Introducing Kitty to Baby

Chinese Baby with Tiger Patterned Cat

By Sandie Lee

Cats are creatures of habit, so it can be very upsetting when a new schedule-changer (aka, Baby) turns its world upside down. But there are ways to soften the emotional turmoil and prepare your cat for the new family member.

Keep a consistent kitty schedule

Babies are hectic, demanding little humans, and their needs can disrupt the entire household. Before your baby arrives, make sure your cat already has a regular, predictable routine for feeding, litter box cleaning, medication (as needed), and play time.

If you feel you may have trouble keeping Kitty’s schedule, enlist the help of those around you and invest in an automatic food dispenser. Having consistent times for daily activities will help your cat be more resilient when everything else gets crazy.

Slowly introduce new sights, sounds, and smells

Humans may take for granted all the new sights, sounds, and smells a new baby brings with it. But for cats (who – let’s face it – like to have things their way), all the strange, loud stimuli can be quite overwhelming.

To help conquer this, let your cat sniff the new baby items as you bring them into your home. Let Kitty rub her face on the items (marking) so they will be just a part of the home to her. After the baby is born, bring home an item from the hospital that the baby has been in contact with and let your cat sniff and mark it. This allows your cat to become used to the smell of the new baby before he comes into the house.

Did you know there’s a CD of baby sounds? (You can also download baby sounds for pets on iTunes.) This is excellent to play in the background so your cat can become accustomed to all the odd sounds a baby makes. Play this when your cat is relaxed or you’re cuddling with her so she knows there’s nothing to be afraid of.

No extra attention

As much as we may want to pre-emptively assuage our feelings of guilt, we have to resist the temptation to heap on extra attention to Kitty before the baby arrives.

Remember, cats are routine-based animals, so if you load on the affection to make up for a later deficit, she will come to expect this every day. To help ease Kitty into the “lesser” role, introduce more toys that will have her playing on her own, but still be sure to give her some one-on-one time as per your new schedule.

Allow exploration of the baby’s room

Don’t keep the baby’s room “off limits” before the child arrives; allow your cat to investigate so she becomes familiar with the baby’s items.

Although the idea of a cat “stealing a baby’s breathe” is a myth, it’s not a good idea to let your cat sleep with a new baby as they can curl up too close and restrict an infant’s airway. Some more jealous cats have even been known to urinate inside the crib, so to prevent these unwanted incidents, use a baby crib tent to keep your infant safe while your cat can still see what’s going on.

High-up getaways

Cats love to be high up in the air, so invest in a tall scratch post that Kitty can call her own. This allows your cat to flee from a situation she may perceive as “too much” but still allows her to be a part of the goings-on of the family. Tall cat trees are also perfect perches for when baby becomes a toddler and may become too “grabby” for Kitty’s comfort.

Talk to your doctor about toxoplasmosis

One of the easiest ways to reduce the risk of toxoplasmosis is to keep your cat indoors. The Centers for Disease Control state that you’re more likely to contract toxoplasmosis from raw meat or gardening than from your cat, but talk to your doctor about your concerns to be on the safe side. You can also educate yourself by reading more about the disease here and here.

Still  my baby

Cats are sensitive creatures, so even after the baby arrives be sure not to ignore or shoo away your feline pal. Up to this point, she may have been the center of attention and now she will have to get used to not getting the lion’s share of affection. Give your cat the love she craves when the baby is napping or when someone else in the household is tending to the baby.

Working out the time issues between Baby and Kitty will take some effort, but it will be well worth it when your child grows up with a loving pet that may just turn into a best friend.

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sandie-lee-writerSandie Lee has been in the writing industry for over 20 years. She hails from a small city in Ontario, Canada where there are two seasons; winter and not winter! Her husband and two furbabies, Milo and Harry, make sure she is diligently writing each day.

 

Emergency prevention, planning, & protocols for dog walkers

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This article was originally published in the dog*tec blog. 

Taking care of other people’s best friends means living with the chilling prospect of emergencies. Dog walking emergencies can come in all shapes and sizes, from a vehicle break down to a sprained ankle to potentially traumatic accidents. Out on a trail, an otherwise reliable dog takes off chasing an unknown scent and is lost or hit by a car. Two dogs who normally play well together get into a nasty fight. A dog you are walking swallows a rock or other non-edible item whole. All are scenarios that make dog walkers sweat. But failing to consider and prepare for accidents makes them more likely and will only aggravate an already bad situation if it happens.

Your clients, the dogs, your staff, yourself—everyone is better served by a 3 P’s approach—taking deliberate care to prevent emergencies, planning for their eventuality (life does happen, after all), and having set protocols to follow for each type of emergency to stave off panic and keep things under control.

Emergency prevention

Preventing emergencies is much easier than dealing with them. And preventing emergencies is really a matter of following good dog walking practices:

Set the tone. A dog who is calm and focused on you is less likely to be involved in an emergency. Consistently asking your charges sit to greet you and leash up, sit and wait at doorways and curbs, walk nicely on a loose leash instead of pulling, etc. will make your days both easier and safer.

