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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

8 Great Reasons to Use a Crate

Learn how to give your dog his own space.

1. House train your dog. Efficient and humane training aids, crates take advantage of the dog's natural tendency to keep its sleeping area clean. However, you should crate your puppy for only as long as it can reasonably control its bladder and bowels.

2. Protect your dog. Crating a dog prevents it from chewing electrical cords or eating poisonous plants, toxic cleaning fluids, or nylon socks (which can tear up your dog's intestines.) These are only a few dangers awaiting new dogs left alone in a home.

3. Protect your property. A crate costs between $25 and $200, depending on its size and where you buy it. That's a bargain compared to the cost of replacing furniture and other belongings your new dog can destroy.

4. Curb and prevent separation anxiety. You love your dog, but you can't spend every minute of every day with him. The crate can help you teach your dog to enjoy spending time alone.

5. Introduce chew toys. A dog engrossed in chewing a toy will stay out of mischief. Give your dog time in his crate with two stuffed chew toys, and he'll become hooked on his crate and stay out of trouble.

6. Give a timeout. A new dog gives you great rewards, but it also can drain you. If your dog becomes excessively excited or starts nipping, use the crate for a brief timeout. Don't do this to punish your dog. (Never use a crate negatively.) Rather, the timeout allows your dog to regain his composure so he can interact appropriately with you.

7. Travel safely. Whether your dog travels by air or car, a crate is one of the best ways to ensure safety. Additionally, when you stay in a hotel, keep your dog in a crate to prevent damage.

8. Provide security. Crates provide your dog with his own quiet place to hang out. This is especially important if you have a busy household and children. To encourage your dog to accept people petting him while inside the crate, praise him and give him tasty rewards on occasion. Also, let children know not to bother your dog while he is inside the crate. That's his quiet time.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Sunny Days - How to Make you Dog Safer Part 2

How Can I Travel Safely with My Dog?

