yellow lab smiling at camera

“Labor Day?! I thought you said ‘Labrador day’!”

 

In honor of “Labrador day” here are some paw-sitively hilarious jokes that we wanted to share with you. They’ll have you rolling with your pup!

What do dogs and cell phones have in common?

They both have collar IDs!

What kind of dog does Dracula have?

A bloodhound!

What do you call a dog magician?

A labracadabrador!

Which dog breed chases anything red?

A bulldog!

What’s a dog’s favorite instrument?

A trom-bone!

What do you call a dog in the winter?

A chili-dog!

Where did the dog leave his car?

In the barking lot!

What’s a dog’s favorite kind of pizza?

Pupperoni!

What do you get when you cross a dog with a calculator?

A friend you can count on!

Why are dogs terrible dancers?

They have two left feet!

What kind of dog takes a bath every day?

A shampoo-dle!

Why did the Dalmatian go to the eye doctor?

She kept seeing spots!

What happens when you cross a dog with a telephone?

You get a golden receiver!

What do you get when you cross a cocker spaniel, a poodle, and a rooster?

A cockerpoodledoo!

What do you get when you cross a herding dog with a rose?

A collie-flower!

Why do dogs love conjunctions?

They just love buts!

What do scientist’s dogs do with their bones?

They barium!

What type of market do dogs avoid?

A flea market!

Here’s one for all you cat lovers out there:

What do you call it when a cat wins a dog show?

A cat-has-trophy!

August is National Wellness Month, reminding us that self-care, managing stress, and creating healthy routines is paramount to living a long and healthy life. For pet owners, your pet is probably already helping you with all of those! Most owners know what a joy it is to have a pet in their life, but many don’t know that their pet is attuned to their emotional and mental state and can help improve it just by being present.

Did you know that your pet can help you live your best life, improving your mental, emotional, and physical health?

Physical Health Benefits

The animal-human bond has been studied in depth over the past few decades and researchers have found conclusively that pets improve our physical health:

  • Pet owners tend to have a lower blood pressure, both in general and in stressful situations than people without pets. Pets can often help control spikes in blood pressure due to stress more effectively than ACE inhibiting drugs. One study found that when people with borderline hypertension adopted a dog, their blood pressure decreased significantly within five months.
  • Pet owners have a decreased risk of coronary disease with lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels (indicators of heart disease) than those without pets.
  • Pet owners have a higher survival rate after a heart attack than people without pets.
  • Pet owners who exercise with their pet regularly have a reduced risk of obesity and are able to lose weight and keep it off more consistently.
  • Pet owners over the age of 65 make 30% fewer visits to their doctors than those without pets, according to another recent study.

Cats have an extra health superpower – their purr! Cats purr within a range of 20-140 Hz, which studies have shown to be medically therapeutic for us humans. A cat’s purr can not only lower stress it can also help labored breathing, lower blood pressure, help heal infections, and even heal bones. So the next time you think you feel better with your furry space heater purring on your lap, you know it’s not just in your head!

Mental and Emotional Health Benefits

Pets fulfill that basic human need for touch and a sense of togetherness. Studies have shown that spending time with your pets, talking to them, and petting them can help reduce stress and stave off loneliness. This is in part a result of your body’s release of Oxytocin, a “feel good” hormone, when you spend time with your pets. Interacting with your pets has also been shown to decrease your body’s levels of Cortisol, a stress-related hormone as well as elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which help you to relax.

Your furry friend may also be able to help break anxiety cycles by encouraging you to focus on their needs or entertainment rather than whatever is producing your anxiety. Your pet is your responsibility and caring for their needs can establish structure and routine in your day that not only keeps your pet calm and balanced, but can also help you in the same way.

Therapy pets often serve as a source of comfort to patients in hospitals or nursing homes and victims of trauma. Their warm presence, undivided attention, and innate compassion provide support for many people going through a wide range of physical, mental, or emotional problems. A recent survey found that 84% of post-traumatic stress disorder patients who were paired with a service dog reported a significant reduction in symptoms, and 40% of them were able to decrease their medications.

Our pets can us humans maintain healthy habits, stay connected, and find a meaning or purpose in our lives.

So give your pet a few extra minutes of cuddle time today to say thank you while improving your health!

