Obese Dog? 7 Tips to Loose the Fat

August 14, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Dogs

See all types of dogsPhoto Wiki Commons, courtesy Jonasz

Canine Obesity: Tips to Get Your Dog Fit and Trim!

There is sometimes a fine line between spoiling our much-loved family dog and actually contributing to their health problems if they become obese.

Canine obesity is on the rise, and according to the PDSA, as many as 50% of our nation’s dogs could die early as a result of obesity.

Obese dogs have a much higher likelihood of suffering from related medical conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, heart and lung disease, as well as putting an extra strain on their immune system and causing high blood pressure.

7 Tips to for a fit and trim dog:

  1. Warning signs
    The overriding message that needs to be considered here for all dog owners, is that a dog that manages to maintain an ideal body weight will, on average, live 15% longer than an overweight dog, and reduce their odds of suffering from diseases too.

    It can sometimes be difficult for a dog owner to accept or even believe that their canine friend is carrying as much as 20lb more than they should be, and the reason for this is primarily that because we have become rather immune to the sight of an overweight or fat dog, we seem not recognise this rather obvious visual warning sign.

  2. Quick test
    Different breeds have different traits and characteristics and in very general terms you would not expect to see a Greyhound carrying as much weight as a Labrador, but whatever breed of dog you have there is a relatively simple quick test that you could carry out to see if your dog is overweight or even obese.

    Run your hands along the side of your dog’s body all the way from the head to the tail and check if you can feel their ribs. You should be able to just feel the ribs in a dog that is carrying a healthy weight and once you have done this, take a look at your dog from the side.

    Most dogs should be able to achieve a relatively tucked-in profile, but if all you see and feel are some rolls of fat and their side profile is more rotund than sleek and slender, there is a good chance that they are carrying more weight than they should be.

  3. Health check
    If you have any concerns about your pet’s weight then it would be a good idea to make an appointment with your vet and get a professional opinion and advice on their current and ideal body weight, so that you know what you have to do to get your dog back into good shape.

    Once they have assessed their current weight and general health, your vet should be able to advise how many calories should be consumed each day in order to reach an ideal body weight.

  4. Feeding for health
    Dogs can have a tendency to eat when they are bored rather than when they are actually hungry, which is not dissimilar to the way some of us tend to behave, either.

    The best way to tackle their eating routine is to avoid giving them free choice and making food constantly available. Instead, operate portion-control with properly measured portions provided at regular intervals of between two and four times per day. It is important to feed your dog in concurrence with their ideal bodyweight and not their current weight. Feeding them according to their current weight rather than their target weight will result in continued weight gains, so be sure to take this into consideration as part of your efforts to get your do back into shape.

  5. A Diet for the Modern Dog
    We are constantly being informed that processed food that has a high sugar content and contains artificial preservatives and flavourings is bad for us. You should apply the same and caution and logic when it comes to following a diet that meets their needs but heeds our current understanding of what is considered bad food.

    Feeding your dog the right level of nutrients and helping them to overcome or avoid allergies is not as complicated as it may seem. Dogs have the metabolism to cope with raw meat and bacteria which humans do not, but they also have their list of bad foods which are chocolates and raisins or grapes, all of which are highly toxic to their system.

    If you aim to take the same level of dietary care that you would for yourself and introduce healthier and fresh ingredients like lean meat and a selection of fruit and vegetables in their bowl, this will help them to be leaner and fitter. It will also be much more beneficial to their long-term weight and health than relying on processed canned food all the time.

  6. Exercise
    As we all know, diet is one way to get rid of those extra pounds but exercise is just as important if your dog is going to be able to return to their ideal bodyweight as efficiently and healthily as possible.

    Regular walks and exercise are a key part of keeping a dog fit, healthy and happy. There is a growing trend amongst some dog owners to regard a walk with their dog as a bit of a treat on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

    Even if a dog has access to a reasonably large garden, they are much more likely to develop sedentary tendencies unless they get the stimulation of regular exercise with their owner. Injury and obesity are definitely risk factors if the exercise is sporadic and features only occasional bursts of running.

    It is also a chance for the owner to enjoy some fresh air and get a bit of healthy exercise, so do try and work a daily walk with your dog into your timetable.

  7. Treatments to consider

    There is also a growing trend in the use of canine hydrotherapy pools for getting overweight dogs back into shape and improving their overall heath profile.

    Hydrotherapy for dogs can be an ideal solution as swimming and exercising in a hydro pool designed for canine use offers the opportunity for non-load bearing exercise, which is particularly helpful for dogs who want to avoid strain being placed on injured or recovering joints and muscles, but need the exercise to control their weight.

    Many dogs derive a great deal of pleasure from their visit to the pool and ball exercises make it a fun activity that many enjoy, especially as even nervous dogs are catered for with flotation devices if they are unsure about the water at first.

Canine obesity is a growing trend, so make sure that your dog does not become another statistic by employing a healthy eating and exercise routine.

Jack Wilkes is a canine hydrotherapist with a passion for all animals. When not seeing patients or walking his own dogs, he enjoys writing about basic pet health concerns and training challenges. Connect with DoggySwim on Facebook or Google+.

The 5 Best Dogs When Raising Children

March 13, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Dogs

Golden Retrievers and other best dog breeds

So, you’re looking for a dog, a new best friend. But you’re not looking for just any dog, because you also have kids in your home.

