Dog Products and Supplies Tips

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Which option is better for my dog, stainless steel or plastic bowls?

What's in a Bowl

If you're looking for a new dog dish for your canine to dine in, you can choose from plastic, ceramic, or stainless steel. The question is which is better and what should you get. If you're looking for a lower cost, easily cleanable, lightweight option, then consider a plastic bowl for your dog. They come in a variety of colors, designs, and sizes. Ceramic is an option if you want a nice, heavyweight, solid container that comes in a multitude of patterns for your pooch. Stainless steel is durable and great for any dog that has a tendency towards skin breakouts or allergies.

And don't forget, for those dogs on the go, there are collapsible nylon food bowls too.

What do I need to buy if I plan to enter my dog in sports competition?

Sports Equipment

The type of equipment that you'll need to get for competition with your canine depends on the type of sport you're considering. Dogs who compete in flyball need access to a tennis ball and hurdles. Agility dogs train on a-frames, balance beams, and seesaws. And dogsledding dogs need specialty harnesses. For specific information on your sport of choice, contact your local kennel club as a resource.


To crate or not to crate

A dog crate can be a great benefit for both owner and pet, if introduced and used correctly. But there are going to be times when a dog crate is not appropriate for either of you. Here are some quick guidelines about when you should not crate your dog:

* If the puppy is too young to have any control over its waste elimination. The clean-up and contamination of the dog crate will be more work than is worth it.
* If the dog – of any age – has diarrhea.
* If the dog has an illness that leads to regular vomiting.
* If it's too hot.
* If the dog hasn't had much play time or owner time.
* If the dog hasn't eliminated waste recently.

As you can see, most of these conditions are temporary. So keep them in mind and remember that both of you need to think of the dog crate as a comfortable place to hang out.


Buying a dog bed

When buying a dog bed, here are some things you need to think about:

* First, think about the size and needs of your dog. The dog should be able to lie flat on the dog bed, stretched out on its side, without hanging off the bed.

* How healthy is your dog? If your dog is arthritic, it may need a heated dog bed. If the dog has incontinence problems, you're going to need a dog bed that can be easily cleaned, or maybe two dog beds to swap in and out.

* What would make your dog most comfortable? Dog beds come in many sizes and styles. There are pillows, mats, rugs and cuddlers. Pillows are big cushions. Mats are thinner than pillows, and rugs are even thinner. A cuddler is like a pillow with sides, so your dog can curl up and have some walls around him. A puppy or small dog is going to have much different needs than a big dog or a very active one.

* What is the bed filled with? Most are filled with foam, but some are filled with cedar, which repels fleas and smells fresh. If you purchase a cedar bed, make sure it is refillable.

* The covering must be removable and washable. It will get dirty, or worse.

* Where are you going to put the bed? If it's going to be in a room, especially a well-traveled living room or den, you will want to match the bed to the room's colors and atmosphere. If you are buying a bed for a dog's crate or dog house, the color isn't going to be as important.

* How much do you want to spend? A simple fleece rug can be found online for as low as $10. Pillows and cuddlers run between $20 and $150, depending on the size. It's up to you and your wallet again.


Cooler Canines

Buying dog supply is like buying people supplies in a lot of ways. It's the same thing when it comes to keeping your dog cool in the summer, or when living in or visiting a hot climate. The easiest way to keep your dog cool is to make sure he or she has plenty of clean water. And access to a place to swim, or at least get under a hose can really help, too. But there are dog supplies that help you and your canine deal with keeping cool. You can buy a fan for your dog crate that will hang on the crate. There's also the Canine Cooler dog bed, which is basically a bed that can be filled with water. So when your dog lies on the bed, it's a nice cool place to hang out.


Home sweet home

Getting your dog used to a dog crate can be challenging or easy, depending on your dog's age and temperament. Puppies are less of a problem. They're more adaptable and generally small enough that putting them into the dog crate the first few times is not a problem. Bigger dogs that haven't been crated before are likely to be more of an issue. Either way, the best way to get a dog used to a dog crate is to make the dog crate seem like home. Put a dog bed in the dog crate. Even better, put a familiar bed in the dog crate. Add comfortable blankets or towels. Place favorite toys and treats in the far end of the dog crate. If it's possible, place the dog crate near or next to you. If the dog is going to be crated for anything longer than a few minutes, make sure there's fresh, cold water available.

Prop the door open and let the dog find its way inside the dog crate. When he goes inside, praise the dog and offer a treat. Let the dog go in and out of the dog crate as he pleases for as long as possible before shutting the door. Remember, you're trying to make this as attractive as possible to the dog. Once you decide to shut and lock the door, do it while you're at home. Then keep praising the dog and offering treats for good behavior inside the dog crate.

How can I reduce the risk of bloat in my dog?

Elevated Dishes

If you have a larger breed of dog who needs to stoop to reach his meal or if you've got a canine with digestive difficulties, get an elevated food dish. The extra height keeps your taller canine from having to reach so far to get his meal. And he'll have less air intake which will help the food go down better.


