Archive for the ‘A Blog Called Pup’ Category
Pet Sitters vs Kennels – Which is Best for Your Pet?
Entrusting a stranger to look after your beloved pet is a difficult decision for any owner to make. Who’s more qualified, the kennel facility, or the pet sitters you find through apps such as Rover and Wag? How can you be certain that your furbaby ends up in good hands?
What to Look for In a Kennel
While the rates for pet hotels tend to be higher than those of a sitter, the best facilities offer services that your neighborhood dog-walker can’t! Most kennels provide professional bathing, grooming, training, along with live surveillance that can be accessed from your phone. You’re able to see who interacts with your pet the most and observe how they’re responding to the stay.
Don’t depend on online reviews for an honest peek into the facility you’re interested in. Take a tour and see for yourself! Is there rat poop in the drains or along the floorboards? Are the individual runs clean and free of urine or feces? Do the animals have proper bedding? Are senior dogs getting the extra attention necessary?
Make sure that the building is up to date with Fire Marshal regulations and ask to see where the extinguishers are located. Some locations keep one or two staff members on-site during the evening, but it’s not uncommon for companies to send all of their employees home after a certain time in the evening.
This is something to seriously consider if you’re not comfortable with your pet being alone for an extended period away from home.
Working With a Sitter
You may have to set up your own surveillance system if you hire an in-home pet sitter, but at least you know exactly who is coming and going. Keeping your furbaby at home also means that they won’t have as much exposure to diseases like kennel cough and distemper. Both are highly contagious, and outbreaks have occurred in boarding facilities.
Give your sitter a mini-interview. Ask them about their experience with animals. If your pet has any special needs, find out whether or not they’ll be comfortable with the requirements. Unlike boarding facilities, you may have better like with the accuracy of online reviews. Look for someone who has repeat clients, lots of photos, and a good reputation within the community of the app or website.
Keep in mind that a cheaper rate doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re getting an awesome deal. Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. It’s no different when hiring someone to look after the thing you love most!
Ultimately, it’s up to you to make the judgment about what’s right for you and your pet. In terms of safety and comfort, where do you think your dog, cat, or otherwise will feel the least anxious in your absence? When you examine each scenario, which option makes you feel at ease?
Take a few nights to sleep on it so that you can make an informed, well-thought-out decision.
Retractable Leashes for Dogs: This is What You Need to Know
While most puppies can learn simple commands as early as 7 weeks, most experts agree that you start formally training your dog around 6 months of age.
Training your dog includes everything from house training to socializing and walking on a leash. When you start leash training, you’ll have a choice between a retractable or fixed leash.
Retractable leashes have a bad reputation but incidents with this type of leash are largely the result of improper use. There are pros and cons to this type of leash and specific times when you’d consider using them.
If you’re trying to find the right leash for your dog, keep reading. We’re going to tell you when to choose a retractable dog leash and why.
Pros of Retractable Leashes
The number one benefit of a retractable leash is that it gives your dog freedom to roam while still giving you a degree of control by having them tethered. But there are a few additional benefits to these dog products, depending on the type of dog you have.
If your dog tends to tangle their leash, a retractable leash can’t twist into knots. Dogs who tangle their leash tend to be high-energy dogs, and these dogs also benefit from retractable leashes. That’s because they have more freedom to roam, which gives you a better chance of tuckering them out and exhausting their energy.
If you’re a runner or jogger, you might benefit from a retractable leash if you like to take your dog with you. Using a retractable leash means you don’t have to stop every few feet. Your dog can run alongside you or in front of you and do their business without you having to stop.
Cons Of Retractable Leashes
The cons of retractable leashes include the degree of control that you have. Retractable leashes can give your dog 16ft or even 30ft of leeway. If you need to gain control over your dog while they’re that far away, you’re going to have a hard time doing so.
The other downsides of retractable leashes have to do with how they’re made. For one, a retractable dog leash made from nylon can not only snap but also cause rope burns. And big, bulky handles are easy to lose grip of, which means the leash will go bouncing behind your dog and potentially cause them to panic and run.
