Category: Pet tip of the Week

Animal Charities: Helping You Make an Impact

You’re a lover of pets, right? And you know you have to shop from time to time for various things, so why not combine getting the things you want or need with your love of pets?! Tons of animal charities have teamed up with some pretty awesome companies to bring you the things you need while giving a portion of your money for all sorts of awesome animals causes! We’ve listed some of our favorites below, so next time you grab your wallet, make an impact!

Businesses that Love Animal Charities

  • Lush Cosmetics – Lush Cosmetics specializes in whipping up fresh batches of natural skin care products. Not only do they not test on animals, they take a portion of your money to rescue dogs from laboratory testing with their Beagle Freedom Project.
  • Dog for Dog – Taking their cue from Tom’s shoes, Dog for Dog food and treats donates a bag to a pet in need for every bag purchased! You get to feed two dogs for the price of one!
  • Bissell – Need a new vacuum to help curb the pet hair take over of your home? Grab a Bissell! A portion of your purchase goes to fund the Bissell Pet Foundation – a charity designed to help find homes for abused and shelter animals!
  • Subaru – Looking for a new car that’s perfect for you and your pet? Check-out your nearest Subaru dealer! In last six years they have contributed 9.2 million dollars to the ASPCA.
  • Vans – This shoe company, popular among skaters, has also partnered with the ASPCA to help promote pet adoptions through a special line of shoes.
  • Amazon.com – Your one-stop-shop for just about everything online, the AmazonSmile program lets you had select the animal charity of your choice. You buy, and they donate, doesn’t get much easier than that!

photo credit: BOBBY. via photopin (license)

Adopt A Cat Month Is Here!

Adopt A Cat Checklist!

June is national Adopt-A-Cat-Month! Been thinking about getting a kitty (or a new kitty) for some time? June is the month to act! Shelters are frequently packed with kittens from unexpected Spring litters in June looking for a forever home – and that home could be yours! Not sure about it though? Don’t want to make a commitment you may not be ready for? Check out our list of things you should do or prepare for BEFORE you adopt.

Make sure your house is “cat-friendly”

  • Do you already own pets? If so, do you think they will respond favorable or hostile toward a new addition?
  • If you rent, make sure that pets are allowed and pay any required deposits!
  • Make sure you’re in the habit of keeping potential hazards out of a cats reach; medication, cosmetics, household cleaners, etc.
  • Cats are climbers and jumpers! Don’t keep fragile items of value where they could be knocked over.
  • Make sure your plants aren’t poisonous and take necessary steps to keep a new kitty from making it their litter box

Have the necessary accessories

  • Litter box with litter, scoop, and a mat or cover if needed
  • Food and water dishes with age appropriate food
  • Toys! If you don’t want all your household items to become toys, make sure you supply some!
  • Scratch posts – save your furniture and invest now!
  • Ensure there is a “Kitty Space”

Designate an area in your home for your new kitty

This can be a laundry or utility area or any place where there is easy clean up and you can preferably close off to some degree. Yes, your kitty will get to roam the house, but this will allow them to get accustomed to a going to a specific area to get their needs met; bathroom, food, scratching, and such. It also allows for a safe space that a new pet can feel safe in while they adjust!

Choose a vet and budget accordingly

Finding a vet now will help you keep your kitty healthy for the long term. Costs will vary depending on the age of cat you choose to adopt. Kittens will likely need wormers, and shots. If your shelter has kittens under 12 weeks, you will need to get them spayed or neutered yourself. And don’t forget about flea and tick control if you’re going to have an indoor/outdoor cat.

Consider a finding a good pet sitter too! You will inevitably have time when you won’t be able to be there for your kitty as much as you’d like to. A pet sitter will make sure your pet is fed, the litter box is clean, and that they get some good play time in! Most importantly adopt a kitty whose personality fits you! Spend some time with each one you’re considering and choose the best fit for your lifestyle!

photo credit: Take me home via photopin (license)

Leash Training Your Dog 101

Using a leash with your dog may seem pretty intuitive. Clip it onto their collar or harness and you’re ready to go, right? Sure, that gets the job done, but did you know there are lots of tips and tricks you can use to leash train your dog? Holding it correctly to prevent injury and teaching your dog to stop pulling are two great benefits of  training!

