How to keep your canines happy during wintertime romps.
By Audrey Pavia
Snow has been plentiful so far this winter, which is good news for dogs who romp in the white stuff. Not only is playing in the snow fun for dogs, but it also helps get rid of excess energy.
Before you bring your dog outside to run in the snow, take some precautions. Snow and cold weather can be hazardous to your dog’s health if you’re not careful.Frostbite is a distinct danger for most dogs’ ears, and snow and ice can cause plenty of discomfort on bare paws. It can also reduce traction, causing your dog to slip and fall.
The best ways to protect your dog during snowy weather include the following:
• Keep nails clipped. The shorter your dog’s nails, the less likely he’ll be to slip on the snow and have ice buildup in his paws. You should have your dog’s nails clipped regularly anyway to help him maintain healthy paws. If his nails are overgrown, cut or grind them yourself, or have it done by your groomer or veterinarian.
• Trim paw hair. If your dog grows a lot of hair between the pads of his paws, take a pair of scissors and cut the hair so it’s even with his pads. This will help attract less snow and ice to his foot. Be careful not to cut your dog’s pads as you are trimming. Make sure your dog is comfortable having his feet handled before you attempt this. If your dog struggles, ask your groomer or veterinarian for assistance.
• Try dog boots. If your dog still has trouble with ice and snow building up in his paw pads, consider rubber or nylon dog boots. These will protect his feet while he walks through snow. If possible, take your dog with you to the pet store when you buy the boots so you can try them on to make sure they fit. It will also give you a chance to see if your dog will actually wear them. Some dogs won’t tolerate boots and will pull them off. Expect your dog to walk funny the first time he wears them. In time, he should get used to the feeling of having something on his feet.
•Dress him warmly. If you have a shorthaired dog, a toy breed with not much hair, an older dog, a young puppy or a dog with health issues, consider dressing him in a sweater or coat before you take him out to play in the snow. If your dog plays rough-and-tumble in the white stuff, check the garment periodically to make sure it’s not soaking wet.
• Give breaks.To avoid frostbite, give your dog plenty of breaks when he’s out in the snow. Have him come inside to warm up for a bit before you let him go back out to play. Keep an eye on the tips of his ears, since these are most sensitive to developing a problem. If your dog’s skin begins to turn pale and feel cold to the touch, get him indoors right away. If the skin becomes red and swollen after it warms up, take your dog to a veterinarian right away for treatment of frostbite.
About the Author: Audrey Pavia is an award-winning freelance writer and author of “The Labrador Retriever Handbook.” She is a former staff editor of Dog Fancy, Dog World and The AKC Gazette magazines. To learn more about her work, visitwww.audreypavia.com
ABC Dog Training Program
Student of the Month
When Karen Garmon was just 14 years’ old, she met a woman with lupus who had several service dogs to help her with everyday life. Karen knew right then that she wanted to become a dog trainer to help others in similar situations. However, it wasn’t until recently—when her children were old enough—that she enrolled at Animal Behavior College to pursue her dream of becoming a dog trainer. Karen recently finished her externship and is currently doing her volunteer hours for ABC’s Students Saving Lives program. After her externship, the owner of a veterinary office reached out to Karen to see if she would be interested in teaching classes and working as a behavior consultant. She never imagined she would have such a great opportunity presented to her before she even graduated. She was pleasantly surprised by how things seemed to fall in place.
