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Archive for the ‘Dog Care’ Category

Tips to Protect Your Pups Paws in the Winter Months!

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Winter can be tough, especially on your dog’s paws! Take some steps to ensure overall health for one of your dog’s most important assets- his paws!

(1) Simple! Just check your dog’s paws regularly- meaning daily. Inspect for abnormalities, scraps, cuts, injuries. Press down on the pads to see your dog’s response. Check between their pads for lumps, cuts, or discoloration as well.

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(2) Trim your dog’s hair between its paw pads- in order to keep the snow and ice from sticking to it and causing frostbite!

(3) Toughen up your dog’s paws by walking your dog on cement of pavement regularly.

(4) Moisturize your dog’s paws to prevent cuts, cracking or peeling. Bag Balm made especially for pets is a favorite to use and works wonders- just massage it in!

(5) Use paw wax to add a layer of protection on your dog’s paws especially when its snowy, icy and salty outside!Musher’s Secret paw wax is a favorite, but you can also get away with vaseline or something of that type.

(6) To melt the snow, use Safe Paw Ice Melter, instead of other salts. It will not irritate the pets paws.

(7) For serious protection consider using dog shoes or reusable rubber dog booties, or just socks. I have all of the above, and since my dog Valentino is very active the shoes tend to slip off sometimes. But if your dog is very sensitive to the cold/ice/salt and the Mushers doesn’t cut it, I would try it out! Take your dog over to the store with you to try them on, so you know you are buying the right size, and can even get pointers how to put them on.

(8) Wash/wipe your dog’s paws after going outside especially to get the salt off their paws!

Enjoy the tips, and try to enjoy the winter months with your pups!

Anything & Everything About Dog Walking!

white Labrador retriever on the green grass

white Labrador retriever on the green grass

Whether you are a new dog parent, or a veteran owner, there is always room to learn!

Dog walking is so important because dogs need to explore, hunt, and discover new sights and smells, its part of their nature.  Even if you have a backyard or a ton of toys, dogs still need their walking time.  In addition, dog walking is a form of physical and mental exercise for your pup!  And a great time to bond, and practice those commands you taught him.

Basic dog walking supplies include a safe sturdy harness/collar and leash that cannot break (please do not use retractable leashes, esp. in city settings, lets keep those reserved for hikes and the country); poop bags; bottle of water and drinking mechanism for those hotter days; treats for positive reinforcement.

When walking your dog, try to take a new path/route, don’t always walk the same path, your dog will be so thankful for all the new smells and sights!

Remember that Whiskers and Leo is always here to answer your dog walking questions!  Just shoot us an email at info@whiskersandleo.com.

 

Teach Your Dog To Do NOTHING!

This is a great read for all dog owners! I do something similar with my dog Valentino, but I labeled it LEAVE IT. So anytime he is looking/staring at someone/something, and I think he may start to bark etc, I say LEAVE IT, if I see something on the floor I don’t want him to touch, I say LEAVE IT. Its a great command, and the below, is also a great alternative to reward your dog for behaving!

“Reinforcing your dog for doing nothing is a technique I learned from my most amazing mentor, Kyle Rayon. The idea is, when you see your dog doing absolutely NOTHING, that is the moment you want to reinforce him with attention and treats. For example: Your dog is standing calmly at your side on a loose leash, and an excitable dog comes out of the blue from around a corner. As your dog sees the other dog, you pop a treat in your dog’s mouth while he is standing there DOING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! By doing this you will reinforce your dog for doing nothing in this situation, making it more likely he will do nothing when in a similar situation in the future. Don’t wait the 3 seconds for when your dog starts barking his head off at the other dog. Another example is: You are in the street standing and talking to a friend on a walk, while your dog is next to you doing nothing. Feed your dog a treat for doing nothing while you chat. Don’t wait until your dog starts whining, or pulling or jumping on you to give him attention. “Nothing Behaviors” are highly overlooked by many dog trainers. Many trainers focus on training dogs to “Sit”, “Down”, and “Stand”. But they forget to reinforce all the wonderful “Nothing Behaviors” that the dogs are already doing!

Tip: When reinforcing your dog for doing nothing, you need to get the treat to him before he thinks to look at you. This is because you want to “take a picture” of that calm behavior he is doing at that exact moment in time with the reinforcement, so that exact behavior will be repeated in the future. If your dog turns to look at you as you feed him a treat, you will be “taking a picture” only of a dog that is excited about the food that he is about to eat. Feeding him a treat while he is looking for his treat will not at all reinforce the calm nothing behavior you had hoped for, so wait until your dog is not thinking about the food again, before giving your dog the treat.

You can get the food to your dog while he is not looking at you, by having food already prepared in your hand, so that you don’t make a noise before you move to feed your dog. You can also toss a treat between your dog’s paws so it is less expected, or come from behind your dog with the treat to get it to his mouth. If you have a dog that is so over-aroused by food that he never looks away from the food, teach him to settle around food first.”

From website: http://dogmantics.com/train-your-dog-to-do-absolutely-nothing/

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Spring Tips for Your Pup!

white Labrador retriever on the green grass

Spring is in the air!  Just some quick reminders because we know you love your dog, and we do too!

(1) Sticks are a NO-NO!  Have your dog play with a frisbee or tennis ball instead.  Sticks can splinter, and can cause choking and severe injuries to your pup!

(2) Before getting new spring plants, check THIS SITE out to make sure you are not poisoning your pup!

(3) Use pet-friendly products for spring cleaning!  Make sure your products are dog-safe, and also keep them in a cabinet your dog cannot get to- you never know!

(4) Start flea and tick prevention if you haven’t already!

(5) Watch for signs of seasonal allergies.  Some dogs develop allergies to common seasonal plants, and most dogs react with skin problems.  Talk to your vet professional regarding any symptoms your dog may be experiencing.

 

 

Why Is It Dangerous To Leave Your Dog’s Collar On While In The Crate

Your dog’s crate should be his or her’s safe haven- a place to relax, a place to sleep, a place of comfort and safety.  Unfortunately, there have been stories about dogs accidentally strangling themselves in their crates while their owners are not home.  It is such a tragedy, and one that can be avoided, so please please please adhere to these safety tips!

COLLARS

A dog’s collar could get caught on the latches or the bars of the crate.  When my Valentino was a puppy, he figured out how to escape the crate (and not through the door!!)  And a lot of dogs will try to do this.  Well if he had a collar on, he could have gotten it stuck while trying to escape.  If they do get stuck, they panic and try to get themselves free which usually only makes it worse, and they can end up injured or strangle themselves :(

TAGS AND HOOKS

Tags and hooks can also catch up on the bars or the doors of the crate- which is another reason why you should remove your dogs collar before he or she is put in the crate.

CHEWING

Some dogs out of boredom, will try to chew on their collar while in the crate.  Not only is this expensive to buy a new collar, if your dog swallows part of the collar, this may require expensive surgery too!  Also do not leave your dogs collar on top of the crate (esp. with wire crates), because the dog may be tempted to reach it, and pull it into the crate to chew on it.

SCRATCHING

Another thing that can happen is your dog can scratch at its collar, to try to get it off, and hurt himself in the process, by either scratching the skin raw, or getting its leg caught in the collar itself.

Treat your puppy as a toddler, and take all precautions!

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Problem Barker??

barkingdogQuick helpful hints for your problem barker!

(1) Try not to yell when he’s barking, he just thinks you are joining in the fun!

(2) Pick a word you will use every time, and stick with it, whether its HUSH, NO BARK, etc.  Be consistent, and don’t yell your dogs name to make him stop barking.

(3) Manage the situation properly- for example, if he is barking out the window, shut the blinds.

