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Archive for January, 2012

ROCKY ADVENTURE – Do Dogs Dream a Sweet Slumber?

Jan 30, 2012

“I found myself in a grassy field. All around are scents of wonder and sounds that reminded me of something familiar that I cannot see. The fresh grass tickles my feet as I wander to explore this new place. I glance from side to side, seeking something that will tell me where I am. The smell is familiar, but the surroundings aren’t. This field, the bright sky, and the cool breeze of spring all tell me that I’m free for the moment.

Then the rabbit runs. So I do what comes natural. I chase the furry rascal, asking him where we are. He doesn’t answer, neither does he slow down. So I continue the chase. After all, what would I do with all this freedom but enjoy some good sport on this beautiful day. He dashes left, then right, but he won’t escape me. Though my feet move, it feels as though I’m floating…or even flying through the field.

The rabbit stays ahead of me, never evading, but never slowing either. Then more join the chase. Bunnies, that is. They’re everywhere now. So many, that I couldn’t catch them all by myself. It seems that I was in desperate need of help.

A bark from behind tells me that someone else is here.  To aid me in my situation, Izzy speeds past and tells me to hurry up with his excited yelps and howls. So I do. But the bunnies still evade our grasp. We’ll have to work together. I tell Izzy to chase one of the bunnies in a circle, and I’ll catch him in the middle. Izzy steers the bunny left ward, forcing the bunny back towards me. Together, we plan a clever trap in which the bunny falls into just as we planned. I pounce and a thousand bubbles explode into the air.

Izzy jumps high and snaps at a few. I chase some of the lower ones that tickle my nose when they pop. Then a huge bubble, as big as me, floats in the air high above. I have to have it. I jump, and the bubble sucks me in. I float there, looking down at the grassy fields full of bunnies and bubbles. Izzy calls up to me, telling me to get down. But the feeling is so amazing.  I tell Izzy to get in with me and that we can go exploring. But when he jumps, the bubble pops, and I fall back into the field, the grass catching and comforting me like a fluffy pillow.

When I look up, things have changed. At least, I think they have. The old man throws me a ball. It bounces down the hallway, and lands in the kitchen. I chase it around the room, but it always rolls out of my reach just when I think I’ve got a hold of it. I slide across the kitchen floor, but I can never get traction. My paws move furiously, but I can’t seem to get anywhere. The sound of the ball bouncing and the piano playing become louder as I slide away from the table. I start to get worried when the door begins to slide away from me. But the old man enters the kitchen, bringing the door and the ball back to me. I snatch the ball up and notice that it’s become a tasty treat, perhaps banana, I think. So I enjoy the texture as I chomp it down and wag my tail happily.

When I’m done, I look up to see the old man stares down at me, a smile on his face and my leash in his hand. His smile widens as he tosses the leash away and runs out the kitchen and through the front door. He runs, so I must chase. And through the grassy fields we run and play forever and a day.”

The old man looks down at his beloved Rocky. Little paws patter the air and a soft “woof” repeats as the little pup chases dreams through the imagination of a happy dog’s mind. Even though he is not the dreamer, the old man offers a smile of his own before returning to his book. As he reads, the old man too slips off into his own sweet slumber.

Author:

Jason Duron is a short story writer and author of several fiction stories.  Curious and lovable as dogs can be, the Adventures of Rocky give you a chance to see daily life from a “dog’s eye view” and share in their thoughts.  Please enjoy, and we hope that you’ll feel free to comment and give us insight into your dog’s very own Rocky Adventures.

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3 Ways To Participate In Love Your Pet Day

Jan 27, 2012

Our daily lives can often get so busy that we don’t always have a lot of time to really enjoy the companionship of our four-legged friends. Work, school, and chores leave us a little exhausted with little time to play with and show some quality affection to our dogs. But, this year we need to set some time aside for our canine companions. This February, Love Your Pet Day gives you a special opportunity to really spend some quality time with your companion and give them the attention and love they need to really enjoy life.

