Wednesday, October 17, 2018

9 Ideas for Your Dog’s Next Birthday!

Over the year’s dogs have slowly moved from man’s best friend to being a part of the family, and as such we want to make sure their birthday – or gotcha day – is a special one. From hosting a doggie party to birthday gifts, there’s plenty of fun and easy ways to make your dog’s birthday a memorable one.

After all, why wouldn’t you want to celebrate the pooch that brings you so much joy!

Host a Doggie Birthday Party

If you’re looking for a way to make your dog’s birthday extra special it’s hard to go wrong with hosting a doggie party. Invite some friends and family over, along with their pooches, and get celebrating. You can serve dog friendly cake, give out “doggie bags” filled with treats & goodies, and play some fun doggie games.

If you’re going to be holding your dog party outside remember to make sure that all of the dogs have access to fresh water and shade at all times. 

Let Your Dog Pick Out a Gift

Letting your dog pick their own present is a fun activity and lets your dog get their ultimate toy! Take your dog to a local dog-friendly pet store and have them browse the aisles and pick out their own gift. You’ll know when they have found the ultimate present and as they won’t leave it alone. 

Make a (Dog Friendly) Cake/ Treat

You can show your dog some extra love by making them a special treat. Just like us, our dogs love to indulge in some yummy treats, so what a better day to spoil them than their birthday? Baking your dog some goodies can also be a fun bonding experience for the both of you.

Explore a New Trail with Your Dog

We all know how much our dogs love their daily walk, so why not take their walk to the next level by taking them somewhere brand new. Explore a new hiking trail together or take your dog to a new park. To make it even more fun for them remember to give them some extra time to sniff around and take in all those new and exciting smells. Such a simple idea, yet your pooch will love you for it.

Pamper Your Dog

Another easy way to make your dog’s birthday extra special is by pampering them. Spoil them and give them some extra love and attention on their special day. Cook them a nice homemade meal, take them on an extra-long walk, buy a new toy, give them a relaxing doggie massage, and some nice cuddle time on the couch. Who wouldn’t love this on their Birthday? 

Turn It into a Game Day

What a better way to make your dog’s birthday all about them than having a day full of games? Setting aside some extra time to play some games with your dog throughout the day will truly make the day a special on for them. Dogs love to play, and engaging in some extra games on their birthday is a simple way to ensure it’s a fun day for them. Some crowd favorite doggie games include:

Fetch/Frisbee
Hide & Seek
Tug of War
Food Dispensing Toys
Find the Treats

Set Up a Doggie Playdate

If big birthdays aren’t yours, or your dog’s thing, why not try a one-on-one doggie playdate! Inviting your dog’s best dog friend over for some play time may seem rather simple, but that one-on-one time is really fun (and exhausting) for your dog. Just remember to keep an eye on things, and make sure the dogs have access to fresh water at all times.

Take Your Dog for a Swim

If you know your dogs love to swim, why not make their birthday extra exciting by turning it into a swim day. You can take your dog to the local beach, or search for any dog friendly pools in your area. Just remember to keep an eye on your dog at all times for a fun and safe time. 

Have a Doggie Movie Night

A favorite for most dog owns is celebrating their fur-friends birthday by having simple and relaxing movie night. Put on your pajamas, make some popcorn, and cuddle up with your dog on the couch and watch some movies together.  To make it extra festive, try watching dog related movies!


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

5 Grooming Mistakes You're Probably Making

Tired of attempting to bath your pup who is constantly trying to launch themselves out of the tub? Or wish you could get through one fur-cutting session without a styling mishap? Well, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll be discussing some all-too-common grooming mistakes and how to come out the other side of a grooming session with ease. 

Firstly, just remember bathing your dog, when needed, is an important part of general pet care. The benefits of bathing can include cleaning the skin and coat which helps to remove loose hair, scale and debris and improve their coat’s shine. It can also help keep parasites off your pooch, which is a bonus!




Failing to Train Your Dog

If you want to groom your dog without causing anxiety, injury, or a mess training is an absolute must.  Preferably, you want to start as early in life as possible and work on making sure your dog is comfortable with being touched – as well as getting used to potentially buzzing or noisy grooming equipment. If you aren’t able to start this process when your pooch is still young, the next best time is now. We suggest creating a stress-free environment and giving your dog plenty of praise and rewards while grooming. Make it a positive experience, and be patient. Your dog may be nervous at first, but keep at it. This will reduce the chance of your dog exhibiting anxious behaviour that will make grooming miserable for both of you. 
It is important to note that your dog should also get comfortable with other people touching them, as you may wish to rely on a groomer someday, and you don’t want your dog to be fearful or lash out.




