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SARAH SAYS "Our newsletter is written monthly with valuable information and knowledge, please come back and visit our website. Thank you."

Table of Contents: In order as written

2 Ways to Administer Medication to Your Dog

7 Tips to Consider When You Walk a Dog

10 things you need to know BEFORE getting a dog

Doggy Diets - Keeping Fido In Trim

Dog Health Problems...Find Out Now.

Dog Obedience: 3 Basics You Never Want To Forget.

Don't Feed Your Dog These Dangerous Foods

Flea Control

Housetrain Your Dog with Crate Training

How to Choose a Good Obedience School for Your Dog

Pet Insurance For Your Animals - Do You Need It?

Stopping the Barking Habit in Your Dog

The Top Ten Dog Obedience Tips

Understanding the Many Moods of Your Puppy

Veterinary Acupuncture Help

Why Dogs Do What They Do: A Quick Study Of Normal Dog Behaviors

Your Pet Emergency Kit for First Aid

Teach Your Dog NOT To Bite Now

Leaving A Dog Alone Is Cruel

Dog Skin Problems - Raw Diets

A Guide to Dog Training

6 Possible Reasons Why Your Dog Is Being Aggressive

A Blind Dog In My House

Feeding Your Dog


Pets With Disabilities

Ticks Don’t Jump, They Climb

Benefits of Natural Products and Holistic Pet Care

A Step-by-Step Guide to Puppy Picking


2 Ways to Administer Medication to Your Dog

There are 2 effective methods for getting any form of liquid medication down your dog’s throat: Make a pouch or pry the mouth open.

1. Making a pouch: Using one hand, pull out the corner of the dog’s lower lip to make a little pouch. Keep his head slightly tilted back and pour the liquid into the mouth using your other hand.

In some instances, the medication does not go in right away. This occurs when the dog’s teeth are clenched too tightly. When this happens, gently pry his mouth open using your fingers. If the dog tries to move away, position his rear end in a corner so he will not be able to back away from you. You can also get another person to help you hold the dog during the process.

Another way of doing this method is to sit on the floor or a bed with the dog between your legs. Position his rear end toward you with his head facing away. This way, you can keep him positioned more easily. As soon as you have the liquid medicine in, induce swallowing by carefully and gently holding the dog’s mouth almost closed and lightly massage his throat. You can tell that he has swallowed the medication when his tongue emerges briefly from between the front teeth. You can also make him swallow the liquid by briefly and gently putting your thumb over his nostrils.​

2. Prying the mouth open: Gently grasp the dog’s upper jaw using one hand and insert your thumb and fingers in the gaps just behind the fangs. For a tiny dog, just one finger is necessary along with the thumb. Most dogs will then relax their mouths a little so that you can easily pour the liquid with a dropper or a spoon between his front teeth. Make sure that his head is tilted back so that the liquid does not run down his throat. How to administer capsules and pills

When giving a dog solid medication such as capsules or vitamin pills, open his mouth by grasping around his upper jaw, just like what you would do for liquid medications. Hold the capsule or pill either between your thumb and the first finger or between the first and second fingers. Use the remaining fingers to press down the lower front teeth to pry the jaw open.

Once you have managed to open his mouth, put the medication into the throat and push it as far back as you can. Induce swallowing the same as you would when giving liquid medication. This method may seem awkward and difficult at first. But after a few tries, you will get more experienced and find it much easier and effortless.

7 Tips to Consider When You Walk a Dog

When people go to walk a dog, they don't consider the various obstacles that may stop them from having a pleasant walk. There are several things that can ruin a walk, but if you plan ahead of time and consider these tips it will be relaxing to walk a dog.

Tip 1: Training dog to walk on a leash

It is important that the when you walk a dog, they have been trained or are comfortable walking on a leash. Training dogs to walk on a leash is very simple because most are eager to just get outside and explore.

Tip 2: How many walks a day?

If you walk a dog a couple times a day for a half hour, they will get the energy out of them and go to the bathroom. You can turn it into a one hour ordeal, but splitting it up into morning and afternoon or early night walks allows them to get their energy out at different times of the day rather than all at once.

Tip 3: Social skills for the dog

When you walk a dog you have to remember that a walk is a social experience for them in a sense. Depending on the dog's obedience, allow them to greet other people and other dogs to build relationships. This will help their self-esteem and better their mood.

Tip 4: Restrict the dog

As mentioned in the previous tip, it is important to let them greet others and explore. However, it is important to restrict the dog to a point and maintain some kind of authority over it. You don't want the dog to be wandering onto other people's yards or running wild, so that is why training dogs to walk on a leash is important.

Tip 5: Cleaning poop

To clean up after your dog, it is important to remember to bring a plastic bag or some kind of pooper-scooper.

Tip 6: Vary the walks

As mentioned earlier, when you walk a dog it is the highlight of their day. By varying the route you take, this allows the dog to venture new surroundings and keeps them interested to explore new habitats.

Tip 7: Practice obedience skills

Walking a dog is fun for them, but you can also use it as a time to practice some of their obedience skills. Reviewing the basic skills allows them to enjoy themselves and learn at the same time. You want to be careful NOT to turn it into strictly an obedience time for them though, because it is there most enjoyable time of the day.

10 things you need to know BEFORE getting a dog

There are different points to think about whenever you are thinking about getting a dog for you or your family. You really want to match your new pets needs and personality to you and your family as closely as possible. Please, please, please, never get a dog on impulse. With any luck you're choosing a dog that is likely to be with you for several years. Select the right dog, and you will both enjoy all those years. Choose the wrong one, and you'll both regret it.

If you don't take the time to plan a bit ahead of time right now, you will probably regret it in the future. This is one of the main reasons that shelters are so full of unwanted pets today - and one thing that could easily be avoided. One good idea is to look for a dog rescue group or reputable breeder when choosing a dog - and to avoid getting a dog at a pet store.

This single decision can be overwhelming. The selection of available dog types is truly amazing. Did you know the dog comes in more than 400 different breeds? There is more variation among dogs than in any other animal species. Dogs can come in all shapes, sizes, coat types and personalities.

Your job is to find the perfect dog breed that fits both your personality and your lifestyle. So, here is a list of things, in no particular order, that you'll want to take into consideration when deciding on whether or not you should get a dog in the first place.

1) Why do you want a dog in the first place? Do you simply want a companion, a dog for protection purposes, a dog to participate in sports activities with, or some other reason? Again, you must research the breeds carefully. Example: if you want a dog that can be trained to duck hunt with you then a Corgi may not be the right breed for you.

2) Do you want a purebred or mixed breed dog? Unfortunately, many animal shelters and dog rescue organizations will have plenty of each. The main difference between purebreds or mixed breeds is that with the pure breeds you will have a much better chance of knowing how big he'll be once he reaches adulthood and what basic physical and behavioral characteristics he will probably have.

3) Learn all you can about the different individual dog breeds: visit local dog shows if possible to see many different dog breeds in one location, speak with groomers, dog breeders and your veterinarian. These dog professionals can all offer you more insight into various dog breeds - the good and bad of each, and can help you decide on a few dog breeds that you may be really interested in.

4) Are you already an experienced dog owner, or will this be your first dog ever? There are a lot of dog breeds that are not appropriate for a first time owner. Knowing all you can about the breed and what the breed was originally bred to do (it's original job) is a big step in understanding the dog and what you could possibly expect from it.

5) What is your lifestyle? Are you sedentary or are you very active? Some dog breeds require a lot of daily exercise – both mental and physical. A half hour walk given to a Basset Hound is no where near enough exercise for an Australian Shepherd. Researching many dog breeds thoroughly before getting one is truly essential.

6) Can you properly house your new dog? Dogs are very social animals and your new dog should really be part of your family pack - they really do better when they are a real part of the family. And the best place for your new dog is in your home with you. You should also have a securely fenced area for your dog to exercise in. Having your dog chained in the back yard is not proper housing and is also very cruel. Which brings up a new issue.....

7) How much time can you truly devote to your new dog each day? Can you really commit to the dog for it's entire life? What if you have to move? Add another child to your family? If you have children, are you ready to teach the kids to peacefully co-exist with the dog? If you can't devote time to raising the dog, making sure it is socialized and well trained for the rest of it's life, then please, do not get one.

8) Puppy or adult dog? Keep in mind, puppies require a lot more work than adult dogs overall. You will have to schedule additional time for puppy classes, training, socialization, and many other activities. Remember, these are babies. Housebreaking and teething are just a few of the things you'll have to go through with a small puppy, but not necessarily an adult dog. Training and learning is a lifetime activity. Attending one obedience class does not make your dog trained.

9) Can you afford to own a dog throughout it's entire life? Getting the puppy or dog is just the beginning. Now comes all the other things you'll need to get: vet checks, leashes, collars, extra toys, all sorts of treats, a crate and other necessary supplies, puppy shots every few weeks, training classes, food (the bigger the dog the more food you'll go through), medical emergencies, etc.

10) What about dog grooming? All dog breeds need grooming of some kind – even the hairless ones! Some breeds require only a few minutes of brushing once a day while others may require professional grooming. It's very important to know that all dogs also need regular attention to their teeth, ears and nails. Also, all dogs shed - some dog breeds may shed less than others but this is one fact you must accept.

I hope all these steps have gotten you to thinking that adding a dog to your life is no small thing. Impulse buying can often lead to trouble. It's your job as a future dog owner to think about both your life as well as several dog breeds to help decide on which breed is the best possible match for you - BEFORE you bring that new dog home.

Doggy Diets - Keeping Fido In Trim

In many respects, dogs are very similar to humans. For example, one of their biggest health problems is obesity. To many owners, a tubby dog is extra cuddly, but the fact of the matter is that a fat dog is an unhealthy dog! In much the same way as obesity affects humans, dogs too can suffer from diabetes exacerbated by over weight, and their life expectancy can be seriously shortened.

Some pet owners do not know if their dog is overweight or not. A layer of blubber around the dogs midriff does not mean it has a comfortable weight. A simple way to find out is with a simple visual check. Your should be able to easily feel the ribs under the dog's skin. If a dog is overweight then the will have a layer of fat over their ribs.

There are a number of factors that can effect a dogs weight. Over feeding is probably the most common, but lack of exercise can compound the problem of over eating dramatically. There are other factors too though, some not as obvious as those just outlined. For example, and depending on the age, breed and sex of the dog, conditions such as hyperthyroidism or hyperadrenocorticism can also play a part. If you suspect that you pet is overweight, then your first port of call should be to the vet, just in case something more serious is at play.

Once you have ruled out any serious health problems from the equation, you can start to deal with the other factors yourself. Make a plan of the quantity and quality of the food that you give your dog, and how many times you actually feed it. Many cheap brands of dog food are not fully nutritious, so one of the first things to do will be to get better quality food for your pet. If you have any doubts, talk to your veterinarian about the diet you give your dog, because they will be well placed to advise you with respect to the breed and age of the animal. If you do change your dog's diet, do so over a period of time rather than all at once. Let your dog's digestive system deal with the changes, especially if they are quite radical.

Treat your dog as you would treat yourself if you were on a diet. Cut out sweets for example, especially if they are high in calories. Make notes of exactly what you feed your dog, especially with respect to the calorific content. As with humans, losing weight is all about calorie deficit, and one of the first things to do is to check the dog's calorie intake. Try and avoid feeding your dog leftovers as well, even if they are used to having them. Human food has not been prepared with dogs in mind, and will often have higher calorie content than a dog should have.

The other side of the weight loss coin is adequate exercise. Dogs need to have a huge amount of exercise to remain healthy, far more than you take yourself, no matter how fit you are. If your dog is overweight, they should go for at least two walks a day, of minimum duration of 30 to 45 minutes each. This will depend largely on the size of your dog. If you have such a thing as a dog park nearby, then take your dog there. Play lots of games which involve you throwing and the dog running. Less work for you and more for the dog, but that is the way that it should be. And it can be fun too!

