All posts by Shawn McClafferty

How to Create an Emergency Plan for Your Pet

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Pets are an essential part of every household. Guaranteeing their safety during disastrous situations is the owner’s responsibility. To help you do that, we are listing 4 steps to follow when creating an emergency plan for pets.

An Emergency Survival Kit

In a disastrous situation like hurricanes, floods, or tornadoes, an emergency kit should be your priority. It should contain:

  • At least three days’ worth of food and water.
  • Compiled medical records and essential medicines.
  • Basic first aid essentials like bandages, disinfectants, gloves, scissors, ointments, saline solution, flea, tick prevention medications, etc.
  • We suggest you opt for microchipping your pet to keep track of their whereabouts. Otherwise, you can always put an ID label or tracking collar.
  • Keep items for sanitation, including a litter box, newspapers, trash bags, paper towels, etc.
  • A picture of your pet and you in case you two get separated.
  • Some of your pet’s favorite toys to help reduce stress during disasters.
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Draft a Getaway Plan

You must do your research before you abandon your house during emergencies. Conduct your research and identify safe zones to head for if need be. Identify friends or family members who may be willing to take care of your pet or look for boarding facilities or hotels that can help you out.

Buddy Rescue System

Disasters often come unannounced and unexpectedly. Make sure you talk to neighbors or friends who can evacuate your pet in case you are unavailable.

Contact your Vet

Discuss your pet’s conditions with your vet before drafting the plan. Ask them or any specific medications that you need to carry during emergencies. They will also provide you with contact details of emergency treatment centers for your pets. Make sure you keep that list safe and readily available during an emergency.

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Why It’s Important to Vaccinate Your Pet

Why It’s Important to Vaccinate Your Pet

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The purpose of vaccinating your pets is the same as vaccinating your children – the protection from dangerous diseases. Diseases like rabies can affect the health of your pet animals and can even result in their early demise.

If it is your first time owning a pet, read this blog post to know why it is important to vaccinate your pet.

  • Vaccination of Pets Is a Legal Requirement

The United States has made it mandatory for all pet owners to get their pets vaccinated done. House-kept pets have to be vaccinated against rabies. Moreover, they also need to get certain vaccines if they get out or if any other animal enters your house. Not getting your pets vaccinated might get you in trouble with the authorities.

  • Protection of Pet’s Health

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Vaccinating your pets means that they’ll be able to stay healthier for longer. Not only is it important for your pet’s wellbeing but the wellbeing of other animals and people as well. If your unvaccinated pet bites someone else’s pet, it can become a major liability.

  • Protection of Your Family’s Health Certain diseases like rabies and leptospirosis in animals can be transmitted to humans. Unvaccinated pets are a serious risk to the elderly and children in your home. To ensure that your family members aren’t at risk due to your pet, you need to keep their vaccinations up to date.
  • A Requirement of Boarding Facilities

Boarding facilities ask for an updated vaccine record of your pet.  They will not entertain your pet if you fail to provide an up-to-date vaccination record.

  • Helps Save Money

The amount of money that you pay when you vaccinate your pet is nothing compared to treatment costs that you’ll have to bear in case your pet gets ill. Vaccinating your pets according to a proper vaccination schedule will help you save money in the long run.

It’s important to vaccinate your pet to keep it healthy and your family and the people around safe. Not getting your pets vaccinated is really not an option, at least not if you’re living in the United States!

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Why is Microchipping Important?

Why is Microchipping Important?

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The love we have for our pets is perhaps best described as something similar to that of a parent and child. Losing your beloved pet can be traumatic, and nobody wants to take that risk. There are multiple methods that pet owners use to keep track of their pets, and one of them is via microchips.

Here are a few reasons that can best summarize the importance of microchipping your pets.

It establishes a Link with your Pet

Microchips are easily embeddable computer chips that contain a unique identification number granted to each pet. These chips are minute and are easily embedded in your pet’s skin via a syringe and needle.

The identification granted to each pet is registered against the contact details of the owner. If your pet gets lost and ends up in a shelter, the shelter management can locate the chip and contact the owners right away.

Safer than ID Tags and Tracking Collars

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While microchips mainly provide the same function as ID tags or tracking collars do, they are safer to use. Id tags and collars are easily removable. In case your pet gets stolen, the thief only has to rip off the label, and they are then free to sell the pet as they please.

