Tuesday, January 28, 2014

RIP Ginger...You Will be Forever in Our Hearts

Just a couple of days ago, my mom called to inform me that Ginger crossed the rainbow bridge. The only thing my mom shared was that she hid herself at the back of our home in her final hours...

*Wings Credit to Thy-Darkest Hour & Flowers Credit to Hanabell1
I am still devastated with the news. 

I've always thought that we could give Ginger a better life than our neighbors. Now, I am second guessing myself. I was just there two weeks ago... and Ginger was fine-- albeit her reaction to the cold, which I thought was normal since they seemed to be handling the insane drops of temperature well. Last Sunday, we were at 15.5 degrees Celsius: the coldest this month.

Was it because I wasn't there?

Also, I found this really nice letter written by Sue Perkins to her dog, Pickle.
Warning: Bitter-sweet content; Might make you cry; Prepare tissue.

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Keep Your Dog Smiling Pretty (Guest Post)

Your dog’s smile is an important part of her health. They need your help to keep their pearly whites, well – pearly. Not to mention the inevitable tartar build up and periodontal disease your dog will face if you neglect this important part of dog ownership.

If your dog is over five years old there is an 85% chance they will suffer from periodontal disease, which develops when food particles and bacteria collect along the gum line form plaque which turns into a harder substance known as tarter over time. If left untreated, the gums will become inflamed, separate from the teeth, which leave pockets for bacteria to grow – aka periodontal disease. If your poor pup gets to this stage she will feel intense pain, lose some teeth and gain mouth abscesses. Visit this website for a list of periodontal disease symptoms.

Rin's got chews... not the indestructible ones, though.
The bacterial infection can easily enter the blood stream and cause all sorts of problems, so it’s time to take an interest in the health of your dog’s smile. Here are some things you can do to help prevent the big-bad yourself: gum and teeth inspections, brushing, adequate chewable.

Gum and teeth inspections

Get your dog’s teeth inspected by your veterinarian and ask questions during your annual checkup. Get your dog used to you poking around his mouth with baby steps. Start by touching her lips for a moment, letting go and then giving a treat.


Work your way up to lifting up the lip, then lightly touching the teeth, but never push the dog past the point of comfort. Look for plaque and tartar, gum inflammation and abnormal gum lines (gums that have a slight wave or curve where they meet the tooth instead of a straight line). Once your dog is used to inspections, you are ready to move on to brushing.

Make sure you are brushing your dog’s teeth properly

· Use toothpaste made for dogs, NEVER human toothpaste!

· It’s best to start the healthy habit young, but it’s never too late.

· Brush every other day (at least three times a week), because plaque turns to tartar in just two days. If your dog has already developed periodontal disease then brush daily.

· Get the dog used to brushing in stages.

· Don’t punish the dog if they resist, but slowly allow your dog to get used to the necessary procedure.

Let your dog chew

Feeding dry kibble food, bones and rawhide naturally helps remove plaque and tartar. There are also some good toys and treats that will help with plaque, just make sure they are approved by the VOHC which means they are proven to reduce plaque by 20%.

Following these tips will help freshen your dog’s breath while improving your dog’s overall health. You classy canine companions don’t always know what’s good for them, but if you are gentle in your presentation of dental hygiene your dog will smile pretty for years to come!

Author's Bio:

I’m Cindy Romero, an animal rights activist and mother to two dogs who love to brush their teeth every day.

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Pet Dentistry: Do It For Your Best Friend's Health (Guest Post)

Most humans go to the dentist on a regular basis (or at least, know that they’re supposed to!) We know the importance of having our teeth cleaned and examined. However, many pet owners don't stop to think about the oral health of their animals. Just like humans, dogs develop plaque and tartar on their teeth. If these substances continue to build up over time, there can be some very serious consequences for your pet. These consequences don't just involve the teeth. There are several health problems that your pet can develop as a result of poor dental health.

