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Archive for June, 2012

Is the Pet Insurance Industry Regulated?

Jun 29, 2012

What every dog owner needs to know about pet insurance

When it comes to the safety of our pets, loving owners are prepared to do just about anything to protect them. We provide the best diet, a comfortable place to sleep, healthy hygiene, and plenty of attention to keep their minds fresh and young.

While all these topics are clearly precautions to prevent dangerous situations, there is always the concern of “what if?” What can happen? Because we live in a world of infinite variables, everything is possible to some degree. And as a result, accidents and the unexpected do happen, which is why we have insurance.

But, there is something unique about pet insurance and while we pet owners clearly understand that our dog is a living, breathing creature, they are still treated as objects and statistical numbers by entities and government departments.

Needless to say, many insurance companies will also see your pet the same way. So consider what you should be aware of when considering insurance for you dog, because there are large differences and a few topics that need to be addressed before you make an investment in any form of coverage.

Government oversight

Consider the fact that insurance companies can be divided into two very distinct groups based on what they can and can’t do.

Admitted insurance companies and organizations are the baseline providers and have been accepted by the State Insurance Department because they offer particular coverage and specific qualifications. This means that the insurance companies provide services according strictly to the government’s requirements, often limiting their abilities and opportunities they can offer. Though, in case of their inability to cover a claim, the state will step in and insure your coverage.

Non-admitted are supposed to offer specialty insurances that state regulated or admitted insurance companies cannot approve or provide. These situations may be rated as “high-risk.” In some cases, they may not have been approved by the state’s insurance department oversights, and therefore don’t fit the criteria dubbed necessary to provide approved insurance services.

The only problem with this type of insurance is that because there is no government oversight, if the insurance company falls out or is unable to cover claims, there is basically no guarantee that a pet owner will ever be able to collect on their insurance claims.

What to be concerned about

Keep in mind that you will have to adhere to insurance policies, which often require that you use certain products, veterinarians and hospitals, certain drugs, and adhere to their specific protocols. In addition, you’ll likely have to maintain documentation about what you do and where it takes place.

If you don’t follow policies, rules, and regulations, you may be forfeiting your dog’s insurance policy and not even know it until you have to make a claim.

Basically, you may have to use pet insurance approved products, which can cost more or be inconvenient or even against your personal choices for your dog (such as choosing natural products instead of modern chemical based products).

There is also the concern of what a particular insurance actually covers for your pet. Medical expenses, accidents, and theft are just some of the popular coverage topics, but they aren’t always included. You need to be sure to ask your insurance broker what exactly is covered on your pet.

While you can attain different types of insurance on your pet, the option of pet-medical insurance is often not carried or provided because of the low commission fee that many insurance brokers are accustomed to. This makes it financially inconvenient for most brokers to carry certain types of pet insurance, which is exactly why you need to inquire as to exactly what your insurance would cover and if it is actually worth the cost.

Regulated vs. unregulated

In cases of insurance where there is no government oversight, plans may be largely more flexible, and are most often used for “show” dogs and large claims that state regulated insurance companies can’t legally provide. This is also beneficial for those dogs with pre-existing conditions in which case government controlled insurance providers would and could not feasibly provide coverage.

The positive side to regulated insurance companies is that they are often less costly and have standardized prices, mostly because they are backed by the state and the pricing is then controlled. This is also because clients are often at far less risk, since dogs with pre-existing conditions are not commonly accepted.

Pet insurance isn’t there necessarily because something will happen, but rather it is there so nothing will happen that you aren’t prepared for. If you’re interested in pet insurance, don’t consider it as something you can easily pick up at your insurance broker. Ask around and make sure that your dog is really getting what you’re paying for.

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Is Chemical Free able to Keep Tick and Fleas Away?

Jun 27, 2012

Dog lovers: choose your weapon against tick and fleas

Keeping our dogs happy and healthy requires a lot of little attention. Proper diet, plenty of exercise, oral hygiene, regular baths, and most importantly- keeping them bug-free. Fleas and Ticks aren’t just annoying and itchy; they are often host to many other nasty parasites, such as worms which can be detrimental to puppy health.

With all the different shampoos, collars, topical, and even consumable dietary supplements, it can be hard to choose one that works the best for your dog. While these repellents come in many different forms, they also come with many different chemicals, quite a few of which aren’t exactly the most health-friendly. In fact, some are so powerful that they recommend you don’t use them on animals less than three and even six months of age. Keeping a puppy inside for that length of time is definitely out of the question, so you may consider looking elsewhere, perhaps to the very natural aspects that nature can provide.

Needless to say, you still want to protect your pup, but you don’t wantthem to deal with all the harsh chemicals found in modern repellants. So, the natural way is the best way, and there is a growing number of these natural repellents entering the market, so keep your eyes on the “contents” label because it’s a trend that is definitely popular enough to grab some attention.

Naturally designed

Ticked Off! is a natural-based spray which relies primarily on southern red cedar oil and avoids the use of many of the hazardous chemicals found in modern repellants. Only available as a spray, it is designed to be applied regularly, but can be used on bedding and indoor recreational areas as well. Unlike many of the toxic chemicals that modern repellants have, it actually kills fleas and insects on contact, rather than simply enticing them to leave. It’s a definite choice for any dog that loves running through tall grass and enjoying the outdoors.

Natural Flea and Tick Defense uses Brazilian plant oil that actually confuse insects. Insects use the traces of carbon dioxide that we exhale, body temperature and other organic functions to let them know where their next target is. This particular formula doesn’t kill these insects, but rather masks your pet from their detection. Basically compiled from a naturally discovered formula in the rainforests of South America, it is safe for animals of all ages because it lacks any toxic or dangerous chemicals.

Chemical free

Shoo!Tag is chemical free, but utilizes a completely different approach to repelling insects. Rather than chemicals or any kind of absorbable substance, the device, or tag, emits light electromagnetic frequencies that naturally repel insects including the very annoying mosquito. It is basically a tag that is half the size of a credit card and when activated, lasts for up to four months. The best thing about it is that humans can simply put it in their pockets. It’s safe for all animals and won’t wash off. Technology has definitely entered the world of four-legged applications.

Around the house

Apple cider vinegar has naturally repelling properties (it doesn’t smell bad though). When mixed in a 50/50 solution with water, it makes for a cheap and natural spray you can easily apply to your dog’s coat. Just don’t spray it into their eyes.

A citric rub made from lemons and water is just another handy treatment. Simply cut a lemon in quarters, add some boiling water to them and let stand over-night. It makes for a great spray application that repels not only ticks and fleas but mosquitoes as well.

Garlic and onion have natural levels of the element sulfur in them, but they are not exactly good for your dog. In fact, these two foods are on the list of things not to feed your dog. But, sulfur is actually responsible for repelling insects when ingested. Certain joint dietary supplements provide sulfur in its naturally absorbable state, and can double its benefit by acting as a natural hindrance to pests while keeping your dog’s body working smoothly. Not quite as effective as other methods, it is a naturally beneficial and healthy addition to your dog’s diet.

As a loving dog owner, it is your task to ensure your dog’s entire well-being and complete health throughout their lives. While there are many chemicals that can give you the edge when battling insect pests, they often come with their own unique consequences, toxins, and irritations. Natural is a growing trend and gaining much appreciation by dogs and their owners around the world. Just remember that prevention is the first line of defense, which is where providing a sanitary environment is the best insect repelling choice you can make.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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ROCKY ADVENTURE – Dog-fish?

Jun 25, 2012

Porch Potty: Rocky Adventure

I love our car rides. Those loveable journeys across the land, through the hills, and just about anywhere else that I can see myself standing with the old man are places that I’m completely unafraid to go. But, I don’t really “sea” myself standing out here in my current predicament, now do I? I can barely keep my balance, let alone my stomach on this odd piece of land that seems to bounce with the horizon.

This morning was great, especially since both the old man and I had a hearty breakfast that consisted of my regular, plus a few parcels of table-top extras that were completely out of the ordinary. Only on special occasions, or at least when the old man is extra-exuberant, would I find such luxuries in my food bowl. But I did, and there is no way that I would be complaining about that.

But, I am complaining about what has seemingly forced me to lose what I had so graciously received this morning. I hate bouncing. If I had wanted to bounce, I do believe I’d have found my way into a Kangaroo’s pouch, just like on Izzy’s favorite picture-box. They hop around, erratically racing through fields as they play “tag” with a few odd-looking dogs that never seem to be as fast. “Dingos” as they are constantly referred to, and always reflecting the same ideology of a dingo in their pursuits. I’d have gone about my game’s tactics from a completely different view, but I’m not chasing that kind of strange looking rabbit through an open field. I stick to what I know, but that isn’t exactly what we’re doing here today.

Nope, and in fact, this very situation has caused me to lose that very breakfast that I had enjoyed so incomprehensibly. An extra slice of bacon and a parcel of toast had said to me, “you’ve been a good boy today, and it’s not to go unrewarded.” It had, but now it’s all gone. Over the side of this “boat” and into the blue waves of a vast body of water I couldn’t have ever begun to imagine actually existed.

I’ve seen the pond at the “duck” park, where there are just about a katrillion birds and bugs that swarm around the water and even swim around in its dark currents. But, this is completely different. This is a world of water that tosses our “boat” thingy around, and seems to spray a salty smell into my nose and upset my belly.

Since we first got on board, I’ve managed to lose all of my tasty treats (luckily, I didn’t bring my special one aboard- if you know what I mean) in a constant and unstoppable sensation that filled my belly with upsets. Usually, I’d have to eat something really bad to be this sick, but everything that ended up in my bowl smelled just fine. Nope, it’s definitely the rolling of this very big and very upset “ocean” as the old man has dubbed the water.

I’m pretty sure that we’re safe, especially since the old man took the time to strap us in to these cushioning devices. I’ve taken a few bites out of mine, but it turned out that it simply tasted like the couch cushions, which I never really liked. But, they’re supposed to keep us from getting lost, so I left it alone.

At this point, the old man is struggling with a stick that is tied to the ocean. He’s been fighting it for what seems like a dog’s year, and even his fellow two-legged companions have come to his aid. Everyone’s paws on the same stick, it almost appears that they’d be fighting each other rather than the water. But, seeing as how the ocean appears so very angry at our presence, I’d have to say that they’ve teamed up against it. Even I’ve jumped in to play a part. I hold the old man’s leg in place and push back towards the boat’s cabin, afraid to let him go and be lost to the water. I can feel him step back, so I push harder against him, forcing him closer to the wall of the boat. That’s when I feel the salt and wetness of the ocean’s water spray me as another creature joins me on deck. I’ve seen them at Izzy’s house, small creatures that float around in a glass box. This one is as big as me and is seemingly a little out of its place. The creature flops around on the deck while all the other men stare at it in wonder.

The others simply look at each other, almost as if they never believed they’d actually be here right now at this very moment. Or maybe they’ve just never seen a fish before. Well, maybe they’d just better go pay Debbie and Izzy a visit if they want to see what it looks like beneath an ocean of dark waves the next time they take a dog out onto the ocean. And since none of them will, it’s up to me. I nudge the flopping creature back towards the edge of the boat and send it out to sea. I don’t want to have anything else to do with something that smells as fishy as that thing did!

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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4 Tips on Keeping Up to Date with Pet Food Recalls

Jun 22, 2012

Dog lovers watch what your dogs eat

There has been a drastic increase in pet food recalls recently, some because of odd chemicals present while others seem to have been prepared improperly. Despite the cause, it all comes down to the fact that food can sometimes be dangerous to dogs.

Sad as it sounds (especially since those pups love to eat), we have to be cautious when it comes to feeding our dogs the right food. What can you do though? What ways can you prepare yourself so you and your pup can steer clear of any food that isn’t nutritional at all?

Get on a mailing list

Dog groups and forums are a great and usually fun way to start. Pet food Industry.com (http://www.petfoodindustry.com) is a site completely focused on maintaining quality information concerning any pet foods and their manufacturers for the public eye to see. Many of these sites offer pet owners and lovers the ability to sign up for regular updates which contain health and safety information. Signing up on a couple of choice sites can definitely give you a heads-up when your dog’s health is concerned.

Surf for information

Forums are a great place to start, and often the source where recalls usually raise the most attention before there have even been any initial recall movements. You have the opportunity to talk with other people that may have had trouble with certain brands or food products, which may give you an advantage before the situation escalates.

Unfortunately, there are not any apps presently designed to update pet food recalls. While many sites broadcast that they have all your pet source needs in a single app, this growing concern has yet to emerge into the world of smartphone applications. Seeing as how the increase in recalls have drastically risen, it would be helpful to get an instant update while we’re shopping for our four-legged friends, the need for such an option is a must for the future.

Find a source that you can trust

Many pet friendly sites have their own forums and listings that will focus on the current situations of pet foods, products, and medications. It can be difficult to keep track of them all, so you’ll want to find one that seems to focus on your choice products that you currently use or may eventually use.

The FDA does list certain recalled food products, even animal related that may or may not pose health dangers to people and animals. Keep in mind that only about 10% of all imported products are checked, making recalls difficult to catch before they pose a danger. However, these lists will help you and your dog avoid problems that are on the rise or may potentially be a threat to your dog’s well-being.