Not Grooming in Winter 

We find that many dog owners worry that cutting their dogs hair in colder months will cause their pooches to be cold – so they abandon grooming altogether. In theory this sounds great but it leads to severe matting before the warmer months even arrive resulting in the short shave you didn’t want in the first place. It’s best to keep up with brushing and bathing, and trimming your dogs coat if it seems necessary. This will help avoid matted, tangled hair while letting your pup’s natural coat keep them warm. 




Forgetting to Brush Before & After Getting Wet

This one is important for all dogs but especially for dogs with long fur, which can easily mat when getting wet. Fur is likely to get tangled when in water, causing the brushing process to become pretty painful if you haven’t already detangled your dog’s mane before hoping in the bath. A quick brush before getting wet will loosen any dead hair tangled in the coat, which can prevent discomfort when you brush or shave your dog later on. 
In addition to brushing before bathing, you want to also brush after the bath too. This will be much easier and painless if you’ve brushed beforehand. Plus, this step is important as the bathing process will likely cause more dead hair to loosen. Just remember that brushing is always a before and after activity.




Being Inconsistent 

Just because right now isn’t the time for a bath, haircut, and full-on grooming session doesn’t mean you can ease up on the basic things like brushing. A lot of dog owners choose to not full-on groom their pooch during certain seasons, or even postpone it until they feel ready to tackle the task of bathing, cutting, brushing etc... However, it’s still important to keep up with the motions of grooming so your dog doesn’t forget what it feels like – you don’t want to break their habit. By giving them a regular brush in between main grooming sessions it will result in less stress when the time finally comes for a full-on groom.




Not Using the Correct Equipment 

The last mistake we often see is not having the right equipment. Although it can often be a bit pricey, it pays to invest in some professional dog grooming clipper, scissors or even brushes. When it comes to dog grooming, there’s no one-size-fits-all. You’ll need to look into what tools are best for your breed and size of dog.  For dogs with curly, or long coats, hair clipping should be a routine part of grooming. This will reduce matting, tangles, and the likelihood of fleas and pests hiding out in their fur. It’s also important to not that different breeds have different grooming standards, so ensure that you are trimming your pooches’ fur correctly for their breed type – we don’t want any styling mishaps!

We hope you’re geared with all you need to take on your next grooming session with you pooch. Be prepared for easier grooming and a more stylish looking fur-friend. 


Thursday, August 23, 2018

Boating with Your Dog – How to Set Sail Safely


Getting ready to hit the water again as spring starts to roll in? Like many dog lovers, you may want to bring your pup along for some boating fun. To help make sure the experience is a positive one, we’ve put together a guide with our top 5 tips for keeping your favourite four-legged friend safe when on a boat. 


Safety Tips 

Train Your Pooch to Respond to Commands  

When bringing a dog on boating trips, it’s important that you are able to control their behaviour whilst on board. This means that they listen, and follow your commands. It’s best to only take well-trained dogs on a boat as a matter of safety. However, if you are short of time to completely train your pooch, ensure they are kept on a leash for their own safety.

Boating Familiarization 

Before heading out on the water, you need to get your dog acclimatised to any sort of boating experience to find out if they really are built for water activities – some dogs just aren’t. Allowing them to get their bearings while docked will reduce any distress caused from not being firmly planted on solid ground. Consider keep your dog’s first boat outing short so they can adjust to the movement. 
Once you know your dog is built for the water it’s almost time to set sail! Before leaving the dock it’s a great idea to let your dog explore the boat and get used to the sound and smell of the engine – then you should be ready to go. 

Invest in A Dog Life Vest

Not all dogs are strong swimmers, so it’s important to have a dog life vest as a safety precaution – especially when there are rough weather conditions or currents. Many life vests have a handle, making it easy for you to lift your dog if needed.  Even if you know your pooch is an avid swimmer we suggest keeping a life vest handy just in case. 

Supervision 

Just because your dog is having a good time, is calm, and a skilful swimmer, that doesn't mean you don't have to keep an eye on them. Boating can present a variety of unforeseen hazards for your dog – from propellers to dangerous chemicals – therefore it’s your job to keep an eye out for them. A leash is a great way to keep your dog supervise and stop them from wondering off. Keep in mind even a strong dog can slide off a boat due to unexpected boat movement.

Don’t Forget About Basic Needs 

If you plan to be out on the water for an extended period of time, make sure you pack all the basic needs for your dog that you would for yourself. Just like us, our dogs get dehydrated, hungry and the need for a bathroom. Ensure you have packed a day bag for your pooch containing things you know they need daily. Also allow for bathroom breaks and make sure your dog is fully hydrated. Furthermore, make sure you pet has access to shade on the boat as due to high temperatures during the summer, dogs are more prone to heatstroke and will need to stay hydrated and cool. 


