Are You Taking Your Dog to Work on Friday?

dog-at-deskJune 20 is national Take Your Dog to Work Day in the United States, and thousands of dog owners will make the most of this opportunity on Friday.

A survey conducted by The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association in 2006 revealed that taking pets to work can lower stress, increase productivity, create a more co-operative working environment, increase the amount of overtime worked and reduce employee absenteeism – no wonder 17% of employers already allow their employees to bring their pets to work with them on a regular basis!

If you are lucky enough to take your dog to work on Friday, here a few tips to help make the day successful, and ensure your dog is asked again next year:

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Do You Know What Your Dog is Saying?

dogs-barkingHere’s a fun quiz I found on the Discovery Channel blog.

Anna M. Taylor of the University of Sussex recorded 7 dog barks for her Vocal Dog Project and you need to identify which bark belongs to which situation.

Can you tell the difference between a disturbed Rottweiler growl-barking and a 4-month-old Labrador puppy crying? Take the quiz to find out!

Funny Dog Pictures

ball-back

Each Wednesday at OurDogLog Chris has a Wordless Wednesday where she just posts a funny dog picture which, excuse the cliché, really could say a thousand words.

I’ve been following Wordless Wednesday for a few weeks now, and one of my favorites “Gimme My Ball Back” is posted above.

Check out this week’s Wordless Wednesday – it brings a whole new meaning to term “prewash cycle”! And take a look at “A Little Power Nap” – it’s hysterical.

Priceless photos Chris – you’ll have to start a separate category for them on your blog so we can keep track of them all!

National Canine Weight Check – Is Your Dog Overweight?

dog-on-scales

Is your dog overweight? Statistics banded about say that over 40% of dogs in the United States are overweight/obese, and the percentage is as bad in Europe. However, the percentage of owners who think their dog is overweight is significantly lower than 40%.

Zoe was overweight; four kilos crept on after she was spayed last year and we spent several months getting rid of them.

The combination of a reduced diet, encouraging her to be more active when we were out walking and no more pigs ears as treats eventually did the trick.

Here are two quick tests to determine whether your dog is carrying more weight than he should:

When you run your hands along your dog’s ribcage, can you feel his ribs? You should be able to count the number of ribs as you move your hands along your dog’s body – if you can’t then he’s carrying too much weight.

Running your hands along your dog’s side, does he have a ‘waist’ – by that I mean does his body tuck in in front of his hips? If there’s a straight line from his hips to his shoulders, then he’s overweight.

I found this useful flowchart for determining whether your dog is extremely thin, severely overweight or something in between. If you think that your dog is overweight then it’s worth paying a visit to your vet just to make sure there isn’t an underlying health issue that’s causing the problem.

Provided you live in the United States, you can take part in the National Canine Weight Check during February; participating vets will assess your dog’s weight for free and provide you with information and advice on the causes of canine obesity and the health problems it can lead to.

Should your dog’s weight problem be down to over feeding and not enough exercise, draw up a plan for feeding and exercising your dog and stick to it consistently until he’s lost the weight he needs to.

Like humans, it’s better if the weight comes off slowly and adopting a healthier lifestyle is likely to be more successful than putting your dog on a crash diet and/or giving him some of the new weight loss medications that are now available.

From personal experience helping your dog lose weight is hard work – particularly not giving giving into those pleading ‘can I have some more food’ eyes – but it’s worth it. Zoe’s energy levels are now back to normal, and I’m finding it much easier to lift her on and off the grooming table!

Dog Video – How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

February is dog dental awareness month in the United States; a few months ago I explained how to brush your dog’s teeth, and how to select dental products for your dog.

It’s often easier to see how to do things rather than read about them so today I’ve posted a video in which Stanley Coren shows you how to get your dog used to having his teeth brushed – the key is to take it in small steps and have some great tasting toothpaste to hand!

At the end of the video Stanley Coren says you only need to brush your dog’s teeth once or twice a week in order to keep his teeth healthy. Whilst this is better than not brushing at all, ideally you should aim for a daily brushing to remove the plaque and remove the risk of your dog suffering periodontal disease.

