Monday, October 27, 2008

Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Halloween is just around the corner! You want to be sure your pets are safe this spooky season. As most pet owners already know all candy, especially chocolate, is very dangerous for cats and dogs. Keep your pets far away from the candy bowl because the cellophane wrappers can be a choking hazard. Popular Halloween decorations such as pumpkins or corn can also be dangerous to your pets. If your pet ingests these, it can cause your pet to have an upset stomach, or even cause intestinal blockage. If you believe your pet has swallowed anything harmful, call your vet right away! Most veterinarians have an emergency phone number that they can be reached at. If you are unable to reach your vet, you can call the Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435. Be very mindful of your pet when you put him in a pet costume. Sure, it may look cute to you, but does your pet enjoy wearing the costume? A restrictive costume can cause even the sweetest animals to be impractical. Make sure the costume is comfortable and does not block your pet’s vision in any way. Also be sure there are no pieces hanging off the costume that your pet could choke on. If you plan on taking your pet trick or treating with you, be sure you equip your pet with the proper identification in case somehow you are separated from him. Take all these safety precautions to ensure you and your pets have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Dog Collar Museum in England

Are you curious about what dog collars looked like back in the 15th, 16th & 17th cenutry? There is a place located in Kent, England called Leeds Castle that has a huge variety of dog collars that trace back to the Victorian and medieval times. The museum was originally started by John & Gertrude Hunt. This castle has an individual museum dedicated specifically for the history of canine neckwear. It carries over 100 antique collars. Many of the earlier collars were designed to protect the dogs from vicious animals such as bears or wolves. Some collars were made of iron with rigid spikes to pierce any animal that would possibly aim for the dog's throat. Many owners had their dog's collar engraved with long identifications such as 'The Property of Earl Talbot. The Winner of the Great Champion all aged stakes for all England 32 Dogs at 20 guin’s each at Ashdown Park. Dec 14th 1838’ The more common collars was composed of brass and had rounded out edges so it would be more comfortable for the dog.

For more information on the Leeds Castle Dog Collar Museum, click here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Teach your dog to shake paws

Ever see those dog shows on tv and wonder how people teach their dogs such cool tricks? The answer is patience. This is a vital key in teaching your dog any trick. Of course, some dogs are easier to train than others. For the most part, however, you must realize that teaching your dog is going to take some time. Even the most stubborn dog is capable of being trained. Don't lose patience if it takes your dog longer than others to get it right. However, with enough practice, your dog can learn even the most complicated tricks. Positive reinforcement is very effective when trying to teach your pet a new trick. Grab some treats that your dog enjoys to give your pet the right motivation to learn. The key to teaching your dog any tricks is repetition.

Let's start your pet off with the paw shake trick. This trick is fun and fairly simply to learn. It's best to have your dog sitting down when trying to teach this trick. Say "shake" to your dog a few times. Hold out your hand while saying "shake." Of course, he isn't going to give you his paw unless he already knows the trick. After a few times, grab your pet's paw and shake it. Praise him and give him a treat. Tell him "good boy" (or girl) in a very excited voice so that he will know he has done well. Repeat this several times a day for about 5-10 minutes a day. Do not overexert your dog or he will become bored with the trick very quickly. After a few sessions, your dog will begin to pick up his paw on his own. You may not even have to say "shake" in order for your dog to give you his paw. If you put out your hand, he may learn by just the motion of your hand.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Gone Fishing!

If your child has never owned a pet before and is practically begging you for one, then your best bet might be to get him or her a fish first. This is a good pet to start out with, especially for smaller children. Having a fish can help teach your child responsibility and help prepare them for any future pets they may own. It important to teach your child the proper feeding and cleaning techniques when owning a fish. Although caring for a fish isn't too difficult, there are certain precautions that must be taken to keep your scaly friend alive. Always make sure the fish that you buy are well fed. They should have no missing scales and be somewhat plump. It is best to start out with about 3 or 4 fish in a tank, depending on the size of the aquarium. You can always add more later if you decide to get a bigger tank. The less fish you have in a tank, the better. This will also cut back on having to clean the aquarium as much. You should teach your child that the aquarium needs to be cleaned at least once every 2 weeks. Although, some tanks may require a weekly cleaning.

The tank that the fish will live in should be set up about a week in advance. This will allow the water to adjust to the correct stable environment. You should only fill the tank about 3/4 full. Once you bring the fish home, put the bag in the aquarium to allow the fish to adjust to the temperature. If the fish are emptied too quickly, it can cause the fish to go into shock. After about 15 or 20 minutes, slowly open the bag and release the water and fish into the aquarium.

Now, you may be asking "What type of fish do I choose for my child?" If you are wanting a pet that will last a while, goldfish are the way to go. Aquarium fish generally last between 3-7 years but some goldfish have been reported to live up to 20 years! You want to be careful to get fish that will get along. Contrary to most people's belief, betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, are actually compatible with some other fish such as mollies and rainbow fish. We have a variety of fish at our Pet Depot locations. Our employees will be more than happy to help you in all your fish and aquarium needs.