Our pet care team did an outstanding job finishing #1 Nationally in the 2018 Daycare Games! We’re excited to be competing again this year and looking to repeat as champions.
Our pet care team did an outstanding job finishing #1 Nationally in the 2018 Daycare Games! We’re excited to be competing again this year and looking to repeat as champions.
Snow, sleet, ice, wind… there’s a lot to prepare for when it comes to winter weather. Just like we’re affected by the cold, our dogs are, too. Here are a few simple measures you can take to make sure your dog stays happy and healthy throughout the winter.
Where climate is concerned, age is more than a number. Like humans, very young and very old dogs have a hard time regulating body temperature, so they have more extreme reactions to changes in weather. Romps in the snow may be too much for their more delicate constitutions. Keep the oldsters and the puppies indoors as much as possible.
Limit Time Outside
Even a big fuzzy dog that lives indoors will need some time to acclimate to freezing temperatures. Short romps outside will help your dog’s body get used to the change in the weather. Dogs can suffer from frostbite, especially on delicate earflaps and tail tips. In extreme cold, it’s a good idea to keep dogs inside, with the exception of the heavy-coated northern breeds that thrive in low temperatures. If it’s not possible to keep the dogs indoors, be aware of the major signs of frostbite, which include skin that appears white or blue.
Veterinarians in the Prior Lake/Savage area have notified Paws & Pals that they have seen an increase in respiratory illnesses in dogs around the community in the last few months. It has been prevalent in other areas around the Twin Cities as well. The cold and wet weather this fall is a likely contributor to the increase. Fortunately, most of the cases have been mild.
What is respiratory illness in dogs?
Just as human colds are caused by different viruses, dogs are also susceptible to viruses that cause respiratory illness. These viruses are typically airborne which means that they can be spread by coughing and sneezing. When a healthy dog inhales the droplets contaminated by the virus it can become ill. Influenza epidemics in humans are an example of how easily airborne illnesses spread. You may hear these canine respiratory illnesses called canine cough, kennel cough, infectious tracheobronchitis, or canine infection respiratory disease.
October is National Animal Safety and Prevention Month; a month dedicated to promoting the safe practices of handling and caring for both domestic and wild animals. Animals play an important part in our everyday lives, even if we don’t personally have pets. So it’s vital to make sure that they are treated kindly and with the respect and care they deserve.
There are several ways you can participate in National Animal Safety and Prevention Month. Some of them are as simple as being aware of the needs of your own household pets. For example, make sure they are micro-chipped so if they are ever lost, they can be easily found and returned; collars with identification tags are also just as important. Pet proof your home against the possibility of your animals coming in contact with any dangerous poisons or toxins. Put together a disaster escape plan in case you ever need to evacuate your pets quickly from the home. There are plenty of things you can do to take that extra step in making sure your pets are protected in all circumstances.
Owning a pet is a privilege and should result in a mutually beneficial relationship. The benefits of pet ownership come with responsibilities.
Keep safety in mind when you travel with your canine pal this summer.
1. Refresh your training. Before hitting the road, practice life-saving commands, especially “Come” and “Stay”, so that your dog doesn’t get lost in an unfamiliar place.
Cancer is the #1 medical concern of our precious pets. One in four dogs and one in five cats will get cancer. As their bodies age, they become more vulnerable to disease. The reality is that 50% of dogs over age 10 will develop a form of cancer. That’s why providing a wholesome diet, age-appropriate exercise, and mental stimulation like interesting puzzle toys and new experiences are so important to the long-term health of your dog. Furthermore, knowing the following warning signs of cancer will help pet parents take the first steps toward protecting their furry family members.
Swollen Lymph Nodes
These “glands” are located throughout the body but are most easily detected behind the jaw or behind the knee. When these lymph nodes are enlarged they can suggest a common form of cancer called lymphoma. A biopsy or cytology of these enlarged lymph nodes can aid in the diagnosis.
Whether a pet resort such as Paws & Pals or a pet sitter, make sure you know who is caring for your family member. Here are a series of questions to ask when interviewing a potential pet care provider. Are there quite a few questions? You bet! But better to have asked too many rather than too few when it comes to your pet’s safety and well-being. As a charter and leading member of the International Boarding and Pet Services Association (IBPSA), we’re committed to providing pet parents conscientious care, dealing with you honestly and fairly, to continuously learn more and improve our services, and operate our business honorably.
What Questions Should You Ask When Choosing a Pet Care Provider?
Pets should be brought inside when the temperature drops. If that is not possible, then shelter—a dog house, shed or barn—should be used to protect your pet from the wind, low temperatures, and inclement weather. Supply warm bedding material and make sure the doorway has at least a flap covering to keep out the wind.
Make sure pets have a clean and ice-free supply of water outside. Eating snow can cause diarrhea, so you want to have fresh water available. Just like people, dogs lose moisture when breathing in cold air—they can see their breath, too!—and although dehydration is more common during summer months, it can happen in cold weather as well.
Learn signs and tips for helping alleviate your pet’s winter blues
With fall drawing to a close, many of us are looking at the approach of cold, inclement weather, earlier nightfall and limited outdoor time. Regardless of where we live, the busier schedules of work and school, holidays and other commitments often leave us with less time to spend at home and outdoors, and less time to spend with our pets.
The sudden change in schedule can limit time for company, play and attention. These reduced opportunities for exercise can sometimes leave pets bored, stressed and even depressed.
How can I tell if my pet has the blues?
Not all pets will have the blues when winter rolls around. But there are some signs to look for to make sure your pet is just hunkered down, and not in distress or struggling. Find these signs and symptoms listed below.
Every dog or animal with a reasonably developed central nervous system has fear. Fear is one of the basic drives, along with hunger, thirst, sleep, sex, and sociality. Out-of-control fear is as much of a problem as any other drive that is out-of-control. But fear in the normal amount is essential, as it helps to keep a dog out of harm’s way. However, like people, dogs are not born with fear.
In dogs, fear responses begin between 6 and 8 weeks of age. By three weeks after its onset, fear plateaus at a level normal for pups and for the specific genetic complement they have. There are three factors which alone or in combination act to determine the level of fear any given dog shows.
The first of these is genetic. The dog inherits a predisposition for a high level of fear. Thus, what would cause a mild startle response in a dog with a normal fear level will drive the over-reactive dog ballistic.
Back-to-school season is a time of transition for the whole family, as parents and children begin to adjust to a new routine. It’s also a difficult time for pets, who have grown accustomed to some extra attention during summer vacation. Dogs are social pack animals – they normally prefer being with others. Usually dogs learn to be alone for periods of time without a problem, but for some, being alone is unacceptable. Separation anxiety in dogs is much like a panic attack in a person. Symptoms usually start within 20-40 minutes after the pet parent leaves the home.
Our pets love summer just as much as we do! For many, it’s the best time of year to be out, about, and enjoying all that the season has to offer. While there is certainly nothing wrong with taking your pet out for hikes, swimming, or running, keep in mind that warm weather can be dangerous. It’s hard for pets to keep cool when the sun is beating down, and animals don’t sweat like people do. Dogs do sweat, but not very much, and it does little to cool them off. As you probably know, dogs more commonly cool themselves down through panting. When there is only hot air for a dog to breathe, it’s a lot harder for that dog to keep cool. Read on to learn some important summer safety tips for dogs:
1. Never, ever, EVER leave your dog in a hot car
Okay, you’ve probably heard this one before, but it’s so important that we still decided to list it first. It can take minutes – yes, MINUTES – for a pet to develop heat stroke and suffocate in a car. Most people don’t realize how hot it gets in parked cars. On a 78 degree day, for instance, temperatures in a car can reach 90 degrees in the shade and top 160 degrees if parked directly in the sun! Your best bet is to leave your dog home on warm days. If you’re driving around with your dog in the car, bring water and a water dish and take your dog with you when you leave the car.
2. Make sure your dog is protected from parasites like fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes
If not protected, your dog is at risk for heartworm, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and a host of other nasty and dangerous conditions. And don’t forget, many of these diseases can be caught by people too!
3. Keep your dog’s paws cool
When the sun is blazing, surfaces like asphalt or metal can get really hot! Try to keep your pet off of hot asphalt; not only can it burn paws, but it can also increase body temperature and lead to overheating. It’s also not a good idea to drive around with your dog in the bed of a truck – the hot metal can burn paws quickly (and they can fall out to be injured or killed in an accident).
4. Your dog should always have access to fresh drinking water and shade
Our dogs get much thirstier than we do when they get hot, and other than panting and drinking, they really have no way to cool themselves down. Keep your pet in the shade as often as possible. While dogs and cats like to sunbathe, direct sunlight can overheat them (especially dogs) and can cause heat exhaustion or stroke.
5. Give your dog his very own “kiddy pool”
Dogs who love the water, naturally love it even more during the hot months, and getting wet keeps them cool. Providing a small, kid-sized pool will go over big.
6. Don’t assume your dog can swim well
Just because dogs instinctively know how to swim, doesn’t mean they’re good swimmers. And if your dog jumps in your swimming pool, he might not be able to get out without help and could easily drown. Make sure your dog can’t get into your swimming pool without you around.
7. Dogs get sunburns too!
Believe it or not, dogs can sunburn, especially those with short or light-colored coats. And just like with people, sunburns can be painful for a dog and overexposure to the sun can lead to skin cancer. Talk to your veterinarian about sunscreens for your dog (don’t assume a sunscreen for people is appropriate for your dog).
Perhaps the most important tip is to pay attention to your dog – you’ll know when he seems uncomfortable. Summer can be a great time to spend with your dog, but it’s important to keep these tips in mind!
Source of content: The Pet Health Network
We know, more than ever, pets are considered part of the family and their “parents” want assurances they’re getting the very best care. Therefore we’re very proud to be the first pet care company in Minnesota to have staff achieve certification from the Professional Animal Care Certification Council (PACCC)! We’re also an early sponsor and active member. These credentials help clearly identify those professionals who are committed to and can provide excellent pet care.
What is PACCC and why should pet parents care?
The fact is, there is virtually no regulation or education required to open a pet care services business. PACCC was created to turn the tide! The Professional Animal Care Certification Council is dedicated to independent certification to help you identify premier animal care providers.
What does the independent certification mean to you?
Pet care business owners, management teams and individuals with this certification are qualified, knowledgeable, and committed professionals. They understand animal health and prioritize safe care practices. If your pet care team is certified through PACCC, you can rest easy knowing your furry family is in good hands.
What can you do to help?
As a pet parent, you can help us raise the standards for entry into the pet care industry by choosing pet care professionals that hold PACCC certification.
Where can you learn more?
Check out www.paccert.org to learn more about PACCC’s efforts to recognize high quality providers in the pet care industry.
By the time the cold winter winds and snowstorms are replaced by pleasant sun-warmed spring days, pets are more than ready to return outdoors. Although spring is probably one of the most welcomed seasons, pet owners need to keep in mind that with the change in weather and increase of outdoor activity comes an increase of dangers for their beloved animal friends. Owners should be aware of these springtime hazards some of which might seem trivial, but can have fatal consequences.
Fertilizer – The first thing many people like to do when they are sure winter is gone for good is get their yards back in shape. It’s common knowledge that many fertilizer products can cause serious problems if ingested by animals or humans. It is still important to pay close attention to what the product labels say. Just because you see the term “natural” does not mean the product is nontoxic. There are also less-obvious problems lurking in gardens and lawns of which pet owners might not be aware.
Mulch – Many people use mulch to complete their landscaping projects. However, there are certain types of mulch that pet owners should avoid. Cocoa bean mulch, for example, is known to poison dogs. Because this mulch is made from the hulls of cacao beans, it has a rich chocolate aroma that entices animals to eat it. Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine, which is a caffeine derivative toxic to animals and can even kill them if they ingest enough.
Insects – With the yard free of toxic fertilizer, there is still the increase of insects and other pests to think about. Tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme’s, may hospitalize your pet. And some fleaborne diseases, such as Bartonella, can also be detrimental to your pet’s health. There are many different products on the market to help control these little bugs. Pet owners should be sure to consult with their veterinarians before using these products.
Pesticide products are often a popular combatant to pest problems, but it is important that pet owners keep pets indoors for as long as the instructions suggest. If a dog or cat accidentally gets outdoors during pesticide treatment and eats the grass or even walks on it and then licks its paws, they could begin convulsing, vomiting, having diarrhea or internal bleeding and could even become unconscious.
Allergies – The change in the weather, pollination of plants, and toxic particles that sneak from yard to yard, could all be the cause of allergic reactions in household pets. Scratching, sneezing, losing excess amounts of fur, red or dry skin, constant licking and nasal discharge all are signs that the animal is having an allergic reaction to something. Pet owners should visit their vet for the allergy medicine or shampoo that will work best for their particular problem.
Springtime is a time for sunny days, beautiful blooms and enjoying the outdoors. Just remember that along with the warmer weather come some potential hazards for your furry friend. Your knowledge and awareness of these dangers will help keep your beloved pet healthy and happy.
Yes, of course they do. Every dog owner comes to recognize their dog’s moods from body language and facial expressions, from the noises their pet makes and from the very way their dog moves. We instinctively know whether our dogs are excited, happy, sad, frustrated or anxious.
Nonetheless, it has long been a topic of hot debate amongst behavioral experts largely because it’s very hard to quantify or measure emotions. While it’s clear that your dog has a rich emotional life, scientists cannot measure exactly how happy or fearful he may be. Thus, many have chosen to ignore emotions and the fact that they play any role in how a dog learns to behave or express himself.
Recent research has demonstrated that all mammals, dogs included, have seven fundamental, basic, emotional systems that provide the ability to react to information about what enters the brain via the senses. These “magnificent seven” include a seeking system to look for food, a fear system to respond to unfamiliar events that may be dangerous, a play system and a care system to raise offspring and form vital social attachments.
