Lotsa Dogs Lotsa Fun

Lotsa Dogs Lotsa Fun
The Big Dogs Wait at The Door

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Here Come the Holidays!

Hanukkah and Christmas
So it's the holidays. Christmas cookies, potato latkes, fruit cakes, punch bowls, chocolate Santas and Hanukkah gelt: whatever your tradition, it surely involves rich treats. So this is also the time of the year to remind ourselves that holiday treats are dangerous for dogs.

This is true almost without exception. Chocolate is downright toxic and can kill your dog, if she consumes a lot of it.  Other holiday specialties will make her ill in varying degrees.  Alcohol is a disaster.  It's not funny to watch your dog lap up spiked eggnog.  Really, it isn't. It could make her suffer, and could transform your holiday into a vigil at an animal hospital.

Similarly, dogs can’t digest oily latkes, or shortening-rich fruitcake. Mostly, what goes in comes out, the latter inevitably in the middle of the night, after you’ve stayed up partying and are exhausted. So make, and keep, a rule that the dog only gets treats that are meant for her. Festive holiday dog treats are available at pet stores everywhere. Take advantage, and make sure your family understands whose treats are whose!
Here are 5 tips to help avoid an emergency vet visit and enjoy your Hanukkah:
1.  Sufganiyot – Otherwise known as doughnuts, they are filled with artificial sugars, jelly, fat, and empty calories. They’re a delicious treat for us, but can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and decreased appetites for
dogs. Be very careful to not let your canine buddy get any of these doughnuts and make sure he can’t counter surf and lick up ingredients that are lying about.

2.  Latkes – They are savory and they taste amazing, but they have onion in them. Onions can cause anemia in dogs.  Also, the oil, sour cream, and other ingredients are bound to upset your dog’s stomach.

3.  Chocolate coins – This is a traditional candy that children receive, and they’re wrapped in shiny gold and silver foil. The foil, chocolate, and netting that they come in can be dangerous to your dog’s entire GI tract. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which dogs cannot digest, and in extreme cases they can be fatal. If your dog swallows the foil and net bag, induce vomiting immediately.  A teaspoonful of diluted hydrogen peroxide in an eye dropper will do the trick.

4.  Dreidels – They’re great toys for kids and but you don’t want your dog in the game.   She’ll want to join in the fun and try to pick the dreidel up in her mouth. If your dog swallows a dreidel, or any small object, induce vomiting and call the vet. Keep all game pieces out of your dog’s reach.
: The Menorah – This is an essential symbol for Hanukkah, but the candles that you light each night pose a danger if your dog likes to jump up, leap over things, or generally race around the house. The menorah could fall over or singe her nose or fur.  Keep the menorah up high and out of pup’s reach. Make sure it’s on a stand or other stable surface so if your dog comes galloping into the room, she doesn’t shake it loose and start a fire.

And here are some tips to make Christmas fun for your family and the dog:
First, be aware of holiday hazards, and supervise your dog when he's exposed to them. For example tinsel, Christmas lights, wires, glass ornaments, poinsettias, mistletoe, and other holiday decorations can be deadly if chewed.  Don't leave pup alone with any hazardous materials, not even for a minute!  You don’t want Christmas to be interrupted by an emergency visit to a veterinary hospital.

To help pup share in the fun, place dog-safe toys and ornaments on the bottom branches of your tree, and let him play with them.   You can find them at any pet store.  Attach them with string, not wire. And beware of chewing on evergreen branches or pine needles.

Of course, he’ll make every effort to convince you to share your Christmas pudding, don’t give in!  Dogs' digestive systems are quite different from ours.  Their intestines are much shorter, and they digest very quickly, a trait left over from the wild where it was necessary to get protein into the system quickly. They absolutely cannot process ingredients that we take for granted, such as nuts, holiday spices, and hydrogenated fat.  So, if you don't want to get up at 4 am on a cold winter’s night, limit your pup to treats that are intended for him.
So, what about dress up? By all means! Hats, suits, collars, boots, it's all good. Just remember that dogs in costumes should be supervised at all times.  Left alone, they may treat their adorable dreidel coat or reindeer antlers as toys, which means “chew baby, chew!” And dog accessories are definitely not safe for eating.

So have a fun, happy holiday season - and help your pup to have one too!

Holiday puppies: a big no-no!

By November, your local puppy store is in high gear. They’re out to convince you that puppies make the perfect holiday gift. What could be cuter than a new puppy on Christmas morning?  Or a cuddly new family member the first night you light the menorah?

Actually, it would be hard to make a worse choice! Reputable breeders are loath to sell in December, because they know that by February the puppy is likely to find himself abandoned in a dog shelter or, if he's lucky, returned to the breeder.
The holidays are a busy, stressful time and people are exhausted.  It's a time when we struggle to meet our regular commitments, along with preparing for the holidays.  It's certainly not a time to take on the work of a new puppy. 
A couple weeks into January, the kids will be back in school, mom and dad will be rushing off to work every morning. The weather will make you want to hibernate.   Just when everyone could use a break, that adorable puppy will be soiling the carpets, chewing on furniture, stealing food, throwing up in baskets of clean laundry, and  generally acting out of control.

If your family is ready for a dog, wait until February or March when things have calmed down, and warmer weather is on the way.  Cold weather makes house training difficult, if not impossible; and the spirit of the season prevents you from making a realistic decision about a new dog. In the spring your family will spend more time outside, and feel a greater inclination to train the new family member.

Check out these dog links!
The Doggie Den Homepage

Friday, November 16, 2012

Repost from Live in Nanny on Kids with Dogs

10 Ways to Teach Young Children to Be Nice to Pets

When kids learn to treat animals with gentleness and respect, they also learn about compassion and caring on a larger scale, which are traits that can later be applied to the relationships that they have with fellow humans. For parents of toddlers and young children, imparting these lessons can be a bit of a challenge; here are 10 ways to help your little one understand the importance of treating animals well.
  1. Set a Good Example – Children learn primarily through mimicry. They watch their parents and other authority figures, and then model their own behavior after their observances; one of the best ways to instill a love of animals is to have that same love yourself and to exhibit it often.
  2. Research Local Programs – Your local Humane Society chapter or other animal activism organization is likely to have a program or two specifically directed at helping small children understand the proper treatment of animals. A cursory glance at a local message board or search engine results could net dozens of options.
  3. Take Advantage of Story Time – Most kids love a bedtime story, and there are tons of books on the market written with this very subject in mind. A colorfully illustrated, well-written book about animals and the humans that love them can do wonders for explaining the concept of animal kindness to kids.
  4. Teach Proper Handling of Small Animals – Helping a child to properly hold and handle a small or newborn animal while emphasizing the importance of being gentle is a great way to teach a hands-on lesson about carefully handling animals and never being too rough.
  5. Visit a Petting Zoo – Spending an afternoon at the petting zoo can be a fun and informative experience for kids of all ages, but especially for little ones who wouldn’t ordinarily have the opportunity to interact with such an interesting array of animals or have access to professionals that are trained to help kids learn about them.
  6. Share Interesting Facts – Learning that baby goats are also called “kids” or that butterflies taste with their feet not only entertain children, but also help them to see that animals have their own unique, interesting qualities.
  7. Help at a Shelter – Taking a trip to your local animal shelter to help walk the dogs, feed the cats or do other fun and interactive chores not only makes a difference in your community, but also in your child. It might be best to stick to a privately run no-kill shelter or to be sure that no animals are scheduled to be euthanized during your visit, however, to avoid a traumatic experience.
  8. Study Local Wildlife – A trip to a local nature preserve or national park not only provides kids with a day of no-television fun, but can also help them understand the very important concept that wild animals are not pets, but should be treated with the same respect.
  9. Watch Kid-Friendly Television Programming – While you might want to skip the program chronicling the antelopes’ encounter with a hungry lion, there are plenty of kid-centric animal documentary shows that can provide strong talking points and valuable information.
  10. Get a Pet – After you’re certain that your child understands the basic treatment of animals, introducing a pet into your home is a great way to keep their education going. Even if you live in a small space or urban environment that isn’t conducive to traditional pets, a small hamster or a goldfish can still help give your child a sense of responsibility.
Most small children need to be reminded to be gentle more than anything else, as deliberate cruelty is quite rare in children so young. Kids that show signs of harmful behavior might be struggling with a larger issue. If this is the case the child’s pediatrician should be consulted.

Check out these dog links!
The Doggie Den Homepage

Monday, November 05, 2012

Tips for Enjoying Fall with Your Dog

There’s nothing like the first weeks of crisp, cool air after a sticky summer.  You have more energy and so does your dog, so go ahead and enjoy the gorgeous foliage and catch up on yard work together.  Fall is also a good time to do some basic indoor pet maintenance in preparation for colder weather.
Here are some tips for enjoying fall with your dog:

·                      ‘Tis the season for rodents to seek refuge in your house.  If you use poisons do so with extreme caution; make sure your dog has no access to where they are left.  If you suspect your dog has consumed a rodent control product, call the ASPCA 24-hour poison control hotline (888-426-4435) and/or take the dog to the vet immediately.

·                     Dogs love leaf raking time.  The piles you create make for great crash landings and gleeful scattering.  Though that means more work for you, watching pup revel in the action can be so inviting that you just have to join in.  But don’t let pup run through leaf piles that have been left standing.  They can harbor rodents, snakes, fleas, ticks, and worst of all, sharp objects.

·                     It’s a wonderful season for hiking, and nothing thrills your dog like exploring nature’s changing scents.  The cooler weather allows for long, leisurely hikes, but you still need to bring plenty of water.  Before you set out, spend 15 minutes practicing recall in your yard, using her favorite treat as a reward.  Then pack more treats for the hike.  In the fall, snakes are preparing for hibernation and can be particularly grumpy.  Know what kinds of snakes inhabit your area and keep away from trails where they’re likely to be found.  During the hike, call your dog a few times and reward her with a treat.  It’s good practice for potential snake encounters.

·                     Pay special attention to skin and coat care in the fall.  Continue using flea and tick preventives, at least through the first couple of hard frosts.  Like everyone else, those tiny pests are looking for a snug winter hideaway, and there’s no place like your dog’s coat.  Take pup for a fall grooming and ask that the groomer use a flea and tick shampoo to get rid of insects, eggs and larvae that the preventive medication may have missed.  Order extra de-shedding, because your dog is losing her summer coat; you need to make sure there’s room for incoming winter growth. Fall is also a time when allergies, hot spots, and dermatitis act up, so request a soothing skin and coat conditioner.  If the groomer finds rough spots, it’s time to take pup to the vet for a fall check-up.

·                     If you have a puppy, remember that he doesn’t have enough coat to withstand the cold, so limit outdoor time.  When you take him for his fall makeover, ask the groomer to leave lots of coat length – he’ll be shedding in preparation for his adult coat, so this is no time for a shave.

·                     Fall is a time when many people change the engine coolant in their car.  Ethylene glycol-based antifreezes can taste sweet but are highly toxic, so make sure your dog doesn’t drink out of puddles and don’t let him into the garage alone if there is stored antifreeze or spills.  For your own car, consider using a propylene glycol-based coolant; though not completely non-toxic such products are less dangerous than anything containing ethylene glycol.  If you suspect your dog has consumed any kind of antifreeze, call the ASPCA 24-hour poison control hotline (888-426-4435) and/or take him to the vet immediately.

·                     Back to school time means you stock up on fun items like magic markers, glue sticks, and colored pencils.  These supplies smell delicious to your dog, so make sure your kids know to keep them out of reach.  Also, with some of her favorite playmates now away for the day, your pup will likely feel lonely and bored.  Leave interactive toys like Kongs filled with treats to keep her busy while she’s alone.

·                     Better yet, take her to doggy daycare a couple of days a week so she has her own pals; she’ll come home tired and happy.

·                     Check dog-related household equipment to make sure it’s ready for constant use.  Your dog will shed his winter coat all the way through until spring, since indoor temps that are comfortable for us are too warm for him.  It’s a good time for vacuum cleaner maintenance, since you’ll be using it a lot.  Also check the collars, harnesses and leads that you’ll be using for those refreshing fall walks.  Discard anything that’s partially chewed or worn to avoid your dog breaking loose.  Also, make sure you have a pin or slicker brush in tip-top condition, as pup needs frequent brushing while growing and shedding winter coat.

Enjoy this fall with the kids and the family dog, whether you’re cozied in on the couch or outdoors enjoying the foliage!

Check out these dog links!
The Doggie Den Homepage