Walk dogs, don’t socialize them. You can’t bite what you’re not near enough to reach. Live beings—both humans and other dogs—are unpredictable. Use strong recalls and focus techniques (like “Let’s go!” or “Watch me!”) to keep dogs interacting with you instead of strangers or dogs you don’t know. When appropriate, pull over to the side for a focused sit-stay to allow others to pass. Politely decline requests to pet your dogs, even if you know them to be friendly. They may well be, but every dog has her limits and you never know when a well-meaning but blundering dog lover will find one of them.

Practice good screening and group composition. Choosing the right dogs—and matching them carefully if you’re a group walker—can go a long way toward avoiding fights and other emergencies. Always decline dogs with behavioral challenges that are beyond your skill and knowledge set, and avoid more than one challenging dog (we call them project dogs) per group, at most.

Actively monitor and interrupt. When walking groups, interrupt play or other interactions before they tip into conflict. Frequent obedience breaks (such as practicing circle stay pull-overs), and calling dogs (recall off leash or “Let’s go!” on leash) to break up potentially heated interactions, keeps things light and fun. Think of it a bit like monitoring a group of children—it’s best to initiate a break in play before a squabble breaks out.

Keep up on vehicle maintenance. The only thing worse than your car breaking down is your car breaking down with dogs in it! Maintain roadside assistance, schedule routine maintenance, and head to the shop at the first sign of trouble. Treat your vehicle like the key business investment and tool it is.

Watch the temperature. NEVER leave dogs in your car other than to pick up other dogs. Keep your keys with you, and the windows cracked. If you live in a particularly warm area, outfit your windows with dog-proof screens that keep dogs in, hands out, and air flowing.

Use proper equipment. To avoid a startled dog breaking free from you, secure leashes to head harnesses, body harnesses, or martingale-style anti-slip collars. Never use flexi-leashes, as they are too easily pulled out of your hand by a bolting dog, and can also cause serious injury to you and the dogs you walk. Be sure all dogs wear a large tag with your cell number to expedite a quick reunion with a lost dog.

Emergency planning

Being prepared keeps emergencies contained when they do happen. Better a small emergency than one that blooms into a crisis.

Carry a 1st aid kit—and know how to use it. Keep a full kit in your vehicle and a small kit on your person as you walk. Visit DogSafe or PetTech websites for canine 1st aid kit information and to look for 1st aid classes if you are not already certified.

Always have client contact information on hand. You should never have to rummage frantically through your vehicle for your phone list or, perish the thought, go home to get it. Keep up-to-date, well-organized client contact details in your car or phone at all times, and require any staff to do so as well.

Program emergency vet phone numbers into your phone. Write down or program into a work phone emergency directions to the closest vets from your most-used trails or the neighborhoods you service and keep them in any car ever used to transport dogs. Make sure all staff members know where to find the directions and understand them. Even if you work solo and you know the directions well, have them pre-programmed into your phone or GPS. When a crisis hits, it’s all too easy to forget one’s own name, let alone how to get to the veterinary hospital.

Get permission to help in writing. Your client service contract should clearly spell out what’s expected of you in an emergency.

  1. Have clients give you permission to seek emergency treatment and agree to cover the cost.
  2. Have clients specify whether there’s a cap on the cost they will accept. (Don’t assume everyone shares your willingness to take out a second mortgage to pay for surgery.)
  3. Have clients specify whether they authorize you to take the dog to whichever vet or animal hospital is closest. In other words, they want you to exercise discretion in getting their dog the best, fastest care. Otherwise, they may refuse to pay because you didn’t use their vet.
  4. Have clients state their wishes with regards to resuscitative care. For example, some clients may not wish to have senior dogs resuscitated.

Recruit an emergency assistant. One way to prevent panic in an emergency is to have a person to call who can help you keep calm and assist with urgent tasks. Don’t just make a mental list of cool-headed friends, though. Your emergency assistant must know and agree to his or her new designation, and the two of you should set up a protocol for such calls. Maybe it’s her job to meet you at the vet clinic and provide general support. Maybe she is the one who takes the other dogs home. Maybe she finishes your walking stops for the day. Whatever it is, you always know that someone can come to your aid. You and a fellow dog pro can do this for each other, or you can ask a friend who works from home or has a flexible office schedule.

Take your emergency assistant out with you on your regular rounds so she can meet all the dogs. Then practice your emergency protocol with your assistant to make sure everything goes as planned when you really need it to.

Emergency protocols

Knowing what to do in an emergency will help keep you calm. And being calm will allow you to more effectively handle whatever situation comes your way.

At the Dog Walking Academy we provide step-by-step protocols for handling all manner of emergencies, including vehicle breakdowns, you being injured or becoming ill during a walk, a dog in your car biting another dog or person, and losing a dog. We encourage our grads to carry these protocols with them, giving them a clear path forward should panic or shock set in. If you don’t have specific emergency protocols, take some time to develop them—or come join us for the Dog Walking Academy.

