SafeBet Hidden Fencing Of Michigan

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Using an invisible fence to contain a pet is just one way to be a responsible pet owner. But so is proper feeding, dog training, grooming your pet and getting the right pet products for your dog or cat.
Having the right information can help you keep your pets safe, healthy and happy,  So, we've invited Pet Care experts to share their advice with you. Browse through these articles for great advice and tips - and be sure to "Like" our Facebook page to stay on top of the latest pet care information.

Using an invisible fence to contain a pet is just one way to be a responsible dog or cat owner. But so is proper feeding, dog training, grooming your pet and getting the right pet products for your dog or cat.

Having the right information can help you keep your pets safe, healthy and happy.

So, we've invited Pet Care experts to share their advice with you. Browse through these articles for great advice and tips - and be sure to "Like" our Facebook page to stay on top of the latest pet care information.


Pet Care Articles




Pet Care Tips and Advice


Using an invisible fence to contain a pet is just one way to be a responsible dog or cat owner. But so is proper feeding, dog training, grooming your pet and getting the right pet products for your dog or cat.

Having the right information can help you keep your pets safe, healthy and happy.

So, we've invited Pet Care experts to share their advice with you. Browse through these articles for great advice and tips.

Pet Care Articles

Three Puppies

 Socializing Your Newly Adopted Puppy or Dog

Because dogs are pack animals and need to feel "a part of" a larger group, socializing them is very important. Let's look at socializing a new puppy first. You've just brought your new baby home and he's only 8 weeks old. What can you do to help him feel happy and relaxed and part of his new pack?
First, understand that he is in a major transition period - he's just been removed from what was up till now, the source of virtually all his emotional and physical security - his mother and siblings. Though you may be thrilled about your new addition, this change may represent a huge lack of stability for your new puppy, especially if he tends to be shy and somewhat unsure of himself.



Dog Being Bathed

What to Consider When Getting a Dog

Bringing a dog into your life is really not unlike having a child, so it's not a decision to make lightly as a dog is forever dependent on you, its human, for all of its care throughout its entire life. On the other hand, your child will grow up and become self-sufficient and hopefully help care for you in your old age!




Black Dog with Couple

Common Dog Behavior Problems and How to Address Them

I recently taught a dog behavior class for concerned humans and their canine friends and after interviewing the interested students discovered the three most common behaviors they wanted to address. They are: barking, pulling on the leash and jumping up when greeting people. So let's take each one of these separately, starting with the loudest - barking.




Toilet Sign

House Training Your Puppy Or Dog

Like any other canine training, teaching your puppy or dog not to use your house as a bathroom starts with repetition and consistency. Let's begin by addressing a puppy's needs as they are different from those of a fully grown dog.  When you bring your new pup home, understand that this is the first time she's ever been away from what essentially has been her main source of security - her family. She will be missing her littermates and her Mom, so her young life is turned upside down. You are asking her to learn a new language and to leave her "security blanket" and to start growing up - all at once.



Adorable Fluffy Puppy

Top 10 Tips About Your New Puppy: Simple Advice for New Dog Owners

Did you get a puppy for Christmas? We found these great tips at www.petinsurance.com and thought we would share it with our new dog owners out there.




Sunset Walk

Dogs - The Ultimate Workout Partner

It’s that time again; we’ve put on a few extra pounds over the holidays, and now things don’t fit quite right. And while it might seem a little early to be thinking about it, summer will be here before we know it and we’ll be dreading pulling out the bathing suits. Well, if you have a dog and are up for a little fun with you four legged friend this could be the year you don’t cringe at the thought of heading to the pool. I mean you have to let the dog out anyway, so why not combine some activities that your dog’ll love with some activities that’ll help your waistline? It’ll get you moving around, your dog will have a blast, and you might even have some fun too!



Dog Noses

Facts About Dogs You Didn't Know

What you don't know about dogs may surprise you, even if you've been a dog owner all your life.  Did you know that a dog can smell one thousand times better than a human, or that they only mate two times a year?



Dog Eyes

Caring for Your Dog's Eyes - Tips for Keeping Them Clean and Healthy

Caring for the health of your dog's eyes begins with close observation. I usually did at least a cursory "physical exam" whenever I bathed my dog (once a month) and that included looking deeply into her gorgeous, big brown eyes! Below is a list of things to look for:

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• Discharge or crustiness around the eye/s
• Tearing
• Either red or white eyelids - they should be pink
• A closed or partially closed eye or eyes
• Cloudiness/milkiness in the eye or a change in eye color
• Difference in the sizes of the pupils
• Visible third eyelid (the opaque membrane located in the inner corner of the eye under the lower lid) 
• Tear stained hair around and below the eye (this reddish-brown discharge appears especially in brachycephalic dogs, those with very short muzzles and protruding eyes such as the Shih-tzu)
• Pawing at the eye or eyes (this is an attempt to get rid of something that causes discomfort but it may make the situation worse if your dog scratches the eyeball).

Whenever you examine your dog's eyes, make sure that your hands are clean and dry in order to reduce any risk of possible infection. Be gentle when probing so as not to cause any further irritation. As a general rule of thumb, if a condition persists more than 2 days despite your care, make an appointment to bring your dog in to see your vet.

Some preventative measures you can employ include trimming any excess hair near your dog's eyes. For dogs with "bangs", make sure that the hair is not long enough to hang down into the eye area. Wash the eye area gently with tepid water or a sterile solution of veterinary recommended eyewash. When your dog is riding in the car, leave the window open partially, but not enough to let him put his head out. There are many potential air-borne particles and insects that could end up in your dog's eyes. Research and become familiar with any possible genetic eye conditions your breed of dog may be prone to.

Optimal health for your dog's eyes starts with common sense observation and prevention. Dogs may not need to wear sunglasses like we do, but they do need their humans to be consistently vigilant about helping to maintain their eye health.

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer

Photot Credit: http://pets.thenest.com/DM-Resize/photos.demandstudios.com/12/187/fotolia_1763294_XS.jpg?w=590&h=590&keep_ratio=1




Dog Mouthing

How To Prevent Your Puppy From Mouthing and Nipping

If you've ever watched a group of puppies play, you know they can really roughhouse at times. This can include a number of behaviors, including mouthing and nipping, which are separate and distinct.

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Puppy mouthing is a more gentle form of placing their teeth and may be a prelude to nipping, depending on the pup's level of excitement. Generally, it is one of the ways a puppy explores its world and it may also be because the pup is teething. If your puppy is teething (which generally happens anywhere between the ages of 2 and 8 months), be sure and offer plenty of OK things to chew on such as ice cubes in warmer weather, an old washcloth that you've put in the freezer or a soft ball or toy. It's probably a good idea to avoid the harder chews during teething, such as rawhide.

If you don't want your pup to mouth you, keep a substitute chew available at all times. If your young dog starts mouthing, say "no" firmly and then immediately offer something that's acceptable to put in her mouth. You may need to push her head away as well if she doesn't give up. When she takes the proffered toy or other "chewy" praise her warmly and smile!

Nipping is the next stage past mouthing and many herding breeds such as the Australian Shepherd and Border Collie do this naturally. Your goal is to teach your puppy that putting any pressure on your skin or clothing with their sharp teeth is unacceptable.
Start by doing what other dogs do when a pup nips - yelp loudly! - as this sound indicates displeasure. Then you can do one of several things: Begin by putting your pup in a timeout for 5 to 10 minutes with no physical contact with you. Let him out and if he nips again, say "no nipping" or "no biting" in a louder than usual voice and shake him a couple of times by the scruff of the neck. (Do not do this too roughly - you are warning your pup to stop and this is often what adult dogs do. The goal is not to hurt but to warn.) You may want to follow this with another timeout or even a growling sound to let your pup know that you really are upset. Repeat as necessary, being consistent with your words and actions.

Make sure that the nipping is not just the result of boredom or lack or regular daily exercise. Puppies sleep a lot but when they wake up, they are raring to go! Engage in some fun play every day with your pup such as hide and seek, and you can also divert their attention by starting to work on some simple training techniques. Fetch might be a good place to start if your young dog loves to place things in her mouth. But training of any kind (sit, come, stay) will help her re-focus her attention elsewhere.

Most unwanted canine behaviors can be corrected with patience and consistency. Be firm, not rough in setting your boundaries and make sure your pup gets what he needs: good food, fun, training, love, and exercise. Your investment of time early on will reap benefits for the rest of his life!

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer

Photot Credit: http://pawzforhealth.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/puppy-biting-.jpg





Plants Pets Should Avoid

Decorating your home for the holidays is an annual tradition for many Americans that often includes the addition of pretty plants, bulbs, and evergreens. But if you share your home with pets, there is some greenery you may want to omit as they can be toxic.

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A very common example of a plant that is often used in holiday decorating is the poinsettia, which comes in a variety of pretty colors ranging from bright red to a rich, soothing cream. Eating this may cause your pet some digestive discomfort and minor vomiting, but it is not as toxic as other plants such as the amaryllis bulb, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and even tremors.

Below is a comprehensive chart from The Humane Society of the United States that lists plants that are potentially poisonous to pets. This includes both indoor and outdoor plants, so it can be used as a year-round reference.

Keep your vet's number handy at all times as well as these two numbers: 

• The ASPCA's Poison Control Center: 888-426-4435 (24/7, 365; $65 fee)
• Pet Poison Helpline: 800-213-6680 (24 hour availability; $39 fee, payable by credit card)

Do not assume that inducing vomiting is always the first course of action; locate the plant or other toxin first and seek advice from a professional.

A little prevention really can go a long way in enjoying the holidays. Familiarize yourself with those plants that may be toxic for your pets and avoid having them in your home. A safe and attractive alternative for holiday decorating is to substitute artificial greenery - today's are so lifelike that it's almost impossible to tell them from the real thing!

Plants Potentially Poisonous to Pets

Plant Toxic Parts Plant Type
Aconite roots, foliage, seeds garden flower
Apple seeds cultivated tree
Arrowgrasses leaves marsh plants
Atropa Belladonna entire plant esp. seeds, roots garden herb
Autumn Crocus entire plant garden flower, cultivated and wild
Azaleas entire plant shrub
Baneberry berries, roots wildflower
Bird-of-Paradise pods garden flower
Black Locust entire plant esp. bark, shoots tree
Bloodroot entire plant esp. stem, roots wildflower, herb
Box leaves ornamental shrub
Buckeye sprouts, nuts, seeds tree
Buttercup entire plane esp. leaves wildflower, garden herb
Caladium entire plant house plant
Carolina Jessamine flowers, leaves ornamental plant
Castor Bean entier plant esp. beans house plant
Chinaberry Tree berries tree
Chockcherries leaves, cherries, pit wild shrub
Christmas Berry leaves shrub
Christmas Rose rootstock, leaves garden flower
Common Privet leaves, berries ornamental shrubs
Corn Cockle seeds wildflower, weed
Cowbane entire plant esp. roots wildflower, herb
Cow Cockle seeds wildflower, weed
Cowslip entire plant esp. leaves, stem wildflower, herb
Daffodil bulbs, bark, berries garden flower
Daphne leaves ornamental shrub
Day Lily entire plant is toxic to cats wildflower
Death Camas leaves, stems, seeds, flowers field herb
Delphinium (Larkspur) entire plant esp. sprouts wildflower
Dumbcane  entire plant house plant, wild and garden
Dutchman's Breeches roots, foliage flower
Easter Lily entire plant is toxic to cats flowering house plant
Elderberry leaves, bark, roots, buds tree
Elephant's Ear entire plant house plant
English Ivy entire plant esp. leaves, berries ornamental vine
European Bittersweet entire plant esp. berries vine
False Flax seeds, roots, leaves wild herb
False Hellebore seeds ornamental flower
Fan Weed seeds wildflower, herb
Field Peppergrass seeds wildflower, herb, wild and garden
Foxglove leaves flower
Holly berries shrub
Horsechestnut nuts, sprouts tree
Horse Nettle entire plant esp. berries wildflower, herb, wild and house
Hyacinth bulbs plant, wild and garden
Iris leaves, roots flower
Jack-in-the-pulpit entire plant esp. roots, leaves wildflower
Jatropha seeds tree, shrub
Jerusalem Cherry unripe fruit, foliage ornamental plant
Jimsonweed entire plant esp. seeds field plant
Laburnum seeds, pods, flowers ornamental plant
Lantana foliage houseplant
Larkspur young plants wildflower
Laurels leaves shrub and garden
Lily of the Valley leaves, flowers wildflower
Lupines seeds, pods shrub
Manchineel Tree sap, fruit tree
Matrimony Vine leaves, shoots ornamental vine
Mayapple unripe fruit, roots, foliage wildflower
Milk Vetch entire plant wildflower
Mistletoe berries houseplant
Monkshood entire plant esp. roots, seeds wildflower
Moonseed fruit, roots vine
Morning Glory seeds, roots wildflower
Mountain Mahogany leaves shrub
Mustards seeds wildflower
Narcissus bulbs garden flower
Nicotiana leaves garden flower
Nightshade leaves, berries wildflower, vine
Oaks shoots, leaves tree
Oleander leaves ornamental shrub
Philodendrons entire plant houseplant
Pokeweed roots, seeds, berries field plant
Poinsettia leaves, stem, flowers house plant
Poison Hemlock leaves, stem, fruit field plant
Potato shoots, sprouts garden plant
Rattle Box entire plant wildflower
Rhododendron leaves ornamental shrub
Rhubarb leaves garden plant
Rosary Pea seeds houseplant
Sago Palm entire plant esp. seeds ornamental plant
Skunk Cabbage entire plant esp. roots, leaves marsh plant
Smartweeds sap wildflower
Snow-on-the-mountain sap field plant
Sorghum leaves grass
Star of Bethlehem entire plant wildflower
Velvet Grass leaves grass
Wild Black Cherry leaves, pits tree
Wild Radish seeds wildflower
Wisteria pods, seeds ornamental plant
Woody Aster entire plant wildflower
Yellow Jessamine entire plant ornamental vine
Yellow Oleander entire plant esp. leaves garden plant
Yellow Pine Flax entire plant esp. seedpods wildflower
Yew bark, leaves, seeds ornamental tree

Information from The Humane Society of the United States: www.humanesociety.org

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer 




Couple Skying with Dogs

Winter Activities With Your Dog

Though the weather is colder and the days are shorter, keeping fit and active is still a priority for you and your dog and this article can give you some fun and challenging ideas for staying active. For simplicity, let's divide them into two main categories - indoor and outdoor

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INDOOR Activities: If the weather outside really is frightful, here are some suggestions on how to keep your pooch engaged and active in your home.

• Hide and Seek: Dogs lead with their noses and finding you or a favorite toy is a great reward!
• Bubble Chasing: Purchase a non-toxic bubble formula and wand and have at it! You might want to turn a fan on to move the bubbles even more and secure any valuables before you start.
• Training Reinforcement: Work on your dog's sit/stay or down and intersperse your training with fun stuff and rewards - plenty of smiles, praise and pats and an occasional treat.
• Treadmill Walking: If you have one, you can teach your dog how to use it safely. You might even take turns using this while watching your favorite dog-related TV shows.
• An Indoor Class: This can be anything from fly ball to agility to swimming. A great way to bond with and spend quality time with your dog.

OUTDOOR Activities: Depending on both your level of fitness and that of your dog, you may have to start slowly and work up to longer periods of time.

• Fetch: Dogs with a high play and prey drive love to chase, whatever the weather. In very cold temps, start with a preliminary warm-up first like a walk or short hike.
• "Go find it!": This is an outdoor variation of hide and seek. Take a favorite toy and "bury" it in the snow and let your dog find it.
• Skjoring: A combination of cross country skiing and mushing. You are in your cross country skiing gear and your dog or dogs have a special harness that allows them to pull you across the snow. An incredible work out for medium to large-size dogs!
• Doggie Skiing: One of my favorite contemporary writers, Ted Kerasote (whose thoughtful and well-written books I highly recommend) is an avid backcountry skier. Throughout the winter, he has taken his dogs with him where they follow him down the mountain with a combination of sliding and plowing! Another activity to gradually work up to - this is probably not a good "weekend warrior" activity!
• Just go for a walk: Watching dogs playing in the snow makes me laugh out loud! They stick their muzzles in it, eat big chunks of it, roll in it and generally love being out in the snow - it seems to act as an energizing tonic for them! Whether you live in a city or in a rural area, this is an activity you both can enjoy.

Remember that your dog may need to wear a cozy coat in the colder weather just like you. Boots may help protect her pads from ice, especially if her paws are sensitive and her pads are not tough and calloused. And dogs who tend to be arthritic seem to benefit from exercise year-round, another good motivator to stay active regularly in the colder months.

Winter comes every year whether we like it or not, but that doesn't have to mean hibernation or lack of exercise for you and your dog. Be creative in designing fun and healthy activities that you can enjoy with your dog!

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer

Photo Credit:http://cdn.trendhunterstatic.com/thumbs/eco-friendly-skiing-fun-together-with-your-dog.jpeg




Four Pets

Health Benefits Of Having A Pet

One of the things I miss the most about having pets in my life is that wonderful, exuberant greeting I used to get whenever I came home. It didn't matter whether I had been gone for 20 minutes or 2 hours - my cats and dog were always there to meet and greet me enthusiastically at the door! Well OK, maybe the cats weren't there every time . . . . but my dog always did her welcome home "whirly dance" when I arrived!

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Now really, let's be honest - how many humans will greet you like that when you come home?!

Having that unbridled, no-holds-barred joy and love available every day is probably one of the most positive emotional health benefits of having pets. Though they cannot speak in language as we know it, our pets' sweet, affectionate behavior makes us smile and brings out the best in us as humans. And the happier we are, the less likely we are to get sick.

Physically, studies show that having a pet lowers our blood pressure (maybe because we tend to be happy when they are near) and, if we have a dog who needs walking each day, doing that will likely improve our overall fitness level too. Interestingly, a new study also shows that children who grow up with a "furred" animal are less likely to have allergies!

Having a pet or pets in our lives is a responsibility in many ways. But the overall health benefits are more than worth the price!

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer

Photo Credit: http://i-facts.info/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Health-Benefits-of-Owning-a-Pet.jpg




Pets in Santa Hats

Holidays, People and Pets

If you are like many people, soon your home will be filled with friends and family to share the holidays with. So how do you handle your pets while you have company?
Some pets, like some people, are naturally gregarious - they really enjoy having visitors, with all the extra attention that comes with it. But others are not as outgoing and it may be downright stressful for them to deal with new people in their home. So first, recognize your pet's ability to be comfortable and relaxed with others.

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If your pet is shy, you may want to provide them with a place of their own where they can retreat when holiday company arrives. It may be a back bedroom or your office - make sure it has their bed in it, plenty of fresh water and a litter box if your shy guy is a cat. Leaving a favorite toy or an article of your clothing with your scent on it can also help your shy pet feel less overwhelmed and apprehensive. You may even consider feeding them in this area too - some pets may actually become so upset when company comes that they refuse food.
Try to stick to your normal routine as much as possible. For example, if your dog is used to a walk at 5 PM, try to ensure that that happens while your guests are there. Daily routines that are kept, especially during a period of change, will help reassure your pet that all is well. You might even use a walk to help socialize your shy dog - consider inviting an understanding guest or two to accompany you so your dog can learn that new people really are nice!

Periodically invite your pet to join the group and respect their desire to decline. If you have children visiting, make sure to explain to them to be gentle and quiet around your shy pet. For both dogs and cats, shy or not, tell your visitors that although they might not always be visible, your 4-legged friends are there and to watch for them before they open the door and accidentally let Spot or Fluffy outside. Also, make sure that your guests aren't feeding your pets any holiday people foods, some of which, like chocolate for dogs, may be dangerous and even life threatening. Avoid an emergency trip to the vet during the holidays!
If your pet has chosen to remain incognito, go back and visit him or her throughout the day to reassure them that you are still here, that you care and that all is well despite the change in your household. It is temporary, but your pet does not know that!

Another option is to leave your pet with a trusted friend or neighbor who they feel comfortable with if you think that having guests will just be too much for them to handle. Write out their normal daily routine and check in regularly to see how things are going. Let your helper know that if they have any questions to please call.

You may also want to arrange "play dates" with your pet's friends during the times when your own home might be bursting at the seams with lots of company.
Like people, pets handle change differently. Some welcome it and seem to thrive on it, while it may frighten others. Be sensitive to your pet's personality and prepare ahead for their needs during the holidays.

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer

Photo Credit: http://blog.allstate.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/51d220aa7639455fc0b09a74472025fa.jpg




Dog Smelling Food

How Dogs Smell And Taste

The ability to taste sweetness, saltiness, bitterness, and sourness depends on the number and type of papillae, or what we usually call taste buds, on the tongue (those small bumps you can see when you stick your tongue out) and in other parts of the mouth. Humans have many more taste buds than dogs - 9000 compared to about 1700, so we seem to have a more highly developed sense of taste. Interestingly, unlike humans, dogs have special taste buds that only taste water.

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When it comes to the sense of smell, however, dogs rule! Their ability to smell is estimated to be 10,000 to 100,000 times better than ours and certain breeds are exceptional masters of scenting. That's why dogs are used for drug detection, search and rescue work, bomb sniffing, police work, and even locating bedbugs in hotels! There are also dogs who seem to have the ability to sniff out cancer and detect tumors when traditional tests say a person is cancer free.
Because the receptors for taste and smell are located close to each other in the skulls of both humans and dogs, there seems to be a correlation between taste and smell. When you eat, for example, part of the pleasure you experience is both the taste of the food and its appealing odor. So when your dog eats something that you consider smelly and repulsive, is it because they really can't taste it as much as you would? Or does it actually smell delicious to them?

For now, it seems that science and dog experts cannot completely answer that question so it's best to watch your dog when you're out and about together. A long dead critter may smell delicious to your dog and he or she may really want to eat it, but it's likely to cause great gastric upset later, coupled with the need for you to do a lot of cleaning!

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer

Photo Credit: http://pets.thenest.com/DM-Resize/photos.demandstudios.com/getty/article/52/149/dv1909018.jpg?w=600&h=600&keep_ratio=1




Bad Foods for Dogs

Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Dog

The holidays will soon be here and kitchens across America will be filled with tantalizing aromas and the feelings of goodwill that come with those delicious smells. It wasn't all that long ago that dogs ate our leftovers before the advent of specially formulated canned and dry dog foods. However, there are some foods which may well be part of your holiday fare that you should not feed your dog.

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Here is a list of foods that should be avoided:

Chocolate, avocados, caffeine, alcohol, onions and garlic, some bones (those that can splinter like the ones found in poultry), pitted fruit (in particular, the pits), walnuts and macadamia nuts, sugary foods, greasy and fatty foods. Grapes and raisins may also be included on this list although in small quantities, they may be fine - same for small quantities of garlic.

Keep a close eye on your pets during the holidays - many times, food will be left out for your guests to sample and enjoy and sometimes unknowing children (or even adults!) who think they're giving your dog a special treat will give her something that may cause her to become very ill. An emergency trip to the vet will not brighten your holidays so use common sense, pay attention and enjoy!

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer

Photo Credit: http://www.bestbullysticks.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/poisonous-foods.jpg




Cat Looking at Food Cans

Understanding Pet Food Labels

Certainly, what your pet eats is a major source of his or her health and well-being. But how can you be sure that your pet's food is truly nutritious and safe?
Understanding the labeling on pet foods could easily be the subject of a book, so this article will provide you with an introductory overview of the basics with the caveat that you should do more research on your own.

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For example, did you know that pet food labels are actually considered a legal document in the United States? And that there are federal and often state regulations that a pet food manufacturer must comply with?
Yet, they also want to make a profit, so often the ingredients the manufacturers use are not high quality or human-grade. What are some things to look for when choosing a food for your pet?
The two main rules of thumb I adhere to are that if the food can be purchased either in a supermarket or a discount department store, it may not be very good quality. And second, if there is any mention of by-products on the label, beware, as often these are the ground up parts of animals that a dog or cat would not normally eat. Some by-products, however, may contain substances that can benefit your pet.
Here is a partial list of some articles I found online that go into greater depth on how to read pet food labels and I chose them because the websites are not overtly affiliated with any pet food manufacturers:




Another option that many pet owners subscribe to today is making their own pet foods from scratch. However, there is great debate about offering an all raw diet, an all meat diet or a combination of meats and fruits and vegetables. And, if your pet has any food allergies or sensitivities, these must also be taken into consideration.
So, do your research and make as informed decision as you can. Remember too, that you certainly can change your pet's diet if it doesn't seem to be serving them well. Don't do it abruptly but gradually introduce the new food over the course of a week or so and pay attention to your pet's stool and his or her energy levels.
I had a cat who adored cantaloupe and whenever she smelled me eating it, would come and sit nearby waiting for me to give her some. Did it harm her? Not that I could see. Would I have given her nothing but cantaloupe? No. But was it a part of her regular diet? Yes.
Along the same lines, my dog also enjoyed some types of fruit and initially, I offered her a variety so I could learn which ones she liked. Thereafter, fruit was included as a regular part of her diet too.
In conclusion, educate yourself as much as possible in making decisions about what you feed your pet, including finding out whether your pet has any food allergies or sensitivities. Know which foods should be avoided (and know which houseplants can be poisonous to pets too!). Observe any reactions, ask questions of your friends who have pets and use common sense.

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer

Photo Credit: http://www.morrisvillecathospital.com/images/catwithfoodcans.jpg




Dog in Glasses

What A Dog Sees

For many years, it was believed that dogs did not have the ability to see color at all, that the world came to them mostly in black and white and shades of grey. Today we know that this is not true - dogs do see color, but because their eyes lack the three types of color receptors that we humans have, they do not see the variety of color that we do. It is similar to what we call red-green colorblindness. According to an article on Smithsonian.com, "Whereas a human with full color vision sees red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet along the spectrum of visible light, a dog sees grayish brown, dark yellow, light yellow, grayish yellow, light blue and dark blue, respectively—essentially, different combinations of the same two colors, yellow and blue."

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Consequently, it has been thought that dogs do not rely on color to distinguish between similar objects but that they use its relative brightness or darkness. However, a recent study released in July of 2013 indicates that this may not be true and that dogs may actually be able to distinguish between colors after all. More research will need to be conducted as the test group was small, but this is indeed intriguing information.
Another belief we have is that cats by far, have better night vision than either humans or dogs. To date, research indicates that this is probably true but dogs' eyes have adapted well for vision in low light. They have large pupils, which let in more light and more light-sensitive rods in the retina. Additionally, the lens in a dog's eye is located closer to the retina, making the image on the retina brighter.
One important advantage that dogs have for good night vision though, is the tapetum which is a mirror-like structure that reflects light, giving the retina a second chance to register light that has entered the eye. It is also what makes a dog's eyes appear to "glow" in the dark.
So, if your dog is young and healthy, it is thoughtful but not really necessary to leave a night light on for him when you go to bed. And though it appears that more will be revealed with further research, your dog may well be seeing the world similarly to how we see it too.

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer

Photo Credit: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/dog-eyesight.html




Couple Running with Pets

Great Dogs To Run With

One of the best ways for you and your dog to stay in shape is to go running together. This article is meant to give you some tips on running with your dog.
There are some dogs who were bred to run and the most obvious is the Greyhound. But really, any healthy athletic dog, purebred or not, can make a great running partner. If you have a dog whose legs are on the shorter end of the spectrum, don't assume they can't keep up. Often the little guys try harder! If however, your dog has a small snout, running may not be a realistic choice as dogs with mushed-in noses tend to have a harder time breathing.

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Start your run with a slow walk and increase the pace. This allows you time to warm up and it allows your dog time to do his or her business. Ideally, if you can run with your dog off-leash, you both can then go at your own pace. Dogs love to stop and sniff along the way, while you may want to move along and keep your momentum going.
If the weather is cold, you may want to consider a lightweight jacket for your dog especially if she has short hair, and perhaps boots if there is snow or ice. Over time, your dog's pads will toughen up and eventually, she may not need boots. Some breeds like the Husky or Malamute were bred to be outdoors in very cold weather for long periods of time. Best to err on the side of caution initially to protect your dog's feet and pads and always stop if you notice your dog's gait has changed or if he is limping. In warmer weather or in an especially dry climate, bring along a bottle of cool water for both of you to prevent dehydration and its accompanying fatigue. If you and your 4-legged partner are running in the early morning or evening when it's dark, a reflective vest for each of you will alert drivers to your presence.
Eventually, you will notice muscles in your legs that weren't there. Your dog will also buff up and both of you will have a higher energy level than you did before you started running. You will be slimmer and trimmer and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. . . . . OK, maybe neither of you will achieve superhero status, but you will probably be able to eat almost anything you want!
Speaking of which, you may need to adjust your dog's food intake if he's burning up lots of calories every day. One of the benchmarks to check your dog's weight is that you want to be able to feel his ribs, but they should not be protruding.
Below is a chart of dog breeds that were included in a book about training dogs to run by Liz Devitt and dog trainer JT Clough that matches the breed/s to the type of running you do. But again, any energetic, healthy mixed breed dog can make an excellent running partner. Use common sense, be safe and hit the trail or the road with your dog -you both will be rewarded with a svelte physique, increased energy and stamina and many happy hours of healthy bonding.

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer




Dog with Toothbrush

Dental Care For Puppies

Caring for your new puppy starts when you bring her home. Much of what you do (and don't do) in the early stages of her life will impact her emotionally and physically when she grows up. Dental care is one of the aspects of caring for a puppy and this article will provide some tips.

