Sunday, October 27, 2013

Halloween Pet Safety Tips

(From Pedigree - allowed to share)

Children milling about giggling happily, lots of sweets to eat, brightly lit jack-o-lanterns, and visitors stopping by all evening long—to people (and kids, especially) Halloween can be a fun time of year. But to your family's dog, those same conditions can create a very different atmosphere: one of anxiety and alienation. To your dog, this special night is clearly not normal, and how he reacts to these unusual circumstances may depend on how well you prep him.
Here are a few Halloween safety tips that can help assure a pleasant and incident-free night in which all the scary stuff is in the name of good fun for everyone, including your dog:
  • Exercise your dog before party guests and trick-or-treaters are expected to arrive. After 30 minutes of walking or playing, most dogs will be more relaxed or ready to take a nap. And, as every dog owner knows, a tired dog is a well-behaved dog.
  • Give him some space. If the arrival of party guests makes your dog excitable, give him a break in his crate or in a quiet room with a familiar doggie bed or blanket. Allow your pooch to join the festivities after the initial commotion has subsided.
  • Provide "door bell" training. Train your dog to sit quietly near the front door when the doorbell rings. Practice every day to reinforce the behavior. A dog that barks and jumps up on guests is usually not appreciated. And, because this is Halloween, you can expect the doorbell to be ringing quite a lot.
  • Distract your dog with new toys. Just before your party guests arrive and the skeletons, devils, pirates, and princesses start ringing your doorbell, give your dog some fun new toys to play with. Long-lasting chew toys are nearly indestructible and will keep him occupied for a long period.
  • Never leave your dog alone with small children. No matter how much you trust your dog, make sure an adult is always in the room when small children visit your home. And remember, even a child that your dog knows well can appear strange and threatening when dressed in a Halloween costume.
  • Be strict with holiday sweets. Avoid giving your dog Halloween candy, cookies, cakes, and chocolate. These sweets can trigger life-threatening illnesses in dogs. Don't overdo the dog treats either. There's nothing festive about a dog that has diarrhea.
  • Keep an eye on candles. Lighted candles may make jack-o-lanterns glow radiantly, but they should never be left unattended—especially if they're at your dog's eye level. A wagging tail or a swat of a paw, and candles and hot wax can quickly become disastrous.
By following these simple tips, the "boos" in your Halloween will lead to smiles and laughter rather than worries about your dog's safety, comfort, and anxiety.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Clipping Your Horse

When clipping a horse, the preparation is as important as the clipping itself. Make sure you have the proper clipper size for the job and that it is in good working order. Bathe the horse beforehand and use a spray on conditioner after the final rinse to create a sleek coat and reduce static. The horse should be completely dry before attempting to clip.
Supplies you should have handy:
  • Large clipper made for the body with a #10 blade attached- the wider the blade the less swipes will be needed, new blades are best or newly sharpened ones
  • Smaller clipper with higher numbered blades, such as #15 for the head and #30 for inside the ears and around the muzzle
  • Rubbing alcohol or blade spray- use to cool the blades
  • Clipper oil- for the designated spots on the clipper and to reduce friction of the blade
  • Soft brush
  • Towel
Prepare a safe, clutter-free area for the horse to be cross-tied or held, preferably where there is no wind. Make sure the extension cord will not be in the way of the horse during clipping. Have a broom, shovel and trash can available for the loose hair clipped. You may need an assistant with treats if you are unsure how the horse will react. A twitch may also be necessary.

There are several types of patterns such as Trace Clip, Blanket Clip or Hunter Clip. Choose one and use a chalk to outline the edges, or opt for a full body clip. Start at the least sensitive area such as the horse’s shoulder. Clip against the growth of the hair using consistent pressure. To avoid lines and for an even cut, clip in overlapping rows and make sure the skin is stretched. You may want to clip the outline of the pattern first and then clip the interior. Cool the blade about every ten minutes, or change the blade to avoid burning the horse. Use the oil at the same time to keep the clipper motor running smoothly.

Since clipping may take a couple hours or more depending on the size of the horse, the thickness of the coat and the behavior, plan to take a break about halfway through to allow the horse to stretch its legs or relieve itself. Hand walking is suggested rather than being placed in a stall to avoid the horse from rolling. Sweep up the loose hair and then continue.

Once the body is finished, change to a smaller clipper with the appropriate blade for the legs, face and ears. Brush the body and wipe down with a towel. Check for any touch-ups that may be needed by holding the horse in the sunlight.

Finally, clean the clippers and blades so they are prepared for the next clipping job. Blanket the horse according to the temperature even if it is stabled inside.