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Some may find this blog article totally outrageous, but you know you've been in this situation.  You are sitting around your family or friend's Christmas exchange and someone gives the family dog a gift.  You feel like an idiot because the thought didn't even cross your mind.  I know I've been guilty of it and I love our little pup and all the family pups for that matter.

So we thought we could outline a few possibilities of when it might be appropriate, even expected to, well, "give the dog a bone" if you will.

  • A newly adopted dog is a new and exciting addition to the family.  Support their adoption choice by bringing a gift.
  • If the dog will be in attendance, it's nice to know you thought of the pup and bring a toy or treat for them too.
  • If your guests consider their pets their "fur-children", most definitely bring a gift.
  • If your guests have gone to trouble NOT to bring their dog to the festivities, it's also a nice time to remember the poor pup left behind.

And there are other times that it is definitely okay not to bring a gift for the four-legged family members

  • If the dog is not in attendance.
  • If the owners do not expect, in the least, a gift for their pup.
  • If it has been discussed in advance that pooch presents will not be exchanged.
  • If doggy gifts have never been exchanged before.

And if you do decide to wrap up a special something for Fido, here are a few ideas (some of which may also double as a gift for their owner) besides the standard bag of treats or a toy:

  • The Fur-minator - a fabulous solution for high shedding dogs (especially if they live with hard wood floors).
  • Homemade dog treats – check out these fantastic Pumpkin Biscuits (http://www.dogwatch.com/dogtails/)
  • Go to the meat counter at your local grocery store and request a dog safe bone for their gnawing pleasure.  Remember chicken and turkey bones are totally unsafe.
  • A dog Snuggie - truly, I have no idea how this would go over, but they sell them year after year so some pooches must like them.
  • new leash and/or collar, especially if you've noticed the current one is looking worn or not smelling so great.
  • DogWatch Hidden Fence - did you really think I'd get through this whole post and not plug us!
  • Pedipaws nail trimmer - especially great for the "do it yourself-er" in the family.
  • St. Francis "God Bless My Dog" tag - this is very thoughtful and quite budget friendly gift for the religious minded.
  • Big Leash Remote Trainer - to help with behavioral or training issues.
  • Pet related in home services such as yard clean up, dog food delivery service, a gift certificate to the owners groomer or kennel of choice.
  • A day or two stay at a local doggie day care is always fun.
  • A pet first aid class

If you need more ideas, just give us a call as we're happy to help!

Please also keep in mind that it's never a good idea to give a dog as a gift.  Getting a dog is a very personal decision and commitment - it's a choice that should be made only by the potential owner and no one else.

Family tradition may dictate your answer here as well.  Although this post may seem silly to some, others may find it helpful for the dog lovers in their life.  Think of the two-legged owners and that may also dictate the correct answer.  And if in doubt, grab a bag of treats, a toy, or a butcher's bone as you leave the grocery store.  It's an awkward feeling showing up to a party without a gift, even if the expected recipient would only drool on it anyway.  At the very least, give your dog an extra bit of snuggle time and be thankful for the love and support your fur-kids give you.

We hope you a safe and enjoyable Holiday season.

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Okay, so maybe Thanksgiving isn't necessarily for the dogs, but why shouldn't it be?  We know plenty of families out there that are certainly thankful for their four-legged companions.  So let's talk about making Thanksgiving fun for your dog as well as your family.

Thanksgiving Feast

Dogs will beg for anything that you will give them and they will positively drool at the sight of your plate full of gravy, stuffing and mashed potatoes.  However, a fatty meal of these "human foods" will wreak havoc on their digestive system and you will both feel badly later that you gave your pup foods he should not eat.  So instead, indulge your pet wisely.  Give him some bits of turkey without the gravy.  Give him some mashed sweet potato without the butter or marshmallows.  Let him try a small bit of cranberry sauce to see if he likes it.  You may feel like you're holding back, but if your dog has a steady diet of kibble, these healthy Thanksgiving Day treats will be heaven that won't upset his stomach later.

For dessert, remember that dogs love apples.  Instead of a fatty piece of apple pie, slice a few apples up for your dog’s bowl and watch them enjoy.

One more important reminder: NEVER give your dog turkey (or chicken for that matter) bones.  These bones are too small and fragile for a dog’s strong mouth.  Inform everyone in the house that no bones should be giving to the family pet.

Kitchens

Keep an eye on your pet in the kitchen. Great food smells will draw both man and dog to the kitchen. Make sure not to put hot dishes near the edge of counters so as not to tempt your pets. This will avoid ruined dinners and possible burns from scalding juices or sauces.

