Desensitize your dog to fireworks

Many pets fear fireworksMany dogs suffer a fear of fireworks, and with the upcoming holiday it’s extra important to know about this, protect the dogs, and prepare them the best we can. Even a confident dog can be terrified by the loud and unpredictable noises and bright lights.

Pets should be kept indoors during 4th of July and other firework-holidays. There are some things we can do to help them manage the fireworks. The fear might never disappear completely, but we can make it easier.

Find a video of fireworks and play it on lowest possible volume a few times during the day. While you play it, give your dogs treats, cuddle, and play. You want doggie to connect the sound with positive things.

During the course of a few days, increase the volume slowly. Keep doing fun stuff every time you play it.

If your dog shows fear at any time when you play the video, turn the volume back down and keep the positive reinforcement with play and treats.

It might take time, but eventually your dog should be able to hear the sound at a fairly loud volume without being afraid.

Desensitizing takes time, and it doesn’t always make the fear go away. Keep your pets inside. Try to drown out the sound the best you can, and allow him or her to hide. Pulling them out or trying to coax them can reinforce the fear. Also, don’t coddle the dogs when they show fear; acting naturally shows there’s no danger.

Some dogs have severe firework phobia, and in these cases you should discuss the problem with your veterinarian. There are anti-anxiety medications that can help your pet get through the holiday.

Adopted puppy saves family from gas leak

When the McLarty family decided to adopt a puppy from the Michigan Humane Society, they could never imagine how quickly the little dog would return the favor and save their lives.

The three-month old husky mix had only been with the family for two weeks when he woke the household up with his crying. His new human mom took him outside, but he kept on crying, and when they came in he ran circles in the hallway before leading her to the kitchen. There, he sat next to the stove until she looked at it.

One of the gas burners was on, without a flame, leaking gas into the house.

Service dog calls 911 and saves owner’s life

Dogs can be taught to perform remarkable feats, something recently proven by Major, a Labrador/Pit Bull mix who works as service dog for a war veteran. When his human suffered a seizure, Major didn’t waste any time. He pulled the phone out of his owner’s pocket and called for help.

The phone is set up for quick dial of 911, and Major could call the number through stepping on the screen. Unfortunately dogs still can’t talk, so he called several times and dispatchers eventually sent help. When medics arrived, Major waited in front of the house.

Major is specially trained to help his owner who suffers PTSD and was injured by a bomb in Afghanistan. To read more about this and see images of Major, visit dogchannel.com.

Blind dog gets vision back and can see his family

Duffy is an Irish Terrier who lost his vision because of diabetes. He went from a happy and normal dog to completely blind within a few months and had problems adjusting.

Duffy ran into things, couldn’t recognize his humans, and when his diabetes became stable enough for surgery, the family decided to take the chance. Luckily, the surgeons succeeded, and the family filmed being reunited with him. The video has gone viral and has 4,5 million views this far.

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=Og1nMDl1K7g

PlexiDor Pet Doors featured in the Regina Leader-Post

PlexiDor dog doors and cat doors featured in the Regina Leader PostPlexiDor dog doors and cat doors are becoming quite popular in Canada, because the door stand up to the harsh climate. The pet doors were recently featured in the Regina Leader-Post.

The article mentions how the PlexiDor pet doors feature saloon style doors that won’t require replacement of flaps, that the panels are energy efficient and shatter resistant, and that the doors are made for installation through a household door or a wall.

PlexiDor dog doors and cat door are constructed to provide safe and easy access for pets without the human having to get up and act as doorman. The doors have security features such as lock and key, and a steel security plate, and the electronic door can only be operated by pets with an RF-ID key.

See the entire article here!

 

 

PlexiDor Pet Doors featured in the London Free Press

PlexiDor Pet Doors were recently featured in an article in the London Free Press, mentioning how a multitude of items enable dog owners to offer their pets the best.

The article mentions that “we seem to finally have reached a point where we no longer have to justify a devotion to our pets” and continues with explaining how pet-friendly people nowadays don’t care how others feel about them and their pets.

The portion about the PlexiDor dog doors and cat door reads:

“If Snoopy or Garfield were to go outside on their own, the options for pet doors were once very limited. You had the flap and you had the squeeze, but nothing that matched the quality of the windows and doors on the rest of your house.

