Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pet Insurance For A Catastrophic Illness

   If you are a responsible Boxer Dog owner and give your pet premium care you certainly know how expensive a proposition it can be to just maintain a healthy boxer. I strongly recommend getting some type of pet insurance to offset expensive medical bills. What happens when thing go terribly wrong and your Boxer just ingested something that has just created a bowel obstruction, or worse yet gets diagnosed with cancer. Needless to say the veterinarian bills can go through the roof. Pet insurance can help immensely when something catastrophic happens to your Boxer Dog.
   There are many online pet insurance companies and I won’t recommend one over another. I will suggest however to do your homework when choosing a company and more importantly a plan that meets your needs for pet insurance. Remember that not all plans are the same and some veterinarians won’t accept certain plans. There are many limitations and exceptions with pet insurance plans so be careful.
   Another option to be considered is to self insure your Boxer Dog by setting aside monies in a separate account or fund for the sole purpose of covering an expensive procedure at the veterinarians office. It is good to remember that most pet insurance plans only cover catastrophic illness and rarely cover routine care. You must weigh the options financially whether to set aside your own money or to pay an insurance company for a chance the unexpected may happen to your Boxer.
   Making the decision to get pet insurance is not so different than getting life insurance on people. The insurance company tries to minimize risk by putting many stipulations on what may be covered and they are betting on the fact that you stay healthy. You are betting the odds that you will have a disastrous illness or injury making the money spent on insurance well spent. This concept holds true with pet insurance as well.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Best Dog Breed For Hiking

   Many dog breeds can make great hiking companions and for many different reasons. Today we will talk about why the Boxer Dog may or may not make a great hiking dog. The Boxer Dog comes from the working class breed and loves to work. A Boxer Dog has high energy and loves to please his master. Boxer Dogs will do quite well and actually thrive on carrying a dog-pack with some weight in it. Load up your Boxers pack with water, snacks and food, they will then feel very much a part of the hike.
   I have taken our Boxer Dog “ Scout “ on several hikes and he thrives on getting out on the trail. When I am in an isolated area I will take off the dog leash and let him run on ahead. Scout loves to run ahead a few hundred yards then sprint back to me as I am hiking, this way Scout get twice the exorcise.
   Lets look at the downside to hiking with the Boxer Dog. Even though Boxer Dogs are high energy they don’t have a great amount of stamina in comparison to lets say a Siberian Husky. Boxers don’t do well in extreme temperatures either; their tolerances are very similar to humans. On the flip side a breed such as a Retriever or Lab mix will do quite well in cold weather. I have purchased an insulated dog raincoat for Scout from R.E.I. and it works well to keep the chill off.
   I would recommend the Boxer Dog for a hiking companion just be aware of this breed’s limitation. I would call the Boxer Dog a fair weather hiker. I have also learned from experience that if your Boxer is a puller and you get worn out holding him back I have a great suggestion. Using a halter in conjunction with the leash immediately corrected the pulling problem with Scout. The head harness or halter works on the same principle as the when the mother Boxer scolds or keeps in line her offspring by applying pressure to the bridge of the nose. Many people look at a dog halter in use and think that it is cruel but in fact it’s just the opposite. The halter doesn’t hurt at all and works very well. 

               The following recommended items are products I use and work well for me:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Portland Area Dog Parks -Reviews And Directions

Oregon Dog Parks

   Dog Parks are wonderful places to take your pet for many reasons. Oregon has a few good Dog Parks to choose from depending on your needs and location. I will be profiling some Dog Parks that I have visited mainly in the Portland area along with directions and reviews for you to use. All of the Dog Parks will have off-leash areas.

