May 31

Your pets’ diets affect their well-being: emotionally, physically & behaviorally.  Stay on top of the latest news on pet food safety, and educate yourself about what goes into your pets’ food.  Fluffy & Fido are counting on you!  (I’ll be revisiting this topic often in future posts.)

Bon appétit!

© 2008 CritterConsulting

May 20

What’s wrong with this picture? Quite possibly -a lot.  If this woman is meeting a stray dog, off-leash & without his owner, she shouldn’t pet him.  She and/or her child could be bitten.  It’s never a good idea to pet a strange dog (or a dog you’re meeting for the first time) on the top of the head.  Many dogs will bite if they are approached this way.  You can tell from this dog’s body language (paw up, looking & turning away, mouth closed), that he’s not comfy with the interaction.  Set a safe example for your kids.  Learn a better approach to the dogs you meet:

May 18 – 24 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. According to ASPCA.org:

“…. 50 percent of all children in the United States will be bitten by a dog before their 12th birthday”  and “800,000 bites a year are severe enough to require medical treatment, while 1 to 2 million go unreported”.

“The vast majority of dog bites are from a dog known to the child—his or her own pet, a neighbor’s or friend’s. You can help prevent this from happening to your child. Please discuss with him or her the appropriate way to behave around dogs.”

Visit the ASPCA’s website for a list of pledges you can rehearse & recite with your child to keep him/her safe from “potentially dangerous interactions with dogs”.  Download the ASPCA’s activity sheet, “May I Pet the Dog?” .  It’s a fun, colorful quiz for your kids based on the above pledges.

John Woestendiek of The Baltimore Sun blogs in “Mutts” about bite prevention.  He lists the American Veterinary Medical Association’s “Top 10 Ways to Prevent Dog Bites, and adds a few fabulous tips of his own.

Learn more about dog body language.  Check our recommended reading list.

Wishing you & your family a safe, dog-friendly summer!

© 2008 CritterConsulting

May 9

Making plans for a vacation?  Whether you’re adventuring locally for a day or getting away from it all for a week, plan ahead for your pet.  Is he coming with you, or will he stay home?  Here are some tips to send you on your way:

  • If you’re leaving your pet at home, hire a pet sitter.  (For your dog, get a live-in sitter.)  Ask your veterinarian, trainer, friends, and neighbors for referrals.  Who do they trust to care for their pets?  Meet the sitter at your home for an interview.  Ask about references and experience.  Let your pet meet the sitter while you’re there to ease his transition.  Perhaps do a trial period for a day or a weekend so you know that the sitter & Fluffy did well in your absence.
  • Research kennels for your dog.  Again, dependable referrals are invaluable.  Visit the kennel and interview the staff.  If the kennel also has a daycare, let Rover spend a day there before your trip.  If all goes well, let him stay overnight while you’re home.  Be sure to get a report on his visit from the kennel staff.  Of course, ask your vet if Rover is current on all the necessary immunizations first.  The kennel will want written proof that he is protected.
  • If your pet will travel with you, do your homework first.  Contact your airline for instructions.  Do you need a health certificate from your veterinarian?  AAA has tips for traveling with your pet.  Visit their office to buy their book, “Traveling With Your Pet:  The AAA Book”.  The Petaluma Animal Shelter has tips (with pics) on safely securing Rover in your car for road trips.  Drs. Foster & Smith also offer a few pointers.  And the ASPCA offers helpful air & road travel tips.
  • Day trips, like hiking with your dog, also require preparation.  Make sure Rover is physically fit for the trip.  Bring lots of water and snacks.  Pack a first aid kit for him.  Go when the weather is pleasant.  Take breaks often.  And talk with your vet about flea & tick prevention.  Stay on trails to avoid foxtails, snakes, etc.  Be a responsible pet owner and pick up after Rover.   Obey local leash laws.  Check dogplay.com for terrific links to info on hiking, running, camping & more – all with Rover!

Enjoy exploring this summer with the peace of mind that your pet is safe and happy.

© 2008 CritterConsulting

May 1

Pet Lover

It may not matter.  According to L.A.Unleashed blogger, Tony Barboza:

“A new study by Ball State University has found that matching yourself with a pet suited to your personality may be more important than whether that pet is a cat or dog.”

Tony Barboza quotes Lucinda Woodward, “a professor of psychological sciences and personality researcher”, who says:  ” ‘Cat people’ should seek independent pets that are also low on submissiveness while ‘dog people’ should seek pets high on friendliness and low on dominance.”

Ms. Woodward has developed a dog personality survey.  You can participate, and rate your dog’s personality.  Have fun!

Still looking for ideas on choosing the best pet for your family? Watch Petfinder on Animal Planet (see promo video) for ideas.  Check our recommended reading list.  And contact Critter Consulting for personalized, expert advice.

© 2008 CritterConsulting