How to have a Pet Safe Halloween

Stop! Look to your left. Look to your right. Look at your pet. If they are a dog or a cat, are they wearing a tag with their name, and your address and phone number on it? Before we get any closer to Halloween, if your pet doesn’t have an ID tag, go get one right now. You can likely find a collar and individually engraved tag for less than $10 total at your local pet store. If you are more tech inclined, you can get a GPS enabled collar for between $70 and $200. PC Mag has assembled a list of the best trackers and their pros and cons to help get you started on making a decision for your pet. Why do you need an ID tag? Here are some very important statistics: “1 in 3 pets will become lost in their lifetime, less than 2 percent of lost cats and only 15 to 20 percent of lost dogs make it back home to their families (per the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy), and most pets who do get home are wearing an ID tag or are microchipped or tattooed” (Healthypets.mercola.com). Halloween involves a lot of factors that may cause your pet stress, and generally lots of door opening and closing. IDing your pet gives them a better chance of getting back to you if they are able to “trick” you into letting them out.

Now that you’re back from getting your pet a collar and tag, here are 5 more tips to keep your pet safe on the spookiest of holidays – Halloween!

Make a designated place for candy out of reach of your pet

Do you have kids or a spouse who likes to leave food out? Use this opportunity to establish where Halloween candy will go in the house, out of the reach of your pet. We are partial to the fridge or freezer – who doesn’t love cold chocolate? If you don’t have room or prefer room-temperature candy (we won’t judge), consider a drawer your pet can’t get into in a pantry or similar safe space.

Chocolate is one of the most well known toxic human food substances for dogs, but it’s not the only candy type you should worry about. Xylitol, a sugar substitute, can cause catastrophically low blood sugar levels in dogs and other pets. Luckily xylitol isn’t typically found in your standard Halloween haul, but it is important to look out for as it is an ingredient in many chewing gums.

What do you do if your pet gets into some Halloween treats? Try to make a note of what kind of chocolate and how much. AKC.org recommends doing the following: “If you believe your dog ate chocolate, call your veterinarian immediately and/or call the Pet Poison Helpline (855-213-6680) for advice. Based on your dog’s size and the amount and type of chocolate consumed, your veterinarian may recommend that you simply monitor him for the clinical signs listed above and call back if his condition worsens.”

Go easy on the costumes

Let’s face it, your pet has no idea it’s Halloween. They don’t know why you’re squeezing them into a devil costume (even if it is their alternate persona), and it probably feels pretty weird to deal with sleeves. Since you have no way of explaining to them that once a year we put on silly outfits and it is in-fact not forever, make sure you are patient with your pet if you want to get them into a costume, and consider you may need to scale back your plans or change them into a studded collar or a cute pumpkin themed harness. Before committing to any pet costume, “make sure it fits properly and is comfortable, doesn’t have any pieces that can easily be chewed off, and doesn’t interfere with your pet’s sight, hearing, breathing, opening its mouth, or moving. Take time to get your pet accustomed to the costume before Halloween, and never leave your pet unsupervised while he/she is wearing a costume” (AVMA.org).

If you get started now, you may be able to train your pet to tolerate their Halloween costume with some positive reinforcement, much praise, and a bag full of treats. Here are some general tips on how to train your dog that can be used to get them accustomed to their costume.

Watch out for tasty and wobbly decor

If you bust out the Jack-o-lanterns and spooky ghost decorations in force every year, be aware of tasty tidbits your cat or dog may chew when you’re looking the other way. Once you get a decoration that will be in your house put up, watch your dog or cat around it for a few hours. That’s usually enough time to see if they will be terribly frightened of it, or think it looks like a tasty lunch.

If you have Jack-o-Lanterns, consider fake candles or glowsticks to achieve a creepy look – the ASPCA points out “While a carved jack-o-lantern certainly is festive, pets can easily knock over a lit pumpkin and start a fire. Curious kittens are especially at risk of getting burned or singed by candle flame.” Don’t let curiosity get your cat this Halloween season!

Make a plan for Trick-or-Treaters and don’t be afraid of signage

Are you going to be handing out candy? Hosting a party? Watching a scary movie and scowling at the kids running amok? Whatever your plan, have a plan for doorbells! If your dog is like almost every other dog that has somehow been taught what a doorbell is from birth, be ready for the ringing (and barking)!

