Keep your pets safe over the New Year holiday

The New Year holiday is just around the corner, and many Americans will celebrate the birth of the new year with fireworks, firecrackers, and even gunshots. While you and your neighbors celebrate, keep your pets in mind.

Cats, dogs, and other pets generally don’t like these loud noises, and the bright flashes of fireworks can add to their terror. Even dogs and cats that are normally calm can panic and run in an attempt to find safety from the perceived threat.

Keep your pets inside. If they choose to seek out a dark corner or hide under the bed, let them be. Never underestimate a frightened pet’s ability to flee. If you have visitors coming and going it’s a good idea to keep the pets separated so they can’t get out the front door.

If your family falls into the category that fires actual guns to celebrate the new year – fire into the ground, never up in the air. What goes up must come down, and bullets fired up in the air have been known to cause injury and even death on their return to the ground.

Make sure your pets have ID badges on their collars, and that they’re microchipped. Naturally, if you go to watch a fireworks display, leave your pets at home. Don’t leave them in the car.

Have a happy and safe New Year’s holiday!

Five New Year’s Resolutions for your pets

A Coton de Tulear needs a medium PlexiDor dog doorMany use the new year holiday to reflect on the year that has passed, and to look forward on what they want to change. Top new year’s resolutions for humans often include to exercise more, lose weight, and stop smoking. The new year can be a fresh start for your pets too. Here are five ideas for New Year’s Resolutions for your pet.

1. Measure your pet’s food. Every time

Over half of pets living in the USA are overweight. Measure your pet’s  food every meal to make sure you’re not overfeeding your furry friends. Keeping a healthy weight can decrease the risk of serious diseases and increase the pet’s life span.

2. Do something new together

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. Try something new – go hiking, take your dog to dogs, or try a dog sport. This is fun, a great way to bond, gives your pet important socialization, and you both get some exercise.

3. Groom your pet and brush their teeth

A daily session does more than help your pet look great – it builds the bond between you. Brushing your pet can help alleviate your stress, and show him or her that you love them. Brushing teeth can be more of an ordeal until you both get used to it, but keeping pets’ teeth clean is important to their overall health. Use a toothbrush and toothpaste meant for pets.

4. Teach your dog some new tricks

Mental stimulation helps keep your pets healthy and happy. Practice tricks your dog already knows, and learn something new. Puzzle feeders and toys are also great to help keep your pet entertained and alert.

5. Check your pet’s tags and microchip information

When something changes – be it a phone number, an address, or even your name – there’s a lot to think about, and the pet’s information is often forgotten. If any of your information has changed, update your pet’s tags and microchip information.

Sunshine story: dog gets 3D printed legs

Derby the dog was born with deformed and disabled front legs, and would get around through dragging himself with the small forearms. His foster family got him a wheelchair, and while that worked well, they felt that he could get something even better. Thanks to technology and the new 3D printing technology, Derby got a Christmas miracle and is now able to run on newly created legs.

3D printers have been used to make cost efficient limbs for humans, but Derby is the first animal to get 3D printed prosthetics. The materials and tools that are developed for humans don’t always work on animals. It is, for example, easy to scan a person’s leg to fit a prosthetic, but not as easy to scan a dog’s. The company making the leg molded a cast of fiberglass and scanned that into the printing system.

Another problem is teaching the pet to use the prosthetic, and as you can see from the video, Derby has succeeded quite well – and he is becoming an Internet phenomenon.

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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas
and a
Happy New Year

From all of us here at
PlexiDor Pet Doors

There is a PlexiDor pet door for every size pet

 

We here at PlexiDor Pet Doors are closing for the holidays. 
The answering service at 1-800-749-9609 will remain available, and the office with customer service will be open again on December 26th. Until then, have a wonderful holiday!

2014 kitten names

KittensYesterday we talked about the most popular puppy names during 2014, and today it’s time for the kittens. The list is compiled by the website vetstreet.com.

