All Dog Foods Are Not The Same

October 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Dog Needs

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Your dog’s health and well-being is important to you and your family. Not to mention keeping down the cost of veterinarian bills! So you need to carefully consider the food that you give your dog. People sometimes just pick the first dog food bag they see at the store. It’s easy to overlook the importance of dog food but it is essential to pick the right one for your dog.

To keep your dog healthy he needs plenty of fresh water and should be fed good quality dog food in amounts just right to meet his energy requirements. Always follow the guidelines on the dog food package for recommended feeding amounts.

 

Picking a dog food

The first challenge in choosing a dog food is picking one that has overall quality. The term that comes up a lot about dog food is human grade. Human grade implies that the dog food is good enough for us to eat. Many commercial dog foods are made from materials unusable or less desirable for human consumption. Often the meat that is used in dog food is of a quality considered unfit for humans to eat.

Major dog food companies try to provide balanced proportions of vitamins and minerals for maximum benefit to your dog. Although you may see that many brands of dog food have almost identical labels, a reputable dog food company will provide an explanation for each supplement and how it benefits your dog.

Always read the label to see what proteins, vitamins and minerals are being provided to your dog. Try not to use store brand dog food they may short change your dog on much needed nutrition.

Studies have shown that the primary ingredient in dog food should be meat-based protein, not corn meal, flour or corn gluten meal. According to reviews a better quality dog food results in a healthier coat, fewer digestive problems and firmer stools. Pet-nutrition experts agree that the best dog food is made from human-grade ingredients like meat, whole grains and vegetables. Premium dog food is so important because good nutrition is essential for a long, healthy life.

Types of dog food

There are many varieties of dog food to choose from. The three most popular types of dog foods are dry, semi-moist and canned products. Check the color of your dog food. Usually dog food made from natural ingredients will have soft earth tones and contain no preservatives, artificial colors and flavors.

Raw dog food is becoming more popular. More and more veterinarians recommend feeding your dog with raw dog food. They feel that this is the best choice and is the healthiest food for your dog. After all, you’ve never seen your dog enjoy commercial dog food the way he enjoys a good meaty bone.

Raw food advocates concede the diet costs more than traditional dog food, but they argue it’s worth it. You may find that locating free natural home made dog food recipes is not easy. Try making a mixture of ground turkey, rice and carrot as your own dog food. Your dog will thank you for it.

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If you decide to go the commercial route, try and choose a good premium dog food since it contains more energy and protein than an economy brand. Unfortunately not all dog food brands contain high quality and natural ingredients, so always check the label. It is best if you seek advice from your veterinarian before deciding on which dog food to feed your dog or puppy. He will know your dog’s dietary needs and you will find that veterinary offices and feed stores often carry excellent and natural dog food.

All Natural Dog Food

Many natural dog foods contain only fresh, natural and wholesome ingredients for your dog. Not only are the protein ingredients digestible, but the carbohydrates in the dog food are digestible. Natural dog food has 100% nutritional value which is important for healthy strong dogs. Chicken, egg and fish are examples of protein that is provided in natural dog food. There are also ingredients in natural dog food that really help the health of your dog’s skin and also your dog’s coat. One of the main draw backs of natural dog food is that it has a shorter shelf life and may spoil before it is used.

Dried Dog Food

A good high quality dry dog food will work out to be more economical than the generic brands even though they cost more per pound. A vast majority of dog owners go for dry dog food for its convenience and ease of storage. The cheaper dry dog foods are made from soybean, corn or rice, while many premium dry dog foods are made with all-natural, human-grade ingredients.

Vegetarian dog foods

There are dog foods specially formulated for dogs that are allergic to wheat, corn, and/or chicken. There are also vegetarian dog foods marketed to owners who do not want their dogs to consume meat products. Most vegetarian dog foods use soy as a protein source. If your dog has allergies consult your vet before putting him on a specialized diet.

