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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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How to Prepare for Natural Disasters with Pets
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It’s not every day we hear that a natural disaster is approaching, but when it does, what are you going to grab first? We often have prepared a mental checklist for family members and other items, like pictures and small valuables, but rarely do we have a contingency plan for our pets. Leaving your pet behind does not need to be an option! During natural disasters, if your pet is left alone or abandoned, those that survive can develop traumatic disorders that can affect them for the rest of their lives. With recent natural disasters occurring throughout the world, we’d like to share some tips on how to prepare your pet for any unexpected events.

Whether it is a massive storm, hurricane, earthquake, tornado, or fire, you want to be as prepared as you can be before the event occurs. We never know how much we should plan for them, but it is important to have formulated an evacuation plan for your pet as well. With the limited amount of time to leave your house, it’ll cause a lot of panic and anxiety. Having a set plan will ease  the situation, so let’s get started!

First thing’s first - Crate
Crates are great for easy transportation and is the most secure way to keep your pet in one place. In addition to making life easier for you, it will make them feel safe and secure. If you have two pets, whether they are both of the same species or not, it is not recommended to keep them in the same crate.

Prepare an emergency kit.
Just because you have your family’s emergency kit ready, doesn’t mean that it covers your pet’s needs as well. You’re going to prepare one for them too! Here are some items to include:

  • Water bottles
  • Dry pet food or wet canned food
  • Their favorite treats
  • Blanket, small bedding
  • Toys
  • Harness & leash when applicable

Be sure to have your pet’s identification tags.
Is your pet wearing a collar and an identification tag? If you and your pet are separated, wearing a collar immediately signal rescuers that they are lost pets, not strays.

Is your pet microchipped? If your pet is ever found, there is a higher chance of them being returned to you if they have a microchip. Your phone number and name will be in the database and you will be contacted if your pet has been found.

Keep a recent photo of your pet.
If your pet is ever lost, a recent photo will help others identify them. You can use the photo as a reference as you searching for them, or create missing pet flyers.

 

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Flea and Tick Control
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It happens. Your dog is running around the backyard and there’s a hungry flea who is ready to latch onto the first furry creature that walks by. Maybe you take your dog to the local dog park and there is a dog who is already carrying fleas. When your pet comes into contact with other animals that have fleas, there is a chance that it can spread to your dog. These little pests love to live in the fur of your animal and can cause allergic reactions, and possibly transmit diseases such as Lyme Disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Fleas will result in irritation on the surface of the infected pet’s skin. You may notice that they often scratch and nibble their skin to relieve the itch. If you discover fleas on your dog, please treat it as soon as possible, because these little insects can rapidly reproduce and the problem will only get worse from there. One female flea can start laying up to 40 eggs on your dog’s body per day, which means that a couple of fleas can quickly infest your dog in a short amount of time! The problem can escalate very quickly if not treated. Learn more about the flea’s life cycle here.

Flea ‘dirt’ is an obvious way to tell if your dog has fleas, and is comprised of droppings that look similar to little black specks that lie on the surface on your dog’s skin. Flea dirt is in fact dried blood that comes from the flea’s waste. If you are unsure of what it is, you can take a paper towel, drop warm water on the dirt, and see the result of the color. If it comes out to be dark red, you can confirm that it is flea waste.

If you happen to discover fleas on your pup, do not worry. There are several ways you can treat the problem:

Flea and Tick Treatments
If your pet is already carrying fleas, there are great topical treatments to help break the life cycle of the fleas to stop them from reproducing. The treatment is applied once a month and will kill fleas, flea larvae and eggs on contact. Depending on which brand you use, the treatment can help repel fleas and ticks off of your pet’s fur for several weeks. If you don’t want to use topical treatments, oral tablets can be given to your dog. The frequency of these tablets varies, but they are effective in treating and preventing fleas.

Flea and Tick Shampoo
There are a variety of flea and tick shampoos to choose from. It is important to choose the right formula for your pet. For a more effective result, leave the shampoo on your dog without rinsing for about 10 minutes. This way the chances of removing fleas are higher.

Flea Comb
After bathing your pet, use a flea comb to remove all the dead fleas and excess flea dirt that hasn’t been already removed from the bath. This would ensure that most of the fleas have been cleared from your pet’s fur.