August is Immunization Awareness Month! Most, but not all pet owners believe that vaccinating your pet is essential to their health. Some pet owners consider vaccination unnecessary. Others agree that the core shots are crucial but ignore the need for boosters. The following information can help you make sound decisions about vaccinating your cat and which vaccines your vet considers essential. 

tabby cat with green eyes staring at camera while lounging on back of red sofa

Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash

Why you should vaccinate 

  1. Vaccination is one way to show that you love your cat and want the best for her. Failing to vaccinate puts her at risk of contracting dangerous infectious diseases. They could threaten her life and even potentially harm you. 
  2. Vets recommend it. There are many rumors about pet vaccines. Your rule of thumb should be: if it is not from a qualified expert, dump it. Animal health experts from the American Association of Feline Practitioners and the American Animal Hospital Association affirm that vaccinations are necessary for your pet.
  3. Vaccinating your pet is the law. Although the details of animal laws may differ from state to state, all states have statutes compelling pet owners to vaccinate their pets. Failure to vaccinate your cat could land you in trouble with the authorities.

When should you vaccinate your cat?

Newborn kittens depend on their mother for nourishment, warmth, security, and good health. Mummy cat’s milk contains colostrum – a complex compound that builds immunity in the kitten’s body. However, each kitten responds differently to the colostrum. Some quickly develop a robust immune system, while others remain weak and vulnerable to diseases for weeks. 

 

To reduce the uncertainty, the American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends that kittens start getting vaccinations when they are 6 to 8 weeks old. The shots should continue until they are about 16 weeks old. Cats older than 16 weeks should receive booster shots as recommended by the vet. 

5 orange kittens sitting together in fuzzy cat bed

Photo by Kym Ellis on Unsplash

What vaccines should your cat receive?

According to guidelines provided by the American Association of Feline Practitioners, there are two categories of cat vaccines:

  • Core vaccines
  • Non-core vaccines

 

Core vaccines are mandatory and often a legal requirement. Non-core vaccines, on the other hand, are not a necessity. They are administered depending on the circumstances of the cat. These may include:

  • Age – The vet could recommend certain non-core shots to help a kitten build immunity while young. 
  • Geographic location – Some diseases are more prevalent in specific locations. For example, Lyme disease is common in heavily wooded areas. 
  • Lifestyle – A cat that often interacts with the outside world, other pets, and different environments has a higher risk of contracting infectious diseases. It may require several non-core shots and boosters. However, an indoor cat that lies in bed all day has little or no exposure. It is at a lower risk and may require fewer shots. 

 

Core vaccinations

Rabies shot: This protects against rabies, a dangerous infectious disease that affects both animals and humans. According to the CDC, cases of rabies in cats have been on a downward trend. However, different state laws require rabies shots for all cats. The vaccine is given as a single shot when the kitten is between 8 and 12 weeks old. The cat will take a booster shot one year later. 

 

FPV Shot – Protects against feline panleukopenia or feline parvovirus. It is a highly infectious disease that often affects kittens. It attacks the immune system and is often fatal. The kitten gets the initial vaccine as early as six weeks and subsequent shots every 3-4 weeks until the kitten is 16 weeks old. 

 

FHV1 Shot – Protects against feline herpesvirus and feline rhinotracheitis virus disease. The virus causes severe upper respiratory infection, oral ulceration, and pneumonia. Like the FPV shot, the kitten gets the FHV1 shot as early as six weeks old. Subsequent jabs come every 3-4 weeks until the kitten is 16 weeks old. 

 

FCV Shot – This is a combined shot that protects against several viruses that cause upper respiratory infections. The FCV shot is also given as early as six weeks. Boosters come every 3-4 weeks until the kitten is 16 weeks old. 

 

Non-core vaccinations

Your vet will advise which of these non-core vaccinations are suitable for your kitty:

  • Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) vaccine – Given when the kitty is 8-12 weeks old 
  • Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) – Given when the cat is eight weeks old
  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) – Given when the cat is 16 weeks of age
  • Chlamydophila felis – Given when the kitten is nine weeks old 
  • Bordetella bronchiseptica – Given when the cat is eight weeks old 

A final word on cat vaccinations

The benefits of vaccinating far outweigh the negatives. Talk to your veterinarian if you have any concerns about specific vaccines. A disease-free cat is healthier and happier.