Now pet door sizes range from kitten to pony and are made from durable products, warranted against failure. You can still buy the vinyl flap, but it’s hardly an option for a Canadian winter. These days doors are lockable, durable and claim to stand up to whatever the Great White North can throw at them.

Manufacturer Plexidor specializes in a shatter resistant saloon-style door with an aluminum frame that’s guaranteed to never warp, rust, bend or crack. If you have the budget and the desire to make Lassie the envy of the neighbourhood, Plexidor’s Electronic Door and Electronic Wall versions feature a programmable panel and other elements akin to a house security system. Concern about a possum or raccoon following your furry family member into the house are eliminated with these particular doors. Only the dog or cat that’s wearing a special pre-programmed collar key will gain access.”

Read the entire article here!

Is a cat cafe coming to a city near you?

Cats have personalities just like peopleCat cafés are wildly popular in parts of Asia, and the trend is spreading across the globe. The first cat cafe in the USA has opened in New York, and more are expected in San Francisco and Oregon later this year.

So, what is a cat cafe?

It is a loneliness-curing, stress-relieving cafe with cats.

The first cat cafe started in Taiwan over ten years ago, and the concept quickly spread to Japan where inhabitants embraced it. Today, Japan has at least 150 cat cafes.

These establishments are so popular that visitors have to book seats in advance. When Dinah’s Cat Emporium opened in London, 20,000 people water to enter a 30-seat cafe. They are booked until fall this year.

Many people in cities aren’t able to keep pets, but the human species still has an urge to be close to animals. The cat cafes offer a chance to sit down, relax, talk to other people who like cats, and maybe even pet one.

What do you think? Would you visit a cat cafe?

Pets are good for the health

There are many health benefits to petsEveryone with a cat or dog knows they’re great company. Many pet owners see their furry friends as family members, and they make great snuggle-buddies. Did you know that they add other health benefits to human lives?

Cats and dogs protect children against developing allergies

This is particularly true for cats. A child under the age of one living with two or more cats or dogs has a smaller risk of developing allergies as he or she grows up. Living with pets is good for the human immune system.

Cats and dogs reduce stress in our lives

Petting a cat or dog has been shown to lower blood pressure and help humans relax. Pets have a knack for knowing when they’re needed, and even the most elusive kitty tends to show up when their human needs a friendly ear. Pet owners also adapt better to stressful situation than people without pets. And if anyone doubts the benefit of a dog, consider all the therapy and emotional support dogs that help people cope with everything from depression to post traumatic stress disorder.

Dogs keep us fit

The average American without a dog moves significantly less than the average dog owner. Daily walks, exercising, and playing with a dog helps us stay in shape, keep a healthy weight, and lessens the risk for health problems.

Pets give healthy hearts

The American Heart Association recently reported that pets help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Pet owners who suffer a heart attack recover quickly than people without pets. They also help lower cholesterol.

Pets improve our social lives

Walking a dog inspires conversations with other pet owners, neighbors, and strangers out for a stroll. Meeting new people and getting to know those around us battles isolation, loneliness, and depression.

 

Ice does not cause bloat in dogs

Ice does not cause bloat in dogsBloat is a dangerous condition caused by a dog or cat eating too fast, sucking in air with their food or water. If this happens, the dog needs to see a vet immediately and might need emergency surgery.

Many people believe that ice or ice water causes bloat in dogs, and this is caused by blog posts and images going viral on Facebook and other social media platforms a couple of years ago.

The important thing to know is that ice does not cause bloat. Drinking or eating too quickly causes bloat.

If a dog slurps down ice water on a hot day, it’s easy to get a connection between the ice and the bloat, but it’s the speed of eating or drinking that’s the culprit.

When a dog is hot and thirsty, portion out water. Don’t let them drink too much at once. If a dog eats very quickly, portion out their food on several small meals during the day. Also, dogs who eat or drink quickly should avoid exercise for at least an hour after eating.

Service dogs have access

Service dogs have access to all places open to the public. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, they are not required to wear a special vest or collar, even though many choose to give service dogs special vests.

Keeping this in mind, it’s not a big surprise that a Walgreens store in North Texas recently made the news when the manager kicked out a war veteran and his service dog. The war veteran showed the dog’s special tag and ID card, but the manager still didn’t accept their presence.

