Tuesday, April 24, 2018

How to Help Your New Dog Get Along with Other Dogs and Cats

When you bring home your dog from the shelter, there are lots of new things to learn about. The dog may feel overwhelmed at first because they have to get used to a new home, new people, and occasionally other pets. It’s important to take your time in introducing your dog to other pets in your home. If you go about it the right way, there’s a good chance you’ll have a big, happy, furry family as a result.

Introducing Your Dog to Your Cat(s)

In most cases, cats and dogs can live together peacefully. It’s important to understand that some dogs are very aggressive towards cats and may never be able to live with a cat. However, most of the time the shelter staff already knows when that’s the case and won’t let you adopt a dog like that if you have cats.

Certain rules must be followed when putting cats and dogs together. Your cat needs to have a safe space where the dog can’t get to it. The litter box, cat food, and water dish must also be out of reach for your dog. Dogs don’t have any qualms about eating your cat’s food, and they may even ambush a cat in the litter box. Keeping these things away from the dog in a private place ensures that your cat won’t relieve itself elsewhere or doesn’t get enough to eat.

When you first introduce your new dog to your cat, the dog should be on a leash. At first, you just want the dog and cat to be in the same room with each other. Pet them, talk to them, praise them, and give them treats. If your cat is skittish, you may want to keep her in a carrier. You want your dog to stay calm around the cat without bolting towards them. Use commands like “sit” and “leave it” to make sure the dog leaves the cat alone.

If your dog stays calm for several days, you’re ready for the next phase. This is where you can let go of the leash, but you still must be prepared to grab it. At this point, your dog may approach the cat. You can expect the cat to swat the dog on the nose, and that’s often all it takes for the dog to leave the cat alone. If your cat is still a kitten, has been declawed, or is otherwise unable to defend itself, you may need to exercise more caution when you make the introductions.

Meeting Other Dogs in the House

Introducing your dog to other dogs in the house is an important step you need to take. Some dogs are really easy-going and like almost every other dog, but you probably don’t know that ahead of time. There are different ways to introduce dogs to each other, but one of the methods is the exchange of smells. 

For example, you can use old shirts you no longer use and let you established dog sleep with it. Then you’ll take it to the shelter and let the new dog sleep with that same shirt. You can do the same thing in reverse for the established dog to help both get used to the other dog’s scent. Before they meet, you can exchange the shirts and have the dogs wear them. The same thing can be accomplished by using a pheromone spray. The goal is to help them familiarize themselves with the smell and make them like each other before they even meet.

When you introduce the dogs, it’s a good idea to do this on neutral territory. The best way for two dogs to meet is to go on a walk with each other. In the beginning, you want to go single-file and have one dog follow the other with adequate distance. Eventually, if they show signs of wanting to play together, you can take a walk next to each other. 

It’s a good idea to keep your dogs separate while you’re away until their relationship has become established. Incidentally, putting your dogs in separate rooms or crates will also reduce the likelihood of them making a mess of the house while you’re gone. It may be necessary to keep the dogs apart for the first day and only have them meet for 20 minutes at a time. During that time, the new dog may need to stay confined to one room of the house.

Monday, April 16, 2018

How to Help Your Dog Get Along with Your Children

A friendship between a child and their dog is special. Kids often form very close bonds with the family pet, and the relationship is beneficial for both of them. However, you must take the appropriate steps to ensure the relationship is off to a good start. It’s also important that both the dog and your child understand the ground rules from the beginning to ensure everyone’s safety. Here are some tips for making this work.

Choose the Right Dog for Your Family

It goes without saying that you must choose the dog that is right for your family. Dogs come in all shapes in sizes, but they also have different personalities and temperaments. While it’s not nice to stereotype, some dog breeds are also better suited to be family pets. This has to do with their disposition and their task in life. For example, breeds that were traditionally used for herding other animals may easily adopt your family as their herd and care for it just as much. On the other hand, a hunting dog may not be as likely to be the children’s playmate – unless their favorite pasttime is exploring the neighboring forest.

Let Them Meet before You Adopt Your Dog

A shelter is probably not the best place for young children for various reasons. Some kids don’t like loud noises, and a shelter full of dogs is certainly not a quiet place. Additionally, it can be difficult to cope with the fact that all of these dogs need homes. A child may want to save them all, which is understandable but not necessarily feasible for your family.
Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to let your child or children meet the dog before you adopt them. Maybe you can take the dog on a walk together or spend some time with the dog in their kennel. It’s okay for the dog or your child or both to be nervous, but neither should exhibit hostility or terror at meeting the other.

