Monday, April 15, 2013

Do Not Give Your Dog A Toxic Treat On Holidays

Holidays are a day of showing love and affection. For many dog owners, it is hard to resist giving our beloved pet a little treat on a holiday and few things say I love you as well as chocolate.

Unfortunately, what giving a well-intentioned gift of chocolate to your dog actually says is, I am poisoning you.

How much poison is OK?

Coca, a major ingredient in chocolate, contains theobromine-and that is the poisonous part. The concentration of theobromine varies by the type of chocolate, with white chocolate having very little and dark chocolate having as much as 10 times the concentration that milk chocolate has.

So how much is dangerous? A mere 52 milligrams of theobromine per pound of a dog's body weight can be deadly. Per pound of a dog's weight, that is about 1 ounce of milk chocolate and about one-tenth of an ounce of dark chocolate.

But remember, that is when it reaches potentially fatal levels. There are many things that can happen at lower levels.

Not deadly-but certainly not good

Additional effects of theobromine poisoning include:


The asterisked words are red flags to contact your veterinarian immediately. If the dog is not vomiting, then induce vomiting. (Keeping a bottle of syrup of ipecac on-hand is always a good precaution.)

There is no specific antidote for theobromine poisoning.

While a Great Dane is unlikely to die from eating a few chocolate kisses, it is important to remember that some dogs are more sensitive to theobromine than other dogs. Even a large dog may have a life-threatening reaction to a relatively small dose of the poison. With small dogs, it is easy to hit deadly levels while ingesting what to a person may seem like a small amount of chocolate.

Hoard your stash

It is also important to remember that dogs are gorgers. If a dog takes a box of chocolates or finds a stash of chocolate bars, it is likely to eat the entire thing in one gluttonous meal. For that reason, it is important to your dog's safety that chocolate be kept inaccessible at all times.

There are many foods that are toxic to dogs. For this reason, it is best to feed dogs food and treats that are made specifically to meet their dietary requirements. But with certain holidays comes a desire to share a human treat with our dog, and chocolate is such a pleasure for so many people.

Remember, if you love your dog, then do not give it poi

Friday, April 5, 2013

3 Surefire Tips in Dealing With Your Dog During His Training

Having a pet and taking good care of it is not an easy task. Pets such as dogs need to be trained and disciplined. They need to be well behaved in every situation they are put in such as when they meet new guests in the house. This is where this dog training guide and the tips on how to train your dog in a gentle manner so they may thoroughly learn to discipline themselves comes in.

It is not a good idea to have your pet suffer in pain during dog training.

Not only does this hurt him, it may also cause him not to follow your instructions all the more. Your dog could rebel against you and your orders if you tried to harm him during the course of his training. The question now is this: how do you, the dog's master, train him well enough so that he would learn from the training? Here are some ways on how to go about a dog training guide that is gentle and yet thorough in training pet dogs:

    Acquire a decent understanding of your pet's attitude or behavior. It is important that you understand how your pet behave before you begin training him to follow basic commands or even to behave. Dogs are like humans. They need to be understood as well as they have feelings, too. Your dog would be with you for a long time so you must learn to accept your dog the way he is. The dog's behavior can be easily understood by observing them, how they respond. Once you have a thorough understanding of how your dog behaves then you can begin with the training.
    Do not inflict harm on your pet dog. If your dog committed something that is not good in your eyes, it is important that you do not deal too harshly with him. Dogs need someone who can understand them, not someone who can add more to their stress when they are already in a lot of it. Dogs can be frisky when they are stressed after all, it's much the same way with their human counterparts or masters. It's best not to give them more stress lest you would want them to be even harder to manage.
    Be patient with your dog's training. An important trait that one has to have when dog training is patience with the dog being trained. This is often an integral reminder to most owners who subject their dogs to the training guide. If you are seeing through your dog's training then as his master and trainer in one, you have to be patient in teaching him how to behave. The dog will not learn anything from you or from any dog trainer that you employ for his sake if you constantly blow up on him for not understanding and following commands properly.

