Ten Tips for Welcoming Home Your Rescue Dog 0
So you’ve decided to adopt a dog! It is both exciting and overwhelming for both you and your dog. In order to create a smooth transition, it is important for both you and your dog to establish clear boundaries and maintain structure. It’s a new relationship for both of you. Creating trust is key! Here are 10 tips to help you welcome home your adopted, furry, family member:
- Be prepared. Before you adopt your dog or even go to the shelter, be sure to do some research on dog breeds. Consider your lifestyle, living arrangements, activity level, etc. Try to identify breeds that fit your lifestyle. Shelters do their best to identify the breed or mix. Knowing what breeds are the best fit for you will help you make the best decision for you and your future dog.
- All family members on board. Caring for a dog requires all members of a house to be in agreement. From having a dog in the first place to the house rules, everyone needs to be on the same page. Plan who will take on certain responsibilities, what’s allowed, and what’s not allowed. Consistency is key with dogs; without it, dogs will become confused and make their own rules.
- Shop for the basics. You’ll need a leash, collar, a bed, bowls, waste bags, food, and obviously treats. If you know your new pup’s name, buy and ID tag right away! Be sure you put the tag on your dog immediately - don’t wait until you get to your car. These are the key items that you will need in place even before you bring your new dog home. If you plan on crate training, bring your pup shopping to be sure you get the proper size crate.
- Be Patient. This is a big change for both of you, especially your new dog. Every dog is different. It takes some dogs a little longer than others to get comfortable in their new home and show their true personality. Their old life may not have been easy and trusting can be hard. Be patient as your pup adjusts to their new life.
- Establish a routine and structure. From the moment you bring your dog home, establish a routine and structure. Keep your feedings and walks at the same time every day. Use the same signal or call word for those activities each time. A reliable routine will help your dog feel safe and secure.
- Create a space just for your dog. Everyone needs alone time, even dogs. Creating a place for your pup to enjoy alone time is important for reducing anxiety. Your pup will be reassured that they have their own safe space to go to when they need to relax. Whether it’s a crate, a room, or a corner of a room, make sure your pup has their own space. It will help make them feel safe as they adjust.
- Slowly introduce new things and people. It is very exciting to add a new member to the family, but take it slow when introducing new people and things into your pup’s life. Too many new things at once can be overwhelming. Try introducing one new person or dog to your dog each day. Be sure to save the first trip to the dog park for off-hours.
- Find a Veterinarian. It’s very important to find a veterinarian and set up an appointment to get your pup checked out. If you have an existing relationship with a vet, that is great. Be sure to take your pup to a veterinarian for a health check and to make sure they have all their vaccinations.
- Slowly Transition to new dog food. Often shelters will provide you with a bag of food that your pup has been eating. If you plan to switch food brands, be sure to do it slowly. Incorporate some of the shelter food with the new food to gradually switch your dog over. An abrupt change in food can cause digestion issues. It’s always a great idea to introduce a probiotic supplement during a food transition to help ease indigestion.
- Avoid common mistakes. Even with good intentions, many pet owners fall into common mistakes that lead to bad habits with their pup. Not setting clear boundaries, spoiling with too many toys, failing to set a routine, etc. Check out these common mistakes to avoid.
- Holly W
Eight Great Dog Mascots of College & Professional Sports 0
Sports and dogs naturally go together - after all, who doesn't love a great game a fetch with a pup? However, there's another area where sports and dogs overlap. Many college and professional teams have doggies as their official or unofficial mascot to the delight of fans and dog-lovers
With so many amazing dog mascots, it was tough to limit our list. Check out our eight favorite sports dog mascots:
- CAPTAIN (Washington Capitals) - One of the more recent doggos on this list, the Washington Capitals hockey team made "Captain" their head pooch in 2019. A thoroughly charming yellow Labrador puppy, Captain quickly charmed everyone in D.C. - especially superstar and team captain Alexander Ovechkin. Check out Captain walking the red carpet with the Russian goal scorer for opening night! It's not a long-term deal with the Capitals; Captain is training as a service dog while he's with the Capitals, and will eventually leave the team to live with a veteran or disabled first responder.
- BARCLAY (St. Louis Blues) - The most recent Stanley Cup-winning hockey team has one of the most adorable dogs in all of sport. Barclay is an enormously cute yellow lab adopted by the St. Louis Blues organization in late 2018. A few months later, they captured the franchise's first championship. Coincidence? Maybe - but just look at all the cuteness! You can't tell us that good karma didn't play some part in the win. Barclay has plenty of followers on Instagram and a devoted following in St. Louis (along with plenty of love from the team's players). Even better, Barclay is training to become a service dog once he finishes his "contract" with the Blues!
