Category Archives: Other Resources

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Stranger Danger and Dogs

Stranger Danger and Dogs

How to Help Minimize Frightening Situations for Your Pet.

There’s good news and bad news if your pet is nervous around strangers.  The good news is that the general public is gaining more knowledge about safe ways to interact (or not) with strange dogs and their owners.  More and more people are learning to ask, “is your dog friendly?” or “can I pet him?” before reaching out their hands or telling their kids to “go say hi!”.  The bad news is that there is still a portion of the public that does not have this knowledge.

Whether your dog is a working dog and should not be distracted, gets nervous with strangers or close proximity to them, or is a rescue and growing used to their new environment there are steps that you can take to help reduce their interactions with kids and strangers.  Training, and desensitization, and avoiding situations that can be frightening are the first step, but there are some additional steps you can take to avoid these encounters.  We’ll take a look at some of them in this article.

Yellow Is a No Go

Thanks to the yellow leash project, the significance of yellow leashes and collars is making the rounds.  Yellow has become the color that signifies a dog is nervous, working, or for some other reason should not be pet.

Red Means Stop

In addition to yellow leashes and collars, some pet owners will use a red leash or collar to ward off people and children who might otherwise approach their pet.  Opt for Bright shades of red that will catch people’s attention and hopefully give them pause when approaching.

There are a few downsides with these color choices.  Some people simply like the color or like the way the color looks on their dog.  Other nondog owners might now be aware of the significance of the colors.

Spell It Out

In combination with the yellow or red options, or even on other harnesses, it’s a good idea to also spell out “No Pet” so that people clearly get the message.  These options are available both online and in certain pet stores.  Bandanas are another option for displaying the “I’m nervous” or “do not pet me” message to strangers who might assume otherwise.

Other Alternatives:

Muzzles

While it might seem mean or extreme to muzzle your dog, it can help send the message that children or untrained adults should not approach you.  Muzzles can also help to reduce bites or the perceived threat of a dog bit if the situation does progress too far.

Staying Calm

Dogs take their cues from their humans.  If you’re nervous, anxious, or even fearful of a situation and its potential outcome, your dog is going to pick up on that energy.  When you see a group of people approaching, the best, and first thing you can do for your dog is to take a deep breath and form a plan. In doing so, you now have the ability to reassure your dog that he/she is okay.

Moving to Avoid Confrontation

If you’re out for a walk or taking a hike and see people approaching, you have the time to maneuver your dog to the side or off the trail.  Another helpful move is to place your body between the dog and the source of his/her fear.  This body language can be a signal to other people that your dog is not friendly and should not be approached.

Communication

Whether it’s talking to the approaching people, or your dog, communication can be key in getting through the situation without any altercation or confrontation.  Talking out loud to your dog in a calming and reassuring tone, but loud enough for the people to hear you can be a non-confrontational way of informing the people that your dog is not one for socialization.  Making eye contact and saying hi to the oncoming people, gets their attention.  And if they’re in the middle of telling their kids or approaching your dog themselves, it gives you the ability to simply apologize and explain that your dog doesn’t do well in social situations.

 

For more activities that you and your dog can enjoy click here!


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Flying with Your Pet

Come Fly Away With Me

A Short Guide to Safely Flying with Your Pet.

Summer travel is on the rise as we plan our much-needed vacations.  If you’re making plans to bring the entire family, this is one article you want to read.  Many vacations are great for road trips, but there are other destinations that require a plane ride.  How to safely fly with your cat or dog (or other companion animal) might seem like a moving target.

You can stop chasing your tail.  We’ve got what you need to get started if you’re planning to use airline travel with your pet this summer.  Start here, and then when you’ve made your travel plans, be sure to check with the individual airline on their policies, rates, and restrictions.

Types of Pets

While we firmly believe that all pets are created equally, airlines see them a bit differently.  Almost all major airlines break animals into companion animals and working or service animals.  They strongly differentiate between pets who are trained to assist their humans in some way and other companion animals.  One of the reasons for this differentiation is the method or manner in which pets are allowed to travel on airlines.  You can find more about the Department of Transportation’s Guidelines here.

Companion Animals

Typically what we think of when we hear the word pets.  While you pet might have obedience training, or be well behaved, they aren’t trained in a specific task.  Companion animals are allowed on board planes but there are fees involved.  Each airline has a different fee structure so be sure to check your specific requirements when planning your trip.  Companion animals that are small enough to fit in a carry-on item and be safely stowed under your seat are allowed to travel in the plane’s cabin.  Larger animals such as large breed dogs must be crated and stowed in the luggage or cargo area of the plane.

