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Leash Training
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You take your dog out for a walk for the first time, and you find that he or she either tugs too hard or sits there on the grass, refusing to move. Remember, your dog is as confused as you are. Many new pet parents are often mistaken in thinking that dogs naturally know how to walk on a leash. Surprisingly enough, they’re going to need some training before roaming the streets!

Taking your puppy out for a walk is going to be very exciting for them, with so many new scents, sounds, and new places to explore. For your dog’s own safety, be sure to keep their collars on during their walks. If your dog is ever on the loose, people can identify who the owner is by reading the identification tag, and contact you if your dog is found.

You’re going to need a harness and a leash. A harness is recommended to prevent injuries when walking your dog. Just attaching the leash to the collar can cause your dog to choke or injure their necks when they tug. Additionally, harnesses allow you to have more control over your dog. With various styles of harnesses and sizes, make a trip to the pet store to find the perfect fit for your dog.

Every dog will be trained differently according to the situation. Some dogs will learn quicker than others, but just be patient!

Dog afraid of the outdoors?
To some dogs, the outdoors can seem like a frightening place. If you have a dog who is fearful of noisy environments, start off in quiet environments to expose them to other people, cars and pets. Use vocal cues to reassure them that they are safe. When they become more relaxed and comfortable with being outside, you can start leash training them.

Is your dog tugging too hard?
Large, muscular dogs will be more difficult to control compared to small or medium sized dogs. When your dog tugs, stand still and wait for them to realize that you are no longer walking. Once they calm down and stop moving, you may proceed. Repeat this until the behavior stops. Refrain from yanking the leash when they tug to prevent injuries. Your dog might become frustrated, but have patience, that means they are learning.

Does your dog refuse to walk?
If your dog refuses to move on the walk, try using treats to lure them. With a leash in hand, walk a few feet in front of them and tell them to come. When they walk towards you, give them the treat and praise them. Keep repeating this until they understand how to walk on the leash. Never forcefully drag them if they are not budging. Remember to always use positive reinforcement when training your dog.

Nosy dog?
If you have a dog who likes to take a whiff every 5 steps, you’re going to have to teach it how to not get distracted so easily on a walk. Start by walking at a quick pace. This way, your dog will have to keep up with you and not be distracted by his or her surroundings.

Once your dog has been adjusted to walking on a leash, you’re able to take on other challenges such as hiking or going to the dog park! Adding a simple walk to your daily routine can enhance both your pet’s life and your own.

 

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Happy Paw-lentine's! Keep Chocolate Away from Pets.
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Chocolate on Valentine’s Day is a common gift to receive from your loved ones. However, chocolate contains a toxic component called theobromine that is poisonous to dogs! Theobromine contains methylxanthines, which is a substance that is found in cocoa seeds that is also used to make coffee. Chocolate ingestion is one of the main reasons why dogs end up at the vet during the month of February, so let’s try to keep our dogs’ noses out of our sweets this Valentine’s Day!

Depending on the type of chocolate, different types contain different amounts of theobromine. White chocolate has significantly less theobromine than dark chocolate. The darker and more bitter the chocolate is, the more poisonous it can be to your dog. Additionally, smaller dogs have a lower tolerance level than larger dogs.

The consumption of chocolate can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, extreme thirst, racing heart rate, agitation, high blood pressure, and tremors. Theobromine is poisonous to a dog’s heart and central nervous system, which causes the body to react towards it. An excessive amount consumed can also lead to death.

If you noticed that your dog ingested chocolate, please consult your veterinarian for the next steps to recovery. Your vet will determine how poisonous the chocolate was by asking how much was ingested and how much your dog weighs. It’s best to seek treatment as soon as possible to resolve this issue, before it worsens.  

The best way to treat this is to induce vomiting, depending on when the chocolate was consumed. Hopefully, your dog will vomit on its own. Activated charcoal is another way to treat the poisoning. This is given orally, and used to prevent the absorption of the theobromine from the stomach and intestine. This should be given right after the chocolate has been consumed.

Any candy, chocolate, baked goods, or any form of sweets can be potentially dangerous for dogs. The more that is consumed, the more severe the poisoning can be. Please keep your pets in mind and keep sweets out of reach from your pets this Valentine’s Day!

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Ear Infections in Dogs
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You notice that your dog is constantly shaking or tilting his head and using his hind leg to scratch his ear. You open the flap of his ear and you notice a reddish-brown discharge coming out of the ear. Not to mention, you smell a strong, unpleasant odor exuding from the ear.

With the symptoms above, your dog most likely has an ear infection. These infections can be caused by many reasons such as allergens, bacteria, foreign bodies, rupture in the eardrum, overgrowth of yeast or ear mites. This condition is easy to treat, but should be treated immediately when you notice signs of the infection. If it becomes more severe, it can cause serious pain or deafness.

Make a trip to the vet
Please consult your veterinarian if you notice symptoms of an ear infection. Your veterinarian will tell you the underlying cause by identifying what microorganisms are present in the ear by collecting a sample. Depending on the severity of the infection, your veterinarian will recommend the next steps to solving this issue. If it is a minor infection, this can be treated at home with a topical antifungal ointment and/ or a cleaning solution for ears.

If your veterinarian prescribes ear medication for your dog, be sure to continuously apply the medication until the it has completely healed. This process may take time for your dog to adjust to the application.

Cleaning
When using the ear cleaning solution, use cotton pads and clean the surface of your dog’s ear. Squirt the drops inside the ear, then close the flap of the ear down and massage gently so the solution can be evenly distributed. Please refrain from using q-tips; this can damage the eardrum and push any excess dirt or wax down the ear.