Bella has been the most popular name for female puppies since 2006, and the most popular name for female kittens since 2007. Media absolutely has an effect on how we choose names for our furry friends; Elsa wasn’t even on the top 50 last year, and this year the name of the main character in Frozen sits at number 5.

The number one choice for male kittens has been Oliver for a few years, and Oliver stays in the lead.

Most popular names for girl kittens in 2014:

  1. Bella
  2. Luna
  3. Lucy
  4. Kitty
  5. Elsa
  6. Daisy
  7. Lily
  8. Callie
  9. Lilly
  10. Gracie

Most popular names for boy kittens in 2014:

  1. Oliver
  2. Milo
  3. Leo
  4. Charlie
  5. Max
  6. Simba
  7. Tiger
  8. Smokey
  9. Jack
  10. Kitty

2014 puppy names

Sleeping puppyEach year, the website vetstreet.com compiles a list of most popular names for puppies and kittens. The 2014 lists were recently released. 

For female puppies, the top three remains constant. Bella is the number one name, and has kept that position since 2006. The first book in the wildly popular Twilight saga was released in 2005 and the heroines name is Bella. That could be a coincidence, or maybe not… The other names in the top three – Daisy and Lucy – have also held their positions for years.

When it comes to the boys, Max has been the number one name for nine years. The second most popular name used to be Buddy, but this name was kicked down to a number four position in 2014. Instead, Charlie and Rocky have filled out the second and third spot.

Top names for girl puppies are:

  1. Bella
  2. Daisy
  3. Lucy
  4. Sadie
  5. Molly
  6. Lola
  7. Sophie
  8. Zoey
  9. Luna
  10. Chloe

Top names for boy puppies are:

  1. Max
  2. Charlie
  3. Rocky
  4. Buddy
  5. Cooper
  6. Duke
  7. Bear
  8. Zeus
  9. Bentley
  10. Toby

 

Don’t give pets as surprise gifts

KittensChristmas is a holiday of giving, but if you’re considering giving away a puppy, kitten, hamster, rabbit, ferret, guinea pig, or other animal, pause and think about it some more.

Pets give immense joy, but they require commitment too, and once the holiday is over shelters all around the country will overflow with abandoned animals.

If you really want a pet and everyone in the family is onboard with the idea, you can go to a shelter and adopt one once the holidays are over. For Christmas morning, you can give the kids a stuffed toy as a promise you’ll go to the shelter and look.

Every pet deserves a good home where they are loved and receive proper care.

If you want to surprise your own children with a pet, be aware that you as an adult will have the final responsibility to care for it. This includes ensuring the children respect it and aren’t too rough with it. If you want to surprise someone else’s child with a pet, discuss with the adults in the family and make sure everyone’s on the same page.

Christmas morning isn’t a good time for new pets

Even if all the adults in the family are on the same page, Christmas morning isn’t the best time a year to get a new pet. Everyone’s tearing into gifts, there are loud toys, potentially dangerous ribbons everywhere, chocolate, and general chaos.

A new pet needs to land in calm environment where he or she can feel safe. You don’t want a frightened, cowering animal that is overwhelmed by all the sudden attention, children squealing with excitement, and almost battling each other to hold it.

Important things to consider before getting a pet:

Different animals have different tempers and needs. Research the type of pet you’re considering, and make sure the animal is right for your family. If you’re getting a dog, research breeds and get a breed that fits your lifestyle.

  • Do you have enough space? Enough money to get the equipment you need?
  • Are you prepared for a lifetime commitment? Even small pets like guinea pigs can live for five years. Dogs can live for fifteen years, and some other types of pets live for decades. If you can’t deal with someone being dependent on you every day for that amount of time, don’t get a pet.
  • All pets require attention, care, and training. Discuss the pet’s schedule with the family.
  • If you’re getting a dog, he or she will need walks every day. Puppies need to go out every time they eat, sleep, or play – even if it’s raining or in the middle of your favorite TV show.
  • Make a budget. Include food, toys, treats, vet costs, kitty litter, straw, and whatever else your new pet will need.
  • Plan for emergencies. Who can care for your pet if everyone in your family needs to travel somewhere?
  • Create an emergency fund in case something happens and your pet needs urgent care.
  • A child should not be sole caretaker of a pet. As an adult, the pet is your responsibility.

Winners of the 2014 PlexiDor dog food contest

We got many wonderful entries to the 2014 PlexiDor dog food contest, and three winners have been drawn from the submissions. Don’t lose hope if you didn’t win this time – the contest is likely to return in 2015.

Third Prize of a $25 Dunkin Donuts gift card goes to: Tiffany Hughes in Arizona.


When asked what she thinks about the PlexiDor she answered, “The PlexiDoor sounds incredible and we would love to have one! With the varying temperatures in Southern AZ (very hot during the day and cool at night), it would be great to have a doggie door that helps regulate the internal temperature of the house without letting the outside temperature interfere. Our last plastic doggie door flap at our old house completely broke and though we tried taping it back on with duck tape and plastic tape, it was a futile battle and it ended up as a gaping hole.”

Second Prize of a $50 Dunkin Donuts gift card goes to: Sean Selman in Texas.

When asked what he thinks of the PlexiDor, Sean answered, “Professionally engineered. Quality materials. Quiet. Energy-efficient. Completely secure. Long-lasting. Safe. Easy for pets to use. COOL FACT: Plexidor doggie doors are in Marmaduke. The Plexidor dog door is the door featured in Marmaduke when he moves to California. Last but not least! They are manufactured in the U.S.A.!!!”


First Prize of 1,000 pounds of Black Gold Dog Food with delivery goes to: Penny Hamilton in Colorado.

When asked what she thinks about the PlexiDor, Penny says, “Our dog and we love the freedom that our pet doors gives. We live in Colorado high mountains so we made an ‘airlock’ with two pet doors. Our smart dog, rescued from a high kill area, just bounds through ‘his’ pet doors to our elevated deck with is elevated to keep him safe from mountain lions, bears and other mountain critters.”

 

Congratulations to all the winners, and a warm Thank You to everyone who participated! 

Can I install a pet door through a wall?

PlexiDor smallThe PlexiDor dog doors and cat door are available for door or wall installation. The door kit makes it easy to install the pet door through a standard house door. A somewhat handy person can do this themselves and it doesn’t take long.

The house door isn’t always the best place for the pet door – sometimes a wall fits better. The PlexiDor wall kits can be installed in cement, stud, brick or block walls up to 12 inches thick. The kits come with an aluminum tunnel to connect the interior and exterior frame.

Installing through a wall can be trickier than installing through a door – it is more difficult to make a hole in the wall than through a door. (An important tip is cutting from the outside – keep the mess outside the house!) You also need to check if it’s a load-bearing wall or not.

This video shows how to install a PlexiDor through a door and through different forms of walls. It begins with installing through a door. Wall installations start around 9 minutes in and will go through the installation process through different wall materials.

 

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Train your pet to use a pet door

plexDior mediumMost pets take to their cat door or dog door quickly. They are eager to be outside, and love the option to go in and out whenever they want to. Some pets are intimidated by the door at first, but with a little patience your cat or dog will learn to use the door. Most pets learn in between five seconds and five days.

The PlexiDor is different from traditional cat flaps and dog doors in many ways. The difference most important from the pet’s point of view is that your cat or dog can see through the panel. Many cats and dogs like to lie just inside the door and peek out at what’s happening outside. Being able to see through also makes it easier for many pets to learn to use the door – they can see the outside, and they want to get there.

If the pet doesn’t take to the door, try propping one of the panels open and tempting the pet with a treat. If the pet is reluctant, start with propping both panels up. Never force your cat or dog through the door, and give praise once they do come through. Be patient – they’ll get it.

