Adopt a Shelter Dog!

Centro_de_Controle_de_Zoonoses_do_Distrito_Federal_(16669903697)Each year, thousands of dogs are without a home.  Where do they all end up?  Well, if they don’t get run over by a car, stay in the wild, or starve, they go to a rescue organization or animal shelter.  Have you ever considered adopting a shelter dog?  They make great pets!

Isn’t the Shelter for Problem Dogs? (Quick Answer: No!)

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An animal shelter

“I don’t want to adopt anyone’s problem dog!” you might think.  However, these dogs are not problems.  Their past owners were the real problems!  They probably gave their pet no training, socialization, or attention.  That cute puppy in the pet shop window looked cute and lovable at the moment, but when they got home, they remembered that puppies chew, pee, bark, and are super hyper.  So they dump it at a shelter.  Or maybe the former owners got tired of their middle-aged dog and wanted a puppy.  Well, the other dog and pup didn’t get along, so Fido had to go to make room for the new addition.  Other times, however, it is less cruel.  Sometimes people die and their dog has to go to the shelter, or maybe they move to a place that doesn’t allow dogs.  And, very often, these dogs are just found on the streets as a result of some uncaring person dumping them.  So, no, these dogs aren’t problems.  Their only problem is that they need a home and love.

The Benefits of Adopting an Adult Dog

Everyone loves, loves, loves puppies because they are new, fuzzy, cute, and sweet, but we tendRescue2 to overlook grown dogs.  They were once just as cute, and now their true personality is showing.  They’ve probably outgrown most puppy behaviors such as chewing and peeing in the house (though you can never be sure with shelter dogs; they might have had a bad owner who didn’t teach them anything).  And with an adult dog, you can see what you’ll end up with.  Plus, adopting an adult dog is a good deed as they don’t get picked up as quick as puppies.

But…They’re Mutts

Yes, most of the dogs you see in the shelter are mixed breeds, but that doesn’t really matter.800px-FEMA_-_38417_-_Dogs_at_a_shelter_for_displaced_pets_in_Texas  They’re cute, sweet, unique dogs who just want to have a home.  And, sometimes, you’ll even find a purebred mixed in the bunch.  However, mixed breeds can be cooler because of their one-of-a-kind patterns and hair types.  While volunteering at the animal shelter, my humans saw a dog with a head spotted like a Dalmatian with large splotches of gray-black on his back.  They also walked the cutest little dog who had short, brown fur and ears that stood up.  Another dog sported a coat that was puffy and soft like a Husky’s yet colored like a Lab.  There are some unique and awesome dogs at the shelter!

Can’t Adopt?  Volunteer or Donate!

If you can’t help out the shelter dogs by bringing one home, you can always volunteer.  Volunteers get to do activities such as walking, brushing, bathing, feeding, and playing with the dogs who are waiting for their fur-ever homes.  It’s a lot of fun!  Or, if you don’t have time to volunteer or have dog allergies, you can donate items such as food, treats, beds, dishes, office supplies, collars, and leashes.800px-USMC-090313-M-7590G-172

 

Prepare for Your New Puppy

Dachshund on white background

“I’m just a baby.  It’s not my fault if nobody teaches me to behave.”

Teach your puppy what is right!  Encourage good behavior and educate yourself for this little furball by reading the Doggy Times articles on puppy raising, training, and house training:

  • Puppy Training – Know the important skills your puppy will need as an adult.  Training your puppy isn’t only teaching him to sit!
  • Puppy Raising Tips – Having a puppy isn’t as simple as petting him and doling out dog food.
  • House-training Puppies – Make house-training a breeze!
  • Your New Puppy – An overview of everything you need to know before, during, and after you bring your new pal home.

To Feed or not to Feed: Table Scraps

foodYou’re just about to bite into a delicious piece of bacon when two eyes, large and pitiful, come into view.  A paw gently falls upon your knee and you can feel a snout lovingly nuzzling your empty hand.  Who can resist such a cute pup?  Those eyes are so desperate looking!  A little bacon won’t hurt, right?

A little taste probably won’t hurt your dog too much, but you can never tell.  Even something as simple as a bite of bacon can wreak havoc in your dog’s stomach.  Your veterinarian has probably already told you the dangers of feeding your dog table scraps, but how can a little piece hurt?  You might be surprised to learn how unhealthy it can be for your pooch, and how it even teaches bad behaviors!

Table Food = Tummy Ache

dogbeingfedYou eat hamburgers, spaghetti, bread, and bacon all of the time, but your dog doesn’t.  His stomach is used to special dog food that his stomach can digest easily.  This means that even a bite of your hamburger could result in a tummy ache, vomiting, or diarrhea.  Sure, your dog may not show signs of pain after helping you eat your lunch, but dogs don’t like to announce discomfort.  Plus, even if his stomach isn’t upset after eating people food, there are still other problems that easily occur from this bad habit.

Obesity and Pancreatitis

When you feed your dog people food, you are adding to his portion of meal for that day.  Hence, he is going to start to get chubby.  And that chubbiness could lead to obesity.  If your dog is overweight, he won’t feel as good or have as much energy.  Dogs who are overweight don’t have as much lifespan as healthy dogs, and extra fat puts stress on certain organs and bones.  Even if you cut back on your dog’s normal dog food, you still shouldn’t substitute it for any people food.  Again, your dog’s body isn’t used to such food, and it will put more fat on him than dog food would.

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Something as simple as a hotdog that you share with your dog can trigger pancreatitis.  Dogs who are overweight are especially in danger of it.  What is pancreatitis?  Pancreatitis happens when the pancreas gets inflamed, and can cause vomiting, stomach pain, and nausea.  It’s definitely no fun to get this sick, so please don’t ever feed your dog table scraps!

