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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.

 

4 Tips for Keeping your Cat Entertained

 

If you are away from home for a few hours or a few weeks, your cat is bound to notice. Even laid back, lazy cats need something to keep them entertained. Bored cats will often develop “problem behaviors” to keep themselves entertained, like scratching inappropriately. So short of playing with your cat 24/7 what can you do to keep your cat entertained?

1. Cat TV

Most cat owners know the fascination their kitty has with the small animals outside the window, you can easily capitalize on that and keep your kitty entertained for hours. Pick a window you don’t mind turning into your cat’s zone and place a bird feeder within sight, and very close to the window. Fill the bird feeder with seeds and other foods to attract wildlife. Put a cat tree or other area for your cat to sit and watch the bird show.

Just keep an eye on this if you live in an area with free roaming outdoor cats, because they may come to see your kitty and upset her.

2. New Objects 

Most pet parents and human parents are familiar with this situation: you buy an expensive, cool new toy and your pet (or kid) plays with the box. While this can be disappointing, seize this opportunity to find new ways to entertain your cat.

Cardboard Boxes

Give your cat cardboard boxes, newspaper or non-glossy paper and paper bags. For cardboard boxes, be sure to remove any staples, or other dangerous objects of the box including loose tape. I generally like to use food boxes because they have lots of interesting smells in them too, just make sure there is no actual human food left in the box.

Paper

You can give your cat newspaper or other types of non-glossy paper. Most newspaper ink is soy based and is safe for use around animals. You can try leaving the paper on the ground for your cat to step on (it makes a cool noise) or crinkling it into balls for you cat to bat around. 

Paper Bags 

Paper bags can be very fun toys for cats, they can hide in them, bat them around and sit on them. You can use the paper bags from the grocery store (just rip the handles off so your cat cannot get caught in them) or the smaller paper lunch sacks.

3. Hiding food 

Wild cats spend most of their time hunting and looking for food. Domestic cats, not so much.One way to keep your cat entertained is to make getting her food a bit hard then just finding the bowl.  There are lots of toys on the market for cats that can be used to make your cat work for her food ( think the cat version of a kong). These are a great option. You can also hide food in the boxes, paper and paper bags from above. Use dry food or treats, as wet food can be messy outside of a bowl. I recommend letting your cat watch you hide the food the first few times so that she gets the idea and make the food easy to get to (leave the box open). You can also you strong smelling treats to help your cat find the food more easily.

4. New Smells 

Cats, as territorial animals, are very interested in new smells of any kind. The key thing with introducing new scents is making sure that they are not toxic if your cat licks the scented area. Keep in mind that your cat may spray urine on the scented spot to mark over the new smell. If he does this then scents are not a good enrichment option. You can use a variety of smells, food and natural. Something I find works really well is microwaving a hot dog in a paper towel, the hot dog juices will get on the paper towel and you can wipe this on the surface you want to scent, like a cardboard box. You can use a similar method for most types of meat, or use the juice in wet cat food. Herbs are also an option. Most types of mint, like catnip, are safe for cats and some other herbs and flowers are.

This is an incomplete list of some safe plants:

  • Lemongrass
  • Parsley
  • Zinnias
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender

For herbs, you can either rub them on surfaces or place them in satchels (just make sure your cat does not try to eat the satchel).

5. Hire a Cat Sitter!

Just like a dog walker, you can have a cat sitter come to your home and play with your kitties when you are out of town or just busy. Our sitters are experts at making friends with new cats and devising ways to keep them entertained, including bringing fresh catnip that we grow just for our clients. Contact Us to discuss some options that work well for your cat!

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.

 

Colorado Heartworm Cases on the Rise

 

Local veterinarians in Colorado have begun routinely testing their pet patients for heartworms, due to an increase of the parasites found in our beloved pets.

