We all want the best for our pets. We feed them great foods, take them to the vet regularly, buy them plush beds and fun toys, and give them lots of tasty treats. While these all sound like great things to do for your dog, some can be very risky. This is especially true if the treats you give your dogs contain rawhide.
Some dog owners may not even be aware that they are giving their dog rawhide treats. So, what is rawhide? Rawhide treats come from the inner layer of a cow or horse’s hide. During processing, the rawhide is cleaned and then cut or ground. Next, it is pressed into different shapes such as a bone or a cookie. Some rawhide treats are flavored to taste like chicken, beef, or liver. Or, they might be dyed different colors, like red or green, to make them more appealing to pet parents like you. But what makes a rawhide so dangerous?
Many rawhide treats are laced with harmful chemicals. Nasty things like sodium tripolyphosphate are used to clean the rawhide during processing, and hydrogen peroxide is often used to make the rawhide bright white. As previously mentioned, many rawhides are dyed. These dyes are proven to cause health problems in people as well as our pets. Rawhide treats are also frequently braided or twisted into “cute” designs (like candy canes around Christmas time), which requires adhesive to keep its shape! You’d never let your children eat glue, would you?
Rawhide treats are designed to be long lasting. They are meant to be chewed and chewed until very small pieces come off and your dog eats them. Small pieces of rawhide can be digested, but not easily. If your dog is a hard-core chewer, rawhides are especially dangerous. If large chunks of rawhide are swallowed, your dog is facing the risk of choking, or of a blockage in their stomach. Both of these things are life threatening. Even if the rawhide does not cause a blockage, it can sit in your dog’s stomach for months causing various other gastrointestinal problems.
There are plenty of other options on the market for a tasty, fun, safe treat for your pets. Great alternatives include bully sticks, pig ears, tracheas, or other natural chews. Rawhides pose risks that no pet owner should feel comfortable taking. At Wag Atlanta, we say NO to rawhide!
Spring is finally beginning to show its beautiful face, and we could not be more excited! This time of year, many types of wildlife are emerging from a long winter slumber. Just like you and your canine companion, they’re ready to be out and about! Here’s a few tips to help keep you and your pal safe in the coming months.
Keep your dog on a leash while taking walks. You never know when you or your pup might spot a rabbit or a squirrel! If your dog was not on a leash, they might chase after the rabbit, and could injure themselves, someone else, or the rabbit. There are also plenty of wild animals that could potentially hurt your dog if they were to run after it, such as porcupines, coyotes, and raccoons.
Another way to help protect your pet is to arm yourself with knowledge. Research local wildlife and familiarize yourself with which animals are more likely to live in your area. This can be especially true when it comes to snakes. Although your dog should see a veterinarian as soon as possible if they are bitten by a snake, it can be very helpful to the veterinarian to know in advance what kind of snake bit your dog. Hopefully this never happens to you, but it’s always best to be prepared! Simply remaining attentive during a walk can often times be enough to spot and avoid a snake.
Sometimes, it is not the wildlife itself, but the diseases that it may carry that are dangerous to your pet. Some of the most common carriers of diseases and parasites are fleas, ticks, and mosquitos. Luckily, there are preventatives that help protect your pet. Make sure your pet stays up to date all year long on their flea & tick, and heartworm preventatives. Although these insects are more prominent in the warmer weather, they pose a threat to our animals even when it is cool outside, and even if you have an indoor-only pet.
When I first told my friends a few years ago why I took my dog to doggie daycare at Wag Atlanta, they asked me, "why would you take your dog to daycare?!" Without Wag Atlanta, owning my pup would much more difficult, and less rewarding.
One of Rudy's Play Mates
My dog is VERY energetic, which I love! I chose him because I was looking for a high energy dog that I could hike, run, kayak with etc. And i do these things with often! His high energy means he can keep up with all the things I love to do.
Unfortunately, I don't get to do all those fun things all the time. When I'm at work, it's not fair to leave Rudy home in his kennel or bored around the house when he wants to use his energy to run and play. That's the main reason I used Doggie daycare! I own a breed that requires a lot of exercise, and i'm not always able to keep up with him!
