Friday, April 25, 2008

Pet Advice Column for April

You love your pets and only want what is best for them. This monthly advice column is designed to give you advice on a variety of pet issues.

Is it really necessary to brush my dog’s teeth?

Yes, it is important to brush your dog’s teeth. A dog’s dental health can actually affect the health of your dog. If your dog’s teeth are not healthy, he will not be able to eat nutritious food. Obviously, not eating healthy will affect his health.

Plaque will begin to build up on a dog’s teeth. Plaque consists of a mixture of saliva, food particles and bacteria. Plaque begins to harden over time and change into tartar. If nothing is done to care for your dog’s teeth, tartar will spread to his gum’s which could result in gum infection. At this point, a tooth will loosen and eventually fall out. This is not a good thing to happen to dog.

Brushing a dog’s teeth is rather easy. There are actually special toothbrushes available for brushing your dog’s teeth. Brushing his teeth is the best way to prevent infections and tooth decay. However, for those dogs that simply refuse to let you brush their teeth, there are chews and special bones available that will rub on the sides of their teeth.
How can I get my dog to stop barking all of the time?

A dog who barks continuously can not only drive you crazy, but it is probably driving your neighbors crazy, too. It is quite normal for a dog to bark on occasion, but if he barks constantly, you need to determine what could be the cause of all of this “dog talk”!

Is your dog bored or lonely? If so, you could spend a little more time with him. Take him for a walk twice a day. If you have a park nearby, pull out your dog stroller and take him for long walk. Get him used to people. Some dogs simply just need to be around people.
Is your dog territorial? If so, you could teach your dog the quiet command. To do this, allow him to bark two or three times. Then you should say “quiet” and find a way to startle him to stop barking instantly. An example would be to squirt him with a squirt gun or shake something loud like a chain or glass full of money or candy. This is not to scare him, by any means. It is only intended to get his attention so that you can say “quiet” ‘good ________ (name)”, and give him a treat. If what you do to distract him scares him, you should find another way to get his attention.

Is your dog afraid of something? If he barks when he hears loud noises, such as the vacuum cleaner or thunderstorms, or he shows physical fear, such as his ears go back, his tail is low and his hair is sticking up, you should try to determine what it is that is bothering him. Once you determine what it is, you need to find ways to help him through his fear. If he is afraid of thunderstorms, you could try to drown out the thunder by leaving on the radio, television or a loud fan.

No matter what your issue is with your pet, your pet deserves your unconditional love, as your pet would love you. Spend time with your pet – play games, go for a walk, buy him fun toys, a special coat and give him his own bed to nap in after your special time together. Most of all have fun!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Dog Trivia Fun Facts Game

Dogs are so much fun. Here are some fun trivia questions that you could turn into a fun trivia game with your family.

How long have dogs been domesticated? 10,000 years

How many breeds of dogs are there? Over 200

What is the Latin name for dog? Canis Familiaris

What is the tallest breed of dog? Irish Wolfhound

Which two dogs do not have a pink tongue? Chow Chow and the Shar-pei

What is the only breed of dog that doesn’t bark? The Basenji

What color is a Dalmation puppy when it is born? White, spots do not come in until they mature.

What dog was bred to fight badgers in their dens? Dachshunds

What dog did ancient Chinese royalty love to tuck into the sleeves of their royal robes? Pekingese

What was the Poodle haircut originally meant to improve? The dog’s swimming abilities as a retriever. The pom-poms were left in place to warm their joints.

How fast can greyhounds run? They can reach up to 45 miles per hour for short amounts of time.

Why do dogs curl up with their tail covering their nose? To keep the nose warm in cold weather.

What dog was the first ever space astronaut? It was Laikia. She was sent into space in an artificial earth satellite in 1957 by the Russian government.

What two dogs survived the Titanic? A Pekingese belonging to Henry Sleeper Harper and a Pomeranian belonging to Miss Margaret Hays.

What is the oldest known breed of dog? Saluki, which is an Arabic word which means noble one. These dogs were raised as hunting dogs by the Egyptians.

What is the oldest breed of dog native to North America? The Chihuahua

17. A dog’s year of life is not exactly equivalent to 7 years of a human’s life. How does it truly calculate? At one year, a dog is the equivalent of 16 human years; at two dog years they are 24 human years; at 3 dog years, 30 human years; and for every dog year after that, add 4 human years.

What mammals have prostates? Only humans and dogs

How many teeth are in a dog’s mouth? 42

Whippets can reach a maximum of how many miles per hour? 35

What is the Taco Bell dog’s name? Gidget, she is actually a female.

What is the age of the longest lived dog? 29

What does the “spring” in Springer Spaniel referred to? The dog’s ability to spring or startle game

What did the monks use Lhasa Apso’s for? To guard temples.

Where do dogs sweat? Many people think they sweat by salivating, but actually they sweat by the pads of their feet.

Where did the Pug get its name? From the dog’s resemblance to the pug monkey.

Are dogs really color blind? Dogs can see color. It is just not as colorful.

How much do Great Dane’s eat in a day’s time? They can eat up to 81/2 pounds a day.

Do dogs see any better than cats? No. Dogs first distinguish objects by movement, then by brightness and then finally by their shape.

Do dogs have a keen sense of smell? Yes, in fact when we smell a casserole, dogs smell the individual ingredients. It is amazing!

Have fun with these fun facts by creating a game for your family! You could come up with some more on your own that could be easier for your little ones! There is so much information available about dogs that you could spend an entire family night playing this game! These are just questions to get you started. You can make up some cards from cardstock and create your own rules. The main rule is to have fun.

