Snowed In? Try These 7 Indoor Games for Dogs!

Remi the Puggle bundles upAt DogWatch HQ in Natick, Massachusetts, we are preparing for a major – and possibly historic – blizzard. In addition to stocking our fridges and getting our shovels ready, we are also preparing our pets for the storm. We’ve already covered cold weather safety tips and paw care on the blog. Today, we’ve collected some fun indoor games for your dog, to help him channel his pent-up energy and exercise his brain and body even when he’s snowed in. Ready, set, PLAY!

Find the Food

There are lots of creative ways to make mealtime into an entertaining, engaging game on snowy days. Kong toys are a popular option – simply put your dog’s food inside, add peanut butter on top to make it harder to get (and more enticing) and hand it over! Puzzle toys are another great choice, including Nina Ottoson’s puzzle toys, which we featured in our Holiday Gift Guide. Or your could make your own food puzzle toy using things you already have in your house! Break up dinner in small portions, hide it around the home, and ask your dog to search for it. Or try one of these fun options.

“Pick a Cup, Any Cup”

Muffin Tin Game

Doggie Basketball

Teach your dog to channel his favorite NBA player with this fun game of hoops we found on Pawnation. All you need to a laundry basket and your pup’s favorite ball. With your dog watching, drop the ball in the basket and say “drop.” After doing this a number of times, hand the ball to the dog and say “drop.” If he drops it in the basket, reward with lots of praise and a treat. This may take a while to master, but on a snow day, you’ve got plenty of time, right?

Back to School

Just because the kids are home from school doesn’t mean the learning has to stop! A snow day is a perfect time to brush up on your dog’s training. Does she need a refresher course in “stay” or “wait” or “place”? Have you always wanted to teach her “roll over” or “paw”? Try it out today, and recruit the family to get involved. Your dog will love the attention and activity, and you’ll be proud to show off her new trick!

Hide and Seek

Hide and Seek another game to get the whole family involved. One person asks the dog to “stay” while the other shows the dog treats in her hand and then hides in another room. Then ask the dog to find her, and give her the treats as a reward when she does! If it’s just you who’s able to play, then you can play hide and seek by hiding your dog’s toys or treats throughout the house and asking him to find them. This game acts as both physical and mental exercise for your pup, and it can be a lot of fun for kids, too. Just make sure you tell your dog when the game the over – you don’t want her chasing you throughout the house everyday.

Treadmill Time

Did you know that dogs can be trained to run on treadmills? These running machines can be a great substitute for walks when the weather is bad. As Cesar Milan advises on his site, it is important to start slow, and make sure your dog is accustomed to the movement before increasing speed or using the treadmill regularly. Also, to ensure safety, you’ll need to monitor your dog at all times when he’s on the treadmill. With these guidelines in mind, try it out, just like Munchkin the Teddy Bear Dog!

Spa Day

Ok, so it’s not so much a game as an activity to pass the time. Turn your snow day into a spa day! Now’s the time for that much-needed bath (not too cold, of course!) and brushing. Doesn’t sound like fun? Start slow, add treats and praise, and minimize other distractions, and your dog can learn to love this quiet pampering. Here’s a great article with tips to help your dog get used to (and yes, maybe even look forward to) grooming.

Plain Ol’ Fetch

Hey, if it works, why mess with it? Chances are your pup loves to fetch, so indulge him on these indoor-only days. Break it up with some tug-of-war and you’ve got a fun exercise to get you both moving, and lift your spirits on these gloomy days. And while you’re at it, why not capture this fun on video? Here’s Biz enjoying some late afternoon fetch in the hallways of DogWatch HQ.

Enjoy these games, and to everyone in the path of Winter Storm Juno, stay safe!

Photo Credit: Remi the Puggle by Elyse Blanda

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Posted in Dog Care, Winter

Dog Paw Care 101

dog pawA dog’s paws are tough – they run over rocks, skate along the ice, stand up to the summer heat and dig through sand and dirt. These paw pads see a lot during a dog’s lifetime, so do your canine best buddy a favor. Check out our seasonal guide to paw health, and help him keep those feet running safely and comfortably all year ’round!

Winter

The hazards of winter can be dangerous to your pup’s paws. Dogs’ paws are naturally thick and leathery and offer some protection against hard surfaces and the elements, but all the salt, sand, snow, ice, and de-icing chemicals can cause dry paws, cracking, irritation, injury, and even infection.

If your dog spends a lot of time in the snow or walks on sidewalks or streets that see a lot of salt and de-icers, then consider preparing your dog’s paws before going outside in the winter months. Cloth or rubber dog booties are a great way to protect your dog’s paws and prevent slipping on ice. There are many options and sizes available. Putting the booties on the dog can be a challenge, so here’s a helpful how-to video. However, not all dogs will tolerate booties. If you need a laugh, check out this video of dogs trying them on for the first time.

In that case, another option is a paw wax like Musher’s Secret, which was developed for sledding dogs. Paw wax forms a protective coating over the paws and protects them from direct contact with harmful surfaces or chemicals. If you can’t find a dog-specific paw wax, try Bag Balm or even Vaseline.

Good grooming habits can also help maintain good paw health in the winter. On his website, Cesar Milan advises to trim the hair around the paws of long-coated dogs to make sure that none of the hair comes into contact with the ground. This proper grooming will “prevent ice balls from forming between and around the paw pads which can be painful and result in trauma. It also makes it easier to apply the [paw wax] to the pads.”

It is also important to clean up after winter walks. When you get back inside, make sure to thoroughly clean off your dog’s paws with a towel and warm water to remove all traces of paw wax, debris or chemicals she may have picked up on your walk. We suggest keeping a towel by the door to help establish a routine. This quick cleaning will keep your dog from licking her paws and potentially getting sick from de-icing chemicals. Plus, it helps keep the floors clean, too!

Summer

Summer may be snow-free, but it still poses some potential hazards to a dog’s paws. Summer means trips to the beach and lots of outdoor time (yay!), but it can also mean hot sand and even hotter asphalt. A good rule of thumb is – would you stand here barefoot for more than a few seconds? If not, then avoid walking on those hot surfaces with your dog. Morning or early evening walks are best to avoiding peak sun hours.