Common Dental Problems in Dogs and Cats

The primary problem that dogs and cats will develop if their teeth are not kept clean is gum disease. This is a result of plaque and tartar that develops at or below the gum line. The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis characterized by red and inflamed gums. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis which causes an erosion of the bones supporting the teeth and can lead to tooth loss.

Rin, our resident senior, is all smiles!!!
Dogs are also susceptible to cavities. These can become very painful and lead to abscesses and tooth loss. Some dogs will have enormous jaw swellings from painful abscesses of the teeth.

General Health Problems Related to Gum Disease

Problems with the teeth and gums are bad enough for your pet. However, gum disease in dogs and cats can cause a host of general health problems for your friends. Abscesses in the upper teeth can lead to sinusitis and infection of the occipital region. These will require long courses of antibiotics for proper treatment.

Bacteria entering the bloodstream from infected gums have been proven to contribute to numerous problems in dogs and cats. In dogs, bacteria from the gums can cause problems with the heart including endocarditis. Liver disease in dogs has also been attributed to bacteria from gum disease. In cats, bacteria entering the bloodstream from the gums are believed to contribute to kidney disease.

Ways to Combat Pet Dental Problems

The first line of defense in combating pet dental problems begins at home. Pets should have their teeth brushed every day. There are special dog and cat toothpastes and toothbrushes on the market to make this job easier. Pet owners can also help keep tartar down by giving their dogs and cats high-quality kibble based food to eat. Animals given only a soft diet tend to develop more dental issues. Feed your dog crunchy biscuits designed to break down tartar as a treat.

*Image of a smiling a dog courtesy of Ms. Anderson.

As with humans, dogs and cats should have regular dental exams and cleanings provided by their veterinarian. Veterinarians have the tools to safely and effectively remove plaque and tartar deposits from the teeth of both dogs and cats. During this examination, the veterinarian will check for signs of cavities and other dental problems. Animals should have their teeth cleaned at least once a year. Some animals may require more frequent cleanings.

If pet owners will diligently clean their pet's teeth at home, many serious health problems will be avoided. Do what’s best for your best friend and don't neglect your pet's dental health.

Author's Bio:

Erica Anderson is a veterinary technician and writer from Arizona. She loves writing about parenting, gardening, and pets.
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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Pigeon Babies

Dad's the white pigeon. The ones at the boxes are their babies.
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Saturday, January 18, 2014

6 Calming Solutions for a Scared Dog During a Storm (Guest Post)

Today's guest post  may have great solutions on calming a scared dog, but the best part is still its interesting author's bio.

Dogs can have an extreme response to intensifying winds, plummeting barometric pressures, earthquake-sounding thunder and blinding lightning. It's called storm phobia, and it can have harmful effects on your dog psychologically and physically. Handle your pup's storm phobia and calm your pet's panic with the following suggestions.

1. ThunderShirt


Treat your pooch's storm-induced anxiety, and dress him in a ThunderShirt that applies gentle pressure for a calming effect. Once your pup starts to quiver because of house-shaking thunder, put the ThunderShirt on to help lower fear and reduce stress. The ThunderShirt gently hugs your dog while relieving anxiety and relaxing the nerves during a frightening storm, just like how swaddling sooths a crying baby.

2. Doggles


Scared Little Chi
You might as well throw on a pair of Doggles too, and put your dog into a tranquil coma that no thunderstorm could disturb. Doggles are protective eyewear and tinted goggles that a dog can wear to darken his surroundings and reduce stress. As the ThunderShirt comforts your furry pal, a pair of Doggles can help camouflage a flash of lightning that can be startling.

3. Through a Dog's Ear


As soon as your dog starts to bark and pace during a storm, hit play on "Music to Calm Your Canine Companion." Through a Dog's Ear BioAcoustic music therapy uses "resonance, tone and pattern identification" to treat your pet's anxiety. If your skittish dog is easily frightened, you may want to invest in the iCalmDog. The iCalmDog is a portable music player that can play calming compositions for up to 10 hours.