Dogs can be wonderful traveling companions. But before you hit the road with your furry friend, make sure you know what you need to do to make your dog as safe and comfortable as possible on your journey. These Frequently Asked Questions can help you plan the perfect trip!
Should I take my pet along on my vacation?
It's important to ask yourself if taking your pet along is what's best for him or her — or if it's just what's best for you. At home, your pet has all of his or her favorite toys, sleeping spots, and perhaps the run of the backyard all day. If your vacation involves a road trip, you need to ask how well your pet will accept being in a car for long periods of time. Is he acclimated to a car? Does she love going out and about with you — or would she rather stay at home? Animals that very infrequently ride in a car are poor candidates for automobile vacations. Some pets shouldn't travel at all. If your pet is very young or very old, sick, recovering from surgery, or pregnant, then leave her at home.
Travel by air can be difficult, if not downright hazardous, for pets. Many animals do not travel well on airplanes; this is true of cats, older animals, hyperactive dogs, and short-muzzled dogs, who may have difficulty breathing in a cargo hold. pets have been lost in transit, have been injured, or have even died when traveling in cargo holds. Consider these facts carefully when planning a vacation that involves air travel.
What are my options if I leave my pet behind?
If you will be leaving your pet behind while you travel, you can either find a safe place for him or her to stay, or find someone to care for him or her in your home.
Boarding Your Pet
Do you want to board your pet? Then visit the kennel beforehand. Make sure you inspect it personally to satisfy yourself that it is clean, safe, and roomy enough for your pet. Don't be afraid to take your business elsewhere if there is anything you don't like about a particular facility.
Kennel staff should be friendly. Veterinary care must be easily available; in fact, many veterinarians offer boarding facilities. Animals should be checked at least four times a day, fed twice, and dogs walked at least twice. Ask how many hours animals are left unattended, especially at night. Find out the kennel's vaccination requirements. Medication and special diets, if they are needed, must be accommodated. Make sure there is a laundry for bedding.
If you plan to board your cat, make sure that the cages are tall and supply different levels for your cat to climb and sit.
Other questions to ask a prospective boarding facility include: Can a friend visit your pet? Will your pet have access to a run? Is the kennel air-conditioned or heated?
Once you decide on a boarding facility, make your reservation well in advance, especially for holiday or summer travel.
Hiring a "Pet" Sitter
You may be able to arrange for a trusted friend or relative to watch your pet while you are away. If not, you can hire a professional "pet" sitter to come into your home once or twice a day to take care of your pet. Some can even stay in your home while you are away. They will walk, play with, feed, and clean up after your pet. Most will even pick up your mail, and turn lights on at night.
Before hiring, interview the sitter in your home so you can see how he or she and your pet get along. Discuss your pet's needs, habits, and personality. Ask such questions as: What was your worst pet-sitting experience? If my pet gets loose, what will you do? Make sure the sitter is bonded and insured. Get references and call those references. Make sure the sitter has an emergency evacuation plan in case disaster strikes while you are away. If you do hire a pet sitter, before you go on your vacation, be sure to leave detailed written instructions on your animal's care and feeding habits; your complete itinerary, including telephone numbers of where you can be reached; and the name and phone number of your veterinarian. You may also want to notify your veterinarian, and leave a credit card number for emergencies, particularly for older animals or for animals on medication.
What should I do to prepare my pet for a trip?
If you do plan to take your pet along with you, make sure he or she is properly trained to sit, stay, and come.
No matter what form of transportation you choose, your pet should wear a collar, license, and proper identification at all times. Identification tags should have at least your name and telephone number on it. If you are vacationing in one location, get your pet a temporary ID tag that has the address and phone number of the hotel/apartment/house where you are staying. Have your animal microchipped as well.
A nylon collar or harness is best for either a cat or a dog. Never allow your pet to travel wearing a choke-chain; the collar-pull could become snagged on the carrier or other object and he/she may choke to death. A cat must wear a safety stretch collar to prevent accidental strangulation.
Keep handy your pet's shot records, along with a written description and several photos of you with your pets in case he/she becomes lost. You will need these to claim your pet from the local animal control center.
Also take along a leash, a supply of your pet's usual food, a container of water, dishes for food and water, a litter box for cats, a favorite toy or two, flea control products if desired, a brush and clippers, any medication your pet may need, and an emergency first-aid kit in case of injury.
If your animal has a bed or "crate" he/she sleeps in, take it along. Never allow cats to travel in the car without being securely in a carrier. Puppies also do best in a "crate" or carrier. Place the carrier in the cargo part of the vehicle or if it is in the back seat, use the seat belts to secure it. (Never put animals in the trunk.)
As soon as you know your pet is vacationing with you, see your veterinarian. Have your vet check your pet's general fitness and ability to travel. Make sure that required immunizations are up to date, and get a copy of the immunization record. Tell your veterinarian about where you are going, and ask if any special precautions are in order.
How can I prepare for air travel?
Traveling by plane may be the most expedient way to travel, but it may also be the hardest on your pet. It places you in a situation where you have little control over the care given your pet. Although federal regulations require that animals transported on airlines be treated humanely, there have been occasional infractions resulting in injury or death of the animals.
Many airlines allow small dogs and cats in appropriate carriers to be brought into the cabin and placed under the seat. Soft-sided carriers are best for this purpose, although flip-top hard cases are also allowed. If your animal companion is small enough, this option permits you greater control and access, and it is far safer for your animals than traveling as cargo in the baggage hold of the aircraft.
Be sure to confirm what types and sizes of carriers the airlines allow.

If your animal companion must be shipped as cargo, there are several ways to minimize the risks:

Book a direct flight whenever possible. Tell the reservation clerk that you will be traveling with a pet. If a direct flight is not available, book a flight with the fewest number of stopovers.
Travel in off-season periods at mid-week, during the day or late evening, which tend to be less hectic for baggage handlers. There is also less chance that your flight will be delayed on the runway.
Never travel with an animal when outside temperatures reach above 80 degrees or below 40 degrees. Most airlines will try to help you select the right flights and advise you about scheduling.

