10 Pups Who Just Want Sleep

When it’s just one of those days and all you want to do is take puppy nap..

1. The little one that just donut care!

@minisausage_todd
@minisausage_todd

2. One too many treats last night

@leonardo.da.frenchie
@leonardo.da.frenchie

3. The anywhere, anytime sleeper

@sonny_c64
@sonny_c64

4. The Sleepy Twins

@albetacl
@albetacl

5. Just 10 more minutes please

@mollyandlucabear
@mollyandlucabear

6. The Deep Sleeper

@keelia_omalley
@keelia_omalley

7. Is play time

@dougysdogdoos
@dougysdogdoos

8. How is that even comfortable?

@cyetithegolden
@cyetithegolden

9. Almost there but not quite

@coley_sandecki
@coley_sandecki

10. The Weekend Sleeper

@jaymoney1043

@jaymoney1043

 

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ComfortGroom

 

 

 

10 Things Veterinary Professionals Want You to Know About Pet Care

By Wendy C. Fries via WebMD

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1. Regular Exams are Vital

Just like you, your pet can get heart problems, develop arthritis, or have a toothache. The best way to prevent such problems or catch them early is to see your veterinarian every year.

Regular exams are “the single most important way to keep pets healthy,” says Kara M. Burns, MS, Med, LVT, president of the Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians.

Annual vet visits should touch on nutrition and weight control, says Oregon veterinarian Marla J. McGeorge, DVM, as well as cover recommended vaccinations, parasite control, dental exam, and health screenings.

2. Spay and Neuter Your Pets

Eight million to 10 million pets end up in U.S. shelters every year. Some are lost, some have been abandoned, and some are homeless.

Here’s an easy way to avoid adding to that number — spay and neuter your cats and dogs. It’s a procedure that can be performed as early as six to eight weeks of age.

Spaying and neutering doesn’t just cut down on the number of unwanted pets; it has other substantial benefits for your pet. Studies show it also lowers the risk of certain cancers, Burns tells WebMD, and reduces a pet’s risk of getting lost by decreasing the tendency to roam.

3. Prevent Parasites

Fleas are the most common external parasite that can plague pets, and they can lead to irritated skin, hair loss, hot spots, and infection. Fleas can also introduce other parasites into your cat or dog. All it takes is for your pet to swallow one flea, and it can to end up with tapeworms, the most common internal parasite affecting dogs and cats.

Year-round prevention is key, says McGeorge, who suggests regular flea and intestinal parasite control, as well as heartworm prevention in endemic areas.

Because some parasite medications made for dogs can be fatal to cats, talk to your vet about keeping your precious pets worm-free, flea-free — and safe.

4. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Many dogs and cats in the U.S. are overweight or obese. And just like people, obesity in pets comes with health risks that include diabetes, arthritis, and cancer.

Overfeeding is the leading cause of obesity, says Douglas, who adds that keeping our pets trim can add years to their lives.

Because pets need far fewer calories than most of us think — as little as 185-370 a day for a small, inactive dog; just 240-350 calories daily for a 10-pound cat — talk to your vet, who can make feeding suggestions based on your pet’s age, weight, and lifestyle.

dog with stethoscope

5. Get Regular Vaccinations

For optimal health, pets need regular vaccinations against common ills, such as rabies, distemper, feline leukemia, and canine hepatitis.

How often your dog or cat needs to be immunized depends on their age, lifestyle, health, and risks, says McGeorge, so talk to your vet about the vaccinations that make sense for your pet.

6. Provide an Enriched Environment

An enriched environment is another key to the long-term health and welfare of your canine and feline friends, says C.A. Tony Buffington, DVM, PhD, a veterinary nutritionist and professor at Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center in Columbus.

Pets need mental stimulation, say the pros, which may mean daily walks for your pooch, and scratching posts, window perches, and toys for your cat. It means play time with you, which not only keeps your pet’s muscles toned and boredom at bay, it also strengthens your bond with your four-footed companions.

7. ID Microchip Your Pet

Lack of identification means as few as 14% of pets ever find their way home after getting lost. Fortunately, “microchipping allows for the pet to be reunited with its family,” no matter how far away it is when found, Burns says.

About the size of a rice grain, a microchip is inserted under the skin in less than a second. It needs no battery and can be scanned by a vet or an animal control officer in seconds.

Be sure to register the chip ID with the chip’s maker. A current registration is the vital last step in making certain your pet can always find his way home.

8. Pets Need Dental Care, Too

Just like you, your pet can suffer from gum disease, tooth loss, and tooth pain. And just like you, regular brushing and oral cleanings help keep your pet’s teeth strong and healthy.

“Dental disease is one of the most common preventable illnesses in pets,” Ohio veterinarian Vanessa Douglas tells WebMD, “yet many people never even look in their pet’s mouths.”

It’s estimated 80% of dogs and 70% cats show signs of dental disease by age three, leading to abscesses, loose teeth, and chronic pain. In addition to regular dental cleanings by your vet, “periodontal disease can be avoided by proper dental care by owners,” Douglas says. Owner care includes brushing, oral rinses, and dental treats. Your vet is a good source of information about brushing techniques, oral rinses, and dental treats.

9. Never Give Pets People Medication

Medicines made for humans can kill your pet, says Georgia veterinarian Jean Sonnenfield, DVM. As a matter of fact, in 2010 the ASPCA listed human drugs in the top 10 pet toxins.

NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen are the most common pet poisoning culprits, but antidepressants, decongestants, muscle relaxants, and acetaminophen are just a few of the human drugs that pose health risks to pets. Human drugs can cause kidney damage, seizures, and cardiac arrest in a dog or cat.

