Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year’s Resolutions for Cats

Rocky
By Rocky Williams, Feline Guest Blogger

Lately I have been hearing my hoomin, aka the Warden, talk a lot about something called resolutions. From what I gather, these are things that people resolve to change or improve about themselves in the New Year. Now, being a cat I generally think I am purrfect as is, and need not change a thing. However, just for fun I decided to make some resolutions of my own. Who knows, it might even inspire other cats who feel they need to improve upon purrfection!

According to just about everybody you could ask, the most popular New Year’s Resolution is some version of the “eat right, exercise more” mandate. But that one is just not necessary for me because I already eat great, thanks to the Warden. If there’s one thing she knows well, it’s how to tell which cat food is the good kind, and if she’s sold on FELIDAE that’s all I need to know. However, I suppose I could use a little more exercise to keep my handsome mancat body in tippy top shape. But just a little, mind you. I don’t want to become so muscular that every ladycat in town is meowing at my door for a date. I don’t have the stamina for that!

Speaking of food though, there are umpteen resolutions I could attempt. Such as, I resolve not to wolf down my own portions at lightning speed in order to “help” Mickey and Annabelle finish theirs. This will inevitably free up a lot of the Warden’s time, since she has to stand guard until those two painstakingly slow eaters empty their bowls. Talk about torture!

I could also resolve not to steal food from the Warden’s plate when she’s trying to eat it herself. Generally speaking, the paw is faster than the hand, which gives new meaning to the term “grab-and-go.” I always come away with something, but it’s not always something I want to eat. Case in point: the “mustard incident.” In a kind of slow-motion horror movie, the Warden watched as I mulled over what to do with a paw covered in mustard, until I finally decided to just put it down on the couch. That will teach her to eat in the living room!

I could resolve not to eat the Warden’s bread in the middle of the night, but it’s not really necessary since she started using the microwave oven as a bread drawer. Foiled again, at least until I figure out how to open that thing! I could resolve not to dig in the garbage, but this one is also not necessary since the Warden installed baby-proof latches on the cabinet door where the can is kept. Oh, I know! I will resolve not to scare the Warden by trying to get the cabinet door open, which makes a nice loud bang-bang-bang noise in the middle of the night.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

When Should You Rush Your Pet to the Vet?

By Linda Cole

It's not always easy trying to determine if a pet's injury or condition needs a vet's attention. If it's after hours, you don't want to waste your vet's time with a minor problem that can wait until the office is open, but you also don't want to not call just in case your pet needs professional help now. Emergencies happen and most vet clinics have numbers where they can be reached after hours and on holidays. Every pet owner should have that number written down and kept in a convenient place. Not all injuries or conditions require rushing your pet to the vet; however, there are warning signs and symptoms that can help you decide if it's a true emergency.

Minor injuries and some medical conditions can be taken care at home, but many pet owners haven't the foggiest idea what to do. There's nothing wrong with that, and it's why we have a trusted vet. Nevertheless, as responsible pet owners we should have a general idea of how to care for minor problems at home. An emergency trip to the vet is more expensive than an office call. One of the best ways to know if you need to call your vet is to know your cat or dog well. If your pet isn't acting like themselves, that's cause for concern and warrants a watchful eye from you.

Understanding how the weather can affect a pet is important because when it's hot outside, pets may not have their normal appetite. As long as they are drinking plenty of fresh water, skipping a meal now and then or not eating as much isn't a problem. But if they refuse to eat after missing one or two meals, that is a reason to be concerned. Hyperthermia (too hot) and hypothermia (too cold) are weather related conditions that can turn into an emergency.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lifestyles of 5 Rich and Famous Shelter Dogs

By Langley Cornwell

Bradley Cooper with Charlotte
How does this sound… one day you’re sitting in a cold, damp shelter eyeballing everybody that walks by. Wondering with each passing visitor if the next one will be ‘your’ person, the one to take you home and give you a place to feel warm and secure. Days pass slowly. Then one fine day, someone spends extra time in front of your cage. You are escorted into a ‘get acquainted room’ with that person and notice they smell really good. It’s nice the way they scratch behind your ears and call you ‘buddy’. After a short time, you’re escorted into a long black car and whisked away with the guy who smelled so good. Next thing you know, you’re eating a premium quality dog food like CANIDAE and sleeping in a deluxe bed. Suddenly, you find yourself in the lap of luxury!

That very thing happened to these lucky dogs when their paths crossed with these celebrities.      

Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper may be People magazine’s 2011 Sexiest Man Alive because of his blue eyes and his mischievous grin, but he’s tops on my list because of his love of rescue animals. In a 2009 interview, Cooper was more interested in talking about his shelter dogs than promoting his upcoming movie. At the time, Samson and Charlotte were his cherished companions. Samson was around fourteen years old and Charlotte was 6 or 7. Cooper talked about falling in love with each of them immediately, and referred to the dogs as his kids. Since then, Samson has crossed over the Rainbow Bridge but Charlotte is still right by his side, living the high life and even accompanying him onto movie sets. When it comes to women, one of the most important characteristics Cooper looks for is a love of animals. He claims that for a girl to stand a chance, she’s got to like his dogs. He staunchly declares that he and his dogs are a package deal.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Got an Extra Minute or Two? Train Your Dog!

By Linda Cole

We miss so many opportunities to work with our dogs. Relaxing in the backyard or on the deck after work, waiting for supper to finish cooking, watching TV, waiting for your turn to take your morning shower or any other times where we have a few extra moments. Training a dog is important, but there's no rule that says you have to make a big production out of it, and there's no law that says you have to spend a certain amount of time doing it. Dogs are smart and more than capable of learning most commands quickly. One minute at a time is all it takes.

Dog training is all about reinforcing a desired behavior. Once most dogs have learned the basic commands, it's just like riding a bike, so to speak. I have to giggle here, because as I'm writing this, I'm listening to a dog training minute happening in the kitchen while supper is being cooked. We're working with our dog Keikei to teach her a new command – turn around. If your dog is like Keikei and wants to be with you wherever you are, the opportunity to work on their training is always there. Take advantage of it.

Dogs end up in shelters because of behavior problems their owner couldn't or wouldn't deal with. It's no secret that the best way to ensure you have a well mannered and happy dog is by taking the time to teach him how you want him to act. Training your dog is also one way you can help keep him safe. Teaching your dog doesn't require hours and hours of time, but it does require three important rules to follow.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Meet the Blind Dog Rescue Alliance

By Langley Cornwell

Established in August of 2009, the Blind Dog Rescue Alliance – started by Karen and Eric Belfi – is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit group that spans the United States and Canada. Run entirely by volunteers, the organization’s mission is to aid blind and visually impaired dogs. Their work includes rescuing blind dogs from shelters, assisting blind dog owners, and educating the public about these wonderful canines and the joy of caring for one.

The Belfi’s interest in visually impaired dogs began when they were searching for a companion for their Siberian husky. As they combed the Internet for an available orphan, the dog that captured their hearts was blind (appropriately named Ray Charles). As a responsible pet owner, Karen Belfi located an online discussion group dedicated to blind dog care and advocacy; she wanted to learn about a visually impaired dog’s special requirements. The group assured Karen that a blind dog’s needs aren’t much different than the needs of a ‘regular dog,’ so a match was made.    

Karen and Eric remained active in the Internet discussion forum. They watched as the list of visually compromised adoptable dogs increased. Sadly, the list grew so large that otherwise healthy dogs were not finding homes in time, and were being euthanized. Unable to stand by and watch this trend, they joined forces with a few others in the discussion group and formed the Blind Dog Rescue Alliance.  

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Luckiest Cats

My Silly Annabelle
By Julia Williams

My good friend Kevin has been volunteering for his local animal shelter for many years. Kevin, aka meowmeowmans, writes about the homeless cats on his wonderful blog, Animal Shelter Volunteer Life. He tells of the lucky cats who find their forever homes, and he also features the many sweet souls still waiting to be adopted. I love to read the adoption stories, because I know just how much the lives of the animal and their new family will change for the better. I celebrate each of these adoptions, sometimes silently with a smile but very often with a “wahoo!” or a “yay!” In stark contrast, the stories of those not yet chosen make me melancholic. No animal should have to know abandonment and homelessness, yet far too many do.

