Thursday, December 29, 2011

Shelter Birthday Parties


Forget about MacDonald's and Chuck E. Cheese!

One of the hottest places today to celebrate a child's birthday is at the animal shelter. Not only do you support a good cause, but it is lots of fun. Several shelters nationwide offer birthday parties for kids.

At the Longmont Humane Society in Colorado, a two-hour party, held in the community room, consists of animal-themed games, an animal-safety presentation, a visit from kid-friendly dogs, and a tour of the shelter. Each guest also receives a special goodie bag to take home. The donation for this much fun is $150.

Instead of gifts, some children ask their friends to bring something on the shelter's wish list. The parties bring people to the shelter who might not do so otherwise, and the best part is that some families even go home with a new pet.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Pot for Dogs?

In an effort to ease pain from arthritis, cancer, and other diseases in dogs, the Seattle company Medical Marijuana Delivery Systems is developing a "pot patch".

The product, to be called Tetracan, received patent rights in February of 2011 and could reach the market by the middle of 2012. This patch would be an alternative to pharmaceutical painkillers which have proven harmful, sometimes fatal in animals.


Maybe it will be sold with a box of milkbones?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Match for Pets


Now I have heard everything!

A website for dog companions.......find your dog's perfect playmate.

You can open a free account and search for potential pals for your pet according to species, breed, and city. Most of the site's profiles feature information about each pet's personality and favorite activities, and also photos. It is a way to find a few potentially compatible pals not far from home.

While the site is mainly for pets to connect with other pets, owners may connect too!

The creators goal is about enriching dogs' lives by providing them with more opportunities for the playtime they crave. That invaluable one-on-one time with another dog provides socialization and exercise and ultimately makes for a better pet.

For more information: http://www.PetsDating.com

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ebony Toy Test


Yes, Christmas time and time to spoil my dog.

Ebony loves soft, squeaky toys. But she destroys them. The last toy had "Chew Guard™" technology which claimed to be tougher, but Ebony had the stuffing out the next day. She still likes to play with the remains of the toy. In fact, I have seen at pet stores dog toys without stuffing.

The Kyjen Invincibles Snake claims to be a long-lasting toy and has no synthetic stuffing inside. It is filled with squeakers. The huge rectangular squeakers inside this toy make up its entire body. So if your dog bites through the toy, there is no stuffing to swallow. Unlike other squeaker toys, your dog can bite right through the Kyjen Invincibles Snake and the squeakers will still work.

These guys will show you......



I will let you know if it passes the Ebony Toy Test

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A New Sport!


TREIBBALL


A sport new to the United States and quickly gaining popularity.

Treiball (pronounced, "Tryb-bal," which means "driving ball" in German)is a problem-solving game that keeps owner and dog thinking and moving together as a team. It is played with large, plastic balls.

The game begins when the handler sends the dog out into a playing field containing eight large colored balls. The dog has 10 minutes to roll the balls into a target in the order directed by the handler. It ends when the dog brings in all the balls and lies down or time runs out. In competition, the fastest dog-handler team with the fewest errors wins. Canine errors includes using paws or teeth to move the ball.

Any size dog or breed can play Treibball, but the dog should have, or be willing to develop, good listening skills. Because it does not need a wide-open field of a traditional herding course, it can be done in urban environments which has earned Treibball one of its many nicknames, "urban pool."

Because the sport is fairly new, you may not find a group in your area. You can still teach your dog the basics at home, referring to the association handbook for specifics found on the website.

If your dog craves physical activity and mental stimulation, and you would like to be a part of an up-and-coming trend, check out Treibball. Your dog may not be satisfied by chasing a tennis ball again!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Paw Print Stamp


Here is a great idea for original wrapping paper and you will not have the mess of letting your dog walk all over wrapping paper with painted paws.

Make a paw print stamp!

What you will need:

1. Clay (regular modeling clay, modeling compound, or Play-Doh)
2. Petroleum jelly
3. Hot glue gun & glue sticks
4. Several small blocks of wood, a little larger than you do's paw
5. Sandpaper
6. Roll of plain paper
7. Nontoxic, washable poster paint
8. Paper plate
9. Paper towels

How to make it:

1. Work the clay with your hands until it is soft and pliable, then form several disks of clay, about 1/4 inch thick, a little larger in diameter than your dog's paw. The disks should not be very thick, so the paw print will be as flat as possible, to make a good stamp.

2. Press your dog's paw gently into each disk. The paw print should be shallow, while still being clearly a paw print.

3. Coat the inside of the paw print and the surrounding area of the clay with a think layer of petroleum jelly.

4. Plug in the hot glue gun. Fill the paw prints with hot glue, filling in each indentation, then covering the whole paw print and about 1/4 inch surrounding it with a thick layer of glue.

5. Gently place a wooden block on top of each paw print. This will be the back of your stamp. Allow the glue to dry for about five to ten minutes.

6. Gently remove the blocks and glue prints from the clay mold. If some of the clay has melted or stuck to the mold, just wipe it off.

7. Sand the glue to be somewhat flat, or rub it against concrete, such as a front step or your driveway. This will make for a better stamp.

8. Spread paint thinly on a paper plate. Dip your stamps in. Make a few sample prints on the plate to find which stamps make the best prints. Use the best ones for your wrapping paper project.

Stamp away on your wrapping paper or use the stamp to "sign" cards, seal envelops, or letterhead.

Be sure to treat your dog for helping you with this project.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hypoallergenic Dogs A Myth?


It turns out that the so-called "allergy-free dogs" are not so allergy-free.According to a study by a team of researchers at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit found that alleged hypoallergenic dogs, such as Poodles, Portuguese Water Dogs, and Labrador Retriever-Poodle mixes, do not have lower allergen levels in their homes.



People with pet allergies suffer bouts of congestion, coughing, sneezing, and red, itchy eyes. The harmless proteins, found in a dog's saliva and sebaceous, or skin, glands cause the adverse reactions. The proteins are then deposited on the coat through self grooming, or flakes of dead skin (dander) fall off the body, sticking to just about anything.....walls, carpets, and clothing.

For this study, Henry Ford researchers analyzed dust samples, collected from the carpet or floor of 173 homes, for the dog allergen Can f 1. In all, 60 dog breeds - 11 of which were widely considered hypoallergenic - were involved in the study.

Researchers found no significant differences in allergen levels between home3s with a "hypoallergenic" dog and those with other dogs.

The findings are published online in the July/August issue of the American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Dog Toy That Talks Back

Are you still looking for that entertaining dog toy?

This one is entertaining for both you and your dog. Especially if you have a "ball loving dog", it could prove to keep him busy for a long time.

My dog, Ebony, had one of these when she was a puppy. I must admit that I got tired of the noise long before she got tired of playing with it.

Here is a funny video of a Border Collie and the Babble Ball.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Puppy Raisers Needed


Do you love puppies?

Here is the perfect volunteer job.

Guide Dogs for the Blind, a San Rafael, California based organization that provides highly trained service animals to visually impaired people, needs volunteers to temporarily house and train its puppies.

Yes, the hardest part of the job is returning the puppy (between 13 and 18 months of age) for further training and placement with a visually impaired person.

Qualified volunteers receive their young canine charges - Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, or their mixes - around 8 weeks of age to teach them basic obedience, good house manners, and to begin introducing them to the real world. That means the pup goes with you everywhere to become familiar with life's sights and sounds.

