Do you put off bringing out your suitcase until the very last moment too?
From the very moment my dogs Lulu, Zazou & Kiki spot me rolling my suitcase out from the coat closet, the downward spiral begins. I don't care how much fun they were having eating, playing, or rough-housing the moment before - the absolute second they catch sight of that detested suitcase, the mood instantly sours and all three sadly shuffle into their beds like sad sacks. With furrowed brows they quietly stare at me as I pack and the worrying begins.
For this very reason, I put off bringing out my suitcase and actually packing until it is absolutely the very last moment, because it bums them out so much! In speaking with many of my other pet loving friends about this oft repeated scenario in their household of furry friends, I have learned that some actually go as far to hide the suitcase in another room so that the dogs cannot see them packing at all. HA!
Does your dog do this? Do you have any secret tips to help prevent the dreaded sad suitcase face syndrome? Share your stories and comments!
If you've ever had the pleasure of sharing your life with a senior dog, you know what mellow, loving, happy-go-lucky, undemanding dogs they can be. Having shared my life with numerous senior doggies over the years, those fuzzy, grey-faced boos hold a special place in my heart.
November is Adopt-a-Senior-Pet Month, and we, along with our friends at Petfinder.com, are challenging everyone to spread the word! If you know someone who's thinking of adopting -- or if you're considering adding a new furry family member yourself -- please read on and share this list! To learn more about Lila, (right) the darling Jack Russell Terrier up for adoption, check out her page on Petfinder.com
Top Ten Reasons to Adopt a Senior Pet
1. Housetrained: Older dogs are housetrained. You won't have to go through the difficult stage(s) of teaching a puppy house manners and mopping/cleaning up after accidents.
2. Won't chew inappropriate items: Older dogs are not teething puppies, and won't chew your shoes and furniture while growing up.
3. Focus to learn: Older dogs can focus well because they've mellowed. Therefore, they learn quickly.
4. Know what "no" means: Older dogs have learned what "no" means. If they hadn't learned it, they wouldn't have gotten to be "older" dogs.
5. Settle in with The Pack: Older dogs settle in easily, because they've learned what it takes to get along with others and become part of a pack.
6. Good at giving love: Older dogs are good at giving love, once they get into their new, loving home. They are grateful for the second chance they've been given.
7. What You See Is What You Get: Unlike puppies, older dogs have grown into their shape and personality. Puppies can grow up to be quite different from what they seemed at first.
8. Instant companions: Older dogs are instant companions -- ready for hiking, car trips, and other things you like to do.
9. Time for yourself: Older dogs leave you time for yourself, because they don't make the kinds of demands on your time and attention that puppies and young dogs do.
10. A good night's sleep: Older dogs let you get a good night's sleep because they're accustomed to human schedules and don't generally need nighttime feedings, comforting, or bathroom breaks.
How You Can Help Spread the Word About Senior Pets
It's easy - here are a few ideas. Let us know in the comments below if we forgot any tips!
E-mail this post to a friend who wants a new pet
Promote one senior pet on Facebook or Twitter every day this month. (On Twitter, add the hashtag #PFseniorpets.)
As you, your ghosts, goblins and gangs of Lady Gaga's all head out for Halloween festivities this weekend, we here at the Daily Treat command center feel it our civic duty to share with you these important safety tips to prevent you from ending up in some bad YouTube video or on TMZ. For other fun Halloween pet costume and party planning ideas, check out Animal Planet's Halloween Party Guide for all things Spook-tacular!
1) Costume Common Sense
If you do decide to dress your pet , make sure the costume doesn't restrain your pet in any way and that your pet's vision is not impaired. Don’t force the issue: If Rover doesn't want to dress up as Lara Croft Tombraider, then Rover shouldn't be Lara Croft...maybe he'd actually prefer Judge Judy.
2) Candy Patrol
As much as your dog or cat may beg for some of your Halloween candy, always remember that chocolate is DEADLY to them in any amount. Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, which is poisonous to dogs. Symptoms can include vomiting or diarrhea. That said, be sure not to keep that bowl of Halloween candy for trick or treaters anywhere within your pets reach, as it may be too tempting for pets to resist.
