Friday, December 16, 2011
Except that puppies are not gifts. They are not something that you put a bow on and under the Christmas tree. They cannot be returned if they don't fit or if they are the wrong colors. Because when puppies are returned they end up in shelters where they face a death sentence.
Yet every year hundreds of parents walk past a puppy in a window at the pet store and imagine their childs face lighting up as they receive the "perfect gift".
Owning a pet, any pet, is a big responsibility. Getting a dog or a cat can be a commitment for more than 12 years. They need to be trained they need to be fed good quality food and they need to be compatible with the family they are coming into, the entire family.
Christmas after Christmas animals are surrendered to shelters because the holiday joy has worn off and the puppy no longer seems like a great gift but more of a nuisance or inconvinience. These puppies if left in a kill shelter will die. If left in a no-kill shelter the dog or cat can spend many months if not years in a small space wasting away waiting for someone to give them a second chance at joy.
If you deem your self a responsible adult who has weighed the pros and cons of opening your home to a furry friend then by all means take a trip to your local animal shelter and consider bringing home a pet who needs and deserves to be loved. Yet do not take this decision lightly and never ever give an animal as a pet.
So as the Holidays are upon us spread the cheer and joy of knowledge and education and say PUPPIES ARE NOT PRODUCTS, THEY ARE NOT CHRISTMAS GIFTS.
Happy Holidays from the Just Pawfect family to yours.
Friday, September 2, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Said a little girl pointing at my Rottweiler puppy.
"But I can touch him"
she said eagerly almost grabbing my 15 pound jack Russell .
This stuck with me as we walked our dogs through the dog park. It was Zoeys, the rotty, first time to the dog park.
Let me paint you a picture of Zoey. She is 9 months old and about 50 pounds which is actually underweight.
And is the sweetest girl you'll ever meet. The only danger you stand with her is being licked to death.
Everyone seems to be immediately scared of her. People cross the street when near us and parents pick up their little kids to "save" them when she walks by. Even though she is calm and proper on the leash .
At the same time a yappy little dog is barking and chasing a kid on a bike. Why was he even off leash when he was out of the dog area and clearly his owner had no control as the dog easily ignored the owners command to stop and return. Even if I had expert control over Zoey I could never let her loose all the nervous energy around her would be setting her up for confusion.
On other blogs I've heard of "black " dog syndrome there are even blogs about it as on Pawcurious blog by dr. V.
I just didn't believe . On my block there is a huge white wolf hound and this dog is massive but every one is so friendly to her.
There is a grumpy old jack russell whom we call evil Tulip because he looks like our dog only more evil. Evil Tulip walks his owner every evening barking and growling at his pleasure as his small shy owner smiles doing nothing to show him his behavior is wrong.
That little girl at the park was more than willing to pet Tulip but already had it clear in her head that touching the big black doggie was a no no. That little girl will grow up to walk past a rotty at the shelter because of a lifetime of misconceptions.
A dog is not safe or dangerous because of his breed or size. Any dog under the control,or lack of, an incompetent ignorant owner is a ticking time bomb . I have to take Zoeys training much more seriously because she will not be allowed any mistakes.
One time while walking home a small dog bitt husband on the leg ,nothing was done about it. If my Rottweiler puppy were to be in the same situation for whatever reason would be deemed dangerous and could be forced to be put down.
Dogs need strong leadership,rules and limitations no matter their size breed or color. Big dogs and especially black dogs have a bad rep. After all the question begs who's afraid of the big bad wolf not who's afraid of the Pomeranian .
Let's educate ourselves and our future adopters the kids who today need the tools to know better tomorrow.
Friday, April 15, 2011
There are many causes in the pet rescue community that can often seem so unattainable. It can become so overwhelming when you think about the many animals that are in desperate need of our help.
Yet to think that one simple decision can help take a step towered ending the pain and suffering of an animal seems unimaginable.
This decision requires no donations no volunteer time no real effort.
Say no to purchasing a pet from a pet store.
What could seem simpler. But day after day people walk into pet stores and purchase a dog or a cat or another animal despite the explosive overpopulation of animals in shelters across the nation.
Now the latest trend is designer dogs, pure breeds and new exclusive breed mixes.
What makes a dog sitting in a window a designer pet but that same dog months later in a shelter cage is disposable, unwanted and not worth saving?
Every time someone purchases an animal from a pet store they are directly contributing to the dark and cruel puppy mill industry.