Flea and Tick Collars
These collars can have long-lasting effects, up to 8 months! These easy to use collars are a great way to repel the pests that we don’t want living on our pets. Put the collar on during walks or when your dog is outdoors. For full prevention, your pet can wear the collar consistently.

The best way to keep fleas out of your pet’s fur is to prevent flea infestations around your house. Vacuum your home, remove unwanted weeds in the backyard, clean your dog’s bedding, and frequently give baths to your dog to keep fleas away. Even if your dog does not currently have fleas, a preventative technique is to have them wear a flea collar outdoors and use flea/ tick shampoo when bathing. Having fleas and ticks is very common, but as long as you treat it as soon as you can, the problem can be solved very quickly.

 

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Getting a New Puppy
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You just brought home a new puppy and he’s curious of his new home. The first thing he does is leave a surprise for you on the carpet. As you clean it up, you turn around and your new pair of shoes is his new favorite toy! He’s full of so much energy and you can’t get him stay in his crate without him whining for attention. What do you do?

Bringing a new dog home can be exciting, but oftentimes we forget how much responsibility that comes with it. If you’ve never had a puppy before, everything might be new to you. You have to start thinking about what you’re going to feed him, where to leave him at night, what toys he needs, where is he going to go potty and so much more! Puppies are going to want all the love and attention you can give them. It’s not going to be an easy process, but with some patience and time, having a puppy will become more manageable.

We have several tips for you for bringing a new pup home and things you should take note of.

Find your veterinarian - First things first, take your pup to the vet for a check up. Bringing your new puppy to the veterinarian should be the first priority, so make an appointment as soon as you can. Your veterinarian will give you the next steps on how to keep your pet happy and healthy.

Diet - A puppy has a lot of growing to do! It might be overwhelming to choose a brand of dog food for your pup since there are so many choices to choose from. Consult your veterinarian on what formula is best for your dog, depending on his size, breed, and age. The vet will tell you what your dog needs and how to keep their diet balanced. Kibble size matters as well! You don’t want to feed your chihuahua kibbles that are too big for him to chew. Don’t forget to always provide a clean bowl of water for your pup too.

Crate - A crate is great for a dog to feel safe and protected in. It should be large enough for your dog to move around in. Keep in mind when choosing the right size that puppies are still growing and can still outgrow their crate. You want to train your pup to be comfortable in there when you’re not home. This should be considered as your dog’s ‘den’ and not somewhere they associate with punishment.

Toys - Teething toys are necessities for a puppy’s growth! They will begin to lose their teeth at 4 months and their adult teeth will come in. Toys such as Nyla-bones, Kong Toys, teething rings or ropes can help them relieve any pain or soreness.

Vaccinations - Puppies are prone to catching diseases and illnesses, and there are ways to prevent that. Before they start interacting with other dogs, take your pup to the vet and get the vaccinations he needs when he is a puppy. Check out this puppy vaccination schedule to get a better idea of what your puppy needs.

Potty training - Potty training a puppy will take some consistency and effort. Puppies have smaller bladders and will need to take frequent potty breaks. Take your puppy outside first thing in the morning, after meals, and before bed. Associate the outdoors, such as a grassy area in your backyard, as a place for them to relieve themselves. When they do, reward them with a treat and use positive reinforcement to remind them that this is the place to do his business. If your puppy makes an accident in the house, do not punish him. Housetraining pads is another option for potty training indoors.

Don’t let the cuteness and puppy eyes fool you! Adding a new addition to your family can be so exciting, but just as exhausting as well. Remember, patience is key when having a new puppy in the house. They’ll become your best friend in no time!

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If you've found a stray dog...
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You’re on your way home and you suddenly drive by a dog crossing the street. You look around and the dog isn’t tied to a leash and you realize the owner isn’t present. Although you might want to help, what do you need to know before you do?

Let’s start with basic safety, for yourself and the dog. Every dog is different, so you never know how they will react when someone approaches them. They might be terrified, injured, or previously abused, so they may not socialize with people well. They may attempt to run away, or show aggression towards you if you come too close. There are several concerns to consider before making the first move. Remember, safety should be your main concern for both you and the dog.