If your pet does eat chocolate, immediately call your vet or the Poison Control 1-800-222-1222. Post this number by your phone or on your refrigerator so it can be easily located in an emergency.
Other possible hazards include decorations that could be ingested, such as fake spiderwebs, as well as electric lights and jack-o-lantern candles.
4) "Scary lady in spandex make me want to get the heck out of here..."
Pets may also be spooked by people wearing costumes, and may try to escape or become aggressive. So be sure they are wearing their collar and pet identification tags or consider tucking them into their bed early in an enclosed room so they cannot run out the front door!
Did I forget anything? Share your ideas in the comments below and Happy Halloween!
Overheating Kills: What To Do if You See a Pet Locked in a Hot Car
Temperatures around the nation have been off the charts lately and nothing upsets me more more than discovering a helpless pet locked in a hot car on a warm day. WHAT IN THE HECK are these people thinking!?! Living in Southern California, I spend more time running around grocery stores and strip malls trying to find the clueless owners of these poor pets who then proceed to tell me they "...just ran into the store for a minute..." or "...left the windows open, so he should be fine..." My answer to them: No - your pet is not fine and here's why:
Point Number One: Even on a relatively milld 85 degree day, it only takes 10 minutes for the inside of your car to reach 102 degrees - even when the windows have been left open an inch or two. Within 30 minutes a car's interior can actually reach a staggering 120 degrees. Your car is now an oven.
Point Number Two: Even if the temperature outside is a pleasant 70 degrees, the inside of your car may be as much as 20 degrees hotter. Parking your car in shade does not offer protection on a hot day because the sun moves.
Point Number Three: While humans have sweat glands all over our bodies that help regulate our body heat, dogs cool down mostly by panting, which is much less efficient than sweating. In only a short amount of time, a dog with a high body temperature can suffer critical damage to his nervous system, heart, liver and brain.
Do Something! What You Can Do
At least 14 states and many municipalities have enacted laws to address the problem of animals left in cars in extreme temperatures. Under these laws, you, police, animal control agents, peace officers and others may be authorized to enter a vehicle by whatever means necessary to remove an animal. Learn more about the regulations in your area here >
If you’re out and about on a hot day and see an animal alone in a car, you should immediately try to find the car’s owner. If you have no luck, or if the owner refuses to act, contact local law enforcement and/or animal control.
In my opinion, if the local law enforcement or animal welfare officer can't arrive quickly enough, I say get the dog out of the car - keeping in mind that you shouldn't put your life in danger either. As well, the ASPCA has created these handy Pets In Hot Cars flyers (pdf) which you can print out and distribute in your neighborhood to help educate people about the danger of leaving pets in hot cars.
I am going to keep these flyers stocked in my car glovebox - I encourage you to do the same!
Dogster's Top 10 Reasons Not to Buy a Puppy From a Pet Store
If you are a dog lover, then you're all too familiar with that sick feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you pass by a pet store that sells puppies. I'm not referring to the pet stores that have adoption days featuring shelter pups available for adoption, like we offer at Muttropolis, but I'm instead referring to the pet stores where there are cages upon cages of poor furry souls who are products of deplorable conditions at puppy mills. I see these poor pups and like many, I want to "rescue" them from their life in a cage - but in doing so - you end up supporting a very shady industry, where poor dogs are often bred far too frequently, kept cramped together in squalor and are not socialized with humans.
Some pet stores do obtain their puppies from commercial kennels regulated by the Department of Agriculture. However, even these pups tend to be unhealthy and unsocialized. This is partly due to the fact that commercial kennels tend to breed many different breeds in one facility and they breed for quantity, not quality. So, before you buy that cute puppy in the window, consider the downsides of pet store pups:
10 Reasons Not to Buy a Puppy From a Pet Store
1. Bad Health: Because so many pet store pups come from puppy mills, they are not the result of careful breeding and they are usually not well cared for before coming to the store. Some common illnesses and conditions are neurological problems, eye problems, hip dysplasia, blood disorders and Canine Parvovirus.
