Posts

All about Poodles

Thinking about getting a new dog?  Maybe a poodle is right for you?  Poodles come in three different sizes: toy, miniature, and standard.  There is a size for everyone!  Poodles originated in Germany, contrary to popular belief that they are French.  The breed was designed for water retrieving and the original poodle clip was to enhance the dog’s efficiency for movement in the water.  Poodles are active, alert, and a highly responsive family dog.  They are very intelligent and easily trained and are good with other pets and children.  They do not accept strangers and bark when they see them, so they make excellent guard dogs.  Poodles are hypoallergenic and shed little to no hair.  Their coat requires daily maintenance of brushing and they do need regular grooming.  Poodles are generally a healthy breed and are long living with few health problems.  They are prone to epilepsy, hip dysplasia, thyroid issues, heart problems, and ear infections.  We pet sit for many poodles at Gwinnett Pet Watchers.  I, personally, love walking them.  They are very stoic and graceful when they walk.  They are very protective and will bark and act aloof when approached by someone they do not know.  They come in many different colors and look absolutely beautiful when they are groomed.

Goughnuts

Are you looking for a safe and indestructible toy for your rugged dog?  There is a company called Goughnuts that has paired these two important qualities together into toys in all shapes, colors, and sizes.  Each Goughnuts toy has a patent pending visual safety indicator in its design where green means “go” and red means “stop.”  The company recommends getting a toy big enough for your dog’s mouth.  The toys are nearly indestructible, floatable, cleanable, rollable, chewable, and recyclable, according to the company.  Being a pet sitter with Gwinnett Pet Watchers, I cannot tell you how many times we walk in to a home and a dog has shredded and torn up toys all over the house because their parents are not at home.  There is stuffing everywhere and the scariest part is wondering what the dog has actually consumed that could be dangerous for them.  What is great about the Goughnuts toys is that the company offers a guarantee on all of its products.  If your dog chews through the outer layer and into the red “stop” area, you take the toy away, mail it back to the company, and they actually replace it.  That sounds like a deal to me.  I have a boston terrier that chews all of his toys to pieces and I am definitely going to check this product out for him.

When you see a dog left in a hot car…

During the summer months, some people seem to think it is ok to leave their dog in the car when they run in the store, bank, etc.  Even in the shade, the temperature inside a vehicle can climb to a very dangerous level.  Sadly, dogs and children die in hot cars every single year and this is totally preventable.  Some tips for what you can do if you see an animal left inside a vehicle are to approach the owner (if they are around) and let them know that it is simply too hot for anyone to be left in a car.  Animals do not tolerate hot cars any better than people do, contrary to what some people believe.  If the owner is not around, you can go into the store and speak to the manager to possibly make an announcement.  If that fails, the next thing to do would be to call animal control.  In my opinion, I would do that immediately for the dog’s own safety.  I have even heard of people breaking a window if the dog is in immediate distress.  That is a more drastic measure, but when it is a matter of life and death, it is definitely an option.  If you want to take your pet for a ride during the summer months, go to a pet friendly store where the dog can come in with you or use the drive thru.  We at Gwinnett Pet Watchers love to take our dogs for a doggie ice cream in the drive thru and our dogs are equally as happy to receive the gift!

Laser Pointers-A great way to exercise your pets on a rainy day

Laser pointers can be a great way for dogs and cats to get exercise on days of inclement weather.  Many dogs and cats love to chase the little red dot around the room.  Even the laziest animals will get up for the laser pointer.  There are a few things to remember when using safety practices with the laser around your pets.  First, make sure the laser is not too powerful and can accidentally damage your pet.  According to the FDA, the highest power acceptable to use around animals is 10 milliwatts.  Also, never shine the laser in your pets eyes.  Another idea to think about during play is to use a real toy that can be caught in conjunction with the laser pointer.  Animals may get frustrated because they cannot physically ever catch the laser, so it is important to give them something that is real and they can have as a prize at the end of the game.  Also, you may hide treats in nooks and crannies and end the laser in those locations and your pet ends up with a goodie as well.  Some dogs may get overstimulated and laser pointers may not be such a great idea for them, while other pets may not care a lick in the world about it.  Each pet is different and all you can do is see what your individual animal likes.  As a pet sitter, I have several clients with Gwinnett Pet Watchers that love the laser pointer.  Not only is it entertainment for the pets, but it is fun for us to watch as well!

Holiday Pet Safety

With Memorial Day and the Fourth of July right around the corner, I wanted to suggest some safety tips for keeping pets safe.  A lot of pets are scared of loud noises such as fireworks, and some are even petrified and can really hurt themselves if we don’t protect them.  One suggestion I have is to desensitize your pets.  You can do this by playing a cd with loud noises and sounds or even actual fireworks through out the weeks leading up to the holiday and most pets will get used to these noises and not be affected during the holiday.  I had to desensitize my dogs when I was pregnant because they had never been around children.  There is a wonderful cd out called “Preparing Fido” and I have also recommended it to several Gwinnett Pet Watchers clients who are bringing a new bundle in to their family.  These cds can also work for pets that are scared of thunder storms as well.  Another suggestion I have is to keep your pets in a safe, indoor place during the holidays.  Pets that are outdoors can really hurt themselves by trying to “get away” from the noises and can also end up very far from home.  It is very important to keep them contained in a safe place where they cannot get hurt.  Lastly, I would suggest if at all possible to be with your pet during these times.  Your pet needs you to comfort him and if you are there, their anxiety level is usually a lot more under control.  The next best thing to you, would be us!  You can also hire a pet sitter to stay with your pet so you can have some holiday fun!

The hottest new trend in dog training…there’s an app for that!

Still having trouble getting your dog to sit, stay, or down? Well, the answer is in your pocket. Just take out your phone and download an app that will walk you through the training process. 2014 will be the year when pet training apps blow up. They’ll have an answer for all of those unexpected issues, like say when you’re at the dog park and your dog just won’t stop humping the other dogs, or won’t come back to you because he doesn’t want to leave yet. I expect they will also feature emergency information such as how to administer first aid or where to find the closest 24 hour veterinarian. Some of the apps that I have looked at for our canine friends are Dog Park by Dogster.com, Pet MD Dog’s First Aid, Puppy House Training, The Dog Whistler App, Clicker Training, and The Dog Translator.  Some of these apps are really neat and I highly recommend them!  I have tried some of these apps with my clients at Gwinnett Pet Watchers and have really enjoyed them.

Rabbit Hunting

I just took care of some beagles last week that are used for rabbit hunting.  When Robin, Kim, and I were at the meet and greet, we were all very curious as to what rabbit hunting actually is defined as.  We asked many questions, and I did my own research when I had a chance at home.  It is more of a sport than actual hunting and killing rabbits.  It gives the dogs a chance to do what they are bred to do and get lots of exercise, making them a much calmer and well balanced pet.  The owner likes to run his beagles in field trials and runs the rabbits, but very rarely shoots them.  I think all of us at Gwinnett Pet Watchers were happy to hear that!  We are all animal lovers.  Beagle field trials are a performance event through the American Kennel Club.  There are many different categories in these trials.  It is always very interesting to learn about something that a dog breed was actually meant to do and what they were bred for.

Do you brush your dog’s teeth?

Dental health is very important to your dog’s health.  Get yourself a toothbrush made especially for canines; you can even get a full kit that includes the toothbrush and toothpaste.   It is important to get toothpaste made especially for canines or make a paste out of baking soda and water. Never use fluoride with dogs under six months of age—it can interfere with their enamel formation. And please do not use human toothpaste, which can irritate a dog’s stomach. Special mouthwash for dogs is also available—ask your vet.  After you have the correct supplies, taking these steps will make brushing a lot easier for the both of you:

  • First get your dog used to the idea of having her teeth brushed. Massage her lips with your finger in a circular motion for 30 to 60 seconds once or twice a day for a few weeks. Then move on to her teeth and gums.
  • When your pooch seems comfortable being touched this way, put a little bit of dog-formulated toothpaste or a paste of baking soda and water on her lips to get her used to the taste.
  • Next, introduce a toothbrush designed especially for dogs—it should be smaller than a human toothbrush and have softer bristles. Toothbrushes that you can wear over your finger (or a clean piece of gauze) are also available and allow you to give a nice massage to your dog’s gums.
  • Finally, apply the toothpaste to her teeth for a gentle brushing.
  • A veterinary exam beforehand may be helpful to find out if your dog’s gums are inflamed. If your dog has mild gingivitis, brushing too hard can hurt her gums.
  • Try to brush two to three times per week.

Following these simple steps can prevent gum disease and tartar on your dog’s teeth and we, at Gwinnett Pet Watchers, recommend it for all of our canine friends!