10 Simple Tips to Help Prepare Your Dog for a New Baby

10 Simple Tips to Help Prepare Your Dog for a New Baby

How much do you know about newborns and dogs?

Introducing your dog to your newborn baby (2 of the most loved in your home) can be a delicate challenge, so Mike Deathe from KISS Dog Training  is here with tips to prepare your dog for your newborn baby

Does your dog listen to your voice commands? At a minimum, dogs need to know sit, stay, off (or “down”), lie down, and leave it – these will help you juggle both the baby and the dog.

If you haven’t taught your dog this, now is the time. Obedience training is critical to having your dog stay well-behaved around your new baby.

Tips to Prepare Your Dog for Your Newborn Baby

  • This might sound mean, but it’s necessary to prepare for introductions: start reducing the amount of attention you give your dog every day. This does not mean to ignore them or stop loving them. However, you are going to be very busy with your new little one, and the dog is not going to be able to get as much attention as he is used to. By starting ahead of time, you can better prepare your dog for your newborn baby.
  • Introducing your dog to other babies first is good preparation. Do this safely. Pull out all the stops when it comes to rewarding good dog behavior around babies, infants, and toddlers. Give your dog their favorite treats and love. Let your dog know that these little human beings, while looking different, are not something to fear.
  • If you will be walking your dog while pushing your baby’s stroller, we also suggest you learn Loose Leash walking and walking at heel. This is going to be useful in getting both your dog and your newborn accustom to the new routines.
  • Prepare your dog to be poked, prodded, nudged, and “messed with. This is what we call cradle and message; get the dog used to being touched in all those areas dogs commonly don’t like being touched… Have you ever watched a child interact with a new object? They Chew, Lick, Smack, Mouth, Poke, Prod and even fall on it. One day your little one is going to do that to your dog.
  • Use resource controls (hand feeding the food and moving to bowl feeding) to combat dogs becoming snarky around their food bowls. We can even get into the habit of surprising the dog with treats being dropped in the bowl as he is eating which will make him happy to have folks around while he is eating! Get your dogs used to being around people while eating in all forms. Now is the time to teach your dog, not when your newborn baby comes home…
  • Familiarize your dogs with the nursery. Get them a blanket or bed that is located in your newborns room. Now teach the dog a park it command. This will guide your dog on how to behave around the newborn. Your dog will have familiarity with the room and be used to being in the newborn’s space before they are even home!
  • Does your dog play bite or get mouthy? If so, make it stop. Your dog must learn to be careful with his mouth! Introducing your dog to your newborn can become dangerous if your dog thinks it can play bite around him or her. Consider some sort of training for your dog prior to your newborn’s arrival.
  • Before you bring your newborn baby home, get your dog used to your newborn’s scent. You can do this with a blanket from the hospital, which will have your baby’s scent all over it. Smells are important to dogs. They are how dogs identify other animals and people. Get him used to it and only reward calm behavior.
  • Keep the dog’s routine as normal as possible. Remember, dogs with rules and routines will think of how to make the owner happy vs. thinking like a dog!
  • Do not mix dog toys and baby toys or let the dog play with the baby’s things. This will avoid confusing your dog and help them understand what they can play with. Again, this starts now not when you bring the baby home…

 

How to Prepare Your Dog to Your Newborn?

Take Mike’s Babies Don’t Bark class…or,

Go get a doll that is the correct size and look of a real baby!

Start carrying it around.

Your dog will notice the difference immediately…just watch.

Doing this, will prepare your dog for the changes you will go through once the new baby is home. You will walk, sit, and eat differently. You will also have way less use of your hands.

The use of a doll gives your dog a chance to get used to these changes.

Next, lay the doll on the ground on a blanket in order to teach your dog to be calm when the baby is on the ground. Practicing with a doll simulates your newborn on the ground. It is great practice for your dog.

Use the baby carrier, Johnny Jumper, slings and all other baby contraptions to familiarize your dog with those baby items too! If you see behaviors that make you uncomfortable with the baby in certain objects or on the ground, we want to know now. Not when the baby comes home.

Now is the time to call trainers, practice and make sure everyone is ready for your newborns arrival.

