What’s the Best Dog Movie?

Max, a movie about a military dog whose handler is killed and is adopted by his family back in the States, opened over the weekend.  maxI’ve seen the commercials for the movie and it looks interesting, especially to dog lovers.  But all movies can look good when you have less than 30 seconds for a promo.  Max is a Belgian Malinois, a breed I wasn’t familiar with until I started my dog walking business.  We took care of some and they are great dogs.  One of the ones we took care of was named Max.

They made national headlines with their involvement with the capture of Osama Bin Laden.  I’m not going to mention much else about Max, because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.  Also, most of the reviews that I have read haven’t been favorable.  In fact, one says the great dog can’t save the bad plot.  The premiere got me wondering what is the best dog movie ever produced.

I have to admit, I’m not much of a movie person at all.  I don’t see more than 2 or 3 movies a year.  I didn’t see Marley (truth be told, I was afraid that would be a little too sad for me). marley I didn’t see Cujo (I don’t like movies like that).  I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of the Beethoven movies.  I did see Old Yeller as a kid.  When I think of dog movies I think of Lassie and Benji.   I Googled dog movies  to see if there were some movies I couldn’t think of.  I found several sites came up that listed their views.   Ranker has a list of best dog movies and they list to 77.  The first is Turner and Hooch.  77th is Bailey’s Billion$ (sic).  According to IMDB, Sweet and savvy talking golden retriever, Bailey, is one doggone lucky pooch when his devoted owner, Constance Pennington, leaves him her entire billion-dollar fortune.  IMDB ranks it as 3.9 stars.  If you were a fan of it, go to Ranker.com and vote it up.

Because I don’t watch a lot of movies, I don’t usually get involved in debates over “the best movie.”  I feel more confident debating the merits of athletes. max2 I don’t know where Max will wind up in the annals of all time great dog movies.  It came in as the 4th highest grossing movie over the weekend, with $12 million.  It was number 2 among movies premiering this weekend.  Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 38.  I would love to know what your favorite dog movie is and if you’ll give Max a chance.

Fetch! Pet Care provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock, GA.  You can see the happy pets by checking out our Instagram page at http://instagram.com/fetchnwatlanta/.

Dog Bite Prevention Week

Millions of people are bitten by dogs every year and most of those bitten are children.  The insurance information institute estimates that in 2013, insurers across the country paid nearly $500 million in dog bite claims. In an effort to reduce the number of dog bites, this week is National Dog Bite Prevention Week.  I think this is very important because so many dog bites can be prevented.  The first step in preventing dog bites is using common sense.   Many bites occur in the home. mean pic Make sure children and dogs aren’t left in the same room without some adult supervision.  And something can happen very quickly, so don’t even leave for a moment.   If you or your kids aren’t in a position to be bitten by a dog, you won’t be bitten.  Even if you don’t have a dog in your home, there are some things you need to be aware of in case you are confronted with a dog.

Sandy Watson, co-owner, of Dog School 101, is a certified dog trainer.  She says you can take some cues from a dog before approaching it.  “Don’t think a wagging dog is a happy dog,” she says.  “Don’t approach a dog if it is behind its owner.  Also watch its hackles to see if they are raised.  You don’t want to approach that dog because it is not at ease.”  Watson also says it’s important not to lower your face to the dog’s level because it can feel threatened.  When you are playing with a dog, don’t hold its toy near your face.  The dog may jump up to get the toy and get your face instead.    The same thing applies with food.  Children should be told not to tease a dog or hold food where the dog can get it.

You should teach your children to treat strange dogs like strange people.  Don’t let them approach one   Children are such frequent victims because they are close to eye level with the dog.  For some more information about this, The American Veterinary Medical Association has a CD available for sale for families to try and prevent dog bites.  The ASPCA has some notes about reading a dog’s state of mind on its website.

When our dog walkers at Fetch! Pet Care are  with a client’s dog and a child approaches the dog, we ask that it not pet it this time.  You never know how the pet may react when it’s with our sitter and not the owner.  If you are approached by a dog that’s not on a leash, Watson has some simple advice.  “Stand like a tree.  If it knocks you down, lie like a log.”  Any sudden movements could spook the dog.

