Magical Golden Retriever

What could be better than one Golden Retriever? The answer, of course, it’s TWO Golden Retrievers.

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Windermere Dog Walkers Warn Pee Pads Cause Problems

Every morning I, like everyone else, scroll through Facebook to check up on family, friends and (sadly) catch a bit of news. With each view comes the obligatory ad or two for products you may or may not have heard about already. This morning an ad for PeePooPads.com scrolled through my feed. Pee Poo Pads promise to “save you money, protect your floors and make house training a breeze”.

The ad also stated that Pee Poo Pads are cheaper than dog walkers. But are they? [Read more…]

Does My Dog Understand Me?

Does your dog know what you say when you say it? That’s the question posed by Jon Hanson, Ph.D. He introduces us to Chaser, a border collie who’s owner has taught her more than 1000 words. That’s as much as a preschooler!

But does she really know what is being asked of her? Watch now:

What is obvious is that with after standing by our sides for thousands of years, dogs have really figured us out. From our tone of speech, to facial cues and posture, a dog knows what we’re really saying, without saying it.

Can I Make My Dog Understand Me?

Like children, dogs can learn words and basic commands through positive reinforcement. I’m proud to say my golden retriever can go potty on command – that’s #1 AND #2, thank you very much!

Have you had success training your dog to be as smart as Chaser? Share in the comments below now!

Healthy Pet Food: Get Your Pet To Eat Better

In the early days of our country, dogs and cats main source of nutrition was table from scraps (or the occasional rat or mouse caught outside). In the years after World War I, there was a need to dispose of a large number old horses from the military stables. With that, canned pet food was born!

Yea, you read that right. YUCK.

Pet FoodRemarkably, canned dog food was an instant success and soon, dry food made of meat meal was introduced as an affordable alternative. By the end of World War II, dog food sales had skyrocketed to over $200 million a year. That’s 1940s money, folks!

Today, mass produced, brand name pet foods have a stronghold on the pet food market. To lower costs and maximize profits, big brands add all sorts of things to their pet food. Still, they are considered “complete” as set by the very low standards of the pet food industry.

Some researchers have found links to these poor food sources most people use and increases in pet mortality. Many vets and pet nutritionists agree that the astronomical increase in cancer related pet deaths can be related to the ingredients in most pet food. With little oversight and regulation, it’s up to you and me to ensure the food we provide our pets is the best we can provide them. But where do you start?

Make a Change

Look for the following terms on your pet food label and avoid those foods:

  • Meat and poultry bi-products: FYI: that’s not meat. That’s anything, and we mean ANYTHING else that may have come from that animal carcass
  • Meat and bone meal: Sounds like something that your pet needs. In fact, the basis of meat and bone meal is render down scraps, removing most of the water and leaving mostly protein. The reality is, using the word MEAT is too vague. This simple term allows manufacturers to use any one of the four D’s as a source of meat: Dead, Dying, Deformed and Diseased animals. They come in the forms of beef, poultry, slaughter animals determined too ill for human consumption, road kill (that’s no joke, folks), expired grocery store meats and euthanized shelter animals (again, not a joke).
  • Animal Fat: Filler…tasty and fattening. This can also include used restaurant fryer fat.
  • BHA/BHT: Food preservatives, known carcinogens banned in human food but not in pet food
  • Propyl gallate: Another food preservative that imitates estrogen causing issues and cancers in both male and female animals
  • Ethoxyquin: A preservative and pesticide, known to cause cancer in humans and animals
  • Corn, soy and wheat in all forms: In the wild, wolves diet would be 95-98% protein with the remaining portion made up by partially digested vegetation in the stomach contents of their prey in the form of fruit, vegetable or grasses. Modified filler crops like corn, soy and wheat were never part of any animals diet, including dogs.

Confused about Pet Food? Don’t be!