In seeking a dog for a family pet, you’re in luck. Generally speaking, most breeds will get along well with older children as long as they’ve had the right training. However, there are some breeds, which not only tolerate children, but also thrive in a family atmosphere.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Toy Dog BreedCavalier King Charles Spaniel – Toy Dog Breed. Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy Pleple2000

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Height: 12″-13″ tall at shoulder
Lifespan: 9-15 years

  • Pros: If you want a dog that will cuddle with you while watching a movie or stay close on a cold night, keep reading. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels love to cuddle. Their small size allows them to fit perfectly in your lap, which so happens to be one of their favorite places to be.

    The Cavalier is also one of the best dogs because it’s extremely friendly, and its tail is almost constantly in motion. It will sulk if spoken to harshly or left alone for long periods of time. It just wants to please you and love you 24/7. The Cavalier also loves to play, especially chasing games.

  • Cons: Because of its long, silky coat, the Cavalier needs daily brushing.

    Its natural energy also means that it needs to be kept on a leash while being walked, or else it will chase anything that moves.

    Also, the Cavalier cannot be left at home while you go to work. It does best when someone is home for at least most of the day to keep it company.

Bulldog

English Bulldog, a Non-sporting Dog BreedEnglish Bulldog, a Non-sporting Dog Breed. Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy brykmantra

Height: 12-14″ tall at shoulder
Lifespan: 8-12 years

  • Pros: Bulldogs, commonly referred to as the English Bulldogs, are a non-sporting dog breed. They are one of the most patient, sturdy breeds out there. If you’re worried that your toddler will annoy the dog, have no fear. Bulldogs are more likely to get up and walk away than bite once they’ve had enough.

    In fact, Bulldogs are so patient that they can be downright lazy. After a little bit of play, they are content to curl up next to you on the couch and snooze.

  • Cons: Due to their flat features and compact bodies, Bulldogs are prone to respiratory and joint problems. Climates that are excessively hot, humid, or cold are not compatible with these dogs. And you can bet that you will be able to hear your dog snoring while he sleeps.

    Bulldogs are voracious eaters, and can easily become overweight without preventative action. Food intake must be carefully monitored, which means keeping the kibble and groceries out of reach. Regular walks also help this dog stay in shape.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever, a Sporting Dog BreedGolden Retriever, a Sporting Dog Breed. Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy Scott Beckner

Height: 21″-24″ tall at shoulder
Lifespan: lives 10-12 years

  • Pros: Golden Retrievers are loyal, patient dogs with playful puppy attitudes that can last for years past physical maturity. They love kids and all the chaos that comes with them.

    If you enjoy going for a daily run, a Golden Retriever would make a great running partner. They need 40-60 minutes of hard daily exercise to keep them sane. Since these intelligent dogs were originally bred as a working breed, they thrive when they have a “job” like retrieving the paper or waking up family members.

  • Cons: Because of their playful nature and large size, Golden Retrievers can get a little boisterous and knock down small children. Their need to be where the action is can also become a little annoying when you find yourself trying not to trip over your friendly pooch.

    Golden Retrievers need to be brushed daily. While this keeps their skin and coat in good condition, it is also essential for keeping hair off your couches and clothes. These dogs shed profusely, so daily grooming and a good vacuum are a must.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever, a Sporting Dog BreedLabrador Retriever, a Sporting Dog Breed. Photo Wiki Commons

Height: 21″-24″ tall at shoulder
Lifespan: 10-12 years

  • Pros: Labradors love children. They love all the chaos associated with them, and being very social dogs, the more people around, the better!

    Aside from being great family dogs, Labradors can function as hunting dogs or therapy dogs. They are also very intelligent and loyal to the point of absolute devotion.

    Like Golden Retrievers, Labradors are also one of the best dogs, making excellent companions for active families. They need 30 to 60 minutes of exercise daily to stay sane, otherwise they may release their excess energy with barking, chewing, and other vices, which makes for excellent motivation if you’re looking to get into shape.

  • Cons: Although Labradors tend to be very active, their love of food can lead to obesity if preventive measures are not taken. Regular meals, few treats, and no table scraps can help keep the dog fit. It is also important to keep the garbage and other food sources out of reach, as Labradors have a reputation for doing anything for a snack.

    Labradors also shed profusely, requiring regular grooming and a quality vacuum to keep yourself and your home clean.

Collie

Rough Collie, a Herding Dog BreedRough Collie, a Herding Dog Breed. Photo Public Domain Pictures, Courtesy Karen Arnold

Height: 22″-26″ tall at shoulder
Lifespan: 10-14 years

  • Pros: If you’ve never had a dog before, the dependable Collie is a good bet. Gentle, predictable, and extremely intelligent, these dogs are easily trained.

    Collies are very compatible with other pets, and have been known to be very gentle around even small animals like rabbits and chicks. This same gentle nature translates into the way they treat children.

    However, since Collies were originally bred as herding dogs, they may try to “herd” your children. This is a habit that can be entertaining at best and annoying at worst. Don’t worry, Collies are only protective, not aggressive.

    As a working breed, Collies need daily exercise. This makes them ideal companions for an individual who likes to stay fit.

  • Cons: Rough Collies are known for their long, often fluffy, fur. This fur needs regular brushing in order to avoid becoming matted, dirty, and unattractive. Smooth Collies have shorter fur, basically a smooth coat, so less maintenance is needed.

    While Collies are usually a fairly quiet breed, their high energy levels make them prone to barking if they get bored. Regular exercise and plenty of time spent with the family helps curb this tendency.

