Category Archives: Advice

Tips & tricks for Maryland dog owners.

Adoption: Puppies vs. Old Dogs

Everyone loves a new puppy.  Besides the fact that they’re cute and cuddly, puppies offer something older dogs can’t: a chance to watch them grow with the family.  But where’s the old dog love?

Back in April, Dogster’s for the love of the dog Blog put together a slide show of submitted photos from their readers.  The photos had only one criteria, “Dogster is seeking photos of readers’ old dogs, with little descriptions to go along with them. Your dog can be in Dog Heaven, as long as you submit a photo of him/her in older years.”

The slide show turned out great–it gives you that warm fuzzy feeling for your old friends.  Recently, many younger adoptive owners are considering senior dogs over puppies.

“From now on, I’m going to only adopt old dogs,” said Katelyn Rockwell, a student and animal shelter volunteer.  “I’m going to hold off on adopting a puppy until I have a family.”

Older dogs, like the three now available for adoption at the Baltimore Humane Society, usually have discounted adoption fees.  In addition to generally lower costs (including fees, short-lived toys, replacing destroyed items in your home, etc.) older dogs are usually pre-trained.  That gives owner and dog more time to lay around and get to know each other.

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Pit bulls and Baltimore: a unique story

Pit BullsBaltimore is known for many things.  It’s home of The Domino Sugar Company, the birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner, famous for Inner Harbor and where Babe Ruth began his baseball career.  But what many Baltimorians are not aware of is Charm City’s distinctly unique relationship with the pit bull breed.

“About 10-20% of the dogs that we have available for adoption at any given time are Pit Bulls or Pit Bull mixes,” said Deborah Land, Public Relations Coordinator for the Maryland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The MDSPCA is just one of the many shelters in the Baltimore area, and it is safe to assume this percentage can be applied to all adoption centers in the area.

“It usually isn’t difficult to find adopters for the pit bulls in our adoption program, but on average they probably take a few days longer to adopt than some of our other dogs,” said Land.  “The adoption process for pit bulls is more involved than for our other animals because we want to make sure people are well-informed about the breed and prepared to take good care of them.”

With the common misconception that pit bulls are overly aggressive and, as a direct result, are amongst the most un-favored dogs to adopt, Land explained MDSPCA takes the necessary precautions with the pit bulls at the shelter, as with any other dog that comes into their care.

“We behavior test all of our animals, including pit bulls, in an effort to prevent the placement of an aggressive animal in a home,” said Land.

Amongst the adoptive community, there are many individuals who are set on pit bulls when looking to adopt.  This could be the result of favoritism of the breed or genuine compassion for pit bulls and the negative stigma attached to them.

“Some people definitely come to the MDSPCA looking to adopt a pit bull,” said Land, but “Some cities and counties, such as Montgomery County, prohibit the adoption of pit bulls.”

Bill Neidhardt, the owner of two female pit bulls, hasn’t ever witnessed a “bad pit bull encounter.”

“My dogs are pretty docile,” said Neidhardt, “We’ve never had a problem with other people or other dogs.  I think pit bulls are a great breed for individuals or families; it all depends on how you train them.”

For more information on Pit Bull rescue and adoption, visit Pit Bull Rescue Central.

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Doggie Dental Care

According to Pawsitive Times, a newsletter for dog owners distributed by Pawsitive Fit, LLC, veterinarians are seeing an increase of severe dental problems in the canine community.

“To prevent oral disease, the number one health problem diagnosed in pets, it is essential to provide our dogs with good dental care, both professionally and at home,” said in the newsletter.

Pawsitive Times also featured this how-to list to provide adequate dental care at home by “brushing your canine’s canines”:

  • Let your dog taste his or her toothpaste from your finger.
  • Using your finger, rub the toothpaste on your dogs front teeth and gums.
  • Apply some toothpaste to a dog-safe toothbrush (like this one from Nutri-Vet) and allow your dog to lick the bristles.
  • After your dog is comfortable with the toothpaste and brush, lift the upper lip and place the brush at a 45 degree angle to the gum line.  Brush back and forth in a gentle motion.
  • Slowly increase the number of teeth brushed each session.

The article stressed getting your dog comfortable enough with each step may take up to a weeks time.  Also, remember to praise and reward for a job well done.

