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  • 5 Summertime Pet Safety Tips

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    The sun is out, which means pets are out and about, too! Summertime isn’t just perfect for playing fetch at the dog park, though. It also brings plenty of potential dangers that require vigilance and awareness from pet parents.

    As important educational resources for owners, pet retailers can help spread awareness of summer pet safety through in-store displays, online newsletters and social media posts. Here are a few key safety tips to share with customers this season.

    1. Keep Pets Hydrated

    All that fun in the sun can quickly leave pets dehydrated. Ensure animals have access to fresh, clean water at all times, especially when it’s hot or humid outside.

    2. Practice Pool Safety

    You may know how to doggy paddle, but not all pups take to water naturally. Just like children, dogs need to be gradually introduced to swimming and should be left alone around bodies of water. Discourage animals from drinking pool water and always rinse them off after swimming to remove salt or chemicals.

    3. Help Pets Stay Cool

    One of the biggest dangers of the summer is heat stress. Pet parents should be on the lookout for signs of overheating, including excessive panting, increased heart rate, drooling, muscle weakness, vomiting and even seizure or collapse.

    Heat stroke can be avoided by keeping pets indoors during the hottest parts of the day and ensuring there’s ample shade while they’re outside.

    4. Never Leave Pets Unattended in Cars

    Even on mild days, temperatures inside a vehicle can climb quickly, which is dangerous for pets and humans, alike. Hundreds of pets die of heat exhaustion annually from being left in a hot car, so either bring them with you or better yet, leave them at home.

    5. Prevent Burns

    While longer haired dogs could use a trim, completely shaving pets’ fur actually leaves them susceptible to sunburns. If your pet is naturally hairless or has light colored hair, talk to your veterinarian about the bet sunscreen options.

    Paws, too, can be burnt by hot pavement, so keeps walks short and consider investing in a paw wax or dog boots.

    Source: Carly Lintz for Pet Business

  • Neighborly Dog Ownership Etiquette

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    Whether he is known to your neighbors as ‘man’s best friend’ or the ‘beast next door’ is up to you–to practice proper dog ownership etiquette is to show consideration for the needs and feelings of those living around you.

    Think Like a Parent

    Fortunately, your neighbors and your fur baby long for the same thing: doggy obedience training. As children find predictable behavior secure and reassuring, dogs also lead more fulfilling and happy lives when owners establish clear boundaries. Therefore, when setting disciplinary expectations for your dog, think like a mom or dad. If you wouldn’t allow your three-year-old child to act in a certain way, such behavior should be off limits for your dog as well. For example, you would be mortified if you caught your child wandering into the neighbor’s yard and harassing their cat, relieving themselves anywhere but their designated spot, tackling a passerby on the street, etc. While your dog is young, consider obedience school. Rather than punishment, formal training is a ticket to go anywhere, greet anyone, and be adored for their good behavior.

    Dog Ownership Etiquette

    If you are blessed with a spacious backyard, allow your dog the freedom to explore outdoors without becoming a danger to himself or a nuisance to others by installing a wood fence, which averages $769 – $1,708 in nearby Phoenix, according to HomeAdvisor. Open backyards risk your dog’s escape from your supervision, often resulting in tragic consequences such as injury or loss, or neighborhood annoyances such as property damage, for which you will be financially responsible.

    Avoiding the installation of a fence by confining your dog to the indoors isn’t solution, especially if you own a large or active breed. Dogs require regular exercise and mental stimulation, without which they usually release pent up energy through chewing, digging and, the most aggravating to your neighbors, barking. To prevent such frustration, incorporate the following activities into their daily routine:

    • Teach your dog a few commands or tricks, such as sitting, shaking or fetching a ball. Hold a training lesson for about five to 10 minutes every day.
    • Provide interesting toys to keep your dog occupied, and rotate them every few days in order to make the toys appear new and exciting.
    • Walk your dog daily. Doing so is physically and mentally stimulating for both of you.

     

    Make the daily walk a pleasant experience for you, your dog and those with whom you will come into contact. Always leash your dog when walking, and maintain control of him at all times. Only allow him to greet strangers if they initiate contact, especially if they too are walking a dog. If allowed to approach the passerby, discourage the dogs from playing while leashed, which can result in injury and your dog’s confusion about expectations for walking discipline. Simply let the dogs introduce themselves to one another by sniffing for a few seconds and continue on with your walk. Be aware of others’ feelings–if during any interaction your dog upsets another person or dog by jumping, barking or growling, apologize and take measures to prevent the behavior from recurring. Lastly, always clean up after your dog. Bring along several bags, scoop the poop no matter what, and never permit your dog to relieve himself on personal property, such as car tires, bicycles or children’s toys.

    Note that your dog’s need for adequate attention remains even when your schedule prohibits. If you must be away from home for extended periods of time, consider employing a trained and evaluated dog walker or sitter. They’ll keep your dog safe and allow your dog the exercise he needs in order to burn off some energy.

