October 29, 2010
It’s the scariest time of the year…and we wouldn’t have it any other way! Halloween is the time for ghoulish decor and frightful costumes. Trick-or-treaters love the spooky sounds and scary makeup. However, there is one member of the family that might not understand the fun spirit behind all the “Boo”-rific happenings – the dog. Halloween can be a difficult day for dogs and their owners, with all the new visitors, strange sounds and unhealthy but irresistible chocolate candy.
To help you and your furry friend make it safely through this scariest of holidays, the DogWatch Hidden Fences Team has compiled a list of safety tips for dog owners.
1) Keep your eye on the candy!!
As a rule, dogs and Halloween candy don’t mix. Most dog owners know that chocolate is potentially fatal to dogs. Less well know is xylitol, an artificial sweetener often found in candy – it is equally hazardous. (Cats should stay away from these ingredients as well.)
The best way to avoid an emergency trip to the vet is to keep the candy out of the dog’s reach at all times, and educate your kids and your trick-or-treaters. You may want to keep a bowl of dog treats by the door. That way, your dog can enjoy his own, much healthier treats, and not miss out on the fun! Plus, you can give a treat to any neighborhood dogs who stop by with the costumed kids.
2) Costumes should be fun for all.
Everyone loves a dog in a Halloween costume, right? Well, everyone except perhaps the dog itself. While some dogs love the attention that comes with a cute outfit, others are miserable in the extra garb. We suggest trying out the costume prior to the big day so you can make sure it fits properly (i.e. not to tight or otherwise restrictive) and so you know how Fido will react. If your dog shows signs of discomfort, take off the costume. It will make the night less stressful for all.
3) Prepare for many little visitors.
For most families, Halloween night means an unusual amount of doorbell ringing and little strangers at the door. This commotion causes many dogs to react by barking and acting out. Consider placing your dog in another room with the TV on to drown out the noise. If your dog doesn’t mind visitors and wants to join the fun, that’s great – yet it is still a good idea to keep a leash on, in case she makes a run for the door.
For those taking your dog with you to trick-or-treat, remember to keep an eye out for falling candy. Also, for those of you in warmer climates, make sure your dog doesn’t overheat in his costume during the long walk.
As always, we’d love to see pictures and hear stories about your Halloween hijinks. Share your photos and fun times on our Facebook page! We hope you all have a happy, spooky and safe Halloween!
Photo by daveynin via Flickr.
October 14, 2010
Last month, we focused on tackling your dog’s back to school blues. Now, for many pet owners across the country, we have another change to contend with: the cold weather. We’ve compiled a quick guide to help you prepare for the chilly days ahead. Whether it is your dog’s first winter or his tenth, we recommend taking the following steps to ensure a happy and healthy season.
The first step is especially key for new pet owners – know your breed. A number of breeds are particularly well-suited to cold weather, including Huskies, Chow Chows, Saint Bernards, Akitas, German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers. These dogs have thick coats that protect them from the cold, and they are often just as content running around outside in January as they are in July.
Other breeds with short hair, like Chihuahuas, Greyhounds and Whippets, or no hair at all, like Chinese Cresteds, are more susceptible to the cold weather. Sweaters and coats, if they tolerate them, will help keep these breeds warm during winter walks.
The next step is protect your dog’s paws. A dog’s paws are very sensitive to the salt used in walkways and roads during the winter. Dogster reports that “prolonged contact with de-icers can lead to chemical burns on paws.” Salt is also harmful if ingested, which may happen if you dog licks her paws after a walk. Furthermore, dogs can also slip on the ice and injure themselves just like their owners!
Cloth dog booties are a great way to protect your dog’s paws and prevent slipping, yet not all dogs will tolerate them. In that case, another option is a paw wax like Musher’s Secret. Applied to the paw pads before each walk, the wax will protect against the harmful salt. You may also want to keep a bowl of warm water by the door to wash your dog’s paws and your own shoes before stepping back inside after a walk.
For dog owners who use an “in-ground” fence system, such as a DogWatch® Hidden Fence, the next step to prepare for cold weather is a winter fence checkup. For example, it is important to make sure driveway and walkway cuts are sealed and that no wire is exposed that might be damaged by snow plows or shovels. Also, if you have had a fall yard clean-up or aeration, check your transmitter to make sure the wire has not been accidentally cut. If you have questions about your DogWatch system, check the videos in the Customer Service section of the website or contact your local DogWatch Dealer. Also, if you do not have a hidden fence but are looking to install one soon, think about scheduling an appointment in the fall, before the ground freezes.
September 2, 2010
For the past couple of weeks, students everywhere have shown signs of that seasonal bug, the Back to School blues. The end of summer means less time to play outside with friends, and more time devoted to classes and homework. That’s enough to put most kids in a bit a funk, but did you know the family dog might also share their pain?
That’s right, dogs can suffer from the Back to School blues, too. This week, Dog Tails gives families tips to help their dog manage the transition from summer vacation to a new school year. By following this prescribed “homework,” you can help banish these blues soon and restore your dog to a happy state.
Dogs are sensitive to changes in their daily routine. Back to school represents a particular challenge. Days once filled with outdoor play, activities and attention are now mostly solitary and a lot less exciting. To ease the transition, experts suggest slowly adjusting the dog’s schedule to the new routine. Shift playtime and walks to morning and evening hours, and away from school hours.
This gradual transition can help avoid the dreaded curse of back to school season: separation anxiety. These feelings often cause dogs to act out in destructive ways, including excessive barking and chewing or eating things they shouldn’t.
June 23, 2010
Fireworks combine awe-inspiring visuals with pulse-pounding sound to create dramatic, can’t miss effects. Yet while we “ooh” and “aah” at these colorful explosions, our animals are often more frightened than enlightened.
In this week’s post, DogWatch has compiled information from dog experts across the country to help you prepare your dog for the holiday fireworks shows. We have also looked into another related summer-themed fear common among pets – thunderstorms – and will share those tips with you as well. Your dog may never love fireworks as much as you do, but you can still help him or her stay calm and happy on this most exciting day of the summer. Read post »