Dogs also spend a lot more time outside in the summer months, so summer is a good time to check your dog’s paws for any signs of injury, such as cracks, blisters or punctures. Make it a habit after long walks, and always examine them if you dog is licking his paws more than usual, or is limping. Minor cracks or cuts in the paws can be treated with a wash in antibacterial soap and a soothing balm or a dog-specific pad moisturizer (just don’t use your own moisturizer – according to the ASPCA it can soften the paws and lead to injury). Any severe burns or deep cuts should be treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

FoxtailIf your dog spends a lot of time in open fields, keep an eye out for foxtails, a weed that can log itself in the skin between paw pads. If this happens, the foxtail should be removed immediately, for it is irritating and painful for the dog, and can lead to infection if untreated. Try to remove it gently with tweezers, but if the area is red or swollen, bring the dog to the vet as soon as possible. The vet can also check your dog thoroughly for more foxtails, as they have been known to lodge in dogs’ ears, eyes and noses.

Here’s to a year a good health, strong paws and lots of outdoor fun for your dog!

Photo Credit
Hordeum murinum disarticulating spikelet cluster.” Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.

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Posted in Dog Care, Dog Healthcare, Summer, Winter

DogWatch Hidden Fences – Solutions for Senior, Deaf or Sensitive Dogs and Cats

Old Golden Retriever and cat in backyardHere at DogWatch, we know that no two pets are exactly alike. That’s why our DogWatch receiver collar settings can be individually adjusted to suit the breed, size, age and temperament of each dog and/or cat on the system. But what if your dog is hearing impaired, and can’t hear the audible warning signal? Or what if your pet has sensitive skin or a short coat, and needs a lower profile contact post? DogWatch has solutions!

DogWatch Hidden Fence Vibration Receiver Collar

DogWatch outdoor boundary graphicAll DogWatch systems feature a warning signal, which alerts your dog that he is approaching the boundary. Our standard collars use an audible alert. While this option works for most pets, it is not the best option for pets who are hard-of-hearing or deaf. That’s why we created a Vibration Receiver Collar. The collar’s vibration warning is perfect for older and/or hearing-impaired dogs. Your pet can quickly learn to stop at the warning signal before he reaches the hidden wire, just like his hearing counterparts.

Ryan Betz of DogWatch of Nashville recently worked with a deaf Labrador Retriever using the Vibration Receiver Collar, and the training was a success. His takeaway? ”Vibration works!”

The Vibration Receiver Collar also gives users the flexibility to set the warning signal to vibration and the boundary signal to an appropriate correction level or to set both signals to vibration-only. Your DogWatch Dealer will work with you to find the optimal settings to keep your dog safe and happy in his yard.

To learn more about training and caring for a deaf dog, here’s an informative article from pets.webmd.com to answer some of your questions.

GentleFit™ Contact Posts

GentleFit(TM) Contact PostsOptional GentleFit™ Contact Posts are easy on your dog’s skin. They are smooth like our standard stainless steel contact posts to minimize friction and low profile for a comfortable Pet-Friendly™ fit. These unique contact posts are great for dogs with short coats or sensitive skin.

GentleFit Contact Posts are also a “purrfect” fit for cats using a DogWatch Hidden Fence system. The comfortable fit can help ease her into the habit of wearing a containment collar. . . because dogs shouldn’t be the only ones having fun!

If you have any questions about DogWatch Hidden Fences, the Vibration Receiver Collar or GentleFit Contact Posts, please contact your local dealer or DogWatch Customer Service at info@dogwatch.com or 800-793-3436, Monday-Friday, 9AM to 5PM EST.

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Posted in Challenges, Products

In Case You Missed It: DogTails’ Most Popular Posts of 2014

Happy New Year, DogTails readers! 2014 was a busy year for us on the blog. We covered popular news stories about dogs, brought you training and health tips for every season, tackled some of the challenges of life with puppy, and (hopefully) made you laugh with photos and videos of dogs being dogs. 2015 looks to an even more exiting year for us at DogWatch, but before we get there, we wanted to review some of our favorite blog posts from the past year. Happy reading!

Chihuahua puppy on carpetThe Do’s and Don’ts of Potty Training Your Puppy
There’s a lot of love about puppies, but an accident on the new sofa is not one of those things. Housebreaking your puppy can be a challenge, and if you’ve never done it, it’s hard to know where to start. To help, we compiled this collection of do’s and don’ts of potty training your puppy, including a helpful video and some advice to keep your puppy happy and yourself sane during the process.

DogWatch dog in snow5 Cold Weather Safety Tips for Dogs
We are in the middle of a very cold week at DogWatch HQ in Massachusetts. If you also experience frigid winters, it’s important to make sure your dog is prepared for the chilly days ahead. To help, DogWatch has put together a list of 5 cold weather safety tips for dog owners, including protecting your dog’s vulnerable paws and adding indoor playtime to make up for shorter outdoor walks.

Spaniel mom and puppyWhat Is Your Dog’s Lifespan?
Back in February, we shared this chart listing the average lifespan of over 100 dog breeds. Lifespan varies from breed to breed, and depends on other variables too, such as genetic disease, weight, gender and whether the dog is spayed or neutered. Female dogs live longer than males by an average of one and a half years, while spaying and neutering can give a dog protection from certain kinds of cancer.

Beagle puppy jumping“Down, Boy, Don’t Jump On Our Guests!”
Hosting guests at your home can be stressful for dogs and dog owners. We compiled these training tips to help you teach your dog the proper behavior and ensure that you, your guests and your dog all enjoy the visit. Included is a video featuring Dog Trainer Martin Deeley, in which he demonstrates how to train a dog to go their place (for example, a dog bed). The “place” command is a great way to teach your dog not to jump on guest, but instead wait for the right time to say a calm “hello.”

Lucy in her Oreo cookie costumeHowl-O-Ween: 10 Homemade Halloween Dog Costume Ideas for Beginners to Experts
We had a lot of fun putting together this post on 10 creative homemade dog costumes for Halloween. Our own dogs even got involved, with DogWatch office dog Lucy modeling her Oreo cookie ensemble. Even though next Halloween is a long ways off, it’s always fun to scroll through these suggestions and the accompanying photos of costumed canines!

Now that we have looked back at 2014, let us know if there are any topics you’d like us to cover in 2015.  We’d love your ideas and input!  Thanks!

Photo of Beagle puppy jumping: “A Very Excited Puppy” by Eric Danley. CC2.0.

