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6 Common Myths About Your Dog

 

If you’re a pet parent to a canine, you’ve likely heard the old wives tales that have trickled down through the ages regarding our pooch’s health. Is your dog sick? “Check to see if his nose is dry!” Is Rover licking a wound? “Licking speeds up the healing process!” While there may be some truth behind statements like these, most are completely unfounded.

1. Dogs only eat grass when they’re sick.

While there is some truth to this claim, many scientists insist it’s normal for a dog to eat some grass from time to time as it’s in their genetics. There’s no need to worry if your dog enjoys a grass snack on occasion, however, if gulped down in large amounts it may indicate Rover has an upset stomach. If you find him chowing down on mouthfuls of grass and vomiting them up, it may be best to visit your vet.

2. Dogs eat non-food items because of a nutritional deficiency.

No one can say exactly why some dogs eat rocks, feces, lick carpet, and ingest things that are not meant to be ingested. Most vets believe dogs eat these things out of sheer boredom or as a method to gain attention. To prevent Rover from noshing on the non-edible, provide adequate exercise for him, along with ample outlets for his excess energy.

3. Garlic kills fleas.

Many pet parents claim garlic works to keep fleas at bay, but there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. While it is very possible that the smell acts as a deterrent, garlic does not kill them.

4. If Rover’s nose is warm, he is sick.

Not true! Your dog’s nose temperature cannot indicate illness or health. It also can’t verify whether or not Rover has a fever. The only way to accurately determine your dog’s temperature is by measuring it with a thermometer, with normal readings ranging between 101.5 to 102.5°F.

 

5. If your dog licks his wounds, it will help them heal faster.

Dogs naturally lick their wounds in an effort to clean them, but it actually slows down the healing process and can lead to serious infections. To prevent your pooch from licking his wound excessively, block access to the area with an Elizabethan collar (you know, the lampshade looking contraptions that go around Rover’s neck) or by applying a bandage. To aid in the healing process, clean the wound thoroughly and apply a dog-safe antiseptic.

6. Your pooch will let you know when he’s sick or in pain.

Definitely not true! In general, dogs are adept at hiding the signs that indicate they are sick or feeling pain. Behaviorists speculate this is instinctual, a behavior inherited from their ancestors who, in their drive to survive, hid any weakness. More often than not, by the time you notice your dog is sick, his condition has already progressed. Keep an eye on Rover’s typical behavior and make note of any differences you notice in the time he spends sleeping, if he’s slower in his movements (especially when getting up and lying down), if his appetite shrinks, if he seems more distant, or, on the contrary, becomes more clingy. It’s also a good idea to take a quick look at Rover’s poop every time he goes to identify any differences in its appearance.

 

It’s our mission as pet parents to provide the best possible care for our canine companions, and it can sometimes get confusing with the countless theories out there on dogs and their care. If you’re uncertain or just looking for advice, consult with Rover’s veterinarian.

Can a Pet Help with My Kid’s Autism?

 

One of my favorite parts of being a pet parent is the comfort I receive from my animals. Many people feel similarly, in fact animal assisted therapy has become significantly more common in the past five years.This positive effect is seen and well studied in children with autism.With the rate of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) among children increasing worldwide, it’s comforting to know your family’s fuzzy friend can be of service to your diagnosed child.

A recent Purdue University study monitored the impact of Guinea pigs in classrooms. The new study took it a step further and studied the impact of interacting animals with ASD children; they wanted to prove playing with Guinea pigs would reduce the children’s social stress. Study groups included a mix of “typical” kids and ASD kids and monitored their reactions to multiple conditions, both with and without the Guinea pigs. The researchers believed the ASD kids would show high levels of anxiety when the Guinea pigs were not included in their activity, and they were right on! Activities that incorporated the pigs resulted in lower levels of stress and produced a remarkable calming effect.

Previous studies showed children with ASD demonstrated improved social skills after only a few months of interacting with Guinea pigs. And a separate study found the children talk, laugh and smile more and cry, whine and frown less in the presence of the playful pigs.

Any animal can have positive emotional affects on you and your child, but furry animals tend to work best.

If you are the parent of an ASD child as well as a furry one, be sure to give the furry one an extra treat and a nice cuddle as a “thank you” for his fortuitous friendship.