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Until they are adopted, most puppies are used to being with other dogs. We may be delighted with our new "baby" but sometimes the change of family is overwhelming for them. They need to get used to their new humans - their smells, how they feel, and the noises they make. Handle your puppy often and gently and make part of that getting him used to having his mouth open with your finger touching his teeth. If he bites, and this is normal, begin teaching him to be gentle in return by saying "Easy" or "Ouch!" or "Gentle". Never force your pup's mouth open and make the experience pleasant for him by coating your finger with something tasty like peanut butter or chicken broth. Later, when he goes to the vet for a dental check-up, he will be used to having his mouth handled. 
Puppies will lose their first set of teeth by the time they reach 7 to 8 months old and in this process, they may experience discomfort as they go through the teething process. During this time, monitor your dog's gums to make sure that the baby teeth are out and the adult teeth are coming in. If you notice anything amiss or if your pup is in discomfort, bring her to your vet for examination and possibly an X-ray. You may want to offer an old, clean rolled up frozen washcloth for him to chew on through the teething period so he doesn't chomp on your furniture or anything that could cause harm if swallowed. There are products available that you can spray on to deter chewing - they are bitter but nontoxic. Offer your puppy a variety of toys designed for chewing - they should give somewhat, not be too hard and be small enough for a puppy-size mouth. 
While you're at it, give your pup products that are meant to clean her teeth too. These come in smaller sizes for puppies and small dogs, also have breath-freshening benefits and many dogs think of them as treats. As your dog gets older you can offer bones for chewing and keeping his teeth clean and tartar-free. 
Introduce regular brushing while your pup is young. Use a flavored paste especially for puppies and dogs and a brush that can allow you to reach back to the molars. At first, you may have to be content with more toothpaste-eating than brushing, but be patient and persistent. Just as your pup got used to you handling his mouth, he will get used to having a toothbrush in there! Remember to be positive and give lots of praise when introducing a new behavior - this will ease the learning curve and lower the stress - for both of you!
Dental care for your pup should start right away and much of it is simply prevention and common sense that can promote good habits and alleviate discomfort as your dog ages.

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer

Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/307652218266070159/




Cat Cuddling with Older Dog

Managing Arthritis and Joint Pain in Your Dog

It may start when you notice that your dog has trouble getting up if she's been lying down. It may take longer for her to right herself than it used to and she may even whimper a bit before reaching a standing position. Or she may limp when she walks. But then later she chases her favorite ball like she always has and can still jump up into the backseat of your car for a ride, so everything's all right . . . .right?

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Best to have your vet take a look and determine what's causing the discomfort. If your dog is larger (over 50 pounds) or a certain breed (Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, Rottweiler, to name a few), he may have arthritis which can cause even the most stoic dog to cringe and whimper.
After an exam that may include X-rays, the vet may urge you to put your dog on a prescription anti-inflammatory medication called Rimadyl which will ease the symptoms. However, it is expensive and the potential side effects can be devastating.
If you have followed my articles about dogs, you've probably noticed a pattern: if there is an alternative to giving your dog a prescription medication, find it! And the good news is that there are definitely options in this case!
Although it may seem counterintuitive at first, exercise is a great remedy for joint pain. Start slowly (literally) and work up to an hour's worth of exercise with your dog each day. Let your dog set the pace as you work toward your goal - watch his gait carefully and make sure he's not overdoing it.
Give your dog glucosamine or shark cartilage every day in her food. It may take a while to start working but be patient - it will. My own dog had a lot of German Shepherd in her and I started giving her joint supplements daily before she was five. I believe it made a huge difference in the quality of her life, especially as she got older.
Third, make sure your dog is not overweight. Carrying extra pounds will only tax your dog's joints and spine. It may be tough, but put him on a strict diet until he reaches his ideal weight. And if you are walking every day, this will go by fast!
Use ice and massage. Just as humans can relieve inflammation with cold packs, so it can help your dog's sore joints. Leave it on for 10 minutes and then massage the area gently at first, working your way up to deeper pressure. Remember, often dogs do not show pain so watch closely for any signs of discomfort.
Finally, don't let your dog jump. I love watching a dog running to leap up to catch a ball or Frisbee but especially as they age, landing (especially on a harder surface) stresses out their joints and can even cause hairline fractures or muscle and ligament tears. Same for jumping out of the car - there are ramps you can get and even a small, sturdy, stable stool will help your dog exit the car with little trauma.
Research other alternatives. Ask your friends who have dogs. Talk to the people in the dog park. Go online.
Your dog ages but does not have to suffer with excessive joint pain because of it. Help your dog enjoy her golden years with grace and a smile on her face!

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer

Photo Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/307652218266070103/




Cat in Travel Bag

Tips for Traveling With Your Pet

The holidays are coming and many of us are planning visits with family and friends. If you can take your pet with you, so much the better! A change of scenery and spending time with loved ones is often good for us and for them!   If you are traveling by plane, some airlines will allow small pets in the people part of the plane if they are in a soft ventilated travel bag or small crate. Check with the airline to find out what their policy is. If your pet has to be in the cargo area, place a piece of your clothing in his or her crate to comfort them during the ride and try to ensure that they have "done their business" before takeoff.

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Car travel with a cat can be interesting. Some cats are great travelers; I once knew a fellow whose cat traveled all over the country with him in his motorhome. She had a special bed attached to the dashboard and apparently loved the on-the-move hobo life! Other cats may need a mild sedative in order to be safely transported by car. Always provide a litter box for your cat unless they are leash trained and will relieve themselves on a pit stop walk when you travel.
Many dogs love going for car rides around town and will easily and happily adapt to longer trips. If your dog is a barker in the car, you may need to consider a lightweight nylon muzzle or mild sedation. Make sure that you stop often enough for bathroom breaks and bring plenty of poop bags for your trip! Today, however, many highway rest areas have designated doggie sections with conveniently placed plastic bags and trash cans available.
Bring enough food and water for your trip with your pet and if she is a nervous traveler, understand that it may not be until after you've arrived that she digs in and eats normally again. Make sure that the car is warm enough and comfortable. If your dog is in the backseat, you may want to consider placing some soft padding over the seatbelts and covering the seat to protect it, especially if you will be traveling through wet or snowy weather.
Bring your pet's medicines if applicable, and also remember to bring some first aid supplies in case something happens and you are far from home and can't get to a vet.
For longer car trips, you may need to stop for a night or two in a motel. Many motels are pet friendly for a small additional deposit. Do your best to make dinnertime as normal as possible by bringing your pet's regular food bowls and usual kibble and canned food. If you need to leave and your dog barks, consider taking him along so as not to disturb the other guests - all this new stuff may be a bit overwhelming, and loneliness or separation anxiety may set in. I would suggest that you bring a couple of favorite toys too - just having these familiar fun items can transform a hotel room into a temporary home for your pet.
Traveling with your pet can be a great experience. Plan ahead, plan for the unexpected and enjoy your travel time together!

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer

Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/307652218266060403/




Puppy in Basket with Toy

Fabulous Pet Toys

Playtime and having a variety of several fun, safe toys helps your pet enjoy his or her life. Playing with your pet is good fun, allows you to bond with her or him and often provides exercise as well.  In thinking about preparing this article, I recalled reading about some pet toys that apparently contained material that was toxic to pets. Tennis balls for example, that, if ingested, caused dogs to become sick. So make sure that whatever your pet puts in its mouth cannot cause any harm.

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Choose toys that are an appropriate size and weight for your pet. If you have a smaller dog, give her a smaller toy.
If the toy has a squeaker inside, it is not uncommon for dogs to swallow this if they chew the toy apart. Monitor your pet's play and again, make sure they are not eating anything that could cause an intestinal blockage or diarrhea.
Some pets prefer certain types of toys - find ones that your pet enjoys. Cats often love to bat balls that have bells inside or a lightweight ping pong ball. They also like to chase - there are small laser lights that stimulate your cat to chase and pounce. I always enjoyed the feather-on-a-stick toys with my indoor cats - they got good aerobic exercise and honed their predator skills at the same time. Birds and smaller pets enjoy bells, mirrors and wheels to run on.
The ball is a classic dog toy but some dogs (my own included) just aren't into retrieving. Instead, your dog might prefer a chewy toy (and often many of these will help keep his teeth clean) or a soft plush toy that squeaks. Tug toys can be fun too, but sometimes dogs can get overly excited about getting and keeping them. If this happens, it might be wise to simply exchange it for another toy or stop the contest altogether.
There are also many new interactive toys available today that allow pets to entertain themselves happily for hours. These are especially good if you aren't home all day and can provide a positive alternative to chewing or clawing the furniture.
It's important to have relaxing down time with your pet that includes play. Find out what toys your pets enjoy and make sure their toy basket has them. You might also consider thoroughly cleaning any toys your pet is not interested in and donating them to your local shelter.

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer

Photo Credit: http://cdn.pouted.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/0007641153Q-1920x1280.jpg




Dog Looking at a Kitten

Managing A Multiple Pet Household

If you're like me, your house is just not a home without several pets. But how can you handle their needs as different species (cats and dogs, for example) and still be fair to everyone?  One thing that can be challenging is meal time. If you have more than one dog or cat (or if any of your pets has special dietary needs), how can you ensure that everyone gets his or her food?

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Feed your pets at approximately the same time each day. If you have a cat or cats, consider feeding them away from the dogs. This could mean simply placing their food bowls on the counter or on the clothes dryer, or in the bathroom with the door closed. You could also try feeding the dogs first and the cats second.
What about bedding? Washable bed covers are a great way to keep all the pet beds clean and odor free. Encourage all your pets to use their beds, not your furniture. You might need a spray bottle of water handy if you catch your cat on the kitchen counter or your dog lying on the couch.

And speaking of odor, if your home has wall-to-wall carpeting, you might want to replace it with laminate or tile to prevent smells from any occasional accidents. Keep a couple of spray bottles of non-toxic cleaner around the house that will do the job but not be harmful to your pets.

And don't forget that despite their gregariousness, many pets like their own place to hang out for some quiet time. Have multiple dog beds or open crates and plenty of cat lounging spots available.

Invest in a good vacuum cleaner, one that has both an upholstery attachment and a really good crevice cleaner. Despite your best efforts, pet hair will accumulate everywhere. I actually vacuumed my house every day when I lived with 2 cats and a dog; it wasn't a deep cleaning, but it made a huge difference in the quality of my life!

One of the benefits of having multiple pets is that they learn from each other. If you have an older, calm pet, he or she will often set a good example for the younger ones. And there's nothing quite like the patter of many little feet running to greet you when you come back home!

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer

Photo Credit: http://www.petinsurance.com/healthzone/pet-articles/pet-behavior/~/media/All%20PHZ%20Images/Article%20images/MultiPetDogKittenPlay.ashx




Dog Getting Ears Checked

Hearing Loss In Your Pet

Some pets are born with a congenital defect that causes deafness but most experience a loss of hearing gradually over time as they age. You will notice this in your older pet when he or she does not react to everyday noises, does not respond to the sound of a favorite squeaky toy or does not react when you call his or her name.

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In dogs, hearing loss is often expressed as a startle reaction, especially when they've been awakened suddenly. Always approach a sleeping dog with caution and let family members know (especially younger children) to gently and slowly awaken an older dog who may lunge out to a perceived "attacker" with an accidental nip or bite.

If your hearing-impaired pet is a cat, only let them outside in a safe enclosed area so they cannot run out into the street where they may be in danger of being hit by a car that they can no longer hear. If this is not possible, provide your older cat with a variety of interesting interactive toys to help her pass her time safely indoors. you may also consider getting your older cat a companion.
The use of hand signals will greatly enhance your dog's safety when walking outdoors. Start by walking in an area that is relatively free of traffic and don't bring something that might distract you, like your cell phone. While she is on a leash (and for safety's sake, always keep a hearing-impaired dog either on a leash or contained), start by asking your dog to look at you by gently touching her as you walk. When she is paying attention, smile broadly and pet her to let her know that this is what you want. She will not be able to hear you say, "Good girl!" so acknowledge her immediately with a different form of sincere, positive praise.

You can start your hand signal training by pointing in the direction you want your dog to go. As soon as she does this, again, immediately praise her. You can use a hand up to indicate that you want her to stop and wait. Be consistent with your signals and she will soon begin to look to you for cues. If you need to gently tug on her leash to show her what you're asking or to get her attention, that's fine too. The goal is to have you work together as a team - she will be relying on you to keep her safe.

There is no reason to curtail your older dog's walks even if he is experiencing a loss of hearing. Be patient and persistent and make it your personal goal to become a bonded team that can enjoy your time together in the great outdoors.

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer

Photo Credit: http://www.ecodogsblog.com/2012/01/hearing-loss-in-dogs.html




Dog and Cat in the Snow

Winterizing Your Pet

I am fortunate to live in Arizona and although we do experience some cold days, winter here is never as bone-chilling as it is in many other parts of the country. I grew up in New England and can recall how winters seemed interminable and how I longed for balmy summer weather.
Just as we are, our pets are affected by the cold, too. How can we help make them comfortable during those long winter months?

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My down comforter was one of the best investments I ever made for chilly winter nights. Make sure that your pets have warm cozy beds they can snuggle into. When the weather got cooler, I changed the cover of my dog's bed from cotton to fleece, or you can purchase a small inexpensive fleece blanket to put over the bed. Cats in particular love warmth and mine spent many winter hours comfortably curled up in their soft, round fleecy beds.
Make sure you cover your bird or smaller animal's cage well at night when it's cold. Provide plenty of shavings they can burrow in for warmth. Keep the temperature warm enough for any animal who is used to a tropical or warm climate.

Another option to help keep them warm is clothing - there are many kinds available for both dogs and cats. Heavyweight fleece is probably the best for warmth and comfort, yet it is not too heavy. It also comes in lighter weights for the less chilly times of the year.
When you take your dog outside in cold weather, especially if he does not have a thick undercoat, be sure to add a warm jacket and consider some booties to help keep his feet warm and dry. Ice can really take a toll on even the toughest paw pads because it may cut and abrade them.

If you bathe your pet in the winter, always make sure she's completely dry (use a hairdryer if necessary) before taking her outside. It's easy for her to get very cold and possibly experience hypothermia if her skin or hair is even a little bit damp.

If your home has a fireplace or a wood-burning stove, you might consider using this to add extra comfort and heat. You may want to add some humidity to the air too because extra heat means extra dry!

Because our pets are dependent on us to care for them, think of ways that you can provide a warm and comfortable environment for your friends as we approach the colder time of year.

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer

Photo Credit: http://www.newstime-mo.com/?page_id=32




Dog in a Box

How to Make Pet Relocation Look Easy

 International moves would be so much easier if you could just “beam” yourself out to your destination country. Unfortunately, only the Starship Enterprise from “Star Trek” can do that magical, stress-free travel. While you wait for such technology to revolutionize the way people move from one location to another, here’s a more realistic approach: hire a specialist mover.

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A specialist mover could mean a service provider that is an expert in helping you make that international move with all your stuff or a service provider that is an expert in helping you move just your beloved pet from your home country to a destination country. When you are looking to seek a new life in a new country with your dog, cat, or even turtle, you may run into a few challenges — challenges that a reliable and experienced pet relocation services company can certainly handle.

For starters, countries will have varying rules and regulations on the transportation of animals. You will most likely have to provide a number of documents in order to obtain an import permit. You may have to furnish customs and/or the concerned government agency that looks over animal transportation with special certificates such as veterinary tests; a vaccination book, which, for some countries, might require the microchip or tattoo number of your pet; the health certificate from the country of origin; and any other pertinent documents as required by the destination country. 

Your pet export and import service provider can help you out with obtaining and processing the necessary permits and paperwork you will require. In addition to such services that relieve you of the stress of relocating your pet, the company could also accommodate your dog, cat, or bird in its boarding facilities, should your temporary living situation not be suitable for any animal.

But do not just leave everything up to your professional pet transportation services. You can ease your pet into relocation by allowing him or her to get used to a kennel before traveling. Experts recommend doing this sort of preparation five days before the scheduled trip to enable a good adjustment. You should also give your pet only a small meal around 12 hours before the big trip so that your dog or cat does not get airsick and make a mess in his or her carrier. Also (and this is critical), get your pet to go to the toilet. Preparing your pet well before the relocation will help him or her have a much more comfortable trip.

About The Author: Sam Buddy is a pet owner and a freelance writer who loves to write about pets, proper pet care and the like. He continues to enhance his knowledge on these topics and visits pet care sites like http://www.dkc.ae/ to gain more useful information. Sometimes he reads books about pets and animals. He shares what he learned through writing.

Photo Credit: http://www.allconnect.com/blog/moving-with-your-dog-or-cat/




Dog Playing with Cat

Keeping Your Pet Healthy

There is an old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When it comes to health in general and in particular, the health of your pet, this adage holds true.  Health can be thought of in two main components. One is physical, which is what most of us think of when we consider the concept of health. But there is also emotional health as well, and these two aspects are intertwined. In a nutshell, a happy pet will likely be a healthy pet.




Dog Scratching

Tips For Keeping Your Cats and Dogs Happy And Healthy During Flea Season

In many regions of the U.S., flea season lasts longer than just spring and summer. Though the warm weather is where they thrive, it doesn't take much to provide an ideal environment for these parasites, which puts animal wellness at risk. As long as the weather is over 60 degrees, and the adult fleas have a host to get their blood from, they will reproduce. In order for their larvae to hatch, it only has to be 50 degrees, which means that fleas have the ability to reproduce and live inside houses all year long.

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Out of the 200 varieties of fleas that populate the continent, the one that mainly causes problems with pets is the cat flea. Despite its name, the cat flea will bite both cats and dogs. It is annoying to deal with fleas, but being more than an inconvenience, they can carry various diseases that can affect both humans and pets. Fleas that carry Bartonella henselae can infect cats, and though felines don't suffer symptoms, they can transmit this disease to humans through bites or scratches.  Additionally, fleas can cause tapeworms in pets and are sometimes responsible for taking so much blood from kittens that they become anemic. Thus, it's advisable that you take care of a flea infestation as soon as you notice the signs. 

So what are the best ways to ensure your pet stays flea-free this season?

Tidy up 
The last thing you want are fleas in the house. It's important to keep the areas in the house where your pet spends the most time as clean as you can. Fleas have been known to make their homes in rugs and carpets, so vacuuming is crucial. It’s also important to wash your pets’ bedding approximately once a week to reduce the risk of fleas setting up shop. Taking these precautions will not only keep your pet comfortable and happy, they might save you some extra work down the line.

Focus on Fur
Pet grooming is essential to preventing a flea infestation, and so is having the proper pet supplies for it. Properly combing your dog's or cat's fur with a special brush can keep you mindful of the what's going on in there, which, you would hope, would be nothing. However, if you see some fleas in the fur or find them hopping around on the comb, I wouldn't panic, as there are many ways to remedy the situation.

Traditional Methods
Though flea collars have been around for a long time, experts still laud their efficacy. Putting one on your dogs or cats usually ensures that they will be flea free for up to seven months at a time, while also killing the egg larvae, preventing future infestations. If there is a certain spot on your pet's fur that you know is being bitten by fleas, apply some flea drops to their coat to get rid of them fast. 

(Sources I used)







About the Author: Jennifer Dombkowski  - Jen has worked at Hartz for more than six years. In that time she has worked on Dog Pads, Flea & Tick products, and digital marketing.  In 2007, she adopted the love of her life, Bosco the Chihuahua mix, from Ramapo Bergen Animal Refuge.

Photo Credit: http://www.napervilleanimalhospital.com/blog/category/fleas-and-ticks/#.UlgqMhCrHtg




Dog Whisperer

Most Famous Dog Television Personalities

Dog training is a skill that some people have successfully managed to make a business out of. Not only have they been able to make money out of their skills, they have also transformed themselves into celebrities in their own right, with people desperate to hire them and control their unruly pups. Here are some of the most well-known dog trainers.

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Cesar Millan

Naturally, the infamous Dog Whisperer had to appear on the list. Mexican-American Cesar made his connection with dogs while staying on his grandfather's ranch and spending time with wild dogs there. He became known as the 'dog boy' or 'el perrero', such was his fascination with dogs. His methods of training were self-taught and he gradually honed his skills, with vast amounts of success.

After a bout of working in dog grooming parlours, Cesar went out on his own and set up the Dog Psychology Center in Los Angeles, where he specialized in retraining aggressive dogs. After a newspaper ran a profile on him, various producers approached him with the idea of making a television programme and The Dog Whisperer was born. Cesar visited the homes of people who were struggling to cope with their dogs and retrained them to become happy animals and well trained.

Victoria Stilwell

The English dog trainer is the face behind television programmes, 'It's Me or the Dog' and 'Greatest American Dog'. Victoria presents and judges on these shows respectively, promoting a technique of positive reinforcement for dog training. She does not use dominance-based methods but rather works on the basis of science as a training method.

Victoria created a network of dog trainers who use her preferred methods called Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training in 2010. The goal is for these trainers to spread the word about the positive reinforcement techniques across the world. Her TV show 'It's Me or the Dog' airs across the world and sees her observing families with their dogs and then working with them to create a happy environment for all.

Barbara Woodhouse

Although she died in 1988, Barbara was probably one of the first dog trainers as we know them today. She was a breeder and ran kennels, going on to have a television series as well as write books. Training Dogs the Woodhouse Way made Barbara a household name in Great Britain and she became famous for using catchphrases like 'walkies'. Her philosophy was simply 'no bad dogs'.

Her TV programme showed Barbara that bad dogs don't exist, they just have owners who haven't established themselves properly as the authority that sits above the dog. She had a knack for being abrupt with dog owners and criticising them on the show, giving the impression that many owners were more scared of her than the dogs were. Her work and methods are thought to have influenced other dog trainers since, including Victoria Stilwell and she has also gained mentions in other popular culture; the James Bond film 'Octopussy' parodied her infamous catchphrases, while Randy Edelman actually wrote a song about her titled 'Barbara (The Woodhouse Way)'.

Lauren Sutton is a writer at " Easy Animal"


About The Author: Lauren Sutton is a pet-lover and brand journalist who loves watching animals on TV just as much as she does writing about them. This post she writes on behalf of Easy Animal, online pet accessories supplier.




Blond Dog and Gray Cat

The Most Popular Names For Dogs and Cats in 2013

We Americans have come a long way in naming our pets. I can still recall in grammar school how the then common Dick-and-Jane stories featured Spot and Fluffy as the family pet names for their dog and cat.

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Today's monikers are often funny and creative such as: Chew Barka and Pico de Gato, names that were featured in VPI's (Veterinary Pet Insurance, the country's oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance) annual contest for the most unusual pet names nationwide.

Here are the most popular names for dogs and cats:

The top 10 most popular dog names:

1. Bella
2. Bailey
3. Max
4. Lucy
5. Molly
6. Buddy
7. Daisy
8. Maggie
9. Charlie
10. Sophie

The top 10 most popular cat names:

1. Bella
2. Max
3. Chloe
4. Oliver
5. Lucy
6. Smokey
7. Shadow
8. Tiger
9. Charlie
10. Tigger

Interestingly, the name Bella tops the list for both species. It is Italian in origin and means "beautiful"; perhaps this trend means that we adore our pets no matter what they look like.

Another trend is that many of the most popular pet names are also names that are usually given to babies - they are more traditionally "human" names. Given that more couples are choosing not to have babies (according to a report in USA Today from February of 2013, the US birth rate is at its lowest level since 1920), perhaps they are naming their pets after the child they did not have.

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer




Doctor Dog

Animal Assisted Therapy and Cancer Patients

It has long been known that animals provide comfort to people who are undergoing stress. Today we are discovering the positive benefits of AAT or Animal Assisted Therapy in many situations ranging from dogs who support a child in court who's testifying in his or her own abuse case to dogs who visit hospital patients.

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Cancer patients in particular face many deep emotional challenges during the diagnosis of their condition and into treatment. Some treatment centers offer friendly dogs who spend time in the waiting room visiting and cheer up the people who are preparing for their chemotherapy. In a 2007 study done in Italy, the patient group had increased blood oxygen levels and reported decreased depression when therapy dogs were present during chemo sessions.
Most therapy animals are dogs and to be considered certified as a Therapy Dog, there are stringent tests they must first pass. Dogs are primarily chosen for their calm, friendly personalities and they are trained in basic obedience and good canine manners. As part of their training, they are also exposed to sounds and smells that they might encounter in a clinic or hospital that they would not normally encounter so they will not react to these stimuli when they're on the job.
I will never forget my own experience of shadowing a Therapy Dog Team one afternoon in a large Phoenix hospital; our last stop firmed up my belief in the therapeutic value of animals. The fellow in the bed was connected to many tubes and sensors and looked pretty beat up. But he visibly brightened when he saw the small black dog standing in his doorway and readily consented to having a visit. Her handler gently placed her partner on his bed, carefully avoiding all the tubes. The patient smiled broadly and began reminiscing about his boyhood dog growing up on a farm in the Midwest, all the while petting his new friend who seemed delighted at doing a good job. Afterward, the two of them posed for a photo together and as we were leaving, I felt so happy to have been a part of that magical, uplifting moment.
In closing here is a quote from an oncologist at a nationally known treatment center:
”A pet is a medication without side effects that has so many benefits. I can’t always explain it myself, but for years now I’ve seen how instances of having a pet is like an effective drug. It really does help people.”

- Dr. Edward Creagan, Oncologist at Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minnesota

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer




Dog with Baby

How To Build A Relationship Between a Pet and a Baby

Both babies and pets are quite naive to understand the deep meaning of the word, relationship. They cannot build a strong connection between each other on their own. It is our duty to help them in developing that strong bond with each other. As immature, they may end up in harming each other. Only parents can make the best introduction between them which will lead to a long cherishing relation that remains eternal forever. Here are some of the points that can be kept in mind while not only developing but also grooming the bond between your child and pet.

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A Great Introduction

Every relationship begins with an introduction. In case of a baby and pet, introduction is the responsibility of parents. Before bringing your baby home, try and bring his/her clothes, blanket or other things. It will help in making your pet become familiar to the newborn. Make sure that the first encounter of your child with the pet must be under your proper guidance. Cats are generally unpredictable in nature. So, in their case allow them to notice your new family member from a distance only.

The Introduction of a dog with baby is quite complicated. Your close supervision is very much important in their case. While they both share their first glance, talk to your dog in a completely polite and normal manner for reassurance. If you do not receive any aggressive behavior from its end, then you can allow it to slowly see and sniff your baby. But do not allow licking because at this stage your baby is more prone to allergies and infection.


It is true that cats and dogs get a little jealous with the entry of a new housemate or any new person in the house. As a result, they may get aggressive towards your baby. In order to show their jealousy, they will start giving various signs of aggression, such as nipping, biting, growling, pawing, raised hair, or downward-pointing tail. Their consistent negligence in using litter box and refusal for food are also the signs of disapproving your baby’s presence in the home. This kind of unwanted behavior from your pet’s end must be addressed with a firm ‘no’ from your side and its positive reactions must be rewarded. Generally, the very young and old pets require more vigilance. For example, a puppy will be still at its learning stage and full of energy to roam around and older pets cannot compromise on the attention of its caretaker.

Taking the Friendship Ahead

If everything goes well after three weeks, then you can include your pets in your daily tasks. You can take it around while feeding or taking care of your baby. Try to give ample attention to your pet even when your baby is around. While feeding your baby, you can offer your dog its favorite treat and also take it along with you for a walk. All the contact between your baby and the pet must under your supervision. While teaching your pet the manners to behave with your baby, you should also teach your baby how to respect the pet. This way, they both can develop a strong relationship between themselves.

Robert is a Consultant at "SmallPaws"




Cat Stretching

Naming Your Pet - What's In A Name?

Often, if you adopt a pet from a shelter, they will already have a name and depending on the age of the pet, changing it may confuse them. An option if you really don't like the name they were given is to change it to something that sounds similar.

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For example, my dog's name was Georgie when I first met her at my local shelter. As she was a female and because that name reminded me of a girl who had teased me mercilessly in grade school, I immediately decided to change it. Giving it some thought for several days after I brought her home, I settled on the name Nora which sounded enough like Georgie, yet was more feminine.
Sometimes people name their pets for their color or coat; I once knew a fellow whose dog was called Peanut, in part because of her tannish color and also because of her diminutive size. It might be a physical trait or behavior that prompts a name such as Dazzle or Sparkle for an energetic or beautiful pet. Some prefer a more distinguished name like Bentley or Victoria or Trevor. In the southwest where I live, there are quite a few Wyatts and Codys.
Of course, there is the possibility of nicknames as well, anything from "Puppy" to "Sweet Pea" to "Crazy Cat" - the list could go on and on!
After you decide on a name for your pet, make sure you have a sturdy metal tag made to attach to their collar with his or her name, your name, address and phone number in case they accidentally get loose. The odds of having your pet returned to you safely are greatly increased by doing this.
We have come a long way from the days when a pet was called Spot or Fluffy, so be creative and have fun with naming the newest member of your family!

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer





happy Dog with Stick

Caring For Older Or Senior Pets

Just as we take different actions to care for ourselves as we age, senior pets need special care as well. The old adage that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" holds true for both humans and animals.  One of the best preventative measures you can take to ensure your pet's continued health is not to let him or her get overweight. Because they may not be exercising as much as they were when they were younger, you may have to consider placing them on a lower-calorie, lower fat diet.

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That said, however, as much as possible, continue to exercise your pet on a daily basis. For example, if you were walking your younger dog a total of an hour plus per day, you may have to cut the time back to 30 or 40 minutes and walk at a slower pace.
Allow your pet time each day to nap in order to rest and recharge as they age. Make sure they have a warm, draft-free, comfortable, quiet spot to lie down. You can greatly help an older pet who has arthritis by providing a specially designed orthopedic bed. Massage can provide both pain relief and will also help your pet relax. Check out alternative forms of pain relief such as Tellington Touch, herbal remedies or tapping. All of these can be researched online and/or discussed with a holistic vet.
Continue to stimulate your pet as they age with play and gentle touch but draw the line at roughhousing and excessive noise and stress. Provide a peaceful and balanced, yet stimulating environment that allows them to rest as well as engage.
Make sure you take your older pet to the vet for regular check-ups as they get older, especially if you notice any signs of discomfort or unusual behavior. Things to watch for in older pets include: deafness, incontinence, reduced vision, kidney problems, arthritis, fatty tumors, to name but a few. Because they can't tell us what hurts and because they often stoically mask their discomfort, we need to pay closer attention to them as they age.
As my own dog's life drew to a close, I asked myself on a regular basis whether I would look back on that time with regret or with fond joy. It was important to me to give her a life of comfort, love, good health, joy and as much activity as possible. Though I will probably always miss her, I believe I provided her with what she needed - and deserved - in her golden years.

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer




Small Dog Being Groomed

Grooming Your Dog or Cat

One of my favorite indulgent things to do is treat myself to a relaxing facial, a massage or even a haircut. The operant word here is "relaxing"; as it is for us, grooming your pet ideally should be soothing and enjoyable for them and for you.

