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Bringing Home a New Dog? Follow These Helpful Tips

Bringing home a new dog and introducing them to other dogs can be a dodgy situation. It can also be stressful for all dogs involved and for you as well. If you’re planning to grow your four legged family and bring a new dog into your home, following these tips will help ease the transition and hopefully take away the stress that may be caused.

When bringing in a new dog, experts say body language is key. First, make sure each dog has a handler and is on a leash. Even the most gentle and behaved dogs can be territorial of their space and having them on leashes will allow you to separate them should they not get along right away.

In most cases both dogs will be very excited to see each other. Wait until they calm dog and let the calmer dog approach the other one. This is a great opportunity to take them on a walk together and let them interact with each other in a space that doesn’t feel as territorial.

Watch their sniffing closely. Dogs live in a world where they rely on scent and letting them smell each other is the equivalent to a human handshake. Usually dogs sniff nose to nose then nose to rear. When this happens, pay attention to body language. If one dog growls, shows teeth, acts nervous or defensive, firmly say “no” and regain its attention. Separate the two for a short period of time then repeat the introduction process at home.

If none of the warning signs are present, allow the dogs to act natural with each other while you keep an eye on them. If they start to play or your dog walks back towards you without caring about the other dog, this is a sign that your they have accepted the new dog into the home.

Other Tips from the Experts

  • While the dogs are left alone, make sure to separate them with baby gates or crates. This will prevent any unwanted altercations while the dogs get to know each other.
  • Prevent food altercations by avoiding free-feeding. Feed twice a day and separate your dogs initially for feeding, e.g. in crates, separate rooms, or different corners of the same room.
  • Monitor your dogs when you give them bones, rawhides, and treats. Begin by giving these highly desirable items while your dogs are separated. When the dogs have more trust in your leadership, and you have trust in them, then begin monitoring “chew time” when the dogs are in the same room together. Never leave bones, rawhides unattended! For most dogs, this is a fight waiting to happen.
  • Make sure there are enough toys and beds to go around for both dogs. During the initial weeks, monitor toy play. Especially for rope toys or any toys that can result in a game of “Tug of War,” and squeaky toys. Dogs with high prey drives can become possessive of squeaky toys, as the squeak sounds can resemble the sounds a small animal makes when it is being killed.
  • Monitor play time and be conscious of each other dog’s body language, including those subtle cues: lip curls, ears back, hackles raised, tail held high, stiff body stance, and staring at the other dog. If you see these signs, correct the dog by telling it to go lie down and wait until it becomes mentally relaxed (you will see this through a change in body language). If the second dog did something to warrant such warnings by the first dog, make sure to give that dog the correction. Most play between a male and a female will be self-regulated (i.e female will correct when male plays too rough, humps, etc.). However, it is important to intervene and give a correction when the dog is not responding to the corrections given by the other dog.
  • Realize that some dogs become vocal during playtime. Some people mistakenly take a “growl” to mean the dog is being vicious. However, the “growl” needs to be put into context: was it during a play bow? Did the other dog growl back? As long as the intensity of the play did not escalate, you can be assured that the other dog is just being “vocal” during playtime.
  • Make sure to give each dog individual attention, just as you would children. This can be achieved during training sessions, walks, and outings to the pet store and dog parks.

 

See You at SuperZoo 2017

We’re excited to be going back and participating in SuperZoo 2017 in Las Vegas this year! We love this event because of the exposure and networking offered. In fact, we’ve made some dear friends in the pet industry because of meeting at SuperZoo!

We look forward to seeing our fellow pet professionals, revisiting friends, and creating new relationships with people who are interested in Unleashed Life.

We will be at SuperZoo Monday, July 24th through Thursday, July 27th! Come see us at booth 4840 in the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

Click here for more info and FAQs about SuperZoo!

 

Getting Your Dog Through Tick Season

Summer fun is in full swing and that means a lot of outdoor time for you and your pup. It also means the height of tick season. This pesky little parasites aren’t just gross and annoying, they can cause serious health issues for your dog. Keep your pup safe by following these expert tips:

When is tick season?

Tick season typically runs from May to September, depending on where you live. However, ticks come out to feed any day of the year that is over 39°F. So, depending on which part of the country you live in, almost every day can be considered tick season.

What are the dangers?

