Category: Pets Page

DOG BULLYING: HOW TO SPOT IT AND WHAT TO DO

 

When you hear the word “bully,” you probably think of the kid who terrorizes the playground. But, believe it or not, dogs can be bullies, too! Like his human counterpart, the dog doing the bullying isn’t an inherently mean animal. More often than not, he just doesn’t understand how to socialize properly, so he gets too worked up to remember how to play nicely or notice when his playmate doesn’t seem to be having fun. Unlike kids on the playground though, it can sometimes be hard to tell when dogs are being bullied. Here’s an overview on dog bullying and how to put a stop to it.

What Types of Dogs Tend to Be Bullied?
Submissive, gentle-natured dogs are often the target of bullying, regardless of their size. Of course, it’s important to remember that what may look like fighting between two very physical dogs can be a romping good time for the dogs themselves (if they have the same type of personality and play preferences). This is why it’s crucial for you to take your dog’s typical behavior and temperament into account when determining whether or not bullying is taking place.
What Are the Signs That Your Dog May Be the Target of Bullying?
You should be on the lookout for these signs that your dog is scared or not engaging in reciprocal play:

She tucks her tail between her legs.
He yawns or licks his lips.
She hides or tries to avoid other dogs.
He rolls over in a submissive manner.
She barks while backing away from another dog.
He is always the one being chased by another dog — he doesn’t take a turn as the chaser.
She is mounted by another dog repeatedly.
Another dog steals his food, water or toys.

How Can You Help Your Bullied Dog?
One way that you can help your bullied dog overcome this difficult time is to boost her self confidence. According to the American Kennel Club, one of the ways you can do so is to expose her to new animals and people on a regular basis. This type of socialization will allow her to become more comfortable around other dogs. If the dog park is too overwhelming for your canine companion, you can start by organizing doggie playdates with your friend’s well-behaved pets.

What Should You Do When You See Your Dog Being Bullied?
While you may feel the urge to step in as your dog’s protector, it’s important to remember that you should never try to discipline another canine that you meet in the park. Check out Master Dog Park Etiquette for some more tips.

Instead, focus on your own pet. Start by calling him over to you. If you feel like the situation is spinning out of control, you should simply leave the vicinity. And if you find that there are certain canines that never play well with your own, you should just avoid the dog park entirely when you see them there.

What Should You Do if Your Dog Is the Bully?
You may find that — yikes! — your dog is the one doing the bullying. As such, it’s just as important to be aware of what might indicate aggressive behavior in your own pet. If you learn to recognize when your dog is getting overexcited, you’ll be able to calm him down before he acts out.

According to the Atlanta Humane Society, you should watch out for these signs of aggression:

The hair on his back raises.
She crouches.
He growls.
She puts her ears forward and holds her tail rigid, high above her back.
He moves toward another dog slowly.

If you find that your dog is acting like a bully, you can train her to play nicely with others, but this will, of course, take some work on your part. You should start by teaching her a “pay attention” command that will trigger her to come sit in front of you and look at your face.

Work with her on this until she follows the command consistently. Then, when you see your dog starting to get overexcited, you should call her over using this command and then speak to her gently to calm her down. Be sure to give lots of positive reinforcement and treats during this learning process.

-www.care.com

MILITARY DOGS: SOLDIERS, HEROES AND TRUSTED COMPANIONS

 

Military dogs are unsung heroes who protect and serve alongside the brave men and women in the armed forces. From going through basic training to serving veterans who are home from combat, these amazing canines do their part without question, with only love and companionship as their reward.

Here are the stories of two amazing military dogs:

Jud, the Wounded Warrior Service Dog

In 2004, Mike Morrison fulfilled one of his life’s dreams by enlisting in the army. Then, at the age of 19, he went from basic training directly to Iraq, where he served as a recovery specialist. Unfortunately, Mike developed severe anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In 2008, he made his way home after receiving an honorable discharge.

Upon his return, Mike was plagued with nightmares, and he found it nearly impossible to keep a job. But the veteran was able to find joy when he met and married Tiffany, a wonderful, supportive woman who helped him through his darkest days. But Mike still struggled to cope with his everyday life.
Finally, someone suggested a service dog. When the veteran was first presented with the idea of getting a service dog, he was hesitant. “I had always thought service dogs were for the blind and the mobility-impaired,” he says. But after speaking with other veterans who relied on their service animals, Mike quickly warmed to the idea and set out to be paired with a canine companion. Unfortunately, he faced a road block. “I did some research and discovered that the average wait time to get a service dog was 2 t o 5 years,” he explains.

That’s when Mike discovered Mutts with a Mission, a nonprofit organization that trains pairs of veterans and dogs. He soon set out to find the perfect service canine for him. “I’ll never forget the first time I saw Jud,” Mike recalls. “He was a two-year-old lab. He stood beside me and wouldn’t leave.”

It was doggie love at first sight! “By the time we finished our first walk, I remember telling myself ‘this is the dog for me,'” says Mike.