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Once a month every month, I bathed my dog. In the warmer weather, we went out on the back patio where I had assembled the shampoo, conditioner (yes, I used a gentle "human" conditioner on my dog and everyone who petted her remarked on how soft she was!), her comb and at least 2 towels. In the winter, I warmed up the bathroom first, had at least 3 towels available to prevent water from flying everywhere when she shook herself, placed a rubber mat on the floor of the tub so she wouldn't slip and positioned the blow dryer and comb in the living room.
When I washed her, I made sure to use a lot of soap, work up a good lather and massage it into her skin and hair thoroughly. This was especially important in the warm weather to get rid of any fleas she might have picked up. But she actually liked it! As I soaped and kneaded, a look of blissful contentment would come over her face and she would smile happily, wreathed in white suds!
After she was dry, I would inspect her claws to see if they needed trimming. This was also the time when I checked for any bumps, scrapes or any other unusual skin conditions that might need attending to.
My favorite part of Doggie Spa Day was at the end after my dog was all nice and clean and dry - I loved to bury my nose in her fragrant, soft hair and give her tummy rubs.

Grooming my two cats was also a once a month event, though usually not on the same day as my dog. This meant giving them a thorough brushing and combing, trimming their nails and administering hairball treatment if necessary. In all honesty, I doubt either one of them actually liked this process, but I made sure that both of them got treats afterward.
What I found worked the best for nail trimming was to position each cat upside down on my outstretched legs. I was usually sitting on the floor, leaning up against the side of the couch. At first, it took some time for them to get used to this but I was patient, gentle and persistent and once they were lying comfortably on their backs, I made sure to praise them enthusiastically! I used a regular human nail clipper and carefully pushed on their pads to extend the nails. Eventually, I learned to do this fairly quickly and accurately, minimizing their discomfort. When clipping kitty nails, don't forget the dewclaws! If your cat has them, when long, they can catch on upholstery, carpet, and drapes. Regular combing and brushing is important for cats as they can form hairballs if they groom themselves often; it also helps to loosen dead skin as well. You can bathe your cat (I have seen actual photos of this!), but unless it's absolutely necessary, I would avoid it.

So, create the ultimate Doggie and Kitty Spa Day for your pets and make it as fun and relaxing as possible!

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer




Blond Woman with Dog

Putting Your Pet On A Diet

I'll never forget the time when my neighbor, a fellow I liked and respected for his work with horses, bluntly told me one day when we were visiting him and his wife, that my dog was fat! I was crushed but, truth be told, I had noticed that she was getting a little pudgy around her ribs. So, I resolved to resolve the problem and put her on a diet. Until then, I had always kept her food bowl full of tasty kibble so she could help herself whenever she wanted, but apparently, she had been doing that more often . . . .

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I'll be honest - at first, it was hard. For the entire time she'd lived with me, she'd never had her food restricted and when she looked at me with those big, gorgeous brown eyes, I felt like a heel. But I knew that it would make a huge positive difference in her health, so I stuck to it and within a couple of months, her energy level was higher and she looked svelte and trim again. Once I could feel her ribs consistently, I started giving her one or two treats during the day, and I made sure that we stuck to our daily exercise regime as well.
Cats, however, are another story! Everything I've read says to make sure they always have dry food available throughout the day. One of my cats came to me as a skinny little thing and when she realized that she could have food all the time, she quickly ballooned into a rotund young adult.
To help keep her weight down, I played with her a lot. I made a toy that she loved to chase (a wooden stick with a string on the end that had a feather attached to it) and each day, I would encourage her hunting instincts by bobbing the feather in front of her till her tail started twitching. Then she was in hot pursuit! I would do this until she was obviously tired.
Another option for an overweight cat (or dog) is to choose a food that is low in calories and fat. This works well for indoor or older cats who don't get as much exercise.
The bottom line is that you, the human, the animal guardian, are responsible for the care and feeding of your pet and you are not doing them any favors health-wise by giving them too much food. As tempting as it might be to give your cute dog or cat another treat, consider playing and walking and lots of TLC instead.

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer




Older and Younger Dog Playing

Introducing a Puppy to Your Older Dog

One of my favorite authors is veterinarian James Herriot who left us a wonderful collection of heartwarming stories about many of his canine patients. I love all the tales and have read each of them many times, but the one that comes to mind for this article is the story of Jingo and Skipper. Actually, it's about Jingo II . . . .

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Skipper and Jingo were the best of friends and lived and played happily together for many years with their humans, a doting couple who adored their dogs. Eventually, Jingo, who was the older of the two, began to falter and after a brief illness, passed away. James Herriot recalled how difficult this was for his owners and discovered a couple of months later that it was extremely traumatic for Jingo's friend who was left behind. Skipper virtually stopped eating, and then grew so weak that it was all he could do just to drag himself anywhere in the house. His owners were frantic - it looked as if they were soon going to lose another dog. James tried everything - vitamins, an assortment of tempting high protein and high-calorie foods and supplements, charcoal - but still, Skipper refused to eat and was literally slowly starving himself to death.
After all his remedies had failed, James began to think that perhaps there was nothing he could do to ease the little dog's broken heart over the loss of his friend. One day he got a call from his owners, who asked if he could please come as soon as possible. Assuming that he was being summoned to put Skipper out of his misery, James hurried over with his bag.
But when he arrived, he was greeted by an amazing sight. For the first time in many weeks, Skipper was attempting to move out of his basket with a gleam in his eyes! Though it took him several minutes to cross the room, he was determined to reach the couple's new puppy, Jingo II, who was a miniature replica of his old friend. When Skipper finally reached his goal, he gently, weakly gnawed at Jing's ears, something he had done for years with his predecessor. Quietly, his mistress placed a bowl of food nearby as the two were playing. At the scent of the meat, Skipper lifted his nose, walked slowly over to the bowl and began to eat.
This story beautifully illustrates that a puppy can literally be "just what the doctor ordered" for an older dog. Many of my pet sitting clients have told me about the positive transformation in their older dogs and how it seemed to turn the clock back for them when they introduced a puppy.
So, how do you do this? What's the best way to make the transition?
First, know your older dog! Is she receptive to younger dogs? Can he become receptive to a puppy? To answer this question, begin by taking your dog to visit puppies at your local shelter and observe carefully as they meet. If your dog is relaxed and can handle the higher energy of the pup, this is a good sign. If your dog is tense or showing any signs of aggression (head down, ears back, growling, etc.), it may not be a good idea - you might consider finding an older, calmer dog. Some older dogs simply don't want the challenge of being around a puppy - after all, as cute as they are, puppies can require a lot of attention. Your "Jingo" may not want a tiny "Skipper" gnawing on his ears all the time!
If you decide to adopt, start by separating the two at first when you come home and allowing them more contact as time passes. Make sure they each have separate feeding and sleeping areas initially. Eventually, they may want lots of snuggle time together, but ensure that your older dog doesn't feel usurped at first and that your new puppy has a quiet haven if she needs it.
Understand that even the most patient dogs have their limits and may growl at a persistent puppy. Your job, in this case, is to ensure that the pup is getting enough daily exercise to release all that extra energy.
Another thing to be watchful of is if your older, bigger dog plays a little too roughly with the new puppy, who could be inadvertently injured. It's best to supervise their playtime first hand while the pup is still growing and getting his sense of balance.
Puppies who are raised with older, calm dogs learn the ropes of good behavior faster. They watch and imitate their older buddies and can breeze through the 'puppy stages' with less stress, which is one of the many benefits of having an older and younger dog living together.
Also, because dogs are highly social animals with a pack/group outlook on life, they really appreciate having canine chums nearby. They dearly love their humans but nothing beats a dog friend to hang out with and sleep with and play with and chase squirrels with and (fill in the blank) with . . . . !

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer




Sad Black Dog

Handling Pet Allergies

Pet dander (dead skin cells) is literally everywhere! It has been found on airplanes, on all types of fabric, in malls and other public places and if you are allergic to it, being around it can make your life miserable. Some people also react to saliva and urine too. But what if the thought of giving up your pet is worse than living with your allergic reactions? Here are some suggestions.

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Create a pet-free zone in your home for the person or people who are allergic; this might be their bedroom. Replace carpeted floors with either tile or wood. Cover mattresses in plastic. Vacuum and dust often. Don't allow your pets on the furniture. Bathe and brush your pet once a week (yes, your cat can get used to being bathed!). Wash your hands often, especially after coming in contact with your pet's hair. Use HEPA-filter air cleaners throughout your home. Work with an understanding allergist who can recommend treatments such as shots, antihistamines and the like. Consider having your pet live outside.
Other information about allergies to pets: Many children will outgrow their allergies over time, dogs whose hair grows (like the Poodle or Bichon Frise) may not completely allergy-free and even some hairless breeds can cause allergic reactions, and one particular dog or cat may cause a more severe reaction in an allergic person than another.
Weigh the pros and cons carefully but here's a final thought that might sway you: most people who have allergies and pets opt to keep their furry friends!

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer




Man Running in Rain with Dog

Exercising With Your Pet - Good For Both Of You

It has been said that a walk for a dog is like "reading the newspaper" - they love it! Because they are social pack animals and because of their highly developed sense of smell, dogs truly enjoy getting out in the world. Not only can they pick up information about other dogs (including whether it was a male or female and even its approximate age) but they also relish all the other animal and plant scents out there as well.

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Lack of exercise for dogs can cause a number of problems, both physical and behavioral. Physically, an overweight dog is at greater risk for joint and circulatory problems as well as other conditions. Behaviorally, a young healthy dog needs to go out and burn off excess energy, much like young healthy human children. A tired dog is a relaxed, happy dog.

Obesity is becoming a huge (pun intended) problem for humans too! So, get out there at least twice a day with your pet and move. You will discover new areas in your neighborhood and meet the people who live there. Your sociable, friendly dog will often become an icebreaker and open doors for meeting new people.

Walking with your dog is also a wonderful way to improve the bond you have with her. It can also be a time when you can work on obedience, such as heeling, recall ("Come"), sit and stay. Vary your route as much as possible - variety really is the spice of life for you and your canine companion!

If walking is not possible, try playing an invigorating game of fetch or taking your dog to a dog park or other safe area where he can run and explore off-leash to his heart's content. There is something beautiful and almost magical about watching a dog run - it is poetry in motion and happiness on four legs.

But let's not forget about our feline friends - they need exercise too. If you are comfortable letting your cat outside, a daily outing is often enough to help them stay at a healthy weight, keep their claws from getting too long and provide them with diversity. I have even known cats who were trained to walk off-leash with their owner.

If your cat is an indoor cat, get one of those toys that's a long stick with a feather or other interesting object tied to the end (you can make one using a small diameter wooden dowel) and then drag it around and flip the feather in the air so your cat will run, pounce and jump.

Always tailor your exercise regime for your pet's age and overall physical condition. In other words, don't expect an overweight older dog to go for a 5-mile hike right away! Think training and conditioning - work your way up to a realistic and reasonable goal - for both of you. Make it special -  a time when you can really focus on the time you and your friend spend together.

With a little attention, you will learn more about your pet than you ever thought possible as you watch them navigate along the sidewalk, as you watch how they greet another dog, as they run across a soccer field. Enjoy!

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer




Cat Looking for Treat

Chewy Cat Treats For Your Cat

We found a great homemade cat treat recipe at Joy The Baker.  It's simple and easy to make and you're cats will go nuts over it!

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We found a great recipe on joythebaker.com for some homemade cat treats.  This homemade recipe makes about 50 treats for your hungry kitty.


• 1 large egg
• 1 4-oz jar chicken and brown rice baby food (or something meaty which may include canned wet cat food)
• 1/4 cup parsley, coarsely chopped
• 2 teaspoons olive oil
• 2 tablespoons water
• 1 cup brown rice flour
• 1/2 cup cooked white (or brown) rice
• Other things you might add other treats like: 1 tablespoon of catnip or a hearty tablespoon of extra wet cat food.


1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, baby food (or wet cat food), parsley, olive oil,  and water. 
3. Add brown rice flour and cooked rice.  Stir to incorporate.  The mixture will be thick but spreadable.
4. Spread mixture onto prepared baking sheet creating a rectangle that is about 1/3 of an inch thick.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
5. Remove from the oven.  Let rest until cool enough to handle, then slice soft dough into bite-sized pieces.  Return pieces to the oven to bake for another 8 minutes. 
6. Remove from the oven.  Allow to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge.




Puppies on the Lawn

Healthy Digestions For Your Dogs

There are a number of ways to check to ensure that your dog is digesting her food properly. First, is she eating it? You may be paying big bucks for a specialized food, but it obviously won't do a bit of good if your dog won't eat it. 

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Find a good quality food that she likes (pet supply stores often offer free samples) and introduce it gradually - begin by mixing a small amount of the new food in with the original food so that over the course of a week, you have replaced the old food completely.

Another thing to check for healthy digestion is your dog's stool. Are they firm and well-formed, not loose or runny? If your dog has loose stools or diarrhea for more than two or three days, a visit to the vet may be called for as there may be parasites or bowel irritation.

You can also gently palpate (feel) your dog's stomach if he's not eating well or has lost energy to see if it is bloated or tight. He may have gas or some other condition. Again, if this persists for more than 2 or 3 days, take him to the vet to be examined.

If your dog is throwing up on a regular basis, this is also cause for concern. She may be ill or even have an allergic reaction to an ingredient or ingredients in her food. Again, apply the general rule of thumb and take her to the vet if it continues for more than a couple of days.

Another factor for healthy digestion is stress. If your dog feels uncomfortable about his eating situation, he may not digest his food very well. For example, if you feed your dog in a quiet area where there is no perceived competition, this may make all the difference. It's a good idea to have mealtime be a calm, enjoyable time without a lot of noise and activity.

If your dog is especially "mouthy" or young and curious, make sure you remove any possible objects he might want to pick up. Eating objects that aren't easily broken down in the normal digestion process can leave your dog with an obstruction or at the least, a serious tummy ache.

As a general rule, the quality of the pet food which is offered in grocery stores and discount department stores is not very high. Read the ingredient labels; if there is any mention of "by-products" of any kind, avoid it. Spending a little more for a better quality food will help ensure your dog's health and longevity.

Many pet owners make their own dog food, using human grade or organic meats, grains, and vegetables. Preparing a week's worth of food and freezing it will save on prep time; you can simply remove a portion as you need it and let it defrost. There are many recipes on the Internet which can be varied somewhat to accommodate your dog's tastes, age, and other factors.

The old adage that you are what you eat is true not only for humans but for our canine friends as well. An investment in good quality food is worth it in terms of your dog's overall health and happiness.


Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer





Stylish Dog with Umbrella

Style For Our Furry Friends

Our furry friends are part of the family.  We cater to their every need, providing toys, climbers, beds, bowls, scratching posts, bones, and much, much more.  So, here are a few ideas to make their accessories part of your decor.  Check out this fun and interesting design inspiration that will pamper your four-legged friends while adding flair to your home.

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Green Pet Bed

Chartreuse is a bright & cheery color. This brightly colored custom dog bed will add fun and fashion to your home. If chartreuse is not your color there are more than 200 other fabrics to choose from at LillyandAbbie.com.

Dog Word Bed

This is another interesting fabric choice we found on Pinterest, available at fab.com.

Dogs on Dog Bed

The Cat Ball is a spheroid, dimensional cat bed that also works as a play fort for cats. They love to hang out and peek at you from the two openings and will poke their feet out and attack dangling toys.

Pink Cat Bed

These are some lively new fabrics. These fabrics were selected to show your cat off while also looking great in the modern home.

Small Blue Cat Bed

You can find the cat ball online at Jenna’s Red Rhino.

Pattern Cat Bed




Cat Laying in the Sun

What To Do If You Find A Stray Dog Or Cat

If you have ever felt the wrenching heartache of losing your pet, you know the immense relief that comes when they are safely home again! As guardians of domestic animals, we humans owe them our care and responsibility.

Over the years, I have found a number of strays, mostly dogs. The first thing to do is check for a collar and an ID tag with the owner's name and number. Call as soon as possible to let them know you have their dog. If there is no ID tag, look for a rabies tag or a license. Contact either the veterinarian or the shelter that issued the tag - they will likely have the owner's name and contact information on record.

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If there are no tags, the dog may be microchipped - this would require a visit to a vet or a shelter to scan the dog.

Cats, however, are another story because they are more likely to be harder to catch than a dog. So if you spot an unfamiliar cat outside who is wearing a collar, see if they will let you come close enough to look at the collar. Even though my own cats were indoor cats, they both wore collars with ID tags in case of an escape. Often, cats do not even have collars and they are very good at evasive tactics and hiding. In that case, I would advise a call to Animal Control - they are equipped and trained to catch even the most elusive animals.

They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To that effect, plan for the worst case scenario and always have some kind of collar on your pet with a current tag so that he or she can be identified and traced to you. And, if you do find a stray, please do as much as you possibly can to help reunite the animal with its owner. Posting notices around your neighborhood on utility poles is a good plan and I have also seen notices posted online on Craigslist for animals that were found by kindhearted people who wanted to help. Your local radio station may offer free public service announcements too. Contact your local shelter and ask if anyone has called them looking for a missing pet and enlist the help of your neighbors; most people are more than willing to help.

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer




Dog with Tennis Ball

13 Summer And Winter Doggy Tips

Here are some great summer and winter tips that may help you with common doggy problems.

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1. Using metal water dishes outside in winter may be a risk because your pet's tongue could stick to the frozen metal. In the summer, metal bowls can get very hot and burn your dog.
2. Baking soda decreases the smell of puppy urine on carpet
3. Do not leave your dog unattended on a choke chain. The chain could get caught and strangle the dog.
4. Know the signs of heatstroke. They include heavy panting, increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, mild weakness or even collapse, diarrhea, seizures, and vomiting.
5. Do not leave your dog in the car unattended on hot days. Even with the windows open, temperatures in cars WILL reach deadly levels. It only takes five minutes! If you see a dog locked in a very hot car do something to try and help it before it's too late.
6. Brush your pets regularly. Some cats and dogs also benefit from ‘lion cuts,’ but don’t cut them too short, as this may cause sunburn when they are outside.
7. When your dog is teething, instead of having him chewing on couches, walls, etc., buy a few (cheap) washcloths. Soak the washcloth with water and put it in the freezer. When fully frozen, give it to the dog to chew. It will thaw out so have another one ready in the freezer.
8. Walks should be at dawn and dusk, or at least before 8 am and after 6 pm. Definitely limit walks in the middle of the day.
9. Dog urination burns your lawn? Try giving them some tomato juice every day (either in a bowl or on their food) and it should solve the problem.
10. Never leave your pets unattended at a pool. Some dogs are not very good swimmers, so be sure to introduce the water gradually and always put a floatation device on your pet when on a boat. Some pools contain chemicals that could cause an upset stomach. Rinse your dog off after swimming to help prevent this.
11. Do not leave your pet in an area with dangling phone cords, drape cords or other items that it may strangle itself on. Be aware of electric cords that may be chewed by the pet.
12. Is your dog digging? Try putting cayenne pepper in the holes—they don't like the sensation when they go back to dig again.
13. The key to helping your new dog make a successful adjustment to your home is being prepared and being patient. It can take anywhere from two days to two months for you and your pet to adjust to each other.





Homemade Dog Food Recipe

Make your own dog food with only a few easy ingredients!  You can make this easy and healthy recipe at home for your furry friend! We found this particular recipe at homemadedogfood.com and it allows for 40 servings.

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• 10 lbs. of raw ground beef
• 18 eggs including the shells (The eggshells supply digestible calcium to your dog. Yes, studies have proved that the calcium in eggshell is highly absorbable.)
• 5 cups uncooked white rice (The rice will need to be thoroughly cooked before making this recipe. I believe the five cups will yield approximately 15 cups of cooked rice. Use white rice not brown because it is more easily digested by your dog.)
• 1 tube of LickOchops omega fatty acid supplement (This supplies important omega 3 & 6 fatty acids in a 1 to 4 ratio, this is good! It also contains natural source vitamin E.)
Dinovite dog supplement (This supplies a host of vitamins, minerals, digestive enzymes, zinc and live direct fed microbials. Dinovite also has a nutritious plant component in the “Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate” that replicates the partially digested plant matter of herbivores. All great stuff!)


1. In a very large pan add the 10 pounds ground beef.
2. Add the cooled cooked white rice.
3. Blend 18 eggs in a blender with shells then ad to mix.
4. Mix well and completely with your hands until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
5. Make about 6 or seven meat loaves and set on pans.
6. Preheat oven to 350 F.
7. Cook meat loafs for about 1 hour or until done.




Dog Scratching Back

Why Is My Dog Still Scratching?

Is your dog being driven to distraction because his skin is itchy? There can be a number of reasons why your dog is scratching and it’s up to you to help him. Here are three reasons why your dog may be scratching...



If your dog scratches constantly, check his fur for black/brown flea droppings. The main areas to look for are the base of the tail and the tail itself, around the neck, behind the ears, and under the armpits. Brush his coat vigorously whilst the dog is standing on a dampened white sheet of paper. If your pet has fleas the black/brown droppings will fall on the coat onto the white surface.

You may also see the fleas hopping and crawling on his fur. They will either be on the animal’s skin or in the home so you need to follow a flea control programme to keep your dog and your home free of these pesky bugs.

Treat fleas immediately a flea infestation can cause skin eruptions. Beyond the fact that flea infestation is unwelcomed on your pet and in your home, fleas can also cause flea allergic dermatitis which is itching due to an allergic reaction. Flea bites can lead to severe itching, irritation, skin infections in some pets.

It is recommended to clean bedding regularly and vacuum furniture, floors and skirting boards to help destroy fleas. After each vacuum, throw away the dust bag.

Only give your pet flea treatment that has been recommended for it, ideally as prescribed by a vet.

Is your dog suffering from food intolerances?

If your dog is scratching and you notice that his skin is dry and flaky then he may be suffering from food intolerances. A dull coat, excessive wind and a general lack of energy are also other classic signs of food intolerance.

If your dog eats the same type of dog food, day in day out or eats commercial foods high in beef, wheat gluten and other intolerance triggers than you need to make the switch to hypoallergenic foods containing more uncommon, highly digestible ingredients such as lamb, turkey, salmon, and rice that are less likely to result in intolerant reactions.

Hypoallergenic dog foods containing omega 3 fatty acids are ideal to give your dog a glossy coat and healthy skin. Fatty acids, found in either marine oils or evening primrose oil, can be very effective in easing an itch. You can try giving one of these fatty acid supplements. It will take several weeks before the benefit will take effect, so they are for treating long-term problems rather than an on-off irritation.

Good diet is the cornerstone of a healthy skin and coat. If the skin is dry or itchy or the coat is dull, consider increasing use of linseed and fish oil for skin and coat health.

Consider bathing your dog with a shampoo designed to soothe irritated skin, but not too often as you don’t want to dry out his skin.

Is your dog simply too warm or wanting to get rid of shedding dead hair?

A warm summer is enjoyed by most humans but dogs may find it hard to keep cool. My dog looks for the coolest place in the garden under the hedge or a tree to lie down.

He loves summer because he is out everyday lazing in the garden but he suffers when the temperatures rise. He also starts scratching more than normal. Once I have dismissed the dreaded flea infestation after a thorough check, and am certain he is not suffering from a food intolerance I then consider the fact that my black dog may be absorbing too much heat from the sun. A good brushing will cool him down and remove any tangles and any dead undercoat.

This helps keep the air to circulate which allows the skin to breathe and helps your dog keep cooler.

I hope these three suggestions have given you some food for thought. Itching drives humans mad and it’s no different for dogs. Do all you can to alleviate his stress by checking the above three points. If you are still concerned then please consult your vet.

Matt Hawkins is a Marketing Executive at "Burgess Pet Care"

About The Author: Matt Hawkins is a Marketing Executive at Burgess Pet Care, one of the UK's leading hypoallergenic dog food producers. Burgess Sensitive is formulated to help dogs cope with the effects of food intolerance and is free from all the common trigger ingredients.





Happy Dog Outside in Summer

Keeping Your Dog Cool In The Summer

Heat waves have been rippling across the country en masse this summer. My brother, who lives not far from the Canadian border in Vermont, was telling me last week that daytime temperatures were peaking at a scorching 95 degrees. It was actually hotter there than where I live in northern Arizona!

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Living here for many years with a dog, I learned a lot about avoiding the often extreme heat in the southwest. My dog absolutely loved riding in the car with me and I loved looking in the rearview mirror to see her in the backseat, but if I had to go out on a hot day for more than a very quick errand, she stayed inside, at home, where it was a comfortable 75 degrees. It was hard seeing the obvious disappointment on her face when I left without her, but I couldn't face the possibility of hurting her either.

Even during the cooler times of the year, I made a point of trying to find a shady spot to park when my dog was in the car so she would be comfortable. I always carried water and a bowl for her if she was panting and possibly thirsty. If we went for an extended hike, I put a wet bandana in a plastic bag in my pack to put around her neck to keep her cool.

If you live in a city area where grass is not plentiful, be careful about walking your dog on blacktop during the day - their paws and pads will be coming into direct contact with that hot surface. The same is also true for sandy surfaces as well - sand absorbs a lot of heat! There are many kinds of doggie footwear you can buy to prevent injury in the extreme cold or heat - look online or in a pet catalogue. Eventually, most dogs' pads will toughen up much like my feet did as I went barefoot during the summer, but better to err on the side of caution initially.

If your dog spends time outside in your backyard, make sure he or she has plenty of water (in a bowl or bucket that won't tip over if you're gone), and a shady area. Even with these in place, however, it's best not to leave any dog outside in extreme heat for more than 2 or 3 hours. I have seen outdoor dogs with raw, and even bloody noses and muzzles from overexposure to the sun; many dogs can get sunburned and dehydrated, especially those with short coats.

Spending time with your dog is wonderful in the summer but use caution and common sense - they can become overheated and uncomfortable just like us. Bring them outside and with you as much as possible, but ask yourself what you might need to bring with you or do differently to make sure they stay cool and comfortable.

Deborah Dobson, Fizzniche Staff Writer




Cat Laying on a Bowl

Blending Comfort for Your Pet With Your Home's Decor

The amazing thing about comfortable pet accouterments today is their sheer variety in terms of price, materials and fabrics, colors, sizes and features. Whether you're looking for an elaborate cat tree with multiple levels, a simple cushion-type dog bed or a specialized pet bed that provides orthopedic comfort for an aging friend, all this and more are easily available. Simply go online and search for what you're looking for;  in the process, you will likely discover more information about the item to help you refine your search.


For example, let's say you would like to buy a cat tree for your two cats. As you search the plethora of models, you learn that you can get one that has two lounging areas, one for each cat, if they are not prone to snuggling together. And usually, they come in several colors so you can choose the one that works for your existing color scheme. Pet gates that fit between the doorways in your home can be made of plastic or a variety of different wood to match your trim.

Another fun option is to make your own covers and pillows. I wanted to make a pillow for my cats that would sit on top of a cabinet I had that was positioned in front of a window. I measured the top of the cabinet, cut and stuffed the pillow with cedar chips and foam and made a removable, washable cover for it that matched the fabric on a nearby loveseat. I did the same for my dog's two oversized beds, using fabrics that complemented the room's décor. The same can be done for bird cage covers as well.

Whatever your budget, there are many options available to enhance your pet's comfort and add to the beauty of your home!

Deborah Dobson, Fizzniche Staff Writer




Fluffy Cat

Indoor Versus Outdoor Cats

You have provided your kitty with a myriad of toys, a beautiful and comfortable cat tree to climb and lounge on, delicious food and treats, a scratching post and even catnip. But even with all these comforts and your devoted attention and love, you know he pines to go outside.

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Having shared my life with both cats and dogs, I made a decision early on to keep my kitties inside. As intelligent as these graceful creatures are, they usually fail to look both ways when crossing the street, something I have actually watched many dogs do. Rather, they usually dart quickly and run for dear life and unfortunately don't always make it. I also knew I would never forgive myself if I called them to come in one night and they didn't return.

I'll never forget the afternoon many years ago when I was driving home past a long row of parked cars when I heard a terrible thump! and watched helplessly while a cat streaked away down the street. I told myself it must be OK because it was still able to run but my stomach was in a knot and even now, I get upset thinking that I may have killed or injured someone's pet.

One of the statistics I read about outdoor cats said that most of them are killed by cars and here in Arizona where I live, we also have what I call “the coyote factor”.  Essentially, this is the irrefutable fact that coyotes have to eat too, and that any small animal is fair game.

Despite my decision to keep my two cats indoors, however, I knew a woman who hiked with her three cats on a regular basis! None of them were tethered in any way and the vision of the four of them traipsing down a trail together makes me smile. She told me that she taught all of them the word “Coyote!” and that when they heard it, they would quickly gather around her and stay close together till they all arrived home safely.

I have also known several kind hearted, creative people who built their cats elaborate outdoor areas that were completely fenced on all sides and on the top so they could enjoy their time outside without their guardians worrying about them. Some of these were accessible by a door inside and some required that a person accompany the cat or cats to the enclosure.

One precaution about letting your cat outdoors: check with your vet to make sure that he or she has all the necessary vaccinations to prevent any potential illness they could contract when outside. A cat who is kept indoors probably will not need a full panel of vaccinations as he or she will not be exposed to all the possible health hazards.

Additionally, know that if your cat goes outside there may be other risks too – fleas, being chased by the dog next door, herbicides and pesticides, contact with feline leukemia virus, respiratory infections and worms to name but a few.

Weigh all the pros and cons and make a realistic decision based on the time and resources you have available. If you live on a high traffic street, for example, and have a cat, letting him out unsupervised will likely increase the risk of him getting hit by a car. On the other hand, if you live in a sleepy neighborhood and can monitor your cat's time outside in the safety of your fenced backyard, it may be a wonderful opportunity for her to enjoy the great outdoors. You may be able to leash-train your cat with a harness or teach her to walk with you as my acquaintance did. Building a large, safe enclosure outside for your cat is a great solution to balancing your cat's time inside and outside. Whatever you decide, make your kitty's health, safety and well-being your primary concern.

