Thursday, July 30, 2015

Which Toys Do You Let Your Dog Play With?

A long time ago, there was either a bone or a stick from the backyard for your dog. But experience has shown that sticks and bones aren't the safest playthings for your pup. More popular today are rawhides and chewing sticks. Even these pose some risks to your dog's health. Because of this, efforts have been made to produce better, safer toys that produce a variety of squeaks, moos and even songs. The sky's the limit! While having an array of options is great, it can be overwhelming. If you're struggling to decide where to put your money in the canine toy arena, we can help! The following are some suggestions of dog toys and methods of deciding which is best for your particular pooch. 

What type of chewer is your dog? Does your pal rip all toys to shreds, or gently nibble? If your dog tends to settle down with a toy and really go at it, it’s best to purchase playthings that are made of durable rubber like Kongs made by the Kong Company®. Kongs have been known to withstand the roughest chewers. When the rubber begins to crack and tear, its time to throw it out and buy another.

If your dog has a softer approach to playing, or loves toys that squeak and squeal, consider sewn plush toys. Canvas toys are a terrific option for rough chewers that are fans of the squeak. Semi-aggressive chompers can also enjoy rope toys which break apart less easily and are wonderful for your pet’s dental health.

Planet Dog has even devised a system to aid consumers in the purchase of dog toys called the Chew-o-Meter. Their system takes into account the chewing style of your pup compared to the durability of their products to help you make the best purchase possible. Furthermore, 2% of your purchase is used to fund the training of service dogs. 

It is important to be aware of the materials used to make your dog’s toy because they spend a lot of time in your canine’s mouth where harmful substances can be easily absorbed. Be careful; the Consumer Product Safety Commission only deems pet toys harmful if they put the owner at risk! As mentioned previously, Kongs® and Nylabones® are safe products that are made without harmful toxins but if you are unsure, check the label.

Instead of smaller toys that may be a choking risk, stick to Frisbees and large balls that can’t reach the back of your dog’s mouth. A reader of The Bark recommends lacrosse balls which are large and come in a variety of fun colors. In addition, regularly check all toys for cracks or holes so that your dog’s mouth stays in tip-top shape.

Companies like Kong®, Tough by Nature, and Planet Dog are innovative toy producers that keep the safety of your pet in mind. They constantly take our pets’ needs and health concerns to heart and consistently provide new modes of fun and recreation.

The dog toy frontier is also pioneered by designers who wish to actively and mentally engage dogs with puzzle-like toys that require your pet to move pieces in order to reveal hidden treats. Nina Ottosson has a line a of dog toys that seek to work the canine brain by encouraging them to discover concealed treats using their nose and paws. Some of Ottosson’s products are made from particle board and should not be eaten or chewed, so it is important to watch your dog while playing with them. Another great option is the Buster Cube, which comes in different size cubes that must be rolled around in order to dispense the treats inside. Resembling a gumball machine, the Yuppy Puppy Food and Treat Machine has a large bone handle that when pressed down by your pup’s paw, dispenses treats! However, if you have any hesitations about whether your dog will chew off pieces of these brain teasers toys, opt to only use them when you can monitor your dog.

To keep the good times rolling for you and your best friend, consider your dog’s safety and well-being when selecting from the large range of toy options on the pet market today. Ready, set, play!
Sheila Pell The
The Happy Dog Spot

Friday, July 24, 2015

Select the Perfect Match for Your Pup

A regular gathering with canine buddies can help keep socialization skills polished, mentally and physically tire your dog and prevent your furniture from being destroyed. However, it is important to remember not all dogs enjoy playing with other dogs. By following a few guidelines and keeping a close eye on your dogs body language, you could find the perfect match for them.

Your dog and their playmates should be relatively similar in size and build to prevent any accidental injuries. Not surprisingly, smaller dogs are prone to getting injured when paired with a large breed. They can be stepped on, knocked around or simply overwhelmed. Keep your dog happy by finding another pup she can let loose with, without injuring or being injured.

Play styles can vary greatly between a young puppy and a seasoned adult dog. Young puppies tend to like energetic, rambunctious play, so they are best suited to play with one another. In contrast, an older dog might find this frenzied kind of play to be irritating. In addition, older dogs can be more selective about their playmates so be patient as you and your dog find the appropriate canine friend or family member.

This is a chance for your dog to express him or herself. It's easy to put all dog play behaviors into one pot but many dogs have preferences in their types of play. For example, there are dogs that will always choose stalking or chasing, while others prefer wrestling, mouthing or tug. Some breeds, like Border Collies and Australian Shepherds, prefer activities that tap into their herding instincts. Whatever your dog's play style, take note and try to find another dog who is also drawn to this type of play. Your dog will let you know whether they are enjoying this company by actively playing with or ignoring the pooch altogether.

Let the pups decide if they want to be friends. You wouldn't want someone else to select your friends, would you? If your dog and a potential playmate seem to have no interest in one another, they may simply be ill-suited as playmates. If your furry family member displays regular excitement in playing with another dog, it probably means you have succeeded in finding the playmate! 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Dog Intuition : 5 Things Your Dog Knows Before You

As you know, dogs are amazing, intuitive and very in-tune with their environment. They can understand your feelings, and the dynamics of people around them.  With their amazing senses, dogs are able to detect small changes in their surroundings that can help them predict events before their human companions! Here are five occurrences that your dog can sense:

Labor. Is there a new member of the family joining you soon? There have been documented reports of dogs predicting the onset of labor in pregnant women by following them around and staying by their side. Experts believe dogs know to prepare for their new sibling by sensing the physical transition of the pregnancy or the woman giving off a “labor scent”.