The term puppy mill is no longer obscure. People have been exposed through different ways to the reality that dogs from pet stores 90% of the time come from puppy mills.
Puppy mills are thriving and animal shelters are struggling to stay open.
As long as there is a demand for these store bought puppies there will be a puppy mill operating successfully at the expense of the life and well being of an animal.
Puppies from puppy mills are born to mothers that are bred beyond their physical limit. They are forced to produce litters over and over until their bodies can no longer handle it. Their puppies are ripped from them to be sold and they rarely receive any comfort.
They live in wire bottom cages that produce many health conditions and discomfort and are often full of disease and parasites. If they incur any injuries they almost never see any medical help.
That cute puppy in the window came from a place that has feces piling high and a constant stench of disease and waste. The dogs go literally crazy from the constant imprisonment and isolation. And your purchase is what funds that place.
Even if your pet store claims the dogs come from a reputable breeder why are we bringing more animals into a world where everyday thousands of dogs are euthanized because they have no home and there is no more room for them in the shelter.
There are so many wonderful dogs and pets waiting to be adopted right now. They are not disposable or worthless that are not second hand or unwanted. If you make the decision that you want to open your home to a pet please adopt never ever buy from a pet store.
Your decision can take us one step closer to putting puppy mills out of business.
Thats how you and I can be the change for animals.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
And year after year people get caught up in the excitement of the season and in the window of every pet store will be little baby bunnies. Certain places will even have people lining up to buy baby chicks.
What is there not to love, bunnies are so soft and look so calm in their cages and chicks are so fuzzy and small. People forget these animals will grow and are a big responsibility.
Year after year when the excitement has passed hundreds of rabbits and chicks find themselves abandoned or set free. The problem is that these smaller pets are being bought as an impulse response to the holiday and the decision is not given enough thought.
Rabbits can live longer than 10 years. And they need time outside the cage for daily exercise. They can be great pets but require the same amount of attention if not more than a dog or cat. And unless you live in an area with open outside space a grown chick is not the pet for you.
If you have given it plenty of thought and are prepared to take on the responsibility of caring for these animals than adopt one.
So this year bring into your home chocolate bunnies and peep chicks and say no to real store bought rabbits.
Here are a few links to help end the cycle of abandoned animals and information on where to adopt rabbits
Check out local shelters to adopt
Saturday, April 9, 2011
As always when leaving your pet home alone for longer periods of time keep in mind what the temperature can rise or fall too.
Now with summer approaching you want to always keep in mind that your pet can't open the refrigerator while your gone (actually some can but they can't pour a drink) so leave plenty of fresh water. If necessary leave the window slightly open from the top to keep air circulating.
Dogs can't sweat so it's easy for them over heat in warm weather even if it's not extreme. This is why they pant, the heavy breathing cools the blood in their tongues allowing for cool blood to circulate their bodies. Alleviate the heat by keeping them well groomed if the coat is long cut it short during the summer. Brush their fur frequently to help get rid of excess fur and to help them shed their winter coats .
Remember to execute common sense. Never Leave a dog or any pet in a car if your not going to be in the vehicle. Not even for a second. The temperature in a car can spike to dangerous levels very quickly and your pet can have a heat stroke and this could result in death.
The spring time and summer can bring many wonderful adventures for you and your pet. Many opportunities to enjoy time together. Just make sure that you take the appropriate steps so that this time together is not spent in the animal clinic emergency room.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Saturday, March 5, 2011
How cooperative your pet is during such consultation is important.
Think back to the last time you were in a doctors office, whether for your self or for a loved one like a child. The scene is typical there are the loud children running around climbing over chairs and being over all rude. There are the ones speaking loudly on their phones and then there's the rest of us just trying to get through the experience as quickly and as painlessly as possible.
Well the same can be expected from a veterinary visit the question is who will you be the one with the out of control pet or the well behaved pup sitting quietly awaiting to be seen.
The smells the sounds even the feeling of the floor tiles can be new and scary to your pet. Add on to that the possibility of discomfort caused by a health problem and you have a combination for a usually stable pet to act out of character. You may find your self in friendly chatter while you wait but this is not the place to take a chance and let your pet socialize. A usually friendly dog can snap quickly under such a stressful situation. Plus you don't know what the other animal is in for and you don't want to take a chance at your pet catching something like ear mites.
The vet visit doesn't have to be a stressful experience if you take the steps to prepare your pet for the experience and the examination from the day they enter your home.
