Happy Holidays from That Fish Place – That Pet Place! We hope everyone had a happy and safe holiday with their families and four-legged friends! A few highlights from our Lancaster, PA retail store over the last month –
1. Continuing to Expand with the Astro Free Food and Pet Supplies Program
This month, we’ve continued to work to expand our application of the Astro free pet food and supplies program in our stores. This is a challenge for us because it’s one more thing the team has to work with you on at checkout. The Astro program, however, allows us to offer digital redemption of free frequent buyer pet food, as well as other pet supply options, all managed by an online app you can use yourself. We are excited to be able to expand on this program as our team’s familiarity with it grows and start offering even more money-saving programs to our Pet Rewards customers. Want to see if you can save more on what you’re buying? Ask an employee today!
2. New SIGNS!
So, we’ve finally gotten around to replacing the signs on the front of our building. We had attempted to do it ourselves a few years ago starting with the ‘That Pet Place’ sign, but it simply wasn’t able to hold up to the weather. Now, we’ve worked with a local sign company to proudly display our ‘That Fish Place’ and ‘That Pet Place’ logos again on the front of the store. They’re equipped with light sensors now too, so they’ll kick on when it gets dark. Our logo is a big part of our identity, so it means a lot to our team that we were able to get these signs designed and put up. Take a look the next time you’re in!
3. Holiday Commercial
For the first time a few years, we decided we needed a holiday commercial. Fortunately, we were able to connect with a local company, Kinectiv, to help us! Given that a lot of people depend on us, particularly now, for their pet food, treats and essentials, we decided to feature a dog on Christmas morning waiting to open presents. Our commercial aired in the Lancaster county area over the holiday season, and, most likely, will be back next year too. Take a look, we hope you liked it!
Do you cringe when your dog comes up for kisses? Do you turn away in disgust when their hot breath flows your way? Did you get a new puppy? Wait, why would you be concerned about your puppy? Read on!
How is my dogs dental health managed and why should I care about it?
Canine dental health is best managed with prevention! Starting your young dog off on the right foot is the key to easy management of their dental needs throughout their lives and can save you a lot of money and headache in the future.
Dental disease can and will affect many aspects of your dogs overall health. Besides the obvious odor and discomfort that can come with yucky teeth, dental disease can cause a host of other problems. Your dogs mouth is the conduit to the rest of their body, namely the kidneys. Kidneys filter out the toxins and dogs with decaying teeth have a lot! This dental issue can put strain on their kidneys over time and many dogs with advanced dental issues will also develop increase liver values.
What is the best way to start brushing my dogs teeth?
Now that you know what can happen, where should you start? Start by selecting a dog specific toothpaste (human toothpaste is toxic) and pick up either a doggie specific toothbrush or use a soft child’s toothbrush. Once you have your supplies, just let your dogs taste it. A little bit on your finger to make sure they like the taste. Once you’ve established the taste is acceptable, try rubbing it on their teeth!
Some dogs are finicky about letting you touch their mouths so do not be discouraged if this is a slow process. Be patient and one day you’ll have a ready to be brushed hound! Once they’re comfortable with the paste, start using your tooth brush!
How often should I be brushing my dogs teeth?
It seems crazy, but you brush your teeth every day (hopefully multiple times a day), doesn’t it seem fitting you should do the same for your dog? In reality, according to the AVMA, brushing a few times a week can be effective but ideally you should brush every day for best practice.
I don’t want to brush my dogs teeth, what are my options?
We know daily doggie toothbrushing isn’t for everyone. While brushing is the gold standard, there are many products available to decrease your dogs chances of dental issues and to provide them with some entertainment too. See our brief list below!
How do you know what products are the best? There is a council specifically for animal dental health! The VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) has a list of approved products that are provenly effective.
Regardless of what you decide if best for you an your pet, remember to take your dog to the vet once a year for their routine check up and to assess their dental health!
The holidays are quickly creeping up on us and we’re bustling around gathering ingredients, recipes and preparing to cook family meals. However, if you’re like me, you’re also thinking of your four-legged family members when it comes to the cooking process. While feeding table scraps from your plate is generally frowned upon and not recommended, did you know there is another option? An option that is safe, HEALTHY and easy.
Make your dog their own meal!
It’s important to know what foods are safe for your pet and to avoid seasonings or rich foods. We don’t want you spending your holiday evening caring for an upset dog belly! Encourage your house guests not to offer any table scraps to Fido and assure them they’ll be getting their own meal later. You can also consider placing your dog in a safe place away from the dinner meal to avoid rule breakers!
Now, what will Fido be having for dinner? Here are 3 holiday meal staples that can be adapted for your dog.
While your potatoes are likely cooked in butter, baked with marshmallows or even baked into a pie, your dogs should not be! High fat or sugar items can cause severe stomach upset or even pancreatitis. Sweet potatoes are a superfood that is full of carotene, vitamin A, potassium and fiber. Feed your pup his/her potatoes raw, dried or boiled.
Obviously, the main course, turkey, is your dog’s dream! Avoid offering any skin, or fat from the turkey as this can cause diarrhea. Bones are also a no, no as these can splint. However, cooked turkey is perfectly safe in small portions. When you’re cleaning up and storing your turkey, go ahead and set aside a few pieces on breast meat for your pups’ dinner!
Many holiday meals include a vegetable side. Green beans and even carrots are a great option for your dog! Since we like to add butter and other seasonings to our vegetables, it’s best to save a small portion to offer to your dog either raw or boiled. Be sure to avoid onions as these are toxic to dogs.
Please enjoy the next blog in our series to talk about our point of view on various items from the top. If you have any questions, you’d like us to answer in this column, please feel free to submit them in the comments section.
I’ve noticed that there aren’t as many big display tanks in the store – what’s going on?
This is a question we’ve gotten a few times recently – what happened to all the really big display tanks in the store? First, let’s just say that there are more in the works! We’re hoping to roll the cylinder tank – the big one that used to sit by the freezers – back out again soon somewhere in the middle of the store. We also have some thoughts on on an even LARGER one in the 1,000 gallon range coming over the next few months. Why did we get rid of a few of the ones we had? Really it’s a combination of factors from leaky tanks to creating more space to allow for a safer shopper experience during the pandemic. Rest assured though, there are more on the way – making TFP/TPP a fun shopping experience is key to us.
The Small Pet Area Is LARGER! What’s coming next?
Yes! The Small Pet Area expansion has been in the works for some time. As one of our most popular areas, creating more space here made a lot of sense for us. We’re hoping to use the additional space to help create a more easy-to-navigate experience for you – as well as an area where our associates can more closely interact with you if/when you’re considering taking an adorable small pet home with you!
The Plant Room – Whoa What a Makeover!
We’ve received lots of not necessarily-positive feedback from our aquatic area over the years: poor looking stock, low stock, not a ton of variety. Recently, out team set out to improve all of these! In addition to a new shoppable waterfall area that is just plain cool, our staff replaced many of the tanks and their lighting. In addition, we’ve committed to holding more inventory in there. So, even more than before, our plant room is new and improved and ready to serve you!
Thank you all for reading and talk to you at the end of next month!
There are over 42.7 million cat owners out there according to a survey conducted by the America Pet Products Association (APPA). Many of those owners have multi cat households. Now, out of those millions of cats living in homes, more than 10% of them will exhibit litter box issues. That’s a lot of cats.
One of the number one reasons cats are surrendered to animal shelters is because of inappropriate elimination. As many cat owners can agree, accidents in the house are difficult to clean and often these behaviors are frustrating to understand and repair. While we could write pages and pages of information on feline behavior, below you’ll find the four big things to check when troubleshooting your litter box woes.
Rule out a Medical Cause
Cats are masters at masking illnesses and often do not begin to exhibit issues until they have been suffering for some time. If your cat begins to have inconsistencies using the litter box, a trip to your regular veterinarian is in order.
A urinary, bladder or kidney infection can all affect your cat’s ability to “make it” to the litter box in time, as well as causing your cat discomfort. Often these infections can easily be treated, and your cat will resume normal litter box usage.
Has your older cat stopped using the litter box? Sometimes it isn’t an infection but can be discomfort. Possibly your older cat has begun suffering from arthritis and it’s no longer easy for him to climb in and out of the high sided litter box he has used for years.
Litter box Placement
Cats are sensitive animals and do not enjoy having their litterbox placed in high traffic areas. It is important to make sure your litter box is placed somewhere easily accessible to your cat but also in a quiet and low traffic space. If you live in a multi floored house, it is recommended to keep your litter box on whichever floor your cat spends most of their time.
Do you have multiple cats? You should have multiple litter boxes! The rule of thumb is the number of cats + 1. If you have 2 cats, you should have 3 litter boxes. This allows your cats to have options. It is also ideal to have a variety of types of litter boxes if possible. Some cats prefer uncovered litter boxes instead of the covered variety.
Just like us, cats have preferences. Many cats do not like when their cat litter is abruptly changed. Just like with food, if you’re changing your cats’ litter it is recommended to do it over time to limit any sort of avoidance behavior.
Cat litters come in a variety of textures, materials and sizes. It is up to you to see what your cat prefers! Often cat that have been front declawed develop “substrate preferences” likely due to how the litter feels to them. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out Dr. Elsey’s cat litter. Their litters come in a variety of particle sizes AND they even offer a litter that has additional pheromones designed to “attract” your cat.
Last, we must consider that cats are finicky creatures. They are sensitive to changes in their environment and often slight changes can unsettle a kitty. If you’ve ruled out all the above issues, started thinking about your cats living area. Has anything changed? Did you do any serious furniture moves? Is there something new in the house that might be scaring your cat? Did you get a dog? Is there a stray cat visiting the porch? Is there a new person living with you? Your cat might not be happy about it and is showing that by their litter box usage.
Environmental factors can be tough to figure out and even once you’ve figured out the cause sometimes it isn’t always an easy fix. Addressing your cat’s anxiety might be the key here. Considering adding a pheromone diffuser to your cats main living space. Spend more time interacting with your cat but grooming, playing with toys or even going outside (only if this is something your cat is already accustomed to).
Cats are part of our lives and we’ll do everything we can to make sure they’re happy and healthy, but to maintain our sanity, litter box issues should be addressed ASAP to avoid creating a habit. Hopefully one of the tips above can help you out. If not, try visiting the Cat’s International to check out their in depth guide!
I don’t know about you, but my canine children are part of as many of my summer festivities as possible! Picnics, pool parties and cookouts are some of the big ones that come to mind, but in today’s “pandemic life” those are a thing of the past. Even though we cannot gather, it doesn’t mean we can’t find fun and enriching things to do with our canine companions! Check out 5 canine friendly destinations!
1. “The Dog Park”
We only say “the” dog park because there’s a few. Before we mention them, we have to say, dog parks aren’t for everyone and they aren’t for every dog. It’s important that your dog is up to date on vaccinations, spayed or neutered and socially experienced before you consider venturing into one.
Lancaster County is home to two popular dog parks, Beau’s Dream Park at Buchanan Park and Overlook Dog Park. Both places allow for dogs to run and play off leash while also allowing owners to properly socially distance.
2. Outdoor Dining
Many restaurants are offering outdoor seating now. Weather permitting, you may even be able to bring your well-behaved pooch along! Springhouse Brewpub has its very own dog patio! Sit outside, enjoy a snack and drink while meeting other like-minded dog owners. Be sure to check ahead of time before bringing your dog. Due to some city ordinances, dogs are not welcome at every outdoor dining space.
Lancaster is home to MANY parks! Lancaster County Park is the biggest, playing host to hundreds of pet friendly trails in addition to an off-leash section! (be sure to check that you’re in the designated area before setting your pup free). Buchanan Park, Musser Park, Reservoir Park and Long’s Park are just a few options that are open for picnicking and allow for dog friendly walking areas.
4. Walking Trails
In addition to a variety of dog friendly parks, our county is home to several walking trails that are welcoming to our canine companions! The Conestoga Greenway Trail allows you to have a shady and easy going walk along the river. Noel Dorwart Park is a green area allowing you and your dog to visit wetland areas. Finally, Landis Woods Park is a neighborhood park with plenty of green area for a leisurely walk with your dog.
5. Dog Friendly Retailers
Some days it is just too hot to walk your dog. So, what do you do?
Visit a dog-friendly retailer! Always check first to verify that the store is welcoming to your leashed and well-behaved dog. That Fish Place- That Pet Place (shameless plug) is always air conditioned and provides plenty of square footage for your dog to walk around and explore, while doing a little shopping! There are also non-pet store options that allow your pet! Lowes, Home Depot, AC Moore, Michaels and Tractor Supply are just a few.
Overall, finding opportunities to get your pup outside of the house and exploring the county are ways to keep those cabin fever behaviors at bay! While we’re all staying home and staying safe, we can find safe ways to get outside with our dogs!
Much to our disappointment, dogs do not speak our language and because of this fact our dogs are often misunderstood, leading to behavioral issues, distrust and accidents. The only way to truly comprehend and communicate with our dogs is by understanding and appreciating what their body language is trying to tell us. By learning how to read our dogs, and those we encounter, we are setting ourselves up to be better dog parents, better friends and, let’s be honest, potentially saving a dog from rehoming.
Dogs speak with their bodies and have a complex assortment of conscious and subconscious behaviors to relay how they are feeling and as mechanisms for dealing with stressors. I am not saying you must be a behavior specialist to “understand” dogs but by understanding the basics of canine body language you are taking the rights steps toward a more rewarding relationship with your dog and those your meet!
When dogs are seeking attention from us or from other dogs, they use a variety of behaviors; muzzle/ear licking, jumping up, body curving (aka the wiggles), blinking, exposing teeth “smiling”, lowering their ears and play bowing. As dog owners, many of you probably nodded while reading through these because you’ve seen them a time or two when returning home or if you have a particularly fun toy. These types of behaviors are also used when one dog is trying to appease another dog. Socially experienced, or well socialized dogs, will also use these behaviors to avoid confrontation. Very often we see dogs that do not understand these cues that will take the opportunity to be aggressive.
One of the biggest misconceptions in the dog world is that a wagging tail means a happy dog. Tail wagging signals arousal. With our favorite breed having a shortened tail it can be difficult to determine exactly what your dog may be doing. The position of the tail can also be an indicator; above the spine or erect is associated with assertiveness, confident and even aggression, tail down can mean fear or stress and last a tucked tail shows a high level of anxiety. Lastly, studies have shown that the speed and direction of the wag can also tell us something! A tail wag, mostly to the right is seen when a dog is happy, like when it sees its owner and a tail wag mostly toward the left is seen with negative stimulus. This, of course, is difficult for the untrained eye to see.
When dogs are stressed or nervous there are many different behaviors that dogs use to show that they feel threatened or to calm themselves. These are the signs that are often overlooked that can lead to escalated or unwanted actions from our canine companions. To the inexperienced owner these actions seem normal, but they may not be.
Yawning. While dogs, like us, yawn when they are tired, they are much more likely to yawn when they are upset or stressed.
Lick lipping. Lick lipping does not always mean your pup is hungry, it is also an indicator of nervousness.
Brief of complete body freezing. A freeze is a dog’s way of avoiding until they can decide if they should flee or fight.
Panting, drooling or curved tongue indicate stress. The curve of the tongue is caused from tension.
“Whale eye” is seen when a dog turns his head away and you see the white of their eyes. They do this to turn away from what they’re afraid of, or what is causing discomfort.
Dogs are amazingly tolerant and often will do all these behaviors without moving on to a more negative reaction but in our rescue lives we often see dogs that simply are not as tolerant. This is one of the many reason giving your dog ample time to settle into their new home for several weeks or months is encouraged. The time allows you to learn about your pups’ special quirks are and how these behaviors translate into your dog’s language. I hope that by educating and teaching as many people as we can how to “read” their dog we can avoid scary situations that change how we look at our beloved pets!
You know the adage, “a tired dog, is a happy dog”, but did you know that mental stimulation can be as important to your dog’s overall wellness as a long hike?
As our dogs become ingrained in our lives, routines and structures it is important to focus on their mental health as much as their physical. Keeping them engaged and interested mentally is a powerful tool to decrease the likelihood of nuisance behaviors and bad habits!
Below we’ll discuss 5 of our favorite options for “brain games” with your pup! These options can benefit all breeds and all ages of dog.
The Licki Mat
The Licki Mat is an awesome boredom buster that combines a tasty snack with a fun game. The behavior of licking is a mechanism that dogs use to release calming endorphins. Licking also enhances taste and can even aid in digestion from increased saliva production.
Coming in a variety of surfaces, it’s likely to appeal to the most forward or passive treat seeker! You can use a variety of tempting items on these mats. Peanut butter, cream cheese, yogurt, canned food, mashed sweet potatoes and more can be used! Simply spread and offer. If you want to make it a bit more challenging, you can prepare your mat ahead of time and freeze them. Licki mats are also a great tool to use when introducing your dog to crate training or confinement.
Puzzle toys require a little bit more hands-on activity from you but these can make for a fun scent based activity for your genus pup! Most puzzle toys have draws, flip hatches or spin. Your dog gets to use their nose to figure out these various steps to find the treats hidden inside! It’s important for these activities to use something that is smelly and high value. Soft, small training treats work well for this! As your dog learns how to do these, he or she can up their game to the harder level varieties!
Treat Dispensing Toys
There is a wide variety of treat dispensing toys out there! We’re partial to Kong and Petmate’s “Busy Buddy” line because the of the variety of shapes, sizes and methods of dispensing they allow. Treat dispensing toys are often self-entertaining for your dog! Simply fill them up with your dog’s favorite treat or even a little extra kibble and hand it off. Treat dispensing toys are the best of both worlds. They provide the same mental stimulation that a puzzle toy does, and it can continue to be played with as a normal toy!
Filled Marrow Bones
Marrow bonescome with a variety of fillers direct from the pet store! The bones take your dog time and focus to lick all of the goodies out! Once they’re done, they still have a tasty bone to chew on! Empty marrow bones can also be refilled with peanut butter, canned dog food or other items and frozen! They function as at treat that keeps on giving!
Our final favorite enrichment toy is a snuffle mat! These bring out your dog’s natural instinct to sniff and root with their nose. They can also be a fun arts and crafts project for you at home. Snuffle mats are often made of soft fleece fabric. Simply toss a small amount of kibble or training treats onto the mat, move the fabric around a little and let your dog start sniffing!
Many of us have been forced from the work office into makeshift home-work spaces. Dining room tables are now makeshift desks, couches are now for conference meetings and our only co-workers are our pets.
Many of our pets are enjoying the luxuries of having their humans home all the time. They’re enjoying more exercise and attention than ever before. Long hours lounging with Mom and/or Dad while they work is the new normal for them. But wait, what happens when mom and dad head back to the office?
While we may seamlessly head back in to work for the nine to five shifts, our pets don’t understand that their new “normal” isn’t actually, normal. Many of our pets, even those who have never had an issue before, may begin to exhibit separation anxiety behaviors.
Separation anxiety in dogs is a severe panic attack that is brought on by being left alone. According to the American Veterinary Association between 20% to 40% of all dog owners report issues with separation anxiety. The symptoms can range from barking when left alone to urine or feces accidents, destructive behaviors to as severe as jumping through windows. Most of the time your dog will begin to show symptoms before you even leave the house, becoming anxious as you put on your shoes or pick up your coat. The process of “getting ready to leave” can begin the stress process that causes an attack. Separation anxiety is treatable and surmountable, but it takes a tremendous amount of time and dedication to help.
So, how can we avoid throwing our dogs into fits of anxiety as we return to work?
Your first order of business is to establish a routine. Ideally a routine that can seamlessly take you back into your work schedule. If your dog has never had an issue being left alone in the past you’re already on your way.
Start by determining where your pet is going to stay when you’re gone. If your dog is not experienced having free roam of the house, it is not advisable to allow it until they’ve been properly trained. You can confine your dog several ways: crating, in a spare bedroom, behind a baby gate or using an exercise pen. Start the training process by asking your dog to enter this space, offer them a treat and then let them out. Your goal is to show them that great things happen there and by remaining nearby there is no reason for them to begin stressing. Repeat this until they easily enter the space for you.
Once you’ve set up your area of confinement, it’s time to start leaving. At the start, only leave for short periods of time, leave for 10-15 minutes and return. As your dog becomes comfortable with these time periods you can begin increasing your time away. Leaving a minimum of three times a week for at least an hour is ideal. Always make entering the space a pleasant experience for your dog and never as a punishment.
Make it Count
One of the keys to success with integrating your dog to their confinement space is, high value enrichment items. Enrichment items are things that take your dog time and brainpower to consume. Filled Kong’s (see below), filled marrow bones, puzzle toys, puzzle bowls, Licki mats and long-lasting chews are a few options that are a tasty snack while also taking time and focus for your dog to complete. You can prepare these items ahead of time so that when you get them out it’s the beginning of your routine of putting your dog away!
We never hope to have issues with our dogs when we leave but it’s an unfortunate reality that many dog owners will face and as our time home expands, the likelihood of our dogs experiencing some form of stress is more and more assured. Setting up a plan and seeking out resources for help ahead of schedule is also advisable. Whether it’s starting to work with a dog trainer or joining a network of other dog owners it is a wonderful tool to have someone to experience this with. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to enjoy those extra dog snuggles and get all the “walkies” in while you can!
Please welcome guest writer and in store Groomer, Nicole Lutz from That Groom Room, to the Petblog!
Here in That Groom Room, we often get a lot of questions regarding when is a good age to start grooming a puppy? Now that Christmas is over and many puppies were given as gifts I thought that it would be a good place to start.
At What Age Can I Start Getting My Puppy Groomed?
Officially it is best to wait until your new puppy is 8 weeks old, and can leave their mother before you consider getting them groomed. Once the puppy has been introduced to its new home and has established relations with the new owner they can think about getting the puppy groomed. That Groom Room recommends starting at 12 weeks of age. The very first grooming appointment is an introduction to the puppy and the owner to the world of grooming. The puppy with be introduced to a bath, blow drying, nail clipping, and slight trimming. We do not recommend having a puppy be given a full hair cut the first time being groomed. The reason behind this is you are forcing the puppy to stand still and be handled for 1.5 hours. This is a lot to ask of a puppy. It would be like asking a one year old child to sit without moving, going to the bathroom, or play with any toys for 45 minutes. That is why we only do the basics for puppies first groom. We bathe them, slowly dry them, trim the nails, trim the fur from around their eyes, pads, and around the sanitary area. This is about all they can handle. The puppy will be introduced to having scissors around the face, having to hold still while the pads on their feet are trimmed. Depending on how the puppy reacts to the first grooming we may recommend doing this type of trimming one more time before the full haircut. The more comfortable the puppy becomes with being handled by the groomer and being on a table, and in the tub the better the puppy will become as they grow up.
What Can You Do to Help?
It becomes more difficult to groom a puppy that is 6 months old for the first time than a 12-week-old puppy. The 6-month-old has already established fears and aggression. For example, it would be like taking a 5-year-old child and putting them in kindergarten without any discipline and experience of a pre-school and making them sit still and raise their hand when called on by the teacher. At this point in a puppy’s life if the owner has not prepped the puppy with any type of grooming; brushing, combing, or nail trimming. It makes the groomers job nearly impossible to have the puppy trust them and enjoy grooming.
All About the Training
At home grooming is also extremely essential to having a puppy become used to grooming, and to enjoy their experience at the groomers. Different types of fur require different tools. Our groomers are very willing to answer questions and show you tools that are appropriate for your puppy. One of the biggest misconceptions about puppies and grooming is when they will change from puppy coat to adult coat. This time in a puppy’s life is essential to maintain so the coat does not mat. Usually puppies get their adult coat around six months of age. The puppy coat on some breeds will not shed and becomes tangled in the adult coat if not brushed on a regular basis. Please ask one of our groomers if your puppy has started this stage in life or when this may occur in order to make the transition more comfortable.
Thank you for reading, and if you are ready for us to help you and your new puppy contact us today! You can reach us at (717) 484-9758 or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.