Carriers for Air Travel

Pet carriers must meet minimum legal standards for size, strength, sanitation, and ventilation. The animal must have enough room to breathe, stand up, lie down, and turn around comfortably. The carrier must have handles, a food dish and water dish, and should be labeled with your pet's name, your name, address, and destination. Stickers reading "Live Animal" are required on the top and one side. The sticker on the side should have an arrow pointing to the top of the carrier.
The best carrier is made out of hard plastic with a steel or plastic mesh door. A lip on the side will keep any baggage pressed up against it from blocking the ventilation holes. Make sure the door-locking mechanism is easy to use. Tighten all bolts before travel. If your pet has never flown, familiarize him/her with the carrier gradually. If he/she has a favorite place to sleep, put the carrier in that spot. Place his/her favorite toy, blanket or food in the carrier. Leave the door open and wait until your animal "volunteers" to nap inside. Work toward the point where you can close the door to the carrier without causing distress. Leave the room once the door is secured and your pet is comfortable in the carrier. Your pet needs to become accustomed to being in the carrier without you. Increase the amount of time she is in the carrier with the door closed until she can stay about one and a half times the flight time.

Before Departing by Air

Don't feed your pet for at least six hours prior to departure time. Most pets travel better on an empty stomach, and if they do get sick they will not soil themselves.
Using a spray such as Feliway or Rescue Remedy on the carrier before placing a cat in it may help reduce stress.
Never muzzle your pet — it could restrict his/her breathing and limit his/her ability to pant. Put his/her favorite blanket or toy in the carrier before leaving for the airport.
Some airlines will allow passengers to supervise the loading of their pets, but you must request this privilege. As soon as you get on the plane, politely ask the flight attendant to remind the captain that live animals are in the cargo hold and that the heating or cooling controls need to be turned on and the cargo hold pressurized. Feel free to express your anxiety to the flight attendant, so as to sensitize the staff to how important your animal is to you.
Once you reach your destination and have deplaned, immediately retrieve your pet from the designated baggage claim area.
How can I prepare for car travel?
A few safety procedures are vital when traveling by car. Never leave your dog unattended in a hot car. Your pet can suffer irreparable brain damage or death if left in a car on a warm day; even "just a few minutes" may be too long.
You may need to acclimate your animal to car travel. Start with both of you sitting the car with the engine on. Gradually build up to a trip around the block, then try a visit to a park farther away. (Thirty minutes is a good test of tolerance.) If your dog is to remain loose in the car, she must learn that the driver's seat and area are off limits.
Do not let your dog hang her head outside the window; dust and debris can easily lodge in delicate eyes.
Pet supply stores stock inexpensive restraint devices that secure your animal to the seatbelt buckle or to the seatbelt itself. If you are involved in an automobile accident, the restraining device will keep your pet from crashing into the front window or car seat. The restraint will also keep your animal inside the vehicle and away from the driver.
Animals should not ride in the bed of pickup trucks. The risks of injury and death are too great, even if the animal is tethered. Some states even require that dogs ride in the cab of trucks.
How can I prepare for boat travel?
If you are vacationing on your boat, remember to treat your pet as if he or she were a child. This means putting a flotation vest on your pet. While dogs are natural swimmers, they can tire easily and may drown before they reach the shore. It also means not letting your pet stand on the bow of boat where a sudden shift may throw the animal into the water (and into the path of the boat or its propellers). Never let your pet ride in a boat while it is being towed.
Some cruise liners will allow pets to travel in special holds but prohibit them from passenger cabins. Further, quarantine laws may require your pet to be confined from two weeks to six months. An animal in quarantine is boarded at your own expense.
Are there other methods of travel available for my pet?
At present, Amtrak does not allow pets to travel on its trains. Some commuter trains and smaller train operations may allow a pet to travel in the baggage car in a carrier. Check with your local railroad to verify that it allows pets on board. Also find out if its baggage cars are air-conditioned or heated (most are not). If not, consider another form of transportation or avoid train travel in extreme weather conditions. If your train has a long stopover, retrieve your pet from the carrier and take him/her for a walk. Unless yours is an assistance animal, bus lines do not allow animals on board. Some local transit systems may, however, allow muzzled and leashed or crated animals on board during non-peak hours. Check with your local transit authority for current restrictions.

