How To Stop Your Dog From Chasing Joggers

Many dogs don’t seem to bother running after joggers but there are a few that will dart out of their yard, bark, or lunge while on a walk towards a jogger. It can be scary if you’re the jogger. There are some reasons why a dog may do chase the jogger.

Why Dogs Want To Chase Joggers

  1. Some dogs are triggered by the fast movement of the person jogging by and want to chase. It becomes like a game or playing and they may jump and try to catch up with the jogger. Many will stop if the jogger stops. They may bark and leap showing that they are happy to chase a jogger.
  2. Some are afraid and may think the jogger is a threat. Fearful dogs will show aggression if they perceive the jogger as a threat and run after them. It’s a way of scaring the jogger away. Some may also try to nip the jogger in the shins or butt. Fearful dogs tend to also bark during the chase.
  3. Some dogs are territorial and will act aggressively if there is a perceived threat to their space. This will result in a dog trying to chase a jogger that runs by their yard. Like a fearful dog, a territorial dog will want to drive the jogger away and bark during the chase. If they catch the jogger, they may nip or bite.
  4. A dog that has a predatory drive will chase a jogger and may try to bite or attack. This is rare as many dogs do not display this behavior towards people. You may see it in a dog that is chasing and hunting wildlife. The body will be tense, ears flat, and the dog will be in a mode that is often not seen in times of play.

If your dog shows interest in runners, joggers, and anyone who zips by try to curb this behavior by associating people running with good things that come from you. When on a walk, teach your dog to sit, stay, and let the jogger go by.

Reward your dog for not chasing or leaping towards the jogger. If the treat is especially tempting like a piece of cheese or a piece of a hot dog, your dog may look at you and ignore the jogger completely. This will take some time and repetition. Eventually, your dog may learn to sit and look at you and let the jogger go by without paying them any mind.

When your dog is in the yard and running along the fence barking, you can try to curb this by saying “No” very loudly and bring your dog inside the house. You may also have to change the time your dog is out. Joggers tend to be active in the early morning before working hours and after work. It’s never a good idea to leave your dog unsupervised in the yard alone for more than 15 or 20 minutes, even if it is fenced. You can try to also teach your dog to ignore the joggers with games, treats, and toys that are more interesting than watching people.

If you are a jogger, take your dog with you. Some dogs will lose interest in other joggers as you and your pup jog by. If your dog jumps up on you as a game, say “No” and stop jogging. When your dog has relaxed try the jog again. Everytime your dog interferes the run, stop and wait. Your dog should make eye contact with you and as soon as that happens, begin the jog again. Even though this may make the time out longer, break your exercise routine, it will provide exercise, training, and bonding between you and your pet. A tired dog is often times a well-behaved dog.

Also, if you are a jogger and see someone walking their dog, cross the street or stop and walk by them. There’s no need to elicit an excited response.

Sometimes it seems the tricks we try to change the behavior of our pets may not work, or we’re unsure if we’re implementing the tips correctly. If your dog seems to not understand what you’d like him to know, it’s best to contact a trainer. There are many resources available for finding a trainer, contacting your local humane society or doing a search on the internet will help you find the right trainer for you and your dog.

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Easter and Passover: 5 Holiday Pet Tips

Passover starts on April 3, 2015 and Easter is April 5, 2015. If you celebrate either one of these two holidays and have a furry friend in your house, there are some safety tips to consider to ensure your pet has a safe and happy day.

  1. Keep all decorations out of reach of your pet. If you have easter grass be careful that your dog or cat doesn’t chew and ingest any of it. This fake grass can cause blockages in their digestive system. You can substitute tissue paper in the baskets for grass. Cats are often intrigued by plastic items that catch light and move easily like tinsel and fake easter grass.
  2. Make sure flowers and potted plants are out of reach from your pet. Some decorative seasonal flowers are highly toxic to dogs and cats, and the temptation to chew on them seems unbearable. My cats just love to put holes in plants, so they always stay out of reach on a mantle or bookcase.
  3. Make sure your pets don’t find those easter eggs or the afikoman before the kids do. If you engage your family in the games of finding gifts, keep the family pet away from the room or yard where you’ve placed the items. Any foreign foods or objects that your pet may try to eat could make them very ill.
  4. Candy is a big part of Easter. Wrappers need to be out of reach from dogs as well as chocolate. Keep all ‘people’ treats and their wrappers away from your pet.
  5. If you host a party and your pet isn’t one for loud noises or gets overwhelmed, try keeping them in a room while your guests are over. It’ll reduce the stress on your pet and also your guests.
  6. Also remember, don’t get them wet, don’t expose them to bright light, and don’t feed them after midnight. Oh wait, that’s not dogs and cats…that’s mogwais.