I chose Wag Atlanta because their daycare hours are 6a-10p, which is longer than any daycare I could find in Atlanta. More often than not i and not able to get out of the office at 5pm sharp, and not having to worry about picking Rudy up, and knowing he's getting cared for lets me focus on my work.
Because it makes life so much more enjoyable and easy for both me and Rudy!
Dog's are man's best friend, for all the reasons we already know, They are our constant companions, always there for us. They love us unconditionally, never judging and always ready to show us love. Besides their love, they also benefit us in many health-positive ways! Some of the ways we don't even know are happening!
When we exercise them, we often exercise ourselves! From walking them to jogging with them, from kicking a soccer ball to throwing a frisbee, or even hiking. Often when we exercise our four legged best friend, we exercise ourselves!
Petting Dogs Lowers Blood Pressure
Petting dogs relaxes you and lowers your blood pressure. It also releases stress reducing hormones. Having your best friend by your side to pet isn't just something they enjoy, your body enjoys it too!
Helps with Loneliness and Depression
Having something that looks after you and that you have to look after is important when fighting feelings of loneliness or depression. just knowing that you have to get out of bed to walk your pup and feed them can be a big motivation to just get out of bed. And when fighting feelings of loneliness and depression, that can mean the difference between a good day and a bad one.
Your dog also knows you and when you need extra love from them. They're incredibly intuitive, and want to make you feel better when you're feeling down.
Celebrating your dog's birthday is a fun way to spend fun time together, and create great memories! There's also lots of different ways to celebrate!
Places to go
At Starbucks you can get one of their famous pupuchinos! It's not an official drink but you can order a cup with whipped cream in it for a delicious treat for your pups birthday!
2. Your local dog supply store to pick out a treat!
Not only will you be able to show off your pup on their birthday to strangers, you can have you dog pick out a treat for themselves!
If you and your pup are feeling adventurous check out a short local hike and let them run through the trees!
4. Restaurant with a Dog Friendly Patio
Find a local restaurant that has an outdoor space and treat your dog! You can even order them something off the menu if they've been extra good.
5. Local Dog Daycare
Let your pup celebrate with their friends at your local dog daycare. If you ask, the staff may even sing them a song and get birthday photos!
Choosing a doggy daycare and boarding facility can be a harder prospect than it first seems. Your dog is part of your family, and leaving them behind at a place you’re not totally comfortable with is not an option. So let’s say that you have a few places in mind, you’ve looked at their reviews, called and spoken to staff. Your next step should be to visit the facility for a tour to personally see where your dog is staying.
Some places have only a few set hours in the day when you can come for a tour, other facilities require a reservation for a tour (Wag Atlanta offers tours anytime between 8a until 6pm, no reservation needed). You’ll want to call ahead or check online each facilities process for getting a tour.
What questions should you ask while taking the tour?
You should ask questions that get you familiar with how the facility functions, what it’s schedule for the dogs is etc. You want to make sure that its schedule is a good fit for your dogs schedule (if they close at 7p, and don’t open until 7a and don’t have overnight staff, you will want to make sure that your dog is okay holding their bladder for 12 hours). Wag Atlanta is open 24/7 and take dogs out for potty breaks late at night for those who are on that kind fo schedule, or that have trouble holding their bladder (puppies, old timers, etc.)
You should ask what cleaners they use, how often they clean their play yards, and any other questions you can think of on how they run their facility. You’re also seeing how knowledgable the staff is.
How many ways and how often are you able to contact them? Are they open 24/7 where someone will answer the phone no matter the time so you can check on your pup? If they are not 24/7 be prepared to make sure you know their hours of operation so you can call when they’re open. How active are they at answering emails, or on facebook? (A good way to test this is to send them an email/facebook message a few days before the tour with a few simple questions and see how quickly they get back to you).
Things to Look for
How much of the facility do they show you? Some facilities are not set up to show tours of the whole facility, but you should be able to see a good portion of the place. If you’re show the lobby and a set up “example” lodging, that mean’s you have not seen exactly where your dog is staying and can’t be 100% sure the place is right for them. Wag Atlanta offers full facility tours so you can see exactly where your dog will be staying.
