Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas, Baby!

Merry Christmas to all you pooches & puppies out there!  Go to sleep tonight w/ visions of chew toys & raw hide dancing in your heads.  When you wake up, Santa Paws will have brought you lots of toys and goodies from his sleigh… if you’ve been GOOD of course! 


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Who DOESN'T Want a Puppy for Christmas?! But WAIT, not so fast!

Puppies and Christmas, they just seem to go together, don’t they?  At the shelter, people often want to adopt dogs for others.  Romantic boyfriends want to surprise the girl of their dreams with the puppy of her dreams, parents delight in the idea of lighting up their child’s face on Christmas morning with a new puppy, or a dutiful son thinks getting a dog for Mom at Christmas will be the perfect gift of companionship and prevent her from feeling lonely. 
My favorite foster dog, named Rudy because he came into the shelter around Christmas.  Read Rudy's heartwarming story here.
Although this is a wonderful ideal, sometimes it doesn’t work out so well.  The couple breaks up by New Years Eve, the puppy the parents chose gets huge, scares the kid and knocks him down, and Mom becomes overwhelmed at the prospect of caring for a dog.  I suggest people forgo the element of surprise for a well thought out adoption or purchase of a puppy or older dog.  It can be just as wonderful and surprising to thoughtfully gift wrap an animal shelter gift card, photo of a cute puppy, a leash, or a stuffed animal.  Tell the recipient that right after Christmas you’ll be taking them to pick out the pet of their dreams together.   Wrap the package beautifully, concealing your surprise, then make a day (or two) of searching for the right puppy or dog together.  The time you spend searching for their new best friend together will be a gift in itself and a great memory!

Before you decide that a dog is the perfect gift for someone else, be sure that their lifestyle will support the lifelong commitment of owning a dog. 

If the recipient is your child, make sure responsibilities for caring for the puppy are well thought out and that it’s the right time to add a pet to your family.  Everyone in the house should be on board.

If the person you are gifting travels frequently be sure that won’t become an issue.  Who will care for the dog while they are away?

Is there an apartment complex or Homeowners Association with restrictions that may impact dog ownership or the size and breed of dog they can have?

 
Do they live with someone else that should be consulted before bringing a new pet into the home? Are there other animals in the home already? 

Assess the ability to afford vet bills every year; annual vaccinations, checkups, and visits to the vet for occasional illness or injury.  They may need to spay or neuter the dog themselves.  Training, especially for puppies is important.  Including a gift card towards training is an excellent addition to your gift!

Once you determine that a canine companion is definitely the right gift, help them make the right decision about whether to get a puppy or an older dog, and what type of dog would best fit their lifestyle.

Puppies are irresistible, but they are a lot of work.  House training is the first order of business, and it takes time.  Some puppies learn within a couple of days, others can take weeks.  Basic obedience commands and good behavior must be taught.  No one wants to come home to find potty accidents all over the house and a ripped up couch.    Puppies are delightful but the first few months can be a lot of work.  An older dog may already be house trained and well behaved, or at least calmer and easier to train. 

The next question is what type of dog would be best.  What breed of dog, how big, will they shed a lot, what is the dog’s level of activity, do they slobber, will the dog howl?  These are important questions to ask before deciding on what type of dog will fit your lifestyle.  I love Animal Planet's Breed Selector on their web site, with a questionnaire that can help you decide which breeds of dog might be a good fit.







Would a small dog that doesn't shed be the right fit, or a larger more active dog?
At animal shelters, Adoption Counselors help customers select a pet that fits their lifestyle.  Don’t choose a dog based solely on looks, find the right breed (or breed mix) that fits the person’s lifestyle.  Whether you work with a shelter, breeder, or rescue to find the right dog ask a lot of questions about the breed to be sure it’s a good fit.   A dog is a lifelong commitment.  Do the planning up front and the gift of the right dog will be the gift that never stops giving!