Give Everyone Personal Space

It’s important to make sure that your child and the dog always has personal space to retreat to when they feel overwhelmed or need to be alone. You may want to make your child’s room off-limit to the dog, at least in the beginning. This ensures that your child won’t be unsupervised with the dog and gives them a chance to have the room to themselves.
Your dog also need a retreat that nobody will follow them to. It could be a dog pillow underneath a desk that doens’t get used much or a cozy blanket next to the fireplace. The best hiding place is an area that doesn’t get any walk-through traffic to ensure your dog feels at peace. This could be the same spot your dog sleeps in at night, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s important that every member of your family respects the dog’s place and never disturbs the animal when they’re hiding there.

Take It Slow

It takes time to get to know someone knew and form a bond to them. It’s no different with a pet. Even if your child has wished for a dog for a long time, they may not fall in love with the new pet at first sight. That’s okay, because it takes time to build a friendship. Given some time, your child will get attached to the dog. As they play together and get to know each other, they’re bound to fall in love. Incidentally, it may take you some time to appreciate your new dog, too. It will also take your dog some time to get to know you and adopt you as their new best friend.

Teach Them about Each Other

It’s important to teach both your child and your dog how to behave around each other. For example, your dog must learn not to jump on your child, because that can be very scary – especially with big dogs and small children. Your child has to learn to be gentle with the dog, because pinching and pulling can hurt him – unlike a stuffed animal. These teaching opportunities will present themselves sooner or later, and it’s important not to miss them. The sooner your dog and your child learn how to behave around each other, the more likely it is that they’ll become the best of friends.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

How to Groom Your Dog

Proper grooming is an important part of dog ownership. Your dog loves to run around outside and get dirty, but they’re not really great at keeping themselves clean. Unlike cats, dogs don’t spend a lot of time on grooming themselves, although they may try to remove fleas from their fur with their teeth. The good news is that your grooming routine doesn’t have to be complicated. However, part of caring for your pet includes trimming their nails and fur, washing and combing your dog, and keeping their paws clean.

Trim Nails

Your dog’s nails keep growing through their entire life much like your own. This can become a problem, because their nails can be quite sharp. They may also get snagged in the carpet when they’re walking. Since dogs don’t need their nails to climb trees outside like cats, it’s a good idea to keep them trimmed to prevent broken nails or scraped floors. You know it’s time to trim your dog’s nails when they just about touch the ground when the dog is walking across the floor. You might even be able to hear the clicking of the nails when the walk on hard flooring, such as your kitchen.

Ideally, you’ll get your dog used to nail trimming when they’re young. In any case, you’ll want to watch for the quick (blood vein that goes through the nail) and trim bit by bit before it. You may want to reward your dog with a treat after clipping each nail to get them to stay calm for the entire procedure. If necessary, you can trim a little bit now and do another trim a week later. It’s also a good idea to use a nail file to remove any jagged edges.

Brush and Shampoo Your Dog’s Fur

Keeping your dog’s hair neatly brushed and shampooed prevents it from matting together and looking unruly. It can also reduce the amount of shedding as well as the number of dog hairs that stick to your couch. How often you need to brush or shampoo your dog depends on the dog. A short-haired breed won’t need to go in the tub as often. You probably also don’t have large amounts of dog hair all over your house.

If you have a long-haired breed, you’ll probably want to brush or comb them every day. In that case, it’s important to establish a routine. Brushing can be great bonding time both of you can enjoy if you can get your dog to cooperate. Treats may help in the beginning, but many dogs love being brushed.
It’s also a good idea to give your dog a bath if they’ve gotten really dirty. Similarly, you may need to give them a flea bath if you’re dealing with an infestation at home. It’s not always necessary to blow-dry your dog’s hair, but some dogs really enjoy the warm air on their coat.


Dogs may need their hair trimmed occasionally, especially medium- and long-haired breeds. If you don’t want to do this yourself, you can take them to a dog groomer. Trimming their hair can make it easier to keep their fur looking neat. It may also reduce tangles. A dog groomer can even give your dog a bath using special dog shampoo to make their coat shine again if it starts to look a little dull.

Keeping Paws Clean

One are of dog grooming that’s often neglected is the paws of your pet. Dogs don’t wear shoes, and when they go for a walk or run with you, they touch the ground with everywhere. Since dogs are known to lick their paws to clean them, it pays to pay attention to what they’re stepping in.

