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October 2018

Archive for October, 2018

Not Enough Hands To Walk Your Dogs?

Monday, October 15, 2018
posted by Jim Murphy

Suppose that you have three dogs ready and willing to walk but just two arms? Who gets left behind? You could walk all three dogs on one leash and have a free hand to spare. Here’s how. Pet supply stores sell handy leash attachments called coplers  for two dogs and triplers for three. These are short, nylon straps with snaps for dog’s collars and harnesses. One leash connects to the coupler and off you go! Your three dog team may be a little ragged at first but they will get used to this arrangement sooner than you think. through a kind of canine peer pressure.  They’d rather walk than race anyway.

Remember, your pets count!

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Halloween Safety Tips From The ASPCA

Sunday, October 14, 2018
posted by Jim Murphy

Halloween is a fun time, spooky costumes, funny parties, lots of candy and decorations but it could be dangerous for our furry friends if we’re not careful. The ASPCA has put together a comprehensive guide of how to keep your pets safe during Halloween.

Halloween can be the spookiest night of the year, but keeping your pets safe doesn’t have to be tricky. The ASPCA recommends taking these simple, common sense precautions to keep your pet happy and healthy all the way to November 1.

Stash the Treats
The candy bowl is for trick-or-treaters, not Scruffy or Fluffy. Several popular Halloween treats are toxic to pets. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for cats and dogs, and sugar-free candies containing the sugar substitute xylitol can cause serious problems in pets. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.

Watch the Decorations and Keep Wires Out of Reach
While a carved jack-o-lantern certainly is festive, pets can easily knock over a lit pumpkin and start a fire. Curious kittens are especially at risk of getting burned or singed by candle flame. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered relatively nontoxic, but can produce stomach discomfort in pets who nibble on them.

Be Careful with Costumes
For some pets, wearing a costume may cause undue stress. The ASPCA recommends that you don’t put your dog or cat in a costume unless you know he or she loves it. If you do dress up your pet for Halloween, make sure the costume does not limit his or her movement, sight or ability to breathe, bark or meow. Check the costume carefully for small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that could present a choking hazard. Ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.

Be sure to have your pet try on the costume before the big night. If he or she seems distressed or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting your pet wear his or her “birthday suit” or don a festive bandana instead.

Have fun with your pet this Halloween and stay safe!

Remember, your pets count!

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Halloween is upon us and it’s time to get those cool costumes for those cool pets.

Top dog has put together a comprehensive list of great costumes for pets. Here are a few of those ideas.

1. Hot Dog

Best Dog Halloween CostumesWe just HAD to start the list off with this one—for the sake of pun-makers worldwide, we couldn’t neglect our duties—because frankly, it’s cute, especially on wiener dogs (for obvious reasons).

The costume, made by casual canine, fits dogs that are 12-16 inches in length and has two buns and a line of ketchup (all made with polyester). The straps are adjustable and Velcro and, frankly, if you have a dog, at some point you should dress him or her up as a hot dog. Even though your dog won’t know why it’s funny—dogs can’t understand puns, sadly—you’ll get a laugh from the human crowd.

2. Pirates of the Caribbean

Best Dog Halloween CostumesHonestly, when I first saw the picture for this costume, I was a little confused. For a second, I thought it was a picture of a very short, oddly proportioned upright dog with a giant head wearing a tiny pirate costume.

But then I realized that the costume fits on your dog’s forelegs and head (the torso of the costume goes down your dog’s front like a half shirt and the pants go on the forelegs), making him look like a little buccaneer; there’s even a hook and pirate hat to go with it. It comes in three sizes: small, medium, and large, with the maximum weight being 44 pounds. It’s also machine washable, meaning that even if your dog gets it dirty, you’ll be able to wash and reuse.

3. Lion

Best Dog Halloween CostumesAnother classic, this lion costume contains a fabulously poofy mane that fits all the way around your dog’s neck and head. It’s made of fake fur and polyester, and it’s also washable.