 

Guest Author-

Emila is a freelance journalist and blogger with a love for those with four legs! She has grown up around animals and pets and wants to use her knowledge on pet behavior, training and lifestyle tips to help other pet parents live the best possible life with their furry friend. 

 

Don’t want to be the neighbor everyone hates because of your noisy pup? Follow these tips from Whiskers to Tails Petsitting to ensure that your beloved dog is viewed as a great addition to your neighborhood, not a nuisance.

 

Keep your neighbors—and your pets—happy

 

  • Train your dog: Practice patience and consistency. Use positive reinforcement, not harsh words, and praise wanted behaviors. Sign up for an obedience class because training benefits both you and your dog.
  • Research local pet laws: Different areas have different laws. Some ordinances require a leash at all times, a special receptacle to dispose of waste, or quiet times when a barking dog might result in you getting a noise citation.
  • Give your dog attention: The biggest “pet” peeve expressed by most people, especially those living in apartment or condo complexes, is pet noise. Take your dog for regular walks, give her plenty of attention, and explore options to keep her occupied and happy when you leave her home alone.
  • Play outside: If you have a yard, utilize the space for exercise and playtime for your dog. Put up a fence to keep your furry friend from wandering into neighbors’ yards. It’s recommended that when searching for services, turn to Angi fence installers to ensure that the service you hire is licensed and highly-rated. Expect to pay around $4,500 for fence installation, but do get quotes from various services to get a good price for your wallet.

 

Treating Separation Anxiety

 

Contrary to “The Secret Life of Pets,” wild pet parties don’t really happen. But pets can and often do get lonely. They don’t know—even when you reassure them—that you’re coming back. Many dogs choose to voice their sorrow (or displeasure) with a cacophony of howls.

 

If you live in close proximity to your neighbors, a regular crescendo of barks and yips won’t earn you any friends or “good neighbor” points. The American Kennel Club offers some great suggestions to ease separation anxiety and stop (or greatly reduce) nuisance barking.

 

If your dog’s on the younger side or you’ve crate-trained your pup, consider using a wind-up clock, secured in a wrapping of several socks. The tick-tock sound soothes lonely puppies. The ASPCA provides other helpful suggestions about treating dogs who have mild, moderate, and severe separation anxiety.

 

Hiring an in-home pet sitter can also help to reduce separation anxiety, since your pup will be getting loving attention and care while you’re away. Turn to Whiskers to Tails Petsitting for compassionate petsitting services.

 

Why dogs bark

 

It isn’t just separation anxiety that triggers your dog’s “bark box.” Some dogs bark from sheer joy when their owners return. Others bark because they’re hungry or a leaf fell and they have to tell you about it. Some barking is beyond your control, but if your dog barks excessively and the neighbors have complained, it’s your responsibility as a dog owner to troubleshoot why.

 

Besides separation anxiety, other typical triggers that lead to barking include:

 

  • A territorial or protective attitude: If mail delivery or a stranger in front of the house makes your loving pup bark like crazy, she’s seeing that person as a threat.
  • Alarm or fear: Some dogs bark at anything that catches their attention.
  • Boredom or loneliness: Dogs are pack animals, and when they’re left alone for long stretches, they become sad or bored and express their unhappiness with barking.
  • Attention: Just like a toddler, many dogs bark to get your attention, whether it’s to go outside, get a treat, or receive a satisfying belly rub.

If you’ve exhausted all your ideas or are looking for other ways to discourage your dog from barking, Victoria Stilwell’s Positivity Training offers a whole host of solutions, from obedience training games to using calm energy to teaching your dog to bark, that may help curb the behavior.

 

Public Etiquette

 

No one likes a misbehaving child, and people frown upon pups who don’t mind their manners in public, too. Most communities require that people leash their dogs, which protects not just the dogs, but other pets and people, too.

 

Badrap, an organization formed in 1999 to tackle issues associated with pit bull-type dogs, quickly discovered that the advice it gave to bull terrier owners really applied to all canine owners. Read this article for a common-sense checklist of dog laws and dog owner rights.

 

Dogs and humans have shared a relationship for thousands of years. Emotionally, people see their dogs as family members. It makes sense that just as parents socialize their children to behave appropriately in all settings—whether at home or in public—pet parents take the same time and consideration to ensure that their pups also behave well in different environments.

 

Guest Author: Tyler Evans is a pet parent himself and loves to write about topics to help other dog owners (and their dogs!) live their best life. Check out his site to see more informative posts.

