Being a good pet parent means being a loving, caring pet parent. Some of this advice is basic and obvious, and you will think, “I know that.” Of course, you do, but despite knowing that, working our busy schedules can sometimes force us to not be as reliable as we should be and want to be. So just think of these Jenna-ralities as a Jen-tle reminder.

 Jenna-ralities: Most Helpful Hints

About Water

Ever notice that your dog’s water bowl might have a hint of pink at the bottom? Ever notice the same pink slime around the drain of the bathtub? The “pink” or sometimes “orange” coloration is bacteria that grows in standing water, especially when food, from your dog’s mouth, gets mixed into the bowl of water every time he takes a drink. This bacteria is called Serratia Marcescens and is also found in toilets, showers, and bathtubs. So please remember to keep that water bowl filled with fresh, cool water and clean the water bowl before each time you replace the water.

Please don’t allow your pet to drink from the toilet. It is most definitely filled with germs and can make your dog ill. See “TOILET WATER.”

About Bedding

Your dog’s bed or blanket should be free from dirt, string, and stuffing from old toys, food your dog was hiding for later, and hair or fur. When choosing a bed for your dog, it’s important to get one that can be machine washed and dried or has a removable cover that can be machine washed and dried. Your dog’s bed should be a place that your dog comes to love as a safe location to take a rest or play with a toy. It should also be large enough for your dog to be able to stretch and move freely from side to side.

About Food

 Pet Parents are usually on the lookout for dog food that is free of preservatives but sometimes busy lives lead to being a little careless about closing the open dog food bag. I’ve seen wide, gaping open bags of dog food in dirty garages where it is damp and home to insects and some small wildlife.  Additionally, not sealing the dog food bag prevents the food from staying fresh, especially when there are few or no preservatives added. Some foods are packaged in re-sealable, easy-to-close bags. Good storage containers are a quick fix to ripped bags or bags that just don’t close or seal well enough.

About Feeders

If you use a “ mess proof” dog feeder, you must remove the bowls daily and empty the food and water that has accumulated in the “mess preventing the lower portion of the bowl holder. If you don’t, it will only take a few days to become stagnant and moldy. If you have a dog that is a ravenous drinker or eater, and you allow food and water to accumulate in the bottom under the bowls, your dog will be drinking the stagnant water and eating the moldy food that collected under the bowls, when you take the bowls out to refill or when your dog is either hungry or bored and decides to removes the bowls himself. You might find that your mess-proof feeder is causing more problems than it’s worth.

About Collars, etc.

Collars and harnesses, as well as leashes, are not constructed to last the lifetime of the dog. They get filthy, ratty, and too small because the dog grew or gained weight too big because the collar or harness stretched out or didn’t fit properly in the first place.  A well-fitted collar will allow for two fingers between the collar and the dog’s neck when he is standing.

Tags should be limited in number and attached securely. If you put too many tags on the collar or harness or use a leash with a clip that is too large or heavy for the size of your dog, it will pull the collar down and the leash will continually go under the dog’s front leg.

About Toys, Chews, etc.

Dog toys and chews need to be replaced when they are no longer in good condition. Be sure that stuffed toys are not ripped and losing their stuffing. Some plush toys are stuffed with fibers, plastic sheeting that makes a crinkly noise, crushed water bottles, and squeakers of various sizes and shapes. Any of those things can be a health hazard if swallowed by your dog. The photo on the left is of a squeaker pulled out of a well-known brand toy.  (Manufacturer’s name has been covered)


About Medication

If you need to give your dog a pill, do not put it in the food bowl. Most times the pill will show up on the floor later in the day. Put the pill in a small piece of food or product made especially for helping to make pill-giving a lot easier. Do not use cheese or dairy if you’re giving your dog an antibiotic, as it will interfere with the absorption of the medication. Ask your veterinarian for tips on the safest and easiest way for you to administer medication to your dog.

Never use prescription medication on your dog that was not specifically prescribed for that dog. It can cause severe harm or even death. Every prescription ordered by your veterinarian is specially prescribed just for your dog, according to their age, size, weight, and health concerns.

Remember to never be careless with your household medications as well. Common human medications like those for high blood pressure can be extremely harmful or fatal to a dog.

About Walking in the Heat, Walking in the Cold, Walking in the Rain/Snow

Is the sidewalk or roadway too hot for your dog to walk on?  If you can’t hold your hand flat on the ground for at least 10 seconds, the answer is YES.

Just think of the heat of beach sand beneath your bare feet on very hot days and then you will know just how your dog feels.

Is it cold enough for my dog to need a coat or sweater?  If your dog is a small breed or short-coated breed, you may notice that your dog is shivering outdoors in inclement weather. If your bare hands feel cold, the dog does too. Better to put it on.

If your dog goes for walks in the rain or snow,  gently wipe him or her down with a clean towel once back indoors. Make it a pleasant experience.

About Keeping Supplies Handy

If you have a dog walking service, or even if you don’t, a plastic bin with important supplies should be kept in a designated spot so that they are handy when needed. For example, an umbrella, a towel, paper towels, cleaning supplies for urine or feces accidents, dog sweater/coat, of course, a collar/harness and leash veterinarian information, and other emergency phone numbers.

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