Posted: Mar 20 2012
Looking for a way to improve your mood, your health and your relationship with your dog? Take a walk. Walking your dog regularly provides benefits to the dog and owner.
A recent study conducted at the George Washington University School of Public Health & Health Services and reported in Arthritis Today found that pet owners who walked with their dog regularly had an overall lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than those that did not, fewer chronic health problems and a lower incidence of depression. The study's author, Cindy Lentino, says her results indicate dog walking is something medical and health professionals should include when talking about activities that promote a healthy and active lifestyle.“There’s definitely something special about dogs. They are inherently active animals,” Lentino says. “Dogs give owners a sense of purpose in that they need to be walked and humans need exercise, so I think that is the key. “
3 Tips For Creating The Perfect Dog Walking Routine
1) Pick a time that works for your schedule. Morning, noon or night: your dog will be there when you are ready! It's important to pick a time slot you can stick to with some regularity otherwise it's hard to make it a permanent habit.2) Get the right equipment. Luckily walking is one of those activities that does not require a lot of expensive equipment but you want to make sure you and your dog are comfortable. It's important to have a pair of supportive shoes and a well fitting collar with tags and leash for your dog. If your dog is a puller, consider investing in a no-pull training harness to make your walks more enjoyable.
3) Choose the right location. It might be right out your front door and down the street, but if you don't happen to live in a neighborhood with sidewalks or you live in an area with lots of noisy traffic consider talking your walks in a more serene location. You want the experience to be pleasurable for you and your dog so pick a quiet park or nature preserve.
It's easy to make something a habit when you look forward to doing it. With just a few minor considerations, you can implement your walking routine immediately.
Posted: Feb 09 2010
Valentine’s Day is a wonderful time to show your loved one just how much they mean to you. Gifts often include chocolate, and most of us love this delicious holiday treat. However, it is wise to keep in mind that chocolate is toxic to dogs and if ingested, it can be fatal.
An excellent article by our friends at Sojos Dog Food points out why chocolate is indeed toxic for dogs:
“Chocolate contains theobromine, which is a naturally-occurring molecule found in the cocoa beans, coffee, tea, and cola and is related to caffeine. In the medical field it has been used as a drug to treat high blood pressure because of its ability to dilate blood vessels. Because of its diuretic effect, it is also sometimes used in cases where cardiac failure has resulted in an accumulation of body fluid. What makes it poisonous for dogs and not humans is the fact that dogs are unable to metabolize the chemical effectively.”
It is remarkable just how little chocolate a pet needs to ingest before becoming dangerously ill. Two ounces of bakers chocolate can be poisonous to a pet of twenty pounds, and one pound of milk chocolate can be poisonous to a dog weighing twenty pounds. While milk chocolate is twenty times more poisonous to dogs than white chocolate, it is smart to keep all chocolates away from pets.
If your pet has ingested chocolate, please contact your vet immediately. If your dog has ingested large amounts, vomiting may be induced by your vet to help save your pet’s life. When in doubt, always contact your vet to get the best health and safety advice for your dog.
As Spring approaches, please remember to keep chocolate Easter eggs and bunnies away from your dog. Cocoa bean mulch is also becoming quite popular in parts of the U.S. and this can be fatal if ingested. Steer away from this particular style of mulch if you or a neighbor has pets.
Please remember to keep your chocolate safely out of your dog’s reach. For more on this topic, please read Chocolate And Your Dog on the Sojos web site. The American Veterinary Medical Association is also a great resource for health information about your pet.
Posted: May 17 2009
Keeping your dog healthy is an important factor in helping your older dog enjoy life in his later years.
The Senior Dogs Project offers some helpful guidelines to maintaining a healthy lifestyle for your pet:
• Dogs, like people, need regular exercise. Give your senior dog adequate exercise, but adjust it as your pet’s abilities dictate.
• Be informed about the conditions common to older dogs and be alert to any symptoms. Keep your vet informed and discuss available treatment options.
• Feed your older dog the best food you can afford; two small meals daily, rather than one large one, is a better option.
• Keep your dog’s weight under control. Obesity will create health problems and result in shortening your pet’s life.
• Dietary supplements, such as glucosamine/chondroitin, are often helpful in counteracting symptoms of arthritis. Always check with your veterinarian before giving your dog any over-the-counter medication.
