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How to Improve a Disabled Dog's Quality of Life

Guest Post by Lori Wade

German-shepherd-1077442_1920We all love our dogs, which is what makes it absolutely heartbreaking to see them struggle. There are few things more inherently awful than being forced to see any living creature struggle with pain or disability. That’s especially true for dogs, both because they are so loyal and lovable as well as the fact that they’re so innocent and helpless when it comes to maladies.

Dogs are absolutely heartwarming creatures, and their maladies are thus all the more heartbreaking. You never want that to be the fate of your dog. You want to make sure that they remain in good health and good spirits – even if they are disabled. Thankfully, these tips can help you do just that.

Dog Wheelchairs

From accidents and injuries to the ravages of old age, there are many reasons why your dog may be having trouble walking with comfort – if they can walk at all. If your dog finds themselves in this position or otherwise suffers from mobility issues, it might well be time to look into a dog wheelchair.

Dog wheelchairs are typically easily fitted around the dog’s waist and backside. They enable dogs to wheel themselves around in the event of bad hips or one or more legs not being up to walking. These wheelchairs feature openings at the bottom and back, allowing dogs to “do their business” unimpeded while wearing them.

Dog Ramps

If your dog has a broken leg, hip dysplasia, or any number of other conditions that hurt their hips or legs, it can be incredibly difficult and painful for them to get upstairs. You don’t want that to be a problem, of course. While you can sometimes carry smaller dogs, this can get old fast, won’t always be convenient for either party and isn’t exactly an easy option with larger dogs.

That’s why you’ll want to look into installing a dog ramp instead. As with ramps for human wheelchair users, they enable dogs in wheelchairs to get up to an area that would otherwise be inaccessible to them. They also make it possible to avoid steps.

Ramps can be especially helpful for your outdoor area near the front and backyards. Your dogs may not be able to get up porch steps with ease, so these dog ramps can be essential to get to and from the doors in question as they go into and out of your home.

Addressing Dog Vision Problems

As your dog gets older, it’s possible that they may begin to suffer from vision problems. That’s why you’ll want to make sure that you keep the light on for them, ensuring that areas in which they are staying are bright. You’ll also want to be sure to ask your veterinarian about any potential treatment if these eyesight problems worsen.

Dog Medications

Ask your veterinarian before giving your dog any new medication. There are some medicines on the market, such as phenobarbital, which can treat the same issues in dogs (seizures) as they do in humans. In other cases, there are medicines that are more dog-specific, such as proin, which helps tighten the muscles around a dog’s urinary tract in the case of urinary incontinence.

Whatever the case, you’ll want to be sure that your dog is getting the right medication for them. Some dogs can have allergic reactions to some medicines, some do better with some options than others, and then, of course, you always need to be on the lookout for bad dog medicines which may be harmful. Your vet can be instrumental in determining all of this.

Ensure your dog gets the care they need when they need it most by accommodating their disability - and if you have a furry friend who is advancing in age, make the most of your dog’s golden years.

 Lori Wade is a journalist from Louisville. A content writer who has experience in small editions, Lori is now engaged in news and conceptual articles on the topic of pet care and veterinary. You can find her on  Twitter & LinkedIn or on other social media, where you can read Lori’s useful insights!

Image: Pixabay.com


Walk Your Dog Every Day This Week!

Man-3687274_1920Okay, so as a responsible dog owner, you know you need to walk your dog every day anyway... but please make a special effort to do it this week.

Why? Because this is "National Walk Your Dog Week" (October 1 - 7), celebrated the first week of October since 2010. Here's some information about why it was founded from the week's Facebook page:

"The growing problem of human and canine obesity in America, coupled with the overpopulation of dogs in shelters, has much to do with a lack of exercise. National Walk Your Dog Week is a way to highlight these issues and encourage people to get out with their dog and start getting healthy!

Many dogs in the shelter are there because of destruction issues. Most of these issues relate directly to a lack of exercise. Pent up in a run or crate all day, will only exacerbate your dog's destructive tendencies. Give your dog the exercise that he or she needs - and you'll find that a tired dog...is a good dog!

Autumn is a great time to get out and start walking. You can enjoy the leaves changing color, the crispness in the air and it gives you time to reflect on the year and helps you to make new changes for the coming year...healthy ones!

With the holidays upon you, you can start to create a healthy way to avoid the dreaded weight gain that often comes from too many holiday goodies because you have set a new habit in motion. If you and/or your dog are overweight, walk just 30 minutes a day, three times a week, and you can reduce your weight by 5% and your dog's by 15%. So think about how healthy you and your best friend will be if you walked 5 times a week - or every day! After a solid week of walking, you'll feel so good as you raise the levels of endorphins in your brain, which combats depression and anxiety and you'll notice a change in your dog's behavior as well. If you walk 2-3 times a day for 20-30 minutes each time....you and your dog will feel phenomenal!! If you can run your dog....you'll notice a faster change in his or her behavior."

Image: Pixabay.com


How to Save Money on Dog Ownership

Purse-3548021_1920Owning a dog can be an expensive investment. Although the payoff is priceless, you always want to be mindful of your pet costs. With vet bills, toys, food, treats, and grooming, pet care costs can add up quickly. Most of those expenses are just annually, which does not cover unexpected expenses that can come with a hefty price tag.

According to the ASPCA, owning a dog can cost anywhere from $700 to $1000 on average per year. If you want to reduce your pet care expenses while not sacrificing the quality of your care, consider these thrifty ideas for saving on pet care.