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Here's Why Cat' Actually Purr

It's easy to assume that cats purr because they're happy, right? After all, when your cat is happily curled up in your lap for some well-deserved scratches and rubs, they're obviously one happy kitty.
However, cats tend to purr for more than just that one reason. If you want to find out more than one reason why you cat is probably purring, keep on reading!
Firstly, we need to know how our cats purr! Research has shown that cats’ muscles move their vocal cords and, as they breathe in and out, air hits the vibrating muscles, which creates the purring sound. Furthermore, cats that purr can’t roar, and cats that roar can’t purr. This is all because of the small bone found inside the vocal cords, which in roaring cats, is flexible unlike purring cats.

Now that we have established how they purr, let’s look at the 4 main reasons why they purr.

Cat 1

Means of Communication between Mother & Newborn

Purring in newborn kittens is vital for survival. Kittens enter the world hearing the soft vibrations of their mum’s purr; and since they are born deaf and blind purring is like a homing device for them. The purrs of their mums guide them towards their mothers for warmth, food and other necessities.

Cat 2

When they want Attention (Or Food)

Cats quickly learn that another benefit of them purring will gain them the attention – or food – they are after. More often than not, cat-parents love to lavish their fur-baby in attention or treats when they hear them purring, therefore cats will purr when they are after something.

FACT: A recent study found that the purr that cats make when they are hungry, or thinking about food, differs from their regular purr.

Cat 3

They’re Happy

Imagine your cat, on their back, eyes half closed, tail mostly still and purring. In that moment it is safe to assume they are happy. Their purr is a big smile. Most people tend to believe that their cat purrs when they are happy, but unless they are showing signs of being content, their purring could be for many other reasons.

Cat 4

When they are Stressed, in Pain or Sick

Even though purring takes energy, many cats purr when they get hurt or are in pain – but why? Research suggests that purring can actually help cats heal faster. The low frequency of purrs causes vibrations throughout their body that can:
  • Heal bones and wounds
  • Build muscle and repair tendons
  • Ease breathing
  • Lessen pain and swelling
Cat 5

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

5 Reasons Your Dog is Probably Staring at You – Right Now

When your dog wags their tail, you know they’re probably happy or excited and when they spin in a circle by the door, you know they definitely want to go outside. But there’s one age old question we’re all still asking – “why does my dog always stare at me?”
To cut to the point, there are more possible answers than there are dogs on the planet. Depending on the dog and the situation, the same dog might be staring at you for several different reasons! Through this article we give you 5 main reasons your pooch is probably staring at you.  

Love

Just as you might gaze adoringly into the eyes of someone you love, dogs tend to look into our eyes to indicate they like us. Our fur-friends will usually have a soft expression, maybe with slightly squinted eyes. A study into the role of oxytocin production – the “love hormone” – in staring between humans and their dogs found that when dogs and humans spent time staring into each other’s eyes, there was an increased amount of oxytocin released by both humans and pooch. This seems to indicate the interaction of staring increases the feelings of joyful affection between dog and owner.

Confusion

Do you ever talk to yourself while engaging in a task and find that your pup is watching you closely, trying to follow every word? Another reason that dogs stare at us is because they are trying to figure out what we want from them. They don’t want to miss a possible cue or get yelled at for doing something wrong. Plus, sometimes they’re just curious about what we're doing and why we're frantically walking through the house talking to ourselves. 

Desire

Desire can cover a number of reasons why your pup is staring at you, as it’s based entirely on your specific dogs “wants.” These desires can range from “feed me” to “toss the ball” or even to “I need to go for a walk.” Staring while engaging in a specific action, such as rolling onto their back is your dogs way of saying “yes I would like a belly rub now, thanks.”
Context always matters and, in some cases, can help you determine why your dogs is staring. If you’re seated down for dinner and notice your dog positioned near your feet staring, the answer is pretty clear, they want your food. Or you notice your dog, leash in mouth, eyeing you down from across the room – it’s safe to say they are well and truly ready for a walk.

Guilt / Shame

Another reason why dogs stare is one that is probably quite familiar to all dog owners. You walk into a room and catch your dog hunched over, staring at you wide eyed with a torn-up pillow scattered behind them. There are as many variations of this type of ‘activity’ as there are dogs. Whether they’re uprooting your flower bed or digging through the trash – you’ve just received a stare of unmistakable guilt or shame. When caught mid-mistake or in the aftermath, dogs tend to stare at their owns shame-filled, in hopes that they can get out of being disciplined. 

Direction

The final reason we’ve narrowed your pups staring to is that they want you to tell them what to do. In some ways, this relates to confusion, but it’s not as straightforward as them attempt to figure out what’s going on. When your pooch stares for direction, it’s often because they are in the middle of training or other kinds of activities and want to know what to do next. Dogs look to their owners for guidance so you will often find your pup staring at your for their next move. 

The next time you notice your dog staring you down from across the room, pay attention to the context and you might notice that they’re trying to communicate something specific.


Tuesday, July 3, 2018

8 Helpful Training Tips from Our Vet

Do you love your fur-friend but can often find they can be a bit of a pain in the neck?  These tips can help turn your troublesome pet into the best dog ever, saving you that pain.

1. Decide on Your House Rules

Before bringing your fur-friend home, you need to decide what they can and can't do. Are they allowed on the bed or the furniture? Are parts of the house off limits? Will he have they have their own chair at the dining table? If you settle these types of rules early on, you can avoid confusion for both of you – plus you won’t give in so easy to those puppy dog eyes!

2. Take Some Classes

Dog training is not just about training your pup, it can also be about training you.  A number of dog trainers see owners who think they are doing the right thing, or don't realize they are doing the wrong thing. Taking classes will ultimately help both you and your fur-friends and in the long term, be a time of bonding.

3. Reward - Don't Intimidate

At times it seems faster to have strict rules to get rid of bad behavior, but that doesn't help the dog know how to behave in the future and has lots of potentially harmful side effects. Rewarding good behavior encourages more of it, and helps your dog identify what behavior gets them treats.

4. Train with High Value Treats

High value treats are foods your dog craves and, to them, are worth more than any other distractions. Once introduced to these high value foods, you’ll find even your most finicky pooch will start to focus and listen more. It’s important to only train with these special treats as it will keep the excitement and desire of the specific treat.  

5. Start Slowly & Be Patient

We bet you didn't learn appropriate behavior in a week, and your dog won't either -- but you should still be seeing progress each training session. If your dog isn't getting it, lower the degree of difficulty by making the environment less distracting or the exercise easier. One of the biggest mistakes dog owners make is thinking their dog knows more than it does. Start from scratch and then build on previous lessons.

6. Know When to Get Professional Help

Sometimes, you’ve given your best and your dog still won’t listen, this is when you admit defeat and get a professional. If a dog is aggressive, professional help will identify the roots of behavior and get them on the right track. The best places to start looking are local dog trainers or puppy schools within your area.


7. Be Consistent

If you use "off" and your partner uses "down" to persuade your pup off the couch, it's going to eventually confuse everyone including your fur-friend. Figure out short, direct commands and make sure everyone in the family uses them for the same thing. Eventually your dog will catch on to the command, making life easier for everyone.

8. (Most Importantly) Have Fun!

You and your dog should be looking forward to training sessions. It’s good to have the dogs doing a lot of things simultaneously, so they don’t get bored. – Don’t be afraid to mix things up to keep you both engaged.


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

How Having a Dog can Benefit Your Health

Dogs have been long-loved for being mans best friend and now according to recent studies, we’ve just gained another reason to love our fur-friends! It has been suggested that dogs can boost our health in numerous ways – here are 5 ways having a dog can make you happier and healthier!

dog and owner #1

1. Reduced Stress

There’s a reason therapy dogs are so effective: spending just a few minutes with a pet can lower anxiety and blood pressure, and increase levels of serotonin and dopamine, two neurochemicals that play big roles in calmness and well-being. People performing stressful tasks do better when there’s a dog around, too.

dog and owner #2

2. Companionship

We can feel incredibly strong emotional ties to our pets; they are our friends; our confidantes and they never judge our transgressions. People who find social interaction difficult may build valuable relationships with an animal. Having a dog may provide people with a sense of purpose and security which can be crucial to fighting mental health issues such as depression as well as providing routine.
This kind of interaction is good for all of us and is really powerful for older people experiencing loneliness and other difficulties.

dog and owner #3

3. Increased Social Interaction

Pets create opportunities for better social interaction, especially if you join an animal club or attend pet shows. Going to pet-friendly events, beaches or parks can also help increase your social network. You could make new friends just by taking your dog for a walk or waiting at the vet, due to the shared interest in your pets.
As we age, it becomes harder to get out and meet people – apparently not for dog owners. Researchers have found that about 40 percent of dog owners make friends more easily, possibly because the vast majority speak with other dog owners during walks and park visits.

dog and owner #4

4. Improved Fitness Levels

Health experts recommend that adults get about 2 hours and 30 minutes’ worth of moderate exercise per week. A past study suggests that dog owners are more inclined to spend more time outdoors walking as they enjoy spending time with their dogs. This time spent walking your dog can not only be used to bond with your fur-friend but also improve your fitness and make the most of the outdoors to help you further develop mindfulness and relaxation.
Furthermore, it has been noted that older adults who walked dogs experienced “lower body mass index, fewer activities of daily living limitations, fewer doctor visits, and more frequent moderate and vigorous exercise.”

dog and owner #5

5. Improved Heart Health

Dogs don’t just fill your heart; they actually make it stronger. Studies show that having a canine companion is linked to lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol, and decreased triglyceride levels, which contribute to better overall cardiovascular health and fewer heart attacks. Furthermore, dog owners who do have heart attacks have better survival rates following the events.

dog and owner #6