Archive for September, 2008
If you’re like me you think of your pet as a child. You feed them, give them shelter, and most importantly—you keep them safe. My cat Puppet Master is an orange tabby. He weighs 19 lbs and goes everywhere I go. The other day I was headed to my cousin’s house for dinner, it was raining, and had snowed the night before. I hit a patch of slush and had to slam on my brakes. Puppet Master flew forward, hitting the dashboard. He was stunned for a while, but it turned out he was just fine.
When I returned home I surfed the web for a cat car harness that could safely strap him in when we were on the road. It turned out there were several available—they weren’t even that expensive. Since then I always keep Puppet Master harnessed in the car, at first it bothered him. But I let him wear the harness around the house for a while and he soon got used to it.
Hip dysplasia is a common degenerative joint disease seen in dogs. Hip dysplasia is caused by the abnormal development of a young dog’s hip joint. It can affect one or both of a dog’s hips. Laxity in the muscles, connective tissue and ligaments forms an unstable support for the hip, and over time that lack of support can result in dysplasia.
A dog suffering from hip dysplasia may show discomfort or pain during and after intense exercise. Eventually, the condition will worsen to the point at which everyday activities become painful. If the condition persists without intervention for more than a couple of years the dog could lose the ability to walk.
Treatments for hip dysplasia include; corrective surgery, weight management, physician-specified exercise, massage and physical therapy. Dogs suffering from this condition tend to have trouble getting up stairs. Pet ramps work well to help a dog navigate his way up or down stairs.
Humane Societies/Animal Shelters
Once you have an idea of the breed you want and once you are certain that you can provide a quality home for your new dog or puppy, the next step is to actually find the right one. The best place to start is at your local humane society and animal shelters – even if you want a purebred. Believe it or not, shelters and humane societies often have purebred dogs and puppies available. If they don’t have the breed or breed mix you want, ask them to call you when they do. Or you can make regular visits until you find the right dog. Going to the humane society or animal shelter gives you the choice between many dogs and you get them at a very reasonable cost which includes all their shots and the spaying or neutering.
Breed Rescue Groups
You can also check with rescue groups. If you are wanting a basset hound, for example, check with a basset hound rescue group. They specialize in the breed and they can tell you about a specific dog’s personality as well as a lot about the breed itself. They will also most likely provide the animal’s shots and spaying and neutering.
Individuals and/or Breeders
You can also get a puppy from individuals by looking in classified ads in the newspaper or online. Craig’s List is an example of an online classified where you can find pets from individuals. Be careful, however, if you are buying a purebred puppy from an individual. If an individual is breeding purebred dogs for the sake of making money, they could inadvertently be spreading the genetic diseases and health problems associated with that breed. Make sure this individual has done testing for these diseases and make them show you the vet records. Doing your research on breeds will help you know what to look for. Also, make sure that if you get a purebred from an individual that you visit the individual’s home. This is to make sure you are not getting a dog from a puppy mill. We strongly urge you not to get a dog from a breeder who breeds several dogs just for the sake of making money and we strongly urge you not to buy a puppy from pet stores. This is because pet stores usually get their dogs from those kind of people who only breed dogs to make money.
Remember, you don’t have to get a purebred. Mutts are great dogs too. The main benefit is they don’t usually have all the health problems associated with the genetic degeneration of pure-breeds. A downfall would be that you may not be sure of the breed mixes, so therefore, you aren’t certain as to what to expect behavior and personality-wise from your dog. But discovering your dog’s breed mix and personality can be a fun experience. With time, patience, and lots of training, any dog can be a great dog!
Check our blog later for information on what to do once you get your new pet. Future blogs in this series includes getting pet supplies, potty training, grooming, and more!
I used to give my dogs rawhide bones all the time because they absolutely loved them and I thought it was good for their teeth. But when they ate the whole bone within a matter of minutes, I worried. Should they be eating that much at one time? Even though it is good for their teeth, is it good for their bodies? Rawhide is made from the hide of animals. I couldn’t imagine that it had much nutritional value.
We came across an article recently that spells out the truth about rawhide bones and why you probably should not give them to your dog. Check out this great article by Jon Dakins:
Before I went searching for a puppy, I checked with my apartments to make sure I could have another pet. I also made sure I could fit the expenses of a new pet into my budget. And finally, I needed to make sure I had the time for a new dog. Living in an apartment, I would have to take the dogs out for a walk everyday, even in winter. I would have to be around to keep a puppy from crying and disturbing the neighbors. And I couldn’t very well train a puppy if I didn’t have the time.
Research – Time
Puppies take a lot more time for care and training than a full grown dog. For one thing, a puppy’s bladder is very small so they need to go out every couple of hours or so during the day and probably at least two times during the night. It will take time for a puppy to get used to being away from their family so the first few days and nights may be full of puppy cries. Multiple vet visits will take more time. Unlike a full grown dog who may only need to go to the vet once or twice a year, a puppy will need to visit the vet 3-5 times just in the first 6 months alone. This is for booster shots, de-worming, surgery for spaying or neutering, and general health checkups for your fast-growing pet. Time will also be needed for training. You want to start training right away. If you are not familiar with how to train a puppy, classes may be provided by your local pet store, vet, or humane society. If you have a dog or puppy which is known to be very active, you will need to make sure you have the time to go on regular walks and/or visits to the park.
