Monthly Archives: July 2011

How to Keep Your Dog Safe at Summer Gatherings

By Bear (Canine Guest Blogger)

I just love summer, don’t you? There’s swimming and running around, playing ball and of course, lots of cookouts and people to play with. Yep, it’s a dog’s life that’s for sure! Today I’m taking a break from the social whirl to talk to everyone about some safety rules to keep us doggies healthy and happy through the summer. Summer get-togethers can be dangerous for dogs, so we count on our people to keep us safe.

Small Children

I’m a good dog; I love the kids at our house and I like to play with them because they don’t get too rough and don’t treat me like I’m a pony. I may be a little on the heavy side but I’m definitely not a horse! My mommy knows that I don’t have a lot of patience and may get snappy if a little kid pulls my hair or climbs on me, so she makes sure to let everyone who has small children know that I’m off limits. If there are going to be a lot of little kids around, my mom will put me on a run in my own area or keep me in the house so I can get a little peace! My mom definitely doesn’t want me to bite someone’s child, so she makes sure that I’m kept at a safe distance from small children who probably don’t want to hurt me, but might by accident. You might also want to read our article “Teaching Kids How to Approach an Unfamiliar Dog.”

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CANIDAE Helps Pets Affected by New Mexico Wildfire

By Julia Williams

The wildfire season is really heating up. Wildfires wreak havoc on the land, on people’s homes and businesses, and their pets too. According to U.S. Fire Administration statistics, wildfires torch 4 to 9 million acres every year, forcing all living things in their path to flee for their lives. Residents must evacuate not knowing if they will have a home to come back to when the fire danger has passed.

Although our first thought might not be about the pets of wildfire evacuees, the devastation affects not only them but the area’s animal shelters, rescue groups and pet food stores. Shelters scramble to find enough space for the influx of newly homeless pets that need a safe place to stay until the evacuees can return to their homes. The shelters also scramble to find enough food to feed these pets, since many of their owners are facing loss of property or business income and are unable to help with the cost of caring for their pets during this difficult time.

Thankfully, compassionate pet food companies like CANIDAE exist, companies who quickly answer the call for help and get huge pallets of food delivered where it’s needed most. Last week, it was needed in northern New Mexico, where the Las Conchas Fire started on June 26 near Los Alamos. This wildfire is New Mexico’s largest to date; it’s scorched nearly 150,000 acres thus far, and is still burning today. So far, more than 400 homes were threatened by the fire, and 63 homes were destroyed.

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Keep Pets Safe by Practicing for an Emergency

By Linda Cole

I live in Tornado Alley, and when I bought my home one of the most important considerations was a basement. I wanted a secure area where I could leave my pets when it was stormy and I was at work. Emergencies can happen at any time, day or night, but too many families don’t consider what might happen until a disaster is at their front door.

Practicing how you will handle certain kinds of emergencies can make a difference. Practice makes perfect, and when you know what to do and where to go, panic doesn’t take over your mind. Practice gives you knowledge, and knowledge gives you the power and strength to move quickly in an emergency.

Having a plan is one of the best ways to keep yourself, your family and your pets safe in an emergency. Teaching kids what to do when they’re home alone may not ease fears in an emergency, but it can help to keep them calmer so they can follow a plan instead of racing around trying to think what they should do and frantically searching for pets that may be hiding or forgetting about them altogether.

Pets have certain places in their home where they feel the most comfortable and safe. Some prefer a secluded place like under the bed or tucked away in a closet. It’s important for everyone to know your pet’s favorite places because most likely, that’s where you’ll find them if they’re hiding. Cats and dogs are pros at picking up how we are feeling and if we have anxiety and are frightened, they understand it. So it’s important to know all of the possible hiding places your pet could go if they’re scared. You can’t count on them answering you if they’re frightened. Pets can freeze up with fear just like people can do.