Service Animals

Service animals are those trained in a specific task, whether that is as a seeing eye dog, a mobility aid, or a medical detection dog just for example.  These dogs are highly trained and have important jobs to do.  Most airlines do not charge a fee for service animals to accompany their humans on a plane and may travel in the cabin of the plane with no restrictions as they are almost always leashed and are trained to ignore distractions.

Emotional Support Animals

In addition to service animals, there is an additional category of working pets called emotional support animals.  These have much less training and generally only require a strong bond with their human.  Often these animals are prescribed by a mental healthcare professional.  These support animals are also allowed to travel in the cabin of a plane regardless of size or breed.

Emotional support animals are coming under more and more scrutiny of late.  There have been quite a few stories about passengers refusing to sit next to a support animal or being attacked by one. Other stories include animals we might never think of being a support animal, oh say like a snake, or a peacock, brought on board a plane.  While many of these animals genuinely serve in a supportive capacity, there has been an abuse of the system by travelers and their companions as these dogs don’t have a fee and can be brought into the cabin of a plane.  Airlines are seeking to crack down on these instances.  This has prompted other articles such as this one by Orivs, and this one by CertaPet.

If you are traveling with an emotional support animal, be aware that you may be required to show proof of your need in the form of a note or prescription from your medical provider.

Additional restrictions: Some airlines have put in place age restrictions, stating that animals younger than four months cannot fly in the cabin.  If you’re planning to fly with something other than a dog or cat, check with your airline as now some have placed restrictions on the types of animals they’ll allow.  Additionally, with some of the recent news stories, some airlines have put in place dog breed restrictions these mainly affect the bully breeds or “pit bull type” dogs.

Making the Decision to Fly

Airline travel is stressful.  From the rush of people, to arriving in new and unknown destinations, to the noise, there are a lot of different things that can stress one (human or animal) out.  The first question when determining if and how you can fly with your pet, is it good for them.  If your dog or cat has severe separation anxiety, it might be better to bring them with you, but you’re worried about them flying in the cargo hold of an airplane in which case maybe leaving them in the care of a loved one or finding an alternative method of travel is ideal.

If you’re planning on travelling with your pet, check out our article on microchips here.

If Air Travel is a Must:

The first step when flying with your pet is to determine into which category they fall.  Then, check the rules and restrictions for that category with your favorite airlines.  If your preferred airline is too restrictive, try searching a few of their competitors.  Remember that not all airlines are the same.  Some accept more exotic pets while others do not.  If you have a smaller pet such as a small dog or a cat, you typically will be able to board the plane with them.

If you have a larger dog, you may need to check the size restrictions and make the appropriate plans to have them fly in the cargo hold.  This may include dropping them off and picking them up in separate areas of the airport.  You’ll also need to look at the recommendations for providing your pets with the safest accommodations for their flight.

Third, it’s a great idea to talk to your veterinarian about your specific pet and airline travel.  Your vet knows your baby and will be able to help advise you on the best and safest means of travelling together.

Fourth, save up some extra cash.  If you were to bring a human friend, you’d have to purchase them an extra ticket.  In a similar vein, and as stated above, almost all airlines charge fees to fly with your pets.  Look these up and pay them ahead of time when you are booking your travel so that there are no surprises.


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Puppy in field - NWN Logo

The Benefits of a Raw Pet Food Diet

There are many benefits of a raw pet food diet, which allows them to develop and maintain a healthy digestive system. Processed foods are easy to feed but cause pets to experience more health problems, which means more trips to the veterinarian. Consumers are researching and educating themselves on the benefits of health care through nutrition. One of the first steps is to try a raw diet. By adding even a little raw food to your dog’s diet, you will notice immediate benefits.

  • Fresher breath, cleaner teeth, improved coat condition and smaller stools.
  • Heat processing destroys natural vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids.
  • Raw meats, properly prepared minimally processed, quick frozen or freeze dried are high in Essential Fatty Acids, amino acids and enzymes.
  • Along with the Essential Fatty Acids, live enzymes, antioxidants and friendly bacteria are found in a bio-available form in raw meats, fruits and vegetables.  The long-term health and strength of any given companion animal is reliant on these nutrients.
  • Remember what our doctor says, “Eating 20% fresh fruits and vegetables will make us healthier.” Why would we not do the same for our pets?
  • Minerals are found in abundance and in nature’s own ratio in the uncooked bones of animals.  Not only does giving your dog a bone make them happy; it may well be the best thing you can do to provide for their nutritional well-being.