Try to look at a long term plan for your dog's weight loss, and not a crash diet. A gradual program will be more sustainable over the long term. Remember to record your dog's weight too, a keep an eye on progress regularly.

By and large, dogs become overweight by overeating and inactivity, much as we do. Follow the feeding guidelines set by your vet, improve the quality of the food you give your dog, and increase the amount of exercise and activity your dog gets. Following these simple rules will get your dog back to being the way that nature intended. They will thank you for it!

Dog Health Problems...Find Out Now.

As always, you need to be very involved within your dogs life. You must bring your dog to the vet to check its health, do this often. Your dogs main vaccinations: exams, worming, spaying, flea control are required to get done. Also, getting your dog neuterd. Do this to help keep your dog healthy.

Your dog cannot tell you when it feels sick. It is very good to get use to your dog's normal behavior. Any sudden change to his physical or social behavior may signal the onset of a dog health problem, and early detection may save your dog's life. If your dog gets sick, take him to the vet right away. Veterinary care protects your health as well as your pet's, as the dog may carry a disease that can be transmitted to people. The most dangerous and well-known transmittable disease by far is rabies, a disease that causes almost certain death if not treated immediately.

Get used to learning the signs of illness in your dog. A sick dog usually tires easily, drinks excessive amounts of water and/or refuse to eat. The other signs that can show are fever, runny or red eyes, dry nose, convulsions, and also dry cough. Frequent vomiting and loose bowel movement may also indicate a medical problem.

Parasitic worms are also a cause for concern as these parasites cause various dog health problems. Blood tests to check for heartworms should be included in your dog's annual checkup. These parasites are transmitted by mosquitoes and can cause serious illness. Your vet can prescribe you medicine that will protect your dog against heartworms.

Fleas and ticks are also a nuisance to your pet's health. They can cause anemia or paralysis. Keeping your dog clean and well groomed can help minimize this threat. Cleaning and dusting your pet's quarters with flea powder weekly can also help keep your dog free of fleas.

As an owner there are preventive measures that you can take in order to prevent dog health problems from manifesting. Make sure that you give your dog the best nutrition possible in order for him to develop a shield against common diseases associated with malnutrition or improper diet.

Keep your pet healthy and in shape by giving him plenty of room and time to exercise. Follow your veterinarian's vaccination schedule and regularly bring your dog for check-ups in order to detect any early signs of trouble.

Give your dog its regular prevention medicine for heartworm and other parasites. Always keep your dog well-groomed and clean. Brush your dog's teeth or give it a tooth cleaning treat every week to avoid any gum or dental problems. Most of all, do not forget to give your dog lots of affection and firm but fair discipline to help keep him mentally healthy and happy.

Your vet can tell you more about common dog health problems for your dog's particular breed, so make sure you ask about them on your dog's next visit.

Dog Obedience: 3 Basics You Never Want To Forget.

Teaching basic obedience skills to a dog can be exciting as well as challenging. Having problems on where to begin?

The first lesson in obedience is to get your dog to pay attention to the commands. You want to start by calling his name and then using a keyword like "watch" or "look" afterwards. This way, he will associate the words to a command. Once you've got his attention, the lessons can begin.

You want your dog to be able to pay attention for a short length of time.

Try keeping his attention by doing attention exercises. One example would be to hold a toy or dog treat in near your mouth and then give him the keyword command.

Each time he takes the time to watch, praise him. The more you do this exercise, the more time he should be able to pay attention to you. Try getting him to watch for at least a minute. Let him know that he is doing a good job by rewarding him. Dogs learn best this way.

Because dogs have such short attention spans, they get distracted pretty easily. Training sessions should only last approximately 30 minutes tops.

If your dog isn't learning very quickly, you may become frustrated. Don't take that frustration out on your dog. A few things to remember before starting your obedience lessons:

1) Never cause pain to your dog (this will cause him to shy away or become aggressive to you.)

2) If he begins to become distracted, change the tone of your voice (not raising it)

3) Consistency can not be stressed enough (animals are like children, if you're not consistent, they will become confused)

Teaching your dog basic obedience commands will make for a more obedient and more pleasant dog to be around.

The first command to start off with would be to sit. You must use the word sit while teaching him so that he can relate the word with the action. Start by gently pushing his backside down and saying the word "sit." Eventually he will catch on to the concept.

The second command is "down." Dogs can become pretty hyperactive when they get excited. Jumping up on their owner's lap is usually how they express their excitement.

When they jump up, tell them "down." Do not pet them or act excited to see them while they are on you. Continue to tell them "down," and even place their legs down if you have to.

Next is the command of "stay." This command is a good one to know especially if you have a rambunctious hyper dog. You can teach him stay, for example, by putting a treat or something desirable on the ground. As he moves toward it, tell him "Stay."

Another good idea would be to put your hand up while saying the word "stay." When he begins to become obedient in this area, you can move further away from him. This will cause him to become more daring and he will probably take a step forward to see how much he can get away with.

When he does this, continue to put your hand out and tell him "stay." He has to know that even though you are moving away, you can still see what he's doing and expect him to continue to obey.

After you've mastered the stay command, you will move on to the come command. Once your dog has learned to sit and stay, he will need a command to know when it's ok to get up and approach you.

They may be a bit confused at first, but with a change in the tone of your voice, he will soon understand. Put a little excitement in your voice when saying the word "come".

He will pick up on it. You might also want to pat your leg when you say come.

Stand is the last command to achieve. This is where your dog is allowed to get a little excited but not in a pouncing kind of way. When teaching your dog to stand, pat your hands on your chest and, once again, put a little excitement in your voice, so that he knows he's aloud, under certain circumstances. He will begin to know the difference.

Teaching your dog basic obedience, if possible, should be taught as soon as you and your dog are ready. Remember be consistent don't forget to have fun!

Don't Feed Your Dog These Dangerous Foods

Some of the foods which You eat can make your dog seriously ill.

Does your dog eat table scraps? Does he beg for food (successfully) while you're having a meal? Do you put the remains of your family meal into his feeding bowl?

Some of these foods can kill your dog!

NOTE: You will see that many of these foods cause similar symptoms, so it can be difficult to identify which ingredient is the culprit, especially if you feed your dog assorted table scraps or servings of meals which you eat yourself. Many of these foods cause damage to the liver and kidneys and may also affect the heart.

Chocolate: Most dogs love chocolate. It's so easy, when you're eating a chocolate bar, to give the dog a piece, just as a reward for being your friend. I'll bet the kids do the same.

Chocolate contains caffeine and bromethalin, both of which are poisonous to your dog.

Dark chocolate is more dangerous, because it is more concentrated. A dog can consume milk chocolate and appear to be fine because it is not as concentrated, but it is still dangerous. Dark Baker's chocolate is the most toxic to your dog.

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include difficulty in breathing, vomiting, arrythmia, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, tremors, staggering, fever, increased heart rate, and can result in seizures, coma and death.

Grapes and Raisins can cause acute renal failure in dogs. Just one serving of raisins can kill a dog. Symptoms to look out for are stomach pain, diarrheoa and a general tiredness and loss of energy.

Mushrooms can be deadly. Never feed your dog pizza or any other food containing mushrooms or let your dog chew on mushrooms found in your yard. Mushrooms are potentially fatal and affect various organs, including the kidneys, stomach, liver and can result in coma or death.

Coffee, Cocoa and Tea and indeed, anything containing caffeine (like chocolate).

Symptoms are similar to those for chocolate and include staggering, laboured breathing, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, tremors, fever, heart rate increase, arrythmia, seizures, coma and death

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener even a small amount can cause liver failure and death.

Dr. Eric Dunayer, who specializes in toxicology at The Animal Poison Control Center of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said that dogs ingesting substantial amounts of items sweetened with xylitol could develop a sudden drop in blood sugar, resulting in depression, loss of co-ordination, and seizures.

"These signs can develop quite rapidly, at times less than 30 minutes after ingestion of the product. Therefore, it is crucial that pet owners seek veterinary treatment immediately," Dr. Dunayer said. He also said that there appears to be a strong link between xylitol ingestions and the development of liver failure in dogs.

Pips and kernels of various fruits can contain cyanide! Whilst the fruit itself is perfectly good for dogs, care should be taken that they do not consume the pips and seeds. Pear pips, the kernels of plums, peaches and apricots, apple core pips all contain cyanogenic glycosides, which cause cyanide poisoning.

Tomatoes can cause tremors and heart arrhythmia. Tomato plants are the most toxic, but tomatoes themselves are also unsafe.

Onions and Garlic can be dangerous or even fatal, causing damage to red blood cells and to the liver and resulting in diarrhoea, vomiting and laboured breathing. Although garlic has the stronger taste and smell, onions are much more toxic but both are very dangerous.

Pizzas can be potentially dangerous because most of them contain either onions, or tomatoes or mushrooms, or a combination of all three.

The dangers of excessive salt in the diet of humans are well recognized and documented. With a much smaller body mass, dogs are particularly vulnerable to the same sort of cardiovascular problems and also to kidney damage.

In the same way that excessive salt is harmful to both dogs and humans, animal fat and fried foods are hazardous. Excessive fat can cause pancreatitis.

Macadamia Nuts and Walnuts: Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, muscle tremor and paralysis. Limit all other nuts as they are not good for dogs in general, their high phosphorous content is said to possibly lead to bladder stones.

Nutmeg can cause tremors, seizures and death

Avocados: The fruit, pit and plant are all toxic. They can cause difficulty in breathing and fluid accumulation in the chest, abdomen and heart.

Antifreeze is certainly not a food but it has a smell and a sweet taste which is palatable to dogs. It is very toxic to dogs and just a small amount can cause renal failure. When in any locality where vehicles are stored or serviced, it is safer to keep your dog on a leash.

Some Commercial Dog Foods contain toxins and poisons which are not neutralized in the rendering process and which are prohibited from human foods.

Flea Control

Fleas are found throughout the world. They are small, wingless, dark coloured insects that feed on warm blooded animals such as cats, dogs, rats, chickens, pigs and humans etc. There are many different types of flea, around 2000 known varieties, and although there are fleas that are considered specific to each host, these fleas will still bite and feed off other hosts. For example, cat and dog fleas which are particularly common will attack humans, and human fleas will attack pigs, foxes, deer and other animals. Fortunately, the human flea is now relatively rare, in the UK at least, and when it is found, it is usually in pig farms.

Well known types of fleas

- Cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis)

- Dog flea (Ctenocephalides canis)

- Rat flea (Nosopsyllus fasciatus)

- Human flea (Pulex irritans)

Fleas are extremely well adapted to their environment and their hard outer shell makes them difficult to kill by squashing or swatting alone. They move about very quickly and the anatomical structure of their legs means they can jump particularly high in order to reach an unsuspecting host or to move around 'obstacles' on their host such as hairs or feathers.

Any type of flea bite can cause itching, irritation and allergic reactions. The most common place for cat and dog fleas to bite humans is around the ankles and legs and indeed the bites may be the first sign that you have some unwelcome visitors in your home. The bites are usually felt straight away and appear as small red spots or weals, which are intensely itchy, particularly in those who are sensitive to the bites.

Fleas also carry disease so are undesirable in any circumstances. Probably the most famous outbreak of disease that was caused by fleas was the bubonic plague or Black Death which was carried by the rat flea and which terrorised the whole of Europe during part of the 17th Century.

If your dog or cat has fleas, it can very quickly turn into a major problem if not dealt with quickly and effectively. An adult female flea can lay as many as 100 eggs in a matter of days, which of course leads to hundreds of new fleas that are also able to lay hundreds of eggs. It doesn't take an in-depth knowledge of mathematics to work out that after a relatively short period of time, in the right conditions, you can potentially be dealing with millions of fleas.

