Taking Care of your German Shepherd

German Shepherd Male

From their imposing size to the dark, intelligent eyes, German Shepherds are one of the most recognizable dog breeds for the last century. A versatile, athletic, and fearless dog, the Shepherd is the work dog’s work dog. It takes some dedication raising a German Shepherd, but if you have the time and energy, you will have a loving companion who will be there for you and your family (including the cat) for life.

Brief History of the German Shepherd

The German Shepherd’s roots trace back to 19th century Germany, where a member of the police force wanted to develop a dog that could be used for both military and police work. The result was the German Shepherd. During WWI the breed fell out of favor in the US due to them being used by the enemy, but these dogs braved artillery fire, land mines, and tanks to supply German troops in the trenches with food and other necessity. Today, the German Shepherd is quickly becoming one of the popular dogs again, right behind the Labrador Retriever.

Shepherding the Shepherd – How to care for your GSD

The German Shepherd is a very active dog, they will not be satisfied with being a couch potato. This dog requires multiple walks a day and training to keep their active minds sated. Whether this is through learning different tricks or giving them a job, make sure your GSD (German Shepherd) has something to do. If you ignore them, those constructive impulses can quickly turn to destructive impulses.

German Shepherds are smart, active dogs who do best with active owners who are able to give them attention, exercise, and training. In other words, lots of one-on-one time as these dogs are extremely intelligent and trainable. However, make sure that you can show that you are the dominant male in the house to the dog, GSDs do not suffer fools lightly, and will take advantage of their owner to a fault if they know they can get away with it.

How to keep your Shepherd Healthy

While all dogs have the potential for genetic health problems, German Shepherds are not only known for their beauty and intelligence, sadly, they are also known for their possible health problems, specifically hip dysplasia. When a dog has hip dysplasia, the head of the thigh bone does not sit properly in the hip socket and over time, will wear down the bone, which will eventually cause arthritis in the dog. Another unfortunate disease that can affect German Shepherds is degenerative myelopathy. Similar to MS in humans, DM is a slow, terrible paralysis of the dogs hindquarters, and will eventually prevent the dog from being able to move on their own. However, you can minimize the chances that your GSD can get these diseases. Regular exercise and vitamins, along with a healthy diet can help to minimize the chances of your Shepherd from getting Hip Dysplasia and can lower the chance that they develop DM later in their life.

German Shepherd and a Baby
Hannah Mae
Photo Credit: Cindy Holden

Finally, don’t forget to love your dog. This breed is extremely loving and needs it back. Cuddle and play with your dog daily. In the end, you’ll have a warm, loving, and loyal companion for you and your family.

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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Taking Care of your Maine Coon

Maine Coon Cat Upside-downMaine Coons are one of the largest cat breeds and is considered an American original breed. Also known as the American Longhair, the Maine Coon can become over 36” in length and the males can reach an average weight of 14 pounds. That’s one big kitty! However, these cats are gentle giants, they love people and being able to socialize, and because of their curious nature they will often “help” you when doing housework or chores. But, with great size comes great responsibility. These cats need maintenance in their diet as well as exercise or they will become chunky monkeys given the chance. Here are some quick easy tips to remember when you have a Maine Coon or any other house cat really.

Brushing

When dealing with a Maine Coon, or any sort of longhair domestic breed of cat, you should brush them daily at most, weekly at least. This way you cut down on hairballs, and keep them from getting matted or knotted fur. Additionally, it helps to maintain their skin health. You normally don’t need to give a Maine Coon a bath due to having very good hygiene skills and will often clean themselves via a tounge bath.

Feeding

When deciding what to feed your Maine Coon, you are going to have to spend a little extra at the pet food store. Common cat foods like Iams, Purina, and others, contain wheat and corn. Domestic cats don’t actually have the enzymes to properly digest wheat and corn like humans do. These grains that are digested simply turn to fat and are like any high fatty foods for humans. Make sure to read the ingredients before you buy, anything that has wheat or corn by-product is something you want to stay away from. Again, while I do mention that this post is about Maine Coons, this advice can be used for any sort of domestic cat breed, not just Maine Coons.

Exercise

Maine Coons love to play! They often will invent games for themselves and are always excited to see their humans. Males are often more goofy than the females, but both are very active and will always be playful throughout their life. Some, even enjoy playing “fetch.” Maine Coons love attention but are not pushy so they won’t be hounding you all the time for you to play with them.

Maine Coon kitten

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One final note, these gentle giants are a great big furball of love. They are great with children and other animals, especially dogs. Be careful before you introduce your kitten/cat to another cat, especially if they are another breed! While Maine Coons get along with their own, you’ll have to gauge your other pets reactions before you fully introduce your new pet.

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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Why Tattoo your Pets

Most pet owners know that a good secondary line of ID after a collar and tags, is to keep your pets safe when they are lost is to have a vet implant a permanent RFID chip so that if they are lost and then found, the vet or shelter can scan them and track down the pet’s owner. However, another method to keep your animal safe is by having them tattooed. It’s safe and has been routinely done since the sixties.

Tattoo vs. Microchip

Tattooing your pet is a great and permanent way to protect your companion if they ever get lost. This relatively painless procedure uses inks or pastes that won’t react with the animal’s blood or tissue. Also, unlike a RFID chip which needs to be scanned, the tattoo is visible to the naked eye. Additionally, implanted microchips can migrate within the animal, so when they are scanned, there is the possibility that no information will be found. Finally, tattooing your animal will protect them if they are accidentally donated to a research lab, as labs are prohibited by law to use tattooed animals in experiments.


Interested? Here’s a video detailing the procedure.

Where can I get my pet Tattooed?

While Ketchum doesn’t offer pet tattoo supplies, we do carry tattoo equipment and ink for identifying your cattle and live stock. For pets, tattoos can be done by veterinarians and then are registered. Different animal organizations (humane societies, breed clubs, etc.,) have registry procedures, ask your local vet on what the procedures are to get your pet’s tattoo ID registered. The largest organization that does pet tattooing is tattoo-a-pet.com, who has been providing a pet tattoo registry since the early 1970’s.

One Final Word

No single method can keep your pet safe. While tattooing is a great alternative to microchipping your animal, it does not guarantee their safety. You should always have multiple methods of identifying your animals. Collars and tags should always be your first line of defense when ID’ing your pets, these other methods should always be a back-up method. We have a full line of different pet collar ID tags and vaccination tags available on our website.

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on Google+!

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The Most Common Behavioral Problems in Dogs

dog-bitingOwning dogs is a joyful experience – most of the time. When they start behaving poorly… let’s just say things aren’t so easy. It usually doesn’t matter if you’re a brand new dog owner, or you’ve owned dogs for 20 years. Behavioral problems will happen. It’s when you accept and start to understand more about the problems, that you can better combat them. We’ll go through them, below.

Barking

A small bark once in a while? Not a problem – that’s just what dogs do. There’s no other way they can communicate. So when a stranger is approaching the house, or the dog hears something out of the ordinary, you’ll more than likely hear a bark.

But, constant barking? Certainly a problem. In order to prevent barking:
Don’t shout at your dog to stop. It sounds counterproductive, but shouting will just make the problem worse. Develop the use of a certain word, that when said at a normal volume, will trigger the barking to stop (similar to “Sit”, “Play”, etc.)
Change what they’re currently doing. Perhaps your dog is really bored, and just needs to play. Perhaps you’re waiting too long in between daily walks. Or maybe you just need to have your dog lie down. In situations where you notice excessive barking, simply switching up the situation could work wonders, and you could see a change in their barking behavior.
Patience is a virtue. Your dog won’t change its barking habits overnight.

Aggressive Behavior

Sure, barking could be a large part of aggressive behavior, but I’d like to break this into a category entirely of its own. Aggressive behavior could mean biting, lunging, teeth showing, etc. And if it’s serious, it’s usually not very easy to change.
•One of the best things I can recommend is working with a trainer. They’ll offer advice and plan development. It could entail creating distance between strangers, teaching different behaviors, etc.
•If that doesn’t work, you may want to talk to a veterinarian. Your dog may need a certain treatment for a condition that isn’t visible (or you don’t know about).

Leash Tugging

I noted in a recent blog that I often see dogs walking their owners, not owners walking their dog. Do you constantly find your dog pulling you along for the walk? Read about how you can change that, here.

Jumping on People

Maybe you (or your guests) get annoyed with the dog jumping up to you whenever you walk in the door. Often times, people attempt to combat this by pushing the dog down. It will get the dog off, but it won’t stop them from continuing to do it.
•The easiest way to stop this behavior is to ignore it. While it might not seem to work at first, it should over time. Dogs jump up for attention. When you don’t show them attention, they’ll learn that jumping won’t give them any benefit.

Chewing

A lot of times chewing is ok. But when your dog is chewing up your sneakers, or quite literally eating your kid’s homework, then you need to make a change.
•The most important things to have on hand are chewable dog toys. You’ll need them to show your dog what they can chew.
•Keep an eye on your dog, and confine them to certain areas until they know what they can and can’t chew.
•As with most other things, punishment will rarely help.
Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on Google+!

Ketchum Mfg provides dog id tags & pet id tags in case you misplace your pet.

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