GETTING A DOG WALKER?

We love our dogs, so why put unnecessary and unhealthy demands and expectations on them? By that, I mean, forcing them to “hold it in” or “no bathroom break” during the many hours that no one is home to walk them. Please think about it: holding it in for an extended length of time is a demand that we would never force upon or expect of ourselves. Besides the issue of having to “go to the bathroom” while you’re gone, they endure hours of loneliness, boredom, anxiety, fright or may become ill or injured.

I think having someone reliable, trustworthy, knowledgeable, experienced and truly caring, come to your home during the span of time you may be gone, is a wonderful idea, but are they the person I just described?

I never felt confident about calling for a reference. Can you be sure that the name of a former employer, is the actually a former employer and not a relative helping the prospective dog walker to get a job?

I would definitely be home the first few days after hiring a new dog walker, to see how my dog reacts to this person and how this person handles my dog. Following that, I would have a trial week during which time I would have a neighbor check arrival time, departure time and keep an eye on the “walker” during walking time. Nanny cams are your best bet for insuring the safety and well being of your pet. I know someone who was actually home during a first visit by their newly hired dog walker and stayed in a locked bedroom using a baby monitor. If you have an alarm system, using a different code, and depending upon your alarm company, you can get a signal sent to your cell phone to let you know when the walker come and goes. A good test to see how caring the dog walker is, would be to have them come on a day that is expected to be rainy. If the walker asks for a towel to dry your dog, that would be a sign of concern for the dogs well being. The questions that are asked of you about your dog and what you require will give you a good indication as to how experienced and genuinely interested this person is about your dog.

Another good tip is to find out what kind of dogs the potential dog walker has and what veterinarian they use. I would call that veterinarian to get a reference without discussing it at the interview.

If you feel the slightest bit unsure or uncomfortable during the interview or if your dog show signs of mistrust, listen to your instincts.

If you are considering a dog walking company, there are a few things to take into consideration. Yes, the owner may be bonded and insured but how does that help if you are truly worried about your dogs safety and well being? The people that work for these companies make a fraction of what you are paying to the owner. How dedicated to doing a great job are they if they are paid so little that they need to run from job to job to make enough money?

BTW, a dog walker/caregiver who asks if you would like to be sent a text during their visit; to let know that everything is OK, would win points with me.

DOG FOOD RECALL NOTICES

One of my favorite websites is THE DOG FOOD ADVISOR 

www.dogfoodadvisor.com 

There you can find almost every dog food, wet, dry and even raw, listed with a review and nutritional information. They are also rated according to the finding, and list the editors top choices with sensible explanations as to why they were chosen. The site also includes informative dog food related articles. But this is my favorite part; “recall alert notifications” which can save your dog’s life. All you have to do is go to the Dog Food Advisor website, and enter your email to receive automatic recall notifications as soon as a dog food or dog treat is recalled. The recall information is very detailed and will also explain the serious health risks associated with the recall. This information is invaluable if you feed your dog commercial brand dog food or treats.

I have made my feeling about commercial dog food pretty well known over the years. Usually it is the product content that I talk about and the misleading advertising and marketing in reference to the quality and nutritional value allowed to be sold in the USA. I do however, know that the majority of dog parents will choose to feed a commercial food over home cooking and in addition, give there dogs a variety of commercial brand treats.  So, this time I wanted to address the safety of the dog food and treats and not the nutritional value.

We all can relate to the number of recalls of pet food over the past few years. Some commercial dog food manufacturers are actually putting stricter regulations on their production and have check points in place to assure the safety of their pet foods before being shipped to stores. It’s pretty easy to find out which brands can be trusted more than others, based on these regulations. Yet, the recalls still keep popping there toxic heads up over and over, week after week, disclosing brands of dog food contaminated with Salmonella and Listeria.

Not only is the health of your pet at risk but there are health risks involved for anyone handling the food.

 

 



DOGS TOGS

A great percentage of pet parents of small breed dogs, and some large breed dogs as well, have traded in the traditional dog collar for a dog harness. They come in a plethora of styles, materials, colors and designs. A well fitted harness can provide comfort, ease of use, safety and probably a more pleasurable walking experience for all involved.

Your dogs ID tag and Rabies tag can be attached to the harness ring in the same manner as attaching them to a dog collar. However, when the harness shifts to the side, as they usually do when made of multiple straps, the tags may wind up hanging on the side of your dog.

the traditional dog collar for a dog harness. They come in a plethora of styles, materials, colors and designs. A well fitted harness can provide comfort, ease of use, safety and probably a more pleasurable walking experience for all involved.

Your dogs ID tag and Rabies tag can be attached to the harness ring in the same manner as attaching them to a dog collar. However, when the harness shifts to the side, as they usually do when made of multiple straps, the tags may wind up hanging on the side of your dog.

great percentage of pet parents of small breed dogs, and some large breed dogs as well, have traded in the traditional dog collar for a dog harness. They come in a plethora of styles, materials, colors and designs. A well fitted harness can provide comfort, ease of use, safety and probably a more pleasurable walking experience for all involved.

Your dogs ID tag and Rabies tag can be attached to the harness ring in the same manner as attaching them to a dog collar. However, when the harness shifts to the side, as they usually do when made of multiple straps, the tags may wind up hanging on the side of your dog.

A great percentage of pet parents of small breed dogs, and some large breed dogs as well, have traded in the traditional dog collar for a dog harness. They come in a plethora of styles, materials, colors and designs. A well fitted harness can provide comfort, ease of use, safety and probably a more pleasurable walking experience for all involved.

