Do Dogs Dream?

Adult dogs spend 12 to 14 hours asleep each day. Parts of the canine sleep pattern resemble our own sleep cycle—including REM sleep. When your dog’s eyelids begin to twitch and her paws start to move, you may be wondering what’s going on during her slumber. Do dogs dream? The answer is: most likely.

Adult dogs spend 12 to 14 hours asleep each day. Parts of the canine sleep pattern resemble our own sleep cycle—including REM sleep. When your dog’s eyelids begin to twitch and her paws start to move, you may be wondering what’s going on during her slumber. Do dogs dream? The answer is: most likely.

How Do We Know That Dogs Dream?

Our furry companions can’t tell us about their dreams, but scientists have been able to figure out what is going on while their eyes are closed. Electrical patterns observed in the brains of sleeping rats matched patterns that were previously recorded while the rodents learned a maze. The patterns were clear enough that researchers could determine the part of the maze the rats were dreaming about. Other studies yielded similar results—neurons firing during sleep matched those recorded during the animal’s wakeful hours. This suggests that animals have dreamlike periods during their REM sleep cycle, just as humans do.

What Do Dogs Dream About?

Though we cannot know for sure, our pets likely dream about the things they do during the day. Considering the sleep of a dog—and her dreams, specifically—is nothing new. Aristotle wrote of animals’ penchant for sleep and their ability to dream. In addition to studies, anecdotes from pet owners about animals waking suddenly and engaging in odd behaviors have given researchers clues. One man’s story about his bath-averse dog waking suddenly and hiding between his legs—a behavior observed only after bath time—led him to believe the dog was dreaming about the dreaded activity.

In another study, rodents were introduced to a maze, able to see—but not reach—the food at the end. They seemed to dream about the route, as evidenced by the same neurons firing both during sleep and while they were loose in the maze.

Dreaming is not a mammals-only activity. Zebra finches rely on dreams to memorize songs. They practice their complex melodies during the day, guided by adult birds. Then, they dream the same tune after they fall asleep. Researchers compared the electrical activity within the brain both while the finches were learning songs, and while they were sleeping—and the patterns matched. While dreaming, the birds’ neurons fired in the same order as if they were singing parts of the song.

Based on research across species—dogs, cats, birds, mice, and even fruit flies—it’s safe to say your best friend is dreaming about his favorite treats, perfecting his sit-stay, and taking to the field with his favorite person.

Should You Wake a Dog During a Nightmare?

If your dog has a nightmare, it is safest to leave him alone. If woken during a scary dream, the dog may not be fully aware and may lash out. If you choose to wake him, avoid getting too close or using your hands—even the friendliest of dogs could bite in this situation. Speak gently to rouse him, and let him get his bearings after he wakes. If nightmares are common, a veterinarian may make recommendations for easing your dog’s anxiety.

Why Do Dogs Twitch While They Sleep?

Deep breathing and stillness indicate your dog is likely in the Slow Wave Sleep (SWS) phase, which lasts for around ten minutes. Dogs and other animals may twitch, whine, show an increase in movement, or breathe irregularly when they reach the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase. As in humans, this is when dream activity occurs. The pons—an area of the brain that shuts down major muscle groups within the body during sleep—prevents your companion from getting up and acting out dreams while snoozing. When researchers shut off the pons in one study, the dogs involved began to move around as if they were awake, though recorded brain waves indicated they were within the REM phase.

Do Dogs Sleepwalk?

While some dogs may exhibit strange behaviors in their sleep, they do not sleepwalk as is observed in humans. Minor twitching and movement is normal, but more intense activity may be related to a neurological condition, seizure disorder, or other sleep disturbance. If it appears that your dog is walking or thrashing about in his sleep, consult your veterinarian.

Do Dogs Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

Dogs may appear to sleep with their eyes open. The appearance of being awake while dozing is a holdover from wild canine ancestors, meant to deter predators looking to sneak up on sleeping dogs. A third eyelid—the transparent membrane that rises over the eye—offers protection from debris or over-drying while sleeping.

While we may never know exactly what our dogs dream about, they spend plenty of time doing it. A dog spends more than half her day sleeping, and 10 percent of that time in the REM phase, when dreaming happens. Like humans, dogs need their sleep, so provide yours a comfortable dog bed and let her dream. Whether processing information, committing good manners to memory, or flushing ducks in their sleep, our dogs enthrall us with their every nose wiggle and paw flick.

How to Prepare for a Disaster With Pets

Floods, wildfires, earthquakes, and severe weather—ensuring safety for your family and pets in case of emergency or evacuation is easier if you’re prepared. Discuss emergency planning with the family so everyone knows how to stay safe, and follow these guidelines for including your dogs in your contingency plan.

Floods, wildfires, earthquakes, and severe weather—ensuring safety for your family and pets in case of emergency or evacuation is easier if you’re prepared. Discuss emergency planning with the family so everyone knows how to stay safe, and follow these guidelines for including your dogs in your contingency plan.

What to Keep in an Emergency Kit for Dogs

  • Pet-specific first aid kit – Include allergy medication in case your dog is stung, bitten, or exposed to allergens—but be aware that Benadryl and other medications can make animals drowsy, limiting responsiveness and mobility.
  • Food and water for one week, with bowls
  • Medications for one week
  • Copies of vaccine records, medical information, and recent photos of your pet
  • Extra safety gear: leash, identification tags, and collar – Blank tags can be useful to indicate a temporary address. And in case your dog escapes, a personalized collar helps rescuers see your contact information from a distance.
  • Dish soap, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant
  • Garbage bags for pet cleanup
  • Towels and blanket

Disaster Preparedness: It’s Important for Pets, Too

Ensuring your dog’s safety in case of emergency starts long before a hurricane or severe weather is predicted. With an emergency plan in place, your family—including pets—has a better chance of getting out in time, having important supplies on hand, and staying safe. Not only should you have supplies for yourself—keep a dog emergency kit in an area that is easy to access at a moment’s notice.

There’s more to consider than the items you’ll need during an evacuation. Plan ahead. Which routes will you take if evacuated, and which hotels or shelters along those routes accept pets? Some emergency shelters accept only service dogs, and others won’t allow any pets.

Make a plan for how to get your dog if you can’t make it home during a disaster. Speak with neighbors who may be able to retrieve your pet—and his supply bin—and meet you in a predetermined location. Your emergency contact should be someone familiar with your dog—a person with whom your dog would leave.

How Do You Keep Pets Safe During a Disaster?

Fearful or uneasy dogs may benefit from an anxiety vest, especially if you ride out a severe storm at home. Keep your dog confined while you pack your vehicle so he doesn’t slip out a door or hide. A car harness or crate keeps your dog secure in the car. Small dogs should be transported in a carrier.

