Monthly Archives: March 2009

Tags Will Help Your Pet Get Home Again

Many people don’t realize how important having an identification tag on your pet is. Having worked in pet shops, it is really brought home to you when you hear the stories that your customers tell you when they come in to purchase a tag. It may just be as simple as their dog got through a hole in the backyard fence, or someone came home and the dog shot out the door before they got it closed. 
One of the best stories I ever heard (it had a happy ending) was about one of my customers and their Viszla, Ginger. They took Ginger everywhere with them and had gone camping with her to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Mr. Jones (not their real name) took Ginger for a walk with him while Mrs. Jones stayed behind to tidy up after breakfast. Mr. Jones and Ginger took a walk on a hiking trail that wound up a rise to a peak between two valleys that they could walk along. The scenery was beautiful, until they saw a herd of deer. Ginger, true to her breed, took off after the deer and disappeared into one of the valleys below. Mr. Jones did his best to keep up and while he was in good shape, never had a chance.
Mr. Jones walked through the valley for hours and finally had to give up as it was getting late. He was devastated, he lost their best friend and she had no tags on. He hiked back to their campsite, trying to figure out the best way to tell his wife and try to figure out how to go about finding Ginger in a park that encompasses over 521,621.15 acres (as of September 23, 2000). So imagine his surprise and delight when he got back to their campsite and Ginger came running up to greet him. He was so happy he started to cry and then he had to explain to his befuddled wife why he was crying. She began laughing and explained to him that Ginger came back about two hours after they had started out. Ginger was smart enough to track her way back to her favorite people. While this story has a happy ending they don’t always. Needless to say after they got back from vacation, they came in and got her a complete set of tags.
While microchipping and tattoos are good, not all shelters have universal microchip readers. In my opinion having a tag on a dog is a good, simple and inexpensive way to get your dog home. There are different schools of thought of what kind of information to put on your dog tag. Some people don’t advocate putting your pet’s name on their tag. I personally tag all my animals with their name, my name, my address and two phone numbers. I put on my home number and a number of a family member that can be reached in case of an emergency and I am not available; as I don’t have a cell phone. I used to put a home and office number on my tags, but now I work from home, so Skye actually has the breeder’s phone number on her tag also. She has a second tag on with the medication that she needs to take and the vet’s phone number. I also like to use a tag that is made out of stainless steel, as I have had problems with tag breakage and chewing on tags that are not stainless steel. But I have a dog that is very oral and loves to chew.  
There are many options when you buy a pet tag today, some companies even have a number that can be called 24/7 and store your dog’s medical records; which can make it easier to retrieve them and get them home safely. Even something as simple as a rabies tag, can get your pet home again; I know because I traced a dog’s owner that way. Do your homework and get what works for you, because if your pet gets lost, they can’t ask a policeman to help them get home again.

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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Spring Cleaning Your Dog Run

It is almost that time of year again when we all venture outside for the next several months. This weekend in Minnesota we had a thaw, and Skye and I got to go outside and play ball. There is no grass growing yet in Skye’s dog yard though there is old grass from last year, which is about a quarter of an acre. 
While we were playing ball, I got an unpleasant surprise. The snow may have begun to thaw, but the ground has not. So we have frozen ground, with a layer of ice on it in places and standing water on top of that. While Skye does not go potty all over her yard, as she picks the fence perimeter in a few spots, it was still not a very nice sight especially after racing through it while chasing her ball.
I have been picking up dog poop and putting it in a compost bin over the winter, because I can’t use our doggie septic tank. So now I have liquefying dog poop around the yard where it had frozen to the ground before I could get to it. I’m sorry but I’m only human and I refuse to go out at 1:00am in a Minnesota winter if Skye wants to go out; to pick up poop in my nightie, especially when it is 20 degree
s below zero F. There isn’t any smell to speak of yet because it is now mixed with water and draining away, but it made me wonder what the regular dog owner does. What does someone with multiple dogs do? So I thought I would share some of the tools that I use when cleaning my dog yard.