During his first night in his new home, Jud jumped into action by waking Mike up from two different nightmares. That was all it took for the veteran to know that his new canine companion was the perfect support system. The pair finished their training program and passed with flying colors.

Before he met Jud, Mike could barely leave his house and rarely spoke to anyone. But today, with his service dog by his side, Mike has found a new lease on life. In fact, the veteran devotes most of his time to volunteering at Mutts with a Mission. He speaks in front of groups of people and even marches in parades, promoting the program and sharing his story.

Senna, a Mine Detection Dog (MDD)
Senna was born in 2006 in the Netherlands. When she was just a year old, she was selected by the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) Children Against Mines Program (CHAMPS) to train as a Mine Detection Dog (MDD), the highest echelon of explosives dog. This program trains dogs to sniff out land mines, creating a safer place for children, families and troops to work and live in war-torn countries.

Senna served the US Air Force in Afghanistan for two years by clearing areas so that airplanes filled with troops and supplies could land safely. The military dog then cleared land for the US Army in Kandahar for two more years. MDD Senna’s final assignment in Afghanistan was to work with the UN for six months.

After more than five years clearing about 1.5 million square meters of land, Senna retired from active duty, becoming the Canine Ambassador to the CHAMPS Team in 2012. The service dog traveled with her handler, Kimberly McCasland, to visit and perform simulated minefield demonstrations at schools, the State Department and the UN, until she died in October 2015.

One of the most important parts of the MDD Training is to teach each dog how to bond to his or her handler. After all, only the handler takes care of the service dog in the field — the pair is together at all times, until the MDD returns to the kennel each night. This special relationship is what keeps them alive while working in dangerous conditions. “The love and the bond between dog and handler is incredibly strong,” says McCasland. “These dogs bless our lives, and then go on to save so many others.”

 

5 DIY DOG TRAINING TIPS

 

You took one look at those big brown eyes, floppy ears and wagging tail, and it was love at first sight. Dogs are a constant source of companionship and fun, but bringing one into your home is a life-long responsibility. If they aren’t trained correctly, they can wreak havoc on your life and house. Dogs need to be trained so they know their limits and what is expected of them.

According to trainer Erica Curtis, CPDT, you need to choose the right dog for your family. Consider your home’s chaos level and current to-do list when selecting your perfect pup, particularly if you have children under the age of five. As Curtis says, “If you don’t have time to learn about and train your dog, it may make sense to wait a few years until your family is ready to care for a pet.”

And once you are ready to bring a new puppy or dog into your family, “choose the kindest, gentlest training techniques possible,” she suggests. “Don’t threaten your dog, either mentally or physically, and always use positive reinforcements like food, praise or playtime toys to get the results you want.”

There are a myriad number of dog training ideologies available. While different methods or combinations of methods will prove effective for different families, these DIY training tips will help your dog become a perfect (or close-to-perfect) canine citizen and family member.

Sit
This crucial command helps your dog learn impulse control. “The simplest way to teach sit is to hold a treat like a magnet to the dog’s nose, then guide it up,” says trainer Sarah Westcott, CPDT. “Typically, in an attempt to continue following the treat, the dog will put his rear end on the floor. As soon as he does, praise him and give him the treat.

After a few trials, begin to say sit immediately, before guiding the dog into position. From there, it is very important to quickly remove the food lure from your hand. If you do not, your dog will only sit if you show him you have a treat for him.” This command is key to teaching your dog to not inappropriately jump up on people he encounters.

Come
Teaching the command come will enable you to keep your dog safe, particularly if outdoor off-leash time will be part of your lifestyle. But it’s also a word to shun if your dog requires more play time than is currently built into his routine. “When working on this command, make sure the result of the behavior is more rewarding than anything else in the environment,” recommends Westcott. “If you call your dog to you, but then immediately put his leash on and leave the park, your dog will quickly realize that come is a word to avoid if he wants more play time.”

To teach this command, stand next to your dog, say come and then jog away, encouraging your dog to chase you. When he comes back to you, give him a reward, such as a combination of food and praise.

Lie Down
An important command for dogs that beg for food at the dinner table, lie down is utilized to send your four-legged friend to a designated place in the home during meal times, or when company comes to call, until he is released from that spot. Start out by taking your dog to the spot you have decided upon, such as his bed or crate. Consistently use the same command, such as time to lie down. When your dog lies down, give him positive reinforcements, like a treat and/or praise for the behavior. Then, wait 10-15 seconds and release your dog from the spot.

Continually repeat this exercise, building up the time your dog remains in the lie down position. Slowly increase the amount of time your dog spends in this position before you reward him, and increase the physical distance between you and your dog when the lie down command is given. Give repeated positive reinforcements to your dog for obeying. If needed, physically bring your dog back to his special spot until he understands what you want, and never forget to praise and reward him for this behavior.

Don’t Pull
Taking your dog for walks is important for his mental and physical health. But nothing is more uncomfortable than having your dog yank you off your feet and race half-way down the block. It’s important for your canine companion to remember who is in control, especially when squirrels or smelly garbage beckons. Being outside is fun and stimulating for your dog, and it is natural for him to want to gallop toward sights and smells that interest him.

