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Archive for March, 2012

Hunting for Easter Egg Safety?

Mar 30, 2012

Easter is just on the horizon and with it are all the festivities and treats that we enjoy. But, you must also consider the safety of your dog. While children are good at finding eggs and treats during the annual hunt, dogs are even better. Hiding eggs around the home and out in the yard will undoubtedly leads to a few that aren’t found at the end of the day. Even you may not be sure that every single one was found. Because of this, there are a few precautions you should take before you start the hunt, or your dog may enjoy a few treats they shouldn’t.

Chocolate bunnies and treats

While a tasty favorite amongst kids and adults, chocolate can be extremely dangerous for dogs. Since it would be unfair to deprive your children of some enjoyment, you can take a few precautions instead. Avoid hiding chocolate in hidden eggs during the hunt. Instead, control the delivery and disposal of chocolate based items. Candy bars, bunnies, and other sweets can be offered in their own basket- away from your dogs. Be sure that any wrappers are picked up and disposed of properly. Be aware: one of the most inconspicuous treat that is hidden is the tiny chocolate eggs that are wrapped in shiny foil. These can be easily overlooked or forgotten in the grass or house. Avoid using these treats at all, and instead stick to treats that can be contained in larger eggs or that aren’t chocolate-based.

Paper or plastic?

Something commonly overlooked is the decorative contents of an Easter basket. Grass helps to soften and enrich the experience, and is a main ingredient for Easter baskets. Most artificial grass is plastic, which can be harmful if ingested by a dog. Instead, use paper or even natural grass as a substitute for your basket. Not only is it better for the environment, but is also much safer in case your dog manages to get a mouthful. This should be taken only as a precaution, since dogs shouldn’t be allowed to indulge themselves on your basket’s contents in the first place.

A new chew toy

This also brings up another concern. Plastic is a very inedible substance, but many Easter eggs are now commonly composed of this product. They’re cheap, convenient, and can contain any range of goodies. When eaten, however, they can also splinter and turn into dangerously sharp objects if your dog discovers them first. The egg is a classic of Easter, so needless to say, hardboiled or confetti filled shells are also on the venue for the hunt. These should be kept out of your dog’s reach at all times, especially since they smell good enough to eat. One of the best precautions you can take prior to the hunt is to count the eggs you place around the home and yard. (After all, a hardboiled egg will eventually become a stinky issue within a few days.) Once the hunt is over, take the time to count what was found, and keep an eye out for any strays before they find their way into a hungry mouth.

During the hunt

Many dogs enjoy running around with their family members, but the Easter egg hunt may not be the right time to let them interact. Dog’s may jump up on children or try to take goodies away from them. For everyone’s safety, it may be best to put them in a secure location with food and water while the hunt is on. You can let them out afterward, but keep an eye on them and be quick to take any lost eggs away before they become a dangerous snack.

Because it is Easter, why not treat your pup to their own hunt. Take a few of their healthy treats and hide them around a certain room. You may even want to toss in a toy or two. Be sure that you use a fluff-less toy so they won’t be inclined to fill their belly with stuffing. Then set them loose and let them have their own Easter fun hunting treats that are good for them. One thing to consider is that you shouldn’t involve multiple dogs in the same hunt. They may become aggressive with each other, especially if you are hosting a friend’s or neighbor’s dog as well.

Any dog lover wants their best friend to participate in all aspects of their life. But, sometimes we have to take into consideration the safety of our companion. Though they can be extremely smart and clever, a dog’s belly doesn’t always know the difference between safe and dangerous. Make your Easter hunt something that everyone can enjoy, even if they can’t do it at the same time.

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What to do if Your Dog is Banned from Flight?

Mar 28, 2012

Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, it’s always nice to have your beloved friend accompany you wherever you go. The conditions have recently changed for certain dog owners, however. As of March 13th, certain “dangerous” dog breeds are banned from United Airlines, one of the most popular ways to travel by air.

While their primary focus was safety, it is still a frustration to owners possessing these particular breeds, that they can no longer travel with their dogs. As awareness grows, it is important that you realize that your dog may not be allowed to travel the next time you decide to fly.