Research – Money
There are a lot of up-front costs for getting a new puppy. There are the vet visits and shots, dog collars, a leash, spay or neuter cost, puppy food, food and water bowls, and chew toys. You may also want to consider a crate for crate training, a dog bed, a pet ID chip, a dog seat belt or pet car seat for traveling in the car, pet health insurance, and a registration tag from your city. There may also be a pet deposit with your apartments, landlord, or neighborhood association. The monthly fees for pet care include food, annual shots, bi-annual vet visits, heartguard, flea and tick repellent like Advantix, replacement collars and leashes for regular wear and tear, and finally more chew toys and dog treats. Some apartments or neighborhood associations may also charge you a monthly fee for keeping your pet. You may also need money to board your pet or pay a pet sitter for when you travel and can’t take your dog with you.
Research – Living Conditions
Before you get a new dog or puppy, find out from your apartments, landlord, or neighborhood association if you are allowed to have dogs, and if so, if there is a weight limit. If there is a size or weight limit, you want to make sure you get a puppy that you know will not get very big. If you live in an apartment or a house with no yard, you want to consider getting a dog that does not require a lot of exercise or make sure there is a safe place to take your puppy for regular walks. Keep in mind that some breeds do much better when they are outdoors and get a lot of exercise. So be sure to do you research on dog breeds first to make sure the dog you want is suitable for where you live.
Later we will talk about where you can get a new puppy or dog. Check back with us in a few days!
Are you considering getting a puppy? If you have never owned a dog before, it is important that you understand the responsibilities involved in raising a puppy so you will be more prepared to handle what is to come. It may also help some of you realize that perhaps a puppy just isn’t right for you. You may want to consider an older dog instead, or perhaps even a cat. Puppies take a lot of time and patience. There are going to be difficult times and many messes to clean up. But if you are prepared, you and your puppy will be much happier. And eventually the task of taking care of a puppy becomes easier as he learns the routines and rules of the house.
The first step before getting a puppy is to do research. You need to know what breed or breed mix is best for you and your family, whether your living situations can accomodate a pet, and finally, where you are going to get your puppy. Today’s article is about doing the research on what kind of dog or puppy to get. Later in the week we will talk about the other research that is needed. And later still, we will talk about the responsibilites involved in owning a puppy.
Research – What kind of dog or puppy to get
Before you decide on a breed, research dog breeds for their temperament, grooming requirements, and size. This will give you a lot of information on what to expect if you want a purebred dog. Don’t select a certain breed for superficial reasons until you have done your research on the breed and you are certain you can handle the responsibilities involved with that particular breed. You can get information on breeds from books, vets, various rescue groups and shelters, and from online sources such as blogs, articles, and forums. This will also help you learn about certain genetic diseases and health issues that are associated with certain purebreeds. JustDogBreeds.com is an excellent on-line source for getting information about specific breeds.
Most dog breeds can learn to get along with children and other pets, but some breeds tend to get along with them better than others. So if you have children or other pets, researching dog breeds will be very helpful.
You also need to condider if you can handle a dog which requires special grooming. If your dog is going to be mostly indoors, do you care if it is a breed that sheds? Do you want a dog that requires a periodic hair-cut? Will you take the time to periodically brush a long-haired dog?
The size and activity level of the dog your puppy is going to grow into is another thing to consider. You don’t want a large or highly energetic dog if you live in an apartment unless you plan on regularly taking the dog out for exercise. If you have children, the size and energy level of the dog may also be considered. Small children may not be good with a small dog and a large energetic dog may not be good for small children.
If you don’t care if your puppy is a purebred or not, knowing about breeds is still helpful. Sometimes it is easy to tell what sort of breed-mix a puppy is and this could help you in making your decision. Mixed breeds can also be good because your dog will most likely not have the genetic issues involved with purebreeds.
It is recommended for any dog who rides in the car to be secured in some way. There are many great products out on the market made just for the safety of traveling pets including dog car seat belts, dog car safety seats, carriers, and auto barriers. Before taking your dog for a ride in the car, it is a good idea to get them used to the auto safety device you are going to use.
Dog car seat belts can generally also be used as a harness for walking. Use the harness for this purpose as much as possible. You can even allow the dog to wear it around the house while under your supervision. Once they are used to wearing it, they are less likely to try to struggle out of it.
If you are going to use a dog car safety seat, allow your pet to use it as a pet bed first. Then when they use it in the car, they will feel more comfortable because they are in a familiary place. Pet car seats should be used with a harness so also get them used to wearing this device as described above.
For dogs who are going to ride in a travel carrier, try crate training them first. Once the crate becomes a second home for your pet, putting them in the crate during a car ride will be much less stressful for them.