There are many options out there from commercial grade raw diets to high quality kibble. The most important thing is to feed your them the best pet food you can afford. Seek out specialty stores dedicated to providing consumers and pets with the best in high quality, pet foods. Most labels have very few, easy to read ingredients. Stop by or visit their websites for expert advice on your pet’s food needs and find a good product at an affordable price.

Top Tech Gifts For Dogs 2014

Christmas is right around the corner and you may be asking your self: What do I get my semi-geeky, tech loving pooch for Christmas? Well, we have some ideas below.

Big Paw’s Top Tech Gifts for Dogs Guide

PetziConnect from PetZilla – This amazing new device mounts in your home and connects to your WiFi network. From here you can view your pets, speak to them and even TOSS THEM A TREAT! It’s an amazing device that is managed through a simple app on your phone. How cool is that?

 

Fetch by GoPro: Everyone has a GoPro camera these days. The versatile and nearly indestructible cameras can be seen in hundreds of thousands of YouTube videos capturing surf board-views of surfers at play, perusing skyscrapers or mountains on a drone and now, from your dog’s point of view with Fetch. This simple to use, adjustable harness fits all sizes of dogs and gives you first hand perspective of a dogs world.

Halo Mini Dog Collar: Halo creates awesome LED safety bands to make sure runners, couriers and more get noticed. Now, for you early morning or late night dog walkers, the Halo Mini brings your pet the same “noticeability” on walks after dark. Be seen, be safe with he Halo Mini.

 

With these items your dog will definitely have something to bark about to his friends!

 

 

Christmas Presents For Pets

Many local pet retailers have a visit with Santa planned for pets. What is your pet asking Santa for this Christmas?

In 2014, Americans will have spent approximately $58.5 Billion (yes, that’s a “B”) on pets. A good hunk of that, about $14 Billion, will go to over the counter medicines, supplies and toys. Toys!

That’s a lot of Christmas presents for pets!

FullSizeRenderThis year our family added a new dog, Linus, which means he needs a Christmas stocking to match our other pup’s stocking. So, we’ve invested about $20 in his Christmas present already. Unfortunately for our holiday spending budget, we’ll most likely make a mad dash on Christmas eve and overspend on our pups just as we do every year…but that’s ok with us.

How about you? Are you spending big on your pets this year? Comment below and let us know!

In the meantime, enjoy a video of some happy puppies opening their Christmas presents:

Leash Training Your Dog in 3 Simple Steps

dog walkingDog walks are the single most important part of your dog’s daily regime. If you are not walking your dog, you probably realize you have a dog with some behavioral problems. Easily, the number one reason most people do not walk their dog regularly is due to a dog’s poor leash manners.

If you find yourself saying “I want to take him on walks, but he pulls so bad”, don’t worry your not alone. But keep in mind, if your dog pulls on leash it’s not because he’s a bad dog. It’s because he was trained to walk that way.

Don’t worry. We can start improving your dog walks by leash training your dog in 3 easy steps.

dog collarBefore we start, make sure you have the right equipment. You should be using a flat collar with a martingale hoop and a 6 foot leash. If you use certain types of harnesses, retractable leashes or other trendy sort of dog walking equipment you are probably just making your dogs reaction on leash worse by encouraging pulling. (More on that in a future blog.)

Alright, lets get started:

  1. leash pullingStop: When your dog begins pulling you on leash, stop. Don’t allow your dog to pull you. By allowing him to take you where he wants, you are reinforcing his pulling. Instead just stop, don’t move.
  2. Encourage: Now that your dog has stopped moving forward, it’s time to redirect him back the way you just came. Lean over to get his attention, call his name and encourage him with a “come” or “lets go”. Wait for him to react to your call. Don’t yell or become frustrated. It’s going to take some time.
  3. Reward: Once your dog has turned his attention to you, begin walking in the opposite direction you were just being pulled. Watch for your dog to reach your side, by your hip and reward him with praise like “GOOD!” or “YES!”. Then present him with a reward.

