Dog Travels, Part I: Leaving on a Jetplane

Dog Air TravelThere’s no denying the fact that air travel is a scary experience for some people.  Remember your first flight?  Did you grasp your parent’s or your partner’s hand tightly?  Did you breathe faster?  Did your forehead sweat, and did you fidget nervously in your seat?

Chances are that you experienced these first flight jitters (and maybe some second or third flight jitters too).  Imagine, then, what your dog is feeling before his or her first flight.  He or she will most likely be anxious, confused and vocal.  It is your job to make sure that your dog is capable of and prepared for air travel.

DogWatch Hidden Fences wants to help.  This summer, Dog Tails will offer a series of posts with pet travel tips and information.  For our first installment, we’ll start big with airplane travel.  We’ve broken down the preparation process into three steps: 1) Know your options, 2) Schedule a Vet Appointment and 3) Pack Wisely.

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Dogs and Gardens: Not an Either-Or Situation

DogWatch Dog in YardContrary to many people’s fears, dogs and gardens can coexist quite nicely. They don’t have to be an either or situation. Dog-loving gardeners can take a few precautions around ground rules, containment and training, plant selections, and lawn and garden treatments.

Ground Rules: avid gardener Yvonne Cunnington suggests setting ground rules first. She says dog owners should be clear about how they want their dog to behave in the garden, decide where the dog is allowed to go, and be consistent.

Containment and Training: As a dog-loving gardener, there is an easy way you can keep your dog away from plants without building an expensive fence that hides the beauty of your garden.  Hidden underground electronic fences can be used in a variety of ways to keep your pet safe in your yard as well as to keep your dog out of specific areas such as your garden, the children’s sandbox or the swimming pool.  With a Hidden Fence, your dog wears a special collar that warns him when he is approaching an area that is off-limits.  The dog is trained to understand that when he hears the warning beeps he shouldn’t go any further.  Learn more about DogWatch Hidden Fences and products.

Plant Selections: Take care in choosing non-toxic plants. An excellent resource to help in your selections is the ASPCA’s list of toxic and non-toxic plants.

Lawn & Garden Treatments:
Non-Toxic—
 Robin Tierney author of “Dog Tip: Warm Weather, Lawn Care and Outdoor Safety Guide” suggests seeking  non-toxic ways to maintain your yard and garden by finding alternatives. To control:  1) slugs—caffeinated coffee, products containing iron phosphate, 2) insects—canola oil, 
3) critters—castor oil, 4) weeds—white vinegar.  You can learn more useful tips by visiting her post here.

Chemicals—If you decide to use a chemical treatment, insecticide or fertilizer be sure to keep your dog off the lawn for the recommended amount of time (usually 24 hours). Read all information carefully.

**Additional Resources worth exploring are:
Dog Friendly Gardens, Garden Friendly Dogs by Cheryl S. Smith
Dogscaping: Creating the Perfect Backyard and Garden for You and Your Dog by Thoma Barthel

Create the perfect garden and yard for you and your dog. Everyone will have a much happier spring and summer!

Do you have any dog-friendly garden suggestions or resources to share?

Exploring the Growing Problem of Canine Cancer

dogwatch hidden fences photoAbout 1 in 3 dogs die of cancer, a statistic which is frighteningly similar to the rate in people. In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Melinda Beck wrote about Cancer Risk for Purebred Dogs and losing her Golden Retriever to cancer. She reported that Goldens are one of the breeds at the highest risk for canine cancer along with Boxers, Rottweilers, and Bernese Mountain Dogs.

Other breeds listed as being susceptible to cancer:
High risk-Boston Terrier, English Bulldog, Scottish Terrier, Cocker Spaniel.
Average risk- Irish Setter, Schnauzer, Labrador Retriever, Mixed Breed.
Lower risk-Beagle, Poodle, Collie, Dachshund.

There’s no evidence to suggest that mutts or crossbreeds are less prone to cancer. “Some studies that have compared purebreds in general to mixed breeds find about a 10% increase in lifespan for comparably sized mixed-breed dogs.”

Cancer treatment for dogs includes  surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.  Depending on the type and extent of the cancer, treatment may buy months or years for some dogs.

What’s being done about canine cancer?

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Lots of Dogs to Choose From: Purebred, and Hybrid, and Designer! Oh, my!

Nowadays people think about a lot more than “How much is that doggy in the window.” There are many considerations.

JustDogBreeds.Com has created a list of 155 dog breeds, A-Z, and how to find the one which is your perfect match. They take eight points into consideration:

  1. Temperament
  2. Dog Size
  3. Time for Exercise
  4. Children
  5. Grooming
  6. Allergies
  7. How Easy to Train
  8. Protection

Hybrid Dogs

A list of the most popular hybrid dogs can be found on Dog Breed Info Center. They suggest that the best way to determine the traits of a mixed breed is to look up all breeds in the cross and know you can get any combination of any of the characteristics found in either breed. They state, “If you do not feel the temperament of one of the purebreds in the mix is suited for your lifestyle, then that hybrid dog is not for you.”

Designer Dogs

A “designer” dog (as the media has labeled them) is a cross between two purebred dogs. A purebred dog is one that has been bred over many generations to breed true, which means each puppy that is born looks and has the same temperament and characteristics as one another. In most cases a standard is written and breeders must follow this written standard. Only dogs which make the written standard are to be bred.

You may wonder, what’s the difference between a designer dog and a mutt? Generally, a mutt is of uncertain ancestry. A designer dog has documented purebred ancestry, and one knows for sure what it is. The American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC) is  the leading registry for designer dogs.

Two other sources for lists of hybrid dogs can be found on:
http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/americancaninehybridclub.htm
http://www.tinytracks.net/ACHC-Mixed-breed.htm

What do you consider most important in selecting a dog? Do you care whether the dog is a purebred, hybrid, designer, or mutt?