Articles referenced: “10 Dogs for Kids”, “The Ten Best Family Dog Breeds”

Victoria Ramos studied business and now blogs about developments in the field, as well as her other interests. She loves dogs, socializing, hosting parties, and writing.

The 10 Most Curious Dog Breeds

March 5, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Dogs

See Animal-World's Pet Dog Breeds

Come with us and explore the incredible variety and whimsical nature of the most fascinating dogs on the planet!

As man’s best friend, dogs are known for their loyalty, selfless love and dedication to their owner. Usually their specific breed predetermines their overall character as well as their physical appearance. We all have stumbled upon some pretty funny or even shocking dog looks either in the park or in the canine magazines.

Here are some of the most curious dog breeds know to men:

See Terrier DogsBedlington Terrier – Terrier Breed.
Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy Pleple2000

1. A dog or a sheep?

Take for example a breed called Bedlington Terrier. Most people tend to confuse such terriers with lamb, yes lamb! This lamb looking dog breed originally developed in Bedlington, England is actually very active. It needs heaps of exercise every day in order to keep it healthy and happy.

Bedlington Terriers are usually grey to whitish in colour, and have a decent amount of fluffy fur on them. The good news though, is that their specific type of fur makes them ideal for allergy-prone owners.

See Herding DogsBergamasco Shepherd – Herding Breed.
Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy Towncommon.

2. The Rasta dog!

Another worthy example of a weird looking domesticated canine is the Bergamasco Shepherd. This dog, as its name implies, is bred for helping animal farmers with their stock.

Its furs gradually tend to matt and stick together in clumps, which later become even more tangled thus giving the dog a distinct look. The funny dreadlocks that this Shepherd breed is so well known for actually distinguish it as a true Rastafarian.

Puli – Herding Breed.
Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy Steve Jurvetson

3. The moving frieze rug

A good competitor of the Bob Marley hairdo breed is the Puli. The Puli has thick corded fur that protects it from zero outside temperatures in the winter quite well.

The Puli’s distinct fur coat is practically water resistant as well, which is good news as winters in Hungary (the country where the Puli breed first appeared) can be quite cold and wet.

See Sporting DogsCatalburun, Turkish Pointer – Sporting Breed.
Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy minifauna.com

4. The double-nosed hunter

From strange furs and hairs to split noses! The Catalburun is basically a Turkish pointer. However, a Catalburun has a split nose, which is attributed to inbreeding somewhere down the line.

This dog is only found in Turkey. The local people that breed and look after these guys assume them to have superior tracking skills, thanks to their strange yet very useful nose.

See Toy DogsChinese Crested – Toy Breed.
Photo Courtesy Michelle Duvall Zentgraf

5. Hairless with style!

If you are into exotic house pooches, then the Chinese Crested dog will surely fascinate you. The Chinese Crested is a furless dog. This makes it a somewhat higher maintenance animal because his delicate skin is exposed and needs moisturising and protection from the sun – remember there is no fur. This breed also needs regular bathing in order to avoid skin infections.

Believe it or not, Chinese Crested is considered to be one of the ugliest dog breeds out there, and these doggies usually win first spot at ugly dog competitions – yes, there are many such events staged every year.

See  Working DogsNeapolitan Mastiff – Working Breed.
Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy Przykuta

6. Prematurely old

There are many guard dog breeds, but this one is quite special – it looks way too wise for its age. The Neapolitan Mastiff has droopy skin around its face and neck, which some people find even cute. Usually all those facial wrinkles make these dogs appear quite ancient – just like a grandpa.

Mastiffs were originally bred in Italy, ancient Rome to be exact. They were a worthy part of the Roman army. The legionnaires trained them to wear special armour with sharp spikes on their back, with the help of which they could knock down the enemy horses.

See Hound DogsBorzoi – Hound Breed.
Photo © Animal-World.com, Courtesy Justin Brough

7. Out of proportions

The Russian Borzoi impresses with quite a disproportionate body type – it has small head and a really long body and slender legs. If you think you have the patience and tenacity to train and discipline dogs, try out your luck with a Russian Borzoi.

This purpose bred dog is highly athletic and similar in appearance to a greyhound, but very unruly. The Borzoi (meaning fast dog in Russian) is agile and willing to chase small animals and prey for as long as it physically can. Canine experts say these hounds are best trained by experienced dog handlers as they do as they please because they lack the concept of obedience that other dogs have.

See Brussels GriffonBrussels Griffon – Toy Breed.
Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy Webweazle

8. The angry sailor

Brussels Griffon is a small yet really temperamental dog. It has angry look and a thick beard complemented by a characteristic moustache. Compared to other breeds, this little guy likes dominating, or at least tries to dominate other dogs around.

Most people find the Griffon to be quite cute with its bearded face and the hilarious aura the dog has about it. The Griffon can be described as a bossy, four-legged caricature.

Affenpinsche – Toy Breed.
Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy Ingunn Axelsen

9. The mini Big Foot

The Affenpinscher has a very hairy face. Its facial fur could grow so thick that you could practically see the dog’s resemblance to the mythic creature the Big Foot. The initial purpose of this German Affenpinscher breed was no other but to hunt and kill rats. The Affenpinscher is relatively small in size, which does make it more efficient when rat eradication time comes. The dog has distinctive burly, long fur.

The Affenpinscher can be described as playful, active, adventurous and fun loving, though at times these little guys can be quite stubborn.