If you will be giving out candy, turn on your porchlight and sit on the porch so costumed kiddos don’t ring the bell. Make sure your dog has done it’s business before the evening falls, and consider setting up a room with their bed/blanket, and favorite toys. If you want to get really fancy, there are some soothing dog music playlists on youtube.

If free candy isn’t your jam, remember to turn your outside lights off to let trick-or-treaters know your home isn’t participating in sugarpalooza, and consider putting a sign over the doorbell to discourage people who don’t know the rules from pressing it.

Keep your pet away from the door

This one is kind of obvious, but don’t risk your pets escaping and make sure to keep them away from your door. If you can section off your house so your pet stays away, that is ideal. Baby gates are awesome for dogs. Cats are a little slipperier, and tend to ignore any barricades you’ve put in place, so it may be best to keep them locked in one room for the evening (with their litter box, bed, and other items they have deemed theirs). Always check to make sure you know where your pet is before opening the door so you don’t get any escapees.

With these 6 tips, you and your pet can have an awesome halloween that’s scary because of ghosts and ghouls, not because of something happening to your pet. If you need someone experienced and careful to help your dog burn off some excess energy while you decorate for the holidays or to watch your pets during your Halloween preparations, Off Road Paws has a variety of options that may be right for you. Contact us today!

A Quick Guide to Foods your Dog Can(t) Eat

You may occasionally want to see how your dog reacts to new flavors, or just want to mix up their diet a bit, whatever the reason, most of us find ourselves googling if our dog can eat x-“human food” or y-“whatever-dog-scarfed-out-of-the-trash”. While not completely expansive, here is a list of some of the common foods you can and cannot share with your fluffy buddy. There are also some treats, bones, etc. listed that should be given to your dog with caution and under supervision!

As with people, some dogs have food sensitivities or food allergies and they can’t tolerate certain food choices.  This can result in an upset tummy with diarrhea and vomiting up to severe anaphylactic allergic reactions, like you think of with people and peanut butter.  It is always a good idea and highly recommended that you consult with your veterinarian or an animal nutrition expert about food choices  and dog treats (bones, rawhide, etc) for your dog before giving them something new.

Great Foods to Share with Your Dog!

Here are some of the common foods you probably have in your fridge that your dog will love you for sharing (and are nutritionally beneficial to them too!)

  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Seaweed
  • Melons
  • Pumpkin
  • Rice
  • Apples (no seeds)
  • Oranges (no rind)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Bananas
  • Coconut
  • Corn (no cob)
  • Cooked Eggs
  • Honey (small amount)
  • Quinoa
  • Fish
  • Plain Yogurt

Give to your Dog with Caution:

The following items CAN be shared with your dog but in VERY small quantities or under direct supervision. Marrow bones can splinter and cause significant medical issues including upset stomach, broken teeth and full GI obstructions. Marrow bones should only be given in the appropriate size relative to the dog and with minimal extra dried skin/grease on them.  Avoid the large knuckle bones with lots of additional skin left on them. They can break apart and dogs can eat pieces of bone that they can’t digest.  The greasy part can cause an upset stomach. Rawhide should only be given if it is compressed, meaning it has been broken into very small pieces and compressed back together. Ask you pet store for compressed only.  Dogs can get large pieces of raw hide broken off and swallow them.  These pieces are not digested well and can actually cause an obstruction (blockage) in the digestive system that can lead to surgery!

Some dogs are lactose intolerant or have sensitive stomachs, so cheese may cause an upset tummy – it is highly recommended you try very small tastes of these.

  • Raw Hide- ONLY compressed
  • Marrow Bones ( DIRECT SUPERVISION AT ALL TIMES)
  • Deer antlers (very hard to break off pieces, BETTER THAN BONE, but still supervise)
  • Cheese

Foods and Items you Should NEVER Give your Dog!

  • Grapes/Raisins
  • Avocados
  • Chicken Bones or any Bones from Home Cooking
  • Chocolate
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Nuts (particularly Macadamias, Walnuts, pecans)
  • Raw Eggs
  • Anything with Xylitol (sugar substitute found in gum, candy and even some sugar free peanut butter)
  • Human medications (common medications to be avoided- aspirin, Tylenol, Advil, Aleve,etc)  ALWAYS CONSULT VETERINARIAN BEFORE GIVING ANY MEDICATIONS TO DOGS!!!
  • Alcohol

11 Tips to have Pawsitively Perfect Dog Park Etiquette

Dog parks are fantastic places to get your dog some exercise and fun play time with other dogs! They are also a wonderful place to get involved in your community – you have a great conversation starter (your dog!), a common interest, and a place to gather. Many long lasting friendships for both people and dogs have begun in a dog park.

