Tuesday, 27 February 2018

What You Should Know About Flea and Tick Products

February 27, 2018 0

Protecting your pet from fleas and ticks is an important part of caring for your pet responsibly. Although there are many brands of over-the-counter flea and tick products available at supermarkets and pet supply stores, it is critical to read their labels, and consult with your veterinarian, before using them on your companion. These products may contain ingredients that could harm pets and children.
In November 2000, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released a report called Poisons on Pets: Health Hazards from Flea and Tick Products. The report demonstrated a link between chemicals commonly used in flea and tick products and serious health problems.

The Chemicals

The ingredients to be wary of are organophosphate insecticides (OPs) and carbamates, both of which are found in various flea and tick products. A product contains an OP if the ingredient list contains chlorpyrifos, dichlorvos, phosmet, naled, tetrachlorvinphos, diazinon, or malathion. If the ingredient list includes carbaryl or propoxur, the product contains a carbamate. According to the NRDC, the potential dangers posed by these products are greatest for children and pets. There is reason to be concerned about long-term, cumulative exposures as well as combined exposures from the use of other products containing OPs and carbamates.

The Products

The NRDC's report lists flea- and tick-control products marketed under the following major brand names that have been found to contain OPs: Alco, Americare, Beaphar, Double Duty, Ford's Freedom Five, Happy Jack, Hartz, Hopkins, Kill-Ko, Protection, Rabon, Riverdale, Sergeant's, Unicorn, Vet-Kem, Victory, and Zema. To protect their pets and children, consumers should consult with a veterinarian before purchasing over-the-counter (OTC) products.

The Effects

According to the NRDC, there are studies that show OPs and carbamates can harm the nervous system. Children can be especially vulnerable because their nervous systems are still developing. For pets, the data is limited, but according to NRDC, many companion animals appear to have been injured or killed through exposure to pet products containing OPs. Cats are particularly vulnerable, since they often lack enzymes for metabolizing or detoxifying OPs and can ingest OPs by licking their fur.

What about the EPA?

Each year, millions of Americans purchase over-the-counter flea and tick products believing that they couldn't be sold unless they were proven safe. But the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not begin to review pet products for safety until 1996. There is a substantial backlog of products waiting to be tested, so many pet products containing potentially harmful pesticides still make their way onto store shelves.
Last year, after reaching an agreement with manufacturers, the EPA announced that the OP chlorpyrifos¿also known as Dursban¿would be on a fast track for a phase-out. A second OP, diazinon, is also on the way out. An agreement between the EPA and manufacturers set the phase out at December 2002 for indoor-use products (including flea and tick products) and December 2003 for all lawn, garden, and turf products.
The HSUS recommends the following precautions be taken to reduce the risks to pets and humans during the flea season:
  • Use alternatives to pesticides to control fleas and ticks: Comb your pet regularly with a flea comb, vacuum frequently and dispose of the bags immediately after use, mow areas of the lawn where your dog spends time, wash pet bedding weekly, and wash your pet with a pesticide-free pet shampoo. In addition, to protect cats from fleas and ticks, as well as a host of other outdoor hazards, cats should be kept indoors at all times.
  • Always consult a veterinarian before buying or using any flea or tick control product on your pet.
  • Never use flea and tick products designed for dogs on your cat, or vice versa.
  • Remember never to apply pesticides to very young, elderly, pregnant, or sick animals unless directed to do so by a veterinarian.
  • Always read the ingredients, instructions, and warnings on the package thoroughly.
  • Avoid OP-based products by looking for any of these active ingredients: chlorpyrifos, dichlorvos, phosmet, naled, tetrachlorvinphos, diazinon and malathion. Avoid products with carbamates by looking for the chemical names carbaryl and propoxur on the label.
  • Consider using a product with insect-growth regulators (IGRs), which are not pesticides. These will prevent the next generation of fleas but will not kill insects already on your pet. Common and effective IGR products include those made with lufenuron (found in Program® and Sentinel® and available by prescription), methoprene (in Precor®), and pyriproxyfen (in Nylar® and EcoKyl®).
  • You might want to consider several relatively new topical products, available through veterinarians, that are insecticides designed to have fewer toxic effects on the nervous systems of mammals: imidacloprid (found in Advantage®), fipronil (in Frontline® or Top Spot®), and selamectin (in Revolution¿).

