Simple Tips to Keep Your Pet Cool

As the summer heat rises, so does your urge to hit the beach or enjoy the warm weather. As much as we enjoy our travel buddies, We need to make sure that our dogs stay cool. Just like humans, dogs can easily overheat. So it is important that we do what we can to keep our pups safe during the hot season. Here are a few helpful tips to help your new best friend enjoy the summer with you.

What is Ideal for Your Dog?

A fun fact about dogs is they can’t actually sweat the way people do. They have special skin on their nose and paw pads that helps with regulating temperature. Dogs will also pant to cool down. Between a dog’s already high body temperature of 101-102 degrees Fahrenheit, and the fact that they are covered in fur, you can see why the heat can be dangerous. i have decided to give a few helpful tips to help keep your dogs safe during the hot months.

Helpful Tips

Water

Always keep water available to your dogs during the hot months. Keeping hydrated like humans keeps a dog cool. You can also take an extra step by putting ice cubes in their water or letting them crunch on them. Jack absolutely love ice cubes on a hot day. It helps to fulfill his need to chew while cooling down. If you notice that your dog just does not drink water that often, you may want to invest in a water bowl that has a fountain function. The running water may peak your dog’s interest to taste the water, thus making him drink. For those that have a nice back yard, maybe take some time to let them run around through sprinklers or just a nice spritz with the water hose would work. Baby pools are also a great idea to use in the backyard.

Fun Treats

A couple of fun treat ideas to help keep your pups cool are homemade popsicles. There are 2 different types that are really easy to make, peanut butter pops and chicken broth pops. Peanut butter pops are pretty self explanatory. Just fill an ice tray with peanut butter and freeze. With Chicken pops it is the same concept but with chicken broth instead of peanut butter. I would stick to low sodium and maybe mix a little water in with the broth to cut down on the salt intake. If you want to get a little fancy you can freeze a dog biscuit inside the broth to make a tasty pup pop.

 

 

 

 

Fans

This may seem very simple because it is. Aside from running the air inside, I invested in a floor fan for an extra breeze in the house. Piggy loves to lay in front of the fan and it does an amazing job circulating the air. Living on the top floor of an old building is very taxing during the summer months due to heat rising and settling in my unit. Before I had my fan, the air circulation was not very good and it would easily get stuffy in the house. Even with the temperature getting high sometimes, I could really tell a difference with the temperature

Cooling Mats

Last but not least, cooling mats are a good source to keeping your pet cool. I stumbled across this neat idea while browsing and thought it was pretty amazing. There are different types of cooling mats out there. I think the self cooling mat may be a little more effective since you do not have to freeze, refrigerate or add water etc. The dog activates the mat by just laying on it. The cooling mat also comes in different sizes to fit your pet as well as different colors to give your pet that cool look for the summer.

Our pets are our responsibility and it is important that we do what we can to keep them safe and healthy. Keeping your pets cool during the warm seasons can be really rough and tough on the electric bill as well. These easy tips can be very helpful for any household type and are fairly easy for owners with busy schedules. If you have any other helpful tips please feel free to share and as always drop a line in the comment box.

Finding the Right Dog Food

The topic of what to feed your dog may seem very simple, but I have heard the question over and over again, “What is the best food for my dog?” This is more of a trick question because it all depends on your dog’s needs and what is going to be most affordable as the owner. Before you start with the torches and pitch forks, let me just clarify by saying “YES” I do think that every dog should eat quality food but quality doesn’t always mean spending hundreds of dollars on food each month. Now if that is something you are willing and able to do then yes of course spoil your pup a bit. If you are on a budget then pick a brand that works best for your budget as well as meets the need of your pet.

My Experience Starting Out

Starting out as a new owner, I knew nothing about which dog food would be best for Jack. I was basing my choice on what I could afford and how much food I could get the price. I started out with Pedigree because it was a cheaper brand and you really got a lot for a little. Jack seemed to like the food and I didn’t notice any problems at all. By the time I had adopted Piggy, I gained more knowledge about different food brands, dog allergies and things to look for when buying food. This completely blew my mind. I never thought that like people, dogs could have allergies to food!

