Posts Tagged ‘dog health’

Dog Parks Are For People Too!

Monday, April 9th, 2018

Dog parks are parks for people…with dogs!  Consider this: It’s a late Wednesday afternoon, and as soon as you get home from work, you greet your excited pup and head off to the dog park together. Though you’re tired from a long day, you want your 4-legged friend to have some time to exercise, enjoy the sunshine, and socialize with his furry pals. It’s important to you that your dog reap all the benefits of the dog park on a regular basis, but did you ever consider that it’s benefiting you as well? Read on…

Fresh Air – Truth: Most of us don’t get enough time outside in the fresh air. Between our jobs and hectic schedules, it can be challenging to get some quality outdoor time where you can feel the breeze on your face. While your dog plays, take a few moments to appreciate the great outdoors and take some deep, calming breaths. You’ll be amazed how a few lungfuls of oxygen can help with everyday stress. 

A New Hobby – More and more dog parks now feature agility equipment. If you and your pooch are looking for an exciting new hobby, train your dog to go through an agility course! You can work on improving time through the course, ignoring distractions, and working on advanced agility moves. Your dog will work hard mentally and physically, and you will get a kick out of how talented your dog really is. And just for some giggles, check out these dog agility bloopers.

Exercise – You know that exercise plays a vital role in the overall health of your dog, plus it makes him plain old happy. The same can be said for you! When you take a trip to the dog park with your best friend, take the opportunity to engage with him. By getting your heart rate up, you are taking care of your cardiovascular system and releasing endorphins at the same time.

Feel Good Hormones – Researchers have discovered that when we spend time with our pets, our bodies release a feel-good hormone called Oxytocin. This hormone played a key role in the bonded relationship we began with dogs thousands of years ago. So, while you’re playing fetch with your dog at the park, you’re releasing a hormone that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, and helps strengthen your bond with Fido that much more.

Socializing – Like us, dogs are very social creatures. They enjoy being part of a pack and love to greet every other dogs. They even “exchange business cards” by sniffing each other’s rear ends as they meet each other. Humans need socialization too, though it’s best you leave the rear ends of new friends alone.  If you make going to the dog park part of your lifestyle, you’ll inevitably start seeing some of the same people and get to know them and their dogs. Strangers become friends very quickly when you have dogs around to help break the ice.

A Change of Pace – Many of us are living hectic lifestyles in which we feel overworked and stressed. On top of that, we often spend too much time staring at electronic devices.  There is something to be said for unplugging. Dogs are the best teachers when it comes to living in the moment. Next time you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, head to the dog park and take 30 minutes with your best friend to unwind, unplug, and de-stress. You’ll feel refreshed and recharged when you head home!

Be the Wise Owl – Are you an amateur dog expert? If you have years of experience in training and caring for your own dogs, chances are you have invaluable tricks up your sleeves.  There are lots of new pet parents at the park, or even other folks like you, and it can be a fantastic opportunity to share resources and ideas.  You all may have answers when it comes to reputable veterinarians in the area, favorite chew toys, and basic obedience tips.

Giving Back – If you’re looking for a way to get involved in your community, dog parks are an excellent place to start. Many off-leash areas are run by volunteers who help with maintenance, clean up, and events. By volunteering, you’ll get to know similar minded people, and truly make a difference in your town. And if your community doesn’t have a dog park yet, consider starting your own group to fundraise and help improve the lives of people and their pets.

 

 

Puppy Proofing Your Home…and Office!

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

With two rambunctious Great Dane puppies (and litter mates!) recently welcomed into the Dog-ON-It family, we’ve been busy puppy proofing just about everything we can.  Here are some tips to help make sure your pup is as safe as they can be when they’re not snoozing the day away.