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Posted in Dog Care, Dog Training

2015 New Year’s Resolutions: Dog Edition

If your dog had a New Year’s resolution, what would it be? We consulted with a panel of DogWatch dogs and their friends, and here’s what they came up with. We hope this gets your new year off on the right paw!

Nellie, 1 year old, Australian Shepherd
My mom says I play rough, and my dog friends don’t always like to be jumped on or knocked over. I will try to be a bit more gentle. But don’t worry, I’ll never stop playing and having a good time. (Mom wouldn’t want that either!)

Lucy, 5 years old, Chihuahua/Pug mix
I will come when my mom calls me. Ok, maybe just occasionally, but that’s still a good start. It’s so hard – tag is my favorite game!

Toby, 4 years old, Pomeranian
My goal is to reduce my barking by a least one bark a day. Hey, resolutions should be achievable, no? What can I say, I love to talk and talk and talk…

Yogi, 10 weeks old, mixed breed
I’m pretty young, so I think I need to be cut a little bit of slack in the resolutions department; however, it does seem fairly important to my family that I learn to “go potty” outside. I really don’t get what the big deal is…I mean…they have all these glorious absorbing pads all over the floor (I believe they call it carpet) that are simply perfect for peeing on! Anyway, why we all need to freeze our tails off outside while I do my business in the grass is really confusing to me, but hey, if it’s important to them I guess it’s important to me too.

Stella, 9 years old, Lhasa Apso/Cocker Spaniel mix
Take more walks along the beach with Mom and Dad. It keeps me young, and it’s a great place to meet new friends – both dog and human!

Shiloh, 7 years old, Cocker Spaniel/Poodle mix
My resolution for 2015 is more pampering. I love to go to the doggie spa, and want to continue my reign as the best coiffed dog at DogWatch HQ.

Biz, 1 year old, English Labrador Retriever
I got my name because I’m all business – I’m more focused on athletic endeavors than goofy antics. My resolution is to loosen up a bit. Hey, maybe this human petting thing isn’t so bad after all!

Josie, 11 years old, Labrador Retriever
My mom says that all she wants from me next year is to just keep being the same sweet old dog that I am. That’s something I can definitely accomplish in 2015!

Remi, 7 years old, Pug/Beagle mix
This year, I will work on loosening my grip on my beloved toys. When Mom and Dad say “drop it,” I will try my darnedest to let it go (even though I love my squeaky toys and tennis balls). Plus, I hear this “Fetch” thing is fun, and I want to try it out!

Nina, 10 years old, Cocker Spaniel/Poodle mix
I will go out on more walks with my mom and baby sister. Also, I will continue to put up with my baby sister’s excited squealing, because she’s family and she gives me lots of yummy baby food in return.

Tala, 4 months old, Shepherd mix
My resolution is simply to be healthy and happy in my brand new home. The shelter folks were great, but nothing is better than being part of a family.

Priscilla, 19 years old, Cat
Nothing. I’m perfect. Now leave me alone so I can get back to my nap.

Does your dog or other pet have a resolution for 2015? We’d love to hear it. Share it here in the comments or on our DogWatch Hidden Fences Facebook page.

Photo Credits
All photos from DogWatch HQ except the following: Yogi photo from DogWatch of Columbus; Remi photo from Elyse Blanda; Nina photo from Geoff Mosher.

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Posted in Dog Stories, Holidays

2014: The Year in Dogs

As we approach the New Year, it’s time to review some of the highlights of 2014. No, we are not talking about the year’s biggest news stories, best movies, top songs or most amazing sports moments. DogTails wants to review 2014 the way we know best – the Year in Dogs! Below are some of the most memorable dog (and cat) stories of the past year. Enjoy, and a Happy New Year to hound and human alike!

2014 The Year in Dog

January
The year started off strong for dogs, when an adorable yellow Lab puppy and his Clydesdale friends won the other battle of Superbowl Sunday – the race for the best commercial! Budweiser premiered its one minute “Puppy Love” spot during a break in the 4th quarter of the game, and captured hearts around the world. In fact, USA Today voters rated it the top ad of the game. The spot was so successful that Budweiser premiered a “sequel” in September – “Friends are Waiting” – which warns against drunk driving by highlighting the bond between a man and his yellow Lab buddy. Budweiser is no doubt hard at work on their next Super Bowl ad, but we think it will be hard to top this year’s winning campaign.

February
One of the most memorable stories of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia this past February took place off the podium. Days before the Games began, news spread of efforts by animal lovers to save the many stray dogs of Sochi, some of whom were being killed in a effort to clear the streets before the Opening Ceremony. As athletes and fans arrived in the city and met some of the surviving dogs, some fell in love and vowed to take them home as pets after the Games ended. These adopters included US skiing silver medalist Gus Kenworthy, who posted photos of a litter of stray puppies on his Twitter account, eventually taking home two of them (now named Jake and Mishka). Leaving with a medal AND two new best friends – now that’s a great Olympic story!

March
March brought the annual Global Pet Expo, held in Orlando, FL, featuring 985 exhibitors and thousands of new products for every pet and pet owner. Dog products debuting at the event included the Tuggo dog toy, a toy that allows your dog to play tug-of-war by himself! The ball-and-rope design can be filled with water (weighing up to 20lbs), thus providing resistance and lots of fun for the tug-loving dog. Another innovative product – the iCPooch, a video-chat/remote treat dispensing tool – was introduced at the Expo by its 14 year-old inventor, Brooke Martin. Pretty impressive work for a high school freshman!

April
On April 8, a Metro-North Hudson Line train traveling from the Bronx to Manhattan moved a lot slower than usual, as a Shepherd-Collie mix ran ahead of it on the tracks. A situation that could have ended in tragedy ended happily thanks to a team effort – train engineer Joseph Delia slowed the train’s speed to avoid hitting her, rail traffic controller Alex Rodriguez signaled ahead to warn about her presence on the tracks, and MTA Police Officers Luis Alvarez and Errold Borges pulled her off the tracks to safety at the Harlem-125th Street station. The dog, who was limping but quite friendly, was nicknamed “Tie” (after all of the railroad ties she had jumped over on her journey). Tie’s next stop after the tracks was Animal Care & Control’s Manhattan Animal Care Center in East Harlem, where she was treated for her injury and recovered. Her dramatic story attracted many potential adopters, and she eventually went home with the Miller family, joining their equally playful Collie mix. Good luck and safe travels (off the tracks, of course!) to Tie and her new family!