Secure dogs and call your emergency assistant. Regardless of the situation, one important step in any protocol when walking groups is to secure all dogs to keep the situation from escalating. The last thing you need while dealing with an injured dog or sprained ankle is for another one to take himself off on an adventure. Get everyone safely leashed if they aren’t already, then call your emergency assistant. In most protocols, your emergency assistant is the first call you’ll make. Knowing someone is in your corner and on the way to help can do a lot to bring calm, no matter the emergency.

Communicate with the client. Call the client when you have calmed down, not before. Also hold off until you know the precise nature of the damage. Sprained leg or amputation? Eye patch for a few days or blindness? Best to find out before you make the dreaded call. When you do, speak in a calm, confident tone. A distressed owner needs to know a professional is in charge of the crisis. Clearly state whether everything is handled and this is just a courtesy call to let the client know, or whether some action on her part is required.

With any kind of mishap, even if everything turned out fine, the best policy is to tell the client. Some clients might not care that their dog was missing for 20 minutes on a deer-chasing adventure, or that he got into a scuffle in which no one was hurt, but that risk is preferable to a client who hears it from someone else and is outraged at your failure to tell her about the dramatic event, regardless of the outcome. And if running off or scuffles become a trend, your client may be angry to learn something’s been brewing and wonder why you didn’t let her know sooner.

Take responsibility as appropriate—you are an adult and a professional. But don’t verbally rub sand in your hair, don’t heap blame on yourself, and don’t ever tell the client they ought to sue you. Accidents happen. Dogs are not appliances.

Depending on the situation, here is a possible strategy for the conversation: describe in a straightforward manner exactly what happened, share all the steps you took to handle the situation, give a report of the current status of the dog, and share anything you plan to do (if relevant) in the way of policy or process changes to avoid something similar happening in the future. Stress your concern for the dog’s and the client’s well-being, and ask if there’s anything else you can do to be of support at this particular moment.

Emergency follow-up

If the worst happens and a dog is seriously injured or killed while under your care, let your other clients know in writing. Bad news travels fast and if you are not the one to tell them, they may think you’re trying to hide the episode. You have to protect your business and your brand, and honesty is the best policy.

The letter should include any policy changes you are making to prevent the same thing happening again. Be thoughtful about protecting anonymity; don’t hang clients out to dry. If a dog is expelled, for example, don’t name that dog. If a dog is killed, find out whether the owner wants the dog named or not. Some do, some don’t. But don’t name the dog who killed, just say he was expelled.

Openness is the best policy about smaller incidents, too. A scuffle in a walking group that results in a dog needing a couple of stitches, for example, should also be communicated. Doing so breeds confidence, prevents rumors from festering and growing, and demystifies normal canine behavior. Emphasize what is being done about the problem: “We had another tiff over tennis balls today, so we have decided not to bring them to the beach with us anymore.” Hopefully, you are communicating with your clients every week anyway (highlights from Fido’s week, etc.), so bad news isn’t the only news they get.

(Of course, if scuffles happen more than once in a blue moon, something is wrong. Screening procedures and staff training are the first places to look for a possible issue.)

Don’t fret

If you generally run a strong business, if you take good care of dogs and of people, if you handle a crisis with responsibility and grace, it’s rare to lose clients over injury incidents. Be open and honest, be calm, and face the situation down—it can happen to anyone.

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How much water should your dog be drinking?

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By Emily Bruer

It’s important for us to know what is and what isn’t normal for our pets. Things like water intake, appetite and energy levels can be indicative of your pet’s health and well-being. If your dog’s habits suddenly change it could be due to a medical condition or a change in his environment.

The answer to “how much water your dog should drink?” is far from a straightforward one. Each dog is unique in size and metabolism and each dog’s water intake will be different. The best way to know how much your dog should drink is simply by observing him.

It’s normal for dogs to drink after exercise, eating, and sleeping. They also will drink sporadically throughout the day, so get to know your dog’s habits when he is healthy.

Another great way to know if your dog is drinking enough water is by checking his urine. Stand near your dog when he is urinating; if there is a strong odor to the urine, or it seems to be a dark yellow or orange color, it could mean that your dog is dehydrated. Similarly, if the urine is pink or red it is an indication of blood in the urine and you should get your dog to the vet right away, as they could have an infection or stones in their bladder.

Another great way to test your dog’s hydration levels is by gently lifting the scruff (the skin on the back of your dog’s neck) until it is taut, and then letting it go. If it immediately falls back into place your dog is hydrated, but if it takes longer than a few seconds your dog could be dehydrated.

If you believe your dog is dehydrated, but he isn’t interested in drinking water, a trip to the vet is in order. When an animal is dehydrated for too long it can cause damage to the kidneys as well as other internal organs. Better safe than sorry when it comes to hydration and your dog’s health!

Water temperature – When offering your dog water one thing to keep in mind is the water’s temperature. While it is tempting to give your dog ice cold water, it’s actually much healthier to let your dog have water that is room temperature.

When a warm dog ingests ice cold water their body must then use valuable energy to warm up the water. If it doesn’t, it can cause your dog to have a tummy ache or even throw up.

Not too much –  Another common cause of vomiting in dogs is drinking too much water. If you have just brought your dog in from a hot day or from a bout of vigorous play, his first instinct will be to drink a lot of water.

