Staying Safe Outdoors This Summer: Tips for Your Pup

Summer safety is a topic that’s regularly discussed as the season kicks off this time of year. We’ve all heard the standard rules of safety around pools and the need to apply sunblock. But when it comes to our four-legged family members there are additional hazards to consider as you spend more of your time outside.

Here are some tips for staying safe while outdoors with your dog this summer.

1.      Stay in Clean, Dry and Well Shaded Areas

Whether you’re heading to a beach or going for a long walk to enjoy the weather, it’s important to protect your pet along the way. Not only does the hot asphalt cause issues for their paws, but stay clear of damp areas where leaked antifreeze or broken glass shards from a dropped bottle might be present. Since heat exhaustion is very common in dogs, choose days when it’s not so hot out to take them for an adventure, or always keep fresh, cold water nearby so they can cool off and hydrate.

2.      Not All Dogs Can Swim

Summer is the perfect season to sit by a pool and relax. Whether you have one in your very own backyard or are visiting a home that does, keep in mind that if your pup hasn’t been in the water before there is a drowning risk. While there is a natural instinct to paddle in the water to stay afloat, dogs aren’t able to swim at an advanced level if they haven’t been taught or had exposure to the element before. Certain breeds are also not built to swim and will require a life vest to stay afloat.

3.      Know Your Surroundings

While traveling to new places comes with its own host of possible hazards, there could be problems creeping around in your own backyard. It’s best to do your research and know what’s outside that has the potential to harm your pet. Either blocking off their access to that area of getting it off of your property is the best bet. For example, there are many forms of fungi that might grow and lead to accidental ingestion by a dog. Some can be fatal. Other grasses and flowers can also make them ill. If you see your dog sniffing and chewing it’s worth investigating.

DogWatch of Western Mass services the Pioneer Valley and surrounding areas offering years of professional experience in installation, training and customer service for in-ground pet containment systems. Our solutions help pet owners feel confident that their furry friends are safe even with the freedom to roam around.

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Planning a Vacation with Pets

Summer vacations are fun for the whole family. If you have pets, taking them with you can make a vacation even more special, but it will require some extra planning and research.

Preparing for a Trip

Contact your veterinarian to make sure your pet is up to date on vaccinations and doesn’t have any health issues that could be problematic. Ask about medication for car sickness and diarrhea, just in case. If your pet isn’t microchipped, consider having a chip implanted so you can be reunited with your pet if you get separated.

Many hotels, campgrounds, and other places are advertised as pet-friendly, but what that means in practice may vary widely. Some go out of their way to welcome pets, while others simply tolerate them and charge extra fees, have strict weight and breed restrictions, only allow pets in designated areas, and don’t allow guests to leave pets unattended in rooms. Before you make a reservation, ask plenty of questions so you understand the business’s policies. Online reviews from previous guests can help you figure out which places do the best job of accommodating families with pets.

Pack any supplies you might need for the trip, such as your pet’s food, bowls, medication, bed, toys, and leash. Bring your pet’s vaccination records since they will be required at hotels, kennels, dog parks, and other locations you may visit. It’s also a good idea to have recent photos of your pet in case it gets lost and you need to create posters or fliers.

How to Have a Successful Vacation

Your pet should be in a carrier, crate, or car harness when riding in a vehicle. Dogs and cats will move around if they can. Having an animal suddenly decide to sit on your lap while you are driving could cause you to lose control of the vehicle and lead to a serious accident.

Don’t try to cram too much into your trip. The most important thing for your dog is to spend time with you and your family. Your dog would rather wander through a park or play fetch for an hour than be rushed to a new place without having enough time to enjoy the first one.

Stick to your pet’s routine as much as you can. Bring along the same food your pet eats at home and keep mealtimes as close to normal as possible. If you walk your dog at the same times each day, stick to that schedule as closely as you can while on vacation.

Make Vacation fun for the Whole Family

If you are thinking about taking your pet on vacation, conduct research to find the right hotels and activities and bring everything you will need to keep your pet comfortable and to deal with any emergencies that might arise.

