Pet Care Tips to Improve Pet Health and Quality of Life

Overnights at the Vet

Posted by Carla (Belmont, NC) on 03/10/2009

I took my dog to the vet and they ended up keeping him overnight so they could keep an eye on him well the vet bill was $500.00 dollars so when I picked him up I asked them does somebody stay here all night long at the vets office they told me NO, not knowing why I was asking they said "why do you ask' so I told them "I don't understand WHY you would keep him overnight and charge me an enormously amount of hard earned money when I know he would of been more comfortable in his own environment.AND it would NOT of cost me ANYTHING.

Replied by Jane
(Seattle, WA)

Thank you for sharing. So often we don't ask those important questions. I wonder - would they have let you take the dog home if you insisted? I think vets are out to make money, no doubt about it. I love the vets that I have gone to over the years in different cities, but they always ALWAYS tried to get me to agree to more procedures or supplements or treatments than what my dogs were there to be treated for. I think they are under pressure to make money from the owners. That's my impression.

Replied by Kevin
(Jim Thorpe, pa)

Carla, Jane, I HEAR YA!

Carla I hate to say it, but $500? You got hosed. I love the part, We want to keep an eye on him, but there were no eyes there!

Carla, been there. At least you're pet walked out alive, mine didn't.

I can tell you a few horror stories. Here's the bottom line. Do research on all the vets in your area and beyond!

Call, ask simple things, like what a regular check-up will cost, what it entails, etc. There are very, very GOOD VETS! There are also very, very, bad vets!

If you go to a dog run or any place where pet folk gather (there's a rail/trail by my house), talk it up. Where do you take you're pet? How is that vet?

It's amazing and scary what you might hear.

Local dog shows are also a great place, this is where I found my Pet's vet. I have to travel apx. 35 miles to get to him, but believe me, it's worth it. He does'nt over charge, does his best to keep you're bill low and really, really goes the extra mile. In fact he knew of a drug store that made liquid compounds for my cat that flat out refused to take pills (Yeah, I went to a dog show to find my cat's vet.).

The vet that was 5 miles away from that drug store didn't know that. That vet was also a mere 3 miles from my house, and THAT vet told I had to find a drug store that did that on my own. He didn't know? Maybe he was getting a good profit from selling pills? But a vet that was 35 miles away knew where I could get liquid compounds made. Catch my drift?

This is 'Just a thought' but if you know of any 'no-kill' shelters in you're area, talk to them. See if there are any vets doing work there, they most likely are giving a big discount to the shelter for their work. Thought being, these guys are not in it just for the money, they are in their profession for the love of it. But again, it's just my thought on that.

They are out there folks, but YOU have to do the research!

Replied by Sheila
(Los Angeles, CA)

Uggh, reading this reminds me how many terrible vets that I've been to over the years. I had a bad experience at one of the top recommended vets in LA a few years ago and it's made me much more cautious. I brought my dog in for an annual checkup and to get booster shots. The technician took him in the back and didn't come back for 15 minutes. I thought it was really weird and started to get angry. When he returned my dog he made up some excuse why he was back there so long. But later at home I saw my dog licking his right leg. When I looked more closely it looked like a puncture mark from a needle! I called the vet and they denied they had done anything to his leg and it must be my imagination. I told one of my friends about it who worked for a rescue organization. She disclosed that this same vet was very unethical... A few years back, her organization brought this same vet their cats and dogs to be immunized and cared for. Turns out he was drawing blood from them to use for transfusions for his surgeries on other cats and dogs! The rescue organization, enraged, called him on it and never brought their rescues back. But the terrible thing is that that I don't think they ever filed anything against this vet. At least now you can report this sort of thing anonymously online at various websites that rate doctors and vets.

I agree, we should all research vets and groomers and dog walkers online before walking in the door.

Replied by Margie
(Manchester, CT)

Hey I completely agree had the same thing happen but worse they needed to send him "out" because he needed more urgent care and 24' monitoring.???what was he getting and I had to pay before I had to pick him up and bring him to another vet and hospital which was sooooo wonderful. 24/7 open can go visit any time day/night don't have to call we usually did to talk to doc and because he was having alot of tests. It's really important and I didn't know this place was in the next town just 10min away. The end wasn't good but they all new him by name and treated him like he alway went there. I knew he was in good hands. I now have my new baby going there and am completely satisfied w/ the care and cost. I loved my old vet but was ignorant to what really goes on there.