2. Behavioral Problems: Because breeding is indiscriminate, behavioral problems are not weeded out generationally. You'll also find that a pet store's staff is not likely to have any training in dealing with behavior issues so the puppies continue to do the wrong things, which become habit.
3. No Socialization: Pet stores pups are often pulled away from their litter at far too young an age, often at only four or five weeks. The earliest a puppy should be separated from his pack is eight weeks and most reputable breeders will say at least 10 weeks. This lack of time socializing with his siblings means that puppy will not develop important canine skills. Likewise, a puppy who has not been handled by people from about three weeks will not naturally socialize well with them.
4. The Downfall of the Standard: In a broad sense, purchasing a puppy from a pet store and then breeding her means you are ruining the standard of that breed because the previous breeders were not concerned with it.
5. Lack of Information: A member of a pet store staff is not an expert on a breed and often not on dogs in general. Purchasing a puppy from a store means you will not get the lowdown on that breed or likely help with any behavioral or other questions.
6. Return at Your Puppy's Peril: Most pet stores do offer a warranty of sorts where you can bring the puppy back if he has problems. They don't tend to tell customers that the puppy's fate, once returned, is usually euthanization.
7. Housebreaking is a Chore: Pet store puppies have spent all their short lives in cages. They do not have the opportunity to develop the natural canine instinct of eliminating away from their food and bed. This causes problems when you try to housebreak them.
8. What You See Isn't Necessarily What You Get: If you see what looks like a Maltese in the window, you may find, as she grows, that there's a little Maltese in there somewhere but mostly she looks like a Terrier. There is no guarantee you will get a purebred dog if that's what you're after.
9. Poor Value: A puppy from a pet store generally costs between $400 and $2,000. This is often more than you'd pay at a reputable breeder who can ensure you get a healthy puppy and provide support afterward.
10. Questionable Pedigree: You're paying for a pedigree, or AKC papers, when you buy a puppy from a pet store but it's very likely that it's not genuine. If the papers are genuine, it still doesn't mean the puppy is a good example of its breed - you need a reputable breeder to prove that.
What are your options other than pet store puppies? Find a reputable breeder or adopt your next dog from the local animal shelter or breed-specific rescues! Learn more at Dogster.com or Petfinder.com.
Good news for anyone who has ever had difficulty luring their cat out from under a bed, up a tree, from under the car or anywhere else! A cat-loving University professor from Indiana and two of his students have developed Here Kitty, Kitty! - a feline-friendly iPhone (and iPad) application that provides a creative and fun way to help you find your lost (...or stubborn) cat.
Available on iTunes, Here Kitty, Kitty! provides a fun way for users to attract their cats with familiar sounds that will bring the feline around when they don't come when called. It features the sounds of a cat meowing, a man calling a cat and an electric can opener readying a can of kitty nom-noms.
Here Kitty, Kitty! just launched a few weeks ago and so the App reviews are limited, but the few that do exist on the site are very positive. Let me know if it works for your cat!
Donate your used, unwanted towels and blankets to a local shelter for Earth Day...and everyday
In our disposable society, millions of pounds of unwanted textiles, such as towels and blankets, are unnecessarily tossed into landfills across the United States each year. These discarded textiles can easily be diverted from landfills, repurposed and reused at a variety of needy organizations, starting with your local animal shelter!
Don’t toss your old faded towels or well-worn blankets into the trash, instead contact your local animal shelter and see if they can use them. Most every shelter across the nation has a donation wish list that most likely includes blankets and towels...and this includes all kinds of homeless shelters.
Donating your old linens to your local animal shelter is a convenient and eco-friendly to put unwanted textiles to good use and help provide a little creature comfort to shelter pets waiting to be adopted into their forever homes.
Get started by contacting your local animal shelter and look for “donations” or their wish list. To find a local shelter near you, visit Petfinder.com
We spotted this adorable and clearly bored dog last week outside of Biergarten at The Standard Hotel in New York City. He was having quite the time rearranging the flower beds possibly searching for Scooby snacks that had been left by other guests. Whatever he was digging for, I am sure he was motivated by a host of reasons, not the least of which was boredom.
