The Importance of Spaying/Neutering Your Dog

sleepy Lacy

Lacy

My best puppy friend, Lacy, got spayed recently.  That means that she was fixed so she can’t have any puppies.  Why is that so important?

great dane puppies

There are too many puppies without homes

It’s important because there are already too many dogs.  Too many dogs are in animals shelters, unable to find a home.  There are also too many stray dogs roaming the streets.  Some are lost but others were dumped because their humans couldn’t find a home for them.  These stray dogs can bite someone or carry diseases.  So it’s very important to spay your female dog or neuter your male dog.

Why have a male dog neutered?  After all, he won’t ever have pups.  However, male dogs who have not been neutered are more likely to roam, trying to find a mate.  They also will be more aggressive to other dogs and less obedient.  If you fix your male dog, he will be less likely to get certain diseases.  Have your male dog neutered so he can be a happy, healthy pet.

For a female dog, you will be spared the cleaning up after her, she will be healthier, less likely to have certain diseases, and you won’t have to avoid other male dogs when she goes into heat.  “Heat” means that it is the time for a female dog to mate with a male dog.  Please spay your female dog so she can be a happy, healthy pet.

boston terrier puppy

There are many benefits of having a spayed/neutered dog

Naturally, someone has to breed dogs, or we wouldn’t have our wonderful pets.  There are many good people who breed healthy and happy puppies.  They find homes for each and every one of them.  If they are unable to, they keep them until they can find the perfect family.  They also make sure that the puppies will never end up in a shelter by instructing new owners on the care of dogs.  However, these breeders always keep in mind the demand for their breed of puppies.  If the demand for Labs is down, they won’t breed because they won’t find a home for all of them.  But for your average dog, breeding is not a good thing.  The behavior issues, diseases they could get, and wandering are not good for a dog you intend to keep as a pet.

The great thing is, the operation your dog will have to be spayed/neutered is painless!  He or she will be put to sleep and won’t feel a thing.  Of course, your dog will be sore afterwards and a bit groggy.

So for the sake of your dog and his or her well being, have your pet spayed/neutered.  It’s for his health, and you don’t want any more puppies to end up homeless in shelters.dog smiling

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

be mine

Be my Valentine?

Valentine’s Day is a fun holiday for both you and your dog. On this special day, people will give candy, stuffed animals, and flowers to the ones they love. Even though your dog doesn’t know it’s Valentine’s Day, you can still make his day the best by playing an extra game of fetch or giving your dog a belly rub.

cookies

Do not feed your dog any candy, especially chocolate

On Valentine’s Day, many people eat chocolate.  Even though this candy tastes wonderful to humans, do not ever feed any to your four-legged friend.  It is toxic for us, and can kill dogs if we eat too much.  Even if you just feed your dog a little (don’t give in to those puppy-dog eyes!), he will still have a terrible stomach ache and might even vomit.  So keep all candy, especially chocolate, out of reach from your four-legged friend.  Also, always pick up and throw away all candy wrappers.  Your dog may try to eat them, since they smell good.  This is very hazardous for your dog, as he could choke on them.  Take extra care with foil candy wrappers.  If swallowed, foil becomes as sharp as a knife.  If you even think your dog has eaten wrappers or chocolate, call your veterinarian right away.

Sometimes, on this special day, people will have parties. Your dog can be involved in the party, too, and have loads of fun, but you need to take some precautions.

  • If any presents are unwrapped, throw away all trash as soon as possible.dog playing
  • Place all purses and bags out of reach of your dog.
  • Don’t feed your dog any candy.
  • Make sure your dog is not underfoot, so he doesn’t get stepped on.
  • If your dog seems stressed out from all the holiday activity, let him nap in a quiet room or his cage with a few toys and perhaps a bone or two to keep him company.
  • If your dog is known to get very excited when company arrives, play a game of fetch or take a walk before the guests come.  This way, your dog will be tuckered out and able to sleep quietly on his bed while the party goes on.

