Archive for January 2013

Call of the Wild

January 21, 2013

How many of you who are dog-owners sometimes feel like you’re a slave to your dog? Be honest. How many times do you just sit down in your comfy chair in the evening, ready to get back to the book you’re reading or to watch your favorite TV show, only to be met with a pair (or several pairs) of pleading eyes or the music of what I call, dancing paws. We need to potty again, or want to share your chair, or forgot we went for a walk just an hour ago. You drag yourself up and go to the door, in case it is the first of those choices. But then, wait, that isn’t what we really wanted! We stand at the open door and just look out, unable to make up our doggy minds if we really want to venture out into January’s freezing temps. Because we don’t really have to go potty; we just want to see what’s going on next door and hear who in the neighborhood is barking. We do decide to go out, two minutes later we’re ready to come back in (because remember, it’s freezing outside!). We expect a treat then (because we went out) and then we settle down….for another half an hour. Then there we are, staring again. Isn’t it time for another walk (even though it’s dark outside and still freezing)? Shouldn’t we have one more treat before bedtime? Aren’t we going to bed yet? Once we are tucked in for the night, we all sleep peacefully until…wait, we forgot to go potty when we went out because we had to bark instead. Good grief, it’s enough to drive any dog owner to distraction!

Yes, my dogs are spoiled. I’ll be the first to admit it, but sometimes trying to figure out just what it is they really want is a challenge. Maybe they don’t even know but somewhere in their doggy minds they are trying to answer that call of the wild from ancient ancestors. Maybe it whispers in their ears that they really should be out chasing after prey and howling at the moon instead of taking it easy on the couch. Maybe it confuses them as much as it does us. I often wish my dogs could talk and tell me what it is they want; except then, I’m sure, they’d never stop talking.

While I’m on the subject of January and freezing temperatures, just a reminder to watch for those antifreeze spills that can sometimes happen in the garage or driveway or roadways this time of year. Anti freeze containing ethylene glycol is highly toxic to pets and wildlife and only a tiny amount can cause poisoning and death if consumed. There is a new “greener” anti freeze (containing propylene glycol) that is less toxic and does not have the sweet taste that draws animals to it. Newer vehicles may use it, but most of our older ones will still have the ethylene kind, unless we’ve had it replaced. To be on the safe side, always clean up any spills immediately and keep pets away from puddles in the road. It’s a good idea to wipe off their paws after walking along areas of traffic or sidewalks. There is also a paw-safe ice melting product for sidewalks that will not irritate as the common road salt does.

Here are a few New Year resolutions to make us all better pet owners.

1) Brush your dogs’ teeth. It’s one good way to keep them healthy. I’ll confess, we don’t do this as often as we should but we’re working on it. Dental chews are also helpful in keeping your dog’s teeth clean.

2) Use heartworm preventative year round.

3) Use a leash whenever out of the house or fenced yard. It can prevent many a tragedy from happening.

4) Clean up after your dog!

5) Spay/neuter, the best way to prevent pet overpopulation and the plight of homeless animals.