Beware of the Dog Sign; Pros and Cons

So you made a decision and became a dog owner… so what now? Do you or do you not put a sign on your gate advertising the fact?

Well, this is a question that some of us find very troubling. I guess this simple task of screwing a nice metal or plastic plaque onto your gate can have some consequences. So should we or shouldn’t we advertise the fact that we own a dog?

I wish there was a simple answer to this question but there isn’t one. Things to consider…

Trespassing… A beware of the dog sign can be a nice little reminder that you are about to enter someone else’s property, just in case the fence or gate wasn’t a big enough clue, but isn’t this an admission that your dog is dangerous and might bite? Some people think it is… This doesn’t mean that the sign shouldn’t be there but you might want to rethink what it should state… unless you have a truly protective dog like a serious guard dog and it probably will, in fact, attack the intruder, then a sign stating the fact is fair game in my eyes.

Security… of both your dog and your property… yes, you are reading it right… dogs might protect your property and a sign like this might make some robber think twice before picking on your household but what about the dog? I remember a few years ago there was a huge spike in reports of household dogs being stolen…a sign like this may make it easier for some nefarious individual to identify what house comes with a dog. I assume people stealing dogs isn’t your everyday situation but still, it is worth a consideration.

Ease of access… depending on your property layout and how gated it is, it might be nice to warn a delivery person for example that you own a dog, especially if it is the barking type. I can imagine that being surprised by a “barking monster” on the other side of the fence isn’t a pleasant experience for them. Just remember to keep your gate locked at all times, you don’t want to risk the dog running away simply because someone didn’t lock the gate behind them.

Choice of signs… beware of the dog isn’t the only sign out there, there are a lot of different dog signs to choose from or you can even design your own sign. You might want to consider something like “Dog running free”, or “Dog in the yard” or “I can make the gate in 3 seconds, can you?” – They all suggest you have a dog without implying that the dog is a vicious killer.

All of these thoughts to consider and we still aren’t any closer to an answer, should we or shouldn’t we…

I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer here. It all depends on why you want to put a sign up, what the sign will say and what breed of the dog you own… think about it and make your own mind.

Do you have a dog sign on your gate?

Did you ever consider putting one up?

 

Winter Health Tips for Pets

* by Lannie 

Cold weather is notoriously bad for health. The winter months bring cold and flu season, and the lack of sunshine and fresh air can make even the happiest person a little depressed. Believe it or not, the same is true for pets. Dogs and cats have their own set of struggles through the coldest months of the year. Here are some tips to help keep your furry friends comfy, cozy and cold-free!

Get a Checkup

Your pet needs regular health checkups to make sure everything’s in tip-top shape. It’s best to schedule these checkups as the weather changes so your vet can give you the best wellness plan for the upcoming season.

Make Sure Your Pet Is Warm

Pets feel cold just like people do. While it’s true that they have a built-in fur coat, that doesn’t mean it’s safe to leave pets outdoors for extended periods of time during chilly weather. If you have outdoor pets, make sure they have a nice warm place to snuggle up during cold weather. If possible, the best advice is to keep pets indoors during winter (with frequent outdoor breaks for exercise and potty time, of course). If your pet is older, seems frail, or is otherwise more susceptible to the cold, you might consider adding a sweater to keep the cold at bay.

Don’t Shave Your Pet

Your pet’s coat of fur is there for a reason. In the wintertime, it helps keep Fido or Fluffy nice and warm. As the weather gets colder, you can keep up the grooming, but make sure you skip any shaving or clipping of your pet’s winter coat. Your animal will need it very soon. Again, if your pet has short hair, consider adding a sweater to protect against the cold.

Keep an Exercise Routine

Because they’re spending so much more time indoors, it’s imperative that you maintain a regular exercise routine for your pets. This could be as simple as a few walks per day, but you could also consider playing Frisbee or fetch with your dog so you both get some good exercise. Cats are harder to play with, but they usually love traipsing around the yard for a half hour or so – just make sure you bring them in when they get cold.

Stay on Top of the Meds

As the winter months roll in, it may be tempting to skip some of your pet’s medication, especially preventive ones like flea and tick medication. While you may see fewer bugs in the winter, fleas, ticks, and heartworms are still a problem. If you’ve experienced fleas in the summer, you’ll definitely want to keep up with the medication now; studies show year-round prevention is the best method to eradicate these pesky bugs for good. Try giving your pets chewable tablets, like Trifexis which is the perfect trifecta of parasite prevention for dogs.

Check the Heat in Your Home

There are lots of good reasons to get a heat inspection for your home each year. For one, it can help prevent huge repair bills down the road, but it can also keep your whole family safe. If you have a gas furnace, you’ll want a yearly inspection to check for carbon monoxide leaks and other issues. You should also change your filters at the start of every season (and at least once a month) to keep allergens and bacteria away.