If all these things don’t work and you are bitten, what are the first aid steps you should take?  According to WebMD, if there’s blood; use a clean towel to stop the bleeding.  Keep the wound elevated if possible.  It should be cleaned with soap and water as quickly as possible.  Use an antibiotic ointment daily to prevent infection.  If it’s a serious wound, seek medical treatment.  You should try and get as much information as possible about the dog, including vaccination history and other medical info.  That can help the doctor with treatment.

Hopefully, you and your family won’t have to deal with a dog bite.  Just follow some common sense rules and your time with the dog will be fun.  That’s the way it’s supposed to be!

Fetch! Pet Care provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock, GA.  You can see the happy pets by checking out our Instagram page at http://instagram.com/fetchnwatlanta/.

Pets and the Cold

     The Atlanta area will be seeing some temperatures dropping down to close to all time record lows over the next few days, so it will be important for pet owners to take some precautions for not only their pets, but themselves.  ImageOur sitters are preparing for these conditions as well.  As every pet owner knows, regardless of what else is going on, nature will call your pets so you’re going to have to go outside for at least a little bit. 

    Tuesday morning temperatures are forecast to be in the single digits with wind chills below zero.  If you keep your dog outside, you should really considering bringing him in for the night.  If there is no way for that to happen, you should consider boarding it for that night.  Make sure the boarding facility is taking precautions for the cold and make sure your dog has a warm bed at least.  If the dog will be staying outside, make sure the doghouse has been wind proofed and insulated.  Take some extra blankets out there to keep it warm.  And don’t forget water.  There are water dishes available that won’t freeze, but you may not be able to find them around Atlanta on this short notice. 

     If your dog spends most of its time inside, you will need to make sure you are dressed warmly as well.  Even if you are convinced you will only be out for a few minutes it’s dangerous to have any exposed skin when temperatures and wind chills are that low.  And as every dog owner knows, when you want your pet  to go quickly, it won’t regardless of how cold it is.  Be sure and wear layers, gloves, and a hat.  There’s a chance of some icy conditions over the next few days as well.  If you come across ice, try your best to avoid it.  The ice  can cause damage to your dog’s pads, plus the obvious reason, you don’t want to slip on it.  If you walk in an area when you see that salt or other chemicals have been used on the ice, make sure you wipe off your dog’s paws very carefully when you get back home.  The chemicals will burn and it will start licking them and that can lead to a lot of problems. 

    After you get back in, keep a close eye on your dog.  Make sure it drinks water to stay hydrated.  Dogs can show signs of shivering.  If you see that outside, get it back in, regardless of if it has done its business.  ImageIdeally you should snuggle up with your dog so both of you can warm back up together.  If that’s not possible, move your dog’s bed into a warm spot and make sure it gets in it.  You can tell when dogs and cats are cold.  They will curl up more and want to snuggle with you.  You may want to give them an extra blanket or towel to curl up with.  If they look lethargic that’s an early warning signal that there could be a problem.  Contact your vet. 

   I’m sure most of you know all this stuff already, but this will be a cold snap that’s not seen much in the Atlanta area, so taking some time and precautions can help you and your pets make it through the first part of the week safely. 

       Fetch! Pet Care provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock, GA.  You can see the happy pets by following us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/  

Dog Bite Prevention Week

     National Dog Bite Prevention Week starts on Sunday.  The American Veterinary Medical Association started designating a week to focus attention on dog bites and theirImage prevention.  Just how much of a problem is this in our country?  4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs annually.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than half of those are children.  The Insurance Information Institute says dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claim dollars paid out in 2012 at nearly $500 million dollars.  The number of claims filed last year actually decreased by 1.4 percent.  Georgia ranks 9th in the US with 121 claims paid last year worth $3.3 million.  The US Postal service says that nearly 5900 letter carriers were attacked by dogs last year.  Atlanta doesn’t show up in the top 20 US cities for dog attacks on Postal Service Workers, but Los Angeles is number one with 69.

  Whether or not a dog will bite has nothing to do with the breed.  Any dog in any breed can bite. Image The friendliest Lab will turn aggressive if it’s chained to a pole and ignored all day.  Socialization of your dog with people at an early age is very important.  You should never leave a child alone with a dog.  Make sure your kids know not to disturb a dog that is eating or sleeping.   Avoid exposing your dog to people and situations that are unfamiliar to it so you don’t know how it will react.  If you’re thinking about getting a dog, talk to a vet or an animal behaviorist about what breeds work best with your household situation.  Do you have small children? Will the dog spend a lot of time alone?  These things are important in ensuring that your dog will be less likely to attack someone. 

