Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hero Dog Saves Owner, Thanks to Pongo Fund and CANIDAE

By Julia Williams

The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank in Portland, Oregon is a non-profit charity created to help people who are unable to buy food for their pets. They opened in November 2009 with a donation of $125,000 worth of premium pet food from CANIDAE. In just one year, the Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank has distributed more than one million meals to help feed hungry dogs and cats in Oregon and southwest Washington! 

CANIDAE continues to support The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank with large donations of its premium dog and cat foods. The charity then gives the food free of charge to anyone who expresses a genuine need. The goal is to keep families and pets together in challenging economic times, and judging by a touching letter The Pongo Fund received recently, they are succeeding in ways they couldn’t even imagine.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Train Your Dog According to Their Personality

By Linda Cole

Dogs are not created equal when it comes to training. Some learn faster than others, and some just can't seem to get what you're trying to teach. All dogs can be taught basic commands as long as you're willing to invest the time and energy to stay committed. However, dogs are individuals and like kids, they learn at their own pace. Knowing your dog's personality can help you devise a training schedule that works best for them.

Dog training isn't high on some people's priority list. I know many dog owners who have never spent one minute training their dogs to sit, stay, walk on a leash or any other basic commands. They feel that as long as their dog will come to them most of the time when called, that's all the training they need. Animal shelters are full of untrained dogs who have been surrendered by their owners because the dog developed behavioral problems they had no idea how to correct. Lack of training to correct behavioral problems is one reason many people give up their dogs.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Animal Movies for the Holiday Season

By Suzanne Alicie

The holidays are a time when even the most diehard Scrooges are often overcome with a warm fuzzy feeling. There are classic holiday movies that have been favorites for generations, then there are newer holiday movies that are well on their way to joining the established ranks. But when it comes to animal lovers, there are some holiday movies featuring various fuzzy creatures that will always top the list. After all, there’s nothing that will warm your heart like a great family movie featuring your favorite animal. Keep in mind that this list is based upon my personal opinion and includes holiday animal movies that we love to watch at my house.

The #1 Holiday Movie with Animals

Okay, so maybe there aren’t real reindeer with shiny red noses, or even any real reindeer at all in this movie; but Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is a wonderful classic that will tug at your heartstrings as you gather to watch poor Rudolph save Christmas.

Friday, November 26, 2010

How to Teach Your Cat the High Five Trick

By Julia Williams

I’ve never been very successful at teaching my cats tricks. It’s not because training cats is impossible – I’ve seen plenty of performing cats in videos and at cat shows to know that felines definitely can learn tricks. My cat training failures stem mostly from a lack of patience and motivation. Since my cats run and hide from nearly everyone who comes to visit us, the payoff of teaching them tricks doesn’t seem worth the effort.

That is, until now. I’ve actually found a cat trick that is pretty easy to teach, most likely because it’s a fairly natural behavior. One of my cats, Rocky, is picking up the High Five trick quickly, and although we’re not at the “perform on command for your friends” stage, I’m betting it won’t be long. Of course, then I will have to find a way to keep Rocky from hiding under the bed when people come over.

If you want to teach your cat the High Five trick, keep reading for my step-by-step instructions. But before you actually start your cat training, make sure you have plenty of their favorite treats on hand. Cats are not usually motivated by praise, but most are quite motivated by food, especially if it’s something they love. So keep the cat treats handy, because you’re going to need them.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pets Provide a Feeling of Thanksgiving Every Day

By Suzanne Alicie

One of my favorite traditions of Thanksgiving is the practice of choosing something each day from November 1 through the holiday to be thankful for. This allows me to devote a few minutes each day to be appreciative of all the blessings in my life. Pet owners often get this little nudge of feeling how blessed we are all throughout the year as we interact and enjoy the pets that are part of our families. When you look back at the year, you will find that many of your most precious memories include your pets.

While you may not think of your pets when you sit down at the holiday table with family and friends, there are definitely many reasons to be thankful for your pets. Now, I am a cat lover and can think of several wonderful ways that cats make life better each and every day of the year. But I am also a dog owner, so my list of reasons to be thankful relates more to our canine friends. There are also other types of pets that enrich our lives – and whether we enjoy watching the fish swim in and out of their little castle or giggle at the hamster spinning in his little wheel, all pets provide a pleasing presence to their owners’ lives.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Simple Dog-Inspired Crafts to Make

By Tamara L. Waters

Are you a dog lover, or know someone who is “doggone crazy” about their canine friend? Whether you are looking to decorate your own home with man's best friend or you want a cute gift for someone else, homemade dog crafts are a great way to show your personality and creativity. If you have kids in the house, they will enjoy making some doggy crafts just for fun. Check out a few of these dog-inspired crafts, and get busy!

