The dog park is a great place to take your pup if you are looking for a way to give him a little extra exercise and some play time with other dogs. Dog parks can also be dangerous, however, if your dog is ill-prepared for the experience. There are certain cases in which you should not take your dog and there are rules and etiquette that you need to learn before you do. The more you learn about dog parks and the more you prepare your dog before you go, the better the experience will be for you, your pet, and other dog owners.
Before You Go
The first time is a lot like taking your child to daycare or school for the first time. It can be exciting for your dog to go someplace new and to meet potential new friends, but it can also be scary and overwhelming for them. Some dogs simply do not get along well with others and some are actually afraid of other dogs. Before you take your dog to the dog park there are a few things you need to do in order to prepare him for t...
When it comes to dog training, the process can be a challenge if you do not have a great deal of free time to do the training yourself. Training is not something that should be overlooked, however, because the longer you wait to get started the more difficult it will be. If you want to avoid having an overactive and undisciplined dog that is difficult to control, consider hiring a trainer.
Why Training is Important
Even if you are not intentionally trying to set an example, your dog will still learn from you. In some cases this is a good thing, but it can lead to trouble if you are not careful. For example, many dog owners unwittingly teach their dogs that it is okay to jump up on guests by allowing them to perform this kind of behavior when they are puppies. It is not so cute when a fully-grown dog jumps up on your friends as soon as they walk in the door, but you cannot expect your dog to suddenly forget the behavior you accidentally conditioned him to exhibi...
Scratching is as natural to a cat as grooming. Not only does scratching help your cat remove the outer dead layer from her claws, but it also serves as a good stretching exercise for her shoulders and back. Finally, scratching provides your cat with a way to mark her territory. Scent glands located in her paw pads allow her to leave her scent on what is “hers.”
Unfortunately, though, sometimes that territory consists of your furniture or other objects in your home that you would prefer remain unmarred. One of the best ways to keep your couch from getting ripped to ribbons is to instead provide your cat with a scratcher – a place all her own where she is encouraged to act on her scratching instinct.
Getting your cat off on the right paw with a new scratcher is key to making sure she decides for herself that it is a better choice for scratching than the sofa. Here are five ways to encourage your cat to use the scratcher:
- Choose the Right Ty...
The American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA) started National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which is celebrated every year in the third week of May to educate adults and children in the U.S. about safety around their canine friends. There are more than 70 million dogs in the United States and every year millions of Americans, mostly children, are bitten by dogs. Most, if not all, of these incidents are preventable through simple education.
In addition to the human injuries, biting incidents also carry serious consequences for the dogs involved and their pet parents. Learn how to avoid dog bites by reading our article about the warning signs to look out for and find out how to deal with potentially dangerous situations.
In addition to making dogs friendlier, teaching them good social skills and imparting manners, early socialization serves the all-important purpose of teaching puppies to be more confident. This, in turn, leads to happier, better-rounded dogs that can easily blend into a variety of social situations.
What is Socialization?
Socialization is a broad term, but generally it describes the process by which puppies learn to accept and interact with various social situations. These may include encounters with people, traffic, buildings, unfamiliar sights, noises and smells, and, of course, other dogs.
When Can I Begin Socialization?
For puppies, early socialization is key to a lifetime of great behavior. Most veterinarians recommend beginning a socialization program at four weeks of age and continuing until twelve weeks, as this is the time at which puppies are most open to new experiences.
Waiting longer than twelve weeks from birth may res...
Imagine it: you bring your new love interest home after a romantic dinner and your dog, who you expect to be overjoyed, is sullen, sad, or even angry about this new character in your home. Your friends and family approve, but what are you supposed to do if your faithful canine companion isn't so thrilled with your new partner? For many pet parents, a pet not liking a love interest can easily be a deal-breaker. Fortunately, it doesn't have to come down to that so quickly. By taking a few simple steps to thaw relations between the two, you all may enjoy a happy household in short order.
Why Your Dog Doesn't Like Your Love Interest
As with most problems, the first step to solving this one is understanding it. If you've been living with your dog as a single person for quite some time, it's likely that your pup is used to being the center of all of your attention. Because of this, it can be shocking when you bring someone else into the house, especially if your...
For many pet parents, the dream of training their own dog is a long-standing one. Unfortunately, however, at-home dog training is often more difficult than it may initially seem. From accidental commands to sending a pup mixed messages, there are many things pet parents can do to unintentionally sabotage their dog's training program. Fortunately, it's easy to avoid these things once you know more about what they are. Learn more about the most common dog training mistakes pet parents make and how to avoid them.