See Non-Sporting Companion DogsFrench Bulldog – Non-Sporting Companion Breed.
Photo © Animal-World.com, Courtesy Justin Brough

10. The rabbit-eared hobbit

Short and petite at first sight the French Bulldogs could make you believe they have something in common with rabbits – or at least their long ears will. However their character is much stronger than that of a trembling fluffy bunny. They were originally bred in France, to attack and kill bulls. Back then this violent and cruel ‘sporting activity’ was in its hay day, luckily the tradition was abolished. The dog in question is no other but the now super cute French Bulldog.

Despite its dark and violent origin, this dog breed has changed into one of man’s most affectionate companions. These little guys crave human attention and will happily interact with you at every chance they get.

Natalie Goodale is a freelance writer, who loves spending time with her Shih Tzu dog, Roxane. She is involved in a number of projects, the most current of them all being a mutual initiative with San Antonio Dog Life.

Fenced In: How to Keep Your Dog Safe and Free

December 3, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Dogs

Fenced In: How to Keep Your Dog Safe and Free

Guest Post by Drew Kobb

The Norwich Terrier

Is your dog feeling trapped inside because he or she isn’t allowed outside? Or maybe your canine feels a little too free, jumping fences with no regard to boundaries or rules. There is a solution for both situations. Choosing the right fence for your dog is almost a science—you must take into account the dog’s size, temperament, needs, and your own desires and abilities. Here are some common options that you might want to consider to contain your canine.

Kennels

A kennel is a great option for smaller, mostly indoor dogs that need a little more fresh air. It is a safe, contained outdoor area for your dog. The size of the kennel will greatly depend on the size and number of dogs you own. It can be portable (like wire or metal cage), or it can be a permanent run (a gated enclosure set over a concrete slab or run area). Outdoor kennels are especially helpful if it is directly connected to an entry to the house, such as a doggie door.

Traditional Fences

Either a property fence or a smaller fence to block off a certain area of your yard are popular and traditional choices for dog owners. Many dog owners are mostly concerned about dogs leaving the property, so a boundary fence is usually sufficient. These traditional fences are available in many different materials: chain link, wood, wire, or a combination of materials.

However, some people don’t like this option because of the visual aspect—fences can block views, or simply lack visual aesthetic. There can also be problems with dogs digging under the fence to get out, but some Calgary fencing companies just suggest burying a few feet of chicken wire underneath the fence to create a barrier. Other downsides could include problems with dogs jumping over the fence, and the fences need upkeep to make sure there are no escape routes.

In-Ground Fences

In-ground fences are a great option for those who don’t want to build a fence on their property, for financial or aesthetic reasons. To install, you simply bury the transmitting wires a few inches
underground where you want the boundary to be. This is a really good option for abnormally shaped yards or for homes with pools because it easily follows curves and is very customizable. You can even use this system to prevent fence digging and jumping—simply attach the wire to an existing fence.

The system includes a radio transmitter, with a receiver on the dog collar. A warning tone sounds when the dog is getting close to boundary, a static correction is transmitted if the boundary is
reached. Many people are concerned with the humaneness of the static collar, but it is similar to a static shock a human might receive on a dry, static day when touching a doorknob.

Wireless Fences

Wireless fences are similar to the in-ground fences, except for… you guessed it, no wire to install! Wireless fences are great for smaller yards or areas. The fence is set up with a wireless transmitter that creates a circular boundary around itself. It is very easy to install and adjust the area when needed. You can even take it with you when you travel, go camping, or spend a day
on the lake! As long as you have access to an AC outlet, you can set up your circular boundary.

These fences can be customized even more if you choose the system with programmable flags. The flags allow you to create a non-circular boundary, so you can tailor it to your yard area. The downside is that you have to keep a bunch of little flags all around your yard to keep the fence in place.

All of these options can help keep your furry friend safer. Choosing the right fence means the difference between anxiety every time a car passes your home, and comfort in having a pet that knows its safe boundaries. Sometimes, set boundaries can be a good thing.

Drew Kobb, in addition to studying civil law, loves long distance running with his dog and considers himself a health and fitness enthusiast. His interests range all over the medical field, and Drew highlights that range on his blog, Dr. Ouch. He also urges you to check out Calgary Fencing for your dog!

The Top 3 Guard Dogs

October 3, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Dogs

The Top 3 Guard Dogs

Guest Post by Drew Kobb

With several recent advancements in home security technology, more and more people are resting easy knowing that if their homes are broken into, help is on the way. However, even the smartest technology has its flaws. Despite law enforcement’s best efforts to reduce response time, not all homes are in a convenient location for an immediate response. Additionally, while a home security system will alert the authorities of an intruder, your family isn’t necessarily safe until police arrive.

Adopting a reliable guard dog can be an effective way to protect your home and family. However, some dogs are better at the job than others.

The German Shepherd

German shepherd

German shepherds are known for their intelligence, strength, and protective nature. It’s for these reasons German shepherds are the most popular choice among law enforcement agencies’ K-9 units. German shepherds can learn simple commands after only 5 repetitions or so. They are also very obedient, responding to a first command 95% of the time.

German shepherds are also very strong, which is why they are often employed in search and rescue efforts. Larger shepherds can weigh up to 100 pounds or more, which is not a bad attribute to have in the case of a home intrusion. On average, German shepherds bite with around 236 pounds of force (that’s in comparison to a human male’s 80 pounds). They also rank high on speed and agility tests.

This breed is very good around children. As dogs are pack animals, German shepherds in particular have a keen sense of family; they can easily pick out who is not welcome. The one drawback is that modern German shepherds suffer from hip dysplasia, a genetic condition which can lead to arthritis in later years.