Expose your pet to different sounds and smells and teach them to stay calm when introduced to new experiences by not giving attention to a restless dog. Dogs are not comforted by your petting and cooing when they are scared, what you are doing is reassuring them there is a need to panic.
Think like a dog.
We walk on two feet and for the most part these feet are deprived of most sensory exposure by being in shoes or socks. So we are not often affected by the ground below us, not enough to keep us from exploring new locations based on the ground texture. Yet most of our pets (theres always the stylish pooch in designer booties) walk barefoot. So our Dogs are on their four paws constantly receiving messages from their exposed paws. Tile and linoleum floors are no where near natural to a dog and if they have long nails it will feel even stranger and may lead to them not feeling comfortable in the vets office.
If your dog displays strong dislike for such floors try having a practice run where you expose your pet for short periods of times to such flooring. It may not seem like a big deal to you but these animals experience the world very differently to us.
Next are the sounds and smells. All those chemicals can seem scary but if you remain calm and assertive your pet will understand there is no need to be alarmed and will associate the smells and sounds of this new environment with your calmness. Bringing treats to offer a tasty bribe is never a bad idea.
The most important part of the visit is the examination, if your animal isn't comfortable during the physical exam it will affect how well your vet will be able to render a diagnosis.
If you accustom your pet to being touched in the areas where your vet often checks they will not give it a second thought when being handled at the vet. As young as possible touch your pets ears, snout, tail, paws underbelly and under paw pads and offer rewards when they stay calm. This will help them think that being handled in those areas by your vet is OK. This will also be helpful for when you take you pet for any kind of grooming.
The most important element is ...You. You are who your pet looks to when they need to be reassured. If you remain calm and comfortable your pet will trust your judgement and remain calm. This behavior and bond is not learned at the office it is learned at home every day in everything you do.
Remember to discuss any questions on you pets nutrition with your vet. Voice your concerns and ask about the importance of balanced nutrition. Now remember to remain the owner of your pets health and investigate even the food that your vet will recommend. We all know that human doctors stand to win compensation for recommending a certain brand of prescriptions over an other, the same is true for the veterinary world and often times the vet will recommend a brand that is not particularly the best but rather what they may be in contract to mention. The point is own your pets health and inform your self and always read the labels.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Very few of us actually think let alone prepare for a health problem when it comes to our pets.
Sometimes everything is OK until its not. Our family dog Snoopy is a six year old German shepherd
Pit bull mutt, he is my baby. I came home to visit my parents on Sunday and as I was petting Snoopy I noticed that both his ear flaps were swollen. The feeling was so alien to me that I even asked my mother to feel them and asked her have his ears always been like this? I even had to take off his collar because it didn't seem to fit right all of the sudden.
My heart sunk all sorts of thoughts came to my mind. I kept asking myself is this an allergic reaction, an infection, bug bite or ear mites? So many possible diagnosis for such similar ailments. If you asked me I would have sworn he was dying just from how scared I was.
With a little research I found out that many things could cause your dogs ears to swell up especially for dogs with floppy ears. It could have been a reaction to an infection that had been left untreated and worsened. As well as the possibility of a sort of allergic reaction either to something he ate or rubbed up against. It could have also been a reaction to ear mite infestation. The scariest possibility was something called aural hematoma.
Ear mites are most commonly transmitted from contact with an infested host animal, there needs to be some sort of contact. They are most commonly found in cats but dogs can get them too and they will live off of your animals ear wax and skin oils. Their life cycle from egg to adult is usually three weeks so treatment needs to cover that time span at the very minimum.
Their presence can create very irritating ear infections and a lot of inflammation. They very rarely travel outside of the ear onto the host head and usually stay on the ear canal skin. You might see a black discharge. Infections can sometimes have similar discharge and so some infections are misdiagnosed as ear mites and so not treated properly. If you suspect infection or ear mites have you animal checked by a professional who can appropriately diagnose and treat.
Aural Hematomas happen when the small blood vessels in the ear flap rupture and fill the ear with blood. The ear flap will be extremely swollen and when touched will feel like filled with liquid. This can often be caused by excessive head shaking that causes the vessels to rupture. Infection of some sore or fungal infection is often the cause for the excessive scratching and ear shaking.
If left untreated the hematoma will usually lead to more swelling and a heaviness and discomfort to your pet. It will usually go away in a few weeks and may leave a deformed "cauliflower ear". It should be treated quickly to avoid further discomfort, to treat for any possible infection and to prevent deformation.
Treatments can be aspiration with a syringe to drain out the excess liquid. As well as surgically opening the ear flap to drain the blood and remove blood clots. Another treatment possibility is to place an "indwelling cannula" to drain the blood as the ear heals. With aspiration there is the possibility of infection, dogs rarely tolerate the cannula and surgery is usually the quickest way to deal with a hematoma. With either treatment or lack of there will always be some sort of scarring tissue. It is important that any treatment be done by your vet do not attempt to drain the blood your self.
There is also the possibility of a yeast infection which also requires treatment.
So we took Snoops to The North shore Animal League medical center. Not only was it affordable, at time of visit a wellness exam was $35.00 but everyone was very friendly and the vet thoroughly checked for all possibilities. He said Snoopy's ear canal was clean and clear no signs of mites, no sign of infection or yeast. And determined that the swelling was probably caused by an allergic reaction. I told the vet the swelling went down in about 48 hours and so he probably had an allergic reaction to something he ate since a bug bite would have probably cause swelling on the original bite site.
Before we took snoopy to the vet we consulted with a family friend who is a life long dog breeder and he instructed us to rub the ear down with mineral oil or baby oil to kill any possible ear mites and to rub the ear flap with bacitracin or triple antibiotic ointment to treat possible infection. But he explained to us that if it was an infection it was a serious one. So we decided to take his advice and make an appointment to see the vet as well.
The point is that when an animal exhibits this sort of swelling it could be many different things and you don't want to self diagnose because you might mis treat the problem and therefore not really help at all. North shore offered affordable treatment and now I have peace of mind that my baby is OK. Look for clinics in your area that are affordable many shelters will offer affordable health care as well. Don't try any sort of human treatment unless instructed by a professional because what may be safe for humans can be deadly for animals.
Be safe and be informed on the possible health problems your breed is prone to so you can prepare accordingly. And remember when you get a pet its a life long commitment they get sick just like we do and when left untreated can be costly and life threatening.
Sunday, February 27, 2011
If your are bringing home your new pet from a local shelter chances are that you will receive a lot of guidance to making the transition as smooth as possible. It is also very probable that this is not your pets first transition which could make for a smoother first couple of nights. In the event that you are bringing home your pet from a local pet store the transition may be rougher since there may be less information made available to you and the animals are usually pretty young oftenn just about eight weeks old. They are probably still recovering from being taken from their mothers and being transported long distances.
Once again I would like to remind you all that there is a huge animal over population in our country and that many if not all animals that are sold in a pet store come from puppy mills where they suffer in deplorable conditions. Adoption should always be your first option but we can not always help when love for an animal will touch our hearts and it may very well be love at first sight while your pup is being taken from the delivery truck infront of the pet store, which has actually just happened to a good friend of mine. Hence the previous picture of the cute puppy.
It is important not to get wrapped up in the excitement and forget to already have ready the essentials to a good homecoming.
- If you are bring home a dog decide before hand if you will be crate training or if your dog will be allowed to roam free. Crate training may sound scary but we must remember that a dog has a natural instinct to live in a cave like area where it can feel safe from the vastness of its surroundings. Being comfortable staying in its crate will come in handy for parents who have to leave their dogs for periods of time while going to work and don't want to come home to a possible disaster. Just remember that there is a limit to a dogs tolerance to being kept inside the kennel which usually correlates directly to its age the younger the pup the less hours it should be kept in a crate. You want to create a feeling of security not a prison.
- If your are bringing home a very young puppy like my friends baby Gaby then you need to take several additional things into consideration. Gaby has been a very good puppy so far but it is to be expected she misses her mother and siblings. I would recommend a hot water bottle or thermos of some sort wrapped in thin cloth or even warm towel that can be placed in the pups bedding so that she can curl up next to it and feel the comfort of a body's warmth.
- It is also a helpful idea to put an old alarm clock the kind that tick loudly inside the bedding this will remind her of a beating heart, like what she would hear when curled up against her mother. This will make it easier to leave the dog alone. We are all excited that there is a new puppy but were reminded that come the work week she will find her self suddenly without her devoted following when we all leave to go to work and the attention she become accustomed to will not be there.