Recognizing that dogs have emotions is helping to drive progress in other fields, such as dealing with behavioral problems, like aggression, excessive grooming, and nervousness. Typically assessment is in three stages;
By taking into account the emotions dogs feel, rather than simply looking at how they behave, animal behaviorists are now learning to get to grip with solving these problems much more effectively. One of our expert trainers should be able to assist you with your dog’s behavioral issues. For more information please visit Training.
During winter, pet owners will sometimes neglect the regular grooming schedule used during warmer months. Regular grooming isn’t always top-of-mind when it’s cold outside, it gets dark earlier and when pets tend to spend more time indoors. But it’s just as important to groom your pets during the winter months as it is the rest of the year.
Skin & Coat Care
Winter weather can be harsh on your pets, especially on their skin and coat. Dry air which is common during winter can dry out your pet’s skin. Dry, itchy skin leads to scratching which in turn can lead to hot spots or infections. It’s important to continue to bathe your pet on a regular basis, and the quality and type of the shampoo you choose is critical. Some shampoos can remove too many of the essential oils in your pet’s skin which contributes to dry skin problems. Consider using a shampoo that contains oatmeal or other moisturizers. Make sure your dog is completely dry before going outside, because a wet dog is more likely to become chilled. This is especially true of small breeds or those with short hair. Prolonged exposure to cold results in hypothermia, and it is most likely to occur when a dog is wet.
Some owners believe giving a dog a haircut during cold weather compromises the dog because it needs its coat to keep warm. While dogs need to keep warm, it’s also true most pets don’t live outdoors all the time. House dogs don’t need to rely on long fur and a thick undercoat for warmth as wild animals or sled dogs do. It’s absolutely okay to give your dog a haircut in winter. If you’re concerned about your dog’s being cold outside, consider a longer trim or a doggie sweater.
It’s important to maintain regular brushing during the winter months. Keeping your pet’s coat free of tangles and loose hair will keep it healthy and able to properly insulate your pet.
Often neglected in colder months, nail trimming is an important part of your pet’s health and well being. In some areas dogs, tend to spend less time on abrasive surfaces like sidewalks. Therefore they do not experience the wear and tear on their nails like they do in warmer weather which leads to longer nail growth. Be sure to trim your pet’s nails on a regular basis throughout winter.
Your dog’s paws are designed to protect their feet, especially in the elements of winter. But, ice and snow can damage the pads on your dog’s paws. So can sand, ice melt and other de-icing chemicals. Under these conditions paw pads can become hard, cracked and even infected. You can protect your pet’s paws and pads by using a protectant like Musher’s Secret or pad wax. For dry or cracked pads use a moisturizing lubricant such as Bag Balm and for maximum protection consider using dog boots.
Regular grooming is essential care for the long term health of your pet. It’s just as important to groom your dog during the cold winter months as it is in the heat of summer.
As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, many people are trying to cultivate the value of gratitude. The problem is that Thanksgiving is arriving at an inconvenient time this year when a number of things seem to be going wrong with health, finances, blah blah . . . you know the details. But when it’s a challenge to be thankful, try turning to the most thankful person you know.
Who is not actually a person. He or she is your dog.
1. Today is going to be the best day EVER! Just remember that, OK? So in the morning before your people get up, go right next to their heads and breathe heavily with excitement so that they, too, will catch your enthusiasm about this being the best day EVER. It will be even better than yesterday, which was the best day to date.
2. After eating breakfast, be sure to always go find the person who fixed your meal for you and nuzzle their hand in gratitude. They always remember to feed you. They are therefore the best humans ever. And isn’t food just amazing?
3. Be grateful all morning that you can work like a dog. This often involves working with your eyes closed — whether you’re on the couch, the dog bed, or the regular bed that you’re not actually supposed to jump on. Work is so important.
4. During the lunch hour, paw your human insistently so that she understands it’s time to stop working and enjoy the neighborhood. Drag her to the front door. Isn’t it great when people understand what you’re telling them? Communication is so important.
5. When you get outside, run around in circles a few times and bark with joy. You love your yard! You love your life!
6. In the neighborhood, take time to greet your friends and sniff their butts. Smelling their butts indicates that you think they are wonderful and interesting. And they are. They are the best friends you’ve ever had!
7. When you walk around and read your pee-mail, savor the moment. Someone took the time to leave you a message: “Rover was here!” So leave a message back and be grateful for friends and smells and this fabulous world.
8. OMG, did we mention that this is the best day EVER? Are you having fun yet?
9. If, during the course of your day, you come across any humans who seem to not quite understand that this is actually the best day EVER, it is your job to cheer them up. As a hint, butt-sniffing is not as effective at communicating love to humans as it is to fellow dogs. But a well-timed cuddle is always appropriate. Which leads us to the most important gratitude rule:
10. When the people you love walk in the front door, drop everything in your excitement. Rush to them, jump up and down, slather them with kisses. They are the most remarkable and beautiful creatures in your world, and you have to let them know that every single day — especially this, your best day EVER.
Very soon costumes and Jack-O’-Lanterns will fill our neighborhoods with an endless parade of trick-or-treaters heading for our doorsteps. This year, be prepared to make the season a safe one for all members of the family. Here are seven important tips to keep your pets safe:
• Halloween season is a time of mischief and pranks, and too often dogs and cats become unwilling participants. Keep your pets well supervised in the yard or, better yet, keep them indoors and safe from neighborhood shenanigans at night.
• If your dog has the personality and temperament to accompany the kids while trick-or-treating, just make sure the costume doesn’t interfere with his ability to breathe, see, hear, move, or bark. Always make sure the fit isn’t constricting, and keep an eye out for signs your dog may be getting stressed out.
• Like any other night you take your dog for a stroll, make sure he’s wearing his collar and nametag/ID. And with so many other people on the street, it’s important to keep him on a controlled/short lead or leash. Many styles are now offered with reflective or lighted features.
• Just as you’d make sure your kids aren’t eating unsafe candy, never let your dog get a hold of any bite-size sweets. Candy and wrappers are potential choking hazards, and chocolate is particularly dangerous for dogs – a toxin. Instead, have a container of your pet’s favorite biscuits or treats readily available at home or along with you while trick-or-treating.
• No other time of year will so many strange kids (in even stranger costumes) be knocking on your door. This can be especially nerve-wracking for the territorial dog. With the door opening and closing all night, be careful of him darting out. You may even want to put up a temporary gate in the entranceway, or even better keep your pup in a separate room.
• For nervous animals, the haunting screams of kids and the endless chiming of doorbells can become overwhelming. You may want to consider a calming product designed for storm- and travel-shy pets and they are also useful on Halloween.
• Finally, decorations and Jack-O’-Lanterns are tempting for pets. Needless to say, it’s too easy for them to get hurt if left unsupervised, whether it’s in a tangle of crepe paper or a singed coat from an open flame. Always keep these Halloween favors out of your pet’s reach!
