PupLife Dog Blog
Even though it’s snowing here in beautiful, southwest Michigan, everyone at PupLife.com is dreaming of a green Christmas. In addition to our wonderful selection of eco-friendly products for pooches and people, we wanted to share a few tips for “greening” your holidays. Enjoy!
Who doesn’t love a Christmas Tree? While live trees (with the rootball) are great because they can be replanted or mulched, if you already have an artificial tree, by all means, use it. It’s better to enjoy it rather than send it off to a landfill. But, if you’re looking for an alternative, consider a potted evergreen or a fragrant rosemary topiary. You might even opt for decorating a tree in your yard!
Lighting Is Everything
All those beautiful, twinkling lights really set the holiday mood, but switching over to L.E.D. lights saves energy and money. L.E.D lights use only ten percent of the energy of traditional lights and generate less heat reducing potential fire hazards in the home. Be sure to turn off your holiday displays at bedtime or invest in a lamp-timer that will automatically turn your decorative lights on and off.
One of our favorite holiday projects is turning last year’s Christmas cards into holiday ornaments. With today’s hectic schedules it can be difficult to keep up with friends and family throughout the year. Sitting down with a stack of the previous year’s cards is a terrific reminder of how valuable those relationships really are and the perfect time to take a moment to appreciate the things that really matter in life – our loved ones!
Choose gifts made from recycled materials like our line of super comfy dog beds made from recycled pop bottles! From dog sweaters knit out of recycled cotton to organic dog food and treats to biodegradable pick-up bags, we’ve got you covered. Check out our full line of earth-friendly dog supplies here.
Reconnect With Nature
If you’re lucky enough to live in a balmy climate this shouldn’t be difficult, but even here in the frosty midwest, the great outdoors are simply magical at Christmas time. There’s nothing better than taking the dogs on hike through the woods with snow falling all around. So, gather up (or bundle up) the kids and dogs and enjoy some fresh air.
There are many ways to reduce, recycle and reuse during the holidays and throughout the year. Got a great suggestion? Let us know!
Everybody needs a comfy place to sleep. And, since most dogs and cats sleep 10-16 hours a day or more, it's important to choose the right bed for your precious pet.
Today, dog and cat beds are fashionable as well as functional, so it's easy to mistakenly buy the dog bed that looks best to you or will coordinate with your couch. Before making your purchase consider the following: Size, Shape and Texture.
Mistake #1: Choosing The Wrong Size Dog BedThe biggest mistake people make when purchasing a bed for their dog or cat is guessing on size. First and foremost, measure your pet's length. This will give you a general idea about the dimensions your pet needs. There's nothing worse than a bed that's too small. Can you imagine trying to sleep with your feet hanging off the bed? Of course not!
Mistake #2: Choosing The Wrong Shape Dog BedTake a day or two to analyze how your pet sleeps. Does she curl up in a ball or does she like to stretch out? Most pets will sleep in a variety of different positions but if you spend some time watching your pet's behavior you can get a good idea which type of bed he or she will most enjoy. Beds are available in round, rectangular and square shapes. Additionally, beds come in a variety of styles, like traditional stuffed style, bumper style or flat mat style. If your dog is older or has joint or muscle pain, consider opting for an orthopedic dog bed for extra support and comfort.
Mistake #3: Choosing The Wrong TextureJust like people, pets have their own unique preferences. Some dogs and cats prefer nappy textures, while others like smooth fabrics. Take a look at the spots your dog likes to flop and this will help you determine the best kind of fabric for your pet's bed.
Additionally, consider the climate in which you live. If you're in a colder area, think about getting a heavier fabric like a berber or fleecy fabric. In warmer climates, a sleek, cool faux suede dog bed might be more appropriate.Keep in mind, it can take some time for your dog or cat to warm up to a new bed. Just like new sheets, new dog beds require a breaking-in period. Think about washing the outer cover to soften it. Dogs and cats are very sensitive to smell and may prefer the scent of their old blanket or bed to the new one so give you pet time to adjust. You can also make the bed smell more like you (which your pet also likes) by putting your old t-shirt on the bed for a few days. Making the bed smell familiar to your pet is key.
Dogs are social creatures and they want to spend time with you. It's a good idea to put your dog's new bed in the room where you are. Don't be afraid to move it around from room to room. Where ever you happen to be hanging out is where your pooch wants to be!
Finally, you can create a reward system when your pet uses his new bed. Take a few minutes each day and train your dog to sit on his bed. Using positive reinforcement, it's easy to teach your dog a basic sit/stay right on the bed. Reward your dog with a dog treat each time. Soon enough, your dog will associate his new bed with really good things.
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.
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.
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!