The breeds listed under the restriction are:

1. Pit Bull Terriers

2. American Staffordshire Terriers

3. Pressa Canario

4. Perro de Presa Canario

5. Cane Corso

6. Dogo Argentino

7. Fila Brasileiro

8. Ca de Bou

While these are dog breeds targeted by unjustifiable discrimination, the airline can prohibit any dog they deem “dangerous” or that shows signs of aggression. In addition, any dog that is a mixed breed containing one or more of these breeds will also be prohibited. For those who feel that a dog is more than a pet, but rather a family member, this can be more of an insult rather than simply a safety issue.
Because you don’t want to plan your next trip only to run into trouble at the airport, it can be helpful to know your dog’s breed, even if they are a mixed breed. First, prepare by contacting your veterinarian to seek medical records and confirmation of breed if you are unsure. Having the proper documentation can smooth your travel issues.

While the rules prohibit these breeds, the one exemption is that the dog is neither greater than twenty pounds nor older than six months, whichever comes first. But, this fact relies on the confirmation of your dog’s health certificate which must be as recent as ten days. If you are planning to travel with your puppy, be sure that you consult with your veterinarian to get a certificate of health that is as close to your travel date as possible. Unfortunately, this possibility comes with its own set of problems. If you are staying for a long period, and returning after the certificate has aged more than ten days, you’ll either have to find a local veterinarian or find a different route back. Also keep in mind that puppies grow very quickly. If your dog passes the twenty pound mark during your stay, it will definitely cause travel issues. If you are planning to travel with a puppy of one of the banned breeds, you should consider other transportation options.

Just “Appearing” dangerous

While certain breeds are the target of the ban, there is also concern about dogs that act or appear dangerous. The airline reserves the right to prohibit any dog they deem “dangerous.” This can also lead to issues, especially since a dog that is traveling in their crate may feel threated when in a new and strange environment.

For everyone’s safety, you should consider consulting with your vet regarding safe “pacification” methods for your dog, especially if they’ve been trained to guard or protect you and your family. Tranquilizers and quality comfort can help keep them from panicking, by helping to soften your dog’s demeanor during travel. If your dog appears docile, there should be no reason to qualify it as dangerous.

Breed blocked

The last solution, especially for owners of certain dog breeds, is to choose alternative means of travel. While it can be upsetting and inconvenient, choosing an alternative airline or traveling by means of the road may be your safest and least time consuming choice. The inconveniences that certain airlines have recently created leave no choice for many dog owners, so other options must be considered. While proper dog care may require that you have to leave your pet with a trusted friend or qualified kennel, at other times, this is not possible, as in the case of moving. Many people are traveling for relocation purposes, or even for work, such as a traveling nurse or doctor. You should always practice safe travel habits, such as proper socialization, training, and controlling their environment. These will help insure that you and your dog enjoy a safe trip to your new location.

For many dog owners, this causes yet another hassle when it comes to involving pets in our lives. While some dog breeds have been misconceived with a “bad rap” about their demeanor, it is not the dog’s fault. Abuse, mistreatment, and improper training are the most common causes for dog aggression, and aren’t selective to any particular breed. So, always treat your dog with care and love, even if their breed has been discriminated as “dangerous.”

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ROCKY ADVENTURE – At Home…Alone

Mar 26, 2012

Well, the old man headed out this afternoon. He took off without me…again. But honestly, I’m far too wound up to mind at the moment. Instead, I’ve found interest in mischief. There are some snacks left on the table, some leftover lunch (a meaty sandwich) that demands my attention at the moment. I watched him push it to the center of the table right before he left. So, here I am with my front paws on the table-top, and my nose seeking the flavor of a delicious snack.

I look around the room, listening carefully for the jingle of keys or footsteps in the hall. Only the cool wind blowing through the kitchen window fills the air with sound. It’s safe to say that this sandwich is no longer safe. I pull myself up on the table (I’m definitely not supposed to be up here) and sniff the sandwich. Some lettuce, a little mustard, and a lot of meat compose this snack. I’m just interested in the meat. I pull it apart and grab myself a mouthful of the delicious substance.

As I enjoy the flavor of the first bite, my mischief is interrupted by the sound of an arrival. Immediately, I bound off the table and race to the couch to play my most innocent part of the “sleeping puppy.” But, the old man never enters. Nor does the sound of keys jingling tell me that he’s even here. I do hear something, but it isn’t the sound of the old man. In fact, I distinctly hear four sets of feet…or paws, traversing my home.