(4) Provide a stimulating environment for a bored dog- most dogs bark when bored.

(5) Make sure you are NOT rewarding the barking and confusing your pup.  For example, your dog barks like crazy right before you feed him, then do not feed him until he stops barking, or else you are rewarding the barking.  It may take forever the first time, but be patient :)

(6) If you think he’s barking because he’s nervous, maybe contact a professional positive trainer to help you.

AND JUST REMEMBER, EVERYTHING TAKES TIME, AND BE CONSISTENT.  IT’S VERY EASY TO CONFUSE OUR PUPS SINCE WE TALK A DIFFERENT LANGUAGE :)

 

 

Battle Cabin Fever!

Pets can get the winter blues too!  Even if you live in a warmer state, the change of season affects pets too!  Pet owners who ignore their pet’s needs for winter stimulation will find their companions gaining weight, becoming irritable, and sleeping too much.  However, here are some steps that will make you and your pet happier during the long colder months!

(1) Brighten the Lights: Pets respond to illumination like we do- they get peppier when the lights are brighter !

(2) Encourage Play Time: Just because its cold outside, doesn’t mean you can’t have some indoor stimulation!  Put your timer on, and play with your pet for that whole time period.

(3) Recalculate Food Quantities: If a dog or cat is not outdoors as much, you may want to lower their food intake, so they don’t gain winter weight!

(4) Enhance Scents Around the House: Scented goodies can keep dogs busy as they try to find the course of the smell.  Cats like toys with catnip and/or scratching posts.

(5) Go Outside: Bundle up (and bundle up your dog too) and do get that outdoor time every day!

 

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Fall Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe :)

 

Border Collie Under Yellow Leaves In Autumn

Help keep your pet safe this Fall by keeping in mind these tips!

(1) Dogs can get the flu too!  If you see a dog coughing, keep your dog away.  Before going into a dog park, check out all the dogs first, to see if you notice any symptoms of a sick dog.  If your dog does develop a cough, contact your vet!

(2) Holiday stress can affect your pets too!  Lots of unfamiliar faces and loud talking can stress your pet out.  Exercise your dog beforehand and give him a special chew toy to keep him distracted.  If he still seems stressed, put him in a quiet room away from all of the commotion.  Be sure cats have access to a quiet room where they will probably hide all on their own :) For other small caged pets, transfer their cage to a quiet area too.  If you are getting ready for a trip, try to remain calm and keep your anxiety down (your pets can sense your stress).  Also, try to pack where your pet cannot see the suitcase, some pets get stressed out as soon as they see you packing!

(3) Keep pests out!  As the weather gets colder, rats and mice may decide that your house would be a great place to stay warm and dry.  Be mindful of how you prevent these pests from entering your house.  To keep them out, close up any entry holes and choose anti-rodent products that are non-toxic.  Rodenticides are extremely toxic to dogs and cats and other small pets, so it is best to discuss a safe control plan with a professional exterminator and your vet.

(4) Keep school supplies like markers, pencils, glue sticks away from your pets and off the floor- they can be toxic if ingested!

(5) Snakes can get grumpy as they are preparing to hibernate and don’t take kindly to being disturbed by curious pets.  To protect your pets from venomous snake bites, know which snakes are poisonous and where they usually hibernate.  Walk your dog on a leash away from those areas.

(6) Mushrooms that pop up in your field can make your pet sick if they eat them.  A few of the mushrooms are actually deadly, so if you know your pet has eaten one go to your vet ASAP.

(7) Just like people, your pets can have seasonal allergies too! Symptons are sneezing, itchy skin, ear infections and watery eyes.  Call your vet if you think your pet has allergies to discuss testing and a treatment plan.

(8) Car coolants are highly toxic to pets.  Clean up any spills immediately, keep any coolant out of reach of pets, and dispose of used coolant.  You can also switch to a propylene glycolic-based coolant- while it isn’t completely non-toxic, it is significantly less toxic than the other engine coolants.

HAPPY FALL!!

 

 

What To Avoid In Your Pet’s Food

Dachshund Puppy

Be an advocate for your pets!  Don’t just buy pet food and/or treats because it’s convenient- most pet foods and treats sold at the grocery store can contain some harmful ingredients.  Support your local specialized pet stores! (Most of them in the Hoboken/JC area will deliver too!)

Of course, foods that are healthier for your pets, will be more expensive, just like with humans, but it should lead to a longer, healthier life for your pet, and hopefully lower your vet bills!

Here’s what to AVOID:

  1. BHA, BHT ethoxyquin, propylene glycol, and sodium selenite (these are dangerous chemicals)
  2. Meat, Meat-Meal, and Meat-By-Products (these are unspecified protein sources)
  3. Corn, Whey, Soy and Beat Pulp (unhealthy grains and fibers- def. great to avoid if your pet needs to shed some pounds too!)
  4. Products from China and Rendering Plants (poorly regulated)

Take 2 minutes of your day today, to check the ingredient labels on all your pet food/treat products, and make sure none of the above are present.  If so, switch your pet to a better food, but make sure to do it gradually, or else your dog may get an upset stomach.

You should also talk to your vet about your pet food choices, but make sure they are not just pushing the food they sell.

And lastly, of course if your pet is on a special/medicated diet, please talk to your vet if you would like to switch foods.

 

Get A Real Pet Sitter!! Don’t be Tricked by a So-Called Pet Sitter.

With more than 60 percent of households owning a least one pet, finding reliable pet care is likely a concern for the majority of pet owners.  For these pet owners, we have an important piece of advice:  Don’t be tricked by so-called pet sitters.

Many pet owners, and even news outlets, use the term ‘pet sitter’ incorrectly, referring to anyone—from a family friend to the neighborhood teenager asked to walk a dog—as a ‘pet sitter.  It is important that pet owners understand that pet sitting is a professional career and professional pet sitters offer peace of mind that other pet-care options cannot.

Even for pet owners committed to using professional pet sitters instead of friends or family, the search can be confusing.

With the influx of pet-care directory sites popping up in the last couple of years and news stories touting pet sitting as an easy way to earn extra cash, more and more people are deciding to cash in on the growing need for pet care.

Whiskers and Leo has offered pet-sitting services since 2008 and is a member of Pet Sitters International (PSI), the world’s leading educational association for professional pet sitters. In addition, we professionally background check and train all of our sitters, and of course we are insured and bonded with the proper insurance, and I have passed the CPPS test and obtained the Certified Professional Pet Sitter (CPPS) designation.

PSI President Patti Moran—who also founded the pet-sitting industry more than two decades ago—offers additional advice for pet owners.  “Simply being listed on an online pet-sitter listing—or even on a nationally-publicized directory—does not make a pet sitter a professional, qualified care provider,” explains Moran. “Anyone can post a profile advertising pet-sitting services, so it’s important for pet owners to take a closer look to ensure they are hiring a real pet sitter.”

Whiskers and Leo advises pet owners to ask these important questions when interviewing a potential pet sitter:

  1. Is the pet sitter insured and bonded?
  2. Can the pet sitter provide proof of clear criminal history?
  3. Does the pet sitter provide client references?
  4. Will the pet sitter use a pet-sitting services agreement or contract?
  5. Is the pet sitter a Certified Professional Pet Sitter (CPPS) and/or has he or she participated in pet-care training, such as pet first aid?
  6. Is the pet sitter a member of a professional and educational association, such as Pet Sitters International?
  7. Does the pet sitter have proper backups in place, in case of an emergency?
  8. Does the pet sitter use a professional scheduling tool, and/or a GPS check in/out service for extra peace of mind?

Sweater or No Sweater??

I myself have about 10 different coats/sweaters for my dog Valentino, but I know some people tease me about this, and don’t see a need- saying, well he already has a coat on, his fur!