Prepping puppies as future service animals is a lot of work, but volunteers do not do it alone. Local puppy raising clubs meet a few times each month to give volunteers guidance on proper training and socialization.



Guide Dogs is currently looking for volunteers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

Are you ready to be a Puppy Raiser?

For more information about volunteering call Guide Dogs for the Blind at 800-295-4050 or visit them online.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Benefits of Pet Ownership


Human interactions provide people with considerable social support and dog ownership can provide the social support, too.

Psychologists at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and Saint Louis University in St. Louis conducted experiments examining the potential benefits of pet ownership among people.

The findings?

Pets serve as important sources of social support, providing many positive psychological and physical benefits.

There was evidence that pet owners fared better, both in terms of well-being outcomes and individual differences, than non-owners on several dimensions.

People who own pets are more physically fit and conscientious, have greater self-esteem, and tend to be less lonely and fearful.

Pet owners were just as close to key people in their lives as to their animals, indicating that pet relationships did not come at the expense of relationships with people.

Does any of this surprise you?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Dog Treats From China - Warning


Caution from FDA

According to the FDA, chicken jerky pet products that are imported from China are causing dogs to get sick and even die. According to the report, most dogs appear to recover; however, some have died. The report says,

"The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is again cautioning consumers that chicken jerky products for dogs (also sold as chicken tenders, strips or treats) may be associated with illness in dogs. In the last 12 months, FDA has seen an increase in the number of complaints it received of dog illnesses associated with consumption of chicken jerky products imported from China. These complaints have been reported to FDA by dog owners and veterinarians."

People should watch for the following signs:

decreased appetite
decreased activity
vomiting
diarrhea, sometimes with blood
increased water consumption
increased urination

If the dog shows any of these symptoms, stop feeding the chicken jerky and immediatley consult a veterinarian.

The report also states,

"Blood tests may indicate kidney failure (increased urea nitrogen and creatinine). Urine tests may indicate Fanconi syndrome (increased glucose)."

Not the First Warning

The FDA issued a caution to dog owners in September 2007 and December 2008. The number of complaints from dog owners and vets prompted the FDA to release this recent warning.

Read full FDA report.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

We Love Our Pets



Americans own 73 million dogs and 90 million cats. They become best friends, soul mates, family members, and even surrogate children. Relationships with cats and dogs are some of the longest and most intimate of our lives.

Why are we so attached?

Animal behavior experts, evolutionary biologists, veterinarians, and pet owners share insights and observations about these animals and their impact on us.

Four-time Emmy Award winner, filmmaker and director Ellen Goosenberg Kent kept the 10-month production of NATURE’s Why We Love Cats and Dogs on the right track. Ellen brings a strong visual sense to the art of storytelling and was able to illuminate the dynamic human-pet relationship, revealing how dogs and cats share our emotions in many significant ways.

Watch here: Video: Full Episode

C.L.A.S.S.


Etiquette school for your dog!

A new national program called Canine Life and Social Skills uses positive reinforcement techniques to teach good manners, enabling owners to take their dogs with them to more places.

The C.L.A.S.S. program, taught by the association's members, focuses on using positive reinforcement when training to create a harmonious relationship between dog and owner. Through the use of fun games and exercises, some of the real-life skills participants learn include walking "nicely" on a leash, meeting strangers, and table manners. At the end of the six to eight week program, dogs are evaluated for certification.

For more information check out this website or call The Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), a professional organization of individual trainers who are committed to becoming better trainers through education at 800-PET-DOGS

Monday, November 28, 2011

Adopt A Pet at Macy's

How much is that doggie in the window?


​It is that time again, when Macy's in San Francisco's displays hundreds of extremely cute puppies and kittens in its storefront window, tempting those passing through Union Square.

On November 18th Macy's unveiled their 2011 “Holiday Windows” with elaborately-decorated window displays featuring some adorable (and adoptable) cats and dogs to help benefit the SPCA and find these furry friends a new home.

Over the past six years, the Macy’s Holiday Windows have helped the SF SPCA raise over $320,000 and find homes for over 2,000 animals.

You have until New Year's Day to check out the display and adopt a friend for life or make a donation.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Save Your Fingers!


Does your dog grab treats so that you fear for your fingers?

Here is a way to teach your dog "EASY" when offering a treat:

First, try to work this lesson when your dog is well-fed and somewhat tired.

Start with medium value treats that your dog likes but does not go crazy over. Visibly place a treat in your palm and close your hand.

Ignore when your dog paws and nips your hand trying to get the treat. Once the dog stops to figure out what might work, capture this moment and open you hand as you say, "EASY".

Repeat until your dog understands that that only calm grasps earn the treat.

Extend the behavior by holding the treat between your fingers and reminding your dog, "EASY".

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ball Game

Is your dog ball crazy?

Loves to retrieve a ball?

Or is happiest with a ball or two in his mouth?



Try a different ball game; "roll a ball"

First use a ball too big to fit in your dog's mouth.

Tell your dog to stay while he watches you place a small treat on the floor by the ball. Then roll the ball forward to almost cover it.

Stand close behind the ball so it rolls toward you and release your dog to get the treat.

As he takes it, the ball will roll. Say, "Yes!" and reward by tossing a treat behind him. He will turn away from the ball to get that treat. Place another treat under the ball.

Repeat this several times, encouraging him to push the ball toward you to get the treat, rewarding with a tossed treat. He will expect a treat under the ball and will quickly return to push it again after collecting the tossed treat.

At this point, quit putting the treat under the ball and just encourage him to push it. Dog s are optimistic - he will look for the treat and the ball will roll. You might use, "Yes, roll the ball," and reward with a tossed reward treat. Soon your dog will understand that pushing the ball earns treats. Gradually stand farther back from the ball, and he will learn to roll it a longer distance.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Turkey Day Treats

You can include your dog in your Turkey Day celebration with this canine-friendly sweet potato recipe.

These dog treats are not hard and crunchy; they are more like cookies in texture. You can keep them in an airtight container for up to three days; to store them longer, put them in a zip-lock bag in the freezer.

If you like, use 1 1/2 cups mashed, cooked sweet potato or pumpkin in place of the canned.

Sweet Potato Dog Treats

1 15 ounce can sweet potatoes, drained
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
blend in.....
2 cups barley flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup nutritional yeast

Turn dough out onto lightly floured counter, and knead two or three times if necessary to completely incorporate the ingredients. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness, cut into shapes, and transfer to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Scraps may be rerolled and cut. Score large cookies with a fork, if desired. Brush lightly with olive oil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees until firm and lightly brown.

Makes about 12 large treats.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tracking Missing Pets


Kat Albrecht, a former police Bloodhound trainer and crime scene investigator, is teaching animal shelter volunteers how to find lost pets by using some of the same skills and tools employed by law enforcement in tracking down missing people.

The Shelter Pet Detective program at the Regional Animal Services of King County Shelter in Washington was started by Kat.

Helping owners find their lost pets is something most shelters do not aggressively or effectively do. Many pet owners give up hope due to lack of resources and support.

The pilot program was launched in July with about 35 volunteers trained to assist owners in finding their lost pets. Volunteers search the shelter for missing dogs by creating neon "lost pet" posters; use social media to broadcast lost pet information; and do physical searches armed with humane traps, DNA tests, and forensic tools.

