10 Spring Safety Tips for Pets

March is the perfect time to start thinking about spring safety tips for your pets. It’s a great idea to get ahead of any issues that might rear their ugly heads in the upcoming months. Are you prepared for the warmer months? These quick tips should help.

For more suggestions and conversations about spring, visit our Facebook page at facebook.com/21stessentialpet. Join in the fun! We hope you have a lovely spring. Have fun and stay safe.

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Ways to Keep Your Pet Happy

The first thing to remember is that not all pets are created equally. Like most humans, some pets have good and bad days. Some pets also have different needs than others. You have to keep these things in mind when exploring ways to keep your pet happy. Understanding and acknowledging your pet’s needs and wants will help you to achieve this goal. The fact that you are even reading this post is a good sign that your pet is probably already living a pretty wonderful life. Keep up the good work!

5 Things to keep in mind if your pet seems unhappy   

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Quick Tips and Fun Ways to Include Your Pet on your Big Day

include pet at wedding

(Cue wedding music now) Here comes the cat. All dressed in…?  Wait. What? Did you just say CAT?

Yes, we said cat.

Did you know that thousands of humans include their pet each year in their big day? Do you have a big day approaching and want to have your most loyal furry companion at your side? You’ve come to the right blog.

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A Shout Out to Pet Sitters – We Think You Are Wonderful!

Young woman with her dog 

Just like childcare providers, pet sitters and dog walkers are crucial for some of us to provide the best care possible for our furry loved ones. There are many reasons to appreciate and show our respect to these individuals, so we thought we’d write a blog post about it! If you are a pet sitter or pet walking companion, thank you for all that you do. We really appreciate it.

We know you are wonderful and understand the amount of pet-love that is required for this type of career, but have others ever wondered why people go into these types of jobs? Are you looking for an occupation with many loving rewards? Perhaps you should consider something in the pet business.

People around the web are talking about why they enjoy working with pets. Here are a few great reasons we found:

  • You’re always greeted with a wag or a purr! People in this profession are usually passionate about helping pets. Working in a field that feeds that passion can be highly rewarding. Who wouldn’t want to be welcomed each day by these lovely creatures?
  • Sometimes being a dog walker, pet sitter and even a pet groomer can mean that you own your own business. There are many benefits associated with having your own small business. Look into it! It might not be as complicated as you think.
  • Helping a pet is more about passion than dollar bills. Many people who work with pets are helping them live a happier, healthier life. For someone who loves pets, this is more fulfilling than any amount of money coming into his or her bank account.
  • Pets are exciting creatures! Human co-workers are great in their own ways, but pets are magnificent on different levels. Pets can be kind, loving and unpredictable. Working with pets can sometimes prove to be an unpredictable and fun profession.
  • Are you having a bad day? Sometimes all you need is a furry friend to make you feel better. Pets have an amazing way of understanding humans and being there for us when we need them. If you work with pets and offer them affection and love, they might just return the favor once in a while.
  • Pets can be challenging. Remember it’s not always going to be wagging tails and purrs. Sometimes separation from the owner can be stressful on the pets and that’s where the real skill comes as a pet sitter in managing to create an environment and support the pet while it is away from its owner or home space.

Whether you are thinking about working with pets or you do already, thank you for loving these beautiful creatures. We are in the pet industry as well and find it simply unexplainable how rewarding and amazing it is. We understand the time and commitment it takes to helping pets. Thank you for doing the hard work of being a pet sitter, pet companion or something similar. Here at 21st Century Animal HealthCare, we think you are doing a great job. Thanks again!

Reasons to Love a Mixed Breed Dog

National Mutt Day is upon us (July 31st) and we are excited to celebrate! Why, you ask? Because any day that we can officially celebrate our pets is a great day for everyone. There are just so many reasons to love and appreciate our beautiful mixed breeds – and any pet for that matter – that it’s hard to narrow it down to just a few. We’ve tried our best and to help us get our point across we’ve incorporated several pictures for your enjoyment. We certainly love our mixed breed pets!

They are beautiful inside and out.

Mixed breed

 They are unique.

Dog swimming in the pool about the grab the ball

Mutts cost you less money when you first purchase them and you love them just the same! 

