24 7 / 2014
Did you know…..approximately 50% of U.S. dogs are overweight or obese.
Do you have a pudgy pooch? If you break a sweat when picking your dog up or you notice he cleans the floors with his stomach—there is a problem! All joking aside, health risks of obesity are real. It contributes to many medical conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, heart and lung disease, high blood pressure, compromised immune function and can even predispose to certain types of cancer. It has been well documented that dogs maintaining an ideal body weight live 15% longer, and with less disease, than overweight dogs. It is a fact that dogs will live shorter lives if obesity is not addressed.
While most dog owners realize that their dog may be “a little heavy”, they often don’t recognize when their dog is truly obese. When a vet says “Fido” should lose 5 pounds, it often goes in one ear and right out the other. Really…who doesn’t have 5 pounds to lose? But this is us thinking in human weight terms. Did you know….
5 extra pounds on a (should-be) 12 pound Shih Tzu is like 58 extra pounds on a 140 pound woman.
5 extra pounds on a (should-be) 25 pound Beagle is like 28 extra pounds on a 140 pound woman.
5 extra pounds on a (should-be) 70 pound Lab Retriever is like 10 extra pounds on a 140 pound woman.
The first dog in this example is morbidly obese at 42% over ideal body weight. The second dog is also obese at 20% over ideal body weight. The third dog is overweight at 7% over ideal body weight. These are weights that veterinarians see every day. This kind of weight problem is responsible for many preventable illnesses in our pets.
What causes obesity?
While some dog’s do indeed have a medical condition that predisposes them to obesity, most often it is a result of simple overfeeding. While dogs are frequently overfed their food, treats are also a major source of hidden calories. Look at this example:
A handful of premium treats on average has about 230 calories. If you give these treats to a 40 pound dog (who should be eating around 620 calories each day), it is the same as a person (on a 2300 calorie diet) eating 2 double cheeseburgers as a treat in addition to their normal meals. A handful of treats are close to 40% of that dog’s daily calorie requirement.
Many commercial dog treats are filled with calories, sugar, and other potentially unhealthy ingredients that do nothing to satisfy hunger and just contribute to our dog’s ever expanding waistlines.
What can you do?
The first step is to admit there is a problem. Get motivated on your dog’s behalf!
Talk to your vet. Get your pet a full medical checkup. Find out just how overweight or obese your dog is. Find out what their ideal body weight is. Find out how many calories they should eat each day.
Choose the best food for weight loss in your dog. Talk to your vet about natural high protein foods to aid in weight loss while still maintaining lean body mass and strength.
Exercise your dog briskly for at least 20 minutes every day!
Monitor your dog’s progress and stay on track.
08 7 / 2014
BE AWESOME TODAY!
STAY POSITIVE EVEN WHEN FACED WITH ADVERSITY
08 7 / 2014
In their evolutionary past, dogs were predators. This may be a disturbing realization to pet parents, but almost every dog has a natural tendency toward some predatory behavior. The dog’s closest living relative, the wolf, is a highly accomplished predator capable of hunting in packs to bring down large prey such as deer, elk and moose. The domestic dog has changed through domestication and become a fairly ineffective predator, but some individuals can still be successful hunters.
In fact, most dog breeds have been selectively bred by humans to exhibit certain parts of the predatory sequence of behaviors. The complete predatory sequence is eye, stalk, chase, grab-bite, kill-bite, dissect and consume. Greyhounds and other sight hounds have been bred to excel in the chase part of the sequence. The scent hounds, such as beagles and basset hounds, are good at pursuing their quarry’s scent trails. Pointing and flushing breeds specialize in stalking and flushing birds. Herding breeds are also accomplished chasers and stalkers, but they concentrate their efforts on controlling the movements of livestock. Terriers outrival other breeds in their ability to capture and kill unwanted vermin, like mice and rats. Given that we have specifically capitalized on dogs’ hunting abilities, it’s not surprising that our pampered pets occasionally demonstrate their genetic legacy.
Dogs are cursorial predators, meaning that they chase down their prey. The dog’s visual system is highly attuned to detecting movement. The slightest motion often triggers a dog to give chase. High-pitched squealing sounds, like those a prey animal makes when frightened or injured, can also trigger an attack. If a dog is fast enough to catch her prey, she’ll usually grab and shake it. Some dogs lose interest once a prey animal stops moving—which is why opossums, whose defensive response is to play dead, often survive dog attacks. But many dogs will play with the bodies of animals they catch. Some dogs even consume their prey.