How to control fleas in your home

If you have pets then there is every chance that you will have had to treat your pet for fleas at some point. Cats and dogs can pick up fleas whilst outside so there is not much you can do to stop this from happening but you can help prevent them from invading your home.

- Purchase an insecticidal flea spray for your pet and for your home.

- Wash all pet bedding and cloths and the area around where your pet sleeps regularly, as this is most likely where the flea will lay her eggs.

- Flea eggs can lie dormant in cracks and crevices just waiting for vibrations from a passer by to alert the flea to an available host so vacuum all the carpets thoroughly on a regular basis and steam clean the carpets from time to time.

- Brush or comb your cat or dog as often as possible as this will help to dislodge the fleas and eggs from your pets coat. Vacuum the surrounding area immediately afterwards.

- You can also ask your vet for other preparations that may help prevent fleas from settling on your pet in the first place

One of the problems associated with the control of pet fleas is that the fleas have become resistant to many types of flea control. So for example, even if your pet is wearing a flea collar, this alone will not necessarily protect your pet or your home from an infestation of fleas. In order to deal with fleas effectively, you need to treat the flea in its various life cycles, your pet and your home.

Housetrain Your Dog with Crate Training

Crate Training is most often employed in House Breaking puppies but can be necessary for adult dogs which are not fully housetrained. The crate may also be used to restrain a dog which is destructive when left alone.

The puppy will stay in the crate while he is not being fed or watched but each stay in the crate should be of short duration. When the puppy needs to go, take him to his usual area and give him the same command every time. Make a great fuss of the dog when he has completed his toilet.

Until housebroken, the puppy is either in the crate or is closely supervised.

Before the puppy goes in the crate, give him plenty of attention and play (and time for toilet), so that he is ready to rest and take it easy and goes into his crate willingly.

For maximum effectiveness, the crate must be just large enough for the puppy to be able to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. If there is too much space, the puppy might use the unoccupied end as a bathroom.

Crates can be either metal or plastic. A nervous or apprehensive puppy will likely be more settled in his crate if he can see all that's going on around him. A plastic crate is easier to clean and keep sterile - this is also a requirement for airplane travel.

As an owner, you must pay careful attention to the frequency of your puppy's need to go outside, so that you can anticipate his next visit. Even a confined puppy has a difficult time controlling its urination and defecation. Control gets better as the puppy gets older, but it is the owner's responsibility to ensure that the puppy has ample opportunities to eliminate outside the crate.

A comfortable bed and a favorite toy will make the dog much happier in his crate. Crate Training must not be a stressful experience for the dog.

Even an adult dog, when ill or affected by certain medications, can end up soiling the crate, making the dog uncomfortable both physically and mentally, if the owner isn't vigilant and aware of the dog's needs.

It is important not to misuse the crate by turning it into a prison. There is some disagreement among trainers regarding when the door of the crate should be closed. Some trainers advocate only closing the crate when the owner is in the house but others disagree.

Simple confinement is not the same as crate training. Somtimes the puppy has to be kept in his crate if he is not yet house -broken.

The crate is not designed for locking the dog in and leaving him for extended periods; if the dog isn't let out when it needs to relieve itself the training will be set back weeks or even months. To avoid this, make a diary of your puppy's frequency of toiletting.

When not confined, then make sure he is taken from his crate to your designated toilet area at these intervals. Being in a crate will not mean he needs to toilet less frequently!

No dog should ever be confined to a crate for a longer period than their owner can 'hang on' without needing to use the lavatory.

How to Choose a Good Obedience School for Your Dog

Everyone who owns, or who is deciding whether or not to own, a puppy wants their puppy to be properly behaved, housebroken, and trained.

Many people do not know all of their options when it comes to proper puppy training and obedience. Most decide to do the training all on their own, only to find out that it is not an easy thing to accomplish. There is another option, and this is obedience school; however, finding the right school for your dog can be challenging.

There are many factors which can lead to a dog owner wanting more obedience from the dog. Maybe you come home to find your house in total disarray with puppy urine all over, precious items broken, and furniture and shoes chewed up. Maybe you cannot have any visitors without first locking up your barking, yelping, and jumping dog. It could be that your dog just will not listen at all, even when you call him, and this means that you have no way of controlling your dog at all. Your dog might be a continuous barker, which can lead to problems with neighbors and even the police. Your dog could even be a danger to someone without your even realizing it. All it takes is just one mishap, and a dog who has no obedience whatsoever may not know how to control his fear or anger, and may lash out at someone else, causing harm to someone, and possibly even legal trouble for you.

Dog obedience school and trainers can accomplish a lot for both you and your dog. They will teach your dog basic commands, such as sit, stay, come. They will also teach your dog proper socialization skills when it comes to socializing with strange people and also other animals, especially other dogs.

Choosing the right school for you and your dog can be more difficult than you think. You want to find a school that offers the things you want for your dog, and also offers these things in a way that makes you feel comfortable. You want to know that your dog will be well-taken care of, and will be treated kindly and gently. After all, you are not sending your beloved friend to doggie boot camp. There are a few things to consider when you are looking for the right school for your dog.

One thing you should try to do is choose a school for which you have received great recommendations. Maybe you have a friend or acquaintance who has sent their dog to a particular school, and who can provide you with a good recommendation for the school into which you are looking. If you do not know anyone who is associated with a particular school that interests you, you can simply ask the school for a few names of people who have had their dogs trained with the school, and you can find out from these past "students" what they thought about the school. Having some knowledge of someone else's first-hand experience with a particular school is always a good idea, and it helps to give you more peace of mind.

Another good idea when choosing a school is to simply visit the school beforehand. Stop by on your way home one afternoon, and this will give you a better idea of how the school functions, whether or not the instructors are friendly and inviting, how the instructors work with the dogs, and the overall atmosphere of the school. These are all very important things to consider when choosing the right school.

Finally, you should get some basic information on how the school and training work. The best source of information of this nature is from the instructors themselves. Go to the school and request information about how the training is designed, how the instructors interact and work with the dogs, and any other questions or concerns you may have.

Following these simple steps will ensure your dog and yourself are happy with the choice you have made.

Pet Insurance For Your Animals - Do You Need It?

There are millions of pet owners in America but the vast majority do not have pet insurance; though these same people would argue that they are part of the family. Most Americans are quick to arrange their own health insurance; if that is the case, our pets should be looked after as well.

Considered by many as an unnecessary expense; that is until those pet owners face expensive vet bills when they are sick. The cost of taking an animal for treatment at the vets has become more expensive during the last ten years; to cater for this increase, pet insurance providers have increased they're premiums.

Pet health cover costs, like many other types of insurance plans, are on the increase; this should really be enough to make you think twice about delaying but this isn't the only reason. The fact is, the more animals you own, there is an increased risk that one of them will be involved in an accident or become sick; the more you own, the greater the chance is, and if this does occur a couple of times a year, you will soon see your savings reduce.

There may come a time when you have to consider the cost of medical treatment; Really, you should never have to think about how much it is going to cost.

A few years back, my vet told me treatment for our dog would cost more than a thousand dollars; the agony of making a decision like that is something I hope not to repeat. Especially when you know that even with the surgery and treatments, your pet could still die; operations on animals can go wrong sometimes.

The financial aspect of looking after a pet is something that must be considered carefully; no-one wants this to cause them financial problems.

Raising (sometimes) large sums of money can be prove to be financially embarrassing especially when you are have money problems; which could mean contacting a relative or friend for the money.

You can guarantee if you have money worries then you won't pay for the proper treatment of your pet; this situation can be avoided if a pet insurance policy is set up. The choice is yours, large vet bills or a pet healthcare insurance policy; for around 40 dollars (or Less) per month cost of medical care is assured.

You can choose from a range of pet healthcare services; this can even extend to offering multi-pet discounts. A loving pet owner should really be thinking about the level of healthcare in place for their pet; you may already be giving this subject some serious consideration.

Stopping the Barking Habit in Your Dog

All dogs will inevitably succumb to annoying habits. Most of these habits are habits which affect you, the dog's owner, and not everyone else. However, if you have a dog who continuously barks, day in and day out, this is definitely a habit that will affect many more than just yourself. This is a habit that may come to such an out-of-control point in which your neighbors may become quite perturbed, and this habit may even lead to some run-ins with your local police force, which is definitely not something you want to have to deal with.

Initially, people began domesticating dogs in order to use them as security or alert systems to give protection to the family who owned them. Now, such habits can become quite bothersome, especially in a dog who barks all of the time. The best time to teach your dog when and where barking is appropriate is when your dog is still a puppy, and before the barking becomes completely out-of-control.

There are many reasons why dogs bark. They bark if they are full of energy, if they are worried or tired, if they are alerting you to something or someone, and they also bark at strangers and other animals. Think of it this way. We, as humans, can say, "I'm tired," or "I'm scared," but dogs have no other way of vocally communicating, so this is their way of doing so. The key is to teach your dog other ways of communicating with you.

One of the main reasons dogs bark is for attention, especially dogs who are left by themselves for long periods of time, and then ignored when their humans return. Many dogs, such as terriers, are naturally lively and energetic dogs, and these breeds tend to bark far more frequently than others. Dogs, like humans, need interaction, love, attention, and relationships with their human owners. There is no point in owning a dog if you are simply going to leave it out in the dog house all day, only to feed it and yell at it when it barks too much. However, due to work or other circumstances, it is understandable that many dogs are left at home by themselves for long periods of time during the day or even night. This is okay if you find a way to interact with your dog when you are around. There are a few, easy ways of doing this.

First of all, try to help your dog get used to the idea that you do have to leave, but that you will always return. Start by leaving for short periods of time, and upon arrival each time, give him a minute or two of undivided attention, such as petting or playing. As your dog becomes used to this, gradually extend the periods of time in which you are gone. If you get your puppy the day before the weekend, for example, you could use the entire weekend to do this so that, come Monday when you have to go to work, your puppy will know that, although you will be gone for a while, you will come home.

Another idea is to keep your dog from succumbing to the tediousness of being along. Leave him with playthings, such as balls, squeak toys, stuffed animal companions, or something stuffed with kibble. All of these things will help to keep your dog busy during his day alone, and this will surely help to stifle some of the "boredom" barking that can be a result of loneliness.

The Top Ten Dog Obedience Tips

A new puppy is a wonderful addition to any household. They provide love, and hours of enjoyment and happiness. However, they can often come with some early teething problems. There's barking, potty training, chewing, and many more hurdles to overcome.

Be prepared, a new puppy does not come trained, so you will have to be the one to put your dog through some obedience training.

This article gives you the top 10 dog obedience tips on how to get your puppy trained and under control. Save yourself some time and frustration and read these tips. Put them to the test with your new puppy!

1. Use Praise and Correction effectively- If your new puppy does something right, give it praise- a pat or a snack. If your dog does something bad, make sure they know it. Don't abuse them though.

2. Repetition is needed- Your puppy is not going to learn something straight away. You need to exercise repetition of commands for each thing you want your puppy to be able to do.

3. Don't offer conflicting signals- You need to ensure that all people in your house offer the same signals for the same actions and treat your new puppy in the same way. Conflicting signals are only going to confuse your new dog.

4. Don't punish a dog if you haven't taught it something- Going on from the tip mentioned above, don't punish your dog if you haven't taught it how to do something. This is just confusing for the dog.

5. Have short training sessions- A puppy has a short attention span, so ensure that you keep any obedience training sessions short and sharp.

6. Take your obedience training slowly- Each dog will learn obedience at different speeds. Take your obedience training slowly and do not get frustrated. Your new puppy will pick up on your frustration.

7. Do obedience training with the dog yourself- Dogs are inherently pack animals and they look towards a leader. You need to make sure you are the leader they look towards.