In one of my recent articles I mentioned Odormute™ and how good it is to use on skunk odor. Well that isn’t the only thing it works on. I have used it since the mid 1970’s when I first discovered it; on cat litter boxes when they need to be cleaned, on cement floors that smell musty, to clean garbage cans and in my dog’s yard as well as anywhere else I needed a good deodorizer. It is non-toxic and non-caustic and is made of natural enzymes and salts. You can make three different strengths depending on the strength of the odor you are dealing with. It will not harm plants, pets or humans, and that is why I like it so much. I mix up a bucketful and spread it
 around the dog yard to deal with the odor issue. Odormute™ is now marketed by Hueter Toledo as well as the other product Ryter made called Lim’nate™.

Lim’nate™ is a sanitary digester for using in a doggie septic tank, which you can either make yourself or buy at a pet shop. In the spring after the temperature rises above about 40 degrees F, you put water in the bottom of your doggie septic tank, add Lim’nate™ and add your dog’s poop, and put the lid back on. The Lim’nate™ does the rest, digesting the poop you put in, and there’s no smell because it is underground. Depending on the weather conditions, all you have to do is add more poop, water and Lim’nate™ from time to time. The only thing about Lim’nate™ is that the digesting enzymes don’t work under about 32 degrees F. Other than that it keeps your yard odor free, which is a plus when you are dining al fresco or having a garden party.
All dog owners know how to scoop poop and dispose of it, but with these tools on hand it can make your job easier and you and your pets can celebrate a nicer smelling summer.

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Being a Responsible Pack Leader

Responsible Pet Ownership is in part the ability to be a responsible “pack leader”. Here are some very general hints on how to do this:
  1. Understand your pack: This is the most important. Learn the body language of your pets. Since they can’t really speak, it’s only through body language that we can identify the reasons behind behavior. No animal attacks without a warning sign. They always tell you when enough is enough, and each animal has their own method of communicating this.
  2. Be Fair: Treat all members of the pack fairly. If one is disciplined for stealing a treat off the counter, ensure that all are disciplined in the exact same way if or when they engage in the same act. Being predictable will help your pack trust you.
  3. Be Consistent: Animals, like people, need to understand that there are rules. They also understand that there are consequences if those rules are broken. Biting, growling, or negative behavior should never be encouraged.
  4. Be Organized: Organization is key to maintaining a healthy pack and being an effective pack leader. The less chaos, the better the performance. Stay on a schedule for feeding, walks, and playtime. Sure, go ahead and introduce your pup to new things. It’s important for their development, but do it in an organized, calm manner.
  5. Training: Much like people, certain people have certain abilities and temperaments. Pushing an animal or pet into a specific task or role can almost guarantee disaster. Find out what they like, what motivates them (a ball, a treat, affection) and use that for training. The best trainers in the world use positive reinforcement and offer animals roles doing what they are already good at and enjoy.
  6. Trust No One: Don’t turn your dog into a babysitter or guardian. Certain animals are predisposed to certain roles and not all of them fit what you may view as the “perfect pet.” They may not have the tolerance level for children and if that’s the case, don’t try to force them into the role.
A Note on Trust: Domesticated does not mean “trustworthy”. I love my pets – all of them – and I’m more guilty than most in anthropomorphizing my pets. But, there are limits. Understand that a dog’s reaction to a crying baby can easily be to pick it up by the neck just as they would a pup. Their responses are not the same as ours. Realize that changing the order in which pets are fed can result in a battle for dominance. Why? Because they see things differently than you or I.
What I’m trying to say is that years of conditioning do not make an animal trustworthy. Animals are unique, each hold different roles in a pack, and we empower them to make decisions. Be a responsible pack leader and never provide an opportunity for them to take advantage.
You’ll find that these skills also translate into being a good family member and a great member of society. Like us, most animals are prey-driven and pack-oriented. They are social creatures. Respect your pets and they will return that respect.

