Puppy Tips 101 

5 Important Tips for your new puppy 

  1. Prepare your home, aka "puppy proof" (very similar to baby proofing) - securely stow away and protect electrical cables, small items that may be a choking hazard, or areas where your puppy could get stuck or injured.  
    Of course, you will need to purchase the necessary items such as: appropriately sized toys, bowls, comfy bed, training treats, collar, leash, and ID tag to name a few. 
     
  2. Get your puppy on a consistent schedule for eating, potty, playtime , and training and be sure to stick to it!
     
  3. Start obedience and potty training immediately-This is important because a puppies mind is like a sponge and when you start training immediately, the puppy learns what is right the first time, instead of finding out what is wrong the 3rd or 4th time it happens. 

  4. Socialize your puppy with as many different people, dogs, and other animals as possible before the puppy is 9 months old.- Again, a puppies mind is a sponge and if a puppy is properly introduced to all different shapes and sizes of people, dogs and animals, you can avoid behaviors such as fear and aggression in the future. 

  5. Be patient, and be positive- Your puppy is new to the world, and is just trying to figure everything out. Everything they experience is a learning opportunity, and its the owners responsibility to teach puppies what the world is, how it works, and everything in between. 

 

 

Holiday Tips- Keeping your pets safe 

The Holiday season is a wonderful time of year, but also busy and can be stressful for you as well as your pets. It is important to take precautions and be aware of holiday items that could be harmful or treats that could be toxic.
Here are a few tips and things to look out for during this holiday season:


Parties can be extremely stressful if your pet is not used to be around a lot of people. If you aren't sure how they will do in a large group setting, you can test it out at the beginning of the party by attaching your dog to you with a short leash! This way, your pet is close to you and you can keep an eye on them to see if they are having a good time or not. Also, keep an eye out for guests who may try to sneak your pet a irresistible bit of human food that they shouldn't have.
If your pet cannot handle the stress, make a nice cozy place for them to rest where they won't be bothered. Make sure they have something to keep them occupied. Soothing music and natural calming oils can also help keep them at ease as well.

Holiday Treats 
Chocking hazards- Chicken or turkey bones are a choking hazard and can also lead to intestinal punctures if swallowed.
                               Popcorn string

Toxic treats/decorations: Homemade Salt dough paw print ornaments - High amount of salt makes this appetizing for dogs, but is very toxic and can lead to death 
                                        Chocolate- Excessive vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and increased heart rate, and muscle tension are signs of chocolate poisoning.
                                        Mistletoe- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
                                        Holly- gastrointestinal upset, cardiovascular problems
                                        Lilies- can cause kidney failure in cats 

Decorations
Christmas tree- Make sure the tree is stable and won't tip over.  Keep your tree hydrated. A dry tree with lights left on too long can be a fire hazard.
Menorah/Channukiah- don't leave candles burning unattended and keep out of reach of pets. 
Wires/cords- if chewed on, cables will cause electric shock leading to severe injury or even death
Tinsel- choking hazard and can get lodged in intestines 

For more information and tips on how to keep your pet safe visit: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/holiday-safety-tips

Happy Holidays from our family to yours!