The first thing to remember is that dogs often pull on their leashes because they are full of excess energy. Therefore, the first rule is to make sure your dog is getting enough exercise. When training your dog not to pull on his leash, walk at a brisk pace. If your dog pulls, immediately stop walking and give a tight pull back on the leash. Call your dog back to your side and give the sit command. Reward the sit behavior with a treat and/or praise and then resume walking. Repeat as needed and reward your dog for walking at your side without pulling. “Consistent, positive reinforcement and a training program such as Emma Parsons’ Click to Calm can significantly support results here, as well as diminish leash aggression,” suggests Westcott.

Down
Mastery of the down command enables your dog to show you a high level of respect, yet also helps keep your dog safe from harm. To teach your dog down, first command him to sit. With a treat held between your thumb and forefinger, lower your hand towards the ground slowly. Your dog will follow the treat with his nose until your hand is at ground level. At this point, your dog will either be completely down on the ground or hunched over in a semi-down position. Slowly pull the much-coveted treat away from your dog, forcing him to follow your fingers and slump further toward the ground. When your dog is completely in the down position, give the treat to him and praise him effusively.

Eventually, the word down, and your hand movement, will be enough of an incentive for your dog to obey this command. Never use your dog’s collar as a tool when learning the down command, as this may feel like coercion, and cause your dog to resist the behavior.

A gentle, firm hand will not only keep your dog happy, but also go a long way toward keeping both him and the people he comes into contact with safe. As with every family member, your furry friend has responsibilities. As your dog’s owner, your job is to give him the tools he needs to live a happy, healthy and long life.

12 ADORABLY AWESOME DOG BIRTHDAY PARTY IDEAS

 

Every dog has his day, so what’s more fun than a dog birthday party when it’s your adorable pooch’s turn? Whether you know the actual birth date or plan to celebrate in honor of the day your furry friend joined the family, a fabulous, Fido-themed fete is easy to pull off.

“Whether it’s a bark-mitzvah or adoption day celebration, a dog birthday party brings out your playfulness,” says Arden Moore, the author of “Dog Parties: How to Party With Your Pup.” “It’s all about celebrating the connection we have with our pets.” An awesome puppy-inspired party is a great chance for all your pet’s best friends (and their parents too!) to get together and have fun.

“Many people love to include cute, sweet touches related to their specific pet when planning a dog birthday party or will schedule games to play they know their dog loves, like bury the bone, Frisbee or pet swimming pool,” says Adina Slotsky, the founder and CEO of Hollywood Pet Parties.

If you’re looking for a barking good time for your dog’s birthday celebration, start with this puppy-approved list:

Canine Karaoke
“I offer up apologies to ‘American Idol’ every time we play this hysterical dog birthday party game,” says Moore, who suggests picking judges and having each dog come onstage with his owner, who serenade their dog to music. Points are awarded for overall performance and the dog’s response. Dogs can wear funny costumes or use props to add to the merriment.
Snoopy Says
This doggy adaptation of Simon Says follows the same rules. As the game progresses, tasks can become more and more challenging until there is one lucky winner left. “Dogs feel our happiness. This game provides a good way to sneak in training. Plus, you look like a rock star to your dog,” Moore says.
Musical Chairs for Mutts
Have everyone line up with their leashed dog in front of on-the-ground hula hoops. Make sure there’s one less hoop than there are dogs. Play “Who Let the Dogs Out” and when the music stops, each dog has to be sitting in a hoop along with their person’s foot or they’re out. When Pooch Comes to Shove goes the old-fashioned way, with chairs. “This is a fun way to reinforce the ‘sit’ command,”
Put a Stamp on It
Invite people and pups to come, sit and stay at the puppiest party of the year by sending invitations festooned with doggy postage stamps. Other cool ideas, like how to stuff a doggy bag with yummy treats, can be found at One Charming Party.

Get Themey
Why have a party when you can have a pawty? You really can’t overdo a dog party theme. Fetch bone-shaped placemats, decorated cupcakes and a cool banner. Catch My Party has a cute “hot dog” theme party.

Hats Off
What’s a party without silly hats? Nab a do-it-yourself version from B. Lovely Events. All you need is a printer.

Make It Personal
These personalized, handmade shirts for dogs from HeatherRogersDesigns include name, age and other doggy info, like only child or big sister status.

Turn Her Into a Puppy Princess
Dress up the birthday girl in a special pink outfit or a gold fantasy crown and purple tutu, as BeautybyParis does.
Decorate With Doggy Decor
Go all out with tablecloths, paper plates, bone-shaped snacks and paw-print napkins like the adorable picks from Top Party Ideas.