If you suspect your pet has consumed your medication — or anything toxic — call the 24-hour ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. Also be sure to immediately check with your vet, and if it is during evening or weekend hours when your regular veterinary clinic may be closed, check for a local 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic and take your pet there for an examination. Many metropolitan areas have these clinics.

10. Proper Restraint in a Vehicle

You buckle up for safety when you’re in the car, shouldn’t your pet? Unrestrained pets in a car are a distraction to the driver, and can put driver and pet at risk for serious injury, “or worse,” says veterinarian Douglas. To keep pets safe in transit:

  • Never allow pets to travel in the front seat, where they’re at risk of severe injury or death if the airbag deploys.
  • Don’t let dogs ride with their head out the window or untethered in the back of a truck bed. Both practices put them at risk of being thrown from the vehicle in the event of an accident.
  • To keep pets safe, confine cats to carriers, suggests Douglas, then secure the carrier with a seatbelt. For dogs, there’s the option of a special harness attached to a seat belt, or a well-secured kennel.

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ComfortGroom

How Microchipping Works:

Microchip Your Pet

Via HomeAgain.com

essentials

Dog and cat microchipping is a simple procedure. A veterinarian simply injects a microchip for pets, about the size of a grain of rice (12mm), beneath the surface of your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades. The process is similar to a routine shot, takes only a few seconds, and your pet will not react any more than he would to a vaccination. No anesthetic is required.

A HomeAgain microchip is permanent pet ID. The microchip itself has no internal energy source, so it will last the life of your pet. It is read by passing a microchip scanner over the pet’s shoulder blades. The scanner emits a low radio frequency that provides the power necessary to transmit the microchips unique cat or dog ID code and positively identify the pet.

HomeAgain is the only dog & cat microchipping product on the market today that has the patented anti-migration feature to help ensure that the microchip will stay in place so that it may be easily located and scanned. If your pet gets lost and is taken to an animal shelter or veterinarian, they will scan the microchip to read its unique dog or cat ID code. This is the number used by HomeAgain to identify the pet and retrieve your contact information, which is used to contact you and reunite you with your pet.

Find a vet near you to get started today.

 

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Should I Take My Dog To The Dog Park?

Via YouDogsFriend.org

Top-10-Dog-Parks-Southeast-Michigan

We all envision our dogs romping gleefully with doggy friends at our local dog parks. However, not every dog enjoys being in a dog park, and not every dog park is appropriate for your dog.

Before you take your dog to a dog park, check the dogs and humans at the time that you are most likely to go. Chances are that the same dogs will show up at the same time each week. Watch for anything that might be of concern.

  • Are there too many dogs crowded together?
  • Do the dogs surround any new dog that arrives?
  • Do any of the dogs seem to be bullying other dogs?
  • Are the humans paying attention to their dogs, or are they busy talking to each other?
  • Are the humans tolerant of each other’s dogs?
  • Did someone bring a ball, Frisbee, or other toy that could cause conflict?
  • Are there a large number of intact males?
  • Is there a separate area for the smaller dogs to play?
  • Is the park double gated? Are the gating and fencing secure?

Dogs need exercise, including play, but playtime needs to be a good experience for everyone. Promise yourself that if you have any doubts about whether your dog or others are acting appropriately, the play is getting too rough, or your dog is not having fun, you will LEAVE. Don’t discount the importance of playtime at home with you. You are your dog’s best friend and most sought-after companion.

Dogs At Play

dogplay2

There is a lot about dog play that we humans miss. For one thing, many of us confuse play and aggression. Play can look aggressive, but it’s generally enjoyable to both dogs if you see these signs:

  • Play bows (front legs outstretched, hind quarter up) or quick tapping with feet
  • Bark or high-pitched growl
  • Balance between being on top and being on bottom
  • Mouth open when play biting
  • Hackles aren’t up (for most breeds)
  • Dogs stop and start again
  • More side to side than forward movement
  • Relaxed, loose bodies

NOTE: Growling, snapping and biting are common during play.

When dogs play off-leash, you should know the difference between polite interactions and signs of trouble. Use the signals below to decide if your dog is safe or if it’s time to stop playing. Play, under normal circumstances, happens in short spurts. If not, you should interrupt the play, so the dogs can calm down, before letting them loose again.

Polite Dog to Dog Interactions

Dogs that are polite and get along with each other:

  • Approach other dogs in an arc
  • Move slowly and calmly
  • Avoid eye contact
  • May sniff other dog
  • Soft eyes, ears, tails and bodies

NOTE: Dogs walked on a leash are forced to approach each other head on.

Signs of Trouble

These behaviors can be a warning sign of trouble:

  • Staring at the other dog
  • One dog standing with his head and neck over the other dog’s neck or shoulders in a “t” position
  • Walking around the other dog with
    • Legs stiff
    • Neck arched
    • Tail held high

Why Dog Parks May Not Be Appropriate For Your Dog

Play Styles: Different dogs have different play styles (chasing, wrestling, body slamming, biting…) that aren’t compatible. So, growing tension among dogs is inevitable.

Arousal: Dogs at dog parks are in a high state of arousal that can quickly turn to aggression. With so many dogs together in one place and humans who encourage their dogs to play non-stop, there is almost no chance for a dog to calm down.

When aroused, chemicals are released into a dog’s bloodstream that were once useful for dogs’ survival, but which now only serve to amp up our dogs. These don’t dissipate right away, leading to dogs that are on alert even when they’re away from the dog park. When on leash, some of these dog park dogs chafe at being restricted and have trouble staying calm near other dogs.

Bullies:  There are some dogs that bully other dogs and others that have never learned polite dog interaction. These dogs approach head-on, stare, or don’t heed another dog’s warning to back off. When your dog enters a dog park, the other dogs surround him, and, sometimes, loose packs of dogs roam the dog park menacing other dogs.