All of a sudden Pedigree didn’t seem like the BEST choice. I knew that I did not want to keep Piggy on Science Diet. Although it is a really good brand of food, it was not in my budget. I got some suggestions from my peers as to which would be a good brand for her and decided on Purina.

Since Purina One was what was suggested, I initially changed to that specific food. Both dogs did great and seemed to enjoy it a lot. Still keeping price a main factor, I chose to switch to Purina Dog Chow vs. Purina One since I got more for the price. Now switching dog food is not an elaborate process.

The important thing is that you mix the old food with the new food until the old food is gone. Picture growing up eating broccoli all your life then suddenly someone comes along and says “Hey you should eat this chicken.” The chicken may taste great but it could be a bad combination for your belly. For dogs this means diarrhea which is NEVER fun to clean up. I started Piggy off by feeding the old food as her first meal. I figured since she was in a new environment she would be nervous enough. It is not a requirement to do but it helped with her transition.

Making the Switch

Eventually I transitioned both dogs to Purina Dog Chow. After a while I noticed Piggy having issues with ear and yeast infections. The vet gave her an allergy shot and suggested changing her food. I remembered how well Piggy did on Purina One and decided to switch back. That is one of the lessons I learned with dog food. “If your dog is doing well with a specific food, keep them on that food.” It is nice to try different things and see what is out there but sometimes, switching can cause problems.

Another deciding factor was Jack’s eating habits. I have never really had an issue with Jack eating his food. Now unlike Piggy, he takes his sweet time picking through pieces while she inhales her food. I also know that sometimes dogs will eat less during the hotter months which Jack has done before but this time was different. Jack was not eating his food at all. He would maybe take a couple of bites and leave the rest. Of course, I panicked at first until it dawned on me that maybe he was tired of this food. When I finally made the switch to Purina One, I noticed Jack wasted no time eating all of his meal. As before I mixed the old with the new and of course he chose to leave the old food and eat the bits of new food. Since making the switch to Purina One, I have not noticed any health issues with Piggy. No more ear or yeast infections and she is a happy dog.

Can Dogs Eat Human Food?

The answer to this question is Yes and No. I have seen numerous times when people will feed dogs human food. This can either be really good in some cases or really bad. I am going to preface my discussion by saying that YES I am one of those dog moms who feed my pups human food on occasion. I am not discouraging anyone from feeding their dog human food. I am only saying to be careful what you feed your dog as far as human foods.

Some human foods are actually pretty harmful to dogs. I may be able to speak for most by saying that chocolate and any other form of caffeine are a big no no in a doggy diet. Grapes, raisins, onions and garlic are also harmful just to name a few. You may notice that peanut butter and dairy products are also on the list of items. Peanut butter is not a bad treat for a dog as long as it does not contain Xylitol. As for dairy products, I am guilty of feeding pieces of cheese to my dogs as a treat. I have also rewarded Jack with a “pupiccino” from Starbucks after a trip to the vet however I do not make a habit of feeding too much dairy to my dogs because I know too much can cause an issue. Neither of my dogs have had reactions to dairy but if you are unsure or you notice your dog having a reaction to anything you feed them, I would get them to a vet for an allergy test. Some dogs are okay with dairy and some, just like people, have an intolerance.

On the other hand, there are some foods that can be helpful to your pet. For example, unseasoned chicken and rice is not a bad meal for a dog on occasion. Sweet potatoes and some vegetables such as peas and carrots are okay to feed your pet as well. For those with dogs that can handle dairy, a small amount of plain yogurt can help balance out the bacteria in your dog’s belly. Also, pureed plain pumpkin can also help with diarrhea if you can’t get to the vet right away. For a larger list of what dogs can and can’t eat you may take a look here https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/human-foods-for-dogs#section54.

So as you can see there is a lot of good information about dog food. I did my research and chose a dog food that works for my pups and my budget. I also learned about different allergens within dog food so I know to look for reactions and get my dog to the vet if needed. I do spoil my dogs however I do not feed them human food too often because it may make them not want to eat their own food. I mean I like to share but not that much. Whatever you decide to feed your dogs make sure it works for you. Do your research and consult your vet if needed so that your furry friend stays happy and healthy. Thank you for stopping by and be sure to drop a comment. Until next time!