A business can ask if a dog is a service dog and what it is trained to do.

A business cannot ask a service dog and/or owner to leave as long as the dog is behaving.

Many  people depend on dogs trained to do everything from retrieving objects to detecting upcoming seizures, and these dogs make important contribution to their humans’ lives.

If you see a service dog, do not approach, try to pet it, insist that your children get to pet it, or talk to it. The dog is working and doesn’t need distractions.

For more information on service dogs, check out these posts:
Different types of assistance dogs
What is a therapy dog
What is an emotional support dog

Singapura cats stay small even when they grow up

Singapura is the world's smallest cat breed.Everyone knows there are many dog breeds, and most people can identify at least a few even if they’re not all that interested in dogs. Did you know there are many breeds of domesticated cats as well?

The Singapura cat is the smallest domesticated cat breed, and adult females can weigh as little as five pounds. Adult males usually weigh between six and eight pounds.

As the name hints, the breed was believed to come from Singapore. However, the three founding cats traveled from the US to Singapore and were then brought back to the USA. One working theory is that the breed is a mix of Burmese and Abyssinian. It is still considered a legitimate breed, and according to the Cat Fancier’s Association, there is at least one legitimate cat from Singapore behind the breed.

The breed has become a tourism mascot for Singapore, they have statues of the cats, and have even hosted Singapura exhibits.

Besides being small, the breed is known for being active, affectionate, and easy to live with. They thrive on attention and love to play, but won’t get excited to the point where they bounce around the house and accidentally destroy things.

Most Singapuras have a stunning coat. Each hair has two shades; ivory at the base and brown at the tip.

Bring your dog to work day

Bonnie inspects sliding tracks on a PlexiDor and points out that they should be white and not silver when mounted on a white frame.

June 20, 2014 is Bring your dog to work day. The event started in 1999 and was founded by Pet Sitters International as a means to promote pet adoptions. Participation has exploded; the first year less than 300 businesses took part, and this year over 300,000 visitors have looked at the website.

Bringing a pet along isn’t always possible. Some workplaces are poorly suited for four-footed friends, and in other places allergies might make it unsuitable. When it is possible,  bringing a dog gives benefits. Pets lower stress and blood pressure, create a focal point for conversation, inspire walks and exercise, and cheer people up.

Some companies encourage bringing pets all around the year, and some larger corporations provide doggie daycare to employees.

What do you think? Would you bring a pet if you could?

 

Florida landlord implements reverse breed restrictions

A Rottweiler requires an extra large PlexiDor dog doorRenters can have a tough time finding somewhere to live that accepts pets at all, and many landlords only welcome smaller pets. Some accept one dog or cat but not several, and many have breed or size restrictions. 

Jacksonville landlord Jade Rouzeau loves large dogs, particularly pit bulls, and she decided to turn these conventions upside down. She only rents to tenants with large dogs. Furthermore, at least one dog in the household must be of a breed most renters put on the “forbidden” list, such as German Shepherds, Huskies, Staffordshire Terriers, Dalmatians, Rottweilers, and Pit Bull Terriers.

Besides looking at the dogs, Rouzeau wants friendly and good-natured people who will appreciate the home.

It is difficult to find pet friendly rentals; only 12 percent of rentals nationwide welcome pets. The number in the Jacksonville area is even lower, and this initiative will be a welcome one for dog lovers.

Have you tried to rent a place to live and been turned down because of your pets?

Tip to teach a dog to play fetch

Dog with tennis ballMany dogs love to play fetch and seem to get the idea naturally. Others might need some encouragement. If you want to play fetch and your dog looks at you like you’re a peculiar organism when you toss a tennis ball, this trick might help.

Cut a slit in a tennis ball and put some treats in. Make sure your dog sees the treats and give them one, so they know it’s something worth working for.

Throw the ball, and follow the dog to go get it. Once you and the dog have the ball, give a treat. Odds are your dog will figure it out quickly and go get the ball. Give a treat when he or she brings the ball back.

Soon you’ll be able to give a treat every second time the dog brings the ball, and then every third time. You get the idea =)

PlexiDor Pet Doors at UKC Premiere 2014

PlexiDor Pet Doors at UKC Premiere in Kalamazoo 2014PlexiDor Pet Doors recently visited the 2014 UKC Premiere show in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The UKC, or United Kennel Club, was founded in 1898 and is the largest all-breed performance dog registry in the world. UKC registers dogs from all 50 states as well as 25 other countries.

