Dog Sports

From Top: Flyball, Agility Courses, Disc Dogs

It is amazing how many different sports there are out there for dogs. And how popular they’ve become with people and their dogs.

Dog sports range from being entertaining to fiercely competitive. And they vary from requiring a handler with the dog to dog only events.

If this sounds like something fun that you would like to do with your dog, give one, two or more different sports a try. All dogs need physical and mental stimuli to stay healthy. By adding a dog sport most dogs will not only be healthy, but will thrive. Agility, disc dogs and flyball are high-performance sports and great for really active dogs; but most any healthy dog would enjoy participating.

Always, as a precaution, take your dog to the vet for an exam before starting any dog sport. After receiving a good bill of health, check into the different dog sports that might challenge your dog. An added bonus is the improved bond between you and your dog.

Here are a few to that might grab your interest:

  • Agility – this is an obstacle course with jumps, weave poles, A-frames, tunnels and more. The dogs are guided by their handler through the course. This is a competition sport ideal for high energy dogs; however, modifications can be made for all dogs.
  • Disc Dogs – is a competition sport involving both dog and handler. Each team competes in distance, accuracy of catch of the flying disc and freestyle routines.
  • Dock Jumping – (sometimes also called Dock Diving) in this sport the handler throws a toy into the water and the dog jumps off the dock and into the water to retrieve it. The aim is to get as much distance as possible, distance being measured to the dog’s tail.
  • Canine Freestyle – is like dancing with your dog. It involves the dog and handler doing a choreographed musical performance where almost anything goes.
  • Flyball – is also a competition sport, similar to a relay race, for teams of 4 dogs. Each dog runs down a course one at a time, jumping hurdles to reach the flyball box, trigger the box which springs a tennis ball out. Then the dog returns with the ball and the next dog goes.

These are only a few of the many dog sports out there. Check out the many dog sports for yourself. You might be surprised by the sport you and your furry friend end up liking.

June is Adopt-A-Shelter Cat Month – My Stories

Every June is Adopt-a-Shelter Cat Month. It seems like every day is a “holiday” now and every month is some “special” month as well. It can get overwhelming. So instead of another article about how you should adopt a cat and save a life and how many cats get euthanized (between 860,000 and 1.4 million) every year, I thought I would share a more personal side to the story.

My family has had pets as long as I can remember. I vaguely remember when my dad brought home our first cat. Some neighbors of our friends had moved and left it locked in their house. Our friends rescued her and we ended up with “Snowball” a beautiful white longhair cat that was particularly fond of my dad. We had other cats come to us through the years through friends and acquaintances and a couple of rescues from the humane society. Our first dog was also “rescued” from friends who were moving back to Greece and were going to give the dog to the shelter. So we got “Sugar” a hugely overweight dachshund that didn’t know what dog food was. He had only eaten Greek people food his whole life. Needless to say, a diet and a lot of walks were in order.

But I have two special stories when they were “my” cats which “I” adopted from the humane society. They weren’t just family pets; we belonged to each other and we knew it. I feel like I was actually adopted by each one of them.

Dusty – “my” first cat

The first cat which was mine was “Dusty”. I don’t remember how old I was but I think it was in my early teens. Our humane society has two rows of cat cages and he was in the middle of the top row. I was going along playing with each cat, taking them out of their cages one at a time to see who I wanted to adopt. When I got to the cage next to his, he reached his paw out of his cage and tapped my arm wanting attention. When I got to him he was so full of love. I put him back and went on to the next cage and he again reached out of his cage and tapped my other arm. When I was going along the bottom row, he reached out with both paws and was tapping my head and playing with my hair. That was that. I knew I had been adopted. He came home with me that day.

Dusty and I had almost 20 happy years together (although I had to leave him with my parents for a few years when I moved to NYC) and he taught me a lot about responsibility and love. My favorite memory of Dusty is “chinnin’s”. He would rub his face and body back and forth against my chin purring the whole time. I was the only person he would do that with and I felt like he was saying “you’re mine!”.

My very first picture with Tica.  She was so tiny and already a snuggle bug.