THIS IS A RASCAL AND ROCCO PET PARADE BLOG HOP!!
 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Serve Up A Healthy Canine Crudites Platter

Dogs love special treats.  We love to give them treats as a token of our love & affection, as training incentive, or just because we’re snacking in front of the TV ourselves, and really, what’s the fun of snacking alone!?  

As the holiday season begins we indulge ourselves with reckless abandon, eating and drinking our way through November and December, just in time to renew the New Year’s weight loss resolutions we’ll promptly break by March. 

For some reason, we extend these indulgences to our dogs as well.  We share turkey with gravy, meatballs, all matter of cheese products, chips, pretzels and occasionally lasagna (my Mom is guilty of that one!) from our holiday table.   

As much as they love us for it, some holiday treats can be downright dangerous to our dogs.  Chocolate is at the top of the list, which also includes onion, garlic, grapes & raisins, macadamia nuts and alcohol.  Many of these things are included in stuffing, cookies, and food gift baskets. 

Healthy snacks for your dog you probably already have in your kitchen
A healthy Canine Crudites platter can prevent guests from sneaking your dog unhealthy foods from the table
We can’t always control, or even remember, which foods our dogs should avoid.  Even if we know not to give our pets these foods, our guests may not have a clue as to what can be harmful to dogs.  Guests seem to get a kick out of giving a dog treats from the table, and they may not ask if it’s ok.  At our last New Year’s Eve party, one of our guests fed little Phoebe what seemed like a pound of Jarlsberg cheese.  Fortunately, the only negative side effect she suffered was gas…. all night long!

Preparing a Canine Crudites Platter can curb the temptation to sneak your dog foods that may be harmful to her.  The platter contains foods that are safe and healthy for your dog, and they’ll devour these treats with as much gusto as a handful of chips or a wad of pepperoni. 

Make this healthy Canine Crudites Platter

The platter can include slices of banana, apple, boiled sweet potato, or pumpkin - still have that Halloween pumpkin outside?   You can add carrots, snap peas, pineapple, or broccoli.   Top a few of these with a dollop of peanut butter or organic applesauce and a small biscuit to make it pawsitively irresistible to your dog.   You can also mash up tuna fish or cooked chicken, mix with peanut butter and roll into peanut butter balls.  

If guests want to give your dog some treats encourage them to offer doggie safe treats from the platter.  You can give your dogs these special treats without an ounce of guilt!

A  Canine Crudites platter is so easy to prepare, you probably have many of the ingredients in your kitchen already.  It’s no-bake, inexpensive, and healthy.  Best of all, your dog will love you for it! 
My dogs love healthy treats right from my kitchen
My girls love these healthy snacks!

What healthy vegetables do your pets like to eat?  Leave us a comment and share!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Road Trip With The Dogs!

ROAD TRIP WITH THE DOG!!  Sounds simple right?  It is!  Well, it can be with some smart planning.

Tips for road trips with pets
Icy and Phoebe love road trips!
Over the river and through the woods.. and barreling down the Interstate.. to Grandmother’s house we go!

Is a Road Trip Right For Your Dog?

For a successful road trip with your dog, first decide whether you should bring your dog with you at all, a lengthy road trip isn’t for every canine.  If your dog hates the car or has a tendency to puke, pee, or poop in the car it may not be a good idea to take her on the road.  Find out beforehand if your dog gets car sick. Road trips with a dog that's car sick is no fun!   

If she isn’t used to car rides, you can spend some time acclimating her to the car.  Use treats to create a positive association with the car.  Take a few weeks to accomplish this and start off in the car while it’s parked in the driveway.  Gradually work up time spent in the car from 5 minutes to about 40 minutes.   Note: This post contains Affiliate Links

Pet travel, travel with dogs
Stopping at the Arkansas Welcome Center along Interstate 40


Plan Ahead For Success On The Road


If you decide a road trip will work for you and your dog, making sure she stays safe and calm during the trip and ensuring you’ll have everything you need is a critical part of road trip planning.  On our first long road trip with Icy and Phoebe I packed everything but the kitchen sink into the car.  I was so stressed out about finding dog friendly places to stay along the way that I was a ball of nerves, which in turn made the dogs anxious.  I have since gotten into the groove, finding dog friendly lodgings in advance and culling down the stuff I bring.   Here are some tips that make for a smooth road trip with the furkids.

