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Canine Body Language

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Learning to read your dogs body language can help you understand how he/she is feeling. This will enable you to make the best choices for both you and your pet.

What’s this look all about?

What his/her eyes are saying:

Larger pupils and direct eye contact with you, another person, or another dog is a warning sign your pet is feeling aggressive and possibly gearing for an attack. If aimed at you, back away slowly, avoid running or making direct eye contact. If directed at another dog, try removing one or both animals to calm the situation.

Refusing to make eye contact or avoiding your eyes is a submissive or frightened response. This signals that the dog is unsure of you or trying to avoid an unpleasant exchange.

Squinty eyes can mean a couple things. If they are squinty, sad and the sclera (the white part) is red or yellow, this can mean your dog is not feeling well. Squinty eyes, on their own can also be a sign of pleasure, like when you scratching his/her belly or behind their ears.

What his/her tail is saying:

Tail between his/her legs and crouched low to the ground is a submissive tail. This usually means he/she is shy/unsure or frightened. It could be your pet is just timid by nature, or your pet could just be letting another dog know he/she acknowledges their dominance and does not wish to fight.

A high stiff tail means your pet is uncomfortable and taking caution. The higher and stiffer the tail, the more tense your pet is. Try comforting your dog as a tense animal may become an aggressive animal if they feel threatened.

A fast wagging tail is usually an indication of a happy pet. A circular wagging tail signifies excitement and the need for attention. Keep in mind, a tense animal with a straight, slowly wagging tail can also signify aggression and/or dominance.

Reading his/her ears:

Ears and head both erect with small movements is a sign of a relaxed pet. Playful/friendly ears are similar but with a slight head tilt and wagging tail.

Ears that are perked up, facing forward, with a stiff tail and possibly raised back fur can signal aggression. This is usually from your pet exerting dominance and means he/she could be preparing to lunge.

Ears pressed down on the head are signaling fear and means your dog is frightened or unsure of his/her surroundings. This may be accompanied by the submissive tail and eyes.

Hopefully reading this body language tells and putting them together can help you better understand what your pet is feeling. Best of luck!

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Homemade Dog Meals and Snacks

dog milk bones
dog milk bones
Dog with treats

The following are some of our favorite Kong recipes. All in one place, for you and your pets’ enjoyment!

 

CHEESY ELVIS: Combine a ripe banana, 3 spoonfuls of peanut butter, and a slice of cheese. Mix until blended well. Fill the Kong and freeze.

MONSTER MASH: Instant mashed potatoes (without the salt) — or leftover mashed potatoes from dinner — mixed with crushed dog biscuits.

DOGGIE OMLET: Combine a scrambled egg, some beef, yogurt, cheese and mashed potatoes all together.

FIBER CRUNCH: Combine bran cereal with some peanut butter.

KONGSICLE JERKY POPS: The equivalent of a popsicle… Seal the small hole of the Kong toy with peanut butter. Fill to the rim with water and a pinch of bouillon (or just use chicken broth instead). Place a stick or two of beef jerky inside. Freeze. (This one gets messy in a hurry, so it’s recommended only for outdoor use.)

GOOEY CHEERIOS: Combine cheerios and peanut butter. Freeze.

FRUIT KITTY NOODLES: Mix together some dried fruit, cooked pasta, banana and dry cat food.

BANANA YOGURT: Plain yogurt and mashed bananas. (You can also add a little peanut butter or other fruits.) Then freeze it.

PEANUT BUTTER GLUE: Fill Kong 1/3rd full of dog food. Pour in melted peanut butter (after it has cooled from microwaving). Add more dog food, followed by more melted peanut butter until the Kong toy is full. Freeze until solid.

STICKY BREAD: Smear peanut butter on a piece of bread. Fold it over and stuff inside the Kong. Mix together plain yogurt with some fruits or vegetables (carrots, celery) and pour inside. Freeze. The yogurt sticks to the bread holding everything together.

APPLE PIE: Squeeze a small piece of apple into the tiny hole. Fill the Kong with a small amount of plain yogurt. Add a few slices of mashed banana, more apple, yogurt, banana. End with a slice of banana and chunk of peanut butter on the top.

CRUNCH ‘N MUNCH: Combine crumbled rice cakes and dried fruit with some cream cheese and croutons.

PUMPKIN PIECES: Combine some plain yogurt, canned pumpkin, and cooked rice in a small baggie. Mix well inside the bag, then snip off a corner of the bag and squeeze it into the Kong toy. Freeze.

KIBBLE-SICLE: Put a glob of peanut butter into the Kong first. Then add some dry dog food. Pour in some chicken broth. Add some more peanut butter, followed by more dry dog food. End with another glob of peanut butter at the very top. Freeze until solid.