Although still relatively uncommon in our state, over 75 percent of vets in Colorado have seen cases of heartworm disease in the pets they treat. The escalation has been linked to adopted “imports” of dogs and cats originating from the Caribbean and U.S. states with a high mosquito population.  For example, in the Bahamas, nearly 90 percent of the street dogs are infected.  When an infected animal is rescued and relocated, the disease can be introduced to the local mosquito population, boosting the odds of then-infected mosquitos biting a local animal and injecting the infected blood. From there, heartworms – which can reach up to one foot in length – can develop and, left untreated, will continue to grow within the animal’s heart and lungs, resulting in a fatal infestation.

A simple test can detect the presence of heartworms, which can be treated with a series of injections that kill the worms in dogs; unfortunately, there is no treatment for infected cats. However, since cats aren’t typical hosts for the parasites, most of the worms in a cat won’t survive to adulthood. Be that as it may, the key for keeping your pets healthy is prevention.

Have your pet tested annually, ideally during the spring season, and speak with your vet about which heartworm preventative is best for your cuddly companion.  The preventatives also combat roundworms and hookworms.

The Dangers of Xylitol in Peanut Butter

 

Recently, there has been a post going around Facebook telling dog parents not to give their dogs peanut butter. If you look further into why peanut butter can be deadly to your pup, you will find xylitol to blame.

So what the heck is it? Xylitol is a food additive that is used to replace sugar in many foods. It is found in hundreds of food and health products, such as gum, human toothpaste, vitamins, and now peanut butter. While xylitol is perfectly safe for humans it is extremely toxic to dogs. Potentially more toxic than chocolate.

When minimal amounts of xylitol is used are used  (like doggie mouth wash) it is perfectly safe for your dog. However, the concentrations of the sweetener in most human food is very dangerous to your dog and can cause poisoning.

So what are the symptoms of xylitol poisoning in dogs?

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Incoordination or difficulty walking or standing (walking like drunk)
  • Depression or lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Left untreated poisoning can lead to liver damage. These symptoms typically show up 10-60 minutes after eating it.

So what should you do?

1. Always read the labels of any product you giver your pooch and look for potentially poisonous things. Only some brands of peanut butter have this type of deadly sweetener in them.

2. Do not leave gum or toothpaste where your dog can get to them.

3. If your dog does eat xylitol, call your vet right away.

 

With veterinary care arriving quickly, your dog will hopefully be able to have a full recovery.

The Dangers of a Hot Car

 

 

Most pet parents know the dangers of leaving our pups in the car during a warm day, but unfortunately many don’t realize how quickly a hot car becomes lethal. We tell ourselves that it will only be five minutes, or that the window is cracked open, but this is not enough to keep your dog safe.

After just ten minutes on an 80 degree day, the car is already 99 degrees! Imagine being in a 90 degree car with a fur coat on and that’s what it is like in your hot car for your dog. Dogs can easily get heat stroke, which can result in lots of time at the vet and possibly death.

So what can you do to avoid a situation too hot to handle?

1. Take your dog into stores with you.

Many stores that do not sell food, like Home Depot and Apple, will allow leashed and well behaved dogs in the store. Make sure that your dog is on a secure leash, does not bother other people and is not a distraction.

2. Eat outside

If you are going out to eat, sit with your dog on the patio and ask to be seated in the shade.

Learn about dog friendly restaurants in Fort Collins.

3. Hire a dog walker!

Leave your dog at home and have a dog walker stop by to play with your pup! You can go on your errands without worrying about your dog, planning your stops or clocking your time. Your dog gets a dedicated friend to come by and spend time with her! Learn more about how dog walks work.

 

How to Safely Go On a Dog Walk After Dark

 

I know, that evening walk around the block is a lot harder and somewhat scarier this time of year. It becomes very dark so early in the evening and with the snow, ice, wind, and those scary noises that turn out to be the bunny under the bush, it is easy to just say “we’ll go tomorrow, Fido”. Here are some suggestions that will help give you the confidence to go ahead and take your dog in the dark for a nice evening stroll.

Wear Reflective Gear

Both you and your dog should wear something reflective. Remember that reflective means it requires an outside light source to work. Items like reflective collars, leashes, and vests work best when used on the sidewalk or wherever headlights will illuminate you and are not much help if you are walking on a nature trail. Be sure that the leash you choose has the reflective material on both sides to be very visible.