Approaching the dog slowly is always your safest bet. Food or treats are a good way to coax the dog towards you, and to encourage trust. Sometimes waiting patiently near them is better. If they are friendly and allow you to pet him, you can speak to them calmly and try to restrain them. Get them to trust you to bring them back to safety. If for any reason you cannot capture them, they show signs of extreme aggression, or place you in harm’s way, contact Animal Control services immediately with an accurate description and location.

You’ve carefully restrained the animal, now what?
Check to see their overall appearance and condition. This is a vitality check, and the question you are trying to answer is, “Does this dog need immediate medical assistance.?” If so, head to your local veterinarian. Some vets will help with the cost of medical care if they know they animal is a stray, but you may need to be prepared to cover medical costs.  

Does he have a collar on?
If they have a collar on, they most likely belong to an owner. If you are able to safely take a look at the collar, and you can find the owner’s contact information, such as a phone number or address, on the dog tag.

If they do not have a collar on, they may be microchipped. If you take the lost dog to a local veterinarian or animal shelter, they can scan to see if the animal is chipped. They are able to retrieve the owner’s contact information in their search system. If the animal does not have a microchip, you can try to look for the owner in several ways. Make “Found Dog” signs, and post them around the city. It can help if you post these up around where you first found the dog. Include a picture, a description, your contact information, and the time and location of where you found him. You can also look for “Lost Dog” signs to see if the dog matches up.

Also, be sure to use your social media networks, like Facebook, Instagram, and especially NextDoor to help spread the word.

Home Care
In the meantime, you can foster them at home. A quick checkup at your local vet will help you better understand the needs of the dog. If you aren’t able to care for them, have pets at home and are concerned about aggression, or for any other reason cannot provide for the animal, please contact a local animal rescue before taking them to a shelter.

If weeks go by, and you’re still fostering the lost dog, you can consider adopting the animal yourself!

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8 Foods You Should Avoid Feeding Your Pet
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Certain types of foods are healthy for us, but can be harmful for our pets. Always feed them their own formulated food in order for them to receive the nutrients they need. It's tempting to give them our leftovers, but remember their health is top priority and health issues can easily be prevented. Here are some foods you should avoid feeding your pet: 

  • Bones. Although you may think that dogs love to chew on bones, they can be potentially hazardous for your dog. The bones can choke the dogs and be tough to digest. If you want to give your dog something to gnaw on, dog toys will do just fine! 
  • Chocolate. Chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to dogs. Depending on how much chocolate was eaten, your dog may experience symptoms such as pacing, shaking, an increased heart rate and vomiting. If too much is consumed, it can be fatal for your dog. Be sure to keep your dogs away from the Halloween and Easter candy that your kids may have collected during the holidays.
  • Dairy Products. Like humans, some dogs may be lactose intolerant which will cause them to vomit or have diarrhea when they consume dairy products. It is best if you avoid feeding your dog any foods that contain milk to prevent sickness.
  • Grapes and Raisins. These little fruits may seem harmless, but they can be highly toxic to dogs and cause dehydration, loss of appetite, lethargy and vomiting. If too much is consumed, it can cause kidney failure which can be fatal for the animal. Raisins are just as toxic to dogs.
  • Onions. Even just a small amount of onions can poison your dog or cat. Onions contain thiosulphate that can cause hemolytic anemia, which is a condition where red blood cells are damaged. Since onions are a common ingredient in dishes, avoid feeding your dog table scraps to prevent your pets from getting sick.
  • Alcohol. Dogs can get drunk too, but it’s not good for them! The consumption of ethanol can cause alcohol poisoning for dogs. Just like humans, this can cause a depressed central nervous system for dogs as well. If you spill your beer or mixed drink, clean it up before your dog gets to it first.
  • Candy. Oftentimes, candy contains a substitute sweetener called xylitol. This can cause a rapid release of insulin that can result in low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and hepatic necrosis (liver failure). If you notice that your pet has consumed sweet foods, check the ingredients to see if xylitol was in the product.
  • Caffeinated drinks. Coffee, teas, sodas, and energy drinks all contain caffeine which can be harmful for your pet. Caffeine is a stimulant, which can cause your dog to become to be hyperactive and restless. This can lead to an increased heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased thirst.

We know, it’s hard to resist their cute puppy eyes when we’re eating, but the safest bet is to feed them treats that are meant for dogs! They’ll love it just as much and their bodies will thank you for that. Don’t forget to clean up after yourselves after meals to prevent your dogs and cats from eating your scraps!


