Monthly Archives: June 2012

Kids & Pets – Tips for Preventing Dog Bites

By Suzanne Alicie

As a responsible pet owner, I have to be diligent in making sure that my dog Bear doesn’t bite someone. When we go for a walk most adults know how to approach a strange dog, or at least know better than to run up squealing and jumping around. Children, on the other hand, are naturally exuberant and excited to see a dog and they all want to pet her; she’s big and fluffy, and just draws them in.

Unfortunately, Bear is not very social and really does not appreciate the excitement of children that she doesn’t know. This can lead to heart stopping moments when I’m praying that Bear won’t snap at someone, or that the parents will take charge of their children so that I don’t have to tell the child, “STOP, don’t touch the dog.” Because then children cry and parents get angry because I’ve yelled at their child. They don’t realize that I’m trying to protect them.

I’d rather yell at their child than have my dog cause them to be hurt or even scared of dogs. Sometimes her barks and growls are pretty scary too, and she does get vocal when she feels crowded or threatened. I believe children should have a healthy fear of many things, but especially dogs. This is different from a real fear, and is more of a respect and knowledge of the possibility that the dog could bite.

As parents, it’s important that you teach your children not to approach strange dogs and if you have dogs and children you must teach your child to respect your dog as a member of the family. They have to understand that they could harm the dog if they play too rough, which could also make the dog bite them. Children aren’t mean intentionally, but sometimes they forget that their dog isn’t a stuffed animal and may try to pick him up by his tail or pull his hair while they are playing.

Feeding time is the time to keep your kids away from the dog completely. Even the most well trained dog could give in to instinct and snap at a child who gets too close to them while they are eating. In your own home and with your own children, all it usually takes to prevent dog bites is to accustom your children to being around a dog and respecting the dog’s space.

When you take your dog out, it may be wise to consider a muzzle to protect children from bites and always make sure that your harness, leash and collar are in good shape. An escaped dog running to-and-fro incites people to help you by chasing him. This could lead to strangers getting a bite for their efforts, especially children who think they are helping.

Even if you have a nice dog who likes children, it’s always important to make sure that strange children approach the dog calmly and give your pooch time to sniff them before they reach for him. Always carry a few CANIDAE dog treats when you go to the park so that you can help children become acquainted with your dog and reward your dog at the same time for being so well behaved.

Top photo by Ernst Vikne
Bottom photo by Mr. Dtb

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Sometimes Dogs Need Us to Be Understanding

By Linda Cole

When we agreed to foster a friend’s dog almost two and a half years ago, we didn’t think he’d still be with us today, but he is. Dozer is actually a great dog and he will remain with us for as long as he needs a home. He’s loving, smart, and ‘almost’ willing to do what we ask of him. I say almost because it’s taken us this entire time to teach him to come to us when he’s called. I don’t know for sure, but it’s possible he was punished in the past when he did come, and that’s the best way to teach a dog to not come when called. I understand it can be hard dealing with an independent spirit some dogs have, but people don’t always understand how their actions are viewed by a dog, nor do they understand why their dog misbehaves or won’t follow commands. Sometimes you have to step back and try to get into the head of a dog to try and see things from his viewpoint. Sometimes dogs need us to be understanding.

Dozer is a handsome and sweet pit bull mix. He loves to cuddle, and when he was a puppy he spent many evenings cuddled up with his owner on the couch. But sometimes things change and for Dozer, the changes began when his owner moved into a house that didn’t allow pets. Dozer found himself spending most of his time outside, away from his human. When he was allowed inside, it was to a crate on the back porch. Not because he was bad, but because that was the only solution available to my friend who was trying to figure out how to keep his dog. Dozer was about a year and a half when he came to stay with us.

Change is hard for us, so you can imagine how it can affect a dog, especially one that’s sensitive or timid. Dozer came into a home with multiple dogs and cats. He had to learn how to interact with them and us. His routine was drastically different and he was very unsure and confused about what was happening to him. As far as he was concerned, he had been abandoned by the person he loved.

Dozer has a confident independent streak, but he can easily get his feelings hurt. We teach dogs basic commands and reward them with their favorite CANIDAE treats. They reward us by learning how we expect them to behave. Training a sensitive dog requires understanding, calmness, and time for a dog to learn at his own speed.

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Cat-Safe Plants

By Langley Cornwell

According to the ASPCA’s official database, there are close to 400 plants that are toxic to cats. For pet lovers, that’s a lot of plants to avoid. And what’s especially troublesome is that the list isn’t comprehensive; it’s a compilation of the most common toxic plants. There are more unsafe plants that didn’t make the list. On the flip side, the database names well over 500 plants that are cat-safe.

I point this out because with an internet connection and some awareness, it’s easy to plan a safe garden for your feline friend. Presumably. I have an internet connection and a modicum of awareness, yet our yard is not safe for our cat.

We live in South Carolina, where the sun scorches the earth at least 4 months out of every year. Because of that, gardeners wisely use many drought resistant plants in their yards, including a big offender – sago palms. This plant peppers the landscape of most South Carolina homes, mine included. The previous owners planted one and these palms are not pet-friendly; 1 to 2 seeds can be fatal. 

My dog and my cat love to roll around in the yard and hang out with me while I’m outside gardening. All three of us enjoy that time together. We usually get out there early in the mornings (because of the aforementioned scorching earth), and on the weekends we may spend hours planting, pruning and playing. But I’m always afraid the animals will get into the sago palm. As a responsible pet owner, I plan to replace the plant and I’m researching options to determine what to put in that spot. I want something that is safe, sizeable and evergreen, so I’ll probably go with a Fig-leaf Palm (Fatsia japonica), also known as a Castor oil plant, Formosa rice tree, Glossy-leaved paper plant, or Big-leaf paper plant. 