Some dogs like to jump up on people when they arrive at their house.  This is their way of saying hello.  Even though it may be cute, someone could get hurt.  Dogs have sharp claws!  Don’t punish your dog for doing this; he doesn’t mean to hurt anyone.  He’s just trying to give everyone Valentine’s Day kisses.  But this doesn’t mean you should let your dog get away with it.  Whenever I jump up on someone, my human helps me off and says, “Off, Sissy.”  This way, while I am practicing my good manners, I am learning a new command.

waiting

It’s loads of fun to give presents on this day, and, if you want to, you can get your dog a present. This present could simply be a homemade doggy biscuit or a new toy. A toy Kong would make a great present for a dog. Kongs can be stuffed with peanut butter or dog kibble and provide dogs with hours of fun.  They bounce funny and come in all sorts of chewing styles.  There are Kongs for a good price at Amazon.com.

Have a tail-wagging Valentine’s Day!

two assuies

 

Caring for a Senior Dog

older dog

A 10 year old Mastiff

 Senior dogs are very special.  They’ve seen a lot in  their time and know a lot too.  I don’t know why, but it makes a human sad when they see the first gray hairs on their dog’s muzzle.  It shows the signs of  aging.  But to us dogs, it means nothing.  We are still the loving dogs that like to dig in the dirt, visit our best doggy friends, and take nice walks around the neighborhood.  Dogs don’t notice when they can’t chase a ball nonstop or catch a Frisbee as good as they could a few years ago.  But hey, I’m eleven years old, and I feel just great!  I still love to run in the yard and do my little doggy dance  for my treats.  I like to preform my various tricks, and romp in the snow.  I  adore it when my human stuffs my Kong with peanut butter and dog kibble.  I am filled with energy and enjoy it thoroughly when my human and I head outside to learn some new tricks.  Although I do admit that things have slowed down for me this past year, I am still the loving puppy-dog that my humans picked up from the breeders eleven years ago.

Dogs are usually senior dogs when they turn about 7.  Most of the time, when dogs hit that old age block, they get a little slower and like to sleep more than before.  But remember, even if you’re sad your dog is getting on in age, don’t let him know it.  Dogs are smart and we can tell when our human is sad, mad, or happy.  If you get upset about your dog being older, he will sense it and wonder what he did to make you so sad.

Dogs are forever at their human’s side.  Through the good and bad times, your dog is there with a wagging tail and that silly grin on his face.  When dogs get older, it’s their human’s turn to stand by their dog’s side as he ages.  This doesn’t mean mourning over your dog because he’s gotten old.  It means that you will need to spend some more time with your dog and give him lots of extra love and care.

Beds

When dogs get older, they need soft, warm beds to sleep on.  Senior dogs like beds they can cuddle up and be warm in.  If your older dog suffers from being cold, you may need to consider placing a heater by his bed. (But please don’t ever go to sleep with a space heater running.  It is a big fire hazard for both you and your pet.) You might even need to get a sweater for your dog if he gets too cold.

Note: Older dogs get more tired than younger dogs.  When your senior dog is sleeping, please never disturb him unless it is absolutely necessary.  Always remember that your dog needs his sleep.

old dog on bed

Exercise

Even if your dog is twelve or even older, exercise if very important.  It is bad for dogs to lay around all day, no matter what the age.  But this doesn’t mean your senior dog could handle a long hiking trip.  Older dogs have to take things a bit slower, and that makes them easier to care for.  They will be perfectly happy with a short walk around the neighborhood and a brief game of fetch.

Teeth

As your dog gets older, his gums become more sensitive.  So he need toys of softer material to chew on.  Check out this Kong for senior dogs at KongCompany.com.  To prevent discomfort and rotting teeth, give your dog some dental bones and brush his teeth with special dog toothpaste.  Please always supervise your dog with bones!

Cloe, 16 yr old poodle

Cloe, a 16 year old Poodle

You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

There has never been anything further from the truth!  The “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” saying is just ridiculous!  Any dog can learn a new trick, no matter how old.  Sure, your senior dog may not be able to learn to roll over twenty times in a row or do a doggy handstand, but they can learn some awesome tricks that are easier on their back and good for their age.  Check out Basic Training to see the basics of dog training.  There’s nothing more fun for dogs than learning something new.  It gives us something to think about, and we won’t be bored.  So grab your dog’s leash and a handful of dog treats and start training!

