Home Care is the Best Care™

Posts Tagged ‘dog’

Dog Walking Packages Are Finally Here!

SAVE MONEY ON DOG WALKING TODAY!

Save money by signing up for our monthly dog walking packages!  These no-frills packages are specially ideal for those who schedules don’t change much during the week and/or those people who are just looking to save some money. And by no-frills we do NOT really mean “no-frills” because you still get the same professional and caring walkers (W2 employees, insured, background checked and trained by me!), the same level of customer service and prompt communication, the same service selection, the same availability and coverage, the same professional scheduling system with GPS check in/out, the same easy monthly payment, and the same satisfaction guarantee!  What’s different?  Its one monthly cost, even if you need to cancel a walk here and there.

LOCATIONS?

Whiskers and Leo Pet Care (www.whiskersandleo.com) services Hoboken, Jersey City, Weehawken, Union City, North Bergen, Edgewater, and Bayonne NJ, and the surrounding areas.

HOW TO SIGN UP

Give us a call today at 201-942-1245 or email info@whiskersandleo.com to find out more!

WHAT ELSE?

Of course dog walking is NOT all we do!  We also offer dog boarding, in-home sitting, in-home overnights, and for those cat lovers, we also offer cat sitting in the client’s home!

dog walking

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/

dogs

Clicker Training Your Pup

I recently bought a clicker, why not!  Im taking Valentino to Agility class, and they mentioned clicker training, so I wanted to share some tips I found!

Clicker training is a form of positive reinforcement training.  The sound of the clicker marks a positive behavior.

Things to keep in mind:

1) A click equals a treat!  After you click, to mark a positive behavior you always have to give a treat to your dog.

2) Give the treat as soon as possible after you click.  It should only take 1-2 seconds to give him the treat.  If you do not, then he might not see the connection between the clicker and the treat.

3) Timing is important!  It is important that you click the clicker at the exact moment that your dog completes the behavior asked of or task asked to do.

4) Keep your clicker handy to capture behaviors.  Capturing behaviors is a great way to teach your dog new behaviors with very little effort on your part.  Keep your clicker and a handful of treats handy, and whenever you catch your dog doing something you like, simply click and treat.  You will be amazed at how quickly your dog can learn!

5) Go back a step.   If you find your dog confused about certain behaviors, take a step back.  For example, if he cannot hold a stay for 30 seconds, and breaks it, go back to a 10 second stay.  Slowly move forward.  If your dog is making mistakes, it might be because you moved ahead too quickly for him.

6)  Keep your clicker training positive!  If you find yourself getting frustrated end the sessions.  Keep sessions short, 5-10 minutes.  Always end on a positive note!

clicker

 

Stop Your Dog From Jumping!


dogjumpStopping your dog from jumping can be a daunting task.  My puppy is 2 and he still jumps on people, but mostly at the dog park, when he’s really hyper and running around with his ball in his mouth.  Luckily he is only 44 pounds (however some people might say that is big).  In contrast, there is a 125 pound Great Dane at the dog park that jumps, and the outcome is a little bit different needless to say!

When your dog is a puppy, it is cute when he jumps, but when he turns into an adult, it is more a nuisance and could be dangerous (and can wreak havoc on your wardrobe!)

Teaching your dog not to jump takes time, patience, and some training and management.

TRAINING

First you have to teach your dog that if he jumps he gets NO attention.  Turning your back to him is a great way of doing this.  Never use your hands to push him off you because this is considered attention.

Then teach your dog if he sits, you will then pet him and give him attention.

One of the most important things in training is CONSISTENCY, so make sure your whole family is on the same page!

MANAGEMENT

When teaching your dog not to jump, you must manage every situation so he doesn’t have an opportunity to jump.  Things you can use to help you manage:

(1) Keep your dog on a leash around people you know he will jump on, so you can control him.  For example, a lot of dogs jump on new visitors to your home, so put a leash on your dog before answering the door.

(2) Confine your dog to another room when you are at your home, and have visitors over.

(3) You can also put your dog in his crate (but not as punishment) when you are at your home and have visitors over.