Just around the house

Start by scratching them behind the ear just a little bit longer. Then you can move on to more generous ways to give your pup some love. Perhaps you could give them a belly rub and puppy massage. Puppy massages can be a great experience for any dog, especially our older senior companions. It stimulates both blood flow and the nervous system to keep your dog healthy and active. Don’t forget to rub their paws, too! Even the more “grooming” related of activities can give your dog the attention and affection they want. Bath time isn’t popular for every dog, but for some, it can be an experience to feel fresh and get any dirt out of their fur for their special day. You could finish by giving them a good brushing to get tangles and stickers out of their fur (plus if feels great on their skin too).

Playtime outside

As for the methods by which we get dirty again, that brings us to playtime. There are certain places where our friends can’t always run free to enjoy their special day, so try to avoid most of them. Instead, take them to the park where they can be off their leash and play a good game of fetch. Make sure you bring plenty of tennis balls, Frisbees, and even a tug-o-war rope to keep things versatile and exciting. There may even be a couple of friends there that are celebrating the same thing with their canine companions, so it’s your dog’s chance to make some new friends. While you’re there, you can try and teach them a new trick or go through the old ones to keep up the practice. If you’re having trouble finding a place where your pup doesn’t have to be on their leash, you can always enjoy a walk together through the park or better yet- a new park that your pup has never been to before, where they can sniff and explore to keep their senses tuned and their tail wagging.

Give them a treat

Amongst your dog’s favorites is the always pleasing treat. So what does your dog enjoy the most? Perhaps there is a tasty treat that they favor? Or you might even cook up some new ones for your dog to try. Puppy muffins or even banana related treats can be delicious and best of all…new for your pup. When it comes to snacking, the best things are often something they’ve never tasted before, especially when you cook it just for them.

But you don’t always have to stick with the edible treat- give your dog some new toys, too. Chew toys, squeaky toys, and tug-o-war ropes that are new to their environment tell your pup that today is definitely a good day to be a dog. Dogs love new and interesting toys, so you might even invent some of your own. While very simple, few dogs can resist this particular toy, and plus, there’s no stuffing to clean up if your dog likes to pull their toys apart.

Try this: One-gallon water jugs are noisy and hard for a dog to catch, and when you combine two of them with a simple shoe string, it can make for a special, but very noisy, toy that they can chase around and get a little wild with. Just make sure to remove the caps and any extra water inside. You can even hold onto one jug while your pup holds onto the other for a fun one-on-one gaming experience.

Remember that February 20 is a special day to help remind us that we should love our companion every day of the year. Don’t let the fun stop on the 21st. Spend some quality time with your faithful friend every day. After all, that’s why we have them, and they have us.

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Stolen Hearts

Jan 25, 2012

February is a month to remind us of how precious those around us are. Because of this, February 14 also celebrates Pet Theft Awareness day, created to help remind us to keep our four-legged friends safe and out of harm’s way.

Because our dogs can often hold a financial value to others who would put a price on a priceless companion, theft is a problem when it comes to keeping our companions safe. We can start by simply becoming aware that our dogs could be a target when it comes to being stolen away.

A few precautions to take

Keep your dog secure in your yard or home. Be sure to avoid situations in which you leave your dog unattended in the yard, especially for long periods of time. Don’t think that just because they’ve been fine up until now that nothing will happen. Also be sure to avoid letting them out unattended at any particularly scheduled times, though it can be difficult since dogs need to potty at specific times of the day. Just make sure you keep a close watch on them. This is because thieves will often watch for habits and schedules, and will be inclined to steal if they know when, where, and what they can get away with. By keeping a close watch on your dog, you avoid any light fingers that might consider your dog a perfect match for someone else.

You may also consider spaying or neutering your dog. In truth, spaying or neutering your pet helps to reduce the desire for your pets to roam, such as digging under the fence or wandering too far in the neighborhood in search of other activities. Of course, neutering also reduces the likelihood that a thief would want to steal them. Technically, it reduces the financial value of your dog, but won’t affect the priceless gem that you love and adore.

Tags can be taken off

Because tags aren’t always a dependable source for relocating your dog, (still they are important in case they’ve merely escaped) it is important to keep an up-to-date photo of your dog along with pet insurance. If you’ve recently had them groomed, particularly for long haired dogs in warm climates, make sure you take a new photo. Luckily, it’s easy with all the smart phones and their accessories.