Kat is trying to raise money to start the Shelter Pet Detective program in three other Washington state animal shelters and would like to see the program offered nationwide

For more information, visit the organization's website.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Why Adopt A Senior Dog?


Yes, puppies are so cute, but another category of dogs can be just as darling; older dogs. In animal shelters, they often go ignored by potential future owners. Of course a senior dog is not going to live as long as a puppy, but she still has a lot of life to share.

Advantages of senior dog adoption:

1. Most senior dogs are house trained and obedience trained to at least a certain level, and do not need the intense socialization that puppies require.

2. It is obvious how big the dog is going to get.

3. Her temperament is known.

4. Depending on the dog's age, inherited diseases have probably surfaced.

5. Many older dogs are happy to set their pace to match yours.

6. They do not typically chew things.

7. Seniors' shorter expected life spans make sense for people whose kids are getting older and who are looking to a future with more travel in it.

8. Adopted older dogs are eternally grateful for the second chance.

A FEW disadvantages of senior dog adoption:

1. You will not get to live with your dog for the next 10-15 years (depending on breed).

2. A she ages further, she is likely to face senior-related health problems.

3. Mobility problems may arise. But as dogs' life spans have grown, so have available medications, treatments, and other tools to handle their health problems.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Grow Grass For Your Dog


There is much debate about why dogs eat grass. Some dogs seem to act like mini lawnmowers, eating grass at every opportunity. Others dogs eat grass only occasionally, and throwing it up.

There actually appears to be two types of grass eating behavior in dogs. Some dogs take a few nibbles, while others eat quickly, barely chewing the grass. Unchewed grass often translates to near instant vomiting. Dogs that are careful grazers, on the other hand, may not get sick from grass.

The latter case suggests that some dogs eat grass because they enjoy it. Most dogs do not need it to supplement their diets, but because dog diets are primarily made up of herbivores, that grassy taste may be reminiscent of the cattle or lamb product they had for dinner. Some dogs also enjoy green vegetables like broccoli.

Although not all dogs like wheatgrass many will nibble on the stalks or enjoy the clippings in their food bowl. Growing weatgrass is easy, try it to see if your dog likes it. If your dog does like it, you can keep the grass growing or start larger trays. Maybe even juice some of it for yourself!

What you need:

1/4 cup organic hard red wheat berries
fine mesh strainer
glass jar with lid
two plastic trays with holes for drainage, about 6 inch square, and something to put them on, like a saucer or tray
1/2 cup potting mix
paper towels

How to make it:

1. Rinse the wheat berries in the strainer for about one minute, shaking to rinse will.

2. Pour the wheat berries into the jar and cover with about 1 cup of water.

3. Let the wheat berries soak for 8 to 12 hours. During cold weather, they may need to soak a bit longer. When you see tiny white sprouts on the ends of the berries, they are ready to plant. These may look like nothing more than white dots that were not there before.

4. Fill one plastic tray with the potting mix and put it on a saucer or drainage tray.

5. Drain the wheat berries into the strainer again, and gently rinse. Spread them evenly over the potting mix.

6. Put three layers of paper towels over the seeds and water the paper towels. Put the second tray on top, upside down, acting as a lid.

7. Water the paper towels as needed to keep them moist. After 24 hours, check to see if your wheat berries have sprouted and keep watering.

8. When the grass is about one inch tall (this should take about three days, depending on temperature), remove the paper towels and the lid and put the wheatgrass in a sunny window. Water daily.

9. When the wheat grass is 4 to 6 inches tall and bright green, set the tray where your dog can take a nibble. If your dog is not interested, clip off bits of grass with a scissors into his dog food.

Small dogs can eat about a tablespoon of grass clippings. Large dogs might enjoy up to about 1/2 cup with their regular kibble.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Daylight Savings Time and Dogs


Daylight Savings Time officially ended.

For most of us that means we get an extra hour of sleep and relaxation before starting the day. Did you know that pets can be affected by the time change as well?

Dogs do not use watches, but they can tell when there is a change in their owner's behavior.

Much of a dog's behavior is linked to our schedules. Your dog might get up when you do, and learn to ask to go outside at a certain point in the morning routine. They might even learn other behaviors depending on yours.

Dogs thrive on schedules. When those schedules are disrupted it can cause changes in their behavior. An extra hour in bed for you might mean your dog wakes up at the same time needing to go to the bathroom or to eat breakfast. If you are not careful it can seem like you woke up to a dog who has lost all their training.

Keep a close eye on your dog for any changes in their behavior after the time change. If they seem to be more anxious or are having more accidents than normal, try getting up an hour earlier and seeing if the behavior continues. Of course, you might get lucky and have a dog who will appreciate the extra hour of sleep, too.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dogs and Baseball


Did you know that you can take your dog to the baseball game at several stadiums?

We missed the baseball season for this year, but that gives you time to find out about which stadiums in your area are dog friendly and when.

More than half of all Major League Baseball teams celebrate an annual event that allows fans to bring their dogs to the ballpark. These special events allow fans to sit with their dogs in a special section of the stadium and watch the game. All that is required to attend is a special ticket purchased in advance, and proof that your dog has a current vaccination record.

The fun is not limited to the stands. Many Major League Baseball dog day events include pre-game on-field parades, photo opportunities, contests, auctions, and special activities. Some events include prizes for best costume, best dog trick, and best smile. All these dog day events raise funds for local pet shelters and humane education programs.

Doggie-themed events have become increasingly popular over the years. The San Francisco Giants have held annual dog day events since 1996, longer than any other National League team.

Most teams have one annual dog celebration, but the Pittsburgh Pirates have more dog events than any other Major League Baseball team.

Owners can find events at stadiums across the country. Contact your local Major League Baseball team to find out what dog-friendly events are happening at the ballpark.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Miniature Sculptures of Real-Life Dogs


I once introduced you to Julie Michels of Rock Art Imagery who paints amazing dog portraits on rocks.

Now you must meet Lucy Maloney of Designer Dog Miniatures who creates miniature sculptures of real-life dogs.

Her sculptures are incredible! They are truly hard to believe.

Lucy, although she continues to experiment with different materials for her sculptures, mostly settles on alpaca or cashmere for dog hair. She uses German-made glass eyes and leather for ears. The bone structure is done with wire armature.

These dog sculptures are definitely a one-of-a-kind.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Traveling Together

Do you travel with your dog?

Take vacations together?

Here is one dog and human team that has been traveling together for nearly five years. Talk about bonding!

Ara Gureghian and his dog, Spirit have been traveling across America on a motorbike equipped with a special side car for his canine buddy. For this man and his best friend it is about the spiritual journey for there is no destination.

They like to travel slowing to take in all the sights. Ara has been posting stories and photographs about their travels on the Internet. His photography is awesome! Be sure to visit his website. You can also experience "the ride" as you watch the videos. The SPOT satellite tracker enables you to track their journey.

They seem to favor the big open spaces, the type of spectacular terrain found in Utah, Montana, and Wyoming. The last post was from Texas.

It sounds as if Ara and Spirit have developed a special relationship traveling the highways of America.

Dogs ready to travel:



See Spirit on the website.



Sunday, October 30, 2011

State's Official Dog


An Oregon sheep rancher successfully lobbied state legislators to introduce a bill to designate the Border Collie as the state's official dog. It was introduced last winter and if passes, it will be signed into law.