Recently, Kevin posted about the kitties not yet chosen, and said he hoped they could find a home before Christmas. We know the reality is that most will not, and yet we can’t stop hoping that some will go from unlucky to lucky, if not before Christmas then at least sometime in the New Year. When faced with a reality that is less than ideal, hope is what keeps us going; it keeps us doing what we can do in the moment until a better time.

My version of a Christmas miracle would be loving homes for every homeless pet, nutritious food for every hungry pet, and love for every animal who is alone and lonely. I shudder to think what would’ve happened to my precious cats Rocky and Annabelle if I hadn’t been asked to water someone’s plants, only to discover two tiny kittens badly in need of rescue. If they had somehow managed to survive – which isn’t likely considering they were very ill and no one was caring for them – they wouldn’t have a better life than the one they have now, with me.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

How to Be Your Dog's Leader

By Linda Cole

Taking charge of a dog can be intimidating for some owners. If you start off on the wrong foot and the dog gets the upper hand, that's when behavior problems begin to show up, which can lead to an unhappy dog and owner. It's important for you to be your dog's leader no matter what breed or size your dog is. Picking the right dog for your lifestyle is important, but equally important is picking a dog you can and will manage.

I had a neighbor who had a Rottweiler he walked every day – or rather, the dog would drag him down the street. He was a muscular fellow, but he couldn't control his dog because he wasn't in command. She was a well socialized dog, but didn't listen to her owner. He never established himself as the leader of his pack. Most dog owners are responsible and caring, and want to do what's best for their dogs, until it comes to taking the lead role.

Behavior problems in dogs can be quickly turned around if you are their leader. Dogs are social animals and expect us to lead them. In their mind, there has to be a leader and if their human doesn't do it, they will step up and take it. Not because they want the job, but because it's a role that must be filled. As far as they are concerned, someone has to set the rules, make the decisions and maintain the peace in the dog's social order. Dogs understand and recognize the qualities of a strong leader and when you're in charge, it's easier to correct bad behavior.

How to take the lead role

Establish your role by teaching your dog what you expect from him. Body language is something all dogs understand. They are experts at reading other dogs, other animals and us by how we move, our expressions and our tone of voice. They know if we're happy or displeased with them by our body language and voice. There's no need to hit, kick or yell at a dog to get your message across. Positive reinforcement gains his trust and proves to him you are worthy of being his leader.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Win Six Free Months of EQUIDAE Horse Feed!

CANIDAE is best known for its premium quality food for dogs and cats, but what many don’t know is that they also have a line of horse feed called EQUIDAE. Now, I know that most of our readers have dogs or cats (and some of you have both!)... but if you happen to have a horse, read on, because you could win six free months of EQUIDAE feed for them!

EQUIDAE Photo Contest

Are you proud of your horse? Do you take first prize when it comes to giving your Equine friend everything it needs to be healthy? Now is your chance to show off how beautiful your horse is!

First, take a photo of your horse and then submit it on the EQUIDAE Facebook Photo Contest page. Entries may be color or black-and-white digital images, and less than 5 megabytes in size. You can even submit more than one horse if you'd like. Then you and everyone else can vote for your favorite entries until February 1, 2012.

From those photos that receive the most votes, CANIDAE will pick a final winner. Entries will be judged on the basis of creativity, visual appeal, and effectiveness in conveying the unique character of the horse.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Winter Safety Tips for Responsible Pet Owners

By Langley Cornwell

It is cold today, bundle-up-tight cold. I just got back from the grocery store and have not completely thawed out. While I was in the grocery parking lot, the only available space was beside a car with a small dog locked inside. As I stood between the cars planning my next move, an elderly woman approached. I started a friendly chat with her and subtly mentioned the dangers of leaving a small dog alone in a car during the cold winter months. I gently explained how a car can function much like a refrigerator, trapping the cold air inside and harmfully lowering the dog’s body temperature. She seemed grateful for the conversation, and went on to tell me how much she loved her ‘Sassy’ and would do anything for that dog.

Those circumstances compel me to write about a topic that has been well-covered but may serve as an important refresher this time of year. Here are a few important tips to help protect your cats and dogs during the winter months:

Be careful with chemicals. Many people use chemical products to melt the sleet, snow and ice from their sidewalks and driveways. If you live in an area where these types of products are needed, look for pet safe options. Of course, the salt or chemicals your neighbor and the local highway department uses may not be safe for pets. These potentially toxic products can cause a host of problems including chemical burns to your dog or cat’s pads, tongue and throat. Additionally, salt, antifreeze and other chemicals can cause a variety of illnesses when ingested.

If possible, train your pet to wear booties. If protective footwear is not an option, there are paw wax products available to help keep your dog safe on winter outings. Review these winter paw-care tips and always clean your pet’s chest, stomach, legs and feet with warm water when he comes in out of the ice, sleet or snow.

Monday, December 19, 2011

How to Trim a Dog's Toenails

By Linda Cole

Dogs aren't always cooperative when it's time to trim their toenails. I’ve had dogs that sat patiently while I trimmed away; however, most of my dogs look at me as if I'm going to take their nails off all the way up to their elbow. It's not a chore most dogs or owners enjoy, but it is an important grooming necessity. Trimming a dog's nails isn't really that bad, and you can do it without losing a finger in the process.

Teach your dog it's OK for you to touch his feet. The best age to get your dog used to having his feet touched is when he's a puppy, but don't despair if you missed that part of your pup's education. You can still teach an older dog to accept having his feet touched by using the same method you use with a puppy. Pick up a paw and hold it in your hand. Massage in between the toes and gently pull on the nails so your dog can become accustomed to the feeling. Teach him to shake hands to help him learn that paw holding is OK. I've always played with my dogs feet when they're snuggled next to me so they get used to having their feet messed with.

I like to use scissor nail clippers made for dogs, which have a stop on the back to prevent you from getting too much of the nail at one time. It looks like a short blunt-headed pair of scissors. Another nail trimmer works like a guillotine, but this trimmer makes it harder to see the nail you're trying to cut. I have also used the dremel-like tool made for dogs. It works well, but it's slow and you still need to be careful not to take the nail down too far because it can cut into the quick. Some dogs don't like the whirling sound it makes. Experiment to see which nail trimming tool is more comfortable for you to use, because that's the one that will work best for you.

Put your dog in a position that’s comfortable for him and don't restrain him. If you scare him or make nail trimming too unpleasant, he won't be cooperative. Have some CANIDAE TidNips treats on hand to reward him for good behavior. Be gentle but firm, and take your time. Don't try to trim the nail in one cut. Take a little off at a time until it's at the desired length, and be careful not to cut into the quick. The pink color of the quick is easy to see on dogs with white nails, but dark colored nails are impossible to see through. It's better to leave the nail a tad longer if you can't see where the quick is. Don't forget to trim the dew claws.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Oh, the Funny Things People Do for Their Pets!

By Julia Williams

Much has been written, here and elsewhere, about the funny things pets do. It stands to reason, since they always seem to be doing things that make us laugh. However, I haven’t seen much about the funny things people do for their pets. I have thought about it though, mostly because I wondered if I was alone in my quirkiness. As it turns out, I’m not the only one who does things for their pet that others – particularly the non-pet crowd – would find funny, odd, silly and/or kooky. How do I know this? I queried a group of my pet loving friends, and a few were even brave enough to tell me about some of the funny things they do for their pets! I’ll share their confessions with you, but first, some of mine:

When Annabelle is asleep on my computer chair, rather than move her I will sit on the very edge. No, it’s not the least bit comfortable sitting on an inch of chair, but Princess Annabelle doesn’t seem to notice my discomfort as she snoozes away. And if there’s a sleeping cat on my lap, I won’t move them for anything. If I should happen to become ravenously hungry or need to use the bathroom, woe is me…but the sleeping cat remains undisturbed until they decide to wake up.