Deborah Dobson, Fizzniche Staff Writer




Dog Looking Over Fence

Pet Separation Anxiety

Leaving your pet can be very difficult on you, but chances are it’s far more difficult on the pet itself.  They often feel abandoned and don’t understand why they’ve been left.  You still deserve your vacations, so here are some tips on how to help your pet deal with that anxiety.

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How To Care For Boarding Pets Dealing With Separation Anxiety

Pets that need to be separated from their masters often deal with a lot of stress that very few people can truly understand. Oftentimes, the excessive barking, turning in circles, molting, or disinterest can be interpreted inaccurately. Dogs, especially, are prone to separation anxiety and some are even known to suffer depression or even a stroke due to homesickness and missing their primary caregivers too much. It’s for these reasons that pet owners should take into great consideration the emotional state of their pets whenever they need to leave them behind, because leaving them in the care of friends or acquaintances that the pet is not familiar with can create a big problem, not just for the animal but also for the people tasked to temporarily take care of them.

The best place to leave pets is always a familiar one where there are other people they know — say, a parent’s house which they have previously visited. But if that’s not an option, the other good choice is a special boarding facility with trained professionals who completely understand what the animals go through when they are taken to a new place and left in the care of “new” people. Boarding pets definitely require special care and only trained animal-sitters can properly provide that.

What professional animal caregivers always practice is patience, especially if the pet is detached. They do not hurry him; instead, they give the pet enough “space” until he’s comfortable enough to be properly acquainted. Afterward, he’s taken to his temporary quarters which are designed for his best comfort – it has all the things he needs: water, food, and cozy, warm bedding.

Animal caregivers also create activities for diversion. This way, the pet can forget even for just a while that his master’s not around. They either walk, or exercise the pet, or let him meet “new friends,” which are all known to reduce the boredom and loneliness of pets. Exercise is particularly good for a lonely pet and it works even better if it is paired with assuring hugs, belly, or ear rubs, and yummy treats.

What’s more, boarding facilities provide grooming and healthcare for boarding pets. There are massages and fun bath times to further alleviate the stress of separation. Also, the facilities make sure that the animals are fed on time.

Lastly, if the anxiety is so severe, pet hotels and other boarding facilities always have vets on standby that can provide proper medication (sedatives) if necessary.

So if you’re really worried about how your pet will deal with separation from you, make sure you invest in special care services for him; that way, you’ll come home to a healthy pet that’s happy and excited to see you.

Written By: Sam Buddy


About The Author: Sam Buddy is a freelance writer who loves to write about pets, proper pet care and the like. He continues to broaden his knowledge on these topics by visiting sites like http://www.dkc.ae/ or perhaps by reading books about pets and animals. He shares what he learned through writing.





Four Different Dogs

Purebred or Mixed Breed?  Finding The Right Dog!

So you’ve decided to get a dog? Wonderful! I have a sign hanging in my house that reads “The high point of my day is that moment when I get home to be with my dog.” It’s the truth. And I’m pretty confident that you’ll love coming home to your dog too, as long as you bring home the right dog for you and your family.

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The first thing to think about is whether you want a purebred or a mixed breed. There are advantages to both, but depending on your situation, the purebred might be the way to go. Why? There are a few reasons.

1. Different breeds have different temperaments. While there’s no guarantee that the dog will be typical of its breed, breeders pick their dogs based on things like temperament and how well the dogs reflect that particular breed.
2. You’ll have a pretty good idea of how big the dog will be when fully grown. If your living situation dictates a small dog, rescuing a puppy from your local Humane Society, while admirable, might not be the best idea. I had a friend who adopted a dog that should have, according to his paperwork, topped out at about 25 lbs. By the time he hit 50 lbs., my friend realized she didn’t have a small dog. Thankfully that wasn’t a problem for her, but for someone else it might have meant that the dog had to go back to the Humane Society. The folks at the Humane Society, at best, have the dog’s owner telling them what breed(s) the dog is or might be. At worst, they can only tell what it looks like it might be.
3. You’ll know that the dog has been bred to exhibit certain behaviors. If you’re looking for something in particular, like herding or hunting, with a purebred you’ll know that that’s what you’re getting. With a mixed- breed you just don’t know. If you want a dog to herd your sheep and you wind up with one that just wants to chase them around all day, well, you’re going to wind up with some pretty unhappy sheep.
4. Certain breeds are known to have specific medical issues. Assuming you obtain your dog from an ethical breeder, you can be sure that the breeder does his/her best to eliminate or control these issues. And many breeders offer health guarantees.

Buying a purebred dog from a reputable breeder has its advantages. Mostly it’s the knowing, something you won’t get with a rescue from the SPCA. Remember when the President was looking for a dog for his daughters after his first election? He needed a dog that wouldn’t cause allergy problems. The Portuguese Water Dog is a good choice for that specific issue. Chances are he wouldn’t have found one at the local pound.

The second thing to think about is what kind of dog? Bringing a dog into your home is a big decision, so do some homework to be sure you make the right choice. Some things to think about…

1. Your lifestyle. Do you have time for a dog that needs lots of grooming? If not, the long haired breeds might not be a good fit.
2. Do you live in a small apartment or in a community that has weight limits on resident pets? Many communities only allow dogs up to 25 lbs. A Pug would probably be ok. A Newfoundland? Not so much.
3. Does your community have breed restriction? Many do. Bring home any of the dogs on the “restricted list” and you’ll probably be looking for a new home before you have your new pup housebroken.
4. Do you like to go out and play? If you’re active and want to include your new buddy in your activities, a dog that’s bred to run all day and has a huge amount of energy like any of the herding/shepherd breeds might be a good choice.
5. What do you expect from your dog? Do you want a lap dog? If you do, then I’d definitely recommend a Maltese rather than a Mastiff, unless you’re ok with 180 lbs. of dog in your lap. They’re gentle and don’t require a lot of grooming, but they’re huge!

There is a lot to think about, but the American Kennel Club’s website is a great resource. The list of breeds they have information about is as long as my arm, and if you look under the ‘Breed Standards’ section of any particular breed, you’ll find all kinds of information.

Bottom line is, if you choose the right dog you’ll both be happy campers. And then, hopefully, coming home to your new best bud will be the high point of your day, too. Happy housetraining!

 Tricia Doane, FizzNiche Staff Writer




Walking Many Dogs

Dog Friendly Summers

When I was a kid, our family traveled by car from southwestern Connecticut each summer to spend a week or so with my grandparents who had a wonderful old rambling farmhouse in the northwest part of Massachusetts, right below the Vermont border.

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To save money, we often took our little Volkswagen bug and of course, we took our dog Patches, an energetic mixed breed we thought to be part terrier of some kind and part Beagle. Mom and Dad sat in front, my two brothers and I sat in back and Patches rode behind us in a small area behind the back seat we called the “way back”. In the early 1960s, air conditioning was almost unheard of in homes or in cars and Patches soon grew hot as the car's back window was right over her with the sun beaming down on her. Soon, my brothers and I were getting our shoulders and necks wet as she panted. By the time we arrived at Grammie and Grampy's house almost 3 hours later, the three of us were pretty well drenched with dog saliva. The interesting thing about Patches was that throughout her life, whenever she had the chance to break out of our house and go on a follow-the-scent adventure, she did, with tremendous gusto. But she never did this when we were packing the car to leave for our summer vacation. Instead, she would run out the back door, up the path toward the garage and hop in the car and wait for us to join her. It was as if she was saying, “Now I know you're busy with all those suitcases and the food, but please don't forget me!”

As a pet sitter for over 25 years, I know how emotionally difficult and even agonizing it can be for many dogs when their owners leave them to go away. I have seen dogs who wouldn't eat, some who shook like a leaf and those who literally vomited. So, if you have the chance to take your dog with you on vacation, she will be delighted! You can easily go online to find motels that welcome pets and today, there are even many camps for dogs and their owners where the two of you can spend each day doing activities specifically designed to enhance your time together. Some, for example, are very specialized like those that feature agility or herding. Don't forget boating, camping or hiking trips either – we are so fortunate in the US to have a huge array of large and small national and local parks – there is bound to be one or even several within easy driving distance that you and your dog can visit. Just type “dog friendly vacations” into your search engine for pages of ideas that you and your 4-legged friend can check out.

Some tips for traveling with your dog:

• Make sure your dog has enough room in your car to easily stand, turn around and lie down. If it's not too hot or windy, open the window a bit to let some fresh air in and if you stop to eat, always leave the window open enough to keep your dog physically comfortable. Better yet, find a shady parking space and adjust the windows so your dog is neither too hot nor too cool. Be sure never to leave your dog in a hot car for more than a couple of minutes.

• Pack your dog's water and food bowls (always have fresh, cool water available for your dog in the car and offer it when you stop for a travel break) along with his leash, treats, food, any medications, and poop bags. There are also booster seats for smaller traveling dogs so they can look out the window, harnesses for the back seat that act like doggie seat belts, collapsible lightweight water bowls for your backpack and a myriad of other neat gadgets that make hitting the road with your dog easier and more fun.

• Many airlines now offer special travel accommodations for your pet if you decide to fly – check with the airlines beforehand. I recommend those that will allow your well-behaved dog on board and not in the baggage compartment of the plane – it can get warm and lonely in there.

• If you do stay in a motel, bring your dog's blanket and an article of clothing that smells like you for the times when you cannot take your dog with you. It may also be a good idea to take a portable folding crate too, as that often has a calming effect on dogs who think of it as their den. Place the blanket, some toys, a couple of teats and your clothing in the crate and tell your dog you'll be back soon.

Though our dog Patches never had the benefit of attending a dog camp, she loved her vacation time up at the “Farm” as we called it. She spent many happy days outside, running around, eagerly sniffing everything in complete safety – she truly was a happy camper! Plan a vacation with your dog and enjoy that special memory-making time you'll have together, whether it's at a park, by the water or at one of the many specialty places that cater to creating dog/human fun.


Debbie Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer




Dog at the Vet

Caring For Your Pet Post Surgery

Your pet has had a surgery, a traumatic event for a pet.  Now is the time to indulge her with extra love and oversight.  These simple tips for after-surgery pet care will ensure that Fido recovers as quickly as possible.

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After-surgery pet care tip #1:  First and foremost, follow the doctor’s orders you brought home to the letter.   If you have concerns or questions about your pet’s healing after surgery be sure to call the office and ask.

After-surgery pet care tip #2: Rest. In order to heal, just like humans, the body needs to rest and sleep more than normal.  Arrange blankets for a soft bed in a quiet corner inside.

Pet care after-surgery tip #3: Restraint.  You have to provide limitations so that Fido doesn’t get too feisty.  A crate is ideal to keep her still until stitches are removed, etc.  If you don’t have one, keep her inside for the first 3 or 4 days and nights. Let her out, of course, to relieve herself, but do so with a leash. Animals should not be allowed to run, jump or climb stairs after surgery.

After-surgery pet care tip #4:  Administering medicines.  A sneaky but effective trick is to hide the pill or capsule in a small chunk of cheese, hot dog wiener, or lunch meat.  Your pet won’t really mind, because she got to enjoy something yummy.

Your pet deserves compassion for all the warm licks and snuggles she gives you.  While she’s ill, give her your best and she’ll be back to normal within no time.

Written by  Ruby H. Moseley, FizzNiche Staff Writer






Family at Home with Their Pet

Housebreaking Your Dog

It’s no secret housebreaking a puppy is no easy task.  In some respects, it’s harder to potty train a dog than an actual child, but there are some tricks to make it a little bit easier on you. 

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Teach your Pooch to Potty Like a Rock Star – HOUSE-TRAINING BASICS For dogs of all ages!

You’ve just brought home a new puppy (or adult dog) and it’s now time to begin the house-training process. There are a couple of ways you can help guide your new pup in the right direction. The techniques aren’t complicated, by all means, it just takes some good observational skills, patience, and consistency to help you all reach your goals.

Key points to help you achieve success with house-training:

• Understand the needs and species-specific habits of your dog. Scent, surface texture, other dogs eliminating or marking, and “needing to go” are triggers that will stimulate your dog to relieve him or herself. We all have our preferences, and our dogs are no different.
• Understand when your dog is more likely to have to go potty, and how he or she communicates they need to. After eating or drinking (about thirty minutes), and upon waking up from sleeping or prolonged periods of rest are the most common times. Being able to read your dog's body language and vocal cues are important, especially during those atypical moments.
• Determine what your own needs are. Will you be asking your dog to eliminate in very specific locations such as training pads and the yard, or just “outside” in general? Does your dog have free access to an entire yard or will they only be given access when taken out for walks? Will you need someone else to take them out because of your schedule?
• Set your dog up for success through the management of their environment. If you’re uncertain or know for sure your dog hasn’t eliminated, keeping them confined with the use of a crate, or on a leash tethered to you allows for you to keep a watchful eye while preventing them from wandering off on their own.
• Be consistent! A concentrated, diligent effort on your part provides steady learning while achieving your overall goals more rapidly. If your dog is rewarded for eliminating in the desired place, he or she will begin to associate the trend of going outside (or where you are training them to go) with being the better choice, and therefore more likely to choose that one, versus one that doesn’t provide any extra bonuses.
• Help your dog generalize this much needed behavior. Whether it be your own home, visiting friends houses, or other public places with restrictions, you will need to take the time to teach your dog where the appropriate location is. Just like when you go to a new place, you have to ask where the restroom is. Just because a dog knows where to go in one location, doesn’t always mean they will know where to go in a new location. All dogs, no matter the age and training history, need to be shown where the “bathroom” is whenever they arrive at a new location.
• Reward your dog generously for when he or she makes the desired choice. Petting, praise, “happy talk”, and yummy food treats will encourage your dog to repeat this sought after the behavior. The more you reward your dog for eliminating where you want them to go, the more likely they are to choose that location again.

Never punish your dog if he or she happens to eliminate in a forbidden area. Punishment only focuses on behaviors you don’t want and does nothing to teach your dog where you want him or her to go. Plus, as a side-effect, it can train your dog to be fearful of going to the bathroom in front of you.

Joan Hunter Mayer is a Dog Trainer & Behavior Consultant at “The Inquisitive Canine, LLC”


About The Author:  Joan is a certified professional dog trainer, human-canine relationship coach, and founder of The Inquisitive Canine, LLC. She and her sidekick Poncho the Dog run and manage their family business, providing dog training and behavior consulting services to other inquisitive canines and their families.




Little Fluffy Puppies at Home

 How to Prevent Mischief When Your Dog is Unattended

Pet proofing your home preferably starts when your pet is very young.  Here are a few tips to get you started training your dog for time spent home alone. 

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Begin by leaving your home for 5-minute increments,  then 15-minutes, then 30-minutes.  Work up as they get older to be able to be left home alone for longer periods – no more than 3-hours for an adult dog.  Why no more than 3-hours?  Dogs, by nature, are pack animals, which is why they fit in so well with our families.  They do not like being left alone for long periods of time and also need to urinate frequently.

By leaving your puppy for a little at a time, you are programming them. This tells them that you will always come back.  It is training by repetition, which is my favorite way to teach animals.

With plenty of chew toys available, you will have a programmed pooch that will be sleeping peaceably, knowing that someone will be coming back home like clockwork at the appointed time every day! Many dogs get fearful and anxious when they don’t know what’s going to happen next.  This is when they usually rip up the house.

I trained all my Great Danes this way and it worked like a charm!

Rebecca Ann Normandin, Author, Breaking The Chains of Spiritual Bondage between Man And God’s Creatures


About the Author:  Rebecca Ann Normandin wrote the non-fiction Christian/Spiritual book “Breaking The Chains Of Spiritual Bondage Between Man and God’s Creatures”. Out on WestBowPress.com.




Three Collies

Summertime Doesn't Have To Mean Fleas

Do you and your pet dread the onset of summer and the fleas that accompany it? Does your furry friend spend most of the summer scratching and chewing and just being miserable because of those nasty little creatures?  Mine used to, and it broke my heart. I tried all the drops and sprays and shampoos and powders, but nothing helped. Until I realized that the only way to keep my pups flea-free was to keep the fleas from getting to them in the first place. 

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Now don’t get me wrong — most of those products are very effective as far as killing the fleas go, but obviously, the animal has to already have fleas for the shampoos, sprays, and powders to work, and for the drops to work the flea has to bite the animal. Since the itch is a result of the flea’s saliva, which gets to the animal before the flea dies, even after using some ridiculously expensive drops my dogs were still scratching.

So is there any way to get to the fleas before they bite? Yes, but it requires treating both the animal and its environment. The 4 things I do to help my pups beat the fleas are listed below.

4 Tips to Help Your Pets Have a Flea Free Summer

1. Treat the house. I use food-grade diatomaceous earth, a fine powder made of fossilized algae. It kills the fleas, is not harmful to humans or animals* (although it may make you cough if you inhale it), is relatively inexpensive, and easy to find at hardware, gardening supply, and pet stores as well as online. I spread it liberally on my carpets, let it sit for a few minutes, and then vacuum it up. Since I live in the south where the fleas are active year round, I use it once a week. I also use it on my couch since my dogs are a couple of couch potatoes.
2. Wash their bedding regularly in hot soapy water, and dry in a hot dryer. This will remove and/or kill all stages of fleas from egg to adult.
3. Spray them with a citronella bug repellant spray every time they go out, being careful not to get it in their eyes.
4. Treat the yard/area where we walk. The diatomaceous earth can be spread around the yard without being a danger to pets or kids, and as a bonus works to control a number of other pests as well.
Flea control is a constant battle, but it’s a battle that can be won. It’s definitely more work than just putting the drops between their shoulder blades or popping them a pill every month, but if you’re willing to put in the effort, you’ll see a difference. And  believe me, your pet will thank you for it

 - Written by Tricia Doane, FizzNiche Staff Writer





Dog Running with Stick

Summer Pet Suggestions

July and August are the hottest months of summer and though we are halfway through already, we must not forget important guidelines and suggestions for making our pets stay safe and cool during these hot months.

Click Here To Learn More!

Pets & Summer: A Few Important Considerations

Summer is finally here and while you may be planning out your adventures for the next few months, if you’re a dog owner, it’s important to make plans for your dog as well.

1. Choose Your Walking Times Wisely
2. Avoid walking your dog in the middle of the day if you live in a very warm climate. Dogs overheat very quickly and so it’s best to stay out of the mid-day sun, walking them instead either first thing in the morning or late in the evening.
3. If the weather is still warm during this time, you may need to bring a water bottle in case they get thirsty during the walk.
Don’t leave dog in a car
4. If you decide to take your dog out with you, don’t leave it in the car – even if the window is left open slightly. Cars parked in direct sunlight can be deathtraps for dogs and can quickly suffer from heatstroke and dehydration, often in less than ten minutes.
5. If you need to take your dog with you, do a little research in advance. Choose shops and businesses that are dog-friendly; that way you won’t need to risk leaving your dog in the car. As with dog walking in the summer, always carry some way for your dog. Petcrew make a portable water bottle that’s especially designed for dogs. Dog Friendly Beaches.

Thinking about taking your dog to the beach? Check that the beach is dog friendly, especially in the summer. Some beaches have different rules for dogs depending on the season. As with parks and green areas, you’ll need to clean up after your dog, so make sure you keep a few bags in your car for such occasions.

Going Away? You Might Need to Get a Pet Sitter

For a lot of people summer time is also vacation time but if you’re a dog owner it isn’t as easy to get up and go at the drop of a hat – you need someone to look after your dog while you’re away. If you’re lucky you will have friends and family who are willing to help you out, but unfortunately, summer time is peak time for vacations meaning that it’s possible those people are planning a vacation for the same time as you.

Sites like Trusted Housesitters.com allow you to find someone who’ll pet sit for free. The sitter lives in your home and looks after your dog and house while you’re away. Alternatively, most cities have boarding kennels, but for most pet owners this is something they would rather avoid.

Jamie Cave is Pet Sitter & Lifelong Dog Lover at “TrustedHousesitters.com”


About The Author: James pet sits around the world using trustedhousesitters.com. His most recent pet sitting assignments have taken him to France, Spain, Portugal and the UK.




White Kitten

Stop Your Cat From Spraying

No one wants to face the issue of your cat spraying in your house.  They become a part of your home, your family, and your life, but the smell of urine throughout your house can be a deal breaker for most owners. 

Click Here To Learn More!

Five Simple Ways to Keep Your Cat from Spraying Your Home

Have you ever walked into someone’s home and known immediately that they owned cats because of the smell? Many people think that a house permeated by the scent of urine is an inevitable part of cat ownership, but nothing could be further from the truth! Indeed, there are five simple things that you can do to keep your cat from marking your home with his scent.

• First, be sure to spay/neuter every cat that you adopt. Experts say that kittens can get pregnant as early as four months old, and can be safely fixed at 2 – 4 months. Check your area for any organizations that offer low-cost spay/neuter; your local Humane Society or Animal Control Officer should have that information for you. Although spay/neuter will virtually eliminate their desire to spray, they will still feel an instinctive need to mark their territory in other ways. Keep reading to learn how to address that need.
• Second, offer your cat other, less destructive ways to mark territory. When cats claw things, they are releasing their scent through their paws. Even when neutered, cats have an inherent need to mark the things that belong to them, so give them good sturdy scratching posts for that purpose. You can find a number of different shapes and sizes at almost any general merchandise store, but these tend to be of inferior quality: anything that topples easily will frighten your cat, and make them disinclined to use.  And, most condos are offered in a variety of colors to coordinate with your home décor.
 • Third, because each room of your home is considered separate and distinct territory, make sure you have a scratching post in every room – preferably near the entrance. Or, if you have a special couch or chair that Fluffy likes to sink her claws into, arrange a scratching post right in front of the clawed-up area. It’s important to allow your cat to express that need to mark things, but it isn’t necessary to let them to do it to your expensive furniture!
• Fourth, cats will urinate outside the litter box for several different reasons. Because cats are very fastidious about personal hygiene, the general rule of thumb is to supply at least one litter box per cat, and preferably, one more box than you have cats. In addition, it’s imperative that the boxes be scooped daily. If urine and feces are allowed to accumulate, most cats will eventually use another area of your home instead. And finding that hidden puddle of pee can be almost impossible! In addition, be sure to place those litter boxes in a quiet area where the cats can do their business in private.
• Fifth – and most important – make sure that your cat is healthy. When cats are sick, one of the few outward signs can be evacuating outside the box. Indeed, cats with urinary tract infections will almost always urinate somewhere other than their litter box. If you do smell urine elsewhere in the house, your first thought should be whether to take Kitty to the vet, rather than whether to punish her. A simple test at your veterinarians will determine whether a UTI is to blame.

Finally, don’t forget to spend some quality time with your cat every day. A happy cat whose needs are addressed will seldom – if ever – misbehave by spraying your home. By following these five simple steps, you can ensure that when folks enter your house, they’ll have no idea that you own cats unless you tell them!

Kelly Meister is an Author at “Critterlady.com”


About The Author: Kelly Meister is a writer, animal photographer, and potter. She shares her life with four cats, eight ducks, and a barn full of ornery horses. Based on her years of experience rescuing animals in need, Kelly also acts as an advocate for their care and humane treatment, donating her time and resources to numerous animal welfare organizations. When she’s not volunteering at a horse rescue facility, Kelly enjoys training her horse, and waiting on her cats hand and foot.   In addition to guest-blogging and writing freelance articles about animals, Kelly is also hard at work on the follow-up to her debut memoir, Crazy Critter Lady.




Dog in Field

Dealing With Doggy Depression

No pet owner likes the idea of leaving their beloved dog at home, but reality is most people work and it's a necessary evil.  Dogs tend to be very sensitive creatures and often get depressed or develop serious anxiety issues when left alone.  They, just like humans, develop symptoms and have trouble dealing with the anxiety.  Here is an article giving you some clues that your dog is suffering and some suggestions on how to deal with this depression. 

Click here for more info...

Under Pressure: Relieving Doggy Depression and Anxiety

Many veterinarians believe that canine depression is a psychological condition similar to depression in humans, in which a dog may display symptoms such as lack of energy, lack of appetite and lack of sociability. Canine depression has not been scientifically proven to exist, but it seems a likely explanation for changes in dog behavior that have not otherwise been explained. Like humans, dogs may be mildly or severely depressed for short or long periods. Changes in environment or routine often trigger changes in a dog’s moods and behavior. But according to WebMD, severe canine depression is most often triggered by the death of a human or canine loved one.

What are the Symptoms?

Though dogs won’t tell you that they’re depressed, attentive dog owners tend to know when their dogs are happy, nervous, scared, excited or sad. Depressed dogs tend to exhibit more negative than positive emotions and appear to lose interest in the activities they once enjoyed. A dog who sleeps and eats too much or too little, doesn’t want to go outside, exhibits unusual degrees of fear or anxiety (such as shakiness), and whines or mopes may be depressed. However, most of these symptoms can also be associated with physical ailments; make sure your dog doesn’t have a fever or a parasite before treating for depression.

How to Help

The real question for dog owners is, what do you do if your dog appears unhappy? While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to doggy depression, these steps can help to get you and your pet back on a path to happiness:

Get a Check-Up
If your dog’s behavior changes for the worse, exhibiting signs of anxiety or distress, your first stop should always be a vet. Symptoms of psychological distress in dogs often look remarkably similar to symptoms associated with physical illnesses. A vet can tell you whether or not recent changes in your dog’s health might be responsible for changes in their behavior. Some vets (or even dog trainers) will also be happy to help you understand and treat psychological problems.

Be Caring and Compassionate
In most cases, doggy depression can be cured by positive and thoughtful attention. Make a little extra time for your dog, and make sure that his or her basic needs are consistently met and hopefully exceeded. Take him or her for walks, on car rides, and to dog parks — whatever the dog enjoys most. Exercise, affection and time are the best medicine.

Don’t Spoil a Depressed Dog
Dogs need to be engaged, and they need to know that they’re cared about. But if a dog begins to believe that they’re being rewarded for moping or whining with extra treats or attention, the problem could get worse rather than better. Be careful to maintain your rules and boundaries while treating depression.

Allow Time for Your Dog to Adjust
While depression isn’t pleasant and should be addressed positively, it is a natural part of both human and animal life. In canines, depression tends to be triggered by environmental factors and to work itself out in time. If you move from the suburbs to the city or take a new job with longer hours, don’t be surprised if your dog experiences some downtime during the transition. Try to be attentive and supportive, and the dog will usually work through it in time

Consider Adding a New Pet to the Family
The most common cause of severe and extended depression in dogs is the loss of a human or animal companion. While it isn’t possible to replace those we love, it is sometimes important to recognize that a busy dog owner may have trouble meeting all of his or her dog’s emotional needs. The decision needs to be about your own needs and desires as much as the dogs, but adding another pet to the family will often help to remedy doggy depression. If getting a new pet isn’t a realistic possibility, fostering or dog-sitting another pet may provide the temporary boost your dog needs to recover.

Gabriela Acosta is the “Community Manager” at MSW@USC


About The Author: Gabriela D. Acosta is the community manager for the University of Southern California’s Online MSW programs and manages the SocialWorkLicenseMap.com blog. She is passionate about social justice, leadership development, and she adores furry friends of all kinds. Connect with her on Twitter @Gabyacosta101




Cat Eating

Healthy Feeding For Your Cat

Our feline friends are important to us and their eating habits are just as important as ours.  If we want them to stick around longer, this is a key ingredient to their lasting age and health.  We found an article with Purina that helps show ways to promote a healthy weight and lean muscle.   Also realize, healthy eating for kitties doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to taste good.  A diet high in fiber means a healthy, long life for our kitties. 

Click Here to learn more...

Feeding Instructions for Your Cat

Weight Weight Maintenance Feeding Amount Weight Loss* Feeding Amount
5 – 9 lbs 1/2 – 3/4 Cups -
10 – 14 lbs 3/4 – 1-1/4 Cups 2/3 – 1 Cups
15 – 19 lbs 1-1/4 – 1-3/4 Cups 1 – 1-1/3 Cups

Feeding Instructions

These amounts are suggestions, not rules to live by, and any cat with a special diet or needs you should consult with your veterinarian.  But every cat is different and slight adjustments are fine to make when deciding how to keep your cat in ideal body condition.

Feeding Tips

If there is a reason to change your cat’s diet it’s best to gradually to allow your cat's digestive system to become accustomed to a new food. If you do this slow change over two weeks the likelihood of sick kitty tummy will decrease largely.


Provide fresh water and clean your cats drinking dish regularly.

Photo Credit: http://www.catclinicofcobb.com/site/view/210080_DietTransition.pml




Dog Running and Barking

Help For Dogs Who Bark Excessively

Long before the invention of electronic security systems, dogs were used to literally sounding the alarm in the form of barking. With their acute sense of hearing, they could easily detect noises from long distances and were and still are a great deterrent to avert burglaries and other crime. 

Click here to learn some tips.

But some dogs take this too far and bark at almost everything, from something as innocuous as a falling leaf to a squirrel running across the yard. In other words, they are overreacting to virtually all stimuli. How do we humans teach them not to bark so much?

Let me preface this by saying that as a single woman, I was grateful when my dog barked if someone she did not know stepped onto our property. So I advocate what I think of as selective barking: it is perfectly OK for a dog to act in a protective manner – what we want to eliminate is inappropriate, excessive barking.

Many dog trainers and behaviorists encourage humans to ignore all unwanted behavior from a dog, but I disagree! That’s not unlike ignoring your child’s bullying – I say address it and nip it in the bud before it gets out of hand.

For excessive barking, start by letting your dog know that you do not want him to bark. How? When the behavior starts, gently but firmly grab your dog’s muzzle, look her in the eyes and quietly but firmly say, “No bark.” It is important to do this when your dog is barking and as soon as possible after it starts. I have even pulled over to the side of the road when driving to do this with a dog in my backseat who was careening around, yammering like crazy when she spotted another dog out walking!

If your dog wants to please you and most of them do, she will immediately start to try and understand what you are asking of her. Continue to reinforce this as long as it takes and when she stops barking, immediately pet her, praise her, smile broadly and say, “Good girl, good no bark!”, repeating your command so she associates the praise with what you asked.

But what if your dog barks when you’re not at home? Remember that dogs are pack animals and, like us, sociable creatures – most of them don’t like being left alone for long periods of time. Simply put, they get lonely and bored. Please don’t even get a dog if you are gone all day unless you are able and willing to have someone come and walk your dog and play with him for a good hour or so!