How clean the place is when you come will tell you many things about it. For facilities with tour hours or scheduled tours, you would expect the facility to be pretty clean, they knew you were coming after all. There should always be allowance given to any facility, as dogs can make huge messes without warning, and no one can be blamed for that. Facilities that offer unscheduled tours will likely be a little messier, as they are functioning non stop, with no break in the action for the dogs. Most likely things will not be totally clean, or smelling good all the time, but it shouldn’t be a pig stye. You want you dog to be clean while you’re away.
Do they dogs look active and happy throughout the facility? Are the staff staying busy or do they look idle? A pile of laundry doesn’t mean they are slow to do laundry, it could easily mean they go through a lot keeping the facility clean.
Dogs boarding get used to the staff that care for them, and can tell when a stranger is present. Expect a lot of them to bark at the excitement of seeing someone different, just like they would at home.
There are many ways to make sure that you’re making the right choice in a boarding and daycare facility for your dog. Do your due diligence and homework, take tours and ask questions. Your dog is worth it!
Getting a new puppy is an exciting and wonderful event! Whether it's one you fell in love with from the shelter, or a specific breed you know and adore, getting a new puppy is always fun! Along with the usual obedience and house training lessons, you have surely read or been told about the importance of socializing your puppy. Dog trainer Ian Dunbar wrote in his excellent book Before You Get Your Puppy:
Socializing early sets your dog up for long term success. A dog that is friendly around other dogs and people (especially strangers) is a dog that is easy to own and live with, and makes for a relationship with more love.
So you have the goal of how many people and dogs you want to meet by a certain age, so how can you meet this goal?
1. Visit your pups future daycare
2. Visit Stores
If your puppy hasn't received all of their puppy shots, there is a risk of certain diseases, parvo virus being the number one concern. If you're carrying your puppy the risk of catching parvo is greatly reduced, since it spreads the easiest through an infected dogs urine and feces. So if you're worried about the risk, carrying your pup is a great way to keep them safe!
There are lots of stores that allow dogs. The two that are the best are Lowes and Home Depot (always call specific locations ahead of time to confirm they allow dogs).
Home Depot and Lowe's are great places for socialization for several reasons. Firstly, lots of people! There are plenty of people there that will love to meet your puppy, and give it great positive interactions.
Secondly, many of the patrons are contractors and construction workers who will have beards or wear hats. These are things that seem insignificant, but when it comes to puppys it's a big deal! Being exposed to these things young is extremely important to a dogs future confidence.
Lastly, there is a large variety of sounds and sights and smells. From the garden section, to lumber, to tools, your puppy can hear saws, drills, concrete being moved around etc. Hearing these things now is a huge boost in the socialization game for your puppy.
With so many different types of collars out there for your pooch, you may begin to wonder “What’s the difference?” Each type or style of collar has a unique purpose. The ultimate goal of any type of collar is to get your dog to walk on a leash without pulling you. How do you choose the right collar for you and your dog?
We really love the idea of dogs heading to the park with their parents to meet new friends and playing outside, while sporting big goofy grins. Spending time with your pup, socializing, and exercising! What could go wrong? Well, too much, and quickly.
We have heard endless horror stories from our guests and our vets of dogs being attacked and seriously injured, killed, or at a minimum truly traumatized. There are too many irresponsible people that unleash their dogs, without knowing (or caring) what they may do to another dog. In most of these cases, we hear that there is no parent to be found or they grab their dog and run after an attack.
Another concern is that proof of vaccinations is not required or checked at dog parks. The assumption people may have, if a parent cares about their dog enough to take them to the park, then certainly they take them to the vet. Most parents do take their dogs to the vet frequently, but there are a lot that do not. Many diseases and illnesses can be transferred from pup to pup through direct contact or through contaminated water. When your dog drinks from the same water bowl or fountain as other dogs, they are being directly exposed to anything they might be carrying, yikes!
It can be hard having the right mix of fun and safety when caring for your dog, and it’s up to each parent to determine what is the right mix for their particular pup.
So, what should you do? Ideally, AVOID the dog park altogether. If you do go, take some precautions:
• Watch the dogs playing for a while, before adding your pup to the mix.