 

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9 Ways to Help Rescues
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Are you an animal lover and want to give back to the community? Non-profit organizations are constantly looking for people to lend a helping hand. From cleaning cages, feeding the animals, walking the dogs, or simply giving love to the animals, you can make a difference in an animal’s life!

We have several ways you can help with rescues:

Volunteer at adoption events.
Adoption events are held to help the animals find their homes. Volunteers can help with set up and clean up. Interacting with interested adopters can increase the chance of them bringing a new family member home.

Every shelter needs foster homes.
Not ready for the full commitment of having your own dog? One way to help is to foster a pup or kittens in your home. This gives the animal a chance to bond with you and feel loved! They can work on their socializing skills and prepare them to be adopted. With so many animals in the shelter, foster homes allow for more space for incoming animals.

Help with transportation.
Unfortunately, cats and dogs can’t drive. They need a ride too! One way you can help with events is transporting the pup to the assigned location. Some rescue organizations will collect pups from abandoned homes, hoarding situations, or simply to save them from being euthanized. At times, they’ll drive miles and miles just to rescue the pups! If you have a car, why not assist them?

Sew together some beds!
This is a fun DIY project you can do at home! If you have extra fleece, old sweaters, or used cushions lying around your home and want to make use of it, you can sew a fluffy bed for a pet. Here are some easy steps to make a bed.

Donate towels or blankets.
You can donate your used or unwanted towels or blankets you have lying around. If you were going to toss it in the trash anyway, why not put a use to it? Most shelters are cold at night and have hard floors for the animals. These will keep the animals warm at night and have soft bedding to sleep on.

Take photos!
Is taking pictures something you enjoy doing on your free time? Shooting high quality photos help the animals get advertised. These photos can be posted on social media, which gives them a better chance of getting adopted. If you have extra time on your hands, go shoot some pups at the shelter! It makes a tremendous difference from low quality photos to beautiful portraits.

Walk the dogs.
Some shelters allow you to swing by and take the dog out for a walk. Dogs are anxious to come out of their kennels, so they will be jumping for joy when you pull out the leash! This gives you a chance to bond with the dog and gives them some fresh air.

Help clean.
This might not be the most fun activity, but someone has to do it! With so many animals, there’s always a mess to clean up. Towels and blankets are constantly being used and need to be washed in the laundry. Litter boxes need to be cleaned as well.

Have photoshop skills?
Use your creativity and help design posters or logos. Whether it is for an event, flyer, poster, or a lost dog sign, this is where you can use your expertise. If graphic design and photoshop is something you do as a hobby, why not design for an organization that helps saves lives?

Shelters and rescue organizations are always in need of help. If you have some time to spare or items to donate, it can really make a difference for these animals. Start volunteering!

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Found a Litter of Kittens? Here's How You Can Help!

You hear rustling in the bushes, and silent meows from a distance. You peer over and you find a litter of kittens. Is their mother coming back for them? Are they abandoned? What do you do and how can you help? It’s that time again. It’s kitten season!  

The idea of kitten season might sound exciting with so many newborn kitties, but the idea of having shelters flooded with new kittens and not enough homes does not. Kitten season occurs twice a year, once in the spring, and early fall. Cats are seasonally polyestrous, which means that they typically give birth only at certain times in the year. Their gestation period is around 60 days, which means that the kittens will be born in early spring. Each litter has an average of 4 to 6 kittens, but it is not unusual if there are more or less.

Unwanted pregnancies can cause more unwanted future pregnancies in the long run. The best way to prevent this is by altering the cat. Because cats are able to give birth as early as 5 months of age, the best time to neuter them is before they get their first heat cycle at 5 months. When they reach 2 months of age and is over 2 pounds, they are able to be spayed and neutered.

One way to control the cat population in the community is through a program called TNR (Trap Neuter Release). The TNR program collects feral cats, brings them to a veterinarian to get him/her fixed, and then gets released back into their original homes. The cats are then ear tipped to identify which cats have already been fixed. This practice alone can help solve the issues of the overpopulation of cats by preventing female feral cats from being impregnated. This creates a balance for outdoor cats in the community.

There are a countless of kittens born each spring, so what happens when you find a litter of kittens in your backyard?

First, determine whether the mother is around or not before disturbing them. Monitor the litter of kittens for a few hours to see if the mother returns.