If Valentino was a breed of dog that was acclimated to cold weather, like Huskys and Malamutes are, I would certainly not put a coat on him.  It’s not that I simply enjoy putting clothes on my dog, I certainly feel the opposite actually- its one more step, that I don’t want to do, but I do. WHY?  Because Valentino has a thin body type, and very short fur, with some of his skin even exposed.  Also a big sign is that his whole body shakes when it is cold outside.

So a good general rule of thumb is, if you have:

(1) Small dog;

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(2) Elderly dog or chronically ill (such as arthritis);

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(3) Breed with thin body type, especially those with short fur;

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Then I would purchase a coat or sweater for your pup!

These 3 types of dogs have more difficulty generating and retaining enough body heat on their own.  Also, if you are keeping your heat down in your house/apartment during the day, you might think of keeping a sweater on your pup inside as well.

Even if your dog doesn’t need a coat, it certainly won’t hurt him!  I also put a light rain coat on my dog when its raining even if its not cold, so there is less clean up when I get home!  And when its snowing, its also good to invest in a pair of booties for your pup to protect their sensitive paw pads from the salt and chemicals used for de-icing.

Final rule of thumb – get a coat that compliments your dog’s coat and coloring 😉

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Autumn Safety Tips

Border Collie Under Yellow Leaves In Autumn

I love the fall!! There isnothing like crisp, cool air, the first months of school and luscious foliage to get you excited for the changing seasons. Your pet, too, is probably welcoming the break from hot, sticky weather. But pet parents, beware—fall is also a time of lurking dangers for our furry friends.  Here are some things to look out for!

(1) The use of rodenticides increases in the fall as rodents seek shelter from the cooler temperatures by attempting to move indoors. Rodenticides are highly toxic to pets—if ingested, the results could be fatal. If you must use these products, do so with extreme caution and put them in places inaccessible to your pets.

(2) It’s back-to-school time, and those of you with young children know that means stocking up on fun items like glue sticks, pencils and magic markers. These items are considered “low toxicity” to pets, which means they’re unlikely to cause serious problems unless large amounts are ingested. However, since gastrointestinal upset and blockages certainly are possible, be sure your children keep their school supplies out of paw’s reach.

(3) Fall and spring and are mushroom seasons. While 99% of mushrooms have little or no toxicity, the 1% that are highly toxic can cause life-threatening problems in pets. Unfortunately, most of the highly toxic mushrooms are difficult to distinguish from the nontoxic ones, so the best way to keep pets from ingesting poisonous mushrooms is to keep them away from areas where any mushrooms are growing. Contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately if you witness your pet eating a wild mushroom.

(4) In order to generate body heat, pets who exercise heavily outdoors, or who live outdoors, should be given more food during colder seasons. Make sure horses and other outdoor animals have access to clean, fresh water that is not frozen.

(5) Many people choose fall as the time to change their car’s engine coolant. Ethylene glycol-based coolants are highly toxic, so spills should be cleaned up immediately. Consider switching to propylene glycol-based coolants—though they aren’t completely nontoxic, they are much less toxic than other engine coolants.

(from the ASPCA.org)


Hiding in the leaves

Are You Feeding Your Dog Something Potentially Deadly?

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Watching Dr. Oz recently, reminded me of this additive/chemical in our pet’s food (and in our food!) that has been linked to certain types of tumors in laboratory animals, according to the National Institute of Health.

The evil culprit is BHA (and also BTA).  

Despite findings that this chemical may be linked to cancer, the FDA still permits its use as a fat preserver in food, and generally recognizes it as safe in low doses; however, who knows what “low doses” means and why even take the chance???  Moreover, we tend to feed our dogs the same food (and treats) day after day (unlike our own diets), so the accumulative exposure is worrisome.

There are a ton of other dog food and treats (and cat food/treats) that don’t use these additives in their products.  Natural preservatives are considered safer, so most dog food companies avoid the use of these chemicals.

So 2 lessons learned here!

(1) READ your pet food labels, and ingredients list!

(2) When you read on a pet food label a particular fat ingredient has been “preserved with BHA” you know to stay away!

SAME GOES FOR CATS!!

 

 

 

 

 

Did You Know….(important for dog owners)

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That Even A SMALL Amount of Grapes Or Raisins Can Be Deadly For Your Dog If Ingested!

Grape and Raisin Toxicity in Dogs (from PetMd.com)

Grape and raisin toxicity is well documented in dogs.

Dogs of any age, breed, or gender may be affected. One of the most serious complications of grape/raisin toxicity is acute (sudden) kidney failure with lack of urine production (anuria). However, kidney failure is not seen in all dogs after ingestion of grapes or raisins, and again, the reason why some dogs are affected excessively while others are not is still being studied.

 Symptoms and Types

  1. Vomiting and/or diarrhea – often within a few hours; after 24 hours of ingestion vomit and fecal contents may contain pieces of grapes or raisin
  2. Loss of appetite
  3. Lethargy, weakness, unusual quietness
  4. Abdominal pain
  5. Dehydration
  6. Oliguria (passing only a small amount of urine)
  7. Anuria (complete cessation of urine)
  8. Kidney (renal) failure and death

 Seek Immediate Treatment

This is an emergency needing immediate treatment. If you are positive that your dog ingested grapes or raisins, call your vet immediately.  They will probably tell you to come in right away, and in the mean time they might tell you to induce vomiting as soon as possible, before the toxins in the fruit can be absorbed.

 Prevention

Make sure all family members are aware of all the toxic foods for dogs ( including raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate, garlic, currants, macadamia nuts, human medications, fatty foods, alcohol, unbaked bread dough, candy, xylitol, etc.)  Keep all of these foods out of your dog’s reach, and also monitor children very carefully if/when they are eating any of these foods.

 

 

 

Tip for Tuesday: 3/25/14- Keep your Pet Healthy!

Take 2 minutes out of your day to better your pup’s life! Go to http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/ , enter the brand of dog food you are using into the search field, and check to make sure you are feeding your dog a top quality food!

For cats, check out this site!http://www.petsadviser.com/cat-food-advisor/

 

puppyChewingOnBone

Winter Fun for Dogs!

Winter Fun for Dogs!

As a dog owner myself, I know how agonizing these brutal winter months can be with an energetic dog.  Also, I’m very familiar with that guilty feeling because you are not stimulating your dog as much as when it’s warmer out- running with, biking with, playing with, eating with at outdoor restaurants, drinking with at Pier 13 — or just taking that extra long walk along the waterfront because it’s so beautiful outside.

Hopefully, some of these suggestions can help provide some relief to you and your pup during this extremely cold winter season!

GO SOMEWHERE NEW

When a client asks us to walk their dog on the same path everyday, we usually ask the client if we can switch it up instead, and here is the reason why:  going new places, or just going on a different route offers the excitement and mental stimulation of new sights and smells, in addition to exercise.

I am definitely guilty myself of walking Valentino on the same path often, however I notice that when I do walk him on a different street, he gets really excited for the new scents (more so than I would have thought!).  Or you could also get in your car and drive to a new dog park.  I like Brookdale in Montclair because it’s bigger than any dog park in Hoboken, and its not too far if you have a car.

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TEACH SOMETHING NEW

Did you know that mental exercise tires a dog more quickly and thoroughly than physical exercise?  So teach your dog a new trick each week!  Can your dog balance a treat on his nose?  Shake a paw?  Roll over?  Crawl along the floor?  Jump through a hoop?  Play dead?  Retrieve?  Pick a new trick, and start training!  Don’t forget that consistency is very important when training.  Teaching your pup a new trick will also enhance the bond between you and your dog.  And if you teach them a trick that also relates to obedience training- leave it, off, down – well, ever better!