Pro Tip: Make sure your dog’s reward or treat is not being held out in front of your dog. Keep it in a treat pouch until you’ve marked the good behavior with “GOOD!” or “YES!”. Holding out the treat too soon turns that reward into a bribe. 

When you’ve completed Steps 1, 2 and 3 continue walking and if your dog gets ahead of you or begins pulling, repeat the steps again. This process will take several times to complete so don’t expect your dog’s

If you find that your dog’s attention is being diverted by other dogs or cars on your walk, practice in your backyard or in your home. Then move outside.

3 Steps For Treating Pet Seizures

Pet SeizuresMany of us that have pets who suffer from seizures or epilepsy.  They can be common in certain breeds and the seizures can also present themselves in many different forms.  However, most of them can be characterized as a jerky motion involving paddling of the legs and fully body spasms.

Knowing your pets health and understanding their diagnosis if they do suffer from seizures is also important.  If your pet has a seizure for the first time or, it lasts longer or, looks different are very important factors that should not be dismissed and are also sure reasons to take your pet to an animal hospital or your veterinarian for further evaluation. Seizures can also be a result from head trauma, poisonings, heat injuries such as hyperthermia as well as many other causes.

If your pet does suffer a seizure, there are 3 Steps to keep in mind to help them through it.

  1. NEVER put anything in the pet’s mouth!  You don’t want to compromise their airway and may now have made the situation worse.  On top of that, if you cherish your fingers, it may also be a good idea to keep them out of your pet’s mouth.  With that said, the good news is that it’s a lesson you have many times to learn, namely 10…
  2. During the seizure, reduce external stimuli such as lights or sound.  Make sure they don’t injure themselves on nearby furniture or if they are in close proximity to a staircase, make sure the don’t fall down the stairs.
  3. Like in any other emergency, keep calm and don’t panic.  Your pet is very much in tune with your energy level so if you stay calm, it will help reduce you pet’s stress too.

Stay safe until the pet seizures to run their course and have a plan before you take action once they have passed. Most importantly, be prepared to contact your vet as soon as you and your pet are safe.

A Geeky Pet Sitters Dream Come True

“Do, or do not, there is no try.” – Yoda

Pet Sitter Orlando, Star Wars DogThis Labor Day marked not only some time for the American worker to relax and enjoy the fruits of his/her labor. It also marked the official launch of Petco’s new Star Wars line of pet products. Just in time for Halloween this exclusive line of products includes costumes, toys, pet clothing and much more.

Check out our friend Skittles showing off some super cool Yoda ears. Why not start your Christmas shopping now for that hard-to-shop-for-pet on your Christmas list?

View all the items available at www.petco.com/starwars . 

Ocoee Pet Sitter Warns: Dog Treat Recall

Big Paw Pet Care

Another dog food recall

It what seems to be a never-ending cycle of warnings, yet another dog food company has issued a voluntary recall of their dog treats. We are warning all of our pet sitting clients and Central Florida pet owners of the alert.

Dogswell has recalled pet treats which are sold throughout Central Florida. Their press release states:

[box]During routine testing of our products, the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets (NYSDAM) discovered that a sample of our Dogswell Happy Hips Chicken Breast Jerky contained trace amounts of an antibiotic residue that has not been approved for use in the United States. [/box]

The press release goes on to say that only products labeled Chicken Breast and Duck Breast jerky under the Breathies, Happy Heart, Happy Hips, Mellow Mut, Shape Up, Veggie Life, Vitality, and Vitakitty brands that are labeled with a “Best Before” date of January 28th, 2015 or any earlier date” are part of this recall.

Dogswell sells products manufactured in the US however some of their treats are manufactured in China. China has been a common theme in many pet food recalls.

It’s important to note that this company has chosen to report this as a “withdrawal” rather than a “recall”. Why is that important you ask? Watch our blog later this week for more information on the ways pet food companies believe saving face is more important than reporting facts to their consumers.