Monday, December 10, 2012

Smell This Contest Winner!

It was a BIG day at Smell This! Aromatherapy headquarters when Biggie and his mom, Kerry Schoncite, visited on Saturday to pick up the Scratch'n'Sniff Smell This! Aromatherapy Dog Products Prize package. It was the grand prize of the Smell This! contest we ran back in the autumn.

Special thanks to Arline and Smell This! for their generous donation and to Jodi over at Kol's Notes who joined forces with us at Love on a Leash Trusted Dog Care to spread the word and encourage our dog loving followers to enter our giveaway.

More fun contests and giveaways to follow. Happy holidays!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Winter Health for Dogs

by Dr. Donna Spector

Does your dog love the winter wonderland or would he rather cuddle up on the couch under a cozy blanket? Either way, you must be prepared to protect him when he ventures out into the elements.

Don't over-feed your dog during the winter. Although dogs are in need of an extra layer during the winter season…make sure it comes from a coat, and not fat. Be attentive to your dog's activity level and adjust his calories accordingly. Always feed your dog a high quality natural dog food to insure a healthy coat and good energy for the cold winter months.
Keep your dog hydrated. Dogs can dehydrate just as quickly in the winter as summer. Many dogs eat snow, but it is not an adequate substitute for fresh water. If your dog has a water bowl outdoors, check it often and break ice that may form on top.
Let's talk temperature! If it is too cold for you to stand at the door without your coat, it is probably too cold for your dog to be out without a coat. Some dog breeds have dense undercoats that help protect them against cold temperatures, but most dogs should have a coat to help them deal with Jack Frost. Coats are not just about fashion, they are also functional! Coats will not prevent frostbite on the ears, feet or tail…don't keep your dog out too long in freezing temperatures.
Provide extra bedding and warmth for your dog. Limit your dog's time outdoors on cold days and provide warm indoor shelter. Place your dog's bed in a warm spot; away from drafts, cold tile or uncarpeted floors.
Protect your dog from burns. Dogs will often seek heat during the cold winter weather by snuggling too close to heating sources. Avoid space heaters and lamps and place baseboard radiator covers to avoid unnecessary burns. Fireplaces also pose a major threat and a pet-proof system should be used to keep your heat-seeking pal out of harms way!
Groom your dog. A clean, well-groomed coat will keep your dog properly insulated. This is especially important if your dog lives outdoors. Choose natural, detergent-free grooming products that will not strip your dog's skin and coat of essential oils that help protect them against the winter elements. After bathing, dry your dog adequately before allowing him outdoors.
Protect your dog's feet. Dogs walk through snow, slush, salt and chemicals. Although doggie booties sound corny, they can prevent painful injuries. Or clean your dog's feet every time he comes into the house. Use warm water and clean between the toes to remove all debris and salt. Apply a small amount of a natural salve every day to keep pads from cracking. Avoid using any chemical ice-melting compounds or rock salt on your sidewalks or driveways that your dog may contact.
Avoid toxin exposure. With winter comes antifreeze which is sweet in taste and dogs will readily lick or drink it. Antifreeze is extremely toxic and a small amount can be fatal for dogs. Keep your dog out of the garage and off the driveway where they may encounter antifreeze or other harmful chemicals.
Dogs should NEVER be left in cars unattended, no matter what season. Freezing cold temperatures are the main concern during winter. If the car is left running during the winter (especially in a garage), carbon monoxide poisoning is a threat.
Special medical needs. Cold weather can aggravate existing medical conditions in dogs, particularly arthritis. Maintain an exercise regimen with your arthritic dog, but be mindful of slippery surfaces and make sure your dog has a warm soft resting area to recuperate after activity. Try the addition of a natural glucosamine supplement to lubricate the joints. Contact your vet if you detect any unusual symptoms in your dog. Never use over the counter medication without the advice of your veterinarian.

 Paying special attention to your dog's well-being during the winter season will insure that you both enjoy the Winter Wonderland to its fullest. ◊

Donna Spector, DVM, DACVIM, is a renowned, board-certified Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist, an active AVMA and AVHMA member, and leading speaker and writer on pet health and nutrition. She is widely recognized for her role as consulting veterinarian to HALO, Purely for Pets and her TV appearances with Halo co-owner Ellen DeGeneres. Dr. Donna performs medical, nutrition and weight loss consultations for dogs and cats through her web-based veterinary consulting service,

Holiday Dog Cookie Recipe

“Now the furry little apple of your eye will have yet another reason to love you.”  From Cooking the Three Dog Bakery Way Cookbook, by Mark Beckloff and Dan Dye, Broadway Books, New York.

Apples and whole oats are sweetened with a touch of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon and will definitely get your pooch’s full ears-up attention. They make a great reward for your pup just for being so darn cute!

Salivatin’ Cinnamon Apple Nips

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup quick rolled oats
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ cup canola oil
1/3 cup honey
2 eggs
1 cup cored and diced apple

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Grease two baking sheets with nonstick vegetable spray.

Stir together the flour, oats, baking powder and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.  In a large bowl, stir together the oil and honey until well blended.  Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring to combine.  Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir to form a smooth dough.  Fold in the apples.

Drop the dough by the rounded teaspoonful, 1-1/2 inches apart, on the baking sheets.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden.

Cool to room temperature before serving.

Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week, or wrap well and freeze for up to 2 months.  (Thaw before serving.)

Tips From A Professional Pet Sitter

It’s the season when we dog sitters become inundated with last minute requests for pet sitting. The holidays are rapidly approaching, which often leads to last minute vacation plans and a sudden need to have your precious pooch cared for in a more hands-on and loving manner then a kennel environment or large care facility provides.

Please keep pet sitting requirements in mind when you are making your vacation plans. I highly recommend you book peak vacation times (Christmas, Spring Break, Easter, Long Weekends, etc.) as far in advance as possible to ensure your favorite sitter is available to care for your pooch!

Before you go away on your next business trip or family vacation, remember to speak to your family vet and forward an “Absent Owner Consent” form or ensure you have filled out the one we keep on file at Love on a Leash. In the event of an emergency your wishes will be met and your pet will have proper care administered as quickly as possible.

The following list helps ensure your dog receives the best of care while you are away:

  • Ensure all your dog’s daily requirements will be met – food, fresh water, medication, health issues, walks, playtime, kisses & hugs.
  • Inform your family vet you are away and who your pet sitter will be.
  • Discuss your pet’s current health concerns with your vet and your wishes regarding the care of your pet while you are away. 
  • Ensure your pet-sitter has the following information: your contact information, vet contact details, pet emergency preferences, and adequate supply of medications & full disclosure of your dog’s health history and concerns, behavioral issues, plus financial information for emergencies.

Remember that all pet sitters are not the same. Ask for references and credentials. Ideally your pet sitter should be licensed with the city they are working in, as well as bonded and insured. Your pet sitter should be certified in pet first aid and belong to a professional organization such as Pet Sitter’s International or the All Canadian Pet Sitters Network and your sitter should have a web site posting information and rates in a professional and concise manner.

As an accredited pet sitter, I can tell you that we take our job seriously and will do everything in our power to ensure your dog’s stay with us is as comfortable, safe, fun and loving as possible for your dog.

At Love on a Leash we truly adore our doggy clients and they love us right back! We are so very proud of the testimonials we so often receive from our clients. I’d like to share a few of them with you here:

From Jacqui Kempton (owned by weimaraner, Bowen):
I met Tammy and her sister Shelly about three years ago now when I was searching for a special place to leave my dog for two weeks. It is difficult to find dog care that will truly reflect a proper family home environment. After searching we found Love on a Leash and have been grateful ever since. As you may well know, weimaraners can be fairly needy and it takes a special person to understand them, once again Love on a Leash knew exactly what to do and what not to do.
 Their ability to understand and care for dogs is of the highest calibre. They accommodate Bowen’s raw diet with great ease, it is something they understand and appreciate. I would highly recommend Love on a Leash to anyone looking for quality dog care in a warm, comfortable environment. Bowen is a very special part of our family and we would not leave him with just anyone. 
You’ll be in amazing hands with sisters, Tammy and Shelly!

