Even if I find it too difficult to achieve all these lofty goals, I think that 2018 will be a year of growth for me! Do you have any New Year’s resolutions in mind for yourself or your pets? Let me know in the comments!
Let’s admit it: dog owners and those who pick out new and unique gifts for a friend’s pooch have just as much fun as Rover. Maybe more. There’s a decidedly humorous element to it that’s fully in keeping with holiday frivolity and Christmas high spirits. You may appreciate that your Beagle or Dachshund has a nice doggie jacket to keep him warm on those frosty January walks, but it’s also cute and funny to watch him waddle around in his new fur-lined Christmas wrap. So keep those wooden dog puzzles and Bubbletastic bubble machines coming. It’s Christmas time!
Fun for all
Your first consideration is something that’ll make your dog happy, something that’s appropriate for his size, breed and temperament. But don’t forget your friends and how much fun they can have getting your dog a triceratops dog costume (complete with horn and all). Or a Hyper Dog Ball Launcher, a cross between a slingshot and a crossbow that fires a tennis ball up to 200 feet for your dog to chase.
And since it’s the holidays, your pooch should be able to enjoy a little wine, doggie wine that is. Pawsecco’s “white” or “red” have become big sellers since hitting the market in March. Don’t worry, it’s made of ginseng, elderflower and other all-natural ingredients. Not a hint of alcohol.
Fence me in
Sometimes, the best gift idea is one that addresses a clear need, like protecting your dog from harm. One very good way to do that is to ensure he can’t escape and run away from home. Why not ask for help paying to install a fence so you never have to worry about roaming the neighborhood? According to Homeadvisor.com, the average cost of a chain-link fence ranges from $1,399 to $3,672, and takes a day or two to install.
If your dog is incurably curious about the outside world, you could install a Dog Peek window if you have a wooden fence. This rounded glass extrusion allows your furry friend to keep tabs on the neighbors, know when it’s time to bark at the mailman, or just watch the cars go by from the safety of your yard.
In case he does manage to give you the slip, there’s always the Tagg GPS pet tracker, a security device that lets you track your pooch wherever he runs. High-tech capabilities include text and email alerts sent to you as soon as your dog escapes, and an interactive virtual map that shows you exactly where he’s gone.
Yuletide dog treats
Some people just like to bake, no matter who it’s for. There are lots of tasty recipe options for people who might want to whip up batch of goodies such as gingerbread dog snacks, dog candy canes or bacon dog treats.
As you consider what dog-related items to include on your Christmas wish list, think of what needs you might address. If you worry about your pet’s safety, that might suggest gift ideas that can help protect him. Whatever you choose, be sure to incorporate plenty of fun. Everyone (pups included!) should have a good time at Christmas.
Hi. I’m Ellie, Brody’s cousin! He thought I’d be better at writing about this post’s topic, staying in shape for the winter, because I’m not very good at that. You see, I love cookies and peanut butter and anything I can eat.
It’s getting harder for me to walk these days (I’m 9 now). I have painful arthritis in my knee, so it’s important for me to lose those extra pounds. I’ve slowly started to accept that this is a time of transformation. I plan to shed my pounds like trees shed their leaves.
I’ve made a list of fun activities to stay in shape this winter, hoping to encourage myself and my parents to stay on track. I hope it encourages you too! Winter can be fun!
Good luck keeping off those holiday pounds!
If you have a favorite winter activity, let me know in the comments!
Another big time of year is approaching: Thanksgiving! Last year, I was thankful for meeting my dog cousin, Ellie, and all the attention from my family members. Everyone petted and complimented me. This year, I look even better. I can’t wait!
Thanksgiving is also great because of all the smells. There are so many beautiful foods on the table, and I wish I could eat them all like the humans do. This isn’t my first time with the holidays, so I’ve made some mistakes and learned a few things. As a dog, I know it can be tempting to eat anything within reach. It’s quite hard to pull away sometimes. Here are my tips for preventing holiday mishaps!
Never let your dog or cat have access to food during Thanksgiving.
I know it’s tempting to feed your dog when they’re sitting and begging and being cute. I’m guilty of this manipulation tactic myself, I can’t help it, but it’s important for you not to give in! There are lots of yummy tidbits on the holiday table that can cause stomach upset or worse.
Make sure all the food is secure and in a place that animals can’t reach it. You’ll be thankful that you don’t have to leave while company is over to take your pet to the emergency vet!
Think about safe disposal.
Make sure every great smelling thing is sealed up (especially bones and strings), and throw everything away in a garbage can that pets can’t access. I absolutely never ever get in the garbage can, but when I do, I sniff out all the best goodies. The garbage after Thanksgiving would be the ultimate prize! But turkey bones and strings can get stuck in the stomach, fatty foods can cause pancreatitis, or even just make our tummies upset.
If your pet has gotten into something they shouldn’t have, here are some symptoms to watch for:
If your pet experiences just one of these symptoms infrequently, keep an eye on them. If they have more than one symptom, it might be time to call my mom or one of her doctor friends to make sure everything is ok.
I hope everyone has a great and safe Thanksgiving!
