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June 2015

Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks - Training Your Rescue Dog

 by petbucket on 25 Jun 2015 |
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  If you have adopted an older rescue dog, you will be giving them a second chance at the life they deserve. The thing is, they might come along with their own baggage. The good news is that you can train a rescue dog if you stick with it and have the patience to see them through the process. Here are four things that you need to do as your rescue dog's new owner to get them ready for a basic level of training.   1. Gaining Your New Pet's Trust A big part of training your new rescue dog will be getting them to feel comfortable and a part of their new pack. Your new dog will start to feel more comfortable when routines for feeding, bedtime and exercise are established. Use play and feeding to gain your dog's trust and use these as positive interactions to get your dog used to their new surroundings.   2. Garner What You Can About Your Dog's History Your dog's past will always be a mystery, but if there is any information you can gather about their previous environment you might be able better understand your dog's needs. If your dog was always in an outside environment, you can be more patient with housebreaking. It they were always with other dogs, you might even want to think about adopting another dog as a buddy.   3. Training for Owners as Well Get your dog in to see a professional trainer and be sure to have one-on-one lessons without other dogs present. If you have a dog that may be overly anxious or aggressive, a trainer will be able to teach you tips on how to calm you dog and establish dominance. A lot of training and guidance will fall into your hands, so you need to be ready to teach your dog how to be a part of your family and what the expectations are.   4. Get a Vet Visit In A veterinarian can assess if there are emotional or cognitive problems with your dog. There might be some problems with your dog that you can't undo, but it is good to know so that you don't lose patience and can switch training tactics if needed. If your rescue dog has physical limitations such as blindness or hearing loss, work with your vet and trainer to try different training methods.   If your rescue dog has come to you with little training or has behavior issues, it is still up to you to keep them safe and you under control. This might be a slow process, but is worth the effort once your dog starts to relax and become a part of your home. Most dogs want to learn and have your approval - you just have to know how to ask for it.

Super Foods for Dogs

 by petbucket on 17 Jun 2015 |
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By Amber Kingsley When temperatures are on the rise, many of us worry about keeping our furry friends cool during the summer, especially during heat waves that sometimes seem to last forever. Even humans can have trouble cooling off, but we don’t have to wear fur coats all day long either.   But for most dog breeds, their coat can be compared to our home’s insulation, keeping it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Please consult with a professional groomer before making taking drastic measures, like shaving your dog. Animals with light-colored skin and hair can also be more susceptible to sunburn and other unhealthy skin conditions if their hair is too short.   So how can we help keep our dogs both cooler and healthy in the raging heat? Using some of the superfoods found in the infographic below, along with another popular new trend, coconut oil, along with these tips, can help keep Fido from frying in the heat. Coconut Oil   This popular new super substance is gaining popularity with more people today for its many health benefits that can be found from both consuming it internally as well as applying it externally and the same is true for our dogs. While fleas and ticks can be less active in hotter summer months, mosquitoes and the heartworm virus they carry, come out in full force. Coconut oil can be combined with other essential oils and non-toxic ingredients to make an effective insect repellent. A cool bath with added coconut oil can be a cooling, soothing way to make your dog’s coat and skin healthy and shiny.   Many dogs actually enjoy the taste of coconut and some pet owners are adding it directly to their diets, but others are adding a drop into each section of an ice tray, adding water and once frozen, they watch their canines play and crunch on these tasty, healthy coconut-flavored popsicles. If you’re worried about a possible choking hazard, add a few to their water dish instead.   A Nice, Cold Carrot   If you think your dog might not enjoy eating fresh vegetables like carrots, think again. I once owned a dog that loved this healthy orange treat and would chew on one for quite a while before eventually devouring all the shavings. A nice, cold carrot straight from the fridge can be a healthy summertime snack for many dogs.   Pumpkins and Sweet Potatoes   Some other orange (and purple) tinted favorites include sweet potatoes and pumpkin, which can both aid in a dog’s digestion. Slices of a sweet potatoes directly from the refrigerator can replace processed treats for many dogs. Solid pack pumpkin, the cans that some people buy to make homemade pumpkin pie, can be portioned and frozen for a cool, summertime snack. Avoid buying the brands with added sugar, spices and other additives.   Juicy, Delicious Blueberries              This antioxidant packed berry can be a big hit for some dogs, but beware, it has been known to cause stomach issues or food allergies with a few select canines. For a summertime treat, try adding a little bit of milk or water to some frozen blueberries. As they start to melt, the liquid becomes slushy and it can become like a fruity slushy or ice cream. Same warning as above, some dogs don’t tolerate dairy very well, so be careful.   You should always check with your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet, but it’s a pretty safe bet they will approve with some healthier food choices for your beloved pet. Check out the other superfoods that are good for our pets on this infographic, “7 Superfoods to Add to Your Dog’s Diet.”

Pet Safety: How to Dog-Proof your House and Garden

 by petbucket on 10 Jun 2015 |
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By Austin Hackney     Before bringing a new dog home, you should make sure that your house and garden are safe. There are many risks to your dog's health that can easily be avoided with proper planning. Not only do you want to keep your dog safe in your home, but also you want to keep your home safe from your dog. A curious puppy can get into all sorts of mischief, from digging up plants to chewing furniture.   The best way to keep both your dog and your home safe is to be vigilant. If your pet is left on his own, then he should be in a proper kennel, a pen, or a room that has been specially prepared in advance.   One thing to look out for when making a dog-proof back yard is for escape routes. Don't underestimate your dog's curiosity. That little, wet nose will sniff out all sorts of trouble given the chance. Check all your fencing, gates, hedges and other garden boundaries. Make sure there are no gaps that your dog could squeeze through. Are walls and fences high enough to stop your dog from jumping over and into the street?   Think about sheds and stores. Young puppies can get stuck behind or under garden buildings and be difficult to extract. Dogs enjoy sniffing, though what they are mostly looking for is something else to eat. Keep all temptations out of reach. A dog might give anything "the taste test," including weed killer, bleach and foods that can do him harm, such as chocolate or dried fruits. Never leave a dog unattended by a barbecue, as the combination of tempting meat aromas and hot coals could be dangerous.   Tools and sharp objects should all be properly stored and secured. Gardens can also harbor poisonous plants. A garden pond could be fatal to a young puppy and should be securely fenced off. Always make sure there is a shady spot in the yard on hot days and never leave your dog outside alone.   There are also risks inside the house. It is sensible to allow your dog only limited access to your home. Fitting a stair gate to stop him sneaking up to bedrooms is a good idea. Most dogs, especially puppies, should have a play pen where they can be left safely when you go out. The pen should be the right size for your dog. It should be secure and furnished with a dog bed, water bowl and toys.   When your dog is at liberty, be sure your trash bins are secured. This is especially important in the kitchen where last night's chicken leftovers might lead your pet astray. You should train your dog to leave alone, but in the meantime consider getting bins that can be clipped shut. Medicines, cleaning fluids and electrical goods can all be risk factors. Keep everything well out of reach and locked away.   Anything left lying around the house within your dog's reach is potentially hazardous.  Newspapers can be chewed up, plastic bags swallowed. Shoes, books and gaming consoles may be destroyed. Having a dog-proof place for everything and keeping everything in its place should be the priority.   Training your dog to understand where he can and can't go, and what behavior is and isn't acceptable to you, will help keep him and your property safe. But even a well-trained dog can get into trouble, so always keep an eye out.   The safety precautions needed to create a dog-proof house and garden can seem overwhelming at first. However, much of it is common sense. It soon becomes second nature, leaving you free to enjoy your pet's company in a safe and secure environment.

Matted Fur and Curly Claws - Caring for an Elderly Cat

 by petbucket on 05 Jun 2015 |
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Pets, like humans, are living longer and just like humans, their needs change over the years. When your cat was a kitten, his or her needs may have been few, but now that your cat has reached the twilight years, he or she is going to need greater consideration to ensure a good quality of life.   Why are cats living longer?   Cat food now has greater nutritional content with foods that are suited to individual conditions, such as coat maintenance, dental care and even obesity management. Veterinary care has also improved and there is the benefit of increased uptake of pet insurance that makes previously uneconomical medical treatments affordable.   When does a cat become elderly?   A cat is thought to be middle-aged when he or she reaches 7 or 8 years old. As cats age faster than humans, a cat can be considered elderly or senior when they reach 10 or 12 years.   Common symptoms of old age   Noticeable symptoms of old age in cats include a deterioration in the look and feel of the fur, with the coat becoming less glossy and threaded with white hairs. Skin is less elastic and there is slow but noticeable weight loss. In behavioral terms, an elderly cat will sleep more often and for longer, but may experience nocturnal wakefulness, when they prowl the house and yowl loudly. They may also have impaired eyesight and hearing.   Alternative toilet arrangements   An elderly cat will be slower on their feet than a younger animal, and so may feel vulnerable if required to urinate and defecate outside. It is, therefore, kind to place a litter tray inside the home for their use. Avoid trays that have high sides as an elderly cat may have difficulty lifting their legs due to arthritis.   Feeding and associated conditions   An elderly cat's diet requires less protein and more calorie content than a younger cat needs, so you may want to start your puss on a dry food that has been developed specifically for elderly cats. Hyperthyroidism is common in elderly cats; with this condition, the cat seems to eat constantly, yet lose weight. Weighing your cat frequently will enable you to keep an eye on their weight and register any sudden weight loss. Also keep an eye out for your cat drinking more than usual, as this can be a sign of kidney disease.   Grooming   Elderly cats will lose joint mobility and may, therefore, be unable to groom themselves as well as they once did. You can help them to groom by brushing them two or three times a week with a cat brush or comb. Remember to be gentle, as their bones will likely be quite prominent. An elderly cat is also not likely to use a scratching post often and this can result in claws growing long and curling under, possibly penetrating the soft pad of the paw. Keep an eye on claws and clip them when they grow too long, ensuring that you do not clip them too short and cause them to bleed.   Your elderly cat needs care and consideration to enjoy the longer life scientific developments have gifted them with. Making a few changes in your home and being extra vigilant regarding their feeding habits and behavior can alert to you any issues and help prevent these becoming problems.
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