Best Time To Use A Retractable Dog Leash
With those pros and cons in mind, the best time to use a retractable dog leash is when you’re walking a trained dog on familiar grounds and with lots of space. Without sufficient room, your dog can get tangled in trees and shrubs or into trouble with other dogs and people. And in unfamiliar territory, you don’t know what awaits your dog around the next corner or over a hill on a new trail.
You might use a retractable leash to train a puppy in an unfenced yard, too. But be careful when using a retractable leash to train. Because there’s always tension on these types of leashes, your dog may learn to pull.
Get to Know More Pet Products
Retractable leashes can be great tools in specific circumstances. If you like to jog alongside your pup or if you have a lot of open space that you’re familiar with, for example. But, if you’re training your dog or walking them in unfamiliar territory, you might consider a different type of leash.
To have a look at your options, as well as pet products for birds to reptiles, check out what we carry.
Why It’s Important to Socialize Your Puppy
The world is filled with sights, sounds, smells, and myriad other environmental factors that can be overwhelming for puppies. It’s important to socialize your dog early so that she feels comfortable outside of the safety of your home when she meets other people and animals. Without proper socialization, your best buddy could become anxious, depressed, or even aggressive.
When should socialization start?
The ideal socialization age for puppies is between three and twelve weeks old, with seven weeks being the average age to start socialization. During this time, your pup is very impressionable and more accepting of new things. He is more likely to absorb new experiences rather than shy away from them.
As puppies age, they become more cautious about the world around them. Dogs between 12 and 18 weeks may show signs of fear and aggression when introduced to new experiences. However, owners shouldn’t allow the fear to dictate their dog’s behavior and instead continue trying to safely and gently socialize their puppy.
Benefits of Early Socialization
Your puppy is a member of your family, and the goal is for him to feel safe, loved, and calm. By socializing early, you’re helping to ensure that your dog can confidently navigate new experiences, like meeting new people or enjoying family outings. This is especially important for families with young children. Without proper exposure to kids, your dog may become fearful or aggressive with eager and easily excitable children.
How do you socialize your puppy?
Socializing your puppy isn’t easy, but the results are extremely rewarding. To start, expose your buddy to a variety of situations that she’ll encounter regularly like trips to the park, neighborhood walks, visits from friends, or grooming appointments. The more experiences that you can introduce your dog to, the better he will respond as he grows into an adult. Taking time to help your puppy understand the world around her means that you can enjoy more experiences with your best buddy as an adult.
If you encounter issues or just need a little more help to get started, talk to your veterinarian and they’ll be able to help you create a socialization plan.
The Facts About Dogs and Their Paws
Are you concerned that your dog is licking or chewing her paws a little too much?
Although licking is associated with normal grooming behavior for dogs, when it becomes excessive and includes constant chewing, this could indicate an underlying problem.
One of these conditions could be the culprit behind your dog’s incessant grooming.
- Allergy: Whether it’s the result of seasonal allergies or a flea infestation, dogs lick their paws to relieve the itch. Keep in mind, though, that the discomfort might not be in their paws. When dogs feel itchy, they lick somewhere accessible, like their paws, to soothe the irritation located elsewhere on their body.
- Injury: Cuts, debris between the toes, or other skin abrasions can prompt dogs to chew or scratch their skin.
- Habit: Dogs who are frequently left alone for long periods of time or those who don’t receive adequate exercise will lick and chew their paws out of boredom.
- Anxiety: A change of routine, like a new baby, or separation can trigger anxiety in some dogs. Anxious pups will often groom their paws excessively.
- Compulsive Disorder: Although uncommon, constant licking could be a sign of obsessive-compulsive behavior, which can be difficult to treat and control.
More than nuisance behavior, incessant licking and chewing can lead to real problems for your best pal. If left untreated, it could result in painful damaged skin, open sores, bacterial infections, and a vicious cycle of constant irritation.