Mr. Spots here drew quite a crowd as he inspected and subsequently shredded the plants in the planter box. If only mom and dad had provided him with a little somethin' somethin' to keep him busy whilst they dined, they likely could have avoided what certainly was a very dirty dog at the end of the evening.
Free from dyes, preservatives and the typical smelly-dog-treat- smell, Antler Chews have become one of my favorite new super durable dog chews for my Schmoo and Zazou, particularly if I am going to be leaving them alone for a bit of time. Naturally shed from deer, the antlers natural, preservative-free composition doesn't leave stains on carpets, floors or doggies' muzzles and the antlers are nutrient-packed and marrow-filled, providing a source of calcium.
Starting about $5, you can find Antler Chews at Muttropolis.
Earlier this year, President Obama and the first family welcomed Bo the Portuguese Water Dog into their family, particularly for his hypoallergenic coat, since their daughter Malia has allergies. She is not alone in her plight, as approximately 10 percent of Americans are allergic to dog dander ... including yours truly, which I discovered just a few months ago. With a household and office full of pets, this explains why I’ve pretty much sneezed my way through life.
While no dog is 100 percent hypoallergenic, there are many non-shedding breeds that the American Kennel Club suggests for allergy sufferers, as they produce less dander. As well, many mixed breeds found in shelters can quite possibly be a mash-up of some of these hypoallergenic breeds (such as my very own rescue mutt Lulu Schmoo, who was found wandering homeless in the streets of Mexico) and be just hypoallergenic enough for you. So if you are specifically looking for a hypoallergenic dog to add to your family, consider your local shelter or peruse Petfinder.com for candidates!
In no particular order, the top eight hypoallergenic breeds according to the AKC are:
1. Portuguese Water Dog
An athletic and active breed, the Portuguese water dog requires daily vigorous exercise. Very intelligent and responsive to obedience training, their profuse coat requires regular maintenance. It may be kept in the lion clip (the coat on the hindquarters and muzzle are clipped to the skin) or the retriever clip (the entire coat is clipped to one inch in length and follows the outline of the dog).
2. Bichon Frise A naturally gentle and playful dog, they love activity and require regular exercise. Their hair grows continually and does not shed, so extensive grooming is a must to prevent mats.
3. Chinese Crested Cresteds make alert and playful companions and do well in families with gentle children. However, they are prone to more frequent skin irritations, allergies, and sunburn than a coated dog would experience, so owners should take appropriate precautions.
4. Irish Water Spaniel The Irish water spaniel is an active and energetic companion and possesses the natural instinct to please, making them elatively easy to train, but regular exercise is important. Their hypoallergenic coats require brushing every few weeks and trimming every two months to neaten and shape the coat.
5. Maltese Despite their diminutive size, the Maltese tends to be brave and without fear. They are one of the most gentle of all little dogs, but are also full of energy and very playful, making them great family dogs. Maltese should be brushed daily, and groomed often to prevent mats from forming in their long, white coat.
6. Poodle Exceptionally smart and active, the Poodle is the only breed that comes in three size varieties, and so can accommodate nearly any size living quarters. Their hypoallergenic coat requires regular professional grooming.
7. Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Wheatens tend to be less scrappy than other terriers but they are true terriers and will be more active than many other breeds, enjoying plenty of exercise every day. They relate well to children and can adapt to city, country, and suburban life. The Wheaten is single coated and sheds minimally, but it needs regular grooming to keep its coat mat-free.
8. Miniature Schnauzer While all schnauzers have hypoallergenic coats, the miniature in particular adapts easily to any living situation and loves children if the two are introduced while the dog is under a year of age. Despite their small stature, the miniature schnauzer can give an alarm just as well as a larger dog, which makes them excellent watchdogs. They shed very little, but require grooming every few months.
Did we forget anyone? Goldendoodles and Labradoodles are definitely gaining in popularity as are other breeds. Feel free to share which other breeds might be considered hypoallergenic in the comments section below!