May
On May 17, the world of Presidential pups got a little bit smaller. Miss Beazley, one of two Scottish Terriers who lived in the White House with President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, passed away after a battle with lymphoma. Her Scotty relative and fellow White House dog, Barney, passed away in 2013. The former President shared the sad news on his Facebook page, saying “she was a source of joy during our time in Washington and in Dallas. She was a close companion to her blood relative, Barney. And even though he received all the attention, Beazley never held a grudge against him.” Goodbye Miss Beazley, we’ll miss you!

June
In June, a blind dog got to see his owners for again for the first time in months, and the world got to share in this joyous event thanks to a video shared by his owner. Benjamin May had watched over a 3-5 month period as Duffy, his 8 year-old Irish Terrier, lost his vision due to diabetes. In January, Benjamin’s family took Duffy to the Veterinary Referral Center in Malvern, PA for correction eye surgery. The procedure was a success, and Benjamin was there to film Duffy’s excited reaction to seeing him and his parents for the first time in months. Despite his “cone of shame,” Duffy was all wiggles, smiles and whimpers to see his beloved people again! After Benjamin posted the video on sharing site Reddit in June, it quickly went viral, eventually achieving over 7 million views on YouTube. Duffy’s family reports that, although he needs regular treatment for his diabetes, his vision is still strong and he has had no complications.

July
What’s cuter than a newborn baby? How about a newborn baby cuddling with a puppy? A 16-second video of 11 week-old Eisleigh and 9 week-old Pit Bull puppy Clyde cuddling together in a baby seat became another viral video sensation when Eisleigh’s mother Brandi Hodges posted the clip to her Instagram account. In an interview after the clip spread all over Facebook, Brandi said: “My fiance and I are both die hard animal lovers and adore pit bulls. We’ve always said we would get a puppy when we have a baby so they can grow up together and have a special bond. We never knew it would be as sweet as this.” Brandi has continued to chronicle the bond between her baby and her Bully on Instagram, and judging by the latest photos, the two are still best friends and still make an unbelievable cute pair.

August
August brought us one of the stranger dog stories of 2014. As part of a competition at ad agency BBH to create buzz around a campaign, a group of interns created profiles for adoptable dogs on the dating website Tinder. The 10 dogs, who were all from Social Tees Animal Rescue in New York City, got 2,700 matches in less than a week (most likely making a lot of single New Yorkers quite jealous)! These “matches” then received more information about the dog and the shelter, where they could meet the dogs (their first “date,” so to speak). While we are not sure about the success rate of this “dating” program, it is certainly a unique and fun way to raise awareness about shelter dogs. Tinder users, “swipe right” to meet your furry soulmate!

September
A month before Halloween, we learned of a terrifying new monster – the mutant giant spider dog! Polish filmmaker Sylwester Wardega dressed up his medium-size black mixed breed dog Chica in a frighteningly realistic looking spider costume and set him loose to scare some unsuspecting passersby. The video is both scary and totally hilarious. The reaction shots are great, but the very best part might be the end, when we see the smiling pup frolicking and licking his human friends, showing just how sweet he is when he’s not scaring the bejesus out of you. The rest of the world appears to share our enthusiasm, for YouTube named it the top trending clip of the year, with over 120 million views.

October
Ebola was perhaps the biggest news story of 2014, as the deadly disease struck thousands worldwide. In October, a rare piece of positive news on the topic drew cheers, as Dallas nurse Nina Pham, who had treated an Ebola patient and contracted the disease herself, was released from the hospital. Also cleared of the disease – her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Bentley. While Nina was being treated, Bentley was in quarantine at Dallas Animal Services, where he underwent many tests and was seen to by caretakers in hazmat suits. After receiving a clean bill of health, Bentley was reunited with Nina, to her delight and the delight of the many people worldwide who had kept her and her beloved dog in their thoughts during her illness. Describing the reunion, Nina said “It feels like Christmas literally. I just can’t imagine just having my best friend back. It’s an amazing feeling.”

November
Sure, she’s not a dog, but how can we talk about 2014 without mentioning Grumpy Cat? The most famous cat on the internet, Grumpy (whose real name is Tardar Sauce), continued to grab headlines this year, be it for her super cool agent, her starring role in her own TV movie that premiered in November, and her well-publicized (but probably exaggerated) $100 million annual earnings. Can the dour feline maintain her status as the most famous celebrity pet in 2015? We’ll have to wait and see. Grumpy cat, however, remains unconcerned.

December
The last story of our Year in Dogs is perfect for the season of giving (and not giving up). Derby is a rescue dog who was born with a deformity in his front legs that severely limited his mobility. Luckily, foster mom Tara Anderson works for a 3D printing company called 3D Systems in Rock Hill, SC, and she and her company were determined to find a solution to help Derby run and play with other dogs. 3D Systems created custom 3D-printed prostheses for Derby, and documented the process in this YouTube video. With these new prostheses, Derby now run 2-3 miles a day with his adopted family Sherry and Dom Portanova. Hats off to the designers, Derby’s foster mom, his adoptive parents and the unstoppable pup himself!

We hope you’ve enjoyed these 12 stories from the Year in Dogs, and we look forward to sharing many more stories like these with you in 2015!

Photo Credits

Top Row, Left to Right: Susan Sterner – Whitehouse.gov, “Miss Beazley Arrives at the White House” via Wikipedia; Gus Kenworthy (@guskenworthy) via Twitter; Brandi Hodges (@brandileigh080) via Instagram; still from YouTube video from Budweiser

Bottom Row, Left to Right: Nina Pham via Facebook via CNN; still from YouTube video from SA Wardega; still from YouTube video from Puppy Love; still from YouTube video from 3D Systems

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Posted in Dog Stories

“Down, Boy, Don’t Jump On Our Guests!”

So you’re having a party, and your guests just arrived at the front door. Your dog is so excited to see these new people that he jumps up, gives kisses, wiggles his tail and barks “Hello!” over and over for 10 minutes. Some guests think its adorable, but one is unsure how to respond, another doesn’t want dog kisses and a third is actually afraid of dogs. It would be much easier for everyone if Baxter waited until everyone was settled and then enjoyed snuggles and pets from your willing friends and family. But how do we teach him that the doorway is not for playing?

Beagle Puppy JumpingTeaching your dog to greet you and your guests properly is an important part of dog training for many dog households. It can also be a difficult task, and one that requires time and persistence.

To simplify the process of training your dog to greet guests calmly, Dog Trainer Andrea Arden breaks it down into two parts: managing your dog’s current behavior, and teaching your dog the behavior you want from them. She suggests keeping your dog on a leash when guests arrive to prevent jumping. You can either hold the leash or gently step on it. To teach your dog the proper behavior, she suggests playing the “automatic sit game,” which involves asking your dog to sit and when she does so automatically, saying “yes” and giving her a treat. Your guests can also play this game, and gradually she will learn that sitting nicely (and not jumping) means treats!

Puppies can be especially challenging when it comes to greeting guests. Who doesn’t love a tiny, fluffy puppy jumping up to say hi? The problem is, what happens when a 12-pound puppy grows up to become an 80-pound full-grown dog? The jumpy behavior becomes at lot less endearing and more potentially dangerous. To avoid this problem, Dog Trainer Martin Deeley advises that you “play safe” with your puppy, writing:

Play safe with your pup when guests come around. Maintain control and help him to learn patience and remain calm. A leash and a crate are great tools to use. Puppies need to understand that guests come to visit you and he is there to be greeted when he is invited. Train your guests to not make him the highlight as they arrive but basically to ignore him. No look, no touch, no talk when they first come into your home. Otherwise he will be rewarded for his excitement, jumping, and generally rude greetings.

If he is a dog that cannot help himself even if you put him on the leash, keep him in a crate when people come over, or better still, before they come, wait for him to calm down before allowing him out to socialize. When you do take him out, slip him on a leash and teach him to greet guests politely with a sit.

When he has learned the art of greeting guests, ensure these habits are maintained otherwise your dog may regress and once more learn he can disobey when guests are present. A dog that greets welcome guests nicely and is a delight around the home when guests are present is a dog you will be proud of and your guests will admire. Their smiles and appreciation are his reward and will help him become even better.

Read more at:www.cesarsway.com

In addition to the “automatic sit game” and “play safe” tips, teaching your dog the “place” command is another great way to manage your dog’s greeting behavior. If a dog is trained to place, she will, upon hearing the command, go towards her bed (or another designated “place”) and sit still. Once the dog masters this, you can tell her “go to your place” when the doorbell rings, and she will go there rather than run at the door. Sounds simple enough, but how do you teach this?

In this video below, Martin Deeley explains teaching your dog to place with the BigLeash® Remote Training Collar by DogWatch. The tips Martin provides are useful for both BigLeash users and non-BigLeash users – start slowly, have patience and focus on communicating with your dog.

In the video, Martin works with an an active and inquisitive American Bulldog named Oso. Martin starts by introducing Oso to his place (in this case, a blue place board), and giving him treats when he stands or sits on it. He then walks him back and forth onto the mat, and begins using the place command. Finally, he incorporates the BigLeash slowly to reinforce what he’s learned. Oso loves treats (who doesn’t?), so Martin rewards him with small training treats for a job well done.

To watch more videos of Martin working with the BigLeash Remote Trainer, visit our DogWatch YouTube channel. And for more of Martin’s training tips, visit his website www.floridadogtrainer.com.

With these training tips, you can help your dog learn the proper behavior and ensure that you, your guests and your dog all enjoy the visit. And if you miss those wagging tails and excited greetings, don’t worry, there is still time for that during your dog’s playtime – only now, you won’t have to worry about your dog jumping up on Grandma Ruth or knocking you over with his tail to get to Aunt Jamie!

Photo Credit, Top Right: “A Very Excited Puppy” by Eric Danley. CC2.0.

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Posted in Challenges, Dog Behaviors, Holidays, Puppies

DogWatch’s 2014 Holiday Gift Guide – 12 Gift Ideas For Dog Lovers

Christmas is less than two weeks away – and chances are you still have a bit of shopping left to do. Or if you are one of those Christmas Eve shoppers, maybe a lot left to do! Last week, we shared 10 gift ideas for your dog. Today, we present Part Two of our 2014 DogWatch Gift Guide. We’ve found 12 more creative gift ideas, this time focusing on dog lovers. Need a present for a niece that loves taking and sharing pictures of her French Bulldog? How about a gift for your friend who loves teaching tricks to his Border Collie? Or what about your mom, who loves her Corgi so much she gave her your old bedroom? Check out our finds, and cross some gifts off your list!

DogWatch Holiday 2014 Gift Guide for Dog Lovers

Claudia Pearson Bulldog PlateClaudia Pearson Bulldog Plate
Have a friend who’s a dog lover and a foodie? Why not get him or her this striking plate, pretty enough to display and cute enough to charm any party guest. Designed by Brooklyn-based illustrator (and New Yorker contributor) Claudia Pearson, this 9″ square plate features an adorable color design of a French bulldog, complete with fashionable sweater and backpack. Because who doesn’t love a Frenchie, especially one that doubles as a hors d’oeuvres server? Regular $19.99, On Sale for $9.99 Available at West Elm.

Boden Dog Pattern SweaterBoden Dog Pattern Sweater
Buying clothes as gifts is hard, but this cute sweater from British clothier Boden is a safe bet. The pale gray color is chic and timeless, and the whimsical dog print in red and black adds personality to the look. Dress it up with a pencil skirt or dress it down with dark blue jeans, the sweater will be great addition to a dog lovers’ wardrobe. $118, Available at www.bodenusa.com.

Pug Pint GlassesPug Pint Glasses
If you’re looking for a gift for a guy who loves dogs, check out this pair of “Sad Dog” Pug pint glasses we found on Etsy. Designed by Portland, OR artist Amanda Siska, these glasses are the perfect vessel for your friend’s home brew (named after his dog, of course) or his favorite craft beer. Even the most serious fella will smile when he sees that adorable, big-eyed, smushy-faced Pug mug. Set of 2 Pint Glasses $34, Available at Etsy.

