Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Are Bones Safe for Your Dog?

It’s one of the oldest clich├ęs in the book: Dogs love to chew bones.

You have probably heard through the grape vine that feeding your dog a bone is natural and can help with mouth hygiene. 

In fact, the majority of bones are severely dangerous to your dog and can cause various health problems. 

So, the question here is, should you ban the bone altogether, or can you give your dog a safer option?

dog and bone

The Dangers of Bones for Dogs


The following health problems can be associated with dogs eating bones. These complications can occur in dogs after eating both cooked and raw bones.


Fractured Teeth

Bones are extremely tough and can cause your dog’s teeth to crack and in some cases, can lead to the need for root canals or tooth extractions. 


Oral Injuries

Bones have sharp edges that can cut the insides of your dog’s mouth, including their gums, tongue and other oral mucous membranes. Not only is this very painful for your dog, it can also turn messy. Bone fragments can also get stuck in their mouth and in particular between the molars of the lower jaw.

Airway Obstruction

The entire bone or part of it can become stuck in your dog’s throat and potentially block their airway, causing your dog to choke.

Gastrointestinal Complications


Serious damage can be caused when bones pass through the digestive tract. Pieces of the consumed bone can become lodged in the oesophagus, stomach or intestines and in most cases emergency surgery will need to be performed in order to remove the bone. 

If bone does not get stuck, it can cause irritation while passing through the GI tract and at the very least, diarrhea, vomiting or constipation can occur. 

Life-threating situations can also arise if bone fragments poke through the oesophagus lining, intestines, colon and stomach. 



sad dog

Are Any Kinds of Bones Safe for Dogs?


Your dog may love chewing on bones, however that does not mean they should be allowed to. 

The risks associated with feeding your dog bones applies to bones from all kinds of animals, including if they are raw or cooked.

However, cooked bones are of higher risk, especially those from poultry as they tend to splinter. 

The size of your dog is not a determining factor either; any kind of dog can be affected. However, it is obvious that small dogs eating large bones are at a greater risk.

Although you may have given your dog bones in the past without any problems, it does not mean you will not run into complications the next time. 

Is it really worth the risk?


dog and bone


Bone Alternatives for Dogs


Chewing is instinctively essential for dogs. Therefore, you will need to find a safer alternative that will satisfy your dog’s chewing needs.

No matter what you may choose for your dog to chew on, you should ensure you are always there to supervise.

Specially made dog toys (such as Kong), dental chews and other dog treats (such as Greenies) are great alternatives that will satisfy your dog’s need to chew.

 Be sure to ask your veterinarian for advice on the best options for your dog.


dog and chew toy


Keeping Bones Away from Your Dog


Be cautious when removing bones from left overs.

It’s best to take them directly to your outside bin (provided it’s out of your dog’s reach). 

Put bones in the foods that are toxic for your dog category and never look back.

If you think your dog has bone-related problems, ensure you contact your vet immediately. 

happy dog

Is your cat shunning it's litter box for other places in your home? Find out more.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

How To Stop Your Cat Urinating Outside The Litter Box

It can be very unpleasant, frustrating and upsetting when your cat starts to shun their litter box for other places in your home. 

Cat urine present anywhere in the house can make you feel like you are living in one big litter box. 

Present in a cats’ urine are strong-smelling proteins used to mark their territory with a scent that is almost impossible to get rid of. 

In order to help eliminate the potent urine scent and prevent your cat from continuing to urinate in inappropriate places, consider these four steps.


cat hiding


1. Identify The Reason


The first step to solving your cats’ urinating problem is figuring out the reason why. If your cat is urinating in inappropriate areas of the house, he/she is trying to tell you something.

They could be unhappy with their litter box, anxious or even sick. It may take some time to find the exact reason behind your cats’ behaviour, however once you find it, you can begin to find a solution. Here are three possible reasons behind your cats’ urinating problem:


Medical:

Common health issues could be the cause behind your cats urinating problem. If these symptoms apply to your cat, he/she should be checked by your vet.