This will especially look cute on a golden retriever, as their fur is close to the same color as the wig. Put this on your puppy and watch the cuteness as you realize just how non-lion like he or she really is.

4. Minion

Best Dog Halloween CostumesBased on the Despicable Me movies from Universal Studios, the “minions” have inspired both love and hatred all over the country; love on the part of people who think they’re adorable, and hatred on the part of people who are tired of seeing their merchandise.

Whatever your position on the new minion trend, this doggy costume is adorable. It features the minion’s blue overalls that go on your dog’s torso and the goggles that go on the top of your dog’s head. It’s suggested for smaller dogs with a 17-inch chest and a 15-inch neck to tail length.

5. The Lady is a Tramp

Best Dog Halloween CostumesThis costume, which looks remarkably like something the Jersey Shore girls would wear—Snookie especially—has a leopard-print dress with fake cleavage and a black wig that goes on your dog’s head.

It also has fur boots that go on your dog’s paws, making her look like a total diva. It’s especially cute on small dogs, who won’t understand why everyone’s laughing hysterically at them (especially their fake cleavage), but will probably like the attention anyway.

6. Superman

Best Dog Halloween CostumesIt’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s your dog in a superhero costume! This costume has the Superman logo and tights that go down your dog’s torso, making him look like the man in blue (albeit a tiny, barking version).

It comes in several sizes, from extra-small to extra-large. Even your tiny puppy can feel like he has super-strength with this on. For a finishing touch, it also comes with a cape!

7. Batman

Best Dog Halloween CostumesAlong that superhero vein, if you’re more of a Batman person (I am!), dress your dog up as the Dark Knight. This costume comes in four sizes, from extra-small to extra-large, and it contains a chest piece with the Batman logo, the Bat’s headgear, and a long cape, complete with a utility belt.

For anyone who’s a total comic book nerd like me, this is the perfect costume to dress your dog up in. Sure, his or her missions won’t be as glamorous—barking at the poor mailman isn’t the same thing as saving Gotham—but hey, all superheroes start somewhere.

8. The Pope

Best Dog Halloween CostumesNo disrespect to the beloved Pontifex, but this costume is pretty funny. It comes with a large Miter (which, to be exact, is actually worn by a bishop or abbot but this is a dog’s costume so we’re already not playing by the rules), a white cassock, a Papal mozzetta with a cross on it, and a stole with paw prints.

Hopefully, Pope Francis would find this dog-version of the papal Regalia funny and inoffensive. The name of the costume, fittingly, is “Holy Hound.”

9. Pikachu

Best Dog Halloween CostumesThis doesn’t just have to be a costume; it’s also good for pajamas, sweater-wearing, and cold weather. It’s made of comfortable fleece in the pattern of the beloved Pokémon character Pikachu, and it’s made for small dogs that can pull the Pikachu look off the best.

If you have kids at home who are big fans of the Pokemon anime, then having your dog dress up as one of their main characters will make the Halloween that much more special for the child.

10. Stegosaurus

Best Dog Halloween CostumesFor those of you, like me, who are not up on your dinosaur lingo, the Stegosaurus was the one with the long tail, long neck, and ridges on its neck.

This doggy costume comes in a shiny green, gray, or multicolored pattern and covers your dog’s whole body, making him or her look like a dinosaur with big spikes on his or her back. There’s even a little headpiece for the dinosaur, but instead of a ferocious, oversized lizard glaring back at you, your dog’s cheerful face will poke out.

Remember your pets count!

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Doggie Backpacks and That All Important Dog Walk!

Thursday, October 11, 2018
posted by Jim Murphy

When you house trained your pup, someone had to be there at noon time, maybe more often to take him out for a walk. Canine toilet behavior has now become more routine, it’s almost tempting to slack off on dog walking too. Keep this in mind that daily dog walks are very beneficial to both you and your dog.  It’s good for both the physical and mental health of you and your dog. You’re probably saying to yourself that you hate carrying bags to pick up after your dog and water if he gets thirsty. They now have special doggie backpacks that can carry all of that and more. Your dog will look cool and you’ll feel smart. So grab your dog leash, it’s time to take your pup for a walk!