At DogWatch of Western Mass, we care about your four-legged friends and want you both to feel comfortable and secure at all times. If you’d like to offer them the freedom to roam in the house or the yard, contact us to learn more about Pet Containment Systems and obedience training.

Pet Products Industry Heats Up: Top Must-Haves and Splurge Items

There’s no doubt that we live in a consumer’s world. Today with easy access to just about anything we can think of, it’s become important for brands to be innovative and offer the “next best thing.” The pet product industry is the latest market to see some steam in the way of new fun things you can buy for your four-legged friends and other pets.

Our pets have always kept a special place in our homes, but lately, they are becoming even more incorporated into families – many even taking them along on vacations, eating meals at the same time and admitting to letting them share snuggling time in their beds at night.

It’s no surprise that products targeted at pets are also on the rise. From fresh, healthy food options to tech gadgets – there are start-ups and longtime pet brands all vying for a piece of the emerging market.

According to one estimate from the American Pet Products Association, U.S. consumers spend about $72 million on their pets in 2018. Here are some of the latest trends. We’ll let you decide if they’re a must or just a splurge.

Pet Subscription Boxes

Why not let pets get in on the fun everyone else in the house is having to get a monthly curated subscription box sent to them with fun things like new toys and treats to try out. There are companies emerging each targeting a specific need. From fun themes to boxes for the big, rough chewers.

Activity Tracker for Your Dog

And what would new product development be for dogs without the ability to track and manage their daily activity levels? Much like humans, dogs are required a certain amount of exercise each day. Now you’ll never be left wondering if your pet has had enough of the requirement when retiring for the day.

CBD Products for Pets

This is still a new emerging market even for the rest of consumers, but it’s taken off in just about every avenue. Naturally, there are companies developing products for the market that they claim help dogs and cats relax and keep a more, “normalized”, “healthy” state.

Nothing beats allowing your pet to have the freedom to run around and enjoy themselves. This doesn’t have to come at a cost to their safety. With DogWatch pet containment systems we help you set-up pre-determined perimeters indoors and outside.

Give your pet the ultimate freedom and let one of our experts at DogWatch of Western Massachusetts guide you through the process.

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Beware These Toxic Household Cleaners When Spring Cleaning

With the spring season and warmer weather finally making its way to New England, now’s the time when most homeowners are taking the opportunity to open the windows, let in the fresh air and finally clean up some of the dust and clutter that’s settled indoors over the winter months.

While doing some deep cleaning each season is beneficial there are things to be aware of when it comes to the types of cleaning products you use. Both for your family and your pet’s safety.

Harsh chemicals used in many cleaners actually do more harm than good when they’re released into the air. Everything from asthma to other respiratory conditions and even some cancers has been linked to these toxins.

When it comes time to clean your house, be sure to do your research and use environmentally safe products so you’re still cleaning the house without putting yourself or your pets at risk. For this post, we’re specifically looking at those products that pose risks to your four-legged friends in your home and that, while safe for humans, can be poisonous to pets.

Swap to Natural Alternatives

Thanks to the power of the Internet today it’s only a search away to locate the natural, DIY alternatives for all kinds of cleaners for the home. From polishing pastes, to shower cleaners and even fragrances for the home, there is a way to mix common and safe household items to create a product that will work and is much healthier for everyone who comes in contact with it. Doing this will also lessen the incidences of residue causing allergic reactions or illnesses.

Keep Everything Locked Away

Like children, pets can be curious and get into anything within their reach. It’s important in a home with pets or children that these dangerous chemicals are always tucked away in a safe and locked cabinet where they won’t mistakenly be ingested.

Even with everything locked away, it’s important to set-up safe perimeters around your home for your dog or cat that you feel comfortable with them having access to and blocking from traveling to other hazardous areas of the house. This is achieved by setting up a wireless containment system for your pet.

If you’re in Massachusetts and surrounding areas let DogWatch of Western Mass come help you gain peace of mind while giving your pet freedom.

Contact us today!

