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December 13 Marks National Day of The Horse

national day of the horse

December 13 marks National Day of the Horse

Don’t ask us why it’s not National Horse Day, but it really is National Day of the Horse.  No matter how you phrase it it’s a day we can gladly celebrate. We may be bias, but we think horses are absolutely amazing! Most people don’t consider how crucial they were in establishing the west (and other cultures), or that they’ve ridden us to victories in war. They used to be the engine for emergency fire engines way back in the day too! Horses are truly incredible creatures with their sturdy stature and hearts of gold. As an ode to these amazing animals, we’re doling out a few winter care tips because it’s the best way we know how to disperse our love for them through others.

Fresh Water. Be diligent in ensuring their water doesn’t freeze, as they need to stay hydrated no matter what the temperature outside is.

Increased rations. Horses burn more calories to stay warm in winter months, which may mean significant weight loss for some. Unless your horse is on a diet, talk with your vet about ideal portions during the winter.

Regular grooming and hoof care. Regular grooming contributes to your horse’s health and allows you to assess them head to hoof for any potential issues. Whether they’re being ridden or not, proper hoof maintenance is recommended every 6 to 8 weeks regardless of the season; a horse’s hooves are essential to their abilities, making their care incredibly important.

Ongoing exercise regimen. Whether you continue riding or do some safe longeing, it’s imperative to keep your horse active so they remain strong for riding in the warmer months. If the weather in your area simply won’t allow for activity, be sure to turn them out to pasture daily.

How do you celebrate your horse? Share with us on Facebook!

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4 Hunting Season Safety Reminders

hunting season safety 

If you’re a hunter (or married to one), you know how important hunting season safety is.

A lot of awareness and responsibility is required to remain safe in this sport – especially when dogs are involved. Because it’s such a huge safety hazard, becoming a hunting dog requires ample training for both pet and owner so, of course, be sure your dog’s ready to to be around firearms before planning their day in the field. If your dog serves as your spotter or sidekick while shooting, we wanted to remind you of a few hunting season safety reminders.

1. Practice commands.

Whether they’re first timers or a seasoned vet, it’s important you BOTH brush up on your skills and commands before you’re in the open field with firearms around. Both of you should be sharp and confident.

2. Reflective gear for your dog.

Make sure your dog is easily visible with a reflective vest or collar. We consider this non-negotiable, as it could save them from being accidentally shot.  Seriously, we can’t stress this one enough.

3. Have Proper I.D.

Just in case your dog runs off, it’s important they’re easily identifiable; make sure their tags are secure and up to date before they hit the field.  Don’t underestimate the value of microchips should their collar come off either.

4. Prepare for the unexpected.

Pack plenty of food and water for both of you depending on how long you’ll be out and check that your first aid kit is well stocked. It’s also important to prepare for any sudden changes in the weather by having blankets, extra gasoline, and some food on hand in case you get stuck. Of course always let someone know where you’re going to be when hunting and be sure to call it quits before the sun goes down.

 

What’s the no. 1 way you keep your hunting dog safe during the season? Fire off some advice on Facebook!

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9 Tips To Get Your Barn Ready For Winter

9 tips to get your barn ready for winter

With whipping winds, snowstorms, and freezing temperatures, winter can be hard on your barn and the livestock inside it.  For those of you finding yourself behind, we have 9 tips to get your barn ready for winter.  

1. General Maintenance.

Start from the top beginning with the roof. Replace missing shingles and repair leaks because the last thing you want to worry about during the winter is having to climb on an icy roof to make repairs.  The same goes for walls, windows and doors.  Repair or replace any area that could  potentially let in the elements when the winter winds kick up.  

2. If your barn has a heater in an office or restroom.

Have a maintenance check for any issues including carbon monoxide leaks if it is gas or propane. Check smoke detectors and CO detectors regularly.  Make sure furnace filters or air filters are clean as well.

3. Do an Electrical Check.

Faulty wiring is the leading cause of barn fires, so do your due diligence in checking that the wires, fuse box, and electrical cords are up to snuff year round.

4. Sweep Away Debris.

Which can be a fire risk. Get rid of cobwebs and make sure straw and hay are swept up from the aisles regularly. Make sure the area around light fixtures is clear of dust and cobwebs. Furthermore, make sure to store flammable products away from the barn and consider installing fire alarms if you don’t already have them.

5. Stockpile Sand and Salt.

Sand and salt are good items to have around. Salt or ice melt may be needed to remove ice from the tracks on sliding doors so they can be opened. Also make sure to dig out around the bottom of sliding doors before the ground freezes. When the ground heaves in the winter you may not be able to open the doors in an emergency.

6. Check Water Supply.

Water supply, make sure the faucet is in good order and doesn’t have any leaks to prevent freezing. Add insulation around any of the exposed pipe to help prevent freezing. Make sure your well pump is in good working order and won’t freeze, no pump no water.

7. If you use heated buckets.

Make sure to check the cords for any wear. Check them regularly to make sure they are not overheating. *Tip for using unheated buckets. Have an extra bucket for each horse so when the ice forms on the bucket in the stall you can remove the frozen bucket and hang a fresh bucket. Then take the frozen bucket into a heated area if available to thaw out. Or use a hammer to break away the ice and dump it so it is ready to use again when the other bucket is frozen. Just make sure to dump the ice in an area where no one will slip on it. Horses require more water in winter as they will be eating dried hay. Always make sure there is fresh water available

8. Blankets.

Inspect blankets for any tears and repair or replace before they are needed. Be sure blankets are accessible and the livestock outside is as comfortable as possible.

9. Stockpile.

Stock pile hay before winter hits. Always keep at least one bag ahead on grain and medicines.

Most healthy animals will be okay in the winter as long as they have an area to get out of the wind and precipitation. If possible have a three sided shelter where they can retreat to when needed to get out of the wind or rain.

 When animals are being kept inside during in-climate weather, consider opening the side doors (away from wind) during the day to provide fresh air. Healthy horses should be okay with this as long as the air temperature is above 15 – 20 degrees.

How do you winterize your barn? Any tips or tricks you swear by? Share with us on Facebook!

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History of the Dalmatian as a Firehouse Dog

firehouse dog

October 1 marked National Fire Pup Day, a celebration of the working dogs who assist our firefighters in search and rescue efforts. 

Did you know that Dalmatians have served as a firehouse dog, coworker and companion since the 1700s?  When we think of these dogs we envision a Dalmatian in a red fireman’s helmet. Why?  because they’ve always been the prevalent firehouse mascot . Times have changed.  Service dogs come in a variety of breeds now.  Evrn do, it’s important to share the history of the Dalmatian as a tribute to this hero.

We’ve heard two main theories behind why these guys  are the breed of choice:

  1. That Dalmatians’ spots are easier to see in smoke/fire
  2. That the breed has poor hearing (which is true) making them immune to the sirens (not true).

The real reason dates back to when we rode in horse-drawn carriages.

But, has very little to do with fires and everything to do with these guys’ endurance and loyalty.  Turns out, these black and white canines would run next to the horses, keeping pace regardless of how fast or far they were going. Soon they began protecting the horses from predators in addition to providing comfort if they got scared. Seeing as horse-drawn carriages were our emergency vehicles back then, the trusted Dalmatians cleared the path for the horses.  And these brave guys were able to help inch them closer to the flames without fear, allowing them to better help the firefighters. As an added bonus, the animals kept one another company while waiting for the flames to be extinguished.

These days we have advanced vehicles to help fight fires, as well as other breeds that are specially-trained to assist our heroes in the field, but there are still a few firehouses that maintain the tradition of having a Dalmatian as a mascot, mainly to help teach kids about fire safety and keep the firefighters company throughout their shifts.

 

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Safety First! 5 Tips For Hiking With Your Dog

hiking with your dog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While saying farewell to summer does make us a little sad, it’s an ideal time for hiking; the weather is coming out of it’s summer flare and it allows us one last chance to peep the gorgeous summer plants and wildlife. However, not everything out there is ladybugs and dandelions… there are lots of dangers lurking on the trail that you as an owner should be aware of and looking for to keep you and your pet safe. Here are a few things to consider (and keep your eyes peeled for) when hitting the trail.

Bring Plenty of Water and a First Aid Kit.

Just like us, dogs need to stay hydrated, especially when being active and you cannot rely on finding a source of fresh, clean water along the trail.  The first aid kit should minimally contain antiseptic wipes, hydrogen peroxide, styptic, bandaging materials, eye wash and towels.  It’s never a bad idea to have your veterinarians number in there as well.   

Don’t Forget a Leash.

If you spot something off to the side or up ahead that could pose a threat to your pet’s safety, you’ll need to restrain them and keep them close to you somehow. We know one of the perks of hiking is that it tends to be an off-leash adventure, but always bring one to be safe.

Paws are the Priority.

Keep an eye on your pet’s paws, as an injury to their nails or paw pads could result in you carrying them along with the rest of your stuff. If the ground’s going to be hot (summer doesn’t always end abruptly) or jagged, consider training your pet to wear booties. As a general tip: if you can’t hold the back of your hand to the ground for longer than 5 seconds, it may cause harm to their paw pads.

Wildlife and Familiar Foliage.

Familiarize yourself with the predators and poisonous plants in your area and keep an eye out for them. Remember, things like scorpions and snakes can be really hard to spot from afar, so if you see your pet stop and get curious about something try to deter them as soon as possible even if you don’t know what it is they’re sniffing.  Recognize the symptoms of poisoning.  If your dog eats a plant you’re not sure about snap a picture of it for reference if needed and consult a poison control center or your veterinarian.

Don’t Be a Stinker.

Pick up after your dog, and if you see other unpleasant mementos of pups past, consider picking them up or at least getting them off the trail; it’s not just impolite, it can be hazardous to the wildlife that eat and drink in the area.

Happy hiking! We expect to see a picture or story from your Labor Day hike on our page!

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Doggy Travel Checklist

dog in suitcase

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sadly, summer’s coming to an end… but there’s still time for a quick road trip before the roads get slick – canine included! But, before hitting the road, there are certainly provisions that need to be made to ensure their safety and comfort both on the way and at the destination. Before you take your pet on any road trips – whether it be now or for the not-so-distant holiday season – here’s a quick list of Buddy’s must-haves:

  • Doggy Bowls. For both food and water. There are amazing no-spill bowls on the market that are perfect for the backseat.
  • Food, Treats, Supplements, Medicines. Anything your pet ingests on a daily basis should be continued while on vacation.
  • Pet Restraint. Whether it’s a booster seat for small dogs or designated car harness for larger ones, this is somewhat non-negotiable, as pets can become deadly projectiles in the event of an accident.
  • Doggy Bed. Unless the hotel you’re staying at makes specific accommodations for pets, we recommend bringing their bed; not only will it remind them of home, but it designates a little space all their own in an unfamiliar place.
  • Leash/Harness. For pit stops, walks, and potty breaks.
  • Pick Up Bags. Because no one wants to step in your dog’s poo!
  • Favorite Toy/Bone. For both entertainment and familiarity.
  • Paper Towels. Sounds silly until you need them!

 

Well, that’s our list anyway. If there’s a travel must-have we’re missing, let us know onFacebook! Safe travels!

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Summer Getaways: Equestrian Style

couple trail riding with their horses

It seems like all the summer getaway ideas for pets are tailored toward dogs, and we get it: they’re easier to transport and maintain while on the road… but it really leaves us horse lovers out to pasture. For anybody looking to try a new trail, either with their own horse or on a guided tour, here are some of the top-ranked, must-see summer spots.

  • White River National Forest, CO
  • Napa Valley, CA
  • Yellowstone National Park, WY
  • Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
  • Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
  • Blue Ridge Mountains – Hume, VA
  • Gettysburg National Park – PA
  • Big South Fork, KY,/TN
  • Shenandoah National Park, VA

If you’d rather bring your own horse(s) on a road trip, search for some close horseback riding trails and get to planning! Also check your state parks for horse trails, especially if you are someone who camps with your horse. For those hitting the road with their horse, make sure you have the proper paperwork needed to cross state lines – most commonly you’ll need a health certificate, brand inspection, and proof of a negative Coggins test. The requirements will vary from state to state so make sure to check all the states you may be passing through. Discuss where you’re going with your vet, as they may be able to tell you what paperwork you’ll need.

While we don’t recommend going too far with your horse in tow, make sure you do what you need to ensure your companion is properly fed and hydrated during travel, even if it means putting a little apple juice in their water to prompt them to drink (not too much though, as it contains sugar.) Bring an ample supply of the hay you have been feeding to avoid any digestive upsets as well as their regular grain. Put a little bedding on the floor of a closed trailer to reduce joint stress (it’ll just get blown around in an open trailer) and rest every 2-3 hours so you can monitor your horse’s vitals and allow their legs to rest from the constant balancing they do while en route. Applying legs wraps may also help the legs from getting fatigued. Again, if it’s just a fun getaway you’re looking for, we recommend staying somewhat close to reduce physical and mental stress caused by extended travel time especially for new travelers.

If you’re someone who frequently includes your horse in summer plans, do tell! Where are your must-see trails? Share some tips and pics on our Facebook page!

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Dear Hamilton: What Makes a Mutt?

mixed breed puppy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 31st is National Mutt Day, a shout out to the mixed breeds that keep us smiling (and guessing!)  We love this ‘howliday,’ because it reminds people that a dog doesn’t have to be purebred to bring pure happiness. Big dogs, little dogs, wiry, short, curly, or straight hair, active or lazy – whatever you want in a dog, we guarantee there’s a perfect mixed breed waiting at the shelter. What exactly qualifies as a mutt, you ask? It’s pretty much any combination of breeds not intended to make a hybrid; so, a Labradoodle, for example, does not qualify as a mutt. A German Shepherd and Lab pup, on the other hand, would – especially if the parents aren’t purebred. The fact mutts come in essentially any combination of looks and personality is just the tip of the iceberg though. Here are a few more fun facts about the pups that mix it up.

  • Mutts tend to be healthier. Studies from both North America and Europe have found that mixed breeds are less susceptible to certain health issues than their purebred counterparts and have longer life spans, too.
  • You’re potentially saving a life. By adopting a mutt from your local shelter you are giving them a second lease on life. 
  • Not-For-Profit Pets. Most breeders are reputable and hold the health of their pups (and mother dogs) first with respect to lineage.  There are however, irresponsible breeders that look to make fast money with no regard to the breed’s health or integrity.
  • Mutts Save Money. Not just potentially on vet bills, but their adoption cost is much lower than purchasing a pure breed. (Seriously, they can save you thousands.)
  • Mutts Lie in the Middle. Meaning you don’t run into as many extremes in temperament as you do with pure breeds; in fact, mixed breeds tend to rank better in regard to stability, friendliness, protectiveness, shyness, and aggression because they’re an even-keeled mixture of personalities.
  • They’re One of a Kind! If you like your things to be original, there’s nothing more unique than a mixed breed. There’s no way your neighbor will also happen to have a chow/corgi/shepherd mix with four different colored paws.
  • Their Care is the Same. Whether you dole out big bucks for your dog or adopt a perfect mixed breed, their eyes, ears, teeth, and nails can all be cared for the same way. All of our care products are thoughtfully designed to enhance the health of any dog, regardless of genetics.

We love hearing about new canine combinations… Show us your mixed breed beauties on Facebook!

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Mother ‘Mare’ I? Gifts for the Horse Lover in your Life

horse shoe with hearts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother’s Day is coming up quick (May 14 for all you forgetful folks out there), and sometimes it can be really hard to think outside the box for a gift. Flowers are great, and adding another necklace to her collection isn’t a bad idea, per se, but what about something she could use all the time, something that goes hand-in-hand with one of her favorite things: her horse. Even women who don’t have human children of their own deserve recognition for being a horse’s caregiver, because it’s no easy feat! Here are a few of our favorite gift ideas for the mare mom in your life.

  • The Gift of Beauty. Horses are such incredibly beautiful and majestic animals, which makes their grooming important – not just aesthetically, but for their overall wellbeing. Consider getting Mom a new brush for her horse or maybe it’s time for a new hoof pick.
  • The Gift of Warmth. Most horses need blankets in the wintertime and, while we recognize Mother’s Day is not a winter holiday, it’s certainly a gift that will keep on giving. Plus, she’ll have a new one ready and waiting as soon as the weather starts to turn.
  • The Gift of a Clean Barn. Perfect for the tidy caregiver, our hay bag and soft hay bale are perfect for travel or just cleaning up the horse’s stall; a considerate and useful gift without being an over-the-top gesture.
  • The Gift of Style. Especially if Mom is a trendsetter (or simply likes nice things), buying her a new leather lead or halter will surely make her smile. Not only is it more durable, but there’s just something about leather that looks so polished and professional.

Did we miss anything? What are some gifts you’ve been considering for Mom? Share with us on Facebook!

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A Clean Barn: Not Just For You, Horses Love it, Too

horses out side of a barn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Believe us, when  it comes caring for large animals, we know how many supplies go into it. We also know how quickly those necessities can become disheveled and, if you spend a lot of your day in disarray, it can honestly have an effect on your mood and mental clarity. With nonstop days of feeding, cleaning, and tending to the animals, it’s easy to put organizing off until later but it’s not just you who benefits from an organized barn – think of your horses. Not only will you be at the top of your game by having a clean, orderly space with all of your tools at your fingertips, but don’t your horses deserve a clear pathway to their stalls and a tidy environment to thrive in? It’s been said that when your space is de-cluttered, so is your mind – so if you’re someone who spends a considerable amount of time in the barn, here are a couple of quick tips to help organize that messy barn and take optimal care of your animals:

  • Get it Off the Ground. Hanging things up not only maintains the life of your materials but it makes your barn safer by eliminating trip hazards. Not to mention that by hanging certain things up, you give them a designated space for everyone to return them to. Don’t discount the ceiling if you don’t have much wall space, as it’s great for draping ropes and hoses.
  • Group similar items together. A basic organizing tip is to group similar items together based on their function – like keeping all the feeding tools or outdoor necessities together.
  • Know What You Have. Knowing what tools you have makes your life easier and ensures you don’t waste money by purchasing something you have but can’t find. If possible, give each of your tools a hook and a label, as you can quickly see what you have and if something’s missing.
  • Purge! If you come across something that you can’t remember the last time you’ve used or thought of using, get it out of the barn. You can repurpose it, recycle it, sell, donate, or toss it, but it’s always best to get rid of things you don’t use – it’s just unnecessary clutter.

And, of course, make sure to keep your horse’s stall swept and bedding dry and clean to avoid rodents and other unpleasantries that could affect your horse’s health and happiness.

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