    Both your neighbors and your dog will appreciate your efforts to abide by proper dog ownership etiquette. Do so to ensure healthy neighborhood relationships and a happy dog.

    *Written by Jessica Brody

     

  • Preparing Your Home & Family For A New Pet

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    In movies and on television, bringing home a new pet requires little more than a red bow and a bag of kibble. But in real life, choosing and preparing for a new pet means planning and at least a little research. After all, caring for an animal is a big commitment and you’ll want to do everything you can to set this new relationship up for success. From choosing a breed to pet-proofing your home, these tips will walk you through the process so you can focus on bonding, instead of stressing.

    Choose The Right Pet For You

    While dogs are a popular choice (with an estimated 78 million kept as pets in the U.S., according to the ASPCA) they aren’t the only choice and may not be the best option for you. When deciding the best animal for you and your family, consider:

    The Size Of Your Home And Yard – Do you have enough space to live comfortably with a large dog? Will you have to enclose your yard to keep your pet safe outdoors? If letting your pet out unattended is not an option, are you willing to walk your dog daily, sometimes in the rain or snow?

    The Activities You Plan To Enjoy With Your Pet – Your lifestyle and the activities you enjoy can help you determine what type of pet is right for you. If you’re planning on walking or running regularly with your new pet, you’ll want an active breed that can keep up. If you’re more of a couch potato, you might consider a cat, an aquarium of fish, or a less active breed of dog, like a pug. The American Kennel Club has a quiz that can match your lifestyle with an optimal breed.

    Allergies – Is anyone in your home allergic to specific animals? While an allergy may prompt you to look into alternative animals, like a fish or a lizard, your dreams of dog or cat companionship don’t have to be dashed. Of course, no dog or cat is 100% hypoallergenic, but there are breeds more easily tolerated by allergy sufferers. You can find complete lists of hypoallergenic cat and dog breeds online.

    Preparing For Your Pet

    Before bringing your new pet home, you’ll want to discuss who will be responsible for different aspects of its care. Older children may be trusted to walk a small to medium-sized dog, while everyone can share in feeding and grooming tasks.

    You’ll also want to purchase the supplies, food, and gear necessary for when your pet comes home. This includes food, bowls, toys, litter box, leash, cages, treats, and a bed. If you’re adopting a dog or a cat, check with the breeder or shelter to find out which brand of food your pet is already accustomed to. Keeping your pet’s kibble consistent can prevent digestive discomfort and ease a frightening transition.

    Choose a veterinarian before bringing your pet home and schedule a checkup within the first week or two after your pet’s arrival. You should also locate the nearest 24-hour emergency animal hospital and post their phone number where everyone in the house can find it.

    Pet-Proof Your Home

    Make sure that cords are secure and that any houseplants you have won’t be a health hazard to your new pet. With puppies, it’s also a good idea to store shoes, garbage bins, and laundry baskets out of harm’s way. If you have any pest or rodent traps or repellents, make sure those are also out of reach.

    Bringing Your New Pet Home

    Bring your new pet home at the beginning of the weekend or at the least, schedule it so you can devote a full day to helping your pet acclimate to its new surroundings. Use a crate or harness when transporting your animal, as a fearful or curious pet can quickly distract the driver or get underfoot, interfering with braking and accelerating. Upon entering your home, don’t bombard or overwhelm your new pet, especially rescue animals who may be nervous in new surroundings. Remind your children of the animal’s possible fears and encourage them to sit and talk calmly to your pet until he’s comfortable.

    Once you’ve let your new pet explore its new surroundings, introduce your pet to where you expect him to use the bathroom. Let your pet sniff around, do his business, and then offer praise for going where he’s supposed to.

    Bonding With Your New Pet

    During your pet’s first week home, balance all those snuggles and attention with plenty of space for your pet to explore, gain independence, and settle into a natural schedule. You should also use this time to identify any additional necessary pet-proofing. Dedicate time in your daily schedule for walking, running around the yard, and/or playing with toys. While there will certainly be accidents, messes, and a period of adjustment for you both, pet-proofing and preparation will go a long way toward heading off trouble before it begins, giving you more opportunity to bond with your new pet.

    Preparing For An Elderly Pet

    Your first days at home with a new-to-you elderly pet, or a pet from a shelter, should be kept as relaxing as possible. Prep your home to accommodate an older animal, and put off visitors and trips to the vet during the first week your pet comes home. If your new pet seems to sleep a lot during this time, there’s probably no need to worry. Many rescue animals come from noisy and stressful kennels and the peace and quiet of your home may give them a chance to finally get some shut-eye. If your elderly or shelter pet’s personality seems lackluster in the first few days, give it time. It’s normal for a newly adopted pet to “lay low” during the first week in a new home. Your animal’s personality will emerge more and more as he begins to feel comfortable.

    While no amount of preparation will potty-train a puppy or save every pair of shoes from chew-toy status, there are ways to ensure that the transition goes smoothly, for both you and your new pet. Remember to be patient and avoid overwhelming your new animal. It won’t be long before he’s walking around like he owns the place.