Unfortunately, photos of your dog aren’t always enough. Sometimes we have to get a little more technological. Consider getting your dog a chip. Not a snack, but a tracking device that will allow you to find your dog in case they escape, run away, or even get stolen. It doesn’t cost much and can save a priceless friendship.

Puppy-sitters

If you’re going to be gone for long periods of time (this happened to someone who worked two weeks on and a week off) have someone you trust puppy-sit for you. Don’t leave your dogs at home or in the yard, even if they have adequate provisions. If you can’t be there to check on them periodically, and actually spend some time with them, you need to find someone or someplace that can ensure their safety. This may also apply to those going out of town on a business trip. Our pups can’t always join us, and you may just be gone for a day or two, but rather than leave them at home alone, ask a friend you trust to take care of them.

Raising awareness

One of the best things you can do to help reduce pet theft is to raise awareness about it. Few owners actually know about or understand how often it happens until it happens to them. So, if we all spread the word around, more of our canine friends can be kept safe and sound in the hands of those who truly love them.

Start with your friends and community. Really, with all the technological advances of the modern day, you could even put your social media to work as well. Create some links about Pet Theft Awareness and post them on Facebook, or tweet them on Twitter. It’s simple, and reaches a lot of people, especially a fellow pet owner.

You could even hold your own party dedicated to raising pet theft awareness. Have everyone get together and discuss safe practices for your pets. It’s a great reason to get fellow pet owners together and share some information that could save their pet one day. You could even plan times that you might need a puppy sitter or play-dates for your canine companions so that they aren’t left alone too often. It’s a great way to raise awareness and make arrangements that will help keep your pup safe.

While it’s important to focus on pet theft awareness this February, you should always practice safe habits to ensure your canine companion enjoys a safe lifestyle with the people they love. Be safe, and keep your priceless friend from being stolen away from heart and home.

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ROCKY ADVENTURES – Birthday Wishes

Jan 23, 2012

With the house back to “normal,” I thought that the excitement was over for now. But I was very wrong. Right now, the house is full of people, some familiar and others I’ve never smelled before today. They’ve all gathered here…except for the old man. Yep, earlier this morning I was told to be good with a pat on my head as the old man and Debbie headed out the door for some shopping. Shortly after, these people arrived…along with some goodies.

The table and counter are littered with those present boxes, and the smell of sugary sweetness amongst other delicious tastes fills the air. Since their arrival, they’ve managed to change the looks of my home from “normal” to festival. Balloons are up on the ceiling, some of their strings hanging down far enough for me to catch (which is what I’m doing at the moment). Inside the kitchen is a much larger table covered in decorations and now awaits some of those fresh goodies for my tummy.

For now, this balloon has my firm attention, and no matter where I run, it follows and bounces along the walls and ceiling. One of the old man’s grandchildren is chasing me around, only making the situation that much more fun. I think this is the fifth balloon that they’ve taken away from me, and it won’t be the last.

After we take a few laps around the kitchen table, the balloon gets caught on one of the chairs and pulls out of my grasp. That doesn’t count for their team. We’ll call it a fumble and move on from there. I hop up and grab another low hanging sting to continue the game. This round ends quickly when the odds change and another pair of hands jumps in to assist. No fair.

Christy scoops me up and tells me to calm down. Something’s up. Everything is quiet, and the lights are going out. She takes me into the kitchen where everyone has already gathered and we wait in the dark. Well, it’s almost dark. A tasty cake illuminates the darkness with a single candle. I try to tug away to get at it, but Christy holds me fast and tells me to be quite.

That’s when the front door opened. I instantly picked up the scent of the old man. Then I hear some of his conversation with Debbie echo up the hallway. I hollered for the old man and told him they weren’t playing fair. But when he got to the kitchen and turned on the light, everyone started cheering and yelping, too.

He stopped for a moment, his eyes wide with surprise. But then he smiled. He started hugging everyone and thanking them all. I was dropped back down to the floor so that I could join my companion. I trotted over and pawed his pant leg to let him know I was there. He scooped me up with a grunt and held me tight against his chest (his heart was beating a little faster than normal).

After the excitement had calmed and passed, we all gathered around the table, cake, and candle. The old man took a seat in his chair, and I took a seat in his lap. He closed his eyes for a moment, and then blew the candle out.