Replied by Sarah
(Melbourne, Australia)

Recently I took my dog to the vet with a dislocated shoulder (don't ask) and they wanted to keep her overnight, in a cage, no one there, lights blaring, cats in the same room - without even fixing the shoulder till the next day! (surgery hours). I stood my ground. I took her home on painkillers and mild sedative, made a cubby enclosure, slept on the floor with her so she wouldn't move, and took her back in the morning. I absolutely stand by this decision, even if I had to argue with the vet to achieve it. She would have done herself physical and psychological damage in that cage.

If you have transport and are willing to take care and responsibility, take them home!

Replied by Michelle
(Union City, Tn)

Yes, you have to stand your ground. When my great pyr started having problems.. Throwing up, etc. , I took her to 3 different vets and $1500 later, they still couldn't tell me what was wrong. One vet wanted to keep her on an iv, so I let them keep her one night and she wound up chewing the iv up and pulling it out. Not to mention all the dogs barking there were very nerve wracking. So when I went to check on her, I told them that I wanted to take her outside on a sheet or blanket and keep her hooked up out there. They looked at me like I was crazy and said that nobody ever had that request before... SO we went outside in the sun, laid on a sheet and she got hooked up to her iv.. She was a lot happier - and so was I - that she could be outside in the sun, away from all them barking dogs and with her owner. So no matter how crazy it seems, stand your ground and do what is best for your pet. If it doesn't seem right, it probably isn't. Go with your gut!

Pet Odors

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Posted by Christa (Ft. Campbell, Ky) on 07/02/2009

does anybody know of a natural remedy to get rid of odor in carpet? I have cleaned and cleaned the carpet where my Lab urinated, but the smell remains....uhg.

Replied by Fxbelle
(Bellevue, Washington)

I have always used enzyme cleaner to get the odor of dog out of my carpet. Usually, you can find it at janitorial supply stores in your area.

Replied by Sasha
(Chicago, Il)

i have found that Borax (a natural enzyme) works quite well. mix an appropriate amount with hot water and our on carpet...then if the smell is really strong sprinkle some extra borax right on the stain. allow to sit for some time and ten blot dry with paper towel. it can be found at any grocery store.

Replied by Cindy
(Cleveland, Tn)

This is what I call my "puppy buster" formula when I was training our dogs. Mix equal parts of white vinegar, alcohol, and water in a spray bottle. Spray on the "accident" and blot up. Vinegar takes care of the odor - alcohol takes care of the stain. Works great!!!

Replied by Elizabeth
(Cupar, Scotland)

when my dog was on steroids she pee'd a lot, she couldnt help it but if u take some biological washing powder and a little water and once you have taken up as much of the wet as u can rub in your washing powder leave for a minute or two then with a wash machine soak that up as well till dry, leaves the floor smelling great.

Replied by Flourshoppe
(Houston, Texas, Usa)

I couldn't believe it either but, it does work. My almost 13 year old Cockapoo Miranda, although paper trained, does miss and over time, that specific section I keep her papers in, needs extra cleaning. I first steam clean with regular cleaning solution. I then RINSE several times with just hot water. THEN, I add a solution of Apple Cider Vinegar and go over that area 2 times. Amazing how within a day, there is no sign of urine smell.

Pet Remedies

Posted by Kelly (Cincy, Oh) on 09/25/2009

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE when you share a remedy for pets INCLUDE MEASUREMENTS. It is vital as they cannot speak and rely on us not to unintentionally use incorrect doseages. even natural remedies can be harsh if not administered properly. THANKS.

EC: Great advice, thanks!

Replied by Javagenie
(Central, Vermont, Usa)

In addition to Kelly from Cincy, OH... Really great suggestion. For the people treatments as well. But, also, please include your pets weight or perhaps the breed if you do not know (at least small, medium, large, extra large). Weight is so important. A 10 lb. chijuajua is going to require a lot less than a bull mastif.