Speaking of sleeping, with three cats occupying their favorite spots on my bed at night, I often find myself in Cirque Du Soleil-worthy contortionist positions because, well, they sleep where they want to sleep even if that leaves little room for me! If I need to get up in the night, I slide up slowly, inching my way toward the headboard until I can get up without disturbing the cat. That’s normal, right?

I forego vacuuming not because the carpet doesn’t need it, but because the loud noise of the “suck monster” scares the bejeebies out of my cats. I open cans of soup outside on the porch, but this is mostly for my benefit. I feel guilty when my cats come running at the sound of the can opener, because I know it’s not their FELIDAE and – persistent meowing notwithstanding – I have absolutely nothing for them. Of course, cats have supersonic hearing, so when I come inside with soup in hand I usually discover them waiting in the kitchen.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

How to Get Your Dog's Attention

By Linda Cole

No matter how well behaved a dog is, there are times when you just can't get their attention no matter what you do. However, sometimes it's important to get and hold your dog's attention if you need to distract him from another dog or person. Some dogs are more stubborn than others and will ignore their owner because they don't see them as the leader. Getting a dog's attention can help you prevent a dog fight or stop your dog from running out into traffic. In order to train a dog, you need to be able to get their attention.

My dog Keikei was given to me when she was 8 weeks old. She has always been a strong willed, independent and extremely smart dog who loves to learn. As she grew, it was obvious she thought she ran the household and I found myself with a young dog that was developing food aggression, leash aggression and other behavior issues that needed to be corrected. I wanted her to look at me so I could distract her attention from the other dogs to me when she felt unsure while I was working on her training. In the wrong hands, Keikei would have most likely found herself in a shelter because of her aggressive tendencies. She's an excellent dog and quickly learned to pay attention to me with or without treats. That's the goal you're shooting for, because you may not always have a treat or toy when you need your dog to pay attention to you.

Most dogs have something they really like. It could be their favorite CANIDAE dog treat, a special toy, lots of praise, or all three. Once you've discovered what they respond to, getting their attention isn't difficult to do. Keikei loves treats and praise. When dogs understand there's something in it for them, you'd be amazed how quickly they learn what you want to teach them. However, please keep in mind that when dealing with a dog with aggression issues of any kind, if you are uncomfortable or unsure how to work with them, it's best to find a professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist to help you with your dog's aggression. It can be corrected.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank, 2.5 Million Meals Later

By Julia Williams

Years ago, a kind-hearted pet lover had a dream. Where some might hope to strike it rich or “make it big,” Larry Chusid’s dream was more altruistic – he wanted to help the needy feed their pets. He wanted to make a difference in their lives by helping them keep the animals they dearly loved.

In November of 2009, Larry’s dream became a reality when The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank opened in Portland, Oregon. I’ve written about it here before, because were it not for CANIDAE and their initial $125,000 donation of pet food, Larry might still be in dreaming mode. But he isn’t, and it warms my heart to know that many, many people and their pets have benefitted because one man dared to dream, and a caring company generously gave what was needed to get this pet food bank going.

As often happens in life, seemingly chance events are life-changing moments. So it was with Larry when he met some CANIDAE folks at a pet-product trade show. The decision CANIDAE made to support The Pongo Fund has greatly impacted not only Larry’s life, but countless thousands of people and pets in their time of need. Now, just two years later, The Pongo Fund partners with more than 100 emergency food agencies, shelters and rescues in Oregon and SW Washington. By providing pet food to anyone with an honest need, Pongo succeeds in both reducing shelter populations and keeping people and their pets together.

I recently caught up with Larry to ask how things have been going.

Me: How many pounds of pet food have been distributed since opening day? 

Larry: We focus on individual quality meals, because each meal is a lifeline. In total we’ve provided more than 2,500,000 quality meals for approximately 42,000 animals belonging to nearly 19,000 families.

CANIDAE has been our primary partner since Day One. We could not do what we do without their consistent generosity and support. Our relationship goes well beyond simply donating food. They are our partner in the fight against hunger.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Top 10 Pedigreed Cat Breeds

By Langley Cornwell

The Cat Fanciers’ Association, the largest global registry of pedigreed cat breeds, recognizes 42 different breeds. Out of the 42, some breeds seem to make the ‘most popular’ list year after year. Here is a list of pedigreed cat breeds that often top the charts. 

Persian

Have you ever seen a photograph of a fluffy, white, longhaired cat lounging in the background of a fancy reading room or formal living room? If so, the cat was probably a Persian. One of the most popular cat breeds, Persians are gorgeous – and photogenic. They have circular, open faces and wide, round, expressive eyes.  Known to be gentle, sweet felines, Persians need to feel secure and comfortable. They are playful and enjoy attention but are not demanding cats. Persians make wonderful pets.

Exotic

Persians consistently top the list of popular cat breeds. For people who are interested in the attributes of Persian cats but don’t have the time to groom that long, luscious hair, the Exotic is a perfect choice. Exotics are bred to meet the Persian standard in every way except for their fur; the Exotic’s coat is dense, plush and short. Otherwise, their personality and temperament are much like the loveable Persians.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Special Achiever: Russ Fox and His Schutzhund Dog Artus

By Linda Cole

The word Schutzhund is German and means “protection dog.” Schutzhund is a very demanding canine sport for working dogs, to test their physical and mental abilities in a competition that measures tracking, obedience and protection. Although any dog breed can compete, the sport was developed for the German Shepherd as a way of showing off the dog's intelligence, willingness to work, endurance, body structure, tracking ability, courage and ability to follow commands. It's a sport that tests the dog and his handler. CANIDAE is proud to sponsor Russ Fox and his dog Artus who qualified for a spot on this year's Team Canada and recently returned from the World Championships held in Kiev, Ukraine. I had a chance to talk with him about this exciting sport.

Russ and Artus live in Ontario, Canada. Russ is the K9 trainer for a large municipal police service outside of Toronto. He works with 12 service dogs which has helped him develop as a handler and trainer for his own sporting dogs. “Every dog is different in how he/she reacts to training. Where some dogs react well to food or toys in training, others will work for genuine praise from its handler.”

Russ was drawn to the sport of Schutzhund because of the precision needed in training a dog in all aspects of the sport in tracking, obedience and protection, and he wanted to learn how to develop that in his working dogs. “When selecting a sport dog, we look for many qualities, similar to selecting a police dog. We evaluate the dog’s various drives – food, toy, fight and play – all of these and more helps us train the dog to excel in the sport. We want a well-balanced dog that is a confident social animal with high drives and heart to do the work.”

Russ prefers to feed Artus CANIDAE All Life Stages formula dog food. “Schutzhund is a very demanding sport on the dogs both physically and mentally. Like any athlete, nutrition plays a critical role for these dogs to succeed. With CANIDAE, I know my dog is getting quality nutrition so that I will get the best performance from him. All Life Stages has met the demands that Artus goes through during training. I have also used the pureSEA Salmon formula for another sport dog, and she is doing extremely well on it.”

Friday, December 9, 2011

Heroic Cats

By Julia Williams

Scarlett
A few weeks ago, I watched the Hero Dog Awards on television. It was fun to see some of the dogs I know through Facebook get honored for their heroic acts. It was also great to learn about other hero dogs I wasn’t aware of. This got me thinking – what about heroic felines? Why isn’t there a Hero Cat Awards show? Now, I know some of you probably think the term Hero Cat is an oxymoron. In truth, cats generally aren’t the first species that comes to mind when we think of pets that perform heroic deeds, save lives or put themselves in danger to help someone. Most cats have a “Me First” mentality, and some even have a “Me Only” mindset…or at least it seems that way when they want something. Ha! I did a little digging, however, and discovered a few cats that deserve to be lauded for their heroism.

