Archive for November, 2008

Traveling By Car:

You’re all packed and ready to hit the open road with Fido and Fluffy for your next travel adventure. Practicing some common sense rules of the road will help ensure that your precious pet has a happy and safe trip.

  • No heads out the window: Although many pets find that sticking their head out the window is the best part of the road trip, it’s not safe. Your pet can easily be injured by flying debris. This should go without saying, but NEVER travel with a pet in the back of a pickup truck. Some states have laws restricting such transport and it is always dangerous.

  • Frequent pit stops: Always provide frequent bathroom and exercise breaks. Most travel service areas have designated areas for walking your pet. Be sure to stay in this area particularly when you pet needs a potty break…and of course, bring along a bag to pick up after your pet. When outside your vehicle, make sure that your pet is always on a leash and wearing a collar with a permanent and temporary travel identification tag.

  • Proper hydration: During your pit stops be sure to provide your pet with some fresh water to wet their whistle. Occasionally, traveling can upset your pet’s stomach. Take along ice cubes, which are easier on your pet than large amounts of water.

  • Watch the food intake: It is recommended that you keep feeding to a minimum during travel. Be sure to feed them their regular pet food and resist the temptation to give them some of your fast food burger or fries (that never has a good ending).

  • Don’t leave them alone: Never leave your pet unattended in a parked vehicle. On warm days, the temperature in your vehicle can rise to 120 degrees in minutes, even with the windows slightly open. In addition, an animal left alone in a vehicle is an open invitation to pet thieves.

  • Practice restraint: Be sure that your pet is safely restrained in your vehicle. Utilizing a pet safety harness or travel kennel are the best ways to keep your pet safe. They not only protects your pet from injury, but they help by keeping them from distracting you as you drive. A safety harness functions like a seatbelt. While most pets will not have a problem adjusting to it, you may want to let them wear the harness by itself a few times before using it in the vehicle. If your pet prefers a travel kennel, be sure it is well ventilated and stabilized. Many pet owners prefer vehicle barriers, particularly for larger pets. Vehicle barriers are best suited for SUVs. No matter what method you choose, back seat travel is always safer for your pet.

  • Safe and comfortable: Whatever method you choose to properly restrain your pet in your vehicle, be sure to make their comfort a priority. Just as it’s important for your “seat” to be comfortable for your long road trip, your pet’s seat should be comfortable too. Typically their favorite blanket or travel bed will do the trick. There are also some safe and very cozy pet car seats available that your pet may find quite comfy.

    Following some basic rules during road travel will help to make your journey with your little one much more enjoyable and safe!

Traveling By Air:

Familiarize yourself with the pet policies of the airline you are flying and take note of the following in regards to their pet policies:

  • Does the airline allow you to take your cat or small dog in the cabin with you?

  • If that option isn’t available to you, does the airline have any restrictions on transporting your pet below the cabin?

  • Does the airline have any special pet health and immunization requirements?

  • What are the airlines specifications and requirements for pet carriers?

You can help ensure a safe flight for your pet by following these tips:

  • Use direct flights.

  • Always travel on the same flight as your pet. Ask the airline if you can watch your pet being loaded and unloaded below the cabin.

  • When you board the plane, notify the captain and at least one flight attendant that your pet is traveling with you and whether your pet is with you or below the cabin. If the captain knows that pets are on board, he or she may take special precautions.

  • Do not ship pug-nosed dogs or cats such as Pekingese, Chow Chows, and Persians in the cargo hold. These breeds have short nasal passages that leave them vulnerable to oxygen deprivation and heat stroke in cargo holds.

  • If traveling during the summer or winter months, choose flights that will accommodate the temperature extremes, particularly if your pet is traveling below the cabin.

  • Fit your pet with with a collar that can’t get caught in carrier doors. Affix two pieces of identification on the collar—a permanent ID with your name and home address and telephone number and a temporary travel ID with the address and telephone number where you or a contact person can be reached.

  • Affix a travel label to the carrier with your name, permanent address and telephone number, final destination, and where you or a contact person can be reached as soon as the flight arrives.

  • Make sure that your pet’s nails have been clipped to protect against their hooking in the carrier’s door, holes, and other crevices.

  • Give your pet at least a month before your flight to become familiar with the travel carrier. This will minimize his or her stress during travel.

  • Do not give your pet tranquilizers unless they are prescribed by your veterinarian. Make sure your veterinarian understands that the prescription is for air travel.

  • Do not feed your pet for four to six hours prior to air travel. Small amounts of water can be given before the trip. If possible, put ice cubes in the water tray attached to the inside of your pet’s kennel. A full water bowl will only spill and cause discomfort.

  • Try not to fly with your pet during busy travel times such as holidays and the summer. Your pet is more likely to undergo stress during hectic travel periods.