An auto barrier would be the simplest for your dog to get used to. Simply install the device and take your dog for a ride. If it makes them anxious because they can’t be close to you, take them for short rides at first to places they would love to go. Evenutally, they will be less anxious about the barrier.
Does your dog love to travel in the car with you? You and your family wear seat belts when riding in the car. Does your pet? If you have not considered it, here are eight important reasons why your dog should wear a dog seat belt:
1. The dog won’t be able to distract the person driving the car. Distractions an be very dangerous to the driver. Some dogs are naturally well-behaved in the vehicle but many dogs have to be trained car-riding decorum. Why not train them in the pet auto seat belt instead?
2. Sudden unexpected stops may prevent the dog from flying forward into the dash, the back seat, or onto the floor. Dog’s noses are very sensitive. Hitting their nose on the dash or back of the seat can be a very painful experience.
3. The dog won’t be able to put their head out the window. Did you know that even a tiny spec of flying debris can do serious damage to the dog’s eyes or nose? Many dogs love to put their heads out the window, but it can be an equally pleasant experience if they are sitting in a pet auto seat belt by an open window. They won’t be able to put their heads out, but they can still get a whiff of the multiple odors zipping by.
4. Not only will the dog not be able to put their head out the window, they won’t be able to get their body out either. Dogs are instinctive creatures and if something catches their attention, such as another dog, a squirrel, or other animal, they may go after it without a thought. Perhaps your dog is too smart to do this, but why take the chance?
5. Many dogs will run or even bite if frightened. What if you and your pet happen to be in a serous auto accident? Your dog is going to be terrified. If there is a means of escape, the dog may get out of the car and run. And where are they most likely to run? It would be a terrible thing to survive an auto accident only to get hit by a car. Even if there is no way for the dog to escape, they may need medical attention. An injured dog may react defensively by tying to bite someone who is actually trying to help them. A dog that is restrained however, is easier to muzzle and therefore, easier to attend to.
6. Did you know that some states are considering pet restraints to be required for dogs traveling in the vehicle? Get ahead by purchasing a pet auto seat belt now. If you wait until your state passes such a law, there will be businesses that will take advantage of the requirement and raise the prices on their products.
7. A pet auto seat belt can actually be quite comfortable once the dog gets used to it. For small dogs, a pet car seat in conjunction with the seat belt can also be extremely comfortable. Dogs can have a difficult time laying down in a seat because of the turning, speeding up, slowing down, and stopping movements of the car. Many dogs can brace themselves better by standing or sitting. With a pet auto seat belt or pet car seat, a dog can stand, sit, or lay down comfortably and not have to worry about bracing themselves against car maneuvers.
8. Last but not least, a pet auto safety belt shows you to be a responsible and caring pet owner as well as a responsible driver. Friends and strangers will be impressed with your thoughtfulness and foresight. They in turn, may consider getting a pet auto seat belt for their own dog. You could be indirectly responsible for saving another dog’s life.
As you can see, all eight reasons are excellent reasons for your dog to wear a pet auto safety belt. Any argument against it are easily outweighed by the examples above. So do what is safe, what is best for you and your pet, and in some states, what is required by law. You and your dog will be all the happier for it.
Defining the terrier group by the look of the dog may not be as easy as you think. Most of us think of terriers as having wiry hair but not all terriers in this group share this trait – Consider the Bull Terrier, for example, which has a short dense coat. Another difficulty is that all kennel clubs do not agree on which dogs belong or don’t belong in the terrier group. For example, the United Kennel Club (UKC) in the United States includes the Jack Russell Terrier but the American Kennel Club (AKC), also in the United States, does not.
So what defines a terrier? The origin and occupation of the breed play a large part in defining the terrier. Most terrier breeds originated in Britain and the surrounding areas. Terriers were bred to track down and pursue prey from their holes or lairs. In fact, the terrier group gets its name from the Latin word, terra, which means earth. The character of a terrier, however, is its most defining trait. But note that the terrier’s character is probably what made the original occupation of terriers so successful. For a dog to be able to pursue animals from the ground, they had to be brave and tenacious. As a result, most terriers are defined as being courageous, feisty, and relentless, often to the point of being single-minded and head-strong. Terriers generally do not tolerate other dogs and have a tendency to fight. (This particular trait is what unfortunately makes the American Pit Bull Terrier be used in illegal and inhumane dog fighting.)Terriers range in size, most having a wiry coat which requires special grooming. They tend to be vocal dogs and are well-known for being eager and alert, as well as intelligent. Dogs in this group include the American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Bull Terrier, Welsh Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Fox Terrier (Smooth), Fox Terrier (Wire), Airedale Terrier, Irish Terrier, Jack Russell Terrier, Kerry Blue Terrier, Lakeland Terrier, Manchester Terrier, Norfolk Terrier, Schnauzer, Scottish Terrier, Skye Terrier, Bedlington Terrier, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Border Terrier, West Highland White Terrier, and more.
This article was inspired by a customer who saw our ad for PetAutoSafety.com in the Metro Pet magazine in Kansas City. She has two very lively Cairn Terriers who will not hold still while in the car, making it very dangerous for her to drive since the dogs provide a huge distraction.