Monday, November 19, 2012

Winter Care Tips for Your Canine

 General Concerns
As winter approaches please keep the following precautions in mind:
  • Monitor your dogs when they are outside, don’t leave them out in the cold for long periods of time. Wind chill makes days colder than actual temperature readings. Be aware of your dog’s body temperature, and limit its time outdoors.
  • Provide adequate shelter for your dogs. Keeping your dog warm, dry, and away from drafts. Be aware that tiled and uncarpeted areas in your home may become very cold, so if your dog frequents these areas of your home be sure to place blankets or pads on the floors in these areas. 
  • Always be aware of your surroundings when walking or playing outside around frozen rivers, lakes or ponds.  Your dog could slip or jump in and be seriously injured. Or worse.
  • Regular grooming is equally essential during cold winter months.  A well-groomed coat provides better insulation to your dog.  Dogs with short or coarse hair may be more susceptible to the cold, so please consider providing a coat or sweater for them. Dogs with long hair should have the tufts of hair around their toes and pads trimmed to help eliminate snow from accumulating.If you are trimming your own dog, take extra care not to cut the pads or toes. 
  • You may need to increase your dogs calorie intake if it spends a lot of time outdoors.  More energy is required to keep your dogs body temperature regulated so more calories may be necessary to keep them in good body condition.
  • It is important to dry your dog if it gets wet from rain or snow.  Remember to clean and dry its paws too!  Applying a little petroleum jelly or Bag Balm is beneficial to pad health and can help prevent cracking.
  • Leaving a dog alone an a car during cold winter months can be dangerous as well,  
Health Tips
Be aware of the following hazards during winter months:. 
  • Anti-freeze/Engine Coolant can be lethal to your dog.  Dogs often like the smell and taste of Antifreeze/coolant which often collects on driveways and roads.
  • Rock salt, used to melt ice on sidewalks, may irritate foot pads  Be sure to rinse and dry your dog’s feet after a walk.
  • Provide plenty of fresh water. Your dog is just as likely to get dehydrated in the winter as in the summer. Snow is not a satisfactory substitute for water.
  • Frostbite is your dog’s winter hazard. To prevent frostbite on its ears, tail and feet, don’t leave your dog outdoors for too long.
  • Be very careful of supplemental heat sources. Fireplaces and portable heaters can severely burn your dog. Make sure all fireplaces have screens, and keep portable heaters out of reach.
  • Like people, dogs seem to be more susceptible to illness in the winter. Take your dog to a veterinarian if you see any suspicious symptoms.
  • Don’t use over-the-counter medications on your dog without consulting a veterinarian.
Holiday Safeguards
The winter season brings lots of fun holiday festivities, but pet-owners should keep in mind the following special precautions:
  • The holidays are not ideal for introducing a pet into your family. New puppies and dogs require extra attention and a stable environment, which the holiday season doesn’t permit. Also, a puppy is not a toy or gift that can be returned. Instead, the AKC suggests giving a gift representative of the dog to come, such as a toy, a leash, or a bed.
  • Holly, mistletoe and poinsettia plants are pet poisons! Make sure they are kept in places your dog cannot reach.
  • Review holiday gifts for dogs to make sure they are safe. Items such as plastic toys and small rawhide sticks may be dangerous.
  • Remove holiday lights from lower branches of your tree. They may get very hot and burn dogs.
  • Watch out for electrical cords. Pets often try to chew them and may get badly shocked or electrocuted. Place wires out of reach.
  • Avoid using glass ornaments. They break easily and may cut a dog’s feet and mouth.
  • Refrain from using edible ornaments. Your dog may knock the tree over in an attempt to eat them. Also, commercial ornaments may contain paint or toxins in the preservatives.
  • Whether your tree is live or artificial, both kinds of needles are sharp and indigestible. Don’t leave your dog unattended in the room with the tree.
  • Tinsel is dangerous for dogs. It may obstruct circulation and, if swallowed, block the intestines.
  • Alcohol and chocolate are toxic for dogs, even in small amounts. Keep unhealthy, sweet treats and seasonal goodies out of reach.
  • The holiday season is a stressful time for dogs. Try to keep a normal schedule during all the excitement.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Home Made Chicken Jerky and Sweet Potato Dog Treats

After reading post after post and all the ongoing articles on the dangers of these treats that are manufactured in China, I decided to write a brief post on making these delicious for our pets.

It is exceedingly easy to make these treats at home and it is cheaper.  There are two methods that you can employ; first, a dehydrator (which can be purchased relatively inexpensively); second, conventional oven.  I will explain both methods.

Food Dehydrator:
What you will need:

  • Raw sweet potato/yams
  • Thinly sliced chicken
Wash and dry the meat and sweet potato.  You won't need to worry about spices or flavoring since this is for dog treats.  To save yourself some time and to keep the slices uniform use a mandolin slicer to slice the sweet potatoes 1/4" thick.  Then slice the chicken and cut into manageable pieces. Once the trays for the dehydrator are filled just plug it in and wait.  About 12 hours for many machines but times vary depending on your machine.  

Conventional Oven:
What you will need:

  • Sweet Potato/Yams
  • Ripe bananas
  • Thinly sliced chicken or turkey
  • Cookie sheets
  • Parchment paper 
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Slice yams and bananas 1/4" thick.  Place the slices in rows on the cookie sheets and bake at 250 degrees for 3-4 hours for "chewy" treats and 5-6 hours for crunchy.  Turn the pieces about halfway through cooking time. 
For the chicken or turkey cut them into thin 1/4 in slices, ( baste in olive oil to prevent sticking to cookie sheets) place the slices evenly on the cookie sheet.  Bake in the oven for 3-4 hours.

The treats will keep for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator so keep this in mind when preparing. They also freeze well for long term storage.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Journey of Love and More

When you bring a pet into your life, you begin a journey - a journey that will bring you more love and devotion than you have ever known, yet also test your strength and courage.  If you allow, the journey will teach you many things, about life, about yourself, and most of all, about love.  You will come away changed forever, for one soul cannot touch another without leaving its mark.  Along the way, you will learn much about savoring life's simple pleasures - jumping leaves, snoozing in the sun, the joys of puddles, and even a satisfying  scratch behind the ears.  Your house will become muddier and hairier.  You will wear less dark clothing and buy more lint rollers.  You may find dog biscuits in your pocket or purse, and feel the need to explain that an old plastic shopping bag adorns your living room rug because your cat loves the crinkly sound.  You will learn the true measure of love - the steadfast, undying kind that says,  "It doesn't matter where we are or what we do, or how life treats us as long as we are together."   Respect this always.  It is the most precious gift any living soul can give another.  You will not find it often among the human race. And you will learn humility.  The look in my dog's eyes often made me feel ashamed.  Such joy and love at my presence.  She saw not some flawed human who could be cross and stubborn, moody or rude, but only her wonderful companion.  Or, maybe she saw those things and dismissed them as mere human foibles, not worth considering, and so chose to love me anyway.  If you pay attention and learn well, after the journey, you will be not just a better person, but the person your pet always knew you were - the one they were proud to call beloved friend.  I must caution you that this journey is not without pain.  Like all paths of true love, the pain is part of loving.  For as surely as the sun sets, one day your dear animal companion will follow a trail you cannot yet go down.  And you will have to find the strength and love to let them go.  A pet's time on earth is far too short - especially for those that love them.  We borrow them, really, just for a while, and during these brief years they are generous enough to give us all their love, every inch of their spirit and heart, until one day there is nothing left.  The cat that only yesterday was a kitten is all too soon old and frail and sleeping in the sun.  The young pup of boundless energy wakes up stiff and lame, the muzzle now gray.  Deep down we somehow always knew that this journey would end.  We knew that if we gave our hearts they would be broken.  But give them we must for it is all they ask in return.  When the time comes, and the road curves ahead to a place we cannot see, we give one last gift and let them run on ahead - young and whole once more.  "Godspeed, good friend,"  we say, until our journey comes full circle and our paths cross again.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Dog is for Life, Not Just for Christmas

Seasonal Tips
A Dog is for Life Not Just for Christmas
JUST like a new baby, bringing a new puppy into your home is very demanding and requires alot of hard work. New pets must become part of the family because they are not disposable. Every year thousand of puppies are thrown out on the streets because people have bought them as gifts on an act of impulse in the cheery festive season. Then sadly the novelty wears away and the reality dawns upon them, that poor innocent little puppy is now unwanted, it wasn't his fault, now he must brave the streets and try to survive alone. Please stop and think long and hard about buying a puppy at christmas.
Christmas can be a very hectic time of year, this isn’t the best time to introduce your new dog to the house. Dogs will rely on you for walks, feeds, baths, training and healthcare. Everyone in the family must want the pet. It's no use if dad wants a dog and mum doesn't. That won't work. Before bringing a pet into your home, you need a heart but you also need your head.

Please Remember:
Dogs don’t come fully trained. They can cause a lot of damage to your possessions through chewing and accidents. How committed are you to training your dog?
Puppies can be extremely hard work for an owner, particularly if there are young children in the house – do you have enough time to spend with your pup?
INSTEAD of giving a pet as a gift this Christmas, why not donate to a national or a local dog rescue charity.
If you really think a puppy is right for you why not wait until the new year. The new year is the busiest times for dog rescue centers as they become overwhelmed with both new puppies and also older dogs who have now been replaced by irresponsible owners and are now unwanted. If you are a true dog lover you will understand that waiting a few more weeks past christmas would truly be the right decision, especially seen as though you will be given an unwanted dog a new loving home.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Building Confidence In Your Dog

Firstly understand that this won't happen overnight. Be patient. Little and often is the key to slowly building up your dogs confidence.
To begin with start obedience training. It's the first step in helping to socialise your dog as it will help them to feel comfortable in their body. The better they become at understanding and obeying commands the stronger their confidence will grow. You will praise them when they get something right and that too will develop their feeling of self worth. Physically doing jumps, tricks and runs, will give them a positive sense of their own body as well as strengthen them and keeping them fit. All of this is helpful in building up their self esteem. Teaching them to weave, play fetch and other tricks are fun for both of you as well as exercise and technique learning for your pet. Do not baby them when they are learning. If they need to be corrected because they got something wrong, do it. They will feel confident if they know their boundaries.
Dog socialisation means that your dog is taught (hopefully from a young age) how to feel comfortable with themselves around humans, other dogs and different environments regardless of their breeds and characters. Mixing them in as many different circles of people and pets is the best start. After the age of 4 months, if you have socialised your puppy correctly he should be very confident in new surroundings and company. If you haven't done this from a young age or you've taken on an older dog, then the above obedience training will be a step in the right direction.
Take your dog to the park where you can both sit and watch other owners and dogs. Believe me it will help your dog to get used to being around others without having to interact at this stage. You need to do this as regularly as possible.
You could be unwittingly encouraging your dogs fear by your own behaviour.
Next time you're walking your dog pay attention to how you react when another dog approaches. Do you immediately tighten the lead or guide your dog away from interacting? Do you talk to him and pat him as they draw closer? You may think this is a good way of reassuring him but your dog will pick up very quickly on your reactions and take being cautious as the normal thing to do when they see a new dog. Keeping quiet and calmly walking ahead without quickening your pace will not alert your dog to any problems. When your dog is scared the first thing you want to do is pet him to reassure him. Don't, he will think you are encouraging his nervous behaviour as the correct way to feel.
Fear aggression is a state you do not want your dog getting to. This is very hard to correct. It is exactly as it sounds, aggressive behaviour produced as a result of fear. Basically a dog will attack or become aggressive first so that the other dog doesn't. If you find yours has gone too far down this road then you really should invest in a dog behavioural expert. No amount of obedience training will change the underlying problems. I say "problems" because it is quite a complex issue. Fear, a lack of early socialisation, abuse and possible genetic conditions could all be contributing to this problem.
It may be that you never fully train your dog to change this problem as it is so deeply embedded, but with a behavioural expert and plenty of patience you can definitely help to alleviate it.

Article Source:

Holiday Time: Your Dog and You

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Navigate a potentially dangerous holiday season with your dog by watching your surroundings. Dogs like spending time with their owners; keep the holidays safe and less stressful by knowing what puts your dog at risk.
The Trouble With All That Food
Holidays and food go hand in hand. But with all that temptation you have to be vigilant about what your dog has access too. When you have family and friends around you also usually have some of the big problems foods and drinks around.
• Chocolate: Chocolate, and coffee, contain xanthines. In dogs this causes damage in the nervous and urinary systems, and can cause excessive stimulation of the heart. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are the most dangerous for your dog, but you'll want to keep all chocolate out of your dog's reach. Even if your pet doesn't suffer any of the more serious affects you may still have to take care of a dog with diarrhea. And who wants that!
• Alcohol: When friends and family are around for holiday gatherings there will also be drinks around. Alcohol and pets don't mix. Dogs are drawn to the sweet taste of mixed drinks and holiday specialties like eggnog, but they can be lethal. Keep an eye on drinks set on easily accessible coffee tables. After the party resist the urge to wait to clean up, clear leftover drinks up right away.
Be careful what goes under your tree. You may want to wrap up a treat for your special pup. Don't put it under the tree, at least not unattended! Your dog will smell something yummy under there and you risk him eating more than just his present. Trees and holiday plants can cause upset stomachs and irritation. Don't tempt your puppy by putting treats next to them. If you want a package under the tree for your favorite pup choose from a selection of favorite dog toys. Or get your dog some aromatherapy shampoos to enjoy after the holidays to help relax. You can look up dog shampoo reviews to choose the best one.
Shiny Shimmering Ornaments
Holiday decorations are shiny, shimmery, and sooooo tempting for a dog to play with. There are two major concerns when it comes to holiday decorations.
• Intestinal Blockage. This happens when your dog eats strings, ribbons, bows, yarn, or Christmas decorations like tinsel. When your dog eats these things they can become stuck in their intestines requiring surgery to heal.
• Cuts and other lacerations. Dogs love to play with balls or other things that may look like favorite dog toys. And they will use their mouths to explore them. Glass decorations can easily break and cut your pooch.
Adding to the Family
A new puppy needs all of your love and attention. They are full of energy and can easily find trouble. The holidays are a far from an ideal time to add a new puppy to your home. If you had been planning on giving a dog as a gift consider alternative options. Put together a basket of favorite dog toys. Or a basket of all the things they'll need like brushes, jackets, or organic dog shampoo. You can choose the shampoo using dog shampoo reviews. Then when things calm down after the holiday you'll be ready for your new pet.
After the Holiday Stress
Now that the holidays are through give a treat to your dog. Aromatherapy is a great choice. Look at the dog shampoo reviews to find just the right one for your pet.
Stay out of urgent care over the holidays by watching your pet and keeping them out of potential trouble.
Joy Randel is the owner of Dazzle Dog Delight, an online store that offers a variety of high quality dog products and accessories from funny dog stuff to designer dog supplies. We are passionate about dogs and would love to send you a FREE e-Guide on how to solve barking problems and other great info. Get your FREE e-Guide now at

Saturday, December 3, 2011

"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion."

~ Author Unknown