Unfortunately, if they have access to an unlimited supply they will often drink too much and then proceed to puke it back up. It can also cause a condition called bloat. You can find the symptoms here.

To prevent too much water intake, offer your dog several small bowls of water every 10-15 minutes until they are cooled off and relaxed. Once they have calmed down, you can put their normal water bowl back down and let them have access to the unlimited supply.

Every dog is different when it comes to water intake and bathroom habits. Get to know your dog’s routine while he is young and healthy, so you can recognize potential problems as he ages. If you notice an abnormal change in your dog’s routine don’t put off calling your vet, as what could be a simple infection could quickly get worse without treatment.

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emily-bruer-pawedinEmily Bruer has been penning the adventures of her imagination since she was old enough to hold a pencil. Working at animal shelters for the last five years she learned an incredible amount about animal care and behavior. She is currently employed at a vet clinic where she continues her animal education. Emily’s love of animals is evident when you step into her home, which she shares with six dogs and six cats, all of whom were rescues.

Three unexpected things you need to know to keep your dog healthy

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By Betsy Lane, MA, Education and FetchFind Academy Instructor

We all know the basics of dog care – good food, exercise, regular vet checkups, and sound safety & training practices. But did you know about these three things that can have a big impact your dog’s health?

Getting to the bottom of anal glands

Let’s just get this one out of the way: Anal glands are two little sacs that sit just inside a dog’s anus. They’re filled with super stinky stuff that contains pheromones, and when your dog passes a (firm) stool, some of this material gets squeezed out with the poo. A generation or two ago, dog owners were encouraged to empty these sacs (express the glands by squeezing them) on a routine basis; this was often done by a groomer, vet, or vet tech—or even by brave owners themselves! Like most vets today, Dr. Karen Becker, DVM, advises against fixing what isn’t broken: “If your pets don’t have anal gland problems right now, tell your vets and groomers to please leave them alone. Do not automatically express your pet’s anal glands.”  How do you know when something’s wrong? The most common signs are the dog biting at his or her bottom and/or scooting along the floor on his or her behind. If you see either of these behaviors, it’s time to call your vet.

Poisons! So much more than just chocolate.

Most dog owners know to keep their pups away from chocolate, but in fact coffee and caffeine are also toxic to dogs, because all three contain methylxanthines, which can cause everything from panting and excessive thirst to abnormal heart rhythm and even death. The poison experts at the ASPCA have compiled a list of more than 15 common food items that are toxic to dogs,  including xylitol (a sweetener hidden in everything from breath mints to peanut butter), avocado, citrus, macadamia nuts, and cheese (yes, cheese!). And while we’re on the subject, please put this number in your phone: ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Phone Number: (888) 426-4435.

Mats: Much more than an eyesore.

We’ve probably all seen the “before and after” videos of miserable-looking dogs covered in matted fur–and the amazing transformation that comes after the dog receives some grooming TLC! Even in mild cases, we know matted fur doesn’t look good–but it doesn’t feel good, either, and can pose very real health risks to dogs. Dr. Julie Horton, DVM, says, “matted hair can lead to severe medical problems for pets,” including skin irritations, lesions, and even maggots! As if that’s not bad enough, mats collect debris, feces, and urine, trapping it next to a dog’s sensitive skin. Mats are a painful, unhealthy, expensive road nobody wants to travel—and they can be avoided with proper coat care. Get started by asking groomer about the best tools for your dog’s at-home maintenance, then augment that routine with regular appointments with an experienced professional groomer (every 4 to 6 weeks is a good rule of thumb). PetSmart® Grooming Salons take reservations online, have 1000s of locations, often have coupons, and always have a Look Great Guarantee!

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https://jobs.petsmart.com/salon
Learn more at https://jobs.petsmart.com/salon

Farewell to Whisper

WhisperBy Jamie Migdal, CEO of FetchFind

This weekend we said goodbye to my sweet collie, Whisper. My head is swirling with so many images, memories, and thoughts, yet none of them seem to have a theme, pattern, or direction.  But I want to share them with you, my pet people.

So as a way of working through my grief, I choose to reflect on how much each dog I have ever loved has changed and shaped my life. And how I have found a way to make a career, build a community, and have an impact because of those relationships. Whisper was a deeply significant part of that journey.

Whisper was my daughter’s first memory dog (we had Poodle when she was born, but Poodle died when Sadie was only 18 months old so she barely remembers her).  She was my first purebred dog and she was the first dog that didn’t come to me via being a stray, as every single one of my six previous dogs did. She was my first dog who wouldn’t jump into a car and my first dog who always preferred her space versus needing to being attached to someone. All firsts, all with Whisper.

Whisper and saide

We rescued Whisper five years ago from a very mean breeder who debarked her and let her suffer, untreated, from a variety of autoimmune diseases and abuse from other animals. With the help and support of my long-time friend and mentor, Lynn Brezina, we made the decision to take Whisper home and nurse her back to health and build her a life she deserved.  I can say, with absolute certainty, that we did exactly that.