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

All About Stacy Mantle

Contrary to popular belief, I dread writing a bio. In fact, I even enlisted the assistance of a friend to create the one you see all over the internet. But, I’m going to give this a shot in a traditional “blogging” sort of way.
Obviously, I love animals. From wanting to marry Rudolph (the reindeer, not Valentino) when I was four years old, to living with 18 cats, a turtle, 200 gallons of fish, 2 dogs and a wolf/coyote hybrid, you won’t find many photos of me without an animal. Fortunately, I have an amazing and very understanding husband (not a reindeer) who loves animals as much as I do.
My fascination with all things wild led to three possible careers: that of a veterinarian, a biologist or a writer. Since I doubt I could put a pet to sleep, and I’m terrible at math, I chose to be a writer. And so far, that has been the path of least resistance.
I am the founder of PetsWeekly, a website that features reviews of the best new pet products on the market, and just about everything you ever wanted to know about animals. I am also the author of several books, including Conquering the Food Chain: Living Amongst Animals (Without Becoming One). This book and others I’ve written are available in Barnes & Noble bookstores nationwide, or online at Amazon. My stories, articles and reviews can be found in such print publications as Pacific Yachting, Cat Fancy, The Arabian Horse Times, Jackson Parents Magazine and many others. I am active with feral cat Trap, Neuter and Release (TNR) programs nationwide, wildlife preservation and the rescue of many different animals, including wolf hybrids when they are located. I belong to a number of associations within the pet care industry, and regularly attend trade shows, activities and events.
As I’m also a strong advocate of early learning and the benefits of educating children in humane practices, my business partner and I began the company GrokQuest. We publish educational activity books for younger children. We have a number of titles within several different industries, including the pet care world. Those titles are “So, You Have A New Kitten!” and “So, You Have A New Puppy!”. 
Currently, I am staying way too busy as a fulltime freelance writer, owner of PetsWeekly, and attending school in pursuit of my MBA (only a few months left!). If any of you are active in the social networking zoo, I hope you will add me as a friend at PetsWeekly, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace.

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Saving Money: Making Toys from Recyclables & Getting Rid of Those Pesky Plastic Bags

In this economy we could all use a little help. Last year Steve and I went to a free Internet seminar, as we were considering selling things over the Internet. We were in a group of ten people and had to do an exercise where we took a regular paper clip and came up with as many different uses for it as we could. While in the beginning it sounded silly to us, our group actually came up with over 50 different uses (yes 50) for a common paper clip. I came up with another use the other day when the zipper pull on my jeans broke. It was a great learning experience because it gave us a whole new perspective on what you can do with regular items. I took it a bit farther and started looking at the items I recycle to see if I could give them a new use too.
With prices up and wages down, the groceries and bills get paid, and the animals get fed. But frills are out of the question, at least for the moment in our house. Don’t misunderstand me; I absolutely love going shopping for my pets and can spend hours in a pet shop. I’ve put these ideas together to help make our household a little happier in these lean times and I thought I would share them with you. 
We are great recyclers, but I kept feeling that I could do something else with all the tubular medicine bottles we have around the house. I tried to get the pharmacy to refill my prescriptions using the old pill bottles, but there is a law in Minnesota that won’t let them. So I started making cat toys out of them. I wash them first, and then I put a few grains of rice in them, which makes them rattle and let the cats have them. While they don’t roll like a ball, the cats still chase them around the room and have mock battles when they capture one from another cat. I also have some tubular bottles from something else I buy and they are about 3-1/2 inches long by about 1 inch in diameter, with indented grooves about ½ inch from each end. I use a small nail and poke holes in the grooves and fill the bottle with catnip. The holes in the grooves, let the smell of the catnip out, but the bottle is strong enough that the cats can’t get through to the catnip. Sometimes I even tie a few pieces of rawhide around the neck of the bottle before putting the top back onto the bottle to give them some added distraction. You can use any white plastic bottle as long as it is small enough and you can poke holes through the plastic. If you have dogs in the house, make sure you supervise the cats playing with these bottles, in case the dog might try and take them away. You can even make catnip toys from recycled fabric from shirts and cotton jeans. The nice thing about cotton jeans; they won’t fall apart the first time your cat claws them with their back feet. If you want stuffing, use fabric from the jeans to make the toys plumper.
For Skye, I take old pairs of cotton blue jeans and take the side seams and the inseams out, so I have two pieces of fabric (the front and the back), then I tie the matching sides of the bottom of one leg together in a knot and make about three to five more knots in the legs of the jeans to make a tug. I will warn you though, I did this several years ago with another dog, and he could not or would not differentiate between his “tuggies” and the jeans on the laundry line. I also make tugs for Skye out of old towels, though I try to use towels that are 100% cotton, as their fibers are safer. But do not ever leave your dog alone with these toys; they should be supervised at all times.
I knit and I found out that you can knit with the plastic from grocery store bags. I cut off the bottom seam, and take a scissors to cut the bag horizontally, starting at about 1” from the bottom. I keep cutting around the bag and by the time I am done I have one long plastic strip. Then I get my knitting needles out and start knitting. I’ve tried knitting with about a size #8 US, but have found that a pair of size #12 US or larger actually work better because of the bulkiness of the plastic. I can knit all sorts of bags that are usable at the grocery store, or for hanging on a door hook to keep all the extra toys or pet supplies in when they are not in use. 
Some of these ideas are not unique to me; I just put them all in one place for us to share. We are all feeling the pinch these days and our animals love us no matter what we are feeling, this way we can recycle and our pets can keep putting smiles on our faces with their antics.

