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Get Outside! 3 No-Pull Harnesses for Hikes & Walks

With the beautiful fall weather we’ve been having (okay, except for the smoke from the North Georgia wildfires going on right now), you might feel more apt to get outside with your dog on the weekends. Even though 2 Paws Up’s dog walkers might be walking him or her for you on a regular basis as well, there’s nothing quite like getting out in nature with your dog to bond and get him out of his routine. Getting outside is a perfect way to feel more grounded in your life too, and who couldn’t use more of that?

Georgia is full of beautiful places to hike with dogs, even if you don’t consider yourself much of an outdoor person or skilled hiker. You don’t necessarily even have to buy a whole bunch of gear to get started. But there are a few products that might help walking your dog a little easier, especially if you have a strong puller or dog who is easily distracted.

Whether you’re interested in hiking or just going to a park or around the neighborhood, here are 3 of our favorite harnesses for a smoother, more enjoyable walk for both you and your dog. These harnesses will encourage him to pull less without putting pressure on the throat and hopefully save your arms!

Gentle Leader Headcollar

A long-standing staple for owners of strong dogs who pull, the Gentle Leader fits around your dog’s face in such a way that they are gently reminded to stay on track beside you, yet they are still unencumbered enough to eat and drink water while wearing it (important when you’re on a long adventure!).

Gentle Leader Headcollar

 

Kurgo

These harnesses are very strong and durable, and some can even convert into seatbelt harnesses for the drive to and from your outdoor adventure, so it’s like you get two products in one. Some have plastic buckles, and some have metal interlocking buckles. They’re comfortable and easily adjustable with chest and back leash attachment options.

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Sporn

With a variety of types to choose from, this brand is focused on comfort. Your dog can wear a breathable mesh harness or even one with padded cushions for their armpits to prevent skin irritation. These harnesses are advertised as guaranteed to prevent your dog from pulling.

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Remember to respect leash laws wherever you end up going, and let us know what your favorite local hiking spots are below or on Facebook or Instagram!

How to Recover from Your Vacation

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As glad as you are to see your pets when you return home from a trip, recovering from vacation and readjusting back to real life isn’t always easy!

You’re tired from traveling. Your vacation was either busier than you wanted or so relaxing that real life seems impossible now. Your kids’ sleep schedules might be completely off. Work, bills, dishes, and a million other things to do are still waiting for you when you get back…not to mention the inevitable unpacking and laundry that follow your return. It’s why people often say, “I need a vacation to recover from my vacation!”

We’re here to help with some tips to ease you back into life without the overwhelm and drudgery:

1. Be Kind to Your Body

Eating habits during vacation might not leave you feeling great by the end of the trip if you’ve had a lot of fast food and snacks you don’t normally indulge in during daily life. But don’t beat yourself up about it; you were on vacation! To help your system bounce back, you don’t have to go on a drastic diet. Start out with easy things like drinking some probiotic or lemon ginger tea, making sure you have enough water to stave off bloat and purge out excess salt intake, adding more fiber into your diet, consciously making sure to get enough sleep, and returning to your normal exercise routine in small bursts if needed to avoid quitting altogether.

2. Accentuate the Positive

Place a vacation souvenir or photo on your desk at work or a spot in your home to help remind you to take a moment every day to reflect on a positive feeling you had during that time and call back up the feeling. Rather than concentrating on being sad that you’re not back in that moment, just feel grateful you had the moment, and let it inspire you to inject a bit of that laid-back vacation mindset when you start to get too caught up in the “stuff” of life. Gratitude breeds more gratitude. Maybe you learned something about yourself on vacation or realized you wanted to change something in your life; let the vacation inspire you toward positivity.

3. Get Outside!

Vacations tend to involve nature or at least being outside a lot, which is one reason they’re so good for the soul. Most of us (except for us dog walkers!) spend too much time indoors working, watching TV, and staring at our phone screens. Make sure to work time into your life to get outside with your dogs, visit local parks and hiking spots, even walk around your office building a few times during your lunch break. Simply walking around a bit outside is often enough to help you clear your mind.

