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November 25, 2010

Find the Paw-Week Four. Better Late Than Never!

Good Day Pet Lovers!

We are proud to finally announce the placing of the fourth paw in our Pawhaus Pet Boutique Find the Paw Contest. Enter to win on of two $50 Gift Certificartes to spend at Pawhaus’ online pet boutique!

Once again here’s how to play:
  • Go to:
  • Browse the website and search for the Poooh Busters paw logo
  • Once you find it, click on it
  • An email message will open
  • Enter your contact info and hit the Send button
  • You’re automatically entered to win one of two $50 gift certificates.

Need a clue to get you started?

To find the fourth week paw, you may have to think out of the box!

Still haven’t found the first three paws? Here are all the clues again (pay attention to the words in italics):

Week One Clue: I was on vacation in the Caribbean; it was a real treat drinking my Pina Colada from a coconut.

Week Two Clue: Cesar may not believe in training with treats but your little star might disagree. Say cheese!

Week Three Clue: Good golly Miss Molly! It's starting to get cold out there. I could just stuff myself into a nice, warm bed and stay there the entire winter!

Remember, you are looking for this paw:

Good luck and happy hunting!

November 18, 2010

When The Cat Decides To Stop Using The Litter Box

On Thursday, August 19th, Mrs. Big Nate and I adopted a fifth and final member into our family. We already have two dogs and two cats but Mrs. Nate saw this beautiful two year old cat at the Calgary Humane Society that closely resembled our beloved Monster, who passed away from Renal Failure a few months ago. The resemblance was uncanny and melted Mrs. Nate’s heart immediately.

We met her that night and brought her home right away. Her name at the time was Chanel but we changed it to Burberry, Mrs. Nate’s favourite designer bag.

The introduction of Burberry into our family was actually not that bad and it wasn’t long before everyone was fully tolerating each other.

We feed the cats at the same time. They get a meal of raw meat which Burberry seemed to take to a few days after coming home. There is a kitchen mat that the other two cats, Mr. Goo and Chloe eat on. Burberry eats a few feet away, inside our pantry.

Almost three months later, everything seems to be going along smoothly, everyone has settled into their daily routines. One day last week we could smell urine and discovered someone had pee'd on the mat Goo and Chloe eat their meals on. We instantly blamed our most recent rescue dog, Oscar for the mishap as he has a history of intermittently peeing inside the house. Mrs. Nate washed the mat and we put it back down. Two days later, I stepped onto the mat and it was wet. Like before, there was a pee spot on the mat. Again we shook our finger at poor Oscar and washed the mat again. This time we did not put the mat down, we rolled it up and left the floor bare. The two cats ate in their usual spot but without the presence of the mat.

This was fine until the next day we could smell urine again! Mrs. Nate was given a lovely scarf by her mother who traveled abroad. The scarf was sitting on our counter, on top of the breakfast bar. Mrs. Big Nate picked up the scarf to discover it was very wet and determined it was the source of the pee smell. Now we knew it was impossible Oscar could have done this! He can certainly not get up on the counters. In fact, only Burberry seems to spend any time on the counters. Must be a habit she picked up from her previous pet parents.

So we narrowed the entire ordeal down to Burberry as the culprit for all three urination events. We immediately did some research online to find out why a cat would suddenly do this. I also made a post on the Poooh Busters wall to see if any of our knowledgeable followers had any suggestions. Almost immediately we received some replies, all with they same suggestions as we had read previously during our Google searches. Such smart people we have available to us!

In the end we took Burberry and Chloe (just in case it was her) to the vet to check first for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). We wanted to rule out any physical reasons and narrow it down to behavioral. Turns out Burberry did have a slight infection which we are treating with antibiotics.

We also ran out and picked up three brand new litter boxes to eliminate any past smells that may have turned Burberry off. In addition to that, we thought we’d try out a different type of litter. We have incorporated that by mixing it in slowly with the original stuff for a gradual transition to the new type of litter. Mrs. Big Nate also separated the litter boxes a little further apart in case that might be adding to the problem. Three cats, three litter boxes.

If anything, we are moving to a new house at the end of this month. I’m hoping the change to a new lace will make their new home a neutral environment that they’ve all come to know together as one family rather than someone being brought in and there being territorial issues.

Not sure what else to do but hope we did something right to prevent future occurrences. We’ll cross our fingers and hope it all works out!

November 15, 2010

Find The Paw Contest - Week Three

Well we're going into week three of our Find the Paw Contest.

The Pawhaus Pet Boutique and Poooh Busters have teamed up to provide you with this fun and easy contest.

Be sure to take part for a chance to win one of two $50 Gift Certificates! You can use these gift certificates to purchase anything at The Pawhaus Pet Boutique online store.

It’s easy to play and anyone in Canada can enter.
  • Just look for the Poooh Busters paw logo hidden somewhere Pawhaus’ website.
  • When you find it
  • Click on the logo, an email will open up
  • Enter your name and phone number in the email message
  • Click the send button

That’s it! You’re entered.

Play every week in November for up to five chances to win. A new paw will be placed every Monday.
Still haven’t found the first paw from week one or the second paw from week two? Here are all the clues again (pay attention to the words in italics):

Week One Clue: I was on vacation in the Caribbean; it was a real treat drinking my Pina Colada from a coconut.

If you’re looking for the Week Two paw, the clue is:

Week Two Clue: Cesar may not believe in training with treats but your little star might disagree. Say cheese!

For this week's third paw, the clue is:

Week Three Clue: Good golly Miss Molly! It's starting to get cold out there. I could just stuff myself into a nice, warm bed and stay there the entire winter!

You want to find this paw!

Happy hunting and if you have any questions about the contest please don’t hesitate to contact Big Nate anytime!

November 12, 2010

Is Your Dog Allowed On Your Bed?

Reading up on this over the many blogs and articles out there, it seems there is huge support in favour of allowing pets to sleep with their humans in bed. Many arguments have been laid out supporting this practice.

It's hard for me to argue against it myself since I have been sharing my sleep space with pets my entire life. Mrs. Big Nate has as well. At times in her house, she was allowing a monstrous, black Newfoundlander to relax on her bed! So of course, in our house Mojo, Oscar, Mr. Goo, Chloe and Burberry all crowd onto the bed with us as we slumber.

So, how about you? What is your philosophy on the subject?

Some feel allowing the dogs on your bed means you are losing status in your pack and the dog might feel they now have dominance over you and is completely in charge. Others might feel it is dirty and unhealthy.

There are some good things about having the animals sleep with us and there are bad things about it too.

Good Things
They are awesome bed warmers!
Ever heard of the group Three Dog Night? Apparently they take their name from the supposed Aboriginal practice of judging the coldness of an evening by the number of dogs required to keep them warm.

They are great cuddlers and company.
Sometimes it just nice to have these little bodies lying around you with unconditional love. There is just something so comforting about having them there. This is especially true when either Mrs. Nate or I are out of town on business, having to spend those rare nights apart. A cat’s purr is just so awesome!

Bad Things
They affect the quality of our sleep!
Oscar snores, the cat’s run around and lye on my chest and Mojo is a complete beg hog! The wake us up when they hear a noise and start barking or the cats get into into a scuffle and start hissing at each other.

They are dirty.
No matter how clean we keep our house and the animals, they still seem to make our bed messy! They drool, have dirty paws and shed all over the place.

They ruin the mood.
I'm going to leave this one to your imagination.

These are just a few of my experiences with having our animals sleep with us. There are some great arguments for either side of the issue. I personally can not imagine not having our family all cuddled up together every night. I guess it would be different if we owned two Boxers and two large Labs.

