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3 Best Hunting Dogs For Different Situations


Today's guest blog is by Drew Goodwin - thanks Drew!

Avid hunters will argue until they're blue advocating for the rifle they prefer to use. Similarly, all the different breeds of gun dogs are debatable issues for hunters. But its a lot easier to own several rifles to end the debate, than it is to own several dogs for different hunting ventures.

When choosing a gun dog, you want the best possible hunting partner you can find. You also want a dog that can quickly adapt to different environments. Here are three dogs that cover most hunters' individual situations.

The Family Man Dog - Labrador Retriever

Labs are the most popular breed of dog in America, and golden retrievers are the third most popular, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). The story commonly told is that British nobility started importing the dogs from Newfoundland, Canada around 1820. They were impressed not only with the dogs' overall athletic prowess, but also their ability to retrieve fish and other things in water. Labs made their way to the U.S. in the late 19th century and became AKC-recognized in 1917.

Photo by Daniel Kempa via Flickr

Labs are perfect for hunters with young children or elderly individuals in their homes. Despite their natural instinct to hunt, Labs are known for their playful personalities and mild temperaments. They even get along well with other animals. When it's time to get serious and hunt, tools such as a SportDOG training collar can reinforce commands the dog already knows. Labs are eager to please and quick to learn, so this transition shouldn't be hard for them to conquer.

Small/Large Game Dog - American Fox Hound

This breed received extra attention from dog lovers in November when a 3-year-old Fox Hound named Jewel won the 2013 Purina National Dog Show. It is also the official state dog for Virginia. Tall, slender and fast, Fox Hounds are one of the more versatile hunting companions you can own. Deer hunters have especially become fond of Fox Hounds. The breed is also very effective chasing down small game.

Photo by beaucon via Flickr

The American Fox Hound Club reminds potential owners that the breed can be difficult to train and take care of if you're not committed to it. They can be particularly stubborn and need a lot of wide-open space to exercise. They are easy to raise and train if you get them as puppies. It is a bit more difficult for older ones to adapt. Fox Hounds are not recommended for those living in apartments unless you are committed to taking them for long walks daily.

Beginning Hunter Dog - Beagles

Pedigree.com says Beagles have "unquestionably" the best natural hunting skills of all dogs. A hunting novice can take a Beagle on their first trip and basically allow it to lead the way. They have an uncanny sense of smell that can lead you right where you want to go without giving much direction. There is no better dog for hunting rabbits, squirrels, gophers and any other small game.

Photo by Ruth Ellison via Wikimedia Commons

The one caveat that makes Beagles difficult to own in residential neighborhoods is their trademark howling. They were bred to do this, so controlling it may be a challenge. But if you live in a rural area with your closest neighbors a half-mile away, Beagles are great hunting companions to own.


Puppy Care Tips for Surviving the Winter


Your pup blissfully cuddles up fireside during the long winter, but then he's

in for a rude awakening when it's time to head outdoors in the frosty weather.

Keep your pet warm, healthy and happy during wintertime by keeping your

dog groomed and clean for good insulation and away from toxins, such as

auto antifreeze, while out and about. The following tips will also help your

furry friend endure the coldest months of the year.


If being outside makes your teeth chatter and body shiver, then it's probably

unsafe for your dog to be outdoors without a coat. Freezing temperatures

can be painful and even cause frostbite on your dog's ears, tail and feet,

especially for pups trudging through wet snow and walking along icy

pathways. Although some dog breeds have undercoats that provide natural

protection from harsh temps, most will need a coat or sweater to prevent

numbness outside. Keep your pooch warm and cozy by dressing him in a

weather-resistant puffy pet jacket from Animal Planet Pet Supplies,

available at Macy's. For more stylish outerwear, adorn your fashionably

furry friend with good taste in a hot pink parka with a scarf or plaid fleece

hoodie from The Sassy Pup, available on SassyPup.net.


Cover paws with booties or clean your dog's feet after a snowy walk to

remove dirt and salt debris, recommends HaloPets.com. Natural Herbal

Healing Salve from Halo can prevent paw pads from cracking.


Don't forget to keep your four-legged pal warm indoors too. Provide extra

bedding and blankets on hardwood floors or cold tiles (away from drafts)

for your dog to snuggle on. Cuddling, of course, is the best way to stay warm!


Make sure your pet's water bowl always has fresh water; dogs can quickly

get dehydrated during cold months. Also, since brisk temps and chillier

weather limit those outdoor outings, watch your pup's calorie intake.

Winter laziness and sedentary days can cause your pet to unhealthily put on

extra weight.


Reserve quality time for playing with your pet and keep him active. If your

dog's grown bored with his dingy rope toy or dull rubber ball, treat him to cool toys 

from ActiveDogToys.com. A Bungee Bar Tug toy or Animal X-Tire Ball that

makes real animal sounds will surely keep your pet happily entertained and

healthily active.