Just about any small mammal can trigger a predatory response in dogs: squirrels, rabbits, mice, rats, groundhogs, racoons, ground squirrels, skunks, porcupines and, unfortunately, cats. Dogs who live peacefully with cats sometimes still prey on unfamiliar cats, particularly if the cats are outdoors and moving. Cats who run from dogs are at highest risk. A dog will sometimes back down if a prey animal stops retreating and threatens to attack. Dogs will also chase ungulates, such as deer and antelope, but they’re unlikely to pose a threat to these animals if hunting alone. Packs of dogs, however, have reportedly caught and killed deer, pronghorn antelope and livestock, including cattle, sheep and goats. Dogs don’t hunt because they’re hungry. Their motivation for hunting is separate from their motivation to eat. Sadly, this means that even a single dog in a chicken house can wreak havoc on the defenseless birds. Likewise, a group of dogs can do serious damage to a herd of sheep or goats, killing large numbers of animals. In fact, dogs in groups will often participate in what’s called socially facilitated predation—one dog starts killing and they all join in.
In rare cases, dogs prey on other dogs. Small breeds are most at risk because they often run away or squeal when frightened, which makes them look, move and sound like dogs’ natural prey. There are also uncommon reports of dogs preying on human infants, children and adults. When dogs prey on humans, the dogs are typically in a pack, chasing other prey, such as deer. Then, in an aroused state, the dogs come upon a human who tries to run away from them, triggering an attack. Fortunately, such incidents are exceedingly rare. The chances of being killed by a dog are miniscule, about one in 18 million—which means that you’re twice as likely to win the lottery and five times as likely to be killed by lightning. Much more common are dogs who chase non-prey objects (prey substitutes) that move particularly fast, such as bicycles, cars, motorbikes, ATVs and snowmobiles.
Recognizing Predatory Behavior
Predatory aggression is distinctly different from other forms of canine aggression. A predatory dog doesn’t threaten. She won’t give a warning growl or bark. She might stalk her victim briefly and quietly, or she might simply give chase. Some dogs will bark or whine excitedly during the chase. Others will be silent. A dog might bark or growl when she catches the prey, but typically only if the animal fights back. A dog engaged in a predatory encounter looks for all intents and purposes like she’s having fun. She’ll be excited and aroused, and she’ll adopt a defensive posture only if the potential prey stops running and turns to attack her.
WHAT TO DO
Unless we use our dogs for rodent controls, move livestock or aid us as hunting companions, predatory behavior is usually undesirable. Dogs can cause injury or death to prey species, to other pets and even to people. They can pose a serious danger to themselves and to others should they chase people on bicycles, motorized vehicles or animals across a road.
Preying on large animals is also dangerous. Farmers are within their legal rights to shoot and kill dogs harassing their livestock. Similarly, hunters will often shoot dogs they see harassing wildlife, such as deer or antelope. At the very least, dogs who regularly come into contact with prey are likely to get injured—and if they encounter a skunk, they’ll smell really bad for months to come. A run-in with a porcupine might seem relatively harmless, but if a dog gets “quilled,” she’ll need medical attention. Quills that aren’t removed can migrate through a dog’s body and cause internal damage.
If you have a dog who chases humans, cats, livestock or motor vehicles in particular, consult with a Certified Professional Dog Trainer for assistance.
Prevention and Resolution
- Keep your dog in a kennel or fenced yard so that she can’t roam at large and chase or harass prey or prey substitutes. Confining your dog also prevents her from packing up with other dogs and posing danger to wildlife, livestock and people.
- If you walk your dog off leash, do so in places and at times when prey animals aren’t likely to be present. Many prey species are most active at dawn and dusk, so try to avoid these times. It’s best to walk your dog during daylight hours. If she likes to chase cars, take your dog to securely fenced areas away from roads.
- Teach your dog a really reliable recall so that you can call her when you need to. To be successful, you’ll need to start your dog’s training away from potential prey animals so that she can focus on learning and not get overly aroused and distracted. Only when your dog is extremely reliable at coming when called should you “test” her in the presence of prey. It’s exceedingly difficult to call a dog off once she has sighted a prey animal. It’s even more challenging to call a dog off once she’s in pursuit of prey. Be prepared to devote a substantial amount of training time and effort to making your dog’s recall work. Even then, realize that she’ll still chase prey. It will be your responsibility to make sure that you notice prey animals early enough to successfully call your dog off.