No time to play the lazy dog! I’m up and patrolling the well-being of my home. I start back in the kitchen, where the scent is strongest. Something definitely has been sneaking about the room. I follow the scent out into the hall and into the extra room. The door is ajar, possibly pushed open by the intruder. I enter and search the room. It’s musty in here, the smell of old dust has settled on the carpet. But, that makes it even easier to track my foe. The trail leads under the bed, where the darkness is unsettling. I let out a growl to alert anything that I’m coming in there. I crawl under and wiggle around the stored clutter.

Then I hear it again. The sound is quiet, almost miniscule. It moves out from the darkness and leaves the room. I bark warnings as I squeeze back out from under the bed. Dust bunnies have given me the sneezes and my eyes are watery and itchy. But, I don’t give up following the trail. I race back into the hallway to search my room. All my toys are still there. Whew, that’s good! No scent resides here, so the hunt is back on. Into the living room I go, snout to the carpet as I seek the fresh trail.

Before I know it, I’m back in the kitchen. The smell is strong again, a furry smell along with a touch of rotten food. I circle the room, before discovering that I’m being watched. Up, high upon my table, sits a cat. A cat with mustard on its grinning face. This invader had the tenacity to help itself to my snack and was pleased with such a dirty deed.

I’m mad. That was my snack! No one gets away with such a crime in my home! Apparently that cat didn’t think me an acrobat, or was just over confident in its own abilities. Up on the chair and then onto the table, I bound with enough agility to make the cat jealous of me. The culprit was definitely surprised, enough so that it dropped the mouthful of meat it had and leaped off the table and onto the counter.
The window. It had been opened to catch some fresh air, but instead it let this stinky cat in to feast on my goods. “Get out!” I bark, “And don’t ever touch my snacks again!”

The invader took my advice and hopped out the window. I barked cries of victory, indeed proud of myself and my excellent abilities. Then I noticed I was being watched again. The old man! He was just standing in the doorway with his arms crossed and a stern look on his face. I looked down at the chewed-up sandwich. Uh-oh…busted. Time to pull out the innocent puppy-dog eyes.

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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How Do You Treat Your Dog’s Occasional Stomach Ailment?

Mar 23, 2012

Nothing is more irritating than a tummy ache, and not just for humans, but for dogs as well. While smaller troubles tend to go unseen or untreated, when it becomes more acute it can raise concerns. These problems can source from many different causes– from eating the wrong thing to consuming too many rawhide bones.

Causes are numerous, and in order to treat these problems, it can be beneficial to be aware of the causes in order to avoid them in the future.

What causes stomach problems?

Perhaps the biggest cause is often unseen, especially because we aren’t aware that it can even become a problem. When dogs eat grass, it is usually because they are searching for nutrients that their present diet doesn’t completely provide for them. But, while grass is actually good for a dog, there are several other plants in the yard that can be harmful or upsetting to a dog’s belly. One of these harmful plants tends to sprout up and spread during spring time- the common weed. Common weeds, such as dandelions, aren’t necessarily poisonous, but can be upsetting when consumed in large quantities. You may notice your dog vomiting or coughing excessively after having been outside in the fresh spring yard.

Another common problem is the stomach blockage. Dogs love to eat, and often seem to be a bottomless pit when it comes to food and household items. Aside from objects they shouldn’t eat (like shoes, clothes, and toys) are their rawhide bones. While good for keeping them interested and maintaining their teeth, these dog treats can also cause blockages in their intestines, leading to constipation and stomach upset. Be sure you refrain from giving them excessive amounts of rawhide bones, and maybe even consider some of the more “stomach friendly” treats such as dental bones that are organic.

The worst problems often come from the things we know that dogs shouldn’t eat. These can range from the notorious chocolate bar to the plants in the garden. In small doses, these can cause diarrhea and stomach pains. Be sure that you are completely aware of what foods your dogs can eat, and never let them have access to them.

Dealing with belly trouble

When dealing with stomach upset, treatment often depends on what they’ve consumed. For smaller upsets, such as reduced eating and stomach sensitivity (they don’t want you to touch their belly), cooked rice is one of the easiest and best for a dog. Most dog foods contain rice as a filler, and this simple household food will definitely help absorb most troubles. While a dog will definitely enjoy the treat, you may also consider adding in some kale or seaweed, which are both high in antioxidants and nutrients that will help your dog quickly recover and remain healthy.