Finally, remember to watch your pet around other heat sources, like your fireplace and space heaters. Pets will often flock to these areas, looking for warmth. It’s easy for a pet to get too near a fire or accidentally knock over a heater, so make sure you provide constant supervision when using these sources of heat.

 

**Lannie is a writer for Allivet. Allivet provides affordable pet supplies and pet medications, all of which can be purchased online.

The 3-Step Solution to the Dog Jumping Up Issue

There is nothing worse than a dog that jumps up on people when they walk into a room or enter your home. You want to prevent a dog from jumping up as early as possible to keep it from becoming a serious problem as the dog grows.

It is in a dog’s nature to greet people enthusiastically, particularly when they are puppies. They want to smell the new person’s ears and head and get to know them. That’s just what dogs do. They want to do the same to you and let you know they are happy to see you and would love your attention.

This may be cute when they are a puppy, but once they are full grown it is not so cute. That is why it is important to nip this behavior in the bud and learn to prevent a dog jumping up as soon as possible. Training your dog when he is a puppy is much easier for everyone and faster.

It’s easy to inadvertently give positive feedback to a puppy that jumps up on you. He’s happy to see you and you greet him by petting his head. We don’t realize until it’s too late that what’s cute in puppyhood can be annoying when the dog is older.

A full grown dog that is a large dog has the ability to knock a person to the ground, especially the elderly and children, and this can be dangerous.

Preventing Dog Jumping Up in Three Easy Steps:

  1. Start from the very moment you decide to break your dog of this habit and to make it clear to the dog that this is not appropriate behavior. The best way to do this is to turn your back on the dog and ignore him. Do not make eye contact with the dog. A dog who jumps up on someone is trying to get their attention. Do not give him what he wants and it will begin to deter the behavior. Do this consistently to prevent dog jumping up on you and your guests.
  2. The second step to prevent dog jumping up and make it a consistent behavior is to reward the dog for good behavior. When the dog calms down, tell him to sit and kneel down to his level and give him lots of praise. He will learn that good behavior is rewarded with attention.
  3. If you can gain the support of a visitor or two that comes to your home on a regular basis while you’re working to prevent dog jumping up behavior, ask them to follow the same routine when they come to the house. Reinforcing the lesson in this way will speed the process along and reinforce the lessons he is learning with you.

Final thoughts. As always, when teaching your dog new behavior, be gentle but consistent. Don’t forget to consult your vet about what your dog’s dietary and exercise needs as well and stick to any prescribed pet meds you receive from your vet, remember a dog not in full health will also not want to learn new behaviours willingly.

Making sure your buddy doesn’t jump on everyone he meets is part of responsible dog ownership and is as important as making sure your dog is free from parasites and always on some flea killer product like Frontline plus for dogs . Basic dog care that is sensible and appreciated by others you meet.

* This is a collaborative post.

How to Decipher Pet Food Labels

Let’s be honest, most food labels, being human or for our pets, are not really designed for your average Jo… you really do need specialist detailed knowledge if you wish to fully understand what you or your pet are eating. Human food labelling is slowly getting better, the regulations are changing and some labels are becoming straight forward, but what about pet food? Not so fast to change, so how do you go about deciphering that?

Well, this is a good question. Unclear terms and tons of marketing babble can make it really hard to truly understand what’s inside the packet.

Recently, I came across an article “Calls for clearer labelling on pet food” by Dogs Monthly, which features an infographic by Data Label. There was a part which really made me think.

What is Meat Meal?

Well, apparently there is no official definition of it, but it seems to be a high concentrated lower grade protein powder obtained from rendering down parts of an animal, which cost a fraction of the whole animal…

Every time you read on your label dehydrated, powder, dried, meal, concentrated… this is not whole meat, those are parts of the animal which are either surplus requirements in the human food industry or are not intended for human consumption… doesn’t sound very appealing, does it?

Now here is another pet food labelling dilemma. Let’s say, I just bought a puppy and I want to buy a high protein dog food to help him grow up big and strong… I look at the labels, I study all the numbers and tables and pick the one which shows the highest amount of protein… sounds good, right? Well, not really… it’s maybe not the right choice or even a good choice because I have no idea what type of protein they are using… protein from the whole chicken does not equal proteins obtained from say chicken beaks or feet… yet looking at the labels I will never know which grade of protein is in the pack.

A lot of people think that naturally the more expensive the food, then the better quality it is… I personally strongly DO NOT agree with this! I think if this would be the truth then there would be no need for mystery labelling… I think the company would be proud to clearly state what’s in their food for everyone to understand without having a degree in deciphering mystery labels. Don’t ever underestimate what a fully funded marketing department can achieve.