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Camping With Your Dog

If you are anything like my family and I, as soon as the weather turns nice we start planning an escape. At least once a year we escape to the north shore of Lake Superior. While I haven’t tried camping with my dog yet, this year is the year I just may. If you are like me and want to share your passion for the outside with your dog, there are a few things you need to consider before you take your dog camping.
First of all, if this is a fairly long trip you need to make sure your dog won’t get carsick. Your dog’s shot records should be up to date and you should obtain a health certificate from your vet to provide this information in case an official (park or otherwise) needs to see it. Will you be able to be with your dog and supervise them 24/7? This is important and you can get thrown out of a state or national park if you don’t follow all rules and regulations; this includes your dog too. Many parks have “quiet time” rules, after which you should not be making noise that may keep other campers awake. These rules also apply to your dog and a park will not tolerate a dog that barks all night long. While service dogs are allowed in park buildings, regular pets are not. What kind of wildlife resides in the park you want to visit? If there are bears or other large predatory animals, you want to avoid any run-ins with them. A dog bell is a good idea; this will help you hear your dog and might protect them from predators.
Check the rules and regulations of the park before you go: Is your dog allowed in the park you want to visit? Do you need to pay an extra fee for your dog? Some parks do not allow pets of any kind and you should make sure that you find out before you go, so you can avoid any disappointments or fines you may incur by bringing your dog. Check the National Park Service website. Each individual state has a governing body for their state parks, it is usually the Department of Natural Resources, in some cases it is the Department of Agriculture. A number of dog friendly state parks are listed here.
Suggested supplies you may need and should consider when camping with your dog:
  1. If your dog is on medication, enough medication to last for your trip and a few days extra.
  2. Enough of your dog’s regular food to last for the duration of your camping trip and a few days extra.
  3. Consider bottled water, some parks don’t have water available depending on the season.
  4. A collar that fits properly and has the correct identification on it.
  5. Bowls for food and water.
  6. Interactive toys for your dog. You never know you may have a Frisbee champ in the making.
  7. Health Certificate if that is required. Even if it is not, it is a good thing to take with you.
  8. A 6 foot leash for walking. (Note: A retractable lead is not allowed, 6 foot is the limit and is strictly enforced.)
  9. A dog crate if you have one, in case you are going somewhere your dog is not allowed, or need somewhere safe to confine the dog. Many parks want you to be able to contain the dog.
  10. Blankets or bed for inside the crate, if your dog needs to spend time there.
  11. Waterless shampoo for those unforeseen mud puddles.
  12. Flea and or tick spray (depending on the time of year).
  13. First aid kit for you and your dog. (Should include tweezers for picking off parasites.)
  14. Tie out cable.
  15. Tie out stake.
  16. Dog Bell.
Dog coat or sweater, possibly boots (depending on the weather where you are going).
By using your own common sense and abiding by the rules and regulations of the park you visit; camping with your dog can be an enjoyable, fun experience for you both. They get to spend some extra quality time with you, which will make that special bond you have together stronger. You can make some wonderful memories and take home some great pictures of your best four-legged friend.

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.