My husband Drew, our friends, our other pets, and our entire community saw to it that Whisper had five beautiful years on this planet. And she somehow taught all us of about second chances and what it really means to be a force for good in this world despite the all the reasons not to be. In the entire five years we lived with this dog, she never – not for a single second – lifted a lip, growled, or even gave so much as a hard stare. There have been babies, dogs, cats, rats, pet sitters, cars, offices, strangers, and kids everywhere, filling every crevice and every moment of her life with us. And through all that, and in the wake of four years of abuse and neglect before we rescued her, she gave us nothing but kindness. (And the not-so-occasional stealing of food.)

Whisper was a good dog, and we loved her.

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Pet-friendly fun in the Windy City!

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There is nothing we love more than a midwestern summer – unless it’s a midwestern summer spent hanging out with our best pals. If you’re in Chicago, here are some of our favorite dog-friendly venues:

Mercury Cruises – Bring your camera and your pooch for a 90-minute cruise with Mercury! On Saturday and Sunday mornings through the end of September, you can enjoy a narrated historical and architectural tour, complete with dog-friendly highlights. These canine cruises feature safe outdoor seating, water bowls, and a special doggy restroom.

Fido to Go – Summer is a great time for food trucks, and now your dogs can enjoy mobile gourmutt (heh) specialties as well. Fido to Go serves handmade, gluten and allergen-free doggy ice creams, frozen yogurts, and cookies. Check out their next stop by following them on Twitter at @fidotogo.

The Shops at North Bridge – Want to shop with your pooch? Head on over to North Bridge, where the entire mall (except for food venues) is pet friendly. They even have comfort stations, treats, and water on the first and second floors. Bonus: so much lovely air conditioning.

Make sure your dog enjoys the outings as much as you do! For only $5, you can learn how to keep your pooch safe and happy during your summer adventures. Get your I Love Dogs badge here!

Bucktown Pub and Ten Cat Tavern  – There are tons of outdoor patios in Chicago where your pooch can hang while you enjoy brunch or a brew, but if you want your pup to watch the ball game with you inside a friendly neighborhood bar, check out the Ten Cat Tavern or Bucktown Pub (they also have outdoor beer gardens).

Prairie Wolf Dog Park – Chicago has lots of off leash parks inside the city limits, but if you’re willing to head out to Lake Forest you can romp to your heart’s content at the 44-acre Prairie Wolf Dog Park. If you have a dog that likes to run but needs his space, you can enjoy the freedom of trails, open fields, and a swimming hole without having to worry about too much interaction with other dogs.

What are some of your favorite pet-friendly hangouts? Let us know at hello@fetchfind.com!

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ILDGet the I Love Dogs badge for only $5! We’ve hand-picked the 5 most important topics that will take your dog smarts to the next level. These fun, easily-digestible lessons cover the basics of body language and communication, how dogs learn, the top 10 most popular breeds and more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to keep the fur from flying

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By Sandie Lee

We love our canine companions, but we don’t love those doggy-generated fur-bunnies scooting across the living room floor, clinging to our furniture or sticking all over our clothes. Plus, who hasn’t found a stray piece of dog hair in their dinner? Unfortunately, when we have the dog, we also have to take the shedding hair; it comes with the territory. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t take steps to combat all that flying fur.

Start with a high quality diet

The old adage “you are what you eat” can be said about our dogs as well. Nutrition plays a huge role not only in your dog’s inner health, but in its outer [hair] health as well.

If your dog’s food is primarily comprised of fillers such as corn, wheat, and by-product meals, then your dog will most likely have dry, flaky skin and lots of shedding hair. One of the ways to combat shedding in dogs is to feed them high-quality dry kibble that has real meat as the first ingredient. By incorporating a good quality canned food to your dog’s dry kibble you can up its moisture content by 78 % (dry food only has 10% moisture). This is an excellent way to ensure your dog stays hydrated. Plus, make sure your dog always has access to fresh, clean water.

A good balance of essential fatty acids and oils in the diet is very important. They can help your dog with the dry skin that often accompanies a dull coat and shedding problems. A high-quality dog food will already have EFAs in the recipe, but your vet may recommend other supplements such as fish or flax seed oils. If you’re adding liquid oil supplements to your dog’s diet, start slow! Adding too much oil at once can lead to digestive upset.

Giving your dog an occasional treat of people food can also help his coat. Good healthy choices for your pooch include eggs, carrots, apples, lean cooked meat, all-natural peanut butter (make sure it isn’t sweetened with xylitol, which is highly toxic to dogs).

Regular grooming is key

All dogs need to be groomed on a regular basis. This not only nabs those loose hairs before they fall out, but it also stimulates the circulation and distributes the natural oils in your dog’s skin to help keep its coat shiny and healthy.

Designate at least one day a week to brush your dog, and spend enough time to get all the loose hair, untangle the matted bits, and check for any skin abnormalities. Don’t know what brush or grooming tool to use? Here is a short list of the basic brush types:

Bristle brushes look similar to the brushes we use. They are best for short-haired and smooth-coated dog breeds such as chihuahuas and greyhounds.