Bladder stones or blockage

  • Goes to the litter box often
  • Exhibits any sign of pain or distress (crying or mewing)
  • Abdomen is tender to touch
Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Urinating small amounts often
Feline interstitial cystitis
  • Sudden urination (caused by inflammation of the bladder)


Behavioural:

Behavioural issues could be the reason behind your cats’ urination problem:

Change Of Environment: If you have recently moved house, have new people in your household or have a new pet your cat may be feeling threatened. Changes within your cats’ environment or schedule can have negative effects on its training.


Familiar Areas: If your cat has become used to urinating in a specific spot, he/she will keep returning to that same spot as to them it smells like the right place.


Territory: Make sure to identify if your cat is urinating or spraying. Your cat will want to mark its territory, especially if they are feeling threatened. Neutered and spayed cats are less likely to spray, however they may have a reason for feeling the need to claim or reclaim territory.



The Litter Box:

Before ignoring the obvious and rushing your cat to the vet fearing the worst, consider problems that can occur with your cats’ litter box. Consider these questions as another potential reason behind your cats’ urinating problem.
  • Has their litter box recently been moved?
  • Is the litter dirty?
  • Are there enough boxes to serve all cats in your household?
  • Is something preventing your cat to access their litter box?
  • Is the litter box placed in a cramped area? Could they have reason to fear becoming trapped or not being able to easily escape?
  • Is the litter box located in a spot that offers them privacy?
  • Does the box have a hood or sides that are too high?
  • Has your cat ever been interrupted or upset while using their litter box? 


outside cat



2. Clean Up The Mess


If your cat has been urinating where it shouldn’t, all traces of the smell need to be removed. If the urine is not successfully cleaned up, your cat will continue to return to its preferred area as he/she can pick up the scent. 

Incorrect cleaning can sometimes wet the crystallized proteins and reactivate the odour. Even if you can’t smell it, your cat can! Here are some tips for cleaning the mess:
  • Clean the urine as soon as possible
  • Use paper towels
  • Use a disinfectant and odour neutraliser
  • Avoid ammonia-based disinfectants (cats will think its urine)
  • Cleaning sprays with orange oil ingredients
  • Citrus! Cats hate the smell of it.
  • Use a black light to see if cat urine is still present
  • Place your cats’ food or water bowl in the area (they won’t pee where they eat!)
  • Place aluminium foil on the area (they hate the sound and texture of it)
Here are three great cat cleaner/repellent recipes you can make at home.


cat on the floor


3. Consider Adding, Moving, Changing The Litter Box


The Location 

Ensure your cats’ litter box is located in an area they can easily access which still provides them with some sort of privacy. Try moving the box to their preferred location and slowly moving it back to where it should be or move it to several different areas until it becomes comfortable with one.


Add an Addition

The general rule of thumb is one litter box per cat, plus one extra. Ensure if you have more than one level in your house to place a box on each floor.



Alternative 

Although an enclosed litter box may suit your decorative standards better, it does not mean it fits with your cats’ toilet standards. Ensure their litter box is not enclosed or has sides that are too high.



Clean Regularly

Dirty litter is one of the first things that will send your cat in the other direction. Cats have a very clean nature and therefore need a clean are to do their business. Ensure you are consistent with cleaning out the box and changing the litter.



Type of Litter

Litter that is heavily perfumed may seem like the best choice, however cats tend to disagree. Studies have revealed that majority of cats prefer a loose, clumping and unscented clay litter containing activated charcoal.


cat in box


4. Love Your Cat No Matter What



  • If you have a new guest in the house (cat, dog, baby, roommate) or other changes, give him/her time to adjust and get used to the change.
  • Moving to a new home is not only a big change in your life, but also your cats’. Your cat will have to adjust to a new territory and maybe a new scent from a former tenant’s pet. You will need to ensure you remove all odours so your cat doesn’t feel the need to mark its territory.
  • Make sure you are giving your cat extra, affection, attention and praise.
  • Reassure him/her that they are loved and an important part of the family.


cat and owner cuddling


What Not To Do:


Training your cat to continue to use their litter box is all about patience, not punishment. Here is what not to do:


  • Rub your cat’s nose in its urine or faeces
  • Yell at your cat or physically drag them to their litter box
  • Place their litter box where they eat and/or drink

Hopefully these tips help with keeping your kitty in its litter box and out of your living room!