Don’t underestimate your pup!  Dogs love learning, love the challenge, love pleasing their owners, and of course love the treats that come as a reward!  There are so many tricks you can teach your pup, I can’t even count how many Valentino knows.  Also, you can teach them words alone.  A dog can learn more than 100 words, close to 200.  Valentino has been practicing the names of his stuffed animals.  It sounds silly but they really do enjoying learning – “Bring Tigger!”

 

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GIVE YOUR DOG A BONE OR A FOOD DISPENSING TOY

Chewing is healthy for dogs, and helps them relieve stress as well.  Food dispensing toys are invaluable boredom busters. While rubber Kongs are great toys and can be stuffed with a great variety of treats and tasties, there are many other options on the market now — check out your local pet store!

Valentino’s new favorite chew toy is an antler, or a marrowbone.

puppyChewingOnBone

KIBBLE HUNT 

If you place your dog’s kibble in a food bowl, chances are the bowl is empty within 15 seconds and the dog gazes up at you upon finishing as if to say, “is that it?”  You can put that food to work for you by making your dog hunt for it with his nose. Instead of dumping the food in his bowl, consider crating him, or putting him in another room, while you hide small piles of food in the house then release him to “kibble hunt.” Initially, make the piles very easy to find. As your dog gets better at this game, practice hiding the food in more difficult spots.

I actually use small treats when I play this game with Valentino.  This is one of his favorites! 

HIDE AND SEEK

Hide and seek is a great way to exercise your dog’s mind and body and recall skills. You can do this alone or with your friends or family. Hide (or take turns hiding if there is more than 1 person playing) throughout the house, calling the dog to you, and rewarding her generously with treats or maybe a game of tug once your pup finds you. If you are playing with more than 1 person, when the treats are finished, say “all done!” which is the cue for the next person to call him.

When I pay this game with Valentino, I start in easy hiding spots, and then make them progressively harder.  I put him in a room that I am not going to hide in, say “STAY” close the door almost all the way, so he cant cheat and peek, and then once I’m hidden I say “COME FIND ME!”  If he is stumped I give him hints, by calling out his name so he can follow my voice.

DO SOMETHING OLD WITH A NEW TWIST

Turn your dog’s favorite game into a training game!  For every throw of the toy, ask your dog for some obedience behavior or trick as you hold the toy.  As soon as your dog performs, give him some praise, then send your dog after his toy.  Dogs adore this game, once they understand how it works.  For working breeds, it also gives them a fun, satisfying outlet for their built-in drive to work with you.

After I started playing this game, Valentino eventually started throwing all his tricks my way- to try to guess which one I wanted! 

ARRANGE A PLAY DATE

Dogs benefit from social interaction outside their family unit.  If your dog gets along well with other dogs, find some time to get together with a friend or relative and their dog.  The great thing about a play date is that it doesn’t have to be outside in the frigid cold, it can be inside your homes.

When I introduce my dog, or any dog for that matter to a new dog especially in a home type environment, I always make sure to pick up all the dog toys first.  Take any potential items they can fight over out of the picture at first (including food, food bowls), then you can slowly introduce toys etc into the picture.  If you do not know someone with a dog you can arrange a date with, you can always call Whiskers and Leo Pet Care to walk or run your dog!

Have fun with the games!

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One last thing before you leave…..please read this article titled “Your Dog is Not a Human Being- Stop treating Her Like One.”  Trust me, every dog owner should read this!!  The title sounds harsh, especially for us dog fanatics, like myself, but it’s truly great advice, and adds to my blog post about keeping your pup occupied mentally and physically!

http://theweek.com/articles/536712/dog-human-being-stop-treating-like

 

Make it Your Mission, To Get Your Pet In Top Shape This Year!

A recent survey indicates over 50 percent of America’s pet population is overweight or obese. It’s an epidemic now!

To get your pet healthy, or keep your pet healthy and at an optimal weight, food/nutrition & exercise are KEY!

FIRST STEP: DIET & THE RIGHT FOOD!

Very simply put, if your pet is overweight it is taking in (eating) more calories than it needs. Set all excuses aside … excessive weight in an otherwise healthy pet is a direct result of consuming unnecessary amounts of food.  Of course, before starting down this course, consult your vet to make sure your pet doesn’t have any metabolic disorders.

When it comes to diet, feed your pet a high quality food, so he gets the nutrients he needs to keep healthy and full! It’s that easy.  Don’t feed your pet the equivalent of McDonalds every day (Purina, Beneful, Alpo, Kibbles & Bits, etc) because its cheaper, and easier to purchase (at the grocery store).  Spend a little more money and time, and later on down the road, your pet should have fewer medical issues, which means your wallet will suffer less too!

Let’s examine some excuses when it comes to your dog’s feeding habits.  Whether your dog is a good weight or overweight, these 4 points are good to note!

dogeating

DO ANY OF THESE SOUND LIKE YOU?? (cats are more of an issue, and overweight issues with cats need to be discussed with a vet)

(1) “But she hardly eats a thing.”  This is probably a case where you feed your dog table food, so she is getting calories from that, and choosing not to eat her own food.  Stop the people food- it’s unwanted calories!

(2) “My pup won’t keep quiet unless she gets her treats. And she won’t go to sleep at night until she gets her little dish of ice cream.”  Congrats, your pet has trained you!  Your pet has discovered that the more noise and fussing it produces the more likely it is to be rewarded for this behavior. The owner finally “gives in” to keep the pet quiet and the pet sees the food as a reward. In effect the owner is creating a “beggar” by rewarding his/her behavior.  You need to break this habit immediately, and re-train, reward for being good and quiet.

(3) “She’s such a good dog we don’t want her to go hungry.”  This dog became overweight because the owner’s signal of affection for their pet has focused on feeding.  It is an understandable trait but unfortunately for the dog it can be a case of too much of a good thing. The owners’ method of showing affection should be directed more toward physical activity than feeding. Think “FETCH” and “TUG” not “FOOD”!

(4) “She just refuses to eat dog food.” In this case the dog has trained the owners to feed him/her such things as chicken, liver, ice cream, cookies, etc.  This dog has been given a choice of what to eat and has chosen certain people food.  The dog usually overeats because s/he isn’t getting a proper balance of nutrition, plus everything tastes so good there is a reward factor in eating. The solution is … you choose, not your pet.  Leave down the dog food, and don’t worry if she doesn’t eat it right away, she won’t starve herself.  A dog can go without food for 5 days before you have to worry (as long as she is in relatively good health and not diabetic).

SECOND STEP: THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF EXERCISE

Exercise is beneficial for your pets in so many ways- it helps decrease stress, improve sleeping habits, maintain or loose weight, and you know the old saying- A TIRED DOG IS A GOOD DOG!

dogrunning

The type and amount of exercise needed can differ greatly with breed, age and energy level of your pet. However, it is important to choose the right type of exercise for your pet with the help of a veterinarian if your pet is overweight.  With their assistance you should be able to bring your pet back to their optimal weight.  Arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular problems are just some of the issues your pet will deal with if he or she is overweight. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, it may even decrease their life expectancy by up to 2.5 years.  So if it is so bad as to affect our pet’s health, how are we letting it happen?

Exercise is important for all pets, overweight or not!

Whiskers and Leo does offer dog walking and dog running if you need extra help exercising your dog!  As for cats, cats need daily exercise too, but more in the form of play.  We do offer cat visits if your feline needs some extra attention and play!

catplaying2

 

How to Help Stop the Winter Itch!!

277Winter weather is tough on your skin and hair, so don’t forget its the same for your pup, so he or she needs the same kind of protection.