Prevention
The best way to prevent ear infections is to regularly clean and flush out any debris or wax build up in the ear. Dogs with floppy, long ears will have a higher chance of having an ear infection than those of shorter ears. When moisture is built up in the ear, it is more susceptible for yeast to develop inside the eardrum which can result in an infection. If your dog frequently goes swimming or is bathed often, be sure to dry out the ears after each session.

 

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Why You Should Crate Train Your Dog
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In the wild, dogs naturally need dens as a go-to for comfort or for when they are feeling scared. Having a crate at home is the perfect place for your dog to find comfort and safety. Just like us, we have our bedrooms to spend our time in when we don’t like to be bothered, as for dogs, their crates can be considered their own ‘den’. It may be harder to crate train older dogs because they are not familiar with being enclosed in a crate. As for younger dogs and puppies, adjusting to the crate may be easier.

With so many reasons why crate training would be great in the household, here are a few:

  • Security - If you know you are going be out for the day and don’t want to come home to a mess, you can easily keep your dog in the crate for a couple hours to keep them from making trouble.
  • Easy travel - Bringing your dog somewhere? The crate is a convenient way to take your pet around while knowing they are in a safe place.
  • Natural disaster strikes - To ensure the safety of your pets, the crate would be the best to easily locate them if a natural disaster were to occur.
  • Visitors - If you have visitors over who are allergic or afraid of dogs, the crate would be great place for them to avoid having contact with them.

Choosing a Crate
When choosing the crate, be sure it is large enough for the dog. Refer to this sizing chart for assistance. If you have a puppy, remember they are still growing and can possibly double their size! Understand that puppies can outgrow their crates, so be sure to have an idea of how big they can grow up to before committing to a size.

Introducing the Crate
Keep in mind that introducing the crate in a positive way is a very important process of training. Crates should not be seen as a punishment, but rather a place where they can go to for safety. One general rule of thumb is to never force your dog to enter the crate. Always allow time for your dog to enter the crate by themselves during training. Once they do, reward them with a treat and praise them. Positive reinforcement is always the way to go! Another way to crate train your dog is to associate food with it. For meals, place their bowl in the crate and allow them to finish their food before letting them back out.


If you are planning to leave your dog in the crate for a longer period of time, please remember to include a fresh bowl of water in the crate and a soft towel for bedding. Also include a toy such as a stuffed KONG to keep them entertained throughout the day. This can help them cope with separation anxiety and boredom.

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Hairball Prevention & Remedies
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You hear your cat making unpleasant noises trying to regurgitate. Seconds later, you realize that they vomited up a clumped ball of mucus and fur. Not to mention, this isn’t the first time something like this happened. How can you help?

Cats spend a majority of their time during the day grooming themselves. They naturally keep themselves clean, which is why you don’t have to bathe them as often as you would for dogs. Their tongues have backwards facing barbs that catch loose fur and dirt that lie on the surface of their coat. Typically, their hairs will make their way through the digestive tract and exit out to their feces. However, when the hairs get stuck in the stomach, they can form into hairballs that can cause intestinal blockages in your cat. Some symptoms of hairballs include gagging, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss, lethargy, and diarrhea.

Here are 5 ways to treat hairballs in cats:

  1. Brush regularly. - One way to reduce shedding is to brush their coats daily! Brushing can remove all the lose fur and prevent them from swallowing the hairs when they groom themselves. This also allows natural oils to be evenly distributed throughout the coat to help maintain a healthy, shiny coat. Cats with longer coats tend to have a higher chance of developing hairballs than short coated cats. Consider using Furminator’s Long Hair Cat deShedding Tool. Once they are adjusted to daily brushing, they’ll learn to love it!
  2. Spend quality time with your cat. - One cause of excessive licking and grooming is separation anxiety or purely out of boredom. The more time you spend with your cat, the less time they will focus on licking themselves. Distract them from grooming by keeping them entertained with new toys or simply giving them attention. Try to discourage them from grooming or licking when you see the recurring activity. Excessive grooming can also be a sign of other issues such as skin irritation, fleas, stress, or anxiety.
  3. Switching diets. - Another way to treat this issue is to change your pet’s diet to a formula with high dietary fiber and prebiotics. These formulas are specifically designed to help regulate their digestive system and stimulate their intestinal transit, which helps reduce the chances of hair from accumulating in the stomach. Several pet food brands have both dry and wet canned food available for hairball control.
  4. Mild laxatives - This helps the fur that enters the stomach pass through their intestines more easily and prevent hairballs from developing. Laxatives not only can help with hair balls, but they can also treat constipation, loss of appetite, lethargy and weight loss.
  5. Hairball aids with natural oils. - Both omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are great supplements used to promote healthier skin and coats. These remedies can be used in pill or gel form made with fish oils and vitamins. This can reduce shedding and minimize lose fur.

If you follow these steps for treatment and your cat continues to have hairballs, please consult your veterinarian for a check up.

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New Year's Resolutions of 2018: Pet Edition!
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Happy 2018! With the New Year kicking in, now is the perfect time to start fresh and make changes to your daily routines, such as exercising more and eating healthier. Setting New Year’s resolutions aren’t just for us, but our pets as well! If you want to achieve a better lifestyle for you and your pet, take these resolutions into consideration.  

