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Archive for February, 2012

Introducing Good Dog Eye Care

Feb 29, 2012

Your dog’s eyes also need the proper attention to keep them happy and healthy. Unlike most of their body, dogs can’t usually reach their eyes to help keep them properly maintained. In order to ensure their health, and clear sight, you need to help your dog protect their eyes from infection and irritation.

Common signs of eye problems start with a thick buildup of discharge around their eye. While commonly normal to have some, if there are excessive amounts or more than usual, you definitely need to pay attention to their eyes. Reddish and irritated whites of the eyes can be the first signs of infection, and need to be addressed promptly. There are various causes for eye infection and irritation, many of which can be prevented through proper eye care and hygiene.

Keeping their eyes clean

You may have noticed the gunk and regular mucus discharge that will often build up in the corner of your dog’s eyes. This is possibly the most common, but also most overlooked hygienic requirement. The buildup around their eye can actually become a breeding ground for infection, so you need to be ready to help them clean the area. While warm water and a towel can be handy for doing so, be sure that you aren’t too rough, or you could hurt their eyes. Most regular buildup is easily controllable with minor attention, if you practice it daily. As dogs get older, or even play out in the dirt often, the mucus can be much more common, and isn’t something to worry about unless you allow it to accumulate and possibly become infected.

Some dogs are more prone to buildup in this area. Maltese, Poodles, and Cocker breads seem to have excessive buildup, often through over-active tear-ducts, which usually mats the hair around the eye as you may notices the dark staining and buildup become apparent. Eye wash solutions for dogs can help in more severe situations, and can definitely help prevent eye infections.

A hairy situation

Dogs are commonly covered in fur, which does grow and shed (our couch is well aware of this). I’m sure we all know how irritating it can be to get hair in your eyes, and for dogs it is no different. Excess hair around their eyes can cause irritation and even scratches on their retina and surrounding eye tissues, damaging their eyes. While frequent trips to the groomers can definitely help keep their eyes clear of a hairy situation, if the need arises, you can also do it yourself. Always use a curved pair of trimming scissors, never straight, to trip the hair around their eyes. There are quite a few breeds whose fur grows very quickly, so keeping the hair out of their eyes may be required.

Soap in your eyes

Another time when your dog is actually subject to eye irritation is during their occasional bath time. Soap and dirty water can easily get into their eyes when you’re rinsing them off, and can cause irritation. You can actually use a protective ointment on their eyes during bath time to help prevent dirt and soap from getting in their eyes.

Healthy diet for healthy eyes

One of the most important precautions you can take is to provide a healthy diet. Be sure that you are feeding them properly with a nutritional diet (table scraps aren’t a meal). There are also multi-vitamins available for your dog, and can be especially beneficial for older dogs whose sight may already be depleting with age.

But this also brings up the topic of cataracts. This problem is common in older dogs, and is usually identified by a cloudy buildup inside of their eye. Because a dog’s best sense isn’t their eyes, problems with navigation aren’t seen early on. This is usually because they navigate by memory and smell, but as their eyesight depletes, they can be confused by simple changes in furniture or new places. This is why a healthy diet throughout their life can help prevent cataracts and premature loss of sight by keeping their eyes healthy and strong.

Proper eye care is a daily part of your dog’s hygiene, and every owner needs to be aware of how to take care of your dog’s eyes. Daily maintenance, a quality diet, and a few precautions can keep your dog looking and seeing great.

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ROCKY ADVENTURE – Rocky Gets Sick

Feb 27, 2012

Usually I would wake up and feel ready to take on the world…or at least the backyard. But today, I woke up feeling terrible. My belly felt like a rock, and even food didn’t sound too appetizing. Yesterday hadn’t gone so well either. It had started out like any other day, with me looking for ways to cause a little harmless mischief. But, yesterday had been very different.

It all started when I spotted the old man cooking up something delicious on the countertops. He was moving around the kitchen, moving dishes and stirring a soup. It was likely he was enjoying his daily tea, and what goes better with tea than something sweet. He never lets me have any of his sweets though. One of the few things that even my puppy-dog eyes can’t seem to talk him out of. I can smell it from here, a bar of deliciousness sitting on the table top, just waiting for the old man to enjoy with his afternoon tea.