If your dog is already itching, you need to break him or her from that habit because it can cause open sores and possible infections. A great daily supplement for this, and for all dogs, is Omega 3- it will help revitalize your dog’s skin and coat and keep it healthy. Of course always talk to your vet first.

I get compliments on my dog’s coat a lot, and I always say it’s the Omega 3 supplements and of course healthy dog food too!

Get Rid of Pet Hair in Your Home!

No matter how much you clean or vacuum, there is always more hair!!  Especially in the holiday season, you want to keep the hair to a minimum because you don’t want it ending up in your Thanksgiving dinner!

With 3 pets, pet hair is always a challenge, but keep these tips in mind, and you will be stressing less about hair being on all your clothes and in your casserole!

1- Brush your pet on a daily basis.  This will reduce the amount of hair you find around your home!  I like the furminator.

dogbrush

2- Make sure you pets get plenty of exercise, because healthy bodies promote healthy coats!

3- Feed your pet a good quality pet food- it will keep their coat healthy and soft and reduce shedding.

4- Don’t let your pet eat fat.  Overweight pets have difficulty cleaning and grooming themselves.

5- Keep your pets out of your closets!

 

 

 

 

8 Reasons Why I’m Truly Thankful for My Pets!

November is the month we take time to express gratitude and celebrate all that we are thankful for.  I am blessed and thankful to be able to make a living doing something that I’m tremendously passionate about – working with animals.  Let’s all take a moment to reflect on why we opened up our hearts and homes to our pets, and what makes them so special to our lives!

I can say my life is better and I am a better person because of my animals and my love for them, and all animals in that case.

I can probably name a million things I’m grateful for when it comes to my pets, but here are just a few!  I’m sure you can all relate to most if not all on this list!

(1) Every time I come in my apartment, my dog Valentino is super happy to see me, showing it by either with a tail wag, or a full face cleaning!

(2) Making the bed every morning, and playing with my cat Leo in the sheets, helps me start my day off with a smile.

leo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(3) I love that Valentino has endless amounts of energy, and makes me want to be more active!

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(4) But I’m also grateful that he loves sleeping just as much as me,especially on those lazy Sunday mornings.

valcovers

(5) My other cat Mya reminds me that pets feed off of our energy, so around her I’m reminded to calm my energy and relax more, which is hard for me sometimes.  Just petting her takes my anxiety about the day to day things away.


mya copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(6) I love when Leo snuggles with me at night, and kneads my neck, and rubs up against my face (even though this usually happens after midnight!)

(7) All of my pets, and my clients’ pets as well, have helped me put life into prospective. I don’t worry about the small things anymore such as my favorite sweater was ruined, or the cat threw up in my bed. Possessions are just that, and our love for our animals is so much greater!

(8) My pets teach me a lot of things, and most of all they teach me to appreciate the simple things in life, and find joy in them.

I have a true love for all animals, and I’v always had a connection to them, even horses!

lonihorse

I am grateful for this love of animals.  I am and will always be a pet person, and will always rescue pets and fill my home with their love!

Tip for Tuesday (or maybe Wednesday :) ) BAD BREATH!

Dental issues are a big item in pets, especially seniors. When you go to check on your pet, sniff the ears and check out the mouth. Look for any sign of bleeding gums, tartar buildup or bad breath. If you can’t see a pet’s back teeth because they just look like a big brown row, that’s an indication of massive tartar buildup. It is no longer acceptable to just chalk it up to “Old Age.” Also remember that any time a pet has bad breath or bleeding gums from a tartar buildup, that pet is swallowing all of the bacteria and germs into their organs, and any type of gingivitis or oral infection can take a toll on a pet’s internal organs.

There have been many advances in anesthesia so that pets can have their teeth cleaned no matter what age. Did you know that one of the most common diseases in dogs and cats is periodontal disease?!

So smell your pet’s breath today, and schedule a check up to see if he or she needs a cleaning!

catteeth

Tip for Tuesday 7/30: Seat Belt Safety for Your Pets

Summer is the time for road trips! ANd what’s more fun than bringing your dog along! But are dogs safe in a car without a restraint? Studies say NO!

If we wouldn’t drive without seat-belts/restraints, why would we let our furry loved ones ride in a car without one?

 

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Admin., looking away from the road for only 2 seconds doubles your risk of being in a car crash. Another study of dog owners found:

65% were distracted at least once while driving with a dog;
31% became distracted when their dog climbed into their lap;
23% used their arms to retrain their dogs while applying the brakes;
20% let their dog sit on their lap while driving;
19% took one hand off the wheel to prevent pets from climbing into the front seat.

If this isn’t enough reason to restrain your pet, think about this:

(1) Airbags are made for people, not pets! Never allow your dog to ride in the front seat. Also a dog sitting on the driver’s lap could get stuck between the driver and the airbag. And front airbags can be deadly to a dog- even a dog that is restrained.

(2) Unrestrained pets become forceful projectiles in a crash. If you crash at 30MPH your 10 pound dog becomes a flying projectile exerting 300 pounds of force. At 50 MPH, 833 pounds of force! And thats a small dog!

New Jersey (along with CT, FL, CA, AZ and Maine) already have pet safety restraint laws in place, and more states are following. Fines of $250-1000.

Keep your pet safe from all the bad drivers out there- not you of course, you are a great driver :)

dog belt 2

School is Out!! Give Your Pup Some Extra Attention!

Now that school is out for the summer, why not spend some extra time with your pup! Summer is a great time of the year to give your pup some special attention since the weather is warm. By teaching your dog new tricks, providing her with extra TLC, or simply going on a hike, you can really strengthen your bond with your dog.

Another great thing you can do with your pup is take her to obedience classes. If you already completed obedience, and are ready for the next step- you can get your dog certified as a therapy dog! (http://www.njsitnstay.com/about.htm)

My pup Valentino is a certified therapy dog through Sit and Stay. I also love to teach him new tricks. It’s a great way to keep your dog stimulated, and keep your top dog status in the household. A great book I like is called “101 Dog Tricks (by Kyra Sundance and Chalcy).” As long as you and your pup are enjoying yourselves, and you are using positive training techniques, go for it!

val

How Much Water Does Your Pet Need?

dogwater

Most household pets do NOT drink enough water!! This can cause health problems. But do you know why your pets might not be drinking enough water?

On the average, a dog should drink 1/2 to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight each day; whereas cats require 2-4 ounces of water daily.

Water is essential for all life; without water, organs do not function properly. Having a constant supply of fresh water is crucial to your pet’s health. Water is the most important nutrient in your pet’s body, besides oxygen. Many pet owners think their pet is getting enough water because they leave a bowl of water for them, but they can be mistaken.

Follow these suggestions to increase your pet’s water intake, and make sure your pet stays hydrated:

1) Clean and disinfect your pet’s water bowl at least once a day.

2) It is best to change the water in your pet’s bowl three times a day, but at the very least, once a day. The fresher the water, the more appealing it is to your pet to drink!

3) Pets prefer cool water over warm water.

4) Wet food can provide another source of water to your pet. If you are just feeding your pet dry food, they will require more water. On the average, dry food has 10% water content, and wet food has 80% water content!

5) A pet fountain is a great way to help your pet drink more. It circulates the water, keeping it cool and cleans out impurities as well.

6) If you are exercising your pet, he will require more water, so don’t forget to bring some water along for the ride!

7) In the summertime, your pet will require more water.

To check your pet’s hydration level, pick up a loose piece of skin by the shoulder blades, and release it. If it falls back into place quickly, then your pet should be hydrated. If not, this can be a sign that your pet is dehydrated. In any case, if you are worried about dehydration, always contact your vet!

catwater

House Training Tips!

