When we go on walks, can you please pick up after me?

If I could pick up after myself, I would. But I’m unable to because I’m a dog. Therefore, when you take me outside, can you please scoop my poop? It’s one of the most important things you can do for me. Not only is it your responsibility as the one walking me but it can prevent health problems in humans and dogs too.

About 40 percent of Americans don’t scoop, leaving behind nearly 4 million tons of dog waste. The failures of humans to pick up after their dogs are one of the reasons many people don’t like my kind around. No one wants to walk down the street, on the beach or through a park where there’s feces. It smells. It’s unsightly. And it’s unhealthy.

Dog feces can pass intestinal parasites, like roundworms and hookworms, and infections to other canines and people at parks, playgrounds and even backyards. Children can contract eye diseases, like ocular larva migrans, through the parasitic worms as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 10,000 human cases of roundworm infection annually. And I can even be exposed to infective worm eggs and larvae through waste. If your dog has diarrhea, it’s a good idea to bring along a bottle of water so you can rinse off the contaminated ground.

If you don’t pick up our piles, it can result in storm water pollution. Our waste contains bacteria that can increase the risk of viral infections, flu, and skin rashes for those who swim in the ocean.

In some areas, it’s against the law to leave dog poop in public. Don’t be afraid to scoop up our feces. If you don’t want to walk through the neighborhood with a pooper scooper, use a plastic bag from the grocery store or purchase them at pet stores. (Some are even scented.) Put your hand in the bag like it’s a mitten. Grab the feces with your covered hand, turn the bag inside out and be sure to knot it at the top. Dispose of the bag properly.

It’s really easy and everyone is happier.

– Trevor the Dog

Why size doesn’t matter

Big dogs aren’t necessarily smarter than small ones like me and little pooches are not apt to bark more than larger breeds. Size isn’t what is important because all dogs have our pros and cons.

Some men are turned off by miniature dogs because they think we are a reflection of their manhood. They’re embarrassed to walk us and even to pet us in public. But there are some benefits to having a small dog just like there are plusses to owning a big dog.

Little pooches can be easier on the wallet because we require less food and smaller doses of flea/tick medicine. We tend to live longer, usually between 12-15 years compared to large dogs, which often live between 8-11 years old, depending on the breed. However, dental problems and luxating patellas haunt us. Plus, our tiny bones break easily; therefore, it’s important not to let us jump off the furniture onto a hard surface.

Larger breeds such as Labrador retrievers, German shepherds and Dobermans are more prone to hip dysplasia, which can make them so lame that owners choose to put them out of their misery. But with proper healthcare, sometimes big dogs can live into their teens too.

All dogs, regardless of size, need daily exercise but owners who want a dog to jog with them will prefer a big dog. My little legs can’t keep up. But we can accompany our owners to more places because we’re easily transported. There’s a misconception that all miniature dogs yap. Many of us are extremely quiet. What is true is that some small dogs like to act bigger than they are. Their strong personalities make up for what they lack in size.
In the end, size doesn’t matter. What does is your lifestyle, your living space and your ability to love your four-legged friend.

– Trevor the Dog

Winter: the season of arthritis

Arthritis in dogs is almost impossible to avoid once we mature but there are ways you can ease the pain for us during the cold winter months when our joints become stiff and tender.

Once we reach 7 to 10 years of age, there’s a 60 percent chance that we’ll develop arthritis, a chronic pain condition that results when joint cartilage deteriorates. The joints become inflamed due to a lack of lubrication and we hurt when we move. Older, big dogs are especially prone because their frames have to carry so much weight. But younger pooches that are overweight, lack exercise and eat poorly are also in danger. Genetics and poor breeding are also to blame. Notice if we start to limp, favor a limb, are unwilling to and have difficultly sitting and standing up and let out a yelp if you touch us. Sometimes we can’t keep up with you on walks because we’re in too much pain. Have a vet check us for arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form in animals and humans. There’s also rheumatoid arthritis and infectious arthritis.

