Things to Consider when Coloring your Pet

I’m sure you’ve heard of clothing for pets but here in the pet fashion world they have step up individuality Chanella bunch by introducing pet dye. Personally I love that there is an option to spice up my dogs coat. But there are some pro and cons with dyeing your pet, you first must make sure that it is pet safe dye that you are using. Some people think that dying your pet is awesome and some people think its cruel, the most important thing to remember is the safety of your pet if you decide to add some color.

Some of the pros for pet dye are:

  • freaking awesome looking hair
  • life of the party
  • complements from strangers
  • ability to express your pets personality
  • match your outfits with your dog

Some of the cons for pet dye is that it can cause:

  • Rashes
  • Skin irritation
  • Skin burns
  • Unsafe chemicals that pets can possible ingest

 

There are multiple ways to dye your pet some more permanent than other s. Most commondipper way is to use Manic Panic or Kool- Aid, I’ve used dog friendly blow pens, chalk, Manic Panic, and gel. While personally I prefer the blow pens since they only last about a week or so, Manic Panic is more permanent choice which usually lasts about 2 weeks. My boys are used for events for my work all the time, Dipper my Boston Terrier loves being dyed and will strut his stuff for anyone watching as long as he has a little more color in his coat.

dye

The awesome thing about blow pens is the possibility to use stencils and create customs designs. The grooming industry has boomed with the idea of fur dyeing and making dogs look exotic.

photo 1 (7)Nowadays you’ll see dogs looking like tigers, pandas, people chose certain themes just like we put a bunch of hearts on my co-workers dog.

 

While adding a splash of color might be super fun please remember to dye responsibly.

 

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Something Fishy for Fido?

ImageThere are so many wonderful benefits from taking vitamins. It strengthens our joints, makes our hair soft and smooth, and gives us additional energy. So why wouldn’t we give it to little Fido or Fluffy?

Fish Oil in particular is really a one stop shop kind of a vitamin! Constant use of Fish Oil helps with certain allergies towards our doggies itchy, dry skin by making it nice and smooth, like Fluffy just walked right out of the Groomer!

Is absolutely wonderful for strengthening of the joints for dogs diagnosed with arthritis, and even kidney disease! It may also be somewhat preventative. Well known canine published author and veterinarian, Nancy Kay, mentions that “Studies have documented that dogs suffering from heart failure who were treated with fish oil along with other standard medications showed decreased vulnerability to development of heart rhythm abnormalities, weight loss, and heart muscle damage.”Image

Natural food stores or even online pet websites all sell Fish Oil. They typically come in pill or liquid form and can usually sneak it in to your pups breakfast or dinner.

Just like starting any new vitamin or diet, please consult your veterinarian to see if the benefits of fish oil would be safe for your pooch!

How to Care For Your Senior Pets

Thanks to remarkable technological advances in veterinary medicine, pets are now living longer than ever before. But, along with the increased lifespan of our pets, comes a long list of conditions that can negatively affect them like: weight and movement issues such as osteoarthritis, kidney, heart, and liver disease; tumors and cancers; hormone disorders such as diabetes and thyroid imbalance; and many others. It’s important for pet owners to work closely with their veterinarian to arrange a health plan that is best for their senior pet.

Keep in mind that we as pet owners can also slow down and or ease the aging process of our furry family members. By providing your pet with routine mental and physical stimulation, this can help slow down the aging process drastically. Regular massaging isn’t only good for elderly pets with stiff joints but also helps improve circulation throughout the body. Countless research studies have also shown that continual mental stimulation helps the brain grow and allow more connections to be made throughout the process. You can slow the natural decay of the brain by routinely providing your dog with mental stimulation.

A healthy diet is also key when it comes to elderly pets. Feed your pets regular well balanced meals with high levels of antioxidants and minerals needed to sustain high performance; keeping in accordance to veterinary recommendations. Feeding your elderly pets balanced portions of grains, minerals and healthy fats will surely help increase life expectancy.

Just as the health care needs of humans change as we age, the same applies to pets. Over time, as your pet’s body ages, their heart muscles become less efficient—essentially working harder to pump the same amount of blood through their body. In addition, the blood vessels lose some of their elasticity and hardened fatty deposits may form on the inner walls of your pet’s arteries, called atherosclerosis. These changes make the arteries stiffer, causing your pet’s heart to work even harder to pump blood through them. This can lead to hypertension and other cardiovascular problems as well as extensive weight gain and the inability to shed those extra pounds. Although fast paced cardiovascular activity for your elderly pet is frowned upon, several short slow-paced walks or playtime can be just as beneficial.