  • Carry a leash with you so that you may walk your pet before check-in and after arrival. Do not place the leash inside the kennel or attach it to the outside of the kennel

  • When you arrive at your destination, open the carrier as soon as you are in a safe place and examine your pet. If anything seems wrong, take your pet to a veterinarian immediately. Get the results of the examination in writing, including the date and time.

Traveling By Boat:

Before hitting the high seas with your pet, be sure to take necessary provisions to ensure that your pet’s trip is a happy and safe one.

  • Identification Tag: Make sure your pet has a collar with an identification tag. Include contact information, marina address and slip number.

  • Familiarization with the Boat: It is best to gradually introduce your pet to your boat and the water. Let your pet explore the boat while it is docked before going out on the water. Turn on the engine and let them get used to its sound, smell, and feel while the boat is docked. Then, take your pet out on small cruises and gradually build up to longer cruises.

  • Safe & Easy Boat Access: Provide a for your pet to get on and off the boat. This not only includes from the dock to the boat but also from the water to the boat. Pets weigh much more wet than dry and it can be very difficult to lift them back into your boat after a swim.

  • Floatation Device: A (a.k.a. life jacket) can also ensure safety while on the water. Not all pets can swim (including some dogs). Even if your pet is a good swimmer, getting tossed overboard can put any animal into a panic. In addition, your pet could suffer from exhaustion or hypothermia. Many pets also fall into the water from the dock or while trying to get from the dock to the boat. Having your pet equipped with a floatation device with a lifting handle makes retrieving your pet much easier and safer. Help your pet get used to the PFD by first practicing at home for short periods of time. Start by putting the PFD on your pet and let them walk around with it on. The next step is to let your pet swim with it on for a short period. It’s a new experience for your pet so it’s important for them to get used to it before the boat trip.

  • Proper Hydration & Staying Cool: Pets do not sweat, so keep an eye out for heavy panting or drool and a rapid heart beat. Protect pets from heat by providing some shade on the boat, providing plenty of water and keeping the deck cool to protect paw pads. Bring along a and fresh water. It is critical to hydrate pets before they get into the water. Otherwise, they will drink the natural water and may get sick.

  • Going Potty: A big challenge of boating with your pet is making provisions so that they can go to the bathroom. Bringing along your cat’s litter box and securing it inside the cabin is a good solution for your feline friends. Dogs, however, are a bigger challenge. If your boat trip does not allow for regular land stops for your dog to do their business, then provisions must be made so that they can relieve themselves on the boat. A portable dog potty that simulates grass is an excellent solution. We recommend the .

  • Health Records: If your boating destination is a marina or place that you’re not familiar with, be sure to bring along a copy of vaccination and health records. Some places may require proof of immunization before letting pets explore on land.

  • Call Ahead: While most marinas and parks welcome pets, there are some that aren’t pet-friendly. Be sure to call ahead before arriving on shore.

Here are a few links to sites with valuable information on hotels, tips, vacation spots, and things to do with your dog while on the road.




Read Full Post »

In training your dog there are a few major downfalls that you are sure to encounter. Knowing them before you reach this point is very helpful to avoiding stressful situations later. The biggest mistake most people make is also the easiest for new trainers to fall victim to. This is the danger of expecting too much.

Dogs are very intelligent creatures and, by and large, very trainable. Thus when you visit the park with your untrained dog and the person next to you is playing Frisbee with their German Shepherd and the Poodle down the way is sitting patiently rather than attacking picnic goers, it is easy to think your dog should know these behaviors from birth. We often times forget the many hours of training that have been put into these wonderful dogs. Your dog can learn these very same antics but it will take time for these lessons to be instilled. Do not expect your dog to learn all of these routines over night. This would merely set you up for downfall number two.

The second problem people encounter is losing their temper. This usually results in an out of breath owner who is yelling at the top of the vocal capacity, a frightened dog and possibly a visit from the local animal welfare department depending on how the individual vents their frustrations. To avoid this downfall, make a conscious effort never to yell at your pet and hitting is always wrong. Raising your voice to your pet will do little to correct their errant behavior and do much harm to your relationship with the animal. It will result in a nervous animal that cowers from you rather than obeys your commands.

The third thing to avoid falls at the other end of the spectrum. These people let the dog become the master. This is equally detrimental to your relationship with the animal as the animal has no control to its behaviors and can quickly become a danger to itself and others. Dogs are pack animals and quickly decide who the leader is and who follows. If you do not take the leadership role from the beginning, you can rest assured that your pet will. A dog without a master will run amok and will quickly get into trouble chasing cars and people, destroying property and making a nuisance of itself. This mistake is tantamount to animal abuse and is very nearly as bad as the previous one.

