Keep your Pets Safe with Microchips
Microchips reunite pets with families
For animals that get separated from their owners, proper identification is a ticket home.
A microchip is a very small device, about the size of a grain of rice, that is placed under an animal's skin using a hypodermic needle - much like giving the animal a shot. The microchip contains a unique identification number that matches up with the owner's contact information maintained in a database. When a scanner is passed over the chip, the scanner displays the number. If the owner's contact information is up to date in the microchip database, the owner can be located quickly.
Microchipped pets should also wear collars with proper identification.
Reuniting lost animals with their owners relies on accurate contact information being connected with the microchip. The microchip itself contains only a registration number. Animal owners must register their pets’ microchips and keep their contact information current in the registration database. Without accurate contact information in the database, a lost animal might not be returned to its owner even after its microchip is scanned.
Choosing a Puppy
Adopting a dog into your family involves a great deal of responsiblity.fairly large amount of responsibility. Often times, many people choose to adopt dogs that are still puppies, since they wish to raise a dog entirely in their own home. Making the choice of which puppy to adopt can be extremely difficult, especially since all puppies are naturally adorable! However, there are a few important tips that you can follow which will greatly help you in choosing the puppy that is right for you.
A good tactic to use when choosing a puppy is to first check their eyes. Ask the breeder if you can pick up the puppy, and then cradle the puppy in your arms (so that you can clearly see their eyes). A healthy puppy will appear alert, attentive and have a clear gaze. If a puppy’s eyes appear to be cloudy, this could potentially signify a genetic condition involving the eyes, or an eye infection. Also note any discharge from your puppy’s eyes, as this could also be a sign of a medical condition.
A healthy puppy should have an abundance of energy, except when napping. Watch your puppy during playtime, noticing their general behavior. A puppy should not be constantly lethargic, or sitting out when other puppies are playing. However, it is generally not advised to choose a puppy that is hyperactive, as this can create behavioral problems later on.
When choosing a puppy, it’s important to be honest about how much time you have for the initial training of your puppy. Some breeders will begin a training program for their puppies before they are adopted, and may even potty train their puppies. This can be a very valuable aspect if you don’t have the time to potty train your puppy immediately after adoption.
Another important thing to keep in mind when choosing your puppy is temperament. Puppies that immediately run up to you and look for attention are likely to be very excitable when they mature into adult dogs. A puppy that is interested in you, but does not immediately come to investigate is likely to be a fairly low-maintenance dog emotionally, but may not be able to bond with you as much as some other puppies. These temperament statistics are not always correct, as each puppy is different. If in doubt, use your best judgment when choosing a puppy. Try to imagine their temperament characteristics on an adult dog before deciding to adopt them.
Even in the same litter, it is possible that some puppies will differ greatly in size. This is usually indicative of how big they will be as adult dogs, so try to keep this in mind. If you choose the ‘runt’ of the litter, you may end up with an adult dog that is slightly smaller than other dogs of the same breed. If you choose the largest puppy, you may eventually have a grown-up dog that is much larger than you had first expected. Use common sense, and you should be able to choose the right puppy to bring into your home.
So You've Decided to Get a Dog, Now What?
You should consider these when choosing which dog is best for you:
the breed or mix of breeds: this can determine how much exercise, attention, vet care and maintenance (such as grooming) the dog will need
Activity level: How active is your family and how much will the dog be included in your activities? Will family members be able to run, play or walk the dog at a sufficient level on a daily basis to keep it healthy and happy? Do you live in a high rise apartment or in a house with a fenced in yard?
What size dog can you accommodate?
When looking to purchase a new dog, size tends to be one of the first considerations people take into account. However despite what you may want, you have to decide what you can actually house. Obviously a Great Dane in a 800 square foot apartment will probably not be best for you or the dog. Factor your current and future living conditions into your decision.
What will the dog cost to care for and feed?
Be practical with your financial situation, and what breed you would like to own. A dog with hair instead of fur requires professional grooming, a large dog eats far more than a small dog, and breeds with a predisposition for medical conditions will need medication as they get older. Owning a purebred is more expensive than owning a mutt. Be sure not to get in over your head with the cost of maintaining your pet.
What is the breed’s natural activity level?
Some dogs are very energetic, to the point where they don’t stop moving until they sleep. Other dogs will barely have the desire to run at all. Figure out what you want in your dog, and then compare it with a breed that attracts you. For example, if you wanted to go jogging with your pet every morning, you may pick a Labrador or German Shepherd.
How much attention does the breed require?
Dogs need attention from their human companions. However, some dogs need far more attention than others. Evaluate how much time you can spend with your animal each day, and compare it to how much is recommended for the breed you are considering. If you would like a dog that simply likes to be in the room with you, and doesn’t require more than the occasional pat on the head, you may consider something like Brittany Spaniel.
Is the breed good with children?
Consider if the breed you are interested in is suitable for children. Don’t just take into account your current situation, but your future as well. Remember, some dogs can live to be near twenty.
How difficult is the breed to train?