Toilet Paper Tube Doggy

Recycle an empty toilet paper tube into a simple craft little ones can make. The website dltk-kids.com has great printable templates for toilet paper tube dogs. These are simple to make and always a hit with the kids.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Eight Things Every Pet Owner Needs to Know

By Julia Williams

First of all, let me just say that what follows is not an “official” list of things pet owners need to know. I’m not a veterinarian or animal behaviorist, but I am an animal lover and lifelong pet owner, and these are my personal suggestions. Knowledge is power, and so is awareness. Both can help us take better care of our beloved pets.

Exercise is vital to a pet’s wellbeing. A body needs to move in order to stay physically fit and mentally healthy. Regular exercise burns calories, stimulates a pet’s immune system, and increases muscle mass and cardiovascular strength. Many aggression and behavioral problems in dogs can be attributed to lack of exercise. Dogs need to run and play, which helps to burn off excess energy and keep boredom at bay. Even cats are more prone to mischief if no one takes the time to play with them. Sure, some cats can be pretty lazy and may need encouragement to chase that feather toy or mouse – but they’ll live longer and happier lives, so it’s worth the effort to engage them in play.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dog Behavior: Understanding Dog Fights

By Linda Cole

Breaking up a dog fight can be difficult and potentially dangerous. If your canine family includes two or more dogs, they may all get into a fight at one time or another. It's a scary situation, especially if you're alone and there's no time to think about what to do in the heat of the battle. Even a dog who is quiet and docile can turn into a raging bull when pushed too far. Breaking up a dog fight is one of the hardest things you may have to do. It’s a good idea to have a plan in place; even better, learn about the body language of dogs to prevent fights before they begin. Dog behavior that might lead to a fight is clear and easy to see, if you know what to look for.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Breed Profile: Shiba Inu, the Brushwood Dog

By Ruthie Bently

The Shiba Inu is an ancient breed that originated on the island of Japan and is a descendant of the primitive dogs of the ancient Japanese people. The breed can trace its roots back to the third century B.C, although it was not officially named until the 1920s. They are Japan’s number one companion dog.

The Shiba Inu is a member of the AKC’s Non-Sporting group, which is interesting when you consider they were originally used for hunting, primarily to flush birds and small game. They were also used for hunting bear and boar, due to their superior senses and ability to traverse steep hills and mountainous regions that were inaccessible to people. According to Merriam Webster’s online dictionary, Shiba means brushwood and Inu means dog. Some Shiba Inus’ coat color is the same reddish color of these trees, hence the nickname brushwood dog.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Humor: Eight Reasons Your Dog Adores You

By Tamara L. Waters

Your dog loves you. Better yet, he absolutely adores you. There are many reasons why he thinks you are the best, but here are eight to start with.

Your Affection

Your dog loves affection from you. Whether it's a quick scratch between the ears or a leg-thumping back or belly scratch, your dog loves you for the physical affection you give him. Keep your dog happy by bestowing plenty of affection and attention on him, and he will reward you with his adorable antics and a slimy tongue in your ear.

Those Delicious Trash Cans

You dog adores you because of the wonderfully aromatic and delicious things you keep stashed in the garbage can or trash bag, just for him! He loves that you save wonderful “treats” and make him work for them, because as we all know, the anticipation and effort to get to those trash-can treats make them even tastier.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Think Pink All Year Long with a Pink Ribbon Puppies Calendar

By Suzanne Alicie

We are thrilled to share with you a wonderful and inspiring project that has been put together by a long-time member of the CANIDAE breeder program. While the Pink Ribbon Puppies website may appear to be just an adorable site with puppies on it, there is a serious and touching story behind it.

The Pink Ribbon Puppies 2011 calendar is a fundraising project for breast cancer research. It features a litter of nine beautiful lab puppies born this past September. When the co-owner of the dam of this litter was diagnosed with breast cancer, it was decided that as much as she was looking forward to the puppies and wanted to be involved, she needed to focus on her healing process and leave the whelping up to the other co-owner. So while she underwent radiation therapy for five days of each week for six weeks, her friend and “co-mommy” began her days with puppy breath as she helped get the puppies off to a great start in life.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lessons I’ve learned from My Cats

By Julia Williams

Pets are wonderful companions, but they can be great teachers, too. If you share your home with a pet, you’re probably being taught important life lessons by them every day. Usually, we’re so busy “being human” that we don’t stop to ponder life from our pet’s perspective. We don’t think about the things we could learn from our pets, but I think we should, because animals are wise beings with many messages to impart. Here are just some of the many lessons I’ve learned from living with cats:

1. Take pleasure in the simple things. Cats don’t need fancy toys or lavish homes to be content. Give them a paper bag and a cardboard box, and all is well. We humans don’t really need the latest, greatest gizmo to be happy either, but very often we’re so caught up in the pursuit of “things” that we don’t take time to experience life’s simple pleasures.