I’d love to hear some thoughts and stories from your own experiences!

November 9, 2010

Find the Paw – Week Two

Well it’s the second week of our Find the Paw Contest.

The Pawhaus Pet Boutique and Poooh Busters have teamed up provide you with this fun and easy contest.

Be sure to take part for a chance to win one of two $50 Gift Certificates! You can use these gift certificates to purchase anything at The Pawhaus Pet Boutique online store.

It’s easy to play and anyone in Canada can enter.
  • Just look for the Poooh Busters paw logo hidden somewhere Pawhaus’ website.
  • When you find it
  • Click on the logo, an email will open up
  • Enter your name and phone number in the email message
  • Click the send button

That’s it! You’re entered.

Play every week in November for up to four chances to win. A new paw will be placed every Monday.

Still haven’t found the first paw from week one? Here’s the clue again (pay attention the words in italics):

Week One Clue: I was on vacation in the Caribbean; it was a real treat drinking my Pina Colada from a coconut.

If you’re looking for the Week Two paw, the clue is:

Week Two Clue: Cesar may not believe in training with treats but your little star might disagree. Say cheese!

Remember, you're looking for this paw:

Happy hunting and if you have any questions about the contest please don’t hesitate to contact Big Nate anytime!

October 30, 2010

Pawhaus Pet Boutique Christmas Shopping Contest!

Yes we all know that Christmas is fast approaching! It seems we're just getting past the summer months and little reminders start popping up everywhere you look.

The first reminder the holidays are fast approaching is that campaign Staples Office Supplies runs every year for back to school. You know the one, "It's the most wonderful time of the year". I seriously think they really play that commercial just to get us thinking about Christmas as early as August.

And I noticed Costco seems to stock Christmas stuff quite early too. Can we not at least get past the September long weekend before any mention of the year-end holidays?

Having said that, what am I writing about today? A Christmas promotion in November!

But it's one where you get free stuff! Our very good friends at The Pawhaus Pet Boutique have generously offered up two $50 Gift Certificates to their online pet store. Fifty bucks towards some cool swag for your pet would make a nice holiday gift I think!

You may be asking yourself, so what do I have to do?

It's a scavenger hunt and here's how the contest works:
  • Go to the website
  • Cruise the site and look for the Poooh Busters paw logo (shown below)
  • Look hard, it could be anywhere
  • When you find the logo, click on it
  • An email message will open
  • In the body of the email write your name and a contact phone number
  • Click send

Look for this image

It's that easy! Each Monday a new paw logo will be hidden somewhere else on the Pawhaus website. Find the new one and click it to enter again. The contest runs the entire month of November so you will have four chances to to enter your name.

The draw will take place on Saturday, December 4th and two names will be drawn to win a Pawhaus Pet Boutique $50 Gift Certificate each.

The first paw has been placed and you can start hunting right away. I'll give you a clue to get you started on the right path.

Clue #1: I was on vacation in the Carribean, it was a real treat drinking my Pina Colada from a coconut.

Poooh Busters wants to thank Amanda from Pawhaus for giving the Poooh Busters clientelle a chance to take part in such a fun and rewarding contest!

Email me at if you have any questions about the contest.

Happy hunting!

October 21, 2010

What If You Can't Afford The Vet?

I was crusing my Facebook news like I do every 50 seconds of every day and I saw an update from my friend Melaina. She works at the Calgary Humane Society and she hears all the excuses under the sun why folks surrender their pets to the shelter. Her update this morning went something like this: "Nothing gets to me more than when people email the shelter from their Blackberrys and iPhones saying they need financial assistance to spay/neuter their pet."

I can see her point. If you can afford a cell phone and can pay for a 3G data package, why can't you afford the care required for responsible pet guardianship? Or if you can't afford both, don't have a pet in your care.

Not all folks are this irresponsible though. Some truly do care well for their pets but sometimes things happen that can cause us to face some pretty hefty vet bills. Like the time a friend's dog ate a poisonous plant. Now that was crazy!

It’s necessary for all pet parents to be prepared in case emergencies arise. Knowing your vet and the services they provide is a great place to start. Finding out the answers to the following questions will assist you in knowing what to expect so you can plan ahead:

- What are your vet’s payment policies?
- Are payment plans available?
- Does your vet offer emergency hours at their practice?
- If they don’t, where would you be referred to for emergency care?

The internet is a great source of information, but it’s not the appropriate place to find a cure to your dog’s sickness. Your sick dog will need to be examined and treated as soon as possible. Delaying care can add to the expenses considerably.

If your dog is ill and you’re unable to pay for your vet visit, there are some possible solutions to consider:

Veterinary Pet Insurance
Even though pet insurance has been available for many years, it’s being more commonly used by pet owners today. The best time to sign your pet up is in their early years. It's nice to have comfort in knowing that if an emergency does occur, the expenses could be considerably less.

Pet Emergency Credit Card
Maintaining a pet emergency credit card allows pet guardians to pay the vet bill in full, and make payments on the credit card as able.

Payment Plans Offered Through Your Vet
Many pet parents don’t even bother calling their veterinarian when money is an issue, assuming the vet will refuse them outright. You may be surprised. Many vets do offer some sort of payment plan on a case-by-case basis. It never hurts to ask.

Check Your Local Humane Society or Shelter
Your local Humane Society or animal shelter may be able to offer you low-cost veterinary care or vouchers to use at your vet’s office. But send an email from your smart phone! A phone call might be a better solution.

Veterinary Schools
Many veterinary schools take on unique cases as learning tools. This will usually be at no cost to the pet owner.

The important thing to remember is the quicker treatment is provided to a sick or injured dog, the better. Also, planning ahead will help lessen the stress that an emergency situation brings.

Don’t forget to “paw it forward.” If you’re not in a financially tough situation, consider donating money to your favorite animal charity to help future animals in need.

October 13, 2010

Is Calgary Going To Vote?

Mrs. Big Nate and I will be taking time out of our Monday night on October 18th to take part in the Calgary Civic Election. I never used to care much about voting for any type of election; provincial, civic or federal. Like most young people I just never thought it was worth my time, especially since I wasn’t even really following politics in any way. I always had the mind that it just wouldn’t make a difference anyway, nothing ever changes, all politicians are the same, etc, etc.

Now that I’m older, I see the value in taking the time to vote. I still don’t really follow politics and I admit I haven’t really looked at the platforms of those running for the office of mayor. What I do care about is pets and pet care. Unfortunately I doubt animal welfare is a big priority for those looking at the problems of a huge city. Traffic, property taxes, economy, development, education, healthcare, etc, etc, etc. These all take a much more important place over what is going on in the pet world. I know human problems will always be more important than animal ones but I wonder what our candidates would say if we asked them their position on animal rescues and the plights they face each and every day.

What questions would you like to ask our mayoral candidates when it comes to pet care and their well-being?

Ms. Higgins, would you as mayor ever look at using the city coffers to provide some much needed funding to the Calgary Humane Society or the Animal Rescue Foundation?

Mr. McIver, would you as mayor ever consider increasing the budget our city spends on educating pet owners about the importance of registering and licensing their animals or on spaying / neutering their pets?

Without considering our pets as a platform issue, my real dilemma is who to vote for. I’m not a Ric McIver fan and I’m not sure Barb Higgins is the right choice either. In my opinion either Naheed Nenshi or Craig Burrows are good candidates. The problem is if I vote for either one of these guys, I feel my vote is basically a wasted one. I suspect neither of them will come close to Barb or Ric. So unfortunately the reality is it comes down to the two of them. I have to ask myself, of the two, who would I rather see in office?

