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December 24, 2013

Last Call- Holiday Dog Proof Your House, 2 Ways to Help Paws in Winter

Who Loves Dog Daycare After the First Snow?

Wow, last week was crazy! Between holiday preps and happenings and the snowstorm, there was a lot to navigate. It was close to impossible to walk dogs; a large percentage of the sidewalks were not plowed, or there was WAY too much salt. We have a couple of suggestions for the salt that often hurts dogs paws:

Pawz; Disposable Rubber Snowboots: Carried at all 3 Crates! These rubber boots come in all sizes, have great traction and won’t fall off like most other boots.


Mushers;  A dense, barrier wax that forms a breathable bond with your dog’s paws.  Developed in Canada for use with sledding dogs, it provides tenacious protection even in the most extreme conditions .


7 Ways to Dog-Proof Your House for the Holidays

This holiday season, let’s not court a visit to the emergency vet. Christmas is almost upon us, and while we are wrapped in our holiday festivities, it’s easy to overlook the special challenges of the season for our furry friends. Whether you have the calm-and-cool or the fast-and-furious in your home, we have suggestions to keep the holidays safe for your four-legged loved ones.

1. Don’t fill the stockings until Christmas Eve

While we hang them by the chimney with care, some of our dogs don’t, and those stockings are targets. They are often loaded with small goodies our dogs crave. Chocolate is an obvious no-no, though peppermint is okay on small amounts.  Add other candies, small toys, and other common stuffers and you may wonder — chimney or not — what do we do to keep snouts away?

2. Keep the tree decorations out of temptation’s reach

Many dogs adore trees, and few appreciate this indoor holiday exception. They see something bright and shiny near the top and can’t fight the urge to explore. Some simply need to relieve themselves, which obviously you need to avoid.

Place the tree where dog temptation can be avoided. Use furniture to limit access (or, if you have aerial specialists, keep furniture a safe distance away), place ornaments above snout level, and be persistent in policing the area. Keep the tree away from high-traffic areas so it’s not a persistent attraction. If you have a live tree, keep the dogs away from the water, the trunk and the sap, all dangerous attractions for a pup.

3.  Keep Christmas Tree Lights to a Minimum

How tempting are small, twinkling light cords for little paws? Chewing, tugging, playing, and running are all attached to the temptation of the lights, and all can cause chaos in the Christmas home.

Consider cord concealers, as you may have seen in offices to hide computer cords, a cheap and convenient solution for longer exposed cords in the home. If this isn’t a viable option, consider going high with your cords via hooks and other items to secure the chords out of a dog’s reach. Again, consider tree placement and use the room and your furniture to keep dogs away from those chords on the tree.

4. Keep toxic plants off your list

A quick note of caution concerning those unique flowers and plants we often see during the holidays: poinsettias, mistletoe and holly can be toxic for dogs. If you must have them, keep them well out of reach, but please consider going without.

Don’t forget that dogs will try to chew on anything, so keep these plants out of reach.

Think of all the silly things your dogs have eaten.  These plants can tempt with color, smell and curiosity. Keep them away to stay safe!

5. Wrap the presents at the last minute

Wrapping paper might be Public Enemy No. 1 in the home of a dog owner. It’s shiny, it conceals fantastic smells, and it’s a TON of fun to tear off!

Don’t put wrapped gifts under the tree unless you want to have to wrap them again. Take measures to keep the dogs away. If you must have presents under the tree, consider anything with a scent (not just food, but also clothes, perfumes, candles, shoes, or anything that might tempt a pup) and exclude it from the public pile.

6. Beware the onslaught of cheap dog toys

During the holidays our budgets get stretched to the max, and companies target families stretching the dollar with cheap alternatives for the dogs. Many prove dangerous.

Often, toys in the sale bin are nothing more than thick socks filled with sawdust, a choking hazard for the dogs and a horrendous mess for the owners..

 7. Keep Santa’s snacks out of your dog’s reach

If your human kids are leaving out milk and cookies for Santa, don’t forget to put those up high. Yes, it does happen. You have a furkid who has no idea they are intended for a fake fat man … and you end up with rumbling, aching tummies on Christmas.

Those are a few of the common challenges loving dog owners will overcome with proper planning during the holidays. Make sure your visiting family, who may not be accustomed to life with four-leggers, is on board with the plan and aware of these concerns. In the end, the owner who truly invites his dog to be part of the family will recognize all of these issues and more, and will make sure we all have a very Merry Christmas. Happy holidays!


Let’s Wrap it Up!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Be Kind to One Another!!


Later, Ernestine

December 10, 2013

Last Chance for Dog Photos w/ Santa, Fundraiser for MSPCA! Purebreeding (?) & Holiday Hazards

Holiday Greetings from Ernestine

A great time was had by all,  last Saturday at the MSPCA Fundraiser, Photos with Santa, held at Crate Escape too.  Everyone was surprised to see Santa— against tradition, he has given up the cookies, and appeared trim and ohsohealthy!

There’s still time to have your dog’s photo taken with Santa!  Join us:

Santa photos and holiday hours 2013ctown

Rumor has it that my sister, the charming bull mastiff, named Hilda  might be in Charlestown this Saturday for the photos.  Don’t try to put the jingle bell collar on her though! She’s afraid of it.

Later,  Ernestine

GoPet Low Impact Treadwheel at Crate Escape Belmont!

We can’t believe it either!!  The treadwheel is great exercise for so many reasons:

  • Dog powered – no electricity needed
  • Free, off-leash exercise  so that your dog can run at it’s own, natural pace
  • A physical outlet for energetic dogsA great source of exercise for overweight dogs
  • A physical outlet for energetic dogs
  • A great source of exercise for overweight dogs


How Have Dogs Changed After 100 Years of “Purebreeding”?

Dogster,  Chris Hall:  Animations from Gizmo

Photos from 1915 show how much breeding has altered dogs, and it’s not all about looks.

There have always been criticisms of the Obama family’s choice to get a purebred dog from a professional breeder.  This read takes a look at the issues inherent in breeding dogs. The proper role of breeders is a hugely controversial one and more than a few people will tell you that there is no proper role for breeders.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this 2012 post from the blog Science of Dogs has words and pictures that illustrate the results of breeding precisely.

Blogger Mus Musculus (presumably a pseudonym, because it’s the Latin species name for the common house mouse) took photos from the 1915 book Dogs of All Nations,  and paired them with modern photos of dogs from the same breed, in the same pose. The results after almost a century of selective breeding are striking. For instance, take a look at the change in the skull shape of the Bull Terrier below:

Bull Terrier, then and now.
Musculus singles out the English Bulldog as an especially egregious example of long-term breeding problems.

“There really is no such thing as a healthy Bulldog,” Musculus writes.” The bulldog’s monstrous proportions makes them virtually incapable of mating or birthing without medical intervention.”

The English Bulldog, then and now.

The Pug and the Boxer have seen their muzzles shrink in the past 100 years, resulting in common respiratory problems for each. Of the Pug, Musculus notes that “The highly desirable double-curl tail is actually a genetic defect, in more serious forms it leads to paralysis.”

The Boxer, then and now.

Of course, these dogs would be very different from their ancestors even if it weren’t for breeders. Ordinary natural selection, which took humans from being merely a particularly disreputable branch of the primates to inventing New York and the wheel, would have done its job on the Boxer and the Bulldog as well.

But one of the inherent results of selective breeding is that recessive traits, which need to be inherited from both parents in order to manifest, are preserved by interbreeding. Recessive traits are why human cultures discourage setting up housekeeping with cousins or siblings.

A characteristic that would otherwise get lost in the shuffle of genes over a few generations starts to turn into a standard characteristic. In humans, you start to get large incidences of things like hemophilia. In dogs, things like the double-curl tail become more common because they’re fetishized by owners and breeders.

Daschund, then and now.

The St. Bernard, then and now.

Does that make breeders inherently evil, or that we should harangue everyone who buys a dog from one? Regardless, it is worth thinking twice about what “purebred” actually means.


Holiday Hazards to Avoid:

To put it simply:

  • Holly, mistletoe and poinsettia plants are poisonous to dogs. Make sure they are kept in places your dog cannot reach.
  • Do not put lights on the lower branches of your tree. They may get very hot and burn your dog.
  • Watch out for electrical cords. Pets often try to chew them and get badly shocked or electrocuted. Place them out of reach.
  • Avoid glass ornaments, which break easily and may cut a dog’s feet or mouth.
  • Do not use edible ornaments, or cranberry or popcorn strings. Your dog may knock the tree over in an attempt to reach them.
  • Keep other ornaments off the lower branches; if your dog chews or eats an ornament, he can be made sick by the materials or paint.
  • Both live and artificial tree needles are sharp and indigestible. Keep your tree blocked off (with a playpen or other “fence”) or in a room that is not accessible to your dog.
  • Tinsel can be dangerous for dogs. It may obstruct circulation and, if swallowed, block the intestines.
  • Keep burning candles on high tables or mantels, out of the way of your dog’s wagging tail.
  • Review canine holiday gifts for safety. Small plastic toys or bones may pose choking hazards.
  • Your dog may want to investigate wrapped packages; keep them out of reach.
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