Kitty just showed up on our front porch one day, demanding attention, so my humans have no idea when her true birthday is. She was a lanky, almost grownup kitten, and the veterinarian estimated that her birthday was in November. This November she turned 7.
Thanksgiving is almost here. Are you thinking of all the family you will have over and the food you will eat? Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for families to get together and share a special meal, but what about your dog? Dogs don’t understand holidays, and Thanksgiving can be very stressful and even dangerous for them.
For some dogs, having many people over can be upsetting and confusing. If your dog shows signs of becoming stressed, leave him alone in a nice quiet room or his cage so he can rest.
Caution! You will be greatly tempted to feed your dog one of those juicy turkey bones this Thanksgiving, but please 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, and make sure that the bones are not thrown away in a trash can that your dog can get to.
It is very easy to forget your dog during a fun holiday like Thanksgiving, and 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.
Some 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. Tip: In order not to confuse your dog, use the command “off” when you want him off of the couch, a person, etc. Use the command “down” when you want your dog to lie 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 lie 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 cage or a separate room.
I know all of the Thanksgiving food is delicious, but please 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! However, 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.
For most dogs, a small piece of plain turkey won’t hurt them. Just make sure that there is no seasoning (onions and garlic are toxic to dogs) or bones. Take the skin off of the meat to avoid excess grease. If your dog is a senior, has tummy problems, or has a health problem, don’t feed him any turkey as it could effect his health. Also, as mentioned in the paragraph above, don’t feed your dog any other people foods! The only reason dogs can have turkey is because it is often in their dog food, so their stomachs are accustomed to it.
Are you traveling this Thanksgiving? If so, you will need someone to watch your dog. Leaving your dog alone in the yard for days is never a good idea, as such boredom will cause your dog to bark, be destructive, and climb, jump over, or dig under the fence. You can leave your dog with a willing friend, hire someone to come play with, walk, and feed your dog at your house every day, leave your dog at a doggy day care, or leave your dog at a dog sitter’s home. Choose which kind based on your dog’s needs and personality. If your dog is antisocial with other canines, don’t leave him at a doggy daycare where he will have to deal with a lot of other dogs. And, if he is a homebody, have someone come to your house two or three times a day to care for his needs.
Many dogs get upset when you want to pet certain spots, like, for instance, his snout, tail, paws, or inside his ears. Why is this?
Most likely, you rarely if at all touch the inside of your dog’s ears. If you do, your dog shrinks back, confused and perhaps even a little fearful. This, however, is not the reaction you want from your pet. Patient tolerance or even happiness should be your dog’s response to being handled. To help your dog give such behavior, cuddle with your dog each day and touch his snout, tail, paws, and inside of his ears. Always combine the touching with something positive: scratching your dog’s favorite spot afterwards, giving him treats while doing it, etc. After getting your dog accustomed to being touched in such places, your dog will be well adjusted and ready for people – especially young children – who want to pat his snout, hold his paw, or feel his tail.
Your dog is constantly active and keeps you on your toes. He lunges during walks, jumps on anyone despite training, and feels like 10 P.M. is the perfect time to bring you all of his toys, begging for yet another game of fetch. Congratulations, dog owner! You have a hyper dog! Don’t feel as if you’re the only one with a hyper pup, though. Nearly all young dogs are classified as “hyper” and “rowdy.” As long as your dog is well exercised, this is just something you have to adjust to, not fix. A hyper dog is simply a sign of a dog with much energy and life, which is what you want in a young canine. There are some things you can do, however, to curb the hyperactivity:
Exercise, of course, and lots of it! Missing an occasional day of exercising is okay as long as the majority of the time you get your pup to work out. It might help to make a schedule on your phone or calendar about what activity you do each day to exercise your dog.
Mind games can help burn mental energy, which hyper dogs have much of. You can buy a mind game or make one of your own with plastic cups. Hide a treat under one of three upside down cups, mix them together, and let your dog sniff it out! Another mind trick is to ask your dog stay, and then hide a treat somewhere – under a chair in the same room for beginners or totally hidden behind an object for experts. Let your dog watch you hide the treats until he gets the idea of the game.
A busy brain equals a tired dog! Train your dog fun tricks to keep his mind and body contently tired!
When your dog is being hyper, ignore him. While some dogs are just so full of energy that they can barely control themselves, it is always best to not give him any attention during such episodes. Is your dog jumping on you? Turn your back until your dog stops. Then, ask for a sit. If he continues to jump, repeat until you get the behavior you want. Some dogs can’t help being so full of energy, but you shouldn’t reward hyper activities…well, in most cases. Read the tip below to learn about a hyper activity that you can reward!
A lot of the time, when you give a hyper dog an active job, he begins to calm down as he has an outlet for his excess energy. Activities that are good for hyperactive dogs include dog agility, herding, obedience, lure coursing, disc dog, dock jumping, flyball, and tracking.
Is Your Dog Hyper or Under Exercised?
Many dog owners think their dog is hyper when he’s actually not getting enough exercise. Imagine being inside most of the day, sleeping. After too much of this, you would feel the need to get active. You need to make sure that your dog is getting enough exercise in his day to feel content and stay healthy. You can’t simply put your dog in the backyard and expect him to exercise himself; most likely he will just sleep without your motivation. You need to get your dog active, which will fix the hyper issue in this case. Consult your vet on how to to appropriately exercise your dog according to his age and breed.
On the weekend I felt sick, and my humans noticed that my gums and lips were swollen and bloody. They also noted that I wasn’t eating. Today, I got to go to the vet so he could check me out. The bad news is, I have a gum and ear infection. I got a shot for the gum infection and drops for the ear one. The shot should stop the bleeding in a couple of days, and hopefully eating will be less painful then too.
The good news is that I get to eat wet dog food and soft, bacon-flavored treats until my gum infection heals. I haven’t been enjoying the food as much as I should, though, because eating is very uncomfortable. When my mouth is less sore I can really dig in! Also, my weight has gone down to 11 pounds, and my humans want to get it back up to my normal 13. Maybe all of this yummy food will help me gain some. Hooray for wet dog food!
Rosie is jealous because I get wet dog food, and she still has to eat dry. My humans reminded her, however, of the time when she ate wet dog food because of her stomach surgery. I was very jealous then, and now it’s Rosie’s turn to be so.
You’re taking your dog outside in the dark, and, when your dog glances at you, his eyes have an odd, red glow. What in the world is that?!
I’m going to go ahead and tell you the truth. Your dog is a superhero, capable of shooting red-colored lasers from his eyes. When you think he’s asleep at night, he’s actually out fighting crime. This has been dogs’ well-kept secret, but I have finally let it out. Now you know the truth.
Seriously, though, why do your dog’s eyes glow in the dark? The reason why they glow is somewhat like a “superpower.” Your dog has an element of night-vision, like cats. When you see your dog’s eyes get that odd coloring, it is actually just light reflecting off of the eye surface, enabling his eyes to make the most of the limited light. Some of the colors a dog’s eyes may glow are red, blue, and green.
While Halloween is a fun time for children, it can be very dangerous for dogs. People dressed up as zombies and ghosts can terrify some dogs, and ringing doorbells are enough to drive most dogs into a barking frenzy! It’s very important for you to take safety precautions for this day in order to keep your dog safe and happy.
Keep Your Dog Secure
Before Halloween, inspect your fence and make sure that there is absolutely no way your dog could escape. The sight or even noise of trick-or-treaters and ringing doorbells could easily frighten a dog, causing him to panic and look for an escape. Also, make sure your dog has a form of identification on him like your address embroidered on his collar or an ID tag. Microchips are a good idea too, but most people don’t think of having stray dogs scanned and assume that if there is no ID tag, there is no owner.
When it starts to get dark, children dressed as princesses, zombies, and superheroes will run from door to door, getting candy. All of this activity can confuse and upset many dogs. With this in mind, when the children start trick-or-treating, bring your dog inside and put him in his cage or a room with a closed door.
Can I Dress Up My Dog?
Some dogs love to dress up, but most don’t. Please don’t force your dog to wear a costume! If your dog likes dressing up for Halloween, make sure nothing in his costume is too tight or can be chewed off, and never leave your dog unsupervised.
A treat can do wonders when trying to convince your dog that costumes are fun! As you dress your dog, feed him his favorite treat. Then, once your pup has his costume on, ask for a sit before giving him another treat. Most dogs will not tolerate having clothes on for an extended period, so be ready to take any pictures you might want of your dog in his get up!
Going Trick-or-Treating? Please Leave Your Dog at Home!
It’s never a good idea to take your dog trick-or-treating with you. When dark it’s easy to lose your dog, and the children in spooky costumes could easily frighten him into yanking the leash right out of your hands. Please leave your dog at home in a secure room or his cage (leaving him alone in the yard is not a good idea as he could dig under or jump over the fence, trying to escape the stress).
If you will be handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, please don’t let your dog greet the children! Even if your dog is friendly, a kid dressed like a zombie could scare him, making him feel like he should protect you from this odd new thing. Another concern is your dog bolting out of the open door. Also, some children are afraid of dogs, so please be considerate and leave your dog in a secure room or his cage with a toy or two for company.
Candy easily upsets doggy stomachs, so please don’t share any with your dog (especially chocolate; it’s poison for us!). Throw away all candy wrappers and make sure your kids keep their candy out of reach.