To make the task of poo pick up more interesting, convenient and, dare I say, “fun,” Bags on Board offers some great ways to carry bags with you on your walkies. Check it out!
Sure, picking up poo can be annoying and even downright disgusting. I can’t stand it. But it is part of the responsibility I took on when I made the commitment to bring a dog into my life… and then another one… oh and then there’s the cats too and the litter box.
I wish everyone who has a dog understood the importance of being a good pooper scooper and made one of their first priorities dealing with “number two.” I, for one, am tired of stepping in dog poo when I do my part to clean up after my critters.
First, there’s the inconvenience of having to smell it as we continue our walk, especially on a hot day. Then I carefully take my shoe(s) off before entering the house making sure I juggle them as to not let them touch down anywhere while I unload the dogs. After, there’s the careful removal of said poo and disinfecting of the shoes. Lovely time.
Second, the health hazards are tremendously serious not only to our pets but also ourselves. The benefits of picking up after your pet far outweigh any risk of actually coming in contact with the feces. A single gram of dog feces can contain 23 million fecal coliform bacteria, which cause cramps, diarrhea, intestinal illness, and serious kidney disorders in humans. There is greater risk of coming into contact while cleaning off your shoes as above, touching your dog’s paws after a walk or sitting on the grass than picking up the feces.
Third, environmentally speaking, storm water pollution is greatly increased by feces left on the ground. It doesn’t just break down and become fertilizer as some people think. Dog feces is highly toxic unless processed in a very specific way (possible but difficult) and when it does finally break down into the ground, those toxins sit until washed into the water table below by rain fall or snow melting. From there, they flow to our waters. Completely preventable.
If you or someone you know is not yet convinced to pick up after pets, even though I disagree, I can see why there might be resistance. It’s an ugly part of pet care. Hopefully the below resources will persuade. They go into more detail with facts, statistics and solid arguments that make clean up more important that the “Eww” factor.
Kong, Kong, Kong: all Kong toys rock! Blue are for puppies with softer teeth, Red are for normal, adult chewers, Black are for adult, extreme chewers. Buy a whole bunch of them in different shapes and sizes. Fill with treats like kibble topped off with peanut butter or even plug one end with peanut butter and fill with water and freeze for a cool chewing treat in the summer. Great recipes here.
Chuck-It: Indispensable for any dog that fetches! It is a long curved piece of plastic for flinging a ball. You can pick the ball up without getting slimed. The curved shape also allows for further throwing and your arm won’t tire as quickly. See it here.
Busy Buddy: This product line is invaluable at enriching your Dog’s life. Many people who have more than one Dog must separate them when it’s feeding time to prevent resource guarding or one Dog stealing the food of another. We simply place about a 1/4 cup of Rocco’s kibble in one of the cone shaped toys for him to play with after he finishes his main meal. He goes to it immediately when done at his bowl and rolls the toy around with his nose and paws to release the extra kibble inside. It is the perfect item to occupy him while V finishes his meal in peace. Times when we forgotten to put it on the floor after filling it, Rocco stares at us until we place it on the floor for him to enjoy. He gets very excited to play with it.
Everlasting Treat Ball: Amazing! This was first recommended by a vet behaviorist who specializes in dog anxiety as a tool to use in separation anxiety counter conditioning. We use it when we need to get our dog, Rocco, seriously focused on something other than activities that make him anxious, like my husband and I departing the house. It’s great for any dog whenever you want to keep them happy, occupied, and settled down, like when you have several guests over for a visit. Some extremely strong chewers can tear the rubber on this toy apart. For those dogs, I recommend stuffing a black kong instead.
A friend of mine adopted a Dog not long ago and asked what basic items she should be sure to have on hand from the start. The following compilation evolved from that. This is a high level list and by no means definitive, but I hope it is of some help to those of you bringing a new Pet into your home.
You may need an item right away and run out to the nearest pet supply store for that item. By all means, it’s best to keep your Pet comfortable and healthy and get any needed supply or grooming tool sooner than later. However, when you can plan ahead, ask your locally owned shop to order any items you need that they don’t already carry. When asked they can often meet or beat online prices or at least come very close enabling a win-win for you and the local pet supply store. SouthPaw has several favorite shops in town we work with for our many needs.
In the rare case you must buy online, here’s a list of a few of my preferred supplier sites. Feel free to contact me for help in finding any specific or specialty items or with any questions.
General and Medical Supplies
Pet Product Reviews
Leashes: For training you will need a regular leash at least 4ft. long and no longer than 6ft. in length in nylon, hemp or leather. For training, do not use any leash that is very thick and round in design like rope leashes. You need something that will be fairly light, transmit the feel of movement between you and your pet well and yet is still durable.
Collars: I like leather ones but they’re harder to keep clean. Whether nylon, hemp or leather, consider your breed’s size and opt for a wider collar over thin. Thinner collars can create harsh pressure on your pet’s neck.
I recommend a snap-on instead of buckle closure – easier on/off, but if you are like me, you will end up with a collection of collars of all types. Be sure to always latch/unlatch with clasp positioned at back of neck to avoid pinching skin.
Poo Bags: Grocery bags or newspaper bags are great and make good re-use of an otherwise single use item. Otherwise, please use biodegradable poo bags available online or in stores and please use them.
Heavy duty plastic or metal crate (if crate training): Measure length and height of dog and order accordingly so pet can stand and turn when in the crate. If unsure, order down in size.
Crate pad: Should fit inside crate with pad cover. Buy one with a removable cover to wash frequently (indispensable tip: use white vinegar in the wash. Then when you put hairy doggy items in the dryer, the hair will be easily wicked out of the fabric. Otherwise it will cling to the material – ack!)
Do not use this foam pad until you know he will not shred what is placed in the crate. Until then, use old towels and/or blankets that have your scent on them. If need be, sleep with the items for a night or rub them on you then place in crate – major bonding occurs with this due to your pheromones being left on the items and it will keep pet calmer.
Feeders: Ceramic breeds bacteria more easily and is, therefore, hard to keep clean. If you insist on ceramic, it is fine, but know that you will need to clean them very regularly.
“Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus” (“GDV”), commonly known as “Bloat” is a bloating of the stomach often related to swallowed air (although food and fluid can also be present). It usually happens when there’s an abnormal accumulation of air, fluid, and/or foam in the stomach. Size the feeder to height of pet’s chest level so he takes in less air when eating. This goes a long way to prevent gas and “Bloat.” It is generally better for their digestion.
We use the “Neater Feeder” for all our critters. A lip around the edge lessens food and water on the floor. A bit expensive but the best I’ve ever seen/used for tidier, healthier meal times.
Kibble, Wet Food and Water: Though choosing between all kibble, all wet food or a combination of the two involves personal preference, there are other reasons to take a moment to consider what and how you will feed your pet. My dogs eat kibble with a little wet food in the a.m. and mostly kibble in the p.m.
Feeding all kibble or a diet primarily containing kibble (or other healthy whole foods) helps maintain tooth and gum health. An all or mostly wet food diet can increase gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath as the food clings to mouth surfaces more and for longer periods of time.
I recommend foods with whole food ingredients, no preservatives or fillers = happy, healthy pet. As an added perk this also equals less money going toward vet bill.
A full raw or partially raw diet is also a wonderful option and many dogs benefit from it greatly. Be sure to consult a knowledgeable professional who has extensive experience with managing raw diets for pets before embarking on this regimen. When done properly, there are extensive health benefits for your furry friend.
Feeding twice a day instead of once is also recommended for optimum energy and digestion.
Purified water, please. “Extreme,” you may think? If you believe in it for yourself, believe in it for your pet – see above about health. We installed a water purifier at the tap level for our convenience and to save money.
Brushes, Combs, De-matters, Nail Clippers, etc.: Grooming your pet to some degree, even if you take them to a groomer for the big jobs, serves as a wonderful bonding time between you and your pet.
Call a groomer (or a former groomer like me) and do an online search about which tools are appropriate for your breed or mix. Buy those supplies and use them. I like the Millers-Forge brand for many items. Go with Stainless Steel whenever an option for durability, strength and life of the product.
Dental care is not fun but has big benefits. Preventative care will lessen the need for your pet to going under general anesthesia for a full cleaning by the vet. Be sure to use an enzymatic tooth paste. TropiClean brand has a good oral care line. I’ll admit I don’t brush my pets’ teeth every day, so for between brushings we use the Clean Teeth Gel and the Water Additive.
Training treats: Have a “high value treat” on hand for training. I’ve used “Train Me” and “Zuke’s Mini Naturals.” Great flavor, size and consistency. Yes, I tasted them. What can I say? I care.
Coat: If your dog is short haired and/or spends extended periods of time in the cold, it is a must.