While most household medications should never be given to a dog, Bismuth Subsalicylate, better known as Pepto Bismol, is safe for dogs and can relieve their stomach aches. Despite a dog’s inherent desire to eat anything and everything, this happens to be one of the few items they don’t care much for. So this is something you would definitely want to administer in the outdoors or an easy-to-clean environment.

Another product, referred to as activated charcoal, is a universal absorption item. Because most troubles stem from something they’ve recently eaten, activated charcoal can absorb any potentially harmful or dangerous chemicals in their stomach before they have a chance to be absorbed by the rest of the body. This would be an excellent addition to a first-aid kit in case of poisoning.

The last thing you can do is to simply wait. Dogs are inherently intuitive about what their body needs. Sometimes a little rest while they wait for their body to get rid of the problem is all they need. It can take up to 24 hours to flush their system out, so you can choose to give them some time to let their body settle things on its own. But because constipation is often a problem, make sure you walk your dog regularly. Take them out for some exercise to get them moving and to help flush out any trouble within.

An upset dog belly is not something to be overlooked. Because poisoning can be a cause, if you suspect your dog isn’t feeling well, it is up to you to make sure they get the proper attention. These remedies can help settle a dog’s belly, but may not solve the problem. Be aware of what your dog is eating, and make sure that nothing toxic gets anywhere near their mouths. Take good care of them and make sure they eat only what is good for their belly and body.

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How Do You Get Your Dog To Eat From One Bowl?

Mar 21, 2012

One of the troubles of having multiple dogs is feeding time. Once the food hits the bowl, you immediately hear the sound of paws and claws rushing towards the source. But, it’s not the eating that usually concerns the owner- it’s what happens around the dinner bowl. Fights, overeating, and even intimidation may all take place during this favored moment of a dog’s day.

Unfortunately, this means that there are various scenarios that can take place when it comes to feeding two or more dogs at the same time. One dog may decide that they want all the food to himself, finishing their bowl and diving in for seconds out of another’s bowl. Another problem is that one dog may decide that all the food should be his- through aggression or force, causing fear and intimidation amongst his companions. Owners would want their dogs to just get along, sharing and enjoying their own food without concern for the other but that isn’t always the case.

Separate Meal Times

One of the best options is to separate your dogs. Because dogs can become physical during the eating process (snarling or biting the other), separating them may be necessary to provide a safe environment for everyone. After all, one bowl and two dogs can become a problem when everyone is hungry.

This doesn’t mean you need multiple food bowls or territory. In fact, it can be beneficial to feed every dog from the same bowl. The first problem that arises is deciding who to feed first. Here, there is the concern about “dominance” theories, but it really shouldn’t affect your decision on who eats first. Instead, you may think about your older dogs first (age before youth). You can also go so far as letting them share their feeding times. Alternating feeding times (One feeds first on Monday, but second on Tuesday) will give each of your dogs a fair share of the feeding process.

Feeding the dogs is another thing entirely. Because there may be trouble if one dog spots something tasty that they want, they will likely invade and take over the meal. With this in mind, it is often important to separate the dogs entirely while they are eating. Only one food source should be available to your dogs to enforce eating habits and training. Select a single room (kitchen or other selected room) where your dogs will eat. When it comes time for one dog to eat, keep them in that room until they are done eating. Then it will be time for the other dogs to eat. This will prevent any trouble at the food bowl.

Another handy trick that you can take advantage of is training. Dogs know that they will get something for nothing if you give it to them unconditionally (the exemption is love). So, before you feed them, you may include commands that designate their name and what they are supposed to do before you fill their bellies. This gives the added advantage of a distraction-free environment. Your other dogs won’t be yipping and eager to interfere in the process. For a multiple-dog owner, this can be an event that will provide the exact atmosphere you need to properly train each dog. You can also use this time to separate who gets to eat when. This will enforce who eats first without causing trouble amongst your dogs.