Ø      Hondo Dog Park- Hillsboro, Oregon
Washington County has done a wonderful job with this Dog Park from planning to implementation. This Park is by far the most popular and well managed around the Portland area. There is three-fenced areas: A sandy area is used for wintertime and to let the grass recover from dog abuse in the main larger area and there is also a small area for the very small breeds to hang out and not feel intimated by the larger breeds. This Dog Park has a nice trail that circles the property along with benches and several dispensers that provide Baggies for your dogs business. In terms of popularity I have never seen the park even close to empty. I would give this Dog Park 4 stars. Location: Intersection of 229th Ave and Evergreen Pkwy, Hillsboro, Oregon. Take exit 62a off Hwy 26 go south to Evergreen Pkwy turning north. Turn right on 229th and you have arrived.
Ø      Sandy River Delta Dog Park- Troutdale Oregon
 Also known as Thousand Acre Park. If you are looking for a huge Dog Park for your pooch to run and run this park has 1400 acres. Located just past the Troutdale exit on I-84 take exit 18 at the Sandy River. My Boxer Dog “ Scout “ just loved this park as we could walk clear to the Columbia River. Keep in mind this Dog Park is nothing like Hondo Dog Park in terms of being fenced in and groomed it is more of a rural setting. I would give this park a 3 star rating.
Ø      Happy Valley Dog Park-Happy Valley, Oregon
There is a nice dog park for the residents living in East Clackamas County Located at Happy Valley City Park. This Dog Park has two separate fenced areas one for wintertime use and one for summer; however I have never seen either side completely locked before. This Dog Park has the added benefit of being located within a nice community park complete with trails. When you get tired of standing in the local dog park simply leash your pet and take a nice stroll through the park. This Dog Park is lacking in amenities and you should bring your own water, as none will be provided. I would give this park a 3 star rating.
Ø      Milo Mciver State Park Off-Leash Area- Estacada, Oregon
You will notice I didn’t even call this a Dog Park as it is nothing more than a large plot of land where you may off-leash your pet legally. I would caution however that if your dog is a runner there are no fences and many acres of land to get lost in. The main park road runs through this off-leash area as well so be watchful for cars. I have enjoyed this area mainly because there is an added benefit of being in a State Park. I would give this Dog Park a 1 star rating.
Ø      Mary S Young Off-Leash Area-West Linn, Oregon
Another Off-leash area located off of Hwy 43 between Lake Oswego and West Linn. This dog area can get quite muddy in the winter months and there is no fencing. Water is available as well as bathrooms. I would give this dog area a 2 star rating
Ø      Wilsonville Dog Park- Wilsonville, Oregon
Located at Memorial Park in the City of Wilsonville you will find this quaint little Dog Park complete with chicken wire fence, benches and some shady areas. Once again if you have children with you they can enjoy the nearby play equipment located within this City Park. Located just west of Wilsonville Road and I-5. I would give this Dog Park a 2 star rating.
Ø      North Clackamas Dog Park- Milwaukie, Oregon
This Dog Park is located off of Rusk Rd. and Hwy 224 inside North Clackamas Park. There is one large fenced area that really never gets any recovery and can become quite muddy in the winter months. If you are a Boxer Dog owner like myself then it will interest you to know that once a month on the 3rd Saturday it is Boxer Dog day. No water or other amenities. Bring your own disposal bags. I would rate this Dog Park at 1-½ stars.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Boxer Destroys Man's Yard

   As I have stated in an earlier post, I believe if you want to become a boxer dog owner then you owe it to this breed to provide a yard. Be prepared however to see a transformation from a well manicured lawn to utter bleakness and destruction. As you can see in this photo our yard is beyond ugly thanks to our Boxer dog. We live in Oregon, a state that gets ample rain and to that end it creates a soggy environment that is easily destroyed. I have tried all sorts of remedies like: sand, wood shavings, bark chips, bark mulch ect ect.. Since a Boxer dog is so active and agile they can cut and switch directions on a dime. It’s this cutting that does the most damage along with the constant urination on the grass… grass what’s that? Sometimes it looks as though someone came in and rototilled my entire backyard while I was away.
   If you think about it, dog parks are no different than my yard in that they get destroyed especially in the winter and have to close sections off so they can mend. Some dog parks have a sandy area for the dogs to play in during the winter months. Do not use sand in your own yard unless you want sand tracked in your home constantly.
   Boxer dogs are known to be somewhat destructive when left to their own devices. Being left alone contributes to this deviant behavior. It’s not aberrant behavior it’s what they do. My Boxer dog Scout will chew on any thing left out like: hoses, lawn chairs, hose nozzles, fencing. He especially loves to dig up tree roots to the point that the tree completely dies. On another beautiful episode he tore up yards and yards of landscape fabric that I had painstakingly laid down as a weed barrier.
   I can’t leave Scout alone to wander the house either as he will get into mischief like destroying expensive electrical devices. This is the main reason why he sleeps in his crate nightly.. During the day or any time we are home we simply section off area of the home with baby gates or chairs. Here is a great item that will help you section off your home, the Northstate Superyard Playgate.
   Just make sure you know what you are getting into when you decide on a boxer dog. You may have luck with Boxer dog training. By the way I am open to suggestions on keeping my yard nice while owning a Boxer dog. Just leave your suggestions in the comment box below. Thanks Shawn..

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Choosing The Right Food For Your boxer

   Boxer dog feeding is extremely important especially for this breed. Boxer dogs have very sensitive stomachs and are susceptible to Pancreatitis. I have heard of people that tried the raw diet with their Boxer dogs with poor success. One day I thought I would give our young Boxer dog “Scout” a real treat so I bought one pound of raw chicken liver. I brought home the liver and cooked it then let it cool and fed it all to Scout. Of course he loved the liver and devoured it, and at first no problems occurred. That next morning we woke up to explosive diarrhea in his crate and that continued for a couple of days. I took Scout to the vet and they said that the liver was way to rich and it caused his pancreas to work extra hard creating digestive enzymes. They wanted to do all sorts of Blood work that would come to hundreds of dollars. I opted for the more prudent course and started him on some prescription mild wet food. After 4 days on this food all was normal again.
   I literally have had to change our dog’s food about ten different times until I found a good quality food that lets him produce a good stool sample. I can't stress enough the importance that Boxer dog feeding programs work. Choose a time for feeding that works and stick with it. The food I finally settled on is called Natural Balance and is endorsed by Dick Van Patton. The Natural Balance line offers several different mixes including wet and dry foods. I have had the best luck with the sweet potato and bison mix; all of which are premium grain free products. It was finally clear to me that at least in my dogs case that he had a problem digesting grain or had some allergies to corn and grain, this may not be true for all Boxer dogs. You can’t find this food at Petco or PetSmart I buy mine at a local feed Store or online. Some of the boutique pet stores will sell this food also.
   I shop at Costco a lot and noticed all their so-called premium foods at a great price point. 
I fed our dog about ½ a bag of the Costco food and he started having a very soft stool again and began losing hair by the handful. I guess you get what you pay for and it is well worth it to pay for premium food with boxers. The Natural Balance costs about $55.00 for a 28lbs bag and lasts for nearly a month.
   As you experiment with your puppies diet remember not to switch the foods cold turkey. You’ll need to ration the old with the new at 75% to 25% and so on until you have completely switched over to new food.
   Another tip I’ll share is about the food bowls. I bought our dog a nice large stainless steel bowl  to eat out of  and a large plastic bowl for his water. Our Boxer dog" Scout " did not really like to eat out of the steel bowl, maybe it’s the noise it makes I'm not quite sure. I switched the bowls and found that he eats much better out of the plastic bowl.
   Storing the dog food in the right container is very important. The container should be fairly air tight and it should not be translucent as light will degrade dog food. Also look for one with a pour spout or at least a nice separate feed opening. I can recommend the Pet's Scoop'n Store container by Rubbermaid. This has been an article about Boxer dog feeding and I hope it helps.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Finding The Right Boxer Breeder