In today’s fast paced world, many pet owners find themselves without the amount of time they would like to spend caring for their pets. Between work, chores around the house, kids, school, sports, etc. there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. With that in mind, we’ve come up with a short list of five simple things you can do to improve the health of your pet.
Better Quality Food
Yes, it’s easier and probably cheaper to simply pick up a bag of dog food at the grocery store or buy some big retailer’s store brand. But is that necessarily the best food for your pet? And in the long run is it really cheaper? You might be surprised at what you find if you read the ingredient lists on your favorite name brand or store brand pet foods. Many of them contain fillers, unnecessary ingredients and by products that can be very unhealthy for your pet and can lead to long term health problems and increased costs. Switching to an all-natural or holistic brand name can help maintain your pet’s health and keep your overall expenditures on pet care to a minimum.
Supplementing your pet’s diet can be a simple way to help improve their health and well-being. There are many supplements available for joint support, digestive support, skin care, immunity, weight control, heart health, liver support, muscle support and more. Consult with your veterinarian to make the best choices for your pet.
Okay, so you may not have time to walk your pet every single day or take them to the dog park. But there are ways to ensure your pet gets regular exercise. Be sure to provide a variety of toys for them to play with. Make sure you let your pet outside for a while every day or if you have an inside pet, give some space for daily play time. Of course you should take the time to walk your pet as often as possible. There are retractable leashes and even hands free leashes that make it easy to exercise your pet at the same time you are exercising. Doggie daycare is another great option if you simply don’t have the time to give your pet regular exercise.
Proper dental care is essential for the health of your pet. Routine veterinary dental checkups are vital to your pet’s good health, but there are some simple things you can do to help your pet maintain healthy teeth. Avoid giving your dog sweet, soft or sticky foods. Regular PlaqClnz treatments done at Paws & Pals will freshen your pet’s breath and help eliminate plaque. Dental chews or treats designed to help control plaque and tartar build-up also promote fresh breath.
Flea, Tick & Insect Control
Fleas, Ticks and other insects like flies are some of the major carriers of diseases in pets. Controlling these pests is simple with the many flea, tick and pest control products available. There are several flea & tick spot-ons and collars that make protecting your pet easy. Plus, there are easy-to-use indoor and outdoor pest control products that can help break the reproductive cycle of pests like fleas which will ultimately make insect control even easier.
Swimming is a great exercise for dogs, and can also be the perfect relief from summer heat. Whether you’re boating with your dog or simply letting him have a dip in the pool, there are many safety precautions pet owners should take while swimming with their dogs. First and foremost, make sure that your dog can swim. Most dogs can be taught to swim, but others are not made for it or are simply too afraid.
Other dangers are less about the dog, and more about the place they’re swimming. For example, 18 dogs in Minnesota to have died from suspected blue-green algae poisoning since the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency started tracking the issue a little more than a decade ago. Health officials have known about blue-green algae for years, but until the recent past there has been little documentation regarding pets. Owners may not see the animal ingest the material, so they may not make the connection. However, now there is more attention about the harmful effects of algae blooms in people, so it’s beginning to transfer to dogs. The best rule to follow is, when in doubt stay out of the water.
Swimming is great exercise for dogs but each body of water where pets can cavort – ponds, lakes or pools – has its own dangers. Pet owners can minimize risk by knowing what they are and how to prevent or avoid them.
Ponds and Lakes
Other than the blue-green algae, ponds and lakes can be good places for dogs to swim because they don’t have tides or currents, but owners should watch the water carefully, no matter how clean it looks. For example, many parks, golf courses or subdivisions that have lakes or ponds treat them with chemicals to prevent algae. The chemicals can cause skin irritation or worse issues such as liver damage.
Also, ponds and lakes in the country may contain materials toxic to dogs such as fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides that are “run-off” from area farms. Larger lakes where motor-boating is allowed might have higher concentrations of motor oil. If you are on a boat and your dog jumps from it, make sure there is a logical way to get the dog back in.
Never let a dog drink from a pond or lake, so take fresh water for drinking as well as for bathing the dog after a swim. If you fear that your dog has ingested bad water or has swam in water that may be toxic, call for help immediately
Swimming Pool Safety
The most important thing about pools, says Paula Patton, professional dog trainer at The Gray Dog Lodge in Lenoir City, Tenn., is that they have steps and dogs should know where they are. “Dogs should never be allowed to swim alone,” she said. “When pools are not in use, they should be covered. But most importantly, your pet should know how to get out of the pool without struggle.”
She also recommends the following:
• Make sure your pet is wearing a pet flotation device while swimming.
• Monitor your pet to make sure the chlorinated water in the pool is not irritating. Watch especially your pet’s eyes for irritation.
• Don’t let your pet drink the chlorinated water.
• After a dip in the pool, most pets should be hosed or bathed to remove chlorine that can dry the coat and be ingested when the pet is grooming.
Safe and Fun Options
An easy way to skirt a lot of the danger of swimming is to purchase a “kiddie pool” for pets. Sprinklers and kiddie pools are effective and safer for dogs that are older or impaired, or for breeds that don’t swim. Water from the hose is sufficient, and chlorine isn’t necessary. Wading or splashing is fun for dogs, and has the same cooling effect as a large body of water.
On a sunny day with temperatures at or above 70° Fahrenheit, most people know that the temperature inside their car can soar to intolerable levels for their dog. But even outdoors in a non-shaded area, the heat can quickly get to your pooch and cause serious complications.
Dogs do not perspire the way humans do; in fact, the only sweat glands that they have are on the pads of their feet. Dogs pant to cool themselves and also use a temperature exchange called convection to cool their skin. Both panting and convection cool the body by exchanging the warm body temperatures for the cooler air outside. If the surrounding air is not considerably cooler than the animals’ body temperature – as in the case of a hot, stuffy automobile – the cooling system will not work and heatstroke can occur.
What are the signs of heatstroke?
Signs of heatstroke include:
• Increased heart rate
• Excessive panting
• Increased salivation
• Bright red tongue
• Red or pale gums
• Thick, sticky saliva
• Vomiting (sometimes with blood)
As heatstroke progresses, it can cause seizures, coma, cardiac arrest, and death.
What should I do if my dog gets heatstroke?
Remove your dog from the hot area immediately. While transporting him immediately to your veterinarian, lower his temperature by placing cool, wet towels over the back of the neck, under the forelimbs, and in the groin area. If possible, increase air movement around him with a fan. Be careful, however, as using very cold water can actually be counterproductive. CAUTION: Cooling too quickly and especially allowing his body temperature to become too low can cause other life-threatening medical conditions. The rectal temperature should be checked every 5 minutes. Once the body temperature is 103ºF, the cooling measures should be stopped and your dog should be dried thoroughly and covered so he does not continue to lose heat. Even if your dog appears to be recovering, take him to your veterinarian as soon as possible, he should still be examined since he may be dehydrated or have other complications. Allow free access to water if your dog can drink on his own. Do not try to force-feed cold water; as he may inhale it and could choke.
How can heatstroke be prevented?
• Keep pets with predisposing conditions like heart disease, obesity, older age, or breathing problems cool and in the shade. Even normal activity for these pets can be harmful.