Wondering why your dog is channelling their inner cow and eating grass? Here's why. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Take Your Dog To Work Day - 23rd of June 2017

Take Your Dog to Work Day (TYDTWD) will take place all around the world on Friday the 23rd of June 2017.

TYDTWD was created to celebrate the companionship dogs provide and, and just as importantly,- to encourage adoptions from rescue groups and local shelters.

On this special day, employers are asked to open their businesses to pet dogs to promote the benefits of pet ownership and encourage the adoption of animals.

Are you going to participate and take your dog to work on June 23rd? Here's why we think you should.

There are  a number of physical and mental health benefits associated with bringing your canine companion to your work.

Yep, that's right. Both workers and dogs in an office environment can be a very positive experience. However there are a few guidelines that should be followed before allowing your pooch to join you at work.

Here are some tips for the special day, three key benefits taking your dog to work can bring you, as well as how you can work on convincing your boss.



dog and girl at computer


Before Taking Your Dog Work


  • Ensure you check with the entire office that it is appropriate to bring your dog into your workplace and that it will not affect the health and well-being of your fellow co-workers. 

  • Unfortunately, some work environments may not be safe or fitting for dogs. If this is the case you could plan an alternate celebration with your co-workers such as a meet up at the park. 


  • Make sure your dog has been micro chipped, wears an ID tag and is up to date with all needed vaccinations.


  • Your dog should only enter the workplace if they have been well socialised with other dogs and people and do not have aggressive tendencies. 

man holding dog showing girl




    In the Workplace


    • Take your dog’s favourite things with you, including their bed, blanket, toys, food and water. This will help them to feel comfortable in the new environment and preoccupied while you are working. However, keep an eye on their belongings to ensure they don’t become a tripping hazard.

    • Dogs should stay at the work area of their owner, or if needed, another chosen persons’ work area. Depending on the behaviour of the specific dog, they may also need to be tied on a leash to their designated area for the day. This will ensure they can’t go wandering off to possible unsafe or unsuitable areas.

    • When you first arrive at work with your pooch, ensure you allow some time for them to meet and greet with other dogs and your co-workers. 

    • Allow breaks in the day to take your dog to the toilet and on small walks.

    • Be prepared to clean up after your dog. Accidents may occur in new environments due to excitement and from being confused. This can be minimised with frequent toilet breaks; however, accidents may still occur and if they do, ensure you do not punish your pooch.

    • Keep your dog out of kitchen areas. If they do happen to enter the area, have treats on hand and lour them back, rewarding them when they come to you.

    • Reward your dog for their calm behaviour in the office. They will more likely continue to behave if they are rewarded for their behaviour. 


      man and dog at desk


      3 Key Benefits of Taking Your Dog to Work


      1. They can keep you active

      Dogs in the office increase opportunities for exercise, giving dog owners an excuse to get out of the office take a walk. 

      It has been proven by research that remaining seated for long periods of time is bad for your health and can be linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer and even premature death.

      It has been discovered that most adults spend more than seven hours per day sitting or lying. Therefore, taking regular breaks away from your work station is a very important part of your day.

      This is where your dog comes in handy. They are a constant reminder for you to get up, stretch and to take a break from your screen.



      2. They can reduce stress

      If you frequently find yourself in need of a mental breather in the office then you may just need you dog.

      Petting or playing with an animal can boost levels of the stress-reducing hormone (oxytocin) and reduce production of the stress hormone (cortisol).

      A study conducted on workplace health management discovered that access to dogs creates a calming influence and reduces the levels of stress. This included a person having access to their own dog or another person’s dog.



      3. They Can Improve Job Satisfaction

      A study conducted at the Virginian Commonwealth University focused on a manufacturing company that allowed their employees to bring their pets to work. 

      Lead author of the study, Randolph Barker praised dogs for their positive impact on the workplace which they found boosted confidence and the performance of employees.

      He compared the differences of stress between days when a dog was and wasn’t at the workplace, discovering that there was a significant difference with the majority of employees being much more satisfied with their jobs on day dogs were present. 

      Taking your dog into the workplace isn’t just benefiting you – it’s also benefiting your pooch! Their day at work will assist in developing their confidence in public and social interactions and exercise them mentally, which is equal of importance to physical exercise.

      Everyone’s a winner!



      girl and dog at desk



      Convincing the Boss


      If your boss is sitting on the fence about letting you and your employees bring your dogs to work for the day consider sliding these points into conversation.


      • The background and purpose of bring your dog to work day
        Remember that bringing your dog to work day is all for a good cause, promoting the adoption of dogs from shelters and to thank your pooch for their companionship.

      • Benefits of dogs in the workplace
        Dogs in the workplace can bring so many physical and mental benefits to you and employees.

      • Media attention for the company
        Each year, media outlets from across the United States and abroad contact Pet Sitters International, creator of Take Your Dog To Work Day®, to request to be connected with participating businesses. If your company will be allowing dogs at work on Take Your Dog To Work Day (or anytime during Take Your Pet To Work Week™, June 19-23) and you would like the media notified about your participation, complete this form.

      • Let them read this articleThis article contains everything you need to know about bringing your dog to work day and what the point of it is.


        man woman and dog at desk



        So remember to save the date and bring your pooch to work on Friday the 23rd of June!

        Wednesday, May 24, 2017

        Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

        Many dogs love to channel their inner cow and munch away on grass. For some, it may even be a part of their daily routine. They may even be particular about what type of grass they eat.

        Are they hungry? Sick? Is it bad for them? Are they bored? 

        Firstly, don’t fret, you’re not the only one confused or concerned, especially if your pooch is vomiting after munching away at your lawn.

        Fortunately, experts believe it isn’t something you should be worried about. 

        So why do they do it?


        happy dog



        They Are Scavengers


        It is a common misconception that dogs’, like cats are carnivores, when in fact they are omnivores. For thousands of years, dogs have been known as opportunistic scavengers that will consume anything that fulfils their basic dietary requirements. 

        Due to domestication and evolution, the modern-day dog is no longer like their ancestors who would frequently eat the whole of their prey, including the stomach contents of plant-eating animals. 


        Today, dogs seek out plants as an alternative food source with grass being the most common as it is closest at hand. 



        dog running in field



        Needed Nutrients


        Grass has essential nutrients that your dog may be craving, especially if they are being fed a commercial diet. If your dog has increased the amount of grass it eats, they may be lacking in fibre. In this case, you might want to consider introducing cooked vegetables into your dog’s diet. 

        If your dog just enjoys munching on grass here and there, you may want to buy a small grass tray just for them. This will give your dog a safe piece of grass to nibble on, free from possible pesticides. 



        dog lying in grass




        Vomiting After Eating Grass


        If your dog has a gassy or upset stomach it will seek out a natural remedy to cure it, and for them, grass seems to do the trick. When consumed, the grass blades can tickle the throat and stomach lining and in return, this sensation can cause a dog to vomit. This is more likely to happen if the grass is gulped down rather than chewed. If your dog occasionally nibbles on grass with no symptoms then they may just be enjoying it or they may have needed to add a little more fibre to their diet.

        However, if your dog is ingesting large amounts of grass at a time and gulping it down, they may be unwell. 

        If other symptoms occur including, licking its lips, salivating or swallowing a lot, frequent diarrhoea or your dog is vomiting more than once a week you should seek your vet for advice.



        boxer dog in grass


        Did you know the "alpha pack leader behaviour" is actually a myth? Read more here

        Wednesday, May 10, 2017

        Alpha Dog Myth Debunked – Why Your Dog Shouldn’t Be Trained That Way

        Commonly emphasized by celebrity and TV dog trainers, dogs will only respect your authority if they see you as the “alpha” – a fearsome, dominating pack leader. 

        Well, do we have some news for you (and your pup), this so-called “alpha pack leader behaviour” is actually, a myth. 

        Through vigorous research and studies over the years, it has been determined that dogs respond best to positive reinforcement, consistency, and love.

        So how in fact did this all come about? Keep reading to learn how the “alpha dog” was first discovered, plus why this mentality is not the answer for a healthy relationship with your pet.


        Crying Wolf


        An animal behaviourist by the name of Rudolph Schenkel spent much of the mid 90’s studying wolves at the Basel Zoo in Switzerland. Schenkel watched them for days, trying to understand what governed their social interactions.

        He soon published his findings in a paper called ‘Submission: Its Features and Function in the Wolf and Dog’. In it, he wrote about the competition for status within a pack, where a male and female would emerge as “first in the pack”, and defend their social position as pack leaders. And with that, the idea of the alpha wolf was born.



        It was later discovered that his entire paper was based on a faulty premise: the idea that a bunch of unrelated animals brought together in captivity would behave the same way they would in the wild.

        A modern wolf researcher by the name of David Mech quoted, “Such an approach is analogous to trying to draw inferences about human family dynamics by studying humans in refugee camps.” And according to his research, wild wolves actually live in family units that are particularly similar to those of humans. 

        In his findings, he analyzed that parent wolves guide the family’s activities and divide the “chores” between each family member. It’s only when the pups get older, that their social status is based on birth order, with the oldest at the top. 


        3 puppies in a bucket

        What This Means for You and Your Dog


        With the discovery that the so-called “dominance training” is based on a faulty science, leads to the question: Are the alpha roll approaches used by celebrity trainers wrong or ineffective?

        At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal choice and what works best for one pet family, may not for another. 

        However, what can be said is dominance tactics as mild as a quick smack on the flank, to those extreme as forcibly rolling your dog over on their side and pinning them to submit, in a sense really aren’t consistent with those in the wild. 

        Dogs, and cats for the matter, are extremely instinctual creatures and when presented in a situation that they don’t quite understand, can a lot of the time lead to any form of response, positive or negative. 



        So, when seeking a certain behaviour or action, why would it make sense to act in a way that your pet doesn’t understand? And wouldn’t it seem more logical to act in consistency with your pet’s natural instincts and work together as a team? 

        As a matter of fact, most experts in recent times have advised that attaining a healthy relationship with your dog requires a focus on positivity and reinforcement. Or as the American Veterinary Medical Association says, “reinforce the desired behaviours, remove the reinforcer for inappropriate behaviours, and address the emotional state and environmental conditions driving the undesirable behaviour."  

        For example, when training your dog give treats for good behaviour, and pay attention to your own behaviour – when you react to a naughty dog with attention, for instance, you’re inadvertently reinforcing that action. 

        Try work on figuring out how to prevent your dog from being reinforced for the behaviours you don’t want, and reinforce them liberally for the ones you do want. And if you can do this, you’re well on your way to developing a relationship of mutual love, respect, communication, and communion that every pet owner hopes to have with their dog.

        couple with dog


        Want to know how to stop your dog from digging holes in your backyard? Click Here to learn more.

        Wednesday, April 26, 2017

        How To Stop Your Dog From Digging

         If you have a dog, chances are your canine friend has dug more than their fair share of holes in your backyard.

        Dogs dig for many reasons – boredom, hunting, comfort, attention-seeking, and instinct to name a few.

        To an extent, we should just accept that some amount of digging is okay, and is simply part of owning a dog.