Several years (and several family pets later) my husband and I adopted “Tica”. We had to put our previous cat to sleep (she was almost 25 years old) a couple of years earlier and we just hadn’t gotten another pet. My husband knew I was missing having one so unbeknownst to me he had gone to the humane society the day before and scouted out the cats ahead of time. The next day he took me with him so we could look together. There were several we were thinking about and he noticed this one in the big display window that hadn’t been out the day before. He said “what about this one?” but I immediately said no because she looked quite a bit like Dusty had and I wanted something different this time. A couple of other cats I didn’t pick because they were too young. (I always try to adopt cats that are a little bit older because kittens have a better chance at getting adopted. I like helping those who might be less fortunate.) We took a couple of cats into the get acquainted room but nothing clicked. Then we were going to take another one but it swatted and hissed at my husband so no go there. Finally there was only one other cat we were considering and the one in the window. I relented and we took them both into the get acquainted room. The other cat started roaming around, sniffing and exploring, but the cat in the window came right over to me. I sat down in the middle of the floor and she curled right up in my lap and started purring. When the other cat finally came around, she hissed and swatted at it to keep it away from me. That was it again. I had been adopted again.

The humane society said she was about two years old but she was so tiny. Our humane society has a deal with a local vet that all the animals who are adopted have to be spayed or neutered before you can take them home so you actually pick up your animal at the vet the next day. After work when I went to pick her up, the vet told me she was only about 9 months old. If I had known that the day before I would have been more hesitant to adopt her since I usually adopt older cats but we decided that was just another sign that it was meant to be.

So she had also picked me and she is the most unique cat I’ve ever know. My husband and I say that she got in the wrong line the day they were telling them they were cats because she acts like a dog a lot of times. She follows us around and greets us at the door. When my husband comes home from work, we have to go out on the front porch and wait for him. She does tricks for treats and she just loves being with her people. But she’s also all cat with her antics and humor and personality and we wouldn’t trade her for anything in the world. She can get her way with just about anything but she also fills our life with so much love and laughter and comfort. My husband calls her my “feline Zoloft”. We just think we own them. It is definitely the other way around.

I could fill pages and pages with stories about the cats in my life and the joys they have brought over the years. But hopefully these two adoption stories will encourage you to think about adding a new feline “bundle of joy” to your home during this special cat adoption month. Check out your local humane society or a cat rescue group to meet your newest family member.

Be Prepared to Care for Your Pets in a Disaster – National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day is May 12

85018767_l cropPrior to 2005, not much official consideration had been given to the needs of pets in a disaster situation. But when more than 150,000 pets perished in Hurricane Katrina, largely as a result of there being no provisions for the rescue of animals, this critical concern was brought to national awareness. In addition to legal measures being passed to protect the rights of animals to be rescued by officials in disasters, National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day was established to help educate the public on the needs of animals in these situations.

Your pets are a part of your family, and just like any other family member, planning and preparation for unexpected situations is important. Here are some ways you can prepare to care for your pet in a disaster:

Be Aware

  • While you can’t predict every potential problem, it is important to know what the most likely dangers are for your geographic area, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, etc.
  • Know what the local disaster evacuation plans and routes are for your area.

Find Safe Havens

  • Never leave your pet behind if you have to evacuate, as they will be unable to fend for themselves in a disaster situation. However,
  • It is important to have a Rescue Alert Sticker on your windows to alert rescuers to the presence of your pets, in the event that you were separated at the time of evacuation. If you evacuate with your pets, and there is time, write “Evacuated” on the stickers to let rescuers know that you are all out.
  • Some evacuation shelters do not accept pets, so it is very important to research where your pet could board in a disaster.
  • Know which hotels in the area would accept you and your pets together in a disaster.
  • Designate a trusted friend, neighbor or family member that can come into your home and help your pets if you are away in a disaster.

Pack an Emergency Kit

  • Make or purchase a first aid kit for your pet. If you make your own, ask your vet for advice on what to include for your pet to meet their individual needs.
  • Keep a 7 day supply of food (both canned and dry) and water for your pet in waterproof and airtight containers that are easy to transport. Rotate these every two months.
  • Make sure your pet’s tags are up to date and secure to their collar, and consider microchipping. It is also a good idea to include a recent photo of you with your pet for visual identification in case of separation.
  • Include a copy of recent health and immunization records in a sealed plastic bag.
  • Pack an extra leash and collar, along with their carrier. Dogs will need crate liners, and cats will need a disposable litter tray and a supply of cat litter.
  • Pack a few comfort items – blankets, a couple of toys.