LED Wear

There are some very cool, small dog-safe LED lights on the market now. These work in different ways (some push on while some twist) but they all easily attach to the dogs collar and hang near the ID tags. Some of the above mentioned gear also have LED lights embedded within them. The LED lights are very bright and can be some from a long distance in complete darkness.

Cold Weather Gear

Even the toughest dogs who love this type of weather can still feel the effects of the cold, snow and ice. Be sure to protect your dog’s feet with pad cream (be careful though as this might make slippery conditions a little trickier), or with the many different varieties of snow booties available today. These come in a range of sizes, styles, and prices but if you go out hiking often in this weather, you may want to invest in some. Fido may walk a little funny at first but will get used to them very fast.   A jacket of some type is also recommended for our dogs that have little hair or are very sensitive to the cold. Beagles, Boxers and other short haired dogs will thank you for the extra layer. These also are available in a ton of different styles and prices but if you shop around you will find the right one in no time.

Your Clothing

Now, we have Fido all decked out and ready to go but don’t forget yourself! Always wear reflective or LED as well and avoid dark clothing. You have to be as visible as your dog. Also, we’ve all heard about dressing in layers. Try to wear a few lighter layers with material that will wick away the moisture if you get wet (or work up a sweat) closest to your skin. Don’t forget your warm hat and gloves and always wear warm socks with your safest walking shoes. Remember that nobody will care what you look like and this is not style competition.

Other Gear

Always bring a flashlight. A small but bright flashlight can be helpful for finding those nighttime deposits that Fido leaves on the neighbor’s lawn and can also assist in visibility with other nighttime strollers. You might try a headlamp if you need your hands free.

Nighttime Distractions

You know they are out there. Those nocturnal animals that the darkness brings out create a whole new set of distractions. In the day time you are ready for the squirrel, rabbit or cat that might cross your path but at night you also get raccoons, fox and skunks. This is also where that flashlight can be helpful. Please have good control of your dog as well. A little sniffing and investigating can turn into a fight with something wild and possibly rabid so it is best to have already taught your dog what “leave it” and “let’s go” mean as well as have good leash manners.

Route Safety

Please be careful when considering and choosing your path for your nighttime walks. There are routes that are just more tricky in the dark than others. Stay away from those desolate roads, dark paths, very busy city streets or those parts of the city that just are not as safe at night for you or Fido. It is recommended that you stay in a familiar area or where other nighttime dog walkers are out and about.

Don’t worry. With the right gear and some planning, you can be sure that both you and your dog enjoy your walk and are back in the warmth and security of home with no problems. It can be a quiet and bonding time for you and your dog and you might come home with a great story to tell about that attack rabbit!

 

Choosing a Path for your Dog Walk

 

Guest writer Alexis, a Wet Noses Pet Sitting Dog Walker

As a dog walker I always wonder what path should I take on a walk. There are essentially two type of paths to walk on, hard surfaces like roads and sidewalks, then there are nature paths that may be made of grass and dirt. Each of these types of paths have their own positives and negatives. For both paths it is extremely important to have the correct harness and leash for your dog walk. Below are some tips I found helpful while taking dogs out for walks on both types of surfaces.

Notes for Walking on a Street

Try to avoid walking your dog at night, but if you must wear reflectors on both you and your dog.

  • Convenience – Many people like the convenience of walking their dog out the front door and on to the street. It takes less time then driving to a dog walking trail.
  • Nail file – Some of you might not know this, but walking your dog on a hard surfaces works as a natural nail file. As they walk their nails scrap against the ground slowly filing them down.
  • Cars – You must always be mindful of your surroundings and most importantly cars on the road. It can be dangerous walking in the street while cars are zipping by. So and avoid listening to music or talking on your phone.
  • Heat – When summer rolls around hard surfaces can become extremely hot and hazardous for your dogs paws. I suggest walking your dog earlier in the morning when it is the coolest. Test the surface by placing the back of your hand on the ground and holding it for 11 seconds. If its too hot for you then it is probably to hot for your dog.