- HANK (Milwaukee Brewers) - How's this for a great story. A lonely and hungry stray wanders into a major league spring training facility, gets rescued by the team's third-base coach, charms the team members, and quickly becomes a fan-favorite dog mascot. Sounds too Hollywood to be true, right? Well, this actually happened! Check out the story of Hank, the ballpark dog of the Milwaukee Brewers. There's an even happier ending to the story, as Hank is now living with a loving family in Milwaukee, and his presence (and merchandise) helped to raise thousands of dollars for Wisconsin-area dog rescues. He even got his own bobblehead!
- SWAGGER (Cleveland Browns) - The Browns might not be the most successful franchise out there - but at least they've got a great dog. Swagger Junior is the new bull mastiff mascot of the Browns (home of the "dawg pound," replacing his retired father Swagger. The original Swagger is a huge, 145-lb. beast of a dog that patrolled the sidelines of FirstEnergy stadium before every home Browns game, firing up the fans. He served the team faithfully for half a decade before retiring and handing the "leash" over to this son. Maybe a new dog will bring them playoff luck!
- SMASH (Nashville Predators) - One of the newest great sports dog mascots is also one of the cutest. The dog of the NHL's Nashville Predators - a three-month-old pup - is one of the great dog mascots in sports out there today. Introduced in February of 2019, Smash is now one of the main attractions to one of hockey's most successful modern franchises. There's plenty of Smash merchandise around for Predators fans to enjoy and wear. Smash hangs around the Predators offices as an "office dog" during his life. The dog - whose full name is "Lord Banner of Smashville" - is a local rescue, and the team does several events to bring attention to local pet rescue shops.
- UGA X (Georgia Bulldogs) - We can't just stick with professional sports here! How about some love for our friends in the college ranks? Of all the great sports mascot dogs at the college ranks, the top one might be Uga, the famous bulldog mascot of the University of Georgia athletic teams. This friendly but ferocious pooch is one of the most recognizable figures in all of college football. The tradition of having a live bulldog mascot goes all the way back to 1956; we're currently on the tenth "Uga." Uga travels with the team, has his own jersey, and plays an important role in the pregame ceremonies. His most famous moment? Famously, Uga got in a tiff with the Texas Longhorns mascot "Bevo" at the Sugar Bowl once.
- JONATHAN (Connecticut Huskies) - The beautiful live husky mascot for the UConn Huskies, Jonathan helps drive the school's famously-successful men's and women's basketball teams to victory. Something cool about Jonathan the Husky? The dog mascot is actually cared for by a fraternity on the UConn campus - Alpha Phi Omega. We're currently on the 14th Jonathan, which gets its name from the first governor of Connecticut.
- SMOKEY (Tennessee Volunteers) - On old Rocky Top, the pride of the Tennessee Volunteers is their bluetick coonhound mascot named "Smokey." Like Jonathan the Husky, Smokey gets cared for by a fraternity on campus and cheers on the team during football games. As detailed in that Tennessean article, Smokey has an intriguing backstory for a dog mascot. The first Smokey cane to Tennessee in 1953, has been "dognapped" by rival students, and actually got listed on the Tennessee football injury report at one point.
- Holly W
Protect Your Furry Valentine: How to Improve Your Dog’s Heart Health 0
Valentine's Day might get your heart racing this February, but it's also American Heart Month — 29 days of awareness about good heart health and the dangers of heart disease. This includes your furry valentine too! To celebrate Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month, here are some tips for improving your dog's heart health.
Ensure Your Pup Gets Enough Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Research shows that supplemental omega 3 fatty acids improve your dog's appetite and decrease the production of inflammatory hormones. Ensuring your pup is getting the right amount of omega 3 fatty acids can be a great way to support your dog's heart health.
"The dose of omega-3 fatty acids we currently recommend for dogs and cats with heart failure is 40 mg/kg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) + 25 mg/kg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) per day," says Tufts University. "There are a small number of commercial pet foods that contain this dose. However, in most cases, supplements are needed to achieve this dose."
Treat your dog to our 5-1 multivitamin, which promotes cardiovascular health and supports four other areas of your dog's health.
Reduce Sodium in Your Dog's Diet
Too much sodium in your dog's diet could cause heart problems. Studies suggest that healthy dogs should consume a diet with maximum sodium levels of 1.80 percent. Dogs suffering from heart disease, however, should consume a diet with even less sodium.
"Sodium helps the body retain water. By reducing the sodium, the fluid accumulation that occurs with heart disease can be controlled," says Vet's Kitchen. "In turn, reducing the fluid can help reduce the associated discomfort and coughing the dog is suffering from."
Check your pup’s food and treats to be sure they aren’t consuming too much sodium. Be sure to consult with your veterinarian.
Your doctor might have told you to incorporate more probiotics into your diet, but good bacteria and yeasts might also benefit your dog. Maintaining the good bacteria in your dog's gut is essential as bacteria can influence your pet's physical and psychological health. It can also have an impact on your dog's heart, according to some research.