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Puppies Doing Things For The First Time

There’s something incredibly silly, cute, and sometimes bewildering about the way puppies learn things. If you’ve had a puppy you may know what we mean. We’ve found several videos of puppies doing things for the first time.

Puppies meeting cats – paw smacks, play bows, and running away

Boxer Puppy meets Cows – everyone was curious and nervous!

Howling – whine a little, squeak, and then maybe just scream

4 Great Organic Brands of Dog Food

When looking what to feed your dog, organic is a great choice. But how do you know it’s organic? The labels will tell you a lot about the ingredients. The first ingredient should always be a meat – turkey, lamb, chicken, etc. If the first ingredient starts out with water, dehydrated something or other, or some chemical sounding thing that you don’t have time to google on your smartphone, it’s probably not organic. The next bit of information to look for is where the food is made, or how it’s made. The websites of the companies will often state where their food is made, how it’s made, and where the ingredients are resourced.

If you are wondering which brands are the best – we like these 4

  1. Newman’s Own Organics – The website states its food is 95% organic and the first few ingredients are chicken, chicken liver, and chicken meal. There is also organic soy meal, brown rice, peas, and much more in their dog and cat food. Newman’s food is human grade, meaning it’s fit for human consumption.
  2. Orijen – this brand is from Canada and the food is delivered fresh, not frozen to pet stores. The bags are airtight to prevent the food from spoiling. When reading the labels, the first few ingredients are chicken, salmon, and herring. The company sources the ingredients from local farmers who raise cage free animals and grow chemical free fruits and vegetables.
  3. California Natural – This brand is made for pets who may not be able to tolerate other pet foods such as a dog with a sensitive stomach or a mild allergy to some types of foods. There are no chemical preservatives and the food uses chicken and turkey broth instead of water to aid in digestible protein.
  4. Blue Buffalo – The website states that no by-products, dyes, or processed foods are used in the making of the pet food. Some of the ingredients found in Blue Buffalo include but aren’t limited to: alfalfa, bacon, brown rice, chicken liver, lamb, salmon, oatmeal, and sweet potatoes. There are a number of different types for all stages of your dog’s life cycle and treats. Your pup might love the elk antlers!

What brand do you feed your dog?

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Doggie Bad Breath

It’s perfectly acceptable for your dog’s breath to smell like dog food or a treat they recently ate, but what about when it smells like old food or worse? Since dogs don’t brush their teeth, it’s up to us to make sure they have healthy gums and teeth.

Control That Bad Breath!

You may be able to brush your dog’s teeth regularly. Your dog might also like treats that help prevent plaque build up. However, if your dog isn’t ok with sitting still and having their teeth brushed, you may have to opt for a vet to do a cleaning once a year or so. And your vet may also have to extract any teeth that have cavities.

Maintenance of your dog’s diet is important for bad breath. If your dog eats wet food, try tossing in some kibble to help eliminate the possibility that old food gets stuck between teeth. Some dog foods even contain ingredients that help control bad breath. You can try switching to a higher quality brand that has no fillers.

Sometimes too much meat can create unnecessary deposits of food in their mouth. Look for a food or if you cook for your dog, try adding more vegetables and make sure the food bowl is clean between each meal so there is no spoiled food that your dog is eating. Spoiled food not only can give them bad breath but also a bad butt!

Some dog treats contain parsley and mint which not only help with bad breath but also improve their digestive tract.

Indirectly, regular exercise can help your dog maintain a good digestive tract and drinking water can help loosen up particles of food stuck in their teeth. However, if are noticing red or swollen gums, brown or stained teeth, and other signs that your dog may need some dental work, make that appointment and you’ll be happy you did.

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Fruits and Vegetables For Your Pets

Does your pet need to lose a few pounds? If your pet is already eating a high quality diet and is getting a good workout, try adding fruits and vegetables as snacks that are low in calories.

Remember, talk to your vet before making any major dietary changes to your pet’s diet and make sure what you plan on feeding your pet is safe for their digestive system.

Here’s a list of fruits and vegetables that are good for dogs

  • Carrots
  • Green beans
  • Broccoli
  • Zucchini
  • Apples – without seeds
  • Peas

Here’s a list of fruits and vegetables that are good for cats

  • Baked carrots
  • Steamed Broccoli
  • Cooked winter squash

Onion, garlic, grapes, raisins, and leeks are not good for dogs or cats

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Cruising with Fido: Tips for a Safe and Fun Car Ride with Your Dog

Most dogs love car rides. It’s exciting to them to look out the window and watch the buildings, trees, and other cars whizz by. The wind and different smells keep their noses moving and will bounce from window to window.

Dogs like to explore and having them loose in the car allows them to move around and find their perfect perch spot. Now, not all dogs will bound around. Some will find their spot and settle down. Some dogs I know just lay down in the backseat and don’t move. But, an overly excited dog might get in your way as you drive and that can create a dangerous situation for you.

Make sure your car rides are safe:

Keep Fido in the back seat: Keeping your dog in the back protects them for the harm of an airbag opening and hurting them. Airbags open with a force of about 200 miles an hour, which could severely injure your pet. Car harnesses aren’t 100% safe but they prevent your dog from blocking the rearview mirror, trying to sit on your lap, or hitting the gear shift.

For the safety of your pet and you, remember to use a pet safety harness and keep your dog in the backseat. Car harnesses can be purchased at your local pet store. They look very similar to a regular walking harness but have a strap where the seat belt fits through. Your dog can sit, stand, and stretch out in the backseat comfortably and you can concentrate on the road.

Use a crate: If you are going on a long trip, you may want to use a carrier or dog crate in the back hatch area of your car. If you have a large car or SUV, a mid-size dog crate fits in the back with plenty of room for your luggage. Your dog can lie down, have a bowl of water, and some food. It also will keep your dog from losing his/her balance as easily as when standing on the backseat when you make that right or left turn. For long trips, it is best to not feed your dog a regular size meal but many small snacks. It will help prevent motion sickness.

Keep Fido IN the car: Not every dog needs to be restrained. If you have a dog that doesn’t bounce around the car in a hyper manner, you’re very lucky! However, never let your dog stick its head out the window. It’s not safe and the wind can actually give your dog an ear infection. Dust, debris, and that flying cigarette from the car in front of you could hurt your pup!

Opening the window a few inches is enough for your dog to smell the air, enjoy the breeze, and stay safe. Also, you’ll be able to make sure your dog doesn’t accidentally fall out the window or jump if there’s something worth chasing!

If your destination isn’t too far and the weather is perfect, skip the car, put on your best sneakers, and take the walk! Your dog will thank you for it. Remember, a tired dog is a well-behaved dog.

February is National Pet Dental Month: Keep those fangs shiny!

February is National Pet Dental Month. The American Veterinarians Medical Association is working in conjunction with several clinics and companies around the country to educate and promote dental health to pet owners. It is estimated that about 1 in 10 pet owners make sure their pet’s teeth are cared for and brush them on a regular basis.

According to surveys and statistics gathered by the American Veterinarians Medical Association, periodontal disease, tartar, and swollen gums are the most common ailments vets see when they examine pets. Proper dental care can begin with a trip to the vet, who will let you know if your pet needs a cleaning or other periodontal care. It’s estimated that 70% of dogs and cats will have some kind of oral disease by the age of 3. But don’t worry, your pet doesn’t have to be one of them.

Did you know?

Like us, cats and dogs need regular care of their teeth and gums. They can get plaque buildup, tartar, and sometimes red, swollen gums and need treatment. Oral infections can sometimes also lead to other health problems and could cause problems in the kidneys and liver.

What can you do?

The American Veterinary Medical Association urges all pet owners to bring their pet to the vet for yearly checkups.

You can also try brushing your pet’s teeth. “TRY” being the operative word. There are toothpastes for dogs and cats that are easy to use and you don’t have to brush for 2 minutes like our dentists recommend. A finger brush, which is a rubbery soft brush, with some pet toothpaste is all you need to brush your pet’s teeth. It can take some getting used to for them and you. My cats hated it but tolerated it after several small battles the first bunch of times.

There are also treats that are geared to helping keep your pet’s teeth clean and remove the bits of food that get stuck between those fangs. Most importantly, it’s good to know what food and treats will not promote dental issues. Table scraps that contain sugars and some acidic ingredients can wear away at your pet’s teeth. Be careful to not let your cat or dog eat people food that isn’t for them. If you cook for your pet, talk to your vet about the ingredients in the meals you’re preparing and if anything might contribute to any oral disease problems.

What if your pet refuses to have their teeth brushed?

My cats tolerate having their teeth brushed but as they’ve gotten older they have taken to hiding when they see the toothpaste on the counter. If your pets are like mine and find this some mild form of torture, there are other things you can do to cut down on tartar and plaque buildup. There are treats that contain ingredients and are shaped in ways that help breakdown and prevent plaque buildup. Special treats like dental chews, dental bones, and other products are made specifically for promoting good dental health.