4. Consolation


Your dog barks because he's upset and scared by the storm, not because he's misbehaving. Rather than punish your dog by ignoring or yelling at him, provide consolation. You're not reinforcing bad behavior, explains veterinarian Patty Khuly, pet health blogger for PetMD.com and guest columnist for USA Today. Give your pet loving attention and cuddling. Distractions such as treats and toys during a monstrous thunder boom or intense lightning helps too.

5. Comfort


"Hiding (as in a cave) is a natural psychological defense for dogs," says Khuly. Animals that have been crated since puppyhood feel safe and protected "hiding" in their crate. During a storm, move the crate away from any windows or your pet door, and encourage your dog to find relaxation and security in an enclosed space away from the outdoors. You can also comfort your pup in a small dark room like a closet or bathroom where you can lay together with pillows and a blanket.

6. Natural Remedies


Cure your dog's suffering with natural remedies, such as the Comfort Zone Diffuser with D.A.P for Dogs. The pheromones released replicate natural comforting pheromones to help comfort your dog during stressful situations and reduce stress-related behavior, such as barking, anxiety and whimpering. Why not even try Back Flower Remedies for pets? The Rescue Remedy Pet includes five Bach Flower Remedies that can help settle your pooch's negative emotions. Rescue Remedy, Rock Rose and Mimulus can all help eliminate fear and restore calmness.

Author's Bio:

Joel Mccoy is a pet photographer who is scared of any dog larger than a poodle.
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Thursday, January 16, 2014

How Long Do Dogs Sleep on Average? (Guest Post)

People like to sleep according to their biological clock. They usually sleep for a long, continuous period of time. Now, when it comes to dogs, things are a bit different. Dogs prefer taking shorter, discontinuous naps throughout the day. However, when it all adds up, they sleep a lot. In fact, they spend more than half of their lives sleeping.

Average sleep

Sleeping on the Sand... Mmmm, warm...
*image provided by Andrea
On average, dogs sleep for 16 hours per day. Older dogs and pups sleep longer than middle aged ones. Sleeping implies that they are unaware of their surroundings, just like other animals.

Dreaming

By studying brain waves, scientists have confirmed that all mammals dream during a certain period of their sleep. While they sleep, dogs often twitch, moan or make other specific sounds – just like some people tend to talk during their sleep. Owners believe that dreams come during that period of twitching and moaning.

Studying dog dreams is practically impossible, because scientists can't use the same methods that are used while studying human dreams. Nevertheless, it has been confirmed that dogs have different periods of dreaming, just like people do.

During deep sleep, dogs roll their eyes, which is connected to moving limbs and moaning, presupposing that dreams come during that period. People have the most intensive dreams during this so called REM phase of sleep, so we assume that it is the same case with dogs.

If a dog is lying still, eyes closed, it is not sleeping. It is often awake, ready to react if something happens. Dogs are living beings, and just like with people, their senses are stimulated each day. Only when they become perfectly still and fall asleep can they process all the information received during the course of the day.



Healthy sleep

When it comes to the physical and emotional well-being of dogs, it is important that they get enough sleep, especially deep sleep. A dog that doesn’t sleep enough is prone to stress, nervousness, stomach aches, or aggressive behavior.

If you need to wake your dog while it's in deep sleep, do it carefully. Wait a few minutes for it to go from deep sleep into normal sleep. Your dog will have an easier time waking like that. If not done properly, waking your dog from deep sleep can result in violent behavior and perhaps biting.

Sleeping positions

Dogs usually lie on their stomach, or are curled up during sleep. A popular napping position is on the side, although it can lead to deep sleep as well.

One way to know that your dog is deeply asleep and dreaming is if it's lying on its back with all four legs in the air. That is the position of maximum comfort and deep sleep. The stomach doesn’t get hot like that, and no muscle is tense, similar to when it's curled up. When a dog turns its back to its owner or another dog, it is a sign of commitment. The dog feels protected in that position.