For the electronic door, it usually works well to put a treat on the bottom lip of the pet door. The dog or cat approaches to get the treat, and the collar key triggers the door to open. It doesn’t take long for the pets to figure out that the door will open when they come close to it.

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Have you seen the PlexiDor electronic pet door?

PlexiDor ElectronicThe PlexiDor Electronic is a unique pet door solution that works well for both dogs and cats. The door has a composite panel that slides up and down, and the panel is controlled by an RFID key attached to the pet’s collar. 

When the pet comes close to the door, the panel slides up. The door will only open for pets with the right key. When the door is closed the panel acts as a security door.

The collar key is waterproof and lacks moving parts, so it is very sturdy while being small enough not to disturb the pet.

See the PlexiDor Electronic dog door and cat door in action in this video:

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Will you celebrate cat herders’ day?

Today is Cat Herders’ Day – a whimsical holiday dedicated to all those who feel like they’re battling an impossible task. Whether you’re literally trying to herd cats – a task that have been attempted by many herding dogs – or you’re struggling with something else, today is your day. 

For cat people, the day means promoting everyone’s efforts to improve the lives of stray and homeless cats and other animals, and to take some time to appreciate the cats in our lives. If you don’t have a cat, adopting one and listening to its soothing purr might help alleviate the stress of managing the unmanageable.

If you’ve never seen a herding dog at work, check out this Youtube video of two Border Collies working together to bring in the sheep. Those dogs can run!

 

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Five of the world’s largest dog breeds

Large dogs are often gentle giants with as much love to give as they are huge. Here are five of the world’s largest breeds. 

The Great Dane

This large breed is easy to recognize, and they are known for being friendly, strong, and elegant. They normally get along well with people, other types of pets, and other dogs.

The Great Dane has roots in ancient history. The earliest known drawings that resemble the breed have been dated to around 3,000 BC, and the oldest written mention to 1,121 BC.

 

A Great Dane needs an extra large dog door

The Irish Wolfhound

On a breed average these are the world’s tallest dogs. When standing on the back legs many Irish Wolfhounds reach seven feet!

This breed is known to be patient, intelligent, and reliable. They love people in general, and do well with children. Many Irish Wolfhounds thrive in the city, but they need a lot of exercise.

An Irish Wolfhound requires an extra large PlexiDor dog door

The English Mastiff

On a breed average, this is the heaviest dog breed with individuals weighing over 250 pounds. It is also considered England’s oldest breed.

English Mastiffs are known for being on the lazy side and need to be activated to make sure they get the exercise they need to stay healthy. They’re devoted to their family, good with children, and accept other dogs.

An English Mastiff requires an extra large PlexiDor dog door

The Scottish Deerhound

The Scottish Deerhound resembles an extremely friendly rough-coated greyhound. They are known for being gentle, loving, and easy to please.

It’s important to know that a Scottish Deerhound requires lots of exercise and gets bored easily – if they have too little to do they might take upon themselves to reorganize the home or redesign furniture. They love to have company of another Deerhound.

 

A Scottish Deerhound requires an extra large PlexiDor dog door

The Leonberger

The Leonberger gets its name from the coat resembling a lion’s mane. Young Leonbergers can be very energetic and don’t settle down until around three years of age, but after that, nothing fazes them.

They’re surprisingly agile for their size, and require lots of exercise to stay happy and healthy.

 

A Leonberger requires an extra large PlexiDor dog door.

Pet doors for giant dogs

If you want a dog door for your very large friend, the extra large PlexiDor dog door accommodates dogs up to 220 pounds. It is constructed to take the impact of a big and powerful dog running through at full speed.

Four important things dogs don’t like

Some human behaviors translate poorly into the world of dogs, and they often cause accidents or bites. Here are four things we humans tend to do that dogs in general don’t like.

1. Misreading the dog’s signals

A vast majority of dog bites, especially when children are involved, happen because humans misread a dog’s body language. Parents can think something is cute, but the dog just wants to get away, even if it knows the child. The follow signs should be put in context, of course, and each sign below is usually accompanied by other signs of stress.