All of these things will prevent your dog from jumping, and possibly reinforcing bad behavior while he is in the learning phase.

Here are some other useful tips:

(1) If your dog jumps on you when you come home, then keep your greeting low key.  If he does jump, turn your back and ignore him.  Tell him to sit, and when he does then praise him and say hello to him.

(2) If your dog jumps on you when you are sitting then stand up and ignore him.  Don’t push him or use your hands, just ignore him.

(3) If your dog jumps up on other people and if you have your dog on a leash, you can control him and tell him to sit.  Then when he listens, you can tell the other person to acknowledged him, and you can even give that person a treat to give him.  If you don’t have your dog on a leash and someone is approaching you, you can put your dog in a sit and stay, and then praise and reward him if he stays there when they person has approached.  Of course if he does jump, you can ask the person to turn his back on the dog, and not pet him.  If you are at an off-leash park or somewhere where your dog is not on leash, and a person says ITS OK when your dog jumps on them, you can always in a friendly way tell them you are training your dog not to jump, so they know its not OK with you.

Good luck and remember stay consistent!  It can be a lot of work, but you are stimulating your dog every time you work with him, so this is actually great mental exercise for your dog!

 

dogs

Tip for Tuesday 12/11/12: Can Holidays Be Stressful for Your Pet?

Yes!

With all your holiday preparations, like shopping, wrapping, decorating, planning  preparing meals, getting the house ready, or maybe preparing for a trip, you might be a little bit stressed out….and guess who can pick up on that?? Your furry friend! Not only can he pick up on it, but he can also get stressed out himself because of it.

Any change in your pet’s routine can cause stress.  And when your pet is stressed, he may misbehave, he could hurt himself, like biting or scratching excessively, he could start barking (or crying, or meowing, or chirping…) more, or make messes while you are gone.  There is a number of things your pet can do when he is stressed out.

All of the above behaviors is your pet’s way of telling you he is stressed out and something needs to be done about it!  So in preparation for the holidays, don’t forget to also prepare your pets!

Here are some tips for keeping your pets chill during the holiday rush…

1.  Keep your pet’s exercise and feeding routine the same throughout the holidays.  If you need an extra helping hand exercising or just hanging out with your pet, give us a call, we would be happy to help!  If you are going away, make sure your pet sitter has the times of your pets feedings, walks, etc.

2.  If you are busy with preparations or throwing a party, put your pet in a quiet room with plenty of water and possibly toys.

3.  If you have guests over, work on your dog’s greeting manners, to save him the stress of being constantly corrected.  Give your pet plenty of attention and exercise before your guests arrive.

Last but not least, stop and take a breath…….

Pets pick up on our cues, so if you relax, they will!

Happy Holidays! :)

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.

Keep Your Dog Cool In The High Heat

Dogs release heat through their paws, so dip those pads in cool (but not cold) water for a quick pick up. You can even rub the paws with an alcohol wipe in a pinch, and the wipes are easy to carry on walks and hikes in your pocket.

2010 Most Unusual Ingested Objects by Pets (PR Newswire)

With nearly 2,000 foreign body ingestion claims received over the past year, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI) – the nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance – saw plenty of pets make meals of inedible objects. Many of the usual ingestions showed up again and again; socks, hand towels, sticks, and rocks were especially popular pet “snack” choices. Other ingested items were not quite as common. Following is a list of just some of the more noteworthy items that were removed from the stomachs of VPI-insured dogs and cats in 2010.

  • jellyfish
  • glue
  • estrogen patch/make-up brush
  • tube of denture adhesive
  • dead poisoned vole
  • bikini
  • ink pen
  • plastic nose from teddy bear
  • magnetic purse clasps
  • baseball
  • glass Christmas ornament
  • hearing aid
  • bed sheet
  • box of pencils
  • popsicle stick
  • avocado pit
  • dental floss
  • coffee filter/coffee grounds
  • fishhook
  • pain relief tablet/B.B. pellet/highlighter
  • tent door
  • toy squeaker
  • watch
  • 16 steel wool pads
  • pseudoephedrine/sponge/snail poison/tampon
  • 20 cherry pits
  • light bulb
  • barbecue brush
  • Frisbee
  • jumper cables
  • razor blades
  • uncooked rice (1 pound)
  • wallpaper paste
  • squirrel
  • balloon ribbons
  • bird (whole)
  • butter/sand
  • deer antler (partial)
  • extension cord
  • leash/3 sticks of butter
  • pin cushion
  • portion of wool rug
  • tobacco
  • TV remote control
  • 10 quarters/one penny/one Canadian coin/three arcade tokens
  • foot-long submarine sandwich
  • fire log
  • wooden toy train
  • pine cone
  • round chew bone (whole)
  • caulk
  • eye glasses
  • money (paper)
  • oil-soaked dirt
  • sand
  • rosary crucifix
  • 25 to 30 soiled diapers
  • bath bubble mix
  • bathtub cleaner/outdoor plants
  • duck bone

(BREA, Calif., Dec 14, 2010, PRNewswire)

Don’t forget to keep a close eye on your pets and place any item you suspect a pet may want to chew or eat safely out of their pets’ reach.   You should never underestimate your pets’ ability or desire to eat anything they can find.

The Food Transition- From Puppy to Adult Food

This transition may seem simple but it can wreak havoc on everything from your puppy’s stomach to your patience at dinnertime.

Your puppy’s food is NOT working for him if he has developed any of the following: loose stool, diarrhea, constipation, stool eating, skin rash, allergy, a rise in hyperactivity, a rise in aggression or  other personality changes.  Here are some possible solutions, but also consult your veterinarian FIRST!

  • Loose Stool or Diarrhea – Make sure your puppy’s food does not have oils added to it. Also, consider a food that is used for food allergies. And don’t give your puppy or dog scraps from the dinner table!
  • Constipation – Make sure your puppy’s food does have oils added to it. Also, the food should have a high fiber content, and should not be highly processed.  Also make sure your puppy is getting enough exercise!
  • Stool Eating – There are many reasons for stool eating and diet is one. Poor nutrition can lead to this so up the grade of food if this is a problem.  Puppies may have a vitamin or mineral deficiency and they eat feces to restore this balance.  You can check out some pet supplements, like Nuvet (www.nuvet.com; order code: 46654).  Also, could be the result of over feeding. If a puppy is over-fed he doesn’t properly digest his food, therefore his feces will still smell like the food he just ate! Make sure you feed your puppy or dog twice a day, instead of once, that he gets plenty of exercise, and you could also try to put a tablespoon of pineapple in your puppy’s food, because it is suppose to taste really bad after it comes out the other end.
  • Skin Allergy – This is usually caused by a food allergy if diet is indeed the culprit. Try a food made specifically for this such as the duck and sweet potato mix.  You can also try supplements- see Nuvet above.
  • Hyperactivity – Puppies who become more hyper on a new food probably need a little more protein. Try a high protein food but watch for weight gain.  Also, make sure that sugar and other food chemicals are not present in your puppy or dog’s food.  In addition, your dog might need more exercise!
  • Personality Changes – Dogs’ moods are affected by diet just as ours are. Too much sugar or a food allergy can cause a sharp shift in a dog’s aggression or irritability. Make sure there are no additives or preservatives in your puppy’s food which can be a hidden cause.

If you’re noticing some of the signs of a food disagreeing with your puppy, it is probably time to try a new one. Always introduce a new food slowly, switching about 1/4 cup of food over a week. Give him another week or two on the new food to see how he does on it before switching again. You can also give him breaks between food by feeding him cooked chicken and rice for a few days.

Good nutrition is essential to your puppy’s health. Different puppies have different needs and it’s through trial and error and recognizing health issues that you can choose the best food for him.

Some of us may think that a change in food is only fair to our pups but once you find a food that fits, stick with it. Offer variety by adding small amounts of vegetables, chicken broth or a high quality canned food.

For puppies and dogs a steady and consistent diet means better health.

What is Your Puppy’s IQ?

Learning your puppy’s IQ can help you with training, telling you what to focus on.  It is best to test and compare within a species, such as dog to dog, as inter-species testing has too many variables. Testing for a dog’s I.Q. is different from testing a human’s but there are some ways to determine his smarts.

Before thinking about testing your puppy’s IQ, your puppy must be at least 12 weeks old and must have been in the home with its new owners for at least 4 weeks.

What you will need:

  • Flat collar on your dog
  • Training lead
  • Treats
  • Small can or bowl (like an empty coffee can or some other Container)
  • Towel, sheet or some fabric that can completely cover your puppy

    Test 1 – Observation Learning

    Choose an activity that your puppy has seen you do before many times and that it enjoys e.g. going out for a short walk in the yard or ride in the car, getting dinner ready, etc. Engage in the behavior in five stages, scoring 5 points for your puppy’s immediate understanding of your intentions (you take one step toward the door and see if he approaches you and looks enthusiastic or runs to an appropriate place, signaling understanding). Score 0 for paying no attention at all while you complete the entire maneuver. Intermediate scores 1-4 are awarded for intermediate responses.

    Test 2 – Problem Solving

    Take an empty can and your puppy’s favorite food treat. Show your puppy the treat and then put the treat under the inverted can. Score the puppy’s attempts to obtain the food on a similar 0 to 5 scale. A score of 5 is awarded if the puppy obtains the food treat by knocking the can over and getting the treat within 15 seconds; score the pup 4 for obtaining the food treat within 15-30 seconds; score 3 for completing the task in 30-45 seconds, score 2 for a time of 45-60 seconds, score 1 for eventually getting the treat; score 0 for the pup giving up, losing interest, and walking off defeated.

    Test 3 – Problem Solving

    Throw a tea towel or the corner of a sheet over the pup so it is completely covered and observe its attempts to think its way out of the situation. Use the same scoring method as in Test 2 above.

    Test 4 – Social Learning

    Wait until your puppy is near you but is not engaged in any particular activity. Look directly into its eyes and smile. Hold this pose. If the pup comes towards you, this is an excellent result indicating good social learning: score 5. If the pup ignores you, score 0. Intermediate scores are assessed, as before, on a timed basis.

    Test 5 – Short Term Memory

    Show the pup a delicious food treat and allow him to watch you hide it under a tea towel. Then lift him up in your arms and walk around the room in a large circle before depositing him at least 6 feet from where the food is hidden. If he immediately goes to the food treat and finds it, score 5. If he shows no interest in the treat and doesn’t look for it, score him 0. Intermediate scores are awarded for his finding the treat within 30 seconds, 1 minute, 1-1/2 minutes, and 2 minutes.

  • There are many other tests you can find or make-up to get an idea of your pup’s I.Q.

    For the 5 tests above, the best possible score is a 25; however, it is impossible to test for raw intelligence in dogs.  There are always influencing factors!

    Have fun with this, and rememebr that with all the variables, really every puppy is a winner no matter what his test score says.

    How to Control Shedding

    Are you finding unwanted pet hair in your food? What about embedded in your keyboard or stuck to your glossed lips? Pet fur seems to have an ability to get everywhere.  Shedding happens year-round for most pets, because we keep them inside most of their lives.

    Here are some steps to control the shedding!

    1. Invest in a Very Good Brush – Many pet owners swear by the Furminator, a brush that catches not only the top fur but also the fur underneath. Used once a day, it is thought to really reduce the amount of fur in your house.  They sell them for cats and dogs.  I bought the Cat Furminator, and it is terrific.  It really gets to their under coat.  The only problem is that it is a lot of work, but it’s worth it!
    2. Hit the Groomers – If you can afford it, grooming often reduces the amount of fur that is shedding.  However, with cats, I do not suggest a groomer unless your cat handles stress well.  Cats are fastidious animals who love to keep their bodies clean. Cleaning is instinctive behavior, and cats have been washing themselves with their tongues for as long as they’ve been around. So I wouldn’t suggest taking a cat to a groomer unless it is absolutely necessary.
    3. Revamp Your Pet’s Diet – A healthy diet will help control shedding. Be sure your pet’s food has meat as the first ingredient and that it meets the standards for a healthy food. Consider adding a little bit of olive oil to his diet as well.
    4. Eliminate Stress – Many pets will involuntarily shed when stressed out, such as on a trip to the vet. Keep yourself as calm as you can in these situations since pets pick up on our emotional signals, and be sure to praise and reward him throughout the experience.

    WINTER GAMES FOR DOGS!

    As winter is approaching, its great to have on hand some creative games for your dog, for when he gets “cabin fever.”  Dogs are happiest when they are mentally and physically stimulated, so keep these tips in mind to provide your dog with boredom relief for the upcoming months.

    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.

    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 this 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.

    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 classic toys and can be stuffed with a great variety of treats and tasties, there are many other options on the market now, like: Aikiou toy, Nina Ottosson’s toys, Kong wobbler, Kibble Nibble, Busy Buddy toys, Orbee Treat Spot toys, Tug-a-Jugs, and Buster Cubes.

    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 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.

    HIDE AND SEEK:  Hide and seek is a great way to exercise your dog’s mind and body and recall skills. Each family member should stock up on great treats. Family members will take turns hiding throughout the house, calling the dog to them, and rewarding her generously when she arrives. When her treats are finished, say “all done!” which is the cue for the next family member to call him.

    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.
    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.  If you do not know someone with a dog you can arrange a date with, you can always call Whiskers and Leo Pet Care!

    Have fun with this and feel free to share comments about your favorite game to play with your dog!

    How to Prevent Dog Bites

    Your dog is part of your family, but do not forget that your dog is still an animal, and needs to be treated a certain way.  If you are a dog owner with children please follow these rules:

    (1) Supervise your kids when the dog is around.  If a toddler is interacting with your dog, you should have your hands on the dog too.  Even if your dog has NEVER bitten before, you do not want to take a chance.

    (2)  Make sure you train your dog.  You can get an in-home trainer, like Bark Busters, or you can bring your dog to obedience classes.  Never act aggressive towards the dog when he is misbehaving, because then you are just teaching your dog to be aggressive.  Make sure you involve your whole family in the training of the dog.

    (3) Spay or neuter your dog.  Neutered pets are calmer, healthier and less likely to be aggressive.

    (4) Condition your dog for the world.  Give your puppy/dog lots of new positive experiences.

    Even though you see a cute dog, this doesn’t mean you should run right up to it and pet it.  Safety first!

    If you are a parent, please go over these rules with your children regarding dogs.

    (1)  Teach your kids to not hug and kiss your dog on the face.  This has been some causes of bites to the face.  Have your children scratch the dog on the chest or side of the neck.

    (2)  If you want to let your children pet strange dogs, first ask the owner, then let the dog smell you.  If the dog shows no sign of affection, then you can pet the dog on his chest or side of the neck.  Never pet a strange dog on the top of the head, because this can be a threatening jesture toward the dog.

    (3)  Never tease a dog, especially when he is eating, sleeping or protecting something, like his toys.

    (4)  If a dog is running towards you or threatening you, stand completely still, do not run!  If you stand still, the dog will no longer be interested in you, but if you run, the dog will look at you as prey.  This works for strange dogs or your family dog that is getting too aggressive or frisky.

    If you have any questions, or need a recommendation for a trainer, don’t hesitate to call us at 347-223-5116.

    Halloween Can Be Dangerous For Your Pets

    Halloween is a fun time of the year, especially for kids!  But as a smart pet owner, you should be weary of the potential dangers for your pets around the Halloween season!  There are so many things that can happen in a matter of seconds that could cost your pets their health and even their life.  Here are a few safety reminders:

    (1) Do not leave your pets outside unattended: You should never leave your pets outside unattended anyway, but especially on Halloween, and the days leading up to Halloween.  This goes for all pets, even your cats that like to go outside.  Do not let them outside on Halloween, and maybe even the day before.  Unfortunately there are unscrupulous people out there who will go so far as to hurt your pet on purpose.  Halloween is a night of mischief, so don’t let your pets get caught up in it!