Everyone cheered, so I did too. Then the important stuff started happening. The cake was cut, divided, and passed out to the other party goers. Eventually everyone got a piece except for me. I looked up at the old man, my huge puppy dog eyes doing their best work ever. He thought. He pondered. His eyebrow lifted just a hair, letting me know that my efforts were working. Please…

And just when the old man was about to give (I saw it in his eye), Debbie brought me my own cake. She said it was a little something made especially for me on a special day. So, the old man and I enjoyed our own special cakes and the company of these very good friends and family.

Author:

Jason Duron is a short story writer and author of several fiction stories.  Curious and lovable as dogs can be, the Adventures of Rocky give you a chance to see daily life from a “dog’s eye view” and share in their thoughts.  Please enjoy, and we hope that you’ll feel free to comment and give us insight into your dog’s very own Rocky Adventures.

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Caught in the Carpet

Jan 20, 2012

Have you ever had to chase your dog down in order to trim their nails? It never takes long for them to figure out what you’re up to, but nail care is an extremely important part of puppy care. Because dogs are so sensitive about their paws and nails, this task is seldom an easy one.

Get them used to the idea

Before you wrestle your dog to the ground and force them to have their nails cut, try a different approach. When they’re young is the best time to start, but it will work on older dogs too. First, you can start preparing them for grooming by frequently handling their paws. Many dogs won’t be comfortable with you “man” handling their digits, so slowly introduce them to the idea with massaging and rubbing of their paws and the areas between their toes. After they let you do that, move on to the nail, but don’t do any cutting, just put pressure on the area by lightly pinching the nail. Then reward them with a treat for allowing you to handle their nails. After a couple of weeks of handling, you’re pup will be a little less “wild” when it comes to clipping time.

Cutting the nail

The best way to cut their nails is to take small portions at a time over time. Most vets recommend a trim every couple of weeks. This will prevent the nail from growing too long, and help give you a fair idea of where you’re pup’s nail length should be.

Remember that as you clip, check the nail for the dark spot that will let you know you’re going too far. The dark area is known as the quick, and is the most vulnerable part of the nail. You’ll need to stop when you’ve reached the pale inner layer or you risk hurting your dog.

The method of constantly trimming their nails in small portions instead of waiting until their nails are long will help prevent them from the risk of catching on cloth and carpet. It will also help them get used to the idea of you handling their paws and nails. And with consistent maintenance, it will help prevent you from cutting into the nails most vulnerable part- the quick.

The “quick” within the nail is almost like the root of a tooth. If you damage it, their nail can easily become infected and cause a lot of pain for your pup.

This is perhaps what makes puppy nail trimming so tricky. If you start cutting without any education or preparation, you can hurt your dog in several ways. Damaging the quick will often lead to a bacterial infection of the nail and paw. This would require immediate attention, such as disinfecting the area with silver nitrate and preventative steps. A trip to the vet may be necessary, especially in young or older dogs with weaker immune systems that are more vulnerable to infections.

Not cutting the nail

Of course, the opposite is exactly true as well. A dog’s nail left unchecked is just as easily a target for infection as an over-cut nail. Have you ever had your dog run through the house, skid across the tile floor, and when they try that on carpet, they end up with a nail caught in the rug. Now most dogs won’t understand that they need to stop pulling and tearing or they’ll just make it worse, so they usually end up tearing or breaking their nails if they get caught. This will also lead to infection since the nail is cracked or broken, revealing the quick as well.

Long or over grown nails, even though they haven’t cracked or broken, can also lead to infection. When nails get to long, they can begin to curl around, usually placing pressure back into the nail follicle and cause it to become ingrown. Their claws can also begin to curl over and actually dig in and cut into their skin. Without proper attention, overgrown and ingrown nails can cause infections as well.

Taking care of your pup means that you have to do what’s right for them, even if they don’t want to do it. Just like making sure you’re kids go to school and eat their veggies, dog’s don’t always want to let you handle their paws, but it’s something you have to do to ensure that they have a healthy, happy life.

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Bad Dreams And Your Dog

Jan 18, 2012

Paws paddle, lips wiggle, and even the muffled “woof” that is so very mysterious often foretell of puppy dreams. But what happens when our four-legged friends have nightmares? Yelping, shaking, and whining can worry an owner, so we wake them up. But, have we really done our pup a service? They can’t really tell us that they were dreaming of grassy fields and bunny rabbits, not Darth Vader and a mountain lion. But is it possible to tell the difference in puppy dreams? How and when should you wake your pup up if you suspect some bad dreams?

Soothe their spirit

Doggy dreams can range from exciting to scary, both of which can put a pup in a sensitive state. The barrier between dream and reality is very thin, and sometimes their behavior will cross that barrier, which is why it’s important to do what you can to counter their excitement. Don’t startle your dog by shaking them awake, yelling, or any other action that might pull them out of their dreams or nightmares too fast. This may result in snapping, biting, or clawing that might just be part of their dream drawn into reality. Because nightmares can be very intense and frightening, they may still be trying to fight off something when you startle them awake. Instead, be soothing, walk quietly and approach them while speaking softly, possibly their name. Stroke them gently and let them hear your voice to help reorient them when they come out of the dream state. These actions will slowly wake them back into their safe and secure home.

A difference between dreams and nightmares

But that doesn’t actually help you understand the difference between puppy dreams and nightmares. Not all dreams are bad. Not all reactions to a dream are bad. Whining, shaking, and yelping are common, and often resemble reactions to fear that we might feel. For a dog, these reactions are normally excitement. Next time your neighbor’s cat takes off through the yard, watch how your dog first reacts. They whine and yelp, especially if they can’t get outside.

So, how do you tell when your dog is dreaming a bad dream? In truth, the difference is so miniscule that owners are commonly the only ones that can tell. There are a few signs that you can look for in a nightmare, though. Next time your pup is dreaming, take a look at what is really going on in their world of slumber and see if you can figure out what’s going on in there.

Amongst the signs of dreaming, you will notice:

  1. Eyes moving under their lids that will let you know they are looking around to examine their world, possibly looking for a friend
  2. Nose twitching to let you know they are sniffing a new place that they’re unfamiliar with, possibly even a place they haven’t been to in a long time, such as your friend’s farm
  3. Their ears may even twitch around or perk up, but don’t always offer a solid hint to what’s going on since they could be listening or twitching in reaction to a tickle
  4. Panting or awkward breathing often combined with paws paddling or simply twitching to let you know they are running (just because they are breathing awkwardly doesn’t mean they’re having trouble breathing, it’s commonly just part of the running experience in a dream)
  5. And barks of all measures such as whining, the muffled “woof,” or the more intense “Ruff” to let you know they are talking.

But, for nightmares, which can be far more intense, you’ll notice particular combinations that show signs of distress. Particularly, because a dog will focus in on an object they are chasing, meaning their eyes move very little, you’ll note that if they are running, panting very rapidly along with rapid eye movement that is possibly combined with whining, it’s very likely that they’re having a bad dream. Whimpering, barking, and running are usually signs of a happy dream about fluffy rabbits, a friend, and a green open field. If you suspect they’re having a nightmare, it would be good of you to wake them up, especially since they often do the same for us.

Just because your pup is dreaming, doesn’t mean they’re scared. Most puppy dreams are good, and help to experience some of their favorite inner desires. But every now and then, there are times when a pup can dream an unsettling experience. Just watch for signs of what’s going on in their make-believe world, and let them dream if they’re just having fun chasing their friends through grassy fields.

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ROCKY ADVENTURE – On Patrol

Jan 16, 2012

I awoke to find that my afternoon sun had moved away from my bay window. It always seems to do that. I get all comfortable and warm, and when I finally doze off, that annoying sun has to go and move to the next room. All I can do is move with it, I guess.

As I make my way from the dining room and into the living room, I notice some strange sounds from below me. The hallway is dark, but I’m sure that something is here with me. I sniff the floorboards, searching for the strange difference that has presented itself. When my nose argues against what my ears tell me, I decide I must investigate further. The hallway is usually well lit, the light from the kitchen at the other end is usually on, but something is in the way today. A door? What an odd place to put one, but then I notice that the door is actually open to another room, but closing off the kitchen for now. Well, not all the way. I can still squeeze through if I wanted to, but this new room has me intrigued for the moment.