Monday, 26 February 2018

Choosing a Dog Trainer

February 26, 2018 0

Why is training my dog a necessity?

As a dog owner, one of the first questions you may ask is, Does my new companion need training? Yes, and so do you! Whether you are intentionally teaching him or not, your canine friend is always learning-and this is true not just for puppies but also for older, adult dogs. If you do not teach your pet your rules, he will invent his own. Training allows caregivers to safely and humanely control their dog's behavior. Positive training enhances the bond between dog and owner, and helps ensure that your dog will respond happily to your instructions.

What should I look for in a trainer?

It's essential that the dog trainer you select uses humane training techniques that encourage appropriate behavior through such positive reinforcement as food, attention, play, or praise. Look for a trainer who ignores undesirable responses or withholds rewards until the dog behaves appropriately. Training techniques should never involve yelling, choking, shaking the scruff, tugging on the leash, alpha rolling (forcing the dog onto his back), or other actions that frighten or inflict pain.

Where can I find a trainer?

A recommendation from a friend, neighbor, veterinarian, humane society, boarding kennel, or groomer is a good place to start. You can also check the Yellow Pages under "Pet Training." Don't assume that a trainer's membership in a dog trainer association qualifies him as a suitable instructor: Not all associations' membership criteria will meet your expectations. Also, because no government agency regulates or licenses trainers, it's that much more important to investigate their qualifications before enrolling in a class. Find out how many years of experience they have, how they were educated, and what training methods they use. Ask prospective trainers for several references from clients who completed the classes.

Which class format is best?

In group classes, dogs learn to interact with other dogs, accept handling by other people, and respond to their owners despite distractions. Owners learn by observing other people interacting with their dogs and benefit from the camaraderie. Self-help training, private lessons, and dog-only lessons that exclude the owner do not provide these important advantages. Another disadvantage of dog-only lessons is that the dog may respond well for the trainer but may not transfer what she has learned to you and your family.
When possible, all family members should participate in the dog's training. By learning to communicate humanely and effectively with their canine friend, they will develop bonds that will form the basis of the entire relationship.

What should I seek in a group class?

Ask the trainer whether you can observe a class in session before signing up. Watch for the following:
  • Is class size limited to allow for individual attention?
  • Are there separate classes for puppies and adult dogs?
  • Are there different class levels (for example, beginner, intermediate, and advanced)?
  • Are training equipment and methods humane?
  • Does the trainer use a variety of methods to meet dogs' individual needs?
  • Is proof of vaccination required?
  • Are the students, both human and canine, enjoying themselves?
  • Are dogs and owners actively encouraged?
  • Is praise given frequently?
  • Are voice commands given in upbeat tones?
  • Are lesson handouts available?
  • Is information available on how dogs learn, basic grooming, problem solving, and related topics?

How much does training cost?

Training costs vary, depending on where you live and the type of instruction you want. Private lessons may range from $30 to $65 per hour; group lessons may start at $75 for several weeks of sessions. Some animal shelters offer subsidized training programs; costs for several weeks of sessions may range from $35 to $90, depending on whether you adopted your dog from that shelter and the number of class sessions it provides.

What's the best age for training?

Although "puppyhood" is the best time to train and socialize dogs, older dogs can learn new tricks, too. In fact, dogs of all ages can benefit from training. Dogs between 8 and 16 weeks of age should be enrolled in puppy classes. Regular classes are appropriate for dogs six months or older.
After you have selected a training program:
  • Have your dog examined by your veterinarian to ensure your pet is healthy, free from parasites, and up-to-date on vaccinations.
  • Don't feed your dog a large meal before class because many trainers rely on food treats to encourage or reward desired behavior.
  • Bring the training equipment recommended by the trainer.
  • Practice between classes with brief lessons that end on a positive note.
By enrolling and actively participating in a dog training class, you will help your dog become not just a well-behaved member of your family, but also a safer member of your community.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Coping with the Death of Your Pet