8. Always practice obedience training- You could teach a dog obedience at all times. Teach them to fetch of a morning and sit before you feed them.

9. Only correct your dog if you see them doing something bad- Don't punish your dog if you think it has done something wrong. Only punish your dog is you see it do something wrong and immediately after you see it do something wrong. That way your dog will stop doing things that you don't want them to do.

10. Find out what motivates your dog- Is your dog motivated by doggie treats or is it more motivated by praise? Find out what motivates your dog and use that to help with obedience training.

Dogs are fantastic companions. But, a well trained dog is always better. Use the 10 tips mentioned above and you will be well on your way to having a well trained dog by your side.

Understanding the Many Moods of Your Puppy

Your puppy communicates in more ways than you might think. There is much more to a puppy's communication skills than just barking or wagging his tail. Your puppy has a variety of ways to express all of his moods. Your puppy can communicate with all parts of his body, and understanding some of what he is trying to say makes for a much happier relationship with your puppy.

The following is a helpful list of guidelines you can follow to determine the mood and body language of your puppy: A dominant dog will have his ears pricked up or leaning more to the front, its mouth usually a bit open, eyes wide and staring, body rigid, tail either rigid or puffed up, and will usually display a very low, aggressive sounding growl or bark.

A friendly dog will have his ears perked up, his eyes wide, a calm mouth, a constantly wagging tail, and will possibly be whining or playfully barking and may also be shuffling around a bit.

A playful dog will more likely than not be wagging its tail and a bit bent over, in a ready-to-pounce position. A submissive dog will have ears folded against its head, and possibly will have his eyes closed. A submissive dog looks mild and timid, and shows that it is not aggressive, and is definitely not playful.

An aggressive dog will have its ears flat against the head, narrowed eyes, a tense body, teeth bared, and a rigid or ruffled tail. An aggressive dog will almost certainly growl or bark.

A worried dog will whimper and bark repeatedly, with ruffled neck hair, and may even seem restless and unable to stop moving or pacing. A scared dog will lower its body, have a tail which is lowered and between the back legs, an arched back, he will not look directly at you but away to the side, and he will whine or bark fearfully.

A dog that is stressed will have his ears back and down against the head, have his mouth agape with fast breathing or panting, a tail between the legs, and will possibly be skittish and even visibly shaking.

Using these guidelines can help you in some basic training of your puppy. Knowing his mood can help you to determine how he is reacting to the training. When beginning your training, if your puppy seems playful and friendly, this is perfectly normal. Your puppy may even try to come off as a bit dominant towards you, and you simply need to be a bit more forceful. A bit of submissiveness is quite alright too. This is showing that your puppy knows who is in charge, which is quite okay. However, if your puppy seems scared, nervous, stressed, or aggressive, you should immediately stop your training and comfort your puppy. You do not want to give a negative feel to the training because this will lead to long-term problems with your puppy's obedience.

You can also use these guidelines for your puppy's moods to see how your puppy reacts to things in day-to-day life. You will soon learn what your puppy likes and dislikes, and this will ultimately lead to a happier puppy and a better relationship.

Veterinary Acupuncture Help 

Veterinary acupuncture is the treatment of pets like cats, dogs and horses.

Acupuncture is a part of Chinese medicine use to diagnosis and treat animals and people. This treatment is known as the traditional Chinese medicine. It is a holistic approach to the cure of chronic diseases in patients. This treatment considers the patient as an organism having unified energetic parts rather than considering individual body parts for the treatment. In veterinary acupuncture, animals are also considered as a whole-unit consisting of body, mind, diet, spirit, and environment.

Generally, the holistic approach of this medicine helps to explain this ancient medical approach. In conventional medicinal treatments, doctors tend to analyze the symptoms and according to the diagnosis, the physician addresses the problem by trying to cure the symptoms. On the contrary, holistic or acupuncture therapy looks at the symptoms and tries to find out the causes of the symptoms that are present.

The treatment is given only after the root cause has been ascertained by analyzing the symptoms. There are few competitors to western vererinary medicine, however this therapy is the next best thing by far. Holistic approach can bring good total health and welfare to your pets. Some times this treatment also includes the conventional methods. Traditional medicine treatment generally includes acupuncture and herbs along with certain other techniques to balance the body and allow the animals to cure.

Other techniques are also involved in the treatment of animals. Laser stimulation, electric stimulation and many more are common treatments. Acupuncture and herbal medicinal treatment have been in practice for thousands of years by the Chinese. The US has now greatly accepted this treatment.S, practitioners to cure animals as well as the humans. In this treatment, the accupoints are stimulated and then treated with the herbal medicines.

Accupoints are the points where the needles pierce the skin during acupuncture therapy. This piercing stimulates those points and the stimulation cures the diseases. This is the manual treatment to cure a disease. In the electric treatments, passing electric currents through the needles stimulates the accupoints. These needles are treated as the electrodes. The current passing stimulates the point. Another method to stimulate the points is by laser method.

These are the certain methods to stimulate the accupoints and treat the disease.

Acupuncture or traditional Chinese medicines are good for diagnosing diseases and treating them. Acupuncture shows the effects according to the time and after certain time the disease will cure. Although small pets like birds, ferrets and rabbits can be cured with this treatment, physicians generally treate animals such as cat dogs and horses.

Generally, the acupuncture therapy is done with the help of needles made of metal. The weight of the needle is about 28gm to 30gm. These needles are sharp and used to prick certain accupoints on the skin. Penetration depth of the needles in the skin of the animal is about 1/2" to 3/4". The penetration and stimulation of these points can help lead to the cure of the animal.

Why Dogs Do What They Do:

A Quick Study Of Normal Dog Behaviors

Dog behaviors can confuse human owners, which makes it that much more difficult to bond with them. Once you gain a better understanding of why dogs do what they do, however, you'll be one giant step ahead in the bonding and training process.

One of the first things to realize is that dogs come from the wolf family. Wolves are social animals that run in packs. All members have their status within those packs, from the dominant male to the submissive female.

Establishing roles in the pack is one of the most predominant dog behaviors that domestic dogs have inherited, along with other traits. Dogs like to know where they fit in the pack. That's why owners have to take the upper hand and become the leaders. Until this happens, bonding and training will be elusive.

Unfortunately, some owners are reluctant to take command because they're afraid they'll alienate their friendship and their dog won't love them. It's important to overcome this fear if you want to end up with an obedient and responsive dog. Understand that your dog will love you simply because you are his leader.

If left to find his own way, a dog will do his best to establish himself as the boss.

Dominant dogs will show their dominance by growling and sometimes biting their owners to put them in their place.

It's imperative for you to reverse this situation at the very beginning by showing your dog that he must take a lesser role in the social order.

Such dog behaviors as this are ingrained from birth as part of the animal's survival instincts. Leadership dominance isn't something that develops afterwards, although it can become a problem if not addressed.

A dominant dog will reject your training efforts because he believes he's in charge. He'll want to be out front when you take him for a walk. He'll want to call all the shots, which means he's more likely to ignore you and your commands.

He'll be the protector of the pack. Some dogs become too protective and can become a danger to others. You don't want that, so establish who's the boss from the moment you bring your puppy home. Dogs are quick to accept leadership from those who show authority and dominant traits.

They respond to actions that mimic or reflect their inherent dog behaviors. Your size alone will automatically show the dog that you are the dominant member.

By using a tone of voice that projects your authority and letting the dog know that you're taking charge, your pet will soon recognize and accept his role in the pack.

Dogs don't like confusion or vagueness. It makes them unsure and their actions misdirected. Once your dog knows where he stands, he'll be better prepared to obey and love you.

Remember, growling is one of the dog behaviors wolf pack leaders use to let others know where they stand. It isn't necessary for you to hit your dog or be a tyrant to send this message. Use an authoritative voice and be persistent in your demands and he'll soon get the point.

Another one of the dog behaviors worth imitating is touch, or affection. In the pack, wolves nuzzle each other to show how they feel and to get the other's attention. Mothers lick their pups regularly, not only to keep them clean, but to show them that they belong.

A pup that gets such attention is much happier and well-rounded than one that is ignored and rejected. He is better able to adjust to his changing world and the people and animals around him.

Such dog behaviors become your responsibility as the new pack leader. Keep in mind that from the moment puppies are born, they establish their adaptability into the pack by the things that are in their immediate environment.

By showing your puppy, or even an adopted dog, that they belong and are welcome, you can help ease their transition into your pack. A well-adjusted dog is much easier to train because he aims to please and take up his rightful role in the group. Naturally, the earlier exposure to the human touch and other dogs occurs, the more socialized he will become.

Be aware of why dogs do what they do and take appropriate action to let your pet know you are the leader. Approach your new companion with normal dog behaviors in mind, and you might be surprised how easy training and bonding can be.

Your Pet Emergency Kit for First Aid

Many of us have encountered stories about pets that have saved lives. But what about humans helping to save the life of a pet in case of an emergency? It is important to keep a first aid kit for your pet easily accessible both at home and in your car.

If you gather up all the necessary items ahead of time, and pack them in a convenient emergency kit or plastic bag, it could help save your pet's life.

Look for a durable water-resistant container that is large enough to hold all the emergency care items mentioned below, including a blanket, bandage materials like gauze pads, cotton, and adhesive tape. It is a good idea top keep a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and anti-bacterial ointment in the kit.

Your kit should include: muzzles, hydrogen peroxides, cotton swabs, masking or adhesive tape, antibacterial ointment, eyebrow tweezers, gauze pads and wrap, medicine or eye droppers to clean wounds or dispense medicines, a pair of scissors, forceps Kaeopectate diarrhea medication, and Ipecac to induce vomiting in case of poisoned. You might also keep some activated charcoal at any for poisoning or intestinal upset, and blankets to keep your pet warm in extreme conditions. And do not forget your veterinarian's name or number and the telephone number of an emergency veterinary hospital nearby.

A vacation with your pet calls for a little research on the town of your destination to see if there are any dangers. This might include snakes, poisonous plants, and it is a good idea to check the weather to make sure there won't be extreme conditions.

Even though prevention is the goal, should the unthinkable happen and your beloved pet is in an accident and hit by a car and killed, you and your family should be prepared for what you must think about next. You and your family need to have a plan for burial.

Growing in popularity worldwide, pet memorial companies are giving people many more creative ways to preserve the memories of their pets.

Every state has their won laws on pet cremation services which are usually offered through your veterinary clinic. The costs depend on the pet's size and are usually between $75 and $350.

Should your family choose to receive the pet ashes back from the crematorium, they must decide on private burial of the ashes outdoors, preservation of all or some of the ashes for an indoor urn, or the popular option of using a portion of the ashes to spread outdoors.

Designed to fit almost any budget, you may decide to choose a custom pet keepsake memorial box that is crafted to sit on a table, be kept in a special place on a shelf or mantle or to hang on a wall. There are also unique and artistic pet cremation urns, or engraved stone pet memorials and pet grave markers.

A number of websites are especially for grieving support, such as, who hosts a spot to create virtual pet memorials online to share with family and friends, including written tributes and photographs that honor their pet's memory in the. The most important thing to remember is to share memories of your pet with elegance and grace.

Teach Your Dog NOT To Bite Now

A dog or a puppy normally passes through the stage when they bite or chew on anything they can get their young teeth on. This is very similar to a human baby's teething stage. A puppy's teething can cause his gums to itch or hurt, and chewing on things relieves the discomfort.

In teaching your dog not to bite, you must identify the triggers that cause this, then concentrate on correcting these things. The following are tips on how to discourage the biting reflex while the puppy is still young.

1. Socialize your dog at a young age. When your dog is well socialized, he becomes more sensitive and considerate towards others, be they humans or other dogs. Biting might seem cute and harmless when your puppy is still very young, but it'll be neither when your dog is older and much stronger.