In order to help your elderly pets live comfortably during their senior years, it is critical to work closely with your veterinarian to tailor a wellness plan for your pet. Remember to keep a close eye on behavioral and physical conditions and report anything unusual to your veterinarian who can help your pet reach its golden years with ease!

How to Take Care of Your New Puppy: Part 1

He’s cute, he’s cuddly, and he’s driving you crazy! Your new puppy Fido piddles all over the house,  chews up your favorite pair of shoes, and his sharp puppy teeth scratch you whenever you play with him. Bringing home a new pup requires a major adjustment, but with the correct information and preparation you can make this adjustment period much smoother not only for you, but for your new addition as well.

The Basics – What to Buy

Make sure to purchase these must-have items in preparation for bringing your pup home.

  1. Crate – One sized to fit Fido when he’s full grown (he should have enough room to stand up and turn around in it). If you buy a smaller crate for his smaller puppy size you’ll end up having to purchase multiples to accommodate him as he grows. Also, a crate that has a divider would be preferable for potty training.
  2. Identification tags – This will be one of the most important things you purchase for you puppy; ensure that he is always able to find his way home in the event that he becomes lost. Micro-chipping Fido is also recommended in the event that his tags should be lost along with him.
  3. Collar, harness, and a leash.
  4. Bowls – One set for food and water inside the house, as well as a water bowl for outside.
  5. Dog bed
  6. Dog food – Talk with your veterinarian about Fido’s dietary needs in order to choose the most nutritionally balanced food for your pup.
  7. Pooper scooper and/or poop bags – Self explanatory.
  8. Toys – The more durable the better, dogs of all ages love to de-stuff plush toys.
  9. Grooming tools – Nail clippers and a brush are the necessities, but if you plan on grooming Fido yourself you will also need a shampoo and conditioner.
  10. A completely enclosed yard – If you have one.

You will most likely find that you will need additional supplies as you get to know your puppy and their habits, but this basic list of supplies will hold you over till you get to know each other better.

Potty Training

To ensure that your home stays relatively stain and odor free, potty training should be undertaken from the moment you bring Fido home; this is where your crate will come into play.

Puppies will not be able to control their eliminations until they are about 4 months old so you will need to be vigilant as well as patient when it comes to potty training Fido. There are two important steps to take when undertaking this task: establishing a routine and supervision.

Establishing a Routine

The number one rule of puppy potty training is simple: take Fido out as often as possible to eliminate. Generally puppies should be taken out every 1.5 to 2 hours to a designated spot of your choosing. He should also be taken out upon awakening, after eating or drinking, and after playing. While Fido is doing his business, introduce a phrase that he can learn to associate with eliminating, such as “go potty” or “do your business”.

Puppies will need to eat three meals a day and keeping them fed at consistent times each day will also keep their eliminations on a predictable schedule, making house training much easier on both of you. Also, Fido should not have continued access to water starting about 2 to 2 1/2 hours before his bedtime; this will lessen the chances that he will need to potty during the night. Put him into his crate at his bedtime and shut the door; getting Fido used to being locked in his crate might take some time getting used to but dogs are naturally den animals and his crate will eventually become a safe and comfortable place in his mind. Also, because dogs don’t like to eliminate where they sleep this will also lessen the chances that he will have an accident. In the event that your pup does need to do their business during the night, calmly escort him to the designated area, give the command, and calmly escort him back to his bed. Don’t allow him to get excited or try to play otherwise he wont go back to sleep.

Supervision

Your new puppy will need to be supervised not only for safety reasons, but so that you decrease the chances that he will go potty in your home. Either keep your puppy confined to one room or area with the use of baby gates, or tied to you with a 6 foot leash. The more area you give Fido access to, the more likely it is that he will explore outside of your sight range and have an accident. There are certain signs to look for to indicate to you that Fido needs to be taken outside: barking, scratching at the door, circling, squatting, or sniffing around excessively. When you notice these behaviors immediately take your pup outside.

When Fido does have an accident inside the house (and he will!), interrupt him in the act with a startling noise and immediately take him outside, give him your chosen command, praise him, and bring him back inside. If you happen to find a puddle but were unable to catch your pup in the act it is too late to give a correction. Scolding your puppy after the undesired action has already taken place will have no effect and could actually do more harm than good. Simply clean up the area thoroughly to ensure that Fido wont eliminate in that spot again.

Remember, your new puppy is a baby, therefore he will need consistent and constant attention to ensure that he will mature into a well-rounded part of your family. The first few months will require a lot of work on both your parts, but the end result will be well worth it!