- If your dog is determined to chase livestock, you can teach her to do something else when she sees the potential prey. For instance, you can teach your dog that when she sees a prey animal such as a sheep, she’ll be rewarded for turning away and looking at you. To begin, you’ll need to have your dog on a leash or long line (a leash that’s 20 to 30 feet long), situated far from the sheep. Ideally, you should work with an experienced Dog Trainer to accomplish this advanced training.
- As a last resort, you can teach your dog to associate the presence of prey with an unpleasant experience, such as an obnoxious noise, a repulsive spray scent or something painful. It’s imperative that you work with an experienced dog trainer to ensure that you and your dog benefit from a humane and effective training procedure. Your dog will need a number of repetitions of the sight of prey being immediately followed by the unpleasant event, in a variety of circumstances. Some dogs are so aroused by the anticipation of a predatory chase that even highly unpleasant events won’t deter them. This is why it’s crucial to work with an experienced professional. She or he should be able to determine in the first few sessions if this kind of training procedure is likely to work for your dog. It might be the only sensible treatment option to safeguard your dog if she comes into contact with potentially lethal species, such as poisonous snakes or large carnivores, like bears, coyotes or wolves.
- If you have a dog who preys on animals and you’re worried that she might prey on humans, your only responsible options are (a) to keep your dog securely confined at all times in a fail-safe enclosure that unauthorized people can’t enter or (b) to immediately contact a certified dog trainer for help. Depending on the severity of your dog’s predatory behavior, euthanasia may need to be considered.
What NOT to Do
- Do not expose your dog to prey and then physically beat her. This is inhumane and unlikely to deter your dog, except possibly when she’s near you.
- Do not tie a carcass to your dog and allow it to rot as a means of punishment or training. This is unhygienic and inhumane. It’s also not likely to make your dog stop chasing prey.
- Do not attempt to stop your dog from chasing cars by intentionally frightening or “bumping” her with a car or throwing something out of a car window at her. You could seriously injure or kill your dog.
- Do not purposefully let your dog to take off after prey and then allow her to hit the end of a leash or long line at a dead run. This could cause severe damage to your dog’s neck and vertebrae.
04 7 / 2014
For many people, nothing beats lounging in the backyard on the Fourth of July with good friends and family—including the four-legged members of the household. While it may seem like a great idea to reward Rover with scraps from the grill and bring him along to watch fireworks, in reality some festive foods and products can be potentially hazardous to your pets. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center offers the following tips:
Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. If ingested, the animal could become very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed or could go into a coma. Death from respiratory failure is also a possibility in severe cases.
Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.
Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pets’ reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing—or even kidney disease in severe cases. Lighter fluid can be irritating to skin, and if ingested can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression. If lighter fluid is inhaled, aspiration pneumonia and breathing problems could develop.
Keep your pets on their normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pets severe indigestion and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older animals who have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements. And keep in mind that foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes & raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals.
Do not put glow jewelry on your pets, or allow them to play with it. While the luminescent substance contained in these products is not highly toxic, excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestions, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers.
Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of reach. Ingestions can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression. If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia in pets.
Never use fireworks around pets! While exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets, even unused fireworks can pose a danger. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.
Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for pets, so please resist the urge to take them to Independence Day festivities. Instead, keep your little guys safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.
02 7 / 2014
Though some small dog breeds may have reputations as “accessories” for grown women, they can make great companions for kids as well. What these petite pets lack in size, they more than make up for in personality and playfulness. And they’re extremely loyal, to boot. In fact, your main concern when adopting a small dog may simply involve whether you and your family have the energy to keep up with him.
TOP KID FRIENDLY BREEDS
If you’re into royalty, you’ll love the Maltese. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), these playful and affectionate creatures have lounged alongside aristocrats for the past 28 centuries. And this is no surprise when you consider their beautiful silken locks, gentle dispositions and constant cheerfulness. Despite being bred for lounging on the bed — or chaise, as the case may be — the Maltese is actually quite enthusiastic about learning and highly trainable. The only possible downside to having a Maltese in a family with kids is that this animal needs to be brushed daily, which may be too big a responsibility for younger kids or those with only a passing interest in their pet.
The pug is an ancient breed of small dog that hails from China. They’re playful, outgoing, trustworthy and loyal, so it’s tough to go wrong with a pug as a family pet. These petite pups were bred to be with people, as well as other animals, which makes them an ideal choice for families with children.