February 25, 2018 0

When a person you love dies, it's natural to feel sorrow, express grief, and expect friends and family to provide understanding and comfort. Unfortunately, the same doesn't always hold true if the one who died was your companion animal. Many consider grieving inappropriate for someone who has lost "just a pet."
Nothing could be further from the truth. People love their pets and consider them members of their family. Caregivers celebrate their pets' birthdays, confide in their animals, and carry pictures of them in their wallets. So when your beloved pet dies, it's not unusual to feel overwhelmed by the intensity of your sorrow. Animals provide companionship, acceptance, emotional support, and unconditional love during the time they share with you. If you understand and accept this bond between humans and animals, you've already taken the first step toward coping with pet loss: knowing that it is okay to grieve when your pet dies.
Understanding how you grieve and finding ways to cope with your loss can bring you closer to the day when memories bring smiles instead of tears.

What Is the Grief Process?

The grief process is as individual as the person, lasting days for one person or years for another. The process typically begins with denial, which offers protection until individuals can realize their loss. Some caregivers may try bargaining with a higher power, themselves, or even their pet to restore life. Some feel anger, which may be directed at anyone involved with the pet, including family, friends, and veterinarians. Caregivers may also feel guilt about what they did or did not do, and may feel that it is inappropriate to be so upset. After these feelings subside, caregivers may experience true sadness or grief. They may become withdrawn or depressed. Acceptance occurs when they accept the reality of their loss and remember their animal companion with decreasing sadness. Remember, not everyone follows these classic stages of grief -- some may skip or repeat a stage, or experience the stages in a different order.

How Can I Cope with My Grief?

While grief is a personal experience, you need not face loss alone. Many forms of support are available, including pet bereavement counseling services, pet-loss support hotlines, local or online Internet bereavement groups, books, videos, and magazine articles. Here are a few suggestions to help you cope:
  • Acknowledge your grief and give yourself permission to express it.
  • Don't hesitate to reach out to others who can lend a sympathetic ear.
  • Write about your feelings, either in a journal or a poem.
  • Call your local humane society to see whether it offers a pet loss support group or can refer you to one. You may also want to ask your veterinarian or local animal shelter about available pet loss hotlines.
  • Explore the Internet for pet loss support groups and coping information.
  • Prepare a memorial for your pet.

What Can I Do for My Child?

The loss of a pet may be a child's first experience with death. The child may blame himself, his parents, or the veterinarian for not saving the pet. And he may feel guilty, depressed, and frightened that others he loves may be taken from him. Trying to protect your child by saying the pet ran away could cause your child to expect the pet's return and feel betrayed after discovering the truth. Expressing your own grief may reassure your child that sadness is okay and help him work through his feelings.

Is the Process More Difficult if I'm a Senior?

Coping with the loss of a pet can be particularly hard for seniors. Those who live alone may feel a loss of purpose and an immense emptiness. The pet's death may also trigger painful memories of other losses and remind caregivers of their own mortality. What's more, the decision to get another pet is complicated by the possibility that the pet may outlive the caregiver, and hinges on the person's physical and financial ability to care for a new pet.
For all these reasons, it's critical that senior pet owners take immediate steps to cope with their loss and regain a sense of purpose. If you are a senior, try interacting with friends and family, calling a pet loss support hotline, even volunteering at a local humane society. If you know seniors in this situation, direct them to this web page and guide them through the difficult grieving process.

Will My Other Pets Grieve?

Surviving pets may whimper, refuse to eat or drink, and suffer lethargy, especially if they had a close bond with the deceased pet. Even if they were not the best of friends, the changing circumstances and your emotional state may distress them. Give surviving pets lots of TLC ("tender loving care") and try to maintain a normal routine. It's good for them and for you.

Should I Get Another Pet?