2. Don’t hold a grudge. Forgiveness is a hard thing for humans to achieve. Most of us know that being angry and resentful harms our bodies and our spirits, yet we struggle to forgive. I marvel at my cat’s ability to forgive so quickly. Moments after being harshly scolded for spilling my coffee, Rocky comes back for a pet as though nothing happened. If every human could forgive this quickly – just imagine what the world would be like. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Why a Quality Pet Food Matters

By Linda Cole

The good people at CANIDAE produce premium quality pet food that helps keep our dogs, cats and horses healthy. They've gone through extensive research to offer pet owners reliable, natural and nutritious food choices. But this article isn't about a company who provides pets with the best diet possible; this is about why we, as responsible pet owners, need to be aware of why our pets need the best food possible. It’s also about something many pet owners may not realize – which is, that buying a premium quality food like CANIDAE can actually be more cost effective than grocery store brands.

On the CANIDAE website you can find a Cost to Feed Calculator which figures the daily cost of feeding CANIDAE Natural Pet Foods based on your dog’s weight. Just answer a few questions about which formula and size bag you buy (or would like to try), your dog’s weight and the amount your independent pet store charges for it. Then click the “calculate” button to see how affordable premium dog food really is! For a dog weighing between 51 to 75 lbs, you can pay an average of only $0.52 to $0.78 per day.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Operation Blankets of Love

By Julia Williams

I first heard about the wonderful non-profit charity called Operation Blankets of Love (OBOL) while watching an episode of Pit Boss on Animal Planet. I’ve since learned a little more about them and wanted to share with you what they do. Why? Because Operation Blankets of Love is a lifesaver (literally) for shelter animals in need, and they have inspired me to help too.

Imagine being a shelter dog and having to lie on the hard, cold cement floors, or a shelter cat stuck in a steel cage with nothing soft to lie upon. It’s an uncomfortable existence to say the least, and one no creature should ever have to endure. Yet many of our nation’s homeless animals do have to endure it, because shelters go through thousands of blankets and towels every month, and rely on donations to replenish their supply.

This is where Operation Blankets of Love comes in – since their inception in January of 2008, they have collected and distributed more than 200,000 blankets, comforters, towels and other soft bedding to Southern California homeless pets in shelters, rescue groups, sanctuaries, and foster groups. OBOL is a great help to cash-strapped shelters to be sure, but let me tell you how they save lives too.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thanksgiving Hazards for Household Pets

By Suzanne Alicie

Thanksgiving is coming up soon. We all know what that means – indulging in all kinds of traditional foods and desserts, visiting with family, and enjoying the blessings of all we have. As enjoyable as Thanksgiving is for humans, the holiday offers many dangers for our household pets. As a responsible pet owner, there are things you should watch out for with dogs and cats in the house on Thanksgiving.

The following items are hazards that could cause you to end up spending the holiday evening at the vet’s office or the emergency pet hospital instead of watching the football game with your family.

1. Many Thanksgiving foods are bad for your pets. The main foods to make sure your pets don’t eat are turkey and turkey bones. Turkey contains L-Tryptophan which is known to induce sleeping. Because of the size of your pets’ body this can lead to listlessness and lethargy. The real danger is in the turkey bones, which can cause intestinal obstructions, punctures, tears and internal bleeding. Turkey bones, like most other poultry bones, splinter and have jagged edges. For more information, read Foods You Should Never Feed Your Dog.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

How to Curb Your Dog's On-Leash Aggression

By Linda Cole

Going for a walk with your dog is a great activity you can enjoy together. It’s a chance to get some exercise, fresh air and quality time to bond. But it’s not much fun if your dog turns into a snarling, excited dog who drags you down the street as he races towards everyone and every dog he sees. Some dogs become so excited that their eagerness turns into aggression towards you and everything else within their reach. On-leash aggression is a serious dog behavior issue that needs to be corrected as soon as possible.

I have a 10 month old Border Collie who can't wait to get outside for a walk or to play in the dog pen. She's fine once we get her outside – it's the transition that creates an aggressive behavior with the other dogs and sometimes with us. Putting on her leash only adds to her aggression.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cute Cat Crafts to Make

By Tamara L. Waters

Meow! Cats inspire more than just cartoons and humor, they can inspire crafts too. If you are a cat fan or know someone who is, try out a few homemade projects to decorate your home or give as gifts. If you have kids, they will also enjoy these kitty cat crafts on a rainy day or to bust some boredom.