If you're strongly considering brining a new Boxer puppy into your life then the first step is choosing a reputable breeder. Oregon only has a few top breeders that screen for genetic abnormalities. I'll give you a short list of the top breeders in the area however it's up to you to find one you feel comfortable with. After all any of these breeders have produced any number of AKC champions, it's the little thing you should look for. The breeder should conduct an interview with you and the prospective family. The breeder should be skeptical in regards to where a young Boxer will make it's home for the next 8-12 years. Make sure you conduct an interview with the breeder to glean if they really have a love for the dogs or a greater love for the money.
Make sure you ask for references, and by all means call them. Check out the environment the dogs/puppies are living in. Is there ample room and is it relatively clean safe and free of feces.
Ask the breeder how many litters they usually have per calendar year. A lower number usually is better, it generally shows more care is given. I hope some of theses pointers will help in determining the correct breeder.

       Top Oregon Boxer Breeders

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

House-Training Your Boxer

   This article is primarily about crate training Boxer dogs. Boxer dogs are one of the easiest breeds to house-train; an intelligent breed that responds well to all methods, however a favorite method used is called crate training. For those that have heard this term for the first time it may well sound cruel, on the contrary we found that our dog loves his crate. Don’t expect to hold off until your dog is an adult believe me they will despise their crate if you don’t start the process early. Crating your puppy is a great method because it slowly teaches the young boxer dog to hold it’s bladder and eventually an adult Boxer dog may be able to hold off urination for several hours.I can recommend an excellent product, the i-Crate by Midwest homes. This is the model we use and I can’t say enough about it. This crate will fold down flat when it’s time to move it. Also the I-Crate has a free moving hard plastic bottom that can be easily pulled out and washed. Our Boxer dog " Scout " has always loved his crate and sleeps in it every night even though he is 18 months old now.
   At first when your dog is a puppy he/she will need to pee very often, this is the time I recommend using Wee-Wee potty training pads these may save your floors and some mopping chores as well. As your pet ages the frequency in which they need to urinate will diminish and you are well on the way to a crate-trained house-trained animal. I hope you have learned something from this article on crate-training Boxer dogs..

About The Breed- A Boxers Profile

   Boxer Dogs are a working class breed originally bred from an English Bulldog specifically part of the mastiff group and were originally conceived in Germany. Markings can be a fawn or brindle with white markings denoting a flashy appearance or Boxer dogs can be all white, a more rare occurrence.
   Boxer dogs have a great temperament and are rarely aggressive making them a wonderful family pet. In some instances they can be trained to be a wonderful guard dog as well. They are very independent and will require considerable training. Boxer dogs are very smart and respond very well to dog training. Boxer Dogs thrive on learning and making their owners happy; they love treats and will comply readily for them. Our Boxer dog " Scout " knew the 5 basic commands at just a few weeks: sit, up, stay, come and down.
   Boxer Dogs are very energetic and require more exercise and play time than other breeds. The Boxer Dog is known to mature slowly and will have a puppy temperament for up to two years. I know people that own boxer dogs that live in apartments, although it can be done I don’t recommend this environment as they will have to be confined to much of the time. In my opinion a yard is a must to allow the Boxer dog some freedom during the day. We will discuss in a latter article what will become of your yard.
   The Boxer Dog is an inside pet basically for one reason, they can’t handle extreme temperatures  hot or cold. Because of there scrunched up nose they are part of the   brachycephalic breed (wide head and short nose) they don’t process cold air in the way that a retriever might. The short turned up nose also prevents a boxer dog from properly cooling itself down in extreme heat. For the most part a boxer dog can stay outside during the summer months provided you supply ample water and shade. I always bring our dog in at night.
   Unfortunately boxer dogs are susceptible to a few serious health concerns including: tumors, heart issues, seizures, thyroid issues, food allergies, epilepsy and cancer. Getting your dog from a reputable Boxer breeder is a must so that these health concerns can be minimized. A good Boxer breeder will do genetic testing on there dogs so that possible genetic defects can be bred out.
   The Boxer Dog is a wonderful breed but you as the potential owner must do your homework and make sure that the boxer breed will fit your type of lifestyle. I hope you have enjoyed this article on the Boxer Dog breed.