February2011

Keep your Dog warm during the Winter Months

Irish SetterPetplace.com offers some great tips on how to keep your pets warm during the cold winter months.

While a nice full set of fur provides warmth for our furry friends, dogs also need sweaters and jackets to bundle up and stay comfortable while playing outside, taking walks or lounging around the house. Be sure to check out a variety of sweaters and other clothing options to make sure your furry friend gets the warmth he or she needs.

According to petplace.com “bedding should be at least 3 inches off the cold floor to avoid drafts.”  Sleeping in cold temperatures is not fun and dogs do not enjoy it either, so be sure to provide your dog with a warm and comfortable bed to stay happy and healthy in the cold winter months, especially if they are sleeping on a cold floor. View our wide selection of dog beds.

Petplace.com states “dogs use up more calories in the winter trying to stay warm,” so be sure to keep your pet well fed during the cold winter months.  Check of California’s Natural health bars to keep your dog’s tummy full and happy, while keeping your dog healthy. To keep your dogs full and help provide healthy skin and shiny coats, Yummy Chummies are a great and healthy treat. For organic dog food, Karma’s certified organic dry dog food keeps your dog’s tummy full of great food.

These are a just a few tips to keeping your dog warm during the cold winter months. Petplace.com also encourages special treats and belly rubs because “nothing warms your dog’s heart more than special food and attention, so give him both.”

To Declaw or Not to Declaw

Few topics are as highly charged for cat owners as declawing. Nearly every cat owner has thought about whether to declaw their cat. Before you decide whether declawing is appropriate for you and your pet, it’s important to know exactly what declawing entails, plus the reasons for and against it.

What does declawing entail?

There are two types of declawing techniques. Declawing involves removing the entire claw, which is part of the last bone in the cat’s toe. As pets.webmd.com explains, the most common technique involves removing the claw by cutting through the pad of the paw and the joint between two pieces of bone. Those pieces of bone, ligaments and tendons are are also removed. It’s often equated to cutting off a person’s fingertip to the last joint of the finger, since part of the bones in the paw is removed along with the claw. It typically can take several weeks for cats to fully recover from this procedure, since it can be painful for them to walk on their paws after being declawed.

The other technique is known as cosmetic declawing, which involves removing the claw and only a small piece of bone. The pad of the paw remains intact, unlike the previous method which slices through the pad. Cats tend to recover more quickly from cosmetic declawing, since it is less invasive and doesn’t require removing as much bone in the paw as the more common method. However, cosmetic declawing is more difficult and time consuming to perform, so not as many veterinarians offer to do it.

Why shouldn’
t you declaw your cat?
Many pet owners refuse to declaw their cats because of the pain it causes. There is also the possibility that complications can arise as a result of declawing surgery. According to declawing.com, possible post-declawing complications include infection, damage to the radial nerve, hemorrhaging, bone chips that prevent healing, painful regrowth of deformed claws inside the paw, chronic back and joint pain, and the weakening of muscles in the shoulder, leg and back. Also, many people personally feel that it’s unnatural and unfair to declaw simply to keep their cat from scratching furniture or other objects in their home.

Why should you declaw your cat?
In some cases, it is necessary to declaw in the interest of the cat’s health or the health of its owner. For instance, a cat’s claws may need to be removed because of a tumor. Or some owners may have a compromised immune system, and it would be dangerous if they were exposed to the bacteria on a cat’s claws if they are scratched. Many people argue that if it comes down to getting rid of your cat or declawing it, it’s a better option to declaw so you can keep your pet.

What are some alternatives to declawing?
Ther are several easy and humane alternatives to declawing. If preserving your furniture is your main concern, buy a scratch post. Scratch posts are an excellent way to entice your cat to scratch somewhere other than your furniture. Start training your cat as a kitten to use it so they avoid scratching other things. Adult cats are typically harder to train, so the sooner you start doing this with your kitten, the better and more effective it is.

Check out Proper Pet’s selection of scratch posts.

