What To Do If Your Dog Gets Lost

A hole in the fence, a door left ajar, an open window, a terrific jump over the fence.  There are so many ways your dog can get loose.  And, once your dog gets out, his nose leads him on rabbit trails and into unknown territory.  We love our pets and hope that them running away is never possible, but it can happen to the best of us.  What does one do when his or her dog gets lost?

Search

Comb your neighborhood as well as surrounding ones.  Also, carry your dog’s favorite treats and toys to lure him to you if you should spot him.  If your dog is accustomed to and likes it, you could bring a dog whistle or even a squeaker to attract his attention if he’s farther away.

Get Out Posters

Make out lost posters and post them all over – at the vet’s, library, local shops, telephone poles, etc.  Put a current, clear picture of your in color along with any needed description and your phone number.  Also, put that there is a reward being offered.  People are nice and often pick up strays, but an unspecified reward will make them very eager to keep their eyes open.  Also, run ads in various newspapers about your lost dog.

Set Traps

Set traps for your lost dog in places he would likely go to sleep (shy dogs will most likely seek out areas where they could easily hide like woods, under cars, and in bushes).  Pick out some old T-shirts you don’t care about and wear them for a day.  Then, put them into the live trap along with your dog’s favorite smelly food and toy.  The scent of you on your shirt will attract your dog if he is near.

Get the Word Out

Knock on your neighbor’s doors and tell them about your lost dog, asking them to tell their friends also.  Put posters about your lost dog in mailboxes and give them to your friends to pass out.  Also, give a poster to the UPS and mailman; their routes may go right by your lost dog.  The more people you tell, the more likely it is that someone will spot and save your dog.

Get Online

Get on your social media and get the word out.  Post about it on lost and found sites.  Ask your Facebook friends to like the post about your lost dog in order to reach more people.

Notify Shelters and Rescue Groups

Definitely tell your local animal shelter about your lost dog, but also tell shelters that are even in different counties.  Your dog could surprise you by his traveling, or someone could have picked him up in your county and then dropped him off at a shelter in his county.  Also, check animal shelters often in case your dog is picked up, and notify different veterinarian clinics of your lost pet in case someone brings him in.

Pay for a Phone Alert to Spread the Word

PetAmberAlert.com allows you to submit your lost dog’s appearance and your contact information, and then they alert the surrounding people via phone of your lost dog.  The phone alert, which will tell hundreds of neighbors about your lost dog, costs $50.

Prepare for and Prevent an Escape

It is always better to prevent an escape before it happens, but even a very cautious owner can lose his or her dog, so preparation is necessary.  Here are a few tips:

  • Keep current ID tags on your dog at all times.  In addition, a microchip could help your dog if he ends up in a shelter or someone takes him to the vet.  Many shelters and vets now scan found animals to see if the animals has a little chip in his skin which will give them the owner’s information.
  • Plug up holes in the fence, keep doors and windows closed, and put a lock on your outside gate.
  • Don’t leave your dog in the car with the windows rolled down or in the back of a pickup truck.  Not only is it dangerous to leave your dog unsupervised in a car, he could escape from a door left ajar or an open window.  Also, a dog in the back of your pickup is dangerous in many ways.  Even a tethered dog could get loose and jump out of a (possibly moving) car, and smoke and debris could get into his eyes, mouth, and nose.

How to Reduce Doggy Odor

Cuddly, soft, and cute, your dog is just asking for a hug.  However, there is a problem: he stinks.  Most dogs carry around a doggy odor far from delightful.  It’s no surprise that they smell, however.  Rolling in the dirt, licking themselves, and walking through high grass are just a few of the doggy odor causing activities dogs do.  While some dogs will nearly always carry that smell, there are things you can do to greatly reduce it.  Try the tips below!

Wash Your Dog

Naturally, if you don’t wash your dog, he’s going to stink.  You probably wash your dog whenever he gets very smelly, but, with the case of reducing doggy odor, you might want to consider a weekly bath.  If you think your dog needs a bath more than once a week, consult your vet first.  Too much shampooing can dry out your dog’s skin.