Smells are also critical. Make sure to use baby lotion, baby oil, diaper cream and powders now around the dog. Pair these baby smells with feeding time or treats so that the dog becomes accustomed them now not when the baby comes home…

Lastly, sounds. Get a cd of baby noises to start the desensitization process now!

Once again, pair with food or treats. Spend time each day getting the dog used to these sounds. I have even been known to wrap a doll in a receiving blanket with a portable cd player in the blanket so I am carrying a crying baby. You can find CDs online that mimic baby sounds for pets.

Remember, you only get one chance to prepare for the arrival of your newborn baby. Take it seriously and work now…not later.

If you see anything that makes you uncomfortable, please call a trainer now. Don’t wait till the baby comes home.

I have seen this go horribly wrong for baby and dog… Get help if you need it!

Brought to you by Mike Deathe, Pet Training Expert & Owner of KISS Dog Training

Mike has authored many books including, The Book of Pee and Poop, as well as The Five Steps to the Perfect Pet. Mike began KISS Dog Training in 2008 and continues to train thousands of pet parents on how to live with their beloved pets. His motto is, “I train owners, not pets”.

He is the expert on Babies & Kids with Dogs – just check out his Babies Don’t Bark or Kids & K9s classes.

If you need more tips & tricks of how to work with your pet to live in a calm, safe environment follow Mike’s blog or visit KISS Dog Training’s website.

how to prepare your dog for a new baby

My Experience As A KC Pet Project Volunteer

Bridgette and her family’s search for a pet of their own led them to volunteering with the KC Pet Project.  Here, Bridgette tells us all about their experience!

My KC Pet Project Experience

Over the past several months, it seems like the only thing my family talks about is puppies or getting a pet.  So, it wasn’t a shock to me when my husband agreed that we would start looking for a dog that we can welcome into our family! I knew that having a pet was sort of a rite of passage for a child so this was something that I have been preparing myself to deal with.

When we first got married, my husband and I had a young dog and a puppy, and they were amazing, but we had to give them away when we moved to a new state. But as I got older and had kids, a dog seemed to drop lower and lower on my list of wants and needs. It just didn’t seem that important anymore.

Well, last weekend, we decided to start our search for a family dog and after a lot of talking and research, we found out that my husband and I could volunteer at the pound (KCPP) and even bring our children along too. This would give us and our kids time to practice walking the dogs and really just being around them so they could start to feel at ease. But when we walked in the KC Pet Project, my whole entire outlook changed. We NEEDED a dog! Not just for my kids’ sake or my husbands, but for theirs as well.

As we walked through the aisles of a wide variety of dogs, my heart was of two minds. It started to ache because there were so many abandoned, abused and lost dogs. It also started to fill with joy when I saw how anxious they were to interact with us. I wanted to take all of them right then and there! Fighting back the tears of overwhelming emotions, I knew that this was something we had to do!

The KC Pet Project is an amazing organization. They are a no kill organization and they are paving the way in Kansas City to create a No- Kill Kansas City. They are striving to care for all healthy and treatable pets that have been abandoned, lost or abused.

Seeing all of those dogs so sad in their cages really made me think about what it would mean to adopt them. An animal is an innocent living creature and they have no control where they end up or how they get treated, so adopting one and saving its life is now one of the most important things my family could do. Showing concern, compassion and genuine love for these amazing animals is sure to have a major positive impact on all our lives!

While we continue our search for the right pet and begin to make room, we will proudly be volunteering to help make these animals feel the love and comfort they need and deserve.

If you are looking for a pet, I strongly urge you to check out https://kcpetproject.org/ for more information as well as www.KCPets.com for resources on adoption and other valuable information.

How do you know if your pet needs chiropractic care?

How do you know if your pet needs chiropractic care?

 

How do you know if your pet needs chiropractic care?

 

Published on April 10, 2017

Dr. Kimberly Hunt

Animal Chiropractor & Rehab Specialist

www.chiro4paws.com

A dog (Bronx) was brought into my office with low back pain, worse when getting up from laying down. The history of this 8-year-old boxer mix included 2 major falls, several years back. One fall was from a second story window. The other was from a moving vehicle. After each incident, the dog recovered quickly, without medical intervention, and appeared to be fine. Fast forward several years, and those same injuries are rearing their ugly heads as Bronx cries out in pain.