Add to this list anything that is individual for your own situation, as you best know your own pets and their personal needs. For more information on how to keep your furry family members safe in a disaster, please see these helpful articles on the ASPCA and the Red Cross websites.

 

 

 

Responsible Animal Guardian Month

With Responsible Animal Guardian Month, Pet Cancer Awareness Month, and Chip Your Pet Month, the month of May is here to remind you to be more aware of your pet’s health, surroundings and happiness. And it is also to help people understand that we are not just “owners” of our pets but rather “guardians” of another life. We would never want to treat pets simply like property to be treated however we want and discarded when we tire of them. When you are a Guardian, you have compassion, responsibility, consideration and love for your pet.

For their health, check them over for lumps, bumps, sores or anything unusual. Our pets are just as susceptible to cancer as we are, they are exposed to the same environmental risks as us. See the vet if you find something. Be sure to feed them a good quality food in the correct amount for them. Always have clean water available for them. Get lots of playtime in, both physical and mind challenging. Remember all of their needs: both physical and emotional.

Do proactive things too for your pet and your community.

  • Microchip your dog or cat. This tiny chip has a unique ID number that can make the difference between your pet finding their way home or being lost forever. Microchips are no bigger than a grain of rice, implanted under the skin at the shoulder blades. Almost all shelters and veterinarians have scanners.
  • Start or participate in a Trap – Neuter – Release program in your neighborhood. This helps keep stray cats healthy and helps to prevent the number from growing.
  • Encourage other pet parents to spay/neuter their pets.
  • Donate funds, supplies or your time to a local shelter.
  • Know the early warning signs of cancer, Learn the 10 L’s

There is so much wonderful information and ideas available that we couldn’t begin to share it all. But here are just a few links with more information:

https://www.puppyup.org/its-responsible-animal-guardian-month/

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/10-traits-of-truly-loving-companion-animal-guardian/

https://www.idausa.org/campaign/guardian-initiative/latest-news/animal-guardian-month/

https://www.puppyup.org/canine-cancer/about-cancer/

https://positivelywoof.com/pet-calendar-may-is-national-chip-your-pet-month/

Don’t forget to consider a Hale Pet Door to give your furry companions a way to get outside for more playtime.

Help Us Celebrate Adopt a Shelter Pet Day

12337829_lOn National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day (April 30, 2018), Hale Pet Door salutes the pet parents who have chosen to open their hearts and homes to pets in need through adoption.

With 6.5 million animals entering shelters every year across the US, overcrowding of shelters is one of the most pressing issues in animal welfare. Choosing to adopt a pet instead of buying one from a breeder or a pet store benefits both animals and people in a number of ways, including:

Saving Lives

When you adopt a shelter pet, you are not only saving the life of the pet you adopt, but you are making room for the pet that comes into the shelter after him. Your adoption fees also help support the shelter, which helps them save more pet lives.

Saving Money

It costs much less to adopt a pet through a shelter or a rescue when compared to purchasing, and your adopted pet will most likely be spayed or neutered, brought up to date on shots, dewormed, and treated for fleas and ticks before they come into your care, saving quite a lot of money on veterinary bills. Your shelter may also cover the cost of microchipping.

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You’ll Get a Great Pet

Most shelter pets end up there through no fault of their own – because of a divorce, or because their owners moved, or otherwise couldn’t take care of them any more. These pets are screened for behavioral or temperament concerns prior to adoption, and are ready to integrate into the right home. And adult pets are already potty trained! It’s also worth noting that there is a rescue out there for almost any kind of pet you are looking for, including exotic ones.

Improving Your Health

Owning a pet has been shown to improve your well being in a number of ways, including benefits to cardiovascular health, increased exercise, reduced stress, decreased loneliness, anxiety and depression, and strengthening of compassion and overall improvement of mood. Pets can even help improve your social life!

These are just a few of the many, many reasons why it’s so great to adopt a pet, but here’s one more:

Rescue Rewards

Hale Pet Door is proud of the continuing success of our Pet Rescue Rewards Program. When our customers adopt a pet, they save 10% off of their purchase of a Hale Pet Door product, and we donate an additional 10% to their rescue or shelter. To date, we have made thousands of donations to rescues and shelters across the country.