Recall classifications:

• Class 1 Exposure to the product may be irreversibly dangerous to health. It is very bad, and if you see this next to any pet food products, avoid handling them at all.

• Class 2 Exposure to a product may cause medical conditions that are reversible or temporary. If you or your dogs have had contact, visit the veterinarian to ensure your dog’s health isn’t at risk.

• Class 3 Exposure isn’t likely to cause any health conditions. Under this listing, many products are usually voluntarily recalled because the quality was poor or there is a possible health threat.

As with any recalled item, its best to either get rid of it or send it back to the manufacturer as requested.

Look at the bigger picture

There may be some that are voluntary, so keep an eye out for those since they may not show up on all forums. If you’re at the grocery store, and it just so happens that all of a single brand is off the shelf, then that is something suspicious that you may want to look into.

Some product sources may be responsible for more than just dangerous or poor quality products. If there seems to be problems with certain food stuffs, such as beef, corn, rice, or chicken, you should be concerned about any product that may contain any variations of them.

There have even been reports of people that get sick from simply handling their pet’s food, such as the recent increase in salmonella poisoning sourced from certain dog foods. This is happening from simply handling a product, not necessarily consuming it. So keep in mind that if it is dangerous for your dog, it can also be dangerous for you or anyone else who handles it.

As your dog’s owner and provider, it’s up to you to provide a healthy diet that won’t cause them any harm. Take a few moments a day to check your email for updates or even scan what’s popular on the internet to spot any dangers your dog’s diet might pose.

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Choosing Your Dog’s Groomer

Jun 20, 2012

Grooming tips for every dog owner

Taking your dog to the groomers hasn’t been the easiest task for many pet lovers around the world. Even if they never seem to listen to what you’re saying, when it’s time to load up to go down and get a fur-cut, dogs automatically know what’s going on. After a few laps around the couch, it’s a trip to the groomer to trim a little off the top.

It’d be nice to find a groomer that your dog actually enjoyed going to, but sometimes we make choices based on the best opportunities for our four-legged friends. So, you have to ask yourself what makes for the best groomer for your dog. Yes, every dog enjoys visiting someone that is familiar, just like how people have choice hair-dressers and barbers.

So, to find the right groomer for your pet, you have to focus on a few specific topics that every pet owner should be aware of when it comes to entrusting their dog with someone else.

Animals

First, ask what kind of pets the groomer prefers. At the edge of insight, this particular information can make or break a grooming deal. Some individuals prefer cats, while others prefer dogs. Inquire as to the majority of their business visitations from both them and those who use their services.

Then you can hit them with the big question: Would they accept unvaccinated animals into their facility? Locations that are focused on animal care in general won’t ever accept an animal that isn’t up-to-date on their shots or is visibly sick.

Get your fur done

When you’ve settled on a facility that meets the basic care requirements, you’ll want to examine the services they actually offer. What about a shampoo? Blow dry? What brands do they prefer and can you request your own? A quality grooming agency or individual will be open to what you and your dog want.

Next question to ask is if they have to do any sedation to get the job done. Is it preferred in restless-dog scenarios? While most facilities utilize special harnesses to hold their animals while they get a trim, there are situations in which dogs and even cats will put up a fight to the bitter end, especially if it’s with a stranger. You need to be sure that a groomer would never make a decision like that without first consulting with the owner.

Can you watch them do the job? Some pet groomers have open windows where you can watch your pet being handled and groomed to ensure a quality process. This is a great bonus, especially since it ensures quality services. Even if you don’t plan on staying to watch, it is a good sign of trust that it is an option.

Right time for the right job?

What about the time of day? Are there plenty of flexible times to drop them off and more importantly pick them back up? Busy days are full of surprises, and it’s always good to know that you have options when it comes to taking care of your pup.

The next question concerns how they would “hold” your dog until it’s time to pick them back up. Ask to examine any holding areas, such as kennels to ensure cleanliness and sanitation. You don’t want your dog getting all cleaned up only to spend the last hour in a kennel that has month old urine in it.

In case of emergence, dial dog-1-1

The last, but possibly most important questions to ask relates to your dog’s well-being. Health issues can range from anything like arthritis in a senior dog to diabetes and cancer in young dogs. So, what happens in case of emergency? Even a dog with diabetes or medical issues that require special services will eventually need a trim, but what would your groomer do about handling this type of situation? Will those situations cost extra or would your groomer not want to handle such a situation when they find out about it?

It is not exactly a groomer’s place to administer aid to a sick dog, but what steps would they take to ensure your pet’s health? Is there a veterinarian on site or do they outsource to a special clinic? They may want to contact your choice vet in hopes of better service. The purpose here isn’t to judge their choices, but that they have choices and a flexible plan to ensure your dog’s health. If they have no idea what you’re talking about, it’s best to simply move on.

Choosing your dog’s groomer isn’t just your choice, your dog should have a say in it to. Feeling comfortable around a person is a start towards a safe environment. So, always be ready to ask your dog what they think about their groomer too.

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ROCKY ADVENTURE – We Come with Treats

Jun 18, 2012

Porch Potty: Rocky Adventure

It was just like any other ordinary Saturday evening. The old man had fallen asleep in front of his picture box, and had since begun to snore a radical tune in something similar to the flat notes his old piano plays. Needless to say, it was very annoying.

The picture that was presently in the box didn’t have anything to do with dogs. In fact, the creatures in there looked a little odd, with heads that were kind of like light-bulbs. I wasn’t at all interested. Unless it has to do with the mighty roaming lion or the clever wolves that premier on channel that Izzy likes to watch, I’m not really interested. This is simply a chance for me to get a great belly rub.

But, all good things must come to an end and the belly rub did too. The old man found his niche in the couch and fell into a deep sleep. But I haven’t. Nope, and in fact, I suddenly feel the urge to relieve myself. It’s always a hard decision between sitting here in a very comfortable spot, or getting up, removing yourself from the comforts of your spot, going outside, and relieving yourself.

In the end though, when you’ve got to go, you’ve just got to go. So I went. Through the doggy door and out into the much cooler night air I wandered. The heat from the day had worried me, and I was concerned that the patio was going to toast my paws again. But with the sun down, the moon and stars have taken their place to cool us down for the night.

I was midway through my duties when everything went awry. The sky, once dark had now brightened just like it was daytime. I froze, filled with the sensation that someone or something was now watching me. A strange sound filled the air, howls of excitement telling me that I wasn’t alone and demanding the reassurance that they too weren’t alone.

So I responded with my own howl…

Next thing I knew, I was surrounded by a completely different world. It was almost like my house, but the insides smelled funny and the walls weren’t arranged the same way. My environment didn’t worry me though. Nope. And in fact, it was all the dogs that were staring at me that caused my emotional stirs. Some were little like me and some were big like Izzy. But, they all had one thing in common- I was the center of their attention.

“What?” I cried, “What do you want from me?”

“Well,” the dogs chanted in unison, “we want you to come back with us to our home planet. You have no place here in this strange world roamed by two-legged creatures. They don’t even know how to ‘speak’ or ‘roll over.’ Silly creatures that seem to take our fellow ‘dog-kind’ for granted. Come with us and you will forever enjoy treats in bottomless bowls and endless fields to chase whatever you want.”

“No!” I cried, “My companion doesn’t take me for granted. In fact, He’s probably worried and looking for me right now. There’s no way I would leave him!”

A single dog stepped forward, eying me intensely. Above her eyes and behind her ears grew a pair of stalks, almost like the sprouting plants in the old man’s garden. The stalks were just like thin sticks, but the tips were budding flowers that almost resembled a blossom of roses, glowing iridescently just like a light-bulb would.

Then, she put her nose to mine, telling me to be still for just a moment. Normally hyper, I was calmed by her voice, and could only watch as the flowers flashed several times above my head. Estranged from my own mind, I watched as she wandered through my fondest memories of life and the many adventures I had shared with my friends and my companion.

“What an interesting life you’ve had, earth-dog. It is good that our travels bring us to those like you so that we can define our own purpose. Tell no dog what you’ve seen here today, and we’ll leave you with a treat that will never run out. Be well, live long, and be good when it comes time to take a bath.” She eyed me suspiciously at those last words.

In a flash of light, I woke up. I shook my head groggily, some of my dream still sticking. Oh my dog…It was all a sleepy dream. Uhhg! No more watching that silly box right before bedtime. I stared up at the old man. He was apparently waking up from his own dream, shaking his head as to get the sleep out of it. Oh well, it was all just a dream…at least for him. In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying this intergalactic treat that never seems to run out of flavor!

Hey, it could happen…Right?

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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Welcoming Your New Rescued Sweetheart

Jun 15, 2012

Proper dog care for your adopted dog

Adopting a dog is a wonderful feeling, especially when their happy tail and bottom wag around to find that they’ve finally joined their new family. But while the initial introductions are an awesome experience, adjusting to their new environment and new friends will still take a little time. That’s why it’s important as your dog’s new and loving owner to ensure that you welcome your dog into their new home as smoothly as possible.

Know who your dog is

Start out by getting as much information from the shelter as possible. But keep in mind that you shouldn’t take just their words to heart. A trip to the vet is your next step which needs to be done as soon as possible. From there, you’ll be able to get an idea of the health and condition of your new friend. This is because most animal shelters are overwhelmingly populated and as dogs come and go, information can be lost or simply misled. An initial visit to the vet will give you an in-depth look into your dog’s care, age, and present health condition which you’ll need to address with a particular diet and other specific needs.

A special place in your home

The next stage involves your home and everyone in it. Family members should be introduced first, and then any other pets you might have. When introducing dogs to each other, it’s always a good idea to set up a neutral meeting zone where they can sniff and inspect one another so that there are no “violation of territory” issues inside the home.

After that, it’s time to arrange household duties concerning dog care. Make sure that everyone knows what responsibilities they are supposed to take care of to ensure the proper care of the new family member. Feeding times should be arranged, as well as a potty training orientation. This is why it is crucial that everyone is aware of the boundaries within the house, such as no access to the bathrooms, kitchen, or particular living areas. This should also incorporate a familiarization with feeding areas and sleeping quarters.

Because your new family member’s habits will be unpredictable, don’t let them run free so soon. Keep them leashed and watch them with a careful eye. Many newly adopted dogs may prefer a crate in order to help them feel secure, especially if they’ve spent a lot of their life in a kennel. If that is the case, giving them a crate to designate as their own special private place in the home will ease their transition into their new lifestyle.

Getting to know each other

Be sure you have the time to spend with your new dog. If you bring them home without being able to spend the time handling and training them, they’ll have a far more difficult time adapting to their new home. These first few days and the proceeding weeks will be the foundation that your relationship will be built on for the rest of your lives.

Start out by getting to know each other through regular activities you would normally do, or used to do by yourself. Go for walks through the park and regularly interact with other people and their dogs (there is an increased likelihood of squirrel chasing during this time of year so be sure you use a leash at all times). You’ll need to focus on basic training, which is an especially effective method for teaching your new dog the basic tricks, such as “stay” and “return” while continuously developing a relationship. These are the basics for safety, and even if they’re familiar with the commands already, it’s important that they become accustomed to hearing your voice and listening to you. Also be sure to frequently use their name when addressing them so they’ll get used to knowing when they’re supposed to be involved in your conversations.

It’s also popular practice taking obedience classes together. Many local pet stores and professionals will work with dogs and their owners, providing helpful hints and covering the basics so that you can teach your dog to learn. This experience also gives the both of you a chance to spend quality time together while associating with other dogs and their owners.

Be patient with them. You don’t always know how your dog lived before they met you and their old habits may still be deeply imbedded. But with a lot of love and plenty of attention, your newly adopted dog will learn that they are here to stay.

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Choosing Your Dog’s Doc

Jun 13, 2012

Vet tips for dog owners

For many dog owners, choosing their dog’s doctor is usually based on who their friends recommend or what they’ve heard at the park. But everybody’s dog is different, just like people. On the opposite side of the spectrum, a veterinarian may work better with certain breeds and animals (cats, dogs, and horses all frequent vets).

This leaves you wondering what you should be looking for in your dog’s doctor. There are several questions to ask them and a few observations you can make before you settle on a permanent choice you can trust with your dog’s well-being.

First of all, make sure that your vet is certified. Look for documentation which would usually be proudly posted on the office walls. In combination with that, you’ll also want someone who has quite a bit of experience with animals. Luckily, most people who pursue a lifetime working with animals feel passionately about their work, which is a great quality to have.

• Is your veterinarian clinic close or far away? You don’t want to be traveling long distances with an ill dog, especially if they tend to get motion sickness.

• What types of animals are they most familiar with? Some vets may be more familiar with cats than dogs, which may not be shown in their education but through their practices. Remember that all animals have unique physiologies, even between particular breeds.

• Is there a large staff or a small group of closely familiar employees? Keep in mind that dogs love habit and familiarity, and if they are constantly meeting new people who are handling them and doing medical procedures, it may not be the most comfortable environment for them.

• What are their office hours? Will they be available when you need them, or will their office and call hours make it difficult to schedule appointments and regular checkups?

• Are they available in case of an emergency? This is one of the biggest concerns, especially since this puts you in a tight situation in which there is often no getting out of. Many veterinarian hospitals will actually refer emergencies to a local emergency veterinary clinic, which will of course be another new experience for an already potentially frightened or injured dog. In addition, emergency veterinarians are often excruciatingly costly.