To both their benefit, and their detriment, animals are amazingly resilient. Or at least they appear to be. The truth is, animals hide their injuries through a process called “compensation”. This means they shift weight and walk or sit differently to avoid pain. It’s a built-in survival mechanism since showing pain or weakness can prove fatal in the wild. Unfortunately, animals can compensate for only so long before their body breaks down. Eventually, Bronx was no longer able to compensate and started showing symptoms including difficulty getting up from a seated or laying position, and severe pain with certain movements. His x-rays showed spinal spondylosis at multiple levels (essentially severe arthritis of the spine) and narrowing of the intervertebral foramen which compressed and irritated his spinal nerves (ie: pinched nerves).

Fortunately, with several chiropractic treatments over a couple months, plus home rehab stretches, Bronx made a full recovery. He is now on wellness care with chiropractic visits 3 or 4 times per year to help him maintain his optimal health.

Here’s the unfortunate part of this story…Bronx had to become severely painful and physically compromised before his owners knew he needed help. So how do we avoid this?

  1. Have your pets checked by a certified animal chiropractor at least 2x per year when they are young, and up to 4x per year for older pets, and those pets doing a sport (exp: agility dog, Frisbee dog) or physical job (exp: cattle dog, hunting dog). The chiropractor can find, and fix, structural issues before they become debilitating.
  2. When you see an injury occur, even if your pet seems fine, schedule a chiropractic exam.
  3. If you see any of the following signs or symptoms, get your pet into the chiropractor immediately. Remember, by the time you see symptoms, your pet has likely been compensating for awhile.

*Hesitation to do normal activities such as climbing, jumping up, jumping down, laying down, etc.

*Limping. Limb weakness or inability to walk.

*Difficulty with certain movements such as turning head, lifting head, walking, trotting, running, climbing stairs, jumping, changing positions, getting up from a seated or lying position, slipping on slick floors, squatting, lifting leg, etc.

*Heavy and unusual panting, whining, or crying with certain movements or when being picked up.

*Change in behavior – grumpy, no desire to play, doesn’t want to cuddle, pulls away when you try to touch certain parts of the body.

*Signs of compensation – head held low and/or to one side, shifting weight from back legs to front legs, or from one side to the other, refusing to bear weight on a limb, laying only on one side of the body, arching back up, sitting crooked, etc.

If you have specific questions about this topic, you are welcome to email them: drhunt@chiro4paws.com. Please allow up to 24 hours for a response.

 

Disclaimer: This article, and any information provided by Dr. Hunt via website or email correspondence, is not an attempt to diagnose or treat animals. All information and/or comments are based solely on the experience, education, insight and opinion of Dr. Hunt. You should always consult at licensed veterinarian on matters of animal health.

What to Do When the Puppy Comes Home

The best way to prepare for the unknown is to get advice from those who have braved through the experience. Sarah will share tidbits of her family’s experience bringing home a puppy, hopefully her tips & tricks help you!

What to Do When: You Bring Your Puppy Home (And After..)

pet adoption

Learn from Our Family’s Experience!

Ammo, our silver lab, is now 6 months old. Getting to this point was a journey. When we brought our puppy home, my girls instantly fell in love. The girls wanted a puppy for years and finally, my husband and I decided pet adoption fit our family. We thought we were prepped and ready to go- but the process moved quicker than we anticipated.

I did preparation around the house, but I couldn’t do many important preparation steps because we kept the puppy adoption a secret from the girls. My normal introduction plan- talking to my girls about pet responsibility and how we will treat our new pet- happened after the euphoria of bringing him home. First thing my kids want to do is hold Ammo and love on him; first thing Ammo wanted to do was run away!

As they cornered the puppy in the kitchen, I heard the familiar, painful scream from my youngest. Yep! Those puppy teeth chomped a little too hard- and both parties were confused. Our little girl didn’t understand why the puppy she loved bit her, and Ammo didn’t understand what he did. It’s hard for kids to understand this little puppy is fragile. The girls are familiar with their grandparents’ dog—a big Labrador that lets them run, play, and lay on him. So, what did I do as the concerned I-am-going-to-use-this-as-a-teaching-moment Mom? I sat her down and explained that the puppy is just playing, and he only knows how to play with other puppies. I thought we were prepared—then came the Tinkerbelle Incident.