Slicker brushes have tiny, tightly-packed, short wire pins, usually set onto a rectangular base with handle. These are good for many dog breeds with medium or curly hair, including retrievers and spaniels.

Rakes also contain pins and should be purchased with pins roughly as long as your dog’s fur to ensure that it adequately thins the undercoat. The rake works well on dogs with long hair and thick undercoats, such as collies and German Shepherds.

Deshedding tools are specifically designed to get rid of the excess undercoat. These come in various forms and should be used on heavy-coated breeds at least twice a year.

Giving your dog a bath can be a huge help when it comes to controlling shedding, as the hair is loosened and whisked away by the water and by the post-bath rubdown. However, too much bathing can irritate your dog’s skin, dry it out, and actually lead to more shedding. Ask a professional groomer or your vet about the appropriate bathing schedule for your dog’s breed or breed mix.

Then, there are the fleas. These nasty little critters can not only spread like wildfire throughout your entire home, but the itchy bites also do a great job irritating your dog’s skin and adding to the amount of hair that sheds. Make sure to treat your dog for fleas in the spring and fall to prevent them from using your dog as a feasting ground.

“Love me, love my dog…”

The vacuum cleaner is your best friend

Most house guests probably don’t appreciate that layer of dog fur on their clothes after they leave your home, unless they themselves have a shedding dog. To keep the furballs to a minimum, invest in a good quality vacuum, preferably one that specializes in pet fur (they tend to have extra suction power).

Grandma may have had the right idea when she covered her furniture in plastic; the pet hair slides right off. However, today we may cringe at the thought of the sticky, sweaty covers that made sitting on Grandma’s sofa a challenge. The good news is that now there are many nice furniture protectors that are designed for the wear and tear of having a dog. Even a nice throw blanket on Fido’s favorite spot can prevent lot of hair from getting on your sofa; plus, it can be easily laundered or shaken out when it becomes a mess.

Don’t forget car seat covers! How many times have you been embarrassed when you have to unexpectedly give someone a ride and they end up sitting on your dog’s “hairy” seat? This isn’t fun, so invest in some cool seat covers (or even just a giant beach towel) for your car.

One last tip: this may seem obvious, but getting rid of the hair as soon as you spot it can save a lot of time in the future. Keep a few pet hair removers scattered throughout the house so you can always find one when you need it.

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sandie-lee-writerSandie Lee has been in the writing industry for over 20 years. She hails from a small city in Ontario, Canada where there are two seasons – winter and not winter! Her husband and pets, Milo and Harry, make sure she is diligently writing each day to help bring awesome content to her readers.

 

Great Scottie! Fun facts about the Scottish Terrier

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By Emily Bruer

Do you have a Scottish Terrier at home? Are you considering adopting one? Or do you just love learning about dog breeds? Whatever the reason, the following facts will have you falling in love with these tenacious little terriers!

The typical Scottie weighs 18-22 lbs.

The Scottish Terrier’s height ranges from 10-12 inches at the shoulder.

Their life expectancy is about 12-14 years.

Listed as the 60th most popular dog breed by the American Kennel Club.

While many people picture Scotties with black coats, they can also be wheaten or brindle. The black coat didn’t become popular until the 20th century.

Their coat typically consists of a hard wiry outer coat and a soft dense undercoat. When groomed, they should have shorter coat on their backs and sides that blends into the longer areas on their legs, lower body, and beard.

Their personality is often described as loyal, feisty, intelligent, tenacious, and stubborn.

Bred to hunt rats, mice, rabbits, foxes and badgers. They are prone to being diggers because of their vermin-hunting heritage.

Thought to be good watch dogs due to their wariness of strangers and their propensity to bark only when necessary.

Care should be taken to socialize the Scottie as much as possible when young, as their natural wariness can lead to aggression with strange people and other dogs.

Scottish Terriers are not good swimmers due to their heavy “cobby” torsos and short legs, so they should always wear life jackets near water.

Both the Scottie and the West Highland White Terrier can trace their ancestry back to the Blackmount region of Perthshire and the Moor of Rannoch in Scotland.

Scotties were originally categorized as Skye Terriers, along with the modern Skye, Cairn, Dandie Dinmont, and West Highland White Terriers.

The first written accounts of a dog with a description similar to the Scottie are found in The History of Scotland 1436-1561.

Two hundred years later the Scottie was depicted in a portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Some alternate names for the Scottish Terrier include Scottie, Aberdeen Terrier, and Diehard.

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The nickname of “The Diehard” was given to Scotties by the First Earl of Dumbarton. The Earl was so impressed by the determination of his Scotties that he named his regiment of Royal Scots “Dumbarton’s Diehards.”

Modern pedigreed Scottish Terriers can be traced back to four dogs from the 1870s: Roger Rough, Tartan, Bon Accord, and Splinter II. Splinter II is often referred to as the foundation matron of the modern day Scottish Terrier.

The first written standard of the breed appeared in Vero Shaw’s Illustrated Book of the Dog, published in 1880.

The Scottish Terrier Club of England was founded in 1881. The Scottish Terrier Club of Scotland was formed in 1888.