Fight Obesity in Dogs – 3 Tips to Get Healthy this Spring

Obesity rates present a growing epidemic for the American population today. The problem with excess weight is that it can lead to other health complications and put a toll on one’s overall wellbeing.

And it’s not just the increasingly high-calorie foods and low activity amounts that are causing humans to gain excessive weight, it’s also impacting our pets.

One recent USA Today report uncovered that most American pets (dogs and cats) are overweight and even obese – 59.5 percent of cats and 55.8 percent of dogs to be exact.

We care about you and the health of your four-legged family members so we’ve put together 3 tips to help you both get more active and make better meal choices this spring.

Tip #1: Consume Better Quality Foods

Choosing the right types of food to feed your pet is important. Low-quality foods with grains and other fillers are never a good option. Not only can they lead to weight gain, but they can also bring other health issues. Instead, opt for wholesome, quality sources and that contain balanced nutrients needed for their bodies to continue functioning optimally.

Tip #2 Eat Appropriate Portions

One of the most important factors in weight loss and health is not only the quality of the food we eat but the amount. The same is true for our pets. While each breed will have a differing requirement on how much to eat and how frequently (depending on their lifestyle) it’s important to get familiar with the recommended guidelines for your pet and stick with it. That means not going over portion sizes, choosing only wholesome and nutritious, quality food and forgoing extra snacking in between meals (save those treats for the big praising occasions).

Tips #3: Get Outdoors and Commit to More Activity Time

Now’s the perfect time to make sure you’re holding up to your own fitness goals and walking more too. While you’re at it, you can add an extra walk for the dog at night or even set-up pet containment systems indoors, or outside that give your pet the freedom to roam and run around while keeping them out of harm’s way.

The weather’s starting to get nicer here in New England, so it’s a great time to get outdoors with the family and your pets and enjoy the fresh air.

Lace up your sneakers and grab the leash!

Dogs Enjoy Spring Weather Just as Much as We Do!

Spring has hit with a vengeance here in New England. After a long drawn out winter, it’s certainly a welcome change. With everyone gearing up to do much-needed spring cleaning and commit to getting more active, it’s a great time for the whole family to get outdoors.

There’s one member of the family to consider especially – your pup.

Much like their human counterparts, dogs love the fresh air, the extra daylight, and the mild temps. Any extra activity minutes that can be added to their day is a welcome treat. And as an added bonus, it keeps their owners sticking to their fitness goals too.

Add an Extra Walk to the Routine

If you haven’t already, now’s the perfect time to grab a light jacket and go for an extra outdoor walk after supper. The temperatures are mild enough, it’s still light out and your four-legged friend will be oh so happy with the extra time spent outdoors.

Yep, it’s true, dogs can have spring fever too! Just try mentioning the word “leash” or “walk” around them and they’re likely to start wagging and pacing in an excited frenzy.

The warmer temps make many dogs naturally more fidgety and antsy. You want to give them a chance to burn off this extra energy and adding in an extra walk or trip to the park to toss the ball is a great way to do that.

Choose some time either early in the AM or before calling it a night – either way, they’ll be happy to have had more playtime and will use the sleeping hours to nap quietly.

Pet Containment

Perhaps the best part about spring though for families is that there’s more time to spend unwinding after a long day.

Cookout on the back patio while the kids play. Supervise from close by and let the dog roam free. You can maintain confidence that your pup will be safe outdoors if you use a pet containment system like those offered from Dogwatch. Set-up safe boundaries that keep your dog away from the road and the garden beds and leave yourself a few extra minutes to enjoy unwinding for the night.

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Celebrating Puppies & Keeping Pets Healthy this March

The month of March is swiftly passing by and for those of us who live here in New England, that means warm weather is right around the corner. Our four-legged friends will also be pleasantly surprised to find that they can soon spend more time outdoors and maybe even take an extra walk each night.

The month of March is also a health-focused month filled with prevention awareness and lots of days dedicated to reminding the public about health and safety concerns.

When it comes to dogs, nothing’s more important than caring for their health.