Some clients have recently asked us about house training, so we thought we would share some tips!

(1) Keep your pup on a regular feeding/watering and walking schedule.

(2) Your pup’s walking schedule depends on his age and how far along he is in house training. Young puppies always need to go out first thing in the morning, last thing at night, and shortly after naps, playtime and eating. Other than that, a typical walking schedule is every hour for how old your pup is in months. So if you have a 3 month old pup, he should be able to hold it 2/3 hours (of course this varies).

(3) Your puppy always needs to be monitored in your home, so as to not let him have accidents. Watch for signs such as whining, barking, and sniffing. Be aware of your pup’s signals that he has to go!

(4) When you are not around, or not able to watch your pup, he should be in a crate. Crate training is an excellent technique for helping with house training, and keeping your pup safe while he is still young, and curious! The crate should not be too big. Gradually, as he gets older and grows you can increase the size of the crate, and eventually give him more and more space while still keeping his environment safe.

(5) When you do take him out to go to the bathroom, praise and treat him afterwards. I would give him the same treat for going outside, and only give him that treat for doing just that. Also, take him to the same spot each time to go to the bathroom.

(6) If you find your pup in the act of eliminating indoors, startle him, so he might stop mid-stream, and take him directly outside to finish. Then reward and praise. If you find that he elimiated but did not catch him in the act, you cannot scold him, because he will not relate that to the wrong act.

Good luck!!

doghousetraining

One of Most Common Dog Dangers

dog gum
One of the most common dog dangers that people don’t think about, that probably almost everyone has in their house is….. XYLITOL.

What is xylitol? Xylitol is a type of artificial sweetener found in many sugar-free chewing gums, candies and baked goods. In dogs, it can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar. They symptoms of this dangerous condition include depression, lethargy, weakness, incoordination and seizures in some cases.

Xylitol poisoning can occur in as little as 30 minutes after ingestion. Thats a big problem when you consider that dogs are so darn good about getting into things, and can do it before we even notice them. Also another problem is, sometimes when dogs get into things, they clean up (eat) the evidence too, i.e. the wrappers!

These kinds of things do happen, so please be careful. It is safest not to give your dog any human foods. But I do give my pup carrots and the occasional peanut butter in his kong :)

dogcarrots

5 Easy Things You Can Do Right Now To Keep Your Dog Safe

dog

(1)  Do NOT give your dog bones, like chicken or turkey bones.  They can break easily and their sharp edges can make your dog sick.  Just because your dog begs for something with that cute face, doesn’t mean you should give in!

(2)  Do NOT feed your dog table scraps, they could be poisonous.  Also, it is just a really good rule to have, because then your dog will have manners when you have company over, and won’t be a beggar!

(3) Only feed your dog, dog-specific treats.

(4) Check recalls on dog foods, treats and products.

(5) Pick treats that fit your dog’s size.  Treats that are too big or too small can get caught in your dog’s mouth or esophagus.

What to Feed Your Dog???

That old saying YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT, applies to your pets too!

Do NOT feed your dog chocolate cake please! :)

Maybe you are getting a new dog and are wondering what to feed him or her, maybe your dog has been on the same food for years, or maybe you are thinking of switching your dog’s food.

If any of these sound like you, then read on!

Many people do not know that pet food packaging contains ingredients just like human food does.  What you see on that label is the key to knowing whether that food is appropriate for your pet.  Make note, that the higher the ingredient is on the list, the more it makes up that food.  Most of your pet’s food will be composed of the first few ingreidents, which is important to know in case you see any undesireable ingredients.

Here are some ingredients to avoid:

(1) By-products & by-product meals:  These are unfit for human consumption so don’t feed them to your dog. They are created from waste parts in the butchering process.  Instead look for dog food that lists actual meat as an ingredient.  And note that “chicken meal” is not the same terrible ingredient as “chicken by-product meal.”

(2) Anything artificial (like colors and flavors, such as FD&C Red #40): Many pet foods use artificial colors and flavors.  These synthetic additives are unnecessary, especially since color has little importance for your dog.

(3) Fillers (such as soybean meal and flour, wheat middlings, wheat gluten and corn meal gluten): Fillers have little to no nutritional value and are only added to pet food to increase volume or weight.  Almost all dog food is sold by weight, so bulking up food with inexpensive ingredients can save companies a lot of money.  The issue is that your pet gets absolutely nothing from these ingredients, and in most cases their body can’t even break them down.

(4) Sugar or sweeteners (such as cane sugar, or HFCS):  Just because your dog LOVES the food, doesn’t mean it’s healthy!  We all know that what tastes good isn’t always what is good for us.

Here’s a great website to check out the food you are feeding your dog:  http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/

What to feed your cat is next week!

Puppy Proofing Your House & Life!

Here are some good tips about Puppy Proofing your home & life!

  • Confine your puppy to a small area inside and keep doors and windows securely closed and locked.  Or better yet, keep your puppy in a crate when you are not home!
  • Never leave your puppy unsupervised, whether inside or outside, they are bound to get in trouble!
  • Keep your puppy off balconies, high decks and upper porches.
  • Keep all cleaning supplies secured in a locked cabinet or out of the puppy’s reach- I have seen them open cabinets before!
  • Remove poisonous houseplans or place them out of reach.  To see list, go to …….
  • Keep toilet lids down.
  • Cut six-pack beverage holders apart before discarding in case your puupy gets in the garbage or finds it.
  • Unplug, remove or cover any electrical cords.
  • Do not use an electric blanket or heating pad to line your puppy’s bed.  This could cause serious burns.
  • Keep all medications out of your puppy’s reach.
  • Make it a habit to “Puppy Check” before closing doors or leaving home to make sure your puppy has not been accidentally locked in an unsafe area.
  • Keep sewing supplies and small hardware out of puppy’s reach.  Buttons, beads, needles, pins, nails, staples screws, etc., can hurt your puppy’s mouth and cause internal injuries if he swallos them.
  • Do not put ribbons around your puppy’s neck, it could catch on something or choke him.
  • Make sure all candy, alcohol and chocolate are out of puppy’s reach.
  • Keep anti-freeze out of puppy’s reach- its tempting because of its sweet taste.
  • Deter your puppy from drinking outside puddles in the street or sidewalks or at dog parks- they could contain pesticides, chemicals or other harmful stuff.

Tip for Tuesday 1/29/13: A Great Way to Help Relieve Anxiety in Your Pet

We have heard of a lot of different ways to try to relieve and ease pets’ stress in certain situations, such as leaving the TV or radio on when you are not home, or during thunder storms etc.  However, we would not suggest just leaving the TV on or a random music station on the radio.  Reason being that when commercials come on or maybe a show with violence or loud noises, this can create more anxiety in your pet.


Studies have shown that all music and noise is not the same in regards to their affect on animals.  In studies, dogs and cats seem to show lower levels of stress when exposed to classical music.  Cats might relax in front of the speakers when classical music is playing, and many dogs will actually bark less- especially when listening to the music of Bach.  So next time you leave your home, or there is a loud thunderstorm and your pet is stressing, put on some classical music, but make sure the music has a soothing dynamic sound from start to finish, and that it transitions calmly between pieces to be the most effective.




Tip for Tuesday 1/15/13: How Often Should You Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

Oral hygiene is essential to your dog’s overall health.  Oral disease is very common in pets. In fact, the American Veterinary Dental Society reports that by the age of three, oral disease is present in up to 80 percent of dogs.  You can significantly reduce your dog’s risk of getting oral disease by establishing a healthy oral-care routine early in your pet’s life.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), a dog’s teeth should be brushed daily; however, because many dogs initially resist daily brushing, most people don’t do it that often (if at all). But experts say some form of regular brushing is better than no dental care at all. Brushing at least every other day is enough to prevent the buildup of tartar on your dog’s teeth.