I sniff the cold, damp air that is in there. It smells dusty and pungent, proving an excellent opportunity to get a little dirty. My paws and nails click as they hit each wooden step, and down into this strange dungeon I go. When I reach the bottom, I notice the old man has beaten me to my exploration rights. It looks like he’s putting the tree from upstairs into a box. He struggles to pack it into the box along with all those pretty lights and toys that were on it. But there are more boxes and things down here besides just the tree. The old man must keep all sorts of toys and things down here. I’ll just have to check it out and make sure they’re all safe (and maybe play with a few to make sure they still work).

The old man doesn’t seem to pay me any mind as I start rummaging through a few boxes that are underneath some old tables. I can’t get to the ones on top, so I’ll just have to take care of these ones first. Inside the second box, there’s some smaller boxes, an old ball and leather glove (chew toy? I think maybe so). But what I like is the paper. It smells funny, like another animal. I pull some out to inspect it. When it seems fine, I dive in for some more. That’s when I find the coolest toys of all. Two little critters scamper around at the bottom of the box, like a couple of bouncy balls that were thrown into a small room.

“Hey, old man!” I bark excitedly. “Check this out!”

The tree falls to the ground, still only about halfway in the box. The old man hurries to my side, almost as excited as I am. At least until he sees what’s in the box. Apparently he doesn’t like this kind of toy. That’s okay. I’ll play with them if he doesn’t want them.

I pull the box over so that we can get to the rascals. They scamper out and scurry around on the floor. While the old man is hollering and jumping around (maybe he does like to play with these – I’ve never seen him so excited), I give chase. The two critters go different ways, so I pursue one, and the old man chases the other. Mine manages to get to another box, and enters a small hole at the bottom. I enter the big hole at the top. There’s more paper in here, which prevents me from seeing, but my nose still works well, regardless. I find the critter and pin it to the floor. It’s warm and squeaky, and even the little tail at the end of it wiggles like a wind-up toy.

I tell the old man that I’ve got mine, and it looks like he’s got his. That leather glove toy apparently made a good critter catching mitt. He smiled as he held his with one hand, and pulled me out of the box with the other. My critter! But the old man was fast. He picked the box up and dropped his own catch in with the other. I could hear them both scampering around the box excitedly.

“Good job,” I tell the old man. “What now? Do you want to do it again?”

Author:

Jason Duron is a short story writer and author of several fiction stories.  Curious and lovable as dogs can be, the Adventures of Rocky give you a chance to see daily life from a “dog’s eye view” and share in their thoughts.  Please enjoy, and we hope that you’ll feel free to comment and give us insight into your dog’s very own Rocky Adventures.

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Skip The Chocolate On Valentine’s Day

Jan 13, 2012

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and with it sweets and sweethearts. That means chocolates and flowers on the counter, waiting for someone to enjoy them. But, chocolate is something that no pup should enjoy this Valentine’s Day. Most of us have a rough idea that chocolate is bad for pups, but we should be aware of exactly how dangerous it can be, and what makes it bad for our four-legged friends.

Unfortunately, pups don’t usually know what’s good and bad for them; they leave those decisions up to us. Dogs are renowned for eating just about anything, and chocolate is very attractive to a sniffing snout that’s thinking about being sneaky this Valentine’s Day.

Chocolates of all sorts

What does make chocolate bad for pups? Well, it’s the very thing that makes chocolate so enjoyable for us. A chemical called theobromine is found in chocolates of all sorts at different levels and it actually makes chocolate make us feel good. Milk chocolate contains the least amount, since it’s mixed down in concentration. Toxicity would usually begin at about 1 oz. to pound of body weight. Say you have a fifteen pound dog, it would take fifteen ounces of milk chocolate to be deadly toxic. While that seems like a lot, that is the ultimate limit that a pup can take. It takes far less to begin to hurt your beloved friend.

While milk chocolate is the most common chocolate we run into, there are others such as the semi-sweet, baker’s chocolate, and the potent cocoa beans are extremely toxic for a dog. If they eat any of these, it’s recommended that you take your pup to the vet immediately. Don’t wait for them to show signs of sickness. The vet can pump their stomach and stop the toxins before they can enter the intestines.