All of these lead to healthy, happy dogs!

Health Benefits of a Raw Diet:

  • Brighter Teeth – Cleaner Teeth – Less chance of plaque buildup especially if combined with Raw Meaty Bones.
  • Better Breath – Almost odorless indicating a healthy start to the digestive process and cleaner teeth.
  • Healthy Skin – Indication the immune system is healthy. Healthy immune systems are not bothered by parasites.
  • Shiny Coat – Helps decrease shedding. Raw Feeding is very popular among kennels, show dog owners and judges. Currently many of our top working, performance and show dogs are fed raw diets.
  • Less Stool – Dogs utilize more, eliminate less.
  • Optimal Body Weight – A healthy weight is easily obtained and maintained. Better muscle mass.
  • Healthier Joints – Ranging from puppies to seniors. This is greatly attributed to the natural Essential Fatty Acids as well as the overall PH balance becoming normalized, reducing inflammation. Glucosamine, chondroitin and collagen are a natural component in raw meat.
  • Quicker Recovery – from surgery, infections or infestations as well as over-all healing occurs.  The strength of the immune system is revitalized.

A series of positive changes will occur in your pet in response to being fed Northwest Naturals™ pet food. These changes may occur almost immediately while others appear as prolonged quality of life.

In the first several days your pet may experience:

  • Decreased anxiety level between meals
  • Decreased hyperactivity
  • Increased energy level
  • Increased food drive
  • Normalization of stools

In the first several weeks your pet may have:

  • A more attentive disposition
  • An improvement in or disappearance of skin allergies, disorders and irritation
  • An improvement in colon health
  • Brighter and clearer eyes

In the first several months you may notice:

  • Your dog has a healthier, shinier, softer coat
  • Your dog completely digests dog food
  • Your dog has more stamina

Longevity on a Raw Diet:

Bluey, (Jun 7, 1910 – Nov 14, 1939) was the name of an Australian Cattle Dog owned by Les Hall of Rochester, Victoria, Australia which holds the Guinness World Record as being the longest recorded living dog in history at an age of twenty-nine years, five months, and seven days. Another dog, an Australian Cattle Dog / Labrador mix, died in 1984 reportedly at the age of 32 years and 3 days, but this case was not fully documented, and so it is not official. (As of 2007)

benefits

CANBERRA, Australia — A 26-year-old mongrel living with an Aboriginal family in Australia’s Outback has the potential to become the world’s oldest living dog, a newspaper reported Sunday. Jerry, an Australian cattle dog-bull terrier cross, will next month turn 27 – the equivalent of 189 years for a human – said Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals veterinarian Honey Nelson in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.”He will be 27 years old in August – I have no doubt at all,” Nelson reportedly said after examining Jerry. “He could push on to 28, going by his good body condition.”


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two dogs on leashes meeting - dog park etiquette

Dog Park Etiquette

Are you planning your first time taking the new furry companion to the dog park? Perhaps you just want to make sure you’re following all the rules when it comes to doggy socializing time. Many people don’t know proper dog park etiquette which is very understandable. A lot of dog park “should” and “should-nots” are not intuitive, but that’s why we’re writing this article! So, let’s dive straight in on a few quick tips to make sure you and your pup have a safe and fun time!

Doo Doo Diligence

First some basics: clean up after your dog. Nobody likes stepping in refuse. Get off your phone and pay attention to how your pup is interacting. Don’t let your dog be aggressive towards other dogs or attempt to dominate them. If this starts happening, it may be best to leave the dog park today.

Tame the Excitement

Before heading to the dog park, make sure that your dog has had some exercise! Wait, I thought exercise was for the dog park? Nope the dog park needs to be supplemental exercise. If your pooch hasn’t had any exercise all day and suddenly they are presented with an extremely stimulating environment, problems can easily arise.

Basic Obedience

Make sure your dog has excellent recall skills. This doesn’t mean coming every tenth time when there is no other external stimulation. Your dog needs to be able to divert their attention immediately to you and return when called in high energy situations. If your dog does not have recall skills and you bring her to a dog park, you are putting her and every other dog and human in the dog park in danger.