Halloween Safety 


Halloween is right around the corner! Halloween can be scary and stressful for some pets and pet parents.  Here are a few quick safety tips to ensure your pets safety:
  • Take your indoor/outdoor kitties inside for a few days around Halloween- Black cats especially have been known to be subject of cruel incidents
  • Don't leave pets out in the yard on Halloween- Unfortunately, it has been reported that many pets are victims of awful pranks and are teased, injured, or even stolen.
  • Keep pets away/confined from the door- Halloween costumes can be intimidating to some dogs, children will be yelling loudly, and dogs that are territorial may growl and bark at trick-or-treaters
  • Keep candy in a location where the dog cannot reach- Many candies are toxic to dogs such as chocolate and candies which contain xylotil (gum and other chewy treats VERY TOXIC).
  • Pumpkins out of reach- Some dogs can be allergic to pumpkins. Also some paints that we use to decorate can be toxic as well as the candles inside. 
  • Keep decoration wires and cords out of reach
  • Don't dress your pet unless you know they like it! Halloween can be stressful enough, and to make your pet wear a heavy/bulky costume on top of the noise will only increase the stress level.
    • Try on costume prior to he big night. Make sure it isn't so tight it restricts barking/meowing, or movement. Also to make sure your pet doesn't have an allergic reaction to the material. If your pet is just putting up with a costume, try a bandana! Most pets will tolerate this festive piece. 
  • ID tags! - IF your pet is to get lost, you'll want to be sure they have their ID tags on so you can recover them quickly and easily.                                                                          http://www.petmd.com/dog/seasonal/evr_multi_halloween_safety_tips?page=2

Signs Your Dog Is Stressed 

Your dog communicates with you using body language. He cannot tell us that he is happy, not feeling well, or overwhelmed. It is up to you to know or find out what your dogs behavior and body language is telling you. We know the signs of a happy dog: wagging tail, ears perked up, and possible jumping on you and licking your face, but do you know when your dog is stressed?

Understanding the signs of stress is important; this way you can remove your dog from a stressful situation before it escalates into a potentially aggressive and dangerous scenario.  There are many ways to prevent anxiety in dogs, one that you may not think about is training. Its best to start training as soon as possible, and preferably before your dog starts showing signs of anxiety or stress. Training builds confidence, and a confident dogs is typically a dog that does not stress easily. 

Here is a list of some signs of stress:
  • Yawning
  • Scratching
  • Ears pinned back
  • Panting
  • Excessive shedding
  • Licking of the mouth and nose
  • Chewing/destructive behaviors
  • Excessive sniffing
  • Accidents
  • Shaking off (like after a bath)
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomitting
  • Barking/growling
  • "Whale" eye
  • Paw lift and shifting weight away from what is making him nervous
  • Mounting/humping
  • Pacing
  • Loss of interest in food, toys, ect.

As you start to recognize what your dog is saying with his body language, keep in mind that certain stress signals need to be taken in context. For example, when your dog scratches its neck when you're sitting on the couch watching t.v, he probably just had an itch and is not showing signs of stress. However, if you are at the vets office with a lobby full of dogs and you notice your dog scratching, that is most likely a sign of anxiety or stress.

After you understand when your dog is stressed, you need to learn how to help your dog handle these situations. 

Here are a few tips:
  • Rules and Structure: implement positive training and don't focus on the unwanted behaviors. Dogs do best and are much less stressed when they know what the expectations are. You cannot constantly change the rules on them and expect them to know what you want from them.
  • Spend time with your dog: do things your dog enjoys such as playing fetch or going on a walk
  • Exercise regularly: exercise is a great stress reducer for humans as well as dogs! Take your dog on a run with you, or go to a park and throw a frisbee!




















































(Photo source: www.dogaholic.com)

Rawhide-The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly! 

There are many things to consider when picking the right chew for you dog. Size, strength, ingredients, and where its made. For many years the go-to chew was rawhide, but overtime the quality of many rawhides has dwindled and we are learning the dangers of certain rawhide chews. 

The particular type of rawhide we are referring to in this blog can be seen below. 


There are several pro's and many cons to this rawhide. One good thing about rawhide is it can help with dental care. On the negative side most rawhide is not digestible and can lead to intestinal obstructions, leaving owners with a hefty vet bill. 

This article explains how rawhide is made as well as the good, the bad, and the dangers of this chew. 

http://www.caninejournal.com/rawhide-bones/

Are pets as happy as their owners think they are? 

Are pets as happy as their owners think they are?
A tough question to think about. As pet owners and pet lovers, we think of our pets as family and we treat them as such. We purchase them the best food, the funnest toys, and the comfiest beds! But, as this article asks, is our relationship with our pets selfish on our part, and do we bring them as much joy as the bring us?