Bake Up a Batch of Pup Cakes
Who needs sugar when you can whip up peanut butter-frosted, dog-friendly cupcakes from The Scrumptious Pumpkin? All you need is 15 minutes, an egg, peanut butter, Greek yogurt, applesauce, brown rice flour and a few appreciative pups.
Go Gourmet
If your discerning dog is the sophisticated sort, go for an assortment of puppy treats from Woofables gourmet dog bakery, like “lollipups,” s’mores and hot dog biscuits. Hostess With the Mostess has great ideas for your “doggy bag” favors for your human guests.

Dog Necessities
A little poop may fall, so provide guests with cute, bone-shaped poop bag dispensers and colorful bags to make the inevitable accident less tragic

12 Do’s and Don’ts for Flying With a Dog

You want Rover to accompany you on the vacation but aren’t sure how he’ll handle the flight. Dogs thrive on routine and breaking from it can put even the most laid back pooch on edge. Here are some do’s and don’ts for flying with a dog.

DO

Check for Pet-Friendly Airports
Airports now offer pet services like designated animal relief areas at Detroit Metropolitan Airport and Boston’s Logan International Airport, according to Pet Friendly Travel. Use them to your advantage when you travel.

Decide How Your Pooch Will Fly
Depending on your dog’s size, she can fly as carry-on (in a carrier you take on board with you) or as checked baggage (in a crate that you hand over when you check in, to be put in the cargo hold of the plane). Opt for a window seat to separate your pup from the commotion of the cabin. Sitting toward the front or back of the plane separates you from other passengers, so you’re less likely to cause a disturbance.

Choose Travel Days Carefully
Some airlines, such as American Airlines, won’t carry animals if the ground temperature exceeds 85 degrees Fahrenheit or drops below 45 degrees Fahrenheit along the route. Avoid flying with a dog on holidays, when airports are busy and personnel is overwhelmed.

Instead, plan your trip during the off season and fly on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. “Those are lighter travel days, and the less airline employees have on their plate, the more they’re going to be focused on your pet and keeping it safe,” says Susan H. Smith, the president of Pet Travel.

Prepare Your Dog for the Flight
The sooner you start, the better. Leave the crate open and invite your dog to explore it, offering plenty of rewards when he does. Use the crate to transport your dog to his favorite places so he associates it with something fun.

Microchip Your Pup
A microchip is a tiny tracking chip your veterinarian will insert under your dog’s skin. If you’re traveling internationally, most countries require it. Even if you’re not, microchipping is the smart way to make sure you and your dog are reunited should anything happen. Just make sure to register your dog’s chip information.

Tell the Airline
Airlines limit the number of pets both on board and in the hold. If Rover doesn’t have a reservation, you may not be flying with him after all.

Use Medication Wisely
A light sedative or motion sickness medication could take the edge off for pets who don’t travel well. Always check with your veterinarian before giving your dog any medication, and try them at home first.

Remind the Flight Crew
They can check to make sure your dog was boarded and “notify the pilots just to be sure the message was passed along that their furry friend is below,” says Meghan Hemingway, a flight attendant for a major airline and an editor at The Flight Attendant Life. The pilots can then double check the correct temperature is set in the cargo hold.

DON’T

Use the Wrong Crate
Your dog must be in a crate. Each airline has its own requirements, so check with yours to find out what you need. For carry-on canines, Smith recommends a soft-sided carrier that compresses to fit under the seat in front of you.

Cargo-bound pooches need a hard plastic crate with the top and bottom bolted together and the door tied shut with a cable. Also, ensure that your crate is still in good shape — that all the latches, handles, and doors are working.

Forget Fido’s Paperwork
Your dog will need a health certificate from your veterinarian to leave the country or fly in the cargo hold. You may also have to show vaccination records.

Let Your Dog Out of the Crate
Besides being against airline rules, it could result in a lost or hurt animal, not to mention angry fellow passengers.

Let Your Dog Get Dehydrated
Flying and dehydration go hand in hand, so make sure your dog has plenty to drink. Offer him ice cubes through the slots in his crate throughout the flight. For dogs in the hold, freeze water in their attachment bowls prior to the flight so it can gradually thaw without spilling.

While you know fun times await you at your destination, your dog doesn’t. The more you do to take the stress out of flying, the easier it’ll be for Rover sit back, relax and enjoy the flight.
-www.care.com

Helping your Four-Legged and Two-Legged Kids Bond

I always say my first child is my 9-year-old Shih Tzu. She was my first stab at raising another living thing who was completely and utterly helpless without me. She taught me patience, compromise and the power of selfless, unconditional love. And it seemed almost inconceivable to me that my capability to love could swell enough to include more than one being. But of course our capacity to love can often be stretched beyond our wildest imaginings.

After I had my human kids, I was convinced the three of them would sail off into the sunset in perfect harmony. Unfortunately, that scenario was not to be. Perhaps because my two-legged child was treated to two years of uninterrupted top dog status unimpeded by the demands of others only to be unceremoniously knocked off her perch when the other kids came along, she clung to me and the three of them never quite warmed up to one another. If I’d had the good sense to do a little research before introducing these very different beings to each other, I would have learned that there were specific actions I could have taken to create a more cohesive bond between them. Still I’m hopeful, the expertise of Nicola Anderson of The Dog Blog (www.thedogblog.com.au) and founder of the “Smart Dog Training” iPhone app can offer myself and other families in my predicament tips to facilitate the bonding process and create one big happy, bonded family.

Tips to tackle that first meeting

“When a new baby comes into the household, it’s viewed as a new pack member entering the environment and according to the dog, every new member must prove its worth and position in the hierarchy,” says Ms. Anderson. “To do this successfully, the dog needs to be introduced to the newborn in the correct way. This all must be positive and fun so that jealousy does not occur from the dog which could lead to unwanted behavior.”

So if, like me, the bonding between your canine kid and human kids is not as strong as you’d hoped for Ms. Anderson offers these basic tips to counteract the situation and increase the bonding progression.

Don’t banish the dog once the baby comes into the home, this can actually make problems worse.
The dog must be made to feel part of the pack; however parents need to provide canine leadership which involves establishing boundaries and discipline without hurting the dog. Be consistent in enforcing the rules. This is extremely important for their mental well being.
Mental stimulation and physical exercise are also very important. Providing enrichment using toys, games and obedience and walking your dog several times every day while involving your kids in the process is important to a healthy pet and human relationship.
“Parents need to ensure a relationship bond between a child and family pet is taught in a way that ensures consistency and repetition,” says Ms. Anderson. “Simple tasks can create harmony in the home environment as long as all techniques are positive and fun. One example is requiring your dog to sit in order to earn a pet or a treat. This teaches the dog that it has to earn a reward by behaving and following commands, and your child’s ability to successfully interact with your dog in this manner will strengthen their bond with the pet.”

Activities kids and their dogs/cats can engage in together to increase the bonding factor

Fun and active games such as hide and seek, chasing, and piggy in the middle, allow positive interactions between kids and dogs without getting the dog too excited notes Ms. Anderson. Always make sure the child starts and finishes any game as it will exert his/her dominance as the pack leader, and keeps the games safe and controllable.

Ms. Anderson offers these tips for cheap ways to create treats and toys for your dog:

Keep old ice cream containers or butter containers and freeze bones or treats inside them. The next day, scoop it out in one solid block for an icy treat your dog will love
Keep old soft drink bottles and cut holes in them so that you can put treats inside them and then as the dog moves them around, treats fall out and as the dog interacts with the toy, they are also stimulated and rewarded.
Hang up ropes and stick treats on them using small amounts of peanut butter or cream cheese. Dry treats or dog food pieces work best. When the dog goes to grab the treat, the rope toy moves and makes it harder for the dog to get to the treat, creating a reward system
Scatter treats around the yard, so the dog has to forage for them, this takes times and keeps the dog’s mind active and interested
Use an old towel to play tug of war.
Perform 10 minutes of obedience a day with your dog, its mind will be exhausted and it will strengthen your bond.
When bonding hits a snag

The best thing to do is to consult a professional trainer to work out a plan and determine exactly why the child and pet can’t connect. If things aren’t going as planned, it can cause high levels of stress and tension in the household, notes Ms. Anderson. Some breeds require more attention than others and this should be taken into account when taking on the responsibility of caring for an animal.

“Ultimately it’s important for children to grow up with a family pet as it teaches them to care and love another sentient being,” says Ms. Anderson. “Pets can teach us many amazing things such as trust, loyalty and spontaneity. A family pet can create harmony in family life if the pet is taught correctly. They allow us to enjoy the simple things in life and remember what’s important – compassion and fun.”
-petcare.com

So You Want to Adopt a Rabbit!

Thinking of adding an “Easter Bunny” to your family? From an early age, we see those ridiculously cute faces, twitching noses, long whiskers and, in some cases, irresistible floppy ears. They are just too cute. But many people don’t realize how much it takes to properly care for a rabbit. And, as a sad result, these adorable animals are often surrendered to shelters. Rabbits truly are great pets, but before you add a bunny to your family, here are some things to consider:
Rabbits are not starter pets. As cute as a bunny can be, they need a lot more care than a goldfish does. They require daily food, weekly cage cleaning and lots of love. And kids should never have the sole responsibility of caring for rabbits.
Consider the time commitment. Most domestic rabbits can live 7-10 years. They’ll need daily exercise and time out of the cage, weekly cage cleaning and fresh hay and clean water daily.

Spay or neuter. Un-neutered male rabbits are prone to prostate cancer and un-spayed females have a 60-80 percent chance of developing ovarian, uterine or other reproductive cancers. And since we all know the phrase “multiply like rabbits,” you’d be wise to neuter and spay your rabbit–or else you could be very quickly outnumbered!
Find an “exotic” veterinarian. Rabbits are considered an “exotic” pet (as are birds, reptiles, chinchillas and ferrets), and not all veterinarians treat them. Do your research to see if there are vets near you who treat rabbits. Local animal shelters and rabbit rescue organizations can help you find one. Get yearly check-ups for your rabbit until the age of 5, and twice a year after that.
Adopt. A sad fact: Rabbits are the third-most surrendered animal to shelters. There are rabbit rescue groups across the United States, as well as rabbits waiting for homes in local shelters.

