Archive | March, 2013

5 Easy Tricks to teach your Dog

29 Mar

Dog-train-hero

Not every dog can sing, dance or play the piano. But, there are some tricks that every dog can (irrespective of their age!)  easily learn to perform. Tricks are a great way to offer your pooch the much-needed mental stimulation and entertainment. Not to forget the fun you would have teaching him all those cool acts.

So, here are some must-learn basic tricks for your dog. Do try them out and let us know how your doggie performs 🙂

Stand up

Hold a treat in front of your dog’s nose when he is sitting or lying on the floor. Give the command “stand” and slowly move the treat up and away from his muzzle. Your dog will have to stand up to grab the treat. The moment your pooch stands up, give him his treat, and praise him with a pat on the back or with an encouraging gesture to reinforce the behavior.

Sit down

Teaching your dog to “sit down” is yet another easy trick. While your dog is standing, hold a treat in your hand just above your his  nose (not too high else your dog would start jumping to grab it). Shout out your dog’s name followed by the word “sit”.  Now, move the treat away from his nose and towards his ears.  Your dog should now sit  down to grab the treat. Praise him by petting, if he understands your command and sits down to get the treat.

Shake Paws

Greet your pooch everyday by shaking his paw. To teach your dog to “Shake paws” just make him sit in front of you. Then take his paw in your hand and shake it. Keep practicing by extending out your hand, and using the command “Shake”. Praise your dog and reward him with a treat, if he offers his paw for a shake.

Fetch the Ball

Now that your dog can respond to your command to“sit down”, he can graduate to the next level and learn to fetch a ball. Once you get your dog to sit down in one place, throw a ball to a short distance and ask him to fetch it by saying “fetch”. Encourage your dog with treats and praises, if he makes an effort to run after the ball and pick it up. Fetching does not come instinctively to all dogs, so be patient with your pooch and keep practicing this trick, if he doesn’t get it easily.

Catch the Treat

This one’s a fun way to prod your pooch to get up and do some exercise. Just make your dog sit in front of you and toss his favorite treat in the air. Say “catch” when your throw. Make sure you don’t allow your dog to eat the treat, after it hits the ground.  Eventually, he will get desperate to get the treat, and make an effort to catch it in the air. Praise your dog and  give him a good petting when he catches the treat successfully.

Know any other  easy-to-do dog tricks? Do share them with us in the comments.

Image Courtesy: Dogster.com

Advertisements

Tips to take care of Puppies

22 Mar

So-cute-puppies-14749029-1600-1200

Raising a puppy can be a highly rewarding experience. However, those initial months of puppyhood are also the most challenging ones – for you and your pup. To ensure that your puppy grows up to be a healthy and happy dog, it’s important to provide him/her with the right food, training and environment in the early years.

Take a look at some of these tips for taking care of a new puppy:

Provide your puppy with good food

Puppies need to be fed at least 4 times a day in the initial six months. The diet must be rich in proteins, minerals, vitamins, and fats essential for growth. You can opt for any high quality commercial puppy food available in the market. To maintain some variety you could also provide your puppy with natural food like cooked meat (make sure your remove the bones); and finely chopped and steamed veggies including pumpkin, carrot, cabbage and spinach. It’s always better to consult your vet, before you prepare a diet plan for your puppy.

Regular Exercise is a must

Puppies being highly active in their initial years get a good dose of exercise by playing and running around the house. Once your puppy is vaccinated, you can also start taking him/her for daily walks. When outside, make sure you keep the pup on a leash and secure the dog with a name tag.  You can find dog tags, collars and leashes here, if you are planning to get some for your new puppy.

Playtime is essential

Unlike humans, ‘Play’ is part of a dog’s entire life. But, puppyhood is the best time for your pooch to snuggle up with toys and engage in fun games with you. Toys and games also have numerous health benefits for dogs. Read this post if you need some guidance on selecting the right toy for your puppy. You can also check out Woofilicious’s collection of dog toys if you are looking to buy toys for your pup.

Keep your puppy well groomed

The earlier you start grooming your puppy, the better. Establishing a regular grooming routine will not only help you keep a check on fleas, ticks and other skin ailments that dogs are susceptible to, but also provide you with an opportunity to bond with your pet. Want to buy dog grooming products and accessories? You can shop for them here.

Vaccination and Health Checkups

Vaccination is necessary to protect your puppy from several dangerous diseases.  Puppies are generally vaccinated against Canine Parvovirus, Canine Distemper, Canine Hepatitis and Canine Parainfluenza Virus, when they are 6-8 weeks old. A follow-up dose of vaccination may be given around 4 weeks later, and annual booster vaccinations will be required to keep your dog protected. Make sure your take your puppy to the vet, immediately after you bring him/her home, to get an overall health check-up done. You may be required to visit the vet after few weeks to get the pup vaccinated and after few months( around 6-8 months) to get the puppy spayed/neutered. Even after your pup reaches adulthood, an annual visit to the vet is a must, to keep your dog’s health in check.