When brushing your dog’s teeth, it’s very important not to use human toothpaste.  It can make your dog sick and even poison him.  You want to be sure to use a pet-friendly toothpaste and a toothbrush that’s sized to fit your dog’s mouth.

Get brushing!!

Winterize Your Pets!

WINTERIZE YOUR PET!

Snow tires? Check!  Storm windows? Check! Winter coat? Check! But what about your pets, are they ready for the cold winter months?  Here are a few things you can do to keep your pet warm, healthy and safe all season long!

WARM HIM UP!

You might laugh when you see a Chihuahua wearing a miniature coat, but there are practical justifications for a coat that keeps your animal warm, especially for small dogs.  Small breeds have a high ratio of body surface to body weight, so they lose body heat more quickly than larger dogs.  However, larger dogs too can benefit from an extra layer if they spend a lot of time outdoors in the winter, especially if their coat is not too thick.

KEEP HIM DRY.

As much as you hate getting caught in a rainstorm, getting soaked can actually be worse for pets.  Their coats retain water, so the impact of the cold and dampness is greater, increasing their risk of hypothermia.  Protect your pet with a rain coat!

SOOTHE HIS SKIN

If your pet’s skin becomes red or itchy from the cold, some vets recommend washing the area with a gentle soap and applying a triple antibiotic ointment.  For a cracked nose, try a healing balm formulated for pets or A&D ointment, which you can buy at the drug store, that was recommend by my vet.

IMPROVE HIS VISIBILITY

Reflective gear is a safety essential for walks at night or in snowy, rainy or foggy weather- it helps drivers spot your animal if he bounds into traffic.  You can also get a winter coat that has reflective strips on it.  Reflective gear is even great for cats!  If your pet, cat or dog, sneaks out the front door, a reflective collar will alert drivers to his presence, and also help you better find him!  Make sure with cats, the collar is a break-away collar.

PROTECT HIS PAWS

When you tug on your snow boots, do the same for your pup if it’s icy out.  Pets can suffer frostbite, and the salt or chemicals commonly spread on streets to melt snow can irritate your dog’s paws.

Are You Keeping Your Pet Healthy!!??

Many people don’t realize how important it is for your pet to get plenty of clean, fresh water.  Studies have shown that getting your pet to drink more water is one of the easiest ways to maintain good health.  However, many animals, do not drink enough water.

Do you ever notice your cat likes to drink from the faucet, or your dog likes to drink out of the toilet bowl?  There is a reason behind this strange behavior!

In nature, moving water is cleaner.  It has less bacteria than stagnant water.  In addition, moving water is more aerated, so it tastes better, and makes the water more appealing to drink.  Running water also is naturally filtered.  So for these reasons, pets may seek running water or water that is constantly refreshed (like the toilet bowl) over water sitting in a bowl.

My cats LOVE drinking out of my bathtub.  So I leave the water on a trickle for them multiple times a day.  I have also heard that cats like when their water source is separate from their food source, so you can try moving their water bowl, or leaving another bowl of water out for them in a different place.  Other people love water fountains for their cats and/or dogs.  I am personally not a fan.  I have tried many, and I always end up returning them.  But to each their own!

For my dog, I just use a water bowl, and refresh it multiple times a day.  Also make sure you actually wash and scrub out your pet’s water bowls with soap once a day.  People frequently tend to forget to do this.  Even water bowls can get bacteria growth.

Whatever you choose, just make sure your pet has access to clean, fresh water, and he or she will be healthier!

Myths De-Bunked!

(1)  Dogs like the taste of blood once they bite.  This is not true!  Some dogs are aggressive for a variety of reasons but not because they like the taste of blood!

(2) The best way to remove a tick is with a match.  This is not true!  The best way is simple- use a tweezer.

(3) Skittish dogs are “abused.”  This is not entirely true.  Dogs can be skittish for many reasons, not just because they might have been abused.  Just like people, some dogs are shy!  Also, if a dog is not exposed to humans during the first 12 to 14 weeks of his life, then he might never become fully acceptable of humans.

(4) Mixed breeds are healthier than purebred dogs.  This is not entirely true either- depends on the dog.  Mixed breeds tend to have less genetic disorders because of their hybrid nature.  If you do opt for a purebred, make sure you pick a responsible breeder.  Responsible breeders are typically aware of any genetic problems, and work diligently to reduce them.

(5) Bones are good for dogs.  This is not true!  Bones can be very dangerous and are not recommended to give to dogs.

What You Should Know When Deciding Between a Dog Walker & Day Care Facility…..

  • In regards to training, most reputable trainers will say that a day care facility is not an ideal option when you are practicing obedience training with your dog.  Since most facilities have a poor staff-to-dog ratio, correcting bad behavior is not on the top of the list.  These facilities can reinforce undesirable behaviors in your dog. In addition, at a facility your dog can pick up bad habits from other dogs such as barking, soiling indoors, and overbearing issues.
  • The chances of your dog becoming injured are far less with a dog walker.  During a dog walk, the dog is on a leash, and closely monitored.  In a day care facility, the dogs are off-leash and things can get out of hand real fast because again of the poor staff–to-dog ratio.  Accidents can happen easier in this type of situation even with the most well-meaning people, and sometimes these accidents can have lasting negative affects on your pup.
  • Day care facilities are not ideal when housebreaking your dog.  In fact your dog will often continue to eliminate indoors while at a facility.  Dogs are best housebroken in their own homes with consistent, realistically spaced out walks that are appropriate for life stage.
  • The likelihood of your dog getting sick increases drastically at a day care facility.  In addition, most facilities do not insure the dogs while they are in their care; so if your dog gets sick or hurt at the facility, you are paying the bill.  With most dog walking companies, the dogs are insured, and the company will cover your expenses.  But of course, make sure you ask about their insurance!
  • Dog walking is also more appropriate for addressing separation anxiety.  It is best to deal with these issues by teaching and then supporting your dog to be at east at home by himself.  If needed, a trainer or behaviorist can help.  There are many methods for supporting your dog through separation anxiety; however, sending your dog away to day care will not address this use, just mask it.
  • If you are looking to further socialize your dog, dogs love to walk in packs, which can be accomplished with a reputable dog walking company.  For safety purposes, the company should not walk more than 2-3 dogs at once, and this way your dog gets personalized attention and training.
  • Regarding your dog, there are 2 types of exercise: physical and mental.  Some dogs at day care facilities do not get enough of either, or both!  With a dog walker, you know your dog is walking (or running!) while he is out.  As for mental exercise, on a leashed walk, your dog is getting the mental stimulation that he needs – i.e. leash training whereas the walker is making sure your dog is walking behind or beside him for the duration of the walk.  In addition, your walker can reinforce other commands your dog is learning, such as leave it, wait, stay, heal etc.  At day care facilities, this one-on-one walking and attention doesn’t exist.
  • Some facilities provide limited access to their clients.  This is two-fold.  Some facilities prohibit dog owners from visiting their pet at any time, with or without advance notice.  And some prohibit you to tour the entire facility and observe play before signing up your dog.  The other side of this is that some facilities “close” during part of the day, and at night, so you are not allowed access to pick up your dog at these times.  Also, some facilities, are closed for holidays, meaning if you come home on that day and want to pick up your dog, you cannot, and have to wait for the next day, and pay for your dog to stay there that night.

Risky Mistakes Pet Owners Make – PART 1

(1) Letting your dog walk you.  A poorly trained dog can pull you over while you’re out for a stroll.  According to the CDC, tens of thousands of people end up in the ER every year because of pet related issues falls.  Many of these falls occur during walks.  Experts say to obedience train your dogs.  It helps in every aspect!