Your dog will be a more well-behaved and disciplined pet when you subject to proper dog training. You can learn the art of training dogs on your own by taking the challenge to train your own pet or you can employ someone else to see through your dog's training. It is all up to you as to how you would like your dog trained. You just have to make sure to treat your dog nicely throughout his training so he would learn well.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dog Attacks - Safety Tips From A Letter Carrier

Dog attacks on letter carriers are the stuff that legends are made of. They are not just myths! How do I know? I found out the hard way; I asked my letter carrier.

One day I noticed that Mike, my letter carrier, was wearing a pepper spray on his belt that was neatly tucked into a holster. That started the conversation. I asked if I could see it and immediately noticed that it was out of date. He told me he didn't know that it had expired. I had to explain to him that it wasn't the pepper spray that deteriorated, but it was the propellant. Believe me when a dog is attacking, you don't want to have a fizz coming out of the end of your pepper spray.

We started discussing why the USPS issues pepper sprays to letter carriers in the first place. As I found out from Mike, they are the first line of defense for them against dog attacks. There are more dog attacks and dog bites on letter carriers than any other group of people aside from children under the age of five.

Every year in the United States over 5 million people are attacked by dogs with close to 1 million of them requiring hospitalization or emergency room treatment. Every day 1,000 people get hospitalized with a dog bite and many of those are small children under five.

Mike shared with me some horrific tales and some advice on how to avoid dog attacks. So from Mike's 25 year plus experience as a letter carrier, here are his top tips.

1. Never smile at a growling dog. He sees that as a sign of aggression.

2. If you see a dog that is penned up in a yard or tied to a stake or some solid object, he is more likely to be aggressive than one that is roaming free. So be wary.

3. Never reach over a fence to pet a dog. Many dogs can easily jump a 3 foot fence.

4. Learn to read a dog's body language. If a dog is running at you with a loping gait, he wants to play. If the dog approaches you with its body straight and stiff with his head, shoulders and hips all in line, he is in an attack mode.

5. Always carry something with you that can be used as a blocking tool; a stick, a cane or some such device or in a pinch your shoe will work. Better the dog attack your shoe than bite your arm or your leg.

6. And like the USPS always carry a product for your self-defense, such as a dog pepper spray, with you when you are near an area where you know dogs hang out.

I used to carry the telescopic stun baton and had to use it on a couple of occasions. But now I carry the Mace pepper gun because it has a range of 25 feet.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How to Keep Your Dog Healthy With These 3 Easy Tips (And He Will Love It!)

Keeping your dog healthy and alert is key in a long and happy life, and you do want to keep your dog healthy, don't you?

Here are 3 Easy Tips to Keep Your Dog Healthy for a Life Time!

Veggies - Ditch the soft chewy treats in a bag at the grocery store and buy your dog some carrots! No, seriously... buy your dog some veggies! Cut up carrots, celery and green or other colored peppers make a delicious treat for your pet that he will love. It eliminates the sugar from his diet that is pumped into those soft and chewy dog treats, too! Don't forget that sugar is cancer food and your dog (and you) should eliminate it from your diets! In addition, if your dog needs to drop a few pounds, as many do these days, eating celery actually burns calories and most dogs love the crunchy texture.

Multi-Vitamins - A good multi-vitamin every day is important for a long healthy life. Just as we should supplement our diets with a good multi-vitamin, so should your pooch! Most diets today are made up of processed foods that are missing many vital vitamins and nutrients. Avoid the soft and chewy versions. Sugar is usually a top of the list ingredient and necessary to keep that soft and chewy consistency. There are easy to give yummy crunchy vitamins that your dog will look forward to as a treat. A good multi-vitamin is important especially if you feed your dog grocery store dog food which may have more by-products and fillers as ingredients.

Omega-3 - Omega-3 supports heart health and reduces inflammation in your dog's body. Inflammation is the key trigger in most disease, for us and for our pets. As cancer is the number one cause of death in dogs today, reducing cancer causing inflammation is key in keeping your dog healthy. You should look for supplements containing Omega-3 only. Avoid giving your dog additional Omega-6 or a combination of Omega 3 & Omega 6. There is usually enough Omega-6 added to commercial dog food and you don't want to overdo the 6. There is a great Salmon Oil softgel (500 mg) that dogs love. You can give it to them as a treat or cut it open and squeeze the oil on their food. Many dogs will just take the capsule and eat it as a treat. Check with your vet for proper dosing for your dog's body weight.

These three easy changes in your dog's snacks and supplements will help him live a long, healthy life, and the veggies may help him drop a few pounds as well!

To Your Dog's Good Health!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Does Your Dog "Bow" to You?

I am constantly learning everyday about pet behavior, body language, and communication by interacting with the animals I care for. One behavior I started noticing with the dogs I work with within the last year is them "bowing to me". At first when I saw "Friday" a Heeler/Malamute, "Special Needs Behavioral" dog I care for do it, I thought he was just stretching. Then I notice he does it every time I walk into the house. It got me wondering, and I let it sit in the back of my mind. Then I noticed it this week when I would get the leash to take "Murphy" a Standard Poodle, out for a walk he was doing the same bow. I decided it was time to look into this behavior and body language to further understand what these dog were trying to communicate to me & why.

Upon looking into it I found that this dog behavior is called the "Play Bow" (back-end in the air with head and paws lowered to the ground). This behavior is also seen in wolves & coyotes and is a powerful social tool among all dogs. It communicates that their intentions are friendly and that they are ready for a rousing round of chasing and romping. The position is non-threatening as the head is extremely low.

This signal is extremely important because so much of dog play consists of aggressive behaviors and dominant postures. The play bow tells a dog's playmate, "Anything that comes after this is play, so please don't take it seriously."

The play-bow probably evolved out of a submissive crouch, but the signal has become an unmistakable way to indicate a desire to play, no matter where the dog is in the social hierarchy. A more dominant dog may even allow himself to be chased in the interest of fun, may encourage play by lying down and allowing a subordinate dog to "attack" him.

However, it is interesting to note that dominant dogs are not as successful in soliciting play. A general sense of aloofness may be part of the reason. Or perhaps they come across as insincere when they invite another dog to play.

Under-socialized dogs may not understand the play-bow, or know that all actions following the bow are meant in fun. Instead they may feel threatened and may bite. Fortunately, most dogs do understand dog diplomacy.

I was extremely happy to learn this information because that "play-bow" is powerful stuff! It means the dogs are happy to see me & associate me with having fun! As an added bonus my "behavioral issue" dogs like "Friday" also understand hierarchy and respect me.

Shannon Cole owns "Shannon's Pet Sitting" in Chicago's NW Suburbs an in-home, bonded, insured, Better Business Bureau Accredited pet care service specializing in pets w/ behavioral problems, medical needs & senior pets.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Interesting Facts About Beagles

General Information

The beagle is a dog breed of medium size. It is an autonomous, energetic, devoted and smart dog. It comes together nicely with kids as well as other dogs. Its roots are those of a hunter and it is generally a bit aggressive towards other small animals.

Historical background

This breed comes from England since several hundred years ago (around 1800). It occurred by the cross breeding of various hounding breeds. As a matter of fact, the beagle has been associated with King Authora's Camelot and William the Conqueror.

The rich British people used beagles to hunt by creating packs of them. Beagles arrived at the United States in the half of the nineteenth century, however at the time they did not look like as they look nowadays.

Temperament of the beagle

Beagles are mildly tempered dogs, not very aggressive but not apprehensive either. They are amicable, trustful, a bit strong-headed, companionable and inquisitive. Beagles get along great with kids and this explains why they are one of the most popular pets for families. They are compassionate and frisky, but simultaneously brave and protecting of loved ones.

Beagles and their nose

Beagles are infamous for their nose and super-strong smelling sense. They have about 220 million smell receptors (whereas man has about 5 million) and for that reason they are quite often used for detecting drugs.

As a potential beagle owner, you should be aware of this fact and realize that when this dog catches a smell, it will be resolved to check it out. Thus, beagles are not appropriate to take with you when you go jogging since they will constantly stop and smell around!

Beagles and food

Beagles love eating and they are usually very protective about their food. As a matter of fact, it will eat until it explodes, so ensure that only proper amounts of food are given to it. Moreover, it can find inspired ways to reach food that might be placed in various stores inside the house.