Fourth in line of things to avoid is the mistake of giving up. Many a dog owner has a pet that has never reached its full potential due to the owner losing interest in their training. Dogs love to learn, especially when the owner rewards well learned behavior traits. Many owners, lacking the time or perhaps the patience, will be quite happy to have a pet that merely answers to its name and stops barking when repeatedly shouted at. Please do not let yourself fall into this trap. Your pet is a highly intelligent animal and is capable of learning so much more. Occasionally, dogs have even been known to develop neuroses due to boredom from not being challenged enough. This results in an unhealthy animal that can be poorly socialized and destructive of furnishings or even its own body. Your dog can and will respond to your training efforts if given the time to do so.

A fifth point that we keep reiterating (and well we should) is people’s failure to be consistent. If you tell the dog to sit and your pet doesn’t do it, stick with it until they do. Always use the same command words and enforce the same action each and every time. Manually enforce the command if it is necessary to get the desired reaction and reward the animal with some play time or some verbal praise for properly performing the routine. Consistency is the major key to training your pet. Repetitive lessons taught on a regular basis with consistent rewards are necessary to the effective training of your pet.

Knowing these five downfalls ahead of time will save you many frustrations while training your pet and will result in a much a healthier and happier relationship with your pet.

Dog Article courtesy of I-Love-Dogs.com

Read Full Post »

1. Chocolate, Coffee, Caffeine

These products all contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds, the fruit of the plant used to make coffee and in the nuts of an extract used in some sodas. When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Note that darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines, while baking chocolate contains the highest.

2. Alcohol
Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death.

3. Avocado
The leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados contain Persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Birds and rodents are especially sensitive to avocado poisoning, and can develop congestion, difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation around the heart. Some ingestions may even be fatal.

4. Macadamia Nuts
Macadamia nuts are commonly used in many cookies and candies. However, they can cause problems for your canine companion. These nuts have caused weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and last approximately 12 to 48 hours.

5. Grapes & Raisins
Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits can cause kidney failure. In pets who already have certain health problems, signs may be more dramatic.

6. Yeast Dough
Yeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your pet’s digestive system. This can be painful and can cause the stomach or intestines to rupture. Because the risk diminishes after the dough is cooked and the yeast has fully risen, pets can have small bits of bread as treats. However, these treats should not constitute more than 5 percent to 10 percent of your pet’s daily caloric intake.

7. Raw/Undercooked Meat, Eggs and Bones
Raw meat and raw eggs can contain bacteria such as Salmonella [ital] and E. coli [ital] that can be harmful to pets. In addition, raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin that decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin), which can lead to skin and coat problems. Feeding your pet raw bones may seem like a natural and healthy option that might occur if your pet lived in the wild. However, this can be very dangerous for a domestic pet, who might choke on bones, or sustain a grave injury should the bone splinter and become lodged in or puncture your pet’s digestive tract.

8. Xylitol
Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. It can cause insulin release in most species, which can lead to liver failure. The increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels). Initial signs of toxicosis include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. Signs can progress to recumbancy and seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days.

9. Onions, Garlic, Chives
These vegetables and herbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed. Toxicity is normally diagnosed through history, clinical signs and microscopic confirmation of Heinz bodies. An occasional low dose, such as what might be found in pet foods or treats, likely will not cause a problem, but we recommend that you do NOT give your pets large quantities of these foods.

10. Milk
Because pets do not possess significant amounts of lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk), milk and other milk-based products cause them diarrhea or other digestive upset.

Read Full Post »

Puppies–who doesn’t love the sweet breath and attitude of a wiggly, adorable pup? But, puppies grow up quick. And to keep them sweet and willing, owners must understand a little bit about the growth and development of their charges.

The following is a general discussion of critical periods in a dog’s emotional, mental, and physical
development. If a critical learning period is missed, although a dog may be trained, its basic and natural reactions are permanently affected and its full potential will never be reached. Missing one or all of these periods may cause a puppy to become emotionally and mentally handicapped in its social interactions with other animals and humans–for life.

Puppies cannot be taught anything prior to 21 days. They need only to be kept clean, warm, dry, (between 80
and 90 degrees) and allowed to nurse and sleep. These needs are usually met by the dam (mother dog.)
On average, puppies open their eyes somewhere between 11 to 19 days, with 13 days being average.
Puppies cannot hear anything before three weeks of age. Puppies begin to walk unsteadily on the 18th day; some as early as 12 days. From 21 to 49 days, playing and play fighting begins.

At approximately three weeks of age, puppies begin to go toward sights, sounds, or smells, and their
tendency to “whine” decreases. All their sense organs are now functional. The puppy is no longer dependent on reflex responses to hunger, cold, and touch. It can see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. They can eliminate independently and will normally leave their nesting and play area to eliminate. Their memory develops. By three weeks of age, their brains start to take on adult characteristics. By seven weeks, they have “adult” brains and “mature” brain waves are first recorded.