Stay tuned for Part 2 of “How to take care of your new puppy” with information on chewing and play biting management as well as the importance of training and early socialization!

Fit ‘n’ Furry Warns: Beware of Chicken Jerky Treats!

Are these jerky treats your dog’s favorite bedtime snack or good behavior reward? Most dogs would gobble up the hand that offered these along with the treats themselves as they are such a hit with pets. However, recent information from multiple veterinary associations as well as the FDA now warn pet owners against purchasing and feeding these types of chicken jerky treats to pets as there have been a large number of complaints of dogs becoming sick after consuming them. The treats in question are the jerky variety including chicken strips and chicken tenders that are supplied by manufacturers in China, including companies such as Import-Pingyang Pet Product Co. and Shanghai Bestro Trading. Testing has been done by the Food and Drug Administration and other veterinary diagnostic labs but a contaminant has yet to be discovered and it does not appear that the perpetrator is melamine, the same contaminant that was found in the massive pet food recall in 2007.

Complaints of pets having decreased appetites and activity level, vomiting, diarrhea, increased water consumption and urination, and lethargy have been associated with dogs ingesting these types of treats. Blood tests may indicate kidney failure in some pets and urine tests may show Fanconi syndrome in others; most pets were reported to have recovered from their illness, but the FDA has received some reports of dogs passing away after continued consumption. The FDA, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) have all received complaints and are conducting testing to determine the cause, monitoring the situation and posting any updates on their respective websites.

If your precious pooch has consumed any of these types of treats and has displayed any of the symptoms shown above discontinue use and have your veterinarian examine them for a suspected cause for their illness. If the treats seem to be the cause notify the FDA in your region by visiting this website. The FDA has not issued a recall on these products nor have they identified which companies may be involved but are cautioning pet parents to use their best judgement when purchasing treats for their dogs.  Updated information on this issue can also be found at the AVMA’s website here.

Are Dog Parks Right for your Pooch?

There are many things to consider when making the decision to adopt a dog or puppy; what supplies you will need,  choosing a veterinarian, selecting a good food, and how you will socialize them. Many new and veteran dog owners immediately think  of dog parks as the perfect way to exercise and socialize their dog-but are dog parks the right choice for your pooch?

There are both advantages and disadvantages to going to a dog park, and deciding whether your pet is suited for this kind of dog-to-dog interaction should be evaluated thoroughly to ensure that this will benefit his socialization skills rather than hinder them.

Would my dog enjoy going to the dog park?

When considering taking your dog to a dog park, owners should first evaluate their dog on a few different levels, such as age,  play style, health, and their overall temperament.

Age: Puppies under 4 months of age should never go to a dog park as their immune systems are more susceptible to illness. Dogs that have reached maturity (generally around 2 years) and elderly dogs are more selective with their friends and may not be as outgoing or welcoming as they were when they were puppies. When introducing your mature dog to new friends, you should always proceed slowly and not assume that because your pooch has other doggie friends that he would appreciate being thrown into a new situation with a large number of “strangers”.

Play style: Different breeds of dogs have very different styles of playing, and you should evaluate the other dogs in the park at the time you arrive to see if your baby would fit in. For example, if the majority of the park patrons are large breed dogs that like to body slam each other (i.e., Labradors), then it may not be the best time to bring in your Australian Shepard who has a more reserved play style.

Health: Dogs who have had any communicable health issues in the past 30 days should not go to dog parks. It is always a good idea to visit your veterinarian beforehand to ensure that your dog is healthy enough to go to dog parks. Official dog parks should always have posted signs requiring that all dogs that enter the play area must be vaccinated; make sure that your pooch is up-to-date on his Rabies, Distemper/Parvo, and Bordetella shots (for more information on Canine Cough, see our post here). Dog park regulations also usually stipulate that all dogs over a certain age (usually 6 months) must be spayed or neutered to use the park, however, just because these rules are posted does not mean that all pet owners will adhere to them, keep this in mind when deciding if your pet should attend play time at the park. If you notice intact males or a dog whose health is questionable, do not use the park at that time.