How can I camp safely with a dog?
If you cannot reliably control your pet, he or she should not go camping with you. Any pet you take into the wilderness must know instantly how to sit, stay, heel, and come on command, for his or her own safety as well as yours. Dogs can frighten wildlife and should be discouraged from barking, especially at night or when hiking in the wilderness.
Never let your dog wander from your campsite. Dogs can injure or kill wildlife. They are also prone to agitate bears and have even been known to lead them into campgrounds. If you plan to go camping in bear country, it is best to leave your dog at home. Many campgrounds require all dogs to be on a leash, so do not take along your dog if he or she is not leash trained. The safest place for a dog to sleep is in the tent with you.
Be sure to check with the park or campground you are visiting about whether they allow dogs and under what conditions.
What do I do if my pet becomes lost?
If the unthinkable happens and your pet runs away, take the following steps:

Contact the local animal control shelter and humane society and provide them with a current photograph of your pet.
Post reward signs that feature a photocopied picture of your pet and a number where you can be reached or where messages can be left for you.
Give the local police a description of your pet. They may be willing to keep an eye out for your pet while on patrol.
Place an ad in the local newspaper, including a phone number where you can be reached.
If you cannot stay in the area, give your home address and telephone number to the local shelter, humane society, and the hotel where you stayed in case your pet is found.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Sunny Days - How to Make you Dog Safer Part 1

What Should I Do About Fleas and Ticks?

United Animal Nations is pleased to share these tips on how to deal with fleas and ticks, which are usually most troublesome to pets in the warm summer weather. Fortunately, prevention and treatment are fairly simple, as you'll discover in these Frequently Asked Questions.
The information below offers suggested remedies, and should not be regarded as comprehensive. Please contact your veterinarian for more information.

How often should I check my pets for ticks or fleas?
Pets should be checked at least once a week for ticks, fleas, or skin irritations. If you discover a tick, remove it gently, using fine-point tweezers as close to the skin as possible (making sure to grasp the tick where the mouth parts are embedded into the skin).
Is it enough just to kill any fleas found on my pet?
Even a single adult flea on a dog or cat indicates a major infestation that must be treated.
At any given time, only 5% of the flea population is in the adult stage; the other 95% consists of pupae, larvae, and eggs. One female flea can lay more than 800 eggs in her six-week lifetime. An egg can become an adult flea, ready to reproduce, in less than three weeks. Within only 30 days, just 10 fleas can produce 250,000 children and grandchildren.The flea's diet consists of blood. Each flea feeds about once every hour, so an animal with only 25 fleas could be bitten as many as 600 times in one day.An excess of fleas can make your pet anemic. Constant scratching can cause hair loss, and allergies to fleas can cause hot spots. Animals can also develop large open, oozing wounds due to flea bites. All of these conditions are dangerous to a pet's health and expensive to treat. It's best to treat an infestation as early as possible.
How can I rid my pet of fleas?
w can I rid my pet of fleas?
The fine teeth of a flea comb will pull most of the adults and eggs off a pet. Combing your animal regularly will quickly determine whether or not fleas are present.
Flea shampoos are an effective means of killing fleas on a pet, but they are species-specific. (Never use a shampoo meant for dogs on cats.) Follow the instructions carefully. For best results, start lathering at the neck and work back to the tail. Be sure to soap the tail, legs, and underbelly completely. When done, rinse your pet as thoroughly as possible and towel dry.
Flea shampoos are better than flea powders or sprays or dips, since when properly rinsed no flea toxins remain to make your pet ill.
A flea collar may help kill fleas, but it's little more than a poison strap worn by a pet. Also, its effectiveness against fleas deteriorates over time and it must be changed regularly.
After treatment, prevention is necessary. Flea eggs or pupae can stay in a dormant state for months, growing to maturity when conditions for them "improve." You must get rid of them now, both inside and, if your animals are indoor/outdoor, outside as well.
How can I prevent fleas on my pet?
Many people use preventive medicines (such as Frontline, Program or Advantage) on their pets. These medications kill adult fleas and/or inhibit the growth of flea larvae. Consult your veterinarian about the risks and benefits of these products. Treatment of a pet should be done in conjunction with treatment of the areas in which the pet spends time.
How can I prevent fleas inside my house?
Vacuum regularly. Because fleas thrive on the contents of the vacuum cleaner bag, sprinkle some flea powder on the floor or carpet and vacuum that up, too. Dispose of the bag after vacuuming.
"Flea bombs" that contain an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) prevent flea larvae from maturing, thus breaking the infestation cycle within a house. IGRs must be used in every room in a house in order to be effective. These products can be toxic to humans and other animals; research the side effects of IGR "bombs" before using.
How can I prevent fleas outside my house?
Fleas and ticks love tall grass, so mow and edge your yard well to eliminate this ideal breeding ground.
Some people prevent fleas by spraying toxic chemicals on their lawns. What's heavily toxic to fleas, however, will kill beneficial insects, and may also harm pets or humans. This approach should be used only after thorough research and with caution.
Several natural and/or nontoxic flea control approaches exist, including use of beneficial nematodes and diatomaceous earth. Nurseries and garden shops can be good sources of information on these methods.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Protein and Kidney Failure from Your Dog's Diet