Next, you’ll want to ask around before settling on a certain office. Consider but don’t take to heart the recommendations you get. Simply get a feel and a bit of history on the best doctors, and do keep in mind what breed your sources own and if they are similar to yours. Different breeds, especially purebreds have specific traits and even genetic issues that are related to their breed only. It’s always good to have a doctor that is familiar with your dog’s physiology before they ever meet.

Also, keep in mind that veterinary offices don’t always rely on just one doggy doctor. There may be multiple veterinarians, making it hard on your dog if they have to visit a new doctor every time they go. On the positive side though, larger clinics do offer the option of being able to easily get a second opinion in certain matters.

Consider finding a practicing veterinarian who owns and or operates their own animal hospital. It may be preferable to find someone who practices primarily on dogs, and more importantly on your specific breed. Many of these individual practitioners are able to develop a closer relationship with your dog and many of them are more available in cases of emergency. Some even perform house-calls and checkups just to make sure everything is going great. Keep in mind though that you may not get the services of a kennel where you can leave your dog for extended periods while you’re out of town.

Like doctors, many veterinarians will make decisions based on their own point-of-view and current prognosis. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are always right. It is always a good idea to get a second opinion from a reputable source before undergoing any type of operation or surgery.

The last question you should always ask should be addressed to your dog. Do they get along with their doggy doctor? Or is there something they just don’t feel comfortable with when they’re with them? Dogs do have a good sense for judging who they are going to like and more importantly who they’ll cooperate with. Choose the best doggy doc for your pup to ensure not only their health but their happiness as well.

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ROCKY ADVENTURE – In the Garden

Jun 11, 2012

Porch Potty: Rocky Adventure

Hot! It’s definitely hot outside today. Even the ground is hot enough to toast my paws. If I could only get out to the grass, but first I need to cross the scorching miles (it’s more like a few feet, but when each step is baking your paws, it feels like miles) of pavement to reach safety. I’ll never be able to make it!

I’ve been sitting here in the doorway for about fifteen minutes, peeking out into the toasty atmosphere and hoping that something will change. But, as time passes and the ground neither cools nor presents me with an opportunity to trek the distance, I’m beginning to believe that my only choice is to brave the pain and hope for the best.

My options are limited. The walkway that’s close to the house is cooler but a longer distance, while the direct path will cook my toes for sure no matter how fast I go. Then I consider why the longer path is cooler. The garden runs right along the side of the house, keeping it shaded during the middle of the day. The sprinkler, a toy I love to play with but shouldn’t, has been sprinkling the garden to keep it fresh and cool in the summer heat. I’m familiar with the object, a summertime favorite that is responsible for keeping things cool and giving me something to chase.

An idea forms in my brain and I now possess what so many great dogs in the past have dubbed as, “A Grand Plan.” The hose, another item not to be toyed with, snakes out into the yard to feed the sprinkler. Luckily for my paws, I can reach it and pull it closer to me. I wrestle for a moment before managing to pull the sprinkler close enough to spray down the side of the house and cool the area. Immediately, I can feel the change, and it’s only a matter of seconds before the pavement is reduced to being simply warm.

I hop down the pathway, dodging the occasional spray of water, and make my way into the garden, where the ground is incredibly cool and moist. The mud feels great between my toes, so I stop to enjoy it for a moment. After I take care of business, I decide to enjoy the freshness a little longer. A few of my goodies are hidden in here and it’s time I check up on them, just in case some offender has invaded my homestead and snagged them for their own selfish reasons.

I’m always careful not to destroy the old man’s garden. He enjoys his early morning time out here, digging and planting his own treats, which aren’t much more than some flowers and plants. But, they’re his treats, so they aren’t mine to dig up. But, they do give plenty of cover for what is mine. To the right of this oddly shaped fruit, I’ve hidden an old rib bone that I got a few weeks ago. Since then though, the fruit has changed, growing in size and obscuring my hiding place.

After some effort, I manage to find my bone. I take a moment to chomp down on it, ensuring its quality and content are completely intact. You never know when someone will steal the flavor out of your bone. It’s something every dog should double-check.