This April 30th, and every day, we THANK YOU for adopting your pet, and for helping us to give back to pets in need.

National Kids & Pets Day

52399292_lIt’s National Kids and Pets Day! Send us a picture and/or short story of your kids and their pets.

What’s not to love about kids and their pets? The bond between a child and their pet is almost magical, bringing love, laughter and happiness to all who are around them.

But having a pet(s) brings so much more to our kids. Here are a few highlights of how they change us:

  • With their unconditional love our pets give support and help children develop self-esteem and confidence. And instills our kids to have compassion for animals and people throughout their life.
  • Pets – whether they have fur, fins, feathers or scales – teach responsibility. They need to be fed, their area cleaned, walked, played with and taught manners. They also need regular visits to the vet.
  • Children and families learn safe handling of pets. As well as how to keep both your child and pet safe in different situations.4539143 - a little dog licking a young boy's nose
  • They give your kid a playmate. Even if your child has siblings and friends a pet gives them another friend. One to learn new games with, like fetch and tug-of-war. And a friend to make them smile if they’ve had a bad day.
  • They also help kids understand the different stages of life. Life has lots of different happenings – birth, health, illness, growing older and death. With having a pet, your children will experience some or all of these different events, which are both happy and sad. Though no parent wants their child to experience illness or death, they will be better able to cope with life because of experiences with their pet.

Enjoy the smiles, laughter and heart tugs you feel as you watch your kids grow with their pets.

Ultimately our wish is that our pets help our children become kind, caring and compassionate adults – making the world a better place to live.

Heartworm Awareness Month

In April, pet organizations nationwide work to bring attention to the prevention of Heartworm Disease during National Heartworm Awareness Month.

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What is Heartworm Disease?

Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal disease that affects dogs and cats, as well as other mammals, and it is spread by mosquitoes. When a mosquito bites an infected animal, it could carry microscopic baby worms to your healthy pet. Because mosquitoes can easily get inside your home, even exclusively indoor pets are at risk.

Dogs are a natural host for heartworms, and if not detected early, heartworms can multiply inside a dog’s heart, lungs and associated vessels until there are hundreds of worms, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and other organ damage. Symptoms of heartworm disease may not appear until the disease is advanced, and may include a persistent cough, lethargy, fatigue, decreased appetite, and weight loss.

Because cats are not natural hosts for heartworms, it is less likely that worms will reach adulthood in a cat, and if they do, they will not be as numerous as in a dog. However, even immature heartworms can cause serious health problems for cats, including respiratory disease. Signs of heartworm in cats may include coughing, loss of appetite, vomiting, or weight loss.

How is Heartworm treated?

Treatment for heartworm disease in dogs can be lengthy and expensive, which is why prevention is key. If your dog does become infected, treatment might include medications, surgery and serial blood tests.

Unfortunately, there is no approved drug therapy to treat heartworm in cats, but close veterinary care in these cases is still essential.

Prevention is the Best Treatment

Dogs and cats should be tested for heartworm at their regular veterinary visits, and your vet can prescribe monthly preventatives for you to administer to your pet. It is important to stay on top of preventative medications to avoid a gap that could leave your pet vulnerable to infection.

For more information on how to protect your pet from heartworm disease, please visit the Heartworm Society website.

Be sure to Thank your local Animal Care & Control Officers this week!

A12353062 - angry dog biting a african american dog catcherpril 8-14, 2018 is Animal Care and Control Appreciation Week, do something special for your ACOs this week. Send them balloons, flowers or a nice card, letting them know that you appreciate all they do for their and your community.

Do you know all that they do and are responsible for? Here are some highlights:

  • ACOs are public safety officers dealing with dangerous situations on a regular basis to protect your community.
  • ACOs help all kinds of animals (domestic and wild) in all kinds of situations – they may be lost, sick, injured, starved, misused or need transportation.
  • ACOs apprehend and impound loose dogs and/or livestock.
  • They assist citizens with the removal of nuisance wildlife (skunks, raccoons, and squirrels) by setting up and maintaining live traps.
  • ACOs also care for and adopt out homeless pets who need shelter and new families.
  • As one of your community’s animal welfare organizations, your city or county animal control collaborates with private non-profit animal groups to pull together all available resources for homeless pets.
  • Rabies is under control in the United States because of ACOs . They enforce the laws and statutes which protect people and animals from rabies and other life-threatening diseases.
  • ACOs will mediate neighborhood disputes over animal issues/concerns through communication, education, and enforcement
  • ACOs cooperate with other agencies/officers, such as Police Officers, Wildlife Officers and Sheriff’s Deputies when necessary.

