All posts tagged: dog food
Puppy in a Play Pen

Preparation and patience are key to building a happy relationship!

The key to helping your new dog make a successful adjustment to your home is being prepared and being patient. It can take anywhere from two days to two months for you and your pet to adjust to each other. The following tips can help ensure a smooth transition.

Prepare the things your dog will need in advance. You’ll need a collar and leash, food and water bowls, food, and, of course, some toys. And don’t forget to order an identification tag right away.

Establish House Rules

Work out your dog-care regimen in advance among the human members of your household. Who will walk the dog first thing in the morning? Who will feed them at night? Will they be allowed on the couch, or won’t he? Where will they rest at night? Are there any rooms in the house that are off-limits?

Plan the Arrival

Try to arrange the arrival of your new dog for a weekend or when you can be home for a few days. Get to know each other and spend some quality time together. Don’t forget the jealousy factor — make sure you don’t neglect other pets and people in your household!

Prepare for Housetraining

Assume your new dog is not housetrained and work from there. Read over the housetraining information given to you at the time of adoption and check out our housetraining tips for adult dogs. Be consistent, and maintain a routine. A little extra effort on your part to come home straight from work each day will pay off in easier, faster house training.

Ensure All Pets are Healthy

Animal shelters take in animals with widely varying backgrounds, some of whom have not been previously vaccinated. Inevitably, despite the best efforts of shelter workers, viruses can be spread and may occasionally go home with adopted animals. If you already have dogs or cats at home, make sure they are up-to-date on their shots and in good general health before introducing your new pet dog.

Take your new dog to the veterinarian within a week after adoption. There, they will receive a health check and any needed vaccinations. If your dog has not been spayed or neutered, make that appointment! There are already far too many homeless puppies and dogs; don’t let your new pet add to the problem. Most likely, the shelter will require that you have your pet spayed or neutered anyway. If you need more information about why it is so important to spay or neuter your dog, read our online information on spaying and neutering.

The First Weeks

Give Them a Crate

A crate may look to you like the canine equivalent of a jail cell, but to your dog, who instinctively likes to den, it’s a room of their own. It makes housetraining and obedience-training easier and saves your dog from the headache of being yelled at unnecessarily for problem behavior. Of course, you won’t want to crate your dog all day or all night, or they will consider it a jail cell. Just a few hours a day should be sufficient.

The crate should not contain wire where their collar or paws can get caught, and should be roomy enough to allow your dog to stand up, turn around, and sit comfortably in normal posture.

If a crate isn’t an option, consider some sort of confinement to a dog-proofed part of your home. A portion of the kitchen or family room can serve the purpose very well when sectioned off with a dog or baby gate.

Use Training & Discipline to Create a Happy Home

Dogs need order. Let your pet know from the start who is the boss. When you catch them doing something they shouldn’t, don’t lose your cool. Stay calm, and let them know immediately, in a loud and disapproving voice, that they have misbehaved. Reward them with praise when they do well, too! Sign up for a local dog obedience class, and you’ll learn what a joy it is to have a well-trained dog. Also be sure to read our tip sheet on training your dog with positive reinforcement.

Long-term

Let the Games Begin

Dogs need an active life. That means you should plan plenty of exercise and game time for your pet. Enjoy jogging or Frisbee? You can bet your dog will, too. If running around the park is too energetic for your taste, try throwing a ball or a stick, or just going for a long walk together. When you take a drive in the country or visit family and friends, bring your dog and a leash along.

Patience is Key!

Finally, remember to temper your expectations. Life with you is a different experience for your new companion, so give them time to adjust. You’ll soon find out that you’ve made a friend for life. No one will ever greet you with as much enthusiasm or provide you with as much unqualified love and loyalty as your dog will. Be patient, and you will be amply rewarded.

Let’s face it, there are literally hundreds of dog walkers out there and 99.999% of them are not professional, and are not reliable.  Professional dog walking has steadily grown in popularity over the years. As a result, more and more businesses are popping up, offering dog walking services. Some people believe this is a good thing, as customers have more options to choose from and a growing variety of services to purchase for their dog. Others believe that the increase in professional dog walking businesses has caused the market to be flooded with amateur companies that are stealing customers away from more experienced, qualified establishments.  These amateur new comers don’t carry insurance and aren’t bonded.  They typically are single owner operator entities with no backup plan should something happen to the single employee.

With such a strong sense of competition, popular businesses like Waggy Walkys have to stay up to date and fresh to keep up and stand out from amateur companies. When new customers research companies to use for dog walking services, they look for a number of qualities. These can include:

  • Flexible hours
  • Reasonable prices
  • Experienced employees
  • Professionalism and organization
  • Prompt response time
  • Variety of services

A combination of these traits are usually what attracts new customers to a successful dog walking business, and they are also what keeps old customers loyal to the company. Still, with so many options for dog walking in the DMV area, it helps to know what makes Waggy Walkys, or any other company, different from the competition.