  1. More exercise and play time. A great way to bond with your pet is taking them out for a walk, playing fetch, or fair game of tug-o-war. Keep your cat engaged with a laser toy or feather teaser. Create a daily exercise routine for the both of you to spend time together, and stay in shape throughout the year! Don’t forget to set some time aside to spend with your pet.
  2. Schedule an appointment to the vet! Regular vet visits are important to your pet’s overall health. The vet can detect any signs of illness, infections, or allergies before the problem gets worse. Don’t wait until your pet is feeling sick to take them to the vet! Trips to the clinic is also a great reminder to be up-to-date with all vaccinations.
  3. Try something new. Have you gone hiking or backpacking with your pet? There are numerous outdoor places to explore with your pet such as the mountains, beaches, or hiking trails. Look up local pet-friendly spots around your neighborhood and make a trip to the outdoors. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, try going on a road trip or take your dog camping in the wilderness. Check that off your bucket list this year!
  4. Learn new tricks. It might be time to brush up on their obedience skills! Whether it’s learning simple commands or agility training, it’s never too late to teach your dog new tricks no matter how old they are. This can help drive mental stimulation and challenge their brains, just don’t forget to reward them with tasty treats!
  5. Find the right diet. If your pet has digestion issues, sensitive skin, or is a senior cat or dog, you might want to consider switching to a formula that best matches your pet’s needs. Be sure to feed the right amount of food depending on your pet’s weight. A good way to keep track of how much they are eating is by measuring out the right amount of food they need a day. This can help manage their weight and keep them in shape.
  6. Keep them well groomed. Let’s keep our pets looking fresh throughout the year! Be sure their nails are trimmed, coats are maintained, and ears are cleaned. If your dog has a longer coat, take them to the groomers for a fresh new do. Keeping them cleaned can optimize your pet’s overall health and happiness. If you are a cat owner, read our blog post on cat coat care.
  7. Brush your pet’s teeth regularly. One of the most overlooked pet health issue is oral hygiene. Try to get in the habit of brushing your pet’s teeth to remove any plaque build-up up that can cause dental disease. This can help prevent periodontal disease, gingivitis and fight bad breath. Dental procedures and teeth cleaning can be very costly, so practicing preventative care can save you a lot of money. Read more on our blog post on how to keep those canines clean. Remember, February is Dental Health Month, and many veterinarians run teeth cleaning specials.
  8. Make new furry friends throughout the year. A great way to bond with other dogs and pet owners is attending dog meet ups! Socializing your dog can prevent territorial and aggressive behaviors from developing as they mature. The dog park is a great start for the year!

 

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Pet Safety for Snow Weather
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Brrrr, it’s cold out! As much as we want to bring our dogs out during winter months, there are several precautions of which we want you to be aware of, particularly as weather reports a “bomb cyclone” coming to much of the United States.

Slightly warmer than humans, a dog’s body temperature ranges from 99.5 - 102.5°, and anything below can lead to hypothermia. Depending on the severity, low body temperatures can affect their cardiovascular and respiratory systems which lead to shivering, difficulty breathing, loss of body heat, and weakness.

Here are some ways you can prepare your dog for the snow or cold:

  1. It’s sweater weather! Small dogs with short coats are more sensitive to cold weather. Layer them up with a sweater or rain coat to keep them warm outdoors. Be sure it fits comfortably on them - not too small or large.
  2. Booties. Not only do booties keep their paws warm, they also add extra protection underneath and prevents them from stepping on any sharp objects. It may take a while for your dog to adjust to, but allow them to practice walking in them before stepping outside. It might look uncomfortable at first, so don’t forget to reward them with treats after putting them on.
  3. Exercise beforehand. Before heading on it the cold, get their blood circulating by playing a game of catch or fetch. This is a great way to keep their blood flow running and preparing their bodies for colder temperatures.  
  4. Snow should not be eaten! Some dogs are very curious and love chewing on anything they can find. You never know what toxic chemicals are hidden beneath the snow. Rock salt is a common antifreeze during the winter months, so if you find your dogs eating snow, stop them.
  5. Limit the time outdoors. As temperatures decrease, taking our dogs out for long walks don’t seem to be ideal during the winter months. Some dogs can withstand cold weather better than others depending on size and breed. If they are wrapped in layers and still shivering, your best bet is to bring them indoors away from the cold.
  6. Wipe their paws. Before coming back inside, be sure to use a clean towel to wipe off their feet. If the fur under their feet is still wet, it can keep them cold.
  7. Balms. To prevent their paws from cracking or being irritated from extreme temperatures, moisturize their paws with a balm or petroleum jelly after walks. This prevents damage to their paws if they accidentally walk over salt or harsh chemicals from the snow. This can help aid infections and prevent dry, cracked paws.  
  8. Keep them dry. After a nice day of playing outdoors, bring them indoors to get their body temperatures back to normal. Turn on the heater to keep the your home warm. If your dogs get too wet from the snow, use a blow dryer at a low temperature setting to warm them up. Do not use the blow dryer too close to their coat because it can overheat or burn them.

If your dog shows any signs of hypothermia, be sure to use a rectal thermometer to check their temperature. If the temperature is below 99.5°F, take your dog to your local pet hospital for veterinary care.

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Why You Should Adopt a Chihuahua
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Although the smallest breeds of dogs take up the least amount of room, chihuahuas are one of the top breeds that end up at the shelter. Did you know that they are often euthanized if they don’t find a home? Here’s why adopting chihuahua might be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make:

  1. Small size - This is an obvious one, but people love Chihuahuas for their size. They typically weigh about 3-6 pounds and can almost fit in your pocket. Whether you’re grabbing lunch for the kids, going last minute gift shopping or visiting a friend, little dogs are very easy to travel with. You can even put them in your purse!
  2. Take up less room - Living in a two-bedroom apartment or studio? Chihuahuas are tiny furry creatures that fit well in a small home. All they would need is a place to sleep, food, water, and a place to go potty.
  3. Easy to find - Since Chihuahuas are one of the most popular breeds that end up at a shelter, you can find one (or a mixed breed) at almost any shelter. They come in different colored coats and can have either long or short hair.
  4. Live long lives - Chihuahuas can live up to 16 years or more! They are one of the longest living breeds. As long as they have maintained a healthy lifestyle, they can live really long lives.
  5. Least expensive - Having a smaller dog means you’re going to be spending less on their necessities such as food and treats. If you’re on a budget and looking for a companion, chihuahuas would be your best bet.
  6. Perfect lap dog - Their tiny bodies make the perfect fit for your lap. If you’re thinking of having a lazy Sunday, they’ll keep you company while you binge watch Netflix. They make the best cuddle buddies as well.
  7. Lots of energy - If you’re looking for a new friend at home to go to the park with or take on walks, a little dog full of energy will would be the perfect buddy! No doubt that they will keep your family entertained.
  8. Easy to train - Don’t underestimate their abilities just because they weigh under 10 pounds, they are very intelligent! As long as you have patience and treats, Chihuahuas are quick to learn new tricks. Smaller dogs are easier to house train as well.
  9. Have personality - These little love bugs have sassy personalities with big hearts! They may have some attitude, but that’s what makes them so lovable. Just like any other dog, they can be socialized and trained to get along with kids and other dogs.
  10. That’s one less Chihuahua in the shelter - One of the most rewarding feelings is knowing you saved a life. Adopting a dog will save overpopulation in shelters and make room for more homeless dogs in need.
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Keep Your Pets Safe this Holiday Season!
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Christmas is just around the corner and we have several safety tips on how to celebrate the holidays with your pets.

  1. Choosing a Christmas tree - Consider choosing an artificial tree over a real tree this Christmas to prevent cats from using it as a scratching post. Real trees can be potentially harmful for your indoor cat. Be sure the tree is stable, just in case your kitty decides to climb it.
  2. Holiday decor - You know your pet the best, use your judgement on choosing holiday decor. If you have mischievous pets who love to destroy nice things, avoid placing them where they reach them. Some cats are attracted to dangling shiny objects, so if the ornaments are on the lower end of the tree, your cats can possibly play with them. Glass ornaments are fragile, so try to keep those out of their reach!
  3. Keep them warm! - Our pets get cold too. Dress them up with sweaters, hoodies or raincoats. Be sure they are wearing the proper size that fits comfortably on them. Larger dogs can resist the cold better than smaller dogs can. Try to keep them indoors if possible.
  4. Candles - With colder temperatures, candles can really set the mood at this time of year! However, they can be hazardous if your pets can get to them, so please light them in places you know your pets can’t get to.
  5. Fireplaces - Fireplaces are a great source of warmth in the house too, but for your pet’s safety please provide a cover or screen to shield your pets from the fire. Keep a distance between them, you don’t want to set their tails on fire!
  6. Lights - While we want to decorate our homes with dazzling lights all around, they can be potentially hazardous if pets can get to them. To prevent them from biting the wires and getting electrocuted, do not leave the wires in places where they can reach. Tape the lights in high places, such as along the wall.
  7. Watch what they’re eating! - If you’re thinking of throwing a Christmas party or gathering at your home this year, consider your pets’ safety as well. Keep dishes out of their reach, you don’t want Max to ruin Christmas dinner! Remember to clean up after yourselves and keep their noses out of the trash.
  8. Leaving for vacation? – Take your dog to the boarding kennel or hire a pet sitter while you are away. Never leave them attended for long periods of time.

We hope that everyone has a safe and fun holiday season this year! Remember to always keep your pets in mind.

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Celebrate the Holidays with Your Pets this Year!
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How to Celebrate the Holidays with Your Pet

Our pets are a part of the family too! With the holidays just around the corner, we want you to keep your pets in mind. We have some fun-filled ideas on how to celebrate the holidays with your pets this year!

  1. Bake holiday treats - Don’t forget about baking goods for your pets too! Here’s some ideas on dog-friendly treats to make this holiday season. Your pets are going to love them!
  2. Take them to the snow! - This can be a fun activity to bond with your pet. Be sure to keep their paws protected from the snow by having them wear booties. Throw on a sweater or towel if they get too cold, and try to keep them busy and running around to maintain their body temperatures.
  3. Bring them to a dog event - Celebrate the holidays with other pups at local dog events or meet ups. This will be a great way for them to socialize with other dogs.
  4. Take holiday photos! - They want to be a part of the Christmas photos as well. Your pets will complete the family portraits! Dress them up in their ugly sweaters or reindeer coats. Check your local PetSmart or PetCo for holiday events to take photos with Santa Paws! Once you have the pictures ready, you can mail them to loved ones to spread some holiday cheer.
  5. Stuff their stockings - You can’t forget about Rocky’s stocking! Hang it up on the fireplace and stuff it with new toys, treats, catnip or bones.
  6. Adopt a new friend. - There’s no better gift than bringing home a newly adopted cat or dog for your kids this Christmas. Swing by your local animal shelter or humane society, who knows who you will fall in love with! If you can’t decide, read our blog posts on why cats make the perfect companions and reasons why you should adopt.
  7. Bring them with you on vacation - Pets are such great additions to road trips and family vacations. Don’t forget to search for pet-friendly restaurants and hotels before arriving to your destination.
  8. Don’t leave them behind. - If you can’t bring them on vacation with you, be sure to find a pet sitter who you trust while you are away. Never leave your pets at home unattended for a long period of time.

Happy Howl-idays! We hope that everyone enjoys their holiday season this year.

 

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Weight Management for Dogs
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Are you noticing that your dog is a little more plump than usual?

If your dog is above the average weight for their breed, you might want to consider helping them cut some weight for a happier, healthier life. We’ve gathered some tips on how to keep your overweight dog in shape.