Today was a chance to change it all though. With the old man preoccupied, it would be easy enough for me to sneak a taste without him noticing a thing. I studied the old man, his attention still firmly set on the countertops and their contents. So I made the first move. Up to the chair. I look again, but still no early warning signs. I make the next move. My nose surfs the table surface and locates the bar. I look to the old man, but still not a sign of regard. I help myself. The outer layer is odd, and not near as tasty as the inside. I manage to take a good sized bite before I’m discovered. And the last step is that I get into trouble.

But that wasn’t the end of the trouble. The old man seemed worried more than angry, and even called Christy over to hang out with us for a bit. As they talked, I felt something go very wrong inside my belly. A gurgling, some rumbling, and then…potty time. I rushed to the back door, yelping to get outside.

I didn’t even wait to find a comfortable spot, I just went. But that wasn’t even the end of it. My belly began to hurt, and even my head started complaining about nothing at all. Christy came out to check on me, pulling my mouth open to look inside. Guess she was checking to see if I had any leftovers, but I never leave leftovers. She should know that.

I gradually began to feel worse, and my belly was definitely giving me fits. I pretty much just stayed close to the doggy door for a quick exit to take care of business. Luckily, the old man took me for an unexpected car ride to doggy doc. I felt sick, but nothing the Rock couldn’t handle. This time, I was the most well behaved dog in the whole place. Usually, I’m rowdy and uncontrollable, but I wasn’t my regular self.

The doc checked me out, rubbing my belly around and looking into my mouth. I don’t know why, I already ate it all, and there wasn’t any left for him in there. Guess the old man really wants his goodies back. But, the good news is that the doc didn’t seem too concerned about the situation. Guess he isn’t as big a fan of sweets as the old man is.

So, now I’m just lying here, the day fresh, but my body not as eager as it usually is. The nice thing is that I get all the rice I want. Oddly enough, something that’s usually a treat had made it to my bowl last night. It was good, and my belly felt a lot better afterwards. The old man is a pretty decent cook. Maybe I’ll have some this morning, too. But for now, I have to take care of some business, and quick!

The urgency kicks me into overdrive, and I manage to get outside before any accidents take place. Guess my rock hard belly does have its limits.

It’s strange, but I can’t help but feel like the old man’s sweet bar was responsible for me getting sick. That wouldn’t make sense though, especially sense the old man loves them so much. They can’t make you feel like this…could they?

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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Who Else Sees The Change?

Feb 24, 2012

Something that we don’t always realize about our dog is that they are so reliable. Like the sun is to rise, or a quality watch made by a craftsman would tick forever, dogs are beasts of reliability. Not just for the fact that they are always there for us when we need their love and affection, like a comforting lick to awaken us or a cheerful yap as when it’s time for a walk, but all the things in a dog’s life are subject to habit. Feeding time, bedtime, potty time, and even playtime are all a part of a dog’s schedule. So when things change, not because you move or change diet, but often just plain out of the blue, it’s time to pay close attention, because your dog might not be quite themselves.

Food for me, not so hungry

Animals, dogs included, have the ultimate will to survive, hence the reason they are often so eager to gobble up those messy crumbs and scraps that fall to the kitchen floor. They may even be clever enough to sneak a roll from the dinner plate when you aren’t looking (mine always does). But the most obvious sign that something is wrong is when your dog begins to miss their meal.

For any dog, meal time is important, so the lack of hunger can be a dead giveaway that a problem needs to be addressed. Of course, the lack of hunger could mean one of many things. Perhaps they managed to get into the garbage and snacked on something that upset their stomach or they may have come down with an ailment from worm problems that are weakening or sickening their body. Regardless, lethargic problems are nothing for a pet owner to overlook.

Lethargy becomes apparent

Compounding problems that may also surface, especially when eating is already posing a problem, is the lack of activity, longer periods of sleep, and even more acute signs such as vomiting or bleeding. These signs are often the warning of an onset of far more serious problems. Although they are far easier to spot as signs become extreme, it is vital to a dog’s health that you catch them as early as possible.

That is why your attention to your dog’s behavior is elemental in providing a healthy life for them. Many dogs will push themselves to please their owners until they can no longer physically continue. Dogs are amazing creatures, living only to love, but this can often make it difficult to spot problems early on.