Provide access to water at all times.
• Do not leave your pet in a hot parked car even if you’re in the shade or will only be gone a short time. The temperature inside a parked car can quickly reach up to 140 degrees.
Make sure outside dogs have access to shade.
• On a hot day, restrict exercise and don’t take your dog jogging with you. Too much exercise when the weather is very hot can be dangerous.
• Do not muzzle your dog.
• Avoid places like the beach and especially concrete or asphalt areas where heat is reflected and there is no access to shade.
• Wetting down your dog with cool water or allowing him to swim can help maintain a normal body temperature.
• Move your dog to a cool area of the house. Air conditioning is one of the best ways to keep a dog cool, but is not always dependable. To provide a cooler environment, freeze water in soda bottles, or place ice and a small amount of water in several resealable food storage bags, then wrap them in a towel or tube sock. Place them on the floor for your pet to lay on.
You can prevent your pet from suffering heatstroke. Use common sense and think of what it might feel like to wear a fur jacket (that cannot be removed) on a hot summer day.
Article source: Doctors Foster and Smith
Spring brings blooming flowers and beautiful green trees – which in turn, bring plenty of pollen, molds, and other allergens. You may find it frustrating to deal with seasonal allergies, but you aren’t alone in your struggle! Both dogs and people can suffer from environmental allergies, but despite being associated with many of the same triggers (pollen, molds, dust mites, etc.), there is one key difference.
If you have allergies, you are all too familiar with the sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes that accompany the condition. While some dogs are affected in a similar manner, the most common clinical sign associated with canine allergies is itchiness. Any part of the body may be affected, but the face, feet, and sparsely haired parts of the body are often prime targets. This is because direct contact between the allergen and the skin is what sets off allergic reactions in many dogs, and these are the parts of the body that are most likely to come in contact with allergens.
Allergic reactions in dogs can go unnoticed because to the untrained eye, it may just seem as though your dog is licking themselves as they usually do. While many itch-related issues are solved by scratching, many of them are alleviated (and sometimes exacerbated) by licking – especially when it comes to their paws. As stated in the above paragraph, the area affected by allergens is usually the skin that comes in direct contact with the offending substance and/or isn’t shielded by hair or fur. If you see your dog licking/biting/scratching themselves a lot, they are probably itchy because of some kind of allergen exposure. If you check the area(s) that they are paying a lot of attention to, you’ll usually see that it’s pink or red – which is a sure sign that they are dealing with an allergy problem.
Since skin to allergen contact plays such an important role in canine allergies, it shouldn’t be too surprising that topical therapy plays a vital role in treating the condition. Frequent baths (twice a week or more) are the usual recommendation, serve to physically remove allergens that are trapped within a dog’s coat and on the surface of the skin. Any gentle, non-drying shampoo will perform this function, but medicated shampoos can serve a dual purpose of allergen removal and topical anti-allergy therapy. In between baths, use unscented baby wipes on a dog’s face, feet, or other problem areas after he or she comes in from outdoors. If you’d like there are wet wipes for dogs that are specifically for this purpose.
Products are now available that also help strengthen the skin’s natural barriers against allergens. Research has shown that dogs with allergic skin disease have altered proportions of certain types of fatty acids and other skin components, and these changes have an adverse affect on the ability of the skin to function normally. Regular use of such topical treatments can stop allergic dogs from scratching, licking, and chewing on themselves. Many ointments or dermatologic creams also exist over-the-counter and by prescription. In addition, there are some over-the-counter oral remedies you could try like Chlorpheniramine Maleate or Clemastine Fumarate tablets. You may have to try a few different options (or combinations of options) to find one that works for you. Obviously if anything you use has unpleasant side-effects like diarrhea, nausea, or extreme drowsiness, cease using it immediately.
Sometimes, severe cases of allergies often require more aggressive treatment, so you will have to consult a veterinarian. When topical therapy alone cannot keep a dog comfortable, systemic treatment becomes necessary. Veterinarians typically prescribe corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone) or other immune modulating medications like cyclosporine (Atopica) for severe allergies, but continuing topical therapy is still important even in these cases. The goal is to use the lowest effective dose of the systemic medications to try to avoid side effects. Routine bathing and spot-on products often reduce the amount of drugs needed to keep a dog’s symptoms under control.
Please stay aware of possible allergens in your dogs’ lives, and what you can do to prevent, treat, and alleviate their suffering. We humans know that suffering from allergies is absolutely dreadful, so it can’t be that great for our fur children either. Let us know which products or methods you have had success with, so we can help other pets find relief as well!
When winter’s cold weather is punctuated with seemingly endless bouts of heavy snow and pelting rain and we’re stuck indoors, it’s understandable that we start suffering from cabin fever. And it’s no surprise that our dogs often feel the same way, too.
Getting outside is not only about bracing the cold for potty breaks, it’s important in keeping dogs well exercised. When the weather is such a challenge, it’s a good idea to introduce more walks in a day, each for a shorter time. This way, your pooch will get his normal exercise without being exposed to the elements for long periods. If you are lucky enough to have a pet-friendly indoor mall in your area, it is a great place to go for your daily exercise. Window-shopping never gets boring.
Dogs are very social creatures and, no doubt, many would enjoy doggie daycare sessions. This is another great cold weather alternative because, apart from the safe and organized play supervised by pet care attendants, simply hanging with other dogs will ensure your pooch gets plenty of physical and mental stimulation.
You can beat winter boredom and rev up your dog’s energy levels by playing indoor games at home, too. For ball-obsessed dogs, it’s all about the ball; not necessarily where the game is played. Let’s face it; such a dog will play fetch just about anywhere. It’s just a matter of remembering to roll the ball instead of throwing it in order to protect electronics and furniture. In addition, if you happen to live in a two-story home, you can add another level to the game by rolling the ball down the stairs.
Canine board games such as the Buster Activity Mat and puzzle toys such as those created by Nina Ottosson really challenge dogs and offer great mental and physical stimulation. Board games and puzzles involve hiding treats or small toys and allowing your dog to extricate them. In fact, behaviorists say that 10 minutes of such mental play is the equivalent of 45 minutes of active play.
Finally, don’t forget doggie play dates at another dog’s home. Canines enjoy new environments with a friend the same way kids do. In the end, don’t let the winter slow you down too much. The key is to get up and moving with your furry friend while having some fun together!
Article source: Animal Behavior College
Have you ever wondered why your dog still destroys your shoes, even after a two-mile doggy run? Many dog owners worry about whether or not their dog is getting enough physical exercise, but they completely forget about mental exercise. If your dog is displaying any of the signs below, he may be in desperate need of some mental stimulation such as daycare, training, activity toys, games, etc.
#1 – Can’t Settle
Does your dog whine, pace, or get up from his resting position every few minutes? Dogs that just can’t settle, even after physical exercise, are suffering from a brain that just won’t be quiet. Exercising their brain will help them relax and finally settle down.