    Don’t be afraid to keep people, especially children away from your pet when you are walking them.  A lot of times when our dog walkers are walking client dogs someone will come up and ask if they can pet the dog.  ImageVI tell the sitters to politely decline, telling them it’s not their dog and they are not sure how the dog will react.  Sometimes children may get a little bolder approaching a dog on a leash, but since the dog is on a leash and out of its comfort zone, it may be more on edge and more likely to attack.  The advice I give my sitters could work for you:  Be aware of your surroundings and eliminate the potential for trouble before it happens.  If you are walking your dog and there is a group of children or you see a dog off its leash, turn around or go a different way, so there won’t be any interaction. 

    Some of the links in this story have more tips to avoid dog bites.  Be sure and check those out and check in on my Facebook and Google + pages to see things I’ll have posted all next week.  Dogs are for fun and pleasure, but you must remember they are animals and you never know how they will react in strange situations.  Stay safe and don’t wind up as a statistic!

   Fetch! Pet Care provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock, GA.  You can see the happy pets by following us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween

Halloween is a time for fun for kids of all ages and even our animals.  But it’s no fun if there’s an accident.  If you take a few precautions you can reduce the likelihood of your pet being involved with a problem.

Halloween is all about candy and we know that candy and animals don’t mix.  According to the ASPCA chocolate is the number one human food that pets ingest.  Human food ranks number 4 on their list of the top pet toxins in 2011. The 2nd most ingested human food is xylitol, the sugar substitute.

A lot of the rules are common sense and you’ve learned these if you’ve had a pet very long.  Don’t leave the basket of candy you are handing out in a place the dog can get it.  Also you may want to assign someone to handle the dog, especially if you have a dog that gets excited when the doorbell rings.  Don’t leave him unattended in another room because he may get very agitated and destructive.  If you have young children, make sure they are supervised when eating their candy so the dog won’t be able to get it.

Image   If you’re going to dress up your pet the folks at Halo pet food have some good tips for safe Halloween costumes.   Here are some creative outfits!

Many people have had their Halloween plans changed because of the damage from Superstorm Sandy.

Photo: By Mehdi Taamallah, AFP/Getty Image

Many pets have lost their homes and have become separated from their families.  The Humane Society as well as the ASPCA are both active in animal control in the damaged areas and working to reunite animals with their owners as well as helping orphaned animals.  You can follow their efforts and contribute money on their websites and their social media sites.

Fetch! Pet Care of NW Atlanta provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Woodstock and Kennesaw, GA.  You can see the happy pets by following us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/.

Dog Treats for Halloween

A lot of money is being spent on candy for kids on Halloween, but your dog doesn’t have to be left out of the fun of getting a treat.  You can get healthy and fun treats at the Dog City Bakery in East Cobb.   I love going in the shop to say hello to Marcia Lain, the Pack Leader and chef.   You can’t miss the smell of the fresh treats in the oven.  Olive and Lilly, her two Boston Terriers, come up and say hello before retreating back to their beds.

Marcia opened the bakery in 2008.  She had lost 2 dogs to cancer and after she looked into why they may have died, she realized some dog food and treats have things in them that aren’t real good for dogs.   “I decided to make my own, so I’d know what was in them, she said.  “After my kids went off to college I had the time and set up the Boutique here in East Cobb.”

  You can see the ingredients for each of the treats so you can avoid something that your pet is allergic to or can’t eat.  “This is a fun way for the dogs to join in and have fun with the family,” said Marcia.  For Halloween she doesn’t just have some cookies with spooky designs, she’s also made some Halloween cakes as well.  When I stopped by to chat with her on Tuesday she was making a cake for a 2 year old birthday party.  “It’s applesauce and cinnamon based,” she said as she put the topping on the cake.  “The topping has some sugar, but it’s a yogurt base that’s okay for dogs.”   The best sellers are the personal sized woof cakes and the most popular cookies are the Apple Soft Bites and the Cheesy Beggin’ Twists.  And if your pooch needs something special to wash the treat down with, you don’t have to rely on water.  They have Bowser Beer, a non-alcoholic beer for dogs.