“The options are really limitless, and the sky is truly the limit,” Karen said. “When you love what you do, and the work is fun, you know you have found your niche.” Continue reading
ABC Grooming Instruction Program Student of the Month
Darline Jackie Griffin
Darline Jackie Griffin lives in Des Arc, Ark., and is in the process of completing her externship. She has been working with her mentor on a daily basis since October 2013. Jackie (as she prefers to be called) decided last year to pursue this career because of her love and passion for animals. Prior to attending the ABC grooming program, she worked as a carpenter for 10 years, ran a dairy bar and was also a private caregiver. Jackie loves working with her mentor and is thrilled that she gets to work with animals every day. Continue reading
ABC Veterinary Assistant Program
Student of the Month
Miriam Trent lives in Mulvane, Kan., and is the proud “mother”of a pit bull, two guinea pigs and a betta fish. A stay at home mom, when she’s not at the shelter working on her externship, Miriam often goes out to her Mom’s to work with her horses and other animals. Miriam’s life goal is to work for the Humane Society; she wants a rewarding job where she can make a difference. Continue reading
Dog Obedience Instruction Program
Canadian Student of the Month
It is not often that people become known within their industry solely by word of mouth, yet that is exactly how current ABC student Nikki Headon became involved in the dog training world. She began doing basic obedience in the Lloydminster area (which straddles the border between Saskatchewan and Alberta, Canada) for extremely cheap or sometimes even for free. Around that same time, Nikki began volunteering at her local SPCA. Between her obedience training and volunteering, she quickly became known for her work with particularly aggressive dogs. She was inspired to work with dogs that most people would have given up on. This passion for helping dogs in need prompted her to start her own dog rehabilitation and rescue. Coca’s Promise specializes in helping dogs with behavior issues and has helped many cats and dogs find their forever homes. Continue reading
Dogs Can Expect Plenty of Cheer this Holiday Season
Top 8 Gifts for Dogs in 2013
By Stacy Mantle
According to a poll from Petside.com, just over half of American pet owners will buy gifts for their pets this holiday season and they’ll spend an average of $46 doing so. Toys and treats top the list as favorite pet gifts, but new bedding, clothing, leashes or harnesses and grooming products make up 12 percent of Santa Paws’ gift list.
Here’s a look at our holiday favorite gifts and stocking stuffers this year.
1. Wacky Paws Travel Harnesses
When it comes to traveling with pets, you want something colorful and lightweight. This harness comes with a detachable pouch for easy storage of keys, phone and doggy bags while on your walk. They range in size from extra small to extra large and make the perfect harness for active pets. You can choose from light pink, deep pink, green, and blue. MSRP: $39.99 – $54.99
2. Honest Kitchen Treats
Have your pets been extra good this year? Treat them with a festive, limited-edition container of Holiday Quickies! These one-ingredient treats feature dehydrated haddock, making them grain-free with no fillers or by-products. These healthy treats make the perfect stocking-stuffer for dogs who deserve the purest, most delicious treats this holiday season. MSRP: $9.99
3. Sherpa Park Tote
Fashion meets function for pets on the go. This stylish carrier unfolds into a blanket for lounging on the grass with your pup. Lined with cozy faux lambskin, the carrier also features a side window with privacy flap. Pets can enter from the side or the top with easy zippered access. The entire carrier is machine washable for easy cleaning on the go. MSRP: $54.99-69.99
4. Loving Pets
Every dog should receive a new set of bowls this holiday season, and Loving Pets has a large selection of colors and designs to fit any personality. Milano Bowls™ are dishwasher-safe, resistant-to-bacteria and veterinary-recommended. The fashionable outer shells can be easily matched to your pet’s personality and consider this adorable treat jar from Loving Pets. Loving Pets brings new life to veterinarian-recommended, stainless-steel treat canisters by combining a stainless-steel interior with an attractive poly-resin exterior. MSRP: $14.99
5. Cycle Dog Collars
If you’re looking for something unique, consider an earth-friendly collar from Cycle Dog. These collars are made from recycled bicycle tires and are some of the softest, longest-lasting collars we’ve ever seen. Each collar features a latch-lock, stainless-steel buckle (which is more than 400 percent stronger than plastic buckles) and even contains a “pup-top bottle opener” for easy opening on the road. Perfect for dogs who are as active as their owners. Choose from a large variety of fun colors and designs. MSRP: $25.00