Got cabin fever? Your pooch probably does too since man's best friend is

our kindred spirit. We're not bears in hibernation! So get out of the house

with your furball friend and embrace the crisp, fresh air. If you can tell

your dog's edgy and restless in the house, it's time to get moving. Exercise

will foster mental and physical wellness for your pup. Rather than face

blustery weather during a walk, play hide-and-seek, suggests Cesar's Way.

Occupy your dog as you take a treat and find a hiding spot.


You'll mentally engage you dog and release his energy as he searches to

find you. Get creative and feed your dog by setting up an obstacle course

he has to complete to reach his grub. Also, practice targeting, which is

training your dog to touch his nose to your hand on command. Targeting

teaches focus, redirects attention and creates a bond between you and your pup.


The real cost of pet ownership


Everyone knows adopting or purchasing a pet can be a big responsibility,

both emotionally and monetarily. Sure, that puppy in the window might

"only" be $400 (up to $2500, for certain breeds), but food, regular medical

expenses, licenses and other miscellaneous costs, the average small pup

costs $400-$600 a year, while a large breed can run around $700-$900.

That doesn't include the costs of spaying and neutering, puppy obedience,

dog crates, dog walkers, dog sitters, preventative medicines, household

accessories and all the other little expenses that stack up. So, what is the

real cost of pet ownership and where are the hidden expenses?


Figuring out how to care for your pets while you travel can be compli-

cated. Sure, pets can stay at your home, with a friend or in a kennel — 

all of these options being pricey on their own — but what happens to

costs when you want to bring your pet along?


If your pet travels with you, many hotels require a pet deposit. Finding

a pet-friendly hotel isn't as easy as you might think, and not all chain

hotels are pet-friendly. A Holiday Inn in Seattle might be pet-friendly,

while one in San Francisco might not be. PetsWelcome has assembled

a searchable database of pet-friendly hotels and properties, but there

are less than 600 registered hotels. Finding a hotel that allows pets

can be a trip on its own.


Additionally, if you are traveling by plane, there is much to consider.

There are three ways your pet can travel via commercial airplane: in

the cabin, checked with baggage or as manifest cargo. Pets traveling

in-cabin fly with an adult passenger and must fit in an airline carrier

small enough to be stowed under the seat. Larger pets who do not fit

those restrictions must travel as checked baggage, which can be stressful

and expensive. Lastly, extra-large pets, or those traveling unaccompanied,

go as manifest cargo. Checked and manifest cargo pets are placed in

the hold of the airplane, which can be more than many pet owners

can bear. Buying a boarding pass for Fido can range anywhere from

$75 to $250 each way, depending on the airline, so your pup's ticket

could potentially cost more than your own.

Subtle Costs

Pets make messes, and the cost of grooming and cleaning can escalate

based on breed, species and individual temperament. Virtually all pets

shed to some degree, and this can lead to increased costs for HEPA air

filters and special vacuums created to pick up dander and fur. Those

who have larger dogs may have to build or purchase a dog house, which

can be expensive based on weather and conditions of your backyard.


Some more subtle to larger costs include when pets get sick. When dogs

and cats need veterinary care, it can be expensive for both cats and dogs.

A foreign body stuck in the stomach or intestines (e.g., peach pit, corn

on the cob, a dog toy, boxer underwear, etc.) can cost - on average -

$3,000 to remove, and veterinary hospitalization for a gastric dilitation-

volvulus (commonly called a "bloat") can be more than $4,000-$5,000.

For cats, an accidental ingestion of a poisonous Easter lily can result in

a $2000 bill to life-saving decontamination and intravenous fluid diuresis.  

Smaller things like suturing a small minor wound usually cost less than

$100-$400. For those smaller expenses, owners strapped for cash may

borrow from family, apply for a payday loan or place it on a credit card.

Doing what's best for you and your furry family is what's most important.

The Biggest Cost

Even after all the monetary costs, owning pets is always an emotionally

rewarding experience. The investment we make in our pets can be huge,

but in return you get love, patience, kindness, understanding and fun.

The biggest cost in pet ownership comes from the knowledge we may

outlive them, and the emotional tax of that final farewell needs to be

weighed when you speculate on buying or rescuing any pet.


How Many Litter Boxes Do I Need?


Who knew there was so much to kitty litter? Dr. Justine Lee provides some valuable litter box advice. For more from Dr. Lee, find her on Facebook!

While it seems trivial, an unclean litter box can result in serious behavioral and medical problems in cats such as:

That’s why we veterinarians advocate getting n+1 litter boxes per cat. In other words, if you have n=3 cats, you need to have n+ 1, or four, litter boxes. I have two cats, Seamus and Lily; thus, I have three litter boxes. While this may seem like overkill, remember that cats are affected by litter box husbandry and cleanliness, and you’d much rather have extra litter box cleaning duty than inappropriate urination in the house (e.g., peeing in your laundry basket, your plants, the basement, or on your down comforter).