And Bullied: You see dogs that jump on their humans, hide behind them, stay near the fence, cower, or move away when another dog comes near. They are doing everything they can to tell their people that they don’t want to be there. But so many of us think it’s good for them or that they are actually enjoying themselves that we ignore their pleas to leave. You CANNOT make your dog like other dogs by forcing him to be around them, especially in a busy and unpredictable dog park.

Human Inattention & Lack of Understanding: The humans often don’t pay attention, are defensive about their own dogs, and don’t recognize the signals that dogs give to each other and to us. Some will bring toys or balls to the dog park and then get upset when nearby dogs go after them. We have even heard of people who kicked, hit, or picked up and threw another person’s dog because they deemed that dog’s behavior to be threatening (even though it was normal dog behavior that didn’t require intervention).

Health: No one is checking on whether the dogs at dog parks are healthy or have had their vaccinations. And when aroused play becomes aggressive, dogs have been bitten, badly injured, or have died from injuries suffered at dog parks.

Predatory Drift: Some dogs are more predatory than others. They were bred to chase and kill other animals. At some point, while chasing a furry looking dog that may resemble a rabbit or squirrel to them, their animal instinct may kick in. The dog may stalk, pick up, and shake another dog as if it were prey.

Long-Term Effects:  If something happens at the dog park – your dog is scared, bitten, or a fight breaks out nearby – your dog’s behavior can be affected from then on. Even one bad experience can have long-term effects on your dog.

We see so many dogs that become reactive after going to dog parks – either because they are now afraid of other dogs and act aggressively to keep them away or because it’s difficult for them to stay calm when they see another dog.

What You Can Do Instead

Arrange play dates with dogs that you know are compatible and healthy. Keep in mind, though, that even best friends can become overly aroused, leading to aggression in an instant. Breaking up play every few minutes helps keep the arousal level low and teaches the dogs that they don’t always have to be manic in the company of other dogs. Go get your dog, and give him a gentle massage while talking softly. If your dog tries to leave or wriggles, be patient and stay calm. Then, let the dogs loose to play again. Remember that until your dog learns that your intervention is a pleasant experience and only temporary, you can’t compete with dogs at play.

If exercise is your goal, there are a lot of ways for you to exercise your dog – blowing bubbles for your dog to pop, moving around a Chase ‘N Pull (a sheepskin on a flexible rod  that your dog can chase), teaching your dog to “find it” (look for hidden treats), bouncing a ball or using a Chuck-It to throw it a distance, or “casting” a Flirt Pole, a dog exercise toy with a fleece toss lure (kind of like a fishing pole).

Most of us don’t realize that when our dogs use their brains, it tires them as much as physical exercise and is just as important. Practice training cues, or teach your dog tricks.  Use interactive toys that require a dog to pull, push, drop, roll, or tug  to get kibble to fall out. Your dog will try to figure out why kibble fell out one time and not the next. Puzzle toys can be even more challenging. The dog has to lift or slide multiple pieces at different levels to get to the treats hidden inside.

There is no limit to the ways you can provide physical exercise and mental stimulation for your dog without risking your dog’s health and well-being at a dog park.  If they could, most dogs would thank you.

Resources

If you do go to a quiet dog park with well-behaved dogs and humans

Off-Leash Dog Play: a guide to safety and fun, Robin Bennett

Dog Park Assistant app, Sue Sternberg  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dog-park-assistant/id566034379?mt=8

When ordering dog toys, books, or anything else online, please keep in mind that Your Dog’s Friend is included in the Amazon Smile program. Choose Your Dog’s Friend at www.smile.amazon.com and start shopping. We will receive a donation for every purchase you make through Amazon Smile.

Your Dog’s Friend is a 501-c3 non-profit organization that educates and supports dog parents. We offer behavior and training advice; sponsor FREE workshops on a variety of topics; run positive dog training, behavior-related, and sports classes; refer dog parents to trainers, dog walkers, and other professionals; and send an e-newsletter with articles, resources, and announcements.

This material is not intended to be a substitute for professional help when dealing with dogs with intense or potentially dangerous behavior issues.  Consider consulting a positive reinforcement trainer or animal behaviorist for situations that you feel are dangerous or that you don’t feel equipped to handle. A list of recommended trainers and behaviorists can be found on our website, www.yourdogsfriend.info

 

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ComfortGroom

Dog Grooming: It’s Not Just For Purse Dogs Anymore

6891010-big-dogs

By Oliver’s Pet Care

Back in the day we didn’t “groom” our dogs. We didn’t trim their toenails and we certainly didn’t squeeze their anal glands. And dogs were fine! But you know what? Now they’re better! They’re healthier and happier and living more robust lives because they’re bodies feel good from all kinds of advancements in pet care, including being groomed. Sometimes laughed off as “pampering,” grooming is actually more like a doctor visit than a spa treatment. Let’s talk about why it’s important to groom your dog and some good ways to get it done.

Home Care Vs. The Groomer – Try a little of both!

I love the groomer for a couple of reasons.

– First of all, some socialization for my dog – away from me is a good thing. Especially in the case of rescue dogs who may have lingering abandonment issues, it’s good for them to have a regular experience of being separated for a while then reunited, so he knows you’re always coming back for him.

– The groomer simply does a better job. They have the time and the proper tools to get things done properly and efficiently, providing the best experience for your dog. Sometimes the human world gets pretty hectic and pet grooming can get put on the back burner for later. Professional grooming is easier and provides consistency.

Now I am not saying to skip grooming all together, heck no! Even though it may prove difficult at times, caring for your dog builds trust and bonding, just like with your children.
At Home – The most basic aspect of grooming, which is also usually the easiest and most enjoyable for all parties involved, is the brushing. Did you know there are different brushes for different dogs and hair types? Yup! So find a dog brush that is right for your furry guy, which will meet the needs of his coat, keep it shiny and provide a comfortable experience. Then brush every day.

That’s right. I said “EVERY DAY.” There is different information out there regarding how often dogs should be brushed. They say that long haired dogs need to be brushed daily to prevent matting and tangles, medium haired dogs can get by once a week, and short haired dogs can go up to a month between brushings! Well – Oliver and I have talked at length about this and we are both of the opinion that every dog deserves to be brushed every day. It feels good for them, it’s easy, it creates closeness between you, and it doesn’t take much time. So forget what you may have heard, and get brushing!

Bathing – This is a tough one because some dogs love it and some run and hide under the bed if they even hear the bathtub water turn on. It can be an excellent bonding opportunity if done properly with care and encouragement, but can also be a traumatic experience for everybody if you’re not prepared and confident in your task.

Once a month bathing should suffice for most dogs. You can adjust this according to your dog’s lifestyle. If Muffin spends a lot of time rolling around in the mud, she may need more frequent visits to the tub! A good general practice is a once a month trip to the groomer, with a bath at home in between. Since the groomer does all the trimming and poking, you can just focus on the washing and scrubbing. Try to pass it off as a wet belly rub! Whatever you do, keep it positive, use only doggie cleaners, and keep water away from the eyes and ears as much as possible. They also make dry shampoos for quick clean ups between baths.

Ears – The inside of dog ears is covered with ridges and creases which can collect wax and funk. Some dogs experience build-up and infection and some don’t. Talk to your vet about your dog’s needs and rest assured whatever it is, it’s probably pretty easy. It’s only the external canal that we deal with and all that is usually needed is a q-tip and whatever ear care solution your vet recommends. If you notice your bud shaking his head a lot, itching his ears, or there is a lot of visible wax – those are your cues that there could be something wrong.

Teeth – It can be challenging but brushing those canine teeth will keep not only is mouth healthy but will keep a host of other problems at bay, as well. Did you know that plaque build-up on a dog’s mouth leads to bacterial infection that can enter the blood stream and cause harm to the kidneys, heart, brain, and liver? Chewing hard biscuits as well as dental treats and toys will help, but brushing once or twice a week will provide the best health. I prefer the doggie toothbrush that fits at the end of your finger but you can get a full sized doggie toothbrush, too. Just remember that dogs can’t spit so make sure you get toothpaste made for them. Human toothpaste will make them sick. And if you can find a flavor of paste that he likes, your job will be even easier!
TO THE SPA! That’s it for me for home grooming. I don’t care to bond over clipping nails, haircuts, or anal glands, thank you very much! A once a month trip to the groomer puts my mind at ease that my furry companion is being nipped and trimmed in all the right places and always looks his best.

Different dogs have different needs. For instance, if your dog is doing the boot scoot across the floor often, he may need his glands squeezed more often. Some little guys just don’t express them well enough on their own. If your furry fella is prone to eye watering or infections, you need to keep his hair trimmed around his eyes. And so on. Talk to your groomer about your dog’s behavior and quirks so they can work with you to build a customized grooming plan that fits your pet’s needs and your wallet.

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ComfortGroom

Tips to Protect Your Pets on 4th of July

By Jessica Chitrabhiboolya

Fireworks + Scared Puppy

With 4th of July just around the corner, we start to prepare the celebration of our independence day with picnics, barbecues, and of course fireworks. But are our furry friends ready for the flashes and booms of this occasion?

Dogs get scared around fireworks and thunder. According to the PetMD, more pets go missing around the 4th of July than any other time of year.

The SPCA and other experts offer the following advice to protect our pets during this celebration and other events:

  1. Create a safe space
  • Indoors and quiet places would be ideal as 4th of July is the day most dogs run away due to the bang of the fireworks startling them.
  • Pay attention to where is your pets go to spot for comfort
  • Make that space as cozy as possible
  1. Prepare the house
  • Provide food, water, comfy bedding and any other toys your pet loves
  • Leave something fun to do, like a new toy or a Kong filled with treats
  1. Prepare your pet for dealing with loud noises by exposing them with other sounds
  2. Create a distraction
  • TV, White noise, or the radio works greats to help muffle the outside noises
  1. Calming and relax
  • Swaddle blanket
  • Canine calming scents
  • Items such as the thunder shirt or anti anxiety wraps
  1. Keep an eye on your pet.
  2. Stay with them or nearby if possible
  3. After the fireworks, make sure all debris and all other hazardous material are cleaned up and safe for your pet to enjoy outside.

Once all the celebration is over, make sure to show your pets lots of love and show them that everything is alright.

happy-4-of-july

Happy 4th of July Everyone!

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ComfortGroom

 comfortgroomlogo_zps5c9aa1a3

 

2015: 5 Big Trends for the New Year

Written by Cherryl Reeves for PetProductNews.com

Pet Groom Blog Post

1. Pet Food
Why more consumers are paying the price for high quality

According to Packaged Facts’ latest report, Pet Food in the U.S., 11th Edition (September 2014), much of the dollar growth in the pet food market has come from converting pet owners to higher-priced foods, but this trend shows signs of hitting a ceiling in 2014.

Even so, Packaged Facts expects sales to grow at 3 to 4.5 percent rates over the 2015-2018 period, driven by an increased focus on pet health and the powerful role of the human-animal bond.

At these rates, U.S. retail sales of pet food will rise by a total of 16 percent during the forecast period (through 2018) to $33 billion, reflecting a compound annual growth rate of 3 percent.

Debbie Phillips-Donaldson, editor-in-chief at Petfood Industry magazine in Rockford, Ill., reported that mass market is where most of the growth slowdown seems to be happening, which points to the pet specialty channel as the sales-growth driver.

“Other more specific trends are that raw pet food sales, whether freeze dried, frozen or refrigerated, are growing briskly—still from a small base but strong growth in sales, and products and companies entering the market,” she said. “This growth is happening in the U.S. and abroad: Many German companies at Interzoo were launching raw or BARF (biologically appropriate raw food) products.”

Pet owners continue to move away from pet food products and ingredients from China, especially jerky treats, she added.

New developments in food processing extrusion also are creating opportunities for pet food innovation that meet demand for limited-ingredient diets, food safety and specific food labeling.

“With this new hardware, we have more control of cooking temperatures, extrusion, sanitation and food production safety,” said Curtis Strahm, director of extrusion applications at Wenger, the Americas, a food processing manufacturing plant in Sabetha, Kan. “The grain-free trend continues to grow, and we have equipment that can more precisely deliver limited-ingredient products as well as overall healthier and highly nutritious food mixtures.”

Indeed, the trend of pet owners scrutinizing food and treat labels for ingredients and their origins is on the rise, retailers reported.

“Years ago, terms like byproducts and fillers weren’t something that pet parents talked about, but now a food brand’s mission statement against these less-nutritive types of ingredients are key tenets to their success,” said Joshua Roth, vice president of Pet Pantry Warehouse, a store with five locations in Connecticut and New York.

2. Pet Tech
Sales of wearable tech are set to explode

Wearable Technologies for Animals 2015-2025, a report from IDTechEx, a market research firm in Cambridge, England, projects that the market for wearable tech for pets will explode—sector sales are expected to reach $2.6 billion by 2025.

According to the findings, wearable tech for animals of all sorts—dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, livestock and endangered species—will be the next big thing for monitoring security, behavior, medical diagnosis and treatment.

Davide Rossi, founder of Kansas City, Mo.-based FitBark, which makes a wireless activity and behavior tracker that attaches to a pet’s collar, said the trend for pet wearables mirrors the human market for such devices.

“People also want to know as much as possible about their pets, and there’s added convenience of having a tracker and mobile app that allows veterinarians to sync up to a pet’s health and behavior data,” Rossi said, adding that it cuts down on the Q&A during vet checkups.

Another hot trend is the demand for greater accountability from dog walkers, sitters and daycare providers.

Doug Simon, former owner of a dog walking service and currently the founder of Chicago-based Pet Check Technology—a company that offers a GPS tracking mobile app that maps a dog walk—said people want to know for sure that their pet has been picked up and returned home, and that their dog was walked for the entire time that they paid for.

“Clients also receive an email with details, including a walk route, notes like how a dog is doing or if a pet parent needs to stock up on food,” he said. “Walkers can even add photos. I’m seeing so many new dog-walking and pet-sitting companies opening, and they all feel that they need to add a GPS tracker to their service as demand from clients escalates. Requests are also on the rise for trackers for cats.”

Other must-have apps include pet social media platforms, iCams, the ASPCA’s Petoxins (an app that lists all types of plants that are poisonous to dogs), and Foursquare’s app that organizes all the dog runs, pet stores, grooming facilities and more in a pet owner’s city or neighborhood.

3. Live Pet Sales and Legislation
It’s a make-or-break year for live animal sales

The jury is still out on whether or not retailers will be able to continue selling puppies, kittens, aquatics and reptiles. However, the pet industry is upping its game in raising awareness and fighting bans against in-store livestock sales.

“PIJAC is fighting for a future where pet stores continue to be one of many providers for purchasing pets,” said Rebekah Milford, director of marketing and communications for the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council in Washington.

“We believe in a future that allows consumers to choose the best pet for their family. Education is an essential part of how we want to engage on the issue of pet sale bans. Banning animal sales in stores does nothing to stop unscrupulous breeders but can cause consumers to visit underground breeders or find other venues to purchase the pets that their family desires.”

Uncle Bill’s Pet Centers, a retailer with locations in central and northern Indiana, has been selling all types of pets for more than 25 years. Leilani Zindler, store manager, said that education is key, as is only using quality, trustworthy breeders.

“There are so many great breeders who have high-quality standards in animal husbandry,” said Zindler. “That’s the message more should be receiving and understanding.”

According to a recent poll taken by the American Pet Products Association, more people seem to be receiving the message: Four in five (81 percent) U.S. adults say banning dog sales entirely at pet stores will not stop puppy mills.

Steve King, president of the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA) in Abingdon, Md., said all major pet associations have united with PIJAC to take a stand against legislative bans on pet sales in stores.

“The trend is to stop letting animal rights activists control the message,” said King. “What we need to do a better job of is raising awareness that there is a big difference between respectable commercial breeders and disreputable puppy mills.”

With almost 50 U.S. cities now enforcing bans, and an injunction prohibiting Phoenix from enforcing its law until a case initiated by Phoenix-based pet store Puppies ’N Love is further evaluated, the future of bans is uncertain.

“PIJAC hopes that common sense can prevail on the issue of pet sale bans, but we hope that other cities will wait to see how the Phoenix case plays out before trying to adopt similar bans,” said Milford. “If more cities try to adopt pet sale bans, PIJAC will continue to be on the frontlines fighting for the rights of consumers, commercial breeders, pet lovers and those who could be potentially economically impacted by such a ban.”

4. Walking, Training, Grooming & More Services
From grooming to dog walking, more people are launching pet service businesses

American Pet Professionals, a Babylon, N.Y.-based networking group dedicated to the pet industry and founded by Nancy Hassel, has experienced increased membership this year and expects the trend to continue.

“The pet service industry is attracting more people who want to be trainers and groomers, or they’re opening dog walking and pet sitting companies,” said Hassel.