Choosing the right spot

What better way to get some R & R than beside a loved one.
*image provided by Andrea
It is believed that dogs like to sleep on posts that aren’t affected by negative energy and radiation. Before they go to sleep, dogs like to circle around the desired spot, sniffing and exploring it. That proves that they won’t sleep anywhere but prefer to pick the perfect spot for that sweet nap.

Author bio:

Andrea Hudson is a professional photographer and a great doglover. . She is interested in dogs and pets related topics, and she is also the first person in the neighborhood who you call for help when you lose your dog, any kind of pet. She is always there for her friends.
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Monday, January 13, 2014

For the Love of Dog Books

I've always been passionate about dogs. The first book I bought was about taking proper care of my dog; I was just seven back then.

Now that I'm decades older, that book collection has increased in size since I've started My Dogs Love Me. So I may not have a library of dog books yet, but I can see my own bookshelf filled with them.

These dog books are some of my favorite ones. I've collected them within the past year and a half.

Most of you might have noticed that I'm a sucker for Barron's books. However, my pick of the litter remains to be "Animals Make Us Human" by Temple Grandin.
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6 Reasons Why Your Dog Needs a Wireless Dog Fence (Guest Post)

So this is my third straight guest post feature. I'm supposed to insert a funny picture of the dog's 'reindeer mischief' but that'll have to wait for the next time.

Today's guest post if brought to you by Rohit for Petsafe.

Dogs are considered to be the best animals to keep as pets, making the relationship between a dog and humans is one of the most widespread form of interspecies bonding. Dogs not only make good guards but also provide us humans a companion that we will never find as dogs are the only species other than humans that are capable of displaying ‘acts of selfless love’. We have all tried many old fashioned and modern methods of pet containment and as the world is going wireless, why not containment systems for pets like dogs. 

2008-07-15 White GSD pup climbing under fence
By Ildar Sagdejev (Specious) (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The revolutionary underground fence has further been evolved through the use of modern technology into an even better product called the wireless pet fence. It involves plugging in of a simple transmitter that emits GPS signals which determine the perimeter of the fence. If the dog gets out of the signal’s defined proximity it delivers a mild static shock via the collar worn by the dog which is totally harmless to the animal. Let’s discuss the advantages of using this amazing product. 

1. More Freedom To The Dog

With the system being totally wireless and doesn’t involve the installation of a physical boundary, the length of this invisible leash and the perimeter can easily be altered by the owner, thus providing the dog with a functioning area that is almost entirely devoid of boundaries. More area to play will definitely make a happier dog and the owner tension free that the dog might accidently cross a boundary as the range of the collar is under the owner’s control.

2. Easy Installation As Compared To Other Methods Of Containment

The apparatus involves plugging in of a transmitter and adjusting the range according to your needs. It doesn’t need any sort of physical installation of any wires or fences to mark the boundaries of containment, the system is totally ‘do it yourself’ and is easily installed with the involvement of any trained personnel thus making it far more effective than the underground fence.

3. Cost Effective As Compared To Other Containment Methods

Real fencing isn’t cheap, as the pricing will depend on the material you choose to build your fence with, not to mention the regular maintenance costs you will incur at regular intervals. Even when it comes to underground fence for pets, the apparatus isn’t entirely maintenance free as the wires used are susceptible to breakage and physical damage. You might also need to pay some really heavy installation costs in order to get these other containment methods to work. Wireless pet fence totally excels the other methods in this area as all you need to do is plug in transmitters and the operation is totally ‘do it yourself’, making this a great product that is actually easy on your pocket. 

4. Better Mobility As Compared To Other Method

If your work makes you move locations or you simply want to do some renovations to your house, the wireless pet fence is the best way to keep your worries away from your pocket. As there is no physical installation of any wires underground or a proper physical fence, you simply need to carry the transmitters to a different location making it a onetime buy product. You can also take it with you in case you want to go to a holiday with your dog (happens with some). 

