10 Pet Safety Tips You Should Know

In some ways having a pet is like having a child.  You have to do all of the thinking and planning for him.  You have to be prepared for every contingency.  That means being prepared in case of emergencies and taking the proper precautions ahead of time.

Here are some tips that should help you take good care of your dog:

1.  Make sure that your dog is up-to-date on his vaccinations and that he has proper tags and ID at all times.  Microchips are recommended.  This is a great help should your dog ever become lost.  It gives him the best possible chance of being returned to you if somebody finds him.

2.  Obey leash laws.  This means that you should keep your dog safely contained in your own yard behind a fence.  When you have your dog out with you make sure that he is restrained on a good quality leash.  Don’t let your dog run loose.  This is dangerous to him and a nuisance to the neighborhood.

3.  Be careful what you feed your dog.  No chocolate.  No onions.  No raisins.  If in doubt about something your dog eats or if you suspect poisoning call your local veterinarian immediately.  Know the number of your closest emergency vet clinic and the shortest route in case you have an emergency at night.

4.  Crate train your dog.  Your dog should ride in a crate in your vehicle.  This is the safest way for your dog to travel.  Crate training is also a great way to help house train your dog.  If you ever intend to fly anywhere with your dog he will also need to fly in a crate.

5.  Keep a pet first aid kit on hand and know how to use the contents.  A good first aid kit should contain blankets, surgical tape, a muzzle, an antibacterial ointment (such as Neosporin), cotton swabs, tweezers, gauze and gauze pads, hydrogen peroxide, ipecac, scissors, forceps, diarrhea medication, and activated charcoal.  Remember that if your dog experiences an injury that he may react out of fear or pain.  Be careful in handling him.  He could bite you accidentally.

6.  Take special precautions in hot summer weather and during extreme cold.  Remember that dogs can’t sweat and that they suffer during extremes of weather just as people do.  They should not be left in vehicles during either extreme, even for a few minutes.

7.  Remember that your dog needs fresh water available at all times.  Dogs can become dehydrated just as people can.

8.  Take special precautions with dogs when there may be fireworks or other loud noises.  Many dogs are sensitive to these loud booms and can become frightened from them.  Some dogs can bolt and become lost.

9.  Old dogs need special care.  Keep an eye on their weight.  You don’t want them to be either too thin or too much overweight.  Both can be signs of an underlying health problem.  Make allowances for their age.  Provide a softer place to sleep, give them more time to eat, make their food more appealing.  Take them for a senior check-up starting when they’re about seven-years-old.

10.  Be patient with puppies.  They come to you not knowing anything.  They will make mistakes.  Teach them using positive training techniques and they will be able to learn anything you want to teach them.  A trained dog is a happier dog and has a better chance of fitting into your home and lifestyle and living a wonderful life with you.

10 Pet Safety Tips You Should Know courtesy Dog Articles.

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6 Steps To Find The Perfect Dog Sitter

Choosing a pet sitter is a big decision.  You will be leaving your beloved dog in the hands of someone else and trusting them to visit your home, feed your dog, play with him, and know what to do if there should be an emergency.  How do you find the perfect pet sitter?

There are some basic approaches to finding a good pet sitter:

1.  Ask around.  If you have friends or family who have used a pet sitter in the past, find out who they used and if they would recommend them. The advantage of using someone that is known to your friends and family is that this person comes with a built-in recommendation.

2.  Check with your vet.  Your vet sees a wide assortment of pets in your community.  They also know many pet professionals.  They may be able to recommend a good pet sitter.  The same is true of your pet groomer and other people you see regularly for your dog’s care.

3.  Check bulletin boards.  Many pet sitters advertise on the bulletin boards at vet offices, pet groomers’ shops, dog supply stores and other pet-related businesses.  This is a good way to make a connection with a pet sitter but it does not provide you with a recommendation about the pet sitter’s abilities.

4.  Check your phone book for local pet sitters.

5.  Check online for local pet sitters.  Superpages.com often lists pet sitters (and other pet professionals) in local areas.

6.  You can check with Professional United Pet Sitters , the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters , and Pet Sitters International  to find professional pet sitters in your area.  Simply type in your area code or other information about your locality and they should be able to offer suggestions.

Once you have found some likely pet sitting candidates there are some things you should ask them before you hire them.  You need to discuss the following subjects with your potential pet sitters:

– Is the pet sitter insured?

