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20 Facts You Didn’t Know About Your Dog or Cat

Let’s shake it up a bit from our normal blog posts and take some time to learn a few neat facts about the dogs and cats in our life.

If you have any neat facts (not on the list), you would like to share, drop us a comment!

1.     Newfoundland dogs have a water-resistant coat and webbed feet. Their job was once to help haul nets for fisherman and rescue people from drowning.

2.     There were three dogs who survived the sinking of the Titanic- two Pomeranians and a Pekingese.

3.     Puppies have 28 teeth. Adult dogs have 42.

4.     Dalmatians aren’t born with spots. They develop their spots as they get older.

5.     A dog’s normal temperature is between 101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

6.     Dogs can only sweat from the pads o their feet. That’s why they use panting as form of ‘heat release.’

7.     A dog’s nose is wet due to a thin layer of mucous covering their nose to assist in absorbing scent.

8.     A dog’s sense of smell is up to 100,000 times better than ours.

9.     Most people know the Chow Chow by their blue-tinged tongues, but they’re actually born with pink tongues. Their tongue doesn’t change color until around 8 weeks old.

10.  Dogs kick after going potty because they use the scent glands on their feet to mark their territory.

11.  When comparing the genome of the house cat to the tiger, there is a 95.6% match. They’re more like their ancestors than we thought.

12.  A cat named ‘Lucky Nicky’ was born in 2004. Nicky was the first cat to be commercially cloned. The owner of the cat shelled out $50,000 to replicate his favorite cat, and has stated the personality of the two cats is extremely similar.

13.  You truly can train a house cat to use the toilet.

14.  Cats have an extra organ that allows them to taste scent!

15.  Female cats are generally ‘right-pawed’ whereas males are ‘left-pawed.’

16.  Cats can become pregnant as young as 4 months old! Unless you want kittens, you should get your cat spayed as soon as your veterinarian recommends.

17.  Have you ever watch the Aristocats? And, the kittens are drinking that yummy warm milk…? Contrary to popular belief, many cats are lactose intolerant, and shouldn’t have any milk other than milk from their mother at birth.

18.  Spaying or neutering your cat may extend his or her life according to a study by Banfield Pet Hospital. Male cats were found to live an average of 62 percent longer than cats who weren’t neutered. Spayed female cats were found to live an average of 39 percent longer than cats who weren’t spayed.

19.  Cats have scent glands in their face and body. When a cat is rubbing their body or face against you, they may be marking you as their territory.

20.  Cats have over 100 vocalizations they use to communicate.

There are hundreds upon hundreds of facts we could share with you… but we want to hear from you! What’s the most interesting fact you can find about your furry companion?

What You Didn’t Know About Dog Training Treats

When your dog is a puppy, or even if you have an adult dog who needs trained, the training process often involves rewards. And, the reward we provide is what? Treats and lots of praise.

You reward desired behaviors and ignore the ‘bad’ behaviors. A tasty treat along with some praise goes a long way. But, how do you choose which treat to provide your pup with? Is every treat created equal?

Healthy and Nutritious Dog Treats

Since you will be rewarding your dog-in-training often, you must be sure to provide healthy, low-calorie treats. We don’t want our puppy to become overweight or develop health issues from the training process. The treats should be bite-size, and easy-to-chew.

The ideal treat for training is about the size of a penny… and no larger.

The other factor to keep in mind; how much does my puppy (or dog) like the treat? Choosing a treat your pup absolutely loves provides a greater incentive.

You Don’t Need Store-Bought Treats

You don’t need to go to the store and spend a fortune on treats when you’re training. You’re welcome to make treats at home.

Homemade treats allow you to control what goes into your pet’s diet. You’re also able to limit their fat intake, and the number of calories they’re consuming by feeding treats you have made yourself.

Surprisingly, many dogs enjoy what we already have in our refrigerator. Most of the foods we consume ourselves can be cut up into small, bite-size pieces and placed in a Ziploc bag. You’ll have to experiment to find out which ones your dog likes (and doesn’t). But, if he falls in love with a food you have at home, why not?

Small pieces of raw fruits and veggies are commonly enjoyed by dogs. Apples, carrots, broccoli, and green beans are just a few dogs find delicious.

Oh, and the berries. We can’t forget the berries. Let your pup try a few.

In the fall, when pumpkins are plentiful, they’re a great treat to feed your dog. Even if it’s not fall, give it a try. Pumpkins are full of antioxidants, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E. Pumpkins also help with digestion (and they’re good for your pup even if he doesn’t have digestive issues).

Don’t give your dog grapes or raisins, these are toxic to dogs (click here for a large list of toxic foods).

Small pieces of cheese are another great idea, but you can’t provide too much cheese to your pup without giving her an upset tummy.

And just, so you’re aware, peanut butter is a common favorite. That’s no secret. Peanut butter is packed with protein, Vitamin E, Vitamin B, Niacin, AND heart-healthy fats. But, you need to make sure you grab raw, unsalted peanut butter.

The peanut butter we eat now contains an ingredient called Xylitol. Xylitol is common in sugar-free foods, and it’s extremely toxic to dogs. Even if our dog only has a small amount, they could experience low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure, or death. Scary!

What Else Should I Search For (Or Not?!)

If you don’t decide to make the treats at home, steer clear of inexpensive, filler-based treats. Search for treats without artificial flavors, artificial colors, or by-products. The fillers in these treats lead to obesity and dental issues, among other severe health conditions.

Coconut flour is low in carbohydrates (and low in fat!). Incorporating treats containing coconut flour is a good recommendation.

Dogs also often prefer meat-based treats. Now, what treat immediately comes to mind? Usually, it’s jerky. Jerky can be an excellent treat, but you must ensure the jerky is high-quality. The jerky that’s ‘made-in-China’ isn’t the best choice.

Search for jerky that’s hormone-free with no antibiotics. The Real Meat Company is worth looking into if you’re set on jerky.