I suggest having an inside crate for your dog too – this is her place, her den and it provides comfort and security when you are gone. Leave toys inside and something that you have left your scent on – a blanket or an old T-shirt.

But if you still get a tense call from a neighbor about barking, and you have someone coming by to walk your dog every day, then it’s time to go to the next level, an anti-bark collar. These come in a variety of forms but the first and least aggressive type is a citronella spray collar which spritzes a harmless, but annoying spray of citronella that is meant to stop the barking. Your dog will learn to avoid this unpleasant experience by being quiet.

If that does not work, (but please give it time – at least a few days – and let your neighbors know that you are actively working on the barking problem) you can ramp it up another notch by using an electronic anti-bark collar. Generally, these collars come in 2 types: those that emit tones and those that shock. I always recommend using the tone type first and as a very last resort, the shock collar. Never, ever have your dog’s vocal cords surgically removed!!

All of these collars work well for dogs who are barking outside too.

Over the years of spending hundreds of hours working with dogs, I have noticed that young dogs who are still in the learning curve about the big wide world can overreact to it and that once they mature, they mellow out. Another thing that helps adult dogs is a minimum of one hour of what I think of as exercise and exposure. Take your dog out, go for walks! They love it, it helps you stay trim and by exposing them in a positive way to their world on a daily basis, they learn that it’s fun, exciting and safe – a perfect antidote for boredom!

Exercising and playing with your dog is also a wonderful way to bond with him and having that close, loving bond will only increase his desire to please you, which in turn will make changing any undesirable behavior so much easier.


About the Author: Deborah Dobson is the author of many articles about her favorite species – dogs! A strong advocate of the human-animal bond as the basis for behavioral work and training for dogs, she recommends spending as much quality time with your canine friends as possible. You’ll reap immeasurable rewards and have a true friend for life.

She has developed an Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) program for at-risk teens and homeless dogs called C.A.R.E., Canine Advocates for Rehabilitation and Education which can be visited online at www.caredogs.org

Deborah is looking forward to working on a series of books about dogs and the people who work closely with them called “By the Grace of Dog”.




Four Kittens

Care For Your New Kitten

Cats seem to be very independent creatures, which us cat lovers tend to like. In the first several weeks of a kittens life, it’s mother manages everything it needs, but after that, you become the kitten's mother and it becomes your responsibility to care for the kitten as though it is, in fact, your own family. Here are some helpful guidelines to consider when you are caring for your new kitten.

Click here to learn how to care for your kitten...


After about four weeks the kitten can start eating store purchased dry food.  It isn’t always pertinent to get the most expensive brand of kitten food either.  Check and compare nutritional values of each brand and make your own choice.  When feeding the kitten wet food, don’t let it linger or put it back in the fridge for later, it could contain bacteria and therefore make your kitten sick. Also, a helpful hint is to immediately expose your kitten to several different kinds of food so it never starts as a picky eater if eventually, they do need to make a dietary change in the future.


Your kitten should have access to water at all times, fresh or not, it should always be available.  Do not feed your kitten cow's milk, it’s terrible for their gestational system, but there are specific cat friendly versions of “milk” available at pet stores or vet if you want to check that out.


Kittens need warmth when sleeping, it’s why they curl up in a ball.   If you choose to let your kitten sleep with you then your body heat will keep it plenty warm, but if you don’t then a kitten bed is a great option, and if you don’t want to spend the money on one a cardboard box with a blanket in it would work perfectly as well.

Litter Training

This is one of the best aspects of having a cat.  Litter training is very simple.  You put your kitten in it a few times and cats are naturally clean animals, and it will start using it.  If you have multiple cats then sometimes they will resist using a box together and will require their own separate box.


They should be taken care of as soon as possible and follow up visits recommended.  Also, a flea collar is recommended if you are planning on letting your cat outdoors.




Woman Walking Puppy

5 Considerations When Choosing a New Pet

Thinking about adding a fur kid to your family? Today, we discuss 5 considerations with important topics you should think about before deciding on a pet for your family.

Click here to learn all 5 things to think about before getting a pet...

Most of the time when people are choosing pets the two most common options are dogs and cats but there are other things to take in consideration, and plenty of different options and things to take in consideration.  Is this pet for a young child, does someone in the house have some kind of allergies, etc.?  This article should give you some clues on your quest to make a new family friend.


Choosing a pet is no different than choosing a house or car insurance, it all boils down to three things:

Research, Research, and more Research!
You wouldn’t buy a house just because it looks pretty. You wouldn’t buy that insurance because the company logo looks great. You would never (or rather should never, ever, ever!) get a dog or puppy just because it’s cute!

This goes of course to the choosing of any pet. Be it a dog, cat, bird, fish, snake or insect. You need to do some basic research into what you’re about to get involved with. So let’s start from the top:

1. What species? If for instance, you’re allergic to dogs and cats, then maybe a reptile or fish would be your thing. Maybe something along the lines of a pet flea or giant squid perhaps? (you’d be surprised…!)
2. Legislation? For the most part, you don’t need a special permit to keep a pet, but there are some species and breeds that are controlled by law so you really need to ask about this or face the wonders of the legal system.
3. Breed? This is quite obvious for some of our more common pets such as dogs and cats, but it does affect your choice in other animals as well. What it is you want the pet for? Company, breeding, working or just want the challenge of something totally new? For instance, a Fruitbat is not as good as a Labrador in retrieving a ball during daytime (even though the bat has more of a ‘cool-factor’). So, why are you getting a pet again?”
4. Age and Temperament? Do you want to bring your pet up from the very beginning or do you want it to be more or less an adult ready to work with you? Is it easy to handle? does it like other people handling it? How long will it live? How big will it get?
5. Special requirements? Ask your vet or breeder what the animal needs and make sure you stick with it! Some species are so sensitive to their feeding that even the tiniest of changes could be fatal. You can’t feed birdseed to an eagle or dog food to a cat. Their habitation varies as well, reptiles need certain heat and environments to thrive, and they suffer different ailments to other species.

Your commitment?
Do you have the time to walk your dog, exercise your pony, fly your hawk or milk your cow? Can you afford specialist treatments and feeds? Do you have the right space to keep your pet? Is everyone else in the family on board with this decision and are they willing to help? I’d love to keep a snake, but my girlfriend and my young dog have given me an ultimatum; it’s them or the snake…..

- Christian J. Carlander, Director at “Crystal Palace Pet Sitters”


About The Author: “I’ve worked with dogs, horses and various other animals most of my life, and I have trained everything from Highland Ponies and working dogs to Birds of Prey.

My partner and I have also taken care of small animals such as rats, hamsters, gerbils, rabbits, guinea pigs, cats, and ferrets. We now have a young Springer Spaniel in the first stages of training, who is addicted to his orange cricket-ball!”




Dog Chilling in Pool

Backyard Puppy Pool Tips

Using a puppy pool is one good way to help your dog cool off while he stays safe in your backyard with an underground fence this summer. Here are a few tips to help ensure that the pool does more good than harm.

Learn More


Place the Pool in the Shade

Pick a shady spot for the pool. If it’s left in the sun, the inches of water will quickly heat up and won’t provide much relief for your dog. Plus, the warmer the water, the easier it is for bacteria to grow. So, keep it in the shade.

Let the Water Flow

You can help keep the water cool, fresh, and free from bacteria, algae and bugs by allowing the water to continually flow.  Start by poking a few holes in the bottom of the pool on one side. Use a hammer and a nail to poke through the plastic.  Place the pool so that the side with holes is at the lowest point. Then, place your hose on the other side of the pool. Turn the hose on – just a trickle will work!  As your dog splashes around, dirty water will leak through holes and clean, fresh, cool water will take its place.

Empty the Pool at Night

Mosquitoes love standing water. Your dog’s kiddie pool will look like the perfect spot to lay eggs when they are active at night and your dog is resting inside. So, dump the water each night and set the pool up on its side.

Have a great, safe summer with your pets!




Dog Under Umbrella

Can You Put Sunscreen on Your Pet?

The summer sun can burn your pet's skin just like it can your own. If your dog is spending time outside with your electric fence,

here are some tips to help you protect your dog from a painful and harmful sunburn.

You Can Use Sunscreen

There are special sunscreens made specifically for dogs. The big difference is that canine-friendly sunscreens are PBA free.

Dogs tend to try to lick off anything you put on them - so any sunscreen you use should be as safe to their digestive systems as they are to their skin.

Your dog's fur offers protection, so focus on areas where the fur is thin, like the tips of ears and backs of legs.

Check at your local pet supply store to find sunscreen made just for your dog and if you have questions, give your vet a call. They are always happy to help you keep your dog safe and healthy.

Dogs Are Smarter Than Humans

When we plan on a day outside in the summer, many of us are looking for a tan. We'll lather up in suntan lotion and lay on the beach or at the pool for hours risking sunburn.

Dogs are smarter than us ;) - they aren't worried about their tans!

When your dog feels hot, he/she will go looking for shade. So, be sure that there is shade available.





70 Degrees and Above

When is it too hot to leave your dog in the car?

As the weather gets warmer, humans and pets alike tend to get more active. For humans - that means we do a lot of "running around", driving from store to store to get our errands done. But, waiting in the car for you can be dangerous for your dog.

So, find out when it is too hot to leave your dog in the car.

As the weather gets warmer, humans and pets alike tend to get more active. For humans - that means we do a lot of "running around", driving from store to store to get our errands done.

Though it can be tempting to take our dogs with us for the ride - all of those stops into stores will leave the dog sitting in the car waiting for you. And that wait can be more harmful than you think.

70 Degrees & Above - Leave Your Dog at Home

When temperatures outside reach 70 degrees, the temp in your car rises to about 100 degrees. Even with the windows "cracked", your car turns into an oven.

As the temps rise throughout the summer, the danger grows:

• 75 degrees outside = 118 degrees in your car
• 77 degrees outside = 123 degrees in your car
• 81 degrees outside = 138 degrees in your car
• 90 degrees outside = 143 degrees in your car
• 94 degrees outside = 145 degrees in your car
So, if it's above 70 degrees, leave your dog at home.

Share this Warning to Keep Pets Safe!

Click the "Facebook" link on the right to share the picture of the puppy with the warning!






Dog Shaking Off Water

Homemade Recipe for an All Natural Pet Deodorizer

April showers bring May flowers... but with damp air, wet grass and a month full of rain showers, April showers can also bring the musty smell of "wet dog" into your home. 

This spring, try this recipe for an all-natural, homemade deodorizer to get rid of that wet dog smell.

This spring, instead of limiting your pooch's time outside, just making him stay outside or simply giving in to the smell - you can turn to your kitchen cupboard for an all-natural, homemade deodorizer.

Baking Soda and Your Wet Dog

Create your own homemade pet deodorizer with baking soda.

This is an all-natural substance that can be used directly on your pet and it's safe for carpets, floors, bedding, and furniture in your home.

Baking Soda to Deodorize the Dog - Grab your box of baking soda and a dog brush. Sprinkle the baking soda on your dog's fur, let it sit for a few minutes and then brush.

While the baking soda sits, it will soak up the moisture held in your dog's fur. But, as a mild agent, it shouldn't irritate your dog's skin. (Be sure to double check with your veterinarian if your dog has had sensitive skin.)

As you brush, the baking soda will make its way out of your dog's fur and take that wet dog smell with it!

Baking Soda to Deodorize Your Home - Take that same box of baking soda and sprinkle it throughout your home, let it sit for a few minutes and then vacuum it up.

Again, the baking soda will soak up the moisture and odors and lift them right out of your carpet, off of your couch and out of your dog's bedding.

Enjoy the spring and let your dog enjoy the great outdoors as the weather warms up without having to live with that wet dog smell!




Dog in Chef Hat

Simple Homemade Dog Food Recipes

We've found a few recipes to help you make a special meal or treat for your dog - and feel good about what you're providing for him/her

Grab the recipes here...

Our pets are more than just animals who happen to hang out in our houses and backyards - they are part of our families!

As members of our families, we like to give our dogs special treats and top quality foods to keep them happy and healthy.

We've found a few recipes to help you make a special meal or treat for your dog - and feel good about what you're providing for him/her.

Simple Homemade Dog Food
We found this simple dog food recipe at AllRecipes.com:


• 6 cups water
• 1 pound ground turkey
• 2 cups brown rice
• 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
• 1/2 (16 ounce) package frozen broccoli, carrots and cauliflower combination


Place the water, ground turkey, rice, and rosemary into a large Dutch oven. Stir until the ground turkey is broken up and evenly distributed throughout the mixture; bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the frozen vegetables, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Check the link above and read the "Reviews" section to find tips on making larger batches, properly grinding the veggies and substituting different meats and grains.

Homemade Peanut Butter Treats
Does your dog love peanut butter? Many do! And, much like with children, using peanut butter is a good way to sneak some protein and healthy fats into your dog's diet. We found this recipe at MoneyCrashers.com:


• 6 oz. container of plain, non-fat frozen yogurt
• 1 cup of no-sugar-added fruit juice
• 1/2 cup of carrots, minced


1. Add the yogurt, fruit juice, and carrots into a medium-sized bowl. Stir until the ingredients are smooth and well-blended.
2. Drop the mixture into the ice cube trays by the spoonful.
3. Freeze until the ingredients are solid.




Boy with Dog on Beach

Pet Tips for Warmer Weather

Warm weather is a fun and celebratory time of the year. Weddings, graduations, parties, and beaches are the central focus of us human's time, but it's also a time for our animals to experience too, and while it can be a fun time for them as well, they are also in need of taking precautions to keep healthy and safe.

Here's an article that gives you some summer pet tips to keep our beloved creatures safe.

Health Tips for Your Pets for Warmer Weather

Spring is sprung, the weather nice for humans and pets, but Spring also heralds the return of such things as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and allergies! So our first order of business is to make sure our pets are up to date on vaccines, heart-worm preventative, and starting or continuing on (depending on where in the country you live) flea and tick preventative.

Those pesky allergies can be helped with good quality diets, fish oils and trace minerals such as Zinc, Manganese and Vitamins A & D, but often medication is needed.

Warm weather also means our pets are outside more often. Going for runs or to the dog park. Make sure you have plenty of fresh water available if you do these activities. Remember dogs sweat only through their pads, so cooling water is essential to keep hydrated. Remember too, if your dog has been a couch potato all winter, that he, like you, needs to build up his endurance for exercise. Also remember that while you have nice running shoes on, the dog's pads may be sensitive to hot asphalt or concrete, and also can be injured on these surfaces.

For pets kept outside, make sure there is plenty of shade and fresh cool water. While it seems to be a no-brainer, do not leave your pet in a closed up car in the sun. Every year, vets still see heat stroke from a pet exposed to those high temperatures. This can be a real tragedy. Leave your pet at home during those hot days, please.

Keep your pet on a leash! Vets too often hear, “Gee he never runs away” as we’re treating the pet from a dog bite or from being hit by a car. Especially in warm weather, more pets, more people, more traffic.

And always remember to pick up after your dog. In warm weather, parasites hatch from worm loaded pets. These parasites can then not only infect your dog, but some can go to humans, especially children!

Older pets may have exercise intolerance. If you notice less energy, or he’s out of breath easily, have your pet checked for heart disease and/or arthritis.

Sunburn is not much of a problem except in white short coated pets, so be careful about their exposure to the sun. Also if the nose is light in color vs typical dark black, this is an area of concern for sunburn also. Remember, pets lick themselves, so most human sunscreen products are not recommended!

Follow these tips and enjoy a happy and healthy summer season.

Dr. Mark Newkirk, Newkirk Family Veterinarians


About the Author: Dr. Mark Newkirk is CEO, owner, and operator of Newkirk Family Veterinarians. Serving pets for 3 decades!





Puppies in Pool

Top 7 Countdown for Summertime Considerations for Your Dog

We treat our dogs like our friends and family and in the summer the warm weather is far more taxing on them than it is on us, so here are some ideas on how to keep them cool and safe in the summer whether you're on the go or hanging out in your own dog-friendly backyard

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Top 7 Countdown List of Considerations for your Dogs in the Summer Time

Summer is almost here and we are all looking forward to spending more time outside with our dogs. Whether it is camping, hiking, swimming, running or whatever else we favor; it is all more fun when we can bring our furry friends along. There are however some considerations to keep in mind so our adventures stay safe and fun.

7. Avoid Dehydration on the Go
People and dogs alike need to enough water in the summer heat. But dogs have it harder than we do in the sun, as they can't sweat. Dogs need to ventilate and cool their bodies in other ways; the most important being panting. When our dog's tongues hang out and they are heavily panting, they are trying to cool their bodies by ventilation. If it gets too hot, that might not work and they can suffer heat strokes. So we need to make sure our dogs don't get too hot in the summer sun and always have shade and plenty of water to escape the heat, and it's better for us too.

6. Fresh and Cool Water at Home
We also need to make sure, we keep the water fresh and cool at home inside and outside the house. If our dogs live mostly outdoors, refreshing and replenishing their water supply several times a day is a good idea. We also need to check and avoid algae growth in their water bowls as that can lead to serious infections and illnesses, which will also cost us plenty in vet bills. Pet watering systems which take the work out of remembering and refreshing the water are available in pet stores and online.

5. Shelter from the Sun
Dogs need shelter from the sun just like we do. Some breeds also don't have thick enough fur to protect their skin so they can get sunburned, which can lead to skin cancer. If our dog's don't have enough protection we need to help them by providing shelter outside, applying a good natural sunscreen (look for dog sunscreens) or simply letting them into our air-conditioned homes. Outside fans can also help with the heat to some degree.

4. Doggy Pools
A fun thing to have in the yard is a small doggy pool that we can fill with fresh, cool water. Doggy pools are just big enough to give our friends a nice body of water to lie down in and cool off. Remember how much fun it is to dive into a cool pool in the summer heat? Our dogs enjoy it just the same and it helps them stay cool and healthy too.

3. Cars
We should never leave our dogs unattended in a car, but this is especially important in the summer time and in many states, this is actually illegal now. Even five minutes in the scorching summer heat inside a car can be too much for some dogs. So to avoid accidents, injuries or worse, we need to always bring our dog along when we leave our car in the sun.

2. Parasites and Pests
When we spend more time outdoors with our dogs they also face more exposure to the various parasites and pest in our environment. We should always check our dogs for ticks and fleas and use preventative measures to avoid them in the first place. A natural way to protect our dogs from ticks and fleas is to add a little bit of powdered garlic to their food (research usage and dosage). Mosquitoes can transmit heartworm disease, which is quite nasty but easily preventable; a natural preventative is Noni Fruit Leather (avail. on Amazon.com) added to their food daily. We also want to keep your furry friends away from skunks (it really stinks) and snakes; for the latter, it is a good idea to take our dogs to a rattlesnake avoidance class to teach them to leave snakes alone. If we are living very remotely and it would take over an hour to reach a vet; it might also make sense to look into rattlesnake vaccines, which don't protect a dog from the poison but buy us more time to reach a vet with anti-venom in case something does happen. Stings and bites from insects such as bees, wasps, scorpions, and spiders are also risks to keep in mind. 

1. Events
When we take our dogs along to events (outdoor or indoor) we need to make sure they can safely attend, have shade and plenty of water. It is always best to assume that no water is available to us where ever we go and bring enough water and doggy bowls along. If we are not sure if an event is dog friendly and we can't find out for sure, it might be better to leave our friend at home and if necessary hire a pet sitter.

-- Ralf Weber, Animal Behaviorist at "Happy Dog Training"


About The Author: Ralf is a dog behaviorist and specializes in dog psychology, problem solving, training and resolving aggression issues.




Dog in Garden

Summer Safety Tips for Your Pet

When walking, riding, or just being outside, in general, it’s important to take care of our pets just as we would take care of our children. Katie Molloy from “Barks Place” has some suggestions for you.

See what she suggests...

Summer is just around the corner and it’s time for spending outdoor time with your pets, but whilst in the midst of fun, it’s also pertinent to keep safety pet tips in mind with your pet.

Summer Safety Tips for Your Pet

1. HYDRATE: Keep plenty of cool water available. In the heat, dogs need to have fresh, cool water. If a water bowl is left outside, refresh and change it frequently. When taking your dog for a walk, bring water with you. The Water Rover is a great product for carrying water with you allowing to fill with fresh water as needed. We also recommend the Kurgo Collaps-a-Bowl. SHADE: While it may seem obvious, make sure your dog has a place to get out of the direct sunlight. Keep in mind that for dogs who spend much of the day outdoors, the sun moves and they’ll need a shady spot for all times of day. Cool Pet Pads are a unique product which requires no refrigeration or water – it is a pressure activated resting pad for dogs to keep them cool all day.

2. WHEN TO WALK: While your feet are protected with shoes or sandals, your dogs are not. Plan walks for early mornings or late afternoons so your dog won’t burn its paws on hot sidewalks. CAR RIDES: Do not leave your dog alone in the car, even with the windows cracked. It can get dangerously hot within minutes and dogs can die from being left in the car. If necessary, leave the car running with the air conditioner on (and make sure to have an extra key in case you lock yourself out!!)

3. BEACH TIME: Not all dogs can swim and even those that can are still susceptible to accidents in rough conditions – just like people are. Doggie life vests are highly recommended. Also be careful when letting your dog run along rocky beaches and shores. The rocks can cut their paw pads. Pawz natural rubber boots are an inexpensive and effective way to protect their feet.

4. FIREWORKS/STORMS: ‘Tis the season for fireworks displays and electric storms. Many dogs are very afraid of the loud noises, lights, and explosions. It is not uncommon for a dog to bolt away in fear. We have heard many reports of dogs going missing in the night this way. Also, note that dogs can often sense thunder and lightning before you can. Be aware of storms and fireworks displays and bring your dog inside to ensure they are safe and out of the way. Calming treats & supplements, such as MellowMutt (dried chicken strips with calming botanicals) can help, as well as a product called ThunderShirt, which is a weighted garment designed to “hug” the dog.

5. FLEAS/TICKS: Fleas can ruin your dogs' summer. Collars are largely ineffective in controlling external parasites on pets. New tick collars, which contain the chemical amitraz, are effective in preventing ticks from attaching to your dog and these are generally safe to use on a short-term basis. You can also treat your yard itself with beneficial nematodes (they work better than chemicals; natural pyrethrums or diatomaceous earth can also be used.) There are also many shampoos that owners can use to help relieve your dog of the fleas.

-- Kathi Molloy, Owner and Author At “Barks Place”


About The Author: Bark Place is owned and operated by Kathi Molloy, a lifelong dog lover with over 20 years of experience showing and breeding dogs, specifically Norwegian Elkhounds.

Prior to opening Bark Place, Kathi worked for over fifteen years in retail buying management. When making the decision to pursue her true passion, she focused her entrepreneurial vision on filling a market niche where she saw tremendous opportunity – the DIY Wash. Drawing on her years of experience as a participant at competitive dog shows, Kathi sought to offer an easy, accessible and fun option for pet grooming. Further developing upon this concept, Kathi designed Bark Place, a one-stop shop for premiere-quality products & services for pets, which opened in Boston’s South End in spring 2009.

Kathi grew up in Quincy, Massachusetts and holds a BA from the University of New Hampshire. She currently lives in Saugus with her husband, Bob, co-owner of Bark Place and fellow dog enthusiast, and their three Norwegian Elkhounds. Kathi actively supports a number of non-profit organizations serving both the local community and animal rescue, including the Boys & Girls Club of America, North Shore Musical Theater, Humane Society, and MSPCA. Kathi currently serves as president of the New England Elkhound AKC dog club, the Norwegian Elkhound Minutemen Association (NEMA).





Puppy with Sunglasses

7 Tips for Keeping Pets Safe in the Summer

Our entire business is about pet safety. Our hidden pet fences are designed to keep pets safe in areas where privacy fences, chain link fences, and other barriers aren't allowed or feasible.

So, we love this set of 7 tips from today's pet expert on keeping pets safe in the summertime!

Keeping Pets Safe in the Summer

Just like humans, pets can suffer from heat stroke . . . and, like humans, pets can die from summer heat. What can we do to protect our four-legged loved ones at this time of year?

1. Keep your pets indoors as much as possible. If your pets need outdoor access, limit that access during the hottest hours of the day and provide your pets with plenty of shade and fresh, cool water when they must be outside during the summer heat.

2. NEVER leave your pet chained in your backyard during summer heat. Chaining reduces the area in which your pets can maneuver. Shade (which moves as the sun crosses the sky each day) may be out of their reach. If your pets must be outdoors, minimize their time outdoors and allow them maximum access to cooling agents (i.e., shade and fresh, cool water) (see #1 above).

3. Consider watering your lawn in the area where your pets will be: they can cool themselves off under the water if they begin to overheat.

4. Reserve your pets’ physical activity to cooler hours of the day. Walks around the park, jogs, and other physical activity should be reserved for early morning or late evening.

5. NEVER leave your pets in the car during summer heat. Temperatures inside a car can rise rapidly without air conditioning to cool the space.

6. Have your pets groomed. If your pets have long hair, consider having your pets’ hair cut shorter during the summer.

7. Ensure that your pets have had a recent veterinary examination. Health problems can make pets even more sensitive to summer heat. Ask your veterinarian for pet-specific tips on keeping your pets safe in summer heat.

By following these steps, you can keep your pets safe during the heat of summer.

-- Candi Wingate, President, Care4hire.com


About the Author: Candi Wingate is an expert in the child care industry with over 20 years experience. She is the founder of Nannies4Hire.com and Care4Hire.com, and author of 100 Tips for Nannies & Families and The Nanny Factor: A Parent’s Guide to Finding the Right Nanny for Your Family





Create a Doggie Obstacle Course in Your Backyard

A doggie obstacle course in your backyard is a terrific idea for a domestic dog or a pup you might be training for a show. Besides it being a fun owner and pet activity it's also very healthy means of keeping your dog agile and healthy.

Learn how to create a fun and safe backyard play space for your dog.

Obstacle Course

Does your dog have boundless energy and constantly yearn to play outdoors? Whether this stems from the breed of your four legged friend or his personality, your dog's enthusiasm may have you looking for fun and safe backyard doggie entertainment, rather than just taking them to a dog park for social interaction.  

For those of us that are huge lovers of man's best friend, we tend to treat them more like family than pets.  They give us unconditional affection and that inspires us to spoil them in ways we can't spoil our own kids.  

A doggie obstacle course in your backyard is a terrific idea for a domestic dog or a pup you might be training for a show.

Besides it being a fun owner and pet activity it's also very healthy means of keeping your dog agile and healthy. Using balancing obstacles, tunnels, bridges, and activities that is not only a playground but keeps your furry companion focused and stimulated. You can buy kits at your local pet store - or use materials and toys already in your garage and backyard.

Fabric Tunnel

It is a great fun for the whole family and like Dorothy said, your own heart's desire is already in your own backyard!




Dog House

Dog House Design Ideas

If you're thinking about installing an electric fence in your backyard, you might also want to consider creating a special place for your dog to relax, stay warm or cool and feel "at home" in backyard.

Check out these fun dog house designs...

If you're thinking about installing an electric fence in your backyard, you might also want to consider creating a special place for your dog to relax, stay warm or cool and feel "at home" in backyard.

Check out these fun dog house designs suggested by interior designer, Patricia Davis Brown...

Dogs are mans best friend and being his best friend, we tend to treat our pets like family, our own fur babies.   Some of us let our dogs stay outside, and some of us keep them mostly indoors, and that's a great reason to make their special place lovely. Here are some design inspirations for making a dog house that fits your dog and your backyard style!

Go Grand And Vintage

Classic designs and functional structures can still be inviting and charming. This log cabin dog house is certainly grandiose in its creation but maintains the idea of simplicity.  It's an ideal design to keep warm in the winter but has an awning and wind protection so your dog can peek out even if the weather is misty or the sun is too bright.

Cabin Dog House

This bright yellow dog house is a looker for a dog with a great personality, even sporting its own personal porch. With a shelter like this, your dog has his own personal house to match his own unique personality.

Yellow Dog House

Modernize and Upscale Doggy Decor

Spoil your furry companion with a modernized or fancy doggy abode.  If your dog is braving the outdoors, we suggest you give him his or her own stylized and comforting indoor location.

This fancy little dog house even has it's own back porch, complete with an awning for shade.  The trim, the roofing, the ventilation are all indications that this owner adores his fur friend.

Dog House with Porch

This modern dog house is a great feature for an owner who has a personal style and desires to have that look reflected on their dog as well. Even the dog is sitting proudly next to this beautiful design.

Modern Dog House

-- Patricia Davis Brown, Interior Design Blog, DigThisDesign.net




Puppy and Bunny

Dogs and Chocolate Don't Mix

When Fido finds the chocolate bunnies, chocolate eggs and chocolate filled baskets that the bunny has hidden - he won't hesitate to dig in, not knowing that chocolate is toxic to dogs.

Find out more about dogs and chocolate and how much is too much...

Easter weekend is a fun time for kids and families - but it can be a really dangerous time for dogs.

When Fido finds the chocolate bunnies, chocolate eggs and chocolate filled baskets that the bunny has hidden - he won't hesitate to dig in, not knowing that chocolate is toxic to dogs.

How Much Chocolate is Too Much for a Dog?

The level of toxicity of the chocolate really depends on the type of chocolate. Chances are, your child's Easter basket will be filled with milk chocolate. According to PetMD.com, dogs will likely have a reaction to 0.7 ounces of milk chocolate per pound. So, for a 10 lb dog, 7 ounces of milk chocolate is too much.

The "richer" the chocolate is, the more toxic it is to dogs. Semi-sweet chocolate can only be tolerated up to around 0.3 ounces per pound and baking chocolate is toxic at just 0.1 ounces per pound.

What are the Signs of Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs?

If your dog has eaten too much chocolate, you'll likely notice symptoms such as:

• Vomiting
• Diarrhea
• Hyperactivity
• Fast Heart Beat

What to Do if Your Dog Has Eaten Chocolate

If your dog does get into the kids' Easter baskets, get him to your vet. He/she can perform tests to determine if your dog ingested truly dangerous levels of chocolate, or just enough for a tummy ache.




Barking Dog

What to Do When Your Dog Won't Stop Barking

Many of our clients get electric fences because their neighborhoods don't allow privacy fences. Wide open spaces mean that your dog can see - and bark at - everything going on around your yard.