There’s no cure for the condition but here are things you can do to make us more comfortable.

  • I know we’re in pain but light exercise is vital to help us strengthen the muscles, keeps the ligaments and tendons flexible and helps blood circulate to the stiff joints. Make it fun, short and low-impact. A little incentive always helps.
  • Make sure we have a proper bed – Hard, cold surfaces irritate the joints. Invest in a heated or orthopedic pet bed.
  • Use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs prescribed by a vet and analgesic medications to reduce the symptoms, but be aware that they can sometimes cause gastrointestinal problems. Hip and joint supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin and Omega 3 fatty acids help as well.
  • Owners who prefer a holistic approach, can try acupuncture, hydrotherapy, massage and light therapy.
  • More recently, stem cell therapy has proven effective
  • Surgery is also an option, but is rare

Winter days may be bleak and bleary but there’s hope for us arthritic dogs during this time.

– Trevor the dog

Match.com: Fido’s search for the perfect human

Humans go through an amazing amount of research to find the ideal dog to make part of their family. But no one ever asks us what we’re looking for in an owner. Here’s what’s on my wish list for the perfect pet parent. I want someone who is:

Active: Exercise is important for all dogs, regardless of size. I want someone that will take me for walks through the neighborhood and play outside with me.

Sensitive: It’s important that you get to know my behavior and patterns so you can tell when I’m not feeling well.

Caring: I want someone who will bathe me or take me the groomer regularly. Make sure my toenails are clipped because it will help prevent injury and make me more comfortable. Also, brush me often so my coat doesn’t matt and I won’t shed so much.

Great communicator: Talk to me daily. Not only do I like the sound of your voice but you would be surprised at how many words I understand. My vocabulary extends far beyond “sit,” “stay,” “roll over,” “come,” and “fetch.” Nothing warms my heart more than when someone says “I love you,” and kisses me. I’ll even kiss back.

Patient: Please don’t be in a hurry when you walk me. I like to stop and sniff – a lot.

Generous: This means with your time. I’m excited when you come home from work and want you to spend some time playing with me. Before you leave in the morning, take a few minutes to play with me also.

Affectionate: I love to be rubbed and, like most dogs, have my belly scratched. Massages are also nice and can be calming for humans. Try giving me one.

Giver: Praise us. Dogs love their owners and we want to please you. If you praise us then we know we’re doing the right thing.

Remember, dogs are the most loyal pets. We remain devoted through the good and the bad times. But being an ideal pet parent gives us all the more reason to be the best companion to you.

– Trevor the Dog

Yuck, why does my water taste so bad?

Everyone knows that dogs need fresh water daily but it’s also important to note that we should receive the same high-quality water as humans.

Just like our masters turn up their noses at unfiltered water from the tap, so do your four-legged friends. We notice that you drink bottled and filtered water and even lately water from expensive systems that turn yucky tap water into tasty water that is high in alkaline and antioxidants. Please share with us little people.

Tap water can contain harmful bacteria, viruses and even parasites. We don’t want those in our bodies any more than you do. Chlorine is added to tap water to kill the bacteria but that can be bad because chlorine, a poisonous gas that is converted to liquid form, might react with organic materials found in the water to create dangerous trihalomethanes (THM). Sometimes ingesting THMs and other chlorine by products increases the risk of certain types of cancer in both humans and animals, according to some studies. And chlorine just doesn’t taste very good. Imagine drinking water from a swimming pool with chlorine and then you’ll know what I mean.

Water is very important to us because we need to stay hydrated. We want to lead a long and healthy life with you and one way is for us to have quality water. When I lap fresh, filtered water, I don’t worry so much about getting urinary tract disorders and other medical conditions.

Also, please don’t forget to wash our bowls frequently. Otherwise, our bowls turn into Petri dishes where bacteria can grow from mold in the air. We prefer bowls made of stainless steel, glass or stoneware because they resist scratches that can harbor bacteria.

The thing to remember is this: if you would not drink the water from my bowl then neither should I.

– Trevor the Dog