In addition, keep an eye on the oven.  With the constant checking of all the dishes, make sure a wandering nose doesn't wander too close.

Visitors

If you are having visitors for Thanksgiving, upon their arrival introduce them to your pet and inform them of his routines and special quirks.  This should help avoid any unnecessary mishaps. Also, be aware of children running around the house. Make sure they are aware of pet safety rules and know how to play nice with your pets. Even the nicest of dogs can bite or scratch if they are excited or surprised. If you are the visitors, ask permission before bringing your pets along with you and have a plan ready upon your arrival.

If your dog seems bothered by all the activity, he/she may enjoy a little quiet time in their crate or room by themselves.  Give them their favorite toy, bone or deer antler and they can enjoy the holiday in peace and quiet.

Before your meal, let your guests know the policy on feeding Fido.  If the rules are set up ahead of time, there should be no issue.  If you don't have a policy of feeding your dog at the table, pre-make a special plate for your pup.  Allow guests to pass the plate and feed your dog what is there.  Once it's gone there are no seconds for Fido and everyone will have had their fun.

In Summary

We hope your two and four-legged family have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving!  If you have any questions, please contact us at 614-527-3799 or use our contact form to e-mail us questions.

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Halloween is fun for everyone, right?  That fact may be true for creature of the two legged variety, but not so much for dogs.  For dogs, Halloween is a scary and quite confusing time for them.  They don’t understand what is going on and why what is going on is okay for this one night of the year.  We wanted to list the following reasons why dogs do not like Halloween to try and encourage you to keep your dogs safe at home while the festivities of the evening proceed.

  1. Trick or Treating while the dog stays home but is free to roam.  How frustrating must it be for your dog to see you open the door to stranger after stranger that evening?  He isn’t allowed near them to check them out.  He doesn’t know if they are safe or not.  His job is to keep you safe and that must seem pretty tough for him to do under the circumstances of Trick or Treating.
  2. Trick or Treating while out with you and your kids.  Walking at night may be enough of an unusual experience for your dog.  Walking at night with gobs of other people out that are dressed very strangely makes the experience that much more foreign to your dog.  Plus watching his little people go to house after house of strangers, again can he protect them that way?
  3. Dogs don’t like costumes. At all.  They pinch, they pull, they constrict movement, they can’t walk or run as well, they may have trouble using the bathroom, they may not be able to see or hear as well, for all of these reasons and more, dogs do not like costumes.  So even though they look cute, spare your dog the aggravation and humiliation and leave the poor dog costume-less.
  4. Dogs and fire are never a good combination and Halloween is a prime night for bonfires, firepits, pumpkin candles, lanterns, torches, etc.
  5. Halloween is all about candy and candy and candy wrappers are just not good for your dog.  Be sure to put those treats up high, in the freezer and/or in a dog-proof container immediately upon it entering your house.  Not only is the chocolate lethal for dogs, the wrappers could be as well.
  6. Halloween can often be a night of tricks as well as treats.  Please keep your dog safely inside so he/she does not become victim to a cruel prank.
  7. Loud noises such as yells, screams, music, car horns, sirens, etc often accompany the Trick or Treating chaos.  Dogs NEVER appreciate loud noises.
  8. Let’s just mention costumes one more time.  Dogs hate costumes.
  9. Dogs will be jumpy on Halloween.  That means there could be a higher bite risk for small children and adults alike.
  10. The costumes children wear could also present a danger to your four-legged friend.  Small parts, strange substances, make ups, hair dyes, wigs, and funny fabrics could be tempting to your dog to eat.  Anything non-food that is ingested by your dog is a big-time danger, so be sure to put the costumes away quickly as well.

The point we’re trying to make here, is Halloween is just not a great night to try and include your dog in the festivities.  He/she would be much more comfortable if they were obvious to the going’s on and kept safely in his or her crate or small room with one of their favorite toys, butchers bones, or deer antlers.  Keep them busy and occupied with a favorite treat and they will enjoy the evening as much as his/her people will!

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While visiting family this past week, my Aunt was marveling at our Miniature Schnauzer, Potter.  She says that almost all dogs really cause her allergies to act up, but Potter never has.  She went on to explain that sometimes she can handle being in a house for an hour that has dogs, sometimes not even that.

After this conversation, I thought it might be interesting and helpful to do some research on the best types of dogs to have if you or a family member is allergic to dogs.  Dogs can be an integral part of our family, so to miss out on the chance to have one, especially as your children grow up, is a travesty.