However, a microchip is embedded into the pet’s skin and is not easily detectable or removable. It increases your chances of locating your pet if the thief tries to sell it.

Could Save Their Life

More than half of the lost pets that end up in a shelter house are unable to survive the harsh conditions. A pet with a microchip can be safely returned to the owners even if it does end up in a shelter house.

Even if your little pal does slip out from the safety of the house, the chip ensures they will have a high chance of making their way back home.

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What Does It Take to Be a Certified Dog Trainer?

What Does It Take to Be a Certified Dog Trainer?

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Most pet owners decide to self-train their dogs. However, there is more to training than teaching obedience, and the seven basic, sit, stay, no, heel, come, down, and off commands. If you’ve ever wondered how to be a certified trainer, then you’ve come to the right place.

There are various training techniques designed to prepare your dogs for different purposes. There are three steps to becoming a certified dog trainer.

1. Education

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The essence of dog training lies in the understanding of dog psychology and behavioral patterns. Various schools offer courses on the science of animal behavior. Look for schools that have been in the field for long and whose courses are scientifically sound. You are essentially signing up to be a dog’s psychiatrist.  We train 9 Basic Commands:  Sit, Down, Stay with distractions,  Come,  Heel with an automatic sit, Leave it, Drop it, Place Off,  and a verbal reprimand “Uhh Ahh”.

2. Experience

The next step is to get as much experience as possible. Many pet shops hire trainers, and so do official pet training institutes. By gaining professional work experience, you further enhance your knowledge and learn how to tackle even the most difficult of dogs. The more experience you earn, the more expertise you develop, which increases your chances of getting a certification.

3. Certification

Doggie Day School 300x200 - What Does It Take to Be a Certified Dog Trainer?You don’t necessarily have to be certified to be counted as a trainer, but it does help boost your resume, especially when backed by experience.  We are balance trainers at Top Dog. We correct behaviors we do not want and we reward behaviors we do want. Each of our trainers is certified through the NC Community College System at Tarheel Canine School for Dog Trainers. We acquired hands-on experience with all types of temperaments and behavior issues, including aggressive dogs. We participated in lectures on the scientific basis of our training methods. We gained experience in training police dogs, SAR dogs, professional pet obedience, and behavior modification. We had to complete a detailed exam combined with definitions, essays, and evaluations of hands-on experience before we graduated and from the program and earned our certifications.  We believe in bonding with the dog by creating a job they enjoy. Whether it’s a game of sit and stay before he plays fetch or putting his nose to work with SAR or searching games. Other dogs love to go for a walk and then snuggle on the couch while watching Netflix. We do NOT judge a book by its cover! Instead, we read the dog’s story so we understand what the dog needs. Every dog learns differently, so we teach in a way the dog can learn.

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How to Protect Your Dog in Snow and Ice

How to Protect Your Dog in Snow and Ice

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Snow doesn’t just excite humans; dogs love to play in the snow too. You can’t help but feel amused with the unbridled joy you will see in your dog when you let them out to play in the fresh snow. However, snow and ice can be really dangerous for your dog, at least in terms of their health and wellbeing.

To make sure that your dog is protected from the snow and ice, there are a number of steps that you can take. To help you take better care of your dog, we have listed some tips below.

1.   Inspect Their Paws Regularly

The paws of your dog are most susceptible to getting affected by snow, ice, and extremely cold temperatures. To protect your dog from snow and ice and ensure your dog’s wellbeing, you must inspect their paws regularly for cracks, cuts, and signs of abrasion so that you can attend to them at the right time.

2.   Trim Their Paw Hair

Patches of hair between the toes and pads are common in dogs. While they might look endearing to you, they pose a serious risk for your dog. Snow can get stuck in these hairs and form ice clogs. In such a situation, your dog gets put at a serious risk of frostbite. To make sure your dog doesn’t get frostbite, trim back the paw hair in winter months.

3.   Set Up An Entryway

To protect your dog from snow and ice, you should consider setting up an entryway for your dog. Keep towels and mats at the entryway so that you can dry your dog as soon as it returns after playing in the snow.

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Just like humans, dogs can slip on snow and ice. If your dog slips and falls on the ice, it could end up rupturing a ligament or spraining its limbs. Therefore, to keep your dog safe and sound during the snowy season, you should keep your porch clear of any snow or ice. You should use ice melters that are safe for dogs, or you could apply sand on your porch and steps so that the surface doesn’t stay slippery.

5.   Consider Dog Shoes, Booties, and Socks

If you find it hard to keep your dog indoors most of the time and you’re concerned it might end up getting hurt or sick, you should consider getting it dog shoes, dog booties, or dog socks. They are specially made for dogs to keep their paws protected from the cold.

6.   Use Paw Balm

Before you let your dog out in the snow, apply paw balm. This balm will keep your dog’s paws moisturized and will also protect it against damage that the snow can cause. Also, moisturized paws are less susceptible to cracks and cuts

AdobeStock 192998162 Socks 300x252 - How to Protect Your Dog in Snow and IceDogs love it when you let them go outdoors and play to their heart’s content. With the right protective measures, your dog will stay protected from snow and ice. After all, a happy dog means a happy you!

Take advantage of our Winter Suite Specials, $35 per night, per dog with FREE day school. We also have Private lesson for home dog training. We offer grooming to spoil your dog too.

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National Pet Dental Health Month

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Did you know dental ailments are one of the most untreated medical conditions in pets? That’s right; most pet owners spend hours grooming their fluff buddies, but often neglect the dental hygiene of their pets. And that can be disastrous for your pet’s overall well-being.

Dental diseases can lead to internal medical problems in pets, especially in dogs. And considering the high prevalence of dental defects and the lack of care, it’s not surprising that many domestic animals develop liver problems later in life.

To raise awareness regarding the matter, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) sponsors National Pet dental health month every year. Each year, February is dedicated to urging pet owners to take preventative dental measures for their animal friends.Pets become more susceptible to developing an oral condition after the age of two. Approximately 70-85% of cats and dogs are affected by periodontal disease after turning 3. Periodontal disease is an oral condition characterized by swollen gums and bloody tissues around the teeth. It’s one of the most common oral conditions in animals. Other common dental maladies, aside from periodontal disease, are:

  • Broken teeth
  • Loose Teeth
  • Fractured jaw
  • Swollen or bleeding gums
  • Abscesses or infected teeth
  • Malocclusion, or misalignment of the teeth and bite
  • Cysts or tumors in the mouth
  • Palate defects such as a cleft palate

To save your pet from developing dental irregularities, a pet owner should take them to the vet at least once a year. However, if you spot some abnormalities in your pet’s eating behavior, accompanied by some dental warning signs, then you should make the trip to the vet sooner. The most common symptoms of an oral condition in a pet are:

  • Stinky breath
  • Laborious chewing
  • Bleeding in the mouth
  • Tartar build-up
  • Refusal to eat

Dental Month 3 300x197 - National Pet Dental Health MonthRegular dental checkups are essential, but daily at-home care is also necessary for pets. You should brush your pet’s teeth daily; if you can’t do it every day, make sure to do it at least five times a week. Clean your pet’s mouth after every meal and frequently use mouthwashes and wipes to wipe the area in and around the mouth.

Your pet is unable to tell you that they’re having dental issues, and so you need to proactive about their oral health. Use this month as an opportunity to learn more about what you can do.

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If needed, you may board your new puppy and take advantage of our dog training chapel hill services this new year. Our dog training nc centers are clean and well maintained. Also, don’t forget we offer dog grooming Durham services too.

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Fruits and Vegetable Dogs Can and Can’t Eat

Fruits Dogs Can and Can’t Eat

Yesdogs can eat apples. Apples are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, as well as fiber for your dog. They are low in protein and fat, making them the perfect snack for senior dogs. Just be sure to remove the seeds and core first. Try them frozen for an icy warm weather snack.

Nodogs should not eat avocado. While avocado may be a healthy snack for dog owners, it should not be given to dogs at all. The pit, skin, and leaves of avocados contain persin, a toxin that often causes vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. The fleshy inside of the fruit doesn’t have as much persin as the rest of the plant, but it is still too much for dogs to handle.

Yesdogs can eat bananas. In moderation, bananas are a great low-calorie treat for dogs. They’re high in potassium, vitamins, biotin, fiber, and copper. They are low in cholesterol and sodium, but because of their high sugar content, bananas should be given as a treat, not part of your dog’s main diet.