Today's guest pet expert shares some great advice for those of you that are frustrated with a dog that won't stop barking.

We all know that dogs bark... but we often hear about "excessive barking" from clients a few weeks after installing their hidden fences. Many of our clients get electric fences because their neighborhoods don't allow privacy fences. Wide open spaces mean that your dog can see - and bark at - everything going on around your yard.

Today's guest pet expert shares some great advice for those of you that are frustrated with a dog that won't stop barking.

Help for Dogs Who Bark Excessively

Long before the invention of electronic security systems, dogs were used to literally sounding the alarm in the form of barking. With their acute sense of hearing, they could easily detect noises from long distances and were and still are a great deterrent to avert burglaries and other crime.
But some dogs take this too far and bark at almost everything, from something as innocuous as a falling leaf to a squirrel running across the yard. In other words, they are overreacting to virtually all stimuli. How do we humans teach them not to bark so much?
Let me preface this by saying that as a single woman, I was grateful when my dog barked if someone she did not know stepped onto our property. So I advocate what I think of as selective barking: it is perfectly OK for a dog to act in a protective manner - what we want to eliminate is inappropriate, excessive barking.
Many dog trainers and behaviorists encourage humans to ignore all unwanted behavior from a dog, but I disagree! That's not unlike ignoring your child's bullying - I say address it and nip it in the bud before it gets out of hand.
For excessive barking, start by letting your dog know that you do not want him to bark. How? When the behavior starts, gently but firmly grab your dog's muzzle, look her in the eyes and quietly but firmly say, "No bark." It is important to do this when your dog is barking and as soon as possible after it starts. I have even pulled over to the side of the road when driving to do this with a dog in my backseat who was careening around, yammering like crazy when she spotted another dog out walking!
If your dog wants to please you and most of them do, she will immediately start to try and understand what you are asking of her. Continue to reinforce this as long as it takes and when she stops barking, immediately pet her, praise her, smile broadly and say, "Good girl, good no bark!", repeating your command so she associates the praise with what you asked.
But what if your dog barks when you're not at home? Remember that dogs are pack animals and, like us, sociable creatures - most of them don't like being left alone for long periods of time. Simply put, they get lonely and bored. Please don't even get a dog if you are gone all day unless you are able and willing to have someone come and walk your dog and play with him for a good hour or so!
I suggest having an inside crate for your dog too - this is her place, her den and it provides comfort and security when you are gone. Leave toys inside and something that you have left your scent on - a blanket or an old T-shirt.
But if you still get a tense call from a neighbor about barking, and you have someone coming by to walk your dog every day, then it's time to go to the next level, an anti-bark collar. These come in a variety of forms but the first and least aggressive type is a citronella spray collar which spritzes a harmless, but an annoying spray of citronella that is meant to stop the barking. Your dog will learn to avoid this unpleasant experience by being quiet.
If that does not work, (but please give it time - at least a few days - and let your neighbors know that you are actively working on the barking problem) you can ramp it up another notch by using an electronic anti-bark collar. Generally, these collars come in 2 types: those that emit tones and those that shock. I always recommend using the tone type first and as a very last resort, the shock collar. Never, ever have your dog's vocal cords surgically removed!!
All of these collars work well for dogs who are barking outside too.
Over the years of spending hundreds of hours working with dogs, I have noticed that young dogs who are still in the learning curve about the big wide world can overreact to it and that once they mature, they mellow out. Another thing that helps adult dogs is a minimum of one hour of what I think of as exercise and exposure. Take your dog out, go for walks! They love it, it helps you stay trim and by exposing them in a positive way to their world on a daily basis, they learn that it's fun, exciting and safe - a perfect antidote for boredom!
Exercising and playing with your dog is also a wonderful way to bond with him and having that close, loving bond will only increase his desire to please you, which in turn will make changing any undesirable behavior so much easier.
About the Author: Deborah Dobson is the author of many articles about her favorite species - dogs! A strong advocate of the human-animal bond as the basis for behavioral work and training for dogs, she recommends spending as much quality time with your canine friends as possible. You'll reap immeasurable rewards and have a true friend for life. She is looking forward to working on a series of books about dogs and the people who work closely with them called "By the Grace of Dog".





Young Family

Keeping Your Pet in a Bad Economy

Today's guest experts gives us some great advice for keeping your pets and affording to take care of them even if you've lost your job or have had to take a pay cut.

See what she recommends for resources to keep you and your pets together.

Keeping Your Pets in a Bad Economy

As someone who’s spent years rescuing animals that other people didn’t want anymore, a downturn in the economy is cause for concern. While many folks do whatever it takes to hang on to their pets, others seem to discard them with little or no regard for their future, seemingly unaware that help is available. Shelters overflow with family pets that could’ve stayed with their owners, had those owners done a little homework rather than simply surrendered Fluffy or Spot. If you have concerns about continuing to care for your pet in this shaky economy, read on.

The first phone call you should make is to your local humane society. If they don’t offer a pet food bank, they should know who in your area does. They should also be able to refer you to an agency that fosters animals. Foster folks might be willing to take care of your critter until you’re back on your feet.

If you have a purebred pet, a local club whose members all own the same breed might have some resources for you. They, too, should know where to obtain free pet food, or perhaps someone willing to foster your animal.

In addition, your city’s Animal Control Officer often has unofficial resources. He’ll know which veterinarian offers cut-rate fees for hard-luck cases, and who in the community is actively involved in animal rescues. And don’t let his title fool you: many AC Officers are animal-lovers, too!

And, since you’re on the computer reading this, don’t forget about social networking sites! Facebook alone is chock-full of groups and individuals who rescue critters. Each and every one of them has resources available just a mouse click away, all across the globe. They, too, can help you find assistance in your area.

While losing your job or home can create terrible turmoil, having to surrender a beloved pet might just be the worst part of such an ordeal. Jobs and homes are replaceable, the family pet is not. With a little research, though, you might find that, even in a bad economy, it is possible to care for your pets.

-- Kelly Meister, Author


About the Author: Kelly Meister is a writer, animal photographer, and potter. She shares her life with four cats, ten ducks, and a barn full of ornery horses. Based on her years of experience rescuing animals in need, Kelly also acts as an advocate for their care and humane treatment. When she’s not taking riding lessons or volunteering at a horse rescue facility, Kelly waits on her cats hand and foot. Check out her blog, Kelly’s Critter Talk, at www.kellyscrittertalk.blogspot.com. Her first book, Crazy Critter Lady, is available at amazon.com.




Sleepy Puppy

Pets and Diabetes

As with people, the incidence of diabetes in dogs and cats is increasing. Veterinarians admit diabetes is under-reported and could affect as many as one in 50 of our pets

The reasons for this increase, and even epidemic, of diabetes are...

As with people, the incidence of diabetes in dogs and cats is increasing. Veterinarians admit diabetes is under-reported and could affect as many as one in 50 of our pets.

The reasons for this increase, and even epidemic, of diabetes are the same as in humans:

• Obesity
• Lack of exercise
• Pets are living longer
• Genetics – certain species are more prone than others

“We have increasing obesity in dogs and cats, just like in humans. It’s no mystery how that occurs: overfeeding and lack of exercise,” said Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, veterinarian and chief medical officer for the Banfield Pet Hospitals.

The symptoms of diabetes can develop very gradually and include the following:

• Increased urination and increased thirst. These two signs are hallmarks of a diabetic condition, so you’ll want to watch closely for them, especially as your pet ages.
• Increased appetite.
• Weight loss.
• Lack of energy and increased need for sleep.
• Vision problems.
• Weakness in rear limbs (cats only).
• Urinary tract infections.
• Kidney failure.

To keep your pet healthy be sure to keep them at a healthy weight and make sure they get plenty of exercise.

-- Dawn Swidorski, Public Outreach Director, Defeat Diabetes Foundation




Cat with Yellow Eyes

9 Items to Consider When Choosing a Pet

When we're installing electric fences for cats and dogs in our clients' yards, we hear about a lot of the decisions that the families made before choosing their perfect pets. So, we really liked this advice from today's pet care expert with a checklist of things to consider when choosing a pet.

Learn More

Finding the perfect pet for your family takes time. When we're installing electric fences for cats and dogs in our clients' yards, we hear about a lot of the decisions that the families made before choosing their perfect pets. So, we really liked this advice from today's pet care expert with a checklist of things to consider when choosing a pet.

Choosing a Pet - 9 Items to Consider

Here are a few deciding factors that you should look at when choosing which pet fits into your lifestyle:

1. Size:  What size pet will fit best within your life?  Choosing a large, medium, or small pet is an important decision.

2. Longevity:  Will you be able to keep your pet for the whole duration of your pet's life?

3. Allergies:  Research and find out which animals you are allergic to. And take into consideration all the hours of grooming and the cost if you choose a long haired breed.

4. Noise Levels: Are you in an area where barking will be an issue?  Take the time to learn about a breed.  Are they "vocally known?"  Determine if you have the right setting for a barking dog or if you should consider a quieter pet.

5. Finances:  Are you financially capable of caring for a pet.  There are many types of expenses that accompany a pet.  Are you equipped to pay for them as they arise?

6. Training: Do you have efficient time or financial resources to train your pet properly?

7. Lifestyle:  Not all animals fit into any lifestyle.  Do your homework on the type of pet that you have decided on first.

8. Safe Environment:  Provide for your pet safe comfortable condition's that are not going to cause them to be miserable like freezing temperature's or suffocating heat!

9. Time:  Do you have the time to be able to spend every day with your pet? Many animals, such as dogs, thrive on companionship.  It keeps them healthy and maintains their emotional well being. All Animals are less likely to get sick if they are loved and nurtured. It is when an animal is neglected that they feel they have somehow done something wrong and are being punished. It's not only about feeding your pet, it's a fact that a depressed and neglected animal will usually end up being a sick animal soon. 

--Rebecca Ann Normandin Ministries, Author: "Breaking the Chains" of Spiritual Bondage Between Man And God's Creatures. Now available at the WestBowPress.com Bookstore


About the Author:  Rebecca's first encounter with the Holy Spirit was Him talking to her about man's stewardship with the animals that we each own. Rebecca's Mission Statement For Her Ministry: Is To Set The Captives Free Who Are Of The Two And Of The Four Legged Kind. Shalom!




Family with White Puppy

6 Point Pet Selection Plan

Today's guest writer is a family expert. See the 6 points she recommends that you cover in order to choose the perfect pet for your family.

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6 Point Plan

You’ve been thinking about adopting a pet.  What do you need to consider when finding the pet that’s right for your family?

Perfect Pet Point #1: Interests

What do your family members want in a pet? Is somebody cute, fuzzy, and cuddly desired? A puppy or kitten may be in keeping with your pet wish-list. Would somebody who is colorful and speaks English more your style? A parrot may be of interest to you.

Perfect Pet Point #2: Health

Do any of your family members have allergies to specific kinds of animals? For example, if your family wants a kitten, but your son is allergic to cats, are you willing to have the affected family member(s) take allergy medicine or contend with allergy symptoms? Alternately, would a Sphynx cat (a breed of cat that has no hair and is thus reasonably safe for your son) be appropriate in your family?

Perfect Pet Point #3: Lifestyle

If your family has an active lifestyle, pets that can be on-the-go with you may be of interest to you. A dog that likes to go for walks, chase Frisbees, etc., would be a good choice for you. Or, you may prefer pets that need limited interaction with you as you go about your busy day. An aquarium of fish may be your choice. Alternately, if your family has a laid-back lifestyle, pets that are inside-only and like lots of attention from you may be the best fit. Laid-back, affectionate dogs and cats may suit you best.

Perfect Pet Point #4: Tempermants

If you have a one-year-old who has yet to master fine motor skills, an attempt to pat a pet may be experienced by the pet more like a slap than a gesture of affection. Larger animals are more able to withstand these unintended physical assaults than smaller animals, for whom these blows can shake their whole bodies.

Perfect Pet Point #5: Home

Do you have a lot of breakables in places that a toddler can reach? If so, the wagging tail of a big dog can reach these breakables too. Do you have dark-colored furniture? All furry animals shed (some more than others) . . . so a long-haired white puppy or kitty may pose problems in a house with dark-colored furniture. Do you have a small home or apartment? If so, having an indoor kitty may not be a good fit.

Perfect Pet Point #6: Finances

Pets can be expensive. Food, water, bowls or feeders, proper veterinary care, toys, grooming tools, etc. will need to be purchased. As your pet ages, expect veterinary bills to increase. Animals with shorter life expectancies typically have lower costs. Fish are less expensive than guinea pigs, which are, in turn, less expensive than dogs and cats.

Once you have chosen the right species and breed of pet for you, how do you choose the right individual pet?  Pets are individuals, just like people are.   Pets have personalities and preferences, just like people do.  Before you take home a pet, have your family spend time with some available pets of the desired species and breed.  Watch how the available pets interact with your family members.  Are they affectionate or neutral?  Are they active or laid-back?  Are they accepting of your one-year-old’s unintentional slaps?  Do you see red flags such as hissing, growling, or other behaviors that you find unacceptable?  (Note: if you see an unacceptable behavior, don’t immediately rule out that pet.  First, determine if the behavior is because the animal is frightened, which should pass as the animal gets to know you, is something you can alter through behavior modification techniques or is something that you cannot change and cannot live with.)

As you prepare to bring home “the chosen one”, set your adoption expectations realistically.  No matter who you choose to adopt, you will need to make some changes to accommodate for your new family member.  Space will need to be set aside for food and water bowls . . . possibly a litter box . . . toys, and various other paraphernalia.  You and your pet may have different ideas about specific household boundaries: while you certainly get to decide on the boundaries of your household, don’t try to win all the debates with your newest family member.  Letting your new family member set some of his/her own boundaries is healthy for him/her.

In the end, while choosing the right pet for your family can and should be guided by logic, the ultimate adoption decision will be made by love.  Often, a family will find one particular pet that forms an immediate and strong bond with one or more members of the family.  When the pet adopts you, that’s the best sign that you’ve found the right pet for your family . . . the great match.

-- Candi Wingate, President, Care4hire.com


About the Author: Candi Wingate is an expert in the child care industry with over 20 years experience. She is the founder of Nannies4Hire.com and Care4Hire.com, and author of 100 Tips for Nannies & Families and The Nanny Factor: A Parent’s Guide to Finding the Right Nanny for Your Family.




Kitty and Border Collie

Dog or Puppy... Cat or Kitten?

If you're planning on bringing a new pet into the family, our guest pet expert has lots of great advice to help you choose the right pet to ensure your new "baby" fits right in!

Learn More


Finding a Furry New Family Member

First, consider your lifestyle. A family or owner that stays out of the house for many hours at a time may better be able to attend to the needs of a pet cat. Cats can be affectionate and playful. They are also able to be by themselves for long periods of time. They use a litter box, so bodily needs are taken care of in an easy, clean and efficient way. Food and water can be left out so the cat has access to nourishment for a while.

Dogs, on the other hand, require more frequent attention. They need to be taken out at least 2 or 3 times a day. They need to be fed at least 2 times a day. They need human companionship and attention. Some breeds require more exercise than others. Some are more tolerant of the climate in which you live. Size matters especially when the home has only limited space.

So what to do? If a pure breed dog is what you want, get in touch with the national breed club. Each breed has one. They will direct you to a breeder. Speak with the breeder and they will help you determine whether their breed is right for you. Breed clubs love their breed and only want to connect the right family with the right dog.

That being said, there are many, many great dogs and cats living in shelters and in need of a home. You can spend time with these pets. Bring as many members of the family as you can to the pet shelter. Remember this is going to be a member of the family for many years.

-- Dr. Barry Baumel, Founder & President, PetBenefits.com

About the Author: Dr. Barry Baumel is founder and president of PetBenefits.com. A medical doctor and neurologist, he graduated from the University of Miami School of Medicine. His house is filled with family and pets. His dogs, Clumber Spaniels have been shown in dog shows around the country.

After a lifetime as a pet owner, he knows what pet owners need, want and are always looking for to take care of their pets in an affordable and easy way. Dr. Baumel summed it up in a small yearly membership for a growing national group of pet lovers that receive a wide array of services and benefits in the one shop site, PetBenefits.com.




Big Dog and Little Dog

How to Choose a Pet That Fits Your Lifestyle

Today's guest pet expert has years of experience in rescuing unwanted animals. She has seen all sorts of bad decisions when people choose the wrong pet for their lifestyles.

See what she has to say about picking a pet that fits your lifestyle.

How to Choose a Pet that Fits Your Lifestyle

When thinking about what sort of pet to adopt, most folks consider the obvious: what species, what size, what breed, what age. While all of those are significant factors, perhaps the most important is lifespan. In other words, what’s the life expectancy of the animal you’ve chosen, and how many of those years are you willing to commit to?

As someone who’s spent years rescuing unwanted animals, I’m forced to conclude that some people didn’t know, when they acquired the critter, just how long the thing could live. It seems that many folks are so busy being influenced by the cute factor of the animal that they don’t stop to ask themselves the critical questions. Questions such as:

• What if I have to move and can’t take Fido with me? 
• What if I become involved with someone who’s allergic to Fluffy? 
• What if the kids get bored with that bunny and don’t want to care for it anymore? 
• What will I do when that cute duckling I put in Junior’s Easter basket gets big and noisy? 

In my opinion, if you can’t answer these questions, then you shouldn’t get a pet.

All too often, unwanted animals – whose only crime was outliving their initial cuteness – end up being dumped at shelters, or worse. Just last summer, someone abandoned six large Pekin ducks at a pond near me. The poor things were not happy to be in the wild, but rather, completely terrified by the unfamiliar territory and the fact that they’d had no training on how to survive without human help. With the assistance of some City employees, I managed to catch all six and re-house them, but that’s a rarity in the rescue business. More often, the abandoned critters are eaten by predators.

While numerous parents would love to surprise their children with a pet at Christmas or Easter, it’s actually a terrible idea to do so. Domestic critters are lifetime commitments, not holiday gifts. Adults and children alike need to fully appreciate the enormity of that commitment: the fact that dogs need to be let out to do their business even on the days when you want to sleep in; the fact that cats require more than just food and clean litter boxes, but also an on-going investment of your time and affection; the fact that those ducklings will need predator-safe housing, daily cleaning of their habitat, and plenty of attention – especially if they’ve imprinted on you.

I once knew a couple who adopted two boxers. The couple didn’t seem terribly interested in interacting with the dogs. They arranged for a border of electric fencing, enrolled the dogs in obedience classes – which the dogs “flunked” – and then they left the dogs to their own devices, thinking, no doubt that having the run of the multi-acre property would suffice. It didn’t. Out of sheer boredom and lack of human attention, the dogs got into all sorts of mischief, up to and including eating glass. Those dogs would have been much better off living with people who would spend a lifetime cherishing them and enjoying their company. The couple would’ve been much better off with a pet rock.

It’s a simple matter to find out what the life expectancy of a given species is. Your veterinarian would certainly know, and there is any number of websites devoted to such things. Education is just a mouse click away! Cats can live anywhere from 10 to 18 years, while small dogs (10-16 years) tend to live longer than large breeds (8-10). Those adorable little ducklings you see at the feed store every Easter can live as long as 12-15 years, and domestic bunnies can live 7-8. Indoor birds can – and often do – live as long, or longer, than their human companions. That’s a lot of years!

So the next time you’re in the market for a critter companion, or your children clamor for a pet, please think long and hard about the sort of commitment you’re willing to undertake. Do you have room for the size animal you’re thinking about? Do you have the time, between work, relationships, and obligations, to devote to training and on-going care? If the honest answer is no, there’s nothing wrong with holding off until your situation changes. It will make for a much more meaningful pet relationship when you’re finally ready.

-- Kelly Meister, Author


About the Author: Kelly Meister is a writer, photographer and potter. She shares her life with four cats, 11 ducks, and a barn full of ornery horses. In her spare time, she writes a critter-themed blog, advocates for animals in need, volunteers at a horse rescue facility, and waits on the cats hand and foot. Her first book, Crazy Critter Lady, is available at amazon.com.




Child with Puppy

How to Choose a Child's First Pet

Every parent of a young child knows that at some point, usually between four and seven years old, they will pine for a pet. For a child, a pet can be a best friend that teaches responsibility, friendship and respect for life.

Today's guest pet expert has some great advice to help you choose the right first pet for your child.

However, the most important lesson to learn prior to obtaining a pet is for parents. Before adopting a pet, understand that it will have special needs and should be considered a lifelong family member—not just a child’s playmate. Kids can help care for the pet, but choose tasks that are age-appropriate. Parents must understand that just like children, the pets’ well-being depends upon the grown-ups.

Dogs and cats are the most popular pets for good reason. They’re wonderful companions, but definitely require more living space and time to train, walk, bathe and clean up after. And caring for a dog or cat will have you digging deeper into your wallet than other pets.

If your family isn’t quite ready to take that plunge, start with an animal whose needs can be met with less space, time and money.

Goldfish are simple and inexpensive. Freshwater fish are soothing, pretty to watch and are interesting creatures. It’s a safe bet for a first pet. For something cuddlier, guinea pigs are delightful animals with cute personalities and are more ‘durable’ than other small pets.

Rabbits are another excellent choice for a first pet. However, bunnies are best cared for indoors. Extreme outdoor temperatures, wind, humidity and rain cause stress for bunnies.

Gerbils, hamsters and even mice can be fun for kids, but because of their size, should be handled very carefully. Young ones should only do so when supervised by an adult.

Hamsters are friendly and adaptable, making them the most popular small pet in America. Handling them on a regular basis will keep them well socialized. An ignored hamster (or any other pocket pet) is more likely to nip or bite.

Birds are the third most popular pet in America—nearly seven million perch in our homes. They’re fun to watch and can fill your home with sound. While each bird has a unique personality, every species has a typical temperament and behavior pattern. Not all birds make appropriate pets for children.

No matter what you choose for your family’s pet initiation, adult supervision is imperative when young children and pets are together. The child’s and the pet’s safety must always be top-of-mind.

Pets need space and may not always welcome human attention, especially when eating, sleeping or playing with toys. Even the friendliest pets can become over-stimulated, so teach children how to recognize signs that your pet needs some alone time. And remember, small kids may not have developed the motor skills to properly handle a delicate pet.

A first pet is a unique relationship that your child will always remember. They’ll likely develop a wonderful bond, so be sure to commit to the pet for its lifetime. Teach by example that pets deserve love and respect just like other family members.

-- Kristen Levine, Pet lifestyle expert, author and founder & president of Fetching Communications 


About the Author: Kristen Levine’s volunteer work led to a 15-year career as the Public Relations Director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Tampa Bay, Fla., where she played a critical role in promoting pet adoption and pet lifestyle education. With her knowledge of public relations, pet lifestyle concerns and family dynamics, she founded Fetching Communications, the nation’s first marketing and public relations firm wholly dedicated to serving the pet and veterinary industry, in 2003. In November 2011, Levine published “Pampered Pets on a Budget: Caring for Your Pet Without Losing Your Tail” with co-author Jeffrey Barnes, available on Amazon.com. Having logged over 1,000 live national radio and television show appearances, Levine is a frequent contributor to pet and veterinary trade magazines nationwide. She serves as Bissell Homecare’s official pet spokesperson, educating pet parents about pet clean-up solutions, as well as on the Toyota Pet Expert Team (P.E.T.), where she shares her knowledge to help develop programs to teach pet parents the importance of properly protecting and securing pets in automobiles. Levine lives in Florida with her husband, dog, two cats and a pair of miniature donkeys. For more information about Kristen Levine, please visit www.kristenlevine.com or connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.






Line Up of Dogs

How to Choose a Dog with Your Head and Not Your Heart

People often choose a dog that is "cute" or one that they "fall in love with" and are left dealing with the consequences later when the dog is the wrong size, breed or has the wrong temperament for the family.

So, today, our guest expert teaches us how to choose the right dog.

Today, our guest expert and animal behavior specialist gives you some great advice for choosing a dog that will fit well into your life - and not just a dog that steals your heart by being "cute"... and sets you up for a disastrous relationship down the road.

Where to Start?

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is, "What is the best breed of dog?"  There is no simple answer; different breeds are suited to different people and their particular situations.  While it is relatively easy to differentiate breeds based on size, coat type, and coloration, it is more difficult to sort breeds based on their behavioral characteristics.  A single, older woman living alone is looking for a different dog behaviorally speaking than a young couple with children who work 10 hours a day.  The situation is further complicated when the decision is made to adopt a mixed breed dog of indeterminate origin from the shelter.  So, how do you go about making an informed choice? 

First, you need to evaluate your living situation and the amount of energy and effort you are willing to invest in a new pet.  Do you live in an apartment or house?  Do you have a yard or will the dog have to be walked at a nearby park?  How many hours each day are you home?  What is your financial situation?  Some breeds are just more expensive to own and maintain than others.  This isn't to say that a mutt from the animal shelter will be an inexpensive, problem-free choice.  Owning a dog is a privilege and entails a great deal of responsibility and commitment, both emotionally and financially.  Most dogs live at least 10 years if not longer--are you ready for that kind of long-term relationship?  

Think About the Breed

Once you have honestly evaluated your own situation, you are now ready to begin eliminating breeds based on these elements.  For example, if you live in an apartment, it may be obvious that you can't have a St. Bernard (they're too big); but don't you also need a dog that is somewhat quiet?  If you don't like grooming your dog daily, don't choose a Collie, Lhasa Apso, or Afghan Hound that require daily coat maintenance.  If you don't want a dog that digs, don't pick a Terrier or Dachshund who were originally bred for their ability to "go to ground" in pursuit of vermin.  If you are athletic and want to hike with your dog, don't choose an English Bulldog or Pug since these breeds have short legs and flat noses and are somewhat exercise intolerant. 

Once you have these basics down on paper, and the possible breeds narrowed down that fit your lifestyle, you are ready to do some research.  While the advice of friends and relatives may be helpful, it will be somewhat biased.  Remember, everyone's living situation is different and will influence the companion animal they choose.  Talk to veterinarians, trainers, groomers, and breeders about the breeds you are interested in.  Do keep in mind, however, that these individuals may be somewhat biased to certain breeds as well.  Breed books from the pet store and library may also be useful.

Could You Rescue a Dog?

In addition, you may not want to rule out a shelter animal as a possible new companion.  You can acquire good information on shelter residents from the staff working there.  You, too, will see the personalities of these animals coming through the more you visit the facility.  Keep in mind, however, that even with pure-bred dogs, there is variability among individuals of the same breed.  If you choose a puppy or dog of unknown parentage, predicting future behavior will be even more challenging.  Complicating this further is the fact that there are also sex differences in behavior between males and females.

What Age Works Best?

So, now you've decided on a dog and have a fairly good idea of which breed best suits your lifestyle. Do you choose a puppy or an adult dog?  Male or female?  The best age for adoption of a puppy is between 6 and 10 weeks.  A puppy must be properly socialized to both people and other dogs.  Adoption before 6 weeks of age may disrupt a puppy's socialization with other dogs and adoption after 10 weeks may interfere with its complete socialization with people.  Some people prefer adopting adult dogs so they can bypass the housetraining and chewing stages.  However, keep in mind that many adult dogs available for adoption have problems of their own behaviorally speaking and may not make the adjustment to a new household as readily as a puppy.  Before adopting an adult dog, observe its behavior closely under different circumstances and be prepared to turn away from an attractive, but nonetheless unadoptable animal from a behavioral point of view.

Male or Female?

When choosing between a male or female dog, there are a few general principles to keep in mind. Male dogs are generally more aggressive, dominant, and territorial than females.  Females tend to be less active and playful and more demanding of attention and affection.  Across all breeds, males tend to be more playful (and destructive!) while females are easier to housetrain and obedience train.  Again, your own living situation and desires should be taken into account when choosing not just the breed, but the sex of your new dog.

Where is Your Ideal Dog?

Once you have determined the breed and sex of the dog you are interested in, where do you go from there?  Breeders advertise in newspapers, in the classified sections of dog magazines, at pet supply stores, and in some veterinary offices.  Many breeders can also be located on the Worldwide Web.  Many breeders are professionals who are extremely involved in the promotion of their particular breed.  They may be actively involved in the show circuit, rescue work, or dog legislation.  Many are truly interested in maintaining the quality of their breed.  You must be a proactive consumer whether you acquire your dog from a breeder, a shelter, or pet store; do your homework--visit several breeders and compare their facilities.  Puppies should be viewed with their mothers present.  Set up interviews where you can visit with both parents of a litter you are interested in.  Ask for references and contact other people who have purchased dogs from these breeders.  Visit these owners and see their dogs; hopefully, you will see full siblings or half-siblings from previous litters.  Carefully review your buyer's contract.  Are you required to spay or neuter the puppy; will you have to make the puppy available to the breeder for the show circuit; is there a "lemon clause;" can you take the puppy to your veterinarian for a health evaluation before making a final decision; etc.  All of these details are important.  If you are acquiring a pure-bred, non-show quality puppy, the breeder may require you to castrate the animal at sexual maturity.  The breeder doesn't want you breeding this dog and perpetuating characteristics they feel should not be passed along.  If you purchase a show quality dog, the breeder may want the option to take the dog from you and show it as well as use it in future breedings (therefore you cannot castrate your puppy).  A "lemon clause" refers to a stipulation that if the puppy has a congenital problem (hip dysplasia, cataracts, deafness, etc.) you can return the pup for either another pup or your money back.  Any puppy you purchase should be evaluated by your own veterinarian for the above medical problems as well as overall health.  This doesn't mean you don't trust the breeder, you just don't want to become attached to a dog with seriously debilitating medical problems.  Many breeders will even include a clause in their contracts which states that if for any reason you are unhappy with your purchase at any time, you can return the dog to them.  These breeders are concerned enough to not want their dogs turning up abandoned at shelters.  The breeders you visit with will also be evaluating you.  You will have to answer their questions regarding your reasons for choosing their breed.  They may even want to visit your home to check its suitability for one of their puppies.  Don't be put off by this part of the process; the breeder is only trying to do what is best for the puppies and they want to make sure you are a good match for their dogs.