It’s too bad that most elections always come down to two candidates. Voting for anyone else is pretty much a wasted vote. So my strategy is to put an X beside the name of the one I dislike the least and hope for the best.

What’s your plan? Do you have a strategy and know the platforms? Or are you just going with your gut?

Either way, I hope everyone gets out there on Monday and makes their vote count!

Please note that Big Nate's opinions are his own and not necessarily those of Poooh Busters Inc.

October 4, 2010

The Black Carts Are Coming!

I believe one of the very first blogs I ever posted on the Poooh Busters blog was about Calgary's new Blue Bin Recycling Program. I had a little rant about the lack of people using their blue bins in my neighbourhood when they first came out.

Poooh Busters tries its best to be environmentally responsible and every once in a while I'll blog or add some info about environmental issues. It's not always about dogs or pets. We can discuss other things too!

Well as I was cruising around Facebook, I saw a side ad for the City of Calgary Black Bin Program. I had no idea this was happening! Did anyone else know about it? I guess Mrs. Nate and I really should watch the news or read newspapers more often. We are bad for not keeping up on our news.

Anyway, I just wanted to write this quick blog about the Black Bin Program in case there were other folks out there, like me, who were oblivious to this new initiative that our fine City is about to implement. The following is some info I found on their website.

This fall, The City will start rolling out Black Cart Garbage Collection to households across Calgary.

Black carts will improve garbage collection service by reducing litter in lanes and streets, increasing efficiency, and making things safer for collectors and residents.

What is Black Cart Garbage Collection?
Black Cart Garbage Collection uses trucks with mechanical arms to collect garbage from wheeled carts, a lot like the way blue cart recycling is collected now. Homes that currently have garbage collected by hand will receive a black cart. Residents will put their regular household garbage in the cart instead of in a trash bag or can.

Black carts will improve garbage collection in a number of ways:

  • The carts keep garbage from getting scattered by animals or wind, and keeps neighbourhoods cleaner. Garbage stays in and pests stay out.

  • Black Cart Garbage Collection is more efficient, because it is collected using one-person trucks instead of two person crews.

  • The carts are safer for residents and our collectors, because they reduce heavy lifting and contact with sharp objects.

There is no extra fee for Black Cart Garbage Collection, and additional bags will still be collected. The City encourages home owners to reduce and recycle as much material as possible. However, garbage that does not fit in the cart can be put in bags or cans and set next to it.

About the Black Cart Garbage Collection Pilot
Waste & Recycling Services began providing Black Cart Garbage Collection in six communities in the fall of 2008 – Cedarbrae, Citadel, Deer Run, Dover, Huntington Hills and Mount Pleasant. The pilot was very successful. In a survey of residents, 93 per cent said they were satisfied with the service. No garbage collectors involved in the pilot have lost time due to injury on the job. There were over 100 injuries to traditional garbage collectors during the same period. The communities were chosen based on the need to test various combinations of service such as front set outs and back lanes in established inner city locations and suburban areas. Cedarbrae, Huntington Hills and Mount Pleasant were also involved in the successful pilot for Blue Cart recycling in 2005. This pilot gave Waste & Recycling Services the opportunity to test automated collection in various scenarios in order to evaluate the benefits of applying automated collection city-wide.

So there you have it! If you want more info please be sure to visit the City's website. It's got a lot of great tips on what to trash, what to recycle and what to do with your old trash can if you have one.

September 25, 2010

Do You Walk Your Dog Everyday?

Taking your dog out for a walk is more important than you actually think it is. Here are some reasons why you really should take your dog out for a walk daily.

It keeps your dog fit. Health experts are of the view that taking your dog for a half an hour walk daily is the best way to keep your dog fit. Letting your dog laze around the entire day is something that is certainly not good for his/her health.

It prevents behavioral problems. Dogs who are not subjected to daily physical activity tend to develop behavioral problems such excessive barking, aggressive behavior, irritability and the like. Taking your dog for a walk daily helps prevent behavioral problems.

It gives your dog a chance to be in the outdoors. Like humans, your dogs too can get bored sitting indoors the entire day. Give your adorable canine a chance to thrive in the outdoors by talking him for a walk. Also, outdoor environment is more challenging than the well controlled environment at your home. So, it gives your dog a chance to satisfy his primal instincts.

It is an excellent opportunity for you to bond with your dog. Walks are an excellent time for you to bond with your pet. They give the pet owner and the pet, time to interact with each other.

It helps with weight loss. If your dog is fay, you're not getting enough exercise! Not many of us love to exercise and it is no surprise if your lovely poooch too is reluctant to engage in serious exercising. Taking your dog for a walk daily helps him drop those extra pounds and makes him and you fit again.

Some tips to make your dog walk:

Whilst walking is good for your dog, it is not important that your dog understands the same. Usually, dogs are a little reluctant to go for a walk. Here are some tips that can help you make your dog walk easily.
  • Using a dog leash is a must. Never expect your dog to walk properly on his/her own.
  • Reflex leashes are a no-no as they reduce your control over your pet. I admit, I am guilty of this but really...Who's Walk Is It Anyway?!
  • You could also use a dog walker if you have toy dogs or small dogs such as Chihuahua or a Pug.
  • Big dogs such as a Terrier or a Bulldog have the tendency to lead when walking. Make sure that you tell them that you are the leader by always walking ahead of them.
  • Dachshund, Yorkshire terrier and some other breeds have the tendency to stop and sniff whenever they are walking. Make sure that you give them at least one chance to stop at their own convenience. But, ensure that this does not become a habit.

A Poooh Busters re-post, for further information Click Here.

September 20, 2010

Doggy Safety Tips For Autumn

Fall is a great time for dogs and their owners. These safety tips will help make it enjoyable for all!

1. Don't underestimate how cold it can be early in the day; some shorthaired breeds may need a sweater.
Mrs. Nate loves this part. I really think we need to get her a girl dog. She is always looking at girlie type lothes but I always stop her saying, "We have boy dogs! They're not wearing anything pink!"

Pawhaus Pet Boutique has some great items for fall and winter! Check it out!

2. Reassess your dog's diet.
Working dogs or those that spend a lot of time outdoors may need additional calories to generate body heat. This is not something most of us city-fied folks need to consider but it's still a great tip! I seriously think Oscar is the last one who needs more calories.

While you're at it, it might be a good time to start thinking about switching them to a raw food diet. Tail Blazers has awesome products and they can answer all your questions!

3. Keep your dog away from those newly purchased school supplies.
Crayons, glue sticks, pencils and magic markers can have a way of multiplying around the house once kids get involved with homework and other school projects. While most school supplies are not extremely toxic unless large amounts are consumed, they can cause gastrointestinal blockages and upset if your pet eats them.

4. Watch out for mushrooms as fall is their peak season.
Toxic fungi can be harmful or even fatal. We've seen them here and there in our backyard. I think mostly because of all this damn rain we've been getting. The boys are making a mess of our floors, furniture and bedding to boot!

5. Use Care When Changing Your Car’s Coolant
I used to be my own backyard mechanic and autumn was a common time of year to change my car’s engine coolant. As we all know, ethylene glycol-based coolants are highly toxic to pets. Switching to a propylene glycol-based coolant is a good choice, as although these can still harm pets they are less toxic than other coolants.

Well I hope this helps. Our October newsletter wil be going out in a couple of weeks. I'll be sure to include some great tips to help everyone enjoy Halloween in a fun and safe manner.

September 15, 2010

Do Dogs Get Depressed?

I've wondered about dog depression on the odd occasion. Mostly because it seems sometimes our first "son", Mojo gets depressed. He looks all pathetic and mopes around the house. He sighs a lot and seems generally unenthusiastic about things.

His favourite thing to do is go for walks, especially if we take him to the doggie park where he can chase his ball. But during his bouts of what I sometimes think is depression, on walks he turns into a big jerk and doesn't listen and can be somewhat belligerent.

I found out that like humans, dogs do occasionally suffer from bouts of depression. They get lethargic, stop eating, and drink only minimal amounts of water, stop wanting to play, and even lose drastic amounts of weight.

I wonder what could cause this in our normally, happy-go-lucky Mojo. Could it be a change of scenery? We moved from his happy home in McKenzie to a new home in Auburn Bay where for a long time he had no yard. Being a new neighbourhood it had no mature trees, grass and bushes to sniff and pee on. But that was almost three years ago now. Although he doesn't know it now, we are looking at doing it all over again in November when we move to Mahogany. Sorry Momo!

Could it be a chemical imbalance, needing medication to correct it? Well I'm pretty sure I would never ask a vet to prescribe doggie Prozac. I'm a strong believer that drugs is never the answer!

Apparently even the weather can adversely affect a normally happy dog! Which is a likely possibility, especially with the past couple of summers we've had.

I really wonder though if it has something to do with Mrs. Nate and I bringing new members into the family. When Mojo came home as a puppy it was only him and our three cats, Sneaky, Monster and Mr. Goo. Since then, both Sneaky and Monster have passed away and we have since adopted Oscar (dog #2) and two more cats, Chloe and Burberry. Everytime we bring in a new pet, it changes up his routine for meal times and walks. I really think he doesn't like the change and he especially doesn't like the new family members taking our attention away from him.

So then is Mojo just spoiled?

Now some people believe dogs are just dogs and we as pet guardians tend to humanize them too much. I know Mrs. Big Nate and I are guilty of this because we do look at all our pets as our children.

So perhaps, we are just causing these feelings of angst in our Mojo by the way we treat him and the other animals in the house.

Don't worry Mojo, you are still Mommy and Daddy's favourite! I know we're not supposed to pick favourites but he is our very first puppy and he really is a good boy!

September 10, 2010

Do Pets Help or Hinder a Property For Sale?

Mrs. Big Nate and I are in the process of building a house with Sabal Homes in the brand new community of Mahogany. We love the look and feel of this neighbourhood and can’t wait to move into our new digs!

Currently we are also trying to sell our existing home in Auburn Bay. Selling in this market is no fun and quite scary to say the least! But our realtors tell us we are priced correctly and our home shows very well. I have to admit, the Mrs. and I keep our home in mint condition. Not just because we are selling but because we are two adults with a tendency for cleanliness and organization. We are maybe even a little freakish about it. Yes we are perfectionists and spend a lot of time keeping our place very clean and pet hair free. Many people say they wouldn't even know we owned pets if they weren't standing right there in front of them.

We have had our home listed for over three weeks now and had only three showings so far. Nothing came of the showings, the buyers simply weren't interested and we’re not really sure why. It could be any number of reasons, the main one being that there is so much inventory to choose from right now. We are however, a little paranoid about the fact that we have pets. Could this be turning people off? Are buyers continuing to search until they find a pet-free home?

I feel almost everybody loves pets except the home buyer! We as home sellers who adore our pets have a hard time imagining the negative attitudes others harbor against pets. So, while this might be a bitter pill for Mrs. Nate and I to swallow, we have tried our best to mitigate the signs of our pet’s existence.

I did some research to find some reasons why home buyers don’t like pets. In response to the perceptions buyers have of pets we have done everything we can to prepare our home for sale.


  • Nervousness. Pets make some people very uncomfortable. Not everybody grew up with a family pet or enjoys outings at the zoo.

  • Fear. Real and irrational. It's not only dogs that instill fear in people. All kinds of silly wives' tales and superstitions involve cats.
  • Our pets aren't their pets. They imagine ours bite, jump, vomit, claw, spit-up hairballs or are just plain hyper and bad.

Our Solution

We take the dogs away during a showing and lock the three cats in the basement (sorry guys). The preferred thing to do would be to relocate our pets while we’re on the market but that just isn’t an option for us nor would we consider it unless we were extremely desperate. Mrs. Nate is excellent at keeping the kitty litter boxes clean and fresh. We put our bedside doggy stairs away, hide the pet beds and move the kitty condo downstairs too. Our house is extremely clean and smells that way. Smell can be the biggest turn off to any buyer regardless of what is causing the odour.

So we cross our fingers and pray to the real estate gods in hopes that someone will buy our little home nestled in the heart of Auburn Bay.

If you or someone you know is looking a house feel free to visit our MLS listing and contact our realtors. We need pet lovers to visit; they won’t mind a couple Mojo nose prints on the window.

My apologies for the shamelss plug!

August 31, 2010

Whose Walk Is It? Mine or the Dog's?

Quite often, when I’m out walking the boys, I see numerous other guardians with their happy poooches too. It is so great to see how many other folks believe in daily walks for their dogs as well.

Mrs. Big Nate and I walk our two mutts twice a day. I take them for a quick jaunt around the block first thing in the morning. This way they get to burn a little energy off from their sleep and I feel better knowing that they are going to be alone for the next 9 hours while we are at work. And then we both take them for a longer jaunt again in the evening.

I walk them so regularly; sometimes I forget what a walk is all about for my dogs. For them, a walk is about sights, sounds, experiences. It’s about checking “p-mail,” sniffing hydrants and trees to find out where the neighbor’s dog or cat last peed. It’s about shoving their faces down the hole of a gopher and sniffing until they finally pull their faces out, dirty, blissful, nostrils full of the smell of wild animals. It’s about munching a particularly tender blade of grass, saying “hello” to a friendly stranger they’d like to greet, lifting a leg on every fire hydrant, sign, or tree you pass, splashing in a puddle or creek, or chewing a stick for a brief moment.

This is what walks mean to dogs. It’s a chance to investigate and interact with their environment. It’s mental and physical stimulation.

I forget this and tend to approach a walk with the mentality that, “We’re going to walk x route in y amount of minutes whatever that takes. It will be your exercise for the day and you’d better well like it.” Some days it’s a “let’s just get this over with” mentality.

Let’s face facts. For many, many dogs, a half hour leash walk every day barely scratches the surface of their true exercise needs. Mojo, our Bichon Spaniel mix, is a very active dog and he could go for an hour at least, if I’m able to throw a ball even better! A 30-minute walk is a drop in the bucket for him. If I want to really tire him out, we need to go a dog park or on a long hike. For Oscar, he’s smaller and slightly overweight so he doesn’t need much to tire him out.
When we as pet guardians go on a walk, we need to remember we are walking for our dogs. It’s their chance to just get out there and be dogs, to sniff and explore. If Mrs. Nate I want to go on a brisk, no-nonsense, let’s-not-stop-for-anything-power walk, we should go without the dogs.

We shouldn’t insist on perfect obedience either. Sometimes they pull on the leash to meet a stranger or another dog. Sometimes they stop for extended periods of time to sniff something interesting. We have to remember they move faster than we do and think poop is more interesting than we do. I’m not saying I let my dogs pull me around, but sometimes the leash does go tight. So what? Just stop, wait for the tension to come off the leash, and then start walking again.

When it comes down to it, I don’t want robots, I want canines. I want them to have plenty of opportunities to just do the things that they like to do, even if means that they’re sniffing for 30 minutes our of a 45 minute walk and we only make it around four or five blocks instead of walking a few kilometres. Sometimes, I even let the dogs pick the route we take. Something smells good on the right! Let’s go that way instead of going left.

Next time you leash your dog up for a walk; ask yourself, “Whose walk is it anyway?”

August 27, 2010

True Passion for Animal Welfare

Today I dedicate and write this blog about a very special person who I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for close to 10 years now. If you follow the Poooh Busters Facebook fan page and read it every now and then, I’m sure you will have seen the name Melaina Slater. She is a loyal follower and supporter of all things Poooh Busters. She even helped us hand out flyers at our booth the very first time we attended the Calgary Pet Expo in 2006.

I met Melaina a long time ago through Mrs. Big Nate. They used to work together in the insurance industry and we have been lucky enough to stay friends with Melaina and her very, very understanding fiancée’, Patrick. I say understanding for a very good reason which you will see. Pat loves animals too but he certainly must love Melaina even more to support her in her passion for helping animals.

I’m featuring Melaina in this blog because she actually practices what all animals lovers believe, helping those pets less fortunate and in need of love and care. Many of us say how much we love dogs and cats and birds and rodents and reptiles. She truly shows it through her actions. Most of us have been to the Calgary Humane Society (CHS) and consider adopting a new pet. We look at the all poor animals waiting for homes and we can’t help feeling sad or angry. I know I sure do! We tend to say things like, “I would love to help these animals by volunteering but I just can’t do it! I can’t take the emotions I feel. I get too angry or I would spend the whole time crying for them”. That’s all well and good but it still doesn’t help these poor creatures! People like Melaina who love animals as much as any of us, overcomes these emotions and does what is right! Regardless of how angry or sad she gets, she faces it and puts all of herself into actually making a difference for many of Calgary’s most unfortunates.

Melaina’s interest in animal welfare began when she adopted her first rescue, a dog she and Patrick named Jerome (named after Jerome Iginla). This was back in 2005. She then saw an opportunity to help further by volunteering for the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) as an adoption screener. From there Melaina’s love for pets was so great she left her career in insurance and focused on the pet industry. She secured a job with Hill's Pet Nutrition where she would represent the company at various pet stores. Melaina felt this path just wasn’t fulfilling enough. Eventually she ended up at the Calgary Humane Society in 2006. It was here that she found her niche and felt like she was starting to make a difference. It was also where she started to rescue and foster many animals in need. This is part where she is glad her fiancée is such an understanding and loving person.

At CHS her official title is Operations Administrator but Melaina also did Emergency On-call for the Protection Department for about three years. It was here where Mrs. Nate and I would hear some very sad and also very maddening stories about what really happens to many pets in Calgary. We would get so angry hearing about some of the very nasty things that people do to such innocent and helpless creatures. To this day we still hear about all the bogus reasons why people surrender their animals to CHS. Sometimes, people even believe they are helping the CHS by giving them their pets! Can you believe that? They actually think that by giving up their dog or cat, they are providing a source of income to the shelter! Never mind the cost for housing, feeding, vet care and the cost of paying the employee to process each and every pet that comes and goes. Let’s not forget about what happens to most unfortunate ones that never get adopted… (starting to get angry again).

Since 2005 Melaina has adopted/rescued three dogs (Jerome, Taylor and Jasmine), two cats (Harley and Petra), and four birds (Chuck, Milo, Eddie and Joey). Her house is quite full and her life is full as well. She spends time cleaning cages, kitty litter boxes, scooping poop and tending to the welfare of her entire extended family of dogs, cats and birds. On top of all that she has even managed to foster five more birds and a puppy!

About a year ago Melaina became acquainted with Anna from Birdline Parrot Rescue where again she sacrifices much her very limited free time to volunteer for this organization. Poooh Busters recently sponsored a fundraising event for Birdline where they raised over $1600 in much needed funding. Congrats to Birdline on their success!

Melaina found that she has a special place in her heart for parrots. Recently she has been spending a lot of time and money at the vet getting her Goffin’s Cockatoo, Joey nursed back to health. Parrots are a funny creature who tend to self mutilate due to their lack of ability to adjust to being confined.

Of course Melaina isn’t the only person who gives and gives, there are many folks out there just like her who sacrifice so much to provide all creatures, great and small a fighting chance. I am always amazed at how many rescue foundations there are in Calgary and the surrounding areas. They all need our help. So if you can, pick even just one and help them out either financially or by sparing some of your precious time.

What more can I say about Ms. Slater? She is truly a saint to Calgary’s pet adoption and rescue effort. Her passion and giving nature is truly awe inspiring and if everyone was like Melaina, this world of pets would a much better place!

Melaina, please accept a small token of appreciation from the Poooh Busters team. We want to provide you and Patrick with 12 weeks of pooper scooper service at no charge. It isn’t much compared to what you do for the cause but we hope it helps even if just a little.

August 11, 2010

Poisonous Plants

It was brought to my attention this morning that a long time associate of Poooh Busters recently had an incident where they almost lost their dog to a poisonous plant called the Sago Palm.

Trish Way of Pooches in the Park Pet Care and her dog Gracie had a frightful time recovering from the effects of Gracie's affinity to eating this particular plant. The biggest worry of all is that this plant is available from your local Walmart or Home Depot and there is no warning about the dangers of this plant to pets and humans!

Of course we are all responsible for making sure our pets don't eat things that can harm them but a warning or something might have made the difference here. To be safe, just don't allow your pets to any household plants.

Some general info on the Sago Palm:
Cycad Sago Palm is extremely poisonous to both humans and ani
mals if ingested. Pets are at particular risk since they seem to find the plant very palatable.
  • Clinical symptoms of ingestion will develop within 12 hours and may include vomiting, diarrhoea,weakness, seizures, liver failure, or hepatotoxicity characterized by icterus, cirrhosis, and ascites. The pet may appear bruised, have nose bleeds (epistaxis), melena (blood in the stool), hematochezia (bloody straining), and hemarthrosis (blood in the joints).
  • The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center estimates a fatality rate of 50 to 75 percent when ingestion of the Sago Palm is involved. The incidence of Sago Palm ingestion by pets has risen by over 200% in the last five years.
  • If any quantity of the plant is ingested, a poison control center or doctor should be contacted immediately. Effects of ingestion can include permanent internal damage and death. All parts of the plant are toxic; however, the seeds contain the highest level of the toxin cycasin. Cycasin causes gastrointestinal irritation, and in high enough doses, leads to liver failure.
  • Other toxins include Beta-methylamino L-alanine, a neurotoxic amino acid, and an unidentified toxin which has been observed to cause hindlimb paralysis in cattle.
At present Gracie is at home and resting. She is still wretching every now and then. The vet has put her on some drugs and she is quite "out of it". Tomorrow she will go back to see the clinic and they will monitor her all day to se if she requires more IV fluids. She just has to make it through the next 48 hours and then she should be in the clear and will pull through without too much permanent damage.

Our thoughts are with you Trish in this difficult and trying time. We wish Gracie all the best and a very speedy recovery!

August 7, 2010

Traveling With Pets

Holy she's freaking HOT out there today. You wouldn't think so by looking out the window but Mojo, Oscar and I just got back from a walk around the neighbourhood. It was cut short by the afternoon heat.

As we were walking I saw several RVs and Trailers coming and going. Some had dogs hanging out the window, others didn't. This got me to thinking about a road trip with my animals. They've never travelled that far or for very long. How would handle a two day trip to visit my sister in Fort St. John, BC? I started looking for advice on traveling with pets.
I found a great article by Jennifer L. Scott, D.V.M. She is a vet for the Sundance Animal Hospital here in Calgary. Great, helpful tips that I'd like t pass along. Here's some information in point form:

  • To start, try a few short trips in the car to see how they handle the experience
  • It may be helpful to put the dog or cat in a solid-sided crate to prevent motion sickness
  • Solid-sided crates can be hot, so keep them well ventilated and out of direct sun
  • Freeze water in a plastic container, slip these around the crate to create a cooler atmosphere
  • The frozen water also melts and creates cold drinking water for your pet
  • Offer food and water often but don't let them eat or drink too much, upsets there tummy
  • Sedative are always an option (not something I would use personally), use caution
  • Traveling to the US will require proof of up-to-date vaccinations (rabies in particular)
  • Make sure your pet wears ID at all times, microchipping should also be used
Just some interesting information in case you're thinking of traveling anywhere before our summer comes to an end!

Here's hoping the heat sticks around for more than a couple of days!

August 6, 2010

Mrs. Big Nate and The CHS Dog Jog

It's already over two months since the Calgary Humane Society (CHS) held their 10th Annual Dog Jog. For the second year in a row, my wife, Mrs. Big Nate registered as a supporter for this worthy cause.

The CHS reports that this year's event held on June 5th at Fish Creek Park, had over 600 participants and raised a whopping $130,093! Not bad for being such a miserable day for weather to boot.

The first time Mrs. Nate registered was at last year's event where she raised a cool $600 as a fundraising individual. After the jog was over, they announced who the top fundraisers were. Third prize went to a person who raised $700. We weren't even expecting to come close to third but were very surprised to learn that Mrs. Big Nate was only $100+ off from making third place. Either way, it was fun and it was worth the time and effort to help Calgary's top pet rescue.

When Mrs. Nate got the email this year telling us about the 2010 Dog Jog, she was immediately on a mission! She was not only going to register again but was going to go for the #1 spot as Top Fundraising Individual too. This person is the one who raises the most money in donations as a single participant. She was not registered as a business or as a team. She started her campaign right away and began hitting up friends, family and co-workers for anything they would be willing to give.

CHS offered participant donation pages on their website. Participants would have their own donation page with pictures and a story. I immediately created this for her and every now and then, she would share this link on her Facebook updates. It was incredible to witness how giving our friends and family really are! Of course Poooh Busters was the biggest donor for her campaign, we donated $250 on behalf Mrs. Big Nate. Thank you Roland and Erin for that! Also Mrs. Nate would like to thank everyone who made a donation, it was really a heartwarming experience to see such generosity.

So how much did she raise? It's actually hard to determine an accurate number. There were so many things that happened causing the numbers to be mangled. All the cash donations were entered twice, once by me and once by the Dog Jog donation committee. Also there were two or three donations made on her page that never got added to her total. Either way, Mrs. Big Nate raised approx. $1700 for this year's Dog Jog! That's more than $500 above last year's top fundraiser!

So the pets and people that benefit from these donations must be thanking Mrs. Nate for her hard work and effort. I know I'm thankful for her each and every day.

August 4, 2010

It's Not Just About The Dogs!

I know we spend a lot of time talking about dogs. We take pictures of dogs, we write about dogs, we shop for our dogs, we walk them and play with them. In fact as a society, in general we are crazy about dogs! We'll even pay someone to come to our yards on a weekly basis, pick up the doggy doo and take it away. Thank goodness!

Anyway, my point is that dogs aren't the only pets out there. People love all kinds of animals and want to take care of them in their homes and as a part of their families. Cats, fish, rodents, reptiles, and even miniature, Pot Bellied Pigs!

But I'm here to talk about Birds. Yes, Birds!

Hands up. How many of you have ever had a bird as a pet? Come on, let's see those hands. Personally, I used to own several White Doves. Long ago, I was a children's magician and performed my shows using live doves and a rabbit.

As a former guardian of birds, I know what is it like to care for birds and how much work it can really be. I truly believe you have to be a special person to care for a bird and keep it as a member of your family. Dogs and cats need lots of work too, don't get me wrong but birds need a different type of energy than other pets.

A great friend and supporter of Poooh Busters approached me about having us sponsor a fundraiser event for an organization called Birdline Parrot Rescue. My first thought was probably the same as yours now...but Poooh Busters is a dog service, we have nothing to do with birds! But you know what? We love all pets and we care that all animals in the world get a good and loving home. So with the Team's agreement we decided to do our part for the parrots out there. Poooh Busters is sponsoring the 1st Annual Birdline Canada Ltd. BBQ Fundraiser! Please check it out on their Facebook events page. It's a real easy and an inexpensive way to help a worthy cause. Just show up to the Whitehorn Community Centre in NE Calgary on August 21, 2010 and drop off a bag of bottles, in return you'll get a burger, chips and a pop! Or if you have no bottles to donate, just purchase the ole' burger combo for a mere $5.00. That's it! What could be cheaper or easier?

I've never really paid much attention to the "bird side" of the pet industry but it's astounding how much is really going on out there when you start looking! First I checked the Birdline Parrot Rescue website for some quick info, they have an extensive site with tons of articles, info on adoption, rescue, health and nutrition and more. This site lead me to the Avian Welfare Resource Centre, these folks talk about conservation and legislation among many, many other things. From there I did some Googling and the results were just crazy! Just type in "Bird Rescue Canada" and you'll see the resources for Canada alone is astounding!

So we decided, birds (Parrots especially) need to be recognized too. After all, Poooh Busters is not just part of the dog industry, we are a part of the pet industry.

Maybe together, we can help make this world a better place for all pets, no matter what their species!

July 16, 2010

I haven't met a Labradoodle I didn't like!

I came across this blog on the website. I always wondered where the Labradoodle came from. I had never heard of the cross breed until my parent's-in-law bought a brother/sister pair, Cole and Lucy. They're are black in colour, large in size and they love to play. They are extremely friendly and maybe a bit hyper. Other than that, these dogs are awesome!

The creator of the popular labradoodle wonders if he was barking up the wrong tree when he came up with the idea for the world’s first designer dog.

The 81-year-old Australian man says he’s not sure he made the right decision to cross a poodle with a Labrador retriever back in the late 1980s. Since then, designer mixed-breed dogs have proliferated, giving pet owners the choice among groodles, snoodles and spoodles, among others.

”Today I am internationally credited as the first person to breed the labradoodle,” 81-year-old Australian resident Wally Conran told The Australian. “But I wonder, in my retirement, whether we bred a designer dog - or a disaster.”

While working for the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia in the early 1980s, Conran was contacted by a vision-impaired woman in Hawaii. She needed an allergy-free guide dog since her husband had allergies to dogs. Though no breed is completely hypoallergenic, Conran decided to try crossing a poodle with a lab. Once he found a trainable poodle with a good temperament, he mated it to the lab and three puppies were born. The vision-impaired woman’s husband learned that just one puppy was allergy free.

The new crossbred dog was a good fit for allergy sufferers who were vision-impaired, but the world’s first designer dog didn’t really catch on until Conran came up with a great marketing idea.

“I decided to stop mentioning the word crossbreed and introduced the term ‘labradoodle’ instead to describe my new allergy-free guide-dog pups,” he wrote.

The name caught on and interest in the labradoodle soared, but he began to worry about “backyard breeders producing supposedly allergy-free dogs for profit,” Conran wrote. He felt that he had opened up a Pandora’s box.

“Were breeders bothering to check their sires and bitches for hereditary faults, or were they simply caught up in delivering to hungry customers the next status symbol?” he wrote.

And, Conran added, “It’s not something I’m proud of. I wish I could turn the clock back.”

July 12, 2010

The Big Switch - Part Four

Wow! Can it really be Day 22 of the Big Switch to a raw food diet?

I've been a little behind in my updates and I apologize to anyone who was anxiously awaiting this next chapter but I have to say I was more than a little disappointed when I weighed all four animals in at Day 14 and discovered not one had lost a single pound!

I titled this series of blogs "Oscar and Goo's Weight Loss" but I think it's probably a good idea to take away such expectations (from myself as well as the kids) and rename these updates with a more appropriate title. After all this is about a lifestyle change, a switch to raw food, not just plain old weight loss. Yes? It has been a big adjustment for everyone!

So over the past week I have stopped concentrating on the "diet" aspect of this raw food diet and more on just getting into a routine and learning more about what the pets like and dislike, portion sizes and supplements. My goal now is to get them to actually like and want their dinners instead of having to bribe them to eat it.

I'd say we've reached that goal and just in the past three days or so! It seems only the past few days now both dogs and both cats really dig into their meals, virtually no coaxing or hesitation occurs anymore. A big bonus! I'm finally getting to the point where I think I'm prepping the food much better. At first it was quite mushy and probably was an undesirable texture for the palet.

I'll continue to plug along and and the dogs and cats will keep eating until eventually it will be just like we were doing it all along. Maybe I'll try another weigh-in again in the next couple of weeks. Next blog I'll talk about the various supplements and oils that we have been trying out.

I also wanted to talk about a product I picked up from Tail Blazers in Copperfield. We were complaining to Holly about the dogs wrecking our lawn with their urine even though they get walked twice a day. She threw down this small paper bag marked "Dog Rocks". Basically it's a certain type of rock that you simply place in your dog's water dish and the minerals these rocks release into the water they drink help neutralize the chemical in the dog's urine that ruins grass. In fact, it actually does the opposite, now it seems your dogs will be fertilizing it! So for under $20, we picked up a package and promptly placed it in their water bowl. We've been using it over a week now and I'm just starting to see evidence of where the grass grows a little longer and little greener in spots. I'll take some pictures and post them, I think this product really works! I can't wait till we've been using about a month and see the real results of no crappy brown spots dotting the landscape!

Visit their website for more info!

June 30, 2010

Poooh Busters Blog: Oscar & Mr. Goo's Weight Loss Diary - Part Three

Well here we are on day ten!

I am happy to report that things have been going very well. All the animals have settled into their new feeding routine and we have started to broaden their horizons.

On the last blog I weighed all our pets in. Mr. Goo coming in as the heavy-weight champion of the world with an astounding 25lbs! This coming weekend on July 4th I will weigh them again to see if anyone has lost a pound or two over the last two weeks of being on their new, raw food diet. Mrs. Big Nate and I have noticed that Oscar seems to have dropped an inch around his chubby, little waist. I can't wait to see if he has indeed lost weight!

We purchased two Wizzer Belly Bands from Pawhaus Pet Boutique a couple of months ago. These are cloth bands that wrap around Oscar's waist to cover his "willy" and keeps him from peeing in the house. These are a godsend! Since we have been using them, we find very little "markings" around the house (only when forget to put them on him). We had originally ordered a small size thinking Oscar is a small dog. We got the Belly Bands and discovered our "little" Oscar was a large size, not a small! So Amanda from Pawhaus was kind enough to exchange them for larges. We just couldn't believe Oscar was a large! Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because lately we found Oscar's Belly Band has fallen off sometime through the night. He must be losing weight because we can't tighten the bands any further to keep them on him. Very excited about this!

So back to the food. Last Sunday we ran out of our original supply of raw food including any samples Holly was kind enough to send home with us. So we visited Holly's store and really stocked up this time. We picked up 8 boxes of various types of meat for both the dogs and cats. The nice thing about Tail Blazers is they give you discounts when you buy more. We have found the animals like Urban Carnivore. The meat comes in easy-to-measure patties of various types of meat.

The girls at the store were also knowledgable enough to suggest a good poweder supplement for the dog's food. It has all kinds of great vitamins to help them get more nutrition from their meals. We also picked up bottle of fish oil to add in as well. This helps with digestion and a few other things too. (I think, Holly can correct me if I'm off here).

A few things I have noticed along the way:

  • Nobody seems to enjoy the beef much. The cats especially love the poutry types (chicken and turkey). Both the cats and the dogs just turn their nose up at the beef for a while and then eventually tackle it. I usually have to put a little extra "enticer" in to get them to eat.

  • The dogs are now always hungry. They hover over the cats while they eat hoping to get some leftovers if they walk away without eating the entire dinner. We need to look into what to do about making them feel fuller. I remember Holly suggested adding fibre to their meals, I hope this helps.

  • The dog's pooops are smaller, darker and harder. It's almost like they're "using" what they are eating more, creating less waste. This is something Poooh Busters could either love or hate! The pooops are easier to pick up but less pooop means bad things for us! LOL

  • The cats are shedding like crazy! Holly said this could happen as they "detox".

  • The cost so far has been comparable to what we would have spent for dry food from our vet clinic. We certainly spend more on the food from the vet than from a grocery store or large pet store chain. So for us, the switch to raw food has not been a burden on our pocketbook.
To wrap up, I look forward to blogging again after the weekend to update everyone on the weight of our four subjects.

Thank you for visiting and reading, see you next time!

June 22, 2010

Oscar & Mr. Goo's Weight Loss Diary - Part Two

Well here we are on day three! It is going very well actually, much smoother than we had expected.

The feeding routine is as follows:
The cats get fed twice a day, once in the morning before work and once again around 5:00 after work. The dogs get fed once a day, usually around the same time as the cat's dinner time. So everyone is eating around 5:00 all at the same time.

Day One
The morning of the first day was pretty much a wash, the cats wouldn't touch their breakfast. We left the untouched bowls out all day while we were at work. To our surprise, upon our arrival at home, we found the food was all gone. Not sure if the cats or the dogs ate it.

At dinner time all the animals decided to turn their noses up at the raw food. This was the dog's first exposure to this strange, new meat. To entice them, we added a little bit of kibble in hopes they might just give it a taster. The note that Holly Montgomery from Tail Blazers wrote states we are not to mix dry in with the meat. The simple fact is that the meat digests much quicker than the dry kibble. This causes digestion problems such as gas and indigestion. We weren't sure what to do to get them to eat so we broke this rule right off the bat. It didn't matter either way, they just picked out the dry and left the meat behind. We left the food out for most of the evening but neither of the dogs touched it. I picked up the remainder and put it in the fridge to try again the next day.

The cats didn't touch their dinner either so we added a half can of the Fancy Feast we usually mix with their kibble. This worked beautifully! They ate about half each and walked away. All in all not too bad for the very first day.

Day Two
On day two, things went a little better. Again I added a half can of Fancy Feast to help with the transition. Mr. Goo was probably starving at this point (he is always hungry!) so he gave it his best shot. He got through about half and said that was enough for this morning. Chloe ate some too but threw it all back up and then walked away.

In the evening, we had no trouble with the cats eating their dinner. This time they ate most of it and happily Chloe kept her food down. The dogs again did not really want to eat. We discovered Oscar with his short snout was having trouble picking up the bits of meat so Mrs. Big Nate thought it would be easier for Oscar if we put his dinner on a nice, flat plate. He ate most of his after adding just a little bit of cheese to further entice them both. This also seemed to help Mojo as he actually ate three or four bites before giving up. Mojo is picky at the best of times, he was the one we were worried about most.

Day Three
I'm happy report that this was the day of turn around! The cats pretty much ate all their meals before I left for work in the morning. I think were getting pretty hungry by this point and just wanted to eat something, anything!

When we got home, we fed the entire clan all at the same time. It was like someone turned on a switch or something! All four animals pretty much devoured their meals. We are still adding little enticers to help with the transition but I will start cutting those in half as of day four.

We couldn't be happier with how things have gone so far and I can't wait to start seeing some of the positive side effects that come with this new diet. Namely of course, weight loss!

Here's the stats:

Mojo - Age: 5 - 15lbs (Goal: 13lbs)

Oscar - Age 4 - 19lbs (Goal: 12lbs)

Chloe - Age 1 - 9 lbs (Goal: Maintain Current Weight)

Mr. Goo - Age 9 - 25lbs (Goal: 15lbs)

June 21, 2010

Oscar & Mr. Goo's Weight Loss Diary - Part One

It seems that not only us humans struggle with the never-ending battle of the bulge. Our pets are dealing with this issue everyday too.

Pet obesity is a major health concern. Overweight pets suffer more physical ailments and do not live as long as animals of recommended weight. Obesity often reduces a pet's enjoyment of life. An estimated 25-40% of dogs in the United States are obese. Pet obesity is not an issue involving dogs alone, cats and all domestic pets are at risk from this potentially fatal condition. I wasn't able to find a decent statistic for Canada but I think we can safely assume our overweight pet population is roughly the same as in the States.

Being in the pet industry I get to know a lot of different people with a lot of different opinions. Vets have a completely different view of what a pet should eat compared to dog food reps setting up displays in your local , large pet store chain.

I am very fortunate to have come across an excellent source of information on what a pet should consume to be healthy and to maintain a proper weight. I met Holly Montgomery after becoming involved with Poooh Busters. Holly owns and operates Tail Blazers in Copperfield, SE Calgary. Tail Blazers, "Health Food Store For Pets", is a store where pet guardians can find only wholesome, healthy food and treats, a wide variety of supplements, accessories, knowledgeable staff and lots more!

This store, especially Holly's store has an extremely welcoming and warm atmosphere. It's almost like walking into a store in the middle a very small town. It's casual, fun and very personal. Holly knows many of her customers and their pets by name. She knows what they are there to buy and offers up her expert advice on all things related to raising a well fed, healthy dog or cat.

Mrs. Big Nate and I own four pets. Two dogs and two cats. One dog, Oscar is overweight and one cat, Mr. Goo is what I would call obese! The other two animals are of a healthy weight, which in itself is weird. How can two animals be fat and the other two be fine? They all eat the same things and pretty much the same amounts.

Well, I thought it was about time to use Holly's knowledge and products as a resource to resolve the overweight issues Oscar and Goo are experiencing.

So what is Holly's suggestion to get a fat pet on its way to a lean body?

A Raw Food Diet!

I've heard about raw food from several different sources and even did some research on it over the internet. As always there are arguments for and against the feeding of raw food. So what better way to test this science than by performing my own little experiment. Subjects? Oscar the Japanese Chin dog and Mr. Goo the Long Haired, Blue-eyed Burmese cat!

So the over the next few months I will be blogging our progress and experience. Please be sure to follow along, and you might learn a little something along the way. I sure hope to!

On my next blog, I will weigh in both pets and talk about our first few days of transistioning our pets to their new diet. Stay tuned, it should be interesting to say the least!

June 9, 2010

Common Dog Behaviour Problems

Another great article from our friends at Dogster...

If you've obedience trained your dog, you have a pooch who is a good listener and a savvy learner. But some dog problems and behaviors cannot be solved with the basic commands such as "Sit!" and "Come!" And a dog who follows every command during a training session can still have behavioral problems.

When the peace and quiet of the home hearth is suddenly disrupted by your dog's bad behavior, it's not time to get frustrated and lament how this can be. You may ask why they didn't cover digging in obedience class or excessive barking or shoe chewing. But you can find the answers to these mishaps right here.
The first step is to analyze the destructive behavior by asking yourself a few questions:

What - What exactly is he doing?

When - When did this behavior start? Does this behavior occur at a certain time of day or during the week?

Where - Has there been any change in my dog's environment, big or small? Does it always occur in a certain room or outside or in a new space?

How Often - Is the behavior consistent or does your dog just misbehave when something is different, such as having guests over?

Why - An analysis of these questions will give you a "why."

Consider ruling out an illness before you begin your strategy. Any significant change in a dog's behavior warrants a visit to the vet. Look at the time the behavior started and tie that into any possible change. Change means something big like a newborn or something small like a change in your dog's routine. If the behavior occurs at a specific time each day, consider what goes on during that time - is it when you leave the house or come in? Or is it when the trash truck comes? Also, consider your dog's environment where it occurs - has there been a rearrangement of the furniture in the living room? Or new sod in the backyard?

Keep notes about the time, place, and activity going on when your dog misbehaves and follow these tips to correct the behavior.


What - If your dog is digging small holes, it's not a huge problem. If he's digging a crater in your yard, something must be done.

Why - Dogs dig for many reasons. Some dig when they're bored, some dig to bury things, some dig to create a sort of den for themselves, some dig to try to get out and some dig to follow a smell.
Where - Does your dog only dig near the fence? Then he is likely trying to escape? Near the trashcan? Then he's following a scent.

When - If your dog is digging when the sun is high, he's likely trying to cool off.

The Solution: Determine what is going on in your dog's environment outside. If he's reacting to noise or heat or the neighbor's cat slinking into the yard, bring him inside. To cure those who bury things, do not leave any toys or bones out with your dog. To keep a dog from digging to get out, place patio stones along the fence. And to thwart a scenthound, cover areas in cedar to distract his nose.


What - A few warning barks should not be curbed by a dog owner, However, excessive barking must be stopped.

Why - Dogs bark mostly to warn their humans of some danger. A dog may also bark in response to another dog or a sound such as a siren.

Where - Barking inside bursts your eardrums, outside bursts your neighbors'.

When - If a dog only barks at a certain time of the day, it is likely a sound outside.

The Solution: Unfortunately, we don't have much control over our outside environment. There are a few humane tools we can use, though - the Citronella Collar and the Ultrasound Anti-Barker. Both of these are harmless and can deter barking.


What - No chewing of human items is acceptable.

Why - Your dog may be bored or he may be lured by the new pair of boots you bought.

Where - If your dog only chews on things in the kitchen, it may be that those objects are particularly desirable to him. If he runs outside with something, He may be more interested in burying it.

When - If your dog chew things while you are away, it actually isn't some sort of revenge. But it is a sign of boredom.

The Solution: the easiest thing to do is to put everything away. It will mean a more organized house for you and less temptation for your dog. You can spray items with a deterrent such as Bitter Apple or switch his focus from the bad item to a toy. Always leave him durable chew toys when you leave the house.


What - No jumping should be allowed.

Why - Dogs jump on people to get attention and/or to assert dominance.

Where - If your dog only jumps on people at the door, it is likely both a greeting and a way of showing who is in charge. If your dog jumps up on people in someplace like the kitchen, it is likely to get that bit of chicken off their chin.

When - Perhaps your dog is not a jumper except when he goes out for a walk. Or maybe he jumps on you only when you wear a hat.

The Solution: The best command to use when a dog jumps on you is "Off!". As you say the command in a firm voice, gently raise your knee into a larger dog's chest or gently move a smaller dog away with your foot. Make your dog sit and reward him. To stop jumping on other people, make your dog "Sit!" and "Stay!" away from the door when guests come in. Have a lead on him so you can easily correct any movement. Another tip is to spray your dog with water when he jumps or use a loud noise to distract him. The key is to firmly remind him that you are the alpha.

Many of dogs' behavioral problems stem from something we do or some change in the environment. Perhaps you didn't know that being a dog owner can also mean being a detective and the code you're deciphering is your dog's mind. But with a little detecting, you can solve your dog's problems easily.