1. Start Grooming at Home

Grooming your pet at home can save you serious coin. Pet grooming can cost a couple of hundreds of dollars a year. Starting to care for your pet’s fur at home will eliminate most of the costs incurred at the groomers. Not to mention that when grooming your pet, you can get a close look for any fleas, flea dirt, or even ticks.

Invest in a Pet Brush

Brushing your pet’s fur can help keep it in good condition and avoid too much shedding. Giving your pet a good brushing will help remove dirt and spread your pet’s natural oils throughout their coat.

Having well-conditioned hair can help prevent future tangles and can actually help keep your pet’s skin clean.

Bathe at Home

If you have a bathtub, then you can reduce pet costs by bathing your pet at home. Bathing your pet at home can help mitigate any skin problems your pet may have. Some pets require baths more regularly than others, so always check to make sure what is best for your furry friend.

Be sure to use a pet-friendly shampoo that is species or breed specific. This will better cater to the needs of your pet.

2. Pet Food Savings

Annually, pet food can cost anywhere between $50 and $400 depending on the kind of pet you have. That makes food one of the most expensive annual expenses when it comes to pet care costs. Cutting down on food costs can save you a sizable chunk.

Watch for Sales

Keeping an eye out for sales and scanning flyers can alert you to many saving opportunities. You can sign up for food manufacturers’ newsletters, which can often give you special offers and coupons. Buying on sale food can help to significantly reduce pet costs.

Buy In Bulk

Buying in bulk usually pays off, regardless of what you are buying. Usually, retailers and manufacturers offer discount or sales to those who buy in bulk. You can also buy in bulk from warehouses as a significantly reduced price. Some experts suggest that buying at larger warehouse retailers can save you as much as 50% on pet food costs. 

If you choose to buy your dog food online, buying the largest bag and multiple bags of quality pet food can come with a discount and free shipping. If you choose to buy in bulk, just make sure that your pet can eat it all before the expiration date!

Make Your Own Food

Making your own food for your pet can pay off in reducing pet costs. You can start by using ingredients you already have in your kitchen to start to make food or treats for your pet. You can find a number of easy pet food recipes online to get you started as a pet chef. Be sure to research any ingredients to make sure that they are safe for your furry friend.

Making your own pet food can be easy and cost-effective. Simple ingredients like vegetables, rice, and tuna can make up a large part of your pet’s diet at little cost to you. Talk about an easy cost-reducing measure.

Take Part In Rewards Programs

Retailers tend to reward loyal customers. Loyalty or rewards programs can give you a sizable discount on food. Just for signing up for a rewards program, you are often given an initial coupon. Each time you buy, you can receive more rewards. When it comes to reducing pet costs, it pays to be loyal!

3. Avoid Vet Expensive Bills

You should take your pet to the vet at least once a year for an annual check-up. But when it comes to unexpected visits, you want to try your best to prevent those pricey vet visits. A large number of expensive vet bills could be avoided by proactive and preventative care of your pet. Here are some tips on how to potentially avoid costly vet bills.

Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

Brushing your pet’s teeth can be a pain, but it is a necessary pain. If you skip brushing your pet’s teeth, they can develop periodontal disease. This disease can cause a number of complications for your pet’s heart, kidneys, and liver. By brushing your pet’s teeth, you can help to prevent future complications.

Use a toothbrush specifically designed for your pet and do not use human toothpaste as it can be toxic to animals. Give your pet a taste of the toothpaste before you start brushing to ease them into teeth brushing. A healthy and clean bite can help save you money in the long run.

Regularly Exercise Your Pet

Your pet needs regular exercise in order to live a healthy and happy life. By providing your pet with sufficient exercise, you can not only help their energy levels, but you can also help prevent future illnesses. Often, pets that are not regularly exercised struggle with being overweight or obese.

Carrying that extra weight will not only be harder on your pet’s joints, but it can also put them at risk for obesity-related complications. Take care of your pet’s body to help prevent heart and lung issues that can come with being overweight. Exercise your pet regularly as a preventative cost-saving measure.

Other Cost-Saving Measures

Consider giving your pet some treats or food that cover as many bases as you can. You can save a pretty penny by covering all of your bases. You can try giving your dog CBD treats like those from FOMO Bones. These tasty treats come packed with high-quality ingredients and CBD, which has been shown to help treat aching joints and anxiety

This article is originally published on FOMO Bones.

Image: Pixabay.com


Is Your Dog Safe in Your Car?

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Cars have become more sophisticated, with many features designed to help keep drivers and passengers safe. But how safe is your dog when you drive in your car? CarRentals.com conducted a survey of drivers who have their dogs with them and discovered some surprising things. For example:

  • 47 percent of pet owners acknowledge it's dangerous to drive with an unrestrained dog in the car -- but they still do it
  • 71 percent of dog owners said they would use pet safety features -- if they were already built in to the car
  • 41 percent of dog owners who drive say their dog climbs into their lap while driving
  • 52 percent of drivers reach back to pet their dog while driving.

These are just some of the statistics -- but they clearly demonstrate that dog owners who drive with their dogs could stand to exercise more caution. Thankfully, CarRentals.com also provides very helpful information about how to drive safely with your dog. They discuss safety restraints, driving tips and what to do in case of an accident. Read their free guide here: https://www.carrentals.com/blog/car-safety-for-dogs/


Pet Ownership for Seniors

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There are lots of seniors in Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina, and for many of them, a pet provides essential companionship. Of course, dogs make great companions -- but it's important for seniors to choose the right type of dog that fits their lifestyle and needs.