Limping or lack of eating are often the first signs of trouble in any case. A minor injury could cause a limp, but it should never be overlooked. Physical inspection could provide a simple problem, like a sticker in their paw or even the onset of arthritis. But, every owner should be prepared to take the utmost care of their companion. Eating problems can surface from many issues and may only be temporary. People get stomach aches on occasion, even if it’s from eating too much. Missing a meal is a warning, but when they miss several, something may be very wrong.

Sleeping too much

One of the things that many owners often don’t take notice of is oversleeping. We spend time at work, time with friends, and even time with our computers, so it can be difficult spending time with our dogs. This of course presents our dog with plenty of opportunity to sleep and possibly be bored, regardless of their fairly active nature. Sad as it may sound, dogs do still find ways to entertain themselves when we aren’t looking (chewing on the baseboards, chasing the cat around the house, or hiding the remote). But, when a dog begins to sleep excessively, such as during an opportunity to go for a walk or chase the ball, this can often be a definite sign that serious problems are present. Many worms, intestinal and cardiovascular, can cause dogs to become lethargic and lack energy and stamina. Serious onsets of arthritis can also cause dogs to refrain from moving as much. Excessive sleep and the avoidance of activity with you are possible signs that your dog is ill.

Don’t overlook changes in your dog’s habits. Every day, they get up, eat, play, love, and sleep. Every owner should be able to know their companion well enough to see that something has changed, whether it’s an extreme change such as a change in choice of diet or something as trivial as their choice of sleeping location. It’s important to pay attention to what your dog does, so that when something changes, you’ll know the difference.

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What Everyone Needs To Know About Being Walked

Feb 22, 2012

For many of us, walking our dog is something only relative to the term “walking.” More often than not, it is our dog that does the walking, or rather tugging. Unfortunately, this poses a slight problem, and something of a discomfort, when owners aren’t able to fully control their dog on a simple walk through the park. For safety and health reasons, the ability to walk your dog, rather than them walking you, is an important part of the dog/owner relationship, and is something every couple should master. Dogs that tug or pull their owner along by their leash are often seen on walkways or in parks, and can look silly, especially when the owner is struggling to keep up. Unfortunately, this is a problem that many of us suffer, and few take the time to actually tend to. So, we must address this issue, but not through rough treatment or fancy tricks with expensive tools. It is best done by working through the relationship that owners and dogs share with each other.

A leash to bond

The very curious nature of a dog gives them the desire to wander, which of course instigates their desire to pull and tug you as they chase a scent or something of interest (stray cat?). As your dog develops the habit of pulling you along by the leash, they begin to feel that they are in charge of the journey. You will follow them, rather than they follow you. This can be dangerous for a dog, especially if they are off the leash, perhaps in a park, and race away to chase some unknown object.

Where you need to start is getting your dog used to their leash. Many dogs don’t like the idea of being leashed, familiarizing it with restriction and unwanted feelings when they see it. When you can carefully observe your dog in a contained environment, put the leash on them and allow them to pull it around freely, so that they can get used to the idea of it being there. It is important to watch them to ensure that they don’t get hung up or caught on furniture.

A walk to remember

When they’ve become accustomed to the leash, or at least familiar with it being there, it’s time for a walk. But, this won’t be just any walk, because confusion will play a part in this trick. Dogs develop habits quickly, and have great difficulty breaking them. They will instinctively have the desire to run, chase, or pursue scents or objects of attention. What you must do during the walk is teach them that you are the primary object of their attention. This process does more than teach a dog how to walk with you; it teaches them that you are the center of their attention.

A short walkway, a leash, a handful of treats, and your faithful companion are all that is needed for the trick. Perhaps the short walk down to the mailbox will suffice for the walk, but other than that, all you need are the basics and the right method. First you begin to walk in one direction, and your dog will likely begin to race past you and tug at the end of the leash to begin the lead. Stop. Don’t pull back on them, but don’t walk with them either or you’ll reinforce their desire to lead. Instead, change your direction directly opposite and call to them (it helps to have this command already learned). When they come back, it is helpful to place a treat at your heel to keep their attention on you. Then, you begin to walk the other way. They will likely repeat their actions and race past you again, to which you also go through the motions again by stopping, changing direction, and waiting for your pup to rejoin you on your journey. This process is repeated over and over, slowly breaking the dog of its tugging and leading habits, and teaching them to walk with you. This happens as they realize that they don’t always know where you are going. And like any good dog, they always want to be with you.

Dogs are eager to please, and have the internal desire to follow you, but their curiosity and habits can get in the way. This process may take a few tries, or even longer periods of time, but doesn’t require a choker leash or head harness to get them to want to follow you. That is the trick. Rather than teaching your dog to follow…or else, you teach the dog to follow you because they want to be with you.

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ROCKY ADVENTURE – Shopping With My Friend

Feb 20, 2012

Oh yeah! The front door opens and I rush out into the yard. When I reach the gate, I turn to tell the old man to hurry up. He has his third leg with him, which does speed him up, but he’s still far slower than my four. He hollers to tell me he’s coming as he manages the two steps down to the grassy yard.

I knew today was going to be awesome when he grabbed my leash and his favorite hat. We always go for awesome outings when he has his hat, and today would hopefully be no exception.

The old man unlatches the gate, and I burst out toward the car. Everything is taking so long! Time seems to go even slower when something great lies ahead. Even the keys jingle and the wind blowing the leaves lingers for a few moments longer than it should.

The car door opens, so I find my place in the seat and wait for the old man to get us situated for the trip. His third leg is placed in the back, then we both get buckled up for the ride. And we’re off.

I continuously ask him where we’re going and how much longer it’ll be, to which the old man reassures me that it’s a surprise. I yip and grunt, letting him know that he’s not giving me the answer I need.

We take the usual route, dropping off the papers at the street box, then heading to the funny smelling place so the old man can feed the road machine. The smell of its food always tingles and burns my nose, and the old man’s hands always smell of it for the rest of the day. It’s all good though, we’re off to have us a good time. Maybe it’ll be a park where I can run and play with some friends, and the old man and I can play a game of throw n’ catch.

But as I watch from my window seat, we pass by both of the parks. I watch as others run and play, dogs and peoples chasing balls and disks all around the open fields. Smaller people-pups crawl around on their bars and in the sand. I tell the old man that we’ve passed the parks, but he doesn’t even act like he knows what’s up.

Before I can really get flustered, the old man stops us in front of a building I’ve never seen before. My leash goes on, and we both exit the car, the old man on his three legs, and me on my four.

Then I can smell the strange difference. The ground and walkway reek of dog scents and marks. It’s on! I rush to the edge of my leash, attempting to make it to a spot that demands my attention.

I walk the old man up to the building. He occasionally tugs me to let me know where we’re going. The doors open for us and the air is filled with so many scents that I feared my nose would explode for sure. Inside, other dogs rushed about, some dragging their companions, others walking with. But all were excited to be here.

We walked together through the isles, checking out the goodies. It was hard for me to focus on what the old man was saying, though. All this new information was entering my mind, giving me so many choices to choose from.

We stopped, and the old man pulled down some toys that squeaked and whistled. He tossed several onto the floor around me, telling me to pick some that I liked. There were balls, fluffy toys, and even one that caught my attention in particular. A ball with holes in it didn’t seem interesting at first, but the ball inside was so irresistible. I wrestled with it for a bit, trying furiously to get it out of the bigger ball.

The old man told me to bring it with us as we walked and explored some more. We walked through the food isles, but this was no time to eat (an extremely rare occasion, I might add). I shook the ball side to side, still attempting to solve this conundrum of a toy. Before I knew it, the old man had found himself a few items to carry, a bag of treats for me included, and we were headed out the door.

Time is funny in a way that it went so slow while I waited to get here, but while we were having a great time, everything went by so fast. By the way, I still haven’t figured out how to get that ball out of the other ball…yet.

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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The Dangers of Canine Cancer

Feb 17, 2012

Cancer can develop in any dog at any stage in life, but is found most commonly in dogs that are in their later senior years (10 and up). This means that owners should be aware of how cancer can affect their dog and be able to detect early warning signs to ensure the health of their four-legged friend.

Something that every pet owner should do is routinely inspect their dog both physically and mentally. That doesn’t mean that you sit your pup down in a psychologist’s chair and talk to them. Many cancers can affect their daily habits, such as eating and sleeping. Dogs love routine, so radical changes in their behavior should be taken seriously. Many dogs will begin to show behavioral signs that something is wrong, such as loss of appetite or repeatedly licking a single localized area that may appear irritated or swollen. The physical inspection is just as important, and in order to tell the difference in their bodies, you’ll need to consistently check them for physical changes such as lumps between their arms and chest area, swellings, unusual discharges, and difficulty breathing (when they’re awake).