Health & Safety

Vaccinate! This one should probably come as a no-brainer. If your dog is younger than 12 weeks not up to date on their vaccines, don’t bring them to the park. Be mindful of any outbreaks or diseases endemic to your area such as Canine Influenza (CI) and ensure that your dog is properly vaccinated for these as well. Also, bring your own water bowl to reduce the risk of diseases in any public water bowls.

bulldog and beagle puppies wrestling - dog park etiquette

Freedom

Take your dog off the leash. When visiting dog parks for the first time, many owners are uneasy letting their dog run loose. However, this can make your dog feel trapped and anxious in this new environment. If another dog runs up and wants to play, your dog may become aggressive because they feel like they cannot get away.

Share

Don’t bring your dog’s own toys if they have trouble sharing. Your dog will not have a fun time at the dog park if they like to steal or guard food and toys. The dog park is a social experience for everyone involved and if your dog can’t play well with others then bringing them puts everyone involved in danger.

Size Matters

For smaller dogs, make sure you don’t put them in the same play area as the large dogs. Even if your tiny pup often plays with the bigger dogs, the predatory instinct can be triggered by their quick movements and higher pitched barks. It’s on you for whatever may happen to your pup when they overly stimulate a larger dog in the big dog play area.

Read the Room

Also, be careful when picking up your smaller dog. If they are being chased in what appears to be a menacing way, bringing them up into the air can trigger a treeing instinct in the chasing dog. With all the stimulation of a dog park, picking up your small dog may result in you being bitten or knocked down. In these situations, it may be better to simply lead your dog away from the confrontation.

It’s a Team Effort

Finally, make sure to be welcoming to other owners. Nobody is born with the innate knowledge of how to raise a dog perfectly or have great dog park etiquette. If you see someone who looks overwhelmed, talk to them and show them the ropes. It’s not rude to politely point at any mistakes that may be putting any dogs or people in danger.


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little girl in english garden with puppy - purples and greens and an old wooden fence - pet pictures

Taking Great Pet Pictures

Taking pet pictures helps us immortalize those candid or exciting moment so we can  relive them months or years into the future. However, we all know that photographing your pets is a much different task than snapping some pictures of friends, family, or a beautiful landscape. While we all love our companions, they don’t always listen, so capturing those key seconds the way we see them can be difficult. Here are a few tips to help you get the best shots of your favorite animal friends.

Get them Used to the Equipment

Make sure your pet is comfortable with the device(s) you’re using to capture them with. The sound of the shutter can sometimes frighten or alter the mood of an animal companion who is not accustomed to it. Let them examine the camera – from a safe distance of course! Make sure that you aren’t doing anything else out of the ordinary because your pet may begin to wonder what is different about this scenario and become frightened or guarded. Nonchalantly begin taking pictures and don’t start distracting them with treats or talking in a different voice than usual.

Angles & Perspectives

Change the camera angle / perspective. Some of the most compelling pictures come from the eye level of our friends. Get down and capture what the world is like for them with them in it. Experiment with different perspectives. Take shots from behind, below, from the side, and even upside down.

Backgrounds & Contrast

Be aware of your surroundings. Make sure that you’re not capturing an overly complex background that will draw the viewers eyes away from your subject. Simple backgrounds that contrast with your pet will make them “pop” and create the most compelling images.

vintage pet photo album - pet pictures

How to Get a Smile

If you’re going for dog pictures and want to see that pearly white smile then make sure to run them a little bit beforehand. Play with them for a few minutes and you’ll see that happy active grin show up. Your furry companion will have all their attention on you, so you can get great portrait shots as well!

Lots of Pictures

Take lots of shots! You aren’t going to get the best shot every first, second, third, or even fiftieth time in most cases. Memory is cheap these days but great memories are priceless! Snap the same shot from different angles, trace your eye around the shot and make sure there isn’t something in it that you don’t want. Try portrait shots, landscape shots, different exposures. Odds are you won’t know which shot was the best until you review them afterwards, so take plenty.

Image Editing

Finally, a little post-processing can really give that extra kick to an otherwise mediocre image. There are plenty of free image manipulation tools on the web such as GIMP, if you don’t already have access to one. Mess with the saturation, exposure, and contrast. Remember that small tweaks go a long way unless you’re going for a very surreal look. There are plenty of short and simple YouTube tutorials out there as well targeted specifically at individuals taking shots of their pets. Now get out there and snap some shots of your animal companions!

More Tips

Here’s a video from Carli Davidson, a Portland pet photographer!


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“Pet Fooled” Documentary

An investigative exposé of the inner workings of the commercial pet food industry, Pet Fooled is an eye-opening documentary that all pet owners should watch.

pet fooled documentary

Available on: