Congratulations to the winner of last week's "Tricks and Treats" drawing. Laura Y will receive a $40 Gift Certificate to spend at any Pet Stuff location in Chicago! Thanks to everyone who showed some love :-)
This week's "Tricks and Treats" is dedicated to National Pet Dental Health Month. If you've never brushed your dog's teeth, then you have to watch the great video from Howcast so you can learn how to help take care of your dog's teeth and gums.
To be entered in this week's drawing for a "Treat", respond to the poll "How often do you brush your dog's teeth?".
Respond via Facebook here
Respond via Twitter here and Retweet the poll including #GetPet
I've been talking with my friends for several weeks now about the need for a website that allows you to set a recurring order for dog food delivery since I somehow always seem to end up running out of Gatsby's food.
Boy oh boy was I excited to find PetFlow today! It's a website that allows you to order dog treats, dog food, cat food and other supplies, and you can setup automatic shipping for recurring orders. Plus if you use discount code "ship49" shipping will be free for life, and the prices are below retail!
This is amazing! Such a great way for me to start off the new year, and I know Gatsby is going to love knowing that his food bin will always be full :-)
There are several opposing schools of thought about whether dogs need a coat, and below is the post I feel sums it all up the best. Although it may seem like common sense, I just need to add one thing: If a dog coat is not water resistant, don't use it when it's snowing. Also, Gatsby's personal choice in coats is Ruff Wear. http://www.ruffwear.com/
Copied from Does My Dog Really Need A Coat? February 24th, 2009 by Dan
While you may think that a dog’s natural fur coat is enough protection against the elements, this isn’t true for every individual canine. While some dogs (Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds, Great Pyrenees, Saint Bernards, etc) have thick fur that is designed to keep them warm in cold temperatures, others would be more comfortable with an extra layer.
So which dogs *do* need coats?:
- Dogs with very short fur (Pit Bulls, Boxers, Dobermans, etc) can all benefit from wearing a coat due to their lack of insulating fur.
* Dogs with little body fat (Greyhounds, Pharaoh Hounds, Italian Greyhounds, etc) that can’t retain heat as well as their stocky canine cousins should wear an additional of insulation in cold or wet weather.
* Toy breeds that can’t retain heat as well as larger dogs and will be more affected by the cold.
* Elderly dogs or those who are suffering from illnesses. Keeping warm puts extra stress on a dog’s system. A coat allows them to preserve their energy.
* Dog’s that are accustom to warmer weather and are then brought to a cold region may need an extra layer as they are not acclimated to the new climate.
* Any dog that is hesitant to go outside in the chilly weather or shows obvious signs of being cold while you’re outside (shivering) will probably be more willing to spend time outdoors if they are wearing a coat.
Keep in mind that if a healthy dog is actively exercising in cold weather that he probably won’t need a coat for his entire time outside. However, if you’re just going for a leisurely walk, a coat will keep your dog more comfortable.
You might be wondering, "What is giardia?" Or maybe you've had the misfortune of watching your dog suffer through vomit and diarrhea caused by this nasty parasite. If you want to get the official scoop on what giardia is all about, I recommend visiting the Center for Disease Control's website at http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/giardia/ It's written in relation to giardia in humans, but it's still a great resource.
The general explanation on the CDC's website is:
Giardiasis is a diarrheal illness caused by a microscopic parasite called Giardia intestinalis (also known as Giardia lamblia or Giardia duodenalis). The parasite is found on surfaces or in soil, food, or water that has been contaminated with feces (poop) from infected humans or animals. People [or dogs] can become infected after accidentally swallowing the Giardia parasite.
Dogs ingest the parasite most commonly from contaminated water or by licking their paws after walking over contaminated surfaces. The biggest symptoms of giardia are:
- Loss of interest in food
- Weight loss
If you suspect your dog could have been exposed to the parasite and he displays these symptoms, please contact your vet immediately.
How can you prevent your dog from contracting giardia?
1. Don't let her drink water from puddles outside. In the winter giardia becomes much more common in cities where it snows. Poop that is left on the ground gets covered by the snow, the snow melts creating a puddle filled with poop, and your dog drinks from it. ICK!
2. Practice good hygiene for your dog. When you return inside, wipe your puppy's paws and backside with wipes right away. If you clean your dog before he has the chance to lick off the bacteria, you can help keep him from ingesting the parasite.
3. Keep in mind that humans can also be infected with giardia. After wiping down your pup, be sure to wash your hands and/or use an antibacterial wipe or lotion.
4. Continue your dog's heartworm preventative year-round (i.e. Interceptor or Heartgard). Although we think of this medicine to be solely intended for heartworms, it actually helps guard against many other parasites. Just because the cold weather scares away the mosquitoes who transmit heartworms, there are still other parasites that survive winter.
Sandra, Sam and I are diligent about keeping the dogs we walk from having an opportunity to explore areas that could be breeding grounds for poop, and we do our best to keep our four-legged clients clean so that they remain healthy. But don't forget to let your dog be a dog! He can't live in a bubble, but you don't have to make it extra simple for him to eat poop and drink from poopy puddles :-)
Please forward this blog to every dog owner you know...giardia is serious and I've found that very few dog owners know about it.
I just got home from Gatsby's last walk of the night, and I realized that he and I walked a total of more than five miles today. That's actually a pretty standard day for the two of us though. Gatsby is now sound asleep on my bed while I type this entry, and I can't help but be proud that he seems to be relaxed after what I think he would agree was a rewarding day of playtime and exercise.
As a dog walker, there are many days I consider slacking on the time I take Gatsby for a walk. Let's face it, if you walked a minimum of six miles with clients each day, would walking another five or more really be at the top of your list? I've tried sending Gatsby to doggie daycare to lighten my walking load, but that seems to stress him out too much. So ultimately I suck it up and make sure that Gatsby gets his exercise each day regardless of how tired I might be because I realize it's good for his body, mind and overall well-being.
On the days I consider skipping some of Gatsby's walk time, I think of something I recently experienced. At my previous apartment I attempted to make it a daily routine to take the stairs to the 22nd floor (my floor) at least once each day. One day I came home with a 7 or 8 pound bag of cat food and decided it was the appropriate time for my 22-story climb. By the time I reached the tenth floor I was already exhausted. What does this have to do with skipping Gatsby's walk time?
I got to thinking after that 22-story climb about how much of a role that additional 7 pounds had on my ability to exert myself, and it made me think about the extra 20 pounds I was carrying around on a daily basis due to my huge appetite for good food. There's nothing wrong with eating, but it needs to be balanced with the right amount of exercise. Then I got to thinking about how 7 pounds is roughly 3.5% of my total body weight...how would that 7 pound bag of cat food relate to an overweight dog? Here's what I concluded:
My 7lb bag of cat food on Gatsby (about 80lbs) would be the equivalent of him gaining only 2.8 pounds. Take that one step further and apply it to the majority of my dog walking clients (average around 20lbs), and my 7lb bag of cat food on a small to medium dog is only 0.7 pounds!!!
Some people may think that skipping their dogs' exercise is not a big deal. I can't stress enough how important it is for your dog to get regular walks and exercise (as well as a reasonable diet), and I'm not talking about the quick run out the front door for a potty break - just because the leash is attached does not make it a walk by default. And as an added bonus, everytime you take your dog for a walk, you're also exercising yourself, and the average one-hour dog walk burns about 250 calories for a normal person (compare that to 80 calories burned while sitting watching tv).
I completely understand how hard it can be to get motivated to take the dog for a walk after a long day at the office...that's exactly why I started Get Pet! I want to make sure that people with more demands on their time than me still have a way for their dogs to get exercise to stay fit, healthy and happy!
Growing up in the country in Pennsylvania gave me tons of experience with animals from a very early age. I later pursued a career in horseback riding and also have experience as a veterinary technician. I have a strong passion for animals and have an uncanny ability to connect with all sorts of furry friends.