Homemade Dog Treats Recipe

 

Most dogs love treats, but if you have a picky dog finding the right treat can be a challenge. This recipe is for some delicious homemade dog treats. You can make this recipe as is, or add in flavors your dog likes.

So here is the basic recipe.

Ingredients:

  • Water or Milk
  • Peanut butter
  • Baking powder
  • Flour

* Make sure the peanut butter is dog safe ( does not contain xylitol)

*For a lower fat option use water or skim milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and grease a baking sheet
  2. Mix 1 cup liquid and 1 cup peanut butter in a bowl until it is well combined
  3. In another bowl mix a tablespoon of baking powder with 2 cups of flour
  4. Add the powder to the liquid mix, and mix it together
  5. Take a tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball
  6. Place the dough ball on the baking sheet
  7. Bake the treats for 10-15 minutes

So this is the basic recipe but you can add things in to vary the treats and to suit your dog’s taste

Possible add-ins:

  • Herbs (mint, parsley, rosemary, oregano)
  • Veggies (carrots, broccoli, green beans, peas)
  • Fruit (blueberries, banana, apple)
  • Pre-cooked meat (hot dog bits, chicken shreds)

For add-ins, cut them so that each piece is less than a 1/4 inch in length

*Add-ins should all be dog-safe foods

Try lots of variations on this recipe to find the one that your dog likes best. With a few add-ins and some experimentation, these homemade dog treats should suite the even the most discerning canine palette.

4 Ways You Can Help Animals In Shelters

 

According to the ASPCA, there are about 7.6 million dogs and cats in United States shelters each year. As much as you and I may want to, we can’t take home 7.6 million dogs and cats. So what can you do to help animals in shelters and the community?

1.Walk

If you walk your dog(or any dog) frequently you can earn credits(which turn into monetary donations) for a local shelter of your choice using a smartphone app called “Walk for a Dog”. You can use this app to log miles walked with your pooch, and share it with other walkers to increase the amount of credit earned for your shelter.

Check out the website here: http://www.wooftrax.com/

2.Donate

In addition to monetary donations, shelters always need supplies like bleach, paper towels, and other odds and ends.Most shelters have a wish list on their website of items they need donated. I generally make these donations after I go shopping at big box stores(like Costco). I usually buy more paper towels than I can keep in my house, so I donate half to a local shelter.

The Fort Collins Cat Rescue also has a kibble supply program. This program gives food donated by local pet stores and individuals to low income pet owners in the community. The rescue takes donations of both kibble and wet dog and cat food. They will take partially opened bags in original packaging. This is a great use for the rest of that bag of food your kitty does not like. Call the Fort Collins Cat Rescue and Spay Neuter Clinic for more information.

Here are some wish lists for shelters in the Fort Collins area:

Fort Collins Cat Rescue and Spay Neuter Clinic: https://www.fccrsnc.org/Donate_MoneyandItems.php

Larimer Humane Society:http://www.larimerhumane.org/donate/wish-list

Animal House:http://www.animalhousehelp.org/wishlist.php

3. Shop for a cause

Amazon has a program called Amazonsmile, which donates 0.5% of your purchase for most items to a charitable organization of your choice. If you shop on amazon a lot that 0.5% of each purchase can really make a difference.

4. Projects at home

These are really fun projects and are great if you have a group of animal loving kids(or adults) to entertain. The United Way of Larimer County has directions for items you can make at home and donate to animal shelters. These projects are simple, low in cost and can make a big difference. Contact the shelter of your choice to see if they will take what you make or have similar projects.

Fleece dog toys:http://uwaylc.org/wp-content/uploads/wordpress/Service-to-go-Fleece-Rope-Dog-Toy.pdf

Cat Blankets:http://uwaylc.org/wp-content/uploads/wordpress/Service-to-go-Cat-Blankets.pdf

Kitty Forts:http://uwaylc.org/wp-content/uploads/wordpress/Service-to-go-Kitty-Forts.pdf

So, while we can’t take every animal in a shelter home, these activities are a great way to help. Also consider volunteering or fostering for a local shelter if you can. Small things make a big diffrence in the life of shelter pets.

 

 

Tips to Break Up a Dog Fight

 

Recently, one of the scariest things that can happen to a dog owner happened to me: my dog got into a fight. This fight was quickly broken up, but I realized that few people know the safe way to break up a dog fight.

 

So what do you do to safely break up a fight between dogs?