Of course my luck would lead to this, and it turns out that while my bone still holds its valued flavor, the old man spots me. I try to hide my bone but it’s too late as he looks straight at me and I’m not even supposed to be in his garden in the first place. I try to hide myself below the cover of the plants. The old man calls to me though, and I’m pretty sure he isn’t buying my ruse. I decide to play “cute” by acting like nothing is going on at all. Nonchalantly, I stroll out of the garden and into the yard with bone in mouth as though it’s the most natural thing in the world. It doesn’t work. The old man has his hands on his hips and is tapping his bare feet on the walkway.

I hop back onto the walkway, which is very cool in comparison to earlier, and begin to tell the old man my side of the story. But, he ignores me and grabs the hose and sprinkler so he can take them back into the yard. That’s when he discovers why I put the sprinkler way over here in the first place. Though he’s undeniably not as sprightly as a young pup like me, he definitely shows me a few moves I could learn when avoiding hot pavement.

See! I tried to tell you it’s hot out here today!

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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I’m going to be a Doggie Grandma

Jun 8, 2012

Proper dog care for your pregnant doggie

The creation of life is a magical occurrence, and when a mother gives birth, we are able to witness one of the greatest achievements in all of nature. We are always proud to welcome new life into our own lives, especially when it’s a litter of adorable puppies.

So what is it like knowing that your puppy is going to make you a grandparent? It’s a feeling that despite the part you play, you still maintain the same pride that a mother has when she spots her younglings moving around and squeaking for attention. It’s a proud moment to look forward to, but what you do between here and now will make a difference on how smoothly a pregnancy carries on.

Start by looking for signs that you’re going to be a grandparent. If you suspect your dog is pregnant at all, like having been bred recently, it helps to discuss the situation with a vet or expert as to how far along she might be.

The vet can usually tell right away by examining the mother’s belly. They will also be able to provide you with an accurate initial pregnancy date, if you aren’t sure when they had their last breeding experience. Normal gestation for a dog is 63 days, so you can calculate your dog’s due-date to an approximate period. That will allow you to create plans to be home with your dog when the time comes.

Early pregnancy detection allows you the ability to provide a stress-free environment, which is crucial during the early stages of pregnancy. This can result in healthier puppies and better development, since the mother can relax and thereby release fewer stress-related hormones.

Health and care for your pregnant dog

Remember: Enough, but not too much is an important food factor. Early overeating can lead to labor issues occurring later on by making the puppies either too big (it’s possible) or by encouraging the building up of fat around the reproductive areas, making it difficult to give birth. Wait until approximately 3-4 weeks of pregnancy, then food intake should increase to about 40% of their regular diet. This is the time period in which the unborn puppies begin demanding significantly more nutrition, and any extra food prior to this period won’t have a positive effect.

Be cautious about using calcium supplements and consult with your veterinarian before adding any supplements to your pregnant dog’s body. Calcium supplements are associated with Canine Eclampsia, otherwise known as milk-fever which can be fatal.

It’s also a good idea to consult with your vet concerning de-worming processes and time-frames that will help eliminate any threats to the mother and her litter. De-worming should never be done during the first half of pregnancy, but is often recommended during the later stages after the puppies have significantly developed.

Signs of labor

Getting prepared for birth is important, and you always want to provide a quality safe and sanitary area for this magical time. Signs of nesting are the very first thing that you should notice. An expectant mother will often hide and be resistant to moving. They may even dig or move things around to protect a spot they prefer. This is completely natural and it’s not a good idea to move them from a chosen spot.

Shivering is completely normal, often the result of labor contractions. This doesn’t mean you need to put a blanket over them or try to keep them warm.

Initial signs that labor is on its way would start with the hollowing out of her belly area as the puppies begin to move towards their future freedom.

A significant drop in body temperature is a definite sign of impending labor. Normally a dog’s body temperature is 101, a dog’s temperature in labor will drop to around 97-98. This is safe and needs to stay within that range as long as she is giving birth. If it rises radically, you’ll need to consult a vet because there could be danger of infection.

You may even notice that your dog has now simply spaced out and is staring into the distant lands beyond. It’s a good sign that they are calm and ready for what is coming (puppy college plans?).

Sensitivity will often leave anyone irritable and grouchy, and a labored dog will likely show a few signs of irritation, so don’t get mad or frustrated if she snaps at you to tell you not to do something.

Another sign is neediness. They want you to pay attention to them…at least until the first puppy is born. It’s a good idea to go ahead and satisfy their need and give them all the attention they want.

In the end, you’re going to end up with a whole bunch more mouths to feed. Luckily, your proud puppy-mama is going to take care of things for now. Just be sure she’s comfortable and well-fed because she’s still going to be eating not only for herself but for a whole litter of hungry healthy puppies as well.

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