Otto & Gozer

The Chew:  Puppies, just like human children, go through teething…in addition to exploring the world around them with their mouths.  We’ve found a few ways to help distract them from chewing on things they shouldn’t (like furniture or you)! Our blue Dane boys love elk antlers and bully sticks, and keeping them occupied with food dispensing puzzle toys is a fantastic way to direct their energy towards something positive.  The Kong Wobbler is especially popular here and we use them to feed Otto & Gozer their lunch; they have to knock it over to dispense the kibble and the hard plastic makes it pretty chew proof as well.  Another option is to stuff a standard Kong or other durable chew toy with treats, peanut butter, yogurt and/or anything else your puppy loves.  Even better?  Put it in the freezer for an hour or so for some relief for those puppy teeth and gums.

 

slippers

Crates are Great:  Ok, folks, this is a lifesaver.  Dogs are den animals and love having a quiet space they can call their own.  Make sure the crate isn’t so large that they could use part of it as their bathroom (crate dividers are helpful!) and also keep it stocked with a favorite blanket and some toys.  But…most importantly, never use the crate as punishment.  They should want to go in on their own and it always helps to use treats or positive reinforcement to reward that behavior.  We especially like the light travel style crates for the office and the sturdier wire, collapsible ones for our home.

Highway to the Danger (Free!) Zone:   Puppies are notoriously curious and even with the best of intentions, can get themselves into a pickle.  Whether it’s a particular food, something they’ve discovered in the yard, or anything that might not, ahem, pass, keep your eyes peeled for potential problems.  Also, if Fido is smarter than the average bear, child-proofing cabinets in both your bathroom and kitchen where cleaning supplies are usually kept is not a bad idea.

Keeping your puppy fed and full with the right foods can help to prevent dumpster diving for less than ideal snacks, and can also help to prevent pancreatitis, a painful and potentially deadly illness.  Some common foods to avoid:

Chocolate, raw onions, anything with xylitol, cooked bones – particularly poultry, caffeine, grapes/raisins, alcohol and even though it’s legal now in some states…marijuana.  Vet offices are seeing a huge increase in marijuana related visits, so please keep your stash “high” and out of reach!

We like to supplement our puppies’ meals with some healthy people food too.  Fresh veggies such as green beans, peas, shredded carrots are well received as are roasted root vegetables like sweet potatoes, turnips, and rutabagas.   Eggs are popular too, along with limited amounts of cottage cheese and plain yogurt.

OG

X-Ray Vision: Well, we don’t really have x-ray vision, but we do keep a super close eye on the floor.  Here at the office, things like random staples, paper clips, and tape can easily end up in a dog’s mouth.  Making sure your floors are tidy is an easy way to prevent obstructions and digestive upset. Another big one – cords.  Yep.  Our pups love cords.  And since you can’t really unplug everything, Bitter Apple Spray along with a firm “NO!” is a great deterrent. Remember to praise your pup when they drop or walk away from whatever you’ve asked them to!

Hopefully some of these tips might help keep your puppy safe and you sane – woof!

Boys

Time to Be Positive: Dog Training Tips & Tricks

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

Pawsitive Reinforcement:

When it comes to dog training, there are many options and opinions as to the best method, however we believe that positivity breeds more positivity! Positive-reinforcement training techniques use non-confrontational methods to engage your dog’s brain. This is done by rewarding positive behavior, and establishing rituals and training actions that are incompatible with negative behavior. Essentially, you reward the positive and either ignore the negative, or direct them to a behavior you do want.  Easy, right?  Doing this can help to lessen your dog’s frustration with the learning process, while still allowing the dog to feel good. There should be no forceful actions as this can damage your pup’s trust. Think about you it…how fast would you sit down for a cookie, some praise or a nice pat on the back? To a dog, those actions are not only treasured but an important part of their lives. Here are some tips on how to incorporate positivity in your dog’s training.

Treat Generously: 

First of all, when using positive reinforcement timing is key; the reward must be given within seconds or your pet might not connect the dots.  An example is when you give your dog a treat for sitting down at your command. You don’t give them the cookie after they’ve sat back up and their attention is on something else, you reward them when all of their attention is focused on you and what they are doing. There are several types of positive reinforcement, it can encompass treats, praise, petting, or even a favorite game. Although most dogs (including our office crew!) are highly food-motivated, and this type of reinforcement can often yield the best results.