Early research indicated that higher levels of protein in your dog's diet would lead to kidney failure.  Do you know if your dog's diet is safe?  Are you killing your furry friend by providing too much protein in your dog's diet?
The studies that showed a relationship to high protein levels and kidney failure that sparked concerns about protein levels in dog's diets were not sound.  The research was performed on rats, not dogs.  Rats primarily eat plants as their natural diet.  Naturally, rats biological makeup would indicate trouble digesting diets containing high levels of protein.  The rats have difficulty excreting protein due to their specific dietary needs, not because the high protein diet causes kidney failure.

Still, where do we stand on protein and your dog's diet?  Dogs are naturally omnivorous.  In the wild, dog's would hunt or scavenge.  The dog's diet would consist of both plants and animals.  Naturally speaking, dogs are meat eaters, too.  For this reason, a dog can easily tolerate a diet consisting of 30% protein or more.

When protein intake is reduced in a dog's diet, renal function does not improve.  Renal lesions are not less likely to form when a dog is fed with a low-protein diet.  It is not until a blood urea nitrogen, or BUN, test indicates a level of 75, that a reduction in protein intake be considered for your dog's diet.   

If you have concerns about the amount of protein in your dog's diet, schedule an appointment to speak with a professional on the subject.  Your trusted vet can advise you on the specifics in regards to your dog's diet.

It is a myth that dog's cannot properly digest high levels of protein in their diet.  Kidney troubles do not result from high levels of protein in your dog's diet.  Large amounts of protein can be safely digested in your dog's diet, especially when they come primarily from animal origins.

Ten amino acids must be provided in your dog's diet through protein.  Only twelve of 22 amino acids can be manufactured in your dog's liver.  For this reason, meat such as heart, spleen, and meat by-products all have a place in your dog's diet.

A high-quality dog food should contain meat as the first ingredient.  This will provide the proper amount of protein for your dog's diet.  You know you are on the right track when you turn to nature for advice.  Do you ever recall seeing a wild or stray dog happily grazing through the cornfield at mealtime?

Senior dogs should not be automatically placed on lower protein diets exclusively based on age.  In fact, some older pets require a dog's diet higher in protein than during their younger adult stage.  Unless medically indicated, provide your pet the benefit of quality protein in your dog's diet.

Feeding your dog protein should not cause you concern.  You want what is best for your dog and nature tells you that protein will help your dog to thrive.  If you have questions about the myth of protein and kidney failure in your pet, speak to your vet about your dog's diet.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Guidelines to Choose a Healthy Dog Diet for Your Pet

Choosing a healthy dog diet can be confusing and difficult if you let it.  The pretty packaging and marketing can blur our perception of a product.  Your dog's diet is the most basic way to keep your pet healthy and happy for the years to come.  It is essential that you find a diet that will provide essential nutrients to allow your pet to thrive rather than merely survive.

Here are some simple guidelines to follow when you are selecting a food for your dog's diet.  Know that every dog is different.  A dog diet that is terrific for your neighbor's dog may not be exactly what your pet needs.

The first step when considering your dog's diet, is to talk to your veterinarian.  This trusted individual has your pet's interest at heart, just like you.  The vet's recommendations can steer you in the right direction.

Find a reputable brand of dog food to be the main component of your dog's diet.  It is not impossible to stumble across a high-quality dog food that you have never heard of, but a well-known and prominent manufacturer provides an amount of safety and security about the decision to feed your dog a healthy diet.  Recognized and reputable dog food manufacturers take the time to research the topic of animal nutrition.  Allow your pet to benefit from the company's wealth of information rather than going it alone.