For in between brushes or visits to the vet, there are a variety of dental chews and toys available to help maintain your dog’s dental health.

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Local Baltimore USDA certified dog food

K-9 Kraving Dog Food is the first and only dog food company to receive the United States Department of Agriculture‘s certification.  Formally a hot dog producer, Boesl Packing Company, Inc. changed their business plan in 2000, and introduced their line of healthy, raw pet food.

All K-9 Kraving products are manufactured in Baltimore at Boesl’s Belair Road plant, using only USDA inspected ingredients.  All free-range bison, turkey, beef, chicken, duck, mackerel, bone and vegetables used in the K-9 Kraving diet are grown or raised in the United States.

A number of different products are available from K-9 Kraving and are packaged in one or two-pound air-tight chubs or vacuum sealed patties.  Meal products are frozen until thawed and served, and treats are available in snack bags.

According to K-9 Kraving’s website,

“USDA Certification means the United States Department of Agriculture formally confirms the integrity of K-9 Kraving brand products as genuine and guarantees a higher standard. During production, a USDA agent is present—inspecting every ingredient and their sources, ensuring equipment, water, food handling and employees maintain strict sanitation codes. As a result, K-9 Kraving carries the distinctive USDA Certified seal. (A-17095)”

K-9 Kraving raw diet dog food is available at Dogma – Life, With Your Pet in Mt. Washington, PetDepot in Timonium and Graul’s Market in Hereford.  Other retailers in Maryland and across the U.S. can be found here.

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Dogma – Life, With Your Pet: must-haves

Virginia Byrnes, co-owner of Dogma-Life, With Your Pet believes in an eco-friendly and health conscious life for you and your dog.  At Dogma’s two locations–Canton and Mt. Washington–a dog owner can find all the essentials a dog needs and all the fun products a dog wants.  Yes, Dogma even has something for those cat people.

Byrnes’ inventory is packed full with items from all over the world and for any type of personality, but here are a few of her favorites:

  • Raised Dog Bowls

    Raised dog bowls

    Water and food bowls: Dogma carries an array of pet bowls, but Byrnes believes stainless steel over plastic or ceramic.  “They’re easier to clean and better for your dog,” she says.  Byrnes also stresses that if you don’t go with stainless steel, make sure your plastic is coated and your ceramic contains no lead.  Raised feeding and water bowls are more friendly for larger breeds, because according to Byrnes, they encourage good digestion.

  • Antlerz

    Antlerz

    Food and snacks: The bone and snack section in the Mt. Washington store is packed with worldly treats, sure to satisfy your dog’s hunger.  Byrnes suggests you pick up real-deer Antlerz, cheese-based Himalayan Dog Chew and stingray tails from Canine Caviar.  All three products are organic, and contain a great balance of nutrients your dog needs to stay healthy.  Plus, Byrnes thinks dog’s need, “things to chew on other than your hand.”

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Promote better leash etiquette

Dags models her new doggie-harness

If you dog is like mine and is difficult to walk on a leash, I suggest investing in a doggie-harness.

I picked one up at my local PetSmart today, before taking my pit bull terrier mix out to the trails at Robert E. Lee Park.  The harness seemed to improve her pulling, stamina and overall behavior.

Harnesses come in all colors, sizes and materials and can be found at almost any pet supply store.

Do you have any tips for owners of pups with poor leash etiquette?

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Local Baltimore, all-natural dog food

Photo Courtesy of E-Petcare.com

Want to integrate a healthier food to your dog’s diet?

VeRUS All-Natural Pet Foods offers quality dog and cat food without any by-products, fillers or chemical preservatives.  According to their website, “[VeRUS’] foods are carefully crafted to yield the ideal levels of protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and micronutrients for your pet.”

Brennan Kahl, owner of Baltimore Dog Peace, Love, Walking. LLC. is a big supporter of VeRUS dog food.  A healthy diet is one of the top tips she gives to dog owners.

“I’ve recommended VeRUS products to a lot of my clients, and many of them have switched over,” said Kahl.  She believes home-cooked meals are the best nutrition you can offer your dog, but VeRUS remains as a quality alternative to dog owners who may not have the time.

For a list of carrier stores in your area, visit VeRUS’ store locator.

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