The website "A Place for Mom" has published an infographic about pet ownership for seniors. It contains helpful information about pet benefits, choosing the right pet, best dog breeds, and things to consider before adopting a pet. You'll find it here: https://www.aplaceformom.com/resources/pets-for-seniors/#infographic 

In addition, "A Place for Mom" offers a comprehensive guide to pet ownership for seniors that includes a wealth of free information, available here: https://www.aplaceformom.com/resources/pets-for-seniors/


Do You Have a Disaster Plan for Your Dog?

High-water-3063989_1920Hurricanes and floods are a reality of summer and fall in the Carolina mountains. The ASPCA offers some good advice about disaster planning for dog owners:

Ready Your Dog

  • Make sure your dog is wearing ID tags with your most up-to-date contact information.
  • Microchip your dog as a more permanent form of identification—in case collars or tags come off.
  • Train your dog to feel comfortable going into a crate with regular in-crate sessions with treats.
  • Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster. Pets can become disoriented and wander away from home in a crisis.

Prepare Your Home

  • Ideally, you should evacuate with your pet, but if you are unable to do so, a rescue alert sticker placed near your front door will let first responders know that you have a dog inside your home.
  • If sheltering in place, consider these things when choosing your safe room:
    • Be aware of hazards such as windows, flying debris, etc.
    • Utility rooms, bathrooms and unfinished basements may be easier to clean if your pet has an accident.
    • Having a supply of fresh water is particularly important. In areas that may lose electricity, fill up bathtubs and sinks ahead of time to ensure that you have access to water during a power outage or other crises.
    • In the event of flooding, go to the highest location in your home, or a room that has access to counters or high shelves where your animals can take shelter.

Create an Emergency Kit

  • Obtain a crate that comfortably fits your dog, write your dog’s name and your contact information on a piece of duct tape and stick it on the outside of the crate in case you become separated from your dog.
  • Make a portable emergency kit that includes the following:
    • Medical records
    • Water (7 days’ worth of bottled)
    • Water bowls
    • Pet food (3-7 days’ worth of canned food with pop tops or dry food)
    • Pet’s medications
    • Pet first aid kit
    • Dish soap and disinfectant
    • Disposable garbage bags for cleanup
    • Extra collar, harness and leash
    • Flashlight
    • Blanket
    • Recent photos of your dog (hard copy in case your phone dies)
    • Toys

Consider putting the kit inside the crate and storing near an exit.

Image: Pixabay.com


Arthritis in Dogs

Guest Post by Alex Saunders

Belgian-shepherd-dog-435944_1920Affecting more than 20% of all dogs over one year old, arthritis is the most common joint disease in dogs. Much like in humans, arthritis can make life difficult for your dog. Due to the sometimes unbearable joint pain, you may find that your dog is unable to complete simple tasks such as regular walks.

Types of Arthritis

Dogs are affected by multiple types of arthritis, but osteoarthritis is the most common. This is a type of arthritis that affects multiple – or even all – of the joints in the body, and it has multiple causes.

In the case of osteoarthritis, your dog’s joints rubbed together abnormally. This led to the cartilage eventually disappearing, leaving the joints to rub together painfully. This can be worsened if your dog has experienced an injury in his lifetime, especially to one of the limbs. You may also find that arthritis is just another part of aging in your dog.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of arthritis in dogs are very similar to those in humans. Due to the stiffness and pain, your dog will be more reluctant to engage in physical activity such as walking, going up stairs, and playing. Colder weather, dampness, and long periods of stillness will worsen the associated pain and stiffness.

Since your dog won’t be able to get around as easily anymore, you’ll find them sleeping more often and just experiencing general lethargy. This can also lead to weight gain and irritability, especially when touched. In extremely severe cases, your dog may begin to have accidents around the house since he will be unable to make it outside every time. If your dog is displaying any of the signs, it’s important to speak to your veterinarian about getting an x-ray for a possible diagnosis.

Treatment

While curing arthritis isn’t possible, there are many things you can do to treat the associated signs and symptoms to help your dog enjoy life to the fullest.

Natural

Orthopedic Dog Bed

Sometimes, all your dog needs to feel better is a new bed. Most of the time, dogs sleep on the floor, furniture, or just a regular dog bed. This can put strain on the joints and pressure points, worsening the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis. Thankfully, there are dozens of options at a variety of prices so that you can pick the absolute best orthopedic dog bed for your arthritic dog. These beds, unlike regular dog beds, are made out of special memory foam designed to support your dog perfectly. After a few nights of good rest on one of these beds, you may find that your dog is feeling better and even greeting you at the door again.

Acupuncture

Needles may seem like a painful option, but the ancient technique of acupuncture has surprising benefits. It can cause the body to completely relax while improving circulation, alleviating your dog’s symptoms of pain, stiffness, and muscle spasms. It can also cause the body to produce an increased amount of certain hormones that can aid in the healing process. While a single appointment won’t be enough to provide relief, multiple, regular appointments will allow your dog to experience lasting effects.

Pharmaceutical

Before considering any type of pharmaceutical treatment, it’s important to talk to your veterinarian. Each medicine, like your dog, is unique, and some pose more risks of side effects than others.

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

You may know these as NSAIDs; these are medicines that, like in humans, reduce swelling and joint-related pain and stiffness. However, NSAIDs that are safe for humans aren’t necessarily safe for your dog. Make sure you speak to your veterinarian for a prescription.

Supplements

You may also find that supplements – such as omega-3 oils – can help your dog as well. In some cases, depending on the severity and progression of your dog’s arthritis, your veterinarian may be able to prescribe supplements that will not only help protect the existing cartilage and joints but can even help repair the cartilage. Supplements will also work to reduce swelling, which will, in turn, help with the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis. 


