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Showing posts from February, 2014

Dog Food Choices

You might be overwhelmed with all of the dog food choices on the market today.  Grain free, high protein, weight control, senior...just to name a few.  Where to start?  Here are 5 tips for important things to look for and/or avoid.

1. A specifically named meat should be the first on the ingredient list.  This means that named meat is the main ingredient in your food.  Look for something like "lamb", "chicken" or "beef".  Also avoid any food with animal by-products.  Animal by-products are unwanted and unused animal parts.  These are not healthy for your dog to eat.

2. Grain vs grain free is up for debate.  I choose to feed grain free because my dogs have skin allergies and I like to think removing the grain helps.  If you want to feed food with grain you should find ones with certain grains such as barley, millet, brown rice or rolled oats.  These are best for dogs.  Other grains can be less healthy and simply being used as filler in the food.  Corn is a…

Using Coconut Oil With Your Dog

As I'm sure we are all looking for more and more ways to naturally promote wellness in our dogs, I'm here to tell you to look no further than organic coconut oil.  If you haven't heard how beneficial it is for humans, than you probably have no idea it is great for dogs too.  Assuming your dog doesn't have an allergy to coconut oil (and always talk to your vet), this can be a wonderful additive to your pup's diet as well as used topically.

When eaten, coconut oil is beneficial to your dog in many ways: by aiding in digestion, detoxifying, helping to ease arthritis discomfort, promoting healthy thyroid function, helping to reduce cancer risks, helping to stabilize weight and increasing energy.   When starting out feeding your dog coconut oil, it's best to begin slow so you don't give your dog any unnecessary stomach upset.  It's safe to work up to about 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of your dog's weight, but I wouldn't start with more than 1/4 a teaspo…

Wordless Wednesday: That Camera Again!?

Please Help! What Are You Missing?

ATTENTION Dog Owners! I'm taking a poll.  Please help!
Question:  What type of dog store/service/products are you currently lacking and would like to see offered where you live?
Please leave answers in the comments, email (murraysmouth@gmail.com), or through the contact form on the right side bar at the bottom.

Collar Tips

After recently having a conversation with a friend about dog collars and which ones are appropriate for dogs and training, I came away a bit disheartened to hear form her that a professional in the dog world recommended both a prong and/or a shock collar for her to help get "control" of her squirrely 7 month old golden retriever. I suppose I shouldn't have been as surprised as I was.  After all, 10 years ago the dog trainer that we took Piper to, also recommended a prong collar for him.  I was horrified at the time.  They looked so scary, but I am sad to say that through the convincing of this trainer,  I became a temporary fan of prong collars.  No more!  Prong collars do work, but at what price?  Looking back, I feel terrible.  Piper already had issues with dominance aggression and there I was trying to train him with a prong collar!  Lucky for us, Piper took to his training well, his aggression was curbed and no physical (and hopefully no emotional) damage was done.

H…

Educate Yourself on Dog Biting

There are far too many reports of dog bite incidents and it always seems to end in sole responsibility and blame being placed on the dog.  The truth is there are many reasons a dog might bite, and both owners and non-owners should be responsible and learn about what to look for.  Dogs often tell us how they are feeling through their body language.  That information, combined with some background knowledge about common reasons dogs bite, could save a lot of pain for both the people being bit and the dog owners facing the sometimes unneeded, harsh consequences.

Reasons dogs bite:

Dominance- This is any display of aggressive behavior, generally triggered by things like unwanted touching, picking the dog up or possibly taking something from the dog.  Dominance aggressive dogs tend to act out toward their own family, as if to take control.

Territorialor Resource Guarding- This is aggressive behavior displayed when a stranger approaches the house or the owner, or someone attempts to take somet…

Thank YOU!

This is my 197th post.  It amazes me that I am approaching 200 and just how fast that time has gone.  When I first started this blog back in mid 2012, I was very excited to share all of my dog adventures with Piper and Murray and my tales were overflowing from my head.  As I look back to the beginning I see I even posted several times a day (where did the time come from?)!  Then over the following months, posts from me dropped back.  I had less time to devote to this blog (I'm a full time school teacher) and didn't seem to have the inspiration to write quite as much.  I started posting once or twice a week.  I knew all along I had a purpose for this blog, probably several purposes!  I needed time to sort that out I guess.  The blogging community is certainly one I love being a part of.  Dog people are like none other.  They are truly the most kind, caring and helpful people around, if I do say so myself.  My blog has also been a creative outlet to share and learn about my favo…

