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A New Puppy for Christmas

Havenese puppyWhile pet experts agree that the busy holiday season is not the ideal time to bring home a new pet, the fact remains that a new dog or cat often tops the Christmas list for children and adults.

Bringing home a new puppy or kitten can be an exciting time, but having a pet is a commitment that requires research, preparation, and consideration not just of the humans in your household, but your other pets as well.

In this two part series, we will discuss how to make the homecoming of your new pet a joyful experience.

 

The New Dog
Step 1: Research

This begins with research. Breed choice matters, even if you are adopting from a shelter instead of buying from what we hope will be a reputable breeder if you go that route.

Dogs are loveable, but they are not all alike. They are bred to exhibit certain traits and behaviors, and prospective owners should not go by looks alone. The beautiful Border Collie you see on television is intelligent and good at tricks, but as a herding breed, it will also be a high energy dog with a high prey drive. Those pugs you like are adorable with their expressive, smushed in faces, but if you enjoy hiking in the summer, that flat face will make it more prone to hyperventilation in the heat. [Read more…]

Dog Parks in Raleigh, NC

Two dogs at North Hills Dog Park in Raleigh, NCWhether you are looking for a quiet spot to read a book while your pooch runs around, or you are searching for a thriving canine community to commiserate with, there is a Raleigh dog park for you. While Raleigh has four major dog parks in the city limits, not all are created equal. This is why we’ve put together a handy list of our six favorite dog parks in the Raleigh area.  All are off-leash, for your convenience.

Check them out and let us know what you think: [Read more…]

What to Look Out for On Your Next Dog Park Trip

Dog parks in Wake County, NC

Millbrook Exchange Dog Park

With a recent article on WRAL detailing plans from city officials to increase the number of dog parks in Raleigh, it might be a good time to check out what the city already has on offer.  Raleigh is well-known for its human-friendly green areas.  From William B. Umstead State Park to the inner-beltline Lions Park, it has relatively few spaces dedicated for the largest grown demographic of the city; our canine friends.

While new dog-friendly pop-up parks might be on the way soon, there are plenty of Raleigh dog parks to enjoy in the meantime.  Here is what you should know before grabbing your leash and taking Fido on a field trip. As a bonus, we include a list of our favorite dog parks in the Raleigh (and surrounding) areas.

Benefits of Dog Parks

Have you ever tried to maintain a routine of going straight from work to home and back again with no breaks for excitement or entertainment? Of course not! Life is about enjoying new environments and getting together with friends to relax and have fun.  Your dog feels the exact same way, except they don’t want to go to parties or concerts to have fun.  They want to get out and run around with you and other furry friends.  That’s why dog parks are so important for your dog’s routine.  Dogs who stay home with just the occasional trip around the block can become depressed and anxious.

[Read more…]

5 Steps to Stop Leash Pullers in Their Tracks

Dog pulling his owner during walk

Dog pulling hard on his leash

It’s a classic story: dog goes on walk, dog hauls owner all over the sidewalk.  By the time you get back home, your shoulder is sore and you are contemplating getting a gerbil instead.  Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be like this.  

Whether you are just starting your journey of reforming a chronic puller or you have a long relationship with a dog who hauls you around the neighborhood, there are several steps you can take to convince them to cut it out.  Here are five steps you can take to help your dog improve their leash manners and stop running you ragged on walks:

Change Their Collar to a Harness

Unfortunately, the traditional buckle collar for pups is one that is most comfortable to pull against.  Switch your tug-happy dog to a chest harness, like this one, to discourage pulling.  Harnesses apply pressure to the front of the chest when the dog pulls, and, if you attach the leash to the front clip of the harness, pulls the dog to one side.  Your dog will dislike the feeling when they pull and will self-correct with time.  

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Well-Behaved Dogs: Observing Good Dog Etiquette

Every neighborhood has that one house with a dog that won’t stop barking. The one whose owners are apparently deaf to the sound and certainly deaf to the complaints and shouts of neighbors who are tired of having their sleep disrupted. The erosion of dog etiquette is surely an indication that common courtesy is not what it once was. Excessive barking, leaving a dog’s feces on a neighbor’s lawn, and failing to prevent a dog from inappropriately sniffing a visitor are some of the common etiquette transgressions that dog owners either ignore or assume that others won’t mind. One of the most distressing things about breaches of dog etiquette is that so much of it comes down to common courtesy. No one expects a dog to be perfectly behaved, but it’s certainly reasonable to expect that dog owners would intervene and correct their pet’s behavior when their furry friend gets too ornery.

[Read more…]

February is National Pet Dental Health Month

February is National Pet Dental Health Month so we thought we’d spend a little time this week talking about what you can do to help keep your dog’s teeth clean and healthy.

Neglecting your dog’s teeth can lead to many serious health problems, the least of which is bad breath.  

The most commonly known to most people is heart disease and infection in the heart valves.  Bacteria from your dog’s mouth travels to the heart where it can cause bacterial endocarditis, causing permanent damage to the cardiac tissue and lead to heart disease and failure.  Other serious issues could be liver abscesses and sepsis, where bacteria enters the blood stream.  Both can be treated but it’s very expensive and often not successful.  Because of painful teeth and difficulty eating, many dogs will develop poor appetites which can lead to even more problems.  And lastly, osteomyelitis, a painful bone infection can lead to a broken jaw that is very difficult to heal.

[Read more…]

Preparing Your Puppy for Grooming

If you’ve just brought home a new puppy and you believe that you’ll be needing to have him professionally groomed as he grows, the sooner you introduce him to this process the better.  Once they’ve completed their vaccinations, usually around twelve weeks, is a perfect time.

As soon as you bring him home you can begin this.  Gently brush his coat when you can and play with his feet and ears.  Get him used to being touched all over.  This may seem obvious but taking a little extra time to do this will go a long way in helping him stay relaxed when the big day comes. 

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Pumpkin Dog Cookies w/ a Peanut Butter & Bacon Glaze

If you’re like me, you probably love spoiling your pups.  I’m not a big cooker but I do enjoy making things for Bailey.  He absolutely loves these cookies & I bet your dogs will too!  Made with pumpkin & drizzled with a mixture of bacon & peanut butter…what dog wouldn’t?!

[Read more…]

Dog Park Etiquette

Bringing home a new puppy can be one of the most exciting days of your life. It’s almost like being a parent as you mark the milestones of housebreaking, obedience training, and the end of the chewing that cost three pairs of shoes and the phone charger.

There are some things that puppies don’t outgrow, however, like the need to burn off energy. And since not everyone has a large yard or time for walks, the community dog park can be indispensable in keeping your canine companion happy and well-adjusted.

If you’re new to the dog park scene, it’s important to remember that these are public spaces, and as with any park, following both written and unwritten rules can make the experience positive for both you and other pet owners.

[Read more…]

Separation Anxiety in Pets

In a perfect world, we’d all be independently wealthy enough to stay home with our pets or have the kind of job that allows us to work from home so we don’t have to leave our beloved cat, dog, or bird.  But, we don’t live in a perfect world. Most of us have to leave for work or travel. And while we understand that the departure is temporary, our animals don’t.

If you’ve ever seen the relief in a dog’s face, been punished by a cat’s aloofness, or endured the ear-splitting cry of a cockatoo upon returning home, you’ll understand. To our animal companions, all they know is that they’re alone. “Alone” can feel scary, and that fright can manifest in behavioral or health issues.

Dogs can develop destructive behaviors like chewing, obsessive licking, or chronic barking. Anxious cats may begin avoiding the litter box. Birds may pluck or scream. In severe cases, animals can even develop ulcers.

This isn’t upsetting for your pet alone, but also for you. Here are some tips for helping your pet handle alone time: [Read more…]