Leash Training 101

  • The right collar. If you’re starting your leash training with a puppy, it’s pertinent to get a collar that fits. Since puppies grow, be aware that you need to check the collar sizing regularly and upgrade as needed. Check out this link for tips on measuring your dog’s collar size!
  • Learn how to hold the leash. Here is where some human training comes in. Knowing how to hold the leash properly will help you keep steady control of your pet, without risking injury to yourself. This is particularly important during the training process when your pet will be pulling and jerking the most. Proper technique, as described by Wikihow:

    “Slip your thumb through the loop at the end of the leash. If you hold your hand upwards in front of you (like you’re giving someone a high five), the leash should dangle off your thumb. Then close your hand around the loop. The rest of the leash should come out the bottom of your fist, beside your pinky finger.”

  • Start with a short range. Keeping your dog close to you can help them learn which side they should walk on and what an acceptable pace is. This also allows you more immediate, easier control during the early stages.

  • Trial and error. Now comes the training part! With a pocket full of treats head out the door! As your pet walks calmly beside you, praise them and offer a treat. If they pull or dart about erratically exercise patience and reward them when they stop this behavior and return to polite walking. If they remain walking with you, stop and reward them every so often.
  • Deal with pulling. If your dog is trying to pull you toward a goal, stop. Wait until your pet stops tugging and then slowly walk toward the object of their interest, rewarding them if they walk calmly with you. Your dog needs to understand that misbehaving will produce the opposite result of what they want. If their behavior persists, calmly walk away from their goal. Don’t ever jerk the leash, just apply enough steady pressure that they must follow you. And again with the training mantra, once he stops and begins following you at a normal pace, reward him!

Remember to always be patient and gentle with your dog. Use your stubbornness and leadership to command your pet. Dogs are smart and most pick up on leash training fast!

photo credit: Comfort via photopin (license)

Earth Day Tips for Your Pet!

With Earth Day still fresh on our minds (it was last Friday!), have you ever considered your pet’s carbon footprint? Or small changes you could make to be a greener pet owner?

Green Pets For Earth Day!

  • Green Pet Toys – While you may be tempted to treat your pet with a new toy each time you head out the pickup supplies, most pets don’t know the difference between a bought toy and a homemade one! Not to mention there is no telling what unhealthy chemicals are in/on the plastic and polyester toys commercially available. Dogs love sticks, bones, or even old shoes! Cats are suckers for balls of yarn, pens, and really anything they can swat around the house!
  • Spay and Neuter – Believe it or not, this may be the greenest thing you can do! Nearly 8 million pets are euthanized in animal shelters each year. The resources to house, feed, and eventually euthanize 8 million pets are huge. Spaying or neutering your pet can not only help the planet but prevent animal suffering if you are unable to care for all the potential offspring yourself!

  • Scoop or “Pickup” Cleaner – Whether you’re a cat, dog, or even bunny owner, resources are often used disposing of their waste… Consider trying out eco-friendly plastic bags in honor of Earth Day! Poopbags.com sells biodegradable baggies made just for your pet’s “business”.  Use it on walks, or place one in a small container with a lid next to your litterbox and scoop into it daily, then toss at weeks end! If you’ve got a bunny and space for composting, rabbit manure is praised by gardeners and most rabbit litter is compost friendly too!
  • Avoid Plastics – When possible opt for metal or ceramic pet accessories. They usually last longer, are more natural, and consume less resources to make! Next time you need to replace water and food dishes, litter boxes (yup, they make metal litterboxes!), bedding, toys, collars, etc., opt for the real thing, no plastics or polyesters need apply!

Do you have your own ways you “go green” with your pet(s)? Share them with us in honor of Earth Day 2016!

Infographic Courtesy Of Ultimate Home Life

 

photo credit: via photopin (license)

Puppy Time! How To Set Your Pet Up For Success

With little rolly-polly bodies and a playful spirit, puppies are hard to resist. There is nothing sadder though than to see a puppy that was brought home be left untrained and set up for a lifetime of struggle. Sometimes when the responsibility sets in and a puppy becomes a misbehaving dog it’s easier to take them to a shelter or put them outside on a lunge line or in a pen. What can you do to make sure that you’re both ready for the responsibility and that your puppy turns into a pet you can manage? Let us guide you!

