Have you liked Life with Arie on Facebook yet? If not, you should, and if you have, you may have noticed our new rule series.
Lately I've had several conversations with friends about the "rules" to having a dog. One is about to start pet sitting a dog, and is nervous about caring for a dog she doesn't know quite know the habits and needs of yet. Others are contemplating getting a puppy for the first time, and still others are wondering how to mingle their new dog with their beloved cat.
Over the past few weeks of having these conversations, I've also been re-watching the series How I Met Your Mother. If you watch it, then you'll know all about the "Bro Code," or a book of rules and statutes between "bros" that one character, Barney, is determined to enforce. This got me thinking...What are the rules, or codes, to having a pet? Start watching our Facebook posts (you'll want to subscribe to be sure you get them) and tweets to find out!
These rules aren't your basics of "feed your dog" and "training is important;" take a look at the two we've posted so far to get an idea of what I mean:
Let's be honest--One woman cannot write a comprehensive rule list for having pets. I want to hear YOUR rules to having a dog (or cat or guinea pig or iguana, you name it)! Post your rule in the comments section, on our Facebook page, or tweet it with an @masdemoore mention and the hashtag #LWArules. Hint hint...hint hint...there may be a little something special for one of the rule writers later on this month!
Our February Guest Post comes from Maggie Bailey, a former colleague and forever friend of mine. I hope you enjoy her guest post, "The Dangers of Owning a Pit Bull," which details the risks and problems with having a bully breed in the family.
We have all heard what the media has to say about Pit Bulls and all Bully dog breeds. As the owner of a seven-year-old, 95-pound Pit Bull/Bulldog mix named Cody, I would love nothing more than to go to cities like Denver and Miami to argue with their governments and tell them why their discrimination is ridiculous and explain to them just how misinformed they are. Since that course of action has some logistical flaws in its execution, I thought I would share with you some of the lesser known dangers that I have encountered in my one-and-a-half years of owning a Pit Bull mix.
Sounds like a crazed monster, right? I know, it's terrifying. I just can't take it sometimes. When that big ole slobbery beast sees me come in the door and tromps down the stairs like the big red elephant he is, I can't help but laugh and wonder how people could possibly think this guy is evil.
While owning a pit bull has been an amazing experience, there are precautions you should take:
In short, be a responsible pet owner and take care of a pit bull just as you would any other breed of dog, or any other animal for that matter. It's that simple! Just beware of the slobber and the hugs.
Katie here: Of course We wouldn't tell you about Cody's adorable-ness without sharing a few photos. You know me better than that. Feast your eyes on this adorable mug:
Arie and I just moved into a home in the city of Atlanta (Hooray for being ITP! If you don't know what ITP is, you probably don't live in Atlanta, and that's okay). Since moving in, the partners-in-crime..err...cats, have developed a new game to play with Arie. We'll call it "dumpster diving". This new game is helping Arie to eat things that she shouldn't, taking our carefully set-out dog nutrition plan and tossing it out the window. Here's a little bit about how "Dumpster Diving" is played:
Dumpster Diving is a simple game for the feline participant. You simply jump onto the counter, and wait. When the canine approaches, pick an object close to you--Any object. Now, lightly tap that object with your paw until it finally falls to ground where it either breaks, bounces, or sits peacefully. Now, watch.
Dumpster Diving is a game of opportunity for the canine participant. Your actions go like this: Mull around the house being a good girl. Chew on your Kong, eat a few bites of Nutro kibble, sleep. Eventually, look to find your favorite pals, the cats, and see what they're up to. Oh, look! They're in the kitchen, AND they want to PLAY! They're tossing you toys! Hooray! OH OH OH! They're tossing you treats! HOORAY!
Dumpster Diving is like a game of keep-away for the human, except you're always the kid in the middle and you just can't seem to get that stupid ball. You go about your day, minding your own business, when you hear a sudden "THUMP!" in the kitchen. You walk in to find your beloved pets committing mischievous acts: Cats are on the counter, waiting to see if the dog will get in trouble. The dog looks up at you with guilt eyes, having just eaten/chewed/played with whatever the cats knocked to the floor. Your part in the game is to clean up whatever mess has just happened, and then repeat when the game is played again, all against your will.
Why call the game "Dumpster Diving"? The cats "dump" items from the counter and Arie "dives" for them. From a few rounds of "Dumpster Diving," I've discovered that my cats can be even bigger jerks than I thought, that Arie is a trusting, gullible soul, and also that Arie doesn't care about what she eats nearly as much as I do.
