Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Are You a Responsible Dog Owner?

There is much more to being a responsible dog owner than just adoring your dog.

Yes, adoring your dog is obviously important, however there is much more to owning a dog than you may think.

Being a dog owner is a very serious commitment that involves several vital duties.
It is crucial that you pledge to be a responsible pet owner before adopting a dog for you and your pup’s sake.

In addition to meeting your dog’s basic needs, the following are some of the most important rules of conscientious dog ownership. 

woman kissing dog

Committing for the Long Haul

Once you get a dog, it’s not just like getting a car loan. If your dog plays up, you can’t just go trade them in. Getting a dog is almost comparable to having a new baby. You are 100% responsible for them for the next 15+ years and if anything happens to your dog, it is your duty to help them. 

It is very unfair and cruel to a dog if you decide one year in that you don’t want him or her anymore. Therefore, you must be in it for the long haul from the start.

lady hugging dog

Making Time for Your Dog

Bonding isn’t something you can do once and assume that it is complete. The bond with your dog is built during the first few weeks to months of ownership. And in order to maintain this bond with your dog, it is a lifelong process. 

Similar to any relationship, there needs to be continuous interaction between both beings to keep a healthy bond. Therefore, you must ensure you have quality bonding time with your dog frequently. 

man with dog outside

Providing Proper Identification

At all times your dog should wear a collar with identification including their name and your contact details such as your address and/or phone number. It is also very important that you register your dog with the council and attach a registration tag to their collar. 

Having proper identification on your dog can help you to easily be reunited with your dog if they become lost rather than letting them go to a homeless shelter. If your dog is not identifiable, there is a possibility that you will never see them again. To be even more safe, consider micro-chipping your dog.

dog with collar and leash on

Getting Your Dog Spayed/Neutered

Unfortunately, millions of pets are euthanized annually due to pet overpopulation.  You may be contributing to this problem if you do not get your dog spayed. In many cases when dogs are not spayed they will mate with other dogs and unwanted breeding can occur.

In addition to this, breeding dogs that are not suitable for it or that are not breed properly can be very dangerous and is illegal if you are not a registered breeder. It is very dangerous for dogs with health problems and/or unknown genetic histories to breed. 

You can help saves lives by getting your pets sterilized - so take this seriously! If, however your dog is suitable for breeding, you must take on the role of a responsible breeder and take the appropriate path to become a registered breeder.

dog with bucket on

Keeping Your Dog Healthy

It is very important to keep your dog healthy, just like you should keep yourself healthy. Ensure you always provide your dog with the appropriate food and portion sizes as well as plenty of fresh water. Your dog should have a place of comfort and shelter and be exercised regularly in order to satisfy their physical and mental well-being. 

It can sometimes be very hard to interpret if your dog is sick or in pain due to them not being able to properly communicate with you. Therefore, it is essential that you take regular visits to your veterinarian as they will be able to help you prevent your dog from health problems and/or detect minor issues before they become severe.

man and woman running with dog

Training Your Dog

Canine etiquette does not only benefit you and your dog, but others too. A well-behaved and properly socialised dog is less likely to upset and/or annoy other pets and people. It makes life a lot easier for you and your dog if they are well trained as dogs with bad behaviour can often create unwanted situations or incidents. 

It is most safe for everyone if your dog is properly trained as you can command them to follow the best behaviour in any given situation. Such as calling them back if they run far way on the beach or making them sit and wait when a new guest arrives in your home.

dog on leash sitting waiting for treat

Respecting Others

Really this is just common sense for the most of us, however there are still some dog owners out there who don’t seem to fully ‘get it’. It is common courtesy that all dog owners should follow by these rules:

1. When outdoors, keep your dog on a leash or within a fenced yard. If you are in an outdoor area where it is safe and legal to let your dog off the leash, you should ensure that you are supervising them at all times. Never let your dog roam the neighbourhood or get out of your sight.

2. Do not leave your dog outdoors if it has excessive barking behaviours. Excessive barking is not only unfair to your dog, it is annoying and disrespectful to neighbours. 

3. Pick up after your dog. No one (including yourself) wants to smell or accidentally step on a “gift” your dog left behind during your afternoon walk. Please pick up after your dog and dispose of it properly. For convenience, attach a small bag dispenser to your dog’s leash.

two dogs on leash

So how do you know if your pet is a little on the heavy side? The following points will help you to assess if your pet is overweight and how you can help them loose or prevent the excess weight. Find out here 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Signs that Your Pet Is Overweight

Currently, one of the top health concerns in pets is obesity.

Obesity in pets can result in serious health effects, such as reducing the lifespan of your dog or cat, even if they are only moderately obese.

Excess body fat can affect multiple areas of the body, including bones, joints, digestive organs and the organs responsible for breathing capacity. 

It is very important to assess and monitor your pets weight for the health and well being of your pet.

Taking a quick assessment of optimal body weight could be the start to lengthening your dog or cat’s life.

So how do you know if your pet is a little on the heavy side? The following points will help you to assess if your pet is overweight and how you can help them loose or prevent the excess weight.  

sad dog lying on floor

Your Pet Has Lost their Figure

When looking at your pet from above, you should be able to see some gentle curves on their back. There should be a gentle dip after their ribs (waist area) with a gradual slope until the base of their tail.

When looking at your pet from the side, the area just before the hind legs should view as though it is “tucked up”. From their ribs to their hind legs it should not appear as a flat line along the base of their belly.

It may be hard to view the shape of your pet if they have a heavy/long haircoat. If this is the case, simply run your hands along the outline of your pet as this should reveal these natural curves.

view of dog from above

You Can No Longer Feel Your Pet’s Ribs

You should be able to easily feel your pet’s ribs by applying gentle pressure with your fingertip. If you are only able to feel cushioned body wall, your pet is probably carrying too much weight.

man holding cat

Your Pet is Food Obsessed

If your pet is constantly on the lookout for food, compared to a pet who is comfortable free feeding, they are more likely to be overweight. If your dog or cat loves to eat however needs to lose some excess weight, it is best to offer them low-calorie food and treats as an alternative. Treats such as raw carrots can be a great alternative if your pet loves a treat.

cat with empty food bowl

Your Pet is Uninterested/Unable to Exercise

A pet that is of optimum body weight and in good health are usually excited to go for a walk or to play with toys and their owner. If a pet is overweight they may have the want to play/exercise to begin with, however will soon begin to pant excessively or take breaks frequently in order to keep up with the physical activity. Carrying extra body weight can also lead to extra pressure on your pet’s joints, heart and lungs making it harder for them to exercise.

Your Pet Suffers More in the Heat

In addition to an overweight pet’s body having to work harder just to move around, overweight pets overheat easily. Fat is a great insulator. This condition is known as heat intolerance, and will put overweight pets at a great risk of getting heat stroke.

cat lying on chair

Support Tools for a Healthier Pet

Before taking action to guide your pet to a healthier lifestyle, it is best to work with your vet to rule out other medical problems that may be causing your pets excessive weight as some diseases may cause your pet to be overweight.

In most cases, obesity is caused due to overfeeding and the intake of high calorie foods as well as not enough exercise. In order to get your dog or cat back on track, it is best to seek your vet for a diet and exercise plan. Every pet is different and therefore require will require different diet and exercise plans to follow.

If you do think your pet is a little on the heavy side, start by trying to exercise them more, however only for short amounts of time. In addition to this, consider alternative foods if your pets current diet includes high calorie foods.

Is your cat trying to tell you something? Find out how to ready your cats body language here.