Arthritis is one of the most common conditions in dogs, and, with a variety of causes and symptoms, it can be difficult to know exactly where to start when it comes to treatment. Whether you decide to take a natural route or let your veterinarian help you with a pharmaceutical route, you will never completely heal your dog’s arthritis. However, you could find that your dog will eventually return to his old self, and that the pain associated with common tasks will no longer burden your dog, allowing him to continue doing what he loves: spending time with you.

Image: Pixabay.com 

Alex Saunders writes for DoggieApproved.com a website that provides dog owners helpful tips to be a better dog parent. You can read their most recent review of the best orthopedic dog beds for dogs struggling with arthritis.


Caring for a Senior Dog Doesn't Have to be Expensive

Guest Post by Jennifer Scott

Old-dog-3303296_1920As dogs get older, their needs begin to change. They may need special supplies, different food, or new forms of treatment. Most owners accept this as part of pet ownership and continue to love and care for their dogs as they learn to adapt to their aging pet’s new needs.

However, there is no denying that these changes can be worrying, both emotionally and financially. The only thing you can do for the former is to enjoy and cherish the next few years as much as you can. When it comes to finances, however, there are small ways you can ensure you are not overpaying for all the things your older dog needs.

Pet Supplies

As your dog gets older, you may have to buy her new supplies, whether it’s simply a more comfortable bed or a specialized product for senior dogs, such as pet stairs, a lifting harness, or a specially designed rubber toy for aging teeth. You can save money by looking at big box retailers, and be sure to check for online deals like Walmart promo codes and coupons that will cut your costs even more. The more money you save on items like accessories, the more money you will have for bigger costs like healthcare.

Food

It is true that food requirements for older dogs can vary in terms of nutrition, texture, and digestibility, and some dogs will need adjusted diets as they age. For example, dogs that are losing muscle mass may need more protein, and dogs with sensitive teeth need softer foods.

However, a lot of “senior dog food” is the same food sold in different packaging, and often at a higher price. Don’t fall for this — rely on your vet’s advice to make any adjustments. Often, your senior dog can be just as healthy with the food they have been eating all their lives. Just remember to adjust portion sizes if their physical activity has decreased.

Healthcare and Insurance

This is likely to be the biggest cost of having a senior pet. Healthcare for pets always runs the risk of being expensive; according to CNBC, emergency vet bills average between $800 and $1,500. In the case of senior pets, there is an increased chance you will have to pay for ongoing treatment, some of which can quickly become expensive. Cancer treatment, for instance, can cost up to $10,000. You will also have to take your senior dog to the vet more often, which means more money spent on checkups and ailments.

You could start putting aside some money for this, but it may also be wise to invest in pet insurance. Ideally, you will have purchased health insurance for your dog when she was young to take advantage of cheaper premiums. However, if you haven’t, now is the time to consider doing so. Ultimately, it’s a small price to pay for your pet’s health and longevity. The Bark has a detailed guide on pet insurance, including help with understanding caps and deductibles. Consumers Advocate also offers a free pet insurance guide. Many insurers don’t offer policies for dogs above 12, but there are still some good options.

In many ways, caring for a senior pet isn’t much different from caring for a younger one. You still need to give your dog plenty of love, attention, and exercise — you just need to also be mindful of any special needs they have as a result of aging. Stay aware of any potential issues and be proactive about preventing and addressing them, and you and your furry friend will enjoy many more happy years together.

Image: Pixabay.com

Jennifer Scott is a lifelong sufferer of anxiety and depression. She created her website, SpiritFinder.org, as a platform for advocacy on opening up about mental health. Through the site, she hopes to share the types of steps and success stories that can help others realize their own power. When she isn’t working on her website, she enjoys traveling, working with animals, and seeking out new friendships and adventures.


Do Dogs Suffer from Depression?

Dogs-2195708_1920What do dog owners do if they think their pet might be depressed? Is it even possible for a dog to become depressed? The simple answer is yes, but you need to find out the why behind it and how you can fix it.

Why Do Dogs Suffer from Depression?

Dogs can become depressed, just as easily as their owners. This might shock you considering you are used to your tail-wagging friends jumping and licking on you the second you walk through the door. But what if he isn’t doing that all of the sudden? It may be depression. But why? Of course, if your dog's behavior changes, you need to talk to your vet. For now, here are a few reasons why dogs become depressed:

  • The absolute biggest reason a dog may find himself depressed is the loss of a pet owner or companion. Dogs become incredibly attached to their owner, so not having them anymore can cause separation anxiety and a great deal of trauma on a pet’s mind and behavior. They are also very connected to their companion, and a loss of a companion dog can bring them to a deep level of depression as well.
  • Dogs can also pick up on any grief that their owner is feeling. If you’re struggling with a traumatic event in your life and are grieving because of it, your dog may be able to sense these feelings and also feel them for themselves as well.
  • Moving to a new house can have a lot of impact on a dog that does not like change. This big change and not having his stuff in a usual location can bring on a bout of doggy depression.
  • Bringing a new baby or pet into his situation can also bring on depression in your dog as he begins to receive less and less attention. He will also feel a bit of jealousy over the new baby or other pet as they don’t feel like the prized possession any longer.
  • A big change in the routine of your dog’s life can cause depression, as well as stress and anxiety. Dogs tend to be routine creatures, so switching up his everyday life can be a huge hurdle for your dog to get over.
  • Did something happen to your pal that left him injured? Dogs, like humans, don’t like to be injured or have pain or discomfort from an injury. If your dog has had a recent injury that has left him in pain and hasn’t allowed him to do his normal routine, this can cause depression.