How Often Can I Reward my Dog?

The smaller, and healthier, a treat is… the more you can reward your dog. Since rewards are a critical part of the training process, we’re looking for treats we can give often. Right? Healthy, natural products are the way to go.

The Bottom Line on Doggy Treats

When you’re looking for a treat, don’t fall for the ‘shiny box’ trick. There are so many treats that look good to the eye, that aren’t good for our dogs. We must look at the ingredients to make sure the treat is healthy for our dog. No, it’s not a fair world we live in where our dogs (and us!) can be deceived by treats that look good, that aren’t good for us. But, our dogs depend on us to make sure they’re healthy.

34 Ways to Celebrate Pet Appreciation Week with Your Dog

It’s Pet Appreciation Week! This week, pencil in a little extra time to spend with your cat or dog. To help you figure out what you can do with this time, we have compiled a list of goodies.

Choose one, two, three, or maybe even all the activities! Your dog will be thrilled to be spending time with you.

Goodie #1: New Sights, Smells, and Places

After a while, we become accustomed to a routine. We take the same route on each walk. We go to the same places and see the same people. This week let’s stir it up a bit.

Dogs love to see, and smell, new places. Take a different route on your walk a few times this week. Take a longer walk. Or, take your dog hiking for the first time (if your dog feels up to it).

If your dog is a senior or has health problems, you can take him swimming instead. Swimming is easier on the joints.

Goodie #2: Make a Date

If your dog adores other dogs, a play date is an easy way to reduce his stress and increase his happiness. Play dates also provide an excellent way to release energy.

How could it get any better? Your dog gets to be social, exercise, and feel better mentally! Who knows, maybe you’ll make this part of your routine after Pet Appreciation Week!

If your dog hasn’t had a play date before, don’t become discouraged if it doesn’t go as planned. Just like we have preferences in our friends, they have preferences with theirs.

Goodie #3: Homemade Doggy Treats

Homemade dog treats are a tasty way to let your dog know how much you love him. Take a look at the recipes below and pick your favorite.

Cesar Millan’s Recipe List

Puppy Leaks Recipe List (All made with 5 ingredients or less)

Easy Baby Food Doggy Treats

If you conduct a search, you’ll certainly find more doggy treat recipes. But, the ones included here will give you a head start.

Goodie #4: Paint a Portrait

You can honor your dog, and have a forever memory, by having a portrait painted of your dog. Find your favorite photo and send it in to an artist. If you look around, they aren’t usually overly expensive.

Etsy is an excellent place to find an artist if you don’t already have one in mind.

Goodie #5: Teach a New Trick

Training your dog might not sound like something she would enjoy. But, the truth is, dogs love having a purpose. They love showing off their skills. And, they love making you happy.

Training your dog to do a new trick is a great way to spend some time this week.

If you’re feeling energetic, you can also build an agility course and train your dog to run through it. Agility courses can be unbelievably fun for you and your dog.

Goodie #6: Lets Go Boating

If your dog is one who enjoys boating, why not go for a boat ride? After all, it is June. It’s muggy. It’s hot. Going for a boat ride, and maybe even going swimming, is a great way to spend your time together.

Don’t forget about the doggy life jacket! Even dogs who swim well will struggle to stay above water if they were to fall overboard.

There’s So Much More

There are so many activities you can do with your dog. Many don’t need any explanation at all. Here are some more ideas:

7.      Visit the beach with your dog

8.      Go on a mini-vacation

9.      Go for a run or a jog… instead of a walk

10.   Play frisbee

11.   Go camping

12.   Take a road trip

13.   Visit the pool

14.   Give your dog a little extra grooming time

15.   Take a nap together

16.   Bring your dog fishing with you

17.   Bring your dog to work (if permitted)

18.   Have a photo shoot

19.   Make your dog his favorite food

20.   Play hide-and-seek

21.   Visit the dog park

22.   Relax on the couch

23.   Visit an indoor dog park

24.   Schedule a grooming session

25.   Play in the sprinklers and cool down

26.   Bring your dog ‘out to dinner’

27.   Make homemade ice pops

28.   Put some finger paint on your dog’s paw and make an everlasting painting

29.   Get your dog a Kong toy

30.   Play tug-of-war

31.   Play fetch

32.   Teach your dog how to find her toys

33.   Get your dog some puzzle toys

34.   Learn how to give doggie massages

The Bottom Line: It All Boils Down to Time

What all these activities boil down to is… time. Your dog doesn’t truly care if the time is spent hiking or lounging on the couch. Spend some extra time with your dog this week. Love on your dog a little more than your normal (if that’s possible!).

Introducing a New Dog to Your Home Successfully

The first few days in your home are a special and anxious time for your new dog… and for you. You have just brought home a new addition to your family. And, for your dog, there are so many new sights, smells, and sounds. Some dogs adjust quickly to a new home. Other dogs are generally confused about where they are and may not connect your home with his home.

Don’t panic. Your home is a completely different environment than what she is accustomed to. Even if she came from another home rather than a shelter, there is still so much that’s different. Your dog depends on you to make the transition as smooth as possible. Here at PetKey, we have a few suggestions for you to help your new dog’s introduction to her new home.

Before Your Bring Your New Addition Home

Before you bring your new dog home, think about where you think she will be spending the majority of her time. For most dogs, it’s usually the kitchen (easy to clean up messes in there). Once you have determined where your new dog will spend most of his time, dog-proof that area and place the crate somewhere comfortable in that room (if you’re crate training).

If you do plan to crate-train your dog, the crate should be set up before bringing your new dog home. And, be sure to do a bit of research on how to properly crate train before you bring her home, too.

Don’t forget to place a mattress in the crate to support her body. When you look for mattresses, don’t be alarmed at the number of mattresses on the market for dogs. Each mattress is designed specifically for a certain breed of dog, dogs of a certain age, or dogs with certain medical conditions. You can usually determine which mattress will work best for your dog by reading the description.

If you plan to crate-train your dog, the crate should be set up before you bring your dog home. Don’t forget to place a mattress of some kind in the crate with them. The type of mattress you should have varies based on the breed of dog you are bringing home, and the age of the dog. Be certain to do proper research on this before bringing your new dog home.

Onto the next topic… dog-proofing. Dog-proofing your home is critical in keeping your dog safe. Tape off any loose or low-hanging wires. Place any household cleaner out of reach of your dog in your highest cabinets. Do the same with your medications. If you have plants on the floor, there are many which are dangerous to your dog. Dig in and find out what types of plants are okay, and which aren’t.

Finally, have their collar and leash ready to go. On the collar, there should be ID tags already attached.

If your dog doesn’t already have a microchip, you should consider getting one. The microchip isn’t a GPS device, but if your dog were to ever get lost, the microchip would be scanned and an identification code unique to your dog containing all your details would be available. Then, the pet professional who scanned your chip could use the details you have provided to reconnect your dog with your family.

Your New Dog’s First Day Home

The first day home could be overwhelming for your dog in either direction (or both directions). Your new dog might get to your home bouncing with happiness without a care in the world. Or, you may have a dog who takes a little bit of time to get comfortable with her new environment. Either way, give your dog a sufficient amount of time to acclimate to your home before you allow any ‘strangers’ to come over. We know it’s hard not to show off the newest member of your family. But, your friends will see her soon enough. Let’s give her some time to understand where she is now.

Even if you think your dog is doing wonderful with the transition- one new event could spark stress in the first week. Then, your happy-go-lucky dog could go from thrilled to miserable. And, we don’t want that. If you have children, show your children the appropriate way to approach a dog.

When you pick up your new dog, be certain to ask what she ate that day (brand, exact name on package, hard/soft food). If you feed your new dog a completely different food when you get home, there’s a high possibility for upset stomach and diarrhea. We don’t want that. A dog who isn’t feeling well isn’t likely to transition well.

If you’re interested in feeding a different brand/type of food, you should do so over a one-week period (at minimum). Start by adding in the new food to their old food slowly- just a small handful at a time. Watch for any signs of stomach upset or loose stools. If you do notice any symptoms, lessen the amount of new food and extend the transition time. The transition to a new food could take several weeks. Or, your dog’s tummy may not get along with the new food at all and you’ll have to find something different to try.

When you get home, immediately show your dog where the approved potty area is and softly say “potty-potty.” Be patient during this time. Even if your dog was fully potty-trained where he was staying before, there could be accidents. Think about what would happen if your entire world changed in an instant. What we knew would go out the window for a little while, too.

A routine should be put in place the moment you get home with your new dog. Structure is extremely helpful to a dog adjusting to a new home, and your resident dogs as well if they don’t already have a designated routine. Feeding, potty-time, and play/exercise, should have an approximate time each day. If the time changes by a half hour occasionally, that’s okay.

If your resident dogs don’t already have a routine, take note of changes in their behavior. You should notice a difference. You might notice a stronger bond between the two of you, your dog being more comfortable, and/or your dog becoming more healthy (normal weight, normal sleeping pattern, etc.).

For the first few days of your dog being home, try to be as calm and quiet as possible. Limiting excitement during this time is essential. And, it will give you time to get to know your dog better. Take this time to build a foundation for the bond you will share.

Training should also begin the moment you walk in the door. We won’t discuss this in too much depth… this topic could be an entire article on its own. But, after the first week, increase the amount of physical and mental stimulation your dog is receiving.

Training also helps a dog settle in further and strengthens the bond you are building. You can even work on things she already knows like sit, stay, and come. Any type of positive training is helpful.

Introducing Your New Dog to Another Dog

If you have a resident dog, introduce your new dog to your resident dog outside in a neutral area. Make sure there aren’t any toys, food, or treats in the area the introduction is happening in.

If you have more than one resident dog, introduce one at a time. Don’t rush the introduction. Each dog should be on a leash, and each leash should be loose to allow the dogs to get to know one another.

Some dogs get along with every dog they meet. Others may take a while to become familiar with a new addition their family.  

After the outside introduction, you can bring your new dog inside and do the in-home introduction (if all goes well outside). If you bring your new dog inside immediately without the outside introduction, this could spark a handful of issues that make it more difficult to help your dog adjust.

Keep each interaction between your new dog and your resident dog(s) short and as pleasant as possible. If you see any sign of tension, immediately separate the dogs and try again a couple hours later.

Don’t leave all the dogs alone together until you know it’s safe to do so. Watching your dogs’ body language can help you understand when it’s safe.

Be sure to spend an equal amount of time with your resident dog(s), too. We know getting a new dog is exciting, and you want to spend time building your bond, but your resident dogs need you too.

The Bottom Line on Introduction

The most important take-a-way here involves patience. Be patient with your new dog’s behaviors, training levels, and the bond you are establishing. Do not punish your dog in any way. This will damage the trust you share with your dog and affect the bond you share forever.

Some dogs adjust quickly and form a bond immediately. Others take more time. Commit as much time as possible to getting to know your new dog while spending time with your resident dogs. Watch your new dog’s body language to understand what she is communicating to you and others.

5 Tips to Prepare Your Pet for a Natural Disaster

It might seem like it’s a bit early in the season to start talking about natural disasters. But, we’re at the peak of tornado season. And, the National Weather Service is calling for widespread tornadoes this season. Regardless of what time of year it is though, there is always the potential for some type of natural disaster, and ensuring we are prepared is critical.

During times of natural disaster, most dogs are accidentally left and lost. When we see a tornado coming, we’re frantic and rushing to get our spouse and kids into the storm shelter as fast as possible. Once we get our kids and spouse to the basement, that’s when people usually realize “oh no! Sadie isn’t down here!” We may call her, but it could be too late. Or, she may have run off in the chaos.

In this article, you’ll learn how to be fully prepared in case this situation happens to you. We’ll hope it doesn’t… but we would rather be safe than sorry.

Tip #1: Ensure Your Dog Has ID

Making sure your dog’s identification tags are on his or her collar is the first step in being prepared. Your dog’s identification tag should have your name, phone number, and address engraved into it. If your dog gets separated from you, the identification tags are the first place to look.

Tip #2: Get the Microchip

Here at PetKey, we emphasize the importance of microchipping your dog. We talk about many scenarios, most are simply dogs who have become lost from escaping, but we do have natural disasters we have to think about as well.

You may not think microchipping is really “that important.” But, if your dog were to get lost in a natural disaster situation, what would happen? We would hope their identification tags stayed on during this time. If they didn’t, there’s no way anyone could find the owner. The person who found the dog would need to take the dog to the shelter or post ‘lost’ signs throughout the town.

A microchip contains a unique identifier connecting your dog to you. When that lost dog enters the humane society, or gets checked by a veterinarian, the dog is scanned. In emergency situations especially, the scanners are out and ready to connect lost pets to their families. If the dog does have the microchip, all of the details you have included in your file are available to the professional (the dog’s name, the dog’s age, any medical conditions, your name, address, and phone number).

If your dog has any medical problems, this is another area the microchip helps. If your dog has… let’s say… a condition that requires continuous medication. The veterinarian or emergency team will know that information as soon as the microchip is scanned, and the identification number is found. So, your dog won’t be without her medication and she can safely be returned to you.

Way #3: Make the ‘Uh-Oh’ Bag

Creating a ‘to-go’ bag for your dog is another helpful step in preparing for a natural disaster. Creating the bag before a natural disaster occurs (both for your family and your dog) is great. Even more helpful is having a bag for your home, and for your car, just in-case.

The ‘uh-oh’ bag should contain a minimum of 5 days’ worth of food and water. The bag should also contain photographs of your dog… and cats if you have kitties as well. In addition to a list of their medical issues (if any), you should have a paper outlining any behavioral issues your dog has. And, don’t forget to pack a few extra collars and leashes (and kitty litter if your have a cat).

Way #4: Crates and Records, Don’t Forget

If you need to evacuate your home in the case of a natural emergency, don’t forget your dog’s crate. If you have to go to an evacuation shelter, most of them do accept pets, but they require dogs and cats be in crates. Some hotels may also require you to have your dog in the crate. And, on top of the reasons, you might want the crate to help your dog stay calm in the chaos.

Most evacuation shelters and hotels also want copies of your dog’s veterinary records. They want to make sure your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations, and if your dog has any medical conditions they should be aware of.

Way #5: Finding Dog-Friendly Hotels

If you have time, or maybe on your way out of town, you can check into dog-friendly hotels. When there’s a hurricane coming, you sometimes have several days of warning to allow you to evacuate the area and get as far away as possible.

Unfortunately, fewer and fewer hotels are allowing dogs to stay. If your travel with your dog, you probably already know how hard it is to find a hotel that allows dogs. That’s why Bring Fido is so helpful. Bring Fido allows you to search for pet-friendly everything! You can search what hotels, restaurants, etc. you’re able to bring your dog to.

Another way to make sure your dog(s) can stay with you… is to search for dog-friendly hotels. When there’s a hurricane coming, you often have several days of warning which allows you to evacuate and get as far away from the hurricane as possible.

If you’re like most people, your dog is a part of your family and you wouldn’t imagine going anywhere without her. Bring Fido helps you in the chaos by allowing you to bring your dog where ever you go.

Time to Get Prepared

Now that you’ve read this article, go ahead and make your ‘to-go’ bag. Don’t forget to make one for your car, too. Just in case you can’t grab the one from the house on your way out… or in case you forget about the bag all together. In times of natural disaster, the stress is high, and we don’t think as we normally would. That’s why it’s so important for you to pack it now, while it’s still fresh in your mind and you’re able to use this article as a guide.

PetKey and Heartland Canines for Veterans: Making a Difference

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PetKey is proud to honor veterans on Armed Forces Day (and every day, of course). But, as part of the Armed Forces Day tribute, we’re going to share how dogs can help veterans. If you’re a veteran, we have an organization that’s perfect for you at the end of this article. If you’re not a veteran, there are ways you can help with the cause, too!

Click the link below to help Veterans & Protect Your Pet

PetKey is proud to support the mission and values of Heartland Canines for Veterans. If you’re interested in registering your pet with PetKey, click this link now and 50% of the Registration Fees will go to this world-changing organization.

We all know dogs can improve the mood of pretty much anyone. When we walk into the house after an exhausting work day, or even from grocery shopping, our dog is beyond thrilled to see us. They brighten up our day. Those slobbery kisses and big loving eyes are sure to cheer us up even on our worst days.

But, new research has found something incredible. Researchers have found that dogs can tremendously improve the lives of our veterans.

Many of our veterans are returning home suffering from conditions caused by their past environments. Just imagine what they have heard. What they have seen. What they have been exposed to.

Dogs can offer some comfort not only in the transition to civilian life… but for the rest of their lives.

Releasing Oxytocin: Love is in the Air

There’s no immediate solution to instantly recover from the effects of PTSD. But, dogs can help in the process of recovery.

Oxytocin, the love hormone, is released in both humans and dogs when we’re together. Oxytocin helps us with trust, love, and bonding. The oxytocin that is released can help our veterans with symptoms associated with PTSD.

Dog owners are happier, and healthier, than those who don’t have dogs in their life. And, the extensive training dogs go through to be service dogs, or emotional assistance dogs, can increase the emotional and neurological benefits dogs have to offer.

Let’s Dive Deeper

What other ways can dogs help our veterans?

Way #1: Rebuilding Broken Trust

Veterans may return with broken trust. Their faith has been tested, they’re exhausted, and they don’t know who to turn to. A dog can help with this. Dogs are loyal, and they are always there for you regardless of the situation. Your dog, and you, depend on one another.

Way #2: Keeping Active

Dogs help people keep an active lifestyle. Dogs get you out of the house, make you walk more, and keep us on our toes. Veterans suffering from depression often want to remain inside- but this could make conditions worse. Dogs need a significant amount of exercise (dependent on breed) and gives us a perfect reason to get out of the house. Just getting out of the house and going for a walk can significantly help our mood.

Way #3: A Sense of Protection

Dogs have a wonderful way of helping you feel safe. Veterans often suffer from nightmares, flashbacks, and anxiety. These symptoms may leave the veteran feeling a bit vulnerable. Since dogs are always by our side, we know they will let us know if there’s someone around that’s not supposed to be.

Dogs who have been trained to support veterans can interrupt nightmares. Once the dog sees their companion is experiencing a nightmare, they will pull on a clip that’s attached to a blanket. The dog will then rest until they see the veteran is beginning to calm. If the veteran fell asleep without a blanket, the dog knows to provide a gentle nudge to the shoulder or place their paws on the bed near the veteran.

Find the Perfect Dog for You: Heartland Canines for Vets

An organization we’d like to highlight for Armed Forces Day is Heartland Canines for Veterans. Heartland Canines for Veterans is dedicated to matching every veteran with the perfect dog. Every person is different, and every dog is different, so matching the two ensures both the veteran and the dog will thrive.

Heartland Canines for Veterans is a non-profit organization. If you’re interested in helping Heartland Canines for Veterans, there are several ways you can help. You can make a donation, partner with Heartland, and/or volunteer your time. Visit their website to learn more.

What We’re Offering at PetKey

PetKey is proud to support the mission and values of Heartland Canines for Veterans. If you’re interested in registering your pet with PetKey, click this link now and 50% of the Registration Fees will go to this world-changing organization.

Microchip Your Pet: Your Questions Answered

Happy National Microchip Month! Losing a pet happens so quickly. Before we blink from one slide to the next, our dog or cat could have run after a squirrel, or a chipmunk, and we would have no idea where they disappeared to. Of course, the microchip isn’t a GPS system. But, the grain-of-rice size technology can help our pets find their way back to us.

In honor of National Microchip Month, we have developed a list of frequently asked questions.

Is the Procedure Painful?

One of the biggest worries pet parents have about the microchip is the pain our dog or cat feels while it’s being inserted. The implantation isn’t overly comfortable, but it’s not necessarily painful either. Think of the procedure just like getting a shot. When you get a vaccine, it’s not particularly enjoyable, but it’s not a painful experience.

If your dog or cat is a puppy and hasn’t went in to be neutered or spayed yet, this is the absolute best time to get the microchip inserted. Your pet has no idea it’s even being inserted. And although the insertion isn’t painful, doing it this way can take two items off your to-do list at the same time.

Does Microchipping Require Anesthesia?

No, when your pet has a microchip inserted, no anesthetic is necessary. As stated, it’s very similar to getting a shot. The microchip can be implanted during a routine vet visit. The only reason having microchipping done when a pet is being neutered/spayed is just to have all our bases covered (and be able to take 2 to-dos’ off of our list for our pet).

How Does it Stay Charged?

This is an excellent question; how does it stay charged? The microchip does not contain a battery or power source of any kind. Once the microchip has been inserted, it should work for your pet’s entire life. The chip is encased in plastic and high-quality steel (remember, only the size of a grain of rice) and nothing on the chip can be worn out. In the worst-case scenario, the microchip may move a little bit (but not much).

How are Microchips Activated?

After the microchip has been inserted, they do require activation in order to be traced back to you. Activation can be completed online at www.petkey.org, or by calling 866-973-8539.

How Do You Find the Information?

Petkey’s microchips can be read by any ISO-compatible Microchip Scanner. Most veterinary offices, humane societies, and pet professionals have a Microchip Scanner. The microchip is scanned and provides a unique identification number. Once the identification number has been written down, you’re able to search for the microchip and find the details of the pet parent.

Can Ownership of the Microchip be Transferred?

Yes, if you have recently adopted a dog or cat who has a microchip, you can transfer the ownership by contacting us at 1-866-699-3463.

How Much Do Microchips Cost?

The cost of microchipping ranges but generally costs between $40.00 and $70.00 at your veterinary clinic. If you’re doing a combination spay/neuter, there may be a discount available (some veterinarians offer this-be sure to ask). The Humane Society also sometimes have microchip clinics scheduled.

After the initial fee, PetKey offers affordable yearly or lifetime registration packages as low as $17.99. The registrations for multiple pet households can be discounted by our registration consultants via phone. We offer military discounts, as well as discounts for pets who have been adopted then spayed/neutered. To learn more about our programs, please call 866-699-3463.

I’m Worried About My Privacy…?

There’s no reason to worry about your privacy. The information you provide to the database is the only information someone can use to contact you. You don’t have to provide information you don’t feel comfortable disclosing. There are also protections in place so not ‘just anyone’ can look up your information.

Does the Microchip Replace the Identification Tags?

No, the microchip should not replace your pet’s identification tags. The identification tags and the microchip together are the best method to use when protecting your pet. Identification tags are visible to all and should be left on. The microchip is like a back-up plan. If your dog or cat were to become lost, the first place a rescuer will look is on the collar for the ID tags. If there aren’t any ID tags, plan B is necessary (the microchip).

Can I Implant the Microchip Myself?

No, although the procedure appears to be relatively simple, it’s important the microchip is implanted properly. Placing the needle too deep, or in the wrong location, can make it difficult to read in the future and could cause damage to your pet’s body. That’s why it’s so important to have a professional perform the procedure.

Is Maintenance Necessary?

Yes, there is a low amount of maintenance from you, the pet parent. And, it really has nothing to do with the actual microchip. Once the microchip is implanted, it’s done. You no longer must worry about the microchip in your pet’s body. But, ensuring all your information remains up-to-date is a necessity. You should also ask your veterinarian to scan the microchip each year at your annual visit to make sure it’s still functioning. Although they are expected to last for life, we just want to make certain. Better safe than sorry, right?

If You Have Other Questions

If you have any other questions, please visit petkey.org, call us at 866-699-3463, or e-mail at info@petkey.org. We’re looking forward to talking with you.

6 Ways Your Dog Says “I Love You!”

Your dog says “I love you” all the time. But, as humans, we need to learn how to understand their language. There is a language barrier between us and our dogs to an extent, but we can learn how our dog’s language just as they have learned ours.

Way #1: Our Dog’s Language

We know when another human being is showing us affection. But, we have learned most dog lovers aren’t aware of the many ways our dogs show affection to us. We clearly don’t speak the same language… but we are able to learn their language just as they learn ours (awesome, right?).

Dogs have clear communication skills. And, they tell you everything you need to know. You just need to know what to look for. You need to be able to understand what their vocalizations mean, and what their body language is telling you.

Way #2: The Nose Nudge

First, the nose nudge. Does your dog ever come up to you and press their nose against your body? This is a commonly missed form of affection. When your dog comes up to you, and nudges, they’re looking for your attention, but they’re also saying, “I love you, love me back.” And, usually that’s when we look at our dog, pet her, or we may even get up and grab her a treat. When the nose nudge is accompanied by a long stare… your dog is showing affection to the extreme.

Way #3: Eye Contact Means the World to Us

Eye contact is an intimate way of your dog saying, “I love you.” And, for many dogs, this is another way he says, “I trust you” or “you’re my person.” If your dog makes eye contact with you on a regular basis, this is a very good thing. When we look into the eyes of our dogs (and they’re returning eye contact), oxytocin is released in us and our dogs. You can think of this as the “happy hormone,” the “bonding hormone,” or the “love hormone” in us and our dogs.

The Difference Between the Love Eye and Whale Eye

It’s essential to note, affectionate eye contact is different than ‘whale eye’ contact. If a dog is showing signs of nervousness or anxiety during what you think is an intimate moment, they’re not comfortable with the eye contact. But, this can be adjusted over time by making brief eye contact with your dog throughout the day, so you can reach the ‘intimate eye contact’ level of your relationship.

Soft vocalizations, like a soft sigh or a low, slow groan, are also signs your dog is showing he’s happy or content with a situation. If your dog comes up to you, lays down, and lets out a soft sigh, this is a way of him saying “I am so happy to be next to you.”

Way #4: Oh, the Licking

Oh, the kisses. We all clearly know this one all too well. Kissing is a universal sign of affection. And, our dogs are no different than us when it comes to giving kisses as a form of affection. Clearly when our dogs are giving us kisses, they are saying “I love you, I love you, I love you.” Licking is also a method dogs use to let you know she respects and trusts you.

Way #5: The Gentle Lean

Leaning on you gently is an extreme form of trust for our dogs. If your dog leans on you, this means you have an extremely close bond. She’s trusts you so much that she feels comfortable depending on you to support her weight. She trusts you not to let her fall. She’s being vulnerable. Gentle leaning is an extreme form of affection.

Way #6: The Most Frustrating “I Love You”

Now, we have the most frustrating way our dog says, “I love you.’ Your dog may do this… and it might drive you a little wild. The JUMPING! Jumping is an excited form of affection. Our dogs love us, and they want to be at our height to tell us “I love you, I love you, I love you!” But, jumping is usually not encouraged by us as dog lovers.

Make sure you’re understanding, and don’t punish your dog for jumping. We don’t want to damage her love for us. Keep in mind, although this is an undesired behavior, he is telling you you’re his favorite person on Earth. Instead of scolding, redirect her attention to different forms of affection. When she jumps, turn your back to her and don’t pet her until she has all four paws on the ground. She’ll begin to understand that although you love her back tremendously, you’d rather her show her affection in other ways.

Your Dog Loves You

If your dog doesn’t display all these forms of affection, don’t take it personally. All dogs are different, and they show their affection in different ways. Some dogs may only display two forms of affection, whereas others may wear their heart on their sleeve. Like dogs, some people show their affection more than others. Always remember, your dog loves you more than life itself.

The Snap Lead™ Helps with Training

Whether you’re bringing home a young puppy or an adult dog, beginning training as soon as possible is critical to her well-being (and yours!). One of the most important lessons that needs taught or reinforced involves listening to your commands.

Many dogs are lost each year due to pulling on their leash, the dog lover losing grip of the leash, and the dog running away. Choosing the right leash will help you in the training process so this is less likely to happen.

Here at PetKey, we want you to have the best experience possible when training your furry best friend. That’s why we are proud to support the Snap Lead™. And, yes… we do offer videos to show you how it works (15 minutes long)!

The Snap Lead™ is the easiest, safest, and most humane method when training your dog. The Snap Lead™ is versatile; it can be used with a collar or a harness.

How Does the Snap Lead™ Work?

Before we dive into exactly how it works, it’s important to note, this lead does not choke, pinch, or shock the dog. The lead doesn’t work through punishment. The lead works by a quick natural motion which leads to a snapping sound. The snapping sound gains your dog’s attention to warn him the behavior he is involved in is not acceptable.

The Snap Lead™ was developed by a nationally-known dog trainer and behaviorist, Brian Donovan. Donavan is also the founder of DOGstar Training and Video Productions.

Watch the Training Leash Demonstration

We all know, before we purchase an item like this for our dogs, we like to see the product in action. Right? We have put together a special real-life demonstration video so you’re able to see exactly how the Snap Lead works. You can watch the video by clicking here.

Why is Training So Important?

This question has multiple answers. Of course, training is essential because it teaches your dog to be attentive. But, training has another benefit that most dog lovers don’t realize.

Training your dog, not only in the beginning but reinforcing through all stages of her life, will help you build a long-lasting, positive relationship with her. The time spent while training, when you’re using a positive method, strengthens the bond and trust you have together.

Training, and reinforcing basic commands, also helps to increase your dog’s sociability. Training your dog to have the qualities we expect- good manners, good behavior- often results in him being more well-rounded and able to handle different types of situations. If you have a puppy, training to walk properly on leash is a must, as it will help her build her confidence by providing her with positive experiences on your walk.

You may have also heard the phrase ‘communication, communication, communication.’ Generally, this term is heard in human to human conversation. But, this applies to our dogs as well. We can strengthen the communication we have with our dogs without resulting to negative reinforcement or punishment.

The Snap Lead™ is an efficient way to show your dog you’re her ‘person’ and she’s safe when she’s in your protection.

Grab Yours Today

The Snap Lead™ is available on PetKey’s website and can be purchased by clicking here.

How Can I Reconnect a Found Dog with their Family?

You’ve found a lost dog. Now, how do you find her owner? Hopefully she has a microchip, so you’re able to locate her family. If she doesn’t have a microchip, her family may be harder to find but PetKey has ways to help.

Contrary to popular belief, the microchip is not a GPS system. If the dog you have just found has a microchip, it’s easier to find the owner because the microchip carries a unique identification number. The identification number is connected only to the dog’s family. But, the owner can’t track their dog with the microchip. It’s up to you to locate the owner of the dog you have just found so the dog can return home.

Step 1

Bring the dog you have found to your local humane society or veterinarian. Most professional facilities have a scanner so they’re able to scan the microchip to grab the identification number.

Step 2

Once the identification number has been jotted down, you (or the professional) can visit http://www.petmicrochiplookup.org/ to obtain the owner’s details.

It’s free to get a dog scanned, so don’t worry about having to pay when you arrive at the facility.

Step 3

If the dog is registered and connected to their owner with a microchip, call the owner and let them know you’ve found their dog. They will be thrilled.

Step 4

It’s the dog owner’s responsibility to keep their contact details up-to-date. But, people get busy and they may forget to update their details with all the chaos in their lives. What if they have moved recently and you have their previous address? Or, they have changed their phone number?

In this case, you can add a FREE listing to PetKey.org’s Lost and Found Pet’s page. You can also search the lost and found database by city, state, or zip code to see if anyone has posted a ‘lost pet.’ If you do find a possible match, jot down the pet’s reference number and contact PetKey at 866-699-3463.

Testimonials from Dog Lovers

PetKey has reunited many pet parents with their beloved dog or cat. Here are some testimonials from a few.

“Someone found her I the middle of the road and called me since she had my info on her Petkey tag. She wasn’t too far from home thankfully!” -Tiffany M., Indiana

“He was taken down to the police station and they scanned his Petkey microchip. Moments later we received a phone call that homer had been found and that the police were on their way to bring him home. 20 minutes later I arrived home from school and dropped everything I had and ran and picked up homer. I am truly blessed and thankful that I am reunited with my little burrito.” -Jamiah O., Mississippi

“We are so thankful to the caring people that called Petkey after reading about our lost dog on Lost and Found Pets of Pierce County. He was found by a neighbor a few blocks away! So happy to have him home.” -Janeen R., Washington

“Tinkie was found in the neighborhood next to the accident site 2 days after the crash. She was spotted by someone who saw one of the many “Lost Dog” Petkey posters that we have put up and was recovered by us shortly after. Thank you everyone for their help.”-Gillian D., Ontario

“A very kind family who had picked her up from the road brought her back to us safe and sound!!! We are SO happy to have our Pancake home! Thank you to everyone who shared our Petkey post and offered support to us!! My husband and I will always be grateful to you all!!”- Katie T., Washington

The Bottom Line

There’s nothing sweeter than reuniting a dog with their family. Even if they have only been missing a short time, families are often panicked while anxiously searching for their beloved pet. Following the above instructions can significantly help you in retrieving the owner’s information and reconnecting a lost pet. If you have any questions, please call us at 866-699-3463. We’re here to help.

What's a Microchip... and Why's it Important?

As dog lovers, of course we want to make sure accidents are prevented. But unfortunately, accidents do happen. Someone might leave a door open. Our dog might dig under the fence in the back yard. Or, she might slip away from us on our daily walk. All these scenarios result in our dog escaping and potentially getting lost.

Same with our cats. Our cats, especially indoor/outdoor cats, could easily get lost and we could never see them again without taking the right precautions.

Now, you might be thinking… “he has his collar with his identification card on so if he gets away at least someone will be able to see his ID tags.” But, what if the collar comes off somehow?

There are up to 8 million dogs and cats who end up in shelters each year. Out of all of these furry family members, only 15-20% of dogs and 2% of cats are reconnected to their families. Once they arrive in the shelter, there’s no way to tell who their family is… or is there?

To protect their pets, many dog and cat lovers are turning to microchips.

A microchip is a very small piece of technology that is implanted into our dog in a manner similar to giving a vaccine.

The microchip is generally placed beneath the surface of your pet’s skin between his shoulder blades. It’s not an extensive process and it only takes a few minutes. And, there’s no anesthetic required.

The microchip gives you that extra protection in the case your dog gets lost. It’s important to understand, the microchip isn’t a GPS device. It won’t let you know your dog’s exact physical location. But, if someone finds your dog, the individual can take your dog to their local veterinarian or humane society where they’re able to scan for a microchip and find your information.

Each microchip is connected to a unique identification code. And, it can be found in a dog’s body using a special scanner that most humane societies, and veterinarians, now have.

When a scanner is placed over the chip, the chip gives off radio waves and the scanner displays the identification number connecting your dog to you. Once your information has been found, your loved furry family member can be returned to you.

With this said, it’s crucial to keep your information up-to-date. You’re able to update your dog or cat’s photograph, weight, and other important details. If you move, you should update the address the moment you do so.

You don’t have to worry about the microchip getting lost in your dog’s body. And, microchips are designed to work for 25 years. So, you can rely on the microchip protecting your dog or cat for his entire life once implanted.

Just to be safe, if you’d like to, you can request your veterinarian scan the microchip during your annual wellness visit to keep your mind at ease.

There’s no better way to show how much microchipping helps you, and your pets, than testimonials. Take a look at a few below:

“Josh has a Petkey microchip and they issued out an alert right away. We are really impressed with this service. You never think about these things until it happens to you and your pet.” -Michelle E., Virginia

“Chewy had a nice adventure. He was picked up and taken to a local rescue and his chipped was scanned. We are glad he is home safe.” -Nicholas R., Florida

To learn more about microchips, browse our website at www.petkey.org.

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This week’s Spotlight Pet is Rio!

Rio De Janeiro and his brother Velvet are both tuxedo cats. Here’s what his owner had to say about her little fur babies:
“Rio loves to play outside! He also loves to greet me post-shower. Velvet is a big cat, weighing 18 pounds. He is the King of Knead and Purr. Here they are with Velvet on the left .On the right is Rio De Janeiro name for his wild side and being rescued during the Brazil World Cup Championship.”

That’s so sweet!
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Our Spotlight Pet this week is Bane!

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Bane is an orange and white Domestic Shorthair. Here’s what his owner had to say about her little fur baby:
“Mr. Bane likes to greet our neighbors. A month after moving, one asked about him; I hoped he wasn’t bothering them. He told me the night before, a cat came in and they watched the game together for an hour before asking to go. Mr. Bane is the friendliest cat I’ve ever had, which makes Petkey a MUST.”

That’s so sweet!
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Humphrey is out Spotlight Pet this week!

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Humphrey is a Pit Bull. Here’s what his owner had to say about her little fur baby:
“Humphrey is quite a ham and very sweet. He’s 60 lbs, but thinks he’s tiny and pushes to climb in your lap. He’s extremely cuddly, but it’s not always easy. He has no concept of personal space! He’s a big ol’ baby and my cuddlebug. I’m so grateful for Petkey and the technology that got him home safe!”

That’s so sweet!
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Bacon Dog Treats

 Does your doggie love bacon? Of course they do and we have a little something you can make for them! This recipe comes from Cooking with Jax and makes about 1 pound of treats.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup broth (beef, chicken, or veggie)
  • 1/3 cup bacon fat
  • ½ cup powdered milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour

Directions

Preheat you oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease or line parchment paper on a baking sheet.
Heat broth over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Melt the bacon fat into the broth. Then, add the powdered milk and egg into the broth/fat mixture. Add flour slowly.
Flour your work surface and turn out the dough from the pan. Roll the dough out to ½ inch thickness and cut out shapes. You’re welcome to use cut cookie cutter, but any shape will work.
Place your shapes on the prepped baking sheet and bake for 50 minutes. The biscuits will harden upon cooling. Store in an airtight container and give to your furry friend for a piggy treat.

Moped is our Spotlight Pet of the week!

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Moped is a black Domestic Shorthair. Here’s what his owner had to say about her little fur baby:
“Moped, Mo for short, is so happy to be home. She loves long car rides and listening to jazz music. We’re just so relieved that she’s home even though she was immediately grounded when she came back. She has an Instagram and you can follow her grumpy, curious, and fun adventures @atailofonekitty.”

That’s so sweet!
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Doggie Mints

Worried about your dog’s smelly breath for the holidays? Here’s a solution they might just like! This Doggie Breath Mints recipe comes from SkinnyMs and will work wonders before the big holiday get-togethers.

Ingredients

2 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
½ cup fresh mint, finely chopped
1 large egg
¼ cup + 1 tsp water
3 tbs melted coconut oil

Directions

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment of get a nonstick baking sheet.
Place oats in a blender or food processor and run until they are a flour-like consistency.
Whisk the parsley, mint, egg, water, and oil together in a bowl. Add the oat flour and stir to combine. Knead the dough slightly and flour your work surface. Roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thick and cut out 1 inch circles or squares. With 1 inch pieces, you should get 40 pieces.
Place pieces on your baking sheet about ¼ inch from another.
Bake 35-40 minutes or until gold and crispy. Let cool completely, then store in an airtight container.

Happy smelling!

This week’s Spotlight Pet is Trevor!

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Trevor is a Domestic Shorthair. Here’s what his owner had to say about her little fur baby:
“When Trevor got out, we were so worried that he might be lost to us forever. He loves to play fetch and does it better than any dog I have ever had! We love him so much and are so happy to have him home.”

That’s so sweet!
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Dried Chicken Strips

Looking for a meatier alternative for your dog’s treats? Here’s one from Pretty Fluffy that is nothing but chicken for your meat eater.

Ingredients

1 chicken breast

Directions

Place parchment on your baking sheet.
Slice the chicken breast into very thin strips. Then, place them on your prepped baking sheet and put them in a cold oven. Set the heat to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for 1 hour.
Reduce heat to 210 degrees Fahrenheit and slightly open the oven door. Cook for another 1 ½ to 2 hours.
Let strips dry in room temperature overnight and store in an airtight container.

Seems simple; happy snacking!

Our Spotlight Pet this week is Sylar!

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Sylar is a Siamese cat. Here’s what his owner had to say about thier little fur baby:
“Sylar was missing for a month. Upon returning, he was surprisingly happy to see us; he’s usually kind of a jerk. He’s even been more affectionate. His hobbies are: knocking books and speakers off my wife’s desk and jumping on tall objects for a good scream. Possibly because the acoustics are better.”

That’s so sweet!
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