5 Rainy Day Ideas to Keep Dogs Active Indoors

When it’s raining cats and dogs, chances are your pooch gets a little stir crazy without the option of a long walk, playing outside or otherwise getting some Mother Nature time worked into the day. Here are five fun activities for a rainy day to keep dogs active — and behavior manageable — indoors:

1. Hide and go seek

A happy Golden Retriever dog looking up and smiling.

Keep your dog happy and active on a rainy day by playing a good, old-fashioned game of hide and seek. Photography ©KalebKroetsch | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

By far, this is my favorite indoor game on a rainy day. I play this year-round with Dexter and it has served me well when traveling in a car and making overnight stops at hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Generally, this game is more fun if two humans partake. I break up several dog treats into pieces and set them on a table outside my dog’s reach. A family member stays in a room with Dexter and gives him the “sit, stay” command. She rewards Dexter with a treat and stands over him, as if ready to release him at the start of a race. I hide in a separate part of the house with a treat in my hand. I let out a “woot woot” or some other funky noise, and my family member says, “go find Mommy!”

If you could see those little Cocker legs go from room to room with the nose to the ground, searching for me and the treat (probably more of the latter) — what a delight! If your dog cannot find you initially, occasionally let out a “woot woot” or shout out his or her name. If you have the space to do this, go for it. You can up the bar and shout out any verbal cues. Keep any ceramics or valuables that could break out of harm’s way.

2. Sweaty pooch

Whether traveling or stuck indoors, there are human-style exercises that can be modified doggie style.

Canine Fitness Trainer Gail Miller Bisher shares that a dog should be getting at least 20 to 60 minutes of exercise daily in order to maintain a healthy fitness level or to lose weight. Of course, these exercises and the nature of them should be modified according to age, size, and goals.

Bisher recommends “sit ups” for dogs. Sitting up to beg for 10 repetitions is a fun way to strengthen core muscles while also helping with stability and balance. If your dog can roll over, this is also another great way to strengthen muscles.

Shaking hands is a great workout for shoulder muscles — five to 10 repetitions from the left paw, and then ditto for the right paw. Always reward for good behavior, even if the reward is verbal praise, the toss of a ball, or a healthy snack.

3. Games galore

Have you seen some of the “brain” games to hit the marketplace? Dexter digs some of these and completely turns his nose up at others, so assess which you think might intrigue your dog. The Nina Ottosson Collection of games fires up dogs’ brain cells while keeping them physically on the go. Dogs can try pushing blocks, moving pieces, and turning discs in some of the games. Treats (or kibble) are hidden beneath, and a series of one or more movements is required to reveal the hidden treasure. Bonus: Dexter and his friends are a hoot when they search together.

4. King Kong

I wish I had a dime for every time someone said, “That is the cutest thing ever” when Dexter plays with his Kong Genius toys. I also wish I had invented this toy. The Genius line is my favorite because they are rubbery and easy on the teeth for dogs to pick up, toss, and bite into. By now, most pet parents know how the Kong toys work: Insert treats; dogs roll, rock or tumble the Kong; treats are dispensed. So as not to pack on the pooch pounds, kibble or crunchy carrot pieces are  great alternative snacks. By the way, treats should never be too large as to cause mental anguish to the dog in an effort to get them loose.

5. Paw paints

While walking through the grounds of a pet expo this year, I came across a group of dogs who had colored paws and watched as they traipsed across construction paper. In the name of fundraising, these dogs were paining a masterpiece for their moms and dads. If you mix cornstarch with flour, water, and food coloring to desired consistency, voilà: Paint by the paw. You can also use a nontoxic acrylic paint. Just put paint on art paper, place plastic wrap on top of it, and allow the dog to walk across it. Remove the plastic wrap, allow to air dry, and you’ve got instant refrigerator art.

Tell us: What’s your favorite indoor doggie game for a rainy day? Let us know in the comments!

Thumbnail: Photography by Renphoto / iStock.

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Sizing Up 5 Medium-Sized Dog Breeds

The canine species is remarkably diverse in both appearance and size. At the high end, we have a 140-pound Newfoundland. At the small end, there’s the 6-pound Biewer Terrier. But today we’re turning to the middle and focusing on five medium-sized dog breeds. Let’s classify medium-sized dog breeds as between 25 and 60 pounds.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

Pembroke Welsh Corgis make our list of medium-sized dog breeds. Photography courtesy Brandon Pfeffer.

We’re a short-legged herding breed weighing about 25 to 30 pounds. We’re sturdy and conscientious workers, bred in Wales to take charge of a farmyard. We worked as heelers and drovers of livestock, eradicated rat and mice populations in barns, led fowl to market and guarded property. Our short legs served an actual purpose, helping us avoid the kicks of small Welsh cattle. Today, although I’m not as large as most guard dogs, my situational awareness makes me a celebrated home guardian. I’m also highly intelligent and (perhaps even more importantly by your measure) highly trainable. I can excel in many dog sports, including tracking, herding and obedience. We’re speedier than you might think, and we can ace an agility course, too. Maneuvering around weave poles is easy compared to avoiding cattle kicks!

Bulldog

Bulldog

Bulldogs are a mid-sized dog breed that weigh in at about 40 to 50 pounds. Photography courtesy Judy Claytor, Cymri Bulldogs.

Weighing about 40 to 50 pounds, we were developed first in England to work on farms and drive cattle. In time, some of my unlucky ancestors were chosen for bull baiting. After bull baiting was banned, we were mainly bred for our good-natured companionship. Today, we’re eager for time with our families, but often less keen on obedience classes. How about we stop and smell the roses instead? Although we look tough, we’re more friendly than ferocious. While we’re not exactly sprinters, we’re definitely strong and stubborn. So, we love being the mascot of many sporting teams.

Beagle

Beagle.

Beagles are a popular medium-sized dog breed. Photography courtesy Cassie Miller.

I’m a scent hound weighing in at about 25 pounds. I was developed in Britain from various hounds to hunt prey such as rabbits. Today, we still love to catch a scent; you’ll see us using our incredible noses to discover illegal drugs in airports. A legendarily companion, we also wrap our hearts around family time. You can train me for sure, as long as you find a way to navigate around my independent thinking. Let’s give a shout out to Snoopy, the Beagle who starred in Charles M. Schulz’ cartoon strip, Peanuts. Was there ever a more charming mid-size companion?

Finnish Spitz

Finnish Spitz.

Finnish Spitzes are a rarer medium-sized dog breed. Photography courtesy Michelle Badger, Badger Den Finnish Spitz.

You’ve haven’t heard of me? I’m the National Dog of Finland, a.k.a. the barking bird dog. We weigh about 26 to 30 pounds, with our females slightly smaller. Fox-like, spry and enthusiastic, we’re an old breed developed to hunt bird and small game. When we found our quarry, we were taught not only to point, but to vocalize our find. Today, my cousins still hunt in Norway, but here we’re chiefly devoted companions and efficient watch dogs. Even outside of Finland, we remain true to our barking bird dog nickname. Sometimes we bark, but you’ll also hear me sing or yodel.

Schapendoes

Schapendoes.

Schapendoes are Dutch Sheepdogs and are among medium-sized dog breeds. Photography courtesy Colette Peiffer, schapendoesdubouleaublanc.com.

A Dutch Sheepdog, we weigh about 30 to 40 pounds. My forefathers were developed in the Netherlands for sheep work. Our herding style involves barking, movement and body contact. Since my homelands had few sheep predators, we were developed smaller than many other sheepdogs. I’m celebrated for my work ethic, ability to jump and pride in my accomplishments. We’re also loyal and loving companions, with top-notch social skills. My jumping talents and spryness help me excel in sports such as agility, fly ball and rally.

Tell us: What are your favorite medium-sized dog breeds or mixes? What medium-sized dog breeds should we add to this list?

Thumbnail: Photography ©srugina | Thinkstock. 

Why read breed profiles?

Dog breed profiles help everyone, whether you have a mixed breed or purebred dog, to better understand and improve the quality of your dog’s life. If you have a mixed breed dog, read up on all of the breed profiles that make up your dog. Not sure what breed your dog is? There are a number of easy DNA tests out there to help your find out.

Read more about dog breeds on Dogster.com: 

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10 Fruits & Veggies That Are Safe & Healthy For Your Cat

Fruits & Veggies For Cats

It may come as a surprise to many that our carnivores cats don’t mind snacking on some natural greens and fresh juicy fruits free of preservatives and additives. Veggies and fruits supplement your feline’s main diet of meat & fish with additional nutrients and can be offered from time to time as nutritious snacks.