Marcia doesn’t make food to sell, but she has a wide selection of healthy pet foods for sale, for both dogs and cats.  And soon she may have some homemade treats for cats.  “I have a recipe for cat treats and I may start doing that again,” she said.

She’s been providing treats for me to give as gifts for new clients for more than a year.  They are always well received.  Don’t leave your dog out on Wednesday night when the tasty treats are being passed around!

Fetch! Pet Care of NW Atlanta provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Woodstock and Kennesaw, GA.  You can see the happy pets by following us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/.

Fall Festivals and Fun For All, Even the Dog

Football and cooler weather aren’t the only great things about autumn.  Many communities hold festivals to provide family fun, build spirit, raise money and promote local businesses.

Many of these festivals invite pets and the Taste of Acworth on October 13 even has a pet show as part of the fun.  These events may seem a great opportunity to include the dog in the outing, but unless the dog is advanced socially, the fun can be spoiled.

In order to make sure the day is fun for all involved, here are some things to remember even if you’ve taken your dog to many of these things before.    You want to make sure your dog has been fed before you leave.  You will want to take your own water supply and travel bowl.  Some of the pet oriented vendors will likely have bowls at their booth for this purpose, but you will want to make sure the dog stays hydrated.  If you are going to take it to many of these things, you may want to buy a backpack for it.  That’s a great place to put water bottles, the bowl and some food or treats.  It may also serve to make him feel more secure with the pack around him.

Take care not to spend too much time on the asphalt.  Remember that even if the air temperature might not be as hot as a month ago, the asphalt will heat up much faster and cause them discomfort.  Give them a break off the asphalt in the grass or if there is no grass, spend some time in the shade.  If there are other dogs at a group water bowl, you may want to wait until those dogs finish before you let your dog drink.  Strange dogs can get territorial and react if they feel threatened.

If you are taking a dog that’s not used to being in a social situation be sure and watch it carefully.  While most of the people are having fun, the activity, the heat and the noise can create stress in your pet.  Signs of anxiety include pacing, drooling, slumped body posture and its tail is down.  Acclimate it to the situation by hanging around the edges of the crowd instead of going straight in.  Also if your dog seems a little nervous, you may want to keep others away from it, especially children.  When a dog is anxious it is more likely to become agitated and could bite if it feels threatened.  You may not want to plan on a long stay for your first few times taking a dog to one of these festivals.  If it seems fine, great enjoy the day. 

If it doesn’t seem fine, you may have to cut your day short and take it home.

This weekend there’s a big event in Cobb County, with the East Cobber Parade and Festival.  I’ll be there at the East Cobb Business Association booth and I’ll be stopping by the booth of my friends at Dog School 101.  If you’re looking for some other pet-friendly events around Roswell and Cobb County, I have a list on the Fetch! Pet Care of NW Atlanta Facebook page.  I’ll be at most of these events.  Stop by and say hey and I may have something special for your dog and for you!

Fetch! Pet Care of NW Atlanta provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Woodstock and Kennesaw, GA.  You can follow us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/. I’ll have pictures from Saturday posted on Pinterest and Facebook by Saturday afternoon.

Your Dog Walking Kit

You don’t have to be a professional pet sitter to need a kit for when you walk your dogs, even if it’s just around your neighborhood.  There are a few things that you should carry with you, whenever you walk a dog.  They will fit in a fanny pack or other small bag and may be very important.  Some of these things, hopefully you won’t need, but if you do, it’s nice to have them handy.  In extreme cases it could save you or your dogs.

The most obvious thing is pick up bags. Most dog owners have plenty of these.  Dispensers are made that attach right to your leash or your belt.  You can by the rolled up bags or use old newspaper bags, bread bags, produce bags, or whatever you have around the house.  If you walk your dog around your neighborhood or other public place, you must pick up after them.  Most of you know that.  Always keep some spare bags in your kit.  You may find someone else who needs one or there aren’t as many in your dispenser as you thought.

You should have a piece of cloth than can be used as a muzzle.  This needs to be at least 6 feet long and an inch wide.  You can find out more about this in my first aid entry.  If the dog gets injured it must be muzzled before you can attempt to treat it.

