Archives: Guest Post
Editor’s Note: This is a paid, sponsored post. All views expressed are the author’s and don’t necessarily reflect those of OMD!
Having been told that my dog Flash was overweight, I was tasked to take him home and get him fit. Much easier said than done considering he was the world’s least obedient dog as well as the laziest. The only thing that got him up and moving was the sound of his dog bowl being filled. My vet recommended using a diet dog food for him to ensure that his calorie intake was not too high, but she did stress that the best way for him to lose and maintain weight loss was to up his activity levels.
Flash has never lived up to his name. When I got (a three-year-old rescue dog) he was already overweight and was not a fan of being taken for walks or running around. I drag him out twice a day for exercise, but it is a case of me forcing him off the sofa and out of the door and heaving him around the field. He is no fitter but my arm muscles are superb.
I decided to invest in a dog training course to see if an instructor could offer some pearls of wisdom as to how to get Flash out and enjoying himself running about. She took on the challenge and proceeded to try and entice Flash into sitting and walking with a variety of toys and shouts. The attempts fell on deaf ears so we decided to resort to bribing him with food. I was hesitant about this due to his diet, but the instructor suggested taking his bribery food (or treats as they were known) out of his daily kibble allowance so not increasing his calorie intake and still being able to use food to entice him into shifting himself.
As Flash loves his food, even the diet food has been a massive success. I was optimistic that it would work and true to form Flash followed the instructor and her kibble everywhere we went. We did some shuttle runs leaving a treat at each turn. We did a biscuit crumbs trick, which we looped across a long course; the trick was to set it up whilst he was not looking then allow him to hunt for the treats. This trick can’t really be done out on a walk but, I have found it a great way to get him to play in the garden. He will now even run and fetch a ball if it means getting a treat at the end of it. I have also invested in a Kong ball which you hide his food so he has to push the ball about to release the food, no more sitting and munching for this boy!
No one likes to leave their dog at home, so why not take them with you? There are a variety of accessories out there designed to make sure that you and your pooch have a safe, comfortable journey. Embarking on a road trip with your pet can be exciting, but having them in the back can, equally, be very distracting. Take a look at this guide from Izzy at UK-based company, PassSmart, on how to keep you and your pooch safe on the road.
Take plenty of breaks
Before you set off, make sure your dog has had a chance to stretch their legs, because you don’t want them to get too restless in the back. Take regular breaks, and, if possible, let them off the lead. Make sure they go to the toilet while you’re stopped, and before you get back on the road, give them a drink of water. Make sure you’ve got plenty of water with you, especially if it’s a hot day, to keep them hydrated.
Plus, you’ll need to stretch your legs too!
Keep them securely in their seat
It may be tempting to have them ride in the passenger seat next to you, especially if it’s just you and them in the car, but you should avoid this. To make sure your dog is safe and secure, you can buy a dog guard. For smaller dogs, you could also buy them a crate or carrier to travel in. You could even get your pooch a doggy seat belt. The car harness comes in different sizes to suit every dog’s needs, and provides another way of keeping your dog safe in the back.
Make sure their carrier is well ventilated and is spacious enough to keep them comfy. Familiarize them with the carrier before your trip, in order to show them it’s nothing to be afraid of. You could pack their favorite toy in there with them to help them get used to it.
Don’t leave them in the car
We all know the dangers of leaving a pet alone in the car. If you’re getting out for a long period of time, take them out with you. Otherwise, you could buy a car window vent, which keeps your car secure, whilst ensuring the vehicle is ventilated. This is especially important on hot days, when your dog could become dangerously dehydrated if left.
All heads in windows, please!
Your pooch might love riding with his head out of the window, but this is dangerous for a number of reasons. Not only is there a chance he or she could be hit by something, but it may be distracting to you, and other drivers.
To keep you both safe, you need to have your eyes on the road, but making sure that they’re OK could divert your attention. This is why knowing they’re safe in their carrier is so important.
Supplies, supplies, supplies
We’ve already looked at how crucial taking plenty of water with you is, but don’t forget to take some treats, too! Give them their meal a couple of hours before you set off, to allow their stomach to settle before taking to the road. Avoid feeding your pooch whilst on the move, as this might upset their stomach and leave you with a bit of a mess to clean up!