If you hoped this post will give you an answer as to how to read pet labels, well, I am sorry I couldn’t help…

Pet food labelling shouldn’t be a mystery, it should be clear, simple and understandable to everyone, to all customers.

I hope one day this will become a reality!

__________________

More on the topic:

The Science of Pet Food Labels

How to Read a Pet Food Label

Understanding Pet Food Labels

The Best Vegetables To Feed Your Dog For Optimal Health

* By Jeffery Roberts

Many people make the mistake of thinking that dogs are mostly carnivorous, and therefore do not need to eat vegetables. The truth is that vegetables, and some fruit, are an important part of your dog’s diet and a primary source of micronutrients.

The vitamins and nutrients in vegetables can help your pet live a longer and healthier life. Whether you are feeding a raw diet, and need to add in nutrients, or you are simply looking to supplement your pet’s current food regimen, these are the fruits and vegetables you should be focusing on:

Beets

Fresh, oven-roasted beets are a nutritional powerhouse for your dog. They contain B vitamins and are powerful detoxifiers due to their high antioxidant levels. They may help to reduce allergy sensitivities in your pet and reduce itching. They also fight inflammation and can help reduce the symptoms of arthritis in older pets. Be sure to not overfeed beets because they are naturally high in sugar, and never feed your pet beet greens. The greens contain oxalic acid, which can be toxic in high amounts.

Carrots

Carrots are high in many nutrients including beta-carotene and vitamin A, both of which support eyesight. Vitamin A is also important for the immune system and gives a boost to your dog’s skin and coat. Carrots can also help to improve dental health, acting as a natural toothbrush as your pet chews away. They are also low in calories, which makes them safe to use as treats on a regular basis.

Berries

Berries, especially blueberries, are rich in antioxidants that reduce inflammation and may also help to prevent cancer. They also hinder the growth of bad bacteria and can help to fight infections. Berries are easy for dogs to digest and can be fed regularly in moderation.

Broccoli

Broccoli can be given to your dog either raw or cooked, and should be a regular part of your pet’s diet due to its nutrient-rich super powers! Broccoli helps with detoxification, maintaining skin and coat health and helps protect the heart. Broccoli is high in vitamin C, which helps boost immunity for your pet much like it does for humans, and is also high in fiber.

Kale

Kale helps to prevent heart disease, allergies, arthritis and urinary tract infections. It’s packed with vitamins and nutrients, including B vitamins that help maintain a healthy coat and nervous system. It’s low in calories and high in fiber, making it ideal for regular supplementation to your pet’s food.

Asparagus

Asparagus is another vitamin-packed vegetable that is non-toxic to dogs. Asparagus, unlike some other vegetables, is also high in minerals like copper, phosphorous and potassium. It is also high in B-vitamins and vitamin K. It is known to help with immune health, nervous system function and to help regulate blood sugar, making it great for dogs who are at risk of diabetes. Asparagus is tough when raw, so it is best served to your pup after lightly steaming it.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin is high in vitamins like potassium and iron, and can also offer a great digestive aid for dogs. It can be served raw, cooked or even canned and can help promote regularity if your pet suffers from diarrhea or constipation. Some holistic vets will also recommend pumpkin to aid in weight loss for dogs, by replacing a portion of their regular food with a similar amount of canned pumpkin on a daily basis.

Sweet Potato

Like pumpkin, sweet potato is also a helpful vegetable for regulating your pet’s digestion and can have a soothing effect on the digestive tract. Dogs also love its sweet flavor! They’re also high in vitamin B6, vitamin C and manganese. Sweet potatoes have become common in many reputable dog foods, so check your wet or dry food’s label before adding additional sweet potato to your dog’s diet.

Introducing your dog to new fruits and vegetables

Your dog has a much less varied diet than you do and is likely not accustomed to many new foods. A dog’s digestive tract also functions best with consistency, so practice awareness as you introduce more fruits and veggies into your dog’s diet. It is recommended to introduce each one separately, in small amounts, so that your dog can get acclimated and you can observe to see if it causes any upset to his unique digestion.

Conclusion

Fruit and vegetables provide important nutrients that boost your dog’s health and help to protect him from diseases like arthritis, diabetes and cancer. When introducing new fruits and veggies, start slow to give your pet time to get used to them. Before you know it, your pet will be loving his new diet and be healthier than ever!

 

About the author: Jeffery Roberts

Jeffery is a pet enthusiast and volunteer at his local pet shelter. His passion for animals started at an early age and through his work on becoming a veterinary student he understands and cares for pets of all species. Jeffery currently writes for The Happy Pooch and has 2 cats, a bird and a dog – Lucy.