  • If you notice that the mother has returned, you can place a bowl of fresh water and food for her nearby. The kittens will survive better with the care of their mothers.
  • If you notice that the kittens have been abandoned, you can rescue them by placing them in a safer, warm place. The kittens can be placed together in a box and provide clean, soft towels for them to nest in. They will need to be bottle fed with kitten formula every 2-3 hours, depending on how old they are. The kitten formula will act as a milk replacer for the kittens; please do not feed them other types of milk. There are several ways you can determine how old the kittens are. By the end of the third week, they can start transitioning to moistened dry food or wet food. A litter box can be provided as well, and they should be ready to urinate and defecate on their own.

It is determined whether they become feral or domesticated cats during their time of nesting. If they are socialized well enough, they can be adopted into families. If you would rather keep them outdoors, they will become feral cats. Either way, when the kittens are 8-10 weeks of age, they should be spayed or neutered before they get released. This is an important step because you can help prevent the cycle of having unwanted litters of kittens in the future.

Once they are ready to be on their own, put them up for adoption! Take them to your local shelter and advertise them through social media and help them find their new homes. These kittens will thank you for saving their lives.

Here are some related links that you may find useful:

http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/cats/facts/kitten_season.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

http://www.asapcats.org/volunteer/fostering.html

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Benefits of Spaying and Neutering

Before we get to the pros of spaying and neutering, we have to say how incredibly important we feel this issue is. In fact, at its very core, MTAC has always seen education as a crucial component of its mission. Frankly, if we all spayed and neutered our companion animals, we probably wouldn’t have much to do here at MTAC HQ, and that seems like an alright proposition.

Now, you know from previous posts that there are literally millions of dogs and cats that need homes all across the United States, and spaying/ neutering is a great way to stop the growth of the population of homeless pets. However, we have a few more benefits for you to consider as well:

  • Prevent future pregnancies. Did you miss that earlier? We said there are millions (7.6 MILLION, to be exact) of unwanted kittens and puppies in shelters, and a large percentage of them will be euthanized if they don’t find homes. With so many animals that don’t have homes, why contribute to the population?
  • Prevent escapes. Your dog or cat will less likely try to escape and try to mate with others. This lowers their chance of roaming around on the streets to find other partners, especially when females are in heat. After being spayed or neutered, your pet’s desire of mating will decrease.  
  • Decrease mating behaviors. It is natural for unaltered dogs to display sexual behaviors such as mounting and thrusting. Although spaying/ neutering an animal does not guarantee these behaviors will disappear,  they will more than likely decrease.
  • Longer life. It is reported that spaying and neutering can extend a dog’s life by 1-3 years, and a cat’s life by 3-5 years. Why wouldn’t you want your dog to spend extra years with you?
  • Take them to public places with no worries. You don’t need to worry about who your dog is sniffing when you take them to public dog parks. You will feel more comfortable with who your dog is socializing with.
  • Protect them against diseases. They have a lower chance of getting mammary tumors, uterine infections, heartworm, Lyme Disease, and certain types of cancers. Although spaying and neutering can reduce the risks, it does not mean they are completely risk free of developing these diseases or cancer.
  • Decrease aggressive behaviors. Once your dog reaches maturity, he may start showing aggressive behaviors towards other male dogs, such as growling to show dominance towards other dogs.
  • Discounts and perks. There are certain discounts given to those pets who are altered, such as applying for a dog license or pet insurance.

Spaying and neutering your pet is highly recommended. There are way too many homeless dogs and cats, let’s stop overpopulation!


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Say Cheese: Keep Those Canines Clean!

Does your dog reek of bad breath? Dogs don’t brush their teeth when they wake up or before they go to bed like we do. If we didn’t, we would develop dental disease just as easily! One of the most overlooked health issues concerning pets is their oral hygiene. Periodontal disease is found in most dogs and cats over the age of 3 and can quickly infect other areas of the gums if not treated. If left untreated, the disease will continue to spread and may damage internal organs. Those who are affected are in greater risk of having heart disease, so let’s try to practice preventative care before it’s too late!