"Anecdotal evidence — stories of individual success —exists to support the effectiveness of probiotics and some veterinarians swear by them," says The American Kennel Club. "There are some scientific studies on the health benefits of probiotics in humans or in animals, as well, and in enhancing immune responses in growing dogs."
These chewable probiotics provide your dog with a healthy balance of good bacteria to keep their immune system strong and maintain heart health.
Exercising your dog more is one of the best ways to improve both heart health for you and your pet. A long walk in the park, Frisbee in the front yard, doggie yoga, you name it — exercise can be a great way to increase cardiovascular health.
But, how much exercise does your dog really need every day? It all depends on the breed, according to the American Kennel Club:
"Your dog’s breed heavily influences the level of physical activity he needs. High-energy breeds, such as Border Collies and Belgian Malinois, require a lot more exercise than low-energy breeds like the Bulldog or Basset Hound. "
Puppies might also require more exercise than adult dogs.
If your dog finds it difficult to exercise because of hip or joint issues, check out glucosamine, a supplement that can promote natural energy and strength.
There are so many easy ways to improve your furry valentine’s heart health and ensure they know how much you love them! Whether taking more walks or giving them yummy healthy treats, take a moment this month to invest in your pup’s heart health. You and your pup will be happy you did!
- Holly W
What To Do If Your Dog Hates Your Romantic Partner 0
Dogs can be discerning creatures when they want to be. Sure, they may be rolling in a foul smelling ditch one minute and then turning up their nose at your perfume the next. But they have opinions, especially when it comes to people. They may love the mail carrier and hate the Fed Ex driver. It often defies human logic.
When your dog and your romantic partner do not get along, what can you do? You certainly don't want to get rid of your significant other, but giving up your dog is simply not an option. The two most important beings in your life can learn to get along, but they may have to work at it. And you can help them along by encouraging the following steps.
Explain your dog to your partner.
First, you need to make it clear how important your dog is to you. Then, you should tell your partner about your dog's personality, quirks and all. If your dog sleeps with you every night or goes wherever you go, you need to share these facts. When your pet is your Ride or Die, you need to say so up front. If you are dating a non-dog person, they simply won't understand your relationship unless you explain it.
Spend enough time alone with your pet.
If your dog is used to having you to themselves, the introduction of another person into your home can seriously stress them out. You know your pet is unhappy when they start to act out by chewing your expensive shoes or relieving themselves on your bed, perhaps with your partner in it. To reassure your pet, spend alone time with them and be especially affectionate. This simple act should prove to your dog (and your partner) that you are a loyal person.
Coach your partner.
You know your dog better than anyone, so you can gently guide your partner into behaviors that won't threaten your pet. For instance, suggest your partner let your dog come to them. Some dogs don't like hearty hellos and vigorous head patting. Have your partner keep a friendly demeanor but from a distance. Also, remind them to be patient. Some dogs just need time to warm up to someone new.
Bribery may work.
In fact, bribery tends to work on children and pets, although psychologists may frown on the practice. If your dog loves a certain type of bone from the butchers or has an obsession with chew toys, have your partner bring them around as gifts. Fortunately, dogs don't like expensive electronics, so you won't have to break the bank on their presents.
Don't allow aggression.
Don't excuse your dog's aggressive behavior toward your partner. Growling, barking, and definitely biting have to be managed. You may need to consult a vet or other specialist for suggestions. There are behavioral techniques to help solve this problem, so don't despair. This rule goes the other way as well. If your romantic partner is behaving aggressively toward your dog, you need to put a stop to it immediately. In that instance, consider which party needs additional training.
Time without you.
If you trust your dog and your partner, consider leaving them alone together for increasing periods of time. Without you there, both parties may relax and stop trying to establish dominance. And even the most determined dog can usually be won over by spending the afternoon on the coach being fed a few dog treats or being taken to the dog park for an adventure. Non-stressful interludes will do a lot toward making your dog feel safe.
Don't force a relationship.
If nothing works to warm up the relationship, and your dog and partner simply dislike each other, it's okay to accept that fact. As long as no one is being hurt or ignored, you can choose to be Switzerland and remain neutral. If you have a large human family, you've already played this role with feuding siblings or vindictive third cousins.
Refuse human ultimatums.
Dogs can save you from a bad relationship or three. Sometimes animals truly do have a sixth sense about people. So if your romantic partner ever says, "It's your dog or me," you should take that as a sign that someone needs to go. Don't let your dog gloat as you slam the door behind your former partner.
Many people can have the best of both worlds, a strong human and pet connection. While you should expect good behavior from your dog, there will always be an adjustment period when someone new enters the picture. As a dog person, you really should only get involved with someone who appreciates animals. Otherwise, the relationship probably won't work out, because really, what are the chances you'd ever give up your dog to please another person?
- Alex Brown