    (2) Keep the candy and the candy wrappers away from your pets: The most obvious danger of Halloween is all of the candy.  Candy is not good for pets! Many sweets have artificial sweeteners in them that are toxic and for those of you that don’t already know, chocolate is major toxic food for pets.  Another food that people don’t usually think about is raisins and grapes. They are also toxic to pets.  One last thing to think about with the candy is the wrappers. Some of those foil wrappers can be super dangerous. They are basically the same as tin foil and can cause damage in your pet’s intestinal system.

    (3) Be cautious when decorating your house for Halloween: Pets are naturally very curious.  Haven’t you realized that whenever you buy something new for your hose, your pet is the first one to notice?!  Curiosity combined with unsafe Halloween decorations can be dangerous, so think before you decorate!

    (4) Pick a safe costume for your pet: First, make sure you get the correct size outfit for your pet and that it fits them comfortably. You do not want the costume to be too tight. This can make your pet extremely irritable, not to mention, that it can rub sores into their skin and cut their circulation off.  You also do not want the costume too big because then they can trip over it.  In addition, try to avoid things like sequins, bows, extra buttons, etc. These are things your dog may chew off and swallow and potentially choke or cause an intestinal blockage. Lastly, You should think of your pet as a small child in their costume and never leave them unattended. If they continue to struggle in their costume, you should remove it immediately.

    (5) Be careful of the front door: Do you plan on putting your pets in another room, put up a barricade or let them join in the fun? This is really important to think about ahead of time. How your pets normally reacts to visitors may not be how they’ll react to visitors in strange costumes with their faces concealed. Not to mention with kids screaming, yelling, crying and the doorbell ringing, etc.

    Enjoy the Halloween season, knowing that your pet is safe and happy!!

    Canine Influenza – what do you need to know???

    WHAT IS IT??  Canine influenza is an infectious disease which only affects dogs, and is caused by a flu virus.  A strain known as H3N8 is able to cause respiratory illness in dogs.  It is highly contagious.  Virtually, every dog exposed to the illness will become infected.  While 100% of dogs are susceptible to canine influenza, only 80% if infected dogs will actually show signs of infection.  Dogs that do not show signs of infection can still spread the virus; therefore, it is impossible to know what dogs to keep your dog away from.  Since 2003, there have been numerous reports of influenza outbreaks in boarding facilities, kennels, shelters and veterinary clinics.  These outbreaks can be started from just one sick dog!

    HOW SERIOUS IS IT??  It is a mild disease, but can become serious in some dogs.  In about 20% of the cases, severe symptoms can occur like fever and pneumonia.  Some dogs have even died from canine influenza.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR??  Most common sign is a cough, that is similar to kennel cough in some cases (dry cough) but other dogs can have productive coughs, so it is hard to diagnose.  Other signs can include fever, discharge, lack of energy, and  loss of appetite.

    HOW TO PROTECT MY DOG??  You can lower your dogs chance of infection by keeping your dog away from kennels, doggie day care facilities, shelters, and busy waiting rooms at veterinarian offices.  Keep your dog in good general health.  If you are going away or need daily exercise for your dog, look for a fully insured in-home pet sitting company instead of a facility.  This will lower your dogs exposure to possible infectious dogs.  According to Dr. Michael Moyer, director of shelter animal medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, “The point of exposure is indeed from group housing situations like dog parks, dog daycare, shelters, grooming shops, and veterinary hospitals.”  Lastly, ask your vet if your dog is a good candidate for the Canine Influenza Vaccine.

    Keeping Your Pet Healthy!

    Adding a daily supplement can help jump-start your pet’s immune system and promote wellness and health.  A great supplement will help pets fight foreign invasions caused by toxins that can wreak havoc on their bodies.  When picking one, inspect the label to determine what it contains.  Vitamins A, C, E and Selenium should be contained in the supplement.  Proper supplements that meet your pet’s needs will ensure a strong immune system.  Take a look at Nuvet (www.nuvet.com) as a daily supplement for your pet.  They use all natural, human-grade vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  If you are interested, enter code 46654 at check out.