Pill Tips: Cream Cheese

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Posted by Sue (Marion, IL) on 06/29/2009

A friend of mine told me of an easy method to get my dog to swallow pills and capsules. Her method is to wrap the pill or capsule in cream cheese. I tried this by first giving my pets a small wad of cream cheese with no pill inside it. They loved it and stood there waiting for more. When I wrapped a pill inside, they took it the same way - EVERY TIME!!! And it never gets stuck in their mouth like the peanut butter. I have three dogs - a tiny toy poodle, a pug/chihuahua mix, and a border collie/lab mix - and it works for all three of them.

Replied by Sandy
(Woodbine, Ga)

IF your doggie doesn't like cream cheese; Take a slice of bread. Spread some peanut butter on it. Put the pill on top and fold the bread in half. This will leave the pill encompassed in peanut butter and bread.

Tear off pieces of this "pill sandwich" and feed your eager poochie. He (she) won't even realize that he has taken a pill! I've used this technique for 35 years on several dogs and it has never failed.

Replied by Javagenie
(Central, Vt)

Good suggestions... However, If your dog is allergic to dairy, tree nuts, wheat, corn, and soy. Don't laugh, I have this special dog. :) You can use mashed potato.... or some other mashed-up vegetable (carots, sweet potato, spinach, green beens). If they aren't going for the bait, add a little sea salt or honey to the outside of the vege ball. Then dab the seasoned portion to their lips and they will lick it. Once they get the taste on their tongue, it usually isn't a problem. Most dogs have a thing for either sweets or salts. The more it sticks to the pill the better. They can't separate it from the pill and naturally just swallow it down.

A very sick dog won't eat and is not motivated by food at all. This is a problem. So, I usually take a small amount of honey or a popsicle... you cant usually use a solid pill for this method. But, it works with crushed pills. Dogs like sweets... even when they are sick! I've even made popsicles in an ice tray to get some fluids and nutrients into a sick dog before. They make them for kids... why not dogs? :)

If you're not sqeemish about RAW meat... any ground meat works very well! If that doesn't work for you, perhaps some nice gooey canned food in a spoon. The key here is to hide the pill good, make sure the food comes off the spoon easily and small enough for them to swallow... If they need to chew it. They will most certainly discover the pill.

This maybe a stretch for others. Because my dog isn't the norm. But, I'll put it out there just in-case it helps someone. I recently found out my dog has a fetish for coconut oil... I mean he goes crazy as soon as he smells it or even sees the jar come out of the cabinet. If I place a pill in a spoon full of oil and he licks it all up... pill in all. He wouldn't dare let a little pill come become between him and his oil. BTW: I believe this oil has also helped with his allergies, skin infection, itching, and he seems like he has more energy now. But, not sure if it was the oil or one of his other 5 supplements/remedies that are finally starting to work coincidentally at the same time. Anyway, 1 Tsp. per meal and a little dab as a treat at night before bed (he weighs about 65 lbs).

We also started feeding the RAW/BARF diet... and nothing is easier than placing a pill in the middle of a peice of raw meat about 1" square. For a medium size dog, it's too small for them to chew and just big enough to hide any size pill. And a dog that is on this diet for awhile who has an apetite... isn't going to pass up a nice peice of meat. It won't take them long on this diet before they have an appetite!

Replied by Fleabag
(Liverpool, Uk)

I learned this trick from a vet when my first dog became a master at locating and discarding pills from food/treats. Take any soft food they like (jam, cream cheese, a small chunk of dog food etc) and bury the pill inside. Then place on the end of your finger and pop onto the back of the dog's tongue, close its mouth and stroke the throat. The whole process can be achieved before the dog even knows what's going on. I've always fed pills this way since and never had any problems, even with my grumpy Collie/Terrier

Protecting Pets From Heat Waves

Posted by Suseeq (Sydney Australia) on 01/14/2014

We are suffering a heat wave in Australia 43c (105f) and my poor pets have been feeling it real bad. So for my bird a king parrot I gave him ice blocks and for my little jack russel, I got a childs football sock and filled it with ice cubes and tied it around his neck and within 15 mins he went from painting excessively to sleeping peacefully I left it there till the ice melted and for the rest of the day he was more relaxed. If you choose to do this, do not leave your pet unsupervised.