I was cooking dinner when I heard a scream. My oldest came running up the stairs with tears in her eyes and her Tinkerbell doll—correction, I think it was her Tinkerbell doll, in hand. You see, Tink was now an armless, one leg, one-wing shell of herself. We had a nice memorial service for her and then buried her in the only fitting place—the garage trashcan—so the carnage wouldn’t be a constant reminder. I sat my daughter down and I tried another teaching moment. All I heard was, “I want to get another dog that wouldn’t chew up my toys.”

You know what I learned—you can’t teach anything about puppy basics to a 2 year-old! It was in this moment I knew my “Hallmark” moment of everything going perfect with our new puppy was falling apart. Here are the pet tips and tricks our family learned along the journey, hopefully they help your pet family avoid a few of the puppy accidents we encountered.

  • DO YOUR RESEARCH. Pick a dog breed that matches your personality, needs, and daily life style. Talk to staff at local shelters like Prairie Paws Animal Shelter or Wayside Waifs. Their staff are a great resource to determine what dog breeds fit you! Do you have an open yard? Some dog breeds require more space & exercise. Do you work 8-5? Some breeds require greater attention.

 

  • Hold a family meeting- or at least run the idea by your husband or wife.

 

  • Buy your pet accessories before you pick up your puppy. Make sure you have a collar, leash, water & food bowls, FOOD, chew toys, and a crate/kennel so you aren’t running around last minute. A reliable pet stain & odor cleaner (like Bionihilator) is also a must. You don’t want your home smelling!

 

  • Create a gated-off area for your puppy’s temporary home. After being adopted, it can take pets some time to get acclimated to their new surroundings. You want an area they can be messy in, with hardwood or laminate floors to make pee clean-up easier.

 

  • Bring a helper to get your puppy! Having a helping hand will make the entire process less stressful. Most puppies aren’t used to kennels, so holding them in your lap allows you to soothe the puppy while your helper drives. When you bring your puppy home, make sure you bring the collar, leash, and kennel (if they are used to).

 

  • Keep important or small items out of reach. Pick up shoes, chargers, medicine, toys, (anything you don’t want chewed on) off the ground. Puppies don’t understand they can’t play with or chew up the things on the ground.

 

 

 

  • Get your dog license– It’s legally required to get your dog license and will help keep your puppy safe if they ever run off. You can get your dog license at the Animal Shelter, Veterinarian’s office/Pet Shop (if authorized to process licenses), or online with Pet Data.

 

  • Be friendly, but relaxed when you bring your puppy home the first time. This is an exciting time for everyone, but your puppy is experiencing so many new things right now. It’s important to not overwhelm them in their new environment.

 

  • Train your puppy! Finding a qualified dog trainer to set you on the right path of communication and obedience is essential. KISS Dog Training offers special classes geared towards different family needs, or check out Pure Dog Listeners for an approach built on the bond between you and your puppy.

 

  • Set a routine for your puppy. Try to feed, let out, or walk the puppy on a routine to establish consistency and habits for your pup. Having a set routine will help your puppy become potty trained and understand the flow of the day.

 

  • Pro Tip: Splurge and go for the monthly pooper-scooper. I saw the poop-scooper sign for $20 a month and thought, “I don’t need that..” Wrong. Your puppy will track poop in the house ONCE before you change your mind.

Would I get the dog again? Of course! Our house feels complete and Ammo is a great protector for our family. My girls love Ammo, even with a few dismemberments of their dolls. Ammo sleeps with the girls and I find they sleep better with him (meaning I sleep better). My youngest loves to help with feeding him and my oldest is waiting when she can take him on a walk instead of the other way around. So although we hit a few snags, it was worth it to remember those smiles on their faces when we first brought him home! Hold tight to those Hallmark moments—they make the trying times so much easier!

Easy Tips for How to Pick the Best Food for Your Pet: Pet Health is Key

Today, we have a great post from Shelby with Acana Pet Food. Picking the right food for your pet can be difficult, but with these tips, you’ll be able to know the best route for your pet. Check it out!