Instead, take plenty of treats with you and feed them a couple when you take a break. Think of it as rewarding them for being such a good passenger!
Your furry friend going missing is any pet owners worst nightmare. Make sure you’ve got your dog microchipped, as taking them to unfamiliar places may disorientate them. Keeping hold of their lead when you get them out of the car should ensure they can’t run off, however, getting them microchipped, just in case, is a good idea.
Although you probably won’t be required to present them, it’s a good idea to take copies of your dog’s vaccination certificates if traveling through states. Keep them packed in with all your other documents, because it’s best to be on the safe side!
Finally, enjoy yourself and take plenty of photos for the family album!
This sponsored post was brought to you by Izzy Guarella. When she’s not hanging out with her dog, Zyggy, you can find her writing for PassSmart.com.
Editor’s note: The is a paid, sponsored post. Posts like these help keep OMD! up and running.
Needless to say, things have been a little hectic around here for the past several weeks. In early December, we found out that Maggie had melanoma and would be needing surgery to remove the tumor and the nearby lymph nodes. We got through that and the surgeon got clean margins but found that two of the five lymph nodes that were removed tested positive for cancer cells. While not the best possible outcome, it wasn’t the worst one either. So, she had another surgery last week to go back in and remove the rest of the lymph nodes from the region. It was much more invasive than the first surgery, she’s in a lot more pain, and the recovery period is going to be a bit longer.
Throughout all of this, Emmett, Lucas, and even Cooper have been great. They’ve been careful around Maggie, curling up around her in bed keeping her company, and doing their very best to cheer her up. The support we’ve gotten from friends and family has been amazing as well. Maggie has gotten cards, cookies, flowers, and tons of good wishes. Friends and family have dropped off food, come by to cook for us, and have come in to help take care of Maggie while I deal everything else. Melanoma or not, work still needs to get done, bills still need to be paid, and the house needs to be cleaned.
We’re incredibly grateful for everything that everyone has done and said over the past few weeks. Things should slowly get better over the next few weeks or so, and I’ll do my best to keep everyone updated if Maggie can’t get some posts up (though she’s going to try – she really misses writing about dogs and keeping up with all of you). While Maggie is recovering, I’m going to continue to dote on her continuously and do everything I can for her, although there is seriously no way I can compete with this:
And who would really want to?
Note: This post was written by Patrick Griffin of The Wilderness Society. I was super excited about this because my three dogs LOVE hiking!
Is there anything better than having a happy dog around the house? How about a happy dog out of the house?
Dogs love the outdoors; it’s obvious every time you offer to take Fido for a walk or let him out to use the backyard. Regardless of season, weather or time of day, our furry friends have a knack for turning any time outside into playtime.
Your dog can be a great motivator to spend more time out of the house yourself. Whether it’s a routine daily walk around the neighborhood, or a hike through a national forest, your pup will jump at the opportunity to enjoy some time outside with you. Both of you will enjoy the fresh air, exercise and all the treasures that the great outdoors can offer.
The Wilderness Society (TWS), a national environmental group is making it even more enjoyable to spend time outside, whether you have two legs or four. TWS’s latest My Wilderness campaign celebrates our canine friends who love spending time in outdoors. The My Wilderness website features various resources for getting out of the house starting with pictures and videos of dogs enjoying the great outdoors with their two-legged friends. Check out TWS’s tips for hiking with your dog to ensure that you and your pup stay safe and properly nourished while away from civilization. You can even sign up for a chance to win an REI Wild Dog prize package to keep your pooch well equipped while far from home. This prize package includes all the essentials for planning a weekend trip into the wilderness for your pooch.
Dogs are great companions to have around the house, but they appreciate some wild time outside as well. Take some time with your pup to get to know all the benefits that the great outdoors have to offer. Fido will most certainly thank you for it!
Editor’s note: Ah, the season of indulgence! What begins with a candy binge on Halloween ends with a champagne toast on New Year’s. All the decadence and celebration can cost not only your waistline (or is that just me?), but also your pup’s (or are my guys the only ones who get a full Thanksgiving dinner?)!
In today’s guest post, author Peggy Frezon shares her five fabulous tips for a healthy and happy holiday season!