5. The Actual Virtual Fence

The wireless pet fence is an actual virtual fence that has no physical boundaries. It is an instant install which doesn’t need you to bury some wires underground. Thus solving your zoning law troubles and maintaining the look of the house as many times a fence degrades the look of your house and most of the times installing a fence might attract some disapproval of your neighbours. You can wave all such troubles a big goodbye with the wireless pet fence. 

6. Loophole Free System

The best part about the wireless pet fence is that you can eliminate any sort of loopholes with the use of this product, 2 or more transmitters can be added for this. The easy and instant installation is a major advantage, all you need to do is plug in a transmitter and make sure that their proximity range overlaps thus getting rid of all the loopholes that your cuddly pooch can use to access areas that you don’t want him to. This not only adds protection for your dogs from unwanted places like your garage, swimming pool and trash cans. 

It is our duty towards this wonderful and cuddly companion that we protect it and give it comfort within our abode. We should provide the canine with plenty of room for its day to day activities that will benefit it in return. There are many brands that manufacture this product like PetSafe’s - PetSafe Wireless Instant Fence, havahart’s - Havahart’s Wireless Radial Shaped Dog Fence and many more. The wireless pet fence is the perfect product that will suit both the owner’s and the pet’s need. 
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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Nutrition for Small and Large Breed Dogs: What does your dog actually need? (Guest Post)

Update: We apologize for not having dropped by ever so often. Offline life has picked up and we haven't had much time to catch up with a lot of you. We promise to do so real soon.

Today's guest post is brought to us by Stefmar Shop. 

"I'm going to get a dog!", you'd say "…and then I am going to spoil it with all kinds of treats!". Well, turns out it’s not all that simple and that having a dog is quite demanding… at least when it comes to nutrition. Naturally, dogs of all breeds tend to act similarly while they are growing up but the trick is to know what differences in their nutritional needs you have to be aware of and eventually meet.

Feeding a big and a small dog is not the same thing – in portion or manner. Make no mistake, dogs are almost as demanding as newborns and you will have to be extra careful about the way you are raising your little hairy friend. We have laid out some information you may find useful.

New Puppies by Bev Sykes, CC-BY-2.0
Early years

Large breed puppies have the tendency to suffer orthopedic diseases such as hip dysplasia. In order to prevent the development of this disease or at least try to reduce the pain (if there is any) it is recommended to feed your puppies foods that contain somewhat lower levels of phosphorous and calcium and are a little less energy dense. In fact, such nutrition has been proven to reduce possibility of developing the aforementioned disease in the first place. This goes for both large and giant breeds of dogs.


If you have small breed puppies, be aware that their metabolism is quite different than that of large breed puppies. Their extremely high metabolic rates help them burn food intake in just a matter of hours. To prevent your small breed puppy from developing hypoglycemia (which would later result in seizures, muscle tremors, weakness and sometimes death) make sure it takes in sufficient numbers of calories on regular and frequent basis. It is best to feed the puppy with calorie-dense food, up to four times a day (three is the optimal number of meals).

Adulthood

In case you thought all stops in your puppy's early months and that you could finally relax and play with your little doggy, we have to disappoint you. All metabolic differences between small and large dog breeds continue into their adulthood. Despite it sounding unreasonable, small dogs need more nutrients per day to maintain their health-rate on a proper level. This basically means that your small dog needs a higher calorie-intake per pound than a large dog. In fact, a fifteen pound dog needs about 500-600 calories (kcal) per day in order to maintain a healthy weight unlike a large dog of, say 120, 130 pounds that needs around 3,000 calories a day. Believe it or not, a large breed doggy requires 22.5 calories per pound while a small dog needs 40 calories per pound. All dog food designed for small breeds is more calorie-rich than that designed for large breeds’ nutrition, then one of products may be sentinel chews, not to use in puppies under 6 weeks of age.

A word of advice: Make sure you are not one of those pet-owners who make a mistake of not switching your dog from puppy food to adult food.