Animal Print UmbrellaAnimal Print Umbrella
Rain or shine, most dogs need their daily walks. So we thought a dog-themed umbrella would make a practical and eye-catching gift for dog lovers. This umbrella from Frontgate comes in 7 different breed designs and many bright colors, and it’s sturdy enough for those windy days. There’s even a design for cat lovers! Of course, your cat-loving grandma will have to use it without her beloved cat who, chances are, prefers to stay indoors and dry. $39.50, Available at Frontgate.

Dog Refrigerator MagnetsDog Refrigerator Magnets
Looking for a Secret Santa gift for your office mate? These colorful magnets, designed and made in Park City, UT, come in a variety of breeds and highlight what makes each special and lovable. Examples include the “Einstein” Border Collie magnet (shown at left), perfect for anyone who lives with and loves these fast-thinking herders. Other fun designs include Basset Hound (“Go ahead, I’m all ears”), Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (“kiss. snuggle. repeat.”), Dachshund (“Life is short, so are my legs”), Beagle (“World’s #1 Foodie”) and Labrador Retriever (“I ate it”). These things are so cute, you don’t even need an excuse to buy one (or two)! $5.99 each, Available at Etsy.

Watchdog DoorstopWatchdog Doorstop
This iron terrier doorstop from clothing and home store Anthropologie is probably the heaviest thing on our gift guide, but it’s also one of the most charming. The alert tail and perked ears bring life to a utilitarian object. Wouldn’t you love to see this little guy holding open your door every day? This is a good gift for Terrier lovers, and it’s sturdy enough that their actual terrier can’t wreak it! $24, Available at Anthropologie.

Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend by Susan OrleanRin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend by Susan Orlean
Books are always a great gift, because there are so many fantastic options to choose from. A book sure to please dog lovers – as well as fans of American history, cinema and TV history and great non-fiction writing – is Rin Tin Tin: The Life and Legend, written by best-selling author Susan Orlean. Baby boomers may remember the loyal and lovable German Shepherd dog from the 1950s TV series The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, but before that, Rin Tin Tin was a real dog, rescued by an American solider named Lee Duncan during WWI. The first Rin Tin Tin went on to star in silent films and become a worldwide celebrity. Orlean tells the story of Rin Tin Tin, Duncan and the legacy they created. It’s an unforgettable story told by one of the best, most engaging non-fiction writers working today. $12.05, Available at Amazon or your local independent bookstore.

DogWatch Indoor Hidden BoundariesDogWatch Indoor Hidden Boundaries
We all love our pets like family, but dogs will be dogs, sometimes at the expense of that new couch or this week’s groceries. DogWatch’s indoor pet containment systems can effectively keep pets off the couch, away from the trash, out of the dining room, and off of the kitchen counters. Our indoor pet fences work wherever you need them, safely, effectively, and discreetly. Plus, our indoor systems work with the same DogWatch receiver collar as our outdoor hidden fences, so it is a great gift for a family who already uses the DogWatch Hidden Fence! Our indoor systems include: the IB-100, a wireless boundary that can protect an area up to 8 feet in diameter and is equipped with a rechargeable battery; the IB-200, which can be used either with a boundary wire to protect a large defined indoor area or wirelessly for greater flexibility to protect smaller areas up to 10 feet in diameter; and the Scoot!®, our smallest transmitter, which uses a boundary wire and can be used to protect small areas such as a piece of furniture or a kitchen counter. Give your friends and family the gift of living comfortably with their pets in their home. For more information, visit our website. To purchase an Indoor Hidden Boundary system, contact your local DogWatch Dealer.

Square Photo PrintsSquare Photo Prints
Do you have a friend or relative who loves to take pictures of their pup on their phone? Encourage them to make these digital images into tangible works of art by purchasing a set of photo prints from Printstud.io. These 4″ x 4″ square photos are printed on beautiful, thick matte cardstock. They are archival quality, so they won’t fade with time like traditional prints, and are water resistant, so they are safe from humidity or accidental spills. And each square is printed with a 3mm white border around your photo, so they are super on-trend. Although initially designed for printing photos from Instagram, these prints work for a wide variety of digital images. Now he can share and display pictures of his beloved dog the old-fashioned way – on paper! $12 for a set of 24 prints, Available at Printstud.io.

“All You Need is Love and a Dog” Print“All You Need is Love and a Dog” Print
The Beatles were almost right when sang “All You Need Is Love.” In our humble opinion, a better motto is “All you need is love & a dog.” Pet-friendly style blog Pretty Fluffy knows this, and they’ve created this gorgeous print just in time for the holidays. This print is one of a collection of prints available for sale on Pretty Fluffy, including “Dogs are a girl’s best friend”, “Crazy dog lady” and “Must Love Dogs.” If you are looking for a cool, stylish home decor gift for a dog-loving lady, look no further. Note: the print is sold without the frame. $35 AUD (Australian dollars) or approximately $29 USD, Available at Pretty Fluffy.

JCrew Girls’ and Boys' Long-Sleeve Snow Dog TeesJ.Crew Girls’ and Boys’ Long-Sleeve Snow Dog Tees
What about the kids, don’t they love dogs too? What to buy them? We like these two long-sleeve tees from J.Crew, featuring fun designs of dogs wearing ski glasses. (The girls’ design is on the left, the boys’ on the right). The tees are also supersoft, so they have a lived-in feel that’s both comfortable and cool. He or she can wear the shirt to the ski slopes, the classroom or at home hanging around with their favorite dog. The only bad thing about them is that they don’t come in adult sizes! Girls’ Tee: $38, Available here. Boys’ Tee: $32.50, Available here. Both from J.Crew.

Kit-Cat ClockKit-Cat Clock
In this season of giving, let’s not forget cats and the people who love them. And what to get the cat person in your life this holiday season? Why, the classic Kit-Cat Clock, that’s what! Created by designer Earl Arnault in a small town in Oregon during the height of the Great Depression in 1932, the Kit-Cat Clock has remained a staple timepiece in American kitchens every since. The cat’s sly smile, dapper bowtie and signature wagging tail have captured many of heart – just ask anyone who grew up in the 1950s, when Kit-Cat Clocks were at the height of their popularity. Sure, it may be almost 2015, but this timeless little tuxedo cat will always be in style. $50 for non-members, $40 for members, Available at MoMA Store.

Click to find out more about any of our suggestions, and feel free to add your own gift ideas in the comments. And from all of us at DogWatch, we wish you (and your pets) a very merry holiday season and a happy and healthy new year!