Evacuate early. If an evacuation order is likely, leave before the need becomes urgent and roads are congested—and take your pets with you. Animal Control Officers and animal welfare advocates may provide pet rescue services if you must leave them behind—but resources will be limited during an emergency, so this should not be your first option.

If you shelter in place, keep your pets indoors, and be vigilant. Pack your car, even if you choose to remain. Then, if evacuation becomes mandatory you will need only to get your family and dog into the car. Ensure you have water to last during an extended power outage should a tornado, blizzard, or other event confine you to your home. A filled bathtub or sink extends your bottled water supply and also provides a source of water for pets and for cleanup.

Losing a pet is difficult, especially during an emergency. If your dog goes missing, inquire with shelters and animal control officers daily, post physical and digital lost pet flyers, and notify the veterinarian’s office and microchip company. Explore your property and ask neighbors to check yards and outbuildings as well. If you are proactive, your pet has a better chance of being found safe.

When Is it Safe to Return Home With Pets After an Evacuation?

After you’ve evacuated, you may not be able to return home for hours, days, or even weeks. Don’t go back home until official word is given that your area is safe, as it may be hazardous to return prior to approval. Contaminated water, downed power lines, unstable roads or bridges, and other damage pose a risk to your health, and your pet’s.

Pets will need time to reacclimate. Check your home and yard for signs of damage, and allow ample time to transition after returning home. The disappearance of familiar scent markers, sights, and sounds can leave pets feeling disoriented and nervous. Keep your pets indoors until you’ve surveyed the damage and made repairs.

Avoid stressful activities or unnecessary changes during the recovery period. Strenuous exercise, changes in diet, bathing, or rearranging a familiar room too soon after returning home can delay a pet’s acclimation.

Stress can wreak havoc on the immune system. The risk of illness may increase after a stressful event or stay at a shelter, and exposure to disease or contaminated water sources can sicken animals. Make an appointment with your veterinarian if your pet appears ill or if you’ve provided first aid. While it may save your pet’s life, first aid is not a substitute for veterinary care.

How Do I Help Animals After a Disaster?

The desire to help your neighborhood—or a community across the state or country—is commendable. However, emergency personnel and rescue organizations rely on trained staff and volunteers to provide coordinated care. If you are not already trained for animal disaster response, consider donating supplies or funds to involved organizations and add your name to the volunteer roster for future needs. Reach out to local shelters and organizations to ask how to lend a hand. Needs may include transportation of strays, temporary foster care for displaced pets, or picking up and distributing supplies. Rescue organizations offering temporary care for displaced pets will need people to adopt the homeless animals already in their care.

We can’t predict tornadoes, wildfires, and other disasters, but with preparation, pets are safer during an emergency situation. Don’t leave pets behind if you must evacuate—their best chance of survival depends on you. As the adage goes, an ounce of prevention—or in this case, preparation—is worth a pound of cure.

Where Should Your Dog Sleep?

Your dog should sleep wherever you—and your furry best friend—are ensured a good night’s rest. Whether your dog sleeps in your bed, his own dog bed, on the couch, or in his dog crate will vary depending on what works best for you both. Read on to learn the pros and cons of various sleeping arrangements with your dog.

Your dog should sleep wherever you—and your furry best friend—are ensured a good night’s rest. Whether your dog sleeps in your bed, his own dog bed, on the couch, or in his dog crate will vary depending on what works best for you both. Read on to learn the pros and cons of various sleeping arrangements with your dog.

Should Your Dog Sleep in Your Bedroom?

Your dog should sleep in your room if having him close improves your sleep, or at least doesn’t hamper your solid eight hours. According to 2017 research by the Mayo Clinic, sleeping with a dog in bed didn’t worsen sleep efficiency—the amount of time actually sleeping while in bed. Sleep efficiency was slightly better for study subjects whose dogs slept on the bedroom floor compared with those participants whose dogs slept in their beds, but the participants’ sleep efficiency was considered adequate either way.

A brand new study out of Canisius College in Buffalo, NY, suggests that dogs are a woman’s best friend when it comes to sleeping. Based on a survey of 962 women, study participants who slept with a dog in bed reported sleeping more soundly and feeling more secure than those who slept with a human partner or a cat.

Ultimately, whether your dog should sleep in your room or up on the bed rests on how deeply you sleep, and how much you and your dog shift and squirm at night. Very light sleepers may struggle to sleep when their dogs move a lot while snoozing—even when on the floor. Deep sleepers, however, may find their sleep improves when their dog is nearby in the room or on the bed.

Those allergic to dogs should definitely forego having their dog sleep in the same room. Pet dander—the cause of most pet allergies—builds up over time and worsens allergy symptoms, which, in turn, impedes sleep.

Should Your Dog Sleep in a Crate?

Most canines consider their dog crates safe havens for sleep, especially when the crate training process was thorough, patient, and positive. If you have a dog who happily enters his crate for daytime naps or to chew on his favorite dog toy, this is probably where he’ll settle down for ‘lights out.’

If you’re a light sleeper, you may benefit from having him sleep crated in another room so his nocturnal tossing and turning won’t disturb you. This sleep arrangement is also beneficial as your dog ages—the sleep habits of older dogs change and thus are easier to manage when your senior dog is already accustomed to sleeping in a crate.

Where Should Puppies Sleep?

Sleeping in a crate near your bed is commonly recommended for puppies. Similar to human babies, puppies are comforted by close proximity to their people. Young dogs are best left off the bed because they aren’t housetrained and don’t yet have full bladder control.

Crate training is a powerful housetraining tool because dogs resist relieving themselves where they sleep. Place a mat and an article of clothing that smells like you in the crate for extra comfort, as well as a ‘pee pad’ in case of an accident. Once your puppy is grown and housetrained, you can settle on your long-term sleep arrangement.

Should Dogs Sleep Outside?

Dogs should always sleep indoors with their people. Though some dog breeds manage the heat well, and others are well adapted to the cold—no dog breed is built to withstand extreme heat or cold for hours on end. Older dogs, sick dogs, and dogs with flat muzzles (brachycephalic) are particularly vulnerable when exposed to the elements and extreme temperatures for prolonged periods of time. In addition to weather-related risks, other hazards threaten dogs left on their own outdoors overnight, including dangerous plants or yard maintenance chemicals a dog might consume, or getting into scuffles with nocturnal wildlife.

Should Your Dog Sleep in a Dog Bed?

A dog bed is the best option if your furry pal moves around a lot at night—and he won’t disturb your sleep. He can stretch his legs and shift positions easily when he sleeps on a dog bed. If he’s got more than one dog bed, he can even switch rooms.

