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If you have a rescued pup at home, you already know how awesome and life-changing the experience can be. But there are a lot of sad, dogless people out there, and there's no time like the present to let them know what they're missing. October is Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month, and to help move canine adoptions along, we've concocted a list of surefire ways to convince friends, family and complete strangers that bringing home a shelter pupster is a complete win-win. Because, well, it IS!

Not Just Decoration By DogAge Staff

When choosing a dog collar, size is closely related to safety.

A properly fitting collar should sit high on your petís neck, and you should be able to fit three fingers between the neck and collar. Too loose, and the collar could slip off or snag on something. Too tight, and the collar will cause coughing or breathing problems. Adjust the collar frequently as your dog grows and ages.

Unbaked bread dough can cause your dog more than just a stomachache.

In addition to possibly causing gastric obstruction in your dog, raw, fermenting dough also produces ethanol, which can quickly cause alcohol poisoning. To avoid an emergency vet visit, keep rising breads or pizza dough out of reach. If you suspect your dog has consumed any form of alcohol, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Change Can Be Bad By DogAge Staff

A drastic change in behavior may indicate pain or injury in your pet.

Growling, biting, wincing, or avoidance of physical contact may be a sign of an acute injury. Reserved or withdrawn behaviors may indicate chronic pain. If your dog suddenly exhibits a need for constant attention or seclusion, or if he or she is excessively irritable, submissive, listless, or restless, contact your vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

No Means No

From begging to bicycle chasing, a no-nonsense "no!" is your best answer to canine misbehavior.

To your dog, "no" should convey an unmistakable message of "stop now and look at me." At the first sign of bad behavior, call your dog's name and issue the command. An assertive tone tells your dog that you mean business, but yelling isn't necessary. When your dog responds appropriately, praise him or her immediately.

Published on 10/21/2010

Pooch Playtime Originally Posted on August 5, 2010

When selecting toys for your dog, not just any old item will do.

If you have children, choose toys for your dog that won't be confused with your children's playthings. Also, think twice before giving him old shoes to chew on: Pretty soon he may start chomping on your good stuff! Instead, offer toys or bones made of hard rubber, nylon, or rope. And remember to offer praise when he plays gently with an appropriate toy. If your pup is overly protective of treats, like pig ears or real bones, work on training him to "trade" one treat for another.

Canine Condo Originally published on May 27, 2010

Temperament and energy level matter more than breed when fitting a dog into a small living space. Regardless of breed, all dogs need exercise, so if possible select an apartment or condo near a park or trails. Even if your dog is house trained, try to go home at lunch to walk your dog, or hire a walking service. Fill toys with food to keep your dog entertained indoors, and block the view out front windows to prevent excessive barking. And enjoy lots of quality playtime with your pooch.

Courage in Numbers Originally published on April 22, 2010

Does the crash of thunder turn your dog into a jumble of nerves? Getting another dog might help. By measuring stress hormones and documenting behavior exhibited in response to thunderstorms, researchers found that a frightened dog is comforted more by the presence of another dog than by his owner. There is a tradeoff, however, so consider carefully. Another dog does tap your time and resources, and finding a good fit with your current pet takes consideration.

Infectious Water Originally published on February 25, 2010

Man's best friend can share more than the good things of life. Dogs can also share a pesky parasite. The parasite Giardia is contracted by dogs that drink contaminated water, such as in puddles, lakes, or even on wet kennel floors. Symptoms include diarrhea, weight loss, and hair loss, and puppies are at highest risk. Keep your dog away from water sources that may be contaminated and wildlife fecal matter, and make sure to wash your hands after playing with puppies. See your vet if you suspect that your dog has been infected.

Bitter Sweets Originally published on January 14, 2010

Sugar-free sweets are no treat for your dog. Xylitol, a sugar-free sweetener commonly found in candy and gum, could quickly cause low blood sugar, impaired muscle coordination, and seizures in dogs. Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect your dog has ingested this substance. To avoid a trip to the vet, keep bags, backpacks, and the other places you stash xylitol-sweetened treats out of reach.