Chances are your vet is offering a deal for February for dental exams and cleaning. Check with them and talk to your vet about your options for maintaining a dental plan and what types of brushes and toothpaste are safe for your pets. Preventative care is always better and cheaper and your pet will be happier in the end.

Looking to start a healthy routine of brushing your pet’s teeth? Then check out these videos!

Image from Clearwater Veterinary Centre

6 Tips to Avoid Dog Bites

Statistics report that about 4 to 5 million people are bitten by dogs each year and of that number, half are children. Many of the dogs who bit are dogs that the people knew and not a stray. If you own a dog, it’s important to be able to read your dog’s body language and learn the basics of why dogs may bite. Never leave your children unattended with a dog and make sure you socialize your dog well. Always obey leash laws and teach your children and friends the best way to approach your dog and any dog.

If your dog is territorial or protective of the home, do not let him out without supervision and make sure all the gates and fences are secure to prevent him from getting out and scaring someone.

If you encounter an aggressive dog, here are 6 tips to avoid potential bites:

  1. Stay calm. Focus on your breathing. Stand still and be a “rock.” It sounds counterintuitive but it can work.
  2. Stay quiet and speak in a low and calm voice.
  3. Avoid making direct eye contact with the dog.
  4. Try to put something between you and dog, without sudden erratic movements. Don’t run even if that’s your instinct. Try to move slowly after standing still.
  5. Back away from the dog but do not turn around. Move slowly.
  6. If you are knocked down or trip, curl into a ball and use your hands and arms to protect your face.

Having an aggressive dog run towards you can be terrifying but if you can minimize your reaction it can help minimize the injuries you may sustain. Some dogs may stop and sniff you and then walk away. Others may growl at you from a few feet away and as you back away they may retreat. Teach your children to not pet strange dogs without asking the owner.

If you are walking your dog and see an off leash dog approaching, change direction and get yourself and your dog to a safer space. It will cut down on the chance of an aggressive interaction between the two.

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To Crop or Not To Crop? Ear Cropping and Health

In 2010, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) declared that ear cropping is not medically necessary for certain breeds and is opposed to the practice of it. More recently, Banfield Pet Hospitals made headlines by changing their policies to prohibit ear cropping and tail docking surgeries. More and more veterinarians are refusing to crop ears on puppies and believe it is only a cosmetic and causes unnecessary pain and doesn’t always work. Some ears never stand up perfectly after cropping and that can be frustrating to the owners.

There are many reasons given as to why ear cropping is a good thing and while it may give a certain breed a different and more “attentive” appearance, it doesn’t improve health. It was once believed that shortening the ears would protect some breeds from being injured as they hunted or did farm work. There are several myths that persist about why some breeds should have their ears cropped. However, the reality is that ear cropping is now more of a cosmetic procedure than practical one.

Here Are 5 Myyths About Ear Cropping

  1. Ear Infections – while having an ear that stands up can improve air flow and cut down on moisture, ear infections can still occur. The ears are no longer able to move to swat away debris, meaning dirt can become lodged in the folds and canals. Ears also move and communicate emotions to other dogs. Floppy ears do require some care. Wiping the ears every few days to keep wax, dirt, and moisture to a minimum is all it takes to prevent ear infections.
  2. Breed Standard – The breed standard may state cropped ears are required but the dogs themselves are born with longer ears. If your dog is not entering any dog shows, why do it? It hurts them and the breed standard for some dogs has changed in the last few years.
  3. Similar to spaying and neutering – Ear cropping does not prevent any diseases. Spaying or neutering your dog can reduce the chances of cancers, ear cropping does not promote any health or wellness.
  4. It’s the choice of the owners – In some states ear cropping is still allowed but laws are changing and it is now seen as a modification that is cruel. Ear cropping, declawing of cat paws, and de-vocalization of dogs are all surgeries that are no longer seen as a harmless procedure.
  5. It’s painless – While the procedure is done while the dog is under anesthesia, the healing process is painful. The ears are wrapped up and they hurt, itch, and overall are uncomfortable.
  6. While a dog may look more regal, more like the breed standard, or more dangerous (if you want your dog to look tough), ear cropping is a long drawn out process that is pricey, cumbersome, and painful for your dog. If you consider going forward and having this procedure done, make sure you are not breaking any state or local laws and take into account that your dog will be in pain.

    Take the money you would spend on this and spend it on some awesome dog toys, fancy treats, and a fun trip with your dog instead!

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