Hi, Not-Feeling-Like-Such-A-Good-Boy-Brody here. This past week, I was very sick. I wanted to share my story so pets and humans can learn from my experience.
It all started one day when I came in from playing outside. My mouth began to hurt and itch. I kept rubbing my paw against my muzzle, but it only got worse. Soon my mouth and throat were red and sore. I’m not supposed to make a mess on the carpet, but I couldn’t help it, and I threw up. That’s when Mom came running into the room. I was scared she would yell and call me Brody-No, but instead, her eyes widened, and she scooped me up in a blanket. She grabbed her keys and her coat, and we got in the car. I hid in the soft blanket that smelled like home for the whole ride.
When the car stopped, we were at Seven Fields Veterinary Hospital (one of my favorite places). Typically, being the doctor’s pride-and-joy, I get to hang out in the office with the other staff-dogs, getting pets and playing with toys. This time, I was ushered back to the treatment area. No one knew what was wrong with me, so they had to run tests. They needed to determine what was hurting me and fast so they could fix it.
The first step was bloodwork. I heard them say they would run the bloodwork in-house, and I thought that was great because we would be going home, but that wasn’t the case. My results were normal. This was good, though, Mom said. A lot of the bad illnesses she worried about would have shown up in my blood.
The second test was x-rays. The technicians and my mom put big heavy coats on in a small room with a huge camera. I didn’t feel camera-ready, but Mom and the other humans put me in weird poses anyway. The table was cold, and the camera was loud, but Mom kept calling me Good-Boy-Brody to make me happy. It did help.
When my photos were up, all the humans studied them carefully. I peeked at them too, but they looked nothing like me. Mom said the x-rays were normal. I threw up again on the table. I didn't feel normal.
I was set up in a silver box with lots of comfy blankets, and a clear tube going into my leg which was secured with a blue and white paw print bandage. I thought that was a nice touch. At least I still got special treatment. Mom talked to many people on the phone, but still no one could figure out why I felt so horrible.
After a mostly sleepless night, I was so sick, I could not even lift my head or wag my tail. Mom took me to a different BIG hospital so she could ask other doctors what they thought. While we were there Mom was looking on her phone and must have read something important. I raised my head up when I heard her say, “that must be it.” I remember waiting for her to tell me what “it” was, but she rushed me back to Seven Fields Veterinary Hospital. I must have fallen asleep somehow. Everything went dark.
When I woke up, my mouth and throat were still sore, but they felt a little better. Mom came over and smiled at me. She was happy, so I got happy too and gave my tail a small wag. “We figured it out,” she said, stroking me behind the ears. “You ate stinging nettle! Crazy dog. We had to remove all the quills from your mouth, but you’re going to be okay.”
Then I remembered. I did eat a weird plant. It smelled like a treat but didn’t taste like one. I chewed it, swallowed some, then spat it out. What a horrible trick!
For all the humans reading this, know that sometimes when your pet is sick, it might not be clear right away what is wrong with them. Vets have to do tests to find clues so that they can solve the sickness like a puzzle. My Mom, the other vets, and the technicians that helped me were so smart!
For all the pets out there, it can seem like going to the vet when you’re sick is a bad joke, but the humans are only trying to fix you and make you feel better. They're kind like that, so don't be too scared!
And lastly, make sure to STAY AWAY FROM STINGING NETTLE!
Today, I learned that there are tiny monsters called fleas and ticks that EAT DOGS. Terrifying, right? How have I never known about this horror?! I discovered them this morning when Mom and I went for a walk near the local dog park. There was a dog on a leash doing a very strange dance. I wanted to say hi, maybe see what the dance was about, but Alpha Female came out of Mom and called me Brody-No. I was confused! Why couldn’t I say hi? He seemed like a spunky pup, but it turns out he was being eaten...by contagious dog-eating creepies!
My whole life I thought I was the top of the food chain. Squirrels, rabbits, and birds cower before me, the mighty dog. But now I know that there are tons of scary creatures that feast on dogs (and cats!).
So, you’re probably wondering, How do you, Good-Boy-Brody, keep from being eaten?
Well, I’ve done the research and am ready to get the word out. I must protect my fellow dogs (and cats) out there! So here goes, “Brody’s Guide to Staying Flea and Tick Free All Year Round,” certified by yours truly, Good-Boy-Brody T.D.S.D. (Therapy Dog Show Dog).
Fleas and ticks are a threat all year long.
What? All year? Yes, my friend. Only steady temperatures under 30 degrees are cold enough to kill adult fleas outdoors (unless they find a warm host to feed on) and the eggs, larva, and pupae are even tougher. For every live flea you see, there are about 2,000 others (in various stages of the life cycle) that you don’t.
Fleas and ticks cause disease in pets and humans too!
Did you know that fleas carry tapeworm eggs? Swallow a flea, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a dog, a cat, or a human, you could get a tapeworm! The dog at the park was biting at his legs while he was dancing. What are the chances of swallowing a flea that way? Pretty high. Ugh!
In our area, a lot of ticks carry Lyme disease and other diseases that can spread to dogs and humans. Lyme disease can cause a rash, fever, swollen lymph nodes, joint pain, kidney failure, and much more severe symptoms if left untreated. I also recommend a Lyme vaccine for this reason!