The seasons are changing and so is my weight…but not for the better! Diets are difficult to maintain in times of transitions. The weather changes and often, so do our routines. It’s more difficult to get out in the wind and cold, and maybe even snow and ice, to walk our faithful friend. It gets dark earlier. Snuggling up with a TV show or a good book after work seems more appealing than exercising. We may be more motivated to cook and try out some tempting fall recipes. And then there’s the holidays! What’s a gal and her dog to do?! Here are a few tips I learned while dieting with Kelly that helped us stay on track.
1. Find new ways to get physical together. Walking is always good, but if you can’t get motivated for a long walk or hike, rack up some extra play time. Playing with your dog in the leaves is totally fun! And when the weather is yucky, move playtime indoors and fetch, chase or tug!
2. Keep a before picture on the fridge or cupboard. When my diet motivation droops, I think of how far I’ve come. I’ve lost 41 pounds, and I don’t want to start back at square one. Looking at that “before” picture helps keep me from slipping up. If your dog has lost weight, too, why not add his “before” picture nest to the doggy treat jar?
3. Make holidays about the people (and the dogs) not the food. We probably can’t get away without thinking about turkey and cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving, at least a little bit. But be sure to put your main focus on socializing with loved ones, counting your blessings and spending some quality time with your pooch.
4. Seek out support. If you’re having a real hard time keeping up your good habits, join a weight loss support group such as Weight Watchers, or join the gym with a friend. Surround yourself with supportive people who will help you stay on your program.
5. Remind yourself that its good for both of you! Being overweight can contribute to diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, joint problems, and even some types of cancer…for both people and dogs. Losing weight helps us feel better.
Peggy Frezon is the author of Dieting with My Dog (October 2011, Hubble & Hattie). She is an award winning writer and regular contributor to Guideposts magazine and Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and staff writer at Be the Change for Animals. She blogs at “Peggy’sPet Place.” Kelly loves her pink bunny toy, and chasing squirrels.
Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Liz of Wet Nose Guide. This is a topic I’m interested in since I’ve realized – all of a sudden – that Emmett has become a senior. More on that later. For now, advice from Liz!
Photo credit: flickr by B@Bé
As a dog owner, it took me quite some time to accept what my pup was inadvertently telling me. When his naps increased in length, I attributed it to his lazy demeanor – after all, he may be the most well rested Golden Retriever on the planet. If he took longer to rise to his feet, I figured he wasn’t thrilled about going for a walk in the summertime humidity. And, when his muzzle turned lighter than ever, I thought it was sun kissed. He was lucky enough to get those natural highlights from the sun that I always craved.
However, when others began to note his “white face,” and his tendency to tire more quickly during a romp around the backyard, I realized that my boy, the one who’s been my number-one companion for ten years, suddenly surpassed adulthood and entered his seniors. Although he’ll always be the tiny, quirky, active puppy to me, I realized that he needed special attention and care. Through some research and after some one-on-one experimentation, I found the following everyday activities keep my dog healthy, happy and leaves just enough room for his nap schedule.
Adjust your activity regimen
Daily walks are a necessary part of every dog’s life, no matter how old he is. They keep a dog’s weight manageable and help build muscle mass. However, as your dog ages the frequency and intensity of his physical activity may need adjusting. Pay attention to your dog’s behavior on walks. Notice when he tires. Often, older pups don’t need to burn off as much energy as required in their earlier years. Shorter and more frequent walks fulfill his activity requirements.
Alter your dog’s nutritional requirements
With advancements in homeopathic medicine, many natural products are available to treat common ailments aging pets experience. One of the most common conditions senior dogs develop is arthritis, which is often treated with natural remedies such as Glucosamine, Vitamin C or Chondroitin Sulfate. To get a better understanding of what supplements would be of benefit to your dog, visit your local veterinarian who can give you professional advice for diet and nutrition.
Maturing pups need special products to help ease the amount of pressure put on their joints. Special orthopedic dog beds are easier for dogs to get out of in order to prep for their morning walks, while elevated dog feeders eliminate the need to bend down to enjoy breakfast. These products alleviate any unnecessary stress put on his body.
Shower him with love
Love and attention is almost as important (if not more) to a dog’s health as are frequent veterinarian appointments. Life can be unpredictable and hectic, however that shouldn’t impact your bonding time. Schedule at least 15 minutes of uninterrupted solo time with your dog, and spoil him. Visit a park, treat him to a new toy, or throw the ball around. And remember, no matter how much gray he grows, he’ll always be that energetic and spunky puppy in your eyes.