No matter how strict the neighborhood is on leash laws there always seems to be a dog that gets out.  The best way to handle this situation is to avoid it.  Go in another direction.  But if it’s unavoidable and you or your dog is confronted by another dog, you have to be prepared.  Carry a boat horn or a spray bottle with white vinegar with you to ward off the unwanted approach.    

If you walk in the dark carry a small flashlight.  I do not like the retractable leashes, especially if you walk more than one dog, you walk your dog in a high-traffic area or in the dark.  Even if you carry a flashlight and your dog is at the far end of a retractable leash, the driver of the car, may see you, but not your dog.  I tell my sitters to carry a 6 foot leash and use that on the dogs when the owners have a retractable leash.  It’s too easy to be distracted by one dog, when the other one wanders too far and gets in trouble.

I keep treats handy as well.  This way you can reward the dog or help it in its training.

Fetch! Pet Care of NW Atlanta provides dog walking and pet sitting services as well as providing cat care in Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock.

Pets and Fertilizer

This time of year we’re seeing the lawn service trucks come back into neighborhoods to spray yards with weed killer and fertilizer as dormant lawns come to life in the warmer temperatures.  ImageThat makes the yards look great but it can be dangerous for your pets.  When you see the signs in a yard that say it’s been serviced, you know not to let your pet walk into that yard.  But even by keeping your pet out of the grass, the weed killer can get on his paws.  If it’s a windy day, the spray can get on sidewalks or the road, but even it’s not windy the spray can go where it’s not intended.   If the pet gets fertilizer on its paws it will track in your house where it could be picked up by others.  Your pet may lick its paws and ingest the poison.

There is something quite easy for you to do to prevent this.  You can keep disinfectant wipes by your door and wipe off your pet’s paws before it goes back in the house.  ImageAs part of your pet and family first aid plan you should have the local poison control center number readily available.  In metro Atlanta call 404-616-9000.  Here’s the link to the website.

Fetch! Pet Care of NW Atlanta provides in-home pet care and dog walking as well as cat care services in Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock, Georgia.

First Aid Kit for pets

As we head into March, even with the mild winter we’ve had, dog owners are looking forward to spending more time outside with their pets.  If you go to a park or on a hiking trail  or even around the house, there are plenty of potential problems out there for dogs, especially given their curious nature.  But if you are prepared you can prevent some of these things from becoming a major problem for you and your pet.  I’m going to list some of the basic things you need for your first aid kit.  This will fit easily in a fanny pack and many of these items can be used by you and other humans should the need arise on your hikes.  Cat owners you too should have a kit ready as well.

I mentioned in the last blog the importance of having a strip of material to use as a muzzle.  This is an essential element to your first aid kit, because unless the dog is restrained, it is almost impossible to move an injured dog who is conscious and in pain.  Here is a list of other items to include from the Pet Tech Petsaver program text book:

Adhesive Tape – 1 inch roll

Gauze pads – 3 or 4 inch square

Gauze rolls – 2 inch for small pets, 3 inch for larger dogs

Triangular Bandages

Individually wrapped sanitary napkins

Digital thermometer

Blunt end scissors

Tweezers

Eye dropper

12 cc syringe with needle removed

Antihistamine gel caps – put a safety pin in the package to prick hole in cap and squirt into pet’s mouth

Antibiotic – ex. Neosporin

Hydrogen peroxide (3%)

Vinegar or baking soda – used to neutralize burns caused by acids

Activated charcoal – used to absorb poisons

Petroleum jelly – as lubricant for thermometer

Kaopectate

Chemical ice pack

Small flashlight

Needle nose pliers

Q-tips

Betadine solution

Razor blades

Extra leash and collar

Plastic bags – for clean up or to save samples to give to vet

Permanent marking pen – for marking sample bags

Towel or blanket large enough to use to transport your pet

Latex or nitrile gloves

Pet Tech offers pet first aid classes and can explain how some of these ingredients are used.  The American Red Cross also offers pet first aid classes.  You can ask your vet about this as well.

In addition to these items you should keep a picture of you and your pet together in the bag in case you need to prove ownership of the dog.  Also you may have emergency numbers in your phone, but you should have them written down too.  Your cell phone batteries could be dead and you may have to borrow someone’s phone.  Also include a number for poison control.

Fetch! Pet Care of NW Atlanta provides dog walking and pet sitting services as well as providing cat care in Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock.