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Archive for November, 2010

How to Avoid Hidden Dangers in Dog Toys

Nov 29, 2010

photoDogs aren’t picky – they’ll chew on anything if no toys are around. So buying playthings for your pet should be a breeze, right? As straightforward as the process may seem, though, choosing the proper dog toys will actually require a bit more effort. Suitable, high quality toys will provide mental stimulation, exercise, and fun for your pet. Bad ones, on the other hand, can contain hazards that you may not even be aware of.

The next time you’re shopping for dog toys, don’t be tempted to grab every cute one that you see right away. Sometimes, manufacturers design their products to appeal to the dog owners and not the dogs. Be wary of buying from establishments that are not pet stores, such as groceries or dollar stores. These places carry poorly made toys that may contain dangerous chemicals or be constructed from flimsy material.

What makes a dog toy dangerous? Some are great for supervised playtimes but should not be left alone with your pet because they might get destroyed. If a toy breaks apart due to excessive chewing, it’s time for a new one. Your dog can accidentally swallow or choke on the small pieces, so keep a close eye on toys that are showing signs of wear. Even a small piece of string from a rope toy, a chunk of plastic from a chew ball, or a bit of stuffing from a plush toy can cause serious harm when ingested by your dog.

You have to acknowledge that dog toys have a limited shelf life. Our pets don’t take care of their things as well as we do with ours, and dog toys aren’t meant to last forever. For the safety of your canine companion, it makes perfect sense to pick up and throw away those toys that are starting to crack or have been nibbled down to a certain size.

Many dogs chew to relieve pain during teething as puppies or for fun as adults. It is your responsibility to provide your pet with toys that are enjoyable and appealing enough that they chew on them instead of on your furniture (or other things). One good way of teaching your dog good habits is by not giving him toys that resemble any valued items in your home.

You might also want to store the toys in a special basket or container and rotate them so your dog won’t get bored. If you set aside the toys that he has been ignoring for a while then bring them out later, he’ll be a lot more excited when he sees them again.

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How to Deal with Loose Aggressive Dogs

Nov 26, 2010

photoSome dog owners sometimes encounter this problem: a loose dog approaches them while they are out walking their dog. What do you do in case this happens to you? The situation can be rather intimidating especially if you have a small pet, and the loose dog is larger and/or seems aggressive.

I was on an online forum about dogs recently and had read the heartbreaking story of another forum member. This poor lady held her dying dog in her arms after he was attacked by a loose dog – and the tragedy happened right before her eyes.

I do not always keep my dog Cupcake on a leash, but I follow these two rules whenever we are outside. If she is off her leash and I see another dog with his owner and also off his leash, then I keep Cupcake off hers. I assume that the other dog’s owner knows that their pet is okay with interacting with other dogs.

However, if I see that the other owner has their dog on a leash, then I put Cupcake on hers. My reason for this is that if the other owner is not sure how their dog will react to mine, then I should do what I can to help put their dog at ease.

If you come across an aggressive dog off his leash but with his owner, then it might be a good idea to have a quick word with the owner and suggest that he keep his dog on a leash when other animals are around.

Sometimes, however, you might meet a dog whose owner is either irresponsible or nowhere to be seen. If you are likely to encounter aggressive dogs on your walks, here are three things that you can carry with you to prevent a potential attack.

* Dog pepper spray. This will cause discomfort in the aggressive dog and stop him from attacking but not hurt him.
* Ultrasonic alarm. This device produces sound that is audible to dogs but not humans. It will distract the dog but not cause any permanent damage.
* Walking stick. You can wave this at the dog to drive him away.

Whichever approach you decide to take, you should call a dog warden or animal welfare as soon as you can. The attacking dog just might have gotten lost or is hungry. Reporting the incident could help save him and reunite him with his owner.

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How To Housebreak a Dog

Nov 24, 2010

Tips on getting your dog to go in the right place!

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Aromatherapy for Your Dog

Nov 22, 2010

photoImagine life without happiness, sadness, love, fear, and anger. Emotions are a crucial part of life, not only for humans, but for animals as well. Being left alone for long periods of time, lack of attention, and unhealthy foods are some of the most common causes of stress in pets. Stress can lead to various health problems such as fatigue, shedding, excessive itching, panting, and aggression.

Aromatherapy can also be beneficial to animals. It can be used to treat itchy skin, hot spots, rashes, ear infections, scrapes, bites, cuts, bad breath, surgical incisions, flatulence, and more. If your pet is suffering from a certain ailment, this form of alternative medicine can have an immediate and long lasting positive effect on his wellbeing.

Here are some simple aromatherapy solutions to common canine health problems:

Yeast/Ear Infection

Combine any of the following essential oils with a base oil and apply to the affected area after cleaning.

* Bergamot – antifungal
* Lavender – soothes skin and relieves itching
* Tea tree – antifungal and antibacterial
* Roman chamomile – soothing and gentle; helps heal tissue

Fleas and Ticks

Mix 15-20 drops of any of following essential oils with a base oil and spray on your dog daily.

* For fleas – citronella, peppermint, lemon, clary sage
* For ticks – lavender, myrrh, bay, geranium

Emotional Stress

Combine 6 drops of lavender, 4 drops of marjoram, and 1 drop of neroli essential oils with a base oil such has sweet almond or jojoba. Apply lightly to the head and spine. Reapply as needed.

Loneliness and Anxiey

Blend 5 drops of cypress, 5 drops of marjoram, and 1 drop of rose otto essential oils with a base oil. Apply lightly to the head and spine. Reapply as needed.

Nervousness and Hyperactivity

Mix 6 drops of lavender, 4 drops of petitgrain, and 2 drops of chamomile essential oils with a base oil. Apply lightly to the head and spine.

Note: Remember to consider your dog’s keen sense of smell when using essential oils. He may whine, pace, or rub his head on the ground if the smell is too overwhelming. The best way to introduce your pet to essential oils is gradually and in small amounts.

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Should I Adopt a Protection Dog?

Nov 19, 2010

Q:

photoRecently, my good friend Ricky, who is a professional dog trainer, asked me if I would like to adopt his five-year-old Belgian Malinois, Beaumont. Beaumont is a trained protection dog and is capable of guarding his master, biting on command, releasing the bite on command, and others. He has placed third in level 1 protection in a protection dog competition. I currently have two dogs – both are Labradors, females, obedience trained, and not spayed. One is nine months old while the other is one year old.

I would like to adopt Beaumont, and I know that I will be able to take care of him. I’m concerned about one thing, though. Will he accept me after being with my friend for five years? Ricky assured me that he can transfer Beaumont’s loyalty to me. He is a fierce dog when competing but is a very quiet one otherwise. In fact, Ricky brings Beaumont with him all the time, and on many occasions he is off his leash. Ricky is offering Beaumont for adoption because he wants to get a younger dog.

Should I adopt Beaumont?

A:

I’ve got good news for you. Yes, the dog will transfer his loyalty to you.

But. But! There are two main issues you should consider before adopting Beaumont:

1. Plenty of work is required on your part to learn how to handle a Belgian Malinois, especially one that has been trained for protection. You’re going to need a lot of one-on-one training to successfully integrate Beaumont into your life. Think of it as driving a race car. The vehicle already runs great, but if you don’t learn how to drive it properly, you’ll only end up crashing the car. Or worse.

2. The Belgian Malinois is a very high drive breed. Beaumont will need tons and tons of physical exercise and mental stimulation. Tons. Please take the time to recognize that adopting him will be a huge responsibility.

If you decide to take your friend up on his offer and are successful with Beaumont, then you’ll have an excellent companion by your side. The Belgian Malinois is a healthy breed and is a first-rate working dog.

To be honest, I’ve always wanted a Belgian Malinois myself. But I know that my current lifestyle will not be a good fit for the dog. Training requirements and dedication to exercise are some things that I do not have time for right now.

One last thing – make sure that Beaumont isn’t aggressive towards other dogs before you adopt him.

Good luck!

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Teaching Your Dog Tricks

Nov 17, 2010

Want to teach your pooch a few easy tricks?  Try this out!

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Grooming Your Dog at Home

Nov 15, 2010

photoSome dog owners prefer to have their pets groomed by the pros in doggie salons, while others opt to take the DIY route and groom their pooches by themselves. Grooming your dog at home may not be that easy, but it is definitely doable.

One of the most common reasons why dog owners choose to groom their own canine companions is the cost of professional grooming services. Doing it yourself at home properly is a lot cheaper, of course. If you add up the professional grooming fees and the cost of gas (provided you drive to the doggie salon), you will find that purchasing a set of grooming tools is much more cost-effective. After all, you only need to pay once for the shears, brush, and nail clippers. Still, you need to be careful and use the grooming tools correctly so as not to injure your dog or give him an embarrassing haircut, either of which will only have you end up spending more money.

Another reason why dog owners groom their pets at home is to bond with them. Although your dog might be uncomfortable with the grooming tools at first, he will relax once he understands that they will not hurt him. Also, your dog won’t be as nervous when he is being groomed at home, since he is in a place he knows well and is surrounded by people he trusts. Dogs enjoy being groomed because it keeps their hair at a comfortable length and gets rid of pests and diseases.

When you are grooming your dog, he will know that he is being taken care of and will love you even more. For you, it can be a time to unwind a bit while pampering your pet.

If you would like to groom your dog at home, here are the five basics that you have to do:

* Hair brushing. Most dogs like being brushed and this maintains a healthy coat.
* Bathing. Always use a soap-free dog shampoo.
* Nail trimming. Don’t cut nails too short – it will hurt your pet.
* Haircuts. How often this should be done depends on the breed.
* Ear care. Your dog’s ears can collect yeast and bacteria if they are not kept clean.

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How to Prepare for a Trip with Your Dog

Nov 12, 2010

photoBringing your dog with you on your travels can be a fun experience for your pet as well as a great opportunity for him to explore a new environment. But before you go on a trip with your dog, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Find a hotel that allows dogs. There are websites that can help you locate a pet-friendly hotel, such as PetsWelcome.com. Book in advance, but keep an eye out for restrictions on the number of pets allowed and hidden fees.

2. Make sure your dog gets all the required vaccinations. If your pet will be kept in a kennel, he will need a bordatella vaccination in order to prevent kennel cough. Lyme disease and canine distemper should be inoculated against as well. It is best to talk to your vet to check whether all shots are up to date or not. In addition, you should know all the travel requirements of the country you are going to visit to avoid unnecessary delays.

3. See to it that your dog always has some form of identification on him. Your name, address, and contact number should be on your dog’s collar and other accessories, or you can opt for a microchip implant. Always carry an extra collar with you so you can quickly replace a lost one. Identification is very important because a new environment might make your dog uncomfortable and cause him to run off.

4. Bring your dog’s medical records with you. In case your dog gets sick while you are traveling, it will be helpful to have his health records on hand. You may also be asked to present these documents when entering a foreign country, to show that your dog is healthy and free from any diseases.

5. Guard against high temperatures. Heat can dehydrate your dog, so never leave him alone in a car. If he has to stay in a vehicle, make certain that there is someone with him to watch him, and leave the air conditioning on. He should also have access to water. Dogs do not have sweat glands; they pant in order to release heat.

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Superfetch- Dog Takes Out Trash

Nov 10, 2010

With the help of Zak George, Dobby learns how to take out the trash!

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What You Need to Know About Canine Cancer

Nov 8, 2010

photoCancer is not just a human disease; it affects dogs and cats, too. Unfortunately, our four-legged friends get it at roughly the same rate as people do, and it is the number one disease-related killer of dogs and cats. Despite its prevalence, the majority of pet owners know little or nothing about pet cancer. November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month, so now is the best time to learn more about this topic.

Here are some important pet cancer facts:

* Cancer is the number one natural cause of death in older pets.

* About one in four dogs develops a tumor of some kind during his lifetime.

* More than 50 percent of dogs over 10 years old will die of cancer.

* Cancer can occur in practically any part of a dog’s body.

* Obese pets are at risk for cancer.

Just like with human cancer, early detection of pet cancer is vital, so check your dog on a regular basis. The warning signs to look for are:

* Weight loss

* Lack of appetite

* Sores that do not heal

* Persistent, unusual swelling

* Difficulty swallowing or eating

* Loss of stamina

* Persistent stiffness

* Unpleasant odor

* Difficulty breathing or eliminating

* Discharge or bleeding from any body orificeIf you spot any of these signs, take your dog to your veterinarian right away for an examination.

Some causes of pet cancer are:

* Over vaccination. Too many vaccinations can actually make your pet’s immune system weaker. Initial puppy vaccinations are necessary, but try to avoid vaccinating annually. Inoculate only for diseases that are common in your area, and talk to your vet about spreading out the vaccinations.

* Genetics. Improper breeding practices have caused some breeds to be genetically prone to cancer, such as Rottweilers, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Boxers, and Bernese Mountain Dogs. Always ask breeders about incidences of cancer in the family history when choosing a dog. Also, avoid puppy mills.

* Food and environmental toxins. Chemicals in the environment as well as chemical additives and preservatives in food can accumulate and be carcinogenic. Replace your toxic household products with safer alternatives and avoid giving your dog processed foods.

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