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Blind Cat Rescue & Sanctuary

By Julia Williams

It can be difficult for adult cats in animal shelters to find their forever home, since many people prefer to adopt a cute playful kitten instead. For cats with special needs, the chance of being adopted is almost nil. Blind Cat Rescue & Sanctuary (BCRS) was started in 2005 to provide a safe home for blind cats that are deemed unadoptable by regular shelters. This lifetime care facility for blind cats is located in St. Pauls, North Carolina on a 24-acre farm that’s also home to numerous horses, donkeys, chickens and turkeys.

Blind Cat Rescue is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that gives a second chance at life to kitties that have been certified by a veterinarian as being blind. Cats with 20% or less sight are accepted as blind. Most of the cats that come to the sanctuary will stay for the remainder of their life, although they could potentially be adopted out if the right family came along.

As often happens in life, Blind Cat Rescue’s inception came about through a twist of fate. In 2000, the organization’s founder, Alana Miller, was volunteering at a local rescue group with her daughter Stephanie. At an adoption event, a man brought in a tiny kitten he’d found; its eyes were crusted shut due to a severe eye infection. The rescue group didn’t have the resources to accept the kitten, and when the man said he was going to abandon it in the parking lot, Alana made a split-second decision to take it herself. From that day on, the Millers seemed to be a magnet for blind cats in need of a safe haven. When Alana realized they had become the go-to resource shelters would call when they had a blind cat, she decided to fully commit to the mission. Now, Blind Cat Rescue offers a safe, clean, climate-controlled home for approximately 40 special needs felines.

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The Right Way to Greet a Dog

By Linda Cole

Dogs are naturally curious when someone new comes to visit. Some dogs will react positively to a stranger with a friendly approach, but may feel threatened as soon as the person reaches down to try and pet them. There are rules to keep in mind when greeting a dog, and knowing what they are can be the difference between a friendly encounter or one that becomes tense. Meeting new people can be exciting for some dogs, while others take longer to warm up to someone. Understanding the “Body Language of Dogs” can make a meeting smoother and safer when you know how to interpret what a dog is saying. You can then take that information and use it in your favor.

A dog can appear friendly, until you get too close; then he may feel intimidated. He may back off, cower or give you a low warning growl. It’s just like when a person stands too close while talking to you and it gives you an uncomfortable feeling. The person may not realize their close proximity creates tension if they don’t notice your body language. When greeting a dog, regardless of whether he knows you or not, ignore him when you first walk into someone’s home. No eye contact, don’t talk to him and don’t try to pet him. From the dog’s point of view it’s not being rude, it’s being polite. He’s more likely to stay calm when you don’t acknowledge him until the human greetings are done.

If the dog jumps up on you, turn your side or back to him each time he jumps up. If he continues, walk away from him without looking at or speaking to him. Avoid pushing him down with your hands because dogs use their front paws in play and when you push him away using your hands, he thinks you’re trying to play with him. Fold your arms or put your hands in your pocket if the dog tries to get your attention by nudging your hand. Pet a dog only when he’s calm and has all four feet on the ground.

Sudden moves can startle a dog. If you try to suddenly pet a dog from above with your hand moving down towards his head or if you move too quickly towards him, a timid dog can feel threatened and may snap or growl. Watch the dog’s body language which will tell you if you need to back off and leave him alone. A shy dog is more likely to approach you if you aren’t paying him attention. A handful of CANIDAE TidNips™ treats can help make friends after the initial greetings; just be sure to ask his owner first.

Sit down on the couch or in a chair, or kneel down on the floor making sure to avoid eye contact with the dog. Hold some treats in your hand and offer them to the dog. If he won’t take the treat from your hand, put it on the floor. Give him space while he gets to know you. His body language will tell you when he’s ready for you to pet him. A dog can become excited just because someone came to visit, even when they know who the visitor is. When you consistently greet a dog the right way, it teaches him to be polite and helps to keep him calm.