You can also purchase a nail trimmer or filer. Many pet owners argue that periodically filing or trimming their cats’ claws is more effective and humane than declawing. Plus, you can find many affordable and easy-to-use trimmers and filers. If you are concerned about your cat becoming agitated while you file or trim their nails, there are things you can do to calm them. Approach your cat calmly and pet him, paying special attention to his paws. Be sure to trim/file when your cat is sleepy and relaxed, not when he is playful or agitated. Then give him a couple of treats so he is in a relaxed, happy mood before you trim/file his claws. A useful tip is to only give him treats when you trim/file his claws so he gradually looks forward to your trimming/filing sessions. After you trim/file each claw, pause to pet him or give him a treat. That way he understands this is a calming, positive experience and there’s no reason for him to react negatively. If that method doesn’t work, you can always have someone hold your cat as you trim/file his claws. Remember to trim/file on a regular basis. Trimming and filing consistently will help your cat become accustomed to it, which will put him more at ease.

Check out Proper Pet’s  selection of claw trimmers, filers and treats.

There are multiple alternatives to declawing. Though it is a relatively common process, it’s not necessarily the best choice for your cat. Unless you or your cat have health issues that warrant declawing, there are a number of safer, less expensive and less painful ways to contain your cat’s claws.

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Stop Dog from Barking Excessively

Even the biggest dog lover in the world gets annoyed by non-stop barking. Almost every pet owner knows what it’s like to hear their pooch bark on and on when the phone rings, while on a walk or when someone walks through the front door. But you don’t have to put up with the unwanted noise. If your pup is prone to barking forever, here are a few simple tricks you can employ to reduce unnecessary barking.

Spray Bottle

Fill a spray bottle with water and wait until your dog starts to bark non-stop. Walk up to him and spray him in the face with the water until he stops barking. Usually it only takes one or two squirts until he stops. Walk away without acknowledging him. Spray him again the next time he starts to bark incessantly. It will likely take a few times until your dog learns to stop barking excessively. But if you do this consistently each time he barks, you will notice you have to spray him less frequently until it gets to the point where you rarely hear him bark for no reason. This is an especially effective method if your dog barks every time the doorbell or phone rings.

Spray Collar
If you don’t want to keep after your dog with a spray bottle, opt for a spray collar. They are safe, convenient and easy to use, on top of being very effective. Just fasten the collar around your dog’s neck and each time he barks, the collar will spray him in front of his snout, causing him to stop barking. The spray is harmless so you don’t have to worry about your dog’s health. Plus, the majority of spray collars available work automatically, so you don’t have to keep track of when your dog barks. The collar essentially does all the work for you. A spray collar is a great option for you if you have to leave your dog at home or in your yard for a few hours, and he has a tendency to bark a lot when you are gone. Your neighbors will especially appreciate that they don’t have to listen to an unattended barking dog for hours on end.

Check out Proper Pet’s selection of spray collars.

Leash Tug

Barking also can be a problem during walks with your dog. The barking is usually triggered by other dogs, people walking or cars. The next time you are on a walk with your pooch and he starts to bark, give the leash a quick, firm (but not excessive) and controlled tug. This will redirect his attention and let him know that he should stop barking. Gently yank the leash in this manner each time he barks. If you do it consistently, you will notice that his barking will be less frequent.

Check out Proper Pet’s selection of leashes.

Temporarily Ignore Your Dog
If your dog gets excited and barks when you arrive home, make it a habit not to acknowledge him for several minutes before you pet him. If your dog sees that you are not responding to his barking, he will learn that barking won’t make you come to him, and he will bark less. This is especially effective if you keep your dog blocked off with a gate in a certain area of your house when you are gone. That way he will see you are home but observe that you are not coming to him immediately. After five to ten minutes, approach your dog and pet him. He will learn gradually not to bark so excessively the moment you arrive.

Check out Proper Pet’s selection of dog gates.

One of the most important things to remember as you try to get your dog to bark less is to never yell or scream at him to stop. The Human Society advises against it, stating that when you shout at your dog, it makes it seem like you are barking with him, which will encourage him to bark more. No matter which technique you try, remember to be consistent and patient. Don’t expect an overnight success. It’s your dog’s natural instinct to bark at everything, so it can take several weeks or even a few months to break him of the habit, especially if he has excessively barked for most of his life.

Also be sure to spend enough time with your dog and give him the attention he needs. Walking and playing with your pooch a few times every day allows him to expel energy and bond with you. A dog that is left alone for most of the day will bark out of frustration and loneliness. Making sure he has plenty of interaction with you is the first step to ensuring he won’t bark all the time.

And consistency is a must. Each of these techniques is only effective if you do it repeatedly. The Human Society also suggests that you have everyone in your household partake in the training. No method will work if you only implement it once in a while or if only one person in your family consistently follows through while the rest don’t. Plus, it’s confusing to your dog if you punish him for excessive barking one day and then don’t do anything about it the next. Be consistent and patient, and you will notice a quieter dog and home.

Sweat It Out: Exercise with Your Dog


Exercise is necessary to lead a healthy life—for both you and your dog. We all know we should exercise regularly, just like we should walk and exercise our dogs regularly, but it gets difficult to cram a solid exercise session into an already-hectic day. And admit it: how many times have you forgone a full dog walk and just took your pooch up the block and back instead? But exercise is paramount for you and your pet. According to veterinarypartner.com, regularly exercising your dog improves heart and lung function along with bone and joint health. Luckily, there are a number of easy and fun exercises you can do with your dog. Plus, each of them is a great way to multi-task: you and your dog will be getting a healthy dose of exercise at the same time.

Walking:
One of the best exercises out there—and probably a favorite of your dog’s—is walking. Depending on whether your dog is a puppy or elderly, if he’s high-energy or more laid back, you can adjust the intensity of the walk. For instance, a leisurely walk would be sufficient for an old dog, while a brisker power walk would be more suitable for a younger, more energetic dog. You can tailor the workout to your needs too. For example, if you want to get in a solid work out, walk your dog in a hilly neighborhood or go for a hike at a park will lots of open area and hills. Walking briskly uphill will burn calories and increase your heart rate, and will also be an effective exercise for your dog. If you live in a flat area, you can always just speed walk your usual dog walk route.

Make sure to maintain a steady pace and pay attention to your breathing as you walk. If you’re not breathing hard, you are probably not getting a good work out. Keep a fast enough pace that you feel yourself working to breathe and that you are sweating. Also, keep an eye on your pet to make sure he is keeping up with you at a steady pace. If it seems like you or your dog is struggling, take a break and walk at a normal pace for a few minutes, then return to a speedier walk.

Jogging:
If you prefer jogging, take your dog along for the run. Just make sure that your dog is healthy enough to run for a distance. It’s a very effective exercise for high-energy dogs that tend to yank the leash while you take them for a regular walk. Ease into jogging by starting out with a brisk walk for five minutes. That way you and your dog are warmed up to run. It will also give your dog enough time to relieve himself before you move into a full-on run. Once you start jogging, maintain a steady pace and pay attention to how your dog is reacting. If it seems like he is struggling or excessively panting, switch to walking, then speed up once he has recovered. Dogs will often want to keep up with their owners and won’t slow down even if they need a break, so it’s vital for you to pay attention to how your pet responds to this workout.

You can also do intervals of jogging with walking, and gradually work up to the point where you are jogging during your entire work out. For example, start off with a five-minute walk, then jog for five minutes, then walk for two minutes. Repeat the five-minute jog and two-minute walk three times, then cool down with another five-minute walk. You can adjust the length of time you jog and walk, depending on the fitness level of you and your dog. It’s important to remember to pace yourself and your dog. Don’t force yourself to jog for 30 minutes straight with no breaks if it’s been several months since you have gone for a run. Start by doing jogging/walking intervals to give yourself and your pet enough time to build endurance.

Check out Proper Pet’s selection of leashes for your next dog jog or walk.

Swimming:
When it’s hot outside, cool off while exercising by going for a swim with your dog. It’s the ideal way to work out on a sweltering summer day, especially if you have a pool or can drive to a nearby swimming lake or pond. Plus, your dog will be able to be active without the risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, which can happen if he is out on a hot, humid day and has no way to cool down. Swimming is also great for both you and your dog because being in the water reduces the stress on joints that working out on land can cause.

There are all sorts of water exercises you can do. You can swim laps in the pool as your dog swims after you. If you’re at the lake or pond, have a water race with your dog: start on the shore and sprint into the water, swim into the lake for 30 seconds, swim back to shore, then run back on shore. Repeat this three to five times. Your dog will gladly follow you back and forth as many times as you can manage to race. Just remember to pay attention to how your dog is breathing and swimming. If he seems very tired, take a break in shallow water, or sit on the shore or ledge of the pool for a few minutes until he catches his breath. For added safety, you can even have your dog wear a life vest to help him stay afloat in deeper water.