How to Pick the Best Food for Your Pet

How to Pick the Best Food for Your Pet

Pet food has really started to make an appearance on advertisements all around us. What is the best food? What do I need to avoid? Where should I purchase my pet food? Dogs are meat eaters, and we know these based on their anatomy. A dog is a descendent of the wolf and their bodies still mirror their ancestors:

– Sharp, pointy teeth – designed to tear flesh and crunch raw bone and cartilage.
– Short digestive tract – their digestive tract is designed to absorb nutrients quickly, so quality of food is important!
– No amylase – This enzyme is found in humans and other omnivores and herbivores, but not in the dog or cat. This enzyme is for pre-digesting carbohydrates. Dogs and cats do not need large amounts of carbs in their diet.

High meat content, organs, bone and cartilage along with nutritious fruits, vegetables and botanicals can all be utilized in today’s canine. These ingredients help dogs and cats live a healthy life without the worry of illnesses or conditions caused by a poor, unfit diet. Of course, there can always be underlying genetic or environmental conditions that can still cause pets to become ill even on a biologically appropriate diet. The chances of a beloved pet to become ill when fed a nutritious diet will definitely decrease, especially when starting off that puppy or kitten off on the right diet from the start.

Dogs and cats are both meat eaters and do not require carbohydrates like their human parents do. As humans, we have the characteristics of being omnivores or herbivores and we are able to digest and utilize carbohydrates for energy.

Benefits of Acana –
– All ingredients are locally sourced from family-owned farms with humane and sustainable animals.
– Frequent Buyer Program, Buy 12 Get 1 FREE – shop at your local independent retailer – ask for a Frequent Buyer Card Envelope at your local store.
– 11 different varieties for recommended rotation.
– 4 limited ingredient diets available.
– Feed less food because of denser nutrient content than most other commercial pet foods.
– Shinier coat and overall health increases.

Find your local retailer today at (Your website link) and ask which Acana formula your pet should try!

My Dog Hates Going to the Groomer: What do I do!?

Today we’ve got a guest blog post from our friend Mike over at K.I.S.S Dog Training. Mike is a leading expert in the field and offers classes and workshops for pet owners to more effectively work with their canine companions. Take a look…

Ah, the dreaded groomer. Many dogs have all sorts of anxieties when it comes to going to the vet or groomer. We’ve got some great tips for you on how to combat (or prevent) those anxieties and make visits more enjoyable for everyone. Take a look…

 

My Dog Hates Going to the Groomer: What do I do!?

My Dog Hates Going to the Groomer: What do I do!?

 

Ok, so your dog doesn’t like his or her nails trimmed, mouth touched or tail messed with He or she hates the hair dryer and could live life happily ever after for the rest of his/her life without another bath. You know it and now so does your groomer…You my friend are reading this because both your groomer and I want Fido to accept, if not like, his trips to the beauty salon. So, with a little work on your end and some patience on the part of your wonderful groomer, I bet we can improve this situation in no time at all. But where do you start? Well first thing print off this article and give a copy to your groomer. After all we want him or her on the same page, right? The Next step is up to you…

Cradle & Massage

I call it “Cradle and Massage” and it is something every dog owner should do with their pups! The earlier we start, the faster we get Fido to like his visits to the groomer (or vet for that matter). Don’t freak out if your dog is 3 or 4 years old; we can still improve the situation, making the visit safer and more pleasant for everyone involved. So, just what is “Cradle and Massage”? It is a simple but effective desensitization program for dogs of all ages in regards to the common “hot spots” most dogs just plain don’t like having messed with, the feet, mouth, tail and ears. Ironically the same spots our unfortunate groomers must touch every time.

This technique will need to be done 3-5 times a week for 10-15 minutes. I want you to get on the floor with your dog, even while watching TV, and simply cradle the dog between your legs and massage each of the above-mentioned body parts, followed by a treat after each part! The goal here is to convince Fido that touch is good (rewarding) and relaxing (kind, gentle touching).

By the time, you get this perfect, your dog should be comfortable lying on their back, being touched and will be totally relaxed. Don’t be upset if you can’t even get close to this description the first time you try this. Take it slow and progress in baby steps. Consistency and being gentle will pay off in the end!

Trainers Tip

 If your dog struggles to get away at any point during this process… Simply let the dog go and reset the process and try again. As the dog gets comfortable this will get easier, but if you hold on, trying to get the dog to submit to you… You are going to simply give Fido another reason to not enjoy or trust this kind of touch….

