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Time With Your Pet – Make the Most of It!

For most people days are full of work, chores, and social obligations. It’s not uncommon to find yourself lost in a world of interacting around your pet instead of with them. Time with your pet is a precious commodity so make yourself a New Years Resolution to make the most of it!

Ensure they are a part of everything!

How to Spend More Time With Your Pet

  • Exercise! This common resolution is a great way to boost premium pet time! Dog owners can integrate Fido into jogging, biking, or even active games at the dog park like frisbee and catch! Cats make can make great yoga partners and love to be involved in floor exercises. An added bonus? This sort of physical activity is good for your pet’s health too!
  • Talk to them! You don’t have to have one on one physical interaction. Most pets know when you are addressing them. Make it a point for them to have a place in the bathroom while you get ready in the morning, or in the kitchen while you cook or do dishes. Tell them stories, vent, talk about your dreams. They like the attention and it’s a free de-stressing therapy session for you!
  • Make them “Social”. Don’t let your social media accounts keep you distracted from your pet, involve them! Animals are always a hit on the internet. Break out your camera and take some action shots and “selfies” to share! They will love the attention of a private photo shoot!
  • Be lazy together. Finally got some time to kick back on the couch or curl up in the bed with a book or some Netflix? Find your pet and invite them to join you! No need for the two of you to lounge separately.

All these tips have added health benefits for you both! Any time spent with your pet builds and strengthens bonds. The more you involve them, they more likely they are to want to be involved. Show your pet the love they deserve and let their presence and stellar listening skills help keep you de-stressed, fit, and stable!

photo credit: tinto Dog Dienstag via photopin (license)

Bath Time – What You Should Know About Bathing Your Pet

With all the extra summer romping around it’s not unusual for your pet to need a bath a little more often. Taking a bath may seem super straight forward to us but for pets things get a little more complicated. Does your pet have skin allergies that may make it sensitive to soap? Is a bath dangerous for my type of pet? If my pet cleans itself, do I ever need to give it a bath?

Bath time!

Bath Basics

Dogs need regular baths, it’s a simple fact. They don’t groom themselves and get up to (and in to) all sorts of unpleasant thing. Dog baths are pretty straight forward barring any specific skin allergies or water phobias. The basic steps to giving most pets a good bath are as follows:

  • Give them a good brush down to get rid of any loose fur or mats
  • Place them in an un-stopped up tub so the water drains freely and poor warm water over their coat.
  • Be sure the water is penetrating your pets coat of fur.
  • Lather them up with pet shampoo! Be sure to use appropriate shampoo for your pet. Do you need extra flea protection? Is your pet sensitive to fragrances or detergents?
  • Rinse with warm water
  • Towel off!

Some pet owners may add in a pet safe conditioning step or even rinse their pooch with a little vinegar to help shine the coat and nix any lingering scents.

What about other pets though?

    • Cats – Cats groom themselves but on occasion may require some extra help. Cats can get into some sticky and smelly situations too and it’s perfectly safe to give them a bath. In addition to following the steps above you may consider trimming their claws before hand and loosely tucking a couple cotton balls in their ears to keep water from getting in them.
    • Rabbits – It is often highly advised against giving a rabbit a bath. They are prone to hypothermia once water penetrates their fur to their skin. Rabbits can also die of fright and are more prone to injure themselves when frightened. If your bunny really gets into a mess that they just can’t handle themselves consider a good brushing followed by a thorough wiping down with a wet cloth.
    • Potbelly Pigs – Pigs may be associated with being dirty but they are actually very clean critters! Under normal circumstances there is no need to bathe your pig. Brush them and wipe them off like a bunny and you should be good to go!
    • Hedgehogs – Hedgehogs usually love baths! A sink with a small amount of water in it is often a great source of fun for them! Be sure the water is not too deep or warm and never leave them unattended. Dry thoroughly when done!

photo credit: The mascot pup after a bath 1943 via photopin (license)

 

Bonding With Your Pet – How To Build A Relationship

Bonding with a pet is an important move to make. One needed to ensure a long-lasting and happy relationship. While bonding may come naturally to many, others can struggle and don’t know where to begin. The process can be much easier when you get your pet as a baby. As they grow they adapt and become familiar with you and your habits. Bonding can be harder if you are adopting an adult shelter pet though. The saying, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, may not be entirely true but it does take some extra effort!

Bonding with your Pet

  • Leave them alone – If your new pet seems unsure of you, don’t force the situation. Let your new pet – be it a dog, cat, bunny, or guinea pig, be the first to initiate contact. Often times confining your pet to the same area as you while sitting quietly will entice them to investigate you. Don’t try to pet them until they’re comfortable being near you. Do they cower under things? We’ve heard that the best way to bond with something like a baby bunny is to sit in an empty bathtub with them, forcing them to be near you instead of cowering under the nearest piece of furniture!
  • Treats! – Don’t ever underestimate the power of a treat! The initial pet bonding time is all about making your animal have positive associations with you. Once they are comfortable being near you, start petting them, scratching behind the ears, and dole out a treat or two. Dog and cat treats are easy to come by, but for smaller pets like rabbits, try a little bit of banana! They can smell it a long way off!
  • Consistency – If you want to form a strong bond you have to be around your pet regularly. During the bonding process is not the time for vacations and pet sitters! Make yourself available to your pet regularly and be sure to try to work them into your daily routine. Consistency builds a stable and safe environment.

Remember that patience is key, especially if you have a shelter pet that has had a rough life. Try visiting the pet at the shelter a couple times before you take them home. Just like with any relationship trust and comfort must be established before any true affection can grow!

photo credit: OLAF via photopin (license)

Wildlife Pet Threats – What You Need To Know

Most pets will encounter some type of wildlife during their adventures. Whether you live in a rural area or the city, wildlife encounters happen all the time! From pigeons and rats to racoons, skunks, or squirrels! Is it okay for your pet to play with wilder cousins and distant relations? Sometimes pets and wildlife can learn to be great friends but there are several precautions and scenarios you need to be aware of!

Wildlife And Your Pet

  • The City Varmints – If you live in the inner city and rarely escape closer to nature it’s likely your pets wildlife interactions will be limited. That being the case though, they are still at risk for exposure to some pretty nasty diseases, mites, and parasites from rats, roaches, or pigeons. Not to mention the poisons often put out to control such creatures.
  • The Unseen Threat – Dogs and cats may seem impervious to a lot, but they suffer from many of the same threats as us. Waterborne illnesses and parasites in the dirt are two unseen and serious threats. Most pets are fine drinking and burying their faces up in things we would never dream of, but that doesn’t mean it’s always safe! If you’re in a national park or out traveling pay attention to signs, keep your pet in areas that appear to be well travelled, and avoid letting them drink stagnant or foul smelling water.
  • The Woodland Varmints – Whether your camping or live in the country your house place is bound to be visited by a skunk, opossum, armadillo or another similar critter at some point. Make sure your pet keeps its distance! Aside from being smelly, skunks are popular carriers of rabies. While armadillos and opossums carry leprosy and lots of other diseases! Not to mention, a confrontational or overly friendly pet is likely to get bit! Did you know that skunks will kill kittens?

Wildlife love to feast on food left out for pets!

 

  • The Predators – More of a threat for campers or rural dwellers, predatory wildlife can be a big danger for pets. Coyotes, bears, mountain lions, alligators, and bobcats are all critters found across America. Don’t let your pets roam out of sight, and make sure you have an action plan should you confront one. Some suburban pets can come under attack too. Rabbit owners should always be on the look out for birds of prey!

When out hiking, always keep an eye out for wildlife warnings!

No matter where you and your pet live or choose to travel always make sure they are up to date on all their shots and preventative medicines for fleas, worms, and everything else to minimize the impact wildlife could have on them!

photo credit: Skunks Stealing Sam’s Food via photopin (license)

 

 

Car Safety Tips for Pets‏ – Keep Summer Fun & Safe!

Car rides for pets can be either an exhilarating or terrifying event. Either way, at some point or another it’s an inevitable occurrence of your pets life. Dogs are more often car companions, but cats, ferrets, or other critters take rides too! It’s easy to understand why a loving pet owner would want to take their pet with them where ever they go. Sometimes our desire to do so overrides safety for us, others, and our pets… Before you plan your next vacation, road trip, or a simple drive for errands make sure that you’re following these car safety tips for pet travel.

Car Safety Tips

  • State laws – Before you plan on taking your pet anywhere be sure that you are fully aware of all your states laws regarding pets riding in cars. Some states have very strict rules. If you’re planning a vacation that takes you into or through other states, be sure you know their laws too. Getting a ticket on vacation is no fun!
  • Plan your trip – Whether you’re traveling far or just headed to town to run errands with a pet in tow, make sure that you’ve put some thought into your trip. Map out your long distance trips by identifying rest areas or pet-friendly parks where you can stop and let your critter take care of business, stretch their legs, and get a drink. Even if your just heading to town for errands make sure you’ve got a water dish and some bottled water with you and know where you can take your pet out for a bathroom break just in case your trip takes longer than you anticipate.