Yesdogs can eat blueberries. Blueberries are a superfood rich in antioxidants, which prevent cell damage in humans and canines alike. They’re packed with fiber and phytochemicals as well. Teaching your dog to catch treats in the air? Try blueberries as an alternative to store-bought treats.

Yescantaloupe is safe for dogs. Cantaloupe is packed with nutrients, low in calories, and a great source of water and fiber. It is, however, high in sugar, so should be shared in moderation, especially for dogs who are overweight or have diabetes.

Nodogs should not eat cherries. With the exception of the fleshy part around the seed, cherry plants contain cyanide and are toxic to dogs. Cyanide disrupts cellular oxygen transport, which means that your dog’s blood cells can’t get enough oxygen. If your dog eats cherries, be on the lookout for dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, and red gums, as these may be signs of cyanide poisoning.

Yescranberries are safe for dogs to eat. Both cranberries and dried cranberries are safe to feed to dogs in small quantities. Whether your dog will like this tart treat is another question. Either way, moderation is important when feeding cranberries to dogs, as with any treat, as too many cranberries can lead to an upset stomach.

Yesdogs can eat cucumbers. Cucumbers are especially good for overweight dogs, as they hold little to no carbohydrates, fats, or oils and they can even boost energy levels. They’re loaded with vitamins K, C, and B1, as well as potassium, copper, magnesium, and biotin.

Nodogs should never eat grapes. Grapes and raisins (dried grapes) have proved to be very toxic for dogs no matter the dog’s breed, sex, or age. In fact, grapes are so toxic that they can lead to acute sudden kidney failure. Always be mindful of this dangerous fruit for dogs.

Yesdogs can eat mangoes. This sweet summer treat is packed with four different vitamins: A, B6, C, and E. They also have potassium and both beta-carotene and alpha-carotene. Just remember, as with most fruits, remove the hard pit first, as it contains small amounts of cyanide and can become a choking hazard. Mango is high in sugar, so use it as an occasional treat.

Yesdogs can eat oranges. Oranges are fine for dogs to eat, according to veterinarians, but they may not be fans of any strong-smelling citrus. Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, and in small quantities, the juicy flesh of an orange can be a tasty treat for your dog. Vets do recommend tossing the peel and only offering your dog the flesh of the orange, minus any seeds. Orange peel is rough on their digestive systems, and the oils may make your dog literally turn up their sensitive nose.

Yespeaches are safe for dogs to eat. Small amounts of cut-up fresh or frozen peaches are a great source of fiber and vitamin A, and can even help fight infections, but just like cherries, the pit contains cyanide. As long as you completely cut around the pit first, fresh peaches can be a great summer treat. Skip canned peaches, as they usually contain high amounts of sugary syrups.

Yesdogs can eat pears. Pears are a great snack because they’re high in copper, vitamins C and K, and fiber. It’s been suggested that eating the fruit can reduce the risk of having a stroke by 50 percent. Just be sure to cut pears into bite-size chunks and remove the pit and seeds first, as the seeds contain traces of cyanide. Skip canned pears with sugary syrups.

Yespineapple is safe for dogs to eat. A few chunks of pineapple are a great sweet treat for dogs, as long as the prickly outside peel and crown are removed first. The tropical fruit is full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It also contains bromelain, an enzyme that makes it easier for dogs to absorb proteins.

Yesdogs can eat raspberries. Raspberries are fine in moderation. They contain antioxidants that are great for dogs. They’re low in sugar and calories, but high in fiber, manganese, and vitamin C. Raspberries are especially good for senior dogs because they have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help aging joints. However, they do contain small amounts of xylitol, so limit your dog to less than a cup of raspberries at a time.

Yesdogs can eat strawberries. Strawberries are full of fiber and vitamin C. Along with that, they also contain an enzyme that can help whiten your dog’s teeth as he or she eats them. They contain sugar, so be sure to give them in moderation.

Nodogs should avoid tomatoes. While the ripened fruit of the tomato plant is generally considered safe for dogs, the green parts of the plant contain a toxic substance called solanine. While a dog would need to eat a large amount of the tomato plant to make him or her sick, it’s better to skip tomatoes all together just to be safe.