Doberman Mixed Breed Senior Dog with Ear perked up 

Several mixed breed dogs are rescues. That makes us feel good about saving a life. 

Group Of Dogs With Owners At Obedience Class

 We love their personalities!

Mixed breed dog three on a sofa.

Mutts are said to be healthier than pure bred dogs. 

Willing to Serve

Some people believe that mixed breeds have more common sense. 

Black mixed breed dog in water portrait

 There are simply lovable!

adorable staffordshire bull terrier puppy outdoors

Do you have a “mutt” in your home that you would like us to celebrate? Share of a picture of your pet and we’d love to post it to our almost 25K fans on Facebook. Thank you for celebrating National Mutt Day with 21st Century AnimalHealthcare and The Paw Print!

Do you look like your pet?

Girl with white poodle playing on the green carpet

You’ve seen it in pictures and perhaps in your home. Do you have a pet that looks or acts like you or a friend that resembles their pup? When did these similarities start? It’s a wonder whether people unintentionally purchase a pet that they can relate to or if the comparisons intensify as the bond progresses throughout the years.

Do you think it’s true or just something people think they see?

According to a 2003 study by Michael Roy at the University of California, San Diego about whether dogs look like their owners, it was concluded that it does appear people want a creature like themselves (just as in the case of selecting a spouse (Berscheid & Reis, 1998)). In this particular study, they went to three nearby dog parks, photographed the dogs and the owners separately, and then asked a group of participants to try to match them up. Despite no additional cues, he found that they were able to work out who lived with whom with reasonable accuracy. The result has since been repeated many times.

Whether it’s personality or looks, do you have a pet that resembles you? Share a look alike picture with us on our Facebook page. Message or email us at welovepets@21stcenturyahc.com with a picture and we’ll let our fans decide if the theory holds to be true. What types of personality traits do you think your pet has picked up from you or vice versa? We hope to hear from you soon.

5 Tips to Get You Through Winter

funny-cats-and-dogs-it-s-cold-out-wear-a-catSnow is melting all over the U.S. and we’re getting excited for the warmer weather! Are you?

Whether you have snow on the ground or you’re lucky enough to have warmer temperatures, February is said to be one of hardest months for people to enjoy. If you’re feeling a little gloomy – know that you are not alone.

Here are 5 easy ideas to make the last month of winter more bearable for you and your furry friends.

  1. When you start to feel cooped up – even though it might be freezing cold outside – open your front door, grab the dog, step out for just a few moments and take a deep breath. Look at the sky and perhaps the snow. Simply take a break the fill your lungs with fresh air. Doesn’t that feel good? Now get back inside, it’s cold out there!
  1. Embrace the outdoors like your dog does! The best way to enjoy the colder months is to appreciate it through your dog’s eyes. Don’t you wish you could play outside without a worry in the world?
  1. Go shopping at PetSmart and don’t forget to bring the dog! Sometimes all you need is a little retail therapy. Does the dog need a new sweater, winter booties or calming support chews? PetSmart has you covered. In fact, our Essential Pet products are exclusively available at PetSmart stores.
  1. Take time to relax. It’s ok to lounge around with a warm blanket, cuddly cat and hot cocoa watching your favorite flick. Sometimes being cooped up in the house all winter reminds us of the things that need to be done around the house. Don’t forget to take time to simply relax and unwind. Plan a movie or game night with your friends or family members! If you can’t be outside, you might as well be having fun inside. What fun activities are you enjoying indoors while the weather is less than ideal?
  1. Read and follow our informative pet blog for tips, pet advice, product recommendations, giveaways and more! We like to have fun on our blog but more importantly we like to help. Does your pet get stressed? Are you following your New Year’s Resolutions? Do you love Dachshunds? Meet our newest pet-celebrities! We’ve covered all of these topics and more. Check it out!

We hope these 5 quick tips serve as a nice reminder that you can have fun even when colder weather is taking over your life! Please be careful and stay warm. Thank you for reading The Paw Print with us.

Need a loving and loyal friend? How about a Boxer?

It is well known that Boxers are a popular breed with a great sense of humor, and a desire to please. The Boxer’s high level of intellect, loyalty, and its ability to be relaxed with those who are small or disabled make this breed an ideal pet.