Regularly check your dog’s skin for any irritations that may be causing discomfort. And, if you notice Fido grooming himself more than usual, contact your veterinarian immediately to pinpoint the issue and start a treatment plan.
Tips to Keep Your Dog’s Ears Clean
Keeping your dog’s ears clean is important for maintaining their overall health.
While some dogs’ ears are naturally clean and require little maintenance, others need extra care. Dogs with long or really furry ears, like cocker spaniels, that accumulate dirt and debris more easily are often more prone to ear infections and other problems.
The physical makeup of your dog’s ears isn’t the only factor that increases their risk for ear conditions. Yeast and bacteria are two of the most common irritants that can compromise the health of dogs’ ears. However, allergies, hormone disorders, ear mites, moisture or wax buildup, and extra hair can also lead to issues.
Regardless of the type of ears that your dog has, checking them regularly to see if cleaning is needed should be part of your regular pet care routine.
Here are some helpful tips to clean your pup’s ears safely.
- Check to make sure that your pup’s ears actually need cleaning. Only clean them if you notice a change like a mild odor or visible debris. Excessive cleaning can lead to irritation or infections.
- Clean the external part of your pet’s ear only.
- Gather your supplies. You’ll need cotton balls, gauze, and a towel. Never use cotton swabs or anything with pointed tips, since they could push debris further into the ear or damage the inner structures.
- Choose an area of your home that’s easy to wipe up—ear-cleaning can get messy. A mudroom or bathroom is a great choice.
- Use an ear-cleaning solution recommended by your veterinarian. DIY solutions may contain harmful irritants.
- Add the cleaning solution to the ear canal and gently massage the base of the ear for about 30 seconds.
- Allow your pup to shake her ears back and forth once the solution has been added. This is where the towel comes in handy to wipe your dog’s face and any excess spray that may have hit you.
- Gently wipe out the ear canal with the gauze or cotton balls. The AKC recommends going no further than your first knuckle inside the ear.
- Use clean gauze to thoroughly dry the ears. Leaving behind moisture creates an environment for microbial growth that could lead to ear infections.
Sometimes dirty ears signal more than a need for routine cleaning. It could indicate an ear infection. Here are some signs to look for:
- Strong yeasty or bad smells from inside the ear
- Redness or swelling
- Vigorous ear scratching
- Constant head shaking
- Balance issues
- Crusts, peeling, or scabs around the ear
- Hair loss
- Rubbing the ear against objects such as furniture and walls.
- Hearing issues
- Bloody, brown, or yellow discharge
If you notice any of these signs or if your dog appears to be in pain while you’re cleaning their ears, contact your veterinarian immediately. Your dog could be suffering from an ear infection or another condition that needs medical attention.
Pros and Cons of Sleeping With your Dog
We all dream of it – cuddling up with your pooch in bed on a cool night, reading by your nightlight and snuggling down for the evening. So, is it good or bad to co-sleeping with your dog? We weigh in on the pros and cons of sleeping with Fido in your bed.
First, let’s start with the pros of sleeping with your dog
He’s soft and snuggly, and you just adore that light snoring that he has that helps you drift off into dreamland. He’s warm and there’s nothing like waking up to your sweet boy in the morning. Plus, just having your dog around can help relieve stress and anxiety and sleeping with him can certainly lower any symptoms of anxiety and stress. All great benefits with keeping your pooch with you when you sleep.
Sometimes, we have the blue and are down, and sleeping with your dog can help relieve depression. The chemical that is released when you’re in close contact with your dog is called oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, that helps elevate your mood. Also, while you’re sleeping, oxytocin promotes theta brain waves that occur during REM sleep – that time of sleep where you have dreams. So, not only is sleeping with your dog comfortable, it helps elevate your mood and promotes REM sleep.
In one study, researchers found that women sleep better when they are next to their dogs. Researchers from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York found that women who sleep with their dogs actually sleep better and feel more secure than if they slept next to their human counterparts. Sounds harsh, but hey, that doesn’t mean that you both can’t sleep next to your dog! Improved sense of security, better sleep, and they generally had better bedtime schedules. So, cuddle up!