Dogs have long played a part in our daily lives, and some have played a part in history. Wanting to honor the Border Collies' role in Oregon's agricultural history, the breed may soon become Oregon's Official Dog.

Several states have honored canines by designated them as the official state dog.

Maryland was first in the state dog tradition in 1964 by naming its native breed, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, their official state dog. More recently, the Alaskan Malamute, the largest and oldest of the Arctic breeds, got its designation after an Anchorage kindergartner inspired a group of kids to lobby Alaska's state legislature. In 2009, the rare Chinook became the state dog of New Hampshire after a successful campaign started by a dog-loving science teacher and some enthusiastic students who got a civics lesson, too.

The honored breed often has a longstanding relationship with state residents and represents a part of the state's history. For example, Chinooks were bred by sled-dog driver and explorer Arthur Walden in the early 1900's.

Nine other breeds have been declared official state dogs:

The Catahoula Leopard Dog (Louisiana, 1979) is bred to handle cattle and hogs and has a reputation for size and strength. American settlers in the South developed this spotted breed.

The Boston Terrier (Massachusetts, 1979), bred from crossing Bulldogs and English terriers, was developed after the Civil War in Boston as a strong, smart fighting dog.

The Plott Hound (North Carolina, 1989) gets its name from the German immigrant who settled in North Carolina in 1750 with five Hanoverian Hounds. Plott bred dogs for hunting boar and bear.

The Great Dane (Pennsylvania, 1965) developed in Germany as a hunting and guard dog was widely used as a working dog during Pennsylvania's frontier days.

The Boykin Spaniel (South Carolina, 1985) is a hard-working bird dog which began with a stray dog who had a knack for retrieving waterfowl.

The Blue Lacy (Texas, 2005) was thought to have resulted from a cross between a coyote and a Greyhound, and was developed in Texas in the mid-1800s.

President George Washington bred the American Foxhound (Virginia, 1966) in the 1700s. Today, the breed participates in competitive field trails and fox hunting.

The American Water Spaniel (Wisconsin, 1985), bred to retrieve from boats, was developed in the Great Lakes region of the United States in the mid 1800s.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Endangered Species Helped by Dogs


Dogs are using their powerful sense of smell to help in the fight to save endangered species.

Researchers at Auburn University in Alabama began using specially trained dogs a couple of years ago to sniff out scat (feces) left behind by black bears, weasels, skunks, and other wild creatures. Alabama is home to 117 endangered species.

Todd Steury, and assistant professor of wildlife ecology and founder of EcoDog, originally used the dogs to find out where certain carnivores were living in order to better protect those areas.

He believes that habitat loss is one of the biggest drivers of biodiversity loss today. He says that dogs are ideal for this type of work because more traditional tools that use bait might skew results by luring animals into an area they would not normally go.

Scat provides researchers with a wealth of information such as population size, fertility, diet, and stress levels.

Currently 11 Labrador Retrievers are part of the program and were all trained at the university's Canine Detection and Research Institute, one of the largest dog detection training programs outside of the federal government.

Training takes about eight weeks for the first scent,then about 10 minutes for additional odors.

The dogs can be "rented" for field studies in other states, and recently worked on finding invasive pythons deep in the Florida Everglades and right whale feces floating in the Atlantic Ocean.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"Advocate" Button

Heartbreak, helplessness, and despair is what many animal lovers feel when they see a lonely pet at the animal shelter.

Ashley Owen Hill and Chris Hoar are on a mission to find stray dogs and cats forever homes. Together they founded Pet Pardons, a Facebook app that allows users to create online profiles for adoptable pets who are on death row or in no-kill shelters, and encourage adoption by clicking the "Advocate" button, which posts pet updates to their own wall.

The app helps shelter pets across the country gain exposure and offers a simple way for online animal lovers to connect and encourage adoption. Some users are willing to provide transportation from state to state, allowing people to adopt pets from hundreds of miles away.

The simple "Advocate" button is and easy way for users to spread the word and save the lives of thousands of shelter pets across the country. Over 3,000 pets have been placed thanks to the app.

Pet Pardons' ultimate goal is to end all euthanasia in American shelters by January 1, 2015!

To learn more, visit apps.facebook.com/petpardons or check out the Pet Pardons page at Facebook.com/petpardons

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Watercolor "Pet of the Week"

Graphic designer, Matt Tames helps homeless pets by creating pet portraits weekly and posting them on the Internet.

Since February of 2010, he has created a watercolor "Pet of the Week" to help bring attention to the problem of unwanted pets and to try to find a home for each of his subjects.

He believes that if he captured a picture of the animal looking happy or having a good time, that maybe people would be more inclined to adopt an animal in need.

He e-mails local animal shelters or searches on Petfinder.com for a dog, and sometimes a cat, to paint and posts it on his website.

Matt donates 20 percent of each 8" by 10" print to an animal charity and links to the animal's profile online. Some of the dogs have been adopted!

Be sure to check out Matt's website.

Here is a photo of my dog, Ebony.
This is a watercolor version done in PhotoShop.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Entertainment

This video is entertaining as the dog entertains itself.

ENJOY!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cancer Treatment Grants


Here is a fabulous company that provides grants for cancer treatment.

Zuke's, the maker of natural pet treats located in Durango, Colorado, pledges a percentage of its profits to The Dog and Cat Cancer Fund which offers grants to owners of pets with cancer who might not otherwise be able to afford treatment. The criteria include the pet's prognosis and the owner's financial need.

The company was named after a chocolate Labrador Retriever belonging to the company founder and CEO Patrick Meiering, who co-founded the fund in 2007 with his brother, Christopher.

In 2010 they donated $40,000. So far, grants have gone to more than 70 families of dogs and cats with cancer.

This is wonderful! Thank you Zuke's.

More information here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Costume Time?


Dressing your dog for Halloween can be fun for you, but it could be stressful for your dog unless you spend a little time getting your dog use to wearing a costume.

Suggestions for teaching your dog to wear a costume.

If your dog has never worn anything but a collar and leash, start the costume experience with a simple bandanna knotted around her neck. Put it on and praise her verbally and with treats.

Add a "cape" by tucking one end of a scarf or towel under her collar.

Next step is to slip a T-shirt over her head and gently place her front legs through the armholes. Tie a knot in the bottom hem of the T-shirt, so it does not trip her.

Each time you put a new garment on your dog, encourage her, with treats, to follow you around so she gets used to the feel of the costume.

Put each new item of clothing on her for just a few minutes, then take it off. Soon She will be happy wearing her duds for longer periods of time. Any time she seems to be getting uncomfortable, take the costume off and let her relax.

When choosing costumes for your dog, keep safety and comfort in mind. Avoid anything that might hinder vision, hearing, or movement. Choose costumes that are fairly easy to put on and take off, with no dangling accessories she might swallow if she chews on them. If the costume extends out to the sides at all, making your dog wider than normal, walk her around furniture and other obstacles to get used to her new size.

Never leave your dog unattended when she is wearing a costume. She might decide to chew her way out of it or get it caught on something and panic.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Secrets of a Happy Dog



What is it that makes a dog a truly happy dog?



Here are FIVE SECRETS:

Secret # 1

Happiness is getting a move on. Just like people, dogs feel great when they are in good shape.