Leroy 

This house cat from North Carolina is now known as the “Hero Cat of Maggie Valley” and was featured on both the Animal Planet network and TLC’s Must Love Cats show. Leroy is credited with helping his owner, Bryan Hickman, save the lives of several neighbors from a devastating fire. Leroy’s incessant loud meowing woke Bryan up early one morning. Bryan went downstairs to let the cat out the front door, but Leroy ran to the back door instead and pawed at it. When Bryan opened the door he saw huge flames billowing from the townhouse next door, and ran to awaken the occupants. The building was destroyed, but no one was injured thanks to Leroy!

KittyBaby 

The book Angel Cats: Divine Messengers of Comfort tells the story of a cat named KittyBaby who lived with Nancy Strand in a cabin in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. After bears started passing through her neighborhood, KittyBaby took on the role of protector, said Nancy. “One night as I prepared to go outside, KittyBaby firmly pushed me away from the door. He pressed hard against my leg, redirecting me to another area. The next morning I discovered that a marauding bear had ransacked our garbage can. On numerous other occasions, when KittyBaby sensed a bear nearby, he would stand between me and the cat flap on the door and growl as if he were a big dog!”

Thursday, December 8, 2011

How to Socialize Puppies and Adult Dogs

By Linda Cole

All puppies need to be socialized, and if you've adopted a dog from a shelter or bought an older dog, you may need to spend time socializing him, too. Sometimes a dog gets into a fight with another dog at a dog park or at a friend's house, and it leaves him wary of other dogs. A new person or pet in the home can cause a dog to need socializing again also. It's important to make sure your dog or puppy is well socialized with people, new things in his environment, and other pets in the home.

Socializing a Puppy

Just like kids, a puppy's early life can set the stage for how he behaves and his ability to accept new things in his life. The first 8 - 20 weeks are extremely important for your pup's development, and that's the best age to begin socializing a puppy. It's up to his owner to make sure he's exposed to new things on a regular basis so he has an opportunity to learn what's expected from him and how to act when confronted with something new.

He needs to be exposed to people, other pets in the home, other dogs and new places, sounds, sights and smells. He needs to experience things he'll have to deal with in his life. And he needs to be able to learn in a positive way so he's not apprehensive when something new comes his way later on in his life. Because a puppy hasn't received all of his vaccinations yet, check with your vet for advice on when you can expose your pup to other dogs and people outside the home. Your pup is also capable of learning basic commands at an early age, which helps him learn who's in charge.

Introduce your pup to new people and situations during this period. You will want him to meet men, women, older people, children and other pets. Expose him to people riding bikes, skateboards, men with beards, people in uniforms, and women/men with short and long hair. Dogs do notice the differences in people, and the more your pup has a chance to meet different people, the more confident and calm he'll be.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Training an Older Dog

By Langley Cornwell

Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks! You can also teach them new behaviors. While the approach is different than training a puppy, an adult dog is entirely capable of learning.

If you’re wondering why you would need to train an adult dog, consider these scenarios:

• You’ve recently adopted an older dog from an animal shelter or rescue facility and – while sweet – the dog doesn’t know basic commands.

• You want to teach your longtime companion new activities to keep him active; activities like agility, hunting, or obedience trials.

• Your dog has developed a few bad habits or is getting petulant and snippy.

• You recently retired and plan to start traveling with your dog.

There is a solution to all of these situations as long as you stay patient and approach the task knowledgeably.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Meet Disc Dog Champ Kirby McIlveen

By Julia Williams

It is my pleasure to introduce you to 17-year-old Kirby McIlveen, a CANIDAE Special Achiever. Kirby and her talented team of canine athletes compete in Disc Dog competitions across the United States. They not only compete, they excel, as evidenced by the many impressive records they hold. With her dog Torch, a McNab, Kirby became the first female and youngest ever at 17 years old to win the 2011 Skyhoundz World Championships!

CANIDAE is proud to sponsor Kirby and her dogs through its Special Achievers program. CANIDAE accepts only the very best canine athletes for sponsorship, and Kirby and her “Disc Dogs” are a perfect example of how premium dog food can contribute to athletic excellence. Kirby’s five dogs all eat CANIDAE food, naturally, and their good health and ability to excel at their sport helps promote the many benefits of a premium quality holistic pet food.

How old were you when you began competing in Disc Dog?

I started training and competing in disc dog competitions when I was 12 years old. When I was 13, I started freestyle with my Border Collie, Sketch.

How did you get started? What inspired you to try the sport?

I initially had a Shih Tzu, Lucky, who liked to play agility. I wanted to get another dog for agility, and decided to get a Border Collie. Sketch came into my life when I was 10 years old. He had a lot of energy, as most Border Collies do, so we needed another activity for him. We joined a disc dog class at an agility school. From there, we found out about the Disc Dog world and competitions.

How many dogs do you compete with?
I compete with five dogs, all powered by CANIDAE. Sketch, Flash, and Torch compete at a top level, while Blitz and Spirit are still “in training.”

Sketch - 7 year old Border Collie; Flash - 4 year old McNab; Torch - 1.5 year old McNab; Blitz - 4 year old Border Collie; Spirit - 1.5 year old Terrier Mix

Monday, December 5, 2011

Six Small Dogs with Big Jobs

Jack
By Linda Cole

Small dogs aren't usually the ones who take on herding jobs, and they generally aren't considered good search and rescue dogs. However, small dogs are proving they have the tenacity and ability to take on big jobs. There's even one small dog who has the right stuff for searching out and finding ghosts.

Jack is a Cairn terrier and a personal trainer. With his owner and certified personal trainer, Dawn Celapino, owner of Leash Your Fitness in San Diego, CA, Jack is helping other dog owners and their dogs get into a healthy lifestyle through exercise. Dawn's unique exercise class teaches clients to use their dogs as their exercise partner. She started her business after she discovered Jack was the perfect workout partner and it was a good a way to spend more time with him. Dawn has developed a fun exercise program that helps dog owners stay in shape and allows even the most hyper dogs a good way of using up excess energy. She encourages her clients to bring their dogs, even ones with behavior problems, and has enlisted the help of dog trainers who help owners with their dogs. Agility and obedience training are incorporated into the class.

Bevy, a Corgi, is owned by Scott Wiley from Musselshell, Montana. When she was born, her mom didn't have enough milk to feed Bevy and her siblings so they had to be bottle fed. Bevy, the runt of the litter, only weighs around 22 pounds, but she has the desire and heart of any good herding dog. Corgis were bred to herd, and Scott depends on Bevy and his three other Corgis to help him round up and manage 300 herd of cattle.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Interview with Homer, the “Blind Wonder Cat”

By Julia Williams

When a tiny homeless kitten was just a wee lad of three weeks, he developed a terrible eye infection. His eyes were surgically removed to save his life, but that was not the biggest obstacle the brave little kitty would face. Finding a forever home for a blind kitten is a daunting task, and his fate seemed all but sealed. Luckily, he met a kind woman named Gwen who knew at once that she loved this plucky little ball of fur despite his handicap. She took him home and named him Homer.

That decision proved to be life-changing for Homer and for Gwen, as this spirited kitty who didn’t know he was different has taught Gwen many things. Among them, that “love isn’t something you see with your eyes.” Gwen wrote a book about her life-changing decision to adopt the little blind kitten no one wanted, and Homer's Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat became a national bestseller. It’s a wonderful book that would make a great Christmas gift for a cat lover, and Gwen gives 10% of her royalties to charities that serve blind cats. Homer graciously agreed to an interview so our readers could get to know a little more about him. You can also follow Homer on Facebook!

JW: Why does your Mom call you a Wonder Cat?
Homer: Because of how amazing I am! ;-p  Seriously though, nobody ever expected a blind cat like me to be able to do much.  So the fact that I can do everything any other cat can do— and even some things they can't—makes mom say that I'm a real wonder!

