5 Dog Facts That Will Blow Your Mind

You may know exactly where your pooch likes their belly scratched or their favorite place to sniff, but there are plenty of other facts about your pup that you would be shocked to learn. Check out these 5 mind-blowing dog facts.

Dog Fact #1

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Dogs don’t actually see in black and white
It’s a common misconception that a dog’s vision is just like an old movie, but the reality is less black and white. It’s true that dogs can’t see all the colors a human can because of the way their eyes are constructed, but they are able to see their world in shades of blue and yellow.

Dogs don’t have as many cones, the color-seeing part of the eye, as humans do. This means that they lack the red and green, but may actually have better vision in low-light situations than humans. While dogs may see the world in fewer colors than people, that is not reason to think that humans are at the pinnacle when it comes to colors.  In fact, some species of shrimp have far more cones than both dogs and humans, and are capable of seeing bands of color invisible to the human eye.

Dog Fact #2

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Dogs actually DO sweat
If you thought dogs cooled down by panting, you’d be right, but that doesn’t mean they lack sweat glands entirely. Canines have glands in their paws that allow them to sweat. Unlike humans, this doesn’t help keep their whole body cooler in hot weather. Another way dogs cool down is by bringing their blood to their ears and snouts.

Dog Fact #3

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Dalmatians aren’t born with their spots
Would you be able to recognize a dalmatian without their spots? Well then you might not notice a dalmatian puppy. According to VetStreet, these famous firehouse dogs are born completely white and only get their trademark spots as they grow up. Another fun Dalmatian fact is that this breed also gets along surprisingly well with horses.

Dog Fact #4

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Newfoundland retrievers have webbed paws
Newfoundland retrievers may be best known for their bear-like looks and love of cuddling, but these gentle giants are also great swimmers thanks to their webbed feet. The webbing gives these furry pooches more surface area on their feet for swimming, just like a duck or scuba-diver with flippers. They’re named after the Canadian province on the Atlantic Ocean in which they first patrolled the waters, saving drowning fishermen with their powerful swimming technique.

Dog Fact #5

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The US has more than 80 million pooches
If you feel like you and your friends all love dogs, you’re not alone. More than 83 million dogs live in the U.S., according to the American Pet Products Association. Nearly half the homes in the U.S. have a dog – if not more! 20 percent of dog owners have a minimum of two pooches romping around, and about 20 percent of dogs in the U.S. were adopted from a shelter.

However, when it comes to population in the U.S., cats take the gold. There are more than 95 million cats in America, beating dogs by more than 10 million.

You don’t need to know every single fact about dogs to know that they need quality food and medication. Turn to PetPlus for an affordable solution to taking care of your pooch.

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Help Your Pooch Relieve Arthritis Pain

If your dog looks stiff and achy when they walk or stand up, they’re not alone. Many older canines develop arthritis in their joints over time. Sometimes it’s the result of an old injury, while other times it’s joint inflammation from their diet or an allergic reaction. Luckily, if your dog does have arthritis, there are plenty of treatment options, like carprofen or Metacam.

Diagnosing your dog 

Of course, your veterinarian is the only person who can truly diagnose your dog with a condition like arthritis. But before you take your furry friend in to be looked at, you should learn to spot the signs yourself. 

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4 Tips for Giving Your Dog Medication With Ease

Nobody likes taking medicine. While many people hate the taste or the uncomfortable swallowing motion, people at least understand that taking medicine will help them feel better in the long term. However, for dogs it can be more difficult. Your pooch may hate the smell of their medicine, the taste of it, or how it’s administered.

No matter why your dog hates taking medication, it’s not an uncommon problem. But, when it’s important for them to be taking their Rimadyl, Deramaxx, Previcox or other dog medication, you need to ensure that they eat the whole thing. Use these simple tips to get your picky dog to take their medicine.

Look for flavored chewables 

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When your vet provides you with a prescription and you go online to find the lowest prices for dog medication, make sure you think about the type of medicine as well. Chewable medicine typically comes as beef-flavored or other treats dogs love. Many pooches will have no trouble chewing up this important medication without even knowing they’re doing it.

Mask the pill with some food

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If there aren’t flavored versions of your dog’s medication, Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, from The Dog Trainer recommended you find a smelly food your dog will like. People often try to slip pills into their dog’s food, but Benal explained that odor is key. Your dog may avoid the medicine in a bowl of dry food, but when buried in a dollop of cream cheese, it’s essentially irresistible. You can even try a slice of regular cheese – many people have luck with a cube of cheddar.

Toss up a treat or two 

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If you and your pooch have a great toss-and-catch routine already, they may not notice when you add a bit of dog medication. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals explained that this is an easy and harmless way to trick your dog into taking their meds.

“Grab a handful of small treats and toss them to your dog, one right after the other. Somewhere in the midst of the treats, toss the pill or toss a soft treat with the pill hidden inside. With any luck, your dog will catch and swallow it before he even notices it was different!” the ASPCA explained.

If all else fails, use your hands 

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As Cesar’s Way explained, sometimes there’s no way for a dog to take their medication other than just dropping it into their throat. In this situation, you need to be safe, but it can work. Talk to your veterinarian about how to force-feed your pooch their pills.

Use your PetPlus membership to save on flavored chewables, large pills, liquid medicine and everything in between.

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Try Out These 4 Alternative Uses for Kitty Litter

Most cats and their owners appreciate kitty litter. Not only can it make scooping and disposing of waste easier and cut down on unpleasant odor, but the sandy feel on their feet is actually comforting to your feline friend.

Although kitty litter is plenty effective for its intended use, people have found that its moisture-absorbing and friction-providing qualities can actually help with a lot more. If you’re the kind of person who buys your cat’s medicine, food, and kitty litter in bulk, odds are you have some spare litter around the house. Well, here are some handy life-hacks to help give that litter a less smelly purpose.

1. Prevent foggy windows  

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In regions of the country where cold rain and snow are common in the winter, it’s easy for your windows to fog up nearly every day. The cold temperatures outside mix with the warming moisture to create a foggy car with too many blind spots.

Life Hacker advised people in this situation to borrow a little litter from their cats and fill up a sock. Wrap that sock in another sock and place it in your car to absorb the moisture that would cause fog. Silica kitty litter works best, especially when left in the car overnight. Kitty litter can be used any place where there’s unwanted moisture, like a basement, as well.

2. Eliminate grease spots and fires 

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Kitty litter can absorb a lot more than just water. Many people turn to standard cat box filler for grease or oil spots in their driveway. Just pour the sandy substance onto the spot, dispose of it like you would pure oil and reapply to get any oil you may have missed the first time.

Kitty litter can also help clean up grease or cooking oil in the kitchen, as well as extinguish a sudden grease fire, because we all know you never use water on a grease fire. If you cook frequently with greasy foods, it’s smart to have a small container of kitty litter on hand for emergencies. You can also use the litter proactively to help clean grease out of a grill before a fire ever starts.

3. Get rid of that musty smell 

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Whether it’s old books, camping equipment, winter clothing from the attic or the attic itself, kitty litter can help soak up that musty odor, just like it does with the smell of your cat’s waste. Reader’s Digest magazine recommended using the dual sock container method for holding the litter. Then, just leave it around the objects to make the must go away. Similarly, you can store items with this litter sock to prevent odor in the first place.

4. Add a little traction 

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Cat lovers and non-owners alike keep kitty litter in their cars in winter for one reason – to add traction if they get stuck. When the roads get icy or snow-covered, the hardest thing for drivers to do may be to get the wheels to actually make contact with the road and drive home. Kitty litter can help by giving the tire something to grab onto and get unstuck. Litter helps create friction between the road and tire with its grittiness.

It can work for feet as well. So, if you have a dog and don’t want to use chemicals or salt that could hurt their paws, just borrow some of your cat’s litter to sprinkle on the walkway and get a better grip when it’s icy out.

Since you’re using your cat’s litter for alternative purposes, why not get your cat something good too? Use your PetPlus membership to get discounted gear, supplements and medication to help your cat grow up happy and healthy.

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Protect Your Pooch’s Paws this Winter

While your dog may be happy to grab a walk no matter the weather, when the temperature drops it can cause them serious pain to walk on ice, salt or chemical treatments. Learn about some of the most painful winter hazards for dogs and what you can do to maintain good dog safety this winter.