Bunny Basics
There are lots of rabbit breeds. There are about 40-50 breeds of rabbits recognized in the United States. From the smaller Netherland Dwarfs, which weigh 2 or 3 pounds, to Flemish Giants, which can top 20 pounds, rabbits come in all different shapes, sizes, fur-length and colors. Get a feel for what your family wants and call shelters and rescue units to learn about available bunnies who need good homes.
Cage-free time is a must. Rabbits should be kept in large enclosures, and if they don’t have free run of the house, they should be offered a chance to exercise for several hours every day.
Rabbits are “social butterflies.” While you might not have a Bugs or a Roger, each rabbit has his own personality. They will bond with other rabbits and cats (dogs, not so much!). Shelters will note if a bunny is an “individual,” a “couple” or a “trio” with other rabbits, so if your family falls in love with a bonded rabbit, you may want to keep the rabbit friends together.
Not all rabbits get along. Just like humans, not all rabbits can coexist. Before you get your bunny a “friend”, set up a meeting between the two on neutral ground to see if they will get along. Most shelters will offer a room to see if the two bunnies can be friends.

Rabbit Housing
Keep rabbits indoors. Every bunny deserves a nice warm place to live, and domestic rabbits should always be kept indoors, as they cannot tolerate very hot or cold temperatures. They can also become very frightened and suffer a deadly heart attack at the sight of another animal.
Make a rabbit’s home his castle. Aim to provide your rabbit with an exciting home. A multi-level cage with many areas for the rabbit to explore is a great option. You can also purchase toys, water bottles and a “cuddle cup” or a small cat bed for rabbits to sleep in.
Don’t buy cages with wire floors. Wire floors can harm rabbits’ feet–they don’t have pads on their feet like dogs and cats do.
Rabbits can be housebroken. Rabbits can be litter box trained! It takes about two months, and a corner litter box or level devoted to a “bathroom” is a good way to give a rabbit a comfortable home. Certain types of cat litter can also damage their digestive systems, so never use clumping litter, and avoid cedar or pine chips. The CareFRESH brand is a good option.

Rabbit Diet
Rabbits love hay. There are two types of hay: alfalfa and timothy.?? From 0-6 months, rabbits can have alfalfa hay; after 6 months, they should have fresh timothy hay daily.
Rabbits love fiber. Good quality rabbit pellets–18 percent fiber–are a must for a rabbit. When rabbits are young (0-6 months), they can have unlimited pellets. After 6 months, limit their intake. Ask a vet about the appropriate amount of pellets per day for your rabbit.
Leafy greens are good. Rabbits love leafy green veggies. Kale, arugula, spinach, watercress, Swiss chard, parsley and cilantro are favorites. Be careful though–watery greens, such iceberg lettuce, are dangerous to rabbits (they can cause diarrhea).
Fruits and other veggies can be treats. Dried apple slices, carrots, broccoli, celery, papaya, mango, banana slices, etc. can be given to a rabbit as a treat, but in small amounts. To see a full list of acceptable food, go here.

Rabbit Tips
Make your home un-chewable. Rabbits need to chew to keep their teeth at a comfortable length. Remove anything your rabbit might chew, especially dangerous electric wires. Go to your local hardware store and purchase electric-cord covers and PVC piping to keep wires safe.
Keep the noise down. Rabbits are naturally prey animals, so they tend to be easily frightened.?? They need peace and quiet, and don’t do well in noisy environments.
Keep the smell down. Rabbits’ cages can stink–and no bunny wants to live in a smelly environment. Keep your bunny neat and mess-free by cleaning out the cage one or two times per week.
Learn how to hold rabbits. Although some rabbits are okay with being picked up, most don’t enjoy it. If you do want to handle your rabbit, ask your veterinarian to show you–and your kids–the proper way. A rabbit will let you know if they are uncomfortable, so it’s important to watch for cues. Moreover, rabbits have very light, fragile bones. They have to be handled in a special way, and can actually break their own bones if they squirm too much.

Brush your bunny. Find a good quality brush and keep a rabbit’s fuzz in control. Brushing regularly helps remove soft and excess hair.
Create house rules. Because rabbits are fragile, you should create house rules about their handling. A good rule to start: Only family members can take a rabbit out of his cage. Or the kids cannot take the bunny out of his cage when only the babysitter is around. Not everyone loves rabbits, though. Check if your children’s friends have allergies to bunnies before they come over to play.??
Find bunny care. Rabbits need the same love that dogs and cats do. If your family is planning a vacation and leaving bunny behind, be sure to find a rabbit pet sitter to care for your rabbit. Some local farms and veterinarians will even watch bunnies during family trips, so ask members of your community.

-petcare.com

6 Tips and Tricks for Camping With Dogs

Are you interested in going camping with your canine companion? Here are 6 tips and tricks that will ensure that you have a fun, safe trip!