Earthquakes. According to history, records in ancient Greece show dogs fleeing the city of Helice before a tragic earthquake. China also has stories of dogs showing signs of distress before earthquakes. Scientists believe that a dog's hearing is so perceptive that they can hear rocks crumbling under the grounds surface. Others believe that dogs can feel the activity underground through their paws.

Illness and Cancer. Just like seizures, many dogs are trained to sniff out cancer or alert diabetics when their blood sugar is out of balance. It is found that humans give off faint odors of illness, too subtle for another human to detect. Yet, with dogs' amazing sense of smell, they may sniff out something that may be off in the human body.  If a dog is sniffing a particular area on the owner’s body obsessively, maybe a visit to the doctor should be taken!

Storms. Similar to earthquakes, dogs can sense something is changing in their environment. Storms create an electromagnetic force that dogs can sense before the storm hits. Dogs also use their amazing sense of hearing and can possibly hear thunder rumble from several miles away. A dog's sense of smell is over 40 times better than that of a human and most likely can smell the electrical current in the air.

Seizures. Some dogs are specifically trained to be seizure alert dogs. These dogs are taught to alert their owners before an impending seizure, lying on top of their owners during the seizure and summoning help when they can. Even if a dog is not trained, they instinctively know what is going to happen, but experts have yet to understand how they sense this!

A dog's abilities are truly unbelievable. Next time your dog is acting a little out of the attention! They may be trying to tell you something is about to happen!


Friday, July 10, 2015



Are you thinking about bringing a new dog into your home? Here are a few points to consider first. Many of us work about 30-40 hours a week, so time can be limited when it comes to spending time with our pets.
When deciding on a canine, any dog you choose should be suitable to not only your lifestyle, but your surroundings. If you live in a small condominium or apartment for example, you might consider a smaller dog. If you are not home much and would like a dog, think about bringing your dog to a dog daycare. 

Puppies are very cute and cuddly and hard to resist! However, it is easy to underestimate the time required for their care. They need to be housebroken, socialized, monitored and more. Another way to go is to adopt an adult dog who may be already trained for you.

It's essential to have your dog vaccinated, spayed or neutered along with annual vet visits. This will help them have a longer, healthier life. Inquire about health insurance and see if it is right for you.

Do you have the proper leash or harness for your dog? Walking your dog with the proper equipment can make all the difference in your canine's comfort and yours and enhance quality time spent together.

We say - yes! - you are ready for a pup. When you decide on which one, make a reservation at Morris Animal Inn for the best quality care! 

If you still have questions about whether you are ready for a pet, take this quiz below.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Create the Best Backyard for Your Dog

No matter the size of your backyard, there are plenty of ways to transform your space into a doggy paradise. With the help of Tails Magazine, here are a few necessities for backyard your dog will drool over.

Fences. If at all possible fence in your space—both to keep your dog inside, and to keep other animals out. Make sure it’s high enough that your pup can’t jump over it, and if necessary, install protection underneath to keep your dog from digging his or her way out. If your dog is a barker, consider fencing that isn't see through.

Keep it Cool. Most dogs love lying in the sun on a warm summer day, but dehydration, heatstroke, and sunburn are all risks during the warmer months. If you don’t have any naturally occurring shady spots, invest in an umbrella or something similar to create a place where your dog can go to escape the sun’s rays. A doghouse is another great option. Does your dog like water? Fill up a kiddie pool with ice and water and let your dog cool off in a perfect sized watering hole.

Pet-Friendly Plants. Dogs can certainly appreciate flowers and plants, but be cautious about what you plant that your dog has access to. Many common flowers are potentially toxic to your furry friend. Check out our previous blog post on how to build a pet-friendly garden.

Potty Spot. A designated spot for "calls of nature" allow your yard to be kept clean easily. Mark off a specific area and encourage your dog to only go potty there. Try partitioning it off with a mini fence, large rocks, or some shrubbery. You can even put in a fake red fire hydrant to make the spot extra enticing!

Dig Zone. Dogs will be dogs, and dogs love to dig...which can be bad news for your lawn. Consider setting up a specific spot where your pup can dig to his or her heart’s content. Think of it as a doggy sand box, filling it with sand or soft soil, and let the hole to the center of the earth begin! If you have a determined digger who just won’t stick to one area, try sprinkling a natural deterrent such as cayenne pepper on the areas you want your dog to stay away from.

Toys. What’s a dog’s dream backyard without the perfect toys? Fun and interactive toys are a great way for your dog to burn some physical and mental energy while off-leash in the back yard. Try keeping some toys specifically for outdoors to make the backyard more special!

Time spent outdoors is enriching for your dog and gives ample opportunities to sniff, discover, and explore. Remember not to leave your dog outdoors unattended, and be cautious of the amount of time spent outside during the hot summer months. Your backyard can be a great place for you and your dog to enjoy quality time together. Take advantage!

Source: Tails Magazine