Ice Melt Toxicity

dog-in-snow

In my recent post on how to walk your dog safely this winter, I mentioned the importance of washing your dog’s paws thoroughly after your walk to remove any traces of ice melt.

Back in 2000 the ASPCA issued a toxicity alert about ice melters, particularly those that contain Sodium Chloride. In 2001 Health Canada and Environment Canada declared road salt a toxic product due to it containing any one of the following chlorides – sodium chloride, calcium chloride, potassium chloride or magnesium chloride; despite this, road salt continues to be used on Canada’s roads as an ice melter, as it does in most other countries.

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Numero Uno for Uno the Beagle

uno_beagle_westminsterCongratulations to Uno the Beagle for being judged Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club (WKC) Dog Show.

Great news for Uno and his owners, but in my opinion not so great news for the Beagle breed.

Unfortunately shows like the WKC, and Crufts in the UK, encourage people to go out and buy a dog ‘just like the one that won at Westminster’ – much in the same way people buy dogs they see and like in films, think Dalmatians after 101 Dalmatians and Border Collies after Babe.

Breed rescues are testimony to how many people buy dogs without considering whether or not they will fit into their lifestyle. No doubt Beagle rescue groups will be gearing themselves up for numerous dogs to rehome once the novelty of owning a Beagle wears off for many of these new owners.

From today Puppymills across the US will be going into over drive churning out Beagles to satisfy the public demand for a Beagle puppy – there’s serious money to be made by puppy mill owners from the results of the Westminster dog show.

If you think I’m exaggerating, take a look in the newspaper classifieds, on the internet and in pet shops over the next few months and you’ll see an increase in the number of Beagles for sale.

I’ve nothing against Beagles, they have huge personalities and make great family dogs, but they do require owners who:

  • can give them plenty of vigorous exercise – Beagles were bred to hunt their prey to exhaustion;
  • are aware their dog may disappear to find the source of an interesting scent that crosses their path and will usually ignore every recall until they have fully investigated the scent; and
  • are prepared to put up with a dog that brays. If you haven’t heard a Beagle bray, I strongly recommend that you try before you buy. A friend of mine owned a Beagle and the blood curdling roar that came from this little dog’s mouth was a real crowd stopper, particularly in the dog park!

If you do hear of someone thinking of buying a dog breed just because it looks cute, won Best in Show or because such and such celebrity has one, please do what you can to dissuade them. As we all know these impulse buys usually lead to the dog pound rather than a long and lasting relationship between dog and owner.

5 Lasting Valentine Gifts for Your Dog

labrador-with-rosesAre you buying your dog a gift for Valentine’s day?

I ask the question because celebrating Valentine’s Day with your dog is becoming as big a marketing event as it already is for us celebrating the day with our partners!

There are now hundreds of dog valentine gifts you can buy ranging from heart shaped dog tags, dog beds and dog toys, clothes with heart motifs on them through to special dog biscuits and gift baskets. The majority of these products won’t last more than a few days, they’re really just produced for Valentine’s day.

So for a gift that’ll last a bit longer, here’s my list of 5 lasting Valentine gifts:

Commission a Pet Portrait

artpaw-1Art Paw produce portraits from a photo you supply of your dog.

You can choose to have the portrait done in one of the following styles: Fine Art Style, Warhol styled Pop Art, Master Paw Print Style where your dog is inserted into a famous painting such as the Mona Lisa, or a Soft and Pretty Look where the photo is color enhanced or reproduced in black and white or given a vintage look.

Prices range from $135 to $260 dollars.

Create a Pawprint Pendant

pendantWhy not create an everlasting memory of your dog by having his pawprint recreated onto a charm pendant?

For $194 or $204 Pawprints Jewelry will do this for you in .999 pure silver.

They send you a pawprint impression kit so you can get a mould of your your dog’s pawprint, then they transfer that onto a pendant – either by impression or relief.

Make a Donation to the Morris Animal Foundation …

pet_tagof $50 or more and they will send you a stylish Canine Cancer Campaign tag in return.

The aim of the campaign is to find a cure for canine cancer in the next 10 to 20 years.

Cancer is becoming increasingly common as the cause of death for many dogs, and much of the research into canine cancer presently undertaken is being done in conjunction with doctors researching the causes and treatments for human cancers.