- Probably the most important decision you are going to make is what type of food to feed your pet. Will you feed her supermarket pet food, will you feed her organic food, table scraps, gourmet home cooked meals fit for a Queen? The point is there are a lot of options and it can get very confusing. My advice on this will always be learn to read the ingredients label. If actual meat of some sort is not in the first five ingredients step away from the bag. And meat meal or by products is not what you are looking for. Now a days quality dog food can often be found for the same price as lesser quality store brands. I like Merrick brand dog and cat food and Wellness dog and cat food. Merrick works for my pets because they are on a mostly human food diet and Merrick is human grade food you can actually see the vegetables. This may not work for everyone always remember your pets health is unique and you should research what you feed them.
- Also be prepared for the first few weeks of house training. Many stores will try to sell you "wee-wee pads" and such products but newspaper works just as well.
- At first you will have a larger area covered with paper at times pretty much any where your pet goes. I find it useful if you put paper where she has gone let the paper absorb a little bit of urine just to catch the scent and then clean right away anywhere else with a solution of half white vinegar and half water. This will eliminate the scent of her urine elsewhere and help let her know that the spot you chose is where it is OK. There are different methods and it is a matter of practice and patience but what ever you do don't clean with bleach or ammonia based products as they will only recreate the smell for your dog and make them think they can pee anywhere.
A helpful guideline is that a dog can usually control its urge to go out to urinate one hour for every month of age once trained. So If a dog is six months it can usually keep it in for about six hours if you have to be away from them and can't take them out earlier. This rule doesn't apply so easily to a young puppy because you are establishing a routine first and will find yourself taking them out almost every two to three hours at first.
Remember there are really no wrong ways to do things so long as you take the time to learn about the creature you just brought home. Learn that a dog is not comforted when you pet her if she is scared of upset what you are doing is increasing her anxiety. Only give attention and praise when the dog exhibits calm positive behavior. DO NOT go to her when she cries at night for you to let her out of her designated area of for you to put her on your bed. Once a dog learns a behavior they will not unlearn it, all you can do is work hard, extremely hard to curb that behavior. Prevention is the best remedy. Stay strong and do not go to her when she whimpers for attention and affection. Allow your pet to have alone time where it comforts is self so that she does not feel anxious when you leave.
Good luck with your new addition and keep checking back to see the progress of Gaby.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
They can also display our same fears and even mental illnesses. We've all seen it, the growling Chihuahua barking madly at its own tail or the obsessive Labrador chasing its tail until it made its self sick.
As I get to know my new puppy I realize how fragile the dogs mind truly is. Zoe has developed a sort of fear of her reflection. She barks incessantly at her silver food bowl and and glass window displays. She spends a lot of time alone while we are at work and although there is an older jack Russell home to keep her company its enough to drive a dog mad.
Dogs develop these obsessions and these strange quirks when they are not allowed to fulfill their roles in life. If a dog is confined to a small space and not given the proper exercise and proper outlet for all that bundled energy they will find other outlets.
So when your dog takes to chewing your couch to the wood, or your favorite shoes or bark at its own reflection they are trying to give you a message that something is missing in their lives. What is missing is not difficult to figure out they don't want therapy sessions or hypnosis they want to be take out more to be put on a routine they can predict so they can take the edge off their day.
As a response to this dog vs. food bowl case going on in my living room I am revamping my commitment to this new puppy in our house hold and give her the proper outlet to her anxiety.
Remember our dogs are devoted to pleasing their human companions we should take this devotion with the proper respect and allow them to live out healthy lives mentally and physically. It doesn't take letters to Dr. Phil, it takes commitment and attention.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
We may be dogs best friend but we keep forgetting that they are animals of instinct and habit. They have it hardwired in their brains to want to walk, to be part of the pack and to devote their loyalty to you their proud leader.
Now that I have a new puppy in my house I myself am rediscovering the importance of the walk. Took my pooch for a nice long forty-five minute walk around the neighborhood. It felt so good to concentrate on walking, on leading and feeling my dog ease into a synchronized walk with me. I literally felt the leash become an extension of my arm connecting my dog and I.
My puppy is now six months old and is usually an unstoppable bundle of energy. Yet when we are on our walks she is so different she is calm and constantly watching me for instruction. She walks proudly by my side as the walk progresses. The walk also helps me relax and regain my confidence when a long day has worn me down. Its win win.
So remember to :
- Take your dog on at least two half hour walks a day in addition to bathroom breaks
- Clear your mind of previous walk experience just because your pooch was a mess last time does not mean she will be out of control now.
- Your mind sets the tone for the walk, positive thoughts equal positive walk
- Relax and enjoy don't grip the leash until your knuckles turn white