Well first take a deep breath. Your nervousness will be sensed by the dogs and may rile them up more.

Also, do not try and grab your dog by the collar, he may turn around and bite you. Even the sweetest dog will bite their owner if they are in the middle of a fight.

There are a few methods you can use to break up a fight between dogs quickly and with the minimal amount of risk for yourself.

 

Distract the dogs from each other 

This method relies on distracting your dog from the fight so that you can safely separate the dogs. You can do this with a loud noise, water, or something physical.

1. Noise

You can clap your hands or bang pots to startle the dogs, they usually will look up and freeze. Take this time separate the dogs. If you are concerned about fights happening while out on walks, carry a whistle.

2.Water

Most of use do not keep filled up water guns around, however wetting your dog is a great option to distract him from a fight. If you are seriously concerned about your dogs fighting in the house, keep a water gun around in case a dog fight breaks out. You can also use a hose or glass of water, if you have that available.

3. Physical 

While the dogs are fighting do not try and grab or touch them with your hands, this really increases your risk of being bitten or hurt.  The physical distraction method typically involves covering the dog’s head. The goal of this is that the dog becomes disoriented and stops fighting. This can really be anything, a blanket, shirt or other fabric, but most people use a towel. Just be sure to move quickly before the dogs can reorient themselves.

 

What to do after the fight has stopped 

If the fight happens in your home

-Separate the dogs as much as possible and give them time to cool down.

-Check the dogs for wounds or injuries, and perform first aid or call the vet as needed.

-Think about why the fight began,was it over food, a toy or something else. Take steps to prevent the dogs from fighting over this in the future.

-After a fight between two dogs who live together, supervise interactions between the dogs until you can learn how to prevent them from fighting in the future.

The majority of fights between dogs who live with each other tend to be related to resource (food,toys or other things) guarding. An experienced dog trainer will be able to help you and your dogs with this issue and prevent future fights.

 

If the fight happens on a walk or in a park 

-Put as much distance between your dog and the other dog as possible.

-Check the dogs for wounds or injuries, and perform first aid or call the vet as needed.

-Get contact information from the other dog’s owner and check that the other dog is current on shots.

 

Breaking up a dog fight can be very scary as a dog owner, however if done safely and quickly both you and your dog will remain safe.

 

Keeping Your Dog Fit

 

Even more so than human beings, dogs require regular exercise to remain healthy, happy and out of mischief. Not only does a playful romp tire him out – making him less inclined to destructive behavior – but it also increases his serotonin production, a neurotransmitter that helps prevent depression and anxiety, as well as control appetite. When beginning a new exercise routine with your pooch, take it slow and take frequent breaks to allow him to drink fresh water (it’s a good idea to encourage him to drink water prior to an activity to maintain hydration).

How how can you make sure your are keeping your dog fit? Here are some tips from your Fort Collins pet sitter:

Go for walks 

Begin with short walks, then increase the duration as your dog seems more comfortable

Take your dog on a hike 

Most trails in Larimer county allow dogs on the trails ( a few don’t so be sure to look up the trail you are headed to), take your dog with you. Start with a short flat hike, then you can increase length and incline as your dog gets more in shape.

Play fetch

This one seems pretty intuitive but all that toy chasing burns a lot of calories. Try a few different toys to see which one your dog likes to fetch best, then get out and play. Start with a ten minute session then increase the time by five minutes each time you play or until your pup gets too tired. And don’t worry if your dog does not bring the toy back as long as he chases it, he is burning calories.

Almost every activity that gets your dog up and moving is good exercise for him. Be sure to try a few different activities and find one that both you and your dog enjoy.

 

What to Look For In a Rescue Pet

 

So you’ve decided that it’s time to adopt a cat or dog! The next thing to do is to find the rescue that you want to work with to find your perfect pet.  There are many wonderful rescues and adoption groups that are just waiting to work with someone like you.  However, some rescues that are not on the up and up.  Here are some guidelines to follow when choosing a rescue pet:

  • Look for an established 501c(3) organization
  • Look for an organization that does home visits and asks for references
  • Ask to see paperwork, including veterinary records and neuter/spay records
  • Ask about training support
  • Ask about support post-adoption, including a clause in the paperwork that the animal will be returned to the rescue in the event that you’ll no longer be able to care for it.

With these tips, we’re sure you’ll find a great rescue that will work with you, and you’ll pick out your perfect family member in no time!