If you've read my previous posts, you know that dog nutrition, especially when it comes to dealing with common ailments, like allergies, is something that I care about. Your dog's diet is important, but they might not be as strict about it as you are. In fact, The Nutro Company recently released an infographic that discusses that fact:
Arie and I area going to work harder to make sure she's only eating what's good for her and what she loves, sticking to that grain-free diet to help with her allergies. What do you do to keep your pet away from foods that they shouldn't eat, or to help them eat healthy?
We all know that baby girl is a beast. By a beast, I mean that my lovable ball of fur and energy is a whopping 96 lbs...of, again, fur and energy, so she can be a lot to handle at times. Arie is still only 2, so she has a lot of puppy left in her. Usually, I love this about her--We have wonderful walks, lots of play time, and even a few spontaneous dance parties (she likes to put her paws on my shoulders and dance!). While her energy level is great for our life, it can complicate a few tasks, like dental care.
That all being said, Arie is better than some at letting me brush her teeth. About once every two weeks, I can get that giant, wiggly body to hold still long enough for me scrub those pearly whites with her peanut butter toothpaste and canine toothbrush. I thought that I was doing a great job, given that some pet parents either can't get their dogs to let them brush their teeth at all or don't make oral care a priority. Even with my effort, Arie's teeth still managed to get that yellow residue, even if on a small scale, and her gums looked a bit red in a few areas--I knew it was time for a cleaning.
Have you ever paid to have your dogs teeth cleaned? While not a massive expense, it did add a little over $100 to my vet bill after baby girl boarded there while I was out of the country. She came back with her teeth looking much cleaner and whiter. After seeing the difference the cleaning made, I knew I had to do a better job of caring for Arie's teeth on a regular basis so that they wouldn't start to look that bad again. I started doing a bit of research on the subject and came across some information in the Nutro Knowledge Network on the matter (please note: This post was written by a Nutro Knowledge Network Member and sponsored by the Nutro Company.)
Nutro is the company behind the ever-popular Greenies treats for dogs and cats. The company isn't just about providing snacks that help clean your pet's teeth--They also work to readily provide information for you on the subject of your pet's oral health to help you be an informed pet parent as you care for your pets. While exploring the Greenies site, I came across the Pet Dental Health Quiz, which walks you through a few questions to help you figure out where you may want to up your care for your pet's teeth. The quiz can be for cat parents or dog parents, so pick the one that works for you and have at it.
How'd you do? I found that Arie could definitely be getting better oral care, so I'm going to work to brush her teeth more often and let her gnaw on dental chews from Greenies a bit more often to help keep those teeth sparkling. You can join the Greenies Smart Treating program to save on your next batch of Greenies and to get more information on your pets' oral health if you'd like to save a bit on dental chews and learn more.
I know that you all care a great deal about your pets and their teeth...any tips you want to share? I'd especially like to hear from those of you with cats, as Briseis and Jasper attempt to shred my arm with their back feet any time I go near a toothbrush for them.
With my roommate moving out, and their dog along with them, Arie and I were thinking (okay, okay...I was thinking) that it might be time to add a new member to our family; a beautiful bystander that wouldn't take up too much space but that would contribute to the apartment and our lives, and that we could shower with love and adoration (because we are love and adoration showerers. Seriously, call us for a pep talk if ever in need). Although I am now working to bring the cats back to Georgia as then we'll be
within closer to the correct number of pets for my apartment community (it's just one over, and the cats are both black, so they can count as one...(repeat as needed for convincing), the little guy I have in mind doesn't count toward the apartment totals, making him completely acceptable. To make a long story short, I found my beautiful bystander in an amazing King Male Betta Fish.
I've always loved bettas--They're the pet of dorm rooms and kids everywhere, and I always feel like I'm rescuing them when they're sitting there in sad little plastic cups at the store and I bring one home to be king of his own tank. The Male King bettas are new to me--They're fatter, longer, and have adorable little fins that aren't as "flowy" as other bettas, but still quite sexy (calling him pretty sounds wrong because I want to preserve his manliness, so we'll go with sexy).
Now that we have this colorful fellow at home, it's time to give him a name and I'm having some trouble. Typically my pets get old man names, names from Greek mythology, or favorite book/movie character names, as Arie did when I named that adorable puppy. Fishy needed something different. With his squashed little fish face he reminded me of an adorable old man, but his coloration makes me think he needs something a little super special. He's a snazzy old guy, not unlike a mob boss, so I have a few names to fit this theme. Now I need your help to pick the right one!