Image Credit: Pixels

Your cat is royalty, why not treat him/her to their own throne?

 

Why buy an expensive cat bed at the store when you can make your own DIY cat furniture? With the guide below you can give your furry friend a comfortable place to sleep, handcrafted with love by you.

This bed is not your usual cat furniture as it has multiple features like a scratching board and a head massager, and because we all know that cats love to sit in boxes, this bed is made out of a wooden box, which means your cat will love it.

In order to make this multi-purpose cat bed just follow the steps shown in the guide below.

 

Contributing author: Timi Smith

Timi Smith is a cat owner and some of her favorite things to do are DIY projects and spending time with her cat. This time she teamed up with Buy Rope to bring you this guide on how to make a multi-purpose cat bed for your feline friend. Follow her and her kitty Coconut: @timischmidtt @coconutthecat.2020 https://www.buyrope.co.uk/

yellow lab lying on beach wearing sunglasses

The summer months mean warm sun, cold drinks, and more time spent outdoors. Many pet owners view this as an opportunity to get outside with their furry, four-legged friends. Unfortunately, being outside in the hotter weather comes with some risks for pets, so owners need to take the proper steps to make sure their dog or cat is safe.

What Potential Dangers Does My Pet Face?

While our pets love to be outdoors where they can run, play, and explore, they don’t always know what’s best for them. As a responsible pet owner, it’s your job to keep your dog or cat out of trouble (which can be easier said than done). Read on to explore some of the most important things to watch for when it’s hot outside.

Hot Surfaces

Walking your dog on hot surfaces, such as the road or sidewalk, can harm your pet’s paws. The temperature of asphalt can get up to 125 degrees when the air temperature is only 77 degrees. A good rule of thumb is to test the road with the back of your hand. If you can withstand the heat for seven seconds, it should be safe for your dog.

If the surface of the road or sidewalk is too hot, there are other ways to help your pet get exercise. You and your dog can head down to the dog park or local woods, where they can walk on cool grass or dirt paths. Alternatively, you could grab a few of their favorite outdoor toys and head to the backyard for a few rounds of fetch.

Insect Stings

Curious pets, especially dogs, have a bad habit of finding and disturbing hives and nests, which may result in dangerous and painful stings. A good way to keep your pet safe from stinging insects is to regularly check your property for signs of wasps, hornets, and bees. It’s also best not to leave your dog or cat unattended, so they don’t go sticking their noses where they don’t belong.

If you discover that your pet has been stung and is exhibiting symptoms such as swelling, redness, and itching, you should take them to a vet for evaluation. If your pet isn’t showing any severe symptoms, you may be able to treat the area yourself by gently washing with mild soap and water. You can also apply ice every four to six hours to ease their discomfort.

Heat Stroke

Since dogs don’t sweat like us, if they spend too much time out in the hot sun, they can develop heat stroke, also called “heat stress” or “heat exhaustion.” Some telltale signs of heat stroke include excessive panting, drooling, red gums, vomiting, diarrhea, and mental decline. If you observe any of these symptoms, get your pet to a cool place with plenty of water immediately.

Having a designated pet room with their favorite toys can be a great place for your pet to relax and cool off after spending time outside. You can also use this space as an alternative play area when it’s too hot or as a secure place to leave them when you run errands instead of having them in a stuffy car.

How to Travel with Your Pet

Many people like to travel during the warmer months, which often means bringing along a pet for the trip. While the air-conditioned interior of the car can keep them nice and cool during the journey, there are still several safety precautions you need to consider when your pet tags along.

Properly Secure Them During the Ride

When going for a drive with your pet, especially on a long road trip, it’s important to ensure they have a safe and comfortable space to relax. Look for a crate that is appropriate for their size so they can lay down. If they enjoy standing up and moving around, install a dog guard between the front and back seats to keep everybody safe.

Another great travel option is a car harness for your dog or cat. These devices attach to your car’s seatbelt to ensure your pet is safe and secure. Harnesses also help prevent injuries to your pet in the case of an accident, stopping them from being ejected from the vehicle or thrown around the cab.

Prep a Travel Kit for Your Pet

A to-go kit is another smart addition to your car if you like to travel with your pets. Pack a few of their favorite toys or blankets, so they have something familiar with them when you’re traveling. Also, make sure to bring essentials like food, water, and a leash for when you make a pit stop.