1. Using treats as a crutch
While treats can certainly be a helpful form of incentive for dogs, they can become an impediment if you rely on them too heavily. If a pet parent uses treats too often in training, the dog will begin to respond only when treats are present. To avoid this, it's wise to stick to one general rule. While treats are an effective tool for early trainin...
Many cat parents have given up on the idea of owning furniture without scratch marks. Felines spend a large portion of their day flexing and sharpening their claws – even cats that have had their claws removed still display scratching behavior. What is it that makes cats scratch so much and what can you do to keep them from destroying your home?
Why do Cats Scratch?
Before you can tackle your kitty's scratching behavior, you need to understand it. There are many reasons why they scratch. Felines like to flex their claws as they stretch and some scratch during play. Scratching helps to keep the claws sharp by wearing away the outer layer of the old ones to reveal the sharp, new claws underneath. Cats also scratch as a way of marking their territory, using scent glands in their feet....
Anyone who has ever seen "Marley & Me" knows that training dogs can be a difficult task. Fortunately, there are some dog breeds that are very intelligent and trainable. They wiill generally be responsive and willing, even if their pet parent isn't a certified dog trainer. If you're looking for a puppy with whom you can form a deep bond, why not consider one of these breeds, presented in alphabetical order:
Australian Cattle Dog
Australian Cattle Dogs, or "Aussies" as they're affectionately known by the many people who love them, are keen, alert, and always ready to learn. Fantastic in sports like agility, flyball, and herding, these silky dogs are one of the most trainable breeds in existence today.
If you're like most pet parents, you consider your dog an intelligent, emotionally advanced creature. When you come home, your pup jumps up to greet you; when you scold him for getting into the trash, he looks shameful, so he has to have feelings, right? In some ways, yes, you're right. But, unlike humans, there are some things dogs simply can't feel. If you're curious what your dog does and doesn't feel, keep reading.
When Dogs Reach Emotional Maturity
Just like humans, dogs need time to grow up and mature emotionally. Think about human babies for a moment. Human babies display something close to excitement, but that's about it. Over the months after their birth, they develop more complex emotions, like disgust, fear, and anger. While dogs mature more quickly than humans do, it still takes quite some time for them to develop the full spectrum of emotions they'll have as adults. Newborn puppies are somewhat limited in their emotional expression, whereas dogs betw...
You should definitely walk your dog, but should you run with her, too? Running is a wonderful form of exercise that can also be great for your furry friends. Before you try to go running with your dog, however, you need to take certain precautions – and consider whether your dog is a breed well-suited to running.
Best Breeds for Running
If you really want a dog that will go running with you (and enjoy it!), consider one of these top six dog breeds that are best for running, listed in alphabetical order:
1. Australian Cattle Dog – As the name of this breed would suggest, the Australian Cattle Dog was developed to herd cattle. These dogs can go for miles without tiring and are very intelligent, so can make adventurous running partners. Once your Australian Cattle Dog gets into the habit of running, she will be dragging you off the couch and out onto ...
Having a pet around the house is like having a friend who is always by your side. Pets are not just great for companionship, however – studies have shown that pet ownership provides some very real health benefits for you and your family.
Top Benefits of Pet Ownership
The top five benefits associated with owning a dog or cat are listed below:
1. Stronger Immune System – It may seem counterintuitive, but having a pet in the house can actually reduce your susceptibility to allergies. According to pediatrician James E. Gern from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, having a pet in the home can reduce a child’s risk for developing allergies by as much as 33%. Children who grow up with pets also tend to have stronger, more developed immune systems in general. If you already suffer from allergies, adding a dog or cat to the family may not help, but it can be a benefit for those who do not suffer from allergies yet, esp...
Halloween is a fun holiday filled with costumes, candy and friends. For some pets, however, the day can be a scary event filled with unfamiliar noises, sights and people.
Follow these easy tips to ensure that your pets stay healthy, happy and relaxed this Halloween:
Keep Candy & Chocolate Out of Reach: Of particular concern are dark chocolate treats and candy with sweeteners like xylitol in them. To keep your pets safe, make sure that you place any trick-or-treat candy in a location where they cannot reach it. A high bookshelf or the top of the fridge works well.
Watch Out for Edible Decorations: When Halloween rolls around, many pet parents decorate the house with corn and pumpkins. If ingested, they may cause stomach upset so make sure they are out of reach or consider going easy on the decorating.