Sit. Stay. Play: 

You also want to pay attention to the type of commands you are using with your pet. Keep them short! Use simple one-word commands which are easier for your dog to understand. Some examples are: Come, Sit, Stay, Down, Heel, Off, etc… You might also want to inform your family or those you live with of these to help avoid confusion for your dog later – consistency is key! Your training sessions should also be short and fun, and the goal is to have your dog associate good things while training.

More How To’s:

As time goes on and your pet becomes more skilled (and hopefully better behaved!), it is a good idea to gradually back off the treats and use them only on occasion. Eventually, the treats should no longer be necessary, however you should always reward Fido with verbal praise and a pet. It is important that you continue to use these techniques to maintain the behaviors you want from your dog.

Reward-based dog training helps create a range of desirable behaviors, which builds mutual feelings of trust and confidence, and a bond that will last for years to come. If you’d like more info on positive reinforcement and dog training, we highly recommend Victoria Stilwell’s website.  It’s a wonderful resource for all things dog. Good luck and woof woof!

Dog Park Etiquette: The Do’s and Don’ts

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

As dog park enthusiasts, we know that running and playing off-leash improves the quality of life for our furry friends. Here are some etiquette tips to help ensure a fun, safe, and happy visit.

  • Take for instance your first act upon arrival to the park…you unclip the leash and pull out your cell phone or even a favorite book.  Stop right there.  Put your phone away!  Dog parks not only provide healthy exercise for your pup, but can also help us humans make better decisions by choosing to embrace the outdoors, time with our pets and being present.

 

  • Keep a close eye on Fido! One moment of playfulness can turn sour pretty quickly, especially near the entrance as new dogs come in and others are leaving. It’s especially important for your furry friends to have manners with other dogs, so if you notice rude behavior such as humping, body slamming, stalking etc, it may be time for a break.

rude-dog-012

  • Barking excessively is also something to be aware of. It can be stressful for the other dogs, which can also lead to aggression.  And let’s be honest, even the most avid dog lover may get a little fed up with the one dog who insists on “shouting” the whole time. Take Barking Buster home!

barking_in_dogs_1

  • While some dogs greet their fellow canines quite nicely, they may still need some help saying hello to people. Certain behavior while intended to be friendly, can be perceived as uncouth to the person on the receiving end. Jumping and enthusiastic sniffing of nether regions are both common (but rude!) greetings that can potentially make someone else’s dog park visit less enjoyable. Working with your dog on impulse control can be a huge help!

ID

  • Avoid clusters of both people and dogs; a concentrated area of too many pups in too small a space can lead to a pack mentality. Much like cliques in school, one person (or dog in this matter) can end up being picked on.

 

  • Utilize the entire dog park, it gives you a chance to get some exercise along with your dog and they’ll also enjoy all of the new smells. Many dog parks offer fantastic walking trails as well as agility equipment, so each visit can have some variety.

6401 - Greenwood Urban Wetland Park

  • Remember to scoop your poop! To make the setting clean and enjoyable for everyone please clean up after your dog. Stepping in poop is a sure fire way to make your outing way less enjoyable. If you want to go the extra mile, you could pick up poop that has been left behind by other dog owners. You score some doggy karma points and the park is a little cleaner for everyone else.  Win win!

Most importantly, do a little research before you go to the park. Does your dog need to be spayed or neutered?  Are kids welcome? Are there breed restrictions or any fees or license requirements?  Make sure you know the rules beforehand, so combined with your new etiquette knowledge, you and Fido can make the most out of your time together.

Newtown

Thank you for reading! If you have any more questions about dog park etiquette, please don’t hesitate to ask. Woof woof!

Pet-Friendly Home Design

Monday, March 14th, 2016

Giving your dog a space to call their own is important as it adds structure to their life and strengthens the pet/guardian bond. Take napping for example; isn’t it more comfortable to sleep in your own bed? Dogs feel the same way!

rules

Here are some ways to help make your home pet-friendly without breaking the bank:

The kitchen; the heart of every home. Building a spot for your dog in the kitchen allows them to be part of the family’s hustle and bustle while still keeping out of the way if necessary. Incorporating a small eating area into your kitchen design with space for a food dish and water bowl is a fun way make Fido happy. This can be something as simple as a small shelf on the end of an island, pantry space or a bottom drawer.

feeder

With large and often heavy food bags, storage can be inconvenient for dog owners but they can easily conquer that problem by inserting handy storage compartments somewhere in the kitchen. They can be built into the kitchen cabinets or under the counters, giving the owner quick access to the food at feeding time and keeping the food out of site from any mischievous pets who might get into to trouble should they find an open bag (Labradors – you know who you are!). To keep toys at bay, it’s a good idea to think about an open hamper or basket where toys can be easily tossed into for quick clean up as well as easily retrievable by the pet. If you don’t want your pet getting into their toys unsupervised, you can use a decorative basket which can be closed and therefore keeps toys out of reach.

dog toys

Pets have all sorts of different reactions to taking a bath, but to make it easier on the owner there are ways you can turn part of your laundry or utility room into a washing station. An oversized stainless steel sink for smaller dogs or a commercial floor mounted sink for medium to large sized dogs are both inexpensive and convenient. For a larger pet, a walk-in shower is a great solution for grooming along with a handheld shower head. This can make it much easier to bathe your dog because you have control of the water flow and direction of the spray wherever you want…especially if your dog is being difficult! Just make sure to keep towels nearby for both your pooch and the puddles on the floor. You don’t want your pooch to catch a cold or lose their footing and slip.

Pet_Designs_Shower

Now what about flooring? If you have hardwood floors, keep reading. When you’re considering hardwoods make sure you specify them as “unfinished”, and then add a durable top coat so the occasional accident doesn’t seep through. Also, be aware that hardwood flooring can be stressful for some pups. Older dogs can have trouble navigating them and every dog finds hardwood a bit slippery, so a slide and fall incident can cause serious injuries to their hips, knees and elbows.
To help prolong the life of your floors, make sure you keep your pets nails trimmed to avoid scratches as much as possible and throw down some area rugs. They can help to brighten up a living space and also provide your pup with a comfortable spot to rest (along with helpful traction)!

dog on rug

Whenever you make changes to your home it is imperative that you keep your dog in mind, it’s their home as much as it is yours and making simple changes for their comfort and your organization can change the lives of both you and your pet for the better.

Pet Health: National Poison Prevention Week

Friday, March 11th, 2016

Protect your pets! There are many foods that can hinder your dog’s health and Dr. Justine Lee has some wonderful insights and much needed information for all pet owners. Dr. Lee is a world-renown veterinary speaker, DVM, DACVECC, DABT and a double board-certified emergency critical care specialist and toxicologist. She’s also the CEO and founder of VETgirl, which is a subscription-based podcast and webinar service offering RACE approved continuing education.

'Whoa! Slow down, kids! Your mom will neuter me if I bring you home with stomachaches from eating too much of that junk.'

According to this expert some of the most ten commonly talked about poisonous foods for dogs are actually more of a question mark. Avocado, for example, isn’t poisonous at all. While fertilizer might have scary looking names on the list of ingredients, most of the contents are natural and harmless. Garlic is another food that pet owners don’t need to worry about. An average-sized dog would need to eat a lot of garlic before they showed any signs of sickness, but talk about bad breath! What are you going to do when your animal comes up to you with garlic breath? Give your furry friend a “doggy” breath mint.

On the other hand, there are some foods which are dangerous, but not rarely are they deadly. Grapes and raisins are poisonous to dogs and can damage their kidneys, but scientists aren’t sure what chemical in the grapes and raisins actually affect dogs. What’s more unusual is that not all dogs appear to be affected by the toxin. Then there is caffeine, this can be found in large doses in coffee beans and other stimulants. You might need your morning coffee, but dogs can accidently ingest caffeine if these products are left within reach. Please be careful when throwing your coffee grounds in the trash.

