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.
May 19, 2010
Contrary 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?