Even if your dog sleeps in a crate or in your bed, he’ll still need a dog bed. Dogs sleep between 12 and 14 hours every day, and require a soft place to nap while you catch up on your favorite shows or cook dinner. A bed protects your dog from the cold, hard floor, which is important for the bones and joints of dogs at every age. And for older dogs, the extra support of an orthopedic dog bed becomes crucial.

Why Does Your Dog Sleep at Your Feet?

Understanding why your dog sleeps at your feet is the key to deciding where he should sleep. When you’re watching a movie or reading a good book, your dog sleeps at your feet because his preferred spot is near to you. If he has furniture privileges, he’ll hop up on the couch to get even closer. If he’s allowed on the bed, odds are that’ll be his first choice. That’s why, at the end of the day, your needs should outweigh your dog’s when deciding where he should sleep, and you should make the call without guilt. Rest easy that a good night’s sleep makes you a more patient pet parent and boosts your energy for exuberant play sessions during waking hours.

How to Remove Dog Stains and Smells From Your Car


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There are three easy ways to remove dog stains and smells from your car, using supplies you probably already have in your home: baking soda, mild soap and water, or vinegar and water. Read on to learn how to keep a clean and sweet smelling car, even with ‘dog’ as your constant copilot.


Photo via orvis.com

There are three easy ways to remove dog stains and smells from your car, using supplies you probably already have in your home: baking soda, mild soap and water, or vinegar and water. Read on to learn how to keep a clean and sweet smelling car, even with ‘dog’ as your constant copilot.

How to Remove Dog Odors From Your Car

Baking Soda

In the battle against car odors, baking soda is a cheap and effective ally. Depending upon the intensity of the smell, you’ll enlist this natural deodorizer in different ways.

For mild odors, simply set a rimmed plate or baking sheet filled with baking soda in your car overnight. Baking soda is made up of tiny crystals that attract microscopic molecules floating around the car, including the smelly ones your dog leaves behind. A rimmed plate is preferable to a bowl or open box of baking soda because it exposes more of the absorbent powder to the air. In the morning, simply dump the baking powder. Your nose will determine whether you need to repeat for several nights.

For stronger odors, create a paste by mixing baking soda with water and using it to clean the areas of the car where the smell is most intense—probably wherever your dog takes in the passing scenery. Rub the paste into the seat upholstery, let it dry completely, and then vacuum the area thoroughly. You can also use this method on the floor mats, though they’ll need a thorough washing to remove all of the dried powder that will cake in between the rug fibers.

Mild Soap and Water

Dip a large cloth in mild soap and water, ring it out, and rub down the area of the car where your dog sits. This will clean dirt, snack crumbs, and drool he’s left behind and remove the musty odors these organic substances can create.

Vinegar and Water

Like baking soda, vinegar neutralizes odors naturally. Dilute the vinegar (one part vinegar to two parts water) so its acidity won’t damage the upholstery, and use to wipe down the car seats. Alternatively, you can fill a spray bottle with this solution and spritz the car upholstery and rugs. Let the solution dry and repeat until the smell is gone.

How to Remove Dog Stains from Your Car

All of the Above, Plus Elbow Grease

Baking soda paste. Vinegar and water. Mild soap and water. The ingredients that work on smells also remove dog stains, though you many have to work a bit harder. Cover the stained area of upholstery with the cleaning solution and rub with a towel until clean. For tougher stains, enlist the help of a hard bristle brush. Repeat as needed if remnants of the stain remain after the area dries.

Bio-Enzymatic Cleaners

Pet-safe enzyme cleaners work on dog stains and odors. These non-toxic solutions contain enzymes and bacteria, similar to the bacteria found in yogurt. When sprayed on stains—pet urine, drool spots, mud, or dog treats smooshed underpaw—the bacteria start ‘eating’ the organic material. Once the food is gone, the stain and smell are usually gone as well.

Cleaning and Deodorizing Leather Car Seats

If you’ve spent extra for a leather interior, it’s wise to use another car for travels with your dog, or use a dog car seat protector. If cleanup is ever needed, use mild dish soap or castile soap diluted with water, or a special leather cleaner, to prevent damage. Additionally, dampen the leather only slightly when cleaning, and dry it completely after cleaning and deodorizing.

How to Prevent Dog Odors and Stains in Your Car

Use a Dog Car Seat Protector

Car seat protectors act as a shield between your dog and your car’s interior. All the grunge, grime, and goop she brings into the car get trapped on the seat protector, leaving your car seats splatter free. Then, when smells and stains build up, you can simply wash the seat protector.

The type of car seat protector you get will depend on where your dog relaxes during rides—whether that’s secured with a dog harness or in a travel dog crate. There are specialized, water-resistant car seat covers for the front passenger seat, the back seat, and for the cargo area of an SUV. Hammock-style covers protect the entire back seat area, including the floors and back of the driver and passenger seats.

Clean After Every Car Ride

Spot check your car upholstery or seat protector after every ride. If you notice dirt, an abundance of dog fur, drool spots, or dog treat crumbs, give the area a quick wipe down. This will prevent the buildup of unpleasant smells and odors.

Keep a Cleaning Kit in the Car

If you go hunting or hiking with your dog regularly, it’s smart to keep a cleaning kit in your car at all times. A caddy containing a spray bottle filled with water, a few towels, and a small brush does the trick for small, post-adventure cleanups.

Wipe off Your Dog

Keep water and mud outside of the car by giving your dog a quick wipe down after your adventures—especially those in the rain, snow, and mud. Keep clean, dry, washable, and water-absorbent towels in the car for this purpose.

Crack the Windows

With fresh air flowing through the car, mild odors won’t stay trapped and set in over time. If it isn’t freezing cold, open the front and rear windows of your car and show smells the door.

How to Wash a Dog Car Seat Cover

Brush off crumbs and dirt after every ride and spot clean minor stains, mud prints, and drool. If there’s a wet spot after cleaning and it’s a warm day, leave the car doors open to help it dry quickly.

When dirt and odors build up, it’s time to toss the cover into the wash. Take the car seat protector out of the car and remove large pieces of dirt and grime. Wash in cool water on a gentle cycle and dry on a low heat setting. When you take it out of the dryer, reshape and reinstall in your car.

There are few downsides to driving with your furry bestie, but tops among them are dog stains and smells in your car. Prevent dog stains and odors when you can, clean up the occasional mishap quickly, and you’ll keep your car free of unpleasant whiffs and blotches. Reminders of your adventures will stay where they belong—on your phone and social media posts—and not on your car upholstery.

What If You’re Allergic to Your Dog?


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Discovering you’re allergic to your dog is upsetting, but there’s no need to fret—dog allergies don’t have to undermine good times with your best friend. Unless the reaction is severe, you can take steps to make living with your beloved canine more comfortable. Here’s how to manage allergic reactions to your dog.


