Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Puppies Need Care

          Puppies, puppies, puppies, everyone loves puppies.  Soft, cuddly, adorable puppies.  They melt your heart with a look, they make even the grumpiest smile, who can resist a puppy.  All of that is true, but love is easy when it comes to puppies, it’s the care part that can be difficult.  Some of you may be thinking of getting a puppy, or have found yourself on the receiving end of a gift puppy.  After all the ooos and ahs, are over, and the play time draws to a close, the questions start to set in.  What does a puppy need?  What kind of food?  What kind of vaccinations?  What do I do with the puppy when I go to sleep?  And many more questions I am sure.  The goal of this article is to help you with some of those questions.  If you don't find the answer you are looking for here, feel free to e-mail me and I will do my best to get your question answered.

          First you should know what to feed your puppy, and how often.  Puppies love to eat, and that is good.  You should feed your puppy as often as it wants to eat.  Puppies grow fast, and they need all the food they can get to ensure a healthy start to their life.  You can feed them like this until they are about 16 weeks old, at that point you need to be sure not to over feed them. As far as what you should feed your new puppy, you can feed them dry food formulated for puppies, you can feed them wet food for puppies, or a combination of the two, and if you are truly adventurous you can try your hand at making your own dog food.  Dogs vary from breed to breed when it comes to chow time.  You should check with your vet to ensure you have a good feel for how much your dog should be eating.  When you first bring a puppy home it may have some digestion problems that will cause it to vomit or have diarrhea (I know, who said puppies were cute all the time).  This is usually caused by a change in diet.  If this occurs, you may want to stop feeding your new bundle of fur for a few hours.  When you do feed your puppy again, feed it boiled chicken and rice.  This has always worked for me.  Even in older dogs, rice and chicken will help stop the vomiting and ease the diarrhea.  That being said, if the problem continues, or your puppy does not seem to want to eat, you should get it to the vet as soon as possible.

          Vaccines are a very important step in your puppy’s life.  There is one vaccination that is required by law here in Pennsylvania, you should check your local laws for your area, and that is a rabies vaccination.  I can not stress how important this is.  Rabies is a horrible disease, and having your dog vaccinated and keeping up with the booster shots is a must.  Not just because it’s the law, but because it protects your dog and everyone else from possibly contracting rabies.  Your puppy’s first rabies vaccination should be given at 13 weeks, and then again one year after that, then every 3 years.  Distemper is also a very important vaccine, and is required by law in some areas, distemper (Duramune, DHPP) can be given at 6 weeks, with 4 boosters, the last booster should be good for 1 year, and then every three years after that.  These next vaccinations are not usually required by law, but I would suggest you get them anyway.  They will ensure your puppy stays healthy for many years to come.  Lime, especially in areas where deer ticks are prevalent, should be given at 9 weeks, with 2 boosters, then once a year.  Lepto can also be given at 9 weeks with 2 boosters to follow then yearly.  Those are the vaccines that I think are most important.  It is a good idea to consult with your vet for any other vaccines that may be given.  Different areas of the country may call for different types of vaccines.   I am sure the dangers we have here in Pennsylvania differ greatly from the dangers one may face in Arizona.

          I am sure you have heard this, but I am going to say it anyway, make sure you get your puppy spayed/neutered.  I know some of you out there may think it cruel, but it will do more to help your puppy than to harm it.  Did you know that if you have your female puppy spayed before her first heat, it will all but eliminate the chance of any reproductive cancers.  It helps to calm them, a dog that is not spayed or neutered has a drive to breed, and it is cruel, in my opinion, to keep a dog that way if you are not intending to breed it.  When your puppy reaches six months you should get him or her spayed or neutered.  If you are planning to breed your puppy that is a different story.  You should check with your vet to make sure you are well informed before you breed your dog.

          House training is never a fun task, but it can be made simple.  To house train your new puppy you must have a routine, I can’t stress this enough, and dogs live by routines.  You must keep your new puppy confined to a small area, a bathroom, or laundry room, whatever room is small and convenient for you.  You can also use a kennel for house training.  Keep your new puppy confined, and every 4 hours or so take your puppy outside.  If your puppy goes in the room or kennel, do not yell or get mad, once your puppy realizes he or she will be sleeping there the messes will stop.  When you take your puppy outside and it does its business outside you should praise it.  Once these two things have been established, 1) keep the puppy where it will be sleeping, and 2) it goes to the bathroom outside it will be all downhill.  Once a puppy goes outside it will want to continue to go outside, it is just the nature of the dog.  If you use it to your advantage you will see that house training is really quite simple.

          Lastly you may want to consider micro chipping your new puppy, you will be surprised at how effective this simple little thing is if you should ever lose track of your new furry family member.  There are also GPS units you can look into, though they are still kind of bulky, but still worth looking into, you can find tracking units that range in price from $25 - $300.  I hope this article helped with some of the questions you may have had.  If you have any questions please feel free to e-mail me and I will see if I can find an answer for you.  Anything I can do to help keep all of our furry family members healthy and happy, I will try my best to do. 