Getting active outdoors goes a long way to help improve dexterity, use up extra energy and even improve temperament. Another critical element to a dog’s health is nutrition.

Be sure you’re feeding your dog only quality foods that are safe for their digestive system and that are made of good ingredients and void of fillers.

While you’re using the extra daylight hours to get out there and be active with your dog, and focused on eating better, it’s also a great time review poison prevention tips.

With National Poison Prevention month also going on in March, here 3 things to keep your dog safe:
1. Keep all human prescriptions and OTC drugs far out of reach and in a locked cabinet if possible to stop accidental ingestion.
2. Do not give your dog table scraps. There are far too many dangers with possible ingredients added to these foods to risk poisoning. Stick to foods either prepared specifically for them (with no additional seasonings) or their own usual kibble and treats.
3. Gardening stuff can present a big problem in terms of possible poising for your pet. If they get into toxic plants themselves or ingest things like insecticide it can have fatal consequences. Do not leave anything laying around or leave your pet unsupervised around it.

Celebrating Puppies

Finally, the end of the month, March 23, brings a fun day to celebrate our little four-legged friends with National Puppy Day. Who doesn’t love a good puppy cuddle? These pets are bringing so much joy to households across the globe and we’ll be dedicating the day in their honor.

One recent study looking at why puppies are so cute found that the peak of their cuteness actually happens at around 8 weeks. This is perfect timing as it’s also a prime time for when most people are looking to adopt.

Have a wonderful rest of the month and as always, if you need assistance with pet containment so you can give your dog some freedom and gain peace of mind, we’re here to help!

Tips to Successfully Train More Than One Dog

If you’ve graduated from a single dog mom or dad to a family of four-legged friends, perhaps you’re wondering when a good time to get the pups trained would be.

Do you work with them individually or together on commands and response? What about those really brave souls who take in more than one puppy at the same time? Are there additional tools that ease the frustrations of trying to get all the dogs to listen and follow through?

We’ve put together some of the most important steps you should take if you’re trying to train more than one dog. Use them along with help from experts and you’ll soon have a happy home of pets that add to the tranquility instead of the chaos.

Keep Things Separate

In addition to creating a separate feeding space for each dog, you should also give them some time apart. During the training phase, it’s important to keep dogs separated and give them individual care and attention. This eliminates the possibility of jealousy or aggression as you’re training. As they begin to learn and understand what various commands mean and act appropriately to them, you can start to introduce another dog into the environment and begin to test out if they are responsive in a setting where it’s not just them being asked to do something. Dogs are pretty intelligent if you take the time to show them and are patient.

Work on Name/Command Conditioning

Once you’re able to have multiple dogs out in the yard without a leash and responding to your commands, you should start to work on getting them to respond based on their name. That means some of the dogs will not be responding. If they sit and wait patiently for their turn, they should be rewarded just as much as the dog who responded correctly. Waiting their turn is an important skill for dogs to possess in a multi-pet home.

Any home with an animal is a happy home. If you’re looking to provide the best obedience training and freedom for your dogs or cats then consider Dog Watch invisible electric dog fences for the interior or exterior of your home. In addition to adding safe boundaries, DogWatch also offers dog obedience training from professionals. They will learn voice commands and visual flags so they’re always safe.

 

Contact DogWatch of Western Massachusetts today! 

Tips for National Pet Dental Health Month

February is National Pet Dental Health Month and we’re celebrating by going over some of the best ways to ensure your dog or cat are getting the best care for their oral health.

The American Dental Association recommends adults and children brush at least twice a day after meals and floss regularly. They also recommend regular visits to the dentist and provide guidelines on healthy eating habits and foods and drinks to avoid to keep teeth healthy.

For pets, it can be easy to forget that they too need some routine and attention when it comes to oral care. The month of February serves as a great reminder to put a plan in action for your pet’s dental care.

Here are some of our top tips.