  • Licking nose and lips
    A stressed dog licking nose and lips looks very different than when you feed your dog a treat.
  • Yawning
    A stressed dog often yawns repeatedly, with intensity. Some dogs even yawn when they need to go out.
  • Panting
    Of course dogs pant to cool off, but it is also a common sign of stress.

Other common signs include looking away, turning away, pinning back the ears with a tense facial expression, low body posture, leaning backward, and tension.

2. Hugging

Hugging is a human phenomenon. Many dogs get used to being hugged by their family members and can even learn to appreciate it, but there are also dogs that never get used to it.

Hugging a dog can make them feel threatened or challenged.

There are countless news stories where a child has been bit by the neighbor’s dog – or even the family’s own dog – and the parents say, “It came out of the blue. She was just hugging the dog.” This misunderstanding between the species ends with a traumatized child and euthanized dog.

3. Patting on top of the head

While most dogs love to be petted, that’s not the same as going up to a dog and patting them on the top of the head or on the face. Teach your children not to do this – especially not to dogs they don’t know. While most dogs tolerate it, they might not like it, and some perceive it as a threat. They don’t like a hand coming at them from above any more than a human would.

When you meet a dog, crouch and turn away a little – this means that you’re not a threat. When the dog comes up to you, pet it on the side.

4. Staring into a dog’s eyes

Most dogs are okay with gazing into their owner’s eyes. However, don’t approach a dog you don’t know and stare into their eyes – this is a challenge in doggie language.

Holiday decoration safety tips for pets

Puppy santaHoliday decorations are a big part of the season, and lights and cheerful colors spread joy in the winter darkness. Everything new in the house brings new dangers to pets as well, and here are some safety tips for little things that can make a big difference.

The tree

Whether you use an artificial tree or a reason, make sure it’s securely anchored so your pets can’t knock it over. Especially cats are tempted to climb into the tree. Also clean up any tree needles regularly – they’re sharp and can get stuck in your pet’s throat or paws.

Tinsel

Pets love to play with and eat tinsel and ribbons. These can cause a lot of damage if swallowed, and even require surgery. Keep tinsel and ribbons off the floor.

Baubles

Many pets, particularly cats, see baubles as irresistible play things. Try to use decorations that won’t shatter if they hit the floor, and that aren’t too small. You don’t want your pet to accidentally swallow a decoration.

Power cords

Protect cords so your pet can’t play with them or chew on them.

New house plants

Many of the season’s house plants are poisonous. Most people think the poinsettia is very dangerous, but it is only mildly toxic to cats and dogs. Pets shouldn’t be encouraged to eat it of course, but the poinsettia’s reputation is quite exaggerated. Mistletoe, rosemary, and holly can be dangerous to cats and dogs. Keep them out of reach, and contact a veterinarian if you think your pet has ingested any type of holly.

What pet owners really want to do for the holidays

The holiday season is great for visiting with friends and family, but vetiq.com made a survey to find out what pet owners really want to do for the holidays. The results are both thought-worthy and amusing.

A vast majority – 96 percent – answer that they would prefer to spend the holidays at home alone with their pet instead of leaving their pet at home to celebrate with in-laws.

85 percent of pet owners think a kiss under the mistletoe is okay for pets too. 85 percent also think their pets have been nice during the year. The survey doesn’t report whether the 15 percent of naughty pets are the same 15 percent that won’t get kisses…

Only 24 percent of pet owners plan to travel with their pets during the holiday, and 97 percent of those who do will go by car.

54 percent say Santa Claus best describes their pet’s holiday personality. 32 percent say Frosty, and 14 percent The Grinch.

 

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Cat gets personal trainer – Dennis the dog

Ulric is Britain’s fattest cat and weighs as much as an average three year old child. The Norwegian forest cat has been placed on strict diets and even entered a pet slimming competition where everything he ate was weighed. He still didn’t lose any weight. 