If you are acquiring a dog from a pet store, it is particularly important to evaluate the reputability of the facility and where they receive their dogs.  Make sure that the puppy you purchase is healthy and well-adjusted by taking it to see a veterinarian immediately.  Again, read your contract carefully.  If you have your heart set on acquiring a rescue dog or shelter animal, be prepared to do your homework here as well.  Get to know the animal better by taking it away from the shelter or foster home and evaluating its behavior.  Try a test run at your house with your family.  Get as much background information as you can on the dog.  Why was it given up for adoption?  Why was it rescued from a previous owner and put in a foster home?  Always have any new animal from a shelter or rescue situation thoroughly evaluated by your veterinarian before exposing your family or other pets to this newcomer.

Take the Time to Research

A new dog is an investment in time and money.  Do your research before you ever even hold that first little wiggly bundle of fur.  Know what your own limitations and requirements are and stick to them.  By knowing your own heart and mind you will be less likely to be swayed by the biased opinions of others.  The ideas I've presented here are only meant as an outline.  There are many questions you should prepare ahead of time before you meet with your first breeders or visit a shelter.  You must also be prepared for the questions that will be asked of you.

I realize that many people don't have the time or resources to do the kind of research needed to acquire a new dog.  You may feel that you aren't familiar with enough breeds to determine which ones would be best for you.  There is help available out there.  Contact your veterinarian for advice or a behaviorist who specializes in breed counseling.  They will be more than happy to help you find that perfect canine companion.  By taking the time to honestly evaluate your situation, the breeds you are most interested in owning, and those which best suit your circumstances, you can dramatically increase the chances of the process going smoothly for your family.

-- Julie Bond, Certified Animal Behaviorist, Pet Education & Training Services


About the Author: Julie Bond has extensive experience and knowledge in all aspects of animal behavior and care. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Biological Psychology and a Master's Degree in Animal Behavior from the University of California at Davis. She is a member of the National Association of Animal Behaviorists (NAAB), the National Honor Society in Psychology, and the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT). She is the staff behaviorist for Furry Friends Pet Assisted Therapy Services, serving the San Francisco Bay Area.




Couple Walking Dog

Exercising With Your Pet

If you've been considering an invisible fence for your dog, you already know the importance of giving your pup enough room to get exercise by fetching a ball, playing with a frisbee or romping with your family in the backyard.

See what our guest pet expert has to say about how beneficial this exercise is for your pet.

If you've been considering an invisible fence for your dog, you already know the importance of giving your pup enough room to get exercise by fetching a ball, playing with a frisbee or romping with your family in the backyard. Today, our guest pet expert talks about how beneficial this exercise is for your pet.

Running With The Wolves

The domesticated dog comes from the pure version of the wolf who is use to running its prey down, sometimes taking many hours. This is totally unlike our purebred or mixed breed family pet who usually just sits and waits for their food and water to be served to them twice a day.
A lack of exercise for both pet and human is not healthy. So, take advantage of your threefold trifecta sitting right there with your always eager dog – who, by the way, I suspect will never say no to a walk. Carve out an hour a day for just the two of you. You’re both not only getting that sorely needed exercise for those muscles, but you will be spending quality time together and calming your mind and spirit.  The both of you will lose those extra pounds, giving you both stronger and healthier hearts and bodies all around.
-- Rebecca Ann Normandin, Author
About the Author:  Rebecca is the Author of Breaking The Chains of Spiritual Bondage Between Man and God’s Creatures. This is a message that the Holy Spirit laid onto my heart almost five decades ago, which is now a book.







Puppy at Work

Taking Your Pets to Work

Every now and again we'll get requests from business owners who want us to install underground electric fences at their workplace. The fences are invisible and don't interfere with workflow - but they keep the business owner's and employees' pets safe when they bring them to work.

Learn the benefits of having your pets come to work with you.

Usually, we're installing invisible fences around homes in Southeast, Michigan. But, every now and again we'll get requests from business owners who want us to install underground electric fences at their workplace. The fences are invisible and don't interfere with workflow - but they keep the business owner's and employees' pets safe when they bring them to work.

Today, our guest blogger talks about benefits of having your pets come to work with you.

Pets in the Workplace?
This reminds me of a show that I was watching about a little beach town in California. What made this town so unique was that all the shop owners brought their pets to work with them. Some had cats, some had dogs, and some had birds.  It wasn’t for any special occasion either. It was the standard for almost every shop or business owner in this town to bring their pets to work with them everyday. And guess who was the star attraction at every business with a pet! Yep you guessed it… the furry friends. Business owners all reported that return business and sales went up when they each started bringing their pets to work with them each day.

They said that having their pets with them at work brought their stress levels down considerably, giving them more peace.  When their pet is with them they aren’t worrying and wondering “hey…what’s my pet doing at home all alone and is he o.k”?  They all saw an added perk to having their pets with them at their place of business. Customers actually went out of their way just to come by and visit with their pets and inevitably they more than likely would buy something also while they were there.

It’s not surprising at all that the scientific research done on the subject of pets at our workplace does concur with what this little town by the sea already knows… When you bring your dog or pet to work with you, you are guaranteed to have a tail-waggin’ happy day!!!

-- Rebecca Ann Normandin, Author, WestBowPress.com


About the Author: Rebecca Ann Normandin is the Author of “Breaking the Chains” of Spiritual Bondage Between Man and God’s Creatures.








Sad Dog

Helping Your Dog Deal with Separation Anxiety

When we're installing electric fences for our clients in Southeast Michigan, we hear a lot of stories about dogs misbehaving when their owners are away. So, today our guest expert and Veterinarian gives you some tips to help your dog deal with your busy schedule of coming and going. 

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Does My Dog Have Separation Anxiety?

Classically defined, dogs with separation anxiety exhibit distress and behavior problems when they’re left alone. The most common behaviors are:

1. Digging and scratching at doors or windows in an attempt to reunite with their owners.
2. Destructive chewing.
3. Howling, barking and whining.
4. Urination and defecation even if house trained.

If most or all of the following statements are true about your dog, he may have a separation anxiety problem.

1. The behavior occurs primarily when he’s left alone and typically begins soon after you leave.
2. He follows you from room to room whenever you’re home.
3. He displays effusive, frantic greeting behavior.
4. The behavior occurs whether he’s left alone for short or long periods.
5. He reacts with excitement, depression or anxiety to your preparation to leave the house.

It is not fully understood why some dogs suffer from separation anxiety and others don’t. But it’s important to realize that destruction and house soiling that often occurs with separation anxiety is part of a panic response. Your dog is NOT trying to punish you for leaving him alone.

What Triggers Anxiety in Your Dog?

The following are some common scenarios that can trigger separation anxiety:

1. A dog accustomed to constant human companionship is left alone for the first time.
2. A dog suffers a traumatic event (from his viewpoint) such as time at a shelter or boarding kennel.
3. There’s a change in the families’ routine or structure or the loss of a family member or other pet.

The first step in tackling behavior issues is to rule out any underlying medical problem that might be causing the pet's behavior. For example, if your pet is urinating in the house, he might be suffering from a urinary tract infection, bladder stones, diabetes, or kidney disease, all of which can cause urinary incontinence in dogs. Autoimmune thyroiditis occurs in young dogs and changes behavior. So see your veterinarian first.

Treating Minor Anxiety in Your Dog

How to treat minor separation anxiety:

1. Don’t make a big deal out of arrivals and departures. For example, when you arrive home, ignore your dog for the first few minutes, then calmly pet him.
2. When preparing for departure. Many dogs know when you’re about to leave the house and will get anxious or prevent your departure altogether. One way to tackle ‘pre-departure anxiety’ is to teach your dog that when you pick up your keys or put on your coat, it doesn’t always mean you’re leaving. For example, put on your boots and coat and then sit down and watch TV instead of leaving.
3. Leave your dog with an article of clothing that smells like you, such as an old T-shirt that you’ve slept in recently. Or leave a food dispensing toy, such as a Kong when you leave. This rewards the dog for you leaving and keeps him occupied.
4. Establish a safety cue, a word or action that you use every time you leave that tells your dog you’ll be back.
5. Consider using an over the counter calming product that may reduce fearfulness in the dog, such as Pro quiet, or Bach flowers.

More severe problems may require a professional dog trainer. And/or the use of behavioral anti-anxiety medications such as Elavil or Buspar. (again, see your veterinarian)

What won’t work is punishment. This is not effective and can make the situation worse. Nor will getting your dog a companion dog. The anxiety results from his separation from YOU, not just the result of being alone.

Nor will crating. Your dog will still engage in anxiety responses inside a crate and may urinate, defecate, or even injure himself in an attempt to escape. Since separation anxiety is not the result of disobedience or lack of training, therefore obedience training will not help.

Separation anxiety is much more common now than ever before. Perhaps this is the result of humans trying the make the family pet a member of the family. Remember, dogs are pack animals. Discipline is part of their society. It will take time for your dog to unlearn his panic response, but it can be done with combinations of the above. 

Dr. Mark Newkirk, Newkirk Family Veterinarians


About the Author: Dr. Mark Newkirk is CEO, owner, and operator of Newkirk Family Veterinarians. Serving pets for 3 decades!




Hydro Therapy

Hydro-Therapy for Your Dog

Hydro-therapy or water therapy is a well accepted form of rehabilitation in human medicine using an underwater treadmill.

See what today's guest pet expert has to say about using these same treatments for our pets.

If your dog is facing possible surgery, see what today's pet expert has to say about the advanced rehabilitation methods available these days using an underwater treadmill!

Patients who are suffering from post-surgical pain, injury rehabilitation, neurologic or muscle or arthritic diseases, all benefit from water rehabilitation therapy. It is even used in weight-loss programs.

Animals, of course, suffer all of the same maladies, so it makes sense that they too should benefit from the use of hydrotherapy.

Hydro-therapy can take the forms of warm water soaks, whirlpools, swimming pools, and underwater treadmills. One of the most important pieces of equipment in hydrotherapy rehabilitation is the underwater treadmill because of its multi-purpose functionality. After surgery or injury or with neurologic or arthritic problems, the patient often has to deal with the lack of balance and/or strength. Rehabbing joints, muscles, ligaments etc, for many of the above requires walking and balancing exercises. The use of water allows the patients to balance easier, because of the buoyancy.

As the water depth in the treadmill is raised, the water takes more and more of the patients' weight and provides the patient with balance as he learns to walk and take small amounts of weight on his limbs again. As the sessions continue and the animal improves, we decrease the level of the water used, thus allowing the patient to bear more and more weight on the limb and get back to 100% weight bearing and balance gradually as he recovers.

It is well documented in human medicine that immobilization of the limb resulting from surgery, injury, neurologic or arthritic problems, results in atrophy of the muscle and loss of strength, especially in those muscle groups necessary to maintain an upright posture during weight bearing. (largely the extensor muscles). In dogs, progressive atrophy of the quadriceps and hamstrings, (hind leg muscles), has been reported to continue for at least five weeks in dogs undergoing unilateral cruciate ligament surgery. (one of the most common knee surgeries done in dogs). Passive range of motion exercises will not prevent muscle atrophy, nor will it increase strength or endurance in muscles. Moreover, muscle atrophy is better attenuated by high-intensity resistance activity than by simple weight support. By putting a patient in water, and making them move, the resistance to muscle activity is of higher intensity. However, weight-bearing is greatly reduced, thus minimizing damage to the repairing limb or joint. You have all experienced trying to walk in a swimming pool. The resistance to you walking is much greater than if you were walking on dry land, and the buoyancy of the water takes the weight off your joints.

Dr. Mark Newkirk, Newkirk Family Veterinarians


About the Author: Dr. Mark Newkirk is CEO, owner, and operator of Newkirk Family Veterinarians. Serving pets for 3 decades!

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/umsystem/4681515287/sizes/z/in/photostream/







Puppy Eating Shoe

Train Your Dog to Behave When You're Not Home

You're thinking about pet-proofing your yard with an underground fence. Pet proofing your home starts when your pet is very young.  

Here are a few tips to get you started training your dog for time spent home alone.

While we're installing underground fences, our customers ask us about leaving their dogs outside when they are away. We always recommend that you keep a watchful eye on your pets when they are outside whether you have a chain link fence, privacy fence or an invisible fence.

But, we completely understand the concern behind the questions. If you leave your dog inside when you leave - you could come home to a half-eaten shoe, cupboard or couch! So, we asked our pet expert guest bloggers for tips to keep dogs indoors and well-behaved. Here's a great set of tips:

How to Prevent Mischief When Your Dog is Unattended

Pet proofing your home preferably starts when your pet is very young.  Here are a few tips to get you started training your dog for time spent home alone.

Begin by leaving your home for 5-minute increments,  then 15-minutes, then 30-minutes.  Work up as they get older to be able to be left home alone for longer periods - no more than 3-hours for an adult dog.  

Why no more than 3-hours?  Dogs, by nature, are pack animals, which is why they fit in so well with our families. They do not like being left alone for long periods of time and also need to urinate frequently. By leaving your puppy for a little at a time, you are programming them. This tells them that you will always come back.  It is training by repetition, which is my favorite way to teach animals.

With plenty of chew toys available, you will have a programmed pooch that will be sleeping peaceably, knowing that someone will be coming back home like clockwork at the appointed time every day! Many dogs get fearful and anxious when they don't know what's going to happen next. This is when they usually rip up the house.

I trained all my Great Danes this way and it worked like a charm!

Rebecca Ann Normandin, Author, Breaking The Chains of Spiritual Bondage between Man And God's Creatures


About the Author:  Rebecca Ann Normandin wrote the non-fiction Christian/Spiritual book "Breaking The Chains Of Spiritual Bondage Between Man and God's Creatures". Out on WestBowPress.com





German Shepard

Researching Tips for Pure Breeds

Do you really know your "favorite" breed? Today's guest blogger shares some great tips to help you research breeds before deciding on the right breed for your family and your living situation - including whether or not the breed you have in mind is going to be compatible with an invisible fence!

Learn More

Researching Tips

I belong to several German Shepherd communities on Facebook. (Since they are a favorite breed of mine!) One or two of the groups are always posting questions from members. I’ve noticed several commonalities:

1) MANY questions are about young dogs;
2) MANY questions are about behaviors or caring for the breed.

As I’ve watched over the past few weeks, it would seem to me that very few people have a clue about what they’ve brought home. I’ll bet some people know more about the gas mileage on their car than they do about what behaviors they might expect from a given breed of dog.

As a dog obedience trainer, my phone never rings with someone calling me to tell me their dog is well-behaved. My phone rings when dog behavior gets bad enough, that pain level high enough, that people finally realize they need help with their dog’s behavior. Sometimes it’s funny…

“I have a Terrier that likes to dig….”

“My Border Collie chases the kids in the yard and tries to keep them in a group…”

“When my Beagle starts sniffing, he won’t listen…”

and so on.


You have a Terrier that digs? A Collie that herds? A Beagle that locks out while scenting? I think some people would be shocked that their Retriever likes to fetch. So, first an apology for the sarcasm at this post, but please, please, please, take some time…
Time to research…

If you are on Facebook, or any other forum or social media sites, join some general dog communities, but especially, join communities about the breed(s) you are considering. Yes, every dog will have an individual personality; my current German Shepherd (GSD), Axle will chase a stick as long as your arm holds out. The one before (Lexi) couldn’t be bothered. But, overall, you’ll learn a lot about certain health challenges of certain breeds, how they need to be cared for, how you need to groom the dog, and if there are benefits to a given breed (low/no shedding; low maintenance; Hypo-allergenic/etc).

You may also learn that having a Golden or a Weimaraner are not good apartment dogs, or why if you live in the country, leaving a Lhasa Apso outside may give some hawk digestive ideas that wouldn’t be an issue with a Newfoundland or Burmese Mountain Dog.

When you realize your busy schedule is going to be interrupted by a dog that WANTS to work and be exercised every day (My GSD harasses me at my computer around 9 am every morning until we go play fetch for even just 15 minutes. He HAS to burn off that energy, trust me!!) and you live in a 1BR apartment in mid-town Manhattan, you may want to reconsider your choices.

Researching Tools

Do a basic internet search on the breed. Look up Dogs 101 to see if they did a feature on the breed you have interest in. That show is a wonderful resource. Ask someone that owns that breed. Do you know a local veterinarian? Ask your friends for a referral. Call the vet and ask. You may not be able to talk to the vet, but the staff works with various breeds all the time and may help guide you. Look for local clubs/groups that support that breed and ask LOTs of questions! Pet stores have dedicated books and magazines about breeds too. Amazon may help there too.

There really should be few surprises when you bring a dog home.

Grant Holmes, Owner, Master Trainer, Perfectly Pawsible Dog Obedience

About the Author: Owner Grant Holmes is a natural dog trainer and uses a natural approach to dog obedience as possible. With many happy clients, Grant is in demand to help with various dog issues. But like he says, “The obedience is for the dogs, the Training is for the humans!”





White and Black Fluffy Puppy

Thinking About Getting a Dog?

There's more to consider than an electric fence! Today, our guest blogger and organizational expert tells us about her experience getting a dog and her tips for keeping everything organized and planned to make both the dog and your family at ease!

Learn More

We see a lot of families adjusting to new dogs when we're in their backyards installing electric fences - and we thought that these would be great tips to share with anyone thinking about getting a dog.

You Got a Puppy?

Yes…I got a dog.

I swore I would never get a dog because we all know what happens when your children/ husband/significant other promises to walk and feed the dog. I didn’t have time to take care of a dog. I also don’t do anything unless it’s well planned and researched.

My life is predictable.

And then we got Charly.

It was the day after Hurricane Sandy struck, and my family was lucky enough to be unaffected. In fact, we were all getting a little stir crazy. So, my husband decided to take our children for a walk to the bookstore. When the bookstore was closed, they ended up at a local pet store, and that’s when the unexpected happened.

My husband called to see if I wanted to meet at the pet store. I don’t know why I said yes since I clearly wasn’t getting a dog. Yet, thirty minutes later, I was at the pet store. My husband pointed out one dog whose eyes followed him wherever he went. She was a small white, fluffy Havanese. When we held her, we could tell she was skittish. At 5 months old, she had missed important socialization milestones by being in a pet store cage for so long. But, sometimes, the dog chooses you, and this dog had chosen my husband. He couldn’t turn away from her. And then, they both looked at me. I said, “Do what you want, but remember this is ‘your’ dog.”

He was so surprised that I didn’t say no, that things started happening at warp speed. She was named (Charly), and all the things Charly would “need” were heaped on the counter: safety gates, a dog bed, a dog carrier, grooming supplies, food, bones, and toys. Meanwhile, I was getting heart palpitations as I wondered where I would store everything. It felt surreal when we got back to our house with a puppy in tow. It was decided that she would be gated in the kitchen, so that was where I would store her gear. I designated one place for Charly’s leash, collar, wipes, and small toys and another place for Charly’s food and snacks. We placed her crate in the kitchen along with her “wee wee pads”. And then, we began to get to know each other.

Now, two months later, we are all madly in love with Charly. My husband comes home from work to have lunch with her. My children can’t wait to walk in the door after a long day to see how excited she is to see them. And, I spend hours a day grooming and talking to her (strangely therapeutic). She sits under my desk at night and naps while I work, and I can’t imagine life without her. So, if you’re thinking about getting a dog, I couldn’t recommend it more. But learn from my experience and consider these helpful tips before bringing any pet home.

Determine which parts of your home the pet will be able to access. Will you need a gate or gates to confine the pet to certain areas? Where will the pet sleep? Will s/he need a bed or a crate? Where will the bed or crate be placed?
Where will you store pet supplies? For a dog, you’ll need a leash and waste bags which should be kept near the door. You’ll also need grooming supplies, and toys. Store these where you’ll use them.
Pet proof your home. Get on your hands and knees and look for things that could be dangerous if your pet chewed or swallowed them (e.g., computer wires or cords, electronic items). You may need to install child safety locks on low cabinets to make sure your pet can’t get to what’s inside. Also, take note of any window treatments with long cords or tassels that could become strangulation hazards.
Corral toys in baskets or bins in various rooms of your house. Then, you can quickly put them away (or train your pet to put them away) when guests are visiting.
Determine where you’ll keep your pet’s food and water. Consider purchasing a non-slide mat to keep spills to a minimum.
Create a file for your pet that includes important information such as vaccinations, health record, microchip information, license, and pedigree.
• Just like babies, pets thrive on routine. Figure out when it makes sense to feed and exercise the pet and who will be responsible. Negotiate all of this before bringing the pet home.
• Add all important vaccinations and medication schedules to your master calendar.
Have a plan in place for when you’ll be out of town. Is there someone who can come to your home to care for your pet? Will s/he need to be boarded? Where will that be?

A pet can make your life so much richer, so enjoy every minute!

Barbara Reich, Organizational Expert & Author, Resourceful Consultants


About the Author: Barbara Reich is a professional organizer based in New York, NY. Her tough love approach turns organization and clutter from chore to lifestyle. Her book, "Secrets of an Organized Mom," will be on shelves in February To find more tips from Barbara, please visit www.facebook.com/ResourcefulConsultants or www.secretsofanorganizedmom.com or on Twitter @BarbaraReich 





Child with Puppy

The Bond Between Dogs and Children

When we're installing underground pet fences for our clients in Southeast Michigan, we hear how hard families work to find the right breed to ensure that their children and their new dog are a good match.

See what our guest blogger suggests for getting your children and your new dog ready for a successful, lifelong relationship.

When we're installing invisible fences for our clients in Southeast Michigan, we hear how hard families work to find the right breed to ensure that their children and their new dog are a good match. Today, our guest blogger shares her personal and professional experiences viewing and helping mold the bond between dogs and children. See what she suggests for getting your children and your new dog ready for a successful, lifelong relationship.

Different Breeds and Different Reactions

As a parent and a dog owner, I’ve found nothing more enjoyable than watching my children play with our two dogs. 

They’ve discovered that the Collie likes to dress up in costumes, doesn’t mind having his hair fixed, and can wear a crown without it falling off.  This dog likes to be hugged and will fetch until your arm gets sore.

Our Labrador, on the other hand, doesn’t retrieve, doesn’t like to be hugged, and hates dress up.  She will, however, sit with you forever if you are sad, listen to your jokes and stories, finish off the crusts on your sandwiches, and lick your face clean.  Although I trust my dogs implicitly, I never leave my children alone with the dogs.  A lesson that is often hard to teach other dog owning parents.  I know many parents rely on the family dog to be not only a protector for their property but a built-in playmate for their kids.  So, how does one go about finding a dog that can be both guardian and friend to a child?

Choosing the Right Breed for Your Family

I am often asked to help families choose the “right breed”—the one that will fulfill these two important functions.  While there are some breeds that we tend to associate with kids (such as Golden Retrievers and Labradors), almost any breed of dog will have representatives that make good family pets and good watchdogs.  Thus, the breed of the dog isn’t the most critical factor here, but the way in which the individual dog was raised.  The best place to start is with a puppy born to two, well-adjusted parents with even temperaments.  This puppy and his littermates will have the best genetic potential.  Then, this puppy must be raised among his siblings until weaning so he can develop the appropriate dog-dog relationships and learn to inhibit his bites.  It is also important for young puppies to be exposed to people and well-behaved children.  Puppies must become socialized to children early if they are to develop the strongest and most predictable bonds with them as adult dogs.  All of this socialization should occur before 10 weeks of age!  At 10 weeks, a critical period in dog development, a puppy is primed to develop a lasting bond with one particular family.  This is why it is important for families who wish to adopt puppies to adopt them at this age.

Unfortunately, many people believe that by taking such care to socialize a puppy early to lots of people (including children) will result in a dog that lacks protective abilities.  This is simply not the case.  All dogs, regardless of breed, will act as sentinels for their families.  This is a natural, investigative dog behavior; a Chihuahua or Maltese is just as effective as a Rottweiler or German Shepherd at alerting its family to intruders.  The point here is that socializing your puppy and encouraging him to be friendly with strangers will result in a more well-rounded companion—one who can defend AND nurture a relationship with your family.

Socializing Dogs and Children

While I have put a lot of emphases here on the socialization of the puppy, it is also very important to socialize your children to dogs.  Dogs are at a child’s eye level and generally treat children as subordinates.  Children unfamiliar with dogs will often screech at them or run, causing the dog to chase them.  This is actually how many children come to be bitten by dogs and ultimately fear them.  Thus, it is critical for parents to monitor all interactions their children have with dogs, familiar or unfamiliar.  No dog, regardless of its training or past behavior, should be left alone with a child.  Although most parents make a conscientious effort to teach their children not to tease, pester, or abuse a dog until it becomes angry, you cannot count on your children to always follow these instructions.  And while your children may play properly with their dog, what about their friends?  Many children do not realize they can hurt a dog by pulling its tail or ears, hitting it on the nose, sitting on its back, or stepping on its paws.  This is why it is critical for any dog that will come in contact with children during its lifetime to be socialized early to the way kids behave.  A young dog can be taught to tolerate a certain amount of rough handling by children, just as the children are being taught to respect the dog’s needs as well.  Thus, if children are in your future, now is the time to socialize your dog with kids.  Don’t wait until you bring the new baby home to introduce your dog to the smells, sounds, and antics of children.

Teach your children and their friends to respect all animals and treat them as they themselves would like to be treated.  And when choosing a puppy for your family, look at the puppy’s parents and ask if the litter was socialized to children as well as adults.  Making an informed choice is important here as you are picking a new member of your family.  Choose wisely, and your children will have a loyal and loving canine companion.

-- Julie C. Bond, M.S., Certified Animal Behaviorist, Pet Education & Training Services


Julie Bond has a Bachelor's Degree in Animal Psychology and a Master's Degree in Animal Behavior from U.C. Davis.  She has been providing pet owners and veterinarians with expert, qualified, professional assistance for all of their tough behavior problems since 1991.




Dog House in Wall

How to Make Your Dog Bed Invisible

You've been spoiled with the ability to hide your pet's safety outside with an electric fence, but inside your house is a different story.

Come see what an interior designer suggests for making your indoor dog bed disappear just like an invisible fence...

Okay, maybe we're a little spoiled. Having an invisible fence outside for the dog allows us to keep our pets safe without fencing blocking or changing our view. But, inside, we're often forced to make room for big ugly kennels or messy-looking beds.

So, we asked an interior designer, Patricia Davis Brown of DigThisDesign.net how to deal with the dog's space indoors. She shared these great ideas to help you make a dog bed disappear into the room.

How to Make a Dog Bed Invisible

When you’re a parent of a fur kid, you want to make your pets feel comfortable – but also hide the less attractive items like dog kennels, crates, and toys.
So, we found some great examples showing you how to make a dog bed blend right into your kitchen, living room or bedroom:

Storage and a Bed All in One
For those of you with a mudroom, foyer or some extra space in your kitchen, this wall unit is a great idea. Your pup can relax in a comfy bed on the bottom, and you can store all of his stuff – and anything else you need up top.

Storage and Bed

Custom Cabinetry for Dog Beds
If you weren’t looking for it, you might miss this dog bed hidden right in the custom cabinetry of this kitchen:

Kitchen Bed

Here is another example of using custom cabinetry to house your dog bed… or this case, both of your dog beds:

Custom Cabinets

A Room of His Own
This was one of my favorites… using the space under the stairs or between closets, your dog can have his own room. I love that they went the extra mile to trim out the door and add the roof-shaped peak at the top.

Under the Stairs Room

-- Patricia Davis Brown, National Award Winning Interior Designer


About the author: Patricia Davis Brown is a National Award Winning Interior Designer. She often incorporates pets into her kitchen designs and creates custom cabinetry built to fit exact needs, including making room for dogs, for clients across the country through her online store, PDBHomestore.com.






Woman Walking Dog in Snow

Reach Your New Year's Resolutions With a Dog

Not only is a dog a great family pet, but keeping up with your pup can help you lose weight and reach your fitness goals.

See how much weight you can lose each month with Fido's help...

Looking for something to help you stick to your New Year's resolution to lose weight and become more fit? Get a dog.

That's right - don't get a scale, a treadmill or the latest diet book. Get a dog.

Not only is a dog a great companion and a source of comfort, security and learning experiences for a family - a dog will help you get up and get moving. You'll be...

• Walking the dog
• Walking around your backyard to clean up after the dog
• Bending and squatting to feed and pet the dog
• Lifting bags of dog food
• Making trips to and from your yard to let the dog in and out

Just think about all of the extra steps and movements you'll be acting out each day that you're not doing now. I think this is especially true in the winter when we tend to spend less time outside. Keeping up with your dog will have you out of your snuggie, off the couch and out burning calories and firing up your metabolism by.

Now... a dog is a big commitment! Weight loss shouldn't be the only reason you decide to get a dog - but it can certainly be a big benefit. Before making your decision, be sure to consider other factors including your budget, your available time, how everyone in your family feels about a dog, and your ability to keep the dog safe with a fence or an invisible fence.

How Much Weight Can I Lose Walking My Dog?

When you're ready, grab a good leash and comfortable pair of shoes and start walking! You and your new pup will become the best of friends as you burn an average of 200 calories (more if you walk faster, take a hilly route and/or pump your arms!) for every half-hour walk. With no other changes to your diet and activity levels, this extra 200 calories per day will lead to 1.5 - 2 pounds of weight loss each month.

-- Rachel Honoway, Fitness Blogger, PrettyHardWork.com





Happy Gray Cat

How to Find the Perfect Pet Sitter

If you've ever left your animals for a few days or weeks at a time, you know that finding the perfect pet sitter can offer you peace of mind and comfort knowing your pets are well taken care of. But, hire the wrong person and...

Learn how to choose the right pet sitter...

Contrary to popular belief, our containment systems aren't just for dogs. We can install an invisible fence for cats as well. If you're a caring cat owner who has considered installing an invisible fence, we thought you might also like this great story about a woman with 5 cats learning how to find the perfect pet sitter...

A Lesson Learned in Finding the Perfect Pet Sitter

When I decided to take a six-day trip to London, I knew I’d need a sitter for my five cats. I wasn’t willing to board them for the simple reason that if I were a cat, I would be deeply unhappy being stuck in a kennel for a week straight. So I flipped through the Yellow Pages, plucked a name from the listings and set up an appointment to meet her. The woman came to my house, took some notes and a look around, and that was that. Because the woman was a member of a pet-sitting association, I set off on my trip feeling comfortable with the idea that I’d left my feline friends in good hands.