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Celebrate Your Dog’s Birthday with a Dog Party

October 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Dog Needs

It was recently reported that over 700,000 pets in the United States have had birthday parties thrown for them by their owners. This  “pet party” trend has also taken off in other nations such as China, Japan and England. If you were thinking of throwing a party for your pet (specifically your dog), here is a list of party safety guidelines to ensure that all of the party animals in attendance have a fun and safe time. This list is by no means fully comprehensive, but it gives you a good starting point for your pet party safety. You should always use your best judgment to determine if something is appropriate for your pet, and the other pets in attendance at the party. Without further adieu, here are the dog party safety tips:

- All dogs attending the party should have at least one person who the dog feels comfortable around present at the party. If a guardian for the dog is not able to attend your party, the dog should not attend either. Unless you feel comfortable enough with watching the dog yourself, you do not one to be held liable if something happens to the dog.

- In case any of the dogs’ guardians do not bring waste bags for their dogs, make sure to have plenty on hand. This is especially true if the party is at a dog park or other public facility. Be sure to leave the location in the same condition that it was in prior to the party.

- To avoid any potential scuffles between the party animals, only invite dogs that your dog already knows and feels comfortable with. If your best friend’s dog is sweet, but just doesn’t get along with your dog for some reason, it may be best to leave them off of the guest list. If you want to invite a dog who your dog has never met, set up a meeting between your dog and the other dog so that they can become acquainted before the party. Definitely leave canine bullies off of the guest list.

- If you plan to have an outdoor party at a dog park or in your backyard, make sure that you have a contingency plan in the event of bad weather.

- In regards to the length of the party, you can plan the party for as long as you see fit, just keep in mind that dogs can become restless very easy. If you notice that many of the guests are getting cranky, don’t be afraid to end the party early.

- Wherever you choose to have the party, make sure that it is safely enclosed and that there are no “cracks” that any of the party guests may be able to slip through. This is especially true for the smaller guests at the party. If your Rottweiler has started digging a whole under your fence in the backyard, make sure that the hole isn’t big enough for your friend’s Shih Tzu to crawl through. If you think that the whole may become problematic, fill the whole before you host your party.

- At treat time, make sure that every puppy has his or her own treat. Also, allow each dog’s guardian to give the treat to their respective dog.

- If you invite dogs that have not yet been spayed or neutered, make sure that you alert the parents of the other dogs at the party. Also, if you think that it is necessary, make sure that the parents of these dogs keep an especially close eye on their pet.

- Make sure to only provide treats that are deemed safe for dogs. If you are unsure about the dog toxicity of any of the treats that you want to give out at your party, consult your veterinarian. Also, it is a good idea to talk with the owners of the dog party guests beforehand to check if their dog is allergic to a particular food or ingredient.

PetSmart

Dog Training

September 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Dogs Training

Dog training is the process of teaching a dog to exhibit certain desired behaviors in specific circumstances. Some examples are:

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* Teaching a dog basic obedience commands (part of obedience training)
* Teaching a dog to perform tricks casually or for circus acts
* Teaching a guide dog to lead the blind
* Teaching a rescue dog to find victims of a disaster
* Helping a hunting dog learn to perform its instinctive behaviors at appropriate times

The specific behaviors taught in each case are different, but the underlying principles are similar.

In the wild as pack animals, canines have natural instincts that favor training. These instincts are manifested when the dog lives with humans as a desire to please a handler, as a dog would please senior members in a pack in the wild. The handler is simply whoever is working with a dog at the time.

Basic training

Most dogs, no matter their eventual advanced training or intended purpose, live with people and therefore must behave in a way that makes them pleasant to have around and for their own safety and that of other people and pets. Dogs do not figure out basic obedience on their own; it must be trained.

Basic training classes

Professional “dog trainers” usually do not train the dogs, but actually train the owners how to train their own dogs. Although it is also possible to send a dog away to a training school, the owner still must at some point learn what the dog has learned and how to use it and reinforce it. Owners and dogs who attend class together have an opportunity to learn more about each other and how to work together under a trainer’s guidance. Training is most effective if everyone who handles the dog takes part in the training to ensure consistent commands, methods, and enforcement.

Formal training in classes is not always available until the puppy has completed all its vaccinations at around 4 months; however, some trainers offer puppy socialization classes in which puppies can enroll immediately after being placed in their permanent homes as long as disease risk is minimal and puppies have receieved initial vaccinations. In most cases, basic training classes accept only puppies who are at least 3 to 6 months old.

