Monthly Archives: September 2011

Our Pets, Our Teachers!

We are always striving to teach our pets new things.  However, we don’t seem to realize how much our pets can teach us!  We have put together some great ways our pets change our lives and teach us how to live a better life!

Do not multitask

When a dog has a job to do they give it their undivided attention

Take naps

Short naps throughout your day can enhance alertness and job performance

Go for a walk everyday

Keeping you fit and happy in your day, just like your dog

Cultivate friendship

Dogs are very social animals and so are humans so embrace it!

Live in the moment

You are happiest when you focus primarily on the task at hand and not the planning or future of the task

Do not hold a grudge

Let bygones be bygones, if you forgive you will have higher self-esteem

Wag

Even though you do not have a tail; simply showing a smile when you are happy

Maintain curiosity

People who are curious tend to have a greater sense of meaning in life

Be silly

Indulge in a little silliness from time to time to build a healthy heart

Get a back rub

Helping with chronic conditions a touch of a loved one is very powerful

Drink water when you are thirsty

Like dogs do drink lots of water when you are thirsty for better health and not sugary drinks

Eat fish

Cats love them and so should we; they are good for our health and provide healthy proteins

If you love someone show it

Pets never hide their emotions and you shouldn’t either, don’t be afraid to spread love

Stretch often

Stretching will keep you limber and increase your physical activity levels

Manicure for Dogs!

As dog owners we must remember that dog’s nails need to be maintained as ours are.  For a dog when their nails get too long they cause painful feet and sometimes real lameness. If the tips are below the pads of the feet, the pads have no traction on smooth surfaces like linoleum or hardwood floors and the dog slides on the kitchen floor, has trouble climbing stairs, and often appears to get lazy. Nails of house dogs need to be trimmed and filed regularly.  Here are steps to follow when trimming your dog’s nails:

  • While trimming the nails of your dog try to keep the nails up to the length that just touches the ground or more ideally a little above.
  • You are recommended to use a nail clipper that is especially designed for dogs and not for humans. The nail clippers for humans are designed to cut flat shaped nails while those of the nails of the dogs are round in shape.
  • Before starting the process of trimming the nails you are at first required to make your dog quite. You may either take your pet on your lab or sit along with your doggy on the floor to trim the nails.
  • If your dog finds it to be quite frightening try to reassure your dog with calm voice.
  • Hold one of the paws in your hand and try to spread the toes with your fingers. You must not trim the nails beyond the lines of the toe’s blood vessel.
  • Not all breeds or dogs have dewclaws or the remnants of the fifth toe. If you find your dog to be having dewclaws make sure to remove them as well.

After the process gets over give your dog with a treat that it would love to devour. This will make the dog know that the process of trimming is quite rewarding for it.

                                                                 

Keeping your Pets Safe & Happy this Fall

After the warm summer sun has passed and all the kids are back to school it is time to understand that things will be different for your pet as well.  He/she will be welcoming the break from hot, sticky weather; but there are new dangers to be on the look-out for.  Below is a list of safety tips for your pets during the Autumn months.

  • It’s back-to-school time, and those of you with young children know that means stocking up on fun items like glue sticks, pencils and magic markers. These items are considered “low toxicity” to pets, which means they’re unlikely to cause serious problems unless large amounts are ingested. However, since gastrointestinal upset and blockages certainly are possible, be sure your children keep their school supplies out of paw’s reach.
  • Training tip: If you and your pooch haven’t been active outdoors in a while because of the summer heat, do some remedial recall training. Dogs, like people, get rusty on their skills if they aren’t using them.
  • In order to generate body heat, pets who exercise heavily outdoors, or who live outdoors, should be given more food during colder seasons. Make sure horses and other outdoor animals have access to clean, fresh water that is not frozen.
  • Many people choose fall as the time to change their car’s engine coolant. Ethylene glycol-based coolants are highly toxic, so spills should be cleaned up immediately. Consider switching to propylene glycol-based coolants—though they aren’t completely nontoxic, they are much less toxic than other engine coolants.
  • Fall and spring and are mushroom seasons. While 99% of mushrooms have little or no toxicity, the 1% that are highly toxic (PDF) can cause life-threatening problems in pets. Unfortunately, most of the highly toxic mushrooms are difficult to distinguish from the nontoxic ones, so the best way to keep pets from ingesting poisonous mushrooms is to keep them away from areas where any mushrooms are growing. Contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control immediately if you witness your pet eating a wild mushroom.

