Re-starting our fish pond

We’ve taken the leap again to restart our fish pond which was once producing over 20,000 table size catfish monthly. I’m very excited to begin this journey...

Running with your pet

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better running partner than your canine companion. He’s never late, doesn’t complain, always keeps pace and bursts with excitement at the sight of your running shoes. But running or jogging with your dog comes with its own set of precautions and requires a bit of know-how to ensure your pooch is up for the challenge. A dog that exercises regularly is a happy dog, but it’s important to ensure your pet is healthy enough for the rigors of the road. Before you head out, take your dog to his regular veterinarian for a check-up. Once you get the go-ahead from the doggie doctor, begin conditioning him for distance running. Start with fast daily walks and short jogs and gradually increase the distance and pace as he becomes more conditioned to the activity. It’s helpful for your dog to have mastered some basic obedience commands before beginning to run regularly. Commands such as “stop” and “heel” will help you stay in control and keep both of you focused on the run. Specialty, hands-free leashes are great for the experienced runner/dog duo. Don’t take any chances; always keep your dog on a leash when running. If you like to run after dark, make sure your dog has a reflective leash. It will keep both of you safe from traffic and other nighttime hazards. Once you hit the pavement, your dog will need to stay hydrated, so make sure you pack enough water for the both of you. Many breeds, especially the excessively fluffy, overheat easily, so it’s important to keep an eye on your dog...

How to Select the Right Pet Carrier

No matter what kind of companion animal you have, at some point they’ll need to be transported somewhere. And no matter whether it’s to another city or just down the road, for safety’s sake they should always be put in a pet carrier unless they are restrained in a dog car seat or vehicle pet safety harness. Not many years ago, the types of carriers available were very limited — usually just pet crates. But not so now. As pet travel has become more popular, pet product manufacturers have begun to offer many styles and types of pet carriers for just about any occasion. With a little research and knowing the size of your pet, you can find which carrier is the right fit for your pet travel needs. Remember that size matters. A good rule of thumb is that if it’s in an enclosed space, your pet should be able to stand up and turn around, unless it’s a pet carrier you wear that holds your pet close to your body or it’s a purse-style carrier. You should choose one based on the size of your pet and the carrier’s dimensions. When measuring your pet, this pet sizing chart may be helpful in determining the length and height of your pet. To save you some time and effort in selecting the right pet carrier, here are examples of what’s available and how they can best work for you. Pet Crates All-metal crates come in many sizes, and some are even collapsible. They are useful in the house and, if not too big, can fit inside a car. If you need to take...

Riding in a car with your dog

Who doesn’t know at least one dog who instantly rockets himself into a fit of excitement upon hearing his owners mention going for a R. I. D. E.? For many dogs, the car is the magic portal to everything fun: the park, the pet store or the hole in the wall where the French fries come from. (Oh c’mon… like you’ve never been to a drive thru with your dog in the car?) As a trainer, one of my greatest pleasures is seeing dog owners venture out to experience life with their dogs in tow. Including your dog in outings, whether something routine like a trip to the bank or a weekend mini vacation, is a great bonding experience and an excellent opportunity to sneak in valuable urban socialization and training. However, when taking Rover along for the ride, it’s important to follow a few safety tips: Buckle Up that Pup! Most people would never dream of letting a toddler travel unsecured in a vehicle, but sadly, it happens to dogs all the time. Experts estimate that nearly 98 percent of pets travel unrestrained. This shocking statistic presents a variety of dangers for both pets and people. The National Highway Safety Administration estimates that 25 percent of all accidents are the result of driver distraction. Dogs riding loose in cars can quickly become a dangerous distraction as they roam about the vehicle. In the event of an accident, unrestrained animals pose several potentially life-threatening problems. The non-profit group Bark Buckle Up, estimates that during a collision at 40 mph, a 25lb dog can cause an impact equal to 1,000...

Are you travelling with pets? Here’s some tips

1. Start Early. If you’re planning to take your pet with you on trips in the car, start early when the pet is young to get used to the routine. Short jaunts across town and back or easy day trips will get your pet used to the ride. A carsick pet can make the trip miserable for everyone. 2. Take time to prepare. Before you travel with your pet, check with your veterinarian to make sure your pet is physically able to make the trip. Some senior, pregnant or physically impaired dogs and cats do not travel well. Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are current, and be sure to bring along any immunization records if you are traveling interstate or out of the country. Your pet will feel more comfortable before the trip if you take the time to bathe (dogs), brush and groom him. Be sure to bring along cleaning supplies in case of mishaps to avoid having to search out a place to purchase them at the last minute. An upholstery protector, such as a waterproof backseat hammock or waterproof bench seat cover will make clean-ups easier in case your pet does get sick or has an accident. A pet first-aid kit is an essential item to pack when venturing out and should contain things such as antiseptic cream, assorted bandages, tweezers, eye drops, gauge, tape and the like. You should familiarize yourself with the items in the kit and know how to use them. Phone numbers for your pet’s vet, and emergency pet hospitals in the areas where you plan to travel should be taken along. A travel tag on your pet’s collar will help someone...

Protect your pet in a natural disaster

Natural disasters can strike at any time; when they do is not the time to try to prepare. Having your family and pets prepared for such catastrophes as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods will save you time to respond and evacuate, if necessary, and could very possibly save your or your pet’s life. The images of last year’s hurricanes along the Gulf Coast told it all. Thousand of pets became separated from their owners and were left behind. Some survived but, like their owners, found themselves homeless. Others found new homes, and a few were miraculously reunited with their owners. Plan now by ID’ing your pet. Wouldn’t you want to be able to find your pet in case of such an emergency? Start now by checking with your vet or shelter about a microchip that can easily be implanted under your pet’s skin. They’re about the size of a grain of rice and can be read by a handheld scanner. If microchips aren’t for you, by all means have an ID tag on your pet’s collar that includes a cell phone number or a number where you can be easily reached. Keep in mind that home phone numbers in disaster areas could potentially be out of service. Have an emergency travel kit ready to go. Items that are essential to have with you before you leave home include: Photos of your pet and proof of vaccinations A list of any medications your pet takes A week’s supply of fresh food and water Emergency numbers of veterinarians, shelters and pet-friendly accommodations Items that are familiar to your pet (favorite toy,...

Do these before you travel with a pet – checklist

I love traveling, and I love my dog. Sometimes the two just don’t go hand in hand, but I do try to take him with us every chance I get. Before we take off, I do have a checklist that I go through so as to make sure our trip is a good one. First, I make sure that I have a copy of his rabies certification. I have never had to produce it, but it’s nice to know that I have it on hand in case of an emergency. I also go on the Internet and look up locations of vet or emergency services in the area of our destination. Pets are like kids only with 4 legs instead of 2; one never knows when they will become sick or have an accident. Second on my list is checking hotels in the area for their pet policies. The guilt one feels for having to leave a cherished member of the family sleeping in the car can cause a night of restless sleep; take it from one who knows. Next on the list is car prep. We have leather seats in our car, and nothing scares me more than having his claws rip the leather, so I’ve purchased a seat cover for the back seat and a pet barrier for between the front seats. He can put his head over the seat to nudge when he needs something, even if it’s just a little attention, but keeps him in the back when we have to stop the car. Dogs, like kids, should be restrained while traveling in the car...