Rushing into this decision isn't fair to you or your new pet. Each animal has his own unique personality and a new animal cannot replace the one you lost. You'll know when the time is right to adopt a new pet after giving yourself time to grieve, carefully considering the responsibilities of pet ownership, and paying close attention to your feelings. When you are ready, remember that your local animal shelter is a great place to find your next special friend.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

11 Tips For Taking a Road Trip with Your Dog

February 24, 2018 0

  1. Groom before you travel. If you rent a car (or take your own), you don't want to have to clean up a lot of extra hair. Give your dog a good brushing before you pack to remove as much excess hair as possible. This is especially important when renting cars; some car rental companies might charge you a cleaning fee for pet hair.
  2. Get grooming tips for dogs.
  3. Make sure your pet has ID. Your dog should wear its collar with appropriate pet ID (its name, your cell phone number and address) so that if your dog becomes separated from you, whoever finds it can contact you. A microchip identification is even better: Collars can come off, but a microchip, which is embedded beneath the dog's skin, is forever.
  4. Take along health records. Pick up papers from your vet to show that your dog is up-to-date on inoculations. If there is a chance that you might board your dog on your trip, make sure it has had a kennel cough vaccination. Most boarding facilities will require documentation of this vaccination because kennel cough is a highly contagious upper respiratory infection that can spread quickly in the confines of a kennel.
  5. Get tips for boarding your pet.
  6. Pack photos of your pet. It's unlikely that you will lose your pet while you travel, but accidents happen. And losing a pet in an unfamiliar location is even more terrifying—for pet and owner. If, for example, your pet should escape from your car or hotel room, having up-to-date photos will assist others in helping you find your pet.
  7. Travel with your pet in a crate. The safest way for your pet to travel inside your car is inside a crate. This keeps your dog off your lap and away from your feet while you are driving. It also keeps your dog safely secured when you get in and out of your car. You can also buy specially made doggie seat belts for your backseat.
  8. Take your own pet food and water. Travel alters your pet's daily schedule, but there's no need to also change its diet. Take along your dog's regular food and treats and stay on your at-home feeding schedule. Bring water from home, too. Just fill a gallon jug and keep your pet well-hydrated while traveling.
  9. Stop every couple hours. This is good advice for any traveler—human or canine. Every couple hours, stop the car at a grassy rest area and take a walk, allow your pet to go to the bathroom, and get a drink. A walk will expend some energy.
  10. Stay at pet-friendly hotels. Many hotel chains (and independent hotels) open their doors to dogs. Some hotels will let your pet stay without an extra charge. Others require a nonrefundable damage deposit. There might also be restrictions on the number of dogs allowed as well as their size/weight. Look online for hotels in each state that allow pets. Hotels that welcome pets include Motel 6, La Quinta Inns & Suites, Red Roof Inn, Comfort Inn, Candlewood Suites, and many others. Call the specific hotel you want to stay at to verify that they allow dogs and to inquire about restrictions or additional charges.    
  11. Dine at pet-friendly restaurants. Look for dining (usually with outdoor venues) that allows you to bring along your dog. For example, you can enjoy fresh-shucked oysters with your pooch at Up The Creek Raw Bar in Apalachicola, Florida. Or sip a pale ale with your Lab (or other breed) at Lucky Labrador Brewing Company in Portland, Oregon. Check out restaurant/bar rules before you travel to get a list of dog-friendly dining establishments.
  12. Scope out dog-friendly activities. Some towns are more dog-friendly than others. Many offer activities that you can do with your furry friend. Surf with your dog in Coronado, California, go beachcombing with your pet at St. George Island, FL, or hike with your pooch through Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine.
  13. Clean up after your pet. Wherever you are, make sure you take along cleanup bags for waste. Be a good dog owner and follow the rules established by dog-friendly locations about waste removal.


    Saturday, 3 February 2018

    What's Your Dog IQ?

    February 03, 2018 0

    Question 1: Dogs are most closely related to what animal?

    A. Coyote
    B. Fox
    C. Wolf
    D. Bear
    Answer: C
    Recent genetic studies have proven that all dogs share the gray wolf as their common ancestor. However, different breeds have descended from different packs of wolves from around the globe

    Question 2: What is the largest breed of dog in the world?