Signs that your pup has gotten into your chocolates

Since it’s unlikely that your pup will leave the wrappers around for you to find (they’ll eat the whole thing before you can blink an eye), if you suspect that they’ve managed to snatch a few sweets when you weren’t looking, it will usually take about two hours for them to begin to show signs that the toxins have taken effect once the chocolate has entered the intestines. These signs will usually start with irritability, hyper-activity (more than usual), increased urination, and vomiting, which will help to get the chocolate out of their belly before it can be digested.

But you don’t want to wait for signs to show if you suspect they’ve eaten a lot. Depending on how much they have consumed, a trip to the vet is strongly recommended if they’ve consumed too much for their body weight. If you were lucky enough to catch them as they just started, a nibble here, or a few licks, you might get away with a belly ache and frequent trips to the potty (trust me, nature calls at least once an hour).

The cause of theobromine (chocolate) toxicity is because dogs can’t metabolize the chemical as fast as we can. The chemical accumulates in their body and begins to poison them. If your pup has eaten chocolate, it is likely that they’ll continue to show signs of it for at least seventy-two hours afterwards.

Avoid leaving chocolate around

We all know how sneaky our pups can be, so don’t take any chances when it comes to chocolate. Even leftover wrappers can have enough chocolate in them to upset a tummy, so make sure that trash makes it into the trash can- one that your pup can’t get to. Keep everything high up, preferably in its own canister where it can’t be knocked down (by you or other members of your family).

If you are going to enjoy some chocolate this Valentine’s Day, make sure that you always keep them out of reach. A heavy container would be best, to avoid the chances of it toppling over. Be sure that everyone in your family understands the danger of chocolate as well. You don’t want any of your youngsters sharing a piece of candy with your pup, especially since those big puppy dog eyes can often talk anyone into anything.

This Valentine’s Day, perhaps instead of chocolates for your sweetheart, try some other sweets that let them know you care. You might even get your pup some special treats just for them so that they don’t get too jealous.

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National Dress Up Your Pet Day

Jan 11, 2012

Do you enjoy seeing your pup strut around with a cute hat on? Maybe something simple like a handkerchief around their neck to add some charisma to their style? Well, this January 14 is National Dress Up Your Pet Day and that means that your pup has their own special day to get dressed up for the occasion. But you don’t have to stop at dressing up – you can plan yourself a puppy party to make the day fun for everyone.

Dressing up for the occasion

When it comes to dressing your dog up, you should take into consideration personality, weather (especially since it’s colder right now), and general comfort. Since the day is about your four-legged friend, it’s important to make sure that they’ll enjoy the occasion.

Not every pup is going to enjoy spending time in a bulky costume, especially our corgi and collie friends who prefer the cold weather. But they can still join in the fun, so consider something simple or perhaps even a little entertaining like some alien antennae or a “super” cape that they can chase around.

Since comfort is a big part of dressing up (even we don’t enjoy wearing something that doesn’t feel right for very long), make sure that what your pup dresses in isn’t going to bother them. The last thing you want is to buy a nice costume that they’re just going to rip off and turn into a chew toy. Make sure your pup’s costume fits them properly, and that you don’t have any tags or seams that might irritate them in certain spots.

Get creative

There are various costumes, hats, and other charismatic articles that you can buy. But you don’t always have to spend a lot of money to have fun. If you don’t want to go out and buy a costume, go ahead and put your own creative and innovative talents to the test. Maybe that Halloween costume from last year needs a few changes to turn it into something new (and maybe a little less uncomfortable). Change around hats, or add a pair of bunny ears.

Puppy party time

Aside from dressing up, we can throw a party to really make the day enjoyable. Why not organize a puppy party where all of your friend’s pups dress up too. Of course, your pup isn’t the only one who gets to get into costume. You and your friends can join in as well. Perhaps even have your pup go dressed up as a sheep and you as a shepherd. Then, you’d be able to find your four-legged friend no matter where they run off to (and everyone will know who belongs to who). You can even trade places with your pup. All you need is a tail and some doggy ears, and your pup can wear a hat and tie. The leash would only add to the style if it looks like your pup is walking you.

The nice thing about throwing a puppy party is that you can theme it any way you want to. Perhaps an elegant dress-up with a doggy tuxedo to look good for their special day, and there are stylish dresses for the girls, too. Both you and your pup can look nice for the occasion, even if they do manage to find some dirt to roll in. But that’s what the washing machine is for.