Take “field trips”

The other thing that needs to be done immediately is to change your dog’s view of being at the groomer (or vet). I want you to commit to taking field trips to the groomer’s or the vet’s at least once a week, (2-3 times a week starting off is even better) and just go in sit in, the lounge and give Fido some treats. Let the staff know what you are doing and ask them to give treats to your pooch as well. After 5-10 minutes or so, just get up, get in your car and go home! The reason for all this subterfuge is simple, the only time you ever take your dog to the groomer (or vet) it is an unpleasant situation (at least in the dog’s mind). By adding these short trips full of treats and rewards, your dog starts to associate the visits as being more positive and less negative.

Treats are Your Best Friend

Last thing, ask your groomer or vet to attempt to give your pooch a treat at beginning and the end of the groom or examination and report back to you whether the dog took the treat. Ironically, one of the best ways to determine a dog’s level of stress or fear (leading cause of snarkiness) is to see if they are comfortable enough to eat. This litmus test is a great way to gauge your progress, not to mention a vet or groomer that gives gifts (treats/rewards) isn’t all that scary anyways. The goal here is not to label, categorize or belittle your dog, but rather to help you his Mommy or Daddy, make his or her visit less scary and hopefully more fun!

I need to be clear though, if you do not put in the work both consistently and frequently, this problem will never get any better and your dog will continue to be fearful and dislike his visits to the groomer or vet. It is up to you, to help, Fido understand the world is a safe and accommodating, and trust me rewards are, in my opinion, the fastest way to get that point across.

Some Simple Tricks to Help Your Pets Beat the Winter Blues

As the weather warms up a little around the metro, one of our writers, Darcy, has some fantastic tips to keep your pets engaged during the crazy winter weather. Check it out!

 

Some Simple Tricks to Help Your Pets Beat the Winter Blues

After the holidays pass and temperatures get colder, many of us struggle with depression, lack of energy and boredom. The winter blues are no joke. Less time in the sun and more hours shut indoors can make all of us a little depressed. This is true for our pets as well. Perhaps it is even worse for them as they can’t ‘Netflix and chill’. Try to be patient and understand that if your pets can’t get outside to burn off some of their energy, they may get restless and into trouble.

Here’s what that looks like at my house: As I am trying to write this article, my cat, Maddie, has jumped on me repeatedly wanting to snuggle. I tell her, “No,” give her a kiss and set her on the floor to have her hop back up about three minutes later. Meanwhile, my dog, Dixie, has cried to go out and when I opened the door she sniffed the air and changed her mind. She will be back over at the door in about one minute. Kicking her out of the house doesn’t work. She cries on the other side of the door. Essentially, she is always crying on one side of the door of the other. I think she hopes at some point the door will open to Narnia or somewhere that isn’t cold and wet.

For dogs, games and toys that challenge them can be helpful. Like snack dispensing puzzle toys. You can find these on Amazon for around $10. Hide-A-Squirrel is a favorite of my dogs, while my dog-nephews (that’s a thing, right?) prefer Tug-A-Jugs.

Don’t want to buy a new thing? Try creating a little snack scavenger hunt for you pup. My kids enjoy hiding milk bones behind curtains and pillows. Just be sure to use items that won’t mold or go bad if they take a while (days/weeks) to be found.

Cats can usually be pretty easy to distract. Or mine can anyway. When I finish up here, I can snuggle her a bit and then she will be fine for a few hours. Some catnip on a scratching post or in a tiny stuffed toy can usually keep them busy until they tire out. Sometimes a new shelf by a different window in the house can help too.

When all else fails- an empty box (especially with packing paper in it) can provide hours of fun for dogs, cats and children! Hang on to those shipping boxes from the holidays!

My real challenge this year has been keeping the chickens entertained. Who knew! One things for sure, everyone at our house is eager for spring.

4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Getting a Pet

We’re obvious pet lovers here at iPetsKC, but with all that love, also comes responsibility. Our friend Darcy gives us a few quick questions to ask yourself before getting your first (or even fifth!) pet. Take a look!

4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Getting a Pet

4 Questions to Ask Yourself
Before Getting a Pet

 

Once your family has the idea to get a pet, it can be tempting to run out and immediately adopt one. The temptation is everywhere- KC Pet Project’s instagram has me constantly falling in love. But before you commit to your first pet, or your fifth, you need to give this some serious thought. Here are some things to consider.