These signs don’t always provide the needed time to treat cancer properly, which is why researching your dog’s breed and regular checkups with the vet are crucial to ensuring your dog’s health. Dog breed can play a part in their predisposition towards certain cancers. Many times, purebreds are at a greater risk because of genetic diseases that can lead to cancerous growths. Regular checkups with the vet can greatly increase the chances that you will discover the cancer early on, and prevent any further growth or damage with the proper treatment.

But cancer isn’t just on the surface. Some of these cancers can affect various parts of a dog’s body, and aren’t always limited to the skin. This means that you can’t always detect all forms of cancer with a physical inspection. Just like humans, dogs can also get breast and testicular cancer, especially if genetic diseases such as Cryptorchidism are already present. These diseases will often have an effect on a dog’s habits and mental state since these areas affect their hormonal levels. Spaying or neutering your dog can greatly reduce the likelihood of these cancers if done early enough.

But, not all cancers are always dangerous. There are two types of cancer, one being benign, which is harmless and rarely interacts with the surrounding tissues, but results in growths or discoloration of the skin or even fur. The other is malignant, which are usually aggressive and attack the body and tissue, resulting in illness, pain, swelling, and discomfort. When you detect abnormalities in your dog, it is important that you take them to the veterinarian to get them checked out. The vet will normally analyze the growth through biopsy, blood tests, x-rays, and ultra sounds to confirm the purpose of the growth.

Some treatments can involve chemotherapy, just like in humans. This treatment is hard on the body because it attacks the cancerous cells to inhibit growth, but unfortunately will also affect the immune system as well. The positive side is that it can save your dog’s life, or at least extend it, even with severe cancers such as lymphoma (cancer in the lymph system which is part of the immune system). Dogs will usually suffer from vomiting, dizziness, and nausea, but rarely lose their fur.

Tumors and growths can also be treated with surgeries and operations, in which a surgeon would remove the tumor or cancerous tissues to prevent further growth or infection of nearby organs and tissues.

Of course, waiting to see if your dog will get cancer is no way to take care of your pup. An active, healthy lifestyle and the proper diet also play a role in the development of cancer. This is why it is so important to make sure that you take care of your dog’s health on a daily basis. Take your dog for a walk regularly, feed them the right diet (human food is not dog food), and ensure proper grooming to prevent infections that can result from ticks and fleas. Brushing and oral care will also help prevent gum diseases that can cause cancer of the mouth, which can be extremely painful for a dog. Take care of your dog’s health, and you can help prevent any unnecessary cancers later in life.

Early detection and treatment are vital for your dog’s health. If left untreated, even small cancers that affect the skin can spread to organs and even the lymph system. With early detection, many cancers can be treated and can save your best friend’s life.

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Dogs And Eating Grass

Feb 15, 2012

Have you ever wondered why your dog is eating the grass in the yard? They sniff and pluck blades usually from a familiar spot. Sometimes they even chew on fresh branches or pull the bark off of trees, which can often be annoying when you want to keep your yard healthy and green. But stopping your dog from eating the grass, plants, or trees isn’t the solution. These greens are necessary for your dog’s body.

Aside from the common thoughts that grass helps settle a dog’s belly if they’re upset, plants play a much more important role in your dog’s well-being. Although grass does play a part in your dog’s digestive system, helping them to digest and process their food easily, green plants have more to offer your dog’s entire body.

The necessary nutrients for your dog

One of the primary reasons that your dog eats grass is because they’re seeking vital enzymes for their body. Plants produce many of these enzymes naturally, so your dog needs them to maintain a healthy body. Instinctively, they know this, so they eat plants of all sorts to accumulate them. Unfortunately, this may result in a dog nibbling a poisonous or dangerous plant (poinsettia, cactus, or even rose bushes) to find the necessary nutrients for their body. Since this can be a very serious problem, it is up to you to prevent this by giving your dog a safe source of these enzymes.