4. Prioritize Your To-Dos with Time Blocks

Pick one priority on your to-do list to address for each day of the week you return so you set clear intentions for how you’re going to get things done. This will keep you focused on each task at-hand and reduce the temptation to distract yourself with other things that aren’t urgent (like checking social media). Remember that you don’t HAVE to get to every single thing on your to-do list immediately. Some of the laundry can probably wait; so can some of the emails in your inbox. Schedule time blocks to address tasks in batches, starting with what’s most urgent.

Obviously, our primary focus for this blog is advice about pets, but you – their human counterparts – are just as important to us. You can rest assured that while you’re ON vacation, your pets in our care are getting lots of attention, and when you get home, they get the same from the humans they love the most in the world. Lots of playing and cuddling with your pets is bound to help ease you back into things too!

Introducing a New Pet to Your Home

140479315848coiIf you’re thinking about adding a new pet to your family, or if you have a foster or friend’s pet visiting for a while, there are ways to make the introductions and transitions smoother for all. All animals respond to new animals and certain triggers differently, so please remember this is only a guide. What works for one pet might not work for another, so if you have a multi-pet household, you might need to take it slow and introduce each pair separately in a different way.

First, what to avoid. Simply bringing a new animal into your house with no warning for the existing pets – or sticking two stranger dogs in the backyard together – is usually asking for trouble. Being suddenly thrust into an unfamiliar situation often makes the new pet and the existing ones overwhelmed and feel they have something to defend or flee from because the expectations haven’t been laid out for them. Also, dogs who are spayed or neutered are usually going to have an easier time acclimating to each other than those who aren’t.

Start off on neutral ground if possible.

A great way to introduce new dogs to each other is by having two people walk them separately, but a few feet away from each other, on neutral territory so they can get used to each other while they have a task (the walk) at-hand. When you can tell they’re relaxed and calm about the situation, you can gradually decrease the distance between them until they are sniffing and checking each other out, and then ideally they can finish the walk together. Keep an eye on their body language signals – stiffened bodies, yawning, and either avoiding any eye contact or staring down are all signs that you need to pull away and try again once things are calm before they have the chance to turn hostile. You must also stay calm yourself; if either walker feels nervous, that energy is going to travel right down the leash to the dog and make him nervous too.

Give the new pet a small space to get adjusted to first.

Sometimes a walk just isn’t possible right away, like if you pick up a stray off the street and don’t exactly have the chance to get him fitted for proper walking gear or even know how he will act on a leash. After all, some dogs are naturally more leash-aggressive but will do perfectly well interacting with another dog off-leash. So other potential options are crating the new dog while the other pets sniff through the bars or putting him in a bathroom for a short time if he doesn’t seem to panic from the closed door. New dogs sometimes feel more secure this way, and it protects anyone from getting hurt.

Many new cats will prefer to be kept in one room for a while as they acclimate to all the smells and sounds of their new environment before they even want to venture out and explore and meet anyone. This also gives all the pets a chance to sniff each other out under the doorway without anyone getting too upset.

Above all, be patient, and put yourself in your pets’ place.

It is your responsibility to set them up for success, not theirs. Sometimes adding a new pet to your household is a welcome breeze for your current pets (“yay, I have a playmate!”)…but sometimes they might feel jealous or upset, and there might even be a complete shift in the pack dynamic based on each dog’s personality. Sometimes when a beloved dog dies and the family adopts another one, they’ll find their first dog’s personality in the hierarchy changes altogether. This is a natural response but one they should be allowed to work out gradually and safely. You’ll want to allow for a lot of separation, even in close proximity, until you know you can trust everyone’s behavior will be safe and calm. Make sure to give all your pets lots of praise and treats for healthy interactions, and never punish them for negative behaviors or yell; you want them to associate being around each other with only positive things. For example, if your dog starts chasing your cat, distract him with a treat – this won’t cause him to chase your cat to get a treat; it will teach him to come when you call and get distracted from the cat until she’s no longer such a novelty.