Symptoms of Doggy Depression

The symptoms of depression found in humans are generally the same as in dogs. Some of the symptoms you will notice in a dog that is suffering from depression include:

  • Being withdrawn. Dogs with depression will appear to be withdrawn, not wanting to engage in social or physical activities like they used to.
  • Decrease in energy. All of a sudden, your rambunctious buddy doesn’t want to go for a walk or play, right? It could be due to depression.
  • Change in eating habits. Big eater not eating? You might want to see if he is struggling with depression and has lost his appetite because of it.
  • Change in sleeping habits. Perhaps he is oversleeping obnoxiously or hardly getting any shut-eye. Both are common effects of depression.
  • Anxiety typically goes hand in hand with depression, so this isn’t a big shock.
  • Aggression. A once nice and gentle pup can turn to a more sporadic, howling mess if he is dealing with an ample amount of depression.
  • Excess whining. All dogs will whine here and there, but if you notice a big increase in the amount of whining or he is apparently whining for no reason at all, he may just be dealing with depression.

Treatment for Dog Depression

  1. You need to give your pet extra attention. Much like a human suffering from depression wants to have more love and affection shown to them, so does your dog. Make sure you are not giving into your dog while they are moping or whining, though. When you see them showing any sign of happiness, reward them with love and treats so they know that is the right behavior to show.
  2. Make sure you give your dog enough time for exercise. Without adequate time to play, going for walks, or doing any other special activities they enjoy, they won’t be able to conquer their feelings of depression.
  3. Consider doing some more activities that include other dogs. This might be a special class where dogs meet and greet, going to the dog park to get some exercise and communication, or just hanging out at a specified doggy daycare.
  4. If all else fails, you might want to consider a natural remedy such as CBD oil, which can be found in our FOMO bones. While CBD oil hasn’t been tested greatly, it has shown to reduce anxiety and depression levels in humans as well as dogs. Make sure you only buy dog products containing the right amount of CBD oil to prevent over-consumption.

Image: Pixabay

This post was provided by FOMOBONES, dog treats for anxiety. Visit their website at www.fomobones.com


Should You Buy Pet Insurance?

Hound-437532_1920 (1)Pet insurance - or veterinary health insurance for your cat or dog - is about being prepared for the unexpected. Having a plan with a top-tier company gives you financial protection; in the event you’re faced with an expensive $2,000-6,000 surgery for your pet, a good insurance policy will pay up to 90% of that vet bill.

What questions should you ask? And which companies have the best plans for your pet? These are important questions, but getting good answers can be confusing.

ConsumersAdvocate.org has put together a comprehensive guide to pet insurance providers, how they work, what they cover, and how to choose the right one for your dog. The organization has done over 200 hours of research and evaluated 15 companies. This valuable free guide is a must-read if you are considering pet insurance.

Access the guide here: https://www.consumersadvocate.org/pet-insurance

Image: Pixabay


When Do You Say Goodbye to Your Dog?

Old-dog-3303296_1920It's a fact of life that humans typically outlive their beloved pets. One of the more heart-wrenching decisions for any dog owner is knowing when to "let go," either because a dog is critically ill or old age is making life difficult if not unbearable.

A very informative article in The New York Times addresses the issue in objective fashion. The writer, Tara Parker-Pope, discusses her dilemma facing an end-of-life scenario with her own dog. She refers to a "decision tool" created by Dr. Alice Villalobos, a California veterinarian who is nationally known in the field of veterinary oncology. The tool includes seven indicators, such as "Hurt," "Hunger," and "Hydration," which a pet owner rates from 0 (very poor) to 10 (best) to determine the assess a pet's condition. Parker-Pope writes, "When pet owners approach end of life this way, they often are surprised at how much they can do to improve a pet’s quality of life... By revisiting the scale frequently, pet owners can better assess the quality of the pet’s hospice care and gauge an animal’s decline."

Dr. Villalobos tells Parker-Pope, "“Natural death, as much as many people wish it would happen, may not be kind and may not be easy and may not be peaceful. Most people would prefer to assure a peaceful passing. You’re just helping the pet separate from the pack just as he would have done in nature.”

You'll find the decision tool, as well as more helpful information, in the article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/19/well/family/pet-dog-cat-death-euthanasia.html?

Image: Pixabay


"Dog City" Asheville Featured in Washington Post

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An article last month in The Washington Post sang the praises of Asheville as "Dog City USA." It's written from the perspective of dog owner Melanie D.G. Kaplan, who brought her dog Hamilton to Asheville for a visit. "In just two hours, this mountain town in Western North Carolina blew his little beagle mind," writes Kaplan.

Kaplan says "Asheville is nirvana for dogs and humans who love the outdoors... I learned that this progressive city is canine-friendly in ways that go far beyond biscuits." She took "Hammy" on a dog-friendly tour offered by The Dog Door that stopped at Three Dog Bakery, ZaPow, Tasty Beverage Co., and Catawba Brewing -- all welcoming to dogs. Hammy also enjoyed "a gorgeous meal of diced carrots, sweet potato, zucchini and salmon" prepared by the Twisted Laurel restaurant.

Read more about Kaplan's experiences here. Aren't we lucky to live in "Dog City"?


Moving? How to Ease Your Dog into a New Home

Guest Post by Cindy Aldridge

Screen Shot 2019-04-05 at 11.16.08 AMMaking the transition into a new home comes with many challenges. You might be in a new neighborhood and new city, with a new job, and trying to get your house in order. For anyone, it’s a lot to take in, and it can often become overwhelming.