When I returned from my trip, I noticed something strange: Buddy – half-feral, “Don’t touch me!” Buddy – kept following me around the house, as though he was afraid to let me out of his sight. Buddy had never done that before. Indeed, the other cats seemed a bit off, too, but there was nothing concrete that I could put my finger on. Nothing seemed out of place, and as time went on and a few days passed, all five returned to normal. I put the issue out of my mind.

A year or so later, as I planned another trip to London, I thought back on how the cats had behaved on my return from the last trip and decided to try a different pet sitter. Flipping again through the Yellow Pages, I found an ad for a cats-only sitter. That intrigued me enough to dial her number and the fact that the outgoing message listed a number of dates that were already unavailable suggested that the woman was in great demand. I left a voicemail for her.

When Diane came to my house, I felt like I was the one being interviewed, not the other way around. Clearly, Diane wanted to know whether I took good care of my cats: she asked a lot of questions and took a lot of notes. Apparently, I passed muster because she agreed to watch my gang. When I mentioned my suspicions about the previous pet sitter, the conversation turned interesting.

Trying very hard to be diplomatic, Diane – who belonged to the same pet-sitting association as the last sitter – repeated what she had once heard that sitter say, which was that she liked taking care of cats because she didn’t have to do anything other than give them food and water. Think about that for a minute: would you want your pets to go a week without any human interaction? Without any attention? I certainly wouldn’t! Which was why I was very glad indeed to hear that Diane’s plan for half-feral Buddy was to bring a book along (she allotted an hour for each visit) and quietly read it in whatever room Buddy happened to be in. In other words, Diane would be present without being obtrusive, and I liked that very much.

I came home from my trip to find several pages of notes detailing each visit. Buddy needed a once-daily pill, and he liked to hide under my bedspread when strangers came to call. When Diane uncovered him each day, he allowed her to pop the pill in his mouth. She would then cover him back up and tell him what a good boy he was. I was amazed that he had been so cooperative with her.

Buddy wasn’t the only one who amazed me. When I went looking for the other cats, I found the three girls lounging around in the living room, all wearing an, “Oh, have you been gone?” look on their faces. The only one who looked traumatized was Spanky, but he always looks that way. I was so impressed by the difference between the do-nothing sitter and Diane that I put her name in my address book in large letters with an asterisk to boot! During subsequent trips, Diane was my go-to sitter, and if she wasn’t available, I changed my plans. She’s that good!

In choosing a pet sitter of your own, consider drawing up a list of questions for them that take your priorities into account.

• How long will their visits last?
• Do they have experience giving medication?
• Will they spend time playing and interacting with your pets?
• And, perhaps most importantly, do they have pets of their own?

In Diane’s case, she and her husband owned something like twenty cats, and they’d built an indoor-outdoor cattery for them. That was my kind of cat lady! Anyone who owned that many had to love cats, and that’s exactly the kind of pet sitter you want: one who loves animals as much as you do.

Kelly Meister, Critter Lady

About the Author: Kelly Meister is a writer, animal photographer, and potter. She shares her life with four cats, eleven ducks, and a barn full of ornery horses. Based on her years of experience rescuing animals in need, Kelly also acts as an advocate for their care and humane treatment. When she’s not taking riding lessons or volunteering at a horse rescue facility, Kelly waits on her cats hand and foot. Check out her blog, Kelly’s Critter Talk, at www.kellyscrittertalk.blogspot.com. Her first book, Crazy Critter Lady, is available at amazon.com.






Dog in Snow

Loving Your (Over) Active Pet

Is your dog acting out when you let him in the house after being outside in the yard?

Learn what may be contributing to your pet's behavior and what you can do to calm him down...

Understanding your pet is often times the key to understanding your pet's behaviors.  If your pet seems to be a bit over-active, especially this time of year, consider the following reasons when choosing how you interact with them on a daily basis.

Why Is My Pet So Active?

There are four major reasons why you have an overactive pet.

1.) If your pet is on any type of medications that can attribute to their restlessness.

2.) Different types of animals require more and others require less types of activities.

3.) Some breeds of dogs desire a more active lifestyle while others are just fine being carried around in your arms like an accessory all day long.

4.) And some pets, such as dogs, will run around and around as soon as they are let back into the house. When your dog does this they are using their body language to say to you. "Please, I will be good don't leave me outside by myself again".

Dog's are not Leopards, which are solitary creatures. Dogs are pack animals.  In the wild, they will usually live their whole life in the same family unit until they die.

So, if you have a pet don't leave them separated from you...because to them, you are their family unit. And the signal that you are sending them when you do that is that they have done something wrong and so you are punishing them by leaving them alone.

Rebecca Ann Normandin, Author, Breaking The Chains of Spiritual Bondage Between Man and God's Creatures


About the Author: Rebecca's passion is to spread a message that she received from The Lord when she was very young on the correct way we humans should care for the animals that we each own.


 Photo Credit:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/laserstars/3086132328/sizes/z/in/photostream/




Older Lady with Dog

Choosing the Right Pet for Your Age and Lifestyle

Your age and your lifestyle matter when choosing your next dog. Between training and exercise, there are several things to consider to make the right choice.

See what questions you should ask yourself and your veterinarian before deciding on a pet...

One of the biggest problems that Veterinarians see is the older human (thinking they are still as young as the last time they had a puppy), either picking the same breed (because they were so wonderful), and/or picking the dog they "always wanted as a kid", and thus pick the completely wrong dog breed to match who they are NOW.

We always advise, consult your veterinarian BEFORE you buy or rescue the next pet.  

For example, you are not as young as you were the last time you had a pup!  Thus the exercise, the feeding, the housetraining, the general training, etc is not as easy as it was when you were young. Patience, stamina, time, all figures into making the new pup a "reincarnation" of your previous pet. 

You may now live an over 50 community.  Large dogs may not be allowed. You may have physical or medical issues that preclude you from exercising, training, or even walking a large dog at your age.

-- Dr. Mark Newkirk, Newkirk Family Veterinarians

About the Author: Dr. Mark Newkirk is CEO, owner, and operator of Newkirk Family Veterinarians.  Serving pets for 3 decades!







Woman with Dog

4 Pet Sitting Precautions

When finding someone to take care of our pets, we want to be sure they are treating our furry friends with the same amount of love and respect they receive from us when we're home.

Learn what precautions to take while choosing a pet sitter for your furry family members.

Bad people happen to good animals.  Most of us consider our pet a part of our family.

When finding someone to take care of our pets, we want to be sure they are treating our furry friends with the same amount of love and respect they receive from us when we're home. Learn what precautions to take while choosing a pet sitter for your furry family members.

1.  If you know your pet sitter personally, first please look at how they take care of their own pets.  They will likely treat your pet the same way.

2.  Never ask someone to pet sit for free because you run the risk they will not take it seriously.

3.  Write out a list in the order and the times that you want them done and explain to them where everything they will need is located.  Tape it to your kitchen cabinet door for easy access.  It's one thing to sit and discuss how you would like for them to care for your baby and an all together thing to have it all written out so they will not forget.

4.  Leaving your pet in its own home is less stressful for them all around.  If you choose a person you do not know well to watch your pets, install a baby cam!  They are reasonably priced and well worth your peace of mind.

Rebecca Ann Normandin, Author of "Breaking the Chains of Spiritual Bondage Between Man and God's Creatures"


About the Author: Rebecca had a thirty year Manicuring career as a Nail Tech. In California. The Lord called Rebecca into the ministry in 1997 to go to Rhema Bible Training Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She arrived in 2004, received her Associate Degree in Business in October of 2011. Started attending Rhema Bible Training Center in Tulsa OK., finished writing a Christian book “BREAKING THE CHAINS OF SPIRITUAL BONDAGE BETWEEN MAN AND GOD’S CREATURES” which was published in 2012. 




Brown Dog

Will Your Dog Stay Inside or Outside?

When we're installing electric fences for our customers, we are often asked about whether a dog should be kept mostly outside or mostly inside. Here are some considerations to help you make your decision.

Learn more...

As today's guest author shares with us - it really depends on the dog. Here are the things he suggests you consider when deciding whether your dog should stay inside or outside:

Dogs: Outside or Inside?

Choosing whether your dog is more of an inside or outside dog can have a strong effect on their personality. This can, of course, vary from breed to breed, and even dog to dog, depending on other experiences and even genetics, but here are a few things to take into account when deciding whether you want your dog to spend most of their time outside or most of their time inside.

Consider the Dog's Size
The first thing to consider is the size of the dog. If it's a small dog, it's not suited for outdoor living. They don't have the mass to keep themselves warm if needed, and even in a warm climate and a doghouse, it can be risky. More importantly though is the problem of wild animals. Even something like a raccoon can be dangerous to a small dog. Large dogs are much heartier for outdoor living, and some even tend to prefer it.

Consider How Social the Dog Is
Another thing to consider is how social the dog is. An outside dog doesn't tend to get as much attention as an inside dog. Nicer weather can change this, and a large family with kids that like to play outside with the dog will help. But if the dog is already not getting a lot of attention, and/or the owner has a busy schedule that focuses on being inside a lot, keeping the dog outside can increase the chances of depression for it. Without a lot of human contact, it can also lack the proper skills and understanding of how to behave when around people. One example of such a behavior is overexcited ness that can lead to it jumping up for a "hug" with the person. This can be dangerous with little kids, or even adults if the dog is big enough.

Consider Outdoor Conditions
Other things to keep in mind besides the dog's behavior and personality can include: the size of a yard, how much area it can move around in if tied up, provided sunny and shady space to keep warm and cool, proper toys to keep the dog amused, the weather and season to make sure the dog isn't at risk of getting sick, and the age of the dog which like the weather can determine how easily the dog can get sick.

Benefits of an Inside Dog
The benefits of an inside dog are numerous. Staying inside can provide a dog with better health, less chance of getting sick from bad weather or any diseases from ticks and other pesky insects. The dog might have a better chance to be social with more people and learn how to behave around company. It can calm a wild dog down by the confined space.

Benefits of an Outside Dog
The benefits of an outside dog can also be wonderful. Staying outside can provide a dog with a much large and less confining living space. The dog can get a lot of exercise and a good dose of fresh air. It also assures the dog won't get into messes or break things in the house and will keep the house cleaner from dog fur.

Both have their benefits and drawbacks. It's really up to the owner to determine just what will be best for their dog. The dog will adjust either way with a loving home and a thoughtful owner.

-- Jake Rose

About the Author: Jake Rose is an artist and an author from Massachusetts. This article has been submitted in affiliation with http://www.PetLovers.Com which is a site for Pets.




Dog with Big Ears

4 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Pet

If you are planning to introduce a puppy to your family, here are 4 questions you should ask yourself to help determine if a pet and what kind of pet is right for you and your family.

Read and answer the 4 questions...

In the wild, puppies will usually live and die in their family dog pack. We humans love dogs because they operate their family dog pack much like we do our human families. If you are planning to introduce a puppy to your family, please think about these serious concerns:

1. Will you be able to keep this puppy for the whole duration of its life, which is between 7-15 year’s?
2. Will you or your other family members work together to care for this puppy…after all for the next 6-8 months it will still be a baby and will need someone there around the clock.
3. Have you considered the total expenses of owning a pet, food, veterinary bills that this puppy will incur when you first bring him home and all the vet bills thereafter for basic up-keep and in case of an emergency?
4. Do you have the training and the knowledge to properly own and care for your puppy at any age in its life?

Dogs are vastly different from cats. What you can do with cats you could never expect to do with a dog. Cats can be left home alone for days and still be fine. Dogs are another story all together…dogs are high maintenance, they want to be with you 24/7. All dog owners need to take this into careful consideration before bringing a puppy or full grown dog home.

Rebecca Ann Normandin, Author: Breaking the Chain’s of Spiritual Bondage Between Man and God’s Creatures

About the Author: At the age of five the Holy Spirit started talking to me about this message about the care of the animal’s of this earth by a man seen through Jehovah God’s eyes.






Puppy in Box

Did Santa Bring a New Puppy for Christmas?

Thousands of children across the country and around the world will wake up on Christmas morning with a present that moves... and barks and wags! As you get to know him, we recommend that you spend some time considering his safety.

Learn more...

Thousands of children across the country and around the world will wake up on Christmas morning with a present that moves... and barks and wags! If you are one of the lucky families who is welcoming a puppy or an adopted dog into your family this Christmas - congratulations!

As you choose where the dog will sleep, what food he'll eat and when you'll take him for walks, we recommend that you spend some time considering how he'll be kept safe in your yard.

As an installer of high-quality underground pet containment units (aka, an invisible fence) we obviously recommend using an underground fence. These units:

• Work in subdivisions that don't allow fences
• Keep dogs that like to climb and jump from getting over a physical fence
• Can be programmed to fit dogs of all sizes and most temperaments
• Will keep your dog safe without obstructing your view

And, with winter coming a little later than usual to those of us in northern states, like Michigan, you don't have to wait until spring to have your underground fencing installed. The ground hasn't frozen yet, so we're able to install your fence now so you can start training your new dog right away. (Trust us, it beats running around in the snow in your slippers and PJs all winter long!)

Again - congrats on your new dog! We'd love to help you make the addition of your new family member a pleasant experience, so please call us today at 866-284-7303 to discuss the containment unit and training that's right for your new baby!




Old Dog

Stem Cell Therapy for Pets

A recent scientific breakthrough is helping pets deal with the pain associated with arthritis as well as injuries to tendons and ligaments.

Learn more about this FDA approved technology from certified veterinarians...

A recent scientific breakthrough is helping pets deal with the pain associated with arthritis as well as injuries to tendons and ligaments. An FDA approved technology now provides veterinarians with a therapy utilizing Stem Cells.

We’ve all heard about the possible use of stem cells in treating various human ailments. Stem cells are the cells that have the “programming" to turn them into other specialized cells in many places in the body. For example, injected into an injured tendon, stem cells will “turn into” new tendon cells and thus initiate repair.

Use of human embryonic stem cells has proved very controversial. The difference in pet stem cell therapy is that we are using the pet's own adult body cells, to collect, separate and grow the stem cells. This is done by collecting a small quantity of fat from the pet. We use fat because it is rich with stem cells. Within 3 to 4 hours of collection, the pet’s own stem cells are separated, grown and collected for injection into the affected joint or bloodstream.

The beauty of this process is that we are dealing with the pet’s pain in a very holistic manner, utilizing the pet’s own body to heal itself! Thus there may be no lifetime drugs to take, and best of all, there are very few, if any, side effects. Stem cell therapy (also known as regenerative therapy), heals the tissue itself, rather than just slowing the “degenerative” process as drugs do.

A veterinarian must be certified in this technique in order to perform the procedure and Dr. Newkirk is. Previous stem cell therapies required the shipping of cells to an outside laboratory for processing. The cells would be returned in a few days for injection. This, of course, involved extra time and extra expense. Now Dr. Newkirk has the laboratory equipment in his hospital! This allows the procedure to be done in the same day! At about half the cost! This brings stem cell therapy into the affordable range for most people. (A financing plan is available if qualified).

Current approved indications for stem cell therapy are

(1) arthritis

(2) fracture healing

(3) tendon and ligament repair

The duration of effect is up to 18 months, with an 80% favorable response rate. This process has been used in clinical trials for the past 3 years and the results have been extremely promising. Over 2500 horses and 200 dogs have been successfully treated.

I am hopeful that stem cell therapy will prove to be “the answer” for pets in chronic pain from arthritis that do not seem to respond well to our normal procedures for pain relief. Or for athletes with chronic tendon or joint problems that is affecting performance. Special pet cases, known as ‘compassionate cases’ such as neurologic problems, inflammatory bowel disease, and liver disease, are under conditional approval. That means that in special cases, we can apply for special approval to use the stem cells for other than the classic FDA approved cases. Applications for such pets are available at Newkirk Family Veterinarians. For many pets that have failed to recover from injury, surgery, disc problems, and for aging pets with crippling arthritis, stem cell therapy offers potentially life changing, and sometimes life saving treatment.

Dr. Mark Newkirk BS, MS, V.MD, University of Penn Graduate


About the Author: Dr. Mark Newkirk, lecturer, seminar leader, and author, combines traditional medicine and surgery with holistic alternatives to access the best of both worlds to help your pet’s health.




Dog and Cat

What to Do When Your Pets Don't Get Along

What do you do when your dog doesn’t get along with the cat? How about a new kitten and your daughter’s cat? Pet safety is important and it is the key to keeping pets happy and healthy

Learn how to handle fighting pets...

Let's face it; it can be a dog eat dog world out there. And when you have a pet that doesn't get along well with others, it could mean double the trouble! Pets have personalities just like humans. Some are free-spirited, while others are grumpy. This can be a disaster when two incompatible pets get together. The fur can hit the fan in less than 2.5 seconds.  One of the pets could become seriously injured.

What do you do when your dog doesn’t get along with the cat? How about a new kitten and your daughter’s cat? Pet safety is important and it is the key to keeping pets happy and healthy.

How to End the Battle Between Pets

Introduce a new pet slowly.

If you’re bringing a new pet into the family, introduce the ‘new’ pet slowly. For example, if you get a new puppy, but already have a family dog, you don’t want to keep both puppy and the family dog in the same room. Keep them separate and introduce them once or twice a day or a few times a week. This will prevent your older dog from feeling threatened and it won’t be inclined to attack the puppy.

Give each pet equal amounts of love.

Yes, pets can become jealous of one another just like humans. Make sure you spend quality time with all of your pets. Show them love and affection and you can avoid the claws or paws coming out.

Break up a fight!

If you see your pets engaging in a dog and or catfight, break it up immediately. Assess the damage and get your pet(s) medical attention.

To keep pets safe, don’t rush bringing a new pet into the family.

Think about it for a few days and then decide if getting a new pet is the best decision for the entire family, including the pets you already have. If you already have a dog and would like to adopt another one, visit your local shelter and bring your dog with you. Most shelters welcome dog introductions to see if dogs are compatible.

Keeping pets safe is the best way to keep them happy and healthy.

Amandah T. Blackwell, Freelance Writer, Savvy-Writer

About the Author: Amandah Tayler Blackwell, your “Savvy-Writer,” is an adventurous freelance writer, ghostwriter, and creative writer for markets such as publishing, travel, the arts & entertainment, magazine, real estate, personal and professional development, and pets. She’s an avid blogger and collaborator on book projects and screenplays in addition to writing her own material.




Christmas Puppy

Should You Get a Puppy for Christmas?

Well, it’s that time of year again. Our wonderful holiday season is in full swing. And Santa is getting requests from great kids everywhere for a puppy for Christmas.  

See what to consider before getting a puppy for Christmas...

Are you adopting a puppy/dog (kitten/cat?) for Christmas?

So here are my thoughts from years of training and observation… I believe the biggest argument against bringing a new pet into the house is the amount of energy surrounding the holidays.

We basically have three stressful scenarios:

1) Puppy, right now with his litter-mates and mom

2) Dog at the pound

3) Dog with a rescue group or in a foster home

Let's take a look at these three scenarios separately...

#3 Foster Pet
In my mind, #3 is the option most likely built for success. The dog is already in a home and loving situation.  It is used to the hustle and bustle of a home.

#2 Pound Puppy
Any dog that is in a pound of any kind is under stress, period. It is NOT a loving, stress-free environment. I know shelter workers don’t work there to get rich and have a great heart for pets in general and they do the best they can with limited budgets. But if you’ve ever been to the best pound or shelter, 36 dogs barking is a very stressful environment.

We don’t know where that dog was last week, running in a field or allotment, hungry? Were the neighbors throwing stuff at the dog, yelling at it to go away? Then they are taken to a pound with a concrete (cold) floor and walls… you get the picture. STRESS. What is the dog’s medical condition? Were they EVER an inside dog and you want to make it one?

I always remind people that the dog they see at the pound is NOT the dog they’ll have in three weeks when the dog is more comfortable in their home, could be better, could be worse. So, look carefully at the situation. Will bringing that dog into your house on Christmas morning be a recipe for success?

#1 A Puppy from a Breeder
Taking an 8 week(?) old puppy from it’s warm, comfortable place by his mommy and bringing him into your home on Christmas with screeching children, loud video games and 1000 things that would scare the fur off a well-adjusted dog may be overwhelming for a puppy.

Questions to Ask When Shopping for a Pet:
• WHY are you getting a dog?
• Will your kids play with the new “toy (dog)” for 20 minutes until they open the X-Box /Wii/game console with the newest game and forget the dog? (Billy for the 10th time, take the dog out!! But mom, I’m almost at the next level!!)
• Have you had a dog before?
• Do you REALLY understand what you’re getting into? With the puppy, remember you’re also taking on potty-training (going into winter), chewing on most anything and more.
• Have you considered the extended costs of pet ownership? Kennel for in the home, toys, food, flea-tick meds, vet visits, bowls, etc.
• Have you considered shedding and the type of dog best for your family?

No perfect answer: Please consider waiting until the blast of energy from the holidays is over, THEN bring your new pooch home. Contact a trainer like Perfectly Pawsible Dog Obedience to help that transition and know what to do. Perform research. Best advise I can give you is to be conscious about what you’re doing! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Grant Holmes, Owner/Master Trainer, Perfectly Pawsible Dog Obedience


About the Author:  Grant has been training dogs all his life, professionally for over five years. Most accurately Grant is a former corporate trainer and true gift is in training people, which is the whole point! A well behaved dog IS PerfectlyPawsible!  Like us on FaceBook.com/PerfectlyPawsible 




Dog Laying on Grass

5 Tips for a Happy Pet

With busy schedules we can accidentally neglect our furry friends without even realizing it until furniture get chewed on, garbage gets knocked over.

Learn 5 tips to help keep your pet happy and feeling the love!

Our pets are truly loved and become a part of our family.  But, with busy schedules, we can accidentally neglect our furry friends without even realizing it.  This often becomes apparent when furniture get chewed on, garbage gets knocked over and eaten, or our favorite pair of shoes becomes a tasty little treat.

Learn 5 tips to help keep your pet happy and feeling the love!

Happy Pets Make for Happy Homes

1. Microchip your pet.
This is by far, is one of the best ways to keep track of your pet in case you are separated from him. The microchip is embedded in the animal’s skin, and it contains a unique number designated to your pet and is linked to the owner’s contact information. This is not a GPS chip – it serves only to be able to find the owner should a pet be lost.

2. Make sure your pet has a collar with his name and your current contact information.
Again, this is very helpful for obvious reasons. Having your pet’s name on the tag hanging off the collar lets anyone who finds your pet call him by name, and possibly ease any fears he may have of an emergency responder coming to his rescue.

3. Doggie daycare and boarding works!
Though this may seem a luxury for some, taking your pet to daycare when you are away for long periods of time, i.e. work or boarding is good for your pet’s emotional health. Daycare helps dogs socialize with other dogs and with other humans who are not their parents. Happy dogs make for happy human moms and dads!

4. Regular exercise.
You don’t have to take your dog for a run. A walk around the block, or taking your pet with you to the local coffee shop while you sit and sip your latte is good for both of your souls. Many cafes and restaurants with outdoor seating put water dishes out and little treats for pet owners who come by with their furry pals. Take advantage of being outdoors with your dog. He’ll love it!

5. Indulge their doggie instincts.
Play tug or fetch with your pet. When your dog happily comes to you with a toy in his mouth, it means he wants some one-on-one time. Go for it! He’ll feel loved, and will keep trusting you as someone who cares about him.

Pets have become an integral part of the American family. Treat them as someone who is loved and their loyalty and protection will go a long way.

--Sandy Lewis-Duvall, Founder and Owner, The Shabby Dog


About the Author:  Sandy Lewis-Duvall has been in the pet business for over 20 years. The Shabby Dog brand is a boutique retail store, pet salon and daycare and grooming facility in Sierra Madre, CA. She has created a family environment with her staff and customers. She understands that each dog is unique and special, treating each pet almost as her own. Such care has brought the loyalty of her clients and love of the pets that come through her doors.




Man Walking Dog

Exercise for Your Dog

Even with an underground fence allowing your dog to freely run through your yard - you still need to think about the exercise your dog is getting each day. Today, our guest author shares some tips for exercising your dog - many of which include the bonus of exercise for you as well!

Read the Full Article

Planning for Your Dog's Exercise

Part of keeping your dog healthy involves giving it enough exercise. The intensity and duration of the exercise will vary from breed to breed, but all dogs should get aerobic exercise (enough to make them pant) a minimum of three times a week. Here are some exercise ideas.

Go for a Walk

The classic method of exercise is to go for a walk. You can use a flexi-leash to adjust the distance your dog is allowed to go. If you live in a city, you might want a regular leash so you can keep your dog closer to you. Don't let your dog invade another dog's space, walk in someone else's yard, or run into the street. Walk at a brisk pace.

Take Your Dog for a Run

Running with your dog can be even more beneficial, but don't overdo it. Make sure your dog is in good shape before you jog too far.

Ride Along with Your Dog

You can also run your dog alongside your bicycle. Make sure to use a "Springer" so that the bike won't tip over if the dog lunches for something. Keep your distances short at first. An alternative is to let the dog run in a fenced yard, where he can choose his own pace and stop to sniff at his leisure.

Play Catch

Take your dog to a dog park and play fetch or Frisbee. If you want to increase your dog's workout, hit a tennis ball with a racquet or throw the ball uphill. If you throw a Frisbee, use a soft, dog-approved Frisbee and keep your throws low. Many dogs have injured themselves jumping too high. This activity may be too stressful for puppies and some breeds of dog.

Let Your Dog Jump

Speaking of jumping, most dogs love this form of exercise. You can design your own jumps using cardboard boxes. Start with low jumps and work your way up, no higher than the dog's elbow. All jumping should be done off-leash. If your dog won't jump, the jump may be too high or he may have a physical condition that should be checked by a vet.

Low Impact Exercises for Older Dogs or Dogs with Special Conditions

There are other exercises that are better suited for dogs with particular characteristics or conditions. Swimming, for example, is especially good for dogs with joint problems. Make sure you take your dog to a place where it is safe and legal for him to swim.
Canine exercise balls are terrific for big dogs like labs. Consult your vet or a dog training manual for more specific exercises for your dog.
-- Art Gib, Dogs and Trails 

About the Author: Art Gib is an NJ dog walker, who offers pet sitting and dog walking services.




Dog on Bed

Teach Your Dog To Stay Calm When The Doorbell Rings

People are often embarrassed by their dog's behavior at the door when visitors arrive. Here's how to change that...

Read the Full Article

Through my experience as a dog trainer, I have learned that people are often embarrassed by their dog's behavior at the door when visitors arrive. I have worked with a number of clients whose dogs behave terribly when someone knocks on the door or rings the doorbell. Their dogs have reacted in many different ways. Some were overly friendly and excited to have company while others would growl or bark.

In fact, over the years, I have seen very few dogs that do not go crazy when visitors arrive. When you think about it, knocks at the door and a ringing doorbell are cues; the same thing happens every time we hear them. We get up and rush to the door and our kids even run to the door to see who is there. Based on our reactions our dogs learn that it is something to be excited about. When dogs react in this way it is common for owners to grab their collar, shake a can of coins, or spray them with water from a bottle. These methods are ineffective and do nothing more than prompt dogs to react to the doorbell even more because they are now learning that something bad will happen every time the doorbell rings.

Preparing to Train Your Dog

Knowing that this is such a predictable cue, the challenge is to keep our dogs from becoming overly excited or upset when someone knocks on our door or rings our doorbell. In my opinion, one of the best methods you can use to change your dog's reaction to visitors at the door is to teach them an alternative behavior, such as going to a special place. This is not only one of the easiest behaviors to teach it is also a fairly simple behavior for your dog to learn as long as you take the time to work with your dog.

In order to be prepared to teach your dog this new behavior one of the first things you will want to do is have some really high value treats readily available. I have learned to place treats in different places around the house so I can grab some when I need them. Once you have your treats ready you will need to decide where you want your dog to go when he hears the doorbell or knock. One suggestion, and what I do, is to place a dog bed about ten feet from the door. This will put your dog in a place where he can see the door and will allow you to be close enough to give him treats when needed.

Use "Pretend" Visitors to Train Your Dog

Once you are prepared with your treats and a special place for your dog, ring the doorbell or knock on the door. When your dog reacts, lure him over to his place and give him a treat. At this point, it is not important for him to stay there. At first, all that you are trying to teach him is to go to this place when the doorbell rings. You will want to practice this until he goes to his place on his own approximately 90% of the time when he hears the doorbell or knocks.

As he starts to understand that going to his special place is what he is to do when he hears the doorbell or a knock, you will then want to teach him to lie down once he gets there. To teach this, ring the doorbell, but this time when your dog goes to his bed or special place you want him to lie down before giving him the treat. He should pick this up a little quicker and should start to go to his special place and lie down on his own as soon as he hears the doorbell or knocks.

Next, it is time to teach him to stay in his special place while you go to answer the door. This process should be taught in increments. First, ring the bell and when he goes to his special place and lays down, tell him to stay. Next, take a step back before approaching him to give him the treat. Do this until you can count to ten once you've stepped back, making sure he is staying put the entire time. Once he's mastered this, try it again, but take two steps back this time. The idea is to build up the time and distance slowly. As you increase the distance or steps back, decrease the time before a treat is given.

Have a Friend Help Train Your Dog

The next and final step is to have him stay on his bed or in his special place while you open the door and actually let your visitors in. I usually ask a friend or family member to help and have them ring the doorbell or knock on the door. Once your dog is on his bed or in his special place, treat him, ask him to stay, and walk over to the door and open it. If you practiced the above steps thoroughly your dog should stay in his place the whole time. You can also teach him to stay there while your guest walks over to give him a treat for being such a good dog!

Remember to keep the training consistent and make it fun. You will be amazed how quickly your dog will learn to go to his place when he hears the doorbell or a knock on the door.

-- Article by Pet Care Expert, Rick Touhey

About the Author: Rick Touhey is a professional dog trainer with expertise in obedience training, dog behavior, and pet products. He earned his certification through Animal Behavior College. His education and experience have provided him with the skills required to effectively and humanely train your dog while keeping alive that special bond that makes your dog so special to you. For information on trainer recommended products, visit http://www.petcollarshop.com or http://www.pawsitivek9.net for training information.