Fit ‘N’ Furry wants you to find what leash and collar works best for you and your dog….

There are many different types of collars and leashes and it can beEmbed from Getty Images
hard to choose what is right for you and your pet. Since each dog is unique, there are a few products that we love to recommend here at Fit N Furry! Before going out the choosing a new collar from the pet store, the best way to be sure if something is going to safe for your pet is to consult your veterinarian first.

One of our favorite collars to use at Fit ‘N’ Furry is a Martingale collar. Once originally used for greyhounds, the martingales popularity has grown in the past few years as a great alternative to chain collars or pinch collars. Once property sized and adjusted, you can take the collar on and off with ease without worrying about making sure the buckle is properly latched. While walking your pet on a martingale, if your pet is not pulling, the collar with remain loose around your pets’ neck. If your pet pulls, the collar instantly becomes tight and prevents your dog from backing out of the collar.

Another great item we use is a front lead harness. This type of harness is perfect for dogs with trachea problems or dogs that pull. There is a ring that sits on the front of your dogs’ chest and when properly used can help redirect the pulling motion without choking. These harnesses are the ones our trainer prefers to use.

If you’re having issues with a pet that is pulling and nothing has seemed to help stop the problem, you may want to look into a Gentle Leader or a Halti.Both of these sit on the bridge of your dogs’ nose and wrap around the back of the head helping guide your dog in the direction you want to go in. In a sense, it works exactly the same as a halter for a horse, keeping the pet close and under control.

There are many different leashes available, ranging from material type to length. Leashes between 4 and 6 feet in length are the most common and ideal for keeping your dog safe and keeping you in control. The majority of leashes can be found in Nylon, Cotton or Leather. Most recently we’ve noticed some pet parents starting to lean towards a bungee or shock absorbing leash. This helps take the strain off of the walker. Any leash is a good leash as long as it’s well made and has a strong clasp.

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These are just some of the helpful tools you can use with your pet, but there is much more out there in the pet industry worth exploring.

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Fit’n’Furry Investigates: What Pet is Right for My Child?

“Pleeeeeeeeeeaaaaassssse?! He’s so cute! I promise I’ll look after him! I’ll do everything for him. He’ll be mine! You won’t have to do a thing! Please can we get him, Pleeeeeeeeeeaaaaassssse?!”  A familiar sound at shelters, pet stores and adoption events, a child’s plea for a pet is cute (unless it’s a shrill cry) but as a parent you may be wondering – when is the right age for your young one to take care of an animal. What pet is right for him? Is he an appropriate age? Is he responsible enough? How much of the work am I going to end up with? Each child and family is different, but here are some guidelines to keep in mind before taking your little bi-ped to adopt a new quadruped family member. 200155493-001

The ASPCA recommends different animals for different ages for first time little pet owners. Between the ages of three and five, your child is learning about contact and empathy. ASPCA experts recommend a guinea pig for a pet. “Guinea pigs like to be held, seldom bite and will whistle when excited or happy, to the delight of most kids. Your child can also help with responsibilities by filling the water bottle and food dish.” Of course, mom or dad will need to supervise playtime and make sure that the cage is washed properly.

goldfishinbowlFor five to ten year olds, small pets such as gerbils, rats, hamsters and fish are recommended for learning proper care and pet hygiene. This keeps the parent’s involvement (aka: work) to a minimum.  Children at this age tend to have a short attention span. Keep watch that your child is giving clean water and is feeding the appropriate amount of food. They can help with chores such as cleaning the cage, washing the toys and measuring the food. These steps are vital before adopting larger pets that require more dedication. During this time of learning, your child is gaining confidence and a sense of responsibility which will bring them to the next step, if wanted.

Tweens are generally known to teens_walking_dog_in_parkhave the greatest interest in owning a dog or cat. They are mature enough to clean the litter box, and keep them watered and fed properly. For walking, they should not do so independently until they are typically over the age of 15. This is because kids under this age may not know how or be physically able to handle dangerous situations that may arise,  such as unleashed dogs. Kids of this age group can also attend training classes for Pooch; a wonderful learning opportunity! This is an age of reliance but parents should still keep tabs on how the pet is doing in terms of hygiene and diet.

Once your child reaches teenage-dom, they tend to become very busy with extracurricular activities, friends, school, and more. The ASPCA mentions birds or fish for first-time-teen pet owners. Your rapidly growing and maturing “little ones” will soon find themselves going to college and leaving their nest. So, remember that any pet is a FOREVER pet and the parent may end up with Fido or Fluffy for a very long amount of time.

It is up to the parent to create and keep guidelines for their child. Sure, they may make the promises to feed, water, clean, play and care with those cute little faces at the shelter. However, the situation may turn into the parent taking all the responsibility once the child finds out that it’s not all fun and games to own a pet. A great way to build trust that your child will take care of their pet is for them to use their allowance money to purchase treats, beds and toys. GlobalAnimal.org says that immediate positive reinforcement is a perfect and productive way to praise your child for a job well done; more confidence boosting and a feeling of responsibility. An outline to read with your child can be found here. No matter what and when your child decides to take on a new pet, it is the family’s duty to make sure that the pet is well looked after; it’s just a matter of how much time and effort everyone is willing to dedicate.

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!

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.