– Can they provide references?

– You should check with other local pet professional businesses in your area to find out about the pet sitters reputation.

– You should ask to see the contract for pet sitting services.

– Make sure that you understand the costs and what services are included.

– Ask the pet sitter about their pet education and if they have and certification or accreditation.

– Do they know first aid for pets?

– Do they belong to any professional organizations such as a professional pet sitting group or other pet care group?

– Is there a backup plan in case the pet sitter has a personal emergency?  Who will take care of your dog?

– Is the pet sitter properly licensed?

You should also ask questions about how the pet sitter interacts with your particular dog.  Have they cared for a Greater Shantung Westheimer before?  (Insert your breed.) Do they know how to care for them?  How many times per day will they be coming to your house?  Will they be staying at your house?  And so on.  Make sure you cover all of the details of their care of your dog, especially if your dog has any special needs.

Whew!  It’s a lot of information to cover but you will be gone and you will be asking someone else to take care of your dog — you can’t be too careful.  You should interview a pet sitter just as you would interview a baby sitter or anyone applying for an important job.

It’s best if you start trying to find a pet sitter far in advance.  Not only will it take you some time to choose a pet sitter but good pet sitters can be hard to find.  Good pet sitters can book up early.

If you follow these suggestions you should be able to find a good pet sitter in your area.  Make sure you have several phone numbers so you can reach them at various times.  No matter how much confidence you have in them you will probably want to check in frequently.

6 Steps To Find The Perfect Dog Sitter courtesy Dog Articles.

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The Combination Approach To Feeding Your Golden Retriever

Although you can get commercial food for your Golden Retriever, the ideal way to feed is to use a combination approach of both commercial food and fresh people foods.  Most commercial food is good for your Golden, although it lacks nutrients and vitamins that fresh food has.  Vets will tell you that fresh food is good, providing you don’t overdo it.  Golden Retrievers love fresh food as well, as they can smell it a mile away. If it smells good to them – they’ll want it.

Most commercial foods will offer your Golden great sources of protein and vitamins, although fresh food contains far more essential sources.  Chicken and meat for instance, have far more protein and minerals than any type of commercial dog food.  Fish is another great choice, as it contains a lot of the protein your dog needs to maintain a healthy brain.

All dogs are well within the capacity of staying healthy, although you need to provide them with the minerals they need.  Each dog is an individual, meaning that you can’t continue to feed him the same food on a daily basis.  Golden Retrievers love people food, and they also love variety.  What they need one day may vary the next, so you should always mix it up a bit and give them something different each day.

To be on the safe side, you should give your Golden a little bit of everything.  This way, he will get everything he needs with his diet.  When you design the diet for your growing Golden Retriever, you should always make sure to include animal protein.  This is very important for your Golden, as he has to have it.  Without animal protein, your dog will find himself literally struggling to stay healthy.

To keep your Golden Retriever healthy, it is very important that he gets quality nutrition.  Although quality nutrition is very important, you should never him eat so much that he gains weight too fast.  If you monitor his diet and know exactly what you are feeding him, he should remain in his weight class.  Sometimes this can be hard to help though, especially if your Golden starts to develop allergies to a certain type of food.

If you ever have any questions regarding the diet of your Golden Retriever, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask your vet.  Your vet could make some recommendations for you, even tell you the best type of commercial food for your dog.  Depending on his individual needs, what he requires may be totally different than what another dog needs.  As long as you keep your dog on a healthy diet and make sure he gets the food he needs – he should grow to be a healthy dog with plenty of energy.

The Combination Approach To Feeding Your Golden Retriever courtesy Dog Articles.

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Which Dog Food For My Dog?

There are more dog foods today than ever before.  When you walk into any pet supply store the choices can be almost overwhelming.  How in the world are you supposed to choose which food to buy for your dog?

In order to choose a good food for your dog you should keep in mind that there is no “best” dog food.  Dog foods make many marketing claims but your dog will be able to do well on many of the foods sold in stores today.  All you need to do is learn a few dog food basics.

Choosing a good dog food for your dog depends on two essential skills:  learning which ingredients go into a good dog food and learning to read a dog food label.  As you get more experienced with dog foods you will soon learn which companies generally manufacture the better foods and it will shorten the time you have to spend examining foods.

