November 18, 2010
Thanksgiving is only one week away – are you prepared? Have you purchased your turkey, made travel plans, distributed cooking duties, unpacked the decorations, and worked out the seating chart? There is clearly a lot of work to do, and chances are, the family dog is low on your list of concerns.
DogWatch Hidden Fences wants to make sure the family dog has a fun, safe Thanksgiving, too, without adding too many new tasks to your growing list of to-dos. Review our quick and easy list, and don’t forget to sit back, relax, and enjoy the holiday (after the meal is served, of course!)
1) Keep dogs out of the kitchen
The kitchen on Thanksgiving Day should be a no-dog-zone. These curious creatures can run into serious trouble during this busy day – including getting burned by a hot dish or cut by a knife slipping out of someone’s hand. No pet owner wants to see their dog hurt – – or to run the risk of having the dog get into something in the kitchen that was intended for your guests. Why not send the dog out for a walk or a game of fetch in the den with the kids? You will have one less thing to worry about as you cook the turkey and mash the potatoes.
2) Watch out for bones
Bones are perfect chew toys for dogs, right? NO! Even though Snoopy carries one in his mouth all the time, cooked bones are actually very dangerous for dogs. These bones (especially turkey and chicken bones) are often brittle and can break and cause damage if digested. Rather than hand off the turkey bone to Fido, give him a dog-friendly rawhide bone or bully stick. He can now safely chew and enjoy this holiday treat.
3) Don’t overdo it with the table scraps
Just like us, dogs can go a little overboard with the yummy food on this feast-filled day. Keep an eye on the amount of people food your dog is consuming throughout the day. Bits and pieces of boneless, cooked turkey, green beans and mashed potatoes are fine – too much can cause an upset stomach or diarrhea. To avoid this potential disaster, inform all the guests that Sparky will get his treats after dinner, not at the table!
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 17, 2010
Fleas. Even saying the word makes us itch. These tiny creatures can make your pet miserable, and in turn make you miserable. Plus, once they latched on to your pet and made a home in your house, they are very hard to get rid of. Bottom line, fleas are a pain.
DogWatch Hidden Fences want to help you avoid this pain by providing the following tips to avoid or get rid of fleas on your pet and in your home. Early fall is the peak of flea season, so we encourage you to follow our three easy steps right away!
Getting rid of fleas on your pet and in your house can be a long, challenging and expensive process – so why not avoid them all together? There are several widely-available flea prevention products that you can use monthly to protect your pet from fleas.
The most popular prevention product, Frontline, is available for cats and dogs, and can be found at your vet or your local pet superstore. It is a gel that is applied in between the pet’s shoulder blades, so that the pet won’t lick it off. The product then seeps into the pet’s oil glands under his skin, and is distributed throughout his hair. This creates an inhospitable environment for fleas, and causes them to literally “flee” the pet and stay away for a full month. Frontline also works on ticks – so you get twice the power!
K9 Advantix (for dogs only) and Advantage (for dogs and cats) are two other, similar flea prevention products that perform largely the same function using a different chemicals. (A side-by-side-by-side comparison can be found here.) As always, talk to your vet about what is best for your animals.
A couple of things to note about these products: 1) they are approved for cats and dogs as young as 8 weeks, and 2) it is recommended that you do not bathe the pet within two days before or two days after the product is applied, to ensure that the chemical is properly distributed.