• Your dog’s dental health is also important to his overall health. Brush teeth daily and have his teeth professionally cleaned when advised by your veterinarian.
• Consider having your dog vaccinated only once every three years, as currently advised by the major veterinary associations.
• Control fleas and ticks. Keep your dog and his environment scrupulously clean.
Today it’s not uncommon, with the right care, for dogs to live to 14 or 15. Using recognized guidelines to determine when your dog may qualify as a senior will help you to understand changes in behavior and to anticipate any changes in health status. By being informed, you will be better able to identify and approach health problems at an early stage, when they may be more easily treated.
Posted: Mar 21 2009
We all agree that pets make great companions. Americans consider their pets an integral part of the family. But, caring for our companion animals is not cheap, and no one wants to scrimp on their loved ones’ health and safety. While routine visits to the vet and preventative medicine are necessary, there are several ways to control costs without sacrificing your pets’ health and well-being.
Specials and Clinics
Many vets offer in-office clinics once or twice a year. Clinics are a great way to save on heartworm testing, vaccinations, dental care and other procedures. Additionally, your vet may offer package plans for puppies and kittens. Finally, ask if your vet offers discounts for seniors (you or your pet!)
Many animal shelters offer low cost spay/neuter and vaccination programs for all community members. Additionally, if you adopt from your local shelter you may also be eligible for discounted medical care through the shelter or participating veterinarians.
National Assistance Programs
Many non-profit groups offer help to individuals and families with animals in need. Organizations like Help-A-Pet serve the elderly and working poor by providing financial assistance for the medical care of pets whose owners are unable to afford the expense. Breed specific organizations including Labrador Life Line helps owners or rescuers of Labrador Retrievers who are in need of financial assistance. Finally, The Helping Pets Fund established by the American Animal Hospital Association offers grants for veterinary care of pets that have been abandoned and those whose owners are experiencing financial hardship.
While payment plans won’t necessarily lower your costs, they can help make vet bills more manageable. Ask if your vet offers a low or no-interest payment plan. If you do decide to use a payment plan, make sure you understand all the rules. If you miss a payment, some plans will charge you a higher interest rate or a penalty.
Rainy Day Fund
Saving for those unexpected expenses is always a good idea. You can never go wrong setting aside a little money whenever you can just in case Fido needs to have a tooth pulled or decides to chase the neighbor’s cat.
It’s important to know as much as you can about your dog or cat’s health history. If you have a pure bred animal, learn as much as you can about your pet’s lines. Research the breed and understand what health risks may be prominent. If you adopt or rescue an animal, try and get as much detailed information you can from shelter or agency you work with. Keep all of your pets health records in one place so that you can easily reference them if necessary. Finally, there are a number of great reference sources on the internet that address pet health. The American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association offer comprehensive information on pet care and animal health. Please remember, however, this information should not replace a visit to the vet if you believe your dog or cat is ailing.
Posted: Mar 21 2009
Originally published January 5th, 2009
Don’t leave Fido out of the loop when you’re expecting. Here are some quick and easy tips to help your dog adjust to the newest member of the family.
Rather than waiting until baby arrives, get a jump on things and modify your dog’s daily routine now. By implementing a feeding/walking/playtime schedule with your dog, you’ll provide a sense of structure which will come in handy once mom arrives home with baby. Additionally, you can acclimate your dog to what the baby will sound like with recordings including our Sounds of Baby. This CD is a terrific training tool that gradually introduces the sounds your pet will hear from a new baby and her toys.
Before baby and Fido meet in person, you can introduce your dog to your little one’s scent. Let your pooch sniff items that the baby has been in contact with: a blanket, a onesie, even a diaper. When mom and baby arrive home, keep Fido on a leash to prevent jumping. Allow your dog to see and sniff the baby and create a positive association for your dog by providing lots of yummy treats for calm, collected behavior.
Don’t ban your dog from interacting with the family – including the new baby. It’s important for everyone in the household to coexist peacefully, but supervision and safety are key. Don’t be afraid to use management tools (like a leash, crate and treat toys) to help you navigate through your day and still maintain your sanity! For example, when you put baby down for a nap, give Fido a treat toy in his crate.
With a little preparation, you can create a safe and happy household for your growing family. Woof!