Don’t forget the puppy treats to add some flavor to your party. You and your friends can bake your own doggy biscuits or soft banana strips that your pups can enjoy.

But where can you enjoy such costume parties? While dog parks might seem like a nice place to meet-and-greet with other puppy party goers, it isn’t always sanitary or safe health-wise for dogs. A secure location, such as your own backyard or home would be much safer and probably more enjoyable for you pups, especially if they want all those delicious treats to themselves. Plus, you won’t have to worry about someone else’s huge dog knocking anyone down and taking off with their costume hat.

This January, you can celebrate spending some time with your pup by dressing up and throwing a puppy costume party. Have a few friends over, play a few games with your four-legged friends, and even get dressed up yourself. It’s time for everyone to get dressed up and have some fun.

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Super Dangers At Your Super Bowl Party

Jan 9, 2012

This early part of the year is home to the sporting event of the year. We all gather around the television set to watch the Super Bowl. But that’s not all we do- we make the occasion a party. Food, activity, and people all make for a festive event. Though it’s exciting for us, our favorite four-legged friends may not enjoy it as much as we do.

Not everyone knows how to act around your pup. Amongst the many hazards a mass of activity can bring, one is the uniformed party-goer. As a pet owner, we know the dos and don’ts of taking care of a pup to ensure their happiness and safety, but others may not. If your pup is going to join in the party, make sure you set a list of rules regarding the handling of your pup. And make sure they know that it’s for their safety as well as your pup’s.

Too much activity

One thing about a party is that there is bound to be shouting, throwing, and other activity all around. While some dogs can cope well with this, you may end up with a howling pup that’s anxious for attention, or maybe even a pup that has bolted for the safety of your bedroom. If you don’t think your dog can handle the excitement, make sure they have a safe sanctuary where they can enjoy themselves.

Doggy underfoot

One of the bad things about a bunch of folks moving around (perhaps a little tipsy already) is that people can step on puppy paws. Your pup isn’t always as big as everyone else, and may get trampled or hurt. Of course, the opposite can be true. If old Blue happens to be standing behind someone, he might end up sending your buddy to meet the floor (probably spilling a drink and a handful of chips, too).

Another danger is that party-goers may get rough, and your pup might get caught in the middle. The game may lead to your guests replaying a touchdown, and your pup can end up on the receiving end of a bad play.

Treats that aren’t for your pup

Possibly the biggest danger for a pup is all the tasty treats everywhere. Wandering hands may end up tossing your pup a few bones that he shouldn’t have, or a messy friend may drop half their plate on the floor. Here are some foods to be extremely wary of and are found in most party styled treats.

* Chicken wings are tasty, but their bones can be extremely dangerous for a hungry pup.
* Onions are in salsas, dips, and a variety of other dishes. Though we find them tasty, they can upset a dog’s stomach rather quickly.
* While most fruits are okay for a pup, grapes and raisins should be avoided. Raisins are popular in trail mix which may find its way on your snack list.
* Alcohol is amongst the more popular party treats, and will almost definitely make it on your party list. Don’t let your pup drink…even if he isn’t driving.
* Greasy foods in general aren’t good for your pup’s heart and liver, so avoid treating your pup to a plateful of leftovers.

A safe place for your pup

If you don’t think your pup will do well with the rest of the party, or you don’t think you can keep an eye on him to ensure his safety, it’s best to simply put him in a familiar place for the time. While the yard may seem like a good idea, the Super Bowl party usually travels between inside and outside, especially when the ref makes a bad call. Select a room where they won’t get into mischief, but will feel safe even with all the noise. Make sure they have plenty to eat, drink, and toys to play with. Conveniently, this might actually be a good time to put your dog’s grass litter box to use so they aren’t wandering through the crowd with a full bladder (and we all know what happens when pups get too excited when they have to go potty).

Super Bowl Sunday is a big day for the fans of football (and the fans of the epic commercials, too). While we will definitely enjoy the occasion, make sure that your pup is kept safe as well. Though you might think they’d enjoy the change, don’t put them in a situation where they can get hurt. Keep your pup safe and enjoy the party.

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