Puppy to Dog – Tips for Success

  • Know your commitment – True with ANY pet, don’t make an impulse decision. Bringing a pet home is a big commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Be sure you are ready and willing to put in the time and money to lovingly see the animal through to the end of its life.
  • Prepare your home – If you don’t want it chewed or damaged keep it out of a puppy’s reach. Make sure that you have the required equipment (puppy crates, puppy gates, etc.) to restrict their access and keep them safe. A well-prepared home will lead to less disciplinary measures required during the bonding process.

Puppy time!

  • Define toys – Make sure that your pet knows what it’s toys are. Don’t confuse them by letting them play with an old shoe or something similar. They aren’t going to discern between the toy shoe and your new pair when play time arrives. Make sure toys look different from regular household items you don’t want them messing with.
  • Take the time to train them – Training your puppy doesn’t have to be a big deal or a headache. The best training comes through play! For example, a game of hide and seek with treats as rewards can teach your pet to come when called. Get creative!
  • Keep bathroom breaks consistent – A great puppy potty break rule is to take their age in months and add 1. That is how frequently you should let them out. If your puppy is 4 months old, be sure to let them out at least every five hours. If you can’t be there all the time consider asking a friend or hiring a pet nanny!
  • Make them guest friendly – Nobody likes to be greeted by an over anxious or hostile pet when they visit. While your puppy is young consider keeping them leashed and by you while you have company. Being near you instead of all over a guest will become a habit for them as they grow. To prevent a second pet faux pas, discourage your pet from jumping on you and others by only ever rewarding them when all four paws are on the ground.

photo credit: Hudson, 9 weeks old. via photopin (license)

Moving With Your Pet – How To Make It Work

It is an inevitable fact of life for most that at some point you will find yourself moving your residence. While you might be excited about your new home, no one is excited about the process of getting there. One of the sometimes painful problems associated with moving can be figuring out a smooth transition while keeping your pets.

Moving and complications with landlords are the two top reasons pets get taken to shelters. They simply no longer fit into the families lifestyle. What can you do to avoid this heartbreaking scenario?

 Moving For Renters

If you’re a renter be sure that the landlord allows pets. If they do, ask if there is an extra pet deposit required. If pets aren’t allowed consider asking your landlord if they would with an extra deposit and a reference from your previous landlord. Some might be willing to budge on this if you offer them enough security. Never push the subject though.

Consider how your pet might affect your neighbors too. If you have a dog that likes to bark, try to avoid apartments or tight spaces where complaints might be made against you.

Moving For Buyers

If you’re looking to buy and new home and plan to have pets, be sure you’re keeping that in mind as you shop. Ensure there is plenty of outdoor space in which your pet can be contained and not be a nuisance to neighbors. Ask the realtor or other locals if there are any specific ordinances regarding pets before you move in. Some communities ban certain breeds of dogs, have leash laws, or noise ordinances. Know your community before you commit to living it.

 

No matter what your situation, some thoughtful planning and research could save you and your pet a lot of heartbreak

 

 

Phobias in Pets – Helping Your Pets Cope With Fear

Pets, just like humans, can suffer from some pretty unreasonable phobias and fears. What’s the difference between a phobia and a fear? A phobia is a long term anxiety disorder associated with an irrational fear of something. A fear, on the other hand, is a response to a true, known threat. Like people, individual pets may suffer from different and unique phobias. Here are a few common ones and how to help your furry friend cope and hopefully overcome!

Help Your Pets Cope With Phobias

Thunder – Every time a thunderstorm rolls through an area, you can bet someone’s pet is getting very upset. Many pets are afraid of thunder, and we’ve all jumped at the occasional, out of the blue crackling roar that takes us by surprise. For some pets though, the fear is accompanied by a much deeper and upsetting anxiety. Some pets will begin pacing, whining, drooling or acting erratically with even the lowest roll of thunder. It may seem harmless and easy to just leave them be to cower under the couch or bed until the weather passes. Long term anxiety is unhealthy for your pet, and persistent fear can cause pets to run into walls, or do other erratic behavior that could do them serious harm. Help your pet cope with this common phobia by providing them therapy in small doses. Play a recording of a thunderstorm for them, very low, on a pretty day while petting them, feeding them treats, or playing. This will help encourage them to associate the sound and event with something pleasant.

