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Wednesday, 02 March 2016 06:25

Teaching your dog to cope with being alone

Dogs are social animals and actively seek out our companionship. They can quickly become accustomed to being part of a group 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whenever a new dog is brought into a home, especially a young, playful puppy, people have a tendency to interact with them constantly. While this interaction is a very important part of socialization and bonding, you need to make sure that you are not setting your puppy up for a big disappointment when you must leave him at home alone. Including some 'alone training' right from the beginning will be beneficial to both your puppy and you.

Published in Style
Tuesday, 22 December 2015 19:29

Cat litter: who gets to choose?

Cat litter is not a topic that typically comes up in polite conversation. Unless you own a cat, you probably don't think about cat litter at all. The initial premise behind cat litter, which was 'invented' back in 1947, was to provide cats with an indoor bathroom. Cat ownership has steadily increased, and as more people keep their cats inside all of the time, cat litter has exploded into a $2 billion per year industry. The ASPCA estimates the average cat owner spends around $200 per year, per cat, on cat litter - $60 more than the average family spends on toilet paper in one year. On an annual basis, in the US alone, the need for cat litter results in the mining of 5 billion pounds of clay. Manufacturers process and package the litter that we then pour into our cat's litter box. Our cat 'uses' their box and then we scoop out the soiled litter and eventually dispose of it in a landfill. Cat litter has a significant monetary and environmental impact on the world.

Version 1.0 of cat litter was pretty simple. It was a type of clay made of Fuller's Earth that readily absorbed cat urine and thus helped to control the odors associated with cat waste. Since cats normally would urinate and defecate in the dirt outside, they easily adapted to using a box filled with this new 'dirt-like' product.

Published in Style
Tuesday, 17 November 2015 18:57

Cold weather and holiday tips for pets

Like or not, winter is here, and we need to consider how this change in seasons affects our pets.

Dealing with the cold, snow and ice

Published in Style

As the Internet has grown, blogging has become very popular. It's a great medium for writers to share their thoughts and an easy means for a reader to learn something new. However, as we've learned from that famous commercial for State Farm Insurance, just because it's on the Internet doesn't mean it's true. Likewise, just because someone writes about something and posts it online does not mean they have any qualifications to be posting about a particular topic. And some bloggers, like myself, write to share information and do so freely. I get no financial remuneration for anything I post on my blog unless, after reading something, you decide to utilize the services of my business. However, some bloggers are compensated every time you read their work or are compensated by companies for posting articles that promote certain companies and products. For example, my wife Paula who is not a blogger and I recently received the following email:

Published in Style
Tuesday, 14 July 2015 20:00

A dog that growls is not a bad dog

While a dog's growl can be frightening and disheartening, it also serves the very useful purpose of alerting us or another being that the dog is feeling threatened, uncomfortable or angry. It is the dog's way of saying, 'If something in this situation does not change, I may have no other choice than to bite.' Growling is a communication tool that is designed to increase the distance between the dog and that which the dog perceives as a threat.

While a growl is usually associated with aggression, it is important to understand that there are many causes of aggression. Pain or other medical issues can cause an aggressive response, as can fear. Fear arises for many reasons: a reminder of a previous negative experience, a perceived loss of a resource or space, expectations of punishment and associated pain and maternal protective instincts can all cause a dog to react aggressively. Sexual competition, barrier frustration, low tolerance for frustration, differences in personalities between dogs and genetics may also cause or contribute to aggressive behavior.

Published in Style

Using a carrier is the safest way to transport an animal from your home to another location. I would particularly discourage anyone from transporting a cat that is not secured in a carrier. No matter how well behaved your cat is, if you are in an accident your cat will be terrified and will do everything they can to get away.

Unfortunately, most cats only see their carrier moments before they are forced into them to be taken on a car ride, usually to the veterinarian, groomer or boarding kennel. Often the end result is a cat that runs and hides the minute they are aware of the presence of the carrier. Finding and extracting a cat from a hiding place without getting scratched or bitten can be a prolonged and stressful process, one that is terrifying for your cat and frustrating for you. Wouldn't your cat be happier and your life significantly easier if your cat enjoyed their carrier and perhaps even walked right in? Getting there is not as complicated as you might think.

Published in Livin'
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 16:11

Is it OK if our dog sleeps in our bed?

I do not know how many times a year we are asked, 'Is it okay if our dog sleeps in our bed?' The reality is there is nothing inherently wrong with your dog sleeping in your bed, and contrary to popular belief, sleeping in your bed does not make a dog dominant. If you do allow your dog to sleep in your bed, you're in the majority. In an informal survey I conducted via FaceBook, 75 respondents (77.32 percent) indicated that their dog is allowed to sleep in bed with them, whereas only 22 respondents (22.68 percent) indicated that their dog was not allowed to sleep with them.

However, sharing a bed with a dog is not for everyone - and not all dogs are fans of sharing sleeping space. Therefore, before inviting Sparky into bed, please ask yourself the following questions:

Published in Style
Wednesday, 28 January 2015 17:45

It's Responsible Pet Owners Month

Time to train your dog

If you are like most people, you got a dog for companionship. Companions hang out together, and training your dog makes that easier. February is Responsible Pet Owners month, and one of the most conscientious things any dog owner can do is to take the time to appropriately train their dog. Odds are if you train your dog they will be able to do more with you and will be welcome more places you would like to take them. Even your friends and family that don't like dogs - and yes, those people exist - will perhaps at least tolerate your well trained, well behaved, magnificent dog.

Published in Style

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