  1. Measure out their meals. This is a good way to keep track of their food intake. If they are being free fed, it’s harder to see how much they have been eating per meal. Measure out how much they should be eating per meal and feed appropriately depending on size and breed. You can watch how much they’re eating by doing so.
  2. Consider low-calorie snacks. If you need treats for training, consider using smaller pieces and lower calorie snacks such as Charlee Bear Dog Treats. Certain fruits and vegetables would be another option such as carrots, apples, and blueberries. Be careful of what you feed them! Read our blog post on which foods you should avoid feeding your dog.
  3. Avoid feeding table scraps. It’s so easy to get carried away when feeding your dog table scraps during dinner; they always want more! We know it’s hard to resist those puppy eyes but this is a great way to cut out those unnecessary calories. These foods probably aren’t the safest for dogs to eat anyway.
  4. Keep your food and their treats away from their reach. How many times have you came back to your dinner only to realize that it’s all gone and eaten up by your dog? Your dogs might be smart enough to get to them without you even knowing. Remember to keep them out of reach!
  5. Go on a weight management diet. Several brands have specific formulas that are low in fat and high in fiber to help them maintain a healthy weight. As long as you follow the instructions on how much they should be getting fed, this is a great way to watch their diet.
  6. Exercise. This might be an obvious one, but a walk a day can really help keep them in shape! Dogs typically need about 30 minutes to an hour of exercise each day. Read our blog on the benefits of walking your dog. Not only does taking a walk help your dog, it can give you some fresh air and relieve some stress for you as well!
  7. Consult your veterinarian. If you have any questions on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle for your pet, your vet will have the answer! Each dog has different needs and your vet can provide more information and tips on how to keep your pet healthy.

 

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Introducing Your New Cat
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You just adopted you a new kitty and it’ll take a while for your cat to adjust to its new home. You want them to feel comfortable, but this will not happen overnight. With unfamiliar surroundings, your cat may be frightened by sudden movements or people. It is very important to have patience with this process of building relationships with other cats, dogs and people. However, depending on cat breed, age, and history, each cat can react differently in new situations.

If you’ve never had a cat before, it might be difficult for you to really read their body language or vocalizations. Read our blog post on how to understand the feline language to better recognize what they’re trying to tell you.

If you already have a cat at home,
TIP: It is best to choose a cat that has a similar personality as the cat that you have now. A young kitten would probably not go best with an older cat with a more sedentary lifestyle. However, two playful cats might be a better match.

  • Cats can sometimes be territorial depending on their personality, so your cat at home right now might not be too happy with the sudden changes. Start by creating a new space with bed, toys, bowls, litter box, and scratching post for your new family member. Be sure they each have their own separated areas. You don’t want to make your current cat unhappy!

  • Cats have a strong olfactory system that allows them to recognize each other through pheromones. Whenever a cat rubs its cheeks on a table or wall, they release a scent that can provide information to another cat. Before introducing one another, exchange their bedding or blankets to familiarize them to each other’s scent.

  • The next step is for them to meet through a gate or opening where they can see each other. If no aggressive behaviors arise, allow them to meet.

  • If there are signs of stress or aggression, separate them and try again more slowly. It’ll take several days or weeks for bonds to form, so keep an eye on their interactions until you fully trust their relationship.

If you already have a dog at home,
TIP: If you have an aggressive dog who has a history of chasing cats, a new cat might not be the best choice for your household. A dog with a calm temperament who does not chase will be a better match for a new cat.

  • Some shelters will allow you to bring your current dog to their facility for a meet and greet. This will give you a better idea of whether or not your new cat and dog will get along.

  • On their first interaction, your dog should be put on a leash for any sudden attacks in a confined spacious area. If your curious dog approaches the cat too aggressively, it can cause the cat to run off and hide. Remember, not all dogs and cats will get along, depending on breed, personality, and temperament.

  • After a couple interactions, observe how they are and if they get along. Always keep an eye out for them until you know they are good terms.

If you notice any signs of distress or anxiety, loss of appetite, or aggressive behavior that persists for several days, please consult your local veterinarian. You want your cat to feel comfortable and happy in their new home. Remember, this process will take a lot of time and patience. Never force any relationships, they should happen naturally!

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Why Senior Dogs Make the Best Companions
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Senior dogs, typically above 7 years old, are one of the most overlooked pets in shelters. However, don’t let their age fool you, older dogs have so much to offer!

  1. Calmer personalities - Unlike 8 week old puppies, older dogs are a lot calmer.  Senior dogs are much more mellow and go well with people with a more sedentary lifestyle. If you want more of a relaxed dog who you want to sit on the couch with on a lazy Sunday, a senior dog might be best for you!
  2. Less of a mess - Finding a chewed up shoe or torn up couch would not be a surprise with puppies. Puppies tend to be more destructive due to teething behaviors. However, senior dogs are way past their teething stage of life and chances of finding your damaged household items will be less likely.
  3. Less attention - Puppies need lots of training, maintenance, and attention. They will need constant monitoring as they grow up. Senior dogs will still need attention, but significantly less.
  4. Build a close bond with them - Senior dogs still have so much love to give. It doesn’t matter where they came from or who abandoned them, they’ll love you regardless!
  5. Previously trained - Chances are, senior dogs have not been living out on the streets. Many of these senior dogs have once been with previous owners, so they are most likely already trained. Whether their owners have moved out of state, can’t take care of them anymore, or a natural disaster occurred, most of the time these dogs used to have a family and home.
  6. They’re already grown - What you see at the shelter, is what you’ll be taking home and living with. There’s no surprise with them. They have already grown into their personalities and probably will not change. With puppies, you won’t know what kind of dog they will grow up to and their personalities are always unexpected. You’ll learn how they interact and socialize with other dogs and people when you meet them. Shelters can sometime provide you with more detailed information on what their like.
  7. Still trainable - Just because they’re an old dog, doesn’t mean they can’t be trained! Sure, they might be a little slower at catching on, or they aren’t as attentive as puppies are, but they sure can do a couple of tricks to please you!
  8. You’re giving them a second chance! No matter what kind of history they have, they ended up at the shelter for a reason. Normally, senior dogs are overlooked as people are more inclined to adopt puppies. Adopting an older dog is such a rewarding feeling!
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8 Ways to Calm a Hyperactive Dog
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You’re having Thanksgiving dinner at your place tonight and you’re expecting your family and friends over. When they arrive, your dog gets overly excited for guests and is the first one to greet them. Sparky’s spinning in circles, running around, and cannot contain her excitement. You almost feel embarrassed that your 100lb dog is jumping on everyone who comes in and tries to smother everyone with slobbery kisses.

Sure, Sparky loves people and is extremely happy that guests are over, however, there’s an underlying issue with overly excited, hyper dogs. When dogs have outbursts of high energy, it may mean that they are not getting enough exercise, and the kind of attention that they need on a daily basis.

You might be saying, “Wait, I give my dog tons of attention!” Remember, it may not just be about hugs and kisses, it may mean a particular type of stimulation. We’ve compiled a few tips on how to calm a hyperactive dog:

· Exercise more - The best way to eliminate their excess energy is to tire them out during the day! High energy dog breeds such as huskies, terriers, and German shepherds will need more exercise. Play fetch, tug-o-war, have puppy play dates, or go for a run to wear them out.

· Go for a walk - A simple walk around the neighborhood can allow them to release their energy. A 15-20 minute walk can calm them down. If they are still full of energy after your walk, try using weights as a challenge. Read our blog post on the benefits of walking your dog.

· Mentally stimulating toys - One way to keep your dog busy and entertained are toys. Puzzle toys can mentally stimulate them and keep them focused on their goal. You can stuff a Classic KONG dog toy with treats to create a long-lasting challenge. They’re going to have to use their brain power for this!

· Dog park - Check for local off-the-leash dog parks nearby. This is a great way for them to socialize, run around and play with other dogs. Although they might come back with muddy paws, this will definitely tire them out for the day!

· Train - You have to let them know that if they obey your rules they will be rewarded. Having them “sit” before receiving a toy or meal will give them the idea that listening to you will result in something positive. This can be especially helpful when paired with guests in the home. Practice patience when new people arrive, and this may be enough to shift your dog’s focus away from the excitement of new people. The best time to train a dog is when they are calm and less active, so taking them for a walk before training would be ideal.

· Reward them for calm behavior - Dogs often repeat behaviors when they know they will be rewarded for it. When you catch your dog settled down, use positive reinforcement to let them know that their calm behavior is wanted.

· Pet Corrector - A pet corrector is a great way to eliminate unwanted behaviors such as jumping up, barking, and aggressive playing. It emits a hissing sound that dogs hate to hear and immediately stop them.

· Take them out! - The best way to bond with your dog is taking them out to places. Go to a dog friendly restaurant, go shopping, or head to the park. The more you spend time with them outside of your home, the less likely they will feel the need to have outbursts of energy. Wear them out during the day, and they’ll have to rest when they’re home.

Before you decide on taking your hyperactive dog to the shelter, try to correct their behaviors through training and allowing for more exercise. We know, high energy dogs may be a handful at home, but it takes time and patience for them to change their behaviors. As long as you put in the effort, your dog can be trained! 

 

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Choosing a Dog: Small or Large Breed
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You take a trip to the shelter and suddenly you’re thinking of a having a new addition to your family, but how do you know which dog is most suitable for your household? With so many great dogs to choose from, the first thing you can do is to narrow it down to either bringing home a larger breed or a smaller breed do.

Dog breeds play a huge factor on their temperament and personality. Typically, larger dog breeds are much more active than smaller breeds, but this is not always the case. There are dogs such as huskies who are highly energetic and mastiffs who are on the more mellow side. However there are a few things to consider when choosing between a small and large breed dog:

Indoor or Outdoor dog -
If you’re thinking of keeping your dog mainly indoors, a smaller breed such as a chihuahua, pugs and dachshunds will be perfect indoor pups. Smaller dogs have a larger surface area to volume ratio, which means that they are more susceptible to cold weather. If you’re thinking of having an outdoor dog, larger dogs will do better outdoors in extreme weather conditions. Your backyard should have enough room for the pooch to explore and play.

Space -
If you don’t have the option of keeping your dog outdoors, you’d have to use your judgement on whether or not your dog has enough space to roam around in the house. If you live in an apartment, and space is limited, you might want to consider getting a small breed. (If your apartment building is dog friendly, of course.) You’re going to need space for them to eat, sleep, and play.

Expenses -  
This is an obvious one, but larger dog breeds will require more food than smaller breeds. They need to be fed larger portions. This means that you will be spending more money buying dog food than you will with smaller breeds.

Accessibility to dog parks -
Dog parks are a great way to for them to socialize and run around with other pups! It gives them a chance to get their exercise for the day, which is perfect for active dogs! Check if you have local dog parks nearby. If they are close in vicinity and easily accessible, having an active dog will be fit for this.

Taking them around -
Both small and large breeds make such great companions, especially if you want to take them places! If you’re looking for a pooch to put in your purse, or a lapdog to sit around with while you Netflix, a smaller dog breed would be most suitable for this. If you’re looking for a service dog, larger breeds will do great in assisting with daily routines.

Whether you are choosing between the 100 pound labrador or the stubby legged dachshund mix, be sure to use your best judgement on how much attention and space the dog will need!

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A Dog's Tale
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A dog’s tail often says more than you might realize. You might think that every time a dog’s tail is wagging, they’re happy and that every time a dog’s tail is down and between its legs, they’re sad. This is certainly not the case! There are many different meaning to the movement and position of a dog’s tail, and here are a few of them:

Up and swinging - ‘I’m happy.’
When a dog’s tail is up and wagging, that means they are happy and content with their current environment. A fast wagging tail normally indicates a friendly greeting and are happy to see you. A slower wagging tail can mean the opposite.

Lowered tail - ‘Don’t touch me.’
Tails that lay low indicate timidness and nervousness. You might not want to approach dogs with lowered tails because they can attack to protect themselves. Dogs who have not been socialized with other people or dogs might have a hard time interacting with others.