Be Cautious With Candles: Carved Jack ‘O Lanterns are a great way to celebrate Hallowe...
Tompkins Square Park in New York was recently a-buzz with a bevy of adorable pups and their parents at their annual Halloween Dog Parade. Watch the video above to discover a goldmine of costume ideas.
Think your costume beats those of these four-legged fashionistas? Share your photos below!
You may have heard the expression, "That dog will hunt", but what about, "That dog will fish"? Watch Rani the Golden Retriever catch a bluegill right out of the water with her jaws, using bread crumbs as bait.
Dogs play a number of roles in our lives. They're our companions, co-workers, and a non-judgmental ear when we need to talk. For those suffering from conditions such as autism or post-traumatic stress disorder, they provide comfort and security. Their ability to nurture is also being utilized to help those affected by large-scale tragedies.
These emotional support animals or "comfort dogs" as they have become known, aren't trained to work one-on-one with an individual person. Instead, they are part of organizations that transport them to disaster areas to provide comfort to those affected by tragic events. Recent incidents include school and nightclub shootings where not only surviving victims are traumatized, but also their family, the rescuers, and emergency per...
Dogs aren't too bothered about weather forecasts; even if it's miserable outside, they still like to run and play outdoors. However, their pet parents may not be as keen. Fortunately, there are a number of fun and engaging activities that will keep your dog busy when outdoor play isn't on the agenda. These activities will help to avoid them from making their own fun, which may not be your idea of fun.
There's no reason why you can't play fetch inside your house. Choose an appropriate space because when your dog is on the run towards their toy, they pay no attention to tables and lamps. A long hallway is perfect for this; you can even ad...
Some people think they have to take care of their dogs, but this video proves that dogs are taking care of our kids. Learn why dogs make excellent babysitters. And you don’t even have to drive them home at the end of the night!
Who stole the cookie off the counter? Even without hands, Harley the hound has no problem fingering his sister for the dirty deed.
Australian charity RSPCA Victoria made more than 100 shelter dogs and cats wag their tails in happiness when they handed out donated beds. Watch the pleased pets enjoying their new beds.
Cats love nothing more than a fresh can of tuna or a few scraps of lunchmeat. As much as your cat may enjoy it, however, it might not be a good idea to feed him people food. While there are some foods that are safe for cats to eat, many are not only dangerous, but also toxic to cats. Before you offer your cat anything other than cat food, make sure that what you are offering is not hazardous to their health.
Foods Harmful to Cats
Many of the foods that are toxic to cats are foods that your cat probably would not eat anyway. You never know, however, when your cat might get into something that he shouldn’t and it could become a dangerous situation. Some of the foods most toxic to cats include:
- Alcohol – All types of alcohol including beer, wine, and liquor are bad for cats because it can cause damage to the brain and liver. Even as little as a tablespoon of alcohol can put a full-grown cat into a coma – doses larger than th...
As people, we know that getting the Vitamin C we need in our diets often entails supplementation or eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Because our bodies can't manufacture our own Vitamin C, we need to bring it in from the outside. Did you know that this is also true for guinea pigs? If guinea pigs don't get enough Vitamin C in their diets through sources like leafy vegetables and colorful fruits, their Vitamin C reserves disappear entirely and they become vulnerable to scurvy – a condition that causes blood clotting and difficulties in the joints and skin. Here's what you can do to discourage Vitamin C deficiency in your guinea pig.
How Does Vitamin C Deficiency Happen?
While it's obvious that the easiest way for a guinea pig to become Vitamin C deficient is by not consuming enough Vitamin C, it's important to remember that it is possible for guinea pigs to become deficient eve...
Many pet parents love the taste of creamy nut butters. Packed with protein and omega-3 fatty acids, these tasty spreads are a great way to snack smart and power through your day, right? Unfortunately, the same can't be said for peanut butter's role in Fido's life. While nut butters may be a great snack for humans, they can be incredibly dangerous for dogs.
The Dangers of Xylitol
Xylitol is a natural sweetener that's popular in a variety of health foods for its low glycemic index and preservative-free status. Unfortunately, it can cause hypoglycemia and hepatic necrosis (acute liver failure) in dogs.
Fortunately, the sweetener hasn't started popping up in peanut butter brands across the board as only three specialty companies (Nuts 'N More, Krush Nutrition, and P28 Foods) currently produce spreads containing the ingredient.