Cold-weather dog safety
If you’re in an area of the U.S. that gets below freezing in the winter, your pooch could have to worry about ice. Ice shards can cut a dog’s paws, while the salt or chemical de-icer can eat away at the bottom of your dog’s feet, Kimberly May, director of professional and public affairs with the American Veterinary Medical Association, noted on Exceptional Canine.

“There’s a risk of physical injury from rough or sharp surfaces or edges that can cut or abrade the paw pads,” she explained. “There’s also a risk of frostbite or cold damage, and the risk of chemical burns from non pet-friendly ice-melting chemicals put on roads and sidewalks.”

Look for the warning signs 
The AVMA explained on its website that pet parents can do their part by checking for trouble in their dog’s paws. Simply look at your furry friend’s paws when you’re relaxing at home. If you spot a cracked or bleeding paw pad, they may have cut themselves on ice or experienced a bad reaction to de-icer. Talk to your veterinarian about treatment to avoid infection or serious pain.

If you notice lameness in one or multiple paws, your dog might also be in trouble. While you’re out walking, lameness can point toward an ice buildup on the paw, the AVMA explained. Keep an eye out for injuries caused by hooks, glass, splinters or other year-round paw dangers as well.

Prevent any problems
Make sure your dog doesn’t have any trouble with these paw dangers on your property by using pet-safe de-icer that eliminates pesky ice without causing paw pain. However, when you travel on public roads or farther afield, you don’t know what types of chemicals might be in use.

Consider trying some winter booties for your pooch. These protect against chemicals, salt and ice shards. Additionally, the AVMA explained that cutting the fur at the bottom of your dog’s paw can help prevent ice buildup. However, this fur is also protective, so consult your veterinarian before snipping away.

Head to PetPlus for a membership that helps you save on medicine, supplements and pet care every season.

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3 Tips to Prevent Cat Stress at the Vet

Some cats just hate going to the veterinarian. Whether they’ve had unpleasant experiences at the medical office before or simply don’t enjoy a typical examination, when cats stress out about going to the vet, it makes the whole experience more difficult. Of course, your cat may prefer to skip the trip altogether, but regular veterinary care can be critical to the health of your feline friends. Here are a few simple tips to keep your cat calm and have your veterinary visit go off without a hitch.

1. Try a mock visit 

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If your cat only associates your veterinarian’s office with painful procedures, they’ll hate going there. However, as Stephanie Belanger, a veterinary technician at KC Cat Clinic in Kansas City, Missouri, explained on DVM360, you can bring your cat to the veterinarian for a mock, “happy” visit.

Schedule this with your veterinarian to make sure it’s OK, then bring your cat in to experience the sounds and smells of the clinic without any negative aspects such as vaccines or surgery. Your cat will hopefully not associate the office with pain or negativity next time you two come for actual care.

2. Master car travel 

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Often, the stress of a veterinary visit is tied to the car ride that brings them there. If your cat struggles with car rides and becomes easily stressed, USA Today had some great advice.

Start off by finding the right carrier for your cat’s size. Not only will the carrier help protect your cat in the case of an accident and offer them comfort in the car, but it will also provide the feeling of safety at the veterinarian’s office. Leave the carrier out in your home with towels, treats and toys to let your cat become comfortable with it. Once they’re OK with the carrier, try a few short, five-minute car rides in the carrier to ensure that they’re fine with the ride. Then, you’ll both be ready for a calm ride to the vet when the situation arises.

3. Facilitate a friendly relationship between your cat and your vet 

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Animal Planet explained that the relationship between a veterinarian and a cat is no different than a human patient and their doctor. Ask your veterinarian to take a few minutes to meet your cat if they don’t do it already. Being at least somewhat familiar with the vet can help alleviate your cat’s stress. Once your cat is calm, the entire appointment will go more smoothly. If they have to stay overnight for a procedure, leave your cat a toy or item from home for added comfort.

PetPlus helps its members easily connect with thousands of great veterinarians at a discounted rate.

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Dog Christmas Decoration Dangers

As soon as Thanksgiving is over, many families in the U.S. start decorating for Christmas. If you’re preparing to toss up some tinsel and string up colored lights, make sure that everything you’re adding is safe for your furry friend. There’s some misinformation out there about what is dangerous for dogs and what isn’t, so follow these tips for a safe dog Christmas.