From Gina (owned by The Weiners, Katsu & Enoki)
I first met Tammy through a wonderful dog-friendly event that Love on a Leash was hosting, benefiting a registered pet charity that I support. When I needed care for my beloved dogs, she was the first one I called. Soon after, we set up an initial meet and greet. I was extremely pleased with her level of professionalism and the questions she asked regarding my dogs’ care.
Tammy provided me with several caregiver options, and I chose the one who I felt was the best fit. It was clear that if I changed my mind on my choice of caregiver after the meeting, that it would not be a problem. I was extremely pleased with my caregiver choice and it was clear that my dogs would bond with her quickly. 
My first stay with Love on a Leash was in September of 2011 and I’ve had several stays was in 2012. They will absolutely be my number one choice for care again in the future. My dogs came home tired, happy and calm. I even received fun photos and updates while I was away. Tammy and her team go above and beyond to ensure the experience is a positive one. I do not hesitate to recommend Love on a Leash. In fact, I recommend them all the time! 
I am the first to say that I am an attached owner and was extremely leery to leave my dogs with anyone I did not know. This is amplified by the fact that my dogs have specific needs and issues that caregivers need to be mindful of (sensitive backs, inability to walk up/down stairs, strict dietary requirements). My attitude towards leaving them has changed entirely, now that I have found Tammy and her wonderful team. I also regularly hire one of her local dog walkers, who my dogs absolutely adore. 
Since discovering Love on a Leash, I have no worries or guilt about going on vacation and leaving my precious ones behind. I know they will be loved and cared for in the same manner I love and care for them. They are the Holy Grail of pet sitters!
If you’d like to see more testimonials from our clients, you can see them on our web site.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Adopting a Senior Dog

Finnigan is one of the senior Bichons that
have added so much joy to my life. He’s
seen here getting into the holiday spirit.
For a lot of people, the positives about opening you heart and your home to a senior dog far outweigh the negatives. 

In the first place, when you choose to give a senior dog their final and forever home, you just feel good. How can you not? You know you’ve done a good thing even before you see the love grow in their hearts and feel the peace that comes over them in the first few weeks and months with you after they’ve settled in. 

How difficult it must be for senior dogs cast upon the world! I’ve thought about that a lot. And how very confusing. Though I know I’d have to go a long way to find the science to back this claim up, after having adopted several senior canines over the years, I know it to be true: senior dogs are wise and grateful. When you give them a good home, they know and love you for it all the more.

When Animal Fair’s Wendy Diamond adopted a Coton de Tulear and discovered the joys of sharing her life with a canine of a certain age, Animal Fair did a terrific piece on it. You can see that here, meanwhile here are their thoughts on why a senior dog is perfect to adopt:
The following tips are why senior animals are perfect to adopt!
1. The average shelter dog is medium-to-large, adolescent and usually have had little to no training. These dogs are overlooked at the shelter because they are past the adorable puppy stage, but still have plenty of puppy energy that needs an outlet! 
2. Taking a senior dog to the park might take on a slower pace, but socialization and temperament evaluation is still absolutely necessary to determine whether the dog is good with different types of people and other animals.
3. Basic medical care is a must, dispensing medication and taking your new dog to the vet for a once over (or twice over)!
4. Lots of love, playtime and attention will do your senior dog a world of good! And the seasoned seniors are more than aware that they got a second chance, and will reciprocate in kind.
5. Prospective adopters should ask their local shelter if they have any animals presently in a foster home setting, in need of adoption. Foster dogs are placed in a loving and supportive home, and prepared for permanent adoption! All final adoptions will take place at the shelter.

From my own perspective, adopting a senior pet is extremely rewarding and I have done so three times now with the Bichons I have known and loved. Open your heart, don’t worry about quantity, just simply enjoy the quality of the days you have together. You won’t regret it.