Shedding Dogs

Posted by Will (Albany, NY) on 03/07/2009

Long Hair Shedding dogs that knows no boundary: Thanks for your time I am eager for your response! I have two labs retrievers which never fail to share their shedding hair leaving gobs of deposits all over the house. I learned to brush them and manage their shedding hair several times a week but was never able to manage my anxiety of shedding hair on the carpet. I have one rug in the house that they insist on using at will, after always leaving a healthy deposit of hair behind them. So i bought them their own rugs in addition to their own beds to no avail. Is there a harmless substance or remedy that I can apply to my carpet that will discourage them from using it. Thanks again!

Smelly Vacuum Cleaner Solution

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Posted by Bee (Va Beach, VA) on 11/07/2008

We have 2 dogs who shed a lot all throughout the year. Anyone who has dogs that shed know how smelly the vacuum cleaner can get from their fur! Well I finally figured out the perfect remedy. Before I start to vacuum I suck about a few cloves into the vacuum cleaner after crushing them into pieces with my shoe. The air smells like cloves, not smelly dog, for hours afterwards! You don't have add new cloves every time you vacuum, just after you clean out the bag/filter. I can't believe I didn't think of this before. Sigh.

Replied by Jamie
(Lake Worth, Florida)

I put baking soda in a container and punch holes in the lid, so I can shake onto the carpet. I add drops of essential oils in then mix with a fork. You can use what oil you prefer, I use Eucalyptis becasue it repels dust mites. I am highly allergic to dust mites, lucky me. I also like lavender, those two are standard in my carpet mix. The container is reusable, I also sprinkle pet bedding with it. I love em but they can be stinkers.

Stop Lawn Spots

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Posted by Diane (Oliver, Pa) on 04/02/2010

Lawn Tip - Brown Spots?

Does anyone have any suggestions about what I can do concerning brown spots from pets' urine? I thought I read a while back that there is something I can add to the dog's food or water, but I just can't remember what it is. Any help would be appreciated!

Replied by Zenguy
(Salem, Ma)

Buy cheap tomato juice and pour 1/2 cup onto your dogs food at each meal. This worked great for my female lab and she loved it.

Replied by MAGGIE
5 posts

I added water to my female dog's dry food and microwaved it for like 7 or 8 seconds (warm but not too hot) so it would make a tasty broth that she would drink. We did this because we had to pull many teeth out due to her being a puppy mill rescue. Her urine is no longer so strong and so doesn't kill the grass!

Stop Lawn Spots
Posted by Linda (St. Paul, MN) on 02/16/2009

Fix for lawn spots from dog urine:

We were going to be hosting an event at our home in about a month and wanted the yard to look good. Since we adopted a female Boxer (we had a male already) I noticed many yellow patches in the lawn.

My ex-husband told me that he gave his dogs one hotdog (the cheap kind) each day and had no problems with his yard. I am an organic, natural foods type person, so I dismissed this. However, I was getting desperate because no matter how fast I patched the lawn, new spots would appear.

I bought the cheapest hotdogs at the store and the dogs loved them! After one week, there were no more spots!! I kept it up until the event was over and then quit giving them hotdogs. The dogs were disappointed, but I don't think hotdogs are good for them (I would never eat them). But it did work!

EC: Hmmm... could it be the nitrites?

From Wikipedia:

"The basic ingredients in hot dogs are:

* Meat and fat
 * Flavorings, such as salt, garlic, and paprika
 * Preservatives and colorants - typically sodium erythorbate and sodium nitrite

Replied by Pippi_kins
(Myrtle Creek, Oregon)

We had a golden retriever and everytime she peed on the lawn we ended up with yellow spots. A friend told us to pour some tomato juice on her food at each feeding, so we did. She loved it, and no more yellow spots!

Supplements for Dogs/ Cats

Posted by Diane (Lakeland, Florida) on 08/28/2011

Came across this web site and felt it was necessary to pass this along. It lists all the vitamins and minerals that pets need. It explains the symptoms of deficiency and even dosage. It further explains how the supplement heals the body. A must read... and a must article to print and save.

