Pet Care Tips to Improve Pet Health and Quality of Life

Hardwood Floors and Steep Stairs
Posted by Earth Clinic (USA)
1 out of 5 stars

Warning

Stairs without carpeting can be especially dangerous too. Canines with hip weakness can and do slip down stairs, causing moderate to severe injury. You might consider buying a strip of thin carpeting, cutting the carpet into pieces, applying a do-it-yourself edging kit, and simply stapling each piece of carpet onto your hardwood stairs. We suggest you also have a stable piece of carpeting at the bottom of a staircase since dogs can just as easily slip at the bottom as the top.

You might also keep this in mind when you are about to move into a new apartment or home. Does the building have steep stairs that the dog will enter and exit from? If so, think of your strategy before you move in. It might not be an issue when your canine friend is young, but it certainly will be as they age.

4th of July and New Year's Eve Fireworks Issue
Posted by Earth Clinic (USA)
1 out of 5 stars

Warning

In the USA, the 4th of July and New Year's Eve are without a doubt the 2 blackest days in a dog's life each year. Emergency Services like 911 and animal shelters dread these two nights (as well as Halloween, when black cats are stolen & sacrificed by cults). We have heard many horror stories of dogs getting terrified by the sound of exploding fireworks, clawing their way out of the yard, only to escape onto a busy street and get hit by a car. Thousands of dogs die needlessly every 4th of July and New Year's Eve. What a tragedy.

If your dog has sound sensitivities (i.e., terrified of thunder), please consider keeping him or her inside once it gets dark on any holiday where there will be exploding fireworks. Do not trust your dog to be okay out in the yard!

Simple Solution for Sensitive Pets: We suggest you close the windows and drown out noises to the outside with loud fans or another kind of white noise. Speaking of white noise, you can buy an excellent cd for $10 on ebay.com called, yep, "White Noise" that will give you over an hour of waterfall-ish sound. Put the CD on "repeat" and you're good to go. While the CD might give you a headache, it is an excellent solution for pets who are terrified of loud and sudden noises. It's a must in our household!

4th of July and New Year's Eve Fireworks Issue
Posted by Karen (Minneapolis, Minnesota) on 04/13/2009
1 out of 5 stars

Warning

Please Please spread the word : Dogs and Fireworks. Please don't bring your dogs around fireworks, dogs love to retrieve. A Friend of mine lost his dog this way, he will never forgive himself. Leave pets home and safe. Tell your friends please. Karen


Night Lights for Aging Dogs
Posted by Christel (cambria, WI, USA) on 04/08/2009
5 out of 5 stars

My dog is nearing 14, and at times he likes to get up, stretch and turn around, but he started wandering if he did that during the night. When I'd turn a light on, he'd come right back and lie down next to the bed or crawl in with me again depending on his mood. I wondered if it was the dark so left a night light on, and yep, that did it for us, too. As our dogs live longer, they will have more cognitive issues just like old humans.


Understanding the Sounds of Dogs
Posted by Maria (San Francisco, CA) on 03/31/2009
5 out of 5 stars

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.


Molasses for Dogs
Posted by Maria (San Francisco, CA) on 03/31/2009

I liked your suggestion. It makes sense to me. Could you tell me how often and how much Molasses had you fed your dogs? Thank you.


Overnights at the Vet
Posted by Sheila (Los Angeles, CA) on 03/18/2009

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.


Overnights at the Vet
Posted by Kevin (Jim Thorpe, pa) on 03/18/2009

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!


Overnights at the Vet
Posted by Jane (Seattle, WA) on 03/10/2009

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.


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.

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!
W-


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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_dog

"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

Cat and Dog Products
Posted by Katie Aymin (San Diego, USA) on 01/11/2009
1 out of 5 stars

Warning

When you ever go to the pet store to get shampoo or something else for your pet, make sure it does not have any chemicals. If you do not know what things are bad that are on the ingredient list most of them are hard to pronounce so if you see something be sure to look in up on the internet or in some books. These chemicals usually do not work or work for only a short time or increase the discomfort of your pet. Also to new pet owners, before you use a remedy always make sure your pet is not allergic to any of the ingredients.