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Keeping a Dog’s Paws Safe While at the Beach

By Tamara McRill

Few things are cuter in the summertime than a dog frolicking in the sand and surf, and I can’t wait until my own Wuppy gets in on the action. All of that fun can come at a price, though, and I know from past experience that I need to be vigilant about keeping my dog’s paws safe while at the beach. Watching out for his tender pads is the least I can do for my furry BFF. So, after deciding on the best sunburn protection for your dog, here are some more precautions to take at the beach:

Check the Area

Finding dog-friendly beaches in your area means more than just ‘dogs are allowed.’ The terrain should be pet-friendly, meaning there should not be many sharp rocks, shells or other things on the beach that could cut your dog’s paws. This is easy enough to figure out by going alone to first scope out the beach and shore before you ever bring your pet there.

Timing is Everything

There’s a reason commercials featuring a dog and its owner blissfully running along the shoreline are back-dropped by the colorful skies of a rising or setting sun: the sand is hot during the day. Ever run across the hot midday sand without sandals as a child? That’s an intense burning sensation you don’t want your dog to experience. Go to the beach during the morning or evening hours to prevent painful scorched paws.

Avoid Hot Coals

Responsible pet owners will steer their dogs clear of any cookouts or campfires. Not only can there be mishaps with the fire or food, but it takes longer for hot embers and coals to go out in the summer.

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Do Dogs Get a ‘Runner’s High’ Like We Do?

By Linda Cole

To me, there’s nothing better than an intense workout to help me feel good. I don’t care what the activity is; running, tennis, softball, racquetball, volleyball or biking, they all fit the bill. I like physical exercise because of the ‘high’ it gives me when I’m done. We know how important exercise is for our dogs, but do they get as much enjoyment as we do from an intense workout? Do dogs get the same kind of ‘runner’s high’ we get?

Like humans, some dogs enjoy sports more than others. For a high-energy dog, racing around off leash is what they live for. If you’ve never experienced a runners high yourself, it’s hard to describe the euphoric feeling one gets after a strenuous workout. Stress is reduced and you feel on top of the world. According to a recent study, dogs do get that same feeling after a good run or workout.

The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, found that both humans and dogs have a release of mood altering chemicals after running. Research was done at the University of Arizona where they compared humans, dogs and ferrets to see if we shared an endorphin rush, or second wind. They found that ferrets don’t get a high from exercise. They aren’t exactly the long distance running types. Dogs and humans, on the other hand, do experience a runner’s high and it’s more intense in dogs than it is in humans. The high happens when neurochemicals activate endocannabinoid receptors in the brain. Scientists also discovered that walking doesn’t produce a high for humans or dogs. Nevertheless, a walk around the neighborhood is still good for both of us.

When man and dogs began their evolution journey together, humans had to travel away from home to find food. They needed to be able to push themselves through sore and tired muscles to keep going. Since dogs traveled with humans, they also needed to be able to push themselves when needed and dig down to get a second wind. Without the feeling of euphoria, there is no reward to encourage the body to keep moving. The runner’s high is probably one thing that helped hunters locate and stalk their prey and then return home with supper. And since dogs aided in the hunt, they also needed to be able to keep up.

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Does Your Kitty Need a Cat Bed?

By Julia Williams 

If your cats are anything like mine, they’re probably allowed to sleep anywhere they want. Actually, ‘allowed’ is not the right word; it’s not like you can really stop a determined cat from sleeping somewhere once they decide it’s where they want to be. But I digress. If your cat likes to sleeps on the bed, sofa, your favorite chair or in the linen closet (on your clean towels, naturally), why do you even need a cat bed? For starters, cat beds provide a comfortable, cozy, soft and warm place they can curl up in for those 16 hours of beauty sleep. If you slept for two-thirds of your life, wouldn’t you want your naptime to be as comfy as possible? I thought so.

Aside from the comfort issue, cat beds can also help to keep the cat hair and dander off your furniture and carpet. Cat beds are also easier to clean than the furniture – just try throwing your sofa into the washing machine! If fleas are an issue where you live, a washable cat bed can really help to combat that awful pest. One last reason I buy cat beds is not for them, but for me. You just can’t beat the ‘awwwww’ factor of a cat curled up all snug in their little bed. It’s a sight that warms my heart no matter how many times I see it.

Choosing the Purrfect Cat Bed

There are so many styles of cat beds available, that trying to pick the best one can make your head swim. Price is all over the map, too. Size, materials, quality and maker all influence the price, as will where you buy it. Sometimes, a cheap cat bed can be just as comfortable as a higher-priced one, though beds with special features like luxurious fabric and cat-safe heaters will obviously cost more. Ideally, you should shop for cat beds in person rather than online, so you can see and feel the fabric and check for quality, construction and safety issues.

Cat Bed Styles

Cat beds come in a myriad of shapes including round, oblong, cube, tunnel, ball and pyramid. Some cat beds are open on the top, while others offer a cave-like hideaway. The ‘sleeping bag’ cat beds are perfect for felines who like to get underneath the bedcovers. Heated cat beds are wonderful for older, arthritic cats or kitties recovering from an illness. Remember those plush beanbag chairs from the seventies? Slumber balls have the same spherical shape but they’re sized for cats, who can burrow into them to create a cozy nest. You can also find fancy cat beds in fun designs, but they’re more costly. One I covet is a leopard print kitty-sized ‘loveseat’ that looks like the coziest place ever for a catnap.

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