** Consider what the environment will be like for your dog at your destination.  Make sure she'll be welcome, not merely tolerated.  There should be an adequate place for your dog to sleep, eat, potty, go for walks or run around in a yard or dog park.  Are other pets living there or visiting as well?  You don’t want Fido to eat your Mom’s parakeet, that’ll put a damper on things for sure.

** I always visit AAA, either in person or online for up to date maps, TripTiks and travel books.  I have the AAA PetBook, which is a Godsend.  It lists, by state, dog friendly lodgings, recreational areas & parks, dog parks, emergency veterinary care, travel and safety tips.  It doesn’t include every type of lodging, mostly those that are “AAA approved” hotels and campgrounds.  The book also includes Canadian lodgings.  I love getting the AAA discount on hotels, usually 10%!

Finding Pet Friendly Hotels and Other Places

** We travel across the country a few times a year with Icy and Phoebe.  I map out and time our route using AAA trip tiks and Google driving directions.  That way I can book all the dog friendly lodgings we’ll need in advance.  This alleviates the stress of trying to find a dog friendly place as we roll into each city.   I’ve had great experience with Red Roof Inn, La Quinta, and Comfort Inn hotels which are very dog friendly and a good value.  

** Many places charge a pet fee per night or per stay, and sometimes per dog. Some only allow one dog, some allow only small dogs, and some charge a cleaning fee.  Many won’t allow you to leave a dog unattended in the room.  Make sure you know all the fees, restrictions and policies.  I have found places that don’t charge a pet fee at all, like Red Roof Inn,  places that charge up to $150 per night per dog, and everything in between so do your homework!

Icy and Phoebe, relaxing in one of our hotel rooms.  I used to lug their beds and blankets around until I realized they love to just lay on the rug in the hotel room!
Pet friendly hotels

** Make sure your dog is up to date with required vaccinations, especially Rabies.  I bring my dogs’ Rabies certificates and proof of other vaccinations when we travel.  You never know when you might need to board your dog or put her in doggie daycamp, both of which require specific vaccinations. 

** We stop every 2 to 4 hours for potty breaks and to stretch everyone’s legs.  Some rest stops have a Pet Area where you can walk your dog around for awhile, which is really nice.

Tips for traveling with dogs
Icy enjoyed a cool dip in the water on one of our trips to gorgeous Sedona, Arizona

** I look online for Starbucks, Crackerbarrel, Panera Bread or Paradise Bakery CafĂ© locations to get a break from all the fast food along the way.  Starbucks, Panera, and Paradise Bakery Cafe are usually dog friendly on the patio.  It’s a nice break for all of us, weather permitting.  The rest of the way it’s usually quick stops at Wendy’s or McDonalds.


** Check out BringFido.com, GoPetfriendly.com, and Dogswelcome.com l for dog friendly activities and destinations in the area you’re traveling to.  You’ll also find lodging reviews from other travelers and helpful travel tips and information on these sites.

Tips for travel with pets
Phoebe is so comfy in her hotel bed, she won't get up!

Pack the Essentials for Yourself and Your Pet

** Pack extra dog waste bags, making sure you’ll have enough for the round trip.  Bring a towel and some paper towels so dirty or wet paws don’t soil your car.  Doggie wipes are a great idea in case you need to do a quickie dry bath or clean-up pet messes.   Once in New Mexico, we walked our dogs in the hotel’s grassy potty area.  I don’t know what was in that grass, but both dogs rolled around in it and came out stinking worse than a skunk!   We bathed them in the hotel tub, but they still smelled.  We used the wipes a few times the next day until we found a PetSmart off the Interstate., where they got scrubbed up thoroughly.  We were SO grateful, I never gave a groomer such a big tip!