The Boxer is a short-haired, medium-sized breed with a square, short muzzle. Originating from Germany in the 1800s, the breed is related to the Bulldog, and was originally bred as hunting companions. The Boxer’s strength and agility made it perfect for running down and holding on to large prey until the hunter could reach it. The Boxer is classified with the working group of dogs. It has, in both past and present, worked with the military as a pack carrier and messenger, with police K9 units, as guides for the blind, and as both attack and guard dogs.

The Brabenter Bullenbeiser and the Danziger Bullenbeiser are the two extinct central European breeds from which the present day Boxer is derived. Bullenbeiser stands for bull-biter, and these types of dogs were helpful in chasing large game such as small bear, deer, and wild boar in the forests. The dogs hung on to the prey until the hunter came and killed it. To achieve this, an agile and strong dog with a recessed nose and a powerful broad jaw was necessary. These were the same qualities which were sought in a dog used for bull baiting, a sport that was popular in several European countries. The English favored the Bulldog for the sport, while Germans used large mastiff-like dogs.

In and around the 1830s, efforts were made by German hunters to form a new breed by crossing their Bullenbeisers with mastiff-like dogs for size, and with Bulldogs and terriers for tenacity. The crossbreed that was created was a hardy and agile dog with a strong grip and a streamlined body. When British law put an end to bull baiting, the Germans used the dogs mainly as butcher’s dogs, taking charge of cattle in slaughter yards.

In 1895, a boxer was entered into a dog exhibition and the following year the first Boxer club, Deutscher Boxer Club, was established. It is thought that the name Boxer might have originated from the German word, Boxl — the name by which the dog was known as in the slaughterhouses. Being among the first breeds to function as military or police dogs in Germany, the Boxer later established itself as a utility dog, show dog and family pet by 1900. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1904, but it was not until the 1940s that the Boxer began to make gains in popularity. Over the years it has come to be one of the most popular companion dogs in the United States, currently standing as the sixth most popular breed in the U.S.

Physical Characteristics
The Boxer is tightly muscular, with a squarely proportioned body. It stands from 21 to 25 inches in height at the withers, and weighs from 55 to 75 pounds. The head is the most distinctive and the most valued in overall appearance. with a blunt and broad muzzle and an undershot jaw – meaning that the lower jaw is longer than the upper. This is a brachycephalic breed, though not as extreme as the Bulldog. The muzzle is not as short, and the underbite not as pronounced. The teeth and tongue do not appear with the Boxer when its mouth is closed.

When the Boxer is standing at attention, the line of the body, from the back of the head, slopes gently down the neck to the withers, and the chest is full-bodied, as if puffed out with pride. The Boxer is muscular throughout, but not overly so in any one area. This breed should be proportionally athletic in appearance. In movement, the Boxer covers a lot of ground with its wide gait. The coat is shiny and short, and can be in several shades of fawn, which range in shades of tan/yellow, to browns, to reds. The other acceptable coloring is brindle, a type of coat striping where any shade of fawn is striped by black. It is common for Boxers to have additional marking called “flash,” where the chest, face, or paws are white. Flash can be in one area or in all of the expected areas of the body.

The Boxer has an alert expression, making it appear to always be watching for something to happen, even when at rest. Its hefty appearance and strong jaw make the Boxer an impressive watchdog. With its unusual combination of strength and agility, combined with stylish elegance, the Boxer stands apart from other dogs.

Personality and Temperament
An active family will surely find the Boxer to be a perfect companion. The Boxer is high-spirited, curious, outgoing, and dedicated. It responds well to commands and is sensitive to the needs of those it serves. In general, this breed is good with other household pets and dogs, but may sometimes show signs of aggression towards strange dogs or to dogs of the same gender. Otherwise, there should be no other signs of aggression towards strangers that it is introduced to. The Boxer is known to be temperamentally reserved with strangers, so at its worst, the Boxer should be indifferent to new people. With those it is familiar with, the Boxer may get overly rambunctious, and will need to be trained from a young age not to jump on people. Playing, however, should be highly encouraged. Its bright, playful attitude and highly social nature make the breed an excellent companion for the park, for exercise, and for keeping the family motivated.

The Boxer’s coat needs just occasional brushing to get rid of dead hair. Daily physical and mental exercise is essential for the dog, which also loves to run. A long walk on leash or a good jog is enough to meet the dog’s exercise needs. It is not suited to live outdoors nor does it like hot weather. The dog is at its best when given a chance to spend equal time in the yard and home. Some Boxers may snore.

When Should You Have Your Pet Spayed or Neutered?

When to have a dog or cat spayed or neutered is a subject of debate in the veterinary and rescue fields, but all tend to agree that it is a healthy and positive choice for pets. Indeed, some medical complications (for example, mammary tumors) can be avoided by altering pets  when they are less than six months of age. Other studies suggest that  other disorders, such as  noise phobias, may be reduced by spaying or neutering after six months of age. Some owners or breeders delay the surgery as they feel that the full growth potential will not be met if the spay or neuter occurs before one year.

Though many veterinarians and shelters sterilize when the animals are three to four months old or even younger, most veterinarians will recommend spaying and neutering dogs and cats at six months of age. At this time, they should have sufficient growth and development, without yet having gone through a heat cycle.

The Benefits of Spaying and Neutering Your Pet
The most common surgeries performed in small animal veterinary medicine are the spays and neuters. Traditionally, dogs, cats, and pocket pets were sterilized to assist in population control. While the Humane Society of the United States reports about 6-8 million animals are admitted annually into shelters across the country, it also estimates 3-4 million of these animals are euthanized each year. This astounding number does not account for stray animals living and dying alone “on the streets.”

But, health concerns and extending the quality of pets’ lives have also become a major incentive to altering our pets. Many serious health risks can be minimized or prevented altogether with spaying and neutering – especially if done at an early age.

Personality does not dramatically change after surgical altering, but, territorial urine marking should considerably lessen especially when neutered at an early age. The intensity of a male dog trying to reach a female in heat will also be significantly lowered. Many intact males have been tragically hit by a car as they carelessly raced across the road in lust of a female dog in heat.

Benefits of Spaying and Neutering
Many serious health risks can be minimized or prevented all together with spaying and neutering — especially if done at an earlier age.

Veterinarians are now beginning to use newer techniques using laparoscopes (long surgical tubes with cameras and lights at the end), making only two or three tiny incisions. This approach to spaying causes much less trauma to the body wall. Post-operative pain is lessened and recovery is faster. At this time, this technique can only be done in dogs. It is also generally associated with higher costs and, though gaining popularity, only a small percentage of veterinary clinics are trained in and have purchased the expensive equipment.

Again, population-control perspective set aside, spaying your pet does have great advantages in long term health issues. Perhaps the most common health risk avoided by spaying is the pyometra, or, infection of the uterus. Pyometra in a dog or cat causes serious illness and can become rapidly life-threatening if not treated. Attempts at caring for these patients with antibiotics and a prostaglandin enzyme are risky, painful, and, too often, not effective. The treatment of choice is emergency surgery to remove the infected uterus and ovaries as soon as possible.

Spaying and Neutering Procedures
Of course, any surgical procedure carries with it inherent risks: continued hemorrhaging from a blood vessel, anesthetic complications, incisional dehiscence (breaking open of the sutured site) and/or infection. With current anesthetic and surgical precautions, along with appropriate aftercare by the pet-owners, however, the potential for these complications are minimized – especially compared to the risks of NOT spaying your pet.

Certainly problems can arise from spaying and neutering as well. Obesity is one of the most common complaints in altered animals. Pet owners need to be aware that neutering and aging causes a decrease in metabolic rate and activity level of their pets. Overfeeding, a sedentary lifestyle, breed predisposition and indoor housing all contribute to pet obesity.  Consult with your veterinarian about the proper feeding and exercise following your pet’s spay or neuter.

Discuss with your veterinarian your pet and his or her specific needs. Your veterinarian will be able to guide you as to what is best for your pet.

Does your dog act out? Why and how to crate train your dog or puppy.

During the first several months of  life, a dog must learn to feel secure in his environment. An insecure dog can develop problems that will negatively impact his ability to house train, cause cowering, digging, chewing and incessant barking. Adult dog behavior is shaped during the early stages of puppyhood. Many of the dogs that are placed in shelters or end up on the streets are a result of poor training on the owner’s part. Most problems with dogs can be prevented if proper direction is taken from the beginning. Invest a little of your time now, and  it will result in a much happier life for you and your canine companion.

Dogs are pack animals by nature and prefer a dark, small, den-like atmosphere as opposed to a huge open room that we humans would enjoy. Dog crates are simply a rectangular structure just big enough for the dog to lay down in. They should NOT be large enough for the dog to play in. The natural tendency to stay clean is a basic instinct. The crate becomes the den that humans took away when we domesticated dogs thousands of years ago.

Crates are primarily used for house-breaking puppies. But may also be used to train/retrain adult dogs as well. Crates are not cruel by any stretch of the imagination. It’s like an indoor den for you companion. Crates should NOT be used for long term confinement. More than 10 hours for any dog is too long to remain in a crate without being able to relieve his or herself. Once a schedule is set, dogs usually have an admirable ability to “hold it.” This time period must be gradually increased from puppyhood with proper training.

The First Steps:
When you bring your new puppy home, you should already have his/her crate set up with newspapers or a soft rug or towel. If your new puppy is younger than ten weeks old when you bring him home, I suggest placing an exercise pen around the crate. This will give him the advantage of not being shut up in the crate at an early stage for long periods of time. Puppies urinate immediately after waking up from a nap and defecate after every meal. This is EVERY time! Once they begin to mature (after 10-14 weeks of age), the length of time between urges “to go” becomes longer. At this stage they become ready to stay in their crates all day while you are at work and all night while you sleep. I will keep a toy or two in the crate but I don’t keep food or water as this will create a huge mess. As soon as they eat and drink they will need “to go” and if you are not home to let them out you’ll be very sorry and they will be very upset. It will also inadvertently teach them “to go” in the crate.

Puppies learn quickly not to relieve themselves in their den/crate. I keep thick layers of newspapers in the crate for the first month or so. Depending on how young the puppy is, it will more than likely urinate in the crate because he just can’t “hold it” as long as an older dog. If the puppy is fed and watered and taken outside before being crated you will have a much cleaner and happier puppy when you return home. Puppies grow very fast and usually within a month you can remove the papers from the crate and replace it with a soft rug or towel.

I usually have two crates per new puppy. One in the family room and one in my bedroom. Puppies should NOT be isolated just because they are in a crate. During the day when you can’t watch every move the new puppy makes he can be in the crate in the family room. But at night he will want to be with you for a secure feeling. And when he awakes in the night and needs to go out you will hear him if he’s in your bedroom.

When you sleep, your puppy should be in his crate with the door closed. He will wake you when the urge strikes. You need to take him out right then and there to further the crate training purpose. Your puppy will learn what you teach him. If you ignore the persistent crying to go out to relieve himself you will defeat the purpose of crating your puppy altogether. Puppies mature quickly and he will not have to get up in the middle of the night forever.

NEVER scold your puppy for soiling his crate. He counts on you to listen to him when he’s telling you he needs “to go.” Again, dogs are clean by nature and, left to their own devices, would leave the den to relieve themselves. ALWAYS praise your puppy EVERY time he “goes” outside. IF he does soil the crate, just get the puppy outside to finish his business, give him LOTS of praise, clean the crate, put the puppy back in the crate and go back to sleep.

Once your puppy has matured and is past the house-breaking period you may start to leave him out for longer periods. But you will want to continue the crating when you are away or cannot watch everything your puppy is doing for a while longer. Teething can be dangerous as well as costly if the puppy is allowed to be loose all the time. My new puppies are crated until they are totally trustworthy and understand what is allowed and what is not. This might be 6 months or it might be 2 years. Each dog is an individual and requires individual training. Once I am SURE the dog is trustworthy, I then start leaving them out when I am away for short periods of time. As long as everything is intact when I return, the next time will be a little longer. Eventually your dog will be able to be loose in the house all the time if you so desire.

It’s your responsibility to train your new pet with kindness, but firmness. NEVER spank your puppy. Remember–scolding or yelling at your puppy teaches it to fear you, causing it to act out with bad behavior. The rewards will be great once your well-behaved and trained puppy grows up, giving you years of enjoyment and companionship.