    *Written by Jessica Brody

  • 9 Things Humans Do That Stress Our Dogs Out

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    When we love our dogs like family, we sometimes forget that they don’t understand us quite like our human relatives. Sometimes we try to have full-on conversations with them or unknowingly send them body language signals that are interpreted differently in the animal kingdom. For these reasons, we’ve compiled a list of 9 common things that humans do that stress dogs out.

    If you’ve done any of these things, don’t worry–we all have! But by being more aware, we can try to communicate with our canines as clearly as possible. And lucky for us, there’s no limit to their forgiveness!

    1. Getting frustrated when your dog acts like…a dog!

    Dogs bark, dig, chew, sniff, and steal table scraps that are within snout’s reach. To them, it’s natural behavior! (Plus, they don’t understand the value of your favorite pair of shoes.) However, this doesn’t mean your dog should have free reign to do whatever he likes. Instead of punishing these behaviors, they need to be redirected–and this takes patience! Vet Street suggests alternatives such as giving chewers stuffed Kongs to gnaw on, or teaching barkers to learn to use their “inside voice”.

    2. Having inconsistent rules and boundaries

    Dogs thrive on consistency and routine, and take comfort in it. If your pup is allowed on the couch one week, then scolded for it the next, she will become stressed when she can’t anticipate your reaction to her behavior. She won’t understand if one night you decide to “let it slide” or you allow her to break the rules for a “special occasion.” When you create boundaries, stick to them!

    3. Expecting your dog to obey you just because he wants to make you happy

    While our dogs love seeing us happy, they’re still animals and opportunists (for instance, if they see an opportunity to snatch some leftover chicken off the counter, they will usually take it!). Some dogs do obey their owners simply to please them, but most of them perform for one simple reason: to receive their reward! Vet Street explains that inconsistent rewarding will most likely lead to inconsistent behavior. And you can’t be angry with your dog for not obeying if he can’t expect a treat in return.

    4. Using multiple verbal cues to indicate the same behavior

    This one can be a tough habit to break! Say your dog is barking at the mailman, so you say, “shh!” “stop!” and “quiet.” You’ve given her three different commands that are supposed mean the same thing: quit barking! Your dog gets confused so she continues to bark and eventually gets scolded–but she doesn’t know why! The best plan is to come up with specific words to apply to each trick or command, and to make sure everyone in your family is on the same page. If you use “down” for “lay down,” you may have to use something like “floor” to tell your pup to get off the bed! (Here is a great article on giving command cues.)

    5. Saying “it’s okay” when your dog thinks it’s not

    When our dogs are anxious, we want to comfort them. Often saying “it’s okay” in a soothing tone is our natural human response. But according to Healthy Pets (via Mercola), we’re training them to think the opposite. If we use the phrase in conjunction with doing something they don’t like–for instance, taking them to the vet or as we’re trying to clip their nails–they learn to associate the phrase with things that aren’t okay! If “it’s okay” means something bad is about to happen, that can really stress your dog out!

    6. Pointing or shaking a finger at her

    Healthy Pets explains that this gesture is a “universal stress inducer for dogs.” The article says that it is often accompanied with an angry gesture, a hovering stance, and a stern tone. Your pup may not remember when he did to deserve the “finger point,” but he will know that you’re upset with him, causing anxiety.

    7. Restraining or cornering a dog to give him affection

    There is debate whether dogs like hugs or not. The answer is simple: it depends on the dog. (And also the human–some dogs may only enjoy hugs from their trusted loved ones.) While humans know hugs to be a sign of affection, some dogs feel nervous or trapped when a human wraps their arms around them. Note that there is a difference between hugs and cuddling: a dog that doesn’t like hugs may still love to snuggle because he doesn’t feel restrained. The point is, we need to keep in mind that each dog has a different comfort threshold. They deserve to have their personal boundaries respected, too!

    8. Staring at a dog you don’t know

    First off, there is a difference between the loving gazes shared between a pup and her family members and a dog that’s being stared down by a stranger–we’re talking about the latter. If you meet a new dog, try to avoid eye contact and staring at him as he’s getting to know you. Some dogs will consider extended eye contact from a stranger to be a challenge, which will increase their stress response.

    9. Not giving him enough exercise

    Like humans, dogs get bored if they don’t have enough physical and mental stimulation in their lives. “Dogs that are unsatisfied and bored will often start destructive behaviors such as chewing and digging, which leads to unfair punishment and stress,” explains Katie Finlay for iHeartDogs. Remember, your dog can’t entertain himself by enjoying a Netflix binge or taking himself for a walk. He depends on you to stay fit, physically and mentally!

    Written by Karen Tietjen
    *Source courtesy of IHeartDogs.com

  • Does Your Dog Have Anxiety?

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    The majority of dogs seemingly have little to worry about. With humans providing them with practically everything they need, it’s hard to imagine that dogs would have anything to cause them anxiety. We humans tend to think of anxiety as a human-only problem, the result of our daily stresses over matters such as our careers, our relationships, and our fears about the meaning of life. Believe it or not, it’s surprisingly common for dogs to feel anxious, too. Even though dogs may never have to worry about paying their bills, maintaining a marriage, or achieving complete satisfaction with their lives, they can experience nervousness that can affect their behavior.

    It’s important for dog owners to understand this, because anxiety can cause a number of problems for them and their dogs. A dog that has anxiety may have difficulty eating, damage the house when left alone, or pick fights with other dogs. Since no dog owner wants to deal with these types of behavioral issues, it’s vital for dog owners to understand the potential causes of anxiety in their dogs, how to prevent it, and what treatments exist.

    What Causes Anxiety in Dogs?

    Anxiety can be the result of a fear, a dog’s personality, or age-related conditions. For example, one of the most common sources of anxiety in dogs is the fear of unfamiliar or unpleasant locations, such as a new home, or the vet’s office. Separation anxiety is another extremely common trigger, as dogs often don’t know how to cope with being left alone for extended periods. Older dogs may experience cognitive disorders as they age, leaving them confused and forgetful. This makes them more prone to anxiety.

    How Can I Tell if My Dog Has Anxiety?

    Any sudden change in your dog’s behavior may be the result of anxiety. In general, though, there are some definitive warning signs that can indicate your dog may need some help. Some of these signs can be glaringly obvious, but others might not be noticeable right away. Here are some of the most common behavioral changes that may indicate your dog is experiencing anxiety:

    • Destructive behavior. A dog that is feeling anxious may lash out at its surroundings in an attempt to escape. Your dog may try to chew through a door or rip furniture apart.
    • Housebreaking issues. Even if a dog is housebroken, it may urinate or defecate inside the house if it is feeling anxious. This behavior typically is associated with separation anxiety.
    • Repetitive behavior. Pacing around the room, overgrooming the same body part, or other repeated behaviors could be signs that your dog is nervous about something, especially if the behavior doesn’t seem to have any apparent purpose.
    • Aggression. A dog that snarls and snaps at other dogs or even people may be experiencing some form of anxiety. Growling and barking are telltale signs of aggressive behavior.

    How Can I Prevent Anxiety in My Dog?

    Although dogs can have anxiety no matter what, there are some steps dog owners can take that can prevent anxiety and give their dogs the coping skills they need to deal with stress. These include:

    • Obedience training. Giving your dog a foundation of strong obedience training can help create a stronger bond between you and your dog. Ultimately, helping your dog feel more secure.
    • Socialization. When dogs are often exposed to people and animals that are new to them, it can help them feel more at ease when they encounter different people and new situations in the future.
    • Learning to read body language. Your dog’s body language often is the first sign that it is experiencing anxiety, so it’s important for dog owners to learn to read it. If your dog has a specific type of body language when it begins to feel nervous, such as tucking its tail between its legs, excessive panting or drooling, it may be easier to identify the situations that are causing stress.
    • Avoiding stress. It may be possible to simply avoid the situations that cause your dog to experience anxiety. For example, if you know that fireworks cause your dog to experience anxiety attacks, it might be best to keep it inside on the Fourth of July.

    A dog’s life is often pampered with many products to make pets happy and comfortable. Yet even with the most doting owner, a dog may still experience anxiety. That anxiety can lead to serious behavioral issues unless they are addressed, so it’s up to dog owners to identify anxiety in their dogs and help them overcome it.

    Written by Stephanie N. Blahut

    Stephanie is Director of Marketing for Figo Pet Insurance. Figo is committed to helping pets and their families enjoy their lives together by fusing innovative technology — the first-of-its-kind Figo Pet Cloud — and the industry’s best pet insurance plans. 

     

     

  • The Benefits of Adopting a Pet

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    This is it! There can only be one reason for you to be reading this and that is you want to adopt a pet! First off, lots of kudos to you for trying to read up before getting yourself a furry, scaly, or some other kind of fluffy companion! Want to know what the benefits of adopting a pet are? Then read on!

    Adopting a pet is a life changing decision and it is understandable that some people (including you!) may want to be truly sure before heading to the shelter, your friend’s house, or an animal rescue to meet your new best friend. Every person is different and the benefits of adopting a pet will not be the same for a child as compared to an adult. It is just the same as saying that adopting a goldfish is very different compared to say, adopting a horse.

    In the whirlwind world of pet adoption, some surprises may pleasantly sweep you off your feet so you have to be ready for that too. So yeah, what are the benefits of adopting a pet?

    We’ve interviewed hundreds of pet rescues and shelters all over America to get the best tidbits from the experts themselves and here they are, the benefits of adopting a pet in no particular order:

    YOU GET TO FEEL THE MAGIC OF THE MEET UP

    Have you ever experienced the magical feeling of being in-love? It is said that when you meet an animal for the first time and that animal has formed a connection with you, there is an explicable bond that forms and you just know, this animal is meant to be with you. The bond is also reported to be deeper when that animal is from a shelter or a rescue; maybe because you know that taking that animal as your pet means that you will be giving it a better live. Some describes the feeling as almost like falling in-love. Some describe it as some kind of paternal or maternal instinct that makes you want to take care of another creature and love it as your own.