#2 – Destroys Things
If your dog is shredding, chewing, tearing, and ripping your belongings, no matter how many runs you take him on a day, then he probably needs to wear out that brain. Give him an activity toy that he can “tear” into or a puzzle to solve (hiding toys is great!).
#3 – Tail Chasing
Some dogs become obsessed with chasing their tail. Often it’s herding breeds such as the Border Collie, but any dog can become a tail chaser. Give your dog something else to do with her mind, and she’ll stop the chase (barring any medical conditions). Things like teaching her to herd a ball into a net or trick training can help.
#4 – Barks at Everything
This is the dog that acts like she’s “looking for trouble” — everything’s a threat, including the imaginary bunny in the corner or you walking through the door. Training is definitely a must for these dogs, but so is giving them something else to do with their brain other than making up threats. Give them a job to do – such as when the doorbell rings she needs to find her mat and go lay down – to help ease her mind.
#5 – Digging
Has your dog dug a hole to China in the backyard? Again, this is usually a boredom behavior. Give your dog something to do in the backyard that uses their brain and they will be less likely to dig up your petunias. Some pet parents actually give their dog a sand box to dig in and bury things for them to find – this uses mental and physical energy!
#6 – Sleeps A Lot
You may think this is a good thing, but it can be a sign your dog is bored and it’s definitely not healthy. If your dog sleeps more than your cat, you probably should break out some activity toys.
#7 – Whines
If your dog is whining for what seems like no reason (you’ve ruled out pain, fear, stress, attention, etc.), he may be bored. Think back to when you were a kid – what did you do when you were bored? You whined to your parents! Your dog is doing the same thing. Wait until he is quiet, and then give him something to do like an activity toy or play a game with him.
Article source: iheartdogs.com
Written by Kristina Lotz
That is the question I am asked in every class. That the question even has to be asked is somewhat comforting. Dog owners everywhere seem to have an inherent mistrust of the idea that a bunch of dogs they don’t know will be racing around untethered by leash or human. Can they be trusted?
The consensus among dog trainers is surprising. While most will tell their clients to proceed with caution, most professionals will not take their dogs to off leash parks. The reasons are varied, but they come down to two main things; first, that the trainer is spending enough time exercising and mentally stimulating his or her dogs to make dog parks unnecessary and second, dog parks can be dangerous. The second idea is the focus of this article.
Until recently, I was a “let them work it out” dog trainer. I was taught, many years ago, that in a stable environment, dogs will set their own hierarchy and we should not get involved. I still believe this holds true in some situations. However, a dog park is not a stable environment. Far from it. Dog park hierarchy is so changeable as to be completely irrelevant. And new research is being done all the time on what healthy canine interactions look like and what they absolutely do not look like. My views have accordingly changed with the latest research.
To answer the question of whether the dog park is safe for your dog, I’ve broken the question down into what we know about off leash environments and what we don’t.
What we know – we absolutely know that the environment will change, sometimes continuously while we are at the park. Dogs will come and leave. Dogs will run by. Some will have toys, and some owners will be carrying treats. We also know that the dogs will be off leash, which means we might have a hard time controlling them.
What we can’t know – we won’t know the education level of either the dogs at the park or, more importantly, their owners. Have they been through an obedience class? We also cannot know how two dogs will get along until they do – or don’t.
Because of what we can’t know, my answer is that I do not recommend dog parks for socialization purposes anymore. I think that the risks, more often than not, outweigh the gains.
Having said that, I know that for a many owners dog parks are the only way their dogs get exercise. Off-leash parks are convenient and easy, and people are still going to use them. So with that in mind, here’s my best advice for going to a dog park.
If you are unsure whether something is healthy play between dogs, feel free to take your dog and leave the park. Erring on the side of caution is never wrong. For more information on the body language of dogs and on healthy play, Sue Sternberg is an excellent resource. Her video on Dog Park Behavior can be accessed through YouTube.
Christi Blaskowski, CPDT-KA
Unleashed Behavior and Training Services
Dogs are known for being pretty tolerant, easy-going creatures, but there are certain things that can bother even the most docile of pups. Your intentions may be good when giving a dog a hug or patting a pooch on the head, but some canines don’t appreciate these actions and they can result in fearful or aggressive behavior. Below are five things not to do that often make dogs uncomfortable:
1. Hug a strange dog: Dogs don’t express affection in the same ways that humans do. While some dogs will tolerate hugs from their own family, a hug from a stranger can be interpreted as threatening. If a dog tenses up or disengages from your hug, he’s clearly uncomfortable.
2. Pet a dog on the head: Reaching for the top of a dog’s head can be a recipe for disaster. If it’s a dog you haven’t met before, let him greet you first and then opt for a chest rub instead of a head pat.
3. Make direct eye contact: While people may see eye contact as a sign of connection or good communication, dogs can perceive it as a threat. Be aware that eye contact is a sign of dominance in the canine world.
4. Put your face right in their face: People often do this to express affection, but this behavior can be intimidating and make a dog tense and uncomfortable.
5. Expose a dog to a noisy environment: A dog’s hearing is at least twice as sensitive to that of a human, making noisy situations uncomfortable and sometimes anxiety inducing. So think twice before turning that music way up or exposing your canine companion to a large get-together. If your dog is especially anxious, a calming supplement may help.
Article from: VetDepot
When the sun’s out and the days are long, there’s nothing better than a backyard barbeque with family and friends. While sharing a bite or two of grilled chicken breast or watermelon with your dog is usually fine in moderation, there are some barbeque foods that can be downright dangerous. Be sure to keep the following 5 foods away from Fido:
1. Ribs: Any meat on a bone is a recipe for disaster for dogs. It’s likely your dog will want to chew on that bone when the rib meat is gone, which can cause choking or severe injury if the bone splinters and punctures the digestive track.
2. Corn on the cob: Dogs don’t know to chew the kernels of corn off and leave the rest. The large cob can cause a dangerous intestinal blockage if swallowed in big pieces.
3. Too much fatty meat: While hamburger meat and steak isn’t toxic for dogs, ingestion of too much of these fatty meats can result in pancreatitis. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
4. Onion: Whether it’s being used as a burger garnish or chopped up in that guacamole, onion is a “no” for dogs. Ingestion can lead to gastrointestinal upset, an elevated heart rate, and even red blood cell damage.
5. Dessert: From fruit salad to brownies, there are a lot of doggie dangers lurking on the dessert table. It’s not known exactly why, but the ingestion of grapes can cause kidney failure in dogs. Most pet parents are also aware that anything chocolatey poses a danger because of the harmful compound, theobromine, which can lead to muscle tremors and heart arrhythmia. Sugar-free desserts containing xylitol are extremely dangerous for dogs and can have fatal consequences.
If you want to make sure your pup has a safe snack while everyone else is digging in, be sure to have some healthy dog treats on hand.