Photo via CC0 Public Domain

Discovering you’re allergic to your dog is upsetting, but there’s no need to fret—dog allergies don’t have to undermine good times with your best friend. Unless the reaction is severe, you can take steps to make living with your beloved canine more comfortable. Here’s how to manage allergic reactions to your dog.

How to Manage a Dog Dander Allergy

Designate Dog-Free Rooms

Don’t allow your dog full access to the house if someone suffers from allergies. Choose a handful of rooms where your dog can spend most of his indoor time, and make sure he stays there. This isn’t a banishment—select rooms where the family spends time during the day so your dog gets plenty of love and interaction. The kitchen and living room or family room are good options.

Using dog gates instead of closed doors lets your dog see what’s happening around the house so he doesn’t develop < a href="https://www.orvis.com/separation-anxiety-in-dogs" target="_blank">separation anxiety or resort to destructive behaviors to draw attention.

It’s particularly important that the bedroom of the allergic family member remains a dog-free zone. People with mild allergies benefit when exposed to fewer allergens during the overnight hours.

Use Furniture Protectors

Keep your dog’s favorite hangouts covered with dog furniture protectors or throw blankets to prevent the buildup of pet dander on your couches and armchairs, and toss them into the wash regularly to clear them of dander. For the best results, be firm and consistent so your dog knows the covered couches and chairs are his only options. Basic obedience training techniques, such as offering his favorite dog treats when he jumps onto his section of the couch, can establish this habit.

Contain Pet Dander

In addition to using furniture coverings, localize pet dander by crate training your dog and giving him a dog bed. The crate serves as a comfortable den where he can spend a little ‘alone’ time, while the dog bed gives him a soft, warm spot to rest. Most importantly, both are easy to clean. You can hose the crate down and wash any crate padding or fabric dog toys he keeps inside, and dog beds come with a removable covering you can toss into the wash.

Clean Frequently

Frequent cleaning is a must to minimize pet dander throughout the house. Regularly vacuum the rugs, furniture, and curtains in the room where your dog spends most of his time. Wash hardwood floors regularly, using a wet mop rather than a broom, which can send pet dander airborne. Dusting is also important, once again using a cleaning tool that traps dust and dander instead of moving it around.

Give Your Dog Frequent Baths

Bathing your dog won’t eliminate dander, but a weekly bath will reduce the amount of danger clinging to your dog’s fur.

Use HEPA Air Filters

High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters also help reduce pet dander in your home. HEPA filters are available for air-conditioning and heating vents, air purifiers, and vacuum cleaners.

For the Allergy Sufferer:

The person with dog allergies should adopt these habits to reduce reactions:

  • Leave the cleaning and dog bathing to those without allergies.
  • Wash your hands after every play session with your dog.
  • Designate clothes just for snuggling and playing with your dog and wash them often.
  • Keep rambunctious play outside so the extra dander stirred up stays outdoors.

Symptoms of Dog Allergies in Humans

Coping with dog allergies begins with knowing the symptoms. Here’s what to watch for:

  • Itchy nose
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Watery, itchy, and/or red eyes
  • Postnasal drip
  • Sinus pressure
  • Skin rash
  • Constant nose rubbing (in children)

Dog allergy symptoms run the gamut from mild to severe, asthma-like reactions that may constrict airways.

Do You Have a Dog Allergy?

When the above symptoms are chronic (i.e., not caused by a passing cold), your next step is determining whether your dog is the source, or if another allergen is to blame. If you recently moved, for example, it’s possible you’re allergic to pollen from plants and trees native to your new home and not your dog.

Testing through an allergist can help pinpoint the root causes of your symptoms. Be sure to provide your family history of allergies, and report on all exposures to allergens. The allergist will likely run a battery of skin and blood tests to determine your allergens and decide on the best treatment. Possibilities include antihistamines, decongestants, and corticosteroids that reduce sinus inflammation.

If your family is thinking of getting a dog for the first time, factor allergies into your decision making. To discover if someone has an undetected dog allergy, organize up-close and personal time with a few furry friends by dog sitting for friends and family, or fostering a dog from the local animal rescue.

If anyone in your family experiences a sudden onset of pet allergy symptoms, carefully weigh the negatives against the benefits of having a dog. If the symptoms are mild, you can research hypoallergenic dog breeds—generally light shedders who produce less dander. If symptoms are severe for any family member, unfortunately, you should forego getting a dog.

Why Are You Allergic to Your Dog?

Dog allergies are a response to dander—tiny flakes of dry skin that fall off your dog and become airborne—and dog saliva and urine. The immune systems of allergy sufferers overreact to these substances as though they are a threat, triggering allergies.

Can You Become Allergic to Your Dog?

Yes. Though allergies often present during childhood, adults may suddenly develop an allergy to dogs. Why some people develop allergies later in life and others don’t is unclear, however. A growing body of research suggests exposure to pet allergies during infancy or childhood may reduce the risk of allergies, and bolster overall immunity.

What If Your Baby or Child Is Allergic to Your Dog?

Although research suggests early exposure to a dog may help an infant or young child resist developing a pet dander allergy, babies and children do develop them, so it’s important to watch for symptoms if your family includes a dog. Symptoms of pet allergies in adults and children are similar; kids in particular may wipe their noses upwards with their sleeves and hands to relieve itchy, runny noses.

For children with mild dog allergies, the above strategies can help manage their symptoms. But sadly, when a child has serious pet allergies, finding a new, loving home for your dog may be necessary.

Except in serious cases, allergies don’t have to come between you and your dog. Managing symptoms may take extra time, planning, and cleaning, but the happy company of a four-legged friend makes it all worthwhile.

Can Dogs Eat Holiday Foods?


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Yes, there are some holiday foods dogs can eat. But it’s important to know many holiday staples can make your dog sick, and others are downright dangerous for dogs to ingest. Below we cover the safety of common holiday foods, and offer tips to keep your dog safe from risky seasonal fair. Let’s start with the main course:


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Yes, there are some holiday foods dogs can eat. But it’s important to know many holiday staples can make your dog sick, and others are downright dangerous for dogs to ingest. Below we cover the safety of common holiday foods, and offer tips to keep your dog safe from risky seasonal fair. Let’s start with the main course:

Can Dogs Eat Turkey?

No, with one small caveat. Dogs can gobble a few bite-sized pieces of white meat turkey breast from the holiday bird. The rest of the turkey, however, is off limits. Dark meat and skin are too fatty and can give your dog an upset stomach. Too much fat in her diet can cause obesity and other health concerns, and a one-time consumption of a large amount of fatty food can cause a bout of pancreatitis.