Downwards tail - ‘Okay, you win.’
If you catch a dog’s tail between their legs, they are frightened and will most likely not make eye contact. They will attempt to hide behind something to feel safer to avoid interaction. If they feel threatened in any situation, they will express submissive behavior by tucking their tails between their hind legs.

Upright and held high. - ‘Don’t bother me, I’m busy. Wait.. what’s that?’
Dogs’ tails will shoot straight up when they are paying close attention to their surroundings. This indicates alertness and will react to what they see. For example, if they spot a bird in the tree in the backyard, their tails will raise and ears will be stern to help them listen and see what’s going on in the tree. If their tail is raised and slightly moving side to side, do not bother them. This means they are about to attack and can possibly hurt you.

Stiff tail - ‘I’m alpha.’
If a dog’s tail is upright and not moving, they are trying to show dominance. The stiffer and raised the tail is, the more confidence they have in themselves. This can also signal tension in the interaction, and if agitated the hairs on their back will stand up straight.

If you pay close attention to their tails, you can understand what they are trying to tell you. Of course, all dog breeds, temperaments and personalities can influence how they express themselves. Dogs such as pugs have curly tails and would be harder to determine how they feel. Docked tails can also hinder communication between other dogs. However, tails are not the only way you can read a dog, other means of body language such as ears and eyes play important factors as well.

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7 Signs Your Dog is Aging
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Without realizing it, our dogs will gradually age and you will notice physical and mental changes. Their coat won’t be as soft and fluffy as when you first brought them home. Their eyes will become cloudy and their vision will start to have a blur. We never want to believe it, but our dogs are going to grow old and show signs of becoming a senior, just like we do.

Depending on your dog’s breed and size, they will become ‘senior’ dogs at different paces. Larger breed dogs will start showing signs normally around 5 or 6 years of age, while smaller breeds will show signs after 7 years of age. We won’t notice the differences overnight, but there are several signs you can see when your dog is transitioning into a senior.

 

They aren’t as playful they used to be.
They become less active and start living a more sedentary lifestyle. They’ll tire out faster after walks, lose interest in their toys, and react slower to your calls. If you notice that they are having difficulty moving around and are walking slower, they could have developed arthritis or hip dysplasia. If you see any major changes in mobility that can affect your dog’s health, contact your veterinarian for a physical exam.

Duller coats
As dogs become older, they will start to grow white or gray hair normally around their muzzle and eyes. Through time, more and more white hairs will cover the surface of their coat. Their coat will become duller and less fluffy as they were before. Supplements such as fish oil or omega 6 (linoleic acid) can result in a shinier, healthier coat.  

Bad breath
For older dogs, it is more likely that your dog will have dental disease if they have bad breath or bloody gums. If you don’t bring your pet for annual oral checkups, they have a higher chance of developing periodontal disease or gingivitis. Dental sticks can decrease the buildup of tartar and bacteria on the surface of their teeth. Read our blog post on how to keep those canine’s clean!

Cloudiness in eyes
As dogs grow older, their eyes become cloudier and their vision starts to deteriorate due to cataracts. They will have more difficulty seeing things, like spotting the treat you threw on the floor. Don’t worry, this is completely normal. All dogs will experience some kind of vision impairment due to old age. Most dogs with cataracts do not to undergo surgery. However, if you notice that their eyesight is significantly worse, consult your veterinarian for a checkup.

Hearing loss
This might a little harder to notice. If they don’t respond to you as quickly as they used to, they could be experiencing hearing loss. You can notice if they have trouble hearing if they get startled more easily when you approach them. If you have a dog who normally barks at any sound they hear, you might notice the changes when they start becoming less vocal around the house. If they have difficulty hearing, try raising your voice or clapping to get their attention. You can also get your dog’s ears cleaned by clearing out the wax buildup in their ear canals at the vet clinic.

Brittle nails
Because senior dogs become less active, their nails will not wear out as quickly as they used to. If you notice that their nails are getting long and brittle, get them trimmed. Simple grooming is necessary to keep your pooch happy!

Make more accidents.
Senior dogs need to urinate more often because cannot control their bladder as well as before. Even if they have previously been potty trained, they will eliminate in the house if they can’t hold it in. Don’t get mad at them! They’re just turning older and will occasionally make an accident. Take them outside more frequently to prevent them from leaking inside the house. If you notice that the cause is from a bladder infection, consult your veterinarian.

Senior dogs are more prone to getting disease and is harder for them to fight off illnesses. Consult your veterinarian if you see any sudden abnormal changes. It’s best to treat the problem before it becomes worse!

 

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Finicky Eaters – My dog won’t eat his kibbles!
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We know, it’s hard to resist those puppy eyes at the dinner table while Max is sitting there waiting for you to drop a piece of that turkey. He starts drooling as he watches you chow down your dinner, and it’s so hard to resist feeding him table scraps! Then you notice that since you’ve spoiled him so much with your leftovers, he’s not willing to eat is own kibbles.

Sometimes, like their owners, dogs are just picky eaters. How often do you get to pick and choose the food you want? “Extra cheese, no tomato, over easy, with dressing on the side,” sound familiar?

If your dog stops eating their own food, there are several factors to consider:

Are you feeding them table scraps?
Feeding them table scraps is one way to spoil their appetite. They probably learned that if they wait patiently enough that you’ll eventually give them a slice of what you’re eating. Be careful with feeding them the food we eat, because some can be toxic for them, such as grapes, garlic, and onions! Check out our blog post on the top foods you should avoid feeding your dog.

Are you feeding them one too many treats?
Although we want to give our dogs treats to reward good behavior, treats should only be given sporadically. If you are training your dog, one tip is to break the treats into smaller pieces to decrease the amount of treats they are given. Another way to prevent spoiling their appetite is to feed them treats after meals.