Start training your pup from day one

You must start training your dog as soon as you bring him/her home. Good training in the growing up years solves common behaviour issues in the later stages of your dog’s life. It also helps you develop a healthy relationship with your dog.  It’s important to be patient and encouraging while training your pet. Reward your pup with a treat when he/she follows your commands and does things in the right way, and never punish the pup for making mistakes. It’s all part of the learning process.

 Socializing your puppy

It’s important to socialize your dog with other dogs and people during the growing up years. A well socialized puppy is less fearful and more confident when it comes to dealing with new situations and environments. During the early weeks and months, introduce your puppy to new people and places. Once you have vaccinated your pooch, you can take him/her to dog parks or other places, where he/she can socialize with other dogs.

Image Courtesy: Fanpop.com

 

 

Tips to keep your Dog healthy and safe during Summer

14 Mar

beach

With the warm and sunny days of summer finally here, everyone around us seems to be gearing up for some outdoor fun  – family get-togethers, adventure trips with friends, picnic with kids, and some alone time sunbathing on the beach. It’s not just we who are happier, even our four-legged friends seem to be more energetic during the warmer months. However, the season, along with all its positive attributes, is also accompanied by few potential dangers – sunstroke, dehydration, skin problems et al. Our pets are less likely to warn us about the impending dangers, so it’s really important that we take precautionary measures to ensure that they stay healthy and safe during summers.

To help your doggie  beat the heat and have more fun this summer, make sure your keep these points in mind:

Avoid vigorous exercise

Though it’s important to take your pet out for walks during summer to keep him/her physically fit, exercising too much is not a great idea, as it can lead to overheating. Stick to a moderate exercise regime, and try doing it during the cooler parts of the day ie. early morning and late evening hours.

Protect his/her paws with boots

Dogs absorb and release heat through their paws. During summer, the cemented roads and surfaces can get unbearably hot, making it difficult for your pooch to walk around comfortably. If you are taking your dog out for a walk in the afternoon, make sure his/her feet are protected with boots. Don’t have boots  for your doggie yet? You can shop for them here.

Don’t leave your dog in the hot sun and in the parked car

Avoid leaving your dog out in the hot sun for long hours. Allow him/her to rest indoors or in a shady spot. And never leave your dog in a parked car. The car tends to absorb heat, even if it is parked in the shade, and can cause your dog to become suffocated and dehydrated.

Keep your dog well hydrated

Provide your dog plenty of fresh, cool water to keep his/her body well hydrated. Keep a bowl of water around the house in an easily accessible place, so your pooch can drink it whenever he/she is thirsty. Carry bottles of water with you whenever you are taking your dog outdoors.

Keep your pooch well-groomed

Did you know that the coat of  the dog acts like an insulator, protecting him/her from cold in the winter and from heat in the summer? Keep your pooch well groomed, but do not give your dog a close shave as to remove this layer of protection.

Keep your pooch vaccinated

Fleas, ticks and mosquitoes that carry heartworm disease are more prevalent in summers.  Consult your vet and make sure your dog is vaccinated against these common parasites.

Watch out for the signs of Heatstroke

 Prevention is better than cure, and if you are keeping the aforementioned points in mind then your pooch is less likely to suffer from a heatstroke. However, it’s always good to keep an eye on your dog and watch out for these signs of  heatstroke:

  • Panting
  • High fever
  • Warm, dry skin
  • Bright red tongue and pale gums
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Refusal to obey commands

If you notice any of these symptoms, then try to cool down your dog, by keeping  him/her to an air-conditioned room,  by pouring cool water over the dog’s head and body, and by giving your pooch some cool water to drink. Heatstroke is an emergency and requires immediate treatment. Do contact an emergency vet clinic immediately.

Image Courtesy: Favim.com

Eat, Play, Run

8 Mar

small-dog-playing

In addition to having a nutritious diet and a regular exercise routine, toys play a significant role in keeping out pets healthy.  Being highly curious by nature, dogs tend to get bored easily; and in order to keep their boredom at bay, and avoid them from causing damage to our household property, we need to keep them engaged through toys and games.