Can Dogs Eat Turkey Bones?

No. A drumstick bone may seem like the perfect special treat for your dog, but it is actually dangerous. Most bones from cooked meats, including turkey, chicken, ham, and T-bone steak, are brittle and breakable in your dog’s strong jaws. Letting your dog gnaw on turkey bones puts her at risk of ingesting small shards of broken bone that can become lodged or cause small lacerations in her digestive tract.

Can Dogs Eat Christmas Ham?

It’s wise to keep your glazed Christmas ham off limits from your dog. Ham is loaded with fat, which can cause gastrointestinal problems and pancreatitis when overeaten. It also a has very high salt content. Dogs, like humans, need small amounts of salt in their diet, but too much ham can overload your dog with harmful sodium. While a small bite of Christmas ham won’t hurt your dog, it may give her a taste for the highly processed meat and she’ll beg for it ever after. You’ll never enjoy a ham sandwich in peace again.

Holiday Foods Your Dog Shouldn’t Eat

Though there are many dog holiday safety issues—such as lights, ornaments, decorations, and candles—holiday foods are a top concern. There’s no hiding those delicious smells from your dog’s powerful nose. Cookies baking, turkey roasting, gravy simmering—these are as tempting to your dog as they are to you, and he’s going to spend the holiday season counter surfing and sniffing out those special morsels. Here are the most dangerous holiday foods for your dogs:

Chocolate

Chocolate is toxic to dogs year round, but it’s more of a risk around the holidays when there’s an abundance of chocolate around the homestead—chocolate chip-laden Christmas and Hanukkah cookies, gifts of chocolate from coworkers, and overflowing dessert tables. Dark chocolate is especially dangerous because it contains the most theobromine and caffeine, the compounds in chocolate that affect your dog’s cardiovascular and nervous systems, and leave her body slowly. Small dogs are at greatest risk because it takes less chocolate to cause ill effects.

Xylitol

Highly dangerous for dogs, xylitol is a naturally derived sweetener used as a sugar substitute in chocolate, candy, baked goods, and even some toothpastes. In dogs, xylitol causes a dangerous drop in blood sugar, and liver failure.

Garlic and Onions

Keep garlic, onions, and all other alliums away from your dog during the holidays, and throughout the year—whether they’re raw, cooked, or powdered These fragrant and flavorful vegetables contain a compound that causes hemolysis in dogs, a condition in which red blood cells break down, ultimately leading to anemia. Keep those bags of onions and garlic for the stuffing, potato latkes, green bean casserole, and mashed potatoes in a high cabinet until ready for use, and then throw the peels out where your dog can’t reach them.

Macadamia Nuts

While fancy and festive, macadamia nuts can poison dogs, causing rear-leg weakness, vomiting, and diarrhea. It doesn’t take a large quantity of macadamias to cause symptoms, so contact your veterinarian if your dog eats any amount of the macadamia nut brittle.

Raw Meats

Send your dog on a walk with a family member, or have her relax in her dog crate while you wrestle with the 15-pound turkey, or prepare the roast for the oven. If she’s underfoot, she may snatch a bite of raw meat or lick the counter where the raw meat was sitting. This puts her at risk of salmonella or listeria poisoning, and other food-borne illnesses.

Alcohol

Don’t leave your dog in the dining room with half-finished glasses of wine. She will lap up the drinks and put herself at risk of alcohol poisoning. Freestanding dog gates are helpful for keeping your dog out of “no-go” zones when you’re busy entertaining guests.

Unbaked Bread Dough

Challah or sourdough bread dough left to rise on the counter within paws’ reach is a recipe for disaster. When your dog eats raw bread dough it continues to expand in her stomach, causing pressure and discomfort as her belly distends. Additionally, the fermenting yeast releases ethanol into your dog’s bloodstream, which leads to alcohol poisoning. Because the glutinous dough is difficult to vomit up, your dog may need her stomach pumped.

Rich, Fatty Foods

Thick gravy, macaroni and cheese, trifle, and kugel: holiday tables are spread with an abundance of heavy, high-fat foods. These foods, especially in combination and in high quantities, will at the very least upset your dog’s stomach.

Holiday Foods Your Dog Can Eat

Admittedly, the “don’t eat” list is longer than the “have at it” list, but there are foods your furry family member can enjoy. When readying the holiday menu, put these items on the shopping list:

Carrots

When you’re chopping carrots for the roasting pan or the turkey stuffing, give your dog a few raw chunks to chew on. You can also give her cooked carrots, as long as they aren’t tossed with butter, oil, or seasonings.

Sweet Potatoes

When you sit down to your holiday feast, your dog won’t feel left out with a small amount of plain, roasted sweet potatoes in her dog bowl. Unfortunately, she shouldn’t partake of the rich candied yams with marshmallows on top, or the sweet potato pie.

Apples

Apples are a common ingredient in many dog treats. So, when everyone is enjoying apple pie for dessert, offer your dog a few slices of raw apple for a sweet treat. Just make sure the apple slices are free from seeds or the tough core.

Green Beans

While traditional green bean casserole is too rich and topped with crunchy, dangerous-for-dogs alliums, plain green beans are a healthful holiday treat for your best friend. Chop boiled or steamed green beans down to a safe size, and serve them up without any seasoning or fats.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin pie is off limits, but you can confidently treat your dog to mashed or diced cooked pumpkin during the feast. Rich in beta-carotene and fiber, pumpkin is another common ingredient in dog treats.

Your dog is no doubt near the top of things you’re grateful for this holiday season. Let her enjoy safe holiday foods with you, keep her away from dangerous seasonal grub, and you’ll toast her good health come the new year. Cheers!

What to Do If Your Dog Hates Car Rides


Photo via orvis.com

You can train or condition your dog not to hate riding in the car, just as you trained him in basic obedience. Read on to learn how you can help your car-averse dog tolerate—perhaps, even enjoy—the ride.


Photo via orvis.com

You can train or condition your dog not to hate riding in the car, just as you trained him in basic obedience. Read on to learn how you can help your car-averse dog tolerate—perhaps, even enjoy—the ride.

How to Train Your Dog to Like the Car

Ideally, training your dog to enjoy car rides begins when he is a puppy. Make the first rides with him relaxed and fun. You’ll have to bring him to the veterinarian for vaccinations and check-ups, of course, but make sure your car rides lead to enjoyable places—hiking, agility classes, or the dog park across town. This way he’ll associate car rides with fun and not the sharp end of a needle. It’s helpful to think of these car rides as part of his early obedience training.

