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!

Cold Weather Dangers for Pets

Here in New England, we’re having some of the coldest weather days ever. Not only should we be careful to bundle up outdoors, check in on the elderly and safely use space heaters, we should also be giving some extra care and attention to our pets.

It’s easy to think that they are built to adapt to colder climates and that their layers of fur will protect them from feeling the sting of the cold temps, but that’s not entirely true. Domesticated animals who have become more and more a part of our homes are not the same as those who survive in the wild and they too should be given special care when temps drop below freezing.

Here are some cold weather dangers to consider when it comes to our four-legged friends.

Frostbite and Hypothermia

Just like humans, exposure to freezing temperatures can lead to frostbite or hypothermia for pets. Once their body is no longer able to stay warm, they will begin shivering and shaking and are at extreme risk. The other problem is created by prolonged exposure to the freezing cold for their extremities. The risk is even greater for small breed dogs, puppies, and kittens that cannot withstand such cold extremes.

Slips & Falls

With all of the ice on the ground, it can be easy for your pet to slip and hurt themselves. Even if you’re only letting them out to relieve themselves, the areas they normally run along can be much more slick and dangerous right now. Use a leash  and help guide them to a safe area to use the bathroom.

Paw Damage & Poisoning

The other issue with cold temperatures and the ice storm we recently experienced is the amount of salt laid down to help melt some of the ice. While it may work to lessen the ice on the ground it can be very poisonous and damaging to pet’s paws. When going outdoors protect their paws with booties, use an ointment or Vaseline and then wipe them clean as soon as possible before your pet can begin licking the harmful chemicals.

 

Pet Ownership on the Rise

Here at Dogwatch of Western Mass, we love our four-legged friends and it looks like most of the population does too. A new study “2017-2018 Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook” by the American Veterinary Medical Association, says having pets is on the rise today with dogs topping the list as our most popular companions.

The study found that around 38 percent of households across the nation own one or more dogs. This is the highest it’s ever been since beginning its annual study back in 1982. And have no fear feline lovers, cats came in as the second most popular pet with 25 percent of U.S. households owning them.

There’s more.

Another study conducted by Kelton Research for Banfield Pet Hospital uncovered that most C-suite executives today attribute their professional success to the bond they shared with a pet as a child.

They also touted benefits to having a pet for building better relationships with coworkers and clients as well as getting big business ideas while walking their dog.

We love hearing this news and know that responsible owners welcoming these furry friends into their homes want to keep them safe while also offering them freedom.

dogwatch hidden fence system

That’s where our hidden fences can offer the most value. With DogWatch Hidden Fences you choose the boundaries you want your dog or cat to stay within (indoors or outdoors) and they can play freely (without getting into the trash or jumping on the couch). It’s a win-win for all!

Contact DogWatch of Western Massachusetts

Keeping Your Dog Safe During Noisy New Year Celebrations

Celebrations for the New Year will kick off this evening and in many locations last well into the weekend. While it’s a great time for making resolutions and moving on from the year past, we cannot forget those mesmerizing fireworks while appealing to humans are also troublesome for most pets.

The loud, unexpected booms tend to evoke anxiety in most dogs and can really put a damper on New Year’s celebrations.

And it’s not just dogs, even cats and other animals display distress during the time of year when fireworks are being set off so it’s important to keep our furry friends in mind as we plan for the night.

To make it a relaxing and enjoyable experience for all, here are our top tips for keeping dogs safe during the upcoming celebrations.

Keep Pets Indoors and Distracted

One of the best ways to keep your pet safe during the celebrations and noise happening outdoors or at a party is to keep them indoors, confined to their usual spaces and distracted by chew toys or other noise-drowning sounds that won’t disturb them.

Go for an extra walk earlier in the afternoon to tire them out and get them a new toy they can enjoy. You might also want to leave the TV turned on or add some relaxing music as background noise in the room.

Even if you feel okay with leaving them behind while you go out for the night, having indoor boundaries set-up can give them the freedom they typically enjoy without you needing to worry about what they’re getting into to while you’re away.

Never Ignore Fear

It can be easy to dismiss odd behaviors from your pet on nights like this with so much commotion happening but it’s important to never ignore signs of fear or distress. Oftentimes with dogs, it can lead to aggression or an otherwise preventable accident. Be on the lookout for signs such as barking, growling, raised hair on the back of their necks or even flattened ears. Extra cuddles and comfort are a great deterrent to stress!

Anxiety Meds

If your pup has already shown extreme signs of stress from fireworks during past holidays your vet may have recommended anxiety meds to help curb the issue. If you know there will be parties and fireworks likely going off this New Year in your neighborhood, plan in advance for the anxiety meds and be sure to administer them in time to assist your pet during the celebrations.

Have a safe and terrific New Year!

5 ‘Paw-some’ Gift Ideas for Pets this Holiday

The holiday season has officially arrived. If you’re scrambling for ideas to complete the shopping list for your loved ones, don’t forget the four-legged friends we spend so much time with throughout the year.

Here are 5 ‘paw-some’ ideas for the pets in your life.

1.      Give the Gift of Comfort

Aside from running around and playing, most dogs and cats really enjoy lounging around the house, napping, and snuggling. If you prefer your pets didn’t add fur to the family couch, consider giving them their own space to lay. There are lots of options for mini couches, pet beds, and even cat hammocks. Opt for one made of quality materials and beds that include therapeutic support for maximum comfort.

2.      Treats for Days

Outside of what we mentioned above as top activities, some of our feline and pup family members love food and treats. In moderation, treats can be a great way to reinforce positive behaviors and to show appreciation. If your pet is a lover or treats consider loading them up on some as a gift this year that you’ll provide responsibly over the year as they complete required tasks. There are also many subscription options out to consider if you’d like some surprise treats and toys to arrive on your doorstep each month.

3.      Grooming Bliss

A visit to the groomer is something that’s necessary for pets. Proper hygiene is critical for overall health and makes them all that more enjoyable to cuddle with. Consider taking your pup for the works as a gift this holiday. If they usually go in once a month for a wash, make this gift extra special and take them in for a wash, special conditioning, nail trimming, and haircut to make them feel ultra-pampered.

4.      Snuggle Time

Some of the best gifts are those that aren’t bought at all. The same is true for our pets. Most of them appreciate attention and time more than any gift. If you’re constantly on the go and haven’t found as much time to bond with your dog or cat this year, consider giving them the gift of extra time this holiday. They’ll be sure to purr and wag their tails in excitement at the gesture.

5.      Freedom!

If you’re looking to give your pet more freedom around your yard or in your home without putting their safety or your valuables at risk, then consider buying a hidden fence system as a gift this season. As a pet containment system, it helps you to offer boundaries where they can roam freely without concern, while still leaving them out of harm’s way. Think about the peace of mind this will give you when you’re at work or if you want the family to enjoy the outdoors in summer and don’t want to use a leash in your own yard. The possibilities are endless.

DogWatch of Western Mass provides the Pioneer Valley and surrounding areas with professionals that have years of experience in installing, training and providing excellent customer service to pet owners. Get in touch today!

Happy Holidays!