Check out Proper Pet’s  selection of life vests for dogs.

Fetch:
You can easily liven up a game of fetch so that it becomes a decent workout for you and your pooch. The good thing about fetch is that almost every dog likes to play it, and it’s fun and easy. You can play it at home in your yard, at a park or any open field.

Take your dog’s favorite ball or toy and start to run while holding it for 30 seconds. Your dog will follow you. Once he gets to you, run back and forth in short spurts, like you’re playing keep-away with the ball or toy. Then throw it so your dog can run and fetch it. When he brings it back to you, run away with it again for 30 seconds, and repeat the running/keep-away/throwing. Also be sure to bring a container of water and a dish in case your pooch gets thirsty. Pay attention to when he’s tired so he can take a break and re-hydrate.

Check out Proper Pet’s  selection of balls and fetch toys.

It takes some effort to exercise yourself and your dog, but it’s important for the health of you and your pet. You don’t have to work out hard core every day of the week, but you can commit to at least three to four days each week when you and your pup break a serious sweat. The other days of the week can be less intense dog walks twice a day. If you are unsure about the kind of exercise your dog should be doing, talk to your veterinarian. And no matter which workout you choose, be sure to pay attention to how your dog is handling the exercise. Take frequent breaks if you or your dog need it. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are a risk for both of you, so be sure to monitor how both of you feel as you exercise. If you make the effort to exercise, both you and your pooch will be on your way to a healthier lifestyle in no time.

A Healthy Cat is a Happy Cat

Exercising your feline friend can be a challenge. Most cats aren’t receptive to being put on a leash and taken outside for a walk. But it’s vital to make sure your pet maintains a healthy weight. A few extra pounds on your cat may not seem like a big deal, but according to petfit.com, an extra two pounds on a cat is equal to a person being nearly 18 pounds overweight.

But there are simple things you can do each day to ensure that your cat doesn’t morph into Garfield.

If you live in a multi-level house or apartment, place your pet’s cat food on a different floor from his sleeping area. If you have a one-level home, put your cat’s food and sleeping bed in different rooms. This encourages your cat to walk around multiple times during the day, instead of just lazing around, sleeping and eating from the same spot. Taking those few extra steps going upstairs and downstairs may not seem significant, but it helps keep your cat active and in shape.

It’s also important to set aside some time each day for play time with your cat. It doesn’t have to be a large chunk of time—playing with your cat for around 20 minutes is sufficient. No matter what your cat is doing, whether he is jumping, running, rolling or pouncing, he is burning calories. And there are a ton of fun games you can play. Use a wand- or fishing-type toy with a string on the end to engage your kitty, or use a laser pointer so your cat can chase the moving dot. You can even chase your cat, but some cats get scared being run after, so only play this if your pet enjoys it.

Independent play is also a great way for your cat to exercise. Bouncy balls, feather toys, stuffed mice, even lids from juice or milk jugs are all perfect toys that your cat can play with on his or her own. If you give your cat toys to play with and make the time to consistently play with him or her every day, it won’t be a problem for your cat to stay healthy.

One thing to remember above all is never to overfeed your cat. Cats don’t have the same instinct to portion control their food like humans do, so it’s easy for them to overeat and gain weight. According to catster.com, adult cats should be fed twice a day. How much you should feed your cat depends on whether your cat eats dry or wet food. Feeding your cat ¾ of a cup of dry food for each meal is a good rule of thumb. For wet food, stick to around 3 ounces every meal time.

If your cat happens to be a few pounds overweight, don’t put them on a crash diet. Starving your pet is dangerous and unhealthy. Help your pet get fit by playing with him, limiting the number of times you feed him each day and by only feeding him or her the recommended amount. Making sure that your cat lives a healthy lifestyle helps guarantee that your little pal will be with you for a long time.

Want to find a new exercise toy or healthy food for your cat? Visit properpet.com for a wide selection of fun toys and nutritious food.