Notes for Taking Nature Trail Path

Always be sure to take a marked trail that allows dogs, which you can check very easily online.

  • Shade – While not all trails are the same, most of them have more shade then walking on the street. This can help during those hot Summer months.
  • Paws – Walking on grass or dirt is softer compared to walking on the roads or sidewalks. This can give relief to a dogs paws and make your walk much better. Still be aware of twigs and debris along the way.
  • Wildlife – When walking your dog on a trail, be aware that wildlife can jump out at any time and frighten or excite your dog. It is important to always keep a tight grip on the leash when walking on a trail.
  • Bugs – Trail are nice because they involve nature, but that also means dealing with bugs. If your dog yelps on a walk then investigate the area they immediately look to afterwards. If bitten be sure to clean the wound and   watch it for any rash or swelling. If necessary you should take them to the vet, for safe measure.

No matter where you go for your dog walk, there is no doubt they will appreciate the time our of the house in the fresh air!

Need Help Walking Your Dog?

If you do not have enough time to walk your dog, or are wondering if your dog needs more walks, take a look at our 8 Times When You Need a Dog Walker. Our dog walkers are experts at picking the path your dog will love! Contact Us if you would like to get your dog out more more walks right away!

I Love Walking Dogs for Wet Noses Pet Sitting

Ok, maybe it seems a little obvious because I own a dog walking company, but the fact is that I do love walking dogs. Even in the rain and the snow, in the heat, at dawn and at dusk. My favorite time to walk a dog is during the summer after the sun has gone down when the weather is warm, but not as hot and there are fewer bugs. But really, it is not about me, is it? It is about the dog!

Some people do not enjoy going for a dog walk, (which is part of why we have a job) so our Wet Noses Pet Sitting get many chances to walk a variety of dogs around Fort Collins and Loveland. Some dogs are small, some are large. Some dogs walk nicely by our side and some dash from one end of the leash to another. Some dogs watch everything that goes by with their heads held high and some have their noses glued to the ground, sniffing each scent we come across. No matter which dog we walk they all have one thing in common: they all are thrilled to be out with us on a wonderful walk that day! Dogs are not prone to hide their feelings and they are pleased to show us how much they enjoy going on a walk. Whether they prance or plod along we know as the dog walker that we are in the company of a dog that is thrilled to be with us, and we are thrilled to be with them! There are few things better than knowing that when you go to work that day you are going to be spending it with animals whose days are made better by your appearance. I would not want to do anything else!

The Benefits of Regular Dog Walks

As dog walkers, we at Wet Noses Pet Sitting are pretty excited about the benefits of regular dog walks, both for you and your dog.  There is nothing like a peaceful stroll down the trail or through your neighborhood to start or end the day, or even give you a break in the middle of the day.

Benefits for your dog:

  • Regular exercise keeps your dog physically healthy and in good shape.
  • Walking helps keep dogs limber and their joints functioning well.
  • When spending regular, focused time with your dog you are more likely to notice any problems that might arise.
  • Dog walks involve some level of training which is mentally tiring, plus all of the sights and smells is exhausting!
  • A tired dog is a good dog!

As dog walkers we have seen the difference when we go into a house and start walking a dog on a regular basis.  In one particular home we started walking the dogs twice a day when the client was injured.  Prior to this the dogs were just let out in the small yard on a regular basis.  Within days of us taking the dogs on regular walks their behavior improved in the house, they slept better and they seemed much happier.  Within a few weeks the dogs were much better behaved on their walks, their coats looked better and they were much more relaxed in general.  After a month the client was well enough to take care of the dogs herself but she noticed the improvements in the dogs and has continued to have our sitters walk the dogs once a day.  It has been two years since we first started working with her furry friends and we are happy to say they are in great health and are happier than they have ever been!

Get out and walk your dog today or call us and have a Wet Noses Pet Sitter walk your pup!  Remember, any walks are better than none, this is not an all or nothing activity.  If you only have the time or the resources to walk your dog a couple times a week then start there.  You might find that the benefits outweigh the cost and provide the incentive to increase the number of walks in the future.  Happy dog walking!