The Doberman Pinscher

Doberman pinscher

An intimidating figure, the Doberman pinscher is another intelligent breed that can be easily trained. One advantage to owning a Doberman is that they are very easily identified—stopping potential crooks in their tracks before they even start.

Dobermans are similar to German shepherds in a lot of ways, including their aptitude for companionship and their relative size and strength. And while they can be very aggressive toward unwanted guests, they also have the potential to act more hostile around any stranger—friend or foe. However, Dobermans tend to rank lower on overall aggression and are great household pets when properly trained.

The Rottweiler

Rottweiler

If you want a big, mean dog standing guard, a Rottweiler might be the best choice. Rottweilers easily weigh in around 130 pounds or more. As opposed to the German shepherd, a Rottweiler’s bite force is somewhere in the neighborhood of 328 pounds of force.

In addition to being larger and stronger than most domestic breeds, Rottweilers are also known for their persistence and toughness. In other words, not only will Rottweilers ward off intruders, but they’re also more likely to chase after them, even if they are somehow injured in the process.

The average lifespan of a Rottweiler is around 9 to 10 years—a bit lower than the other two breeds. This may be due in part to their proneness to obesity. If you decide to adopt a Rottweiler, make sure it is not over-fed and receives plenty of exercise.

A Final Word

One advantage guard dogs have over automated security systems is that they provide companionship as well as security. They are pack animals and will be loyal to your pack if they are properly cared for. However, just like your parents have probably told you, dogs are a big responsibility. Your duty to your dog extends far beyond feeding and walking. There is a right way to train your guard dog—neglect, abuse, and starvation are the wrong ways. Before getting a guard dog, consult trainers, breeders, and veterinarians to help you know what to expect and how to keep your dog disciplined in a controlled and healthy way.

Drew Kobb, in addition to studying civil law, loves animals, and keeps himself up-to-date on training tips, new aquarium supplies and animal rights news. His interests range all over the medical field, and Drew highlights that range on his blog, Dr. Ouch.

Three Helpful Tips When Caring For Your Aging Dog

September 12, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Dogs

Caring For Your Aging Dog

Guest Post by Morgan Sims

Having a dog as part of your family is a fulfilling, enjoyable experience for everyone, dogs and humans alike. Both you and your dog will benefit from having unconditional love and companionship. However, one downside of letting the family pup into your heart is that he won’t live as long as you do, and eventually you will find yourself providing extra care for your four-legged buddy as he ages. All dogs need to have good care, but here are three things you can do to make your aging dogs final years both enjoyable and rewarding.

Picture via Handi Ramps

Reduce The Risk Of Injury

Older dogs require more thought than younger ones when it comes to their activity level. It may be tempting to nix the daily walk all together once your best friend starts to weaken with age, but don’t stop just yet. In reality, maintaining a consistent exercise regimen will actually increase their longevity and enhance their mental clarity.

Older dogs often start having problems with their hips and joints and may be diagnosed with arthritis. This is a common problem. And the heavier your dog is, the more likely he will suffer from these problems. He may need a little extra help getting around the house than he used to as he ages. Household add-ons like pet ramps or pet will help him do the things that a simple hop used to achieve, such as laying on the couch, getting in and out of the family vehicle, and walking up and down steps. Installing these simple ramps throughout your home will reduce the risk of injury to dogs with conditions like osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, and other common ailments. The biggest thing you want to achieve is minimizing how much jumping your dog has to do. Even just purchasing pet stairs for such things as helping them climb up onto your bed can be a big help for them.

Image via Flickr by Quasic

Monitor Food Intake and Diet Requirements

While maintaining a proper diet is crucial at any age, feeding Fido the right way as he ages can make a tremendous impact on his energy level. Many brands make formulas for aging dogs, as their needs change over their lifetime. Check with your veterinarian and follow their advice; after all, they have a vested interest in the overall health of your dog, and have likely been treating your dog for many years. As mentioned earlier, you will want to keep your dog at a healthy weight as he ages as well. This is because overweight dogs are more prone to health and movement disorders.

Another point to mention is the use of elevated dog bowls. As dogs age they have a harder and harder time bending over to eat and drink, and it can be a big help to simply provide them with elevated dog dishes. This will reduce their need to bend over as much and reduce strain on their joints!

There are so many theories out there on the best diet for dogs that it’s probably going to be difficult to decide what’s right for you and yours. If you have a smartphone, you can easily get more advice on diet requirements and even make use of the many apps that are available for calculating canine diets. Just as there are calorie counter applications for humans, many dog diet calculators are available as well! They can be pretty handy!

Image via Flickr by Bekathwia

Make Them Comfortable

As your dog ages, he will become less likely to want to play along and keep up with the rest of the family. Keep him comfortable by providing a comfortable place to lay such as a memory foam bed in each room of the house he frequents. When he weas younger it may have sufficed to keep your dog bed in the living room or bedroom, but now it might be a good idea to place one in each room of the house. This way, no matter where he goes, your aging dog will have a soft place to lay down. He also won’t have to lay directly on the floor or walk across the house get to his bed.

Watching your dog go through the aging process can be a slow and painful experience for both him and your family. Understanding what he is going through, anticipating his needs, and doing everything in your power to ease his pain and make him comfortable will surely make your final years together enjoyable ones.