Posted in Dog Products, Holidays

DogWatch’s 2014 Holiday Gift Guide – 10 Gift Ideas For Your Favorite Dog

Like the song says, “It’s the most wonderful time of year,” right? While there is a lot of love about the holiday season, it can also be stressful, especially when it comes to finding the perfect gift. DogWatch is here to help with our annual Holiday Gift Guide. Part One of our guide is a list of fun, fluffy and fabulous ideas for the special dog (or cat) in your life. He gives you kisses and cuddles all year for free – why not return the favor?

DogWatch Holiday 2014 Gift Guide for Dogs

Pet Crate End TablePet Crate End Table
Your dog may love her cozy crate, but chances are you find it a bit of an eyesore in the home. Or perhaps you just don’t have room for it, and are constantly shuffling the crate around when company arrives. Why not try a crate that doubles as an attractive end table? Your dog will love being close to you, and you’ll love how well her home blends in to your beautiful den. This crate comes in small and large sizes. (Note: this crate may not be a good fit for puppies who love to chew. Think of it as a graduation present for dogs who’ve learned their good manners!) Small $95, Large $142.50, Available at Brookstone.

Nina Ottosson DogTrubble Wood Puzzle Toy
Swedish designer Nina Ottosson began making puzzle toys for her two Bouvier des Flanders when she found it hard to find the time to play with them and also take care of her two young children. She created toys that kept them active and stimulated their brains as well as their bodies. Nina’s toys are a great way to keep dogs challenged and entertained, and helps them focus their energy away from more destructive “games” like shredding beds and chewing shoes. This puzzle requires the dog to move several blocks around a bendy track with only one opening. Once the dog finds the opening, the block can be lifted off, uncovering the hidden treats! This toy is suitable for dogs of all ages and sizes, and is also great for cats! $41, Available at www.shop.nina-ottosson.com.

Molly Mutt Dog Bed DuvetMolly Mutt Dog Bed Duvets
Is your pup’s bed looking stiff, dirty or threadbare? Why not try a bed that is comfy, economical AND eco-friendly? Molly Mutt Dog Duvets are designed to be comfortable, stylish and easy to keep clean. Start with the DIY Kit, which comes with two duvet covers (choose from a variety of fun designs) and a “stuff sack.” Simply fill the stuff sack with old clothes, towels and linens, insert the filled stuff sack into the duvet cover and you’ll have a comfy bed that your dog will love. Why? Because those old clothes smell like you, their favorite buddy. The beds come in various sizes and, yes, cats will love them too. DIY Kit with 2 Duvet Covers $50, Available at www.mollymutt.com.

Designer Floating Dog BowlsDesigner Floating Cat or Small Dog Bowls
Sick of the same old pet bowls with silly fonts and paw prints? Keep it simple with this sleek, handsome, handmade bowl set we found on Etsy. Designed to give bowls a “floating” look, this set features natural stained pine and birch with a high gloss finish and ceramic (dishwasher safe) bowls. It’s clean look that is both modern and timeless. The bowls are a perfect fit for a sleek, modern home, but would also look great in a rustic kitchen. Click here to see more bowls, dog toy bins, and other designs from the artist, who hails from from Marion, IA. Note: these bowls each hold roughly one cup, so they are better suited for small dogs and cats. $27, Available at Etsy.

BigLeash V-10 Vibration Trainer from DogWatchBigLeash® V-10 Vibration Trainer from DogWatch
Rather than toot our own horn, let’s let Mike S. from Columbus, OH tell you why the BigLeash makes a great gift. “My dog is excited when she sees the BigLeash collar and loves to have the collar on because it means she is going to have fun!” The newest addition to the DogWatch family of products, the BigLeash V-10 Vibration Trainer offers 10 vibration levels plus an audible signal that can be used effectively for training and communicating with your dog, especially when he is too distracted or too far way to hear your verbal command. The vibration signal is also a great way to communicate with dogs who are hearing impaired. $189, Available at www.bigleash.com.

Action camera dog harnessAction Camera Dog Harness
Ever seen a cool YouTube video that features a “dog’s point of view” of the dog park or hiking trail and thought, “That would be fun to do on our own!” The Action Camera Dog Harness from Orvis® can help you do that. Strap on the harness, attach your GoPro® camera to it, and bring out your dog’s inner Spielberg. Sure, those mountain biking videos you filmed last year are cool, but Max the Lab’s video of his weekend run at the pond will be even better. The harness comes in four sizes, so there’s one for every dog, from a Yorkie to a Mastiff. Note: the camera is NOT included, so you’ll have to ask Santa for that one. Also, don’t leave it on the ground, unless you want your camera to be stolen by a squirrel and stuck in tree. All sizes $39, Available at Orvis.

Houndz in the 'Hood Fleece BodysuitHoundz in the ‘Hood Breed-Specific Dog Fleece
DogWatch dog Lucy, shown at left, swears by her dog fleece bodysuit to help keep her warm during the cold New England winter. The four-legged outfit is made by New York-based Houndz in the ‘Hood, which makes these bodysuits, sweaters and other cozy apparel specifically for short coated breeds like Greyhounds, Whippets, Dachshunds, Chihuahuas, Pugs and more. Not only are they arranged by breed, they are also available in different sizes, so you can compare measurements and order the best fitting clothes for your pup. The fleece bodysuits come in indoor and heavy-duty outdoor varieties, and in a range of colors and even some striking plaid prints. Just be warned: you will get a lot of attention when your pup sports these custom threads on her daily walk! $38-$80, prices vary by breed, Available at www.houndzinthehood.com.

iFetchiFetch
You may have seen videos of this device on blogs and YouTube this year – it’s one of the hottest new dog toys out there! Created and sold by a family-run business in Austin, TX, the iFetch started with an idea that then-teenager Grant Hamill had when he struggled to finish his homework one day. The family poodle, Prancer, wanted to keep playing fetch, but Grant had to focus on schoolwork. What if there was a device that the dog could use to keep playing fetch on his own for as long as he wants? The iFetch is just that toy! The iFetch website has a fun training tips page that shows how the product works and how to train your fetch-obsessed pup to use it. We bet Prancer is pretty proud of his buddy’s awesome new invention! Note: the iFetch uses custom small tennis balls, so don’t try to use the ones you have at home. iFetch plus 3 tennis balls $99.95, 5 extra tennis balls $10 Available at iFetch.