    In the words of Star Paws Rescue Foundation’s Courtney Rheuban Ax, “There’s something about bringing home an animal for the first time, either from the shelter or the rescue, and watching them realize that they are home and spending the rest of their life happy and warm and loved and safe. The unconditional love you get back from that dog or cat is one of the greatest things you can experience.”

    But let’s not only focus on shelter or animal rescue pets here. Making room for another creature in your life is a gift in itself. Hope for Feral’s Ashleigh Kuhl sums the magic of the meet up as quoted, “Adopting a pet is the best gift you can give them. It is the gift of life. In return, they give you a lifetime of loyalty and love in their own unique way.”

    YOU GET TO BE THE RECIPIENT OF SOME TLC

    Lots of pet animals are very loving creatures, and we’re not just talking of the furry kind of fur kid. Nothing beats a wagging tail, a happy purr, some happy chirping, excited flapping, a swoosh of the tail, and some cuddling after a long day at work. Pet parents are reportedly healthier and are less stressed than people who don’t own pets so yes, pets are good for you, just as much as you are good for them too!

    In fact, the most loving pets are usually from shelters and shelters because they tend to be more appreciative of the love and care given to them. Keyria Lockheart, a volunteer at the Last Hope Cat Kingdom says that, “I have had many tell me they love shelter animals more than non-shelter because they seem to appreciate being out of the environment and into a loving home.” Surely, that’s a great motivation to adopt a pet, yes?

    YOU WILL SAVE A LIFE

    Let us inject a bit of unsavory honesty in this post – pet animals which do not end up in loving homes are destined for just one thing, a life of desolation in the streets or on their own and then ending in a lonely and slow death in some way or another. That’s very sad.

    Not many people can say that they helped changed another creature’s life but when you adopt a pet, you gift yourself with that opportunity. Esther Lyon from Wayward Paws says. “I think that the most useful information that potential adopters can know is that by adopting from a shelter or rescue group, you are giving a home to a cat/kitten that has never had one of their own.” We agree with her, but is it a one-sided affair?

    Pet owners often remark that one of the best benefits of adopting a pet is not just saving another creature’s life. You are actually enriching yours and in some cases, saving your own life. There are numerous studies which shows that having a pet has plenty of health benefits, and it’s not just physical too. Some people with mental conditions like anxiety disorder and PTSD and people with social awkwardness all benefit from having a pet. It’s better than conventional therapy!

    YOU WILL BE PHYSICALLY HEALTHIER

    Do you know that children who grew up in homes with pets suffer from less allergies? Yes! Growing up with pets can minimize the risk of developing allergies – and we are just getting started. Depending on what kind of pet you have, you are in for an array of benefits. For dog owners, they tend to become more physically active and thus, have lower risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. If they do happen to already have those conditions, having a pet like a dog can help them get more active and decrease their stress levels too. It’s not just dogs either. All kinds of pets will benefit you with their power to simply turn off your stress switch. It is like having your very own unlimited supply of antihypertensive and anti-stress tabs, for FREE!

    YOU GET TO HELP YOUR LOCAL SHELTER OR ANIMAL RESCUE

    All over the world, pet rescues and shelters are filled to the brim with pets who have no other place to go. We all know how life will usually end up for them if no one comes to make them a part of their family. Adopting a pet, no matter how small is a big help to the community.

    Just to give you a glimpse on what goes on inside a shelter or an animal rescue. Basset Rescue Across Texas’ Founder Anne Fifield says, “Opt to adopt. Yes, puppies are cute and cuddly. Who doesn’t love puppies? However, there are thousands of animals in rescues and shelters who need a home or they could be euthanized. Shelters get full and have to make room for the dozens more coming in every day. You would be saving a life by adopting. Rescues become full, too. If they don’t have an open place, they can’t bring more in. That means someone is going to lose their life”. Surely you don’t want that to happen right?

    YOU WILL HELP END PUPPY MILLS

    Let us just state that we have no problem with responsible breeders as the pets which ends up in shelters, streets, and animal rescues usually do not come from responsible pet breeders. Pets like that are often from puppy mills who do not care who the pet will end up with and do not care if the pets they are breeding are not from a sturdy or good line. Buying from a puppy mill or an unregistered breeder only means that more well-deserving pets end up not having a home and puppy mills will keep on mass producing living creatures who deserve to be treated better than just a product in an unregulated factory.

    YOU WILL GET A BETTER PET MATCH WHEN YOU ADOPT

    As can be glimpsed above, baby pets are cute and everyone loves them but the cuddly ball of fur you have now can become your worst nightmare if the pet turned out to be totally different from your expectations based on breed characteristics. It is why some people end up giving up the pet they got from an irresponsible breeder or puppy mill and why it is better to either adopt from a shelter or a rescue where the animal has been assessed for temperament and is more or less stable with how they are regarding mood and activity level. With just a little bit of getting to know each other, you’ll likely end up with a dear companion who would deeply appreciate you and won’t take you for granted.

    YOU WILL BE FRIENDLIER

    People who have pets come as friendlier and more approachable. If you’ve been to a park or just chanced to see some dog owners at the street, they tend to congregate and look like life-long friends, even if they have never met each other before. That’s because a common interest brings people together and everyone loves cute furkids!

    YOU WILL HAVE A BETTER LOVE-LIFE

    Lacking dates? You may want to adopt a pet too. Having a better love life is indeed one of the benefits of adopting a pet; however, you have to remember that getting a pet should be something you really want and not just a temporary thing to be a guy or girl magnet.

    Individuals who have pets are perceived as more family oriented, more responsible, and more caring – all sought-after characteristics when picking out a romantic interest. In fact, people often feel so strongly about pets that your ‘performance’ the first time you meet the pet of your romantic interest is among the top parameters he/she will gauge you with. That’s right, your reaction to his/her pet or to the idea of having a pet ranks right up there with meeting friends and family!!

    YOU WILL SAVE YOURSELF SOME SERIOUS MOOLAH

    Purchasing a pet can be very expensive, especially for certain animals and breeds. Adopting a pet from a friend who can no longer keep the pet, or adopting from a shelter or a rescue is way cheaper than buying one.

    Sure, shelters and rescues can charge a certain fee and review your eligibility before letting you take home an animal, but what is that compared to the cost of buying one? A fresh-from-the-breeders pet is usually a baby and hence, you will have to take care of immunizations, vet bills, training, and everything else the pet needs whereas adopting one from a shelter or rescue often means that the pet has undergone vet check-up, has been given immunizations if applicable, and is basically A-okay. You’ll often get free expert advice and help from staff who wants the pet to have a great life with you – how’s that for some serious good deal?

    San Diego Humane Society and SPCA’s Public Relations Program Manager Kelli Schry says, “There are many advantages to adopting a shelter animal. Adoption is a much more affordable option, and you know you’re getting an animal that has been assessed behaviorally and medically. Our staff knows the animals well, so we can be sure you’re set up for a successful relationship. At the San Diego Humane Society, your new pet is not your only new, lifelong friend! We are your resource for the entire lifespan of your pet, whether you need training advice, pet supplies, educational resources, we are here to support pet owners well beyond the point of adoption.”

    *Source Courtesy of HomeoAnimal

     

  • Finding the Perfect Dog Breed for You

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    Have you ever noticed that different types of dog breeds are associated with specific occupations or other ways of life? Think about it this way, we’ve often seen celebrities with a poofy purse puppy in a paparazzi snapshot or a showdog seen prancing around inside of an arena. This is a drastically different comparison to a German Shepherd located in the back of a police car. There’s also images of a Dalmatian on board a fire engine, a Saint Bernard heading up a snow-covered slope to rescue a stranded skier, or working dogs herding sheep in the field.

    An elderly couple may prefer a lazier lap dog compared to a growing family that may be seeking a more active playmate. Different animals have very unique characteristics and attributes that match them perfectly with their master(s) and a certain lifestyle they’ll eventually enjoy with them. When it comes to choosing the perfect pet, there’s a certain amount of research that needs to involve criteria with your chosen critter in order to ensure you find the best fit when it comes to a lifetime of happiness you’ll find with you and your precious pooch.

    Check It Out

    When it comes to choosing your future best friend, making a checklist of your requirements along with their attributes is lengthy at best. But it’s it’s not that difficult and best to do your homework first before acquiring your perfect, future best friend. For example, Labradors and Retrievers are excellent choices for active families with growing children, but they also need tons of space and a great deal of exercise.

    Check out this Dog Breed Selector from the AKC (American Kennel Club) that will ask you some specific questions about:

    • Where you live
    • Whether you reside in a house or apartment
    • How many children and/or dogs you already have
    • Your activity level
    • How much noise you can withstand
    • Whether you’re a neat freak or not very tidy

    Your answers will reveal breeds of all shapes and sizes that could be a match for you. They’ll also give you further information about that breed’s trainability, type of coat, barking levels, activity required, grooming necessary and more information about how they could fit into your life.

    The site also offers links to places where you may be able to locate purebred puppies that match a possible choice for you. But before you spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a pooch with papers, please consider visiting your local animal shelter or rescue organization. Remember that supporting breeders can be tied with possible puppy mills or other unsavory ways in which animals can be raised in unhealthy environments.

    Here at PET DEPOT we also offer pet adoptions in association with our local pet rescue partners. This way you’ll ensure that you’ll be giving a pet from your area a second chance at life and you’re already at the perfect location where you can find everything you need from feeding dishes to grooming supplies and more.

    *Written by Amber Kinglsey

  • Positive Reinforcement Training Tips

    They don’t call them “man’s best friend” for nothing! Domestic dogs have for thousands of years lived with humans in various capacities, from aiding in hunting to protecting livestock. In order to perform these functions, dogs learned to communicate with people and perform as their owners wished.

    Dogs are highly sensitive and responsive animals. They can tell when their owners are happy, sad, or nervous, and they may express these emotions themselves.

    Because dogs do have feelings, and intelligence that may be compared to that of a toddler (some breeds are as smart as a human seven-year-old!), it’s important that you refrain from treating your pet negatively. Continually shouting at a small child may scare him into submission, but it probably won’t make for a happy or healthy young person in the long run, even if he does obey.

    Your dog does not understand that you’re angry he got into the garbage bin; for one, dogs get into things because they’re dogs, and for two, his brain just isn’t going to connect your harsh tones and loud movements with all the fun he had with leftovers this afternoon. Just as with small children, dogs need to be coerced into behaving well with smiles and cheer.

    Your pet will understand when you’re unhappy with him, but he won’t understand why so well as the fact that you just are. That’s why it’s important to work on refining your dog’s behavior in a different way, with positivity.

    Positive reinforcement is one of the best methods of training your dog. It’s easier for your dog to understand what he did right, rather than grasping the concept of some arbitrary human rule he didn’t follow (such as resisting sticking his muzzle into the appealing-smelling trash bin). When you’re happy, your dog is happy as well.

    As such, two of the best ways to train your dog are with enthusiasm and with puppy treats. Both of these need to be awarded to your pet immediately after he performs the desirable action, so that he understands and repeats it again.

    Because dogs understand human emotions so well, it’s key to praise him when he does something correctly, even if it’s by accident. Use upbeat vocal tones, and repeated phrases like “Good dog!” Respond in this way when your dog completes commands, and pair it with petting and physical affection when you’re really proud.

    Treats are a great idea for training. Your pet gets a treat for sitting instead of jumping on visitor, for not barking when the doorbell rings, when he fetches an item, and so on. As long as they don’t trigger a food allergy, treats are a safe and effective way for modifying behavior and completing training. Be patient at first, since your dog probably won’t understand right away.

    It doesn’t take much to make dogs happy–pets and treats, please! Check out the infographic below for more on how to get your pet to please you with positive reinforcement.

    Positive-Training-small

    *Written and designed by Amber Kingsley

  • Pet Obesity on the Rise for Sixth Straight Year

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    One of America’s most common New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight, and statistics show that pet owners should share that goal with their dogs and cats. Data from Nationwide, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance, reveals that pet obesity is on the rise for the sixth straight year. In 2015, Nationwide members filed 1.3 million pet insurance claims for conditions and diseases related to pet obesity, equaling a sum of more than $60 million in veterinary expenses. The boost in total obesity-related claims signifies a 23 percent growth over the last three years.

    Similar to their human counterparts, excessive body fat increases the risk of preventable health issues and may shorten the life expectancy of dogs and cats. Nationwide recently sorted through its database of more than 585,000 insured pets to determine the top 10 dog and cat obesity-related conditions. Below are the results:

    Most Common Dog Obesity-Related Conditions Most Common Cat Obesity-Related Conditions
    1.    Arthritis 1.     Bladder/Urinary Tract Disease
    2.   Bladder/Urinary Tract Disease 2.    Chronic Kidney Disease
    3.   Low Thyroid Hormone Production 3.    Diabetes
    4.   Liver Disease 4.    Asthma
    5.   Torn Knee Ligaments 5.    Liver Disease
    6.   Diabetes 6.    Arthritis
    7.   Diseased Disc in the Spine 7.    High Blood Pressure
    8.  Chronic Kidney Disease 8.   Heart Failure
    9.   Heart Failure 9.    Gall Bladder Disorder
    10.  Fatty Growth 10.   Immobility of Spine

    “Obesity can be detrimental to the livelihood of our pets,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for Nationwide. “Pet owners need to be aware of the quality and amount of food or treats they give their furry family members. The New Year presents a perfect opportunity to create regular exercise routines for our pets and begin to effectively manage their eating habits to avoid excess weight gain. Scheduling routine wellness exams with your veterinarian is the most effective way to get started on monitoring your pet’s weight, particularly for cats.”

    In 2015, Nationwide received more than 49,000 pet insurance claims for arthritis in canines, the most common disease aggravated by excessive weight, which carried an average treatment fee of $295 per pet. With more than 5,000 pet insurance claims, bladder or urinary tract disease was the most common obesity-related condition in cats, which had an average claim amount of $442 per pet.

    Below are simple steps you can take to help regulate your pet’s weight:

    • Avoid feeding your pet table scraps.
    • Keep a consistent diet by monitoring the amount of food you give your pet.
    • Regulate the amount of treats you give your pet.
    • Establish a healthy and fun exercise schedule.

    *Consult your veterinarian to best determine your pet’s weight loss protocol.

