defect. If we removed all carriers from our breeding pool we would encounter other problems with inbreeding. Two carriers should not be bred.
AFFECTED - A dog who is at risk (or affected) is a dog who carries 2 copies of the gene for a trait and therefore is at risk for the disease. Although not ideal, this dog can still be bred to a dog who is clear as they will produce a litter of carriers. That being said, you do not want to purchase a dog who is affected for a genetic condition as that dog will likely become symptomatic of that condition. If your breeder doesn't test genetically then you will have no way of knowing what you are getting.
This digram helps illustrate the breeding of clear, carriers and affected dogs.
Now that you have an understanding of clear, carrier and affected you need to know what genetic tests are important for this breed. At a minimum, a reputable breeder should be testing for the following:
CAVALIER KING CHARLES SPANIEL -
To see a sample Embark DNA report, please check out this post where we provide a report from one of our dogs.
A few final words for those looking for a hybrid puppy (Cavachon or Cavapoo). First, be very wary of the hybrid breeder who claims they don't need to DNA test their dogs because crossing two breeds will eliminate the genetic disorders. This is false. This breeder is either being deceptive or has just shown their ignorance. For example Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) which is a devastating neurological disorder that doesn't appear until a dog is older (and his/her puppies have already been sold). This disease is similar to ALS or Lou Gehrig's in humans. This disease also appears in both poodles and Cavaliers; therefore, a hybrid breeder who is not testing both parents for the common disease(s) is setting up puppy owners for heartbreak.
Secondly, this is where the difference between a F1 puppy and an F2 puppy is really important. With F1 puppies many of the diseases can be eliminated if they are not a common disease; however, with F2 puppies you bring the disease possibility back. This often confuses people so here is an example:
F1 Cavapoos - A purebred Cavalier Spaniel is crossed with a purebred Poodle. The Cavalier Spaniel is affected for DM. The Bichon is clear for DM. As you can see from the chart above, 100% of their offspring will be a carrier for DM. They will not have the disease but they will pass it on to their hybrid offspring.
F2 - An uneducated breeder has two F1 Cavapoos. Both were from a situation similar to the above and carry for DM but don't show signs of the disease. The breeder doesn't DNA test because they are breeding hybrids and were told it isn't necessary or is trying to increase profits by not testing. They breed these dogs together and again referring to the chart above more than 50% of their puppies will inherit and be affected by this disease. The new owner is clueless and feels confident in this breeder because they received a one-year health guarantee for a condition that will not appear for 7+ more years.
DNA testing alone does not make a reputable breeder. There are other breed specific heart, hip, eye and related tests that should be performed and provided. For more information on those tests, please see our posts on the OFA as a part of your puppy search.
If you would like to learn more about DNA testing your dog before breeding or to uncover any potential health risks, we highly recommend Embark as they handle all of our DNA testing and are a paid advertiser of our educational content. Please review this post that provides Embark discounts and a copy of an Embark report.
It's that time of year again when we get a lot of questions regarding what flea, tick and heart-worm medications we recommend. Please note that we are not veterinarians and we do not allow our dogs to spend much time in the grass or woods. They go on long daily walks, but do not regularly lie around in the grass. For that reason, we are lucky that we can go most of the year without any flea or tick preventative at all. That being said, we do have mosquitos and we do use a heart-worm preventative as recommended by our veterinarian.
We also do our best to only treat our dogs with natural products when possible because Cavalier have known sensitivities to strong chemical products. For those that have heard of recent issues with some commonly recommended medications, I would suggest you review the recently published information on the FDA website. We never recommend topical solutions or any Bravecto products for these dogs. Below are the products we use, but again please discuss these with your vet and consider where your pet will spend their time, your local climate, etc. Always ask your vet for the most holistic approach to use as little chemicals on or in your dog as possible.
No matter which product you use, please make sure to give the lowest dose possible. You can watch Dr. Morgan's video on this topic here. Please do everything possible to avoid the stronger chemicals in these dogs as they have known sensitivities.
Many breeds suffer from dark brown or reddish staining beneath the eyes ("tear stains") but they are often more noticeable in lighter coats of the Blenheim and Tri-color Cavalier and the lighter colored Cavachon and Cavalier hybrids. Tear stains are formed when porphyrin, a pigment found in tears, accumulates under the eyes causing the discoloration.
For the most part, tear stains are not the result of a serious medical issue but are simply the result of excess tears accumulating in the fur under the eye. Basically, either your dog produces too many tears or can't drain them properly (or both). That being said, there are some exceptions dog owners or puppy shoppers should be aware of so they can consult with their vet.
COMMON CAUSES OF TEAR STAINS:
This list is not exhaustive but are the most common causes. Unless you can quickly determine and remedy the cause on your own (example: tear stains appear immediately after a diet change and disappear when you revert to the prior diet) then you should see your vet as soon as possible to rule out anything more serious.
If you are searching for a puppy and notice that a breeder's dogs have heavy tear stains, you are correct to be concerned. Tear stains in young puppies can sometimes be the result of excess tearing while teething but is more commonly a sign of poor diet, unhealthy living conditions or genetic predispositions (or all of the above). Unhealthy coat and excessive tear stains in photos is often the way that puppy mills are first detected by the cautious consumer. Before purchasing a puppy that already has tear stains, you should ask the breeder to take the puppy to the vet to rule out any birth defect, physical deformity, closed tear ducts or other problems. Candidly, we can't even recommend purchasing a puppy with severe stains that are already in place by 7-8 weeks old - it's a red flag.
MEDICAL TREATMENTS - You can help you vet better determine the cause of the stains by recording when they first occurred, if they appear evenly in both eyes, if your dog has had any change in diet or lifestyle or any other changes in your dogs behavior or symptoms that might help narrow the cause. Once your vet determines the underlying cause of the tear stains, they can offer an appropriate treatment. Treatments can include saline washes, antibiotics, minor surgery, medicated drops or antihistamines (or other methods to reduce allergies if that's the cause).
While getting to the bottom of the cause of tear stains, many owners also want to improve the appearance of their pups. For more information on what you can do to help prevent or remove tear stains after treatment, see our second post Reducing the Appearance of Tear Stains.
This blog contains affiliate links. I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases made from links on this blog. We do not recommend any products that we do not purchase and use for our dogs.