5 Must-Read Safety Tips for Pets in Hot Weather

Dog drinking water outside

 

Earlier this May, a woman in North Carolina was charged with animal cruelty after two dogs died after being left in her car for several hours. Even though she left the windows cracked open, and the outside temperature was only 80 degrees, the temperature inside the car grew so hot, that eventually the dogs succumbed to heat stroke.

Tragic stories like this are a reminder that it’s incredibly important to be extra careful with our pets during the warmer months. Sweltering weather can be uncomfortable for us, but ultimately, we can generally find refuge in air conditioning, make sure to keep drinking cold water, and strip down to as little clothing as possible. It’s not so easy for cats and dogs. Follow these tips to ensure your pets have a comfortable, safe, and cool summer.

1. Know What’s Normal

The best way for you to recognize heat stroke or heat-related distress in your cat or dog is to be incredibly aware of how they usually behave when the mercury isn’t sky high. Does your cat often drape herself along the floor, looking vaguely lethargic? Then it’s likely not a cause for worry, regardless of the temperature. But if your cat doesn’t usually rest that way, or your dog doesn’t typically pant quite so heavily, these could be signs of heat stroke. The more familiar you are with your pet’s habits and behavior, the easier it will be for you to know when something just isn’t quite right.

RELATED STORY: 7 Unsuspected Pet Dangers of Summer

2. Don’t Leave Dogs in Cars

Just like small children and babies, dogs should not be left alone in the car. If you’re running errands, consider leaving the dog at home. Or, bring the dog into the store with you if it’s pet-friendly. Even cracking the windows isn’t enough to keep your dog cooled off, since the temperature inside an enclosed car rises much faster than the temperature outside.

RELATED STORY: 5 Steps to a Safe Drive With Your Dog

3. Be Smart About Exercise

Making sure your pet gets adequate exercise is such an important part of their health, and shouldn’t be neglected just because it’s hot outside. That said, just like you might avoid a 5K run when it’s over 95 degrees, so too should your dog skip strenuous exercise when it’s really roasting outside. If you are going to exercise, see the next tip, and schedule wisely.

Don’t forget, even if your dog or cat isn’t going outside, it’s important to make sure that your home is cool enough for them to stay comfortable: consider keeping the AC going, or make sure there is a cool area in your home for your pets. For a break, try setting up a kiddie pool or sprinkler in the yard for your dog.

RELATED STORY: Which 7 Breeds of Dogs Exercise the Most?

4. Walk in Mornings and Evenings

Schedule your dog walks around the coolest times of day: the early morning and the evening. Keep walks brief if you have to go out during midday, when the sun is at its hottest. Be mindful of the temperature of the surfaces you and your dog are walking on — even though paws are a bit more sturdy than bare feet, if the sidewalk, sand, or brick pathway feels scorching hot for you, it’ll also be quite painful for your dog’s paws.

RELATED STORY: Hiking Tips for Pet Parents

5. Make Sure Water Is Always Plentiful and Fresh

Sometimes cats don’t drink enough water — this is a common problem — but as temperatures rise, inadequate hydration can cause real health issues. Jazz up your cat’s water bowl by putting in a few ice cubes, or, if your cat doesn’t have one already, consider trying out a fountain. Make sure whether you’re inside or outside with your dog, you always have fresh,clean water available.

RELATED STORY: Are Automatic Fountains Good for Cats? Understand the Pros and Cons

Need a new water dish for the warmer weather? Try PetPlus is a new benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding and more.

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How to Pet-Proof Your Yard

 

Bulbs are popping and seeds are starting to take root. For the green-thumbed among us, you know what this means: Gardening season is here! If you have an outdoor cat or a garden-loving dog, you might need to do some thinking about how you design your yard, what’s planted, and where you allow your pets to play. See below for some tips on pet-proofing your garden.

RELATED STORY: How Do Dogs Get Fleas?

Are the Plants OK for Pets to Eat?

Many of the very prettiest flowers, shrubs, and plants can be toxic to cats and dogs. Even non-toxic greenery, like grass, can cause pets to have an upset tummy. If you know your pets will be in the garden, take time before you plant to make certain you’re not introducing something potentially toxic to your pet’s environment.

RELATED STORY: What Plants Are Poisonous to Pets?

Is Your Fertilizer Toxic?

As well as killing mites and bugs and encouraging blooms from flowers, some fertilizers, pesticides, or insect repellants can contain ingredients that are toxic for pets. If you spray fertilizers or insect repellents on the grass, and your pet walks on the freshly treated area, it’s all too easy for some of the chemicals to wind up on your pet’s paws. Licking the paws later on can lead to your dog or cat ingesting some of the toxins. Aim to use pet-safe fertilizers, and keep your cat or dog off the lawn and away from the yard area just after applying chemicals.

RELATED STORY: 7 Unexpected Dangers to Pets in the Summer

Design With Your Cat or Dog in Mind

As you plot out your garden, think about your particular pet. Is it easy to train them to stay away from certain areas? If so, plant at will — but if your dog or cat has a tendency to go where they’re not wanted, or dig up herbs, shrubs, and flowers, you may want to establish boundaries. Here are a few ideas for how you can lay out your garden to accommodate your pet’s habits:

  • Create Pathways: Generally speaking, many pets will stay on pathways (and away from flower beds).
  • Establish Boundaries: Use materials like bricks, rocks, and leafy barrier plants to form boundaries around areas that should be kept pet-free. You can also put up a gate or fencing if you really want to make sure to keep pets away from vulnerable seedlings.
  • Try Containers: Raised beds, or containers, can be a good way to keep plants and flowers away from paws.

Stay prepared this flea and tick season with PetPlus, a new benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding and more. Does your pet love the garden? Tell us what tips and tricks you use to make your yard pet-friendly.

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How to Protect Your Pet From Wildlife

 


Most pets love the great outdoors, and with the weather heating up, you and your pal are likely to be spending more time outside. However, certain dangers lurk beyond the front door, from fleas and ticks to poisonous plants to extreme weather temperatures. And one additional danger that pet owners often overlook is the presence of other animals.

Depending on where you live, you may have skunks, raccoons, coyotes, rattlesnakes, large birds of prey, or other creatures in your yard or neighborhood. In addition to being carriers of disease, many wild animals are also capable of seriously injuring or even killing your pet.

To protect your pet from wildlife and keep the great outdoors great, follow these guidelines:

1. Make Your Yard Less Inviting to Wildlife

Wild animals often find their way into our yards when looking for food, water, or shelter. If you feed your pet outside, don’t make it a free-for-all; feed them at specific times, and collect unfinished portions when they’re done eating. Make sure that food storage containers and trash cans are secure and difficult for an animal to reach or knock over.

In addition, consider the vegetation growing in your yard. Are there berries, fruits, or seeds? You may be offering wildlife a non-stop buffet. Do you have a fountain or koi pond? It may be the perfect place for an unwanted guest to rehydrate.

Also consider cleaning up your yard to eliminate wood piles, rock piles, or other areas of clutter. These dark, shady nooks offer wild animals a cool and cozy place to curl up or nest.

RELATED STORY: Supplies for Keeping Outdoor Cats Safe and Healthy

2. If You Live In A High Risk Area, Don’t Leave Your Pet Unattended In The Yard

This is especially true for smaller pets who can be easily scooped up by birds like hawks or caught by coyotes. Larger pets can also become prey, so be careful if you live in an area with lots of predators, and remember that many animals hunt both day and night.

3. Vaccinate Your Pet

Make sure that your pet is up to date on their vaccinations. The rabies vaccine is especially important when it comes to encounters with other species, and if you live in an area known for rattlesnakes, you can also ask your veterinarian about the rattlesnake vaccine. And did you know that many dog obedience schools also offer classes for rattlesnake avoidance?! Pretty cool.

4. Practice Night Safety

Have you ever seen a skunk scurrying along a dark street? Or a band of raccoons feasting on spilled trash under a street light? Many animals come out at night, and an accidental encounter could spell trouble for your pet. When walking your pet at night, keep them on a leash, and be aware of your surroundings. Be careful about letting your pet sniff or walk around in dark bushes — this is how lots of dogs get “skunked.” And look out for groups of coyotes who may try to lure your dog away under the pretense of “play.” You can also make your yard safer by lighting it up; many wild animals avoid bright lights.

RELATED STORY: Hiking With Dogs: A Pet Parent’s Guide

5. What to Do if You Encounter Wildlife

If you encounter a wild animal while you are out on a walk, don’t panic; most animals are more afraid of you than you are of them. Your response to an encounter will depend on the animal and your distance from the animal. In many cases, an animal will run off on their own, but other times you may need to scare them away or defend yourself. Runner’s World has a great article on handling animal encounters.

Do you live in an area with wildlife or have you ever had a wild animal encounter with your pet? Leave a comment and let us know! Another way to protect your pet? Sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, boarding and more. Check it out at PetPlus.com.

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Meet Muttville, A Senior Dog Rescue Organization

If you’ve ever owned a senior dog, you know how special they can be. Most are happy to spend their golden years lounging on the sofa, taking easygoing walks, and offering lots of cuddles. Unfortunately, many senior dogs lose their owners to old age or are abandoned because of medical or behavioral issues. In San Francisco, that’s where Muttville comes in.

Muttville is a senior dog rescue organization that was founded in 2007 by Sherri Franklin, a long-time volunteer at local animal shelters and a member of the San Francisco Commission of Animal Control and Welfare.

“I’ve always loved the underdog,” says Sherri who, in addition to being the founder of Muttville, is also the organization’s Executive Director. “I’ve learned that it takes a village to do it well, and our Mutt-village grows larger every day. Muttville has hundreds of volunteers and foster parents, and for each and every person, I am grateful that they care about abandoned senior dogs as much as I do. It’s gratifying to save each and every life and see the impact every dog has on the people that care for them. Then, to see a rescued senior find a new beginning with an adopter is the icing on the cake!”

The Rescue Process

So how do senior dogs end up at Muttville? The organization receives hundreds of requests each week from California shelter volunteers, workers, and individuals asking that Muttville step in and help save a senior dog. Currently, Muttville’s capacity is 65 to 75 dogs at any give time.

“We do the best we can with our capacity,” says Sherri. “They come to headquarters in San Francisco by plane, van, and automobile. Volunteer pilots with Wings of Rescue and Pilots ‘n Paws, as well as our own transport volunteers make it happen!”

Once a new dog arrives at Muttville, it receives a number, a name if necessary, a Muttville ID tag, a harness for outside walks, and as volunteer Patty Stanton says, “lots of love from reassuring volunteers.” This is all followed by a bath and a visit to Katy, Muttville’s in-house Vet Tech, who uncovers any health issues and addresses any immediate health needs. Then the dog is matched with a foster parent with whom they will stay and await an adoption application.

Reasons To Adopt A Senior

Some people may wonder why anyone would want to adopt a senior dog if it only has a few years left to live. The fact is that there are plenty of good reasons, from helping a dog’s final years be good ones to benefitting from the lessons that a senior dog has already learned.

“Seniors come with life experience, manners, and gratefulness,” says Sherri. “We believe Muttville has helped to make senior dogs more desirable. After all, some people want a dog that is already housetrained and has a pace to match their lifestyle.”

In addition, Sherri says that potential adopters should know that a senior dog that was once someone else’s pet has nothing but love to give.

“Seniors are more mellow and soulful. They know who butters their bread,” says Sherri. “I also hear from many adopters about how rewarding it is to give one of our older dogs a second chance at love in their golden years. Many adopters have come back to adopt a second or even a third dog from us!”

Thus far, Muttville has placed over 2,300 dogs into loving homes, and more are adopted every day. If you are interested in adopting, head over to Muttville’s “How To Adopt” page. And if you are a senior (62+ years old), you can check out Muttville’s Seniors For Seniors program.

“Muttville’s senior dogs are the perfect companions for senior humans,” says Sherri. “They’re mellow and well socialized, and they want nothing more than the gentle care of someone who loves them.”

Other Ways to Help

If you aren’t in a position to adopt, there are other ways to help Muttville, including fostering, volunteering, and donating.

Muttville’s foster homes are in the San Francisco Bay Area and play a large part in the adoption process. The dog is able to live in a relaxed, family environment (rather than a busy shelter) and establish a daily routine. In addition to day-to-day care, foster parents take their dogs to Muttville adoption events at least once a month, and if someone applies to adopt the dog, they take part in the process to determine if the situation is a good fit.

You can also volunteer with Muttville if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Each day of the week, dog-loving volunteers are on site to help with walking, cleaning, feeding, bathing, grooming, and more.

“We also have volunteers who enjoy talking about the available dogs at outreach events, or give their marketing skills to Muttville,” says Sherri. “Others plan events, volunteer as adoption counselors, or are part of the Seniors for Seniors team. A Seniors for Seniors example is our monthly Cuddle Club, whereby senior citizens from senior centers come to Muttville and cuddle the older dogs with the help of a team of volunteers helping to make that happen. It’s pretty adorable!”

Don’t live in the San Francisco area but still want to help out? Consider making a donation via the “Donate” button on Muttville’s Facebook page or the “Give” button on Muttville’s site. You could also become a monthly Mutt Guardian, whereby an amount starting at $10 is deducted from your credit card once a month. Mutt Guardians help sustain Mutville’s rescue efforts as the organization spends $900 on average for each rescued dog’s vet care.

Our Gift to Adopters

As a thanks to senior-loving pet parents, PetPlus will offer a free trial of our benefit program to the next five dogs adopted from Muttville! PetPlus provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, boarding, and more. To become a member, learn more at PetPlus.com.

Upcoming Event

If you live in San Francisco, you can help celebrate Muttville, Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days, and the recent naming of “Rescue Row” on May 31, 2014. Rescue Row is the honorary name of the section of Alabama Street between 15th and 16th streets that is home to four animal welfare organizations, including Muttville.

On May 31st, you can join the organizations for an official unveiling. It is the first of its kind in the nation! Read the press release or visit RescueRow.org for more info.

 

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PetPlus and 2 Million Dogs Join Forces to Fight Cancer

 

What is the 2 Million Dogs Foundation?

Cancer is a condition that affects us all — that includes our dogs. As it stands, one out of four dogs will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. For the unlucky ones, while treatment is still an option, it’s often expensive, invasive, and ineffective.

To help bolster the fight against this debilitating disorder, 2 Million Dogs is dedicated to uncovering the links between people, their pets, and cancer, hoping to close in on how to best prevent this condition from developing in the first place.

LIKE US on Facebook; we will donate 25 cents per like to the 2 Million Dogs foundation!

How They’re Helping

 

2 Million Dogs puts all of its resources into providing funding for comparative oncology studies. Comparative oncology is an area of cancer research in which doctors study and aim to treat cancer in animals, with the hope that what they learn from treating pets will result in advancement in the field of cancer treatment in general.

As it happens, cancer in our pets is not so different from cancer in people. Pets and owners both share many of the same environmental risk factors, and the biology of pet and people tumors are remarkably similar. Also, since cancer moves quicker in pets – often advancing in months what would have taken years in a person – studying cancer in pets allows for a quicker completion of clinical trials. In short, comparative oncology works to cure and prevent cancer in our pets with the idea that the discoveries made will translate to improving cancer treatment for people.

2 Million Dogs raises money for comparative oncology by hosting their “PuppyUp” dog walks all across the country. During these walks, participants sponsored by friends and family walk two miles with their dog and thousands of others to raise funds and awareness for 2 Million Dogs. In this way, 2 Million Dogs manages to bring like minded people together, increase awareness about their cause, and draw from a large pool of donors all at once.

How You Can Help

 

PetPlus is offering to donate 25 cents for every new “LIKE” we receive on our Facebook page, so if you haven’t liked our page yet, now is a great time to do so. And if you’ve already liked us, then share this post with your friends!

We would also like to encourage you to reach into your coffers and donate a little something yourself, or look at their events calendar and participate in a walk near you. Or, if you’re so inclined, 2 Million Dogs is always looking for volunteers, as well as new venues to host a walk. So, if you have some time to spare, or live in a place that would embrace the 2 Million Dogs mission, reach out to them here.

And remember — if we all work together, we can put a “paws” on cancer!

LIKE OUR FACEBOOK PAGE TO DONATE

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How To Find A Good Dog Kennel

 


Summer is just around the corner, and that means lots of weekend getaways and even longer vacations. While it can be fun to bring your dog along with you when you hit the road, it isn’t always convenient. That’s where dog kennels come in.

Dog kennels are traditional boarding facilities where dogs mix and mingle with other furballs during the day and in most cases, sleep in crates at night. Many pet parents like kennels because they cost less than fancy dog hotels, and give your pal more opportunities to socialize than in-home boarding or pet sitting.

It’s easy to jump on the internet and find a kennel in your area in a matter of minutes, but before you decide to drop your dog off, there are some important things to consider. Here we’ll provide tips for how to select a good dog kennel so that you can feel confident taking a few days off.

Tip #1: Take a Tour

When considering a kennel, ask if you can take a tour of the facility. You should be allowed to view the play areas as well as where your pup will be sleeping at night.

  • Check for signs of cleanliness, such as clean floors. While pet messes are normal occurrences in kennels, they should still be cleaned up immediately to prevent the spread of disease and parasites.
  • Make sure that fresh water is available at all times.
  • Make sure that there are sleeping crates available to accommodate your dog’s size.

If the kennel doesn’t want you to take a tour, this is a red flag, and you should move on.

RELATED STORY: What’s the Cost to Kennel a Dog?

Tip #2: Observe Staff and Dogs

A good kennel will have trained staff members keeping watch over the dogs at all times. Take some time to observe the play area. Are the staff members distracted or engaged? Are they stepping in to stop problems before they escalate? Are dogs allowed to behave aggressively?

  • Look for a kennel with staff members who seem to genuinely enjoy dogs and who are paying close attention to what’s going on around them.
  • While a little wrestling is normal dog behavior, dogs should never be allowed to fight or bite.
  • The safest kennels separate dogs by size, reducing the likelihood of small dogs becoming injured or frightened.

Tip #3: Ask About Requirements And Insurance

A good kennel will require that your dog be up to date on their vaccinations, protected from fleas, and pass a temperament test to ensure that the kennel will be a safe place for all dogs. In addition, your dog’s kennel should be bonded and insured. If the kennel you are considering doesn’t have requirements or they aren’t insured, it’s time to look elsewhere.

Tip #4: Check Out Reviews

Thanks to the internet, reviews of businesses such as kennels are right at your fingertips. Sites like Yelp make it easy to search either for a specific business, or for those within a certain geographic location, and then read customer reviews. Look out for horror stories and read the positive reviews, too! Ideally, you’ll get a complete picture of the kennel you’re considering.

RELATED STORY: Kennel Cough Symptoms and Treatment

Tip #5: Ask for a Free Trial

Before committing to several days or several weeks, ask for a one day free trial. This will allow you to get a feel for the arrangement, and most good kennels are happy to oblige.

Tip #6: Decide What Is Important to You

Dog kennels really vary when it comes to amenities and services. Some kennels provide “report cards” on your dog’s behavior and activities, some have webcams that allow you to look in on your dog while you’re away, and some offer additional services like grooming. Decide what matters to you in a kennel, and go from there.

Do you take your dog to a kennel? What do you like about it? Leave a comment and let us know, and consider signing up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.

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TECH NEWS: How Having a Dog Can Help You Live Longer

 

There are a lot of advantages to having a dog: constant companionship, unconditional love, a source of entertainment – but did you know that being a dog parent can actually help you live longer?

RELATED STORY: Lifespan of a Dog: a Dog Years Chart by Breed

Recent studies show that people who live with dogs have reduced levels of stress, blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight. And while part of their health perks come from the fact that owning a dog forces you to get out and walk around at least twice a day, those short walks do not fully account for the differences in overall health between people with and without dogs.

So what is it about having a dog that helps us stay healthy? Two companies – Whistle and Jawbone – are taking their behavior monitoring equipment and harnessing their abilities to track the relationship between people and their dogs.

Meet The Partners

Whistle is a monitor that attaches to your dog’s collar, keeping track of just how long your dog has been active throughout the day. The Whistle app knows when your dog has been playing, walking, or resting, and it also lets you set goals, see how active other dogs are, and generally better understand what a day in the life of your dog looks like.

Jawbone – pioneers in the bluetooth marketplace – developed an incredibly popular armband that records all of your daily activity, uploading it to their app to help you track your progress, set goals, and reach milestones. Called the UP system, this intuitive piece of technology is Jawbones contribution to the new “quantifiable-self” health craze.

How The System Works

In order to help you understand the specific ways your dog impacts your health, Jawbone and Whistle have formed a modified partnership, allowing your to track both your and your dog’s activity on one app. This partnership makes it simple to see exactly how your dog’s behavior impacts your own.

Steve Eidelman, co-founder of Whistle, says that “By collecting this information, we’re creating the largest set of data correlating human and pet activity to help us better understand the true benefits of animals in our daily lives.”

So, not only will this system help you figure out whether having your dog sleep in your room helps you get a better eight hours, but by adding your data to this large community pool, you are helping to uncover exactly what it is about having a dog that makes us all healthier.

Travis Bogard, vice president of product management and strategy for Jawbone, outlined why this partnership with Whistle is so important:

We are making it easier for people to see the valuable impacts of owning a pet and the improved quality of life that comes from that relationship. People have always had the notion that pets can help individuals live healthier, more active lives, but until now there has been very little access to specific insights around this topic. By integrating data from Whistle, we’ll be able to see the trends in healthy habits of dog owners.

-Travis Bogard

What do you think about tracking your dog’s activity throughout the day? Would you do it? Leave a comment and let us know, and consider signing up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, boarding and more. 

Sources:

The Star – Get a Dog – It’ll Make Your Healthier
Fox News – How Owning a Dog Can Improve Your Health
News 13 – New Collar to Track Pet’s Health Conditions

 

 

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Pros and Cons of Doggie (And Kitty!) Doors

 


Many people with busy lifestyles benefit from the use of doggie and kitty doors; their pets have more independence and freedom by allowing them immediate access to the outside world. Pet doors come in all shapes, sizes, and styles, and can be installed just about anywhere.

Types of Pet Doors

The most traditional type of pet door is a flap door that allows pets to come and go as they please, whenever they please (though many traditional flap doors do come with locks or panels that can be used when you want to restrict access).

There are also electronic and electromagnetic doors that require your pet to wear an electronic “key” or magnet on their collar that unlocks the door when your pet approaches and locks it as they walk away. These types of doors can be especially useful if you are worried about other animals entering your house, or if you want to allow only one pet in the house to come and go freely.

Regardless of what type of pet door you choose, there will always be pros and cons. We’ll take a look at some of those to help you determine if a pet door is a good choice for your home.

RELATED STORY: Supplies For Keeping Outdoor Cats Safe And Healthy

Pet Door Pros

What are some of the best things about having a pet door?

  • Your dog will have the freedom to go to the bathroom whenever they please. This can be a great arrangement for dogs who wake up early in the morning to “go,” dogs who need to be let out in the middle of the night, dogs who are alone for long periods of time, and senior dogs, who need to relieve themselves more often. A dog door also means that your furball will be less likely to have accidents inside of the house.
  • Pet doors give both dogs and cats the ability to get outside and have some fun whenever they want. If your pet is alone all day while you’re at work, giving them outside access can help to relieve their boredom, reduce anxiety, and prevent destructive behaviors.
  • If you have an adult dog who already uses a doggie door and you are planning to bring a new puppy into the family, chances are you won’t have to worry about housetraining. Most puppies quickly learn from watching the older dog that the doggie door takes you to the appropriate bathroom spot.
  • In case of an emergency such as a fire, your pet may be able to escape through their door.

RELATED STORY: 7 Tricks To Housetraining A Puppy

Pet Door Cons

What are some of the problems with having a pet door?

  • In order to use a pet door, you must have an enclosed, completely secure, and safe yard. Make sure that there is no chance of your pet escaping (through holes, unsecure gates, etc.) or getting injured (such as on a fence with rusty nails). If you have any doubt, don’t use a pet door.
  • If you live in an area with lots of wildlife, letting your pet outside unsupervised may put them at risk. Coyotes, large birds (like hawks), and other creatures may all see your pal as prey.
  • Pets — cats especially — may hunt down animals such as squirrels, mice, or snakes and bring them inside the house. And in some cases, the animal may not be completely dead — eek!
  • If you aren’t using an electronic or electromagnetic door, there is a chance that other animals could enter your home.
  • Pets with behavioral problems are not good candidates for pet doors. For example, if your dog will eat just about anything, leaving them outside unsupervised puts them at risk for swallowing potentially harmful objects, such as sharp sticks or rocks. In addition, dogs who bark excessively or cats who are in heat (and thus moaning, crying, and meowing) may irritate your neighbors.

If you do decide to use a pet door, make sure that your pet is protected from fleas and ticks that may be lurking outside. In addition, you should pet-proof your yard and ensure that there aren’t any poisonous plants for your pet to consume.

Do you use a pet door? Why or why not? Leave a comment and let us know, and consider signing up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding and more.

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How Your Dog Can Help You Slim Down This Summer

 

As the first brave flowers of spring emerge, and the memory of a seemingly endless winter begins to fade away, your thoughts may be turning to exercise and weight loss. After all, it’s likely been a while since you contemplated wearing shorts and bathing suits. Having a dog can be a great first step to getting in shape: already, Fido helps ensure that you’re getting outside on a daily basis for walks. Find out some ideas for ways that you can work exercise into your daily or weekly routine with your dog — and keep in mind, your workout will do wonders for your dog’s health, as well as your own.

RELATED STORY: The Benefits of an Active Dog

Take a Longer Walk

When it’s cold outside, it’s easy to fall into the habit of walking your dog just far enough that he relieves himself. Take advantage of the nicer weather, and extend how far you go on each day’s walk. Bored with the usual walking path? Vary your route near your home (turn left from your front door, instead of your usual right). Or try going to a new neighborhood or hiking nearby trails. Even a few blocks more on your daily walk, especially if you’re walking briskly, can help you get back in shape.

RELATED STORY: Safety Tips for Walking Dogs at Night

Play Frisbee or Catch

Are you thinking that it’s your dog that does all the leaping, running, and bounding when you play fetch, frisbee, or catch? No way! Those trips to the park involve a ton of exercise for you, too, as you play along with your pup and run after the balls your dog fails to catch. Make your dog’s weekend: spend next Saturday in a nearby park throwing around a tennis ball.

RELATED STORY: Our 10 Favorite Dog Toys

Go for a Jog

Depending on your dog’s size, training, and health, she may be a great running partner for you. Before you take up jogging, make sure your dog’s health is up for the challenge. You’ll also want to make sure it’s reasonable for her to jog alongside you — interval runs would be a real challenge for a chihuahua. Finally, you’ll want to make sure she won’t get the leash tangled up in your feet. Once you’re off and running, you may find that as a creature of habit and routine, your dog makes an excellent running companion and motivates you to hit the pavement.

RELATED STORY: Teach Your Dog to Heel

Try Something New: Doga

If you love yoga, try this twist: do doga, or dog yoga, with your dog. Doga may be the perfect pup-and-person workout for you if you like a bit of structure to your exercise, respond well to classes, and thrive on schedule and routine. Generally, the joy of a doga comes from doing the stretches and chants together with your dog in a group, classroom setting.

RELATED STORY: The Doga Fad Explained

Do you enjoy exercising with your dog? Leave a comment and share your workout tips! Consider signing up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, boarding and more. 

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Best Friends Forever: A Man and His Paralyzed Dog

 


If you caught a glimpse of Jack’s big, happy smile from a distance, you’d never guess that there was anything wrong. But getting closer, you’d see that his back legs are paralyzed. When Jack isn’t scooting around in his wheelchair, his unmoving legs drag behind him on the ground.

“Jack became paralyzed in 2007 as a result of jumping for a treat — something he’s done a million times,” says Bobby Kleinau, who adopted Jack in 2006 after hearing about a stray dog brought into the Andover Animal Hospital in Andover, MA. “He jumped, landed awkwardly, and let out a big ‘yelp.’ Later the next day he lost the use of his hind legs.”

The day that Jack became paralyzed, Bobby took him to three different animal hospitals.

“All of them laid out my options and strongly recommended that I put him down,” Bobby says.

In order for Jack to have a decent quality of life, he would need a $12,000 surgery and physical therapy. In addition, because Jack would no longer have the ability to urinate, Bobby would need to learn how to “express” his bladder for him. Jack would also lose control over his bowels.

“After all of this was laid out to me, I sat with Jack and asked him what he wanted me to do in a very emotional moment,” Bobby says. “He looked at me and thumped his head right in my chest. I knew he wanted to stay with me. That is when the decision was made to roll the dice and go through with the process. That was the best decision I have ever made.”
Bobby and Jack have a truly special relationship. Bobby says that it was “love at first sight” when he adopted Jack, and that the two have been inseparable ever since.

“When I first adopted Jack I was selfish and self-centered,” Bobby says. “I never had to care about anyone but myself. After losing 140 pounds, I was on the verge of becoming a complete ego maniac. Jack gave me perspective.”

And since his accident, Jack has continued to teach Bobby valuable lessons.

“He has been patient throughout the process and has been a blessing to my life in every way possible,” Bobby says. “I mean sure, he can’t jump and run the way he used to, but he still goes where he wants to go and does what he wants to do. If he can’t get somewhere, he just lets me know that he needs a ‘lift’.”

Lifting isn’t the only thing that Bobby does for his pal. He also expresses his bladder three to four times a day, stimulates his bowel movements, makes him a special high-quality diet, and because Jack can’t stand in one place for too long, carries his food bowl and follows him until he finds a comfortable place to eat.

“Dating has also been interesting and challenging,” says Bobby. “And I haven’t been able to really travel since he want paralyzed because of his dependence, and I won’t just drop him off at a kennel. Jack is 65 pounds and I’m very particular on who can lift him correctly and tend to his needs.”

 

Clearly, Bobby’s life has been transformed by Jack’s paralysis, but he says that’s a good thing.

“Everybody wants to give me credit for giving so much to Jack,” Bobby says. “But what they don’t quite see is how much he has given to me, and continues to do so.”

Inspired by Jack’s amazing spirit, Bobby and a friend decided to start a business selling t-shirts with an image of Jack’s likeness. Proceeds from the sale of Jacky Wheels t-shirts go to support The Sato Project, an organization that saves dogs from Dead Dog Beach in Puerto Rico then flies them to NY and Boston where they are either fostered or sheltered until they are adopted.

 

If you want to buy a t-shirt, head over to www.jackywheels.com. And if you want to learn more about Jack and see him and Bobby in action, check out the wonderful documentary “A Dog and His Boy” by Steven Schloss:

As a thanks to Bobby for all that he does for Jack and other dogs, we are giving him a free trial of PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, boarding, and more. 

Have a story you’d like to share or know a pet-family deserving of a free trial of PetPlus? Contact the Pet Savvy editors at content@petplus.com or leave a note in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you. 

 

 

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