Helpful Hints To Training Your Dog

Dog Training Techniques

So now that we have covered the basics of deciding to own a pet, choosing the right pet and basic needs, it is time to move on to one of the most questioned subjects. “How to train your dog.” This topic is one of my favorites to talk about because as a pet owner I was unaware of what was involved in the training process and I feel like it is important for new pet owners to understand how training works in order to have a good pet experience. I know I say this in just about every post but it is critical for pet ownership.  Research the breed you are interested in having. You are probably asking “what does the breed have to do with it?” The answer is personality. There are some breeds that are just easier to train due to their breeding purpose and intelligence level.

Some working dogs like Australian Shepherds are easy to train due to their urge to please their owners as well as their high intelligence. They are also really athletic and can be trained for shows. Chihuahuas can also be a good breed for training due to their brain power. So I guess I lucked out with that one. On the other hand, Pitbulls can be stubborn and hard to train if you don’t start early and stay consistent with the training. When I adopted Piggy, she already had basic training. I just had to work with her a bit so she knew what to expect in her new home. Although she is by no means a wild child, she can be a little stubborn with listening to commands on walks if something has her attention. Also remember that every dog is different. It is helpful to know what you may be getting yourself into with the breed you choose but remember that not every Aussie will be a breeze to train just like not every tall person will be great at basketball.

Potty Training Your Pooch

A great training technique to start with is potty training. The first thing to know about potty training is that it does not happen overnight. It takes time just like with our human babies. If your dog senses your frustration, they may get anxious and have more accidents. It is also good to keep in mind that getting a puppy vs. an older dog may require more time since they will need to go out more frequently. The main thing I learned when potty training Jack was that I had to get him on a good feeding schedule. At the time I had not considered this because he was not the type of dog to keep eating his food because it was there. Since he was a grazer, I figured it would be fine to just leave his food out for him to eat when he wanted. WRONG. This way of feeding made potty time difficult. Jack did very well with peeing outside, but he would come inside to poop and at odd times so I never knew when he had to go. I got some advice from my vet who introduced me to the concept of a feeding schedule. I chose a breakfast and dinner time for him. I also took him on longer walks. Eventually I was able to figure out when Jack had to go and his potty schedule became regular.

 

For a while I did use puppy pads which I feel helped him a lot. Jack knew that the pad was where he was supposed to go potty instead of all over the house. Eventually I transitioned him to just going outside to use the bathroom. I realized that I was not walking him long enough so Jack thought that it was normal to pee outside and poop inside.  How I got Jack to understand that he needed to poop outside was by giving him a treat every time he went outside.

The Trick With Treats

The trick with training your dog is positive reinforcement. This does not mean that puppy gets away with bad behavior. My tone is very different with bad behavior and good behavior. It means that you may get better results with rewarding a dog for the good things they do vs. only acknowledging the bad behavior with scolding. Your dog will eventually associate a wanted behavior with a treat. Now when I take Jack out and he poops, he will sit and wait for his treat because he knows he did what I wanted him to do. Some dogs are people pleasers so I would use that to your advantage. Both my dogs are very treat motivated which helps with a lot of my training. Piggy for the most part is well-behaved. I did not have to work hard at all with her since she already knew basic commands. The only issue I have with her is her high prey drive for cats, which I will save for another post.

Jack on the other hand has a bad habit of barking and lunging at people and other dogs. He has gotten better with his encounter with people but we are still working on his interaction with other dogs. My secret is using treats. Whenever we are on walks and I see a person, I pull out a treat and make him sit. At this point, Jack is fully focused on the treat. Once the person passes and is out of sight, Jack gets the treat if he remained seated and quiet. After a few times of repeating this cycle, Jack now associates sitting quietly with a treat. This concept can be used with any type of training. I use the same method with crate training.