Small they may be, but their bite can cause a lot of issues. Ticks carry diseases that can be passed on to your dog as they feed of its blood.

Commonly, Lyme Disease is transmitted from ticks to your dog. This disease can lead to things like cardiac and renal complications that may be fatal.

How do ticks move?

Many people are under the impression that ticks can jump of fly, this is simply untrue. In order for them to move from place to place, they hang onto leaves, branches, and tall grass waiting to drop down on mammals passing by.

Once they land, they like to burrow deep into the warmest areas of your dog, such as the folds in their skin around their shoulders, neck and armpits.

How do you find ticks?

Feel around areas such as the back, ears, neck, shoulders and armpits. Because ticks are small, it might be easier to find them through touch as opposed to sight. When searching for these pesky creatures, diligently feel for strange bumps or ridges and pull back your dog’s fur in certain areas to ensure a full inspection.

How do you remove ticks?

If you find ticks on your dog’s skin, carefully try to remove them while completely intact. If they break apart and the tick’s feeding tube stays imbedded in your pup, it may cause health issues. Once ticks have completely fed themselves, they are easy to spot because they will be fully engorged with the blood they’ve consumed. If you find ticks at this stage, be sure to carefully remove them as you don’t want any of the digested blood on your skin or your dog.

The chances of your dog developing Lyme Disease from tick bites is relatively low. However, there is the added concern that Lyme Disease can be transferred to humans. If you know your dog has been bitten by one or suspect they have based on symptoms, bring them to the vet immediately. As with all pet health issues, it is better to be safe than sorry by having a professional examination.

Good prevention is key when protecting your dog from ticks.

4th of July Pet Safety

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July 4th is a day full of picnics, fireworks and other outdoor festivities. While these things are a lot of fun for us, they can be frightening and even dangerous for our pets. Dogs are often not fans of loud noises and they can cause anxiety, fear, and possibly make dogs run away. Whether or not you plan on celebrating with your furry friend, it’s still a good idea to take these precautions to prepare for the holiday.

Photo by Martha Stewart Living

  • Be sure that your dogs tags are up to date. They should be easily identified if they do run away from the loud noises that fireworks create.
  • Take a current photo of your pet, just in case. This a good thing to have on hand anyways.
  • Make sure the environment is safe and secure. If your neighbors set off fireworks at an unexpected time, is your yard secure enough to keep your pet contained?
  • Leave your pets at home when you go to parties. Loud fireworks, unfamiliar places and crowds can all be very frightening to pets, and there’s great risk of pets becoming spooked and running away.
  • If you are throwing your own Independence celebration, asks guests to also keep an eye on your pet.
  • We all know our pets are curious. Keep fireworks out of reach from them.
  • Keep your pets inside if your neighbors are setting off fireworks.
  • Always keep pets away from bbq grills, they can be easily harmed by the heat.
  • Summer heat can be dangerous and deadly to pets. If you have them outside with you, be sure that they have access to plenty of water and a cool shaded spot to relax. If your dog is panting heavily, it’s a sign that they are having trouble cooling down – take them inside to cool off. Click here to learn about the signs of overheating.
  • If you’re leaving town, consider leaving your pets at home with a sitter.
  • Those puppy dog eyes are hard to resist, but avoid feeding them table scraps. A lot of common 4th of July food is very unhealthy for your pets.
  • Check your yard for fireworks debris before allowing pets outside to play or relax. Even if you didn’t set off fireworks yourself, debris can make its way into your yard, where curious animals may pick it up to play with or eat.

Keeping these things in mind will help ensure that your festivities go off without a hitch and keep your pet happy and safe! Happy Independence Day!

Bring Your Dog to Work

Why should your business have a pet-friendly policy? The reason that it’s awesome and that it will feed your soul in that special way only fluffy dog kisses can, while true, may not convince your boss. At Unleashed Life we’re very fortunate to have Bring Your Dog to Work Day every day of the week so we’d like to consider ourselves experts on the topic. We’re here to help convince the unbelievers that dogs do indeed belong in the office. So pack your pup a briefcase because it’s time to take care of business!

Strengthen Relationships

Dogs can bridge the divide between humans like no other species. Stopping by someones desk to give their dog a quick head pat and belly rub means a bonding experience for everyone involved. A 2010 study by Central Michigan University showed that the presence of dogs in the office can increase trust among coworkers, which would logically lead to improved collaboration.

