Shop for Your Shelters This Holiday Season

While you’re out chasing holiday bargains this month, make sure you find some bargains for your local shelters and rescue groups too! You’d be surprised what they can use in addition to cat and dog food—also blankets, office equipment, household goods and cleaning supplies, for just a few examples. And for that matter, other animals besides cats and dogs live in shelters and rescues too.

Check those wish lists!

If you check the “wish lists” of any organization that offers assistance to animals, you might be surprised at what you’d find they can use. On almost every list for the shelters and organizations here in Minneosta I find such various necessary items as Sharpie markers, paper towels and vehicle maintenance service, things you’d never think of when considering donations.

Donate office supplies = more money to spend on animals

Behind the front lines of rescuing, spaying, neutering, healing, housing and adopting animals, there is an administrative body of some sort even if no physical shelter exists. Records must be kept and stored, publicity sent, checks written and staff and/or volunteers taken care of in some way.

Money is always short at shelters and rescue organizations, so it makes sense that donating items that don’t directly serve the animals themselves either saves money, such as office supplies which are necessary, or just makes the atmosphere more welcoming and healing for both animals and staff.

Office basics everyone needs are copy paper, computers and printers, pens, markers and Post-its, and basic housekeeping items include brooms, mops, laundry detergent and paper towels.

Health care items such as gauze pads, hydrogen peroxide, Q-tips and more are used for animals as well as humans. Think of what you’ve seen your veterinarian or vet tech use.

When you donate items such as these, the organization can use they money they would have spent for spay/neuter programs, health care for injured or abused animals and outreach and education programs.

Large animal rescues and farm animal sanctuaries

And don’t forget large animal rescues as well—you may not be able to offer large animal feed, for instance, but they need office supplies, cleaning supplies and van maintenance as much as the smaller shelters, and they also need health care items.

Bathing a dog

Food and bedding donations

You can always donate the practical things that shelters need in great quantities and use up quickly—mostly food and bedding. All animals need to eat, and shelters will often take opened bags of dry food if your animals don’t like it and you don’t want to send it back to the manufacturer.

If you see pet food on sale, especially canned food, purchase a few cans to donate. Even a half-dozen cans provides meals to older animals, those with special needs or animals who are recovering from serious injury or illness after rescue.

Treats are always appreciated as they can help to train animals who may not have received any discipline, and they can also help a human form a bond with a distrustful animal who was neglected or abused.

In preparation for kitten season, there is always a need for kitten milk replacement formulas.

And don’t forget the wild animals in rehabilitation shelters—they can use things like canned vegetables and baby food.

Bedding is another constant need. Even shelters which don’t keep animals in cages need comfortable places for them to dig and curl up to sleep, and those animals with special needs or in recovery especially need soft bedding. All of it needs to be frequently washed or even discarded after use because of excessive soiling or contagious disease.

cropped-gettyimages-482078794.jpgLook around your home and check yard sales

That’s just a partial list, and you don’t really need to think of purchasing them yourself. Often you’ll find you have extras of things you don’t need, or, like the bedding from the personal care home, you’ll find things that others are discarding. You can also clean up at a yard sale or especially an estate sale where the house has to be completely cleaned out, and what else to you do with partially used cleaning products? One of my design customers hosts estate sales, and immediately packs up anything along these lines to be donated to a shelter. If you don’t take it there you can always suggest it to someone else who has access to it.

Shelter Wish List

So be creative when you are cleaning out old things, and when you hear of others cleaning as well. Make sure you check the wish lists first to make sure they can use it—and note that not all of them take food that’s been opened.

Imagine if everyone bought and donated a case of canned food and a big package of paper towels—what an impact that would have in saving the shelters money and in helping the economy go round! This holiday season, put at least one shelter or rescue group on your gift list.

Local organizations, causes and rescues

Many individuals and small organizations are providing low-cost spay/neuter and veterinary care, pulling animals off the streets, setting up TNR clinics and many more activities that help homeless animals. A donation of goods, services or cash to one of these can make a huge difference.

Essential House Cleaning Tips for Pet Owners

If you have a pet, you understand how hard it can be to keep your house clean. There is pet hair everywhere, dirt that gets tracked in, your furniture is scuffed or chewed up, and then there’s that wet dog smell that sticks around after it rains.

While none of these are fun to deal with, none of us are about to give up our pet loving lifestyle. Luckily, there are several house cleaning tips for pet owners that can make your life easier and keep your home clean…

Scared Dog Sitting in Dog Bed

How to Control Pet Hair in Your Home

Pet hair clings and gets stuck to everything. Nothing is safe. If you have a pet you need to get used to your pet shedding hair on your furniture, floors, in every crack and crevice, and even on your clothes. There are a few things that you can do to manage the hair problem before it gets out of control however:

  • Brush Your Pet Frequently

In the summer you will want to do this daily as animals tend to shed more in warmer climates. Grooming regularly also allows you to check for fleas or ticks, and we recommend using a fine-toothed flea comb and combing through your pooch or kitty’s fur. Superior Labb’s Adventure Dog Shampoo is made with a blend of bug repellent essential oils and natural neem oil that kills and repels fleas.

  • Vacuum Daily

Use a good vacuum that has a lot of suction. (We have a Shark Navigator that cleans up after our 2 Humans, 1 German Shepherd, 1 Grey Tabby Cat and 1 Cockatiel)  There are specific attachments that are designed just to remove pet hair from furniture and stairs. These work very well and can keep a good amount of dog or cat hair off your pants.

If you have tightly woven rugs, a rubber rake can be helpful with removing pet hair as well. You can usually find these in the garage cleaning/organizing sections of big box hardware stores.

  • Use a Towel or Blanket

If your pet has a favorite seat in the living room, their own pet bed, or a favorite part of the house that he or she likes to lay in, put a towel or blanket down. If you have company, you can simply remove the blanket and all the dog hair that has accumulated along with it.

  • Launder Bedding Frequently

If your pet sleeps in your bed, you’ll need to wash your sheets and bedding regularly. This will reduce the amount of hair that accumulates in your bed. Likewise, if they have their own rest area, make sure you are laundering their bedding/coverings frequently.

  • Removing Hair from Your Clothing

A lint brush is a pet companion’s best friend. Unless showing up for events, covered in pet hair is your icebreaker (no judgement), you will want to use some sort of pet hair removal tool.

Lint rollers, such as the ones with disposable tape, work well, but are wasteful and must continually be replaced. Try using a fabric brush or silicone roller.

It’s also a good idea to use a lint brush, before washing your clothes. After a while, hair can start to accumulate in your washing machine pump. Save yourself headache and money and quickly use a lint brush instead.

  • Keep a Towel Near the Front Door

When pets come inside, they often have mud on their paws. If you can stop them at the door and wipe their paws with a towel, you will reduce the amount of mud that gets spread throughout your house.

How to Remove Pet Odors

A wet dog can really stink up the joint. If your dog comes in the house, after being out in the rain, try and dry him off right at the door. Otherwise, he will roll around on your carpets and all that water and dog odor will become embedded in your carpets.

If this should happen, sprinkle some baking soda on your carpets. Vacuum up the baking soda after a half hour or so. You can also spritz some white vinegar on the
carpets, but not at the same time with the baking soda. Be sure you vacuumed thoroughly, or you will have a fizzy mess on your hands. This is a good deodorizer.

Controlling Scratches on Your Woodwork

Try and keep your pets’ nails as short as possible. If they are trimmed regularly, you will reduce the chances of them scratching your wood floors and woodwork that is throughout your house.

Having a pet can be wonderful. By following these house cleaning tips, you can keep your home presentable, clean, and smelling nice year-round.

Tips for Successful Pet Hikes

Dogs can make excellent hiking companions, regardless of their size and every good dog deserves to go along on outdoor adventures. Before you hit the trails, consider these tips to help make the most of hiking with your dog while being good trail ambassadors for all four-legged friends.Trail Ambassador

1. Make Sure Doggo is Fit for the Trail

Just as you choose trails that match your fitness level and abilities, you should also consider your dog’s physical fitness before hitting the trail. Very young dogs and very old dogs simply cannot handle the same trail length or intensity as fit adult dogs. Hiking is more strenuous than walking and often involves uneven terrain and vertical climbs. Take into account your dog’s normal level of activity when planning a hike. Be respectful of your dog’s limits and don’t push them to exhaustion. Also, be sure to check the weather the day of the hike, too, because no matter how fit you and your dog are, a hot, humid day can effect your and your dog’s health. If you notice your dog lying down, panting intensely or foaming at the mouth, these are all signs they need to cool down, slow down and possibly turnaround. If you have any questions about how much is too much for your dog, ask your vet.

2. Be Ready To Share the Trail

After considering your pet’s fitness, it’s equally important to take note of his obedience and behavior when planning a hike. You’ll be sharing the trail with other people and animals, so it’s important to bring only well-socialized pets on popular routes. Hiking companions should also be experts at sit, stay, heel and come and feel comfortable walking both on- and off-leash. Aggressive or timid pets will not be good at sharing the trail, so it’s best to work on socializing these dogs before taking them hiking. On the trail, you and your pet will be ambassadors for other hiking dogs, so always practice good etiquette by giving dog-free hikers the right of way and maintaining control of your pet. If you encounter a loose dog on the trail, put your own pet on a leash to avoid any potential confrontations.

3. Obey All Leash Laws

On the trail, you and your pet will be ambassadors for other hiking dogs, so always practice good etiquette by giving dog-free hikers the right of way and maintaining control of your pet. Many people are frightened of dogs, or they have a dog on a leash that might get aggressive toward yours. There are a multitude of reasons why letting your dog off-leash on most trails just isn’t a good idea.

NOTE: Dogs are not allowed in most U.S. National Parks, for example, and most dog-friendly trails require you keep your dog on a leash six feet or less in length.

There are many trails that have off-leash designated areas, which are perfect for dogs that respond to voice commands. With that said, you must be honest about your dog’s training. If your dog responds to your voice only 50 percent of the time—he’s not under voice command. And if the second you let him off-leash he scurries out of sight, he could be harming sensitive habitat, getting in the way of a mountain biker or running into some unwelcome wildlife.

2. Pick Up After Your Pet

While keeping your dog’s feces in tow is far from pleasant, its benefits go beyond keeping other people’s shoes clean. Dog excrement contains harmful levels of bacteria that can harm and disrupt local wildlife, native habitats and groundwater supplies.

While many trails have dog poop bag stations, not all of them do, and you can’t guarantee the stations won’t be out of bags when you arrive. Always be prepared and keep bags with you anytime you head out on the trail. You can purchase doggie bags and dispensers for around $7 that attach directly to your leash.

When it comes to disposing of your dog’s waste, be respectful of the environment and place doggie bags in a trashcan (preferably one with a lid). And, if camping, we advise you leave any pet waste at least 200 feet from a campsite.

3. Bring Enough Water and Food for Two

Anytime you head out on a long hike that requires you pack food and water, remember you have two mouths to feed.

Because dogs cannot sweat like humans and have fur coats, they are at a higher risk of overheating. While you might not need water for Fido on a walk around the block, anytime you head out on the trail, it’s a good idea to bring along plenty of liquids for the both of you. Just remember to bring a collapsible dish to pour some for him.

If it’s really hot, you can even supplement your dog’s water with some light electrolyte fluid (such as Pedialyte). It’s also important to keep your dog from slurping standing puddles of water or ingesting heavy amounts of saltwater. Standing water can contain a number of bacteria, parasites or algae that can make your doggo very sick, and saltwater can cause diarrhea and dehydration.

Bring along some dog treats for your pet to help keep their energy levels up on a long hike. If you took your pet on a very strenuous hike, give them a little bit more dinner to help them recover and prevent sickness and injury. Just like you need calories to stay energized, so do they.

You might also consider purchasing a dog pack so they can carry their own supplies. A fit and healthy dog can carry up to 25 percent of their body weight (depending on the breed).

5. Consider a Pet First Aid Kit

Similar to small children, pets can easily get into mischief on a trail. Keeping a small first aid kit (whether it’s pet-specific or not) in your car or on your person can help you doctor any gashes, bites, sprains or burns your pup might get.

The Kurgo Pet First Aid Kit is less than $30 and offers everything you’d need should your pet get hurt on the trail. Remember, dogs can’t take the same pain medications as humans (for the most part), so if your dog is hurt and in pain you should always consult your vet.

7. Dog Clothing is Silly—But Sometimes Necessary

Putting an argyle sweater on your dog so he looks fancy on the golf course is not what we’re talking about. If you have a shorthaired dog or a dog that spends the majority of their time indoors, they could benefit from an extra layer against wet and cold conditions.

Ruffwear sells a variety of excellent dog coats for breeds of all sizes. If, conversely, heat is the issue, you can also keep your dog cool by putting on a dog vest that has been soaked in cool water.

Most breeds can also benefit from dog booties (shoes for dogs) for cold, snowy trail conditions, but they are also helpful if you’re heading out on very hot sand or scrambling over rocks. And yes, most dogs hate them, but there’s nothing worse than seeing your dog in pain because they’ve torn up the bottom of their paws.

8. Keep an Eye Out for Anything Your Dog Ingests

Mushrooms, cattails, animal poop, pinecones, random socks—the list of things dogs can eat on a trail goes on and on. And some of it can be very dangerous—even deadly.

If you see your dog chewing on something, make sure you figure out what it is, and if it seems dangerous, take some of it with you to show your vet. This is especially important with plants and mushrooms. You can avoid a lot of these incidents by keeping your dog on leash, but if you go off-leash make sure you keep an eye on them so you know what they’re smelling and eating.

9. Always Do a Post-Hike Pup Check

While you’re experiencing the trails from five- to six-plus feet from the ground, your dog is running through knee-high brush and sweeping past all sorts of plants, bugs and burrs.

Always check your dog’s whole body for ticks, cuts, burrs and burns when you get back to your car. If you find a tick, remove it carefully and place it in a sealed bag to take to your vet. If you were out for quite a while and your dog got very dirty, a post-hike doggo bath is a good way to check for ticks and injuries and prevent skin allergies that pop up occasionally.

With some planning, you and your four-legged friend can enjoy hiking together. It’s important to choose routes based on both of your fitness levels, maintain control of your pet at all times, and follow the “leave no trace” rule when it comes to picking up after your pet. By adhering to these simply guidelines, you can make hiking the best experience for you and your pet and act as positive ambassadors for other four-legged friends on the trail.

Tips for Natural Flea Control

You and your dog love the outdoors but the battle against fleas is always a concern. If your companion spends a good deal of time outdoors, it’s important to treat these areas to manage for fleas and other pests. At Superior Labb, we want to give you the best tools: that work, and are safe for you, your pets, and the environment.

1. Wash your dog

Oftentimes, washing your dog with warm water and a good quality dog shampoo will kill most if not all fleas on the dog. This treatment is best done to treat mild to moderate flea outbreaks, but it may not be potent enough to kill fleas in large numbers.

Lather and rinse the dog once per day for three days until you have killed the fleas. Soap lather traps fleas and lifts them off the dog. Additionally, it disrupts the cell membranes of the fleas and removes their protective waxes. As a result, the flea can no longer retain water and dies from dehydration.

Superior Labb Adventure Dog Shampoo Bar is designed to treat and repel fleas and ticks. Our safe and therapeutic blend of essential oils include; Citronella, Eucalyptus, Cedarwood and Lavender. Our shampoo bar is also made with neem oil. Neem oil is a naturally occurring oil extracted from the neem tree. Commonly used as a pesticide and bug repellent but is also a common ingredient in natural skin care products. Neem oil for dogs is primarily used to repel fleas and other parasites and to treat insect bites and skin conditions like mange.

2. Troubleshoot your yard

The first line of defense is keeping fleas and ticks from setting up housekeeping on your property. Flea control in the outdoor environment generally involves eliminating the habitat in the yard and kennel areas where fleas are most likely to occur. Fleas prefer shady, protected outdoor areas. These outdoor spots can easily be identified as the places where your dog likes to rest and relax. Remember, if your dog does not feel comfortable spending time in a particular area, then neither will fleas. Dogs and fleas typically like the same locations.

  • Keep your grass mowed and shrubs trimmed back. This simple landscaping move is the opposite of curb appeal to fleas and ticks, because they have less place to hide.
  • Rake away any organic debris such as leaves, straw, grass clippings, etc., to disturb flea habitat.
  • Discourage feral pets and wildlife from coming into your yard and bringing their fleas with them. Opossums, raccoons, and feral cats are the worst offenders. Do not feed them.
  • Nematodes are microscopic worm-like parasites. There are many different kinds and some can be beneficial because they feed on pests, such as fleas. You can buy nematodes at garden stores. Just mix them with water and spray them around your yard. Water your lawn every couple of days to make sure the beneficial parasites survive.
  • Plant some flea repelling plants. Rosemary, citronella, eucalyptus, cedar, lavender, lemongrass, peppermint and sage have natural oils that repel fleas. Use them to keep the fleas from your yard and away from your dog.

3. Keep your home clean

To control fleas, you must stop them from reproducing. Carpets, pet bedding, furniture, and other indoor areas where your dog spends much time will contain the highest number of developing fleas. Having fleas and ticks in your house doesn’t mean your home is dirty. But if you pay careful attention to certain areas, you can make pests less welcome. The three stages of immature fleas (flea eggs, larvae, and pupae) often live in carpeting or throw rugs.

  • Vacuum at least once a week, and more often if you spot fleas. When you vacuum, don’t just cover the center of the room. Fleas avoid high-traffic areas, so be sure to hit baseboards, under furniture, under cushions, and anywhere your pets sleep or spend time.
  • Wash your pet’s bedding . Frequent washing of your dog’s bedding can greatly reduce the number of fleas inside your home.

4. Consult your veterinarian

Always talk to your veterinarian. Your vet will know your dog needs and the potential risks of over-the-counter insecticides. There are a number of potential side-effects to using chemicals on your pet.

Once-a-month topical insecticides are the most commonly used commercial products for flea control. Ingredients generally include permethrin, fipronil, imidacloprid, pyriproxyfen, spinosad, metaflumizone, and selamectin. These pesticide products work by destroying the flea’s nervous system … but they also damage your dog’s nervous system. Some of the more serious side effects reported from both spot-on and oral flea preventives are neurological issues like seizures, uncoordinated movement and lethargy.

Even with products labeled “natural,” check the ingredients carefully to make sure there are no artificial additives or preservatives. Some “natural” products contain things like sodium lauryl sulfate that can irritate the eyes and skin and, if inhaled, can be toxic to your dog’s organs. If the ingredient name sounds like a chemical, look it up. Two good sources are:

Fleas, mosquitoes and ticks carry life-threatening diseases like heartworm, Lyme disease and tapeworms. Blood testing every three to six months is recommended for pets who aren’t on “traditional” monthly medicated flea, mosquito and tick prevention,

5 Steps To Treat Anxiety In Dogs

Watching your dog live through anxiety and distress can feel terrible.  When you become a dog parent, you plan for a lot of walks and cuddles and the worst things you plan for are excessive shedding or boredom. Planning for the potential issues that might arise from having a dog that struggles with anxiety seems a little bonkers.

The reality is, though, unless you found yourself a unicorn dog, at some point during your dog’s life, you are going to have to deal with behavioral or emotional issues. These might just be a mild case of anxiety when you first bring home your new family member. It might be reoccurring around specific times of the year or holidays when there are a lot of changes to environment, people, access. Our pets are creatures of habit and just like people, change can be hard for dogs. They deserve a supportive when we make changes in their lives.

Like raising kids, everyone has different styles of parenting when it comes to their pets’s behavior. Even though everyone has their own methods when it comes to treating anxiety, distress, destructive behavior, and other problems in dogs, they all have one thing in common: the desire to help your dog work past it.

Here are 5 effective steps to help your dog overcome anxiety, so you can feel confident when life goes off script.

Dog trying to escape

STEP 1: Make a Plan, Work the Plan

The very first thing you need to do is to determine whether or not the unusual behavior or distress is truly anxiety or if there is something else going on. If you are concerned, then you should contact your vet and schedule a check-up. Once you have been given the all clear, it’s time to create a strategy that you feel comfortable with. The most important thing to take into account when it comes to treating anxiety in dogs is that you have to be consistent and you need to have patience. You won’t see improvement overnight, but stick with it and before too long things will get better.

STEP 2: Create a Safe Place

As humans, when we feel anxious or panicked, we seek refuge in our safe place. Some of us retreat to our relaxing room, while others will seek comfort in our bed or favorite arm chair. If your dog doesn’t currently have its own bed, feeding area or toys, then understandably they could feel unsettled.

Many people are massive advocates of crate training, as it not only keeps your dogs out of trouble when unsupervised, it can actually be beneficial for their safety. If you do choose to look into crate training, please make sure that you seek professional guidance to ensure you do it right. You can find plenty of free information online, or by watching YouTube channels like Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution.  (crate training)

If you have made a decision not to crate your pup, you should create a safe space by finding a cozy corner where you can lay down a dog bed or even a few blankets that have your scent on them. This should start by being in a place where they commonly relax around the family. That way, when high anxiety situation arise, you can direct them to their bed to relax. Also, this bed could be moved into a private room if your pet ever needs to be away from the hustle and bustle around your home. You can also bring this bed with when traveling with your pet, as a place to relax when they are out in the world; at the park or at a strange house.

STEP 3: Essential Oils

First, we need to know; are essential oils safe for dogs? They’re derived from plants, so many people assume they are … but dogs are very sensitive and these highly concentrated oils can be overpowering or even harmful if used at full strength, or internally. Dogs are natural hunters and trackers and have a great sense of scent.

With all that said, properly used, essential oils can help calm and build confidence in your anxious dog. Always use the very best quality essential oils you can find. Superior Labb creates our own products and partners with Essence One because we believe that higher quality oils and products usually come from smaller companies who have great quality control through small batch production and who are knowledgeable and willing to answer your questions. If you have questions, contact us here!

STEP 4: Natural CBD Treats

The therapeutic capabilities for Cannabinoid-based products are huge in the pet wellness field. With  people starting to take CBD oil to alleviate a range of their own illnesses and issues like anxiety, CBD dog treats have also become extremely popular. CBD dog treats have been proven to significantly decrease the symptoms of anxiety in dogs, as well as having a range of wellness benefits such as:

  • Soothes and alleviates anxiety
  • Reduces nervous or hyperactive behavior
  • Treats epilepsy and seizures
  • Relieves pain
  • Supports immune system
  • Promotes organ health

Be proactive. If possible, you want to give your dog these treats BEFORE the anxiety trigger occurs. Don’t give your dog treats or respond with hugging or petting once your dog is anxious and displaying undesirable behavior. It’s hard to watch your dog struggle and it’s natural for you to want to soothe their anxiety, but you don’t want to reward your dog’s anxious behavior, they will just learn to repeat it.

Step 5: Turn On, Tune In, Zone Out

Many people report that their pets is less anxious and displays fewer problem behaviors if they have some background noise to keep them distracted. And while it might feel ridiculous, leaving the TV or radio on while your dog is alone can help them to feel less anxious. Many farmers do this in their chicken coops and milking barns to help animals relax. Background noise, like radio or TV, can filter out other sounds that might distract a dog and make them nervous. Some dogs prefer classical music, some like talk radio, some respond well to simple sound machine white noise. Figure out what your pet likes and try turning on something soothing and distracting when anxiety filled situations arise.

Final Thoughts

Anxiety in dogs will progressively get worse over time, which is why it is so important to take action as soon as you notice that something is wrong. And as responsible dog parents, we should always approach the methods we choose with patience and persistence, as change won’t happen overnight.

Helping your dog to overcome anxiety is going to allow your dog to live a full and well-balanced life. If you want to successfully treat dog anxiety for good, then it is important to create a routine and stick to it. We can’t guarantee the everyday will be the same for our pets, but we can guarantee that our response and support to their anxiety is. Ensure that you are reinforcing a bond with your dog that is based on discipline and trust.