(2) Overlooking ticks.  After a walk in the woods, you check yourself for ticks, so you should also check Fido!  Tick bites put your dog at risk for many diseases.

(3) Ignoring ringworm.  If your pet has a round bald patch, ringworm could be to blame.  Leave this fungus untreated and you’re putting your family at risk.  Please can get it from touching.  Ringworm causes a reddish, ring-shaped rash on the skin or bald spots if it infects the scalp.

(4) Not spaying or neutering your pet.  Millions of cats and dogs live on the street or end up euthanized because of unwanted litters.  Spaying or neutering is the healthy choice- it reduces the risk of breast cancer and testicular cancer.

(5) Keeping the bowl full.  With the best intentions, some people keep their pets’ food bowls full at all times. This is one of the most common mistakes pet owners make.  The problem is that cats and dogs often eat more than they need.  If food is constantly available, they will take in too many calories and put on too much weight.  To avoid this, follow the suggestions on the pet food label or ask your vet.

(6) Forcing cats to be vegetarians.  Vegetarian people sometimes want their pets to share their lifestyle.  The trouble is cats are obligate carnivores.  This means they must eat meat to survive.  They depend on nutrients, such as the amino acid taurine, that are only found in animal tissue.  Dogs maybe be able to handle a well-balanced vegetarian diet, but check with your vet first.

(7) Providing too little exercise.  Just like people, pets need exercise to stay healthy.  Couch potato pets are prone to obesity, which raises their risk of respiratory problems and joint problems.  The right amount of exercise for a dog depends on the breed, size and age- ask your vet!

(8) Misreading body language.  Do you understand your dog?  If you think a wagging tail is always a good sign, you could be in for a nasty surprise.  When a dog wants to threaten someone, he may hold his tail high and waive it stiffly back and forth.  Mistake this warning for a sign of playfulness and you could get bitten.  Learn your pets body language!

(9) Feeding cats only dry food.  Cats have a low thirst drive by nature, so they may not drink enough to stay well hydrated.  Feeding them only dry food compounds the problem and can put them at risk for urinary tract disorders.  To promote healthy bladder, some vets recommend canned foods, which are 78 percent water.  A fluid rich diet is particularly important for cats with a history of urinary tract infections.

(10)               Giving Bones to dogs.  We may think of bones as a wonderful treat for dogs, but the FDA paints a different picture.  The agency warns that chewing on bones can injure the teeth, tongue or mouth.  Bon fragments can get stuck in your dog’s windpipe, interfering with breathing.  Bones can also get stuck in the digestive tract, where they will have to be removed with surgery.  If your dog likes to chew, ask your et about safe alternatives.

From WEBMD.

Pets and Cataracts

You might be familiar with cataracts as an eye problem that affects many older adults.  One thing that many people don’t know, however, is that cataracts aren’t exclusive to humans. Did you know dogs and cats are susceptible to cataracts too?  Read this article which provides general information about dogs and cataracts, and also explains how cataracts affect your dog and what you can do to treat them. Go to: http://www.petplace.com/dogs/cataracts-in-dogs/page1.aspx.

This article talks about cats and cataracts.  Go to http://www.petplace.com/cats/cataracts-in-cats/page1.aspx.

One important thing to consider is that heredity is not the only factor for cataracts, so even if your pet’s history is cataract-free they could still be at risk. Any sort of eye trauma can lead to cataracts, so it is always important to see a vet if your dog or cat has an injury to his or her eyes.

NEW SEAT BELT LAW FOR PETS!!

New Jersey is now the only state in the country where driving with pets loose in the car is a violation of animal cruelty law. Drivers who do not secure their pet can face a ticket of $250 to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. Additionally, allowing your pets to hang his head out the window, having him riding in the back of a truck curling up on the driver’s lap are also ticket-able offenses under the law.

Dogs can be placed in harnesses that click right into the seat belt buckle. Cats don’t take well to harnesses for the most part, so they need to go in a carrier. And the carrier needs to be buckled down.

Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) Chairman and Chief Administrator Raymond P. Martinez and Superintendent of the NJ Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NJSPCA) Col. Frank Rizzo delivered the “Buckle Up Your Pet” safety message prior to the official start of summer because more people take to the roads with their pets in the warmer weather months.

“You wouldn’t put your child in the car unrestrained so you shouldn’t put your pet in the car unrestrained either,” said Col. Rizzo. “What people come to realize only too late is that animals act like flying missiles in an impact and can not only hurt themselves but hurt their human family members too.”

While pets can be a danger in the car, they are also a hazard if they’re not buckled up because an unrestrained pet in an accident can delay emergency workers from acting and can even run away, which could cause another accident.  In addition, you need to make sure your pets are safe, in case of a fender bender or any other accident!

During the summer months, the NJSPCA Officers will be checking for vehicles traveling to and from the shore areas with dogs hanging their heads out of windows or unleashed dogs traveling in the open back of pick-up trucks.

So, even if you are passing through the Garden State and your pets are not restrained, the po po might git ya! Watch out!

I have always restrained my pup and kitties in the car.  My dog wears a doggie seat belt, and the cats go in the carrier, and then the carrier is belted in.  I don’t trust drivers out there, and I want my babies to be safe!  I agree with this LAW!!

What do you think about the new seat belt laws regarding dogs in New Jersey? Share in a comment.

Tip for Tuesday, 5/22/12: Spring Cleaning- Control Dog Odor!

1. Wash your dog’s bedding and blankets every week. Odors from wetness and dirt can get sealed into your dog’s bedding, where they linger. Wash blankets and bedding in a gentle soap without lots of artificial perfumes to remove odor.

2. Bathe your dog regularly. Some dogs need to be bathed every week while other dogs should be bathes every few weeks to a month. Determine the right schedule for your dog and stick to it (too much bathing can lead to dry, irritated skin). As a good rule of thumb, if your dog SMELLS  like a dog it’s time for a good bath.

3. Promptly clean all sources of odor. If your dog vomits, has diarrhea or an accident, quickly clean up the mess. Use white paper towels and water to clean and dry the mess as best as you can.

4. Neutralize odors if at all possible. Look for odor removers that don’t just cover up the smell, but actually eliminate it.

Tip For Tuesday 5/15/12: Do Dogs Sweat?

TIP FOR TUESDAY 5/15:  Do Dogs Sweat?
A dog’s skin is different from human skin. While they do sweat, they do so in much smaller quantities than we do. Most of their perspiration occurs through their paw pads, and it’s not enough to greatly change their body temperature.
The main way dogs cool themselves is by panting and breathing. Have you ever felt a dog’s breath as it panted? It’s much warmer than you might expect. This is because a dog’s tongue and the lining of their lungs are the primary locations where body heat is transferred to the air. Many people believe that a dog’s tongue contains sweat glands, but this is not true.
Dogs also dissipate heat by dilating (expanding) blood vessels in their face and ears. This helps to cool the dog’s blood by causing it to flow closer to the surface of the skin. Put together, these 3 methods of temperature regulation aren’t extremely efficient. A dog’s body can be easily overwhelmed by heat, often causing the dog to suffer from heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke.
Excessive play on a hot day can lead to overheating (hyperthermia) and eventually to heat stroke. A dog that is overheated will seem sluggish or confused. His gums and tongue may appear bright red, and he will be panting hard. The dog may vomit, collapse, have a seizure or go into a coma.
It is crucial to never, ever let your dog get this overheated. Constantly offer him a supply of fresh water, and take frequent breaks from playing in hot weather. Make sure that he always has a shady and cool place to relax, and never leave him alone in a vehicle on a warm day.