Yesdogs can eat watermelon. It’s important to remove the rind and seeds first, as they can cause intestinal blockage, but watermelon flesh is otherwise safe for dogs. It’s full of vitamin A, B-6, and C, as well as potassium. Watermelon is 92 percent water, so it’s a great way to help keep your dog hydrated on hot summer days.

Nodogs should not eat asparagus. While asparagus isn’t necessarily unsafe for dogs, there’s really no point in giving it to them. It’s too tough to be eaten raw, and by the time you cook it down so it’s soft enough for dogs to eat, asparagus loses the nutrients it contains. If you really want to share a veggie, something more beneficial is probably best.

Yesbroccoli is safe for dogs to eat in very small quantities and is best served as an occasional treat. It is high in fiber and vitamin C and low in fat. However, Broccoli florets contain isothiocyanates, which can cause mild-to-potentially-severe gastric irritation in some dogs. Furthermore, broccoli stalks have been known to cause obstruction in the esophagus.

Brussels Sprouts
Yesdogs can eat Brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts are loaded with nutrients and antioxidants that are great for humans and dogs, alike. Don’t overfeed them to your dog, however, because they can cause lots of gas. Cabbage is also safe for dogs but comes with the same gassy warning!

Yesdogs can eat carrots. Carrots are an excellent low-calorie snack that is high in fiber and beta-carotene, which produces vitamin A. Plus, crunching on this orange veggie is great for your dog’s teeth (and fun).

Yescelery is safe for dogs to eat. In addition to vitamins A, B, and C, this crunchy green snack contains the nutrients needed to promote a healthy heart and even fight cancer. As if that wasn’t enough, celery is also known to freshen doggy breath.

Green beans
Yesdogs can eat green beans. Chopped, steamed, raw, or canned – all types of green beans are safe for dogs to eat, as long as they are plain. Green beans are full of important vitamins and minerals and they’re also full of fiber and low in calories. Opt for low-salt or no-salt products if you’re feeding canned green beans to your dog.

Nodogs should avoid mushrooms. Wild mushrooms can be toxic for dogs. While only 50-100 of the 50,000 mushroom species worldwide are known to be toxic, the ones that are poisonous can really hurt your dog or even lead to death. Washed white mushrooms from the supermarket could be OK, but it’s better to be safe than sorry; skip the fungi for Fido all together.

Nodogs should never eat onions. Onions, leeks, and chives are part of a family of plants called Allium that is poisonous to most pets, especially cats. Eating onions can cause your dog’s red blood cells to rupture, and can also cause vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and nausea. Poisoning from onions is more serious in Japanese breeds of dogs like Akitas and Shiba Inus, but all dogs are very susceptible to it.

Yesdogs can eat peas. Green peas, snow peas, sugar snap peas, and garden or English peas are all OK for dogs to find in their bowl on occasion. Peas have several vitamins, minerals, and are rich in protein and high in fiber. You can feed your dog fresh or frozen peas but avoid canned peas with added sodium.

Yesdogs can eat spinach, but it’s not one of the top vegetables you’ll want to be sharing with you pup. Spinach is high in oxalic acid, which blocks the body’s ability to absorb calcium and can lead to kidney damage. While your dog would probably have to eat a very large amount of spinach to have this problem, it might be best to go with another vegetable.

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What to Do When You Get a New Puppy

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Now you have a puppy

Getting a new puppy may be a dream-come-true for many! It is exciting, fun, and exhilarating to have a cute, little, fuzzy ball wandering around in your living room. However, for someone who has never owned a dog before, it is normal not to know what to do next. Now that you do have the puppy that you’ve always wanted, what are you supposed to do with it?

Before You Bring Your Dog Home

Once you’ve decided to bring a puppy home, there are certain preparations you need to address first. Getting a new puppy comes with some tasks that you have to complete before. They’re as follows:

  • Bring Your Family On the Same Page
    In the best-case scenario, owning a dog is a long-term commitment, and therefore, you need to make sure your family is in support of your decision. Decide who will be the primary caretaker of the puppy so that there are no compromises on its care once the dog is home.
  • Stock Up Dog Supplies
    When you’re getting a new puppy, you should have all the necessary dog supplies stocked up, including dog food, bed, toys, etc.
  • Make Your House Puppy-Friendly
    Puppies can literally chew on anything. If you’re thinking of getting a new puppy, you’ll need to make some alterations around your house to make sure that it is appropriate and safe for your puppy.

After Your Puppy Is Home

Now that your new family member is home, you might find it not-so-simple to adjust to their presence. However, do remember that your home is a new place for your puppy, too, and he will have a hard time getting used to living with you. Some of the things that you should do when you get a new puppy are as following:

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  • You’re the Atmosphere Pleasant and Calm
    Dogs are usually shy when they are taken to a new place that is full of new faces. For the first few days, keep the noises low and the atmosphere calm and pleasant so that your puppy doesn’t get scared or freaked out with the noise!
  • Introduce Your Puppy To the Crate
    Puppies take some time to get familiar with their crate and warm up to it. Introduce your puppy to its crate during the initial days. This is the best way to house-train your puppy.
  • Begin the Training
    The sooner you begin your puppy’s training, the faster it will learn. The two things that you need to work on from the very start are house training and socialization. After all, dogs are social animals. You don’t want your dog to hide whenever they see a new face around. You need to set a regular routine and teach your puppy how to get comfortable around people to make their presence all more enjoyable.
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    Many dogs get scared when they’re taken to the vet. To make trips to the vet comfortable for you and your dog, your precious pup must get familiar with their vet. So, make sure that you take your puppy to its vet during the initial days. This will not only help your puppy get comfortable, but it will also allow the vet to examine the pup and check for any early health issues that it might have.

Getting a puppy is an amazing experience, but it comes with a lot of responsibility. Now that you know what to do when you get a new puppy, you’re all set to welcome a new member to the family!

If needed, you may board your new puppy and take advantage of our dog training chapel hill services this new year. Our dog training nc centers are clean and well maintained. Also, don’t forget we offer dog grooming Durham services too.

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Tips for Managing Your Dog on New Years

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How to Deal With Your Dog During New Year’s Eve Fireworks

The annual New Year’s festivities are a great and fun time for most people. However, this event has evidently proven to be pretty stressful for dogs. With all the loud noises, fireworks and laughter, your dog may start feeling restless and anxious.

If you’re already dreading New Year’s Eve festivities because of your dog’s restlessness, don’t fret too much as you can always drop off your dog at the dog daycare Chapel Hill. Here are a few tips to help your dog remain calm and composed during the festivities.

Divert Your Dog with Calming Sounds

Noise can be pretty stressful for any dog, which makes New Year’s Eve a pretty big challenge for dog owners. Fireworks often go out at various times during the evening. The best way to keep your dog calm is to distract it with calming noises. For instance, calm music is said to relieve pet anxiety.

You can also turn on the TV or radio and play things your dog likes to listen to at a volume that’s higher than usual to cover the sound of the fireworks.

Give Your Dog Something Else to Concentrate on

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You can also engage your dog in some activities so that it remains calm during the fireworks. You can offer it some cool chew toys and play games with it. This can really go a long way in keeping your canine companion calm since it’ll be more bothered by the noises if it has nothing else to do. You can also take your pet out for a walk to tire it out before the festivities commence.

Drop Your Pet at the Dog Boarding Chapel Hill NC located in Hillsborough

Oftentimes, firework displays and other popular events happening nearby are publicized in advance. If you’re aware that your dog gets stressed out by these things, you should plan for them accordingly to avoid any troubles. You can send your dog to a Chapel Hill pet resort or the doggy daycare in Durham for the night so that your pet doesn’t stress out.

If the New Year’s Eve party is at your home, you can drop off your pet at a Chapel Hill kennel for the night after spending the day with your dog or send it for dog grooming in Durham, NC, for the duration of the party.

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Honestly, it’s better to avoid having any New Year’s festivities at your place altogether. Since this might elicit a negative reaction from your pet, it’s just better to avoid inviting any friends or family over. In case you can’t avoid doing that, set up a quiet and calm room where your dog can relax when it wants to.

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Dealing with Holiday Stress with Your Dog

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The Holidays Have Arrived

That means there will be plenty of parties, dinners, gift exchanges and get-togethers. Whether you will be hosting one of these events or packing up the family and pets to visit family and friends, know before you go how you are going to keep everyone calm and comfortable, so that everyone has a good time.