Liz Demcsak is a writer from Wet Nose Guide, a nationwide dog care directory for owners on the go. When you’re on the road, let Wet Nose Guide help you find everything from dog vets to dog runs to make your pup feel right at home wherever life may bring you.
Note: This is a guest post by John, the man behind the scenes. He took Lucas on this group walk because we both agreed that he’d be much calmer than I would be. And, I must admit, I cried when John told me this whole story and showed me the accompanying pictures. My dogs never, ever cease to amaze, impress, and inspire me!
A little background for those of you aren’t familiar with Lucas, our fearful dog. We’ve had him for four years now, and he’s never been great with new dogs. Double that for big dogs (he’s 80 lbs, himself). Triple that for when he’s on his leash. It’s all fear-based. It’s something we’ve, unfortunately, come to expect from him time to time. As such, we’ve learned to manage it. We avoid situations where we know he’s just not going to enjoy himself.
Right before we moved from DC toIndiana, Lucas made some remarkable strides. He was a social butterfly on our daily walks, and he loved going to doggy day care. Sadly, when we moved, we began to see fewer and fewer dogs, and Lucas reverted to his old ways of preventing dogs from getting close to him. We were fortunate enough to take Cooper to a wonderful trainer, Leslie, here in town who also has a weekend dog-walking club. They meet on the edge of the Indiana University campus and walk around downtown Bloomington. She recently invited Maggie and me along and told us we should bring Cooper. After discussing it, we decided this would be a perfect, controlled opportunity to get Lucas around other dogs where he wouldn’t feel threatened, and he would at least know one other person and dog. The trainer and her wonderful dog Mercury, as it turns out, were the stranger and neutral dog when Lucas took (and passed!) his Canine Good Citizen test. So we figured she would be understanding if we wanted to bring Lucas. She was all for it.
Lucas and I got there early with lots and lots of meat. We walked around without other dogs in sight and just enjoyed ourselves. We got to the meeting place and settled on the grass where I just kept feeding Lucas treats when he noticed anything: people walking by, strollers, dogs at a distance.
Slowly, dogs started trickling in one by one, until there were nine other dogs there. Lucas was fully aware of them, but he wasn’t crying, staring, or even ignoring me. When we saw Leslie, she walked up to us with Mercury and asked if he could say hello to Lucas. I told her maybe later, that he was doing great and I didn’t want to rush him. Ever the trainer, she told us where we were going and Lucas and I ended up in front. (I think she did that on purpose.)
Right away, I saw one dog that I knew Lucas would be perfectly fine with. She was a pit-mix puppy named Freelove, and Lucas has always gotten along with puppies.
Naturally, I didn’t get the guy’s name, but we chatted and walked together with everyone behind us. Almost immediately, I forgot about all of the other dogs around us and Lucas seemed to as well. We strolled along downtown, making our way to the Farmers’ Market with hundreds of people, including small children and senior citizens in motorized wheelchairs. I readied myself with more treats thinking this would be where Lucas would have an incident. As if on cue, Lucas walked right up to the woman in the wheelchair and licked her arm. This, mind you, is the dog that at one time was terrified of umbrellas, plastic shopping bags, the television, and more. I soon realized that I was the only one worrying.
When we reached an area with a bit more room, I asked Leslie if I could have Lucas sidle up next to Mercury while we walked. She said of course, and Lucas moved right on up to Mercury without breaking stride. ELATION. After that, Lucas and I got a lot braver. I moved Lucas right into the middle of the pack and not once did he seem scared, tense, or anything other than a big yellow dog enjoying himself.
By the end of the day, he walked next to Mercury, sniffed a little dog named Link, made friends with Freelove, walked next to a Shar-pei-Rottie mix, and pranced right by the world’s best Pomeranian.
We walked for almost two hours, and when we got home, Lucas could barely keep his eyes open.
Maggie, of course, was beyond words when she saw the pictures. Lucas proved just how amazing he is, and how amazing all dogs are. None of the dogs knew about Lucas’ troubled past, and within minutes, I don’t think Lucas had much memory of his fears either. This is exactly what Lucas needed, and what I needed, too. Needless to say, we cannot thank Leslie enough and will be back whenever we can.