Cats are very territorial and prefer not to share, so the more cats you have (or the less boxes you have), the higher the risk of urinary behavioral problems in your house. If you have cats that don’t get along well, you may find one cat is too timid to go in a litter box (and hence, he or she is inappropriately urinating somewhere else).

The benefit of having extra litter boxes throughout the household is that you may find that each cat picks their own particular litter box. Since variety is the spice of life, why not be able to choose from multiple toilets? More importantly, know where and what type of kitty litter boxes to provide for your cat(s).

The next time you’re in a pet store, take a look around – you’ll be amazed at the variety of litter box choices you have available. You can purchase tall boxes, short boxes, small boxes, huge boxes, boxes with automatic scoopers, boxes of different shapes and colors, and covered and uncovered litter boxes. Most come with a lid, but not everyone chooses to use them. When in doubt, splurge a little – after all, litter boxes pretty much last a lifetime. Personally, I only tolerate covered litter boxes in my household. I like them because they help keep the kitty litter dust and smell in, prevent excessive kicking of litter onto the floor, and are more aesthetically friendly to houseguests.

The problem with a covered box is that, in a multicat household, the more submissive cat may feel “trapped” in a covered litter box by an approaching cat; as a result, she may be too timid to enter a covered litter box if she’s feeling ganged up on. If your cats get along fine, try covered litter boxes, as it dramatically decreases the “dirtiness” of having a litter box around in your house. You may even notice that your friends come around to visit you more. If you’re not sure, leave a few options out there for your cat: a few covered and uncovered litter boxes, a few different locations, and different types of litter to see what your cat prefers.

Who knew that there was so much to kitty litter?

Dr. Justine Lee

As previously published on Pet Health Network

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

The opinions and views expressed in this post are those of the author's and do not necessarily represent the beliefs, policies or positions of PetHealthNetwork.com, IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. or its affiliates and partner companies.

- See more at: http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/lifestyle/how-many-litter-boxes-do-i-need#sthash.iIgui65T.dpuf

Top 5 Vacations That Don't Leave Your Pet Behind


Packing up the family to leave for vacation doesn't have to mean a trip to the boarding kennel. Many families choose destinations that are fun for their pets, as well. Here are some of the best:

Lake Placid, NY

Photo by Five-two via Flickr

Climbing, fishing and boating around the many rivers and lakes are great activities for families with pets. Lodgings range from hotels to cabins, and campgrounds. This outdoor getaway is perfect for active dogs who love to get wet and dirty. Most hotels charge a refundable pet deposit, as well as a pet fee. Cabin rentals allow dogs and cats, but also charge a deposit and fee and only allow one pet. They also charge a cleaning fee for pet hair if the owner doesn't clean it up.

Gatlinburg, TN

Photo by brndnsh via Flickr

The area offers hiking, camping, fishing, boating, bike trails and more. For those who prefer staying in town, there are museums, an aquarium, mini-golf, shopping, and more. It is the perfect vacation for active dogs both large and small. CabinsForYou also allows cats, but some do have weight restrictions on pets. They charge a $50 pet fee for your stay. They recommend contacting them with any questions about their pet policy.

Wisconsin Dells, WI

Photo by spierson82 via Flickr

The water park capital of the world, it also offers amusement parks, outdoor activities, and year round activities. You can find a variety of lodging options for your family. You can find Wisconsin Dells hotels deals that fit your needs, whether you are looking to bring your dog, cat, rabbit, or even a parrot. Most places charge a refundable deposit starting at $50. The pet fee averages around $20 per day, depending on the accommodations.

Mandarin Oriental, Miami, FL

Photo by goodiesfirst via Flickr

This luxury spa offers a beautiful view of Biscayne Bay while taking one of their unique restorative treatments. But the best part is, you don't have to leave your dog behind. The Jet Set Pets highly recommends the pet services offered at this upscale spa, including play dates, pet turndown services, and more. An on-site trainer and 24 hour vet are available, too. The hotel charges a $200 deposit upon check-in, with $100 returned at check out. Find out more about this ultimate spa getaway at their website.

Scottsdale, AZ

Photo by Scottsdale Agent via Flickr

Sports fans can cheer as they visit Spring Training for the San Fransisco Giants at their training facility. Or visit Old Town Scottsdale with more than one hundred art galleries, the Center for Performing Arts, or the Museum for the Performing arts. Pawnation.com recommends staying at the Firesky Resort and Spa where all pets are welcome. Your pet will be greeted in style with a welcome board, food and water bowls delivered to your room, a complimentary leash, and grooming services available. Any number and size of pets are welcome for no extra fee. The hotel asks that you register all pets in advance.

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