Anytime you greet a dog, ask for permission before petting him. The owner knows their dog best and some dogs would rather you left them alone. If a dog looks tense or scared, he probably is. Don’t try to pet a dog who is giving you an intense stare, especially if he’s standing stiff and motionless, looking at you out of the corner of his eye or licking his lips. This is a sign he’s agitated. Give him space and allow him to greet you on his terms when he’s ready.

When greeting a dog, what you want to see in his body language is his tail wagging or hanging down in a relaxed manner. This is a friendly dog. Never force yourself on a dog. Not all dogs like being hugged, especially from someone they don’t know. Not all dogs like being petted on the head either. It’s best to pet him with your hand coming up to meet his head rather than coming down. Understanding how to greet a dog can make life easier for you and the dog.

Photo by Ben Radlinski

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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.

Four Prosthetic Paws Lets “Bionic Dog” Naki’o Run Again

By Julia Williams

The ability to make prosthetics for pets has existed for some time now. About ten years ago in California, an Orthotist/Prosthetist I knew made the local papers after he fitted a dog with an artificial leg. Since then, I’ve read many other stories of dogs and cats getting prosthetic legs. You may also remember seeing the touching video of a miniature horse named Midnite that was born without most of his right rear leg. The horse was fitted with an artificial leg in the hope he’d be able to walk, but surprised everyone when he galloped off after only his second fitting.

Today I wanted to share the inspiring story of Naki’o, the world’s first dog to be fitted with a complete set of four prosthetic paws! The Red Heeler cattle dog was just a tiny pup when he and his littermates were abandoned in Nebraska by a family fleeing their foreclosed home. Naki’o suffered severe frostbite on all four of his paws after stepping in a frozen puddle. It’s believed he was too malnourished and weak to move from the spot for some time. At just five weeks old, the pup was rescued and taken to a shelter. A vet removed the dead tissue of his paws and Naki’o was left with just rounded stumps.

Veterinary technician Christie Tomlinson was looking for a playmate for her dog when she came across Naki’o. She decided to adopt him despite his deformity. Tomlinson said she’s always had a soft spot for animals with problems. “I knew I had the skills and knowledge to be able to take care of him properly. I took him to work with me every day and was able to x-ray his legs regularly to see how they were developing,” she said.

For awhile, Naki’o could hold himself up on his stumps without too much difficulty. As he grew and gained weight though, walking became too painful and Naki’o resorted to crawling along on his tummy. “I had to take him for walks in a stroller and carry him around. He couldn’t be a normal dog, he couldn’t lead the life he wanted,” said Tomlinson.

When Tomlinson heard about a Colorado company called Orthopets, she organized a fundraiser for Naki’o so she could have his two back legs fitted with prosthetics. Naki’o accepted the two prosthetic legs so enthusiastically that Orthopets decided to complete the process free of charge. Naki’o is thought to be the first dog ever to be fitted with a complete set of bionic legs. The prosthetics were designed and fitted in a pioneering procedure by Martin Kaufmann, the founder of Orthopets. They’re built to mimic the muscle and bone of canine limbs which allows the dog to use them as naturally as possible.

Walking with four prosthetic legs was challenging for Naki’o at first, but he adapted quickly and is now able to run, jump and play like other dogs can, and he can even swim! Tomlinson is amazed at her pet’s enthusiasm for life. “He was always a happy dog, but now he’s much more confident,” she said. “It’s great to see him interact with other dogs at the park and play without a care. Naki’o can now not only chase after a ball with other dogs, but he can beat them to the catch!”

You can watch a short video of Naki’o on YouTube, which shows him chasing after a toy. His gait is rather ungainly, but he looks happy just to be able to run at all. Isn’t modern technology grand? Though his life story had a tragic beginning, things are really looking up for Naki’o. Thanks to OrthoPets and Christie Tomlinson, Naki’o is now free to run and play, like any dog should be able to do.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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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.