The pug’s flat and wrinkly muzzle gives it a distinctive appearance, but according to Washington D.C.-based dog trainer Rachel Jones, it also makes the dog prone to respiratory problems, especially in extreme weather conditions. If you have a pug, be sure to keep him out of severe hot and cold temperatures. Another possible concern for potential pug parents is that this breed sheds a lot, which may be problematic for allergy sufferers.
8: Yorkshire Terrier
If your family has tons of extra energy to spend playing with a pet, then a Yorkshire terrier may be perfect for you. These tiny dogs are both very active and highly intelligent (not to mention incredibly cute). But Washington, D.C-based dog behavior and training specialist Jeff Weiss says that while Yorkshire terriers may look like toys, they can be fairly aggressive when they play, so be sure you’re up for the challenge.
Affectionately known as “Yorkies,” these pooches were bred to herd animals. This instinct makes them very social and friendly. However, it also gives them a tendency to be a bit nippy. The good news is that you’ll likely be able to control this behavior through training that includes techniques based on positive reinforcement.
7: Miniature Schnauzer
Bred in Germany, miniature schnauzers are among the smartest and most cheerful of all the small dogs. According to Kellner, they are also very outgoing and protective, which makes them excellent companions for children. And when you consider how easy and enjoyable it is to train dogs of this breed, it’s no surprise that they made our list.
Another great quality of miniature schnauzers is that they’re equally happy in the expanse of the countryside and the confines of a small urban apartment. And if this isn’t enough to sell you on the greatness of this breed, consider that they shed very little, which makes them a good choice for allergy sufferers.
For a glimpse of what it’s like to have a beagle in the family, check out the old “Peanuts” comic strip, in which Charlie Brown’s dog Snoopy is the quintessential beagle: a breed the AKC describes as charming, happy, intelligent, easy-going and naturally social.
One important point to keep in mind before adopting a beagle is that, like Snoopy, these dogs can get into trouble if left alone too long. This makes them a good choice for a family with a lot of kids and an active lifestyle, but not such a good choice for a mellow brood that likes long spans of quiet time.
5: Brussels Griffon Terrier
The Brussels Griffon terriers are extremely lovable and sensitive animals. They will follow you around for as long as it takes to win your attention. They’re also very loyal and protective. These great qualities, Weiss says, combined with the fact that they’re remarkably obedient, make these pups excellent watchdogs and fun playmates for children.
Bred in Belgium as rat catchers, Brussels Griffons are extremely smart dogs that love to learn and excel in training. But despite generally cheerful, energetic dispositions, they are also perfectly content to be snoozing in the sun room. For these reasons, Jones says the Brussels Griffon terrier is a great choice for any family.
4: French Bulldog
The French bulldog has been called a “clown in the cloak of a philosopher,” which, according to the AKC, essentially means that dogs of this breed are smart with a powerful penchant for play. They’re very lively and social, but not overly boisterous or barky. In fact, Weiss says their stellar doggie demeanors stand out among other dogs, large and small.
Bred to be loungers, French bulldogs require very little in the way of exercise or grooming. They’re also heavy-boned and fearless, which makes this breed a good choice for families who want a pet that’s playful, but not too skittish or delicate. However, one important consideration is that French bulldogs do best in a mild climate, which means they need air conditioning when the temperature rises.
3: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
If the French bulldog is the clown-philosopher, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel may be the joker of the canine community. Named for King Charles II of Britain, these dogs’ whimsical and high-spirited personalities can instantly charm even the hardest heart. They are very friendly and vivacious animals with virtually no tendency toward nervousness or aggression, Jones says.
Cavalier King Charles spaniels are highly adaptable in their need for exercise, which is great for families who like to get out and play but also appreciate a little rest and relaxation. Jones adds that these pups are smart, obedient and generally quite eager to learn. According to the AKC, they’re also relatively low-maintenance, requiring little more than weekly brushing to keep them looking great.
If you want a small dog that’s also easy-going, the Havanese may be right for you. The national dogs of Cuba — as well as its only native breed — Havanese have light, fluffy coats of hair that keeps them cool in the Havana heat. Their coats are also non-shedding, which is great for allergy sufferers, though the dogs do require grooming.
Havanese are smart and well-behaved dogs, assuming you train them early and often, using positive reinforcement. They’re also very friendly and good-natured and make great watchdogs and children’s companions. Despite being a compact in size, the Havanese are sturdy and can keep up with even the most active families.