A dog’s body requires twenty-two different enzymes to complete healthy body functions. Twelve of these occur naturally within their body and can be sustained with the proper diet (quality dog food designed for their breed and size). The other ten are found in nature- primarily in plants. Grass contains several of these enzymes, but not always enough, which is why dogs will often pick and choose from areas in the yard to snack on greenery (they may even sneak into the garden if they get a chance).

Because it is up to you to ensure your dog is provided a healthy lifestyle, you must make these enzymes readily available to them. There are food additives you can purchase at pet stores and even health food stores, but one of the best sources for your dog to get these enzymes is in algae. An alga is not a mold or growth in water, but a plant. It is actually the most life giving plant, producing most of the world’s oxygen that we consume every day. But you don’t have to let your dog lick the bottom of the pond to get these nutrients. Tablets composed of dehydrated algae are available, and are good for both you and your dog.

Other excellent sources of enzymes and nutrients for your dog are the plants kale and seaweed. These water plants can be found in most grocery stores (especially as we become more aware of our own health) and can be mixed in with their food or eaten on their own.

Besides just providing the essential nutrients for your dog’s body, these plants also help to rid their body of unnecessary toxins. They are a great addition to a healing dog’s diet, especially right after certain procedures or illnesses. On top of that, these plants also provide good sources of protein for energy and strength (even though they may already be more than enough for us to handle).

Staying hydrated

Another reason for snacking on greenery is that a dog may require more water. Dogs, especially seniors and puppies, require plenty of water to cool and function properly. Always make sure that your dog has ready access to water and that it’s kept fresh constantly. Some dogs may need incentive to drink (you can lead a dog (horse) to water, but you can’t make them drink). Moving water means fresh water, and many dogs will enjoy drinking from a fountain, faucet, or even from a pouring container before they will drink from a bowl. If you’re concerned that your dog isn’t staying hydrated, you may consider investing in a cycling water fountain for them. It keeps the water circulating so that it stays fresh for your pup.

So don’t fret if you see your dog pulling up a patch of grass. They’re just trying to get the nutrients their body needs. All you need to do is help them achieve a healthy body. Regardless of what source your dog gets their enzymes, nutrients, and water from, it’s up to you to provide them with a complete diet to ensure their health and well-being. When you provide them with what they need, they won’t be as inclined to snack on the grass or trees, and you can enjoy a healthy yard and a healthy, happy dog.

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ROCKY ADVENTURE – You’re The Only One For Me

Feb 13, 2012

I awoke to the sound of plates clattering in the kitchen. Still groggy from my sleeps, I attempt to orient myself so I can make it to the food source. As a dog, you quickly learn the sound of food being prepared, and that is never an occasion to miss out on. This is no exception.

I hop down to the carpet and squeeze through the doorway. The old man had tried to close the door behind him, but it never seems to seal all the way. I learned long ago that with my nose I can wedge it open far enough for me to get though.

Then, down the hall and to the kitchen I race. My senses are alert once again, and the old man shuffling in the kitchen can mean only one thing- meal time. I stare up at him, his concentration focused on the wonderful smells upon the counter. He tosses and stirs things on the stove, and never seems to pay me any mind. I crawl between his legs and lay down, knowing this always gets his attention. Which it does, but it’s not the way I liked. He tells me to evacuate the premises, and returns his attention to his work. It’s all good, though. I’ll eventually get a sample of that tasty meal he’s cooking up. I always do. No one can resist the eyes of Rocky!

So I lie on the couch and wait. Every changing sound, the clatter of another plate, and even the old man’s grunts of effort alert me as I listen carefully for the meal to be ready. Time seems to draw on, and my mouth yearns for the tasty meal that awaits my belly.

That’s when the doorbell rings to announce the arrival of another. My job takes precedence, and I race to the door to ask who it is. I sniff, but detect no change, so I go to get the old man. He’ll know what to do. The kitchen is still full of smells that make my belly growl, but I deliver the message as my job entitles. After a few moments, the old man decides that he too should inspect the front door. I race him down the hall, and wait, not so patiently, for the old man to do his part. He does.

Debbie, the neighbor enters and offers me a pat on the head. I turn belly and ask for a rub. She gives me a pat and starts chatting with the old man. I’m jealous. They make their way back to the kitchen where the old man gives her a sample of his tasty meal. They continue to ignore me as they laugh and sample the delicious treats, and the old man even gives a flower to Debbie, which she smells and savors. Jealousy overcomes me as I grunt displeasure and return to my seat on the couch.