Protect your pup from the Christmas tree

dog-christmas-blog-1 While many families choose natural Christmas trees for their look and smell, these traditional conifers can cause dogs serious health trouble. The water and pine needles from a Christmas tree can be mildly toxic to dogs. Although dogs rarely have serious complications from Christmas trees, vomiting fallen needles is fairly common. Artificial trees can also cause problems if dogs chew on or break off pieces of the tree. These can cause intestinal blockages and serious problems. Whether wood or artificial, it’s a good idea to not leave dogs unattended around the tree.

Ornaments cause another danger for your four-legged buddy. These exciting-looking items may seem like toys to your dog, but the ornaments are often glass or painted crafts and can lead to severe gastrointestinal blockages or lacerations if consumed.

Keep yarn, tinsel and ribbon out of their reach 

dog-christmas-blog-2These stringy decorations can look great hung above the mantle or along the walls, but if your pup tries to eat them, they may twist their intestines. These string-like items can cause blockages and twists that require surgery and may cause death. Additionally, ribbon should not be tied around a dog’s neck as a decoration. Dogs can choke themselves easily with the sharp, festive string. Ideally, you would just skip this step when it comes to decorating, but if you simply cannot imagine a tinsel-less Christmas, at least keep them out of reach.

Know which plants cause the most harm 

dog-christmas-blog-3Poinsettias are a holiday staple in many homes, but dog owners often don’t have them because they’re afraid they’re poisonous. However, as the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine explained, poinsettias aren’t actually very dangerous for pets. Their sap can cause dogs irritation, but they aren’t lethal.

Instead, holly and mistletoe are the real dangerous holiday plants.  Holly is less dangerous than mistletoe, but can still cause significant trouble, including pain, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe is particularly toxic and can be fatal in only a few hours, WSU warned. If your dog ingests mistletoe, call and rush them to the veterinarian. Instead, skip the mistletoe and find a new festive way to steal a kiss from that special someone.

Be smart with lights and candles 

dog-christmas-blog-4A string of lights on the tree or around the window can look great, but it also requires some caution. If dogs chew light strings that are plugged in, they can be burned, have difficulty breathing or possibly even die. Even if your pup isn’t a chewer, check the wires to ensure that they’re in good shape so that they don’t bump into the cord and get a shock.

Candles are another danger around the holidays. Unattended candles are a major fire hazard even for people without pets, but a dog may accidently knock over a candle and exacerbate the situation.

Similarly, potpourri and other scented liquids or solutions may be dangerous yet attractive to your dog. Keep those items out of reach and secure.

Watch your gift wrap supplies

dog-christmas-blog-5Whether it’s bows, wrapping paper tubes or boxes, many wrapping materials look like toys to dogs. Don’t let them play with your supplies, however, as some materials may be toxic or cause blockages. Glue is particularly dangerous, as the smell is powerful, but the glue is often toxic. This is especially important when people are opening gifts.

Give your dog the gift of a PetPlus membership this holiday season, so that they’ll get all the medication, veterinary visits and treats they want without costing you an arm and a leg.

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Keep Your Dog Calm and Happy This Thanksgiving

If everyone is coming to your house for Thanksgiving, it can be a lot to handle — and not just for you. It’s important to think about the day from your dog’s perspective as well. If you want to prevent them from jumping on the guests, begging for food, or otherwise misbehaving, it’s a good idea to keep the day as stress-free as possible for your pooch. Here are a few helpful tips to make sure your dog is on their best behavior when you host Thanksgiving dinner.

Talk to your guests 

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DogTime recommended that people talk to their guests about how to interact with their dog if they’re unfamiliar with this particular pooch. It’s very important to tell your guests everything from specific concerns about your dog to basic ground rules, like “don’t feed him table scraps.” This is particularly important with young children and their parents. Make sure there’s supervision and they’re aware how your dog is with children. Even the most docile and friendly dogs can snap when a toddler yanks on their tail or tugs on their ear.

Take a big morning walk 

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If you want your dog to be well-behaved by the time the guests show up, it’s a good idea to have them burn off a little extra energy during the day. Take a long walk around the street, go for a hike where he can safely run off-leash or play some serious fetch at the park. This way, when the guests start to show up, your dog will be calm, cool, and collected — possibly even snoozing in the other room!

Another bonus to taking a big walk early in the day is that it’s a great way to avoid overeating on Thanksgiving night yourself.

