August2011

Be Aware of Dognapping

Our blogger Jessica explains why dognappings should be at the forefront of dog owners’ minds.

A recent NPR story is a great reminder to all that we keep our dogs safe and make safety a priority. We see our dogs as members of our families, but others sometimes view them as property with a high resale value. According to the American Kennel Club, dognapping has risen 49% in the United States during 2011. That boggles my mind! Aside from the cruelty of it all, I can’t imagine dogs are easy to traffic (“hey buddy, wanna buy a poodle?”). But if a crook thinks he or she can sell a dog, I guess that’s all the motivation needed. The NPR story is fairly general, but I believe there are two groups of “high-risk” dogs.

Expensive and Popular Breeds:

  • Expensive breeds: People will always pay top dollar for English Bulldogs, French Mastiffs, Great Danes, etc.
  • Trendy/popular breeds: Dalmatians aren’t an unusually expensive breed, but when Disney’s “101 Dalmatians” movie captured audiences, people wanted a Dalmatian of their own. Right now, I think “designer breeds” are tempting targets, including Puggles, Golden Doodles, Cockapoos, Labradoodles. If you throw an “oodle” at the end of the breed name, most likely the dog will sell.

Puppies:

  • Puppies are easier to handle than adult dogs; you would have to be really motivated to steal an unwilling Doberman. Besides, people are more likely to buy puppies than adult dogs, as any rescue organization can tell you.

In addition to dognappings, NPR overlooks an important factor. As dog owners, we have a responsibility to know where our dogs come from. Rescue organizations are fairly safe, but if you get your next dog through a private breeder, make sure it is legitimate. Any “breeder” with just one expensive puppy and no evidence of the parents could be considered suspect. “We just don’t have time for this puppy” is a great cover story for fencing stolen dogs. If possible, try to track down the original breeder to confirm you are NOT getting a stolen dog.

All in all, it is up to us as dog owners and lovers to be aware of dognappings and be sure to do our best to not take part in an illegitimate operation.

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Treat your Feline to Cat Grass

Tired of your cat gnawing at your house plants, vases of flowers and potted herbs? Luckily, there’s an easy solution that doesn’t involve moving every single plant in your home to some hard-to-reach spot to keep your cat away. Just opt for some cat grass.

Imperial Cat’s Easy Oat Grass Kit is the ideal product. Not only will this help salvage your indoor garden, but it’s also beneficial to your feline pal’s health. It’s organic and features oat grass, which adds roughage and chlorophyll to your cat’s diet. This aids in a healthy digestive system while freshening his breath. Plus, it’s easy to grow and maintain.

Having cat grass is an effective way to deal with your cat’s natural urge to chew on plants. He will be preoccupied with the grass, which will divert his attention from your plants. So the moment you notice your cat chewing on plants or flowers, grab him some cat grass. You’ll have healthier plants and a healthier kitty.

The Four Best Places to Pet Your Cat

Looking for ways to relax your feline pal? There’s no better method than petting him. Sure, you probably pet your cat every day, but there are specific areas you can focus on that will maximize his relaxation. So the next time your cat is in need of some friendly strokes, focus on one of these four areas:

1. Behind the ears
Nearly all cats love a good ear scratch. When your furry friend crawls into your lap or plops beside you, give the backs of his ears a little love. Use the tips of your fingers and start out with a light, gentle scratch at the base of his ears, then adjust to accommodate your cat’s preferences. Some like a firmer scratch while others prefer it lighter. Change your pressure after you notice the way he responds. If he is sitting still, is purring and his eyes look sleepy, he’s clearly enjoying it.

2. Under the chin
Another good spot is under the chin. Take your index finger and repeatedly stroke the bottom of his chin. Most cats enjoy being pet in this spot and will often purr. This is a great place to focus on because you can immediately tell if your cat likes it, since you’ll be able to feel him purr.

3. Between the eyes
An often neglected area is between the eyes. But it should be a go-to spot because most cats adore being pet there. Using one finger, gently stroke from the top of his nose up between his eyes to the top of his face. Do that repeatedly and watch as your kitty’s eyes slowly close in comfort. He’ll likely purr too.

4. Top of the tail
Some cats dislike being pet near their tails, but if you focus on the spot where the top of their tail meets the end of their body, it could turn into one of his favorite places to be scratched. Start by stroking the end of his body near the tail to relax him. Then scratch the very end where the top of his tail is. If your cat likes the way it feels, he will likely purr and stick his bottom up into the air, signifying for you to continue.

Every cat is different of course, so not all of these areas will be a hit. Just try them at various times and pay attention to how your cat reacts. Some cats will love all of these techniques while others will only like one or two. Anything works, as long as your cat is able to relax when you pet him.

How to Train your Dog to Behave with Others

Going on walks with your beloved puppy or dog is an enjoyable and relaxing time for both of you…usually. But what happens when your dog encounters another and they don’t seem to be on the same page? Dog-to-dog aggression is fun for NO ONE involved, especially if one of the dogs winds up injured. Here are some tips and tricks to avoid a brawl:

1. Your dog needs to stay calm, so that means you need to stay calm. If your dog senses that you are tensing up because of an approaching counterpart, they may feel that they have to tense up too. So stay calm to pass on the peaceful vibes to your pup.

2. There are specific collars designed to give your dog a little tug when they misbehave. If your dog acts up when coming in contact with another, this collar could be of great benefit to breaking them of that habit.