There are several stages of periodontal disease, starting from gingivitis to periodontitis. When bacteria or food particles are present on the surface of a dog’s teeth, it can lead to the growth of plaque. When the plaque hardens, it will cause the formation of dental calculus (tartar) to deposit onto the surface of the tooth and affect the gum line. Over time, the bacteria on the oral cavities will spread, and will lead to gingivitis, which is the inflammation of the gums. The gum lines will be affected and begin to appear to be red and sore, making it uncomfortable for your pet to chew. Periodontitis is a bacterial infection in the mouth that destroys the bone and tissues that surrounds the teeth. This can cause teeth to loosen or lead to loss of teeth.

Oral hygiene should be taken seriously in pets. Check their teeth regularly by lifting their lip to see if there is any plaque build up or tartar found on their teeth. If they have smelly breath or has yellow or brown teeth, there is a high chance that your dog has dental disease. Try to brush your dog’s teeth regularly to get them in the habit of allowing you to do so. This may take several attempts for them to get used to the routine. Use toothpaste that is specifically formulated for dogs, such as the Advanced Oral Care Natural Dog Toothpaste by Nylabone, or Advanced Pet Care Tartar Control Enzymatic Dog Toothpaste by Arm and Hammer. These products will help maintain healthy gums and breaks down tartar buildup if used correctly. They are safe for your dog to consume and will help keep their breath fresh!

Teeth cleaning and dental procedures can be very costly. The more time and money that is spent preventing them will save pet owners a lot of money! Don’t forget to take your pet to the veterinarian to get regular checkups and oral examinations, just like how you would make regular visits to the dentist.


Here are some related links that you may find useful about your pet’s dental hygiene:
https://www.avdc.org/periodontaldisease.html

http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/features/perlis-gum-disease-dogs

 

Winnie Goh
Soak Up the Sun: Pup Edition!

It’s time to soak up the sun with your pup!

Have a free day? Here are 8 fun-filled activities you can do in the summer with your dog.

  • Go on a hike! Regardless of their shape and size, your four-legged friend can make the best companion to go hiking with. It is recommended that your dog understands basic obedience rules such as sit, stay, down, and come if you’re planning on letting your pup off the leash. This creates a safer environment for you and other surrounding hikers. Remember to bring a portable water bowl to keep them hydrated.
  • Attend dog meet-ups. Did you know there are events specifically made for different breeds of dogs, such as pug meet ups, corgi-cons, or doxie round ups? Check for ones near you and meet with other dog owners. Your pup can meet their other furry friends too!
  • Go on a picnic. While you are preparing sandwiches, crackers and cheese, don’t forget a meal for your pup too. Find a pet-friendly park for a picnic, and bring your dog along with you. This can be a pur-fect date, but let’s keep his nose out of the basket of foods.
  • Take a trip to a dog-friendly beach. A trip to the beach can help them cool off! Always watch what they are eating and drinking, and provide fresh water to keep them hydrated. Keep an eye out for them, you wouldn’t want them to go too far! Remember to wash them off after swimming in the water.
  • Dog park. You can’t go wrong with going making a trip to the dog park. This is a great way for your dog to socialize with other dogs and make friends. Take your dog in the early morning or late evening to avoid the heat. If it’s too sunny, try to keep cool in the shaded areas of the park.
  • Go for a swim! Have a pool in your backyard? Your dog will enjoy splashing in the pool as much as you do. This would be a great way for them to cool off in the heat.

 

If you’re thinking of going on a longer trip, consider these two options:

  • Camping. This would be a great chance for you to bond with your pup while you explore the outdoors. Always check if the campsite is pet-friendly before you go. Dogs have essentials to pack too! Don’t forget their food, water bowls, leash, poop bags, bedding, and some toys. A flashing LED light for their collar is highly recommended to easily locate your dog during the night time. Again, it would be best if your dog is obedient and listens to basic commands, like “sit” and “come here”.
  • Go on a road trip. Going on a road trip means taking your dog everywhere you go during your getaway, that means you should always check for dog-friendly hotels, restaurants and rest stops before heading out! While the car is moving, keep them safely restrained in the vehicle. But before you do, go on several test drives to see how your dog handles a moving car. Some pets do not do so well during long drives and may experience motion sickness. Remember, your pet’s safety and health should be your top priority.

No matter what activity it is, your dog will love you for spending time with him. So what are you waiting for? Get on out there and enjoy your summer! Just don’t forget to clean up after him if he ever leaves you with a surprise.

 

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