Custom Dog TagsCustom Dog Tags from critterbling
Your dog is special, right? Then why does he sport the same old bone-shaped dog ID tag? Another Etsy find, these handmade, custom dog ID tags are fun and useful, featuring a cute message on one side and a name and phone number on the other. Our favorite is “have your people call my people,” which comes in copper and four other metals. Other quirky messages include “Squirrel Patrol” and “Keep calm and call my mom.” The designer, based in Florida, makes each piece to order, carefully stamping each letter or number, then tumbling the tag for several hours to polish, and finally finishing it by hand polishing. Custom doggie bling – perfect for your pampered pooch! $12-$14, prices vary by choice of metal, Available at Etsy.

EZYDog Summit BackpackEZYDog Summit Dog Backpack
Here’s a gift for the nature-loving dog and his two-legged hiking companion. The EZYDog Summit Backpack is comfortable and secure, and allows your dog to carry his own supplies (bowls, food, toys, bags, etc.) just like his people. Now you’ll be able to take longer walks, and there’s even a strap to hold his leash when it’s time for some untethered running. (Hint: our BigLeash Remote or Vibration Trainer is great for off-leash walks!) The backpack is also great for service animals. It comes in red and black (shown at left) and black and charcoal. Here’s to a year of happy hiking! $57-$85, prices vary by size, Available at www.ezydog.com.

Click to find out more about our suggestions, and feel free to add your own gift ideas in the comments! And check back in to DogTails next week – Part Two of our Holiday Gift Guide features gifts for all the dog lovers in your life. Happy Shopping!

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Posted in Dog Products, Holidays

Thanksgiving Feast for Fido: What to Share and What to Avoid

It’s almost Thanksgiving, and folks around the country are preparing for their annual feast to be shared with family and loved ones. Of course, your dog is included among your loved ones. Should he be included in the meal as well?

While we don’t suggest saving a spot at the table for Fido, there are a number of Thanksgiving foods that you can share with your furry family member. DogTails has compiled a list of good and bad Thanksgiving foods for dogs, to help you put together that special bowl for your pup. These tips will also help you keep an eye out for dangerous foods that dogs should NOT eat on Thanksgiving (or any other day). Pay attention to ingredients, keep servings of the “good” people foods small, and don’t leave the food or trash unattended – these are some of the steps to making this a safe and healthy Thanksgiving for your dog!

Good and bad Thanksgiving foods for dogs

Foods you should NEVER feed your dog at Thanksgiving

Turkey Skin or Bones – We some may love the turkey skin, but it is too high in fat and filled with herbs and spices for Fido. Too much fatty foods can cause pancreatitis. Cooked bones are even more hazardous, as they can break in the dog’s mouth or throat and cause serious damage. Stick with the dog toys shaped like bones, not the real thing.

illustration of wine and glassesAlcohol - This one should be obvious. We all know how too much alcohol effects people. It takes much less alcohol to have the same effect on dogs. It’s never ok for Fido to drink booze – so keep it far away from him at all times.

Nutmeg and Sage – Both of these ingredients, if consumed in large amounts, can be extremely dangerous to dogs. If you are cooking with this spice or herb, keep them away from the dog. Small amounts of nutmeg can cause stomach upset (so no pumpkin pie for Fido), while large amounts can cause increased heart rate and even seizures. Consuming large quantities of sage will upset the dog’s stomach and could harm the nervous system.

Walnuts, Pecans and Macadamia Nuts – In general, nuts are not good for dogs, as they are often high in fat. Large nuts like walnuts and pecans are hard for dogs to digest, are high in fat, and can cause stomach upset. Macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs and have been known to cause neurological problems.

Onions, Garlic, Scallions and Shallots – Onions contains thiosulphate, which is toxic to dog as it causes damage to red blood cells. Remember, all foods cooked with these (including foods on our “good” list) should not be consumed by your dog.

illustration of grapesGrapes and Raisins – If a dog ingests grapes or raisins, it can damage their kidneys, and even result in kidney failure. Put these on the NEVER list.

Chocolate - This one is well known to dog people. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is harmful for dogs. It contains caffeine and theobromine, which dogs can’t break down and excrete like humans can.

Thanksgiving foods that are OK for your dog (in small quantities, of course!)

Turkey Meat (light only) – As long as it is boneless and skinless, turkey meat is a good lean protein for dogs. Darker meat is higher in fat, so it should be avoided in favor of lighter breast meat.

illustration of pumpkinPumpkin – Pumpkin is a great addition to a dog-friendly Thanksgiving bowl. Packed with fiber, Pumpkin is healthy for dogs and can help with digestion, which could come in handy if your dog accidentally overindulges on the holiday. As always, pure pumpkin is best, and pumpkin pie filling (with added sugars and spices) is not suitable for dogs.

Cranberry Sauce – Cranberries are a safe, healthy fruit for dogs. Cranberry sauce, the traditional side on the Thanksgiving table, is often filled with sugar, so keep Fido’s portions to a minimum.

Sweet Potatoes – Sweet potatoes are another great people food for dogs, and one that most of them love to eat! They are also a great source of fiber and vitamins. A good tip is to set aside some cooked sweet potatoes before you add any salt or butter (or marshmallows!) to them, and save those for the dog. They’ll love the spuds so much, they won’t miss the added ingredients.

Mashed or Baked Potatoes – Regular potatoes, while not quite as nutritious as the sweet variety, are also a safe and yummy treat for dogs. Again, set aside your pup’s serving of potatoes before adding butter, garlic, gravy, cheese, etc.

Green Beans – Don’t forget this healthy green vegetable when preparing your dog’s Thanksgiving feast.  Another great source of fiber and vitamins, green beans are also low in calories, so they make a great snack when those puppy dog eyes are calling you. Again, make sure you feed them the unseasoned kind, and not the buttery green bean casserole that Grandma made.

illustration of appleApple Slices – Apples (minus the seeds) are also a great, crunchy treat for dogs. If you have a guest that loves to share with your dog, having a few of these and other dog-safe treats on hand is a great way to keep everyone happy and healthy. Applesauce is also an acceptable treat for dogs, but stick to the unsweetened variety.

If you have any questions about the safety of foods and ingredients for your dog, contact your veterinarian. Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving to all – both human and canine!

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Posted in Holidays