After you have spent some time playing a game, take your dog out for a walk in the park. Don’t forget the dog stroller for the trip back from the park, as he may be a little tired! And, then he will be ready for a nap in his comfy dog bed!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tips for Training Your New Best Friend

You have picked out the perfect dog to bring home to your family, just to find out that perfect dog may be your worst nightmare! How did that happen? The answer is your cute little angel was never taught how to behave in certain situations.

You would not leave your toddler alone in the living room to have free access to the remote controls, DVD’s and snacks. You should not leave your puppy, either. If you do, you will likely come into a huge mess where your puppy had a blast while you were gone. The thing is that if you did not try to train your dog on how to behave, than this is your own fault! But sadly, it is the dog that is blamed and punished. How do you expect your dog to know what to do when put in certain situations?

You have brought your puppy or dog into your home to love and nurture, not to yell at and scold all of the time. This causes frustration for you and your puppy.

Teach one thing at a time. Your dog has a single track mind.

Do not demand immediate action. Give your dog a moment to carry out your command.

Be decisive and know exactly what you want from your dog.

Always be considerate of you dog. If your puppy is tired, don’t expect him to get up and go through a training period. It is not a very nice thing to do, and your dog will likely be too tired to comprehend what you are trying to teach him.

A bond should be developed between you and your dog. You will be able to train your dog more effectively if your dog respects you as his leader. And, he will want to please you much more.
Be clear when you say your commands, and the commands should be the same each time in the same voice and manner. If you try to change these things, your dog will only get confused and you will only get frustrated.

Patience is the key to successfully training your dog. With patience, you will be able to accept the fact that your puppy is just that, a puppy. He is not a human, and therefore you will need even more patience to get you and your puppy through this trying period.

With all of the ways to train your dog, it is important not to fall into the trap of using “common” techniques that are very ineffective and down right cruel. The sad thing is that people believe what they read much of the time. There are choke collars, spike collars and electric collars available that many people are led to believe are the only way to get your dog to behave. This is just plain cruel and can literally affect the health of your dog.

Take some time to get to know the characteristics of your dog before you bring him home. For example, if you are expecting a dog that will lounge around, you would not want to bring home an energetic Puggle, or if you want a dog that will run around and play, you would not want to bring home a dog known for “being lazy”! This could lead to frustration, and therefore you and your dog would not be very happy. Your dog deserves to live in a happy and healthy home where he is loved and maybe even a “little spoiled”! How about getting him a cozy dog bed or a jacket for those cold, rainy days? Make him feel at home and love being with you and you with him.

Friday, April 4, 2008

How to Choose the Perfect Dog For Your Home

Choosing the “right” dog can be overwhelming, as it is very important to find a dog that will “fit in” to your lifestyle and will bring joy into your life, rather than frustration. Whatever dog you choose to bring into your home, that dog will offer you unconditional love, and therefore deserves to have a home that he can feel safe and loved in as well.

Each and every dog has its own unique personality. And, with these unique personalities comes distinctive needs. It can be hard to determine which dog will best fit into your lifestyle and fit in with your own personality!

Questions to consider before bringing a new dog to your home:

Do you have children? If so, you will want a dog that is patient and playful.

Do you live in a home with a big yard? If not, you will need to consider options of how your dog will get the exercise he needs. (Especially bigger breeds)

Do you prefer big or small dogs?

Do you want a dog that is already house trained? Or do you want a puppy you can train yourself? There are benefits to both! Puppies are special in the fact that you can raise them and train them from the very beginning. Older dogs are great, just for the fact that you don’t have to go through the “joys” of house training! Either way it is important to know which you prefer.

Do you want a dog that is calm and relaxed or one that is playful and rambunctious? This is

important to know because if you want a dog that is playful and rambunctious, than you will need to be able to have the time to actually play with him and train him the “rules”. They cannot learn how to be good on their own! They need guidance and a lot of love and patience. If you want a dog that is calm and a great dog to cuddle up with at the end of the day, than you will not want to get one of those playful, rambunctious ones. This will only lead to frustration and an unhappy life for you and your dog.

Now what?

After you decide what personality and size of dog you are looking for, then you need to decide what type of dog to get that are known to “match” the personality you are looking for in a dog. You will need to do your homework. Do not hastily make a decision without first doing as much research as you can on all of the different breeds. Of course, just because a breed is known for something, such as “great with children”, doesn’t mean it is always the case. Each dog is unique and you will have to determine the right dog by physically meeting the dog or puppy. However, you can get an idea of which breed to check into through your research and through the questions you have answered from above.

After doing your research it is time to find your dog. There are many places to find a dog. Shelters are a great place to get a dog, as many of these dogs are loveable and really need homes. And, usually you can get a dog for a lot less than going to a pet shop. You could get your puppy from a house breeder. When choosing between a home breeder and a puppy mill or dog farm, it is highly recommended to stay away from the dog farms. Do your research on these types of places. Remember that many pet shops will get their dogs from puppy mills.

Once you have decided on where you want to go for your dog, you need to go and visit the puppy or dog. If you have children, it is a good idea to bring them along to see how the dog reacts with the children. If you decide on a puppy, and it is not time for him to come home, keep in touch and try to visit a couple more times to be sure he will be the perfect match for your home!

Once you have chosen your dog, then you will need to get the supplies for him before he comes home. Be sure to get a kennel, a dog dish, dog food, collar and leash, dog bed and maybe even a bandanna or dog coat! And, remember to have fun and just love your dog. He will be the most loyal friend you will ever have.