Vote for Fishy's name on the Life with Arie Facebook page. The top name will be chosen on Sunday, June 16. To help you see which option suits him best, check our Mr. Fish in his glamour shots:
The naming of Mr. Fish will kick off "Fish Week" next week, an ode to his amazingness and the significance of fish, as these little guys are often overlooked in our lives. I'll discuss some of the basics of bettas and other helpful advice...It's like "Shark Week," but domesticated and with a little more snark and amusement. ;-) I'm really looking forward to discussing pets outside of the canine/feline box and can't wait to get started!
Today I finally started to catch up on my blog reading, starting with my good friend Lauren at Life with Desmond who posted about the K9 Kamp from Kol's Notes.
K9 Kamp is a blog hop; usually I don't do blog hops, because they can get a bit stagnant over time. This one, however, is about fitness and staying active with your pup and that is something I'm all about. Since moving to Georgia, I've gained a few pounds that I don't want to keep. With Arie being a White German Shepherd, she'll be prone to hip and joint issues, which can be greatly worsened by a hefty waistline. For her sake, and mine, we're going to kick butt in the K9 Kamp.
Find out the details of the K9 Kamp at Kol's Notes so that you can get started too!
Today I am tired, and toying with the terms of the A to Z Challenge...and the letter T. One of the principles of the challenge is to keep your posts short and sweet so that more of your peers can enjoy them without too much of a time sacrifice. In the spirit of this aspect of the challenge, and the letter T, I have ten "T" terms that I'm going to describe in ten words each:
Training is an essential for all pet parents--no excuses.
If your dog is food motivated, treats help with training.
Focus on basic obedience, but you can also teach tricks.
Tweet with us and follow us at @masdemoore on Twitter.
We're trying to teach Arie to "speak" and eventually talk.
We have a special basket for Arie's collection of toys .
Wagging tails are the best greeting when you come home.
Time is elusive when you're trying to complete blog challenges.
Blog and sharing tools are a new writer's best friends.
Three days after mentioning them, I gave Arie flea treatment.
That is all. Stay tuned for tomorrow...when you may hinthint hinthint get another reveal at a prize for our giveaway basket.
I've mentioned before that I work in Social Media and online content... which means that I'm a bit of an internet snob when new technology hits the public and people don't take time to learn about it. Have you seen those boxes of random design around town that say scan me? They're called QR Codes. You are supposed to scan them using a program on your smart phone with your phone's camera--the code functions like a link to get you a website easily. This means that they need to be stationary, well placed, and accessible. They can be both the most helpful things when they're well placed, and dumbest things when they're not. I've been pretty video happy, so let's continue that streak with this from Scott Stratten, one of the big names in Social:
Stratten does a great job of pointing out the awful choices people make regarding QR codes and their placement--there's even an entire website devoted to this failure called WTF QR Codes, showcasing various images of the abuse and misuse of these marketing tools. With these codes becoming the bane of marketing and one of the industry's chief facepalm moments, you can imagine my dismay when I started seeing QR Codes pop up everywhere in the pet industry, including on dog tags. Really, how can you truly get a good scan of a QR Code while it's on a dog? Then, a series of events brought me to appreciate these tags for the help that they could do.
While walking my roommate's dog, a little stray dog happened upon us a few months ago; I relayed the story here. The little guy was lost, and it took us over a day to find that a phone number had been scribbled on the inside of his collar (it was in dark blue ink on a blue collar...I found him in the rain, and the ink didn't show up against its similar background until the collar was dry). A little while later, Groupon ran a special with PetHub, an online company that helps you relocate lost pets, and Red Dingo, who makes adorable pet tags--on these QR Code pet tags.
If the little stray pup had had a QR Code on his collar, I could have taken the collar off (solves the movement issue) to scan it. Their databases not only contain the usual name and contact information for you, but also any emergency medical needs or concerns your pet may have. They also provide a picture and physical description for someone in case your pet were to lose their collar and the person only found the tag attached to the collar, with no dog. The system proved to be extremely intriguing, so we took the plunge and bought the Groupon.
The coolest thing about the special was that it came with a Gold Membership, which includes:
I must say that this awesome system has completely won me over the pet QR code side--though I still don't like seeing a QR Code on a banana (yes that has happened). Have you guys signed up for PetHub? What do you think about the system? What are your thoughts on QR Codes?
The letter P brings us several amazingly fun topics...and it makes me happy.