The Ears Tips Gauge Internal Body Temperature

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Posted by Carrie (Riverside, CT) on 04/02/2008

I noticed as my dog has aged (he's now 14) that he gets cold quite easily. That said, I never bath him in the winter months because he has a hard time warming up afterwards and shivers for hours. This winter I realized that a good way to guage his body temperature was by feeling the tips of his ears. When he's internally cold, his ear tips are cold. He will start to shiver if I don't warm them (the ears) up. I can also warm him considerably simply by massaging along his spine, up and down. I also give him a good scratch over his entire body since that too warms him up. His ears get nice and toasty by the time I am finished and he has a satisfied glow!

Treadmill for High Energy Dogs

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Posted by Lynn (San Dimas, California, Us) on 07/16/2011

I need a treadmill for my herding mixed puppy- (she's #20 now). Can you name the best brand and if I use a smaller one (for example one made for #30 lb max and my dog grows beyond to #40)-will the treadmill still work?

Treadmill for High Energy Dogs
Posted by Jonna (Los Angeles) on 05/11/2008

I wrote back in January about taking my new rescue, a bordie collie/chow mix to the dog park. I was inspired to update my post after going to the dog park this afternoon and talking to a woman there who had put her 10 year chow mix to sleep not long ago because she had gotten too aggressive at the dog park (i.e., attacking other dogs). I think it is such a shame that people put their troubled dogs to sleep without exhausting all options first. Well, I too had to stop taking my rescue to the dog park because he too started attacking other dogs - I guess it's the chow in him? In case you were wondering, spraying him with a water bottle stopped working -- he just ran away from me whenever he saw it coming and continued to pounce on other dogs coming through the gate. I tried to put a muzzle on him but he started hyperventilating after about 5 minutes from not being able to hang his mouth open and pant. So I exhausted all my options for dog park, short of electric collar shock, which I refuse to do.

I decided to get him on the treadmill, after watching it on the Dog Whisperer time and time again. For those of you who are thinking about exercising your dogs this way, it's a great idea! I got a used treadmill on Craig's list for $125. Be careful that you do your research about name brands before you buy a used one... a guy on Craig's list tried to sell me a cheapo treadmill for $450 (bought new for the same price) but backed off when I asked him to send me the exact model #.

Anyway, this is how I trained my dog on the treadmill:

I first got him up on the treadmill and rewarded him with a super yummy cookie. I let him do this a few times before actually turning on the machine, that way he associates the treadmill with delicious food. Then I stood above him, with a short leash hooked into his collar and put the machine on the lowest setting. He slid backwards after first, but I pulled him forward by grabbing behind his front legs. I basically guarded him carefully but I didn't want to pull on his neck too much -- I think that's a bad idea overall (to yank on his neck, that is). Slowly I notched up the speed. I gave him a little piece of jerk turkey treat every 2-3 minutes. He got up to a fast trot within the first 3 sessions.

After 3 weeks of me standing over him, guarding him so that he wouldn't slip backwards, I decided that off leash was the way to go. So then I stood in front of the machine with my hand on the dial in case he started going off the back end. He jumped off at first, but got back on at my urging. It took approx 10 minutes to get him trained to trot off leash, much to my amazement. I now do about 10-20 minutes with him every day or two, but I have to watch because if he's on it too long, one of his pads gets raw. If that happens, I give him a day of rest and cut back on the time the next session. I still give him pieces of cookie every few minutes. That's a must!

It's been remarkable because even though he goes on walks every day (2-3 miles), it still wasn't enough exercise. Now he is soooooo much calmer. Had I decided not to keep him and sent him to city shelter, I do think they would have put him to sleep, considering him to be too much of a high maintenance dog for most people. He has turned into the most amazing dog and I am very blessed to have him.

As a final note of warning. I do NOT think it is a good idea to tie your dog up by his neck on the treadmill and leave the room. I also think the strain on their necks from the collar/leash when they get tired and start lagging on the treadmill is a very bad thing. I wish the Dog Whisperer show would really drive this home. We should monitor our dogs on the treadmill every second that they are on it.

My two cents. Hope it's helpful!

Replied by Jonna

Hi! Update to my post about putting my dog on the treadmill. The treadmill works phenomenally well when I need to burn off his excessive energy, however, one caveat that I need to mention again. I have noticed that if he stays on the treadmill longer than say, 10 minutes, he starts chewing the bottom of his front paws incessantly. Not the pads, but the spaces in between the pads (sorry, don't know dog anatomy) and usually one side more than another. I figured out after a month of this that the grooves in the material on the treadmill must be irritating the skin. Too bad they don't design electric treadmills with carpeting for dogs (anyone an entrepreneur out there???!!!)! At one point he was chewing so much on his paws that they were bloody. So for all those who are using the treadmill to exercise their dogs, watch for irritation! I also noticed that if I take him on a super long walk (more than an hour).. he gets home and starts chewing on the paws. Half hour walks are okay though.