13-year-old American Eskimo dog
By Snowwhiteywhite (Taken by camera in the car) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Senior years

Our four-legged family members need our attention and good care even when they are in their senior years. If you own a small breed dog you should know they tend to live a very long time. To have your dog live even longer, give it food with high dietary levels of antioxidants. That way you will be able to prevent free radical damage. In case you have a large breed dog, be aware that statistics show that these dogs usually tend to suffer from some degree of arthritis, especially as they get older. This is why diets designed for big dogs contain ingredients such as chondoitin sulfate and glucosamine as they help prolong your pet's life!

We hope these information helped you in choosing proper type of food for your little friend. Be a pet-owner aware of your dog's needs and your hairy friend will be happy each time you come back home from work!

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Expecting a Baby: How About Your Pet Now? (Guest Post)

Today's guest post was brought to you by Melianie Cho.

GSD and a baby
By Dogperson3d (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

If you are expecting a baby, your life is about to change dramatically. While you have read all the books and set up your new baby’s room, you may not have thought about how to prepare your pet for the new arrival. If you think your world will be turned upside down, your pet will be in exactly the same boat. Your new baby will become your key priority and focus and what was once your four legged child, will undoubtedly see the difference. Some common changes that your pet may notice are:

  • Less attention
  • Not as many walks
  • Change in feeding time
  • Not able to bark, being shooshed a lot
  • Less tolerance for naughty behaviour
  • New noises such as crying or baby toys
  • New furniture

There are many thing that you can do to help with the transition and changes in routine that your pet will experience with a new baby.

START TRAINING EARLY

A great way to help your pet adapt to the changes associated with the new baby is to get them used to the idea a few months before the baby arrives. Some easy ways to do this are below:

  • Place some of your larger baby equipment such as rockers, prams and toy boxes in the house before the baby arrives. Your pet will find them interesting and it’s better that they do their investigating before the baby starts using them.

  • Tape a friends newborn cries so your pet can gradually grow accustomed to the new sounds it will be hearing.

  • Introduce baby smells early. Clean nappies and baby lotions have a distinct smell that you should expose your pet to before the birth.

  • Place a blanket with your babies scent in your pet’s bed or some place your pet enjoys. This will keep the association positive.

  • Back off the attention a little before your baby is born so your pet does not feel abandoned when the baby arrives.

  • Adjust meal times which will fit with your new born schedule a few months before the baby arrives.

ARRANGE THE HOUSE SAFELY

Your pet has probably had run of the house until now, but things are about to change. It’s important that your house is set up so that your pet and new baby can co-exist in safety. It’s vital to have boundaries set for your pet such as not being allowed in the baby room or not being allowed on furniture. A good idea is to install baby gates or potentially invest in playpens for both kids and pets. These will keep your baby in and your pet out!

AnnieDog
By Sarbagyastha (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

SOCIALISE YOUR PET WITH OTHER BABIES

It’s important that your new baby is not completely alien to your pet. It’s essential that you start to socialise your pet with other babies and children before your baby arrives. This will help your pet understand the boundaries critical for co-existing with small children. Kids and babies poke and pull and your pet needs to build up a level of tolerance.

ADJUST YOU PETS BEHAVIOUR

Your pet has spent a large amount of its life being able to what it wants however this will change when the baby arrives. Make sure your pet knows who is boss and is fully trained to sit and stay. If your cat jumps onto the pram or cot, spray it with a squirt of water. If your dog jumps up on people, say ‘NO’ firmly and take it outside. Children are small and can be knocked over easily and dogs can get very excited around playful activities. Be strict with your new boundaries and your baby and pet can have a long, loving bond!

About the Author

Melanie is a pet lover, responsible for the dog supplies at http://www.realsmart.com.au. Melanie is also a passionate blog writer and forum contributor.
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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year, Everyone!

We would like to greet everyone a Happy New Year!


May we all have a great year ahead of us.
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