Article from VetDepot
If your dog could dream up the perfect life, you might think it involves a lifetime supply of treats and endless trips to the dog park. While these things may be on your dog’s wish list, most canines crave simple things that make them feel loved, happy, and stable. Below are five things your dog really wants:
If your dog could dream up the perfect life, you might think it involves a lifetime supply of treats and endless trips to the dog park. While these things may be on your dog’s wish list, most canines crave simple things that make them feel loved, happy, and stable. Below are five things your dog really wants:
1. Guidance: No dog wants to be yelled at for using the rug as a potty spot or chewing up your favorite pair of shoes, but canines don’t instinctively know not to do these things. Setting consistent boundaries early in life and committing to training will not only boost your dog’s confidence and happiness, but it will also strengthen the bond you two have with each other.
2. Stimulation: Dogs may not be able to ask for it with words, but they need both physical and mental activity to ward off boredom and undesirable behaviors. Regular walks, daycare, hikes, runs, or games of fetch are all great options to get your canine companion moving. Training sessions, agility activities, and puzzle toys are good ways to keep your dog’s mind sharp.
3. Consistency: Your dog doesn’t want to tag along on your emotional rollercoaster. It can be confusing if you come home one day in a great mood and super grumpy the next. While it’s natural for your days to differ and your moods to change, try to keep your reaction to your dog the same. Dogs need a leader who’s cool, calm, and collected. Consistency applies to a lot of other areas of dog ownership too, including feeding schedules and house rules. When you keep things consistent, you’re giving your dog the best chance to thrive.
4. Socialization: When dogs are exposed to a variety of people, other canines, and situations, they’re less likely to feel fearful or aggressive. If possible, start this exposure at a young age and keep it consistent. Puppy classes and daycare are great ways to accomplish this. Keep in mind that even with the best attempts at socialization, every dog is different and may not have the same level of comfort around other dogs and people. Tailor the socialization to your pup’s individual needs. For canines that don’t do well at the dog park, opt for walks or agility classes instead.
5. Attention to health: Your dog may not know the meaning of a healthy body weight or arthritic joints, but he does know what it’s like to feel good and energetic. Keep up with your canine companion’s health by committing to regular vet checkups, opting for a healthy dog food, keeping up with flea control, and not neglecting things like dental care. A healthy dog is a happy dog.
Though we always knew it in our hearts, recent studies have shown that owning a dog – and just being around one – can be great for your health! Read on to discover all of the incredible health benefits that can come with owning a pet. Read on to discover all of the incredible health benefits that can come with owning a pet.
1. Dogs improve our mood and reduce stress
For many of us, it is clear that being around dogs, especially our own, makes us happy and can instantly improve our mood. It has been proven that just looking into a dog’s eye can increase serotonin levels, the happy chemical in both a human and dogs! Interaction between human and dog also been proven to decrease cortisol, the stress chemical.
2. Dog owners are more fit
People with dogs tend to be more physically active and less obese than people who don’t. Dogs need and enjoy exercise, which is great for those who need some encouragement getting some exercise in. Walking, running, hiking, playing fetch, and even dogs are all ways dogs love to get their exercise – which means dog lovers can be encouraged to stay active every day.
3. Dogs keep blood pressure in check
The simple act of petting an animal-or even gazing at an aquarium-results in a drop in blood pressure. And pets can have a longer-term impact on the cardiovascular system, too, as researchers discovered when they tracked 24 hypertensive stockbrokers who adopted a cat or dog. Pet ownership blunted the blood pressure response to mental stress; the traditionally prescribed hypertension drug did not.
4. Dogs reduce risk of allergies, asthma, and eczema
People with allergies produce antibodies – which can cause inflammation in the airways (asthma) or the skin (eczema) – in response to irritants like dander and saliva. But exposure to a pet during infancy may mean less chance of developing such reactions in adulthood – possibly, scientists speculate, because the immune system becomes desensitized to allergens. What’s more impressive is that this immune-stabilizing effect appears to begin before birth. A 2008 study showed that prenatal pet exposure lowers allergic antibody production in the umbilical cord.
5. Dogs make us less lonely!
The elderly, sick, singles living on their own, and even homesick travelers can benefit from having a dog as a companion. Dogs get them out of the house, make a good conversation starter, and promote their capacity to build relationships.
It’s nice to reflect on how dogs are so good for our health and to feel deep gratitude for their presence in our lives.
Is your dog singing the back to school blues? Back-to-school season is a time of transition for the whole family, as parents and children begin to adjust to a new routine. It’s also a difficult time for pets, who have grown accustomed to some extra attention during summer vacation. Dogs especially are extremely social and enjoy being around people. Here are a few tips to make the adjustment easier for your pet!
Finally, a couple of weeks in advance, start leaving your dog home for short periods, gradually increasing alone time to the length of the school day. This will help reduce your dog’s separation anxiety and make for a smoother transition into your family’s new fall schedule.
Many dogs like to drink water from sources other than their fresh clean water bowls. The two most common places where dogs will drink from other than their bowl are the household toilet, and a foreign body of water (puddle, river, lake, etc). In most cases, drinking water from these sources will not harm your dog, but from time to time a dog can become ill if the waters contain certain types of organisms or hazardous chemicals.
One danger is drinking from a body of water contaminated by parasites or bacteria, such as Giardia. Both are common in stagnant bodies of water, such as ponds, bogs and small lakes. You should be concerned if your dog shows the following symptoms after drinking from a stagnant water source:
Some weight loss, as a result of the diarrhea
Excessive gas, caused by the parasite
Just like you, a dog’s body is around 80 percent water. This water is essential to help dissolve and carry substances throughout his body. It’s also the basis for most processes and chemical reactions that keep him healthy. Digestion, circulation, waste filtering, and body temperature regulation are just a few of the internal processes driven by water. If your dog is dehydrated, he can suffer kidney and heart damage, as well as other problems. As the summer’s dog days turn up the heat, ensure your best friend stays happy, healthy and hydrated with fresh, clean water.
According to the United States Fire Administration, an estimated half million pets are affected annually by fires. July 15th is National Pet Fire Safety Day, Paws & Pals would like to offer some tips to help you and your pet stay safe. We hope you will follow these important guidelines to help prevent disaster from harming that which is most precious to you, your family.
We shudder to think about it. But according to the National Fire Protection Association, each year more than 1,000 house fires are accidentally started by pets. We suggest you take a minute to pet proof your home against potential fire hazards—it could mean the difference between life and death for your four-legged friends.
If you need a Pet Alert Window Cling, the ASPCA distributes free alert stickers on their website.
The American Red Cross has dedicated April as National Pet First Aid Awareness Month. This is a good time to think about how we can be better prepared in case our pets have an emergency. No one expects or hopes to deal with a pet emergency, but it’s important to be prepared so you can remain calm and focused in any type of situation.
The Paws & Pals Staff is Red Cross Pet First Aid and CPR Certified. We take the safety of your pet very seriously and are prepared for any situation.