Safer Car Rides With Your Pet

  • Hot Cars – Every year pets perish due to being left in hot cars. A car parked in the sun in summer can reach deadly temperatures in less time than it takes you to fill up a tank of gas. Cracked windows are great on cooler days in spring, fall, or winter, but are rarely enough in the heat of summer. If your pet can’t come in with you, it’s best to leave them at home during the peak of summer. In some states, it’s illegal to leave an animal locked in a car. Despite all the warnings though, many pet parents ignore the dangers here. If you have any doubts, we encourage you to try sitting in the car yourself in summer and see how long you can take it!
  • Windows – When your pet is in the car, you must be diligent and constantly aware of the windows. Most dogs love to reenact the iconic image with their heads out the window in the breeze! Be sure you’re aware of the dangers though! Heads outside the window can cause serious injuries due to road signs, mailboxes, and other roadside items. Be careful of windows being too low too. We’ve seen pets jump out of moving vehicles before to chase things!

Fun, but not very safe!

  • Distractions – Make sure that driving with your pet in the car doesn’t prove to be too much of a distraction. Never let your pet occupy the space immediately around you like gear shifts, the steering wheel, or gas and brake pedals. Make sure your pet isn’t big enough or positioned to obstruct your view while driving. Before taking your pet out regularly or on long trips, make sure you’ve put the effort in to “car train” your pet so they know how to behave. Car training your pet is also super handy when you have to hire a pet nanny! The better behaved your pet is, the more fun they can have in other people’s care – like trips to the park!
  • Movement injuries – Most pets in vehicles are not physically secure. This means your pet could suffer injuries should you have to come to an unexpected quick stop or swerve abruptly. There is a wide variety of pet partitions or car attachments that make traveling with your pet safer for both you and them. Shop around and see what you can find to fit your particular pet and car type!

Remember, keep summer fun by staying safe!

photo credit: I’m not thinking anything – I’m a cat via photopin (license)
photo credit: IMG_5123 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.

 

Fruits & Veggies For Your Pet? You Bet!

While fruits and veggies for some pets are common-sense, like rabbits or hamsters, they can seem a little unorthodox for dogs and cats! It turns out that many fruits and veggies can add a lot of important nutrients to your pet’s diet that even the more expensive dog or cat foods can be missing. They can also be a great way to help an overweight pet slim down! At this point, you may be asking yourself whether or not your could get Fido to eat a cabbage? How interested is Snowball going to be in a banana? You might be surprised! It’s all about presentation and learning your pet’s preferences!

That being said, be careful introducing new fruits and veggies into your pet’s diet though. Changes in diet can cause stomach upset in some pets so new items should be introduced slowly and in small quantities at first. Be sure to always wash all produce before you feed it to your cat or dog. Pesticides, germs, and imported fungi or bacteria can make your pet sick too. A simple and quick way to clean your pets produce is to take it straight from the grocery bag and submerge it in a weak vinegar solution in a bowl or your kitchen sink. The vinegar helps to cut the waxy coatings that can make the pesticides adhere to the fruits and veggies and help them rinse cleaner!

WARNING – Always remember to remove all seeds from fruit before feeding it to your pet! Especially apple seeds, which contain small amounts of arsenic. It’s not enough to hurt a human in most cases, but in small pets over time it can cause illness. Also, beware of pits in things like peaches and apricots, which can be a choking hazard! If your pet has a tender belly avoid citrus which can cause upset stomachs, as well as grapes and raisins since they can cause kidney damage in dogs and cats. It’s best to avoid corn, onions, and garlic too.

When introducing the new items, be sure to cut them up into bite-size pieces! You may find it easier to mince them up and mix them in with your pets regular food until they get used to the taste. Who knows though, some pets love fruits and veggies! This summer, if you’re feeling like really giving your pet a treat, try blending them up a smoothie with ice to cool them off and give them a nutritious boost!

 What are some of the best fruits and veggies to introduce to your pet?

Blueberries
Strawberries
Banana
Apricot
Apples
Pineapple
Pear
Watermelon

Bell Peppers
Cabbage
Sweet Potato
Spinach
Green Beans
Pumpkin
Carrots
Cucumber

What about canned fruits and veggies? Try to avoid them since most canned fruits contain added sugars and preservatives, and canned veggies can contain added salt. When possible, stick to fresh produce and don’t try to feed your pet anything you wouldn’t eat too!

photo credit: Moby’s writing table – 43/52 via photopin (license)

 

Tricks for Pet Owners – Save Time and Money!

There are many rewards that owning a pet offer! That doesn’t mean it doesn’t take some hard work and dedicated care to reap them though! Anything that can help a pet owner pinch a penny or make something easier in their day to day duties is worth sharing. We’ve compiled some great tricks for making life with your dog easier.