This change is just as disorienting for your dog. Keep him safe and secure by following a few basic tips for a stress-free transition. The first step toward easing your dog into a new home is keeping him calm leading up to the move. If he’s already disoriented and anxious by the time you get to your new home, it might make things more difficult.

Before the Move

Here are a few things you should do before moving to ease your dog’s transition:

  • Keep his routine. On the days leading up to the move, keep your dog’s feeding and walking times as consistent as possible.
  • Maintain his exercise. Keeping your dog exercised and tired will help reduce stress and subdue anxiety, which can often manifest in a variety of ways.
  • Get his records. Make sure your dog has all his shots and is wearing identification. If he should wander out into the new neighborhood, this will make him easier to find.

In the New Home

Pay attention and monitor your dog’s behavior. A common mistake is to simply let your dog loose in a strange house or yard. Introduce him slowly to the perimeter and walk along with him.

If you think your dog is acting strange or funny, it’s important that you’re aware of it and address it as soon as possible. Some common signs of stress include a loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and incessant barking. Ways to ease your dog into the transition include:

  • Encourage routine. As soon as you move in, establish or continue known routines for your dog. This keeps his life structured and helps with stress.
  • Keep his old toys. Familiar smells help dogs feel safe and secure. Keeping his old blankets and toys gives him a sense of home.
  • Give him attention. According to The Bark magazine, giving your dog lots of love will make him feel comfortable. Also, help your dog adjust to his new home by playing with him throughout the house and yard.
  • Plenty of exercise. Just like playtime, exercise and regular walks will ensure your dog is tired and releases accumulated energy.
  • Walk him in the neighborhood. After you have looked up the specific laws regarding pets in your neighborhood, show him around the neighborhood so that he becomes familiar with smells and sounds of the new place.

When you’re settling in with your dog, it’s also important to address the quality of air inside your new place. After all, clean air helps keep us happy and relaxed, and our pets, as much as we love them, can unintentionally contribute allergens on a regular basis. So, consider trying out an air purifier to reduce the amount of dander and pet hair floating throughout your home. Air purifiers come in all shapes and sizes, so make sure you know which one to purchase by reading through online guides and best-of lists before you make up your mind.

Fence Safety and Tips

Before you leave your dog alone in the new yard, make sure to check for places that might present a danger or allow your dog to escape. According to the Humane Society, dogs commonly escape due to isolation and boredom. This can present a problem in a new environment if your dog is left alone right away.

Robert Frost said, “Good fences make good neighbors.” This especially applies to dogs and dog owners. Installing a new fence may be necessary. You want to consider a fence that is appropriate and safe for your four-legged friend. Assess your dog’s tendencies and consider his ability to jump and dig. The investment is worthwhile if it ensures your dog’s safety and helps him feel comfortable. It might also solve problems of excessive barking and keep your dog safely confined when he’s alone. And while you’re at it, make sure you have an up-to-date ID tag and a reliable GPS tracker in case your pooch does manage to break free from your yard. Having both will help you to find your friend as soon as possible.

Dogs are territorial animals and can be very sensitive to a change of environment. Some extra consideration can go a long way and make the transition smooth and stress-free. In just a few weeks, your dog will be adjusted and back to his old self.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Cindy Aldridge is passionate about dogs and pets and loves sharing her thoughts and insights on being a responsible dog owner. When she isn’t busy writing, she spends all her time with her two fluffy golden retrievers. Check out her website: http://ourdogfriends.org/


10 Fun Activities that Will Keep Your Dog (and You) Healthy

Guest Post by Sadi Khan

Dogs activitiesDogs need exercise and physical activities as much as humans do. It keeps them happy and healthy (both physically and mentally). This is why it is not enough to just take your dog out for a walk. You are missing out on a lot of fun and health benefits if that’s the only thing you do with your dog.

Let’s have a look at some healthy ways to have fun with your dog. 

1. Running

Running has a never-ending list of benefits for you and your dog. It improves cardiovascular health, keeps obesity at bay, improves mood, and boosts mental health. You cannot get the same benefits from walking because running is more intense and uses different muscles. You will also see an improvement in your dog’s behavior because running will help him burn a lot of energy. You can do a short, light paced jog with any breed, but active breeds like terriers or shepherds can run relatively long distances as well.

2. Hiking

Walking or running with your dog in the neighborhood is great but you might get bored after doing it consecutively for a few days. The best way to deal with this monotony is to change the terrain and go hiking. There are some really good options in Western North Carolina and the Upstate, including trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway and in the Bent Creek Experimental Forest. Search the web to find a dog-friendly trail near you. Hiking will be a great experience for dogs who naturally want to explore.

3. Cycling

If you are not much into running, you can ride a bike and use a biking leash to have your dog tag along. It is a great workout for big, strong dogs and they will be less destructive at home. Mountain biking is also an option (without a leash). However, you need to make sure your dog is young and fit enough to take part in this exercise. It can be too exhausting for young puppies, very old, or small dogs to run while you ride a bike. Choose a cool time of the day and do it only for a short period.

4. Go to a dog park

There are great dog parks in Western North Carolina, such as Azalea Park and French Broad Dog Park in Asheville and the Morris Broadband Dog Park in Bill Moore Community Park in Fletcher. You and your dog will enjoy the outdoor time without a leash, and you can just sit and watch your dog play with other dogs. (Always keep an eye out for rough play, however, especially if you are not familiar with the other dogs.) Used appropriately, a dog park can be a great socializing experience for both dogs and their owners.

5. Play hide and seek

If you are looking for a fun activity that is less of an exercise and more of a game, then hide and seek is a great option. Initially, your dog will need some training (and treats) but once he gets the hang of it, it can be a lot of fun. It will improve your dog’s mental health, problem-solving, and recall skills.