Commission a Felt Miniature of your Dog

felted-dogKay’sK9s produces replicas of your dog using a technique called needle felting – Kay does such amazing work, and what a wonderful way to immortalize your dog.

At $120 these really do look like value for money, and judging by the testimonials on Kay’s site, her customers are very happy with the results: “Oh my god – he is SO cute!!!! The markings are perfect!! His little face is great — you got his expression wonderfully captured. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!”

Spend Some Extra Time With Your Dog

heart-shaped-leashThis gift is free, and is the one that’s of most value to your dog.

Spending an extra half an hour playing, practising your training or going for an interactive walk will strengthen the bond between you and your dog.

Our dogs give us so much and ask for so little in return that an extra bit of attention from us would make really make their Valentine’s day something special!

How do you plan on spending Valentine’s Day with your dog?

From 7 weeks to 6 months in 1 and a half minutes

I wanted to share this dog video with you – the title is self explanatory but in summary the video shows Brodie the Labrador puppy growing up fast from a cute 7 week old puppy to a six month old dog in 1 minute 39 seconds.

I’ve watched the video a few times as I love the way Brodie seems to ‘grow up’ before your eyes.

The video was recently posted on Dog Topics News – the social news and bookmarking site that’s just for stories about dogs.

Dog Frisbee – Richard Knerr’s Great Dog Legacy

frisbee-dog
I read that Richard Knerr died in January this year. Richard was a co-founder of Wham-O, the company responsible for making the Frisbee (as well as the Hula-Hoop).

Wham-O launched the Frisbee in 1958 and Frisbee Dog World Championships have been held every year since 1975 – though there are now several organizations around the world that run annual disc dog tournaments.

The format of disc dog tournaments usually consist of ‘Toss and Fetch’ and ‘Freestyle’ events. In the Toss and Fetch event points are awarded for catches at varying distances and in the Freestyle event short routines choreographed to music, with multiple discs being used, are subjectively judged for things such as canine athleticism, degree of difficulty, and showmanship. Wikipedia has a good page on the sport of Disc Dog and provides more information on Frisbee dog competitions.

The word Frisbee has been replaced by Disc to avoid trademark infringement – so when you see the term Disc Dog it’s the same thing as Frisbee Dog.

Here’s a 5 minute video showing clips from the Alpo Disc Dog Tournament Freestyle Event:

I’ve briefly tried to get Fritz and Zoe interested in Frisbee but I’ve not had much success. For one I can’t throw a Frisbee very well, and secondly, whilst Fritz is interested in chasing after the Frisbee he prefers to shake it to death when he’s caught it rather than bring it back to me. Zoe is the sort of low energy dog who prefers to stand and watch the Disc fly over her head!

Despite these teething problems, I think I shall have another go at getting them interested; Zoe’s sister Jazz is besotted with her fabric Frisbee so there is some hope for Zoe yet.

If you’re interested in teaching your dog how to play Frisbee I’ve read that it can take several weeks to months to teach your dog how to take the disc, so don’t get disheartened if you don’t get immediate results.

Some dogs seem to be more natural at it than others – in many of the videos I have watched the dogs all seem to be Collies or Collie crosses. However, we aren’t all wanting to train world champion disc dogs, so any dog breed should be able to play Frisbee without too much trouble. If you have a dog that has plenty of energy that you need to channel into something constructive then this might be the sport for you (I’ve just realized why so many Collies are involved in the sport).

If you’ve got a puppy, then it’s fine to teach them to chase after and retrieve a Frisbee, but don’t train them to jump and catch the disc until they have physically matured.

Here’s another video in which world class Frisbee dog trainer Zak George shows you some of the freestyle routines he has taught his dogs.

I hope this has inspired you to try a new sport with your dog – if it’s winter where you are and you can’t get out to exercise much, why not get your dog used to the Frisbee in the house and see if he wants to make it his new best toy whilst you are waiting for Spring to arrive.

To find out more about Disc Dog DogPatch has a great page of links to disc dog clubs, events, training, internet groups etc.

Finally, thank you Richard Knerr for bringing us the Frisbee and giving us another way to spend time having fun with our dogs!