Welcome to Proper Pet Care


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Owning a pet is quite a responsibility and there is always more to learn about keeping your furry friend happy and healthy. You’ve come to the right place for learning the ins and outs for taking care of your pet. Here you will find valuable, relevant and interesting information, as well as product suggestions, fun tips and tricks. The information you will find will include diet, training, trivia, health care, toys and more. We at Proper Pet Care are dedicated to animals. If you love animals, join us!

We encourage you to leave your comments, thoughts, suggestions, ideas and questions. We are more than happy to connect and share our love of dogs and cats with you.

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What to Think About Before Getting a Dog

So you’re thinking about getting a dog. Congratulations on being an almost-pet owner! But before you go dog shopping, it’s vital toDaisy think seriously about what you want out of your pet. With the Humane Society of the United States estimating that 6 to 8 million pets enter shelters every year, it’s important to figure out whether you are ready for the responsibility of having a pet. You certainly don’t want to get a dog then realize you can’t take care of it and have to take it a shelter.

Like everything else, budget is a concern. The financial responsibility of having a dog stretches beyond the price you pay for it. You have to think about the kind of food your pet needs, vet appointments and grooming, among other unexpected expenses. Dog food alone can cost nearly a hundred dollars every month, depending on how big your dog is, how much it eats and what food brand you choose to buy. Pets can be expensive and you should only have one if you are ready for the financial commitment of taking care of one.

Figuring out what kind of dog you want is also important money wise. Do you want a pure-bred or a mutt? If you have your heart set on a show-quality pure breed, be ready to shell out a small fortune. Unless you can find some sort of deal, most pure-bred dogs will cost you at least a few hundred dollars. If you’re not ready to spend that much money, visit your local animal shelter. They are guaranteed to have tons of loving dogs looking for nice owners. In many cases, they will be mutts, which are just as wonderful as pure-bred dogs. Plus, you can purchase a shelter dog for a fraction of what it costs to buy from a pet store or breeder. Also remember that you have to pay to spay or neuter your dog and to have the necessary shots.

Do you want a puppy or a full-grown dog? Puppies are tempting to get because they are adorable, but they are also a lot of work. They require tons of attention and you will need to house break them. If you don’t want to put in the time and effort to do that, opt for a full-grown dog. Many shelters have adult dogs that are already housebroken and just need a good home.

Once you decide on how much you are willing to spend and what kind of dog you want, think carefully about how you will be able to accommodate your pet. If you live in a one-bedroom apartment, that’s not enough room to comfortably house a 100-pound pooch. Even if you have always wanted a big dog, it wouldn’t be fair to have one and then leave it cooped up in a small apartment. It would be better to opt for a smaller dog, which will be more comfortable roaming around a small living space. Or you can always wait until you move into a bigger apartment or house before you choose to get a large dog.

Also ask yourself how much time are you willing to devote to your dog. If you think that having a dog is going to be all fun and no work, think again. Being a responsible pet owner involves playing with and walking your dog, in addition to cleaning up after them on a regular basis. Most dogs want attention, so if you’re not willing to give it to them consistently, you are probably not ready to own one. Dogs need regular, consistent exercise, so you should be willing to walk your dog and play with it at least a couple times each day. If you travel a lot, you need to figure out a way to take care of your dog while you are gone. You can always call on kennels, dog-sitters or friends and relatives to watch your pooch, but it can get expensive to pay for their service, especially if you travel regularly or for long periods of time. Figure out if you will be home enough to care for your dog. If you’re too busy right now to have a dog, don’t feel bad. You can always wait until your schedule calms down and you have enough time for a pet.

Have you asked yourself all these questions? Are you certain that you are ready for a dog? Great! Visit properpet.com for all the things your new dog could possibly want and need.

Get Rid of Pet Hair

Tibetan Terrier Puppy 1Every pet owner know what it’s like to be a fur magnet. You pet your dog or cat, and the next thing you know, there’s hair everywhere. Even when you’re not spending quality time with your pets, you still find their hair all over the place–on your clothes, furniture, the bed. You name it, fur has probably been covered in it. And it doesn’t help that it can be difficult to remove. But there are some tricks you can employ using common household items that easily remove pet hair.