In order to get the most out of a dog park, be a constructive citizen, there are some rules and common courtesies you should be aware of, and they aren’t always explicitly listed out. We’re here to help with a quick guide of how to get along with other dogs and humans during your dog park visit.

In most cases, you can treat going to the dog park like bringing a toddler to a playdate. “Dog park etiquette has more to do with safety than friendliness” (San Diego Tribune). Regardless of your personal opinion of dogs, many people do consider their dogs to be like their children, and you should be respectful of this. Here are 11 tips to fit in at the dog park

  1. Before even deciding to go to a dog park, get to know your dog. You should not go to the dog park after just adopting a new dog, no matter how sweet they are with you. See how they behave around other dogs, food, and small animals. If your dog isn’t cool with other dogs (whether they are frightened or aggressive), work with a trainer on getting them socialized. Most dogs can be conditioned to enjoy the presence of other dogs, but there is the occasional exception. If your dog doesn’t like hanging out with other dogs, you should not force them to go to the dog park. “If you can be honest about your dog and his individual quirks, then you can avoid bad situations.” (theweek.com)
  2. Make sure your dog is up to date on its vaccinations. While all dogs in the U.S. MUST have their rabies vaccine, there are several vaccines your dog should not go without if you want your dog to live to see old age, including canine parvovirus, distemper virus, adenovirus type 2 and hepatitis. The AKC has a full schedule of the recommended listing of dog vaccines. Vaccinating your dog protects your dog and the other dogs in the park. Do NOT go to a dog park without being up to date on your dog’s vaccines.

All right! Now you know your dog likes dogs, and they have all their shots, let’s check out some dog parks (without your furry friend for now)

  1. Check out the dog park before bringing your dog. Get a sense for what kind of dogs and the owners come to the park. Are there bags for poop? Trash cans? Is the park clean and well maintained? Do the dogs seem to be playing nicely together or is there roughhousing? Do the owners seem engaged with the dogs, or are they all on their phones? A good community at the dog parks helps maintain standards – responsible dog owners will often work together to maintain their park, and this will create a safer environment for your pup. You can even look a dog park up on Yelp and see what other owners have to say! You may have to check out a few parks before finding one you are comfortable with.
  2. If you have a small dog, look for parks that have separate areas for big dogs and small dogs. Until you know the community very well, you will minimize the risk of a big dog mistaking your small dog for a cat, or your small dog with big dog syndrome barking at a dog 5 times its size.

It’s just about time to bring your dog to the dog park! Let’s get ready!

  1. If your dog seems to be showing any unusual signs, such as being lethargic, having diarrhea, (unusual) coughing or sneezing, do NOT bring them to a dog park. Get them checked out by a vet before bringing them to play with other dogs.
  2. If you bring toys, be prepared to lose them. Don’t bring your dogs favorite stuffed dragon. Bring only dog safe toys.
  3. Bring water and a dish for your dog! It gets hot – don’t let your dog overheat. If you can avoid letting your dog drink from a community bowl, that is also ideal, as there may be communicable diseases they could catch.
  4. Don’t bring food or treats for your dog (or yourself) to the park. If you want to give your dog treats, leave them in your car. You don’t know how the other dogs will react to food, whether it’s begging or aggression, so you shouldn’t risk it. You should also never feed anyone else’s dog anything unless you have express permission – many dogs have allergies or dietary restrictions, and that’s not even considering the stomach distress surprise new foods may cause a perfectly healthy dog.

Time to go outside! Rules for being with your dog at the dog park!

  1. Keep an eye on your dog. Just like you wouldn’t take your kid to the park and walk away (we hope!), you shouldn’t leave your dog by itself! Watch out for signs of aggression both to and from your dog. Stay off your phone. Enjoy the outside with your dog.
  2. Pick up after your dog. It takes a village to keep a dog park clean. You should always have bags on hand when your dog is outside, but just in case you run out, most dog parks have bags available for owners to pick up poop.
  3. Follow all posted rules at the park. This rule is obvious, but many people don’t take the 30 seconds needed to read.

