September 9, 2014
by Sam Bourne
2 Comments

Cure Your Dog’s Back-to-School Blues

Cure Your Dog's Back-to-School Blues

Cure Your Dog’s Back-to-School Blues

Back-to-school season is fast approaching and kids everywhere are watching their summer vacations draw to a close. While they may get a case of the blues, the end of playtime can also affect happy dogs.

The Kansas City Star reported that pooches used to running outside with their young buddies get upset as the dog days of summer disappear and make way for the fall. While they’ll eventually adapt to the situation and wait anxiously at the door for the bus to roll around, many dogs feel sad and abandoned once the school year picks up. As a result, canines might look for ways to lash out.

Nick Dodman, B.V.M.S, from Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, explained that many American dogs experience separation anxiety, especially as kids head back to school. In response, family canines will bark, howl, whine, scratch doors, tear curtains or have accidents as they feel the blues. For Dianne Larson of Santa Clarita, California, her year-old black Labrador still searches the house for Dianne’s son Tanner.

“She stays in his room. If his door is closed, she will whine to get in,” said Larson, quoted by the news source.

Side effects of separation aren’t just limited to whimpering and whining, as some dogs will even refuse to eat if their owners leave. They can develop anxiety as well and become panicked when loud noises occur, such as thunderstorms.

Maintaining a happy dog
Managing canine blues is no easy task, and sometimes recommended independence training with a professional can be expensive. But there are some things that owners can do to ease their dogs’ sadness and keep them energetic and joyful.

If you have to leave your pet alone for the day, here are some secrets to a happy dog.

  • Car rides: Much like letting the top down on a long summer drive, dogs love having their ears flapping in the wind. The Dogington Post recommended that after a long day of being alone, the family pooch should be taken out for an evening spin to lift his spirits. He’ll like taking in all of the scenery and smells he misses out on at home.
  • Relaxing home: DogVacay explained that while it’s important for owners to be comfortable leaving their dog home alone, they should also make sure that the family pooch is happy in the environment. He needs enough space to play, eat and relax while you’re at work or the kids are in school. Your furry companion will be much happier if he feels safe and calm while waiting for your family to get home.
  • Once-a-day play: According to Care to Adopt, you have to set aside ample time to play with your dog every day. He’ll most likely be excited once you walk in the door and drag along his favorite chew toy to drop at your feet. Rather than immediately begin planning dinner, start playing with your dog to burn off some of his pent-up energy that he generated throughout the day. Take him outside to run around the yard for a half hour and then feed him a well-balanced meal.
  • Vitamin supplements: Keeping dogs happy also means making sure they’re healthy, and multivitamins can help. For example, PetCareRx’s Feeling Healthy Everyday supplement contains nutrients like calcium, iron, vitamin E and vitamin B-12 to give dogs that extra edge they might miss out on from food alone. The chewable tablets are easy to digest and ensure that your canine is always at his best.

With a PetPlus membership, pet owners can purchase leading medications and supplements at discounted prices to maintain a happy dog.

Sign up today and help keep your pooch full of joy.

September 8, 2014
by admin
1 Comment

Why Do Cats Meow?

why-do-cats-meow

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to speak cat? While we may be able to read a cat’s body language or understand what certain meows mean after years of living with a furry friend, you might still be stumped from time to time about what’s causing your cat to call out.

Cats meow for many reasons. Sometimes it’s serious, but other times your fuzzball might just be a little chatterbox. So why do cats meow? Let’s take a look.

Illness

If your cat has started meowing more than usual, or if they are meowing excessively, it’s time to check in with your veterinarian. Most cats are very good at hiding illnesses, so a cat that’s meowing may be under some serious distress.

Boisterous Breeds

Some breeds just love to jabber, including the Oriental, Siamese, Burmese, Maine Coon, and Siberian. If you’re not one for lots of cat conversation, consider bringing home a more reserved breed.

RELATED STORY: Is My Cat Weird? 5 Freaky Feline Behaviors

Hunger

Once a cat understands that feeding time happens in the kitchen or the hall, they may meow whenever someone walks in that area. They may also meow when you’re getting ready to feed them. If this is the case, wait until your cat stops meowing before giving them their food. This will encourage them to pipe down for a faster meal in the future.

Happy Hello

Some cats say “hey there!” with a meow when you walk through the front door or even when they come across you walking through the house. This is a pretty cute reason for meowing, and probably doesn’t bother you much. Give your cat a little pat on the head for saying what’s up?

Attention

Despite popular belief, cats are social creatures who crave interaction, and many cats meow as a way to get attention, get affection, or get a game going. To discourage attention-seeking meowing, ignore your cat when they are meowing, and then reward them with attention and play when they quiet down.

Loneliness

Some cats meow or cry when they are left alone for hours at a time, usually because they are bored or lonely. Consider hiring someone to stop by during the day, or try some cures for cat boredom, like interactive toys, a bird feeder outside their favorite window, or a scratching post.

Stress

Meowing can be a way for a cat to release stressful or anxious energy, and may start happening when their routine or life changes in some way — like if a new pet is brought into the house. Take steps to calm your cat, like providing alternative stimulation or using calming diffusers.

RELATED STORY: Why Does My Cat’s Mood Change So Quickly?

Breeding

If your female cat is not spayed, they may meow excessively while going through heat. The same goes for an unneutered male cat who senses a potential mate in the area. To stop this type of meowing, get your cat fixed! There are lots of health benefits.

Aging

It’s sad but true; many older cats suffer from dementia, and along with it confusion. Your cat may meow if they are confused or disoriented, and it commonly happens at night. While there is no cure for dementia, you can offer supportive care with certain medications, enrichment activities, and diet changes.

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September 6, 2014
by admin
0 comments

3 Fun Games to Play With Your Cat

cat-playing

While it may seem like so much of a cat’s life is spent in slumber, the truth is that without exercise, play, and physical activities, cats will grow sluggish. And just like if you were to spend a significant amount of time (ahem, Winter, I’m looking at you) neglecting exercise and oversleeping, a lack of physical activity will have an impact on a cat’s mental state, as well as potentially causing physical health to deteriorate. More than that: Cats love to play! While most indoor cats just need to wait for food to appear, the urge to hunt is in their genes. Keep your cat entertained and well-exercised with these three fun games to play with your cat.

Chasing Shadows, Lights, and Laser Pointers

It’s a common occurrence in my home: I’ll be typing away at my laptop, talking with my hands, or doing some other mundane task, and my cat will suddenly start jumping and clawing at the wall. Her ways are generally mysterious, but over time, I’ve figured out that usually this is a result of sunlight glinting off the face of my watch, creating a silvery-bright shadow on the wall. Instead of allowing this game to occur only when bright light and happenstance allows, get a laser pointer or flashlight, or set up the light so that you can use your hands or toys to create intriguing shadows. Most likely, your cat — like mine — will thrill to this entertainment!

SHOP: Spotbrights Laser Pet Toy

Make Toys Bird- or Mouse-Like

You know how your cat delights in watching the birds? Would happily chase after a mouse if one were foolish enough to make its way in your home? Instead of just throwing toys along the floor, interact with the toys so that they fly in like birds and skitter along like mice. Think: How would a mouse behave? Would it hide? And what about a bird: Would it fly up in the air unexpectedly? A toy on a string can help you mimic this activity.

SHOP: Chew Toys for Cats

Cat in a Box

With all the toys out there, sometimes your cat is never more entertained than a box — or a brown paper bag, with its tantalizing crinkle and movement. Put some catnip inside to tempt your cat to explore. Toys can go inside too for entertainment — pull them out on a  string to heighten your cat’s enjoyment. Or nudge the outside of the bag or box gently to get cats moving and exercising their pouncing abilities.

RELATED STORY: How to Play With Your Cat

Remember, when you’re playing with your cat, if you’re getting bored, your cat may very well be sick of the game as well. It’s fine to limit playtime to just ten or fifteen minutes. And, while you shouldn’t make it easy, it’s nice to let your cat “win” occasionally, whether that means finding the toy or capturing the string, just to keep them feeling excited and enthusiastic about playing.

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September 4, 2014
by Sam Bourne
3 Comments

43 Socks Surgically Removed From One Dog Stomach

dog stomach

Anyone that has ever done laundry has dealt with this age old head-scratcher: “where on earth is this sock’s pair?” Sometimes it feels like they just dissolve into the universe.