Temperament: Dogs who have not been socialized should be integrated into the dog park slowly, and not at a time when there are a lot of dogs; one fight or bad experience can traumatize your dog. Remember, what we as the owner might think of as a minor event can often color your dog’s future reactions to similar situations. If you have a small breed dog, find a dog park that provides two or more separated areas, one for larger dogs and one for smaller dogs. Often times larger breeds will over power the weaker dogs thus teaching the smaller dog to be afraid of larger dogs if the owner does not step in to correct the behavior. Also, there is the risk that a smaller dog will get stepped on and injured if not properly supervised. If your dog has issues with aggression, either towards other canines or towards humans, do not take them to a dog park. Similarly, do not take your nervous/anxious dog to the dog park either, this will not help them overcome their issues, just exacerbate them. Beginning socialization in both of these instances should only be attempted with the help of a professional trainer.

Choosing the right Dog Park

So you’ve decided you want to take Fido to the dog park, which one do you choose? Picking the right dog park is as important as deciding if your dog would do well in one and the correct set up will help your dog integrate into the pack better. Always choose an area that is specifically zoned as a dog park, NOT your local field or other open space as there may be regulations against having dogs off-leash in these areas and not be fully enclosed.

Look for parks that have at least two gated entrances and that are preferably shielded from the view of the dogs that are already inside. Dog patrons will tend to gather around the entrances and can cause anxiety and a higher state of arousal in the incoming dog, creating a higher risk for an incident to break out. Do not force your dog to enter the park if they seem nervous or anxious; the other dogs will be able to pick up on their energy and try to control the situation by going after the dog whose energy is ‘off’.

Parks with a large space to run are best so that dogs who do not wish to interact with the others are not forced to due to proximity. Ponds, lakes, trees, and hillocks are good features to look for not just for the dog’s enjoyment, but also to prevent them from racing full speed towards other dogs and potentially colliding with each other. Other structures or obstacles are a plus for frightened dogs that wish to hide or keep to themselves.

Dog Park Basic Do’s and Don’ts

Do:

  • Clean up after your dog.
  • Supervise your dog at all times and interrupt interactions if they are inappropriate or too rough. Remember, you are responsible for your own dog’s actions, there are not dog park workers there to take care of your dog for you.
  • Exit the park if your dog is being bullied/your dog is bullying others.
  • Bring one person per dog.
  • Adhere to and respect all posted signs and regulations.
  • Move around the park; don’t separate yourself too far from your dog.

Don’t:

  • Bring toys or treats, these can cause guarding and aggression between the dogs.
  • Allow dogs to bully others.
  • Talk on your phone or form a group with the owners and ignore your dog.
  • Bring children, they can easily be knocked over and you do not know how other dogs will react to them.
  • Take advice from dog park patrons unless they are trained dog professionals.

Dog Park Alternatives

If your pet is not suited to dog parks or you are uncomfortable having them around dogs whose temperament you are unsure of but you are intent on having them socialized, then Doggie Daycare would be better fit for both you and your dog. While doggie daycare is not free, the peace of mind owners receive from knowing that their pet is being supervised by trained professionals and is playing with dogs who have been pre-approved and temperament tested in order to be in a group setting makes up for the financial cost. Another advantage to doggie daycare is knowing that the facility has requirements for health, vaccinations, and spaying or neutering that all the dogs must adhere to in order to be allowed in the door. However, just like choosing a dog park, you must do your due diligence and choose the pet care facility that adheres to the highest standards of cleanliness, care, and safety.

Attitude is Everything at Fit ‘N’ Furry

“Attitude is everything,” especially when it comes to training your dog!

Keeping a positive attitude and perspective is critical for the success of your dog’s training. A proper attitude and mindset should be considered the prerequisite to training your dog.  Your outlook and disposition towards training are even more important than the tools purchased, system used, or even the breed of dog.  Owners with a negative outlook on the training process can prove detrimental to the prospect of effective training.

Developing a solid bond between owner and dog is the key to creating a successful foundation for training.  It is a dog’s nature to reflect the personal temperament of their owners.  A pleasant owner who maintains a calm, confident, friendly disposition while training will see results in a pleasant dog.  Using positive reinforcements such as: compliments, encouragement, and praise will motivate your dog to perform well and eliminate the need to rely on treats or other methods.

As a trainer you need to manage firm and friendly control, but remember to make it fun for both you and your dog.  Trainers who keep a solid positive attitude are guaranteed a successful outcome. Owners with negative tendencies will come to find the training process an undesirable chore.  Their dog will sense this negative attitude, pick-up on it, and start to mirror their owner’s behaviors.  The training progress is then sidelined, causing frustration and undermining the process.

Canines, by nature, are routine oriented and naturally crave a balanced, structured lifestyle.  Maintaining a productive behavioral routine is your job as an owner/trainer to provide consistency throughout your dog’s training. Make training a treat with continued exemplary actions and nurtured reinforcements.

Positive-Proven-Effective