What are some of the challenges you face not being able to see?
It takes me a little longer to learn my way around new rooms (although once I learn where everything is, I never forget!), and if my mom leaves something like a pair of shoes lying around, I usually trip over them.  Mom says I force her to be neat, which is a good thing!  I used to be more startled by loud noises if I didn't know where they were coming from, but my mom always made me feel very safe and secure.  Loud noises haven't scared me much since I was a kitten.

If you could have your sight for just one day, what would you most like to see?
I'd most like to see the faces of everyone in my family.  I know what they look like in my head, but not what they really look like.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hypothermia and Your Pet: What are the Signs?

By Linda Cole

Winter is just around the corner and as temperatures begin to fall, so does the danger of pets developing hypothermia. It doesn't have to be freezing for us or our pets to become too cold. If you have an outside cat or a dog that enjoys winter sports or just playing outside in the snow, you should know what the signs of hypothermia are and how to treat it.

A good friend of mine recently told me a story about a kitten she had. “My tiny kitten accidentally fell into the toilet while I was sleeping and couldn't get out. I walked in and found her lying in the bowl with her head out of the water. She was shivering and unresponsive. Not having a clue what to do, I rushed her to the emergency vet, where they told me she was hypothermic. She was totally fine in a few hours, but man was I scared.”

Hypothermia can be a serious, life threatening condition. Knowing what the signs are can save your pet's life. We usually associate hypothermia with winter time and cold temperatures, but as my friend's story shows, it can happen inside the house as well.

What causes hypothermia? The core temperature of the body falls below its normal temperature. Pets that get too cold can experience a mild (90 – 99 degrees F), moderate (82 – 90 degrees F) or severe (less than 82 degrees F) drop in temperature. A dog's normal body temperature is 101 to 102.5, and a cat's normal temperature is 100.4 to 102.5.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How My Dog Taylor Got Painted

By Diane Matsuura, CANIDAE Customer Service

This is the true story on how my Labrador Retriever, Taylor, got her portrait painted, but first I need give you a little bit of background information.  My very good girlfriend of 20 plus years, Trudy Soneson, is an artist.  She creates lovely paintings in oils.  I am a photographer.  I can photograph anything but I can’t paint, even walls with a roller, without making a mess.  I have always been in awe of those who can create art by drawing and painting. I digress, so let’s get back to the story. Taylor always loved to curl up in our patio chairs like a person to take a nap, and one evening she was curled up in her favorite chair in her favorite position watching us while we were eating dinner. Trudy and Eric (her husband) were our dinner guests that evening. 

Trudy, the artist she is, was inspired and said, “Take her picture and I’ll paint her.”  Jumping at the chance to have a portrait painted of my dog, I quickly snapped the photo through the patio door.  The photo didn’t turn out so well, seeing that the screen was also in the way, the glass was dirty with paw prints and it was getting dark.  However, Trudy’s finished painting of Taylor was so perfect and did justice to my beloved dog in a way that my photo never could.  Several years later Taylor passed away, and to have this perfect memory of her on that evening, preserved forever on canvas, means more to me than words can ever express.

I decided to write an article about Trudy – how and why she paints pet portraits – and share her thoughts with our readers here at the Responsible Pet Ownership blog. So here it is – her interview with me conducted at the CANIDAE office.

Question: How do you start a portrait, and do you need anything special?
Trudy: I want a clear photo of the pet with a good natural light source that emphasizes the bone structure and fur, especially around the face and eyes.  It’s very important to see the eyes because the eyes show the character of the pet more than anything else.  Multiple angles and positions are very helpful.

Q: How long does it take you to paint a portrait?
T: As a client you will need to be patient. Painting the portrait takes time. I like to have the client view the unfinished portrait during different stages. You want the client to be happy. They know their pet the best. For example, how they hold their ears, tail, etc., and it’s easier to make changes in the painting in the early stages.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

From the Shelter to the Championship Circle

By Langley Cornwell

When I read about a shelter dog that finds a loving forever home, it warms my heart. When I read about a shelter dog that finds a loving forever home and goes on to make it in the big leagues, I stand up and cheer, warm heart and all. The story of Wallace will make you feel the same way.  

Nobody is sure about the first part of Wallace’s life. He was a wandering stray when some good Samaritans found him and took him to the Humane Society. Being an overly energetic, high-drive dog, Wallace had a real struggle; he couldn’t acclimate to the boredom of kennel life. The animal shelter staff was losing faith in this ‘impossible’ pup. The longer Wallace lived at the shelter, the worse his behavior became. His future didn’t look bright.

That’s when Roo Yori and his wife Clara learned about Wallace. With the help of other animal lovers and advocates, the Yori’s pulled this athletic dog out of the shelter environment on August 1, 2005.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Six Ways to Keep Your Dog Smelling Fresh

By Linda Cole

Dogs don't care what they smell like. If they can find something stinky to roll in outside, in their mind, it's an interesting and rewarding experience. Hmm…it’s not so rewarding for us, however. Since I work from home and am with my dogs all the time, doggy odor is not a smell I notice, but I know it is noticeable to other people. There are some tricks you can do in between baths to help keep your dog smelling fresh and less offensive to people who might not appreciate your dog's smell. You can have company over, and still enjoy your dog!

Feed a quality dog food like CANIDAE to help tackle doggie smell from the inside out. CANIDAE has Yucca Schidigera Extract in it, which helps reduce bad breath and foul smelling stools. To help keep your dog's breath smelling fresh, CANIDAE Snap-Bits® and Snap-Biscuit® dog treats contain peppermint. Diet plays such an important role in our dog's good health, and lesser quality foods can contribute to how a dog's skin and coat feels and smells. A high quality pet food is more cost effective in the long run, because your dog doesn't have to eat as much to get all the nutrients he needs, and he eats less.

Dog or baby wipes are quick and easy to use. Both are gentle on your dog's skin and will help to deodorizer him. Avoid using the wipes around the eyes, however. I prefer using the wipes made for dogs, but in a pinch, the baby cleansers are a good alternative if you need to freshen up your pup's smell. Both are also handy to keep in the car to clean up muddy feet before they can track up your backseat. Vinegar and water is another good deodorizer for dogs. Fill a spray bottle with about a third vinegar and the rest water. Shake it up and then mist on your dog. The vinegar won't harm him and it will get rid of those doggie smells. Make sure you don't spray the mixture in his eyes or ears. You can also spray the solution on his bedding in between washings to help keep it smelling fresh.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Why I’m Thankful for My Cats

By Julia Williams

Thanksgiving is a day when many people take a few minutes to think about what they are thankful for. Some families like to do this at the dinner table before the feast. I’m all for this Thanksgiving tradition, but for the last few years I’ve been trying to have an “attitude of gratitude” every day rather than just one day in November. Taking a few minutes each day to give thanks for the good things, large and small, helps me to see that even though things may not be perfect, I am truly blessed.

My “thanks giving” ritual is comprised of many different things, but always includes my cats. I like to give thanks that they are healthy, happy, safe and well fed. I also like to express gratitude for their loving presence in my life. These delightful, silly and sometimes sassy kitties make my life worth living, and I am eternally thankful for their friendship.

I’m thankful for the healing power of Purr Therapy, and how the simple act of having a happy cat on my lap or in my arms can make everything all right. I’m thankful there is always someone here who is willing to listen to whatever I want to talk about, even when I babble.

I’m thankful for cold, wet little noses that give me kitty Eskimo kisses. I’m thankful for the big bear hugs of my big fluffy boy, Rocky. I’m thankful for the funny way that Mickey gently touches my hand with his paw when I’m eating something he wants to sample. I’m thankful for the smile that always comes when Annabelle softly mews in the middle of the night, her way of asking me to lift up the bedcovers so she can crawl underneath.

I’m thankful for the joy I feel whenever I see my fur babies sleeping so contentedly by the warm fire, or curled up snug as a bug in their little bed. I’m thankful for the way their presence makes this house feel like a home. I’m thankful there is always someone here so that I never feel lonely or alone.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Will You Be Watching the National Dog Show Tomorrow?