6. Play fetch

Dogs of all sizes, breeds, and ages already know how to play fetch. As hunting animals, it comes to them naturally. This activity is also a great way to interact and build a bond with a new dog.

7. Dancing

This might come as a surprise but you can actually try dancing with your dog. It is a great cardio exercise if the weather or neighborhood doesn’t allow for running or biking. It will also build flexibility, stamina, and agility in dogs. You can follow tips and tutorials online or join a proper class, especially if you want to take part in some competition.

Don’t be so hard on them though. Not every dog can move it like Pudsey.

8. Events or competitions

You can find a lot of dog-friendly events and competitions, like dog races, disc dog, or dock jumping. You can also participate in one of these dog-friendly races. You will get to meet many dog owners, learn about other dogs, and discover lots of new products. Some of these canine-friendly events are meant for charities, so you will have fun while supporting a good cause. 

9. Swimming

During the summer, you can take your dog for a regular swim. Dogs can get irritated with the summer heat because they do not sweat and cool down like humans. It will take some time before they learn to swim, but once they do, most dogs will enjoy every bit of it. And it will be a great workout.

10. Traveling

Traveling is one of the best ways to break free from a grinding routine and have some fun. Research confirms that leisure traveling can reduce your chances of a heart attack or developing cardiovascular diseases. Traveling with your dog is easier than ever because of all the dog-friendly accommodations available. Your dog can be especially great company if you are traveling alone and you will feel more secure traveling with him.

All these fun activities will help you and your dog live a happy, healthy life. Just make sure you have discussed any regular exercise with your vet before starting.

Image provided by author.

Sadi Khan is a research analyst and fitness blogger at Runrepeat.com. He believes regular exercise is crucial to your own health and the health of your dogs.


Freebies and Deals for Dog Owners

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Over 43 million households in the U.S. include dogs as part of their family. Businesses recognize that dog owners are a large group of people who are passionate about their pets. Increasingly, hotels, restaurants, and retail establishments are instituting dog-friendly policies, welcoming dog owners and their furry friends. In fact, a number of businesses even offer incentives for dog owners.

Wikibuy has put together a handy infographic that lists numerous national restaurant chains that offer a variety of specials for dogs, such as secret menus and special treats. The infographic also has a listing of hotels offering deals and freebies, as well as a section of general pet freebies. It's a useful guide that could tell you which places welcome dogs -- and it could also save you money.

Check it out here: https://wikibuy.com/blog/pet-freebies-5692fab42da


More Information about Invisible Dog Fences

Carolina Mountain Dog recently published a guest post about the pros and cons of invisible dog fences. We have received requests to publish more comprehensive information about such fences. Our intent is to provide information without endorsing training methods or specific products. If we accept a guest post for publication, the post represents the opinion of the writer, not necessarily this blog.

There are often strong opinions, both positive and negative, about invisible dog fences. In order to present additional details about invisible dog fences, we have provided a link to a recent comprehensive article written by a dog behaviorist that appeared in Whole Dog Journal:

https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/2_5/features/Electric-Underground-Fences_5207-1.html

We hope this information is helpful to anyone considering an invisible dog fence.


How to Prevent Common Doggy Disasters from Wrecking Your Home

Guest Post by Jennifer Scott

Picture1Nothing can ruin your day, or your dog’s, like a full-blown doggy disaster. Yet, as pet owners, we’ve all come home to an undesirable situation every now and then. While dog shaming can be good for a laugh, preventing these common misbehaviors is much more productive. Here are some common doggy disasters and some ways you can prevent them in your home:

Having Accidents Inside   

New puppies are especially prone to relieving themselves inside since they haven’t had a chance to be housebroken. You can encourage your dog to do its business outside by scheduling plenty of potty breaks. Take your puppy outside and give lots of praise when he goes where he’s supposed to. Eventually, your dog will get the idea and should begin to ask to go outside.

If your adult dog suddenly has frequent accidents, schedule a check-up to make sure that health issues aren’t causing these problems. If your vet gives him a clean bill of health, his food may be to blame, whether due to an allergy or because he simply doesn’t like it. If this is the case, try switching to an organic brand of food with limited ingredients, which will be less likely to upset his digestive tract.

 Destroying Their Toys and Bed   

 We’ve all given our dogs the perfect new toy or bed, only to have them rip it to shreds in a matter of minutes. While watching them de-stuff a toy isn’t cause for concern, chewing up their bed could be a signal of a much bigger issue. Make sure your dog has the right kind of bed for his needs, as this contributes to his sense of safety when sleeping and lounging in it. If this doesn’t seem to be the issue, your dog’s destructive habits could be rooted in some other problem, such as a lack of attention or anxiety. Take steps to relieve any anxiety and remedy your dog’s destructive tendencies.

 Guarding Food and Resources     

Resource guarding is a common issue with dogs, especially those who have spent time in a shelter. If you are working with a rescue animal, know that at some point, your dog may have had to fight for food or water. It takes time to break this habit; it requires a patient process of training to build trust between you and your dog. Resource guarding can also be a sign of insecurity. You can prevent resource guarding by establishing yourself as the leader in your pack. If your dog growls over food, water or toys, be cautious and do not allow children to handle these items around him to prevent bites.

Counter Surfing for Human Food

Even the most well-behaved dog can’t resist the scent of human food on tables and counters, but many human foods can cause health problems for your dog, while some can be deadly. The best course of action to prevent counter surfing is to eliminate access to tempting items. Dogs are opportunists, and if they can reach it, chances are that they will eat it, so keep your snacks and food securely put away in cabinets and pantries. Don’t forget to stow potentially dangerous chip bags away, either; dogs can get their heads stuck inside and suffocate in a matter of minutes.