[ Get access to Branded Cat Food & Treats at Best Prices: Click Here ]

To end the suspense included in this compilation are safe fruits and vegetables that your kitty will absolutely love to eat while treading on a path of wholesome diet.

1) Carrots– Carrots need to be cooked before serving to a cat sans seasoning. Dice the carrots into small pieces so that they are easy to chew on and don’t turn into a choking hazard. Carrots are a rich source of vitamin A from beta-carotene, vitamin K, biotin, Vitamin B6 and potassium.

2) Broccoli– This food rich in antioxidants is great for your fur-ball when steamed before serving a small portion. Broccoli florets are rich in Vitamin K and C, fiber, potassium and folate.

3) Zucchini- It has potassium, manganese and magnesium in it that will benefit your feline baby. In fact many commercial cat foods are composed of this ingredient.

4) Peas- Peas are another commercial cat food ingredient. There’s no harm in serving this small veggie to your kitty in its natural form. You can steam it before offering to the cat. But do not add any seasoning. Even the frozen variant is fine for your feline friend. Peas contain fiber, protein, vitamin B, vitamin C, carbohydrates and minerals.

5) Green Beans– This vegetable is a great treat for obese cats and a healthy substitute to store bought kitty snacks. Beans contain protein, complex carbs, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

6) Spinach- This super food is a boon to your feline if given in small amounts. Too much consumption must be avoided especially if the kitty is suffering from a kidney disease as it may heighten the issue. Steam the spinach and offer it to the cat sans seasoning. Spinach is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, K, B1, B2, B6, & E, manganese, magnesium, folate, calcium, copper, potassium and iron. It also contains dietary fiber, zinc, protein, phosphorus and choline.

7) Pumpkin/Winter Squash- Plain unseasoned winter squash aids in digestion, mitigates constipation and diarrhea. It is a rich source of fiber and should be given in moderate amounts to the cat.

8) Bananas- Peel the banana and offer a small piece to your kitty. Owing to a high sugar content a sliver or two of the fruit is enough for the pet. Offering too much banana can upset your cat’s stomach. This easy to chew fruit is packed with essential vitamins and minerals.

 9) Blueberries- If served in moderation it can act as a great treat for your kitty. This bite-sized snack is packed with antioxidants, vitamin A & C and fiber. Blueberries are also used in commercial foods for cats.

 10) Cantaloupe and Watermelon- Your cat will surely love these sweet & nutritive treats. Keep the portion size small and offer these in moderation. Before offering either of the two snacks remove the rind & seeds and cut into small sections so that the cat can easily chew on theses fruits. Always remember to remove watermelon & cantaloupe seeds before serving the fruit as these can be very harmful to your kitty and its digestion process. These fruits are laden with vitamins A, C, potassium and anti-oxidants. Melons have a high-water content and feeding a small amount can tackle signs of dehydration in your pet feline.

You can consult your cat’s veterinarian before adding new foods to its diet. He/she will be able to guide you on portion-size and how often to offer a particular food. However the above list contains fruits and vegetables that are safe for a cat to consume. The first time you offer something new to your furry feline start by serving a very small amount/slice and monitor the cat. If the cat enjoys eating it, watch it for few minutes for any allergy that may surface in it. If the cat appears normal, you can offer some more of the snack/fruit or vegetable.

Win a Copy of TRAIN YOUR DOG NOW!

I like lists. I like making lists. I like using lists. I like crossing things off of lists as tasks are completed.

When I saw the new book Train Your Dog Now! Your Instant Training Handbook, from Basic Commands to Behavior Fixes  [Amazon], I knew I was going to like it because the book is composed of lists for training your dog. Written by Jennifer L. Summerfield, DVM and CPDT-KA, the book includes short chapters featuring lists for skills such as:

  • 8 Steps to Housetraining
  • 5 Steps to Curbing Destructive Chewing
  • 7 Steps to Stop Your Dog from Jumping on People
  • 3 Steps to Stop Pulling on the Leash
  • 5 Steps to Curb Excessive Barking

In the four weeks since we adopted Barli, I have been turning to this book to help with daily training sessions (actually multiple times throughout the day). Not only do I love that the book is easy to use–just hop straight to the behavior you’re working on–but I love that Summerfield offers positive steps to train and reinforce good behavior in your dog.

“The book draws on my experience working with a wide variety of client-owned dogs as a practicing veterinarian and professional dog trainer,” explains Summerfield. “The training techniques used are exclusively positive and science-based, and are appropriate for any dog regardless of breed or personality. Because the book is organized by topic each entry is designed for quick implementation of the recommended plan.”

Train Your Dog Now! has earned a permanent place on my dog training shelf–and a big paws up from all of us!

Train Your Dog Now! spans 256 pages and is published by Adams Media (the publisher of our The Healthy Hound Cookbook).

Would YOU like to win a copy of Train Your Dog Now!? We received two copies for review so we’d like to share one with a lucky community member!

How to Enter

You’ll enter in the widget below; you may return to the widget for additional entries any time during the giveaway period. Good luck!

We received copies of Train Your Dog Now! from the publisher for review; all statements and opinions are entirely our own. We will be fulfilling this giveaway and shipping directly to the winner.

Dogs Who Don’t Shed: Separating Fact From Fiction

People seek out dogs who don’t shed for a wide range of reasons. Some folks are looking for the mythical hypoallergenic dog; others want a companion that is compatible with the allergies they do have. Others seek low-maintenance dogs with wiry or shorter hair, or even hairless dogs, who are easier to manage, groom and clean up after in the home. This may sound counterintuitive, but hairless dogs do have hair. All dogs shed at one time or another. It’s an inescapable biological fact that there are no non-shedding dog breeds. Here at Dogster, we want to clarify what you can expect from “dogs who don’t shed” and illustrate that hair length, maintenance and allergens are not necessarily or causally linked.

The art I’ve selected is obviously not comprehensive in terms of the number of dog breeds that don’t shed, but it is a representative sample. These photos show that dogs who don’t shed come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and coat lengths. Short hair doesn’t necessarily indicate no-shed dogs, and long or thick hair doesn’t mean a dog is prone to shedding. There is also plenty of lived experience and evidence to prove that even dogs who supposedly don’t shed much somehow manage to leave quite enough hair behind them around the house.

First, why do dogs shed?

A dog with a grooming tool or brush.

Why do dogs shed in the first place? Photography by Laures/Thinkstock.

Depending on the breed or the particular mix that constitutes a given dog, dog shedding is a natural and normal part of a dog’s life. In the main, dogs that shed often, frequently or voluminously do so for a variety of reasons. Natural shedding is linked to season, health, diet, temperature and exposure to sunlight. Shedding is also a consequence of completely natural, if irregular, stresses such as giving birth to puppies, travel, illness and allergies. Lower-frequency and less common reasons for dog shedding include injury, trauma and malnutrition.

Dogs who don’t shed are not the same as hypoallergenic dogs. Certainly, if you were to fashion a Venn diagram of dogs who don’t shed and so-called hypoallergenic dogs, there are a number of breeds that would overlap. Don’t mistake a low-shedding dog for a hypoallergenic dog. By the same token, it is important to remember that low-shedding dogs are not the same as low-maintenance dogs. Each dog, and every dog breed, is distinct with regard to size, temperament, disposition, and activity level. Dogs that don’t shed, or shed much, likewise run the gamut when you consider maintenance and grooming needs that vary based on coat consistency and thickness.

Small dogs who don’t shed

Chihuahua. Photography by Shutterstock.

Chihuahuas are among the small dogs who don’t shed that much. Photography by Victoria Rak / Shutterstock.

All dogs who don’t shed should be reclassified as dogs who don’t shed much, or dogs that shed less than others. Just as hypoallergenic dogs still produce allergens, including dander, which increases as a dog ages, shedding, even among non-shedding dog breeds, is situation and lifestyle dependent. Non-shedding small dogs are not simply those with short, wiry or little hair; many have long, thick, or double coats.

Small dogs who don’t shed much include, but are not limited to:

  1. Basenji
  2. Chihuahua
  3. Coton de Tuléar
  4. Dachshund
  5. Bichon Frisé
  6. Chinese Crested
  7. Havanese
  8. Maltese
  9. Miniature Schnauzer
  10. Lhasa Apso
  11. Puli
  12. Shih Tzu
  13. Xoloitzcuintli
  14. Many varieties of Terrier (Boston, Jack Russell, Scottish, Yorkshire)

Big dogs who don’t shed

A Bullmastiff sizes up against a young girl.