Printable Cat Crafts for Kids

For young children, printable paper crafts are fun and easy to do. Whether you are looking for templates to create toilet paper tube kitties, cross stitch patterns or other simple cat crafts, this website has lots of them. This is my favorite go-to site for simple crafts for the kids.

Kitty Treat Jar

Save a plastic peanut butter jar with lid to create a cute kitty treat container. Wash the jar out thoroughly. Use felt to cut out cat eyes, nose, mouth and ears. Glue them onto the jar to create a cat face. Be sure you don't glue anything in such a way as to obstruct the lid. Store your kitty treats in the jar.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Five Good Reasons to Adopt a Senior Pet

By Julia Williams

I think it’s great that the ASPCA and Petfinder.com celebrate November as Adopt-a-Senior-Pet Month. So many older animals languish in shelters because potential adopters are typically more interested in a younger pet. I completely understand the allure of those cute kittens and puppies, but I still feel sad for all those older dogs and cats that would make wonderful family pets if given the chance.

Many people erroneously assume that the adult dogs and cats in shelters are there because of problem behavior or some other fault. The truth is, the majority of adult pets in shelters are not “bad” – they were given up by people who can’t care for them anymore or simply don’t want to, for various reasons. Unfortunately, if they are already “senior” age, their chances of being adopted are slim. What you may not realize, however, is that older pets can be a better choice than puppies and kittens, for many reasons.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Breaking Your Dog’s Bad Habits

By Suzanne Alicie

Dogs are supposed to be “Man’s Best Friend” but without proper training and consistency they can develop some bad habits. Each dog is different and may have a variety of bad habits which can make your life pretty stressful.

I am in awe of pet owners who always have mannerly, well behaved dogs. My dog is generally well behaved, but at times I have difficulty controlling her when we get ready to go outside. She jumps and barks and whines because she is so excited. I know why she does it, and it is my fault. I made the mistake of riling her up in the past just to watch her do this because I thought it was funny. Now she thinks that is what is expected when I say “Let’s go outside.” We are working to change this bad habit that I inadvertently taught her. Each dog has their own personality and that is reflected in both the behavior of the dog and the success of training methods. Some dogs require a different approach, but many dogs respond to basic consistent training.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What are Earthdog Tests?

By Ruthie Bently

The most cited definition of an earth dog is “a dog that will dig in the earth, or enter holes of foxes, etc.” Earth dogs were originally used for hunting food for the table or vermin, and were bred to track badger, otter, weasels and other quarry to their den. At an Earthdog Test or Den Trial, a dog is competing against themselves and their own natural ability to hunt when confronted by an underground hunting location.

Earthdog is a newer sport based on an old practice. There are several dog breeds that have been used for many years for this purpose. It is now a recognized competition by the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) and the American Working Terrier Association (AWTA). Called both “Earthdog Tests” and “Earthdog Den Trials,” their purpose is the same – to test your dog’s natural instinct and trained ability to work and hunt a quarry after they have “gone to ground.”

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

RPO Blog’s Newest Winner of Free Pet Food!

By Julia Williams

The sponsor of this blog, CANIDAE Natural Pet Foods, selects one reader every three months to receive a free six month supply of their premium quality pet food. The winner is chosen at random from every new reader who subscribed via email during the past quarter. The winner gets to pick any formula of CANIDAE dog food or FELIDAE cat food. I think this wonderful contest is a lovely gesture of good-will.

The lucky winner from last quarter is Marie Anne St. Jean of Frankfort, Ohio. Marie Anne has chosen to receive free CANIDAE All Life Stages formula for her two dogs: Jethro, a Jack Russell Terrier, and Molly, a Golden Retriever/German Shepherd/Saint Bernard mix. Marie Anne recently told me a little bit about herself and her special four-legged companions, so I want to share it with you.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Use Interactive Dog Toys to Beat Boredom

By Linda Cole

A bored dog can become a destructive pet when he's left alone. Leaving your dog with his favorite toys can help him pass the time. Better yet, provide some interactive dog toys that give him something to do – they will challenge him to think and “problem solve” to get what he wants. An active and focused mind means your furniture, shoes and household items won’t get destroyed when you're away from home.