** Pack a cooler with plenty of water for both you & your dog in case you don’t want to drink the available water somewhere.  Pack extra food for your dog, both ways, so you don’t end up scrambling around looking for pet food along the way.  Don’t forget food & water bowls and any medications your dog takes.  Pack some plastic utensils and napkins as well.   I bring crackers, Jiff to go peanut butter cups, cereal bars, or fruit cups. 

** A first aid kit is a must.  You never think you’ll need it, but accidents happen.  On the last night of a 5 day trip, we took Icy out for a late night potty break and she somehow cut her paw open.  We used our first aid kit to cleanse the wound, stop the bleeding, apply triple antibiotic ointment and bandage her paw until we could get to the vet the next day.  You can buy a pet first aid kit at most pet stores, or assemble one yourself.  

Driving with pets, road trip with dogs, pet travel tips
** Pack a few of your dog's favorite chew toys and snacks to calm nervousness or boredom.  An extra collar and leash is a good idea just in case.   A favorite blanket takes up less room in the car than a large dog bed.  Using a travel harness or a crate is the safest way to travel with your dog.  I’ll be honest with you though, I don’t crate my dogs and I don’t always use the travel harness.  Icy weighs 50 lbs and likes to stretch out on a blanket in the back seat.  Phoebe likes to sleep in her dog bed, which fits on the floor behind the passenger seat.   If your dog isn’t calm or won’t stay still in the car then you must always use a crate or travel harness.

PetSmart

If you’re travelling with your dog this season, start preparing now so you and your dog can enjoy the time travelling and bonding!     

Please Share your favorite travel tips by posting a Comment!



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Get a professional holiday photo of your dog when you help animals

Each year around the holidays you can find organizations that host holiday photo events.  Your dog can have a photo taken with Santa, or get a photo with a beautiful holiday or wintery backdrop.  The photos are usually taken by professional photographers who donate their time and studio for a donation to an animal welfare organization.  The donation can be as small as a bag of pet food, or as much as $50. 

A photo session with a professional photographer normally runs anywhere from $75 on the low end to hundreds of dollars or more.   These are not the same photos you shoot of your pets in front of the Christmas tree at home!  These are photos taken with all the fancy equipment and a great studio scene or backdrop.  Usually the photographer will give you one free copy of the photo taken.  You can then order additional prints, holiday cards, etc. if you want.  Most photographers will offer them at a discounted price for those who participate in the event. 

To find holiday photo events in your area, start by searching online for holiday pet events being held in the area.  Scroll through listings to find pet photo events.  You can also check out the events section on the web sites of nearby animal shelters, animal rescues, and other organizations that serve the pet industry.  For example, in Long Island New York there are several; the Bideawee Home hosts photos with Santa, the ASPCA is also hosting photos with Santa, and the Long Island Dog Owners Association hosted a photo event with a top professional photographer.  It featured a gorgeous wintery scene designed by an upscale local floral designer.

Once you locate some events, find out the details.  Find out what type of donation and how much of a donation is required.   Ask who is taking the photos and where; is it a professional photographer and studio, a photography student taking the photos in a park, or a staff member of the organization taking photos right in their office?   Find out exactly what is being promised.  Will they provide a hard copy 5x7 photo, or a digital copy of the photo?  Make sure there won’t be a watermark on the photo or anything that prevents you from sharing it on your social media networks.  If there are any other expectations, such as requiring you to order additional prints you will have to pay for, make sure you know that beforehand.  Match the required donation to what it being provided and decide whether or not you want to participate.