I see some posts on this site about dogs chewing their paws and wonder now if irritation from grass or twigs may be one of the causes. It certainly is for my woofie. Hope this helps someone. Thanks for reading.

Replied by Swhit
(Los Angeles)

Jonnna, Border Collies need to be socialized early if not they become skittish and fearful. I believe you mentioned somewhere you got your dog later in life so this can be a problem. They are by nature not protectors even though they were crossbred with the wolf.

Our girl had Parvo when we got her and caused a fear of humans (vets/IV's/death doorstep). We took her to the Zoom Room to get rid of that energy and then tried her with one of their classes (the dogs have rules, 6ft apart) she did ok, not great and also had a barking bout but what we learned was valuable. It really helped a lot. We stayed away from the dog parks (the herding instinct kicks in).

What worked for us was the command "touch it". We practiced by showing her the back of our hand (as if she was going to smell it) and praised her when she touched with her nose. We got stick um's and put one on my leg, gave the command and she would touch it (treat), then gave her other things to "touch it". While walking when passing people we gave the command showing the back of the hand and treat. This kept her attention away from people walking past. She got used to them being there and then were able to take her to more crowded places. At any time we were aware of overwhelm and would quickly divert her attention and lead her to a quiet place for a few minutes then resume back to what we were doing.

Getting off the energy first is the key, then keeping their attention fixed on you with a bag of treats in your pocket but a couple in your hand for an immediate response. After you get her socialized, can do basic commands I suggest taking her for a sheep herding test. It works wonders for them. There are a few places in the LA area.

Understanding the Sounds of Dogs

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Posted by Bee (Philadelphia, PA) on 07/31/2007

I have a tip to go on your quality of life pet page. Years ago I read an interview with Siegfried and Roy and how the tigers communicate by exhaling sharply through their noses. I wondered at the time of the interview whether it was the same with dogs and then promptly forgot about it. Then recently when I was asking my dog if he wanted to go for a walk, I heard him do a quick and almost inaudible exhale through his nose. It was very subtle but there it was. My ears perked up and I started to listen to his sounds more carefully. Ha hah. Well, now I hear him doing it all the time! -- when he walks into a room and sees me there he'll do it, when I ask him if he's hungry he does it. I take him to the dog park in my area and sure enough the other dogs are communicating through their noses to one another and their owners. Dogs really do have a unique system of communicating... subtle and wondrous! Just wanted to share it with all of your dog lovers on the website and Cesar Milan too if he's reading.

Replied by Maria
(San Francisco, CA)

You are completely right! My dogs also do it and, if the idea I'm proposing to them is TOO exciting, then they stamp their paws on the same place, along with the waging tail of course. After 2 years trying to feed them with dry food, which they hate, I also realize that raw food make them happier and healthier. It's been 2 months now since I changed their diet and I can see changes on their energy level and coat as well.

Replied by Alli
(Glasgow Scotland)

Hi there, I just read your message and I noticed this with my little Skye and she's a blether always talking to me and I to her. This is wonderful to actually know for sure that's the way they communicate not only with other dogs but with us, sometimes I will say to her hey less of the back chat haha

Walks, Food, Learning From Your Pets

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Posted by Marguerite (Wrightwood, CA) on 07/03/2007

Hi. We are definitely on the same page re:Canine walks. I have 8 dogs and I hike with them every day. It really is the best part of my day and they are happy, healthy, well-behaved companions to be with because they get this exercise. Another tip I would contribute is feeding your pets as close to what they would eat in the wild as possible. They need all the digestive enzymes and nutrients in raw foods and , and I'm sorry, I do not care what kind of dog food it is, it is just not the same. Have you ever heard of a coyote with cancer or hip dysplasia? My dogs love salads, raw chicken livers, beef marrow bones, etc. My third tip is to learn how to live in the now from your animals. Makes life so much more fun!

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