Your dogs ID tag and Rabies tag can be attached to the harness ring in the same manner as attaching them to a dog collar. However, when the harness shifts to the side, as they usually do when made of multiple straps, the tags may wind up hanging on the side of your dog.

Your dogs ID tag and Rabies tag can be attached to the harness ring in the same manner as attaching them to a dog collar. However, when the harness shifts to the side, as they usually do when made of multiple straps, the tags may wind up hanging on the side of your dog.

Though I would give “the dog harness” a thumbs up, my recommendation is to use a light weight, narrow  and soft collar for the purpose of securing your dogs tags, in addition to a harness for walking. Why? Because even though a dog harness has many redeeming qualities, it needs to be removed when not in use. Unlike a dog collar, a harness can become irritating especially where your dog’s front legs and chest meet. Dogs with long hair or thick fur will become extremely matted under the harness if it is not taken off after walking, or at the end of the day, or at the very least, every few days so that you can brush or comb your dog’s hair before putting the harness back on. The harnesses that allows for ease of use are the ones designed to be stepped into, much like a bra, and clip across the dog’s back. Some Velcro first and then clip. The quilted material harnesses are less irritating and less likely to mat your dog’s hair.

Yorkie, Shih Tzu, Maltese, Havanese and similar breeds that are small and long coated seem to all be candidates for matted hair due to harnesses that are not periodically removed.

Miss Lucee is always perfectly groomed and her harness is taken off after every walk. She also wears a small light-weight collar that holds her ID tags.

 

RESCUE ME

Saving a dog’s life may be one of the most rewarding acts of kindness you have or will ever have experienced and will remain in your heart forever. I truly believe that you have to give back something in life for all that you are grateful for getting and what better place to start than adopting a rescue dog.

Here are a few good reasons…
1.       Older/rescue dogs are not as effort intensive as a young puppy. Chances are good that they will already be housebroken; a big issue to think about if you are not able to devote time and energy into proper bathrooming. They also don’t have the same restrictive, schedule requirements as a puppy. Once they have adjusted to their new home, older/rescue dogs will usually sleep through the night and don’t necessarily awake early in the morning.
2.       Not having to cope with the chewing and teething stage of a young puppy may be reason enough to look for an older dog that has been through this phase already. A young puppy requires constant supervision, just like a baby.
3.       Adopting an older dog should guarantee that medical exams, vaccination, de-worming, and neutering or spaying have already been taken care of by a veterinarian.  A health record would be provided by the party from whom you are adopting the dog. However, regular veterinary wellness check-ups should be continued.
4.        An older dog provides immediate companionship. A relationship between you and a puppy will take time to develop, as well as, allowing for the developmental time needed for the puppy to be able to participate in many of the activities you would like to do together.
5.        If the dog you adopt is over a year old, you pretty much know what you are getting as far as looks and size are concerned.

  1. In most situations, a rescue/older dog is “grateful” and eager to please their new family.  Many times when you “save” the life of a dog, a special and stronger than usual bond forms between the two of you.However, there are a few things to be aware of, like:
    1.       The first few day or even weeks with your new older, dog may be just like a person starting a new job or a child starting a new school.   The real personality will shine through after the comfort zone sets in.
    2.       For those of you who rescue a dog that has been abused, God Bless You.  You will have done a more than wonderful thing.  BUT, abused dogs need very special care, love and attention.  Consult a veterinarian and talk to professionals who are skilled in handling abused dogs on a routine basis.  Usually, someone at the rescue foundation will be assigned to work with the dog and will be very helpful in offering valuable information and advice.

Suggestion:  Many rescue organizations have programs for volunteers to walk the dogs.  Become a volunteer. Spend time at the shelter and become familiar with the shelter dogs. I bet you will fall in love with more than one.

Jenna-ralities:  Don’t be put-off by the immediate reaction a dog has to you when released from his/her kennel.  They will usually be over-excited at the thought of getting a family or afraid and seem overly quiet. Take some time and go for a walk with the rescue dog that tugs at your heart. Try to get away from the kennel area where he or she is kept. Many shelters have rooms just for the purpose of getting acquainted. Please, remember that this adoption should be for keeps.
If rescuing an older dog becomes a reality, you need to be prepared for that first night together and the next few days after that–at the very least.  Do not bring home a mature dog and leave for work or go shopping for dog food and supplies.  Have everything you need at home before you arrive home together. The first few hours/days are a big adjustment for both of you, especially for the dog, who is in an unfamiliar environment with a “stranger;” namely you!   Make the first few hours “quiet time” or “getting acquainted time” just like a first date. Take a walk, pet, talk, feed, groom, and play with him or her when the time is appropriate.  Most likely your “new” older/rescue dog will be frightened or apprehensive to say the least.
Remember, not to change the usual food or if you decide to do so, do it a little at a time by adding to your dog’s old food.  Any additional change will manifest itself and make its presence known in behavioral and /or health issues.
A word to the inexperienced:  No matter how well behaved your new dog is during the initial getting to know you period, do not leave your new friend alone to wonder the house and go to sleep.  Love may have already set in but trust is something you both need time to develop.
Please, before you make any decisions, consider taking a visit to one of the your local adoption facilities and take a rescue dog out for a stroll. You might just bring home the best friend you ever had.
So, once again it becomes a matter of the heart.  If you fall in love with a puppy, older dog or rescue dog, I hope you will protect, nurture and love that dog for a lifetime.