In the Doghouse By DogAge Staff

Plenty of fresh water and protection from the elements are keys to keeping an outdoor dog healthy and happy during the summer.

A good doghouse should provide dry shelter from rain and also protect from excessive heat and sun. Choose an insulated doghouse and place it under a shady tree or a tarp to help your pet stay cool. Finally, be sure to keep a fresh water supply available at all times in a non-tip bowl and check the bowl twice a day.

How Does Your Garden Grow? March 12, 2009

Gardeners who use cocoa mulch unwittingly put dogs at risk.

The mulch is made from the hulls of cocoa beans and contains theobromine, an ingredient also found in chocolate, which can be harmful to dogs. Attracted by the scent, some dogs eat the mulch, consuming quantities large enough to be toxic. To keep your dog safe and your garden green, use bark mulch as an alternative.

10 Ways to Sniff Out the Perfect Doggie Doctor January 1, 2009

Your choice of veterinarian is one of the first and most important decisions you'll ever make about your dog's health. Make it a good one by considering the following factors: Credentials: Is the doctor a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association or any other professional organizations? Hours: Do they mesh with your schedule? Location: Is it convenient to home and work? (Especially in case of emergencies.) Facilities: Do they seem clean and well-organized? Availability: How easy is it to book an appointment? Staff: Do they seem friendly and knowledgeable? Prices: Do they fit your budget? Experience: How savvy is the vet about any special health conditions your dog may have? Services: Do they perform diagnostics, such as x-rays and ultrasounds, in the office, or do you need to be referred to a specialist? Reputation: Ask friends, family members, and colleagues for recommendations.

Home-Alone Anxiety November 6, 2008

If Bowser becomes a weapon of mass destruction when home alone, the cause could simply be boredom, anxiety, or fear. To counter the boredom factor, be sure he has plenty of toys to chew, pull, and toss. Help him relax by leaving the radio or TV on at low volume while you're out. Soothing music and the sound of voices comforts a lonely pooch and may be enough to ease his anxiety. Finally, come and go calmly. If you don't make a big fuss of your departure and return, he might not, either.

Grapes of Intestinal Wrath September 25, 2008

Grapes and raisins, although healthy and popular snacks for people, can cause serious health problems in dogs. Although the exact reason why they're toxic remains unknown, even small doses can cause vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and abdominal pain and can lead to kidney damage and even kidney failure. After ingesting these fruits, dogs show increased levels of nitrogen, creatinine, and phosphorous in their blood, which indicates impaired kidney function. If your dog succeeds in sneaking any of these snacks, a swift trip to the vet can offset potentially serious health complications.

Bitter Sweets January 10, 2008

Sugar-free sweets are no treat for your dog.

Xylitol, a sugar-free sweetener commonly found in candy and gum, could quickly cause low blood sugar, impaired muscle coordination, and seizures in dogs. Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect your dog has ingested this substance. To avoid a trip to the vet, keep bags, backpacks, and the other places you stash xylitol-sweetened treats out of reach.

Q. Why do dogs eat grass?

A. Dogs commonly eat grass, and there are several explanations that have been offered for this behavior. One, wild canids (e.g., wolves and fox) eat all of an animal when they catch it. Since they eat many herbivores (plant-eating animals), they end up eating a lot of grasses and plants that were in the intestines of these animals. In addition, they have been known to eat certain berries and other plant material. Dogs then, may eat grass because, in reality, it is a normal part of their diet.

Many times, dogs will vomit after eating grass. Did they eat grass to make them vomit? Or did they vomit because they ate grass? It is a mystery, but it seems that some dogs may eat vegetation when they have an upset stomach.

The third reason - they just like it. Some dogs have certain species of grass or plant material that they will search out and eat. We know a beagle who can pick raspberries faster than his owner.

In any case, grass eating is basically a normal behavior, and is not of concern unless your dog does it excessively.

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