Seizure Alert Dogs

Dogs...amazing dogs serving in more and more ways!  Did you know people with seizure disorders can now seek out support from our furry friends?  Some dogs are becoming "seizure alert dogs", yet another kind of service dog.  These amazing dogs are trained to do such things as get medicine, notify others for help and stay and support the person suffering the seizure.  It's not certain what exactly the dog picks up on that allows them to know a seizure is coming, but whatever it is that they sense can be great help in getting the patient to a safe place or position, getting medical attention in a more timely manner and overall just being a more calming presence.  It is thought that it could be a certain tone of voice change, a behavior change or possibly an odor a patient gives off that alerts the dog of an oncoming seizure, or possibly a mix of all three.  There are also many breeds that are capable of this skill and therefor can be trained to assist.  Of course this makes…

Wordless Wednesday: MY Chair!

Dog Parents: What If Your Dog Eats Chocolate?

Chocolate can cause serious health problems for your dog.  Depending on the type of chocolate and the size of the dog who ate it, the results can be fatal.  This is due to an ingredient called theobromine.  Theobromine causes problems in a dog's central nervous system as well as their heart.  While no chocolate is completely safe, white chocolate is the least dangerous, milk chocolate follows white, then dark chocolate, with baker's chocolate being the most toxic.  It is important to call your vet if your dog ingests chocolate.  You will need to describe to him the type and amount of chocolate that was eaten.  HERE is a great chart to check your dog's size against the type and amount of chocolate that could pose a danger.  If your vet feels your dog is in danger based on the type and amount of chocolate eaten (for your dog's size) and it's been eaten within 2 hours or less, your vet is likely to have you (or possibly he will) induce vomiting before it has time to …

Goldendoodle FAQ

Is Murray hypoallergenic?
It is never a 100% guarantee that a goldendoodle will be hypoallergenic.  Murray is an F1 goldendoodle which means he is half golden retriever and half poodleTo increase the chances of having a hypoallergenic cross, F1b goldendoodles would be the best bet.  That is a goldendoodle bred with a poodle, allowing more of a poodle mix.

How is Murray's disposition?
Murray has an ideal disposition.  He's very relaxed, obedient and just lives to be by my side.  I can completely trust him in any and all situations.

Are all goldendoodles as big as Murray?
Nope!  Murray is a standard dood and was expected to be around 70 lbs.He's a tad overweight. There are also medium (30-45 lbs) and miniature (15-30 lbs) doodles as well.

What color goldendoodles are there?
Golden (ranging from blonde to reddish), black, and chocolate.

What is grooming like?
Murray has a wavy coat.  Some doodles can be curly or straight too.  I find that minimal brushing is needed, as he doe…

Thank You Ricochet!

Yet another feel good story of a dog coming to the rescue in a time of need.  Ricochet is a surfing certified therapy dog who recently gave a young boy with cancer the chance to live out a dream to go surfing, but when I looked into this incredible dog, I found quite a story!  If this clip doesn't prove what gifts dogs are to the world, I don't know what will.  Here is the story of Ricochet.


Wordless Wednesday- Murray Snuggles

3 Great Dog Apps!

P5 Dog Training App from Purina Pro Plan- FREE- iOS and Android
This is a really great app for helping you to train your pup!It includes video demonstrations, tracking capabilities and useful advice all while on the go.  Whether you're a beginner or looking to add to your training skills, this app has a little something for everyone. 

Map My Dog Walk- FREE- iOS and Android
Map My Dog Walk is not a necessity but it's lots of fun!  It's useful for tracking calories and distance while walking with your furry friend.  VERY user friendly too!

And my favorite.....

Pet First Aid by American Red Cross- $0.99- iOS
This is a potential life saver!!  This app gives you up to date veterinary advice in any kind of pet emergency situation.  It includes videos as well as written step by step directions in various medical situations you might find yourself in.  It also can find you the closest vet hospitals to where you're located, store your pet's information and lots of other super…

Dog-Nappers Exist! 10 Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe

Dogs are stolen for various reasons and in various ways.  Sadly, most are not found and returned safely home, so it's very important to protect yourself and your dog before anything can happen.  Research has shown dogs are taken for purposes such as breeding or dog fighting as well as other terrible reasons.  Here are some tips to prevent a dog-napping from happening to you!

1. Don't leave your dogs unattended in your parked car.
2. Always keep a close eye on things when your dog is off leash at a park or a beach.  Distractions are everywhere and it only takes a few quick seconds for someone to be off with your dog while your attention is elsewhere.
3. Be cautious about how often and how long your dog is left home alone.  If your dog spends a lot of time home alone, perhaps speak with your neighbors about your schedule and ask them to help by keeping an eye out for anything suspicious while you're gone.
4. Keep your dog's outside space fenced, locked, lit and alarmed.…

How to Brush Your Dog's Teeth

Keeping your dog's teeth clean can aid in overall health and longevity.  Here are some tips to help you get started.

