By Suzanne Alicie
I wrote an article a short time ago about living with an older dog. Our Bear is definitely showing her age, and many times her irritability makes it hard to do anything that helps her feel better. If you have an older dog, you may want to start making some changes around your home that will make life easier for them. I like to think of it like dealing with an elderly person who doesn’t want to admit there are things bothering them. Changes are made gradually and are designed to give them a choice without any attention drawn to the easier choices when they begin making them.
While your dog may have always flopped down for a nap wherever he felt like it, you can make it more comfy by placing therapeutic “egg carton foam mattress” dog beds in their favorite places. Bear has a hidey hole in the bathroom where she likes to lay away from the hustle and bustle of the house. She also has her spot next to our bed when she’s too stiff to go underneath it, and a spot beside the couch where she lays when she’s feeling sociable. Her cushioned beds in those places are new additions that make her favorite napping spots more comfortable, easier on her joints and warmer.
If your dog has trouble with the stairs, there are a few things you can do. Non-slip mats on the stairs will help your dog balance out unsteady steps without fear of slipping and falling. Moving food and water to a place where your dog spends most of her time can help cut down on the trips up and down the stairs. We have a terrible set of spiral stairs that are difficult for humans to navigate. Bear has always flown up and down them much faster than me, but now she tends to stumble and stops midway to rest. I worry constantly about her falling down the steps. My better half has declared that when Bear is unable to manage the steps he will build her a slide. My job is to make sure that does not happen – I don’t want her sliding to the basement, so I am making it more comfortable for her on the main level of the house. If everything she needs is upstairs, she won’t need to go down the steps.
By Bear, canine guest blogger
Hi all, it’s me Bear. I’m taking over the post today so Mommy can work on getting ready for the holidays. She discovered that she is the only person in town who doesn’t decorate on the weekend after Thanksgiving, so today she’s crawling around in the attic pulling out decorations and cleaning the house.
I love the flashing lights and the yummy smells of the holidays, but there are some things that responsible pet owners need to know about the dangers of Christmas for their dogs. So I’m here to give y’all a little rundown and some warnings that will help all you doggy Mommies and Daddies keep my canine pals happy and healthy this Christmas.
Those really pretty flowers that appear around the holidays and make your holiday décor really pop are also really bad for dogs (and cats). We dogs don’t usually go around chewing house plants like those silly cats do, but sometimes we do like to check things out. The sap from poinsettias is very irritating to our mouths and stomachs and can make us really sick. You don’t want to have to clean up doggie vomit under your Christmas tree, do you? Keep poinsettias up high and make sure that you pick up the little seeds and leaves that fall off of them.
There are actually a lot of flowers and plants that are poisonous to dogs and cats; you may as well check out the list and make sure that no matter what time of year it is, you aren’t unintentionally exposing your furry friends to danger.
By Suzanne Alicie
While there are several well known giant breeds of dog available, some folks just want a “big” dog, not necessarily a giant dog. Large dog breeds are thought of as fun and playful while also being quite capable of guarding and protecting their families. For folks like me who love big dogs, the list is quite extensive. Here are four large dog breeds that are popular in America:
For the past 22 years, the Labrador Retriever has been the #1 dog on the American Kennel Club’s Most Popular Dogs list. Labs are intelligent, friendly, loyal and playful. They are good with children and require very little grooming, which makes them an ideal large dog for families.
German Shepherds are often used as police dogs because they are very effective security animals. However, they are also very loyal and loving, playful and gentle. Some of my favorite photos on the internet are from a Facebook group called the German Shepherd Dog Community which features members’ dogs cuddling with their kids, other dogs and even kitties. If you’re looking for a large and loving dog that will protect his family, then you can’t go wrong with a German Shepherd.
By Suzanne Alicie
There are numerous dog rescues that are worthy of mention. Today we are showing our appreciation and spreading the word about Gentle Ben’s Giant Breed Rescue. I was able to catch up with the very busy Noreen from Gentle Ben’s and ask her a few questions. The more I learned about this program, the more enamored I became of it. I love the idea of rescuing big dogs and fostering them in the home.
Gentle Ben’s Giant Breed Rescue is a non-profit 501 C (3) large breed dog rescue located in west Pennsylvania. They take in unwanted large breed dogs that may end up in shelters or are abandoned through no fault of their own. The rescue also helps families who have lost jobs, lost homes or have medical conditions which make it impossible for them to keep their beloved pet. Dogs are welcomed into Gentle Ben’s home, provided with veterinary care and given lots of love and reassurance. The families in these situations are kept up to date with emails and photos of their pet. When a dog is taken in it becomes part of the family whether it comes from a loving home or has been abandoned. Either way, the goal is to nurture and love the dog to keep him happy and healthy.
By Suzanne Alicie
This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Too many parents want to make sure their child receives a pet when they ask for it and just don’t have the heart to say no if finances or living situations are not ideal for owning a pet. In this case the pet suffers. If you are going to have a pet, it is vital that you understand and explain responsible pet ownership to children – and this is also an important part of the explanation of why they may not be able to have a pet at any given time.
It is a pet peeve of mine to see a family with a toddler get a pet and not teach the child to respect the animal. Tail pulling, carrying them improperly and playing rough with pets is not proper care and may lead to the pet defending itself and then being removed from the home as if it did something wrong. Teaching your children to care for pets can begin early in their lives and will require your attention and supervision.
Pets require more than just a place to live. They need attention, healthy food like CANIDAE and medical care just like your children. If you do get a pet your children will need several lessons on the various aspects of responsible pet ownership in order to learn to respect and appreciate the pet as a family member and to care for it properly with your help.
Children of all ages can understand that being hungry and thirsty mean you need to eat or drink, but they need to be taught how much food and water your pet should have and when to feed it. Explain to them that just as they have breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as snacks, the pet also needs to have regular meals and treats. This is one of the first responsibilities that children can assist with when you have a new pet.
By Suzanne Alicie
While some people think that having a dog means you should live in a house with a fenced-in yard, what about the folks who don’t have that option? Maybe they live in the city or they can’t justify the expense of a house just because they want a dog. Does this mean that apartment dwellers should not have dogs? Of course not!
Living in an apartment doesn’t mean that you can’t be a responsible pet owner; it just means you will have more specific things to deal with. It definitely takes a time and energy commitment to raise a happy, healthy dog in an apartment setting, but it can be done!
There are a few things to consider before choosing a dog to live in an apartment. The first thing is to look around your apartment and make sure there is enough space where you can place a dog bed and possibly a crate if you plan to use crate training. No matter how much or how little space you have, whether in an apartment or a house, a dog needs a space to call his own.
Obedience training is going to be very important when getting a dog that will live in an apartment. To avoid neighbor complaints, you’ll need to work with your dog to control excessive barking, and train him to walk calmly and as quietly as possible down the hallways when taking him out for walks and playtime.