The Begging Problem

Besides the most important results of feeding your dog table scraps – such as vomiting, beggingobesity, and pancreatitis as mentioned above – there is another factor to consider: begging.  Yes, your dog looking up to you lovingly while you eat lunch can be very cute, but it can get very old.  Dogs LOVE food, and we will do nearly anything for it.  Scratching you, licking you, watching you, nuzzling you, jumping, sitting up, and barking are just a few ways your dog will beg.  Once you feed your dog that one French fry, he will begin to beg for more.  And when you have company over, this can get really irksome, as he will try to convince your friends that they need to feed the dog.  So please don’t start this awful habit!  I must confess that I beg when my humans eat, and they are now very sorry they ever gave me that one bite of toast a long time ago.  I haven’t forgotten that kindness!  Fortunately, I don’t beg as furiously as I did before – I used to scratch their arms and put my paws on their knee – but I am really good at fixing my puppy-dog eyes on anyone with something yummy.  Trust me, you don’t want to start this irritating habit.

Are all People Foods Bad?

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Some healthy foods can greatly benefit your dog

Well, there are a few exceptions.  Foods that are unsalted, have little to no sugar, and have low fat can actually benefit your dog.  Now, this doesn’t mean that you should share your healthy muffins with your furry companion.  The healthy people foods that I’m talking are more veggie-like.  Peas, carrots, and corn can help your dog get healthier.  However, I highly suggest that you consult your vet before adding anything to your dog’s diet, and please feed it in small amounts!  Also, make sure that you subtract any snacks and treats you feed your dog from his normal meals.  I used to be crazy about carrots and other nice snacks, but my vet banned them because it was making me have accidents in my cage at night.  Back to dog biscuits for me!

Doggy Quotes

800px-Toddler_and_7_week_hybrid_puppy (1)“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than friendship.”

– Thomas Aquinas

 

 

600px-Bull_Terrier1 (1)“An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.”

– Martin Buber

 

 

400px-American_Hairless_Terrier_Adelor (1)What the American Hairless Terrier lacks for in hair he makes up for in love.

 

 

Agility_-_Sprung_Beagle_2 (1)“Just play.  Have fun.  Enjoy the game.”

– Michael Jordan

 

 

Toller31 (1)Work together.

 

Guest Post: Kitty Cat

IMG_6381Hello.  As you already know, I am Kitty, the cat, Sissy’s pal and roommate.  Naturally, I don’t admit that she’s my friend in front of any of my cat friends, but I guess I like her alright.  I mean, she’s a dog, so I can’t love her.  Anyway, Sissy has invited me to do a guest post on how to improve the friendship between your cat and dog.

520px-Domestic_cat_watching_an_alaskan_malamuteIf you own a cat, you know how we act.  Besides being plain awesome, we can be downright cold too.  Most of us won’t make ourselves look silly by doing a high five, and we always insist on the warmest and softest place to nap.  Dogs, on the other hand, are more than willing to look goofy in front of the humans and are happy even on the hard floor if they’re near the humans.  I know, that’s really weird.  Now that you can see what opposites we are, you might be better able to understand why we don’t get along well.  Sometimes cats can’t even get along with their own species, while dogs are forever chasing things like a bunch of idiots.  So, when you put a cat and a dog together, it can equal chaos.  How do you improve to at least tolerance and perhaps, later on, friendship?

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“Dude, there’s a dog out there!”

Well, when you first introduce your cat to your dog, it should be very positive.  Leash your dog so he’ll stay back and choose someplace where your cat can easily escape – like a cabinet to jump onto or a door to escape through.  Your cat won’t feel as threatened if she thinks she’s out of the dog’s reach.  A first-time visit with a glass door separating the two would probably be even better.

OREADY_KROSANDRA_(5)Obviously, don’t let your dog jump on or attack your cat.  Even if your feline has had her claws removed, she still has very sharp teeth.  Plus, without claws, your cat might not be able to ward off the dog and may get hurt.

To really and truly help your old or new cat adjust to a dog, give her a lot of one-on-one attention.  Pet her, take up that hard challenge of teaching her to at least sit for bacon, take one of those fuzzy wands and play.  Sometimes, just sitting with your cat nearby can help with bonding.  When your cat sees that you still love her just as much as when the dog wasn’t there, she will have an easier time liking the dog because there is no jealousy.

Have you ever tried moving your cat’s bed or food dish and gotten a million complaints?  Cats hate change, which makes accepting the presence of a new dog even harder.  To make it easier, don’t change any of her routine or move any of her stuff.  Well, you might have to move her litter box to keep it away from the dog’s over-curious nose, but try to do so gradually.
It can be really, really hard for a cat to actually start liking a dog, but you have to let her take her800px-Mimi&Tigsi time.  You can’t expect your dog and cat to start cuddling the first day….or week….or month….or maybe year.  Other pets hit it off sooner than others, but some cats will never really become pals with a dog.  That’s okay.  Accept it and let her have her personal space.  It took Sissy and me a really long time to adjust to each other’s presence.  Plus, I just showed up one day and didn’t give the humans any time to prepare.  I sat at the door, demanded entrance, and the dog barked her head off.  I watched and couldn’t help laughing as they dragged her away and put her in a room until I got fed.  I wasn’t planning on going anywhere, so Sissy had to get used to it.  Now, though, we’re pretty good friends.  She likes to give me kisses – ugh! -, and we sometimes play chase or pretend battle.  I always win, of course.