Water – Some pets just don’t like water, and you clearly should never force your pet into something they are not comfortable with. We do NOT advise you trying to treat your cat for a dislike of water! Pets that groom themselves have little to no need to be acclimatized to it so we suggest you let them be! Dogs, on the other hand, need a good bath once in a while! If you’re introducing your pet to water to for the first time, make sure it’s a fun and memorable experience. Never throw or drag your pet into the water and make sure that you’re partaking too! Whether you’re introducing them to bath time or swimming at the lake, always go in first, stay shallow and show them how much fun you’re having. Water phobias can be created by just assuming that dogs like water and won’t mind bath time. Make sure to ease them into it and just like with thunder, create pleasant associations!

The effects of pet phobias…

Vets Office – Nobody likes going to the doctor and it’s no better for your pet. A phobia of the vet can be a pretty serious condition, especially considering that some vet calls may be emergencies and causing your pet even more anxiety during an emergency can further hurt them. Vet phobias can be so severe that the very chance of one ruins any and every car ride you take with your pet. The way to overcome the vet phobia is to make it a point not to just take your pet there when they are sick or getting a shot. Talk to your vet and see if there is a chance you could swing by for a social call occasionally. Just pop in and let your pet sniff around the office, have the receptionist feed them treats and then head home with no unpleasantness involved! Another good step is to make sure that your pet is used to being fully handled. Practice minor exams at home during petting or grooming sessions so that your pet isn’t so alarmed by being felt all over by a stranger.

Always remember than forcing your pet into something they are not fully comfortable with creates phobias, not the other way around. Be patient and always do everything you can to stay calm and be a constant soothing presence to you pet. Create positive associations whenever you can, and most pet phobias can be handled perfectly right at home with a little attention from you!

photo credit: DSCN2076 via photopin (license)

Adopt A Shelter Pet – What Steps Do You Need To Take?

If you and your family are looking to adopt a new pet for your home, you’re likely going to start at your local pet shelter. Some people can be a bit surprised when they get to the shelter and find out that pet adoption has more steps than just choosing the pet that’s right for you and taking it home. Before you head to the shelter, be sure you know what you need to do and have before you adopt!

How to adopt a shelter pet

  • Talk to the people at the shelter – The people at the shelter are the ones who have spent the most time with each individual animal and know their personalities. Before you adopt talk with the people who take care of the animals about your family and lifestyle. Do you like to do outdoors activities or are you, more homebodies? Do you have small children or other pets in the house? These people can help guide you to the pets best suited to your family’s lifestyle making the bonding process a breeze for both your family and the new pet!
  • Don’t rush! – Just because you’ve decided to get a pet doesn’t mean that you have to leave with one on your first trip to a shelter. Spend time with the pets you are considering and get to know them. Some shelters will let you take dogs on a walk and spend some one-on-one or family time with the pet you are considering.
  • Bring your paperwork – Shelters like to make sure that when someone comes to adopt a pet they are doing so with the best intentions for the animal and are prepared for the commitment. Make sure to have a photo ID with you and your current address. If you’re a renter, some shelters may require that you have a copy of your lease agreement or written permission from your landlord that you are allowed to have pets. These precautions help ensure that the pet is moving into a lasting and stable environment instead of an impulse adoption that will end up on their doorstep in a week or two again.
  • Bring Money – Shelters are not a free place to adopt a pet. They have to cover the expenses associated with operating, and some shelters will spay/neuter, and vaccinate the pets when they first come in. Be sure that you are prepared for the expense required bringing your pet home.
  • Ask for your new pets medical history – While some shelters will spay/neuter or vaccinate pets, not all do. Make sure you know what medical treatment your pet has had, and what services it may need. It’s often best to plan on a vet check-up shortly after you adopt regardless of your pets known history.