Brushing at Home is a Good First Step

While there are many products on the market that claim to help keep your dog’s breath fresh and clean their teeth, there’s really nothing that can match the benefits of a good old toothbrush and toothpaste. Be sure to use a small brush and veterinary-grade paste and reward them with a treat once you’re done. This positive reinforcement will help train them so they are willing to sit through the cleanings each time. It is recommended that teeth are brushed every 1-3 days for the best results. Cats can also benefit from regular cleaning of their teeth and specially designed paste and gauze on your fingertips to clean their choppers.

Hard Chew Toys Won’t Help

Just like treats and toys won’t work to clean the teeth, they should also be avoided because some can actually do more harm to the integrity of the teeth and gums. Especially super hard toys that scrape against the tooth, there is an increased risk of cracking a tooth while biting down or even tearing into the gum line and loosening the teeth unnecessarily. As with all toys and treats, never leave your pet unsupervised and if they’re extreme chewers and have started to break apart the toy, it’s time toss it in the garbage.

Treat Your Pet’s Dental Visits Seriously

Both cats and dogs should be taken for regular dental check-ups just like their human owners. Whether an exam is done while at their vet check-ups or you set aside some time for actual dental cleanings and procedures, this is the best way to protect them from future health issues. Maintaining a quality diet and taking your pet to be checked out at the first sign of discomfort are also great ways to keep their teeth clean and safe.

At Dogwatch of Western Mass, we care deeply about your pets and want to be sure they’re always safe and healthy. Happy cleaning!

Tips to Protect Your Special Furry Valentine

February is the month for love. Whether you’re taking someone special out for a dinner and sending chocolate and flowers, or if you’re spending the day with friends sharing in each other’s companionship, don’t forget about your furry Valentine at home.

The one who’s there waiting for you each day to get home and snuggle. These special Valentine’s deserve some appreciation for Cupid’s holiday too. In addition to being an important day to fill them up with kisses and affection, it can also be a dangerous day for pets.

With all of the chocolate and other hazards lying around the house, there’s an increased chance your pet will ingest something dangerous.

Follow these tips to keep your special four-legged, love-bug safe this holiday.

Keep all chocolate high-up and safely tucked away.

You’re likely already aware that chocolate is a no-no for dogs. On Valentine’s Day, when you or your kids are coming home with cardboard hearts filled with these treats, you might easily place it on the kitchen counter or forget it’s sitting in your open bag that you put down.

To your dog, it smells sweet and they’d like to check things out, but the problem is that chocolate contains theobromine which works much the same as caffeine in our systems, causing their hearts to race and could lead to seizures and death. All kinds of chocolates from cheap to expensive, dark to sugar-free are all of extreme danger. Exercise caution when you bring them into a home with pets.

Clean-up any candies that fall to the floor.

While most people are aware that chocolate is dangerous for dogs, other candies less commonly talked about being toxic include low sugar gummies and hardened fruit candies. These are very dangerous and could easily be missed if they fall to the floor and your pet eats them. The problem is that many have artificial sugar in them (xylitol) that increases insulin in the pancreas and can lead to liver damage and blood clots if consumed. If your child eats candy around the house or you hear a piece fall to the floor when you’re picking at your Valentine loot, move quickly to clean it up before your pet eats it to keep them safe.

Understand which plants and flowers are toxic.

Just behind candies as a gift on Valentine’s Day, are flowers. Some lovers might deliver a bouquet of traditional roses, but others might be unique and choose a bouquet with an arrangement of different blooms. It’s important to know which might be harmful to your pets before you bring them into your home. When it comes to cats, lily’s are toxic; for dogs daffodils, azalea’s and tulips are a few that can cause problems.

The best way to protect your pet from these unintended harmful situations is to be vigilant about creating a safe home for this furry member of the family to enjoy.

Setting indoor boundaries that allow pet’s access to only certain parts of the house can also help curb concerns.

DogWatch Hidden Fences of Western Massachusetts can come in and guide you through the process of setting up a containment system that gives your pet ultimate freedom. The indoor hidden fence system includes safe wireless technology so you don’t need to put up baby gates or worry what your pet is getting into when you’re not home.

Get in touch today to get started!