1. Purchase a dog specific toothbrush AND dog specific toothpaste.  It's important not to use a human toothbrush as dog toothbrushes are the appropriate size and shape for dogs, in order to do the best possible cleaning.  Fingertip brushes are also available if you prefer to reach your fingers in their mouth.  Some people feel this style gives them more control and accuracy.  I personally prefer an actual brush. I like the reach it gives me.  Human toothpaste is not safe to use on dogs.  There are many choices of dog toothpaste that's both safe and formulated to do the best job on dog teeth.  I use peanut butter flavored paste!

2. When your dog is relaxed, possibly after some tiring play or a long walk, start by getting them accustomed to you touching their mouth just with your bare hands.  It's important to stay calm and relaxed yourself too.  Slowly w…

Top 5 Gifts for Dog Lovers- February 2014

As a crazy dog lover myself, I like to think I have a pretty good idea for some nifty gifts for any dog lovers in your life.  Here are my top 5 for February 2014.  Click directly on any of the images to purchase.

1. Dog Themed Wine Charms
I'm a wine lover too!  These adorable charms will help keep glasses in the hands of the right person when you have friends over, or just decorate your own glass when you're sipping alone! 

2. Hide a Squirrel for Dogs
Need something for that busy dog who needs a little extra brain exercise?  This Hide a Squirrel will do the trick!
3. Pukka's Promise by Ted Kerasote
This is the book I just couldn't wait to read.  Isn't it every dog lovers dream to keep their pups happy and healthy for as long as possible?  Well, Ted Kerasote explores that very topic.  A great, thought provoking read.  Love LOVE!






4. Willow Tree Angel of Friendship
Just what a dog lover would be looking for to honor their unique and strong bond with their pooch.  Perfect for…

Boots & Barkley Extra Large Pet Bed

We recently purchased Boots & Barkley's extra large pet bed at Target.  I had gift certificates burning a hole in my pocket and I was drawn in by their adorable selection of bed covers.  This was by no means a bed I had intentions to be a main dog bed in our house.  I knew by first glance it was not super supportive or durable.  What I did have in mind was for it to be that cushion type bed that can be easily moved around because it's so lightweight.  It's been perfect for longer trips in the car in the back of our Jeep, on our camper floor and as an extra cushion on our living room hardwood floor.  I plan to add some stuffing to the inside as it wears down, but my golden loves to be able to ball it up into a pile and lay on top of the heap.  Lately he has been loving this bed for just that reason.  I currently have two cute bed covers.  I have washed one, after it became utterly filthy from our camping trip, and it washed up perfectly!  I am really anxious to buy more…

Wordless Wednesday- Play Time

A Dog's Comfort

Confession:  I'm in therapy every single day. 

When your life gets overwhelming, your dog often helps carry your load.  They are there, as a quiet friend, to give you support and companionship.  It seems like such a simple job your dog is doing that we probably take it for granted, but your he is actually doing so very much.  Studies have shown all the remarkable ways dogs are positive forces in our lives. It's because of these findings, we have "therapy dogs" today who are properly certified and regularly visit or work in schools, libraries, hospitals, nursing homes, rehabs and they are even sent to locations were tragedies strike to help people grieving to deal with their loss.  Therapy dogs (and in my opinion ALL dogs) have been found to help provide the following:

*Comfort
*Lower blood pressure
*Increased "feel good" hormones such as oxytocin
*Lessened anxiety
*Increased feelings of security
*Increased focus and clarity
*Unconditional love, affection an…

My Remarkable Murray #RecipeForMoments

Murray is our youngest furkid. He joined us in 2007 as an 8 week old pup and immediately bonded to my husband and I as well as his 3 year old golden retriever brother, but it wasn't long before the bond between he and I was like none other.  I have had dogs in my life since the day I was born, but none like Murray.  Each day he has truly motivated me to become a better person.  He inspires me to research and question what is best in dog health and through my bond with him I am moved to look for ways to help other dogs in need as well.  I am striving to be a voice, through this blog, for others trying to take the best care of their dogs.

Being Murray's Mom
It's a strange and wonderful feeling being adored by a dog like I am by Murray.  I had never been the center of an animal's world before.  I always had dogs who loved me, but they loved me like they loved the rest of the family.  With Murray, it's different.  He looks to me for everything.  He's nervous if…