With that in mind, pet parents who feed their...
Pet parents who feed their four-legged companions human food mean well. However, they often don't realize that these tasty human treats are filled with dangerous calories and fat. While some pet parents pamper their furry friends with tasty human food, some treats can cause your dog's waistline to expand at an alarming rate. From cookies to hot dogs, these are some of the most common treats that you should avoid feeding your pet:
1. Oatmeal Cookies
An oatmeal cookie may be a tasty treat for humans, but it's a calorie-packed gut bomb for dogs. One small oatmeal cookie for a small dog is the same as an entire, fatty hamburger for a person. While your pup may love the salty sweetness of a homemade oatmeal cookie, save him the calories and offer a carrot instead.
2. Hot Dogs
Hot dogs pack way more fat than you would assume. At around 175 calories, they make up about 1/3 of a 20 lb. dog's recommended daily calorie intake. While dogs will happil...
For humans, chewing gum is a harmless habit that helps freshen breath and keeps boredom at bay. For pets, however, gum sweetened with Xylitol is a potentially deadly substance that is roughly 100 times more toxic than milk chocolate.
While many pet parents don’t realize how toxic Xylitol can be, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of Xylitol poisoning in order to be able to respond better should your pet ever ingest this dangerous substance.
Signs of Xylitol Poisoning
Xylitol is a sugar-free sweetener that is widely used in gums, mints, foods like pudding and gelatin, toothpastes, and sugar-free multivitamin and fish oil supplements. While the Xylitol content of these products varies hugely, a pet that ingests less than 0.1 gram of Xylitol can easily experience life-threatening symptoms. Typically, the most life-threatening symptom of Xylitol to...
Manufacturer: K9 Natural Ltd
Risk Factor: Listeria Monocytogenes
Announcement: Company press release April 13, 2018
- K9 Natural Frozen Chicken Feast 2.2lb bags (Batch number #170517 with an expiration date of 17NOV2018)
- K9 Natural Frozen Chicken Feast 11lb bags (Batch number #150517 with an expiration date of 15NOV2018)
- K9 Natural Frozen Chicken Feast 11lb bags (Batch number #160517 with an expiration date of 16NOV2018)
- K9 Natural Frozen Chicken Feast 11lb bags (Batch number #170517 with an expiration date of 17NOV2018)
Manufacturer Statement: "Listeria Monocytogenes is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in humans and animals. Symptoms of infection may include nausea, vomiting, aches, fever, an...
Manufacturer: Redbarn Pet Products
Risk Factor: Potentially Elevated Levels of Thyroid Hormone
Announcement: Company press release March 6, 2018
Manufacturer Statement: "Dogs consuming high levels of beef thyroid hormone may exhibit symptoms such as increased thirst and urination, weight loss, increased heart rate and restlessness. These symptoms may resolve when the consumption of these levels is discontinued. However, with prolonged consumption these symptoms may increase in severity and may include vomiting, diarrhea, and rapid or labored breathing. Should these symptoms occur, we recommend pet owners contact their veterinarian immediately. Consumers who have purchased the specific lots of product listed above should stop feeding it to their dogs. If consumer...
Manufacturer: Redbarn Pet Products
Risk Factor: Salmonella Contamination
Announcement: Company press release March 6, 2018
Manufacturer Statement: Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vmiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian. Again, no illnesses, injuries or complaints have been reported. Consumers with questions may contact the company via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at at 1-800-775-3849, M-F, 8am-5pm PST.
Manufacturer: Northwest Naturals
Risk Factor: Salmonella
Announcement: Company press release March 6, 2018
Products recalled: UPC # 072635520017 - Tucker’s 5lb Pork-Bison Box 5lb – Lot # 27717 - Best If Used By: 04/17/2019
Manufacturer Statement: "Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian. Consumers who have purchased Tucker’s 5lb Pork-Bison Boxes are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a f...
Manufacturer: Steve’s Real Food
Risk Factor: Salmonella
Announcement: Company press release March 2, 2018
Products recalled: UPC # 6-91730-15303-8 - Raw Frozen Dog Food Turkey Canine Recipe 5lb – Lot # E 178 - Best If Used By: 09/27/2018
Manufacturer Statement: "Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected, but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian. Consumers are encouraged to check the lot code of any 5lb frozen turkey nuggets. Any product with the noted lot code should be returned to the specialty retailer where product was purchased for a full refund. Consumers with ques...