#1 How much of a responsibility is it?

I’m not just talking about the initial purchase price of the pet. In fact, there are many times of year you can get a dog or cat possibly for free. You may also know someone who is trying to rehome an animal. But you have to consider the food and the care. Vet appointments, groomers, flea and heartworm medication, boarding during travel… costs can add up quickly. And of course that is assuming your pet doesn’t get injured or sick. Over the years, we have had many ill pet visits and they average to about $200 per instance. And it can get much more expensive. It was over $500 to x-ray our little dog when he had kidney stones.

#2 How much time will the pet need?

Time requirements. I always think especially of families with this one. If you are always on the run with kids’ practices and functions, you may want to rethink a pet. Dogs, especially, are highly social creatures that need your attention and time. If you like to travel or spend weekends out of town, again- a dog is probably not a good choice. Cats are a bit more independent, though they still require care. Even fish can be difficult if you are gone for multiple days. Also, you need to consider length of time you will have the pet. Many dogs and cats can live to around 20 years. There are birds and reptiles that can last 50+ years. You need to consider the longevity of the pet you want to get and ask will I still be able to care for this animal in ‘x’ years. If you don’t want that long of a commitment, consider adopting an elderly pet.

#3 What is your current living situation?

Your home. Before bringing a pet home, remember that this is a family member and will be sharing your home. If you live in a rental, save yourself the heartache of getting a pet if you aren’t allowed. And if you can’t tolerate the idea of a pet in your house for allergy reasons or otherwise- again reconsider what kind of pet will work for you. Some breeds shed, some do not. Some are hypoallergenic and some have no hair. Research your options so you know what to expect and what will work for you.

#4 How will this effect other people in your home?

Your family (fur and otherwise). When we rescued our cat this summer, we thought it would make our existing cat happy to have a playmate. This was not the case. We worked for months with the cats and our vet and have finally found a happy balance. If not all members are on board for a new addition, it may not work out.

Pro Tips

If you get through this list and you still think you’re game- feel free to do a test run! Ask to watch a friend’s pet for a few days and see how things go. (They would probably love it!) You can also sign up as a foster. It is a great way to get experience with different types and breeds of animals without the pressure of commitment. You can also volunteer at a shelter. Maybe you’ll meet your canine soul mate on a stroll.

Animals are wonderful and loving additions to any family. I think there are countless reasons they are invaluable family members. They lower stress, provide companionship and teach responsibility. But it’s up to the humans to be good family members too and that begins before you ever pick your new buddy up. If you have any questions, or think of something I missed, feel free to comment. And good luck!

Is A New Dog The Right Fit? Holiday Advice From KISS Dog Training

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is already upon us here in the metro area. Along with the hustle and bustle (and hopefully lots of holiday cheer), many of you are probably still considering that perfect gift for a loved one. If you’re considering bringing a new puppy home for the holidays, this post is for you. Mike over at KISS Dog Training provides some insight to things you should consider when bringing home an animal for the holidays, and provides some helpful advice for alternatives. Take a look…
KISS Dog Training Dogs as Christmas Gifts

Bringing Pets Home For The Holidays   Insight From KISS Dog Training

#1 Puppies Need Training

Puppies do not come potty trained. During the holidays (in between family, eggnog, toy assembly and traveling “over the hills and through the woods to grandma’s house) you will have to make sure to let the dog out at least every 2 to 3 hours. You will have to watch the pup like a hawk when he/she is loose and running around with the kids. Keep in mind this does not mean the dog can be put in the crate while you are gone and left in solitary confinement.

#2 Puppies Need Socialization

Puppies have a very short and critical developmental period that lasts from about week 3 to only about week 20. During that time they need to be exposed to all the things life will throw at them for the rest of their lives, and all of these experiences must be positive and properly conditioned. This will require meeting new people while at the same time having positive associations with them.
My rule of thumb for clients is the puppy must meet and experience 50 new things a week.  Remember, if you get your pup at 12 weeks you only have 8 weeks to properly socialize the pup.
Ask yourself: Are the holidays the right time to take on this important task?