Secret # 2

Happiness is preventing health problems. Dog's cannot tell you when they do not feel well, so be preventative about health issues.

Secret # 3

Happiness is mental stimulation. Give your dog plenty of opportunities to meet new people and dogs. Let your dog solve puzzles. Take your dog out in nature to sniff.

Secret # 4

Happiness is the right foods in the right amounts. Choose a well-known dog food, and do not overfeed your dog with too many treats or snacks between meals.

Secret # 5

All you need is love. Most dogs love to be petted; at least five minutes a day.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Howl-O-Ween Treats


I came across an article on how to throw a Halloween paw-ty for dogs and a recipe for treats.

I will save you the details of planning the paw-ty. Instead, you can just use your imagination. Although the suggestion to schedule the party for a day or two before Halloween so as not to be disturbed by trick-or-treaters ringing your doorbell during the paw-ty was a great idea. The treats sound yummy for both humans and dogs, so I thought I would share.

Howl-O-Ween
Tricking Treats

2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (real pumpkin, not pie filling)
1/4 teaspoon real vanilla
1 egg
4 cups whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup oats


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a bowl, mix water, pumpkin, vanilla, and egg thoroughly.
3. Combine flour, pecans, baking powder, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a separate bowl, stirring well.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well, making sure no dry mixture is left.
5. Spoon batter into a greased muffin tin, filling each cup completely.
6. Sprinkle the top of each muffing with oats and bake for one hour and 15 minutes.
7. Cool completely and store in a sealed container for up to one week.

Makes 14 bewitching treats

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Gift of Life


Just like humans, dogs can become blood donors.

Veterinarians can give a blood transfusion to dogs to improve their health or to save their lives.

If you have been looking for a way to help the canine community, enrolling your dog in a blood donation program is one way.

What canine blood donations entails:

Blood donor candidates need a physical exam, blood work, and screening for several conditions. Blood type is also tested, to screen for potential incompatibility. Once your dog enters a blood donor program, these tests are often performed twice yearly, and typically at no cost to you.

Blood banks have specific requirements for a dog to donate. Once dogs qualify, they are enrolled in the donation program. When they come in, they receive a physical exam and a blood test to check their red blood cell count. The actual blood donation only takes a few minutes. Then comes the reward.......food and treats! A dog can typically donated every two months, although this can vary with a dog's specific blood type and breed.

Enrolling in a canine blood donation program is a win-win situation. You and your dog receive some nice benefits, plus the satisfaction of knowing your dog will help save many lives over the years. One single donation can typically save the lives of four dogs!

Ask your veterinarian for information about the closest blood donation program.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Children as Dog Walkers


Older children and teens can be the perfect solution to friends or neighbors in need of a dog walker. But like many areas of development, readiness to take on such a task varies greatly by the child.

Consider these issues before you decide if your child is ready for being a dog walker:

1. Is your child dependable, or will you be reminding him or her to visit the dog?

2. Does your child have control when walking your own dog, and will he or she pick up waste and avoid off-limit areas?

3. Will your child uphold his or her commitment, even if it means going out in the rain or declining a social opportunity?

4. Does your child remember details like locking doors, checking windows, and latching the fence?

5. Is your child patient with all canine personalities, from rambunctious puppies to slow moving seniors?

Once you feel your child is read, dog walking can be a great way for him or her to develop an early sense of responsibility and make some extra money in the process.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

When Barking Violates Nuisance Laws


How do you know if your dog is disturbing neighbors?

Although your dog may be on your property, if her barking disturbs others in your general vicinity, you may be in violation of either a general nuisance, noise, or a specific dog disturbance ordinance.

If a neighbor complains about your dog barking, an animal control officer may issue a warning. Fines may be imposed for repeat violations.

The conflict arises when neighbors' definitions of "loud or persistent" vary.An owner may think his dog's occasional barking is tolerable, or even beneficial as a warning, but a neighbor may contend the continued noise disturbs his comfort or sleep.

Typically, a reasonableness standard is applied. Some municipalities attempt to define "persistent." Tulsa, Oklahoma, defines barking repetitively for over 10 minutes as a nuisance.

What is the standard where you live?

Have you thought about a No-Bark Collar?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Breed Standard


Each dog breed in dog registries and associations such as the American Kennel Club, has a standard; a set of guidelines written to ensure that the dogs conform to specific attributes. Each breed standard is different, but all share some similar characteristics:

1. Appearance Every breed standard addresses the outward qualities of the dog, and includes factors such as general appearance; size, proportion, and substance; head (including eye and nose color); neck, topline, and body; forequarters; hindquarters; coat; and color.

2. Gait This describes how the dog should move.

3. Temperament Qualities like behavior, adaptability, trainability, intelligence, playfulness, and energy level differ from breed to breed.

4. Disqualifications It is important to know what a breed should not look and act like. Disqualifications could include rare color or coat, or wrong ear size or shape.

Why is a breed standard important?

Along with helping to ensure that breeds maintain a consistent look and personality, the standard also ensures the dogs maintain the functions for which they were originally bred.

For example, according to the AKC, Rottweilers were originally bred to herd cattle in the field. With selective breeding, their protective, courageous natures are still prevalent in their temperament even today.

For more information about breed standards, and to see listings of the standards of your favorite breeds, visit the AKC website.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Stop, Drop, and Roll


Sounds like a fire-safety demonstration.

Yet this is a fun and easy trick to teach your dog.

When you cue your dog to lie down, it will stop moving forward which makes this trick really only two parts: the drop (lie down) and the roll (roll over).

Drop: Teach this by luring from a Sit to a Down with a treat. Put the treat close to your dog's nose, then lower it slowly to just in front of its front toes. That hand motion becomes a silent cue for Down. Reward your dog with praise and a treat. When your dog drops quickly three times in a row, lured by treats, stop using treats and just lower your empty hand (open palm toward the floor). As soon as your dog lies down, drop a treat from your other hand.

Roll: With your dog lying down, put a treat close to her nose, then move it slowly past her shoulder and toward her hip. Reward with the treat. Do that again, but as she bends her neck, following the teat, move it a little farther so she rolls onto her other side, with her body curved. Reward. Repeat, then move the treat toward her spine, keeping the curve, so she rolls onto her back. Reward. Repeat, but move the treat in a half circle near her head so she rolls all the way over. Reward. When your dog confidently follows the treat lure, keep the treat hidden in your other hand and gesture with your empty hand (same movement as when luring) to signal to roll.

Stop, Drop, and Roll: When your dog can both lie down and roll over, put them together. Signal Down, the Roll. Reward after your dog rolls over. Gradually increase the speed of drop-and roll until your dog can do the sequence smoothly.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tracking


Dogs love to sniff the ground.

The American Kennel Club tracking allows your dog to indulge this passion as it follows a specific human scent trail complete with turns and "lost" articles to find. It also provides your dog with unparalleled freedom for in tracking the dog becomes the leader and you have to listen and trust the dog.

You do not just hold the leash while your dog tracks. You must learn how to handle the line, how much tension to put on the line, how to read the dog's body language, how to know when the dog is off the track, and how to encourage the dog back on the track.

The length of the track varies per the competition level, as does the number of turns, and general difficulty. The tracks may cross fields, near ponds, into wooded areas, and eventually over man made surfaces.