If your dog already has car anxiety, the focus shifts from prevention to retraining. To start, make a habit of keeping a stash of dog treats in your pocket so you can reward achievements. Then you’ll begin exposing your dog to the car regularly during moments he is relaxed. Depending on the severity of his anxiety, this may mean simply walking him near the car door, or opening the car door with him by your side. The trick is knowing when your dog usually begins to fuss, and stopping just shy of that to give him a treat and a pat. As he begins associating approaching the car with positive results, you can get closer to the car.

When your dog is comfortable around the car, open the door nearest his usual riding spot. If he sits in the back seat, open both doors so he doesn’t get a trapped feeling, and then offer him a treat once he gets inside. Next you’ll focus on hooking him up to his dog safety harness, or getting him inside his travel dog crate. The keys, as with all training, are patience, working in small increments, and paying close attention to your dog before moving on to closing the doors, starting the car engine, driving around the block, etc.

Finally, when driving with your dog, whether he’s a puppy or an older dog, it’s also important that you remain relaxed. Dogs are sensitive to their person’s moods, and your dog may pick up on any anger or stress you feel on the road.

Why Do Some Dogs Hate Car Rides?

If your dog hates car rides and is miserable during every outing, he is likely suffering from motion sickness, anxiety, or both. Puppies and young dogs are most at risk of motion sickness because the part of their ear that manages balance is not fully developed. The motion of the car makes them feel more off balance than it does mature dogs, causing nausea and possibly vomiting.

For adult dogs who hate car rides, anxiety is often the culprit, rather than physical discomfort. The anxiety probably took root when they were young. Dogs with bad motion sickness as puppies can grow up to associate car rides with that terrible nauseous feeling. Sometimes adult dogs hate car rides because the veterinarian’s office was the only destination, or they had other negative experiences during or immediately after car rides.

Symptoms of Motion Sickness in Dogs

Whether your dog is a puppy or an older dog, knowing the signs of both motion sickness and car anxiety can help you manage their symptoms.

Symptoms of Dog Car Sickness:

  • Listlessness
  • Yawning
  • Whining
  • Panting
  • Drooling more than usual
  • Uneasiness
  • Unusual stillness
  • Vomiting

If your dog has car anxiety, he’ll have the above symptoms but will also balk when you ready for a car trip, by hiding or pulling against his leash. Once in the car, an anxious dog may pace around if unrestrained in the car.

How to Make Your Dog Comfortable in the Car

Here are steps you can take to minimize your dog’s car sickness and anxiety in the car:

  • Make sure he faces forward using a dog safety harness. (If he faces backward, the scenery passing by in the wrong direction can bring on car sickness.)
  • Lower two windows an inch to depressurize the car.
  • Don’t drive immediately after your dog eats a meal or drinks a lot of water.

Using dog car seat protectors will save your upholstery from a bad case of motion sickness and give you some peace of mind.

Is Your Dog a Senior?


Older dogs have a lot to offer.
Photos by Jane Sobel Klonsky, Project Unconditional

Just like people, dogs slow down with age. But how do you know if your dog is a senior? And what can you expect as he gets older? Similar to people, aging in dogs is highly variable based on dog breed, size, health, and environment. But there are some . . .


Older dogs have a lot to offer.
Photos by Jane Sobel Klonsky, Project Unconditional

Just like people, dogs slow down with age. But how do you know if your dog is a senior? And what can you expect as he gets older? Similar to people, aging in dogs is highly variable based on dog breed, size, health, and environment. But there are some universal signs to watch for that indicate your dog is getting older, and steps you can take to ensure he enjoys his golden years healthfully and comfortably.

How Old Is a Senior Dog?

Traditionally, we often use the familiar equation 1 dog year = 7 human years to determine when a dog becomes a senior. While this calculation is a helpful reminder that your seven-year-old dog is no longer the whippersnapper he once was, it’s important to know it’s a general guideline only. When your dog becomes a senior depends upon his size; on average, small and medium dogs live longer than large dogs. A healthy 10-year-old Pembroke Welsh Corgi, for example, is approximately 56 to 60 in human years, while the human age of a 10-year-old German Shepherd Dog is between 66 and 68. Giant dogs have the shortest canine life spans, with breeds such as St. Bernards and Great Danes rarely living beyond age 10.

How to Tell a Dog’s Age

The best way to tell your dog’s age is through your own observations and regular checkups at the veterinarian’s. Like humans, dogs today live longer than ever due to advances in medicine, nutrition, and safety gear. The focus has shifted to your dog’s health span above and beyond his lifespan. The goal is not simply extending your four-legged friend’s geriatric years, but extending the years he is thriving and enjoying life to the fullest. Doing this requires knowing your dog, watching for changes in his physical health and behavior, and recognizing the signs of aging.

Signs Your Dog Is Aging

Eventually, every dog gets older and begins to show signs of aging. Here are the key indications your dog is entering his senior years:

  • Graying muzzle and facial fur
  • Slower movements
  • Reduced activity
  • Housetraining accidents
  • Shifts in behavior, such as confusion and not responding to common commands
  • Difficulty sitting and lying down, and difficulty getting up again
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Eating less
  • Bad breath
  • Coat and skin problems
  • Weight gain and obesity
  • Increased digestive issues, such as gas and constipation

While many of these symptoms are the natural consequences of aging, many indicate common ailments in senior dogs. But caring for your senior dog can slow or even improve many canine age-related conditions. These are the main areas of concern for older dogs:

Joint Ailments

Though osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia can afflict young dogs, age is a risk factor for both joint ailments. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage protecting your dog’s joints begins to deteriorate, causing painful bone-on-bone rubbing. In hip dysplasia, the “ball” of your dog’s femur doesn’t fit properly into the hip socket, also causing painful bone-against-bone rubbing.

To prevent and manage joint ailments, keep your senior dog at a healthy weight. It’s also important to provide him a comfortable environment that protects his joints from further damage. Orthopedic dog beds are an important first line of defense against joint deterioration in older dogs. They protect your dog’s sensitive joints from the cold, which worsens symptoms, and gently reduce pressure on his joints. Dog ramps and stairs help him reach his cozy spots on the bed or couch, while carpeted floors prevent him from slipping and straining.

Nutrition

Optimal nutrition for older dogs is different than for younger dogs. Your senior dog requires fewer calories as he moves less and his metabolism slows. At the same time, he’ll likely need highly digestible proteins and fats that maintain muscle mass, and more fiber to prevent constipation. A specialized diet will help prevent the weight gain that is common in older dogs, and ensure he gets the vitamins, fats, fiber, and minerals he requires.

Before switching your dog to a senior diet, talk with your veterinarian about the most healthful diet for your dog’s unique needs.