Managing Holiday Stress with Dogs and Visitors

If you are expecting visitors for the holidays, you will want to do a little preparation before the guests arrive. Many of us consider our pets to be members of the family, and we enjoy having them with us as we celebrate good times.

But when our pets are not used to having more than a few people around, they can get overly excited, and things can stop being fun. If your dog is jumping, begging for food or barking, it can lead to some embarrassing situations, and can even frighten guests who are not accustomed to having animals around.

In the weeks before the event, take some time to work on your pet’s manners and to reinforce dog obedience training. You might try having small gatherings with some pet-friendly people who can help reinforce your pet’s manners, so that when the bigger party night comes, your pet will already be prepared.

Setting Up a Dog-Friendly Room

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If, on the other hand, you know that your pup will not be able to hold back his exuberance, or you are afraid a guest will let them outside, set aside a safe room where pets can stay for the duration of the event.

Make the space comfortable with a comfy, large dog bed, water, dog toys, and maybe some dog treats. Close this area off to the guests so that you can be sure that your pet and your guests are safe. Remember to either tell your guests that your pet should be left alone or tape a sign to the door saying “do not open” so that people know to keep out. The last thing you want is for a very excited pet to dash through the house, and possibly out the door.

Traveling with Your Dog

Leaving the familiarity of home can cause anxiety in people and animals. If you are traveling by car, be sure to bring along some of your pet’s favorite toys, the pet’s blanket or bed, and his regular dog food. If your dog is used to sleeping in a crate, bring it along so he can sleep in his familiar space.

Keep pets in a travel-safe crate so that the animal is not able to move freely throughout the car. This covers a few bases. It prevents them from getting underfoot or on your lap while you are driving—an obvious hazard; it prevents them from being thrown from the car should an accident occur; and it prevents them from getting free/running away at rest stops or after minor accidents. If you cannot fit a crate into your car, you can use a dog seat belt, dog car seat, pet carrier or car barrier to keep your pet safe.

If your pet will be flying with you, keeping them in a carrier is required. Make sure your pet is comfortable in that space before bringing them on a plane. Bring extra dog potty pads in case your pet has an accident.

Even though your pet won’t have the opportunity to urinate, do NOT restrict their water before a flight. Dehydration can make pets very sick, not to mention uncomfortable and irritable when they arrive at your destination.

On that note, make sure your pet is wearing identification at all times, and pack an emergency dog first aid kit in case of an emergency. Don’t forget to take frequent breaks to allow for rest and relief.

Like the policemen and policewomen who train and handle them, K9 officers are on duty 24/7 to make your community a safer place. To honor their service, Top Dog Training and Resort is once again partnering with local Police and K9 Officers this holiday season to host its second annual K9 Angel Tree.

You can help celebrate the K9 Officers in your community, while contributing to local animal shelters that depend upon your donations to help them continue to care for the many animals that come in each year. 

Check Out Boarding Facilities

Bed 07 - Dealing with Holiday Stress with Your DogBefore choosing a boarding facility for your pet, take a quick tour of the facility to check out the accommodations. You will want to be sure that it is clean and well kept, and that there is ample space given for the animals to exercise daily.

Have your questions ready before you go. Things you may want to know are: how many animals are kept together in one space; can you bring your pet’s food so that his digestive system will not be upset by an abrupt change in food; will you be able to bring along toys and other familiar comfort objects from home?

If you do not feel comfortable with a boarding facility, whether for your pet’s emotional comfort or because of health concerns, and you do not have the option of taking your pet along with you, give yourself plenty of time to ask around the neighborhood for someone to pet sit in your home or theirs.

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Stick with the Usual Routine

One of the best things you can do throughout it all is to stick to a familiar schedule. This means taking walks at the same time that you always do and feeding at the same time as usual. It might help to set an alarm or reminder on your phone to remind you of daily pet tasks (like giving medications) during hectic holidays. Remember that it is important to take time to play with your pets and show affection, so that they aren’t thrown off-balance by all of the activity and distractions.

If needed, you may board your dog or take advantage of our doggy daycare service this holiday season. Call soon, our dog boarding services book fast, click here if you’re a new member or click here if you’re an existing member! Our kennels are clean and well maintained. Also, don’t forget we offer grooming service as well. Need a little dog training, we can help! We do service Hillsborough, Chapel Hill and the Durham areas.

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