Many clubs only accept pure-bred dogs with pedigree, but UKC has an inclusive policy and strives to provide shows where all dogs can participate. There is a purebred dog registry, but also a program open to mixed breeds and purebreds who for some reason don’t fit into the regular purebred registry. They might have a “fault” that excludes them from the breed standard, or be of unknown pedigree.

PlexiDor pet doors go to the Premiere event every year and give away 10 dog doors as prizes. It’s a fun event for us, because previous years’ winners often come by to tell us their experiences with the doors. This year is noteworthy; it’s the first time the same dog has won two doors!

Congratulations to all the winners. We hope to see you at the show in 2015!

Courage won a PlexiDor dog door
Courage won a PlexiDor dog door for Rally National Champion.

 

Lee Anne Layman won a door in 2011 and stopped by to tell us that she loves it.
Lee Anne Layman won a door in 2011 and stopped by to tell us that she loves it.
Toby, winner of two doors!
Uhrach4 Roseview Changin’ my Star – or Toby as he is also called – is the first dog ever two win two doors at one show.
Here is Toby with his owners, Kim Charles and Bruce Winter.
Here is Toby with his owners, Kim Charles and Bruce Winter.

 

Brazilian multi-tasker protects gold and hunts jaguars

A Fila Brasileiro would require an extra large PlexiDor dog doorThe Fila Brasileiro is a very large dog breed from Brazil. These dogs are intelligent, sturdy, and strong, and the Brazilian army uses them for work in the jungle under conditions no other dogs can stand up to.

These versatile working dogs have an interesting history; they have been used for everything from guarding gold mines to hunting Jaguars. A Jaguar can run 40 miles per hour, and few dogs can keep up. The breed is also often used as trackers, hunters, or herders.

This breed is loving and loyal to a fault towards their family and will put up with a lot from children and other pets, but they are inherently suspicious against strangers. This is a natural guardian who lives to protect their loved ones.

Puppies should get to meet many different people in positive situations, and since the dogs become very large – up to 180 lbs – and are very strong, it is extra important to train them well.

 

Kitty personalities

Cats have personalities just like peopleWe mentioned yesterday that June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month. If you’re thinking about adding a kitty to the family it is be a good idea to consider the cat’s personality. They are as individual as we are, and matching personalities can be a big help when it comes to getting along.

ASPCA has put together a list with nine common cat personalities. This is more fun than serious, of course, but it serves as a good reminder that cats are individuals.

1. The Private Investigator

The P.I. cat doesn’t like trouble. It is good at staying hidden. It can vanish without a trace and reappear in the most unexpected places. This type of cat is likely to sleep with one eye open and constantly keep an eye out for danger.

2. I’ll Love You Later

This type of cat will love you from a distance, probably for a really long time, and the bond develops gradually. When the cat decides it’s time you’ll be subjected to intense head butting, purring, and napping on your lap.

3. Cuddle Me Now

These kitties are love bugs. There will be abundant purring, rubbing up against you, and demanding to be petted. If these cats could speak, they would say, “Adore me.”

4. The CEO

The CEO thrives on routine and order, and almost live on a schedule. He or she will put you on the to-do list, but you’ll have to wait your turn.

5. The Side-Kick 

The Side-Kitty-Cat loves to be with you and makes a great constant companion, but can also enjoy some “me-time”. If you want someone to share adventures with, this is a perfect choice.

6. The Helper

These cats love to be around their human, and live to help with the strangest things. If you’re cooking, the cat will be right there. If you want to use the computer, you’ll find the helper sleeping on the keyboard. The Helper generally feels that personal space is overrated.

7. The Golden Cat

Team player that pulls its own weight in whatever it perceives needs to be done. The Golden Cat is likely to do what you expect from it, and it likes to be pampered at the end of a long day of doing the right thing.

8. Wild Thang

These cats have a wild streak, and they’re pretty much the opposite of the Golden Cat. If you want a companion that’s always up to playing, breaking rules, and challenging limits, this is the kitty for you.  Having a Wild Thang can be exhausting, but also infinitely rewarding.

9. The Commander

The Commander Cat has a very clear perception of who’s the boss, and it loves to lead. It is super confident and demands respect and admiration. It will make time for you, but it will also make sure you know who’s in control.

June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month

maine coon catJune is adopt a shelter cat month, and this is not a coincidence. During spring and summer, overwhelming numbers of homeless kitties arrive at shelters, and they all need homes.

The Watauga Humane Society has done some calculations, and one un-spayed female cat together with one un-neutered male cat can – together with their offspring – produce 420,000 kittens in just seven years. There are many cats needing home, and if you adopt one you don’t only get great company for yourself; you save a life.

So, what should you think about if you’re planning to adopt a cat?

Maybe you should take two?

If you’re considering adopting a cat, think about taking two. Cats are social, they need exercise, and they need mental stimulation. If you have two cats they’ll entertain each other. This makes it easier on you, and you get twice the purring, cuddling, and other kit tie benefits.

Consider the cat’s personality

Just like people, cats have different personalities, and it’s important that you match. Do you want an easygoing kitty, or an active one? Shelters and rescue groups have all kinds of cats. Do you want a playful and energetic kitten or a senior who’s happy to nap?

Make a budget and stock up on supplies

All pets cost money, and cats aren’t an exception. When you adopt, the cat might already be vaccinated, microchipped, spayed, or neutered, and  this is a great saving. But you still have to think about vet visits, litter box, cat litter, food, toys, scratching posts, bed, grooming, food bowl, and water bowl. It’s a great idea to have everything in place before kitty arrives, so he or she can feet welcome and at home.

Plan and kitty-proof your home

Cats are like children in many ways, and they get into stuff. It’s difficult to predict what will look like a great toy. You might want to put expensive decorations away for a while, until you and kitty get used to each other and figure things out. Make sure you don’t have loose things lying around the cat can accidentally swallow, keep food put away, and keep an eye on electrical cords. Kittens who don’t know better might try to play with them or even chew them.

Plan where you want to put the cat’s food and water bowls, and where to put the litter box. Many put it in a bathroom, closet, or laundry room, but that means that the door needs to be open all the time so the cat can get in and out. This isn’t always a feasible option, and we’ve seen some creative cat owners who put a PlexiDor cat door in the door to the laundry room or similar to allow kitty access while being able to close the human size door.

Take it slow

It will take your new furry friend a while to relax and settle in. Give him or her some time to get used to the new surroundings and new people.

 

Unique nose prints

dog smallHuman fingers have little ridges that form our unique finger prints. Did you know that dogs have something similar? They don’t have fingertips, of course, but every dog’s nose is unique. There is only one, and no other like it.

The nose print of a dog is a unique as a fingerprint. If you take a peek at your dog’s nose through a magnifying glass you’ll see all sorts of patterns and creases. They are never the same between two individuals.

Thus far, nose prints aren’t used for dog identification. There’s no central dog database with nose prints, but rumors have it that companies are looking into offering nose print identification.

The dog’s nose is remarkable in more ways. An average dog’s sense of smell is about 1,000 times better than a human’s. Some dogs can smell dead bodies under water, they can smell termites, and natural gas buried under 40 feet of dirty. They can also be taught to detect cancer too small to be detected by medical equipment, and can sense lung cancer through a person’s breath.

Why do dogs love being stinky?

Dogs love to roll around in smelly stuff and often look very happy with themselves as they’re doing it – at least until they end up in the inevitable bath. What’s so great with being dirty? 

In order to understand this strange behavior we need to go back in time.

The ancestors of our modern dogs needed to hunt to live, and the dogs’ prey was cautious. Dogs need to eat, but that doesn’t mean the food wants to be eaten. In order to make hunting easier, the dogs would attempt to disguise their scent, luring the pray into thinking they weren’t a threat. Disguising their scent could also protect them from being found and eaten themselves.

This behavior is so deeply rooted it’s difficult to break. Most dogs only roll themselves in icky stuff from time to time, but if it becomes a problem many dog trainers recommend making the pleasurable (rolling in something smelly) less pleasurable. For instance through squirting the dog with a little water when it does the rolling. Keeping the dog on a short leash can also help, so it doesn’t have a chance to roll in the stink.

Funny dog