Are they in good health?
If your dog normally eats well, and suddenly sniffs their food and walks away, they might not be feeling well. Have they been vomiting, losing weight or having diarrhea? Check to see if their teeth and gums are in good condition. Decreased appetite can be caused by pain or discomfort from their mouths. If you notice any problems, bring them to your veterinarian for a checkup.

Don’t worry, your dog is going to have to stick to their diet! We can solve this.

Try switching diets.
If your dog is not eating the food that is given, try out another brand. With so much variety of dog foods, you want to choose one that best match to their needs. Are they allergic to any foods in particular? Palatability is very important to stimulate your dog’s appetite. When transitioning dry food, slowly add the new food to their old food. Gradually increase the amount of new food to their old food to prevent upset stomachs. Try not to switch brands frequently, it can disrupt your dog’s digestive system.

Use meal toppers.
To make dry food more enticing, use a gravy or sauce formulated for dogs as a meal topper to mix in with their kibbles. Wet canned food can be used as well to add some flavor. If your dog only picks and chooses what they want to eat, leave the food there and wait for them to eat it. Take the bowl away after a while, even if they did not finish their food.

One of the main reasons why dogs are finicky eaters is because of the response their owners give them when they are not eating their own food. Be patient and do not tempted to feed them table scraps! It will take time for them to adjust but they will eventually feel hungry and eat their own food. Remember to use positive reinforcement such as praising or giving them treats after their meals. Eating their own dog food is essential to maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.

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Cat Coat Care
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Coat Care for Cats!

It’s in a cat’s nature to keep themselves clean, but sometimes they miss some spots too. A cat’s coat doesn’t stay shiny by itself, and they’ll need your help. Through time, natural oils will settle in their fur, hair will become loose, and dandruff will appear. Grooming is imperative for your cat to have a healthy coat, so here are several ways you can help them stay clean:

Brushing
A good way to keep your cat’s coat healthy is regular brushing. Brushing will remove any loose hairs, oils, dead skin cells, and dandruff. Long, silky coats require daily brushing to prevent their fur from being tangled. Some cats will enjoy this experience and some will not. When you first start to brush your cat, they might feel uncomfortable. Start off slow and gradually increase the time of brushing sessions for your cat to adjust.

Choosing a Shampoo
Depending on your cat, their fur or skin may be more sensitive than others. Do not use human shampoo or soap on your cat because it can be too harsh on their skin and cause irritation. They will need a gentle, pH balanced shampoo that is formulated specifically for cats. They can easily be found in pet stores!

Bathing
Cats do not need to be bathe as frequently as dogs do, but they will eventually reach a time when they will need one. There is a high chance that your cat will not enjoy the experience, but they will thank you for it after! Before bathing, brush out the tangled fur and remove loose hair. Use lukewarm water and gently massage them from head to tail with a cat-formulated shampoo. Be careful to not get their ears, eyes, or nose! Rinse thoroughly and be sure that all of the soap is rinsed out. If your cat is frantic or if you don’t feel comfortable bathing him or her, taking them to the groomer’s is always an option.

Drying
Your cat will get cold after the bathing! Use a towel to dry off your kitty. If your cat can tolerate loud noises, use a blow dryer on the lowest setting, but be sure to keep a distance from the blow dryer and your cat.

Alternative for a Bath
Some cats will need to be bathed more frequently than others, depending on how much they are outdoors and how active they are. Another option to keep them clean are cat wipes! They can be used as a touch up in between baths or grooming sessions. Cat wipes help neutralize odors and remove loose hair to prevent hairballs.

Keeping your cat’s coat shiny and clean will result in a happier, healthier life.

Here are some related links that you may find helpful:
https://pets.webmd.com/cats/bathing-your-cat#1
https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/grooming-and-coat-care-for-your-cat

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Housetraining a Puppy Outdoors
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Bringing a new puppy home sounds really exciting, but we can’t forget that there is also a lot of responsibility that comes along with it - such as housetraining. It is very important to start properly training your dog at an early age to start doing their business where they are supposed to, as one of the many reasons why dogs are surrendered and taken to the shelter is because of improper training. It will take a lot of consistency and effort to fully house train your dog, but within a couple months they will begin to associate eliminating their waste with the outdoors. However, each puppy will learn at their own pace, so please be patient with them!

Just like a human child, when dogs are young, they won’t understand where and when to go potty. They will relieve themselves whenever they feel the need to. This is where you teach them that urinating or defecating in the wrong places, like indoors, is not okay. If you catch them doing their business inside the house, stop them with a stern voice or loud clap to get their attention. Then, bring them outside to show them the appropriate location to potty. They might not understand the concept the first few times, but do not give up! Don’t forget to clean up their mess thoroughly with quality product like Nature’s Miracle to eliminate urine odors.

Because puppies are still very young, they will need to take frequent potty breaks. Take your dog out to do their business once in the morning when they wake up, after their meals, and before going to bed. Ideally, you want to take them out at least once an hour if possible. If you see them sniffing the floor and turning in circles, it might be a sign that they need to go. The more frequently you take them out, the less likely they will make an accident inside the house, and the quicker they’ll learn! Tip: Taking them out to the same place to urinate/ defecate can increase the chances of them remembering that this is the place to go.

Positive reinforcement is key!
When your dog urinates or defecates outdoors, praise them verbally and with treats (if possible) to let them know what they did was correct. Playfully pet them and smother them with love, so the next time they’ll know that they will receive the same reaction from you. However, it is very important that you praise them immediately! If you wait too long after they’ve finished, they won’t understand why they are receiving positive feedback.

If your dog happens to make an accident inside, do not punish them! The last thing you want is to have your dog fear you. Accidents are bound to happen and it is all part of the learning process. House training normally takes about 4-6 months to learn, so patience is key!

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