Finally, as proof, here’s the video of Lucas and his new friend Mercury.
Note: This is a guest post by Tim Eyre. When we moved from DC to Indiana, we drove the 12 hours with Emmett sleeping peacefully in the back and Lucas pacing, drooling, and crying. The entire time. Moving is definitely stressful for everyone – human and animal alike. Here are Tim’s tips for making the move easier on your dog.
Picking up and moving your entire life can be one of the more stressful and challenging times of your life, and it can be just as stressful for your pet. With a million tasks to complete and things to consider, it is easy to forget about how to prepare your pet to react to a new place and the chaos of a move. Relocating should be a smooth transition for every member of your family, including your family pet. Follow these tips below to make sure your pet gets all the special attention and thoughtfulness that it needs during this challenging time.
Proper pet carrier.
When moving from one location to another, it is crucial that you provide your pet with a secure and comfortable carrier for him to travel in. There are various different sizes and types of pet carriers out there, but the one you choose to use must have enough room for your pet to stand up, turn in a circle, and lie across. Furthermore, make sure it has proper ventilation and can securely close. Before moving, take your pet around for short rides in the pet carrier to get him accustomed. You may even try letting him sleep in there for a few nights just so he can get comfortable.
Proper feeding times.
Do not feed or give water to your pet the few hours before you plan to head out on the road because this may cause dizziness on the road. Once you have started your road trip, only feed him once a day. Furthermore, bring your own supply of water that you normally give to him at home because a foreign source of water may cause a stomachache. Be sure to take your pet to the bathroom frequently and preferably at every stop. If your pet is small and lives in a cage, take out the normal food and water dishes that are in the cage because these will spill and cause a mess when the car is moving. Instead, feed these pets every time you stop for gas or a bathroom break.
Like humans, pets can be very sensitive to temperature. Turn on the air conditioner in your car if you are traveling during a hot day. The hotter an animal feels, the more prone it is to experiencing motion sickness. Furthermore, smaller animals such as hamsters are very sensitive to changes in temperature and should be monitored more carefully. If you are stopping for a break, be sure to leave your windows open if you do not plan to take your pet inside with you.
Once you arrive at your new home, your pet may see the unfamiliar surroundings and try to go back to his old home. This oftentimes results in them getting lost. To prevent this, try replicating your old home for your pet those first few weeks that you are just moving in. For example, if you kept the food bowl in the left corner of the kitchen at your old home, put it in the same place in your new home. Familiar locations will trigger memories of your old home and show your pet that his new place is not completely foreign.
Tim Eyre helps residential and business customers who use self storage when they don’t have enough storage space on their own property. Tim’s company – Extra Space Storage – has locations from coast to coast, including Shawnee self storage and Pasadena self storage.
Note: This is a guest post written by Diane of Bloomington Pet Pals. As it starts to warm up, the skunks are coming out… One of my co-workers got sprayed while riding his bike home from work on Friday! Thanks, Diane, for sharing your advice!
On March 12th, my world was turned upside down and my sinuses were turned inside out. My dog, Bella, was sprayed by a skunk around 1am and so began my nightmare. First, I didn’t realize she was sprayed until the rancid odor permeated my house. You actually could see a haze in the air. My dogs had gone upstairs to bed as is our routine once they’re let inside, so of course by this time, 5 minutes had gone by and Bella had polluted the house completely. I put her in the garage so I could go to the store once I researched and found the magic solution to bathe her in.
Forget the tomato juice! What you need is much more effective to rid your dog of this smell. I mixed 1qt of hydrogen peroxide with ¼ cup of baking soda and 2T of Dawn dish soap. Skunk smell is oily so using a de-greaser soap is paramount! Now, she’s about 60 or so pounds, so smaller dogs will need less of the solution. I left the solution on for about 5 or 10 minutes and then bathed her again with her normal shampoo.
Okay, that fixed the dog. The house was a bigger smell and a bigger issue. Because the air outside was still so awful, I couldn’t open the windows thus trapping this horrific smell inside. I went online and found a company called Biocides Systems. They were on a discussion forum and were recommended by a vet. They sell a solution of Chlorine Dioxide (ClO2) they claim will clean and disinfect any bad smells from skunk to mildew to smoker’s house.
So I bought their doggiCLEEN Skunk 911 Home Kit, plus two more Room Shockers. When the room shockers arrived the next day, I was surprised to see it contained a single plastic cup and lid and a pouch of the ClO2. With simple, I mean SIMPLE instructions (put the pouch in the cup and add warm water to the fill line) I closed my bedroom door and went downstairs for 5 hours. Unlike foggers, when it was finished, there was NO film to clean later and there was a nice subtle and VERY clean (like a bleach or cleanser) smell in my bedroom. Gone was the rancid skunk smell. I had used another room shocker in my garage, but being that it was a concrete floor, it wasn’t as immediate. I actually took the cup from my room and added it to the one in the garage and it did help to have 2 in there.
For concrete floors in a garage they do recommend a different solution to mop with, so don’t use a shocker there.
My lesson learned
The last of the nightmare is washing the clothes in my closet. That skunk smell just seeps into everything! I’ve heard of some people still smelling skunk after months, so after 3 days, I feel that removing 90% of it has been really great. One hour of that smell was enough for me!
If you ever find yourself in my position (and I’d never wish this on anyone), visit www.biocidesystems.com for the best solution to deskunk your home. Don’t waste your money (and you will spend money without thinking just to make the smell stop!) on things that might work. This stuff really does!
Note: This is a guest post. All I can say is: Who knew that there was a staffing agency specific to pet-related careers?!
Common and Unique Careers for People Who Love Dogs
Seeking a canine career? There is actually a wide array of careers to choose from. Some jobs pay well and some don’t, and many can be performed on a part-time basis. If you love dogs, consider some of these careers.
Animal behaviorists provide dog training services and behavior modification. They study behavior problems and recommend solutions for the owner. This occupation requires extensive education. You can’t just shout, “Don’t do that!” and expect any results!
Dog Massage Therapist
Dog massage therapists improve the health and well-being of dogs by relieving muscle pain through massage therapy. If interested, you can start by interning under an animal massage therapist. Classes and seminars for dog massage therapists are available. The Northwest School of Animal Massage reports that animal massage therapists are usually paid by the massage and the price ranges from $50 to $120 per massage.
Specialized Dog Trainer
Some dog trainers have specialties such as training police dogs, guide dogs, drug and contraband dogs, search and rescue dogs, assistance dogs, and dogs working in movies and television shows.
Areas with employment opportunities in this field include dog shows, magazines, pet stores, calendars, newspapers, novelty items, and taking professional photographs for pet owners and dog show owners.
Bed Bug Detection Services
Bed bug detection dogs are specially trained by experts to identify the scent of bed bugs. They’re far superior to humans at finding these annoying pests. Their handlers typically charge from $100 to $200 per hour. Independent business owners simply work with their bed bug sniffing dogs and then an insect extermination firm comes in to do the dirty work. You can also work for insect extermination companies that have their own bed bug detection dogs.
Dog handlers get paid by owners to handle their dog at shows. Handlers get a bonus for a group placement, best of breed, and best of show. Handlers need a thorough understanding of breed standards. They typically show the dogs on weekends, but they do work with their dogs every day. You can enter the profession by beginning as a handler’s assistant.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) Staff
Although the employees typically don’t work directly with dogs, the AKC is a good place for dog lovers to work. The AKC has jobs from office positions to field representatives. The organization consists of various departments such as club affairs, publicity, performance events, legislation, and education.
Doggy Day Care Owner
These businesses can do well in highly populated areas. Day care workers and owners supervise the playtime of dogs and have the fun task of cleaning up after them!
This is typically a part-time job. Dog sitters take care of a dog while its owner is out of town. Occasionally dog sitters spend the night, but typically they visit the home two or three times a day. Duties include walking, feeding, playing, medicating, and cleaning up.
Some of the common occupations and settings involving dogs are:
- Dog groomer
- Dog trainer
- Boarding kennels
- Dog breeders
- Pet supply stores
- Dog walker
- Veterinary assistant
- Shelter worker
K9 Employment Agency provides job listings for canine handlers, trainers, canine security specialists, and advisers. It’s a good place to start your job hunt.
A job working with dogs can be rewarding and fun!