Do you have a Toy or small breed dog?  You may want to consider canned food.  Canned food typically costs more per ounce than dry food but it usually contains more protein and fat and much less grain than dry food.  It also usually has fewer chemical additives such as artificial colors and flavorings.  Canned food also doesn’t need preservatives because of the canning process.  Finally, canned food has plenty of moisture which makes it easier for dogs to digest than kibble.  Most dogs love canned food.  On the other hand, if you have large dogs or multiple dogs the cost of canned food can be prohibitive.

Whether you are buying kibble or canned food you will need to look at the label to find the information that you’re seeking.  Look for the AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officers) statement that says the food meets the minimum nutritional adequacy standards required for pet foods.  This is no guarantee that your dog will thrive on the food but without this statement the food may not even meet minimum standards.

Next look for the ingredient list on the label.  Foods are required to list ingredients in order of their weight.  The first several ingredients should be the most important ingredients in the dog food.  Ideally you will see several sources of named protein among the first five ingredients.  These protein sources can be ingredients such as chicken meal, lamb meal, whole chicken, deboned chicken, and so on.

You should avoid foods that provide protein sources such as “animal digest” and “meat meal.”  According to AAFCO, these animal digests can be described as “animal tissues used shall be exclusive of hair, horns, teeth, hooves and feathers, except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practice and shall be suitable for animal feed.”  Meat meal is described as “an animal feedstuff produced by recycling animal byproducts. These byproducts include meat trimmings, inedible parts and organs, fetuses, and certain condemned carcasses. They are cooked (rendered) to produce a nutritional and economical feed ingredient.”  These are not the kinds of protein you want to feed your dog.  Choose named proteins so you know what your dog is eating.

You also want to choose named sources of fats in your dog’s food for the same reasons.  Choose chicken fat instead of animal fat.

Avoid foods that use corn gluten meal or that has multiple sources of corn.  Corn has been used on such a widespread basis in dog food that many dogs have developed allergies to it.  Not only that, but dogs can only digest about 54 percent of the protein in corn.  That means that nearly half of the corn your dog eats in a food passes through him.  Corn-based foods typically produce large piles of poop for owners to pick up and you have to feed large amounts for your dog to get enough nutrition.  It’s best to simply look for foods that have no corn or minimal corn in them.

Foods that have fewer grains are generally better for your dog.  It’s up to you if you want to feed your dog a grain-free food.  They are generally very expensive.

You can also decide if you want to try feeding your dog a high protein diet.  Some dogs do well on them while others don’t.  If your dog becomes hyperactive and isn’t getting enough exercise to burn off some of the energy on this diet you may need to go back to a normal protein diet.

Avoid products that use BHA, BHT or Ethoxyquin as preservatives.  Look instead for natural preservatives.

Avoid foods with artificial colors, sugars and sweeteners.  Your dog doesn’t need them.

Many dog foods claim to contain “human grade” ingredients but that can be misleading.  All poultry in the U.S. is hormone-free and dog food cannot, by law, be labeled human grade.  They may use anti-biotic-free meats and cuts of meat that humans would eat.  You will have to make your own decision.

If you examine dog food labels for these specifications you will begin to narrow down your choices.  After that, you may ask for some sample packs so you can see which foods your dog likes the best.  Remember that there is no single best food.  In fact, it’s best if you have 2-3 foods so you can rotate every few months.  This kind of variety is said to be beneficial for dogs.  If they are not having all of their nutritional needs met with one food they may make up the deficit with another food.

The most expensive foods are not always the best value for the money.  But the cheapest foods do usually cut corners and contain cheap ingredients.  There are a vast number of dog foods in the middle.  It takes some effort to choose good foods with good ingredients without necessarily spending a fortune but it’s certainly possible to do so.  Your dog will thank you.

Which Dog Food For My Dog courtesy Dog Articles.

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Which Dog Bowl Is Right For Your Dog?

When you became a dog owner you became responsible for his care in every way. This includes feeding him as well as meeting every other need in his life. While the process of caring for a dog is not complicated many people do not give as much thought as they should about some of the basic care. This includes things like training your dog basic commands that could literally save his life, and learning about proper nutrition for your pet so you can insure that he gets a proper diet. Taking that one step farther, consideration should be given to the type of bowl that your dog will eat from.

Nowadays there are lots of choices available when it comes to dog dishes. We can find bowls that match our décor, personalized styles, or even self-feeding type bowls. They are also made from various materials, including everything from plastic and ceramic to metal.