Set up a space for your pooch 

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Whether it’s your bedroom or home office, find a space where your dog can escape the chaos to catch a few z​’s or relax. Introduce him to this space prior to everyone coming over and put some water, a bed and toys in there to make it more appealing. If your dog is having trouble with the guests or a young kid is bothering him, feel free to bring him to this sanctuary to control this situation. Many dogs need this space to get away from the noise of dinner or a football game, Furlocity explained.

Use your PetPlus membership to get discounts on everything from food to medication that can help your dog on Thanksgiving.

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Tips for House Training Your Pup

House Training Your Puppy

You don’t want your puppy to urinate in the house, and neither do they, but they’ll need your help to learn how to go appropriately. It takes a significant amount of patience, commitment and vigilance to house-train a dog, the Humane Society of the United States explained. You need to show your pup consistency and build a structure to bathroom breaks and usage that they can abide by and flourish under.

Develop a schedule

Young dogs can only wait so long, so a schedule can be a mutually beneficial way to think about bathroom breaks. A 2-month-old puppy can only hold their urine for about two hours, the Humane Society pointed out. So you should establish a timeline for when you’ll go outside and stick to it. You’ll also need to establish a feeding schedule three to four times a day that should mesh with the bathroom schedule to give them a chance to release their waste in a timely manner and avoid an accident. Cesar’s Way noted that dogs between 2 and 4 months old can digest food in as little as five to 30 minutes.

Bedtime should be a part of your puppy’s bigger schedule. The Human Society suggested removing his water dish about two hours before bedtime to prevent multiple midnight bathroom breaks.

Find your ‘bathroom area’

Once you have your schedule, you’ll be taking your pup outside pretty frequently while they’re between 2 and 4 months old. It’s important to bring them to a similar area each time. Whether this is a spot in the woods on your property where waste is permitted or somewhere comfortable where you can pick up after your pup, this will help teach them that when they go to this location it’s time for the bathroom.

Reward them for doing well, and don’t punish for mistakes

House-training can be difficult, and you may get upset, but it’s important to stay calm while potty training. Not only is it mean to get angry at your young pup, but it can actually teach them that bodily functions are bad, Cesar’s Way explained. This may even cause more accidents. When an accident occurs, just move your dog to an appropriate area where they can relieve themself.

When they does go to the bathroom outdoors, give your dog a treat or reward. Let them know that they did a good job. Over time, things will get easier and your dog will grow into a close friend who is fully house-trained.

While you’re training your pup, use your PetPlus membership to get the perfect treats, as well as medication and puppy food.

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Keep Your Dog Fit This Winter With Indoor Exercises

The winter is a tough time for dogs. The cold temperatures make it dangerous for dogs to be outside for too long and the salt and ice can hurt their paws. However, just because the situation isn’t right to play with your dog outside doesn’t mean they have to give up their workout routine. Try these easy indoor activities to keep your pooch’s body and mind healthy.

1. Indoor fetch 

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Fetch is a classic game to play with your dog, but if it’s too cold out, it won’t be any fun. Instead, try taking your furry friend and a tennis ball into the garage or basement. Throw and bounce the ball around the room. Although you won’t be able to get the distance that you would outside, bouncing the ball around the room allows your dog to run all over the small space and get a serious cardiovascular workout.

2. Hide and seek 

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A game as old as time, you can play this childhood favorite with your dog as well. Simply place your dog in one room while you hide yourself or a treat in another room farther away, call your dog and give them a chance to find you or the treat in the hiding spot. This lets your dog use their nose to search for something. Repeat this a few times to get a good workout in and reward them with healthy treats.

3. Tug-of-war 

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Some people avoid tug-of-war with their dog because they’re afraid it will rile them up or teach them bad habits, but the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals explained tug can be a safe, fun activity.

“Playing tug with your dog can provide a wonderful outlet for her natural canine urges to grab and pull on things with her mouth. You can also use this game to exercise your dog and teach her important lessons, such as how to listen to you when she’s excited,” the ASPCA explained.

4. Build an obstacle course 

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Whether you want to practice agility training or just play with your pup, an obstacle course is a great indoor activity to get their blood pumping, according to Cesar’s Way. Include plenty of items to climb on and jump through and watch your dog have the time of their life.

PetPlus is the best place on the Web for nutritious treats to reward your dog for a long day of indoor athletics.

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