1: Shih Tzu
The fact that Shih Tzu means “lion dog” in Chinese is misleading, considering that most members of this breed probably couldn’t hurt a fly, let alone bring down a gazelle. Shih Tzus are ideal small dogs: lively and alert, yet rarely nervous or snappy. And despite their diminutive stature, they’re strong and unafraid, which means they have no trouble holding their own when playing with children and keeping up with an active family.
The Shih Tzu’slong, luxurious coat of hair is certainly beautiful, but it can also be a lot of work to maintain. If you’re considering a Shih Tzu, keep in mind that they do require regular grooming. Most pet parents don’t mind this aspect of caring for their Shih Tzus, though, considering these dogs’ infinitely loving and loyal nature.
27 6 / 2014
In older animals, digestion can get a bit bumpy. If your pet is more mellow than usual, seems to be straining, and makes frequent toilet attempts, constipation may be the problem. Adding canned pumpkin or diced prunes to food could get things started again.
26 6 / 2014
Roughhousing is part of the fun of being a dog. Playing is a way for dogs to explore their world and to socialize with other animals and people. It is completely normal, safe, and healthy in most cases, but it can become dangerous if it goes too far. Dogs may play-bite, lunge, swipe, and even at you or other dogs during play, but it will normally be done in a gentle, friendly manner. However, playful activities can take a turn for the worse if the dog begins to bite or play in a way that harms people or other animals. Here are some tips about how to prevent rough play.
Discourage Rough Behavior
Sometimes people can influence dogs to behave in a rough manner, especially if they themselves are using their hands, arms, or legs while playing with the dog. It is recommended that you behave in a gentle manner with your dog and use toys to play with them instead of your body. Some of this behavior is learned from other dogs that play roughly in general or from dogs that are larger than your dog. If you notice that this behavior may be influenced by another person or dog, then cease the activity between the two parties.
To prevent afrom growing up to be a rough-playing or dog, you should never play “tug-of-war” or other dominance type games with them — unless you are prepared to win every time. Also, always make it clear that you own all of the toys, and you decide when and which ones your puppy can play with, only keeping one or two toys out at a time. If a dog has too many toys, it may begin to hoard them in a safe place in order to feel more powerful.
Let the Dog Cool Off
Playing can often make dogs feel slightly stressed, especially after a rough encounter. One of the best things to do is let the dog cool off with a brief time out of at least five to ten minutes. A firm command to sit or lie down in their bed will cause them to relieve some of the tension and regroup.
Spay or Neuter Your Dog
For dogs, playing is primarily about exerting dominance over another dog, toy, or person. Spaying or neutering your dog can help reduce some of these impulses, make them more docile, and easier to manage. This may be something to consider if your dog has a history of showing a lot oftoward people or animals.
Stop Incidents before They Start
It can be difficult at times to distinguish play from a violent encounter, but one of the best ways to stop it is break them up before they start. Dogs will usually seem to be a in a jovial mood during play and they may lean forward, growl, or even a bark a little bit. Know your own dog’s body language so you can spot signs of aggression before it escalates. The situation can spiral out of control if the dogs start to expose their teeth, use a low pitched growl, or yelp when they are bitten. Pay close attention if a small and a large dog are playing together because the smaller dog could potentially get hurt even if they are playing.
Playing is a healthy part of socialization for dogs and it is definitely something to be encouraged. On the other hand, rough play can be dangerous for you and your dog because it can lead to bites or other injuries to yourself or another pet. If the situation is getting too intense, then it is best to remove the dog for a time-out session. Please consult with your veterinarian if there seems to be a more serious behavioral problem, or if your dog’s behavior changes abruptly.
25 6 / 2014
Fleas don’t like citrus, make your pet’s fur unsavory by rubbing it with a small amount of fresh lemon or orange juice.
24 6 / 2014
For every Adopt A Dog sticker sold, a donation will be made to a dog rescue organization.
24 6 / 2014
Hope for Paws is at again.
The animal rescue organization, which made waves last year when one of their videos exploded onto the Internet, has continued to find and help animals in need.
Last week, Eldad Hagar, the founder of Hope for Paws, posted another heart-wrenching, but ultimately uplifting, video of a dog he found in Compton, California. When Hagar approached the dog, who according to the video had been abandoned by his previous owners, the poor pup appeared traumatized and all of his fur was matted.
But then, under the care of Hope for Paws, you can see him undergo an amazing transformation — and receive the name Theo.