Older Dogs Are Fun!

Hey, just because your older dog isn’t a little, bouncy puppy doesn’t mean that he’s not any fun.  It’s quite the opposite.  Senior dogs are easy going, need little exercise, and don’t mind snuggling up on the couch while their human watches TV.

People love puppies so much that they sometimes forget that older dogs are special.  While puppies are great, I think that there’s nothing like an older dog who has been loved.   Here’s a little secret: your dog’s senior years are the best.

Have a great time with your older dog, and enjoy just being together!

Sissy on chair

Sissy at age ten

Brrrr! It’s Cold!

labIt’s time to say goodbye to colorful fall and say hello to cold winter.  You’re probably planning on wearing a heavy coat, lighting the fireplace, and drinking lots of hot chocolate.  But what about your dog?  Special attention and care must be given to him so he can have a wonderful and warm winter too.

My, It’s Cold Outside!

It’s very cold outside, and, if you own an outdoor dog, this can be a big problem.  A doghouse is warm, but not enough to keep your dog from freezing.  Consider buying an outdoor heater to put in the doghouse, or bring your dog inside.

dog outside

Special care must be given to an outdoor dog during winter

No Ice, Please

With the cold weather, it’s easy for your dog’s water to turn into a block of ice.  Your dog cannot drink ice, and without water he will die of thirst.  However, you can fix the “icy” problem by buying a special heated dog dish that will keep your dog’s water from freezing outside.  Remember, your dog cannot drink ice.

No Hair Cuts!

With the cold weather here, don’t have your dog’s hair cut.  It is meant to keep him nice and warm, like a big coat.  I grow out my hair for the winter, and I look like a big teddy bear.  My humans have to spend a lot of time brushing my long, curly hair to keep it from matting.

Let it Snow!

Swirling snowflakes, mounds of snow, and icicles hanging from the trees.  Snow is wonderfully fun, dog in snoweven for your four-legged friend! However, you must take precautions with your dog.  Here are a few:

  • Buy some little booties for your dog’s feet. Some dogs’ paws bleed from the cold snow.
  • After your dog runs in the snow, thoroughly dry him with a towel.  This will keep him warm.
  •  Never let your dog out of your sight when he is out of a fenced yard.  If he wanders off, even for a little way, he could easily become lost.  The snow ruins finding a scent for dogs, so they cannot smell their way home.
  • If your dog gets cold, buy him a little sweater to keep him warm.

Fireplaces

A dog curled up beside a roaring fire – it’s picture perfect, isn’t it?  However, it is very dangerous.  Among many other dangers, your dog could become curious of the pretty, colorful flames and try to touch it or a spark could fly from the fire and set his beautiful coat on fire.  Continue to enjoy your fire, but put a little fence around it to keep your precious pets out.

Take special care of your dog and enjoy winter!

I Want a Puppy For Christmas

jack russell pup

Christmas is not a good time to get a new puppy

Children often ask for a puppy on Christmas.  They insist that it is the only thing they will be happy with.  When he receives the puppy, the child will be delighted, showering kisses on him and giving the little fur ball a big hug.  But it is quite the opposite for the little puppy.  He is away from his litter mates and mother for the first time, scared of the new surroundings and noise, and won’t receive the proper attention he would get if it wasn’t a holiday. All the holiday bustle can be very disturbing for a new puppy.

puppyThere are also many other things to consider.  Will you be away from home, even for a short time?  Where will your puppy be?  In his crate, alone?  This will cause the little puppy to suffer from loneliness, which will greatly affect his behavior later on.  He will probably bark, whine, and chew things because he misses his mother and litter mates.

Puppies learn the most from their very first experiences with their new human family.  It is very important to give your puppy a good “first impression”, and holiday stress and loneliness are definitely not good impressions.  These bad experiences will trigger unwanted behaviors that will be very hard to fix later on.