After Feeding

After feeding poses another problem for the dog owner. A dog that doesn’t eat all of their food will leave some leftovers. Perhaps they may want to come back for more later or they just weren’t as hungry today. Equal portions are an important part of feeding. You don’t want other dogs happening upon some extras in the food bowl when it isn’t their turn to eat. This can lead to overeating or even secondary fights when one discovers that the other is eating their leftovers. When it isn’t feeding time, be sure you remove the food and the bowl from their access. This is a sign to designate that feeding time is over. It will help them develop a sense of feeding time and prevent other problems in the future.

Eating is a big part of a dog’s life (hopefully it isn’t your shoes). Handling this fact amongst multiple dogs presents another challenge for dog owners. But with care and patience, you can assure that each of your dogs is fairly treated and gets their share of food each day.

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ROCKY ADVENTURE – Not Feeling So Well

Mar 19, 2012

Last week’s fiasco turned out to be something else. It turns out that you never know what lurks around the corner. Needless to say, we haven’t gone out much since then… or at least I haven’t. The old man left me home last time he went out. But the odd thing is that he didn’t come back feeling so well.

And now here we are, with the old man laid up, and I’m as hyper as ever. I guess he’s sick, ‘cause he keeps coughing and choking. The cool thing is that he keeps using the paper to clean up the mess he makes. He gets rid of them afterwards, but once they’re in the can, they’re up for grabs.

At this very moment, a particularly odd smelling one has made for an excellent toy. I manage to shred it and make a small mess. I can still hear the old man choking and coughing up in his room. The paper has lost its appeal, so I make my way to the bedroom. The old man is watching the picture box, the noise seemingly a comfort to him while he rests and sleeps.

I jump up on the bed and inspect my friend. His eyes are closed, but he isn’t quite asleep. I can tell because his heart is still beating regularly and he isn’t snoring (this is a very obnoxious habit, but has become a comfort to me after so many years). He pulls another paper to catch a sneeze, then tosses it into the growing pile of mess beside the bed. It saddens me to see the old man so doleful, especially when the day is warm enough for a great walk around the block.

The old man doesn’t open his eyes as I approach his hand. I really want to play, and I’m sure that he’ll feel better once we start enjoying the day. I tell him that we should definitely go play, but he doesn’t agree. He opens his eyes and shakes his head as his hand shoos me away.

Of course, I must disagree with his disagreement, so I challenge his hand to a duel. I start by licking his fingers, a ruse which allows me to get a little closer to him without any resistance. He lets me lick, and after a few moments, my patience grows thin. I move up closer to his face. He sees me do this and offers an annoyed look. So I give him some kisses.

That didn’t work out so well… this knowledge coming to me as I’m pushed away and almost off the bed… almost. I grab on, only two of my paws holding fast to the blanket. I struggled to regain my balance, then proceeded to reposition myself for another attempt. I won’t give up that easily.

This time, I try a different approach. The old man’s eyes are trained on the picture box, so I slowly inch my way up to his side. No change. So I slowly inch my way up the blanket, next to his leg. Eventually, his hand moves down to give me a good scratch. This I enjoyed, and I almost forget what I’m trying to do.

But once he stops, the game is on again. I inch my way further up in-between his arm and body. He spots me, and I know I have his attention, so the process stops. Instead, I go for distraction. I stand up and stretch, trying to look as nonchalant as possible. I even add a yawn to put my acting to the test. His expression slacks and his eyes close again.

My chance arrives, and I make a break for the goods. His face is wide open, and I cover it with kisses. This time, both arms come up to catch me, and I know that the game is over for sure. The old man gives me a stern look and puts me under one of his arms. I turn my belly up, demanding my victorious rub that I should get for winning. I get it, of course.

Then we both decide that a nap sounds good. He’s hot, I notice when I snuggle up next to him. I hope he starts feeling better soon. I don’t like being sick either, but it’s even worse when my best friend isn’t feeling well. Fun is so much harder to find, but luckily there is always the comfort of a companion.

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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Dogs Have Emergencies Too – Are You Ready?

Mar 16, 2012

Accidents happen. A fall may lead to scraped knees, or a run through the house may lead to a bump on the head. Dogs also have accidents, often very similar to what we experience. While hopefully the medical attention will never require more than pulling a few stickers out of your dog’s paw, you should always be ready to handle the worst.

