How to Prepare for Any Canine Emergency

If an emergency were to strike, would you be prepared?  Staying calm and knowing what to do in case of disaster is the first step, and listed below are common emergencies, what you should do, and tips for mitigating the consequences. On the Road Before getting your dog ready for travel, you should prepare a few key items.  First, print off your dog’s veterinary and vaccine records, just in case you need to make an emergency visit to a veterinarian.  Next, ensure your dog’s microchip and tag information are up to date, in case of the unfortunate scenario that you lose your pet.  In addition, be sure to have a recent photo of your dog available. While traveling, it is essential that your pet remain restrained in the car, either in a kennel, with a seat belt, or behind a pet gate.  This not only prevents your dog from distracting...
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Hidden Danger for Dogs: Xylitol

One of the most toxic substances for dogs has only surfaced in recent years, thanks to the health-conscious minds of today’s consumers.  A particularly scary aspect of this ingredient is that it is not always listed on a food’s label, and can appear in unlikely sources.  Everything you need to know about xylitol and the dangers it poses to your dog is discussed here. What is Xylitol? Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that adds sweetness to food without the calories or insulin-spike of sugar.  It is commonly added to sugar-free or “diet friendly” foods in order to make these items more palatable.  In addition, xylitol is less likely to cause side effects in humans, such as gastrointestinal upset, which is commonly experienced with sweeteners such as sorbitol. Which Foods Contain Xylitol? The most common sources of xylitol are sugar-free gum, breath fresheners, toothpaste, and most recently, certain brands of peanut...
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Is a Shiba Inu Right for You?

Shiba Inus are popular dogs thanks to their fox-like aesthetic and small, manageable size.  However, this breed of dog is often considered to be one of the more difficult ones to own, and for good reason.  Is a Shiba Inu right for your family? Temperament Shiba Inus are commonly called the “cats of the dog world” due to their aloof personality.  They tend to be loner dogs, ones that prefer keeping to themselves rather than engaging in stereotypical dog-like behaviors, such as attention seekin.  As alert and active animals they make great watch dogs, and their high energy makes them perfect exercise partners for active people. Size, Coloring, and Upkeep Shibas are small in stature, standing 16 – 17 inches tall and weighing 18 – 22 lbs.  They have four common coat colorings, including red, sesame, black and tan, or white. Shiba Inus have a double coat and shed heavily,...
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Dogs and Children: Dog Bite Prevention

Unfortunately, children represent the largest demographic of people affected by serious dog bites annually.  A conservative estimate is that 400,000 children receive medical treatment in the US each year after a dog attack; however, many cases go unreported for fear of the dog’s welfare.  While no dog bite is ever inexcusable, the fact of the matter is that many attacks can be prevented. Why Are Children Affected More Often Than Adults? Children represent chaotic unpredictability to pets, which can be extremely nerve wracking – especially to an anxious dog.  Dogs have certain drives that are evolutionarily ingrained, such as chasing smaller animals or becoming agitated in the presence of loud shrieks.  In addition, children are less likely to be aware of personal space, and can threaten an animal by inadvertently crowding a dog’s face or food bowl. Rules for Children Never approach a dog during mealtime.  This rule holds true...
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Last Minute Halloween Costumes for your Dog

With Halloween mere hours away, you may be struggling to get your pup’s costume together (or forgot about Halloween completely).  Listed here are 9 costumes that require little effort. Mummy Turn your dog into a spooky mummy by wrapping her in strips of gauze, a cut-up t-shirt, or even toilet paper.  To add to the effect, red food coloring can be used to create the illusion of blood.  Just be sure that the wrappings are not too tight and that your pet’s movements aren’t restricted. Skeleton This costume is perfect if your pet has dark fur.  Simply purchase a pet-safe temporary marker or fur paint and outline your dog’s skeletal system.  If bringing your dog along trick-or-treating, look for glow-in-the-dark paint to add to the effect.  This costume is great for dogs that dislike wearing clothes or costumes. Tiger Similar to the skeleton, if you have a tan or orange...
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Help! I’m Allergic to my Pet!