Eli, National Dog Show Ambassador
By Linda Cole

This year, the National Dog Show will celebrate its 10th anniversary. The televised dog show has become a Thanksgiving Day tradition along with the Macy’s parade. What better way to spend the holiday than surrounded by family and friends as you enjoy a fun filled afternoon of marching bands and floats, good food and lots of great dogs.

I was invited to attend a phone press conference last week that included David Frei and Mary Carillo. David is the Communications Director for the Westminster Dog Show, and Mary is a retired tennis pro turned sports broadcaster. David is hosting the National Dog Show this year, and Mary is the featured reporter and commentator.

The National Dog Show is one of only six dog shows where the public is invited to go behind the scenes to meet the dogs and talk with their handlers and groomers. The show draws the top ranked dogs and this year's entries will be close to 2,000 dogs. Dog lovers can see firsthand how show dogs are prepped for the big stage. Around 20 million dog loving viewers tuned in to watch last year's show.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Diabetic Alert Dogs Help People Reclaim Their Independence

By Langley Cornwell

What do trained service dogs do when they’re a bit too fun loving to be a guide dog for the blind? Some go back to school to become diabetic alert dogs.

Hypoglycemic unawareness is common among type 1 diabetics; many people with diabetes don’t realize they are experiencing a rapid drop in blood sugar until it’s too late. Unchecked, this severe drop in blood sugar can result in confusion, dizziness, sharp stomach pains or even blackouts and seizures. These unfortunate responses can make a diabetic feel confined, restricted and unable to enjoy a ‘regular’ lifestyle. A specially trained service dog empowers insulin-dependent diabetics to reclaim their independence and triumph over the disease.

Dogs for Diabetics

Dogs4Diabetics (D4D) is a non-profit organization committed to offering medical alert dogs to diabetics. These dogs are trained to identify the subtle scent shifts in body chemistry that accompany the onset of low blood glucose in their insulin-dependent human companions.

Former scientist and part-time guide-dog trainer Mark Ruefenacht started D4D in October 2004, reports Healthline.com. A diabetic himself, Ruefenacht forgot to check his blood sugar one evening and fell asleep. During the night—as he was experiencing a low blood sugar induced seizure—he was awakened by one of the puppies he was training. Sick and confused, it took Ruefenacht a few minutes to get his bearings. The dog instinctively knew something was wrong and insistently badgered Ruefenacht until he got up and ate some sugary food.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Why It's Important to Be Your Dog's Leader

By Linda Cole

A strong pack leader knows who their dog is and understands that in order to have a stable and happy dog, it's the human who needs to take control of the pack. Even one dog makes up a pack with his family. Being the pack leader involves understanding how dogs view their world. Because we domesticated dogs, it's our job to provide stability and a safe environment for them. Taking the lead role is what dogs expect us to do. If we don't take the lead they will, and that's when behavior problems begin.

It's up to us to teach our dogs how we expect them to act around the home, both with other people and other family pets. According to local and state laws concerning dogs, it's our role as owners to make sure we are capable of keeping them under control to keep the public safe as well as the pet. Dog owners have their pet's best interest at heart, but too many people have problems taking the lead role. Dogs are individual creatures and some definitely have a mind of their own. Each one has their own personality, and few dogs are shy about trying to move into the lead spot if they believe their owner hasn't filled that spot.

Like the wolf pack, dogs also have a hierarchy in their family and one member of their family must be the leader. It's a simple concept for the dog, but dogs aren't wolves and our interactions with our pet are different than how wolves interact in their packs. Dogs are considered to be juvenile wolves that are dependent on us for their safety and needs. If we want our pet to be calm and stable, we have to be their leader.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Isn’t It Time to Retire the Crazy Cat Lady Stereotype?

By Julia Williams

I read an article recently that described cat ladies as “quitters” and lonely sad sacks who never leave the house. By contrast, dog ladies were said to be outgoing, athletic, adventurous and full of life. Stereotype much? The article went on to claim that while dog memoirs (aka dogoirs) are inspiring, life-changing things of beauty, no comparable thing could exist for cat memoirs because “cat ladies only get to be one thing: lonely.” Seriously? Excuse me while I hack up a hairball on that article. cough. gag. urk.

Ah, I feel so much better now! =^..^=

I wish I could say this article was satirical, that this stereotypical characterization of the sad sack cat ladies was a joke. But I can’t…because it wasn’t. And this, I must admit, did peeve me just a bit. It doesn’t surprise me though, given that Crazy Cat Ladies are perhaps the last group we – and by “we” I mean society – are still allowed to make fun of. In fact, many people get a big kick out of ridiculing women who love cats, as though there is something wrong with it, something so “abnormal” about it that these women couldn’t possibly be functioning, happy, friendly people who engage in life and with others. Again… cough. gag. urk.

I watched a dumb show once where one of the characters said “Women with candles replaces women with cats as the new sad thing.” Claiming that loving any animal can be sad just seems so idiotic to me. Dogs, cats, horses, hamsters, gerbils or bunnies – why should it matter to anyone else who or what we choose to love? Newsflash! I’m a woman, I love cats, and I am definitely not a sad sack. I’m not lonely either, not one teeny tiny bit. I even leave the house on occasion to interact with society! And guess what? I’m not an anomaly either. I happen to know many women who love cats, and none of them are lonely old spinsters hiding away in a house full of felines.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Puppy Rescue Mission: Bringing War Dogs Home

By Linda Cole

Military rules are clear when it comes to troops in a war zone and pets. They are not supposed to keep or care for pets at all. Thankfully, this rule is bent when men and women in the armed forces overseas adopt homeless pets. Puppy Rescue Mission is an organization that's helping to bring these war zone pets home.

On the Puppy Rescue Mission’s Facebook page, a poster shows a soldier crouching down and petting a kitten. The poster reads: “It is man's sympathy with all creatures that first makes him truly a man.” I thought about the poster – the image and the words, and how true it is for anyone who loves animals. Soldiers have always befriended pets in foreign lands where they were stationed. Rescued dogs have tagged along on patrols, and have been credited with saving the lives of soldiers. Anna Cannan created the nonprofit Puppy Rescue Mission after her fiancé Chris befriended a group of dogs living at the outpost where he was stationed while serving in Afghanistan.

A few weeks before Chris arrived at the outpost to begin his tour of duty, a suicide bomber had snuck into the outpost during the night. Three stray dogs living at the camp rushed to defend the outpost and attacked the bomber. The dogs stopped what could have been a devastating attack when they kept the suicide bomber away from where the soldiers were sleeping. Unfortunately, one of the dogs was killed and the other two were injured but recovered. When Chris arrived, he and his fellow soldiers embraced the dogs, including a litter of puppies belonging to one of the injured dogs. Chris knew he would eventually return home, and he and Anna began to brainstorm how they could rescue some of these brave dogs and send them back to the States for adoption. Anna began a Facebook page to try and raise the $3,000 per dog it would cost at the time they began their mission to rescue Afghanistan dogs needing homes. You can read their entire story on the Puppy Rescue Mission website.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ways to Save on Pet Food and Treats

By Julia Williams

Finding ways to save money is on a lot of people’s minds nowadays. Tough economic times call for figuring out how to stretch the budget. We all need to eat though, and so do our pets. With that in mind, here are a few ways to save on dog food, cat food, pet treats and even horse feed!

Coupons

Until recently, I wasn’t much of a couponer because it didn’t seem worth the trouble. TLC’s Extreme Couponing show sparked my desire to begin using coupons, and once I saw how much I could actually save, couponing has become a way of life. Some people think you can only buy junk with coupons, but it’s not true. You can find coupons for just about anything – including healthy pet food.

Many pet food companies have coupons for dog food, cat food and pet treats on their website and/or their Facebook page. CANIDAE Natural Pet Food Company has several different high value coupons on their website that anyone can request. You can save up to $4 off FELIDAE pureELEMENTS or pureSEA dry cat food, and up to $5 off CANIDAE pureSKY or pureLAND dry dog food.