Christmas is a very busy holiday.  A puppy can easily be forgotten during the bustle.  During Christmas, you cannot give your puppy the special care and attention he needs.  So don’t get a dog for Christmas.  If your kids want a pup, give them a book about dog care and a collar.  Tell them that the puppy can’t come yet because he hasn’t been born yet but will be with them soon.  Trust me, you’re doing your dog-to-be a favor by sparing him all of the holiday stress.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is a time of joy, for our Savior came on this special day.  And it’s almost here!  Are you excited?  You are probably doing some last-minute shopping and gift wrapping.  But what about your dog?  Holidays can be very stressful for animals, and special care must be given to your pet so he can have a safe and happy Christmas.

Safety First

You may not realize it, but your dog’s health and safety are at risk during Christmas.

cookies

Don’t feed your dog any cookies or candy this Christmas

First of all, don’t feed your dog any Christmas cookies, candy, or leftover food.  It will encourage begging, and anything other than your dog’s normal diet will result in stomach pains and maybe even vomiting.  Also, your dog could develop life-threatening pancreatitis.  Pancreatitis inflames the pancreas and causes terrible pain and nausea for your pet.  So resist, and if you have company over, kindly explain to them that your dog cannot have any human food.  But be sure to set out a jar of your dog’s biscuits so your guests can feed him those!  Keep the presents around the tree, but away from your dog.  Dogs are curious, and we love to play the game “find what’s inside the box”.  You can either put a small gate around the tree and presents or put all presents up on a table beside the tree.  Please be extra cautious of foil wrappers with food presents.  When swallowed, foil acts like a knife, tearing sharply on the inside.

Caution!  Never feed your dog any meat bones!  If you are having a turkey or some meat this Christmas, you will probably be tempted to give your dog one of those juicy bones.  But resist!  That juicy bone could result in an emergency trip to the vet or even death.  Bones from turkeys and any other meat easily break into small pieces.  These can become quickly lodged in your dog’s throat, causing him to choke.  Please never put your dog at such a risk!  Feed him a safe dog biscuit instead.

begging puppy

Decorate your home with your dog’s safety in mind

I’m sure you’ve decorated your house for this holiday.  Christmas trees, lights, wreaths, and many other pretty decorations make your house look very festive.  However, your dog’s health will be at risk with all of these pretty decorations.  Always put them somewhere high so your dog can’t reach them.  Also, if your dog loves to sniff and poke his nose everywhere, put a little gate around your Christmas tree.  This way, he won’t damage or upset it, causing it to fall on him!  Always make sure that all wires are out of your dog’s reach.  Dogs love to chew!

Make sure you never bring toxic plants into the house.  Mistletoe, poinsettias, and holly are poison for dogs.  Call your vet immediately if your dog your dog tangles with any of these.

Last of all, just in case, know your veterinarian’s emergency phone number.  Write it down and tape to your cabinet or fridge, so you can have easy access to it at all times.

How to Avoid Stress

Any major holiday can be very stressing for your pet.  To help avoid stress, try to keep on his normal schedule, so your dog won’t become confused or upset.  Give him his food, walks, and playtime at the same time as always.

sad dog

Christmas can be very stressing for dogs

Dogs can become moody on Christmas, so make sure to give your dog personal space.  If your guests include small children, ask them not to crowd your dog and, if this happens, put your dog in his cage or a room with some toys.  If small children irritate him he might bite them.

Traveling?

Many people go long distances to see their families on this very special holiday.  And if you can’t bring your dog, you need to do some thinking.

Your dog will need to stay somewhere while you’re gone.  It can either be with a friend or at a doggy day care.  If you choose to leave your dog at a day care, make sure your dog will get plenty of exercise and there is a clean, safe environment.  If your dog has any health issues or doesn’t like other dogs, alert the staff so they can take the best care of your dog.

Even if you’re only going to be away from your dog for a few hours, it can be very stressing for your dog, especially if he’s a puppy or a senior dog.  If your dog can’t handle being alone even for a few hours, leave him with a friend.  Never leave your dog alone for too long!