Select a dog food that is age appropriate.  If your dog is older and shows signs of aging, consider a dog diet that is specially formulated for senior dogs.  Puppies have different nutritional needs than do adult dogs.  Find a variety of food that meets your dog's needs.  Even the breed and size of your pet can make a difference in the type of diet you should feed your pet.  Diets formulated specifically for small dogs and large breeds exist.  You may want to keep this in mind when selecting your dog's diet.

Activity level and weight are other factors to consider when making the decision of what to feed your dog.  If your dog is extremely active or overweight, you may need to pick a type of dog diet that accommodates such situations.

When you decide on a specific diet for your dog,  pay attention to the portion size.  Obesity is a serious problem in pets.  It can lead to hip troubles and take years off your pet's life.

Table scraps are definitely out for a healthy diet.  Your dog's diet should consist of a high-quality food specially designed to meet your pet's dietary needs.  Begging is encouraged with table scraps and obesity is likely to result.

Only supplement a high-quality diet when recommended by a veterinarian.  Giving your pet too many supplements in the dog's diet can lead to a lower quality of health.

Always consult your vet for advice on what to feed your dog.  Your dog's diet will fuel his health, so choose your dog's diet wisely.  Select a brand of food that is reputable and suited to your dog.  Finding the right diet for your pet will promote good health and allow your dog to thrive.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Glucosamine in a Dog's Diet

As you stand in the store pondering the plethora of varieties of dog food for your dog's diet, your mind can truly become overwhelmed.  The numerous ingredients in dog food simply complicate things even further.  Who really knows what all of those ingredients really mean?  You see glucosamine on some of the dog food labels.  That sounds a bit familiar.  Haven't you heard of glucosamine in the news?  What exactly is glucosamine and why should it be in your dog's diet?

You have probably heard of glucosamine in the news.  Glucosamine has been beneficial to joint health in humans.  Research has also shown that glucosamine in a dog's diet can be beneficial to your pet's

Glucosamine is a dietary supplement.  Glucosamine has been shown to encourage good joint health.  This supplement helps to maintain good joint cartilage.  Glucosamine is one of the key building blocks to produce joint lubricants.  The joint lubricant helps to keep the joints moving and functioning with ease.  Glucosamine in your dog's diet will ensure your pet's joints work at their peak performance levels for years to come.

How does glucosamine work to help your dog's joints?  Glucosamine hydrates and lubricates your pet's joints.  The added hydration and lubrication will help to prevent arthritis in your dog.  For this reason, glucosamine is a good supplement in your dog's diet.  Pet owners of large breed
Dogs that are predisposed to having joint and hip problems should especially consider adding glucosamine to their dog's diet.

Shellfish is a good source of glucosamine.  Another way to get glucosamine involves a unique process of fermenting corn.  This method to produce glucosamine creates a vegetable based glucosamine.  

Glucosamine is typically safe as part of a healthy and balanced diet.  Your dog's diet should include glucosamine to encourage joint health.  Your pet will not suffer from side effects or interactions with medications when glucosamine is part of your  dog's diet.  

Today, many high-quality dog foods, manufactured by reputable companies, have already added glucosamine to their food products.  Animal nutrition reports have discovered the benefits of glucosamine in your dog's diet and dog food producers have quickly responded.  If you find that your dog's diet does not contain glucosamine, or you feel your pet could benefit from additional supplementation in the diet, you should have no problem locating glucosamine supplements for your pet.  

Glucosamine supplements come in numerous forms.  You can even give your dog a treat specially designed to supplement your dog's diet with glucosamine.  The tasty treat eliminates the trouble of dosing your dog with pills.

Of course, it is always best to talk to your veterinarian about any changes to your dog's diet.  He or she can give you advice about what supplements should be added to your dog's diet and in what quantity.  Ask your vet about the advantages of glucosamine.

As you consider your dog's diet and the ingredients, consider your dog's health.  Glucosamine is often added to high-quality dog food.  Talk to your vet to determine if additional glucosamine supplements would be beneficial in your dog's diet.  Protect your dog's joints by monitoring the amount of glucosamine in your dog's diet.