The coworker-coworker-dog relationship is not the only one which thrives. Many companies which “employ” their pets report that consumers relate more readily to their business and feel more comfortable making purchases. People want to buy from companies that they feel good about, and if they can see employees enjoying a fun and free atmosphere with their pets they can rest assured that their purchase is fueling that environment.

Relieve Stress & Improve Health

A 2012 Virginia Commonwealth University study showed an increase in job satisfaction when dogs were present in the office, and also showed a long-term decrease in stress levels by measuring salivary cortisol (levels of this chemical increase in saliva during times of stress).

Multiple studies by the CDC have shown that pets can decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels. Pets can also encourage exercise by giving employees a chance to stand up and go for a walk. Besides this, the simple act of petting a dog can increase levels of oxytocin, one of the reasons why therapy dogs have been used to treat depression and feelings of loneliness.

Balance Home & Work

“Out of sight, out of mind” does not apply to your dog, we can attest! Having your pet at work will relieve separation anxiety for both you and your dog. You won’t have to think about how worked up they may be getting without you, which will in turn calm your nerves. Never come home to an upturned wastebasket or destroyed couch cushion again.

Encourage Adoption

The original intent of Bring Your Dog to Work Day was actually to allow non-pet-owning coworkers to experience pets and encourage them to adopt a pet of their own. While no one should feel pressured, the need to adopt and properly care for animals is a large one that needs attention.

A Note on Office Dogs

Proper precautions and preparations must be observed before dogs should be allowed in an office environment. There is also a certain etiquette that should be followed to ensure that both dogs and coworkers can feel comfortable and safe. A few of the big items are to dog-proof things like cords, make sure no one with allergies will be made to suffer, and figure out a game plan before your pet has to piddle. Do your research and make sure the experience is the best possible for everybody. Thanks for reading!

Bowl Spotlight: High-Rise Nickel

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The High-Rise Nickel collection is one of our elevated bowls with a contemporary look. Though their shiny finish lend themselves to a more modern aesthetic, these designer dog bowls work well in any style of environment. It’s just as easy to imagine them blending into a sleek, modern home as it is to see them artfully juxtaposed in a highly traditional setting.

Beyond stylish looks, the elevated architecture of the bowl can have many benefits for your dog. Veterinarians recommend elevated feeders for some dogs because they offer a number of advantages: hygiene and cleanliness, comfort for dogs with arthritis or neck or back problems, and benefits for dogs with conditions that make swallowing difficult. Finally, elevated feeders have an extra bonus. We have had pet owners tell us that they appreciate not having to bend over as far to pick up or fill up water and food dishes. Of course, some breeds of dogs and those susceptible to bloat may benefit more from a low bowl. Always consult your veterinarian with any concerns.

Check out the High-Rise Nickel Collection here, and see our other stylish elevated feeders here.

Dog Park Etiquette

Dog parks are an amazing way for dog owners to get outside and let your pup off the leash, get some exercise, and socialize with other dogs. The benefits of dog parks are many, but it’s important to choose the right one, and to use them correctly.

What to Look for in a Dog Park

According to dog trainers, there are a few things that you should look for when choosing a dog park. If you live in the city, look for a dog park with a sturdy fence (at least 4 feet tall). There should be a double-gated entrance, which helps prevent a dog from slipping out of the gate and running away. Check if there is a water source, and if there isn’t one, make sure to bring plenty of water. Dog parks are sometimes divided into two areas- one for smaller dogs and one for larger dogs. This is a great and safe option for anyone with a smaller dog that might get scared of larger dogs.

During your first visit to a dog park, do a good once-over and look for anything that could be potentially dangerous. If there is fencing, does it look maintained and sturdy? Is there trash in the area? If you live in a more rural area, keep in mind there may be wildlife or snakes to keep an eye out for.

Dog Park Etiquette

A park doesn’t mean turn your dog loose and let them go wild. No one likes getting jumped on or having to manage someone else’s dog. Look for engaged owners who keep an eye on their dog. Proper play is very important when it comes to socializing in dog parks. A dog that is too rough can not only cause a fight, but can make other dogs fearful going forward.

When dogs play together, it’s important to keep an eye on their body language. You want them to have loose body language, like wagging tails and trading roles. You will see this often when they play chase and roll around on the ground.