2. Consistency is the key to taking out this bad habit/behavior. Every time your dog bites, give him a big "NO" in a strong, firm and stern voice. Then immediately walk away and ignore him. This will slowly be ingrained in your dog's mind when you do this every time he bites.

3. Correct him, then reconnect. A moment after you correct your dog and when he has calmed down, pet him and gently stroke him. Tummy tickles are usually a great way of reconnecting with your dog. However, make sure not to excite him too much and this time make sure that you position your hands and arms away from his mouth.

4. Avoid Roughhousing. Remember always never to play roughly with a dog that is inclined to bite. Roughhousing encourages this behavior and it establishes biting in your dog's mind. Never let your dog misbehave in anyway. If you let him do so, your puppy may get the upper hand and grow up with very bad behavior.

5. Do not strike your dog when correcting him. It is not wise to strike a pup for being disobedient or aggressive. Just give him a stern NO warning whenever he strays out of bounds. Punishment through physical actions is the easiest way to breakdown any trust and respect that your pet has for you, and trust and respect are the foundation for a successful training program with your dog. Scolding or beating a dog will not stop it from biting; it will just scare and confuse him.

In difficult cases where your dog is very stubborn and continues to bite, you may then try the water spray bottle method. Keep a water spray bottle handy and squirt your dog's face with water while saying NO in a strict and stern voice whenever he bites. This will leave an impression on your dog. But do make sure that the nozzle is set to spray before doing this. The aim here is to startle your puppy.

On the other hand, praise your dog whenever he does something right.

Treats can also help promote positive behavior and give him an incentive to behave at all times.

If your dog is really proving to be hard to control then it is advisable to get professional help. People who have experience with different dogs can help your dog become a good member of society.

Leaving A Dog Alone Is Cruel

A new puppy, or an older dog that's been adopted, needs care and attention, especially when it is new to the home. Leaving a dog in alone unfamiliar surroundings for hours at a time is cruel and will cause problems for you and him. You need to organise someone (not necessarily always the same person) to visit several times a day, to let him out, otherwise you're putting in "solitary". Dogs are pack animals and they crave companionship. All dogs need social contact and exercise. If they are deprived of any of these, bad behavior will almost certainly occur - and it's not the fault of the dog.

Boredom and separation anxiety will manifest itself in destructive behavior and soiling of the house. Just ask yourself, how long could you tolerate being alone, with no books, no TV, no personal contact and no room to move around? How many trips to the bathroom do you make in the course of a day? Putting the dog in a crate is only part of the solution. This will prevent any destructive behavior such as chewing furniture or personal possesions but won't solve the puppy's psychological problems, or his need for toilet breaks. Getting your dog to think of the crate as his own safe home or "den" will relieve his anxiety but you must take care of his toilet needs. It's necessary to consider the breed characteristics. Some breeds are more dependent on human company than others and this can be a big influence on their reaction to prolonged separation.

Similarly, the more active breeds will suffer far more from long periods of confinement. Imagine a border collie, shut up for long periods with no mental stimulation and no exercise! In no time at all, you'll have a very neurotic dog indeed. So, if your dog has to be alone in the house for large parts of the day, as a minimum you need; 1) a place (probably a crate) where he can feel secure and comfortable with some toys and familiar objects; 2) some arrangement, possibly with a neighbor or friend who is familiar with the dog, for periodic breaks for toilet and a little exercise; 3) provision of drinking water, preferably just before the toilet break; and 4) some stimulation, such as a radio talk show or some music.

Toys can be a great distraction and comfort for your dog. There is a huge choice of toys which can keep him amused and allow him to chew to his heart's content. Buy a good number of toys, which will allow you to rotate them. Some toys allow small treats to be hidden in them, keeping him interested for longer. It is vital that your dog learns that chewing anything other than his food or his toys is a definite No. It is best to limit his chewing to those toys which are specifically designed to be safe. Any other approach can make the dog confused. If you give him an old sneaker to chew, you can't blame him if his next choice is one of your brand new business shoes. Some trainers advise leaving one of your old garments in the crate with the dog. He may not be able to distinguish this from your best slacks. It may be better to leave a few garments near the crate but out of reach, so he can feel the comfort of your scent. As your dog becomes more accustomed to his routine, you may feel confident in leaving the crate door open but shutting him in one room, then gradually expanding the areas he's allowed in (making the bedrooms last, or not at all). At the very minimum, you should ensure that he gets some freedom and exercise before everyone leaves for the day and when you return home, that he gets plenty of play and more exercise (with some fun training thrown in).

Dog Skin Problems - Raw Diets

Dogs do not have the same reaction symptoms homosapiens do. A dog's reaction to an allergy often comes in the form of dog skin problems, such as excessive itching and biting as well as producing a poor quality coat of fur. Anal itching and chronic ear infections can also be signs and are something most pet owners don't think of as being allergy related.

While dog skin problems and allergies can be caused by many things, allergic reactions to food are very common. Food reactions may take years for symptoms to develop, even if you have been feeding your dog the same food.

Once dog skin problems or other allergy symptoms do begin appearing, it's a good idea to check your pet's diet first. You do this by simply taking away their customary food for several days and giving them a diet that consists of protein and starch. A good diet to try is lamb or rabbit mixed with rice. Do not give them anything else during this test period.

When the signs improve, go back to giving your dog its regular nourishment and take notes. If the dog skin problems or other problems return, you know it's something in their food.

Next you return to the test diet above, but start adding one new ingredient each week. For example try chicken one week, beef the next, wheat, then corn. If symptoms get better, for example with beef, you know that beef is not the cause of the allergies. If they get worse, then there is a good chance that you've revealed the culprit.

Even if you find that your animal is allergic to one ingredient, it's important to continue this process with all elements because your dog could be allergic to more than one thing.

Once you discover what your dog is allergic to, you can start to look for commercial foods that do not contain those ingredients. Some of the best alternatives with brand name dog food are foods that are made with lamb and rice. Both lamb and rice are considered hypoallergenic (as long as it does not have wheat or corn.).

Do not restrict yourself to just commercial pet food. Many pet owners have used a raw food diet with vast success for treating dog allergies. This natural style of diet consists of raw meat, raw bones and raw vegetables.

You can find out more material about the raw food diet for dogs by doing a quick search on the internet. (If your dog is already on a raw food diet, you should still use the test diet outlined above and substitute ingredients.).

Dog skin problems, reactions and food all boil down to one basic fact.

Your dog's diet is the basis of a long, comfortable and joyous life. You need to get the best dog diet information available and take a proactive stance so your pet does not have to needlessly suffer.

A Guide to Dog Training

Before beginning any dog training regimen, it is a good idea to look into all available options. There are several different types of dog training regimens, and finding the one that is right for you and your dog is the most beneficial course of action you can take. There are basically five different types of dog training: puppy preschool, basic training, intermediate training, advanced training, and finally the Canine Good Citizen training.

The first, puppy preschool, is for dogs five months of age and younger, but no earlier than six weeks of age. This training is just a puppy basics course that lasts about six to eight weeks, and it teaches your puppy how to properly socialize with people and other animals. It also begins teaching basic commands, such as sit, stay, and come.

The second step in dog training is the basic training. This is for puppies that are at least five-months-old, and it lasts about eight to ten weeks.

This is, as its name states, a basic course for training your dog the basics, such as sitting, staying, coming, heeling, and how to walk properly on a leash.

The third course is the intermediate training. This course is designed for dogs at least five months of age who are already familiar with the basic commands that were either taught in a basic training course or taught by the owner. The course lasts anywhere from eight to ten weeks, and it is a more detailed course, which teaches, more meticulously, how to follow basic commands, such as staying for a longer time, and it also teaches puppies to follow, not only its owner's commands, but also the commands of others.

The next step in dog training courses is the advanced training. This course is also about eight to ten weeks in length, and is again, a follow-up to the previous courses in a much more rigorous and detailed form. This course is only for dogs that have successfully completed the three previous courses, and it teaches more advanced commands, such as how to walk without a leash. This course is the final preparation for the last course.

The final, and most advanced course is the Canine Good Citizen training course designed for dogs who have mastered all of the previous courses, especially all aspects of the advanced course. It is only designed for dogs that are extremely well-behaved and can flawlessly follow commands. The course can last for several weeks, and it can only be completed if your dog can pass an extremely tough training test.

You should definitely keep all of your options open, and look into each of them thoroughly. You may only opt to have your puppy train with these courses until he is able to follow basic commands, or you may decide to have your puppy follow all the way through each of the courses until he is a perfect doggie citizen!

6 Possible Reasons Why Your Dog Is Being Aggressive

One of the most common queries we get from subscribers to our newsletter is how to curb and eliminate their dog's aggressive behaviour.

Quite recently in the UK there have been two highly publicized cases of very young children being attacked by dogs (the same breed in both cases) and one sadly led to the death of the child in question and resulted in the aggressive dogs being put down by the authorities not long after.

In response to this I've put these 6 pointers together to show you what is normally responsible for aggressive behaviour in dogs.

Dogs that bite or show aggression toward people outside the family group usually feel insecure about their relationship with their owners and/or their property, or have been frustrated relative to people at barriers, on leashes, etc.

Some of these dogs may have been mistreated by strangers or former family members, often not known to the owners.

Pack (family) and property protection tendencies naturally begin to appear at about 6 months of age.

At this time the dog may show slight signs of hostility toward outsiders who threaten the integrity of its property or group.

This sort of aggressive behavior may become extreme under the following circumstances:

1. The dog's owners do not have a uniform leader relationship with the pet (dog is submissive to some, dominant toward others).

2. The family has very few visitors.

3. Fear, hostility or aggression is commonly shown toward outsiders by family members (often by the children).

4. At the dog's first signs of hostility toward outsiders, the owners encourage rather than discourage such behavior.

5. The dog has been frightened or teased by outsiders.

6. The dog has been shut away from the family when guests visit often because of other types of misbehavior...

One way of training your dog to stop an annoying behavior pattern is to use substitution.

One kind of substitution is to put an activity you approve of in the place of one you do not.

For example, teach the dog who jumps up on people that sitting, not jumping, gets her the attention she's looking for. And importantly, you have to be consistent.

If you don't want your dog to jump up in greeting, as much as possible don't ever allow her to.

If you have a dog that has a bad habit of snapping at people, especially children, then you should first understand what this behavior means and why your dog may be doing it.

Snapping is usually thought of as being a signal that dogs use to drive other dogs or people away, without biting them or inflicting serious injury.

Often considered an expression of irritability, snapping is also a form of communication that females use to keep their puppies from pestering them.

It is natural to expect dogs to use snapping as a form of communication with people.

Dogs will usually not snap at adults to, whom they are subordinate.

And with adults who are snapped at, it is usually only their hands that are at risk. With children, however, snapping can be dangerous, because a child's face is often level with the dog's head.

Regarding a dog's tendency to snap at children, the experts say: "This question deals with a dog's tolerance for being poked, pulled, and handled by children, not always as kindly as we might like.

Snapping is a characteristic that differs in prevalence from males to females, at least to a minor extent.

In general male dogs are more predisposed to snap than their females counterparts.

A Blind Dog In My House

First, let me tell you how my dog became my dog.

Dukie belonged to my husband's son. He was a birthday gift to my stepson from his girlfriend. Unfortunately, my stepson was not able to raise a dog, so he gave him to my husband.

Dukie is a black lab, a big but lean black lab. He is loveable, gentle and funny. He thrived in our household because we already had two other dogs, one golden retriever, and one other black lab.

They all got along just beautifully. No fights just play time all the time. I started noticing

Dukie bumping into things, getting "lost" when out and running around. He had one bad eye already; he hurt it on a stick when he was a puppy. Anyways, I took him to the vet, and once I let him off the leash in the examining room he promptly walked into a wall.