5. Hear, Doggy Ultrasonic Toys
If your dog loves plush squeaky toys, but you have no love for the sound of squeaky toys, the Hear, Doggy! Plush ultrasonic line of pet toys is for you. Hear, Doggy! toys are tuned to an ultrasonic range of 24 to 28 KHz (out of human hearing range) and are available in a variety of characters, both plush (stuffed) and flat (unstuffed). Select designs feature Quaker Pet Group’s proprietary Chew Guard™ Technology, a unique manufacturing process that adds a super tough, durable mesh liner inside the plush as well as reinforced, double-stitched seams. MSRP: $11.99 – $17.99
6. Busy Buddy® Bristle Bone®
This is a great toy for heavy chewers. Made from durable nylon and rubber, each Busy Buddy toy includes natural rawhide treat rings that encourage chewing. Soft bristles help keep teeth clean as dogs chew, and the natural rotation of disks help keep their attention. These fun toys will keep your dogs busy for days at a price you can afford. MSRP: $6.99 – $19.99
7. ThunderWorks Thunder Sweater
We all know the ability of ThunderShirt to ease a dog’s fear and anxiety, particularly in stressful situations (such as storms, having company over or the holidays). ThunderShirt’s patended design is based on the principles of T-Touch and applies a gentle, constant pressure around your dog’s torso, which has a calming effect during stressful situations. Now when you have holiday visitors, you can leave your Thundershirt on your pet and simply snap the stylish ThunderSweater over the shirt for a quick jaunt outdoors in cold, snowy weather. The new ThunderSweater offers all the calming benefits of ThunderShirt, but with added warmth. (Each ThunderSweater includes a ThunderShirt.) MSRP: $59.95
8. Duck Dynasty Dog Toys & Apparel
If you’re looking for a creative and unusual gift for your four-legged friend, we reckon you ought to join the Duck Dynasty revolution. A&E’s show has taken the world by storm and we know you’ll be as happy as a duck-huntin’ dog with afun selection of fashionable coats, T-shirts bearing the favorite slogans of Uncle Si, plush duck toys (shown) and yes, dog beards. Cat-bearding is so 2013; bring in 2014 with a dog beard and Duck Dynasty hat fashioned after your favorite duck commander. Toss a pair of dark Doggles on your dogs, and you’ll be ready for the New Year with “family-certified, redneck approved” duck gear from America’s first family of duck callers. MSRP: $9.99 – $19.99
About the Author: Stacy Mantle is the founder of PetsWeekly.com and the bestselling author of “Shepherd’s Moon.” Learn more great tips for living with animals by visiting PetsWeekly.com or get to know a little more about the author at www.StacyMantle.com
Our Top 8 Cat Holiday Gifts
When it comes to giving presents, your cats can be at the top of the list.
By Sandy Robins
More than 35 percent of cat owners spoil their furry companions with gifts during the holiday season. There’s a wonderful selection of fun ideas in all price ranges and sizes, from stocking stuffers to sculptured cat trees designed to put your feline in purr mode.
Here are our top eight gift ideas:
1. Catnip Stogie
The room will be smoking with revved up feline action when your cat gets her paws around a stogie of compressed catnip. It’s made from 100 percent organic catnip compressed into a roly-poly shape that’s easy to pick up and toss around. MSRP:$5.99.
2. Cat Tree Lookout
You cat can enjoy a simulated outdoor scratching and climbing experience with a cat tree that has a real bark and sisal scratching surfaces and place to snooze amongst some silk leaves, which will also provide endless enjoyment for playing hide and seek. Various designs, styles and shapes are available. MSRP: $119 – $1,299
3. Pounce Automatic Cat Teaser
The Pounce is an automatic, rotating, hide-and-seek cat toy featuring Marshal Maus, who zips around the circular path, zooming forward, reversing direction, hiding under obstacles and occasionally twitching back and forth. The unpredictable movement stimulates your cat’s natural instinct to hunt, chase and pounce on prey. It has various speeds and an automatic shut off button after 10 minutes. MSRP: $30.95
4. Leopard Cat Tote Carrier
Designed for small- and medium-sized cats, this durable carrier has a flexible frame and tightly woven wire mesh offering excellent ventilation and ensuring that claws won’t get caught in the material. It includes a machine washable faux lambskin liner, offers both top and side entry and has three roomy zipper pockets. It’s also available in black. MSRP: $73
5. Crazy Tail