Buying expensive dog supplies

Like human products, dog supplies come in a wide range of types and quality. In most areas of dog supplies, you get what you pay for. For those that think of their dogs as family, you'll find dog supplies to clothe, feed and outfit your home with the best, coolest and healthiest items available. It's up to you to ultimately decide on the quality of food your dog should have and whether or not that dog jacket is necessary. In the end it depends on on the dog's needs and your desires.


In the pen

Getting the right size crate is only part of what you need for traveling with a dog, especially one that needs to be on a leash or behind a fence when outside. The answer here is a portable exercise pen. Exercise pens are highly portable fencing that allow you to set up a safe space for play just about anywhere. Exercise pens come in wire or plastic and many can join together for bigger spaces or hook up safely with a crate, giving your dog access back and forth between the two. Expect to pay anywhere from $70 to $100 online, depending on the material and size of the exercise pen.


The Cadillac of dog beds

If you're the type of person who'd rather buy something expensive that might last a while, as opposed to something cheaper and easy to replace, you might consider a Kuranda dog bed. Kuranda dog beds are not the cheapest. They start at $60 and go for well over $100 for a wooden model, but these beds are incredibly well-constructed and offer some advantages over traditional pillows, rugs and cuddlers. First, you can buy Kuranda dog beds in metal or hard plastic resin, neither of which is very chewable. Second, the Kuranda dog beds are raised slightly of the ground, making them warmer in the winter and keeping them away from dirty floors. Kuranda Dog Beds come in wood, aluminum, metal and poly-resin, with colorful, east-to-clean nylon beds. Not convinced? Look them up in review sites like Epinions. Just don't get confused with the rain forest village in Australia (which also seems pretty cool).


Treat her (or him) right

Dog treats are an important part of the relationship between owner and pet. This is especially important when training the dog, but awarding dog treats for good behavior is good business just about anytime. But it's very important to make sure the dog treats are healthy and good for the dog. Here are some tips:

* If your dog is overweight, or even has a tendency toward gaining excess pounds, you want to make sure you give low-calorite dog treats. Overindulging with high-calorie dog treats is a leading cause of obesity among dogs.

* Always buy healthy dog treats with all-natural ingredients. Look for whole grains and single-source proteins, like chicken or beef.

* Dog treats made from fish are low-cal and taste great.

* Don't fill up on dog treats, especially before meals. Dog treats should be no more than than 10 percent of your dog's diet.


Basics of crate training

Crate training is something that can work well for both you and your dog. A dog crate gives you a place to keep the dog safe when you're not around, or when both of you want a break. And it helps satisfy your dog's need for a den-like enclosure. A dog crate can also help housebreak a puppy, reduce separation anxiety and help you deal effectively with a chewer. There are a few basic rules to making sure you get the right crate for your dog and then making the crate work right for both of you.

When purchasing a dog crate, you need to think about how you're going to use the dog crate, and how well your dog can fit in the dog crate. Dog crates come in small, medium, large and extra-large. They come in plastic and wire/metal mesh. Think about the size of your dog – both now and when it's fully grown. Are you planning to travel much with the crate? Or is it going to be strictly an at-home model? You can spend anywhere from $35 to more than $150 on a dog crate, depending on the size, material and model that you decide is right for you and your dog.

No matter what kind of crate you decide on, the most important thing to remember is this: You want the dog to think of the crate as a comfortable home, so never use the crate as punishment.

How should I dispose of my dog´s waste?

Dispose That Waste

You have a few different options to dispose of your dog's waste. For lawns, consider a rake specifically designed for picking up dog waste. For taking those daily walks, it's always handy to have a dog clean-up bag. There are a variety of commercial options available from biodegradable to scented to help mask any odors. If you're interested in an environmentally friendly option for your yard, try a waste disposal system. You install a waste container on your lawn that works like a septic tank to turn dog waste into a liquid absorbed into the ground.


Accidents will happen

Accidents are going to happen in the dog crate, especially with puppies that haven't been housebroken. So make sure you keep a clean, washable towel inside the dog crate on top of the dog's bed. When the puppy has an accident, clean it up as soon as possible. Clean the cage with a pet odor neutralizer (remember, if the dog smells its own waste odor, it will likely do it again in the same place). Then replace the towel with a fresh one. Do not use ammonia-based cleaning products ever, since the odor is similar to urine. Never punish the puppy for having an accident in the dog crate.

Older dogs and housebroken dogs are different. First, their natural tendency is to not want to go where they sleep. So any dog inside a dog crate is likely going to let you know when it needs to go. So if you're dog is locked inside a dog crate and is making noise, it probably means he needs to go. Pay attention and don't ever leave the dog in a dog crate without being in earshot for more than an hour or two. If an accident does happen more than very occasionally inside the dog crate with a housebroken or older dog, it means one of two things: Either you didn't pay enough attention to the dog's signals that it needed to go, or the dog is having a problem and needs to be checked by the vet.

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Guru Spotlight
William Pirraglia