Crate Training

Piggy was already crate trained and potty trained when I adopted her but I still use this training technique for her since I use treats as a reward. Jack was my learning experience. What I learned was that a dog’s crate was a safe place/bedroom. At first, I had an airline kennel. Jack was okay crating for bed but was not okay when I went to work. I was not comfortable leaving him out because we had not yet mastered potty training. Treats were not enough of a motivation for him just yet. Once he outgrew his kennel, I got a wire crate. This was a better fit because he felt more secure. Now that I have a second dog I feed them separately in their crates to prevent fighting. This routine of feeding and treats helped both dogs love their crates. They love their daily cuddles after work but at bedtime Jack rushes to his crate to settle down.

I have heard of and seen some people use puppy pads inside a dog crate. I personally would not recommend doing this because it may cause confusion with your pet. Dogs naturally do not go to the bathroom where they sleep so teaching them to use the puppy pad in their crate is the same as teaching a human child to go to the bathroom in their bed. Ample playtime outside their crate and frequent walks can prevent unwanted accidents.

 

By now, you all are probably thinking that I have a perfect Pitbull and a wild and crazy Chihuahua. I definitely lucked out with Piggy and Jack is a little socially awkward but I feel like both are great dogs. Jack was my learning experience and I use what I learned to reinforce what Piggy was taught. Treats are awesome tools you can use when training your pet. Remember that your pet has to follow your schedule and your rules. Anytime they exhibit the behavior you are looking for whether it is a simple “sit” command or jumping through a hoop, be sure to reward them so that they understand what you want them to do. Whether you decide to crate your pet or not, make sure your pup sees its crate as a safe place so they will want to crate when you need them to. Be sure to drop a line in the comment box.

Congratulations!

Congratulations!

I am so excited that you have decided to get a new pet. The experience of becoming a pet owner is awesome! Of course with every new experience comes a set of challenges. Do not let the hard stuff scare you off. It is definitely worth it in the end. I will regularly post little tricks of the trade that I have learned as a new pet owner and things I have picked up working in the animal field.

Don’t judge a breed by its cuteness

Choosing a dog can be fun but it is also important to choose the right dog for you. Keep in mind that every dog is different but it all starts with the breed. The more popular dog breeds are usually the toy breeds such as the Yorkshire Terriers, Chihuahuas and Maltese just to name a few. I would suggest choosing a buddy that works well with your lifestyle. Yorkie’s may look adorable riding next to you in the car but if you’re an active runner, it may have a hard time keeping up.

Before I got either of my dogs I already had a couple of breeds in mind that I liked. Surprisingly I was not interested in having a Chihuahua or Pitbull. My favorite dog at the time was a Siberian Husky. I loved their eye coloring and how they reminded me of wolves. I also thought that Bloodhounds and Bassett Hounds were pretty cool for their sense of smell. After I got into researching dog breeds, I was determined to get a French Bulldog.

A little research goes a long way

I decided it would be best to do a little research before getting my first dog. I had it in my head that I could find the “ideal” dog for me. My routine started with me looking on different websites for the dog, then I would look up the breed once I saw one I liked. I typically found really helpful information on www.dogbreedinfo.com. It really goes into detail about temperament, noted health issues and life expectancy. Now for those of you who are more audio/visual learners, Dogs 101 is an awesome show to watch on Animal Planet. The show consists of veterinarians and dog behaviorist that tell you pretty much what you need to know about each breed including the dog’s origins.

It is always great to have a cute or unique looking dog but even more important to know what your dog was bred to do. For example, what I did learn about Huskies is that they are bred to be sled dogs. Being part of the working breed means that the dog needs to have room to run or go on frequent walks to burn off energy. Retrievers are bred to retrieve game for hunters. A game of fetch or training your dog to retrieve the newspaper helps keep the dog busy. If the dog is not worked, it may find its own job to do which may mean trouble for its owner. Needless to say I came to the conclusion that maybe a Husky was not the best pet for me.

Adopting vs. Buying

Making the decision to purchase a dog vs adopting is also a big decision. May I also add that there is nothing wrong with either. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. If you are looking for a show dog, buying from a breeder may be your best option. Of course do your research and make sure you a getting the best service for what you are paying. I have also heard good and bad things towards adoption. On the positive side you are providing a home for a pet that was either lost, unwanted or whose owner could no longer care for them. On the downside, with adoption it can be hard to find a dog that will fit with your family and some are hesitant that the dog may turn out aggressive due to a rough past. All of this depends on the dog honestly. Even if the dog came from an abusive situation, the idea is to gain the dog’s trust through showing love. My second dog I chose to adopt because I knew what services I was getting with her. She was vaccinated, microchipped and spayed. I also chose to get an older dog vs. a puppy.