For some people, training their dog to do a certain task or job is an important part of owning them. It is no secret that some dogs are easier to train than others. If you have your eyes set on a breed, look them up in a book called ‘The Intelligence of Dogs’. This book is written by Professor Stanely Coren at the University of British Columbia. Professor Coren tests every major breed’s intelligence and lists them in descending order from “Brightest Dogs” to “Lowest Degree of Working/Obedience Intelligence”.
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Teach Your Children How To Be Safe Around Dogs
Children aged 0 to 4 are the highest risk age group for serious dog attack injuries requiring hospital treatment.
7 out of 10 of these dog bite injuries requiring hospital treatment happen in the child’s own home or at a family member or friend’s house. This strongly suggests that the children are being bitten by their own dog or a dog they know.
All dogs are capable of biting regardless of their size, age, or breed. We can make our children and pets much safer by understanding what the high risk behaviours are and how we can set up safe practices within our homes.
Children are usually bitten on the face, neck and head
Children are more likely to be bitten on the face, neck and head due to their height.
Every dog can bite
One of the biggest problems is over confidence of the dog owner that their dog won’t bite. Every dog can bite in the wrong situation. The two main reasons why children are bitten are:
- inappropriate play
- going near a dog when it needs to be left alone.
Active supervision helps prevent dog bite injuries in young children
Active supervision is very important for reducing dog attacks on children. Research shows dogs are less likely to attack if an adult is there, especially if it's the dog’s owner. Immediate intervention allows a parent to prevent an attack or minimise the severity. Research has identified that young children are unable to fight off an attack, due to their size and strength. This is a contributing factor to the severity of injuries.
Avoid high risk behaviours
Research suggests that over 80% of the dog bites to young children are from the child interacting with dog in the following situations. An informed, supervising adult can prevent these behaviours.
Dogs should be left alone when they are:
- playing with their own toys or possessions
- sleeping or in their kennel or bed
- with their puppies
- tied up
- at parties.
Children need to avoid:
- hugging dogs around the neck
- patting dogs on the head
- climbing on the dog
- playing roughly
- staring at the dog.
Reduce the risk of dog bites
Actively supervise or securely separate dogs and children
Parents must actively supervise all interactions between children and their dog. Active supervision means your focus is always on the dog and child. Always supervise from close by so you can quickly intervene.
If you can't actively supervise your child and dog, they must be securely separated. This can be as simple as kids playing outside while the dog is confined inside. Two levels of separation is ideal, such as a locked door and a baby gate as a backup. The dog must be securely separated when your child is asleep.
Make sure your dog has somewhere to rest away from your child. Dogs enjoy their rest time especially when they are older. Child free zones are just as important as dog free zones.
Supervise or separate: more information
Most dog attacks take place in the homes of family or friends. Family members and friends must actively supervise or securely separate when your child is around their dogs as well. When you have children of family or friends in your own home, you should securely separate your dog. You cannot assume your dog will behave the same way around other children as with your children, especially if you are not actively supervising.
When your children are in somebody else’s home, active supervision or secure separation is needed. Your child is unlikely to play differently with your dog and someone else’s dog. Different dogs can react differently to the same behaviour from a child.
Don’t be afraid to discuss this with your family members or friends. If they do not agree to your request, do not leave your children in their care unless you can stay and supervise.
Model positive behaviours
Children learn from us all the time. Pets also remember what they learn at a young age. It is very important to model positive behaviours to both pets and children. If you play roughly with your dog, your toddler will do the same. The reaction of your dog towards your child can be inappropriate because your dog has been taught to react this way.
Before you decide to engage in rough play with your pet, ask yourself:
- What behaviours am I reinforcing with my pet?
- Do I want my pet playing with my child roughly?
If you are not comfortable with your answers, then change the way you play with your pet.
Avoid inappropriate behaviours
Pets and children do not understand how to behave with each other. Toddlers can accidentally do things to hurt or upset your pet. Toddlers grab fur, pull ears and tails or poke at eyes and noses. While we consider a harmless hug around the neck a sign of affection, your pet might not like it.
Toddlers can accidentally hurt or upset your dog because they are unsteady on their feet. By reducing the opportunity for your child to inappropriately interact your pets you are reducing the risk of your child being bitten. Dogs can’t tell children to stop and react according to their instincts. If dogs feel threatened or hurt, they may bite or scratch if they can’t escape.
Once your child is mobile, you must be much more aware of your home set up, to make sure your dog and child aren’t near each other without supervision. A high percentage of the dog attacks of 0 to 4-year old’s are toddlers.
Learn basic dog language
It is important to learn basic dog language and the warning signs dogs give. Understand how your dog shows you it is:
- comfortable and relaxed
- frightened or nervous
- angry or aggressive.
Most dog owners can tell when a dog is happy and relaxed or angry but have difficulty recognising when the dog is nervous or frightened. This is important, as the dog’s behaviour is unpredictable and could escalate out of fear. It is important to look at all the signals a dog gives through it’s whole body, instead of just the dog’s face.
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