Dr. Lee also points out some foods and substances which are extremely poisonous and you should keep your dog far away them. Bread dough is one of them because it contains unrisen yeast. There are a couple of concerns for a dog that has eaten bread dough. First of all, there is a large mass of dough in the stomach that is continuing to rise. Plus, the warm environment of the stomach promotes ongoing fermentation of the alcohol in the dough, which can result in ethanol toxicosis. Chocolate is horrible for your pets as it has high amounts of theobromine which is extremely toxic to dogs. Xylitol is poisonous as well and can be found in chewing gum, mints, toothpaste, nasal spray, and over-the-counter medications. Xylitol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, which causes a release of insulin from the pancreas. This release of insulin results in a rapid decrease in the level of blood sugar. If untreated, these conditions can be life-threatening.

chocolate-toxicity-chart-pets

We love macadamia nuts around here, but make sure your dog steers clear of them. They are 80% oil and the high fat content can inflame your dog’s pancreas. There is also an unknown toxin in the nuts which can affect your dog’s brain waves and muscles. Last but certainly not least, is mold. Mold can be dangerous to everybody, including your dog. The most common sources of toxic mold are found in pasta, nuts and cheese.

In order to make sure your pooch lives a long and healthy life, please keep these things out of reach and spread this important message to dog owners all over the world.

Pet-Friendly Housing

Friday, March 6th, 2015

There’s been a huge trend with multifamily communities becoming more pet friendly, but what about the pet guardians who are renting? We thought it might be helpful to create a list with some tips for pet parents.

dog-cough

1. A Healthy Pup is A Happy Pup: As with any public place where dogs interact with one another on a regular basis, it is important for pet owners to ensure that their pups are all up to date on their shots. Oftentimes multifamily communities can have pretty tight quarters when it comes to designated pet relief areas. Keeping your pup properly vaccinated can help prevent the spread of disease or illnesses through pet waste and/or coming into contact with other resident’s pets. Many communities now require proof of vaccination with the rental agreement, but even if your community does not, your pup’s long term health is important too, right?

poop_fairy

2. Scoop Your Poop: As mentioned above, failing to pick up after your pet can result in the spread of disease from a neighbor’s dog to your furry friend. Although your coprophagic dog might convince you otherwise, poop from the new French Bulldog next door does NOT make the best treat in town! Pollution issues aside, it’s just not neighborly to leave your pet’s waste behind for Tammy in 3B to step in on her way to work. So make sure you know where the pet waste pick up stations in your community are located and even better? Carry extra bags with you – your neighbors will appreciate it!

just-paying-my-way-through-obedience-school

3. Mind Your Manners: Mark Twain said it best, “Heaven goes by favor; if it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in”. But…only if your dog is well behaved! A little obedience training can go a long way in not only strengthening your relationship with your dog, but also lets your neighbors know you’re a responsible pet owner. Dogs, much like humans, need parameters around acceptable behavior. Once they know what’s expected (positive reinforcement with praise & treats can help!) and can behave appropriately, everyone benefits.

barking

4. Respect Thy Neighbor’s Sleep: Even if you are a dog owner yourself and understand occasional barking, it’s never fun to listen to a dog singing you the song of his people while you’re trying to catch up on much needed beauty sleep. Making sure your pup is entertained during the day (doggy daycares or dog sitters/walkers are a great solution!) and giving them plenty of exercise in the evening will help to burn excess energy and reduce nuisance barking. Woof!

doggy-bath

5. Pet Friendly Perks: In today’s competitive housing market, many communities are offering some great perks for both you and your pup! Keep an eye out for a community that truly welcomes your pet and offers features such as dog grooming stations, pet relief areas, water fountains and best of all, a dog park on site.

Citra at Windermere

6. Dog Parks Are A Must: Finding an apartment community with its own dog park is a win-win. You have the opportunity to meet other residents you might not normally have connected with and if the park has some fun agility equipment, your dog can get some much needed exercise! Having easy access to an off leash area will make life much more enjoyable for your pup and if your community plans events at the dog park such as Yappy Hour, Howl-O-Ween or even obedience training, it can be just as much fun for you.

We hope these tips help make apartment living even better for both you and your furry family members! Feel free to contact us anytime for expert guidance on all things dog park.

Pet Parking 101

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Pet Parking Post with Wolfhound

Have you ever seen someone tying their dog up to all varieties of objects such newspaper dispensers, chairs or café tables? Often times, these aren’t exactly the safest way to secure your pet (if you’ve seen Marley & Me, you’ll know why!)…especially when they’re not meant to hold a 70 pound dog who just spotted the cutest little squirrel across the street that they just have to play with – right this second.

One of our favorite solutions at Dog-On-It-Parks is our Pet Parking Post, specifically designed to give you an extra hand while you juggle your coffee, sweatshirt, ball thrower, bag or just a wily canine.

The vibrant colors and laser cut paw print offer a fun pop of color and the two hitching arms accommodate both standard and retractable leashes. Even better? It’s manufactured with heavy gauge (and rust resistant!) aluminum that is secured with concrete so you can feel confident knowing your pooch won’t pull it over if that pesky squirrel happens to run by again.

Our Pet Parking Post is compact and can be easily installed almost anywhere. It’s perfect for tying up your pet while you make a quick run inside the grocery or pet store, community center, property management office or even at the bank.

From being a cute talking point that people notice on their way into your business or dog park, installing Pet Parking Posts throughout your community helps to create an environment where everyone is welcome, either with two or four legs.

A Holiday Feast for the Hounds

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

dog-thanksgiving-turkey-480x320

As the holiday season starts to wind down (can you believe Christmas is next week??), we wanted to send out a friendly reminder to make sure and include your furry family members in the celebration!  From pet stockings filled with toys, to a new leash, a fuzzy sweater and much more, there are a million ways to spoil your pooch.  BUT, if your dogs are like ours, the way to their heart is through their stomach!

Here are some healthy (and tasty!) treat ideas:

*Squash and Sweet Potato Mash:

This is not only yummy (for both humans and dogs) but is easy for your pooch to digest and is full of beta carotene. Either roast or microwave the potatoes and squash (we love Kabocha & Acorn), then mix together in a large bowl.  Be sure to set aside a portion for Fido before you add all of the extra goodies like butter, cream and seasoning.

*Poultry/Ham/Lamb Treats:

Once you’ve roasted your main course to perfection, carve a few small pieces (minus the seasonings, fat and/or skin) for your dog’s enjoyment. Just remember to feed snacks like this in moderation!

*Veggies:

It isn’t a proper holiday meal unless all food groups are represented. Some of our office dog’s favorite treats include fresh, crunchy carrots.  They also enjoy green beans, peas and asparagus all of which are packed with healthy vitamins and antioxidants.

*Peanut Butter & Yogurt Pupsicles: If you’re having dessert, don’t leave out the dog! Just mix one 32 oz container of low-fat vanilla yogurt with a cup of melted peanut butter.  Pour into small, lined muffin tins or these cute paw shaped molds and freeze.

And finally, no matter how hard your pooch begs, there are a few things to avoid: 

*Onions & Garlic: Bad breath aside, both of these can lead to anemia in dogs if given in large quantities or over an extended period of time.

*Cooked bones: Although most dogs love a meaty raw bone, once they’ve been cooked the bones become brittle and can shatter causing painful splinters or something even more serious such as an obstruction.   Please note: Supervision is a good thing here!

*Yeast/Bread Dough:  ‘Tis the season for baking…and dogs whose sense of smell gets them into trouble.  If you are going to be baking with yeast, be sure to keep the dough well out of reach so it can rise safely on the counter (or up on top of the fridge for hungry giant breeds), and not in their bellies.

*Gravy, and other items with a high fat content:  High fat intake can lead to pancreatitis, a painful and sometimes fatal inflammation of the pancreas.  If you’d like to treat your dog to some gravy, a good principle is to keep the quantity small. A tablespoon or so watered down before adding it to their kibble can be a tasty and much healthier option, as can some low sodium stock or broth.  Less is more…and their noses are so good, they won’t know the difference!

From all of us at Dog-ON-It, have a wonderful holiday and be sure to support your local dog parks!


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