What if it doesn’t work out?

Never be afraid to return a pet. Even if you have done everything on your end to get your “ideal” pet, every dog is different. It is better to give the animal another opportunity to find a home than to try to make something work that will not. I have noticed that there is a stigma attached to a person that would give up their pet. We should be more supportive as a community to understand that not everyone’s situation is the same. If your new pet does not fit well with your situation do not be afraid to re-home or return your pet.

Whatever decision you may when bringing home your new pup, make sure that it works for you. Research the breed that fits your lifestyle also where you decide to get your new friend. Do not let the cuteness be the reason to get the dog. Out of both my dogs, my Chihuahua is absolutely adorable but he is my weirdo. No one seems to believe me until they try to pet him. My pitbull is the sweeter of the 2 but most people are afraid of her because of her breed. Whether you adopt or choose a breeder, make sure you check into the services you get with your pet. And lastly if your new pet is not the ideal fit you were looking for, do not be afraid to give the dog back. You will be happier and so will the pet. If you have any questions, feel free to drop a line in the comments section and good luck on your new pet journey!

So you’ve decided to get a pet

Getting a pet is an exciting decision and can be a fun experience for most.  There are a couple of questions we must ask ourselves before going through the process

    1. Am I ready for a new pet?
    2. Which pet works best for me?

Not a lot of people realize the responsibility that goes into caring for an animal. Aside from the financial commitments of food, vetting and of course toys, pets take up a great deal of time as well.  Sound like you’re adopting a baby?  Well you are, a furbaby!  This may be a good time to take a step back and glance at financial commitments and schedules to see if now is the right time to add a new member of the family.

Another thing to take in consideration is which pet you should adopt.  Every pet has their pros and cons. If you are looking for something short term, maybe consider getting a rabbit, guinea pig or other rodent just to name a few.  You are looking at a 3-8 year commitment due to their life spans being shorter. But watch out! These guys need special care.  For a long term companion, dogs and cats do well; however, they also come with their own set of pros and cons.

When describing a dog’s personality, I usually tell people that dogs start out as infants until they reach about 6-8 months old. Once they are full grown, they are more like toddlers for the rest of their lives.  Schedules for feedings, walks and playtime are important and must stay consistent so that your puppy behaves.  Cats I describe as your typical teenager. Sometimes you are their best friend and other times they don’t want to be bothered. Unlike our toddlers, cats are slightly more independent. No need to worry about potty schedules or walks when you have a clean litter box.  I also refer to them as the “Sheldon Cooper” of the pet world. Even the smallest change can stress out your cat and cause unwanted behavior. Dogs adjust a  little better to change.  Remember when choosing a dog or cat, you are looking at a long term commitment. Dogs can live up to their late teens while cats can live into their twenties.

I hope these little tips will help with your decision in choosing the right pet for you. Although there are guidelines to animal behavior, it is important to remember that every animal is different.  Good luck on your new pet journey!

About Me

Welcome to Jaym’s Dog Blog!

My pet experience

I have always been an animal lover, growing up with a family dog. It wasn’t until I got my first dog on my own that I realized just how much work went into caring for my pet. I also realized how special my bond was with my companion.

After getting into the animal field, I learned a great deal about animal behavior, as well as the resources available to me as a pet owner. After going through different training techniques, I found what worked best for my dog and for me. My dog was learning new things, and I as an owner was learning the effective way to care for my dog.

Branching out into the community

Everyday someone makes the decision to become a pet owner. Some people may already have the tools needed to take care of their new companion. Others may be enjoying the process of becoming a new pet owner. It made me wonder how many new pet owners experienced the same feeling I had when I first got my dog.

Ultimately I decided to create a space that connects pet owners to valuable information so that they can be the best owner to their new best friend.

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,

Jaym E.

Founder of Jaym’s Dog Blog