Monday, May 23, 2011

Is your dog afraid of thunder and lightning?

How to calm a scared dog during a heavy thunderstorm

Many of you would have noticed that even way before the rain and thunder comes, your dog has probably already started behaving frantically; that’s assuming that your dog has a fear of rain and storms. While calming a frightened dog during a thunderstorm can be a challenge, a few simple steps that address health, training and behavior can make a significant difference.

Picture taken from Corbis

A healthy dog is a happy dog!

A dog’s diet is the first factor in its ability to face challenging circumstances. The better the nutrition, the better the prospect of a calm dog. A healthy dog that is blessed with a thriving immune system is more mentally and physically equipped to handle surprises and adverse events.

Dog Behavior and Heredity

One contributing factor in thunderstorm phobia is a dog’s sense of hearing. It is far more acute than a human’s and what might sound merely loud to a person can be painful to a dog’s sensitive ears. If the sound hurts, a clap of thunder can rattle even the most calm, cool and collected dog.
Some dog breeds are born with a more anxious demeanor than others, but this does not necessarily translate to thunderstorm phobia. When the extraordinary hearing of a dog is involved, any dog can react with fear to sharp, explosive sounds.

Calming the Fearful Dog

While some dogs may react favorably to cuddling and cooing by their human, it may be far more effective to transform the moment into a totally different experience.
Diverting your dog’s attention from his fear with a rousing game of tug-a-war or a round of hide-and-seek with his favorite toy or delectable treat can change a dog's outlook. Distract your dog. Dogs follow their leader. If their leader isn’t concerned with the rumblings in the heavens, then it’s less likely he will be.

Relying on a dog's training to redirect his focus helps. A well-trained dog that responds with trust to its owner's commands is more likely to respond favorably to that owner's lead in times of adversity, like during a storm. For more details on training, see our training partner's website, for more details!

If a dog must be left home alone, it can be a challenge to keep the shivering fear of a thunderstorm at bay. Filling the house with gentle music or the drone of a TV gives the anxious dog something other than the storm to listen to. And every dog needs a “hide-out” of its own - a blanket-filled open crate, a cozy place behind the couch, or a comfy bed under a desk can all serve as the dog’s very own sanctuary. It’s his own private place to stash his toys, take a nap, and feel safe.

Dogs Need Their Humans

Just like humans, dogs can have very real fears that require very real attention. There is one important thing to remember in easing a dog’s fear of storms. If the thunder is rolling and the lightning is sizzling; patient, loving attention counts most.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What to do when you lose your pet?

It’s the one thing pet owners fear. That huge sense of loss that feels like we are being swallowed up by a huge empty dark hole. It is the most horrible feeling in the world, like the sky just caved in on us and we can’t breathe. All the emotions come rushing up. Morbid thoughts haunt us.

‘Where is Lucky? Will she be ok? Will she get knocked down by a car? What if she is caught by exotic meat eaters? What if she gets put down?’

Picture taken from Corbis

So what can you do if you lose your pet? Whether he or she shot out the gate or off the leash or was stolen, here are a few tips on what you can do.

1. Call the SPCA (tel 62875355 ext 9) and the AVA (tel 1800-4761600) to report that your dog is lost so if they should find it, they should not put it to sleep, as if it were a stray dog or cat. Call once a day at least.

Information you should include:
- Microchip number / AVA license number
- Description of dog: size, colour, age, name, temperament, medical needs etc
- Your contact number to call in case they find your pet
- Where and when you lost your dog

2. Find a photo with a close resemblance and prepare a LOST DOG/CAT personal ad with the above description. Put up the ads at the areas around the area. Prepare one for the newspaper as well if needed.

3. Call close friends and neighbours to help you look in the area where he or she got lost. Walk or drive through the area several times daily. Widen your search area.

4. Most importantly, DON’T GIVE UP! Many pet owners and their pets have been reunited after many months.

Precautions to take if you receive a call

• Be careful when placing lost notices: Give enough of a description so your pet can be recognized, but hold back information about any special marks or quality that will allow you to confirm whether they actually have your pet.

• When you get a call from someone saying they've found your pet, take some precautions. Do not provide any information – ask the caller for a description of the animal. Do not answer their questions about your pet's description. Ask them to describe your pet in detail. If a person has your pet and is sincere, they will be eager to describe him or her and return them to you without asking for anything in return.

• If your pet was wearing a collar and I.D. tag, ask about it without giving any details. If the caller asks for information, wants to meet you at a suspicious place or immediately asks for money for the animal's return, be wary. It may be time for you to call the police.

Prevention is Better than Cure

• Make sure the area where your pet roams is secure. Make sure the gate is closed after people come and go.

• Leave your pet with a reliable and responsible person or sitter if you will be gone for a long period of time.

• Note down and keep in an accessible place your pet’s license and microchip number.

• Help your pet wear a collar with a tag. Write your phone number on the tag, and take a good clear identifiable photo of your pet. A pet has a better chance of being returned if she wears a collar and an ID tag with your name, address and telephone number.

•Consider microchipping your pet. It lets authorities like SPCA, AVA and even the vets know that your pet is not a stray. Microchips have been used to identify lost animals and reunite them with their owners.

Please note that if your pet is microchipped, it still requires you to register your contact details with PetCall If you do not register your details with PetCall, even if a vet or an authority scans the microchip, they will not have your contact details and you still cant be traced.

Data at PetCall is confidential. The Vet or the authorities will contact PetCall who will then contact you. Your contact details will not be revealed to anyone.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Volunteering experience

I first learnt of Noah's Ark when my sister came back from her visit and told me stories about how overwhelming it was to be pounced on by over-enthusiastic dogs. This piqued my interest and I decided to sign on the next public tour. After that, I was instantly hooked!

To me, every visit to the sanctuary is stress relieving, just patting the dogs and seeing their antics will cheer just about anyone up. It was a place where no one judged, where it can just be the dogs and me interacting. Being able to see dogs running happily made me feel as liberated and free as them. I only started volunteering last year as I felt strongly about wanting to help out. Running a sanctuary with so many animals (horses, bunnies, cats and guinea pigs too!) to care for is definitely not easy, both in terms of money and manpower.

While the sanctuary showed a place where dogs can roam freely and where food is not an issue, Project Industrial Dogs depicts a different story. The birth of a new litter of puppies is greeted with sadness as no one knows how long they can survive. Often, they do not survive as they haven't learnt to be street smart. In addition, there is always the concern of overcrowding and this could result in culling by the authorities. Those that survive puppyhood often go hungry due to lack of a constant food source, and often fight for territory as a resykt. It is a harsh life they lead. The only conclusion reached is that sterilization is the most humane way to control the industrial dog population.

In the short time I have volunteered, I hope I have made as much of a difference in their lives as they've done to mine, and I hope to continue helping out in any way I can.

The work that goes behind running the sanctuary and Project Industrial Dogs requires tons of dedication, commitment and perseverance. Having more volunteers would certainly help too. If you feel for the stories on our blog, and would like to help out, do email us at!

*Contributed by LR
*Photos by ML

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Gift of Life

It’s another year and your birthday rolls around again. Here’s an honest question. Are you tired of receiving presents that well, you don’t really want?

We have all gone through that. We are really grateful for the well wishes and thoughtfulness of our friends, but you have to admit, sometimes people just buy the more bizarre things.

Ever wondered if there’s a better and more meaningful way to spend money? How about a birthday gift that will save lives?

Come share your birthday gifts with us.

It’s an idea that came from a long tradition. In the past, children would pack up their old birthday presents and donate them to the children’s homes that would welcome these gifts. That way, the children are taught the values of sharing, giving and not hoarding.

So, when it’s your birthday, tell your friends about us. Spread the love. Tell your friends to make a donation to Noah’s Ark Cares on your behalf instead of buying you a gift. Do a good deed and earn karma points.

In return, you will have done something meaningful and benefited the thousand over animals at Noah’s Ark. You save your friends the hassle of running around trying to find an appropriate gift or buying something bizarre.

So, save your friends the trouble and do a good deed. Come share your birthday with us. Then it’s truly time to sit down and enjoy a blessed and meaningful birthday party with your friends, free of expectations and unwanted surprises.

Give the gift of life.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fundamentals of Basic Grooming for Pet Owners

Very often, groomers get clients who visit the groomers with a matted pet or all tangled up, and the poor dog will end up spending hours standing on the grooming table, all stressed out by the de-tangling comb, continuous brushing and tugging to remove the tangles.

As a pet owner, one should have the knowledge of basic grooming to avoid putting your dogs to unnecessary stress at the groomer's.

Today, we will demonstrate to you, the basic methods of brushing, combing, and dematting, as well as nail clipping and filing, in doggy terms its mani-pedicure.

Brushing is very important especially for long coated breeds like the Maltese, Shih Tzus, Poodles, Schnauzers and Shetland Sheepdogs.

A very common mistake pet owners make when it comes to self-grooming is by going through the motion of brushing the dog from head to tail, head to tail, and thinking that as long as the dog is soft and fluffy at the end of it, it's a job done and finished!

What they do not know is that, by only brushing the surface of the coat, one is not paying enough attention to the layer of fur close to the skin. When the coat is not dried thoroughly after a wash, the shampoo or conditioner residue tend to clump the inner coat together, and over the next few days, the fur will start to tangle up. If left unnoticed, more fur catches on after a few showers, and eventually more fur gets tangled and matted.

When brushing a long coated dog, always remember to brush them upwards, against the direction of the fur's growth, and then slowly brushing the fur down, layer by layer. This way, fur near the skin gets brushed out and thus preventing tangles.

Finish up with a flat metal comb, run through the various parts of the body to ensure the comb does not get caught at any point. When the comb is jamed at some point, it simply means there's another tangle to work on.

Slowly brush out the tangle in all angles, best if you have a detangling spray on hand to help you. Mist a bit of detangle onto the tangle, and start combing out.

If time permits, the nail clipping part

Many owners make the common mistake of clipping their dog's nails too short and end up traumatizing the dog at their first attempt. Such a shocking experience will result in the dog losing confidence in its own owner when it comes to nail clipping, and will find their best ways and means to wriggle themselves out of it, some even develop aggression resulting in bites whenever anyone attempts to even touch their paw.

Never try to be over-confident during your first attempts at nail clipping. Treat the nail like an onion, we peel it off layer by layer. Likewise with the nail, hold the nail clipper in such a way, that you do not snip off a whole portion of the nail. Rather, work your nail clipper around the outer layer of the nail, clipping out small bits at each time.

When your dog has learnt that the nail clipping session is not so traumatizing, move on to clipping a little bit more on your future attempts.

A good guide is to place your nail clipper at a 45 degrees angle, taking reference from the paw pad. Apply a bit of pressure on the nail so that the quick, or nerve will retract a bit, as such, you are able to remove more of the nail..
Picture credited to pawluxury.blogspot

If you already are the owner of a traumatized dog, a good tip is to use a nail file, or an electric nail grinder instead. The grinder can take off more of the nail than clipping with the nail clipper, and chances of the dog bleeding are low.

Beneficiary of Animal Merchandise :)

Noah's Ark CARES Supporters