When his owner realized Ulric was quite good at stealing his sister’s food she tried to take him for walks to lose some weight, but he refused to go along with that.

What is a cat lover to do?

Uric’s owner enrolled help from a dog. Dennis is a five month old pug-cross who has turned into Ulric’s personal trainer. The puppy chases the cat around the yard, plays, and wrestles, and after three months with the dog, Ulric has lost more weight than in 16 months of dieting.

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The Brazilian people loves small dogs

A Chihuahua needs a small or medium PlexiDor dog doorBrazil has undergone large changes during the last few decades, and the quickly urbanizing middle class work more, earn more, and have kids later than previous generations. They also get more and more pets.

The population of Brazil is roughly 200 million people. They also have almost 20 million small dogs, and this is more per capita than anywhere else in the world.

The total number of dogs in the country is around 36 million, and the average home is more likely to have at least one dog than to be dog-less.

Most of these pooches get specialized care – they are blessed by priests, driven in pet taxis, taken for specialized grooming, and bred in dog love motels. The most common breeds are small terriers, shih tzus, and chihuahuas.

The top five countries for small dog ownership are:

  • Brazil
  • Portugal
  • Mexico
  • Philippines
  • USA

The countries with the least small dogs are:

  • India
  • Turkey
  • Indonesia
  • Egypt
  • Saudi Arabia

Egypt only has one small dog for every 5,600 people, and Saudi Arabia one small dog for every 9,400 people.

Myths around dog bite force

Some people who are afraid of dogs will claim that certain dog breeds can exert over 2,000 pounds of pressure with their jaws. It’s an impressive number – and an enormous exaggeration. They bite harder than a human, but not as much harder as one could think.

The average human can bite down with a 120 pound force. A grown up man can reach around 150. It’s not a lot, but being bit by a human will still hurt and do damage.

It is more difficult to measure the exact bite force of dogs, because they won’t bite as hard every time, and they will bite harder if they’re provoked. The force they can chow down with depends on the shape of the jaw and the size of the dog’s head

One test measured three dog breeds that often strike fear in those afraid of dogs; American Pit Bull Terriers, German Shepherds, and Rottweilers. (If you are afraid of dogs, you should know that all dogs can be good and all dogs can be bad – it depends on the owner and not the breed.) The average bite strength turned out to be 269 pounds of pressure.

The Rottweilers were the strongest and topped with 328 pounds of bite pressure. German Shepherds came in second with a 238 measured bite force, and the American Pit Bull Terrier came in third with 235 pounds of pressure.

How does that measure compared to cousins in the wild?

Dogs are at a disadvantage.  A wolf’s normal bite force is around 400 pounds. If it is protecting itself, a large wolf can bite down with over 1,200 pounds of pressure.

Large cats are very strong. A Jaguar can reach 700 pounds of pressure, and Siberian Tiger 950.

You might not think of Hyenas as strong, but even though they are scavengers they also hunt, and most of the time they chase down their own food. A hyena can bite down with 1100 pounds, and they’ve been known to chase off lions to claim food.

When it comes to our primate cousins, the Gorillas are the largest and strongest. An adult male gorilla can weigh 400 pounds, and bite down with a strength of 1,300 pounds per square inch. Now, that doesn’t mean that you should fear gorillas – they are herbivores, peaceful, and shy.

Many who visit the south are afraid of alligators, and it is certainly wise to abide by regulations and warning signs. The American Alligator has a bite strength of 2125, sharp teeth, and powerful muscles to hold their prey. This still pales compared to the Nile Crocodile that can close their mouths with a pressure of 5000 pounds.

While alligators and crocodiles can run fairly quickly on land,  it’s nowhere near what urban myths claim. They can lounge out of water at a fairly high speed, but the land speed record is around 10 mph, and they grow tired quickly when on land. Alligator attacks are extremely rare. The risk of being injured in an unprovoked alligator attack is around one in 2.4 million.