Pros And Cons – How Does Waggy Walkys Stand Out?

One of the major advantages we here at Waggy Walkys have over similar businesses in the area is the variety of services we offer. Besides dog walking, Waggy Walkys also offers dog park play, house sitting, pet sitting, dog boarding, and pet taxi services. This feature is key when looking for a credible dog walking business to patronize. Amateur businesses often advertise dog walking as their one and only service, as they are not experienced or organized enough to provide a larger variety of services.  They typically are not insured or bonded.  And if the single employee owner gets sick or cannot fulfill his or her duties then the customer and his or her pet suffers.

Another benefit of using Waggy Walkys is our large service area. Waggy Walkys services customers in the entire DMV, while most competitors only service one small area or county. Larger businesses are always a sign of experience and credibility, while smaller businesses can indicate a newer, less professional company.

 

Woman feeding dog

The decision on what to feed our canine children is a complex one. There are pet food companies shouting at you that, if you don’t feed their food, you don’t love your dog, and well-meaning others who want to convince you that anything commercial is taking the lazy way out. There are foods that are “all-natural” and foods with tasty bits to convince your finicky dog to eat. Just like feeding ourselves, it is very hard to sort out the truth from the marketing.

Prioritize nutritional needs. We all can agree that choosing the right food for life can be one of the biggest factors in longevity and quality of life. We also have to realize that just like human food, the best-tasting food is often not the most nutritious. Usually foods with “tasty bits” are sold to satisfy the human’s emotional needs more than the dog’s nutritional needs and are often the cause of obesity (a common killer of dogs).

Seek the advice of a professional. What “all-natural” really means is often anyone’s guess. To really choose the best food takes some research or requires finding someone knowledgeable who you really trust to advise what is right for your individual dog. This is not the salesman at the pet store who has only been informed by representatives from the food companies, and it shouldn’t be just some website that made sense to you. Typically, your veterinarian or a trained nutritionist (who can often be found and contacted on vet school websites) are the best resources to make decisions for your dog as an individual.

Debunking BARF. One type of food espoused by some well-meaning pet lovers is biologically available raw food (BARF). The idea of this approach is that raw food is closer to what a dog would eat in the wild. Unfortunately, dogs in the wild do not live very long, which, to me, is a flaw in their logic, but I try to consider all viewpoints on issues this important. From research as it stands now, there is no real evidence that there are any health benefits to eating raw meat. If, however, you do want to try it, make sure you do your research and do it the right way. With extreme choices such as raw food, there is no such thing as “I do mostly raw food”. Even proponents of the diet will tell you that there are risks if you don’t do it exactly right. In addition to finding organic food sources, you must balance the food with vegetables and other sources of micronutrients to meet all of your dog’s nutritional needs. Changing an adult dog to BARF too quickly can cause pancreatitis, so follow your vet’s instructions.

Carefully choose commercial dog food. Since most of us don’t have time to look for and properly prepare organic chicken, it is more sensible to find a high-quality commercial dog food that is preserved with vitamin E or other natural preservatives (eliminating chemicals and using high-quality meat instead of meat byproducts). These foods are formulated by trained nutritionist to be the best and help your dog live the longest, healthiest life possible; something that most of us are not trained to do.

Commonly, BARF is recommended for dogs with certain medical problems such as skin conditions or immune problems. Sometimes it helps, not because of any magic of raw food, but because the key ingredients to which the pet is sensitive are eliminated. This same thing can be accomplished with carefully chosen commercial foods, getting all the nutritional advantages of teams of nutritionists while avoiding the risks of parasitism, food poisoning, and skin problems.

Consider food allergy. Food allergy is a very common component of itchy skin in dogs. Chicken, beef, lamb, corn, soy, wheat, egg, and dairy products are common ingredients which induce these allergies, but, whether they are raw or cooked, the immune system looks at them the same. The key to choosing a food for skin problems is to pick one that does not include any of these ingredients, is preserved with vitamins, and preferably is supplemented with fatty acids (fish oils). Most large food companies now have their own versions of these foods. They are usually sold as prescription foods but are not significantly more expensive than over-the-counter foods of equivalent quality.  Food allergies are the most common reason for dog owners to seek a dog food that is made from a consistent Limited Ingredient Diet or LID.

Recommendation: with the wealth of foods that are available to help many different conditions, the lack of evidence that raw food provides any advantages, and the potential risks of raw food, I can’t recommend that it is a good choice at this time. As research is done, we may one day find that there are advantages, but, for now, high-quality commercial food is the better choice.