Cognitive Decline

Most older dogs lose some of their mental sharpness. But dementia (Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome) in dogs has more serious symptoms and requires extra treatment and management. Bring your dog to the veterinarian if you notice heightened irritability and anxiety, constant licking, ignoring common commands, disorientation, and the sudden onset of ‘going’ indoors. The vet may suggest nutritional supplements to help slow cognitive decline. At home, provide your dog with frequent games in the yard, obedience training, and regular exercise, which offer mental stimulation that can prevent or delay the onset of dementia.

Dental Issues

The risk of cavities and gum disease increases in senior dogs, and proper dental care is critical as your dog ages. Gum disease is preventable, and is a risk factor for heart, kidney, and liver ailments. Continue brushing your dog’s teeth every day, be attentive to foul doggy breath, and watch for issues such as cracked teeth, redness, bleeding, or inflammation. Chew toys and dog treats can help clean his teeth and promote gum health.

Vision Loss

Older dogs are prone to cataracts and cloudiness of the eye lens, known as lenticular sclerosis. Surgery can help improve severe or partial blindness caused by cataracts, while cloudiness usually results in only mild vision loss. Help your vision-impaired dog navigate the homestead by clearing floors and resisting the urge to rearrange the furniture.

Cancer

Approximately 50 percent of dogs above the age of 10 are diagnosed with canine cancer. Check your dog regularly for unusual bumps or lumps, and watch for sudden weight loss, low energy, loss of appetite, and resistance to exercise.

The pace of life slows as your dog transitions from middle age to his senior years. Walks become more leisurely and snuggles last a bit longer. How you care for your dog also shifts as you watch for senior dog health issues. But some things must remain steadfastly the same: your dedication to your dog’s comfort and happiness, and your undying love for your best friend.

Top 10 Winter Flies for Western North Carolina and East Tennessee

Written by: Brown Hobson, Brown Trout Fly Fishing


This winter rainbow came from the Wautauga River.
Photo courtesy Brown Hobson

Winter fishing in the Southeast isn’t what it is in the rest of the country. We are blessed with average lows in the high 20s and average highs in the upper 40s. That still puts average water. . .

Written by: Brown Hobson, Brown Trout Fly Fishing


This winter rainbow came from the Wautauga River.
Photo courtesy Brown Hobson

Winter fishing in the Southeast isn’t what it is in the rest of the country. We are blessed with average lows in the high 20s and average highs in the upper 40s. That still puts average water temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s, unless you are close enough to a dam to enjoy temps in the upper 40s. Those temperatures are warm enough to allow enjoyable fishing all winter, but do put trout in feeding modes that are different from those of spring, summer, fall. I fish all over Western North Carolina and East Tennessee, and these are flies that I have found work all over during the winter months on both freestones and tailwaters.

[Click the name of each fly to be taken to a place to buy, a recipe, or a video.]

1. Squirmy Worm a.k.a. The Worm
This worm pattern has significantly more action than its little cousin, the San Juan Worm. In the winter, I fish this fly pretty large, like a size 8 or 10. We get more rain during the winter, so terrestrial worms are washed into the river systems and because of its size, fish often will move to it even when they aren’t actively searching for food.

2. The Brain – a.k.a. Micro Spawn
This fly is a monster, size 12, at least in terms of egg patterns used for trout. We find that fish eat this fly more because of its shock value than because it simulates fish roe. As with many of the large flies on this list, winter fish aren’t feeding as actively as they do when water temps are warmer, but this big meal is one that they often can’t pass on.

3. Girdle Bug

Most of our streams have stonefly populations, and trout seem to be looking for these big meals periodically throughout the year. Even our tailwaters have big stones, and it seems like the fish only need to see a few before keying in on them. This is also a great big fly that will get fish moving during cold weather.

4. Rainbow Warrior

Lance Egan really hit a homerun when he designed this fly. It is super effective on almost every stream I fish, and I prefer sizes 16-22 during the winter. We don’t have nearly as many bugs crawling around during the winter, but the few that do are usually in the smaller sizes. The flashy nature of this bug seems to really attract fish well when standard looking flies aren’t.

5. Pheasant Tail

This fly is pretty standard and doesn’t need more publicity, but it is so effective that I couldn’t leave it off. I have an entire box dedicated to variations of this fly in sizes 8-24. I find that during the winter this fly—with a copper bead in sizes 18-24—is a go-to pattern every day.

6. Walt’s Worm

I’ve seen a lot of tutorials going around the Internet about how to tie this fly and its cousin, the sexy Walt’s worm. Caddisfly larvae in the South this time of year are only two or three months away from hatching and are usually becoming quite large. I have caught fish on this fly in the really large sizes, such as 8 and 10, as well as in sizes 14 and 16. I usually put a bright, colored bead or bright dubbing behind a metallic bead for this fly during the winter.

7. Soft Hackle Surveyor

This fly works great in deep, slow pools where trout are resting. The dubbing color has just enough flash to get fish’s attention, and the big, billowy partridge feathers are tantalizing in the slower moving water. I mostly have this fly in sizes 10 and 12.

8. Brown’s UV Soft Hackle

This is a fly I was hesitant to put my name on because it is so simple and many guides fish flies just like it. I felt it needed a name to be on a list, so there it is. I fish this in size 18 during the winter. I will fish a 16 at times during the rest of the year, but during the winter it’s always 18 because that’s the right size to match the bugs present in cold weather. The UV dubbing seems to really trigger strikes and while I’ve tried many bead colors, copper is the best. I either fish this fly behind a larger bug or as a dropper off a dry fly.

9. Zebra Midge

The Zebra midge and the many variations are probably already in your box. Midges are the bugs I see hatch most during the winter, and like the Pheasant Tail and UV Soft Hackle, I always try at least a couple of these behind a worm or stonefly. They are also small enough that you can fish them below a small parachute or even a Comparadun if you see fish midging in slow water.

10. Puff Daddy

This is one you may not have heard of unless you are on the Watauga or South Holston Tailwaters. The Puff Daddy was created by Blake Boyd for the super-picky fish in the slow flat water. It is small and sparse and takes a good helping of Frog’s Fanny to keep it afloat, but is very effective. I mostly fish dark colors, such as black and olive, during the winter and match the CDC to the thread body. I use it in sizes 18-22.

Brown Hobson is owner and head guide for Brown Trout Fly Fishing, in Asheville, North Carolina. He’s also a former Trout Bum of the Week.

Classic Pro Tips: 8 Must-Have Flies for Winter Fishing

Written by: The staff of Trouts Fly Fishing


Just a handful of staple patterns will get the job done during the winter months.
Photo by Phil Monahan

We are very fortunate in Colorado that we have the opportunity to fish 365 days a year. And though we are now in December and it’s probably time to put away that hopper box until . . .