As a dog owner, you should keep a first aid kit wherever your dog spends time. You should definitely keep one in your home, and since dogs enjoy some travel time, so you should have one in your vehicle. Here are a few things that you should consider keeping around for that just-in-case situation.

Sterilizing powders should definitely be in your kit, and you should never put rubbing alcohol on a dog’s wound. Not only will it hurt their skin, but they may also lick it up, resulting in poisoning. Septic powder in a jar is one of the best methods. Rather than struggle with a wounded pet as you attempt to apply it manually, you can place your dog’s entire paw into the jar to stop bleeding. For cuts and scrapes on their back, body, or face, a septic stick application can be handy. These products should be designed for animal use, to avoid any toxic additives or side effects.

Antibiotic ointment is a great addition to any kit. Keep in mind that they do make specialized ointments for dogs, but in case of emergency, you can use human ointments, such as Triple antibiotic or Neosporin, to help prevent infections. As with any antibiotic, you shouldn’t use them for longer than three days in a row. If redness, swelling, and other signs of infection remain or worsen, a trip to the vet should be in order.

Sterile pads and tape should also be part of your doggy first aid kit. While most injuries will hopefully be little more than scratches and stickers, you should be prepared for the worst. Large cuts need to be sterilized and padded to stop the initial bleeding. These can be extremely valuable in case your dog manages to walk across broken glass (this is yet another reason that you should never litter) or manages to cut their paw. When paws are cut, they can become quickly infected if they continue to walk around on it, since it can result in particles and debris getting in the open wound.

Because injuries can be extreme, a tourniquet can help stop the blood flow to and from an area. If you and your dog enjoy nature walks, snake bites can be a nasty and deadly problem. A tourniquet can prevent the poisons from traveling throughout their body, slowing the effects of the venom.

You should also consider keeping a temporary splint to hold a leg or paw in place so the problem won’t worsen when they move around. Broken bones can happen, especially in older dogs who can suffer from osteoporosis. Although you may not be able to set the bone, a splint can prevent shifting of the broken bones, which can cause more pain and discomfort.

A blanket or towel in your car is a must for any pet owner. Not only does it keep the loose fur off your interior, but it can also be used for a variety of medical reasons. In case of injury, a towel can protect the wound from dirt and debris. It can be used to wrap your dog up to keep them warm in case they’ve succumbed to an excessively cold environment (Chihuahuas will definitely thank you for this), and it can provide a comfortable and safe transport on your way to the vet. Towels and blankets also act as an absorbent, specifically applying to toxic ingestion, such as chocolate or even cleaning chemicals, which often results in vomiting.

This raises the question of how you should prepare for poisoning. The ingestion of several foods, such as grapes, chocolate, and even household medications can be a danger to your dog. While a trip to the vet is your best option, there is still the time between here and there. Depending on the toxicity, vomiting to get the toxin out of them is one of the first aid steps. Laxatives can also help quickly flush the toxin out of the body to reduce the threat of absorption. While these are options when absolutely no help is available, be sure that you get your dog to a veterinarian as quick as possible for proper attention.

Being prepared for the worst means that your dog will receive the best treatment when your options are limited. While a first aid kit can be beneficial for your dog, unless you are properly trained as a veterinarian, be sure to take your dog to a professional in case of serious injury.

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Who Gets the Dog?

Mar 14, 2012

Unfortunately, things don’t always work out between spouses, and separating is the best choice for both of you. Custody of children is a common topic, along with deciding who gets the home and other objects and property. Up until recently, the state along with most people, have seen dogs and other pets as little more than property. But to a dog owner, our faithful companions aren’t just an item on a list; they are much like children and family members.

This topic has become increasingly popular as more people have begun an effort to assign joint custody to their dogs. Separation can be difficult, but separating a dog from someone they love and someone that loves them back can be even worse.

Much like child custody, the well-being of your dog goes down to making decisions based on your pet and what is best for them. It is important to cover these decisions in a lawful form to avoid problems.

Joint ownership

Is joint ownership better for your dog? Dogs become attached to their owners – both of them. Separation can make a difference in dog attitude, sometimes resulting in depression or anxiety. At the same time, you need to consider that both of you will be living in different places. Joint custody would likely require that the dog change location regularly, possibly every two weeks. This can confuse a dog, especially an older dog that has difficulty seeing and hearing.