Morgan Sims is a writer and recent graduate who loves all things tech and social media. When she’s not trying out new gadgets and tweeting from her Samsung Galaxy S4, she spends most of her time with her mini doxie, cooking, and staying active. Follow her @MorganSims00

The 5 Most Dangerous Dogs

July 13, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Dogs

Did you know that 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs every year in the United States? About 800,000 of these bites are bad enough that the victims seek medical attention, and anywhere from 20-40 dog bites result in fatalities each year. What is astonishing is that almost 80% of these fatal dog attacks occur from two dog breeds alone! These are the Pit Bull Terrier and the Rottweiler. The Pit Bull is at the top of the list by far though, with over 60% of fatal attacks attributed to this breed. Many of these attacks however, are from dogs who are not properly trained and restrained, or are abused and neglected by irresponsible owners. It is also important to note that any dog could be considered dangerous under the right circumstances.

Below are the 5 most dangerous dogs in the United States. These are in order based off the number of fatalities attributed to each.

Alaskan Malamute#5. Alaskan Malamute. The Alaskan Malamute is descended from an old breed. Its ancestors were dogs living with the Mahlemuits Indian tribe in Alaska. Bred originally as sled dogs, they are now kept more often as pets. They must be given a lot of attention and have proper discipline. If not, they can develop bad behaviors which could prove dangerous.

Siberian Huskies#4. Husky. Huskies are another very old breed of dog and distantly related to Alaskan Malamutes. Being used as sled dogs as well, they have high energy which must be channeled into productivity. Aggressive tendencies can come out, especially if they are not properly trained and disciplined. Smothering them with love and attention is a must for these dogs!

German Shepherd#3. German Shepherd.German Shepherds, another high-energy dog, come in third and are known for their intelligence. They have an amazing ability to learn and can be trained quite readily. They are very loyal and obedient, but should be trained from an early age to insure these qualities. Jobs which German Shepherds are often used for include police dogs and guard dogs. And don’t forget what wonderful companion pets they can be!

Rottweiler#2. Rottweiler. Even though Rottweilers are the second most dangerous dog, they are a well-loved dog breed by many. Being one of the oldest herding dogs, they have a strong instinct to hunt. If they are socialized and trained well from a young age, they make fantastic guard dogs and are fiercely loyal to their families.

American Pit Bull Terrier#1. American Pit Bull Terrier. Pit Bull Terriers top the list as the most dangerous domestic dog. In fact, they are completely banned in some areas. Pit Bulls have a reputation of being aggressive dogs. Most likely being descended from Bulldogs and hunting terriers which are now extinct, they possess a strong instinct to hunt and protect. One of the reasons these dogs are dangerous is because they have a strong bite and a tendency to not let go of their victim. These dogs have specifically been bred to be fighting dogs, which is thought to be part of the reason they have such an inborn tendency to be aggressive. It is illegal to fight dogs in the United States, but there are still people doing it. Even though Pit Bulls are considered dangerous, many people successfully raise well-behaved and loving pets, and truly believe their behavior is a reflection of the owners discipline techniques.

Other potentially dangerous dogs include Wolf-dog Hybrids, Doberman Pinschers, Chow Chows, Presa Canarios, Boxers, and Dalmatians. Wolf-dog Hybrids are actually responsible for more fatalities than Alaskan Malamutes but aren’t included in the list because they aren’t true domestic dogs. Strict regulations regarding owning and breeding wolf-dog hybrids exist in many areas. The Presa Canario is another dog which was bred specifically to participate in dog fights and bans have previously been placed on this breed.

Precautions should always be taken when you come across any dog you are unfamiliar with.

Some suggestions for interacting with dogs you don’t know:

  1. Never approach a strange dog. In fact, walk the other direction! But don’t run, as this could attract their attention.
  2. Don’t try to pet any dog that is tied up, behind a fence, or in a car.
  3. Even if a dog seems friendly, never pet them without first letting them sniff you and determine you aren’t a threat.
  4. Avoid eye contact with a dog. Some dogs may think you are challenging them.
  5. Never yell at a dog you don’t know. Any type of discipline could trigger acts of aggression.
  6. If you ARE attacked by a dog, don’t move. If you run, their fighting and hunting instincts kick in and they will chase you with even more aggression. If you are knocked down, try to curl up in a ball and call for help.
  7. Report any dog you find who appears menacing or threatening, even if they haven’t actually attacked you.

Whether a dog appears to be a stray or with someone, don’t approach them until you know it is safe! Another thing to keep in mind is that many attacks happen in people’s homes or on their property. If you know that a friend or relative owns a potentially dangerous dog breed, use caution when visiting them, especially if you are bringing a child. Ask that they restrain or remove their dog from the area you will be visiting.

Dangerous Dog Laws

Chow ChowLaws are in place in many areas to strictly regulate dogs and owners or to even ban some dangerous dog breeds altogether. These laws address both dangerous dogs as well as the owners who often facilitate their dogs behavior. According to the ASPCA a dangerous dog is any dog who injures another animal or person without being provoked or having good reason. The ASPCA really favors reckless owner laws, where the owners take primary responsibility for any dangerous behavior on their dogs part. They also believe that some situations warrant aggressive behavior. These cases would include a dog protecting himself or his/her family from a threat from other animals or people. A few laws that really help to keep bad behavior in check if enforced include:

  • Universal leash laws
  • Spaying and neutering (to reduce aggressiveness and reduce stray populations)
  • Owners held legally responsible
  • Progressive levels of violation for owners

More Interesting Dog Bite Facts from the American Humane Association

  • Most fatal dog attacks (92%) occur from male dogs.
  • 94% of these male dogs are not neutered.
  • 67% of dog bites occur on or near a victim’s personal property.
  • Most people personally know the dog who bit them.
  • 58% of deaths occur on the owners property by unrestrained dogs.
  • 25% of fatalities are attributed to chained dogs.
  • Over 25 dog breeds have been involved in fatal attacks in the United States.