        However, to help ensure your dog’s digging doesn’t get out of hand, here are  a few tips to keep your pooch, your yard and you at peace.

        dogs digging

        Diagnose The Problem


        The best way to change your dog’s behaviour is to first get to the source of the problem.

        Some digging can be random and difficult to diagnose, however most of the time there will be discernible reasons for the behaviour. 

        Dogs often dig holes for one or more of the following reasons: entertainment, physical comfort, attention-seeking, escape, or prey-seeking.

        So to help you understand the reason why your dog digs, start off by identifying when, where and why your dog is digging.


        dog sitting in grass

        Give Your Dog More Attention


        Alike children, canines are not all that different when it comes to getting your attention by whatever means necessary.

        Your dog may have learned that digging a hole in your new veggie patch gets attention from you, even if that attention is of the negative variety.

        If you believe this may be the case, ignore your dog after the digging and lavish your dog with attention for good behaviour.

        Additionally, try ensure your dog has plenty of time with you on other occasions. A happy dog won’t need to find attention in all the wrong places.

        Punishing your dog for digging by banishing them from your presence is only likely to exacerbate the bad behaviour.

        You may even consider bringing your dog to work with you, so you can keep an eye on your fur friend – plus pets make work more fun!



        lady kissing dog

        Reduce Your Dog’s Boredom


        Often for no other reason, dogs will dig simply because they are bored.

        Signs that your dog is bored may include; staring at the fence for a long period of time, whining, or engaging in playful or ‘hyperactive’ behaviour, such as, you guessed it, digging holes.

        To help put a stop to your dog’s boredom, try providing entertainment with toys and playtime – try to rotate the toys every so often to keep your dog excited.

        In particular, KONG Dog Toys are designed to keep your dog entertained and chewing for hours, especially when stuffed with treats , or even a spoonful of natural peanut butter.

        Another way to avoid your dog’s boredom is to provide routine and exercise with walks and runs.

        Try walking your dog at least once a day and consider playing games such as fetch along the way. This will really get them tuckered out – a tired dog is not a digging dog.

        And finally, let your dog socialise with other dogs. Take your dog to the local dog park or dog beach and let them sniff, saunter, and socialise to their heart’s content.


        active couple with dog

        Remove Temptations


        The more temptations that your dog has, the harder it is for them to resist digging.

        If you can create a yard that is less tempting to dig holes in, your dog’s behaviour will be much easier to keep under control.

        Below is a list of the most common temptations and how to overcome them.
        • Freshly Tilled Dirt: Dogs enjoy digging in freshly tilled earth, so if you're working in the garden, try remove fresh dirt from your dog’s reach with a fence or covering.
        • Buried Bones: Go out and dig up any bones or other items that your dog has buried. Also try avoid your dog seeing you do this, or it may be seen as part of the fun. Fill the hole back in and add discouragements such as large rocks, citrus peels or chicken wire.
        • Gardening: If you do gardening, don't let your dog see you till or dig in the earth, as this would simply be positive reinforcement. If you can do it, why can’t I?

        dog sniffing

        If you have any other great tips for helping with your dog’s digging, please let us know on our Facebook page or in the comments below. 

        Tuesday, March 21, 2017

        Six Superfood Ingredients for a Healthy Dog

        Superfoods for my dog... but I don't even eat those?!

        As a matter of fact, you actually might.

        Just because we use the word 'superfood' doesn't mean we're talking about expensive, mystical foods from a far away land.

        Superfoods are rather just everyday foods that could already be sitting in your pantry or fridge.

        In fact, there are many superfoods that humans and dogs can share, so it won’t even cost you an extra cent.

        Adding them to your dog's diet can provide a range of health benefits for your fur-friend, plus they taste great too!

        So without further ado, here are our top Six Six Superfood Ingredients for a Healthy Dog.


        Do you have an older dog? Click here for our Essential Guide to Caring for an Old Dog.