The first thing I learned is that there is no such thing as a “hypoallergenic” dog.  All dogs, even hairless ones, have hair and dander.  Dander and not hair is what most people are allergic to, so shedding isn’t really the issue at hand.  It’s more about the amount of dander that dogs produce – some naturally produce more and some naturally produce less.  

So the key is to find a dog that produces a low amount of dander.  Some smaller breeds include: American Hairless Terrier, Bichon Frise, Chinese Crested, Mini Schnauzer, Havanese, Maltese, Shih Tzu, Toy Poodle, and Yorkshire Terriers. Middle to larger size breeds that produce a low amount of dander include: Labradoodle, Portuguese Water Dog, Standard and Giant Poodle, Standard and Giant Schnauzer, and Wheaton Terrier.

Dogs with the most dander generally consist of dogs with a double-coated fur and include: Hounds, Cocker and Springer Spaniels, Collies, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Irish Setters.

If you already have a dog and are suffering allergies or are planning on having guests over and they suffer allergies, there are some steps you can take to help.

  • And obviously, clean and vacuum often to help remove dander from carpet and furniture. 
  • Allowing your dog to be outside as much as possible is great for exercise, but also may keep him from losing that much more dander within the house.  
  • Bathe your dog often to help discourage dander build up.  
  • If possible, keep your dog out of your bedroom and especially off the beds, since a good portion of our day is spent sleeping there.  

We hope this helps to answer any questions you may have about human allergies to dogs.  We especially hope it helps people who otherwise thought they were unable to have a pet to make the wonderful leap into pet ownership.  Dogs can be a great addition to any family, some may just need to be chosen more carefully than others.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us or call us at 614-527-3799.

And after reading this, my cousin may finally get that dog he’s wanted from my aunt after all these years…




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As the Fourth of July weekend approaches, everyone is looking forward to the upcoming events.  Picnics, parades and fireworks are so much fun for families and children of all ages.  

But what does your family dog think of all these festivities?  The answer is they are probably not as excited about it as you are.  Crowds of people and loud noises are not a favorite for most dogs, so here are a few tips to help make the Fourth of July weekend more enjoyable for your four-legged friend too:

Parades

It may be best to leave your pup at home for this one.  There is a lot of activity at parades – crowds of people, loud noises, items being thrown - it may just be too much for your dog.

If you really want to include your dog in this tradition, be sure to take the following precautions:

Keep your dog on a leash.  We would suggest a 4 or 6 ft non-retractable one in order to best be able to maneuver your dog through a crowd or keep him away from things he shouldn't have.

Watch out for thrown candy.  Candy wrappers, chocolate and sucker sticks could be lethal to your dog.  Keep an eye out to make sure he doesn't snag a stray piece or two.

Bring water and offer it often to keep him hydrated.  

Don’t stay out too long if you’re dog does not handle the heat well.

Definitely do not leave your dog in the car during the length of the parade.  Hot cars are extremely dangerous even for short periods of time.


Picnics


As we’ve stated in other holiday related articles, the biggest danger for dogs during gatherings like these is food.  Be sure to keep the “people food” on the people plates.  This will avoid any stomach irritations for your dog, which is good in any case, but especially if fireworks are that evening.

Sparklers, at home fireworks, and other related products could also present several dangers to your pet.  For instance:

Anything that you light is obviously potential for burns for people and animals alike.  Be careful and be very aware of who is around you.

Fur could catch fire easily.  Be especially careful with your kids and the sparklers they may be having fun with.

Some of the firework “toys” could frighten dogs.  Especially the snapping, growing or popping ones.  Best to keep your dog inside during these demonstrations to make sure they don’t get spooked or try to eat the remains.  Do not let children (or adults for that matter) tease the family dog with any of these toys.  Even the most passive dog can be very unpredictable when frightened or hurt.

Fireworks

Fireworks are tough for dogs.   We all know how loud fireworks are for us, but keep in mind dogs have much more acute hearing than we do.  Even from inside the house, fireworks can be downright frightening.  A dog’s reaction to fireworks may be similar to thunderstorm anxiety.  

Specific tips for an uneventful fireworks experience include:

No question on this one.  Leave your dog home safe in his crate, favorite room or even a bathroom.

Play some soothing music (or your dog’s favorite) to help drown out the noise of the fireworks.

Be sure all doors and pet doors are locked in the unlikely event of an escape.  In a moment of panic, your dog may try and come to find you (wherever you may be) to find comfort.

Be sure his or her collar and tags are on in case of an escape.

If there are accidents when you get home, try not to be upset.  Keep in mind the reaction was due to fear and nothing else.

We wish you and your family a very safe and enjoyable Fourth of July weekend!  

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