Resources Used

  1. http://dangerousdogs.net/
  2. http://www.curiosityaroused.com/nature/top-10-most-dangerous-dog-breeds-based-on-bite-fatalities/
  3. http://www.wikihow.com/Prevent-Dog-Bites

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Rottweiler

July 12, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured Pets, Pet Dogs

The Rottweiler

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Rottweiler!

Rottweilers often get a bad rap as being aggressive dogs. It is true they can be aggressive, but with the right socialization and training they can turn out to be good pets. I have known several Rottweilers or “Rotties” as they are often called. Once they got to know me, most of these dogs seemed quite friendly and loving towards me and I felt safe. All of them had fantastic owners who really spent time with them and helped shape them into great dogs!

A major appeal of the Rottweiler is its propensity for being a great guard dog. They become extremely loyal to their owners and will protect them at almost any cost. If they are well socialized with other pets while they are young, you can expect your Rottie to get along with just fine with them. Other characteristics they are known for are being calm and affectionate towards their family, including children. You can expect to have a wonderful addition to your family with a trained Rottweiler!

Rottweilers have a very long history stretching all the way back to the Roman Empire. They were first bred in Rottweil, Germany and are most likely descended from the Italian Mastiff. They were used first as herding dogs, and may very well be the oldest herding dog breed in the world. They were also used as war dogs and guard dogs and were highly valued during times of turmoil. But as the need for them subsided due to other technological advances, this breed diminished in quality and quantity, nearly becoming extinct. In the early 1900’s, while gearing up for World War I, there was a renewed interest in the breed as a need for police dogs came about. In 1931 the American Kennel Club recognized the Rottweiler as an official breed. Today the Rottweiler is a very popular dog, having more registrations than any other breed! Hybrids such as the Boxweiler and the English Mastweiler are also becoming more popular.

Rottweilers are impressive looking dogs and many consider them beautiful. They are heavy dogs with a muscular build and forefront muzzles. Their coats consist of short hair and are predominantly black with some brown markings. I have been asked in the past if there are all-black Rottweilers. Curiously, purebred Rottweilers cannot be all black! They will always have some brown on them. These dogs also reach a good size, with males weighing up to 130 pounds! Females are usually somewhat smaller than this, with a maximum weight of 115 pounds.

This breed of dog needs to be trained from an early age. From the beginning, you should let your dog know you are the boss. Once this is established, most Rottweilers are eager to please. They are obedient, very good at following commands, and fearless. In general they have a very good-natured temperament and are alert. When trained for a particular task, they can be relied upon to get the job done. Guarding and herding are their most notable strong points.

The reason this dog sometimes has a bad reputation is because of irresponsible owners. These dogs have the potential to be aggressive and have serious behavior problems if not trained and socialized. Their problems often stem from an owner not investing enough time to spend with them, or worst case scenario completely neglecting or abusing them. Rottweilers are also very strong dogs, which can increase the risk for problems in a neglected or untrained dog.

Basic Care of Rottweilers

Because Rottweilers have short hair, they don’t need much grooming other than just a quick brushing once a day or so. Regular vacuuming is a must for inside dogs, because they do shed and dog hair will accumulate! Rottweilers need a lot of exercise. Large yards which provide room to run and play in are ideal. Daily walks and/or swims are helpful too. They love to let their energy out, and regular activities also provide good opportunities to keep up on their socialization and training skills.

Puppies should be fed a good quality puppy food until they are close to 2 years old. After this, you should feed them a diet comprised of mostly protein (such as poultry and lamb) mixed with some wheat and dairy. Most good quality dog foods will provide the needed nutrients.

Vaccinations. Vaccinations are very important for dogs to keep them healthy. They should be given their first shot at 6-8 weeks of age. This shot is the DHLPPC or Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, Parvo, and Corona virus shot. They should get their second shot at 10-12 weeks, their third shot at 14-16 weeks, and then annually from their on out. A rabies shot should also be given and 14-16 weeks and then annually as well.

If Rottweilers are given their vaccinations, they are a pretty hardy breed. They don’t have a lot of problems with disease or many physical problems. They can be prone to hip or joint dysplasia because they are a larger breed. It is also important to take note of a puppy’s genetic history before selecting one. Heart Disease and Von Willebrand’s Disease are hereditary problems that should be taken note of.

Availability of Rottweilers is widespread. They can be found in most areas of the United States from reputable breeders. $800 to $1000 is a price you can expect to pay for a puppy with a good genetic background.

Do you have experience with Rottweilers? What do you like or dislike about them? Are there any tips you would like to share?

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Keep your Pet Safe and Happy this 4th of July

June 30, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Animal News, Pet Cats, Pet Dogs

4th-of-July-dog_med

Do you dread the Fourth of July for fear of how your pet will react to loud noises and bright lights?

Many people can attest to having their dogs and cats go bonkers while fireworks are going off, and then having to deal with the “damage” afterwards. In addition to having a scared or injured dog or ruined furniture and broken windows, there are other, less obvious hazards to watch out for this July 4th.

Keeping your Pet Safe

1. Keep them away from the noise. This is probably the most important thing you can do for your pet. The best idea is to keep them indoors in a familiar and safe place. Close all doors and windows to reduce noise. Consider even turning on music or television to keep things feeling normal to them. Don’t bring them to festivals where there will be lots of other people and fireworks going on. This will also prevent them from running away or getting lost. Fact: Did you know that after the 4th of July, there is a 30% increase in lost pets? That’s scary! Do what you can to prevent losing yours!