Some dogs are just fine when no one is home; they entertain themselves by sleeping all day. Other dogs want more action in their life whether anyone's home or not. They spend the day chewing, barking, shredding and any other activity they can find to entertain themselves. The problem with letting a dog find something to do on his own is that he ends up getting in trouble once his owner gets home.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Taming a Feral Cat

By Tamara L. Waters

Having lived in the country my entire life, feral cats have always been a way of life. They are everywhere, and they multiply at the rate of two or three litters per year. Each litter averages four to six kittens that can begin reproducing at around five months of age. It’s easy to see how feral cat populations grow out of control.

It's estimated that there are more than 10 million feral cats in the United States. The only difference between stray cats and feral cats is that strays were once someone's pet. They became lost or abandoned and live wild, scavenging as they are able. Cats later born to these strays have not had close human contact and become feral cats. Feral cats generally stay far away from humans, presenting another tricky issue: how do we cut down on the population?

Friday, November 5, 2010

How to Train Your Dog to Ring a Bell

By Linda Cole

Teaching your dog basic commands is necessary to help keep them safe and well behaved. It's important to know that your dog will come when called. Once you've taught him how to sit, stay, come or any of the other basic commands, consider moving on to tricks. One fun dog trick that can make things easier for you, and hopefully improve your pet's life, is to train your dog how to ring a bell when he needs to go outside.

When you train your dog to ring a bell, it's just like teaching any other command. Make sure you have plenty of patience and CANIDAE Snap-Biscuit® dog treats. You can have your dog ringing a bell sooner than you think. This is also a good command to teach a puppy to help reduce accidents. Puppies can learn commands as long as you stay patient and consistent with them, and remember they're still developing in mind and body.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Caring for Your Dog’s Ears

By Suzanne Alicie

As a responsible pet owner, you want to do everything you can to make sure your dog has a long, happy and healthy life. You take your dog to the vet for checkups and vaccinations, you treat him for fleas and ticks, you groom him and keep him clean and brushed – but one area you may be missing is your dog’s ears.

Besides impacting your dog’s hearing, dirty ears can have an effect on his general health. Ear wax build up, ear mites and ear infections can occur if you don’t properly care for your dog’s ears. Basic cleaning and care will eliminate these problems before they occur. Think of cleaning your dog’s ears as preventative maintenance. The same as brushing their coat daily will prevent mats from forming, proper ear care will stop ear problems from happening.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How to Teach Your Dog Proper Leash Etiquette

By Linda Cole

Walking a dog is necessary to provide them with proper exercise and give them access to new stimulation they can't get locked up in the house all day. Many times, though, owners find that their dog is so excited and eager to see what's around the next corner, he ends up dragging them down the street. It's not difficult to teach your dog proper leash etiquette, but it does require practice and time.

As with any dog training session, pay attention to your dog and stop when he is tired. Make it fun and he'll be eager for the next lesson, especially if you have lots of CANIDAE Snap-Bits™ dog treats on hand for a reward. Stay calm, consistent and patient, and you can teach your dog to walk beside you on a loose leash. Walking a dog should not leave you feeling like you need a trip to the emergency room once you get back home.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Does Your Dog Chase Rabbits in His Dreams?

By Suzanne Alicie

Have you ever watched a dog sleep? First, it is really sweet to see their highly animated and active faces resting peacefully, but it is also rather entertaining to watch and wonder what is going on in a dog’s dreams. Their feet may move, their tail may wag, they may growl or even bark. Some dogs have been known to sleep walk and even sleep eat. In these ways dogs are much like humans; I am sure it would be interesting to know what a dog is really dreaming about that causes these activities.

Around our house we call it “chasing rabbits” when our dog is sleeping peacefully and then suddenly seems to be running, all the while lying on her side with her feet making running motions. Then it will stop and she will seem to rest peacefully again for a while. I have also heard our dog growl deep in her throat and the hackles on her neck stand up while she is sleeping. I made sure not to disturb her or wake her up for fear of being attacked simply because she was in a dream state. This is one reason that people who sleep with their pets should be wary.

Monday, November 1, 2010

How to Create Your Own Pet Emergency Kit

By Tamara L. Waters

You never know when a natural or man-made disaster will occur. Perhaps you already have a family disaster kit stashed somewhere, but what about your pets? To prepare for something that is unexpected and unpredictable, you should plan ahead by putting together your own pet emergency kit. Use some of these tips to get started.

A Container for Your Pet Emergency Kit

To keep all of your supplies in one place, you will need some type of container. A lidded box, backpack or duffle bag can hold your pet emergency kit and keep all items together and ready. Protect your kit from water damage (in the event of flooding) by putting all emergency kit items inside a plastic garbage bag, tie it tightly, and then put the bag into your container. Be sure to label your container “pet emergency kit” with a permanent marker. Mark it prominently in more than one spot.

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