Make Some Christmas Dog Biscuits!

Now that you’re all set to help your dog have the very best holiday, check out my Dog Biscuit Recipe.  You can use a cookie cutter to make these into all sorts of holiday shapes and it makes great Christmas presents for your dog and his friends!

Have a fun and safe Christmas with your dog!

happy dog

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is almost here.  Are you thinking of all the family you will have over and the food you will eat?  Yes, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for family to get together and share a meal, but what about your dog?  Dogs don’t understand holidays, and it can be very stressing.  Also, your pet’s health is at risk during this fun holiday.

For some dogs, especially senior dogs, having many people over can be very upsetting and confusing.  If your dog shows signs of becoming stressed, leave him alone in a nice quiet room or in his cage so he can rest.  Give him a toy to keep him company.

bad bone

Never feed your dog any bones! They are very dangerous!

Caution!  You will be greatly tempted to feed your dog one of those juicy turkey bones this Thanksgiving.  But resist!  Feeding your dog one of those bones could endanger his life. Bones from turkeys or any other kind of meat easily break into small pieces.  These can quickly become lodged in your dog’s throat, causing him to choke.  This could lead to an emergency trip to the vet or even death.  Never put your dog at such a risk!  Feed him a safe dog biscuit instead.

It is very easy to forget your dog during a fun holiday like Thanksgiving.  We easily become underfoot and get stepped on.  Ouch!  Make sure your dog gets all of the attention he needs and, if he is underfoot, he might be better off in his cage.

puppy on sofaSome dogs get very excited when company arrives. They wait eagerly by the window or run outside to greet the guests.  Dogs love people so much that we want to give them kisses.  However, dogs are a lot shorter than humans, so we have to jump.  And with our jumps, we scratch people, tear clothes, and scare small children. We don’t mean to be bad, we are just so happy to see you!  Teach your dog the command “off” to help him keep all four paws on the ground.  When your dog jumps up on anyone, even you, tell him, “Off!” and help him put all paws on the floor.  Don’t ever push or hit your dog.  You could easily hurt him, even if he is a big dog.  Always help him gently.  When your dog is on the ground, tell him how good he is.  Another way to fix your problem is to tell your dog to sit or to put his leash on when company arrives.  If your dog has a solid sit, there should be no jumping problems.  And, on a leash, your dog will know that you want him to stick by you and not jump.  Here’s a tip: always use the command “off” when you want your dog off the couch, off a person, etc.  Use the command “down” when you want your dog to lay down.

Try to take your dog for a long walk before the company arrives.  This way he will be tired when the guests arrive and willing to lay down and sleep.  Also, if you have anyone over who doesn’t like dogs and is uncomfortable around them, respect his or her feelings by putting your dog in his crate.

begging puppy

Feeding your dog table scraps encourages bad behavior and damages his health

I know all of the Thanksgiving food is delicious, but don’t feed your dog any table scraps.  Dogs cannot handle the food humans eat, and our tummies hurt and we can even throw up.  Also, your dog could develop life-threatening pancreatitis.  Pancreatitis inflames the pancreas and causes terrible pain and nausea for your dog.  Your guests will probably be tempted to feed your dog some scraps – just look at those pleading eyes!  But tell your guests that your dog cannot have any scraps, and set out a bowl of your dog’s normal dog biscuits, so everyone can give those to your dog.

Have a fun and safe Thanksgiving with your dog!

 

Happy Halloween!

dog in costume 2Halloween is a fun time for kids.  They get to dress up, eat lots of candy, and have loads of fun. But it can be a very scary time for dogs.  The costumes, ringing doorbells, and the noise of trick-or-treaters around the neighborhood can be very frightening.  Your dog doesn’t know it’s Halloween, and he doesn’t understand why everyone is wearing scary masks and ringing the doorbell.

candy

Candy can be very dangerous for dogs

Halloween is a very dangerous time for dogs.  We become scared and try to escape the scary costumes and loud noises.  Dogs will try to dig under the fence or shoot out of the door when it’s opened.  Precautions must be taken for your dog to have a happy and safe Halloween.

It is definitely not a good idea to take your dog trick-or-treating with you.  He can easily become scared of the decorations at the different houses and, since it is dark, it will be very easy to loose him.

If you are planning on handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, have your dog stay in another room with the door closed. This way, he won’t be able to escape out of the door when you open it.  Also, it is a good idea to keep your dog inside.  People like to play pranks on Halloween, and you don’t want someone to play one on your dog.  He could also try to get away from all of the loud noises by jumping or digging under the fence.

It’s fun for people to dress up, and sometimes even for your furry friend.  But you must always be very carefully and consider your dog if you decide to dress him up.  Always make sure that the outfit is comfortable, and never have anything tight that could choke or hurt him.  Never force your dog to wear a costume.

Candy does taste good, but it’s not for your dog.  Your four-legged friend could become very sick from it.  Watch out for chocolate.  It is toxic for dogs, and too much can kill.  Pick up wrappers that you see lying on the ground so your dog won’t eat those too.

Have a fun and safe Halloween with your dog!

dog in leaves

 

Meet Lacy!

A little while ago, my best doggy friend, Gretchen, died.  I miss her very much.  Even though she has passed on, her memory will live forever.

Gretchen’s parents got a new puppy, a little Jack Russell Terrier and Lhasa Apso mix.  She is white with brown spots, with little black circles around her eyes, and hair that looks like fuzz all over her mouth.  Her full name is Lacy Mae, but everyone calls her Lacy.  She loves to jump and run and act silly.  She is three months old now and very small.  But Lacy grows a little every day as all puppies do!

Lacy 1 Lacy loves to chase balls in the back yard.  She runs after them as fast as her little legs will carry her and then pounces on them with all her might!  She is showing the Jack Russell Terrier side of her.  Jack Russells usually love to chase balls and toys because they were first bred to hunt small animals.  They were trained to dig the animals out of their dens and chase them!  Lacy has already made a little hole in the backyard.

I met Lacy at a birthday party at my house.  Lacy is very active, and loves to play.  But I like to sit on peoples’ laps and get petted.  I’m getting older now and I like to rest a lot, even though I still enjoy running occasionally and playing tug with my rope.  Lacy wanted to play with me, but I didn’t feel like it.  Lacy didn’t mean to be rude, but she chased me wildly around the house.  I took refuge on somebody’s lap and watched her from there.  I tried to be very polite and show my best manners by treating Lacy gently.  I’m not as active as I used to be, and playing with a puppy can be hard.  I like Lacy a lot, but I didn’t want to run and jump with her all the time.  So I  rested in my cage at the beginning of the party and came out towards the end to see Lacy.

The second time I saw Lacy, things went better.  Outside, I sniffed the puppy and wagged my tail.  Lacy was very humble and showed respect for her elder.  She rolled over to show that I was boss, and crouched down low.  I appreciated that.  Inside  the house she wanted to play, but I was too tired from our meeting outside.  Whenever she came close, I turned my head to  show  that I didn’t want to play.  When she started nipping me too hard, I showed her that it hurt by pushing her.  I never hurt her because I know she is a baby and doesn’t mean any harm.  I rested in my cage a bit while she visited, to get a little peace.  Lacy is very active!

Lacy is teething now (a very painful business) and loves to chew, chew, and chew!  She loves Nylabones and her dog toys.  Even though she has a lot of toys, she still likes to chew on inappropriate things, like hands and feet.  But she is doing so much better at that and rarely bites feet now, although she is still mouthing hands every once in a while.  Lacy loves to ride the mop when her mommy cleans the floor, and it seems as if her nose is constantly on the ground!  She is a regular vacuum!

Lacy is very cute and growing up fast.  I hope that we can be good friends once she matures and learns not to nip at me.  But she’s just a puppy, and all she wants to do is have fun.  I think Lacy deserves a loud bow-wow.  Bow-wow!

Lacy 2