2. Don’t let them near fireworks You may get a great YouTube video, but the risk is not worth it. Not only can your pet become burned or otherwise injured by getting too close to the fireworks, they can also suffer serious internal damage from eating them. If you do decide to let your dog outside while letting off fireworks, it is advisable to keep them on a leash and far away from where the fireworks are being stored and let off.

3. Keep them away from other pets. This is especially true if you will be celebrating with other people who will have their pets around. Fireworks can make your dog on edge and be more prone to getting in fights with other dogs. This can result in injury or even death for your dog.

4. Keep non-pet items out of reach! This includes alcohol, lighter fluid and matches, oils, and anything else that could be hazardous if ingested. Many animals are poisoned or injured from ingesting chemicals.

5. Don’t use non-animal approved items on your pet. Many people like to dress their pets up on holidays. This can be fun and safe! However, don’t put items on them such as glow sticks which could be harmful to their health if ingested. Likewise, don’t put substances which are safe for human use, such as sunscreen, on pets. This is because they could lick and groom themselves and ingest the substance. This is not good for your pet!

6. Don’t give your pet human food! Just because you are eating barbecued hot dogs and s’mores doesn’t mean your pet should! It can be tempting to “celebrate” with your pet by allowing them to eat unhealthy human food. But this is just plain unhealthy for pets and could cause bigger health problems for them.

7. Consider using anti-anxiety medication. If you know that your pet is one of those who becomes terrified with 4th of July fireworks, it might be a good idea to plan on giving him some anti-anxiety medication to help him get through it.

8. Act normal! Signs that your pet is feeling anxious and scared include them howling, shaking, running around frantically, and trying to hide. If your pet is obviously having a hard time, remember to act normal around them. Show them you aren’t scared by petting them, talking soothingly to them, etc. If they see you acting normal and unafraid, it will help them to calm down.

What are some experiences and tips you have to share on keeping your pet safe and healthy this 4th of July?

Are You Struggling with Pet Allergies?

June 19, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats, Pet Dogs

Are You Struggling with Pet Allergies?

If so, you may be searching for some remedies to help deal with them. It is estimated that as much as 10% of the United States population suffers from animal-related allergies. And many of these sufferers love animals, which often makes it difficult or impractical for them to own pets.

What Causes Pet Allergies?

Allergies in general are caused by your immune system reacting to perceived irritants in the world around you. Besides pets, irritants such as pollen, dust, and chemicals can all cause a flare-up in allergies.

Allergy symptoms from dogs and cats are very similar to allergies arising from other irritants. These usually include a range of symptoms from itchy watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing, an itchy throat and coughing, to even rashes breaking out wherever your skin is exposed.

Dog allergies are actually caused by the dogs glands releasing a certain protein rather than from their fur or dander. This protein is called Can f 1 (Canis familiaris). This protein shows up in a dogs dander, urine, and saliva.

Cat allergies are caused by a similar protein secretion in their saliva. It is called fel d 1. Cats love to groom themselves by licking their fur. This then spreads the fel d 1 to their fur and dander. The dander flies off and can accumulate on surfaces all over the house.

Tips to Help Reduce Allergic Reactions

Depending on whether you have a dog or a cat, these tips can help more or less.

1. Groom your dog or cat outside daily. In the case of dogs, plan on bathing them regularly as well (twice a week would be optimal). Brushing your pet everyday can significantly reduce the amount of dander which accumulates on their skin and then is released into the air. Another good idea is to make a habit of wearing a mask when bathing or grooming your pet.

2. ALWAYS wash your hands immediately following any contact with your pet. Try to start washing them more frequently throughout the day just in general and especially before you touch anywhere on your face.

3. Keep up on housecleaning. This includes washing bedding frequently, washing surfaces that accumulate dust regularly, and cleaning and vacuuming floors, sofas, and curtains/blinds. Consider covering couches and chairs with easily washable covers or make it a rule that pets are not allowed where people sit and sleep.

4. Replace carpets and rugs with vinyl or tile.
If this is practical for your home, it might be a good idea – especially if your allergies are particularly bad. This will keep allergens from accumulating on these hard-to-clean surfaces.

5. Designate certain areas of your house as pet-free areas.
I would recommend declaring your bedroom a pet-free area. Because you sleep in there (which is a significant amount of your life!), this is a great place to keep allergen-free. It is also not a good idea in general to sleep with your pets. As an extreme to this, you may also consider keeping your pets primarily outdoors. Depending on where you live and varying weather conditions, this may or may not be an option. But the less time they spend in the house the less dander is going to accumulate.

6. Consider buying and installing vacuum and air filters. High-efficiency particulate air filters (HEPA filters) in particular really help people with pet allergies. Purchasing them for your vacuum is a must. If you have the money, buying them for your home as well can provide even more benefit.

7. Consider getting treatment.
Many people will take over-the-counter antihistamines. In addition to this, some people with pet allergies can enjoy long-term relief by receiving allergy shots from their doctors.

Do you suffer from pet-related allergies or know someone who does? Do you have any helpful tips on how to reduce or eliminate them?

References

1. Wargo, Meredith. “Clean Getaway.” Dog Fancy March 2013: 30-34. Print.
2. Shirreffs, Annie B. “Keep It Clean.” Cat Fancy March 2013: 22-23. Print.

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