1. Pack a pet first-aid kit. Pack two first-aid safety kits, and keep one at home and one in your car. You can buy pre-assembled kits or put one together yourself. Here is a helpful link to the American Veterinary Association (AVMA.org) that offers basic first aid information: Pet first aid – Basic procedures
2. Have important phone numbers at your fingertips. Keep emergency phone numbers somewhere you can find them easily, so you can act quickly in an emergency. Along with your veterinarian’s contact information, you may also want to keep these nearby:
Animal Poison Control Center: (888) 426-4435
Pet Poison Help Line: (800)-213-6680
3. Get a decal for your window in the event an emergency occurs while you are not at home. This decal will allow rescue personnel to know you have pets inside that may need attention.
4. Take a Pet CPR & First Aid Class- The American Red Cross offers pet first-aid classes.Paws & Pals has a Red Cross certified instructor on staff and will be offering a community Pet CPR and First Aid Class later this year. Check our newsletter or web site for details.
5. Know where to go in case of emergency. Your regular veterinarian is a great resource if an emergency occurs during the day, but most general-practice veterinary clinics are closed on evenings and weekends. Emergency clinics are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Be sure to know where they are located.
Prior Lake Pet Hospital Urgent Care
Affiliated Emergency Veterinary Service
7717 Flying Cloud Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344
6. Finally, stay calm. Your pets will pick up on your excited state.
The American Red Cross offers a smart phone app with first aid tips and information for dogs and cats. Be prepared to act when your pet needs help!
Remember that while first aid is not a substitute for veterinary care, however, taking quick action can save your pet’s life. Get your pet to your veterinarian after administering any first aid treatments at home.
Children (and adults too) often want to show love to dogs the way we show love to each other, through hugs and kisses. Dogs do not naturally understand this, or even enjoy it. Hugs and face-to-face contact can be very threatening to dogs. The dog may tolerate this for a while, but at some point may bite or snap to protect himself once he has exhausted all his means of more subtle warning. Some dogs do enjoy a hug from a special person, if it is on their terms and done with some extra scratching on the chest. Few, if any dogs enjoy hugs the way young children do this, which is to clasp around the neck and hang on. Parents should teach their children to avoid face-to-face contact with any dog (even their own dog) and to show love to the dog in ways other than hugging and kissing.
Doggone Safe and Paws & Pals offer the following suggestions about how to love your dog in a way that the dog will appreciate.
Touch Your Dog
Invite your dog to come to you for attention. If your dog turns away or moves away, respect his wishes and leave him alone. Many dogs like to be near you, but not necessarily to be touched.
Scratch your dog on the side of the neck or on his chest.
Invite your dog to sit with you while your read or watch TV. Let him lean on you or put his head on your lap on his terms.
Some dogs enjoy a scratch behind the ears. Most dogs don’t enjoy hands coming down on the top of their heads.
Pet your dog and then stop. If he tries to get you continue then you will know he likes it.
Play With Your Dog
Play games like fetch and hide and seek that do not involve chasing or rough play.
Take your dog for lots of walks.
Understand Your Dog
Learn to read dog body language so that you can understand what your dog is trying to tell you.
A happy dog pants and wags his tail loosely. He may wag all over.
An anxious dog might show a half moon of white in his eye or he may lick his lips or yawn. He may turn his head away or walk away. He wants to be left alone.
A dog that suddenly goes stiff and still is very dangerous and might be ready to bite.
A dog with his mouth closed and ears forward and/or with his tail held high is busy thinking about something and does not want to be bothered.
Visit www.DoggoneSafe.com for more information about dog bite prevention, dog body language or to take an online course.
Reward Your Dog
Look for things your dog does right and give him a treat or praise, petting or play. Never hit or yell at your dog.
Give your dog a stuffed Kong™ or other long lasting chew treat to enjoy while he lies on a mat or in a crate.
People aren’t the only ones susceptible to wintertime blues (Seasonal Affective Disorder). “PDSA (The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) found that approximately 40 percent of dog owners saw a considerable downturn in their pet’s moods during the winter months,” reported Psychology Today.
Today, scientists know that SAD in humans is caused by low levels of light that lead to a chemical imbalance in part of the brain that controls body functions such as sleep, appetite, mood and activity. Now experts believe the same is happening in our dogs.
Symptoms to watch for that may indicate your furry friend is feeling low:
• Aggressive behavior or soiling inappropriately
• Clawing at furniture
• Demanding more attention or appearing withdrawn
• Frequent barking
• Lethargy – sleeping more than usual
• Less interest in going for walks or playing
• Reduced appetite and weight loss
How can you help your dog to feel more cheerful?
To reverse the symptoms experienced by unhappy pets, continually talk to your dog, comfort them, and play games such as hiding favorite toys to keep them active. Of course, your dog’s mood change may also be simply due to cold weather and fewer opportunities to stretch their legs outside, but diet and exercise can play a big part in perking up your dog.
Exercise is probably the best answer! Getting outside and exercising will help both you and your dog beat the wintertime blues. Being outside exposes you to sunlight, which helps by itself. Exercise also helps because you are activating you and your dog’s Endocannabinoid* systems which make you feel better. Another option for your dog is to attend doggie daycare. They will benefit from the exercise, change of scenery and simply being around other dogs. *Endocannabinoids are natural messengers in the body that help regulate many biological functions.*
Comment below- Does your dog get SAD?
Anyone who has ever had a dog knows how much love and joy they bring to our lives. From greeting us at the door when we get home to keeping us warm at night, we have plenty of reasons to be thankful for their very presence. Here are a few of those reasons:
1. They teach lessons. Pets give us a sense of responsibility. For those of us without children, pets instill a sense of duty by requiring us to be accountable for them. Mealtimes, grooming, exercise… pets require a lot of care, and it takes a responsible person to take care of them!
2. They are great listeners. Do you ever need somebody to just rant to without getting all sorts of unsolicited advice? Try a cat or a dog. They won’t say a word. They’ll just look at you and let you speak of what happens to be on your mind. However, cats are more likely to be sleeping during any heart-to-heart you attempt to have with them, and I wouldn’t recommend trying to hold a conversation with a bird. They won’t let you get a word in.
3. Pets Love Us Unconditionally. Dogs do not discriminate against age, race, sex, weight or physical ability; they accept us for who we are. It does not matter if our makeup is not done, if we missed our sales goal at the office this week, or if we did not make the three-pointer on the basketball court. When we give our pets the affection they need and deserve at the end of the day, there is no limit to the amount of love and affection they will return.
4. They are calming. Pets live in the here and the now. They don’t have any worries about the past or the future. Their relaxing, untroubled energy is what we would refer to as chicken soup for the soul – it does us a world of good simply by being around it.
5. They are our friends. Sometimes there is just nothing better than curling up with a little ball of fur that looks up at us with adoring eyes. The bond between man and dog is powerful and very profound. The deepest friendships are often the ones that require a language of communication other than words, and pets allow us to experience such an incredible, timeless partnership.
If you don’t have a pet and are looking to get one, Paws & Pals strongly encourages you to consider adopting a dog from your local animal shelter!
In the meantime, for those of you that do have pets: go home and love them up. They are family members, confidants, our dearest friends, and they deserve every ounce of our gratitude!
Of course, there are many more reasons to be thankful for our furry friends. What are yours?