Itchy Dogs!

Our furry little pups can get very itchy at times and it can be hard to understand why.  The following highlights some popular reasons why dogs itch themselves.

  • Allergies. When dog scratching gets out of hand, it is often the result of allergies to food or environmental triggers, including mold and pollen. Dogs may also develop a skin irritation called contact dermatitis when they encounter substances like pesticides or soap.
  • Boredom or anxiety. Just as people with anxiety might bite their nails or twirl their hair, dogs can have physical responses to psychological upset too. In fact, some dogs develop a condition akin to human obsessive-compulsive disorder. It can manifest itself in scratching, licking, or chewing behaviors that can cause severe damage.
  • Dry skin. A variety of factors, including winter weather and fatty acid deficiencies, can cause dry skin in dogs. Your pet may respond to the discomfort by scratching or licking at her skin or fur.
  • Hormonal imbalances. If your dog’s body is not producing enough thyroid hormone or putting out too much cortisol, superficial skin infections can occur. You may notice small, red spots and your dog may scratch or lick as if bothered by allergies.
  • Pain. When trying to determine why your dog is licking or chewing excessively, be sure to consider the possibility that something is making him physically uncomfortable. For instance, if you notice your dog biting his paw repeatedly, he could have a thorn or sharp stone stuck in his foot pad. Compulsive chewing or licking can also be a response to orthopedic problems, including back pain and hip dysplasia.
  • Parasites. Among the most common causes for compulsive dog licking, chewing, or scratching behaviors are fleas, ticks, and mites. Although ticks are often visible to the naked eye, fleas often go unseen until there is a large infestation and mites are microscopic. So don’t assume that your dog isn’t suffering from parasites just because you can’t see them.

After understanding why your dog itches themselves so much you can move onto the next step of stopping him/her from itching excessively.

  • Eliminating parasites. There are a variety of flea and tick products that your veterinarian can recommend. Additionally, if your dog’s biting or chewing problems are caused by fleas, be sure to wash your dog’s bed and vacuum your carpeting and upholstered furniture on a regular basis to reduce the likelihood of reinfestation. You also need to treat any other animals in the household.
  • Changing foods. If food allergies are making your dog itch, eliminating potential trigger foods (such as beef or wheat) can make a huge difference. Your vet may recommend a special diet if this appears to be the case. The addition of fatty acid supplements to your pet’s regular food can also help address dry skin issues and keep your dog’s coat healthy.
  • Using medication. Your veterinarian may prescribe medications to treat underlying problems contributing to your dog’s persistent scratching. Additionally, your vet may recommend the use of topical or systemic antibiotics, steroids, or anti-itch products to treat existing hot spots or skin infections.
  • Preventing the behavior. Because compulsive behaviors can cause serious damage and affect your dog’s quality of life, it’s important to do your best to stop your dog from chewing, licking, or scratching too much. Some ideas include using bitter sprays to discourage licking, having your dog wear a special collar to prevent access to hot spots, or keeping your dog close by your side when you’re home.
  • Addressing anxiety or boredom. In some cases, compulsive biting, chewing, or licking develops in response to fear, stress, or inadequate stimulation. To reduce this likelihood, be sure your dog receives enough exercise, attention, and love. It can also be helpful to train your dog to chew on toys or bones to relieve stress as a replacement for inappropriate chewing or licking behaviors.