MUTT & CHEESE: Melt a cube of Velveeta cheese in the microwave, until it’s gooey — not runny. Fill the Kong toy with cooked noodles. Pour cheese over noodles.

FROZEN BONZ: Mix up some bananas, unsweetened applesauce, oatmeal, peanut butter, and plain yogurt. Freeze.

CHEEZY DELIGHT: Combine small chunks of cheese (or cheese spread) with some dry dog food and microwave until the cheese melts. Let it cool completely, then pour into the Kong toy. Freeze thoroughly.

CARB DELIGHT: Combine some canned dog food with pasta noodles, rice, mashed potatoes, and some of your dog’s dry dog food. Freeze.

NUT CRUNCH: Take 2-3 dog biscuits and crunch them a bit into very tiny bite-sized pieces. Add a couple spoonfuls of peanut butter. Then add a couple spoonfuls of plain yogurt. Mix in bowl until soft, but not runny. Stuff inside Kong.

FRUITOPIA: Combine applesauce with chunks of fruit. Freeze.

PUPPY TRAIL: Fill the Kong with some cashews (unsalted) and freeze-dried liver bits. Add some dry dog food and/or dog crushed dog biscuits and some Cheerios. Drop in a spoonful of peanut butter, followed by some dried fruit. Finally, top it off by using a piece of ravioli or tortellini to close the large opening.

RED ROVER: Smear the inside of the Kong toy with peanut butter. Put a tiny piece of apple into the small hole, then drop some more apple pieces in next. Drop in a scoop of peanut butter (or cream cheese), then drop in some dog food or broken dog treats. Add another scoop of peanut butter (or cream cheese), then more apples. Plug the large opening with a final scoop of peanut butter (or cream cheese) and freeze.

 

IMPORTANT: While it’s perfectly fine to give your dog a Kong toy that just came out of the freezer, it’s NOT okay to give your dog any food item that just came out of the microwave! Make sure any heated items have completely cooled to room temperature before serving to your dog.

 

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Dealing with separation anxiety

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It is not terribly common, but it is heartbreaking to have a pet that does not cope well with being left alone. In most cases it is triggered by the departure of a specific individual. Some of the ways dogs react to this anxiety are: scratching point of exit, chewing, barking, whimpering, pacing, panting and some even lose control of their bladder or bowls. Most of the time the anxiety is caused by a traumatic experience, that may have occurred in your pets past. Sometimes something as simple as getting your pet a “friend” will solve the problem. However in most cases it seems only human attention will relieve this fear.

There are ways to help relieve this stress to your pet. Here a some of them. First of all, you can talk to your vet who may prescribe a medication that can be given to your pet a certain amount of time before your departure. Please remember it may not work completely and, depending on the animal, may wear off before you return so it is best to combine it with another technique. You can also try using aroma therapy plug-ins designed to calm pets which, again, works depending on your animal. Another option you can try is what trainers call the “safety signal” method. You are going to give your pet a special toy that they only get when you leave. You give them the toy, pretend to leave, then take away the toy when you return. As you increase the amount of time you are “gone” your pet will begin to understand, when they receive this toy you are not really gone. Therefore you can actually leave without your pet realizing they are alone. This method can take a lot of time and may not work on all animals. You can also do this by taking your dog to a day sitter so the house becomes the “safety signal”. It is always best to discuss any options with your vet and even consult a professional trainer who can help you design a plan that is specified to your dog. Brought to you by: OvernightPetTags.com

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Bringing a new baby home with pets

Dog and Baby on blanketOne of the major stresses in life, is bringing home a new baby with pets at home. If you are a pet lover your pets have been your baby until now. This will be a big change for them, just as it is for you. I myself am expecting and have done a ton of research on how to best handle the situation. No matter how you intend to handle it, please don’t forget your pets and remember that they have feelings too.

If your preparing to bring home a baby you’ve already been spending all your waking moments planning and preparing. The best thing you can do to make this transition easier for your pets, is making sure they are feeling lots of love and attention during all these changes. Even though it may seem best to you, keeping them out of the nursery or pushing them away all the time will only make your pets resent your new addition. If you happen to leave your pets with family members while you are in the hospital make sure that you have their information on the pet id tags.

Something else you can do to make this easier is cuddling with your pet or pets as much as possible with your growing belly. You make think you smell the same but they may already be able to begin picking up baby’s sent from you. Something else you can do is make sure you pack your own baby blanket for the hospital. Normally after delivery the hospital will wrap your new bundle in a blanket and put a cap on his or her little head. Your spouse can take this blanket or cap home and let the animals smell it on their own without feeling anxious. By the time you come home with baby, they are used to the smell, or at least expect it.
No matter how you handle your situation do not stress. Remember that babies and pets have been living together peacefully for a long time. So do not stress. Give you pets some love and attention. Enjoy being pregnant and look forward to baby and pets being the best of friends.