Do you love to go camping with your family? These types of outings provide an outlet for you and your loved ones to bond while getting some exercise and fresh air. And you can make your trips even more special by bringing your canine companion along! Here’s everything you need to know about going camping with dogs.

Before you decide to bring your furry friend along with you on your next adventure, it’s important for you to consider what type of dog he is and whether or not he has the right type of personality to thrive in a campsite environment. A pet who’s well trained and has an even temperament is more likely to behave than one who’s wild and unpredictable.

If your dog tends to wander, doesn’t listen to commands or likes to chase small animals, he likely won’t be a good candidate for camping. While out on a trip, your adventurous pup might encounter a porcupine or skunk and get a nasty surprise that could require veterinary treatment.

It’s also important for you to do any necessary research on your destination before you plan a trip. “Check the rules if you want to go camping with dogs — most parks allow them at the campsite, but not on trails,” says Anthea Appel, an animal naturopath.

Here are six tips and tricks for going camping with dogs!

Make Sure Your Dog’s Vaccines Are Up to Date
Before you hit the campsite, make sure that your dog’s rabies vaccine is current, as she may meet up with a wild animal in the woods. You should also make sure your pet is taking preventative medication that protects against fleas, ticks and heartworms.

Pack the Right Supplies
In order to be on the safe side, you should pack a first aid kid when you go camping. This kit should include items such as rubbing alcohol, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, gauze and bandages. It’s also important for you to bring enough water for your whole family, including your pet. If your dog is well hydrated, he is less likely to drink from dirty puddles or other potentially contaminated sources.

When creating a packing list, you should also think about what types of activities you will be engaging in. “If you plan to go swimming and dogs are allowed in the water, a doggie life jacket may be a good idea,” adds Appel.

Check for Ticks
These nasty critters tend to land on dogs that bound through the woods, so you should get into the habit of examining your pet on a daily basis. “Check the armpits, groin, folds of skin and around the ears, and if your dog has floppy ears, lift them up and check underneath,” explains Appel. You should also comb out your dog’s coat to remove bits of dirt, burrs and other debris.

Watch Out for Plants
You should never allow your dog to gnaw on plants, as leaves and branches can pose a choking hazard. You should also watch out for mushrooms, which can potentially be highly poisonous to dogs.

Leash Your Dog
By keeping your dog on a leash during walks on the trails, you can help to protect her from plants, animals and elements that you may encounter along the way. But be sure to pack one that’s the right length! Longer leashes can potentially get wrapped around trees or bushes, which can pose a danger to you and your furry friend.

You might also consider bringing a bright orange coat or vest for your pup to wear and a loud bell for her collar. These types of items will alert other people and animals to your dog’s presence, which will help to keep her safe.

Sleep in the Same Tent
The woods can be cold, dark and scary at night, so you should be prepared to snuggle up with your furry friend at bedtime. Bigger, meaner animals, such as bears or mountain lions, may be lurking in the surrounding area, so the safest spot for your pet is right by your side. To make sure he gets a good night’s sleep, you should bring a comfortable travel bed for him as well. And don’t forget to pack a blanket if the weather is cool!

-petcare.com

15 Reasons That Life With Dogs is the Best Way to Live

Enrich your life by living a life with dogs, and learn the many ways in which a furry friend can enhance your enjoyment of life.

There’s something special about opening your eyes in the morning to your precious pup waiting for you and you could never imagine life without him. Here are 15 reasons why life with dogs is the best way to live:

Increases Exercise
Living life with dogs is a great way to sweat. Exercise provides so many benefits from weight loss to improved moods and overall happiness. And any runner will attest, sometimes it gets lonely pounding the pavement by yourself. Teach your dog to jog with you and you’ve got yourself a running buddy.

According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), 54 percent of dog parents are more likely to get the recommended level of physical activity than non-pet parents. Looking for tips? Check out Dog Running: How to Train Your Four-Legged Running Partner.

Wards Off Depression
Depression is a serious health concern for many people. Besides exercise and medication, dogs are another way to combat it. According to HelpGuide, dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those who don’t have pets.

Offers Protection
Some dogs, such as German shepherds, are fantastic guard dogs. And that’s ideal for people who live alone, the elderly, or families with a parent who travels a lot for business.

Improves Social Life
Some people are naturally shy and have trouble making friends. Walking your dog in public places such as parks or wooded trails puts you in a social situation with other like-minded people. And you’re more apt to strike up a conversation with another dog owner.

Helps Deal With Work Stress
Doesn’t all the work-related stress magically vanish when you’re greeted at home by a wagging tail and a few face licks? That’s because oxytocin, a chemical that brings humans joy, is released when you see your pets, Health tells us.

Decreases Childhood Allergies
Exposing young children to pets at an early age helps their immune systems cope with allergies that arise from pet hair or dander, according to AAHA.