Tracking develops an incredible bond between owner and dog, due in part to the trust the handler must place in the dog's ability to follow something humans can neither see, hear, smell, nor feel.

Training involves using food and toys to direct and reward your dog's natural scenting ability. When approached in this positive manner, most dogs love tracking.

There are tracking clubs and obedience clubs with members who track. You can also contact judges to see if they do training, or they can refer you to someone in the area. Books and videos help, but do not replace the assistance of another tracker.

To track down mover information, check this out.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Dog Rocket

I think most every parent has done the water rocket experiment with their child as an example of Newton's third law of motion. If not the classic water rocket, fireworks are a runner up for rocket launching experiments.

Have you seen the screaming pug rocket?





Now, how about a pug watching the screaming pug rocket?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Surfing Doggie

Did you know that there is a surfing championship for dogs?

A rescue dog with a difficult past, Abbie got a sudden start in competitive surfing in 2008. She is an Australian Kelpie and has exceptional balance and a natural love of water that contributes to her talent on the board.

A rather long video, but really shows Abbie's love of the sport:

Saturday, September 3, 2011

How Come No Chocolate?

"No, No Fido!!!"

Have you every wondered why dogs cannot have chocolate?

We thought this information on chocolate and its toxicity may interest you:

Chocolate, in addition to having a high fat content, contains caffeine and theobromine. These two compounds are nervous system stimulants and can be toxic to your dog in high amounts. The levels of caffeine and theobromine vary between different types of chocolate. For example, white chocolate has the lowest concentration of stimulants and baking chocolate or cacao beans have the highest concentration.

Depending on the type of chocolate ingested and the amount eaten, various problems can occur. The high fat content in chocolate may result in vomiting and possibly diarrhea. Once toxic levels are eaten, the stimulant effect becomes apparent. You may notice restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching, increased urination and possibly signs occur when two ounces per pound of body weight is ingested. This means that a little less than one pound of milk chocolate can be toxic to the nervous system of a 20-pound dog.

Types of Chocolate and Toxicity

Semi-Sweet Chocolate. Mild signs of toxicity can occur when 1/3 ounce per pound of body weight is ingested. Severe signs occur when one ounce per pound of body weight is ingested. This means that as little as six ounces of semi-sweet chocolate can be toxic to the nervous system of a 20-pound dog.

Baking Chocolate. Mild signs of toxicity can occur when 0.1 ounce per pound of body weight is ingested. Severe signs occur when 0.3 ounce per pound of body weight is ingested. Two small one-ounce squares of baking chocolate can be toxic to a 20-pound dog. This type of chocolate has the highest concentration of caffeine and theobromine and very little needs to be ingested before signs of illness become apparent.

Generally, within a few hours of ingesting a toxic amount of chocolate, signs of hyperactivity, tremors, panting and excessive urination are seen. Prompt veterinary care is recommended.

In the Garden

One uncommon but potential source of chocolate is in certain mulches. Cacoa bean mulch is made from the hulls of cacoa beans and when fresh has a rich, chocolate aroma. Ingestion of large amounts of fresh mulch can result in chocolate toxicity. To keep your pet safe, keep him away from the mulch until the chocolate aroma has gone. A thorough watering or heavy rainfall often reduces the potential toxicity.

Diagnosis

Diagnosing chocolate ingestion is generally based on the owner's witnessing or suspecting ingestion and on physical exam findings. Pets that have ingested toxic levels of chocolate are generally hyperactive, panting, have increased blood pressure and increased heart rates. Dehydration may also occur if there has been significant vomiting and diarrhea.

Treatment

Treatment depends on the severity of the clinical signs and may include continuous intravenous fluid therapy, medications to help control vomiting and sedatives to counteract the stimulant effects of chocolate.

Occasionally medication to reduce heart rate and high blood pressure is indicated.

Most pets treated for chocolate toxicity recover and return to normal within 24-48 hours of treatment.

Home Care and Prevention

Remove your dog from the source of chocolate and call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your dog has consumed a toxic amount. Your veterinarian may recommend that you induce vomiting in your pet by oral administration of hydrogen peroxide. Transport your pet to your veterinarian immediately.

Home care for pets that have ingested toxic levels of chocolate is primarily aimed at reducing gastrointestinal upset and making certain that there is no access to additional chocolate. Once the nausea is gone, your veterinarian may recommend a bland diet for a couple of days.

Watch for tremors, hyperactivity or seizures. If your pet is not eating and drinking, continues to vomit, has persistent diarrhea or still seems hyperactive, consult your veterinarian for additional recommendations.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Shelter Dog For You?


What could be more rewarding than giving a second chance to a homeless dog who is desperately seeking a loving home?!

You could help a dog whose family moved and decided not to take him along, or one who was born a stray in an empty warehouse, or give your love to a dog rescued from an abusive home... Whatever his story, there is a dog out there who wants to put his sad life chapters behind him and write a happy ending with you.

Most pets are in shelters for reasons that are no fault of their own - either their previous owners' issues or plain bad luck. So do not fear that by adopting a homeless dog you will be getting "damaged material". Shelter dogs are often extremely loving and eager to win your heart.

By adopting a rescue dog, you are not only giving a grateful pooch a new leash on life, you will gain a faithful friend who will brighten every day. As a bonus, rescue dogs are usually already spayed or neutered, vaccinated, licensed, and sometimes even trained!

How do you find a rescue dog who is perfect for you?

Here are some tips:

1.Research the shelter and rescue group options in your area. Check the Internet, talk to your veterinarian and pet-loving friends, and do not be afraid to call these facilities and ask questions. Most rescue groups are quite humane and clean, but you still should do your homework to be sure they are right for you.

2. Remember to think with your head. When you are looking at those adorable doggie faces, it is easy to make a decision based purely on what your heart feels. BEFORE, you go looking for the perfect dog, seriously think about the canine characteristics that will be best for your family and home, and stick to those guidelines while at the shelter.

3. List what you are looking for in a dog. Go to the shelter with a plan. Tell the staff why you want a dog, and they will help you find the right one for you. Do you want a jogging partner, a lap dog, a hunting dog, a companion for the kids.....? Do you want a puppy or would you like to rescue an old dog? Small, large? Long-haired, short-haired?...

4. Consider your finances and lifestyle. Pets are a lifetime commitment, and they deserve the best care possible. Will your pocketbook allow you to feed a dog a quality diet, provide him with the supplies his needs to nurture his daily life, and give him adequate preventative and emergency medical care? Do you have plenty of available time to spend with a dog? Do not adopt a dog only to find that you do not have time or money for him. This is never fair to any pet.

5. Take your time when making this big decision. Do not rush into pet ownership. Take the time needed to find the right dog and get to know him. Several visits to the dog at the shelter may be best before taking him home. Also, take the time to be sure your house is ready for the new family member.

6. Visit with the dogs outside their cages. A shelter is a stressful environment. The other animals and all the noise may make a dog nervous and unsocial or over-exuberant to win your attention. Taking a dog outside or to a private visiting room will give you the opportunity to get to know the dog's true personality.

7. Interact with the dog. Do not just say, "He's cute, I'll take him." If the staff will allow you, walk him, play with him, find out if he knows any commands or tricks, give him a snack... Get to know the dog, and let him get to know you.

8. Allow the dog to meet all members of the family. Bring Mom, Dad, kids, even other pets if the shelter allows it. Be sure the dog you are considering for adoption is comfortable with the whole family.

9. Talk to the staff. The staff members are handy tools for helping you learn more about the dog, his likes and dislikes, his quirks, his health, etc. The staff members spend a lot of time with these rescue dogs and have gotten to know them well.

10. Evaluate the dog's health and body condition. Check for discharge from the dog's eyes and nose. Is the dog coughing, sneezing, etc.? Note the dog's gait. Is the dog overweight or underweight? Check for fleas and ticks. Check the condition of the teeth. If you see any issues in these areas, talk to your vet and/or the shelter staff about them. Learn what you can do to resolve any health problems, and think about whether you are willing to do so.

11. Bring needed supplies on adoption day. Be prepared, and help your dog feel welcome. Bring a collar, leash, blanket for the car seat, and possibly a toy on the day of adoption. Try to make your dog's transition as stress-free and calm as possible.

12. Do not expect everything to go perfectly. There will be struggles. Remember your dog will be a little nervous in his new home, and he will not immediately know your expectations. The rules and ways of his previous home probably were not the same as they are in his current home. BE PATIENT as your dog adjusts.

13. Show him your love. Give your new dog abundant time, attention, and affection. This is especially important during his adjustment period. Help him feel wanted and comfortable.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Shelter Volunteer, Is It For You?

Have you considered becoming a shelter volunteer?

Shelters and humane societies around the world depend on volunteers who come in each weekend for several hours. Their job is to find out what sort of pet a person is looking for and carries a sheet with the location of all the different breeds – and the temperament. Because volunteers work with the animals daily, they know what type of family is suited to each pet. The volunteers are vitally interested in making the right fit, because they do not want to see an animal returned.

Becoming a shelter volunteer is not for the faint-of-heart. Taking care of hundreds of dogs and cats is possibly one of the easier aspects of the job, but the hardest part is the knowledge that many animals will have to be put down after a certain amount of time, or if they pose a threat to other animals or people.

The most common feeling most new volunteers go through is the overwhelming desire to rescue them all. That is why shelters normally do not allow volunteers to adopt any animal for the first 6 months; without that rule, the temptation to fill one's home with otherwise hard-luck pets would be just too great. There is always that one special kitten or puppy.

Instead, volunteers rejoice over singular victories connecting pets with people.

Volunteers perform a plethora of services. They help feed the animals, clean the cages and, of course, help people find lifetime companions. Volunteers also help transport animals between shelters and clinics to perform veterinary services. Some volunteers help educate children in the importance of responsible pet ownership. A few volunteers will "foster" animals that need special care and cannot be housed with the general pet population.

Shelters are very flexible in the hours. Every extra hour donated is helpful, but many volunteers have a tough time staying away.

People become volunteers for different reasons.

Volunteering is a good way to encourage a lifetime of community service. Shelters accept volunteers at different ages, but usually a person must be at least 14 or 15. Teenagers can also earn community service credits by volunteering at shelters.

Finally, volunteering at a shelter is an excellent family activity. Each member learns the importance of kindness, responsibility and how even one person can make a difference.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

National Dog Day


Did you know that yesterday (August 26th) was National Dog Day?

This special holiday was created in 2004 for two special purposes: to honor dogs and to rescue dogs from homelessness and abuse.

I honored my dog by taking her and her two girlfriends (and mine) to the beach. We all had a marvelous time as it was one of Washington's perfect sunny and warm day at the coast.

Dogs are an important part of our lives. Not only do they give us unconditional love, loyalty, companionship and comfort, they also help us in so many ways. They are trusted watchdogs that keep our families safe. Police and military dogs, bomb-sniffing dogs and search-and-rescue dogs put their lives on the line every day to help save human lives. Guide dogs are devoted to serving their blind companions. Service dogs assist disabled.

Dogs give so much to us - so honoring their noble efforts is a really nice idea.

But as much as dogs help us, there are also so many dogs out there that need US to help THEM. That's why the second goal of National Dog Day is to help save dogs from homelessness and abuse.

• Rescue a dog if you can - If you're thinking about rescuing a new dog, here are some good tips:

1. Research the shelter and rescue group options in your area. Check the Internet, talk to your veterinarian and pet-loving friends, and do not be afraid to call these facilities and ask questions. Most rescue groups are quite humane and clean, but you still should do your homework to be sure they are right for you.

2. Remember to think with your head. When you are looking at those adorable doggie faces, it is easy to make a decision based purely on what your heart feels. BEFORE, you go looking for the perfect dog, seriously think about the canine characteristics that will be best for your family and home, and stick to those guidelines while at the shelter.

3. List what you are looking for in a dog. Go to the shelter with a plan. Tell the staff why you want a dog, and they will help you find the right one for you. Do you want a jogging partner, a lap dog, a hunting dog, a companion for the kids.....? Do you want a puppy or would you like to rescue an old dog? Small, large? Long-haired, short-haired?...

4. Consider your finances and lifestyle. Pets are a lifetime commitment, and they deserve the best care possible. Will your pocketbook allow you to feed a dog a quality diet, provide him with the supplies his needs to nurture his daily life, and give him adequate preventative and emergency medical care? Do you have plenty of available time to spend with a dog? Do not adopt a dog only to find that you do not have time or money for him. This is never fair to any pet.

5. Take your time when making this big decision. Do not rush into pet ownership. Take the time needed to find the right dog and get to know him. Several visits to the dog at the shelter may be best before taking him home. Also, take the time to be sure your house is ready for the new family member.

6. Visit with the dogs outside their cages. A shelter is a stressful environment. The other animals and all the noise may make a dog nervous and unsocial or over-exuberant to win your attention. Taking a dog outside or to a private visiting room will give you the opportunity to get to know the dog's true personality.

7. Interact with the dog. Do not just say, "He is cute, I will take him." If the staff will allow you, walk him, play with him, find out if he knows any commands or tricks, give him a snack... Get to know the dog, and let him get to know you.

8. Allow the dog to meet all members of the family. Bring Mom, Dad, kids, even other pets if the shelter allows it. Be sure the dog you are considering for adoption is comfortable with the whole family.

9. Talk to the staff. The staff members are handy tools for helping you learn more about the dog, his likes and dislikes, his quirks, his health, etc. The staff members spend a lot of time with these rescue dogs and have gotten to know them well.

10. Evaluate the dog's health and body condition. Check for discharge from the dog's eyes and nose. Is the dog coughing, sneezing, etc.? Note the dog's gait. Is the dog overweight or underweight? Check for fleas and ticks. Check the condition of the teeth. If you see any issues in these areas, talk to your vet and/or the shelter staff about them. Learn what you can do to resolve any health problems, and think about whether you are willing to do so.

11. Bring needed supplies on adoption day. Be prepared, and help your dog feel welcome. Bring a collar, leash, blanket for the car seat, and possibly a toy on the day of adoption. Try to make your dog's transition as stress-free and calm as possible.

12. Do not expect everything to go perfectly. There will be struggles. Remember your dog will be a little nervous in his new home, and he will not immediately know your expectations. The rules and ways of his previous home probably were not the same as they are in his current home. BE PATIENT as your dog adjusts.

13. Show him your love. Give your new dog abundant time, attention, and affection. This is especially important during his adjustment period. Help him feel wanted and comfortable.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dogs and Motion Sickness


Did you know that motion sickness could also affect your dog?

Motion sickness is an illness associated with motion – as in a car, a boat or an airplane. Since vacations typically involve traveling, dogs prone to motion sickness do not always enjoy the trek to the final destination.

The cause of motion sickness is stimulation of the vestibular apparatus located within the inner ear. When this apparatus is stimulated, your dog feels dizzy and nausea may develop. Usually, the signs of motion sickness stop when the vehicle stops moving. Pets afflicted with motion sickness begin drooling, feel nauseated and may even develop vomiting or diarrhea. If your pet is known to experience motion sickness that is not easily treated, you may want to reconsider bringing him/her along on vacation.

Treatment

There are various ways to treat and even overcome motion sickness.

Frequently, the signs of motion sickness can be overcome by conditioning the pet to travel. Slow, short and frequent trips in the vehicle, gradually increasing length of the ride, can help condition your dog.

Some dogs cannot be conditioned and medication is necessary. Commonly used medications to help reduce the nausea associated with motion sickness include diphenhydramine (Benadryl®), meclizine (Bonine®) and dimenhydrinate (Dramamine®). These medications are available without a prescription but should never be used unless specifically recommended by a veterinarian. Proper dosage and use are crucial to treating and diminishing the signs of motion sickness.

For some pets, the motion sickness and anxiety associated with travel is so severe that sedatives are necessary. Commonly used sedatives include acepromazine and phenobarbital. These are available by prescription and should be used with caution in animals traveling by airplane because of the possibility of side effects. In a cargo hold, there is little direct supervision of animals, so side effects may go unnoticed. In addition, there is little chance that a pet can receive medical help while the airplane is in the air.

Previous blogs discussed both traveling on an airplane with your dog and whether or not to sedate your dog.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sedate or Not?


Ready for vacation with your dog........question is should you sedate your pet for the trip or not?

If you were going to be stuck in a dark, cool cargo area near a roaring airplane engine, you would want to be sedated. So it would be natural to assume your pet would prefer this as well. Unfortunately, what you and your pet prefer may not be what is safe or even necessary.

Sedatives have been used for years to calm pets and reduce nervousness, usually in association with thunderstorms or fireworks. Sedatives have also been used to reduce fear that may develop during air travel. Sedatives are commonly used to calm extremely fearful pets, those prone to severe separation anxiety and overactive pets. In these situations, sedatives reduce the potential for self-injury.

Disadvantages

For most pets, sedatives are not highly recommended by veterinarians. Even nervous pets, once they are in a carrier in a quiet dark place, typically calm down and most even go to sleep. The primary disadvantage of sedating pets for air travel is that there is no one to check on them nor offer medical care if problems arise. As with any drug, sedatives have side effects. The most profound and potentially life threatening problem associated with sedation is the effect on blood pressure.

Most sedatives lower the blood pressure which can make your pet groggy and cold. Cargo cabins are not heated and, in cold weather, are quite cool. This cool environment, accompanied by lower blood pressure and a colder body temperature, can result in hypothermia. If left untreated, hypothermia and low blood pressure can be fatal. Another concern is that the effect of high altitude on the action of sedatives is unknown. What is known is that sedative use has been implicated as a contributing factor to many pet air travel deaths.

Even for those pets that may benefit from sedation, the owner must be thoroughly aware of all the complications, side effects and risks of using a sedative. You and your pet would probably be safer and have a much more pleasant vacation if sedatives were not included.

For airline restrictions and guidelines check previous blog.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Thinking of Flying with Your Dog?


Each airline has separate rules for flying with your dog. Some have pet embargo rules, which result in times during the year that pet travel is not allowed. Some airlines no longer accept pets and rely on special pet carrier or animal transport companies.

Make sure you check with the airline well in advance regarding their pet travel rules, as they can change without notice. The following are some of the rules of individual airlines:

Continental Airlines

As with most airlines, Continental allows small pets to travel in the cabin. For those pets traveling alone, Continental has brought in a new program called PetSafe QuickPak Cargo. Under their program, you reserve space for your pet well in advance and reconfirm those reservations 24 hours before flight time. Pets should be checked in as cargo from a special QuickPak Desk near the ticketing counter, one hour prior to flight time. The 24-hour help-desk will create an itinerary for your pet (depending on origin and destination temperatures). If your pet does not fly as reserved, you get your money back.

Continental has no specific pet embargo dates. If the temperature of the destination or arrival airport is over 85 degrees or less than 10 degrees Fahrenheit, your pet will not be allowed to fly cargo that day. For pets over 7 years of age, Continental strongly recommends a heart examination and bloodwork to make sure there is no underlying liver or kidney damage prior to flying.

If your pet is small enough to fly as carry-on, the charge is $75 each way ($150 round trip).

Delta Airlines

Delta has instituted a pet embargo from May 15 to Sept. 15. This means that no pets are allowed to fly cargo during these dates. Pets are still allowed as carry-on anytime throughout the year, but the kennel must be able to fit under the seat in front of you. If your pet is transported as carry-on or is traveling with you as cargo, the cost is $75 each way. If your pet travels by plane alone, there is a substantial cost difference. You will be able to pre-book a maximum of 7 days in advance and a minimum of 1 day of the desired flight. Upon arrival in the destination city, pets will be delivered to the Delta cargo facility within 60 minutes.

United Airlines

As with other airlines, pets are allowed as carry-on anytime during the year but there are size and number of pets limitations. If your pet travels as carry-on with you, the charge is $75 each way. Pets can also be shipped as cargo. United has no specific pet embargo dates. If the temperature of the destination or arrival airport is over 85 degrees or less than 10 degrees Fahrenheit, your pet will not be allowed to fly cargo that day.

American Airlines

American also has a pet embargo from May 15 to September 15. As with other airlines, small pets can accompany you as carry-on. If traveling with an owner, the cost is $8each way. Prices vary if your pet is traveling alone. Exceptions will be made for service animals and official bomb-and drug-sniffing dogs (with documentation).

There are temperature restrictions. According to www.aa.com, "Pets can not be accepted when the current or forecasted temperature is above 85 degrees Fahrenheit at any location on the itinerary (75 degrees Fahrenheit for snub-nosed dogs and snub-nosed cats). Pets can not be accepted when the ground temperature is below 45 degrees Fahrenheit at any location on the itinerary unless the pet has a veterinarian's statement of low temperature acclimation (see www.aa.com) When temperatures fall below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, pets may not be checked even with a statement of low temperature acclimation."

US Airways

US Airways also has no specific embargo dates. Pet travel is prohibited when the outside temperature is over 85 degrees or under 10 degrees Fahrenheit. US Airways does not allow pets to travel in the cargo hold anymore because of extreme temperatures in Phoenix and Las Vegas, where they have two large hubs. The exception is shuttle routes between New York LaGuardia, Boston, and Washington National Airport. They do not allow pets to travel to Hawaii due to state agricultural rules. Pets traveling as carry-on cost $75 each way. For pets flying cargo, costs are based on weight and destination. Complete details are at usairways.com. US Airways (480) 693-5754.

Northwest Airlines

Northwest has no specific embargo dates and determines if pet travel is allowed by daily temperature. Pet travel is prohibited when the outside temperature is over 85 degrees or under 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Pets traveling as carry-on cost $80 each way. For pets flying cargo, costs are based on weight and destination.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest does not allow pets to fly at any time.


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