Other Tips

  • Do not bring your dog if they are in heat or not spayed/neutered. The dog park isn’t a place for copulation…
  • Leave human food at home. This could attract other dogs in an unwanted way and can cause a food possessive situation where dogs may get aggressive.
  • Do not let your dog bully another dog. If you notice that your dog is playing with another dog whose body language is reading that they are scared, tired, or trying to get away, take your dog to another part of the park.
  • Never leave your dog unattended, the dog park is not a daycare.
  • Always be sure to close the gate when entering and leaving. Additionally, if you notice the gate open, always shut it.
  • If there are small and large dog areas, stick to those guidelines.

Finally, make sure to aide by any other posted guidelines and CLEAN UP after your dog.

Learning Your Dog’s Body Language – What are they really trying to say?

unleashedDogs are experts at communicating through body language and physical signals. We are not. It’s easy to see that the way dogs communicate with each other isn’t by barking, but through body postures, movement and facial expressions. Dogs assume that we humans speak that same language and try to use the same expressions to talk with us. If you can learn to recognize certain physical cues that your pup is sending you, you will be able to communicate with he or she much better.

Eye Contact
Direct eye contact – looking for attention or serving as a threat (depending on the context)
Averted eyes – submission/deference
Looking at an object – to direct the owner to the object in question, whether a ball that has rolled under a couch or a door that is creating an impasse
Dog Head
Up – attention or challenge
To the side/turning away – deference/attempts at avoidance
Head held low – submission
Dog Body
Tense muscles – subconscious sign of impending fight or flight
Relaxed body, relaxed musculature – easy going attitude
Head held low but rear end elevated, tail wagging – I want to play
Dog Tail
We can read the dog’s mood from the tail position/movement, but the tail is not really intended to communicate anything to humans. However, when the tail is up it means the dog is actively interested (a confident, attentive gesture). Tail tucked is submission; tail horizontal is neutral mood or indifference; tail movement (wagging) reflects the dog’s energy level/excitement level.
Dog Movement
Movement toward a person is designed to get their attention. Movement away from a person transmits the dog’s uncertainty about that person. The dog’s movement away from the person is a defensive move.

We found this adorable and helpful chart from doggiedrawings.net to explain body language more:

dog_body_language1-600x1013Let’s also not forget that we are able to recognize our own dog’s emotions. Every pet owner knows that they can tell almost by instinct when their dog is sad or not feeling well. This comes naturally to us as caretakers as we can observe the smallest of changes in normal behavior. Learning more about how dog’s physically communicate with us is important to make us better pet owners and it will strengthen the bond between us and our dogs.

 

 

5 Ways to Help Your Dog Age Gracefully

Have Fun Working Out With Your Dog

perroDogs literally make the best workout partners! Think about it – they’re always energetic, they won’t complain, and they definitely won’t cancel on you last minute. There are so many exercise activities that you can do with your dog beyond walking them, though that counts too. Here are some of our favorites:

Running

This one may be obvious, but it’s also the most accessible. Dogs of all sizes make perfect running mates, so there’s no need to worry about them not being able to keep up. Most small dogs have more energy than larger breeds. One thing to remember is that flat faced breeds (like pugs) take in air slower, so runs should be limited to 5 miles.

Rollerblading

Who the heck doesn’t lover rollerblading??? This is another way to way to work your core and burn calories. We suggest rollerblading in traffic free areas, like a park, so you and your dog remain safe. You’ll be having so much fun, you’ll forget that you’re working out.

Yoga

You read that right, yoga. It turns out that “doga” is a real thing and dogs are actually really good at it. Having trouble picturing it? The idea is that your pup would also become a prop during the session. It’s all about the pet-human bond. Do some research and see what “doga” classes are offered in your area!

Active Fetch

One of our favorite exercises – it involves you throwing a ball and while your pup runs after it, you do some muscle building moves like push-ups, lunges, and crunches. Another thing you can do is race your dog to the ball to squeeze in some sprints!

Stair Running

There are tons of places to find stairs and running them works your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Dogs have enough energy to keep up and it will be a great workout for them too. The number one thing that veterinarians notice about dog’s health is that they don’t get enough exercise.

Always remember to hydrate yourself and your pup while working out. All dogs have different levels of ability and if your pup isn’t used to high activity, ease them into it day by day.

We couldn’t help ourselves…this is just too good not to share. Happy exercising!

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