    *Source courtesy of Pet Age

  • How to Put the Brakes on Pet Car Sickness

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    With summer travel right around the corner, many of us plan on hitting the road with our pooches for a little summer fun.  However, for some four-legged family members, road trips can mean upset tummies.

    Queasiness in the car is not just a human problem. Dogs and puppies do sometimes experience motion sickness on car rides.  Unfortunately, car sickness can make any kind of pet travel a distressing ordeal for both dogs and their families.

    Car sickness doesn’t have to be a serious or lasting problem for your pet. With the right treatment, it can be mitigated, or even stopped altogether.

    There are several causes of car sickness in dogs and puppies. The most common include:

    • Immature ears. In puppies, the ear structures that regulate balance aren’t fully developed, which can cause them to be extra sensitive to motion sickness. Many dogs will outgrow car sickness as they age.
    • Stress. If traveling in the car has only led to unpleasant experiences for your dog – to vet exams, for example — he may literally be worried sick about the journey.
    • Self-conditioning. If your dog experienced nausea on his first car rides as a puppy, he may associate car rides with illness, and expect to get sick in the car.

    Car sickness doesn’t look like you might expect it to in dogs, and you might not even realize that this is the challenge you’re dealing with. Here are some symptoms to look out for:

    • Inactivity/lethargy
    • Restlessness
    • Excessive/repetitive yawning
    • Whining/crying
    • Hyper-salivation (drooling)
    • Vomiting

    If your dog is suffering from car sickness, symptoms will typically disappear within a few minutes after the car comes to a stop.

    Fortunately, there are a number of different methods available to help prevent and/or treat canine car sickness.

    1.  Increase His Comfort Level
    • Turn your dog so that he faces forward. Motion sickness is related to the brain’s ability to process movement. The less blurring movement he sees out the window, the better he might feel.
    • Keep your dog as close to the front seat as possible (but not in the front seat). The farther back in the car you go, the more you sense motion.
    • Opening the windows a crack. This brings in fresh air, which is soothing, and helps reduce air pressure.
    • Avoid feeding your dog for a few hours before a car trip.
    • Transport him in a travel crate. A crate will limit his view to the outside, and will help to keep any sickness he may have confined to a small space.
    • Keep the temperature low. Heat, humidity and stuffiness can exacerbate car sickness.
    • Distract him. Toys, soothing music, or just hearing you speak may help calm and distract a high-strung dog.
    • Take frequent breaks. Getting out for fresh air or to stretch your legs can help him feel better periodically.
    • Exercise before your car ride.
    1.  Reconditioning  For dogs who have negative associations with riding in cars, reconditioning could be the answer. Reconditioning does take time and patience, but it really can help relax your dog.
    • Drive in a different vehicle.  Your dog might associate a specific vehicle with unpleasant memories.
    • Take short car trips to places your dog enjoys. This will replace negative associations with positive ones.
    • Gradually acclimate your dog to the car. Start by sitting with your dog in the car while the engine is off each day for a few days.  When he seems comfortable, let it idle. Once he is used to that, drive slowly around the block. Gradually progress to longer and longer trips until your dog seems comfortable driving anywhere.
    • Offer your dog treats, or offer him a special toy that’s just for car rides. This will make the car a fun and rewarding place to be.
    1.  Medication While motion sickness can be helped in natural ways for some dogs, there are cases in which medications is the only option. There are both over-the-counter and prescription medications available, including:
    • Anti-nausea drugs: reduce nausea and vomiting.
    • Antihistamines: lessen motion sickness, reduce drooling, and calm nerves.
    • Phenothiazine: reduces vomiting and helps sedate the dog.

    Caution: Always discuss any medications you plan to give your pet with your veterinarian to ensure that your dog is healthy enough to take them, will be given the correct dosage, and won’t suffer any adverse effects.

    1.  Holistic Approach  Holistic treatments are another way to go for dog parents. They really can be effective, and are worth trying.  Some common holistic choices include:
    • Ginger. Ginger is used to treat nausea. Try giving your dog ginger snap cookies or ginger pills at least 30 minutes before travel.
    • Peppermint, chamomile and horehound naturally help calm the stomach and nerves of your dog. These are available in pills and teas.
    • Massage can help sooth and relax your pet before you travel.

    As with other medications, always discuss any holistic remedies you plan to give your pet with your vet to ensure that it’s appropriate and the dosage is correct.

    In short, with some patience, training, or the right medications or holistic treatments, you and your dog will be able to ride safely and happily together anywhere you need to go!

    *Source courtesy of TripsWithPets.com

    About TripsWithPets.com
    TripsWithPets.com is the premier online pet friendly travel guide — providing online reservations at over 30,000 pet friendly hotels & accommodations across the U.S. and Canada. When planning a trip, pet parents go to TripsWithPets.com for detailed, up-to-date information on hotel pet policies and pet amenities. TripsWithPets.com also features airline & car rental pet policies, pet friendly activities, a user-friendly search-by-route option, as well as pet travel gear.