Let's kick things off with......Pinterest, the web obsession. I will not only eventually have to go to rehab for caffeine, but probably Pinterest as well. I know most of you are probably already pinning wonders, but trust me--Pinterest isn't for everyone, so I totally get it if you're not. Pin obsessed or pin resistant, I think you'll still like my two pet-centric boards. I have one for Life with Arie and one I started with Examiner, about heroic dogs! The first one should make you smile, the second should make you tear up with happiness. I hope you enjoy both--feel free to repin and comment like a madwoman, dog, or man. :) If you're on Pinterest and care to share, put a link to yourself in the comments!
Now onto Pet First Aid Awareness Month.
Have you noticed a few trends with pet safety in my posts lately? I've talked about icy concerns, what household items could be poisonous for your pets, and in my last post about medications and pets. From ears and nails to car harnesses and beyond, many of my April posts have tried to focus on health and medical care for your pets to Pet First Aid Awareness Month. Pet first aid is so important, because you never really know when you're going to need it. When Arie was a pup she burned her paws on hot pavement (BAD mom for walking her in the late afternoon during a hot Georgia Summer) and we had to clean her paws with iodine, then coat them in Neosporin, then wrap them loosely with gauze, and put baby socks on them....oh yes. I bought baby socks to keep my dog from pulling on the gauze.
Socks and all, the knowledge was good to know in case I ever need to pass it on to someone who had a similar situation. I want to continue to learn more about Pet First Aid, and I especially want to take a Pet CPR class. What kind of first aid advice do you have to offer? Have you taken a CPR class? Let's pool our knowledge, pet fans!
Next on our P list is the Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month. This topic breaks my heart. I've seen so many stories lately about horrible things done to animals...there was even a puppy in my hometown that someone poured acid on...on purpose. Freddy, as he has been called, survived the incident and has been described as your typical loving puppy, though he has and still is living through some terrible pain. He was only six weeks old and three and half lbs when a good Samaritan found him with his burns and rushed him to a friend at Animal Control to see if someone could save him. He is expected, however, to make a full recovery. I found a link to the story with very tiny images for those of you, who, like me, can't stand to look at such pain. If you want to help the rescue that is helping Freddy, and other severely abused animals in South Carolina, you can find them here. One thing we can do to help stop the abuse of animals is to ensure that people who abuse animals, like sex offenders, are registered for their crimes and prevented from adopting animals in the future just to cause them harm. You can learn more about that from Pet-Abuse.com.
Now, I don't want to leave anyone in the dumps after such a serious moment...so instead we're going to talk about other dumps. (you chuckled...you know you did.) That's right. Poop. And prizes.
...I hinted that I would reveal one of the prizes for the giveaway basket in May on one of my social channels in my post yesterday or the day before. I failed. Instead, I'm revealing one today, and it's just the tip of the iceberg for the basket of awesomeness that awaits one lucky winner. It's...
Poopie bags!!! While not the most exciting or most enticing element of the epic giveaway basket, these little items are amazingly handy when you need them. The bone shaped holder can latch onto your leash, keys, purse, book bag, belt loop, etc. making baggies super convenient, and the rainbow of bags offers up 48 plastic baggies for you. Besides, let's face it--If you're going to be picking up poop, using a blue/yellow/green/or pink bag just makes it a little less nasty. Keep your eyes peeled for more giveaway surprises, and don't forget to share your first aid tips!
Over the counter medications are convenient for people, as they relieve symptoms without a prescription when you need something in a pinch. I don't like to take medications, but I do frequently get migraines and have an OTC migraine medicine that is a lifesaver...but I digress.
When I was younger, I remember my mom being told to give our little mixed breed, Daisy, half of a Benadryl when she had an allergic reaction to ant bites. Her at home medicine cabinet remedy isn't the only one I've heard of either. Louis C.K., the hilariously subversive comic, was on Conan recently. He talked about an incident where he saved his dog's life with hydrogen peroxide...in the hilarious manner that you can only get from Louis C.K. (NOTE: He is going to call the dog dumb. He is going to talk about the measures he has to go to get her to drink the hydrogen peroxide. Take it with a grain of salt and humor, people).
Mom's home remedy and Louis C.K.'s life-saver aren't alone. Some sites, like Yahoo or WebMD say that giving your pet certain over the counter medications like Aspirin is okay, while others, like one vet's website, say that aspirin is lethal in any dose. There is so much conflicting information out there that I doubt I would ever give Arie anything without being directly told to by a vet in the moment of need, just to be on the safe side.
Have you ever given your pet OTC medications usually meant for people? Were you told to by a vet, friend, or your intuition? Tell me about it in a comment here, or on Life with Arie's Facebook page.
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