You also add the factor of multiple dogs to the equation. Separating your dogs from each other can also become a problem, so it is in the best interest of the dogs to keep them together wherever they go. This will also help ease the transition of regular relocation for them.

Giving your dog the best home

Sometimes, joint custody isn’t the best choice. So you have to ask: who can offer the best home for your dog? Location, environment, and attention all play a part in this decision. While we’ve bonded with our best friend, you have to consider who is going to be able to provide the best home for them. That doesn’t mean, however, that the other person can’t pay an occasional visit to see their companions.

This also means that you should always make housing decisions based on the well-being of the dog. Such instances may regard fencing, environment (safety first), and even feeding (choosing a diet that is healthy).

Because training methods and habits differ between people, it is important that training be a joint effort, especially if joint custody is the situation. Training methods should target the safety of the dog and those around them (such as jumping up on people).

There is also the concern of potty habits. Because a dog may be living in two different places, potty choices can be different. For instance, you may live in a house with a yard where your dog is used to going, while your former spouse may now live in an apartment, and wants to use an indoor potty. It can be beneficial for your dog, and your carpet, to agree on a single potty method.

Animal care

There is also the concern of animal care, such as medical bills, decisions (surgery), and care. These decisions need to be made together for the benefit of the dog. While these decisions are lawfully the choice of the legal owner, this would definitely be something to cover in joint-custody of your dog. This can prevent arguments and problems that can arise when decisions like these are made without the consent of the other owner.

Personal differences

The most important thing to remember is to never allow your personal differences to become a problem for your dog. This is perhaps the most devastating problem in faltering relationships, leading to mistreatment and neglect of the beloved pet. Be sure that you think about your dog first, before your quarrels.

Luckily, the law system has begun to place much needed attention on this subject. A few years ago, such ideas where the cause of confusion, but now there are over forty law schools which offer courses and additions to their syllabuses that specifically apply to animal laws. This is a great movement towards presenting exactly how important our dogs are to us. They aren’t just a couch or an item with a price tag. They are special to us, and we should always remember that and consider what’s best for our dog.

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ROCKY ADVENTURE – Rocky Gets Loose!

Mar 12, 2012

Well, Izzy was right. The old man came back for me that very night. I was of course very excited to see him. But despite being left with my friends, I was still a bit insecure about when he might leave me again. After all, it was a very unexpected event. We go everywhere together. And even when the old man is gone, it isn’t for very long (but he never fails to bring me a treat).

So, I haven’t left his side ever since. He goes into the kitchen, I go into the kitchen. He goes outside, I’m right there with him. Even when something interesting flies by, such as a winged insect to tease my curiosity, I still keep an eye on the old man.

Needless to say, I had every intention of going with him when he picked up the keys to the car. I waited for him at the front door as he picked up his hat and third leg. It was probably just a quick run that he’d return from shortly, but I wasn’t taking any chances.

After some arguing (which I won, of course), we loaded up and went for a drive. It was the same route we always took, down the road and to the left. Then a curve that always pulls my body hard enough that I have to shift my position to keep my balance. This road takes us to the grocery store. It’s a weekly run that the old man makes, normally without me. But not today. I’m not letting him out of my sight.

We parked and the old man took his keys with him. This always makes me a little anxious. The sound of the jingling either means he’s coming or going. This time I know he’s going. I strain against the device restraining me. I know it’s there for my security, but it’s not supposed to keep me from being with my friend.

I struggle some more as the old man tells me to be good and that he’ll be right back. His words don’t comfort me though. He closes the door and walks away. I’m sad, but still determined. The belts that confine me are no match for my skill. After some twisting and turning, I manage to get free. I jump into the other seat and draw in the fleeting smell of my friend. Then it’s up to the window to get a good look at my surroundings. There are other cars here. Another dog, someone I don’t recognize, is a good distance away. The window is cracked enough for me to stick my nose out in order to get a better smell. Yep, that dog just wet the seat. I holler out to him, and ask if he’s seen the old man. He answers back with something about a ball under the seat. Most of it is puppy gibberish, so I ignore it.

Instead, I curl up in the seat and let out a sigh. He did it again. I wait, and I wait, and I wait, but it seems like forever before the old man’s footsteps can be heard. They are very distinct. After all, he walks with three legs. I perk up and pounce against the window. The old man is there, loading some bags into the trunk of the car. One of them he keeps with him. He looks at me with an unexpected grin and opens the door.