(check out properpet.com for a selection of training collars)

3. If a fight does break out, one article suggests not getting between the dogs to try to break them apart. Rather, distract them by making a loud noise. Once they are distracted, separate the two dogs, by nicely commanding your dog to come to you. Once the fight has dissipated, take some time to make sure that your dog is calm before you continue on your walk.

While most of the time, our furry friends are fun-loving, every once in a while they can act out of character in an aggressive manner. While these tips are not fool-proof methods, they offer insight and help on how to avoid a dog brawl.

Choosing the Right Collar for Your Dog

All dogs are different and therefore are probably suited for different types of collars. There are a variety of collars to consider when choosing one for your furry friend. From canvas to cotton to nylon and more, there is definitely a wide selection. In addition to the type of material, design can range from a basic black to a pink studded one. Properpet.com offers a wide selection to keep your dog’s tail wagging.

  • Canvas collars offer durability for wear. So when taking your dog out for walks, jogs and runs, the canvas collar can handle the trek back and forth. 
  • For a more comfortable fit, a cotton collar would be an ideal choice. It provides your dog with comfort while they run around or relax inside. While the collars are wearer-friendly, they also are reliable in their strength.
  • For the fashionista, an ideal dog collar would be one that pops with your pup’s personality. We carry an impressive selection of fashion collars. Some come with fun designs, while others come with jewels.
  • For the more aggressive dog, a head collar offers more control for the owner. A head collar allows gentle pressure without choking or pinching.
  • For a well-made and long-lasting collar, the right choice would be leather. They are durable and provide a comfortable fit.
  • Nylon collars are also created for dogs who like to rough-house (hopefully not too much though). They are strong and made to last long.
  • For your little pups, we carry a selection of puppy collars, designed to fit them appropriately for their smaller size.
  • For the hunting dog, we offer various choices of hunting collars. We even carry safety-colored collars to increase your dog’s visibility on a hunting trip.
  • To help the environment while keeping your dog safe and identifiable, we offer recycled dog collars, available in different sizes, styles and colors.
  • For dogs in training and overcoming behavioral issues, a training collar is a great choice. It provides gentle tugs and restriction without harming your precious pooch.

So whether you have a fashionista in need of a pink-jeweled collar or a hunter, we offer a wide range of choices to suit your dog’s needs and personality. In addition, we have a variety of accessories to choose from.

Top 3 Summer Hazards for Dogs and How You Can Prevent Them

Chances are your pooch loves spending time outdoors in the summer. But as much fun as it is for him to frolic in the warm weather, there are potential dangers to look out for. Below we talk about three common summer hazards for dogs and how you can easily easily prevent them.

1. Ticks: Ticks are nasty little bugs, but they can often carry many microorganisms that could harm your pooch once they latch on to his skin. They are usually plentiful in tall grass and areas with heavy vegetation. Whenever you play with or let your dog outdoors, it can be impossible to prevent him from wandering into tall grass. So make it a habit to check your dog every day for ticks. Even if he hasn’t been outside all day, still check him. You could have missed a tick during yesterday’s inspection. Thoroughly look through all of his fur by running your fingers along his coat. Then inspect the inside and outside of his ears. Don’t forget in and around his eyes. Ticks love burrowing then latching onto these areas. For even more protection, use a tick shampoo during baths along with a tick spray. You can also invest in a flea and tick collar.

If you happen to find a tick, pull it out by its head with tweezers. Don’t just pull the body; it could rip and the head will be left in your dog’s skin, which could cause an infection. Pull slowly so you remove all of the tick at once. Place the tick in a container of alcohol to kill it, then rub disinfectant on the bitten area. Be sure to monitor how your dog behaves after you’ve found and removed a tick. If he seems sick, take him to the vet immediately.

2. Heat exhaustion: Heat exhaustion is serious and can be fatal for your dog if not treated immediately and properly. So if you’re playing with your dog outdoors in the summer, always make sure you have enough water for him to stay hydrated. Carry a portable water dish with you whenever you go on an outing with your pooch. Periodically give your dog some water to lap up. How often you give your dog water depends on how hot and humid it is outdoors, and the type of activity your dog was engaging in. For instance, if you are going to play a leisurely game of fetch in the park for a half hour in the morning, one water break is probably fine. But if you’re doing a half-hour jog in the afternoon, plan on at least three or four water breaks for your dog. Take plenty of breaks in the shade so he can cool off too. Better yet, limit outdoor activities for your pet to the early morning or evening when it’s cooler. Also, pay attention to your pooch’s behavior while he’s active in the heat. If it seems like he’s really struggling, take him indoors immediately and give him plenty of water.

3. People food:  Summer typically means loads of outdoor cooking. Fight the urge to toss your pooch a few morsels when he’s outdoors with you. It seems harmless, but there’s a reason why dogs are supposed to eat dog food and not human food. Sure, your pooch will gladly inhale the scraps you offer him, but it could make him vomit or give him diarrhea. This is especially true with dairy products. Petplace.com cautions that dogs don’t have the enzymes necessary to digest dairy products, which can make them sick. Avoid this headache completely, and stick to only dog food and treats. Also, feed your dog before you cook. If he’s full, he’s more likely to leave you alone. But some dogs don’t let a full stomach deter them from stealing a few bits of table food. If your dog constantly begs for food while you grill, contain him in a separate area or keep him inside until you’re finished cooking and eating.

Keep these hazards in mind as you and your pooch enjoy the rest of the summer. Sure, it’s a hassle to inspect your dog every day for ticks, carry a container of water and listen to his constant whining every time you barbecue. But it’s for the overall health of your dog. Follow these simple tips and your pooch will have a safer summer.