 If you can’t find a holiday photo event you like, try creating your own photo shoot.  Brush up on your pet photography by checking out sites that offer tips on how to take great pet photos.   I found several sites by searching on “how to take professional looking photos of your pets”   Make it extra special by including some of your friends’ dogs or family members’ dogs.  Invite them all over for a group photo session by the Christmas tree, or outside with a pretty Wintery scene.  Serve cookies and some doggie treats and make it a party.  You’ll capture a beautiful holiday memory!       RYUTXUUUQ8J6

Sunday, November 24, 2013

How You Can Help Shelter Animals This Holiday Season

Tis the season of giving!  Many people do the majority of their charitable giving during the holidays.  In addition to helping people, animal shelters and other animal welfare organizations are also in great need of both money and donation items.  They are hopeful that animal lovers like us will incorporate their organizations into our charitable giving budget.  Here are some things you can do to help animals this holiday season:

 Organize a fund raiser, donation drive or volunteer event at work to benefit a local animal shelter or rescue organization.  Collect money, much needed items such as food, blankets or towels, or organize a volunteer event at the shelter.   Volunteers can get the dogs out of their kennels to walk and play with them.  This helps the dogs get exercise and stay well socialized, which helps them remain healthy and adoptable.  Ask the shelter for their Wish List of donation items most needed.  Check with your boss or Human Resources department beforehand to ensure you follow whatever guidelines or policies they have for organizing charitable giving and volunteer events in the workplace.   You may even be able to get your employer to agree to match all or a portion of money you collect!   

Round up the kids to organize a shelter or rescue donation drive or special project through their school, girl or boy scout troup, or religious organization.  We have had kids collect food, blankets, towels, and other much needed items for the shelter.  We once had a group of Eagle scouts build whelping boxes for expectant shelter dog mothers at the shelter.    Get a Wish List of items they need most from the shelter.  Ask if there are any simple projects the kids can do for them.  You may even be able to get a shelter employee to come and speak to the class or group about how to treat animals, what an animal shelter does and how it works, etc.  Just ask!  Activities like this help educate kids and teach them responsibility and empathy.

Organize an event to raise funds such as a doggie fashion show, lunch and silent auction, outdoor event such as a walk, run, golf or other sports outing.  Anything that gets people together for a cause they want to support!  You may be able to request that your donation be earmarked for a specific dedication in honor or in memory of a dog or cat lover.   Partner with a local pet store or other business to gain sponsorship.

Foster a dog or cat in your home.  Some shelters host Home for the Holidays events where families offer to host an animal in their home during the holidays.   If you can do it, becoming a permanent foster would be a wonderful gift to a shelter or rescue.  They are always in need of fosters.  I foster animals in my home, and I know that it saves lives.

Offer to take photos of adoptable animals for a shelter.  Shelters usually have a high intake rate, and they are not always able to get a good photo of every animal that comes in.  If you’re good with a camera and with animals, ask a local shelter if they need some help.  Provide a few props such as a holiday blanket, toy, or santa hat and take some great shots for the shelter to post online.  Bring along a friend who can help.  If the dog or cat doesn’t have a name, give them one!  This helps people identify with the dog – he isn’t just a number. 
 
Use your social media network to help get the word out about animals that are available for adoption.  Work with a shelter or rescue organization to post photos of their adoptable dogs or cats with compelling details about the animal and links to their site.   “Goldielocks is a lovable Golden Retriever mix.  She loves walks and playing fetch!”   Then Share it and ask all your friends to do the same.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Shih Tzu happens and pets get lost

You think it won’t happen to your dog, but it happens every day.   Barely a day goes by volunteering at the shelter where a devastated pet owner isn’t walking up and down every aisle in tears, looking for their precious lost dog.  Invariably, they are shocked that it happened.   Short of keeping them locked in a bubble, how can we keep our pets safe?  If the unthinkable happens and a beloved pet disappears, how can we be prepared to act quickly?


TAGS+ MICROCHIP= GET HOME SAFE 
Always have your pet wear a collar with updated tags.  It amazes me how many people remove a dog’s collar for one reason or another; they don’t like the noise it makes when the dog shakes or they bathed the dog and forgot to put the collar back on.  Even so, collars can get lost or damaged.  If a collar gets snagged on something, it can break off.  A microchip is tiny and takes only seconds to put in.  Any vet can do it and most shelters offer it, usually for about half the price, which can range from approximately $20 – $75.  Do you love your dog twenty bucks worth?   Micro-chipping plus tags together can make the difference between your pet being linked back to you and getting home safe … or not.  You may also consider tattooing your pet, or using a GPS product that allows you to monitor your pet’s activity and location.

UNEXPECTED OCCURRENCES IN THE HOME CAN CAUSE DISTRESS 
When something unsettling is happening within the home it can cause pets to freak out and possibly wander off and get lost.  Pets may become frightened if workmen are in the home, if furniture and moving boxes are being packed up, or if strangers visit the home.  Workers and movers often leave the front door open to make it easier to cart items in and out of the house.    When kids go back to school after a long break, it can cause anxiety for the dog.  They miss the kids, worry that they won’t come back, or simply get bored without them.  Give him a new toy or something else to keep him occupied as the kids leave the house in the morning.   Consider doggie day camp, boarding, or a pet sitter if unexpected occurrences are happening in the house and you can't keep a close eye on your dog.

KEEP YOUR DOG LEASHED AT ALL TIMES IN UNSECURED AREAS 
I know people love to let their dogs off leash so they can be “free to run”, but be smart about it.  If signs tell you to keep your dog leashed, then do it.  Not only can your dog get enticed by a number of small animals, people running, or other distractions and take off, but off leash dogs can be picked up by Animal Control in public places where they are supposed to be leashed.  There’s often some mean biddy  with animal control on speed dial.   Sadly, dogs have even been shot by authorities in park or camp grounds where unleashed dogs are prohibited.   It’s unfortunate, but an unleashed dog is scary to many people, even the authorities.  They don’t know that your dog is loving and friendly and is only bounding towards them at warp speed to say hello!  Their reaction might be to defend themselves against your sweet pooch, especially if the dog is large or perceived to be an aggressive breed.  


PAY ATTENTION AT THE DOG PARK!  
I love taking my dogs to the dog park and I enjoy chatting with the other moms and dads there.  My girl Icy loves to greet new dogs as they enter the park, so I’m always on guard when she gets close to the gate.  Recently, a mother and her two kids came into the park, just to see all the dogs.  They didn’t know to ensure both gates remain locked at all times and one of the kids left the interior gate open.  A Beagle made his way over and slipped through.  Several folks tried to coax him back into the dog run, but the dog snarled when a guy tried to grab him.  We yelled out trying to locate the owner but no one responded.   I finally clipped my own dog’s leash on, and walked him around the dog park shouting “who owns this little guy?!”  The owner finally came forth.  She was in the back of the park yackin’ it up with friends, not paying attention to her dog. 

TEACH THE WAIT AND EMERGENCY RECALL COMMANDS  
In addition to a reliable come when called, also teach the “wait” command and have an “emergency recall” command.   These simple commands can save your dog’s life.  If your dog spots a bird, squirrel, or other moving object he may dart across a street, hop a fence, or jump out of the car and lay chase for many blocks.  He can be hit by a car or lose his sense of direction.   Make sure your dog reliably comes when you call him.  One of the keys to this is not always calling your dog when it’s time to leave the park, have a bath, or go to the vet.  That can reduce their positive reaction to your call, so when it’s bath or vet time rather than calling your dog to you, go and get him instead.  Teach your dog to always wait at the door or inside the car until you give the go ahead for them to exit.   In the event that something is just too enticing and your dog takes off, tuning you out, have an emergency recall command.  This is a one or two word command that immediately snaps them to attention and makes them run right to you because the reward for coming to you is irresistible.  My dogs know that whenever they hear "Danger! Danger!" they will receive delicious bacon.  It is the only time they get bacon, which is what makes it different from the “Come!” command I use on a near daily basis. 