I am very excited to see that he’s back, so I jump out to be with him. This is something I really didn’t think about at the time. The world out here is very different, and my curiosity always gets the better of me. A spot on the pavement, only a few bounds away, requires my specific attention and a mark.

Before I knew it, I was exploring the world that the old man had been in. It is so very different, full of sights and smells that stopped me from paying attention to what was going on. The old man was chasing me around, yelling my name. A game? Maybe, but he sounds mad. I stop at a nearby car tire and beg for forgiveness. The old man grabbed me and held me tight. As he did this, another car drove by, the air pulling around us from the speed. If I had kept going, it might have run me over!

The old man holds me tightly as we head back to the car. I can hear his heart racing as fast as mine. We both get inside, and we both buckle up. The old man looks at me, shakes his head, and smiles as he speaks.

“Don’t ever do that 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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Old Have New Dog Depression?

Mar 9, 2012

Many dog owners treat their dog like one of their children. They care, feed, and play with them. So it can be difficult for an old dog when a new dog is thrown into the mix. Dogs do have feelings as well, and can become depressed or even jealous of a new dog. But this isn’t just developed from natural feelings; it can also be created by the things we do and the habits we create during our association with our beloved friends.

Meeting for the first time

The first and most important thing to remember is that your dogs should meet in a neutral zone. Dogs are instinctively very territorial and may feel threatened by a newcomer in the house. After your puppy has received his vaccination shots (this is very important for the safety of your new puppy), take them both to a place, such as a park or an area where your older dog will not feel as though he has to protect his home from an invader. Here, allow them both to associate with one another, and your old dog’s natural playfulness will help him bond with the new dog.

Although most dogs will likely get along well (especially when it’s an older dog and a younger puppy), there are times when they won’t get along. Be sure to prevent any aggression that may take place, such as growling, snapping, or even biting.

Signs of Doggy Depression

Once they’re home, things will change for your older dog. Young puppies will naturally want to play and interact with their new friend. This isn’t always true for an older pup, especially after the age of five, when they’ve begun to settle down and have gained a little bit of dog wisdom. If your dog has been an “only dog” for his entire life, he may show signs of irritation or frustration with a younger, hyper-active puppy that bounds around them. This characteristic can be hard to deal with, sometimes resulting in the older dog growling a firm “no” to the younger one.

Signs of aggression aren’t the only problem, however. Often, older dogs may develop depression because of the newcomer. Older dogs may feel left out or forgotten, especially with all the excitement that accompanies a new puppy. House training takes a lot of focus away from your old dog, and he is very aware of this. He may even be scared or intimidated by it. Your older dog may change eating habits, or even refrain from activities that he used to enjoy.

Practice togetherness

One thing you can do to help prevent depression is to encourage both dogs to interact with each other. When you teach the younger dog tricks, don’t remove your older dog from the activities. In fact, use this as a time to reinforce his skills. When you play with the new dog, be sure that your older dog is involved, or at least allowed to be involved. Make the activity a competition, and we all know that dogs do love competition (especially when they are feeling jealous of the new member).

Another thing to remember is that you should never seclude or take space away from your older dog. This can be taken as a threat or even represent a dismissal to them, creating resentment and depression in the older dog. Allow them both to share the same spaces, but there should be a limit to what can and can’t be shared. Dogs develop habits, and sleeping in their spot is one of them. Be sure that your new dog has a designated place to grab some Z’s where it won’t interfere with your older dog’s sleep cycle. (In particular, this means that if your older dog doesn’t sleep in your bed, neither should the younger puppy.)

When covering the qualities of sharing, be sure to feed them together, but with separate bowls. Don’t expect both dogs to instinctively eat from the same spot, as older dogs may see this as a sign of aggression from the younger pup. You may start by feeding them in separate rooms at the same time to make sure that neither one of them gets into the other one’s food.

Adding a new puppy to your home will affect how your older dog interacts with you and the rest of the family. Although they will eventually get along, things will never be the same. Dogs do change lives, and always for the better. Perhaps the best part of adding a new puppy to your home is that your older dog will now have someone to be with when you aren’t around. Once they get used to each other, they may even become the best of friends.

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