Most of the time, animals just need time to get used to their new family arrangement and will become friends (or, at the very least, tolerant) with lots of time and positive reinforcement. We wish you all the best with your new family member or visitor!

If you have more questions about specific issues, please contact us today; we can refer you to someone who has behavior and basic training certification if you need more help to ensure a successful introduction!

Acid Reflux in Dogs

Just like us, dogs can also get acid reflux. The condition in dogs is referred to Gastroesopogeal Reflux which is a condition that has gastric and intestinal fluids that connect the throat and the stomach. That means that the condition may show up when there is a relaxation of the base of the esophagus and also this may cause chronic vomiting. The reflux is very common in dogs, it can occur at any time and it seems that younger dogs are at a greater risk than older dogs.

This gastro intestinal acid, is called pepsin, bile salts, and there are other kinds of juices as well as mucus that can lead to the inflammation and the swelling of the esophagus as well when they come into contact with the throat.

The condition is able to happen in dogs and also in cats and is important to make sure that it is treated as quickly as possible in the event that it is seen in all dogs.

What Are the Symptoms of This Condition?

This condition can cause all kinds of damage and also may be the source of different levels of damage. What that means is that it can actually erode the lining as well of the esophagus, it can damage the internal layers and cause many problems.

The issues with the dog can cause many symptoms such as vomiting, pain, as well as swallowing, lack of appetite, and also many issues with weight loss. An exam will not show any findings but it may also lead to other problems like fever and also salivation and drooling.

What is the Cause of This Condition?

The causes of acid reflux can also happen any time when there is an anesthetic that is administered, that happens because there is then an opening that happens between the stomach and the esophagus. This happens when there is an improper positioning that happens with the pet during the process and that means the dog may not have the proper process of anesthesia. This will cause acid reflux in the dog.

There is also a congenital condition that causes this situation as well that is called a hiatal hernia and it is the reason of the reflux as well. Younger dogs are always at a greater risk than older ones to get the condition because they are still developing the proper closing and functions as well. This will also lead to long term vomiting as well as other risk factors.

What is the Diagnosis for This Condition?

The best way to diagnose the condition is by an esophagostomy which is an examination with a camera that will look at the inside of the esophagus. That also means that this is the best way to determine what is happening in the throat as well as look at the reflux issues that are happening. There is also an exam that may look at the surface of the throat and look at the mucus. There also can be a lot of issues as see that there is bleeding in the throat.

There are many other diagnoses that also can come from a caustic agent as well as a foreign problem that can appear as well as or a hiatal hernia. There are also many other issues as well that are in the throat and in the mouth, there is also another condition that happens in the muscles when they are not working properly and they are not able to push food into the stomach.

What is The Treatment for This Condition?

There are many treatments that are able to be done at home such as getting rid of food for one or two days and also allowing there to be a healthy regimen for the pet. You want to make sure that you are working with your vet to know what you should be doing and that means that you need to be making sure that you listening to the advice of your vet and that you are able to ensure that you have to reduce the amount of fat that is in the middle of the muscle and also that you reduce the amount of protein as this is what will stimulate the production of acid.

There are many medications that are also available that can be administered with the assistance of your vet. It is very important to make sure that you are able to have access to the best solutions out there and work with your vet.

Have you Heard Why Dogs Bark at the Postman?

Do you wonder why your pet keep barking its head off at the postman, and all the other people who trail regularly to your front door?  And are you driven insane at trying to control the noise?  Here are some ideas as to what’s going on and how you can deal with it.

First, you have to think canine.  For your pet, there are certain universal truths.  One is that you are the best person in the world.  Another is that you are a complete dolt, unable to recognize a threat when you see one.