Remember, your pets count!

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The Best Nose of All Canines

Wednesday, October 10, 2018
posted by Jim Murphy

This type of dog hunts by scent rather than sound. They have one of the most sensitive noses of all canines.  These dogs specialize in following a smell or scent. Scent hounds have long drooping ears. One theory is that the ears help to collect scent and keep it near the nose and face. They also have very large nasal cavities which are better to detect a scent.  Scent hounds are not fast but they don’t need to be because they don’t need to keep their prey in sight. They need to have lots of endurance because they have to follow a scent a long distance and through rough terrain.  They can follow a scent trail even across water and even if the scent is several days old.  Scent hounds usually hunt in packs sometimes with multiple dogs in a single pack. Most of these breeds have booming voices and will use them while they are tracking a scent. This trait allows a dog’s handler to follow the dog or pack of dogs during a hunt even if they are out of sight.

Rather then chasing dog toys, these dogs are more comfortable chasing a scent. They are frequently used by the  police to track criminals.

Remember, your pets count!

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A Message From Mollie

Tuesday, October 9, 2018
posted by Jim Murphy

Something strange happened to me this morning. As I was brushing my cat Millie, I thought of Mollie, ,my other cat who passed in February. I was thinking how much she loved to be brushed and also that I missed her. I then had to rush and get ready for work. I pulled a pair of pants out of the closet and when I grabbed the hanger I felt something around my wrist. When I looked , it was Mollies collar! I keep it in the drawer of my nightstand. I have no recollection or reason of going to the nightstand and grabbing her collar. I believe that this was a sign directly from her that she was ok and was waiting for me. I strongly believe that our loved ones and pets who passed send us messages all the time. Most of the time there is too much static in our attics to receive and recognize these messages!

Remember your pets count!

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Do Our Pets Sense Our Emotions?

Sunday, October 7, 2018
posted by Jim Murphy

When you smile, does your dog know that you’re happy? When you frown does he know that you’re angry? Do our pets recognize our emotions? An article published in National Geographic may be able to answer this question.

Whether it’s with a sympathetic tilt of the head or the excited sweep of a tail, dogs seem to be saying they can sense exactly what we’re feeling.

Science is still undecided on the matter, although evidence in favor of the idea is stacking up.

Now, a new study has found that dogs are able to tell the difference between happy and angry human facial expressions.

Biologist Corsin Müller of the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, Austria, and colleagues tested 11 dogs—including border collies, a fox terrier, a golden retriever, a German shepherd, and some mutts—using a touchscreen. The scientists trained the dogs to touch either a happy face or an angry face for a treat.

They presented dogs with either the top half or the bottom half of the faces to ensure the animals weren’t just responding to a smile or the baring of teeth. Emotions show on all parts of a human face, not just the mouth, says Müller, whose study was published February 12 in the journal Current Biology.

So if the dogs were truly able to spot an emotion, they should be able to do so regardless of which part of the face they looked at.

Face Time

Once Müller and colleagues trained the dogs, they ran them through choice trials, in which the animals had to pick between strange faces with either happy or angry expressions. The researchers presented the pooches with either the top, bottom, or left half of a face. The scientists chose the left half because previous studies found that dogs prefer to look at the left side of a face.

The pets trained to pick out happy expressions could do so when presented with different halves of a face, as well as when presented with faces the animals hadn’t seen before.

The dogs trained to respond to angry faces were also able to pick out angry expressions among the choices they were asked to make. However, it took them longer to learn their task than the dogs trained on happy faces.

Müller thinks the lag could be because the dogs had negative associations with angry faces. Perhaps angry faces meant a dog wouldn’t receive any pats, while happy faces meant a belly rub, he suggests.

Man’s Best Friend

Researchers don’t yet know whether the dogs’ ability to discriminate between the two expressions is because of past experiences or the result of the domestication process.

Whatever the reason, it’s not so surprising that dogs can tell facial expressions apart, Müller says. “Because they spend so much time with humans, they have a lot of opportunities to see human expressions.” Marc Bekoff, a behavioral ecologist who specializes in canines at the University of Colorado, Boulder, agrees. People and dogs have forged an incredibly close connection over thousands of years together, says Bekoff, who wasn’t involved in the study. Along the way, dogs have been bred for certain traits, and “one of the traits would be the ability to read us.”

The question now is whether dogs that spend a lot of time with people would be as good at picking up our expressions as dogs without a lot of people experience, Bekoff adds.

Müller plans to pursue that question, and to look at whether domestication played a role in the ability to read human expressions. For that study, the biologist plans to test species such as cats, pigs, and hand-raised wolves.

Remember, your pets count!

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New Puppy Checklist

Saturday, October 6, 2018
posted by Jim Murphy

If you don’t have a dog already, bringing home a new puppy requires some shopping. has put together a list of items that you should consider before taking home your new family member.

Bringing a new puppy home is a thrilling experience, but if you don’t have everything in place when you welcome her to your home, you’ll be scrambling to get the stuff you need. Here’s a checklist of items you may already have on hand, and a few that you should definitely make sure you get ahead of time.


1. An appropriately sized crate. Dogs are den animals, and they love the comfort and security offered by a snug space of their own. Ideally, the crate will have three “walls” and a front gate your dog can see through.


It’s important to find a crate that’s just the right size for your puppy. Dog crates for puppies should not have too much room, because then the puppy is likely to have an accident inside of it. You should size the crate so that your puppy has just enough space to stand up, turn around and lie down. Provide comfortable bedding for your puppy, but be aware that a soft plush bed can become a chew target.


2. Wire playpen. Dog pens with wire panels can be configured to any size or shape you might need. They can also be used to block doorways to rooms you’d like to keep off-limits.


3. Dog chew toys. A new puppy will chew anything in her path—your shoes, furniture and even throw rugs. Make sure you have plenty of dog toys for her to chew instead, and always offer a toy when you catch her chewing on something else.


We recommend starting with a variety, as different breeds and individual puppies gravitate toward different toys. It will take some trial and error to figure out what your new puppy likes best. Start with a variety hard rubber busy toys that can be stuffed with dog treats or fillings like peanut butter. These can help keep your puppy occupied.


4. Leash and collar. Introduce your puppy to her dog leash and dog collar or dog harness, and get her accustomed to wearing it by letting her wear it in the house prior to taking going outside for walks. Don’t drag your puppy as she acclimates to the sensation; allow her to move at her own pace. One pet parent favorite is the no-choke Puppia harness.


5. Bitter apple spray. After puppy-proofing your home, there may still be a few items you can’t just place out of puppy’s reach, like your furniture. Bitter apple spray, like Grannick’s Bitter Apple spray can be applied to most household items. Humans can’t smell it, but it’s unappealing to dogs, so it keeps their curious mouths away.


6. Puppy food and bowls. Puppies need to eat about three times a day and require a bowl of fresh water nearby. Purchase high-quality pet food recommended by your vet or breeder, and serve it in a stainless steel dog bowl (steel collects less bacteria over time than plastic).


7. An enzyme cleaner. Even the best-trained puppy will have an accident at some point, and it should be cleaned up within seconds, when possible. The difference between enzyme cleansers like Nature’s Miracle cleaners and your regular household spray is that the enzymes will eliminate odors that only your dog can smell, reducing any reminder that she’s gone potty in any particular part of your house. Avoid any cleaning agent that contains ammonia—the chemical smells just like pee to a dog, and dogs love going where they’ve gone before.

Remember, your pets count!

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Should A Dog’s Food Be Fed In His Crate?