There are lots of medications available to repel and even kill fleas and ticks.
There are tons of options for flea and tick prevention! The three types are oral medications, topical medications, and collars. Contact one of my Mom’s hospitals for their recommendation!
Get your flea and tick preventative from a certified veterinarian.
Whichever flea and tick preventative you choose, make sure to get it from a veterinarian (like my Mom!). This is the only way to be sure that the product is guaranteed to work. There are also many counterfeit products on the market, sold online and in stores, that can make dogs and cats sick or not work at all!
Have you ever experienced fleas or ticks? How do you stay flea and tick free? Let me know in the comments!
Check back on October 16th for the next blog post by Brody!
Featuring tips on how to keep your pets safe this Halloween!
Hi! My name is Brody, and there are four things you should know about me.
I know what you’re thinking. You? Eat the cat litter? But you’re a therapy dog!
I couldn’t help it, okay? The cats cook up such glorious treats, and so what if the food is second-hand? I know therapy dogs shouldn’t succumb to such temptations, but hear me out. With Mom so busy opening her new hospital, I haven’t been going to school a lot lately. And, believe it or not, those litter box treats were piling up, just sitting there, basically presented to me on their blue plastic platter.
The sound of my name was what brought me back to reality. And there I was, face caked in litter, staring up at my very angry Mom, aka, Alpha Female. I knew it was Alpha Female instead of just Mom because only she calls me by the cursed nickname, “Brody-No.” My actual full name is Good-Boy-Brody, and Mom calls me that more than anything. Like I said, I truly am a good boy. It was a slip-up, a collapse in morals, whatever you want to call it, I admit it. It happened. After she cleaned up my mess, all the while muttering about some mysterious bad dog, I heard her talking to Dad. I would be going back to school!
For all the humans out there, let me get a few things straight about school. It can be fun. It can be frustrating. It can be exhilarating, or it can be scary. Much of that depends on you. So, without further ado, I present you with “Brody’s Tips for Training Your Not-So-Good Dog from a Dog’s Perspective,” certified and tested by me, Good-Boy-Brody T.D.S.D. (Therapy Dog Show Dog). I made up that title for myself. Pretty cool, huh?
1. Figure out your training method
As a T.D.S.D. (Therapy Dog Show Dog) (proud!), I’ve been to lots of school, and I’ve been trained lots of different ways. There’s no one best way to train your dog. Pick the method that works best for both of you! I personally recommend trying out a couple to see what feels right. Just remember to think about it from our perspective and be kind.
2. Train your dog like you’re teaching someone something for the first time (because you are!)
I notice that a lot of humans forget that they’re actually teaching, not only training when they do school with their dog. My sister, Payten, a human, just turned three. I watch the bigger humans teach her things patiently, trying to explain difficult concepts in simpler ways if she doesn’t understand. This is just how to train a dog! Don’t just go through the motions. Think about what your dog isn’t getting and come up with a better way to explain it. With that big head humans have, you should be just fine.
3. Once your dog is trained, keep training
As you can tell from my regretful experience today with the litter, good behaviors need to be reinforced to be remembered. If you taught your dog to stay during puppyhood and they haven’t stayed for the last six years, don’t expect them to. Training is a lifelong process!
4. Old dogs can learn new tricks
Dogs are smart. I know some humans think that just because a dog is old, they won’t be able to learn anything new. That is speciesism, my friend. My adopted cousin, Ellie, a 9-year-old Pitbull, had never been trained a day in her life! Can you imagine? Now she potties outside and knows how to sit, stay, lie down, and come when called. What a success story! Your dog, no matter how old it is, can learn something new.
5. Be patient
Being a dog is great, but it’s hard to live in the human world. There are tons of distractions like cats, food, balls, and squeaky toys, plus quite the language barrier. The point is, be patient. Our minds wander, and we get upset if you get upset. We only want to make you happy (while smelling and eating and playing as much as possible). Work through difficult concepts with us slowly, and don’t expect us to get it on the first try. Especially if your dog is older, patience and persistence will get you far.
6. Only the best treats will work!
It sounds like a ploy, I know, but trust me, it’s necessary. No matter what training method you choose, all dogs love treats! When my mind is racing and my tail is wagging and my ears are picking up all the sounds, it’s hard for me to focus, but hold a bit of dehydrated beef liver in front of me, and it’s a game changer. Those aromatic waves of beef are like magic that reins me in. Use training treats to get your dog to focus on the treat (and you) during school. Liver treats are just my preference. Find out what your dog likes the most (just introduce new treats gradually!).
7. End training time on a high note
It may be tempting to give up training your dog if they’re not listening. Instead of getting frustrated and quitting, go over some basics that you know your dog knows. You’ll be proud that they’re listening, and they’ll be happy to please you. If you end training with anger, your dog will be upset, and next time, they might not be so excited for school.
That’s it for today! Let me know what training method you prefer and what your dog can do in the comments! I can’t wait to read them!
Good-Boy-Brody, T.D.S.D. (Therapy Dog Show Dog), a qualified expert, offers pet care tips from a canine perspective.