    A. Irish wolfhound
    B. Great Dane
    C. Saint Bernard
    D. Mastiff
    Answer: B
    The Great Dane is generally considered to be the largest breed of dog. The current Guinness World Record holder is Zeus, a Great Dane that is 44 inches tall when on all fours and measures a whopping 7 feet 4 inches tall when he stands on his hind legs.

    Question 3: What breed of dog is considered the most intelligent?

    A. Standard poodle
    B. German shepherd
    C. Labrador retriever
    D. Border collie
    Answer: D
    All dogs are smart, but the border collie generally scores higher on intelligence tests than other breeds. In fact, a border collie named Chaser understands over 1,000 words as well as simple sentences. 

    Question 4: What breed of dog has the longest ears?

    A. Beagle
    B. Bloodhound
    C. Cocker spaniel
    D. Black-and-tan coonhound 
    Answer: D 
    Although all the breeds listed above have long ears, a black-and-tan coonhound in Colorado named Harbor is credited with having the longest ears on any canine. Both ears measure over 12 inches long.

    Question 5: George Washington loved dogs. What breed did he help develop?

    A. Boston terrier
    B. Chesapeake Bay retriever
    C. American foxhound
    D. Bluetick coonhound 
    Answer: C 
    President Washington was an avid foxhunter, and he wanted a dog that was better able to handle the terrain of early America. He helped create the American foxhound by crossing different French and English hounds.

    Question 6: The infamous rough collie Lassie was the star of movies and television. What was the name of the book that launched Lassie into stardom?

    A. Lassie the Wonder Dog
    B. Lassie the Lost Dog
    C. Lassie Come Home
    D. Lassie the Sheepdog

    Answer: C
    Published in 1940, Lassie Come Home was a best-selling novel by Eric Knight about a rough collie that travels from Scotland to Yorkshire to reunite with her young owner, Joe.

    Question 7: What was the name and breed of the dog that traveled with the Lewis and Clark Expedition across the continent?

    A. Scupper, a Labrador
    B. Sailer Boy, a Chesapeake Bay retriever
    C. Seaman, a Newfoundland
    D. Petey, a pit bull terrier
    Answer: C
    Seaman the Newfoundland was owned by Captain Meriwether Lewis and was the only dog to make the entire trip. In fact, when times were tough, the crew ate most of their dogs, but Seaman was spared. He even saved the crew from stampeding bison by barking an alarm just in time. 

    Question 8: How fast can a greyhound run?

    A. 50 mph
    B. 45 mph
    C. 35 mph
    D. 60 mph
    Answer: B
    Greyhounds can easily maintain speeds of up to 45 mph for prolonged periods. In fact, they are often considered the fastest land mammal, second only to the cheetah. Yet, in the home, this breed settles down quickly on the living room couch.

    Question 9: In 1957, the Russians launched a dog into space in the Sputnik space capsule. What was the name of that dog?

    A. Olga
    B. Nikita
    C. Laika
    D. Pushnika
    Answer: C
    Sometimes being a pioneer has tough consequences. Laika, a Russian stray, was the first dog launched into space. Sadly, her space capsule did not return to earth. Pushnika was the name of Laika's puppy that was given to President Kennedy by the Russian government. During the early space program, the Russians launched over 50 dogs into space. Most returned to earth in good health.

    Question 10: What breed of dog has the most teeth?

    A. Pit bull terrier
    B. Chow chow
    C. German shepherd
    D. All dogs have the same amount of teeth.
    Answer: DNo matter how big or small a dog is, it has the same number of teeth as all other dogs. Chihuahuas and Great Danes all have 42 teeth when they are mature. The number does vary as puppies gain and loose their milk teeth, but in the end they all have 28 baby teeth and 42 adult teeth. Dental disease is a huge problem with our furry friends, so work with your veterinarian to start a dental hygiene program when your dog is young.


    8-10 correct answers: You have an overwhelming desire to eat kibble.
    6-8 correct answers: You get overly excited when visitors stop by.
    4-6 correct answers: You need a good walk to clear your head.
    1-4 correct answers: You need to volunteer at your local animal shelter.