Next article: Dog Training Part II – Age for early training

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Dog Training: Teaching Puppy Not to Jump or Bite

September 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Dogs Training

You finally have your adorable, cuddly new puppy. You are happy to have him and he is happy to have a family. But wait – it’s just the beginning. There are 2 behaviors you need to deal with almost immediately – jumping on people and biting.

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Jumping on people

This is a problem that you or others might inadvertently encourage. He is so little and cute, that little tail is wagging and, after all, isn’t socialization and getting used to people important? Of course socialization and getting used to people is crucial but allowing him to jump on people isn’t the way to do it.Imagine your cute, little puppy as a full grown 80 – 100 pound dog. Will it be so cute when he jumps on people then? No and it will be dangerous if he jumps on children or small adults because he could easily knock them down.

The best time to take care of this is, of course, when he is a puppy. When the puppy jumps up on you or someone else, gently place the puppy’s feet back on the floor. When he remains standing there, be sure to praise him extensively. Give him an alternative to jumping up. Puppies jump up on people to express their enthusiasm, so it is important to redirect this energy in a more socially acceptable direction. Try teaching the puppy to present his paw instead of jumping up. When teaching the puppy to not jump up on people, it is important to be consistent. Consistency is important in any training program, and all members of the family as well as friends must understand that the puppy is not permitted to jump on them – ever.

Biting

Biting is one of those things that every puppy seems to do, and every puppy must be taught not to do. Like many behaviors, such as jumping up on people, biting and nipping can seem cute when the puppy is small, but much less so as he gets older, larger and stronger.

Left to their own devices, most puppies learn to control their biting reflex from their mothers and from their littermates. When the puppy becomes overenthusiastic, whether when nursing or playing, the mother dog, or the other puppies, will quickly issue a correction.

Unfortunately, this type of natural correction often does not occur, since many puppies are removed from their mothers when they are still quite young. It is therefore up to you to take over this important process.

Socializing the puppy with other dogs and puppies is one of the best and most effective ways to teach the puppy the appropriate, and non appropriate way to bite, and to curb the biting response.

Many communities and pet stores sponsor puppy playtime and puppy kindergarten classes, and these classes can be great places for puppies to socialize with each other, and with other humans and animals as well. As the puppies play with each other, they will naturally bite and nip each other. When one puppy becomes too rough or bites too hard, the other puppies will quickly respond by correcting him.

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The best time for this socialization of the puppy to occur is when it is still young. It is vital that every dog be properly socialized, since a poorly socialized dog, or worse, one that is not socialized at all, can become dangerous and even neurotic. Most experts recommend that puppies be socialized before they have reached the age of 12 weeks, or three months.

Another reason for socializing the puppy early is that mothers of young children may be understandably reluctant to allow their young children to play with older or larger dogs. Since socializing the dog with other people is just as important as socializing it with other dogs, it is best to do it when the puppy is still young enough to be non threatening to everyone.

It is important for the puppy to be exposed to a wide variety of different stimuli during the socialization process. The socialization process should include exposing the puppy to a wide variety of other animals, including other puppies, adult dogs, cats and other domestic animals. In addition, the puppy should be introduced to as wide a cross section of people as possible, including young children, older people, men, women and people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.

While socialization is very important to providing the puppy with life lessons and preventing him from biting, it is not the only method of preventing unwanted biting and mouthing. Giving the puppy appropriate things to play with and bite is another good way to control inappropriate biting. Providing a variety of chew toys, ropes and other things the puppy can chew is important to preventing boredom, keeping his teeth polished and keeping him from chewing things he should not.

As with any training, it is important to be consistent when teaching the puppy not to bite. Every member of the family, as well as close friends who may visit, should all be told that the puppy is to be discouraged from biting. If one person allows the puppy to chew on them while everyone else does not, the puppy will quickly become confused, and that can make the training process much more difficult than it has to be.

