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Dog Walking Benefits: So Nice, You’ll Do It Twice!

man walking many dogs

February 22 is National Dog Walking Day, a call to action to get your pet leashed up and out in the fresh air for a little exercise. It’s easy to think walking the dog is a chore (and some days it is), but it’s time we remind you of all the sweet benefits that come from leashing up. They’re so great, in fact, that we challenge you to take your dog on TWO walks regularly and here’s why:

It’s Exercise.

This may not sweeten the deal for some, but getting your joints and body moving is SO important to long-term health. Getting your heart pumping and blood flowing just a little faster is so good for both of you, especially in comparison to sitting at home watching TV.

Reduced Heart Disease.

It’s proven. Even a short 20-30 minute walk 3x a week can reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Losing or Maintaining Weight.

We all know that physical activity burns calories and boost metabolism – need we say more?

Fresh Air and Vitamin D.

No one can dispute that a breath of fresh air and feeling the sun can lift moods. We physically can’t live without sun or air, so why not get as much of ‘em as you can?

Burns Energy.

Allowing your pet to burn off excess energy can reduce destructive behavior, nuisance barking, and a number of other unwanted behaviors – simply because they’re too tired!

Enriches your Bond.

Spending this time together helps train your pet and strengthens the bond you share. As you two walk more and more you’ll learn about your pet’s curiosities, fears, and reactions to new stimuli they’d never get at home.

You can reap these
benefits with one walk a few times a week, but starting and ending your day
with a refreshing jaunt is such a great way for both of you to stay agile and
healthy – not to mention doubling the health-enhancing perks. How often do you
walk your dog? If you’ll be out and about on February 22, snap a picture and
post it to our Facebook page!

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Argyle Tuesday – Celebrate with Hamilton!

Hamilton Highland print is perfect for Argyle Tuesday!

Did you know that the first Tuesday in January has been dubbed Argyle Tuesday?

Shout out to the standout pattern that keeps socks, skirts, ties, and even collars classy. We love this classic pattern so much, that we have dubbed every Tuesday as Argyle Tuesday! A quick history on argyle: it’s derived from the tartan of an old Scottish clan hailing from Argyll. It became fashionable in the US after WWI, around 1918, and consists of a seemingly three-dimensional layering of diamonds and solid lines in any color combination you can imagine.

Including pets in the festivities is easy! Not only are there a million sweater options out there but our Highland collar can add a pop of fashion to your pet’s coat all year. And, the best news is, they don’t even have to be a Scottie! Durable, secure, and a snap to put on, all of our collars are thoughtfully made with all cuts finished away from the neck to avoid irritation.

Take this totally social media-worthy opportunity and post a picture of you and your pooch donning your favorite argyle accessories. Use the hashtag #argyleday and be sure to tag Hamilton Products!

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Can Dogs Get Hypothermia? What to Know about Pets in Cold Conditions

can dogs get hypothermia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can Dogs Get Hypothermia?

It’s a common misconception that, since they’re animals, dogs can withstand extreme temperatures better than humans can. The truth is that they can succumb to the same cold weather ailments we can – one of which is hypothermia.

Signs of Hypothermia

A dog’s normal body temperature is between 101 and 102.5 degrees, classifying anything less than 100 degrees as hypothermic. The first signs of hypothermia are shivering and paleness of skin, typically followed by listlessness and lethargy; if untreated, coma and heart failure can occur. Complications can be fatal and veterinary attention should be sought as soon as possible in the event of a body temperature decrease.

The good news is that hypothermia is completely preventable. The most common causes are prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, wet fur and skin, extended submersion in cold water, and shock due to circulation decrease – so keeping pets warm and dry in the winter months oughta do the trick. When outside, consider a weatherproof jacket and/or booties to keep most of their fur dry and insulated and be sure to take frequent breaks to warm up when needed.

If you see your pet exhibiting signs of a body temperature decrease, do your best to warm them up as fast as possible. If you can, warm a blanket in the dryer and wrap them in it. Get a heating pad on low or warm water bottle wrapped in a towel, and place in on their abdomen, being sure not to burn their skin. Check their temperature every ten minutes; if it drops to or below 98 degrees, seek immediate veterinary attention.

Do you live where it snows a lot? How do you keep pets warm and dry? Tell us more on our social pages! @HamiltonPet

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Watching Their Winter Weight: 5 Tips for Keeping Pets Fit in Winter

winter weight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Weight? 

We have some good news and bad news this winter… The good news is, humans aren’t the only ones who tend to gain weight. The bad news is, our pets are also prone to expansion when it’s chilly outside. Don’t blame yourself- it’s perfectly understandable to skip a morning walk when it’s 25 degrees outside, but that doesn’t change the fact that losing the weight once it’s on can be difficult for pets. While we’re well aware that cold weather provides fewer opportunities for outside activity, here are a few small ways to keep your pet’s weight in check this winter.

1. Consider Feeding (or Treating) a Little Less.

During winter months, consider scaling pets’ portions down just a sliver to account for less activity. Do your best to gauge the intensity of their normal activity and serving size against their winter activity level and bring it down to scale.

2. A little snow never hurt anybody.

In fact, most dogs really enjoy playing in powder. So get out there! Bundle yourself up (you may consider a weatherproof coat for any short haired pets) and spend an hour hiking, playing fetch, or just running around in the snow. When you get home, be sure to clear their paws of any ice and watch them snooze away in front of the fireplace.

*Pro-Tip: According to the SPCA, more dogs get lost in winter than any other season so make sure their chips and/or tags are up to date and secure.

3. Training or agility classes.

Not only will it refresh their memory on how to behave, but training your pet is a form of activity (plus it enhances your bond.) Whether you have a trainer come over, enroll them in a nearby class, or vow to train them for half an hour twice a week at home, training and agility will stimulate them physically and mentally.

4. Play dates.

Most dog people have other dog-loving friends, making winter play dates a great way for both of you to socialize and move your joints. You get to catch up with a pal and your dog gets to run around, play, and sniff new smells (which is good for mental stimulation, too.)

5. Slow Feeders.

For dogs who eat too quickly, a slow feeder may be the trick to help them digest a little slower and possibly feed them a little less. Look online for one that won’t frustrate your pup and see how they do at mealtime.

 

What are some winter activities you enjoy with your pet? Tell us on Twitter using @HamiltonPet.

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The Need-to-Know on Kennel Cough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kennel Cough 101

If you’ve ever owned a dog, chances are they’re required to get a regular bordatella shot. And, if you asked what that is, chances are you were told it’s to prevent kennel cough. Kennel cough, or canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is caused when dogs inhale certain virus or bacteria particles into their respiratory tract, causing inflammation of the larynx and trachea. Common factors that weaken your pet’s defenses to kennel cough are crowded/poorly ventilated conditions, cold temperatures, exposure to excessive dust or smoke, and travel-induced stress.

Symptoms and Treatment

Unlike a reverse sneeze which can sound like a cough, kennel cough is a forceful, persistent cough that sounds more like a goose honk. We recommend checking with your veterinarian, but the good news is, it sounds worse than it is. Most cases of kennel cough resolve themselves without treatment, though medications exist to expedite the process and return your pet to their optimal self. Some pets may show other symptoms of being sick like sneezing, runny nose, and decreased appetite and/or energy level.

It’s important to know that kennel cough is contagious;

If your pet hasn’t been vaccinated or you think they may have it, be sure to keep them away from other animals until you’ve talked with your vet. Keeping pets in well-humidified areas and opting for a harness instead of a collar when walking can prevent furthering the cough. Most symptoms of kennel cough should subside in 3 to 6 weeks depending on the age and health of your pet, but serious ongoing kennel cough can lead to pneumonia.  It’s important to monitor the length of time that your pet’s exhibiting symptoms.

Lastly, be sure to keep your pet up-to-date on all necessary vaccinations to give them a leg up in avoiding sickness.

If your pet has a story about kennel cough you’d like to share, we’d love to hear it. Head to our Facebook page and tell us about it.

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Protecting Pets from Foxtails

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Infuriating Foxtails

If you have a dog and live in a place with high grasses, chances are you’ve heard of or had a run in with foxtails. Foxtails are a grass-like weed whose barbed seeds attach and burrow into your pet. Yes, you read that right. Foxtails don’t just cling to fur: they can go in your pet’s eyes, ears, nose, and mouth in addition to burrowing into paws and fur. The clincher about foxtails is that they only recede backward further into the area, they never extract themselves! That’s what makes them dangerous, especially if ingested. What’s more, these seeds don’t break down naturally so they can cause serious infection if not removed. 

What Can You Do?

Foxtail season is typically from May-December. If you and your dog venture through a grassy area, give them a once over either before you get in the car or at home. Check their eyes, ears, feet, nose, and genitals. If you see excessive licking, scratching, or discharge from any of these areas, chances are it’s a foxtail and, depending on the area, it will need veterinary attention.

Things to Remember…

Curly and long-haired dogs are more susceptible to getting foxtails in their fur so be sure to check around their face, ears, mouth, and paw pads – if you see any foxtails, immediately and carefully remove them with tweezers. If the foxtail is deeply embedded, swollen, or in an orifice you cannot safely remove it from, call your veterinarian. Remember that no matter where it is, foxtails MUST be removed to avoid a bigger issue.

Prevention.

As far as prevention goes, the most proactive thing you can do is avoid high grassy areas during foxtail season, which may be near impossible in some areas of the country. You can also consider trimming your long-haired dog during the season, as that will make it easier to see and remove the little buggers.

Don’t let a fun walk or hike turn into a painful infection or vet bill, be sure to survey your pet as soon as you get home to remove any foxtails as soon as possible. Do you have a foxtail story you’d like to share? We know our dog-loving Facebook community would love to know more.

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5 Tips for Adding a New Dog to the Pack

Thinking of getting a new dog?

Ok, so you’ve been grappling with the idea of bringing a new dog into the household and you’re just not sure if or how you should. We’re not going to sugar coat it: bringing home a new dog IS a big deal and it SHOULD be heavily considered, especially when you already have animals in the household. The good news is it’s totally doable and usually ends up being a wonderful addition to everyone’s lives. You and your pets have another playmate to love! But, before you rush to the shelter for the newest addition, here are 5 tips for bringing a new buddy into the brood.

1. Gauge Your Current Company.

Does your dog growl at other dogs when you’re on a walk together? Does your cat arch its back if it sees another feline through the window? If your current pet seems a bit antisocial, it may not enrich their lives to share their space or their affection. If, however, you’ve seen them play with other animals (even if they don’t always engage) then you have a chance they’ll come around to the right playmate.

2. Consider Important Similarities.

You don’t have to bring home a pet of the same breed, age, or even species, but you do need to consider things like play style, energy levels, and overall demeanor. If you have a sweet, submissive dog you certainly don’t want to introduce a domineering, rough-and-tumble companion to their space.

3. Get to Know the New Buddy.

Visit more than once and talk with the shelter about the potential pup and their quirks. Do they get along with other dogs and children? Are they territorial over food or toys? You can never be too thorough when it comes to introducing a new member of the family.

4. Do a Meet and Greet.

We consider this non-negotiable. Try to coordinate a meet and greet with the shelter either off-site or on the premises if your current dog will do okay. Understand that this is a trial run, everyone’s energy is going to be a little unsure and on edge, but you should be able to get an idea of whether or not the two will get along once the newness wears off.

5. Go Slowly and Be Proactive.

Some people find that a slow introduction, usually with your current pet in a crate or caged off area, is best so that the new animal can familiarize themselves with their new home, while others find it fuels anxiety and territorial feelings from existing pets. Many people think an off-leash introduction on neutral territory allows for free play and for existing pets’ guards to come down. The trick is to keep your existing pet in mind and be there for both animals. Stay nearby and correct any unacceptable behavior. The most important thing to remember is that you are the pack leader and your energy and commands will dictate the tone of the introduction.

And, of course, be patient and honest with yourself. If it’s simply not going to work, allow that to be the conclusion and keep your eyes peeled for another buddy. If there are small things to work through, diligently work through them for the sake of enhancing your current pet’s life with a companion. If you have a trick or story from when you brought a new pet home, we’d love to hear it! Click here and tell us all about it.

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5 Tips for Harness Training Your Dog

Is Harness Training Right For You and Your Dog?

You know how much we believe in dog walks – the health benefits are proven and it’s such a wonderful way to enrich your bond with your pet. That is, of course, if your dog knows how to behave on a leash. It’s a wildly common issue among dog owners that their companion pulls on their walks, which is frustrating and can result in shorter or no walks. And no one wants that. So we’re going to let you in on a little well-known secret: there’s a whole world of harnesses out there intended to curb pulling so your fresh-air strolls can continue. Of course, there are a few need-to-know tidbits before you strap your dog up and expect a perfect walk – so sit, stay, and watch us.

The Right Harness.

It’s all about finding the right harness for your needs, and there are quite a few varieties to choose from. Back clip harnesses are easy to put on and are a secure option for pullers, while a soft mesh harness offers comfort for pups who walk with a slack leash. Multi-clip harnesses are the most popular and versatile, but also have a higher price point. For dogs who seriously pull, a head halter may be necessary. Consider your dog’s strength and peruse the aisles (or websites) for something that fits your needs.

Try it Out.

Let your pet wear the harness at home first and make sure they don’t show signs of discomfort. It may take a few fittings to get the adjustments right, but you want to make sure the harness hugs their chest but doesn’t rub their underarms. Be sure to praise their patience and maybe throw ‘em a treat.

Remain Patient.

Understand that harnesses are intended to safely curb pulling in that it relieves pressure from their trachea and gives you more control, there is no part of the apparatus that will ensure they stop. If your pet starts to pull, stop in your tracks and wait until they stop, then resume walking. Do this every time they pull and, if you have a “heel” command, say it. 

Keep Sessions Short.

This is for both of your sanity. Losing it on your pet will only deter them from listening and make you feel bad later. Consider this an investment in both of your lives, even if it takes thirty 10-minute sessions to make progress.

Don’t Forget to Treat.

Positive reinforcement training is effective, so come up with a ‘heel’ command your dog can follow and treat them when they do. Sometimes just holding a treat in your leash hand is enough to make them slow their roll.

Like we said, harnesses are a tool – not an assurance that the behavior will stop. But, they are a highly recommended tool (especially for large dogs.) If you have a harness tip you swear by, we’d love to hear more on our social media. Facebook or Twitter, whichever you prefer!

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7 Tips for Staying Afloat on Boat Safety for Dogs

Summer may be coming to a close but we’re still squeezing in as many lake days as we can. Like most summer outings, bringing your dog along can be a wonderful addition to the fun but not without proper preparation. For all you end of summer sailors out there, climb aboard and follow these tips on boat safety for dogs if you plan on having your dog as a co-captain.

1. First Things First: Have a Plan.

Discuss what to do if your pet goes overboard with everyone in attendance and make sure everyone is aware there’s a dog on board.

2. Get a Life Jacket.

Even if your pet is an avid swimmer, a life vest is crucial when you’re in motion. Not to mention most life vests have handles for quick extraction if needed.

3. Check Accessibility.

Make sure your pet has a safe way to get in and out of the boat, especially if they’ll be swimming. Consider doing a practice run and getting your pet acquainted with the vessel while it’s still on the dock or trailer.

4. Bring the Necessities.

Things like a first aid kit, possibly any medicines, drinking water, a leash, and even a shade structure if you’ll be setting up on the beach.

5. Check the Laws.

There aren’t any national restrictions regarding dogs on boats but you want to be sure your pet’s allowed wherever you’re going – it would be such a bummer to get to the beach to find out your dog’s not allowed.

6. Consider Sunglasses.

It may sound silly (and we admit, look a little silly too) but they exist for a reason, as the reflection of the sun off the water can be just as damaging to pets’ eyes if they’re going to frequent as co-captain. Probably not necessary for a trip here or there but may be worth it for the pictures.

7. First Timers Beware.

If it’s your dog’s first time on the boat, you may want to keep the trip short so your dog can get their sea legs. Medications for seasickness can be given, but if it’s not fun for Buddy then it’s probably best to leave them home.

Does your dog hit the lake or sail the open seas with you? What are some things you’ve learned on the water with your pet? We’d love to hear more on Facebook or Twitter, just mention us @HamiltonPet with hashtag #SeasonOfPets.

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Animal Fashion – We’ve Freshened Up Our Fashion for Dogs and Horses!

Comfort, Quality and So Much Style!

It’s no secret that trends are constantly changing.  As the animal fashion experts, it’s Hamilton’s mission to come up with new ways to make your pet look their best! We did intense research of ongoing and emerging fashion, lifestyle, and interior design trends. Then,  our team came up with some FABULOUS new additions to our extensive fashion line. Our newest includes reflective designs for added safety and even fun new horse halters! 

Fashion Horse Halters

 

 

 

 

 

For the horses, our durable and adjustable halters come in three fresh new patterns and an easy-to-use cheek snap to secure. The thoughtful design ensures comfort and the patterns will complement any coat. The cool Serape pattern has a subtle Southwest feel while the Western and Rhodamine add a beautiful pop of color using flirty pink and warm burnt orange.

For the pooches, we’ve added 12 new fashion designs, four of which have reflective nylon threading for added safety in low-light conditions. The flowery Botanical pattern is perfect for sweet females while the Gingham and Athleisure patterns can complement any rough-and-tumble coat. Looking for something unisex? Our Bandana, Cactus, Southwest, and reflective patterns can fit any pup’s personality!

Fashion Dog Collars

 

 

 

 

 

We thrive on customer feedback, so tell us: what are some fashion trends you’d like to see on your pup’s collar or leash? You can post to our Facebook or Twitter pages, just be sure to mention us @HamiltonPet!

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