Treadmill for High Energy Dogs
Posted by Jonna (LA, CA, USA) on 11/22/2008

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.


Smelly Vacuum Cleaner Solution
Posted by Jamie (Lake Worth, Florida) on 11/09/2008

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.


Smelly Vacuum Cleaner Solution
Posted by Bee (Va Beach, VA) on 11/07/2008
5 out of 5 stars

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.

How to Hold Down a Cat for Meds
Posted by Margaret (Upper Darby, PA) on 08/24/2008
5 out of 5 stars

RE: Holding down a cat:
An easy, friendly way to hold a cat so that you don't get shredded during care is to toss a quillt over their back, as they are unsuspecting, then wrap them up in your arms and hold them like a baby. you can hold them with one hand and give care with the other. Have all your supplies on a table beforehand, so you can easily grab them with your one hand. Eventually your cat will know that when you do this he/she does not need to be scared. My cat no longer needs to be wrapped up when I cut her nails. She growls quietly, but is never violent.


Treadmill for High Energy Dogs
Posted by Jonna (Los Angeles) on 05/11/2008
5 out of 5 stars

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!

Walks, Food, Learning From Your Pets
Posted by Marguerite (Wrightwood, CA) on 07/03/2007
5 out of 5 stars

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!


Understanding the Sounds of Dogs
Posted by Bee (Philadelphia, PA) on 07/31/2007
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Night Lights for Aging Dogs
Posted by GS (Reston, VA) on 08/22/2007
5 out of 5 stars

A tip for your aging pet section. My 13 year old g. shephard mutt started to lose his eyesight and hearing recently. This in turn caused him to be disoriented at night -- with a hint of dementia! As soon as I got into bed and turned off the light, my dog would get up from his bed (at the base of my bed) and wander around the house looking for me. Well, one night he tripped down the stairs because it was so dark. Enough was enough. The next day I went to Home Depot and purchased 2 nightlights, one for the hallway and one for the bottom of the stairs. Now there is enough light peaking into the bedroom that he no longer gets up disoriented. Hope this helps someone! GS.

P.S. I really liked your comment about the hard wood floors and aging dogs. I totally agree.

Molasses for Dogs
Posted by Archie (West Covina, Cal) on 09/06/2007
5 out of 5 stars

Dogs Sad after Owner Passes are CURED!!! Well for 8 solid months Ive been taking care of 2 older dogs who are deaply saddend by the passing of there owner and very good friend of mine. These 2 did nothing but mope around depressed! They needed something soon before they would die of depression. I found out the Healing power that mollasses has given me and thought ..maybe it could help these 2 dogs.???So, I poured some on there dog food ,and,was amazed they ate it. In less than 1 day these dogs turned had turned completely around!!!They started playing & barking and to this day (2 months later)they are high spirited and ALIVE !!! Im only a Maytag Repairman & I came up with there cure of dog sadness.

Dog Park Tips
Posted by Jonna (Los Angeles) on 01/11/2008
5 out of 5 stars

I recently rescued a young border collie/chow mix and have been taking him to the dog parks every other day along with my other 2 dogs. He was most likely kept in a crate most of his life because he doesn't know how to walk on a leash nor socialize with other dogs. At first he just barked at the other dogs entering the park, but a few weeks ago he started to wait at the gate and literally pounced on dogs entering the park and nip at their ears, causing a complete ruckus! I stopped this aggressive behavior by carrying a spray bottle filled with water set to a thin but powerful stream (like a water gun)... every time I see that obsessed look as a dog is approaching the gate from the parking lot I say "NO, back off" and then spray him water on his face (doesn't hurt, just shocks him). It has also been very helpful when other dogs get into a fight. A few squirts and the dogs break apart. I highly suggest people carry a spray bottle or a water gun with them at the dog park. Just be careful you don't spray other dogs with it unless it's a bad fight you are breaking up -- the owners might get pissed off!


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