 

 "How many pet owners have even stopped to consider the question? It seems, at first, like a fairly ridiculous question.
Pets have it easy! They don’t have to hunt for their food; you buy it for them and serve it to them. They don’t have to worry about predators; you         provide them with shelter and a place to sleep (and, chances are, that place is your own bed). You provide them with medical care, you take them out for exercise — you literally clean up their shit, for heaven’s sake. What more could they need?


At any rate, even the most-loved pets are often bored and lonely, in a way, it’s the same paradox many zoos are facing with their animals. “You hear this all the time. “They say, ‘Well, these animals are really well off, because they don’t have to get their own food — we give it to them — and they don’t have to protect themselves from predators — we do that for them. The problem is they are behaviorally evolved to do those jobs themselves. So it’s leaving all these behavioral needs unmet.” Some zoos now are beginning to address this problem by looking for enrichment opportunities, defined recently by one team of scientists as “making changes to an animal’s environment that provide the animal with added stimulation, choice or control.”
(Source: http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/07/ethics-of-pet-keeping.html)


It seems that we are caught up in loving our pets so much, that we are unintentionally neglecting their natural behavioral needs. Neglecting these instincts is the cause of many behavioral issues such as separation anxiety, destructive chewing, urinating/marking, barking, aggression, and more. Something as simple as allowing your pets to work for their food using puzzle and interactive food dispensers can fulfill the instinctual behavior of working for food.  

"Pierce’s (writer) intention isn’t to condemn pet owners, but if she’s made them feel guilty — well, good. Investigate that feeling, she urges, and understand that pet ownership isn’t something to be taken lightly. Our animals make our lives so happy; it’s the least we can do for them in return."

To learn more, read the full article here:
http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/07/ethics-of-pet-keeping.html














Photo: Illumination Entertainment/Universal Pictures

Mental stimulation-How to defeat boredom  

Stimulating your dog's mind and challenging him by creating brain games is a fantastic way to tire out your pup. Mental stimulation is a key factor in fulfillment, and is a fantastic way to defeat boredom. It gives dogs confidence and as you work together, it strengthens the bond between you. When most of us think about giving our pets exercise, we think about letting them run free, or going for a brisk walk or run. You can create productive play sessions by targeting your dogs needs as a dog and as a breed. If you aren't sure what your breed was built for, do some research and use your imagination when creating games. In the meantime, here are a few games to get you started and the link for more ideas here:

http://www.mnn.com/family/pets/stories/10-brain-games-to-play-with-your-dog

Treasure Hunt 

Getting your dog to use his nose to find hidden treasure is a great way to stimulate his brain and teach him to use all his senses. Starting out, you'll want to set your dog up for success so he understands the game and doesn't get too discouraged. Begin with something simple. Put your dog in a sit-stay, and hide a treat or favorite toy somewhere obvious, even letting him watch you hide it. Then give him the release cue to go find the toy. Reward your dog big-time for his success in finding the hidden treasure. 

Once your dog understands the game, ramp up the difficulty. Hide the treat or toy in another room, or some place where other scents mask the treat or toy, like the bottom of the laundry bin or under the food dish. You can also make the game really hard by using cardboard boxes. Set up 10-20 cardboard boxes of different sizes and, without your dog seeing, place the reward in only one box. Let your dog investigate all of them and provide the reward or a jackpot treat when he selects the correct box. There are so many variations on this game that it will have the two of you playing different versions for years to come. 

Hide-and-Go-Seek 

Boost the excitement and reward level of the popular treasure hunt game by being the treasure your dog is tasked to find. You'll need to play this with at least two people. One person gives the dog the sit-stay cue and distracts him while the other person hides, then gives the release cue for the dog to start looking. This game works wonderfully both indoors and outdoors, and is a fun way to spend a rainy afternoon with your dog.