Provides Laughter
Dog owners can always count on their canine companions to do something to make them laugh. It could be presenting a blanket to them when they get home or sprinting all over the yard after a spirited game of fetch.
Improves Health
No one likes being sick. Dogs can improve our health by helping to lower blood pressure levels, for example, says Psychology Today.

Creates Love Connections
Dogs are a great way to meet people when you’re out and about. Make eye contact with the right one and you’ll be thanking Fido for helping you trade phone numbers. According to Slate, one survey found 82 percent of people feel more confident talking to an attractive person when their dog is by their side. And in a study for the State University of New York at Buffalo, as reported by About Relationships, couples with pets feel closer and have a more satisfying relationship.

Befriends the Elderly
Depression and loneliness can develop in people as they age. Having a dog provides companionship for seniors.

Serves Those Who Need It
One of the most selfless and loving acts a dog can perform is to be a service dog. They help blind people see, recognize a pending seizure and help a veteran cope with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Celebrates the Holidays
The holidays are a chance to focus on family and catch up with relatives you don’t see very often. Having a dog as part of the family only enhances the celebration.

Teaches Children about Animals
For many children, the family dog is their first friend. Having a dog as part of the family allows parents to teach their children the right way to treat animals.

Provides Companionship
Some people turn to dogs for companionship. According to Psychology Today, some pet owners receive as much support from their pets as they do from family members.

Presents Unconditional Love
The greatest gift dogs can give their owners is unconditional love. He can chew your shoe, piddle on the rug or eat your child’s homework but even after you scold him, no matter what, he loves you.

Life is what you make of it. And for dog lovers, life with dogs is the only way to live.
-petcare.com

11 Dog Cookie Recipes for Extra Good Doggies

If your dog has been extra good, why not treat him to one of these 11 dog cookie recipes? Made with love from you to your smiling pooch.

For extra good doggies, here are 11 dog cookie recipes that will make them lick their jowls! Your best friend deserves a special treat, so why not whip up a batch of homemade dog cookies? You’ll know what’s in them, and you can cater to any picky or allergy-prone pooch. With ingredients you already have in your kitchen, like whole wheat flour, oats and peanut butter, you can make your doggie her own batch of cookies.

For dogs who are allergic to wheat, there are also good wheat-free alternatives. Drop cookies, rolled cookies, pumpkin, carob and bacon — you’ll find something to please your pooch.

Here are 11 dog cookie recipes to get you started:

Pumpkin, Peanut Butter and Bacon Dog Cookies
Make these cookies from Seattle Palate using pumpkin for fiber, and the most tasty doggie combination of flavors — peanut butter and bacon! Think about making an extra batch, too. Your pup won’t be able to keep his paws out of the cookie jar!

Classic Carob Chip Cookies
Try this recipe from Minnie in Manhattan. Since chocolate can be toxic to dogs, this cookie is loaded with carob chips instead. It looks just like a classic chocolate chip cookie, but it’s for your good doggie to enjoy!
dog cookie recipes

Calvin’s Christmas Cookies
If your little boy or girl’s been good all year, cook up a batch of these festive-looking treats from The Scrumptious Pumpkin. With ingredients like honey, dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds, these almost sound good enough to leave for Santa!

Twist n’ Licks
These sweet treats from My Dog’s Breakfast resemble everyone’s favorite cream-filled cookie but taste like carob and peanut butter. Use a wheat-free flour if you’re worried about allergies, and make the middle with plain Greek yogurt and peanut butter for a dose of healthy protein.

Grain-Free Homemade Carrot and Banana Dog Cookies
Who says healthy can’t mean yummy, too? Make these grain-free goodies from K9 Instinct for your furry friends.

Gluten-Free Canine Cookies
Whip up a batch of these gluten-free cookies from Whole Lifestyle Nutrition with pumpkin, brown rice flour and organic milk in just under an hour.
Peanut Butter and Honey Roll-up Dog Cookies
Why not whip up a batch of these roll-up cookies from All Natural Dog Treat when your little gal is being extra good? With two layers of healthy ingredients, you’ll love making these for those special reward times.

Veggie Chip Cookies
Try this cookie recipe from My Dog’s Breakfast to give your dog a treat and an extra serving of veggies, too!
dog cookie recipes

Peanut Butter and Apple Sauce Cookies
Why not make these yummy doggie cookies from The Lazy Pitbull? Mix up a batch of these tasty, wholesome snacks and cut them into your favorite shapes — your little pooch will be barking for more in no time!
dog cookie recipes

Apple Peanut Butter Doggie Cookies
Make a great dog cookie dough with this recipe from Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt and cut it into your pup’s favorite festive shape! With eggs, whole wheat flour, honey, apple sauce and peanut butter, this dough is super easy to work with. Try making some for a special occasion (hearts for Valentine’s Day, anyone?) so everyone in your family gets a special treat!
dog cookie recipes

Chick N’ Spinach Cookies
What pup wouldn’t love these savory cookies from Bunny Roo Beagle? With shredded chicken and spinach, they look festive but taste like a special meal. No need to wait for the next St. Patrick’s Day to make these. Your dog will love them all year round!

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