The Scottish and English clubs disagreed on the breed’s standard, but the issue was finally resolved in 1930 by a revised breed standard based on four dogs: Heather Necessity, Albourne Barty, Albourne Annie Laurie and Miss Wijk’s Marksman of Docken.

John Naylor is credited with being the first to introduce the Scottish Terrier to this country, with his initial importation in 1883 of a dog, Tam Glen, and a bitch, Bonnie Belle.

The first registered Scottie in the U.S. was Dake, who was whelped in September 15th, 1884. Dake was born in Kokomo, Indiana and was bred by O.P. Chandler.

By 1936, the Scottie was the third most popular breed in the U.S.

The breed is prone to Von Willebrand’s disease, which is a hereditary bleeding disorder.  Some other health concerns are Scottie cramp, patellar luxation, cerebellar abiotrophy, craniomandibular osteopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma.

Scottish Terriers have a greater chance of developing some cancers than other breeds: bladder cancer, malignant melanoma,  gastric carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, lymphosarcoma, nasal carcinoma,  mast cell sarcoma, and hemangiosarcoma.

Scottish Terriers have won the Westminster Kennel Club dog show nine times, which is second only to the Wire Fox Terrier.

When Lil’ Sadie won Westminster in 2010, she was given the duty of ringing the New York Stock Exchange opening bell. Lil’ Sadie won 112 Best In Show titles during her show career.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Washington D.C.

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt had several Scotties over the years, including Fala, Duffy, Mr. Duffy, and Meggie.

Fala is depicted in a statue with FDR in Washington D.C. – the only presidential dog so honored.

Dwight Eisenhower had two Scotties, Caacie and Telek.

George W. Bush had two Scotties named Barney and Miss Beazley. Barney starred in nine films produced by the White House.

The Scottish Terrier is the official mascot of Carnegie Mellon University and Agnes Scott College.

The most popular game piece in Monopoly (according to Hasbro) is – you guessed it – the Scottish Terrier!

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If you’d like to adopt a Scottish terrier, check out the listings on a national adoption databases like Petfinder or Adopt-a-pet, or breed-specific rescue websites and social media groups. 

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emily-bruer-pawedinEmily Bruer has been penning the adventures of her imagination since she was old enough to hold a pencil. Working at animal shelters for the last five years, she learned an incredible amount about animal care and behavior. She is currently employed at a vet clinic where she continues her animal education. Emily’s love of animals is evident when you step into her home, which she shares with six dogs and six cats, all of whom were rescues.

Big Box, who? Indies rule this holiday season!

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By Candace D’Agnolo, CEO of Dogaholics

Some big shopping holidays are coming up (Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday) and if you aren’t a big box retail business it may feel like there’s no need to even participate.

Think again! Whether you sell via a storefront, online shop or through services, you should participate in them all.

Yes, shoppers are looking for really good deals, so this is a prime opportunity to explore discounting products and services. But even if you aren’t comfortable offering discounts there are lots of ways to still stand out from the competition.

This season can belong to you, the awesome independent business, and here’s how:

Black Friday – November 25

This big box shopping holiday is for the deal-driven, crowd-loving, gift-giving enthusiasts who get up early, wait in long lines, and love traffic. Here are some ideas how you can best grab their attention:

APPROACH #1 – SALES & PROMOTIONS

Start Early & Save Big Sale :With this sales model, the biggest deals start early. For the first two hours, run a huge discount, then the discount decreases every two hours until you close. For example: 20% off 10a-12p, 15% off 12p-2p, 10% off 2p-4p and 5% off 4p-6p.

Incentivize Increased Spending: Offer an increase in discount based on how much they spend. You can do a percentage off: spend $50, get 10% off. Spend $100, get 15% off. Spend $150, get 20% off. Or you can come up with your own business “Monopoly” money and give fake store dollars (i.e., gift certificates) of a $ amount to use with a future purchase, like your own “Doggy Dollars” in increments of $10s and $20s. So when people spend $50, you can give them $10 in Doggy Dollars to use at a later date.

The perk of doing a discount on your whole shop is that you’ll get a good idea for what the hot holiday sellers will be in December. You’ll have a pulse on the items to not only reorder and stock up on, but also the items that people didn’t react to that should maybe be re-merchandised or have their price-points changed.

APPROACH #2 – BECOME A DESTINATION

Be their “Relax & Restore Pit Stop”: Create a relaxing environment in comparison to what they are experiencing out in the Black Friday jungle by offering complimentary water, cold drinks, and snacks. Get a gift certificate to a local spa for a massage and use it as a raffle that all purchases in your store can enter. You can even give each person a bounce back coupon to the salon.

black-dogHave a Pop up Shop: If you don’t sell any merchandise or want to feature a particular vendor, host a pop up table or a pop up shop in your space! Partner with a local vendor to sample out or sell unique merchandise.

Host “Black Dog Friday”: Black dogs are statistically the last to be adopted out from animal shelters, so use the name of the day to honor and raise awareness of black dogs. Collect donations for a local animal shelter, maybe even have them bring a few adoptable black dogs or pick a dog from their shelter to feature/sponsor. As a company, you can even match your client’s donations. This will also be a great PR and photo opportunity post event to share.