Toys and games benefit dogs by:

  • Staving off Boredom
  • Boosting physical and mental health
  • Promoting healthy gums and teeth
  • Reducing separation anxiety
  • Counteracting destructive behaviour
  • Encouraging them to bond with their owners and with other dogs

There are different kinds of dog toys available in the market, ranging from Fetch toys, Chew toys, Tug toys, Plush toys, Treat toys to interactive Dog Puzzle Games. Your pooch might have his/her own preferences and it’s important to consider that while buying a new toy. Aside from that, here are few things that you must consider while choosing a toy for your dog:

Safety: Make sure the toy is safe and made of non-toxic materials. Also ensure that it does not contain any sharp edges that might hurt your dog while playing, or loose parts that your dog may pull out and swallow.

Purpose: Be clear about the main purpose of the toy. Is it to keep your pooch mentally stimulated or keep his gums and teeth in good health? Is it to comfort your pooch or distract him/her from aggressive behaviour? Here are the different benefits of different types of dog toys:

  • Promote good dental health: Chew toys, Tug Toys, Rubber Toys
  • Physical Fitness: Fetch toys like balls and frisbees
  • Reduce anxiety and keep them entertained: Plush Toys, Squeaky Toys
  • Mental Stimulation: Treat dispensing toys, Puzzle games

Size: Make sure the size of the toy is right for your dog. The toy should be small enough to allow your dog to hold it in the mouth, and big enough to prevent your dog from swallowing it.

Personality:  Always keep your dog’s personality under consideration while choosing toys. A timid dog that suffers from separation anxiety may feel better cuddling up with a plush toy, and an aggressive dog would enjoy playing with a toy made of harder material(like rubber) that can chew with all his strength, without ripping it apart.

Image Courtesy: Dapper Dogs and Cats

How Pet-friendly is your home?

1 Mar

puppy_labrador_hd_wallpaper-normal5.4

Can you leave your pets alone in the house without worrying about their safety? How pet-friendly is your home? Like babies, pets are highly curious, forever exploring new places; sniffing, licking and sometimes swallowing potentially dangerous things that they stumble upon during their avid explorations. Here are some of the things that you can do to pet-proof your home and make it safer for your four-legged kids.

Are there any Poisonous Plants in your garden?

You might love beautifying your garden with lilies, daffodils, hyacinths, carnations and other attractive plants, but by doing so, you are unknowingly putting your pet’s health and life at risk. All the aforementioned household plants are poisonous when chewed and eaten by pets. Take a look at this “List of Plants Toxic to Pets” if you want to find out whether you have any of these in your garden.

In addition to eliminating toxic plants from your garden, it’s important to plan your garden in a way that it doesn’t allow pets to mess around too much. Place pots high up and away from the pet’s view. This would prevent them from being knocked over and your pet getting hurt in the process.

Pet-proofing the yard

A sturdy gate and a strong fence can not only keep intruders out, but also keep your dog safe inside. Make sure the gate and fencing round the yard is tall enough, so your pets cannot jump over them, and deep enough so they cannot dig under the fencing and escape out of a hole.

Stash Medications, Toiletries and Food Items in the cabinets

Never leave medications, cosmetics, liquid cleaners, and other chemicals outside. Always keep these items locked away in closed cabinets, well out of your pet’s reach. Food items like chocolates, ice-creams, and alcoholic beverages might be as tempting to dogs as they are to us. But, unlike humans, these items are dangerous to dogs. For the complete list of foods that are toxic to dogs, take a look at this post by WebMD.

Avoid leaving knives and other sharp objects outside

Keep sharp objects like knives, utensils and glass jars away from your pet’s purview, and safely tucked inside kitchen closets, that your pet can’ reach and pull out.

Don’t keep any tempting chewables around

Dogs, especially when they are bored, would go about chewing almost anything that they can lay their paws on. It could be the furniture, the electric wires, your shoes or those clothes lying on the bed. Keep these tempting chewables away from your pet’s sight. Make sure your pooch has enough toys to play with, so he is not tempted to play with the odd things lying around the house. If not, you could get him some new toys from Woofilicious.

Keep Dog Safety Kit handy

With their insatiable curiosity and incurable naughtiness, pets can inevitably get into trouble. To arm yourself for such unexpected accidents, always keep a dog first-aid kit handy. Here are some of the items that you can have in the dog safety kit:

  • Scissors
  • Bandages and Dressings for Dogs( available in pet stores)
  • Antiseptic wipes or lotion
  • Cotton balls
  • Penlight or flashlight
  • Plastic eyedropper or syringe
  •  Rectal thermometer and lubricant
  •  Muzzle or strips of cloth to prevent biting
  •  Non-latex disposable gloves
  •  A notepad with phone numbers of nearby vets and pet clinics

What other steps have you taken to make your home more pet-friendly? Do share your thoughts in the comments.

Image Courtesy: Hqwalls.org

%d bloggers like this: