Friday, October 31, 2014

5 Ways to Help Your Pup Enjoy Halloween

It’s All Hallows’ Eve!  While humans may look forward to the fun ahead, Halloween can be a very stressful time for dogs.  Imagine having to wear a cumbersome costume while trying to be taken seriously as you attempt to protect the house – which is constantly under attack by strange, short creatures that sort of resemble humans. 

Help your dog prepare for tonight’s festivities by doing the following:

1. First things first, Take your dog for a long walk or run before the trick-or-treating begins.  Your dog is less likely to be hyper, disobedient, or stressed out once strangers start coming to the door.

2. You may consider putting your dog in his/her crate in a quiet room away from the front door, so he/she won’t be disturbed by guests coming to the door.  Give him/her a chew toy to work on and turn on some soothing music to keep your dog’s attention in the room.   You may also want to leave the front door open so no one rings the doorbell, just for good measure.

3. Be sure your dog is secure inside the house. If your pup likes to bolt as soon as the door is open, make sure you have him/her on a leash, or behind a barrier, while answering the door.  You do not want to spend your Halloween night chasing after your dog.

4. If you are taking your dog out trick-or-treating with you, put a glow stick or some sort of light on him/her (or the leash), to ensure drivers can see your dog.

5. Don’t let anyone feed the dog.  Watch children closely as they are usually ready and willing to share their plunder. No chocolate, candy, or anything with refined sugar in it.  

Additionally: If you have a black cat, try to keep him/her indoors tonight.  

Have a happy and safe Howl’oween!

Friday, October 24, 2014

This Weekend: Pooches & Parades

90th Annual Anaheim Fall Festival & Halloween Parade

A long standing tradition in Anaheim, the Fall Festival & Halloween Parade will be running for its 90th year.  While the Anaheim Hallowe’en Festival was started in 1923, the parade wasn’t first held until the following year, on October 30th, 1924.  The parade was started as a way to discourage young people from mischievous Halloween pranks.  The festival and parade were instantly successful and continued to grow each year.  While it did lose its popularity in the 80’s, the long held tradition has made a comeback, and is once again a community favorite.

The Fall Festival starts at 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., on Saturday, the 25th.  A family and dog friendly event, there is no shortage of things to see and do at the Fall Festival.  There will be craft booths, games, food, and vendors.  You can enter your kid in the Children’s Costume Contest or your dog in the Dog Costume Contest.  There will be story time, a pumpkin patch, as well as pot-bellied pigs.   At 6 p.m. the parade begins, and runs down Broadway, from around West St. to Anaheim Blvd.  If you are looking for something a little chilling, there is the Motel 6 Feet Under haunted house that is open from 7 – 11 p.m. on Oct. 24th, 25th, 31st, and Nov. 1st, and then again from 7 – 10 p.m. on Oct. 26th & 30th.

The festival and parade take place in Downtown Anaheim, south of Lincoln Ave. and East of Harbor, at the intersection of Lemon and Center Street Promenade. If you need an address for GPS, use 205 Center Street Promenade. Parking accessible on Oak Street.
14th Annual Haute Dog Howl’oween Parade

The biggest howl’oween event in California will be held Sunday, October 26th, 2014 in Long Beach.  Last year over 500 costumed dogs and a few hundred kids registered and walked in the world famous parade seen by over 3,000 dogless gawkers.  Each year the event raises thousands of dollars for the non-profit Community Action Team (CAT), which Haute Dog is a part of.  The money raised goes toward spay/neuter programs, adoption and rescue groups, Operation Santa Paws (bringing toys and blankets to shelter animals), and other Long Beach service projects.

The fair will take place from 12:30p.m. – 4:30p.m. with plenty to see and do such as vendors, pet adoption, bobbing for weenies, a treat stacking contest, bulldog kissing booth, huge pumpkin drops, and more.   The parade will begin at 2:30p.m. and last for about an hour.  The costume contests will include Best Dog Costume, Best Person Costume, Best Group, and Best Float (non-motorized, limit 4’ wide).  Gawkers are encouraged to bring a chair.  The event will be held at the Livingston Park located at 4900 E. Livingston Drive at Park Avenue in Belmont Shores, Long Beach.  For more information check out the Haute Dog website

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

5 Easy Ways to Boost Your Dog’s Immune System

Like humans have a flu season, dogs have seasons when a contagious illness, such as canine cough, is prevalent.  But, just because your dog is exposed to a contagious virus does not necessarily mean he will get sick.  While the strength and strain of a virus do play a role, having a strong and healthy immune system can make all the difference.  Here are 5 easy ways to help your dog build a strong and healthy immune system.

5.   Keep your dog’s environment clean
While your dog may not mind being covered in dirt or having his slobber on everything, an unclean living environment can make him prone to illness and parasites.  Bacteria can easily grow on toys, crates, and bowls left unwashed.  Additionally, dander, dirt, fur, and possibly flea larva, will collect on beds, blankets, shrubs and the floor (carpet, dirt, concrete, etc.) if left unattended.  This creates a breeding ground for parasites, allergens, and other health hazards. A simple solution is to wash toys, bowls, and bedding regularly.  Keep his environment as clean as possible - free of dust/fur balls, debris, and bugs (including spiders).  And pick up all pet waste regularly, disposing of it in a waste bin away from your dog’s living area.

4.   Keep your dog groomed
Just like humans, dogs are susceptible to illness when they have poor hygiene.  Hygiene includes not only regular bathing but also trimming nails, cleaning eyes, ears and teeth, and regular brushing – keeping your dog’s fur free of mats and dander, and out of his eyes.  Ensuring your dog is not fighting any infections, or hosting fleas, ticks, or other parasites, will help keep him ready to fight any illness that comes his way.  

3.  Keep your dog social
Taking your dog out and about can have adverse effects, but the benefits outweigh the potential risks.  Exposing your dog to other dogs and new environments may or may not cause him to catch an illness, but it will help him build immunities regardless.  A dog living in a bubble (the backyard or your living room) will not have built up the antibodies he needs to fight infection if he should catch something.  Not to mention, such isolation can cause stress and depression, which weaken the immune system.  So despite the potential risk of catch a cold, don’t be afraid of letting your dog experience the world.      

2.       Give your dog regular exercise
The physical and psychological benefits of exercise are tremendous for a dog, and vital to their overall health.  Regular exercise strengthens the immune system and increases blood circulation.  It reduces the risk of heart disease and other illnesses, as well as a dog’s susceptibility to urinary infections.  It reduces or eliminates digestive problems as well as the chance of arthritis in senior years.  Exercise reduces stress and the likelihood of depression while helping a dog build confidence.  It keeps a dog from becoming obese which could result in depression and/or diabetes.  It calms hyperactive dogs and reduces boredom (and therefore bad behavior such as chewing, digging, and excessive barking).  And it reduces anxiety which may cause a dog to become aggressive or territorial. 

1.       Give your dog a well-balanced diet & supplements
A good diet is usually the first thing a vet will recommend for improving a dogs overall health, so do not underestimate the difference it can make.  A well-balanced diet with good meat and protein – low in preservatives, by-products, and grains (corn, wheat, soy) – will help your dog stay fit and ready to fight off illness.  Additionally, supplements can also help boost the immune system.  Neem oil helps boost T cell production, while vitamin C is a natural antiviral and antibiotic supplement.  Omega fatty acids – like Primrose oil, fish oil, and flaxseed oil – help with efficient digestion as well as the state of eyes, skin/coat, and internal organs. Dried beans – like kidney, pinto, and red beans – are natural antioxidants.  And Zinc supplements boost white cell production and promote fast healing of wounds.