Chewing Shoes and Furniture

Chewing is another prevalent issue for pet owners. If your dog has taken to using your favorite new shoes or chair for a chew toy, it can be stressful for you and dangerous for your dog. In the case of shoes, putting them away is your best option. Keeping your dog away from furniture can be a lot harder. For many pet owners, crate training is a good option for keeping dogs out of trouble while humans are out of the house. With positive training, most dogs find crates to be comforting. Just be sure to never use the crate as a place of punishment. It’s also important to get to the bottom of the issue. Puppies frequently chew due to teething, but adult dogs that chew random items could be displaying signs of stress or anxiety.

Preventing these common doggy disasters can protect your sanity, but more importantly, it can protect your dog’s safety. Take these steps to curb bad behavior and build a better bond between you and your dog.

Jennifer Scott has experienced anxiety and depression since she was a teenager. She shares stories about the ups and downs of her anxiety and depression at http://spiritfinder.org/

Image courtesy of Pexels


The Pros and Cons of an Invisible Dog Fence

Guest Post by Victoria Nelson

Dog-1210559_1920The usual wood, chain link, or plastic fences used to contain dogs are often difficult to put up and maintain and can be an eyesore. Is an invisible fence, or electronic dog fence, a reasonable alternative?

How the Invisible Dog Fence Works

Unlike a visible physical barrier, an invisible fence is a barrier that cannot be seen by humans but is learned by dogs. An invisible fence has the potential to keep your dog from wandering off or from bolting during a storm and getting lost.

The invisible fence is an electronic wireless “fence” that is installed underground and is controlled by and with a special collar preventing the dog from crossing the boundary of the fence. An invisible fence unit contains the basic unit, small flags for a visual boundary until your dog learns the boundaries of the fence, and the collar for your dog. The high-end systems also include a pet door so that your dog can get inside when it needs to. Only a dog wearing the collar can get in the pet door.

Most invisible fence systems include installation and training. Put the collar on your dog, plant the flags around your property where you want your dog to stay, and turn on the system. Your dog should need minimal training to learn the concept of the invisible fence. It is typically very easy. Most systems offer coverage of a little over a hundred feet in every direction up to three quarters of an acre.

It should be said that the invisible fence system should not be used with dogs that weigh less than five pounds. Make sure the company you buy from has customer service at the appropriate time. The special collar will give your dog a small buzz to distract him if he tries to cross the boundary, or you can just use an audible alert. Most systems have multiple levels of the jolt but even the highest is not harmful to your dog. It is designed not to hurt your dog but rather to just surprise him and train him not to pass the flags.

Pros and Cons of an Invisible Fence

Pros

  • Invisible fencing will withstand the rigors of climate and weather, as well as natural events such as floods.
  • Will protect your dog from getting lost for any reason, especially when other non-resident dog lovers are walking or hiking with their canines.
  • Invisible fencing is often less expensive in areas where traditional fencing is more difficult to install due to terrain.
  • Invisible fencing is more adaptable to wooded, hilly or continuously wet terrain. This adaptability extends to the configuration of the fenced area. It can be any shape you want with an electric dog fence.
  • Your dog cannot jump or climb over or dig under an invisible fence.

Cons

  • You and your dog will need to be trained.
  • Some dogs will occasionally break through the electronic barrier.
  • Unless you buy a system with a pet door that allows only your dog with collar to use it, other animals can enter the fenced area and your dog cannot get out. It’s worth any extra expense to protect your dog from attacks with a pet door.

Given the terrain, weather conditions, and presence of so many outside dogs, the invisible dog fence appears to be an excellent solution for keeping your dog safe while allowing him freedom on his own territory.

I'm Victoria Nelson, article author and owner of PetsHotSpot website. I have always been passionate about animals. I really enjoy writing about pets, especially when my articles can help people to understand animals better. I hope that you find a lot of useful information and it is been a pleasure for you to read it.


"Finding Rover" Now Being Used in Asheville

Screen Shot 2019-01-14 at 3.37.29 PM"Finding Rover" is a new technology that uses facial recognition technology to help reunite lost dogs and cats with their families, allowing anyone with computer access to be a superhero.

If you FIND a stray dog or cat, all you need to do is click ‘I Found a Pet’, snap a picture on your phone, and upload to www.findingrover.com. From there the magic of Finding Rover will match that photo with photos of pets that have been reported missing.

If you have LOST a dog or cat, click ‘I Lost a Pet’, upload your pet’s picture, and Finding Rover will search found reports which will include animals in our care. A partnership with Asheville Humane Society, who operate the Buncombe County Animal Shelter, automatically updates all of the pets at the shelter on Asheville Humane's Finding Rover page!

Wondering why you should use this new technology? Here are the top five reasons:
1. It’s easy! Anyone with a smartphone or computer can upload a lost or found dog or cat instantly.
2. It’s FREE! Although millions of dollars have been invested into this technology, it doesn’t cost you a penny.
3. It helps find pets homes! It’s not just about helping lost pets. Dogs and cats that are Available for Adoption are also on Finding Rover!
4. It’s not just for dogs! Dogs aren’t the only pets that get out. Finding Rover is optimized to work for feline friends as well.
5. It saves lives! At your shelter the number one goal is to keep pets safe before they even reach your doors. Using this tool, we can all become superheroes and help keep our shelter empty.

For more information or to upload a photo of your pet, visit: https://www.findingrover.com/