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It’s June Already, Time for Summer Fun!

    • We do more than just walk dogs, read about our other services here. 
    • if you love Pets we are always looking for responsible walkers and sitters! Adding Pet Sitters to Plano, TX  Richardson, TX Dallas, TX and Garland, TX.  You can read more about it here. If you know anyone that may be interested send them this link to Apply. Thank you!

Identify & Prevent Ear Infections in Dogs

If your dog has long floppy ears, hairy ears, loves swimming, or has allergies, then you’re probably no stranger to ear infections. One in five dogs suffers from ear problems, so they are not uncommon, and with a few simple tips, you may be able to stop them in their tracks.

These floppy-eared breeds are most vulnerable to ear problems: Spaniels, Labrador Retrievers, Beagles, Irish Setters, Basset Hounds, and Dachshunds. The following breeds have a lot of ear hair, so their ears don’t “air out” well: Bichon Frise, Schnauzers, and Poodles.

You should check your dog’s ears once a month, or more frequently if your pup is prone to infections. Gently look inside their ears for these signs of trouble:

  • Is there redness, swelling, or scratches?
  • Do the sniff test; do they smell funky?
  • Are they crusty?
  • Do you see any discharge?
  • Has your dog been scratching at their ears?
  • Have they been shaking their head?
  • Does your dog’s balance seem off?
  • Is their hearing decreased?

These are all common signs of an ear infection. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should take your pup to the vet for a look see. Many infections are caused by bacteria or yeast and will need to be treated with medication.

However, in the future the following tips will help head off ear infections before they start:

  • Check ears at least once a month.
  • Ask the vet for an ear cleaning solution and have him show you how to use it. Most vets will recommend using a cotton ball dampened with the solution and will advise you not to clean deeply in the ear or put Q-tips in the ear canal, just clean as far as you can easily see. A deep cleaning could make an infection worse.
  • After baths and swimming be sure to dry your dog’s ears thoroughly.
  • If your dog has very hairy ears ask your vet or groomer to remove some of the outer hair from them. You can buy small scissors that have blunt tips (so you don’t poke your dog – ouch) and trim the outer hair carefully yourself.
  • Diet has a lot to do with health and allergies, so feed your dog a high-quality diet. Consider adding a daily Omega-3 fatty acid supplement (made for dogs) to their diet.

With a little regular care, you and your pup can have a fun, safe summer that includes swimming.


Household Items That Make Fun Cat Toys

You’ve got the best cat toys in your home already; you just didn’t realize it. Add some zest to your cat’s day with these toys.

Boxes – Cats love boxes of all sizes. The cardboard is insulating and keeps them toasty in winter, you might find your cat napping in this toy! Toss in a few cat treats to get them going.

Newspaper – Ball it up or make a tent out of it, most cats will have a blast with it.

Leaves – Preferably fall leaves that make crackly noises. They smell like the outdoors, and they move easily.

Paper Bags – If the bag has handles on it cut them off – cats can get them around their neck and get hurt. But once those handles are off, the fun begins. Like a box, toss in a few treats to lure them in.

Empty Toilet Paper Rolls – A single roll makes for great fun; they skitter across the floor quickly. You can also cut them to different heights and fit them tightly inside one another, or glue them in a box. Hide a few treats in some of the tubes for hours of fun.

Ping Pong Balls – They roll and bounce like crazy and are too big for your cat to swallow. This is one toy that you should monitor or better yet, play along with your cat. Most cats have little interest in eating a ping pong ball but keep an eye on them just to be sure.

Yarn – A ball or a long string is a cat blast. Monitor this game too; there are always a few felines that that eat the yarn (not good). This game is way more fun when you’re helping move the yarn.

Bottle Caps – They fly across the floor, are too large to eat, and cats love this game; think cat hockey!

Without spending a dime, you’ve entertained your kitty for hours! Do you have any favorite household toys you use with your cat?


Proofing Your Training

You and Fido have been going to training classes, working privately with a trainer, or just working hard in your home. Both you and your dog are proud of the new tricks and behaviors you’ve learned, right? Maybe not. The final step in training your dog is proofing. So what is it? Proofing is practicing the trick or behavior in different situations with increasing levels of distraction.

To understand why you need to “proof” you need to think more like a dog. People generalize well; dogs do not.Here is an example of “dog think.” You’ve taught your dog to sit in your kitchen with no one else around. You think he “gets it.” But then you’re out on a walk around town, you say sit, and nothing happens. See – you’ve taught your dog to sit in the kitchen and to him, the word sit means “sit in the kitchen.” It takes dogs a little bit longer to generalize and understand that “sit” means everywhere regardless of what’s going on. In “dog think” that’ way different than sitting in a quiet kitchen.

So to help your dog “get it” in a more generalized way, you need to proof the training, which means training them in different places with more distractions. But, raise the ante slowly.

Continue to work in the kitchen but have some music on. Then have a friend or family member walk into the kitchen while you are training. When your dog has that down pat, move to another room, then in the yard, then have other people tell your buddy to sit. Do it standing next to your dog and at the end of a LONG leash. Take them to a fully fenced area and see if they will do it off leash too. Finally, try it in a city or at the dog park. If your dog hits a wall and doesn’t respond correctly, back up a few steps to reinforce the behavior. Keep training sessions short and reward correct responses with a happy voice and treats. Patience is the most important virtue when working with animals (and people too).

Remember practice makes perfect, so even if he’s got it down today, don’t assume it will last forever. Find places to train them every day, just for a minute here and a minute there. When you’re out on a walk, at the dog park, or before they get their food ask them to sit or lie down.

It may seem like a lot of work, but it’s fun for both of you, and this way your dog will have the behavior down pat when they really need it. Even better, the more you do this, the quicker your dog begins to generalize!


Great Pet Links!

Here are some interesting pet articles, pictures, and videos we’ve found on the net this month.

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