Small Business Saturday – November 26

Started by American Express in 2010, this shopping holiday is all about celebrating local merchants and has increased consumer recognition of shopping small to kick off the holiday shopping season.

It’s not necessary to give discounts; instead, use the day to share your unique story and to say thank you to your customers.

CELEBRATE YOU & THEM

Give everyone a small gift with purchase: It can be a plant, a dog toy or treat, a bag of sweets, or a coupon for future shopping. It doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money; it’s the gesture that counts.

Include a personal letter from you in their shopping bags: Use it to tell your story, what makes your business unique, thank them for supporting you and encourage them to continue supporting their local independent retailers the rest of the holiday season.

Promote your community: Share a list of your favorite local businesses to shop.

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Cyber Monday – November 28

Since 2005, the Monday after Thanksgiving is known as Cyber Monday, and is an online-only shopping day. There are a few ways that independent businesses can still take part in Cyber Monday, even if you don’t have an online store.

No online store? No problem! Use Facebook: The majority of Americans have a Facebook account, so if you’re not using your business’s Facebook page to sell, you’re missing out on an easy way to grab audience! Log into your Facebook page, and find the “Shop” tab. Set up a Stripe or Paypal account, and start uploading products! It’s really easy to get started. Just pick just a few items that you want to feature, items that are unique to your business, or your best sellers. Then, put a little extra budget behind boosting these items.

Do a Facebook Live video from your business: Talk about and show all the amazing things you have in store or on offer. Make sure to tell them to call in now and you’ll be happy to take their order over the phone. Offer free shipping! No online store or website even needed.

Don’t sell any items? Do a gift card promotion: Create a gift card item on your website or on Facebook, and offer to apply credit to your customers’ accounts. For example, on Cyber Monday only you could offer everyone an extra $20 for every $100 they spend. This is easy to apply for existing clients and easy for you to mail out cards to them the next day, if they choose that option.

There are so many ways to get involved in what are traditionally big box holidays – with just a little creativity, the right plan and a strong marketing effort to get the word out, you can compete with the big boxes this season!

For a full run down on a great gift card promotion and for other sales tips on to make the most of the holiday season – download your free guide here!

 

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1candaceIn addition to being the CEO of Dogaholics, Candace D’Agnolo is a successful business coach, author, and speaker.  She started Dogaholics as a retail store, and took her initial concept of a brick and mortar location and turned it into multiple revenue streams – retail, services, online informational products, books, merchandise, and now business consulting. Candace is also a board member of Chicago Canine Rescue and loves giving back to her local community. She has helped raise over $200,000 for shelter dogs and find many forever homes. Having a way to give back through her business has been one of the most rewarding experiences of her life.

Dog training, expectations and me

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By Bill Mayeroff

When I started on my FetchFind Academy journey a bit over a year ago, I was pretty excited. I was going to learn everything about dogs and dog behavior and become a great dog trainer and every day of my life would be amazing because all I’d be doing would be training dogs.

I bored my friends to tears talking about it at first. But I just couldn’t stop myself. I was so excited that I had to talk about dog training all the time.

But as I went through the program, I began to wonder if I hadn’t built up dog training to mythical proportions. Was I getting too excited? Would all my initial excitement eventually lead to horrible disappointment that would cause me to (again) reevaluate what I was doing with my life? Could dog training really live up to the expectations I had built up in my head?

Well, friends, I can safely say that the answer is yes. Yes, dog training has and continues to live up to every expectation I’ve had. It’s been challenging. It’s been hard. It’s been fulfilling. It’s been amazing.

Two recent class sessions were spent with each student leading portions of a mock group class. That, folks, was as challenging as anything I’ve ever done. I had to teach a group of dogs some behaviors and talk authoritatively to them about dog behavior. I was a nervous wreck, but my teachers said it didn’t show. And when I was done, it felt fantastic.

That’s when I realized that dog training was indeed living up to the expectations I had created for it. Since I started at FetchFind, all I wanted was to be like the amazing trainers I got to see and learn from every week. I wanted to do the thing they do every day. And there I was, doing it in front of them and doing it well.

That’s a pretty cool feeling. And now that I’ve had it – and now that I have a little experience teaching a private client – I can safely say that it does not dissipate the more I do it. In fact, the more I actually train dogs, the more amazing it feels and the more I know it’s exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. 

So here I am. I finish the FetchFind Academy program in a few short weeks. It’s becoming real, guys. And for the first time in a while, I’m excited, rather than terrified, for what my near future has in store. 

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Start your own dog training journey with Behavior Fundamentals Online!

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Look at these two handsome gents.

After five years as a newspaper reporter in western Illinois and two more as a freelancer in Chicago, Bill Mayeroff‘s life has gone to the dogs in the best way possible. These days, Bill lives in Chicago with his terrier mix, Chester, and works at a small, no-kill animal shelter while he studies to be a professional dog trainer at FetchFind Academy. Bill also blogs about his two favorite things – dogs and beer – at Pints and Pups.