• Have your dog greet other dogs, while on their leash.
• Only have your dog play with dogs that are the same size.
• Small dogs are at the highest risk of injury or death. Only go to parks that have a small dog area for your little baby.
• You can also bring your dog’s own water bowl to decrease the risk of illness.
• Don’t bring more than 1 dog to the dog park unless you have someone with you to watch the other dog. It is too hard for one person to control/monitor 1 dog off leash, much less 2.
Make sure YOU are a responsible dog park parent:
• Keep up with their vaccinations. Some vaccinations, such as bordetella/kennel cough may need to be renewed every 6 months. Add an alert to your phone, and keep a copy on your phone.
• Socialize your dog. Taking your pup to a doggy day care for a controlled playtime is a really great idea. At Wag Atlanta, the Wag Pack plays for hours throughout the day, giving your pup great exposure to appropriate dog behavior.
• Training is always a good idea. Being able to have your dog return to you when you call them and to sit patiently is SO important.
• Puppies can really aggravate other dogs. They are at an increased risk of injury with other dogs getting tired of the toddler nipping at them and they may snap. Keep your pup with same aged dogs. Again, a doggy day care is the best option.
• Don’t let your large dog play with small dogs. You may have the friendliest dog there is, but their excitement and a case of the zoomies can do real accidental damage to those tiny bodies.
• Just because your small dog likes to play with big dogs, does not mean those big dogs will want to play with your small dog. We see people, alllllllllllll the time, let their tiny dogs into the park with the big dogs and just say "oh they love BIG dogs!"
• Many dogs can be protective of you. They may become aggressive when another dog approaches you. This is one reason you really want to keep them on leash to introduce them to others.
• Do not bring your intact/non-neutered male or your intact/non-spayed female who is in heat to the dog park.
Another option, arrange play groups with neighbors and friends. This can grow really fast for a large pool of pups! This is much safer and can be a lot of fun! This gives you control of the dogs your pup will be playing with and can lead to some true bonded besties. You will love seeing their face light up when they see all their friends are there.
Socialization is really important for a well behaved, healthy, happy dog. Our day care hours are from 6 am to 10 pm. Let your baby come play with us!
As autumn rolls around every year, we start to notice an abundance of one particular vegetable: pumpkins! While we as pet owners may enjoy pumpkin pie or pumpkin spiced coffees, but did you ever consider your pup might enjoy this super squash as much as you do?
Pumpkin puree can be a beneficial treat for your dog or cat. It is loaded with fiber that aids your pet’s digestion. Pumpkin puree will absorb excess water and can be an effective treatment for diarrhea. The high fiber content is also helpful in keeping your pet regular and treating constipation. In cats, pumpkin puree can assist in moving fur balls through their digestive tract (and into the litterbox!) rather than being hacked up onto your carpet.
Along with treating various tummy troubles, pumpkin is also packed with vitamins! Vitamin A in pumpkins will help promote healthy vision. It has plenty of vitamin C for immune health. Dogs who have joint problems will also benefit from the boost in vitamin C, as their bodies consume more vitamin C than they are capable of producing. To keep your baby looking shiny and beautiful, pumpkins are also a great source of Zinc.
If your fur baby is a little too chunky, pumpkin puree can be the key to weight loss. Due to its high fiber content, pumpkin puree can help your pet feel fuller, while actually consuming less calories! Combined with exercise and appropriate feeding amounts, pumpkin puree can help you reach your goal for your pet’s weight.
Pumpkin puree is an affordable and easily accessible supplement to your cat or dog’s food. Be sure that when you are shopping for your pumpkin puree, you buy the plain can of puree. Pre-spiced, sweetened, or “Ready for Pie” purees are meant for human consumption only. Consult your veterinarian to find out how much pumpkin is right for your pet, as serving sizes will vary depending on the size of your baby, and your goals.
Overall, pumpkin puree can be a very helpful tool. Whether you are looking to settle an upset tummy, pack some vitamins into your baby’s diet, help them lose weight, or just offer them a special treat, pumpkin can be an advantageous part of your pantry!
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