tan dog nose sniffing a cooling sheet with dog treats on it

All dog owners love to spoil their pups with some treats now and then, but dog treats can become costly over time and sometimes include ingredients that are less healthy for your pup. Treats can be a great way to add fun and nutritional value to your pet’s day. So why not consider making your own?!

Making homemade dog treats is not that difficult, and although it won’t save any time, it can save you some dollars. If you have larger dogs like Labrador retrievers or Australian Labradoodles in your home, you know how big their appetite can be and buying treats for them can be heavy on your pocket sometimes.

What Are the Benefits of Homemade Dog Treats?

It might take you a while to shift your mind from making and storing homemade treats for your dog instead of purchasing the commercially prepared store-bought ones. However, the biggest upside of making dog treats at home is being able to control what goes into them. There are many healthy ingredients you can sneak into them which your dog might not like otherwise.

Making your dog’s treats at home means there will be no preservatives or artificial flavoring in the treats, which is great news for your pet’s health, but does that mean they will stay fresh lying in your pantry or your kitchen counter for days or weeks? The answer is no.

So here are some great tips and tricks to help you make dog treats at home and keep them fresh for weeks. It might come as a shock, but you can store some of them for as long as a month or more. Let’s start with tips about the first step of making homemade treats, and that is measuring the ingredients.

Tips About Measuring Ingredients of Dog Treats

Measuring ingredients for making a dog treat seem no biggie, right? But it is important to measure things precisely by using the appropriate utensils.

Dry ingredients: Use spoons or dry measuring cups to measure dry ingredients like oats, flour, or cornstarch.

Liquid ingredients: Liquid ingredients like milk, broth, or water should be measured with a liquid measuring cup.

Extra tip: Try not to scoop out things; instead, it is better to pour both dry or liquid ingredients into the cup, and instead of pushing ingredients down, try to let the cup get filled naturally as it would give you more accurate measurements.

Semi liquid ingredients: What about the ingredients that are neither liquid nor solid, like nuts, yogurt, sauces, or semi-solid ingredients like coconut oil, peanut butter, honey, or molasses? We suggest you spray your cups with some olive oil before filling them with ingredients as it will stick less that way and make it easier to work with; otherwise, you will lose a lot of your measured ingredient. It’s important to note that although coconut oil is solid below 76 degrees F, it is easiest to work with as a liquid when baking. Don’t worry, one cup of solid coconut oil will yield the same volume of liquid oil.

Leafy ingredients: Always measure chopped-up spinach, herbs, parsley, or any other fresh greens using a dry cup and gently pack them into it.

Meat or carbo chips: For meat or carbo chips, use dry cups and pack them into the cups but make sure not to push them hard.

Tips And Techniques for Recipes

Now that you know how to measure the ingredients, what about actually making those delicious recipes? Let’s list here some of the utensils and tools that you would need.

Tools

  • Silicone baking mats: These are the must-haves when you start baking your dog treats as they won’t allow things to get burned, and they are super easy to clean. You can also use them to roll sticky doughs that are hard to roll otherwise.
  • Freezer and oven-safe silicone molds: These work wonderfully for several dog treats. The trick is to lightly spritz them with oil before pouring anything into them, and they’re easy to wash with soap and water.
  • Oblong measuring spoons: They fit in easily inside bottles or spice jars, preventing oil spillage. All in all, it is easier to work with squared-off or oblong spoons than rounded ones.
  • Cookie cutters: It is good to have cookie cutters in several shapes and sizes in your pantry so that you can make each type of treat in a useful size or shape (and they are fun to work with!). Extra tip: you can cut different shapes, store them in the refrigerator, and use different frostings and toppings later when you are about to cook them.

Tricks

Apart from the utensils you’ll need, here are a few more cooking tricks that may help you while making dog treats.

  • Use egg wash on the treats to make them look shiny and appealing. It works equally well for both sweet and savory treats.
  • Frosted and iced treats are hard to store, so decorate them at the time of use, or they will go bad faster.
  • It’s a good idea to score treats with a knife before baking as it makes it easier to break them, especially for senior dogs and small puppies.

Tips About Storing Dog Treats

If you follow these four tips, your dog treats will stay fresher for longer!

  1. Completely cool down all the treats before storing them.
  2. Be mindful of the ingredients as treats made with vegetables and gluten-free flour can be stored in a towel by wrapping them loosely, but after that, store them in the fridge, and they will stay fresh for eight to ten days.
  3. Treats with fish, meat, bouillon, or butter should be refrigerated to keep them fresh for five to seven days.
  4. Always store other types of treats in air tight jars.
  5. Extra tip: Using vitamin C and vitamin E in the recipes is a good idea, too, as they act as natural preservatives.

A Fool-Proof Dog Treat Recipe

This recipe is sure to become your dog’s favorite. The best thing about this recipe is that you can sneak in some additional nutritious items in it, as it is a very versatile and accommodating recipe. Moreover, it just takes a few minutes. Here are the ingredients

  • Whole wheat flour
  • Eggs
  • Peanut butter
  • Pumpkin puree
  • Cinnamon

Mix all the ingredients and keep the dough a little sticky. Roll it out using a rolling pin, and using a cookie cutter, cut out the shapes you like. Place them on a silicon mat and bake them for anywhere between 20 to 35 minutes depending on your oven. The longer you bake them, the crunchier they will be. Cool them down and store them in a refrigerator or freeze them for up to six months.

On the other hand, if your dog is a fan of more savory treats, then this cheddar and bacon treat recipe is perfect.

We hope this article helped you and motivated you to make your dog treats at home!

Guest Author: Arslan Hassan is an electrical engineer with a passion for writing, designing, and anything tech-related. His educational background in the technical field has given him the edge to write on many topics. He occasionally writes blog articles for Dynamologic Solutions.

We know that you’ve been spoiling your fur baby throughout the year, but Christmas is an extra-special time. You may want to take your gift giving up a notch, but searching online for “Christmas gift ideas for your dog” could be overwhelming. 

Fortunately, you don’t have to go through all of those searches! We’ve put together a list of the ideal gifts for your dog this Christmas. Here you will find some of the best accessories, treats, games, and grooming products. 

Don’t forget to get the camera out to celebrate your pooch or kitty with their new gift on Christmas Day!

tan puppy sitting in front of a letter to santa

Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

 

Accessories

Dog bed: Like people, your dog also needs a bed to stay healthy and warm. The right bed should suit your dog’s unique characteristics. If you have a senior dog or a large breed, they need a cozy bed, so get one that has interlocking fill materials to cushion and support their bones and joints. If you have a pup, a comfortable bed inside a crate would also be great. It encourages the pup to sleep through the night.

 

Winter coat: The words “winter is coming” could send a chill down your spine if your dog is not a large, furry breed. Small, short-haired breeds like the Chihuahua and the French Bulldogs, or lean-bodied breeds with short hair, like the Greyhound and Whippets, should be protected from the winter chill. This Christmas, get a winter coat gift for your dog. Pick one that is large enough to cover from the base of the neck to the tail.

 

A smart collar: Getting a dog collar as a Christmas gift for your pooch may sound cliche. But not if it is a homing, tracking, and identifying device. This winter, get your dog a collar with a GPS tracker and a beeper. Should your four-legged buddy stray away from the “safe zone,” the collar will alert you, and you can track him from wherever you are. 

 

Treats and snacks

Training treats: We have to be honest. Giving your pup random treats on Christmas could be confusing to them. Instead of feeding your dog all those treats in one day, consider stocking up for the new year. Think about all the stuff your furry buddy will learn. Experts advise that a high rate of reinforcement will help your pet to grasp new behaviors fast. So, pick treats that are tasty and easy to gobble. It will help your dog stay focused and interested in future training sessions.

 

Homemade meal:  Just as you love a homemade meal during Christmas, consider giving your dog the same home-y treatment. Think about all the turkey you will have at home that you’ll need to eat or use up. Your furry buddy would also enjoy a homemade turkey dinner. Besides, cooking for your pet may be an excellent way to unwind during the holidays.

 

Grooming gifts

Of course, your dog should look and smell great on Christmas. Consider spoiling your dog with a spa treatment at home. But you don’t have to stop there. Make grooming fun and exciting in the future by purchasing a new grooming kit. This Ceenwes grooming kit has a variety of guide combs, a hardy blade that cuts through matted hairs, nail clippers, and nail grinders. If you combine it with this handy dog shower attachment, grooming will be easier and more fun for both you and your pet.

tan terrier smiling at camera while being brushed

Photo by Abbie Love on Unsplash

 

Games, toys, and gadgets 

A smart toy: Think out of the box and get your dog an extraordinary Christmas gift like a wicked bone. It is a “smart” bone-like toy that can interact and play with your dog when you are not around. It can jump, chase, tease and respond to your pup’s sounds and moods. It’s the perfect gift for your dog this Christmas. 

 

Bowlingual voice gadget: Interacting with your dog is typically easy. However, when you start using words they don’t understand or your pup barks frequently, time with your pooch can degenerate from fun to frustration. Now there is a gadget to try to help you understand what your dog means when he growls, barks, or makes other sounds – the bow lingual dog bark translator. It’s a great Christmas gift for your dog, especially if you would like to enhance communication. So, give dialogue a chance and try it out. 

 

Lastly, unwrap the gifts together: Unwrapping gifts is the perfect game to play with your pup this Christmas. Just imagine how much fun your dog will have tearing away into the gifts. Make sure your pup doesn’t eat any of the wrapping! And after you finish, roll up the papers into a ball and play a game of fetch. Give your dog the best Christmas gift you can – quality time.

 

Contributing Author: Emila Smith 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. 

woman holding coffe mug, patting Shiba Inu dog on bed

 

Image Source: Pexels.com

 

Getting a pet is not a one-time, spur of the moment thing. While having a pet can be greatly beneficial, like helping to ease a child’s anxiety, there are responsibilities and costs attached to pet ownership. In addition, as pets are living beings, the level of cost that you incur, if you’re not ready, can lead to pet abandonment.

 

If you plan on buying or adopting a pet, you need to know the rundown of costs that go with it. So if you’re ready for a life of happiness and loyalty, get prepared to open your wallet. Here are all the expenses that you should expect if you want to own a pet.

 

Upfront Cost: Buying or Adopting Your Pet

The first cost you will incur when owning a pet is the purchase or adoption cost for the pet. Depending on what kind of pet you’re planning to get, you will likely need to either buy it or adopt it from the local shelter. Of course, the costs differ for both, but the effects are worlds apart.

 

Buying a pet can cost you anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars. Dogs, for example, can cost up to $3000 if you’re looking for designer dogs from a champion line and an American Kennel Club (AKC) certified pedigree.

 

Adoption from shelters, on the other hand, ranges from anywhere between $50 to $350. This money goes into paying for the staff’s needs and the needs of other pets in the shelter. Adoption is preferred for cats and dogs, as it helps relieve shelters and give these pets a forever home.

 

Pet Food, Housing, Toys, and Daily Necessities

Once you have a pet, you would need to spend on their food and daily necessities. Pet food and daily needs will be the highest recurring cost you can expect, especially if you have dogs and cats. The price will vary depending on the size, breed, and amount of hair your pets have.

 

For example, pet food for medium-sized dogs, including treats, can cost somewhere between $250 to $700 annually. This doesn’t include giving them human grade food (or table scraps) and high-quality pet food. Cats can cost a little bit less at $200 to $600 per year on food and treats.

 

You would also need to provide your pets’ housing, toys, and other accessories, which can cost another $300 to $500. In addition, cats and dogs will need beds, kennels, or crates, including transport crates if you plan on bringing them somewhere.

 

Other pets can be housing-intensive too, which means higher upfront costs. For example, fish and other aquatic pets would need a fish tank, accessories, and plenty of water before you can bring them home. Likewise, small animals like sugar gliders, hamsters, and other rodents would need ample housing as well.

 

Medical Expenses, Pet Insurance, and Vet Costs

The most costly part of pet ownership is likely the medical expenses. Much like humans, pets need consistent healthcare, like annual checkups and vaccinations, together with a variety of other needs they have for their health as they age. Like their daily food and lodging, these costs can add up over the years.

 

For example, vaccinations and deworming, together with other veterinary services, can cost you around $200 to $600 a year. Emergency pet care can be pretty expensive, especially for pets with physical injuries. A veterinary emergency can set you back as much as $1500 for more severe health cases.

 

Routine veterinary care can set you back around $700 to $2000 every year to keep your dog healthy. At the very least, a vet can ensure that your pet stays healthy to live until old age. However, senior pets can cost on the higher side because of their more sensitive needs.

 

To prevent the exorbitant costs of pet healthcare, it’s best to pay for pet insurance. Monthly premiums for house pets like cats and dogs can cost around $30 to $100 per month for decent to high-level insurance coverages. If your pet is sickly, you will likely pay on the upper side of these numbers.

 

Pet Walking and Pet Sitting Services

Among the primary considerations when getting pets are pet sitting services. House pets have several needs, especially cats and dogs. Dogs would need regular exercise to keep them healthy and prevent them from gaining too much fat. Cats require enrichment and play to also maintain a healthy weight, along with care like litter cleaning. If you’re busy with your job, one solution is to have a dog walker or a pet sitter.

 

Dog walkers will walk a dog for you for varying lengths of time, helping them stay healthy and physically strong. Some dogs like Huskies, German Shepherds, Labradors, and other work dogs need copious amounts of exercise. Dog walking will cost you around $30 per walk per day.

 

While cats don’t need as much exercise as dogs, they appreciate play and some of them enjoy spending time outdoors. If you can, be sure to walk your dogs yourself or let them play in your yard for extended periods to reduce potential boredom and make sure your cats have enough entertainment to keep them from becoming destructive.

 

Pet Boarding When You’re Away 

Pet boarding and pet sitting are also crucial if you plan to go for a vacation or just date night with your significant other. Pet boarding is often good for extended hours and even days, allowing your pets to socialize with other pets at the “daycare.” Pet boarding can cost somewhere between $175 to $500 a week, which provides them with all their needs.

 

However, some pets, particularly cats or elderly dogs, would prefer to stay in their own home. That’s where pet sitters come in to care for your pets while you are away. Pet sitters can also care for small pets like hamsters and fish would need someone who can visit throughout the duration of your vacation. 

 

Grooming and Training Costs

Not all pets need grooming and training, but it’s a good investment for their hygiene and obedience. For example, medium-haired and long-haired cats and dogs would need consistent grooming every 1 to 2 months.

 

Pet grooming can cost anywhere between $50 to $75, including professional nail trimming, bath, shampoo, and styling.

 

Training costs can vary, depending on the needs of the pet. Dogs and even some cats can benefit from some professional obedience training, with the former needing it more than the latter. Training, together with resources if you plan on doing it yourself, should cost you $100 to $300.

 

Final Thoughts

Pets are a big responsibility that you need to think twice before you commit. If you can’t dedicate time and resources to their care, it’s best to put off pet ownership until you can do so. 

 

Pets are beautiful souls deserving of love and attention. Every penny you spend on their well-being will be returned with love, joy, and loyalty.

Contributing Author: Sophia Young recently quit a non-writing job to finally be able to tell stories and paint the world through her words. She loves talking about fashion and weddings and travel, but she can also easily kick ass with a thousand-word article about the latest marketing and business trends, finance-related topics, and can probably even whip up a nice heart-warming article about family life. She can totally go from fashion guru to your friendly neighborhood cat lady with mean budgeting skills and home tips real quick.

We all know that in order to prevent dry, cracked skin in the winter we must take care of our hands. But did you know you should do the same for your pets’ paws? We’ve compiled a list of the best tips and products to help keep your pup’s paws safe and healthy this winter.

reddish brown doodle play bowing in snow, staring at camera

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Keep their pads moisturized

During the winter, the dry environment can cause dogs’ paw pads to crack. To avoid this, use a paw moisturizer or wax to help keep those pads in tip top shape. Some of the waxes are even designed to protect pads from the weather during walks and playtime outside. One of the most popular paw waxes is Musher’s Secret, an all natural wax used to protect paw pads year round. Another popular moisturizer is Paw Soother from the Natural Dog Company, which comes in a stick (like deodorant) for mess-free application. You can also try to make your own! Check out this recipe from the American Kennel Club.

Even if you do put paw balm on your pup’s feet before your walk, be sure to avoid slushy and salty areas while outside. Use pet safe de-icers and encourage your neighbors to do the same, but be alert on walks to avoid as much of the chemical based snow melt as possible.

Protect them with booties

For pups who live in harsh climates or have sensitive skin/thin coats, consider purchasing well-fitting booties for their feet. Booties can protect your dog’s paws from injury or cracking and can be a source of extra warmth.

Be sure to properly acclimate your pup to the booties. It may be funny to watch your dog walk strangely through the house with their new kicks, but the stress of wearing something unfamiliar on their feet can overwhelm some dogs. Give your pup plenty of treats and praise and keep the initial wearing sessions short until they get used to their new boots.

Keep their feet clean

It’s not just the dryness and cold that can be harmful to your dog’s feet. Ice and snow can become compacted in between your pup’s toes, causing them discomfort. Both chemical and non-chemical snow melt methods can cause irritation and even burns on their pads. If your pup then licks their feet to clean them when they get home, they could be ingesting harmful substances.

Be sure to check your pet’s feet daily, especially when coming back from a walk or playtime outside. Inspect between the toes, around the base of the toenails, and under the pads to make sure they are clean and healthy and that you catch any issues before they get worse. If possible, rinse your dog’s feet with warm water and dry with a towel when they come in from outside to ensure all snow, ice, and chemicals are removed.

In addition to keeping their paws clean, keep your pup’s paws well groomed. Trim the longer hairs between the toes to avoid snowballs and keep nails short.

Pay close attention to the temperature when you are out walking through the winter. Chances are if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your dog. Dogs’ paws can get frostbite just like our hands and feet. So keep those potty breaks and games of fetch short and sweet in the coldest days to keep your pup’s paws from any danger.

Keeping the rest of your pup’s body healthy is also important for the health of their feet. Make sure they stay hydrated throughout the dry winter and keep their body warm with cozy beds inside and jackets outside.

 

fluffy white dog looking out window of small planeOur world is slowly returning to normal, or what passes for normal post-pandemic. We are seeing a sharp increase in the number of people once again comfortable traveling by air. Those of us who have spent the last 18 months constantly with our pets, both newly adopted and well established, may want to consider taking our pets with us when we start to travel again. With the holiday season is coming up we’d like to give you some safety tips for air travel with your pet.

Tips for Airplane Travel

Check for costs.

The cost of flying with your pet varies greatly between airlines. Flying your pet in cargo depends on the size and weight of your pet in it’s crate as well as how far the destination is. For a pet in the cabin with you, some airlines charge $125 each way while others may charge as much as $500 for the trip. Be sure you understand all of the travel fees for the airline you have chosen.

Choose your carrier.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has a list of pet carrier requirements that are utilized by most airlines. All carriers, regardless of whether your pet will be in cargo or in the cabin, must have good ventilation, strong handles, and a leak proof bottom. Most airlines will have specific dimensions and weights for pet carriers. JetBlue, for example, states that “Your pet carrier cannot exceed 17″L x 12.5″W x 8.5″H and the combined weight of your pet and the carrier must not exceed 20 pounds.”

Choose your airline and flight wisely.

Each airline has different rules about pets on board, both in cargo and in the cabin. Choose the airline that fits your needs the best. According to Cleveland.com’s article, when rated on average pet fee and airline safety records, Alaska Airlines is the most pet friendly with low fees and flexible pet policies. Hawaiian and American Airlines tied for second place, with Frontier and Southwest coming in third. Spirit, JetBlue, and Delta have more strict/expensive pet policies and fees, while United was their least pet friendly airline. Click on any of the airlines to look at their pet policies and fees in more detail.

Try to find non-stop flights to minimize the duration of travel as well as the chances of anything going wrong during a layover. If you are traveling over a holiday, try to travel on off hours when the airport is not so busy. If your pet is traveling in cargo, try to gauge the temperature both at your departure and arrival destinations. For warm destinations, try to fly in the cooler hours of the early morning and evening. If it will be cold for your departure or arrival, try to fly during the middle of the day when it is warmest.

Know the rules.

If you think the rules for flying as humans are complex, the rules for flying with your pet are even more complicated. Check with your chosen airline to see if there are breed and size restrictions for both cargo and cabin pets. Many airlines do not allow brachiocephalic (snub-nosed) pets in cargo and some will not allow bully breeds to fly at all. Some airlines also have restrictions on the number of pets that can be on board each flight, so call your airline ahead of time so that they know you will be traveling with an animal.

It’s important to read all of the rules your airline provides to make sure you won’t be turned away at the airport. See our sections below for some updated information about domestic and international flights with pets.

Take your pet to the vet.

Consult with your veterinarian about air travel before booking your flight. Be sure to discuss food, water, and medications during travel. The issue of sedation or tranquilization is still contested and even the American Veterinary Medical Association does not provide clear advice, so discuss the pros and cons with your veterinarian who knows your pets and their needs. Some airlines prohibit sedation so make sure you know your airline’s rules before talking to your vet.

Not only is it a good idea to take your pet to the vet to ensure they are healthy enough to travel (and have enough of any medications needed during travel) and are up to date on their immunizations, your pet is required to have a health certificate before traveling by air. This certificate lasts for 30 days but many airlines require you to have completed the health check within 10 days of travel so make sure you know what your airline requires. And keep in mind that if your trip is longer than that time period, you’ll need to make a vet appointment at your travel destination to get a health certificate for the return trip.

Consider your destination.

If you are traveling internationally, or to some U.S. states (like Hawaii), you’ll want to look into any animal importation laws. Know if your pet will need to quarantine and for how long. You also want to know about any laws or regulations about animals at your destination, so that you know where you can bring fido or fluffy on your travels.

What to do at the airport, departure and arrival.

tan pug with aviator goggles and pilot hat onBe sure to prepare yourself and your pet prior to arriving at the airport. Know where the pet relief areas are (if there are any) for all airports you’ll be in. Familiarize your pet with the carrier they will be traveling in. Make sure it is a space where they feel comfortable and safe. You may even want to take your pet to the airport departure area to help them become familiar with the smells and sounds.

Arrive at the airport with plenty of time before your flight so you don’t feel rushed. If your pet is flying cargo most airlines require that you arrive 3 hours early for domestic flights and 5 hours early for international flights. You’ll need to take your pet to a specific cargo drop-off location. That’s where you will pick your pet up as well. Attach a photo of your pet to their carrier (you may also want to have up to date photos of your pet and their microchip information on your phone just in case). Also consider attaching a small bag of food and a container for water so that airline personnel can feed your pet in case of a long delay. As soon as you arrive, grab your baggage and head to the cargo area to pick up your pet. Typically, airlines say you must pick up your pet within 3-4 hours of offloading before they’re taken to a boarding facility or local veterinarian.

If your pet is flying in the cabin with you go to the airline check-in desk to submit your paperwork for your pet. As you go through security make sure you deal with your bags, coat, shoes, etc before dealing with your pet. Take your pet out of their carrier (that must go through the x-ray machine) and carry them through the metal detector. You may want to have a metal free collar/harness on your pet ahead of time so you don’t set off the alarm but are able to maintain control if you have a squirmy or nervous pet.

Once you’ve arrived at your destination make sure your pet has access to fresh water and take them for a walk to do their business and stretch their legs immediately. Now it’s time to enjoy your destination with your furry friend!

Domestic Travel Updates

Flying with your pets has become increasingly difficult over the past few years. In December 2020 the Department of Transportation (DoT) cracked down on service animals on board airplanes. Previously, any passenger could bring a pet on board as long as they had obtained a note from a licensed medical professional declaring the pet to be an emotional support animal. Due to the large number of pets, including a kangaroo, being designated emotional support animals, the DoT limited service animals to trained dogs only. Many airlines, including Delta, American Airlines, JetBlue, United Air, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, and Alaskan Air, no longer allow any emotional support animals, even dogs, on board.

Animals without a service dog designation must fly in the cargo hold or in under the seat pet carriers. While flying an animal in the cargo hold of a plane is not the same as it was 50 years ago, it is still an unpleasant and potentially dangerous experience for your pet. While airlines may try to make it as comfortable as possible for your pet, some even have heated and ventilated cargo holds, your pet is crated in an unfamiliar and loud space far from you where items may shift and fall during flight. Many animals are still shipped in the cargo hold of airplanes each year, most without incident. But keep in mind what could happen when being loaded/unloaded, during travel, or if the plane sits on the tarmac for 2 hours during a delay. Many travelers have shared horror stories of their pets being injured, getting sick, or even dying in the cargo hold of airplanes, so consider if traveling with your pet is worth the risk.

International Travel Updates

One important new detail to note is that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently placed a travel ban on the import of dogs from 113 countries, beginning October 14, 2021. This ban applies to both foreign dogs as well as dogs who have been traveling with their American owners and are seeking to re-enter the country. The CDC has seen a large increase in falsified health documents from international importers since the pandemic and are tightening requirements for pets traveling internationally. The new ban is intended to prevent pets at risk for rabies from entering the country.

Starting in January, the CDC is also restricting the number of ports where pets from that list of countries are allowed to enter to just 3: John F Kennedy International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. So those of you who will be traveling overseas, it may be best to leave your pet home for the foreseeable future.

Many other countries have restrictions on the number of pets in aircrafts, the duration of travel for pets in cargo, or where they can enter/depart a country, so be sure you know about your travel destination’s animal regulations as well.

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of pet airline travel and are in need of someone to watch your pet while you are away, check out our website to see how a professional pet sitter can help you!

October 17-23 marks Veterinary Technician Appreciation Week! Vet techs are essential to the everyday workings of veterinary clinics and hospitals. In human health care we have nurses, lab techs, dietitians, anesthesiologists, radiation techs, and many more, but in veterinary health care vet techs cover all of those jobs. So take some time this week to say thank you to your vet techs for their hard work, compassion, experience, and care.

What is a vet tech?

blonde man in blue scrubs using stethoscope on old shepherdVeterinary technicians are an integral part of a veterinary care team. They have gone through a specific 2-4 year education program and practicum accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities. They also commit to participating in continuing education annually to stay up to date with the most current research.

Vet techs have been educated in the principles of both normal and abnormal life processes and in laboratory and clinical procedures and are responsible for the care and handling of all animals who enter their clinic or hospital. They work under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian and can assist in performing a wide variety of tasks. However they cannot diagnose, prescribe medications, perform surgery, or engage in any activity prohibited by a state’s veterinary practice act.

In addition to those regular responsibilities, vet techs may also specialize in certain areas after more training, testing, and a certification. Those specialties include anesthesia, clinical pathology, dental technology, dermatology, emergency and critical care, internal medicine, and nutrition among others. Visit the NAVTA website for a complete list.

When your furry friend goes to the clinic, vet techs are the professionals who are trained to:

  • obtain your pet’s medical history
  • collect specimens and perform lab procedures, including blood work and immunizations
  • provide specialized nursing care
  • prep your pet and the necessary tools for surgery
  • administer and monitor anesthesia
  • assist in surgical care and diagnostic imaging
  • perform dental prophylaxis
  • educate you on your pet’s health and medical needs

Check out this video honoring vet techs for their contributions to veterinary medicine:

How to celebrate your vet tech

This year Vet Tech Appreciation Week is focusing on the message of self care. Over the last year and more, vet techs have had to handle a workload and stress level that was beyond anything the veterinary community had seen before. Techs are on the frontlines every day, compassionately working with each pet and their owner to provide the best care possible. NAVTA writes that “they work tirelessly in exam rooms, labs, and operating rooms, putting to work their vast technical and scientific knowledge treating and caring for every species of animal.  Their broad skills – both professional and personal – allow veterinarians to work more efficiently and effectively.  And they do it all with love and a smile, day after day.”

While it is important to recognize their contribution to veterinary medicine, we must also recognize the importance of self care and support them in their efforts toward a healthy work-life balance.

If you’d like to do more than just thank your vet tech, here are some ideas for vet tech themed gifts:

  • Vet tech themed apparel, face masks, or tote bags
  • Customized bandage scissors or stethoscope tags
  • Travel mugs or tumblers
  • Gift cards, for necessary supplies/memberships or for their favorite coffee shop/restaurant/store
  • Any of these customized gifts from Etsy

This week and every week we honor veterinary technicians for their commitment to high quality, compassionate care for all animals. Thank you for everything that you do.

Top Reasons to Adopt a Shelter Dog

Everyone deserves a second chance, but second chances don’t always happen for shelter pets. When they do, they often come from people who are responsible, mature, and determined to make a positive difference. 

When you adopt a shelter dog, you give him or her a second chance. If you have are on the fence about adopting, the following benefits of adopting shelter dogs may help clear your mind.

golden puppy asleep on top of crate and bedding in shelter

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

You will be saving a life while discouraging puppy mills

According to the ASPCA, about 670,000 dogs are euthanized each year. Many of these animals face this fate because there is no space for them at shelters. No dog lover, including those who run shelters, wants to resort to euthanasia, but even as a last resort, it is often necessary.

There is something you can do – adopt a shelter dog! It may seem like a drop in the ocean compared to the number of pets in need. However, many dog lovers have realized its impact, adopted a dog, and significantly reduced the number of euthanized dogs. And to your adopted dog, you’ve made all the difference in the world.

 

While many dog breeders care greatly for the puppies they produce, and the work that goes into raising healthy happy pups, some backyard breeders conduct their business in unsafe conditions. They may mass-produce puppies and keep them under unfit conditions. Some even care more about profit than the dogs’ well-being. Many rescues and organizations are working to shut down puppy mills, but the process is long and difficult. It takes all of us to recognize and raise awareness of and then help stop these negligent breeders.

When you adopt a shelter dog, you can help to lower the demand at pet shops and unsafe breeders. Adopting a shelter dog may be your chosen way of standing up against cruel breeding practices.

You free up shelter space

If it was up to us, all dogs would be in loving homes. But each day, more people are compelled to surrender their canine companions. Research shows that more than 1 million pet owners have no option but to relinquish their beloved pets each year. Their reasons may include:

  • Personal health-related issues
  • Pet health-related issues
  • Pet housing issues
  • Inability to care for the pet
  • Insufficient finance

Many of the relinquished pets end up in shelters, but shelters have limited space. By adopting a shelter dog, you free up space in shelters so they can take in and save more pets.

It will cost you less

Depending on the breed and the pet shop, a pure-bred pup may cost anything between $500 and $3,000. However, popular dog breeds, such as Frenchies and Goldendoodles, often fetch an even higher price. On the other hand, adopting a dog will cost about $800 in addition to the adoption fees of about $500 to $700. 

Think there’s not much difference? Guess again!

These are just the initial purchase costs. Other costs include spaying/neutering and vaccinations. You will pay extra fees to get these procedures done on your pup when you purchase them from a pet shop or breeder. However, dogs from shelters often come already spayed and vaccinated.

Also, if you adopt an adult dog it is often easier to estimate other costs such as pet insurance, food, grooming, equipment, and training. Your pet will already be grown so there’s no need to purchase multiple sizes and types of equipment for a growing puppy. So it is not only cheaper but also may be easier to budget for a shelter dog.

Some shelter dogs come already trained

One of the biggest wins of adopting shelter dogs is that some come already trained. As we mentioned earlier, many pet owners relinquish their fur babies due to circumstances beyond their control. Often by the time this happens, many have already taken their furry friends through plenty of training. Though it’s likely the poor pooch may be anxious at first, they will start to trust and love you given time to adjust in positive surroundings.

Many dogs in shelters are potty trained, familiar with basic commands, and may even do simple tricks. The shelter staff will also give you plenty of information about their temperament, likes, and dislikes so that you can give your new pup the care and enrichment they deserve.

You will be adopting a furry buddy who can likely already behave calmly in many situations, and with some additional training and adjustment time, makes a wonderful companion for all of your hobbies and adventures. 

There is variety as well as consistency

With more than one million pets entering shelters each year, there is no doubt that those shelters have a variety of pups to choose from. Whether you like a large and athletic dog, a medium-sized pup who loves to snuggle, or petite dog who likes to lie on the couch all day, you can find them at a shelter. Shelter dogs range in size, age, breed, and personality. The great thing about shelter dogs though, is that they all go through behavior assessments when they arrive at the shelter, so depending on what you are looking for in a best friend, the shelter volunteers can help you find a dog that fits into your lifestyle.

You will make new friends 

Adopting a dog entails a longer process than buying one from the pet shop or breeder. You start by identifying a suitable shelter or rescue, then pick a potential fur baby. After these steps, you could be vetted, approved, and instructed on how to take care of your new friend. Some shelters even perform post-adoption visits. 

As you engage in this process, you are bound to meet many potential pet parents who have a heart like yours and interact with shelter staff frequently. You will expand your circle of friends who love dogs, especially folks who know a lot about dogs, like the shelter staff. 

brown puppy looking at camera and smiling with blue plaid collarPhoto by Troy Bridges on Unsplash

It is a worthy action

Last but certainly not least, adopting a shelter dog is a worthy action. Many pet parents understand the benefits of owning a dog, but when you adopt a shelter dog, you go a step beyond just owning a dog. Although you stand to gain the above rewards, more importantly, you do it for the dog’s sake; you save a life.

It’s your way of giving back to a species that has provided companionship, care, and protection to humans for centuries. And, as you do it for the dog’s sake, other dog lovers watch you and may be inspired to do the same. 

 

Contributing Author: Emila Smith 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. 

brown and white tabby cat with yellow bandana meowing at the camera

As pet sitters we have approximately a thousand pet photos on our phones at any given time  (and will show them all to you at the drop of a hat). Some of them are of our own pets, but many are of the wonderful creatures we spend our days caring for. We love our four-legged clients as much as our own fur babies and our camera roll is proof.

We’ve all tried to take that once in a lifetime photo of our pet or our pet friends to showcase their energy, beauty, personality, or just plain silliness. Some of us may be able to snap the perfect photo at the drop of a hat, but for many of us it’s hard enough to get a good photo without having to try to focus on a wiggly, bouncy four-legged friend. For those of us who may need a little extra advice, here are some tips and tricks for how to take that purrfect photo of your pet.

1. Be patient

Lori Fusaro, a photographer who specializes in animals, says, give your pet time to get used to your camera (or smart phone), especially if it makes any type of sound. Let them sniff it and then dismiss it so that they go about doing their own thing. Sometimes you just have to follow them around until they do something cute or funny!

2. Time it well

If you want an action shot, have your camera ready before tossing the frisbee or pointing the laser. If you want to show how poised or relaxed your pet is, maybe wait until after the play session when your pet is tired and more willing to settle in one place.

3. Get down on their level

To get a more interesting photo, and one that really captures your pet’s expression, try kneeling or crouching to place yourself at their level. Consider getting close enough with your camera that your fur friend is taking up the majority of the frame, or go a step further and focus on their beautiful snout or adorable toe beans to get a unique photo!

4. Use natural light

Natural light works best to showcase your pet. Artist Mailin Plagge says “good lighting, either outside or in a bright room inside, helps keep the photo clear and in focus. It also helps keep the colors in your photo from being washed out.” So see if you can put your fur baby near a window or even outside for that purrfect shot!

5. Distractions are key

Unless you’re going for that candid shot of your dog mid yawn or your cat mid leap, using items like squeaky toys, treats, or whatever catches your pet’s attention can motivate your pet to look at the camera. Snacks or toys will also help keep these photo shoots fun for your pet!

Want a funny photo? Give your pup a spoonful of peanut butter and take some photos of their face as they eat it. Your pup also won’t try to wander away when they have a mouthful. Just be sure your peanut butter is all natural and xylitol free!

6. Focus on their personality

Maybe you have an active pup who loves to chase butterflies. Maybe your cat sits in their tower like royalty. Whatever your pet’s personality, try to catch that in their photo to make it really showcase your pet.

You also want to pay attention to the background in your photo. Plagge says to “place your pet in a somewhat neutral background. You want your pet to be the main subject matter, not the room they’re sitting in! ”

7. Practice, practice, practice

Take lots of photos of your pet, in all kinds of lighting and from all different angles. Try the action shots and the still photos. Try adding treats or tossing them to your pet to get a funny mid catch photo. Try whatever you can think of until you and your pet are pros at these photo sessions!

Take it a step further

Australian shepherd with purple bandanaSo what do you do with all of those great photos you just took? Why not turn one of them into a beautiful portrait! Artist Mailin Plagge loves capturing the beauty and uniqueness of peoples’ pets in her paintings. She says “when a client commissions a portrait of their beloved fur baby, it’s my job and my joy to capture each pet’s personality and character in a unique painting or drawing. I love to work with clients to create a piece that expresses their vision.” Plagge states that if you’d like to have a portrait of your pet, sometimes it helps to give your artist a few different reference photos of different angles of your pet, especially for those with all black pets, which tend to be difficult to take clear photos of. And make sure that the photos you send show how much fun your pet is, photos of cats and dogs having a good time always turn out the best!

painting of red merle australian shepherd with purple bandanaCheck out Mailin Plagge’s artwork on her website or instagram if you’re interested in a commission.

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!