Soon after, the meal is done, and the two of them sit at the table to laugh and enjoy their conversation above a tasty meal. Only two chairs are present, and when I try to get up into the old man’s lap, he tells me “no” and pushes me away. I’m saddened, and decide that I today is not my day. I slump on the floor and wait for things to change. Perhaps something will fall to the floor, allowing me a sample of this tasty fortune. A few nibbles drop, but nothing to satisfy my craving. So I continue to wait. But they finish before anything substantial can satisfy my palate.

The event quickly transfers to the living room, where the old man and Debbie enjoy a seat on the couch. Something odd here since they never sit this close. In fact, Debbie is sitting in my seat. The two laugh and chatter for a bit longer before I lose my patience. The old man is mine. My best friend. My everything.

I jump up between them and dig myself into the couch. They laugh and grab at me. But the grabs turn to rubs and massages as the two of them give me the love I so much enjoy.  “Jealousy,” I hear Debbie accuse me of. She’s right. I would never put anyone before the old man, and that is what makes him so special to me. My heart belongs to him, and I hope that he feels the same about me.

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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Taking Care Of Your Pet’s Teeth

Feb 10, 2012

February is a short, but busy month, celebrating several holidays and events. Amongst all the festivity, this month celebrates the importance of your dog’s dental health. Bad breath isn’t anything to disregard, and neither is the care you need to provide to keep your dog smiling bright. Dogs can’t readily use a toothbrush to keep their teeth, gums, and breath looking and smelling fresh. You need to understand how and why dog dental care is an important part of the relationship between you and your canine companion.

Unlike humans, dogs lack an opposable thumb so they can properly brush their teeth. Silly as it may sound, dogs instinctively understand that their teeth need to stay clean. Certain habits, such as chewing on sticks and other items (hopefully not your hat) actually help keep your dog’s teeth clean. Because they don’t brush every day, like our dentist tells us to do, dogs naturally help keep their teeth clean for longer periods through the chewing process.

Goodies to help

A dog’s natural instinct to chew makes for an excellent way for you to help them take care of their teeth. There are various dental toys and treats on the market that promote dog oral health. Some of them work well, while others can have odd side effects (some of them smell like mulched grass and the smell sticks to your dog). Preferably, treats that have shaped ridges and provide quality nutrients are the best. Though they may be a little expensive, they won’t make your dog’s breath smell funny or even lead to some digestive tract trouble (diarrhea).

Rawhide has been the ideal solution for puppy dental health for the longest time, but unfortunately, it can clog up a dog’s intestines and accumulate over time. Young dogs who are teething may not have as much trouble with rawhide, but as they get older, rawhide should be used sparingly.

But, chewing doesn’t guarantee the health of their teeth. A dog’s diet is important, providing the necessary nutrients to strengthen teeth and promote oral hygiene. Be sure that you select your dog’s food properly for all health and hygiene related reasons.

Brushing properly

This leads us to your important role in your dog’s dental health. Brushing teeth can be difficult, especially if your pup isn’t used to you putting your hands or any other object in their mouth. Not many dogs will just up and let you start brushing, so you have to work with them and get them used to the process. Ideally, you should brush your dog’s teeth once every two weeks. Perhaps this could coincide with bath time, followed by something exciting for them. Remember, you don’t want your dog to fear the process. When you’ve successfully brushed, be sure that your dog realizes that this is a positive experience. Offer them a treat, or take them out for an exciting afternoon with you. Whatever you do, let your dog know that when they brush, they will be rewarded.

Start by getting them used to you touching their teeth. First, wash your hands thoroughly, and don’t leave any soapy residue on your hands. Then, sit down with them on the floor, spread their lips to reveal their teeth, and start brushing in a circular motion with your finger. Generally, you would start at the back and work your way to the front and across. This gets them used to the idea of you having your hands in their mouth. If they nip or lick, stop, pause, and start over. Practice for a few days. When your pup becomes accustomed to the process, you can add a brush and toothpaste to the challenge. Here is the important part- there is a large difference between dog toothpaste and human toothpaste. Never use human toothpaste on a dog, as the chemicals, primarily fluoride, can make a dog extremely sick. Dogs can’t, or won’t, spit out toothpaste. This means that they swallow whatever goes in their mouth. Keep that in mind while you’re brushing, and be generous with the doggy toothpaste.

There are a variety of brushes available for dogs, the most effective being the finger brushes. These brushes slip on your finger so you can easily control the motion of the brush and won’t confuse or scare your dog (or give him any ideas about turning a toothbrush into a chew toy).

Taking care of your dog’s teeth is an important role in your relationship with your dog. Regular brushing, healthy dental treats, and time and effort well spent will help ensure that your dog keeps smiling a bright pearly smile for a long, happy lifetime.

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February Is Responsible Pet Owner’s Month

Feb 8, 2012

This month reminds us of the importance of dog ownership. Dogs are among the most precious parts of our lives, and as your dog’s owner, you are responsible for their safety, health, and happiness. These responsibilities aren’t easy, and can often be overlooked. From simple tasks, such as brushing their teeth, to keeping them active and healthy, this February reminds us of what it means to have a dog as your companion.

Your responsibilities

Exercise is among the most important tasks that many dog owners seldom remember, but dogs never forget. They approach you with a favorite stuffed toy, a rogue ball found under the couch, or even their leash, but the message is always the same- I want to get active. Exercise is vital to a dog’s health, and there are many ways to keep your dog active, even if you aren’t always there to do so. Daily walks are a good start. Help your pup bond with you and develop good behavior and a relationship though proper technique (you walking your dog, not the other way around). Though part of having a dog is spending time with them, we can’t always be there to do so. This is where play dates can really make a dog’s day special. Arrange time with friends with their own pups, whom you and your dog trust, to take your dog out and about when you can’t.

Another topic is the importance of health. Veterinary checkups, dental, and oral hygiene are all important parts of maintaining your dog’s health. Regular vet checkups will ensure that your dog is healthy and fit, preventing any medical or health problems from arising unexpectedly. Your dog’s physical health can make a difference in their happiness and what they get out of life.

Oral hygiene is one of the most overlooked of dog responsibilities. Not every dog is willing to let you get in there and scrub those teeth, but it has to be done. This takes finesse, time, and technique to accomplish, but should never be disregarded. Brushing should be done at least every two weeks, and proper diet and dental treats can help in the prevention of gum disease and cavities. A pearly white smile says: I’m a happy, healthy dog!

No one enjoys the stinky part of dog responsibilities, and are usually passed on to kids or other family members. Yes- scooping up the poop. Cleaning up after your dog is extremely important, and helps to prevent problems such as worms, fleas, and other diseases that can fester in old excrement. Aside from constantly raking, scooping, and tossing out the poop, you can also provide a “green” solution by constructing your own compost container. They’re easy to build and provide a place where you can easily dispose of dog feces that is environmentally friendly.

Dogs in the streets

Something that everyone sees at some point in time is the rogue dog wandering the streets. This is most bothersome to many proud dog owners when they see that other owners constantly allow their dogs to roam, usually in an unsafe manner. Not only can dogs get hurt, but they can also endanger human life through accidents, or attacks of both human and animal nature. Allowing your dog to roam free is not part of being a responsible owner. Although there are those that would say that dogs are a natural part of the world and should be allowed to go wherever they want, that is not being responsible for your dog. In order to keep your dog safe, and ensure the safety of everything and everyone around you, you must know where your dog is at all times.

This is why it’s important to make sure that your dog’s tags are up-to-date so that others will know where your dog belongs. Luckily, with technology at our fingertips, micro-chipping your dog is easy and fairly inexpensive. This will allow you to find your dog if they’re lost or even stolen. Keep your dog safe, and always know where they are.

Don’t take candy from strangers

This brings us to the importance of who your dog meets. We’re not talking about taking candy from strangers. This time it’s about who you take your dog to see. Clinics, groomers, dog hotels, and even doggy day cares aren’t all perfect. You want to ensure that your dog’s life is full of happiness, so always research anyone your dog will be left alone with. With the advantages of the internet and the Better Business Bureau, you can quickly find out if your dog is left in the right hands.

Taking care of a dog is full of responsibilities. It’s nice having a companion, and really that’s all a dog wants as well. But, if you want to ensure a long, happy, and safe life for your canine friend, you must remember what it means to be a dog owner. Take care of your dog, and always love your best, four-legged friend.

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