A pet allergy can develop suddenly, leaving owners scrambling to determine how to manage their comfort while fairly treating their pet.  Many dogs are relinquished to shelters due to an owner’s allergies, but there are a number of strategies that can mitigate symptoms. Get a Diagnosis First and foremost, it is important to get an official diagnosis from an allergy specialist before determining your allergies stem from your dog.  Oftentimes, people have multiple allergies that are cumulative.  For instance, you may have mild allergies to your dog’s fur and saliva, but no symptoms until specific pollen is present.  Determining the exact cause can help you best develop a plan for treatment. Create an Allergy Free Zone There should be a room in your house – preferably the bedroom – where your dog is not allowed.  This will help you not only sleep better at night and limit your exposure to the...
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5 Universal Responsibilities of Dog Owners

Owning a dog is a huge responsibility, one that sometimes is not fully considered in advance.  To aid owners in understanding the role they are undertaking in a dog’s life, the ASPCA has created a list outlining the five freedoms every animal should have.  Does your dog enjoy these freedoms? Provide Food and Water At the top of the list of responsibilities that you have to your pet is providing reliable access to fresh water and food.  Water should be refreshed multiple times per day, and the food should be appropriate for your pet.  If your dog lives primarily outdoors, a heated water bowl should be utilized during the winter months so that water does not freeze.  During the summer months, water bowls should be cleaned regularly to prevent the growth of algae. Provide Appropriate Housing Every animal should have access to a roof and four walls of protection, whether...
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Preparing Your Dog For Winter

With Halloween just around the corner, the first signs of colder weather are upon us.  For your dog, this means opportunities to play in the snow and chase snowballs, while for you the winter will require a change in routine.  Tips for keeping your dog safe are listed below. Indoor Dog Coat Unless your dog is a northern breed such as an Akita or Siberian Husky, chances are that she will need an extra layer of protection when outdoors.  Small dogs and shorthaired breeds should wear a sweater or water-resistant jacket when temperatures are below freezing. Booties Snow, ice, and salt can all cause discomfort for your dog.  If your pet is a puppy or has sensitive paws, consider purchasing booties from the pet store that will provide an extra layer of protection. Pet-Safe Salt Dogs can experience burns and irritation to their mouths when licking road salt from their...
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Is a Labrador Retriever Right for You?

Labrador Retrievers have consistently been the most popular dog breed in the world for the past 30 years.  In the United States alone, the Labrador Retriever has been the most-registered dog for 25 consecutive years.  Is this popular breed right for you? Temperament Perhaps the biggest reason that Labrador Retrievers are so popular is their temperament.  Labs are patient, fun-loving, energetic, good with children, and obedient.  Labrador Retrievers are also friendly and outgoing, making them great pets for families. Size, Coloring, and Upkeep Labrador Retrievers are large dogs, with males weighing 65 -80 lbs, and females reaching 55 – 70 lbs.  Potential lab owners should know that scientists have recently found a genetic link for obesity in this breed, proving that labs are prone to overeating and weight gain.  When obese, these dogs can easily weigh over 100 lbs. Labs can be registered in one of three colors:  yellow, black,...
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Dog Aggression? Diagnosing Common Canine Behavior

One of the worst labels a dog can receive is “aggressive.”  In fact, in many states, that word can be a death sentence.  It is important for owners to understand the signs of canine aggression, and what to do in order to fix the problem. You can find some good books here on this as well. Normal Canine Behavior New pet owners may not understand that nipping, biting, and gnawing are all normal puppy and adolescent dog behaviors.  While these actions can be frustrating (and painful) they are not indicative of an aggressive dog.  Instead, this behavior stems from the fact that dogs interact with the world via their mouths (much in the same way as toddlers), and until they are taught otherwise, they will continue to behave in a way that is most natural.  Therefore, if your puppy nips at your heels, chews on your hand during play time,...
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