Toys that mimic the thrill of the hunt hone a cat’s hunting skills and offer great exercise opportunities. The Crazy Tail is a battery-operated toy that can be attached to a doorknob. Switch it on and the string tail flies all over the place; it’s ideal for multi-cat households. Two AAA batteries are included. MSRP: $18.99
6. Feline Stationary For Fun and Games
The SuperCat™ range of feline stationary items include papers bags, post-it note-styled catnip crumples and scratch ‘n sniff stickers all infused with catnip bubbles that release the irresistible scent as the cat scratches on the surfaces or plays with the paper items. There are catnip markers that can be used to “draw’ on all surfaces, too. MSRP:$3.99 -$8.99
7. Loving Pet Vintage Black Double Diner for Cats
A vintage-styled brushed metal double diner in a fishbone pattern will add a decorative touch to your kitchen and provide your cat with stylish, but practical dinnerware.The raised diner keeps bowls off the ground to discourage pests and prevents them moving around as your cat eats or drinks. The removable bowls are stainless-steel, bacteria-resistant and dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning. The stand has a rubber bottom for skid-resistance; it’s perfect for food and water. MSRP: $16.99
8. NekoNapper—The Purrfect Cat House
The NekoNapper is a cozy pet house that wil lquickly become a popular feline snooze zone. It offers privacy as well as a nice lookout to keep an eye on household activity. It’s sturdily constructed but lightweight, so it’s easy to move around the home. MSRP : $70
About the Author: Sandy Robins is the 2013 winner of the “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contribution to the Pet Industry Award.” Her work appears on many of the country’s leading pet platforms, such as MSNBC.com, MSN.com and TODAYShow.com. She is a regular contributor and columnist in multiple national and international publications, including Cat Fancy, as well as the author of the award-winning books “Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat” and “For The Love of Cats.” Learn more about Sandy on her website or Facebook page. #welovecats
Holiday Safety Tips
Keeping Your Pets Safe During the Holidays
By Lisa King
In my last column, I outlined how to keep your dog safe at Thanksgiving. The concerns at this American holiday are mostly about food, but Christmas offers a whole new set of dangers for dogs and cats. When making decorating decisions this season, keep your pets’ safety in mind. Here are some guidelines to follow.
A lot of your precautions will depend on the personalities of your pets.
- How well-trained is your dog?
- Is he food-motivated?
- Is your cat a jumper and climber?
- Is she likely to try to climb the tree and knock off ornaments?
In any case, place your Christmas tree in a corner to reduce its accessibility to pets. Secure it to the ceiling or a high curtain rod with string or fishing line so your pets can’t knock it over. Move furniture away from the tree so cats can’t use themas launching pads to jump on the tree. If possible, put the tree in a room with a door so you can shut pets out when you leave the house. You can also put a folding gate around the tree to keep dogs away from it— of course; your cat will just scoff at this barrier.
When trimming the tree, leave a foot or two at the bottom of the tree undecorated. Don’t use edible ornaments; chocolate, candy canes, and popcorn and cranberry garlands can be tempting to dogs especially. Hold the tinsel—if swallowed, it can cause serious intestinal problems. Fake snow and flocking are toxic to pets as well. Use mostly unbreakable ornaments if you can. Sparkly, glittery ornaments are very appealing to cats. Don’t leave ornament hooks where pets can swallow them. Clean up any broken ornaments promptly.
Why Candles May Not Be Safe for Cats
Never put real candles on a tree. In fact, be careful where you put any candles. Don’t put them where a cat can knock them over. Don’t leave pets unattended in a room with lit candles; when you leave the room, blow them out. Make sure your fireplace has a sturdy screen that keeps pets from getting too close.
Keep the area around the tree vacuumed. Both real and fake pine needles can perforate intestines. Use a large, sturdy tree stand and cover it up, since the water inside contains pine resin and possibly flame retardant and other chemicals.
If your cat tries to climb the tree, put foil around the bottom of it and wrap some foil around the base of the tree. Cats dislike walking on foil.
Many other holiday plants are toxic to dogs and cats. Mistletoe; holly; amaryllis, narcissus, and other plants that grow from bulbs; and to a lesser extent, poinsettia, are all on the verboten list. Keep these plants out of your dog’s reach. If you have a cat, keeping things out of reach is more problematic, so perhaps you should forego buying these plants all together.
Pet Safety When Wrapping Gifts
When you wrap packages, shut your pets out of the room. If a dog or cat swallows a ribbon, your vet might have to remove it surgically. Pets can also run into trouble around bits of wrapping paper, Styrofoam and sharp scissors. Put the presents under the tree at the last moment so your pets aren’t tempted to explore them. Empty cardboard boxes, however, make fine playthings for cats.
After you’ve opened presents, clean up all paper and ribbons right away. Small gifts like toys and jewelry that a pet might swallow should be put away quickly, too.
If you have guests over, make sure purses and coats are in a room inaccessible to pets. Dogs have been known to root around in purses and take out vials of medicine.
The best way to ensure a safe holiday for all involved is to think ahead of time about your pets’ safety and take appropriate precautions. A new Christmas toy or two can also provide a distraction and a reward for good behavior.
About the Author: Lisa King is a freelance writer living in Southern California. She is the former managing editor of Pet Product News International, Dogs USA, and Natural Dog magazines. Lisa is also the author of the well-received murder mystery novel “Death in a Wine Dark Sea.”
Can Your Dog Herd?
By Audrey Pavia
Ever notice your dog trying to round up the kids while they are playing in the backyard, or move the cats around the kitchen in an orderly manner? If so, your dog is exhibiting more than just weird behavior. Depending on his ancestry, he might be letting you know that he has a good dose of herding instinct in his blood.
Thanks to two organizations devoted to preserving dogs’ natural working instincts, you might be able to find out if your dog has what it takes to herd more than just kids and cats: he might be able to learn to herd livestock.
In the days when the majority of dog breeds were being developed, agriculture was the way most dog-owning families earned a living. Farmers and ranchers needed the help of their dogs to manage an assortment of livestock, from ducks to horses. As a result of this early breeding, a vast number of dogs still possess the herding instinct that was bred into them generations ago.
To see if your dog has the inborn ability to herd and has the potential for advanced training, have his herding instinct tested. Not only it is fun to watch your dog’s instincts really kick in the first time he’s asked to work sheep or ducks, but you might decide to train him for competition, which can be loads of fun.
Herding Dog Breeds
The American Kennel Club, which registers purebred dogs, has designated 51 breeds as having herding instincts. Any AKC-registered dog from one of these breeds is eligible to be AKC herding-instinct tested. These breeds include the Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Shepherd, Bearded Collie, Belgian Tervuren, Bernese Mountain dog, Border Collie, Boxer, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Collie, German Shepherd, Giant Schnauzer, Old English Sheepdog, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Rottweiler, Samoyed, Shetland Sheep dog and Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, among many others.
AKC Herding Test for Dog Breeds
At an AKC-sanctioned herding test, your dog will enter a pen with a tester and some livestock, usually sheep or ducks. The judge will let your dog interact with the livestock, gauging how he handles them. For a dog to pass a herding instinct test, he must show an interest in the livestock without being aggressive, and must show a propensity for driving and fetching the animals.
After your dog is tested, you’ll be given a card with the judge’s comments on your dog’s natural instincts. The card will indicate whether your dog passed or failed.
If your dog passes the test, you’ll receive a certificate from the American Kennel Club in the mail. You can then take your dog’s herding abilities even further by training him to work.
Registering A Herding Dog with the AKC
If your dog is not registered with the AKC, is not a breed considered eligible for herding testing with AKC or is a mixed breed, you can still have his herding instinct tested. The American Herding Breeds Association (AHBA) provides herding capability tests to all dogs, designed to determine whether a dog has the instinct to herd livestock. Dogs who have shown to have the needed instinct can go on to be trained for competitive AHBA events.
About the Author: Audrey Pavia is an award-winning freelance writer and author of “The Labrador Retriever Handbook.” She is a former staff editor of Dog Fancy, Dog World and The AKC Gazette magazines. To learn more about her work, visit www.audreypavia.com.
ABC Grooming Instruction Program Canadian Student of the Month– November 2013
Animal Behavior College’s grooming student, Margaret Fox, lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Margaret began grooming when she started Animal Behavior College’s grooming course in February of 2013. Her love for grooming grows every day. She is currently enjoying her externship at Pet Planet Ranch Market, located in Strathmore, Alberta. Continue reading