Bullmastiffs are a low-shedding large dog breed. Photography by Eduard Ly Senko/Thinkstock.

Under the category of “big dogs who don’t shed,” we’re including medium, large and extra-large dogs; in other words, dogs that are anything but small, though many have small or toy mixes. These larger dogs that don’t shed much vary greatly in terms of their coat length, energy levels and grooming needs.

Large dogs that don’t shed much include, but are not limited to

  1. Boxer
  2. Bullmastiff
  3. Doberman Pinscher
  4. Greyhound
  5. Komondor
  6. Old English Sheepdog
  7. Peruvian Inca Orchid
  8. Poodle
  9. Portuguese Water Dog
  10. Rhodesian Ridgeback
  11. Saluki
  12. Schnauzer

Dogs who don’t shed much can still be high-maintenance

Schnauzers are among the dogs who don’t shed that much. Photography by Grigorita Ko / Shutterstock.

These lists of non-shedding dog breeds, or dogs who don’t shed much, are useful whether you’re looking for a companion that you can tolerate from the point of view of allergies or home cleaning. However, these dogs come in a variety of hair lengths and hair consistencies, and many dogs that don’t shed require regular grooming and maintenance to prevent problems like matted hair and infectious agents that can get trapped in short but thick coats.

The amount that a dog sheds isn’t equivalent to the amount of work, maintenance and care a dog requires. Whether allergies, cleaning or other reasons factor into choosing a low-shedding dog, due diligence is always recommended. Whatever reason we seek out dogs that don’t shed, as dog owners we need to keep in mind that the onus for controlling or managing dog hair in the house is as much our responsibility as it is a factor of dog genetics.

Share your experiences with low-shedding dogs!

A boxer lying in the grass.

Boxers among the bigger dogs who don’t shed. Photography by BarboraPeskova / Shutterstock.

Grooming and maintenance on a regular basis is vital for all dogs — with long, short or no hair — and that includes bathing and brushing. You should regularly clean and disinfect all parts and rooms of your home where your dog spends time, including the dog’s bed. If you have hardwood or tiled floors, regular sweeping, swiffering or mopping will help; for those with carpets or rugs, regular vacuuming is the order of the day.

Tell us: Do you own one of the dogs who don’t shed much featured in our lists? What have your real-world experiences with low-shedding dogs been? What are the challenges and joys associated with each of the breeds? Do you have a mix that sheds less than you imagined? Share your stories with us in the comments!

Thumbnail: Maltese dogs. Photography ©Cynoclub | Thinkstock.

April is Spring Cleaning month here at Dogster! Stay tuned for a few articles every week on all things spring cleaning and dog — whether that’s dog-safe ways to clean your home, spring-cleaning your dog’s grooming routine with advice on brushing and bathing — and much more.

Why read breed profiles?

Dog breed profiles help everyone, whether you have a mixed breed or purebred dog, to better understand and improve the quality of your dog’s life. If you have a mixed breed dog, read up on all of the breed profiles that make up your dog. Not sure what breed your dog is? There are a number of easy DNA tests out there to help your find out.

Learn more about dogs shedding with Dogster.com:

The post Dogs Who Don’t Shed: Separating Fact from Fiction appeared first on Dogster.

Pennsylvania’s Libre Law Puts Limits on Chaining Dogs Outside

Concerned pet lovers rejoiced when Pennsylvania enacted a new anti-animal cruelty law that makes it illegal to leave dogs chained outside longer than nine hours in a 24-hour period and no longer than 30 minutes in temperatures over 90 degrees or below freezing.

Libre’s Law, named after an emaciated and gravely ill Boston Terrier who was rescued from a Lancaster County breeding facility in 2016, also increases penalties for severe animal abuse to as much as seven years in jail and a $15,000 fine. A fully recovered Libre added his own paw print alongside Governor Tom Wolf’s signature when the law became official.

Jackie Brown is a freelance writer from Southern California who specializes in the pet industry. Reach her at jackiebrownwriter.wordpress.com.

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Dogster magazine. Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? Subscribe now to get Dogster magazine delivered straight to you!

Thumbnail: Photography by Commonwealth Media Services.

Read more dog news on Dogster.com:

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