At this three week stage, great changes take place mentally and physically to puppies. They find sudden and
unexpected stimulation emotionally startling. Any additional noise, confusion, or rough handling can cause puppies to become “fear imprinted.” Puppies should not be subjected to excessive stimulation during this period, as they are having to cope with several newly developed senses at once. What a puppy learns during its third week becomes fixed and will influence its attitudes toward man, other animals, and its environment, throughout its life.

A critical socialization period begins at three weeks, and lasts to four months of age. A puppy’s basic
character is set during this time. Puppies need to interact with humans and other animals in a variety of places and situations and need individual attention during this period.

Puppies should not be weaned or adopted before seven weeks of age. Weaning before the seventh week
may cause noisy or nervous behavior for life. Puppies need their litter mates until seven weeks to learn to interact well with other dogs. Taken before seven weeks, puppies miss critical socialization periods, and may show less interest in normal dog activities for life.

Puppies adopted after seven weeks may pick fights with other dogs as adults. However, neither adopting a
puppy before seven weeks or after eight weeks will have such a drastic or negative effect that you should never consider adopting a puppy outside of seven weeks. There are simply too many other factors to be considered when choosing a puppy for this to be the deciding factor.

At seven weeks, puppies’ brains are fully developed. This is the best time to adopt a puppy. It has had an
opportunity to interact adequately with both its mother and litter mates and time to learn the socialization skills critical to its future interaction with humans and other animals. If weaning and transfer occur simultaneously, the best time to adopt is at eight weeks.

Research shows aggression develops in puppies that do not stay with their mother long enough and also in
puppies that remain too long. Puppies taken at the end of the fourth week and given a lot of human attention may become so socialized to humans they do not care for other dogs. Some identify with humans so strongly that they express sexual desires toward humans rather than dogs, such dogs can be difficult or impossible to breed.

Positive training and gentle discipline can start at eight weeks. With proper training, puppies can be expected
to obey every command they have been taught. While housebreaking can begin at 8 weeks, do not expect immediate success. Generally speaking, up to 8 months, a puppy can be expected to “hold” eliminations for one hour per month of age. In other words, a three month old puppy should only be expected to wait three hours MAXIMUM time between eliminations.

From 8 to 12 weeks also marks the beginning of another fear imprinting period.

From 12 to 16 weeks, puppies cut teeth and declare their independence. The puppies decide who the “pack
leader” is going to be. It is critical to establish yourself as leader during this period. Nothing helps a puppy learn appropriate dog behavior towards humans more than simply taking it away from its litter mates and having a pleasant session of one on one play, training, or work daily.

Although these important critical learning periods occur, one should never interpret this to mean that a dog
cannot be trained after these periods. Dogs can be trained throughout their lives and, if the training is done properly, dogs enjoy the process. Dogs that have no defined purpose are often bored and boredom can lead to behavior problems. Training is an important way for your dog to express its energy, intelligence, and instincts.
© Copyright 2001 Responsible Animal Owners of Tennessee, Inc. – Permission granted to copy and distribute in its entirety as is.

Read Full Post »

An Editorial by Alice Fix


(click on link above to view the whole article)

Read Full Post »


Dogs are truly amazing creatures! Here are a few anatomy and health facts about our four-legged friends that might surprise you:

Sweat glands in dogs are between their paw pads.
Dogs are left or right ‘handed,’ just as humans are.
A dog’s normal body temperature is between 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Dogs trained to guide the blind cannot tell a red light from a green one. They watch the traffic flow to tell when it is safe to cross.
One of the top canine health problems in the U.S. is overweight dogs.
Dogs instinctively turn around before they lay down because in the wild this action turns long grass into a bed.
The gestation period in a pregnant female dog is normally between 61 and 63 days, but can vary between 58 and 68 days.
Dogs have twice as many muscles for moving their ears as humans.
Puppies have 28 teeth, while adult dogs have 42 permanent teeth.
A dog’s heart beats 70 to 120 times per minute, while a human heart beats 70 to 80 times per minute.
The hearing range of a dog is ten times farther than a human’s hearing range.
Dogs share nearly 90% of the same genetic content that humans do and they inherit many of the same diseases.
Dogs do not have an appendix or a collarbone.
A dog’s nose has over 200 scent receiving cells, 44 times more than humans.
Dogs don’t see the colors that humans do but instead see muted colors and many shades of gray.
Most dogs are lactose intolerant.
The Bloodhound is the only animal whose (sniffing) evidence is admissible in an American Court of Law.
A dog’s nose is kept moist by fluid from a gland inside his nose. This moisture helps them detect odors.
Dogs and humans are the only animals with prostates.
The average dog’s mouth exerts 150 to 180 pounds of pressure per square inch. Some dogs can apply up to 450 pounds. In comparison, a six-foot alligator exerts a force of about 1,540 pounds between its jaws. (Hint: Don’t let your dog chase alligators!)

Read Full Post »