“What’s interesting is a lot of the new members in our group are older folks who are embarking on second, or even third, careers.

We’re seeing the millennials are more focused on creating new products and marketing them in various pet sectors.”

Hassel said the dog-walking trend has gone from a simple setup to more like a big business.

“They’re hiring teams, creating websites with logos and blogs, using social media, adding GPS tracking technology, promoting their first aid qualifications, and are bonded and insured,” Hassel said. “Best of all, they’re holding themselves to very high professional standards.”

When Hassel attended the 2014 Association of Professional Dog Trainers conference in Hartford, Conn., she said it was clear that the field of dog training has grown significantly in the past couple of years by the sheer numbers of new professional trainers in attendance.

Indeed, the U.S. Department of Labor projects that the employment of animal care and service workers, and specifically animal trainers, is projected to grow by 15 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations.

Dog grooming, both in a salon and via mobile units, also is a service attracting more sales and groomers, said Jorge Bendersky, celebrity groomer and consultant at Planet Jorge in New York.

“As cities become more dog friendly and dogs are more involved than ever in their owners’ social lives, grooming is no longer just about keeping dogs clean,” said Bendersky. “Pet grooming has become a regular spa treatment that can be compared with the services that were previously just available to lucky humans, bringing home grooming to the top of the list of ‘premium’ services.”

Bendersky added that mobile grooming units are growing rapidly in areas where driving around and parking doesn’t present a problem.

“Time is money,” he said. “Circling around for parking is not the best scenario.”

For those groomers who make home visits, the low overhead cost of doing business is a big positive, Bendersky added. “Home groomers can easily make six figures a year with an overhead of only a backpack full of grooming tools,” he said. “No rent, no maintenance, no loans needed. The performance quality and light weight of the new generation of grooming tools, added to a smart selection of concentrated products, make it possible to carry all you need for a full day of work.”

5. Economy
At last! This is the year business will pick up again

According to Kiplinger’s most recent economic outlook, “healthy third-quarter growth of 3.5 percent plus an upward revision of second-quarter growth confirm that economic momentum is back on track. In the fourth quarter and into 2015, growth should continue at a 3 percent rate. Consumer confidence has been gaining strongly. Hiring is on the rise, job openings are at a near record level, and spending on consumer services, such as recreation, is likely to strengthen as incomes rise.”

There’s more good news for retailers and their business-related expenses.

“With rising employment overall, and a dramatic drop in fuel prices, the economic outlook is quite good, as people will have more disposable income,” PIDA’s King said.

Also, retailers and other pet businesses staffed with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from the Affordable Care Act, he added.

Owners also are continuing to pamper their “fur kids.” Case in point: Looking at the overall pet industry, Packaged Facts’ 2014-2015 report found that pet humanization is the biggest factor driving sales growth.

Greg Markiewicz, the manager of Tatnuck Pets, a store in Worcester, Mass., said he sees the economy looking up just by the sharp increase in customers requesting and buying high-end foods, treats and more for their pets.

“Pets are being treated just like precious children,” he said. American Pet Professionals’ Hassel suggested that retailers might consider offering a dog walking and pet sitting service, given the popularity of this thriving business sector.

Bendersky is optimistic for the grooming industry in 2015.

“As pets become more involved with their owners’ social activities, the grooming industry will only move forward. Premium services and high-quality products are turning the grooming industry into the pet beauty industry.”

King reminded retailers that they will do best if their sales come from both brick-and-mortar and online. “The percent of sales made online continue to grow,” he said. “So make sure your website is transactional and mobilized for success.”

Choosing a Grooming Table That’s Perfect for You

By Jet Perreault

Pet groomers tend to have a lot of equipment.

They may have many types of brushes, shedding blades, combs and nail trimmers, just for starters. Often they have several sets of clippers and dozens of blades and scissors.

These items are really just the beginning of what a groomer needs to produce a happy, handsome pet with a fantastic hairstyle.

dog groom

One of the most basic needs — and certainly the most important — is the table where

all this grooming is performed. Whether the

groomer is working on the family dog, is a handler with a string of canines, or owns a salon full of barking or meowing clients, the table is central to getting the job done.

This is why it is important that time and thought go into buying the best grooming table to get the job done (unless you’ll be making your own!).

 

What Will the Table Generally Be Used For?

If you’re grooming long haired pets, that will mean a certain type of table.

If your main clients are from the Saint Bernard family or the Irish wolfhound, well, that’s an entirely different sort of table.

Consider Size: If you’re in a salon, chances are you’ll get dogs of all shapes and sizes, and perhaps a cat or two as well. Several tables can be very useful. You’ll need one in the bathing and blow-drying area, and one for the grooming area. With a variety of pooches coming through, it’s good to have larger, sturdy tables. Accommodate the big boys and your little guys will be happy too.

Take into Account the Amount of Grooming: If you’re taking care of your own dog at home, you won’t need the same kind of table you might in a salon. If your pet is large, it is smart to invest in a table that will easily work for both you and your pet, such as a hydraulic or electric grooming table. If you have a cocker spaniel, you may do better with a table that collapses down. Some of the collapsible (folding) tables aren’t great for large dogs because those tables can be too wobbly. But for in-home grooming with small to medium breeds, folding tables can be ideal. It’s a real advantage to be able to collapse a table back down when you’re done with it and get use out of the space again.

Will You Be Traveling With the Table? If you’re showing your Pomeranian or poodle, you’ll be giving last-minute grooming before you enter the ring. You’ll need a table that goes with you. You may also be a groomer who travels to locations doing demonstrations or classes. In both of these instances, a table that can fold up for easy travel is ideal.

Is It for Personal Use or a Salon? Grooming at home with just one or two pets can mean an entirely different situation from a salon with a wide variety of canines coming through. Remember that you’ll want to accommodate even the largest dogs in your salon, unless you want to limit your clientele. For this reason you should consider at least one quality hydraulic or electric table. You won’t want to move tables around a lot, so you won’t need collapsible tables. On the home-grooming front, you likely won’t have as much space devoted to grooming. In this situation, a table that is lightweight and can be collapsed and tucked away when you’re done is an excellent choice.

Consider Your Budget

I Am Not Sure

You don’t want to cut corners when it comes to your table. This is the most important piece of equipment you’ll have in a salon, in your home or at a kennel. It is also integral to a safe job. For these reasons alone you want to buy the best table that you can afford.

Once you’ve decided what kind of table you want, it’s time to look at what’s out there for sale. Do everything you can to have as much in your budget as possible for your table. The more you can invest in your grooming table, the better chance you’ll have of getting the best out there and not dealing with it breaking down — or worse, being dangerous.

Your fold-up tables can be purchased for anywhere from under $100 to a few hundred dollars. They are by far the cheapest on the market. This doesn’t mean they will be the best for the environment you’ll be grooming in. If it is the table you’ve chosen, then by all means start shopping for the sturdiest collapsible table you can find.

Perhaps your decision has led you to the hydraulic table. These are sturdy and dependable and can be purchased for less than $200 on up to a thousand dollars. If this is what you’re looking for, you’ll have plenty of options to select from.

Maybe you’re more interested in getting an electric table. You’ve decided they seem to fit what you need the best and are set on buying a professional grooming table of this caliber. There are plenty of these on the market as well, and they range from a few hundred dollars to as high as a couple of thousand.

The 9/11 Rescue Dogs: Portraits of the Last Surviving Animals

By Anna Edwards

During the chaos of the 9/11 attacks, where almost 3,000 people died, nearly 100 loyal search and rescue dogs and their brave owners scoured Ground Zero for survivors. Now, ten years on, just 12 of these heroic canines survive, and they have been commemorated in a touching series of portraits entitled ‘Retrieved’. The dogs worked tirelessly to search for anyone trapped alive in the rubble, along with countless emergency service workers and members of the public.

Moxie, 13, from Winthrop, Massachusetts, arrived with her handler, Mark Aliberti, at the World Trade Center on the evening of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, and searched the site for 8 days

Moxie, 13, from Winthrop, Massachusetts, arrived with her handler, Mark Aliberti, at the World Trade Center on the evening of September 11 and searched the site for eight days.

Tara, 16, from Ipswich, Massachusetts, arrived at the World Trade Centre on the night of the 11th. The dog and her handler Lee Prentiss were there for 8 days

Tara, 16, from Ipswich, Massachusetts, arrived at the World Trade Center on the night of the 11th. The dog and her handler Lee Prentiss were there for eight days.

Kaiser, 12, pictured at home in Indianapolis, Indiana was deployed to the World Trade Center September 11, 2001, and looked for people in the rubble

Kaiser, 12, pictured at home in Indianapolis, Indiana, was deployed to the World Trade Center on September 11 and searched tirelessly for people in the rubble.

Travelling across nine states in the U.S. from Texas to Maryland, Dutch photographer Charlotte Dumas, 34, captured the remaining dogs in their twilight years in their homes where they still live with their handlers, a full decade on from 9/11.

Their stories have now been compiled in a book, called Retrieved, which is published on Friday, the tenth anniversary of the attacks.

Noted for her touching portraits of animals, especially dogs, Charlotte wanted ‘Retrieved’ to mark not only the anniversary of the September 2001 attacks, but also as recognition for some of the first responders and their dogs.

‘I felt this was a turning point, especially for the dogs, who although are not forgotten, are not as prominent as the human stories involved,’ explained Charlotte, who splits her time between New York and Amsterdam.

‘They speak to us as a different species and animals are greatly important for our sense of empathy and to put things into perspective.’

Bretagne and his owner Denise Corliss from Cypress, Texas, arrived at the site in New York on September 17, remaining there for ten days

Bretagne and his owner Denise Corliss from Cypress, Texas, arrived at the site in New York on September 17, remaining there for ten days.

Bretagne takes a break from work at the 9/11 site with Denise

Bretagne takes a break from work at the 9/11 site with his handler Denise.

Guinness, 15, from Highland California, started working with Sheila McKee on the morning of the 13th and were deployed to the World Trade Center for 11 daysGuinness works at the 9/11 site shortly after the attacks

Guinness, 15, from Highland, California, started work at the site with Sheila McKee on the morning of September 13 and was deployed at the site for 11 days.

Merlyn and his handler Matt Claussen were deployed to the on the 24th September, working the night shift for five days

Merlyn and his handler Matt Claussen were deployed to Ground Zero on September 24, working the night shift for five days.

Most of the search and rescue dogs are Labradors or Golden Retrievers and Charlotte feels that the title works across many aspects of the story.

‘I found the dogs, I retrieved them, they were there to retrieve the victims, it is nicely rounded,’ explained Charlotte whose work is being exhibited at the Julie Saul Gallery NYC opening on September 8, in time for the anniversary.

After working on a project about police canines and other working dogs, she was inspired to concentrate on the animals that played such a huge part in seeking survivors.

Contacting the NYPD, the New York Fire Department and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Charlotte discovered that out of the nearly 100 dogs among the first responders deployed by FEMA, there were in fact only 15 still alive last year.

Red, 11, from Annapolis, Maryland, went with Heather Roche to the Pentagon from September 16 until the 27 as part of the Bay Area Recovery Canines

Red, 11, from Annapolis, Maryland, went with Heather Roche to the Pentagon from September 16 until the 27 as part of the Bay Area Recovery Canines.

Abigail the dog and Debra Tosch were deployed on the evening of September 17 at the World Trade Center and then searching for 10 daysTuff and Tom Andert arrived in the city at 11:00 pm on the day of attack to start working early the next day the World Trade Centre

Abigail, left, was deployed on the evening of September 17, searching for 10 days while Tuff arrived in New York at 11:00 pm on the day of attack to start working early the next day.

Scout and another unknown dog lay among the rubble at Ground Zero, just two of nearly 100 search and rescue animals who helped to search for survivors

Scout and another unknown dog lie among the rubble at Ground Zero, just two of nearly 100 search and rescue animals who helped to search for survivors.

‘They were there for the first few weeks, they were trained to find people alive, although that is ultimately not what happened,’ said Charlotte, who will hold a fundraiser for the First Responder Alliance at Clic Bookstore in New York on September 29.

‘I traveled across the United States to meet with the owners and portray the dogs. They are all retired and I spent time with each of their handlers learning about their experiences.

‘It was moving talking to Denise Corliss, who is the handler and owner of Bretagne, one of the Golden Retrievers.

‘She told me a touching story of one fireman who was there in the rubble, and how taken he was with Bretagne who comforted him as he sat down to catch his breath.

Handler Julie Noyes and Hoke were deployed to the World Trade Centre from their home in Denver on September 24 and searched for 5 days

Handler Julie Noyes and Hoke were deployed to the World Trade Center from their home in Denver on September 24 and searched for five days.

Searching for survivors: The dogs tirelessly worked to help find those who survived the horrific attacks

Searching for survivors: The dogs worked around the clock in the vain hope of finding anyone still alive at the World Trade Center site

‘Years later at a Remembrance Ceremony, the same fireman recognised Bretagne and her handler and they had a touching reunion.

‘It developed that even though the dogs couldn’t find people still alive, they could provide comfort for the brave firemen and rescue workers of the emergency services.’

Wishing to tell the other side of heroism from 9/11, each of Charlotte’s encounters with dogs such as Gabriel and Orion and Scout stayed with her.

‘The dogs are now old and they will soon pass away. Even during the time it has taken since my first work on the ‘Retrieved’ portraits to now, three of the final 15 have died,’ said Charlotte.

‘These portraits are about how time passes, and how these dogs and their portraits are offering us a way to deal with the things that happened as well as relying on them for comfort.’

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Hot Industry Trend: Spa Services for Pets

By Alissa Wolf


The pet grooming industry has witnessed a dramatic increase in luxury services for pets in recent years. What’s truly interesting is that people are willing to spend small fortunes on such services for pets as reiki , holistic massage , facials and other high-end treatments that in the past were reserved for humans.

The American Pet Products Association reports that people spent $3.36 billion on pet grooming and boarding services in 2009, which is expected to increase exponentially in the future. What’s even more interesting is that people are willing to spend a pay and a leg on luxury services for pets in the midst of the worst economic climate since the Depression. I spoke with some leading industry professionals to get the inside scoop on why such services for pets are increasing.

According to Wendy Booth, certification coordinator for the National Dog Groomers Association of America, one reason for this trend is because pet groomers are finally getting the recognition they long lacked.”We’re at the bottom of the scale, along with kennel workers,” said the Colorado-based groomer. “But after being in this industry for 30 years, I can now say that what’s been happening in the profession is fabulous. Professionalism is being built in the industry. We have all sorts of things, like Blueberry Facials , that were not heard of even 10 years ago. In this down economy, this is shocking.” Another reason for this trend may have to do with the aging baby boomer population; these folks generally have more disposable income. Plus, their kids are grown and on their own.”Animals have become people’s children,” Booth said. “As we get into the empty nest syndrome, we want a Fifi or a Foofoo. We’re out there spending money on them.”

At Chateau Poochie , the ultra swank pet resort and spa in Pompano Beach, Fla., dogs (and cats) get treated to the most luxurious spa and other services in surroundings most people never experience. “I only hire the most top-notch groomers,” said Chateau Poochie owner Amy Jo Birkenes. “I’m proud to say we are the slowest groomers; we have hand-scissor experts. It’s like a person going to a fabulous hairstylist.”

At the Pet Spa at Harrods in London that caters to “V.I.P.s” (Very Important Pets), pet parents can expect to shell out 295 British pounds (the equivalent to 472 American dollars) for a deluxe pet day spa experience that might include a “peticure” (complete with the latest fashion nail color), a soothing bubble bath, massage, reiki and more.

Birkenes believes that people justify spending lots of money on their pets in a recession because they often go without lots of luxuries. “When people do without, we feel good about doing nice things for our pets,” she said. “Many of us treat our pets better than some family members. Pets often are our best friends.” People are also more isolated, due to the proliferation of the Internet.

“In this social networking world we live in, if you’re not talking to your computer, you’re talking to your dog,” Birkenes said. Plus, pets tend to be more appreciative of the nice things their human parents do for them. “When dogs come out of the grooming salons, they’re so happy that they literally dance around,” Birkenes pointed out. “I’ve actually seen dogs admire themselves in the mirror.”

In addition to the high-fashion haircuts, “peticures” and other luxury services, such treatments as reiki, holistic massage, aromatherapy and other such New Agey modalities for pets are gaining popularity. “People will spend more money on these kinds of services than they will on traditional grooming,” said my friend, Mark Hills, who’s in the grooming supply business. “It’s amazing.” Pet industry experts attribute the growing popularity of holistic services for pets to the fact that many humans themselves are benefiting from these treatments. Even traditional veterinarians are increasingly adding such complementary treatments to their practices.

Why are people willing to spend tons of money on such services for pets, especially in a deep recession ? My guess is because pets are the only beings on earth who offer us humans unconditional loyalty, respect and love. That is priceless.

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