Nick C

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Puppies For Christmas

          It would seem that the Holiday season has once again snuck up on us. I was doing some research on how a dogs behavior is affected by this time of year, I also looked into harmful plants such as mistletoe, and I was sure that is what this article was going to be about, until a few days ago when I overheard someone say he was going to give his girlfriend a puppy for Christmas. This has been bouncing around in my head for a few days. I have been wondering how many puppies are given as gifts and then subsequently given up a few months later because the responsibility was too much, or the person who got the puppy found they did not have the time to care for a puppy. How many of these dogs end up at places like the SPCA? So I thought it only fitting that I put in my two cents and write this article.

          I must admit, I did give my daughter a puppy for Christmas once, and that dog was one of the most wonderful dogs I ever owned. He was a golden retriever and my daughter named him Louie. Before I gave her Louie, I knew what I was in for, I knew that I would be the one that was going to shoulder the bulk of the responsibility that comes with a new dog. There is nothing wrong with bringing a new dog into the family if you know and are ready for all the things that come with dog ownership. If, however, you are planning on getting a puppy for someone who you do not live with, you may want to think twice. You should be sure they are ready for all the trials and tribulations that will most certainly lie ahead. If you are unsure you need to make sure. Sure it will ruin the surprise, but better to ruin the surprise than giving up a dog a few months later.

          If you are going to give a dog as a gift, it should not be to someone who is unsuspecting. Rather, if someone has been talking about getting a dog, or has been flat out asking for a puppy, you may want to ask yourself a few questions before going ahead and purchasing a new puppy. 1) Does the person I am getting the puppy for, in fact want a new puppy now? Or are they still trying to make up their mind. If they are still trying to make up their mind or are unsure in any way, it would be better to err on the side of caution and wait, there will be plenty of opportunities in the future. Christmas is not the only time of gift giving. 2) What kind of puppy will suit the person? Does the person have a lot of room for a dog to run? Or are they in an apartment with very limited space? If the person does not have the space for a dog that needs a lot of exercise, and that is most dogs. Do the research and find out what dog would be best suited for the living situation of whoever you are buying the dog for. 3) Does the person for whom you are buying the puppy have enough time to devote to the training and the well being of the puppy? If someone wants a puppy but works 80 hours a week, it may not be a very good idea for them to have a puppy, as they will just not have the time to spend with the dog. Dogs need our time, attention, caring, and many other things. In short, dogs depend on their owners a great deal. The person who wants to have a dog should know what they are getting into.

          If you really want to get someone a puppy for Christmas, the best way to do it, in my opinion of course, would be to find a way to have the person come along and pick out their own dog. Getting a dog is a very personal thing, and not all dogs are suited to all people. If you give someone a card that reads, ONE PUPPY, and then you can take them where they would like to go and get the dog they would like to get. If the person does not really want a dog, no harm done, they just need to say so. Might I suggest being prepared with a back up gift just in case the puppy idea does not work out.

          Getting someone a puppy might seem like a great idea, and when the gift is first received it may look like you did a great thing. After all who can not love a new puppy, they are designed for us to fall in love with them. In the end, however, it may be more of a tragedy. Giving up a puppy is a very hard thing to do, but it happens every year. So think twice before getting someone a puppy. Instead take them on a trip to your local dog shelter or SPCA and rescue a dog that might not otherwise have a home, or someone to look after them and keep them healthy and happy.

Nick C

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Review - PetCo Slow Feed Bowl

          This month I decided to do a review on a slow feed bowl. The Petco Slow Feed Bowl to be more precise. As you probably know I have a black lab, Jasmine. What you may not know is Jasmine is more pig than dog when it comes to food. She would eat so fast, and I do me fast, a cup and a half of food in less than 5 seconds fast, she would make herself sick. She was constantly vomiting after she ate. I know that's gross, but you are not the one that had to clean it up everyday, now that's gross! So I thought, what a great opportunity to do a review on something that may actually help Jasmine out.

          I purchased the PetCo Slow feed bowl at our local PetCo for $12.99, the ad for the bowl said it would help to slow rapid eating, discourage overeating, promote good digestion and help prevent over eating, it also boasts a non-skid bottom. as you can see from the picture below it looks like a normal dog bowl except for the dividers inside. I was concerned she would chew up these dividers in the bowl. I have fed Jasmine out of this bowl for about a month now, and the results are in!

          This slow feeder bowl is wonderful, it did everything it said it would do. It has slowed Jasmines eating from 5 seconds to about 5 min for the same cup and a half of food, She has stopped becoming sick all over my floors after eating, and she actually lost weight, though I am not sure if it is because of the bowl or because we are making her dog food here at home now. We started using the bowl right around the same time we began feeding her the home made dog food. The only thing that did not work to well was the non skid bottom. I don't think I can blame the makers of the slow feed bowl for that though. Anything containing food gets pushed along the floor until it comes in contact with a solid object, like a wall or a refrigerator, no matter what its made of or how non-skid the bottom is. As I have said I sometimes wonder if Jasmine was raised by pigs. Below you can see a before and after shot of the bowl. The picture on the left is the bowl new and unused the picture on the right is that same bowl almost a month later. As you can see there is not much difference. Jasmine did not chew up the dividers like I thought she might. This bowl has worked surprisingly well. I am glad I got it and I am very happy to give this bowl 4 tail wags out of 5.

          If your dog is a fast eater, I can not recommend this bowl enough. It works, it really will help your dog slow down and eat more naturally. I have included a link the video I took comparing the slow feed bowl with her old bowl so you can see the difference for yourself, We fed her one cup of food in her old bowl and one cup of food in the new slow feed bowl. It does seem like she is attacking the slow feed bowl, but what is really happening is she is trying to eat around the dividers and that is slowing her down. You can judge for yourself. In my opinion however, this bowl is a great for the speedy eaters, it will help to keep those fast eating furry friends healthy and happy.

 Slow feed bowl vs. old feeding bowl.

Thank you for reading, and watching.
Nick C

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Help Stop Abuse, Rescue a Dog

          Those of you who are regular readers know I am trying to spotlight an animal, or more specifically a canine charity once a month. The last one we did focused on service dogs. That page got a huge response, and I left it up for more than a month due to that response. This time, I decided to do something for a local charity. I decided to take a trip down to the Delaware County SPCA (Society for the Protection against Cruelty to Animals). I had been there quite a few years ago. I was amazed how dedicated the staff was at that time. That is one of the reasons they were the first local charity that came to mind. I was looking forward to visiting again and actually getting to see how things were run. If I thought the staff was dedicated the last time I was there, all I can say is they are more so now.
          Upon my arrival I was amazed at how crowded they were, there were a lot of people there looking to adopt an animal. The place had a new look from the last time I had been there. The kennel area was well lit and extremely clean. The staff busied themselves helping people, answering questions, caring for the dogs and setting up a Christmas tree near the front entrance, they were a busy bunch. I asked for Justina Calgiano who I had contacted earlier in the week, in order to let them know I was planning on spotlighting them in my blog. She came out and gave me the grand tour, she showed me the dog kennels and the cat room. She answered all my questions, she could not have been more helpful.

          The SPCA was started in 1911 for the purpose of providing watering troughs for working horses, it has changed with the times and needs of the community. They truly do wonderful work in helping abused animals, and providing a shelter for unwanted animals. They have been on their current property since the 1930's and have been helping animals throughout their existence. I was shocked at the number of animals that they find homes for. In an average month they will place about 180 animals, one third of them dogs, with people who will provide a loving home. Justina was nice enough to show me all the dogs, and sadly there is a section for dogs that are involved in abuse cases, they are well cared for now, but to look at them and see that they have been through some horrible abuse was heart breaking. It brought home the reality of what the SPCA really does.

          While I was there I got to meet a very special dog, her name is Bree Bree. She has been there for around 160 days, and she is in need of a home. I felt so bad, I would have taken her home if I didn't already have two dogs to care for. She is a young pit bull terrier. I think that a lot of people are immediately put off when they hear pit bull, which is a shame because Bree Bree is so friendly and energetic. I got to play with her and I took some photos (shown below). Taking these photos was no easy task, this dog loves to move a lot and is wonderfully playful! I am told 160 days is a long time for a dog to be there, and I would love to help find her a home. It is my hope that people will realize that pit bulls are not bad dogs, they are in fact extremely loyal and loving. I don't think you could do much better than Bree Bree here. If you already have a dog, it is important to bring your current dog along and let them have a few meetings with any dog you may be thinking of adopting, to ensure there will be no conflicts later. If you want to adopt Bree Bree you can head down to the Delaware county SPCA or drop them a line, they are located at 555 Sandy Bank Rd, in Media PA. Their number is 610-566-1370. They also have a great website where you can see all the animals up for adoption at If you want to adopt Bree Bree you can ask for her by name or give her ID number 35706. I am thinking of starting a separate page on my blog to feature dogs from the SPCA that may be having a hard time finding a good home.
                  I was surprised to learn that the SPCA does much more than provide shelter and homes for all kinds of animals. They also work with local food banks to provide pet food for low income families, so they will not have to give up their pets during hard times. This truly touched me because it is the hard times when we need our pets the most. They go into the schools to help educate the children about animals and strays, as well as how to spot abuse. Education is key, if people are educated, hopefully there will be less strays and abuse will be detected and stopped much sooner. They do everything, keeping a staff, running the facility, educating the public, helping animals of all kinds and in all situations, with only private donations, they are a non profit organization. Anything you can do, adoptions, foster care, volunteer, or monetary donations will do more to help than you may even realize. Again, they are located at 555 Sandy Bank Rd, Media, PA. Their number is 610-566-1370, and their website is You can make a donation by walking in, calling or using the pay pal button on their website, though I would recommend you give them a visit, you never know, you may go home with a brand new furry friend. I have some more pics here showing some other dogs that are in need of a loving home.

                 Thanks for reading, and remember, there are all kinds of furry friends in this world that need a home, and a loving person to keep them healthy and happy.
Nick C