Well, I really got scared at this point. The vet checked him out, and low and behold, my Dukie was blind. I couldn't believe it. My vet sent me to an eye specialist, and sure enough Dukie suffered from a degenerative eye disease. I freaked, I thought this is it, now I have to put him down.

My eye specialist sent me back to my own vet, and forwarded the information to him. The vet calmed me down and said no way do you have to put him to sleep. He said "Look how well he has handled his blindness so far? And, the vet was right. I mean, I didn?t even know he was totally blind.

So began our live with a blind dog in our house. The thing is, if you do not move the furniture around too much, and things pretty well stay where they are, you won't even know your dog is blind. At least not with Duke. He walks around the house like he is king. He goes in and out of his dog door and wanders around the backyard no problem. I take Duke out for car rides, which he loves, and for long walks, and for bike rides.

Although I have stopped the bike rides, I noticed more and more that he does not like speed. I think it makes him feel unbalanced.

Duke loves company; he does get hyper and excited when they come though. I suppose because he does not see them, he has a need to lean right against them. But, a few minutes after greeting them, he just goes back and does his own thing.

When he gets exited he does tend to get "lost?; he loses his sense of where he is. But, he finds it again fast enough.

He still gets along good with our other dogs, and our neighbours dog. However, he no longer likes it when strange dogs come and say hello to him. I suppose being blind and not seeing the other dog poses a threat to him. So far, that has been his only negative reaction to being blind.

When I move furniture, or get new furniture I make sure I introduce duke to these changes. He adapts very fast.

When walking, I forget he is blind, and I can have a tendency to walk him into fences, hedges and poles. Duke is the perfect dog to take for walks. He doesn't pull, he heels and he doesn't see those cats or squirrels on our walks.

He is a favourite with the kids. He loves kids and is very good with them. And, most important, he is my husband?s dog. My husband has advanced MS, and Dukie will spend hours with him. He often ?steals? my husband?s couch. When my husband gets in his wheelchair to go to the bathroom then Dukie hops right up on his couch. Duke has his own mini couch beside my husband, but, to Duke, that is not the same thing at all. It is a job getting him off the couch again. Cookies help. The two have become inseparable buddies.

I would recommend a blind dog any time from my own experience. Duke had been a wonderful part of our family, and he has not been any trouble whatsoever. So, if you dog is going blind, or you have the opportunity to adopt a blind dog, do not hesitate, they also make great pets. My Duke still does.

Feeding Your Dog

Regardless of size, all dogs need a diet with a moderate balance of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Carbohydrates (corn, rice, wheat, and soy are examples) should make up about 50% of the diet, and proteins (meat and meat by-products) about 20%. Necessary vitamins include the complexes of A, B, C, D, E, and K. Minerals include calcium, potassium, sodium, and magnesium, plus trace amounts of many others.

Almost any "premium" brand of dog food will contain the balanced nutrients your dog needs, so don't worry about reinventing the wheel. Avoid cheap brands, as they often contain fillers that provide no nutritional value to your dog. Remember, anything your dog eats that isn't used by his body will be coming out the other end. A higher- quality dog food will cut down on waste volume.

Dry dog foods are healthier for your dog, as canned and semi-moist foods can contain up to 75% water, color-enhancers, and preservatives. Dry foods also exercise your dogs teeth and gums. Canned and semi-moist foods can be given occasionally as a treat, however, without doing any harm. In fact, it surely does some good, because who isn't happier (and therefore healthier) after the occasional dessert?

Dogs are omnivores, and most will eat fresh vegetables and non-meat table scraps.

Over-consumption of any one food item can cause symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, and sometimes death, so be certain that vegetables and table scraps are given infrequently as treats, and are not the dog's main food source. Broccoli has been known to cause these symptoms when small amounts are ingested, so it should be avoided.

Other foods that are dangerous to your dog are chocolate, sugar, mushrooms, and alcohol. A good phone number to have handy is the National Animal Poison Control Center at 800-548-2423, in case you're ever in doubt about something your dog has eaten.


Arthritis is a condition in which an animal’s joints become inflamed, often accompanied by pain, heat, and swelling in the joints, and it usually results in increasing stiffness and immobility. It doesn’t have to mean a poor quality of life for your pet, however. The signs may be hard to spot at first: your gray-in-the-muzzle Labrador retriever takes a little longer to get up in the morning, or your fuzzy Persian doesn’t jump as high as she used to.

As time goes on, it becomes more and more clear that your pet is having a hard time moving, and soon you realize that she is in pain whenever she walks, jumps, or even sits up. It can be a hard moment for a pet owner—learning that the animal you love has arthritis. Arthritis is a condition in which an animal’s joints become inflamed. It is accompanied by pain, heat, and swelling in the joints, and it usually results in increasing stiffness and immobility. It doesn’t have to mean a poor quality of life for your pet, however. There are medications, therapies, and ways you can accommodate your home to help your pet be more comfortable and enjoy her life with you.

Step One - Your Veterinarian

The first step in caring for your pet with arthritis is making sure the disease is diagnosed correctly. The symptoms of arthritis can be hard to distinguish—animals can’t complain about their aching joints, so all that pet "parents" see is a response to pain. Animals with arthritis might avoid the activities they used to enjoy, stop jumping onto the furniture, or they might nip or seem upset when touched. Some animals may become depressed or change their eating habits; others may simply seem grumpier than usual. These symptoms can also indicate very serious problems, however, such as hypokalemia (low blood potassium) in cats, cognitive dysfunction, or certain cancers. To be sure your pet is healthy, it’s important that you take you pet to the veterinarian if you suspect she has arthrit is.Your veterinarian can also help your pet by finding out what kind of arthritis she has, using a combination of a medical history, physical exams, X rays, blood tests, and occasionally tests on the fluid inside the joint or MRI imaging. Though it is relatively uncommon, sometimes arthritis can be caused by a bacterial infection inside a joint or an autoimmune disorder. These are treated with different medications than the more common osteoarthritis. Arthritis caused by hip or elbow dysplasia can sometimes be treated surgically. Your veterinarian needs to rule out these options before you move on to treating your pet’s arthritis.

Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease, is the most common type of arthritis in animals as well as in humans. Most elderly dogs and cats suffer from osteoarthritis to some degree. Over time, the cartilage that cushions joints wears down and bones start rubbing against each other. As the condition progresses, the friction can wear down and damage the bones themselves. This kind of arthritis can occur anywhere there is a joint, though it is most common and causes the most pain in the weight-bearing joints like the shoulders, hips, elbows, knees, and ankles. It can be easily seen in large-breed dogs, because their frames have to carry the most weight, but cats and smaller dogs are affected as well. Though there is no cure for osteoarthritis, it can be managed well through medical treatment, environmental adaptation, and diet and exercise.

Treating Your Pet Right

After diagnosing your pet’s arthritis and determining the severity of the disease, your veterinarian will decide which treatment will be most effective in treating her. In recent years, many new medications have made the treatment of arthritis much more promising. Your veterinarian might prescribe steroids and anti-inflammatory drugs to decrease the swelling in joints and make movement easier. Some veterinarians also recommend dietary supplements, which fortify the cartilage in damaged joints. It is very important that you not try to medicate your pet’s arthritis on your own, however, as human anti-inflammatories and supplements can be dangerous for animals.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is toxic to cats, for example, and cats metabolize aspirin extremely slowly and are easy to overdose.Surgery is also an option for some animals with arthritis, particularly younger animals. Veterinary surgeons can try to reconstruct joints to give them more stability, or they may perform an arthroscopy to remove chips of damaged bone. In some large and medium breed dogs, veterinarians will chose to replace the entire hip joint. In cats and smaller breeds, they may recommend removing the top of the femoral (upper leg) bone—the leg muscles are able to compensate for the loss. In some extreme cases, where joints are very painful, unstable, and immobile, a veterinarian may perform arthrodesis—"fusing" the joint together.

Your veterinarian will be able to tell you how viable surgery is for your animal—depending on your pet’s age and general health and the progression of the arthritis, surgery may or may not be an option.Many pet owners and veterinarians are turning to complementary or holistic therapies to reduce arthritis symptoms. Acupuncture is becoming increasingly popular as a treatment for chronic pain, for example. Some practitioners support the use of herbal supplements and antioxidant vitamins. Massage is also gaining support, as it benefits animals both physically and emotionally. Because arthritic animals have such sore joints and muscles, however, massages can be painful for them if performed by an untrained person. Ask your veterinarian how to massage your pet without hurting her tender joints, or take her to a trained animal massage therapist.

Making Life a Little Easier

Even with treatment, arthritis makes animals less able to deal with the physical challenges of their world, whether it be slick floors, steep steps, or cold drafts. As your pet’s human "parent," however, you have the ability to take some of those challenges away and make it easier for your furry friend to cope. A few alterations around the house can help your arthritic pet to move around more easily and confidently.

  • Keep litter boxes and food and water dishes at a comfortable height, easily accessible, and on a non-slip surface such as a rubber bath mat or a piece of indoor-outdoor carpet. In a multi-level house, keep them on every floor.
  • Supply a padded surface to cushion your pet’s joints while she sits and sleeps. Pet store dog and cat beds will work, as will bean bag chairs and old mattresses. Place the padding in a warm, draft-free spot.
  • Make slippery surfaces like wood or linoleum floors safer with non-skid runners, available at most home improvement and hardware stores.
  • If your cat’s litter box has high sides, cut a cat-sized opening in one side to let him step in and out easily, leaving one to two inches at the bottom to keep litter from spilling out.
  • Ramps can help animals make it up and down stairs, on and off the porch, on and off the couch, and anywhere else where the jump may be too far for their sore joints. You can construct your own ramp with a sheet of heavy plywood covered in indoor-outdoor carpeting. Just make sure that both ends are completely secure when your pet is on the ramp, and be sure that the angle is not too steep.
  • Some pets that are too stiff to use the stairs will try to use them regardless, possibly falling and hurting themselves in the process. Supervise your pet when she is using the stairs, and use a baby gate or sheet of plywood to keep the steps off limits the rest of the time.
  • If you have large dog, a homemade sling can help you support a little of her weight as she tries to move around. Slip a long, wide strap made of leather, canvas, or a thick, durable fabric under her chest and hold one end in each hand. You can pull up on the ends to help her stand up and get her balance; you can also use the sling to help your dog into the car and up the stairs.
  • A little warmth can help a sore animal get through a long night. Consider wrapping a hot water bottle in towels or tucking a microwaveable heating pad into your pet’s bed.
  • If your pet is used to spending time alone in the yard, be sure you have a clear view to keep an eye on her. Pets with arthritis are vulnerable to attacks from other animals, they can fall and injure themselves easily, and they can become very stiff in cold or damp weather. Stay by the window and watch them when they’re outside; even better, sit outside with them.
  • Groom your pet regularly. As animals lose flexibility in their joints, they can’t reach around to scratch or groom themselves the way they used to. Cats, particularly, may develop matted or dirty fur—very upsetting to a finicky feline! Regular brushing will help your pet feel comfortable and allow you to spend some quiet, affectionate time with her.

There are other ways you can help your pet at home.

Think about how she spends her day, what she likes to do, and where she has to go. Think about what you can do to make each activity less strenuous and safer. If she has a favorite place to sleep, consider how you can help her get there. If she wants to climb upstairs with you to watch TV, try watching TV downstairs. You have the best awareness of your pet’s specific needs, and you may be inspired with some creative solutions!

Keep them moving.

Once you have modified your pet’s environment, you can modify her lifestyle as well. A little exercise can go a long way toward making your pet more comfortable. Light activity helps strengthen muscles, keeps ligaments and tendons flexible, prevents obesity and helps blood circulate to stiff joints. Many arthritic animals move more easily and with less pain after they "warm up" with a minute or two of walking or gentle playing. Your pet may be reluctant to move at first—it can be hard to convince animals to get up when their joints are aching. You may have to provide an incentive—trail Kitty’s favorite feather toy across the floor or fill a Kong ball with food for your pup and make him chase after it.

Make the exercise as positive an experience as possible by including lots of petting and affection before and after, or perhaps a healthy treat afterward. Exercise has a flip side for arthritis patients, however. While a little moderate exercise is vital to your pet’s health, exercise that is too strenuous can cause damage to their joints. You may have to keep a close eye on your pet to prevent her from overexerting and injuring herself, particularly if she has always been used to a lot of activity. Monitor her while she’s exercising—watch for signs of exhaustion or pain, and stop the activity if you notice any discomfort.

Your pet will also benefit from a healthy diet and weight management.

Obesity makes arthritis hard to manage. It increases the stress on an animal’s joints and makes it harder for them to move. Arthritis patients do well on high quality diets, fed in controlled portions, which maintain their weight at a healthy level. If you can’t feel your pet’s ribs easily, consult your veterinarian about dietary and exercise management to bring her weight down to normal.There are a lot of options for coping with a pet with arthritis, and sometimes they can be overwhelming. Your closest ally in your battle against the disease is your family veterinarian. Talk to your veterinarian: he or she will know which treatment or combination of treatments is best for your pet’s individual needs. Most importantly, try not to get discouraged.

Arthritis may well change your life with your pet, but it certainly doesn’t mean that that life is over. You may not be able to jog with your dog like you used to, for example, or get your cat to jump up after his feather toy, but you can replace these lost activities with time spent petting, grooming, massaging, or simply being near your animal friend. As you spend time caring for your pet with arthritis, you may find your bond with your pet actually increasing. Your energetic, playful friendship may eventually be replaced with the joy of a gentle, caring life together.

Pets With Disabilities

As veterinary medicine advances, veterinarians are able to help an increasing number of animals with serious problems, and these animals are living longer than ever before. The number of animals with disabilities, chronic diseases, and other conditions that require special care is constantly rising, and these animals are beginning to find a special place in pet owners’ hearts. "Animals are amazing in their ability to recover and adapt to life with a disability," says Dr. Robin Downing, an AAHA veterinarian in Windsor, Colorado.

"Often it’s much harder for us as people to get over our prejudices about special needs pets than it is for the animals to get over their disabilities." In addition to practicing veterinary medicine, Dr. Downing travels around North America to discuss pets with special needs and how pet owners and veterinarians can help them live happy, comfortable lives. As Dr. Downing teaches her audience, disabilities no longer have to mean euthanasia for animals. Most pets with special needs can live very well with the help of their owners and some changes to their environments.

As people learn how to care for their disabled pets and see everything that pets with disabilities can accomplish, they can begin to realize that the most unusual part of these animals is not their limitations, but rather their abilities.

Less obvious needs

Some of the most common problems animals live with are not immediately visible. Conditions like diabetes, heart disease, kidney failure, seizures, cancer, and cognitive or developmental problems can impact the quality of an animal’s life, though they are not commonly recognized as disabilities. All of these conditions can be managed however, by loving pet owners working together with veterinarians. Kidney failure, for example, can be life threatening if not treated, but it can be managed quite well with a prescription diet and drinking plenty of water.

Owners can compensate for their pets’ lower kidney function by making sure they eat less protein. Heart disease can be managed with medication to equalize the animal’s fluid balance and proper, carefully monitored exercise. Diabetes can be controlled through diet, exercise, weight control, and blood sugar monitoring. Seizures can often be reduced with prescription medication.

Animals with any of these conditions can often live very well, when their human families and veterinarians work together to modify the pets’ lifestyle, environment, diet, medication, or a combination of the four.Many animals with mental retardation or cognitive function problems can do quite well with a little extra attention from owners, though results can vary widely depending on the pet’s condition.

Dr. Downing’s cat Kramer was born with cerebellar hypoplasia--part of his brain did not fully develop. He can think and reason as well as any other cat, but he has problems coordinating the movement of his legs, and he often stumbles and falls. When he does, he simply picks himself up again. "He was born this way," explains Dr. Downing, "and he’s never known any other kind of life. He doesn’t know he’s different from any other cat." Kramer mostly lives his life as a normal cat, but he does require some protection from staircases and other precarious places where his falls could be dangerous.

ArthritisOsteoarthritis is one of the most common pet ailments, affecting four to five million dogs (the number of cats with arthritis is unknown). To pet owners, it can seem debilitating, as it can cause dogs pain and keep them depressed and inactive. Arthritis does not have to mean a dog has to live in pain, however. It is a good example of a condition where a few small adaptations from owners can allow pets with special needs to live full lives. Family members can help protect arthritic dogs from injury by providing ramps for the pets to get in and out of cars and on and off furniture. Owners can carry small dogs in their arms or in backpacks when going on long walks. Mild exercise can keep animals’ joints loose, though owners should be careful not to overexert their dogs.

A good diet and weight maintenance will help arthritic dogs as well; obesity puts extra strain on their joints. Finally, nutritional supplements and medication can keep dogs’ joints in shape and control pain. None of these lifestyle modifications are very serious or difficult, and they can help a dog with arthritis live a relatively active life.

Special sense pets.

Pets that lose their sight or hearing can adapt much more easily than people, but they need to live in an environment that has been carefully modified. Blind animals, for example, need to be protected against hazards they cannot see. Owners should put child gates at both ends of the stairs, in case the pet becomes disoriented and walks in the wrong direction. Blind animals should only negotiate the steps when supervised. Blind pets should only be outside when supervised as well, because they can become frightened or disoriented, and they can wander off if a gate blows open.

Also, owners should also try not to move their furniture very often, so their pets can know where objects are as they move around the house. With the help of these safety measures, pets can adapt remarkably well to blindness. Cats and dogs can learn to navigate through familiar environments by smell and by memory. Sometimes animals’ behavior will change so little when they go blind that their human families will not even realize it, particularly if the blindness occurs gradually. Blind animals can even learn to take walks in unfamiliar areas.

Owners should walk them with a body harness, instead of a collar, because it provides more body contact and a sense of being securely connected. It may take some time for a blind animal to feel safe walking in strange places, but most will learn with time. "Once blind animals learn to trust their owners," says Dr. Downing, "they’ll follow them anywhere.

"The primary challenge with deaf dogs is that their owners cannot guide or signal to them verbally. Deaf dogs need to be supervised and kept on a leash whenever they leave the house, as they cannot be called back and they cannot hear traffic or other approaching dangers. Deaf animals can learn to follow commands, however. They can be trained using a combination of eye contact, facial expressions, touch, and hand signals. Some deaf dogs can even learn to understand elements of American Sign Language. Owners can also communicate with deaf dogs through touch and vibration. Pet owners use a lot of creative methods to call their deaf dogs, including remote control vibrating collars, stomping on the floor indoors to cause vibrations, and flashing a flashlight or the reflection from a hand mirror.

Dr. Downing tells the story of Shadow, a German shepherd born deaf and without eyes. Even without sight and hearing, he communicates well with his human family. He understands the commands "down, sit, and stay," which his owners give to him through touch. He is a sweet, good-natured dog, gets along well with the new baby in the family, and is, in Dr. Downing’s words, "very, very happy." He even runs around with excitement when it is time to go for a walk—which his owners signal by letting him smell his leash and halter. He tears around and around in a tight, two-foot circle, having learned not to run into the furniture.Three-legged petsOne of the most visible pet disabilities is a missing limb.

However much it stands out to humans, though, animals hardly seem to notice the loss of a leg. Animal amputees may need a little time to adjust and may have some initial balance problems: cats may have some trouble balancing in the litter box, for example. They also lose their ability to defend themselves: outside animals should move inside to live a more protected lifestyle than they did when they had all four legs. With time however, animals can adjust amazingly well to the loss of a limb. They can often move almost as well as they ever did.

Dr. Downing’s three-legged cat "jumps up everywhere the four-legged ones jump and has no trouble keeping up with them." In fact, the best herding dog Dr. Downing has ever seen is a three-legged border collie. Dr. Downing watched this dog, along with mounted cowboys, herd 800 cows and calves down out of the mountains in Wyoming.


Paralysis can be one of the most challenging, and widely varied, pet disabilities for owners to cope with. Modifying the environment is relatively simple: stairs should be barred with child gates, and animals should be confined to an area in the house where nothing on the ground (such as children’s toys or rough concrete or stone) can injure them. If pets are dragging their rear legs behind them, owners may want to cover the rear legs with bandages or fabric to prevent damage to the skin. There are also wheelchairs available for dogs that can help them be remarkably mobile. The dogs pull themselves forward with their front legs while the chair supports the back half of their body. The chairs are lightweight and have large, thick wheels. They can move across bumpy terrain and even through shallow water without slowing down.

Even with these adaptations, however, animals’ ability to adjust to paralysis depends on their size, age, personality, and their human family’s ability to cope with the physical demands of their care. Small animals that are paralyzed are generally easier to care for. Owners can carry them easily or put them in backpacks to be carried long distances. It is also simpler to control their bodily functions. Animals with completely severed spinal cords will not have bladder or bowel movements unless their bladder and bowels become overly filled.

Veterinarians can show pet owners how to express--or squeeze--the bladder and stimulate the colon to empty them regularly. This is done by pressing and massaging the pet’s abdomen, and it is not terribly difficult in cats and small dogs. Caring for large dogs--over 35 pounds--becomes more challenging. It can be a "delicate dance," says Dr. Downing, to lift and carry big dogs and to hold them correctly while expressing their bladder and colon. The process requires cooperation from the dog and strength and patience from the human family. It is not impossible, though: Dr. Downing has seen paralyzed dogs weighing upwards of 90 pounds do very well, when they have human families that are physically able to lift and carry them.Dr. Downing travels all around North America with her feisty paralyzed pug mix Frankie, whom she describes as "a potent little illustration of an adapted lifestyle." He has his own wheelchair, and he moves around quite well.

When he’s not rolling on his own, Dr. Downing can carry him comfortably. She can also manage his bodily functions conveniently. She’s trained him to balance his front paws on a toilet seat while she expresses his bladder and bowels into the toilet bowl, making him easier to travel with than most fully-abled dogs. He attends Dr. Downing’s presentations about special needs pets and meets her audiences, showing them just how lively pets with disabilities can be. He is a joyful and friendly ambassador for animals with special needs, not to mention as fearless, stubborn, and regal as a Doberman Pinscher. "Not only does he not know that he’s disabled," says Dr. Downing, "he doesn’t seem to be aware that he only weighs nine pounds."Duke and MistyThese two German shepherd mixes are perhaps the best example of how well special needs pets can live with a little help from their human friends. Joyce Darrell, the founder of the online Pets With Disabilities support group, began her work with disabled pets when her puppy Duke broke his spine and became paralyzed in his rear legs.

Six months later, Darrell heard of another paralyzed dog that had been in a shelter for five years. She decided to adopt Misty as well, and she has "never regretted the decision for a minute." Though neither dog had ever been in a wheelchair, both adjusted within a matter of weeks. The dogs lead extremely active lives: they camp, travel, and go nearly everywhere with Darrell and her husband. Both dogs act as volunteers for Maryland’s Pets on Wheels program, traveling around the state to schools, nursing homes, and other groups. They love to chase tennis balls, which the much bigger Duke usually catches first and holds just out of Misty’s reach while she hops on her front legs. Duke goes jogging with Darrell several times a week, and sometimes he runs faster than she can keep up with. The dogs can stay in their wheelchairs for several hours before they get tired; they can move around at home without the chairs by pulling themselves with their front legs. At home, they stay within a safe area walled off with child safety gates, and they keep each other company. "They’re inseparable," explains Darrell. "They’re soul mates."Duke and Misty attract a lot of attention in public, and are constantly making new friends.

A lot of strangers come up to Darrell and her husband to ask questions about the dogs, and children from the area "hitch rides" with Duke when Rollerblading. They hold on to the back of his wheelchair and he pulls them around the neighborhood. They even get along well with able-bodied dogs, once the other dogs get used to the rather alarming wheelchairs. All this gregarious activity has its problems: the dogs have run over a lot of feet, gotten their wheels caught on mailboxes and fence posts, lost their balance, and knocked each other over countless times. "You have to keep a close eye on them when they’re in the chairs," Darrell explains.

She’s also had to maintain her sense of humor in some uncomfortable moments. When the pair were invited to appear on the Later Today show, Duke had a bowel movement on the set just before taping. The Darrells have learned to keep cleaning supplies on hand at all times, however, and had everything sparkling clean by the time taping began.There are unforgettable moments as well. When Darrell and the dogs were visiting a nursing home for Pets on Wheels, one resident in a wheelchair took to the Duke and Misty immediately. She petted them and talked with Darrell about their handicaps.

When Darrell and the dogs left to visit other residents, the woman wheeled herself after them and followed them around the building, chatting the entire time. Later, the activities director told Darrell that this woman had not spoken in months and had never wheeled herself outside of her room before. This, says Darrell, is "the power of disabled pets."Clearly, people can learn to have wonderful, rewarding lives with their disabled pets. To do so, however, pet owners will need help to fill the needs of their furry friends.

If you are considering taking on a special needs pet, it is important that you consult your veterinarian. Every family and every pet is different, and veterinarians can discuss very specifically what a pet needs to adapt to life with different physical abilities. Not every disabled pet will be able to live in every home. Dr. Downing points out, for example, that a 70-year-old woman living alone with a paralyzed 80-pound collie may not be physically able to care for it. Your veterinarian will help you make the best decision for you and the pet you love.Caring for disabled pets can be a challenging part of pet owners’ lives, but taking the time to help animals in need can bring wonderful results.

For Dr. Downing, the truest sign of the rewards of special needs pets was when a visitor came to her home and met her 12 cats and 5 dogs, all sweet, friendly, and gentle animals. After spending some time getting to know them, he told Dr. Downing he knew her secret. He looked over her menagerie--the cat missing a leg, the cat missing an eye, the Great Dane with cancer, the pug in the wheelchair--and smiled. "I know what you did," he said. "You kept all the best ones for yourself."

Ticks Don’t Jump, They Climb

What Are Ticks?

Ticks are small, eight-legged parasites that must drink blood in order to survive and reproduce. Ticks don’t fly, and they can’t jump (unlike fleas). In fact, ticks are more closely related to spiders and mites than to “insects” like fleas. Of the hundreds of tick species, approximately 80 are found in the United States. Ticks can feed on a variety of hosts including birds, dogs, cats, and people. 

Why Are Ticks a Problem?

If a dog is heavily infested with ticks, the parasites can drink enough blood to cause anemia (severe blood loss). However, ticks are mostly a concern because of the diseases they can transmit to their hosts. Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are among the dangerous diseases that ticks can transmit to your dog. Although people can’t catch these diseases from dogs directly, infected ticks can bite people and transmit them. If your dog is exposed to these dangers, chances are that you and your family may also be at risk for exposure.

How Do Dogs Get Ticks?

Despite a very popular myth, ticks don’t fall or jump out of trees onto a host. However, ticks can climb, and they tend to attach themselves to shrubs and blades of tall grass. They can also live in dens of rodents and other small mammals. One species of tick can even live indoors. When a host walks by and brushes against the grass or shrub where the tick is waiting, the tick climbs onto the host. Once on a new host, the tick eventually finds a location to attach and feed. For some diseases, like Lyme disease, a tick must be attached for several hours in order to transmit the infection to a host. This means that if you check your dog (and yourself) daily, you have a chance of finding and removing any ticks before they can transmit Lyme disease.

How Can I Protect My Dog From Ticks?

Keeping your dog out of wooded areas, tall grass, and other tick habitats is a good way to reduce the risk of exposure. However, this can be difficult for many pet owners, especially if they share an active outdoor lifestyle with their dog. Effective tick control products can be used on dogs to help protect them from ticks. There are many options, including spot-on liquid products and collars. Your veterinarian can recommend a safe and effective product for your dog. Remember that ticks are successful parasites that can be difficult to kill. Even if you are using an effective tick control product, you should still check your dog daily for ticks and remove any as soon as you find them. You should never remove a tick with your fingers. Tweezers work well, but be sure to grasp the tick close to the head and pull gently to avoid leaving the mouthparts imbedded in the skin. There are also tick removal tools that are very easy to use. Avoid using lighter fluid, matches, or other products that may irritate the skin or cause other injuries to your dog. When in doubt, ask your veterinary care team for assistance removing the tick.

Why Are Ticks a Problem for Cats?

It may be tempting to dismiss the importance of ticks on cats, because cats are less likely to be diagnosed with Lyme disease and some of the other diseases that ticks transmit to people and dogs. However, there are still reasons to be concerned about your cat coming into contact with ticks. If a cat is heavily infested with ticks, the parasites can drink enough blood to cause anemia (severe blood loss). Additionally, if your cat brings ticks into the house, your family members could be exposed to Lyme disease and other diseases that ticks can transmit if they bite people. Ticks can transmit a disease called cytauxzoonosis (pronounced sight-oh-zo-uh-nosis) to cats. This disease causes serious illness and even death in infected cats. Cytauxzoonosis is actually caused by two parasites. The first parasite, an infected tick, bites a cat and transmits the second parasite, a single-celled parasite called Cytauxzoon felis, to the cat. Once infected with Cytauxzoon felis, the cat may develop severe clinical signs, including

  • High fever
  • Lethargy (tiredness)
  • Appetite loss

The infection progresses very quickly (over a period of days) and many infected cats die from this disease.Less commonly, cats can also contract tularemia from tick bites. Signs of this disease include:

  • Loss of appetite

  • Oral ulcers

  • Fever

  • Enlarged lymph nodes

  • Painful abdomen

Humans can become infected with tularemia if they are bitten or scratched by a cat with the disease.There is a popular myth that cats groom themselves so frequently and thoroughly that they remove all of their ticks. However, ticks can attach to the face, ears, and other areas that are difficult for cats to groom. This means that even a cat that grooms meticulously can still have a problem with ticks.

How Do Cats Get Ticks?

Despite a very popular myth, ticks don’t fall or jump out of trees onto a host. However, ticks can climb, and they tend to attach themselves to shrubs and blades of tall grass. They can also live in dens of rodents and other small mammals. One species of tick can even live indoors. When a host walks by and brushes against the grass or shrub where the tick is waiting, the tick climbs onto the host.

Once on a new host, the tick eventually finds a location to attach and feed. Cats that roam or hunt rodents and small mammals are likely to be exposed to ticks, especially if they have access to wooded areas. However, even indoor cats can be exposed to ticks if dogs or humans bring ticks into the house.

How Do Cats Get Ticks?

Keeping your cat indoors can reduce the risk of exposure to ticks. If you have other pets that go outside and can bring ticks into the house, use an effective form of tick control and check them daily for ticks. If your cat must go outside, limiting exposure to wooded areas, tall grass, and other tick habitats is a good idea. However, this can be difficult if the cat roams freely and has access to these areas.

Safe and effective tick-control products can be used on cats to help protect them from ticks. There are many options, so ask your veterinarian about the best choice for your cat. Remember that ticks are successful parasites that can be difficult to kill. Even if you are using an effective tick control product, you should still check your cat daily for ticks and remove any as soon as you find them. You should never remove a tick with your fingers. Tweezers work well, but be sure to grasp the tick close to the head and pull gently to avoid leaving the mouthparts imbedded in the skin. There are also tick removal tools that are very easy to use.

Avoid using lighter fluid, matches, or other products that may irritate the skin or cause other injuries to your cat. When in doubt, ask your veterinary care team for assistance removing the tick.

Benefits of Natural Products and Holistic Pet Care

There are a number of reasons for choosing natural pet foods, treat and supplies. First, the use of natural products is consistent with a holistic view. A holistic approach considers all factors regarding your pet's health. A natural diet reduces contact with unnecessary chemicals and preservatives while increasing the intake of quality nutrients and vitamins. Quality natural foods can reduce the onset of a variety of health problems, including allergies, digestive troubles and more. Holistic care also looks at an animal's surroundings for ways to improve health. Lowering potential causes of stress, such as loneliness or territorial conflicts, can be helpful in improving overall health. Sufficient exercise and grooming are also elements of good holistic care. Holistic treatment of exciting conditions by use of natural products will promote faster healing as natural ingredients are generally absorted better by your pet and thus speeds the healing process. Another reason for using natural pet products is the reduction in human exposure to toxins. Most pets are in frequent contact with people; especially children. Contact with a pet can mean exposure to whatever is on your pet. Use of natural products such as shampoos, and repellent reduce the harmful effects toxins can have on your pet. Flea and tick treatments may contain toxins that affect people as well as pets, whereas natural treatments avoid these risks. also, natural products breakdown and are absorted into the environment better than chemical agents and, consequently, are more earth friendly. 

Furry Tails' products are all natural and organic even our Ginger's Favorite Treats are all natural. Try our Nuvet pet supplements, we are proud distributors of these products.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Puppy Picking

First, consider your available space. If you live in an apartment, you can rule out large dogs. Look for dogs in the Toy group, such as Yorkshire Terriers, or some of the smaller dogs in the Terrier group, like the Miniature Schnauzer.

If you have children, you may want to rule out very small dogs, such as Chihuahuas or Maltese. They are delicate and can be accidentally injured by young children. On the other hand, very large dogs, such as Boxers or Saint Bernards, can be overly boisterous and can accidentally turn your child into a human bowling pin. Consider medium-sized breeds, such as Fox Terriers or Lhasa Apsos.

Next, Consider how much exercise you can give your dog. If you have a home with a fenced yard, your dog will be able to get some exercise on his own.

However, dog breeds in the Sporting, Hound, and Herding groups are very high-energy animals, and they will need intensive daily exercise. Plan to take a lot of long walks with your dog or go for a daily romp in the park. After all, these dogs were bred to work hard, and they don't do well unless they have a job to do or a way to burn off excess energy.

Also, don't forget to consider grooming needs. Some breeds need only half an hour or so of grooming a week, while others require an hour a day. If you are short on time, don't buy a Standard Poodle, or a Maltese--unless you plan to take your dog to be groomed. Breeds like Boston Terriers or Whippets are good choices for people who don't have time for a lot of grooming.

Once you decide which breed you want, you will need to consider the age of the dog. Many people opt to buy a cuddly little puppy instead of an adult. While puppies have the advantage of not yet having developed any bad habits, it will be up to you to be sure your puppy is housebroken and obedience trained.

Do you want to buy a puppy? If so, you will need to find a reputable dog breeder who has a litter of the appropriate breed. Often, a good breeder will have a waiting list for puppies. If you aren't the patient sort, you may be tempted to buy a puppy from a pet store. A word of caution--many pet store puppies come from puppy mills and have genetic health defects, bad temperaments, and other problems. It is usually safest to buy a puppy directly from the breeder.

Older dogs are usually housebroken and frequently have some obedience training. They are also less likely to be hyperactive and destructive. However, they can have behavioral problems or health problems that prompted the former owner to find them a new home.

If you are interested in an older dog, you may want to visit your local animal shelter or call a breed rescue. These groups evaluate the dogs' health and temperament before adopting them out. Once you've picked the breed and the dog, you have one more important decision to make--what to name your new best friend!