It’s really important that you clean your dog’s paws if they’ve stepped in something potentially toxic – whether that’s paint or oil on the garage floor or tar from the newly finished street. You may also want to clean their paws if they stepped in something you don’t want them spreading around in your home, whether that’s sticky gum or spilled juice. Your dog’s paws may also get salty if they’ve been to the beach with you. When you come home, you should rinse their paws with warm water.

Occasionally, your dog may get something stuck in their paw. If you notice that they’re spending a lot of time trying to dislodge something, it’s a good idea to take a look. Injuries to paws can also happen if your dog stepped on glass or something else that was sharp or pointy. If you’re not sure what to do, it’s always best to call your veterinarian for guidance.

Monday, March 12, 2018

How to Keep Your Dog Safe & Healthy

If you’re like most pet owners, you want the best for your dog. That includes keeping him or her safe and healthy all year round. Not only do you need to provide adequate nutrition and exercise for your dog, but you also want to schedule regular checkups. Below you’ll find some tips on the most important aspects of keeping your pet healthy.

Spay or Neuter

If you adopted your dog from a shelter, you already know that there is an overpopulation of dogs in your area. It may seem unnatural, but spaying and neutering is the only option for preventing additional puppies that need homes. When you get your dog fixed, you also prevent them from roaming the neighborhood unnecessarily. Dogs in heat will go to great lengths to find mates, and this instinct could jeopardize your pet’s safety, especially if you live on a busy street.

Tag and Microchip

Your dog should have a collar and a tag that identifies you as the owner. You don’t have to put your address on the dog’s collar, but it’s a good idea to list your phone number on there. If your dog gets lost, it will be easy to return him or her to your home. If your dog has a tendency to escape or roam or refuses to wear the collar – you may want to consider getting them micro chipped. Micro-chipping is a minor procedure that includes inserting an identifier on your pet. Animal services can scan this microchip to find you if someone turns the dog into them.


Regular appointments with your vet are important for your pet’s health. Most dogs should have an annual checkup to ensure they’re healthy, prevent problems, and diagnose diseases early (if that’s the case). An annual checkup can give you and your veterinarian a lot of information about your dog, such as their weight. This will help you track their health over the years.

At the vet’s office, you may also choose to vaccinate your pet. In most areas, annual rabies shots are required. There are additional options for immunizing your pet, and you may want to discuss these with your vet. An older pet or a dog with existing health issues may not be the best candidate for immunizations. Similarly, animals who are primarily indoors may not be at risk for certain diseases. Last but not least, you may have personal reservations about vaccines. In the end, it’s up to you to decide which immunizations make the most sense for your pet, and your veterinarian can help you make the decision that’s right for you and your dog.


For humans and pets, proper nutrition is the key to a long, healthy life. That’s why it’s important for you to do your research and select the right food for your dog. Your vet is an important partner here as well and can help you make this decision for your pet. In most cases, dogs do best with a diet that’s low in carbohydrates, because that’s their natural food. You can even prepare your own food for your dog if you prefer to minimize preservatives and know the ingredients. Of course, you don’t have to go this far to provide good nutrition for your dog.

In addition to picking the right brand and type of dog food, you need to feed your dog the appropriate amount of food. Generally, a puppy won’t eat as much as an adult. However, both younger and older dogs tend to eat as much food as you let them have. A combination of this tendency to scarf down any food they can get and limited exercise can make it so easy for a dog to gain too much weight. Unfortunately, an overweight dog will be prone to health problems, which is why it’s best to regulate their food intake from the beginning or consider a diet if it becomes an issue.

Exercise, Training & Love

Every dog needs exercise. Some dogs need to run fast or for long distances every day, others just need a walk around the block. It depends on the size, age, and temperament of your dog. Dogs are also very smart, which is why it’s a good idea to put some time into obedience training. Dogs can learn new tricks at any age. Last but not least, your dogs needs to spend time with you. Whether you play with them, take them for a walk, or cuddle up next to your dog on the couch – pets want to spend lots of time with their humans.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

5 Top Indoor Activities to Do with Your Dog

Florida winters are mild, but there will be some days when it’s not nice enough to take your dog outside. You may also be required to stay indoors because one of your family members is sick. However, your four-legged friend will still feel energetic, so it’s a good idea to think of some things to do to keep your dog busy indoors.

Teach Your Dog a Trick

Dogs are very smart. You can teach them to obey a variety of commands, and they’ll enjoy the learning session. It’s important to watch your dog for signs of inattention, because that’s when they can no longer focus on the lesson. For example, younger dogs may only be able to focus for a few minutes, but you can repeat the training session several times throughout the day.

Teaching your dogs can be simple and basic in the beginning. For example, your dog needs to learn how to sit and come. But you can also teach your dogs a few fun things, such as these:
  • High five
  • Army crawl
  • Dance
  • Collect garbage
  • Kiss

Play Hide and Seek

If you played hide-and-seek with your dog, you would lose every time. They have an amazing sense of smell and will find you wherever you are. What could be fun is to play hide-and-seek with their food. Instead of putting the food in the usual place, let them find it around the house at feeding time. It could be fun to watch, but don’t expect this to last very long.

Play the Cup Game

This game is popular with children, but it works just as well for your dog. For this, you’ll need 3 cups, and you put them upside down. You’ll hide a treat under one of the cups and leave the other two empty. Then you rotate them around for a little while and let your dog find the treat. 

You can experiment with letting your dog watch you shuffle the cups and doing it while he’s not watching. It will be interesting to find out if he uses his memory or his nose to find the treats. Your dog may even have a favorite color cup and keep trying the same one. Of course, you should let him have the treat when he finds it.

Play Tug of War

Dogs are smart, and you need to exercise their brains. That’s what teaching tricks and playing hide-and-seek games are for. But they also need to exert themselves physically to stay healthy and happy. Dogs that don’t get enough physical activity are more likely to get in trouble. One indoor game that can make a big difference is tug of war.

For that, you can use a thick rope and let your dog have one end while you hold the other. Now it’s time to see who can keep holding on to the rope. Medium-sized and big dogs are strong enough to pull you across the room, but that doesn’t mean you should let them. Instead, you could try catching them off guard. Keep the rope slack and don’t pull on it until they’ve also let loose a little. Of course, you should do this in a room of the house that’s safe to play in – at least put any breakable items out of reach before you start.

Teach Your Dog to Do Chores

You would have so much more time to do fun things if it wasn’t for household chores. Whether that’s doing dishes, cleaning the bathroom, or sweeping the floors – it takes time to keep your house looking neat. Why don’t you teach your dog how to help you? It will be fun for both of you and eventually, cleanup will be done sooner.

You can start by letting them put things away. As long as the items aren’t particularly fragile, your dog can be a huge help. They can carry things where they need to go. You can put up a bin for them to put their dog toys in and start teaching them how to do that first. They could even learn how to take the garbage out and put garbage into the trash can.

There are lots of other things you can do with your dog indoors. For example, nothing beats cuddling up to a good movie for a thorough petting session. Your dog doesn’t have to be active all the time, either. Your four-legged friend always appreciates when you spend time with them.

Monday, February 5, 2018

How to Help Your Local Shelter This Month

February can be a difficult month. This is about the time when many people give up on their New Year’s resolutions. Summer is a long time away, and the holidays are over. Instead of letting life dictate what you do this month, why don’t you use this opportunity to make a difference at your local shelter? They always have their hands full, and they could really use some assistance. You’ll feel great about helping, and the animals appreciate it even more. Here are some suggestions on what you could do.

Volunteer Your Time

For many people, money is tight – especially if they have to pay back income taxes. But there’s one thing everyone has an equal share of: time. If you can spend a few hours at your local shelter each month, you’ll be doing something incredibly valuable and getting a break from the daily grind at the same time. You can walk the dogs, help clean the kennels, or just spend time with the animals. Some shelter animals need to get used to humans before they can be re-homed. The more friendly faces they meet, the easier it will be for them to find a forever home.

Make a Donation

Shelters can always use money to buy supplies, but your donation doesn’t have to be monetary. Maybe you can find gently used dog collars or bowls at the local thrift store. You could also start an initiative in your neighborhood and collect dog food for your shelter. Before you put a lot of effort into it, it’s a good idea to ask your local shelter what they could use most.

Foster a Dog

Not everyone is in the position to adopt a pet. Whether you already have more pets than you can handle or whether you can’t make the long-term commitment – fostering is a great way around it. When you foster a dog, you keep them for a few weeks until the rescue organization finds a forever home for them. Fostering a dog is great, because they don’t have to live in a kennel all day long. Foster pet parents can also help rehabilitate an animal that needs extensive medical care. In most cases, the rescue organization carries the financial responsibilities, and you’ll get paid in dog kisses for caring for the foster pet.

Spread the Word

If you know of someone who wants to adopt a dog, you should talk to them about your local shelter. Not everyone knows how easy it is to find the perfect dog at a shelter. But the truth is, adopting a mature dog is a lot easier than starting out with a puppy from a breeder – especially if you’re a first-time dog owner. You can also use social media to share information about your local dog rescue.

Adopt a Pet

If you’re able to have another pet, you can help your shelter by adopting a dog. This is a big step, and it’s important that you think this through. If you already have a dog, it’s important to make sure the two of them get along with each other. It’s also a good idea to allow each dog to have a separate safe space from each other. Finally, you must be able to afford caring for another dog. In addition to buying double the amount of food, you’ll have to cover any necessary vet bills.
The great thing about adopting a dog is that you’re rescuing an animal that really needs a home. And most adopted dogs are forever grateful to their new owners for taking them in.

Sponsor a Pet

Adopting and fostering a dog requires a lot of time on your part. Not everyone is able to do that, especially if you frequently travel out of town or have someone in your family who is allergic to dogs. Fortunately, there is another way for you to help the shelter: you can sponsor a dog. That means you take over some of the financial obligations for that one pet until someone adopts it permanently. You can also visit the dog when you’re in town and take it for a walk.

Your local pet rescue organization in Volusia County is doing a lot of important work in your community. In addition to finding homes for pets, they also guide foster pet parents in their care of the dogs. Most rescue organizations rely on the help of volunteers. Therefore, anything you can do to help will be appreciated.

Friday, January 26, 2018

6 Fun Things to Do with Your Dog

When you’re a dog owner, you wake up every day with the reassurance that you’re the most important person in the world to your canine friend. Of course, your dog is very special for you, too. Nevertheless, there may be days when you get bored of the same old routine – feeding, watering, grooming, throwing the ball or Frisbee, and taking your dog for a walk. So here are some ideas to change things up a bit.

Visit an Off-Leash Dog Park

If your dog gets along well with other dogs, this is a great opportunity for your pup to have fun and get some real good exercise. Even if you have a home with a yard, your dog’s natural habitat is not very vast. So this will be a fun experience for both of you. You can even use this opportunity to practice getting your dog to come to you, although it will not be easy with all the distractions around.

Doggie Play Date

Parents are always scheduling play dates for their kids, so why not schedule one for your dog? You should obviously meet at a dog-friendly location, which could be a park or an outdoor cafe or the beach. The dogs can run around together, and you can have someone to talk to. The topics don’t even have to be dog-related, but they probably will be at least some of the time when two dog lovers meet.

Ride Your Bike

There’s one activity that most humans dislike but dogs love: running. If you have a medium-size or big dog, they can probably never get enough physical exercise. There is one way for them to run to their heart’s content that doesn’t lead to exhaustion for you – a bike ride. If you can teach your dog to run next to your bike without running into it, you can discover many beautiful parts of town on your bike. Of course, safety is important and you should stick to sidewalks or small side streets. And if you have to cross a busy road, you can always get off and walk a little bit, too.

Explore a New Part of Town

Not everyone likes bike riding, but there’s nothing that says you can’t explore a new part of town with your dog anyway. Look at the map of your town (online maps will work just fine) and identify a new neighborhood you haven’t been to. Then load up your car with snacks, a water bottle, some treats, and your dog, and head on over. Seeing new things can be fun for both of you. You’ll probably discover many shops you didn’t even know about. And your dog can sniff to their heart’s content. You’ll probably both get a good night’s sleep after that.

Explore a New Park

Every area of the country has state parks, and most towns have at least one park to frolic in. It’s easy to stick to what you know and visit the same parks over and over again. This may be your chance to do something different. If your dog tolerates car rides, you could even travel a little further and explore a new park outside of your hometown. As long as you schedule frequent stops, a little road trip could be fun, too. If you don’t enjoy hiking or walking too much, you can have a picnic instead.

Teach Your Dog a New Trick

The fun thing about dogs is that they love to please. They’re also very intelligent and quick to learn what’s expected of them. Contrary to popular belief, you can even teach an old dog new tricks. For this, you’ll need a few delicious doggy treats and patience. For most dogs, it’s best to keep the sessions short by working on one trick for a few minutes at a time. You can do this several times throughout the day. It’s great to start out with a command they know, like sit. Here are some fun ideas of what to teach your dog next:
  • Take it
  • Leave it
  • Bring it (leash, toy, slippers)
  • Jump through a hoop
  • High five or shake paws
  • Speak
  • Spin
  • Open and shut the door
You may think of many other fun tricks to teach your dog instead or in addition to these ones. You’d be surprised as to how much fun this will be, especially when your dog is getting things for you so you don’t have to get up.