The CANIDAE website also has coupons for TidNips™ treats for both dogs and cats. These coupons are even better because they are BOGO (in couponing lingo, that means buy one get one). So, you buy one package of Tidnips treats (which my cats ecstatically endorse) and you get one free! If you happen to have a horse, CANIDAE even has a BOGO coupon for its line of horse feed called EQUIDAE. In a couponer’s world, free is the magic word. Don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t get something good for free, because it’s simply not true!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Purpose of a Dog’s Tail

By Langley Cornwell

We all know what a dog’s tail looks like. We know the tail starts at the end of a dog’s vertebral column and extends beyond his body. We know a dog wags his tail when he’s happy. Other than that, we’ve probably never thought much about it.

There are some types of dogs that are born without a prolonged tail, and there are dogs whose tails have been altered. Some herding and working dog breeds have their tails docked short when they are young; a long tail can be a disadvantage to a working dog because it can interfere with his specific responsibilities and duties. But we’re talking here about the tails of dogs that are long and unaltered, and the many purposes these tails serve.

Communication 

I can tell what my dog is feeling by the way she holds or moves her tail. Her ears speak volumes as well, but that’s a story for another day. Her tail tells me if she is happy, stressed, aggravated or scared. When she holds her tail high and wags it back and forth, she’s happy. A CANIDAE dog treat never fails to elicit that happy tail wag! When she’s both happy and excited, her tail is high and she moves it in a circular manner which always makes me smile. When something captures her attention, her tail is parallel to the ground.

When my dog is aggravated or feels challenged, she holds her tail a bit higher than her attentive position but not as high as her happy position. I know she feels especially provoked when her tail is held upright and it’s puffed up and rigid.  

Too often, our shy girl tucks her tail between her legs, which lets me know she is scared or feeling submissive. And when she keeps her tail low and wags it quickly, she’s nervous or insecure.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dog Commandments

By Keikei Cole, Canine Guest Blogger

I'm happy to follow my “dear leader” everywhere, even into the scary places if she’s stupid enough to go there. Well, someone has to keep an eye on her! There is no other critter that will stand by their “boss” as steadfast and loyal as the magnificent, charming creature you call a dog. Case in point: you've never seen a movie about a cat named Lassie racing home to get help for Timmy. Right? I rest my case. BOL!

OK, listen up humans – I'm here to give you some important dog commandments that will make our lives much better. If you break these commandments, the great dog star in the sky will rain on your head.

Dog Commandments:

You shall understand from day one, I will always be the QUEEN of your home. I give my trust and loyalty to those who have earned it, and I expect to be treated with respect at all times. My unconditional love is your reward.

You shall not blame me for what I can't control. I am not a cat, and I need to go outside on a regular schedule. If you don't get me outside in time, don't get mad at me when accidents happen. Walks are preferable because I need some excitement, too. Plus, it keeps me from wanting to eat the couch.

You shall not be critical of my “handshake.” Sniffing from behind is polite dog etiquette. Your eye rolling or red face won't change how we say “HI.”

You shall always reward me with quality treats. When I'm good, praise is great along with my favorite CANIDAE treat because it shows me how much you care. And the QUEEN always gets what she wants from adoring subjects.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Top Ten Reasons to Love a Cat

By Julia Williams

Ah, to love a cat. What’s not to love, really? Well for starters, there are those nights when you get up to use the bathroom and your bare feet step in something squishy. I don’t love my cats all that much in that moment. And then there are those days when they are naughty for no other reason than because they just want to see how red your face can get. But other than that, there are plenty of reasons to love a cat. One that won’t make my list, however, is the oft-used “they give you unconditional love.” I’m pretty sure my cats have at least one condition, which is that they be fed regularly. If I withheld their food for very long, I’m thinking they’d give their love to a neighbor without so much as a backward glance at me. But I digress. Here are my top 10 reasons to love a cat.

10. Cats are such good little helpers around the house. They keep the tub from getting water spots by licking it dry right after you shower. They make sure any crumbs that fall to the floor never need to be swept up. They help you decorate by re-arranging your knickknacks. They keep the coffee table free of clutter, and they make sure your bookshelf is always dusted (with a built in duster no less!). 

9. Cats are always willing to give fashion advice. Case in point: the hilarious feline ‘Catfoodbreath’ posted my favorite tweet ever – “I napped on your outfit to keep you from leaving the house looking like someone who didn’t own a cat.” Having a cat also serves as a deterrent to wearing drab black too often. (Black pants are THE biggest fashion faux pas if you have a cat!).

8. Cats are remarkably self cleaning. There are very few good reasons to give your cat a bath, and considering how they react to being submerged in water, it’s not something you should be doing anyway.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Meet the Latest RPO Winner - Sadie of Beaded Tail Fame!

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 to the blog via email during the past quarter. The winner gets to pick any formula of CANIDAE dog food or FELIDAE cat food.

The lucky winner from last quarter is Sharla V. of Corvallis, Oregon. Sharla has a beautiful Alaskan Husky named Sadie who will be 11 years old in December. Sharla also has two cats, but has decided that Sadie should be the one to try the CANIDAE food, and has chosen to receive 3 bags of All Life Stages (ALS) and 3 Bags of CANIDAE Beef and Fish.

Some of you may recognize the dog in these photos. That’s because Sadie is often featured on Sharla’s wonderful pet blog called Beaded Tail! I asked Sharla to tell us a little about Sadie, and here is what she said:

“Sadie was rescued by the humane society from a puppy mill in Nebraska when she was just a month old, along with 40 adult dogs and 6 litters of puppies. When my mom heard about these dogs, she went straight to the humane society and put our names on the list of people who wanted to adopt. When the courts finally said the huskies could be adopted, the humane society had raided a Yorkie puppy mill so the huskies were being sent to other shelters to make room. Only two husky puppies stayed behind; one went to a shelter employee and we got Sadie!  

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How to Protect Your Pet from Wildlife Predators

By Linda Cole

No matter where we live, we share the land with wildlife. Birds of prey, like hawks and eagles, can pose a danger to cats, small dogs, kittens and puppies. Depending on where you live, coyotes, mountain lions and bears may also be a threat. An attack by a wildlife predator can happen in the blink of an eye. How quickly we react can make a difference, and learning how to protect yourself and your pet is your best weapon.

Most predators are active during sunrise and sunset, but they will hunt anytime. Unless you have a 10 foot fence around your property, wild animals will venture into your yard in search of food. Protect your pets by keeping your yard clean. Keep fruit and nuts picked up under trees, and don't leave food sitting outside where it can be found by wild animals. Coyotes will eat anything, including fruit, and you don't want to encourage predators to come into your yard.

Compost piles, thick brush or bushes and wood piles make great hiding places for predators. Situate your compost pile away from the areas used by you and your pet, or keep it in an enclosed area. Keep the area under bird feeders cleaned up. Never leave uneaten pet food outside. Secure trash cans with locking lids so they can't be tipped over, or keep them in a garage or other outside building. Make sure doors are closed to outside buildings to keep unwanted guests out.

Keep your dog on leash during hikes. A dog running ahead of his owner on a trail may return with a predator hot on his heels. If you meet a predator in your own backyard, or while out hiking or walking your dog, stay calm and never run. Pick up small dogs and cats. A stout walking stick is a good weapon to help fend off an attack.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tips for Introducing a New Dog to a Household with Cats

By Langley Cornwell

We have a cat and a dog, and they are best friends. The introduction was easy for us; we rescued the animals together, so they were getting accustomed to us, our home and each other at the same time. It worked beautifully. But what do you do if you already have cats and want to adopt a dog?

Cats and dogs can live together in harmony, even if you bring them into the household at different times. Much of their long-term relationship depends on the manner in which they are introduced to one another. As long as you are patient and mindful of each animal’s natural tendencies, the transition should be fairly peaceful.