Written by: The staff of Trouts Fly Fishing


Just a handful of staple patterns will get the job done during the winter months.
Photo by Phil Monahan

We are very fortunate in Colorado that we have the opportunity to fish 365 days a year. And though we are now in December and it’s probably time to put away that hopper box until next summer, don’t think that there aren’t plenty of fishing opportunities throughout the state. In particular, tailwaters—or sections of river below a dam or reservoir—offer your best chance during these winter months. Oftentimes, these sections do offer some specific technical challenges, but their relatively consistent water temperatures and food sources lend themselves to fish that are hungry, big, and willing to eat your fly! Notable winter tailwaters in Colorado include the South Platte—below Spinney Mountain Reservoir, below Cheesman Reservoir, and in the Deckers area—the Big Thompson River, the Blue River, the Frying Pan River, the Yampa River, and the Taylor River.

When Trouts Fly Fishing Outfitting Manager, Dave Lovell, was asked about his favorite winter flies, he said with a smile, “I keep my winter fly selection pretty simple: give me a few different flavors of a few key seasonal food sources—such as the midge and Baetis—and I’m ready to hit the water with confidence. Even more important than your fly selection is maintaining that drag-free drift and set to everything. Don’t over-think it!” As Dave is quick to point out, maintaining a good presentation has a greater influence on the fish than specific fly selection. At any point, there are generally a number of flies that a fish will be willing to eat, but even the most perfectly selected fly is useless if the drift is sloppy or unnatural.

That said, the Trouts team has assembled a handful of their favorite “must have” flies to keep on hand through these chilly months. Though there is no shortage of fantastic flies that work, our guides have compiled a basic list of patterns that we will almost always have on the water, November through February.

Must Have Flies: Winter Edition
Below is our list of seasonal flies for the winter months. You will certainly notice these flies are all on the smaller side and only simulate a couple food sources, but that is the nature of the beast when it comes to fly fishing in winter.

Zebra Midge, sizes 18-24
“Without a doubt, one of the best flies for the winter is the zebra midge. When the water turns cooler, the the majority of mayflies and caddisflies cease activity, which leaves the midge as the trout’s go-to meal. Pound-for-pound in the ecosystem, midges make up the main food source. The Zebra Midge is simple and sparse by design. It is nothing more than a thread body of varying colors, and I like it best with a tungsten bead. The bead is the secret. Tungsten sinks three times quicker than brass, and that added density is great in low flows allowing you to use less split shot. This fly is my favorite to fish behind an egg any time of the day. Carry this fly in olive, black, and red colors and you will be well rewarded.” – Chris Barry

“The Tungsten Zebra Midge is one of favorite winter flies. I fish them all up and down the South Platte during the winter months. Day after day, seeing our customers pull nice fish out of some of the deeper, slower pools has made me a believer in this fly. I usually fish it in a black or rust color, in size 20, and tie it on as dropper at the bottom of my nymph rig. That extra weight at the end helps get it down to where it needs to be.” – Scott Dickson

Jujube Midge, sizes 18-24

“With midges being a staple food item throughout the year and especially in the colder months, I can’t think of a better pattern to have in my fly box than the Juju. I prefer olive, red, and zebra patterns, and I find great success using this fly in late fall through early spring.” -Dave Lovell

Egg Patterns, sizes 14-16
“I fish various egg patterns at some point every day I’m on the water September through April—pretty much regardless of location. When using a double nymph rig, I like to put the egg on as my first fly, and drop a smaller, more natural imitation, like a midge or Baetis, behind it as my second fly. The trick is to use enough weight to get the fly down in the water column, since fish tend to hold close to the bottom this time of year. Love ’em or hate ’em, the egg works!”- Reid Baker

Pheasant Tail, sizes 18-22
“I love fishing small Pheasant Tails during the winter. Most times I’ll run a size 20 or 22 behind an egg, worm, or some other attractor. Sometimes I like them with tungsten, brass, or red glass beads, but more often than not, with the lows flows of winter, I’m a huge fan of the regular old Pheasant Tail without one. Its a great fly that I’ll fish on the South Platte, the Blue, and just about any other river I can get on.” – Scott Dickson

Parachute Adams, sizes 20-24
“If I could only fish one dry-fly pattern for the rest of my life, I’d take a Parachute Adams everyday and twice on Sunday. This pattern for me produces better than any dry fly I’ve used. This simple tried-and-true bug has fooled fish worldwide and is a great fly for taking some very nice fish during the cold weather months when trout are surface-feeding on midges or the sporadic Baetis.”- Dave Lovell

Tungsten Head Rainbow Warrior, sizes 18-22
“I like the Rainbow Warrior because the tungsten head gets the fly down quickly, and the flash grabs the fish’s attention. I find it works best as a Baetis emerger, though I think a fish will sometimes eat it as a midge pupa. Though it catches fish all over, it is my go-to fly when I’m on the Blue River, and when I make it out to the Roaring Fork or lower Frying Pan between now and spring. If water is low and clear or fish are spooky, I may opt for a less flashy fly, but there’s always a handful of Rainbow Warriors in my box during these months.” -Reid Baker

Brooks’ Sprout Midge Emerger, sizes 20-24
“When conditions are right, you can usually see fish rising to the surface in the warmest parts of the day, as sparse hatches of midges or Baetis come off. This offers anglers a great opportunity to change to a dry-fly setup. One of my favorite dry flies when fishing tailwaters in the winter is the Brooks’ Sprout Midge. Though the fly is small and more difficult to see, I usually have my guests fish these flies in the long, slow, flat tailouts below riffles—where you are most likely to see fish rising in winter . Second, the glassy water makes the slow, delicate sips of feeding fish stand out significantly more. If anglers are still having a tough time, I will drop this 12 to 18 inches behind a more visible dry fly, like the Parachute Adams, to help track the flies and drift.”- Reid Baker

WD-40, sizes 20-24
“The WD-40 was created for the Frying Pan River back in the 80′s and has since become one of my favorite emergers of all time. I fish this fly on every tailwater with great success in winter. The natural midge emerger is slender and sparse, and so is the WD-40. It mimics the midge trapped in the transitional phase where it is helpless in the river and easy pickings for a feeding trout. I will often fish the fly below a small dry for those sipping fish that are in the very soft water. Since it doesn’t have a bead, it is very light, so it won’t pull down the dry fly. I like it best without any flash, especially when it comes to highly pressured and wary trout. The curved hook gives the profile a more natural representation. Best of all, the beauty of the WD-40 is that it could be a midge or a BWO which is great, since those two insects overlap during winter hatches.I carry gray, black, and olive for colors.”- Chris Barry

Trouts Fly Fishing is an Orvis-endorsed fly-fishing outfitter based in Denver, Colorado.