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This article was updated in June 2022.
When Django was a baby, our ‘walks’ consisted of him sitting in the middle of a busy Brooklyn sidewalk while Mike and I (Steph) tried to get Django to go to the bathroom. Django would stare up wide-eyed at every passerby, hoping they’d stop to pet him. They usually did :)
Many people who stopped to pet Django were dachshund owners. And so many of these doxie lovers had a story to tell us about their dog and Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD).
IVDD, per PetMD, “is a condition where the cushioning discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column either bulge or burst into the spinal cord space… [they] press on the nerves running through the spinal cord causing pain, nerve damage, and even paralysis.” If you're unsure of what this means, don't worry! We recently published a comprehensive and easy-to-understand article explaining IVDD in dogs: what it is, causes, prevention, symptoms, and treatment options. You can find the article here:
When Django was 4.9 lbs of cuteness, kind and well-meaning New Yorkers told Mike and I countless stories about IVDD. We heard horror stories about dogs with chronic back pain or permanent paralysis, and a few heartbreaking tales of dogs in so much pain that they had to be euthanized. Many people told us to never let Django jump on and off furniture or even climb stairs. So that’s what we did.
Mike and I have never allowed Django to jump on and off furniture, and we don’t let him climb even a short flight of stairs. Extreme? Maybe. But after hearing so many terrible tales of IVDD, we decided to take drastic action. We recognize that Django is still at risk of IVDD - no stairs or jumping aside. His body is extra long and his legs are amusingly short... he's unfortunately at risk no matter what we do.
Django is unusually chill, so teaching him to never jump or climb stairs was actually easy. Now Django sits patiently at the bottom of a staircase until we're ready to say "pick up!" and carry him upstairs. Of course, not all dogs are as eerily calm as Django.
Whether you have a healthy puppy, a middle aged dog with a sensitive back, or a senior dog who has (or hasn't) experienced IVDD... consider minimizing the risk of future back problems with pet gates, dog ramps and shallow pet stairs.
Yes, some breeds are more genetically at risk of IVDD. These chondrodystrophic breeds include dachshunds, bulldogs, basset hounds, beagles, corgis, cocker spaniels, pekingese, shih-tzus and even poodles. But all dogs grow more susceptible to back problems as they age, including non-chondrodystrophic breeds.
Here are the most popular and well-rated indoor dog gates, pet ramps and stairs.
Consider a high quality pet gate to keep your pup safe in one section of your home or to prevent your dog from climbing and descending steep staircases. Mike and I use Top Paw’s Extra Wide Pet Gate at my parents' home to prevent Django from leaving the living room and running up the stairs. Consider the second option below if you don’t need the extra wide reach and want to save a few dollars.
PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS of Top Paw Extra Wide Pet Gate:
PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS of Carlson Pet Gate:
Pet ramps and stairs are an excellent tool to prevent your pup from jumping on and off furniture in the home. Pet ramps have a modest incline and are best for dogs with sensitive backs or pups with mobility problems. Ramps are also the best option for dogs genetically at risk of IVDD. Pet stairs are most popular for young, non-chondodystrophic breeds and will take up a little less space in your home.
PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS of Best Pet Supplies Foam Pet Stairs:
PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS of Pet Gear's Easy Step II Pet Stairs:
This is a great option for dogs at greater risk of IVDD, like Django, as the scalloped design is significantly easier on dogs' back then true 'stairs'.
PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS of Snoozer's Scalloped Pet Ramp:
PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS of Solvit Wood Bedside Ramp:
PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS of PETMAKER's Folding Plastic Pet Stairs:
We recently published an in-depth yet easy-to-comprehend article explaining IVDD in dogs - causes, prevention, symptoms and treatment options:
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Most dogs detest having their teeth brushed. Many pups won't even let their owners come near them with a doggy toothbrush! Brushing your dog's teeth is obviously not always easy or enjoyable. It is also very easy to forget to brush your pup's teeth on a daily basis. Fortunately, one very reputable company, BARK, came up with a way to make doggy dental health much easier for us pet parents.
We discovered BARK Bright’s enzyme-powered monthly doggy dental kit last year and have been fans ever since. BARK Bright's chicken-flavored dog toothpaste and dog sticks turbocharge the enzymes in dogs' mouths to keep their teeth clean and breath fresh. They are incredibly simple and effective, and the kits are conveniently shipped straight to your door.
Is BARK Bright right for your pup? In this DJANGO Dog Blog article, we provide an in-depth overview and review of BARK Bright. It is based on our own experience getting the dog teeth cleaning kit for our sausage dog Django.
Dr. Ian Billinghurst is the father of the raw dog food diet and the founder of the BARF ('Biologically Appropriate Raw Food' or 'Bones and Raw Food') diet. In late 1993, he wrote Give Your Dog a Bone. The worldwide best seller is one of the most important books on dog nutrition ever written. It discussed why raw, whole food is best for your dog.
As an Australian veterinary surgeon with 50 years of experience, Dr. Billinghurst has one consistent message: raw-fed dogs are healthier than their kibble-fed counterparts.
We caught up with the long-time raw food champion and international lecturer to discuss the controversial raw dog food diet. We also dig into how gray wolves evolved into modern dogs, and we weigh the benefits of the raw dog food diet against safety risks like foodborne pathogens. Finally, we chew over how to solve the companion dog population boom and why so many veterinarians have raw emotions about raw pet food.
When Mike and I (Steph) moved into our new home earlier this year, we reveled in the spacious layout. Compared to our previous 650 square foot apartment in New York City, our modest new home felt like a palace. We soon realized, however, we had a lot of furnishing to do. Our hardwood floors, in particular, needed immediate protection. We have a boisterous 3-year old toddler, a long-haired dachshund, and a newborn. The last thing we wanted was for our toddler's toys, our baby's spit ups, and our pup's nails to destroy our new hardwood floors.
While researching the best rugs for families with kids and pets, Mike and I (Steph) came across Tumble. Tumble offers machine washable and spill-proof area rugs with modern patterns and colors. Mike and I ordered 3 rugs for our home—a kitchen runner and two area rugs—and we never looked back.
The following is an honest review and in-depth overview of Tumble rugs based on our family's personal experience using several of the rugs in our home.