For one family, the “mystery of the missing sock” has been solved, and the culprit was their 3-year-old Great Dane. And from the looks of it, he was a repeat offender — during exploratory surgery, the vet discovered a whopping 43 socks in the dog stomach!

dog stomach

And it’s a good thing the mystery was solved when it was, because after devouring 43 socks, there wasn’t much room left in his dog stomach for anything else like, say, food.

That is actually part of what tipped the family off to their dog’s problem to begin with — their normally ravenous Great Dane seemed a little peaky during mealtime. The vomiting and retching were probably a good indicator that something was wrong as well.

Luckily, the dog is just fine. After the initial shock of discovering this massive wad of missing socks, the surgery to remove the blockage went smoothly. The dog needed only one day to recuperate after the surgery before he was sent home.

dog stomach

While the problem with this particular Great Dane is more of a statistical outlier than it is a routine occurrence — 43 socks! — it does stem from one of the hallmark characteristics of our furry friends.

Dogs. Eat. Anything.

Any dog owner has their own “don’t eat that!” kind of story, whether it is socks, underpants, garbage, or whatever else is your dog’s food substitute of choice.

But why?

dog stomach

A bolder creature than most, dogs do a lot of their exploring through their mouth. Some dogs learn quickly that things like plastic bags or tin cans are not meant to be eaten. Other dogs decide to keep trying. If you happen to have a more adventurous dog like the Great Dane that ate all the socks, here are a few things to remember:

  • Keep anything that smells like it might be edible out of reach.
  • Just because it smells nasty to you, doesn’t mean your dog agrees. Many dogs like to challenge their palate with some very foul odors (like socks!)
  • Get lids for all your trash cans and laundry hampers.
  • Leave toys and chews around the house to distract them.
  • Reward him/her for chewing on a toy.
  • DON’T punish them unless you catch them in the act. Yelling at your dog with a half eaten shoe in your hand only confuses him/her.

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Sources:
Oregon Live – A dog who ate nearly 44 socks helps a Portland vet gain national honors 
Q13 Fox – Yikes! Oregon dog eats 43 socks, vets remove every single one 
OPB – Portland Animal Clinic Discovers 44 Missing Socks In Dog’s Stomach, Wins X-Ray Photo Contest Prize

September 1, 2014
by Sam Bourne
1 Comment

2 Crazy Ways Shelters are Promoting Adoption

promoting-adoption-1

Animal shelters have a fairly hard row to hoe — they are responsible for taking in animals that would otherwise have nowhere else to go. At the same time, they only have so much space, so finding homes for the pets in their care is always top of mind.

What do you do when the shelter is at capacity but there are still more cats and dogs out there on the streets?

You get creative. You find new ways to reach different audiences. You come up with new campaigns to help stimulate a previously dormant group of potential adopters.

And if you are looking for clever ways for promoting adoption, these campaigns will be right up your alley.

Ikea Cutouts

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For those that don’t know, Ikea is one of the largest home furnishing companies on earth, selling everything from TV stands and dressers to whisks and butter dishes. Some Ikeas have added to their inventory the option to adopt a dog.

Forming the program, Home for Hope, Ikea brought in thousands of cardboard cutouts of actual, adoptable dogs, and lined the showroom floor with them. The program’s idea was to highlight how much “homier” your apartment would become with a rescue dog.

promoting-adoption-4

And look — doesn’t he just pull the room together?

Dogs on Tinder

promoting-adoption-3

If you are single and living in a metropolitan area chances are you have heard of Tinder. If you haven’t, think of it as an app that combines matchmaking programs like OkCupid with the instant gratification of Twitter. You make a simple profile and can start swiping through profiles of eligible people with similar interests in your area.

But now Tinder is taking it to a whole new place. Earlier this month, Tinder users started to notice that, in the midst of the usual stream of singles, were a few adorable, available pooches. Shelters like Social Tees Animal Rescue in the East Village, NYC, have been posting profiles of their beautiful rescues that are just looking for love just like everyone else.

LIKE THIS STORY? FOLLOW US ON TWITTER AND FACEBOOK TO GET ALL THE HOTTEST PET HACKS AND HUGE DISCOUNTS ON PET ESSENTIALS!

Sources:
Baylor Lariat: Love App Tinder Adds Pet Profiles
Huffington Post - Ikea Advertises Adoptable Dogs In Stores