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Dog Care – How To Care For Your Dog

September 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Dogs


A dog will require care, attention and a commitment to look after it during its life which could be 10-15 years or longer. The commitment required includes not only routine feeding, care and time spent with the dog but also the provision of veterinary treatment if the dog becomes ill. Written below is some thing about dog caring:

 

Brushing your Dog’s Teeth
How to brush your dog’s teeth?

Step one is to pick an appropriate pet toothbrush. Save yourself time by not buying a child’s toothbrush which is usually too hard for dogs. The ideal dog toothbrush will have a long handle, an angled head to better fit the mouth and extra soft bristles. Another option is the finger toothbrush that fits over the tip of your finger.

Step two is to select appropriate toothpaste. The best pet toothpastes contain enzymes that help control plaque. Try to avoid toothpastes with baking soda, detergents, or salt sometimes found in human pastes. Fluoride may be incorporated to help control bacteria. Rather than placing the paste on top of the brush try to place it between the bristles. This allows the paste to spend the most time next to the teeth.

Step three is to get the brush with paste into your dog’s mouth and all the teeth brushed. Most dogs accept brushing if they are approached in a gentle manner. If you can start when they are young, it’s quite easy, but even older pets will accept the process. Start slowly, you can use a washcloth or piece of gauze to wipe the teeth, front and back in the same manner you will eventually be using the toothbrush. Do this twice daily for about two weeks and your dog should be familiar with the approach. Then take the pet toothbrush, soak it in warm water and start brushing daily for several days. When your dog accepts this brushing, add the pet toothpaste.

 

Dangerous Toys

Sticks and bones can splinter and cause choking or vomiting or they can perforate the mouth, throat or intestine. Hard bones can easily damage teeth. Instead, use hard, non-splintering chew toys to play fetch or to allow your pet to gnaw.

A chewing pet can shred soft, latex toys. If the toy includes a squeaking mechanism, the squeaker can be easily swallowed or cause choking.

Towels, socks, underwear and other similar clothing or materials can be swallowed by a rambunctious pet, causing intestinal obstruction.

Some dogs like to chew on or eat rocks-bad idea! Rocks can cause broken teeth and serious intestinal obstruction if swallowed.

Be careful if you offer your pet rawhides, as these can also cause intestinal obstruction if swallowed, and some are preserved with arsenic, which is toxic to pets.

Be aware of sharp objects that can cut skin, feet, eyes or ears.

Paint and wood preservatives can also be toxic to your feathered friend.

 

Exercising Your Pet

Whenever you are near a road, or wherever your dog is likely to cause a nuisance if he runs free, you should keep him on a lead. Both you and your dog will be much happier if he’s well trained. Remember that not everyone is as fond of dogs as you are and you must respect their feelings. Keep your dog under control at all times. Part of your walk should take your dog over hard ground, as this will help to keep his nails short.

Don’t make the mistake of over-exercising your dog if he’s still growing, as his bones aren’t yet strong enough to cope with the extra stress this puts on him. Little and often is the rule until your dog grows to full strength. Remember that large breeds mature later than small breeds. Ask the breeder or your vet for their advice.

Regular and varied walks are not just essential to keep your dog fit. They also give him the chance to explore and to experience new stimuli, including meeting other dogs. This will help him develop into a contented and well-adjusted dog, and avoid developing problem behavior. Make sure you supervise your dog’s exercise. Do not allow him to stray and never put him outside for the day to fend for him while you’re gone.

 

Keep Your Pet Happy and Healthy

Once you’ve brought home your new pet, you’ll want to have a long and happy life together. Here are some ways to make that happen.

Eating well and getting enough exercise are as important for dogs and cats as they are for people. Unfortunately, too often pets pick up the same bad habits, and health problems, as people do. Diabetes, heart disease, and obesity related arthritis are problems that are often preventable with a good diet and regular exercise.

A high quality dry pet food is a good centerpiece for a healthy diet. If your pet is active enough to burn the calories, most dogs and cats love canned food. It can be mixed with dry food or put out separately as a treat. Some people like to leave food out all the time so that their pets can nibble when hungry while others prefer to have regular feeding times. Either way, make sure that pets always have access to clean drinking water.

To learn more about dog training and dog care visit www.dogownersguide.org.