To reiterate – in a given week (or even a single day), an ACO may rescue a kitten trapped in a wall, catch and relocate a possum or native snake, work with local police on a drug raid, help a lost dog find his people (and vice versa), retrieve a scared or confused horse or cow from morning traffic, adopt a homeless cat to her new family, and testify in court against an abusive pet owner. Whew!

So Thank You, Thank You, Thank You ACOs for all that you do!

Spring is Just Around the Corner – Are You and Your Pet Ready?

14163002 - cute rhodesian ridgeback puppy in a fieldWhile some areas of the country are still experiencing Nor’easters, others parts are already welcoming crocus and daffodils as the first signs of spring. We have “sprung ahead” into daylight savings time in most areas and are looking forward to longer, warmer days spent outdoors. This is also the time of year that many people start thinking about home improvement projects to be completed during the spring and summer season. Are you and your pet both ready for the upcoming hustle and bustle that accompanies this time of year?

A Few Things to Remember at This Time of Year

  • Pets can be lethargic after a long winter as well. Reintroduce them to outdoor activities slowly if they have been more sedentary than normal.
  • Watch out for fleas, ticks and heartworm that are more prevalent in warmer weather. Always keep up their protection but especially check for ticks if you’ve walked your dog in an area where they gather.
  • Pets can suffer allergies just like people do from things like dust, mold and pollen. If your cat or dog is sneezing, coughing, scratching, licking or chewing more than is normal, check with your vet to see if they are having an allergic reaction to something and to see how to treat it.
  • We love spring flowers and bouquets whether in our house or yard but they aren’t the healthiest for your pet and can even be fatal if they ingest certain plants, especially lilies. Keep these away from your pets and double check your landscaping for any plants that may be poisonous to your pets.
  • If you are taking your pet with you for a drive to enjoy spring scenery or fresh air, make sure they are properly secured in your vehicle and not allowed to roam loose in a car or truck. And NEVER leave your pet unattended in a car for any length of time. Even in the early spring, cars can heat up quickly to a lethal temperature. Also make sure they have access to shade and fresh water even in your yard.
  • Springtime home improvements and spring cleaning give opportunities for both added safety and added dangers. Make sure screens are secure so cats can’t fall out the window. Make sure there are no puddles gathering anywhere around your house where your pets could drink from filthy water. Make sure your pool fence is in good repair to keep your pet away. Keep all cleaning products, even natural ones, safely away from pets and keep pets safely away from newly cleaned areas until all surfaces are dry and won’t get any cleaning products on their paws or fur.
  • Does one of your home improvement projects this season involve a pet door so your pet can safely enjoy the great outdoors while still having access to his food, water, air-conditioning and comfy bed? Check out the line of Hale Pet Door pet doors, ramps, security barriers and more to make life better for you and your pets.

National Poison Prevention Week

March 18-24, 2018 is National Poison Prevention Week

50174473 - chart of toxic foods for dogs. also available without text.

Remember your furry friends this week and always. There are a lot of different things (plants, medicines, people food, household products, etc) that can make your animals sick or even kill them.

TIPS TO PREVENT POISONINGS

  • Be prepared for an emergency. Keep the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center number at your fingertips by saving the number in your mobile phone: 888-426-4435
  • Practice safe storage habits for household chemicals and other substances that can be poisonous for pets
  • Read and follow all labels and directions
  • Detect invisible threats

36871833 - white cat fight green snake in untidy dirty garden, danger.The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is the best resource for any animal poison-related emergency. They are available at 888-426-4435, 24 hours/365 days a year and staffed by veterinary health professionals. There may be a fee for the call.

The ASPCA has a good page with more information on specific items: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control

If you have a pet door, please be aware of what’s in your yard, for their safety and health.