#3 Puppies Need Regular Vet Visits

Puppies need a lot of visits early on to the vet, and just as many to the pet supply store. Boosters, physical checkups, chew toys, crates; the list is in some cases is never ending. Plus, all of these medical visits and shopping trips have to be done on a pretty strict time table.
It’s important to remember that during the Holidays, many vets and pet supply stores might very well be closed several days in each week for staff and crew to spend time with their family. Ask yourself again…are the Holidays really the best time to get a new pet, especially a puppy?

#4 Puppies Are A Long Term Commitment

A new puppy is a huge responsibility and even though cute and cuddly at the moment of gifting, they can and will change the way that person will need to live their life, forever. If that person is not ready for this responsibility, this will become a pup that ends up in a shelter! Please remember, never buy someone a pet unless that person is involved in the decision making process, period.
Now giving dogs/puppies as gifts to kids is a totally different ball game. In my opinion, the age a child should get their first dog is at least 9 or 10 and no younger. Why you ask? Because with those children younger than 9 or 10, it will be you taking care of the puppy on during the Holidays as well as on a day-to-day basis going forward! This is because younger children typically can’t handle the responsibility of taking care of a puppy.

Alternative Option Pro Tip:

The Holidays are already a high stress, busy and chaotic time, and in most cases, really not conducive to introducing a new pet to the family. So please take this article for what it’s worth. From this dog trainer’s point of view a gift certificate to your special person for a puppy in February is a far better choice, not only for you and that special person but also for the dog! Happy Holidays!

4 Great Gift Ideas for the Pet Lovers in Your Life

 

4 Great Gift Ideas for the Pet Lovers in Your Life // iPetsKC Blog

4 Great Gift Ideas for the Pet Lovers in Your Life

The holidays are coming and many humans on your list may have special animals in theirs. If you are wondering what to get the pet lover in your life, don’t fret, we’ve got you covered.

#1 For the wine/cat lover

https://www.onehopewine.com/shop/pinot-for-paws-meow-gift-box/

These gift sets are too cute! In addition to this cat one, they also have two different packages for dogs (here and here). If you want something smaller, you can purchase just a bottle of Pinot Noir. One Hope partners each of their wines with different charities and a portion of those sales go to that charity. The Pinot Noir goes towards finding homes for stray animals. A win-win!

#2 For the beer/canine lover

http://www.beerpaws.com/collections/all-products

Beer Paws makes treats for dogs along with some cool merchandise. They are local and partner with various breweries to make the perfect snack for your pup. Make your own owner/pet gift and partner some treats with some local brew. My favorite combo is the Torn Label Beer Biscuits Peanut Butter Treats (Torn Label is a Kansas City brewery) and some of Torn Label’s Monk & Honey.

#3 For the rescue advocate

https://www.etsy.com/shop/GreatPlainsSPCA

The Great Plains SPCA has an etsy shop with clothing, goods and even Rotisserie coffee. I have a t-shirt from them that I just love. It is soft and has held up well. Many of their items tie into the Royals so you can have a shirt highlighting several things you love!

#4 Treats for all

Every year we pass out homemade cookies to our human neighbors and homemade dog biscuits for dog neighbors. When you get edible treats for dogs, be aware that some dogs can have food allergies just like humans can. Wheat can be a problem for many dogs so if you choose a treat with wheat- be sure to let the owner know, or avoid wheat all together. Places like Three Dog Bakery can help you choose a suitable treat, or you can make your own. Below is a recipe I found years ago somewhere and I still use. I use a bone cookie cutter, but whatever shapes you have are fine.

Darcy’s Dog Biscuits

¾ cup non-fat milk

1 egg

1 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth)

1 cup flour (you can use brown rice flour if wheat is a concern)

1 ½ cup old fashioned oats

1 tbs baking powder

Run oatmeal in a blender to turn it into a course flour. Set aside.

Mix together the peanut butter, egg and milk. Add flour and baking to make a stiff dough. You want it to be stiff. You may need to use your hands to work the in the last of the flour and adjust the amount as needed.

Roll out on a well-floured surface until about ¼ inch thick. Cut desired shapes out with a cutter and place onto greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes, then flip treats and bake another 15-20 minutes.

Cool completely and store in an airtight container or Ziploc bag.

 

I hope these gifts help you find just the right thing for everyone on your list. Have a safe and Yappy Howlidays!