PARTY HEARTY BUT SAFELY! 
If you throw a party, keep your pet in mind as you plan the party.  Holiday parties, graduations, etc. are wonderful occasions that enrich our lives.  However we can easily get distracted while hosting our event.  Pets can find it unsettling to see their home fill up with people, some of whom they don’t know.   Loud noises and people wearing costumes can be scary to pets.  Be sure to work in a plan to keep your dog secure during parties.  This is another good time to consider boarding, pet sitting, or day camp.  If you want to include your pet in family festivities, designate one person to keep an eye on the dog at all times.     


AN UNATTENDED DOG IS AN INVITATION FOR DISASTER 
If gardeners, housekeepers, or workers of any kind are in your home or yard be sure to double check that all doors and fences have been secured after they leave.  Every time.  Don’t expect them to reliably remember to close & latch gates or doors – ultimately it’s your responsibility, not theirs.    Never leave your dog unattended in the yard, in the car, or tied up outside a store.   It’s a sad fact that not only do dogs get lost every day, but they get stolen every day as well.  According to Petfinder.com, as many as 2 million animals are stolen each year.   What kind of person would steal a dog from a shelter, break into your car to steal your dog, steal your dog right out of your yard, or reach over to pet your secured dog outside a store, unclip her leash and make off with her?  Your dog doesn’t need to be an expensive purebred to tempt unscrupulous people to snatch her.   “My girlfriend always wanted a dog like this”.  “I got it for my Mom, she’s lonely”.  “They left that poor dog tied up in the yard all day, or in a hot/cold car, or outside a store while they shopped.  They’re cruel and don’t deserve him!”   Don’t give unscrupulous, misguided people any opportunity to steal your precious dog!

SPAY AND NEUTER!  
As everyone knows, spaying and neutering prevents the enormous number of unwanted puppies that end up in shelters, especially every Spring and Summer which is unfortunately puppy and kitten season at shelters.  Neutering can reduce your dog’s desire to get out and roam the neighborhood, and can reduce unwarranted aggression.  It could also curtail theft, since a dog that is spayed or neutered cannot be bred for profit, which is often a dog snatchers goal.

Always practice these safety tips to help prevent your dog getting lost or stolen.   Don’t make it easy for a thief to snatch your dog and don’t give someone an excuse to keep your dog because they’ve convinced themselves she must have been abandoned, or that you must be an irrresponsible owner.  People can make all kinds of assumptions about your poor lost dog…. and you.   

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR PET GETS LOST 
If the unthinkable does happen and your pet disappears, time is of the essence so act immediately.  Spend an hour or two searching the area, but if you can’t find her, here are some steps you should take:

·    If your dog is micro-chipped contact the recovery service right away to alert them that she is missing.  They may be able to assist in recovery by alerting area shelters and vets.


·    Keep good quality updated photos of your pet handy, especially when travelling.  Photos should clearly show the dog’s face and body and should be in color, a black and white photo isn’t very effective.   Place color photos on flyers with details of your pet and pass them out to all the neighbors within several blocks.  That way neighbors will have the photo to refer to if they should see your dog.  Post them in grocery stores, area veterinary offices, and other central places near where your dog went missing. 

·    Go online and post quality photos and details about your lost dog.  You can post on Craigslist, your local newspaper web site, Fidofinder.com  WherePetsAreFound.com and other sites.  Do a “lost and found dogs” search online to locate other sites you can post photos and details on.  Many fabulous shelter staff comb through Lost Dog sites online in an attempt to find a dog’s owner if there are no updated tags or microchip.  This works if your dog has unique attributes or is an uncommon breed.  A post for a lost Golden Retriever might be overlooked, but a Komondor probably won’t be!  For more tips on finding a lost dog check out this PetFinder.com page

·    Post signs throughout the area, especially near stop signs and traffic lights.  Don’t use white 8.5” by 11” paper, most of us can’t see them from a car!  Buy larger pieces of oak tag in bright or neon colors, post a color photo of your dog, and write details and contact info in black magic marker in large print.  Don’t cheap out, have color photos printed.
Keep your eyes open and keep your pets safe at all times!