Thursday, October 4, 2018
posted by Jim Murphy

When introducing a new pup to his crate, you want to make it a pleasant experience for him. Food is always pleasant to a dog.  Begin to feed him his regular meals near his dog crate.  He will begin to associate a pleasant experience with the crate.  If your dog is going in his crate regularly, then put his food in the back of the crate.  If your dog is still a little reluctant to go into his crate, put the food in the crate only as far as he will go before becoming nervous or anxious.  Each time you feed him, place his food a little further back. This way he will start to feel comfortable with the crate knowing that there is a pleasant experience waiting for him inside.

Once you notice that your dog is not nervous and is standing comfortably eating his food, you could then close the door to the crate.  At the beginning, open the door as soon as he is finished eating then gradually leave the door closed a little longer after each feeding.  If your dog begins to whine or cry, then decrease the time that the door is closed. Do not let him out until he stops whining.  Otherwise, he will learn that the way to get out of his crate is to whine.  After he gets comfortable eating in his crate, you can keep him inside for short periods of time while you’re home. Crate training is a gradual process. Never try to force your dog inside or leave him in his crate and leave before he has gotten used to it. If you do this, your dog will never get used to his crate and will associate it with something that is unpleasant. We will have more on crate training in upcoming blog posts. Patience is the key.

Remember, your pets count!

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Can a Cat Get Along with a Parrot?

Wednesday, October 3, 2018
posted by Jim Murphy

My partner loves birds. He works at a hotel where there are two parrots in the lobby. These birds are the main first attraction to the guests when they enter the hotel. They are also one of the main reasons why my partner doesn’t mind his job at the front desk. He’s very attached to these two parrots one of which is an African Grey. The birds are also very attached to him and verbally express their happiness when he’s working there. Someday I would like to consider a parrot as an addition to our pet family but having a cat, is this a good idea? Can the two actually get along? Vetstreet has published an article outlining this situation in detail.


Q. We have two cats. My husband really wants to get a parrot, but it seems to me that birds and cats are a bad combination. Can they coexist, or are we just asking for trouble?

A. The lion may lie down with the lamb from time to time, but that’s not how the smart money bets on the interaction. Any time you put predators and prey in proximity, you should not be surprised to have one or both pets end up at the veterinarian’s. Or worse.

As a veterinarian who has patched up my share of pets, I prefer to come down on the side of safety. The only way to be absolutely sure that your cats won’t hurt a bird is to not get one. On the other hand, I do know that lots of families have many kinds of pets. They don’t do so successfully without being very, very careful to manage all interactions, though.

Safety in Separation

If you decide to get a bird, the safest way to keep your pets together is to keep them apart. That’s fairly easy to do with small pet birds such as finches and canaries, who typically don’t care to be handled and who spend their lives inside their cages.

Parrots are not like that; they tend to be happiest when they live with people who interact with them and allow them ample time outside their cages to explore and play. Depending on the size and layout of your house, that may make it almost impossible to keep your cats and your parrot apart.

You still might be OK if your cats are fairly laid-back and not the busybody type. Some cats would rather nap than hunt, and if yours are like that, a squirt or two from a spray bottle may be more than enough to extinguish any interest your cats have in your new pet bird. Until patterns of behavior have settled in place, though, your bird is best kept caged. And even after you’re fairly sure your cats will steer clear, you’re better off keeping the parrot in his cage or in a room that is off-limits to your cats when you’re not around to observe.

Take Action in Case of Bites

You’d think a parrot — at least the larger kinds, such as macaws — would be more than capable of fending for themselves, but even a minor bite or a scratch from a cat can lead to a deadly infection. If all your precautions fail to prevent a scrap, however, be sure to take your bird to your veterinarian immediately.

Even if the wounds seem minor, your bird could die from an infection without you noticing he’s ill. In the wild, birds who appear to be sick are soon singled out by predators looking for lunch. By the time a bird is sick enough to let his guard down, he may be too sick to save. Give your bird a fighting chance. Your veterinarian will be able to assess the damage and get your bird on an antibiotic to fight infection.

Remember ,your pets count!

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