You see, your pet knows that territory is vital. You need to keep your ground free and clear of all enemies so that you and your loved ones are safe.

Now, you have your territory and every single day there’s this evil person sneaking up and trying to invade!  He tries to dump things like letters and parcels too, the scoundrel!  But it’s okay because your brave pet is scaring him off.

Yes, every single day your best friend is making sure you and the rest of the family are safe from the assaults of the postman and his fellow friends the paper boy, the trash collectors and the meter readers.

Now you are seeing your pet’s point of view, the solution is fairly clear.  Instead of yelling (which your pet takes as encouragement like you’re barking along) you should very quietly calm your pet.

Teach your pet to bark once, say “well done” and then very gently put your hand over his mouth and say “Quiet now.” Praise the silence and get your dog into a routine where one bark is enough. Click and treat works well too. Try having them look always to you for command. It only takes 5 to 10 minutes a day to teach a dog a new trick.

Also, if you can, introduce the postman to your dog so that your pet knows its not the enemy but a friend.

by Ellen Whyte

9 Steps On How to Break Up Dogs Who Are Fighting In Your Household

2 Dogs Playing BlogWhen you have a house with dogs, sometimes this means that they are going to fight. It is your job to make sure that you are able to keep them from fighting or getting into a situation that will escalate quickly. Pets are like our children and that means that like them, we have to gently guide them not to poop on the carpet and fight from time to time. Here are some steps that will help you keep your dogs from fighting.

  1. Remember to Trust Your Instincts! This means that you want to make sure when you see things begin to escalate that you are able to stop things before they continue to get out of hand. When you do this you will be able to see before a fight is about to start. You will be able to look at their body language and you will see how things are going with them. You will notice that you are able to stop this behavior before anything else begins.

 

  1. Make Sure That You Keep Your Cool! It is important to realize that you have a job to do and that means that you need to be completely cool and ensure that you are ready for whatever may ensue. You cannot do this if you are not focusing on the right things at the right time.

 

  1. Do Not Scream At the Dogs! This is a waste of time and it will not help you. You need to make sure that you are focused on how to break them up. The dogs will not listen to you and that means that you are going to just waste your energy in something that is fruitless.

 

  1. You Want to Break Up the Dogs Without Getting Hurt! It is very important to realize that you need to be very careful as well because it is completely possible to get hurt if you are not paying attention to what you are doing and that means you need to be safe.

 

  1. Get a leash! This will allow you to get control over one of the dogs quickly.

 

  1. Dogs will be focused on one another which mean that you will have enough time to go behind the dog and clip the leash onto the collar; this requires that the dog has a collar.

 

  1. After you do this, you will want to drag the dog to something that you can hook the leash to; when you do this you are creating a circle of separation between the two dogs.

 

  1. You want to make sure that you go behind the back legs of the second dog and pull it away as well so that you will be able to protect yourself as well as pull back the other dog.

 

  1. Then pull one of the dogs into a pen so that the two are separated.

 

When two dogs are fighting, it is very important for you to realize that you can end up in the middle of the fight if you are not careful and you do not know what to do. What that means for you is that it is mission critical that you take the utmost care to make sure that you are able to break up the fight without ending up in the center of the fight. That can be very challenging to do. One of the main reasons that you want to make sure that your dog is wearing a collar is so that you can hook a leash to it in a situation like this as it is the only way that it is possible to make sure that you are able to break up the fight and know that the pets are going to behave properly. It is not uncommon for a person who is trying to break up a fight to instead end up in the middle of it and have to deal with some bites and wounds. Remember when you see a fight to always act quickly and remember that as much as dogs are our best friends, they are not people. That means that we need to treat dogs as though they are smart animals but animals nonetheless. Without this sort of immediate action, there will be problems because you will end up in the middle of a fight. After this is over as well it is important to look back at the dog and see if he or she may need some training.