The initial meeting of an adult cat and a puppy

If you have an adult cat that has no experience with dogs, introducing her to a rambunctious puppy requires extra care. Keep these tips in mind:

•  Put the pup on a leash during their first encounter. Keep the leash loose enough for the dog to behave naturally, but make sure you are in control of the meeting.
•  Allow the dog and cat to sniff each other – it’s an important aspect of their initial meeting.
•  Try not to overreact to hissing, growling or barking, which are typical ways for new animals to communicate. Be ready to separate the animals if the hostility escalates.
•  Puppies are naturally energetic; their overzealous behavior can trigger a quick and serious attack from a wary cat. Stay alert.

If none of these tips work, separate the animals with a crate, baby gate or in rooms with an adjoining door where they can sniff each other under the door. Keep them separate for a few days, allowing them time to become acquainted without coming into full contact with one another.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dog Heroes That Saved Lives and Property

Shana
By Linda Cole

The bravery and loyalty of dogs fills the pages of history with unselfish acts of heroism. Dog heroes can be mixed breed and purebred, but the one thing they all have in common is a steadfast devotion to their owner. It can be argued that dogs act purely on instinct, but I think they also act on love and recognize when the people they love are in danger. Many dog heroes were rescued themselves by their owner.

Shana, a half wolf/half German Shepherd, was rescued as a sickly two week old pup. In 2006, she was 7 years old and weighed 160 pounds, which came in handy when she saved her owners, 81 year old Norman and Eve Fertig. The couple had been tending to animals on the Enchanted Forest Wildlife Sanctuary in Alden, N.Y. when a sudden winter storm hit in early December. The storm knocked down huge trees at the sanctuary, trapping the Fertigs between two buildings. It also knocked out the electricity.

Temperatures plunged to freezing, and Norman and Eve were trapped outside without warm clothes or shelter. What Shana did next amazed the couple and firemen who made it to the sanctuary the next morning to check on the couple. Shana began to dig through the snow and dirt under the fallen trees and kept digging until she had a ditch dug all the way to the house. She returned to Eve, grabbed her sleeve and slid the 86 pound woman onto her back. Norman grabbed Eve's legs and Shana pulled both of them through the ditch to their home. Safely inside, she then laid across the couple to keep them warm through the night. From start to finish, it took Shana almost 8 hours to dig a trench 200 ft. long. She was given an award that's usually only given to humans – the Citizens for Humane Animal Treatment's Hero's Award for bravery.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Maneki Neko, the “Lucky Cat” of Japan

By Julia Williams

As good luck charms go, the Maneki Neko is perhaps the cutest one of all. Of course, as a cat lover I am probably biased, but still – the friendly feline known around the globe as Maneki Neko is pretty darn adorable, don’t you think? Chances are, you’ve seen one of these little cat statues sitting at the entrance of your favorite Japanese or Chinese restaurant, or some other place of business. You might even have one displayed in your home. But while that sweet, smiling cat beckoning you with an upright paw might look modern, the Maneki Neko is actually an age-old custom that dates back several centuries, to Japan's Edo Period (1603 to 1868).

What is the Maneki Neko?

The Maneki Neko is a popular Japanese sculpture that’s believed to bring good luck. Maneki Neko means “Beckoning Cat,” and it’s often called that and other names including Welcoming Cat, Lucky Cat of Japan, Money Cat, Fortune Cat and Prosperity Cat. The cat figurine, typically made of ceramic, is often placed by the front door of businesses and homes to welcome guests and attract wealth. Though the Maneki Neko originated in Japan, it's now found worldwide and is a popular collector's item.

Although I’ve seen many different interpretations of the Maneki Neko – including one that bears a striking resemblance to another Japanese icon, Hello Kitty! – they usually always have a red collar and red ears. Some have a bell on their collar, while others have a koban (a gold coin from the Edo Period.) Many also carry a scroll bearing the message “Please come in. You are welcome!”

Maneki Neko Symbolism

There are two versions of Maneki Neko, each with a different meaning. With its left paw raised, Maneki Neko welcomes customers and guests; with its right paw raised, Maneki Neko invites good luck and money. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with displaying both versions to cover all the bases!

Opinions differ on whether the Maneki Neko is a male or female, but most agree that the cat is a Japanese Bobtail. This ancient breed comes in many different colors, but the original Maneki Neko statues were calico, or mi-ke which means “three fur.”

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Special Achievers: Search and Rescue Dogs Ontario

By Linda Cole

Dave Walker and his team of professional humans and dogs make up an all volunteer, nonprofit Search & Rescue (SAR) group, assisting police agencies at no cost to them. The Search and Rescue Dogs Ontario are members of the Hamilton Police Service, and assist in ground search and rescue operations wherever they are needed. I spoke with Dave recently to learn more about this amazing team that’s sponsored by the CANIDAE Special Achievers Program.

The SAR team is made up of four Dutch Shepherds – Raina, Bliss, Nico and Ace – and four handlers, plus Dave. Several of the dogs were rescued or adopted from homes where they weren't wanted, and two puppies are in training to replace two retired SAR dogs. Dutch Shepherds (herding dogs from the Netherlands) are used because they have the work ethic of the German Shepherd along with the extremely high drive of the Belgian Malinois. The team is on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and has been with the Hamilton Police since 2004. 

I asked Dave how long the team had been feeding CANIDAE to the dogs, and if it made a difference in their health. “Several of our dogs have been on CANIDAE for over 5 years with great results,” he said. “For almost a year now all of our dogs (4 working dogs, 2 puppies and 2 retired dogs) have been switched to CANIDAE after we saw the great overall health and energy level of the dogs that were on it. CANIDAE All Life Stages dog food has proven to be a good food for our SAR Canine teams. As their ages range from puppies to current working dogs (5-7 yrs.) and our retired dogs (10 yrs. old), the All Life Stages has worked very well for us.”

I asked if he thought it helped the SAR dogs do their job and he replied, “The tremendous stress that this work sometimes puts on the dogs because of the terrain, extreme temperatures and the physical endurance they need to do the work, makes CANIDAE a great choice for us. It gives all of our dogs, no matter what age, the required nutrition to remain healthy in this challenging work. CANIDAE food keeps their energy levels at top performance.”

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bed Bug Detection Dogs Sniff Out Pests!

By Julia Williams

When I was young, my mother used to recite the ditty “Good night. Sleep tight. Don't let the bed bugs bite” as part of our bedtime ritual. Now, I didn’t actually know what a bed bug was, in fact I didn’t even know such a bug even existed, but the saying always made me giggle. Bed bugs were mostly a legend back then, as the pests were largely eradicated in the U.S. by pesticides like DDT. Bed bugs remained a problem overseas, however, and travelers unknowingly brought them back to the states. As a result, bed bug cases have surged in recent years, so much so that some say we’re experiencing a “bed bug epidemic.” Pest control companies now have a new weapon to wage war on these biting bedfellows: dogs! That’s right – dogs are being trained to use their incredible olfactory ability to pinpoint where the nibbling critters and their eggs are hiding in homes, hotels and businesses.

Can Dogs Really Sniff Out These Microscopic Pests?

Of course they can! Detection dogs have become highly proficient at finding bombs, drugs, people, weapons and even certain types of cancer. Bed bug “detective work” is just another way we can use their exceptional sense of smell to benefit mankind. Not only that, but dogs can locate these pests quicker and more efficiently than humans can, thanks to a nose that some call “cutting edge technology.”

A dog’s sense of smell is said to be more than 1,000 times more sensitive than ours. In fact, a dog's sense of smell is so acute it can even detect odors that scientific instruments can’t. Train the canines to sniff out bed bugs, and these pests don’t stand a chance!

Why Bed Bug Detection Dogs Trump Humans

The feeble human nose is unable to detect the smell of bed bugs, and must rely on a visual inspection. However, because the critters are so small – newly hatched bed bugs are about the size of a pen tip – finding physical evidence can be like looking for that proverbial needle in a haystack. It can take a mere mortal several hours or more to conduct a visual inspection, whereas a well trained bed bug detection dog can sweep a room in minutes. Moreover, pinpointing the exact location of bed bugs in a home or business reduces both the amount of chemicals used and the treatment costs.

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