By following these rules, you and your dog can have a fun, safe time at a dog park! If you would prefer to have an experienced vet who cares about your dog supervise them at the park, Off Road Paws offers 30 minute on-leash walks and visits to local dog parks for just $20. Contact Kira today to book your dog’s adventure!

Pack Mentality – Adding a new dog to your pack

Having a dog in your life is one of the greatest joys for dog people. You always know they are there waiting for you at home, they have heaps of unconditional love and joy just by being in your presence. And generally, adding a second dog to your family pack makes life even better! Here are some benefits of living in a multi-dog household.

Benefits of Adding a New Dog to your Home

Dogs Learn from Each Other

It has been shown in studies that puppies learn basic commands, potty training, and dog etiquette much faster if they are able to learn from an older dog. You can see a pretty cool example of a puppy learning that stairs are safe from it’s older companion below:

Living with Multiple Pets may Reduce Allergies

According to Petfinder.com “Pets are great for kids in so many ways, and as the National Institutes of Health states, children raised in multi-pet households are less likely to develop allergic conditions. As reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, kids living with more than one cat or dog are at reduced risk for hypersensitivities to common allergens, such as animals, grass, ragweed and dust mites.”

Dogs Entertain Each Other

Much like how the imagination of two children is infinitely more entertaining than a kid playing alone, dogs can entertain each other during the day as well. They always have a companion to play with when you’re out and about, and can get way more exercise than if they were alone and lazed about all day.

Some Things to Consider When Adding a New Dog to your Home

Alright! You’re thinking that a new dog is right for you and your current dog! Don’t rush out to the shelter before you read this next section (but please do after, shelter dogs are awesome!). Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing your new dog.

Dog Compatibility

Not every dog will be friends right away. Some dogs are solitary souls, and may not want some young upstart in their space. If your dog has been properly socialized and hasn’t shown any signs of aggression towards other dogs on walks, in parks, or on play dates, keep reading. If they have shown signs of leash reactivity, have had previous spats with other dogs, consider finding a local dog training class (we prefer positive reinforcement training) and make sure your dog is okay with other dogs before considering bringing another dog into the home.

Dog Introductions

Doing a proper introduction between the dog you bring home and your current dog is not only polite, but can help ease stress and negate some of the negative possibilities of bringing a new dog into the home. You wouldn’t want to come home one day to find a new stranger living in your house, eating your food and leaving their weird smell on everything, and your dog doesn’t want this either.

Introduce the dogs on neutral territory – say a nearby dog park. Bring a friend and keep both dogs leashed. Stay in wide open areas – try to not to let the dogs get boxed in in entry ways or corners. Check out this article from the Humane Society that gives a great list of ways to introduce your dogs in different environments.

Keeping Two Dogs Busy

Large breeds need a job and constant stimulation. Even small dogs benefit immensely from a good romp around the wilderness. Tuckered out dogs are happier, healthier, and tend to have less behavioral problems (most people report that a routine exercise schedule cuts back on destructive chewing, jumping, and scratching). Trying to tire out one dog is a big job for anyone, especially if they need to work or attend school during the day. Getting multiple dogs enough stimulation is almost impossible unless you keep a daily running regimen (sometimes multiple times a day!).

Just for you, we have expanded our dog hiking offerings to include multiple dog packages. Your dogs can stay together, and get out of the house for a few hours.

At Off Road Paws, we are well experienced in making sure your dog comes home tired, happy, and ready for cuddles. You don’t need to worry about your dog’s sensitive pads on hot concrete in the summer – we always go off road. Mountains, creeks, snow, sun; Your dogs will enjoy the natural scents and sights of Colorado, and you’ll enjoy a happier pup. All options can be tailored to individual pet(s) needs. 2 hour minimum including travel. Contact Us today to book your dog’s group hike!

Off Road Paws Offering Group Dog Hiking in Boulder, Louisville, Lafayette and Broomfield, Colorado

Tell us your dog’s favorite trail or we can pick one for them and get them out for exercise and playtime!!! Off-leash options available under certain guidelines. We can’t wait to hit the trails with your furry family members. Contact us with any questions and to schedule a doggie hike!! Visit offroadpaws.com to learn more about hiking options and pricing! See info from flyer below also!!

Specializing in fitness programs for your dog…with LOVE.

Off Road Paws is a local, veterinarian owned business that offers dog fitness options for your furry family members. We can get dogs of any sizes, age, medical or behavioral issues out for runs, hikes or walks at whatever pace and amount of time that is best for them!

 NOW OFFERING INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP HIKING OPTIONS!!

                                                             

INDIVIDUAL DOG HIKES: (2 hour minimum)

$25/HOUR

ADDITIONAL DOG (SAME HOUSEHOLD)- $5

 

GROUP HIKES: (2 hour minimum)

2 DOGS- $17.50/HOUR PER DOG

3 DOGS- $15.00/HOUR PER DOG

 WE WILL PICK UP YOUR DOG(S) AND TAKE THEM TO A LOCAL TRAIL FOR A FUN ADVENTURE!!

*First 5 minutes of travel free both ways and not part of hour hike charge.

 Contact us with any questions and to schedule a hike!!

Email: info@offroadpaws.com

Phone: 303-818-0708

Website: offroadpaws.com

Off Road Paws at Boulder Running Store for Fun Run (1/25/17)

Off Road Paws is going to be at the Wednesday night Fun Run tomorrow (1/25) at 5:45pm at Boulder Running Company!! They have been gracious enough to let us set up a table and we will have candy for after the run and a raffle to win discounts on Off Road Services. Come and bring your dog. There will be treats for them too!!

         

 

Off Road Paws hosts Canine and Feline CPR Certification by Pet Emergency Education, LLC.

Off Road Paws is so excited to have the opportunity to offer canine and feline CPR certification to our clients and any pet owners and animal lovers out there.  Pet Emergency Education is a nationally and internationally recognized company approved  for pet CPR training and certification.  They will be offering a CPR certification class hosted by Off Road Paws on Feb. 8th from 6-9pm at Romero’s K9 Club and Tap Room in Lafayette. Romero’s has generously donated space in their awesome tap room for the class!

The first beer will be free and there will be a chance to win free dog fitness and pet sitting services with Off Road Paws.
Click on the link below to register!  Current Off Road Paws’ clients, contact us to get a special discount code before registering.”

Bloat and Your Dog

Off Road Paws loves getting your dogs out for their favorite run, hike or walk, but we are always on alert and very careful to keep your dog safe from bloat and GDV!!! Large breed, deep chested dogs such as Great Danes, Labs, Golden Retrievers, etc. are susceptible to bloat and GDV.  It is crucial to never feed your large breed dog and then go out for their exercise routine. There should always be AT LEAST one hour delay after they eat before any exercise.  Below is a good overview of bloat and GDV, symptoms and prevention!

http://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/digestive/signs-and-symptoms-bloat-dogs?icn=HP-HEALTH&icl=Signs and Symptoms of Bloat in Dogs

 

Part Time Dog Walker and Pet Sitting Job Available with Off Road Paws

Off Road Paws, a veterinarian-owned dog fitness and pet sitting business, is looking for an energetic, responsible animal lover to come work with us. Who wouldn’t want to spend their day with adorable dogs outside in beautiful Colorado?? This is a great opportunity to supplement your income and to stay active! Our mission is to help owners keep their pets happy and healthy, with a focus on providing dogs of all ages, medical conditions and sizes the individualized exercise and special care they need. We are currently offering many running, hiking and walking options for dogs. Additionally we do daytime dog and cat sitting while owners are out of town. Off Road Paws is a new business that is growing and needs active, reliable animal lovers to join the team. We look forward to hearing from you.

Requirements and Responsibilities:

  • Part time positions available- 4-8 hours/week to start. Ability to work some weekends and holidays.
  • Ability to work in Louisville/Lafayette/Broomfield area.
  • Own smart phone, access to internet, full car insurance and ability to transport animals.
  • Preferably have professional experience working with animals. Comfortable with medicating dogs and cats. Ability to run or hike with dogs potentially multiple times a day for 30 minutes or more at a time throughout the day.
  • Excellent organizational and communication skills. Extremely responsible with scheduling, appointments and communication with clients. Ability to multi-task and work with changing schedules a must!

Off Road Paws is a fun, energetic, happy place to work! If this sounds like a perfect job for you we are excited to hear from you. You can visit our website, www.offroadpaws.com to get more information about us. Pay per hour based on experience. Come join us! Send a cover letter and resume and we look forward to hearing from you.

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