Why should you adopt a pet instead of buying a new one from a breeder or pet shop? Pet shelters are often overwhelmed with abandoned pets missing their homes and a loving family. Breeders breed pets to meet demand while shelters try to find homes for already existing pets in need of love.

 

Adopt A Shelter Pet – What Steps Do You Need To Take?

If you and your family are looking to adopt a new pet for your home, you’re likely going to start at your local pet shelter. Some people can be a bit surprised when they get to the shelter and find out that pet adoption has more steps than just choosing the pet that’s right for you and taking it home. Before you head to the shelter, be sure you know what you need to do and have before you adopt!

How to adopt a shelter pet

  • Talk to the people at the shelter – The people at the shelter are the ones who have spent the most time with each individual animal and know their personalities. Before you adopt talk with the people who take care of the animals about your family and lifestyle. Do you like to do outdoors activities or are you, more homebodies? Do you have small children or other pets in the house? These people can help guide you to the pets best suited to your family’s lifestyle making the bonding process a breeze for both your family and the new pet!
  • Don’t rush! – Just because you’ve decided to get a pet doesn’t mean that you have to leave with one on your first trip to a shelter. Spend time with the pets you are considering and get to know them. Some shelters will let you take dogs on a walk and spend some one-on-one or family time with the pet you are considering.
  • Bring your paperwork – Shelters like to make sure that when someone comes to adopt a pet they are doing so with the best intentions for the animal and are prepared for the commitment. Make sure to have a photo ID with you and your current address. If you’re a renter, some shelters may require that you have a copy of your lease agreement or written permission from your landlord that you are allowed to have pets. These precautions help ensure that the pet is moving into a lasting and stable environment instead of an impulse adoption that will end up on their doorstep in a week or two again.
  • Bring Money – Shelters are not a free place to adopt a pet. They have to cover the expenses associated with operating, and some shelters will spay/neuter, and vaccinate the pets when they first come in. Be sure that you are prepared for the expense required bringing your pet home.
  • Ask for your new pets medical history – While some shelters will spay/neuter or vaccinate pets, not all do. Make sure you know what medical treatment your pet has had, and what services it may need. It’s often best to plan on a vet check-up shortly after you adopt regardless of your pets known history.

Why should you adopt a pet instead of buying a new one from a breeder or pet shop? Pet shelters are often overwhelmed with abandoned pets missing their homes and a loving family. Breeders breed pets to meet demand while shelters try to find homes for already existing pets in need of love.

 

Children and Pets: Are yours ready? – Pet Nanny

Soft cuddly playful fluffiness is something most children find impossible to resist! It’s likely that if you have a child it won’t be much longer than they can talk before they are asking for a pet. But are they ready? There is a lot of responsibility in caring for another living creature and it’s not a decision that should be made on a whim. Here are some factors to take into consideration before you give in:

Should Your Child or Children Get A Pet?

  • How old is your child? – Age is a big consideration. Children younger than five tend to have a harder time with pets. While pets can be a great way to teach compassion and empathy, very young children can struggle with respecting a pets space and understanding how to handle one. Getting your child a pet too young can lead to either your child getting hurt or the pet. Stick to stuffed animals until they are a little older!
  • Start small and assess the child’s growth – Pets are also a great way to teach responsibility. Be sure to take it slow. Start your child off with a fish, hermit crabs, or other creature that requires minimal work. If you observe your child maintaining consistent responsibility with feeding, cleaning, and general care, they might be getting ready for a bigger pet!
  • Make sure your child understands commitment – The lifespan of a conventional pet (such as a cat or dog) can match your child’s time in your home. It’s very possible that a pet they get when they are five can still be with them when they are eighteen. You and your child should be prepared for a long-term commitment.
  • Are you ready? – While the pet may belong to your child it doesn’t mean that you are free from responsibility for it. The most mature child is still just a child and it’s up to you to make sure that the animal is being properly cared for and to take over duties when your child is sick or busy.

Don’t let holidays or pet shop windows tempt you into an impulse buy! Living creatures deserve your full consideration and they will be dependent on you for the rest of their lives. See more important tips and things to consider here.

 

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