The most effective thing you can do is to prevent the accumulation of pet hair in the first place. Make it a habit to brush your cat or dog at least once a day to get rid of any excess fur. The more fur you consistently remove from your pet each time you brush him, the less fur he will have to shed all over your home.

Check out our selection of dog and cat brushes

Remove the pet hair you find on your clothes, carpet and furniture with sticky lint rollers. The super sticky surface easily picks up pet hair, and you can even roll it over your dog’s or cat’s fur after you brush him. If you don’t have one on hand, an effective alternative is to use clear packing tape. Simply wrap it around your hand with the sticky side out, and run it along your clothes, furniture or any surface with hair on it.

If you notice a lot of pet hair on your upholstered furniture, you can use rubber gloves to remove it. Just put on the gloves, dampen them, then run your hands along the surface of the furniture and the pet hair will lift from the surface. If you have silk furniture, use dry rubber gloves instead of wet to avoid damaging the material.

Another way to get rid of pet hair on upholstered furniture and carpet is to use fabric softener. Combine a couple squirts of it with warm water in a spray bottle. Shake vigorously for several seconds to mix it well, then spray it on furniture or carpet. Allow the area to dry completely, then vacuum it. The pet hair should come right off. Dryer sheets can also be used to remove pet hair. Fur sticks to the sheet as you glide it along tables, chairs and other furniture.

It’s also a good idea to purchase a bed for your cat or dog and train them to sit and lay in it. If your pet has a designated spot to sleep and rest, he will be less inclined to sit on the couch or your bed, which will cut down on the amount of fur all over your home.

Check out our selection of cat and dog beds

Employ any or all of these tips, and you will be well on your way to decreasing the amount of fur that ends up all over your home. Will your place ever be completely fur free? Probably not. As long as your pet has fur, you will always have to deal with some amount of pet hair. But these tips help minimize the problem, making it more convenient and easy for you.

Maintaining a Clean Home with Pets

Pets are great company and always bring a smile to your face when you arrive home after a long day of work, and there they are My dog Pippowaiting for you and perhaps some TLC. Pets are a loving addition to any family or household. They can cheer you up after a bad day or accompany you on your morning runs.

What’s not so great? The mess they leave behind. Whether they are an untrained potty puppy, a drooling dog or frenzied feline, pets can cause a messy stress.

Fortunately, properpet.com offers a variety of products to help keep your house intact.

1. Gates and Barriers: Gates and barriers are an effective way to keep certain areas of your house blocked off from your pet(s). If you don’t want your cat or dog in your living room, dining room or any other area of the house, you can block off that area using a gate or barrier. It allows you to maintain pet-free zones, which means clean-free zones–at least clean from any pet hair and urine, or pets knocking off valuables or potted plants.

2. Urine Cleaning Products: So your pet had an accident on the carpet in your living room or on the hardwood floors in the kitchen. What to do? Don’t panic! Check out our line of urine cleaning products that help you clean up any messes and mishaps. Even when you know your dog has had an accident, but you can’t see it or smell it, check out the LED Mini Urine Finder. It helps you locate the mess so you can clean it up before you or someone else accidentally walks on it, dragging it through the whole house. While it is important for your pet to understand that accidents are not a good thing, remember they are sorry and make mistakes–so give them a break!

3. Food Storage: Tired of those floppy food bags always tipping over in your pantry, laundry room or next to the food bowl? Does your pet bite or crawl its way through those easy-to-rip bags to get at food? There’s an easy solution to avoid cleaning up a hundred spilled food pebbles scattered across your floor. Take a look at the selection of food storage containers that stand upright, which effectively help prevent messes.

Where your pet goes, mess follows…

In addition to keeping your home clean, how about your yard, not to mention the neighbor’s yard and your car?

1. For cleaning up your pet’s poop outside, peruse the assortment of Waste Clean up Products. It’s not the most fun job in the world, but somebody has to do it and isn’t your adorable, lovable pet worth the clean-up for all the joy it brings you and your family?

2. To keep your car clean–or as clean as you can keep it with pets–properpet.com offers a selection of Seat Protectors, which helps keep the hair off your seats. One convenient product, the Cargo Comfort Liner, is machine washable for effortless clean-up and features waterproof backing for wet-dog protection.

These are just a few simple and convenient ways to help keep your home and other areas clean from the mess that pets can create.