Clean Your Dog’s Ears

My humans have had a lot of experience with cleaning dog ears thanks to me.  I’m prone to ear infections, and, when my ears aren’t cleaned, they stink.  The smell from your dog might be from dirty or infected ears.  In the case of infected ears, go to the vet to get medicine to cure it.  Cleaning your dog’s ears, though, should be regular.  Dirt and wax can stop them up, so buy some ear cleaning liquid at a pet store or the vet’s and give your dog’s ears a cleaning maybe once a month.  If you own a dog breed with real hair (like a Poodle, for example), bring him regularly to a groomer to get his ear hair plucked.  I know it sounds painful (and it is!), but it’s necessary for these dogs.  Our hair grows continuously, and ear hair must be plucked or it will keep growing until it stops up your dog’s ears.

Clean Dog Bedding Regularly

Lying in a dirty bed will, of course, make your dog stink.  Wash your dog’s bedding about once a month to help reduce doggy odor.

Brush Your Dog’s Hair

Your dog’s dead hair needs to be removed, and a brushing will do just that!  Also, dirt will be removed during the brushing, keeping your dog cleaner and happier.

Brush Those Teeth

A big part of doggy odor comes from your dog’s mouth. Fresher breath (your dog will always have an element of bad breath, but brushing can help reduce it; yours wouldn’t smell minty either if you ate dog food!) and less tartar buildup are the wonderful results of regular brushing.  If you open up your dog’s mouth, you may see little specks of brown, orange, and yellow on his teeth.  This is tartar, and too much of it can cause teeth to rot.  If you let the tartar build up, a veterinarian may have to professionally remove it, which can be expensive.  Save your dog the discomfort and you the money by investing in a dog toothbrush and special doggy toothpaste.  Read more about oral care for dogs here.

With Warmer Weather, try Bathing Your Dog Outdoors

It’s hot outside, and you and your dog are sweating.  And, to top it off, your dog stinks.  With summery weather, why not try giving your dog an outdoor bath?  While some dogs will never like baths, getting wet outside is really fun for others.  Here are some tips to make your dog’s outdoor bath the best!

  • Tie your dog up to a tree, fence, or other heavy, unmovable object.  Don’t tie your dog to a leg of a lawn chair; your dog will easily drag that down.  Also, never leave your dog unsupervised while tethered, as he could easily choke or get his legs tangled, causing panic.
  • As long as he isn’t a senior, your dog shouldn’t have a problem with cold hose water.  My older joints don’t like chilly water, but Rosie really likes it on a hot day.
  • Summer and warm spring days are good for outdoor baths; winter days are obviously not!

Beat the Heat!

Summer is here and swimming, camping, and spending time outdoors with family and friends is on many people’s minds.  What about your dog, though?  It’s hot outside, and special care and attention needs to be given to him to keep him cool and comfortable.

Water is a Mustheat dogs drinking

You need to give your canine lots of water this summer to assure that he stays hydrated and cool.  Keep a dish of cool water in a corner of your home for your dog constantly to have or, if your dog lives or often is outside, make sure you fill his bowl up about a couple of times a day.  Also, place your doggy’s bowl in the shade.  It will keep the water cooler and encourage your dog to stay in the shade, too.  If you notice your dog spilling his water dish, buy a heavy-duty water bowl.  Without water, your dog could quickly die.

Provide Lots of Shade

It can get very hot for your dog outside, so make sure that he has constant shade.  Remember, if part of your yard is shaded at a certain time of the day, it might not be a few hours later when the sun moves.  This can be especially dangerous for dogs who live outdoors.  Sure, dog houses are shady, but it can get super hot in such a small space.  Put up a beach umbrella or small canopy for your dog to lounge under.  You certainly don’t want your dog to get overheated!

Your Dog’s Coat

Wow! you think. My dog must be really hot wearing his fur coat!  Yes, it can get hot under there, but there are other reasons that we dogs were given such magnificent fur.  It actually helps us not get sunburned!  So, with that in mind, always consult your veterinarian before having your dog’s fur shaved.  Dogs such as Poodles, however, will always need a nice summer cut to keep them cool, as they have real hair that continually grows.

The Swimming Pool

heat poolSwimming is fun and a great way to cool off for your dog, but remember to never let your dog swim alone.  The edges of the pool are slippery, and your dog might not be able to get out.  Make sure your dog doesn’t drink the pool water either.  Also, if your pool is by a high surface, make sure your dog can’t jump in.  Once, when my humans’ pool was by the porch and I was very young, I jumped in.  Thankfully, one of my humans saw me and helped me out.  That was very scary!

Hot Feet, Hot Feet!

Before you bring your dog on a walk, feel the asphalt.  Does it burn your hand?  Imagine walking on that in your bare feet with little to no protection.  Ouch!  This can be the way your dog’s feet feel.  The steamy asphalt can seriously burn his paw pads, so always check to see if you would like to walk on it.  Another option is walking your dog in the early morning or late evening when it is cooler outside or on the grass.

Another tip: When walking your dog, take frequent breaks to give your dog some time to cool down.  Carry some water with you and offer it to your dog.

Please Don’t Leave Me in the Car!!

Please, please don’t ever leave your dog in the car without any air conditioning!  Don’t even do it when the weather is in the 70s or with the windows rolled all of the way down.  The car, you see, acts like a refrigerator, only it traps in the heat.  It is a horribly cruel way for a dog to die, so please leave your dog behind when you have errands to run and he can’t come with you.

Tips for Keeping Your Dog Cool 

  • A kiddie swimming pool, sprinkler, water hose, lake, or the ocean are great ways for your dog to splash around in the water and cool off.  If your dog is a little leery of entering the water, throw a few dog biscuits in for him to go after.
  • “Pupsicles” are basically popsicles made for dogs.  Your dog might like licking ice anyway but add a little flavoring (like chicken or vegetable broth), and you have a real treat!  Here’s a tip, though: have your dog devour this treat on your porch or lawn.  It can get really messy once it starts to melt!

Tips for a Safe 4th of July

July 4th is a holiday that many look forward to.  American flags fly over yards, people have parties, and dazzling explosions of fireworks adorn the sky.  For your dog, however, July 4th is a frightening time full of strange objects, new people, and deafening noises.  It is also a very dangerous time for your pets and is something you must prepare for.

For animal shelters, the 4th of July is one of their most busy times.  Many dogs panic when they hear the explosions from firecrackers, feeling as if they need to escape.  They dig under or jump fences and bolt out of open doors.  This might seem strange to you, as fireworks aren’t that loud, but, to your dog, they are deafening.  Dogs can hear almost twice as good as humans and from distances four times as far.  So, even if you live in a neighborhood where nobody shoots off fireworks, your dog can still hear the loud booms from far away.

If you notice your dog getting nervous when fireworks start to go off, try to distract him.  Give him a favorite bone or treat, play with his toys with him, and pet his favorite spot.  Don’t leave him unsupervised in the yard on the 4th of July; he could easily become scared and escape.  The safest place for your dog on this holiday is in your house in a quiet room or his cage.

Never bring your dog with you if you are going somewhere to watch fireworks.  This may seem obvious to you, but to some it isn’t.  Once, at a local high school my humans went to watch fireworks at, there were some people with their dogs.  I guess they wanted the dogs to enjoy the pretty explosions too, but the only thing it probably did for them was hurt their eardrums and cause fear.  Also, dogs who are scared are more likely to bolt off or bite, which can be very dangerous.  If you are shooting fireworks off at your house, put your dog in the house in his cage or a quiet room with a soft bed and favorite toys.  Go into the house frequently to check on your dog and, if he is afraid, stay with him and pet him, telling him what a good dog he is.  If your dog is afraid of fireworks, it probably is not a good idea to do them at your house.

If you have a party on this holiday, make sure not to forget your dog.  Parties can be confusing to dogs, and we tend to get underfoot.  Put your dog in his cage or in a room where it is quiet, and give him some toys and a bone to keep him company.  Also, make sure to follow these party safety rules:

  • Put all purses and bags on top of the counter or table, away from your dog.
  • Don’t feed your dog any candy or table scraps (learn why here).
  • Make sure your dog is not underfoot so he doesn’t get stepped on.  Ouch!
  • If your dog gets very excited when company arrives, put on his leash so he won’t jump on anyone.
  • Before company arrives, take your dog for a long walk or play a game of fetch.  This way, your dog will be tired during the party and won’t jump on anyone.  He will be very happy to lie on his bed and chew on a bone or toy.

Fourth of July can be very frightening to dogs, but, if you take precautions and distract your dog, he will have a safe and stress-free holiday.

Happy 4th of July!

 

4 Brain Games For Your Dog

A Basic “Magic” Trick

This “brain game” has your dog use his eyes and nose to find the hidden treat.  Get 2 or more plastic or paper cups, place them upside down on the floor, and show your dog that you’re hiding a treat under one of them.  Then, encourage your dog to tip the cup over with his nose or paw to get the snack.  Up the difficulty by hiding a treat and then scooting all of the cups around on the floor, mixing them up.  You can also make it even more difficult by adding more cups.

Hide and Seek

This game isn’t just for kids!  For the first game, hide behind something where you’re very visible, like a chair, with your dog watching.  Then, call him and, when he “finds” you, give him a treat.  If you have another person available, you can have the other hide while you hold or distract your dog.  Next, give your dog the command “Find!” before the other person calls him.  You can up the difficulty by only giving your dog the command to find a person with no further hints and by hiding behind larger objects.

“I found you!”

Frozen Food/Toy Fun

Dogs love to exercise their brains by working to get something, and freezing toys or food does just that.  Get a cup or bowl (ice cube trays work also), fill it with water, and put treats (dog kibble works great!) and/or toys into it.  Once it’s frozen solid, pop it out by running some warm water on the bottom of the cup or bowl.  Give it to your dog outdoors for him to lick and gnaw at to get at the treats and toys.  This can keep your dog busy for a long time and is a great way to cool off as the days get hotter!

Teach New Tricks

Of course, a great way of exercising your dog’s brain is to teach him new tricks.  Visit the Tricks Page to learn more!

Rosie, the Big Red Dog

Last week, Rosie decided to be just like Clifford the Big Red Dog.  Someone was out in the backyard painting the house, and Rosie suddenly came upon the scene.  There she found some nice red paint to roll in and, afterward, danced around the yard with it on her back/legs.  Here is a video my humans made of the funny episode:

Turn Your “Bad Dog” Into a “Good Dog”!

A crime has been committed in your bedroom: someone snuck into it while you were at work, stole your pillow, ripped open your mattress, and left mud on the blankets.  You pick up a dirtied sheet and smell it.  Yuck!  Then, you notice a few hairs sticking to it…dog hairs!  Your dog has been up to no good again!  Yesterday a TV remote, the day before that your flower garden, the day before that your expensive running shoes…  You search for your dog and finally find him cowering under the kitchen table.  Now, you can tell him exactly what you think he is.  Baaaad dog!

While no dog is perfect, there are a few who seem to be particularly naughty.  Chewing furniture, barking their heads off, ruining your yard, it seems that their middle names should be “trouble”!  Having a dog that causes mischief wherever he goes can be hard on a dog owner, trying your patience and making you wonder what ever made you get a pet.  However, your dog isn’t literally a “bad” dog.  Inappropriate chewing, barking, and digging are actually called behavioral issues by dog trainers.  Behavioral issues can often be fixed or broken just like humans break habits such as chewing nails.  It takes much time and effort on your part, but it will pay off a hundredfold when your dog stops the bad habit(s).

What Causes It?

Oftentimes, when a dog does an unwanted behavior, humans just assume that the dog is “being bad.”  However, dogs don’t take pleasure in making you upset.  We live to work for and please our owners and love to be part of a pack with a human as the leader.  Therefore, your dog isn’t just doing a behavior to make you mad.  There’s a reason for it, and you need to identify it in order to help you find a solution.  Here are a few behavior problems and possible reasons for them:

Excessive Barking – Dogs bark to communicate with other dogs, alert you of potential dangers, and to decrease boredom.  A dog who barks too much may be trying to tell you something (such as, “Look at that scary squirrel!”) or might be bored, needing more exercise and stimulating brain games to keep his mind busy.

Digging – Some dogs are natural diggers, especially terriers, and need an outlet for it.  Such a dog needs a special place just for digging, like a sandbox.  Or, a dog with that energy and need for digging needs to be enrolled in a dog sport such as Earth Dog.

Inappropriate Chewing – Have you ever felt the need for a big yawn or stretch?  Sometimes, dogs get that feeling too, only we want to chew.  A dog that chews inappropriate items needs to be given plenty of toys and bones to chew on, and the owner may need to be neater and put away his or her belongings.  Another possible reason for this behavior is boredom.  Perhaps the owner needs to exercise or spend more time with his or her dog.

As in the examples above, identify the reason for the problem and think of a good solution to fix or at least decrease it. Exercise, starting a sport, and more one-on-one time with your dog are often the biggest solutions to behavior problems, but you might have to get super creative for your dog’s.  Remember that you can always consult a professional dog trainer who will be full of good tips and advice for your dog’s specific problem.