Tricks for Dog Owners

  • Pet Dental Care – Can’t get your dog to cooperate for a tooth brushing? Try rubbing some doggie toothpaste on a chew toy (like a rope) and letting your puppy clean their own teeth while they play!
  • Carpet Stains – There are many tricks for carpet stains give these a go if you’ve found others less effective – Absorb pet urine stains by coating the stain with baking soda and letting it set for a hour or longer. Then, simply vacuum it up! Another quick tip is to work cheap men’s shaving cream into the carpet, and then wipe up with a wet cloth!
  • Pet Hair – Remove pet hair from furniture with the wet dish glove trick!  Just rub a wet rubber dish glove over the hair covered upholstery to pick it up, then simply rinse the glove off!
  • Fresh Food – A great trick for keeping your pet food fresher and more easily dispensed is to store it in a tall drink pitcher! You can easily turn the lid to keep it fresh, and then open the pour spout to measure out the perfect amount!

Money saving tricks!

  • Start a pet fund – Pet owners may struggle with extra expenses like a dog sitting service, dog walking, or even overnight pet sitting rates. Use a basic money saving trick of dropping loose change in a jar. This trick helps you save up for unexpected trips out of town or an illness that prevents you from taking your dog out for a walk regularly.
  • Cool Summer Treats – A great trick for keeping your dog cool includes using a large cake mold to freeze water mixed with chicken broth for your pet to lick! Make it extra enticing by adding toys throughout the mold. You can also freeze bits of apple in ice cube trays with chicken broth! A healthy treat while cooling down!

Share your tricks for saving money and time with your pets! Check out the link here for more pet owner money saving tricks!

photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/hand-nor-glove/2261185100/”>This Year’s Love</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>

Fleas and Ticks and Mites, Oh My! – Pet Nanny

Last Saturday marked the change of seasons from the blossoms of Springs to the full fledge greenery of summer! And right along with it came all the insect kingdom looking for food! While mosquito’s and chiggers may target humans the most, pets take on a non-stop onslaught from the fleas and ticks and mites! Between flea shampoos and collars, shots and pills, we’ve come up with some extra steps you can add to your regimen to help keep your pet comfortable this year. While these tips may not be replacements for your pets regular flea and tick treatment, they can help to make them more effective and possibly require less frequent rounds of it. Take these tips to task and let us know if you have any of your own!

Help Keep Fleas and Ticks and Mites Away!

  • Diatomaceous Earth – This stuff is harmless to animals and pets! It feels like baby powder but is made up of super finely ground shells. At a microscopic level though it’s like a bunch of tiny razors. Spread this fine powder around outside areas where your pet likes to sleep. It’s also great to sprinkle on welcome mats or in dog houses. It has to be reapplied once it gets damp though.
  • Grow Mint – Mint has a strong odor that is a deterrent to fleas. Plant it around dog houses, or dry it and keep sachets of it around the home where pets like to congregate!
  • Rosemary Oil – Rosemary keeps ticks at bay. Purchase a cloth collar for your dog or cat and let a few drops of Rosemary Oil soak into the material before you put it around your pets neck. Be sure to wash and reapply as needed.
  • Coconut Oil – Condition you pets fur with coconut oil! A small amount massaged into your pets fur will not only help make their coats shine but also deter fleas and ticks and mites! And it’s harmless if ingested! Don’t forget to swab a cotton ball with coconut oil on the ears and just inside (where fur still grows) to prevent ear mites from taking up residence.

 

Fleas and ticks

Surprising Foods You Can Share With Your Dog

Dogs are masters at begging and few pet owners can resist the puppy dog eyes and soft whimpering that resides close to you while chowing down on your favorite snack. Lots of things human eats can cause gastrointestinal issues in dogs though. Here is a list of surprising foods that you can feel free to share with your pet and satisfy your desire to treat them!

Surprising foods to satisfy your dog!

Treat Your Pet With These Surprising Foods!

  • Peanut Butter – Peanut Butter is a perfectly safe treat to share with your dog, but to be on the healthy side, try to be certain that it is natural, and not full of extra sugars.
  • Apples & Pears – not necessarily something your dog will be begging for but they are okay to share! Spare your pet the core of the fruit though since the seeds can contain cyanide!
  • Squashes – Next time you’re hosting a summer cook out, feel free to share some grilled yellow squash or zucchini with your pet!
  • Peppermint – while it may not be one of the ‘surprising foods’ since technically it’s an herb, feel free to treat your fuzzy friends bad breath with some fresh peppermint!
  • Yogurt  and cheeses – we’ve added these two to our list of surprising foods but its important to note that like humans, a small percentage of dogs are lactose intolerant.
  • Oatmeal – a great choice for older dogs who may need more fiber, as well as young pups who need soft food.

While all these foods, as well as many others are safe to feed to your dog, remember moderation is key. Also remember to always choose options with the least amount of added sugars and fats. Be certain to check  out the ASPCA  website for a list of surprising foods to NEVER feed your dog, including avocado, grapes, and bread dough.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/supercereal/10584549423/”>MA1216</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a

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