It’s also a good idea to bring a first aid kit and medications with you during the trip. Because they’re going to be in an unfamiliar environment, they could potentially get scared and accidentally hurt themselves in their crate or while trying to get out of the vehicle. Being prepared can prevent you from having to rush them to the vet.

Other Warm Weather Considerations

There are a few other factors you will need to consider during the summer months, especially if you plan on having your dog or cat outside for extended periods. In addition to having plenty of cool water and a shady place for them to relax, you’ll want to think about some of these other safety factors.

Getting Your Pet a Haircut

While you may think that shaving your pet when the temperatures rise will keep them cool, sometimes their coats actually help to do that for them. Make sure to do some research about your pet’s specific breed so you can make the best seasonal grooming choices. A trim for longer-haired animals can be helpful, but taking too much off the top can do more harm than good.

Watch Out for Sunburn

Many pet owners probably don’t realize that their four-legged companion can get sunburn just like humans can. When taking them outdoors, apply pet-friendly sunblock to areas such as their ears, bellies, and noses. It’s generally a good idea to reapply every three to four hours.

Be Mindful of Fireworks

The summer months often mean big parties, loud noises, and fireworks. Pets often find fireworks frightening and may run away in a panic. To ensure this doesn’t happen, keep your animals indoors during any holidays or parties where you know fireworks will be in use.

Having a Safe and Happy Summer with Your Pet

Many of us look forward to the summertime, especially those of us with pets. It’s an opportunity to get out and explore in the fresh air and sunshine. As long as you remember to take the proper steps when spending time outdoors or traveling with your animal, you can both have a safe and happy summer.

 

Guest author Hazel Bennett is a freelance writer and blogger. She has a degree in communications and lives in Northeastern Ohio. Hazel loves writing about numerous topics and showcasing her expertise with words.

Quick Home Cleaning Tips for Pets | The House Shop Blog - Page 18729

Inexpensive, Yet Effective: Cost-Conscious Cleaning Tips for Dog Owners

If you’re extremely fussy about the state of your home, owning a dog can place a major strain on your patience. Every breed has its upside, but taken as a whole, dogs just aren’t the cleanest of animals. If a wagging tail, happy face, and cute floppy ears can make you forget the constant upkeep and periodic frustrations, then read on: you’re an avowed dog lover and will benefit from a little cost-friendly advice on maintaining a clean home.

An ounce of prevention

One way or another, you’ll have to deal with dog hair. You can confront it later once it gets on the furniture, or you can go after it sooner. Get yourself a quality dog brush or hair glove for under $25 and get rid of your pooch’s dead, loose hair before it settles on the furniture, in the corners of every room, and in air ducts. Regular grooming collects all that hair before it can cause problems for family members who have a special sensitivity to hair and pet dander. Applying a brush to your dog’s hair and skin will also release natural oils that will keep dry skin particles from getting loose and polluting your home environment.

Giving your pup a bath at least once a month (or more if necessary) will also help control hair and dander and keep his skin from drying out and producing flakes. You can save a few bucks by making your own doggie shampoo with nothing but a cup of white (or apple cider) vinegar, a cup of baby shampoo, or dish soap (nontoxic) and a quart of water.

Put your vacuum to work

If you have carpeting throughout your home, you need to know that it’s a haven for parasites like fleas and mites, pet dander, and dog hair, which can be an ongoing threat to your indoor air quality and to anyone who suffers from asthma and other respiratory issues. If you don’t have a powerful vacuum cleaner, you’ll need one to keep all those household pollutants and dog-related dander under control, but take the time to read product reviews to make sure you’re getting the right product for your situation.

Cleaning station

Dogs, especially long-haired ones, tend to pick up a lot of debris from the lawn that gets strewn throughout the house if not cleaned up right away. Keep a cheap throw rug that can be tossed in the washing machine by the back door where you can run a towel over your pet, wipe off muddy paws, and give him a few strokes with the brush before allowing him back in the house. Keep your little cleaning station stocked with supplies, including old towels and washcloths.

Emphasize natural cleaners

You may not be aware of it, but there are probably some powerful cleaning agents right in your kitchen cabinets. These are agents capable of removing even the most noxious, deep-set stains and of counteracting powerfully pungent odors produced by dog waste. Baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice are effective and reliable substances that can render store-bought cleaners unnecessary, and that’s a good thing if you’re talking about cleaners that include environmentally damaging chemicals.

Simply sprinkle baking soda on affected carpeting or furniture and let it do its work. You can also create a cleaning spray with a combination of water and vinegar, which is also good at eliminating tough stains. If baking soda and vinegar simply won’t do the trick, look for pet-specific cleaners through sites like Chewy or Amazon, which typically offer lower prices than brick-and-mortar retailers.

It’s surprising how helpful simple, inexpensive cleaning materials can be in keeping dog hair and other waste under control inside your home. By using simple things like baking soda, brushes, washable throw rugs, and homemade shampoo, you can keep the pristine home you spend so much time keeping clean from being overwhelmed by the family pet.

Does your pooch need extra attention during the day when you’re away? Help him get out the wiggles and make new friends through Whiskers to Tails Petsitting. You can easily book our services online through our client portal. Contact us today to get a quote! 763-746-8872

Contributing author Tyler Evans is a proud dog papa to two German Shepherd rescues and the creator of DogZasters.com. He created the website to showcase the funny, sometimes messy, side of being a dog parent. He hopes the website will bring joy to those who visit it and encourage people to welcome the love of a dog into their lives.

 

 

red goldendoodle sitting outside with bright pink bow on her headIt’s paw-ty time! It may be your pet’s “gotcha day” or birthday; it may be Christmas, Hanukkah, or Presidents Day; it may only be the first Monday in May. Whatever the date, including your pet in your celebrations is a lot of fun!

Since Cinco de Mayo is a few days away, we figured now would be a great time to give you some tips about how to safely and creatively celebrate with your pets.

Choose the right venue

Pick your location carefully. For parties that are inside, make sure you’ve “pet-proofed” the room. Keep in mind that dogs can get overtired or overwhelmed so consider keeping indoor parties to 45-90 minutes to avoid any mishaps.

For outdoor parties, if you don’t have a fenced in backyard consider renting space in a daycare or training facility or check out your local dog parks. Be sure to have plenty of baggies to clean up after all of the guests! With outdoor parties you have more flexibility on the length of the party, just let pup parents know they can come and go as their pups prefer!

Be your pet’s chef/bartender

What better way to celebrate with your pet than with a special treat? Whether you cook them up a feast or buy a “pup-cake,” your pet will love it! There are many great recipes for pet snacks online, including these dog safe cake recipes or these adorable “bark-aritas.”

Plan your treats with your pet in mind and keep the human food away from the pets. If you are holding a party with your pup’s best furr-iends, check to make sure none of them have food allergies ahead of time.

cream goldendoodle getting a pup-cake for birthday

If you aren’t a baker, there are many places you can purchase pup-friendly snacks and cakes. Check out some delicious treats from PetCakes!

 

When serving your treats give each guest their own plate or bowl to avoid any arguments over resources. And don’t forget to hydrate! Make sure that there are enough water bowls with fresh water for all of the pups.

Dress up with your pet

Choose a theme for your party that both you and your pet can participate in. If your pet likes to dress up, coordinate your outfits for a Hawaiian themed party with leis or an Cinco de Mayo party with sombreros. If your dog or cat isn’t interested in wearing anything, try to find a themed toy for them to enjoy (and for you to photograph them with!).

Invite their friends

If your dog (or even cat) has particular friends, send out invitations to include them in your pup’s party for some fun and romps. Be sure that you have chosen your venue with care though. Fenced in yards or rented doggy daycare facilities where your pup and their friends can safely celebrate with enthusiasm are best for larger groups.

Make sure any pets that you’ve invited are “pre-approved.” This is not the time to introduce a new dog to the crew, so only invite those who know each other and are comfortable together. Pet parents should be on hand to supervise during the paw-ty and to give any pup who may be feeling overwhelmed or anxious some quiet time out of the mix.

Inviting your pet’s friends can be great fun, but make sure you have safe activities planned. Consider putting out a kiddie pool or having a basket full of balls or frisbees (just make sure there’s enough to go around so no one gets jealous!). You could even plan an obstacle course or relay games for pets and their owners!

Spend time with your pet

You love your pet and they love you. Why not celebrate the holiday, whatever it may be, with some special one-on-one time with your pup or kitty? Take some time out of the holiday to do something you enjoy together, whether it’s playtime, a meandering stroll, or just a nice snuggle on the couch.

Donate in their honor

Give other pets the chance for the love and care your pet found with you. Consider donating to a shelter or rescue to help them feed and house pets who are waiting for their fur-ever homes. Share your donation and your pet’s celebration on social media to help spread the word and raise more funds for pets in need.

Cat Parties

For those of us who are cat owners, we know that the idea of a large group of people/animals can be quite scary. Instead of overwhelming your cat, try these party ideas:

  • Plan a small guest list, limiting the invitees to family and friends your cat knows well. Likely your cat would appreciate them leaving their own pets at home unless they are already good friends.
  • Choose a quiet and cozy venue. Pick a room in your home where you cat feels comfortable and make sure you create some safe places where the cat can retreat if he or she needs to take a break.
  • Make the games cat friendly. Consider having your guests play with a laser or some new toys with your cat. Keep everything laid back, but don’t forget the catnip!

Now that you have these tips, go ahead and celebrate your pup’s Bark Mitzvah or your kitty’s Howl-o-ween in style!

Many of us can see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. Maybe your company has announced a return to work date. Maybe you are starting to travel again, either for business or pleasure. But what about our pets? They’ve been by your side 24 hours a day for the past year and will struggle to adjust or readjust to the new normal. How do you help prepare your pet for that eventuality? And how do you help them cope with the adjustment when you do return to normal?

 

How to prepare your pet?

The most important thing to do is start preparing your pet for the coming change now. According to Marjie Alonso, the executive director of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, we have to remember that our pets are individuals and just like us they are having differing reactions to this quarantine. Now is the time to start helping them adjust to the upcoming transition. Here are some tips from animal experts to help you help your pets:

  • Teach your pet independence and how to be alone comfortably.
    • Catch your pet being calm throughout the day, especially when the dog is ignoring you, and reward him or her with calm and pleasant attention.
    • Give your pet something delicious when you leave. Alonso states that “If you start stuffing that Kong with mashed potatoes and roast beef every time you walk out the door, the dog is going to be like, ‘Here’s your coat.’”
    • Provide separation with baby gates or doors for short periods of time, giving your pet a special treat or a puzzle toy, slowly allowing your pet to self-soothe and accept being alone.
  • If you are home all day, make sure you ignore your pet sometimes and do not give him or her constant attention or give in to constant demands.
    • You should not set attention and activity levels now that are difficult or impossible to maintain when you transition back to work, according to Mikel Delgado, a cat behavior researcher at the University of California-Davis.
    • Delgado also states that owners should not work in places (like the sofa) that pets associate with cuddles or play to avoid sending mixed cues to their pets.
  • Make sure your pet has alone time daily.
    • Alonso suggests that you make sure your pet has alone time. If you used to leave for work at a specific time go through your normal preparations (put on shoes, grab purse or briefcase and keys) and leave the house for a short period of time.
    • Dog trainer Tracy Krulik, who specializes in separation anxiety, agrees with Alonso, stating “take time away from your dog daily, even if it is to sit under a tree or take a work call from your car.”
    • Laura Sharkey, a dog trainer in Arlington Virginia, reminds owners that if your dog was previously crated when you went to work, he or she should still have some alone time in their crates. Crate training can give your pet a safe space and can help your pup learn that being alone is ok and is even sometimes preferable.
  • Provide mental stimulation for your pet, both while they are alone and while you are home.
    • Sharkey tells owners to take breaks form work to run through obedience cues or teach new tricks or give meals in food puzzles. It’s important to give your pets mental stimulation so that they are better able to cope with their alone time.
    • Fear Free veterinarians and behaviorists suggest that owners meet their pet’s physical, social and exploratory needs every day with routine, scheduled activities including play, positive reinforcement training, leashed walks, or environmental enrichment.
    • A tired pet is a less destructive pet. Make sure you provide mental and/or physical exercise before your pet spends hours alone. This way they are more willing to settle down for a long nap instead of chewing on your favorite pair of sandals.
  • Make sure your arrivals and departures are not a big deal. If you make a fuss over your pet when you come home or leave they may be more likely to believe it is something to stress over.
    • Dr. Katherine Houpt, professor emeritus of behavior medicine at Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine, gives owners the following advice: “When you are heading out for your first day back at work, it would be best to give them a brisk walk or a game of fetch before you leave. Before you leave be sure to leave a long-lasting treat such as a rawhide or a Kong toy with frozen melted cheese inside. When you come home don’t greet them until they are calm and not jumping on you or running in circles.”

What to do when you go back to work/school?

  • Continue the routine: As much as possible, maintain the routine you established during quarantine. Take a morning walk or have a morning playtime, get ready for work, then give your pup a frozen Kong or your cat a puzzle toy and head out.
  • Utilize the tools at your disposal: Don’t forget that you can use calming pheromones, supplements, or comfort vests to help your pet stay calm during this transition until they have adjusted to the new normal. This blog post goes into more detail about separation anxiety and the tools that may help.
  • Don’t wait: If your pet is showing signs of developing or increasing anxiety contact your veterinarian. Left untreated, anxiety often worsens over time.
  • Get help: Pet sitters and dog walkers can help with this transition! Pet sitters can come give your cats some socialization and enrichment time to entertain them while you are at work. Sitters can also come play with or walk your dog to help them deal with any anxieties that have resulted from your return to work. Check out our services and rates to find one that fits your needs and let our sitters help you and your pet!

Just like people, dogs need regular exercise to stay healthy and keeping your dog active is important for both their physical and mental health. April is Canine Fitness Month, so there’s no better time to grab your sneakers and a leash and get out there with your pup!

black lab puppy standing in grass with front leg resting on blue ball

Benefits of Exercise

Exercise is essential to all dogs, regardless of size, age, or breed. If you’re just starting out, be sure to build up your exercise routine slowly as both you and your dog build your endurance. Some of the benefits of exercise include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight and body condition helps your dog live longer and may help prevent diabetes and weigh-related joint problems
    • Check with your veterinarian to make sure your dog doesn’t have any underlying conditions prior to beginning an exercise routine and to discuss what kind and how much exercise would be beneficial to your dog
  • Exercise in moderation is good for older dogs to help keep their joints and muscles intact and functional
    • If your senior pup has arthritis or is recovering from an injury, you may need to shorten your exercise or make it less strenuous
  • Exercise can help all dogs, but especially young dogs, reduce boredom, anxiety, and stress, which can lead to destructive or reactive behaviors

Exercising your dog can also provide you with some great benefits including:

  • Strengthening your bond with your pet
  • Boosting your mood and lowering your blood pressure
  • Motivating you to continue to exercising regularly and stay healthy

Exercise Ideas

 

black lab in bright green collar standing on hind legs to sniff flowers on a stone wall

Get walking

This is probably the easiest way to start exercising your pup. You don’t need anything but a pair of comfy shoes and a leash! Take your pup around the neighborhood for some new smells for them and some fresh air for you while getting your bodies moving.

 

Go to the dog park

If your dog is friendly and has good recall a dog park can be an excellent addition to your pup’s exercise routine. Just make sure you keep an eye on your dog so that interactions stay fun and not stressful. For more tips on how to keep your dog safe and happy at the dog park, read our blog post here.

Go for a hikeblack lab running through shallow water on rocky shoreline with lake in the

Taking your pup hiking can be fun for both of you! You both get new sights and smells from your regular neighborhood walks and tromping around in nature is both mentally and physically rewarding.

Take your pup swimming

Swimming is a great way to exercise your dog when it’s hot outside! Did you know that 4 minutes of swimming is the same as one mile of running for dogs in terms of calories burned? Swimming is gentle on your dog’s joints, making it a great way to exercise an older dog or a dog recovering from an injury. Just be sure to never leave your pup near the water unattended.

Try a new activity like agility or dock divingblack lab puppy in metal tunnel outside

There are so many great activities that you can do with your dog! FitPaws USA, who founded Canine Fitness Month, has some great ideas on fun activities to do with your pup, like hide and seek, fetch, obstacle courses, or even dog yoga. Check out some of their videos here. Just a heads up, you may need some extra supplies for those videos but you can make your own agility equipment if you’re interested.

If you want a more organized activity, many training facilities provide agility training classes on real equipment or scent tracking and lure coursing classes for those dogs more interested in “prey” than in obstacles. Depending on where you live you may even find a dock diving facility for those pups that you just can’t keep out of the water!

Don’t have time to get those walks in with your dog? Check out our services to schedule a dog walk with our amazing pet sitters!