Ideally the dog bowl should be easy to clean. Plastic bowls may not be a good choice for puppies because young dogs sometimes like to chew on things, including their food dish. A more durable bowl may be safer for them.

Size really does matter. The size of the bowl should be right for the amount of food that you feed your dog. Using a bowl that is too large can easily lead to over-feeding. Obviously, that can result in your dog becoming obese and unhealthy. Using a bowl that is too small can mean more work for you since you will have to feed your dog more often.

Another very important consideration is the depth of the bowl. If your dog has a short face you will need to use a shallow bowl. But dogs that have long muzzles can eat from deeper dishes without difficulty. One more issue related to the dog’s comfort when eating is the elevation of the dish. When dishes are raised up at a higher level, so that the dog does not have to bend his neck downward as he eats and swallows, eating is more comfortable for the dog. This is especially true for larger dogs. Dishes can be purchased in small raised holders or you can improvise with your own devices.

If your dog has a tendency to scoot his bowl across the floor you may want to consider looking for bowls that have rubber feet that will keep them in place. Another option is adding the rubber pads yourself or simply using a rubber mat to place the bowls on. Self-feeding bowls are the ones that have a dish that is continually filled. The reservoir is filled with a large quantity of food that drops down as the dog eats.

Which Dog Bowl Is Right For Your Dog courtesy of Dog Articles.

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Should I Feed My Dog A Vegetarian Dog Food?

Although dogs are considered to be omnivores their bodies require a great deal of protein in order to stay healthy.  They are not the obligate carnivores that cats are (an animal that must eat a regular meat diet in order to survive), but even as scavengers dogs have a preference for meat.  Ethologists never get tired of telling us that dogs are descended from wolves.  As such they are predators and they hunted animals for food.  They were able to get by on eating other things, but they preferred to eat meat when they could kill it.

For the most part, dog foods which contain a great deal of corn or other grains are considered inferior products.  Corn is usually a cheaper source of protein than meat sources, such as lamb and chicken.  For this reason some dog food manufacturers use it as a filler ingredient in one of its forms, such as whole yellow corn, ground corn or corn gluten.  It does provide protein but dogs can only digest 54 percent of the nutrients in corn.  The rest passes through the dog and is deposited in your backyard or when you walk your dog.  Dogs fed diets high in cereal and grains typically have large, soft stools because they do not digest all of the food.  On the other hand, dogs fed food that is higher in meat protein can digest much more of the food.  Stools are smaller and firmer because the dog is able to digest much more of the food.

There is currently a popular move toward feeding grain-free dog foods.  The thinking is that all grains are bad for dogs and that dogs should eat food that has as much meat protein content as possible.  This is probably an over-reaction.  It’s not necessary for a pet dog to eat dog food that is 40 percent protein.  The government’s nutritional guidelines for feeding dogs recommends that an adult dog eat food that is 18 percent protein.  A performance dog should have food that is 25 percent protein.  Even a racing sled dog is only recommended to have food that is 35 percent protein.  It’s a mystery why any dog would need 40 percent (or more!) protein in his diet.  As others have pointed out, meat is the most expensive ingredient in dog food so when you buy dog food that has all of this extra meat protein, without a good reason, you are simply paying for the meat.  Why buy it when your dog doesn’t need it?  You can buy a steak for your dog cheaper than you can buy some of these grain-free dog foods.

Vegetarian foods are not recommended for dogs.  They do require meat content in order to be healthy.  Make sure that you are buying dog food that has named meat sources, such as chicken meal, lamb meal, beef and so on.  Be careful about buying the “exotic” protein sources, such as kangaroo meat, duck, venison, etc.  These novel protein sources are really intended for dogs that have allergies to the common sources of protein for dogs.  If you feed your dog a regular diet of duck, kangaroo and other unusual meat sources, what will you do if he develops an allergy to them?  You will have no more exotic meat sources left to try.

If you are a vegetarian and you have a dog it’s recommended that you do what is best for your dog, regardless of your own beliefs.  Take into account his health and welfare and feed him a good dog food.  If it makes you feel better there are many good foods that feature holistic sources of meat.  Some foods are even made from free range chicken or come from meat sources grown by small producers.  You may not find a food you like in the large pet superstores but if you look online or visit a small boutique dog food seller they may be able to special order a high quality dog food for your dog.

Should I Feed My Dog A Vegetarian Dog Food courtesy of Dog Articles.

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