Here are even more ways that sleeping with a dog can help improve your sleep from decreases in loneliness, lowering blood pressure, and bond strengthening with your dog.
OK, so when it is not a good idea to sleep with a dog?
With all of the great benefits of sleeping with a dog, how could there be anything bad? Well, a few things come into play here – allergies, non-house trained puppies, if you’re a light sleeper, or if your dog has some health issues.
We all know someone with allergies – whether it’s seasonal or animal-related – we understand the misery that they can go through. Even if you have light allergies, it’s better to make sure that your fur baby sleeps on the floor next to you. You’ll still have the benefits of having your dog around, but the other benefit is that their dander and fur stay in their bed and not yours.
House training is a must as we all know. Puppies take a lot of time to house train and, in general, to train. So, you want to make sure that Bella over there knows when it’s time to use the potty and in the right place because your bed certainly isn’t the right place. Nothing like waking up to a wet mess because Bella couldn’t hold it in. So, make sure that you have all of that training in place for a good while before you invite her into your bed.
Speaking of house training, it also helps to improve your relationship and bond with your dog. By doing this, it also helps Bella know who’s the boss around the house. By asserting yourself as the pack leader helps curb any potential aggression down the road as well as territorial concerns. Some dogs may have territorial issues, and if you introduce someone new around the house, especially at bedtimes, this could turn into a tad bit of an issue. Take care of it early and make sure that you’re the boss, not Bella.
So, make sure that you weigh your pros and cons of co-sleeping with your dog and you’ll have sweet dreams, cozy nights, and furry cuddles.
Does heartworm prevention and flea prevention need to be given year-round?
One of the most frequently asked questions that many veterinarians get is whether heartworm and flea prevention should be used year-round. The resounding answer is, “Yes.” Regular flea and heartworm prevention are essential for keeping your dog healthy and happy. Read on to learn more.
Fleas Pose a Year-Round Threat
Contrary to popular belief, fleas aren’t a seasonal pest. While freezing temperatures can kill fleas, it often isn’t enough to eliminate the problem altogether. These perennial pests have found ways to survive in even the chilliest climates.
One of the most common ways that fleas survive in cold weather is by living on wild animals such as raccoons to stay warm. These animals unknowingly host numerous flea eggs, waiting to boom again when temperatures warm. Barns, garages, outdoor kennel bedding, nooks underneath decks and home foundations are also popular places for fleas to hide during the cold.
Heartworm Disease on the Rise
Testing positive for heartworms is a diagnosis that no pet parent wants to hear. Unfortunately, the disease is found in all 50 states and is currently on the rise. Some of the increased risks for infection can be attributed to:
- More and more people are traveling with their dogs, particularly to and from areas with heavy mosquito populations, like the southern United States.
- Mosquito populations are increasing with environmental shifts such as increasing temperatures.
- Fewer dogs are receiving monthly heartworm preventive medicines.
Caused by the deadly parasites that it’s named for, heartworm disease can be transmitted by a single bite from a mosquito. There are often no outward signs of the disease until it is in the advanced stages. The resulting treatment to cure heartworm disease can be costly and, in some cases, the disease proves deadly.
Fortunately, monthly heartworm preventives combined with regular testing are easy ways to protect your dog’s health.
Talk to your veterinarian to develop a flea and heartworm prevention plan that works for you and your precious pup.
5 things you must know about Heat Stroke in Dogs
When exposed to the hot sun for long periods of time, dogs can suffer from a serious condition called heat stroke. It’s important that you know the signs and understand how to prevent your dog from suffering from heatstroke. Here are five facts that you must know.
1. Normal body temperature in dogs is 100.5-102.5 degrees. Heatstroke will occur when a dog’s body temperature reaches 107-109 degrees. Dogs don’t sweat through their skin the same way that humans do, instead of dogs sweat through their nose and footpads. This means it can take a dog’s body much longer to cool off after prolonged exposure to heat.
2. Certain breeds have a higher risk of heatstroke. This includes short nose breeds, large heavy coat breeds, and dogs with respiratory problems.
3. Since our dogs can’t talk, it’s our responsibility to know the signs of heatstroke. These signs include:
- heavy panting
- difficulty breathing
- excessive thirst
- thick saliva
4. Prevention is a far better alternative because in most cases by the time that symptoms are visible it is often too late. The best method to prevent heat stroke in your dog is to avoid prolonged sun exposure. If you live in a hot climate, don’t leave your dog outside for more than 10 minutes at a time. Do not leave your dog in a car unattended while you run errands. Even with the windows down the car can reach a temperature over 110 degrees, putting your dog at risk for heatstroke.
5. If you think your dog is suffering from heatstroke, there are a few actions you can take.
- Move your dog out of the heat or direct sunlight immediately
- Use cool washcloths and apply them on the footpads and the head
- The cool process should be gradual, avoid using ice water or ice
- Offer your dog water but don’t force her to drink
- Visit an emergency vet as soon as possible
Is a dog walker right for you?
Daily walks are essential to our dog’s happiness and wellbeing. Your dog could require up to 3 walks per day depending on its age, breed, and energy level. With the daily hustle and bustle of work, school, and social activities, making time for your dog’s walk may feel like a difficult act to balance. Recently many cities have seen the introduction of dog walking services who can help bridge the gap for individuals like yourself with busy schedules. How can you determine if a dog walker is right for you?
1. Your dog is comfortable and friendly with strangers
If your dog is friendly and greets strangers with enthusiastic energy, then your dog would benefit from dog walking services. If your dog becomes aggressive or territorial around new humans, then you may want to reconsider. Also, keep in mind that your assigned walker could change so your dog may have to adjust to new people on the fly. You know your dog’s temperament best when it comes to strangers. The walking experience should be comfortable for your dog and the walker so don’t force your dog into an uncomfortable experience prematurely. Work with your vet to get advice on how to ease your pup into being more comfortable around strangers.
2. Your dog is comfortable and friendly with other dogs
Dog walkers usually balance a small group of dogs. This can be problematic if one dog is aggressive towards the others. If you notice that your dog barks uncontrollably around other dogs, or attempts to chase after other dogs, you may want to reconsider using a dog walking service. Dogs who are calm and friendly toward other dogs are the best candidates for dog walking services.
3. Your dog is comfortable with a stranger entering your home
Since you will most likely be using the service when you aren’t home, it is important that your dog doesn’t become aggressive or territorial when a stranger enters your home. The dog walker will enter your home using the key provided, and you want to be sure that your dog can be easily transitioned from the home to the walk.
4 Things that happy dogs do
- Make Eye Contact
Dogs will focus on things that they like and are interested in. If they are intimidated or scared of something, they won’t want to look at it, much the same as a person may cover their eyes if they were to see something scary!
Regular eye contact with your dog is a sign that they love and trust you, so hold their gaze from time to time, to show that you love and respect them too.
2. Snuggling in Your Stuff
As a dog’s sense of smell is so acute, they use scent to communicate feelings of love and attachment. Dogs who are happy and well-attached to their owners often enjoy snuggling up to the scent of their owner too. This goes a long way in explaining why you may often find your beloved pooch nestling in the dirty laundry or chewing on old shoes.
3. They Listen to You
If your dog responds to you when you call, it is a strong sign that they are happy and secure. If your dog obeys your commands and listens when you speak, it shows that they have a strong bond with you.
4. Engage in Play-time
A happy dog regularly displays playful behavior. Playful behavior may be shown as jumping and leaping about. Some dogs may also bow to you by stretching out their front legs, receiving a bow from a dog is a sure sign they are happy with you and in a good mood.
A playful pup may also lean into you, enjoying any attention you give them. It’s also a great sign if your dog pushes into your hand when you go to pet them, or rolls onto their back for you to tickle their tummy.